Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 RESOLUTIONS //


I often write a list of things in December that I want to achieve throughout the following year. By chance, I found the one I wrote in 2013 and thought I'd share with you what I managed to tick off the list!

- Travel to Australia
This is now on next year's list!

- Learn Spanish
- Again, next year hopefully...

- Go to Glastonbury
Had another amazing festival!

- See Katy Perry
Saw the concert in Manchester with my best mate, brilliant! Read more here.

- Move out
Moved into a flat with my best friend, now living by myself in a shared house.

- Move on
Got back together with the love of my life!

- Sort out portfolio
Not as much as I'd like to, I want to sort a digital portfolio this year though...

- Start blog
Et voila!

- Go blonde
Had another dip dye, it's getting blonder by the day!

- Visit Harriet
Tried and failed, bad timing!

- Go back to Scarborough
Not yet, attempting to go in 2015

- Drive more
Nope. Hate driving. Still.

- Get a new job
Done and done! Now officially a graphic designer!

- Read more books
I think I did well but I want to read even more next year!

- Go to the gym
I joined it earlier in the year...

- Cook/bake more
Not as much as I wanted to, laziness won out.

- Eat healthier
I had a veggie month in September (look here!) but I could do better.

- Go to more gigs in Leeds
Had the best gigs this year, check them out here.


As well as these, I've done so many awesome things including:

- helped my best friend move to Malta
- got a promotion
- went to my first blogger event (here)
- went on a family holiday
- started an aerial hoop class (here)
- saw the Christmas lights in London (here)



Hope you've all had a wonderful year!




Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 // BEST GIGS OF THE YEAR

This year has been an AMAZING year in music in my opinion.

I've seen some amazing tours, there's been the best newcomers in music for a long time and my old favourites have released top albums. I don't do enough music posts to say it's been such a huge part of 2014, so I might make that a blogging resolution for next year!

I've put together a few of the best moments of music for me in 2014.




Katy Perry Prismatic World Tour @ Manchester Phones 4 U arena

I have waited a very long time to see Katy Perry in action and it was the most spectacular show I've ever been to. She got a lot of bad rep for performing live on TV last year but in actuality, her voice was stunning. How a woman can sound so great whilst running up and down a treadmill between swinging cats and oversized emojicons I have no idea.

Definitely the most fun I've had at an arena concert since Steps circa 2001.


Arctic Monkeys - Finsbury Park

These are an old favourite and having seen them a couple of times before I knew I'd enjoy it. I love gigs that have support acts that you enjoy just as much as the headliner and Royal Blood and Miles Kane support was awesome.

The ONLY issue I had with this? No Mardy Bum. But as the #0114 girls representing Yorkshire, we serenaded the crowd whilst shuffling out of the park for a good twenty minutes after Alex left the stage.

source: NME

The Kooks - John Peel Stage @ Glastonbury

Whilst myself and my friends from Oxfam were working hard (sat recovering from the previous night's antics) at the entrance, it was released on Twitter that The Kooks were playing a secret gig. After our shift we downed a can of cider (thank you to the man who gave us the rest of his crate on his way out of the festival!) legged it to John Peel and had the BEST time.

They played the classics and the new stuff as we danced around our bag mountain. I can honestly say I've never had a better gig experience whilst being at the very back of a tent - plenty of boogie room.


Dolly Parton - Pyramid Stage @ Glastonbury

I cried.
Yes, I did have a box of wine previous to her performance which could have contributed to this BUT honestly, it was emotional all round. It was amazing to see such a legend of music sing all her originals and who knew she could play so many instruments?!

Highlights were 'Jolene' (thumbs up to the Theatre & Circus Glasto team who promoted the dance and the security guards who joined in) and 'Blue Smoke'. Totally bought her new album afterwards and I am not ashamed.


Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls - Unity Works, Wakefield

This was the first time I'd seen Frank Turner at his own gig rather than amidst a festival and it was bloody brilliant. I'm gonna be honest, I've not gone through his entire back catalogue and learnt every word like a lot of people around me had but I'm still a pretty big fan. Not necessarily just of his music but of his attitude to life and fame in general.

