Small Book and Stationery Haul

Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Hello everyone! My sister recently gave me a Waterstones voucher she hadn't used. She isn't really a big reader so she said that I should just take it and spend it because she didn't really want to. She didn't have to tell me twice! So when I was in Edinburgh on Monday I went to the Waterstones on Princes Street to see how much was on it. There was £15 on the voucher(?!) which I was more than happy to spend. The Princes Street Waterstones is huuuuge compared to the Livingston one. And I also went to Paperchase because I wanted to treat myself to an academic diary for starting university. I thought I'd do a little haul to show you what I bought.

So one of the first books I saw was Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. If you've been reading my book posts for the last few months then you'll know that I recently read Speak by Laure Halse Anderson and it has became one of my all time favourite books. Wintergirls is about two girls who are battling eating disorders. One of the girls dies and it follows Lia, who is left behind to battle her demons alone. I'm already half way through it and I'm really enjoying it even though it is a bit haunting. Laurie Halse Anderson is well known for writing really hard hitting and shocking novels, I'd really recommend her work.

Now I'm not usually one for the movie covers of books but when I saw the movie cover of If I Stay by Gayle Forman I knew I had to get it! I have wanted to read this book for a while and I didn't even know it was being made into a movie until I saw the trailer before seeing The Fault In Our Stars. It looks like it is going to be a really great movie. In the book a girl called Mia is in a car accident that kills all of her family. She then gets stuck in a kind of 'limbo' where she has to decide if she wants to wake up and carry on living or if she wants to die and be with her family. The book is quite short and the movie comes out on the 29th of August so I have plenty of time to read it before it comes out!

Now I've already read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and it is one of my all time favourite books. The thing is I read it on my Kindle and I really wanted a physical copy to go in with my other Rainbow Rowell books. If I Stay had a buy one get one half price sticker and so did this so it was fate! This copy is also signed by Rainbow Rowell! It says 'You don't do magic, you MAKE magic. Rainbow!' on the inside. Fangirl is about a girl who is moving out to go to college. She's quite a shy girl but writes a famous fan fiction about a made up series that is similar to Harry Potter. It follows her as she grows and develops and is just the most charming little book! I can't wait to reread this!

I wanted to treat myself to a new academic diary for starting uni. This isn't something I ever had to buy as at school we got given a school one every year so I wanted to buy the nicest one I could find! Paperchase didn't have as big a selection as I expected but I still managed to find this nice one with some pretty birdies on it. I love the bright green colour of the strap! It was £8.00 which I didn't think was too bad.

Then I couldn't leave the turtle pushpins behind! I needed some any way as I get a notice board in my uni room. They were only £2.00 and there are 20 in the pack!

So there you go. Have you bought any good books lately?

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My Moving Out For Uni List

Wednesday, 23 July 2014
Hello everyone! Someone asked me to write a series of posts about moving out and going to uni. So today I'm sharing my list of things that I'm taking with me. I'm moving out into a 5 person flat with 2 bathrooms. It's also self catered so I'm going to be doing all of my cooking by myself. Most of the things that I really need to buy are for the kitchen. I've compiled this list by reading others on various student websites. This does not include clothes, books or foods. If you are interested I could do a separate post about what clothes I'm taking with me and what food I'll be buying to start off my kitchen.

Lever arch folders
Regular ring binders
Pads of lined paper
Plain paper for printing
Cheap black and white printer
Post it notes
Plain black pens
Record cards
Copies of my CV
Academic diary
Hole punch
Pins for notice board

Hand towels
Face towels
Shower gel
Body scrub and body butter
Hand wash
Shaving foam and razor
Sanitary towels and tampons
Face wash 

Dish towels
Washing Up Liquid
2 small pots
1 small frying pan
1 small wok
Oven trays
Sharp Knives
Cheese grater
Tupperware tubs
Wooden spoon and spatula
Cooking oil
Mugs and glasses
Plates and bowls
Measuring jugs
Bottle opener
Can opener
Chopping board
Recipe books
Freezer bags
Oven Glove
Scrubbing brush
Scourer sponges
Basic spices

Alarm clock
Fairy lights
Make up
Clothes Hangers
Washing basket
Hair brush
Hair dryer
Extension lead
Waste bin

Oh dear, that looks like such a long list when I see it written down like that! I have most of the things already. I've done a bit of shopping and then a few things I'll be nicking from home(small wok, batteries, extension lead etc) so I feel like I'm on top of it. Is there anything you'd recommend taking that's not on this list? Or anything on this list that you think is unnecessary? Let me know!

