H O M E .      A B O U T .      C O N T A C T .      T U M B L R .      T H E   B O O K   J O U R N A L .      sailorjennie [at] gmail [dot] com

Friday, 16 May 2014

Glossybox May 2014: Celebrating 50 Years of Superdrug.

May 2014 Glossybox* (£10 + p&p)



Superdrug, a beauty retailer here in the UK, is celebrating its 50th birthday and Glossybox have teamed up with them to put together this special edition box. The theme is the 'summer beauty edit' and each box will contain at least 4 full sized products along with a few extra treats. I do like the concept, I like that each box will contain some full sized products and it's really nice to open a box that's totally packed full of beauty goodies.

But there's something about it that isn't quite as exciting as I was hoping for. When I think of 'summer beauty edits' I think of pretty highlighters and peachy bronze shades, so I'm not convinced the contents of my box is the best representation of summer beauty. It's nice but I'm not sure it has the wow factor.
Scholl Velvet Smooth Overnight Mask | £7.99 for 60ml (currently on sale at £5.99)
+ An overnight treatment that hydrates for up to 24 hours, to give you soft & beautiful feet while you sleep. It's an almost balm consistency that seems to absorb really quickly, which is nice. Not particularly exciting but could be good to prepare for sandals weather.

Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Crystal Shine Conditioner | £4.99 for 250ml
+ A light-weight conditioner with liquidised crystals developed with Claudia Schiffer. I'm always happy to try out a conditioner that promises to give shine because it's something my hair definitely doesn't have naturally.
B. Sheer Conditioning Lipstick in Petal | £6.99 (currently on sale at £3.49)
+ For those not wanting the full coverage of a lipstick, but still want a soft sheen on the lips. The formula feels quite nice, it's sheer but buildable and I like the slightly glossy finish. Petal is a rosy pink shade, it's pretty and really wearable. I'm a little disappointed with the packaging, I understand it's an affordable product but I have to hold on to the twisty part of the tube otherwise the lipstick falls back inside and it's impossible to apply.


Max Factor Facefinity All Day Primer | £10.99 for 30ml
+ A primer containing micro correctors that work to absorb sweat and extend the wear of your foundation for an all-day flawless finish. This is something I will certainly try out, I like that it has an SPF of 20 but I'm not sure it'll replace my love for illuminating primers. 
Rimmel Scandaleyes Retro Glam Mascara | £6.99
+  Rimmel's first mascara with an hourglass brush that plumps and curves lashes for an iconic 60s look. This is definitely the product I'm most excited about. When I think of summer make up, fluttery lashes are a must-have. Certainly the product that fits most with the summer beauty edit theme for me!

Ghost Eclipse Perfume & Garnier Oil Infused Nourishing Lotion
There are two little sample sized products included as bonus items, which I think is a nice touch. The perfume is quite a warm and summery scent and the Garnier oil sounds really interesting so I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

***

With 5 full sized products worth almost £40, this is certainly a box that provides value for money. So while it's not the most exciting or luxurious selection of products, I can see what Glossybox were trying to achieve and I think they've done pretty well. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the other boxes because I have a feeling that this isn't going to be the best one.

Are you subscribed? What do you think of this month's box? 

- Jennie xo

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

To Be Read. Books I Would Really Like To Read: Part One

Books are wonderful. There's nothing quite like that feeling of stepping out of my own life for a little while and being entirely submerged inside the world within a book. Anne Fine once said the lovely thing about books is that you can try out being other people. I agree. Looking through the eyes of a character, exploring their world with them, discovering why they think in a particular way and do things in a way I had never thought about is quite magical. And sometimes a character comes along that you can relate to so completely, they remind you that you're not the only one that feels the way you do and you're not alone. That's pretty special I think.
There have been a few periods of time in my life where I shunned books. I was too distracted by myspace or by msn (where hours would be lost instant messaging people I'd already spent the entire day at school with just a few hours before, whyyy?!) to make the time to get lost in a good book. And I think that was okay, it was something teenage me felt was more important at the time. But it's only really now that I'm actively trying to make up for those lost years. There are hundreds of books I would really like to read. Hundreds of worlds I would like to get lost in. Hundreds of characters I would like to learn about.

