Indie brand: Veronica Dearly


I always like to try and support small businesses as much as I can, and since I've found a few new ones lately thought it was the perfect opportunity to start up my indie brand series. A while back I bought a faux leather jacket and since then have been on a mission to hunt down cool pins to fill the lapels with. As soon as I saw this one from UK illustrator Veronica Dearly I couldn't resist!

It arrived in a gift box and I thought the card an packaging was a really nice touch and would be perfect as a gift. You can get the pin in either pink or blue for just £5 here and the shop is also full of cards, badges, stickers and stationery. I'm sure I'll be making another order soon.


Japanese snacks: Three mini reviews...


Glico Strawberry Cream Biscuit
This little pack of tiny biscuits is very cute! The pack contains five mini sandwich style biscuits. The biscuit (I feel like I've used that word too much) is pretty much the same as a rich tea and the cream inside tastes like strawberry milkshake. Delicious!

Yuraku Black Thunder Choco Cookie Bar
This bar is a mixture of plain and chocolate flavour cookie pieces all wrapped up in chocolate. This is nice and crunchy and not too sweet. I have a feeling this would go great with a cup of coffee.

Kyushu limited Amaou Strawberry KitKat
Apparently the Amaou Strawberry KitKat is limited to the Southernmost Japanese Island of Kyushu where they grow this particular sweet type of strawberry. Pointless fact: Kyushu was my favourite of the Japanese Island names when I studied Japan at school and I convinced one of my school friends to name a character in her book after it. Anyway, this KitKat tastes super sweet, and I am surprised how intense the strawberry flavour is. As someone who is such a huge fan of Japanese snacks I don't know why I haven't tried more KitKat flavours!

Recently watched...



 

The Gift (2015)
This film has been on my radar for a while. A dark drama/ thriller about a man who moves back to his home town with his wife and bumps into an old school friend who becomes more sinister when he won't leave them alone. There's a great twist in this film and I loved the ambiguity of not knowing which character was 'good'. Sadly, the final scene totally ruined it for me when the only proper female character in the film was used as a pawn in the revenge of the men (especially since she was the most likeable character in the film) I found that move boring and predicable. 3/5  

The Hateful Eight (2016)
Where to start?! The eighth Tarantino film about eight nasty characters snowed in and not knowing who to trust. Firstly the opening credits blew me away- you don't get openings like that very often anymore! But I did find the film over long, it took a long time to get properly started. When the drama did start of course it was brilliant. High tension, great dialogue. There weren't so many comedic moments in this, although the crazy action towards the end when everything finally did explode was classic Tarantino and I wasn't disappointed. The visuals were stunning (from the snowy landscapes, the horses running, and the intimate indoors feel) and Morricone's score was perfect. I did feel the story was just too predictable though, although I think my high expectations perhaps ruined it a bit. 4/5

Maleficent (2014)
A retelling of Sleeping Beauty with the focus on villain Maleficent this was a stunning film. I'm not really a Disney/ fairytale fan (which is why it has took me forever to get round to watching this) but I do love villains and I actually really enjoyed this. The make up and costumes of Maleficent were beautiful, and I liked the change in story (and the 'true loves kiss' twist) that showed her in a totally different light. 3.5/5

Pride (2015)
Based on a true story set during the 1984 miners strike about a group of gay and lesbian activists from London who start raising money for a group of Welsh miners and form an unlikely alliance. I loved this film, it was warm, funny and touching. I don't know how close to reality the film is but It was a brilliant tale of being an outsider, friendship and acceptance. Definitely a must see. 4.5/5 


January sales haul...

Here are some of the bargains I got in the sales...
Most of the time I'm really stingey when it comes to hair products- I don't like to spend a lot on shampoo or conditioner and never bother with styling products. So I thought I'd pick up some gift sets from 'pricier' hair brands in the sale to try out. I got a Mark Hill MiracOILicious(!) set and an Umberton Giannini curl set from boots and a Toni & Guy set from ASOS. 

Also from Boots I got a bunch of half price sets from the Extracts range. They have really nice scents and It's all stuff that I will use. 

From ASOS I got a Skinny Dip clutch bag. I've wanted one of their bags for a long time and when I saw this pastel purple bag for £13.50 (yay for student discount on sales items!) I coudn't resist. This comes with a cute set of plushie stickers to customise the bag.I haven't stuck them on yet, because once they are on they can't be re-stuck and I don't want to mess it up!

