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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What I got for Christmas: 2017

This post probably comes more than a little bit late, but since my blog post talking about what I got for my birthday last year was one of my most popular posts; I thought that I definitely should stop procrastinating and get to writing this post. As mentioned in the last post, and as I will probably mention in every blog post about presents, I am a very lucky person who was very spoilt. I appreciate every gift given to me, and I am not doing this to brag but for the people out there who are nosy like me, or are interested in similar things to me. Also, that sounded a lot more blasé than I meant it to be- I am truly grateful- I promise!

First of all, before I get into this post I would like to give a shout out to the people who very kindly bestowed me with money, I’m not going to say who because for some reason that feels tacky (ha, ha) but if they are missed out of this list then you know who. Also, I would like to give a shout out to my boyfriend who bought me tickets to go see Dodie on the 1st of April in London!!! If you could not already tell I am incredibly excited for this, and happy that he is lovely enough to accompany me even though this is something he will not enjoy no where near as much.

From my Mother and close family

Some of my presents I actually bought and my mum gave me the money for because a lot of them only I could get, as for example I bought the Dodie merchandise from the Dodie pop-up shop in London. My mum did also buy some little presents so I had things to open Christmas Day, and wrapped my Danielle Nicole clutch, even though I was the one who ordered it because my mum struggled with the website (you have to sign up to order and the process takes a while!).

Dodie ‘I promise you it will all make sense again’ jumper

Dodie 3

I have written about this before in my Dodie pop up shop post (linked above), but I’ll speak a little about it again. I really love this jumper. It’s super soft and comfy. Unfortunately, at the moment because it tangled with something fluffy in the wash it needs attacking with a lint roller but I can’t wait to wear it again, and will probably have to be stopped from buying another one when I go see Dodie in April. If this jumper is something that speaks to you, you can now buy it on Dodie’s online shop along with other awesome merchandise.

Dodie Secrets for the Mad book

Dodie Secrets for the Mad

Again, I’ve already written about this before but I love, love, love this book. It is definitely one of my best reads of 2017. If you’re struggling to think about how you need to just take some time, reflect and look after your body this book is a read for you. It’s also interlaced with lyrics, and images throughout so is not a long read either if lengthy reads are not your thing.

Danielle Nicole Harry Potter Ravenclaw Uniform Clutch 

Ravenclaw clutch

One of the things that came a bit late last minute before Christmas was this Ravenclaw clutch bag. I was actually lucky to get mine on QVC UK (lucky because it kept going in and out of stock). The price was also good as well as it was £25 with £3 added on for shipping as far as I remember. At the moment the bag is still available on the Danielle Nicole website for $48.00 dollars for pre-order but combined with the international shipping price and likely custom fees the QVC UK price I thought was a bargain. Apart from wanting this to fuel my Harry Potter obsession (and to build up items for a *cough* *cough* Ravenclaw fashion lookbook); the bags from the Harry Potter collection are all leather free as well, which is a big plus for me.

My one annoyance with this bag is that the chain is not as long as I would like, as I would prefer the chain to be long enough so I could wear the bag across me, which would especially be useful for night outs (not that I’m a party animal in any way- I mean night outs going to eat food).

Overall, this bag is well made (the inside of it is gorgeous) and it gives you a little bit of house pride in everyday life, as well as a bit of glitter, which is always a good thing in my book.

Stocking fillers 

Stocking Filler

My mum had this adorable little stocking for me full of presents under the tree so I had something to rummage through on Christmas Day. It contained a bunch of beauty products from a brand called Flutter. Flutter is a Superdrug own brand, and when I searched through the cruelty free brands on Superdrug’s website Flutter came up as one of those brands.

Nail Files

These nail files have super cute patterns on and make me want me to file my nails more, even though I am useless at it. Also, if someone could show me how to use them properly that would be super helpful, as one of them has flying cats on it so I need to make them a part of my life.

Lip Balm

These lip balms are also super cute, I haven’t tried them out yet but I’m always in need of lip balm because my lips get super dry in the winter, and it has hit a cold spell again where I am (I swear my feet are doomed to be permanently cold).