Also meeting the band afterwards was pretty cool. They're all down to earth guys and thanks to Tarrant for coming over and chatting and thanks to the random girl who thought we were dating. I was flattered.



Jamie T - Alexandra Palace, London

This was spectacular both because it was the biggest comeback of the year and the venue is just brilliant. He played all the crowd favourites and showed off the best of his new album 'Carry on The Grudge' and it was spot on. See my full gig review here.



What were your favourite gigs of 2014?

In 2015, I've already got a few gigs lined up I think are gonna be amazing including King Charles, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Hozier, as well as another wonderful week at Glastonbury! Hope you've enjoyed my round-up of this year, give me a shout if you have any gigs you think I'd love!



Thursday, 18 December 2014

#BLOGMAS #WHATEVER

I gave up on #blogmas.

December is just too busy! Fair play to everyone who has managed to stick it out, I've caught a few of your posts on Bloglovin and you lot never fail to get me in the festive spirit.

Here's my christmas jumper shot, to thank you all ;)

I've got a Christmas faves post coming up before next week too, it's full of pretty things!





Wednesday, 17 December 2014

FITNESS IN 2014 //

This post is a little bit different for me, it's actually about exercise.
I've included the main things that have helped me
get a little bit fitter and a little bit healthier
this year, so you can try it for yourself in 2015 (just in time for a New Year's resolution...)


Do something different

I'm not an avid gym goer and I don't do much in the way of daily exercise but I used to dance up until the age of 18/19. At the time, I enjoyed the classes but they often got in the way of something and I didn't do it enough to want to choose it as a career path, so I stopped.

I really missed having a hobby that I enjoy, particularly one that keeps me healthy while I'm at it, so a couple of months back I signed up to a 6-week 'Aerial Hoop' course.

I know, it's a little bit out there!


I didn't know what to expect at all but I have had SO much fun doing it. I feel like it's a hobby that I won't get bored of quickly and it's genuinely challenging, much more than your average Zumba or step aerobics class. It's a full body workout and since starting the course, I've been trying to work on my upper body strength, something that I have never had to focus on before!

It's been lovely meeting new people (although I'm jealous most of them can do the splits) and I'll certainly be signing up for another six weeks come January!


Google your nearest classes - you'll find everything from gymnastics to ballroom dancing to aerial hoop. It might be the best thing you'll do all year.

Walk

As well as starting a course, I've started the 10,000 step challenge. Basically, according to the NHS website (link here) we should should aim to walk 10,000 steps a day to keep fit and healthy. To do this, I needed a way of tracking how many steps I was taking.

I was kindly sent the Ozeri 4x3 Motion Pedometer to try from Amazon and it's so easy to use. I had it up and running (which I was also itching to be...) in a matter of minutes.


Clipping a pedometer to the front of your trousers so a weird bulge was visible to everyone above your crotch isn't really appealing. However, with this one,
you can carry it in your pocket, purse or bag.

It doesn't have to stay upright, it just has to be on your person and it will follow the movement wherever you go.

It's only £15.95 at the minute too, which is amazing value AND there's free delivery if you live in the UK. There's no excuse not to make that little bit more effort in exercising during your average day.

The first day I was using it I had a fair amount of Christmas shopping to do and I was going out for tea so I was really pleased to find I'd walked

9271 steps!

That's where the good news ended really, as the following days I didn't even hit half the target which made me realise just how LITTLE exercise I was really doing.

To improve my step count, I've been trying to make small changes as the NHS suggest. I try to walk further on my lunch break, even if it's an extra few minutes around the aisles in the supermarket! I walk to and from the train station and have been taking stairs instead of the lift.

The pedometer lets you keep track of the past 7 days, making it easy to reflect on how much you've exercised throughout the whole week and improving it in the future. I keep checking regularly and I can't wait to see the results.



What are your favourite ways to keep fit?




Saturday, 6 December 2014

#BLOGMAS // #6 FIRST CHRISTMAS CARD

Another random, #blogmas filler post, sorry.
*moving house update: still not moved in


I received my first Christmas card in the post this morning!

Not only that, it was my first Christmas card 'from a couple, to a couple'... I feel I'm still too young to be at that stage in my life. I'm all for people finding their life partner but at 22, surely we can hold off all these engagements, marriages, mortgages and babies for a couple more year, along with the 'couple' cards.

