18 July 2012

Book Review. The Lessons. Naomi Alderman.

Im sitting here writing this post having finished the book about 30 seconds ago. I had a bit of a rolercoaster in the 3 days it took to read the book.. at first I was hooked.. and then towards the end I just wanted to finish it because I had spent over 200 pages with the author confirming what the reader suspected from the first page. rather than spoil it for you already I will let you read the blurb for yourself and get down to what I really thought.

The Blurb

James, always the outsider, enters oxford - high seat of priviledge, wealth and ambition. there e meets Mark Winters - dissolute, astonishingly, heartbreakingly rich and pitilessly cruel - and the fellow students he has gathered around him; untouchable Emmanuella; on-again/off-again Simon and Franny; and passionate, true Jess.
The nights, and many of the days, become one long party. friendships are made, and broken. Lovers swapped, or dropped. It is all beguiling and bewitching. everything James dreamed of but never quite believed in.
But after university they are cast out into an indifferent world. free of mark and his dark influence, they are lost to one another, until one night tradgedy strikes...

My Opinion

Firstly, the story is nothing like the blurb, so don't let it fool you, as I was, into thinking it was mysterious and massively. The back cover is full of quotes which suport my initial take on the book, and it was only when i neared the end, I realised I had spent so much time reading a book which seemingly had no conclusion. no event dramatic enough to make it worthwhile. The ending is vague, its one of those tales which hasnt quite finished, but there isnt room for anything else to be said. as a reader you anticipate something greater to happen. This might be to reflect the monotony of James' life, which as picked up by the character of Mark, is just a refelection of those around him at any time. despite the lacking storyline, it is beautifully written, and even when I got bored of it, I still wanted to read.

The character of Mark initially reminded me of Gatsby from The Great Gatsby, the persona, the lifestyle, it is only when the book delves a little deeper into their lives that the differences emerge, character of James initially reminded me of Nick from The Great Gatsby. I think this is on of the things that made the story seem a bit more interesting, having already read The Great Gatsby, and the character of James initially reminded me of Nick from The Great Gatsby, and the stories possibly follow similar lines in terms of the protagonists seeing obsession with the illusive rich man able to provide a life that seems little more than a dream.


My main issue with this book, which is the one aspect which let the book down for me, and that is that you spend over 200 pages waiting for James to admit to himself that he is gay, or at least in love with Mark. it is apparent from the first page, and once he realises it, it becomes obvious that the entire book up to that point has been him realising this, and to what extent it could be surpressed. For me, the story could have delved into much more dramatic and mysterious areas within the storyline set up, without this being the focus, for example the relationship between James and Jess, which seems a bit funny from the start. another major problem is the character of Nicola, I think the relationship between her and Mark seems questionable.. particularly to lengths it goes to. It makes the whole story much less realistic, especially to a modern reader.


It was definitely a good read, and one book off my summer reading list. I question why it was recommended to me by my Dads wife.. but it has exposed me to a wonderful author, even if the story line was a bit iffy in places. I recommend this to people wanting a quick read.. its not a long book, and is easily read, and hopefully this review will open your eyes more to what it really is.. much beyond the facade created by the blurb.

Until next time...

14 July 2012

A little update and some University help.

I just thought I would give you all little update into my life right now. I have spent the past 3 and a half weeks volunteering in a local primary school, all to benefit my university application, and to give me something to do whilst on study leave. unfortunately this comes to and end in the next week, and I will have to say goodbye to the lovely children I have spent the last few weeks with.. when I fished my last work experience I almost cried.. and that was after only a week.. this will be interesting. This may have left me exhausted after all the fun had in a reception class, however I will definitely miss it.

Word of advice to all future university applicants, whether necessary or not, carry out work experience, if possible, in the area your interested in BEFORE you send off your application for 3 reasons.
1. It puts you ahead of candidates that have no/little/have yet to complete their work experience. this gives them less reason to not take you on the course
2. It gives you something to talk about in your personal statement AND in any interviews. It shows a real interest in the subject and that your not going to get halfway down the line and decide you don't like it.
3. they can be used as part o your UCAS reference, giving an opinion from someone in the career you want to pursue.

I learnt both of these the hard way this year.

