The Girl Online controversy

So I only heard about the whole controversy regarding Zoella's book, 'Girl Online', having been ghost-written a couple of hours ago. I've been trying to voice my opinion with others on twitter however 140 characters is not sufficient so here I am.

Now i've seen the deleted blog post from the apparent ghostwriter's blog, talking about a book she'd been asked to write in six weeks. Deleting it is is a little suspicious.
I also read a few tweets from a couple of people that said Zoella posted a picture of her with her ghostwriter a while back. So perhaps she has never denied it but I don't believe it has been widely known. It can't have been for the internet to have got so caught up in the story today.

I don't care if someone has their books ghost-written. Katie Price doesn't write her books. I've not read any of them but I still know that. Her fans still purchase.

I think it is the fact it was not disclosed more openly in the first instance.

The issue I have, is what Zoella and being a blogger stands for. In my opinion she is open, honest and natural. She talks about her anxiety openly and regularly goes without make-up in her vlogs. Blogs are also (though this in itself is a topic of regular debate recently) looked to for honest opinions and often favoured in the place of magazines. In my opinion, not being more upfront about the authorship of the book, is what I have a problem with and goes against who I see her as.

Maybe her management had a say in this, who knows. I'm not having a go at the girl, but perhaps       ' . . written in collaboration with . .'
would have been better for the front cover. I'm certain there would still have been just as many sales!

What is your opinion on this? Is it the same as mine?

A very brief trip: 4 hours in London

I've only visited London a handful of times so when I got the opportunity last weekend to go I jumped at it. My parents were working at a trade show in Reading with my Dad's shop so I caught a lift down with them Saturday morning. We left home very early at 4.30am and had a long day running the stall until the late afternoon. We were staying at a lovely hotel in Reading thanks to my discount for working with the hotel brand and we got to access the 'club lounge' for drinks and canapes before we went out for dinner. We've never had this before so we felt very posh!

I had quick walk into Reading town centre before dinner and managed to happen across loads of children teenagers getting pictures with Danny Mac and I *think* Carley Stenson who were there to help switch on the lights.

Tower of London Poppies

Back to get ready for dinner and a quick selfie in the bathroom mirror wearing my ebay leather jacket for the first time. (I actually bought it about 5 months ago but this was it's first outing). We went to a Chinese buffet which was delicious. The duck pancakes were AMAZING but I did overload myself on deserts and my Dad was shaking his head at my Mum and I as we almost had to roll ourselves out of the door!

I recently bought a bargain trio of Origin face masks from Boots and I brought the clay one with me to try that night. I didn't think it would come off that easily as I did leave it on a long time but surprisingly a wet flannel worked wonders.

The next day I left Mum and Dad at the show and I caught a train into London. Wow, the tube confuses me. I swear I always end up spending over £15 on it even though it should cap at the cost of a travelcard. When I have more time i'd love to do more by foot and bus but this was such a short visit I really didn't have the time to spend trying to figure that out.

I headed straight to the Tower of London. I knew they had started to dismantle the poppy exhibition but they had certainly got a move on. This was the view when I came out of the tube station! The front of the tower was still pretty much intact as you can see from my photo's.

Lets not forget the smaller parts of the display.

After working my way around the whole of the outside of the Tower, my next destination was to see Liberty and visit the Pixi store to purchase the famous 'Glow Tonic'. I hadn't seen Liberty before and to be honest, although it was all very upmarket I wasn't that impressed. I didn't however see all of the departments so I shall withhold full judgement!

Liberty London day trip

Look how big the Liberty advent calendar is! 

The Pixi store was located just off this street below. It was actually a very clinical looking shop. I''d expected it to be quite cosy with more products, but the sales assistant was lovely, taking an interest in my visit to London. On the way to the tube station I spotted Topshop so did a very quick lipstick swatch all over my hand and came out with two berry/purple lipsticks.

