Monday, 29 December 2014

A Year In Review - 2014

Hello everyone. 2014 is drawing to an end so I'm taking a step back to look at what's happened this year. To be honest, 2014 has been the best and the worst year of my life at the same time. But I've learnt a lot and I'm really looking forwards to 2015. Onwards and upwards.


January - This was a really big month for me. I moved house so that was a lot of stress. It was also really weird because it was the first time I'd ever lived anywhere but the house that I grew up in. I also turned 17 and celebrated by going out for a meal with Stuart at my favourite Chinese restaurant. I also got my advanced higher chemistry project to work for the first time which is what the first photo is of.

February - This is the month where I started my little crocheting business. I started making scarves, hats etc and selling them to people I know. Its been fun and has improved my crocheting skills a lot. I plan on opening an Etsy soon but I have to wait until I turn 18. Apart from that I can't really remember what happened in February, its a bit of a boring month isn't it?

March - In March high school was coming to an end which left me feeling very nostalgic. Although looking back on it now I don't really miss high school at all. Again I don't really remember anything amazing or greatly significant happening this month!


April - This was the month that I left high school which was a really bittersweet moment for me. I didn't expect to get as emotional as I did. I didn't cry at school but when I started walking home I cried the whole way. It was also one of my friends Rachel's 18th which was an amazing night.

May - This was the month of exams. Yay. I probably should have studied a bit harder as I didn't end up getting as good results as I wanted to. Something to learn from however! It was also when my blog got its makeover leaving me with this awesome design.

June - Prom, prom, prom, prom. That was the main focus of the month. And it was the start of what would be a nearly 4 month long summer holiday. Prom was absolutely amazing one of the best nights of my life and I enjoyed every second of it.


July - This was the real summer month of the year for me. The weather was good and I did a lot of reading. I also went on some pretty memorable day trips with friends, including to go and see the Kelpies and having a picnic, both were so much fun!

August - August was a bit of a weird month for me, I guess the end of the summer always is. But I feel like I became a lot more confident with myself and developed a lot more as a person. I also had an amazing trip to the Glasgow Science Centre with my good blogging pal Morag.

September - This was probably the biggest month of the year for me. I moved out into universtiy accomodation, started university and quit my old job and started a new one. All of this really helped me grow as a person. As difficult as it all was, I am grateful for the experience.


October - There's no nice way to put it. October was a shite month for me. I hated my new job and I was working so much I hardly got to go home and see my family/friends and I didn't have much time to see my friends from uni either. I was having a really bad time and I spent most of my time feeling sad and alone.

November - Things started to pick up a little bit for me this month. But I was still hating my job which led to me eventually quitting in December. I started going home on Tuesday's as I finish uni at 1 which made me feel a lot better. Stuart and I also celebrated our 3 year anniversary.

December - I quit my job and finished all my exams which was a welcomed break after all the stress of my first semester at uni. I still enjoyed myself but I am definitely going to make more of the next semester. I had a lovely Christmas and I am now here writing this blogpost!

How was your year?

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Sunday, 28 December 2014

Book Haul - Christmas Edition

Hello everyone! Today I'm writing a little bit of a more in depth blog post about the books that I got for Christmas so that I can tell you a little bit more about them. Books are my favourite thing to receive as a present and my default answer when someone asks me 'what do you want for Christmas?'. You'll see mini reviews of these books in my monthly reading wrap ups as and when I read them but if there are any you'd like to see full reviews of then let me know!


Horrostor by Grady Hendrix - I've already read this one and can I just say that it was absolutely amazing! This is a horror story set in an IKEA like store. The staff are noticing things are getting moved/broken overnight and a few staff members stay on a night shift to see what is going on.

The Time Of My Life by Joanna Nadin - This is the next book in a series that I've been reading since before I started high school. Its a jokey YA series written in the form of a diary. I find it so easy to read and I really love all the characters. I'm excited to read this one!

Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham - I still haven't made my mind up as to whether I like Lena Dunham or not but when I saw that she has written an autobiography I knew I wanted to read it. I can appreciate all the work she's done fore feminism but I don't know if she's someone I'd like if I knew her in person. Do you know what I mean?


