Sassy Books: I'll Give You The Sun

Tuesday, 30 June 2015
Hello all you sassy readers. If you read this post at the end of May then you'll know that I launched a book club with my blogging best friend Charlotte. Our book for June was I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson and we invited you all to come and read it alongside us. Today is the day that we are going to be reviewing it and inviting everyone to get discussing it! I'll also be announcing the July book at the end of this post so stay tuned until the end to find out what it is!

Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close - until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don't realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

So how did I get on with I'll Give You The Sun.


In all honesty, not as great as I thought I would. I did enjoy this book, I read it very quickly, but there were also some things that I didn't like. Also I know its not really a proper complaint about the book or the characters but the chapters in this book were so long which made it a bit difficult to stay focused whilst reading!


The book is split between two narratives. The chapters alternate between the two twins at different ages. 13 year old Noah and 16 year old Jude. In 13 year old Noah's narrative the twins are very close and share everything with each other. In Jude's they hardly speak so it is very obvious that something really bad has happened to tear them apart. The twins are both very electric and passionate characters. The way that they describe everything is very vivid and they are both so artistic in different ways.



Jandy Nelson has a very beautiful writing style. Her words flow very easily and are almost magical. She describes everything in such a lyrical manner with rich metaphors to emphasise her points. Whilst this made the book a really easy and quick read its not something I'm very keen on and what I disliked about the book. The writing style made the characters seem not normal, human or relatable. I didn't feel like I was reading a book set in a 'real life' setting and it felt like more of a fantasy novel. I'm not saying that that's a bad thing but I couldn't sympathise with characters at all. They didn't seem like real people and that made it hard to care about what was happening to them/their feelings.



In the end, I decided to give I'll Give You The Sun 3/5 stars. Beautiful writing but the story just didn't cut it for me. Here are the links to some other bloggers who have reviewed I'll Give You The Sun as part of #sassybooks: Cornflakegirl's Musings, Life in Ginger, This Northern Gal, Bethan Likes, Alley Hope, Shy Strange Manic, Miss Allie Nicole, The Lardy Grub


So what is next months book?


Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill. We chose this one because it deals with some pretty harsh ideas which we thought would lead to some really interesting reviews/discussions. If you'd like to join us in reading this one in July then please feel free to do so. We will be posting our reviews on the last Tuesday of the month(the 28th) and if you want your review to be included in the round up then send us a link. Don't forget to use the hashtag #sassybooks!

In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.

Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year. But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.
Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known.


I've been trying to find a link to buy the paperback copy of this book and it seems like the new cover is available for preorder from Amazon but you can still buy the Kindle version here. I bought my copy in Waterstones so I would maybe recommend trying out your local book shop if you want to find the same copy as I have. The Book Depository also have it online(here) but their shipping can be quite slow.

If you joined in this month then thank you so much and I hope you enjoyed participating in the book club. I would love it if as many of you as possible could join in in July! Also there isn't long to enter my giveaway to win an electric wax warmer so if you'd be interested then you can enter here.


Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell
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Oil Pulling - Tried And Tested

Monday, 29 June 2015
The oil pulling craze has taken the world by storm over the last few months and I was really intrigued by it. I bought myself a £9 tub of coconut oil from Holland & Barrett and decided to properly try it out and see if it worked. You know, for SCIENCE. And the blog post. Obviously.

What is oil pulling?
Oil pulling involves putting a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swishing it about your mouth for 20 minutes. You have to pull it through your teeth which is where the name comes from. It is an old idea, first done in India 3'000 years ago. It is meant to draw out toxins from your mouth which helps reduce headaches, acne and asthma. It also kills off bacteria in your mouth, reduces bad breath and whitens your teeth. Being very sceptic about natural remedies for health problems, I was interested in oil pulling simply because I want to whiten my teeth. I brush twice a day and regularly visit the dentist. There is nothing wrong with my teeth, they are just more yellow than I would like. You can use many different types of oil but I used coconut. You spit the oil out into the bin after twenty minutes and it should have changed colour from clear to white and doubled in volume. Don't spit it into the sink as it will solidify and clog the drains.


How does it work?
Time to put that chemistry degree I'm working on to good use. Molecules can be split into two types, polar and non polar molecules. Ie charged molecules and uncharged molecules. Polar molecules will only dissolve in other polar molecules and vice versa. Like dissolves like. You probably already know this. Nail varnish(non polar) will not dissolve in water(polar) but will dissolve in acetone(polar). So in theory a lot of toxins/bad bacteria will stick to your teeth and not dissolve in the water that you drink etc. Oil pulling will help draw out these toxins and bacteria because oil is non polar. It is also thought that oil pulling lengthens the time it takes for your teeth to feel 'fuzzy' again after brushing.

