10 Gift Ideas For Any Occasion

Beauty, Fashion, Favourites

With Christmas just around the corner you’re probably thinking about what to get for the special people in your life. It can be difficult buying presents for people for any occasion particularly if you are under a tight budget. Here are a couple of my favourite unique finds…

For the Tavel lover – Scratch Map

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They can scratch off the places they’ve been on the map and plan trips they hope to go to. The idea is that they will try to scratch off as many places as they can. I have one of these my self and I love it.

If they are a student there are loads of gap year and bucket list books by lonely planet that you can get on amazon or any good book store.

For the book worm – Book cover locket

I think these are so unique, they do a variety of book covers so you could find their favourite classic novel to put on to the locket.

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For the film lover – popcorn machine and bags

I mean it is their own cinema at home!

or for the person who wants to get into movies… a scratch off 100 bucket list movies poster 

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(photo from amazons website linked above) 

For the music lover – (if they have vinyls) a vinyl frame, new earphones or portable speaker. For the person who I into hearing all the classics there is also a scratch off 100 albums bucket list poster.

For anyone – books

I don’t think anyone can go wrong with a book, it can be about anything they are interested in from gardening to traveling. There are loads of thoughtful books on Urban outfitters if you need some ideas.

 For the fashion aficionado – The new fashion rules by Victoria Magrath

I have followed Victoria’s blog for a long time now and she has the most amazing style and knowledge of fashion – definitely something a fashion lover would love to delve into.

For the Make up addict – Makeup storage or a set from their favourite brand. ASOS do some great ones by a variety of brands or if you want to go more upmarket SpaceNK do some beautiful sets as well from bath and body to lipstick and eyeshadows.

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For the foodie – something for the kitchen or you can get books of the best places to eat in different cities.

For the sentimental – A photo book

I recommend Snapfish as I have used them before – the quality is really good and they are the cheapest company I can find that do them. I did one for my Dad documenting all the places we had travelled to and adventures we had been on. You can customise the pages yourself, adding text, changing the layout of the pictures and the background.

For anyone – Candles or bath things

Everyone likes gifts that they can use to relax. My favourite bath oils are from Aromatherapy – they can be a bit pricy but smell amazing.

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I hope this little guide helps! Do you have any go to or unique gift ideas that you love? Tell me in the comments 🙂

Thank you so much for reading!

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The Dangers of a Social Media ‘Overdose’

Thoughts

Social media, created for social network and for users to share and create content – to keep people in contact with each-other. The idea was an incredible one, we can now have friends all over the world and keep in contact with them, however as with all things it has its downsides particularly when it becomes over used. So I ask you – How often do you use social media? And are you aware of how much time you may be spending on it?

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The problem:

You may be wondering why I refer to a social media ‘overdose’ in the title of this post, this is because using social media and mobile phones has been proven to be really addictive. When you get messages or likes on your recent post a hormone is released, the same hormone that is released when drinking alcohol or smoking. It’s this ‘happy’ hormone that makes all of these things so addictive. So just like you can overdose on these things you can overdose on social media.

Some apps such as Snapchat deliberately make using it addictive. In this case it’s the use of ‘streaks’, having to send a photo to your contacts every day that becomes really addictive; people using the app have to add sending ‘streaks’ into their daily routines, often making it a priority first thing in the morning. I was at a party recently in a place with no signal and no wifi and in the morning it was like a meltdown because they had a ‘timer’ meaning they were going to lose their ‘streak’ unless they sent a photo right away. I know so many people who get like this with Snapchat and I used to feel it too until I realised what I was doing and how pointless it really was to get so caught up in a number next to a name. So I deleted snapchat for a while and only re downloaded it so I could keep in contact with the friends who have been trying to contact me on there. When I deleted it so many people messaged me, so annoyed that we had lost our streak and I was so relieved to rid myself of that pressure, to not have to think first thing in the morning that I need to go on Snapchat.

Having a social media addiction is not a mental health disorder in itself but being addicted to it can cause many other mental health problems such as anxiety and depression because you’re counting the number of likes and having people unfollow and unfriend you. Many people also spend more time on their phones than spending it with people face to face, this lack of true social interaction can make people feel lonely, anxious and upset.

The health secretary is urging tech firms to enforce minimum age rules and I do think that this has got to be a really great thing to happen, I never had a phone until I was 11 and even then it was a little pay as you go phone but I loved growing up playing outside with friends, dressing up and doing role play; so many kids now just play games on their devices instead of getting dirty outside.  Many of the tech giants don’t even allow their kids to have mobile phones or social media platforms.

However this is not just an issue for kids, I often see parents picking up their kids from school and their child is trying to tell them about their day yet more often than not that parent is looking down at their phone. The misconception of social media use, I think, is that its just the young generations that use it but it affects all age groups because in the modern day they have to use it in work.

