September Reading Wrap Up

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

So ehh, my reading wrap up this month is going to be a little bit bare. I honestly don't know where September has gone! I can't believe it's not even been a month since I moved out. It feels like it's been no time at all but it also feels like this is my regular routine and it's always been this way. So yeah, I started uni and I've been very, very busy. I'm so tired that at night I just go straight into bed which means I've not had much time for reading. I've only read 3 books this month which is a bit rubbish! I also still haven't finished Jane Eyre although I only have 10% left according to my Kindle. I know its everyone's favourite but I just find it so boring! Hopefully next month will be a bit busier. I'd like to read at least 6 books as Halloween reading is my favourite and I'd like one of those to be Jane Eyre!

Handpicked by Dani Oden* - This is a fun, young adult novel about some girls starting at a sorority. At first they're really excited and happy to be in the group but then some fishy things start happening. After doing some snooping out they find something that makes them think that maybe it's not all so great. I found this to be a bit dull to be honest and it was very corny and not very well thought out. It was a good easy read and something that I read really quickly but I didn't think it was great and wouldn't really recommend it. I gave it 2/5 stars.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner - This is the second book in The Maze Runner Trilogy, the first of which I read last month. It's a really hard concept to describe but it's kind of like The Hunger Games but instead of them trying to kill each other there are some weird creatures trying to kill them. The first one was a little cheesy but so fast paced and action packed that I couldn't help but love it. This however was a bit slower and I thought the story took a bit of a weird turn. I liked it and gave it 3/5 stars but it wasn't as good as the first one.

The Death Cure by James Dashner - And this is the last book. I found it to be of a similar tone to The Scorch Trials. It was a bit more fast paced so I read it faster but I still didn't find it to be as good as the first and I wasn't a fan of the ending. I would still recommend the series and am excited for the sequel. 3/5 stars.

Also sorry about the iPhone quality images! I took my DSLR to uni with me but all my books were at home for when I wanted to take photos for the post! Also thanks for all your good wishes about starting uni! I promise I'll write an update post soon!

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Stress Free Freshers

Saturday, 20 September 2014
 Hello everyone! As I'm sure a few of you all know, I've just finished my Freshers week. And what an amazing, excited and unexpected week it was. I just want to say a wee thank you to everyone that wished me good luck on the day that I moved out, the support some of you guys have shown me has just blown me away. I have the best readers! A few days before I moved out I really started to panic and was paranoid that I'd made a mistake and would hate it. But I love it, so so so much. I think I was definitely made for Edinburgh. I'm so grateful to be able to live in and explore such a wonderful city.

So anyway, I was lucky enough to be sent a 'Freshers Essentials Kit' from Stress Free Print. Stress Free Print are an online copy that allow you to print your own posters, leaflets, business cards, you name it! They also have the option to print your own bookmarks which as a book blogger I find so cool! I would make Water Painted Dreams bookmarks but I know no one would want one but me. But if you were a book publisher/reviewer or whatever it would be a great idea, hand out your bookmark rather than a business card. Ok, I'm rambling now! The Freshers Essential Kit contains everything you need for a stress free freshers kit. So I'm going to talk you through everything that was in the kit and how it was helpful to me during Freshers week.

Green Tea - Now I personally don't really like any sort of tea at all. But all of my flatmates love tea. In fact a few of them have been drinking teas in flavours I didn't even know existed. So having this was a nice ice breaker for me. 'Hey I got given some of this green tea but I'm not a fan, do any of your guys want it?'. Although I did get slightly moaned at for not liking tea! In a jokey manner of course. So I guess that's a top tip from me, if you don't like tea, take some any way!

A Student Cook Book - This is The Really Useful Ultimate Student Cookbook by Silvana Franco.  I'd been given a few cook books as leaving presents but this is definitely the cheapest. Despite its small size it's absolutely crammed full of recipes. Some of them look really tasty as well. I like that it doesn't include a load of really overly fancy things that I'm never going to be able to afford like my other ones do.

Belvita Breakfast Biscuits - I've tried these before so I was pretty excited to see these in my box. They're pretty tasty. They make a nice breakfast or the perfect thing to eat sneakily in the back of a 9am lecture. 

£20 WHSmith Voucher - I was pretty blown away to find this in my box, thanks guys! I always bought my stationery there in high school so I'm sure I can put this to good use. I think I'm going to keep it for later on actually. I'm sure in a few months all of my pens will have been stolen/lost  disappeared and I'll be able to stock up on stationery without messing up my budget, Or a new book when I really need a pick me up. There's a WHSmith near Edinburgh's science campus so this is very handy!

First Aid Kit - This little first aid kit includes some plasters, multivitamins and ear plugs. I think these are all pretty self explanitory. Although thankfully I haven't needed the ear plugs yet, I have very nice neighbours. 

USB Stick - This is a really cool memory stick as it's really small and sleek. I've attached it to my lanyard with my flat keys and student ID. That way I know I'll always have it on me! And it's 32GB so I really can't see myself running out of space on this. Result.

What would you put in a Freshers Essential Kit? I'd also include a little door stop as keeping your door open invites other people to come and have a chat with you! 

