26 December 2013

How Will You Remember Christmas 2013?

I was catching up on some blogs when I came across an amazing post on Charlotte's Web. It really stood out against the other Christmas blog posts I was reading as it told the story of a cat and mouse stand-off, instead of one about new shoes and sparkly nail polish. Don't get me wrong, I love me some new shoes and sparkly nail polish, but this post was just a refreshing change that made me think. At the end, she asked what I would remember about Christmas 2013. For me, Christmas 2013 will always be the year of West Side Story. It's my favourite musical and has been for quite a few years, but 2013 was the year that I finally got to own it on DVD and the year that the soundtrack became a crucial part of my iTunes. Christmas 2013 will also be remembered as the year my friend, Amy, left school to start a hairdressing apprenticeship. She's the first of us to leave school and the first of us to go off to college and, although we won't be in the same building together for 7 hours every day now, I know that nothing will change between us. Despite this, I'll miss her loads. Christmas 2013 will also be remembered as the year of incredibly good food. My mum excelled herself with Christmas dinner this year by making roast potatoes that weren't hollow like previous years and the most amazing gravy in the world, ever. I also went out for a lovely dinner with my friends as a leaving present for Amy and a Christmas celebration. I ate heaven in a burrito. 

I hope you all had an amazing Christmas or just a lovely day in general if you don't celebrate it. How will you remember Christmas 2013? 
Cat xx

2 December 2013

Review - Clean & Clear Deep Cleansing Lotion

Clean & Clear Deep Cleansing Lotion for sensitive skin* "Oil-fighting formula cleanses effectively and helps prevent spots."

I've never been the biggest Clean & Clear fan - I don't really have problem skin and I prefer to use more natural skin-care products - but there is one C&C product that has made it into my daily routine and has became holy-grail over the past few years. It's their bright blue, deep-cleansing lotion. 

I'd say that calling it a 'lotion' is pushing it a wee bit though as it's like water... Name aside, this is honestly one of my favourite products and I really believe that it does what it says on the bottle. It claims to get rid of the build-up of oil and dirt on your skin, clearing it up and preventing spots and, for me, it does. I've been using this since January 2012 (I bought it the day after my friend's 14th birthday) and I've made it through 3 bottles in that time, the third being sent to me from the lovely people from Clean & Clear. For the first few months of using it I thought it was a little bit too strong for my skin, but I quickly realised that the actual product wasn't that strong at all, but the scent was. I'm used to it now but if you're sensitive to scented products then this may not be the best for you. :)

All you need to do with this is put a bit on a cotton pad and wipe it all-over your face, avoiding your eyes. Seriously, avoid your eyes! I made the mistake of using this as an eye-makeup remover once when I'd ran out of my usual one and it stung like a bitch. :'D It really feels like this product is deeply cleansing your skin but it isn't at all drying - for me, at least. I keep repurchasing this product - I'm actually on my fourth bottle of the stuff now - and I love it just as much as I did when I first used it three years ago. 

You can buy Clean & Clear's Deep Cleansing Lotion for £2.99 from Boots - here.
Lots of love, Cat

23 November 2013

Where I Blog 2.0

A year or so ago I did a post called 'Where I Blog' where I let 200-odd people be nosey and see just where I write this blog (when I don't feel like folding up my spine by blogging from my bed). It seemed to go down quite well with everyone so I decided at the time to re-visit my desk at some point in the future when things have changed. It's now the future... :D My desk has changed an awful lot since last October: it used to be incredibly minimal, pure white and kinda lacking in personality. I liked it at the time but I'm really happy that it's been changing over the past year - I like it way more now and feel more comfortable working here. It may seem messy to some people but, to me, it's an organised, creative mess. :)

'Nerds Like Us' poster - DFTBA Records   
 Rose photo frame - TK Maxx
Edward Monkton coasters - Amazon
Jumper (over my chair) - TK Maxx
'If People Were Rain' poster - DFTBA Records
Pin board - Homemade
Chocolate plaque - DotComGiftShop
If you want to know where anything else is from just ask in the comments. :)

Lots of love, Cat


26 October 2013

Brain Mush #2

You might remember a post I did a few weeks ago called 'Brain Mush #1' which was pretty much just the contents of my brain late at night. Today, I thought I'd share another brain mush with you...Sorry in advance.
Sidenote - Only 11 GFC followers away from 300?! Whaaaaaat!? XD
Also, please comment below saying if you can see my blog header or not - it isn't showing up on my dad's laptop but it shows up on my mum's. :(

It's only 11:28 but I'm trying to get my fudged-up sleeping pattern back to normal. I just had the urge to play uke so I did that but then realised that it was half 11 at night.  I'm watching Bring It On - All Or Nothing yet again - it may or may not be the 4th time this week. It's just so damn good. Britney Allen is a legend. 
I went busking the other day. Seriously. I can't believe it like what -
We earned £23 and a lesson in tolerance for 12 year old ass-hats.  Apparently music can have a sexual preference, who knew? I'm definitely busking again.
The Corey Monteith tribute episode of Glee was on tonight. All the emotions I felt from the day Corey died came flooding back. Out my face. It was horrific. The Glee writers are sadistic...
Miss fancy fingernails shimmy shimmy lipgloss barbie.
I won a tiny Mount Fuji yesterday. 


18 October 2013

Ticked Off The Bucket List - Busking

Date: 16th October 2013
Goal: Go busking

I went busking. Yeah, that was a thing that happened. :'D It's been a goal of mine for a while to go play ukulele and sing in public but it was only when a friend of mine mentioned that she wanted to give busking a go that this actually became a reality. Busking had always seemed like a thing that would possibly happen years down the line, when I was more confident and was maybe doing something with music that wasn't just playing uke and piano in my bedroom late at night, but then I found myself standing outside Debenhams with a ukulele. We played for about 4 hours with a couple of little breaks (mainly to warm up, it was baltic) and only had to deal with three assholes which was much better than I expected. It was honestly one of the best experiences of my life and the £23 we made was just an added bonus.  

