Share The Love

Share the love – June

July 3, 2015

 

Share The Love June

Blog: Broomfie – I discovered Rachael’s blog a couple of months ago, and it has swiftly become a favourite of mine. At the moment, I’m really enjoying reading about and seeing photos from her travels across the US. I have major envy. 

 

Blog posts I’ve enjoyed: 

 

Music: Two albums came out in June that I’ve been looking forward to for months:

  • Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves (My favourite at the moment is Die Fun.)
  • VENUS by Joy Williams (I recommend listening to Until The Levee.) 

I went to see Taylor Swift in June also, and she put on a killer show, so I’ve been listening to her a lot also. I’m also pretty happy that she’s allowed 1989 to go onto Apple Music. 

 

Books: My standout book from June is Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill. It’s such an intense book and it’s frustrated everyone I’ve spoken to about it. I mean that in a good way of course.

It deals with issues such as sexism, objectification, and eating disorders, and magnifies these issues we see in today’s society. 

 

TV: Tom and I recently started watching Vikings on Amazon Prime. We marathoned the first series last Saturday; we’re hooked. 

 

Food: This month it has been all about stuffed mushrooms and mushroom burgers. 

 

Most popular posts on Eat Read Glam in June: 

Normally, this is where I share the five most popular posts on the blog this month. Annoyingly, I’ve had a problem with Google Analytics and it just stopped tracking at the start of the month, so what I’m going to do instead is share some of my favourite posts I’ve written this month. 

 

Come on, share some of your favourite June things with me and please share any blog posts you’ve read / written and loved last month. 

Books, TBR

June roundup & July to be read (+ Video)

July 2, 2015

Time to take a peek at what I read in June, and what I want to read in July. 

June felt like a long month to me, and I could have sworn that the couple of books I read at the start of the month, I'd actually read in May. Goodreads says otherwise though.

As always, if you don't want to watch my video, read on for my thoughts on the books I read in June and books I want to read in July. 

Books read in June

SHadow Kiss Richelle Mead

Shadow Kiss - Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy #3) 

It feels like such a long time ago since I read this book. 

The third instalment of the Vampire Academy series was pretty action packed, and the cruel ending has left me desperate to find out what happens next. 

Read my full review of Shadow Kiss.

Only Ever Yours Louise O'Neill

Only Ever Yours - Louise O'Neill

Just a few pages in, this book annoyed me and frustrated me. Not because it's badly written, but because of the topics. It deals with some of the issues we deal with today such as sexism, objectification, and eating disorders, and magnifies it by a 100. It's such an intense book. Well worth a read. 

Find out more about my thoughts on Only Ever Yours.

Never Always Sometimes Adi Alsaid

Never Always Sometimes - Adi Alsaid*

I'm beginning to think Adi Alsaid is the King of awesome summer books. Last year I read Let's Get Lost, which is the ultimate road trip book, and Never Always Sometimes is a light, fun, fast, summer read. 

* I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Keep an eye out for my full review soon. 

City of Ashes Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #2)

The Mortal Instruments is a series I want to love, but just can't. The world-building, plot, and history is fantastic, but I really struggled to connect with the characters and found Clary to be dull.

Granted, she improved vastly on City of Bones, but she was still pretty forgettable for me.

For my full wafflings on this book, read about why I struggled with City of Ashes.

The Lion King storybook

The Lion King Storybook by Disney

The Lion King is my favourite film ever, so when I spotted this in my local Tesco I had to pick it up. (This cover isn't the actual cover, if you watch my video you'll see it's green, not orange.)

The story is stripped back in comparison to the film, but it's supposed to be a kids book so that makes sense. 

This book has beautiful illustrations on every page, that would make it the perfect gift for any fan of the series. 

 

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair - Pablo Neruda

Twenty Love Songs and a Poem of Despair - Pablo Neruda

 

I was inspired to pick this up after re-reading Anna and the French Kiss earlier in the year. During the book, the two characters have to read some work by Pablo Neruda for school, and there's a line from the poem mentioned in the book. I thought it sounded good, and decided to pick this up. 

The poems are beautiful and bursting with imagery and emotion.