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My Top 5 John Green Quotes

Saturday, 19 July 2014
Hello everyone! I'm a big John Green fan but I find that all of his other books often get overlooked because of The Fault In Our Stars. Don't get me wrong, I loved The Fault In Our Stars but it's not my favourite John Green novel(that's Paper Towns if you were wondering). I thought it would make a good blog post if I shared some of my favourite John Green quotes that aren't from The Fault In Our Stars. Maybe it will inspire you to try one of his other books. The Fault In Our Stars wasn't even released when I first read a John Green book!

"What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person." - Paper Towns. 

" What is the point in being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable." - An Abundance Of Katherines

"When I look at my room I see a girl who loves books." - Looking For Alaska

"Maybe out favourite quotations say more about us than the stories and people we're quoting." - A vlogbrothers video

"If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane." - Looking For Alaska

 What is your favourite John Green quote?

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The Kelpies

Friday, 18 July 2014
Hello everyone. A few weeks ago me and some friends took a road trip up to The Kelpies. The Kelpies are these massive horse statues that have been put up in Falkirk, Scotland. I've been seeing photos all over the place of them so I've wanted to go for ages. 

It took us about 30-45 minutes to drive there as we were avoiding the motorways. It was a really nice drive though and taking a road trip with your friends is always fun.

We took a picnic with us and we managed to bring the perfect amount of food, we were all more than full but still had snacks left for the drive home. Stuart wasn't very happy about this because he'd hoovered his car that week but tough :P

The weather was really nice. It was a bit windy but it meant that we weren't overly hot. There's nothing worse than when you're trying to walk around and it's so hot that you're absolutely sweating. Yuck.

The Kelpies were really, really nice. They're about the size of a four story building and look really impressive.

There's also a lot of walks around them and there's a really great looking childrens park. Dogs are also welcome so it would be a great place for a family day out.

So what do you think, would you give them a visit?

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Things That Make Me Happy #80

Thursday, 17 July 2014
1. I've made this before, can confirm that it is giiiid.


2. This photo makes me want to go on holiday!


3. The decor here is so nice!


Book Series: Pure and Fuse

Wednesday, 16 July 2014
Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be reviewing Pure and Fuse by Julianna Baggot* which are the first two books in the Pure series. I was kindly given ebook copies of these books for review purposes. It's an adult dystopian series. A series of 'detonations' have hit America and some people have escaped into a giant dome. The people in the dome remain 'pure' and unharmed whilst those outside end up fused to things they were touching at the time of the detonations. The book follows two characters, one inside and one outside of the dome. If I'm honest, this really wasn't the series for me. I was really expecting to like it because it's had some amazing reviews but I just couldn't get into it.

I normally find that in dystopian trilogies the first book is often a bit slow because the author is spending a lot of time explaining the 'new world' and how it works etc. I feel like in Pure we were dropped in the deep end without much explanation and it took me a while to catch on to what was happening. I feel like if more time had been spent explaining things then I probably would have enjoyed it more. For example, when the detonations occurred, people 'fused' to things. But I didn't catch on to this. There's a character that's described by Pressia as 'the boy with wings in his neck' and I thought that this meant he had tattoos. But he actually fused with birds during the detonations and they were imbedded in his neck. I also still don't quite 'get' what the Dusts are either.

I think if you enjoyed Pure then you'll definitely enjoy Fuse. But by this point I was fed up with the story and I didn't care about the characters. I couldn't really identify with any of them and the introduced too many new characters for me to really keep on check with who everyone was. I did really like the Lyda/Patridge story line but the other characters didn't really interest me.

I hate to say that I didn't enjoy these books because they get so many 4/5 star reviews. I must be missing something! I gave Pure 2/5 stars and Fuse 1/5 stars.

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The Importance Of Craft Scissors

Monday, 14 July 2014

As a few of you may have guessed from reading my blog, I'm a very crafty person. I've blogged about crocheting but I have also dabbled in many other crafts: sewing, knitting, patchwork, jewellery making. The list goes on an on. Crocheting is probably the thing that I'm best at but that doesn't stop me. I think I owe my craftiness to my granny. I spent a lot of time at my gran's house when I was growing up. She worked in a dressmaker's shop for a long time and therefore she really knows her stuff. But there was one thing that she really got heated about. She had a pair of scissors that were her craft scissors and they were only to be used by her when working with materials etc.

