books, video

Insurgent Collector’s Edition – Veronica Roth

March 31, 2015

Insurgent Collector's EditionI've not done a video in a while, but today I'm reviewing the Insurgent Collector's Edition by Veronica Roth.  

As always, if you don't want to watch the video here are the highlights. 

With the Insurgent Collector's Edition you get:

  • The full Insurgent story
  • Beautiful deckled page edges
  • A book ribbon
  • Free Four: a short novella told from the point of view of Four about the knife throwing scene from Divergent.
  • Q&A with Veronica Roth
  • A short essay where Veronica talks about character death
  • Insurgent discussion questions
  • Celebrate the series - tips on holding a Divergent themed party 
  • Veronica's Divergent playlist - songs that inspired Divergent 
  • Veronica's Insurgent playlist - songs that inspired Insurgent 
  • Faction party tips 
  • Poster
  • Faction symbol transfer tattoo things

As with the Divergent Collector's Edition, I love all of the bonus material in this book. I enjoy reading about what inspired authors and their take on things that happened in the book and why they did certain things. 

I like that there seem to be more and more special / collector's editions being released recently. They're nice for fans to have and they make wonderful gifts. I bought my best friend the Divergent Collector's Edition for her birthday and she loves it. 

On top of that, they're pretty cheap considering the normal price of hardback books in the UK. I bought my collector's editions from Wordery and they were around £12 each, which is great considering the RRP of a hardback is usually £20 over here. 

Wordery: Insurgent Collector's Edition - don't fret, even though the description and product title don't say it's the collector's edition, this is the collector's edition. 

Do you have any collector's editions?  

If you're interested, click on the image below to see my review of the Divergent Collector's Edition by Veronica Roth. 

Divergent Collector's Edition

beauty, empties, hair

Empties #2 | Beauty & hair

March 30, 2015

Empties #2

It’s been a while since I’ve done an empties post and I’ve got through a fair few things that have been cluttering my drawers for the past few months. 

Empties posts are some of my favourite to read because you get a much more accurate review when someone has used a product up. 

I have reviewed some of these products, so where I have a review I’ll link to it. 

Lily Lolo Mineral foundation, Natural Collection loose powder & elf mineral foundation

Natural Collection: Loose Powder

I decided to try this when I was using liquid foundation and found that my skin was oily. This was pretty good at keeping my skin looking matte, but it didn’t do a great job for me because mineral foundation works much better for me than liquid foundation. 

Recommend / repurchase: If you’ve got normal skin, this will probably work quite well but it’s not fantastic for oily / combination skin. I won’t repurchase because I use mineral foundation now so I have no need for it. 

Elf: Mineral Foundation

This was the first mineral foundation I tried and it did a really good job, especially considering the price. 

Recommend / repurchase: I would recommend this and would repurchase. Elf UK are closing down sadly, so get a shuffle on if you want to try it.

Elf: Minearl Booster in Shimmer – my review

This gave a nice slightly glowy finish. Unfortunately Elf seem to have sold out of this so you can’t buy it in the UK anymore. 

Lily Lolo: Mineral Foundation in Porcelain – my review

After trying out Elf’s mineral foundation, I was fairly happy with the results but wanted to try a slightly more expensive brand to see if gave better coverage, and this does. It gives buildable light to medium coverage and is great for oily / combination skin. 

I really like this foundation, it’s probably my favourite mineral foundation. 

Recommend / repurchase: I would recommend this and I have already repurchased.   Continue Reading…

things that made me happy this week

5 things that made me happy this week

March 28, 2015

Go karting – On Sunday I went karting and it was so much fun. It’s been a while since I’ve been karting and I’d forgotten how much I love it. I sucked and came last (someone had to) and ended up in a bit of a crash and had a huge bruise on my arm, but it was so much fun. 

The Blackout – Oh, this is a bittersweet one. The Blackout are one of my favourite bands (I guess I should be using the word ‘were’ now) and my friends and I have seen them pretty much every year since we first heard them. We saw them on their farewell tour on Monday and they were so good but I am genuinely gutted that it’s the end of the road for them. 

Hunter Hayes tickets – I’ve been waiting about two years for Hunter Hayes to do a UK tour and he’s coming over here to do a few dates in May! My Mum and I have tickets for the Birmingham date and I’m so excited.

Def Leppard are touring! - In other music news, Def Leppard announced a UK tour on Friday. I have been waiting to see Def Leppard since I was born, but I’ve always missed them for one reason or another.

I grew up listening to Def Leppard and my Mum is so awesome that Let’s Get Rocked was the first song I ever heard, so I’m beyond excited that I’ll get to go and see them with her. I’ll be there with my card next Friday morning ready to book at 9am. 

