'Girl Online: On Tour' Review

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

If you saw my post on Zoella's beauty range a few years back, you'll know that I've been a big fan of her since the very beginning. Aside from her millions of subscribers, beauty range, being a waxwork in Madam Tussauds and even appearing on the Great British Bake Off, another thing Zoe has got going for her is her book series, 'Girl Online'. The first book in the series was immediately a best seller, and the follow-up, which was released just a few months ago, also went straight to the top spot. So, it seemed only right, as I'm a big fan of Zoe and a big fan of books, to give 'Girl Online: On Tour' a read and in turn, a review.

Okay, so if you haven't read either of the books I'll fill you in a little - they focus on Penny, a schoolgirl from Brighton who suffers with anxiety and writes a blog. Penny's world gets turned upside down when she falls for Noah, an American rock star, and their relationship goes from private to public. In 'Girl Online: On Tour', we meet Penny just as she's about to set off with Noah to support him on his European tour with top band 'The Sketch' - but things certainly aren't plain sailing. We follow Penny and Noah as the tour takes its toll on them both, and Penny has to decide if waiting in the wings whilst Noah takes the spotlight is really where she wants to be.

I really enjoyed both 'Girl Online' and 'Girl Online: On Tour'. Although these books are definitely aimed at teens in the Young Adult genre, they're still enjoyable to twenty-somethings and I know these are just the sort of books I would have adored when I was in my teens. Penny's character is, like Zoe, extremely likeable and relatable - she's funny, a little bit clumsy and like most sixteen-year-old girls, is just trying to find her place in the world. I loved the fact that Penny talked so openly about her anxiety throughout both books - despite being a big fan of reading, I don't think I've ever come across a YA book that tackles the tricky subject of anxiety before. It was handled really well and definitely gave an insight into something a lot of people don't really understand.

I particularly liked the fact that in 'Girl Online: On Tour' the message was really clear - don't go chasing the boy, but chase your own dreams instead. As dreamy as Noah is, the fact that Penny refuses to be a tag-along in his career is such a good message for young girls - I know so many girls make finding a boyfriend their main goal at that age, but this book shows that that really isn't the be-all and end-all.

Overall, I thought 'Girl Online: On Tour' was a really great read and would definitely recommend it - particularly to girls in their teens, but not ruling out women in their twenties too. I'd give it a 4/5.

Have you read either/both of Zoe's books? I'd love to know your thoughts!

Dreamy Miu Miu Round Sunglasses

Sunday, 24 January 2016
Miu Miu 13NS Sunglasses* - Sunglasses Shop

I have been lusting after a pair of Miu Miu sunglasses for so long, so when Sunglasses Shop got in touch about reviewing some, I was over the moon. There is something about Miu Miu's range of shades that just speaks to me - from the glittery cat eyes (which I'm also desperate to get my hands on) to the big bold square shades - these eclectic yet super fashionable sunglasses are right up my street. 

The 13NS sunglasses are a gorgeous thick round frame that screams retro sixties vibes. I love the contrast of the big round frames against the delicate gold metal and they feel when Nicole Richie-esque when on. I've always thought there was something really 'high fashion' about wearing round sunglasses, and whilst I'm as good a Primark gal as any, I do feel very chic wearing these beauties. 

Having never really owned a pair of designer specs before, I was so excited with the luxe pink velvet case that these come in, along with a matching pouch to keep them extra safe. They also came in a fancy Miu Miu box that further added to the 'luxe' factor. I think these will be sitting pride of place on my dressing table!

Do you own any designer shades? Maybe you're a fan of the rounder styles too? Let me know in the comments! 

My Fashion Resolutions

Saturday, 16 January 2016
Jumpsuit*: Boohoo
Boots: Primark
Watch: Michael Kors
Ring: Primark

Lately I've been playing it pretty safe when it comes to fashion. After putting on a lot of weight last year and generally feeling a bit 'meh' about myself, I tended to choose the 'easiest' things I could find to wear in my wardrobe - usually baggy jumpers and oversized dresses and leggings. Whilst I still love those things, I've decided that 2016 is going to be the year I fall back in love with fashion, and by that I mean I want to start wearing the things I really love and often say 'I wish I could wear that, but it would look horrible on me', as opposed to just wearing the things I think I can get away with. 

