A Classical Christmas Playlist

Everyone loves a good Christmas song. It's probably one of the best ways to get into the Christmas spirit. I love the classics like Last Christmas and Stay Another Day, but I really love the classic classics. Leading up to Christmas my family plays music of all kinds, but when we have Christmas dinner we often put classical Christmas songs on. Here are some of my favourites...

Christmas wrapping, featuring Paperchase

With all of my Christmas shopping finished and all of my presents wrapped, I thought I'd publish a quick post about wrapping paper. Because I actually prefer giving than receiving gifts. It's the best time of year; you can go into Paperchase and go mad!

How to deal with anxiety at work

So I've been a little quiet on the blog front recently. My contract was coming to an end at work, so I was on the job hunt. I've thankfully managed to find a new job and it's one that's similar and a lot closer so I can walk to work (although it's a bit of a hike) which is ideal for me really. I've just finished my second week.

Obviously a new job just creates new challenges for my anxiety, so I've put a little post together looking at what I've been finding most useful...

Why I don't like sex scenes in books

I don't like reading graphic sex scenes in books. Call me a prude, call me childish, but I don't. I feel like there are possible exceptions to the rule, but as a whole I don't care for it. Let's be clear here - I'm not talking gooey love scenes where a couple disappear into a bedroom and kiss passionately before the author cuts the chapter off and the rest is left to your imagination - I'm talking gratuitous sex scenes with lots of details. If I wanted graphic sex, I'd watch porn. Or buy a book for the romance section of Waterstones. If I was looking for sex in a book I wouldn't have this problem, but I kind of hate it when you're getting really into a book and there's a surprise sex scene that makes you blush like a beetroot. Here's why...

November Favourites

Another month down! Not long left of 2016, and I think you'll agree when I say that I'll kind of be glad to see the back of it! Yes there has been a lot of great things, but also a lot of crap. On a lighter note, here are my monthly favourites!

Why you should apply for The Juice Academy graduate programme

Back at the beginning of November I celebrated my one year work anniversary. Even though I'm due to move onto a new job in the next few weeks, I really value my time at Pharmacist Support. I've learned so much, and I wouldn't be here without The Juice Academy.

Next Tuesday is The Juice Academy's second graduate boot camp and there's still time to apply (applications close on the 28th November). If you already have, here's what to expect...

Bookshelf Tour

I own way too many books. I'm kind of counting down the days until I move out of my parents' house simply because then I can be brutally honest with myself and donate some of the books that I no longer read. I have an enormous bookshelf that's almost floor to ceiling, then piles of old university course books under my bedside table. I thought I'd do a little bookshelf tour, with the hope that I can do another once I move out and slim my library down!

Adventures of an Agoraphobic: London (including the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden, the Royal Albert Hall and a Lush Haul)

With jet-setting across the globe out of the question due to budget constraints, Kris and I opted for a staycation (although it was still pretty costly). We've both been to London a load of times, but last weekend was purely a nerd-fest. Wizards and dinosaurs were on the agenda!

How to have the perfect night in! (+ a homeware wish list)

I think I'll always be the type of girl who prefers staying in over going out. Especially now that *puts on Sean Bean voice* winter is coming, I find myself more and more drawn to my bed. I pretty much get in from work, have my tea and then get straight under the covers. Sometimes I'll just mooch on my laptop and watch a bit of telly, but every so often I'll do some proper self care and have a cosy night in the nest that is my bed.

So in this post you'll find everything you need for the perfect night in!

October Favourites

The clocks have gone back, the nights are darker, and we're officially hitting Autumn. Here are my October favourites!

An Hourglass Dupe? Makeup Revolution Beyond Radiance Review (+ swatches)

I always see people post photos of Hourglass powders and they just look so beautiful, but way out of my price range. I think if I spent that much on a powder/blush I'd feel guilty forever. I love a good dupe, so popped over to the Makeup Revolution counter in Superdrug!

Toni and Guy Fluid Metal Styler Unboxing and Review

I impulsively bought the Toni and Guy Fluid Metal Styler hair straighteners because they were on an Amazon Prime Deal for £24.99. With an RRP £90, it was hard to resist! These were limited edition last Christmas, but are still available online on their website and in Boots.

