Posted in Book Reviews

Promised Lies Review: Marguerite Ashton

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As soon as I looked at the cover for ‘promised lies’ I was drawn in & knew it was a book I wanted to read. There is so much going on in the picture that I want to know the story. I love stories (if you haven’t already guessed from all the book reviews!)

Right from the beginning, there is a strong lead for the start of the novel which entices me in & makes me want to read more. The first chapter starts with a bang of an opener with a murder. Starting with such a strong scene makes me want to continue reading.

Less than 4 chapters in, the fact that I’d hate to be a forensic person or someone who has to work with bodies when a murder occurs or someone dies. I know they will be well-paid jobs, but I feel something like that would completely traumatise me! I also don’t think being a police officer would be the job for me so I highly commend people that do that as a career! However, I do enjoy reading this genre of book (or else I wouldn’t be doing this review now would I?)

In chapter 4, we are introduced to a new character called Ursula & I am instantly picturing Ursula out the Little Mermaid despite never actually watching that film as a child (YES I didn’t just say that to make your mouth drop to the floor, its true!)

From the way in which this character is described, I am reminded even more of the Little Mermaid with wording like “Ursula’s hair, leeched of all vitality, appeared dry and lifelessly waved wildly in all directions.” This makes me think directly of Ursula out the Little Mermaid who has Octopus legs & who’s hair sprays out in multiple directions.

I don’t know if this was intentional but now that image will stick in my mind, not that it’s a bad thing though. It gives me something to connect with from my memory in a surprising book moment I wouldn’t find myself connecting with.

The way in which Ursula is treated like a child even though she is 24, so legally an adult reminds me of my childhood. As a child, I wasn’t allowed to join in most conversations with my Dad or grandparents since I was told I was too young. It seems kind of sad & strange that this adult is getting treated in the same way by her elders, especially when she should be considered an adult. Perhaps it’s because these people weren’t her parents but instead her aunt & uncle so she maybe wasn’t very close with them.

I love how the story progresses a little bit at a time just giving you enough so you can’t predict the future too far in advance. I imagine this is how the evidence would be gathered by real police officers.

The book has many aspects which make it realistic sounding & like it is being conducted in the same way in which a real crime would be conducted.

‘Promised Lies’ didn’t end in the way I was expecting it to end & left some questions I had still unanswered by the end of the book. However, it was gripping & held my attention from the start!

Buy here: Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

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4 out of 5 stars

Posted in Book Reviews

The Silence Review: Katharine Johnson

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I know I have been away from my blog for a while, but I am back with a new review!

From the beginning, this book gives me a strong sense of what Abby & her friend are like as people. The author includes just enough description to get a true sense & understanding of the character’s personalities without giving too much away.

The book can be seen as surprisingly accurate to the world today even from the time it was written. A terrorist attack in London & Brexit are claimed to be the latest newspaper news & there was another attack recently unfortunately & Brexit is still being discussed. It’s upsetting how we can still relate this to what is going on today!

I think the fact I’ve been surrounded with popular slang for so long is growing on me. I saw the word “dabbing” & thought it meant the slang of dabbing! I blame Emma Blackery for that!!

The story is pretty easy to follow with newspaper articles written in italics & flashbacks being clearly dated by when they happened. I love how right from the start, we get an era of mystery & don’t know what is going to happen in later chapters. We are drawn in by the fact that something had clearly happened to Philippa but we don’t know what so will have to keep reading to find this out.

I love the way in which many themes are contributed into ‘The Silence’ which keeps the story fresh & interesting & makes the reader want to continue reading. I also really like the old fashioned theme going on here in the way in which the villa is described & the talk of things such as walkmans. It reminds me of my childhood & makes me feel slightly nostalgic.

When some books begin to switch between the past & present in their story, it can get really messy. However, in ‘the silence’ it seems completely natural & isn’t too difficult to follow.

The sense of Abby keeping secrets from her husband really strikes a bell in life. It highlights the fact that, one small action or person could come along & change the whole situation & threaten everything the secret keeper has known. It just goes to show, keeping secrets is risky & never a good idea.

I find myself connecting with Philippa’s dad in the sense that writing is difficult. A dream of mine is to actually write my own book but every idea I have had so far, I have started then exhausted the idea & given up on it. I have finally pieced together chapter titles for a self-help book I want to write aimed at teenagers but yet again not completely sure if it will span out an actual book!

I have written many stories which I have then scrapped in my desire to write my own fiction book & have therefore come to the decision that I would be better off starting with a book filled with short stories with my ideas. As a result of knowing how difficult it is, I relate to Philippa’s dad.

