July Goals

Monday, 30 June 2014
Hello everyone! Another month has flown by so its now time for my monthly goals post. I didn't get as much as I wanted to get done in June which is a bit rubbish but I already have lots of awesome things lined up for July, including an awesome sounding blogging event.

Source
1. Enjoy prom!
2. Save 40% of my wages.

3. Focus more on my blog and actually make use of all the resources I pin on Pinterest.

4. After prom have a big clear out of the people that I follow on Twitter/am friends with on Facebook and get rid off all the people that I don't really like and don't want to see again.
5. Hopefully host my 1500 follower giveaway.
6. Complete the Race For Life in under 45 minutes.
7. Take a load of books/clothes to the charity shop.
8. Read all the books that are currently in my TBR pile.
9. Start doing work outs every few days.
10. Spend a day in Edinburgh and take lots of lovely photographs.

So here are my goals for July. Its when it really starts to feel like summer. I'd love for July to be a really busy month for me!

1. Participate in the BookTube-athon.
2. Complete 5 things off my 101 things list.
3. Go to IKEA and start buying things for my new flat.
4. Sell some things on depop. Username @whathayleydid.
5. Try out 5 new recipes.
6. Sign up for the Livingston Colour Run.
7. Add 10 new blogs to my blog roll.
8. Visit The Kelpies.
9. Take my little sister out for lunch.
10. Comment on at least 20 blog posts a day.

What do you want to do this month?


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Week In Photos #71

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Race For Life / Edinburgh / Book Haul
Peach iced tea / Currently crocheting / Awesome book
Yearbook! / South Queensferry / Train selfie

Hello everyone! I've been super busy since I last wrote a week in photos post! First of all, I completed my Race For Life in 25 minutes, so thank you to everyone that wished me good luck in my last week in photos. The week after that was a pretty chill one but I got to hang out with some friends I've not seen in a while which was nice. My hayfever was really bugging me though so I was trying to stay inside as much as possible.

This week was a little bit more exciting. I headed through to Edinburgh to meet some of my flatmates. They were absolutely lovely and I feel really confident about moving out now. We went for lunch at Clerk's Bar(so good) and then had a little wander around town. Then on Tuesday I finally went to see The Fault In Our Stars. Now I did cry, but I didn't really enjoy the film. It was alright but I realy didn't like the casting, sorry guys!

On Thursday Stuart and I took a little road trip out to South Queensferry. We walked along the beach under the Forth Rail Bridge and had a lovely evening! Full blog post to come! And on Friday I went to Venture Photography with my family for a photo shoot. This was a blogger perk so there will be a full post about it after I get the final photos.

Phew. I need a good sleep! Also whilst you all are here I would really appreciate it if you could fill in my blog survey, this would really help me improve Water Painted Dreams. Thanks in advance!

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June Degustabox

Saturday, 28 June 2014
So I received my June Degustabox in the mail on Wednesday and I hate to say it but, I'm really disappointed with this box. I feel like there's a lot less in this box than there was in the May box and that personally they aren't items that I'm going to use. I've decided to cancel my subscription. This box cost £12.99 and I feel like it's been a total waste of money. I need to be saving for moving out and I can't afford to be buying these boxes if they're all going to be like this. In last month's box there were 11 different things in the box. This month there were 8 items, 1 that was in last months box and two alcoholic drinks I'm not fussed about.


There was a big old box of Bear Alpha Bites Multigrain Cereal Letters(£2.69) which I was actually quite excited about. These are pretty tasty. They remind me of another cereal that I've tried before but I can't put my finger on what cereal that is. I would buy these again.


The drinks section of this box was where I had the big issue. First off there's a bottle of Strawberry Lambrini(£3.29) and when I first saw this I thought 'Are you serious?!'. I'm sorry but when I see Lambrini I instantly think of people getting drunk underage in underpasses. I wasn't aware that this was something that people that are actually of age drink. I'll try this the next time I'm having drinks with friends but really, I'm not expecting much. There's also a can of Estrella Damm(£4.00) which is a Spanish lager. First off, £4.00 for that tiny little can? No. I gave this to my stepdad because I don't drink beer and he said is was 'alright'. Just alright. I feel like this was such a let down and it probably took up a lot of the budget for the box. If this wasn't there they could have included something a lot better if you ask me. And then there were two bottles of Be Fast(£1.00 each). I got one strawberry and one banana bottle. I've drunk the banana bottle and really enjoyed it. They're supposed to be a breakfast replacement but I've just had them as a drink, I don't think this would make me feel as full as actually eating a meal.


