Is The Girl on the Train on your summer reading list?

This week I have been reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which has been billed by the press as the next Gone Girl. I loved the book and the film so obviously I wanted to give it a go and see if it was everything it was cracked up to be.
The novel revolves around Rachel who takes a commuter train into London every morning. The train stops at a signal each day giving her a view into the gardens of a perfect row of Victorian houses where she has conjured up a whole back story about “Jess” and “Jason”, a couple who live in one of the houses. But one day Rachel sees something that shatters the illusion she has created and it changes everything.

Now I need to put this out there before any of you rush out and buy this book, you will not like any of the characters. All of them are unlikable. Rachel, the main character, is totally unstable, her busybody housemate is annoying, the “real” Jess and Jason are definitely not the perfect couple. However, I personally loved that all of the characters are a hot mess, I think it makes for a much more interesting story.

This is your typical psychological thriller, and it was certainly a page turner. I did guess the ending about half way through, but up until that point I was pointing fingers at people left right and centre, so I’m not disappointed.

I will say that The Girl on the Train isn’t really much like Gone Girl other than it is a psychological thriller. I think that Gone Girl is much more complex and the twist is far better. However I really enjoyed reading The Girl on the Train and I would recommend it as a summer read. Paula Hawkins writing style captivated me, and while I didn’t particularly like Rachel, I empathised with her and what she was going through, which implicitly conveys her talent as a writer,

Have you read The Girl on the Train? What is on your summer reading list?

My mini makeup haul

Beauty product haul

This month I decided to treat myself to a few beauty bits and bobs whilst on a shopping trip with my boyfriend. He was absolutely thrilled with traipsing after me through Boots and Superdrug, but at least I didn’t make him hang around outside the changing rooms in Primark while I tried on 1286473820 outfits! I did treat him to lunch though, so I think that more than makes up for it!

So on to the lovely goodies in my mini haul! One thing I have been absolutely dying to try out is the Makeup Revolution Iconic Pro 1 palette which, as I’m sure you have already heard, is an amazing dupe for the Lorac Pro palette. I have already swatched this baby ready for a review and I am in love with the shades and the excellent quality for the price. If you haven’t got your hands on one of these babies yet, I really recommend it.

I also treated myself to two packs of stick on nails from Primark which are a godsend when you haven’t got time to paint your nails. You can see a great example of these nails in action in my post about my trip to the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea in London. They have some really lovely designs at the moment, including the tropical print which is ideal for holidays as well as brightening up a dreary Britain! I also got these cute turquoise ones that just reminded me of mermaids so obviously I needed them….

I’m a big fan of the Real Techniques brushes and as I’m not a great lover of the blusher brush included in my Royal and Langnickel set, I thought I would try out the Real Techniques Blush Brush. I’m excited to give this beauty a go.

The last thing I bought was the Supercat liner from Soap and Glory to replace my Benefit They’re Real Push Up Liner which has sadly run out. I’ve heard good things about this liner, so I am looking forward to giving it a go and seeing what all the fuss is about.

What beauty products have you treated yourself to recently? Have you tried any of these products?

