Saturday, October 29, 2016

Quick Knitted Pumpkins Patterns

Hello! So last month I listed my Autumn Wishlist and mentioned that I wanted to knit some pumpkins. I had a look around online and picked a few different patterns to try out.



mini pumpkin knitted



The first pumpkin I tried was this mini one using DK yarn. It’s from Curly Purly and I liked it but I should have maybe stuffed it more as I’d have liked it to look more defined.





yellow pumpkin



Next up I did this yellow pumpkin using some chunky wool (left over from a Gryffindor scarf I made for Sharon from Behind Green Eyes). I used the Autumn Pumpkins pattern from Jan Lewis on Ravelry. I liked this one, especially because I could use my circular needles with the chunky wool.



chunky pumpkin


Next I knit this big chunky pumpkin, which is probably my favourite because it’s such a chunkster! I used some super chunk yarn that Sarah from Cashmere and Clouds gave me (and that I used before to make a pumpkin hat for my baby cousin). I used the Great Pumpkin by Rebecca Fox pattern found on Ravelry.



white pumpkin


Finally I did this small white one using DK yarn, using no particular pattern, incorporating a few of the elements from above. I liked how it gave a bit of brightness and colour!




I meant to knit one or two more but haven’t gotten around to it. Though I might over this weekend, they are pretty fast to knit up, especially if you use chunky yarn. You could definitely get a a few done before Halloween! These are great to bust out for autumn season and if you celebrate Thanksgiving you can keep them around the place after Halloween for that. They’re quite addictive to knit, I’ll have a massive pile of them for next year!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Cupcake and Confetti Birthday Nails

On Wednesday it was my birthday and I couldn’t resist doing some cute birthday nails. I took inspiration for the cupcake from this nail look by 25 Sweetpeas and the confetti from this nail look by With Love Karissa . Here’s my take!

Cupcake and Confetti Birthday Nail Art Essence Hello Marshmallow, that's what I mint, sweet as candy, 17 miami azure amore, no.7 lemon drop, barry m guava, models own hyper gel white light

Cupcake and Confetti Birthday Nail Art Essence Hello Marshmallow, that's what I mint, sweet as candy, 17 miami azure amore, no.7 lemon drop, barry m guava, models own hyper gel white light

Cupcake and Confetti Birthday Nail Art Essence Hello Marshmallow, that's what I mint, sweet as candy, 17 miami azure amore, no.7 lemon drop, barry m guava, models own hyper gel white light


I’m just so in LOVE with these nails! I love the ‘ice cream shades’ used (what I like to call pastel nail colours), it’s something so bright and fun especially for this time of the year. Here’s the cast of characters I used to create this look.

Cupcake and Confetti Birthday Nail Art Essence Hello Marshmallow, that's what I mint, sweet as candy, 17 miami azure amore, no.7 lemon drop, barry m guava, models own hyper gel white light

Background- Essence in Sweet As Candy

Yellow Confetti- No. 7 in Lemon Drop

Purple Confetti and Cupcake Base- Essence in Hello Marshmallow!

Pink Confetti and Cupcake Cherry- 17 in Miami

Mint Confetti- Essence in That’s What I Mint!

Blue Confetti- 17 in Azure Amore

Cupcake Frosting- Models Own Hyper Gel in White Light

Cupcake Base Details- Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in Guava

I also used Barry M Nail Art Pen in Pink for the sprinkles

I might just have to do this again next year as I love it so much. Could be my go to birthday mani!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood Book Review


Hag-Seed is Margaret Atwood's take on The Tempest for the Hogarth Shakespeare series. You don't need to know anything about The Tempest to read it and enjoy it. It starts off with Felix, renowned art director of the Makeshiweg Festival who is known to put on eccentric shows and focuses solely on the artistic side of things, leaving the day to day running to right-hand man Tony. He's about the put on The Tempest, something that has helped him cope with the grief of losing his wife and his three year old daughter Miranda, when Tony stages a coup and has Felix ousted.

