Book review: 'After Anna'

Well hello to you my reader chums! I'm an avid book reader and even though I read a lot of stories, there's only a few novels that I think 'wow, this book was intense' and 'After Anna' fits that description. I finished this a few weeks back and couldn't wait to sit down and type away my thoughts.

Here's my review on 'After Anna'...


After Anna book review

Plot line

The blurb goes as follows - Five year old Anna vanishes from school without any trace of where she could be. A week later she's found by the authorities without a smidge of evidence to what could have happened and Anna herself having no memory of the ordeal. The nightmare begins here for Anna and her family. It's one of those plots that have surprises and unexpected moments at every turn of the page, that you keep on wondering what will happen next.

Characters

One of my favourite things about novels is getting to know the characters and what happens to them in the story line. Julia is a strong, caring mother figure and shows every difficult task that motherhood entails throughout the book. She's a determined character, who's in and unhappy marriage and goes to every strength (literally) to get what she sets out for. Brian (Julia's husband) is a weaker character I found. Under the thumb and control of his mother, his always done everything in her favour and still tries to make her happy instead of his wife. Brian is conveyed as a man who is content with his career and his home, that he doesn't seek anything more than that. Then we have Anna who is a curious and clever little 5 year old. Brian's mum, Edna is odd and you discover that from the beginning. She is very snobby, likes the finer things in life and turns her nose down at those who don't. As Anna is her main grandchild she is still in contact with, she wants the very best for her including private education. As the novel goes on, you see how all these characters relationships grow and clash with many other low key characters coming in between. It unfolds in such a way, I couldn't believe it.

After Anna book review

Structure
The structure of this book is very interesting and gripping. It switches between the narrators voice of what's going on with the family unit of Julia, Brian and Anna to the kidnappers thoughts. That switch is super intense, however it puts you in the mind of the kidnapper and helps you unfold what actually happens to Anna. I love the way this book is put together and how the chapters reveal different information.

Ending

I won't give away the ending, however halfway through the book, I began to have my suspicions of what happens and I was correct. The last couple of chapters are even more intense than the rest of them and you discover exactly what happens to Anna. What I can say is the book does end with a happy, content finish.

Overall, I'd highly recommend this book to any enthusiastic reader. It leaves you in suspense, wanting more after every page and has too many unexpected moment to count. The author is a truly clever and creative writer. It's a 10/10 from me.

I hope you enjoyed this book review! Do you have any book recommendations?

Thank you for reading <3

Aladdin themed afternoon tea and west end show!

Well hello to you my reader chums! Last week, my boyfriend Dan and I ventured to London for a day out. As a Christmas present I got Dan tickets to go see Aladdin on the West End as its his favourite Disney film. We both couldn't wait for the show and to spend some time in the city.

Here's what we got up to...

Cutter and Squidge Aladdin afternoon themed tea

A while ago I saw on Facebook an Aladdin themed afternoon tea at Cutter & Squidge (a bakery) in Soho. As we were going to see Aladdin in the evening, I decided to surprise Dan by booking a table at this themed afternoon tea - he had no idea and it was ever so magical. When you walk into the bakery, the staff take you downstairs to this room that is designed to look like the 'Genie's cave'. The dimmed purple lighting, glittery decorations and gold lamps everywhere screamed Aladdin to me and we couldn't wait to see what was in store with the tea. Disney music also rang through our ears from film to film so we couldn't help but sing along.

Cutter and Squidge Aladdin afternoon themed tea

Before the main afternoon tea came out, we got a little starter, a glass of prosecco and this pot filled with candy floss, a yummy yogurt concoction and meringue on the top. We then were able to choose our tea, I went for the 'very berry' and Dan chose 'passion fruit'. Our teas were brought out in the quirkiest jugs that looked just like the genie's lamp (we wanted to bring them home)! The food consisted of an assortment of different sandwiches, savoury pastries, macaroons, 'flying carpet' shortbread, cakes and even more macaroons to finish! Every single nibble was bursting with different flavours from coronation chicken sandwiches, feta pastries, chocolate macaroons to strawberry cake and raspberry tarts. There was so many delicious treats to try!

Cutter and Squidge Aladdin afternoon themed tea

Cutter and Squidge Aladdin afternoon themed tea

This was the walkway that led into the 'Genie's cave'. Every single decoration has so much detail and a lot of thought put into it - you felt a part of the Disney magic.

