Thursday, 19 September 2019

Bookish Looks #2: Cammie from Gallagher Girls

It's time for the second post in my Bookish Looks series for Second Hand September! This time around, I'm going back to school with my Gallagher Girls favourite, Cammie Morgan.

The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter ruled the later half of my teen years. A school for SPIES? Sign me right up. I loved it because it was so different to everything I was reading at that time, considering I was in the middle of my Dystopia-binge. It had a contemporary feel to it, but was still action packed and had an amazing friendship group at it's core. Main character, Cammie, was always my fave. So it's her look I've tried to recreate!

Given the fact that this series is set in a school, the majority of the clothing is, well, school uniform. I had fun digging through my wardrobe for things that could potentially be worn to class. Though I did shake with fear at the sight of my old school tie. High school would have been a lot more fun if I'd have been training to be a spy, that's for sure.

I don't have a blue tartan skirt anywhere so I couldn't recreate the iconic Gallagher Academy uniform perfectly, but I did my own twist on things with some of the uniform-style secondhand pieces I own. Let's break down the look!

  • Blouse - £2 from my local Age UK. It's a vintage Laura Ashley from the 80s. I'm a sucker for any old Laura Ashley pieces so I was excited to find this one for such a small price! It could easily fit into a professional outfit but can be teamed with anything for all occasions. 

a closer look at the collar detail on my fave blouse

  • Skirt - £2 from Cancer Research. My trusty black skirt. I've had it for a few years but I usually wear it with coloured tights. 
  • Shoes - £1 from Age UK. These shoes! Are wonderful! And they were only £1!!!! 😍 They have a little heel so they give me some much needed height (I'm barely 5ft) but they don't hurt my feet like other heels.

My next outfit had me digging out my old school tie for an authentic uniform look. This tie has been hidden at the back of the wardrobe since I left high school behind. I don't even know why I still have it, but at least it came in handy for this!

  • Pinafore - this was bought from a charity shop literal years ago so I don't remember how much it cost! It's covered in bobbly bits now but it still works as an extra layer over a cute blouse. 
  • Shirt - £1 from Age UK. It's St Michael's so it's another vintage piece, but it's plain enough to pass as a school blouse! 
  • Hat - this was from my local YMCA store but I can't remember how much it was! They don't usually charge over £5 for any of their clothes or accessories though. I was just happy to find a hat that actually fits my head because the usual One Size Fits All definitely does not fit all.

For my final look, I wanted to try Cammie outside of her uniform. Being a spy in training, she has to blend into the background to avoid suspicion, so I went for a typical autumn outfit of jumper and jeans.

  • Jeans - £3.99 from Claire House. Since Cammie ruins her favourite pair of jeans whilst out on a mission, I thought I'd use my favourite jeans for this outfit! They're originally Pull & Bear, and with them being high-waist, I love how they look when teamed with shirts and jumpers. 
  • Jumper - £1 from Salvation Army. There's nothing I love more than a good jumper, and the colours on this one are perfect for the season.
  • Belt - £1 from my local animal charity shop. Helping animals whilst getting cute accessories. What's not to love? 🐶

I had lots of fun trying to channel my inner spy school student! Even if I did have to face my old school accessories. The memories that tie brings up need to stay at the back of the wardrobe. Before you go, here's a picture of my when I was in my extremely boring, non-spy high school.

Have a character you'd like to see me create some outfits for? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, 16 September 2019

REVIEW: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

36544848. sy475 Pages: 513
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Historical
Release Date: September 4th 2018
TW: Abuse
Buy the Book: Book Depository

A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi LeeSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

*WARNING* Considering this book has been out for a while now, I’m going to be including spoilers in this review! 

Monty and his best friend Percy are on a tour, taking some time to experience the world. For Monty, it’s his last-ditch attempt to prove that he’s more than simply a troublemaker, and for Percy, it’s his final bit of freedom before going to school in Holland. At least, as far as Monty believes.

