Monday, 27 July 2015

THE ACCIDENT SEASON // BOOK REVIEW

The Accident Season
by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

I want to start this review with the blurb, which is the very first thing I heard about this book and the very reason I wanted to read it in the first place.

 'It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember: a month of mysterious injuries and tragedies, which casts a constant shadow over Cara and her family.

This year, the accident season will break more than just bones. Because Cara is starting to ask questions - and all her family's secrets will rise to the surface.

Intoxicating, devastating, dark and intense - the accident season is here.'

So if that isn't enough to intrigue you, I don't know what will be. I am not a fan of horror films or thrillers because I am prone to jumping out of my skin. Books however don't rely on gimmicks to involve the reader - just pure enigma.

'The Accident Season' is actually targeted below my age range so it is an easy read which is exactly what I want at the minute! Don't disregard this if you are not a young adult however, the story definitely kept me hooked.

We're introduced to Cara and the majority of the book is told from her point of view. She seems to be the epitome of a teenager struggling to come to terms with certain aspects of her life and I guess in this way, we see a coming of age story. From her relationships between her family, her brother and her best friend we're met with a lot more than meets the eye.

The story is a very slow burner, which kept me guessing up until the end. There's moments of fantasy worlds of ghosts and ghouls followed by the cold, hard reality and I loved that juxtaposition. The characters are really varied which makes at least one of them a little relatable (except maybe Bea, I am most definitely not a Bea!).

There are lots of layers to this story which is one of the reasons I can claim it as fantastic. Other than the mysterious accident season, the underlying narratives become apparent and those I actually find more compelling. Also, any good story needs a great ending and this one certainly didn't disappoint.

Definitely give this a read if the blurb sounds like your cup of tea - it was certainly mine.
Check out the trailer here and buy your copy on Amazon.

Have you read 'The Accident season' yet?



This book was sent to me for review. All opinions are not influenced and my own as I only read the books I like the sound of and this was bloody marvellous.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

WHY IT'S OKAY NOT TO BE A 'COOL GIRL' //

I am not a 'cool girl' but like most others, at times I've thought I wanted to be one.

If you are a teen to twenty-something, you probably already know the type of person I mean. The 'tumblr-worthy, perfectly tanned, tall, slender, beautifully manicured, suits-all-sunglasses, a minimum of 10,000 instagram likes on every picture, pinterest bedroom owner, doesn't seem to have a job but has lots of money' sort of person.

It might be fantastic to be this person but let's be honest, it's a very niche group of people.
Therefore here's a few things the 'cool girl' label entails on social media and why we shouldn't strive to meet it.

Living in lace lingerie.

Nobody I know in real life swans around the house all day in underwear and a man's shirt, with their boyfriend at hand to take an arty snapshot and add a grainy filter. Nobody.

Lacy lingerie is a luxury because:

1. It's more expensive than knickers with ten times the amount of material and
2. It's not likely you wear it for lounging around in your house watching Netflix.

By all means treat yourselves to a sexy number now and again or give your other half an eyeful, but your bedroom won't transform into a New York loft style apartment with a bay window for you to pose in for a Tumblr picture, if you do.


Instagram themes.

This one absolutely baffles me. Your Instagram does not need a theme.

What is the point of Instagram if you are restricting yourself with a certain colour palette, product range or filter? It gets boring.

Now this isn't to say I don't appreciate the aesthetic of some well thought out Instagram feeds - take Helen from The LoveCats Inc for example, it's just SO pretty. Just don't go overboard. I've seen tweets complaining about how difficult they find it to have an attractive Instagram feed but honestly, if it's stopping you from snapping whatever takes your fancy then just don't do it.


Travelling is expensive.

A lot of bloggers suffer from wanderlust due to the constant exposure of pretty photographs from travel posts. It's really easy to catch the travel bug and as much as I long to live the lifestyle of Brooke from World of Wanderlust, for most of us it just isn't possible.

I don't mean you can't travel the world if you want to. You absolutely can just uproot and go because as Brooke suggests, there are ways and means of travelling on a budget. However for the majority of us, you can't opt to travel the world whilst still keeping hold of your full time career you love and that mortgage on your house you've worked for.


Owning every product from a beauty brand.

I am a big fan of some beauty brands but I have never, ever wanted to own their entire range. I'm not an eyeshadow sort of girl, so shoot me. It doesn't look cool if you own everything Charlotte Tilbury has ever produced if you're are buying it for the sake of a name rather than enjoying the product.

And if you add up the entire value of the Mac counter in your bedroom, I'm just saying you could have probably just bought shares in the company, instead.



You're either going to relate to this or think I'm just bitter about being an uncool girl.
Let me know your thoughts either way!

leanne

x


image: source

Sunday, 19 July 2015

THE CITY GIRLS BLOGGER EVENT // THE LIQUORIST, LEEDS


The City Girls UK was set up by two wonderful bloggers, Lorna from Life by LDE and Holly from Tea and Blush. These girls clearly have an aptitude for organisation, kindness and having the gift of the gab.