When reading this book, I can actually begin to imagine what the characters would sound like & even have images inside my head of who would play them. I feel this shows that the story is conveyed in an effective way because I can identify with the characters & gives me a strong visual imagine. It is written so effortlessly that anyone reading it can begin to imagine if this was to play out in a real life situation.

As the plot thickens, suspicions draw into my mind about who the second skeleton was. In my mind, I come to the possibility of three different people it could be. I feel this makes for a strong story as it allows me to come to my own ideas about what could happen while not knowing anything. Nothing is given away, the suspense is kept up, therefore, I am intrigued to read more to find out if my hunches are actually true.

The ending was completely sudden & unexpected, however, it was timed & planned perfectly. Something happens right at the end of the book that would spoil the book if I was to tell you, but what I can say is that it is a game changer. All along, there were new questions which presented themselves the more I read.

The way ‘the silence’ ends is well thought out. By this point in the book, a lot of questions had been answered. However, there were a few left unanswered. The ending speculates into something without giving you a solid fact & its timed so well that it could effectively lead onto another book if the author decided to write one.

You can purchase the book here: Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

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5-stars

Posted in Subscription Boxes

Gousto Subscription Box

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge to try out with no obligation to leave a review but decided to do one. All views are my own.

Firstly I was quite impressed with the quick delivery with it arriving only a few days after I ordered it with me also getting to choose what day I wanted it delivered. The one downside about delivery was how wide a delivery window it was. The box was estimated between 8am-7pm which isn’t really ideal for someone with a busy lifestyle which is the type of people who would mostly order this product. However, the product arrived around 12 pm so I wasn’t waiting the whole day thankfully!

Once opening the box I noticed how everything was packed carefully, kept separate with a clear instruction of where everything was to go. The meat and products that were to go in the fridge even came inside a special bag with ice packs to keep everything fresh which I was really impressed with.

I love the fact how I was allowed freedom in choosing the menus that I was interested in as well as the option to choose how many people I was feeding. All the vegetables arrived fresh as well which is a massive plus. I love how the recipe cards were hole punched in case you wanted to put them in a binder.

One thing I will say is, the timing it said on each recipe to cook was less time than it actually takes, however, I put that down to the fact I hadn’t made the recipes before. When I cook something for the first time, it takes me a lot longer than it normally would. You also don’t really know how much food you will produce when making it until the end. Both recipes were enough food for two people but if you only are cooking for one person like I was, it will fill you up if you have it with nothing else with it. Onto the recipes.

Recipe One ~ Easy Lamb Biryani:

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It’s no surprise by this point that one of the recipes I picked was Indian and the other Chinese, let’s talk about the Indian first.

Just looking at the recipe card made my mouth water. The instructions were fairly easy to follow and step-by-step which is perfect for a novice cook like me. I began by peeling and dicing the onions and for once my eyes didn’t well up doing this so I guess there’s another plus.

I really loved this meal although it looked nothing like the picture and took a lot longer than 15 minutes for me to cook and prepare.

It was really tasty and filling and all the ingredients were fresh with it being an easy to follow recipe.

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Recipe Two ~ Hoisin Meatballs and Chinese sesame rice:

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Now, this was the recipe I learnt the most from. Firstly, I learnt how to peel ginger, who would have known that the job becomes so much easier using a spoon? To be honest I haven’t really cooked much from scratch before and when I have I’ve never used ginger.

I also learnt that it’s possible to grate the garlic. Yes, you heard me correct. This recipe requires you to grate the garlic. It was easy enough, although garlic really does stink. I love the taste of things such as garlic bread but I never till now realised how smelly it is when you are cooking with it from scratch!

This is also the recipe which has awoken my hunger for cooking meals from scratch (like what I did there?) Ever since cooking this recipe, I have been pinning recipes like mad and been researching how to make some of my already favourite foods from scratch.

You don’t have to be a food lover to fall in love with this subscription box. Such a wonderfully varied selection of recipes to choose from which are being updated every week. You also get the option of how many people you are cooking for: 2 or 4.

It would, however, be good if there was an option to cook a one person meal for those that either lives alone or don’t share similar taste buds to their family members, therefore, having to cook separate meals anyway. I suppose you could half the ingredients and kept the rest for a separate time or freeze half of the food but it’s not the same. It requires even more effort.

I’ve never been a fan of ginger previously but I didn’t taste the difference in this meal. The spiced hoisin sauce and meatballs were simply divine. However, I wasn’t so fond of the Chinese Sesame Rice. I thought that adding lettuce to rice was a bit of an odd call.

