Book Review: Ready Player One

If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, Ready Player One is a film coming out next year, based on the book of the same name. If you haven’t seen it, the trailer is pretty exciting! My OH who is always more with it than I am had noticed this and immediately decided to read the book and told me I needed to as well. So I did!

I’ll start with the one bit of negativity, there is a lull in the middle of the book. It starts intriguingly and ends in an epic, wonderful way but the middle, eh, it’s slow.

Ready Player One is about an Easter Egg hunt (the gaming kind) set in place by an eccentric billionaire who owns the virtual reality where everyone in this dystopian future spends most of their time. The hunt is started when he dies and the prize is his fortune.

The book follows Wade Watts, who is about to graduate from school, as he tries to solve the clues, whilst in competition with some deadly opponents, as well as his friends. The competition is based around the 80’s and it’s pop culture. There are references to so many games, music, books, tv shows – everything and that definitely adds to the depth of the story! I can imagine anyone who loves the 80’s would get even more enjoyment out of this book than I did.

If you have read Ready Player One already and enjoyed it (or end up enjoying it), it reminded me of Tad Williams Otherland series, though nowhere near as detailed. If you love sci-fi, Ready Player One and epic series, I’d recommend checking out Otherland.

Having read the book, I’m so excited for the film – here’s hoping they can do it justice. With Steven Spielberg directing it I can imagine it’s going to be incredible! It isn’t out for a while yet, so there’s plenty of time to read the book if it does sound like something you’d enjoy.

xo Fleur xo

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Review: Cover FX Custom Blot Drops

As an absurdly oily skinned human, anything that says it’s going to help control my oil is something I want to buy. So, when I was given a Beauty Bay voucher for my birthday by my OH’s dad I decided to give the Cover FX Custom Blot Drops a go! At £34 for 30ml these drops aren’t a cheap purchase but all the reviews I read suggested that they’d be incredible. In fact they sounded like a miracle for me, seeing as I have to blot my face every hour or so.

Sadly my experience with these doesn’t seem to have been the same as everyone else’s…

The first time I used these I put a thin layer on my skin and then tried to blend my liquid foundation on top. It really didn’t work very well and my foundation looked a bit patchy. My skin felt so dry and tight and the foundation just wouldn’t sit right.

The next time I used less and worked my foundation on top whilst it was still wet. I also used them as a top up on top of the foundation. This didn’t make my foundation patchy but it did break me out. It was the only thing I did differently in my skincare and makeup routine so *shrugs* I guess my skin just didn’t appreciate it.

I have also used it underneath powder foundation and on it’s own and I haven’t been impressed.

I just haven’t found it does much. Yesterday when I used them, by the time I finished applying my eyeshadow, about half an hour after using the drops and foundation over the top, my oil was coming through. If anything they seem to be exacerbating my oiliness as I wouldn’t usually have oil popping through that quickly! It even makes my skin FEEL oilier and I hate that feeling 😫

So overall, I wish I’d retained my healthy scepticism for anything that sounds too good to be true and hadn’t bought these. I’ll continue trying to use them as I don’t want to waste £34 but I really wouldn’t recommend them. I am tempted to just chuck them in the bin so I don’t have to see my wasted money! I don’t think I’m using these incorrectly, do feel free to correct me or help me out if you have any tips…

xo Fleur xo

My Thoughts on Church Weddings

I’ve had this post in my head for around a year now and I’m just going to write it and see how long it takes me to post it… Please don’t hate me ❤ (note, I started writing this in 2016, it’s taken me a while).

I’m going to talk about how I feel about church weddings. I am fully aware that my opinion is a controversial one for a lot of people. I’m also going to say you do you, when it’s your wedding day – do whatever makes you happy.

My main issue is that this is a marriage, a partnership being solidified for everyone to see and support. The point in your life with your partner when you make the most important vows to each other. When you get married in a church and you don’t actually believe in God – those vows include a lie. You’re lying as part of (hopefully) the most important promise you will ever make. You’re lying in the readings, in the hymns and to the vicar who does genuinely believe. I know not all churches make people include God in the vows but most of the church weddings I’ve been to have. It makes me SO uncomfortable. To be honest it makes me uncomfortable seeing a group of people stood in the church not wanting to say amen, it’s an uncomfortable situation.