The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks  by E. Lockhart - I'm not going to lie, I have no idea what this is about. I just knew that I wanted to read it as I loved We Were Liars which is also by E. Lockhart. My granny got me this for Christmas and I am very excited to read this. I feel like Lockhart's books are ones that you should start reading without knowing much about them or it will spoil the surprise!

The Humans by Matt Haig - I was first drawn to this book as 'the humans' is what I refer to myself and my family as when impersonating the dog. This is about a man who is found walking about naked and he doesn't remember what happened. Everyone starts disowning him because of it, apart from his dog. Matt Haig wrote a really good article about Zoella so I also wanted to help support him.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - This is about a girl who has a fatal touch. She is kept by the government to be used as a weapon. She decided she is going to fight back. I am so excited for this one as it has received so many great reviews and I'm excited to see what the hype is about.


Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King - If you've been reading my blog this year then you'll know that A. S. King has became one of my favourite YA authors this year. I absolutely love the stories that she writes as they are so descriptive and most importantly, real. This one is about a girl who knows the deepest darkest secrets of a friend she fell out with. That friend then dies a few years later and she could clear their name of something important. Will she?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - Everyone and their mother has read this book this year and I'm so excited to finally see what the fuss is about. I don't really know much about the plot but I'm guessing there is a girl who you know, goes somewhere. I'm ok with not knowing much about this because I want to keep it a mystery until I start reading it.

The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark - I had never heard of this one before but was so happy to receive it as a gift from my friend Sarah. Its set on the Isle of Arran and I used to go there on holiday with my grandparents every year. We're actually going in April and I think I'm going to save this one so that I can read it when I'm actually there.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?

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Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas Haul 2014

Hello everyone! I've borrowed my sister's laptop to write a few blog posts as mine is still broken. Stuart's dad is working on it and he thinks he might be able to get it working again but it needs some time. I'm so lost without it! Anyway, today I'm doing a quick blog post to show you all what I got for Christmas this year. This isn't meant to brag in anyway, I just know that a lot of people enjoy reading this sort of post. I will probably end up reviewing some of this stuff on my blog soon but if there's anything you'd like to see a review of then leave a comment and let me know and I'll try and get it up as soon as I can!








I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

BROKEN LAPTOP

Just a little message to let everyone know that my laptop has broken so I won't be blogging for a wee while. I'll be back as soon as I can be. Thank you!
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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Orla Kiely Mini Reed Diffuser Giftset

Now I have to admit, I'm a candle person. I love watching the wax melt away and release lots of lovely scents into the room. So imagine my disappointment when I discovered that candles aren't allowed in my university accommodation. I've found the perfect thing. The Orla Kiely Mini Reed Diffusers Gift Set* is a lovely limited edition gift set containing three 30ml reed diffusers. The three scents are Earl Grey, Primrose and Bergamot and Fig Tree. At this time of the year a lot of people are going for heavy, spicy fragrances but these are lovely and clean. I just love how fresh they make my room smell, I think my favourite so far is earl grey.


So what exactly is a reed diffuser and how does it work? Reed diffusers consist of a little bit of scented oil in a glass jar. When you place some reeds into the oil, the oil diffuses up the reed because it a very porous material and then the scent is released into the air. These are ideal for people like me who like the scents of candles but can't burn them. Also because they require no flame they would be ideal for offices, homes with young children, shops etc. Whilst they are small, they have a very good scent throw and one of these will last you absolutely ages. 


This gift set would be a lovely thing to pass on to a friend/family member. I know I would have really appreciated one under my tree. And in case you think your loved one would prefer a candle, they have a little candle gift set that contains 6 mini candles. Both gift sets retail at £26 and can be found at John Lewis, Fenwicks or online at orlakiely.com.


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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Book Rainbow: Pink

Hello everyone! Today I'm wrapping up my book rainbow series with this post on pink books. Again, pink technically isn't a colour of the rainbow but I still own a lot of pink books so I decided to do this anyway! I hope you all have enjoyed this series, I'm quite pleased with the amount of interaction on the posts so I consider it to be a success! Also I had a lot of fun photographing and writing the posts.


