book tag · books · Life

Ready, Steady, TAG!!

Ready Steady Tag

I haven’t done a tag on here yet and I was in the mood to type, plus I thought it would be a good opportunity for you guys to get to know a little more about me. So without further ado!

1) What do you normally eat for breakfast?
Granola or plain cereal with almond milk and a banana. When I have more time eggs bacon, spinach and toast. Porridge is also my go-to, especially in the winter.

2) Characterize yourself in three words (just three, don’t go all “me” happy here)
Genuine
Rational
Protective 

3) Right brained or left brained?
Left brained. Though, i’m usually not too far off from the right side.

4) How do you feel about ‘assigned reading’ in the education system?
This is an interesting question. I’ve read books I probably would have never read or looked twice at, especially early on during secondary (middle) school. I preferred reading books that I’d chosen from the library myself than school books but there were times when we were tasked to read books that I genuinely liked and sped through. It wasn’t until A Levels (Junior and Senior years) that I began to enjoy what we were given to read, they were still assigned but because classes were smaller I was able to get a lot more out of studying the book. So yes, i’m for assigned reading, I look at it as a starting point. If you like the reading you’ll eventually branch out and discover more, if you don’t, well school doesn’t last forever.

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5) Harry Potter or Twilight?
Harry Potter, ϟ always but Twilight does have a special place in my heart because it introduced to me how passionate a fandom could be; I was too young when the HP books and the majority of the films came out to fully participate in the fandom. When Twilight came along during my teens, naturally I was allowed more freedom and I became fully swept up in the craze: premieres, merchandise, midnight, repeat screenings, fanfiction and then some! – the hype was real! *shout out to my Dad for acknowledging my fan-girl -ness and buying me each Harry Potter book as they came out and then supporting my crazy teen self with also buying me the Twilight books and merch.

6) What sorts of movies do you like to watch, and if you don’t like movies what sort of books do you like to read, and if you don’t like to read pretend you do and just answer the question!?!?
I generally like action adventure, Superhero and Comedy movies. With books I prefer detective fiction and classic (canonical) books. I also like to jump on the band wagon and read books that suddenly become mainstream or popular. *Note* – I have not read the 50 Shades series*

7) What is your preferred method of transportation?
Bus or coach, but when going abroad Eurostar.

8) How do you typically spend the weekends?
On a Friday, I might go out – depends on how I’m feeling 7/10 times you’ll probably find me at home catching up on some Zzzzz. Saturday is lie-in day and then again if i’m up for it, I might go out. Sunday are usually errands, organise and chill day.

9) Favourite holiday?
New Years!

10) What three books from your shelf would you be darn happy to say “deuces!” to?
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The Maze Runner – you know when you start a book and you just can’t get into it. Yep that was me with this book. I’ve also seen the film which kind of affected the way I saw the characters. Status – DNF

The Glass Wall – I met the authors in person while they were promoting the book, and after hearing how passionate they were about it, I decided to buy it. I found it to be a little repetitive and didn’t really express anything that I didn’t already know. Status – DNF

The Accidental Billionaires – this is the book that The Social Network is based on. And on this very rare occasion, I have to say that the film adaptation is better, so much better. The characters/people also come across as so much worse in the book.

11) How do you feel about loaning your books to someone?
Part of me hates it because I know I will more than likely never see the book again (I can’t even tell you the amount of books I’ve loaned/ sacrificed, and are out there lost in the world without me). A part of me also wants that person to hopefully enjoy the book the same way I did, I love giving book recs but I didn’t realise that they occasionally came at a cost.

I really enjoyed doing this tag! Look out for more in the near future! : )

I found this tag from a book blogger called @delphinethebabble she has a pretty cool blog, so check her out!

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Food · Lifestyle · Recipes

This is No Ordinary Plate of Pasta…

I’ve been making pasta for as long as I can remember… all you have to do is cook it for however long it says on the packet. I usually just add a pinch of salt for taste – not much taste but everyone does it so who am I to say otherwise. Recently however, I was looking at pasta recipes and discovered that you can cook pasta in chicken, vegetable or beef stock! I honestly don’t know how I was living life (particularly during my student days) without knowing that this was a thing that people did. So of course I had to give it a go!

