Monday, 30 October 2017

Nottingham | 17

In mid-October, we took a trip up't Nor' for my birthday. We planned to stay with some friends in Middlesborough and then head to Whitby on my actual birthday, but with my birthday falling on a Wednesday we decided why not extend the trip and go up a few days earlier. Trying to find a halfway point we landed on Nott'm for our destination and spent a few days there exploring before heading further north for my twenty-second birthday.

While in Nottingham we did a ton of things. We went to the Goose Fair, the Justice museum, saw the sky mirror, Lord Byron's house, the Robin Hood statue, ate the worlds best pizza and doughnotts: as well as exploring some pretty cool shops and restaurants. Oh, and I got my nose pierced! ...something I have wanted for such a long time but never actually gone through with it.

Nottingham was an amazing place, and somewhere I know I'll want to revisit again and again. There were so many other places and restaurants where we didn't get to explore or experience so another trip is definitely needed.

Cheerio for now! 
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Thursday, 26 October 2017

What I'm Studying This Year | 17

I have kind of made it a habit to document my university progress on this little corner of cyberspace. Because of that it just wouldn't be right to not let you guys know what I'm studying this year.

This year I am studying a module called Reading and Studying Literature (A230) with The Open University. It will be my fourth module and fourth year towards my Open Degree. To graduate with my Open degree I have to complete and pass six modules with the Open University which means I am officially halfway through my degree! I remember enrolling onto my first module so vividly. I was so nervous and worried that I had potentially signed away six years of my life; dreading that it would drag on and be torture. If anything, it has been the exact opposite and I can't recommend the Open University enough to people. It truly is such an enjoyable and friendly community, which is so welcoming and accommodating of whatever stage of life you are in. People of all ages and all walks of life come together to form a friendly teaching environment and supportive community.

Anyway, back to the module (sorry, I went on a tangent). My module, of course, involves a lot of literature and a heck of a lot of reading -but I'm a bookworm, so I'm kind of in my element. Not only does it include classic novels but also plays, readings, poetry and travel writing from the Renaissance and Eighteenth century, through to the twentieth century; it also covers a wide range of themes and eras such as the romantics and the Victorians.

I must admit that there is a lot of work to this module which is nerve-wracking but I'm also excited to start and find my routine again. This module also has an exam at the end of the year, something I have never experienced at university level so that is also at the back of my mind constantly. Regardless of this, I can't wait to get settled into this module and read all the great works it has to offer.

Cheerio for now!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Book Review: A Mask of Shadows

A Mask of Shadows, Oscar De Muriel  
 First of all, I'd like to say that if you are not familiar with any of the previous Frey & McGray cases then you can read my reviews for them here; where I have reviewed both The Strings of Murder and A Fever of the Blood

A Mask of Shadows starts in London 1889, before moving onto the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland. A bout of terror haunts the acclaimed production of Macbeth, as well as their beloved celebrities, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, along with other actors, seamstresses, and stage hands. In the opening chapter, set in London, the first chilling event happens. As the actors' soak in their final applause, hell ensues with the screeching cry of a Banshee and a gruesome message, smeared across the stage sets, prophesizing someone's death. The tale takes place a short time after A Fever of the Blood and so, our narrator brings up his superstitions once more as he and McGray are assigned this case, shortly after the Macbeth cast and production arrive in the City. What follows are numerous plot twists, along with a long list of suspects within the play, behind the scenes and even onlookers and relatives who could all have a motive to kill or even reasons to be killed themselves.

As I stated in my review of A Fever of the Blood, you never know what to expect when you have already read and loved the original book. For me, I loved both the previous books, the first being my favourite, so before reading this book I wondered if maybe the author had peaked (like some do) or whether the characters were starting the die out. Having read it, I can say neither of those points is true. The storyline and characters were very well thought out, although I did think that there were a little too many names and characters involved at times which got a little overwhelming for me reading it. I also think that the end was left a little open which usually I wouldn't mind but in this case, there were so many questions that were unanswered which left it all rather loose and deflating for me. 

My favourite thing about this edition to the casebooks were the characters we already know from the previous editions i.e. Frey & McGray, Elgie, the family of Freys, Madam Katrina, etc. I always love seeing the progression of Frey & McGrays' relationship and so, reading this book I loved watching them become more and more so friends rather than colleagues who just put up with one another. I must say, I also adore the Victorian era these books are set in. It gives the books a grimmer vibe to them which I really enjoy. 