One thing that wasn’t so clear was when it came to coating the meatballs in the spiced hoisin sauce it tells you to heat a pan and then add the spiced hoisin sauce and meatballs to this to coat the meatballs in the sauce. When I tried to do this, instantly the sauce started fizzing. It could have been more clear to let you know if you should remove the pan from the heat once hot to add the meatballs and sauce or what otherwise it started hissing and essentially burning.

Other than this I loved the meatballs but perhaps if I was to make this recipe in future I would make it without the Chinese sesame rice because I really didn’t think this rice added anything special to the meal and I didn’t really like it.

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All in all, this was a memorable experience, has taught me a few things about cooking as well as sparking an interest in me to cook from scratch more often in the future.

Would you like a £20 discount on BOTH your first and second Gousto orders? Enter code: TORNADO at checkout for your discount. With this discount code, your first two boxes could cost as little as £7.49 each!

You can sign up here: Gousto

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Posted in Thoughts

The Student Lifestyle

I did plan to have today’s blog post up at the start of the week but due to having no internet at home I’ve only just uploaded it. Therefore, as a special treat I am now uploading a second blog post for today! The daily prompt is Lifestyle so today I will be revealing an insight into my student lifestyle most days.

Morning: 

What morning? Students don’t get up till at least 12pm and even that’s pushing it. Unless I have something important I need to be rushing to, I will most likely wake up between 1pm-4pm. This is the reason why I ended up either late to a lot of university classes or not turning up. If it got to 15 minutes past the hour the class was supposed to start then I most likely wouldn’t turn up. I am often seen making most of my appointments/etc for the afternoon so I can have a lie in.

Afternoon:

When I finally make it out of my bed I am more often that not watching Netflix, playing online games or some other fun activity. I often leave all those uni assignments until last minute. I tend to waste away most the day doing nothing. Oh to be a student.

Evening:

If I have an assignment due the following day this is when I start it, or in other words finish it. I stay up the whole night in order to finish the assignment then submit it right before the due time.

If I don’t have an assignment, I get my dinner and then end up yet again watching Netflix, or blogging or doing something fun while leaving those emails I need to reply to until last minute like everything else. Perhaps this isn’t healthy.

This was meant just as a fun “I do nothing” piece. I suppose I am slightly more productive in reality. Depends on the day really. Like last Tuesday night I had an important meeting for three hours. Just depends on the day.

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Posted in Thoughts

Lack Of Internet

I planned to have a blog post up since Tuesday but I’ve had no internet since Tuesday. The last time the internet went down was when Cheryl released limited edition signed copies of her last album which of course was all sold out by the time the internet was back up. This time? I was expecting an email to give me the details about the VIP upgrades for Emma Blackery. The email was getting sent out on Tuesday, and the VIP upgrades were going on sale the next day. As a result, I ended up getting a bus into university at 5.30am on Wednesday just to check my emails in case the VIP upgrade went on sale really early. LUCKILY, I managed to get my VIP upgrade by using my friends internet when it went on sale at 5pm on Wednesday BUT I could of missed out and I did everything I could to make sure this wasn’t an option.

I bet you can sense my frustration! This got me thinking how much we actually do rely on the internet after all. You don’t realise how important having internet is in your life until moments like these. Also on Tuesday, I was late to an important meeting for my new volunteering job and since it’s new I didn’t have anyone’s phone numbers. Therefore, the only option was…you guessed it: the Facebook group we were all in. Luckily, my bus had free wifi so that I could connect, let them know I was going to be late and ask which room it was being held in. A classic example of internet reliance.

Further, I could have missed out on a meet and greet with Emma Blackery because BT internet was and still is down. To continue my bad luck, I was supposed to be helping a friend with her college graded unit on Wednesday. She needs to interview people on a specific topic and I said I’d help. I have no call time, texts or internet on my phone currently so I couldn’t phone my friend to confirm the details therefore I had no idea what time I would be meeting her. Also, in order to top up my phone, I either need to go to the shop and get a voucher or I need to connect to wifi in order to do it from my phone. Do you understand my dilemma? It was nearly 9.30pm at night on Tuesday and I had just finished my dinner after a productive meeting so was not intending to leave the house again that night. It is moments like these I get envious of overnight buses in London, whereas here I need to wait till about 4/5am to get a bus. If I’d have gotten the bus back into university, I would have most likely missed the last bus home again. Damn you public transport in Scotland!

I also had plenty of emails I needed to be responding to which I was going to do but had to put on hold. I also needed to log my hours for my volunteer job and communicate with the team over Facebook not to mention communicate with countless other people all over the internet. I had also hoped to blog and update social media for my blog which is another thing I was unable to do.

Also, what do you do for entertainment when your internet is down? Stare at walls? No seriously, you take so much for granted when you have working internet and you forget that previous generations had to go about life without internet and without cell phones.

