Sunday, 27 December 2015

5 Reasons You Should Start A Blog in 2016

With a new year almost around the corner I’ve been thinking about all the good things that 2015 has brought with it for my online space and it lead me to thinking about why everyone should have a place for their creativity and uniqueness to shine. Here are my reasons why I think 2016 should be the year you start your blog (if you’re not already part of this cool club).

It’s a place for your creativity and uniqueness to shine. Well I kinda gave away this point in the intro but having your own blog or website might be the one and only place you ever have to be fully in creative control and your wonderful personality shine through. Even those of us who work in creative fields often spend our time bringing other people’s dreams to reality – products, businesses, services – but your blog can be 100% about what you and only you care about.

It’ll push you to learn. I think one of the biggest things I’ve missed since leaving my studying days behind me is the constant stream of new information entering my brain. Blogging in lots of ways has brought new skills to my fingertips and while sometimes it’s highly frustrating trying to figure out coding and editing and photographing on your own its also highly rewarding.

It will increase your confidence. When I published my first blog post I was so nervous about putting my words out onto the internet where the whole world could see them. But slowly over time I started to feel more comfortable about having a voice and putting it out for people to read. When a few months ago I had an idea that maybe I should film a video for my site it only took me a few moments to decide that it was a good idea. Just like that my confidence had grown without me really realising it!

It shows you have passion. If you are looking for a job in a certain area or dreaming of working one day in a different field, a blog is the perfect way to show you have passion. Employers love people who are passionate about what they do and blogging really is a hobby fuelled by this.

You never know where the future will take you. Opportunities on the internet are abound for people who want to go out and grab them. Now I'm not saying you should start a blog because you want to get internet famous but, if you do want to create wonderful beautiful things for other people you should absolutely start a blog as you may amass a few fans along the way! As long as what you are doing is with authenticity blogging is a great way to reach out to an audience and build your community up.

So, if you have always thought about taking the plunge online and starting your own space please, make 2016 the year you do. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Would Love Santa To Gift Me

I was one of those kids who believed in Santa for a really long time. Sometimes one of the downsides of being a third child is that people can just forget to tell you things that were relevant to their other two children. Like oh, Francesca's ten years old and still believes in Santa, right maybe it's time we addressed that issue. Anyway, the point of that little tangent is that today's Top Ten Tuesday is one my ten year old self (pre-Santa is not real discovery) would love because it involves asking Santa for books! So Santa, if you are reading (there's still a part of me that belieeeeves) here is what I woudn't mind you leaving under my tree on Christmas morning - obviousy not all because I am not greedy but The Broke and the Bookish said choose ten, so ya know....

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell :: I have a habit of buying books for other people that I want to read because I love to share the love. I bought this for my Dad and now Im like dammit I really wanna borrow that.

Anything by Rainbow Rowell :: Because even though I have only read Landline I already know I love her writing.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Illustrated version :: It's so pretty! I still don't own a copy of the first HP book as I think I borrowed it from a friend to read so what better edition to have than a beautifully illustrated one?!

The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelley :: This is the best historical fiction series ever and I need to finish it!

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray :: Oh boy I cannot wait to read this sequal to The Diviners and if I found it under the tree might just do a tiny squeal of delight.

A Collective Magazine subscription :: I dont read magazines much any more as I get my fashion and beauty fix from the many babes in the blogosphere but Collective magazine are so awesomely inspiring focusing on young entrepreneurs and how to live your dreams.

A pretty notebook :: I am all about using pretty planners in the New Year and as of yet haven't found one for 2016. Hint, hint.

A surprise :: I love books but I also like suprise books!

The Glam Guide by Fleur de Force :: I love getting books that are both useful in substance but also really pretty! Having read Sally Hughes' Pretty Honest last year I've kind of caught the beauty bug and Fleur is one of my favourite and most trusted Youtubers!

Emma by Jane Austen :: I've been meaning to get around to reading some more Jane Austen since I read Pride and Prejudice almost two years ago now. I love the cloth bound covers that her books come in and Emma is a story I already know and not just to the Clueless adaptation.

What books are you hoping Santa brings to you this year?

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Rating **** 325 pages. Published January 13 2015 by Riverhead Books

I feel like I've been winning a little bit with my book selections lately and The Girl on the Train is one that did not disappoint. I have been hearing so much about this book for ages that when I finally got around to reading it a few weeks ago I wondered if it could really live up to the hype. Touted as the next Gone Girl, I wasn't sure but I really couldn't put this book down.