I always thought that this was a bit over kill. But a few weeks ago at work I saw this play out. Now I work in an aquarium/aquatic pet shop. And we had a large goldfish that caught in a net. This happens more often than you'd think, the fins are actually a lot more rigid than you'd think. Normally if left alone the fish will relax and work its way out of the net by itself. But after a while, the fish was still stuck and it was decided that we'd cut the net off the fish. So I got the pair of scissors we keep at work which are some of the Scotch Titanium scissors and tried to cut the net. But because the scissors get used for everything, they were blunt and the net wouldn't get cut. Lesson learnt.

I was recently sent this pair of Scotch Comfort Scissors* from Viking Stationery and I've decided that these are going to be kept as my craft scissors. The handles are padded which means that they don't dig into your fingers. If you've ever made an item of clothing by yourself then you'll know that it takes an absolute age to cut out the pattern and then the material to match. With these you could easily do that without getting sore hands. The blades are really sharp and I intent to keep them that way by not using them for all my random crap(opening parcels etc). If you're looking to get yourself a pair of crafting scissors, or just a sturdy pair for everyday use, I'd really recommend checking out the selection at Viking, they have a wide range and their delivery is super quick.

We eventually got the fish out of the net by the way, he's fine.

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Sleeping Beauty Salon Event

Sunday, 13 July 2014
Hello everyone. On Tuesday night I was invited along to an event at the Sleeping Beauty Salon. The Edinburgh branch of the salon is located on William Street which is in the west end, just off Princes street. They also have branches in Inverness and Lerwick. 

I met up with Abby and Kirsty before hand and we headed along, not really sure what to expect. Upon arriving at the salon we were offered cupcakes and a cocktail and given a little run through of the treatments available at the event. They were doing manicures, pedicures, party lashes and eyebrow waxing/threading! I'd actually just taken some calgel off of my nails before so I knew that I'd love a manicure!

Before I had my nails done I had a little wander around the salon and took some photos. It had a really nice atmosphere to the place. They had a brown and green colour scheme which was actually really nice. It makes a change from the harsh white and reflective surfaces you get in some salons. They had some music playing as well that was really relaxing. It had a very 'bohemian' feel to it and I instantly felt comfortable.

The cocktail I was given was a peach mojito. I'm not usually a big mojito person but I really liked the addition of the peach because they're my favourite fruit! There was a mixologist on hand to make cocktails and they all looked so nice. The cupcakes were very nice(extra may have been taken home in my bag but I'm not at liberty to say ;) ).

One thing that I really noticed about the salon was that it smelt amazing! They have their own branded candles which smelt gorgeous. There's a little one in the goodie bag we got and I can't wait to burn it.

Anyway, onto the manicure. I opted for a shellac manicure because I absolutely love shellac/calgel. Because I work with water my nails will chip really easily with regular polish. The shellac manicure takes about 30 minutes and each coat is cured with a UV lamp. They last at least two weeks chip free which is an absolute god send for me! The woman who done my nails, Lauren, was really lovely and chatty. I felt really comfortable chatting with her and she was really friendly.

 Although choosing a colour was a bit of a struggle! The colour I went with is such a gorgeous sparkly blue, I definitely made the right decision.

I also had my eyebrows waxed. I took some before and after photos but they aren't great as I had a lot of product in them before hand. We went downstairs into one of their treatment rooms for the waxing. My mum is actually a hairdresser and beauty therapist so I've never actually had my eyebrows waxed by someone else. It was actually a lot less painful so I think my mum must enjoy it too much. I joke, they use a different type of wax. The waxing bed was so comfy, I could have fallen asleep! I'm really happy with how they turned out, I would definitely go here to get my brows done when I live in Edinburgh and can't just pop through to my mum's salon.

Overall I was really impressed with the Sleeping Beauty Salon. I think it's a real hidden gem in a nice part of town. We were given a really generous goodie bag as well containing some Elemis skincare goodies, St Tropez bronzing mousse, soap, a candle and some chocolates. 

A big thank you to the lovely people at Sleeping Beauty Salon and Alison Jameson Consultants for organising the event, you absolutely spoilt us!

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Book Review: Shovel Ready

Saturday, 12 July 2014
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh* is a futuristic novel where a dirty bomb has been dropped on Times Square. The story is told from the perspective of Spademan. Before the dirty bomb he was a garbage man, now he's a hit man. When he's hired to kill the daughter of a powerful member of the church, he realises that everything isn't the way that he thought it was. He gets more involved than he should which leads to a gripping, action packed adventure.

I'm going to start off by saying that I actually really enjoyed this book. I read it in about 3 sittings. It was so fast paced that I really sped through it. The book is 243 pages long and it was refreshing to read an adult fiction novel that wasn't super huge. In a small amount of pages Sternbergh managed to create a great story which answers all your question.

