Beauty · books · Lifestyle

December Favourites & End of 2017 Wrap Up!

First things first…

🎉 Hello 2018! 🎉

I hope you’re all enjoying the start of the new year! I was actually supposed to finish and post this blog a lot earlier but festivities to celebrate the new year along with a friend’s birthday and the second round of that strange period where you’re not sure what day or time it is just completely took over. But now, it’s back to reality, back to life as it was, and i’m pretty much ready to get properly started with 2018!

However, before we get there I want to take a look back on some of my favourites from last month.

 

D E C E M B E R   F A V O U R I T E S !

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KIKO Nail polish – I bought these on sale early on in December. The first is a shimmery gold colour and the second is a dark cherry shimmery colour. KIKO has yet to disappoint me with their nail polish, these dry relatively quickly (around 2 minutes) and they last for around 4 days without chipping, unless you do a lot of things involving your hands. i.e. washing up etc.

KIKO Mascara – In my October favourites, I mentioned that I wanted to branch out with my mascara, turns out KIKO is as far as i’m willing to branch out because I found another keeper from this brand. Although it doesn’t provide a lot of volume, I like that it has a slight shimmer to it which was nice addition to the makeup I wore during the festive season. It barely smudges when it rains and in terms of portability, it’s lighter than the average sized mascara.

KIKO Lip Gloss Liner – The best thing about this Gloss Liner is that it’s not heavy or sticky. I use this mostly to give my lips a little more colour, which I do by blending it with my trusty Vaseline. It also gives a really nice ombre effect when I blend it with a darker lipstick. Only downside is that you have to re-apply it a couple of times as it fades when you eat or drink.

Nivea Soft Lotion Tube – I now carry this cream wherever I go, the cold weather makes my skin drier than normal and this has been such a big help for me. It’s not sticky, it moisturises very well, it doesn’t have a strong perfume smell and is relatively light to carry for a 70ml tube.

Ear Muffs – Another winter essential! My ear lobes hurt when they’re really cold, so these have been a big help for them. They’re warm and comfortable to wear but if you’re like me and like to listen to music with earphones, they’re not the greatest to wear with them underneath.

Maroon Jumper – I absolutely LOVE this jumper, it’s one of the warmest and comfiest that i’ve bought. I’ve also had a lot of comments from people complimenting on how soft it is. Only negative is that because of its style, it can sometimes, hook on to nails and pointy objects. Other than that, it’s pretty much the perfect winter jumper.

 

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E N D   O F  Y E A R  W R A P – U P !

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Top 5 Books:
Psycho – Robert Bloch
A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Lost Symbol
by Dan Brown
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins
Mystery In White by J.Jefferson Farjeon.
Favourite New To Me Author: Stephen King
Let Downs: The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf (DNF)

Top 5 Films: (I am incredibly behind on watching films this year) 
Logan
War for the Planet of the Apes
Get Out
Wonder Woman
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Favourite New To Me Film: District 9 (2009)
Let Downs: The Mummy, John Wick 2, The Justice League

Top 5 TV Shows:
Line of Duty
Stranger Things
Game of Thrones – the best scene i’ve seen on-screen all year, maybe ever.
This Is Us
Riverdale
Favourite New To Me Show: The Good Place
Let Downs: The Walking Dead (stopped watching), Sense 8 (stopped watching)

Top 5 Songs
Dua Lipa – New Rules
Kendrick Lamar – Humble
Giggs ft. Donaeo – Linguo
Matoma & MAGIC! – Girl At Coachella
Camilla Cabello – Havana
Favourite New To Me Song: Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah – Lake Shore Drive

 

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LASTLY…

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I also want to give a major shout-out to my favourite thing(s) of the year which were tea and coffee but especially to tea for getting me through a particularly stressful year. I thought my final year of university was difficult but this year has been an entirely new, very real adult-life type of difficult. Despite everything, I made it through and my journey toward trying to figure out my place in this crazy world continues – I hope 2018 brings me one step closer!

I’m really glad I started blogging and reading again this year because for while I had really fallen out of love with it all, so I wanted to also say thank-you to all of you who have read my posts, have liked and have so kindly commented and interacted with me over the past seven months – it’s really been fun sharing all my bookish thoughts and my favourite things with you all! I’ve also made a few reading goals for this year which are:

1)
To read books published within the last 3 years

2) To read more non-fiction books
3) To read genres I wouldn’t normally read

Here’s to 2018 and to me hopefully sticking to a few goals for the year!

