Life, things that made me happy this week

6 things that made me happy this week

April 25, 2015

  

Scotland: I spent last week in Scotland and I loved it. It’s such a beautiful country. I’ve not quite got used to this civilisation thing again though. 

Seeing the beasts: While I wasn’t overjoyed about coming home, I was really happy to be able to see Crunchie, Bert, and Dylan again. I missed their furry faces. 

Vinyl: We went to Edinburgh while we were away and I picked up Taylor Swift’s 1989 on vinyl, and My Chemical Romances Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. You just can’t beat a good vinyl record. 

Motivation and encouragement: A decision has been gnawing at me for the past few months, and this week I’ve received motivation and support from the people who I’ve dumped my dillema on. 

Spanish Grand Prix accreds: My media accreditation for the Spanish Grand Prix was confirmed this week. I still can’t believe that I get to go to races as media; what I’d do to make it my job. 

A cosy Friday night: Tom is working nights at the moment, which means I don’t really see him in the week, and on Friday we had a cosy night in. 

What made you happy this week?

Life

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live

April 24, 2015

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. A quote by Albus Dumbledore

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” Oh Albus Dumbledore, such a wise wizard. 

I’ve been in need of motivation and encouragement over the past few weeks, and this is a quote that’s popped into my head a few times. 

It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea of your dreams and doing them ‘one day’. I don’t want to keep thinking about ‘one day’ and not actually doing anything to move any closer to ‘one day’ anymore.

‘One day’ starts now. And I want to do one thing each day to begin moving towards making my dream reality. 

Sidenote: I’m really proud of the image I created for this photo. The background was from my first attempt at astrophotography, keep your eyes peeled for a post on that over the next couple of weeks. 

What’s your favourite motivational quote? (Don’t act like you don’t have one!) 

books

Lies Like Love – Louisa Reid review* & blog tour giveaway

April 23, 2015

Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid

Lies Like Love blog tour banner

Have you ever read a book that left you aching inside, mourning when you finished, and that you couldn’t stop thinking about for days after you finished it? They’re the best kind of books. 

If you haven’t got time to read the rest of my review, that’s a pretty good summary of Lies Like Love. 

I discovered this book at the UKYA Extravaganza when I heard Louisa give a quick synopsis. Unfortunately, I reached the table just as someone picked up the last copy. I may or may not have let out a slow-mo movie-style ‘NOOOO!’, so I’m pretty happy to be on the Lies Like Love book tour – thank you Faye and Louisa. 

Synopsis: LIES
‘There were a few problems . . . bullying . . . a fire . . .’

LIKE

I think she’s verging on psychosis . . . now she’s lashing out.

LOVE

She’s got no one else to fight for her.’

Sixteen year-old Audrey just wants to be normal. She’s trying to fit in. But what happens when the person closest to you suffocates you with their love? What happens then?

It took me a while to write a coherent review for this book. Lies Like Love is one of those books I loved so much that I just flailed at the keyboard for about four hours and wrote absolute rubbish that did it no justice. You know what I’m talking about, right? 

I’m going to be vague about what actually happens because I think this book is one of those where you’ll get the best experience if you know as little as possible. However, I can talk about the characters, writing style, and everything else. Anything but the plot. 

Something which isn’t mentioned in the synopsis is that we also read from the point of view of a boy called Leo, who goes to school with Audrey. 

Lies Like Love is split into three parts. Within that, it’s also split up by month, and then each chapter is either told by Leo or Audrey. That might sound a little confusing but it’s not at all, and there’s no way you can get Leo and Audrey mixed up. 

Speaking of our main characters; they’re both well-developed and detailed characters, and I felt like I knew them by the end of the book. They’re realistic, have issues to handle, and both of them undergo character development during the book. 

The other characters are interesting also, and I enjoyed the relationship between Audrey and her little brother, and between Leo and his aunt. Too often, it seems that families are non-existent in YA books, so it’s nice to see a book where they exist and the characters have an actual relationship with them. Can you imagine such a thing?!

Louisa’s writing style is easy to read, hooks you straight away, and she makes you feel what the characters are going through. I’m not going to lie to you; at times it was dark and hard to read because I really felt for the characters and what they were going through. 

I took Lies Like Love on holiday with me. I expected that I wouldn’t read much and would have to finish it when I got home, but I finished it in two nights. As soon as I put it down my brain was nagging me to pick it up and find out what happens next. 

Honestly, this book was a breath of mountain-y fresh air. I love young adult books, but so many of them have characters which are perfect, there’s no character development and families are extinct. To read a book with imperfect characters who develop and have family relationships was a real joy. 

