Monday, 31 March 2014

Monday Nights

Okay, so I have a confession to make, I'm a 24 year old woman who still loves Disney movies, they are always my go to option when I'm feeling a little low. You can't go wrong, the singing and dancing makes me smile and I end up singing the songs for days afterwards.

So today Frozen came out on DVD in the UK, it feels like I've been waiting ages for it to come out, I only saw it for the first time when I was on the way home from America and I fell in love with it, apart from Tangled (which I love dearly), Frozen has to be one of my favourite Disney movies of the modern age. The relationship between Anna and Elsa is beautiful as is the soundtrack, I swear I've not stopped singing 'let it go' since I saw it. Plus its funny, I love how Disney are now making adult jokes in these films, things children wouldn't necessarily get.

And well this is my Monday night, a can of my favourite lemonade and a DVD. What are you up to?

Book Recommends: Dystopian YA

'A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian, as characterised in books like Brave New World and 1984. Dystopian societies feature different kinds of repressive social control systems and various forms of active and passive coercion, often imagined as police states, with unlimited power over the citizens. Dystopias are often set in the future and involve technological innovations not accessible in actual present reality.'

I was first introduced to the dystopian genre a few years ago when I read the Hunger Games and I fell in love. I loved the idea of a society that was under some sort of control and a group of characters that rebelled against the social norm, plus dystopians often have strong characters who find an inner strength to overcome some tough obstacles, be it overthrowing a corrupt government or trying to survive in this bizarre world they've been thrust in to. Dystopian books are intelligent and fast paced stories with many twists and turns, they are dark and thrilling and often surprisingly emotional.

And so with that in mind these are my favourite dystopian YA books and ones I would recommend you read as well.

1 2 3

4 5 6

7 8 9

Have you read any of these? What would you recommend?

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Four Simple Goals: April

Whilst I was browsing the Internet looking for some helpful posts on how to improve my blog, I stumbled across a blog 'FiveSixteethsblog' who has a monthly post in which she sets herself four simple goals to accomplish each month and I thought that this was a great idea and something I would like to do on my own blog, Now I don't know about you but I know I'm awful at fulfilling the goals I set for myself, I think I always go too big and then when I don't complete them I get a little disheartened and kind of give up.

But I think this will be good for me, a way to set little things for me to achieve each month, simple things that I know I can accomplish and go from there. Don't get me wrong I still have big goals and dreams I want to achieve but I think if I'm feeling good about completing the simpler goals I wont get so disheartened if the bigger ones aren't happening when I want them too.

So as its nearly April here are my Four Simple Goals for April:

Spring Clean my Bedroom
I'm getting ready to redecorate my bedroom but first I need to have a clear out, I have so much junk in my room. Clothes I am never going to wear again and books that I've been sent or have read and will probably never pick up again. I can have a slight issue with hoarding things sometimes. So April is time to clear all that junk out!

Apply for ten jobs
I know this may seem like a strange one. I do in fact have a job but I'm currently looking for something else, don't get me wrong I love my job but its not exactly going anywhere and I'm not getting any younger, I want to have a career. So I've set myself a long term gaol of finding a new job but for April I just want to apply for at least 10 jobs.

Keep up with blogging
I love blogging but it is an effort sometimes to put a post together, taking the pictures, editing pictures and writing my book reviews. One of the reasons I like having this new blog is because I don't have to focus on just one particular type of post (my previous blog was all about books) and its put the enjoyment back into blogging. Now I just need to keep up with it.

Be happy, try one new thing
I've recently had a bad couple of weeks, I've gone through a big change in my life and it wasn't something I wanted and so now I'm trying to make the best of a bad situation. So in taking everything one day at a time, I am trying to find the little things in life that makes me happy and bearing that in mind I want to try something new, just one little thing I've never done before. I don't know what I'm going to try but watch this space.

In My Bag #1

I thought it might be quite fun to do a 'what's my bag post' you know besides old receipts and such. I always carry a large bag around with me as I tend to carry a lot of stuff or junk as some people might think. I recently bought this backpack from accessorise, as soon as I saw it I knew I just had to get it, its the perfect summer bag and its fits all my stuff into it.
 So I always have staple items in my bag, a bottle of water (got to keep hydrated), my phone and I-pod because god forbid I don't have them on me and some reading material, I tend to switch between reading a book and graphic novel depending on what I'm doing and where I am. I'm currently reading When I was Five I Killed Myself by Howard Butler and Sandman by Neil Gaiman. Make-up, some powder (Maybelline Fit Me) and an everyday lipstick (Mac Speak Louder), my comb and bobble for those hair emergencies and of course my purse, keys, bus pass and passport because you never know when an opportunity to jet off somewhere new might occur and you should always be prepared.
And more recently I've added my sunglasses (the weather finally looks like its warming up), my Harry Potter notebook because you never know when inspiration my strike and some earrings because for some reason I can never last an entire day wearing them.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Oh, how I wish I had your wardrobe!