On that note, I wish you all a happy, healthy and wonderful new year where ever you are! 🙂

graceY

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

xxx

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books · Life

Books I got for Christmas! 📚

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I’m really happy with these books I got for Christmas! I actually got a bunch of other books for my birthday which was earlier on during the month but I think i’ll save those for a book haul post. Before I talk a little about these books, I actually have a little confession to make (here goes):  around 80% of the books that i’ve read over the past few years, (particularly this past year) are books that were written around 40 – 100 years ago. I haven’t actually read a book that was published this year which – when I think about it, is pretty wild. So for the coming year, i’m going to make a big effort to read books that have been released either this year or in 2018. So watch out for that!

Now, on to my Christmas book presents! 🎁

Here are the books that I received…

The Power by Naomi Alderman – I actually hadn’t heard about this book until very recently – another reminder that I seriously need to step my contemporary reading game up. A friend of mine who has read this book and who kindly bought this book for me, really enjoyed it and I trust her judgement.

The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla If you read my last post, I mentioned that I hoped to receive this book as a gift! — I have really wanted to read this book since I saw Riz Ahmed tweet about his chapter early on during the year. I kept adding it to my (online shopping) basket but it unfortunately remained there for months on end. Out of the three, this is the book i’m most looking forward to reading.

The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst – This is a book that I would have probably never bought myself which is why i’m looking forward to reading it. I haven’t looked into what the story is about but i’ve heard some good things about the author which is reassuring.

 

If you celebrated, What books did you get for Christmas?

Did you get anything interesting or unique this year? I want to know!
I’m always looking to add a couple of books on to my ever-growing (but wonderful) ‘To Be Read’ list!

book tag · books · Tag

❄☃️🎄 Christmas Book Tag! 🎄☃️❄

 

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It’s Christmas time and I feel like I’ve had absolutely no time to get into the Christmas spirit this year. My blogging, reading and reviewing game has really been off these past two months – i’ve been so busy with life and trying to get enough sleep that I think this might be (other than helping my siblings put up the Christmas tree at home), the most Christmas-y thing I’ve done – let’s not even talk about all the Christmas shopping I literally just finished doing a couple of hours and have yet to wrap! Anyway enough of me blabbing and on to this wonderful Christmas tag that was created by A Stranger’s Guide to Novels . Thank you Astra for creating this tag which I so greatly needed to get into the Christmas spirit!

🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️❄🎅🎄☃️

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the curator.
2. Tag 5 people to spread the Christmas joy.
3. Have fun! :p

 

1. Name a book you would like to see under your Christmas tree.
Probably The Good Immigrant by Nikesh Shukla.

 

2. A book you’ll be reading during the Christmas season.
I’ve almost finished reading The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis and i’m also a quarter of the way through A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

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I’m also reading The Shining by Stephen King which is a horror but it has snow in it, so it’s basically Christmas-y. 😉


3. Favourite Christmas movie?
This was so hard to choose, I literally did ip-dip-do to decide. The movie I chose is The Santa Clause (1994). I feel like this film is slightly underrated. I love Tim Allen’s performance and the make-up/prosthetics and special effects still amaze me today.

 

4. Do you like snow?
I like it when it’s falling and when i’m comfy and warm inside, I also like it for a minute or 3 when I step outside but then I hate it because then it turns into slush and then it freezes over, which increases the chances of my face and/or body hitting the ground. It actually snowed and it set for the first time in a couple of years in London and it was lovely to watch until I had to leave my house and go to work.

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5. Name a character you would like to spend your Christmas day with.
Probably Fred and George, it’d be super fun and they’d probably give me something cool and wacky from their Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. Or maybe Robert Langdon because he’d probably be able to tell me some mind-blowing facts or conspiracies about Christmas.

 

6. To give or receive?
I’m not the best gift-giver – I never really know what to buy someone unless they give me a list of up to 5 things. I prefer receiving mainly because i’m always surprised by much my friends and family pay attention to the things that I mention in passing or just simple know that I like.

