My Top 5 Book to Movie Adaptations

Thursday, 27 February 2014
Hello everyone! I think I've mentioned that I'm not really a movie person. I just get bored about halfway through and lose interest. Unsurprisingly a lot of my favourite movies are based on books(the rest are subtitled films because the reading captures my attention). I thought I'd show you what my favourite ones are. I've decided I'm going to do a lot of 'my top 5' posts with relation to books. What do you think? So far I've also got my top 5 young adult novels, male protagonists and female protagonists as well. If you have any more suggestions then please leave me a comment!

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 - I really could have just included the whole Harry Potter series but I think that it would be cheating. I chose the last movie because I think for me it packed the biggest punch. I do have a little space in my heart for Goblet Of Fire(aka the year of bad hair cuts) but I sat and bawled in the cinema watching this. Watching everything come together just felt so special. I know some people have a lot of issues with regards to differences between the book and the movie but I don't like them to be spot on. The details that are missed out will always belong to the readers and I love that.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - This is actually my favourite book. Like ever. So when I found out that it was being made into a movie I was very nervous. Stephen Chbosky actually wrote the movie so I think that helped a lot. I think it really captured the 'Charlie feeling' and I loved Ezra Miller as Patrick! I wasn't overly keen on Emma Watson as Sam but I can ignore that! Like Deathly Hallows there were some little changes that still make me feel like the story is 'mine' compared to those who just watch the movie.

Fight Club - It's a classic, come on. The book has such a great, thrilling narrative that translates so well onto the screen. I often get bored watching movies but that wasn't a problem I had with this movie. I couldn't look away. The casting was perfect. I think there are parts of the book that were hard for me so picture(mainly because I'm not familiar with fighting and soap making) so seeing it really helped enhance my understanding of the book. And you can't dislike a film with Helena Bonham Carter. That's just not possible.

Life Of Pi - I only watched this for the first time last week but oh my god, what a movie! It's very visually appealing and some of the scenes are just beautiful. It was so much more emotional than the book. I really felt the relationship between Pi and Richard Parker. I felt like crying, a lot! It's been a while since I actually read the book so I can't comment too much on the accuracy of it but I was pretty satisfied with it!

The Virgin Suicides - This is actually the only one here where I watched the movie before reading the book. To be fair I didn't know there was a movie! It's amazing. The way the film is edited is absolutely beautiful and it matches the kind of weird, nostalgic feeling that the book has. Plus Kirsten Dunst. Yes please.

What are your favourite book to movie adaptations?

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

Blogging & Age: What Are Your Thoughts?

Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Today is something a little different. It never really comes up on my blog that often so a few of you may not know that I only turned 17 a few weeks ago. I started my blog when I was 15 and I've been working pretty hard at it ever since. Yes it is pretty embarrassing looking back on the older posts and thinking 'Hayley what were you thinking'. It's kind of like looking through your old Facebook profile photos. But recently I've been seeing a lot of younger bloggers get a bit of a negative reputation recently. I don't have a particular plan for this blog post, I just wanted to put out some opinions out there and see what you all think.
I've always been the youngest person in all of my social groups. Growing up all of the kids in my street were about 1/2 years older than me and I guess I've gotten used to always being with older friends. I only done one year of nursery so again all of the people that were in my year at school were a year older than me. I guess this has leaded to be acting a lot more 'mature' maybe? Anyway, every time my age comes to the surface I get told 'oh really? I can't believe that, I thought you were so much older!'. I always get offered alcohol when attending events without question. In fact when I went to the Sloans Street Food Launch I had no problem sitting down and having the food but when I tried to go a few months later they refused to serve me because I wasn't 18(I was only trying to buy ribs and irn bru!)! I never know how to feel about this. A lot of the time I'm kind of embarrassed to admit my age on my blog, I feel like people are going to look down on it and disregard what I have to say. Most of the blogs I read are written by people at least 5 years older than me. I feel vulnerable and scared that these people who I respect and look up to will be looking down at me. 

