Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Fault In Our Stars - book Synopsis and Review

Hi guys! So, absolutely yonks ago (around four months ago, if I'm honest), I was on holiday to Scotland and I bought a couple of books to read during my stay. They were The Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska, both by John Green. I'm going to review The Fault in our Stars here, and Looking For Alaska in a seperate blog post, so that this post doesn't get too long winded! 

The Fault in our Stars - Synopsis
The protagonist of the story is a sixteen year old girl, named Hazel, who is a stage six cancer patient. She meets a boy named Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor, at her cancer support group. Augustus has a friend called Isaac, who in the early stages of the story has a rare eye cancer, and soon becomes blind. As Hazel and Augustus learn more about eachother, their friendship grows stronger, and feelings for eachother deepen. Hazel is reluctant to have a relationship with Augustus as she is aware her cancer is likely to kill her, and she doesn't want to put him through that. Hazel and Augustus are characters with a disdain for things conventional. They both enjoy reading, and are intelligent with a dry, verging on narcissistic, sense of humour, and are so compatible and endearing. Hazel shares her favourite book with Augustus, 'An Imperial Affliction', and they plan to fly out to Amsterdam to meet the author, Peter Van Houten, to find out more about the cliffhanger ending of his book. Just before they fly out, Augustus has a PET scan to see how his recovery process is going. Unexpectedly the scan gives him very bad news, as his cancer appears to be everywhere in his system. He flies out to Amsterdam with Hazel anyway, without telling her, so not to ruin the trip. Whilst in Amsterdam, Augustus and Hazel go out for a meal paid by Peter Van Houten one evening, before meeting him the next morning. Unfortunately for the two, Peter Van Houten refuses to answer any of their questions regarding the characters in his story, is insulting and condescending towards Hazel and her cancer, and appears very much a cruel, nasty alcoholic. Augustus and Hazel fly home from their trip, disappointed. When they get back to the USA, Augustus tells Hazel his bad news about his cancer. Over the course of the book, Hazel watches Augustus's condition deteriorates, as he goes from the strong, able man she loves, to a frail, weak man who needs a wheelchair for mobility. Augustus passes away, and Hazel writes him an emotional eulogy for his funeral. Peter Van Houten also attends, which angers Hazel, but he expresses his condolences and vows to Hazel that he will lay off the alcohol. The story ends with a letter written from Augustus to Peter Van Houten, asking him to write a eulogy for Hazel, and tells him all about her, how she never wanted to leave a mark, and that it was triumphant and heroic that she was so selfless. Peter Van Houten forwards the letter to Hazel. The last few lines of the letter read, "I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers." 

My Review on The Fault in our Stars
I absolutely loved this book, and fully recommend reading it to anyone who is thinking of doing so! I know I've basically just told you what happens, but my words are not half as strong, or powerful, as the authors. I know this story is one that will linger in my mind for a long time yet as it is a very special book. It shows you how lucky you are to be alive, and to not take what you have for granted, and how thankful you should be to not have to be suffering the pain and discomforts that cancer patients do suffer. It gives you such insight and it makes me personally so grateful that none of my friends or family, or my son, have to go through that. I found this book actually meaning a significant amount more than I ever intended it to. It's definitely one I would read again and I will be keeping on to it for a long time yet. The story captures all the hurt, emotions, pain, everything Hazel felt. I just found it such an emotional story and it has honestly (no word of a lie), become my favourite book as I just found it so incredibly sentimental. 

Hope you're all having a good week,

Sammii-Jane x

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Garnier BB Cream

Hey guys! I hope you've enjoyed all my recent home-related posts. I've really enjoyed all the decorating even though it's been such hard work! However, it's now time to knuckle back down with these beauty posts. I have really been loving Garnier's Miracle Skin Perfector Beauty Balm - so much so that it is my staple beauty product on my dressing table, and is used every day. 

My skin is in fairly good condition now, but I still feel like my skin looks very tired and sallow without makeup. I hate full coverage foundations as I do have freckles on my nose that I like to enhance. Garnier BB cream has very subtle coverage and still just looks like my skin on a really good day, which is nice. 