The only time I’ve found it to be wonderful and full of love, was when it was clear that both people getting married did believe. Where they were part of the community and the community were there supporting them. Where the vicar actually knew who these people were.

It also makes me feel awkward hearing how people feel they need to lie to their vicar about their beliefs or begrudgingly go along to services just so they can get married in a church.

I was brought up as a Christian which obviously makes me biased. We went to church regularly and I went to church camp for a several years in a row (it was incredible). I’ve been christened and chose to be confirmed (I 100% believed that God existed).

Now I’d say I’m more agnostic than anything else but my upbringing still sticks with me. As I don’t truly 100% believe anymore I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable getting married in a church – especially as my OH definitely doesn’t believe. I would feel disrespectful and more than anything, I don’t want to lie on my wedding day and I wouldn’t want to know my OH was lying. It feels very wrong for me personally.

I think this opinion was also solidified by talking to people who were married in churches yet knew so little about the Christian faith – for example thinking that Henry VIII ‘invented’ Christianity. I can’t.

I know in England it’s traditional to get married in a church and I understand the love of tradition and wanting to have those church photos… Also, having said all that, churches do want and need your money. Ultimately if it’s going to make your dream day – go for it! Everyone’s different, what makes me uncomfortable clearly makes so many people very happy.

What do you think about church weddings? Is it an essential for you? Or something to be avoided, like it is for me?

xo Fleur xo

Current Favourites

I feel like it’s been about a year since I did a current favourites post… So it’s beyond time that I wrote another one. It’s also my first cruelty free favourites post (except potentially the Violet Voss palette, they say they’re cruelty free but they’re still pending on Logical Harmony… GAH!)

I’ve been loving the Violet Voss Holy Grail Palette, it’s a largely warm toned eyeshadow palette with loads of mattes and the shimmer shades are more like a pressed foil pigment. The shadows are incredibly easy to blend, they aren’t too pigmented so they’re great for easily creating a look in a hurry. I do find the foiled shadows a little difficult to work with, I just use them with my finger now and that works fine – I’d avoid using them with a brush unless you want to wet them.

With my oily skin I wanted a powder foundation for summer and I found the Inika Mineral Foundation hiding in amongst some products I hadn’t used in a while – so I gave it a go. It doesn’t have the best coverage, so I use concealer underneath it on anything I really want to cover. It gives a really nice finish though and doesn’t feel heavy or move around throughout the day, perfect for summer. It even works nicely over sunscreen?!

The Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso has been a firm favourite since I bought it. It looks great when I’m a pale ghost and it looks absolutely gorgeous now I have a tan. It is shimmery, so if you don’t like that you won’t enjoy it but I love it.

I’ve been so impressed by the NYX Micro Brow Pencil, I used to use the MAC one that is essentially the same product but the NYX one is significantly cheaper and cruelty free! It’s great for making my brows look a little more natural because I can actually create little ‘hairs’ with it. I can definitely see myself repurchasing it.

I received the GOSH Infinity Eyeliner in Rock in a Curated Combination Box and it’s SO good! it’s so easy to use in the waterline and it stays put. I also like to use it as a winged liner but I have to use it before eyeshadow otherwise it’s a little dry but that’s fine when it then just stays put. I’m really impressed by it.

The Zoeva 226 Smudger Brush has been a favourite since I bought it back in February. I use it pretty much every time I apply makeup, so I can add eyeshadow easily to my bottom lash line. It picks up and distributes shadow so well!

I’ve talked about Phee’s Unicorn Highlighter in Shook a lot over on my Instagram because it’s pretty much the only highlight I’ve used since I bought it – as you can potentially tell by how bashed up it is! It’s a gorgeous pink-green shifting, super intense highlight that looks stunning in the inner corner but also as a metallic sheen over the cheekbones. If you want to be that glazed doughnut this will get you there.