I will admit that despite loving the characters, I found things a tiny bit slow to start with. But then everything changes after the journey to Marseille. The book just takes a sharp turn into something completely exciting and fast-paced. Despite wanting to read this because of the praise I’d seen online, I managed to hide myself away from knowing too much about the plot, so I was surprised by everything. I don’t know what I was expecting from this book, but a chase to reach the heart of a half-dead-half-alive woman was not it. There was a bit of everything in here, and I completely loved it. 

*banging pots and pans* I LOVE HENRY MONTAGUE!!!! He’s exactly the type of character who draws me in without fail. Someone who’s morals are a little questionable sometimes, and who is actually way more complex beyond the surface. There’s so much more to him than what he allows those around him to see.

Then there’s Percy, the complete opposite of Monty, a pure cinnamon roll whom I would die for in an instant. I loved everything about his personal journey in this book, especially his attitude towards his epilepsy. He reminds us of how many times people try to make someone else’s illness about themselves. His family didn’t necessarily want him cured for him to be better, they wanted him cured to make it easier to live ‘normally’ in society, considering how people who suffered with epilepsy were treated.

Don’t get me started on how much I love Felicity. An icon, truly. I know there is a sequel that follows her journey and, oh boy, do I plan on getting my hands on it soon. She is my DAUGHTER. 

  • MUTUAL PINING? DO YOU GUYS UNDERTSAND HOW MUCH I LOVE MUTUAL PINING????? IT GETS ME EVERY SINGLE TIME. Monty and Percy had me wanting to bash their heads together throughout this WHOLE GODDAMNED BOOK. And I loved every second of it. 
  • COOL TWISTS. One minute you’re touring Europe and the next, you’re being hunted because you’ve accidentally stolen the key to curing all illness. 
  • PIRATES. No explanation necessary. 
  • Felicity hiding her medical science books inside the covers of romance stories in order to learn because it’s the 18th century and we ladies aren’t allowed the Knowledge
This book offers a bit of everything you could ask for and these characters are some of the best I’ve read in a while. The three of them work so well together, and Monty’s relationship with Percy is developed beautifully. I’m glad I was finally able to pick this one up after wanting to read it for so long! 

Royal Rating:

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Bookish Looks #1: Cath from Fangirl

For those of you who missed my earlier post on Second Hand September, I’m using this month to put together some looks inspired by my favourite book characters using clothes I’ve bought from charity shops. Mostly it’s to encourage second hand buying because fast fashion is ruining our environment, but it’s also because I just really love clothes and books. 

The first bookish look I wanted to try is Cath from one of my all-time favourite books, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Cath is one of those characters that I connect with on a spiritual level. We'd be here all day if I tried to write a list of all the reasons why I love her. From her anxiety to her love of Simon Snow, I can relate to her in so many ways. With her cardigan and jeans combo, she also has an adorable sense of fashion!

This post wouldn’t be right if I didn’t try to recreate the iconic illustration of Cath from the book cover. Queen of colour combination, Book Cover Cath teams her yellow knit with some pink jeans on the original edition of Fangirl. I put together my own version of the outfit with some of the clothes I had in my own closet.

The yellow cardigan is a fave of mine which I picked up because of my love for knitwear and Hufflepuff yellow, which is very Cath of me anyway. Here's a breakdown of the outfit:
  • Cardigan - £1.75 from my nearest Red Cross shop. Best £1.75 I've ever spent. You'll probably see this cardigan several times.
  • Jeans - £2 from a local charity shop that was opened in order to help support the community after the explosion of a building destroyed several local businesses. 
  • Shirt - £1 from Age UK. Fair warning, my nearest and favourite charity shop is the Age UK that's a twenty minute walk from my house. It has wonderful staff and sells most clothes for under £3. That place is literally my SAVIOUR when it comes to clothes, so prepare to see me hype it up a lot. 
  • Converse - £5 from a Preloved Kilo sale.
Just in case you haven't come across Preloved Kilo before, let me give you a little intro. It's a traveling vintage sale in the UK that charges £15 per kilo on clothes. There's no minimum spend, so you can get a light item for as little as 75p! They have Converse and Vans for £5 a pair, which is how I got mine. I absolutely love going to these sales when they're in my nearest city. There are quite a few companies that run pay-by-weight sales now, so I'd highly recommend doing a search to see if there are any upcoming ones in your area.