I went to a blogging event a few months ago when I was seated at a table with a group of bloggers I'd came with and another group whom I'd never met before. I was recently reading the blogs of one of the other bloggers and I was a little bit upset when I saw her post about the event. "After a few awkward introductions with the young bloggers we bunked with at a booth". Everyone that I was with was significantly older than me and I just couldn't help but feel like the 'young' and 'awkward' were directed at me. But why did this bug me so much? It wasn't that she said anything particularly nasty. But I guess, like I said either, I felt like I was getting judged for being younger. Especially as when I thought that we had gotten on really well.

I didn't really have a particular plan for this blog post, I just wanted to talk about the way I feel and see if anyone had any similar thoughts. So please leave a comment telling me what you think about it, I'm hoping that I can't be the only one that feels this way sometimes. I've also seen a lot of 'older' bloggers say that they feel like sometimes people think they're too old to blog. I asked around on Twitter and the general consensus was that people don't care about the age of a blogger but prefer to only read skincare reviews written by bloggers who are the same age as them. Which is fair enough! 

The more and more I think about it the more I adopt a 'fuck this' attitude. When I really think about it are readers that are going to change their opinion about me when they find out how old I am readers that I really want? No probably not. I just need to get over the fear I have of judgement and start talking more openly about school and uni applications etc on my blog.

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

Week In Photos #61

Sunday, 23 February 2014

 New wax tart / Selfie / Snow!

Valentine's day selfies / Cute crocheted bow / Scary stuff

Hello everyone. It's only been two weeks since I last wrote one of these posts and I feel like I have so much to say. I've been a busy bee! First off I got my prelim results back, I got 76.5% in physics and 80% in chemistry. I'm very pleased to say the least! I still have my maths one on the 7th of March(3 hours after school on a Friday -sob-) and that will be the real challenge. I've also been working like crazy on my investigation reports. For advanced higher sciences you have to conduct your own investigation and produce a report which is marked by the SQA. They count towards 1/5th of your final grade so they're pretty important. The chemistry one isn't that bad because it's only a couple of thousand words but the physics one is normally about 30 pages long. I've spent hours on my one already and I'm still nowhere near finished. It's due on Friday, wish me luck!

I've also set up my own wee business(kind of)! I've started selling crocheted things to friends and family over Facebook. I've called it The Crocheting Chemist and you can give it a like if you want to! I tried to set up an Etsy but you have to be 18 so I'm going to wait until next year. If you'd like something though I would be willing to post it to you and receive payment via paypal or in the form of an Amazon/Etsy gift card! I've had so much fun getting everything made! So far I've sold a blanket, two hats a scarf and an earwarmer. In under two weeks! Everyone seems so pleased with what I've made which makes me really happy.

Oh and I've ordered my prom dress. I'm so, so, so excited for it to arrive but really nervous at the same time. I hope it looks exactly like it does in the photos. I don't want to talk too much about it because I want to keep it a bit of a secret(I have Google Analytics, I know that you home town readers do a lot of creeping) until the night. But I will say that my theme is 'Grecian' so if anyone sees any nice hairstyles then please send me some photos as I have no idea what I want to do with my hair! I've also applied for my uni accommodation. I don't think it's quite hit me yet that I'll be moving out come September.

I think that's everything! If not I'll come back and add it in later. How's your week been?


Feature A Friend: Charlotte

Saturday, 22 February 2014

It's been about a year since I first met Charlotte. We first met when we were going to the Zen Lifestyle Event together on the 4th of April. It wasn't the first time that I'd ever met a blogger in the flesh but it was the first time I'd ever gone to an event so I was really nervous and glad to have Charlotte there. We'd been chatting as friends over Twitter etc and had recently even launched a group YouTube channel with some friends. Which sadly is no longer active but it's nice to look back through. As soon as we met we just started talking like friends and it was as if I've known her for years. We had a really nice day with some great pizza before the event and then lots of networking afterwards. Confession: we both mutually agreed that we didn't want the champagne that we were given when we entered but were too embarrassed to tell them so we drank a bit and then poured it down their sink.

