Halloween Reading Recommendations + Reviews

Monday, October 31, 2016
Halloween Reading Recommendations + Reviews
Images from Google
Halloween is almost here and to be honest I haven't had a great reading month, at least not compared to the previous two months so I haven't been able to read all of the Halloween books that I've wanted to read this year. I have read a few Halloween appropriate books this year and here are my recommendations:

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
I have to be honest and say that this was complete cover buy (I have this gorgeous hardback edition) but I've wanted to watch the Daniel Radcliffe film for a while so I bought the book to read first. The writing style is so incredibly easy and quick to read as well as being entertaining and atmospheric. From the film trailer I thought it would be a really creepy and scary book but it isn't - don't get me wrong, it is very atmospheric and eerie but it's not scary, to me anyway. It's easily read in a day so it would be perfect for Halloween night! My only issue was that it's a bit repetitive at times. Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3/5 (I think my rating is a little harsh!).

*Hoxton Street Monster Supplies Cookbook 
This is an unusual one as it's a cookbook but no cookbook could be more perfect for Halloween than this one with 'under the bed biscuits', 'Night Terror Torte' and so many more! I adore the cover, almost victorian style illustrations and amazingly Halloween recipes. I haven't tried any yet but I will very soon! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

*The Night Walker by Sebastian Fitzek 
If you want a very eerie, creepy and disorientating book then this is it! It is very disconcerting and disturbing most of the time so if that's not your thing then do not read this book. It follows Leon and his struggles with sleep walking but all is definitely not what it seems, in fact it's so much worst! It's so easy to read in terms of the writing style and I had to keep reading and reading. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

*The Canterville Ghost & Other Stories by Oscar Wilde
This is one of my most recent reads and I'm really happy that I read it; I haven't read any Oscar Wilde before but I'm pleasantly surprised as it's so much easier to read than I thought it would be. Also the cover is stunning! My favourite story is The Canterville Ghost as it's such a classic haunted house story but it's lighthearted and more modern feeling than I thought it would be - it's such an entertaining read, if a bit predictable. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

*Tales of Horror by Edgar Allan Poe
I have wanted to read some of Edgar Allan Poe's work for a while but I was finally able to read some this year with this gorgeous edition by Alma. My favourite stories I've read so far are: The Tell Tale Heart, The Masque Of The Read Death and The Black Cat. My least favourites include: Never Let The Devil Bet Your Head and The Fall of the House of Usher. I have been reading my hardback edition at home and this Alma edition on the go. So far, it's obviously: ★★★★★, 5/5!

*Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre
I hadn't read anything by this author but I was surprised at how quickly I read it and how easy it is too, even though the topics are quite dark (think stalking, tragedy, crime, murder etc). I wanted to keep reading on and on but the main twist/reveal was predictable and I felt the ending and explanations were lacking but overall it was a great tense and thrilling read. Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3/5.

*Crane Pond by Richard Francis 
This is one of my favourite reads this season and it's perfect for Halloween as it follows Sewall and his family, as well as the community, before, during and after the famous Salem witch trials. This is fiction so it isn't about the specific facts and events of the trials but it is inspired by them and features some of the same individuals. It's so so much more enjoyable than I thought it could be! I didn't want stop reading, even though some parts are a little frustrating and others upsetting, which I think is the sign of a great book! Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

Finally I just wanted to recommend a couple of creepy, paranormal, crime filled and atmospheric YA reads, first, The Witches of New York which is one of my recent reads and I really liked it! It features ghosts, tragedy, witches, lesbian relationships and references to the infamous Salem witch trials. I would definitely recommend but it wasn't fully what I was expecting and I hope there is a second book. Next up, Ink and Bone which is more disturbing and crime filled and the setting gives me some Sleepy Hollow vibes. Lastly, Uprooted which is for those who want some witchcraft and magic as well as folktales without the creepiness or horror.

I'm currently reading the other stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe, Horrorology by Stephen Jones and The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury! 

Don't forget to enter my Halloween giveaway on Twitter with Hoxton Street Monster Supplies - ENDS TODAY!

What are you currently reading? Have you read any of these? Do you have any halloween book or tv recommendations? 

Halloween Look: Harlequin Joker

Sunday, October 30, 2016
Halloween Look: Harlequin Joker
Here's my second Halloween look of 2016, I haven't been able to create nearly as many as I wanted to this year as I've have a couple of mini eczema flareups so I haven't wanted to cake my face in lots of makeup. However, they are really fun to create and this look is a bit of a mashup of the original harlequin and the joker (or maybe a clown?!).

This look is so easy to create and I used only products from highstreet/drugstore brands so it's an affordable look using products you probably already have in your makeup collection! I think this look would be perfect with a traditional harlequin jester outfit or a black jumpsuit or playsuit. For my hair I just used my new Anjou hair straightening brush which I love! Here's a list of the products I've used:

- Max Factor Smooth Effect Foundation
- Vichy Setting Powder
- NYX Blush in Taupe
- Makeup Revolution Lipstick
- Stila Liquid Eyeliner
- Makeup Revolution Palette (Fairy Doll)
- Benefit Roller Lash Mascara
- Avon Shock Liner

The look is a bit of a mix of different characters but it was easy to create and I'm really happy with the look on the whole. I first started with my regular foundation, powder and contour which I'm loving! Then I moved onto the brows and I used a red lipstick but you could use a lip pencil for a sharper finish and you could use another shade if you wanted but I think the red brows works well with the red/pink blended through the crease.
Halloween Look: Harlequin Joker
Halloween Look: Harlequin Joker
Now onto the eyes, I started with a matte black from a Makeup Revolution palette and applied it all over the lid, winging it out at the outer corner slightly. I then blended a pink toned red through the crease as a transition - just blend, blend, blend. Next up the liner, I use a liquid liner to get sharp, intense lines; I drew a harlequin style (or clown?) shape on the cheeks. Finish with black liner on the upper and lower lash lines and mascara.

Last but not least the lips, I used the same black liquid liner to line my lips, fill them in and draw an extended smile which was the hardest part as it was so difficult to get it symmetrical! Keep some micellar water and cotton buds on hand for cleaning up.

