Tuesday, 26 May 2015

May Reads & Reviews

Images via goodreads.com

As mentioned in my last Watching, Reading, Listening update, the first book I finished in May was Stefanie Gaither's Falls The Shadow (2014). The YA book follows Cate who lives in a world where parents can choose to have their children cloned at birth, to be raised in a controlled environment ready to step in if anything bad should happen to the original. Honestly I wasn't crazy about this one and whilst the premise had a lot of potential and the early chapters drew me in, I began to lose interest around the midway point.

Next up I took to my Kindle and made time for a couple of books that had been on my TBR for a while. The two I opted for were both intense and intriguing thrillers with endings that leave you wanting to know more as well as plenty of twists along the way.

The Ruining (Anna Collmore, 2013) is a contemporary psychological thriller following one girl's decision to try and build a better life for herself. When Annie gets into college and lands a job as a nanny for a rich family living in San Francisco she thinks she's hit the jackpot. Finally able to escape her not-so-perfect home life she sets off for her new home with the Cohens; Libby, Walker, toddler Zoe and baby Jackson. When she arrives she instantly feels like a part of their picture-perfect family, but the longer Annie spends with them she starts to see cracks appearing as the story takes a sinister turn. Similarly to Falls The Shadow I really enjoyed the beginning of the book but felt it trailed off a little in the later chapters. Having said that I'm glad I picked this one up and would read more from the author in future.

Following on with the theme, Abigail Haas' YA thriller Dangerous Girls (2013) also tells the story of a dream trip gone wrong when a group of teens are on spring break. The novel explores the complex relationship between best friends Anna and Elise after the latter is found murdered and the former accused of the crime. This one is definitely my top pick of the books I read this month and I'll be sharing a full review over on Blogger's Bookshelf in a couple of weeks!

I'm currently making my way through yet another book from the same genre; Dead Girls Don't Lie (Jennifer Shaw Wolf, 2013). In this novel we meet small-town teen Jaycee whose ex-best friend Rachel is found dead. Although the girls had grown apart it turns out that Jaycee may be the only one able to find out the truth about what happened to Rachel. Here we follow her as she hunts down clues and tries to solve the mystery. So far I think the idea is fairly interesting and am curious to find out what happened to Rachel but it definitely isn't as gripping as Dangerous Girls!

Reviews posted in May... The Perfectionists, Sara Shepard (2014) | Don't Stay Up Late, R.L. Stine (2015)

What did you read this month?
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Friday, 22 May 2015

#PaperHaul - The Retro One

may paperhaul box paperhaul may 3 Disclaimer: I purchased this box using the #paperhaul blogger discount - all opinions are my own

It's #paperhaul time again! This month's box arrived through my door earlier in the week and I was very surprised to find something a little different; snazzy 60's themed goodies! Full of throwback patterns and references May's box features the usual great selection of paper treats from cards to stickers, washi tape and gift tags. 

Whilst the retro colour palette of this month's box isn't very 'me', I think the theme itself is really fun and definitely a change from last month's selection of goodies! As I've said in previous reviews I love the selection of different styles and items found in each box and how different each month's theme is - there's definitely something for everyone!

My favourite items from this month's box would have to be the notecards which feature a colourful pattern, plus the record themed goodies including postcards and glossy stickers. I'm also a big fan of May's washi tape selection, a pretty pink and orange floral design that will be perfect for lots of projects.

If you're interested in treating yourself to the next #paperhaul box you can sign up over at Crafty Creatives for just £10 per month.

Don't forget to catch up on my review of last month's box - The Balloon One!

paperhaul may 2
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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Character Style Inspiration - Mary Margaret Blanchard (Once Upon A Time)

mary margaret blanchard style inspiration

Today we're talking character style with a little inspiration from Once Upon A Time's Mary Margaret, aka princess Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin). Mary Margaret definitely has one of the most distinctive wardrobes on the show which stands out as it is much softer than those of the other leading ladies; Emma and Regina.

In a post earlier this year I discussed the wardrobe of another OUAT character Emma Swan, Mary Margaret's daughter. In complete contrast to Emma's wardrobe of stylish-yet-practical basics, Mary Margaret's wardrobe has a much more classic feminine feel and she can frequently be found sporting soft textures, pastel tones, floaty florals and cute collars.