Cutter and Squidge Aladdin afternoon themed tea

We had the most incredible time at the afternoon tea! If you're a massive Disney fan (especially Aladdin), book yourself a table at Cutter & Squidge as I promise you, it'll be a magical experience. This tea is on for limited time only and I think it stops at the end of March so book before it's too late!

Aladdin show London

After lunch, we had a mooch around Covent Garden, stopped off for dinner at Pizza Express and then it was show time. I'd been listening to the soundtrack prior to the show so couldn't wait to see it brought to life.

Aladdin show London

Aladdin exceeded all my expectations! With the catchy songs, bright costumes, dancing, magical staging and electrical atmosphere, there was so much to take in. It's one of those musicals that make you smile the entire way through! I also love how much humour was thrown into the show and made you literally laugh out loud. The Genie had to be my favourite every character because he had it all - the singing voice, dancing ability and greatest humour which had the audience in tears. The show was phenomenal and seeing the magic carpet fly into the sky to a 'whole new world' topped it all off.

Aladdin show London

Aladdin show London

If you haven't seen it already, I'd 100% recommend getting yourself a ticket! It's such a feel good show for all ages. 


I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you seen Aladdin in London?

Thank you for reading <3

2017 beauty favourites

Well hello to you my reader chums! Instead of posting my December favourites, I wanted to write a round up of all the products I've been loving in 2017. There's been a fair few beauty discoveries this past year, many of which have now become my everyday staples.

Here are my 2017 beauty favourites...

2017 beauty favourites

Revlon  'Colour stay' foundation
My everyday staple foundation this year has been Revlon's 'colour stay' for many reasons. It has the best medium coverage, easy blending ability, a flawless finish and wide range of colours suited for a variety of skin tones. There's also two different foundations for varied skin types and the pump is a God send. I couldn't recommend it enough if you're looking for a foundation that covers any blemishes and gives an even look without caking up the skin. Read my full review here.

Kat Von D liquid eye liner
When I was in New York, I finally got round to picking up the hyped Kat Von D liquid eye liner. I didn't think anything could top the L'oreal super liner, however I was wrong. This liquid liner is a staple black, holds in place all day long and the thin nib makes it really easy to get that perfect wing. Here's my full review.

Maybelline 'Lash sensational' mascara
I'm not entirely sure how long I've been obsessed with this mascara, but I'm pretty certain that everyday I wore mascara in 2017, I chose this one. It's the only mascara I've found that keeps my straight eye lashes curly all day long with the darkest colour. The wand is slightly curved that helps with easy application and doesn't add any thick bits of product to the lashes.

Tarte's 'Tartelette in the bloom' palette
I've tried a fair few new palettes this year but Tarte's 'tartelette in the bloom' has to be my favourite one. There's a variety of colours from nude shades, shimmery options and dark burgundy colours, that the palette can be use from day to night. I've loved rocking simple day looks to full on dramatic smoky eyes with this palette. The colours are intensely pigmented, they blend well and lasts ages on the eyes, I couldn't recommend it enough. View the full swatches here.

Hoola bronzer
I'm a massive bronzer fan and when I finally got my hands on Hoola bronzer, I instantly fell in love. It's the perfect shade to contour the cheekbones and add some colour into the skin. The packaging is super cute and it holds the contour all day long. If you want to treat yourself to a new bronzer, this is for you.

Urban Decay concealer
This concealer has it all. The thick consistency covers blemishes like a dream, it blends pretty easily and is very long lasting. As the concealer is very thick, you only need the tiniest bit to put under the eyes or on a blemish to do the full job. It's coverage, consistency and colour range have my vote. Here's my review.

2017 beauty favourites


Garnier micellar face wash
I'm not one to change my skincare up on a regular basis, however this past year I've been loving a new face wash. Garnier's micellar face wash is ultra gentle and leaves your skin feeling super fresh. It has the ability to take off light makeup and is easy to squirt out the correct amount with the handy pump. If you have sensitive skin and need a face wash that isn't too harsh, I'd recommend this.

Sleek eye brow kit
I feel like 2017 was the year of eye brows for me as instead of just using eye shadows, I got round to purchasing an actual eye brow kit. By using a kit, I've noticed a big difference with how much longer my brows stay in place and the colour being that extra bit prominent. This Sleek palette in 'light' is the perfect light brown shade mixed with the wax that matches my brows like a dream.

