Some of My Favourite Reads.

Reading is an absolute pleasure that I never have enough time to do. When I was younger and had a seemingly un ending amount of free time, I loved nothing more than getting lost in a world of words. The feeling of belonging I always longed to find with my peers, I found between the pages of books that introduced me to worlds I would have never normally come into contact with. And as I took on university and went into the world of full time retail work whenever I was feeling lost I would find my solace in great books. Books have never let me down, books have never hurt me and books will always be there for me. As is said in one of my favourite plays and films The History Boys:

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something — a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things — which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.’

A good book can change your life. So here are some that have truly touched me in some way.

 

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1). To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee.

I first read this book when I was 14 years old. That first time I didn’t quite understand the magnitude of the court case storyline and found myself focusing on how much of myself I saw in Scout. I have since read and re-read it at least half a dozen times at differing times of my life and I’d like to think I now understand the varying nuances of this fantastic story, but still I can never read it without Scout’s character resonating with me. In Scout I found a like minded soul whose voice always feels like its echoing a version of myself that still lives in the child in me. From the themes of racial injustice to childhood innocence to gender roles and many more there is something in this epic piece of literature that will excite and inspire anyone. If you haven’t yet you must read this book, it will touch your heart in a way you can not even begin to imagine.

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2). Regeneration – Pat Barker.

This is one of the few books I have been required to study, that was not ruined by the analysis process. Set in Craiglockhart War Hospital in World War 1, it tells the story of soldiers with shell shock (what we would call post-traumatic stress disorder) and the radical therapeutic treatment they received. In it we hear stories of fictional characters such as Billy Prior and we also get fictionalised accounts of War Poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. The novel deals primarily with the idea of the effect that war has on the psychology of the soldiers, specifically the hugely damaging effects of the trench warfare of World War 1. Told with harrowing beauty this book really makes you think about what we have put our soldiers through.

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3). Wild: A Journey fro Lost to Found – Cheryl Strayed.

I powered through this book on a holiday in Ibiza. I opened it up and was riveted. Telling the story of a woman who drops her life to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and through the trial and tribulations finds her way back to herself. If you’ve ever felt like you’re floundering, or that you don’t know what you’re doing with your life or that you are just completely lost this book will undoubtedly kick start you on your way back to path. It did for me.

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4). Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer.

An expansion of an article about Christopher McCandless, the book tells the story of how this young man ended up dead in a bus on the Stampede Trail in Alaska.

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Chris McCandless’ life long quest for truth is documented alongside tales of other liked minded maverick truth seekers. It will make you reevaluate everything you believe and how you view society and the way it works. It will make you want to find your own truth.

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But listen to his lesson, no matter how disillusioned you feel with the world ‘happiness only real when shared.’

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SPECIAL MENTION: The Wild Truth – Carnie McCandless.

Written by Chris McCandless’ sister it informs Into The Wild as it fills in the gaps she asked Jon Krakauer to leave. It also details her own inspiring story of overcoming struggle with no one to help her but herself.

 

So, what books should I read next? I’d love to hear about the books that have touched you.

 