Nevertheless, it was a nice gesture from the best friend who is now living near Durham with her fella. Christmas is officially upon us and the Royal Mail.



Friday, 5 December 2014

#BLOGMAS // #5 BATTLE OF THE WORST XMAS TREE

This is probably the least interesting #blogmas post you will see from me this year, I apologise.


As me and the fella are from different bits of the country, we each have a different town Christmas tree and it has become apparent that some councils are significantly less enthusiastic about showcasing this than others...
Below are pictures of the Christmas tree outside Leeds Town Hall (left) and the main Christmas tree in the centre of Oakham (right).



The Leeds one looks as if someone has thrown a single string of lights as high as they can and left it there, covering less than a quarter of the tree itself.

In Oakham, they seemed to have picked out the droopiest looking one they could find and doused it in LED's (except the very top, they clearly couldn't reach) in the hope it would disguise it.

I reckon Leeds is the worst because really, how hard would it have been to at least cover a few more branches? It's a pretty good tree, for a tree, don't get me wrong, but the final result just looks half hearted. I feel at least they made a bit more effort in Oakham and bought a few more lights.

David doesn't agree and thinks that as this one is the ONLY Christmas tree in Oakham, it should be a damn sight better. Leeds have the city square one too therefore we shouldn't whinge too much, he says.

So let's settle it, which do you think is the poorest Christmas tree attempt?


Thursday, 4 December 2014

#BLOGMAS // #4 GIFTS FOR HER UNDER £20

So I find it much easier buying for boys, surprisingly, and I put together a GIFTS FOR HIM ideas post for you to check out! Boys seem to be much easier to please however, I've put together some of my favourite gifts to give best friends/girlfriends/aunties/mums too...


(clockwise from top left)

ASOS £15

These are so pretty! With a lot of high street rings being sized Small, Medium and Large, it's usually fairly easy to get the right one for somebody. Chunky rings you can layer and bulk up on are on trend at the minute so this set from ASOS is perfect.


Missguided £12.99

I spotted this over the weekend whilst the cyber deals were going craaay. It was only £5 and I now wish I'd gone with my gut and bought it when I had the chance! Alas, I didn't and well done to you if you grabbed it. Nevertheless, I think it's a nice gift for a fashion loving friend and not overly expensive.


The Perfume Shop £19.99

There are some amazing deals at The Perfume Shop this year and it's perfect for mums or aunties who struggle to find their old favourites. Fragrances like Tommy Girl, Ghost and Paul Smith are reeeally great value.


madebypepper @ Etsy £10.44

I actually bought this in April for my younger sister and she loves it. Etsy is ideal for personalised gifts with this necklace, you can choose the length, add your loved one's initial and pick from so many little figurines or items (they have cameras, pizza, mermaids... pretty much everything!). It's a pretty piece of jewellery and I'd definitely recommend.


Paperchase £10

Most girls love a bit of stationery, it's a fact. Paperchase have a huge range of lovely notebooks and journals and I love this floral pattern. It's versatile for any female you find yourself buying for, whether they're likely to use it in the office or at home. Also, perfect gift for a fellow blogger ;)


New Look £9.99

You can't go wrong with pyjamas. These are really cute, really cosy and they have pockets! For less than a tenner they make a great gift paired with a plain vest. I spotted these whilst in the world's longest queue in the Leeds store on Black Friday and I resisted the urge to buy some for myself!


Hope this might have helped!
What have you bought for the girls this year?

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

#BLOGMAS // #3 'NEXT' CHRISTMAS WISHLIST

There weren't actually ANY fashion items on my initial 'Christmas Wishlist' post so I've made up for that by picking out some of my absolute favourites from Next. Now that the Black Friday madness has subsided, it's a lot easier to find the pieces I like!


£65

This style of coat has been featured in every high street store, on every A/W catwalk and in every fashion magazine going. This is actually one of the most affordable ones I've seen and knowing Next, it's definitely gonna be amazing quality. It's perfect for this time of year and I've actually bought some burgundy boots which will look amazing with it. Please, Santa, please!


