Recent Reads | June 2020

I've always been an avid reader, but my frequency for reading has dropped over the years and I began to struggle focusing on books. Over the last month or so having a little bit more free time has allowed me to rekindle my love for reading. I've set myself a goal to read 60 books this year, which sounds like a lot but it'll push me to work toward it. I've decided to review and recommend some of the books that I've enjoyed. I've done this as a series before and decided to bring it back on my reading journey and it'll hopefully keep my motivation and maybe get some recommendations from others along the way! 



This book has been on my to read pile for a long time. I've seen it all over instagram and everyone had given it raving reviews, I'd even gotten it recommended to me a few times. The main character, named after the title, Eleanor, is written as a very unlikeable character. This is one of the reasons why I liked her character, to me she felt like a really real person like reading her diary, it wasn't a fake kind of happiness that you often seen in novels. She has many redeeming qualities throughout the novel. She is mainly happy with her own company and the novel focuses on her journeywhere she unwillingly makes a friend and becomes a more sociable version of herself. This book has many twists and points that have you wanting to scream into the pages. Without spoiling it, it's a. book that will be in your mind surrounding its message on mental health and looking after others. This is my favourite book I've read so far this year and I can imagine I will read it again.



I hadn't heard anything about this book until I bought it and then had a lot of people I know telling me how much they enjoyed it. I am a huge Science-Fiction fan and it had been a while since I had read anything as fantasy as this. The book has many different time frames that it is written in that go back and forth interweaving between each other and connecting the story between character's in different times. It begins set in a virus pandemic (how apt) and the majority of the story is the aftermath of its destruction and about the survival of a few in a travelling theatre. This book was very clever in its story line and how it all came together in the end. There are so many characterswithin the story but they all got appropriate time to develop and show their individual story. I enjoyed the flashbacks and present passages in the story and how it didn't have one set narrator, it was hard to figure out at first but it all made sense the more you read. It's thought provoking about what could happen in times of mass hysteria and also solidarity between people.


I've had this book for a long time and never got around to reading it. This book is similar to Station Eleven in narrative. There is no individual narrator and the storyline is very strange but it is interesting to see how it progresses. The story follows a fish, Ian, as he falls 27 stories from a building to the ground. On his journey it depicts who and what he sees on his fall. It shows how many individual events are happening in a single moment in one building, and how all these events are connected all together in one moment, and how they build on each other to create a bigger picture. I would love to see another follow up to this with different characters it was very intriguing, and I love books with a style or narrative that is unconventional but overall works.

Has anyone got any book recommendations? I've a lot of books to read to reach my goal for the year! 

Primark Balm to Oil Cleanser | Review

I've been using the same cleansers from Lush for a long time. As much as I love them they are expensive for what they are - I'll probably always still go for them as my top cleansers but it's nice to try some new ones every now and then. I saw this Balm to Oil cleanser in Primark recently, and it seemed to be part of a more eco conscious collection. It included some skin care items and also bamboo pots and brushes of various types which I loved. I only picked up the cleanser as it was the only thing I needed at the time but I would love to try some of the other things I've seen as they seem like a more eco-friendly version of the items that everyone usually picks up at Primark. It's great to see some bigger brands getting more products that are friendlier to the environment and also more natural as I know a lot of people are becoming more conscious of what is not only in the products they're buying but also the packaging too. 

Oil to balm cleanser

I've been trying this cleanser for the past few weeks by blending it in to my face and using a wet cloth to remove. It doesn't say anything about using this to remove make up but I have been doing so and it has worked perfectly that way. The texture of it is very similar to coconut oil yet the main ingredients are camomile and aloe vera. It is solid until you put it in your hand and it becomes an oil straight away which becomes easy to rub into your skin. It doesn't have much of a scent which is nice about it and it is also very light weight. As it turns into an oil you get a lot of product out of one tub. It's a very cheap and natural alternative to a lot of other cleansers I've used before. It has also been very soft on my skin and feels moisturising. 

Has anyone tried any good cleansers that they would recommend?

Lush Marshmallow Bath Bomb | Review


Long time, no Lush review. I tried the Marshmallow World bath bomb twice and it's becoming a favourite of mine. This is one of the sweetest bath bombs out there so if you have a sweet tooth you'll love it. The main ingredient is sugar, also with vanilla and marshmallow powder (which I didn't know was a thing until now). It smells like it's straight out of a candy shop. It smells like a fizzy strawberry sweet and it is so refreshing and pleasant. It's also enjoyable to relax in because it's not an overwhelmingly strong scent. It's also one of the bigger bath bombs that Lush sells which is always a bonus. 

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Marshmallow World is mainly pink in composition, but also has streaks of white, blue and yellow. When dropped in water it fizzes and turns the bath a pretty pale pink colour. It then mixes with the colours that it is streaked with. These colours are all really pale shades and when they mix together they create some new colours that are even more vibrant. It has one of the prettiest end colours I've seen. As it's a bigger bath bomb it swirls around the tub for a long time and it's visually pleasant. I found that it foams really nicely while it fizzes also leaving a nice fluffy layer to the bath water. 


