Berry Smoothie Bowl with bananas (and spinach)

As some of you may have noticed who follow me on Instagram; I’ve been trying to cook from scratch a lot more recently. This has really ignited a lot of my old passion for cooking and trying out recipes that I kind of lost as I’ve got busy over the years.

While I now that a smoothie bowl is not strictly ‘cooking’, I’ll admit never being much of a smoothie person myself until recently I didn’t know where to start. After looking up a few recipes and consulting my friends, I made up my own recipe for a smoothie bowl. And still it took a little bit of trial and error to get it completely right.

I started with a just berry and banana mixture, which I posted on my Instagram. I included oats as an option because I personally prefer something a little bit more substantial for my breakfast. However, I’ve now added spinach to the mixture and a whole bunch of toppings, which makes this much more filling to me. If you don’t want to add toppings (it doesn’t have to fruit – it can be whatever you like!) then I’d suggest pulsing some oats into the mixture to give it some texture.

Smoothie Bowl 3

Without further ado, I’ll get onto the recipe. This is in American cups as the measurements (despite me being British) because a lot of the recipes I follow are usually from Americans so I’ve just got used to that system! If you google the measurements you should be able to easily convert them to grams.

Ingredients

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1 banana (preferably ripe for the sweetness)

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup plain alpro yoghurt (I use plain but you can use any flavour)

1/2 cup baby spinach

1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup to make this recipe vegan)

Optional 

1/2 cup rolled oats (add at end and blitz in the blender if you want extra texture or just mix in).

Toppings: I used a whole banana, about a handful of blueberries and raspberries, a teaspoon of chia seeds and a tablespoon of vegan chocolate chips (this would work well with dark chocolate chips or any other you want to use).

Method

Place all ingredients in blender and blend! It’s that simple, ha, ha. I like making mine the night before and adding the toppings in the morning. If you want it more of a smoothie bowl consistency don’t blend for as long (I blended mine a little too long) or add more yoghurt.

If you struggle to get in your 5 a day, I think this is a great way to get your body started. I honestly was worried about the spinach as I didn’t want to taste it in my smoothie but I couldn’t taste it and I actually think it tasted better with it as it calmed down a little bit of the tang from the berries.

Please let me know if you liked this post and you’d like to see more recipes from me. I think for now I want to start off slow with smoothie bowls and breakfasts and then maybe work my way up! I’m vegetarian so all my recipes will be veggie friendly and I’ll always make sure to include a vegan option if the recipe isn’t vegan (but most of them probably will be).

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

-Blog posts once a week – 

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July + August Favourites

I actually had written a draft of all the things I wanted to include for my July favourites but it unfortunately got lost (as, all great ideas do, ha, ha). So I’m going to try my best to remember everything in the post and separate these by the different months as much as as possible. Sorry, that there wasn’t a July favourites post last month – I actually had a lot of favourites to talk about but was struggling to get in the writing spirit. I considered not including them at all but knew I’d end up getting them mixed up with this months favourites so wanted to include them. Without further ado here’s some of the things I’ve been enjoying over the last two months.

July

What I’ve been wearing… 

Lucy and Yak

I was lucky enough to pick up a pair of Lucy and Yak dungarees from their Depop shop (where they sell all their samples for great prices!). After, seeing @porcelainnwitch on Instagram rock a purple pair I knew I needed my own. Feeling a particular kinship to Winnie the Pooh because the film Christopher Robin (which, at the time of writing I still haven’t seen) was coming out soon I knew I wanted a beige/ brown pair. Yes, I know he wears a red top but this is the association I have in my head!

I feel in love then with the Cappuccino colour so when I saw a pair for £12 on their Depop I knew I had to snap them up. I’d also like to mention that the description clearly stated the fault with the item and the brand kindly answered all the questions I had before buying! However, I honestly wouldn’t have noticed the fault without it being pointed out. They also arrived in a gorgeous bag with a lovely note so overall I can’t fault the customer service! Ever since I’ve got these I’ve been wearing them non-stop. They are incredibly comfortable and after I realised that I can just slip off the sleeves to go the toilet, practicable, in most situations.

I will definitely be purchasing from the brand in the future – I especially have my eye on some of their corduroy pairs!

Primark

When I did a big wardrobe sort out (Martin and I collectively donated about 4 bin bags to a local charity shop!); one thing I really noticed was how I had a lack of tops and skirts that would make great interchangeable outfits. I set out then to get some tops, particularly a mixture of longer ones that could be worn with leggings but also shorter ones for skirts.

I’m particularly pleased with the Winnie the Pooh top (sorry I don’t have a picture as is in the wash!) and sweatshirt I picked up, which are both adorable. The sweatshirt is a smaller size than what I’d usually get but that actually ended up being to my advantage as it meant I could wear it comfortably under my dungarees.

This is a bit of a basic but I’ve also been loving brown tops (which are surprisingly hard to find sometimes) so I loved this long floaty brown stripey top I picked up in Primark.

Winnie the Pooh.jpg

Although, this next set is not a top but a top and skirt combo; I think both pieces would work well with other pieces but also look ridiculously cute together. I know that plaid and check is going to be cliched this season with everyone going for those Clueless vibes but I just don’t care.

Two piece Primark set.jpg

What I’ve been cuddling…

I can’t quite remember if I bought these in July and August (I think it might be August actually) but I love them. Although, I wish I had enough money to pick up all the characters I’m definitely glad that I picked these two up (Winnie the Pooh and Piglet) as they are my favourites from what Disney have brought out. I’m also so happy in general to see how much Winnie the Pooh merchandise is out there at the moment because of the new film!

Winnie and Piglet.jpg

What I’ve been enjoying…

Odeon LUXE seating

I went with Martin to see Ant-Man and the Wasp and the showing we wanted to see just happened to be the one in the Odeon Luxe screen so we shelled out a bit extra. I have never felt so decadent in my life. I don’t think I can go back to uncomfortable cinema seats now!