I think the great thing about meeting friends over the internet is that it gives you the opportunity to meet so many people with the same interests as you. Charlotte and I are polar opposites. She's in the first year of a fashion degree and I'm starting a science degree in September. She's a cat person, I'm a dog person. Would Charlotte and I have been friends had we met in high school? Probably not. On the surface we have different interests and then probably would have been in different social circles, you know how high school is. But because I met her over the internet we were able to bond over a love of blogging, books and Haugh Laurie. That's what I love about the internet. It helps you connect with people that you share the same interests with. I think I've always had a lot of trouble making friends. All through high school I don't think I ever really belonged in a social circle. Yes I had friends but I sort of floated through different groups. I guess I had a lot of friends but never too many 'friends'. I never really got invited to 'hang out' with these people when they were meeting outside of school and it often left me feeling a bit left out and excluded. These people were my friends but it was obvious that they didn't really consider me to be a part of their group when I did. So if anyone tells you that you can't make good friends on the internet then tell them they're wrong. Because you can make some of the best friends on the internet. Internet friends pick up on the little details that you share about yourself online. In a way sometimes I feel like my internet friends know me better than my real life friends, even though a lot of my blogging friends are now becoming my real life friends. I jokingly tweeted a while before my birthday that I would accept presents 'in the form of sour skittles and Nandos salt'. Guess what I got for my birthday from Charlotte?

As I've already mentioned the previous paragraph, Charlotte is a fashion student. Whilst I do try, I don't really have a fashionable brain. I love to look around on her blog to find some inspiration. Charlotte lives and breathes fashion. I admire the effort that she must put in looking around online, reading magazines etc. I really do think that she'll do amazing in her degree because I can't imagine someone so passionate about fashion not being successful. Just as long as she doesn't forget little old me when she's famous one day ;) I'm also exceptional proud of Charlotte for moving up to Aberdeen to pursue her dreams. When she first moved to Aberdeen she was really homesick but she's stuck with it and is now doing great. I know that when I move out into Edinburgh if I feel a similar way I'll be able to go to Charlotte for advice.

So when I was contacted by BooHoo asking if I wanted to 'feature a friend' I didn't even think of anyone else. I knew exactly who I would be talking about. So if I win you £75 Charlotte, you better treat me to something!


Header Giveaway with Writing In Red Lipstick

Friday, 21 February 2014

Hello everyone! I never actually talked about it at the time but I've ditched my old, purple and grey design for something a lot sleeker and cleaner. My old design was done by my friend Jess as a way of boosting her portfolio for her classes at college. This time around I commissioned a new header from her. Working with Jess is great, she's always happy to make the tensie changes until it's perfect. I thought I'd be a bit gutted at changing my design as I'd had my other design for so long. But no, I love it! The header cost me $10(roughly about £6ish) and I think that was money well spent. The rest of the stuff I done myself with the help of google and picmonkey.

Jess has now properly launched her design shop. And to celebrate we're going to be giving away a header together! The giveaway will run from today for two weeks! It's international and the only rule is that you can't use accounts that are made specifically for entering competitions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Adventures of Hayley and Batdog

Tuesday, 18 February 2014
I am writing this whilst sitting on my bed in my underwear. It's two thirty pm on a Thursday afternoon and I'm drinking a bottle of Brothers' toffee apple cider. I've just gotten in to my house from the most stressful dog walk ever. I've decided that I'm going to blog about this because if I don't then I might actually cry. Plus this could potentially be funny in like two weeks time when all the mud comes out of my jacket and I've washed the sticks out of my hair.

So I've moved to my new house. I don't know the area too well so I've been taking advantage of dog walks to work out where everything is. It's a nice cloudy but dry day and I decide I'll take Sam out for an extra walk. He usually only has a walk in the morning and at night but I figure he'll benefit from a walk in the middle of the day. My mum's been telling me about these really nice woods near our house so I decide to go check it out. I walk Batdog down the village without a leash and he doesn't go into anyone's garden or run onto the road. So far so good.

I get into the woods, it's nice, everything seems to be well paved and we carry on down in search of this duck pong my mum's been harping on about. Sam seems to know where he's going, he's been here before so I keep following him. We have a nice little walk and I'm taking a few photos thinking about the lovely idyllic blog post I can write(HA!) about how much I love just getting out into the open air with my dog. Sam goes for a swim  which isn't ideal because now he's going to stink like nobodies business but he's happy and that's all that matters.