You could add some fake blood to the look to make it gory and more scary, I'd definitely recommend the *Bloody Marvellous Runny Blood from PAM London as it's fantastic! It's so quick and easy to use and it actually looks quite realistic! I've used it in a previous Halloween look and it worked so well!

What do you think of this Halloween look? Will you be dressing up for Halloween today? 

Filampthropy Pendant Lamp

Saturday, October 29, 2016
Filampthropy Pendant Lamp
I am that kind of person who is always looking for new homeware, looking on pinterest for inspiration and I'm constantly wanting to change up my decor, particularly during autumnal and winter months when I'm spending pretty much all of my time indoors. I love to change up cushions, throws and how I am organising everything but I never think about lightning, apart from temporary fairy lights so when I was able to pick a gorgeous pendant light from the lovely people at Filampthropy I was so excited #adulting

You can buy one of their pre-desgined pendant lights or you can customise one whereby you choose the bulb, the colour of the cage lamp shade and the colour of the cord/cable. To buy a pre-designed kit it's £75 but if you wanted to make one yourself and choose different colour then it's £77.
Filampthropy Pendant Lamp
I choose the *Filampthropy grey 4.5m cord, yellow cage and the G80 Globe Edison bulb. I wanted the lamp to be quite neutral and classic but with a hint of colour with the bright yellow cage. I love the colour combination, I think the grey and yellow work so well together and it fits with the rest of the decor on my office as I have a mixture of rose gold, natural tones and greys but the yellow adds some colour to the room.

I bought a rose gold shelf bracket from B&Q which was around £8 and it worked well with the lamp and the cord stays on easily without moving or sliding off. The cord is quite long so I wrapped it around a little more than I wanted but I love the way it looks on the wall - it's so unique and it makes an interesting feature. I have mine on the wall but I think it would look equally gorgeous hanging off a shelf or book case.
Filampthropy Pendant Lamp
When it's on during the dark and chilling evenings, it looks amazing! The bulb gives off a warm light which I wouldn't usually like as I prefer cooler toned light but it looks great with the lamp and adds a warm, cozy light to the room. I don't know why but to me the lamp looks almost victorian as it's looks quite industrial, the bulb is large and it looks old fashioned to me!

Overall, I'm really happy with my new pendant lamp, I think it looks so unique and gorgeous! The colour combination works well with my decor but you could choose from the other colours available on the website. As I customised mine, it came as three separate parts (the cage, cord and bulb) but it is incredibly quick and easy to put together and to hang up on a wall/shelf bracket. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

What do you think of my new pendant lamp? 

TV Series To Watch This Halloween

Thursday, October 27, 2016
TV Series To Watch This Halloween
How is it almost Halloween already! It seems like this year has gone by SO quickly and one of my favourite holidays is right around the corner (I can't wait). I love watching unusual, paranormal and spooky films and TV series all year round but especially during the autumnal months.

Warner Bros have so many TV series and films that are Halloween appropriate but here are some of my favourites and recommendations! First, I have to say that I'm not a fan of jump scares, super scary or cheesy Halloween films and TV series so there won't be any of those in this post:

Vampire Diaries 
I think that this series is the most well know of my recommendations and it's perfect for this time of the year because vampires, come on, they are the quintessential Halloween creatures. I watched half of the first season in my final year of university but with my dissertation I didn't have time to finish it; I'll have to get round to it this Halloween. I know so many of my friends love this series and I'm all for watching it just because of Ian Sommerhalder to be honest!

The Originals 
Again, this is another series that I've started but not finished yet, it's available on Netflix which is were I first heard of it. It's again about vampires, which are probably my favourite paranormal creatures. There are three full seasons available now so there are more than enough for a Halloween night binge.

There's a theme with this post, I've watched the first episode of iZombie and liked it although I watched it just after reading Warm Bodies and it seemed far too similar so I wouldn't recommend read/watching them closely together. I like the premise, the main actress and isn't scary so perfect if you are like me and don't like jumpy or very scary tv shows.

This is a show I've seen quite a lot about recently on Twitter and I'm definitely interested to check it out, especially as it has Tom Ellis as the lead and I loved him in the Miranda series - although I've no idea how he'll be in this! It looks interesting and a bit sarky so I'm sure I'll love it!

Penny Dreadful 
Onto my only really creepy pick for Halloween this year and oh boy is it disturbing at times! I adore Eva Green so I definitely wanted to check this series out when it was first aired and I fell in love. I've watched the first and second seasons and it has the main thing I love in tv series - characters from classic fiction as in this there's frankenstein and his monster, werewolves, Dorian Grey, vampires (spoilers) and more! I cannot recommend it enough although if you don't like gore, creepy dolls, possession/demons etc then probably don't watch!

Check out my twitter to enter to win series one of all four series in the photo above - UK only! ENDS TOMORROW! 

Do you have any Halloween TV/film recommendations? Have you watched any of these? 

Faby Natural Nail Polish

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Faby Natural Nail Polish
Towards the beginning of this year I had a massive clear out of all of my nails polishes and I managed to reduce my collection from around 120 polishes to 35 polishes as there were so many polishes that I like but I never wore because they were glittery, bright or colourful - I'm definitely a neutral/grey and nude nail polish addict so those are really the only shades I have now.

When this gorgeous polish arrived, I was excited to give it a go as it's a 87% natural polish which is intriguing to start with and it is a shade that I know I will wear constantly! I have the *Faby Polish in 100% Cashmere (£12.95, 15ml) and it was selected by designer Mother Of Pearl for London Fashion Week AW16.

Faby polishes are mostly natural polishes as they are derived from wood pulp, cotton, maize, cassava,  and other raw vegetable material which is amazing - I haven't tried any natural nail polishes before. I love the packaging, the shade and the brush is wide so it makes application really quick and easy (it dries quickly too)! The application is great, it is pigmented so I only need one/two coats and it looks glossy - I'm really impressed! The longevity with a topcoat isn't incredible but it's about five days on me which still fantastic, especially for a natural polish. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Have you tried any Faby polishes? Have you tried any natural nail polishes? 

