Friday, 23 August 2019

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO // Ep. 3

I really hope you lot are enjoying this little music series, as they are currently some of my favourite to write and so I'm posting another one today. Sadly this year, I am not all that impressed with the summer music releases and so I have found myself going back to a few older songs that I still love and have just added back into my playlist.

UGH! // The 1975
The 1975 have been a new music discovery for me this year and I now have so many songs of their's that I love, this being one of them. I just find their music to be really unique and catchy, which this song definitely is. 
She's American // The 1975
This is probably my favourite song by The 1975 which I'm not too sure why, but it is the one I am always wanting to play the most. I just think it is so fun and it is definitely a song that gets stuck in my head for days. This song also seems to boost my mood more often than not and I think that is just because of how upbeat and fun the song is. 

Somebody That You Loved // Bruno Martini & New Hope Club
I was really excited when New Hope Club were teasing about their new release and it really didn't disappoint. What I love about their music is that it is mainstream pop but it is always unique in its own way whether that is through their choice of lyrics or instruments. I am definitely really excited for the music video to come out, and I think that the song is well worth a listen to. 
CALL ME BABY // EXO
I mean it when I say I am not a huge kpop lover, but there are a few songs and bands out there that I do like to listen to and right now, I am liking a bit of EXO. Kpop is definitely the sort of music that you either love or hate so I won't talk about it too much, but to put it simply, this song is a lot of fun, super catchy and just another mood-boosting song. 

Bad Bad News // Leon Bridges
I discovered this song from a dance video online and the song is actually so good. It is definitely really underrated but I would really recommend it. Although it is a great song to dance to, I do just think that it is a good general pop song that is from a more unique artist. 

Let's Stay Together // Maroon 5
Some of you might know, but I really love Maroon 5 and they are the sort of band that I am always going to listen to just because I know I enjoy their music and I can listen to it over and over again. Right now, this song is my favourite, but it is constantly changing. This song is a little slower, more chill, which is a nice mix up when all of these songs are in one playlist. There is just something about Adam Levine's voice that I just love and it is nothing like anyone elses, this song is just beautiful. 

That Girl // McFly
A bit like Maroon 5, I have always loved McFly's music and they make for a great throwback song. This is one of my favourite songs from them because it is fun and catchy, like all of the other songs, but what I love about McFly is all of the individual voices that you can hear and recognise in each of their songs. Like most of the songs in this post, That Girl is super fun, a proper throwback tune, definitely worth listening to every now and again. 
Harder // Jax Jones & Bebe Rexha
Perhaps the only song I am liking in the chart right now, but it is perfect for summer. I love Bebe Rexha's voice, there is nothing like it and I just think she sings some of the most incredible songs, and this one is no different. It is definitely my summer song of choice this year. 

Bad Intentions // MiC LOWRY
I have been listening to MiC LOWRY for a little while now and although I haven't heard all of their songs, I do have some from them that I absolutely love. I think that as a band, they do R&B music so well, not typical but it is unique and cool. Bad Intentions is a super chill song but it will definitely get stuck in your head if you have it on repeat, like I do. 

On Ur Mind // Ne-Yo feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR
This album of Ne-Yo's was never my favourite, but after giving it some time, this song especially has grown on me. The rest of the album, not so much, but there is just something about this song that I find really catchy and enjoyable to listen to. It is the chorus that definitely makes this song, but I just think if you want a song that is a little more unusual but still current, then this is definitely one I'd recommend. 
I'd love to hear your song recommendations if you have any as I am always looking out for new music to listen to!
Grace xx

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

TRAVEL MAKEUP BAG



If you are reading this blog post when I have posted it, then I will be in the airport ready to go on holiday which I am super excited about. I always love making these posts whenever I go on holiday and so I wanted to do an updated one. My travel makeup bag has changed a lot of the year and so instead of going through every product individually, I thought I'd do little summaries and then just list the products as I go along. 

For base products, I have tried to keep it super minimal. As I am going to a hot country, I don't want anything that is going to be too heavy or thick and so I have chosen to skip foundation completely. I would probably have skipped primer too, but the one I am bringing has nearly run out so I plan on not bringing it on the way back from my holiday. Since I am not bringing any foundation, I am bringing quite a few concealers. As I tan quite quickly, I am going to be lots of different shades over the time I am on holiday for so I am bringing four concealers all in different shades, but when you think about it, that still takes up less room than a foundation, or at least that is how I am justifying it. Some of the concealers I have brought are full coverage, but I am also bringing thinner ones to help blend them out. On holiday, I will sometimes want more coverage, especially if it is of an evening so I wanted to bring four concealers that I can do everything with, match me when I am pale, tan or somewhere in between and also when I want some light or something more full coverage. The rest of the base is pretty straight forward, some powders and a liquid highlight, all to look super fresh and glowy on holiday. 

Base products:
COLLECTION PRIMED AND READY PRIMER in warm apricot
MUA PRO BASE CONCEALER in #170
ELF CAMO CONCEALER in tan walnut
URBAN DECAY NAKED SKIN CONCEALER in light warm
REVOLUTION CONCEAL AND DEFINE CONCEALER in c2
ICONIC LONDON ILLUMINATOR DROPS in original
MUA PRO BASE POWDER in #130
ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS POWDERS in taupe and havana
FREEDOM PRO ARTIST HIGHLIGHTER in queen
OFRA HIGHLIGHTER in everglow
NATURAL COLLECTION BLUSHER in apricot dream
For eyes, I have tried to keep it simple. I love my custom palette for travelling, it really helps me to just have everything in one place, all nice and condense so that is how I am storing my eyeshadows. I am also enjoying filling my eyebrows in with powder right now so I know I will be able to use that palette as eyeshadow also, which gives me even more range. Most other things are pretty straight forward too. I am bringing a liquid eyeshadow, just to mix things up a bit, something quick and easy to apply. Obviously, waterproof mascara is essential also for a hot holiday. 