Carnaby Street Christmas

After that it was time to go back to Paddington via Kensington/Notting Hill. One of the things I wanted to do whilst in London was visit a 'posh' borough. I quickly walked up Kensington high street and had a quick peek in this Jamie Oliver shop below. What you can see is a cookery school/demo area where children and their parents had booked to learn how to cook together. I think they were making a chocolate cake.

Jamie Oliver Kensington London cookery lessons cooking

After that I meandered up some streets, wandering vaguley in the direction of the station. All the houses look like this there, it's all very Love Actually!

Notting Hill Kensington London

I was running out of time so I managed to hop on a bus to the train station. Turns out the buses aren't so hard to figure out. If they are all like that i'll be fine next time.

There were a couple more things on my list such as hiring a bike and visiting Hyde Park but I didn't have time. I had a great day though, even if the train back was rammed and I had to stand next to the door eating my Mcdonalds (classy). Next time must remember to reserve a seat!

Anywhere you think I should visit next time? I've hardly been anywhere in London so all suggestions welcome!

Recommended Recent Reads # 2 - Sealed with a Kiss

Sealed with a Kiss book review Seals on Isle of Bute Rachael Lucas

Since using a kindle, it's not necessary anymore to plan your reading. If I fancy something to read all I have to do is browse Amazon, select, checkout and TA-DA! I have a book to read on my kindle. Actually in reality it's not quite as easy. My kindle won't connect to the internet at home so I have to download onto my computer and transfer via a cable. Still, it takes less than five minutes.

The first book I reviewed in my RRR series was About A Girl by Lindsey Kelk, you can see that here.

Unless I am waiting for a new release by one of my favourite authors I always have a browse of the kindle deals. There is loads of chick-lit available for under £1 but this little gem stood out for me. 

Sealed with a Kiss by Rachael Lucas
Rated: 4.5/5
Cost: 59p (currently 98p)

Amazon description:

'Kate is dumped on her best friend's wedding day by the world's most boring boyfriend, Ian. She's mostly cross because he got in first - until she remembers she's now homeless as well as jobless. Rather than move back home to her ultra-bossy mother, Kate takes a job on the remote Scottish island of Auchenmor as an all-round Girl Friday. Her first day is pretty much a disaster: she falls over, smack bang at the feet of her grouchy new boss, Roddy, Laird of the Island. Unimpressed with her townie ways, he makes it clear she's got a lot to prove.

Island life has no room for secrets, but prickly Roddy's keeping something to himself. When his demanding ex girlfriend appears back on the island, Kate's budding friendship with her new boss comes to an abrupt end. What is Fiona planning - and can she be stopped before it's too late?

This funny, big-hearted novel is the perfect read for fans of Carole Matthews, Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde.'

I've only read a couple of Katie Fforde's books but I would agree this is perfect for fans of hers.

My opinion

I was reminded very much of the TV show Monarch of the Glen during the first introduction to the island. Though with it being set in Scotland and with a Laird it would be very difficult for me not to associate it!

When Kate is taking her journey up to the Islands of Scotland I very much emphathised with her. Going through the familiar 'what the heck am I doing, am I crazy?!' motions is something I can relate to. I've been off on many adventures living and working abroad and I always get that feeling. Once you've been waved off and it's just you entering a completely unfamiliar environment far from anything you know these thoughts do enter your head making you question your decisions. Of course Kate, like I (90% of the time), had all these qualms squashed once she arrived and was made to feel very welcome by the other dwellers on the estate who would soon become her friends and confidantes. When I say estate I mean the estate in which Duntavie castle resides. Not thinking Monarch of the Glen here at all ;)

Susan, Morag and Jean almost adopt Kate as soon as she steps off the ferry and are essential in helping Kate get used to island life. I love Bruno's, the Scottish-Italian, coffee shop. It is described as very retro with the booth and jukebox, but this being Auchenmor it has actually just been there a long time and the decor has come back into fashion. One character I should mention is Finn. Let's just say he helps Kate let her hair down. Although very much a ladies man he comes across as someone you just want a big hug from.

