This One Summer: Graphic Novel review

Main image: © Jillian Tamaki, used with permission.

This also happens to be my favourite piece of artwork from This One Summer (Jillian and Mariko Tamaki). 

This One Summer is a collaboration between cousins Mario Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, it follows the story of Rose, someone who is starting to nosedive into the world of puberty. The story takes place across the summer of her annual trip with her family to Awago Beach, where her friend Windy is always there to meet her. While previous summers have always been amazing; this summer Rose has to confront family problems, as well as the pains of growing up. 

If you want something that captures the feelings of summer holidays; this is it. For someone like me who has now decided that they are ancient and is missing the carefree  leisure of summer holidays; this book is equally a delight and a weird kind of torture.

The whole read perfectly captures the dreamy wistfulness that captured my summer holidays – the same could be said for the content of the graphic novel. Not a lot happens but a lot happens at the same time. Growing up isn’t always something that is a dramatic adventure and this is the real genius of the graphic novel – it captures exactly that.

The artwork as well is beautiful- if I could frame the front cover I would. I just love when soft colours, especially lilacs and a watercolour feel is applied to artwork- and I love, love, love how that theme contains on through the graphic novel.

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Image: © Jillian Tamaki, used with permission.

However, it wasn’t the stunning artwork that initially drew me to this graphic novel; it was that I was talking to the lovely shop assistant in my local comic book and they recommended the graphic novel based on my other choices. When talking about the graphic novel they also discussed how it was difficult to order in because it had been banned in the US. The reason it was banned I discovered was due to that it was deemed to contain ‘vulgar language’. And to be honest if a book is banned I automatically want to read it more. All I say about the ‘vulgar’ language is this: this is a book aimed at teens who are going to use and hear this language – that is just the reality of life.

And capturing the reality of life is what the graphic novel does best, especially the brutal reality of being introduced to the world of growing up and adulthood. However, along that pain is the joy of friendships. I have to say Rose and Windy’s friendship was probably my favourite thing throughout This One Summer because it has been a long time since I have read a friendship that didn’t feel stylised but just captured the messy reality of friendship. Sometimes, like Rose does to Windy, you mess up when talking with you friends. But most of the time being with a friend feels freeing –  something which Windy does beautifully.

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Image: © Jillian Tamaki, used with permission.

I’m not going to lie, I see a lot of myself in Windy but I also see a lot more power in Windy than I felt I had at that age. She says what she thinks is right, even when it can be hard, especially when you friend is older (as is the case for Windy).

I hope by keeping this review short and sweet I capture the spirit of the graphic novel a bit – in that the graphic novel didn’t need to say a lot to be impactful. The artwork and storytelling fills in the gaps for you. The graphic novel’s strength is also its only weakness – not a lot happens but the characterisation is some of the best I’ve seen. We have a central character who the author is not afraid to show mess up in her journey to grow up as well as highlight how her infatuation with the teenage lothario of Awago Beach, Dunc sways and influences her judgment.

The adults too are not one-dimensional – we get to see Rose’s mum, Alice’s pain and understand her actions, as well as understand why Rose would react the way she does to her mum’s behaviour. Essentially This One Summer is a snapshot of the reality of growing up, but it’s genius is the way it paints that snapshot – bright, vivid and deeply immersive.

If you’re interested in This One Summer you can buy it on Amazon, I’d also recommend this review in The Comics Journal, which inspired some of the points in my review, particularly the line: ‘Immersion is This One Summer‘s strength’. However, it’s important to note that the review is not spoiler free.

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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Superdrug vegan cruelty free drugstore beauty haul

I am very passionate about my beauty products being cruelty free and vegan but sometimes this can feel like a pretty expensive task. However, a lot more brands are embracing being cruelty free and labelling which of their products are vegan; making it easier for people like me who are mostly clueless. One store I’ve noticed more and more that stocks brands that are good at this and do it themselves is Superdrug- all the range made by Superdrug themselves I’m pretty sure is cruelty free (however, when shopping online is you search cruelty free you can narrow down the cruelty free brands on the site as well).

I was very excited then when I heard reports that Superdrug’s own brand shampoo and conditioner is £1.99 each and is cruelty free and vegan. However, it was difficult to find confirmation of this online except in the ‘Questions’ section of the product where people asked if the product was vegan. However, when you actually purchase the bottle it states clearly that it is cruelty free and vegan – something, which I can confirm for the bottles I bought which was the Coconut and Almond shampoo and conditioner, and the Raspberry and Macadamia conditioner.

