Saturday, 13 September 2014

Lifestyle | Staying Positive

[1: Source, 2: Source, 3: Source]

I wrote a post over a year ago on a few tips on staying positive. Building on that, I thought it was time to create a new, updated post on how I manage to stay positive when I'm not feeling very motivated. Being a full-time student, working for my mom's company, hoping to start my own business and trying to keep my blog afloat can be pretty draining and a lot of the time, I'm left feeling unmotivated and in need of a long, relaxing holiday to forget about my worries. 

I hate to admit it, but this happens more often that not and when it does, I need a pick-me-up to remind me to be positive. I'm a firm believer that simply altering the way you think can change the outcomes of your life and can help towards achieving your goals. 

1. Make a list of things that make you happy. 
A while ago, I made a list in one of my many notebooks of things that make me happy. This could be anything from "scented candles" to "spending time with my family." Whenever I'm feeling unmotivated, I read through my list and remember the things that make me happy in life. Sometimes, when simply reading the list isn't enough, I'll go and do/find something from the list. 

2. Spend some time alone. 
Now, this one is more specific to me since I'm an introvert and often need time alone to "recharge" after spending time around people. Spending some time in my own home, doing things that relax me like watching a TV show or reading a book with some candles lit after a hot bubble bath can do wonders to restore my positivity. 

3. Start a positivity diary. 
This one I started a while ago and only write in it every so often. I found a pretty notebook and declared it my positivity diary. Whenever I'm feeling particularly grateful or positive, I'll write those feelings and moments down in my notebook. I also like to include any positive images I've printed from Tumblr or found in a magazine that inspired me. Whenever I'm having an unmotivated day, I read through these entries and they remind me that not every day is like this. 

4. Get outside. 
This may sound like an obvious one but sometimes when I'm feeling stressed and overwhelmed, just taking five minutes out of my day to take a walk and get some fresh air can make a huge difference. Sometimes I like to listen to music while I walk and other times I just like to soak in the Yorkshire countryside in silence. Wherever you live, getting some fresh air and a change of scenery can renew any negative thoughts you may have had. 

5. Follow an inspirational Twitter/Tumblr/Blog. 
Start your day by reading posts from this account/blog/website and it will help towards ensuring your day is as positive as it can be. I often flick through certain websites when I first wake up or whilst I'm eating breakfast. One of my favourites is Thought Catalog. Sometimes you have to sift through the uninspiring articles to find the ones that work for you. Whatever inspires you, find a site or account surrounding that and read it at least once a day. 

Let me know if any of these tips work for you, what do you do to stay positive?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Book Tour | My Dream Man by Marie Solka

When Samantha, a home health nurse, has her first orgasm after waking from an erotic dream about Greg, a scientist and son of her newest patient, she’s both captivated and confused.

Greg’s the opposite of her type, but Samantha feels compelled to get to know the eccentric workaholic, and she soon discovers it’s futile to fight chemistry.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

"After reading this book I’ll never be able to look at a nerdy guy without blushing. My Dream Man by Marie Solka sizzles.” ~ author Deborah Brown

"I've always thought smart guys were hot. This book proves it. I also loved the relationship advice Sam's elderly patient gave her. She was a riot. My Dream Man is definitely a fun read." - review from Amazon

My Dream Man really surprised me and is one of the best adult romance novels I've read in a while. With this being my first book tour, I was worried that I would hate the book and would struggle for positives to talk about in my review. Instead, I'm struggling to find any constructive criticisms.

My Dream Man is about Sam, a young nurse who, through one of her elderly male clients, meets her dream man. The story has ups and downs and isn't just a boring romance. The characters are very well written and even though there were some that we didn't like (Jack), I enjoyed reading about the relationships between the characters, especially between Sam and her sister. The whole story just felt real, as did the people in it. Another real aspect that I liked about the book was that at times, there was a strong emphasis placed on sex and the two main characters exploring each other, without the book being turned into an erotic novel. The sex in the book added to the realistic feel of the relationship, since most romance novels skip over the sex parts and some completely pretend they don't exist.

The one problem I have with this book is that I don't know what happened with Sam's parents! Did they resolve their problems? Was it just normal marital arguments after being together so long? Or was it something more? I'd have liked these questions to have been answered towards the end but it was still a hugely enjoyable read.

My rating: 4 out of 5

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Marie Solka is the pen name of women’s fiction author Kim Cano. While Kim writes emotionally-charged book club reads that often bring readers to tears, Marie pens steamy romance. My Dream Man is Marie’s debut novel.

Marie lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and cat.

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.


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Monday, 8 September 2014

Books | Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

I finished this book a while ago but forgot to write up a review so my thoughts will be a couple of months old and I may miss some important points I noted at the time but I'll try my best! 

Firstly, Attachments is Rainbow Rowell's first adult fiction novel and it's from the perspective of a man. That being said, I didn't think I would connect with it as well as I did. It's 1999 and Lincoln has just bagged himself a job at a newspaper office, monitoring the staff's emails and reporting any he found to be breaking the rules. Beth and Jennifer are two members of staff who constantly break the rules when emailing one another at work. They discuss absolutely everything together, including family, relationship and health issues, unaware that Lincoln is reading each exchange and slowly falling in love with one of them. 

