Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion | Book Review

I realised the other day that I haven't actually posted a book review in a while! This year I've posted a review of every single book I've read, which when I was getting ready to move to the States reeeally slowed down. Thus the reviews also slowed down, which I really apologise for!

I was asked a lot of questions about this book when I was reading it, and it's actually quite difficult to explain briefly the storyline. Or it probably isn't, but I always seem to make a hash(brown) of it. 
Essentially, it is about an autistic man called Don who is looking for a partner which is best for him. He works with genetics and thus for him, it makes perfect sense that if you rule out all the people that a relationship would not work with to find the right one, then things could only go perfectly.
He devises a quiz in order to find this particular woman. (The quiz itself is contained in at the back of the book...I failed to be Don's partner, quite tragically). However he then meets Rosie, and although she is completely unsuitable, and there is nothing about her which would cause the relationship to work between her and Don, something still seems to be simmering there.

The main aspect of Don and Rosie's relationship is that Rosie wishes to find her biological father, and enlists the help of Don due to his genetics background. This is what the true Rosie Project is. However, I do not wish to give anything away, other than this is where the base of the story lies, in the hunt for Rosie's father. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was very different to anything I've read before, and there is in fact little that I have read which comes from the perspective of someone with autism. All that springs to mind is Flowers For Algernon, and god I hated that book. (Nothing against people with autism or anything at all, I simply just did not enjoy it). It was also a really refreshing take on relationships and people which is always welcome!
If you're looking for something a bit different, then definitely give this book a try! Also, you know you want to find out the relevance of the lobster on the cover!

Would you read The Rosie Project?

Monday, 29 September 2014

Minimergency Kit For Her | Pinch Provisions

Firstly, just how cute is this?! I saw it in Urban Outfitters a few weeks back and was straight away drawn in by the rose gold, studded texture little pouch. And then how much stuff was in it just blew me away even more. 
However, I didn't buy it. I resisted. Yet I couldn't stop thinking about it, and how much I needed it in my life. So when I went back into UO, I just had to pick it up. That's a sign you need something right, when you've thought about it non-stop for weeks? Right?

The kit contains (hold your breath ladies and gents):

  1. Plaster
  2. Advil
  3. Double-sided tape
  4. Breath Freshener
  5. Sewing Kit
  6. Dental Floss
  7. Clear Nail Varnish
  8. Hair Spray
  9. Nail File
  10. Tampon
  11. Lip Balm
  12. Clear Elastics
  13. Stain Remover
  14. Nail Varnish Remover Pad
  15. Deodorant Towelette
  16. Earrings Backs
  17. Safety Pin
SEVENTEEN Items. In that TINY LITTLE pouch. 

I mean do I really need to say more? Imagine you're about to meet a fit guy for a tipple and then you remember you just had a pizza with garlic - breath freshener! Oh and out of gum? Dental Floss! Clasp on your dress breaks? Safety Pin! I mean I never realise dI needed double sided tape about my person before this came into my life.
This is honestly one of the most genius things I have ever come across in my life. Apparently you can get all different ones, including ones for the bride. So essentially, one for everyone. Go and buy it now. You know you need it.

Get yours at Urban Outfitters for $15 (about £9). 

I'm not even going to ask you if you'd buy this. I know you will.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Most Complimented Nail Varnish...Ever?

Ciaté Sugar Plum is the one nail varnish that whenever I wear it, I get so many compliments on. I don't know what exactly it is about this colour, but it always seems to be a crowd pleaser.
The same effect would also happen with pretty much the exact shade of this but in Revlon's Lycra collection. Everyone (well girls...) that sees it would always say how much they like it.
Essentially, it's just lilac.
Also, as a side note, please ignore the chipped nail; I could get all philosophical on you here and comment that that was intentional and it is there to signify that nobody is perfect and we all have flaws...but I'll just let you judge :')

What do you think of this colour?

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Circus Stuff on State Street

So just a side note, clowns are my absolute worst fear, and the circus is pretty much my worst ever nightmare. However, when my good friend Hannah and I were walking down State Street last night we came across these couple of circus wagons. As I had my camero on me, (as a good blogger always does!), I thought I might as well take a couple of photos of these as they were only there for a day. 
We then found in the Overture Centre that it is the '10 Fest' of the Overture itself, hence they have a lot of circus and acrobat events going on. Including also housing past circus outfits, sketches and some original carousel horses. One of which is even a century old this year and has been fully restored!
So, as I said to Hannah, despite being kind of creeped out slightly by all of this stuff, I thought that as a blogger, somebody somewhere would find this really interesting, and it's just not something you see everyday! 
So I am glad I have documented it, despite finding it all quite uncomfortable! But then, isn't that life; stepping out of your comfort zone? 