I’ve also had a week or two trying these products out now and can confirm that while they are not terrible, they are not really heavy duty enough for my very winter-dry bleached underneath hair that needs a little extra care. However, I’ve found if I use the shampoo, then the Raspberry conditioner and finally the Coconut conditioner (making sure to leave them on as long as possible) the results are quite good. This also I think largely isn’t a fault of the products as I’ve found the shower water where I live compared to other parts of the country really makes my hair feel dry. I need to try soaking my hair in coconut oil for half an hour when I wash my hair again and see if that makes a difference.

Overall, for the price I will definitely be buying these again. Especially as they were on buy one get one free when I got them (and I think they still are) so I got four bottles, one of which was a repeat of the coconut shampoo, which is why I didn’t mention it earlier. However, I might try indulging in a more heavy duty conditioner (maybe one from Lush) – as shampoo’s go though the Superdrug one definitely does the job (I’d recommend the Raspberry one because the conditioner I have smells very nice).

Barry M  

I’ve always ruined my nails within minutes of them being painted (or done an awful job in the first place) to the point where I’ve barely ever worn nail varnish. However, when I saw the new colours at the Barry M stand; I knew I had to make an exception.

Barry M Nail Varnishes

Especially, when I saw that one was scented (spoiler alert I didn’t notice anything – I think nail varnish because of the strong smell is a bit too hard to scent).

However, the colour is beautiful and better yet Barry M is cruelty free and a lot of their products are vegan (not all however – I wanted to try a mascara but sadly they were not) so make sure to check. From what I could see most if not all of their nail varnishes are vegan and it is really easy to check on the Barry M site, as you just find the product you want, click on the ingredients list and there will be a sticker on the list if the product is vegan.

The shade from the Candy Culture collection I got, ‘Coconut’ is vegan, as well as all the varnishes in that collection. The other shade I picked up from the ‘Under the Sea’ collection, which has the absolute cutest packaging (I definitely need all the shades in this collection – especially the blue), called ‘Jellyfish’ is also vegan, as are the other shades in the collection.

As I spent more than £7 (I think it this amount) at Barry M (the nail varnishes are an affordable £3.99 each) I received a free Shimmer Strobe Cream. I picked up the shade galactic because I thought it would be a nice white highlighter from what it looked like in the tube – there was unfortunately no samples to swatch. It is however a pretty lilac colour (which, still suits my skin tone so yay). I find this a little hard to work with because I’m not used to cream products but it also seems to work really nice on one cheek and then awful on the other. However, if you want to pick one of these up they are only £4.49 and when I looked on the site all 4 shades are vegan – I personally am considering picking up the pink toned shade ‘Frosty Pink’ though I think my face is pink enough already (not that has stopped me before).

The only thing I would make sure to stress with Barry M is look up the product on their website, as although the nail varnishes were labelled as vegan, the shimmer stick wasn’t even though it was – so make to check!

Makeup Revolution 

I have to admit a love a bit of Makeup Revolution, especially when you want to play around with colours that are a bit ‘out there’ for you but don’t want to commit to buying an expensive palette. The two palettes I got were £4 and £10 respectively, and although there was some shades on the cheaper palette I got that were a little hard to blend; it was nothing I couldn’t work with.

Re-loaded palette 

The first thing that caught my eye was that this palette has a few similar shades to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture palette (well at least to me) and the second thing was that it was only £4. So far I’ve only tried a few of the shades, one of which just refused to blend and the other which wasn’t as bright as I hoped but did layer nicely – I think used by someone willing to show more love than me, i.e. setting spray etc. these shadows could look great. They did though have staying power, which is the same as some of my more expensive palettes on my eyes. If you look on the TAM beauty website (who looks after Makeup Revolution) in the description it states that the product is vegan, cruelty free and gluten free (this confused me a bit at first but fair enough if this is a concern for coeliacs). Tam Beauty also states that none of their brands test on animals so this includes the other brands they stock like Freedom and I Heart Makeup.

Makeup Revolution palette

On the first image my swatches start from the  bottom left and then I follow the palette left upwards. 

As you can probably see in the swatches, some shades are a bit fuzzy and those are the shades that are harder to work with. One thing I really noticed is that the shimmer shades for both palettes swatched really nicely – especially the gold shades. Also, apologises about the mark on my arm on the second picture – it flares up now and then and basically there is something I’m allergic to but I don’t know what.