I've been using the original Garnier BB cream for around the past six months, and have only recently switched to the Garnier Matte BB cream (the slightly skinnier tube), as I suppose I had just never noticed it before. I do get a really oily T-zone, and the original BB cream is very dewy. It has a beautiful finish but the Matte version is much more flattering for me personally. 

One of the reasons I initially liked the Garnier BB cream is because the light shade comes very light. I'm paler than pale, and a lot of products can either look too thick, or too heavy, but this BB cream makes my skin look really healthy. I have used the Estée Lauder Invisible Fluid foundation which also has really sheer coverage, which I found to be a really weird product as it's so runny and messy to get out of the tube, but then looks quite thick and was quite orangey on me. But this BB cream is a fraction of the price, yet works so much better! I apply it with the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush as I find that this brush makes it look most natural when blended in really well into the skin.

Hope you guys have all been well,

Sammii-Jane x

Monday, 15 September 2014

A little more of the flat...

Hey guys! Again, thought I'd update you on my current living arrangements! So I showed you this picture of my living room in my latest blog post, and I'm just going to repost the picture just to freshen your memories! 

Over this past week, I've also finished my son Rhys's room, and also my room! For Rhys's room I really wanted to provide a happy, clean place for him to play, so I've set up his cot, and also most of his developmental toys on the floor for him to play with. He's rolling now and is very nearly at the crawling stage so soon enough he will be able to crawl to the things he wants, which I think is just so cute!

For my bedroom, I really love the vintage look, and have always wanted a pretty, vintage bedroom! Luckily, as vintage isn't very fashionable, a lot of people just give their old furniture away very cheaply as it's quite hard to sell, and as I already had the dresser, vintage throw, and picture frames, it was very easy to add a few more things to create this vintage style bedroom. I got the bedside table for £5, and the lamp was £2 from my friend's dad's charity shop. I also bought the rug (barely seen) for £3, and the curtains for £2 from him as well. The only thing I bought new for my room was the sage green cushion on my bed, for £4 from Dunelm. 

Next to the dresser in the far corner, I have my clothes and shoes. This was an old pine shelving unit that I had in my previous house, and I bought some Walnut wood stain to repaint it so it would match the dresser. Although this isn't particularly vintage, I was on a tight budget for furniture so had to make the most of what I had! I really like how this turned out though and I'm definitely keeping it! I also thought that placing the tan brogues on a vintage style shoe box also just really added to the whole vintage feel! 

In the corner where I was taking the pictures, is also a vintage armchair which I use as a reading chair! It's quite un decorated at the moment, but I'm hoping to eventually buy a small walnut bookshelf to store all my books, with maybe a little candle, or flowers, or just something cute and vintage-y to put on top to make it look more homely! I bought this armchair for £5 in one of the local charity shops, who also delivered it free of charge! 

I've felt very Kirstie Allsopp with all of this decorating, especially with the vintage parts! Scouring for cheap furniture, painting my own shelves and walls, decorating all these rooms! It's so exciting to finally have the home I wanted for my child. The only thing I really need to save up for now is carpet, as council flats are never furnished with carpet. I'm hoping to have the living room carpeted by Christmas so that our living room is all snug and cosy for Rhys's first Christmas! I have a lot of saving to do though as I was quoted £550 for carpeting the whole flat! So I will probably just have to do it room by room at the moment, and eventually it will all be carpeted! Also on another exciting note... *whispers* I'm getting Rhys a kitten soon! I've seen this adorable little black and ginger female kitten on my local area's sale website. She's a little scruff really but I just find that even more endearing! I'm not sure what to call her yet as there are so many names I like for her! A couple I'm liking at the moment are Sansa, and Paisley. I'm leaning more towards Sansa as it will be easier for Rhys to pronounce. 

Write soon, 

Sammii-Jane x

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Sneak Peek at my new Flat!

Hey guys! So, as you may or may not know, I have recently moved from London to Scotland. I wanted to provide a real family home for my son, Rhys, and wasn't able to do that while living in London. As I'm sure you can imagine, I have been extremely busy decorating the flat, and I thought I would show you guys our home so far! 