The day before we went busking, we practiced for most of the day at my house before going to hers where we watched The Great British Bake-Off and practiced a bit more before turning in for the night. I got to sleep at 2am which wasn't the best considering that we were getting up at 8am but, to be honest, I actually think it just added to the experience and made it even more exciting. :P We were off the bus and in Costa by nine getting tea and a brownie for breakfast. Standing in our chosen spot before we got started was probably the scariest part of it all - it just felt so real and that's when I kinda realised that people I had never met before were about to hear me sing and play ukulele, like what even...argh...O_O Side note: it was a bloody amazing brownie. The first person that passed us once we got started shouted "THAT SOUNDS LIKE GAY MUSIC" and I was really tempted to shout back that I didn't realise that music could have a sexual preference, but I just smiled and thanked him instead. He just smiled and laughed before giving us 50p. People are odd.

I felt really comfortable really quickly and after a wee while I wasn't at all nervous anymore, something I really wasn't expecting. I honestly thought that I would get there and just burst into tears, have a panic attack then pass out, leaving Beka to busk enough for both of us. Busking made me notice a few things:
  • The earlier it is in the day, the nicer people are,
  • It's hard to hold a ukulele up through a full song,
  • You can actually play an instrument whilst wearing fingerless gloves,
  • Costa staff recognise customers who were there 2 hours before,
  • 12 year old boys are ass-hats.
Maybe I should elaborate on that last one...
It was a couple of hours in and my fingers were completely numb. I'd ran out of tea and brownie but I'd just bought the new KIGH CD and was having an amazing time so it was all good. We'd made about £15 so far and hadn't ran into any real-life trolls yet (apart from the "your music is gay" guy) and it was all going great, then three boys passed us but instead of walking past us like most people, they stopped. They were 12 at the most, wearing chinos and all looked pretty much identical. One of them swaggered (quite literally) up to us and was all like "I'LL GIE YE 5P FUR A GID SONG" and his minions laughed and swaggered around a bit, then Beka started playing right in their little faces so they throw 5p in the hat, clapped a bit then ran off. They reminded me of all the people who were in my classes in 1st year... 

We busked for about 4 hours before going into Debenhams and having lunch in the cafe, counting and splitting up the money we'd made then heading for the bus home. I can honestly say that it was one of the best things I've done and I'm pretty sure that it won't be the last time we'll go busking. It was totally worth the blisters on my fingers (it's as gross as it sounds) and the exhaustion the next day (I literally couldn't get out of bed until 2pm), and I'm so unbelievably happy that we did it. If you had told me this time last year that I'd be out busking I would have laughed in your face, so I guess I've come quite far over the past 12 months. I'd call this one hell of an achievement. ^_^

Have you ever been busking?
Lots of love, Cat

15 October 2013

The Never-Ending TBR

My to-be-read pile is ridiculous. Seriously ridiculous. I keep adding books to my TBR list, then when it comes to picking a new book to read I'll choose something that wasn't even on it. Who knows why... I have a feeling I'm just trying to put off reading the most hyped-up and raved about books incase I'm let down by them, so I pick something completely different that I wasn't even intending to read for a while, just to procrastinate. It's a stupid habit. Maybe if I share my TBR list with a bunch of people I'll be encouraged to get through them a bit quicker and if I don't, you all have permission to shout at me over the interwebs to get me to hurry the hell up. :D 

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins 
This is a re-read in anticipation for the film release in November. I read Catching Fire straight after I read The Hunger Games a couple of years ago so I want to get it re-read before I see the film. This got bumped way up my TBR pile after I found out that it's being released next month...I thought I had until next year! I didn't really enjoy it too much the first time around but hopefully I'll like it more after having a little Hunger Games hiatus. 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
I read and loved Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell in August, and have just finished reading Fangirl (also by Rainbow Rowell. She's a genius...) so Attachments is next on the list. I love the way Rainbow Rowell writes and my experience with her books so far has been 100% positive. Her characters are always really unique and she is super imaginative with her plots. I can't wait to get stuck into Attachments. :D

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
This is actually what I'm reading at the moment, I only started it last night (or this morning, to be honest...1am isn't really night) though so I can't really say much. So far I'm enjoying the way Mitch Albom is building the scene and I have high hopes for the rest of the book. You started singing that song about high hopes, didn't you. I see right through you. ;) Hiiigh hopes...she's got hiiigh hopes...

Divergent by Veronica Roth 
I know, I know; I really should have read this by now. You don't have to tell me again. :P Every time I mention Divergent it's like I've opened the gates to a flood of fangirls that will do anything to get me to read this book. It's scary. Divergent's been sitting on my bookshelf for a few months now and I keep reaching for it, reading the blurb then putting it back... I'm scared to start reading it in case it doesn't meet my expectations. :( It's really near the top of my TBR pile though. 

Soul Shadows by Alex Woolf*
I was really kindly sent this book for review from Curious Fox Books a few months ago but I'm yet to read it. It sounds really good and I've read a few good reviews for it so I have a feeling this will be a good'un. :D 

The Soterion Mission by Stewart Ross*
This was another review book from Curious Fox Books but, again, I haven't read it. After reading and reviewing two of their books - Diary Of A Mall Girl and Amber - I decided to take a little break and read some other stuff for a while. I guess I'm still on that break... I really like the sound of this one: it's really original.