*Rosacea Awareness

Monday, October 24, 2016
*Rosacea Awareness
Today's post is about a topic that I'm interested in and concerned with as, while I don't have rosacea, I do have a skin condition and I think it would be great for more people know know about skin conditions as sometimes they can be misdiagnosed or go untreated. When my eczema first started about eight years ago, I thought it was rosacea at the time as sometimes my eczema can look a little like rosacea but I've been diagnosed with eczema which I get on my face, eyes and hands. 

I know how awful it can be to have a long term skin condition, especially during the teenage years when appearance seems to be everything. I've already published a post about my experience of eczema including some of the products and tips that helped me. One of the main things that I have found really difficult in my eczema experience is trying to find the right treatment, I've tried so many steroid and non-steroid creams as well as allergy tablets and dietary changes to try to find a combination or treatment that helps and it can be a frustrating and depressing process; however finding the right treatment is essential. 

For rosacea, there are numerous treatment options as there are with eczema so it also might take a while to find a treatment that suits but one of the most popular and effective rosacea treatment options is IPL (intense pulsed light) and the Pulse Light Clinic has fifteen years of experience with rosacea treatments. IPL works be emitting light waves that target and damage the affected areas which triggers the body's natural response to repair the damaged areas resulting in new and clearer skin cells to replace the damaged cells. 

The before and after photos look amazing and they have a short video showing the rosacea treatments at the Pulse Light Clinic in London. I've read that IPL can be used to treat eczema as well so I will definitely be looking into IPL now as even though I can mostly keep it at bay with non-steroid creams, it still flares up and a more effective treatment would be fantastic. You can contact the Pulse Light Clinic to book in a free consultation and patch-test.

Again, if you have a skin condition or think you do, make sure you research and looking into various treatments and also speak to your GP about it. I've had to go back to my GP so many times to look into other treatment options for my eczema but it's worth persevering to find the right treatment! This is a sponsored post.

Do you have eczema or rosacea? Have you tried IPL? 

*collaborative post
please always do your own research before considering any kind of treatment anywhere or lifestyle change 

Autumn Essentials ft. SammyDress

Sunday, October 23, 2016
Autumn Essentials ft. SammyDress
Autumn is here and I'm loving it! I love the dark evenings, chilling mornings, all of the gorgeous honey coloured leaves and my autumnal cozy outfits *although there is one thing I don't like about autumn, being blinded while driving by other headlights!*. 

I was very kindly sent a few items from the people at Sammydress and I'm loving all of them so today's post, which is annoyingly late, is all about the items I chose from Sammydress and how I have been wearing them over the past week or so! My favourite items are definitely the pretty jacket and the checked dress. Autumn Essentials ft. SammyDress
*Sammydress Yellow Faux Leather Jacket ($28.31 - M)
I have wanted a coloured faux leather jacket for the longest time and I've seen few that I've liked on Zara but I didn't know if it would suit me so I'm glad that I've been able to try this one and I love it! I am petite so I find jackets arms can be really long on me but this one fits me perfectly without any altering at all! I love the colour, the design, it's comfortable; I cannot recommend it enough. I think it pairs really well with monochrome outfits. If you are a UK size 8 or 10 then the Medium size for this jacket will be perfect. Autumn Essentials ft. SammyDress
The photos of this dress, bag and the amazing tee are all taken with my new Canon 750D camera and I am so happy with the photos and the quality - what do you think? I'm either wearing pyjamas or a dress, I'm constantly wearing dresses so when I have to opportunity to choose clothing, I'm always going to choose a dress.

*Sammydress Black and White Checked Dress ($15.16)

I love anything with a plaid/tartan/check pattern, whichever you want to call it, as it's the perfect print for the autumn and winter months - I also love monochrome so it's right up my street. The material is soft, thicker than I thought it would be and the dress is really well made. I adore the pockets (why don't all dresses have pockets?!) and it's so comfortable, particularly with tights and ankle boots.

*Sammydress Tassel Bag ($13.78 - Tan)

As well as dresses, I love bags - I have quite a few but I obviously need more! I love the colour of this bag, it's a gorgeous autumnal shade and I love the design too. The design and shape of the bag is really unique, I haven't see anything like it before. It doesn't quite fit everything I like to carry with me (although to be fair, I do always carry too much) but it is durable and it has a zipper. The only problem I have with this bag is the scent, it has a strong faux leather or PU scent which I am trying to get rid of because I love the bag but I don't want to use it with that scent.
Autumn Essentials ft. SammyDress
Last but not least, I have a gorgeous tee which is similar is the tee's I've reviewed already from Sammydress. On a sidenote, how adorable is this giant pinecone decoration, it's so cute! I'm really loving this second outfit, it's exactly the kind of outfit I would wear constantly throughout autumn and winter with the addition of a black faux leather jacket and scarf.

*Sammydress Short Sleeve Tee ($6.80)

I want to say how soft and cozy this tee is, I am so impressed with the quality of this and the other tee's from Sammydress that I've tried and I cannot recommend them enough - especially for the price!  Sarcasm is bascially a second language for me so this tee is perfect; it's a great tee when you are having a cozy day as it's great for lounge wear!

Overall, again I'm so impressed with the quality of all of the items I've tried from Sammydress! I particularly love the tee, dress and the jacket and I know I will get so much use out of them probably until the spring. I cannot recommend Sammydress enough. Also I'm loving my new Canon 750D camera!

Have you bought anything from Sammydress? What do you think of the items I've picked/my outfits?

Gift Idea: Kartel Scotland Watches

Friday, October 21, 2016
Gift Idea: Kartel Scotland Watches
It's that time of the year when brands are releasing christmas sets, the days are getting chilly and pumpkins are everywhere. Also the Boots christmas catalog is out now which means that the official countdown to christmas has now begun. Get ready for all the christmas posts over the next couple of months!

The lovely people at Kartel have sent me the gorgeous *Kartel Lewis Rose Gold 40mm RGT Watch (£65) which features a 22mm tan genuine leather strap, stainless steel caseback and it is water resistant up to 30m. It comes in a gorgeous minimal but elegant gift box so it would be a fantastic christmas gift.
Gift Idea: Kartel Scotland Watches
I love the watch design, it's so classic and minimal but it's still elegant, striking and great for everyday or for more formal occasions. The leather strap is soft and flexible so it doesn't feel uncomfortable on my wrist and it has enough size markers for my tiny wrist.