Kelly Osbourne has come a long way from the angst ridden teenager we saw on 'The Osborne's', over the years we have seen her evolve into a beautiful woman. I imagine it must have been so hard for her to grow up in the glare of the media, everyone scrutinizing everything from her weight to her fashion choices. I mean come-on we all had an awkward stage, I know I did and I've tried to destroy most photos of me from back then, I don't know what I was thinking, Kelly just had to go through hers with the opinion of everyone trying to put her down.

However Kelly has now become a trendsetter, her creative style and 'no care' attitude make her a celebrity to watch. I watch fashion police just to see what she is wearing, if there is one persons wardrobe I wish I could steal it would be hers. Her mix of prints and colours is amazing, she never fails to surprise with her innovative fashion choices and bold make-up looks and lets not forget her lilac hair which I just adore. I would love to be able to take more risks like Kelly does and I think I will. She not only makes great wardrobe choices but she has the attitude to match, she isn't afraid to say her mind, as proven by the many infamous arguments she has had over the years but that's part of why I like her so much. Maybe I'll take a leaf out of Kelley's book and start taking more risks, no matter peoples opinion.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

It's the end of the world, what are you going to do?

I've been having a Walking Dead marathon recently as I've gotten a little behind on the series, well honestly its a lot behind, I'm currently watching season 3 (so no spoilers please) and I am loving it. The addition of Michonne was just genius, I love how dark and mysterious she is, you wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her, she definitely kicks ass with that katana of hers. Even though I'm nothing like her in real life if I was transported to the Walking Dead world I would want to be like her.

So as I've been catching up on the series this has sparked many conversations with my friends over what we would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse, where would you run too? What would be your weapon of choice?

Now if I had to run anywhere I think I would take a leaf out of the guys from the Walking Dead book and hide out in a Prison or at least somewhere that is already barricaded in some way, you don't want to risk being exposed in anyway. As I said before Michonne is my girl and I would follow her lead and use a Katana, its the perfect weapon, sharp and deadly for cutting off those zombie heads, I know a lot of people I've spoken to have said a shotgun or some similar weapon but what happens when you run out of bullets and get over run by zombies. See its not such a great choice. Someone else said what about using a crossbow like Daryl but that means that you have to go and pick up your arrows not exactly a safe option.

I know what your thinking what I strange conversation to have with friends but believe me you'll be happy that you had a plan if it ever happens.

What would you do?

Friday, 21 March 2014

Oh Harry How I Love You

Like most people of my generation, I grew up reading the magical Harry Potter series, these books made my childhood I was addicted to them, I can't explain how many times I re-read these books, I didn't sleep on release weekend and I had generally finished whatever the latest title was before school started again on the Monday.

I remember being introduced to the series during one of my lessons in school, we had to bring in whatever books we had been reading recently and do a presentation on the book and author and I remember one of my fellow classmates was telling us about a young boy, around the same age as we were and him discovering he was a Wizard and this magical world that existed all around us, I was hooked before he had even finished explaining and I knew I just had to have these books. I was lucky only a couple of weeks before my Nan had gifted my brother with the boxset of books 1-3 (number 3 had only just been released) for Christmas and so I finished school on the Friday and had finished book 3 by the Monday. I ended up re-reading these books continuously for months until the next book was released.

When I was younger I enjoyed reading but I wasn't and avid reader, Harry Potter changed all that for me, J.K Rowling is solely responsible for my current addiction to books and I can only say thank you. Books are my life, they pick me up when I'm down, they understand me when I'm going through a difficult time, they make me happy.

So as it has been many years since I have read Harry Potter I have decided that this is the year I am going to re-read them, I'm excited and I'm sure I am going to be transported to my childhood and to that girl that spent many hours sitting on her bed reading all about a world she wished she could be a part of it.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Raising Awareness for Cancer

Yesterday there was a lot of talk surrounding the no make-up selfie pictures everyone was posting in order to raise awareness for cancer and most of what I saw was rather negative. Now I think everyone who was posting these pictures was aware that they weren't going to cure cancer by doing this, it was just to raise awareness and I know from looking online that cancer research has seen a large increase in the number of donations made since this no make-up selfie thing was started and that can only be a good thing right?

The more money that is given, means more research can be carried out. I know from working within the science industry how much research is on-going at the moment and its exciting but its also very costly. Its not just the initial research that costs a lot its also testing the drugs and implanting production so anything we can do to get people to donate more is great. Yes everyone is aware of Cancer and they know the devastation it can bring to a family but how many of us actually donate.