Geek Girl by Holly Smale
This is my most recent book purchase but it's been on my TBR list for a couple of months. I bought it in ASDA for £3.80 on Friday night when I was out with my friends (that's right, we go gallivanting round the ASDA book section at 8pm on a Friday night) and I can't wait to give it a shot. This is the most talked about book on my Twitter feed right now and everyone's raving about it, so I thought it was about time I picked it up. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief has been on my bookshelf for well over a year and it's been on my TBR list for the same amount of time. Everyone loves it and I know I will too, but the hype intimidates me... It's meant to be a really sad, profound novel so I'm waiting until I'm wanting a bit of a heavier read before I get stuck into this one. 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Carrie Fletcher talked about this book in a video a year or so ago and I've been wanting to read it ever since. I bought it pretty quickly and read the first few chapters, but then school work piled up and I needed to read a different book for English so I put it back on my bookshelf. :( It seems like such a beautiful book and I haven't heard a single bad review so I'm looking forward to giving it another go. ^_^

The sad thing is that I've only told you about half of my TBR pile... I didn't want this post to be too massive so I cut it off prematurely. I have one hell of a challenge if I want to get through my list. D: Wish me luck!

Lots of love, Cat


13 October 2013

Brain Mush #1

This was written at 1:46am on the 9th of August 2013 when I couldn't sleep and was feeling a little delirious, to say the least. I just found it again in a notebook and though it'd be pretty funny to share it with you, letting 200-odd people see how my mind works late at night. Enjoy.

It's quarter to two, Patty Walters is keeping me awake by being a beautiful and wonderful human being. He's so optimistic and bubbly and he makes me want to be a better version of myself.  Not someone different, just me but better. He smiles all the time, bounces around all the damn time but isn't afraid to feel down, and I want to be more like that. I love Patty Walters for so many reasons.  I want to do music.  I want to spend days just playing around with songs with my friends and be able to walk down the street saying that I came back from band practice. I'm not even in a band. Maybe I should talk to someone about that...again. I'm watching Patty Walters's VEDOs from 2012.  He's wonderful and the one where he goes shopping in Reading has an amazing ending for when you feel down. Remember that. My brain is mush at night. I'm going to smile more, be more friendly and approachable and do the musics. Just anything with music. It's just turned 2am, my brain is mushy and yeah. I want to sleep.

Patty Walters though...

Lots of love, Cat 

6 October 2013

Book Guilt #2

I have book guilt again.

You may remember a post I did in January where I confessed to not having read some of the most-loved and talked about YA books, aka. your children. I caused a bit of a shizstorm and it became one of my most-read posts, so I thought it was about time that I owned up to my crime again and shared some more books that I really should have read, but haven't. Please don't disown me...
  1. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  3. Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman
  4. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  5. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
  6. City Of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
  7. Room by Emma Donoghue
  8. One Day by David Nicholls
  9. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  10. Divergent by Veronica Roth
You think that's bad? You haven't seen my Kindle...*head desk*.  There are 182 unread books on there and only 24 read ones. Terrible, I know. I'm not going to list every book on my Kindle so here are some of the most shameful, unread books:

  1. Life Of Pi by Yann Martel
  2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  3. A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (the full series)
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  5. Marley and Me by John Grogan
  6. A Hat Full Of Sky by Terry Pratchett
  7. 1984 by George Orwell
  8. The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
  9. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  10. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
You have my permission to shake your head in disappointment. :( As you'll already know, I am a massive bookworm and I read an awful lot but for some reason, I never seem to get round to reading the books everyone tells me to read. If a book is hyped up and raved about, I'm often scared to read it in case I'm let down and it doesn't meet my expectations. I'm going to try harder than ever to get these books read. Do you have book guilt?

Lots of love, Cat

16 September 2013

Not Everyone Will Like You

This post is in response to Carrie Fletcher's recent video 'Why Don't You Like Me?!', where she talks about how some people will hold something against you, or dislike you for no apparent reason. This happens to everyone but it often takes a while to come to terms with it and accept that some people will just not like you and there's nothing you can do about it.

This happened to me quite a few times and it was only a few months ago that I grew to accept it. Often someone will decide that they don't like you before they even speak to you, and the only thing you can do to change their opinion is to continue to be yourself and do what you're doing, in the hope that they'll realise that they were wrong. People judge you for the way you walk, your accent, the clothes you wear, the way you do your hair and pretty much everything else you do. It's these judgements that form a person's opinion of you, meaning that an opinion can be made before they even speak to you. The only thing you can do is give the person time and maybe make an effort to speak to them, even though it'll probably be incredibly hard at first. 

I thought I would share a couple of experiences I've had where people have judged me before they've got to know me, in the hopes that you'll realise that this happens to pretty much everyone and it doesn't last for long. :)

The first time I ever really experienced this was in third year when I was 14. There was a girl in a few of my classes who I had never really spoke to but was kind of friends with one of my best friends. One day in fashion class she 'borrowed' scissors from my friend then didn't give them back, so I said something. I'll admit, I was in a bit of a mood that day but I honestly did keep my cool and just asked for the scissors back. She hated this. She glared at me and started bitching about me to everyone she sat with, some of which were my friends. I just avoided eye contact and kept quiet, feeling pretty bad. Later on in the same lesson I was having a laugh with my friends about something completely unrelated but this girl thought the laughter was aimed at her and started to hate me even more, thinking that I was taking the piss. I guess this was a simple misunderstanding after what happened, but it really didn't help the situation. I was feeling pretty terrible at this point but I realised that I hadn't done anything wrong so I tried to forget about it. At the end of the lesson I went to the next-door class to put my fashion box back and the aforementioned girl came to put hers back too. This meant that we were in a class alone together; just me and a girl who had quickly grown to hate my guts. I put my box back, avoided eye contact and went to leave the class but she stood in front of me, blocking my path and shoved me. What I did next really didn't help the situation..I laughed...*head desk*. I wasn't laughing at her, I was laughing at the whole thing and what was happening but of course she thought I was laughing at her. Well done, Catriona. So smart... She really didn't like me after that lesson and made that very clear by talking about me to her friends (and my own friends) for weeks after. She said that I was stuck-up, impolite and arrogant, all of which are completely untrue. She had judged me on the way I looked, that one incident in fashion class, and my accent which is more english-y than other people in my area. Luckily, we sorted things out and are now okay with each other, as we both got to know each other and realised that our assumptions were wrong. 