I wouldn't describe Attachments as a romance, as the love interest doesn't exactly happen until the end. The book is mostly about Lincoln's growing independence and his battle between living with his mother and wanting to move out on his own. It's also a portrait of a beautiful and honest friendship between the two women - which may have been one of my favourite aspects of the book. I've said it before and I'll say it again - Rainbow Rowell is a genius. Her writing is incredible and I feel so comfortable and comforted when reading her books, Attachments was no different. I would highly recommend reading Attachments, along with Rainbow Rowell's other books and I'd love to hear your thoughts on this book.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Lifestyle | Decor Accessories: Little Touches

I've been planning to move house soon and in preparation for that, I've been obsessed with little decor accessories lately. I spend a lot of my spare time scouring the internet for gorgeous little touches to make my new place more me and I wanted to share some of them as they're too pretty not to!

1. To Do List Erase Board: Etsy
2. Pure Gardenia Candle: Zara
3. Disney Dining Set: Disney Store
4. Candle Holder Lantern: Etsy
5. Inspirational Coasters: Etsy

Do you like any of these little touches? What are your favourite stores for little decor accessories - I need inspiration!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Books | Round-Up & Mini Reviews #2

The Savages by Matt Whyman

This book made me hungry throughout. I constantly had images of braised beef steak, big joints of honey roast gammon and thick pork chops. Except the Savages aren't cooking pork, gammon or beef, they're cooking human flesh. With years of practice dating back to the second world war, this unusual family pick out the healthiest humans who won't be missed by friends or family, prepare their bodies and create a feast to cleanse their soul and bring them together as a family. 
If you think this book sounds more like a horror than a children's book, you'd be right. I'm reading this book as a 22 year old and whilst I know that they are cannibals, I viewed it as a fantasy, far-fetched from our own world today, even though the book is set in today's society in a very realistic England. I'm not sure how a child would view this book as cannibalism is viewed as a very positive thing throughout the book, but from my point of view, it was an enjoyable read. 
Matt Whyman has a very specific way of writing Children's books, in that he treats them as if they were adults and doesn't patronize them, as some Children's authors so often do. The writing style does take a while to get used to and I had to read the book in as few sittings as possible, as each time I went away, it'd then take me a while to get back into it again. I would recommend reading this book if you want something a little different and especially if you're a younger reader, it would be interesting to see how you view the book.

My rating: 3 out of 5     View all my reviews here

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns is about Quentin Jacobson, a teenage boy who has been in love with Margo Roth Spiegelman since they were friends when they were Children. Despite Q's feelings for Margo, this book isn't a love story. Margo breaks into Q's room late one night and convinces him to join her on a revenge adventure which lasts into the early hours of the next day. Thinking that everything would change and he would get to know Margo again, Q goes to school the next day, only to find that Margo has disappeared. Weeks go by without Margo returning and with her own parents turning a blind eye, Q takes it upon himself to solve her disappearance, using clues left behind by Margo herself. 

I enjoyed this book a lot and whilst it isn't my favourite John Green book, I still adore his writing style. As with all quintessential John Green books, the characters speak and act with a certain maturity that most people claim teenagers do not possess - I disagree with this. I think that his books are incredibly realistic and sure, not all teenagers behave the way John Green's characters do, but there are plenty who do. I loved the way the main character would speak with another character about a particular memory, then explain it to the reader, so we're kept in the loop. This reminded me of those films where halfway through, the actor turns and speaks to the camera and tells us what's going on. I haven't picked up on any other books that have done this, especially not in the YA genre but it was really noticeable within the first part of the book and I really enjoyed it. 

Around halfway through the book, I started to get really creeped out. I was genuinely worried for the characters and felt like I was in the desolated places with them. I felt uneasy being home alone whilst reading this book, which I really wasn't expecting as I went into this book not knowing anything about it, but expecting it to be a lighter, fun adventure read. I would definitely recommend reading Paper Towns and all of John Green's other work, I'll definitely be picking up more of his books as soon as possible.

My rating: 4 out of 5     View all of my reviews here

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I really like Rainbow Rowell's writing, somehow it comforts me and I can whizz through her books and fall in love with the characters before I even realise I've done it. Eleanor and Park was different, however. 
Eleanor is a misfit with frizzy red hair and strange clothes who comes from a tiny home where she can't be herself. When she starts her new school, she sits next to Park on the bus, a Chinese kid who reads comic books and is less than thrilled to have the new weird girl sitting next to him. Little did they both know, they would fall in love. 

Eleanor and Park didn't give me the same feeling of comfort as Rainbow Rowell's other books do, but I'm not sure why. I didn't like the way that Park would pick apart all of Eleanor's flaws in the beginning and whilst I know it showed that he loves her for her and not for the way she looks, it just made me uncomfortable to read his first impressions of her as, quite frankly, they weren't nice at all. I did enjoy reading the book as there were parts, particularly towards the end, that I absolutely loved. I might reread this in the future to see if that changes my opinion but so far, this is my least favourite Rainbow Rowell book. I'd love to hear other peoples thoughts on the book, if you agree or disagree with my review, please let me know!

My rating: 3 out of 5     View all of my reviews here