Felix goes off grid, living in a shack along with his daughter Miranda who continues to grow in imaginary form as the years go on. He continues to keep an eye on Tony and those who've betrayed him, keeping track of their successes and how this might help him with his revenge. Wondering if he’s going a bit dotty because he talks to and plays chess with Miranda, he eventually applies to teach a literacy programme at a correctional facility under the name Mr Duke. He finally has a chance to put on his Tempest as well as get his revenge but will he be able to pull it off?

This is my 3rd of the Hogarth Shakespeare series I've read and it's probably my favourite so far! I love that Felix's story mimics The Tempest but with the inmates also putting on The Tempest we have two types of the Tempest happening at the same time, a play within a play. These different layers come together in the end which makes things even more interesting. It a unique idea, something I thought Atwood pulled off well. The inmates were believable and I loved the fact that they could only swear using words that Shakespeare uses in the text! The writing itself was witty and I wished I could also read other novels about the inmates putting on other Shakespeare plays! The only thing I wasn't too gone on was how the revenge came about. I won't spoil it but I just didn't find it very believable. But I suppose with it being a Shakespeare text that has a magical element to it it doesn’t need to be wholly believeable! I didn't connect that well with Felix either. I didn’t dislike him, I just didn’t relate to him much. But I did feel for him, especially when it came to him dealing with his grief. Overall though it was a funny read that's touching and dark in places and a smart take on Shakespeare.

I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my mine!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Non-Fiction November TBR

Hello! So I was watching Jen Campbell’s video the other day about her Non-Fiction November Recommendations and TBR and apparently the whole idea of Non-Fiction November skipped by me last year as this year is the 2nd year it’ll be running. It’s run by Olive at A Book Olive and Gemma at Non Fic Books. The idea is to get people reading one more non-fiction book than they usually would in a month. So if you don’t read any, to read one. If you usually pick up one, try for two. And so on. Now I’m usually quite good at reading non-fiction, on average 30% of what I read each year is usually non-fiction. But I have been slacking big time this year and I don’t know why. I just haven’t felt like picking up non-fiction all that much. I don’t want to force myself to read something I’m not feeling but I’m hoping to be inspired!

There’s 4 categories Olive and Gemma have picked and you can pick one, you can try all four, you can double or triple them up to complete them, it’s up to you! I’m going to list each category and a few books I have on my big TBR that I might pick up next month to read.


1. NEW

nonfiction new

So the New category can be interpreted as a brand new release, a newly hauled book or a topic that is new to you that you don’t know much about. Above I have Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures. Living the Danish Way by Charlotte Abrahams and Dear Lupin: Letters to a Wayward Son by Roger Mortimer and Charlie Mortimer, two books I showed in my recent haul post. I also have H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, a book I’ve had for a while now but it’s about Helen trying to train a goshawk and I know nothing about that! (it also deals with Helen grieving after her died). But seeing as it’s my birthday this week I might pick up another book too!


2. Controversial

controversial nonfiction

So the Controversial category is anything that has a difficult or controversial topic (something that might spark a big debate or split a room), it can be about a controversial historical figure or it can have a weird eye catching title or cover. I have Julie and Julia by Julie Powell, a book that I’ve seen a lot of bad reviews for and seems to really split people (and I need to read a food memoir for my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge). Severed by Frances Larson is about the ‘history of heads lost and heads found’. If I was reading this in public I can imagine it would turn some heads (yeah I couldn’t resist that pun!). Speaking of eye catching titles Sex on the Moon by Ben Mezrich is definitely ones that makes you wonder what the book is about! It’s about a guy who convinces his girlfriend, an intern at NASA, to steal moon rocks. This also fits this category because I’ve seen mixed reviews for it as well.