The Superdrug Coconut Shower Gel smells so good and cleans without drying out my skin. It also costs under £1, which is pretty unbeatable for a nice shower gel.

I have also been loving the Superdrug Face Masks, I’ve tried a few now and they’ve all been excellent at achieving what they say they will! I love how many different types there are and they always seem to be on a 3 for 2 offer which always helps.

Finally, I’ve been using the Superdrug Active Haircare Leave-In Conditioner on the ends of my hair for about two months now and it’s really helped them out. The ends of my hair are the last remnants of my amazing rainbow hair I had two years ago and they were bleached to a complete disgusting mess. So they’re pretty straw-like. This leave in conditioner doesn’t weigh my hair down, it just leaves it really soft and manageable.

I know there were quite a few things from the Superdrug own brand range in this post, I’ve been trying to buy more CF products for a while now and I’ve been so impressed with everything I’ve tried from them so far.

What are your current favourites? I’d love it if you left me a link to yours if you have a recent post about them!

xo Fleur xo

Book Review: The Book of Lost Things

Having had The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly sat on my bookshelf for a long while now, having started reading again (as I talked about in this post) I thought I’d finally get round to picking it up. It came out in 2006, so this is a very belated review but I’m sure there are people, like me, who missed it.

First up, the cover instantly drew my attention with the person reading amongst the ivy, the keys and the slightly creepy figure. That seems like the kind of book I can get on board with!

The book is set during World War II where the main character David is an avid reader struggling to cope with a new life. It is a dark and not altogether pleasant story but it’s fascinating and I was completely drawn in.

The story draws heavily on fairy tales and some of them are the ones we know and some are twisted, dark versions. In fact the copy I read has a detailed account from John Connolly of where each of the fairy tales comes from, if/how he changed them and the fairy tale itself. Whilst I knew most of the tales he had drawn inspiration from, it was still interesting to learn where they originated.

It is a tale of David’s journey from child to adult but also of another child’s journey and the comparison of the two is so interesting. Whilst it had these elements of childhood and the fairy tales, I wouldn’t recommend this book for children. There are some rather gruesome scenes…

Overall the description on the front of the book ‘engaging, magical, thoughtful’ is so true. If you love fairy tales or magical stories, I’d say to give this book a go.

xo Fleur xo

My love of reading

This year I sat down one day and read a book, I then bought the rest of that series and after a month and eight books later I’d read the entire published works of that author.

I haven’t done that in years. This year was the year I rediscovered my love of reading. I started losing my love of reading when I was 15, in the middle of my GCSEs. It faded as I went through A levels and by the time I started my Master’s it had completely disappeared. I was head first in academic papers and when I put them down the last thing I wanted to do was pick up a book. I’ve consistently read blogs but even magazines started escaping my interest.

Growing up I was the kid who borrowed her mum’s library card in order to take out enough books. In fact I was upgraded to a teenage, then adult card early because I just couldn’t stop reading and you can’t take out enough books with a kids card! You know that scene in Cinderella where Gus is trying to pick up the corn? That was me with books, leaving the library. When we went camping for two weeks I had a suitcase with clothes in and another full of books. My mum always had to take my books away from me at night time too, or I’d stay up until I’d finished the book at 3am and be a complete horror the next day.

I didn’t know if I’d ever get my love of reading back. I though academia had ruined me forever. I’d tried to read but it wasn’t the same. I put down books that were amazing, that had grabbed me and I never picked them up again. I’m so happy that about half a year after finishing my Masters it slowly started coming back and that it’s now a tidal wave.

Reading for me has always been an escape. I don’t just read a book, I devour it, it becomes part of me. I was trying to explain to people why I hate parting with books, hate giving them away and that’s the reason. I’m emotionally attached to them. Not all of them, the good ones though, the ones that tear me apart and build me anew. I carry books with me, I can’t stop thinking about them even after I’ve finished reading them. I learn how to be a better person, a worse person and best of all how to be the person that I want to be.