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - To be honest when I first heard of this I was completely put off by the name. I thought it would be ridiculously cheesy and totally not my thing. Whilst it does contain some romance, this has actually become one of my favourite books. Stephanie Perkins' writing style is so addictive, she writes a story that leaves you grinning like a maniac whilst unable to put the book down. This is about a girl who goes to a boarding school in Paris where she meets one fine young gentleman.

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson - This is possibly one of my favourite young adult romances ever! This is about two teenagers who have to take a really long road trip together and obviously romance ensues(as always in YA fiction). What I love most about this is that Morgan Matson took the road trip herself and has included photos, tickets, receipts, playlists etc which really just gives it something special. 

Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen - Most of the books in this post are sugary and sweet apart from this one. This is the diary of a girl in the 60s who is in a psychiatric hospital. Its based on the author's own experiences. Its kind of like One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest but with women instead. I enjoyed it but it is a bit morbid. I definitely went through a  phase a while ago where I was obsessed with books about 1960s mental health care. Now I don't read that sort of book so often but when I do they are still interesting!


Inside Number One Two Nine by Caroline Elvin - This is a story about a girl in her final year of university who discovered that her friends and her boyfriend aren't all that they cracked up to be. This is the debut novel of author and fellow blogger Caroline who is hopefully releasing a second novel soon!

Sugar Rush by Julie Burchill - To be honest its been so long since I read this that I can't really remember exactly what happens in this book. But I do know that its about a young teenager discovering that she is a lesbian and that I really enjoyed it. If you're into LGBT books then I bet you'll enjoy this one.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - Oh man I do love a Rainbow Rowell book. This book follows a guy who works with computers in an office building. He runs a programme that flags staff emails that are inappropriate: ie swearing, racism, sex talk etc. He keeps getting emails between two girls that work in the office talking about the men that they like in the office and eventually he realises they're talking about him. What will he do about it? This book is such an easy read, perfect for just curling up with and reading in one day.

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Friday, 19 December 2014

Crochet Pattern: Chunky Infinity Scarf

Hello everyone! Today I've got a quick and easy crochet pattern to share with you all. This one would be great if you are a beginner to crocheting as you don't need to know any complicated stitches and it will take you less than an hour. I think that chunky wool is a great thing to use when you're learning to crochet as it works up much faster than double knitting which allows you to gain confidence and even if you do make mistakes, its much easier to spot them. I really want to bring more crocheting to my blog because its something that I really enjoy and am passionate about.


You will need:
200g of chunky wool. I used Patons Fab Big in Mustard and Rust Orange.
10.00 mm crochet hook
Scissors
Wool Needle 




Row 1: Create a slip knot on your hook and then chain 10.
Row 2: Double crochet into the third chain from the hook. Then double crochet into each chain.
Row 3: Chain two and then double crochet into each stitch.
Rows 4 - 52: Repeat row 3, 48 times. 
Row 53: Sew the ends of the scarf together to create a loop. Then weave in your ends.

Enjoy your scarf!



 I'm considering opening my own Etsy store in January. Would you be interested in this? Please let me know if you would be as I would like to have a rough idea of how successfull it would be before I open it.

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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Things That Make Me Happy #82

1. These Christmas cookies are just the sweetest looking things. The way they've been decorated to look like Christmas puddings is such a nice touch.

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2. At the moment I'm all about cuddling up and staying cosy. This living room looks so perfect and cosy.

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3. On the other hand, this little reading nook looks so lovely and bright.

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4. An abandoned church. There is just something so beautiful yet creepy about abandoned buildings.

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5. A cute little DIY for my creative readers.

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6. Does this even need a caption?

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7. These are adorable!

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8. This would be the perfect outfit for new years!

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9. This crocheted gingerbread man is adorable. Will make one as soon as I finish my Christmas orders.

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10. This is just stunning!