I always like to buy a bunch of dvds in the sales- they are mainly things I've seen that I want to add to my collection although the Girls boxset was an impulse buy. I've heard a lot about it, so hopefully I'll like it! 
I'd pre-ordered the Catwoman Dorbz from Forbidden Planet and was surprised that it arrived early- she's very cute but I *am not* going to start collecting Dorbz. No way. No matter how cute they are. One of the most random of my sales buys was the Scarlet Witch action figure. Don't ask me why... she looked cool so I thought why not! Also she comes with Odin's head so  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Also from the Forbidden Planet sale I got three of the Love and Rockets books for just £2.99. These books are huge, and I've been wanting to give the series a go for a while. 

Finally, this wasn't a sales buy, but I got it with some Christmas money. It's an ugly sweater from TeeFury and I love it! I don't think it's in your face Christmassy so I will definitely be wearing it all through Winter.

Lately... January


I've had the last week off from work although it mainly involved catching up with all my uni work and getting an essay written up. 

I also used my time off wisely(!) to watch Jessica Jones on Netflix. I definitely recommend if you haven't seen it yet. It was good to see Marvel on the screen get a bit darker 

I was sad to hear the news that David Bowie had passed. My childhood was filled with his music thanks to my Dad who's always been a huge fan and passed his love on to me and my sister. RIP starman

Also...

- Maybe a bit late but I enjoyed these best comics of 2015 lists

-Basically I love lists, which is why I always soak up all the end of year lists like this Best Film Quotes of 2015

New books...

Even though my TBR shelf is out of control I can never resist buying more books! Here are my latest purchases...

The Secret History by Donna Tart
I've heard so many good things about this book. Set in a New England college is is about a group of eccentric students who under the influence of their charismatic professor discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries, and which changes their lives forever. Very intriguing...

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I am a big fan of Amy Poehler and especially her character Leslie Knope in the show Parks and Recreation so can't wait to read her memoir full of stories, advice, and thoughts on all sorts of amusing subjects. I haven't heard a bad word about this book so I'm really looking forward to this one, and I think it will be a good uplifting read for the dull new year.

The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford
I partly got this because I liked the cover and also because the main character has Bipolar disorder. This is a psychological thriller about a woman who after a manic episode questions whether she murdered her neighbour or not. I'm mainly interested to see how this depicts Bipolar, I'm hoping it will be well researched and a good thriller. 

Recently watched...




 


Sisters (2015)
Me and my sister are big fans of Amy Poehler so we went to see this at the cinema as soon as it came out. Poehler and Fey play forty something sisters who have to deal with their parents selling their childhood home and decide to have one last party. A lot of fun and there was one scene that had the cinema howling. 3.5/5

Ex_Machina (2015)
A sci-fi mixed with a psychological thriller about a young man who finds himself part of an experiment to test the artificial intelligence of an android. This had so many twists and turns it made you question everything. Very clever and really gripping. It leaves you with a lot to think about. 4/5

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get around to watching this film but I'm glad I finally have. As you'd expect from a Wes Anderson film it is visually beautiful. It is also quite funny, very sweet and a great watch about a concierge of a hotel in the 1930s who finds himself accused of murder. 4/5

Cake (2015)
This film got me way more emotional than I expected! A drama about a woman who suffers terribly with chronic pain and begins to see visions of a woman from her support group who committed suicide. This film was mainly about moving on, and coming to terms with tragic events and it showcased that Jennifer Aniston can do so much more than silly comedy roles. 3.5/5

Holika Holika Strawberry pore cover sealer...



I've been using the Holika Holika Strawberry Pore Cover Sealer pretty much on a daily basis for the last five months so I thought it was about time I posted a review of it! 

The initial reason I bought it was for the cute pink and strawberry packaging, but the product promises to cover pores (much like the "pores" on a strawberry) like magic. as soon as the product melts into the skin it is supposed to hide pores whilst providing moisture. It also has sebum powder which helps make up last longer and controls oil in the t-zone. Oh, and as well as that it smells of strawberries!

I use this as a base under my BB cream and I find it does a brilliant job of making my make up last well all day. it also blurs imperfections and evens out redness so that my BB cream applies so much better. I can also attest to the oil control aspect as well. Another great thing about this product is although it comes in a small tube a little goes a long way, so I am only just getting to the point where I'll need to get a replacement.