I would also reccomend that you already start ordering prospectuses, looking at courses, writing personal statements and going to open days/booking places on them. the sooner you know where you want to go (you have 5 choices) and have a statement written, the sooner your application can be sent off. Some courses are filled on a first come first serve basis and so it is important to get your application in ASAP.

My life is pretty much consumed with college and uni prep, and so that's it from my update. I have a notebook that I carry around with me which has a list of the universities I want to go to, the courses available relevant to me and the points/grades needed to go there. I know what i need to achieve and know where I want to go.

I hope this has been helpful to those of you interested. sorry to those past this stage in life.. I hope to have something more relevant next time.


13 July 2012

We Were on a Break...

Having a variety of beauty products to choose from is definitely one of the perks of being a beauty blogger.. the vast accumulation of products purely because you heard or read about how wonderful they were. It is also a sign you are probably a beauty addict.. even if your slightly afraid to admit it. I can admit that I fall into both categories, especially as it took me 5 minutes to decide between two practically identical nail varnishes from my collection this evening. Despite all this.. it is probably shocking to hear me say that blogging about them is not something I have enjoyed recently. Since my lst blog post after my return,  I tried numerous times, even taking the pictures in preparation, to write blog posts about my favourite products etc. yet when it came to actually writing the post, I couldn't think what to write. the words didn't flow like they do when its something I actually care about. It is when I made this realisation, I decided, as much as I enjoy reading the blogs and watching the videos, its not something I enjoy writing myself. I just like to write, and ramble. I think this blog is going to stay running, but expect a blog post when I have something interesting to say. A blog is nothing but a shell if there is no real passion behind it.

When I came back to blogging I knew that beauty wasn't the route I wanted to go down again.. and yet when i made a plan, the only things i could think that would be interesting to my readers (even if you are few compared to other blogs) would be beauty an fashion related. I have since re-realised this blog isn't about pleasing the willing readers, its about expressing a part of myself to those who want to read, those who are a bit nosy, and maybe even those who care.

I probably will have the odd beauty post, but I want this to reflect what i m doing, what i want to pursue and tales of my boring life so far. I will definitely be posting about my Italy trip plans, and will also do a post on the trip I took a couple of years ago with a friend and her family (and maybe some pictures if she agrees). Maybe some posts on the books I'm reading, the books I have read and the same for films. Trends i love, trends I hate.. and even the odd expense I'm lusting after. I'm going to document the important bits of my life and everything that goes with it on this blog. It isn't just going to be something for you to read but also something that i can look back on, a sort of diary, to help me remember those things that we sometimes forget.

I hope that you are all still interested in reading, and its a little departure from what you may be used to, what with the vast array of beauty blogs out there for you to choose from.  Feel free to comment with your opinions on my departure from the beauty community, and i hope you can venture ideas on things you would like to see from this blog, because although I'm writing this for myself, I like to have and readers to include, because it is nothing without you. 


3 July 2012

Book Review - My Week With Marilyn, By Colin Clark

I have always been an Audrey Hepburn fan over Marilyn Monroe, despite only having seen one Marilyn film.. This was changed rather quickly when I read My Week With Marilyn, a real diary written by Colin Clark, who got to know Marilyn when he was third assistant director on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl. The version of the book I have is the one released after the film, and is a combination of two separate releases of individual diaries diary, The Prince The Showgirl and Me and My Week With Marilyn. The latter was released at a later date and were combined to make the film because the two overlap.


In 1956, fresh from Oxford, 23-year-old Colin Clark worked as a humble 'gofer' on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl. The film united Britain's leading actor, Laurence Olivier, with Hollywood's most glamorous sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe - and clashes between them entered film legend.

For one glorious week, the world's biggest film star sought comfort in the arms of the set's most junior employee. This is the frank, fresh, comic story of how Clark came to share Monroe's confidences - and her bed!


As much as this book made me fall in love with Marilyn Monroe, as did the whole world when she was alive, I could not help but feel a little disappointed with how mundane the book was. I felt as if i was waiting for something dramatic to happen that never came, (this is reminiscent of how i felt after reading the much acclaimed One Day, which failed to live up to my expectations despite being addictive). I gave up on the first part of the book The Prince the Showgirl and Me after being talked through a few days of Colin's life. Ultimately if you are into the whole making of movies in the 50s then this would be excellent for you, but I'm much more interested in the actual films produced. This led me to skip to the second part My Week With Marilyn. The blurb, which is clearly designed to sell the book, made the whole affair (if it can be called that) seem a bit dramatic.