I loved having somewhere to put my food and feeling all nice and comfy on the recliner seats. All I needed was a blanket and it would have been like I was at home (the ultimate goal!).

Odeon Luxe

What I’ve been watching…

Orange is the New Black 

I’ve loved Orange is the New Black since it started and although I was initially worried about this season because of the change in setting; it didn’t disappoint. I, like a lot of people did from what I’ve read, found Badison a bit difficult to watch at times but I think the person portraying her did an excellent job.

The ending although devastating for certain characters (I won’t say anymore than that), I will admit was a little lacklustre. However, I do think that the spark well and truly does remain for the show. I’m just hoping I see some more of my favourite characters next season.

G.L.O.W 

For me G.L.O.W Season 2 definitely took the show up another notch. Where a lot of shows stumble with character development; I think this show shone. I also liked how they showed (SPOILER ALERT!) one of the girls getting injured, especially as it showed how significant it is that wrestlers are on the same page in the ring.

I can’t wait to see what the show will bring next time in Season 3. I also am hoping that we start to see more and more cosplayers and fan art from this show because it’s definitely a gem.

I tuned in for the 80s nostalgia and stayed for the character development. Even writing about it has made me want to just go on an 80s movie bender. I might just have to rematch Stranger Things, especially as it’s coming up to the best time of the year, Halloween!

Over the Garden Wall

I’ve seen a few posts and comments about the show but it’s definitely not as talked about as a show like Steven Universe or Adventure Time. It may be because devastatingly its only one season but this is *hands down* now one of my favourite TV shows ever. I’ve even had to go and purchase some of the comic books afterwards because I needed more from the show.

I also need to do a Wirt and Greg cosplay with Martin … maybe I’ll try to sneak it into Halloween! If you’ve not seen this already and are a Cartoon Network or quirky cartoon fan, please do so – it’s on Netflix (UK!) if that helps.

August 

What I’ve been wearing…

Van Gogh vans 

I have already written an entire blog post dedicated to my saga in getting these Vans so I won’t bore you all with it again. Suffice to say I put some effort into getting these and I absolutely love them. I definitely think I made the right choice with the pair I decided to pick up!

Vegan Dr Martens 

I got these on Depop very recently and I am in love. They are of course a little preloved but I really don’t mind for the price. I’ve also been wanting some of these for ages so even if they don’t last as long, I know now based on how much I love these that I’ll just pick up another pair.

A lot of people still sell second hand pairs of these shoes on Depop and Ebay for not a lot less than the original price, as they’re harder to find so I’m glad to have picked mine up for a steal!

Now, just to pick up some of the boots for the winter…

Vegan Dr Martens.jpg

What I’ve been obsessed with…

Home decorating 

Despite, only managing to clear out my wardrobe; I’ve really got the bug this month to decorate our flat some more. Like always I’m keen to get some new bedding and can’t wait to get my hands on this Asda Wizard Bear bedding. I’d also love to have a world map in my room and map where I’ve been, as well as generally get some more furniture – I’m desperate for a Billy bookcase from Ikea, ha, ha.

Cooking

I’ve been trying to cook more from scratch this month and I’ve been really enjoying it. Not only have I felt healthy and better about what I’ve been eating, it’s been fun. I will admit I think I need to get into meal prep though as it can be a little tiring every night.

Some of my favourite places to go for recipes is Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen (try the Black Bean Brownies), Cheap Lazy Vegan and Caitlin Shoemaker.

I’ve been really enjoying especially experimenting with different breakfasts and even went full on food instagram influencer style with a smoothie bowl (mine was less snazzy). It was the first recipe I wrote for something I came up with though (so watch this space!).

Smoothie bowl.jpg

Oat and Raisin cookies

Adapted version of this recipe. Instead of apple sauce, I used peanut butter and instead of nuts I used raisins. I also added a tablespoon of vanilla extract.

Oat and Raisin breakfast

Vegan fish cakes

Adapted version of this recipe (I used chickpeas). I didn’t use hearts of palm and sautéed onions to go in with the chickpea mix (after blending). I also used nori sheets instead of the kelp. For seasoning I replaced the mix blend they suggested with a teaspoon of garlic powder, chilli powder and paprika. I also used soy sauce as an alternative for vegan Worcestershire sauce, which they suggest on the recipe page. It was super tasty but didn’t hold very well so went to try the recipe again with something to help bind it together.

What I’ve been watching…

Attack on Titan Season 3 

I’ve not caught up yet so please no spoilers but I was very happy to start a new season of Attack on Titan. I’ve not got a lot of opinions yet as it’s only just started and I don’t want to give a lot away but I like where the plot appears to be heading this season and can’t wait for hopefully more of the mysteries of the titans to be revealed.

Disenchantment 

Martin started watching this without me because he’s rude but I’ve caught up now so we watch it together. It’s got that perfect Simpsons/ Futurama vibe where you can just sit back and watch but the show isn’t brain dead at the same time. Speaking of The Simpsons I am so upset I missed out on the Asos drop – I didn’t realise it till it was too late and I desperately need that Patty and Selma jumper in my life.

What I’ve been reading…

Marceline Gone Adrift 

I’ve wanted to read some of the comics based on my favourite cartoons for a while now but have never got round to it. I finally had enough this month and decided to pick this gem up featuring two of my favourites Princess Bubblegum and Marceline. The artistry in this graphic novel was beautiful alongside the story. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve treated a friend badly or have felt uninspired this is a story for you.

Adventure Time at its finest.