Seven things from LUSH to add to your beauty wishlist

LUSH wishlist

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 
After a long and stressful day at work, I like nothing more than running myself a bath, popping in a bath bomb and catching up on some trash TV on Netflix. I am currently down to my last bar of Fun (which can be used as a bubble bar – hurrah!) so I thought it was about time I made myself a little Lush shopping list.
When you really need to relax after a hard day, the Twilight Bath Bomb needs to be your go to product. The scent is lavender based to aid relaxation and prepare you for bed time.
This isn’t any old scrub, oh no! You can use this in your hair too! Sounds a bit bizarre, but the primary ingredient is sea salt, making it the perfect product to cleanse and create volume . Hello mermaid hair…
This bath bomb contains space dust. Yes. That’s right, SPACE DUST! If you listen carefully you can hear it crackle as it spins around in the water. You have to admit, that is pretty cool! The scent is deliciously sweet and fruity.
Now this one is completely new to me. I’ve never used serum as part of my skin care routine – I know I am a terrible human being – so I think I should investigate what will work for my skin. This seems to be ideal for my combination skin as it moisturises dry areas but controls oil too. Just one thing putting me off though – the main ingredient is Portobello Mushroom. I have a thing about mushrooms, I find them completely repulsive, so not sure I want to rub this all over my face…. Let me know if you use this and how mushroomy it is!
5. Green Bubbleroon Bubble Bar, £3.65
I love a bubble bar, and this cute macaroon smells so summery and leaves skin feeling really soft. Plus as it is a bubble bar you can get about four uses out of it! 
6. The Comforter Bubble Bar, £4.75
This is everyone’s holy grail bath product so I imagine it is on everyone’s LUSH wishlist! I love the gorgeous berry scent and how pink it turns the bath water. I also find that it lasts a while as you get a good amount of bubbles from a small chunk of the bar.
7. Karma Bubble Bar, £3.25
After The Comforter, this is probably my second favourite bubble bar due to the strong and sweet citrus smell. Again as this is a bubble bar you can get a good amount of use out of it.

What’s on your LUSH wishlist? Have you tried any of these products?

Barely there blush

Chanels Joues Contraste Powder Blush in the shade Rose Initial
I recently decided to treat myself to a new blusher and since I have never tried any Chanel beauty products I thought why not splurge a little as a treat! I actually picked up Chanel’s Joues Contraste Powder Blush in the shade Rose Initial at the airport on the way home from my trip to Berlin, so it was duty free which is always a bonus and definitely justifies the splurge (that’s what I am telling myself anyway…)

Since spring is the air I decided I wanted to go for this really pretty pink shade for the barely there blush look. The rosy pink colour has a touch of peach to it, especially in the sunlight, which is the perfect shade for me as I find peachy shades flattering for my pale skin. It has a slight gold shimmer but not enough that it is glittery and off putting thankfully. Once blended in the shimmer can hardly be seen and I find my skin looks more glowy and youthful rather than shiny.
The pigmentation is pretty much perfect for me. I’d go as far as saying it is the Goldilocks of blushers, not too much and not too little – just right! It is quite sheer and delicate, but it is very much buildable, so if you like a stronger look it is easily accomplished, but if like me you can be heavy handed with the blusher, this will be your best friend as there is no risk of looking like a clown.
Chanels Joues Contraste Powder Blush in the shade Rose Initial

The blusher comes in the standard black packaging with a little velvet pouch to keep it in if you are feeling fancy. The compact has a full sized mirror on the inside which is really helpful if you like to carry blusher in your handbag for touch ups. There is also a mini brush which is fine and definitely does the job for on the go use. I have noticed a couple of the bristles coming loose but nothing to complain about as I wouldn’t use the brush for everyday application.

If you are looking for a pretty spring blusher then I really recommend Chanel’s Joues Contraste Powder Blush in the shade Rose Initial for a natual hint of colour.

What is your go to blusher for spring? What Chanel products do you recommend?

Best blog reads #1

I want to start sharing with you some of the best blog posts that I have read recently. I don’t know if this will become a regular feature or if I will do it once in a while, but let’s give it a go anyway!

A Little Obsessed
Sabrina’s latest bog gives five tips to improve your blog over the weekend. This is a must read for newbie bloggers.
If you are a lover of Mexican food, Roisin has some lovely recipes to celebrate Cino de Mayo. Just add a margarita!
Running White Horses
Carina’s trip to Copenhagen makes me want to jump on a plane and explore the world.

Style Sunrise

Karen looks stunning in her latest post, pairing bright red skinnies with a charity tee from Connected Generation. If you want to find a way to give something back, but on your own terms it is well worth checking this post out.

Who’s blog have you been loving? Proud of a post? Send me a link in a comment below!

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel


Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel menu Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel tea choices

It was my little sister’s 21st birthday in March, so to celebrate, I took her to Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel in London. We were both so excited to go, some friends of mine had been just before us and told us how amazing it was. Alice in Wonderland is such a unique story so we had high hopes that the afternoon tea would be just as special.