In January I wrote a post entitled 'A few books I'd like to read this year' and this is almost a continuation of that. Many of those are still on my list. The Luminaries by Eleanor Caton, On The Road by Jack Kerouac, Stoner by John Williams, The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, and Nausea by John Paul Sartre are sitting over on my bookshelf as I type.

I have read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Wonder by R.J. Palacio and utterly adored them both. I attempted One Day by David Nicholls and The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window & Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson but I couldn't get into them so I've put them back down for now. The rest are firmly on my wishlist and will undoubtedly find their way to me soon. Some of them probably very soon, as a little celebration for submitting my final essay for the term at the end of this month!

These are the first few that came to mind when I was writing a little list for myself. I've included a few sentences about each one, that I have mostly pinched from descriptions over on Goodreads - I've also linked to each book's Goodreads page just incase you'd like to read a little more about them... 

The Gigantic Beard that was evil | Stephen Collins 
+ On the island of Here everything is neat, orderly and beardless. One day Dave grows a gigantic and unstoppable beard. Where did it come from? How should the islanders deal with it? And what are they going to do with Dave? A graphic novel that looks utterly stunning and most certainly not just the tale of a giant beard.

It's Kind Of A Funny Story | Ned Vizzini
+ A humourous account of a teenager's battle with depression and his time spent in a psychiatric hospital inspired by Vizzini's own brief hospitalisation with depression in 2004. A struggle Vizzini never overcame, he sadly took his own life at the end of last year. This is such an important book for many, I've lost count of the amount of reviews I've read that said it changed their lives.

Naive. Super | Erlend Loe
+ Our narrator is in his mid-twenties and has suddenly become disillusioned and confused by life. He quits University and begins searching for the meaning in his life. He writes lists, becomes fascinated by time and whether it actually matters, he bounces a ball against a wall repeatedly finding joy in childish activities - all in a quest to find the best way to live life. It sounds so wonderfully enigmatic.  

The five people you meet in heaven | Mitch Albom
+ Eddie is an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. He dies on his 83rd birthday in a tragic accident and awakes in the afterlife where he discovers that heaven is not a destination but an answer. In heaven five people explain your life to you. Eddie's five people illuminate the mysteries of his apparent meaningless life and reveal the haunting secret behind the question 'why was I here?'.

Rebecca | Daphne Du Maurier
+ Our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing Maxim de Winter and she can barely believe her luck. When the couple arrive at Manderly, a vast country estate, Max is a changed man and the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is kept alive by Mrs Danvers. Realising how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives, this is the story of a young girl who is consumed by love and the struggle to find her own identity.

Orlando | Virginia Woolfe
+ A 'biography' that tells the story of the cross-dressing, sex-changing Orlando who begins life as a young noble in the sixteenth century and moves through multiple worlds to end life as a modern female writer in the 1920s.

Waiting for Godot | Samuel Beckett
+ Vladimir and Estragon, two seemingly homeless men, are waiting for someone or something named Godot. A comical wordplay of nonsense, dreamscapes and poetry. Famously described as a play in which 'nothing happens, twice'. I'm certainly incredibly curious!

Howl & Other Poems | Allen Ginsberg
+ A visionary poet and beat movement icon, Allen Ginsberg broke the boundaries with his fearless verse. The vindication of Howl at an obscenity trial was a pivotal moment in twentieth century history. I'm slowly making my way through this collection and listening to recordings of him performing his work that are available online. Possibly a body of work with the marmite factor, it's one that seems to provoke strong reactions. Marvelous!

The Picture of Dorian Gray | Oscar Wilde
+ Realising that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure his portrait will age instead of him. He retains the features of innocent beauty but the portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul.

Things The Grandchildren Should Know | Mark Oliver Everett
+ How does one young man survive the death's of his entire family and make something worthwhile of his life? Everett, front man of The Eels, shares the story of how he survived his crazy upbringing and followed the uneasy path to finding himself. One of my boyfriend's favourite books and one that I started only to put down for a time when I have a day to fully submerge myself within its pages. I can already tell it's going to be a compelling and inspiring read.