The face is quite large, especially compared to the cheaper watches I own but I love it. As a blogger, I love anything that is rose gold so this watch is perfect for me. The warm tan strap and the gorgeous rose gold is a lovely autumnal combination but if you didn't like this colour combination then you should check out their site as they have SO many watch designs to choose from!

Overall, I'm so happy with the watch, I've been wearing it constantly but I think it would be a fantastic christmas gift too as the classic design will be perfect for everyone. Kartel will be offering free engraving on all watches throughout November and December which will make a watch even more special! I cannot recommend Kartel watches enough! Overall rating:  ★★★★★, 5/5!

What do you think of Kartel Scotland watches?

Iconic Movie Quotes ft. Warner Bros

Thursday, October 20, 2016
Iconic Movie Quotes ft. Warner Bros
Image from Warner Bros
I've mentioned my love of films and movie nights in on my blog a few times and on social media too! I love watching a film, snuggled up with a blanket, comfort food and friends or family; it's such a relaxing, cozy *and yes, hygge* experience. I have a lot of favourite movies, some of which may be quite geeky but I love them, including: the Harry Potter series, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and anything directed by Tim Burton, particually the Batman films from the 80's, Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow. 

I watch most movies online via Netflix but it's great to have a dvd too as then there's no buffering! On 5th September 2016 Warner Bros UK. launched the Iconic Moments Collection, a beautifully matching packaged set of 22 standout titles celebrating the breadth of their catalogue, including classics such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the original which is one of my favourite childhood films), Gremlins, the Matrix and 300, as well as many others. I love the unique and tricking DVD artwork for this new collection and I think they'd make great christmas gifts! 

Some of my favourite movie quotes some from these iconic modern classic films, particularly Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as I grew up watching the film and reading Roald Dahl books. Some of my favourite quote from it have to be: 

"There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you'll be free if you truly wish to be"
"Time is a precious thing. Never waste it"
"I don't understand it. The children are dissappearing like rabbits. Well, we still have each other. Shall we press on?"

One of my favourite movies from the collection is 300...I think you know why I've you've seen the movie - if you haven't you should definitely watch it, it's by no means a thought provoking or masterpiece of a film but it's action packed and entertaining! I think you know what some of my favourite quotes from 300 will be as they are so iconic now: 

"Spartans! Ready your breakfast and eat hearty... For tonight, we dine in hell!" 
"Freedom isn't free at all, that it comes with the highest of costs. The cost of blood"

Have you watched any of the films from the Iconic Moments collection? What are your favourite film quotes? 

Direct Cosmetics Haul

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Direct Cosmetics Haul
I have been lucky enough to work with Direct Cosmetics already so I was super excited when an email came into my inbox from them; I was very kindly sent a few of their products that I chose and I am really impressed with all of them! Here's my mini Direct Cosmetics haul:

*Maybelline Big Eyes Mascara in Black
I've tried quite a few Maybelline mascaras but I've never tried a dual/two part mascara like this before. Excuse the photograph above, while I love it as it's really clear thanks to my new and amazing Canon 750D camera but I forgot to do my brows! Don't you think that brows to weird without pencil, gel or pomade? The mascara applies like a dream, it leaves my lashes black, defined and volumised to an extent; it's one of the best mascaras I've tried recently. I usually don't apply mascara to my lower lashes but as it has a wand for the lower lashes, I had to give it a give and I love it!
Direct Cosmetics Haul
*Loreal Gel Intenza Eyeliner in 02 Golden Black 
I haven't tried any Loreal eyeliners which is my I wanted to try this product; it is a unique shade as it's a black that contains micro golden shimmer! I didn't think the shimmer would show up when applied but it does in good lightning and looks so pretty - it would be perfect for the festive season. The only other gel liner I've tried is the Clinique brush on gel liner and in comparison this one isn't as pigmented but it is smoother, less dry and its a little easier to apply even with the odd lip brush that comes with it.
Direct Cosmetics Haul
*Cargo Cosmetics Vintage Escape Eye Palette
I love a good eyeshadow palette, I have so many but I can never turn one down #BloggerProblems. The shades in this palette are so autumnal, it's gorgeous! I'm not a massive fan of the packaging design, it's a brown faux leather but the shade inside are perfect, buttery smooth, pigmented and easy to blend. Here's a break down of all the shades:

- Harvest Moon: Creamy off white
- Cuddle: Shimmery pink beige
- Frolic: Deep, rich metallic brown
- Cinnamon: Metallic warm bronze
- Twigs: Metallic navy
- Black Crow: Matte black
- Crisp: Shimmery golden beige
- Hot Cocoa: Matte warm brown
- Autumn: Matte orange tan
- Withered Leaves: Metallic olive green
- Rustic: Warm shimmery brown with warm orange undertones
- Chestnut: Matte cool toned dark brown

I've been using the palette constantly, I love all of the shades although I do wear the matte shades the most on a day to day basis; it's difficult to choose just a few shades but I have been using Harvest Moon, Cuddle, Hot Cocoa and Crisp the most recently but they are all so gorgeous and sumptuous! The palette comes with a double ended brush with an angled liner brush on one end which is actually perfect for my brow pomade and a soft, fluffy blending brush on the other.
Direct Cosmetics Haul
*Molton Brown Ylang Ylang Replenishing Hand Cream 
I have the body polish, body lotion and shower gel from this range and I'm so glad to have the matching hand cream too as the scent is just heavenly - it is a musky, floral and comforting scent. The hand cream is perfect as I have very dry hands due to eczema and it doesn't irritate my skin and it keeps my hands smooth and moisturised for a while! I'd definitely recommend it and it's a great price on Direct Cosmetics.

*Sally Hansen Color Quick Fast Dry Nail Color Pen in Smoke
I have wanted to try a nail polish pen for ages but I thought that they'd be really messy and gimmicky but I'm actually kind of impressed with this one. The shade is '22 Smoke' which is a gorgeous mauve grey shade so it's a perfect Heather shade. It's surprisingly quick and easy to apply, it is smooth and quick to dry although it can be a bit patchy so at least two coats are needed. I definitely need to try more nail polish pens!