How can we reduce our social media use? 

In the new update for iPhones, Apple have added a feature where you can put a time limit on using certain apps so you can truly see just how long you are spending on instagram or snapchat or Pinterest. You can then tailor your social media use to your life.

The best way, however, to reduce our time spent on social media is simply to be wary of when we are using it. For example; when out to dinner with friends, put your phone away and turn it on silent. Sometimes we all need time without the distractions of our mobile phones; to simply be with your own thoughts, it’s in these time that we can be innovative and come up with new ideas.

To summarise, as the saying goes ‘everything in moderation’, using social media can be a positive way to spread messages and create content but using it too much and letting the likes and follow count get to you can cause a problem. Talk to people and take time for yourself to do things you love and use social media only when you’ve done these things; don’t let social media control your life.

I hope you enjoyed this post, I found it really fascinating researching the impact social media has on our lives in the modern day – if you want to find out some more here are a few links to some books and websites you might find interesting….

I have also done a post about the impact technology and social media has had on ways we get information and its contribution to creating ‘fake news’. Have a read here —– Fact Or Fiction

 

 

 

 

5 Tips for festival packing

Travel

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Last weekend I went to RiZE festival in Chelmsford. It had an amazing line up – Stereophonics, Liam Gallagher, Bastille, Rag n Bone Man, James bay… the list goes on. Whilst there my friends suggested I wrote this post as they both couldn’t believe I had brought so little with me. So here are a few of my tips for festival packing…

 

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1. Pack light.

For RiZE festival I took a pair of trousers, shorts and 2 tops so I could mix and match my outfits. Then I recommend bringing a couple of jumpers, one you can use as a pillow by putting it inside a pillowcase and another if it gets cold at night in the tent or in the evenings although to be honest, when you’re in the crowds of people dancing its pretty warm anyway.

2. Check the weather.

If it’s not going to rain you will only need a couple of pairs of shoes. I just wore my timberlands because I knew it wasn’t going to rain all weekend, if theres a slight chance I would bring flip flops because then if your feet get muddy you can just wash them off. However if you know its going to rain its time to bring those wellies out.

3. Remember toilet roll and hand sanitiser.

At any festival the toilets are always a problem, they usually run out and its much easier if you have your own.

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4. Bring a small bag.

If you have a big bag they are unlikely to let you into the arena, and if you only have a small bag and have packed lighter it will take less time getting through security.

5. Invest in a bum bag.

They don’t cost very much, Im pretty sure mine was the cheapest one on amazon but they are incredibly handy – you don’t have to worry about someone stealing your bag or leaving it anywhere and you can keep all of your valuables close to you.

These are only a few tips I have found that work for me but, obviously, you may have to pack more if its longer than a 2/3 night festival. But  I hope you have a great time at what ever festival you are going to, they are such a laugh and amazing fun particularly when you are with a good bunch of people and there is a great line up – have the best time 🙂

 

Fact Or Fiction

Thoughts

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‘Fake news’. I by no means mean to quote Trump here, but certainly much of the ‘truth’ has been contorted by journalists and social media in recent years.

We have, now, got most information at our finger tips. With thanks to the internet we can find out the breaking news and the height of your favourite celebrity; any kind of information that will satisfy your curiosity and allow you to figure out how to build that Ikea coffee table. The internet has been an incredible invention that I doubt many of us can imagine life without. However, as with all things, it has its downsides. We can get brand new information quicker then ever before which means journalists are biting at the bit to get out the next news story; this often means that much of the information has not been backed up and that it could, in fact, be just a rumour. And it’s not just the information we are given, it’s the information that news broadcasters can choose not to give us. After all, as Sir Francis Bacon once said ‘ipsa scientia potestas est’ – Knowledge itself is power.

I recently read an article from a couple of years ago by Katherine Viner (editor in chief at The Guardian) entitled ‘how technology disrupted the truth’ it was a fascinating read and really got me thinking about the society we live in now and our dependance on technology.

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Viner talked about how “In the digital age, it is easier than ever to publish false information, which is quickly shared and taken to be true”. Not only does this mean that some of the information is censored but that rumours can be quickly spread just like in high school movies. She is referring to the use of social media. It is easy for anyone to read a post and share it to let everyone they know about this information, or for anyone to make up information and share it without any evidence. And with our busy lives we tend not to have the time to check the facts, we just assume and trust that the information we are provided with is true.