However you must take into consideration that this is first and foremost the diary of a (now deceased) man, and his claim to fame (despite the connections he has). It was not written to be read by the masses and is an account of real life, which in a way, reflects the differences between the lives portrayed in films and novels, and reality.

My main problem with this is that because Marilyn unfortunately killed herself many years ago, there is no one around to confirm the story, and even Colin Clark himself has since died. despite this, it is a lovely read for any Monroe fans out there or for any of you interested in the workings of a film studio in the 50s. And in the version with the film cover there is the added bonus of a few pictures of both Marilyn herself in the film production and Michelle Williams, who played her in the film, in similar poses.

I hope you enjoyed the first book review of many, definitely enjoyed writing this one.. the words literally just flowed out. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I am still without adequate camera and am not willing to get one off the internet which i did not take.

Laura xx

2 July 2012

Update number 2

Lovely readers,

I have set up a lovely plan of posts, with each day allocated to a different type of post, and I planned on starting this today and explaining as the week went on which type of posts to expect on that day as well as one of the planned posts, HOWEVER, tragedy struck and i found myself without a suitable camera for the next couple of days.Typical of this to happen when I finally decide to get back into blogging. I am determined that this will not prevent me from posting everyday. Until I can take pictures you will see a couple of posts which do not require any.. and today is no exception. I thought I would just lay out my blogging plan for you all to see and give you a few ideas about projects I have lined up. 

Monday: Make-Up bag for the week 
Tuesday: Book/Film/TV review
Wednesday: Weekly Haul/Tag/Request
Thursday: Beauty product Review
Friday: NOTW including review
Saturday: Favourite 3 OOTW
Sunday: Favourite thing of the week

Hopefully I can stick to this, and some of the posts may be scheduled just to make sure I stick to it as much as possible. I am determined not to flag.

If you read my last post you will have noticed I'm taking a year between A-Levels and Uni. This is for numerous reasons, the main being that I'm trying to improve my grades and hopefully go to a better university. This is also why I am going to college and am currently helping out in a primary school and am helping outwith Rainbows. I have applied for a childcare related course at college particularly to learn skills that will benefit me in the application/interview processes of university application and also will be beneficial when i am at Uni. This leads me on to my next point. I am considering posting regular blog posts related to University application as I go through the process to help others out in the same situation, especially as I have already done it once before and have learnt from mistakes.Let me know if this is something you would like me to post this ASAP (leave a comment or tweet me @09lauraspain ) so I can plan and start posting about that shortly.

The other thing I wanted to talk to you all about is a holiday I am planning. I am hoping to start planning a weeks trip to Rome, Italy so i can have a guide as to how much I need to save. I have a rough figure but I want to plan day trips etc. this is another thing i wondered if any of you would be interested in, I was wondering if I should document my plans etc on my blog, showing places i want to visit, pricing, hotels etc, so if any of you are planning a similar trip in the future it could be referenced to or may even spark an interest in some of you.

These are just a couple of ideas I had that I thought I might share with you, but ultimately I'm not going to if they are of no interest to anyone because they are quite specific.

I hope your as happy to be reading my blog again as I am happy to be writing it again, its like being home.

Talk to you again tomorrow

Laura xx

1 July 2012

A letter to my followers

Dear all remaining followers still interested in what I have to say...

Almost a year after I abandoned my blog, I'm back. A lot has changed since my decision to leave the blogging world , and with sixth form finished, and me embarking on a new journey I decided it was time to return. Along with my return, I have changed my blog, and it has actually taken me a couple of weeks to get it how I wanted it, but I'm finally happy and ready to officially relaunch it. I hope to be a much better blogger this time around, intending to post everyday.

Despite finishing my A-Levels, life is not any less stressful.. I am currently helping out in a primary school everyday until the end of term, and will hopefully be going to college for a year next year before applying to University. If it is not obvious..I am hoping to one day work with children/be a primary school teacher. Alongside all of this, I have a few personal goals I am trying to achieve and other things I want to plan and do.

All in all the next academic year looks to be a busy one, however I hopefully will not have the pressures I had in the last one (I was attempting to do 2 years of work in one basically) and my blog will be as successful as I hope it will be.

I look forward to posting again tomorrow,

Laura xx