£38

It's not a secret I'm a huge fan of patterned trousers but I don't have many smart pairs. These would be perfect to put a bit of colour and professionalism into my workwear, as usually I'm sat at my mac with a pair of jeans and a tshirt...

£65

So I ventured, daringly, into the Lipsy range featured on the Next website. It was only this year I actually realised Lipsy is part of the Next franchise which is good news for everyone. I've never owned a Lipsy dress but I've been window shopping there for a very, very long time! I love Michelle Keegan's style, she's stunning but keeps it classy which is exactly how I'd describe this dress. It's the perfect Christmas party outfit.


£26

This is my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE item on the Next website! Do you love it as much as I do?!
It's so kitsch and I already know I'd be able to wear it with almost any outfit on a night out. Words can't describe how much I like this, I'm contemplating hinting about it to the fella but I can guarantee he won't understand the necessity.


£45-£75

It's so pretty and I'm a huge fan of a jacquard print. If it's good for a pair of trousers it's certainly good for bedding. If I remember rightly, the carpet in my new place is purple so this would add a bit of glamour and not clash.

£18

This was too cute not to include on my list. I used to collect moose plush toys when I was younger...no I don't know why, either. Regardless, I fell in love with this all the same and it's really Christmassy! It would look perfect in my new house.


What are your favourites?
Pick them out here and let me know!


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

#BLOGMAS // #2 GIFTS FOR HIM UNDER £20

To say my boyfriend isn't a materialistic sort of person, I don't really find it hard to get him good gifts at Christmas. So far, so good, anyway!

We usually buy each other a few small gifts because 1. I love wrapping and 2. I love opening more than one. Therefore I've found some inexpensive ideas for the fella if you're struggling this year.

(Obviously this isn't for everyone's boyf/best friend/brother but I think they're pretty nice gifts for the boys that I know!)


(clockwise from top left)


Kaleidoscope.co.uk £15

This reminds me of my best friend. He's well into stags, so much so he has one tattooed on him...
Bedding seems like an odd Christmas gift but think about it, who wouldn't love a cosy, fresh bed on Christmas night?!

ASOS £18

This is for all the guys similar to David out there. He likes to think he's a man of the world and a bit of a gent. It strikes me as the sort of thing to be worn by those who love a tweed jacket and brogues and let's face it, it's also pretty practical. I love the colour and it's really different, I haven't seen one similar to this anywhere on the high street as of yet.

Zippo £19.96

If you're buying for someone who smokes, a lighter is always a winner. I never liked the idea of encouraging my boyfriend by buying him accessories to help him smoke but for the older guy or someone set in their ways, it can actually be a really personalised gift. Zippo have tons of designs to choose from and you can get it engraved too!

Open £10

Open is a shop that I've only just discovered and there are some great clothing and accessory gifts for any guy. This wallet is pretty cool and super good value. I always find a wallet a spot on gift to fall back on if you're stuck for ideas, practical and they're reminded of you every day ;)

ASOS £15 (sale)

Striped t-shirts can be worn by any guy, at any time, in any place. I think they never go out of style, they're great for layering and they're fashionable even if the person you're buying for isn't at all interested in the latest trends. This one in particular is a gorgeous material and now it's on sale, a great price.

Memeskins @ Etsy £2.40

We don't do nice cards. This is the favourite I've seen so far that isn't too harsh, I can't be completely vulgar if this card has to be seen by his parents, grandparents, younger cousins etc. etc.
There are options for every relative by Memeskins on Etsy, as well as various occasions.








Monday, 1 December 2014

#BLOGMAS // #1 CHRISTMAS WISHLIST

December is finally here! I feel like it's been the Christmas season for a month already, everyone seems to have found their festive cheer wayyy too early. But now, I feel we're officially allowed to get a bit excited and what better way to show spirit than #blogmas ?!

I'm equally excited and a little bit daunted by the prospect of blogging every day up until Christmas but it's a challenge I'm going to do my damned hardest to achieve!

First up...

My Christmas Wishlist.

This is what I'd like Santa to bring me in an ideal world.
Failing that, I've asked my mum for a couple of these things because having all of them would be ridiculously greedy.