My next outfit makes use of my favourite yellow cardigan again, and is similar to the type of outfit I'd picture Cath wearing in my head. Yes, I am holding my copy of Carry On because we all know Cath would too.

  • Striped shirt - £1 from Age UK. The Cath in my head pairs basic but cute shirts with jeans. I hope she likes stripes as much as I do 🤔
  • Shoes - £2 from Age UK. They're Rocketdog and have pretty jewels on them. I love them. 
  • Jeans - Preloved Kilo.
  • Tote - I didn't even buy this, it was given to me by my university. But hey, saving the planet by reducing plastic bags is just a good as sustainable fashion. 

I had to include these jeans specifically because....they're Levi's.......... 😏 Speaking of Levi, my third and final outfit is partly inspired by him! Let's say Cath stole one of his adorable plaid shirts, shall we?

  • Jeans - I can't remember how much they were because I got them from a charity shop literal YEARS AGO. But they're still going strong and remain some of my faves.
  • Plaid Shirt - this is actually a hand-me-down from my Mum. Always a good idea to save your parents' clothes from going to a landfill and giving them a new lease of life. 
  • Shirt - my only clothing exception to the second hand rule, but I had to include it because WATFORD. This was kindly sent to me by MyKindaBook for being one of the bloggers in their Rainbow Rowell fanclub. I've gotten so much wear out of this shirt over the years - it's one of my absolute faves!

I found it fairly easy to dress the way I picture Cath by selecting some of my own favourite clothes. Maybe taste in fashion is another thing to add to my list of Things I Have in Common with Cath Avery. Now all I need to add is Levi.

Bonus Bookish Bargain

Considering I'm a person who, for purely selfish reasons, wants every edition of Fangirl ever, I was lucky to find the fanart edition in Oxfam for £1.99! This is why I love charity shops. I don't have to justify buying multiple copies of the same book if I can find them second hand. Right????

My paperback version of Carry On also came from Oxfam. Yes, okay, I want every edition ever of Carry On as well.

So, there you have it, my first Bookish Look! I hope you enjoyed me frantically ripping my wardrobe apart in order to find the perfect clothes combination for Cath. I can only hope I've done her justice. Now I just need to invest in more cardigans.

Have a character you'd like to see me create some outfits for? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, 5 September 2019

BLOG TOUR: Review of That Asian Kid by Savita Kalhan

Hello, fellow bookworms! Today I'm excited to be taking part in Savita Kalhan's blog tour for her latest novel, That Asian Kid.

Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Troika
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 29th August 2019
Buy The Book: Book Depository

Despite his hard work and brains, Jeevan, is doing badly in his GCSE English literature class. His teacher, Mrs Greaves, dislikes him intensely and Jeevan is convinced that he is the victim of racial prejudice. Can he stand up for what's right? When he comes upon her in the woods outisde school in a compromising situation with another teacher, Jeevan can't help but film the scene on his phone. With this secret new ammunition at his fingertips - dare he upload it to social media?

That Asian Kid follows Jeevan in his journey to prove that he’s being unfairly treated by one of his teachers at school. In the run up to his GCSEs, one particular teacher is purposefully marking him down, and he has a sinking feeling that it’s because of his skin colour. When Jeevan finally captures video evidence to prove his theory, he ends up in a battle with himself over whether or not he should post the footage.
With the help of the people around him, Jeevan attempts to figure out the best way to solve his problem at school. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but the treatment he’s facing is part of a much wider problem. If he doesn’t speak up, who will?