Have you tried any of these products or brands? Have you bought anything from Direct Cosmetics? 

*Travel Wish List ft. Citizen M

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Travel Wish List ft. Citizen M
Original images from are Google
Since booking our family holiday to Norway next year, I've been searching for holidays constantly as well as searching through Pinterest at some of the main cities and countries I'd love to visit *the list is quite long*. Here are the top five cities and countries I'd love to visit! This is a collaborative post with Citizen M.

New York
I would love to visit quite a few cities and states in America such as California, San Francisco, Alaska and obviously New York. The Big Apple has been on my wish list the longest as I've wanted to go since college - my friends and I spent our college lunch breaks planning our 21st birthday trip to New York until you know, money got in the way! Citizen M hotels always look amazing, I've seen a few bloggers stay in their hotels and there is a Citizen M hotel in Time Square *yes please*.

Last year Iceland seemed to be the blogger country of choice and it really didn't help my wanderlust. Iceland looks like one of the most picturesque countries ever with beautiful cities, glaciers, fjords, lagoons, geysers, a volcano and the stunning Hallgrimskirkja cathedral as well as whale watching, the northern lights, lava fields and hot springs - can you tell I really want to visit Iceland?!

I have actually kind of visited Paris already...well, Disneyland Paris back in the 90's but I'd love to visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame cathedral. Also, I'd love to go shopping (they have a Sephora in Paris!) and I'd be able to eat ALL the macarons! Citizen M also have hotel at the Charles de Gaulle airport.

This summer we booked a trip to the Harry Potter Studios with a day in London; however after a horrendous 8 hour coach journey in 32 degree heat, we only ended up with 90 minutes in London so I'd obviously love to go back! I've been a couple of times as a teenager, one with my choir to sing at the Royal Albert Hall for the Youth Proms. I'd love to visit Buckingham Palace, the massive Lush store on Oxford Street *obviously*, the Natural History Museum, Saint Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London - Citizen M actually have a hotel close to the Tower of London so I'm definitely going to be keeping it in mind when we eventually go back to London!

Last but not least, Norway! Luckily we are going to be visiting Norway as a part of a P&O cruise next summer and I cannot wait to see all of the amazingly beautiful fjords and Bergen which looks like a gorgeous and picturesque city! Sadly we are going in the summer so we probably won't see the Northern Lights but that just means I'll have to visit again although to be honest I probably won't want to ever leave the first time!

Have you visited any of these cities? Have you stayed in a Citizen M hotel? Where do you want to visit next? 

Book Review: The Girl With All The Gifts

Monday, October 17, 2016
Book Review: The Girl With All The Gifts
I have wanted to read this book for a few months, as the movie looks great and I really wanted to read the book before I watched the movie. I was very kindly sent the book to review from Social Book Co which is a book price comparison website which is so useful as books can be quite expensive and we all want a good deal and to find the best price possible! 

This post contains an affiliate link. 

I have *The Girl With All The Gifts (RRP £8.99, paperback) which is published by Obit and it's 460 pages long although this edition has an interview with the author and an excerpt from The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August which I have already read and loved - I think this must be the same author but with a different pen name which is annoying as I'd love to read more from this author. 

Firstly, I love the cover! It is so simple but colourful, striking and unique - it also doesn't really give away anything about the storyline (also the blurb doesn't give away much either) and it's great that you go into it quite blind. Text on the cover states that it is a thriller and I think it is a little but I'd personally classify it as a dystopian, apocalyptic and an action read, not really a thriller as such. 

"Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh. Melanie is a very special girl." From Amazon

This little section may contain a could of minor spoilers so just skip to the final paragraph. The book follows a curious, intelligent and...very unique young girl called Melanie and other very unique children like her.  The soldiers take extra care with her and the others, it follows her life and what happens when the...stuff hits the fan.

I didn't know this book was written by the same author as The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August (which is one of my favourite books of 2016 so far) and I do see some similarities as both as so quick and easy to read even though they aren't short books. The writing style for The Girl With All The Gifts is a bit more simplistic, to the point and refreshing especially as some of the views/perspectives are of Melanie who is only a child.

I love Melanie's character as well as Miss Justineau, their friendship is just so sweet and caring, unlike all of the other relationships in the book. Then there were some awful characters such as Dr Caldwell and Sargent Parks, although I came to like him in the end. It was interesting to find out about the world in the book, the worldwide disaster and the wide reaching effects  on individuals and society - I haven't read anything exactly like it before. I found the mystery element make it a real page turner and I managed to read the book in just under two days which I think it quite quick especially as it's 460 pages long (not including the interview or extract).

Overall, it was a quick, easy and entertaining read and I loved it much more than I thought I would. It's great to go into it blind, it kept me wanting to read on and on and it is perfect for this time of year. It is a little gory and gruesome at times, which I wasn't fully expecting, and it has strong apocalypse/dystopian themes so if that's not your thing then possibly skip this book but if you like action, adventure and dystopian books with some fighting, survival and more then definitely check it out! My only main problem is that although the ending was quite heart felt and emotional, it was also a little convenient for me and I still had a lot of questions when I finished reading. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

Have you read this book or watched the film? What are you currently reading/watching? 

The Little Book Of Hygge

Sunday, October 16, 2016
The Little Book Of Hygge
Everyone has been going hygge crazy over the past couple of months and it's easy to see why! Hygge kind of translates to coziness but it means so much more than that - it means safety, comfort, happiness and it's a Scandinavian speciality that the rest of the world should adopt.

I was very kindly sent *The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (£5, hardcover) by Penguin which is not only a really useful and interesting book but it is also one of the most beautiful books on my bookshelves! I love the cover design, illustrations and the gold detailing! The book explains hygge (pronounced hoo-ga? or who-knows!), what it means, how to incorporate it into your lifestyle and the significance in Danish culture.