Marceline Gone Adrift.jpg

Over the Garden Wall

I only picked up volume 1 and 2 of the comics but after speeding through the first two; I definitely need more. I also desperately want the art book for the show because it’s stunning and of course themed around my favourite season, Autumn and holiday, Halloween. I’d definitely recommend these tales to fans of the show (they fit into the main narrative of the show for anyone wondering).

What I’ve been listening to…

Ariana Grande, Sweetener 

There are some absolute bangers on this album and Ariana’s voice shines as ever. While, I will admit there a few songs that aren’t too my taste, what I do like, I love.

My favourites include: God is a Woman, Sweetener, No Tears Left to Cry and Raindrops (An Angel Cried).

The Carpool Karaoke was also great though I will admit I don’t enjoy these as much as I used to. I think they’ve succumbed to the need to get viral and have suffered a little with the connection between host and artist because of it.

Florence + the Machine – High as Hope 

Although, I’ve enjoyed Florence + the Machine;I never truly listened to them a lot just in the way I’m sure a lot of us do with certain artists. This album is beautiful though. Each song is brutal and honest in that way that makes you happy and want to cry at the same time. Hunger and South London Forever are particular highlights to me. I’d like to talk about the lyrics to them in more detail as well but I’m not in the right mood for that right now!

What I haven’t enjoyed…

I don’t usually do this but I just wanted to quickly write a note about one thing I had to discuss, which is Insatiable. I wanted to give the show a chance because although I understand the upset over the trailer; trailers often aren’t the whole picture of a TV show or film. I only managed to get 80% of the way through the first episode because quite honestly it was a trainwreck. It spent 90% of the time desperately trying to appeal to audiences with its edgy jokes that it didn’t stop to think about how the show was wildly out of control, insulting and just plain embarrassing to watch.

If anyone actually enjoyed the show, let me know, as like I said I couldn’t get further than the first episode, but what I saw made me cringe so much I just couldn’t watch anymore.

So there it is my favourites over the last two months. It’s been a rocky few months but I’m looking forward to the months to come. I’m also determined to get on a regular upload/ writing schedule again because for one thing I get fed up easily if I don’t have something specifically to do each week.

Here’s hoping this cold spell lasts (ha, ha) because I think the heat over the last few months has definitely contributed to me not feeling myself. I think I may have to buy myself a good winter coat a bit early than I though though so I don’t get caught unprepared!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

-Blog posts once a week – 

YouTube: @aprilisthecruellestmonth

Facebook: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog

Instagram: @aprilisthecruellestmonth

Twitter: @aprilcruelmonth

Vans x Van Gogh Museum shoe unboxing + review

When I found out that there was going to be a vans x Van Gogh Museum collaboration; I may have got excited. Ok, I got very excited. For those who don’t know Van Gogh is my favourite painter and yes the Doctor Who episode did almost (ok, maybe more than almost) bring me to tears.

But first before I got into this review and unveiling I just wanted to briefly touch on why I’ve not been posting as frequently. For one thing I’ve been quite busy recently, which hasn’t helped and I’ve been trying generally to be more healthy. That means more cooking and more exercise, which takes up a lot of time! The other reason I’ve been inactive is because my style has shifted a little recently. I’ve got excited for autumn and so have started gravitating to those colours rather than the pastels I’ve showcased a lot on here before.

Completely changing my style in this way is common for me but I was nervous about really posting about it because I didn’t want people to think I don’t appreciate those styles anymore but for now it’s not how I want to dress. At the moment I’m loving all things autumn leaves or yellow (!!!) and florals. So I just wanted to prewarn you that’s the style I’m going to be showcasing for a while. I hope you still enjoy it.

However, let’s get onto talking about the shoes! When I saw the images for the shoes for this collection I knew a needed a pair but initially couldn’t decide which ones. I love Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings but they didn’t ‘speak’ to me, as much as when I saw the ‘Self Portrait’ shoes. I also liked how because the main colour scheme for these were denim that they would go with all the warm colours I’ve been craving recently.

Van Gogh Vans

Like an idiot though I didn’t realise these were limited edition. So, when I saw the collection in stock on the day they were released and asked my significant other if he wanted some; I actually thought it’d be ok to wait until he made up his mind. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t and he didn’t get any in the end. I returned to the website a few days later to find the shoes had disappeared from the site and I couldn’t find any anywhere except Ebay for ridiculous prices.

Desperate, I started a ring around to all the Vans shops in London that stock the collection. I would like to first of all say that all the staff I talked to were incredibly friendly and helpful. After, falling short on the first two stockists I tried; my hopes were left with the third: Camden. Luckily, they had my size but unfortunately couldn’t reserve them as they only had one pair left. I decided to make a desperate trip after work, making sure to ring before I got on the train to London (and waste my money!) in case they had already gone. Luckily, they had not! Later, it turned out we had got our wires crossed and they’d been referring to a different pair, however, I was very lucky and the pair I wanted also happened to have my size in stock!

I tried them on and fall in love (I especially love how the brand has half sizes!) and of course had to take them home. I was also pleased to find out that the style I got is vegan.

My only fault with the collection was that the shoes came in a standard Vans shoe box and I love when care and detail is put into packaging so I was really hoping the box was going to be covered in some of Van Gogh’s paintings.

Also, I am still not sure where I stand on the concept of wearing art by artists that are no longer alive on clothing (i.e. they cannot consent). I was very pleased the collection was in collaboration with the museum in Amsterdam, as that meant the proceeds were going back to preserving his paintings though I suspect it’s the reason there is not a pair of Starry, Starry Night shoes (which, I would have bought in a heartbeat!) because that painting is not housed there.

This is not a new phenomenon either – Louis Vuitton famously have brought out a Monet bag (as well as a Van Gogh one I believe) and bags featuring the work of other famous artists from history. I do believe though this makes art accessible (as it’s already commercialised) and I do believe fashion is art. I just find it strange when a creator no longer controls their own work and they become this icon figure – it’s dehumanising but I guess that’s life. I’m hardly one to talk as I think all the examples I gave are beautiful.