Another time that someone (or in this case a group of people) have decided they don't like me was more serious than the first time, and went on for a bit longer. It again happened in fashion (not the best class for me), this time in 4th year when I was 15. I was just sitting, minding my own business one day when the group of girl's opposite me starting laughing. Seems normal, right? I ignored it until my friends said that they were actually laughing at me. They would look up at me, whisper something then break into laughter. I kept my head down and got on with my work but then a ball of paper hit my head. I asked my friend to read it so I could keep my composure, so she read it and binned it straight away. I still don't know what it said but I really don't want to. This happened for the full lesson, but after a few balls of paper we started replying. The three of us (two of my friends and I) would write come-backs and correct their grammar before throwing the notes back. They didn't have a problem with my friends doing this and every note thrown was aimed at me. I left the class feeling okay because correcting their spelling and grammar was fun, but this went on for weeks. I stopped replying and my friends moved their seats so they were forming a little barricade around me. The girls complained to the teacher that I was staring at them, throwing mean notes and not getting on with the work (basically what they were doing), and continued to torment me for a good 2 or 3 weeks. It only stopped after we went on study leave for the exams. They had done this because they said I had been staring at them and, again, thought I was stuck up. They still don't like me at all, but at least they don't make it quite so clear.

I enlisted the help of a few blogging friends to give their point of view and share some experiences they've had where people have made snap judgements against them.

I have actually had this happen to me a lot through my life but particularly when I started high school. I was very excited about going into high school and was looking forward to making new friends and so I was honest with people and tried to show people who I am in the hope I would find friends like myself. I love reading, writing  and I care about my education a great deal more than a lot of people do. This came across when my class started getting into trouble due to other pupils who liked to make the teachers angry, and when people noticed that I didn't laugh or find it funny. That was when people started to dislike me, the bullying started and I was made to feel like an outsider. There was no reason for it, I never did anything to cause people to be like that. I just thought what they were doing was wrong and I wanted to do well at school. Six months ago I moved school and I fit in here and nothing like this has happened. People like me for who I am. - Holly from 'A Daydreamers Thoughts'.

I've never been openly told by anyone that they dislike or hate me, but obviously from peoples body language and what they say you can take a good guess. Generally, if someone dislikes me it is from something I have said, it is usually when I've not thought about it properly or said something out of context, or the most popular reason, that I can be pretty annoying sometimes! To be honest, I used to feel really bad about myself if I knew or had an idea that someone did not like me particularly much - but I've come to realise that there is enough people that do not dislike me (they might find me annoying occasionally but stick around anyway!!) so I can forget about the people that dislike me. It is however always important to be civil and respectful, even to people you know don't like you. No matter what people say, being nice does get you somewhere! However, do not get hung up on the fact that not everyone likes you - it is literally impossible to get everyone in the world to like you - there will always be someone who does not like your personality, your attitude, is jealous of you, thinks they are better than you.... but there are way more who DO and try and focus on those relationships than on the relationships with people that DON'T! - Jean from 'Oberjean'.

I'm not going to lie, I am one of those people who cares way to much about what people think of me and wants everyone to like me. I always worry what people who I have barely spoken to or hardly know think of me when really it shouldn't matter. So I'm going to try and listen to my own advice. There is going to be someone out there, no matter how kind you are, who will look everywhere for a reason to dislike you. They may barely know you and its very likely you wont have done anything wrong, but for some reason they may see you and instantly think 'I don't like her!' (or him). It just something everyone does, often with out thinking and there opinion can be irrational and judgemental but it can sometimes get you down. But their opinion shouldn't matter. Go about your life, be kind to them and don't let them ruin your day. If you feel down about it ever, just remember you have amazing friends and family, who love you, and those are the ones the matter :D - Helena from 'In A Few Nutshells'.

I've experienced being disliked for no real reason. Last September at the beginning of the new school year I joined a new class where I literally knew nobody. I made a few friends really quickly, but I also made a couple of 'enemies'. The thing is, I had no idea why. All it was, was a snap decision that the girl made, with no reason behind it. I don't even think I'd spoken to her. All I can say is - it doesn't matter. So what if someone doesn't like you? That probably means they're not your kind of person and that they wouldn't be a great friend anyway. There are always going to be people who do like you, and that is what's important. :) - Amber from 'The Mile Long Bookshelf'.

If you've ever experienced something similar or just have something you want to say, leave a comment below - I reply to every one! I really hope you enjoyed this post and hopefully took something from it. :) Now I have a little favour to ask... It would mean the world to me if you could share this post around and maybe even share it with Carrie herself. She really inspired me to write this and share these experiences with you, when I usually wouldn't. Just drop her a tweet or something - it would honestly mean the world. ^__^ 

Lots of love, Cat

7 September 2013

Music Memories

I've always loved music. I grew up listening to the Beatles and have listened to music constantly since I was born, being raised in a very musical house. I've been through a lot of music 'phases' where I'll be obsessed with a band for a few months then one day I'll wake up and decide they aren't as amazing as I first thought. I've also made friends through music; finding new people to talk to based on our taste in music, and there are some songs which will always remind me of a certain day or memory. It's clear that music has made a huge impact on my life, so I thought I would share some musical memories with you. ^_^

The first band I ever really loved and found by myself was Fall Out Boy. I remember getting a Pop Party CD for Christmas one year (I think I was about 9 or 10) and listening to one track constantly; 'Thnks Fr Th Mmrs' by Fall Out Boy. I loved it. It was so unlike anything I normally listened to and was the complete opposite of the music I had grown up with but something about it really appealed to me. I bought my first FOB CD a few weeks later based purely on that one song. It was 'From Under The Cork Tree' and I bought it from HMV in the sale. As soon as I got home I listened to it and fell in love with FOB more and more as I listened to each song. I remember finding the titles hilarious for some reason... My favourites were (and still are) 'A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More "Touch Me"' and 'Of All The Gin Joints In All The World' and both of these songs will always mean a lot to me as they were the reason I came out of my shell and started talking to new people. One day in class (I was 10) a boy I had never really spoken to was listening to 'Of All The Gin Joints In All The World' on the class computer. I noticed and decided to talk to him, something that I would have never done before. We got talking about FOB and didn't stop talking about FOB until we left school two years later. I was quite literally obsessed with Fall Out Boy for two or so years, then one day I found another band and FOB got pushed aside. I never stopped loving FOB, but a new band took it's place for a while. This band was...

