Monthly Archives

April 2015

Music

Vinyl diaries: Paramore – Emergency 7 inch vinyl

April 30, 2015

Paramore Emergency vinyl side a

Paramore Emergency vinyl side b O'Star

I lied when I saw that Same Trailer, Different Park by Kacey Musgraves was the first vinyl record I bought. I recently rediscovered Emergency by Paramore on vinyl, which I’d completely forgotten about. 

I bought this when Emergency first came out in the UK in 2006 – wow, almost ten years ago! I won’t lie to you, I bought it because the cover was a poster, which took pride of place in my room for several years. (If you want to see the cover, you can see it here.)

Back then, posters were a big deal. There was an unspoken competition between my friends and I about who had the most, and the coolest posters, so I definitely was not above buying a vinyl record for a cool poster. 

This hasn’t been played a huge amount. I remember listening to it on repeat for a couple of days after I got it on my Mum’s record player. I remember absolutely loving O’Star too and wishing it was on their debut album. 

Emergency was the first Paramore song I heard. I remember listening to Kerrang on a Sunday afternoon when they did the unsigned show and they played Emergency. Before the song had ended I’d decided they were my new favourite band.

I did a bit of poking around the internet and it turns out this vinyl is actually pretty rare and was only printed in the UK. Go me for buying a vinyl for the poster!

While we’re talking about rare. I’m on the hunt for Paramore’s first album, All We Know Is Falling, on vinyl and it seems that was a short run too so if any of you just happen to see it somewhere for a decent price, please let me know.

Tell me about the first time you heard one of your favourite bands.

Beauty

Cruelty free spring nail picks

April 29, 2015

Cruelty free spring nail picks, featuring Barry M and Models Own

Cruelty free spring pastel nail paints, featuring Barry M and Models Own

Spring may have officially started in the UK a few weeks back, but it’s only just starting to be sunny more often than rainy. TIME TO BREAK OUT THE PASTELS!

I like spring. I like the feeling of hope and excitement it brings. (Cheesy? Maybe.) I also like that there are pastel-y colours everywhere you look. Pastel is absolutely not a colour I wear in the form of clothes – my wardrobe is mostly black, white, grey and red. I’m still an emo kid at heart – just an emo kid who has an office job. 

However, I do wear pastels on my nails. It doesn’t even have to be spring to be honest, pastels look great all year round, I just feel that I can fangirl about them because it’s spring now. 

The two brands featured in this post are Barry M, and Models Own. Both of them are cruelty free, which means they’re not tested on animals. 

Barry M and Models Own pastel spring picks - swatches

Barry M Speedy Quick Dry – In A Heart Beat

I don’t know why but pastel pink is a bit of a novel shade for me. It’s never a colour I’ve loved because every pastel pink shade I’ve tried before was awful. The formula on every pastel pink nail paint I tried before this one was just so bad, so I kind of avoided it like the plague. Now when I wear this I feel a bit giddy and silly. 

Barry M Speedy Quick Dry – Pole Position 

This muted mint green colour is my favourite shade at the moment. It’s the epitome of spring colours. 

Barry M Speedy Quick Dry – Full Throttle

I love orange nail paints, so I’m glad I finally have an orange pastel shade. 

I mentioned the three Barry M polishes mentioned above in a post a few weeks ago where I looked at whether or not they live up to their quick drying claims

Barry M Silk – Mist

Mist is a lovely pale blue colour with just the right amount of shimmer. If you’re interested, you can see a full review of Mist here

Models Own Artstix – Utopia and Indian Ocean

This reminds me of the early 2000s. I think it’s the shimmery Indian Ocean shade that does that. Everytime I put this on, I get flashbacks of Britney Spears videos on TV, and reading the Top of the Pops magazine. (Is that magazine still going?) 

On it’s own, Utopia is a nice muted purple colour that reminds me of blueberry yoghurt. With Indian Ocean on top, it’s very early 2000s, which is excellent for those of us who love nostalgia and may or may not be suffering a quarter-life crisis. (I think I am.)

 

What’s your favourite shade of nail polish to wear in spring? 

Books

Yes Please – Amy Poehler

April 28, 2015

Yes Please Amy Poehler

Along with Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind Of Girl, Amy Poehler’s Yes Please got a lot of attention and hype at the end of last year.

When I first heard about Yes Please, I didn’t really know a lot about Amy. I’d seen her in some really popular SNL sketches on YouTube, but that was about it. Not really knowing a person hasn’t stopped me from picking up an autobiography before though. 

Santa gifted me Yes Please and since then I’ve seen a few episodes of Parks & Rec, so by the time I got round to reading it I knew a little more about Amy. 