What do you think of the Circus ware?

*Also as a side note, due to the time of night, the lighting was poor, thus I edited these photos to give them a more of a vintage-y feel to make the most of a bad picture!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Cutting Your Split Ends

Whilst searching for a picture* to use for this post, pictures of logs kept coming up. I then realised that these are also 'split ends'. This however, is not what I want my hair to look like...

Cutting, or trimming shall we say, my split ends is something I have done for absolutely years. Whilst doing it this morning whilst catching up on some Youtube videos, I realised that it probably isn't that common. However, it is a really great thing to do if it's going to be a long time until your next haircut.
The general tip is to twist strands of your hair and cut the split ends which poke out from there. Whilst, yes, this can work, I don't believe it's the most effective. You literally just need to get the ends of your hair and trim the split parts. I personally find it quite therapeutic, as weird as that sounds! Just simply get the ends of segments of your hair between your fingers, running them down until only the very ends are visible and just snip!

For those of you worried about cutting your own hair...this is not cutting your hair. It is trimming the damaged parts to prevent further damage. It is not getting rid of huge chunks, just merely milimetres of your hair.
If you do it really well, you will notice quite a difference!

So everyone, grab those scissors and say goodbye to split ends without the cost!

Have you ever done this?

*Picture taken from flickr

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Keeping In Touch

Mother has never had a phone. She is never going to get one. Nor would I even try to get her one. Since moving to the States, I also do not have a phone. I planned to get one originally, however with wifi everywhere, I don't actually need one. So essentially, I'm too lazy to sort one out/don't want to spend the monies...
My sister, in the summer, moved to Japan. She had previously been living in Hong Kong so we were used to distance and time differences.
Now I am 6 hours behind the UK and 12 hours behind Kobe. My sister is 8 hours ahead of the UK. And there's Mother slapbang in the middle. 
This has resulted in me waking up to a joint email from my sister to Mother and I, Mother's reply a little later, and then I am spending all of my nights replying to the joint emails, in, yes you guessed it, a joint email.

This system may seem insane and time consuming, but it's kind of comforting and therapeutic. But it is hard. However this has just recently highlighted to me, the importance of keeping in touch. With Mother, I need to contact her everyday, but your friends you don't necessarily need to message them every single day. But, and I am guilty of this, especially right at this moment, leaving it a couple of days is not how to go about it. 
Keeping in regular contact with people shows how important they are to you, and if you aren't bothering to reply to their messages at least on some sort of regular basis, their importance to you is obviously not that high. 
Don't get me wrong. We all get busy. We all forget things. But talking to people and contacting them is something that we should all take the time to do. As I have mentioned, I spend my evenings cosied up in bed with some tea replying to my family's emails. I am also currently writing to my Nan. I have planned a skype session with a good friend who I haven't spoken to in a while. All of these things matter.

Even if it is just a quick message, or text, to say hello, or remind them of a private joke you shared, some form of contact and keeping in touch is a definite must.
So go all of you now, and message that person you've been meaning to for days. No excuses now!


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

H&M Manuka Honey Face Mask | Review

Goodness gracious, sung like Ellie Goulding, this post is waaaaaay overdue and I have absolutely no excuse! But it is here now!
So I originally bought this face mask in one of my awkward moments in which I didn't want to be just buying underwear (coughthongscough) by itself. I just couldn't face it. Sooo I walked around H&M looking for one of the cheapest possible things that I could also buy. And at a mere 99p I came across their face masks and this one instantly stood out to me. I am lover of all things honey and just really liked the idea that it was a Gentle Cleanse mask. 
This was right before my trip to Rimini (Tour 2014!) and seeing as it was a holiday I knew that my skin needed to be in good, or at least a bit nicer, condition so thought this would be a great way to achieve that. 
The mask itself was quite thick and there was a surprising amount of it in that little sachet so I did have a lot of product on my face which is quite small. This did mean that there was too much in some areas so it took that bit longer to dry. It peeled off pretty easily, and after a bit of a scrub to completely clear my skin, (from what I recall), it did feel like it had just had a really nice long cleanse. I kept this on for about 20 minutes (again, I think...I'm sorry.) My skin just felt so refreshed and I really enjoyed the smell which just of course added to the whole experience!
As these are only 99p they probably aren't the most amazing masks for your skin, however for a little pick me up, I would definitely recommend this, especially if you're a honey lover!