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The Little Things

Thursday, 18 September 2014

- When your dog runs in their sleep.
- The sound of rain on a window when you're reading in bed.
- Serving a really polite customer at work.
- Pineapple juice.
- Realising something you wanted to buy anyway is on sale. 
- Sweater weather.
- New bedsheets and freshly washed pjs.
- Crisp Autumn mornings.
- Wearing something new for the first time.
- Meeting someone new and instantly clicking.
- The smell of a new book.
- Fireworks night.
-Sainsbury's raspberry sorbet.
-When someone remembers something small and insignificant about you.
- Fairy lights.
- Chocolate yogurt, or any yogurt for that matter.
- A night in after a few busy nights.
- Getting something for free.
- Edinburgh buses.
- Finally breaking in a pair of shoes.
- Making someone laugh.

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Barrett's Ridge Beer Bread Mix Giveaway!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Hello everyone! As I mentioned in my full review of the Barret's Ridge Beer Bread mixes from Dassie, I'm giving one away. The prize for this giveaway is a beer bread mix in a flavour of your choice. I recommend the garlic and chilli one the most! You can view the full range of flavours here. They're super easy to make. Just mix in a can of beer/cider and then pop in the oven. Delicious bread made easy.

The rules for this giveaway are simple. You have to follow my blog on BlogLovin' and follow Dassie on Twitter. There are also some optional extras to get you more entries! Also please do not use competition accounts to enter the giveaway, these will not be counted as valid entries. This giveaway is UK only and ends in one week. Goodluck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Recipe: Easy Peasy Tart

Sunday, 14 September 2014
Hello everyone! I've been scouring my student cookbooks over the past few weeks as I've been preparing for my move to uni. A lot of them include some sort of tart but they all contained some ingredients that I didn't like. I decided I'd just ignore the recipes and make my own. This way it's 100% things I like. I've included some bacon but this would make an awesome veggie meal if you wanted to leave that out. It kind of tastes like a pastry pizza, but is a lot more fresh.

You will need:
1 pack of puff pastry
Tomato purée
Antipasti peppers
Sun-dried tomatoes
1 small red onion
Grated cheese for topping

Step 1: Preheat your oven to gas mark 5/190 degrees Celsius.
Step 2: Roll out your pastry and score a rectangle into it with a sharp knife. This will form your crust.

Step 3: Spread tomato purée over the rectangle. 

Step 4: Chop up all your toppings and spread them over the tomato purée. 

Step 5: Bake for 10 minutes and then remove from the oven. Sprinkle your cheese over the top. 

Step 6: Cook for another 10 minutes.

It's so easy and really tasty. It's also ok as lunch again the next day. 

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Book Reviews: Lies We Tell Ourselves

Friday, 12 September 2014
Hello everyone! Today I've got another book review and this one's for Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley*. Lies We Tell Ourselves is a fiction novel about black students integrating into a white high school. It talks about racism and bullying but also has some aspects of LGBT fiction in there too. The story is told by two different characters in alternating chapters. Sarah, one of the black students and Linda, one of the white students.


Despite this book being so hard to read at times I really loved it. I found it really hard to read some of the bullying scenes as it was really heartbreaking but also made me very angry. I really liked Sarah as a character. She was very brave, strong willed and intelligent. Linda really angered me but as the novel progressed I really saw a big change in her. We also learn a lot more about her home life which explains why she is the way she is. The character development in this novel was really impressive.

Some of the plot seemed to be really enjoyable but some of it was a bit unrealistic. Especially the bits that involved the LGBT content. I feel like some of the characters made very rash decisions which they hadn't thought through, even when in other parts of the novel they are very level headed. Despite that I still really loved this book. It would be amazing if this book was taught in schools. I gave it 5/5 stars on GoodReads

Lies We Tell Ourselves will be released on the 30th of September and you can preorder it on Amazon here.

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5 Reasons To Start A Blog

Wednesday, 10 September 2014
I've been blogging for about two and a half years and it's been about two years since I made my blog known about to people I know in real life. The reaction was a lot more positive than I was expecting and I've only ever had one bitchy comment about it. Although I know there are probably a lot of people that talk about it, just not to my face. I've had a few people saying that they'd also like to start a blog but are scared to/don't know how. So here's a post to all the people out there that want to start a blog, here are 5 reasons why you should.

You'll make amazing friends.
I've met some amazing people through blogging. Some that I'm happy to have a chat with whenever I see them at events, some that I'll be friends with for life. Even if you don't know any bloggers then I'm sure there will be some near by. You can meet them at meet ups and blogging events or arrange to meet up with them by yourselves. I find new social situations a bit daunting and meeting new people is not my strong point. When you meet a blogger in person that you've spoken to online for a while it doesn't even feel like you're meeting someone new. It feels like you're meeting up with an old friend. 

You become so much better at expressing yourself.
Blogging gives you a lot of experience with talking about things at length and expressing yourself in a really specific manner. It's given me a lot more confidence with speaking especially for things like public speaking and interviews I feel like I can represent myself in a really sophisticated and professional manner. This really helped me out when I was studying English in high school.