Pasta Dish

Serves 2           Prep time: 10 mins       Cooking time: 20 mins

INGREDIENTS

PASTA

2 cups of dried pasta (I used mini fusilli)
1 chicken stock cube
½ can of tinned chopped tomatoes
900ml of boiled water
1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter
1 clove of garlic

1 tsp b
lack pepper
Salt ½ tsp
Paprika ½ tsp (optional)
Coriander  ½ tsp (optional)

VEGETABLES

1 handful of Kale
1 large Carrot
Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
¼ can of Sweetcorn

PREP

Boil water in a kettle. 
Pour boiled water into a measuring jug (fill to 900ml), add the stock cube and stir until dissolved.
Wash the kale, carrot and cherry tomatoes
Chop the garlic, carrot and cherry tomatoes
Drain water from tinned sweetcorn

METHOD

1) In a saucepan over a medium-low heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter, then add the chopped garlic and fry.

2) After a minute, add the carrot slices, stir for another minute then add half of the kale and all the chopped cherry tomatoes. Continue stirring for a minute or two.

3) Season the veg with black pepper, paprika and coriander (½ tsp each).

4) Add 900ml of stock into the saucepan along with ½ can of chopped tomatoes, stir and bring to boil.

5) Add the sweetcorn and the rest of the kale. [During this step, if you’d like to add more seasoning, please do so].

6) Now add the pasta and ½ a tsp of salt and pepper. Cook until almost all the water has been dissolved or until the pasta is tender (make sure you stir in between).

* If you’re lucky enough, serve with cheese as a topping.*

Enjoy!

Beauty · Lifestyle

2017 – July Favourites!

Here I am again, last day of the month – which has gone by so quickly! Can you believe we’re already halfway through the year? …I can’t.

I haven’t really had much time to try anything spectacularly new. I bought most of these very early on in the month (when I had money) and I’ve been using these items so often that it feels like I’ve had them for a long time. So without further ado, here are my July Favourites!

NotebookNotebooks

1. Notebook

I really, really like this notebook. [from Tiger Stationary] I used to buy notebooks all the time (mostly because of university), but then i’d start using one and then abandon it after a week or so, but for some reason, I’ve taken a liking to this particular notebook. I think it has to do with the pages being blank and not lined – I’ve had more freedom to write things out the way I want to, draw and doodle without it looking strange on lined paper and the biggest plus about the notebook is the paper! – Don’t you hate it when you write something on one side and it appears on the next page clear as day? I was also guilty of sometimes skipping those pages and continuing on a fresh page. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that with this notebook. In terms of size, it’s not heavy, and fits comfortably inside any bag.

 

Body Lotion2. Black Musk Body Lotion

I randomly picked this up during a, what I thought would be an innocent window-shop browse, at the Body Shop. Well the joke was on me because I ended up buying more than one item (hides face). Anyway, back to the product… This lotion has an incredible perfumery smell to it, it’s not over-bearing but the scent lasts for hours on your skin. It also doesn’t feel heavy which is a bonus, especially considering that we’re in Summer. It also leaves your skin feeling soft and though it feels light, I would say it moisturises rather well and lasts for most of the day. Only criticism is that I wish it came in a smaller size so that I could carry it around in my handbag all day!

 

Coconut Oil3. Coconut Oil

‘I’m in love with the Coco’ – i’m sorry, i’ll stop. Seriously though, I am a new-found lover of coconut oil. I’m actually proud to be hopping on to this band wagon because I really have been missing out. I read a couple of reviews before buying this brand of (Vita Coco) Coconut oil and I am yet to be disappointed! What I love about this product is how versatile it is, I’ve literally been using it for everything:

  • Body moisturiser – Really good for dry skin, leaves skin softer
  • Hair oil  – It doesn’t sit heavy in your hair and it moisturises it well
  • Make up remover – Use with cotton pad
  • Face moisturiser – If you have dry skin
  • Cooking – Good for frying
  • Foods – I like adding it to porridge (it tastes and smells so good)
  • Drinks – Gives a nice taste to coffee, I also like blending it with milk and/or protein based smoothies

I’m sure i’m missing another one of its amazing uses but you can see why I now love Coconut Oil!