Jeevan is exactly the type of character I love - someone who’s faced with a decision that tests his morals. Not only is the story pushing him to think about what’s right or wrong, it also challenges us readers to question what we’d do in that situation. When you’re handed a weapon to bring someone down, is it better to get revenge immediately, or wait and see if you can get justice instead? I love the questions that this book throws at us through Jeevan’s situation. He is an incredibly smart, and kind-hearted character, but he’s also still a young boy who’s facing a situation that he shouldn’t have to, pushing him to possibly make bad decisions.

The teacher in question, Mrs Greaves, is a painful reminder that people like her are sadly still employed in places that give them power over others. The way she treats Jeevan is purely down to her own prejudice, and it’s scary to think about kids who might actually have to go through situations like this in reality, who are too afraid to speak up because they don’t have any proof.

This book wouldn’t be the story that it is without Jeevan’s friends. They make him question his choices throughout, providing insight that he’s too upset and angry to see in the moment. Each one of them gave us a new perspective.

  • Makes you think. Not everything is as simple as it looks. To others, Mrs Greaves’ treatment of Jeevan appears to just be a teacher disciplining a pupil who plays up in her class. But through Jeevan’s eyes, we see the level of manipulation she goes to in order for things to work out her way. 
  • Jeevan’s family. I adored them and the way they treated the situation once they found out the truth. It’s rewarding to see Jeevan learn to open up to them more towards the end, understanding that he needs their support to get through this correctly. 
  • The humour. Despite the seriousness of this story, it still manages to pack plenty of funny moments.
Racism happens around us, whether we are able to see it or not. I hope this story opens eyes to the fact that stuff like this isn’t always obvious, it happens between the lines and we need to start reading it. Jeevan’s journey is certainly an unforgettable one.

Royal Rating:

Huge thank you to Savita for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful tour. Please check out the other bloggers joining in!

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Bookish Bargains: Second Hand September

If you happen to follow me on Twitter, then you might already know how much of an absolute sucker I am for charity shops. There’s nothing I love more than digging around for hidden treasures and brilliant bargains. My relationship with charity shops (or thrift stores, depending on where you are!) is an enemies-to-lovers slow burn with a happy ending. They started out as an embarrassing place my parents would drag me to as a child, where I’d pray no-one from school would see me because who wanted to be the kid whose clothes were second hand, right? If only I could go back and tell 14yo me that charity shops were some of the only affordable places for my parents to shop and to stop thinking so much about what other people thought.

It wasn’t until I was at university that I truly came to appreciate them myself. Now I was the one with no money, and I had a brand new baby blog. So, I started searching the bookshelves in charity shops to feed my book hungry self, and I never really stopped. As much as I’d love to be able to support all of my local bookshops by purchasing every book I want to read, I’m a broke twenty-something who simply can’t. Libraries and charity shops are my saviours, and almost half of the books on my shelves are second hand.

even my bookcases are from charity shops! they're mismatched, slightly battered, and i had to paint one of them white myself, but i love them very much.

After I graduated and my anxiety got super bad, I ended up volunteering at my local Oxfam store to get some experience and build my confidence. Naturally, I chose this specific store because of the huge selection of books they had on offer, but I ended up falling in love with the clothes just as much. Our store is an Oxfam Original, which means we’re lucky enough to receive a delivery of vintage clothes each week that I get to work with. I can’t even tell you how many glittering vintage gowns I’ve fallen in love with over the years!

my beloved vintage dress rail at Oxfam

Being someone who is consistently broke (yay, life!), I could never afford any of the new clothes that I wanted, so I turned to second hand. I could buy a whole outfit for the price of one brand new, high street item. Pretty soon, I realised how much better second hand was for not only my finances, but the environment too. I quit buying fast, high street fashion for myself a long time ago.

one of my favourite charity shop finds, my vintage Minne Mouse jacket!