The chapters range from explanations, beautifully designed diagrams and graphs to recipes, hygge activities, danish culture and so much more. I didn't know it had recipes in it and I'd definitely be interested in a hygge cookbook! I loved learning about the Danish culture especially as I've been to Copenhagen and I'd love to go again - the book gives me serious Scandi withdrawals.

The love the writing style, it's almost as if you were talking to a friend, with candles everywhere, comfort food and board games because that is the hygge way. I am an introvert and I love spending time at home with friends and family, especially during the colder months, so this book and the hygge ideas of home is where the heart is, coziness and good food and company definitely appeals to me.

Overall, I think it is a fantastic all round book full of interesting information about the Danish culture, hygge and recipes; it's perfect for this time of the year when hygge feeling is at it's highest. One fact that I found interesting is that in Denmark they burn SO many candles (although right now I might be able to single handedly compete with Denmark when it comes to candles!) but they usually only burn unscented candles which seems to the opposite in the UK. This beautiful book would be a perfect christmas gift, I cannot recommend it enough! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Now...can I move to Denmark? 

Have you read this book? Do you love some of the hygge essentials of candles, coziness and comfort food? 

*Aquascutum Luxe Wish List

Saturday, October 15, 2016
Aquascutum Luxe Wish List
My wish lists for autumnal clothing, accessories, bags and coziness is growing by the day! I have so far mostly refrained from buying everything *mainly because I want to buy a new camera which is almost £600* but I have treated myself to a few new books and I've been lucky enough to be sent some lovely new autumnal clothing - posts coming soon. Today's post is a wish list featuring the brand Aquascutum which is a luxury British clothing brand which began as Mayfair tailors in 1851. Their iconic trench coat was used by soldiers during the first and second world wars!

Mika Wool Cardigan  -  Nova Scarf  -  Club Check Cosmetics Case  -  Bewryn Club Check Scarf  -  Tilsbury Trench Coat

My wish list features one of their gorgeous trench coats which definitely still has an almost utilitarian, military design but much more chic. Annoyingly the gorgeous navy bag doesn't seem to be on the website anymore, or maybe I just can't find it, the website definitely isn't the best! I adore the club check print, it's so autumnal and classic. This is a collaborative post.

Have you bought anything from Aquascutum? What do you think of the items in my wish list?

Autumnal Makeup ft. Blank Canvas Cosmetics

Friday, October 14, 2016
Autumnal Makeup ft. Blank Canvas Cosmetics
Blank Canvas Cosmetics is a brand I've seen so many times on blogs and youtube and every time their products receive rave reviews so I was very excited when I received a package including the much talked about *Pippa Palette (£31.58) as well as the *Blank Canvas Cosmetics E24 Brush (£6.31, sale). 

Blank Canvas Cosmetics collaborated with Pippa O'Connor Ormond to create a gorgeous palette containing six eyeshadows, a highlighter, blush and bronzer. The packaging is so cute and even though it is cardboard, it still feels durable and sturdy. Usually cardboard palettes have an awful magnetic closure but this one is great so it would actually be fantastic for travelling. 

The shades are so wearable and perfect for everyday! Initially they all look matte but a few do contain a tiny amount of fine glitter but on me the glitter doesn't really translate to the skin once blended. Here's a run down of the shades included: 

K.D: Deep Matte Black
Dodo: Warm Matte Cocoa Brown
Susu: Medium Tan Brown
Tobi: Pink Beige
Ollie: Creamy Light Beige
Lily: Slightly Shimmery Cream
Lulu: Shimmery Golden Highlighter
Pipsy: Matte Peachy Pink Blush
Amour: Matte Warm Light Brown Bronzer 

The shadows have a creamy, smooth texture that makes them incredible quick, easy and fuss free to blend. The pigmentation is great for all of the shades, they wear really well - there is minimal creasing at the end of the day even without a primer and they blend perfectly with the E24 brush. I used the Lily shade on the brow bone and inner corner, the Ollie shade all over the lid and a combination of the Tobi and Susu shades in the outer corner, crease and lower lash line. 
Autumnal Makeup ft. Blank Canvas Cosmetics
The blush shade is so pretty and natural on the skin and the bronzer is great to add some warmth to my very pale skin but unlike some bronzers it doesn't look orange or muddy. The highlight shade looks so gorgeous too. I have been using it as a brow bone and a cheek bone highlight. It does look shimmery on the skin but it is still relatively subtle although it can be built up until it is such a beautiful, intense golden highlight. The highlighter is SO similar to Mary Loumanizer by TheBalm! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

The *Blank Canvas Cosmetics E24 Brush on the website looks like it would be a little scratchy but it's so incredibly soft and smooth. It is great for laying down a base colour, blending eyeshadow along the lower lash line and apply my brow bone highlight. For the price, the brush is fantastic and I can't recommend it enough. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.
Autumnal Makeup ft. Blank Canvas Cosmetics
Overall, I think this palette is a perfect all round palette and the quality is amazing! The shadows are pigmented, smooth, creamy and easy to blend and wear well throughout the day. I love all of the shades and they are great for everyday wear. The blush, highlight and bronzer are also a nice addition to the palette - especially the highlighter which is such a close dupe to Mary Loumanizer by TheBalm. The only negative I have is that a couple of the eyeshadows are a bit powdery/chalky but other than that it's amazing! The brush is also great, super affordable and I cannot recommend these products enough.

Have you tried anything from Blank Canvas Cosmetics? What do you think of this palette or the look I created? 

*Halloween Party Ideas

Thursday, October 13, 2016
Halloween Party Ideas
Images from Pinterest
Halloween is almost here! I used to go to so many Halloween parties as a child *and Halloween discos were a thing for me as I grew up in the 90's*. I was always a cat for some reason even though I don't really like cats but I did love Halloween discos and dressing up. In England, trick or treating isn't really a thing so watching Halloween films, going to friends Halloween parties and my school Halloween disco were our Halloween activities but as an adult I don't really do anything for Halloween. However, I want to throw a Halloween party this year, even though it's on a Monday, and Festive Lights have a great post full of ideas for an adult Halloween party! This is a collaborative post.