Social media is not only a place to spread information but according to many articles the companies can censor what information we are presented with online. So unless we are actively searching for a piece of information, it won’t be shown on our social media feeds. Viner writes about how “Algorithms such as the one that powers Facebook’s news feed are designed to give us more of what they think we want – which means that the version of the world we encounter every day in our own personal stream has been invisibly curated to reinforce our pre-existing beliefs.” This can be particularly an issue in Politics. If we are given information about a campaign or about someone running for prime minister then that information may sway our decisions about what or who we vote for, if after the decisions have been made and we find out that that information was in fact false then we may look back on our vote and regret it – then we have the issue of whether there needs to be a revote. (Just like we are having now on the Brexit ‘vote leave’ allegations.)

Facebook has pledged to begin to do something about this ‘filter bubble’ (as Eli Pariser, the co-founder of Upworthy, coins it). Although some think even this is ‘Fake news’ too. (Facebook ‘fake news’ article here)

Many people now rely on social media to gain information on current affairs and to help construct opinions but how can we do that if that information may just be a rumour? We are unlikely to check these ‘facts’ and just regard them as the truth without any further investigation, after all the news should be something we can trust in.

Many writers in the past have talked about issues with misinformation, the most famous of all being George Orwell in his novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. The phrase Orwell uses to sum this up is “Freedom is the freedom to say 2 plus 2 equals four” in other words, freedom only exists if all the information we are given is actually true. He comments on how easy it is for those in power or those we trust to say that “two plus two equals 5”. The sales of his best selling novel he wrote in 1948 shot up when Trump ran for president, with people making links between society now and the dystopian world Orwell presents for us.

Also in Margaret Atwood’s ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’ she writes that ‘there are 2 kinds of freedom, Freedom to and freedom from’.

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Im not saying that all the information we are told is false only that perhaps we need to be wary of what allegations being made by the media are true. This can only be done by checking on the sources and by reading around – To ask ourselves if the information we are being provided with is Fact or Fiction?

July Favourites

Favourites

Its almost August! I hope you have had an amazing July and been up to some exciting things. This month, I thought I’d share with you some recent favourites as I have not done a post like this in so long and there are some incredible films, theatre and books i’d love to share with you.

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Beauty:

To be honest, I don’t tend to mix up my beauty regime very often; I wear the same makeup every day (if any at all) and have had the same skincare routine using the Proactive 3 step regime twice a day and it has been the best skincare products I have used to date so I stick with it. However a couple of months ago was my Birthday so my sister Kindly got me the IT pore perfecting powder which I have been loving adding to my everyday makeup particularly as it’s getting so much warmer to set my Makeup on those days I do decide to wear it.

Fashion:

My most worn item of clothing this month was probably my grey Timberlands, which I brought in the sale the month before (sometimes it’s good to be a size 8 haha) because they are the comfiest shoe I’ve owned, I’ve got the lightweight ones so they are not heavy and you can walk around everywhere without getting sore feet.

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Films:

I have managed to tick a few movies off my movie bucket list this month; King Lear (A new adaptation of it that recently came out with Anthony Hopkins) , About time (what a thought provoking story!) and The devil wears Prada (I can’t believe I hadn’t watched it till now, it’s so funny). Unfortunately I hadn’t managed to get to the cinema last month but there are loads of film I really want to see.

I did, however, go to the theatre and finally got to see The National Theatres production of War Horse. It was absolutely breathtaking, It was so well done and really captured the emotion of the book. The book was my absolute favourite as a child, I remember reading it before the Steven Spielberg film came out and because the words of the book were so fresh in my mind (being from Joey, the horses, perspective) thinking the film was rubbish (having rewatched it more recently I could fully appreciate it) and worried the theatre production would be the same but it was so clever with the puppets and incredible set design.

Series:

The Hollow Crown: I know this is not a new series, but I have only recently discovered it and have loved it. If you haven’t seen a lot of Shakespeare so far but want to get into it i’d definitely recommend The Hollow Crown – the acting is superb and the storyline is really understandable even though the language is that of the Elizabethan era. I particularly liked Henry IV part 1, following the story of Henry IV (played by Jeremy Irons) and his son Prince Hal (played by Tom Hiddleston) and the journey and commitment it took to be on the throne.

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Books:

This month I have read The Da Vinci code by Dan brown, A Dolls House (a play by Henrik Ibsen) and have just started reading a Handmaids Tale and Angels and Demons (the prequel to the Da Vinci Code). I really enjoyed The Da Vinci Code,  I have read a couple of Dan Browns’ novels before and I love them because despite an incredible thrilling story you also learn a lot about symbols, cultures, history and architecture along the way which is really interesting and puts you into the mind of this highly intellectual Harvard professor.

A Dolls House was also excellent, admittedly it had a bit of a slow beginning, but the ending is incredibly powerful – Ibsen explores the wife and husband dynamic and treatment of women in the 19th century. So far Angels and Demons is very similar to The Da Vinci Code story line but it may get better as I’ve only read the first couple of chapters, and the Handmaids Tale beginning is very captivating, diving straight into this dystopian world Atwood has created. Ive seen the first series of the BBC adaptation which was good although a little confusing so i’m looking forward to how the book pans out.