Mission Magic Unicorn Hair has begun – I dyed my hair back to blonde in preparation for adding some magical unicorn colours when it’s light enough. My hair was the same colour for for a year, so I keep having to do a double take when I see my newly-coloured hair. 

What made you happy this week?

books

5 fictional book places I wish I could visit

March 27, 2015

Five fictional places I want to visit

One of my favourite things about books is that you can be transported to anywhere from the comfort of your bed, sofa, the train, or wherever. 

Some of those places don’t sound very nice at all, but some of them are beautiful places that leave you wishing you could get in the car, or hop on a plane, and visit. 

5. The North in Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin
I love cold, foresty places so ‘The North’ would be the perfect holiday destination for me if I could visit it.

The Godswood sounds beautiful and it certainly looks beautiful in the TV show. Winterfell looks pretty cool too. I just want to live in a castle.

When I went to Ireland we went on a Game of Thrones tour and visited some of the locations they used for filming in The North, so does that mean I’ve kind of been? 

 

4. The Palace in The Selection by Kiera Cass
It would be cool to live in a palace, few people can deny that.

The palace in The Selection series is vast, as one’s castle should be. It has a huge and awesome garden, secret rooms and a big library. I don’t think I’d ever need to leave the palace. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever need to leave the library.

 

3. The Pit in Divergent by Veronica Roth
It’s a cavern, who doesn’t want to visit a cavern? I’m a little unnerved by the thought of having to jump off a train onto a roof but it has a waterfall and let me repeat that it’s a cavern!

 

2. Champion – Marie Lu – Ross City
I absolutely loved the sound of Ross City. It’s a magical rainbow city where you basically get gamer score for doing your daily activities. I imagine the gamer score thing might get a bit annoying after a while because you’d have to be nice to everyone even if you were having an off day, but it would be fun to experience. 

I was actually quite sad when the characters left Ross City because I want more Ross City! 

 

1. Everywhere in Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
This should come as no surprise to anyone. The world of Harry Potter is magical and thinking about it brings back so many good memories of reading it as a child.

I would love to stand at the edge of the lake and see Hogwarts. I would love to take a walk down Diagon Alley and go in Fred and George’s joke shop. I would love to go to Hagrid’s Hut. I would love to stand in the cosy Gryffindor common room.

A couple of years ago I visited the Harry Potter studios and I realised that Hogwarts definitely wasn’t real and I was pretty sad. Though, a friend did suggest that perhaps it was a front for the muggles. I’m still waiting on my acceptance letter.

What fictional place would you like to visit?

italy, Photography, travel

It rained when I went to Lake Como, Italy

March 24, 2015

It’s funny how the weather can change your perception of a place. 

When you think about Lake Como in Italy, you probably imagine beautiful blue sunny skies, hanging above sparkling water. Probably something like this. Not the photo above. 

When I went to the Italian Grand Prix last September, my friend and I arrived at lunchtime on the Wednesday so we had the rest of the day to kill. We both really wanted to go to Lake Como and decided to drive up. 

I didn’t drive, I refused because having experienced Italian roads the year before I was convinced I would end up having an accident and paying the rental company a small fortune. My friend had booked a hire car before we went and asked for a small car, because that’s what he was used to driving. Instead we got some kind of family wagon tank type thing and to make it even scarier for him, it was an automatic and he had never driven an automatic before. 

After a nervous start, we found our way to Lake Como in one piece. To my dismay, it was a pretty dull day. 

We were met with grey skies and cool air, not sky so blue it looked like it must have been photoshopped and warm air with a slight breeze coming off the lake like I’d imagined. 

Don’t get me wrong, it was still a pretty spectacular place and what I actually loved the most was seeing big houses nestled in the hillsides and I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to live at the top and be treated to a beautiful view when it was actually sunny. 

Having not eaten since about 6am we decided to have pizza at an outdoor restaurant. It was a poor representation of pizza, which was a bitter pill to swallow in a country renowned for pizza. To compound matters, I was still basking in the glory of the amazing pizza I’d eaten in Germany two weeks prior. (Yes, I’m still talking about that pizza!) 

It was so underwhelming. I’d gone there excited about the prospect of seeing a place I’d been aching to see for years and when I finally arrived it was such a comedown. It was a bit ‘oh’.

I wanted to wait around to see if the sky would clear but with an automatic tank and the thought of rush hour traffic in Milan, we left earlier than we’d have liked to.  

When I got home my Mum and Nan eagerly asked me about what Lake Como was like and it sucked to tell them that it wasn’t as good as I was expecting it to be. Truthfully, the Lake District has provided me with better views than Lake Como on that dull Wednesday. 