I think the thing that annoyed me the most about yesterday wasn't the girls posting the pictures without make-up or the boys posting pictures of themselves wearing make-up. It was those people making comments on how ugly the girls looked without make-up, making nasty comments about their appearance, most I don't want to repeat because they were unnecessary yesterday and I don't want to write them on my blog. Girls struggle with insecurity issues everyday and I don't think some people understand how wearing make-up can be a comfort to some people, believe me it can hide a multitude of things and for those girls who decided to post those pictures for a good cause they shouldn't then be subjected to nasty and hateful things being said about them.

So that's the end of my little  rant and please I urge you to donate, whether its to Cancer research or the Alzheimer's foundation or the British heart foundation, every small donation is a step in the right direction. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall by Susan Ee
Penryn End of Days Book 1
Release Date: 23rd May 2013

Pages: 325

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Dystopia

Star Rating: 4.5

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

A dark and captivating story set in a post apocalyptic world that has been devastated by Angels, cities lie in ruins, most of the population has been wiped out and only a handful of survivors are left doing what they must to get by in a world gone mad. Angels rule and you hope you never have to meet one.

17 year old Penryn lives and breathes this world everyday and with a Mother suffering with Schizophrenia and a sister who is wheelchair bound, she must fight harder than others to keep her family together. The story starts with Penryn and her sister having to flee the apartment they've been living in as its no longer safe. When a fight between a group of Angels breaks out and Penryn watches in horror as one Angel has his wings ripped from his body and her little sister is kidnapped by the same group. Knowing the only way to get her sister back is to work with the broken and battered Angel she must overcome her fears and help him.

Penryn is a strong and beautiful selfless heroine, who will do whatever she has to in order to look after her family. She is the personification of what a protagonist in this genre should be like, it doesn't matter the situation Penryn will use her wits to figure out a way out of it, she is fierce and loyal to a fault and has a strength that is hard to comprehend and yet she comes across as being a normal 17 year old girl, who is so easy to relate too. Susan Ee has done an amazing job at creating a character that is believable in a world that is so far from our own.

Now Raffe, apart from the name which had a few problems initially when trying to pronounce, I absolutely loved him. He was dark, mysterious and a typical bad guy with a twist. Initially he was arrogant and was clearly amused by Penryn's acts of bravado but as the story progresses we get to see a softer and funnier side to him. At first him and Penryn come to and uneasy truce in order to get his wings back and Penryn her sister but as their journey progresses so does their relationship. Whilst not overly romantic, they both start to learn that maybe the other isn't the 'enemy', their banter is witty and funny and was definitely one of my favourite parts about the book. Actually I completely loved everything about this book.

A book that is anything but ordinary, with a plot that never gives up and plenty of twists and turns. The character and wind building is fantastic, Susan Ee creates a vivid and captivating world that I could completely imagine existing with characters that manage to balance each out. A book about doing whatever its takes to look after those you love, about learning to overcome prejudices and a book about finding love in even the bleakest of circumstances.

This is one book that you just have to read to understand just how good it is.

Fictional Crush 1

Okay, so we all have to admit we occasionally (maybe more than occasionally) wish that some of our favourite fictional characters were real. I know I do and I can even admit to having a tiny incy wincy crush on some of them too.

Now instead of hiding our feelings away I think that this is something we should embrace, something we shouldn't be afraid to announce to the world. Well maybe not the entire world but you know lets not hide the fact that we sometimes crush on people who aren't real.

Once a month (maybe twice) I'm going to talk about my fictional crushes and why I think they are completely crush worthy.

This months pick has to be my first ever book crush Ned Nickerson from the Nancy Drew series.

When I was younger I had a particular fascination with detective series, The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and Nancy Drew. Now Nancy Drew was my girl, I adored this series, I was amazed by the plot twists and I never saw the ending coming. Nancy was perfect to me, she was pretty, confident, adventurous and oh so clever. She was the person I looked up to and I wanted to grow up to be just like her. I wanted to solve mysterious, I wanted to be as quirky and witty as she was. Basically everything about her life I wanted including her boyfriend Ned. Thinking back he was the first every character that I had a crush on, the Nancy Drew series was one of the first series where I started to imagine what I would do if I was one of the characters.

“Ned said "Nancy Drew is the best girl detective in the whole world!"
"Don't you believe him," Nancy said quickly. "I have solved some mysteries, I'll admit, and I enjoy it, but I'm sure there are many other girls who could do the same.”

As I've gotten older I've realised that Ned isn't the greatest guy on earth and that he is a little bit of a bore. But when I was younger all I knew was that he was kind and considerate, he worried about Nancy's safety and all round he seemed like a good guy. He was completely devoted to Nancy and let her shine when it came to solving cases and yet was there to rescue her if he needed to, plus he was the hottest guy in River Heights.

Who was your first fictional crush?

Graphic Novels

I've never been a big graphic novel fan, there isn't a particular reason behind this I've just never had the urge to pick one up before.