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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Book Review: My True Love Gave To Me

Hello everyone! You may remember that in my Christmas Wishlist I mentioned a book called My True Love Gave To Me. At the time I was unsure if I wanted to receive it as a present or buy it for myself as I though it would be a great read in the run up to Christmas. Well, I caved and bought it. Isn't it beautiful? Without even mentioning the content, the work that has gone into designing this book is amazing. I especially love the pink pages. My True Love Gave To Me is a collection of Christmas themed short stories from a selection of young adult fiction authors. The stories were compiled and edited by Stephanie Perkins, the author of the Anna and the French Kiss novels, which was possibly one of my favourite series I read this year.  


As expected, there was some cringey mushy romance in this. But sometimes, that's just what I need in a book. There were 12 different stories and obviously some were better than others but there weren't any that I seriously disliked. I did think that the last one in the book which was written by Laini Taylor was really weird and a little bit morbid so I wasn't a huge fan of that one but hey, 11/12 ain't bad. My favourite short story was 'Welcome to Christmas, CA' by Kiersten White which I was quite surprised by as I have never read any of her books before! I also really enjoyed Ally Carter's and Matt de la Pena's stories. And lets not even talk about Stephanie Perkin's, so adorable.

Despite loving a few of the stories, I wasn't completely blown away by this book. There was just something about it that I can't quite put my finger on. Because of this I've decided to give the book as a whole 4/5 stars, even though I thought a lot of the individual stories were 5/5. I've read a few books that are compilations of short stories and whilst they're nice, I don't find them very satisfying. I would rather read one whole book. I just wanted more from most of these stories which is such a frustrating feeling!


If you want to keep up with what I'm reading then you can add me as a friend on GoodReads here.

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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Book Rainbow: Purple

I know what you guys are thinking. "Hayley, purple should not be in your book rainbow series. Purple is not a colour of the rainbow. It should be indigo and then violet. Idiot." I know, I know. But I'm not the best with colours, I struggle to tell the difference between indigo and violet so I just lumped them together into the one blog post. So sue me.


Insurgent by Veronica Roth - If you ask me, this is the best book in the Divergent Trilogy which I'm sure you've all heard of by now. This series is quite popular since the Divergent movie was released and the trailer for Insurgent was released recently. I've still not seen either yet! This is a young adult dystopian series. I don't want to talk about the plot too much because this is the 2nd book but I will say that I really enjoyed this series and do recommend it. 

Quidditch Through The Ages by J. K. Rowling - This is a little companion novel to the Harry Potter series. I really wanted to like this one but it is essentially a book about sport. I'm not a hugely sporty person and even thought this is about quidditch, its still a bit boring. Fun fact: my university has a quidditch team.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabhan by J. K. Rowling - Weirdly enough this is possibly my least favourite Harry Potter book. Its between this one and the Order of the Phoenix. I do really love the introduction of the care of magical creatures classes however and of course, Sirius Black. If you haven't read these books then you need to get on that ASAP because that is just not acceptable.


The Meaning Of Life by Joanna Nadin - This is a book in the Rachel Riley's Diary series. This was a series that I read a lot when I was younger. Maybe 11-14 and I still can't bring myself to donate them to the charity shop. One was released quite recently and I've asked for it for Christmas.

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini - I am usually a massive fan of Hosseini's books, especially A Thousand Splendid Suns but I wasn't the biggest fan of his latest offering. This is the story about a young boy who would do anything for his little sister. One day she is adopted by a rich family and he never sees her again. The story was really interested but it is told from the perspective of loads of different characters which was very confusing.

The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket - This series made up my childhood. I have to admit that by this point in the series(9th book) the story is getting a little drawn out and repetitive but these books are still amazing. Now that I'm older I can read them in a few hours so they're good to read when I'm just looking for something fun and easy to read.