Have you tried the H&M masks?

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Autumn Tag

With Autumn (or Fall...) approaching I am definitely looking forward to some really cosy nights and wrapping up in my woollens! 
I have taken this tag from the amazing MakeUpSavvy blog which is one of my all time favourites and just thought that this was definitely a great post to do!*

1. Ok we're talking coffee's - what's your favourite seasonal drink from Starbucks/Costa/Cafe Nero etc?  
Firstly, definitely Starbucks. And I reeeallly love the Peppermint Mocha; it's sososo yummy. That's actually possibly Christmas...in fact I think it is; I can picture it in a red cup... Then it has to be the Salted Caramel Mocha!

2. Accessories - what do you opt for, scarf, boots, gloves?
I am well known for my love of scarves; it doesn't need to be cold for me to have one on. Then definitely boots. I always feel I need gloves but never seem to remember them!

3. Music - what's your favourite music to listen to during Autumn?
Nothing particular to be honest; well I mean there isn't anything that springs to mind! I am currently loving Nina Nesbitt though. 
4. Perfume - what's your favourite scent for this time of year?
I really love Vera Wang Princess Night, however I wouldn't necessarily say for Autumn explicitly. It does add a really nice touch to colder nights though!

5. Candles - what scents will you be burning this season?
 Were I allowed candles in my dorm...I would definitely have Yankee Candles Salted Caramel. I'm also really intrigued to try Village Candle's Brownie Delight. Yankee's Black Cherry is also delicious.

6. What do you love most about Autumn?
Everything! It is by far my favourite season. The general feeling is definitely near the top; it's getting colder and you just wanna put on your cosy socks and watch some tv in bed with a nice hot beverage! Being cosy is definitely a must; it's one of my friends aims in life! I love that there is the gradual build up to Christmas also.

7. Favourite makeup look?
I definitely like to make myself look a little 'wind-blown'; and by that I do not mean blowing my face with a hairdryer...But I mean having really nice rosy cheeks and really warm coloured lips. I adore Sleek Rose Gold blush for this as it has that bit of gold shimmer which is gorgeous. I don't think I change my eye makeup that much other than maybe going a bit darker, thicker, with the eye shadow for a bit more definition. And of course, the berry lips! I love the Revlon Lip Butters for this. 
8. What are you looking forward to most in Autumn?
To be honest I'm really not sure! I'm in a brand new place and so don't really know what to expect of the 'Fall' season out here. The weather is already ridiculously sporadic. I guess I'm looking forward to maybe trying new things such as food...and probably checking out the American brands take on the Autumn collections!

I hope you enjoyed this post and please do it yourselves and let me know!

*Credit also to Fee from MakeUp Savvy for creating the image which I used for my own cover photo!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Snarky Puppy

Now if you haven't heard of Snarky Puppy, just click here, continue about your what you were doing and just listen to the wonderfulwonderful music. In fact, continue reading this post ;)
I only knew about them due to my wonderful flatmate Jonah, who would make me listen to them whislt driving to uni, and I would always moan that I didn't want to listen to his Sims Build Mode music or his Lift music. However, then when I saw that they were playing here at Madison (for reeeeally cheap), I thought I need to go.
And ooohmy am I glad I went. 
It was like something I had never seen before in my life. It was beyond an experience. All of these musicians are sososo talented it is just unreal and their ability to make so many instruments and musical styles fit together and sound absolutely amazing is ridiculous. 
Their improv as well! Oh my god. I can't even. There are no words.
Basically what I'm saying is, if you ever get the chance to go and see them live, do it. Your life will forever be improved. Honestly. 

*As a side note, I apologise for the poorpoor photo. We, obvs, weren't allowed to use flash at one of the times when you need it most, and despite sitting myself at the front, people were then just in the way and tbh I was just in too much awe to focus on taking any pictures... It was also the results of the Referendum and it was stressing me out like hell so I was watching the results like a hawk on my tablet. So really this was a Sorry, Not Sorry, statement but yeah...Snarky Puppy!*

Have you ever seen them? Your thoughts?