My Experience
I decided to try out oil pulling for a week to see if I would notice a difference. In the first few days I only done it once a day but towards the end of the week I did it twice a day.

Day One: I decided to coax myself into this and only use one teaspoon of oil as opposed to a whole tablespoon as that seemed rather scary. It was really weird to get used to the feeling of the solid oil in my mouth but after it melted I couldn't tell the difference between the oil and mouthwash. As the oil was melting it has a really similar texture to the Lindt chocolate truffles which is probably going to put me right off them. I made the mistake of using it like mouthwash. I think you have to use it a lot more gently as other wise it will seriously hurt your jaw. The oil also doesn't really have a taste which I was quite surprised my. I did it whilst responding to blog emails/comments and the time flew by. So far, so good.

Day Two: This time I used a little bit more oil. I added it in small amounts, adding the next bit after the first bit had melted. I adjusted to the texture of the melting oil a lot faster than I did the first time and I am feeling really positive about this now. To be honest I'm very weak stomached and I expected this to make me feel ill and make me gag. I'm handling it very well!

Day Three: This was the first day that I did it twice in the one day. So far, I'm really enjoying oil pulling and getting along with it a lot better than I thought I would be. I've learnt that its important to keep yourself busy whilst doing it otherwise it feels like it takes ages. Although today I got a little bit enthusiastic and accidentally swished so hard I accidentally spat some all down my chin. So gross. Would definitely recommend keeping a tissue on hand whilst doing this.

Day Four: I didn't do this in the morning as I was working but I did do it at night. I think I accidentally used too much as I had to finish around the 10 minute mark and I felt like I was about to swallow it. That being said, I did notice a slight difference to the shade of my teeth. They seem a little bit lighter but in a very natural way which is quite nice.

Day Five: All is good in the hood. Just trying to stick with it and keep going. I definitely can't see myself doing this twice a day, every day. I think I'll carry on with it for another week or something and then do if every few days after that. It is beginning to feel a bit tedious.


Day six: I think the biggest difference I'm actually noticing with this is that my teeth feel much smoother and cleaner. There is a slight difference in the colour but the main benefit that I'm feeling is that my teeth seem to last a lot longer after brushing before getting that horrible fuzzy feeling.

Day seven: Wow this has been a fast week. I actually got on a lot better than expected and I'm surprised with how quick twenty minutes now seems. I haven't noticed a massive difference in the colour of my teeth but I can't deny a slight change. I can see myself carrying on with this, just not twice a day every day.

Conclusion
I actually got on a lot better with oil pulling than I expected to. Coconut oil doesn't really have a texture or a taste when fully melted so its not as gross or as weird as you might think. In terms of tooth whitening, this definitely isn't a quick or easy fix. That being said I have noticed a slight difference in the colour of my teeth. They do look a bit whiter but in a more natural way than typical teeth whitening. I think if I carried this on for longer and used a higher quality(and probably more expensive) oil then I would notice a bigger difference.

That being said oil pulling has made my mouth feel on the whole a lot cleaner. My teeth feel a lot smoother and seem to stay clean for longer. Obviously oil pulling should not replace cleaning your teeth but I've found that oil pulling in the morning before brushing my teeth has really improved my oral hygiene and is a great supplement to brushing and flossing.

I'm going to carry on with oil pulling. Not every day but at least a few days a week. I think everyone should at least give it a go! What do you think? Is this something you'd be interested in?

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

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Student Sundays: Accommodation

Sunday, 28 June 2015
Hello everyone! Time for another Student Sunday post! Last week's post(link here) was really, really popular. One of my most read posts ever and I had about 4 times the amount of page views I usually get the day it was published! Amazing! So glad that people are enjoying this series and finding it helpful! Today's post is about the accommodation. I'll be talking about the different types of accommodation available to students and discussing the pros and cons of each option. I've only stayed in one type so far so the pros and cons of the others are things that I've been told by friends who tried out that type.


So I thought I'd start off by explaining what I did for accommodation in first year. Livingston, my home town, is right next to Edinburgh and its really popular for students to live at home and travel to Edinburgh/Glasgow for uni every day. This is what I had planned to do but decided to apply for accommodation. I just decided that I wanted the independence and freedom of living on my own at university. Being quite shy, I was worried that I wouldn't fit in in halls but wanted to push myself and try it. I'm so glad I did because this last year has been the best year of my life and I wouldn't change my first year experience at all! I stayed in the East Newington Place accommodation which is a great inexpensive halls in Edinburgh. I've linked it for any prospective Edinburgh students who want to have a look. It was a a shared bathroom which was completely fine so I wouldn't recommend paying extra for an en-suite if you are considering uni accommodation.