Sealed with a Kiss review Isle of Bute
From SeaDave

I plan on living in a small village/town when i'm a lot older so I really enjoyed the descriptions of the picturesque Auchenmor and the community. It's an island where everyone knows everyone else's secrets but with that comes a lovely community spirit that supports each other and celebrates together. The island is actually based on the Island of Bute, which is where the photos on this post are from.

Whilst in these types of books it is always obvious as to the outcome, I do love reading the journey they take to get there, the tension between the two that comes with thinking the other's not interested and all the stolen looks and glances. I would say that I would like to have seen a few more Kate/Roddy scenes, just day-to-day stuff and seeing them growing familiar and comfortable with each other and few more of the pointed looks. But that's just me being fussy.

Now you know when you reach the conclusion of a book and you just want to read more? Well aren't I a lucky girl! When I bought this I didn't have a clue when the book was published. Turns out it was earlier this year and the author has been so kind as to produce a mini sequel that came out last week called Sealed with a Christmas Kiss.YAY, happy Amy!!

This was a lovely, cute, heart-warming book to read. I laughed at times and even shed a couple of tears (whilst in the bath wearing a face mask!) Though after reading the book i'm still unsure as to what a Girl Friday is. A 'pitch in with anything' girl perhaps? Either way, does anyone know where I can get such a job? ;) 

PS. Writing this i've just twigged that the title could have a double meaning. 'Sealed' with a Kiss. Get it? Read the book and tell me if i'm right. :) 

PPS. Rachael is a blogger too, support a fellow blogger and give this a read! 

Sealed with a Kiss review seals on Isle of Bute
Seal photos from Kyle Evans 

I wasn't going to include any text but I have to display this from Prince Charles' Twitter account:

Lest we forget those who fought for our freedom.
In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.


A rant about returning home from travelling

So. Travelling. It's great. But it doesn't last forever and eventually you return.

You come home and catch-up for two weeks and everything is amazing, you're amazing and how cool is it to sleep in your own room and use a clean bathroom?! But then everything gets back to normal. No-one cares to listen to you rabbiting on about spending 18 hours on a coach or how deserted outback Australia is.

You've also changed. Slightly or a lot, you will have.

Whether you've just seen how massive the world is or whether you've knocked shyness on the head and have discovered a new go get it trait to your character, something will have changed. The thing is this slowly gets knocked out of you. Or for me anyway. I don't know why. Maybe it's because out there everything was different and I had to be this different person.
For example, previously I didn't like using the phone. Whether it was for a job or inquiring about a uni, if there was an email address then phew! But in Australia whether it was applying for jobs, or trying to find accommodation, if there was no phone number I got annoyed. I was happy enough ringing round every number I could find.
But now five years from returning i'm back to pre-travelling me. Scared to go for things and afraid to pick up a ringing phone in case it scars me.

I can't pinpoint why exactly we revert back. Maybe it's because back home, although things have changed slightly such as relationships or the town you live in, essentially things are the same. You find it hard for the new you to fit in. So you get knocked back down to the person you used to be.

These two articles I came across this evening express points along the same thread, but what led me to write this rant were the opinions expressed in the comment sections.

Why Returning From Travel Is Harder Than Leaving The Comfort Of Home

The Hardest Part Of Traveling No One Talks About

Most of them think the article's writers are looking down on those that haven't traveled. That they are selfish and self-obsessed and very lucky to have had the experiences they have had.

There is no looking down on people.

Maybe a tiny proportion think that people are stupid to not travel. But not the majority and certainly not me.

I think most people I know fall into two categories. They are either envious and wish they could do the same but can't for different reasons such as the circumstances in their life. Or they have no desire to do so. After all why would sleeping in a ten bed dorm appeal to people when they could sleep in their own bed every night and take a luxurious two week holiday every year instead?

We also know we are very lucky to have been able to have had the experiences we have had. I saved from a job I took after uni and then also worked when I was in Australia. Yet I still know I am lucky. I know the hardship in the world. Despite my avoiding the news I am still aware of the desperation and hardship that people endure all over.