 

Planet of the Apes

4. WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

There is so much to say about this movie… I’ll try and keep it short.

My expectations were unusually high for this film but that’s only a testament to how excellent both Rise and Dawn were. With that being said, I can confirm that this film exceeded my expectations to the point where I can’t tell you which of the three is my favourite – they’re all just that good.

I remember thinking this after seeing Dawn but I truly believe that Caesar is one of the best written movie characters of all time. (Koba’s also up there too). Humanity is the films central theme and despite it being derived from the word human, you can feel it in every character, human or ape. It’s Caesar’s story so you’re naturally drawn to the side of the apes but there are also moments where you resonate with the characters you’re not supposed to like which makes the story so much more effective and thought-provoking. The special effects, the acting, the cinematography, the score and especially the tone, which was balanced with just the right amount of humour made this film an even more enthralling experience.

Long story short if you haven’t seen War for the Planet of the Apes I highly recommend that you do. It’s the perfect ending to an incredible trilogy and my favourite film of the Summer.

Book Reviews · books · Uncategorized

Happy Christmas?! – Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon: Book Review

Mystery in White - J. Jerfferson Farjeon

I’ve had Mystery In White on my shelf for almost two years now. I bought and began reading it a few days before Christmas back in 2015 and just didn’t get round to finishing it, so after having a browse of some of the books I hadn’t yet read, I thought i’d give this story another go.

Mystery in White was first published in 1937 during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction and to my surprise, despite having written over 80 books, author J. Jefferson Farjeon is today, pretty much unknown. Nonetheless, the synopsis caught my attention and similar to other stories of this genre, I became interested in finding out ‘Whodunit’.  

The plot is  fairly straightforward: we’re introduced to a group of several passengers travelling by train during a heavy snow storm, their journey, as a result of the heavy snow comes to a halt and they eventually find themselves seeking refuge in a deserted country house – the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea but nobody is home. Things take an even stranger turn when secrets, lies and murder get thrown into the mix.

This novel covers most of the conventional styles and clichés of the genre, however Farjeon writes in a way that makes you question the motivations of each and every character, even the ‘detective’ of the story elicits an air of ambivalence which is clever because it made me focus more on the characters movements than I did on noticing clues. Some of the crime-solving involves a Sherlockian style debrief, which I, in regards to preference and enjoyment, remain unsure of; particularly as it, in some ways takes away from the reader feeling like they’ve come close to solving the crime.

Farjeon’s writing style was a bit jarring for me at times – it reminded me of James Joyce’s writing (shudders) – whereby you really have to pay attention to the text, particularly the dialogue, he has a tendency to switch from character to character without using pronouns to differentiate between each character; he relies on his characters being distinct enough for the reader to know when a character is speaking or not. And though this isn’t an uncommon way to write dialogue, for a novel which already asks for you to think about the ‘whodunit‘, where and what each of the seven plus characters are doing and how their stories all interconnect, trying to figure who is saying what and when, does become somewhat of a pain. There are also a number of filler chapters throughout this book, which again, adds more to your impression of the characters but does little in furthering the plot in an intriguing way. Whether the payoff is satisfying is debatable – for me, the build up, the suspense and the unexpected revelations make up for what the story lacks.

Overall, is Mystery in White memorable? No. Would I buy another of Farjeon’s detective novels? Yes!

If you’ve read the book, let me know what you thought about the ending in particular!

Mow text

3.7 / 5
Book Reviews · Lifestyle

Introvert and Proud? Quiet Power by Susan Cain – Book Review

Quiet Power - Susan Cain

I don’t really like the word introvert, I often hear it said in relation to the words shy, reserved or timid – words which have plagued my existence since I was a pre-teen. Over time I’ve learned to disguise this part of myself when necessary, so depending on where you meet me I might seem like an extrovert. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like doing things that lean more on that side, it’s just that more often than not, my extroversion has its limits. For example, I can attend parties where I don’t know anyone except the host, but you won’t ever catch me being the ‘life and soul’ of the party. It’s pretty weird to explain (it always has been) which is why when I saw Quiet Power on a list of ‘books you must-read’, I decided to buy it.