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Monday, 15 December 2014

OOTD: New Ankle Boots



Jumper - Tu at Sainsbury's // Skirt - Topshop // Boots - Dorothy Perkins via House Of Fraser*

Hello everyone, today I've got another OOTD for you guys. This time featuring my lovely new pair of boots from Dorothy Perkins which I got via House Of Fraser. I've always thought of House Of Fraser as a little out of my price range but I forgot about all the amazing, affordable brands they stock like Dorothy Perkins. These boots for example were originally £29(which is still amazing) but are currently on sale for £23.20 result. They're actually so comfy, I can wear them just with tights and they don't rub at all. I actually think these are comfier than my boots from DUO and they are £270. Just proves that just because something is more expensive, doesn't mean they're better. Plus they have some really good grips on the bottom with means I hopefully won't be falling on my butt(again) whilst trying to work my way around a very icy Edinburgh. I seriously did not realise just how much of Edinburgh isn't flat until it started snowing last week.

This jumper is a new addition to my wardrobe from Sainsbury's. My closest big supermarket is a Sainsbury's so I like to pop in for a look at their clothes whenever I'm doing a big food shop. They surprisingly have a lot of nice things and they quite often do a 25% off deal that I just can't say no to. I really like the way that it looks tucked into the skirt which used to be my school skirt. Ah, how I don't miss having a uniform.

In terms of a little life update: I've done two exams already and just have one to go on Wednesday. After that I will be free for Christmas! I am feeling very confident about the exams I've already done(maths for science and engineering and chemistry) but am very worried about my physics one. Despite it being my easiest subject in high school, its definitely my worst at university! I'm dropping it after this semester however so I just need to hang in there and scrape myself 40% and then that's me done with it. Hopefully for a very long time.

Hope you are all having a great week!  

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Top 5 Wintery Nail Polishes

Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be talking about some of my favourite wintery nail polishes. I have to admit that I've gone off nail polish a bit as of late but I'm sure I'll wear each of these at some point over the festive season. I think its just because I'm not allowed to wear nail polish at work, I hate putting it on knowing I have to take it off really soon. Plus I always seem to get the urge to paint my nails just before I go to bed even though I know it won't dry propely and it I'll get fabric print on my nail polish. First world problems! Anyway, these are my favourite wintery nail polishes.


Paprika by Barry M - This is a new addition to my collection this winter and I am absolutely in love with it. Its the perfect browny-orange colour. I'm one of those ridiculously pale girls(which I do try to embrace) and I feel it really compliments my skin tone. The Gelly Hi-Shine polishes from Barry M and 10x better than their regular range if you ask me, definitely worth the investment. This was part of their a/w collection and I would love all the colours.

Absinthe by Model's Own - Would you look at this one! Isn't it just the most perfect glitter polish? Absolute pain to remove mind you. I absolutely love the kind of matte but sparkly nails. It means that you don't get glitter everywhere, perfectly smooth finish. I also really love the velvet lid on the bottle as its part of the Velvet Goth collection. This would be perfect for a Christmas/New Years Eve party!

Dusky Mauve by Barry M - Whilst I am not a massive fan of the regular Barry M nail polishes, I am willing to make an exception for such a gorgeous nail polish. Dusky mauve is a beautiful mauve shade with finely milled lilac iridescent shimmer through out it. It looks absolutely beautiful in the winter sunshine.

Red Lustre by Model's Own - You can't beat a red at Christmas time! I think this is just the perfect red nail polish to wear along side some red lipstick. Its just a classic. It also looks amazing underneath glitter so I really recommend it. The Model's Own Hypergel range is such good quality! I also like that it gives off the slightly raised nail feeling that a real gel manicure does.

Siberian Nights by OPI(not cf) - Ok so this one isn't from a cruelty free brand(I'm sorry I'm sorry) but I have had this one for years and I love it. Siberian Nights is just the perfect dark purple. Infact it looks almost black at times. You really can't fault OPI on their quality, I could wear this for a week and it wouldn't chip.


What are your favourite nail polishes at the moment?

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Saturday, 13 December 2014

Ways To Give Back This Christmas

Hello everyone! Its coming up to Christmas which is a time for giving and being with family. Whilst spending money on my family and friend feels great it also feels amazing to donate some money to charities. Knowing that you're making a difference to someone who really needs it is a great feeling. We will all be happy, safe and warm this Christmas which isn't something that everyone else has. So I've decided to share a few of my favourite charities with you to hopefully inspire some people to give back this Christmas.