Stay At Home

Pros: If you live close enough to your university then living at home and travelling to uni every day is an option. This can definitely be a lot cheaper and you can still enjoy your home comforts. You'll be able to do all your laundry at home for free and still eat meals with your family. You don't have to leave the dog/cat behind either!

Cons: You will probably miss out on a lot of the social aspects of university and you might find it harder to meet people and make friends. For example you might not be able to make parties or nights out if you have to make the last bus/train home. The time that it takes you to travel to uni each day also might be quite long. This is the main thing that put me off staying at home. I'm from a town near Edinburgh where most people stay at home but I'm so glad that I didn't.

Things to consider: Research into how much money it would cost you to travel to uni every day. Also take into consideration how long it would take you, how early you would have to get up in the morning and how traffic would affect your journey. Would also be a good idea to ask your parents if they would like you to pay dig money if you were to stay at home. I know most people don't think their parents will want dig money but they might surprise you so its definitely something to take into consideration.

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How To Get Into Reading

Saturday, 27 June 2015
Hello everyone. I've already written two posts about how to read more books(here and here) but I still get a lot of comments asking about how to get into reading in the first place. Or people saying that they don't really enjoy reading or have never really gotten hooked on a book and asking for my advice on how to enjoy it more. Reading is something that I've always loved from a young age so I don't really know when or how I got into reading. Its just a part of me! But I've compiled this list of 5 tips on getting into reading. Obviously I don't know if these will work as I've never really tried them myself but these are the things that I think would work best for people who want to start reading books!


Visit your local library - If you're wanting to get into reading then the price of books may daunt you a little bit. I read books all the time so I know that spending £7.99 on a book is probably an investment that will end well for me. So a good way to get around this is to visit your local library. Signing up for a card is really quick(and free!) and you can take out loads of books instantly. Libraries will also have lots of cool things like audio books and graphic novels that you might be interested in as well. So head down to the library, try and get a wide range of books so that you can try different genres and see which ones you like best.

Ask your friends for recommendations - Your friends are good people. You probably already have a few things in common. So there's a pretty good chance that your friends probably have good taste in books too. So go round your friends and ask for some recommendations. Then have a look online at what those books are all about and pick a few that you like the sound of the most. Try these ones out! The benefit of this is that most of your booky friends will probably be willing to lend you some of these books. But remember to take care of them. I find it really annoying and disrespectful when someone borrows one of my books and returns it in bad condition.

Try a new genre - Science Fiction books might not seem like your kinda thing but if you've never tried reading any then how will you know! Some times picking up a book that you think you'll hate might be the best thing for you. Once you get properly into reading its much easier to know exactly what you like and dislike in books but until then why not try out as much as possible. There are so many genres out there: romance, mystery, crime, horror, science fiction, contemporary, verse, young adult, new adult, dystopian, historical, chick lit, classics, graphic novels, autobiographies, fantasy, military and on and on! Push out the boat and try something new!

Dedicate some time every day for reading - I always try to read for at least 15 minutes before bed. Every day. This might seem like a lot to you if you don't read a lot but its actually 1.04% of my day and I really enjoy it. This is when I get the majority of my reading done and most of the time I actually end up reading for longer than 15 minutes because I really enjoy it. Reading before bed really switches me off and helps me to fall asleep faster.

Try reading somewhere new - I read in bed. I read on the sofa. I read on the bus. I read on the train. I'll read on my lunch break. Etc etc. You might not like reading whilst sitting in your house. But you might actually quite like it as a way to pass the time on your morning commute rather than watching cat videos on your phone(I love a good cat video but they aren't exactly productive). So try reading in a new environment. It might work out a lot better than you expected.

I hope these tips are helpful! Let me know in the comments which book you plan to read next! Also don't forget to enter my giveaway.

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell
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Reader Survey Results

Friday, 26 June 2015
Hello everyone! Thank you to everyone who filled out my reader survey. It really helped me understand what my readers want from this blog. The results were really interesting(to me at least) so I thought I'd share them with you. There are also some comments that I want to address and ask for some more feedback!



How old are you?
Under 18 - 20%
18-25 - 60%
25-35 - 20%
Over 35 - 0%

This one was really interesting as it totally disagrees with what Google Analytics says about my reader demographics!


How long have you been following Water Painted Dreams?

I got a really varied set of results from this one. Ranging from one day to since the beginning. It actually worries how many people have been following my blog for 3 years or so. Kudos to you for sticking around through my bad image quality stages!

How do you follow Water Painted Dreams?