(clockwise from top left)

Argos £29.99
I drink a hell of a lot of tea. A lot of people say this, but really, I do. So seeing as I'm moving into a new place soon I figured now is as good a time as any to invest (or for Santa to invest) in a fine teapot. This one is gorgeous, simple and who doesn't love Mary Bez?
It's also got a little feather inside the handle, so much cute.

Yankee Candle (Toasted Marshmallow)
No idea, probably about £14

Now I cannot find where to buy this to save my life. It was featured on over at Raspberry Kiss and it was bought from ASDA, but so far, I've had no luck in finding it. Regardless, the name alone sounds amazing and I am intrigued. If there was ever a Christmas themed candle to try, it would be this.

Amazon £141.95

This caught my eye on Black Friday when Amazon reduced it to £89! What a bargain. However, as I didn't have that sort of money to spend on hair styling products I gave it a miss. Shock horror, I've NEVER owned GHD straighteners. And I feel like I never understood what I was missing. This tempted me slightly, although I might have been more excited about the pretty colour they come in...

ASOS £23

These. Are. So. Cute.
They're all so nice, I can't even make my mind up which colour I would ask for if I was to add it to my actual list. I love the case, I love Anna Sui, I love the entire range. I have never spent £23 on a lipstick and I probably never would, which is why it's on this list. 

Amazon £5

Me and David absolutely LOVE this and for the last few months every time we decide to watch, we have to watch something else because neither of us can find the original DVD. I'm pretty much admitting defeat and accepting that it's been lost for good, so I'd love a replacement!

Boots, £39.99

I went to Boots earlier this week because I'm in dire need of a new perfume and on a 'spray as many paper sticks as you can' mission. I'm the sort that sticks to the same bottle of perfume (Diesel Loverdose for the past 3 years...) and just replaces it when it's finished. Absolutely fell in love with the Boss Ma Vie so I've asked my mum for this too. And it doesn't hurt that the bottle is lovely.


What's on your ideal Christmas list this year?





DECEMBER RESOLUTIONS //

I failed at only one of my resolutions last month and that was the tattoo. This is currently on standby until I have a casual £50 to spend, so bear with me!

Here are my small, (hopefully) achievable resolutions for December...



Start afresh

So I'm moving out and I'm hoping this brings a new chapter along with it. I've been in this lovely flat for 9 months and I feel like it's the right time to commit to living by myself (well, sort of by myself, in a house with 10 strangers...)

I'm so excited to meet a few new people and I'm hoping it will give me more time to concentrate on work and saving for bigger and better things next year. I have enjoyed living with my best friend though and I'm glad we had the opportunity, even if it were short but sweet!


Clear out my wardrobe

No, seriously this time. With moving and all, I need to get rid of AT LEAST a quarter of my clothes. I find it so hard to chuck things away, my usual excuse being 'it might be good for a fancy dress party!' Me and my friends are going to have a clothes swap night to try and declutter. I've always wanted to do it and now I have a ridiculous amount of unwanted garments, now's as good a time as any!


See in the New Year with David

This will be the third New Year's we've had as a couple and this, hopefully, will be the first one we will actually spend together! We are terribly argumentative when drunk so I don't expect us to be kissing from 2014 through to 2015, but at least we'll be in the same vicinity. That's a step in the right direction, right?





All images sourced on Pinterest, except the last one. That's me.



Wednesday, 26 November 2014

GIG REVIEW // JAMIE T @ ALLY PALLY


Jamie T at Alexandra Palace - 14/11/2014

This year has been chock full of amazing gigs but we've been waiting a while for this one in particular. Jamie T at Alexandra Palace held a lot of excitement because:

1. His new album is fantastic
2. None of us had ever been to Ally Pally before
and 3. It was an excuse for a festive London trip with some of my music loving mates!

As we were travelling from Watford Junction, we took a number of tubes to end up in Wood Green. From there, we jumped on board the Ally Pally coach (just on the opposite side of the road to the station) and surprisingly, it was only a quid for the journey!

We arrived, skipped the uber-fan queue to go straight to the bar - obviously. In the Bar & Kitchen it was pretty reasonably priced to say we were in London and at a venue in the middle of nowhere. We all ordered food (halloumi kebabs for me, absolute winner) and had a few drinks before the chaos began.