Normally at that time of night after I’d done all my work/communicating/what I need to do I would either be playing games over the internet, watching Youtube, blogging or watching Netflix. There are countless other forms of entertainment I also do, but these are normally all over the internet. I had written this blog post on a word document and aimed to post it on Wednesday. This was also delayed because of the internet being down. As I upload this blog post, I am in university using their internet. BT are supposed to be fixing my internet this afternoon and here’s hoping they do.

I also listen to most my music on spotify so therefore ended up hunting out all my CD’s of which I haven’t used for a long time due to the use of spotify.

Thanks BT internet, you’re a star.

Sincerely,

A frustrated media student/Emma Blackery fan.

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Posted in Thoughts

Perfume

I have never been a strong lover of Perfume. Throughout my childhood and growing up I was always a tomboy. In my teenage years, my grandparents got into a habit of buying me a really nasty smelling perfume every Christmas for years on end. I, of course, pretended to like it as I didn’t want to upset them. It would then go into the back of the wardrobe to be forgotten about never to be seen again.

I don’t know if them buying me the perfumes was a last ditch attempt at trying to get me to act more girly but it didn’t work. It wasn’t until my later teenage years when I began to like girly things all of my own accord. I was never going to be persuaded to act a certain way by anyone, family or not.

Perhaps it was the awful perfume from my grandparents that put me off perfume for life but even today I don’t tend to use perfume. However, I do make the rare exception when it comes to Kylie Minogue and Cheryl.

If you don’t know, I am a MASSIVE fan of both Kylie and Cheryl. My aunt gave me two Kylie perfumes when I was younger that I didn’t use, but once I actually became a fan of her I began to use them and liked the scents.

The same can be said about Cheryl when she released each of her three perfumes I, of course, had to buy them. I even donated £100 to her charity as part of a competition once to get a signed bottle of her perfume. It may seem mad but I have a strong support for my role models/idols/inspirations and firmly believed in what she was doing with her charity. That and the fact I loved the scents.

Apart from this, I have never really been a perfume person, I just see it as a waste of money if I am brutally honest. I will continue to use my Kylie and Cheryl perfumes and will probably re-purchase when I run out. However, I won’t pursue the interest in buying other perfumes as I am a student without much money and don’t think it is something I can justify spending my money on.

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Picture credit: Cheryl promotional material for her perfume range

Posted in Top 10 Lists

April Favourites

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Picture credit: Emma Blackery who is mentioned in this blog post.

Favourite videos are something I have seen many of my favourite vloggers do on their Youtube channels but is something I never thought I could turn into a blog post myself. For once I actually have quite a large list of favourite products in one month so I will share them for the first time in no particular order.

  1. Mallow & Marsh vanilla marshmallows coated in milk chocolate – these are an absolute FAVOURITE that I’ve just discovered this month. Great for studying in the uni library as they don’t crunch when you munch! Buy here: Vanilla Mallow & Marsh.

  2. Mallow & Marsh raspberry marshmallows coated in 70% dark chocolate – for when you want to mix the first one up a bit. Buy here: Raspberry Mallow & Marsh.

  3. Rub, Rub, Rub shower scrub – This is a MUST and it has such a soothing smell. Thank Emma Blackery for introducing this to me as she mentioned it in a video. Buy it here: Rub, Rub, Rub Purchase.

  4. Grammarly chrome extension – a browser extension added to chrome which identifies wrong grammar and spelling on anything I write on the internet and suggests the corrections. I hate grammar and I am also really bad at it so this is a life saver! Sign up and add for free here: Grammarly

  5. “Nothing Without You” song by Emma Blackery. Yes, I had to include this! Listen here: Spotify or here: YouTube.

  6. Speaking about music, I can’t forget Hard Times, the latest release by Paramore. Listen here: Spotify or here: YouTube. I had to include this since I’ve had it on non-stop repeat since it’s release!

  7. Hero Wars Facebook game – I play this game EVERY day – check it out on Facebook!

  8. White Russian cocktails – I know there may be people who read this and don’t drink but near the beginning of the month I went on a rare night out with my uni friends to a lovely bar which had white Russians on reduced price and I already loved them. I drank more of these that night than anything else! I also find it exhilarating to watch them making them since they set them on fire, I know I’m strange!

  9. Thai Sweet Chilli crisps by Sainsbury’s taste the difference. These are now my all time favourite crisps. Buy them here: Crisps

  10. Finally, Haagen-Dazs mango & raspberry ice cream. I tried this at the start of the month and it has overtaken Ben & Jerry’s as my favourite ice cream. Buy here: Ice Cream

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