This little eyeshadow set is also adorable, and I like how it is a neutrals palette, as I personally tend to gravitate towards shimmers or ‘fun’ colours and then forget that I need neutrals to actually build up most of the looks I like. Therefore, I can’t wait to try this out as I think some of the colours will pair nice with (spoiler alert) another eye shadow palette I received for Christmas. The shades all have a nice bit of gold sparkle to them, but I haven’t swatched them just because I don’t think the first two shades will show up on my skin tone very well (but if you are interested in me swatching them let me know)!

Primark Harry Potter pyjamas 

Hogwarts Alumni

My sister works at Primark so she picked me up these super cute fleece Harry Potter pyjamas for my mum as a present for me (and also the next present below, which was from her). Since it is very cold at the moment this is a present I am very grateful for!

Primark Bmo pyjamas 

BMO pyjamas

Please ignore the stain- food as usual has betrayed me lol. 

As I type I am sat in these pyjamas right now. They are incredibly comfy and go great with my Primark Bmo nightgown. Bmo is definitely one of my favourite Adventure Time characters, and I love all the Primark Adventure Time stuff- if anyone ever sees anything with Marceline or Princess Bubblegum on let me know!

From my Grandad 

My grandad got a variety of knick knacks that only he could pick out as usual (that is not intended to be a ‘dig’ though!), and this diary and owl purse are cute favourites of mine. One, because I always need a diary because I got through notebooks so quickly. Two, because this little purse is so cute, and would make a great Autumn purse (and yes I like to coordinate things by season!).

From Martin’s family 

I got absolutely spoilt by Martin’s family (well, I got spoilt from everyone lol) and I’ll be honest I love it. Prepared to see a mixture of makeup, books and more, as well as a big insight into the kind of things I like.

Paramore After Laughter Vinyl 

Paramore After Laughter

Although, I admit I was not sure about Paramore’s new album at first, I’ve grown to love it. No, it’s not my favourite ever Paramore album but some of the songs are absolute bops, and I’m gutted that I couldn’t get tickets to see them this January. Also, this reminds me that we really need to get some drawers to store our Vinyl in because knowing me I will find a way to damage it if I don’t have a proper place to store it.

Decorative Hedgehogs 

Decorative Hedgehogs.jpg

For those who are unaware I like hedgehogs ornaments and so am very happy that there are people willing to fuel that obsession. These ones are super cute as well, I just need to find somewhere to put them as I am in desperate need of a set of drawers.

American sweets (shared present with Martin)

American sweets

By some miracle of nature we have not devoured these already- if you know how much I love sugar- you’ll realise just how much of a miracle this is. I think Martin and I definitely need to have a movie night at some point and make our way through these (the Reese bar however is firmly mine).

Edit: This post was written over a few days- we have devoured (well Martin has) quite a few of these now. 

This One Summer graphic novel 

This One Summer

This was in fact a recommendation from the person I always talk to in my local comic shop (I won’t say their name for privacy reasons- I don’t know if they want their name splashing all over the internet!- ok in a little corner of the internet).

The first thing that grabbed me about this graphic novel is that the artwork and style is just so beautiful. The second, the plot, but the below will explain that better than me, so without further ado here is the official blurb that I saw on Amazon:

“Every summer, Rose goes with her mum and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mum and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.”

Also, an interesting and sad fact about this graphic novel is that it made headlines because it was banned from a Minnesota school library reportedly because it contained, “inappropriate language”. It has also been banned because it, “includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes”.

I’ve not yet finished this graphic novel, but what I have read so far it is bittersweet in the best way possible. I’m planning to write a review once I’ve finished so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Kiki’s Delivery Service DVD

As mentioned in my other blog post about the subject Kiki’s Delivery Service is my all time favourite Studio Ghibli film (so far!). I’m hoping to one day collect all of the films in the collection. Hence, why I took a picture to highlight that this is ‘number 5’ in the DVD collection. Martin is already prepared for me to watch this over and over again.

Chocolate coins 

Chocolate Coins

Martin’s family always get me chocolate coins, which I very much appreciate. There is something undeniably fascinating about ripping the foil off each individual coin that I don’t get with chocolates like Celebrations where I just find it annoying having to individually unwrap each one.