Overall I’d 100% recommend The Da Vinci Code and A Dolls house and i’ll keep you updated on the ones I’m currently reading on twitter, instagram and on here.

Music:

Tom Odell’s new song ‘If you wanna love somebody’ came out recently so I have been loving listening to that and I very much am looking forward to his new album that comes out in October.

Next month I have got a few things I’m looking forward too, hopefully going on holiday somewhere with my family and going to RIZE festival with a couple of friends.  But I have just got back from Pub in the Park in Bath; Tom Odell was playing and there were lots of yummy food stalls from some very talented chefs, pubs and local food stores.

Thank you so much for reading!

What have been your favourites this month?

Book Club: Origin review

Book Club

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I recently finished reading Origin by Dan Brown; I am a huge fan of his books anyway after having read Inferno, and this sequel does not disappoint – its just as thought provoking and fascinating as his past novels.

To sum up the novel, without spoilers, the novel is a thriller following the Harvard professor Robert Langdon going to see an ex students presentation about a new discovery he has made. He then finds himself running for his life along with Museum manager Ambra Vidal. It follows all the places they visit and all of the organisations, people and architecture in the book are real which is really interesting.

Brown also touches on some very controversial topics including the ongoing religion vs science debate and the impact technology has on todays society. It is incredibly thought provoking; it made me question and want to find out more about the topic and the way in which science and religion both have parts to play in todays society. It makes you ask questions about the relevancy of religion in the modern world, about the impact new scientific discoveries have on society and about the conflicts that can occur due to the differences in opinion people have over answering these questions.

Religion is presented almost like a comfort blanket in the novel by some characters (although the protagonist, Robert Langdon, remains a bystander throughout) as an idea that people go to when the world does not give them clear answers. For example what happens when we die – science cannot yet give a definite or ‘nice’ answer so perhaps religion is that blanket to turn to. Other characters depict a world in which science can cause more suffering for example issues with the lack of morality and emotion in computers or a lack of hope amongst society due to the less romantic answers to some questions Science is trying to answer. In this way, Brown presents a clear discussion of these themes allowing the reader to make up their own mind of what the answer should be. Science or Religion or maybe even both, side by side?

Overall I would 100 percent recommend this novel, it follows a very similar story arc as to many of his other novels but the topics are very relevant and fascinating – I couldn’t put the book down, I was so eager to find out what was going to happen next. It not only feels like you are reading a thrilling novel but also learning a lot from it too.

Have you read Origin, If so what did you think?

Have you got a favourite book? I would love to know your book recommendations – please leave a comment below!

Thank you so much for reading 🙂

(This is all my own opinion, unless otherwise stated, about the book and the themes it entails. You may think completely different ideas about the themes or have different thoughts about the novel as a whole and I am happy to hear your opinions about them)

 

Book club: On My 2018 To Read List

Book Club

One of my resolutions was to read more. I have always loved reading but over the last couple of years schoolwork seems to have taken over and my passion for reading diminished a little. I am currently reading Origin by Dan Brown, an author whose books I have come to love, I’m about half way through and I’m hooked. Now it may be reading over schoolwork!

This is my  ‘to read’ list for the rest of the year…

Sense and sensibility – Jane Austin

I’ve been wanting to read one of Jane Austins novels for a while, I’ve seen the films and I really enjoyed Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austin apparently writes in a similar style. Its also one of those classics that I think will be really interesting to read.

Hidden Figures

The film was incredible, Looking at the women in Science who were behind making the Apollo mission possible but were never recognised at the time. Its supposed to be a really empowering read and a compelling look back into history.

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine

This is currently one of the best sellers on Waterstones and looks like a thought provoking story line.

To kill a mocking bird

This is one of my friends favourite books and she’s been urging for me to read it for a while. Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties through one man’s struggle for justice.

The Da Vinci Code

I am currently reading Origin, which is Dan Browns newest book of the Robert Langdon series, and I read inferno last year but I have never read the earlier books so I really want to read the first book to see where it all started. A lot of people say this is the best one too so really looking forward to reading it later this year.

Wild

I really enjoyed the film and it was a really poignant story about a woman who backpacks across America to find herself. I had wanted to read it before watching the film but I never got round to it – better late than never… right?

The Road

I think I am going to be reading this in English next year along with A handmaids tale and its always good to be ahead 😉 haha

A pair of silver wings

My dad recommended this book to me – he claims it to be one of the best books he’s ever read so i’m looking forward to seeing if I find it as good as he claims it to be.

If you have any book recommendations please let me know! It is such a struggle to find a good book and I hope that my reading list may have helped you. For my other recommendations please see my ‘book club’ section xx