Has anyone tried this bath bomb before? What do you think of it?



Lush Haul | First Impressions

It's been a long time since I've done a Lush haul. I've been using up all the products that I've accumulated and don't get a chance to use so I have slowly depleted my collection. I ran out of bath bombs and bubble bars so I decided now is a good time to try some new Lush products that I hadn't tried before. It is definitely a different experience ordering from Lush online rather than being in store. Mainly due to the fact that you can't smell the products and you have to rely on the description. I picked up a few things that I thought I would enjoy, I bought three bath bombs, Marshmallow World, Strawberries and Cream (which I used before I took the pictures), and Dirty. Also, two bubble bars, Party Popper, and Abracadabra. I haven't tried all of these yet so they will just be first impressions.


Starting with bath bombs, Strawberries and Cream was the first one that I used as it smelled the best to me. It smelt as it is named, what I loved is that it was sweet but not a fake sugary sweet, but a gentle fresh kind of sweet. This bath bomb has a creamy middle and two crumbly sides that shape it like a strawberry. This is a very small bath bomb and the scent isn't over powering when dropped in the bath, but it does linger after on the skin for a few days which is really nice. It leaves the bath a mixture of red and pink.

The next one is Marshmallow World, which I have written a review about that will be up next week, as it is one of my favourites I've had in a long time. Intergalactic is still forever my favourite.

The last bath bomb is Dirty, and I am very disappointed with this bath bomb, the smell is not for me. I know it's based off the popular Dirty scent, but it is very musty and dry smelling. It is slightly citrus-y but not enough for me to enjoy it. I think I will like the colours when I use it in the bath as it is a multicolour of varying shades of green, blue, and yellow, and I think that they would blend well together. I hope that it surprises me but I'm not looking forward to using it. If I smelled it in person I know I wouldn't have gone for it so it could be a good thing to try something new. 
 

On to the bubble bars, the two that I picked I chose because they looked like a lot of fun. The first one is Party Popper, which is shaped like a party popper. The detailing on this is cute as it has flecks of colour underneath and I'm guessing through out also. It's a swirling of orange and yellow and it's definitely one of the more vibrant shades Lush has. I can't wait to try this one out and it smells great too, very bright and cheerful in scent and looks.

The last product that I purchased is the Abracadabra bubble bar, which is shaped like a magic wand. It's a very small and skinny bubble bar, with colourful stars at the end (I'm guessing to show the magic). I really like that this product smells very different to other products. It's very subtle for Lush products, it's very natural scented, almost like lavender and lemon but also smells bubbly (if that can be a scent). This won't last as long as other bubble bars but it is cheaper than a lot of others too so it might be a good option to try if you haven't tried any bubble bars before. Also looks like a lot of fun for kids to use.


Has anyone tried any new Lush products recently? What are your favourites?


Harry Potter Studio Tour | Review

At the very start of the year I got to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London for the very first time. Upon looking back at some photos I decided to post about the experience there in case any one is interested in making a trip in the future. It is the place to be if you love the movies as the majority of the movies were filmed there in the studios that were there before they dedicated the space purely to the tour. The tour is longer than I could've imagined, you can wander by yourself at your own pace but there is a lot to get through and if you're a huge fan you'll want to take your time. This post will be full of spoilers about stuff that happens and what you can do in the tour so don't read if you want to be surprised on your visit! 


The first section is mainly props from each of the movies. One of the most exciting pieces for me was the Great Hall set-up. They had decorated it as if it were Hogwarts in the snow (they change it every once in a while to match the seasons and change it up a little if you visit often). We went during the Winter months so everything was snow-covered. The Great Hall was set up as if it were a scene in the movie with the tables decorated with food and garnishing and there are members of staff giving you information about the set and doing some small demonstrations. There was then a section full of various props from horcruxes, to costuming, to wands, and building pieces including Griffindor common room. There is an option to buy interactive earphones to hear about each display but I opted out as I like to read the signs and explore at my own pace usually. My favourite pieces from this section were the entrance to Dumbledore's office and the common room. 

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There were a lot of photo opportunities in each section of the tour, some including green screens and interactive pieces. There were also wand classes and interactive spots in-between and a lot of the behind the scenes into how they filmed/shot certain scenes like Quidditch. I loved how the tour was split up. The next section was into the forbidden forest (which you could skip as it is a little scary) it was so well done and the effects in that area were really realistic, if you've seen any of the movies you know how many creepy things live in that forest. When you come out you then get to see the Hogwarts Express and platform 9 3/4 for the first time, at first I thought it was just another photo opportunity, which it is, but you can also get on and explore different scenes from different films. After that you're able to head outside and visit some of the outdoor sets including The Night Bus, Privet Drive, and one of the pieces of the outside of Hogwarts. There's also a little cafe to refuel, with Butterbeer which you need to try if you haven't already. You can get it in ice-cream form too if you prefer but it's not made out of beer at all either way. It's a root beer mixture with cream poured on top it is very sweet but very nice.