Sleek highlighting palette in 'Cleopatra's kiss'
I love a good highlighting palette and Sleek always do the best kits. The 'Cleopatra kiss' palette includes two creamy and two powder based gold/bronzed shades. Even though it's better as a highlight for the summer, I found I could rock this all year round as the shades add that extra bit of warmth to the skin. You can really vamp it up to a full on highlight of go for a simple look with this palette.

Nyx's liquid lipsticks
Matte lipsticks have always been my go to as I've never been the biggest fan of gloss or a sparkle on the lips, that when it comes to liquid lipsticks I can't get enough. The Nyx's version have been a staple all year round and I've constantly had one of them in my handbag just in case I wanted a pop of colour. My favourite picks are 'Cannes' and 'Rome', both different nude shades, one subtle and the other, quite vampy. They do a whole range of different colours and apply ever so creamy on the lips. I'll be sure to buy more to add to my collection this year.

Nars matte lipstick in 'Cruella'
Red lipstick is my favourite shade to rock on evenings out and of course in the festive season. One I've been absolutely obsessed with in 2017 is Nars matte lipstick in 'Cruella'. It's the perfect red shade, has a creamy formulation, is long-lasting on the lips and keeps to its matte name. I couldn't recommend it enough if you're in need of a new red lipstick. Here's my full review.

Lush 'Cupcake' face mask
Lush Cosmetics is one of my favourite brands. There's nothing better than having a bath with one of their products after a long day. Their facemasks are also fantastic products and I've been loving their 'Cupcake' one this past year. It smells great, leaves the skin feeling ultra fresh and cleansed that I can't fault it.

I hope you enjoyed my 2017 favourites. Which products have you been loving this past year?

Thank you for reading <3


Hello 2018 - New Years resolutions!

Well hello to you my reader chums and hello 2018! 2017 was one of my favourite years yet, packed with the most special moments, experiences and new adventures that I've featured on my yearly highlights post. Every year, I like to set a few goals and today I wanted to share with you my resolutions for 2018.


Our annual gals picture on New Year Eve

1. Have a little more me time and self care- In 2018, I want to take more time out to focus on myself and my mental health. For instance, to have more evenings where I just fully unwind with a book and bath, going on walks in the fresh air and pampering myself a little more. Even though 2017 was incredible, I was super busy a lot of the time, that I didn't have much downtime to truly relax, which left me feeling very stressed. That, this year by taking more me time, I'm hoping I won't get stressed by the little things life brings.

2. Cook more - I'm a big fan of cooking and baking but I don't really make the time for doing it on a regular basis. I'd love to cook more dishes from scratch and try out loads of new recipes this year, growing my skills in the kitchen. I see many lovely bloggers and vloggers cooking up a storm that it's got me all inspired to work with different flavours and create new dishes.

3. Live a healthier day to day life - Every year I always say, I'm going to eat healthier and be fitter, however I never fully stick to it once the first few months of the year pass. My aim this year, is to make healthier choices rather than diet. For instance choose not to have a glass or wine at dinner or pick a banana instead of sugary snack on my work break. That plus getting back into an exercise routine, whether that's a home workout or regular brisk walks.

4. Continue to visit new places - Travelling is one of my favourite hobbies and I adore exploring new locations. As I was lucky enough to visit a fair few new countries in 2017, I'd love to continue that this year. There's so much of the world to see and I can't wait to tick country off my list one by one. 

5. Be a little more spontaneous - As much as I'm a big fan or random adventures or taking the day as it comes, this year I want to put it in place more. I always like to have weekends booked up with plans or ensure I'm seeing these people this week or those the next that I forget to let life just take its course and experience a little spontaneity. Whether that's flipping a coin to decide where to go that day or just driving somewhere to see where you end up. Life is about adventure.


Dan and I on New Years Eve

I hope you enjoyed this post. What are your goals for 2018?

Thank you for reading <3




The best of 2017

Well hello to you my reader chums and a Happy New Year! I can't believe 2017 is over and we're a few days into 2018, time has flew by way too quickly. For me 2017 was a year of change in many different ways but 12 months packed with plenty of exciting moments. Today, I wanted to share my highlights of 2017...

Meeting my boyfriend - One of the biggest and best changes was meeting my boyfriend Dan in 2017. I never thought I'd meet a guy who loves every single bit of me, supports whatever I choose to do in life and will always make me laugh, but I am lucky enough to have found that in Dan. We've experienced so many things already together including holidays, London ventures, family get togethers, our first Christmas, both our 21sts and much more, that I can't wait to see what the future holds.