It’s strange how we think that we have to go abroad to see something beautiful, when there’s so much stunning scenary on our own doorstep.

I’m sure I will go back to Lake Como and give it another chance and I’m sure it will amaze me and make up for that grey day last September. 

Tell me about a place you visited which disappointed you. 

books

My Thoughts on 50 Shades of Grey

March 23, 2015

  

A couple of weeks ago I asked whether we should judge books we haven’t read – mostly in reference to my comments about 50 Shades of Grey. Curiosity got the best of me and I picked it up. 

I’ve read and heard polarising reviews of this book and despite thinking it wouldn’t be my cup of tea, I did my best to go into it with an open mind and I honestly feel like I read it impartial to all my previous thoughts. 

In short, I didn’t like it. I didn’t hate it, otherwise I wouldn’t have finished it, but in general I found it very uninteresting. 

 

Instalove

I do not like instalove. You cannot expect me to believe in a relationship when I don’t understand why the characters like each other so much. ‘They just do’ is not a valid answer. I do not want to see two characters lock eyes and suddenly fall in love – I’m sure that happens in real life and that there are plenty of reasons why and emotions attached to it, so make me feel it! 

Tell me why the characters were attracted to each other so much. Make me feel it and understand it. 

 

Some parts made me uncomfortable

Don’t even try to tell me that parts of it were not domestic abuse. I’m not misunderstanding BDSM, forcing someone to do something and stalking them is wrong. 

There are parts where Ana is unsure about doing something and she is basically convinced that she should because Christian wanted her too and she wanted to please him, even though she was still very unsure and that made for some difficult reading for me. 

The worst part was perhaps towards the end of the book where Christian tells her ‘you are mine’ in a rather forceful manner and gets all pissy because she hugged a male friend. 

 

Stop with the repetitions! 

50 Shades began life as Twilight fan-fiction and I did actually enjoy that series but it really bugged me that Stephanie Meyer loved using the word ‘incredulous’. In 50 Shades we see the same thing with references with Ana’s ‘inner goddess’, ‘foil packets’ and ‘inward sighing’. 

It baffled me because E. L. James uses a lot of fancy words in the book, some of which I had to look up, so she obviously has a varied vocabulary, so I don’t understand why a handful of phrases were used over and over again. Enough with the repetition! 

 

The writing did not suck me in

One of the key things I want from a book is to be sucked in and to feel like I am the main character. I didn’t care about Ana, I didn’t feel whatever she was feeling and that made it very difficult for me to enjoy this book at all. 

 

Where’s the plot?

The plot is pretty weak and this is my best summary: 

  • Ana meets Christian and INSTALOVE strikes. They have lots of sex and try to write-up a kinkier version of a Sheldon Cooper Relationship Agreement, while Ana feels entirely unsure about everything and mostly seems to be intimidated by Christian. 

I think that perhaps the emotional relationship between the two characters and the two characters themselves could have been explored a bit more which may have made for a stronger plot. But of course, that probably happens later in the series because money. Or perhaps it just wasn’t the point of the book at all, which is entirely possible considering it is frequently labelled ‘mommy porn’, which is a gross term. 

I have never read a book with BDSM in it before but I have read books with plenty of sexual content and there’s usually some kind of plot but I found it to be severely lacking in 50 Shades. 

I can finally say that I’ve read 50 Shades of Grey and I’m glad that I gave it a chance but it wasn’t for me and now I can waffle about it knowing what it’s like. 

Have you ever read a book you didn’t think you would like just to find out? 

things that made me happy this week

5 things that made me happy this week

March 21, 2015

 I can talk! - My voice returned on Tuesday and now it seems to be back to full, working order. Take that Laryngitis! 

Writing - The F1 season got underway last weekend so I’ve been rediscovering my love of writing about the sport after being so burnt out at the end of last year. 

While we’re talking about writing, you may have seen that I wrote a piece for the Huffington Post UK blog: why society should be teaching girls not to worry about their appearance, not schoolboys

The eclipse – It wasn’t quite the full eclipse I remembered seeing back in 1999 but it’s just so fascinating to watch. We didn’t have any funky glasses, so one of my colleagues got a piece of paper and a piece of card with a pinhole in it so we could watch it, which was fun. (Yes, that’s what that second photo is on the left.) 

Nighttime photography – Last night was supposed to be a supermoon, so my Mum and I decided to go out and try to take some photographs. Unfortunately there was too much cloud cover and we couldn’t even see the moon, but it was nice to have a fiddle with the camera and try out nighttime photography. 

Remembering Ireland – St. Patrick’s Day was earlier this week and I couldn’t help but look back over my photos from Ireland with fondness and long to go back. 

What made you happy this week?