 

7. What fictional place would you like to spend Christmas at?
Narnia, definitely Narnia – probably for an hour two when there’s snow everywhere and then the rest of the time when everything’s all melted – just to be clear, the white witch is obviously dead btw 😉

 

8. Fondest Christmas memory?
Probably the Christmas of 2015. It was our last Christmas in the house that my family and I had lived in for 13 years. I was also on my year abroad and I actually missed my family and couldn’t wait to be reunited with them, I think they missed me too because I got some really cool gifts and we of course ate soooo much food and it was also nice seeing my friends that I hadn’t seen in a while.

 

9. Can you say “Christmas tree” ten times FAST in a row (pronouncing it correctly)?
Surprisingly, yes, I stutter, so i’m really surprised. It did however take an immense amount of concentration. Christmas miracle?

 

I tag: Everyone who is in need of some Christmas spirit!

 

M E R R C H R I S T M A E V E R Y O N E ! ! ! 🎄

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gracie

book tag · books

Top Ten Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit!

Top Ten Tuesday

Hey guys! I hope you’ve all had a great start to December! I feel like it’s been such a long while since I last blogged. This past month has been incredibly busy for me and for some reason the drop in temperature in England has turned me into a hermit, I literally come home, eat and then go to sleep, I might watch an episode of something if i’m lucky. So yeah my blogging has been a bit stagnant but fortunately I am back with this weeks Top Ten Tuesday, which is a weekly feature created by The Broke and The Bookish. Each week features a different prompt where you come up with a list of ten books or ideas. This week’s Top Ten is Top Ten Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit (and have dreamed about since I was a child) 🙂

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1) The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis – Narnia I really love the wintery setting of Narnia at the start of the book – I know the winter is because of the White Witch and is a symbol of bleakness and things being dead, but I think that it looks beautiful.

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2) The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – Capitol Rotunda I am just as fascinated as Robert Langdon is about this place – I like to learn and I feel like this is one of those places where i’d end up unknowingly staying until its closing time.

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3) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Gatsby’s Mansion I would love to walk around a mansion like Gatsby’s, I have never read about a ‘house’ so lavish but so carefully designed but that is also incredibly beautiful – you’ll probably find me in his library fawning over a rare book of some kind.

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4) Nana by Emile Zola – Paris I love and miss Paris; and I definitely plan on going back again in the near future. Zola highlights both the Paris you see and hear about and the Paris, that some don’t want you see, he really makes the city feel like a real mundane and visceral place.

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5) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – The moors (Wuthering Heights) Despite living in England, I really don’t enjoy cold or wet weather but there’s something about being out in almost undisturbed nature that I really like. Also just being able to breathe in all that wonderful fresh air.

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6) Harry Potter by J.K Rowling – The Great Hall Oh boy, the feasts the amazing feasts! I would never miss a meal if I went to Hogwarts and i’d probably end up planning my entire day around the seasonal feasts. I (unlike Harry) and like Ron would never miss out on all that food if I could help it!

 

That’s it for this list unfortunately, I honestly couldn’t think of other settings that I would genuinely want to visit… probably due to the fact that I don’t read enough ‘happy’  or books with pleasant locations very often.

I hope you enjoyed this list nonetheless, until next time!

graceY

 

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book tag · books · Tag

♫♪ The Music Book Tag! ♪♫

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It’s Monday! (unenthusiastic woo!) So I thought i’d do this fun tag which I saw over on Alex a.k.a coffeeloving bookaholic’s blog (She has a wonderful bookish blog, check it out!). The tag asks you to choose books which reflect the artists vibe or tone. Honestly, I never thought i’d be thinking about Taylor Swift or One Direction on my blog which is why I thought this tag was such a stand out to me!

The rules:

  • Link back to me as Bookchanted, as the creator of the tag. I want to read your answers y’all!!
  • You can use the graphics if you want
  • Tag at least four other people!
  • HAVE FUN!!!!

1. Ed Sheeran: An adorable book that left you feeling warm and fuzzy.
The BFG  When I think about it, I honestly don’t remember the last time I read a book that left me feeling warm or fuzzy, so i’m choosing a book I remember loving as a child. I legit thought the BFG was responsible for all the dreams I dreamt right up until I was around 9 years old.

2. Taylor Swift: A book with way too much drama to keep track of.
Ulysses This book is over 900 pages! Is that enough of a reason? I actually read around half of this book but in non-sequential order for a couple of my university seminars; with that being said, I should be able to name at least more than two plot points.. but I can’t.