As someone who runs a book and lifetsyle blog. Its easy to say that book are very close to my heart and were a really big part of my childhood. But not everyone has the opportunities that I had growing up. Book Aid International help fund and stock libraries in some of the poorest African counties and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I buy books without even thinking about it but the reality of it is that libraries are often people's only supply of books. Infact, I even get sent books for free to review on this blog. So this Christmas I'm going to donate some money to Book Aid International in the hope that someday a child reads a book bought with my money. They also accept donations from publishers, in fact, they kind of rely on it. So I think if you're a book blogger, we should email/tweet our contacts in publishing and ask them to donate some books to them. Its the least we could do.


Liberty In North Korea are a charity that I only discovered last year but the work that they do is absolutely wonderful but very dangerous. Liberty In North Korea help North Korean refugees escape a brutal regime and reach South Korean soil. Most North Koreans escape into China and then have to have a journey to South Korea. If they are found living in China, the Chinese authorities will send them back to North Korea where they will most likely be put into one of the infamous camps. North Koreans are essentially not 'safe' until they are in South Korea. It costs approximately $3000 to save each refugee. This seems like a lot but if each of my BlogLovin' followers donated $10, we could save 6 refugees.

If you're struggling to find a present for an animal lover in your life, why not make a donation to The Retreat Animal Rescue? They're a UK based animal rescue charity with 3 branches. And they operate a no kill policy. They also have a program where they take in feral cats, neuter them and where they can, return them to where they came from. They house loads of different types of animals: from horses, to ferrets. If making a donation is not your thing then maybe buy them something from their Amazon Wishlist? They especially need a lot of horsey things so if you know anyone that loves horses(AKA my sister) I'm sure they would appreciate if you bought them some horsey supplies on their behalf instead of a gift.

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The next time you go shopping could you spare some dried goods? Most large supermarket's have donation boxes/trolleys at the tills where you can donate foods to the local foodbank. They rely heavily on donations of dried foods with long shelf lives. Next time you're food shopping, add a few extra bags/packets into your trolley and give them a little donation. More and more people are turning to foodbanks in the UK which is so shocking. A bag of pasta/rice could really make a difference for someone. Or if like me, you'r a student and you're heading home for Christmas. You probably have some food in your fridge/cupboards that will go off whilst you're gone. Maybe put all that food in a bag and give it to a homeless person on your way to the airport/bus station/train station etc. I bet it would make their day!

What are your favourite charities to give to at Christmas? Help spread the Christmas cheer!

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Friday, 12 December 2014

Book Rainbow: Blue

Hello everyone! Today I've got another book rainbow post: blue. Blue is actually one of my least favourite colours for books. I don't know why its just never been one of my favourite colours. That being said, a lot of my favourite books have blue covers. Proves you can't judge a book by its cover.


Looking For Alaska by John Green - Ok, do I really need to go into this one that much? I feel like 3 years ago, no one knew John Green's books and now they're every where. Don't get me wrong, I still love them. But I think I also really liked recommending them to people who has never heard of them because they'd then fall in love with them and it was awesome. Whereas now everyone already knows about them. This one is about a boy who starts at a boarding school and is my 3rd favourite John Green novel.

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider - This one was probably one of my favourite books of the year. This is about a boy who used to be really popular until he was in a bad car accident that left him unable to play the sports that had made him so popular. Over the summer he realises that his friends weren't as great as he thought they were and he has to work out who he really is and who he really wants to be. This is called 'The Beginning Of Everything' in its US print, I don't know why there was a name change.

Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple - If you're looking for a fun quirky read, then you'll love this. Its made up of a collection of emails, letters etc found by the daughter of a woman who runs away/goes missing. She's trying to piece together the story and work out where her mother has gone. It sounds a bit morbid when I put it like that but trust me, this is a very funny story. Bernadette is such a funny character. Really recommend this! 


Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - I actually really don't like this one. Its an interesting concept, its about hermaphroditism. However, it tells the story of a family over 3 generations and is just way too long. By the end of the novel I'd kind of forgotten what had happened at the start. I would still recommend this but wouldn't say you should read it unless you have a lot of time to give it. 

The Ask And The Answer by Patrick Ness - This is the second book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. This is also my favourite book in the series, which also happens to be one of my favourite series! The writing is beautiful, the covers are beautiful, Patrick Ness is beautiful. Yay, yay, yay! This is a series that gets really deep and goes into the moraility of war and whether people are born evil or become evil. Would seriously recommend this series to everyone. Its targeted as a YA book but I think adults would enjoy it as well.

The Life Of Riley by Joanna Nadin - This is just another book in the Rachel Riley series which is the diary of a teenage girl. These books are really aimed at younger teenagers but I can't bring myself to through them away. I really need to reread them. I'm getting the newest one for Christmas so maybe I'll reread them then.

What are your favourite books with blue covers?

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Thursday, 11 December 2014

The Ghost Written Girl Online

My my my, what a week its been in terms of Zoella's new book. After becoming the fastest selling debut novel of all time, its had a little crash. After Penguin told the Sunday times that "Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own". After that, the internet erupted and it seems to have created a divide. It seems that quite a lot of people don't care whether Zoe wrote the book or not. It sold over 78'000 copies in its first week because of Zoe's enormous fan base which, she built up by herself. In theory, people would have bought the book no matter what it was about, because it has her name on it and her fans wanted to support her. The other half of people feel angry, betrayed and lied to. Zoe mentioned several times in her vlogs that she was writing a book and now we are unsure how much of it she actually wrote, if any at all. Did she do this for the money? Did she do it for the extra views? To widen her network etc etc etc. There are a lot of things we don't know the answer to. So what are my thoughts?


To be honest. I have absolutely no idea where I stand on this, and maybe I'm writing this post so that I can get all my thoughts written down. But first of all, I really don't agree with the way that Zoe has handled the situation. After all the drama came out she tweeted that she was going to be taking a few days off of the internet. and since then there has been complete radio silence from her apart from one tweet explaining that she is not quitting YouTube for good as a few reporters are saying. And to me this says 'I can't handle criticism, I'm outta here.'. I think the best thing for her to do would to make a video, explaining in detail how much of the book was written by her and how much of it was not and apologising for any confusion that may have caused.

Because despite all of this we don't know how much of the book was written by her. There was ghost writer involved for sure, but did she write the whole thing or just help bulk it out a bit. When I was reading Girl Online, there were a lot of bits where I thought that Zoe's voice was really shining through. Admittedly, this was mostly during the cringey bits but hey, it was still there. If I had to put my money on it I would say that Zoe wrote a 'skeleton' of the book which was then filled out by someone else. I spend a lot of time running this blog. And its a small blog, I don't even edit my photos or anything. I can't even begin to imagine how much time Zoe spends just filming and editing her videos, never mind all the meetings she has to go to, emails she'll have to reply to etc etc. Full time YouTube really is a full time job, even if it is a rather cushy one. Was it naive of us to think she had written the whole thing in the first place?

When I subscribed to Zoella, the channel had about 800 subscribers, so I've really seen Zoe grow up on YouTube. I don't think she ever estimated that she would become this successful out of it. But she has and therefore she has to learn to deal with that, and that will involve a lot of criticism. It sucks, but its part of the job. I think she needs to come out of her 'hiding' and sort this mess out. I do think that people are being quite harsh over the whole thing. Yes, she isn't 100% innocent but we don't know what went down in the meetings over her book. Maybe she wanted to write the thing herself and we just don't know. I can imagine that when entering a new industry they know nothing about, people can be very easily swayed.

And the final thing I want to talk about. YouTube culture and books. A lot of people are unhappy with the fact that YouTubers and bloggers who did not set out to be writers, are now being offered book deals left right and centre. Some people will work their whole lives trying to become writers and never get published. And it sucks. A lot. It sucks mega balls and there is no denying that. But the thing is, the big people at the top of these publishing companies probably care more about making money. And that is exactly what Girl Online has done. But does this have to be a bad thing? Girl Online has probably boosted the profits of a lot of book shops. That can only be a good thing right? And hopefully, Penguin will use the money they made from Girl Online to sign up new authors, and publish loads more books.

