November Reading Wrap Up

Sunday, 30 November 2014
Hello everyone. Its that time again. Time for the monthly reading wrap up. November has been a pretty solid reading month for me and I finished 5 books, 3 of which were rereads. I've reread a lot of books since starting uni, I find I read books faster if I've read them before and I know I'm going to enjoy them. Plus I don't need to buy new books or go to the library. I'm well on track with my GoodReads challenge for the year and can't wait to finish off the year by hitting my 100 book goal!    

Me, Early and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews - Whilst it has a pretty morbid title this is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. Funnily enough it is about a guy, his friend Earl and a dying girl. This is one of those books about cancer that focuses on the good and not the bad. Similar to The Fault In Our Stars but they were released around the same time so not a copy. I gave this 5/5 stars and really recommend it

Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding - This is just a classic isn't it. The diary of Bridget Jones, a single, 30 something woman living in London. I'm sure you've all heard of this before and probably have seen the movie. This book is as great as you think it will be. Really funny and witty. You just can't put it down. I was sitting going 'I'll read this month and then stop' next thing I knew the book was finished.  Another 5/5 star read from me. 

Paper Towns by John Green - This is my favourite John Green novel but I think its one of the less popular ones. But its currently being made into a movie so I'm sure it will be everywhere soon. This is about Q whose childhood crush shows up in his room at night and they have a crazy night seeking revenge on people. And then she runs away and he is stuck with trying to find her. Its a really fast paced book and I love it. Another 5/5 star book. Its been a good reading month, what can I say?

Adorkable by Sarra Manning - One for the bloggers! This book is about Jeane Smith who runs her own lifestyle blog. The power has kind of gone to her head and she's a bit stuck up. She prides herself on being a dork and thinks herself as better than people who buy clothes from the 'trendy' shops etc. Then she ends up having a relationship with a popular boy. The characters are a bit annoying at times but I still found this to be a fun read. 3/5 stars.

Entry Island by Peter May - Peter May is one of my favourite Scottish authors and I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Edinburgh book festival this August. Entry Island is set in Canada but it also contains flashbacks from one of the characters to the Isle Of Lewis and the Highland Clearances. Even though I learnt about them in school I had no idea of the scale or atrocity of them so it was a very interesting read for me. Took me a while to get into it but once I was hooked I was hooked good. Yet another 5/5 star read for me.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

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Book Rainbow: Green

Saturday, 22 November 2014
Hello everyone. Another post in my book rainbow series. Today I'm talking green books. I think I own more green books than any other colour, it was so easy to find some on my shelves. Not like yellow when I just managed to find the right number of books. Just wanted to say a little thank you for the support that you guys have left for this series in the comments. Its a lot of fun for me to write and I'm glad that you all also enjoy it. Next I'm thinking about maybe doing a series where I talk about books from different continents. What do you think? 

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson - This is a really fun, easy summery read, Its about a really shy girl with an adventurous best friend. One day her best friend's family leave town and all she has is a to do list from Sloan. A to do list of things completely out of her comfort zone. This novel is about learning to have fun, not take yourself so seriously and be who you are. I'd say that you should go and read this book straight away because its great but you should leave it 'til the summer. Its a perfect summer read.

How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran - This is a kind of autobiography by Caitlin Moran that also goes into talking about feminism a lot. I really enjoyed this book but it did take me about a month to read, Sometimes I found it to be a bit overly preachy but I still really enjoyed it. Definitely worth a read. 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - AHHHHHHHHHH. I love Rainbow Rowell's books. This book is about a girl who is going to university, she's very dependant on her twin sister and is really upset that her sister chose not to share a room with her in their dorm. She also writes fan fiction for this world's version of Harry Potter. Its a great book about learning to be independent and there's also some adorable romance thrown in there too. 

The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket - This is probably my favourite in the series. I love Uncle Monty, he seems like an amazing character and how I wish it had worked out for them. I also really love reptiles so its so interesting to read about them here. I am so excited for the Netflix series too. AHHHHH.