Eye products:
COLOURPOP EYESHADOWS in issues, best coast scenario, slim fit, come and get it
MAKEUP GEEK EYESHADOWS in beaches & cream, creme brulee, chickadee, tuscan sun
FREEDOM PRO ARTIST EYESHADOWS in sweet life
MUA 6 SHADE PALETTE in matte natural essentials
STILA SHIMMER & GLOW in starlight
COLLECTION VOLUMAX MASCARA in waterproof
COLLECTION COLOUR LASH MASCARA in clear
Finally for lips, nothing crazy, just some really staple lip products that will be super versatile and perfect for every day. A lot of them are minis which is why I am bringing them just because they do save space and are very convenient to travel with, especially if you know you are going to wear them a lot. Since I tend to stick to nude lips, I have tried to bring a range of different formulas so I have a matte liquid lip, a creamy lipstick and a gloss as well as a liner that I will be able to pair with all of them. 

MARC JACOBS LIP PENCIL in cream and sugar
MARC JACOBS LIP CREME in cream and sugar
MARC JACOBS LIP GLOSS in cream and sugar
JEFFREE STAR COSMETICS LIQUID LIPSTICK in i'm nude

Let me know if you liked the layout of this blog post and what you think of the makeup products I am bringing away with me!
Grace xx

Saturday, 17 August 2019

CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT - BRIGID KEMMERER // Book Review

Brigid Kemmerer had been my favourite YA contemporary author since I read Letters To The Lost last year. I feel in love with her writing, plots and characters, and very quickly I was keeping up with her newest releases. After Letters To The Lost, I read More Than We Can Tell and both were five-star reads. At the start of the year, I was really excited to find that she would be releasing another YA contemporary, Call It What You Want and so I added it to my wishlist, and luckily I received it for my birthday. I'm writing this on August 12th, in the evening, I've finished it at midday, and I started it last night so I have a lot to say and thought I'd post it on my blog, as, without spoiling too much, it was yet another five-star read.

Call It What You Want alternates between two perspectives, Rob's and Maegan's, which is something Kemmerer does so insanely well. Rob was a typical, popular lacrose player at his high school, before his father had been caught embezzling funds from members of their town. Months later, Rob's life has changed dramatically from going to a well-loved guy who has it all, to someone slowing going crazy from his own lonliness. Maegan on the other hand, was caught cheating on the SAT last year, bringing hundreds of other students down with her, but she didn't need to cheat. Her sister has just came back from college, pregnant and now her family life is coming crashing down. Maegan and Rob get paired together for a calculus project and they soon realise they share a lot more in common.
I don't want to ruin too much of the book, but that is the general plot. It seems pretty typical if you like, for a contemporary, but there were lots of elements to the plot which I found interesting and unique, something I will get into later.
What I really loved about this book were the underlying themes that show up. Like a lot of Kemmerer's books, there is always a character that you can understand to an extent. Even though your life is nothing like the character's, they are going through something or feeling something that you can resinate with which I love. For instance, in this book, there is a lot of discussion about guilt and judgement. With the two main characters being very disliked by the majoirty, you see what they make of other people's judgement, how it affects them, how really no one knows what they are going through, and as those things get revealed in the book, people's perspectives and attitudes change. This happens a lot in the book, for the better and for the worst, across family, friends and strangers. It is really interesting to read, as I think a lot of people can relate to feeling misunderstood and frustrated when they are not believed or trusted. You then have a lot of other themes that are more common, like friendship, family and relationships but they are executed so well in this book as nothing seems to be instant and all of it feels fairly natural. What I found really interesting about this book was the debate between what is right and what is wrong. It is something that all of the characters seem to discover, and although they believe different things and some of their opinions alter, it is a really interesting debate that you see unviel. Is it theft if you give it to someone who deserves it? Why are they more worthy of that than you? and so on. All of these questions are dealt with in the book, but it is interesting to see how the characters develop to answer them. Questions also appear like, if a member of the family is a criminal, does that make the entire family criminals? Does that make them suspicious? Should we view them with more suspicion? Should we take our anger out on them? Particularly in Rob's case, these questions appear a lot. You see his life change dramatically from having loads of friends to having none, to being social to being alone, to feeling normal to being constantly misunderstood. That is what I think makes this book so interesting, all of the underlying questions that you can then develop your own opinions on, and I think that is what makes this book so unique to anything I have ever read before. Although it is a YA contemporary, it has a lot of intense underlying themes in it and I think everyone can learn something about this book. Probably my favourite theme in this book is about how a mistake doesn't define you and how there is always room for redemption and forgiveness. My favourite way this happens, is at the very end of the book between Rob and his father. I don't want to give anything away, but if you have read the book than please comment below as I'd love to discuss. Anyway, after the Rob's father is convicted and defined as guilty, Rob hates him, completely hates him and everything he did, but near the end of the book, things begin to reveal that Rob was unaware of, altering the view of his father and of other people he believed we innocent. It all returns to this idea of judgement and how you don't know what someone else has done or is going through, but it is really interesting to read about in this book. 