Good Charlotte. I found Good Charlotte through the music channels one day when I was bored. I was just skipping though the channels and stopped on Scuzz like I usually did when 'Girls and Boys' by GC came on. It was new to me and was different to anything I'd heard before so I instantly liked it. Good Charlotte was pop-punk and I loved how it was upbeat yet it had strong guitar parts and more mature lyrics. I loved how Joel Madden moved when he sang and the whole tattoos and piercings thing was new to me with bands I listened to. I bought my first GC album a couple of weeks later in HMV. It was 'Young and Hopeless' and is still, in my opinion, their best CD. My favourite was (and still is) 'The Anthem' but I loved it all. I bought all of their CDs and listened to them non-stop for a year or so, until I found other bands I liked more. Unlike FOB, I don't like Good Charlotte all that much now so I passed the albums onto my friend who is loving them. :) 

When I was 12 I started to get into bands like Paramore, Boys Like Girls, My Chemical Romance and 30 Seconds To Mars. When I was on the bus home from school one day, the boy in front of me was talking about how much he hated All Time Low. This boy was annoying and we argued a lot so, naturally, I wanted to like All Time Low to bug him (terrible, I know...).There was a slight problem though: I'd never listened to ATL. So, when I got home that night I watched a load of ATL videos online and ordered 'Nothing Personal' on Amazon. When it arrived I listened to it non-stop for weeks and fell in love with ATL. Like with FOB and GC, All Time Low was different to what I listened to so I really liked it. It reminded me of Boys Like Girls but, in my opinion, was better. My favourites on the album were 'Stella' and 'Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don't)' and I still love these songs now. I had both found a new band to love and found a new way to argue with this boy on the bus. Maybe I should mention that this boy was the same boy who I loved FOB with... I bought all of ATL's albums within months and I still listen to them now. They're amazing.

I still remember the first time I listened to Paramore: I asked my sister to show me some new music and as she loved Paramore at the time, she let me hear two of their songs. They were 'Decode' and 'That's What You Get'. I think she played those two because she didn't think I would like them and she wanted to keep Paramore to herself but I ended up falling in love with them. Hayley Williams has the most amazing voice and I loved how upbeat their music was. 'That's What You Get' became one of my very favourite songs and it sparked off a love for Paramore and Hayley Williams. She became my idol, both for style and musical talent and I spent hours looking through pictures of her hair, make-up and style getting inspiration. Paramore quickly became one of my favourite bands and as my sister already had their CDs, I didn't have to buy any. :D 'Riot!' was, and will always be, my favourite of their albums, and 'That's What You Get' is one of my favourite songs.

A band I got into a little later was Kids In Glass Houses. I saw them when I was watching the T In The Park highlight show three years ago and, for some reason, knew all of the words to 'Saturday'. I kinda fell in love with Aled Phillips when I was watching them and I remember his jacket with all of the feathers on the collar...He ran through the crowd and everyone was grabbing at the feathers so when he came back on stage his jacket was in pieces. I'm not sure why I remember that but it was the start of my KIGH love. I got their CDs and have listened to them a lot ever since, especially 'Dirt' which was the soundtrack to my holiday in Malta. My mum and dad bought me an oversized 'Dirt' t.shirt for my 14th birthday and I still wear it as a pyjama top even now. KIGH are one of my favourite bands and I can't wait for their 4th album to be released soon. ^_^

I could talk about this for ages but I don't this post to be too long so I'll stop here. I might make another post like this one day if it goes down well though. ^_^

Lots of love, Cat

1 September 2013

Review - Amber by Julie Sykes

Happy September! :D

Author: Julie Sykes
Publisher: Curious Fox 
Published: September 12th 2013
Pages: 304 approx.
Source: For review*
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fantasy

How do you live by the rules if you don’t know what they are? Amber has lost her memory and the only clues to her identity are a mobile phone in her pocket and a beautiful amber necklace around her neck. This intriguing and surprising novel for teenage girls will have readers gasping with disbelief as the truth about Amber is revealed...

I'm going to try my hardest to make this review spoiler-free as I know a lot of you will be itching to read this when it's released! 

When I first read the synopsis of Amber I thought I knew what to expect therefore I wasn't really that excited to read it; it sounded a little samey and predictable. I read it nonetheless - mainly because of how gorgeous the cover is - and I was pleasantly surprised! Amber is one hell of a book with the most twisty-twist I've read for a while. I literally gasped multiple times through the book and was still a little shocked after I'd turned the last page. It's hard to believe that this is Julie Sykes' debut YA novel. 

We find out early on that Amber has retrograde amnesia meaning that she has no memories of her past or who she is, she doesn't even know her own name. I really liked this concept and, even though I've read quite a few books about amnesia, this one still managed to be original due to the massive twist (no spoilers!). We witness Amber's journey as she tries to figure out who she really is and because she knows as much as we do, it was pretty unpredictable for the most part. I liked the character of Amber but I didn't really form too much of an opinion or any attachment, suggesting that she wasn't too well developed. I did, however, really like the character of Dan. He really brought out the best in Amber and their relationship was absolutely adorable. Other than Dan, none of the characters stood out to me at all and we really don't get to know anyone through the book. I'd say that character building is Julie Sykes' weakness but it was the only low point in the book, in my opinion. :)

The plot overall was very strong and, like I said earlier, original. I generally love books about amnesia as I find that whole topic fascinating but Amber has a little something extra that makes it more than just another amnesia book. There were so many unexpected twists and turns making it a gripping read, and it turned out to be the complete opposite of what I was anticipating. A really amazing debut for Julie Sykes. ^_^ I'll give it 4 out of 5.