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Owlchemy Wax Melt Warmer GIVEAWAY

Thursday, 25 June 2015
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Things I've Actually Said To My Dog

Wednesday, 24 June 2015
I have to admit that I talk to my dog, a lot. Unsurprisingly he never talks back(not even with a bark). Unless you've ever had a dog I think its hard to understand how big a part they play in  your life. So if its just me and Batdog chilling around or out on a walk, I'm constantly talking to him. I even have a 'dog voice' and I will make two sided conversations where I switch from my voice to 'Batdog's voice'. I know I'm not crazy because so many other dog owners will admit to doing the same thing. Normally I'm just speaking a load of rubbish and I think 'Oh my god, I can't believe I'm speaking to my dog like this. Glad no one can hear me.' So obviously I'm going to blog about it. Logic.


Also it's Batdog's third birthday today. He was 10 months old when we adopted him and I can't believe he's reached that age already. He's technically older than I am in dog years! With little grey hairs under his chin he's practically an old man. Still has the maturity of a puppy and absolutely no common sense however.....
  • Some days you look like a seal and sometimes you look like a fox. Today is a fox day.
  • Ok so you can stay in the bathroom but you are not coming in the shower.
  • What do you want for your birthday?
  • Hey Sam there's a rabbit running the fuck away from you because it knows better.
  • Are you going to help me with the hoovering or be a massive pain in the butt whilst I try to do the hoovering?
  • What sort of noise do you call that?
  • Do you want a biscuit? Ok yeah that's a stupid question.
  • What do you think of these shoes?
  • Sitting nice is an intrinsic part of preparing for the walkies?
  • I wish I could take you to IKEA. You would love IKEA.
  • Can you please stop trying to pick fights with Bailey(massive cross breed that lives on our street, potentially part lion) because you cannot win that fight?
  • Who's your favourite human? Me or mum?
  • Yeah ok mum. She's my favourite human too. Who's our second favourite human? Is it me?
  • What've you got a sock for? You know you aren't allowed socks.

Do you speak to your dog? If so, what's the weirdest thing you've ever said to them?

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell
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If You Liked TFIOS....

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be recommending you some books. I think The Fault In Our Stars got a lot of people into reading. A lot of people didn't like it but a lot of people did. I've been a fan of John Green since before he released The Fault In Our Stars and I even had the chance to meet him. He was such a nice guy and is exactly like he is in his YouTube videos. So this post is for those who loved the book. I'm going to be giving you some recommendations of books to read if you liked The Fault In Our Stars. Because if you liked that, you'll love these books. Let me know if you enjoy this style of post and I can do some more!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jessie Andrews - This has often been compared to TFIOS which is a little unfair as they were released around the same time. If I'm honest, I enjoyed this one more! This book is about a teenage guy who doesn't really have a lot of friends in school. His tactic is to keep quiet and go under the radar. Until his mum starts forcing him to go visit an old childhood friend who is dying of cancer. This is a book about cancer and it is laugh out loud funny. How does that work? I'm not sure. This book will make you cry but it will also make you laugh and it makes for a great reading experience.
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Lush Twilight Bath Bomb Review

Monday, 22 June 2015




Hello everyone! I feel like I haven't done a Lush review in absolutely ageeeeeeees. Although I have been totally drooling over photos of their new Oxford Street store. Now I just need a ton of money so that I can travel to London and buy the whole store! Ok, well maybe not the whole store. Just a high percentage of it. I'm really excited to get my hands on some of the Lord Of Misrule shower gel because that was one of my favourite bath bombs at Christmas time(review here). Their lipsticks also look really nice, I've been after the liquid lipstick in Perspective for ages but a solid lipstick would be so much nicer. Anyway, today I'm talking about the Twilight bath bomb which is part of their permanent range. I was in Glasgow last week and I popped in for a wee look and came out with this. The Lush store in my hometown is relatively new so buying things from the Glasgow/Edinburgh stores is so nostalgic because I always used to get excited to go to the cities so I could buy some Lush!

The Twilight bath bomb has quite a strong lavender scent with quite a sweet edge. I'd always been put off buying this one before because I thought that it was really sweet but its actually not at all! Sometimes in the Lush store the other scents over power you and its hard to get a true feel for the smell before you bring it home. The scent reminds me of the Buffy Body Butter if you've even tried that. The scent is so soothing and I now understand why they call it Twilight, it will send you to sleep if you aren't careful.

Its pink on the outside and blue on the inside so leaves your bath a really nice lilacy purple. It contains quite a bit of glitter which I hadn't realised when I bought it. I absolutely hate glittery bath bombs because I always have to spend an age cleaning the bath afterwards but if glitter is your thing then this one if for you. It contains a lot of essential oils which means it was very moisturising. Some of them I find to be a bit greasy but this one was the perfect amount! I really enjoyed this bath bomb and would definitely recommend it. A repurchase is on the table I think!

What is your favourite Lush product? Are you a Twilight fan(the bath bomb, not the film)?