I would really be interested in hearing other people’s opinions on this so do comment below. Sorry again that this post was such a long time coming – I’m determined to go back to weekly content, which shouldn’t be hard in the upcoming months, as I have a trip planned and it of course my favourite holiday – Halloween!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

-Blog posts once a week – 

YouTube: @aprilisthecruellestmonth

Facebook: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog

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Eve of Man by Giovanna Fletcher and Tom Fletcher: Book Review

Hi everyone, I just wanted to write a quick preface to this review because I wanted to try something a little different and make these reviews a bit more structured. That way I think it will make it easier for people to skip to the information they’d like to know about and it will make sure I’m not missing anything out! Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments.

I’d also like to take a second to apologise for the lack of posts the last few weeks. Honestly, I’ve been really struggling with writing content that I’ve felt engaged with recently and alongside having a bit of a dip myself mentally I just needed a little break. I also had a little Instagram break as well to see if that helped boost me up a little. I’m not sure how exactly it made me feel but it did make me delve a little deeper into how social media can affect me.

I’ve been appalled at the lack of books I’ve been reading recently so made it my mission to read something this month and a few people recommended to me Eve of Man. I actually received some great suggestions, which I want to get to in the coming months but it made me determined to try and write at least one book review or book related post a month. I’d also like to focus on finishing some of my writing projects (aka a novel) outside of this blog so I may not be able to post as often as I like sometimes.

But for now let’s just get on with this review…

Blurb

This is actually the preface to the book but it is freely available from the Penguin website so I’ve copied it here.

On the first day no one really noticed. Perhaps there was a chuckle among the midwives at the sight of all those babies wrapped in blue blankets, not a pink one in sight. Individual hospitals would’ve thought nothing of it. They wouldn’t have known that this day of blue was only the beginning.

On the second day they frowned, confused, at another twenty-four hours of blue.

Just boys.

How baffling. Still, they assumed it was nothing more than coincidence. The Y chromosome was just making more of an appearance than usual.

On the third day, the media made light of it ‒ It Really Is A Man’s World. That brought the situation to everyone’s notice. Doctors and nurses realized theirs wasn’t the only hospital to go blue. Blue was taking over. Not just entire hospitals, not just entire countries, but the entire world.

Where had the pink gone?

With approximately two and a half million babies born each week, half of whom were usually girls, the sudden imbalance couldn’t be ignored. World leaders were called together with the most respected scientists to try to understand what was happening and discuss measures they could take to monitor the situation. They had to find an ethical way of working– they didn’t want to strip people of their human rights. That was what they said.

Initially.

At first it was a phenomenon, but soon it was threatening the survival of humanity, leaving us all on the brink of extinction. That was when governments stopped being nice. When women became more controlled and oppressed than ever before.

Compulsory tests were carried out. To start with, pregnant women were screened to identify the sex of their unborn children. Then, as more time passed with no females born, all women under the age of fifty were examined in an attempt to determine the cause of the blue generation.

Sex was encouraged – those in power wanted lots of babies in the hope that the odds would eventually favour girls. And there were girls – they were spotted in utero, bouncing around in the amniotic fluid and nudging their mummies with their flailing arms and legs.

Not one survived.

Eventually those cases disappeared. There was no pink to be seen . . . or lost.

Science battled for years. And years. And years. No cause was found. There was no breakthrough. Without a cause there could be no cure. The future of humanity was ticking away with the biological clocks of any remaining fertile women.

They would never give up, the world was told. They would save the human race. Somehow.

And the people played their part. They prayed. Prayed to many gods to grant them rebirth of their kind. For a long time it seemed no one was listening. The people prayed harder, for longer, calling on different all-powerful beings with urgency. They unearthed old religions, forged new ones, and muttered their worshipful chants with longing.

Then, after a fifty-year female drought, a miracle happened – and it didn’t occur in a sterile science lab.

Corinne and Ernie Warren had been married for twenty-five years. They’d always wanted children but it seemed Mother Nature wasn’t on their side. Corinne suffered miscarriage after miscarriage until eventually the couple gave up their dream to become parents. She was struck off as a potential carrier when she was forty-three. They accepted the failure with much sadness and a hint of relief. They’d been beaten down by grief so many times. They were broken, but at least they had each other to cling to.

At fifty-one, eight years later, Corinne unexpectedly fell pregnant. Naturally. She and Ernie were thrilled, but full of fear. What if this baby was taken from them like all the others? They couldn’t face another miscarriage.

Like every woman, Corinne was screened – but, unlike other women, she and Ernie welcomed the tests. They wanted to be sure their baby was fit and healthy ‒ they wanted to do all they could to ensure the safe arrival of the little being they already loved so much and for whom they would do anything.

Their hearts leapt when they saw their creation stretching on the ultrasound. Their baby. Their joy. For the midwife dealing with Corinne, the screening process had become routine – a monotonous series of tests with invariably the same outcome. She didn’t expect to see anything but blue.

But there it was.

Pink.

And her appearance made quite an impact.

It caused a panic. The result in that examination room sent shockwaves of hysteria rippling around the globe. People couldn’t believe that good news had come at last. They were longing to be told more about the couple who offered them a glimmer of light.

But Corinne’s medical history of miscarriages, her age and the fact that no girls had survived in utero for decades was a cause for concern. Corinne and Ernie were moved into a specialized medical facility to maximize the chances of the pregnancy going full-term. Other than daily scans, no tests were carried out. This time Mother Nature was allowed to take her course – at least until there was any reason to interfere. Perhaps it was time to trust the human body again.