There was a packet of the Elizabeth Shaw Amaretto Flutes(£2.59) which were really nice but there was a packet of the dark chocolate flutes in last month's box so nothing new. I was really excited by the Dr Oetker Madagascan Vanilla Grinder(£4.99) because I use a lot of vanilla when baking. It's like a salt grinder but for vanilla sticks. I find vanilla sticks so hard to cut up so I'm hoping this will be really nice and easy. And another great thing was the Urban Fruit Dried Mango(£1.09). I love dried fruit so I started eating this as soon as I took the photos. delicious.


I was also happy to see a packet of Veetee EggFried Rice(£1.49) as I've had a few people recommend Veetee rices to me before. I haven't tried it yet but I'm expecting to like it.


What do you think of this box? Please tell me I'm not over reacting and that it is a bit crap!

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Book Review: Inside Number 129

Friday, 27 June 2014
 Hello everyone. Today I'm going to be reviewing Inside Number 129 by Caroline Elvin* which was actually released really recently. I found this to be such an easy read that I read it in one 2 hour sitting! Also Caroline is also a blogger, how awesome is that? Inside Number 129 is a novel about a girl Eve, who is living in a house with 3 of her friends for her last year of university. She's expecting it to be a great year but it turns out that her friends and her boyfriend are not what she thought.


The novel is in a split narrative between Eve and her boyfriend Alex. I really liked this as I thought that it gave you a good, all round view of the story. I thought it would be really great if more character's narrated as well, I would have loved to read from Freddie and Lucy as well.

Inside Number 129 is a very easy read. It's written almost conversational and it just flows so well. It kind of reminds me of the grown up version of the Georgia Nicholson books. The story was really believable, like I could totally see that happening(although I hope it doesn't happen to me when I go to uni...) and all of the characters reminded me a little bit of people that I actually know in real life.  I sometimes found that the dialogue between characters could be a bit awkward and seemed almost forced but not too often for it to really bug me. I found myself getting really angry at some characters and totally fancying one character in particular.... That's a sign of a good book!

In the end I really enjoyed reading Inside Number 129 and gave it a 4/5 star rating on GoodReads. I decided to give it 4/5 stars because whilst I enjoyed reading it and read it really quickly, it didn't blow me away. It's something that I would recommend to my friends though!

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Happy Birthday Batdog

Wednesday, 25 June 2014
Yesterday was the most important man in my life's birthday. What no? Not my boyfriend's birthday, don't be stupid. Batdog's birthday. Yes. Little Batdog. Yesterday he turned 2 which I believe is 14 in dog years. He's no longer a little puppy! If you're new to Water Painted Dreams then you won't know the story of how Batdog(or Sam) came into your lives. Last Easter Sunday I came home from work and was told that my Easter chocolate was in the kitchen. Instead of the egg that I was expecting, I was met by a very excitable 10 month old chocolate Labrador. My parent's had adopted him from a couple who didn't have the time for him. When they went to pick him up they discovered that he'd been left in a cage in the garage whilst they worked really long shifts. It was a little bit heartbreaking. It's hard to imagine that when we first got him, he didn't even recognise the word 'walk' and now he gets at least 3 walks a day.


I spend a lot more time than I really should wondering what Sam would say to me if he could. I like to believe that he genuinely is a lot happier here. I love seeing his little face in the morning. Even when he decides he's going to be a wee arsehole(still very often) I can't help but stay mad at him for too long. All the rules that we first had when we got him have gone out the window. He's allowed to sleep in the human beds, gets more human treats than he probably should and everyone in the family welcomes big slobbery kisses. Unless you've actually had a dog, it's hard to understand how quickly a dog becomes part of the family. It's only been about 14 months since we got Sam but none of us could imagine life without him. I'm moving out in September and I'm absolutely gutted that I'll have to leave him behind.