Girl, Interrupted | Susanna Kaysen
+ The memoir of Kaysen, who at eighteen was put into a taxi and sent to McLean Psychiatric Hospital where she was to spend the next two years on the ward for teenage girls. An unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

More Than This | Patrick Ness
+ A boy drowns, alone in his final moments. He dies. Then he wakes, naked, bruised and thirsty, but very much alive. How can this be? As he struggles to understand what is happening he dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more than this?

Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe | Benjamin Alire Saenz
+ Aristotle is an angry teenager with a brother in prison and Dante is a know-it-all with an unusual way of looking at the world. When they meet they seemingly have nothing in common but as they start spending time together they discover that they share a special friendship. The kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. Through their friendship, Aristotle and Dante learn important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. I just can't resist a good coming of age story!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret | Brian Selznick
+ Not exactly a novel and not quite a picture book. Twelve year old Hugo lives in the walls of a Paris train station and his survival depends on secrets. When his world suddenly crashes into that of an eccentric girl and her grandfather, his undercover life and precious secret are put in jeopardy. There are over 200 pictures within this 500 page book and it looks utterly wonderful!

The New Ghost | Rob Hunter
+ A 24 page graphic novel that follows a spectral entity on his first day at work. An atmospheric, gentle, poetic and heartwarming tale of the afterlife.

Flowers for Algernon | Daniel Keyes
+ The much-loved story of Charlie, a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. Through diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. The experiment seems to be an important scientific breakthrough until Algernon begins his sudden deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie? My only lasting memory of this book is sobbing uncontrollably at the end, one to save for when I need a really good cry I think! 

Are there any books you'd really like to read soon?

- Jennie xo

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Love Me Beauty Box: May 2014 Edition.

I don't seem to be having much luck with Love Me Beauty at the moment; last month my box didn't arrive and this month the thing I was most looking forward to using hasn't been included. They do (very kindly!) send me the boxes each month free of charge and don't get me wrong, I love opening them and writing these posts, but I think it's important that I write as if I were a paying customer to thoroughly review the service - it's easy to love something when it's free and although I am pretty easily pleased, saying everything is perfect when it's not isn't really helpful to anyone.

With that being said, there are some really lovely things inside the box this month. I think that's what Love Me Beauty does so well, there's always a good variety and it feels like they put a lot of effort into their product selection.
May 2014 Love Me Beauty Box* (£10 + p&p)
+ Nail Girls Nail Polish in 'Nude Pink' - 10ml | £13.50 for 15ml bottles
+ Tea Pigs Chocolate Flake Tea - 3 tea envelopes | £1.30 for two envelopes
+ Suti Trial Pack includes Purity Balm, Cleanse Balm & Foot Balm | £6.50
+ Raw Skincare Hint Of Mint Lip Balm - full size | £1.98
+ GO Stationery Pocket Notebook Set - missing from my box | £5

 ***
I think there's a really nice selection in there this month. The nail polish is my least favourite thing but it's such a fun pink colour, I can definitely see me slapping this on my toes in preparation for sandals weather. Stick lip balms are my favourite for keeping in my bag and applying on the go and I've just run out of my old one so this has come along at the perfect time - and it's minty, yum!

The Suti skincare is really intriguing and although I'm not sure I'll get much use out of the foot balm, I'm very much looking forward to trying out the cleansing balm and the purity balm sounds heavenly for irritated skin. The Teapigs chocolate tea is also intriguing, I've never tried anything like it but I do love dunking a chocolate biscuit in my brew every now and again so it sounds promising!

Lastly, I'm still a little sad about the notebooks not being in my box, but I've had a little look around the GO Stationery website and spotted a few things that the stationery nerd inside me just can't resist. So I'm pleased that the box has at least introduced me to the brand because I've never heard of them before!

Are you subscribed? What do you think of the box this month?

- Jennie xo

Friday, 9 May 2014

Looking back at 25 before 25.

Twenty Five. An age that for some reason I thought would feel scary, like I had to suddenly say goodbye to my youth. But it doesn't feel scary at all. In fact it feels oddly comforting and strangely familiar. It feels like this is where I'm supposed to be. I'm grateful to be here. Grateful to have a better understanding of myself. To have everything that is in my life. To the things I would like to be in my life, providing goals to work towards. And even though things aren't always easy and sometimes I long for the beautiful simplicity of my childhood, the difficult times make the good times even better.

