Autumn Favourites 2017!

Wow… it’s been a little while since I’ve done a ‘favourites’ post. I tend not to make monthly favourites, purely because I’m poor, and man can’t afford enough new stuff to write about every month! Also because at this current moment, I’m making two blog posts and two YouTube videos (check out my YouTube channel here!) per month. Which may not seem like much in terms of content, but I’m happy with it.

So, to wrap up the November on this blog I thought it would be fitting to wrap up a few of the things I’ve been loving these past few months as the weather’s gotten colder (yessss), days have gotten shorter (double yessss) and the great C-word approaches (Christmas, I mean Christmas). So here they are!

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Wearing

Mustard Jumper – H&M

Ah yes, this is where I give myself away as the absolute epitome of a female blogger: the mustard knitted jumper. But damn, do I love it. It was super cheap (like £6???) and I’ve gotten so much wear out of it already. I must admit, I was worried I wouldn’t suit the mustard, but I think I get away with it. Definitely #worthit.

Tan Leather Rucksack – Accessorize

This was one of my more extravagant purchases of autumn 2017, which sounds a bit weird considering it’s a rucksack. And it’s not one of those weird super-expensive Swedish ones either. But for me, buying a bag from Accessorize is pushing it a bit. But I figured I need a good quality backpack to last me a few years of uni, and I use this every day. For uni, going to Connor’s house, and even taking to work. I’m mega-fussy when it comes to bags and purses, etc. so this was perfect. Even if it did slightly break the bank at the time.

Using

Fragrance Free Lip Balm – Superdrug

Ah, Winter. Thou art a heartless bitch on the lips and skin. Which is why I needed to find a new solution when my trusty lip balm ran out. And yes, I did actually go for the simplest, cheapest option out there, it was a good choice. A cheeky pack of two means I’m never without a quick fix for dry lips (try saying that five times fast), and they do the job.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Facial Wash

Speaking of winter and its effects on the skin, boy oh boy does my skin HATE the change in seasons. But this has seriously helped. A combination of a good face wash every day, moisturizer and drinking lots of water helps keep the breakouts mostly under control. Also, this one smells super good.

Reading

The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

Okay so… I’ve read QUITE A LOT these past few months. Might have something to do with the fact that I have a BookTube channel all about the books I read. (and I’m almost at 50 subscribers so!!!) but yes, I’ve read a lot. However, as university work has gotten more prevalent in my life, reading has unfortunately gone on the back burner. So at the moment I’m slowly making my way through The Mortal Instruments (yes, I know I’m ten years late).

I started off not loving the world of the shadowhunters too much, mainly due to personal dislike for Cassandra Clare’s writing style, however the series and characters have definitely grown on me and I can see this series staying with me for a long time! If you want to find out about my opinions on this series as I continue reading (I’m currently on the fourth book), then make sure to subscribe to my channel!

Listening To

Harry Styles by Harry Styles

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Okay so I was never ever ever a 1D fan. Nothing against them, I just was slightly too old to love them, and slightly too young to hate them. But out of a need for new music recently (after listening to the same 4 bands for the past like 5 years), I decided to give Harry’s album a go. Even though I didn’t like Sign of the Times when I first heard it, I LOVE this album. I think Harry is by far the most talented out of the group, and his personal style truly shines through in this album. It has hints of classic rock, ballads, and even country at times, and I absolutely love it. Every song makes me want to sit staring out a train window and leave my old life behind in a turn-around montage, you know? It’s that kind of music.

Watching

Stranger Things

Come on. We all know this would be on here. If this isn’t on everyone’s Autumn favourites then they are LYING. I have not met one single person who hasn’t loved this show, and season two that blasted into my life at the end of October was everything I could have hoped for for my Hawkins children and more. I love each and every one of the characters and storylines so much, and this season truly did just expand on the Strange World and the characters I loved the first time around. It’s one of the best pieces of cinematic artwork I’ve ever seen, and I even used it as inspiration for one of my university presentations. That’s how much I love it.

The Vampire Diaries

It may have taken me eight years (this show first aired in 2009. 2009?!?!), but last night I finally finished The Vampire Diaries. And I full-on sobbed for the last five minutes of the last episode (sorry, Connor). I’ve been through many ups and downs with this show, and I can easily say it is not the best show I’ve ever seen. At times, it actually felt like I was physically being thrown into a fantasy writer’s worst nightmare, what with the plot holes and convoluted storylines, but I did feel an attachment to many of the characters, and I’m so glad it ended in the way it did. But if I think about it too much, I’ll never shut up. So let’s move on.

Miscellaneous

YouTube

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I know I’ve spoken about this multiple times in this post alone and I’m SORRY (but I’m also not sorry), but I’ve started a YouTube channel! I’m currently posting one video a fortnight, and trying to get motivated to do more (maybe over Christmas?) but I basically just talk about books! Books I’ve read, my opinions on books, and I even have a series on book recommendations for each of the Hogwarts houses!

I’m loving the whole feel of creating videos for my YouTube channel, and coming up with ideas for the future is just as exciting as seeing people commenting and enjoying them, and I can’t wait to put more effort into my channel into the future, since I’m finally doing something I’ve always wanted to do (make YT videos) while making it about something I’ve always had a passion for!

University Life

And finally, I’ve been loving uni life. While I’ve not been the typical fresher, what with living at home (check out why I decided to this here), and with not being really into the whole alcohol culture that comes with uni, I’ve been loving learning again.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to get a degree for a long time, but after deciding on what I wanted to do in the future, I knew it was a step I had to take to get where I wanted to go, and I’m going to embrace every second of it. Starting uni has given me the opportunity to keep my innocence and act like a teenager for a bit longer, something I won’t be taking for granted. I get to live at home with my family, I get to learn every day, and have spare time to spend on hobbies that I love. I’m loving university life, and I’m so lucky that this is a part of life I’m able to take part in.