Throughout next month, Oxfam is running a campaign called Second Hand September, encouraging people to quit buying new clothes for 30 days. Since I already buy my clothes from charity shops, I thought I’d do something a little different for the campaign, something that links my two favourite things together: clothes and BOOKS.

just a few of my fave charity shop book finds over the years. the copy of 'the art of being normal' was donated to oxfam only a couple of weeks after it was released!

With the pre-loved clothes I’ve bought over the years, I’m going to attempt to create looks inspired by some of my favourite book characters! I’m doing this purely because I love nothing more than an excuse to put outfits together, but if it encourages even one person to go check out their local second hand shops, then I’ll be extra happy. I’ll also be including some of the books I’ve bought from my fave charity shops in my posts, because who doesn’t love looking at books?

Please be sure to keep an eye here and on my Twitter account over the coming weeks to see some of my creations. Also, feel free to suggest some characters for me to try out in the comments!


Monday, 15 July 2019

Bookish Birthday Haul

Ah, the ageing process. Not something I actively enjoy celebrating, but it can't be avoided. What makes it just that tiny bit easier is the only thing I ever ask for when my birthday rolls around: bookish gifts! This year, I was gifted some absolutely gorgeous book-related things, so I figured I'd do a mini haul. (Basically, I'm writing up absolutely anything I can for the blog this month because I'm taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo and don't have much time to read, hence the lack of reviews. Oops.) Here are the lovely things I got for my birthday last month!

First up is the absolutely gorgeous book of Your Name that I got from my wonderful bestie Rachel from Rachel's Really Random Reviews. When I tell you I nearly CRIED. It might be one of my favourite presents ever. In case you don't follow my Twitter and have managed to avoid me repeatedly talking about Your Name, I adore the anime. It's one of my favourite films because it's just so damn clever. I'm beyond excited to relive the story on the page! 

The second book to enter my new life as a 27yo is this ridiculously pretty edition of Fangirl from my gorgeous friend Jasmine! Fangirl is one of my all time favourite books and I already own two different versions of it, but I've always wanted to get my hands on the pink hardback because LOOK AT IT. Jasmine is an absolute darling for bringing this edition into my life. A Fangirl reread is on the horizon!

In news that will surprise absolutely no one, the rest of my bookish gifts were Harry Potter related. I'm a simple person to please. Throw anything Harry Potter at me and I'll be forever happy. My first HP goodie is a hardback edition of Chamber of Secrets that I actually persuaded Rachel to pick up for me at the charity shop she volunteers in. Let me explain: the copies of Harry Potter that I have are the same battered copies I've had since I started reading them as child. I only have hardbacks from Order of the Phoenix onwards, so I've been trying to rebuy them in hardback via charity shops. My old edition of CoS is quite literally falling apart (pages have fallen out, it's very tragic). She also got me some socks because I live for socks.

Thanking the Primark Gods (and my parents) for this cute pot with the Hogwarts crest! The succulent is fake because I have enough real ones to take care of. Really, I don't have any space left on my windowsill. Showing my Hufflepuff pride, I also got this cute pin!

Another gift from Jasmine is this absolutely gorgeous Hogwarts notebook. There's nothing I love more than a fresh notebook, especially ones this pretty. Look at the gold edges. I'm in LOVE.

My last two presents are sleep related. For those of you who don't know, I was diagnosed with insomnia last year and my quality of sleep is generally terrible, to say the least. I actively seek out anything to make nighttime a little easier on my poor self. Here's to hoping the nightshirt and Hedwig help me get some sleep!

I'm so in love with the bookish gifts I received this year! They certainly help the ageing process feel a little less daunting. I have plenty of book and blog related goals for the next year of my life. I just hope I can tick a few of them off my list.

What bookish gifts are on your wishlist?

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