There were a lot of great characters in this book. Spademan isn't a character you should like, I mean come on, he kills people for a living. But there's just something about him and his narrative that you can't help but like. The villians in this novel are also very well written and kind of really freaked me out a lot! In this book a lot of people 'tap in' to a new form of the internet that lets them live in a life that they make up. It's an idea that also came up in More Than This by Patrick Ness which is one of my favourite books. It was nice to go back and explore this idea again as it's something that is really interesting. It is one of those things that I could actually see happening in the future so it really scares me.

The ending was really satisfying and I really enjoyed this book so I gave it 5/5 stars on GoodReads. If you like thriller/crime novels then I bet that you'd enjoy this!

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Small Book Haul

Thursday, 10 July 2014
Hello everyone! I went into Waterstones last Wednesday whilst shopping with  my gran for things for my uni room. I had gone in to buy a book for my friend's birthday and then I tripped, knocked 3 books for myself onto the counter and my card fell into the machine. We've all been there right? Good.

My purchases are kind of justified however! I had been meaning to buy a student cook book to take with me to university. Cooking is something that I enjoy but I stick to the same few meals everytime. I thought that a cook book would be the best thing to get to inspire me to create new meals. It worked, there are so many things out of these two books that I want to make, the first one was Sam Stern's Student Cookbook(£9.99) and the second A Girl Called Jack(£10.99 with £2 off). I've never heard of Sam Stern before but this book has so many great recipes. Jack Monroe is actually a blogger so I've wanted to buy her book since it came out, it's so nice to be able to support other bloggers. Again it's full of great recipes, I'm sure I'll be trying out one soon!

Then when I went to buy the book for my friend's birthday, it was buy one get one half price. So it would be a shame not to take advantage of this! I've wanted to read Half Bad by Sally Green(£3.99 half price) since it came out. I put it on my Summer Reading List so as it was on offer, I had to pick it up! It's about witches and one witch in particular who is half good witch, half bad witch. I've read some good things so I can't wait to read it.

What books have you bought recently?

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A Trip To South Queensferry

Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Lately Stuart has been working Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday nights and then training Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. It sucks. Big time. And it means that I only really get to spend one night a week with him. I see him a lot during the day but it's still not the same! So on Friday night we went on a little road trip to South Queensferry.

South Queensferry is about a 20 minute drive from Livingston, our hometown, so is perfect for a little evening drive. I was hoping that it would be sunny but it was a little more cloudy than I was expecting. The views were still beautiful!

The big red bridge is the Forth Rail Bridge and the other the Forth Road Bridge. Genius naming right? These are now pretty iconic parts of the Scottish landscape so it was nice to go on a little walk under the two and get a real good look. I've been over both of them enough times but I've never really had a proper look.

We were there quite late at night so everywhere was shut but I think that we might go back one day to go on one of the boat trips. I've been on the Inchcolm Landing one before as part of a school trip and really enjoyed it.

We had the whole beach to ourselves so we went on a little wander and took some very serious photographs.

Sorry did I say serious? I mean ridiculous.

This one's my favourite.

It was the perfect little evening. There's just something so exhilarating about sea air. It made us so giggly and happy. One of Stuart's friends lives nearby so we stopped by on the way back for a 'quick visit' and stayed for over an hour. Oops!

Also can you believe that these photos were taken between 9 and 10pm?! I'm still not used to this 'getting light early' summer business!

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Review: Ted Baker Mia Perfume

Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Hello everyone. Today I'm going to be reviewing the Ted Baker Mia Perfume*. You may have remember that I've already reviewed a Ted Baker perfume and that I'm already a fan. These perfumes come in tiny, purse sized bottles but are really strong. One bottle will last you the same amount of time as one twice its size.

"With an irresistible blend of warmth, charm and allure, she is every girl's best friend. A soft floral fragrance of rose blooms and freesias are combined with sparkling top notes os fresh lemon, raspberry and blackcurrant with a seductive base of warm patchouli and golden amber."

This perfumes reminds me of a lot more expensive perfumes. It would fit in with all the Chanel and the Prada perfumes in Debenhams. It's very floral and sweet but not too over powering. Ted Baker perfumes are very strong so only one or two sprays are required. The first time I tried one I sprayed on a load and it gave me a bit of a headache but once I learnt how to apply it properly, I was good to go. It comes in a 10ml bottle which isn't a lot but it actually lasts a long time because they're so strong. Plus the bottle is the perfect size to carry around in your hand bag without weighing yourself down.

Mia perfumes are going to be available in selected Ted Baker stores for £15. That is a little expensive but these are nice perfumes and would make a great present.