 

3. Zayn Malik: The broody, mysterious character you totally fell for.
Mr. Rochester I’ll admit that part of my attraction towards this character is because I watched an adaptation alongside reading this book. Mr Rochester, might be (I think) my very first introduction to broody Victorian men.

4. Jelena: A ship you really wanted but it never sailed.
Jacob and Bella (Twilight saga) Team Jacob all the way! I fully stand by my 15-19 year old self they will always be my OTP (One True Pairing). Other than the other guys ‘allure’ I still don’t understand the attraction or decision Bella made.

 

5. Fall Out Boy: A series that just keep getting better and better.
Harry Potter series This is probably the only series that i’ve re-read more than twice. I love that there’s still new information being released about the world and the characters. I’ve also grown to appreciate the books more as an adult.

6. Halsey/Demi Lovato: A badass female character you really admire.
Lydia Carrington – Despite being in the thick of  a murder scene, she remains level-headed throughout and takes charge of a group of mostly men. She’ s also quick-thinking, caring, extremely observant and doesn’t stand for any nonsense.

 

7. One Direction: The romantic, cheesy book you couldn’t help but love.
The Fault In Our Stars – One of the few teen romances that I genuinely loved reading from start to finish. The story is both lovely and heart-breaking. The protagonists are sweet people in terribly unlucky positions but the story still manages to make you smile.

8. Adele: A book that delivers a really powerful message.
1984 This is about as powerful of a book with a message as you can get. Orwell is giving us a warning against the progression of totalitarianism and is informing us on the importance of our basic personal right the freedom to think and therefore be. Did you know that The UK has 1% of the world’s population but 20% of its CCTV cameras?

9. Miley Cyrus: A book/series that exceeded your expectations.
Northanger Abbey – I wasn’t the biggest Austen fan, actually, i’m still undecided as to whether I truly am but I was surprised when I ended up really enjoying this book. I think it had to do with it being influenced by the Gothic genre which is one of my favourites.

10. Katy Perry: A book/series that didn’t live up to the hype.
The Girl on the Train It was marketed as the next ‘Gone Girl’  it wasn’t. Though it had the potential to be a very good story it wasn’t as engaging or interesting as I was led to believe it would be… it’s still a good read though.

 

Would you pair any of these books with these artists?
What book(s) would you pair them with? Let me know, i’m curious! 😀

I tag any of you reading this who want to give it a go… Yes, you!

 

GraceSign

 

Book Reviews · books · Literature

An Unbearable Journey! ..The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: Book Review

Spoilers ahead, featuring a few unavoidable grievances about the film adaptations.

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I first attempted reading The Hobbit around 7 or 8 years ago but never really got into it. I then gave it a second go shortly before the release of the first Hobbit film (I still don’t understand why a 364 page book was split into 3 films) and again I wasn’t able to get through more than a chapter or two. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I decided to pick up The Hobbit again and this time, give it a real go, and I have to say this book isn’t at all what I expected.

Synopsis: The Hobbit is J.R.R. Tolkien’s introduction to the spectacular world of Middle-earth. It follows the adventures of a reluctant hero – Bilbo Baggins, who accompanies the wizard Gandalf and 13 Dwarfs on a quest to regain their lost Dwarven kingdom from evil dragon Smaug

It’s been long while since i’ve read any high fantasy novels and this one definitely took some getting used to. Despite being familiar with the world (mostly through The Lord of the Rings movies) I really didn’t know what to expect and by that I mean Tolkien’s writing. For starters, i’d forgotten that this was a children’s book. The opening chapters make this quite plain in both the tone and writing style which was both simple and easy to read. Moreover the style of the book also lends itself better to be read aloud – because there are so many names, locations and creatures to remember, I found myself often re-reading sentences or going back to check if I had missed something. Not to mention the songs throughout, which again I think would be more appreciated by a younger audience.

Another major thing which caught me of guard was the journey itself, which takes up pretty much the entire book. I’d based my expectations for this part of the story on the films, which was my mistake because it really made me wonder why this book was titled The Hobbit: There and Back and Again when really it should have been called The Hobbit: An Unpleasant Journey or The Hobbit: An Unbearable Journey or The Hobbit: A Journey I Could Have Avoided If I Had Just Listened To My Own Advice And Stayed At Home.. as we’re so often reminded by the protagonist. It’s literally the worst journey I’ve ever read about – setback after setback with only very few triumphs. I suppose it does show the amount of tenacity the characters have, but for a children’s novel the story itself is rather bleak.

Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?

I have to admit that I wasn’t particularly fond of the main characters. Bilbo I liked because we spent the majority of the novel through his point of view, I found even Gandalf to be annoying at times. What’s more I didn’t think I would come across a character that could surpass the broody, A Song of Ice and Fire’s (Game of Thrones) Jon Snow but the character of Thorin Oakensheild – King and leader of the dwarfs, I think definitely takes the cake. On a more positive note, the world building is truly fascinating and the different beings and creatures we’re introduced to throughout the novel make you want to learn more about their history and how they came to be – it’s things like this that really bring to the forefront Tolkien’s extraordinary ideas and the depths to his imagination.

Lastly, (and this is me just being nit-picky) I was really looking forward to reading about Legolas who appears in the adaptations, unfortunately, there is no Legolas… none at all. If by chance you haven’t read The Hobbit or seen any of the Hobbit films, I would advise you to read the books first before seeing any of the films.

Overall, though I liked learning more about Middle-earth, The Hobbit was not quite the enjoyable read I was expecting it to be.

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3/5
books · Literature

October Recommendations – Monsters in Literature! 👽 👻 🦇

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October is officially here and for many of us that means getting into the spirit of Autumn/Fall or if you love Halloween, getting prepped to do all things scary and spooky (I like doing a bit of both). At first I was going to make a list of book recommendations based on the gothic and horror genres but I thought about it and decided to focus on the thing that really stands out to me when I read these books – the monsters.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen some of these monsters in films/television and they’ve contributed to my interpretations of them. Nonetheless their vivid descriptions give the reader the opportunity to create their own terrifying monsters with their imagination. Below is a list of books with monsters that I found to be both intriguing and scary to read about.

*Note* I did plan on putting images or gifs of these monsters throughout this post but they’re too scary to look at for more than a few seconds.

Dracula

WEREWOVLES Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

The event of becoming a werewolf in this world is painful and traumatising. The pack mentality is also very intimidating especially because you read about it from the protagonist’s point of view who is a human. They’re also not the friendliest bunch in either human or wolf form.

VAMPIRES Dracula by Bram Stoker

The build-up of the narrator’s fear throughout this book is intense and you feel it from the get-go. Dracula himself isn’t as imposing as you think but the little things like not having a reflection, turning into a bat and having secret passageways are described a lot more sinisterly and makes you feel uncomfortable.

Moreau

BASILISK Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K Rowling

I would rather face Dementors or Umbridge or even the Hungarian Horntail than a Basilisk! It sneaks around in pipes, is 50 foot tall and can kill with only a glance. Its presence throughout the book is shrouded in mystery especially when we learn that Harry can hear it speak and move when nobody else can. 

GHOSTS The Turn of the Screw – by Henry James

While the ghosts, though frightening, don’t actually do anything, the effects they have on the living characters end up being both catastrophic and irreparable. Because only certain characters can see the ghosts, we’re left to guess whether they’re real or just a figment of the characters’ imagination.

HUMAN – ANIMAL HYBRIDS The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G. Wells

This book creeped me out when I first read it it reminded me that vivisection is a very real thing in our world. Imagining what these hybrids both looked like and what they must have gone through at the hands of Dr Moreau is unimaginable.

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A MONSTER Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R.L Steverson

Mr Hyde is the alter ego of Dr Jekyll. Hyde’s physical appearance reflects his sinister character; the most disturbing thing about this ‘monster’ is that it implies that we are all in some way suppressing our own true nature it may not be as severe as Jekyll’s but it’s definitely somewhere in there, waiting..

THE MONSTER Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein’s monster is many things, he is intellectual, compassionate and longs for acceptance, however he is also menacing, driven by vengeance and a crazed killer. Personally, despite being more familiar with its visual adaptation, I found Shelley’s descriptions to be even more chilling.

So there it is, enough monster Lit to keep you occupied for the month! 

Which of these monsters do I find most frightening?
Though I wouldn’t fancy being bitten by a vampire or basilisk, ghosts scare me the most – nobody would believe you and you can’t exactly get rid of them with a wooden stake…

Which of these monsters frighten you the most? And do you have any Monster Lit recommendations? 🙂