Kat Von D ‘Saint’ Perfume and Lipstick set 

I have mentioned previously how I’ve been looking for a cruelty free perfume to replace my old choice of Chanel, and when I smelled ‘Saint’ by Kat Von D Beauty I knew that it was definitely going to be one of my choices (another favourite I’ve tried is Vanillary from Lush). The lipstick that comes with this mini set it also very ‘me’, as while all my friends rock the dark tones I’m always there with the bright pink lip just bopping around.

Saint Swatch

That’s my fist by the way- it just looks like a weird blob in this photo so I thought I better mention it! 

Kat Von D Everlasting mini lipstick collection 

Kat Von D Lip

I would like to preface by saying that I absolutely adore the shade Lovecraft in this collection, in fact it might even beat my Lolita II as my favourite Kat Von D shade and I will definitely need to buy a full size tube when my mini one infinitely runs out.

In regards to swatches I’m going to make a full post with proper swatches on my lips for all my Kat von D lipsticks but for now I’ve swatched all the shades on my arm only for this post.

Kat von D swatches

From top down: Lovecraft, Ludwig, Sanctuary, Madrid, Hawkwind, Exorcism, Damned and Witches. 

Lindt and Baileys gift set 

Lindt and Baileys

Even more chocolate! I’m not a big drinker but Baileys is more of a sweet treat to most people anyway (including me) and it will be lovely in a hot chocolate when I’m cosying up at the weekend.

From my friend, Holly 

I think Holly and I are just obsessed with buying each other Pop! figures so I was unsurprised and delighted when this Yurio Pop! figure made it’s way to me. Also, this gives me an excuse to complete the Yuri! On Ice collection, as I am trying to not start buy Pop! figures from too many different franchises at once and instead build up sets.

Yurio Pop

From my friend, Callie 

As per usual my friend Callie got me way too much, and also proved how much she knows me/ listens to my social media rants.

Juvia’s Place The Magic palette 

Before you ask in the second photograph I have already used the eyeshadows a few times and that’s why they looked used! This palette is so beautiful and as a lover of shimmers this palette a dreamboat. You can definitely build some beautiful looks out of this palette, but I’d personally recommend pairing it with another palette for looks if you’re someone who likes quite neutral transition shades though there are a few really workable mattes on the palette.

On the left image from top to bottom is: Nubia, Zakiya, Osun, Kesi (hard to see on my skin tone), Zuba, Nana, Borunu, Kogi, Faso. 

On the right from top to bottom is: Aja, Vai, Yemoja, Ife, Yara, Buzo and Yejide.

As you can see I am not a brilliant swatcher but here are what all the colours look like on my skin tone. You probably won’t be able to see it but in between the pink and orange-gold on the left swatch there is actually a swatch of the shade ‘Kesi’. It does show up a bit more on my eyes and in person, but I like to use it as a base coat personally.

Snowflake Cookie Yankee Candle 

Yankee Candle

After being devastated when I thought this candle had disappeared after Christmas, I was very happy to receive this as a gift (we exchanged our gifts after Christmas). It just smells so good, and it so my aesthetic that it hurts. Until otherwise noted this is my all time favourite Yankee candle. Also, according to a quick google search Yankee candles are from what information I could see cruelty free and vegan.

Primark Pusheen Mermaid Slippers 

Once again proving how much Callie knows me she bought me these mermaid pusheen slippers (the black fluff is from a pair of leggings I own lol). These are super duper snug and since my feet are always cold I love these (our flat has a lot of wooden flooring though my feet are always cold anyway). Also, the tree is because Christmas (though I may have forgotten just a little bit to take it down). I love these though they are the second pair of slipper sock things Callie has bought me (the first being a Marie pair) so I think she just loves buying me slippers for some reason.

Mermaid Pusheen 

Mermaid cuddly

This pusheen lives at my workplace but I bought her home for the weekend to take a picture. I love all things pusheen and pastel so mermaid pusheen is a dream come true to me. Also, I am trying to collect a pusheen for each season (I already have a witch one for halloween) and for some reason this pusheen screams Spring to me!