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Tips For Showering Your Dog

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Hello everyone! It's summer time now and showering your dog is not only great for keeping them clean but is good to cool them down. We seem to have gotten showering Batdog down so I thought I'd share some tips on showering your dog. 

  • Create a direct route out of the house. Before we shower Batdog we'll go round the house and shut all the doors apart from the door to the garden. Then when he gets out of the shower he has no where else to go except outside.
  • Buy a shampoo specifically for dogs. This may seem like a no brainer but when we first got Sam he got horrendously muddy on his first walk so we thought we could shower him using human shampoo and he'd be alright. Wrong. He got dandruff.
  • Keep the temperature and the pressure low. Whilst we love long hot showers, dogs don't. Their skin isn't used to it so you should keep it at least lukewarm.
  • Depending on whether your dog likes the shower or not, you might want to get in with them. This way you can shut the door and keep them inside. Sam quite likes the shower so we don't do this but we did the first couple of times when we were unsure as to how he'd react.
  • Towel dry your dog whilst they're still in the shower. As soon as your dog gets out the shower it's going to shake. So towel dry them a bit before letting them out to reduce the damage. You can then finish them off properly outside or leave them to dry off naturally.
And there you have it. Those are my tips for showering your dog, good luck!

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Tips For Battling Hayfever

Friday, 4 July 2014
Hello everyone! I think it can be said that hayfever season is well and truly upon us. The last few days I've been getting some real bother with it. I've had hayfever for as long as I can remember and my dad has it really bad as well. Most people only get bothered with one sort of pollen and I'm pretty sure it's grass pollen I'm allergic to. I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my best tips for dealing with hayfever.

  • Brush cats and dogs before they come indoors. I don't do this every time but if Sam's been out on a long walk then I will.
  • Avoid leaving windows open if it's very windy.
  • Wash your hands when you come indoors. 
  • If you wear contacts then wear your glasses instead. They help shield your eyes from pollen. Wear sunglasses if you don't actually need glasses. Outside, obviously.
  • Eat your breakfast and then take an antihistame tablet as soon as you wake up.
  • Check the pollen count for your area. If it's high then try to stay indoors. It will be the worst earliest in the mornings.
  • Take a shower every morning and every night. It sounds so laborious but this helps me so much!
  • Spend the extra cash on the tissues with the balsam in them. Totally worth it.
What are your tips for dealing with hayfever?

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Things That Make Me Happy #79

Thursday, 3 July 2014
1. Lemon and raspberry macaroons. Yes please!


2. This decor is super sweet and I love that tray!


3. I love this nail art, especially the polka dots.



Book Review: The Lemon Grove

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

 The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh* is an adult fiction novel set in Mallorca. It follows Jenn who goes there on holiday with her husband every year. But this time something changes. Her stepdaughter, Emma, is coming along and she's bringing her boyfriend with her. Jenn starts to develop feelings towards 17 year old Nathan and they start to have a bit of an affair. I really don't know how I felt about this book. I loved it and I hated it. It wasn't a bad 'hate it', it was a 'these characters are all such crappy people' hate it.

The writing style of this book is so captivating. I literally could not put it down and I read it in a day. It's so descriptive, I really felt like I was on holiday whilst reading this book. But I feel like it makes out that it was ok for the affair to happen. I was reading some other reviews on GoodReads and I felt like someone else perfectly summed up how I felt about it by saying "If the main character of this book was male and went on to repeatedly sleep with a 17 year old girl would we regard this book so highly?" and the answer to that is no. No we wouldn't. I was expecting a really dramatic ending but it was actually so anticlimatic. I don't feel like either Jenn or Nathan really had to deal with the consequences of their actions. It's so wrong for Jenn to cheat on her husband, but with her stepdaughter's boyfriend?! Also I feel like I should point out that Emma doesn't actually know that Jenn isn't her mother, her biological mother died in childbirth and they never told her. So it's practically like sleeping with your actual daughter's boyfriend.

And lets talk about the character of Nathan. He's rude, arrogant and pushy. I cannot see what Emma, or Jenn for that matter, saw in him. And also, he's only supposed to be 17. Now I'm a 17 year old girl. I know a lot of 17 year old boys. And I don't know anyone that would behave like that. I couldn't imagine anyone I know starting up an affair with their girlfriend's mother.

Overall I really enjoyed the book. I think it's a good sign if an author can make you feel so many different emotions. I gave it 4/5 stars on GoodReads because I felt the ending really let the book down. I wanted some drama at the end and I didn't get that. This would be a great book to take on holiday with you.

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