This quote truly resonated with me:

‘Libraries were full of ideas – perhaps the most powerful and dangerous of all weapons.’ Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass

When I was younger, reading taught me that I could do anything and now it’s giving me the confidence and hope to one day believe that again.

xo Fleur xo

My Experience with the Contraceptive injection

I've seen several posts where people describe their experience with various forms of contraception. The only one I've seen about the contraceptive injection was very negative, so I felt like I should share my (in the end) positive experience.

I will start by referring you to the NHS information about the contraceptive injection. I will also say that this method does not protect you from STIs, so you should use it alongside condoms or once you're in a long-term relationship and have been checked and are clean. It may also be a bad choice for you if you use it for other reasons, not just contraception. You should have a conversation with your doctor about the method that is going to be best for you.

I have struggled with impossible periods from the start. They were very sporadic – 2 in 2 weeks and then a gap of 5 months kind of irregular. They were also incredibly painful to the point where when it came to GCSEs, having already tried taking 2 prescription painkillers alongside paracetamol (17 pills a day) to try and cope with the pain, my doctor suggested the pill. The pill was great and it got me through GCSEs, A levels and my BSc.

I started struggling with the pill though (mood swings/making my depression worse) and I came off it for a while but after a condom broke and I had to take the morning after pill – I knew I needed a better form of contraception. I had also been struggling with anaemia because during my periods I was losing so much blood.

I tried to have the hormonal coil fitted but my cervix is apparently a bit twisty so I'd have to have that under general anaesthetic – which seems a bit much for contraception! So, I decided to try the contraceptive injection, which you have every 12 weeks.

I'm going to be completely honest, my experience for the first few injections was horrendous.

So with my first injection about 7 weeks into having it, I started bleeding and I had awful cramps. AWFUL. So I had a 5 week period. I should also say that even when I was taking the pill – if I tried/had to run two packs together I would just start bleeding as soon as I finished the first pack, right to the end of the second. So, if that's you and you hate that – this may not be for you.

After my second injection I ended up having a 4 week period at the end but it wasn't leaving me curled up on the floor at work crying – bonus! After the third injection I bled for the last three weeks but again not too much pain. I did also find that towards the 12 week point I would be turning into full on pre-period hormonal crying mess Fleur but once in 12 weeks? I can deal with that.

Now a year and a half in, I've had my first 12 weeks without bleeding! I'm not going to lie, it's been annoying. Especially when I arrive at work and go 'oh shit' because there's blood everywhere and I have nothing on me because I haven't bled in a couple of months.

I've found my mental health to be a lot more stable and easier to cope with. Not having periods has been great for both my anaemia and having no pain (even when I have been bleeding, certainly for this year, it's been a tiny amount). I haven't had to buy more than a few packs of the thin liners this year, so it's saving me money.  It means I don't even have to think when doing sport. I don't have to think about contraception – all I have to do is put a reminder in my phone to book a nurse appointment two weeks before I need my injection.

The only issue now is that it is an injection and I HATE injections. The first time I had it I almost fainted and had to lie down. Since then I ask to have it lying down and I make sure I wear loose, comfortable clothes so they can easily access the top of my bum. Apart from one awful experience where the nurse moved the needle and it HURT and I bled everywhere it's been fine!

Apart from breakthrough bleeding I haven't found any other side effects. I may have put on weight but I was also finishing my masters when I went on it, so was cramming food in my face – so I have no idea if it contributed to that.

I know that my doctors suggest not being on the injection for longer than 2 years if you haven't had children yet as it can take a while for your body to get back to normal cycles. So, I'm going to have to have a chat soon to see whether I can stay on it. If not, I may choose to go for the hormonal coil (even with GA) as it's the closest option.

I hope you found this helpful if the contraceptive injection was something you were considering. I know my experience sounds pretty awful to start with but I'm beyond happy with it now. If you have any questions the NHS page I linked at the top of my post may help, otherwise I'd suggest talking to your doctor as I am not a healthcare professional and this is just my experience!

xo Fleur xo