However recently this has all changed, my best friend is a big comic book fan and he loves exploring our local comic stores for hours on end, looking at all the new releases and well whilst I'm there with him, I end up looking too and I have to say I think I may have a new love, they are quick and easy to read and yet at the same time some are so thought-provoking and create intense emotional reactions from me, the same reactions I get from reading books, I can't believe I've never given them a try before and can we talk about the illustrations. Just wow! I wish I could draw as well as some of these artist, honestly I would love to see some of my favourite books turned into graphic novel form.

Now I am still a complete novice but these are some of the graphic novels that I've read and really

1. Chew (Tasters Choice) by John Layman and Rob Guillory

Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he's a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases.

2. The Sandman (Preludes and Nocturnes) by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith and Mike Dringenberg

 In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his seventy-year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.

3. Fables (Legends in Exile) by Bill Willington, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha and Craig Hamilton 
When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters have created their own peaceful and secret society within an exclusive luxury apartment building called Fabletown. But when Snow White's party-girl sister, Rose Red, is apparently murdered, it is up to Fabletown's sheriff, a reformed and pardoned Big Bad Wolf (Bigby Wolf), to determine if the killer is Bluebeard, Rose's ex-lover and notorious wife killer, or Jack, her current live-in boyfriend and former beanstalk-climber.

4. Locke and Key (Welcome to Lovecraft) by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
"The Eisner-nominated Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them, and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all!"
5. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From New York Times bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40), Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

6. Maus (My Fathers Bleeds History) by Art Spiegelman
A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself.

Can you recommend any Graphic Novels I should read?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Pretyy Things

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 

So I've been looking into redecorating my room recently, I'm a little fed up with it at the moment and I have been browsing online for some cute little bits and pieces to put on my shelves and for storage use. I've been wanting a record player for quite some time now and I have finally saved up enough money to buy one, I've heard some great things about the Crosley ones, plus they come in some really great colours. How cute are the storage containers, the heart-shaped jewellery box and the bird tin, I know that the My Little Pony one is technically a lunch box but I'm sure I could use it for other things. You can never have enough storage boxes. I also really want a new stereo system and I really like the vintage feel of this one, I think it would be perfect in my room. And finally the skull, I know its a little gothic compared to the other stuff but that's just me, my taste is so eclectic and my bedroom definitely reflects this.

"You don't look depressed"

I recently saw an interview with a woman who was suffering with depression and she was talking about the reaction she had from people when she told them about it and one comment that was made was that she didn't 'look depressed'. What a silly comment to make, I didn't realise there was a look to depression, that in order to be depressed you had to look a certain way.

There are plenty of people in this world that suffer with depression, people you would least expect because inside they feel like they are dying and yet they put a smile on for the rest of the world. You see depression is something that goes on in the mind, its like there is a separate part of you whispering things in your ear, telling you your not good enough or that you can't do it, it breaks you down. But it doesn't always translate to an outwards appearance, its something that occurs on the inside and to say that you can tell that someone is depressed based on how they look is ridiculous, even the most beautiful and wealthy people in the world can suffer from depression. It's common misconceptions like this that still give the dieses its stigma.

Time for a little honesty.

I suffer from depression and I have for many years now, I hid it for a long time I was ashamed and embarrassed and felt like something was wrong with me. I suppose in some ways there is but not in the way I was thinking. My friends and family just thought I was unsociable and yes while I'm not particularly fond of large social gatherings I do enjoy interacting with people but while I was at the height of my depression I pushed everyone away and truly felt like I was completely alone in the world but I didn't walk round looking sad, I got up everyday and put my make-up on and I've never wore sweatpants outside of my home, I went to work and university. From the outside it appeared as if everything was fine in my life but in reality it wasn't, university was at one point just too much for me and that was my breaking point, I was on the verge of leaving and never going back and one day I just broke down and told my parents everything, every thought or feeling I had ever had. It was the best thing I ever did, they helped me get help and I managed to turn my life around and now I can honestly say I'm happy and that smile on my face that you see, well that smile is real.

If you're reading this and you suffer from depression then all I can say to you is, I know what its like, I know the weight that you feel but please go and get help, its not an over night fix but it will help and just know that people do care and love you, even when it feels like you are alone, you never are.


Starting a blog is always a strange experience, believe me I've had a fair few in my time, I never know what to say for the first post, I mean how much do you actually want to know about a girl you've never met and how much do I want to share.

Well lets start with the basics, my name is Ashley, I'm a recent university graduate just trying to find my way in the world, I'm trying to find what makes me, me.

I know, I know it all sound so cliché but what better place to discover who I am then writing a blog about all the things I love in life, who I am, my thoughts, my feelings.

The last two blogs I've had I've loved and I'm technically going to continue with them on this one as well, basically this is just going to a continuation of what I've already been doing but just bringing it all into one place.

So sit back and enjoy all that my life has to offer.