Yes Please Amy Poehler

The first thing to note is that this is one hefty book, even for a hardback. It’s 329 pages long, but the pages are all nice glossy stock, which I think is what makes it so hefty for its size. The nice stock makes the photos in it look brilliant also. 

Amy makes use of footnotes in Yes Please, especially the parts where she has other people write a couple of pages and there’s a bit of a back and forth in the footnotes, which was funny. 

While I enjoyed Yes Please, I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I enjoyed reading about Amy’s career, the things that happen behind the scenes on TV shows, and I liked her messages about being yourself. But something stopped me from loving it. 

I should also mention that, if you’re watching Parks & Rec. and don’t want it to be spoiled, it’s probably best to leave reading this until after you’ve finished watching it, because the book spoiled it for me. 

Yes Please Amy Poehler - I have the Angelina Jolie of vaginas

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that it isn’t funny. I mean, how often do you read sentences like the one above? 

Maybe I would have loved it more if I went into the book knowing more about Amy. Or perhaps I should have listened to the audiobook instead. A lot of people said the audiobook was excellent, and sometimes it’s hard to get humour across in words, so perhaps hearing Amy’s voice would have helped. 

Or perhaps I read one too many reviews and over-hyped it for myself. 

Have you read Yes Please? Or have you read an autobiography recently? 

 

Yes Please Book Cover Yes Please
Amy Poehler
Autobiography, Humour
October 28th, 2014
Hardback
329

In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book, Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book is full of words to live by.

Photography, Scotland, Travel

Rainbows at Kilchurn Castle, Lochawe

April 27, 2015

Rainbows at Kilchurn Castle

Have you ever seen both ends of a rainbow? Neither had I until I went to Scotland. 

In my post about Strone Hill & Oban, I mentioned how quickly the weather had been changing in the morning. In the afternoon we headed to Kilchurn Castle, and the weather still had no plans to do calm or settled.

When Tom and I went to Scotland over Christmas, we visited Lochawe and took photos of Kilchurn Castle but we couldn’t figure out how to get to it. We would have missed it again this time if we hadn’t spotted a couple of cars parked in a clearing from the road. I’m not sure why there wasn’t a big sign saying ‘glorious ol’ castle this way’.

The sky was blue when we first got out of the car and started walking towards the castle, but we could see a dark, ominous looking cloud rolling in. 

Lochawe, Kilchurn Castle

Dark clouds over Lochawe

Blue skies at Lochawe

See what I mean? The two photos above were taken seconds apart. I think all I did was turn from one side to the other; beautiful blue sky on my left, and dark clouds on my right.  

With the cloud moving in, we hotfooted it to the castle. 

Chiltern Castle at Lochawe

Kilchurn Castle at Lochawe

What I liked most about Kilchurn Castle is that they allow you to wander it freely. What I really mean by that is that it isn’t ruined by health and safety, which surprised me since there were no staff or anything like that at the castle to make sure no one does anything stupid. I like that though. 

Kilchurn CastleKilchurn Castle

Kilchurn Castle

Kilchurn Castle

Lochawe cannon-hole

Scottish Heritage had put some new staircases and little walkways in to allow you explore the upper levels of the castle and get some stunning views of Lochawe and the surrounding area. 

Stormy clouds over Lochawe

As we got to the top of the tower the dark clouds moved in and opened. Of course, they would wait for us to climb up to the top of the tower before they decided to ‘make it rain’. 

But since it was sunny in parts, it produced beautiful rainbows, WHERE YOU CAN SEE BOTH ENDS! Never in my life, have I see both ends of a rainbow at the same time. 

Rainbow at Lochawe

I raced back down the castle, hoping to find a leprechaun and his pot of gold. But which end do you go for? If you can see both ends of a rainbow, how do you know which end the pot of gold is at? 

The little girl that you can just about see in the photo below, had the same idea also and was trying to beat me there. 

It was quite funny because she kept asking her grandparents (I assume they were her grandparents) why the rainbow kept moving away. As she got closer and closer to the carpark, she started to get really annoyed at the rainbow. 

Rainbow at Kilchurn Castle, Lochawe

Rainbow at Kilchurn Castle, Lochawe

The rain cleared through quickly, and the skies returned to blue a few minutes later. 

Rainbow at Lochawe

I fear that Scotland may have ruined rainbows for me. Normal rainbows, where you usually can’t even see one end of it, just aren’t going to cut it anymore. There’s only one thing for it: I’m moving to Scotland! I wish. 

Have you ever seen both ends of a rainbow before? 

 

 

 

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?