B. Makeup Brush Cleansing Wipes

I picked up the B. Makeup Brush Cleansing Wipes randomly in Superdrug ages ago - I hadn't seen them before and sort of impulsively threw them in my basket. I am lazy AF when it comes to washing makeup brushes (as I'm sure many of you are) so thought this would be a good alternative to taking my whole brush collection into the bathroom to wash them.

Reading Round Up 2016 - Part 2

It's time for another reading round up! Partially thanks to Audible, I've really upped my reading this year. I extended my Goodreads target to 35 books and have beaten it already! And yet it doesn't feel like I'm reading enough. I've read a lot of shorter books this year, partially due to the fact that I've read a lot of kids books. High brow literature, no, but definitely a lot of fun!
You can catch up with what else I've read so far in 2016 here, and 2015 here and here, if you fancy a nosy. 

Desert Island Beauty: Five Products I Can't Live Without

I like to chop and change with my beauty products. With makeup such as foundation, mascara and primer I try a different one each time and rarely stay with the same one. But with other products, I'm a creature of habit. I will buy them again and again until they get discontinued, which is when I get in a massive sulk and complain at any available opportunity (still not over Soap & Glory's lipstick redesign and No7 discontinuing their auburn eyebrow pencil).

If I was told I was only allowed to use five beauty products, I'd probably prioritise things like deodorant and mascara. However, this post is five products I refuse to give up. Deodorants and mascaras may come and go, but these products are forever...

September Favourites

You know you can always rely on a monthly favourites post!

Blogging Goals and Blogging Self-Doubt

I've been blogging for a while now, I celebrated by first 'bloggerversary' earlier this year and I feel like I've gone from strength to strength. Slowly but surely, my blog is growing. I've found the last month or so to be quite tricky, but I'm pushing myself to keep going and power through. I feel plagued with self-doubt, which doesn't exactly make content creation easy.

So I've set myself a couple of goals...

Urban Decay Vice Hitch Hike and Manic (+ swatches)

Urban Decay's Hitch Hike has been my lipstick obsession for the past few months. It has featured in monthly favourites and shop my stash posts. I write about beauty a lot on this blog, and at least half of that is lipstick posts. And I know what I like...

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started University

In a week or two, my little sister will be starting university. She is the last of my siblings to go - one of my brothers graduated this year and the other is about to start his second year. I graduated in 2014, with a 2.1 in English Literature from Aberystwyth University. I loved it there, and as a whole I loved the experience. But regrets, I have a few.

So here are 5 things I wish someone had told me before I started University...

Kat Von D: London Calling Unboxing and Review (+ swatches)

It's rare that I'll purchase something within minutes of finding it. I like to do my research and look at swatches before I get my purse out. However, when I saw Kat Von D London Calling on the Debenhams website, I knew I needed to try it. It's the perfect introduction to her line, and I can't wait for more of her products! 

August Favourites

Monthly favourites time! The nights are already getting darker, which means no more summer, but I'm already excited for the colder weather...

Adventures of an Agoraphobic: liveblogging from a train

Usually when I write an Adventures of an Agoraphobic post, it’s about travel. This one is still travel themed, but is also a little bit different.

Many people have different ways to cope with their mental health. My Mum was telling me about two people with anxiety that she works with – one of them avoids calling people on the phone at all costs, and the other copes by planning his day down to a tee so he always knows what he’s got to expect. I don’t know what my coping mechanisms are. Probably going everywhere with someone I can trust, or staying in close contact over the phone. Today is different. Today I’m doing a long distance train journey on my own for the first time in two years. No-one to sit with me and no-one to talk to on the phone (well, depending on how good my signal is).

I am an awful daughter, and don’t visit my Dad as much as I should. Not because I don’t want to, but because I’m scared of the journey. I’ve done it a thousand times on my own, but since I started to have problems with my mental health, it’s been near impossible. I’d always wait until Kris could come along with me too. But Kris is at Reading Festival this weekend, so here I am on the train by myself. I’m trying a new coping mechanism – live blogging my journey. So here you go – adventures of an agoraphobic, on a train from Manchester to Durham on Friday the 26th August 2016…

Red Lipstick Alternatives (+ swatches)

I am guilty of being unimaginative with my makeup. For a night out (not that I really go out these days) my attitude is "if in doubt, red lipstick". Daytime nude, nighttime red. 
However, I was looking through my stash recently and realised I have so many other colours that don't get enough love. 

So, in this post you'll find four lipsticks that aren't too out there, but a nice change from pillar box!