The path seems to be in a circular fashion so I carry on thinking that if I just keep going I'll end up where I started. This is when Sam walks into a puddle. Or what looks like a puddle. It's actually a really deep hole full of water. He plunges right under and when he surfaces he's scrambling at the edges and it's obvious that he can't get out himself. My heart dropped. He was about 10m away from me and I threw down my bag and the leash and started running towards him. I cut my legs, through my jeans as I had to practically go through a bush. I tried to hoist him out via the collar but it soon became very obvious that this just wasn't going to work. I had to get down and hoist him out by the armpits. And then what does the little bastard do once he's out. He shakes. Of course he does. Thanks for saving me Hayley, have some water.

So by this point I'm feeling pretty tired, stressed and just want to get home. So I carry on walking as quickly as I can. Sam seems undeterred, still running around in his usual nut job fashion. Then we meet 3 deer. Yes deer. Like goddam bambis. So close I could see their little white flulffy tails moving. So of course, Sam takes off after then, and then I take off after Sam. Next thing I know, I'm far away from the paths. I don't know where I am. Sam's here, the deer are not. Great. I have absolutely no idea where I am. So I spend the next half an hour or so walking about trying to get back on a path. I also have sticks in my hair. See? Not cool.

Oh thank god. Look at that. A path. I'd never seen anything so beautiful. And then Batdog ran away. Again. When I finally caught up with him he was hanging around with a lady, a pram and two other dogs. Oh for gods sake Batdog. You are not on my good books at the moment.

Oh, and then it started to rain.


Book Haul #4

Monday, 17 February 2014

Hello everyone. Book hauls are one of my favourite posts to write but I haven't really been buying that many books lately. I got a lot of books for Christmas so I'd been focusing on reading them and not on buying new books. I'm always trying to make the most of my school's library because I'll be finishing high school in April and I'll really miss the library. But then over the past few days I've gone a bit mental and bought ALL THE BOOKS. Ok. So maybe not all the books. But a lot of books. And I won an ebook copy of 3 novellas from Hot Key Books on a Twitter giveaway. Woohoo!

Cress by Marissa Meyer -  AHHHHH. I am so, so excited to read this. Cress is the 3rd book in the Lunar Chronicles, a series I started reading in 2013. The first two books, Cinder and Scarlett, really drew me in and I can't wait to see what happens next in this book. It was released on the 6th of February and I had it preordered and everything. The series combines an interesting futuristic world with aspects of old fairytales. This one is based on Rapunzel and it's the largest book in the series to date. I can't wait to get my nose stuck into this.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - I thought I'd give myself a little Valentine's day read and picked up Anna and the French Kiss. It's about an American girl who moves into a boarding school in Paris. It sounds horribly cringey and therefore exactly what I look for in a romance novel. This is actually the first book in a trilogy so if I like it I might buy the sequel and then the last book which is due to come out later this year.

Unwholly by Neal Shusterman - Another book series that I started reading in 2013 that I'm trying to finish off. The first book in the series, Unwind, was absolutely amazing. In this world people who are considered trouble makers are 'unwound' which basically means all of their organs are taken out and transplanted into other people. It really felt me thinking about things and I had a few questions that I'm hoping will get answered in this book which follows 3 teenagers who are on the run so they don't get unwound. The characters are really great, so easy to like but so different. They all have their own unique stories and it's really interesting.

City Of Glass by Cassandra Clare - I'm pretty sure that we've all heard about The Mortal Instruements series which starts with City Of Bones. I've read the first two out the library but I really like the series so I'm going to buy the rest of the books. I've heard a few people say that this is their favourite book in the whole series so I'm really excited to get stuck in. I feel like I'm not giving great descriptions here but a lot of these books are in the middle of a series and I don't want to spoil anything by accident!

Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden - If you've been reading this blog for a while then you'll know that I find North Korea absolutely fascinating. Terrifying but fascinating. I've slowly been making my way through all the books I can find about North Korea and this is the last one. I first heard about this in a vlogbrothers video a while ago and have wanted to read it since then. It's the story of the only man who has ever escaped from North Korea's camp for political prisoners. I'm expecting this to be brutal, but an eye opener. I can't wait to read it.

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin You may have seen me mention The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer in my January Reading Wrap Up and I've came back with the second book. I wasn't keen on the ending of the first book so it will be interesting to see if I like this any better. I've also heard it's really creepy so maybe I'll be reading it with the lights on. I can't help but feel I should be leaving it for Halloween!

The Art Of Fielding by Chad Harbach - I'm not actually too sure what this is about but I think it's an American style coming of age novel. It got recommended to me once when I was buying another book and I added it to my wishlist that I'm slowly making my way though. I think it seems like one of those novels that you should go into not knowing too much about it. I'm quite excited for this one.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - I read another Jasper Fforde novel, Shades Of Grey back in the summer. It was amazing. I really like Jasper Fforde's witty writing style and unique characters. In The Eyre Affair the world is full of literary characters and it follows the story of Thursday Next. Thursday is a detective who's on the hunt for Jane Eyre who has been kidnapped. I've not actually read Jane Eyre(I don't like classics) but I'm hoping that this book will still make sense. It sounds awesome. 

Girl Of Nightmare by Kendare Blake - This is the sequel to Anna Dressed In Blood which I read last month. I've already read this and to be honest I wasn't very keen on it. Half of it is set in Scotland and there were a lot of things that bugged me about this because I thought she'd gotten some stuff wrong. It bugged me. Also it got a bit weird, very weird. I think I would have preferred if it was just the one book. I don't want to say too much though as I'll be reviewing it in my February Reading Wrap Up!

What was the last book you bought? Have you read any of these?


Water Painted Dreams Is Going Cruelty Free

Sunday, 16 February 2014
I don't think I was really aware of just how many brands use animal testing on cosmetics until I started beauty blogging. Shortly after I started blogging I became friends with Louise, and her cruelty free make up blog really opened my eyes to the reality of it all. I rather naively thought that animal testing was mostly used for medicinal purposes but the reality is that there are more cosmetics companies that test on animals than those that don't. Not only that but if a company sells their cosmetics in China, they have to pay the Chinese government to carry out tests on their cosmetics as it's required by law there. I think the recent European band on animal testing has given a lot of people the false sense of security that if they buy something it can't have been tested on animals when the reality is that it has been.

When I first read the 'naughty list' as Louise calls it I was downright amazed by how many popular brands tested on animals. I really do think it's extremely unnecessary. I mean, why do Chanel need to test on animals?! I'm sure there are hundreds of people who would happily accept free Chanel to be test subjects. I started actively avoiding cruelty free brands but I didn't want to go out and say directly that I was going cruelty free because it felt like a big commitment. It was easy enough to slink past Rimmel and Maybelline in my local Boots but where I really tripped up was high end make up. The Mac counter was often just too tempting and I found myself walking away with a lipstick. It's time to stop selectively buying make up that's tested on animals and start stepping up and taking responsibility for my actions. If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And I'm deciding that I don't want to be a part of the problem any more. 

Really the last straw for me was when I got my dog. I just couldn't imagine any harm ever coming to him. And then on Christmas eve he was very viciously attacked by another dog. The dog bit his face about a centimetre from his eye, clamped on and wouldn't let go. The wound got infected and his face swelled up to about half it's size. A massive abscess formed and then burst which has left him with a big bald patch on the side of his face. Thankfully he's fine now but we were not able to track down the owner of the dog. But it made me realise that a lot worse was happening to animals as a result of the beauty industry but these animals did not have homes to look after them. I'd been umming and ahhing over going cruelty free but I had a bit of a 'wishlist' that I wanted to get out of the way first. But then I was like 'Hayley wake the fuck up, it's only a lipstick'. So I'm doing it. As of this post I'm not going to buy any more cosmetics tested on animals. I haven't for a very long time but I wanted to review some products that I got as Christmas gifts first. So I guess you could refer to this as a New Year's resolution even though I didn't make any official ones this year.