If you’re a fan of quite dark and realistic YA, then I cannot recommend this enough. I think that if you liked All The Bright Places or books similar to that, then you will enjoy this. 

There are three tour wide giveaways on the Lies Like Love blog tour, where you can win:

  • A signed copy of Lies Like Love
  • A signed copy of Louisa’s debut novel, Black Heart Blue 
  • A bundle of swag 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’re interested in seeing more posts from the Lies Like Love blog tour, you can see the full schedule here.

* I received a free copy of this as part of the book tour. As much as I like free books, it does not sway my opinion. This book was genuinely awesome. 

Lies Like Love Book Cover Lies Like Love
Louisa Reed
YA contemporary
Penguin
July 3rd 2014
Paperback

LIES

'There were a few problems . . . bullying . . . a fire . . .'

LIKE

I think she's verging on psychosis . . . now she's lashing out.

LOVE

She's got no one else to fight for her.'

Sixteen year-old Audrey just wants to be normal. She's trying to fit in. But what happens when the person closest to you suffocates you with their love? What happens then?

food

5 ways to get inspired about cooking – where do you get your inspiration from?

April 22, 2015

5 places to get food inspiration

I don’t know about you, but I find it easy to fall into a food rut. Staying inspired to cook is something I find hard. 

My quest to eat a healthy vegetarian diet, instead of pizza and macaroni cheese, is harder than I thought it would be. I’ve been a vegetarian for the majority of my life, but for a large portion of that I wouldn’t say I actually ate a balanced or nutritional diet. Unless carefully balancing the cheese and tomato sauce ratio counts? 

I struggle to be continuously inspired by new recipes and new ideas, which often means I end up feeling ‘meh’, and that’s when I’m likely to revert to eating badly again. 

Here are five sources of food and cooking inspiration for me.

 

Pinterest 

I’m a fussy eater. But sometimes I surprise myself by wanting to eat something I’ve never tried before, or have always claimed not to like even though I haven’t tried it, because I saw a fantastic photo of it on Pinterest. 

Pinterest is my favourite method of finding something new and tasty. You can find hundreds and thousands of recipes to suit whatever you want, and then you can pin the recipe for later. 

You need a 15 minute vegan meal? You got it

You need food for a Doctor Who themed party? You bet Pinterest can help you find it.

You need quick lunch ideas? Pinterest has yo’ back

 

Food blogs 

There are so many mouth-watering food blogs, so you’re sure to find a few that fit your diet and tastes. 

I enjoy trawling through the food section on Bloglovin’ and falling down a food blog rabbit hole.  

 

Take inspiration from restaurants

When you go out for a meal you may come across something you’d never even considered before, so try to recreate it, or take inspiration from it, at home. 

For example, when I went to Scotland I discovered vegetarian haggis. I had no idea that even existed, but it does, and it was delicious. On Monday night, my Mum had a go at recreating vegetarian haggis, and it tasted wonderful. I think it’s going to become a regular on our food planner, especially during the winter. 

 

Turn something meaty vegetarian / vegan / whatever diet you have

In my house, there are two vegetarians and two meat eaters, so sometimes I will just have a vegetarian version of what the meat chompers are having, and add some extras in to replace the meat. 

I’m also experimenting with a vegan diet, and I’ve been having fun looking at recipes and substituting dairy products for non-dairy products. 

 

Open a random page in a cookery book

If I were a betting person, I’d be willing to bet you have at least one recipe book in your house. Pick it up, open it at a random page, and make that for your next meal. 

 

What do you do to stay inspired by food? 

beauty, My Mum & I review...

My Mum & I review LUSH’s Ocean Salt scrub

April 21, 2015

My Mum & I review LUSH's Ocean Salt

LUSH Ocean Salt

My Mum and I did a joint review earlier in the year. It received positive feedback and you asked for me joint reviews, so we’re back at it. 

It’s only been the last year or two that I’ve used an exfoliator. Before that, I thought they were an unnecessary money spinner really, but I’ve discovered that they’re actually quite useful and Ocean Salt has become a part of my daily routine. 

What LUSH sayLimes steeped in vodka, grapefruit and lashings of salt go into this invigorating face and body scrub – now in a self-preserving formula.

The salty, citrus fragrance is refreshing on the skin and mind, like diving into the cool blue ocean. Sea salt is rich in minerals and excellent for scrubbing away any dead skin. We also added rich, silky avocado butter, coconut oil and seaweed absolute to keep your skin soft, smooth and conditioned.

Ocean Salt comes in four different versions: 

  • Self-preserving and alcohol free
  • Self-preserving
  • Alcohol free 
  • Not self-preserving and containing alcohol 

The one I have is the self-preserving and alcohol free version. The prices differ very slightly depending on which one you have. The self-preserving & alcohol free one, and the alcohol free one are £7.25 for 120g, while it’s £7.75 for 120g of the normal one, and the self-preserving one. 