Thanks for reading. Speak soon – Sally 🙂

Gloria In The Mist – A Backstage Peak 

So last Thursday I was on the bus into Plymouth to attend the second event of the Plymouth Bloggers Scheme. I’d had one of those days at work where I barely stopped, and ended up leaving nearly half an hour later than I planned because of things I needed to finish off. In short, I was in a proper mood.
However, cue 18:34 and I was sitting with the other bloggers on the scheme waiting to see backstage of the evenings performance of Gloria in the Mist. Becca gathered us up, and took us through the windy backstage area, where we could hear incredibly talented people rehearsing for the evenings opera. Its the level of talent that leaves you slightly awestruck, and was the perfect little moment to start the evening. After a few more windy corridors we found ourselves on the stage of The Drum where the incredible Spitz & Co were setting up the stage for that night.
What we ended up with, in the time before the show, was an insight into what makes a two woman show. This show consists of Susie and Pauline (a lighting expert, a director and a designer), who met in a comedy workshop where the piece of advice shared with attendees was to go and make comedy as a duo. Susie and Pauline took this literally, and Gloriator (the first in a trilogy) was created. 
Alongside hearing some of the pairs history we were able to pick their brains for favourite comedy acts, how a theatre company wins funding for a project, and how the pair cope with jokes that land flat. We were taken to a dressing room, where Pauline showed us the bed and chicken filets present. The overexcited child in me was particularly impressed by the lighting around the mirrors, with it meeting my mental picture of a dressing room. Sadly, the dressing room journey also resulted in the temporary loss of Brett and Hazel as they discovered firsthand how labyrinth like backstage really is. 
One of my favourite aspects of the evening both before and after the show, were the props. The pair took us through which of the props were their favourite (a light up skyline and a toy helicopter were Susie’s personal favourite), talked through some prop issues they are faced with (anyone know where you can find a child’s triangle tent with three entry/exit points?), how everything has its place and needs to be accessed incredibly quickly. Props are a lot more complicated than they initially appear.
A little while after this, we left the pair be and sat around chatting waiting for the show to start. I have not laughed as much as I did last Thursday in a very long time. Live comedy is incredible, and I need to add it to my To-Do list over an over for 2017. The comedy is accessible, physical, situational and just bloody brilliant. With everything from interpretive dance, to snowball fights the show was unpredictable and incredibly original.
Running until Friday 23 December and priced at less than £15 a ticket the show is worth putting in your diaries. As I write this, I’m sitting here trying to work out how I can fit the show in again before the tour ends…
– Emily

The tickets were gifted as part of the Blogger Scheme at the Theatre Royal, but the somewhat gushing words above are entirely my own.

A Book Review: Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

I first discovered Rainbow Rowell around eighteen months ago. After reading a snappy review of Eleanor and Park in a magazine, the title jumped out at me when it was a kindle deal. I picked the novel up a couple months later when I needed a distraction, and quickly lost a lot of sleep to a story I couldn’t put down.m I have since read a fiar bit of Rowell’s back catalogue.

So in September when I suddenly found myself with a lot of time on my hands, my mum and I went on a trip around Truro charity shops (I love charity shopping), and I found Fangirl. For a pound.

The book focuses on Cath and her experiences when she first goes to university college with her twin sister. It touches on themes of first love, discovering yourself, familial relationships, friendships and most importantly and very importantly: fanfiction.

Cath(er) has a twin sister Wren, and university is the first time the two of them have existed as separate entities, a choice that was not Cath’s. The story is very much about Cath managing her anxiety, developing herself as a new writer whilst continuing her well established fan fiction, and standing up for what is important to her.

The characters are well rounded and believable, and very loveable. Reagan is a definite favorite. One thing I love about Rowell is when she writes less convetionaly beautiful characters, such as Reagan, rather than making her characteristically bubbly and happy she is herself. All imperfections accepted, confident in her own skin and a force to be reckoned with. If you enjoy Young Adult stories which have strong female leads, witty writing and a bit of love story its one to pick up.

A good book to pick up after this would be Carry On, the fan fiction that Cath writes throughout the novel is focused on the Carry On series a magical fantasy story which is more than inspired by Harry Potter

If you’ve yet to read Fangirl the wonderful Goodreads have a sample of the first thirty of so pages which you can find here.

In case you needed convincing that she was an absolute babe, Rainbow has a board on Pinterest entirely curated of Fangirl fan art. It is a thing of beauty, and was the perfect thing to help with the comedown after finishing such an awesome book.

– Emily

I will actually be dropping this off at my local charity shop soon, unless someone would like to take it off my hands?

A collective Boots, Superdrug and Lush Haul

Hello, today I have a collective drugstore haul for you. I’ve been picking up a few bits over the two or three months and thought it was the perfect reason for a blog post!

I also feel the need for a self imposed spending ban. All those little purchases add up!

Superdrug 


Leafy and Lovely Hand Lotion.  £1

I picked up this hand cream just before my trip to Liverpool. I suffer from psoriasis and generally have dry hands, with no psoriasis flare up I would likely to forget my hand cream so this was an insurance purchase.