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Becoming A Badger | One Month On

I can't believe that I have now already been here a month; the time is just flying by! Things are really good at the moment now that classes have set in and I am finally in a routine. In order to kind of celebrate, but not really celebrate, the fact that it's a month since I moved over here I just thought I would mention some of the experiences that I've had. 

  • Living literally on lakeshore of Lake Mendota is just absolutely crazy. It's so different to anywhere I've ever lived or even stayed before and I absolutely love it.
  • The food here is definitely something to get my teeth into! The Taste of Madison Food Festival showcased some of the local food companies and farms and numerous fried goods...including fried oreos and fried cookie dough. So bad, but so good!
  • Going to a retro photobooth and getting my 'picture taken' with the UW Madison marching band at Camp Randall Stadium back in the 1970's.
  • Being a part of Project W and getting to stand on the pitch at Camp Randall to make the iconic 'W' on the field. (I'm somewhere in the right!) Not to mention getting a free tshirt out of it!
  • Going to the State Capitol and actually sitting in the Governor's chair #GovernorKarina
  • Seeing my first ever actual American Football Game, witnessing 5 touchdowns by the Badgers and absolutely loving life.
There are sooo many more things that I could list, not just experiences but things I've learnt about being over here and about myself, and I'm sure there are more to come!
But for now this is just a little taster of my month anniversary if you will.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Almay | Oil Free Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

If you have seen my Monthly Favourites + USA Haul video (shameless plug), then you will have seen me mention this particular product. When I first arrived in the US, I picked up a couple Clean and Clear make up wipes, however I still felt I needed a makeup remover at least just for my eyes to avoid scrubbing at them with a cleanser. (And for those really lazy nights when I cannot be bothered to go to the bathroom...) 
It actually took me a good few weeks to find this product, or any sort of eye makeup remover. I had been looking in the cleanser section, which yes I would  have thought it would be there. They actually seem to keep these with the brands though; I guess it is logical...in one way. 
Anyway, I finally saw this one, and it was pretty cheap and I know that Almay has gotten some pretty good reviews from other bloggers so thought I might as well give it a go!
It's not too shabby to be honest (what would be the point of me reviewing if I were lying?) It does have quite an oily/chemical smell, which is the main downside. I also feel that you need to use a good amount of it to really get all your make up off. However it does do the job and for only a couple of dollars, I would say it is worth the slightly cheaper price tag. 
It takes your makeup off, you just need a decent amount of it, and ignore the smell!
Oh, and it's pretty damn good for cleaning make up brushes!

You can pick this up at Walgreens for $5.99.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Possibly the Cutest Vaseline...Ever?!

If you have seen my latest video then you will have seen me having a bit of a moment with this...but just look at it. It is just so cute. It is, yes, essentially standard vaseline but instead of the tin, it's in this tiny little plastic pot.
Basically, it is a gimmick that is going to draw, nono, suck in people like me that love anything in miniature/cuter/different form.
I hadn't seen this out in the UK before I came over to the US, but you can pick these babies up at Walgreens (right next to the cosmetics till in my case...) for $1.79. There is also the cocoa butter one!

Also... just for reference... here it is next to a penny. For you know...size guides...

Anyone else need this in their lives?!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Monthly Favourites + USA Haul! | Video

I knowwww, it has been a while since I last posted a video, and I apologise profusely in this new video! Seeing as I had quite a lot of things I'd been loving from August that rolled over into September, I thought I might as well let you guys know about them. I also thought that I would just throw in a bit of a haul at the end there ;)

As always, please feel free to watch the video here or go to my youtube channel here. Whilst you're there you might as well do a cheeky subscribe! And please if you liked this video, then give it a thumbs up!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Getting Back into Art