After their very first event in Sheffield a few months ago, I was thrilled to bag an invite to their second that happened to be on my doorstep in Leeds. I'd not been to The Liquorist previously but it was the perfect setting. Beautiful decor and pretty cocktails instantly makes a group of bloggers snap happy but the staff had also allowed The City Girls the use of their upstairs bar area for the entire afternoon.





 Not only do The City Girls hold great events but at each one, they select a charity to raise money for throughout. Leeds Women's Aid were represented by the fantastic Suzie, who gave such an inspiring speech about the work that this charity do for local women who have experience domestic abuse and violence. Women should never have to feel devalued in their lives or experience some of the things we heard about from Suzie; events like this are such a great way of spreading awareness and also, raising money. Read more about their work here and they are always on the hunt for volunteers.


It was lovely to finally get to meet the girls who arranged this whole thing, particularly Lorna - the face behind a blog that I've been reading for a while! Holly's organisational skills were apparent from the get go. She introduced us all, told us what we could be expecting and in minutes, had us all excited to venture in and towards our favourite brands.

A few of the brands at the event were Benefit, The Body Shop, Kendelle clothing, Nails by Ivy and Manuka Dr. along with an array of special goodies for us to pick up along the way. I headed straight towards Melanie to try out Benefit's new colours range and left with purple eyeliner and blue tipped eyelashes - very 90's!







Unfortunately I didn't have time to get my nails done with Nails by Ivy but her designs were fantastic, follow her on Instagram for beautiful nail inspo! Some of the other brands who left goodies for us included Voss Water, Twig & Dot, Oates & Co, Virtue Ice Tea and Michael O'Mara books.

Towards the end of the event, we were treated to brownies by Brown & Blonde which were divine. I opted for praline and it's safe to say, we all had our fill of brownie for a long time!


Not only had The City Girls organised these brand representatives and the mountain of freebies at the event itself, we were also given a tote bag (personalised for The City Girls, may I add) full to the brim of extra goodies for us to sample and take home.


I'll be featuring some of these things in future posts but I'll tell you know, the girls did an amazing job. I want to thank Holly and Lorna for inviting me; it was the perfect location and a great afternoon all round. As well as meeting girls who I've spoken to on Twitter for a while, it was also lovely to catch up with bloggers I've met previously and I think I can speak for us all when I encourage other bloggers to join The City Girls in their next event.

Follow them on Twitter here to keep updated!

leanne

x

Thursday, 16 July 2015

MINK & STONE JEWELLERY //

I adore personalised gifts and creating a unique piece of jewellery with Mink & Stone was an opportunity I jumped at! Their website allows the user to create their own bracelet or necklace using beautiful beads and feature pieces.

The site itself is super simple to use. My favourite feature is the 'collections' button, grouping certain beads together into categories from 'Bridal' to 'Tropical Jungle' to make your selection that much easier.

I swayed towards a lot of the 'Boho Chic' options because I wanted something to suit a festival vibe. Lots of wooden beads and a pop of colour meant this was my finished result!



The fact you can see a physical image of your order is fantastic and if you're not happy with the order, you can switch the beads around and try a different combination.

The price range is dependent on you. You could make a small bracelet from £10 or go all out with the most beautiful pieces in a long necklace and spend extra. I love the idea of this for a unique birthday or occasion gift, so I'd be happy to spend more on something really pretty for a girl friend!




The product came in a lovely, hand wrapped package just in time for me to take away to Glastonbury which I really appreciated! The postage price was extremely reasonable and it arrive super quickly. Everything is branded, from the sticker on the wrapping to the fabric pouch and they look so cute.

Keep an eye out for insta-shots of this beauty here.

What would you design?

leanne

x


This post contains products I bought using a discount or gift voucher.
All views are unbiased and my own.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

SUMMER LEGS //

As Summer arrived with a tremendous heatwave, I realised the extent of my paleness and vowed to correct it.

I am an impatient person when it comes to things like self-tanning. I always think it will be a wonderful idea until I'm half way through when I've forgotten which leg I have already applied it to then splashed water everywhere by accident - only to produce a streaky, messy tan and a beautifully bronzed bathroom.

Here's a few things I've found that have seriously helped me overcome my fake tan fear and prepped me for this weather!

Soleil Colour Collection by Bic


I'm all for feminism but leaving your leg hair to grow isn't the be all and end all of all gender expectations. I just want smooth legs under a skirt and my tattoos to not hide under a furry blanket, please.

My ultimate failsafe is a disposable razor because:

1. You can buy in bulk
2. You don't need to recharge them and
3. You can chuck one in your travel bag (unless you're flying, they won't let you do that).

Bic are well known for quality and value for money and combined with the rainbow selection, it's a must have for Summer. Even if it just makes your toiletries bag that little bit prettier.

