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?

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

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

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

style inspiration mary margaret blanchard
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

Images of Ginnifer Goodwin via imdb.com

Love Once Upon A Time? Check out my other Character Style posts: Dark Swan | Emma Swan

Saturday, 16 May 2015


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.

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?

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Calling All Crafters!


Today I wanted to share a quick post to let you know about a great craft competition over at Sykes Cottages. As some of you may remember I worked with the company late last year, creating a simple earring tutorial for their handmade gift guide. I loved working on that tutorial and seeing all of the amazing things the rest of the team created for the guide, so when Leanne got back in touch recently to ask if I would team up with them again I jumped at the chance!

To follow up the success of the handmade gift guide Sykes Cottages are holding a craft competition where you could be in with the chance of winning an awesome craft bundle worth £100!

It's super simple to enter, just visit the Sykes Cottages blog and upload a photo of something you've made recently - that's all there is to it! There's still lots of time to get your entries in as the competition closes on June 7th.

I'm very excited to say that I am going to be helping out as one of the judges and can't wait to see everyone's crafts! So, if you have a crafty project you're proud of and want to share, make sure you head on over to Sykes Cottages for your chance to win this amazing prize!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Character Style Inspiration - Gwen Stacy (The Amazing Spider-Man)

gwen stacy style inspiration amazing spider-man
Today's character style inspiration features Gwen Stacy as portrayed by Emma Stone in the 2012 Spider-Man reboot. Introduced as a friend and later love interest in the recent film The Amazing Spider-Man, and sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Gwen is and important character in Peter's story as well as a huge part of the action. Whether heading to work, school, socialising with friends and family or assisting Spider-Man on his latest adventure Gwen still manages to look super stylish throughout the films.

Although her wardrobe appears to be full of tailored professional looking pieces, Gwen puts a youthful spin on every outfit by adding in a pop of bold colour or an eye catching print - think geometric, polka dots and thin stripes - creating a more playful look. Another key part of Gwen's signature style is the way she often mixes different length pieces, most notably mini skirts and tall boots.

Shop the look: Crew Neck Cardigan, L.K.Bennett £90 | Camel Coat, House Of Fraser £99 | Leigh Skinny Jeans, Topshop £38 | Red Mini Skirt, Zalando £42 | Beret Hat, Dorothy Perkins £4 | Printed Silk Shirt, Stylebop £235 | Printed Scarf, Stylebop £105 | Tall Black Suede Boots, Long Tall Sally £160 | Crepe Blazer, Stylebop £185 | Satchel, The Cambridge Satchel Company £140 | Striped Tee, New Look £6.99 | Sleeveless Wool Vest, Covetique £250 | Red Satin Ribbon, eBay £8.95 for 25m | Short Suede Boots, My Theresa £380 | Lace Skater Dress, Topshop £34 | Beige Suede Boots, Vestiaire £392 | Tweed Miniskirt, Boden £79 | Coral Blazer, M&S £55 | Skinny Headband, Nordstrom £13.75

Images of Emma Stone: 1 | 2

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Watching, Reading, Listening #2

watching reading listening 2

Although I follow quite a few currently airing shows and don't tend to talk individual episodes here (still wishing I could figure out a way to share my thoughts on episodes each week without turning my blog into a spoiler zone), I wanted to mention Modern Family's recent episode titled Connection Lost. This particular episode followed a unique format with all of the character's interactions taking place via social media. It may sound like a difficult task to create a successful episode in this way however it was done so well and worked perfectly for the show - I really loved this episode!

During a busy couple of weeks reading has taken a bit of a backseat recently but I have managed to make my way through one book since my April roundup. Falls The Shadow (Stefanie Gaither, 2014) is a YA tale set in a world where children are cloned at birth, the clones raised in a controlled environment, ready to step in if anything happens to their originals. Although I thought the book had a great premise I sadly found that I started to lose interest as I reached the mid-point of the story.

Next up I'm planning to set the library books aside for a while, pick up my Kindle and find time to read a few of my purchases from earlier in the year such as Dangerous Girls (Abigail Haas, 2013), The Ruining (Anna Collomore, 2013) and Killer Instinct (S.E. Green, 2014). If you have any good book recommendations please let me know!

This month's Listening section is probably going to sound a little repetitive after my last WRL post but I'm going to be talking podcasts again as my obsession with Afterbuzz TV's aftershow selection is growing. After the season finale of Pretty Little Liars I decided to branch out and listen to more of Afterbuzz TV's podcasts and have been dipping in and out of quite a few including their aftershows for Hart Of Dixie, Grey's Anatomy, The Following and Once Upon A Time. I also just subscribed to their Castle podcast too so I'm looking forward to listening to that soon!