But I bet these people commenting still buy the latest Xbox or spend £2000 on their next holiday. Well you know what? £2000 (earned and saved by me) is actually all I went out with. That along with working in Australia is how I afforded my year abroad.

So yes, whilst I was lucky to have no commitments at home and a place to come back to, it's not like I swanned around for a year drinking prosecco every evening from the roof-top garden of my apartment daddy paid for. I worked hard and lived in a 2 bed flat that housed 9 people. I worked 62 hours a week in an orange packing factory in the middle of nowhere whilst sleeping in a 10-bed dorm. That was how I afforded to tour Australia, to do a 3 day boat-trip of the Whitsundays and a sky-dive in Fiji.
These people moaning at the article might work very hard too at their job, but they choose to spend it on rent or a mortgage, their own bedroom and luxuries in life. We all work hard but choose to spend it differently.

Saying that i'm fully aware that some have gap years funded by their parents. But does mean people are not allowed to express their thoughts or even think these things in the first place? No it doesn't.

No matter how we've come about being about to travel we are all entitled to speak about how we feel. I must admit I often feel guilty for moaning about things in life. Yet everyone does it. I'm sure  the people commenting in the comment section whinge about something. Maybe they can't afford to upgrade their phone. Or maybe someone can't afford the latest £500 mascara. Everyone has some little thing that they complain about.

So why can't these people writing the articles express themselves without being belittled?

They are just saying that coming home from travelling can be harder than one might think. That you don't find yourself fitting back into society as easily as you slotted in before. That's okay to think and say is it not?

The extent of my Halloween

I don't really do Halloween. We're not a Halloween household. I never went trick or treating as a kid and the furthest i've got to dressing up was at a Katy Perry concert three years ago on this night and I attempted to go as a pumpkin. It's just never been a big thing. I always thought it was more of an American thing, but it seems the world and his wife are excited for the occasion nowadays and have extensive plans. My love of vampires would actually be something i'd like to dress up as, should I wish to make the effort, Maybe next year I may succumb. For now though, I am content with doing nothing tomorrow (well i'm actually working tomorrow night anyway but still) and being oblivious to the occasion.

I tell a tiny lie.

I did decorate some cakes earlier on in the month, that although childish, I was very happy with!

I'll leave you with this snap of my sister and I from a couple of years ago. I'm not actually the one dressed up so you can't accuse me of getting into the spirit, but I may have have a little play with the Halloween effects on picmonkey lol. ;)  My sisters face I haven't altered at all!

Hope anyone going out has a great night. I'd love to see your costume pictures. It's all well and good seeing tutorials but I wanna see the full costume! Anyone avoiding the occasion like me?

Autumn Nails from Barry M

Barry M Gelly autumn/winter nails Paprika Chilli

I used to have a decent nail varnish collection many years ago, until I started moving around all the time and they got a little lost along the way. I'm slowly building up a colour range again and last month these two shades from Barry M's autumn/winter collection caught my eye. I really the loved the Paprika shade, it really stood out as I hadn't seen a shade like that before. The Chilli shade to be honest i'm sure you can find something similar elsewhere as there are a multitude of red/berry/wine shades on the market. But it looked good sat next to Paprika so I bought the two there and then.

Barry M Gelly autumn/winter nails Paprika Chilli

My nail varnish skills are pretty poor so you'll have to ignore the bad application, but this is what they look like on. The left-hand is with one coat and the right with two. I prefer the Paprika shade with just one coat. Chilli looks good either way!

For some reason i've never worn a full set of hands in just one of these shades, as you can see from the picture i've always mixed it up. My favourite way is wearing Paprika on my left and Chilli on my right hand.

This is the full Autumn/Winter collection: 

From Barry M

 I really like the mustard coloured shade and if there is an offer I like in store (I always shop with offers!) i'll get this. This time of year i'm always tempted by the glittery/3D type varishes but they are a PAIN to take off. I did find a really cool one once that had little strands in it and looked exactly like red and green tinsel on a tree!