Upon arrival we were shown to our table under a canopy in a garden in the centre of the hotel. In the middle was a really pretty water feature and either side were tables filled up with families celebrating birthdays, and groups of friends on girly days out. The waitress brought over the menu which was in the middle of an old book and it detailed exactly what we could expect from the Mad Hatter’s experience. She then placed a silver tray with four glass vials filled with flavoured teas on our table and invited us to smell them and decide what we’d like to accompany our food. All of them smelled gorgeous, it was a tough choice between, strawberries and cream, apple pie, mint chocolate chip and rhubarb and custard. I went for the latter and it was amazing!

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel rhubarb and custard tea


Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel sugar lumps


The details were very well thought out, from a riddle from the novel serving as a napkin ring, sugar lumps stashed away in a vintage jewellery box, and paper crowns worn by the teapot King of Hearts. These extra touches really helped to make it all feel extra special.

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel


Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel cakes


When the beautiful cake stand arrived were both pretty much the heart eye emoji. They very top tier boasted a monochrome teacup on top with live pea shoots growing from it, Hiding in amongst the greenery were two carrot meringues and underneath were some strawberry and cream marshmallows. The middle tier was where the magic really happened. A clock shaped Victoria sponge, mango and white chocolate cheesecake and white chocolate and matcha green tea mousse in a chocolate tea cup. Everything was delicious, but very sweet!

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel sandwiches


Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel drink me


The bottom tier had some mini scones, one type traditional and the other a savoury spinach version, plus herb butter, strawberry jam and clotted cream. The tiny brown bottles had, in true Alice in Wonderland style, little labels saying “drink me”. The potion was delicious and made up of coconut cream and passion fruit puree – unfortunately it seemed to have no effect on us… The sandwiches and quiches were probably my favourite part. I am a lover of savoury flavours, and they were definitely needed to balance out the sweetness of the cakes.

Our experience at the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea was completely perfect, it was the attention to detail as well as the fantastic service and well thought out menu that really made it something special. London has plenty of places that offer afternoon tea, but if you are after one that stands out from the crowd, this is definitely the one for you.

Dipping my toes into the world of body jewellery


I got my tragus pierced to celebrate the end of exams in my first year at university, and since then I have kept the same jewellery in. So when I got the chance to pick out a couple of pieces from Body Jewellery Shop I was very excited to finally try something new.

The first piece that I selected was a very different style to what I have been wearing for the last few years. I decided that I wanted to go for a BCR so I took a look at the list of ear piercings available from Body Jewellery shop and found this lovely Outwards Stars surgical steel BCR*  which I think is prettier and more feminine than a plainer ring. The star detail is much cuter than the plain labret style stud I was wearing before and makes my ear piercing stand out more as mine is very discrete.

It’s made from surgical steel which is great news for anyone with metal allergies, However, I am very sensitive to metals and the only thing I can comfortably wear long term is titanium or gold. I was able to wear the BCR for three days across the Easter weekend before any irritation started so I will still continue to wear it during weekends. I doubt that the material would be a problem for many people though, so don’t let this put you off.

The second earring I selected was a better fitting labret stud for days when i was to keep my piercing a little more discrete. I wanted something that I could wear long term, so the titanium micro labret stud* was the perfect choice for me. I went for the 1.2mm x 6mm version which is a perfect fit. The length is short enough that I don’t have to re-position my jewellery every time I put my earphones in, but still leaves a couple of millimeters for ease of insertion and removal.

I really love the wide selection of ear piercing jewellery on offer and I would definitely treat myself to a few more from Body Jewellery Shop.

What piercings do you have? Where do you buy your body jewelley from?

Boost your locks with the Bblonde Lightening Spray by Jerome Russell

Bblonde Lightening Spray
My natural hair colour is a dark dirty blonde but from the age of about 13 I have regularly given my hair a colour injection, whether it was a full head of colour or some highlights. I have found this can be a nightmare to manage as my hair grows really quickly, so my roots show through after just a couple of weeks making dying my hair costly and time consuming. About six months ago I decided to leave my hair alone for a while and let it grow out naturally. So I was asked to try out Jerome Russell’s Bblonde Lightening Spray* I was ready and excited to try out something new.

