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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Winter Favourites! // 2016-2017

As stated previously, due to the fact that I am poor, my favourites tend to be seasonal, rather than monthly, like many of my blogging buddies. But that’s okay! It just means they’re meatier and chock full of stuff that I’m going to peer pressure you into buying! (Kidding)

So, here are my 2016-17 Winter Favourites!

Fashion

Blanket Scarf – Primark

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I got this scarf for Christmas and I honestly have worn it every single day since. It’s so cozy and soft, and is perfect for when the heating at work packs up and when I’m too tired to function.

Box Jumpers – New Look

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One of these jumpers was featured in my Winter OOTD post from Blogmas 2016, and I actually have three of these. One in black, one mint and one dusky pink and I am obsessed. They are so cheap, easy to wear and style and so comfy for the cold days. I honestly really hope these come back next winter too.

Dressing Gown – Tesco

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Another Christmas goodie, this time from Mum. It was her personal mission to find me a new dressing gown that I liked for Christmas (I’m v fussy). And safe to say she did well. This dressing gown is honestly the softest, cosiest thing I’ve ever felt, it fits perfectly and the hood even has little bobble ears on. What more could you possibly ask for?

Beauty

Supercat Liquid EyelinerSupercat Liquid Eyeliner – Soap and Glory

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Once again, a Christmas gifted item. I was absolutely not expecting this one from a family friend, but they did so well with it. A proper review will be coming soon,as I’ve been meaning to write one since Christmas Day, but you’ll already know that it’s a favourite!

iDivine Eyeshadow Palette in ‘All Night Long’ – Sleek

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I wasn’t into eyeshadow at all until I purchased my Revolution 12 Days of Christmas Box on Black Friday last year, but since then I’ve had a bit of a spend on more drugstore palettes, including this one. The colours are beautiful and blend and match so well and the pigmentation of them is incredible value for money.

Brightside Bubble Bar – LUSH

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Yes, I’m still  raving about this bloody bubble bar. And yes, I did get three for Christmas (and another for my birthday this week…). What can I say? I’m a citrus lover.

Music

Bad Behaviour – The Maine

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I’ve loved The Maine for about four years now (wow) and even though my emo phase has somewhat passed, this band never will. I’m seeing them live for the second time in a few weeks (March at the Electric Ballroom, Camden) and I couldn’t be more excited, especially for the upcoming album Lovely, Little, Lonely. Everything this band makes makes me happy, and they’re like a warm hug to my emotions.

Last Cigarrette – Darwin Deez

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I discovered this song while listening to The Hannah Witton Show at work, and it just grabbed me, you know? It’s one of those songs that makes me want to dance and sing to in the car and I don’t know. It’s just catchy. Go listen.

Night People – You Me at Six

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I first listened to the Night People single when it was released in the autumn and found it good, but not enough to be really excited. It was only when I found out that YMAS are doing a UK tour (which I am going to!!) in the Spring that I decided maybe I should listen to their latest album. And I honestly love it. Every song is awesome, and YMAS are one of the bands that I think only get better.

Other

The Hannah Witton Show – FUBAR Radio

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What gets me through those long, dark days stuck in the office, you ask? Well, here’s your answer. I got into Hannah’s content after finding her YouTube channel, and resolutely identifying with everything she stands for. When I found out she hosted a podcast/radio show every week that I could listen to FOR FREE, I got even more obsessed. Every one of Hannah’s radio episodes are absolute gold, and you’re never left bored.If you’re a fan of sex jokes, rudeness and familiar YouTube faces, check this out!

Driving!!

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So, as some of you may know (and some of you may not) I passed my driving test at the start of December. Yessssssss. Being able to drive my little Edna (my KA) around just us two, blaring the ‘tunes and generally being awesome… it’s a good feeling. And also not having to get lifts all the time is nice.

 

So there you go, my Winter Favourites. Honestly, the past couple of months have been very up and down, life-wise, and I’m so excited to get into spring as there are some really exciting things coming up.

What were your favourites from over Christmas and New Year, and are any of yours the same as mine? Let me know! And I’ll see you again at the end of the week for a special birthday post! Thanks!

Jess x

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

50 Things I Did In 2016 // Photo Diary

  1. Went to London on Valentines Day12745625_1039340632755019_6685012793752919583_n.jpg
  2. Went to the Natural History Museum for the first time12743961_1039341126088303_6429238897313796666_n.jpg
  3. Went to Prague535299_1063477243674691_1998539891694183076_n.jpg
  4. Turned 18
  5. Went clubbing
  6. Got a tattoo12936781_1068481506507598_5623370959348771126_n.jpg
  7. Was a Sandwich Artist
  8. Read.. a lotCapture.PNG
  9. Blogged a lot
  10. Went to AthensImage may contain: sky and outdoor
  11. Bought a carImage may contain: car, sky and outdoor
  12. Learnt to drive
  13. Passed my driving test!
  14. Stayed home alone for a week
  15. Went to Thorpe Park
  16. Went to FriendsFestImage may contain: 2 people, table and outdoor
  17. Got better at makeup
  18. Visited my Nan and Auntie’s graves
  19. Passed my A Levels
  20. Worked in Primark
  21. Started a savings account
  22. Started an apprenticeship
  23. Went to a big client meeting
  24. Went on a night out with work people
  25. Went to an industry party
  26. Met new friends
  27. Attempted blogmasCapture1.PNG
  28. Got rid of the crap in my room
  29. Had our 5th anniversary
  30. Bought alcohol
  31. Took care of the cat on my own
  32. Went to an engagement partyImage may contain: 4 people, indoor
  33. Saw The Maine live again
  34. Saw All Time Low live again
  35. Saw Twenty One Pilots live
  36. Cut ties once and for all
  37. Was the bigger person
  38. Read all of Harry Potter… twice
  39. Stopped smoking
  40. Saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  41. Saw Doctor Strange
  42. Saw Batman Vs Superman
  43. Saw Suicide Squad
  44. Saw Captain America: Civil War
  45. Celebrated New Years Eve in bed, watching How I Met Your Mother
  46. Watched Friends all the way through about 4 times
  47. Drove to see my grandparents after not visiting for about 3 years
  48. Went Christmas shopping with Connor
  49. Read comic books for the first time
  50. Tried Quorn mince… and liked it