Holidays - I'm a massive travel addict and when it comes to holidays, 2017 was no short of those. I visited Milan, New York, Malta, Amsterdam, Rome and Venice! When I look back, I still can't believe I was able to see all those places in one year and tick 3 more destinations off my bucket list. In February, my gal pals and I visited Milan for a short weekend break, seeing all the sights and soaking up the Italian culture. May brought a 5 day venture to New York with my twin sister to celebrate our 21st the following month. To this day, I'm amazed I was able to walk through Time Square, go up the Rockfeller Center and see a show on Broadway. The summer holiday happened in June, where a group of 10 of us vacated to Malta for a week of sunshine, sea and all things relaxation. In September, Dan and I jetted off to Amsterdam for a weekend away and saw all the best sights including Anne Franks House, Van Gogh's museum, Dam Square and the famous canals. My last trip of the year was a gift from me to Dan for his 21st - a 5 day venture to Rome and Venice. Rome was everything I remembered it to be with the historic sites, fantastic food and bustling city. Venice took my breath away, it was like walking into a dream you never wanted to wake up from. The canals, gondola ride, St Marks Square and all that gelato were my highlights.

36 hours in Milan

Central Park New York

Malta group holiday

48 hours in Amsterdam

5 day venture to Rome and venice

5 day venture to Rome and venice

I can now say I've been to another continent besides Europe, rode on a gondola, gone on mine and Dan's first few holidays together, seen Anne Frank's house, returned to my favourite Italian city and truly experienced travelling that little bit more. 

Turning 21 - 2017 was the year I celebrated my 21st birthday. My twin sister and I threw a party and invited all our loved ones. It was the most fabulous night surrounded my all my family and closest friends that I couldn't be more thankful. We danced the night away to all the best party tunes and sung our hearts out.

21st birthday

Concerts - I'm a massive fangirl and love attending concerts. There's nothing more magical than watching your favourite artist sing live, surrounded by other adoring fans. I went to see Shawn Mendes, Scouting for Girls at my boyfriend's university summer ball, Olly Murs, Robbie Williams, Collabro and my favourite artist Harry Styles. Every single artist put on a corker of a show and I feel incredibly lucky to have watched them live. I also went to the Vicars Picnic, a family-style festival filled with fantastic tunes and activities.

Harry Styles on tour

Shawn Mendes tour

Meeting celebrities - I wouldn't say I'm a big celebrity follower, however I do admire quite a few famous names. This year I was lucky enough to finally meet my favourite YouTuber twins, Lucy and Lydia and superstar model, Cara Delevingne. 

Youtubers Lucy and Lydia

Cara Delevingne book signing


Theatre shows - Going to the theatre has got to be one of my favourite activities. Whether it's a musical or comedy show, I can't get enough. This year I was lucky enough to see Les Miserables, a musical I've been wanting to see forever, which my boyfriend treated me to for my birthday, Lion King on Broadway in NYC and Sister Act. 

Les Miserables musical in London


My best friends - I have a close knit friendship girl group and even though there's been a few life changes this year, I know we've still always got each other. 2017 has been a big year filled with celebrations, adventures and a whole lot of laughs. Thank you to my best friends for being you and accepting me as me.

Glamping in Brighton

Family - 2017 brought a lot of exciting family memories. There were many more meet ups, a wedding and meals out, to ensure we had that time together. I'm so lucky to have a big yet close family with all my cousins and I hope 2018 brings even more family time.


A few more favourite snaps from 2017...







Thank you to my boyfriend, family and close friends for making 2017 a truly special year. I've broadened my horizons with travelling, learnt more about myself and really grown within me. I've tackled my anxiety even more, met new people and had some of the best experiences. 2018, I can't wait to see what you bring! Here's to another year of adventures, self growth and special moments with my loved ones.

I hope you enjoyed this posts! What were your favourite moments from 2017?

Thank you for reading <3

Christmas makeup look

Well hello to you my reader chums! The week before Christmas has finally arrived; with the glitzy Christmas trees, wrapped up gifts and classic carols on repeat, I wanted to share my favourite festive makeup look. As this week, there will be many family dos, work events and gal pal meet ups, I hope this makeup look gives you a little inspiration.