So yesterday he got spoilt. I bought him a stuffed meerkat and a new packet of tennis balls. The meerkat lasted about 10 minutes before the eyes and half of the stuffing got ripped out. I'm taking this as a compliment. Then after an extra long nightime walkies, he got fed too many biscuits and happily went to sleep on the sofa. I don't think he quite realises that it was his birthday, but I think he had a great day.


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Summer Reading List

Tuesday, 24 June 2014
Hello everyone! I thought I'd do a little post to share with you what I plan on reading over the summer. For me, the summer is when I get most of my reading done. I can easily whizz through a book a day if I'm not doing anything in particular. I set my GoodReads challenge at 90 books this year and so far I'm on track. But I'd like to get ahead of schedule over the summer. As I'm starting university in September I'd like to compensate for that and get most of my reading for the year done now. I don't know what my schedule will be like then, I probably won't have as much time to read as I'm used to. I've already done a lot of reading but there are still so many books that I want to read. So here is my summer reading list. Some of these are books I already own, some are books I'm being sent to review and some are books that I plan on buying. I'm going to put a little banner for this in my sidebar, then I'll keep up to date with the list. Striking off each one as I read it and linking up any reviews I've written. I've recently started trying to review every book that I've read and to be honest I'm kind of struggling with it. Because I read so much it's hard to review every book I read without over saturating my blog with book reviews! I've already read a few of these because this was a scheduled post!


Young Adult Novels                                                   

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan                   
 Everybody Sees The Ants by AS King                       
Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaria                 
Pure by Julianna Baggot                                
Fuse by Julianna Baggot
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
Half Bad by Sally Green
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets by JK Rowling(reread)

Adult Fiction Novels

The Good Children by Roopa Farooki
The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein 
A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Shovel Ready by Alex Sternbergh

Classics

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Animal Farm by George Orwell
This Side Of Paradise by F Scott Fitzgerald
Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe

Non Fiction Novels

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling
#girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
Bossypants by Tina Fey
How I Killed Pluto And Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown
Harry's Last Stand by Harry Leslie Smith
Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller

Chick Lit

The Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Inside 129 by Caroline Elvin 
The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsch


Overall there's 30 books. That's totally reasonable right? Riiiiiiiight. 

What do you plan on reading this summer?

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Book Review: The Cuckoo's Calling

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few months, you'll know that J K Rowling wrote a book and published it under a pseudonym. This is that book. The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith. Huh. Robert. When I first heard of this I knew I wanted to read it but I wasn't exactly rushing to read it straight away. I read The Casual Vacancy which I liked but wasn't crazy about. That book made me realise that I wasn't actually the biggest fan of Rowling's adult works. But when I saw this on buy one get one half price in Waterstones, I knew I had to check it out!


The Cuckoo's Calling is about a model who falls off her balcony and dies. It's ruled as a suicide but her grieving brother isn't happy with that answer, he thinks that she was murdered. So he hires Cormoran Strike, a private detective. Strike is war veteran with a prosthetic leg and it becomes very apart very quickly that he also has a lot of psychological problems and that this case isn't necessarily healthy for him. It also follows a girl called Robyn, who starts working as a temporary secretary for Strike. 

So how did I get on with this book? I liked it and I thought the ending was really clever. However, I found it to be extremely slow and I had to really motivate myself to pick it up and read it. The last 70 pages or so where absolutely amazing and I could't put the book down. The rest of it felt a bit slow and it felt like there was a lot of 'filler'. It could have easily been 100 pages shorter and still been a great book. I also felt like a lot of the characters where very similar to the characters in The Casual Vacancy. If you've read both then don't you agree that Rochelle is basically a grown up Krystal?! Also I found the relationship between Cormoran and Robyn to be bit weird. I found scenes between the two of them to be extremely awkward. What I did really like was that it really showed the hackling that celebrities get. When Strike is interviewing the model's friends he experiences things like getting chased by the paparazzi which really adds something to the novel! As I was reading this I kept thinking to myself that it was a 3/5 star book but the ending was so clever and well thought out that I had to give it 4/5 stars in the end even though I'm not sure if I actually liked it or not. It was extremely well written though, I have to give it that!