3. Important

imporant nonfiction

The Important category is something that you think will help you enhance your life, whether that’s your work, your health or something you’ve wanted to work more on (being more organised/losing weight/being more spiritual etc). It can also be on a topic that you think needs to be discussed more or something that will make you a more educated citizen. I’m currently reading The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley and if I don’t finish it this month I hope I will in November. Reading more about feminism is something that’s really interested me this year and I’ve been enjoying reading about feminism from different viewpoints and intersectionalities. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer is something I’ve seen discussed on BookTube a lot and I really think it could be helpful to me. Finally another topic I like reading and learning more about is mental health and how other people cope with depression and axiety. Cheer Up Love by Susan Calman is supposed to be funny and interesting and the idea of calling your depression your Crab of Hate has intrigued me!


4. Fascinating

fascinating nonfiction

The final category is Fascinating. Of course all the books above sound interesting to me but this is for any books, authors or topics you find really engaging and interesting. The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell is something I’m currently listening to at the moment so if it’s not finished this month I will finish it next month. I’ve read Stevyn Colgan’s book Joined-Up Thinking before and bought Constable Colgan’s Connect-O-Scope on Kindle ages ago so I might finally get around to it! And The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale is another book I’ve had for ages (October 2013 to be precise!) and it’s about a family who wake up one morning to find one member has been murdered and Mr Whicher from Scotland Yard has been sent to investigate.

Those are my picks! I don’t know how many of them I’ll get around to but going through my big TBR and chosing these books has made me excited again to pick up non-fiction! I have a mix above that are physical books I own, e-books, audiobooks and books from the library too. I know next year I’ll be trying to read more of my own books in an attempt to get through them so this has been helpful at sparking my interest that way too.

If you’re interested in doing the Non-Fiction November in any shape or form let me know what you plan on reading! Or if you’ve read any of the books below tell me, I’d love to know what you thought of them.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Pumpkin Nails- One Design, Three Ways

Hello! So I’ve done pumpkin nails before but I had it in my head to do pumpkin nails similiar to the strawberry and pineapple nails I did in my Tutti Fruity look. The three ways are with a shiny top coat, with a matte top coat and as an accent nail.


Shiny Top Coat

Shiny pumpkin nails


Matte Top Coat

matte pumpkin nails


Accent Nail

Accent nail

To do the nails, I used a small dotting tool. For each pumpkin I did two dots slightly overlapping to try and make the pumpkin shape. I then used a small brush to paint on the yellow for definition and to add stems in green. After I had done the nails with a shiny top coat I wanted to see what it was like matte, which I liked so much more! My favourite is probably the accent nail though, I loved the shiny orange polish on the other nails.

Polishes Used

White- Model’s Own Hyper Gel in White Light

Orange-Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer in MAN, GO Tango

Yellow- NYC Quick Dry Nail Polish in Lexington Yellow

Green- Wet N Wild Spoiled in Permission To Proceed (ES040)

Shiny Orange- Rimmel Cocktail Colour in a Flash in Shirley Temple

Shiny Top Coat- Catrice Quick Dry and High Shine Top Coat

Matte Top Coat- Wet N Wild Matte Top Coat


With still over a week left before Halloween I hope to have one or two more nail looks up before then. I still have loads of ideas rattling around in my head!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Autumnal Dotty Manicure

Hello! I love autumn themed nail looks. Reds, oranges, yellows are so nice together, jewel tones come back in and then there’s Halloween. So many different looks you can do. I did an Autumn Blaze look 2 years ago and I still love it. So I wanted to do something with a similar colour scheme.

Autumn dotty nail manicure SoSu Icing on the Cake, La Femme Beauty, Revlon Frankly Scarlet, Catrice MAN, GO Tango nail polish nail varnish

Autumn dotty manicure SoSu Icing on the Cake, La Femme Beauty, Revlon Frankly Scarlet, Catrice MAN, GO Tango nail polish nail varnish


For the base I used SoSu Nail Polish in Icing on the Cake. The yellow was by La Femme Beauty (I can’t find any name or number for it but it the bottle I’m holding), the orange is Catrice in MAN, GO Tango and the red is Revlon in Frankly Scarlet. The red has a slight shimmer to it which I really liked but couldn’t pick up on the camera.