I wouldn’t recommend this as no matter how often I reapplied this product my hands still felt dry, Nivea Creme is a much more accessible option pricewise.

Barry M, It’s a Brow Thing: £4.99

After getting hooked on Hannah Gales videos and seeing how this product works in her routine I had to pick it up in the lightest colour. Sadly it is comically dark for my skin tone.

I applied this on my brunette mother, and dark blonde sister and it still came up too dark on the both of them. Please make this in a lighter shade Barry M, as both the texture and application are awesome.

Collection: Primed and Ready – £4.99

I was browsing Superdrug and spotted this. I love this Collection concealer, and the idea of having this in a palette makes me so happy.

Initially I couldn’t work out if I wants carry this around with me everyday, or save it for my main makeup bag. I’m playing about with this product, its lovely under the eyes but if you have dry patches it makes things look patchy.

MUA : Pro Base – £2.50

Sally has talked about how good MUA is previously, and I really needed a new powder so I thought this was the perfect introduction. I really like the colour match and set my foundation perfectly.

Tanya Burr – 12 Day Beauty Calendar – £15

I really want to try some of the higher end beauty calendars this year (No 7 and M&S I’m looking at you). The price of this makes it a lovely entry level product, and the few Tanya Burr products I have used have been lovely. If you want a sneak peak try this Fleur De Force post. (Another beauty calendar post work a glance is this one by Elle Simpson)

My only hesitation with this, is that I wish this had one of two of the new lipsticks in it 😕💄

Boots 

L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask – £4.99

I am a big fan of The Sanctuary charcoal mask so when these clay masks came out this went straight in my basket. I’ve used it a couple times, but it’s not one I’m actually reach for. Though my skin feels lovely afterwards, it is distinctly uncomfortable for the first few minutes.

St Ives: Blemish Fighting Apricot Scrub – £4.19

After the recent Satori event (post coming) I realised how important exfoliating was so I went back to an old favourite here’s hoping I can keep this a part of my routine!

Botanics facial oil Organic

After finishing my no7 night cream, I needed a new night treatment. Enter this Botanicals product. Botanicals is a brand  that Sally has written about in the past, and I’m a huge fan of face oils. Let’s see how I get on with this one…

Lush

Shower Jelly – Snowman £3.95

I’m more of a bath than shower person, but his product may just convert me. This smells amazing and leaves your skin feeling equally incredible.

Lip Scrub – Sugar Plum Fairy £5.95

I love a lips Scrub and this Christmasy sugar scrub is just dreamy.

Body Conditioner – Christingle £9.95

Probably my favourite Lush product. This minty tingly product enables me to be lazy efficient by combining my shower gel and moisturiser whilst feeling very indulgent.

Bath Bomb – Golden Wonder 34.25

The bath bomb I feel in love with at the Lush event, that has left my bedroom smelling just beautiful. I’m a little sad as this has started to crack which affected the experience of the bomb, but I still enjoyed it. My skin felt gorgeous and soft afterwards.

Soaps – Shooting Stars and Santa’s Postbox

Two Soap samples. Shooting Stars is already a firm favourite with it’s incredible Starburst-Esk scent.

Hand Lotion – Charity Pot £3.50

This product is a repurchase anytime I pop into lush. The hand cream is slightly on the greasy size, but it’s very moisturizing and get to work quickly. This is an older tub as my new tub went straight on my desk at work.

Toner Water – Eau Roma Water £8.50

As with the exfoliator satori really drums into me the importance of a toner in your skincare routine. I picked this one up on at the recommendation of one of the lovely lush staff. The Rose in this product is meant to be good call skin prone to redness.

Bath Bomb – Monsters Ball £4,25

I also picked up a Monsters Ball which made bath time very fun, how could this cutie do anything else?

Emily

Aside from the Lush items I picked all these up with my own money. Lush Plymouth were kind enough to gift a few products , and I picked up a few on the night. The Charity Pot is a desk essential for me…