28 August 2015

The Book Review | Dark Places Gillian Flynn

I'm just going to separate myself from the rest of the world, I know Gone Girl was this phenomenal best seller, but I just couldn't get into it. I've read my fair share of time skipping stories, but that one I just couldn't understand for some reason. So Dark Places appeal didn't come from the author of the moment.

Dark Places follows adult Libby, who survived the massacre of the rest of her family when she was a little girl. She witnessed the trail of killings and testified against her brother, subsequently assisting in sending him to jail. Libby has lived her life off being the star of the show, the one survivor of a terrible massacre.
When her money is running out, she turns to the 'Kill Club' who have forever been interested in the case and believe her brother to be innocent. The story follows Libby as she takes more of a detective role in getting to the bottom of what really happened on 'that night', interspersed with flashbacks from her childhood told from a few different character perspectives.

I guess the flashback/flashforward and multi-character narrative is Gillian Flynn's author style, but with Dark Places, for me it actually worked. I couldn't put the book down and I was left desperate just to finish it so I could get the closure that the main character was looking for! It was leading up to a plot twist that delivered and had me trying not to tell two friends who were reading it behind me.

It's a slowly unravelling mystery novel but it keeps the pace throughout, there aren't any slow bits to the story which is why I could commit to it. Was it just me that thought the beginning of Gone Girl was really slow? Maybe that's why I never finished it, but the film told me it was a very good story...

Writing this review, I've realised the film adaptation of Dark Places has just been released. Nicholas Hoult, Charlize Theron and Christina Hendricks headline, but the trailer isn't selling it to me. I'm definitely going to have to watch it, but I don't think it will carry the same mystery as the book did.

The book, highly recommended. I sped through it and it left me looking for more of Gillian Flynn's stuff. I imagine if you happened to like Gone Girl, you'd like this. Likewise, if you liked Sharp Objects then the same goes. Another Flynn book I massively enjoyed.

26 August 2015

My Favourite Beauty

As I see Boots and department store beauty halls as a bit of a playground, it's rare that a cosmetic item gets re-upped in my routine. I enjoy trying new brands, new products and all the gimmicks of course, but there are a select few I always have in my stock. Plus, some back-ups just in case of emergency.

Welcome to my beauty stock, or a glimpse into it anyway, see anything you need to try?

OGX Shampoo & Conditioner
Since I'm allergic to sulphates in shampoos, my choice is instantly limited. Severely limited. I've found two high street brands that are sulphate free, but not completely stripping. The OGX range is one of those, plus it means I get some choice within that brand as there are loads of varieties. My only bug bear is the bottle design, they don't half make it difficult to get the last quarter of the conditioner out.

The one and only. I'm yet to find a dry shampoo that does a better job of Batiste. My main spritz is the blush scent, but I still get some variety in every now and then. Definitely invest in the salon size cans (although which salon uses dry shampoo?), especially when in need of some volume as well as de-greasing.

V05 Weather Resistant Hairsprays
I love this range of hairsprays. My fine and flat hair creates a challenge in that it rarely holds a style. A serious amount of hairspray is always needed, but this delivers a serious amount that never feels crunchy or sticky. Plus it's in a massive bottle, so it lasts for ages.

Vera Wang Princess
I guess this is my signature scent, I'm onto my third big bottle of this and it takes me some time to get through it. Light enough for the day, musky enough for the night and relatively subtle. Plus, it looks cute on display.

L'Oreal Extraordinary Oil
Such a great high street piece. Basically, you smother your face in this, it dissolves every single bit of your makeup. Job done. Except not really cos I still cleanse and moisturise... But really, it's just pretty nifty.

L'Oreal Superliner
The fool proof product for winger liner. So easy to use and creates a subtle gloss black finish, it may look tiny but it'll last you ages as well.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation
This shade is for when I'm fake tanned, but it blends to such a flawless finish, lasts all day and hides everything without feeling heavy.

Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous Foundation
US only, or seriously hard to track down here, but something I always stock up on. It's a little heavier feeling than the above but it applies slightly tacky, so when it dries you're left with a really nice glow. This might be longer lasting than the above because of that reason too and it's insanely cheap. It ticks all the boxes, except the UK one.

Make-Up Forever Extreme Camouflage
So this one is a given, but more because this little tube is unhygienically old but still winning at concealing. It's thick so it'll hide a magnitude of sins, but I prefer something a little lighter for under eyes.

So there you have a run down of everything you need to run out and buy... now. If you want info on any of the above, I've linked a review to any that I've already written, the rest you'll have to take my word for. But I'm trustworthy, honest.

23 August 2015

My Blogging Process

Since getting enough space in my own flat, I've made a conscious effort to do less blogging from bed and take more time to sit up at an actual desk. Still shared with my boyfriend so it may not be the Pinterest desk I dream of, but in terms of productivity, it's exactly what I need. Plus, it means I genuinely sleep better as my bed isn't being multi-tasked as an office as well as a sleep space.

My little space on the internet is literally a scrap book of my life; new restaurants I've tried, new products I'm loving or my trips away.
With that being said, it means you can turn anything in your life into a post if you get your camera out and get writing. That's my simple process, easy documentation just as if I was sharing it with friends.

Schedules aren't essential, but since I've posted out on a regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine, I've noticed a difference in the audience traffic. But saying that, don't guilt yourself if you miss a day, life gets in the way regularly. Personally, I'm much more enthusiastic towards blogging when I see it as a hobby instead of analysing all the numbers.

I utilise my boyfriend for a lot of the photography (what a cliche...), although I'm gradually picking up shooting and editing for myself where I can. If you're not lucky enough to have a glamorous assistant with all the tools (still much like me for a lot of it) or don't have the need for professional software, then I really like Polarr for photo editing online (a very basic Photoshop), which can amplify any photos, whether SLR or iPhone pics.

The added extras -
Social is one of the most effective ways of promoting your blog and new posts. Use the right hashtags, tag the right companies and you'll see a positive boost in your readers.
I've only very recently taken to scheduling in some social content, that way I can reach new people through different times of the day and I don't need to worry about posting out while I'm at work. I use Hootsuite for this, after taking Joe's advice, but there are plenty to choose from, for whatever needs you might have. If That Then This is a great option if you have the time to get to grips with the endless stream of tools available.

Likewise, let a company know if you've featured them, especially if it's as a result of something they've sent to you or an event they invited you to. A quick email will essentially let them know you exist and give them the option to get in touch should they have any opportunities for you.

And, social again, get involved in the conversations. Whether it's the weekly hashtag group chats, or just replying to people - it genuinely motivates me when I get chance to spend some real conversational time on Twitter instead of just scrolling through.

If you've been blogging one month, one year or ten years - you should know that there are no rules, no check-list for anyone to follow. Make your blog your own and enjoy it, the more you enjoy writing and posting, the more it shows to your readers.