Books to Love: After You

Earlier this year when all the hype surrounding Me Before You kicked up, I decided I'd read the book. (it wasn't really a hard decision, books are hard to say no to... don't you think?) I'd been hearing about it for a while and everyone kept saying how good it was. Okay, so I caved!! Like always. Anyway, I really enjoyed it. It was fun and heartwarming and I didn't want it to end. 

For those of you that don't know, Me Before You is the story of Louisa Clarke (Lou), a charming, quirky cafe-worker. When she loses her job and is forced to find another one pronto, she takes a job looking after Will, a paraplegic, who is not very happy about having her company. Considering it touches on such a difficult subject, it balances Will's problems with light-heartedness of Lou's character so well. It's a story to make you laugh and cry and feel everything in between.

I knew there was a sequel and I picked it up a couple of times walking around Waterstones but always put it back, Would it be a half-hearted follow-up to the story? Where could the author really go with a storyline like that one? But I'm glad I talked myself into it because I ended up finishing it in just a couple of days.

In After You, Lou is living in her own little flat, working a job that pays the bills but means she has to wear a hideous costume every day, and doesn't speak to her family. Then, one day, she gets a knock on her door and it changes everything

Once I'd read the blurb I already had an idea about what might happen but I was completely wrong! I didn't expect the story to go in the direction it did but I quite enjoyed the storyline. And it made me laugh out loud on a few occasions: cue strange looks from Callum from the other side of the sofa. Plus, I just love Lou. She's such a relatable character - quirky, clumsy and a bit dopey. But lovely nonetheless. When I got to the end of the book I found myself wanting to know what happened to her next!

So, Jojo Moyes, if you're reading this (on the off chance that you like to read random, obscure blogs over your morning coffee) we'd love some more Lou!

Favourite Few: Beauty

I am a creature of habit. Once I find a makeup routine that I'm happy with, I tend to stick with it for a long while. But every now and then I try a new product that has been the focus of every beautiful Instagram photo on every beauty guru's social media account, and it ends up being a permanent addition to my makeup bag. So here are some of the tried and tested products I've been loving lately! 

Younique, Glorious Primer | I have a love/hate relationship with this primer. It's brilliant in so many ways - it provides a really smooth base to apply foundation, it genuinely keeps your makeup on all day and helps it look the best it can. On days that I wear the primer there's a visible difference in the state of my makeup and I wonder why I've gone so long without it. That being said, you need to use so much of it for it to work well and it's expensive too. Whilst the product is good, it doesn't really seem worth spending the  money on when you have to replace it so frequently.

Rimmel, Wonder'Full Mascara | This might just be one of my favourite mascaras ever. I did a review of it last March which you can read here. I still stand by what I said then - it's creamy and nourishing and holds well through the day. The only difference between the mascara I reviewed last year and this one is the colour. I bought it in extreme black this time but sometimes a simple black just won't do.

Rimmel, Kate Sculpting Palette | One of the only things I enjoy about wearing makeup in summer is a good highlighter. Although I'm not massively into the sculpting/contouring trend, I do like to use a highlighter or illuminator on my cheekbones because it adds something a bit more summery to your average, everyday makeup. I love this little palette because it provides the perfect compliment between the blush and the shimmer. It's subtle and understated and perfect for daytime wear. 

What products have you been enjoying using lately? Have you discovered anything new?

Books to Love: Reasons to Stay Alive

"Every time I read a great book I felt I was reading a kind of map, a treasure map, and the treasure I was being directed to was in actual fact myself." - Matt Haig

It's a very difficult thing to listen to somebody explain their anxiety or depression to you. People have tried to explain it to me before and whilst I told them I was understanding and sympathetic, I didn't really get the full extent of the situation. It's like when somebody shows you a photograph of somewhere and you get the general gist of what it was like to be there, but you'll never know what that sand felt like between your toes, what the ocean sounded like when it hit shore or how that ice-cream tasted on a such a hot day. We see the picture but it's flat, two-dimensional. It doesn't tell the whole story.

When I struggle to put my thoughts or feelings into words, I read. I read because so often other people say what I need to much better than I do. They explain things in a way that makes total sense even though the words won't come together in my head when someone asks me, "How do you feel?"

I love Matt Haig as an author and when I bought this book it wasn't for any other reason but that. I like his writing. For the past few months it has been buried underneath a mountain of other books, forgotten. A couple of weeks ago I wrestled it out from the back of my back shelf and devoured half of it in one afternoon.

Haig share his personal experience of anxiety and depression in Reasons to Stay Alive but he understands that not everyone suffers in the same way, so he shares useful advice but not in self-help guide kind of way.  He knows that what works for him might not necessarily work for everyone. He says, "When we are trying to get better, the only truth that matters is what works for us." And it's his honesty that makes this book so special and worth reading. It highlights so many of the problems that develop as a result of anxiety and depression - physical, mental, personal - making it a useful read for not only those who suffer but also those who know somebody that suffers.

It's such a relatable and uplifting book, one that makes you realise how big the world is and how beautiful it can be.

"You need to feel life's terror to feel its wonder." - Matt Haig