The next edition of the Frey & McGray cases is The Loch of the Dead, which will be released next year on the 5th April. You can pre-order it here.

Have you read A Mask of Shadows or any of the accompanying books? What did you think? 
Cheerio for now! 
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Friday, 13 October 2017

Wales | Where We Went | Part 3

Our third day in Wales started with a trip to get breakfast, followed by us going on the Brecon Mountain Railway. The train was a steam train with rickety carriages which were furnished with wooden benches and wide windows to take in the beautiful views. We passed the Pontsticill Reservoir and had two stops to our ride. One at Torpantau station and the other at the Steam Museum. 
The Brecon Mountain Railway also had a workshop you can look in, which smelt exactly like my grandfathers' garage and had my heart a flutter. It's an oily, rusty metal scent that if I could bottle into a perfume, I totally would! 

After our time on the railway and a quick stop in the gift shop for postcards, we headed off to find Sgwd yr Eira (a waterfall). I should also mention that by this point it was starting to rain and as we started our trail it got heavier and heavier. With a boyfriend becoming crabbier by the minute from the rain and both of us being soaked through, we decided to turn back. After drying off our clothes and having a warm shower, we had some hearty grub and called it a night.
We had heavy rain for the majority of that night and had to pack up while it drizzled; but even so, it was probably my favourite night of the trip. There's something pretty soothing about falling asleep listening to the rain. Although we still had a day left and had thought about visiting some areas on our way home, such as Cardiff or Tenby, we decided it was best to simply pack the car and start heading home. 
Cheerio for now! 

Monday, 9 October 2017


I have wanted to write this post for a while but have never been able to piece together my words and thoughts in a way which could convey my feelings on the subject correctly.
You see, seven months ago I met a guy. My boyfriend James. It was pretty much an instant attraction between us and everything followed on quite fast, but it was right. At the beginning I found myself panicking about my health. How would he take it? Would he be okay with my M.E? Would he expect too much from me? Could I keep up with him? A million questions reeling through my mind. But he took it fine. In fact, he now says that I over exaggerated about the whole thing because I can do things and, I suppose, he is right. 

I have never been all that fond of the word 'Disabled' and the image it brings to mind. It brings about this idea that you are unable to do anything at all, not just physically but that you are mentally and emotionally unable in every form: and, I hate that. The idea that we are folk that can do nothing. Empty vases sitting on a window ledge, collecting dust. I hate it because I can do things. 

I can think for myself. I can make decisions. I can live a life like anyone else -sure it may be at a much slower pace on some days or I may be in my wheelchair or need extra help: but I can still do things. I am still a human being living my life and fulfilling my dreams and I will not miss out. 
I suppose since being with James this seeded thought in my mind has grown more wild as time has passed. We have been living our lives together and experiencing wonderful things alongside one another for the past seven months. Over that time I have realised that I can do the things he does, but just in a different way or at a different pace. Like when I wanted to see the view of Hastings from the cliff top with him. Abandoning my wheelchair for a few moments, he helped me up and down the steep, uneven slopes so I could take it all in with him. Or when he helped me around Camden Market on a busy Saturday and kept insisting I sit down and rest. 

Regardless of those little things and obstacles that may stand in the way, I will still go forward and find a way around them -because I can. I can still do things. I can still live my life in a way that suits my health. I may be disabled in a medical way or in the eyes of government or the council: but in mine, I am still able. 

Cheerio for now! 

Friday, 6 October 2017

Wales | Where We Went | Part 2

Our second day was a whole day to explore wherever we wanted. We got ready for the day and headed off for a waterfall walk. A walk that was supposed to take fifteen minutes but thanks to me, took us a good few hours. The walk included a lot of photo and boomerang opportunities and, I mean, it would have been wrong if I didn't take advantage of those opportunities. As a result, I have a ton of photos, so this post (like other posts about our time in Wales) is going to be more photo heavy in content. 
Later that day we decided to check out an all you can eat buffet in Merthyr Tydfil and then turned in for the night. 
Stay tuned for Part 3,
Cheerio for now! 

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Yes To: Micellar Cleansing Water

Now I have to be honest when everyone started hyping about Garnier's' Micellar Cleansing Water, just over a year ago, I really didn't understand the fuss. Around that time my skin had suffered a lot from drugstore products, which had many harmful ingredients and synthetics in, and I felt as though I couldn't justify using this new product; which could potentially make my skin worse. I decided to skip out on the 'Micellar hype' and toddled off towards Tropic Skincare and other natural brands and Cruelty-free brands.