What do you think of this collection, do you like or have any of these shades?

My last 5 buys

This idea comes from Georgie over at Beans Beauty Blog. There used to be something similar in a magazine years ago, can't think which one though, anyone remember?

I feel it necessary to say these are my last 5 'note-worthy' buys. I'm not going to include the bits I bought in Asda today or the fruit pastilles from Sainsburys yesterday etc I don't think you want to see that! So without further ado:

1. A new driving licence
I lost my purse a long-time ago. I'm not going to say how long in case I get in trouble for not getting a new one sooner. Please don't tell anyone! Along with it being a legal necessity, I've got fed up with taking my passport out whenever I go out (not that often!) or being scared in case I get ID'd at the supermarket.

2. Slippers from TK Maxx
I've got fed up of dirty socks from wearing nothing on my feet so I picked up some Totes Isotoner slippers today. They says they are extra cushioned etc but I can see them going the way of every other slipper I've owned - loose and flat as a pancake!

3. Sexy boots from River Island
A little fact - The last time I bought anything from River Island was in 2003! A small black bag with a silver metal handle than came in a bright green carrier bag that got used until it broke carrying my folders in sixth form. I'm sure you all remember it being cool to carry these bags. What do the kids carry nowadays then, anyone tell me?

Anyway I really love all the ankle boot styles this season and can't decide on a particular pair so I tried this pair on, liked them and bought them. They have a chunky platform sole and are as edgy as I get! I don't think they are very comfortable so i'll probably reserve these for evenings. I still want another pair for day-time, a pull-on nubeck finish boot with a small heel that looks great with dresses and jeans.I'm going to stick with Ebay to find these because i'm fed up on trawling the shops and the internet.

4. The Originals Season 1 DVD
I was so frigging excited when this came out this week. It is the best spin-off show ever, an explosive vampire/witch/werewolf drama with grit! Didn't actually pay for this out of my own money, I used a gift card that I won earlier in the year. Who watches this?

5. New hair colour
I've been red (or faded/grown-out just before an appointment) since I came back from Austria in March, each time trying a slightly different variation. This time I went for a darker cherry red to suit the autumn and winter. I already have my eye on the purple tinted hair one of the hairdressers had there for next time!

Hope you enjoyed this, i'm sure nosey people will have ;) I have been away from here for a bit, various reasons and still not sure when i'll post next but I really wanted to do this post. Hope you're all well! x

Experiences from 3 months of blogging

So this is a teeny tiny amount of time to everyone else but for me continuing this blog for a month makes me happy. I'm rubbish at keeping at stuff but I am really enjoying my experience so far in the blogging community and making friends with people that share the same interests/thoughts as me. Because of twitter everything is so instant now and I have picked up lots of tips from there. I thought I would share a few things I have learnt so far and what I want to learn next.

People still use Gmail.
Do anyone of you remember the time you had be invited to get a Gmail email address? I do. If you had one you got a certain number of invitations to allows others to sign up. I think I even sold these on Ebay at one point . . seems crazy doesn't it? So I have had Gmail for years and years but it is full of junk-mail so I never look at it, the only thing I used it for was to sign into Youtube occasionally. Yet creating a blogger account means I use Gmail a lot now. I have a separate one just for my blog and is primarily used for receiving comment notifications, Bloglovin and Google Plus activity. So yeah, I thought no-one used Gmail anymore, but I was wrong!

I like Twitter (shhh . . )
You can't tell anyone this. Certainly not myself six months ago. Up until three months ago I didn't have a Twitter account. I could see how it could be useful and fun but why would I want another thing to get addicted to? I started comping in April (entering lots of competitions) and many of these were on Twitter so I reluctantly joined. I only used it for this though up until I started by blog just over a month ago and have discovered it's many advantages since. Promoting posts, connecting with blogging friends, joining in chats. I did have to ask someone though what the point of the 'favourite' function was though. I couldn't quite understand it but now know it is similar to Facebook's 'like' button.