A little over two years ago I noted down twenty five things I wanted to do before I turned twenty five. Looking back over them has been incredibly interesting. Twenty two year old Jennie is very much still a part of twenty five year old Jennie, but it's really quite amazing to see the little things that have changed, almost without me even realising.

A ✓means I did it. A x means I failed. And a // means plans changed a little or it's something I've started but not quite finished. 

1. Set up a rainy day savings account and regularly pay into it. //
Well... I have the account. That's a start, right? I'm a bit lacking in the spare pennies to pay into it right now, but that's something I'm working on. I've certainly learned that money isn't the shiny key to happiness, but it would be nice to have a little more of a cushion for when a rainy day comes along. 

2. Move in with my boyfriend.
Check! 

3. Fully set up my online jewellery & photography stores. //
Somewhere along the line I changed my mind on these. Although I would still love to have my own little photographic print shop, I think it'll have to wait until we get the chance to take photographs a little more consistently.

4. Get married. //
We're very happy with how things are right now. Maybe one day.

5. Adopt a dog. x 
When we're home a little more and we finally get around to doing something with our tiny garden, then we will totally adopt a sweet four legged companion.

6. Welcome our first baby. //
I don't know how 22 year old Jennie ever thought 25 year old Jennie would be capable of raising another human, but somehow she knew that starting a family would be something that Mark and I would start thinking about at this point in our lives. Right now I don't think about it too much because it's a little overwhelming. I'm not sure if that's because we're not quite ready or if that's normal but I guess we'll find out when we've thought about the idea a little more. I have a feeling it's one of those things that will always be a little bit scary, but the good kind of scary.

We have no idea how to guide a human, who we will be solely responsible for, successfully through life. We don't know if we'll always make the right decisions. Or be able to step back and let them make the mistakes they need to make without wanting to rush in and help them out. We don't know anything about babies and we're both pretty keen on our sleep. But learning about our future baby, finding out what they like and what they don't sounds quite exciting. Trips to the park, bedtime stories and lots of games. Whether they want to immerse themselves in books, go to university, join a band, travel the world, whatever it is we don't mind. I just hope we'll be able to make them happy. We don't know if my body will let me, but we do really hope a little one is somewhere in our future. 

7. Lose around 14lbs and keep it off. x 
Oh gosh, I wrote this when I was at my smallest ever and I thought I was enormous. Getting back to that weight is my goal for this year and I'm probably about 20lbs away, so I think I'll call this one a bit of a work in progress...

8. Finish my degree. x
I'm almost there, which is incredible and a little scary. 

9. Keep blogging.
This is one of the goals I'm most proud of achieving. I rarely stick to anything. My quitting streak started pretty early and encompassed everything from keyboard lessons to ballet dancing to drama club. But I've found something here that I love, it's become a part of my life and given me so much more than I ever could have imagined.

10. Find a job I really quite like. x
This one is most certainly still a work in progress. Can I please just review books forever? That would be fabulous! 

11. Make a homemade lasagne completely from scratch.
Nailed it. Totally failed to document it because I was too busy inhaling it though... 

12. Learn to drive. x
I've had one, very brief lesson. That doesn't count, does it? I will learn one day, I will! It's is just one of those things that I need to make time for.

13. Watch the sun set and the stars come out in the middle of the country.
The stars in the countryside are so much brighter than they ever were in the light polluted town I used to live in. It's so wonderful being able to look up on a clear night and see thousands of tiny specks of light shimmering amongst the sea of darkness. It's incredibly inspiring! 

14. Go on a real holiday with my boyfriend. x
My fear of planes has pretty much put a stop to this one so far. 

15. Purchase and keep a One Line A Day Memory book. //
A few days ago I bought myself a journal as a little birthday gift to myself. It feels like a good time to start writing again. Journal's are nice because they're undated. If I don't have something to say on a particular day, it won't matter. Feeling pressured to write is the one thing that will instantly quell almost all creativity. And, well, that's no fun at all. 