It started off a real state when I was first given the keys. There was no carpet, no decor, no appliances in the kitchen, and I was lucky that my flat came wallpapered, to be honest. So for the first couple of days I set about painting the entire flat, sanding floors, and acquiring furniture. It's only been a week as I got the keys last Wednesday, and already my living room is fully furnished and decorated exactly how I want it! I was very set that I wanted my living room to be properly decorated and nice to live n as it would be the main room that my son would be playing in and I would be watching him, so I really wanted it to be a safe and happy place for him to grow and develop. 

Aqua blue is my favourite colour, and with the grey sofa I think the colours pair together really well. I didn't want my living room to be too girly or anything as I would have a little boy playing in it, so I decided to stick to quite neutral colours of blue, grey, and cream. I'm now just waiting on a rug from Amazon to arrive to put in front of the book case, and my living room will be finished!

So far, I'm really loving the new flat. It is a fresh start for us both, and we also now live two minutes away from Rhys's godparents, who are here all the time! 

I will hopefully get back to beauty related posts soon (although you may have a few home-related posts to contend with first!) 

Hope you've enjoyed this post,

Sammii-Jane x

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

New Place, New Face

Hey guys! Sorry I've been so rubbish with posts of late. I've recently had a very big house move, from London to Scotland, so have been very busy packing, travelling, and arranging viewings. Finally today though I have been given the keys to my flat! It is so amazing to finally be able to provide a real home for my child. We have been living in the box room to my parents house for the past six months which has been a real struggle space-wise. I'm hoping to get back to beauty related blog posts soon, but there will probably be quite a few home related posts for you to contend with first!

As I have moved so far away, I have taken it as one big lifestyle change. While living in London, I was very miserable. I wasn't providing the life that I wanted for my son and it was making me very depressed and anxious. I had no confidence at all, I never bothered with makeup and I just didn't make any kind of effort with myself whatsoever. As a new mum, I lived in the same daily uniform of a baggy tee shirt and leggings. I could totally justify ice cream for breakfast and didn't care about getting fat. But with this move, it has changed everything. I am incredibly proud of my child, I love to show him off and he is my absolute world. With coming here, I wanted to make him proud of me too. I wanted to become more of a Yummy Mummy, shift my excess weight, make more of an effort with my personal styling, hair, and makeup. I wanted more confidence to speak to new people, and to be comfortable with the way I present myself. (SELFIE MOMENT! I couldn't help it - anyone who knows me would be so shocked! I'm just so desperate to feel good about myself again, and I think I'm finally starting to.)

I've been making the effort every day to do a full face of makeup, do my hair properly and dress myself nicely. I know that for most people without children this is the norm, but for a single parent it can be incredibly difficult to find the time to do all this. Luckily, where I'm living in Scotland now has a much slower pace than the great city of London. In London, you have appointments, schedules, and times where you need to be at certain places. In Scotland, you leave the house whenever you're ready. 

It's a small town where I live, but I love it. It still has all your main shops, River Island, Starbucks, Gregg's, Boots, a massive Superdrug, and it's also got a lot of furniture charity stores which has helped out a lot with furnishing my house. There's also a Debenhams that has all your typical beauty counters, Estée Lauder, Lancôme, Clarins, Clinique, Benefit, and (my favourite!) bareMinerals. It also has an extensive perfume counter, and I've totally got my eye on the Paul Smith Rose fragrance. There's also a bus that goes from the town centre into Glasgow, which will be perfect for the Christmas shopping. In Glasgow there's all the stores you would expect to find in London - Pret a Manger, Primark, Topshop, Urban Outfitters, Lush... The list is endless! It's so exciting to have had such a positive move for myself and my son. I know we're going to be so much happier here. 

I've still got so much to do on the flat it's insane. I've still got to give it a good deep clean, and get carpet laid throughout the whole house, before the moving van brings all my things up on Saturday. Then I can actually start to decorate! I never realised how expensive a home really was until now. I am on quite a tight budget though so I am having to do it incredibly cheaply, but I really like that. I'm basically buying a lot of cheap furniture, coffee tables, chests of drawers, and sanding them down to paint them the colours I like. I feel very Kirstie Allsopp! It's very exciting to decorate your new home the way you want it, and it's going to be so worth it once it's all done!

Blog soon,

Sammii-Jane x