Autumn dotty manicure SoSu Icing on the Cake, La Femme Beauty, Revlon Frankly Scarlet, Catrice MAN, GO Tango nail polish nail varnish

Monday, October 10, 2016

September Reads 2016

Hello! Another monthly reading roundup for you. I read 8 books in September, which I’m pretty happy with as there were times when I did not want to read. Not quite a reading slump but I did feel a bit meh at times.

September Reads

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

holding up the universe

You might recoognise the name Jennifer Niven. Her last book was All the Bright Places, something I haven’t read yet (it was out of stock when I last ordered it). But I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, which is why I requested Holding Up the Universe on NetGalley. Libby has had a tough few years. After her mother died, Libby gained a lot of weight, which ended with her having to be lifted out of her house with a crane and be dubbed America's Fattest Teen. After being home schooled for years, Libby has lost some weight and is ready to go back to school. Jack has a condition that makes him 'face blind', meaning that he can never recognise people by just their face, not even his family. Jack gets by with tricks he's picked up over the years and is one of the popular guys in school. Jack won't tell anyone of his problem, believing if people know they'll target his weakness, so he keeps quiet (despite it getting him trouble at times). When a big event happens in school, Jack and Libby get thrown together and they must learn to get on.

I did enjoy this book, it was interesting. I found myself rooting for Libby and Jack as they were both on personal journeys. Libby has had a tough time but she's still strong and is determined to get her life back on track. I wasn't overly gone on the romantic element of the book, I felt like the book didn't really need it. I was just pleased that Libby and Jack could help each other. The book tackles important issues like bullying and how social media can play into this and has a strong message of being able to love and accept yourself. [NetGalley]


Changeless by Gail Carriger


 Changeless is book two in the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. I read Soulless in May as an audiobook and I was going to read this book as a physical copy. But for some reason the library wasn’t shipping it out so I requested the audio CD version instead. And I was glad I listened to it again as I enjoy Emily Gray’s narration. We continue on with the life of Alexia Tarabotti, set in a steampunk supernatural Victorian London. I am loving this series and setting, Carriger is so witty and fun and Alexia is a fantastic character.




The Dark Tourist by Dom Joly

Layout 1

I love the idea of the this book, going on holiday to unusual places. In this book Dom Joly goes to places that are unusual (Chernobyl and North Korea for example) as well as doing things that are unusual or a bit dark (such as skiing in Iran and going to assassination sites in USA). The book is accessible to read and interesting (I tried to read book like this before and it was so heavy and serious). Joly probably spent the most time in North Korea so that chapter is chock full of information and is fascinating and slightly depressing too. I enjoyed the American side of things too. Having read Assassination Vacation in January I got to see all the sites of the US Presidental Assassinations bar JFK (because the author felt it was too close in modern history) so it was interesting to see Joly go to Dallas and round out my experience of Assassination Vacation. This book is six years old though, so it felt ever so slightly out of date (but not by any means outdated).


Blameless by Gail Carriger


Book 3 in the Parasol Protectorate series. I won’t say much about it but if you do plan on reading this series DO NOT look up any synopsis for this book!! It will spoil book 2 for you. You’ve been warned. I also listened to this book which I wish I could do for the rest of the series but alas the library doesn’t have them in audio form. These books were what kept me going reading wise for the month, if I didn’t have them I probably would have got stuck in a slump.