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I've been putting this post off for weeks - I've been finding it so hard to get my feelings down on paper. My brain is just a jumbled mess of feelings! But here it is, my thoughts on the Cursed Child!

The release of this book has just been such a surreal experience for me. In all honesty, I don't think I was that excited about it until a few days before 31st July. When they announced the play, I didn't try and get preview tickets - I don't live near London and at the time I was totally skint! When they announced the script I was relieved - who needs to go all the way down to London when I can just read the book? I used to pre-order Harry Potter books as soon as I was able to, but with Cursed Child I happened to be in Waterstones buying something for my Dad and and thought "why not?". That was in June, so in my opinion, I left it quite late! 

It was only when it reached late July that I started to get excited. I think it was seeing other people get excited that helped - it felt like I was back in the early 00s. Almost ten years we went without a Harry Potter book, and yet the whole buzz surrounding it hasn't changed. After reading this my boyfriend and I actually queued up on 4 devices to book tickets to see the play - November 2017 here we come!

However for me, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child felt familiar whilst being a completely new experience. Enemies of the heir, beware (of spoilers)...

Real Techniques Ultimate Base Set Unboxing and Review

On Wednesdays I always go on the Superdrug website to check out their Star Buys. Last week I was lucky enough to snag the Real Techniques Ultimate Base Set for just £13.99! I needed a new sponge and this felt like a perfect deal - you can never have too many buffing brushes!

Aging Pop Culture: Does popular culture have a sell-by date?

Recently I feel like I've travelled back in a time machine. The Harry Potter craze has taken hold (did it ever really go away?), Pokemon is popular again, and I've been reading The Princess Diaries books. Looking at clothes in shops currently, I could quite easily put together an outfit that my mum would have worn when I was a kid. This whole 90/00s feel has been around for a while - I remember a few years ago actually debating whether to buy a pair of jelly shoes (I thankfully didn't waste my money).

Popular culture seems to be so fond of nostalgia. Already the "millennial" generation (urgh, still kind of hate that phrase) seems to spend a lot of time looking back at memories from their past, in a way that makes us seem like old grandparents in their armchairs talking about the Blitz. But I wonder, does pop culture have a sell by date? At what point does it stop being trendy and start becoming dated?

Adventures of an Agoraphobic: Hay-on-Wye

It's been a while since I've done a travel post! This is a long one, so I apologise for the ramble!

Am reusing this old photo, because I realised I hadn't taken any outdoor shots! Fail.

July Favourites

Another month down! I usually take my blog photos with my phone, but seeing as it's featured in this month's favourites, I had to use my camera. You can really tell the difference, and my camera isn't that bad! Anyhoo, on with my top picks for July 2016!

My TBR List

Like many a bibliophile, I love finding new books. I just don't seem to get around to reading them all! I bring them home and they just sit on my shelf. They will get read eventually, but this post is me shaming myself into doing so more promptly!

So, here is a small selection of books on my TBR list...

House of Fraser Haul: Urban Decay Vice Lipstick and MAC Eyeshadows (+ swatches)

The other week I accidentally went to House of Fraser and accidentally bought one of the new Urban Decay Vice lipsticks. Then I slipped and fell into the MAC counter and picked up two new eyeshadows. Oops.

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

I mentioned in my June Favourites that I planned to review this book, so here it is! I really thought this would be a negative review where I ripped into both the first and second book of the series, but now I'm not sure where I stand. Just like A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury starts slow and builds up. Halfway through I was thinking "I suppose it's okay" but then was blown away by the ending. 

Beware, because the night is dark and full of spoilers...

Falling out of love with L'oréal Infallible Matte Foundation?

I'm on my second tube of this foundation, and a year ago I included it in my July Favourites. It's long lasting not only on your face but also in the tube (it can feel close to empty, but then just keeps going and going with product). However, I'm not quite sure if I love this foundation any more...

So you want to read a classic?

I love books. I love them in any shape or form. I love most genres and love to hoard copies of all of my favourites. I'm not looking forward to the day I move out of my parents' house, because it'll involve shifting a lot of books...

As an English Literature graduate, I think classic literature will always have a special place in my heart (even though some of them were quite difficult to drag myself through). So I'm sharing my tips for getting into classical literature!

June Favourites

Check out what I've been loving this month!

Blogger Beauty Box May 2016

So I back in May I reviewed my first Blogger Beauty Box. I was really pleased with the contents, but wasn't sure about ordering another one. However, when Vix Meldrew put a tweet out saying she had one left, I thought "why not?"