Corinne and Ernie understood the need for monitoring their baby’s development and the desire to keep their daughter safe. They welcomed the medical advice. They were happy their child was as special to others as she was to them. She had to be kept safe. They didn’t resent the restrictions placed on them. Or that they were allowed no visitors at all. They agreed they’d do whatever it took to bring their baby safely into the world.

There were complications in the delivery room. Mother and daughter were left fighting for their lives. Corinne died soon after giving birth, having fulfilled her life’s ambition to become a mother.

Ernie was grief-stricken, unable to deal with the loss of his wife. Incapable of being a father.

He never held his daughter.

Never kissed her.

Never told her he loved her.

And what of the baby girl?

The world had waited for her arrival with bated breath, longing for the news that their hopes had been realized, that their girl had been born.

She had.

Against all odds, she survived.

She was the first girl born in fifty years.

They called her Eve.

She represented the rebirth of the human race. She was the answer to their prayers. She was all they cared about, their final hope.

Eve was the saviour of humanity.

I am Eve.

Judging a book by its cover (cover review)

The cover for me screamed that this was a futuristic story from the simplistic but punchy design to the dark colours used in the background. However, the lines just at the bottom that read ‘How do you choose between love and the future of the human race?’ show this is a story that isn’t content with just letting the cover do the talking and felt more needed to be said. The circular design in the middle remained me of the cover of Florence Welch’s new book which also has a cut out section with a design underneath though that is a square. I’m not sure if this is a trend I’ve missed or a new trend but I thought it interesting to note. The ‘e’ on this cover also is intriguing for those who don’t what the story is about because of the use of the symbol used to represent femininity.

This honestly, isn’t my favourite type of cover simply because the colour palette or style doesn’t draw me in. I think however after reading the novel that the cover does a good job of being symbolic of the writing style and the novel’s contents.

Eve of Man

Review (not spoiler free)

I had high hopes for this novel after receiving lots of positive reviews from my friends and I’ll preface that for the most part I enjoyed this. I’ll also by picking up the other two books in this trilogy when they’re released (if you’re not a aware this book is the first in a trilogy). The writing style was easy to follow and I loved having the dual perspectives of Eve and Bram throughout the story. Sometimes, having multiple viewpoints in a novel can be redundant or even confusing but this never felt unnecessary to me and really helped fuel the romantic elements of the story. My friend actually said she preferred Eve’s chapters due to liking Giovanna’s writing style more. In fact, I preferred Bram’s chapters because I found that part of the story more interesting because you get to see a lot of possible future plot points.

I think the main issues I had with the novel was personal preference to be honest. The idea was so interesting that I just wanted more but from a slightly more adult view. Though, some things I think would have still have a place in a Young Adult novel, like, for example if it was more freeing to be homosexual in this society or if a desire for female offspring in fact made it worse. The novel does in fact feature men kissing when they’re out of the tower and in the real world but no further detail is gone into.

I hope in future novels as well that they delve into the narrative and show that they men they portray as sexually frustrated and are just expected to assault Eve is a product of  values they’ve been taught and conditioned (and how that’s not acceptable).

I also think the story would have more interesting if Eve was not your stereotypical Young Adult heroine. What would have happened to the story if she was homosexual? Transsexual? Or simply not conventionally attractive? Imagine all that expectation being the youngest female on the planet (and regarded as essentially the only female) and you don’t meet the physical expectations of the masses.

However, this is a love story through and through. Hence, why each chapter is penned by one half of a married couple and each character resembles their real life counterpart. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s relatable to a lot of people but to me it just reminded me a little of all the parts of Young Adult fiction I could never relate to.

Serious issues are however brought up. How could they not considering the subject matter? The whole novel in a way toys on the edge of whether IVF itself is natural considering the fact that it appears to be ‘love’ and ‘mother nature’ that brought Eve into the world, which I’m sure is not what the authors intended and might need to be clarified a little bit into future novels.

Eve’s name is of course biblical in origin but I also wonder if Bram is referring to Abraham, a key figure in the bible. Please correct me if I’m wrong here but from what I’ve read Abraham is guided by God to leave the house of his father and settle in a new land. Perhaps, there is some reflections to be made then considering the content of the novel.

Overall, like I’ve mentioned a lot of criticisms I have my be a little unfair for the novel’s category as it’s aimed at a younger readership. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t tackle complex ideas or big themes – I just wish it had pushed the envelope that tiny bit further.

This novel is also just got too interesting a concept for me to put it down. However, I keep wondering all the way through; if she’s the only female are the rest of the human race to be born out of incest? That I’m still not sure of so if you can clarify please go ahead!

Rating 

3/5 – ‘enjoyable, gripping but I was hoping for a bit more’

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April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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How I’m starting to combat letting my idolised self take over my life

I’ve talked to you about the highs of being a rainbow potato (which, if you haven’t seen my YouTube branding is basically what I’ve dubbed myself – I’m not sure why but it just fits) but I wanted to talk to you a little bit today about being afraid to start something.

All my life I’ve put off things. Usually, I’ll be honest it’s I’ll do this when I’ve lost weight… I’ll do this when my hair looks better… I’ll do this when I have nicer clothes… Essentially a lot of the time I live my life based on how I think my appearance is and this is something I’ve been fighting really hard to combat recently.

This week I posted what I thought was an unflattering photograph on Instagram. I loved my outfit and the shot but would never usually post because it did not paint what I thought was a flattering impression of my body. I decided to post it anyway. That however didn’t end the constant feelings of worry that people could see the image. All I could think about was what would people think?! The reason I posted it and fought with myself to keep it up as I wanted in a small, strange way to help people like me who feel like they can only post on social media or live life when they felt like they fit a desired standard. Life goes on day by day and actually the only way I’ve seen positive changes to myself in the past has been through grasping life (bizarrely enough, ha, ha) rather than letting it pass me by.