It's pretty easy to get overwhelmed in a Twitter chat
I love Twittter chats. Not only do you get to listen to others advice and pick up product recommendations, everyone swaps links at the end. The first couple of chats I was there sending my link to everyone and clicking on everyone's link in return. This is what my screen looked like:

That was just half of it! Now I am a little more reserved in this respect. I'll give it out at the end of the chat but I don't send it to anyone that asks for links purely because i'll end up with 50 links in return to go though. Anyone that does check out my blog of course I return the favour and anyone that I have had a good conversation during the chat with.
It is also easy to get overwhelmed with the pace of chat. #bbloggers has a lot of participators and by the time you have read that page there are another 50 new tweets to read. I find #lbloggers #bloggersdoitbetter/#bdib and #socialbloggers a lot easier to keep up with.

What an awesome piece of internet! This little gem has showed me how many create beautiful photos on their blog. At the moment I mostly tend to just crop and add some text but there is so much on here from making collages, adding effects and borders to brightening and sharpening an image. I don't have any image editing software and never have so picmonkey is all I require at the moment. This is the first one I did and I was so proud lol.

For the future I wish to change my design and learn how to make colleges properly (I can never get the pictures to fit in it!). Design will take a long time though as it is not something I am good at and I have heard a few bad stories about designers.

I have loved meeting you all and thanks for reading my blog, if you have any tips for me I would love to hear them below.

Here's to the rest of my blogging journey!

Uni tips from experience

Seeing as my sister is starting in a couple of days I am going to share three tips I have already told her. These are not just new students but also those returning to university this September. I didn't want to simply write a long list of the standard tips you will find everywhere but rather a few I think are really important and that I wish I had thought of when I started uni 9 years ago (!!).

1. Be prepared to lose all of your cutlery

Either spend a bit more and buy something that is distinctive or buy cheap items and be prepared to replace them. No matter how hard you try things will go walkies. Whether you put away in your drawer or leave on the sideboard for five minutes . . . it will disappear. At least if you have something with distinct markings on you can win the argument when claiming back your stuff!

2. Join a club or society

I really do think this is important. I knew some people whose social group was the people they lived with and I knew some people whose friends were from the club they were in. You don't know who you are going to live with. Although you may get on with everyone during the first couple of weeks things can change once everyone is settled in. Joining a club gives you a hobby, something to do outside of work/drinking and friends. I was in the surf club but I wasn't dedicated to it as I sometimes found the social side of it hard. I did try other clubs (from Irish dancing to wake-boarding and volunteering) but never really stuck at anything. It would have helped me have a wider circle of friends had I been more involved.

3. Be open and unjudging

I don't think unjudging is a word but i'm going to go with it. You will meet so many people from all walks of life during your first few weeks and will end up having that drunk toilet 'what are you studying, where do you live?' conversation a thousand times. Do not dismiss anyone. (Though i'm not really talking about your sudden toilet best friend that night. I really don't think either of you will recognize each other the next day)
You think the people you stick to in freshers week are all you need and will be friends for life? Not necessarily. I don't think it's really until the second term of uni that you start to establish friendship groups. Not quite sure how to phrase this but be open to people and experiences that are different or what you are used to. If someone is too loud and brash for you, it's probably just a front and they are just as scared as you.

I hope these few pieces of advise are useful to some of you, please let me know if you are starting uni or if you have any tips. Please share with anyone you think would find it useful. :)

As a last piece of advise. Don't relent and do your housemates washing up. They won't learn.

DVD's i'm watching and those i'm waiting for

Downton Abbey, Breaking Dawn, The Vampire Diaires
Add caption

A mixture of dvds i've never seen and re-viewings of old favourites. I'm currently enjoying watching these great programs/films:

Gossip Girl - series 1

'XOXO' The only glimpse i've had of this was during my third year of university and it was on the TV in the kitchen/lounge whilst I was attempting to write my dissertation. As that was six years ago and the only twenty minutes of the program I have ever watched I was happy when I saw series 1 in CeX for only £2.50. It's second-hand, but who cares as long as it works! I'm on episode 3 so far and although I normally don't enjoy watching posh people being all rah! on tv, stuff actually happens. I'm not waiting five minutes whilst as awkward conversation tries to take place . . MIC! New York is also near, if not at, the top of my travel list.