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell
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Student Sundays: Getting Started

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Hello everyone! Hope you all are well. Today I'm bringing out my first real post in my Student Sundays series. This post is all about some things that you can do just now to prepare for going to university. These tips are really aimed at people who have either confirmed an unconditional place or have confirmed a conditional offer and have selected an insurance choice. These tips are also aimed at people that are going to be moving out for uni. In my home town its really popular for students to live at home and travel to uni but I decided to move out because I wanted to be closer to uni, in the city and have the independence that living on my own offered me. To be honest, there's not really as much prep needed if you'll be living at home but you might find some of this useful anyway! So here are some things that you can do to start getting prepared!

Apply for accomodation - I really cannot stress how important it is not to leave this until the last minute. My university gives out accommodation on a first come first served system so its important to get in there as soon as possible. For accommodation I would really recommend going for self catered. I don't think catered is worth the money and I don't think you get as good an experience either. Also consider whether you need an en suite. I stayed in a shared bathroom accommodation and so did all my friends and we had no complaints. Everyone has different timetables so its not like everyone is trying to use the same bathroom in the morning as people will be waking up at different times. If you are interested in Edinburgh accommodation specifically then I stayed at East Newington Place which was my first choice. My second and third choices were South Clerk Street and Sciennes respectively. 


Join Fresher's Facebook Pages - If you type your university name into Facebook and something like 'Fresher's 2015' you will most likely find a Facebook page with lots of members. Request to join this page and you can get chatting with people who will be doing the same course as you and who will be living in the same accommodation. I met all of my flatmates through this page and some of my best friends from my course. I really recommend doing this! If you are still waiting to see if you've made your conditional then I would suggest joining the page for your hopeful uni and for your firm choice too. You can always leave the page of the uni you don't end up going to.
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Student Sundays: Getting Started


Hello everyone! Hope you all are well. Today I'm bringing out my first real post in my Student Sundays series. This post is all about some things that you can do just now to prepare for going to university. These tips are really aimed at people who have either confirmed an unconditional place or have confirmed a conditional offer and have selected an insurance choice. These tips are also aimed at people that are going to be moving out for uni. In my home town its really popular for students to live at home and travel to uni but I decided to move out because I wanted to be closer to uni, in the city and have the independence that living on my own offered me. To be honest, there's not really as much prep needed if you'll be living at home but you might find some of this useful anyway! So here are some things that you can do to start getting prepared!

Apply for accomodation - I really cannot stress how important it is not to leave this until the last minute. My university gives out accommodation on a first come first served system so its important to get in there as soon as possible. For accommodation I would really recommend going for self catered. I don't think catered is worth the money and I don't think you get as good an experience either. Also consider whether you need an en suite. I stayed in a shared bathroom accommodation and so did all my friends and we had no complaints. Everyone has different timetables so its not like everyone is trying to use the same bathroom in the morning as people will be waking up at different times. If you are interested in Edinburgh accommodation specifically then I stayed at East Newington Place which was my first choice. My second and third choices were South Clerk Street and Sciennes respectively. 


Join Fresher's Facebook Pages - If you type your university name into Facebook and something like 'Fresher's 2015' you will most likely find a Facebook page with lots of members. Request to join this page and you can get chatting with people who will be doing the same course as you and who will be living in the same accommodation. I met all of my flatmates through this page and some of my best friends from my course. I really recommend doing this! If you are still waiting to see if you've made your conditional then I would suggest joining the page for your hopeful uni and for your firm choice too. You can always leave the page of the uni you don't end up going to.
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Reader Survey 2015

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Hello everyone! Just a quick little blog post to let you know that I've written another reader survey(LINK HERE). I wrote one around this time last year and it was really helpful. Its just a few quick questions about my blog and what people like and dislike about it. It lets me get a real feel for what people enjoy reading and also importantly don't like reading! This way I will know what to include more of so that I can be producing content that people actually want. Because its such a rubbish feeling when you put a lot of effort into a blog post and then barely anyone reads it! For example last year a lot of people said that they want to see more posts about books and less posts about beauty. So I made that happen and it turns out I really love blogging about books and its almost the main theme of my blog at the moment! 

The survey is completely anonymous so if there's something that I do that really annoys you then feel free to let me know. The last question has a comment box so that would be the best one to write any constructive criticism in. The more honest people are with me then the more I can improve my blog and make it better for you all to read! This time next week I will make another blog post with the results of the survey so that you can see the answers. It will also give me the opportunity to ask you all about the comments. Last year someone said I could improve my grammar but I'm not sure what grammar mistakes I've been making so doing a summary post allows me to ask you guys things like that!

Thank you very much for filling it in if you do(please do)! 