My Not So Simple Life by Joanna Nadin - Another Rachel Riley book. These are aimed at younger teenagers but I still love them and can't let them go. I think there's a new one so I need to get round to reading it. These are just fun diary books that make me laugh.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins - This is the final novely in Stephanie Perkin's companion series. You don't have to read them in the order they're written but as you get snippets of the characters from the previous novels I would recommend it. These are normally really squishy romance books but this one is a lot more grown up and slightly darker. Still good but I don't like it as much as the others. Would still recommend this series.

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Christmas Candle Giveaway with Arran Aromatics

Thursday, 20 November 2014
Hello everyone! Today I've got an exciting post for you all, a new giveaway. This time I've teaming up with Arran Aromatics to giveaway one of their Christmas gifts. Now Arran Aromatics are a brand that are very close to my heart. When I was a kid I would always go on holiday to Arran every year with my grandparents and a trip to their HQ was always on the tables. Here we could see everything getting made and have a good sniff at everything. I'm going back for the first time in 3 years this Easter and I am so excited! Its my first time going since I started my blog, would you be interested if I took some photos?

Anyway, so what gift did I choose for you? I went for one of their festive candles, the Mandarin & Petitgrain Festive Candle to be precise. I thought this would be nice as I know a lot of people aren't keen on overly strong spicey scents. This seems like a good medium. I got my mum one of their vanilla scented candles at the Country Living Christmas Fair last year and she loved it, they come beautifully wrapped.


This is a UK only giveaway.
Entries from accounts that are used soley for entering giveaways will not be counted.
You have a week to enter.

Good luck! And thank you to Arran Aromatics for providing the gift.

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Wintery Reads

Sunday, 16 November 2014
Winter is my favourite time to read books. There's something about coming home after a long day, getting into comfy clothing and snuggling up with a book. I'm a big reader at all times of the year but winter is definitely my favourite. There are some books that I just strongly associate with winter so I've decided to share them with you. I love how some people associate books with certain times of the year, it fascinates me. I bet someone reads this list and goes 'oh but that's one of my summer books'. That's the beauty of it.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman - I know this sounds really bad but this book makes me think of winter because there's a car crash due to the snow. Plus in the movie its all wintery and snowy. Its a really sad book which will make you want to go and hug your family. And that's what Christmas and winter is all about right? Ok so this is some really bad justification on my part here. This is a book about a girl, Mia, who is in a car crash that kills her family. She wakes up outside her body and has to make the decision as to whether she lives or dies. Its not the best book but it makes a quick read. You could easily read this in a whole evening.

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle - Well this is just an obvious one isn't it? This book is made up of 3 short stories written by these authors, all set in the same town on Christmas Eve. Weirdly I really didn't enjoy John Green's section but the other two are great reads. This is the perfect book to read cuddled up in bed when its snowing outside. Let it snow!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J K Rowling - Christmas at Hogwarts sounds like it would be the best Christmas there has ever been. I love reading this one in particular as I think they really focus on it, especially in the movie. I just want to have a snowball fight by the lake, wear a Weasley jumper, eat Christmas dinner in the hall and then snooze by the fire in the common room. Yes. That would be a perfect Christmas.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - This is a really cute romance novel which is totally perfect for the winter. It snows a lot in this book and there's even a pretty tense scene where they're driving home during blizzard. From what I can understand Nebraska is quite a cold state but I can't really talk because I live in Edinburgh. Anyway... THIS BOOK IS JUST SO CUTE AND SWEET AND SQUISHY SO GO READ IT OK.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - This isn't really a wintery book but I think the both times I've read it its been in the winter so I kind of associate it that way. This a book that's narrated by death and its about a young girl and her foster family during world war 2. This book is so beautiful and it made me cry. I'm not a big cryer at books so that's really saying something. Even though its sad there are also some heart warming moments so I wouldn't let that put you off!

Are there any books that you think make great winter reads? What did you make of my choices?

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Amazon Student

Friday, 14 November 2014
Hello everyone! I've recently signed up to Amazon Student* and I thought I'd tell you all about it. As you all know I started university in September studying chemistry and have been taking advantage of student deals/discount ever since. Amazon allow students access to their Prime programme for half price, meaning we pay £39 instead! Seeing as Amazon have now introduced a minimum spend for free delivery(£10 on books!) I think that its the best time to invest in something like this. Here are some of my favourite things about Amazon Student.