What Kemmerer does so well is dual perspectives, I have not found an author to do it better. What I love about her books are that they are short, easy to read and fast paced, you will never read them and feel bored. When it comes to books, I love short chapters, it helps me read quicker and it keeps my attention for longer and that is how Kemmerer writes her books. The chapters very quickly change between Rob's perspective to Maegan's perspective in less than ten pages, but the writing is condense, and nothing is missed out. I think dual perspectives are so good in a book like this, as you get to see two people go from knowing nothing about each other to knowing the most about each other. It is interesting to see how their thoughts develop in the book whether it be about each other or something they are going through. 

The characters in this book I really loved. Each of them go through their own personal developments, each unique to themseleves. Rob and Maegan made great main characters to me, they were both very thoughtful and their perspectives were very insightful. I think they both go through a lot and learn a lot as people but you also see the people around them change. There was not one character I didn't like in this book which I guess is a good thing, because you go from disliking some to liking some and vice versa, so you can't really hate one of them. I love too many characters to be able to name any specifically, but I think the friends and family in this book really made me love it even more. 
I would honestly recommend this book to anyone who wants something unique and quick to read over the summer. It isn't your typical light, summer romance book but it is definitely a contemporary I think is worth ready. There is something everyone can relate to in this book as well as something everyone can learn from this book. It is funny, yet sad, but thought-provoking and an all round great book. 

Let me know if you plan on reading this book or if you have read it! I would love to discuss!
Grace xx

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

STORING ACCESSORIES

Over quite a few years, I have accumulated quite the accessory collection, from rings to sunglasses, and storing them can be such a mission. I don't know about you, but I hate losing things, and so when it comes to storing the likes of my earings or something small, they need to be in a super secure place. In this blog post, I wanted to share some of the ways in which I store some of my jewellery and other accessory bits. 
For all of my really small pieces of jewellery, so usually rings and earings, I like to use a Ring Holder. There are so many of these on the market, and you can get some really cute ones. I got this balerina one from Next a while ago and I mainly love it because of the little dish at the bottom because it means that I can put my earrings there. Some ring holders will only have a bit to hook your rings on, but it you can get one that has a little more storage space, like this one, I think that they are much better. They definitely help you avoid losing the smaller earings and I just find it really convenient. I tend to keep my most used earings and rings on this, because it is such easy to just grab them and go. 

If you don't have a ring holder to store your earings, then I would really recommend Trinket Dishes. I love using these for my main braclets, necklaces and my watch. There is such a range you can get now, all different sizes, colours, shapes, the possibilities are endless so you can always find one to suit you. I have two currently and I don't really have a system, but they are both there to just keep my jewellery somewhere I wont forget. If I didn't have that ring holder, then I would definitely use one of the smaller trinket dishes to store my earings, most of them tend to be deep enough so it isn't likely that an earing would roll off them. 
For all of the jewellery that I maybe don't wear daily or more special, centimental pieces, I will keep in a Jewellery Box. Super basic and a classic, but you can't go wrong with a jewellery box to help keep your small accessories safe. There is such a range out there, you can get some really small ones, some perfect for travelling and some bigger ones for a bigger collection. My jewellery box is from Dulwich, and it is on the more expensive side of things, but I would highly recommend their products. There jewellery boxes are such high quality and a lot of them tend to be multipurpose, like mine, as it is a jewellery box, but inside it has a removable section that folds up into a portable jewellery holder, perfect for travelling. I will leave their link at the end of this post as I think they are definitely worth a look, but I will also like some cheaper alternatives. Especially if you've got a big jewellery collection, a box where you can keep and store it all is the way to go. The majoirty will have dividers, great for seperating necklaces from braclets or silver from gold jewellery and some of them will even have a ring roll for earings and rings. 

Since I don't go into my jewellery box that often either, it means that I can also use the top of it to store some of my sunglasses and other bits. It is just convenient to have all of my accessories in one place, as I can just go to this shelf in my room to grab everything. I tend to keep one sunglasses case and one or two pairs of sunglasses on top of my jewellery box as I don't have too many in my collection, and this is the easiest place for me to store them when they aren't in my handbag. 

The final way I store some of my other jewellery is by keeping the in Jewellery Bags. I tend to mainly do this for more dramatic, costume jewellery as I don't get them out very often and to also keep them seperated from my finer pieces of jewellery. If I have a really luxurious jewellery bag, I tend to keep it and put some pieces in there whether that be a really dramatic necklace, or bangle or even sunglasses that I don't reach for often. I just think that a small jewellery bag looks nicer than just having them out and it keeps everything looking neat. 
I'm going to link some of my favourite places to get some of these storage pieces from so you can go and shop them yourself. Let me know what you think of this post, it is something really different, but the pictures really inspired me to write it. 
Grace xx

Links:

Sunday, 11 August 2019

SUMMER BLUSHIN'

For some reason, summer arrives and suddenly, I am obsessed with blusher. I'm not sure why but I just love a little extra colour when the weather is warm and my makeup is lighter. I have definitely been growing my blusher collection over the last few years and have found some ride-or-die blushers that I wanted to share in this post. 
The first one is such a classic, but you can't go wrong with the Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso. It is the perfect peach shade, great with a tan, and the formula is beautiful. The formula is not matte, but it is not super shimmery either, it is just radient and on the skin, it just gives you such a healthy sheen. This is definitely my favourite blusher for holiday, and I can't wait to start wearing it some more. 