What my Mum thought: 

Ocean Salt face and body scrub has a lovely fresh citrus smell and a gentle grittiness that leaves skin feeling clean and soft.

I use this Ocean Salt on my face a couple of times a week rubbed into wet skin and find that it moisturises and softness without producing that oiliness that you often get from salt scrubs.

I have only used this as a body scrub once as I found that it washed off too quickly in the shower and so more of it ended up in the shower tray than I managed to rub on my body. That being said, it might be better used in a bath as it would probably make really nice bath soak.

The lime and grapefruit give it a lovely clean smell and the salt gently exfoliates leaving skin soft, although I would recommend that you use it sparingly as otherwise it can be a bit too abrasive and don’t use it if you have any broken or sore skin as it has a really high salt content, which is never a good thing to rub into a cut. All in all, it does what it says on the tub; so if you want something that exfoliates without being oily, this is ideal. I love it.

What I thought: 

Ocean Salt smells really fresh and limey, which is great in the morning because it makes me feel marginally more awake and happy to be up. Due to the high salt content, it does have a strong salty taste which could be off-putting for people who don’t like that. (Or you could just not try to eat it, which apparently I can’t do.) As soon as you’ve washed and dried your face you can’t taste it, but if you don’t like strong salty tastes it’s something to bear in mind. 

The top layer is blue, but the majority of the scrub is a creamy colour. The blue layer has a slightly thicker consistency than the rest, the rest of the scrub has quite a runny consistency but it isn’t messy. 

You only need to use a little bit at a time, so you should be able to get about two – three months use out of it. On the few occasions where I’ve accidentally used too much, I’ve found it’s a little too harsh and can scratch your skin a little; less is more! 

I have combination skin and find that Ocean Salt keeps the dry bits at bay, cleanses my skin, and makes it feel fresh and smooth without making it feel greasy. I’ve already repurchased this and I imagine I’ll continue to do so. 

 

Is it cruelty free & vegan? Yes. LUSH are a cruelty free company and Ocean Salt is a vegan product. 

Do you use exfoliators? If so, which ones do you recommend? 

Photography, Scotland, travel

Oban & Strone Hill

April 20, 2015

Strone Hill

Hello loyal subjects, I’m back from Scotland and I’m going to start waffling about it right now!

I decided the best way for me to post about it is in chronological order, so today’s post is about Sunday morning. 

Something I learned quickly in Scotland is that the weather is incredibly changeable. On Sunday morning we had; sun, rain, hail and snow. 

We planned to go to Loch Lomond but less than 10 miles into the journey it began snowing heavily, so we changed our mind and headed towards Oban in the hope the snow would clear. Thankfully it did, as driving on snowy roads in my new car was a little scary. 

The snow suddenly cleared. One minute it was snowing heavily and the sky was white, the next it was beautiful and blue, with fluffy white clouds. 

We pulled into the first car park we saw because the scenery was stunning. The first stop we came across was Strone Hill, which had a little trail that led to a waterfall. Having never seen a waterfall in person before, I was all over this. 

Strone Hill

Strone Hill

Strone Hill

Strong Hill waterfall

After marvelling at the waterfall, we headed back to the car and decided to carry on towards Oban for lunch. 

Oban

Oban

Oban was not what I expected. For some reason I expected it to be bigger. Secondly, I did not expect to see what looked like a colosseum perched on top of a hill. I also did not expect to see lampposts wearing jumpers.

We headed up to ‘the colosseum’ and discovered it was called McCaig’s Tower and it provided us with stunning views of Oban, Mull, and Kerrera. 

Oban

Oban

Oban

Oban

I’m missing Scotland already, I wish I could go back. Keep an eye out for more posts about my trip to Scotland over the next few weeks; I’ll probably be posting about it once a week. 

Where have you been recently? 

Scotland, travel

Blogging break while I’m in Scotland

April 11, 2015

Loch Awe in Winter

Hello loyal subjects lovely people of the interweb, 

I’m going to Scotland today and I’ll be without internet for the week so I won’t be posting. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again; I don’t see the point in posting if I can’t reply to comments or read your blogs, so you won’t see any new posts on here until Monday 20th April. 

If you’re at all intrigued, you can check out my blog posts about my trip to Scotland at the end of last year here

‘But how will I cope without your insightful daily posts?’

I didn’t say my absence was going to be easy. To tide you over, here are a few blogs that I love and read religiously:

 I hope you all have a fun and productive week. See you soon!