So here's the contents of the May Blogger Beauty Box...

New Beauty Buys

"But you don't need any more make up..."

I always tell myself that I don't need to buy any more make up until I've used up the things that I have, but always end up with more! Sorry not sorry. Here are a few purchases from the last couple of months...

2016 Playlist

Back in my November Favourites, I mentioned that I've started using Spotify Premium. I didn't really use it that much until I switched from the iPhone 5c to the Samsung Galaxy S7 last month. Now I have loads more storage for saving my favourite tracks.

I've always been guilty of listening to the same music over and over, and not trying anything new because that would involve buying new music or stealing people's CDs to burn. In the past month I've really got into using Spotify, and out of my old lady funk. So, here's a list of tracks that I've been loving lately!

(Disclaimer: none of these tracks are really new releases, but most of them are new to me!)

Feeling Blue...

I don't know what it is, but I'm really drawn to blue nail polish. I currently have six, and I'm always wanting more. I feel like I've been wearing nail polish less and less recently, but I'll forever be attached to blue...

Products That I'll Always Repurchase

I love trying new products, but I'm also a creature of habit. I find a product I like, and I stick with it. I think even if I had all the money in the world to spend on makeup, I'd still end up shopping in Boots or Superdrug...

May Favourites

Another month down! This month was my birthday month, and I really had a lovely time. It's not been very beauty-heavy recently, so my favourites are a different from the usual...

Blogger Beauty Box April 2016

After trying out my first ever beauty box earlier in the year, I thought I'd test another one - this time the Blogger Beauty Box by Vix Meldrew. At only £10 including p+p, I couldn't resist, and found some lovely products inside:

Reading Round Up 2016 - Part 1

After my Reading Round Up posts in 2015 (here and here), I thought I'd carry on into 2016. I feel like I'm reading a lot faster this year, probably due to the fact that I've been listening to Audible books a lot. I'm well on my way to my Goodreads goal of 25 books, maybe I'll beat it!

Anxiety and Video Games

The other week I was getting ready for bed whilst Kris played Far Cry 4. I ended up watching him play for a bit. But when we tried to go to sleep, I started to get anxious that I was going to have nightmares about Far Cry - more specifically its trippy hallucinogenic sequences and the prison camp mission. Then I started to think about it more and realised that my anxiety affects my relationship with video games.

Spring Wedding Looks featuring T.M. Lewin and ASOS

Back in February, my Dad announced his engagement. The wedding isn't until October, but I've still been thinking about what I'm going to wear. I think Kris has noticed, because he's been looking a little bit too. I've picked my two favourite spring wedding looks to share with you!

Superdrug Haul!

a.k.a I got way too spendy in Superdrug...

They had new releases, they had 3 for 2, and they had 20% off makeup brushes. How could I resist!?

Paperchase Project Craft

On Thursday I went to my first ever blogger event at Paperchase Manchester. I was worried I'd feel super awkward, but in the end it went really well! It came after doing the final presentation for my grad scheme a few hours before, so it was a bit of a 'treat yo self' hour after work. We got to try out a bit of scrapbooking; a taster session for their new Project Craft workshops.

April Favourites

2016 is going so fast compared to 2015! I feel like I've barely got a favourites post out before I have to start brainstorming for another one...

Birthday Wishlist!

It's my birthday in less than three weeks and I've barely even thought about it. To me, it still feels a million miles away. However, I have been keeping an eye out for possible presents for myself; things that I would like, but wouldn't really buy myself normally.

So, if any of my loved ones are reading this, and are stuck for present ideas, here are a few suggestions...

Fanfiction: cool, or still uncool?

I have a confession: I used to read a lot of fanfiction. I used to write a lot of fanfiction.
It's sort of a secret shame that I don't talk about to people, even though I was still actively part of the community right up until the end of my first year of university. By then I wasn't reading new stories, but I definitely had a commitment to finishing my own. My most popular work was a 89,000 word Harry Potter story. To date it has had over 186,000 page views and 382 reviews. That's a pretty big achievement. But why do I hide all association from it?

Sales Spree: Spectrum Brushes

I'm constantly seeing people mention Spectrum Brushes in their blog posts, but had never tried any myself. I have been lusting over their brush sets for ages, but never felt like I needed any. Then I spotted that they had a few individual brushes on sale, so thought I'd give them a try!