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Orla Kiely Orange Rind Candle

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

To celebrate five years of home fragrance, Orla Kiely is relaunching her collection. Six amazing prints and 3 new scents. The three existing scents were fig tree, early grey and basil and mint. I've already reviewed a reed diffuser gift set that included these scents. You can see that blog post here. The new scents are orange rind, Sicilian lemon and lavender. Today I'm reviewing the orange rind candle* which smells absolutely beautiful. 

The orange scent is also combined with sandalwood which is such a 'homey' scent. The candle is so warm and inviting. My great grandmother used to wear a sandalwood perfume so something about this candle just feels so nostalgic. This is something that would be perfect to burn on a summer night after a barbecue or something. The candle has 200g of wax with a burn time of 50 hours. The scent is very strong whilst burning and easily fills the home room. At £25 they are a little bit expensive, even more so than Yankee Candle, but with something like this you are paying for the design as well as the product. I mean, have you seen those Orla Kiely coffee jars everyone is going crazy about? I think these candles are really nice. They come in a box as well so would be perfect to wrap up and give as a gift.

The candles are available from John Lewis, House of Fraser, some independent stores and online at Orla Kiely's website.

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell
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Updated Blog Roll

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Last night I sat down with a mission. A mission to sort through the blogs I follow on BlogLovin' and make sure that they were all blogs I really loved. I don't have as much time to read and comment on blogs as I used to and it means that I'm often beaten by my BlogLovin' feed and unable to read all the posts I want to. So I decided it was time to make a change with the blogs that I follow and get rid of any blogs I don't enjoy reading anymore. I felt pretty bad but it was also a pretty satisfying feeling at the same time. I also realised that I was still following a lot of blogs who hadn't posted for months and months and I hadn't noticed. What a shame! 

So anyway, yes, this is my updated. These aren't all the blogs that I follow, just a few of my favourites. My old blog roll was organised alphabetically. This time around I've organised it into categories and then listed them alphabetically within the categories. Hopefully this will make it easier for people to find blogs they will enjoy. Its quite hard to categorise some blogs so I've entered them under the types of posts that I enjoy the most from them. If you see your own blog here and would like it placed under a different category, leave me a comment and I will change it.
The full blog roll can be viewed here but for ease I've copied and pasted it into this post!
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Current TBR Pile

Monday, 15 June 2015


How To Be Bad by E. Lochart, Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski* - This one is about 3 girls who mostly follow the rules until one day they decide to leave town. They 'borrow' a car and hit the road. I'm a big fan of road trip books in the summer so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into this one. Plus E. Lockhart is one of my favourites.

Liberty's Fire by Lydia Syson* - Paris, 1871, a new revolution. In Liberty's Fire a young girl gets involved with radical politics and a certain violinist. I've not read a lot of books set in France but I love books that can get a bit political so I'm really looking forward to this one.

Almost Grave by Rosie Rowell* - Almost Grave is set in Cape Town and is all about finishing exams and moving on. But also about not knowing where you're meant to be moving on to. This sounds like a real 'coming of age' book and I'm expecting to fly through it.

Running Girl by Simon Mason* - The main character in this book has a crazy high IQ but is a total slacker. Until his ex girlfriend's body is pulled out of a river and he decides that he is going to take it upon himself to find out what happened to her and why. 

The Periodic Table by Paul Parsons & Gail Dixon - Time to show off my inner chemistry nerd.  This book just talks about all the elements in the periodic table and has absolutely beautiful photos. I've been reading this a few elements at a time but I would really like to finish this soon!

Amy & Rodger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson - I've already read this one but I've chucked it into my TBR pile because I fancy a reread. Its a summer romance novel that features a cross country road trip. I remember it being really sweet and mushy and I have no shame in admitting I love that in a book sometimes. 

Red Bones by Ann Cleeves - I don't really know too much about this because my grandad gave it to me. Its a murder mystery set on one of the Scottish islands. I really enjoyed Peter May's Lewis Trilogy which sounds similar so I'm hoping to really enjoy this too.

The Humans by Matt Haig - I've had this one sitting around since Christmas because I just can't get into it. I don't even really know how to explain what this one is about. There's a guy and something weird happens to him and then he questions humanity? I think anyway. Its at the bottom because I don't want to read it....

What are you planning to read soon?

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Introducing Student Sundays

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Hello everyone! Today I'm starting off a new series on my blog. My first year of uni is over but I know that a lot of my readers are heading off to uni in September. Last summer I spent ages trawling through the #sbloggers hashtag(student bloggers) looking for advice and tips on starting uni and general university life. One of my favourites has to be Nine Grand Student who has an aboslute ton of helpful posts. But I really wanted to write my own so I've decided to make it a weekly feautre in the run up to September. I'm working with my university over freshers week. I'll be helping people move into the halls that I lived in last year. Hopefully writing these posts will help me finalise ideas and advice that I can use to help me with this work!