When it comes to accessories Mary keeps her everyday jewellery simple, usually opting for plain gold stud earrings and a necklace. She also often accessorises with soft berets or other hats embellished with flowers, as well as cosy scarves which also tone in with one of her many peacoats!

Shop the look: Perforated Slouch Shoulder Bag, Tesco £14 | Biker Zip Cardigan, House Of Fraser £39.90 | Carmine Sweater, Tory Burch £305 | Cropped Jacket, John Lewis £125.10 | White Gold Key Necklace, John Lewis £135 | Gold Stud Earings, John Lewis £85 | Liberty Teacup Print Shirt Dress, £135 | Fluffy Jumper, Dorothy Perkins £10.20 | Cashmere Beret, Liberty £60 | Floral Midi Skirt, Quiz £26.99 | Grey Formal Coat, ASDA £15 | Debbie Duster Coat, John Lewis £120 | Linen Blend Trousers, My Theresa £215 | Patent Leather Boots, Covetique (no longer available)

Images of Ginnifer Goodwin via imdb.com
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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Museum-Hopping!

A couple of weeks ago I happened to be making two trips to London within six days. Although the first was a planned trip to visit the V&A to see the Savage Beauty exhibition, both visits turned out to be museum-hopping days, meaning I ended up touring four of London's museums over the two days!

Museums are such a great day out and London has a vast variety of them to offer, meaning whatever your interests you'll be able to find one that appeals to you. In just a few hours you can see and learn so much, and as a bonus a lot of them are free to look around! As I had so much fun on these trips, today I thought I'd do something a little different and talk about the four museums I visited...



The Natural History Museum
First up Ria and I headed to The Natural History Museum, somewhere I hadn't been in a very long time. Both myself and Ria were captivated by how beautiful the building itself is and spent quite some time admiring the architecture as well as the exhibits. Of course we couldn't stop by without taking a look at the dinosaur section that the museum is famous for, as well as the Earth Hall and amazing Giant Sequoia. I have to admit we also spent a fair amount of time looking at all of the beautiful treasures in the Minerals section which led onto an area named The Vault, a room filled with stunning gems and even a Martian meteorite.

V&A
After perusing the exhibits at our first stop we headed to the V&A for our booked time slot to see Savage Beauty, an exhibition of McQueen's work. The exhibition takes you on a journey through McQueen's development as a designer and includes a huge range of stunning and unique pieces. What stood out to me about the exhibit aside from the items themselves (which were amazing!) was how beautifully they were showcased and although I appreciated being able to enjoy the experience of the exhibition without cameras flashing all over the place, I would have loved to have been able to capture some images of my own. Each room had it's very own styling and distinct feel to it, complimenting the particular garments and collections found inside which made the experience even more enjoyable. I'm clearly no expert on reviewing exhibitions so I won't even attempt to do so but I will urge you to visit this one if you get the chance to, it really was incredible. If you want to find out more about this particular exhibition Ria shared a brilliant post over on her blog!

Whilst we were there we had a wander around the What Is Luxury? exhibit which I also really enjoyed. With pieces sharing ideas on what luxury may mean to us in the future, including a scary yet interesting video showing human hair being coated in resin and made into furniture and other objects, the exhibition was definitely thought-provoking and unique.

The Hunterian Museum
The first stop on my second day out was to a museum I hadn't actually heard of before; The Hunterian. The museum which can be found within the Royal College Of Surgeons is full of specimen jars, bones and some very intriguing pieces such as early surgical equipment and anatomical tables displaying a full nervous system. We also visited the upper level of the museum where we watched a video of brain surgery which I found fascinating. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but we thought the Hunterian, with all of it's unusual contents, was a bit of a hidden gem.

The British Museum
The final stop on my museum-hopping adventure was The British Museum, another place I had never visited before. We decided to start by heading to the Ancient Egypt sections and the first thing we found was the Rosetta Stone. Personally I found this to be one of the most interesting things we saw at the museum and loved learning more about how hieroglyphs worked. Before heading upstairs in search of the mummies, coffins and other artifacts in the 'Egyptian Death & Afterlife' display, we also took in some of the Greek and Roman sculptures. Unfortunately as it was so late in the day we didn't get to look around many more sections and had to leave as they were closing but I would definitely love to go back and see more of the museum in future!

Which of London's museums is your favourite?

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