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It took roughly two hours to complete the first half of the tour. I would consider this part the longest due to how much there is to see and the interactive elements. The next part is a more in depth look into behind the scenes, where there is detail into how costumes were made and the CGI effects which surrounded them. This showed a lot of detail into the creatures in the films like Dobby and how he was animated, as a lot of the previous props were inanimate. There was a lot to see here and you could spend just as long here especially if you're into special effects and makeup. There is also a section on different conceptual designs and inspirations from various artists. There is more set like pieces then where you can enter Diagon Alley. This was amazing to see the detail that was put into each shop to make it equally as individual and unique to the next one, definitely put you right in the movie scene. There was also a set for Gringotts at the end which was equally as stunning and detailed. Although Gringotts wouldn't be the place I'd want to visit first if I was in that world. There is then another interactive scene which I believe is new in this area, where a dragon seems to come toward you and breathe fire. It is very atmospheric and very clever visual effects to do the stunt, I'm sure there's videos online if you want to watch, but i recommend leaving it until you see it in person for the full effect.


The last little bit was probably my favourite and the most interesting to me. There was a huge replica of the Hogwarts castle all decorated under a snow effect. This was just magical to see. The detail of it is remarkable, and this was a set piece that was used throughout all of the movies to get shots of the castle for long distance shots. It's crazy how realistic it is. There's a lot of information about how it was build and its uses in the film around it and it was so stunning, I probably spent the most time here surprisingly. 


At the end of the tour there is a huge gift shop full of every thing you could possibly want from the wizarding world. Overall I really enjoyed the experience and I would recommend it. It is highly worth the money and you get a full days experience from it. It's not too far from London and if you are visiting there are tour buses that will do a day trip for it, and also scenes around London where they also filmed the movies. I would love to visit again in the future in a different season maybe when they do something new with it or go with someone who hasn't been before but it's a lot of fun.

Has anyone else been here before? What do you think?


Glamglow Mud Mask | Review

During quarantine I had a lot of time to try out different face masks I've had around and use up different products I don't always get the time to use everyday. I got these Glamglow masks as a gift and I've heard great things about the brand so I was really looking forward to see what they could do for my skin. They are the Gravitymud and Supermud masks. 


These are masks that are to be left on for 15-20 minutes and are used in different ways to clear your skin. They are both very different to each other in terms of texture - which I feel is important in a face mask. My favourite is the Gravitymud this formula is a shimmery silver which is strange for a face mask and it is very sticky in texture. This face mask hardens on your skin and becomes a peel that you peel off as one whole which helps cleanse your skin. This makes my skin feel really soft and does help pull pores out but not very much. The other mask the Supermud I don't like as much this is more of a black charcoal scrub which you let dry into your face and you wash off instead of peeling it. I haven't noticed much happen from using this mask and I hate how it looks so I don't use it much. The only downfall to both is that they both have a really strong smell which isn't great when you're putting it on your face. They do seem like high quality products


Has anyone tried any of these before? Any thoughts?

Looking for New Blogs to Follow and Recommendations

This is a very different style post. I realised that it's been a long time since I've followed some new blog accounts/bloggers. I recently gained access to Bloglovin' again after leaving it for so long and realised a lot of the accounts that I follow are old/vacant accounts that don't post much anymore. Also the things that I would've loved reading about years ago are so different than they are now and I would love to continuously grow alongside my tastes. Honestly, I love reading about everything from general fashion, to politics to food posts. I've wanted myself to branch off into a few different blog styles too just to write about everything as I just love writing and need to refocus my time reading other people's work to help me on my journey too. I would love some recommendations of accounts to follow. Feel free to comment your own blog below or your current favourite blog below and show them some love! I will be checking them all out! If you want to follow me on Bloglovin' you can by clicking here

I've also noticed that Blogger is changing up their look and platform and it feels like a long time since I've seen anything change here so I am very excited to see this. It's almost giving a new lease of life to something that has been the same to me for so long. As much as I don't love change, it always pushes me to do better so I'm happy for that. I'm sure others feel the same. 



I feel like the blogs that I've been reading recently have all felt one note and all of the same variety and I would love to see some more unique posts. It's often why I take breaks from blogging as it often feels un-motivating to see every blog post the same recycled posts every day, but again I'm probably looking in the wrong places so I need a nudge in the right direction. 

I can see that this post is mainly ramblings but I just want to open up conversation a little bit that isn't limited to a single post! Generally in this post I just wanted to get some recommendations of things people have been enjoying, favourite books, movies and hobbies to help inspire me! I'd also love to know where everyone reads their blogs and what's everyone's favourite type of post to read? I don't expect many people to respond but I love hearing stories and sharing things I love with people (hence the blog obviously) so please let me know!