This post is just a little intro to make you aware of the series and let you know a little about it. The posts will all go live on Sunday's and cover some tips and advice on various aspects of student and university life. The posts will mostly be written by myself but I've been chatting with some of my friends from university and they have some things that they'd like to contribute aswell!

Here's a list of topics that I have planned already but if there is anything else that you would like to see then please leave me a comment and I will be sure to include it in a post!
  • Accomodation
  • What to pack/not pack
  • Fresher's week
  • Buying and cooking for yourself
  • Clubs and societies
  • Students accounts discounts and offers
  • Getting on with your flatmates
  • Money saving tips
  • Classes and timetables
  • Balancing work and uni
  • Lectures and note taking
So that's what I have planned just now but as I said, if there is anything you think I've missed then be sure to let me know and I will get right on that! I'm really excited to get started with this series and I hope you all will enjoy it!

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


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Introducing Student Sundays


Hello everyone! Today I'm starting off a new series on my blog. My first year of uni is over but I know that a lot of my readers are heading off to uni in September. Last summer I spent ages trawling through the #sbloggers hashtag(student bloggers) looking for advice and tips on starting uni and general university life. One of my favourites has to be Nine Grand Student who has an aboslute ton of helpful posts. But I really wanted to write my own so I've decided to make it a weekly feautre in the run up to September. I'm working with my university over freshers week. I'll be helping people move into the halls that I lived in last year. Hopefully writing these posts will help me finalise ideas and advice that I can use to help me with this work!

This post is just a little intro to make you aware of the series and let you know a little about it. The posts will all go live on Sunday's and cover some tips and advice on various aspects of student and university life. The posts will mostly be written by myself but I've been chatting with some of my friends from university and they have some things that they'd like to contribute aswell!

Here's a list of topics that I have planned already but if there is anything else that you would like to see then please leave me a comment and I will be sure to include it in a post!
  • Accomodation
  • What to pack/not pack
  • Fresher's week
  • Buying and cooking for yourself
  • Clubs and societies
  • Students accounts discounts and offers
  • Getting on with your flatmates
  • Money saving tips
  • Classes and timetables
  • Balancing work and uni
  • Lectures and note taking
So that's what I have planned just now but as I said, if there is anything you think I've missed then be sure to let me know and I will get right on that! I'm really excited to get started with this series and I hope you all will enjoy it!
Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell


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Book Review: Only We Know

Friday, 12 June 2015



Only We Know by Simon Packham* is a YA novel that's all about secrets. Lauren has moved town after an 'event' made everyone turn against her. We don't know what it is was that Lauren done but we know that she is very scared of people finding out about it. She 'reinvents' herself and makes new friends. Things seem to be going well for her until she runs into someone she knew a few years back. This terrifies her but she isn't sure if he recognises her so she tries to ignore it. But then she starts to get creepy packages that hint that someone in her new life knows about her old one.

The main aspect of this book is definitely the suspense as we aren't sure what has happened in the past and it made me keep reading. The book isn't very long, about 230 pages, but I read it really quickly because I just wanted to find out what it was that she done that was so bad. As you can expect, there was a pretty big plot twist in this book. I'm usually pretty good at guessing plot twists(Gone Girl I'm looking at you) but this one came as a complete surprise to me. It was an enjoyable easy read but I don't think this book was anything special. There wasn't a lot of character development and the dialogue at times could be a bit cheesy. I think this book is aimed at younger teenagers and I can see why they would enjoy it but overall I wasn't really blown away.

I gave this book 3/5 stars. I enjoyed reading it and it was a nice quick read but it wasn't very sophisticatedly written which is something I look for in a good book. If you like the sound of the plot I would definitely recommend reading it though!

Have you read this book? If so, how did you find it?

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Currently Crocheting

Wednesday, 10 June 2015
Hello everyone! Hope you are all having a good day. Today I'm just doing a wee blog post to keep you up to date with some of the things that I've been making recently. I seem to have a really bad habit of starting new projects before finishing the ones I've been working on. So I always seem to have a few work-in-progresses on the go.



This is the start of one of the Sophie's Universe blankets(pattern details here). To be honest I think I've bitten off a lot more than I can chew with this one. The finished blanket is 6 foot by 6 foot and has over 100 rounds. I've already made so many mistakes. I think I'm going to square it off at the point it is, back and and turn it into a cushion.

Available on Etsy here.
I made this little cat brooch using this pattern. I made one of the appliques with the details sewn on and then I made a plain one. Then I joined them together using slip stitches and attached a brooch backing. I bought a bag of brooch backings from Hobbycraft about 2 years ago  but have only just worked out a way to attached them to crocheted projects securely. I actually made another before this and listed it on Etsy and it sold in about 10 minutes. So I made this replacement.