Every morning on her work commute Rachel passes a house with a perfectly happy couple outside. Their seemingly perfect life reminds her of all that she used to have and Rachel goes about giving them names and inventing a perfect backstory each day she passes on the train. But when Rachel witnesses something shocking she inserts herself into the couples lives with dire consequences.

Rachel has problems. As an alcoholic she pretends to take the train to work each day so that she doesn't have to tell her flatmate that she was recently let go from her job. Despite her lying and I guess somewhat morally ambiguous ways I really liked the character of Rachel. She's a total mess but I liked that she was battling her own demons but yet trying to do the right thing when she interferes with her perfect strangers lives.

Narrated by Rachel, the novel unfolds through her eyes as she tries to piece what she can remember of her own whereabouts at the time of the incident she whitnesses. As a blackout drunk she's not the most reliable of narrators and thus The Girl on the Train is a fantastic mystery since even Rachel has no idea what she has been involved in.

Although a lot of people have compared this to Gone Girl the writing doesn't quite have the same depth but that doesn't take anything away from what The Girl on the Train is; a fantastically hard to put down book that had me drawn in until the very end.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Christmas Tag

The tree is up, the Buble is on and almost all of my Christmas shopping is done and yet can you believe that we are half way through December and I haven't yet mentioned the word Christmas in a post on this blog yet? In a bid to bring some festive cheer to these parts I give you the Christmas tag (Michael Buble songs optional while reading this post).

What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
Festiveness in general is what I love about Christmas to the point that most of the time I enjoy the lead up to Christmas almost more than the day itself. I love putting up the tree and decorating it. I love playing the Buble in the office when its quiet, Christmas films and snacks, oh the snacks!

What is your favourite Christmas film?
I would probably choose to watch Love Actually over anything else if I could only pick one. I love that it has lots of little story lines and Bill Nighy is hilarious. I also love watching Christmas specials like Father Ted and the Vicar of Dibly which are always on at Christmas.

Real or fake tree?
I like the idea of a real tree and for my whole childhood we always always had a real tree. However living in Australia now I don't think a real tree would survive and I dont like the idea of bringing whatever spiders are living them into my house (okay I dont think that Huntsman or Redbacks live in Christmas trees but whatever!)

Giving presents or receiving them?
Both, I will never pass up the opportunity to get a present lets be honest. But, the older I get the more I dislike this idea of like going crazy with consumerism at Christmas. I love giving and receiving presents that are thoughtful and will be used or utilised in some way as opposed to just giving gifts for the sake of it.

Do you open presents on Christmas morning or evening?
Morning, there is no way that I can wait till evening! We are actually having an early present opening this year as i'll be travelling on Chrismas Eve so we will celebrate before hand too.

What tops your tree?
We actually don't have a tree topper this year so there is just a silver bauble near the top. I might buy one if I see a pretty star or angel in the shops.

As a child what was the one thing you always asked for but never received?
I actually can't remember asking or being disappointed at Christmas ever but I do remember one year my Dad doing the Christmas shopping and well lets just say it was interesting. But hey the man only has daughters so it can't have been easy. One of my sisters now gives him suggestions.

Handmade Christmas cards or bought?
If I do them at all they are usually bought!

What is your favourite Christmas food?
My mums Christmas cake is so delicious. I usually hate Christmas cake but this one is a delicious fruit cake and she usually makes it with whisky icing which is amazing! I am also a fan of shortbread biscuits and any type of Christmas dessert.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?
Before I moved to Australia I loved going to the NZ Ballet every year before Christmas as they do a Christmas performance that is always amazing (this year it's A Christmas Carole) and as soon as we move home I'll be doing that again! This year me and my boyfriend bought ourselves a shared present of an experience rather than buying gifts for each other and I think it's a great idea to continue this as a tradition.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Perfume. The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind

From the very first opening line of Perfume, the Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind I knew I was in for an experience with this novel. "In eighteenth century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages." Such begins the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille,an orphan who is gifted with an astonishing power of scent and a dangerous ambition.