Next is one that is a little more high end but a product like this lasts a lifetime so I think that it is definitely worth it. The Too Faced Sweethearts Blush in Candy Glow has been one of my most use blushers just because of how wearable it is and how it makes your skin look so healthy and fresh. The formula of this is similar to the Milani one, in the sense that it is not matte and instead it just gives you a sheen. This one is a little more shimmery though and I actually aso like to use this as a highlighter. If you apply this with a fluffy brush, then that shimmer really comes through, so it is like a blusher and highlighter in one. The colour of this is also super wearable. The three shades mix together to give a natural colour that I think would love amazing on every skintone. 
The final shimmery blush I am mentioning in this post is one that I just can't get enough of, and I think you will be able to tell, as I am constantly mentioning it in my makeup posts. The Natasha Denona Blush and Glow Duo is perhaps my favourite makeup product ever. It has the most beautiful highlighter in it and the perfect blush for something natural and radient. I always say this, it is expensive for what it is, but I can't recommend it enough, it is beautiful. I did mention the highlighter part of this product in my HIGHLIGHTERS I'M CURRENTLY LOVING RIGHT NOW post, but now it is time to talk about the blusher. The colour of this blush, I would describe as a true rose gold, it is pink but it has got a golden sheen to it and it that really comes through on the skin. This is like a blusher, highlighter cross but I love that for summer because, like the Too Faced one, it is like a two in one. What I love about this blusher is that, it is shimmery, but it is natural. It gives you the most natural, radient flush ever and I love it. 
The next two are the same formula but just different shades. If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know that I love the Natural Collection Blushers, they are affordable, matte, and have a great range of shades, two of which, I am mentioning today. Firstly, the newest one in my collection the Natural Collection Blush in Apricot Dream. This is in the new packaging, which is definitely an improvement, but the colour is just incredible. It is a really vibrant peachy, pink but the pigmentation of it is just right. When you apply the shade, it isn't super pigmented so you can really build it up. I like this best with a duo fibre brush and I just think that it distributes the product perfectly. Sometimes you just want a matter blush, they look more natural and you tend to get better colour pay off when you use them, so I think, to match an eye look, these blushers are perfect. I also love these blushers on the eyes, just as a little two in one, especially when you match the face to the eyes. 
My other shade is the Natural Collection Blush in Peach Melba which has been with me now for far too long but I still love it and don't want to get rid of it. From the pictures, you will be able to tell that I have already hit pan on it, which I have never done with a blusher before, so I think that just says how much I have worn it over the years. This shade isn't really peach to me, it is more of a muted pink but it is perfect for everyday. It is super natural and it just gives you that little bit more colour, but it is super versatile. I always find myself reaching for this when I have bold eye makeup on and I just want a blusher to enhance it, not distract from it, and this one does that perfectly. 
The final product I am mentioning is a palette, which is the Revolution Blush Palette in Blush Goddess. I love blush palettes, because I love to mix colours to create a perfect colour. This palette is great because the blushers are all matte and each colour is super wearable. I find myself using all of these colours equal amounts because they are all lovely. They are definitely very pigmented so a little bit goes a long way, but they blend really easily and just look super natural on the skin. I definitely think that if you are getting into blush and want to experiment with some shades to see what suits you, a palette like this would be amazing for you.  

I'd love to know what your favourite blushers are, especially for summer, I'd love to try out some of your recommendations!
Grace xx

Thursday, 8 August 2019

EVERYDAY SUMMER MAKEUP

I have been wanting to make this post for a while now because my makeup routine has changed up quite a lot now that it's summer, so this is overdue but hopefully, you still enjoy. I'm trying to keep this post short and sweet so let me know what you think!
At the moment, I haven't really got a primer I am obsessed with, but I am currently trying to use up the Collection Primed and Ready Warm Apricot Primer. This does the job for me, it creates a nice, smooth base for my makeup which is all I could really ask for. With the warmer weather, foundation is just never an option for me. I just find it to be too heavy and it comes off so quick that I just don't see the point. I'm also trying to embrace my freckles at the moment, so right now I am just sticking with concealer. Right now, the two concealers I am switching between are the Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer and the Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer just because together, they match me perfectly and they make such a great combo. Finally, for cream products, the Iconic Illuminator Drops in Original have become my new favourite makeup product for summer. I apply this before I use any powders, and then I tend to set it with a powder highlighter just to intense it further. I love to use this daily now though as it just gives your skin a little extra radiance and glow. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Palette is back out again and I enjoy using both the highlighting powders and the contouring powders. I tend to mix the two matte highlighting powders to set my conceal and then for bronzing and contour, I tend to mix all three shades for something super natural and seamless. This palette will definitely be coming on holiday, it is just the best for powders and it all comes in a little palette. For a proper powder though, the Natural Collection Mattifying Powder is my favourite, right now, just for touching up and setting the places where I might get oily throughout the day. Currently, my favourite blusher is the Too Faced Sweethearts in Candy Glow, just because it is so easy to apply, it gives you such a natural flush and paired with the highlighter I'm about to mention, it looks stunning. Another product I'm bringing back out, TheBalm Mary Lou Manizer Highlighter. This is just the perfect highlighter for summer, it is a pale gold shade, great for going on holiday and I mainly love it because it is so buildable. Paired with the highlighting drops, it looks insane. 
The only thing I am wearing on my eyebrows right now is the MUA Matte Essentials Eye Shadow Palette. I use the two brown shades just to fill my eyebrows in softly and that's it. Eye shadow has not really been my thing lately, I have been neglecting it over the last few months, but if I was to wear eye shadow, it would be the MUA 15 Shade Palette in Fire Vixen. It has such a beautiful range of pinks and oranges, with some more natural shades and some more vibrant ones. I also love the metallics in this palette, perfect for all over the lid. My all-time favourite mascara, the Collection Volumax Waterproof Mascara is obviously going to be in this post. It is perfect, I can't really fault it, it gives length and volume, and with it being waterproof, it is perfect for the unpredictable weather this summer. 
Finally, for lips, my current favourite is the Huda Beauty Liquid Lipstick in Wifey, however, I am always mixing it up. Liquid lipsticks are always a safe option because of how long they last, but that isn't to say that I don't love a gloss every now and again, because I do. This liquid lipstick though is such a lovely nude, great as a base for any gloss and just generally amazing for summer. 