The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

the woman in cabin 10

Lo Blacklock has been given the chance of a lifetime at work. She's been asked to cover the press launch of a new luxury boutique cruise ship of the Arctic and Northern Lights. This could be the thing that helps elevate her career to the next level. A few days before she's due to leave, she's the victim of a traumatic break-in that leaves her a wreck and threatens to ruin her relationship. This cruise is just what she needs to make her feel safe and let her relax. On the first night Lo is convinced a murder has happened in the cabin next door but when she informs cabin staff they tell her no one was in that cabin. But Lo knows there was someone in there, she met her and she gave Lo mascara. Lo feels like she's going mad but she's determined to get to the bottom of this issue.

The book did take a while to pick up, I didn't really get into the story until I was about 20% through. I wasn’t that interested in picking it up. But once I did start again I read it on one go! The story did grip me, it was tense and having an unreliable character like Lo as the narrator added to the mystery. She drinks a lot, is on medication for anxiety and is clearly still suffering for the break in at her flat, so we don't know how much she is imagining and how much is actually true. She reminded me a lot of Rachel in The Girl on the Train, in fact the book has that kind of vibe at times. The end seemed a bit rushed and it ended up being a bit muddled. If you liked The Girl on the Train then I think you'll enjoy this book too. [NetGalley]


Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

today will be different

Eleanor Flood vows today will be better. She's going to be a better version of herself. But today does not start well for her. She's called to her son Timby's school as he's not feeling well and after she's collected him, they go to her husband's workplace. Only to discover that he's not there and his colleagues are surprised to see Eleanor back early. Eleanor must find her husband and all sorts of shenanigans happen. We learn more about Eleanor's past as well with flashback scenes.

I loved Where'd You Go Bernadette so I was looking forward to this book. The fact that it's all set in one day added to my excitement as I enjoy stories like that. The story doesn't really work like that though, there’s a lot of flashbacks to Eleanor's past and when you take all that out, nothing much happens on this 'crazy' day. The madcap element just felt very forced, like craziness for the sake of craziness and I didn't enjoy the humour this time round. The flashbacks also confused me at the beginning, mainly because it goes from Eleanor talking in the present time in the 1st person to the flashback happening in the third person. The book was a fast read but I was just looking forward to getting it finished and over it. There's nothing big wrong with this book, it just wasn't one for me. [NetGalley]


We Were on a Break by Lindsey Kelk

we were on a break

Liv and Adam are on holiday in Mexico and Liv is on the edge of her seat. She knows Adam plans to propose and tonight must be the night as they fly home the next day. But when no ring is produced and Adam causes a big scene on the flight home, Liv is left wondering what has happened to their relationship all the way home. Things take a turn for the worse when Adam drops Liv off at her house and says that he wants to take a break. The book follows the couple over the next few weeks while they try and navigate this new territory and work out what they want from relationship.

The book is told with Liv and Adam both taking turns to be narrators, which I liked. I felt like it gave a fair observation of the relationship and the break. I liked the main characters, though at times I did want to just knock their heads together to stop them from getting their wires crossed!! Liv's friend Cass is married to Adam's brother which I felt added a nice layer of complication to the whole thing, as it can be hard to separate out friends and family when a couple splits and we get to see this a small bit in the story. Add to all this is the usual Kelk humour (I definitely laughed out loud a few times) and you get a light hearted funny romantic comedy. [NetGalley]


The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

the girl with all the gifts

 The Girl with All the Gifts was one of the September picks for the Rick O’Shea Book Club. I had actually bought it last year so it was perfect. I don’t know what to say about this book that doesn’t spoil things. I went into this not knowing that much and I think that’s the best thing for this book. The book starts with Melanie, a 10 year old who sits in her cell on a base waiting to go to class. Before she can leave the cell, she’s strapped into her chair all while Sergeant Parks points a gun at her. Melanie love school, especially when it’s Miss Justineau is teaching. And thinks Dr Caldwell, the scientist, is scary and doesn’t like her, especially because other kids have never come back after seeing Dr Caldwell. An interesting, fast read, I liked Melanie. Dr Caldwell is a good villain. I felt the ending felt a bit flat for me but it didn’t ruin the overall story. It’s not something I’d usually read but I glad I gave it a chance and branched out!