Books like this fascinate me as despite the fact that I loathed Jean-Baptiste for being a horrible, disgusting little man and this novel is nothing if not macabre I also thoroughly enjoyed it.It's richly descriptive and beautifully written and yet the whole time I would have loved nothing more than to see Jean-Baptiste be destroyed for his wickedness.

There's a great sense of otherworldliness and fantasy to this novel that although everything is set in a historical setting it reads like someone looking in from afar in a dreamy kind of way. Maybe it's the haze of scents that surround this book but it was not at all what I was expecting and that's exactly why I enjoyed how horribly enjoyable this story was.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read in 2015

It's now that time of year to start pulling out the big guns and whittling down our best of lists to just ten great reads for The Broke and The Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday. From now till the end of the year I will live in fear of reading a fantastic book that I can no longer add to my best of 2015 list. Without further ado here are my favourite books I read in 2015, of which there are actually only 8 'cos I wanted to keep it to the best of the best:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr :: Everything about this book is so beautiful from it's iridescent cover to the fantastic prose inside I felt a little pang of sadness at having to finish this novel and I highly recommend.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor :: I was really not expecting to enjoy this book that much considering how often Im like 'fantasy isn't really my jam.' Well how times have changed, since like a month ago, I feel like this book has given me a whole new perspective on both YA and fantasy genres.

The Diviners by Libba Bray :: Okay I really didn't want to rank these books in any particular order since my love for them is all fairly similar but The Diviners is my clear winner for the BEST book I read in 2015. I just freaking loved every minute of it, from its wonderfully lovable characters to the exciting plot and historically awesome time period (1920s New York sounds like a fabulous idea). Even just thinking about this book makes me want to give it a little hug in appreciation. Weird I know.

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes :: Ahhh this book made my cry so bad. I loved how touching this book was and Jojo Moyes does a fantastic job of creating a wonderful story that feels so authentic. After falling for You Before Me, I am so pleased that I loved this book just as much.

You by Caroline Kepnes :: This book came out of no-where for me. I've never read anything like it and was suprisingly enjoying spending time with the main character Joe who it turns out is a major psychopath. Although this made me question my own sanity I thoroughly recommend for a different take on the thriller genre.

The Collected Works of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zavin :: I love books, as you all know but I also love books that talk about loving books and this one in particular really warmed my heart. AJ is a grumpy bookstore owner who has taken to drinking a lot since his wife died and I just loved this story of how his plans to ruin his own life is interrupted by an unexpected parcel on his doorstep.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell :: I think the main love for this book stems not only from Rainbow's writing (and also that name, I can't get over it!) but this is possibly the first book I've ever read that actually represents a couple going through some REAL SHIT people. I loved that this was a romantic story about two people figuring out their love for one another and choosing to be together without any of the usual fate/lightening bolt/surge of electricity bullshit that is often in romantic novels (and which sometimes I do like but ya know, just not in every novel please).

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins :: This book was kinda perfect reading for me. A twisty thriller that had me hooked from start to finish and an easy non-demanding writing style made it a really quick read.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Bedside Table Stack #13

Today I'm bringing you a fairly gloomy looking beside table stack filled with dark emotional covers that are actually in stark contrast to the way I feel about these books. I've actually read all but Viper Wine so far, so book reviews will be coming up soon but just know that my last few book selections have been good, real good!

Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre :: Im so excited to finally get around to reading this book after seeing its snazzy cover months ago. Currently I have made it thirty pages in and honestly I can't really gather my thoughts thus far except for the fact that this book is written in a way that gives a nod to an old fashioned writing style which usually isn't my favourite to read even though I love historical fiction books. Hopefully things pick up soon!

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins :: This book is sooo good and definitely lived up to the expectations. Although similar in some ways to Gone Girl I did think the writing was a lot more simplistic and didn't really have the character depth to compete but regardless this is a really great read.

Perfume, the Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind :: Well this was a very unexpected read and one that I didn't expect to be quite so macabre or quite so funny. It's books like this that make me question the appropriateness of my sense of humour as I often found myself laughing and then reprimanding myself for doing so.

Full reviews will be up soon of these but in the meantime, let me know what you've been enjoying reading recently.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite New-To-Me Authors in 2015

It's Top Ten Tuesday time again with The Broke and the Bookish! This post I was really excited to put together as this year I've discovered so many new-to-me authors that make me want to tell everyone! Let the countdown begin:

Liane Moriarty :: Having read What Alice Forgot, The Husbands' Secret and Big Little Lies all this year, Liane Moriarty is my most-read new author by far. I just love her easy way of writing but also that her books often tackle bigger issues surrounding parenting and marriage that don't get too serious.