Costumes & Makeup
For the past couple of years I have been creating Halloween makeup looks for my blog which is one of my main Halloween activities around this time of the year and it's SO fun! You can't have a Halloween party without costumes and halloween makeup. I have quite a few ideas on my blog for makeup looks including the Cheshire Cat,  a mermaid, a sugar skull and much more - my most recent Halloween look was a vampire witch look! You could create a costume or makeup competition and whoever has the best or the creepiest makeup or costume would win a prize.

Snacks & Drinks 
Festive Lights and also Pinterest have amazing Halloween food, drink and snack ideas! Festive Lights have some fantastic cocktail ideas such as 'freak show lemonade', 'Witches Coven' and more all of which are inspired by the TV show American Horror Story (I really need to start watching it). I have one Halloween recipe on my food blog for Vegan Coconut and Chocolate Muffins with Vegan Jelly and I also have some more healthy Halloween food ideas on my blog too.

Halloween decorations have to be some of the best homeware decorations ever, can you tell that I love Halloween? Wilkinsons and Amazon have some fantastic Halloween decorations at great prices. Also you could go down the DIY route and use the templates on the Festive Lights Halloween party PDF to create a creepy bat silhouette on a lamp shade which would be so easy to do but so effective.

Games & Music
We never did apple bobbing as children at school but you could make a more adult version using punch or cider instead of water. Pumpkin carving competitions, telling scary stories and drinking games would be perfect for a adult Halloween party. Halloween music is an essential; here are some of my Halloween music picks: Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett, Thriller by Michael Jackson, Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show film and Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.

Films + TV Shows
Now for more of a hygge inspired Halloween party were it's more intimate with close friends and family. A Halloween TV/film night with candles and spooky snacks would be perfect for me, here are some of my recommendations: Beetlejuice (it's one of my favourite films!), Hocus Pocus, Sleepy Hollow (the Johnny Depp film version) and Pan's Labyrinth. My TV recommendations: The Strain, The Frankenstein Chronicles, The Living and the Dead, Sleepy Hollow and my favourite Halloweenesque TV show which is Penny Dreadful - it's quite distributing at times!

Definitely check out the Festive Lights Halloween Party PDF

What do you think of these ideas? What are you doing for Halloween this year? Any Halloween TV show recommendations?

Book Review: Heap House

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Book Review: Heap House
The colder autumnal and winter months are perfect for spooky, dark and quirky reads; I've already read quite a few creepy books so far this month and this is one of them although even though it does have creepy elements, it's definitely more quirky, atmospheric and unusual - think Tim Burton.

I was very kindly sent *Heap House by Edward Carey (£7.99) by Hot Key Books which is the first book in the Iremonger trilogy. I adore the cover, it's so unusual and unique - it also looks quite gothic. The Hoy Key Books I have all have a pie chart style symbol on the back depicting the main themes and topics within the book which I think is a fantastic idea! For this book the themes are stated as friendship, gothic, revenge and escape.

The book follows the massive Iremonger family including Clod Iremonger who are all very eccentric. They've created a frankstein's monster of a house all full of the family and distant relatives, the house is pretty much a character of it's own...The majority of the family and plethora of distant relatives who act as servants, never leave the house as it's surrounded by the heaps which are gigantic, mountain like structures of rubbish. New servants are brought in every so often, including a curious girl called Lucy Pennant and she makes an unlikely and adorably cute friendship with Clod.

The Iremonger family are more than a little unusual and one of their main eccentricities are their birth objects; when an Iremonger is born, a member of the family gives them a 'birth object' which can be anything from a bath plug to a fireplace. Poor, sickly (but cute and delightful) Clod can hear birth objects and he knows that something is wrong, not just with the birth objects but the house in general and he endeavours to find out what has caused the disturbance and the odd peace the family have found for themselves in their own unique, topsy turvy world.

I love the writing style, it's incredibly easy and quick to read and I also love the illustrations throughout the book even though some are a little creepy to say the least. You get so many points of view from the family members and servants, each one with an illustration, so it can be a little confusing just because there are SO many characters but it is an unusual, essenctric and easy read that has such a fantastic quirky and victorian atmosphere. There are a few twists and turns all of which are a little predictable and I wasn't massively happy with the ending but I would definitely recommend it - I think it would be an incredible film, if done correctly and if Tim Burton directed it as this is definitely Tim Burtonesque already! I definitely want to carry on with the trilogy! Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

Have you read anything from Edward Carey? What are you currently reading? 

Unwash Conditioner + Hair Mask

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Unwash Conditioner + Hair Mask
When it comes to haircare, 99% of the time, I usually just go for the cheapest or the nicest smelling products I can find but as I do have dry, thick and colourtreated hair, I do need to look after it more than I am currently. So when these gorgeously packaged products arrived, I was interested to give them a go and see if they can improve my sometimes unmanageable hair!

*Unwash Bio-Cleansing Conditioner (£20, 400ml)
Firstly, I have to say that I adore the packaging! I love the design, the shape, illustrations and the squeezy rubberised bottle. I also love the ingredients list as these products don't contain any harsh chemicals; there are gorgeous ingredients included such as organic evening primrose oil, keratin and hemp seed oil. The scent is lovely, it has a light and fresh *almost salon like* scent to it. I've been using it constantly since I received it and it is fantastic; it leaves my hair smooth, soft, moisturised and detangled but it doesn't irritate or weight my hair down! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

*Unwash Hydrating Masque (£16, 190ml)
Again, I love the packaging and the ingredients; the masque contains organic argan oil, quinoa (yes, quinoa) and restorative oils. I have dry hair most of the time but especially during the autumn and winter months when the weather and having drying central heating on all of the time can cause havoc with my skin and hair so a hydrating hair mask is an essential. I haven't been as diligent as I used to be with hair and face masks but I'm making the effort to use them more regularly again. The masque smells light, fresh and almost fruity to me and it leaves my hair smooth, moisturised and soft but as with the conditioner it doesn't seem to weight my hair down, irritate or leave my hair feeling greasy. I use hair masks on dry hair as I find they work better that way! The only negatives I have about these products is the slightly high price point and they don't seem to be widely available in the UK just yet. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Have you tried anything from this brand? What haircare products are you loving recently? 