When Boohoo got in touch and asked if I wanted to work with them on a fashion resolutions post, detailing the things I want to wear more of this year, I felt like it was the perfect opportunity to put my resolution of wearing what I really want to wear into action. After scouring the website for things that I always look at and wish I could wear, but usually shy away from, I stumbled across this jumpsuit and fell in love. 

I don't wear jumpsuits very often at all - I have a couple in my wardrobe but I usually try them on, think I look ridiculous and choose something else. This time, however, I thought 'screw it' and I'm so glad I did, because I adore this jumpsuit from Boohoo. I love everything about it; the black and white grid pattern looks really chic, the arm length is super flattering and I really like the pyjama style - it's unlike anything else I own. I decided to pair it with some simply chunky black boots and minimal accessories because I really think the jumpsuit does all the talking.

So, I think I've got off to the right start in facing my fashion fears and sticking with my New Year's fashion resolution to wear the things I really want to wear more often - especially jumpsuits. I think I might go and drag out my dungaree jumpsuit now! 

What are your fashion resolutions for 2016? I'd love to know! 

10 Ways to Make Sure 2016 Gets Off to a Good Start

Sunday, 3 January 2016

It's the 3rd of January, the Christmas decorations are coming down, the empty Quality Streets tins being used to house leftover Christmas cake and the dread of heading back to work tomorrow is thick in the air. As sad as it is to say goodbye to the festive season, it brings a new year and with it, a fresh start. I love nothing more than fresh starts, and as I'm feeling positive and happy about 2016, I thought I would run through 10 ways to make sure you kick off January in the best way possible...

1. Set some goals - A new year always brings with it the endless unrealistic resolutions that none of us will actually stick to. This doesn't, however, mean we can't set ourselves achievable goals to work towards during 2016, in order to motivate us for the year ahead. I think it's a great idea to write down some key goals on what you plan on achieving in 2016, as I did in my New Year post, as it's great to refer back to them in order to move yourself forward. You might want to keep them in the Notes app on your phone, or perhaps stick them up by your desk so that you are constantly reminded of them. You could even keep a 'Goals' diary and whenever you do something that leads you further towards your goal, write it down. It's the best motivation ever.

2. Have a spring clean - If there's one thing that's guaranteed to put me in a bad mood, it's when my house is a mess. Especially over Christmas, it's so easy for the washing to pile up, to neglect the dusting and hoovering, and just generally for the house to be in a bit of a state. I made sure I resolved this when I took the decorations down a couple of days ago, by giving the house a big spring clean, getting rid of all the Christmas rubbish and making sure everything is nice, clean and tidy for the year ahead. Even little things like hoovering out and dusting my car interior so I head off to work in a good mood tomorrow have really helped. I totally recommend whipping out the marigolds and getting some cleaning done to put you in a better mood this January.

3. Cook up a storm - I'm really not big on cooking, but I want to really try and push myself a bit more in the kitchen in 2016, to make myself happier and healthier. Especially after the fortnight-long binge that was Christmas, it's nice to start of the year with some tasty, healthy meals that are actually really satisfying to both cook and eat. Even if you're not a whiz in the kitchen, there are so many quick and easy recipes out there - it's just a case of making the effort to get the ingredients you need and plan everything out. I've drawn up a list of go-to healthy meals on my phone that I can refer to when I'm in the supermarket, so it's worth doing some research, saving some healthy recipes and then giving them a go yourself.

4. Give yourself some TLC - You might have spent Christmas with your feet up on the sofa enjoying some 'me' time, but how well did you really look after yourself? All those Christmas parties and late nights have probably taken their toll on you and your body, so for a new year, why not make it your mission to really give yourself some TLC and get your beauty regime back on track? I find having a bit pamper session - face mask, nails, tan etc. - a great way to start of a new week so why not have an epic pamper to kick off the year? You'll feel refreshed and ready to face the world again, I promise.