16. Take on a project 365; take one photograph a day for a year. x
No real excuses for why I haven't done this one, I just haven't. I think something like this needs real drive, commitment and inspiration. It's one I think I'm going to roll over to my thirty before thirty list! 

17. Regularly print our photographs and organise them into scrapbooks.
No scrapbooks were made, but we're definitely making progress on our gallery wall. As soon as we started framing photographs our house instantly felt more homely. It's fun too - making holes in the wall. It makes us feel like it's really ours! 

18. Give blood.
This is something I want to continue doing, it's so important! 

19. Stop biting my nails. x
Well, I failed spectacularly. I stopped for a few months a couple of times but every time deadline week rolls around they're all gone within seconds. I don't even know I'm doing it sometimes but that's no excuse. I'm beginning to think that maybe this is just something I'll do forever. But I'm going to try harder to stop - maybe post degree! 

20. Have a picnic in the countryside in the summer.
This challenge has taught me that I totally fail to blog about these kinds of things. We have been on many a picnic over the last few years but there's not a single post or photograph to illustrate it. Note to self, take more pictures of the everyday - it doesn't matter if they're not picture perfect, it doesn't make them any less important!

21. Make sure date night happens at least once a month. //
We totally fail at this, but I actually think it's okay because we genuinely like to spend time at home. We've been on a few cinema trips and out for dinner here and there, but nothing really beats watching a film at home! 

22. Make vegetarian maki at home more often.
We've done this a couple of times. I love to eat it, but I don't love the faff that is making it! It is totally worth it every one in a while though.   

23. Find a black eyeliner that doesn't smudge on me! x
...I've given up! 

24. Plan my meals better and incorporate more healthy foods.
I'm getting there! Snacking is my biggest downfall. If I'm having a bad day or if I'm particularly stressed out with work, I'll munch my way through anything I can get my hands on. But popcorn is my new best snacking friend, which is better than half a packet of biscuits! 

25. Comment on every single blog post I read.
When I wrote this one I almost already knew that it wouldn't really be possible, but it's something I've consciously had in the back of my mind whenever I sit down to read blogs. The interaction is one of my favourite parts about writing my own blog. Of course it's not about the number of comments etc, but the conversation element is lovely. I definitely comment much more than I used to, and it's something I do really want to get even better with.

- Jennie xo

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Twenty Five.

Turns out it's not so bad after all!
- Jennie xo

Monday, 5 May 2014

On writing, spelling & grammar and making your own rules...


""Starting my own blog is something I've wanted to do for years. Writing is one of my favourite things but spelling and grammar is something I've always found difficult. I'm a bit scared to put myself out there."

- A quote (used with permission) from one of the sweetest email conversations I've ever had."
A conversation that almost broke my heart.

If you love to write, always write. Words are wonderful. They're powerful. The right words, in the right order, at the right time can be life changing. Life saving even. For both the reader and the writer. Fall in love with language. Play with words. Get lost inside them. Arrange them in different ways, create sentences with entirely new meanings. Discover new words. And don't worry about spelling everything correctly immediately, or about where that comma needs to go. Because those are things that can be fixed later.

Your words might make a difference to someone, somewhere. And even if it's only for a few seconds, it meant something. Maybe they'll mean something to someone for the rest of their lives. They'll carry them with them, remembering them during happy times, sad times, or times when they need to be reminded that they're not alone. But they'll also mean something to you. They will be a visible reminder of you, who you were and what you were feeling at that precise moment in time. And it won't really matter if you used 'their' instead of 'there'. Because that wasn't the most important part. What was important is that it meant something. In that moment. Forever. 

Never be afraid to write. Even if it's just for yourself. Especially if it's just for yourself. Your words are yours. And you know what? Sometimes it's fun to forget the rules. To stick two fingers up at them and make your own rules.

Because after all, missing out on what you have to say is infinitely worse than whether that comma is in the right place. 

- Jennie xo


*Shout out to my berol handwriting pen. It's my favourite because without it my handwriting is atrocious. And when I inevitably get ink all over my hands, face (don't ask) and clothes - it's washable! Also, the day in primary school when the teacher decided my handwriting was nice enough in pencil to be allowed to use pen was the best ever! Ahh memories...