The Vampire Diaries - series 1

#TVD With series six starting next month (please please let us know the UK starting date!) I thought I would watch series 1 again. Where it all began, where Elena was an innocent human knowing nothing about what was to come. A time when vampires were actually in the minority. I've owned this for four years but discovered something new last night. On the screen that lists the episodes there is a little scissor symbol which indicates there is unseen footage in this episode.

I only found out last that you have to click on this to show the footage.

I did wonder all the other times i've watched why I didn't notice anything new. DUH!

Oh and for any fans the CW just released a new trailer. It looks a very different feel to past series!

Downton Abbey- series 4

With the new series starting in a week i've realised i've yet to watch series 4 or the last two Christmas specials. In fact Matthew is still alive as far as I am concerned. I do have a legitimate reason for missing all this. ;) It came from Amazon yesterday so i've got less than a week to watch it all.

Breaking Dawn - part 2

Even though this is constantly on Channel 4 at the moment I keep missing it and it is the one i've seen the least. This came with Downton Abbey yesterday and I can't wait to watch it, though I should probably wait until i've caught up with DA and Homeland (below).

I'm waiting for . . . 

Homeland - series 3    

Late to the party, I was hooked watching series 1 and 2 last summer. It's a pain that series 3 is only out a few weeks before 4 starts. Why do that?

The Vampire Diaries - series 5

Despite being the weakest series so far of an other wise amazing program I still need this for my collection and to catch up on the few episodes I missed in the middle. Plus the deleted scenes mean more drool time over Stefan/Damon . .  ;)

The Originals  - Series 1

The spin-off from The Vampire Diaries this show surprised us all. Yes it contains our favourite twisted evilly-hot family from TVD, reclaiming their home-town of New Orleans, but to produce something of this high quality? That was not what we expected at all and I know everyone has been blown away by this show. I'm looking forward to re-watching this but on a proper TV screen rather than the tiny square I watched on my computer. Annoyingly this is being released even closer to the series 2 start date than Homeland.

So what about you, do watch any of these or want to know more about any of them?

University - The Right Thing?

University the right choice?

I just wanted to write a few thoughts on university and the pressures of going. I have done no research and have no figures or anything this is just based on my experience and what I have witnessed.

When I started university in 2005 fees were lower than they are now. I think a lot of people now are put off by this but you can still get a loan to cover this. I think though it has made people think is it really for them? Is it worth getting into that much debt just to go to university on a whim or just to study something they are interested in but have no idea where it would lead them after?

I studied history because it was my favourite subject and it had always been in my family. We used to be involved in medieval re-enactment when I was a child and always visited castles as part of our holidays. I didn't know what I would do with this after university, but you get three years to work this out don't you? Well I knew by my third year I was going to fulfill my ambition to spend a year in Australia after university so I didn't spend time researching graduate jobs or any other options. I'd figure it out in Oz wouldn't I? I'd be seeing new places, new people and doing all different jobs. It would just come to me what my path was in life.

Yeah right.

Nothing 'came' to me. I have spent the few years since I came back doing various different work. Yes some has enabled me to travel but at the end of the day I graduated six years and I am still working a minimum wage job with no direction of where I am heading.

The point of that story is that university it not the be all and end all. It doesn't guarantee you a well paid position like it perhaps might have 15, 20 years ago. Experience counts for A LOT more nowadays. I have a friend who didn't go to university. She is at the same job she started at 18 and now earns a decent wage enabling her to buy her own house. There are so many apprenticeships at the moment and although these are low-paid I don't believe you would be be any worse off financially than going to university.