If you'd like to keep up with what I'm reading you can add me as a friend on GoodReads.

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Book Review: The Good Children

Thursday, 19 June 2014
Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be reviewing The Good Children by Roopa Farooki* which is being released in hardback and ebook form today! It's a novel about four children: Sully, Jakie, May and Lana who are raised by a very controlling mother in Lahore, Pakistan. The novel follows the four children as they grow up and move away, eventually they have to come back to Pakistan and it reflects on how their upbringing has affected them. It's split into three parts with parts one and three narrated by the two brothers and part two narrated by the sisters. It's a big book, 620 pages, but I managed to read it really quickly. I think that reflects how good it was!


I really enjoyed this novel. All of the narrating characters where really easy to love and I found myself feeling really sorry for them at some points. The two brothers go to study medicine in the US and the UK whilst the sisters are expected to stay at home. I felt really upset for the sisters, stuck at home with their horrible mother. It really opened my eyes up to the culture there, I've never really read any books set in Pakistan. I wish that more of this book had been narrated by the sisters. I wanted to know more about their stories! 

I think my favourite of the siblings was Jakie. He starts a relationship with a man whilst living in London but at this time homosexuality was illegal. His narrative really opened my eyes to the racism and homophobia that occured in the UK. I mean, it still goes on today but in my little small town I've never seen things like that. There are parts in this novel where random strangers get really angry at Jakie if they see him speaking to a white person, or leave a cafe that he goes into. I couldn't even imagine anyone I know doing that! I also really liked Mae, she was the character that I felt I identified with the most. She was sharp, witty and clever. Now I don't want to blow my own trumpet but I think we both know what it feels like to not have our studies respected. I know that my mum would be a lot happier if I wasn't going to university so I really felt for Mae when her mother takes her out of school so that she can start training her to be a 'good wife'.

In the end I gave this book 5/5 stars. I found it to be really compelling. Any writer that can make me read a book that large in 3 days has my respect. I would really recommend this book if you like Khaled Hosseini's books and I got the same sort of 'vibe' from them. Overall, I can't wait to read some more of Farooki's work!


If you'd like to keep up with what I'm reading then you can add me as a friend on GoodReads.


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Review: Lush Ocean Salt

Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Hello everyone! Today we're going to be taking a little walk down memory lane because today I'm going to be reviewing the first Lush product I ever bought. Yup. The Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub. It's gone through a few changes since then but it's still a product that I love. It's also been released in a self preserving version, this is the one that I'm currently using.


Now Ocean Salt has a bit of bad reputation because it's known as a bit of a harsh scrub. Which it is. But if you use it properly then I promise it's one of the best scrubs out there, especially if you have oily skin. It's definitely not something that you can use everyday or something that you can just stick on your skin and scrub up. I normally use this once every three days. I wet my face with a flannel first and then slowly and gently rub it in. After washing it off I normally apply a face mask. After using this my skin feels a lot brighter, tighter and fresher. I love it. You can also use it as a body scrub. I haven't tried this as it's quite expensive and I don't want to waste it but I imagine it would do a great job there too.

It has a really nice smell. It smells very 'oceany' which sounds a bit daft to say but it's really true. You can also tell that there are some limes in this because you can smell those too. Like all Lush products, this is packed full of great ingredients. And as it's now available in a self preserving form, you don't have to worry about any preservatives! Perfect. The large 250g tub is £13.25. It's a little expensive but a tub will last you at least a year, for me it's definitely worth it!


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My Top 5 Free Kindle Books

Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Hello everyone. I thought it would be a good idea to show you my favourite free Kindle books. I have a Kindle Fire HD but I only usually buy books on kindle if they are really cheap or even better free. I know there will be a lot of mixed opinions about Kindles but personally, I love mine, I still buy physical books and you can't make me feel bad about it!