Overall, if you are looking for a good all round make up base that is an affordable price I'd definitely recommend this product! 

Films I'm looking forward to in 2016...


I'm a huge film fan and thought it would be fun to make a list of the films I'm most anticipating in 2016...



1. The Hateful Eight
I'm counting down until Jan 8th when I get to finally go and see the latest Quentin Tarantino film. I'm a huge fan of his films and I'm particularly excited about him working with Tim Roth again. 

2. Captain America: Civil War
Although I'm not a huge fan of Cap this film features pretty much all the Avengers at war with each other and the trailer looks amazing. Can't wait to see more of Hawkeye, Black Widow, The Vision and Scarlett Witch too!


3. Neon Demon
The latest film from Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn this is a horror film about obsession with beauty in LA and the visuals look amazing.

4. Whisky Tango Foxtrot
I don't know much about this other than it stars Tina Fey as a war reporter who arrives in Kabul clueless. This is a satire based on a book by Kim Barker and among others also stars Billy Bob Thornton.


5. Ghostbusters
Despite a huge backlash I am really looking forward to this one- I'm a huge fan of Kristen Wiig and I really like Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon too. I think this will be hugely fun and entertaining.

6. The Unknown Girl
The Latest film from the Dardenne brothers who directed Two Days One Night this is a drama about a doctor who sets out to find the identity of an unknown woman who died after being denied surgery.

7. The Nice Guys 
It's a buddy cop comedy set in 70's LA starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe and for some reason I want to see it!

8.The Girl on the Train
After reading and enjoying the book in 2015 I'm looking forward to seeing how they translate the story to the screen. 


9. The Forest
A horror set in Japan's Aokigahara Forest, also known as the suicide forest about a young American woman who goes there in search of her missing twin sister.

10. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
I think the title pretty much explains everything you need to know about this film!

11. The Home For Peculiar Children
A film adaption of the Ransom Riggs book (which I really need to read) and directed by Tim Burton.

Well, I think I'll leave it there for now... are there any films you are particularly excited about in 2016?

December reading round up...



The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn
I've loved everything Flynn has published so far so bought and read this as soon as it came out. A short story (originally published in an anthology) this is about a young woman making a living by pretending to be a pychic. As usual with Flynn we get intriguing but unlikeable characters, I thought this story was best when it went into supernatural horror territory, but the ending was too predictable as I know Flynn's style by know so there was no surprises. An enjoyable if predictable story that will tide me over till she releases something new. 3.5/5

The Hand That Feeds You by A.J. Rich
Morgan a psychology student specialising in victim psychology comes home to find her fiancée has been killed and her dogs covered in blood. Traumatised, Morgan tries to locate her fiancées family only to find he was not the man she thought he was. The main character was a little on the dull side, but the writing was good and the story kept me intrigued (although I did guess the end). I enjoyed the facts and studies about victims and sociopaths that came up throughout the book as well. Overall a decent crime thriller. 3.5/5

Bitch Planet Vol.1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Valentine De Landro
Described as Margaret Atwood meets Inglorious Basterds(!) this is a feminist sci-fi satire about a planet where non compliant women are sent as punishment. Full of in your face badass, diverse and empowering women, retro style artwork, humour, and plenty of interesting topics this is a must read that leaves you with a lot to think about. I can't recommend this enough, although it's a shame the tpb doesn't come with all the equally as interesting essays that featured in the single issues. 4/5

A-Force Vol. 0: Warzones by G. Willow Wilson & Marguerite Bennett
I've previously mentioned how much I love this series in my favourite new comic book series post, this is an all female avengers team featuring Marvel's mightiest women protecting Arcadia and featuring a brand new Marvel character. The artwork to this mini series is stunning, and I'm so glad it's been kept on for a longer run as there are so many characters I'm looking forward to getting to know some of them better. (read in single issues)  4/5

Giant Size Little Marvel: AvX Vol.1 by Scottie Young
Another series I read in single issues this is a cute and fun story featuring the Avengers and X-Men as opposing school kid gangs fighting over which gang the mysterious new twins should join. Heavy on the humour, and lovely bright colourful artwork this was lots of fun, and little Black Widow and Hawkeye were adorable! 3.5/5

Single issues...



I'm very behind with my single issues at the moment, but these were my favourite two that I read in December and of course both featuring Catwoman!