I also got the Soph eyeshadow palette, as I occasionally look at her videos because her eye looks are lovely and very accessible – I like how she works with cheaper and more expensive products as well.

I haven’t used many of the shades yet in this palette but all that I did use worked well, and the swatches for some of the shades in this palette are just gorgeous. This palette was a bit pricer at £10 but still for a Youtuber collaboration that’s really good and there is a really nice mixture of shades in the palette. The packaging is also cute – though I’ve already stained the palette itself as it’s one of those materials that every little finger print shows up on. I’d also love to do a more detailed review of this palette, as another post to add to my reviewing Youtuber products series (which is just books at the moment).

This palette like the other Makeup Revolution eyeshadow palette is cruelty free, vegan and gluten free. I’m not sure how many of their products are and aren’t vegan but when I did quick check by clicking on one of their mascaras I noticed it wasn’t vegan.

Soph palette
You also get a mirror, which is a nice touch. 

First picture starts from the top left of the palette and then I work my way down right and go down each row like that. 

So this is my mini cruelty free and vegan drugstore haul. I’d love to do more posts like this and make it a series maybe, as I’d love to show off some affordable options as well as more premium ones.

April

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90s Witch Fashion Haul

I feel like this could also be titled ‘I got paid and spent money on clothes’ but since I noticed that a lot of my purchases could make outfits that I’d define as ’90s Witch fashion’ (and by this I mean as depicted in TV shows, i.e. Willow in Buffy, The Craft, etc.); I thought it would be nice to collect those purchases together and do a little bit of a show and tell.

I also want to try out a little something different this time so am going to show my purchases through outfits. I lack the skill and patience for cute flat lay posts so am going to showcase my outfits instead through what I will dub ‘hanger lay’ (which will never be a thing).

Outfit 1: Forever pretending its Autumn 

Autumn 1

Brown Beret: Primark

Jumper: New Look (in the sale- couldn’t find link)

Dress: Asos

Boots: Topshop (old)- would look amazing with some vegan Dr Martens

Autumn 2Autumn 3Autumn 4

Outfit 2: Trying my hardest to be ‘Tumblr’ 

Tumblr 1
The cardigan is not laying exactly right in this photograph, which annoys me, but not enough to muster the effort to take the photograph again.

Beret: Topshop

Top: Little Viking Vintage

Dress: Asos

Cardigan: H and M

Necklace: A gift I’ve had a while, you can find an official one here

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Tumblr 3

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Outfit 3: 90s film witches need a bit more pink 

Pink 3

Jacket: Topshop (from the Christmas sales)

Dress: H and M (couldn’t find exact online)

Boots: Primark

Pink Outift 2

Pink Outfit 1

Pink boots 4

So there it is a short and sweet post where I try something a bit new! If I manage to have the time and or can muster the effort I’ll try to post some pictures of me wearing some of these outfits on my Instagram (so be sure to follow me there, wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Ethics and sustainability of the clothes featured:

This section is not to shame anyone (including myself) but just because I think its good to remind ourselves where our things come from. Although I try in little ways to be more ‘ethical’ and sustainable; I am very far from perfect in this regard so please don’t feel guilty from this section.

The top from Little Viking Vintage is vintage, which is therefore very environmentally friendly!

Topshop, H and M and Primark are known for being ‘fast fashion’ brands that range in affordability but are all what are considered ‘high street’ brands. They then tend to be problematic generally in terms of ethics, with all facing accusations of ‘sweat shop labour’. Personally, the items I buy from here I keep and mend for many years (with the exceptions of jeans- as they just wear down very quickly on the thighs for me) so I try my best to keep the ‘fast fashion’ element out of the things I buy.

Asos’s private label is generally considered to be ‘middle ground‘ in terms of ethics and sustainability. They do however have a section on their website labelled ‘Eco Brands’ which shines the light on environmentally friendly brands.

Wool: The beret and cardigan are likely to be a wool blend. The ethics of wool can be supsect but it is possible to buy more ethical wool- you can read more on this here. If this is something you feel passionately about your best bet is to check to see if you can find the credentials for where the wool in your clothes has come from (buying vintage wool is also a good bet)- something I need to get better at, though I’ll be honest sometimes this can make shopping a bit of an expensive minefield (and I don’t think there is anything wrong with admitting that).

 April

Facebook: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog

Instagram: @aprilisthecruellestmonth (main account)

@aprilisthecruellestmonthblog (miscellaneous account- which I’ve not uploaded to in ages because I’m a horrible human being)

Twitter: @aprilcruelmonth

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