For reference I'm going to be using the 'naughty list' and list of cruelty free brands that Louise has on her blog. I really trust these lists as Louise has put a lot of time and effort into compiling them. Obviously I'll do my own research if a brand I'm considering buying from are not on this list, I might even start my own! I'm not going to stop wearing the make up that I already own that is tested on animals, if anything  I'm going to try my best to use it all up so that I can replace everything with a cruelty free alternative. If these products ever appear in a fotd or an empties post then I'll leave a little disclaimer.  I thought about using a little '*' but I know that a lot of people use this to disclose press samples and I don't want to cause any confusion. For now I'll stick to a written disclaimer but if you have any ideas then please let me know.

Also please let me know if you would like to see a post maybe around June/July where I talk about how easy/hard I've found it.

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

5 More Ways To Read More Books

Tuesday, 11 February 2014
I wrote the prequel to this post '5 Ways To Read More Books' a few weeks ago. It went down really well and I felt so happy when I read everyone's lovely comments. But I've been thinking about it a lot and I actually still have so much more to say about reading more books. I don't know why I limited myself to 5 tips in the first place! I thought about extending the original post and adding to it but decided it would be better to write a second post so more people could see it. So this is how to read more books, part 2! I would say the tips in the first post are more general things to to whilst these are really specific things to do.

1. Use reading to break up larger, boring tasks. I implement this a lot if I have a lot of cleaning or homework to do. Say I'm cleaning my room. I'll hoover, then read a chapter. Dust, read a chapter, organise my clothes, read a chapter. I also do it a lot with homework where I alternate between questions and reading. I find that this not only motivates me to do work that I don't want to do but makes me get really into a book. I often don't want to stop after 1 chapter or x pages so when I'm finished cleaning or whatever all I want to do is read!

2. Read a book with a friend. Pledge to read a book at the same time as a friend. You could set yourselves so many pages a day/week and talk about them. It's kind of like getting a jogging buddy. When you're tempted to just sit and watch tv you'll find yourself reading because you don't want to let them down. Can't find a reading buddy? Leave me a comment and if it's a book I already have/want to read or can get out the library I'll see what I can do.

3. Get yourself a library card. Do you have a library card? If not, why not? What is wrong with you? Libraries are great. I think a lot of people don't want to read books as quickly because they feel if they're paying £7 for a book then they should spend a long time reading it to get their money's worth. But if you're getting books from the library then they're free and carry no guilt. Also having a return deadline is quite motivational! I don't know how it works in your area but where I live if your closest library doesn't have a book they can order it in from somewhere else so the possibility is endless.

4. Try something new. If you're anything like me then you'll stick to the same couple of genres every time you read a book. But sometimes if you branch out and try something new then maybe you'll find something that you love. This has happened so many times to me. I'll read a book that I don't think I'll like but a friend really recommends and then boom, I'm in love.

5. Don't be afraid to put a book away if you aren't getting into it. I feel that for every book you have to be in a certain mindset to read it. So if you're really struggling to get into a book then you probably need to just take a step back, leave it and come back to it later. This happened for me with The Shining. I struggled on for about a week and never made it past the first few chapters. I left it for a few months and then read it in 3 days when I started it again. Or it might just not be the book for you and you can stop reading it all together. Don't be afraid to move on!

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Week In Photos #60

Sunday, 9 February 2014
Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow / Birthday presents from Charlotte / Model's Own sale haul
Being stereotypical / Half price bargain / New handbag

Oh wow. I've been a busy little bee over the last few weeks. I kind of feel that whenever I write these posts I've always got so much to talk about but whilst everything is happening I don't think I lead a particularly interesting life. Does that even make sense? I've done a blogging event and lots and lots of shopping since I last properly wrote a blog post like this. I keep treating myself with the excuse 'oh I'm spending birthday money' but the reality is my birthday was about 3 weeks ago. I seriously need to cut down.

I'm also glad to report that both of my prelims are over for now. I'm very confident about physics but not so much about chemistry. Just glad to have them over. Even more glad that I have a week left of study leave with no exams = blogging time!

  Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

Review: Lush Tender Is The Night Massage Bar

Saturday, 8 February 2014
Hello everyone. I can't explain how excited I was when I saw that Lush were releasing the Tender Is The Night massage bar. My boyfriend got me a gift set from Lush last year for Valentine's Day and it had this in it. I savored it all year because I loved it so much but I finally finished it in November. The massage bars melt in your hands and can be used to give someone a massage or just on yourself like a body moisturiser.

Last year the massage bar was shaped like a little love heart with a molten centre. This year it's a lot more refined and sleek. It still has the same sweet, vanilla and shea butterscent but has been reformulated so it's a different texture. I think I preferred last year's to this year's unfortunately. Last year the massage bar was a lot softer which made it easy and quick to use. This year's formula is a lot harder and you have to rub it between your hands for quite a while before it actually starts to melt. It's still as moisturising but more time consuming. They've also raised the price from £4.50 to £6.50 which I definitely think is overpriced!

Once it's melted I rub it over my legs and my arms. These are the areas where my dry skin is at it's worse. The oils and butters take a lot longer to sink into the skin than your average body lotion/butter but they are so much more moisturising. I get really bad patches of dry skin and this works really well to combat this. I'd recommend applying it before you go to bed and have a bit of time to wait as it can be a bit sticky on clothing. 

The scent is really nice. It smells like vanilla and shea butter. There's also a little bit of jasmine and ylang ylang in there too. It's very sweet and calming. It reallt sticks to you and if you apply it in the morning then you can smell it on yourself all day. 

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

January Reading Wrap Up

Saturday, 1 February 2014
Hello everyone! I want to start doing posts at the end of the month where I talk a little bit about the books that I've read during the month and give you a little mini review. What do you think? I'm very excited about these posts. January was a really good month for me in terms of how many books I've read and how many of them were books that I enjoyed. I've not got so much high hopes for February however. I've got my prelim exams at the start of the month and have a deadline for my first draft of Chemistry and Physics investigations at the end of the month. So I'm going to be a busy bee. Have you heard of Grammarly? They're an online spelling, grammar and plagiarism checker. I've found it quite useful with my projects as I have to write 'underlying science' sections where I have to explain how the experiments work. It's really hard not to write something that someone's already said.  So try Grammarly's plagiarism online checker because it makes you feel very important when you copy and paste something from your blog and it tells you it's plagiarised. I don't know I guess that makes me feel really important. Anyway I'm rambling! I pledged to read 90 books in 2014 and in January I've read 9 meaning I'm off to a great start, I'm already 10% of the way there.

The first book I read was The Chess Men by Lewis May. This is the last book in a series which I enjoyed. It follows a detective in the Scottish islands. Being Scottish myself I really love reading books set in Scotland. If you've ever been to one of the islands you'll know that it's a completely different atmosphere there. I don't know how to explain it but Peter May manages to capture this feeling in these books which I think is the thing I like the most about these books. I don't want to say too much about this one as it's the last in a series so I don't want to spoil much. I did really like this but not as much as I liked the second book, The Lewis Man, there was something missing. It's 4/5 stars from me.

Then I read Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake. I'd heard a lot about this on YouTube and I was really intrigued. It's about a ghost hunter who sets out to kill this ghost, Anna Dressed In Blood, but soon discovers that she's actually a lot more powerful than he thought and he has to try all this new stuff to try and kill her. I was a little bit undecided as to whether it sounded really good or really corny but when my mum offered to buy me some books for Christmas I thought 'why not?' and asked for this. And I'm so glad I did because it's a great book. It's not going to win any literature awards but it was a great, easy read that had me sucked in right from the beginning. 4/5 stars.

Next up is Legend by Marie Lu which is the first book in a dystopian young adult series. I'm a big fan of dystopian novels so I went into this with really high hopes. Thankfully it didn't disappoint. Set in a future world, legend follows the path of Day and June. Day is a famous criminal and June is a genius who has been cuddled by the government. In reality the should hate each other but when they meet June begins to realise that everything she has been taught might not be true. There's some actiony bits, some romancy bits and some real tension. I was hooked. If you liked The Hunger Games and the Divergent trilogy then you'll also love this. The first 5/5 stars from me.