The Boxing Day sales (or from myself)

One thing I’m not sure if I really liked is that the boxing day sales in a lot of cases started earlier than Boxing Day this year. For people like me who rely on Christmas money to fuel their bargains in the sale this was a bit of an annoying move though an understandable one- it meant less of the pressure on shops on Boxing Day so hopefully more people could enjoy their Christmas. Since, I massively missed out on the Black Friday deals due to being very broke at the time, I really wanted to get some good sale goodies.

Asos 

The first thing I purchased was this dress from Lazy Oaf on Asos that was reduced from £68.00 to £30.00. Having coveted this dress for a very long time I could just not resist this deal. In person this dress is so super cute and like all Lazy Oaf dresses it has pockets! I haven’t managed to get a good picture of me wearing this yet but check out these super cute babes who make this dress look amazing (and inspire me on how I’m going to wear mine).

Topshop and H and M

I also bought this super cute denim jacket from Topshop that was in the sale.

Topshop Denim Jacket

Mustard top: H&M (old) 

Playsuit: H&M (I can’t find the exact one online but it is this one but with a flower print)

Scarf: Platform 9/34’s shop

Bag: Primark (I got this from the Tottenham Court Road Primark in London, which is often referred to as the ‘Harry Potter Primark’ but I’ve seen it in plenty of other Primarks). 

Tights: Primark 

Loafers: Topshop (old)

I got very excited about this outfit, hence why I’m pretending I’m a model. The jacket is just so super cute. I had wanted it for a while, saw it in the sale and was determined to resist. I then realised I had made a mistake and saw it was sold out online! Therefore, when I went in my local Topshop and saw the jacket there I knew I had to have it. Which is my excuse to why I gave the person who was right in front of me stroking it evils. Luckily, she moved on and I quickly grabbed it. It’s slightly cropped, which I sometimes like in a jacket as it compliments my body shape. At the moment the jacket is out of stock on the Topshop website but try checking back because after I bought it I noticed it was back in stock again in a few sizes. The jacket was originally £49.00 and reduced to £34.00.

Game

One thing I also was excited to buy for myself in the sale for £12.99 at Game is this Kylo Ren Christmas jumper. Although, I will probably lose it before next Christmas and I wish it was more socially acceptable to wear it all year round I just couldn’t resist it, especially as I coveted it before but I didn’t want to splurge when it was £24.99.

Red Hair

Lush

I feel like my love of Lush is well documented on this blog and I couldn’t resist picking up a few goodies in the sale, especially as everything was half price! However, I did use the opportunity to try some products I’ve wanted to try, as well as pick up a favourite from Halloween.

Snow Fairy

I can’t find my receipt but after doing some digging I think the original price for this 250g bottle was £7.95 and in the sale it around £3.97 to £4.00. This shower gel smells AMAZING (translation: like sweets) and next Christmas I will definitely be stocking up on this again. Personally, I wish they sold this all year round because I will be super sad when it runs out.

Since I was a large fan of the Lush Halloween collection this year, particularly the Pumpkin bath bomb, I couldn’t resist picking up this little set, especially as I regretted not trying out the pink pumpkin bubble bar (it also looks super cute- it’s one of those ones that it is bittersweet when you actually use it!). This was £12.95 I think normally and about £6.47 or £6.48 in the sale.

Shoot for the Stars bath bomb

My final purchase from Lush was this Shoot for the Stars bath bomb. I really loved this bath bomb. For one thing it turns your bath a lovely cascade of blue shades, and I also really loved how it leaves the little gold stars floating in your bath for a while. There is something in this bath bomb that leaves your skin super soft as well afterwards. I am very gutted this is a Christmas special after trying it, as I would definitely buy this again! This bath bomb was somewhere between £3-£4 and so about £1.50-£2 in the sale. All I remember is that all together everything I bought from Lush was about £12 when usually just the Pumpkin set would have probably cost that.

There is all it is then- the many lovely presents I got and bought myself after Christmas (minus a 1kg bar of Cadburys from Wilkos that was half price, as I didn’t think that necessary to document!). I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to let me know what you’re favourite present that you got for Christmas was in the comments below.

April

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