Monday, 30 June 2014

July Goals

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.

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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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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Week In Photos #71


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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Saturday, 28 June 2014

June Degustabox

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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Friday, 27 June 2014

Book Review: Inside Number 129

 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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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Things That Make Me Happy #78

1. Orange, chocolate chip coffee cake. Yes please.

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2. A little balcony den like this would be perfect.

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3. This nail art is seriously insane!

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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Happy Birthday Batdog

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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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Summer Reading List

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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Monday, 23 June 2014

OOTD: It's Too Hot





Top - Primark / Skirt - Matalan / Flip flops - Ipanema*

This is what I wore last Tuesday, it was absolutely roasting! I went down to Stuart's house during the day and then went down to Nandos to meet two of my friends for dinner. Did you know that Nando's do peach iced tea now? I can't express how happy this makes me! It's been ridiculously hot recently. I really can't handle it, my hayfever has also been through the roof. I've basically spent the last few days indoors but it doesn't seem to do much help. I know I shouldn't complain because we don't get weather like this often but if it could cool down even just a tiny bit that would be absolutely brilliant.

I bought this shirt from Primark around this time last year but haven't worn it much, I do love it thought. I'm still not entirely sure it goes with the skirt but its a case of, I like it so I'll wear it. And the flip flops. I was sent these by Ipanema via EtailPR and they are the comfiest flip flops I've ever owned. Normally the toe bar really irritates me but I was able to walk to Stuart's and then to Nandos(about 2 miles) with no discomfort. I can definitely see myself getting a lot of wear out of them. They seem to have completely disappeared from the Ipanema website but they do have a ton of really nice flip flops that aren't too expensive either.

Using Survey Monkey, I made a survey about my blog and asked on Twitter for people to fill it in. One of the questions was 'what do you dislike about Water Painted Dreams/what can I improve?' and someone said 'OOTD photos could be clearer'. I whole heartedly agree with this but want to know what you guys think I should do to improve my photos? Do you like the background or should I try and get something more plain? OOTD photos outside? Different poses? Get my face in the shots too? Please please please let me know in the comments! Or if you want you could fill in the survey here. This would really help me improve my blog!

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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Top 5 Summer Nail Polishes

 Hello everyone! I bought some of the plastic nail wheels from eBay a gazillion years ago(or so it feels like when you order from China) so to celebrate them arriving I thought I'd do a little post about my favourite nail polishes for summer! Can you tell I'm a Model's Own fan? I just can't help it, they do the best nail varnishes. Also all the nail polishes here are cruelty free to the best of my knowledge, this means that they have not been tested on animals.


Model's Own Hyper Gel in Red Lustre - As far as I'm concerned there's never a time where red nails are inappropriate. The hyper gel collection gives beautiful, shiny nails. They don't last too long but I still think they're great nail polishes. They also have that slightly raised feeling you get with actual gel nails, I love this effect! This would look great with a little blue and white nautical outfit or paired with red lipstick and a little black dress.

Sinful Colors in Hazard - This is an absolutely beautiful coral colour! I have to admit that Sinful Colours nail polishes aren't the best and they do chip really easily but for £1.99 you're getting what you pay for. I do love the colour of this however, so I love to wear it on my toes because I find that nail polish doesn't chip easily on my toes. It's a great peachy coral, I love it!

Model's Own Hedkandi in Beach Party - This is just the ultimate summer colour don't you think? The beautiful neon orange looks absolutely amazing on the nails. I never have a tan but I imagine that it would really accentuate a tan. The quality of this nail polish is great as well, it'll last a few days before chipping. It also dries semi matte which personally I love!

Model's Own Hyper Gel in Turquoise Gloss - Another Hyper Gel polish, what a surprise! This colour is beautiful, definitely a poolside shade if you ask me! It's gorgeous and like Red Lustre, is great quality!

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in Prickly Pear - I also love Barry M's offering on gel nails although not as much as I love the Model's Own ones. These take a while to dry but once they're done they so shiny and lovely. Prickly Pear is a gorgeous lilac that looks great in the spring and summer months!


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Saturday, 21 June 2014

My Life In Books Tag

Hello everyone. Today I've got another book tag, I saw this one on Elettravelle and it seemed pretty interesting so I thought I'd give it a go.



What is the first book that you remember reading?
The Hodgeheg by Dick King-Smith. Now I want to read it again!

What books make up your childhood?
Definitely the Harry Potter books! I can't count how many times I've read them over!

What's the first series of books you devoured?
Probably the Series Of Unfortunate Events books by Lemony Snicket. I still love them now! My mum bought them for me which is weird because my mum isn't into reading at all, it was normally my grandparents that got me books.