After having a good look through pinterest for some hair inspiration I realised that I could use the Bblonde Lightening Spray to produce a soft and subtle ombre look. Creating this style was relatively straightforward. You need to concentrate the spray on the ends of your hair, and gradually spray less the further up your hair you go – much easier than using actual dye!
Ombre hair with Bblonde Lightening Spray
The spray should only be used by people with blonde to dark blonde hair, so if you are darker I really don’t recommend you try this because the colour you end up with might not be what you are looking for! Although if you have a dip dye then this would be great for lightening the ends.
The spray is designed to be applied to wet hair after washing and conditioning. I recommend using a good quality hair masque or conditioner to keep your hair soft. Then the bleach is activated by heat from blow drying your hair. The good news is that this product contains a heat protector, so you don’t need to spray any extra product before styling. 
I’ve used the spray about five times now and I’ve managed to achieve a good amount of lightening on the bottom three quarters of my hair so I am pretty happy with this! If you want to lighten your hair up a few shades in time for summer then I recommend giving The Bblonde Lightening Spray a try. You can pick up a bottle for just £5.99 from Boots, and the good news is, they are currently doing a 3 for 2 offer on all haircare.
What products do you use to lighten up your hair?

Book review: Wool by Hugh Howey

I studied English at university and this is where my passion
for dystopian fiction really ignited. I was chatting to my favourite tutor  in an office hour about an essay question for
a module on James Joyce and mentioned my love for Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and she encouraged
me to pursue my interest and write about it as a dissertation topic. Now
whenever I research new books to read, I always search for books in this genre
first. My boyfriend thinks it is weird and depressing, but clearly there is a
growing interest in dystopian literature shown by the huge success of novels
such as  The Hunger Games, Divergent and
The Maze Runner. So if you like these
books, you should definitely keep reading to find out more about Hugh Howey’s Wool.
This novel was originally a short story but the readers
loved it so much that Howey released four more parts to complete book one of the Silo trilogy. You can now buy an omnibus version of the book to save
yourself some money – or if you are feeling extra keen (like me!) you can also
buy the whole trilogy.
The story is set in the future in a world that has been
largely destroyed by a disaster and it focuses on the survivors who live deep
underground in a huge multi-storey silo that houses everything from farms to
hospitals. A view of the outside can only been seen from the very top level,
displayed on a huge screen that is linked with cameras on the outside. The
world outside is desolate and bleak and talk of going outside is forbidden,
punished by exile into the barren landscape and a certain death that lies
there. However there are a few in the silo that dare to dream and dare to push
the boundaries to find out more about what really happened years ago and what
lies beyond the hills.
After reading a synopsis on Goodreads I somehow got the
impression this book was going to be aimed at teens with a fairly simple plot
that would be predictable but an enjoyable and quick read. I’m not sure where I
got this idea from because in reality, Wool
is complex, but not overcomplicated
and I found it was something I could really
get my teeth into
. There was so much to learn about the way the characters live
I was hungry for more and more (so glad I bought the trilogy collection now!).
While it does focus on adult characters, it is suitable for teen readers too,
but be warned it isn’t a mushy Twilight style love story which unfortunately I
think The Hunger Games and Divergent etc focuses on a little too
much (just my opinion…!).
I loved Wool because
the post-apocalyptic scenario was fascinating and the fact that the residents
of the silo know little or nothing of their legacy just screams that there is a
lot more to discover.
The air of mystery was captivating and kept me turning
the pages to claw in more and more of this new world.
The book is quite a long one and at around 500 pages it may
be a stretch too far for some who prefer quicker and lighter reads. It has been
described by others as a slow burner, but in my opinion this made it all the
more interesting and gave a real opportunity for Howey to convey life in the
silo and develop his characters.
The characters in Wool
are fascinating
and due to the storytelling, I felt part of their world and
connected well with them. There is a perfect balance of goodies and baddies to
keep the story ticking along at an exciting pace to find out what they do next.
 It is told from different perspectives
which really helped to explain how different roles fit into the matrix of the
silo as well as giving an insight into their state of mind which is a huge
developing theme across the trilogy.
Having fallen in love with Wool and the world of the silo I quickly moved on to the next book
in the series Shift which I am now
coming to the end of and I have to say, I think I am obsessed with this trilogy,
so I highly recommend it if you are looking for your next big read.