The Heartbreakers Ali Novak

The Heartbreakers - Ali Novak (Out 4th August 2015)*

Talking of Anna and the French Kiss, I think I've found a contender.

It's not quite as good as Anna, but The Heartbreakers is up there. It drew me in immediately and had me hooked. The characters were likeable, and it was more than just a romance, both characters had other things going on in their lives. 

If you liked Anna / Lola / Isla, I think you'll like this. 

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Keep an eye out for a full review soon. 

 

Books I want to read in July

Magonia cover

Magonia - Maria Dahavana Headley

I read the sample chapters a couple of months ago and I was hooked, but for some reason I wanted to save this for my trip to Sweden, so that's what I'm doing. I have no idea why, it just feels like it might be a good holiday book.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J K Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J. K. Rowling

I'm going to the Harry Potter studios tour in August for my birthday, so I've started to re-read the series, and I've already started on this badboy. 

I'm trying to keep my to be read lists fairly loose and short. I don't know about you, but if I tell myself exactly what books I want to read, I suddenly don't really want to read them. The less I plan, the happier I am when it comes to reading. 

Some books I'm thinking about reading in July:

  • The Gospel of Loki - Joanne M. Harris
  • Dream A Little Dream - Giovanna Fletcher 

What did you read in June? What are you hoping to read in July?

Book Reviews, Cassandra Clare, Fantasy, Paranormal, The Mortal Instruments

Why I struggled with City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Spoiler free review)

July 1, 2015

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Have you ever read a book you desperately wanted to love, but couldn’t? That’s exactly how I felt with City of Ashes. 

Last year, I read City of Bones and I loved the world, but hated the main character, Clary, and my feelings didn’t improve hugely in City of Ashes. 

The are three main reasons that I didn’t love this book. 

 

Clary is still dull

For the majority of the book, Clary is still pretty dull. Granted, she does improve throughout the book and makes a significant contribution to the plot at the end of the book. 

I’m glad to see her character develop and improve as she becomes more confident in her abilities, but she is still pretty forgettable for the majority of the book. 

That being said, I do have high hopes for the series continuing now that she seems to be a little more interesting, but she was dull for most of the book. 

 

I don’t care about the characters

The biggest problem I’ve had with both books in The Mortal Instruments series is a lack of connection to the characters.

I don’t care about what happens to them. Which means I’m not hooked. I can put the book down whenever I want, and I don’t feel the urge to pick it back up again. It took me pretty much a month to get through this book, which says a lot about how little I was hooked to it. 

From the second half onwards, I was kinda skimming. I wasn’t reading every single word, because I didn’t really care about what happened and to be honest, I just wanted to finish it. 

The only character I felt some kind of emotion towards was Alec, and I think that’s because he shows vulnerability, whereas the others don’t. 

 

The writing bogs you down a little

There is a lot of detail, which is a good thing in a storyline that’s so detailed, but sometimes it feels suffocating. There’s so much going on, and I felt bogged down at times trying to keep up with everything. 

A big part of the problem for me is that the story switches perspectives a few times in each chapter, and there’s no sub-header to tell you whose perspective you’ve switched to. The character’s name is mentioned in the first sentence or two, but you’re momentarily confused, and it doesn’t feel like a smooth transition between characters. 

 

The positives – world-building & the plot 

It really frustrates me that I didn’t love City of Ashes, because the world building is fantastic, as is the general storyline. 

I like the way that Cassandra Clare pulls together so many paranormal creatures, and gives us the history on their relationships with each other. 

The good vs evil storyline is brilliant as well and, again, I liked the backstory between the characters. 

The plot was much better and had much faster pacing in comparison to the first book, though it was a bit predictable in places, and I’ve got a couple of predictions for what might happen in the next book. 

 

The best metaphor I can use to describe my feelings towards this book, is with cake. 

It’s like seeing a cake in a display; it’s got all the ingredients and flavours you love, it looks great, and everyone is raving about it. But then you eat it, and it’s dry. You desperately want to love it; the flavours work well, but it’s dry. 

I’m a little torn as to whether or not I will pick up the third book in the series, City of Glass. I want to, I really want to; I don’t want to give up on a series that I feel I should love. I have hope that it gets better, but it’s been a battle to read City of Bones and City of Ashes. 