The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer is about a girl who survived in an accident that killed all of her friends and she can't remember any of it. Mara and her family move across the country as they believe it's best for her to start anew as she feels really guilty about her friends dying and her escaping harm free. But then she starts hallucinating and seeing her dead friends all over town. I really liked this book because it was spooky, but in a good way. It's really hard sometimes to distinguish between what is reality and what is her hallucination, I liked this a lot. However, towards the end of this book it got really confusing which is why I gave it 4/5 stars because I think a different ending would have been so much better. I still want to read the next book in the series and we'll see if things become clearer then.

The only book that I read this month and didn't enjoy was I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith. It's the diaries of a young girl who lives in a castle with her family. Her father once was a famous writer but he hasn't been writing and the family are slowly slipping into poverty. Her sister decides she's going to try and get a rich boy from the village near the castle to fall in love with her so that she can marry him and get some of his money. The thing I disliked about this was it was really quite dull and so, so long. My copy was over 500 pages long when in reality it could have been less than half of that. I gave it 2/5 stars.

My favourite book of the month has to be I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak. I can now say that he's one of my favourite authors after reading The Book Thief in the summer and loving it. This follows the story of Ed, an underage taxi driver in New York. It's pretty fair to say he isn't going very far in life until one day a bank he's at gets robbed. He gets the robbers gun and saves the day. This catches the attention of some secret group who start sending him messages on the back of playing cards. These all contain information about people he needs to help. This book made me smile and it made me sad and I absolutely loved it. The stories of all the people and how Ed was able to help them was really heart warming. At the same time it still managed to keep a really witty and sarcastic writing style which I like. 5/5 stars for sure.

The next book is something a little different. Geektastic: Stories From The Nerd Herd by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci. This book is actually edited by those writers. It's actually a collection of short stories about geeks by a whole range of authors. I was really liking this. Some of the stories weren't actually that great but some of them I really enjoyed. Then I got to the story 'The Truth About Dino Girl' by Barry Lyga. In this story a geeky girl decides to get revenge on a girl who picks on her by taking a naked photo of her in the locker rooms, editing it into a hotel room and putting up signs around the town to make her look like a prostitute. What a horrible thing to do. And the worst part? The girl was really happy with what she had done. I expected her to realise that what she'd done was horrible and it would be a big revelation and there would be a moral to the story. But no. That was it. This kind of ruined the book for me because I couldn't get past that. Not only am I annoyed at Barry Lyga for writing the story but for the other authors for not pulling him up on it. I gave it 3/5 stars. I would have loved to have given it 5 but I just couldn't. Read it, but skip that story. 

A book that I've been meaning to read for ages is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's narrated by 9 year old Oskar and is about how he's coping after losing his father in 9/11. It's not mentioned in the book but it's very obvious that Oskar has some form of autism and he's having a really hard time dealing with everything. This book gave me 'heavy boots' as Oskar would say. When I finished it I felt so sad and I couldn't help but imagine what my life would be like if I lost my family in a terrorist attack. This book nearly made me cry on the train to Glasgow. I'd recommend it but it's not an easy read. I have it 5/5 stars.

I did say that I LOVED Legend right? Wrong. Prodigy by Marie Lu is even better. The second book in a dystopian series is always my favourite. I find that the first book is mostly word building, which is good, but the second book is really where it's at. So much more plot and action than the first book. Gahhh. What I love about these books is that they aren't even that long, but I get so hooked on them. I've already got the third book, Champion, so I can't wait to see how the series ends. I really want to finish off more series this year so we'll see how it goes! I love these characters so much. 5/5 stars.

Oh wow that was a lot of writing! I hope you enjoyed this post and if you were considering reading any of these books it might have helped you decide whether you want to or not. I'm so happy with the amount of reading I got done. I'm feeling really optimistic about my reading challenge so far. If you'd like to add me on GoodReads and keep up with what I'm reading real time you can do so here. What was your favourite book you read this month?

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