So there you have it, a few of my favourite things from this Autumn. Much like everyone else in this world, I can’t believe we’re nearly over with 2017, but honestly I’m so excited for what’s coming up in 2018 as some pretty exciting things are in place already.

If you’ve got a favourites post, link it down below so I can check it out, and if you’ve been loving the same things as me then let me know, I’d love to hear about it, and also let me know if there’s any Christmas-y/Winter-y or other content you’d like to see from this blog!

‘Til next time,

Jess x

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Five Reasons To Live At Home While Studying

If you didn’t already know by my countless tweets, blog posts, Instagram posts and even mentions in YouTube videos (oh yeah, I have a YouTube channel now), I started uni. I know, right? Bet you never would have guessed.

In all seriousness, I started my undergrad degree in Communication and Media just over a month ago, and it’s been going… interestingly. Read More »

REVIEW: If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

Honestly, I don’t know where to start with this. I’ve always just told myself that I’m awful at reviews, and to leave them far far away, for other people to write, and honestly I’m a little scared to attempt this. But you know what? 2017 is the year of facing fears, I think (maybe) and I’d like to start writing reviews. So here goes (cue superior-sounding and intimidating review-er voice)…

If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

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If I Was Your Girl tells the, frankly overdone, story of a young girl who has to start a new school, and her struggles through making new friends, first loves and parent troubles. It’s one of those basic story premises that’s been done and done a thousand times over, the world over. I’m sure that no matter the culture, religion, race, every teenage girl has once wanted to read about the life of another teenage girl.

But with this, there’s something different.

And it’s not something that you have to wait until the last page for, either (which is something I personally don’t have the patience for). From the get-go (even the blurb, actually), we – the audience – are aware that Amanda, our beautiful, smart, nerdy and mysterious protagonist, used to be known as Andrew.

Meredith Russo’s debut novel details the post-transition Amanda’s life as she tries to make it safely from high school to the World Beyond – something of which I’m sure we can all relate to. But Meredith’s life as a trans woman has enabled her to transform a somewhat over-done story into one that I think – honestly – everyone should read. Or at least read about. The simple fact of the matter is: there aren’t enough stories about trans people.

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Now, as much as I could, I’m not going to make this post about trans issues. It is not my place, nor my right to address issues faced by those in the trans community.I have never faced gender identity issues, and I can’t imagine ever doing so, and that is where I will leave my knowledge on the subject. However, if a trans person, or someone struggling with gender identity issues is reading this: I support you, you are brave and amazing and you are not alone. If you need someone to talk to, I am here.

Now that that is out of the way, I’m going to continue by saying that this review is not going to address the serious matters of gender identity, transgenderism and social inequalities, as I simply haven’t got the words – or the authority – to do so. I will, however, review this book as a book. 

If I Was Your Girl, while hugely important and eye-opening for someone who is cis-gendered and uneducated, could have been better, book-wise.

The subject matter, while fascinating and wonderful in its modest glory (Amanda’s brief descriptions of the transition process I felt were a nice way to satisfy reader’s curiosities, while remaining steadfast in her secretive nature, and were well played-down by the author), could have been paced much better.

My biggest problem with IIWYG was simply the pacing. I felt this book could have been light-years longer. It felt rushed, and because of this, characters and their actions often felt unrealistic, and it could sometimes feel as though Meredith – the author – knew things that the audience didn’t, but forgot, and described scenes and emotions as thus.

While I can see the advantages of trying to write a book – particularly a YA book, as this is intended – that is long enough to be a story, while being short enough to keep young reader’s attentions, I felt this was just not long enough. There simply wasn’t enough space to put all the emotions of someone who has been through so much, on paper in just under 300 pages. I often felt as though, if I were in Amanda’s situation, I’d need a hell of a lot more time to digest some information and make some decisions, than she did. But that’s just me.

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Some may complain that IIWYG was too shallow. That it only tread the very shortest of depths that LGBTQIA+ fiction could do, but I think that’s enough. For now, at least. The general public may still be wary of literature that dives too deep into the minds and bodies of those who aren’t “normal” (and I use that term sarcastically, if you didn’t guess), and, while some of us may be ready to dive deep, the world might not be yet. Baby steps.

But, If I Was Your Girl did exactly as it was supposed to, and for that I commend it. It made me laugh. It made me sad and angry. It made me love Amanda and Virginia and Layla and Grant. It made me hate others. It made me feel that first-love, first-kiss, first-everything feeling that we all crave sometimes. And it made me more aware. 

And for a mainstream, published, printed and talked about book (If I Was Your Girl has actually been featured in Zoella’s book club with W H Smith for this year, which is incredible and huge for the author, to have someone as influential as Zoe recommending this story to her millions of avid fans…) to hold such power and knowledge. The power to turn attention towards this issue that the world faces (by issue I mean transphobia and homophobia, etc), is fantastic.

I urge you all to pick up this book (or download it.. whatever you fancy), and just try it. Your age, your gender, your sexuality, your reading preferences do not matter. You should read this, for your own education.

Thanks guys, let me know if I did OK for my first book review (that’s been published on this site). Also let me know what’s on your reading lists for 2017, I need recommendations!

Jess x

My Apprenticeship Experience (So Far) // Blogmas Day 3

Find other posts in my 2016 Blogmas series here!!

From the beginning of September 2016, I began my Level 3 Apprenticeship in Digital Marketing. A qualification that not only allows me to “earn while I learn”, but also enables me to get that ever-crucial first year of experience that is vital in almost any industry these days. So, this post is going to be about the first few months of my apprenticeship, how I’ve found it, and the finer details that those looking into what to do after education might be wondering!Read More »