Now I’m not saying you have to pose incredibly unflattering images of yourself but what I’m saying is don’t be afraid to take the picture, write the blog post or film the YouTube video if that’s what you want to do.

I still am very guilty of not doing something or making myself feel like I can’t do anything because I’m not where I want to be, which consequently makes me feel like I’m trapped. To be honest I felt a little trapped in my content recently, as I felt it had become too focused on posts that were easier for me to think through – i.e. hauls or favourites posts. Don’t get me wrong these posts still take work but it’s a different kind of work then say book reviews or personal posts like this one.

After letting myself float along with this for a little I decided to take action this week and get to writing some more book reviews again because I did really enjoy those posts and losing myself in reading again. So I’m going to buy a few books and try and diverse my content a little bit again. I’ve already had some great recommendations through my Instagram but if you have any let me know in the comments below.

I guess what I’m trying to see is that I know what it’s like to spend all of your time fantasying about being a certain ideal instead of living your life but living your life might just put you on the path to being a little more like your ideal (because let’s face it you’ll never be 100% there).

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

-Blog posts once a week – 

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Pastel Asos x Hello Kitty, Primark and Rokit Haul

For once in my life I have actually managed to one, go to London and actually stay in budget and two keep everything I bought to a particular theme. The theme being pastel, well, mainly different shades of pink. Maybe, this is because most of the items I got are from Primark but it still counts!

However, I did also happen to puruse Asos before I went to London and a certain Asos x Hello Kitty collection may have dropped. I did not go mad (for me) however so I only got two items and one I’m not sure if I’m going to keep (I need opinions).

I am happy with what else I got though (even if spoiler alert that is because it contains a lot of socks) even if I still need a white slip (to go under a purchase I bought and a sheer white vintage number I got before the trip and a dress that’s in the sale in New Look that I’ve been wanting for a while). Also, some plain black shoes that are also suitable for work (or brown!). I’m trying to hold off spending this month though, as I really want to focus on saving!

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The sheer white dress I mentioned. 

Also, apologises that I’m only posting once a week at the moment. I really wanted to try and coordinate my blog content to my YouTube content.

These posts will either be on Thursdays or Sundays so still fitting the schedule but for a little bit they are only going to be once a week while I catch up.

So, here’s the video to this blog post below – extra brownie points to anyone who reads this post and watches the video!

I’ll start with the Asos x Hello Kitty collection as I got this before my trip. For those who are new here I’m a big Hello Kitty fan and loved the Lazy Oaf x Hello Kitty collection as well as the Topshop pop up. Essentially, if it’s got Hello Kitty on, I’m there. So when I saw Asos we’re doing another drop I knew I had to investigate especially as I didn’t get anything last time. I further knew I needed this collection when I saw that the tones were  pastel focused.

Hello Kitty x Asos pastel jacket 

When I saw this denim jacket featuring pink, yellow (fun fact: I love yellow hence why La La was my favourite Teletubby) and denim; I knew I needed it. As the description on the jacket said no stretch despite the jacket looking slightly oversized on the pictures of the model; I still for some reason wasn’t expecting this to be oversized. However, it is. This isn’t a bad thing because I love a good oversized denim jacket but I just wanted to flag it – if you wanted a tighter fit I’d recommend going a size down.

Maybe, the searing heat taking place at the moment is scouring my judgment on this one but I’m not sure if this suits me. I’m also struggling to put this with outfits at the moment, especially as the heat doesn’t really make me prone to wanting to. I think another problem is that I need more denim/ white staple dresses in my wardrobe for layering, as I have lots of black pieces but I often don’t want to wear them with softer pastel looks. I’m considering investing in this white denim dress from Monki, as I think it will help a lot and the style of dress is very much in my comfort zone. However, like I said I’m also trying to save money (the eternal conundrum!) – if I can get to half way through the month without spending too much I might treat myself!

Price: I’d rather not discuss. 

Beret: Just Peachy 

Skirt: Lazy Oaf 

Socks and trainers: See below…

Hello Kitty x Asos socks 

Although, I hesitated a little between whether I should buy the pink or white with these I decided to go with the classic white, as I thought it would be cute with a few of my Lazy Oaf x Hello Kitty pieces. These are the kind of socks I’m scared to wear as I don’t want to ruin but I will because I personally think life is for living and socks are for wearing!

Price: £4.00

Primark pusheen top

Pusheen and a pink grid pattern? What’s there not to like?! The stitching on this isn’t perfect on the Pusheen but then it is Primark. This is also a little sheer and it is £8 (so not incredibly cheap) but it will look great tucked into skirts or high waisted jeans.

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Price: £8 

Beret: Just Peachy 

Cardigan: Lazy Oaf 

Skirt: Lazy Oaf 

Socks: Primark (see below)

Shoes: Primark (see below)

Pink fluffy top 

This is actually one of my favourite purchases from the day. It’s actually really good quality and I was worried it was going to be itchy but it’s actually very soft. I definitely want to go back and get another one of these tops and perhaps some more colours. I haven’t washed this yet so don’t know how that is going to go. This is a 90s dream and would look great with a A-line skirt. On the label it said this was part of Primark’s new improved sizing. Since it’s a top it’s hard for me to judge on that as I can fit a range of different sizes in tops usually but it did fit nice for what it’s worth.

Price: £8

Pink Frenchie socks 

It’s probably best if I do all the socks in one go (minus the Hello Kitty ones of course) because there’s quite a lot of them. The first pair are these adorable pink Frenchie socks and I love these as they come already ready to wear folded with shoes. Since I have little legs unless a sock is designed like this they are often go too high on my leg to be worn peaking out of shoes and look flattering. These however are perfect and I am determined to go back and buy every variation.