I'd love to know what you think of the products mentioned in this post!
Grace xx

Monday, 5 August 2019

SUPERDRUG NATURALLY RADIANT SKINCARE REVIEW

It has been quite some time since I have done a review blog post, but right now, I currently have a few skincare pieces that I am trying and testing so I thought I would review two of them today. You may know from previous skincare posts, I love Superdrug's own Vitamin E range and I have been wanting to try out some of their other ranges for some time, so I finally got around to buying some of their Naturally Radient products that I am going to be reviewing now.
I picked up two products from the range, their Brightening Day Cream and their Glycolic Overnight Peel, both of which were super affordable and I am pretty sure I got one for half price because of a deal they had on. 
Since summer is here, I have been looking for a new cruelty free day moisturiser with SPF in it as the last few I have used either haven't been very good or cruelty free so I wanted to give this one a try. The product comes in a really cute container, I love how simple the packaging is, and you get 75ml of product which I think is pretty generous. I usually expect day moisturisers to come in a tube because they tend to be thinner, but still, this packaging is still very secure and perfect for storing. This moisturiser also has SPF 15 which is not a lot but it is something, and even in the British weather, SPF is needed on you face for most of July and August. 
This range offered two types of day cream, the one I got is for normal to combination skin which I think was the best fit for me, as I find to have pretty normal skin. The other one they offered is for normal to dry skin so I guess there is something for almost everyone as they don't seem to cater for people with oily skin, however, I guess if you had oily skin you could maybe get away with the one for combination skin. 
As for the formula, it is looks like your typical moisturiser, but I will say, it feels more like a night cream than a day cream, as initally it feels quite thick. You can tell just by looking at it in the pot as it is very sturdy, but don't worry too much as it settles into the skin quite quickly. When you blend it into the skin, the white residue disappears very quickly, but you are best doing it in the mirror just to make sure all of it has been rubbed in properly. It is definitely very moisturising and rich so you know that it is going to hydrate your skin throughout the day and for a such a thick moisturiser, it absorbs into the skin much quicker than I would have thought. When you leave it to settle on the skin, it does give you a proper radient finish but I will say that if you apply too much, it may start to look a little greasy as I have done that a few times. A small amount definitely goes a long way with this product. 
Overall, I really like this moisturiser. It probably isn't the best one I will ever use, but it does a really nice job and for a moisturiser with SPF in it, I think it is great for summer. Like I said before, I think they could have done with another moistuiser for oily skin, especially because this one can start to look greasy even on a normal skin type, so I guess that is something I would be aware of, if I had oily skin. 
As for the Glycolic Overnight Peel, I have never tried a product like it before. After examining the instructions, it seems to act like a hydrating overnight mask. You apply it after you have cleansed your face, leave it on overnight, you then wash it off in the morning and follow up with your day cream. I made the mistake of applying it daily for about 5 days, until I read the back and turns out you're suppose to apply it 2 or 3 times a week, so just be careful of that as I am guessing it could clog your pores. 
I don't think that this is for any specific skin type, but it is obviously part of the naturally radient line, so I would make the assumption that it is more for people with dull, dehydrated skin. It claims to 'awaken you skin's natural glow' and 'improve skin tone and texture' which are two things I would love, but are also very high expectations. 
When I first used this product, I was so surprised when it came out like water. It is like a gel/ water texture and as soon as you put it on your face, it feels like water, I can't explain it any other way. It is so light and thin, but it almost feels like a film as it settles. When it does begin to settle it gets really tacky so I would recommend leaving it to settle fully. I sometimes found that my hair was getting stuck to my face so maybe tie your hair up too just to avoid that. It isn't too bad though when you sleep as it does eventually sink in fully. You definitely don't realise it is on your skin when you wake up, but when you wash it off, it feels like you are removing that film and your skin feels so soft afterwards. I found that my skin was super smooth and it felt hydrated. It definitely doesn't make you look greasy or anything, it just makes your skin feel fresh and soft. 
This is definitely a new favourite product in my skincare routine, I think I will definitely repurchase it when I run out as it is just a nice addition to have, to give your skin some extra moisture. 
I would love to know if you have tried out either of these products or the Naturally Radient line in general. If you have any other skincare recommendations, I would love to hear them in the comments!
Grace xx