Thank you Curious Fox for very kindly giving me this book to review! My review is 100% honest and my opinions were in no way affected. 

Lots of love, Cat


29 August 2013

Review - Diary Of A Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja

Author: Luisa Plaja
Publisher: Curious Fox 
Published: March 15th 2013
Pages: 269 approx.
Source: For review*
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary, YA

The mall is the heart of the fifteen-year-old Molly's suburban town. Most teens hang around with friends there, get their first job there, and experience their first kiss there. And Molly? She actually lives there, in the complex's residential wing, where she navigates the dramas of teenage life, falling out with her friends and falling for the dark, mysterious boy-next-door.

But is living in a massive shopping centre as much fun as it sounds? Well, yes... and no. Find out the whole truth in Molly's private diary!

This was my third read by Luisa Plaja so I knew what to expect as far as writing style and character building - effortless, easy-to-read writing and well-developed characters - and I'm very happy to say that those expectations were met. Diary Of A Mall Girl was a fun, light read and a lovely break from the slightly heavier books I normally read. I sped through it and had a great time reading about the disaster that was Molly's life. :P The plot was simple yet effective as it was basically a diary written by a very dramatic teenager. We got to hear about the mortifying situations Molly was always getting herself into and how she was convinced that her life was over. We've all been there so reading about Molly's thoughts, feelings and actions was hilarious and pretty relatable. 

Molly was a wonderful mixture of scatty, infuriating, hilarious and lovable. She is 15 in the book yet her melodramatic nature made her seem much younger. The things she wrote in her diary are probably things we have all thought at some point, suggesting that we're all pretty immature and naive deep down. I initially thought she was 12 when I started reading so hearing that she was only a year younger than me was surprising! I didn't mind her immaturity at all though; it added to the book. ^_^ My favourite character was (one of) Molly's love interests: Jaspar. He was mysterious and very awkward in most situations making him endearing and completely lovable. The other characters were all quite irritating mainly because they were all so terrible to Molly! Her 'best friends' were horrible and incredibly immature, and her 'crush', Liam, kept mucking her about. I think the other people in Molly's life really added to the drama though, making the book even funnier, so I won't complain. :P 

Despite the little parts that annoyed me as I read, Diary Of A Mall Girl was a very enjoyable book and was written brilliantly (as always). I would recommend it to slightly younger readers, maybe about 11 - 14 year olds, as I think I was a little too old to fully enjoy it. It's a great book of you want a break from heavier novels and was a joy to read. ^_^ I'll give it 3.5 out of 5

Thank you Curious Fox for very kindly giving me this book to review! My review is 100% honest and my opinions were in no way affected. 

Lots of love, Cat

25 August 2013

Wrapping It All Up

You may remember a certain post that popped up about three weeks ago called The Summer Reading Smackdown...It was about a summer reading challenge that myself and Charli were hosting, with a set of awesome challenges and a two week deadline. We had amazing feedback for the SRS Challenge with 7 of you guys signing up and I've been reading your reviews that you've been tweeting us with over the past fortnight. Thank you so much to everyone who took part in the challenge; it was a lot of fun to host and I think (and hope) that you all liked taking part! ^_^ 

I'm going to hold my hands up and be completely honest with you here; I didn't finish the SRS challenge... When we were planning it we didn't take into account that Scottish schools were going back during the challenge so, unfortunately, I didn't manage to read very much at all around school-time. This is ridiculous but I only finished one book during the challenge: Diary Of A Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja (review up soon!). I'm really sorry that I was so terrible at the SRS Challenge, you all did much better than me! 

Now on to the lovely participants: Charli from To Another World (co-host)
                                                    Holly from A DayDreamers Thoughts
                                                    Sophie from A Day Dreamer's World
                                                    Abbie, previously from Abigail's Wonderland
                                                    Milly from Miyyi
                                                    Gjam from Just Gjam
                                                    Megan from The Book Addicted Girl
                                                    Amy from Amy BookWorm

Thank you so much to everyone who took part in the Summer Reading Smackdown! :D I only know of two people who completed the challenge but please let me know if you completed it and I didn't mention you. The people who defeated The Summer Reading Smackdown are.........

Holly from A DayDreamers Thoughts and Amy from Amy BookWorm

Well done to Holly, Amy and everyone who took part. I had a great time hosting this with Charli! 
Lots of love, Cat


18 August 2013

My 16th Burfday

Burfday is definitely a word.
On the 8th of August I turned 16! I had an amazing day with my family and got some lovely birthday messages from you guys on twitter and in the comments. Thank you so much to anyone who sent me birthday messages; it made my day. :) My party was on the 6th so I got to spend time with my friends before my birthday. The party was awesome and I'm incredibly grateful for having such great friends. I posted about the party here. 