Here's the products I use for my Christmas makeup look...

Christmas makeup up look tutorial

Face products

After my morning skincare routine, I applied L'oreal's 'infallible primer' to ensure my makeup lasted all day long. For foundation, I mixed two of Revlon's colour stay shades together (110 and 180) as I find that's the most suited colour for my skin. I used Rimmel's 'wake me up concealer' to brighten up under the eyes and the 'Naked' concealer by Urban Decay to cover any obvious blemishes. To set, Rimmel's trusty 'stay matte' powder does the trick.

Christmas makeup up look tutorial

Contour and highlight 

Even though Christmas time is more about rosy cheeks, I prefer to rock the bronzed look. My favourite and go to for any occasion is Benefit's 'Hoola bronzer' as it's the perfect shade to achieve those desired chiselled cheekbones. The highlighting palette is Sleek's 'Cleopatra' where I used the two bottom shades to get that golden festive sparkle.

Eye brows and shadows 

My brows are a medium colour brown that I find Sleek's eye brow kit in 'light' is the perfect shade. Its wax holds the colour pigment to my brows all day long that I couldn't fault it. On the eyes I used a cream eye shadow from Revlon and Tarte's 'tartelette in the bloom palette'. I applied 'flower child' as a base and run 'smart pants' through the crease of the eye. I then took 'funny girl' all over the lid and inner corner. To darken the eye, I used a blend of 'rebel' and 'leader' on the outer corners as well as taking it under the eye. These two shades have a gorgeous red undertone that gives the eyes that extra festive flair. I used Kat Von D's liquid liner and coated my lashes with Maybelline's 'Lash sensational'.

Christmas makeup up look tutorial

Lips

No Christmas look is complete without a red lip and my go to has to be the classic Mac's 'Russian Red'. With its matte formulation, long-lasting power and medium red shade, it's the perfect colour for a Christmas celebration. 

For some contour inspiration in this festive season, check out my blogger friend Elle with her post on the 'best contour kits and palettes'.

I hope you enjoyed this  post. What is your go to Christmas makeup look?

Thank you for reading <3

November favourites

Well hello to you my reader chums! With November officially over and the festive season truly amongst us, it's time to share with you everything I've been loving over the past month.

Here are my November favourites...

November favourites

Urban Decay's Naked concealer in 'light warm'

I've raved about the Naked concealer for a while now but wanted to feature it again this month. Out of all the concealers I've tried, it's my favourite in terms of coverage. If you've got a massive blemish or dark circles you'd like to cover, this is the concealer for you. The Naked concealer's coverage is faultless, the consistency is thick meaning you don't need a lot and it lasts forever. Its shade 'light warm' suits me perfectly and with the yellow undertone, it helps cover a variety of blemishes easily. View the full review here.

Maybelline's master sculpt bronzer

Bronzers have to be my favourite face product because since I have quite fair skin and a round face, they do just what I need. For an everyday use, I've been loving Maybelline's master sculpt bronzer. It's one of the best drugstore bronzers I've tried! The bronzer is completely matte, perfect for contouring the skin and an all over bronze, without giving that summer shimmer but still the warmth you'd like. It's got a slight orange undertone but nothing too prominent that you're still able to contour a lot without the bronzer looking too cakey on the skin. Also, it comes with a highlight, offering two products in one! It's not the most glittery highlight, however perfect for an everyday subtle glow.

November favourites

Mac's matte lipstick in 'Russian Red'

The red lipstick season is back and there's nothing more exciting than rocking a festive lip. My ultimate favourite at this time of year is Mac's Russian Red. With the perfect matte formulation, pigmentation and medium red shade, I've been reaching for it a lot. It can last all day long and doesn't leave the lips feeling dry, I couldn't recommend it enough. If you need some festive lip inspiration, here's my top 4.

Furry denim jacket

I have a lot of jackets; they're one of those clothing pieces which I feel you can always buy more of. As the seasons change, it's something you change up with all your outfits especially in autumn/winter time. If you follow me on Instagram, then you'd know I've been obsessed with this furry denim jacket from Primark. It was only £20 and has been one of my best investments this autumn! You can pair it with black jeans, skirts or over a dress, it's very versatile. And, even though it's a denim jacket, the fur makes it that extra bit warm for the chilly autumn weather.

I hope you enjoyed this favourites post. Which products have you been loving this month?

Thank you for reading <3