5. Clear out the clutter - When you're doing your spring clean, why not get really into it and clear out a lot of your clutter too? If your wardrobe is fit to bursting with clothes you don't wear (mine certainly is) take some time to sort through it and either whack the clothes you don't want on Ebay or pop them down to your local charity shop. The same goes for makeup - empty out those Alex drawers, work through what you actually use (and isn't 10 months out of date) and hold on to the goodies, getting rid of the things you really don't need (and making room for more makeup goodies, obviously).

6. Plan ahead - Planning ahead is something I really struggle with, and it's why I spend a lot of my time feeling stressed/rushing around and just generally not getting anywhere. This year, I'm putting a stop to all that though and making sure I always plan ahead - whether that means ensuring I make a healthy pack-up for work, pick my outfit out the day before or know what I'm making for tea. When I'm organised and know exactly what I'm doing and when, I always feel better, and a lot less stressed!

7. Have a digital detox - No, I don't mean ditching all things digital (I love social media far too much for that), but why not have a big clear out of junk emails, organise your files or sort through all of your photos? I love arranging things into folders and I think doing this at the start of the year is a great way to set you up for the year ahead. I like to make sure all my emails are actioned or otherwise filed, clear my desktop of any junk and run through my documents ensuring everything is in the right place. It's so satisfying once it's all done!

8. Discover new music - I'm already bored of the samey music in the charts recently, so I'm making it my mission to try and discover some new music that will hopefully make up the soundtrack for my 2016. I usually refer to Spotify to find new music - either through playlists or by looking at similar artists to the ones I already follow. I'm excited to set up a new gym playlist too - another great way to set the year off to a good start.

9. Get into a routine - Oh my god, I suck at routines. Mainly thanks to my disorganisation and lack of planning ahead (see above), I always end up messing up my routine, going to bed ridiculously late and waking up late, rushing for work and forgetting to have breakfast/make my lunch/put my shirt on the right way round. This is why a routine is important, and why I'm going to try my hardest to stick to one this year. Even taking simple steps like going to bed earlier and making sure I make my lunch the night before instead of in the morning all work towards getting into a better routine.

10. Don't beat yourself up - Finally, and probably one of the most important ones - don't beat yourself up if the first few weeks of 2016 don't turn out to be the nice, shiny, brand new triumphant days you wanted them to be. We all slip up and if that means you sneak yourself a Terry's Chocolate Orange instead of an actual orange, it's not the end of the world. The best thing is to make sure you try and keep a positive attitude and understand that nothing is perfect, so it doesn't matter if your January isn't the perfection it's always made out that it should be. Just concentrate on being happy and good things will happen - I promise!

#OffDutyDenim with George at Asda

Saturday, 2 January 2016

I love jeans. I think there is nothing better than slipping on a pair of your favourite, almost loved-to-death jeans that fit like a glove, and look great whether you're in a t-shirt and trainers or your favourite sparkly top and heels. There's just something really comforting about how easy to wear they are, and that somehow the more battered they get, the better they look. 

I'm a big fan of George at Asda anyway, so when they got in touch to challenge me to style a pair of jeans in three different ways (for morning, afternoon and evening) I, of course, obliged. I chose the Fashion Box High Waisted Jeans* (because we all know high waisted is the most flattery fit) and I love the ripped knees on them. For just £16 I think they're amazing value and after living in leggings for the past few months I've really enjoyed wearing something a bit different. 

For my morning outfit, I styled up the jeans with this Tartan Faux Fur Trim Coat* (which is sadly out of stock online but it might be worth trying in store) as my mornings usually consist of taking Rory for a brisk walk out in the winter air. I absolutely adore the colours on this coat and the duffle style is perfect for this time of year. Rory decided he wanted to pop his coat on too (it was chilly out there!) and we nearly looked matching! 

Weekend afternoons for me are usually about chilling on the sofa, grabbing my laptop and doing a bit of blogging. I'm always freezing cold no matter where I am, so this Colour Block Cardigan* is ideal. It's really big and cosy and I love the colours and design on it, and think it looks fab with the jeans. There are loads of these oversized cardigans about at the minute - I'm building up quite a collection! 