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Price: £1.50

Pink Strawberry socks 

These were the socks that I spotted before I picked up the Frenchie ones. They are the same style but a slightly darker pink and with a strawberry on. I LOVE pink and strawberries as a pattern combination so could not resist these when I saw them. I can’t wait too put them to good use!

Price: £1.50 

Pink glittery Marie socks

Glitter. Check. Marie. Check. Socks. Check. These are definitely then dream socks for me. The only thing that could make them better if they were pre-folded like the Frenchie and Strawberry socks. I definitely want to incorporate this into a Marie look with my other Marie pieces (it is way TOO HOT for the jacket at the moment though).

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Price: £2

Pastel Honeydukes Harry Potter socks

These are less to wear peaking out of shoes and more to bring some everyday pastel into my life. I am in awe of the Primark Honeydukes collection and wish I had bought more of it (next trip I just might have to pick up the makeup bag and pyjama set).

Price: £2.50

Pastel Honeydukes Jelly Bean Harry Potter trainers 

These are without a doubt my favourite purchase of the day. I am seriously considering buying another pair, as I don’t think I’ll be able to cope when this pair wear out. Not only do they have a bit of a platform which I am always in need of but they combine two of my favourite things: pastels and Harry Potter. I think I might of needed a size down in these as they are bit loose at the ankle but that might be aided by tying them up to the last available aglet (the reason I haven’t done already is because on one of the shoes the lace has a knot in preventing me from doing so).

Price: £10

Rokit Pink pastel vintage gingham dress

Based on the shoulder pads inserted in the shoulders alone I’m going to guess this is from the 80s (I may take these out but am undecided yet). This dress is about midi length on me and I’m going to need to wear a slip underneath it as it’s sheer (I’m going to pick some up on my next Primark trip as this is an issue with a few of my items now). I love the little details on the button and the cute circle detailing. Once I have something to wear underneath this will look great with my Harry Potter trainers and the Strawberry socks.

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Price: £18

So there it is my for once on a theme haul. I know my content has been a lot of hauls recently so I’m going to try and mix it up. I want to do some personal posts again but those are hard to write and I’ve been facing a bit of a writers block recently. I’m hoping posting once a week for a while will help sort this out. As always let me know what your favourite content of mine is. I’m thinking of doing some more content with just more of my general likes and dislikes + facts about me in the upcoming weeks so watch out for that!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

-Blog posts once a week-

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June Favourites

Hello, everyone! June was very much a mixed bag for me as a human being but hopefully I’ll be able to pull some favourites out of the month. I really need to note down what I’ve been enjoying throughout the month more as honestly as I get to writing these posts and it’s not until half way through writing that I remember what I’ve done in the month.

Style wise I’ve been all over the place this month. I’m talking 90s queen one minute and 70s flowy hippy style the next but I’m trying to embrace it even if my Instagram feed is probably a chaotic mess to most people. I’ve also been trying to document my outfits more. I’ve found taking a photograph and then taking a day or two off works because in that time off I realise the picture is actually nice instead of instantly thinking its terrible.

This was also the month I started my YouTube channel (finally!) and although I’m still nervous I’m excited for future videos and hopefully I point where I can properly align my schedule with this blog. At the moment I’m uploading about once a week (purely because of how long editing takes). Since I work full time during the week I struggle to get videos out until the weekend. I’m actually going to film a video to accompany this post but it probably won’t be up until after this post has been released. One of the reasons for this is because some of the items that are my favourites are on hold for me Friday so I’d like to wait for the video to show some proper shots of me wearing them! When the video is live I’ll be sure to add it to this post however.

What I’ve been wearing….

Vintage clothing

This month I’ve really been inspired by rummaging through vintage and charity shops to find one off pieces. Since I’ve also been loving 90s style this has been quite successful as 90s items aren’t too hard to find in either place compared to older more sought after 50s pieces. Although, I’ll admit some months when I’m feeling less inspired or focused it can feel like a minefield; it’s been a great tactic for me this month as I get to reuse pieces (which is better for Mother Earth); save money a lot of the time and be a uniquely sassy individual.

April in blazer

I picked up the blazer in the above photograph (please forgive the morning rush messiness) from Little Viking Vintage on their sale rail for £10. Although, I am instantly drawn to basically every blazer in the world (because blazers are my style super item) I was especially drawn to this item because to me it was the epitome of 90s TV presenter. I paired it was dark green dress that matched some of the flecks and the sparkly converse I got for my birthday for a 90s casual look.

Dress: H & M (old) 

Blazer: Little Viking Vintage 

Shoes: Miley Cyrus x Converse

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The other item I snagged in the sale rail for £10 is this lovely mid floral dress that just oozes 90s – to me it reminds me a little bit of the more earthy toned items worn in The Craft or the outfits worn in The Virgin Suicides. However,  although The Virgin Suicides was made in the 90s it was set in the 70s so the clothes had a slightly different feel.

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The Craft (1996)
The Virgin Suicides 3
The Virgin Suicides (1999)

I didn’t have quite the right plain white top to go underneath this but am hoping to pick one up this weekend when I go into London. I think this dress would look nice styled nice and simply with accessories kept minimal.

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Apologises for the awful pose – all clothes on the floor are mine!

I’m also going to pick up this amazing denim playsuit this weekend and am considering wearing it for Pride but haven’t decided to wear that or the other dress I’m picking up which is a long 70s embroidered dress with cap sleeves that is sheer (hence no photograph as I need to buy something to wear underneath). I’ll try both looks on in my YouTube video so the internet can tell which looks better (ha, ha).

Fishnets

I finally gave in and bought some fishnet tights from the market as well as some fishnet socks (which would have looked amazing with the vegan Dr Martens I desperately wanted in an Ebay auction but couldn’t afford to bid on!). Although, I only picked up black I do want some white and pink pairs, as well as glitter in the future. The tights from the market were only £4 and the socks £2 and they are actually very comfortable.