Jacamo Mens Gift Guide

Monday, October 10, 2016
Yes, it hasn't been Halloween just yet and I'm already talking about the C word...Christmas! I do love Christmas but I think the build up to Christmas is actually more magical and exciting than Christmas Day itself, is it just me who thinks like this? Anyway, I like to build up to Christmas early, particularly on my blog because for those like me who buy gifts and wrap presents REALLY early, it's good to have gift ideas a couple of months before the Christmas shopping rush!

Out of all of the family and friends I buy presents for, my dad is the worst! He doesn't like chocolate, football or sport in general, he doesn't read that much and he is frustratingly picky when it comes to clothing but I bought him a couple of formal work shirts and more casual shirts from Jacamo last year and he loved them!

Jacamo Stripe Polo  -  Burberry Aftershave Offer/Set  -  Bewley & Ritch Lambert Shirt  -  Black Label Shirt  -  Original Penguin Socks  -  Williams & Brown Tie  -  Jacamo Cargo Pants

This is a sponsored post but as I've already given my dad some items from here and he loves them, I would be already recommend them to you anyway. Jacamo has such a wide range of clothing, accessories and sportswear for such a wide age range, size range and styles; additionally they have a small range of aftershaves and gift sets too. I actually bought my dad the two blue shirts above, or two very similar ones, last year and he wears them so much for work so I'm definitely getting more this year. Also the aftershaves in this post are on offer - if you buy the Burberry Weekend aftershave, you will get the Burberry London aftershave for free! Also it's coming up to Black Friday so stay tuned!

Have you bought anything from Jacamo? What will you be buying your male friends and family this Christmas? 

Neal's Yard + Deliciously Ella Skincare

Monday, October 10, 2016
Neal's Yard + Deliciously Ella Skincare
Neal's Yard is a brand that I have wanted to try for so long so when a beautiful package arrived with two new products from their collaboration with Deliciously Ella, I was incredibly excited and I couldn't wait to try the products! Ella wanted to create a beautiful blend packed with some of her favourite ingredients including lime, rose and cucumber; both products are so beautifully packaged and they smell incredible! After trying these products and loving them, I hope they bring out more products with this scent, a candle and bodycare range would be amazing!

*Neal's Yard & Deliciously Ella Rose, Lime & Cucumber Facial Wash (£16, 100ml)
The facial wash contains so many amazing ingredients such as avocado oil, lime oil, cucumber fruit water, coconut oil, blueberry seed oil and more, some of which are organic and naturally derived. The box packaging is so beautiful but also classic and simple. The bottle is gorgeous and made of unique blue glass so aesthetically it would make a lovely christmas gift - I know my aunties and my mum would adore these products.

I have sensitive and dry skin and when I just started using these products I still had a couple of small areas of eczema but neither of these products irritated my skin at all (my skin loves products with natural ingredients). The facial wash is creamy, rich and when using it with my Foreo Luna Go, it gives my skin a deep cleanse without stripping my skin. The cleanser leaves my skin clean, smooth and soft. Also the scent makes it such a lovely experience to use, it's almost an aromatherapy and relaxing experience!
Neal's Yard + Deliciously Ella Skincare
*Neal's Yard & Deliciously Ella Rose, Lime & Cucumber Moisturiser (£25, 100ml)
Again, the packaging is just gorgeous and so luxurious, as all Neal's Yard products seem to be! The moisturiser is my favourite product of the two, although they're both wonderful, as it is so rich, comforting and sumptuous to use. I have dry skin all year round but especially when the colder months come around so this moisturiser will be an essential for me. The moisturiser leaves my dry, sensitive and somewhat annoying skin comfortable, smooth, moisturised and incredibly velvety soft - it's basically the moisturiser version of a cozy blanket! I adore this moisturiser and the floral, light and uplifting scent just makes it nicer to use. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5!

Overall, for my first experience of Neal's Yard skincare, I am very impressed with not just the quality and packaging but the ethics too as Neal's Yard is a cruelty free brand and both of these products are suitable for vegans. Both of the Deliciously Ella products are wonderful and perfect for my dry, sensitive skin, particularly around the autumn/winter months. They are very luxurious, sumptuous and opulent to use and have on my vanity. I cannot recommend these two product enough, you can buy them individually or as a duo as I have for £49.

Have you tried any products from Neal's Yard? What do you think of the Neal's Yard and Deliciously Ella collaboration? 

Landon Tyler Candle + Diffuser

Sunday, October 09, 2016
Landon Tyler Candle + Diffuser
Candles are such an essential for me, especially during the colder months as they not only provide a gorgeous scent but they make any room look incredibly cozy and homely; also candles and warm cozy lighting is essential for the feeling of hygge. I was very kindly sent a couple of products from the lovely people at Landon Tyler to try out.

*Landon Tyler Chesil Beach Candle (£8)
Landon Tyler has a range of scents but the one I chose was Chesil Beach which contains woody notes as well as lavender, bergamot and spice. I mainly chose this range because of the lavender, I'm obsessed with lavender as to me it is such an incredibly relaxing and calming scent. The candle looks much more expensive than it actually is and it smells amazing! To me the scent is musky, floral and rich - it would be perfect for the spring and autumn months. I adore the scent but I think to some it could be a little powdery/old fashioned. I always have candles burning in the office at home but as they are on a windowsill they never tend to burn 100% evenly but that is easy to counteract by turning the candle every so often. The scent is stronger than I though it would be as cheaper candles tend to be very subtle but this one isn't. I'd definitely recommend this candle, it's inexpensive, it smells lovely and it burns well. The only negative is that I seem to be burning through it very quickly! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.
Landon Tyler Candle + Diffuser
*Landon Tyler Chesil Beach Diffuser (£10) 
I am definitely more of a candle person but as my mum is a bit...paranoid about candles, I am always looking for diffusers that don't look really cheap and that actually give off a scent. I have tried quite a few and most are very subtle, they don't last long and they look really cheap but this one is fantastic. As with the candle, it looks a bit more expensive than it actually is and the scent is the same as the candle - musky, floral and gorgeous. I have the diffuser at the front door and I can smell it half way up the stairs which is impressive (even my mum is impressed!).  Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Have you tried anything from this brand? What is your favourite candle brand/scent?