Of course, when evening comes it's all about getting glammed up, popping your heels and something sparkly on and dancing the night away. This Embellished Neck Dress* is in a gorgeous wine red hue and has a bit of sparkle in it too, so it's great for this time of year. The material is quite textured too which adds something a bit different to the outfit. 

Overall I loved styling up these three different outfits and I think each of them look great. I've been wearing the jeans constantly since getting them and I think they'll definitely see me through to spring and summer. Are you a fan of George at Asda? Let me know if you've got any jeans from George and what you think to them! 

Farewell 2015, Hello 2016!

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year! As much as I enjoyed 2015, I am pretty glad to be seeing the back of it. Lots of positive things happened in 2015 - namely moving into a new place with my boyfriend - but I feel like I didn't achieve many of the things I set out to and so I want 2016 to be the year that I do. I am very much feeling the 'New Year, New Me' vibes right now and I feel motivated and positive that 2016 will be my best year yet. I think going into the New Year with a positive mind is a huge help in stepping in the right direction, so I've got that on my side straight away.

So, my goals for 2016 are as follows...

Get fit and healthy - This has been a resolution of mine for the past three years, and each year I head further and further in the wrong direction. I give up easily, resort to emotional eating far too quickly and basically really struggle when I don't see the results as quick as I'd like. This year, however, I feel like enough is enough and I need to make a change, not just for my mental wellbeing, but for my health too. I seemed to overdose on chocolate over the Christmas period which has made it very easy for me to want to cut it out heading in to 2016, and make fruit and vegetables my new best friends. I'm cutting down on fizzy drinks, and just generally trying to make better choices when it comes to food. As well as this, I'm going to be getting off my butt and actually moving about more. Working in an office, I find it very easy to sit snacking at my desk all day, so I need to ensure I get enough exercise in my free time as I can. This means heading back to the gym, going on longer walks with my dog Rory and making time for those all-important at-home workouts. I feel positive and excited to see a change in myself this year, and I think that's where it will make all the difference.

Blog, blog, and blog some more - I feel like 2015 was the year I really neglected my blog, and I hate that I've let things slip so much. My blog is a big part of who I am and it's something I've always hoped to continue to grow, although that came to a bit of a stand still last year. I want this year to be the year that I really keep at it with my blog, creating great content that is, most importantly, consistent. I struggle to prioritise my blog sometimes, and my time management can be a bit of a nightmare, but I'm looking at improving those things too and not letting them get in the way of making my blog bigger and better. After goodness knows how many years of having this layout, I hope to have a new one by my next blog birthday (February) so that should keep me even more motivated to blog as well. Overall I hope that 2016 will be really exciting for me blog-wise, and the best way to do that is to make it happen for myself.

Get YouTubing again - Ever since starting my blog way back in 2010, I've always flirted with YouTube, uploading videos every now and again but never really sticking with it. I love watching YouTube videos but I really struggle to come up with engaging video ideas, and I end up beating myself up about it. This year, however, I want to move forward with my channel, without getting too preoccupied with the subscriber numbers, but just pushing myself to make my content better. My blog will always be my number one priority, but playing a bit more with the idea of YouTube is definitely something I want to pursue more in 2016.

Read more - Ever since I could read it's all I've ever wanted to do - well, and write. Growing up I was forever with my nose inside a book and that continued throughout my teenage years. When I went to uni to study English reading became a bit more of a chore, and since being in full-time work I find it really hard to find the time between everything else to read. This, however, I realise is a really lame excuse because I can find the time to watch back-to-back episodes of American Horror Story on Netflix, so why can't I read a few chapters in a book? That's why 2016 is going to be less about watching stories, and more about reading them. I have so many books I want to read, either sitting on my bookshelf or waiting to be unleashed on my Kindle, so I really have no excuse. I also placed a rather hefty Amazon order recently which I'm so excited to receive. I will, of course, be blogging my book reviews regularly on here, so make sure you look out for those.

Other than that, I want my 2016 to be a year of positives, of making things happen and always looking on the brighter side. I know it won't be plain sailing, but I'm heading into 2016 with a positive mind and I can't wait to see what the year has to bring.

What are you goals for 2016? I hope you have an amazing year!