September Stats

Number of Books Read- 8
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 7:1
Number of eBooks- 4 (Holding Up the Universe, The Woman in Cabin 10, Today Will Be Different and We Were On a Break)
Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 2 (Changeless and Blameless)
Audiobooks- 2 (Changeless and Blameless)


Book Riot Challenge Completed

Read a Horror Book- The Girl with All the Gifts

And that’s September. I need to step up my non-fiction reads, but I’m not going to force it either. I’m just glad I managed to read just one this month! If you’ve read any of these books or if you’re interested in reading any of these then leave a comment below.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Recent Book Accquisitions

Hello! It’s been a while since I showed the books I’ve bought. I had a post in April showing some of the books I had got, including some books I won, and of course there was my LA Bookish post. I’ve managed to accquire a few more books since then and thought I’d do a post showing you those books.


stack of books showing Knit London by Emma King, HHhH by Laurent Binet, Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas, The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Hygge by Charlotte Abrahams, Dear Lupin by Roger Mortimer and Charlie Mortimer

From top to bottom

Knit London by Emma KingKnit London by Emma King

I saw this in TK Maxx reduced to a few quid and couldn’t resist it. Look how cute it is! I don’t have many knitting books so it’s nice to try and build up my collection a small bit.





HHhH by Laurent Binet- This book has been on my TBR for a while and it was 25c in a charity shop! Hopefully having a copy of this book will encourage me to get around to reading it quicker than it would have.


empire of storms

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas. I preordered my copy and when it arrived it also came with this map and mug! I was so thrilled, it was a fun surprise.






The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave- My sister bought this book and I nabbed it off her. I don’t know much about it but it is beautiful! Just look at the front cover and the inside. So pretty

the girl of ink and stars book




Hygge by Charlotte Abrahams- Hygge (pronounced HUE-gah) is a word that is all over the place at the moment. It’s a Danish word and at it’s most basic it means having a nice warm atmosphere and enjoying life’s simple pleasures with friends and family. I’m currently listening to The Year of Living Danishly and hygge has been mentioned a lot so I requested a review copy of this book from Orion’s new imprint Trapeze Books. I can’t wait to get stuck in and truly learn what hygge is. The book is so pretty too, the cover is rubberised, the triangle are gold foil and the dark triangles are fuzzy!



Dear Lupin by Roger Mortimer and Charlie Mortimer- I’ve seen this book before but don’t know that much about it. I know it’s non-fiction and it’s done in letter, which was the real reason I picked it up (that and the fact it was super cheap!)


Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw- So this isn’t a new buy for me, I bought it a year ago and then misplaced it. I was beginning to think I actually hadn’t bought it in the first place! It then turned up in a random place. This was 99p from The Works.


I’ve also picked up a few e-books as well, all picked up on Kindle for cheap.


kindle books

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers- I got this on offer because it was a pick for the Rick O’Shea Book Club. Around the same time the audiobook was also on offer but I decided on the ebook. I’ve read this one already and loved it! You can check out the review here.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir- I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book and it’s not in the library so I said I’d give it a chance.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen- I actually have an ARC of the second books so I needed to get a copy of the first one! I think the 3rd one is out now so once I get reading this I can power through them all if I enjoy this.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie- This is based off her TED talk and everyone should read it. It’s short and I read it one morning while waiting to collect my mother. You can read my review here.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang- This has been a book I’ve heard a lot about all summer long so I’m intrigued to give this a chance. It’s supposed to be a bit odd so I’m not sure what to make of it but there’s only one way to find out and that’s to read it!

And that’s it! Sometimes I wish I could buy more books and if I had the money no doubt I would. But I need to start working my way through the books I already own first. That might be my challenge for next year.

If you’ve read any of the books above I’d love to hear about them. Leave me a comment below

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