Just to give a brief synopsis: This book is about introverts, how they see the world and why being labelled as quiet may not be the most accurate of terms when describing said individuals.

When I began reading this book, I thought I’d be reading the biography of the author (Caine) who herself is an introvert, however after a brief introduction about her beginnings and where she finds herself in the present day, the book along with a few more antidotes about her life includes a combination of many stories and experiences about other introverts and how they manoeuvre their introversion in their day to day lives. While these stories were both interesting and necessary (to an extent), the book, as a result of this felt less personal – I was unable to entirely connect to the narrative because it switched from story to story so frequently. Though I understand the purpose is to make the reader (who is likely to be an introvert) feel like they’re not alone. I would have much preferred the author to elaborate more on her own personal experiences and how she went from a textbook introvert to being able to give speeches and give TED Talks in front of thousands of people, which is as an introvert myself both remarkable and inspiring.

What this book is good at doing is encouraging the reader to embrace being an introvert, it also helps parents and particularly teachers put themselves in the shoes of introverts. It’s no secret that the classroom environment favours the extrovert, i.e. being called upon to answer questions, group work, presentations, reading in class etc. all of which can be terrifying for an introvert. Caine offers great suggestions throughout which adhere to both introverts and extroverts and how the two complement each other, especially in regards to team work. Moreover, as a person who enjoys facts, Caine also includes a number of studies which help put words to the feelings and the actions of the introverted mind.

I enjoyed reading Quiet Power, it was well written and well researched but I would have benefited a lot more from this book if I had read it as a teenager or when I first began university. Nonetheless, whether you’re a parent, sibling, teacher, friend or like me, has accepted and embraced most of their introvert-ness, Quiet Power offers a variety of perspectives, approaches and ideas that anyone who picks up this book will be able to relate to.

3.8 /5
health · Lifestyle

2017 – June Favourites!

I’ve never gotten round to doing one of these before…. You could say i’m cutting it quite close with it being the last day of the month but hey there’s still time we’re still in June. Here are a selection of some of the things that i’ve enjoyed using/doing this past month!

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1. LA Muscle 700ml Shaker

I know it’s a picture of a gym bottle – a very basic one at that but it’s been a really big help to me this past month. I used to buy bottles like this, think I was going to use them all the time and then it’ll end up somewhere abandoned in the kitchen or elsewhere. However this time, in attempt to drink more water, I bought this bottle and I was ready to start drinking more water – knowing how I am, the whole 2L a day was definitely a bit of a stretch but I was keen to at least drink a litre a day which I have, so far been successful at doing. The most handiest thing about the bottle is that it’s marked with the amount of ml it holds (700ml) so I pretty much know whether i’m on or off target. One thing I  do have to mention is if you do want to embark on this water journey, you’ll mostly definitely be making trips to a toilet at least 6 or 7 times a day. Only criticism is the logo smudges after a couple of uses.

 

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2.
Every time I go to France I always leave having picked up a few new words and phrases, even having studied the language at university, my cousins are always armed with a slew of verlans (slang words) or general words that I haven’t learnt to confuse and make me question whether I really know and understand the French language. So I just wanted to share with you some of the phrases I managed to note down whilst I was there. If you’re learning or interested in French you might want to jot these into a memo or into your notebook 😉

  • Reuf slang word for Frère – which means Brother / Bro
    In a sentence: Mon petit reuf – My little brother
  • Ringarde meaning Cheesy / Cheesiest
    In a sentence:
    C’est un film ringarde – It’s a cheesy film
  • Astuce meaning Tip or Hack (but mostly tip)
    In a sentence: 5 astuces pour un joli blog – 5 tips for a pretty blog
  • Merdique meaning Crappy
    In a sentence: Quel temps merdique ! – What crappy weather!