What are you reading at the moment? Can you recommend any good
dystopian novels?

Why you should pack your bags and hop on a plane to Berlin

I’ve been pretty absent from my blog and twitter since December as it has been so busy at work recently. Everything is a bit up and down right now so we have all been pretty snowed under. Blogging is like a second job, so after a hard day’s work I wasn’t really feeling much like writing anything. So a couple of weeks ago in an act of spontaneity, Ben and I booked last minute flights to Berlin for four days of culture, good food and a fantastic chance to get away from our every day stresses and immerse ourselves in something new.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Berlin, but I have to say I really loved it. The city is steeped in history and architecture so there is so much to see across the city. We spent a day doing all the obligatory touristy sightseeing, which included the Brandenburg Gate, The Reichstag Building, Checkpoint Charlie and the The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. 

I was really keen to visit The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, but Ben wasn’t as fussed because we had passed it on a bus on the way to the train station one day. I’m really glad that I convinced him to go back and have a wonder around the memorial because it was truly breathtaking. The concrete columns of varying length create an uncomfortable and disorientating environment. As we were wandering around, we noticed it was quite maze-like and when the blocks towered above you it felt very oppressive. I’m really glad we went because I think it is so important to remember what happened all those years ago.

On our second day we walked over to Postdamer Platz which is packed full of cultural buildings including art galleries and libraries. Our destination however was the Berliner Philharmoniker. I read a tip online before we went saying that every Tuesday at 1pm they open the doors to the public for a free recital in the huge foyer of the building. It was such an incredible atmosphere with people sitting where ever they could find a spot. We were treated to a duet from a pianist and a cellist and they were so talented. Ben studied music when we were at university, so he was completely in his element! It was one of the nicest things we got to do on our trip, so if you are ever in Berlin on a Tuesday, I really recommend you go along.

The food in Berlin was so good, we ate delicious (but naughty!) food every day. One of our must-try foods was currywurst, it is sausage sliced up, served with a tomato based curry sauce, chips and if you are lucky, some special curry mayo. We picked up ours for the very reasonable price of €3,50 at Hackescher Markt and it was amazing. I honestly think they need to open up some currywurst shops near bars and nightclubs in the UK because we think it makes the ideal post-drinks sober up snack!

We also took a trip to the famous Burgermeister, a tiny little burger joint built in a converted public toilet (no, really!). Oh my god. The burgers were fab, seriously one of the nicest I’d ever had so it is definitely worth a trip to Berlin just for one of those bad boys!

One of my friends from work went to Berlin a couple of years ago and she told me that we HAD to visit Fassbender & Rausch, a famous chocolate shop with a cafe just above. We ordered hot chocolates (mine chocolate orange flavoured and Ben’s mint chocolate) and honestly it was the nicest hot chocolate we have ever had and I’m quite gutted now because I don’t think anything over here will ever match up to the chocolately deliciousness!

On our last day, we went to a lovely restaurant recommended by Ben’s dad. We meant to pop in just for a coffee, but ended up ordering prosecco and dessert, key lime tart with blueberry ice cream. It was also so tasty and well presented and the atmosphere was lovely, so it was the perfect end to our trip.

Another thing on my must-do list was a walk along the East Side Gallery, a 1.3km stretch of the Berlin Wall that has been left to stand as a symbol of freedom. The wall has been painted over by famous artists and is so iconic. I loved seeing the different pieces, but Ben wasn’t so impressed because there was a lot of graffiti over the artwork which was a bit of a shame. The wall is also situated in the East Side of Berlin which was Soviet and you can really tell the difference between the East and the West.

We had such a lovely break in Berlin, and it was really nice to just get away from the stresses of work and experience a whole new city. We have both said that we would definitely go back, but we’d want to go with some friends so we could better take advantage of the nightlife scene and maybe hit some of the famous clubs! If you are looking for a spontaneous getaway, then I really recommend Berlin. 

Have you ever been to Berlin? Where are you next jetting off on holiday?