I'm not saying either option is the right one. Some people just know what they want to be in life and going to university enables them to fulfill that dream. Some like me go just because they enjoy the subject and some don't go at all. If you don't plan on going, you don't get in or you end up dropping out it might work out for the best. You may have your parents on your back asking why and what is your plan though, so do a bit of research and at least give your parents something to stop them worrying for your future.

You can always go in the future when you have grown up a little and are more ready and know what you want to do. Although sometimes this may be more difficult as you will likely have other commitments such as your partner, your house and your children. It is still do-able though and you will be more dedicated and motivated that you would be had you gone at 18. (Or was that just me?)

This is an all over the place post opinion wise I understand but I just want to get it out there that university isn't the only option and I think at least some graduates would question whether it was the right thing to do. I don't regret going to university, I think I just regret being so relaxed about my direction in the years since. It has come to the point where I realise the penny just isn't going to drop and my career path open out in front of me. I've got to choose the most suitable and do something about it.

I hope I haven't put a dampener on anyone going away to university this September. University can be the best times of your life and is a practice for living in the real world. Make the most of it but remember: it isn't the be all and end all.

Fabulous Favourites

I've got a favourite posts folder on my bookmarks and want to share some of these with you. I only started it last month and I often forget to use it so i'm sure i've read many other excellent posts.

There's life out there - From The Chronicles of Wasted Time this post made me remember LIFE. As in that thing we are trying to portray on our blogs. Your blog isn't going to fade away your readers abandon ship if you put down that laptop or phone and live a little.

My photo storage is a mess! - Does anyone else have *really* unorganized photo's on their computer? As in keeping every single one (including 50 photo's of that sunset you took) and only having half in folders? Read this post, you'll feel less guilty. :)

Some of best SEO tips you'll find - I love this post from Corinne. I've heard of SEO. I've read a few hints. I didn't have any idea how to implement them however. SEO instructions for dummys here!

Late 90s/early 00's child? - There are many of these lists floating around but most of this one applies to my childhood. Eraser pens were awesome and Arthur? My sister and I quote that program all the time. 'Hey . . DW . . . . .. !!'

A product I have been loving in the past week or so is my ELF eyebrow palette. I've only recently started filling in my eyebrows so am experimenting with different products. I have had this for years and had never used it until now. With very little effort it shades in gaps and makes mine look a little less untidy. Holds well and looks very natural.


Finally, to finish up my favourites, I have been LOVING Taylor Swift's new song 'Shake it Off'. I only really became acqainted with her last summer as our head chef was obsessed with her and her albums were on contant loop! Play this when you are in the kitchen and I guarantee you can't help but give a shake as you are cooking!

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend, whether you are working or otherwise. I am going to a Kylie/Beyonce tribute night at Trentham Gardens tonight (brrrrr cold!) and then doing a carboot tomorrow morning.

What are you up to this weekend, do you share any of these favourites? 

Mini Blog Sale

Got a few things to sell and there will be a few more bits and pieces i'll put up tomorrow. I can't be bothered to do Ebay (though I spent long enough trying to make a college I may as well have done!). Postage will be £3.20, if you buy more than one I will combine. Please email

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1. Avocado (Australian) green dress, size 12. £3

2. Topshop Tall range dress, brown and black size 12, real size 10 or small 12. £5

3. George dress, size 12, real size 10/12. Need tights or shorts under this as skirt flowey. Worn once. £3

4. George dress, size 12, real size 10/12, knitted/wool type fabric, winter dress. £3

5. Primark gilet, size 14, real size large 12/14, brand new with hood with detachable fur rim. £4

6. H&M vest, size 38, real size, 10/12/14, worn once, is one of those wide-style tops. £3

7. Pussycat London from New Look purple sequin dress with lining, size small, chiffon type material, real size 10/12, worn once. £5

8. Debenhams Strapless black polka-dot swimming costume with removable cups. Has ruffle down the front which handily hides the tummy ;) Has hooks to add a strap to make it halterneck. Brand new with tags rrp £35 Size 12, real size 10/12. £7
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