So that's everything I have to say. In summary: I don't think Zoe is 100% innocent in this situation but I think people need to stop being so harsh towards her(online hate is not ok) and wait to see what she has to say about the situation. We want an explanation.

What do you think? If you'd like to see my review of Girl Online, you can read it here.

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell
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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Christmas Traditions Tag

Hello everyone! I was tagged by my good friend Beth to do the Christmas Traditions tag. Its a fun tag with loads of Christmas themed questions to get us all in the holiday spirit. I'm one exam down and two to go so I'm 1/3 of the way to Christmas. I can't wait to finish my final exam and get the next train home to Livingston!


1. When does Christmas start for you?
I hate to be one of those grinches but I have a 'not until December rule' although I probably listen to Fairy Tale Of New York a few times in November. This year I've been focusing on exams so I won't really be getting to Christmas-y until they're over.

2. What is one Christmas movie you have to watch?
I've never actually seen most Christmas films! I'm not really a movie person to be honest. I do love Elf and Bad Santa, both very different movies! I always watch Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone at Christmas. I really love the bit where Harry goes "we've got presents?!" and then runs down the stairs.

3. Do you bake or buy a Christmas cake?
My mum used to bake one but to be honest none of us were ever that keen on it. We just sort of ate it because we felt like it was what you were supposed to eat. Now we just have another pudding instead.

4. When do you put up your Christmas tree?
Sometime in early December, we don't really have a specific date.

5. Do you have a real or fake Christmas tree?
We used to have a plastic tree and then my mum started buying real ones but we eventually switched back to a fake tree again. I know everyone loves real trees but I don't think they look as nice plus ours ALWAYS fell over at least twice.

6. When do you start playing Christmas music?
I don't really play Christmas music to be honest but I do enjoy listening to it in the shops/in the car.

7. Do you use the same Christmas decorations every year or buy new ones?
When we switched to real trees my mum bought a new set of decorations because she wanted a blue/silver theme(which I hate!). We still have the old ones and my sister and I use them when we set up mini trees in our bedroom.

8. How do you spend Christmas Eve? 
We don't really have any traditions that we do every year. Sometimes we go and get a Chinese and some times we go to my gran's house. Depends what everyone is doing that year. I normally swap gifts with Stuart on Christmas Eve as we never see each other on Christmas day.

9. Advent calendar or no advent calendar?
Definitely advent calendar! I usually have a chocolate one but this year I have one from PartyLite. It has 12 different scents in it and each day you get a tea light. Their tea lights burn for a lot longer than regular ones do. I think its much better than the Yankee Candle ones as they only have 6 scents. 

10. Do you leave a snack out for Santa and his reindeer?
We normally do but I'm a little worried about my dog stealing it this year. Normally he doesn't steal food but he's on a diet at the moment so is scrounging a lot more than usual. Poor Batdog.

11. How does Santa get into your house?
He throws a magic snowball at the door to unlock it.What do you mean its not snowing?

12. Mince pies, yay or nay?
Hell yes. I avoided them for years because I was under the impression there was actual beef mince in them. I lack common sense. But now that I've discovered that's a joke, I'm a big fan. Here's a blog post I wrote about some I made last year.

13. Snowballs, egg nog or mulled wine?
I'm not a massive fan of any of these but if I had to choose I'd go for a snowball.

14. What scents remind you of Christmas?
The smell of warm mine pies, cinnamon and Christmassy candles!

15. How do you spend Christmas day?
We wake up and then have breakfast whilst opening presents. After that my dad picks me and my sister up and we go to my grandparents. Then we swap presents with all them and have a second breakfast(hey its Christmas). Then we come back and my other gran comes over to our house and we have Christmas dinner, then chill out.

I tag anyone who wants to do this tag and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

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