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90s slightly grunge queen.

Top: Vintage Sonic Youth top because I’m too trendy for you (ha, ha). 

Dress: Vintage M & S (check out this post to find out more).

Hat: Yesstyle (the one linked is similar)

Choker: Yesstyle

Though when buying the man running the stall did ask my clothes size, which completely threw me. It turns out he was asking as they had a bigger size depending on height and stuff but I think maybe they just need to have a size on their display so people can decide! I’m luckily I’m at a place where I can mostly brush off comments like that but others can’t. It turns out the tights are quite large on me and I can pull them up very high (which, to be honest I like).

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Beret and bag: Lazy Oaf 

Choker: Yesstyle

Dress: Primark 

Shoes: Iron Fist 

70s style long dresses 

I haven’t actually bought the dress I’m going to insert an image of below because I’m still not sure and think there might be things I want in London more this weekend. It will also need hemming because I’m short and I’ll need to buy one of those suction cup bra things but I think it’s flattering and will be nice and cool for the current heatwave (let me know your thoughts below). I’m not sure on the exact brand as it’s from TK Maxx but price wise it’s £29.99 (or you know £30) if that helps anyone’s decision making process.

Love Moschino heart print sandals 

This is another thing from TK Maxx that I have tried on but haven’t bought. However, this item I very highly doubt I will because reduced they’re still £70!!! They are the most gloriously 90s style shoes and they’re covered in hearts, which I love! A bonus of these is that Love Moschino doesn’t use real leather as far as I have been to tell because the creative director Jeremy Scott is vegetarian. Please correct me if this is incorrect!

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Apologises this outfit really doesn’t go but is just what I happened to be wearing that day!

Daisy Duck belt 

So you just got a sneak peak of the next item except the difference is that I actually bought this item. I got this thinking it would look super cute with Lazy’s Oaf new pastel half and half jeans (if I actually end up getting them). However, it’s more of a hip belt and I wanted it to wear with fairly high waisted items so I think I’m going to have to DIY some more holes into it. I can’t remember the exact price but it was about £13 (you can see the exact price in my picture below, ha, ha) and I had to get it because of the buckle.

@rileybambi on Instagram rocking the heck out of the jeans. 

Belt buckle

Belt close up

Daisy Duck

Everything I got at the Lazy Oaf sample sale 

If you’ve not read my post with what I got at the Lazy Oaf sample sale yet or watched my video first of all where have you been? Second of all, if you have seen it then you know how I managed to pick up some goodies this time that I have been obsessed with. Something, I’ve learnt for next time though is that I think I’m going to try and focus more on the lower priced items so I can come away with more (whether I’ll be able to achieve that is another story!!!).

What I’ve been obsessed with…

The 90s

As mentioned numerous times already (and in my last blog post!) I’ve been feeling very nostalgic towards the decade I was born in at the moment. Since I grew up with a lot of TV shows from the era which inspired me fashion wise A LOT it’s unsurprising those outfits hold a dear place in my heart. I’m definitely going to be looking back over Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Clueless in the coming months so hopefully expect some posts inspired by this.

Buffy
Forever my style queen.

What I’ve been watching…

Set It Up 

If you’re looking for an easy to watch romantic comedy I’d recommend Set It Up on Netflix, as not only does it star Titus from Unbreakable: Kimmy Schmidt (my only motivation for watching it) but it’s actually an enjoyable watch. It’s only interesting to see the ways in which gender politics within romantic comedies are changing, especially the jokes made to appeal to a 2018 audience.

What I’ve been collecting…

Gachapon containers 

This is a bit of a weird one but I’m determined to collect enough to somehow DIY a lampshade (I’ll let you know how that goes). For those who don’t know what I mean Gachapon containers are the little plastic containers that house the toys you get out of the machines where you put a pound in.

Gachapon

Keychains/ Powerpuff Girls Kinder Egg Toys 

So I may have a small Powerpuff Girls obsession and I love trinkets so I’ve been collecting any small Powerpuff Girls toys that I can get my hands on. I actually gave out the kinder egg that contained this toy at work with the condition that I would swap the toy if they got the Powerpuff toy (the pack I bought was a pack of three but only one egg had a Powerpuff girls toy – I’ve since only bought the individual Powerpuff Girls eggs to escape this deception).

I also have been loving buying the small Disney Tsum Tsum keychains to put on my keys – I also get a care bear toy which is noisy and rattles but I love it and I want more.

Powerpuff girls

What’s I’ve generally liked/ loved this month…

Hello Kitty charity shop toys 

In one of local charity shops I think they received a donation from a Hello Kitty collector as one of their cabinets was choc a bloc. They’re all very loved and used but I had to pick up these two especially the Hello Kitty astronaut! The astronaut was £4 and the other Hello Kitty £3 I believe.

Hello Kitty Astronaut

Hello Kitty nurse

TK Maxx

Near where I work there is a TK Maxx that I like to go in on my break and window shop (a skill I’ve perfected) and I have to say my love for the shop has been reignited a bit even if there isn’t the best selection in that shop. I’ve also noticed TK Maxx stock brands like Topshop and River Island now which is a twist (I noticed some dresses that I’m pretty sure came out earlier this year) from what I’ve seen from them in the past.

Birthday presents 

Since this month was my birthday month I also have to give a shout out to everyone who bought me a present. I loved everything I got and I am incredibly grateful. You can read about what I got for my birthday here.

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Artwork: 

Sailor Moon: Jenny Clements

Stickers: Lazy Oaf 

Yuri on Ice!, Cherry hair girl and Kiki prints: Geen Jones 

Studio Ghibli stickers: Weiliwonka 

My June then was one of being thrifty, returning to my everlasting obsession with vintage and continuing to be an extra individual.

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

-Blog posts Thursday and Sundays- 

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