The community.
The blogging community is on the whole really friendly and supportive. Yes there can be some nastiness and bitchiness but for the most part people are really kind. I love the words of encouragement that I get left it the comments and when someone tells me that they like my blog it can really make my day. Especially if you write a somewhat negative blog post about something bad that's happened, there will always be people helping you out in the comments. It reminds me that you're not alone. 

You get a lot of inspiration.
If you write a blog then chances are that you also read a lot of blogs. I know that you can read blogs without having your own but you do definitely get more submerged in the blogging world when you have your own. I take inspiration from fashion bloggers on outfits, from book bloggers on what to read, from food bloggers on recipes. And lets not even get started on crafting/DIY bloggers!

It gives great opportunities.
You shouldn't start with the intention of receiving PR samples or event invites. But it's nice to know that if you put in all the hard work that you'll get some perks from it. People can tell if you write for the money/products though so make sure this isn't the only reason you're starting a blog. It takes a lot more time and dedication than you think! But I'm not going to lie and say it's not an amazing feeling knowing that a company wants to work with you.

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Review: The Body Shop Vitamin E Sorbet

Monday, 8 September 2014
Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be reviewing some of The Body Shop's Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet which was sent to me for review by the lovely people at The Body Shop in Fort Kinnaird. Fort  Kinnaird is a retail park in Edinburgh that's nice to go to if you want to avoid the busy hustle of the city centre! You can see a list of all of their stores here

 The Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet is a new moisturiser that's marketed at people of all skin types. I've been having a bit of a rough time lately with my skin. It's generally always oily but lately I've found that it's been dry and just playing up. I've also head a lot of great things about skincare from The Body Shop in general so I was excited to try it out. It has a gel consistency and has little bits through it which leave a matte finish on the skin. I really like this because if I don't feel like wearing make up it still looks like I'm wearing a powder. It also has a cooling sensation which I'd say lasts for about 5 minutes. This is really nice, especially for waking you up in the morning. It feels very fresh.

I'm going to be honest and say that I'm not really a fan of the smell of the vitamin E range. I can't put my finger on it I just don't like it. That doesn't really put me off using this though as it doesn't stay. The tub is £12 but as you only need a little bit it will last for a while. I don't think it really works out as being more expensive than my Lush moisturiser and I can see how it would work for all skin types! You can buy it in store or online here.

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Easy Reads

Saturday, 6 September 2014
 It's the start of a new academic year and summer is slowly turning into autumn. I know everyone always talks about summer books as being light, easy reads but that's just not how I roll. The fast, east reads I keep for when I'm busy and just want something fun to escape into. I'd rather keep the long, heavy reads for the summer when I have the time to give them the attention they deserve. So today's blog post is going to be able nice easy reads. These are a few of my favourites and I'm sure I'll reread these before the first semester of uni ends!

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding - This is one of the books where the movie adaptation is just as good which is just so nice sometimes. Bridget Jones is a 30 something, single woman who is trying to get her life together. And obvously nothing goes according to plan. Reading a Bridget Jones book or watching the movie adaptation is like going for a coffee with an old friend. These books are laugh out loud funny and just perfect for when you want a light, easy read. There's also a new one out now which I'm very keen to read!

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson - If you fancy an adorable, romance story then this is the one for you! Amy's family are moving across the country and she's stayed home to make sure the house sale goes smoothly. Then her mum's friend's son offers to drive her and their car across America to the new house. They then end up taking an 'epic detour'. What I love about this so much is that Morgan Matson followed their road trips and has inserted pictures, tickets and receipts for all of the things that they do. I think it really adds something to the book and is a pretty awesome idea.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling - Do I even need to explain? This is just the ultimate feel good book for me. Reading about little Harry Potter discovering he's a wizard whilst knowing what he'll go on to do is absolutely amazing. I reread all of the Harry Potter books during the summer and I just want to read them all again! And as you can see by the state of my copy, I've read it many times before.

What are your favourite easy reads?

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Crocheted Elephants

Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Hello everyone! If you follow me on Instagram then you'll probably have already seen these little cuties. They're probably my most liked photos on Instagram ever! I've been crocheting for about two years now and these crocheted elephants are probably the most difficult thing I've ever made. Each one takes me about 4-5 hours and contains almost 4'000 stitches. But I love them and they're so adorable. The pattern comes from All About Ami and you can read it here. All About Ami is an amazing crochet blog so I'd recommend going and having a look even if you don't want to make an elephant!

I really love the little bits of fabrics in the ears. I think it really adds a cute little touch to the elephant. Hobbycraft had fat quarter bundles of fabric on sale so I stock up! I now have a lot of different fabrics I can use.

Since posting photos of these I've now got another 7 to make for family and friends! So I have a feeling I'm probably going to be a bit bored of elephants by the time I'm finished!

The colours aren't typical elephant colours which I think makes them even cuter! Although I will need to make a grey one at some point. I've also messed about with the placement of the eyes and the length of the trunk to see what looks best. Which one do you think is cuter, the purple or the blue? 

Leave me some colour suggestions below! Also let me know if there are any other animals you'd like to me to try and crochet, I need some inspo! 

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