Available on Etsy here.
One of my favourite crochet bloggers, Bella Coco, recently posted this rose tutorial which I thought was really cute. I made a few and attached brooch backings to them as well. Recently my gran gave me a bag with loads of left over bits of wool in it. These are perfect for using those up!

Available on Etsy here.
This project definitely doesn't look very summery. Probably because I bought this wool in November and have only just gotten round to using it now. This is a corner to corner blanket. The free pattern is available online here. This is the 3rd corner to corner I've made and I totally love the pattern. They are so easy to make and work up so quickly! The wool is Stylecraft Special Double Knitting in Teal, Emperor, Gold and Aspen.


 This one is one that I've been working on since around Christmas time. Like I said, I really need to finish old projects before starting new ones. I wasn't making this for anyone in particular. Just using up the odd ends of wool. But then yesterday a woman I work with asked if I could make her a blanket in this style so its worked out pretty conveniently. The squares are all just different colours. I'm adding a layer of black around each square and then will be joining them with black wool. I think the black really makes the colours pop and I can't wait to see this when its finished!

So that's what I've been working on recently! Can you crochet? If so have you ever made anything like these?
Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell
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Lee Stafford Gets Rid Of Frizz Treatment

Tuesday, 9 June 2015
 


Hello everyone! I'd been feeling pretty bored with my hair recently. It was just feeling really dry and was constantly tuggy. Sometimes it would take me about half an hour to completely brush out my hair and detangle it fully. Not nice! But then I realised that I'd stopped using a lot of products in it(mostly out of laziness) like treatments and leave in sprays. I have a few sprays in my house already but no treatments so I headed down to Boots to see what was on offer. Since I gave up using animal tested products(more on that here) I've had to give up my favourite: Aussie 3 Minute Miracle. I was happy to find out that Lee Stafford don't test their products on animals and they were on an offer for 2 for £10. I don't think that's too bad considering how good they are! They're also sulfate(sulphate*) free which I know is a big concern for some people when it comes to hair products. 

I've tried the treatment for hair that never grows past a certain length(review here) but this time around I'm not really concerned about growing my hair any longer. I just want to improve the condition of it. So I decided to pick up this one instead. The 'Gets Rid Of Frizz Treatment' which as a curly haired girl, sounds good to me. These treatments are designed to be used between shampooing and conditioning. And that's the magic. The results just aren't as good if you don't condition afterwards. I always thought that if I put conditioner on after these treatments then my hair would be too greasy but that's not the case. Afterwards my hair is so smooth and soft. I almost can't stop touching it because I'm so impressed with the final result. Its reminded me how nice my hair can actually be if I put effort into it so I will definitely be returning to Lee Stafford in the future to solve my hair problems!

What are your favourite hair treatments?

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*Recently there was a deal struck between the British and the Americans that the Americans would start pronouncing aluminium like the British if we start spelling sulphur 'sulfur'. Guess who isn't holding up their end of the deal? #chemistrystudentproblems.
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Book Review: Being A Girl

Monday, 8 June 2015



Being A Girl* is a guide for young girls written by Hayley Long and illustrated by Gemma Correll. It was published on the 4th of June by Hot Key Books and offers advice on growing up a female in a man's world. Its the modern day answer to those books about reaching puberty and growing up. This one contains more relevant information than the ones gathering dust at the back of parent's bookshelves and in libraries. Obviously this is aimed at girls a lot younger than I am but I am still grateful to have been sent a review copy as books like this are so so important. Plus Gemma Correll's illustrations are great! 

So what does this book cover? The usual. Friends, relationship, puberty, periods, boys, sex etc etc. Although one very important thing is covered in this book. This is the first book of its kind that I've ever seen that explains to young people what it means to be transgender and that its ok. With Catelyn Jenner so bravely coming out recently this has been a big topic in our world at the moment. For the most part, I am so amazed by how positively a lot of people have reacted to it but there are still so many nasty comments out there from people. But this book explains that it is ok to feel like you are a different gender from the body you were born into and I think that's really important. I wouldn't say this book is perfect but its really good. I think it kind of brushed over topics like underage sex/drinking/smoking/sending 'nudes' etc with 'it's illegal so don't do it' which I feel like is a bit of a cop out. I know you can't exactly publish a book saying 'yeah go have sex and drink etc' but I still think they could have reiterated that if you do, it doesn't make you a bad person.

My blog's audience is mostly aged 18-25 so this book isn't exactly for my target audience. But I'm sure we all know a young woman in our lives that could do with some great advice. I have a 13 year old sister that I think could do with a read of this. She isn't much of a reader but hopefully I can convince her! They're also publised a male version written by James Dawson.

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