Friday, 2 August 2019

AFTER - BOOK VS FILM

Okay, so I have been waiting to write this post for quite a while now, as I first picked up this book at the beginning of July. Saying that I have let the thoughts sit with me now and I have taken some time to develop some proper opinions, but we will get into all of that later. Before I get started, I also just wanted to point out, that yes these pictures are quite poor and that is mainly down to silly, amateur Grace using the wrong settings on her camera, so I apologise for that, and some of the other pictures coming in upcoming posts. Anyway, this post is going to be all about After, the book, After, the film and how they compare to each other. 
In case you have no idea what I am talking about, let me give you a summary. Basically, After started out as a Harry Styles fanfiction published on Wattpad, since then, it has had billions of reads and got published into a real book. It then became a New York bestseller, which led to a film adaptation and now the film is out on Netflix. To say the least, this story has been on a wild ride, and since I discovered it went from being a fanfiction to a film, I wanted to know more. 
With the film being released this year, a lot of people have been reading the book, which is now available in physical copy from Amazon, but I got mine from The Works. It has been getting very mixed reviews to say the least, which only intrigued me more because the plot seemed right up my street, yet things were being said that was steering me away from it. However, I finally got around to buying the book, which was humiliating (the woman at the till practically laughed in my face when she saw it), and I read it. I read it in four days, and the following weekend, the film came out. I got around to watching the film, and the keep it brief, I have a lot to say. 
The way I'm going to layout this post is by reviewing the book and film separately, and then going into detail about how they compare, which is probably going to contain spoilers, so please just bear that in mind. 
Starting with the book. To give a brief summary, After follows Tessa's perspective. She is your pretty average girl, a perfectionist, anti-social and has been in a relationship with her childhood best friend since forever, but she is about to start college, alone and is moving out for the first time. When she gets thrown into the college experience, she is around people completely unlike her and that is when she meets Hardin Scott (Harry Styles, if you are reading the version on Wattpad) who is your typical bad bay, rough around the edges, bad attitude with a tormented past. When the two are introduced, they immediately hate each other, but as we all know it, it spirals into a romance unlike anything either has experienced before. I'm pretty proud of that summary and hopefully, I've intrigued some of you. 
I won't lie, it is your typical hate-to-love romance, set at the tender age of 18 when you are exposed to the big bad world. The book is pretty typical in that sense, and you've got to love that sort of romance to enjoy this book. Luckily, I am absolutely trash and love ready books like this. 
What I liked so much about this plot though was that there was always something mysterious or something intense happening. The book was never stagnant which is what a lot of my recent reads have been, so this was super refreshing to pick up. Tessa and Hardin's relationship is obviously the main driving force in this book and they take so many twists and turns that you are just always intrigued to read about what will come next. I will mention now though, as their relationship develops, it is very much a toxic state and mentality that the two of them have. Although the book glorifies an obsessive, toxic relationship to some extent, I think as long as you recognise this and acknowledge it, I don't see what's wrong with it as its purpose is to entertain at the end of the day. The book is also extremely unrealistic in every sense of the plot but yet again, its entertaining so just bear that in mind if you are vulnerable or naive to these kinds of books. Apart from that, I do love the characters and relationships in this book. Personally, I find Tessa a little bit annoying as a lot of her reactions are very dramatic and her internal thoughts tend to spiral in the most ridiculous ways, saying that, I think Hardin as a character is well developed, contains a lot of depth and generally carries the book due to his mysterious nature. As for their relationship, like I said, it is toxic at times, but there are also a lot of really tender moments in there as well as some fun banter which I really love because as a reader, you laugh at those moments, which I just think is rare to find sometimes. With this plot and relationship, there is a lot of sexual scenes in the book and the writing goes into depth in those scenes, which is understandably not to everyone's taste. I won't lie, some of the sex scenes made me cringe loads because other descriptions were blunt while attempting to be sexy, they just didn't work for me. They do make a regular occurrence in the book though so again, just bear that in mind if you want to read it. I didn't find them unreadable or drastically bad, but some of them are a little awkward to read, especially in terms of the speech, but it is something most people can just bare with. Something refreshing about the book though was that Tessa, who is the one with no sexual experience actually controls how her sexual relationship with Hardin. She says no and she takes control in some aspects, which I think is important to show in a book like this. 
As for other relationships and characters I love in this book, Tessa's relationship with Landon (Liam on Wattpad) is probably my next favourite. They are super like-minded and he is the sort of friend that could do no wrong. Landon is honest but loyal, he is giving and thoughtful, just a great guy. Although that is one of the only positive relationships in the book, there are some characters that you've just got to admire. I love characters like Steph, Zayn and Molly who are all apart of the highly dysfunctional friendship group that Tessa gets thrown into but you learn to see the good and bad in all of them as time goes on. I also think that the friendship banter is amazing in the book whether it includes Hardin or Tessa. 
I don't want to go much more into the plot, but it has a lot of your typical learning curves in it. Making friends, learning to trust people, first loves, family problems, it covers them all. I will say though, the ending will flip everything backwards for you. The physical book ends differently tp the Wattpad book but the ending of the physical copy is the second chapter in the Wattpad book two in case you want to grasp where I'm up to. Anyway, that plot twist is massive and definitely added a lot to the book. There is definitely a few hints a lot the wat but I didn't see it coming as it was pretty unimaginable until you see it on paper. It will make you to angry though so just be prepared to scream in frustration because that was me too. 