Within the past six months, I have started dabbling a little with the brand Yes To. I experimented with some of their products, which didn't go so well, and then I stumbled upon these gems. I came across them on the beauty section of ASOS and with a voucher to spend on nothing else I thought why not?
Yes to Cotton Comforting Micellar Cleansing Water 
This variation is made for the most sensitive of skin and for those who suffer from the allergy-prone skin. As the packaging states, this cotton comforting cleansing water has cotton extract which nourishes and protects sensitive skin, while the cottonseed oil protects and softens the skin keeping your skin perfectly calm.

To use: place a cotton ball or pad on top of the push-down pump, use around two pumps and gently swipe around your face avoiding contact with your eyes. You can use Micellar Cleansing Water to remove makeup, cleanse the skin and moisturise all in one. It is a simple and straight forward routine that anyone can do.
Yes To Coconut Hydrating Micellar Cleansing Water
This variation is pretty much the same product but it is more focused on hydration. The coconut extract helps restore and condition your skin while giving it that ultra hydration it needs. I personally have been using this one more than the other, especially with the sweltering heat we experienced here in the South East England a few weeks back.

To use same as above product. Place a cotton ball or pad on top of the push-down pump, use around two pumps and gently swipe around your face avoiding contact with your eyes.

Both of the above products are 95% natural and are free from Parabens, SLS, and Silicones. Another thing I love about these products is their easy twist-lock caps. An amazing feature for chucking it in your bag to go away without fearing a product explosion.

From my past experiences with Yes To products, I have found that a lot of the products are too heavily fragranced for my personal liking so with these products I was quite apprehensive about what to expect. The Cotton Comforting one had a fragrance to it, however, it was incredibly subtle that you almost miss it. The Coconut Hydrating one has more of a fragrance to it but is in no way as overpowering as some of the other Yes To products I have previously tried. If fragrance is something that you cannot tolerate in products then I would suggest going into a store where you know your desired Yes To product is, and see if you can catch a whiff of it before purchasing.

Have you ever tried any Yes To products? Which has been your favourite? Comment below
Cheerio for now!
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Monday, 2 October 2017

My Thoughts of the Hunger Games

I finally read the Hunger Games series...
...and so, I feel it's only right that I let you lovely lot know what I thought of it just as I would any other books. 

First, let me start by explaining why it has taken me this long to read the books and become engulfed within Panem and its' Districts. Honestly, it never appealed to me all that much. I know many would gasp in shock at me saying that (including my boyfriends mum) but it never did. I was in my early/mid teens when the Twilight saga was being adapted to movies and so, that was the jam for me, my friends and really my generation as a whole. Up until the movie adaption of The Hunger Games was released, I had never heard of the books and because the books had never worked their way onto my recommended reads on Amazon, I didn't think it was the right read for me. 

Right about now you're probably wondering what or why I suddenly wanted to read it. Over time many people and fellow students have recommended me reading it having heard that the majority of books I read are fictional series', generally around the genres of sci-fi or fantasy. I don't know why that is, maybe I just love committing to a series and truly experiencing a fictional world over the course of a few books. But regardless of it being recommended many a time, I never seriously thought about it until my boyfriend told me that it's his mother's favourite series. He lent me his copies of the first two books, The Hunger Games, and Catching Fire, and then a few weekends later we came across a copy of Mockingjay at a boot fair which we picked up for £1. I quickly had the trilogy and was free to read away. 
What did I think of the books? 
The Hunger Games: was, in my opinion, very good. I feel like there were plenty of plot twists for me to keep reading and I constantly wanted to know more, however, I did get a little confused and, because of that, distracted by all the names of the tributes involved. That was the only negative thing I found with the book. 

Catching Fire: was my favourite out the three books. I felt like I had got to grips with the world of Panem, the Capitol, and the Districts, but I had also come to picture certain characters in my mind and felt more familiar with them by this book. 

Mockingjay: this was my least favourite out of the trilogy. I felt like there were too many plot twists with this book and far too many characters to keep track of. However, *Spoiler -I did like how it ended with Alma Coin being shot instead of President Snow. I also really loved how Katniss and Haymitch became more like companions than fellow victors by this third book. 

If you haven't heard, let alone read, The Hunger Games books then I can only assume that you've been living under a rock for the past 5-10 years; and so, I'll leave the Amazon link right here for you to read up on the book descriptions and what goes down. Just so you know, there are three books in the series. 

Have you read the trilogy? What did you think? 
Cheerio for now! 
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