Back in the day, pre-actual life making decision era, I wanted to go into Art. Ever since I was little that was all I had ever wanted to do. It wasn't until I hit A-levels that I realised that really isn't a viable or practical option in this day and age. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not putting anyone down at all that does/did do/wants to do Art or anything similar at university or further etcetc, but for me I just didn't want the risk of it. I didn't want the instability of it and the unpredicatability. I needed to know exactly where I could go after unviersity career wise. I needed a pretty solid plan.
So my art dreams fell to the wayside and philosophy took over. Now, I do not regret anything at all (well some things but that's a very slippery and windey slope down). I'm happy with the position that I now find myself in. I always worked subjectively and mainly with self-portaiture. But it's hard. You're looking at yourself so much, and not just that but right into the details of yourself and it's hard. It takes a massive toll on you emotionally and I had art classes where I just sat in front of my work and my teachers and literally sobbed because I didn't think my work was good enough or that I was good enough.
Thus I had taken a very happy break from painting and extensive drawing. I needed the time and space from it. Then when I found out I had been accepted at UW-Madison and realised I could pretty much do what I want (don't take from this that doing a year abroad means you can do that, this is just my personal circumstances), I realised I could do art! I could take a painting course and get back into it.
And to be honest, sitting in that first class, with 6 other Art majors who have been doing painting at university level for years and knew exactly what they were doing and the area and the environment, it was scary. It was really intimidating. I sat there squirming inside and felt as if I was drowning I was so overwhelmed. I had come from getting an A at A level to then not doing anything in over 2 years to doing a degree level painting class. The temptation to just go home and drop it was high.
But, I went and bought supplies. I got a sketchbook, three of my favourite pencil types (yes, that is a thing. Holla for 9B!) And I started sketching. And it all came back to me. And it felt so good. 
Starting actually painting again was amazing. I'm not really sure how to describe it. I wanna say it was like riding a bike; you never forget. But it wasn't quite like that.
I'm really excited with where this is all going, even if it is only for four months, but I'm doing some exciting things with my work. Especially now that I have a blog and a youtube, I want to involve them. Or to get them involved with my work; thus I am working on some things that I'm finding pretty exciting at the moment. I can't wait to show you guys! That's why for now I thought I would just show some of the starting points of my work. I don't want to go into detail or depth here about what I'm doing to avoid this sounding like me being all oooh look at me I'm an artist!, but I hope you appreciate this post and that maybe it will motivate you to get back into a passion of yours that you once loved!

P.S: TLDR: I stopped painting two years ago. I have now started again. Basically. Enjoy :')

Friday, 12 September 2014

The (American) Football Game | Go Badgers!

Look at all that red! So in case you hadn't guessed... Wisconsin's colour is red. Sorry, color... This was the first home game for the Badgers of the season, so really it was a necessity that we went! We managed to get tickets and although we weren't in the student section (don't ask), we had such a good time! I have actually developed quite a liking for American Football, and an absolute love of the UW Marching Band. Seriously they are amazing. Just look at those formations! Whilst playing instruments! !!!!
The badgers won by quite a way...there were five touchdowns! One of them being right in front of where we were sitting (see picture 2); then the W flag comes running across. Oh my, it was just all insane and ridiculous and I absolutely loved it.
The game was at Camp Randall, and just to give you some perspective on size: it seats a little over 80,000 people. Wembley Stadium seats a little over 90,000 and Old Trafford seats 75,000. So there you go, it's a lot of people and a lot of madness!

Have you ever or would you ever go to a football game?

Monday, 8 September 2014

The Need for a Decent Base

So in reference to my previous post (ooh nice promotion Karina), I have changed up my make up a little by wearing a lighter, layer, shall we say. Mainly due to the heat here; patchy make up anyone? As I have thus been wearing less make up, the days when I have just been whacking on some mascara I have finally realised the need for a decent base. 
Now I know this is going to come as obvious to a lot of you, however on my down-days I normally would possibly put on a bit of concealer, but mainly, I would put nothing on my actual face. I have since realised lately that this just won't cut it anymore. Especially in the heat. Thus, I have developed what I feel is my decent base. 
Firstly, I of course wash my face (posts to come on this; the excitement!) and then moisturise it. I am absolutely loving Hydraluron and no wonder it is a cult product. It is sososo good. It is of a gel frequency (for those that don't know) and a little goes a long way. It leaves my skin feeling great. I then dab on the Maxfactor Mastertouch Under Eye Concealer in fair on those pesky red spots that won't leave and of course under my eyes. If I'm having a particularly good day then I just go right on in with my Becca fine Pressed Powder, but if not, slap on that Garnier BB Cream! 
If your base is all blended in well, it's smooth, it's oil free, it's flawless. Well not quite, but almost. Then you really can get away with the just-mascara-look. Trust me, you need the base. 

What do you do for your decent base?