This is actually one of my favourite novels of all time so I couldn't not include this in this post. It tells the story of Marlow, a young sailor who has been sent down the Congo after a rogue ivory trader Kurtz. Kurtz has been driven insane because the power has gone to his head. It's an interesting classic novel about the effects of colonialism. I really recommend this!

If you haven't heard of the Great Gatsby then where have you been all your life? This is a novel about a very rich and mysterious man who hosts very lavish parties at his house. It's narrated by his neighbour. It's beautifully written and it's hard not to fall in love with Gatsby. If you love reading novels set in the 20s then you'll love this. The movie is also really good but remember, you have to read the book first!

When I first got my Kindle I was able to buy The Complete Works Of Sherlock Holmes for free but now they're charging 77p for it. Which is still a great deal but that meant that I couldn't include it. So I'm including one of the novels from the selection, The Sign Of The Four. I absolutely love all of the Sherlock Holmes novels as the writing style is hilariously witty. If you love the movies/tv show then you'll love the books.

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dracula is another one of my favourite classic novels of all time. If you're looking for something fun and easy to read that's a little bit creepy at the same time then you'll love this. It's a story like no other. I'm not one for classics that are all mushy and romantic. There is a little aspect of romance in this but it isn't too in your face or insufferable. I think that everyone should read this at least once!

Hamlyn Quick Cook
This is like a free little taster of a recipe book. The one you buy contains 360 recipes but this one has 50 free ones. I think buying free recipe books of Kindle is a really great idea. Recipe books are often really big and bulky so having them stored in your Kindle is so much easier. I have a Kindle Fire, I'm not sure how  well a book like this would work on a regular kindle. The recipes all look really tasty and everything has a picture!

What free/cheap Kindle books do you love?

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Week In Photos #70

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Crocheting / New chewing gum / Pretty bag
Peach iced tea / Yo Sushi / Edinburgh
Puppy sitting / Little Rosa / Batdog 

Hello everyone. This last week has been one of those weeks where you feel like you've been really busy but when you look back on it you've not really done much. My most exciting thing was on Thursday Stuart and I went through to Edinburgh for the day. I handed out a few cvs and then we went for lunch at Yo Sushi. I've always wanted to go there so I was so excited! It wasn't as great as I was expecting it to be if I'm honest but it was still quite tasty and I enjoyed it! We done so much walking that I just came home and went for a nap. I think I fell asleep about 7, woke up at 10, ate a load of ice cream and then went back to bed. Oops.

Then on Friday night I went and puppy sitted for a friend. I was looking after the lovely Rosa, a nine week old boxer. She was adorable but I had forgotten how much work puppies actually are! It was nice to play tug of war with a dog that's not physically stronger than you though! Very refreshing!

Today I'm running the race for life 5k. It'll start at the time this post gets published so if you want to go check my Twitter/Instagram then I'll probably be sharing my time there.


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May Degustabox

Saturday, 14 June 2014
Hello everyone. I've seen a few other bloggers mentioning Degustabox for a few months now and they seemed really interesting. An ad sense ad showed a 50% off promo code which I used to get my first box for £6.49 instead of £12.99. Basically it's a food and drink subscription box. I used to be subscribed to Crafty Creatives, which I really liked but eventually cancelled because I never ended up using everything. I thought that I'd get a lot more use out of the things in a Degustabox and it would push me into cooking more and being a little bit more experimental.


There was a big bottle of Cirio passata and tomato puree. I thought it was a bit weird that they included both to be honest but I guess they'll get used so I can't complain. I think I'm going to post a recipe soon for a pasta bake using the passata. And a big bag of Garofalo Elicoidali pasta. I still haven't eaten this yet but I'm sure that it'll be good. Isn't all pasta?!


 Now onto the fun bit. Two bottles of Hornsby's cider. One apple and one pear with strawberry and lime. I had the strawberry and lime one as my prom pre drink. It was lovely and really refreshing. I'm sure the apple one will be just as lovely. And a can of Cawston Press Cloudy Apple. This is 70% fresh cloudy apple juice and then topped up with sparkling water. This wasn't too fizzy. I kept it in the fridge all day and it was so crisp and refreshing. I would definitely buy it again.