What have you been watching, reading & listening to lately?

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Less Toxic Nails? - Nailberry Noirberry

noirberry nailberry review

It happened, I finally got my hands on a dark red 5-free polish! Ever since leaving my huge collection of polishes behind and switching to less toxic formulas back at the end of 2014, I had been seriously missing my 'signature colour' and hadn't managed to find a replacement until I recently stumbled across Nailberry, in particular the shade Noirberry.

Nailberry's range features a big variety of colours to suit all tastes and is not only free of nasty chemicals but is also certified cruelty free. The brand website's 'About' page also promises great results including a high gloss finish, quick drying time, easy application and long-lasting wear. With all of these claims and a colour that looked like a perfect dupe for my most worn polish before the switch (Nails Inc Victoria), I added Noirberry to my wish list - it sounds too good to be true, right?

After managing not to give in and place and order online (the postage was just too much for me to justify on top of a £14.50 polish!) and a recent museum-hopping trip to London just happening to place me right around the corner from Nailberry's South Kensington salon, I dragged Ria on a slight detour to pick up this deep red shade.

To achieve the look shown above I applied two coats of polish, and whilst I usually try to go for two thin coats I found that this formula was a little thicker than the other 'less toxic' polishes I have tested so far. I also found that the polish had a stronger scent than the Priti NYC shades however I was very impressed with the opacity and drying time (no duvet imprints this time around!). Just as the website claimed, the polish was very easy to apply, dried quickly and definitely has a high-gloss finish that so far seems to be wearing well, even sans topcoat.

Overall I'm really impressed with my first polish from Nailberry, it's definitely my favourite 'less toxic' polish so far and I'm certainly keen to try out some more shades, as well as their Shine & Breathe topcoat. If you're looking to go less-toxic Nailberry is my top recommendation!

Have you tried anything from the Nailberry range?

Monday, 4 May 2015

Edward Scissorhands Volume 1: Parts Unknown

 Review copy c/o Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion, images via goodreads & drewrausch.com

Edward Scissorhands and I go way back. I’ve been a big fan of the 1990 Tim Burton film for a long time and even used it as inspiration for a project whilst at university back in 2008. Unfortunately that particular idea didn’t end up working out and whilst I still love the story I haven’t watched the film since. I always thought that one day I would revisit the characters and the story however I never imagined it would be through a graphic novel. A few months ago I noticed the cover for this book pop up on Netgalley and couldn't resist taking the opportunity to snap it up, and I'm happy to say that I'm glad I did!

As this is an adaptation of a film with such a distinctive style I want to kick off by talking about the visuals. I have to say I honestly really loved the style of the illustrations in this book, particularly those of Edward and the interior of his castle, which I preferred over the more brightly coloured scenes set outside of his lonely world. With reference to the original film the illustrations had a bit of a Burton-esque feel to them and I really felt that Drew Rausch’s style was perfectly suited to this quirky project. With this in mind I would really love to re-read the story, perhaps next time as a physical book, to catch all of the little details I must have missed first time around.

As for the story itself it’s important to first note that Parts Unknown is not a re-telling of the film’s plot but is actually a sequel. Set years into the future we are introduced to teenager Meg who is the granddaughter of Kim (Wynona Ryder’s character in the film). The plot follows Meg as she looks for Edward and tries to prove that her late grandmother’s tales of the mysterious but lovable character are more than just make-believe. Another new character is introduced in the form of Eli, one of the inventor’s failed projects who becomes the villain of this piece, an interesting twist on the events of the original story.

Personally I loved that this graphic novel offered a different spin on the world of Edward and brought new life to the character so many fans love. It also gave an interesting insight into what could have happened after the events of the film or what we may have seen if there had been a cinematic sequel. I did however feel like the story could have been padded out a little more, although I understand that this isn’t always easy with the format of a graphic novel.

Overall I think Edward Scissorhands Volume 1: Parts Unknown is a great little graphic novel and love that the story of Edward is being shared with a new generation. As it looks like this is just part one of a planned series I’m really looking forward to finding out where the story will go in the next instalment and what future adventures Edward and Meg may go on together!

Edward Scissorhands Volume 1: Parts Unknown is due for release on May 19th & is available to pre-order now.
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