Free Next Day Delivery - With Amazon Student you get free next day delivery which is so handy at times. The parcel comes with tracked and signed delivery which means you're guaranteed to get it. I think this is quite handy if you're a student because if you were going home for a few days you could order something with next day delivery and then you'd know for sure you'd get it on time. Also if you choose to have the regular 3-5 day delivery instead you get a £1.00 Kindle book/Amazon video credit. You could totally make this worth your while!

Kindle Owner's Lending Library - With Amazon Student you get to take one book out of the Kindle Owner's lending library a month. This sounds like a pretty sweet deal but I personally found the selection of books on it to be pretty limited. Most of the books on it are romance/crime novels. The sort of books that you can get really cheaply on Kindle anyway. I would be a lot happier with this if they had a wider range of books including some more popular titles.

Prime Instant Videos - Amazon have their own version of Netflix and its actually pretty good. Its has loads of really good movies and tv shows that you can watch. Especially handy as I have a Kindle tablet which means I can watch them all curled up in bed. There's a ton of pretty recent movies on there but also loads of kids ones and Disney ones. So it's also pretty great if you have kids/younger siblings because they can watch them too. Obviously not as well stocked as some other options out there but is much cheaper!

Do you have Amazon Student? What do you think of it?

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Book Rainbow: Yellow

Saturday, 8 November 2014
Hello everyone. Its been a while but I'm finally bringing around another installation of my book rainbow series. Today we're talking about yellow books. Yellow is one of my favourite colours and I used to think that I had a ton of yellow books until I started looking them out for this post. I actually struggled to find six of them to include! Maybe I need to make a resolution to read more yellow books! I think I might actually make a resolution next year to read more colourful books. Doing this series has made me realise that I own an absolute ton of black/white books. Way more than I have colourful books. And I love how amazing a bookshelf full of different colours looks.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner - This is a book that I'm not actually too sure on the colour of. Sometimes I think it looks really green and other times it looks really yellow. I think it looks yellow in the photos though! Anyway, this is the first book a series and unfortunately probably the best book in that series. I hate it when this happens but books two and three really don't live up to this one. I'm just about to start the prequel so I'm interested to see how that one is. Will be doing a full series review when I've finished it so keep an eye out.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides - This is an absolutely beautiful book. Its about some boys who are obsessed with some of the girls that live across the street from them. The sisters have really strict parents and eventually end up killing themselves. Its so well written and really engaging. I really recommend it!

The Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris - I don't know if this really counts as a yellow book but it does have quite a bit of yellow on the cover so I'm counting it. This is a bit of a horror read so not one I'd recommend if you don't like a good thriller. It isn't very gory but it's quite psychologically unnerving. Its about an FBI agent who interviews a cannibal in a high security prison.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Ok if you've not read this book then you seriously need to get on it ASAP. This is a true classic and its easy to understand why. This book is about racism in Southern America and is told by a little kid. Its so sweet but sad at sometimes and it really deserves its reputation!

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht - I know this sounds really bad but I can't actually remember what this one is about. I remember enjoying it when I read it a few years ago but it obviously didn't make a very big effect on me! *quick google* The Tiger's Wife is about a young doctor who is treating children in the Balkans. Her and her friend start to notice weird things going on and they are also confused by her grandfather's recent and mysterious death. Ah. I remember now. It was an ok read so would recommend picking it up if you see it in a charity shop or something. I wouldn't rush out and buy it.

The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket - Again we have another Series Of Unfortunate Events book! Apparently Netflix are going to be making a TV series of this and I am so so so excited! This was one of my favourites as I really liked the setting of the apartment in this and their new guardians were very interesting characters. These books are all really well made and contain some beautiful illustrations!

What are your favourite books with yellow covers?