I bought my pack of 8 from Boots for £5.99 which is great value for money. Find them here.

there's actually 8 in a pack but these are all I have left for a pretty picture...
The Body Shop Virgin Mojito body butter

I visited a blogger event at The Body Shop in Leeds a couple of months back (read about it here) featuring their new Virgin Mojito summer range. We were kindly given samples and I fell in love with the scent of the body butter. I was lucky enough to win a big version of this at The City Girls event (more on this soon!) this week and I am over the moon!

If you're after a really fresh and rejuvenating Summer fragrance in your skincare, this range is definitely for you. It has a strong, citrus and mint scent which leaves you smelling like a freshly made mojito and then leaves you wanting an actual mojito. The body butter is really hydrating so perfect for knees, elbows and dry patches before you fake tan.

Madame La La Self Tan Mousse

Madame La La kindly sent me a bottle of their tan mousse this month and I was thrilled to face my tanning fears and give it a go.

The packaging is beautiful and would definitely catch my eye on the shelf (although I've never understood why self tan is consistently sold in white bottles...they're not white for very long!)
I love the mousse pump applicator and the mousse itself is really easy to apply. Unlike other tan products, Madame La La don't specify to use gloves which I much prefer. A mitt soaks up a lot of the product and at £36 a bottle, the last thing I want to do is waste it.



You apply the mousse liberally and unlike tans I've used previously, it appeared almost streak-less. You need to pay close attention to ankles, hands, elbows and knees as the colour darkens over the next three hours. I found it much easier to apply early evening as it is advised NOT to shower during the following ten hours, so it allows time to dry, darken and you can shower in the morning instead.


I was really impressed with the colour because I prefer a subtle tan, however, if you want to go all out I'd suggest trying a shade darker or applying again until you have a tan you are happy with. Although the coverage and colour was fantastic, the tan did not last as long as it claimed.

With it being so easy to use however, I'd be happy to just reapply as needed and it's really easy to build the colour gradually - no orange legs here!

Unlike other tanning products, it doesn't dry my skin out and I can only assume this is due to the addition of coco water and aloe in the ingredients. It's actually really hydrating which prevents patches.

It is quite a pricey self tan in comparison to the high street however, I really found it worked for me.

What are your fake tan fears and faux pas?

This post features products sent to me for review however all views are unbiased and my own.
I mean, you just need to see my sexy legs (joke).

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

DOTCOMGIFTSHOP // WISHLIST

On our way home from Glastonbury a couple of weeks ago, we stumbled across one of the nicest service stations I've ever been in. Not only did Gloucester Services welcome us with a fry-up and a huge selection of cake, there's no Waitrose or WHSmith in sight. Instead, their kitsch farm shop offers local produce at great prices, as well as featuring homeware, clothing and cosmetic selections from a variety of quirky brands.

What instantly caught our eye was the beautiful stoneware crockery from Dotcomgiftshop on display and after exploring their website further, I've fallen in love with the whole range!

Here are a few pieces from the Moorish stoneware range I am lusting after for my kitchen at the minute...




from top left clockwise


Have you ever bought anything from Dotcomgiftshop before? If so, what did you buy?

leanne

x

Monday, 6 July 2015

GLASTONBURY 2015 //

There's way too much to say about this festival in just one post, so initially, here's some pretty snaps of the site.

I'll be posting some music performance reviews and festival fashion snaps when I organise my photographs and can sit down (in my new flat!) and put some time into the writing.

Let me know if you went to Glastonbury this year, I'd say it was the best year yet.

















leanne

x

Saturday, 4 July 2015

PIEMINISTER // LEEDS


Our first Glastonbury experience a few years ago included a trip to the infamous 'Pieminister' stand and since then, I've been hooked. At the sad, sad news that this year (the first time since 2004) they were not going to be present at the Summer festival, it was decided we must visit the recently opened restaurant in Leeds city centre.

I wasn't sure if the food would be half as good as it is when we're stood in a cold, muddy field and haven't eaten properly in three days but I was determined to give it a chance.




Pieminister is amongst the many new additions to Leeds that have a lively, hip atmosphere at an affordable price and a food pun for a name. With so much competition now, it's hard to impress but with a couple of Moodogs, a Chicken of Aragon and a hot pot on the way we had high hopes.

The choice extends way beyond pies if that doesn't take your fancy although, why on earth wouldn't it? Even for the veggies among us, there's plenty of opportunity to get involved in the pie hype with a tasty Heidi or a Wildshroom. The portions are perfect although it is tempting to have a bite of everyone else's meal, y'know, just to compare.





A couple of quirky things about the menu...

1. If you buy certain selections on the list, you are helping fund the planting of a tree in Malawi as part of the Temwa charity. Tasty pie AND you are helping provide people with a more sustainable lifestyle.

2. Pieminister have ventured into collaborations with the finest beers that Brewdog provide (if you're in Leeds, it's right down the street). You don't have to visit a restaurant to grab a pie, they offer their menu in a variety of pubs around the country too.

If you're after a tasty and inexpensive meal, Pieminister is a place you will leave wanting to tell your friends about; find your nearest pie-hole here.

Mr Michael Eavis, can we get Pieminister back by the Pyramid please?


leanne

x