Inside, the Palace had set up food stalls galore and it was such a festival feel we got into the gig spirit pretty quickly, if the copious amounts of cider hadn't already. The place is stunning and holds up to 10,400 people, and of course, Jamie T had well and truly sold out.



Opening with Limit Lies and Don't You Find, he introduced his album to the fans live, in the biggest headline gig of his career.

It was lairy, to put it simply. It's been a while since I've been in a 'crowd-crushing' and 'struggling to find air instead of other people's sweaty fumes' sort of situation, but by the end, I felt right at home. 

There were moshpits galore but not in a 'Bring Me The Horizon; Oli Sykes is a dickhead' sort of way. The crowd was mainly male and there was a clear Jamie T inspired sense of style - laddish.
Every one of the parka coat/umbro jacket squad however, provided a great atmosphere and quite frankly, it was one of the best crowds I've ever been a part of.

Jamie had not played the same setlist throughout the entire tour which made us a little bit nervous he might miss out a few old favourites (e.g. he didn't play Sheila in Bristol - soz you missed out guys!)
However he went on and played all the ones I personally love, Turn On The Light, 368 and If You Got the Money. 

He finished with what I'd say was the best encore I've ever experienced, with his most famous three singles - Sheila, Zombie and Sticks 'n' Stones.

A radio DJ earlier in the week asked 'Is Jamie T the biggest comeback of the year?'
My answer is yes, he most definitely is.




Monday, 24 November 2014

50 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME // TAG


Thanks to the wonderful Lauren over at byLaurenJane who nominated me for this tag, here goes...

'50 Random Facts About Me'

1. Half my front tooth is fake, I chipped it when I was 11
2. I hate mushrooms
3. I don't have a favourite colour
4. I have ombre hair
5. Lucy Watson is my personality icon
6. I would kill for Lily Collins eyebrows
7. I've lived with my best friend for the last year but I'm moving out soon
8. I once had scarlet fever
9. I have a degree in Design for Digital Media
10. People who mumble are a pet hate of mine
11. I have a short temper
12. I loved my first year at uni
13. I hated my third year at uni
14. I have a dog called Oscar
15. Nokia phones are my favourite
16. My fave TV programmes atm are Made in Chelsea, The Apprentice and ANTM
17. I worked at a shoe shop for SIX years
18. I'd love to dye my hair lilac but I'm too lazy to keep it up
19. I drink about 8 cups of tea a day
20. Most of the time, I'm thinking about food
21. I wanted to be a ballerina when I was younger
22. I'm a bit of a grammar nazi
23. My Starbucks drink of choice is either a caramel latte or chocolate cream frappuccino
24. Twitter is my fave social media site
25. My boyfriend lives exactly 100 miles away
26. The plan is to travel Australia for a month next year
27. I work in graphic design
28. I am a godmother
29. My favourite month of the year is May (not only because it's my birthday...)
30. One of my best friends currently lives in Malta and I'm so jealous
31. My favourite shop is Ark
32. I love my leather jacket more than some of my friends
33. I'm not specifically religious but I believe in the idea of faith as part of a positive life
34. I am much happier now than I was one year ago
35. I have two tattoos
36. In Year Six I won a 'Spelling Champion' award at school (to this day, it's one of my greatest achievements!)
37. I'm currently doing an aerial hoop course to get fit
38. My wardrobe is full of crop tops and patterned trousers
39. In my opinion, Steps > S Club 7
40. My favourite makeup brand is Boots No7
41. Glastonbury festival has stolen my heart
42. I love reading
43. I cry at horror films, I'm such a wuss
44. My family is so huge, I've lost count of how many cousins I have
45. I want twins in the future
46. My dream holiday is Bali
47. I built my first piece of flat pack furniture this year
48. Someone once told me I had 'rain-coloured' eyes, which is rather nice (they're weirdly grey)
49. I still make a wish at 11.11 and 22.22
50. 2014 has been my favourite year so far

It's actually more difficult than I thought to think of that many facts about yourself!

Look out for my nominations on Twitter...