 

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3. Tea Tree Mattifying Lotion

It’s Summer and if you experienced the scorching week long Summer the UK experienced last week then i’m sure you were walking around with a slightly shinier face than normal. Regardless, if your skin like mine gets oilier the warmer the weather gets, I would highly recommend you give this a try. For a 50ml tube it is a little on the pricier side but I will say, for its size it has managed to last me over three, nearly four months so far. I generally only use it on the parts of my face that tend to get most oily throughout the day, so for me that’s my nose, cheekbones and glabella (the space between your eyebrows). I prefer to put some on before I apply a face moisturiser but you can put it on afterwards – whichever works best for you. It’s also very light and you definitely won’t feel it on your skin, the smell is pleasant but pretty much disappears after you apply a moisturiser. Oh and a pea-size amount each time is enough to do job.

 

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4. Resistance Loop Bands – Heavy 

In my last post I mentioned i’d been going to the gym more frequently, as of late because of the way my schedule works out, I’ve found it more useful to do a couple of workouts at home. You can of course take this to the gym with you but when I don’t have heavier weights available at home, this with the addition of lighter weights I do have access to has been a great combination where i’m still able to feel a good burn during and after a workout. I typically use this band for ab and glute exercises, most of which I picked up after watching a few YouTube videos and fitness websites – I recommend you do the same, just so your workouts don’t become repetitive. In terms of durability, I’ve had it for just over three weeks and been using it a couple of times a week and so far so good. I’ll update if anything changes. You can get bands in different sizes: Light, Medium, Heavy or X-Heavy depending on what level you’re at.

 

I’ll be back with July favourites next month!!

 

Food · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Breakfast is Definitely the Most Important Meal of the Day!

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I admit it, I used to skip breakfast – Being a mature and responsible adult meant that I no longer had my parents nagging me about having something to eat before I left the house and honestly getting that extra 20 minutes in bed was far more important than anything else that anyone then could tell me. I’d love to say that my new-found love for breakfasts came about a long while ago, but really, it’s only been around 4-5 months. Toward the end of last year I began going to the gym more regularly and after feeling like I was going to pass out half way through my workouts, I quickly learnt that eating only cereal bars or only two bananas or apples before a workout just wasn’t enough to sustain my body. So I did what every person does when they’re looking for a quick fix, I went on Google.

Out of all the breakfast foods I saw, the one that required the least amount of prep and was also readily available in my kitchen cupboard were porridge oats. Quaker Oats So Simple (Big Bowl) is my choice of brand, obviously because they’re so simple. When i’m in a rush, i’ll usually just whip up a bowl in the microwave for 2 1/2 minutes (with some soy or almond milk – shout-out to my lactose intolerant people out there – the struggle is real!), and then have a banana or apple on the go. If i don’t feel like porridge i’ll usually op for some granola or bran flakes and again have a piece of fruit on the go.

When I have a little more time and because I want to pack on some extra calories to keep me fuller, I like to add toppings. The options are endless but I generally go for:

fruit, breakfast

• Granola
• Peanut butter (Melted in a microwave)
• Fruit – (a sliced banana, apple or strawberries)
• Crushed nuts
• Cinnamon

You can mix and match as you like and to your taste but I find when I have a good amount of toppings I can work-out and go by my day so much better.

Speaking of my day, another reason why having a good breakfast every morning, means that I don’t spend the rest of my day snacking on junk foods – I’ve eaten half a pack of chocolate digestives, a Snickers/Cadbury/Twix bar, brownies, Oreos, Custard Creams etc. as substitutes for breakfasts I’ve missed. It’s kind of embarrassing when I think about it. And then because I’ve already got a pack of almost finished biscuits with me, guess what I do for the rest of the day? – I continue snacking on those because i’ve bought them and hey why not.

Now that I’ve mentioned, it the money I could have saved! Because of the logistics of where I live, it’s about a 20 minute walk to my tube station and by the time I get to the platform and onto the tube – probably standing, my stomach is already preparing for an epic session of obnoxious grumbling. I’m sure you’ve all been there before… having a stomach that sounds like you’ve hidden a baby dinosaur under your shirt, in a quiet office or classroom isn’t how anybody expects to start their day. And to avoid this, guess where I would be? Yep. In the nearest supermarket buying snacks that I would pass off as my ‘breakfast’.

Moral of the story, eat breakfast!

*A moments silence for all the sleep I’ve sacrificed to be a half functioning and responsible human being.*