I've had a few requests for a birthday haul showing what I got for my 16th but I was quite reluctant to do it at first because I'm scared that it'll come across as me showing off. After a bit of thought I decided to do a birthday haul anyway and hopefully you'll all understand that this really isn't me trying to show off; I'm unbelievably grateful for how lovely my friends and family are. ^_^

My main present from my mum and dad was a beautiful new ukulele! I've been playing for about 10 months using a dark pink soprano uke (he's called Gus...) and I love him to pieces but I thought it'd be nice to have a choice. My dad took me to a local music shop on the 6th and I tried a few ukuleles out before choosing a concert uke in a really light wood; I think it might be maple.  I'm so happy with my new uke! It sounds amazing and very rich, and it's easy to play. I named him Finn, after Cory Monteith's character on Glee. I was thinking about naming it Monteith in memory of him but Finn suited better. Another lovely present from my mum and dad was a new perfume that I picked out on my birthday; Moschino Pink Bouquet. I got the smallest size because I never use up a perfume anyway so the bottle is adorable. The perfume smells of very very sweet apples and is absolutely gorgeous. I love sweet perfumes so it suits me perfectly. :D My sister treated me to a new MAC lipstick; Lady Danger. It's an amazing orangey red colour with a long-lasting, matte finish. I've been wearing it pretty much every day since I got it and I can see it being an all-time favourite. :)

My friends were far too nice to me and got me the most thoughtful presents ever. :') I wanted to include them all but as they were too generous I thought it would make the post too long so I picked out a few to talk about. They gave me: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, Divergent by Veronica Roth, a beautiful coral and grey scarf, a pastel bead necklace and a gold peter-pan collar necklace. I've wanted to read Attachments and Divergent for a very long time and I finally own them! I can't wait to give them a shot - tell me in the comments if you've read them. You probably know that I have a slight obsession with collars and peter-pan collar necklaces so this necklace was such a thoughtful present and I've been wearing it a lot since I got it. It's so shiny and beautiful. :D The scarf has paisley on it and is two of my favourite colours so it was practically made for me, and the beaded necklace is so pretty and goes with most of my clothes. My friends are the best. ^__^ 

I hope you all have amazing birthdays whenever they may be :D
Lots of love, Cat

17 August 2013

The Lipstick Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Jean from 'Oberjean' to do the Lipstick Tag; a tag all about lip products! This tag was practically made for me...I love lip products most out of all make-up products, and have built up quite a collection over the years. This is gonna be a good 'un. :D

How many lipsticks do you own?
A lot...O_o 24 lipsticks, 5 lipglosses, 2 stains and 6 tinted lipbalms. I think I may have a slight problem.

What was your first ever lipstick?
I have absolutely no idea. When I was little I used to get those tiny little lipsticks in pretend make-up kits so I guess they were my first ever lipsticks. As far as the oldest one I own, it's probably The Natural Collection's Berry Sorbet; a medium bricky red. 

What is your most worn lipstick?
I'd say it's a tie between MUA shade 4, NYC Airkiss and Kate Moss for Rimmel in 06. I wear the Kate Moss one the most right now (apart from a new MAC one) but I've worn the other two an awful lot in the past. :)

What is your favourite brand for lipstick?
Probably MAC...I only own two MAC lipsticks but they are absolutely gorgeous. I really like the Rimmel Kate Moss ones though; the formula is great and shade 06 is amazing. ^_^

What is your favourite finish?
Matte. No competition. :P I really don't like glossy finishes and I stay away from any shimmer. Matte all the way, haha!

What was the last lip product you bought?
Maybelline's Baby Lips in Cherry Me, Pink Punch and Intensive Care. I bought them about a week ago and I've been using them non-stop since. They were definitely worth the wait. :D

How many lip products do you currently have in your handbag? (Including balms and glosses)
Oh god...I actually cleared my bag out the other day so there's only two in there at the moment, but I usually have about 4...I keep two in my school bag as well.

What lipstick do you use to rock a red lip?
MAC's Lady Danger! My sister bought this as my birthday present this year and I've been in love with it since. It's the most gorgeous orangey red and lasts for hours because of the amazing matte finish.

How do you store your lipsticks?
I keep my lipsticks upright in a green box so they can stand up, making it easier to get the colour I want and my lipglosses/pencils/crayons stay in cat mug. ^__^

What lip products are you currently lusting after?
I'd love to get the other 3 Baby Lips shades and I've heard great things about Rimmel lipsticks so I'd like to give them a try. 

I'm not going to tag specific people but if you'd like to do this feel free to say I tagged you. :) 
Lots of love, Cat

16 August 2013

Teeny Tiny Haul (HMV, Accessorize & New Look)

I did a little bit of last-minute school uniform shopping yesterday in preparation for my first day back today. Normally it wouldn't be left this late but for some reason I just fell behind this year and failed to get a bag until the day before I go back. Ain't that just great? ;P Yesterday I went out for a couple hours with my mum to get my school bag and while I was there I did a little bit of shopping for myself. I love everything I got so I thought it'd be nice to show you. ^_^

After a bit of searching I found the perfect bag for school in Accessorize. I wanted a kind of satchel in a neutral colour that could fit all of my school work, so I was really happy when I found this one for £32. It's not the cheapest but I've had a few bags from Accessorize before and they are amazing quality. My school bag a couple of years ago was from there and I loved it so I knew this one was worth the money. :) 

I'm not the biggest shoe-fan ever - I can't stand shoe shopping, I can't walk in heels and I pretty much live in ankle boots - but when I'm out I keep an eye out for a nice pair of flats for when I don't want to wear boots or Converse. When I was looking through the sales in New Look I saw these adorable dark pink, spotty flats for only £6 and they were in my size (I'm a 4 which is quite hard to find for some reason) so I did a little happy dance and bought them. £6 for a pair of flats is pretty great and I know that New Look shoes are really good quality as I get a lot of ankle boots from there. They seem comfy so far and I can't wait to wear them somewhere nice. ^_^

The last place we went was HMV aka. heaven. I've found some amazing new bands recently and I wanted to get some more of their music, so naturally I went to HMV. I know a lot of people don't buy CDs now and do it all digitally but I personally love actual physical CDs so I buy them as much as I can. HMV is going out of business so I make a real effort to buy from them when I want a new album. When I went in I had a list on my phone of about 10 bands I wanted to look for but the range was kinda crappy so I only found a few, and due to a lack of money I could only afford one. Luckily it was the one CD I wanted the most: Free by Twin Atlantic. Twin Atlantic are amazing and Scottish and passionate and asdfghjkl I just love them. Free was only £5.99 as well which is awesome. 