Sunday, 23 November 2014

BOOK REVIEW // ENDGAME

Endgame
by James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton


'Twelve ancient cultures were chosen millennia ago to represent humanity in Endgame, a global game that will decide the fate of humankind. Endgame has always been a possibility, but never a reality…until now. Twelve meteorites have just struck Earth, each meteorite containing a message for a Player who has been trained for this moment. At stake for the Players: saving their bloodline, as well as the fate of the world. And only one can win.

Endgame is real. Endgame is now.'



After reading the blurb I knew I wanted to read 'Endgame' and was kindly sent a copy before release. The whole dystopian genre has come under a huge spotlight since 'The Hunger Games' and this sounded very similar to others I've read such as 'The Maze Runner' (review here).

I wasn't sold on the story at first - it seemed like another book in which kids kill each other to survive blah blah. It did get me hooked when I was half way through the book however. Unlike 'The Hunger Games', there's more focus on all of the 12 players rather than a sole protagonist. I wanted to know what happened to my favourite characters by the end because you find out an equal amount of each (dependant on how long they're alive for, obviously).

The characters and detail into their lives before and during playing Endgame was the best point for me, it means you really get to grips with them as people and I find it's more enjoyable when you care about what happens to each one.

One of the most irritating things about the book is An Liu, a player with a stammer. Each of his chapters have an extraordinary amount of *blinkblinkblink-ing* in them which after introducing him as a character with this issue and a first *blink* they should have just given the audience the credit to remember that he would be disadvantaged because of this.

It was pretty action packed but not my cup of tea, I didn't find it exciting enough.

However, the interesting thing about this book is how it is also an interactive REAL LIFE game involving puzzles, YouTube videos, e-books and more. Basically, there's a $500,000 prize if a reader can figure out the clues, reflecting a similar plot to that of the actual story (without murder and death I hope) and unlock the gold in Las Vegas. It's all pretty exciting BUT this isn't portrayed enough at all. I received the book, read the book, saw the puzzles and yet still had to Google for about half an hour to find out if this was actually a real thing. Apparently it is, see the live stream here.

What did you think of Endgame, or would you want to read it?

If so, it's available here - Endgame on Amazon




Friday, 21 November 2014

'TIS THE SEASON IN LONDON //



'Tis the Season to be jolly...

...in London, apparently!

I visited London last weekend for a gig (review to come later...) followed by Christmas window shopping, sightseeing and a wild night out in Watford! It was such a lovely experience, not only because I had a great time with a good bunch of people but because visiting London at this time of year is guaranteed to make even Scrooge himself feel a bit of festive spirit.

It was absolutely beautiful, which of course my amateur Nokia phone photo skills won't portray, but I went a bit snap happy regardless and I hope you enjoy reading about my time in the capital.

We started our 'Day of Fun and Christmas' at Harrods. Obviously. Where else?!
After flitting quickly through the jewellery department and trying to find an escalator, we eventually followed the jolly Christmas music and ended up in the Christmas at Home section - and it didn't disappoint. 


Look at all the beautiful tree ornaments!

As a designer (sometimes environmental) I was captured by the clever advent calendar style wall displays Harrods used in each area. They all had specific themes and accompanying themed trees!
Delicate, elegant, floral and pretty pretty pretty theme.
Much more up my street - quirky, wood and bright colours!

It would be a crime not to visit the food hall in here, so after deciding a £9 hot chocolate was a bit out of our price range at the chocolate cafe (it looked heavenly, though!) we headed straight for the cakes. The Christmas theme didn't just stop at homeware...

See what I chose on Instagram...
BAUBLE CUPCAKES!

After this, we headed through London with digital and polaroid cameras to hand for the full tourist experience. Our friend Kim kindly gave us the ultimate, unique guide to London as she walked us through various scenes from different TV shows she watches...

From Millenium Bridge, where the Cybermen walked across in the last episode of Dr Who, apparently.

From there we went to the Tower Bridge to see the amazing poppy displays that were placed for Remembrance Sunday a few weeks ago. The volunteers were steadily taking them all down but the majority of the display was still there and it was spectacular. All 888,246 poppies (one for every fatality in WW1) have been sold to raise money for six charities relating to the Armed Forces and Servicemen.