What books take you back to a certain point in your life and why?
Reading To Kill A Mockingbird reminds me of being 12 years old and being on holiday. This was when I really started to take books more seriously and started to read more serious literature.

What book changed your life or at least could change someone else's?
I would say The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It's a great coming of age novel and it made me think a lot about the way that people treat each other. I find reading this book to be an extremely humbling experience.

If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which book would it be?
Probably The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It's absolutely stunning! I've read it twice and it was ever better the second time around so I imagine it would just get better and better each time I read it. Although I am tempted to say War and Peace because the only way I'd ever finish it would be if it was the only book I had left to read!

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Friday, 20 June 2014

Crafting With Sugru

Hello everyone. I was recently contacted by the folk over at Sugru asking if I'd be interested in trying out some Sugru* which is dubbed the 'adult playdough'. It's self setting rubber that can be molded like playdough and used to fix things that are broken or improve things. I thought it sounded really interesting so I decided to give it ago. 


Sugru comes in packets of 3 sachets for £6.99 or 8 sachets for £12.99. I think the 8 pack is quite good value for money but the 3 pack is a little over priced! Sugru can stick to almost any material and will set when left over night. There are so many amazing things that you can do with it. If you're interested in getting some ideas you can watch this really great video about it here. But in short, it can be used to make things waterproof, fix fraying cables, add extra grips to things etc etc. It's also heat and cold resistant which is really handy if you wanted to fix pot handles or something.


The packaging is relaly great and gives you so many ideas. There's also a really handy colour chart which shows you how to mix up some colours. Then I first heard about it I instantly thought of my crochet hooks. I bought a really cheap packet of crochet hooks from eBay for about 2 pounds. They're made of coloured aluminium and they are really great but I find that if I work on something for too long then they give me blisters. I decided to use my sugru to 'pimp my hooks'. You can buy crochet hooks with grips on them but they're generally a lot more expensive.


I needed one sachet of Sugru for each hook. I was tempted to try and mix up the colours but for my first use I thought I better play it safe. I flattened each bit of Sugru and then wrapped it around the base of the crochet hook. Then I rolled it between my palms to flatten out any wrinkles. Then after leaving it to set overnight, they were ready to go.


I really like the addition of the Sugru. It's very soft and making crocheting a lot easier on my hands. The thing is, it has a really strong chemical smell. I first noticed it when I had just opened the packets, I thought this would go away as I used it but it's still there after it's set. It's not too strong anymore but as I use these a lot it transfers onto my hands.

I would recommend Sugru but maybe not for anything that you'll be touching a lot! It can be bought online at Amazon or in person in shops like Wilkos and B&Q.

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Thursday, 19 June 2014

Book Review: The Good Children

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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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Review: Lush Ocean Salt

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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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

My Top 5 Free Kindle Books

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 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!

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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Monday, 16 June 2014

LYDC Birkbeck Shopper Bag

Hello everyone, today I'm going to be talking about my beautiful new handbag. I've wanted to get a big 'shopper' style bag for ages so I absolutely fell in love with the design of the LYDC Birkbeck Shopper*. I used to be the person that would have one bag at a time and I would just use it until it fell apart and then get another one. Now I'm trying to build a little collection of good quality bags that I can match to different outfits. This bag is available in black, cream, grey and tan but I decided to go with grey as I don't have a bag in that colour.


When the bag arrived I was really impressed with how well it was packaged. LYDC obviously take packaging very seriously as it took me about 15 minutes to get all of the plastic wrapping off. It was in perfect condition apart from the fact that there's nothing on the zip(more on that later). The bag itself is very, very big. And because of this it means that you can fit so much into it. It can definitely fit a good amount of A4 paper into it, I'm definitely going to be using this when I go to uni. It feels very sturdy and I would be confident that it can stand up to carrying a heavy load. There are loads of inner pockets in the lining and an extra zipped pocket on the outside. The pocket on the outside is the perfect size for keeping your phone in, it's really handy!


The only thing that's really bugging me about this bag is that the zipper doesn't have anything on it. As photographed below. At first I thought that this was a malfunction and that mine has just broken but when I looked at the photos on the LYDC website I realised that it's not actually shown there either. Weird, very weird. I don't know what that's all about. It makes it really awkward to open/close the bag when in a rush. I'm going to have to attach something to it myself.


This bag costs £29 which I think is quite reasonable for the quality of the bag. Shipping is also free for the UK mainland so that's a great thing to take advantage of! I'm really pleased with my bag from LYDC and I would definitely buy another bag from them!

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell
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Sunday, 15 June 2014

Week In Photos #70


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.


Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell
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Saturday, 14 June 2014

May Degustabox

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!

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

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