Lots of love, Cat

15 August 2013

The A - Z Book Survey

I saw this survey over at Amber's blog 'The Mile Long Bookshelf' and thought it looked pretty awesome so imma gonna do it. :D It's quite hard to find a book tag that hasn't been done to death so the A - Z Book Survey seems like a good one to do to get back in to book-blogging. 

Author you've read the most books from:
John Green! No surprise there. ;D

Best sequel ever:
I don't usually like sequels that much as they're never quite as good as the first book, but I do remember loving Spells by Aprilynne Pike which is the sequel to Wings. 

Currently reading:
Diary of a Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja. 

Drink of choice whilst reading:
Tea! I always drink tea though haha...I go between normal breakfast tea and vanilla rooibos. 

E-reader or physical book?
100% physical books. I have a Kindle and I do love it but nothing can beat a traditional physical book. ^_^

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:
AUGUSTUS WATERS!! Or Jeremiah Fisher from the Summer trilogy by Jenny Han. :P

Glad you gave this book a chance:
The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. It was about the founding of Facebook which is a story that I absolutely love. I read it after seeing The Social Network but I didn't expect to like it because the writing took a while to get used to. I'm so happy I kept going though as it was awesome. :D

Hidden gem book:
Starter For Ten by David Nicholls. This is my favourite film and one of my favourite books. It's written incredibly well, the characters are awesome and it's one of the funniest books I've read, but for some reason it's not appreciated! 

Important moment in your book life:
I used to go to the library after school 4 days a week when I was 11. This is was where I discovered some of my favourite books and developed a real love for reading. 

Just finished:
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. It was UNBELIEVABLE. 

Kinds of book you won't read:
I'll read most books to be honest...I'm not the biggest fan of sci-fi though. 

Longest book you've read:
I really don't know. The longest book I attempted to read was The Host by Stephanie Meyer (617 pages) but I really didn't like it so I gave up after 200 pages. 

Major book hangover because of:
The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I read this the night after I saw the film, reading it in a few hours. When I woke up the next morning I was still crying a little and felt awful from the late and very emotional night...

Number of bookcases you own:
One bookcase that only has about 20 books in it (my favourites) then a book cupboard with 3 massive shelves. :P I have about 270 books. O_o

One book you've read multiple times:
All of John Green's books. :D Also The Banana Kid by Valerie Mason-John...and The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime by Mark Haddon...and Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie...and Starter For Ten by David Nicholls...I couldn't choose one! 

Preferred place to read:
In/on my bed. :D

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read:
"If people were rain I was drizzle and she was a hurricane" - John Green, Looking For Alaska. :')

Reading regret:
I'm annoyed that I didn't read the Harry Potter books when I was younger. :/ I really didn't like Harry Potter for most of my life so I never read the books. I love HP now so I really regret not reading them when I was younger. 

Series you started and need to finish:
On a related note, I haven't actually read all of the Harry Potters....I need to finish that series!

Three of your all-time favourite books:
Paper Towns by John Green, Starter For Ten by David Nicholls and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I hated this question by the way.       -__-

Unapologetic fangirl for:
ALL OF THE JOHN GREEN BOOKS!! I've read them all multiple times and lurve them a whole lot. ^__^

Very excited for this release:
Whatever JG is writing next.....:D

Worst bookish habit:
Going for weeks without reading. I do this too often. :(

X marks the spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Pretty Things by Sarra Manning. I haven't read this yet but it sounds good. :)

Your latest book purchase:
Yesterday, I went to a local charity shop to stock up on books (like you do...) and bought My Mad Fat Diary by Rae Earl, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning, and Let's Get Lost also by Sarra Manning. I like Sarra Manning okay? :P My Mad Fat Diary is one of my all-time favourite TV shows so I can't wait to give the book a go. ^_^

Zzzz-snatcher book (last book that kept you up way too late):
I genuinely can't remember... I don't tend to stay up too late because of a book, it's more YouTube videos that make me lose sleep. :P

Feel free to do this tag! If you do, leave a comment or tweet me (@cathannnahXD) with a link to your post so I can read it. :)

Lots of love, Cat


10 August 2013

Charli's Bookish Memories

Hi! I'm Charli and I blog over at To Another World. I'm co-hosting Summer Reading Smackdown with Cat, so this is my post on some bookish memories :D 

First up, a family favourite that I've known all my life is The Butter Battle Book, by Dr. Seuss. It's one of his less known books but my grandad, who was all about reading, writing, art and photography, introduced us to it and it's awesome! I love it because the moral of the book is that you should respect other's opinions, which is really important to me. 

Next is a book that I actually bought because of Cat! When I first started blogging over at RTSG, I was looking around Cat's blog and found a review of GIRL, MISSING by Sophie McKenzie and decided to buy it, even though I hadn't heard of her before. Now, she's one of my favourite authors and I have almost all of her books! I've introduced the book to my friends who now all own it, too. So I have Cat to thank for that one! 

Then there's Breathe (Sarah Crossan), Earth Girl (Janet Edwards), Gone (Michael Grant), Geek Girl (Holly Smale), Matched (Ally Condie), The  Choc Box Girls (Cathy Cassidy), Blood Ties, Girl Missing, Flynn (all by Sophie McKenzie) and they all have a special place in my heart. 

Lastly, my favourite book. It was recommended on so many blogs that I had to try it, and I loved it! That book is Divergent, Veronica Roth. There are no words for it. I showed it to one of my friends, and we are now fangirling constantly over both Allegaint and the movie. No. Words. 

So there you go. My favourite books and some memories to go with them. Come over to To Another World and check out Cat's guest post, and remember to sign up for the Smackdown!! :D 

Charli xx

Thank you so much for guest posting Charli! ^_^ I did a similar post over at her blog about my reading memories, so go check that out, here.

Lots of love, Cat
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