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RECIPE: Christmas Cookies

Thursday, 6 November 2014
Hello everyone. My mum's just had her kitchen done up. It is absolutely beautiful, the only words I can find to describe it are that it is 'very Pinterest'. As soon as I saw photos of the kitchen I knew that I couldn't wait to go home and bake. I'd just started my Christmas shopping and was feeling very festive. Plus I'd just been sent some new products from Mackays new Christmas range. So I decided I was going to combine two of my favourite types of biscuits: snickerdoodles and thumbprint cookies. Snickerdoodles are an American thing and we really need to get on that trend more in the UK because they're delicious. Imagine sweet, vanilla flavoured biscuits rolled in sugar and cinnamon. Yum. Thumbprint cookies are where you press down into the middle of a biscuit and fill the dip with jam/marmalade/curd/whatever floats your boat. You can read a previous thumbprint cookie recipe here. Anyway, lets get on with the recipe!

4oz butter
4oz granulated sugar + extra for rolling
3oz brown sugar
1 large egg
1tsp of vanilla extract or a small amount of dried vanilla pod
1/2 tsp baking sofa
1/2 tsp baking powder
7oz of plain flour
1tsp cinnamon
1 jar of jam/marmalade to your fancy

The new products that Mackays sent me were their Christmas Preserve with Mulled Wine* and their Christmas Marmalade with Cranberries*. I decided to use the marmalade for my biscuits as I want to use the jam later on in the year to make some Christmasy jam tarts closer to Christmas. The cranberry flavour really stood through and it was absolutely delicious! 

1. Cream butter and sugar together for a few minutes.
2. Add the vanilla and your egg and beat again until smoothly combined.
3. Stir in the baking powder and baking soda.
4. Add your flour and combine until a dough is formed. 
5. Separate your dough into little balls and flatten on greased baking trays. I got 12 good sized cookies out of my mix.
6. This step is very important. Now you should chill your cookie dough in the fridge for at least an hour. This helps stop them from spreading in the oven and makes for a nicer and chewier cookie. I only waited an hour and mine still spread quite a bit! Preferably leave it for a few hours or even overnight.
7. Take your cookies out the fridge and heat your oven to around 170 degrees Celsius. 
8. In a small bowl combine about 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar with your cinnamon. 
9. Take your cookies and roll them in the sugar mix. Then return to the baking tray.
10. Using the back of a spoon make an indent in the middle of the cookie and fill this with jam/marmalade. 
11. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
12. These are the sort of cookies that will still be soft when you take them out the oven so wait for 10 minutes for them to cool before moving/eating.

Have you done any Christmas-y baking recently? Let me know if you try out this recipe!

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DUO Boots Event

Tuesday, 4 November 2014
Hello everyone! I went along to the Boot Tribe event at DUO Boots on Castle Street a few weeks ago and I'm finally getting round to blogging about it! DUO are an internatinal brand that specialise in well tailored shoes and boots. The shoes all come in a narrow, regular or wide fit and all the boots come in different calf measurements. This means that you end up with a really well fitting pair of shoes that will last you ages! The price tag is quite high but they're all really high quality and a pair of DUO boots will last you years.

The purpose of the event was all about the Boot Tribe. Duo are running a little 'competition' almost between the 3 types of boots. Ankle, knee high and over the knee. We all got given a little tag and were to attach it to our favourite pair. I personally am a knee high girl but unfortunately we lost. With 55% of Edinburgh bloggers going for the ankle boot. We came in second with 36% and the over the knee boots only got 9%. Poor guys.

The shop has such a lovely lay out and there are so many shoes and boots to look at. I think myself and a lot of other bloggers were really stunned and it took us a long time to pick a favourite. I was going round like 'ohh I like these' 'but these are gorgeous' 'the heel on those is amazing'. You catch my drift. But I finally settled on a pair and I think I made the right choice.

I decided to go for the Gravina pair of boots which I've added a little photo of below. They're kind of like riding boots which I love the style of. Although don't let my little sister know I said that because she's one of those horse obsessed people who are always posting photos of horses on Facebook! Normally I wear a lot of black shoes and boot so I decided to go for something a little out of my comfort zone with this tan leather. I'm still getting used to styling them but I think they look great with tights and a dress. Stay tuned for an OOTD!

Thank you to DUO Boots and Octane PR for a fabulous night and an even better pair of boots!

So what do you think are you an ankle boot, knee high or over the knee boot triber?

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