There was a big bag of the Kettle Sweet Chilli Sweet Potato Chips. These were delicious. I think they lasted about two days in my house. I love sweet potato so these crisps were the bomb. Sweet chilli isn't the first flavour I'd go to for a bag of crisps but these surprised me. The Elizabeth Shaw Dark Chocolate Flutes were absolutely gorgeous. Think plain dark chocolate match makers. Mmmmm. 3 or 4 of these were the perfect little after dinner treat. I would definitely buy these again. I was a little disappointed when I saw the Raw Chewing Gum just because I don't chew gum but this has pleasantly surprised me. I don't know what flavour it is because it doesn't say but it's quite fruity, I really like it!


I wasn't too ecstatic to see the Taylor's Blackberry & Elderflower Tea as I'm not really a tea drinker. It tastes ok as iced tea but nothing that I'm too crazy about. I'm going to take this with me when I move out and hope that one of my flatmates likes it. I was excited to try the On The Go Liz's Granola. You're supposed to add water to it and it makes milk but I'm not overly keen on milk so I poured mine over some yoghurt and mixed it in. This is lovely! I would be really interested in buying some without the dried milk powder in it. And finally the Dr Oetker Cake Release Spray, I was so excited when I seen this! I love to bake but I'm terrible at greasing baking trays. This is basically just oil in a can but it's so easy to use and makes baking something so much quicker. It's a bit of a gimmick and I'm not sure if I'd actually buy it but I'll definitely use it whilst I've got it.


Overall, I was quite impressed with my first Degustabox and I'm excited for my next one!

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Lush Products I Didn't Like

Wednesday, 11 June 2014
Hello everyone. I think I'm pretty well known for being a massive fan of Lush. I feel like I'm always writing glowing reviews of my favourite Lush products. But I thought it would be interesting to write a post about some Lush products that I didn't like. These aren't necessarily bad products, just things that may have not worked as well for me. 

Lush Products I Didn't Like


Rub Rub Rub Shower Scrub - I'm still working my way through a tub of this and to be honest, it's the most disappointing Lush product I've ever tried. It's supposed to be a shower scrub but I find that this just dissolves as soon as you rub it on your skin and does nothing. I can't wait to finish it so that I can take the pot back to get a free face mask. I've written a full review of this which you can read here

American Cream Hair Conditioner - I had a sample of this and I think it might have been off because it stunk! It had a really strong chemical smell that was burning my nose and making my eyes water. And then it stuck to my hair and I could smell it all day. I ended up washing it again just to get the scent off. I definitely won't be purchasing a full size!

Ro's Argan Body Conditioner - Another product that I had a little sample of. I tried a sample after feeling a little underwhelmed with the moisturising power of the Nivea alternative. I just found this to be very sticky and I didn't like the feel of it at all. It's very expensive so I definitely won't buy a full sized tub, I'm so glad I tried it first.

Brazened Honey Fresh Face Mask - I bought this a few years ago after having been very ill, the sales assistant told me that this mask was best for dull skin that needed refreshing. I don't think that this really did anything for my skin and I found it to be a little bit irritating. I've loved every other face mask I've tried from Lush but I don't feel like this was very well suited to me at all. 

Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter - Another case where I got talked into it by a sales assistant and regretted it. This is designed as a cuticle butter but I was told it could be used as an intensive hand cream. As I have very dry hands I jumped on this and it turns out it doesn't work well as a hand cream. It's far too waxy and left my hands feeling so greasy. It's not like hand creams where it takes ages to sink in, this just doesn't sink in. At all.

Butterball Bath Bomb - This seems to be a bit of a cult product but I found it a little bit boring. This contains a lot of oils to make it very moisturising but I found that it was just very greasy. I can see why people like it but I found it to be a bit too much.

So there were go! I hope this wasn't too negative! Are there any Lush products that you didn't like?

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Books About North Korea

Tuesday, 10 June 2014
Hello everyone. I have a bit of a confession to make. I love to read about North Korea. It's brutal and a little bit heartbreaking at times but I find the country so fascinating and I want to know everything I can about it. I find it so strange and weird that a country so oppressive still exists in the modern world. It's one thing reading about concentration camps in WW2 books and thinking 'how did they get away with that' but reading about what is happening right now North Korea is extremely humbling.  


Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden - This is probably the most popular book about North Korea. It tells the story of the only man to have escaped from Camp 14, one of North Korea's most brutal camps for political prisoners. Shin was born in the camp and escaped when he was a young man. He then escaped via China to North Korea and I think he is currently living in America. This is a really weird one because it shows you just how much the regime there alienates people. Despite all that he's been through, it's very hard to like Shin. He told on his mother and brother because they were planning on escaping and they were executed because of this. Then Shin and his father were both tortured because the camp guards believed they knew more. It shows just how much they are dehumanised and it's extremely sad. It's humbling and makes you really appreciate what you have.


Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick - This is my favourite book about North Korea simply because I found it to give me the most insight into everyday life there. Barbara Demick focused on a town called Chongjin which is north of Pyongyang and interviewed defectors from this area. You get to know the stories of loads of different people from different walks of life. For example, one girl is a doctor and one is the daughter of a poor miner. It's interesting to see how regular people live in North Korea as often you only really hear the horror stories. Don't get me wrong, their lives are no cake walks either. I wrote a whole review of this book which you can read here.


The Aquariums Of Pyongyang by Kang Chol-Hwan - This is a little bit like a combination of the other two. The narrator in this novel did spend some time in a political camp but it wasn't as severe a camp as Shin. Kang was sent to the camps as a child because of something his grandfather did. Him and his family spent a few years in the camp before they were released. This novel really goes into the process of escaping to China and then getting from there to South Korea. China have a deal with North Korea that if they find any North Koreans living in China they'll deport them so defectors aren't 'safe' until they land on South Korean soil.



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Week In Photos #69

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Eugh, remind me not to leave it this long between posting a Week In Photos post again. So many photos. This isn't even all of them, I had to cut a few out so that I had a square number.

So damn it's been an interesting few weeks. On the 22nd of May I sat my last exam of high school, advanced higher phsyics. It was quite a good exam. It wasn't as easy as the chemistry exam but it wasn't as hard as the maths exam either so I'm feeling pretty confident. I'm just trying to completely put exam results out of my mind until I get my results. I don't want to be stressing about them.

On a uni update, I got my first choice of accommodation! And I'll officially be moving out as of September 6th, aka 3 months last Friday. If any of you have any tips or things that you would definitely recommend taking with you then please leave me a comment! I'm thinking about maybe sharing my 'check list' in a blog post and then seeing if you guys have anything to add or anything you think is unnecessary. Thoughts? I've also found two of my flatmates on Facebook already. We all have similar taste in books and hate the same foods. I think we're going to get on just fine! It's a 5 person flat so I only have two more flatmates to find.

Then everyone's least favourite blogger Charlotte( ;) ) came to visit me last week! On the same day that all my hot water and gas got shut off and my stepdad fell off a roof. Oh dear. I'm sorry Charlotte, not the relaxing day of shopping we expected! I had made her pulled pork the night before and the plan was to get that for lunch with bread rolls and then have a Chinese for dinner. But then I had no way of cooking the bread rolls or heating the pork so we had to go out for lunch as well! The churros made up for it. And she got to meet BATDOG. My stepdad has broken two bits of his spine and has a small bleed in his brain. He is home but still in a lot of pain so it's been a really stressful time for my family. He's not the type to sit and rest so we've been following around trying to stop him from doing things. I had to take his van keys off him because he tried to go to work for example.

And then Friday night was my prom. I've waited so long for it, I can't believe that now it's finally over. I had an absolutely amazing night. Especially dancing with my two best friends from high school, Shaira and Sarah. Definitely the people I'm going to keep in contact with the most from high school. I'm sad that it's all finished now but at the same time I'm very excited to move on!

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Prom Pictures!

Saturday, 7 June 2014
Hello everyone. As I'm sure you all know if you follow me on Twitter/Instagram it was my prom last night. I can't believe that high school is finally over. It was an absolutely amazing night and I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend it with. This is just going to be a little post with some photos from before we left. I'm going to do a little OOTD on Monday with all the details!











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