Another thing about the book that I wanted to point out, is that the writing is very basic and at times, poorly written. Even the published book contains spelling mistakes and grammatical errors which I thought was a bit ridiculous but it's something you've just got to look past, and luckily, I found that they didn't happen too often. Saying that some things could have been written better but overall, it is super easy to read and descriptive. Like I said earlier,  I read this super quickly because although it is 99 chapters long and over 500 pages, you fly through it because the writing is that easy to follow. 
As for right now, I gave this book 4/5 just because it was really entertaining, I really enjoyed the plot and characters, and although it was super predictable and typical at times, I like that in books so all was good in my eyes. I didn't give it a 5 just because of some of the scenes that were cringey, poorly written or too dramatic for my liking. Overall though, I would probably read it again. 
This book also became a series very quickly and although I am still yet to buy the series in physical copies, I have started to read books two and three on Wattpad. Maybe I'll save those to be reviewed for another day, but I am currently on book three and I am still enjoying it. 
I would recommend this to anyone who just wants something quick and easy to read that is a typical hate-to-love romance, coming of age story. It is definitely a guilty pleasure but just enjoy it. 
This post is now going to take a bit of a turn now because I am going to go onto the film and how it compares with the book. The film has the same plot basically but there were some major changes they made in the film when you go back and compare it to the book, all that I will come to in a minute. Firstly though, I wanted to talk about casting. 
When reading the book, I had quite a vivid image of everything from Tessa and Hardin to the campus and the Vance Publishing but everything looked perfect in the book I thought. Especially, Hardin and Tessa, they were cast perfectly, looking over the fact that Tessa was supposed to be blonde and curvy, they both had the right look and their chemistry was great in the film. I also like how they manipulated some of the smaller characters, so instead of Steph and her boyfriend, Tristan in the book, in the film, Tristan was a girl so I love how they included a lesbian romance into the film. Landon is also black in the film, whereas in the book, he was supposed to fit the appearance of Liam Payne, but I think the film did a good job at including a little more diversity although I don't think it was really enough considering that Tessa was described to be super curvy in the book but isn't in the film, which I thought was a little frustrating. 
As you might be able to gather, I wasn't a big fan of the film but I'm going to get into why now. My main issue with the film was that there was no substance to any of it. Every single scene ended too soon and nothing was established whether that be a personality trait or a relationship, you just don't see anything happen in the scenes. It is because of this, that you build no connection to any of the characters or the relationships each of them, you feel no sympathy for anyone and everything just feels distant. With this, the whole film feels rushed. Without giving to much away, Tessa and Hardin go from sharing their first kiss to moving in together within the space of about 20 minutes and quite frankly, I thought it was a bit of a joke. Like I said earlier, Tessa and Hardin's relationship is what drives the book but that definitely wasn't the case in the film, I found there to be nothing romantic or endearing about their relationship, it seemed fake, awkward and quite honestly, boring. All of the characters really had their own personality in the book, but none of that is shown in the film, Steph is suppose to be witty and caring, Zed is suppose to be charming and hilarious, but none of this is reflected in the scenes of the film, it was frustrating to watch. 
The other main thing that really bothered me about the film was the lack of communication throughout. There is weirdly too much silence in the film, it doesn't add anything to the film, instead, it makes it just feel more awkward. There is not a lot of speech in it and I think that's why I felt like the scenes had no substance to it, because they weren't talking for the majority of it. You get Hardin taking really long pauses to say something and I get that their intention was to make it sexy and seductive but it just doesn't feel like that when you watch it. If you've watched the film then please let me know if you agree because I don't know whether it's just me. 
In terms of how similar it is to the book, they feel quite different. The basis of the plot is the same, but it was the little things in the book that made me really love the story and the film just didn't carry that through, instead, they added other scenes which made no sense to me and like I said before, they had no substance to them. From the perspective of someone who liked the plot of the book and the little scenes and sub-plots in it, the film just felt completely different, there were so many changes and additions, things happened in a different order, and to be quite honest, what happens in the book is better than what happens in the film. The film also misses out so many important scenes from the book that really build on the relationships and characters. I don't want to go into all of the scenes I think that they should have included, but because they were missed out, I just felt like the relationship between Hardin and Tessa was rushed and faked as what you see through the film is not enough to be classed as a love story. 
My final complaint is the ending. Like I said the physical book and the Wattpad book end differently and the film ends similarly to the physical book, but the big plot twist at the end is different. Not dramatically different, but I think the plot reveal in the film is ridiculous and the reactions are incredibly dramatic and unnecessary in comparison to the book. The plot reveal in the book is massive, it makes you question a lot and although it is disgusting what happens, it makes for a good plot twist, but I think the film failed to capture that same effect. The recovery of this plot twist is also too quick in the film, there isn't any separation or reflection, like the book and like I keep saying, it was all just a bit rushed. The very end of the film is similar to some things that happen in the second book but it is nowhere near as romantic, as meaningful or as sensible, in the film, it just didn't make any sense to me. If you do accept the ending of the film though, there is still a lot left to question which I guess is why they tried to leave it on a bit of a cliffhanger. 
I apologise for making this post so long, but hopefully, you can see that I had a lot to let off my chest. I'm hoping I haven't completely ruined your plans on reading the book or watching the film, don't forget, these are just my opinions, and I would love to know your thoughts if you have read/watched After, we could have a little discussion!
Grace xx