I’m sure I will end up picking up the third book, but I’m not rushing to read it. 

 

Sidenote: While looking at Goodreads reviews of City of Ashes, I came across one of the funniest reviews I’ve read. SKB compares City of Ashes to Harry Potter; I had a good old chuckle at the comparison. 

City of Ashes book rating - between 'Meh' and 'Alright'

 

What do you think about The Mortal Instruments series? Have you read a book you wanted to love, but didn’t? 

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) Book Cover City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)
The Mortal Instruments
Cassandra Clare
Fantasy, young adult, paranormal, urban fantasy
July 7th, 2008
Paperback
411

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

Cambridge, Travel, UK

Punting on the River Cam

June 30, 2015

Punting in Cambridge

Carrying on from last week’s post about a drizzly weekend in Cambridge with Travelodge, I’m going to share a few photos about our punting trip on the River Cam. 

I always enjoy exploring places from water, Tom wasn’t particularly keen but I wore him down in the end. 

There are a few punting companies in Cambridge, and plenty of students walking around selling tickets at different prices, however you can haggle with them easily and they will match the price the Tourist Office give. 

We booked our tickets and met outside King’s College just before 11am. A guide took us from there down to the boat, and we got chatting to her about her home country (Italy), what she thought of life over here in comparison to Italy, and her studies. 

At the boat, we met our guide, hopped on, and set off down the River Cam. Our guide told us about the history of the buildings we passed, traditions, and interesting stories. 

Cambridge garden party

We punted (Sailed? Drove?) past a few garden parties. I’m guessing students were celebrating the end of the year. We also saw lots of students who looked worse for wear and couldn’t figure out if they’d got incredibly drunk very quickly, or were still drunk from the night before. 

My favourite story was one that involved Lord Byron and a bear. The poet went to Trinity College in 1805 and tried to take his dog, but was told that dogs and other “domesticated pets” were forbidden. The dog went, and Byron came back with a bear. 

No where in the college’s rules did it say bears were not allowed, so the bear stayed. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t delight people as the bear apparently tried to have a little gnaw on a few people. 

Mathematical Bridge on the River Cam

Mathematical Bridge, Cambridge

The bridge in the photo above, is called Mathematical Bridge. The story is that when it was originally built, there were no nuts or bolts. Careful planning meant that it held together all by itself. It was also alleged that Sir Isaac Newton built it, which was impressive given that he had been dead for 22 years when the bridge was built. 

Apparently, students then took the bridge apart to figure out how it worked but couldn’t put it back together without the use of nuts or bolts, which is supposedly why the bridge now has nuts and bolts. 

It’s all untrue, as it was designed by William Etheridge and built by James Essex, and it did contain some kind of nuts and bolts when it was built in 1749. 

While I’m sharing interesting facts with you, there is no bridge in Cambridge called Cam Bridge. 

That’s it, I’m all facted out. 

Have you ever been punting? 

Beauty, Beauty Reviews, Cruelty Free, Skincare

InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum & Eye Gel *

June 29, 2015

I’ve got my cleansing routine nailed, but for the past few months I’ve felt my moisturising and skin care routine was lacking because my skin looked dull. 

InstaNatural got in touch to find out if I wanted to try their hyaluronic acid serum, and eye gel, and I jumped at the chance after discovering they were cruelty free, vegan, and use natural ingredients. 

I’ve been using both of these products twice a day for the past two weeks, and my skin looks much brighter than it did before, and feels much softer. 

 

InstaNatural Hyaluronic Acid Serum – £13.97 on Amazon

Many skin care adverts harp on about hyaluronic acid, and to be honest I always thought it was a gimmick so I’ve never really paid attention to it.

Before I began using the serum, I did a bit of research and discovered that it’s naturally present in the human body in eye and joint fluids. It has multiple uses from being a moisturiser to being used in eye surgery. The reason it’s in so many moisturising products is because it retains over 1000 times it’s weight in water in skin cells. 

As you can probably tell from the bottle, this serum comes with a dropper. It’s quite runny, so you only need around 4 – 5 drops to cover your face and your neck. 

It feels really light on skin, and dries quickly without leaving a sticky layer, so it’s easy to add into your existing routine. 