Jojo Moyes :: The Girl You Left Behind and Me Before You are such beautiful books that I can't wait to read more from this author.

John Green :: So, I was a little late to the John Green party, only just reading Paper Towns a few months ago but John Green's writing is so great and he really is the best as coining great metaphors.

Sophie Kinsellar :: Reading Finding Audrey has made me want to read more from Sophie Kinsellar as I actually thought that this book was both hilarious and quite touching too.

Laini Taylor :: Daughter of Smoke and Bone is everything.

Anthony Doerr :: I can't get over how beautiful Anothony Doerr's writing is. It's pure craft and reading All the Light We Cannot See had me mesmerized at the power and beauty of his words.

Ben Elton :: I love discovering authors who can write successfully in different genres. I loved reading Ben Elton's Time And Time Again for the mix of action and historical elements but Chart Throb was equally entertaining for it's satirical humour.

Eliza Gordon ::  Because Must Love Otters was about the cutest book I read this year and sometimes that's all I feel like.

Rainbow Rowell :: I can't believe I only discovered Rainbow Rowell this year but I've already got Fan Girl on my bookcase and Attachments and Eleanor and Park are on my must read list. So. Much. Love.

Libba Bray :: Finally I think I can say that Libba Bray gets a virtual fist pump from me for being my favourite self discovery this year. The Diviners was AMAZING and I need to just hurry up and get going with Lair of Dreams because this book has made my year.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter Of Smoke and Bone, 418 pages. Published September 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: ****

Remember how I've often said that I'm not that big of a fan of YA books. And, that I don't really do fantasy novels? Yuh. I take it all back. When I picked up Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor I don't really know what I was expecting. Mainly I just wanted to see what all the hype was about. What I wasn't expecting was to be completely blown away by the awesomeness of this novel. Because that's what this book has in spades.

I can't really fault this book (okay, maybe one little thing that I was like errrr, yeah nah but I'll get to that in a minute) because it had a little bit of everything that makes me think fantasy might be a genre for me after all. There's magic - it's about angels and demons (well kinda) a little bit of romance, it's funny and the main character Karou is a blue haired tattooed art student that had me loving her in about two minutes.

Overall this book was just a really fun and entertaining read that still had me emotionally invested in Karou's life. Plus I loved how weird it is. There's weird stuff going on with wishes and teeth and resurrections of spirits. Not to mention the fact that this book is set in Prague which had me all heart eye-emojid for the cities beautiful descriptions. The tiny thing I didn't like was the romance in this book was a tad insta-love for my liking but even then that had an explanation so I can deal with characters dropping the L bomb mere weeks after meeting each other.

Anyway, if like me you've always thought of yourself as not a fan of fantasy novels then I would definitely recommend giving Daughter of Smoke and Bone a go. It's soooo good and I can't wait to read the next installment.

Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone or have I convinced you to pick it up?


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Easy Eyeshadow

It's been a while since I've shared any of my favourite beauty or skincare bits and pieces on this blog so I thought today it was time to dedicate a post to my most recent love. And, while they are hardly new these tiny pots of coloured goodness are transforming my love for eyeshadow.

Whether wonderfully mousse-like in texture like the Max Factor Colour Tattoo or the creme Maybelline Colour Tattoo pots I have a steadily growing collection of colours from pink, gold and taupe to a browny bronze shade. The best thing about these little pots is that they are great for a quick dash of colour across the eye and super easy to blend out if you are short on time in the morning. The even better thing is how great they are at being a base for eyeshadow colours packed on top.

I have been loving using all four colour pots in conjunction with my Naked original palette and love the way really deepen the colours of my eyeshadow as well as creating an extra look that's slightly different than if I were to just use the naked palette.

The only downside is there shortened shelf-life of six months. As they are creme and mousse textures (although they dry down to a powder like finish) these pots will inevitably dry up and can't be kept as long as most other powders. For now I think I have covered all the colours I use on a regular basis but the fact that they can only last a certain amount of time has been spurring me on to get as much use out of them as possible.

Are you a fan of the Colour Tattoo pots? They've been the best thing I've added to my beauty stash all year!
© Sundays and Ink. All rights reserved.