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

10 THINGS THAT MADE ME HAPPY THIS MONTH

July was definitely my best month of 2019 so far, and I am hoping that is going to carry through until the end of the year now. I really want to start documenting more on here, by sharing the big and small things going on in my life at that time. With this, I wanted to end the month by sharing some of my highlights of July. July was a super busy month for me, and a lot of really exciting things happened for me, and it felt like they were all happening at once. I would love to do these every month so please let me know what you think, right now, I am really just enjoying looking back at everything I have done this month. 


The first week of July, I was on work experience as part of my sixth form programme. This had been in the works for months and months but it came around super quickly. Everyone was travelling to all of these exciting places for work experience, but I ended up staying pretty local and helping out at a primary school. A lot of people would probably think that this is quite generic, which it is, but as someone who loves working with children and is considering teaching as a possible career, this was perfect for me. However, I was definitely really nervous going into it, I tend to find change a little difficult and meeting new people is something I'm working on, but immediately I was welcomed by the other staff and I really enjoyed my time there. I spent the majoirty of my time with children aged four and five, which was so interesting and lots of fun because they were all so friendly and just really engaged with one another. It definitely taught me a lot, espeically, how to get them to engage with learning about things like money and spelling. The five days I spent there really set the tone for the rest of the month and I now really value the time I spent there. 



During work experience week, on July 3rd, I went to see Here Come The Boys, which was a show with three of the male dancers from Strictly in it. My mum and I had tickets for months, right when they first came out and so I had been looking forward to it for a really long time. The show definitely did not diappoint and it was definitely one of my favourites I had ever seen. It was unlike anything I had ever watched before, it was a lot of dancing but in all sorts of different styles and layouts. The dancers were also super talkative, engaged a lot with the audience and it was just an overall, really fun night. 


July 10th was then my 17th birthday. I've never really been a massive birthday person, but this year definitely topped it as my best one yet. Not because of anything in particular, but my friends and family just made me feel so special and loved. I was definitely very anxious that morning, which I usually am on my birthday, but as the day went on, I just feel really super special. My friends and family spoilt me massively this year, especially my parents, but I am so super grateful for all of the lovely messages, cards and presents I recieved. 17 is currently looking like my best year so far!



I always knew that I wanted to drive as soon as possible, so the day after my birthday, I sat my driving theory test. I had been preparing for it months prior to my birthday as I just really didn't want to fail. As I was sitting the test, I don't think I had ever been so nervous and answering the question section, I really thought I had failed. However, I didn't, I passed and so that is my first step done to become a legal driver in the UK. 


Like I said, I have always wanted to drive as soon as I possibly could and so for my birthday, my parents did get me driving lessons. I am so super grateful for my driving lessons as I am lucky enough to be able to get my lessons quite close together in the hopes that I will pass quite quiclly. I have had 10 lessons this month, and I feel like I am finally getting to grips with it. Without giving away too much, my test is booked in a couple of months so fingers crossed all will go well. I am really enjoying it at the moment though, it is so different to me but I really love it and I am excited to finally pass, hopefully in the near future. 



This month I also started my first ever job. I have been trying to get a job now for at least 9 months, and nothing really came of the ones I had applied to. However, a local company by where I live was hiring and so I applied in June, and I had the job by the start of July. It took a little while to get it set up but I've ended up working three shifts this month and I have honestly loved it. I mainly love how many new people I have met, and I have found some amazing friends through this job already. Even though I haven't even been there a month, I do think that I have definitely learnt a lot about the world of work and about myself as well. I definitely want to do a post all about the things I've learn from my first job but that probably won't be coming for a few months until I have properly settled, but it is super exciting right now. 

In July, I definitely seeked more opportunities to see my friends and to catch up with some that I hadn't seen in a while. I am definitely not the best when it comes to sticking with plans, but I really tried this month to go out and meet up with some people that are really special to me. I guess this is a bit of a brief one, but with it being summer, I will hopefully be seeing my friends a lot more and making more memories. 

Like I said, I am now finished for my summer holidays which means that finishing year 12 had to make it on my highlights for this month. I would be lying if I said that this year was easy, it has definitely been my most challenging academic year, both academically and mentally. It definitely started off rocky but as time has gone on, I am feeling good about the future and I am excited to go into my final year of sixth form, even if that does mean sitting the most important exams of my life. 

This month, I also got back into reading. With the last few months of year 12 being very stressful, reading definitely took a backseat which was unintentionally but necessary for the short term. I also went through a bit of slump with reading, there was nothing I really wanted to read and everything I started, I just couldn't finish. Mid July though, I started to finally read some more and I am really happy with how it is going. The book series that got me back into reading has its own little post going up this week so I guess you'll have to wait to see what it is, but it has definitely gotten me excited about other books I can read over summer. 

The last thing this month that was a big highlight for me, was volunteering with animals at a local organisation near me. I don't want to say too much about it as it is really local to me and I don't want to give away that much detail right now, but it is an incredible organisation. I have always wanted to volunteer somewhere and this is an organisation that I am really passionate about. I love the work that they do and everything they have achieved. They are only small, but I think that they are making a massive difference. Like I said my volunteering does include working with animals, which I love and it one of the main reasons why this place is right up my street. It is definitely very intense and I have found out a lot about myself while doing this, but it is so rewarding and lots of fun. I haven't actually been there a lot this month, I am still getting introduced to it all, but so far, I do really enjoy it when I'm there. 

Let me know in the comments what you're highlights from this month were, I'd love to know!
Grace xx