Since using it, my skin has looked much clearer, brighter, and it feels more hydrated than it has done. I noticed an improvement after a couple of uses, so I think this is something I will repurchase when I have used this bottle. 

 

InstaNatural Eye Gel – £14.95 for 50ml on Amazon

Along with the hyaluronic acid, I’ve been using an eye gel under my eyes and on my cheeks. You can use it on your whole face if you want, but as I use a moisturiser over the top, I’ve only been using the gel on areas where my skin is naturally drier. 

The gel is dispensed by a pump and like the the acid serum, you only need a small amount to give good coverage. It sinks in quickly, and doesn’t feel sticky, though I have found that if I use too much it can feel a little tacky.

Having never used a specific eye product before, I’ve really noticed an improvement after using the gel. The skin under my eyes feels softer and firmer, and looks brighter. 

I have got some fine lines around my eyes and they appear to be less noticeable after using this for a couple of weeks. 

 

Conclusion 

I’ve been using the serum and the gel twice a day for the past couple of weeks, and I have noticed a definite improvement in my skin. It feels softer, is more hydrated, and looks brighter than it did before I started using it. 

I have combination skin which gets quite oily towards the end of the day, and I always worry about adding new products to my routine in case they make things worse. I found that these two products have actually helped to control the oiliness though. 

On a few occasions I’ve just worn the serum and gel and my skin felt great by the end of the day. Whereas if I just wore moisturiser, my skin would feel oily towards the end of the day – I think I need a better moisturiser to be fair. 

The two products also make a good base for makeup as well. 

 

My favourite thing about both of these products is that they’re cruelty free, vegan, and they’re not harsh on your skin at all. 

* I received both of these products in exchange for an honest review, this does not affect my opinion at all. 

Any recommendations for a combination / oily skin friendly moisturiser? 

Life, Things That Made Me Happy This Week

6 things that made me happy this week

June 27, 2015

6 things that made me happy this week

Tom’s home! – Tom has been doing a practical week for his course so he’s not been working away this week, which made me super happy. On Friday we stuffed our faces with pizza, way too much pizza, and watched a film. 

Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour – On Wednesday, my sister, my mum and I went to see Taylor Swift play in Manchester. She put on such a good show, and some of the crowd had created amazing outfits; I felt a little jealous that I hadn’t thought about making a light up dress. I mean, when else are you going to get the chance to wear a light up dress if not at a Taylor Swift, or Katy Perry, gig? 

In short, it was a fantastic night, though the videos of her friends talking about how awesome she is between clothes changes were a little awkward. 

Kacey Musgraves – Kacey Musgraves’ new album, Pageant Material, came out on Monday and I’ve had it on repeat since then. I’ve booked tickets to see her on her UK tour later this year, and I’m really looking forward to it because I’m still kicking myself for missing her when she played here last year. 

#LoveWins – I’m sure you don’t need to me to tell you how historic Friday was with gay marriage being legalised throughout the US. 

The garden – Ever since I can remember, my Nan has always made the garden look stunning. All the flowers are coming out at the moment, and it looks so beautiful. 

Hard work pays off  – This week, my best friend told me she’d got a training contract and will be starting her new job in a few weeks. I’m so happy and excited for her, because she’s worked so hard for this, and truly deserves it. It’s always heart-warming to see hard work be rewarded. 

What made you happy this week? 

Blogging, Life

8 of my favourite posts you might have missed

June 26, 2015

8 Eat Read Glam posts you might have missed

I’m taking a cue from Oddly Lovely, and sharing some of my favourite posts that you might have missed. 

I don’t know about you, but when I find a new blog, I love going through the archive and discovering older posts. 

There are 670 published posts here on Eat Read Glam, and I’m going to assume that I am the only person who has read all of those posts. Don’t worry, I’m not going to list all 670 posts, but I’m going to share some of my favourite posts that you might have missed either because you’re a new reader, or you just simply missed it. 

Some of these posts were published earlier this year, but I’ve gained a few new readers this year, and as someone who follows a lot of blogs, I know how easy it is to miss out on posts. 

 

Here are eight posts I loved writing, that you might have missed.  Continue Reading…