Wednesday, 31 August 2011

I Love Literature!

And yet I still can't help but read "chick lit" novels and trashy magazines... why is that? At uni we are taught to only read the "well written" novels, books that the average person will have never heard of. In my creative writing lectures we have to sit through our teacher telling us not to write like Dan Brown or J K Rowling etc... hell he even snorts and demeans the way that their books are written! And the subject matter thinking about it... and yet he is an old man who hhas been writing his entire life and has obviously never really got much success from it. How can writing be creative if you cannot write about what you want? Well, we can but that means we will not neccessarily be taken seriously by certain people and you know what... that's fine with me. I would much rather read and write books that make me feel emotions instead of looking down at the page and thinking hmmm yes, that is written well. Don't get me wrong, one of my favourite people in the whole entire world is Shakespeare - I am a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and I frequently go and watch performances in Stratford when I have the money to do so. The Turn Of The Screw is another that I love; a beautifully written eerie novella.... the list goes on. But I suppose my point is although we can enjoy the well written classics, we can also let our hair down and read books with less heavy substance.

I love reading, I don't see it as a chore like many people my age. I love the idea that a few words on a page can actually make me think and feel different emotions and I hope that one day I will also be successful in writing something that makes others do the same. That is my ultimate goal.

While it is still the summer (the weeks are disappearing quicker and quicker as the return date to uni looms) I have been reading some "chick lit" books and at the moment I am on "The Perfect 10" by Louise Kean. I have never picked up a book by this author before I just liked the look of it to be honest; light and fluffy... perfect for my summer. I was shocked when the first chapter detailed the abduction of a child in front of the heroins eyes. Not quite what I was expecting. But anyway I have only read 80 pages so far but I am genuinely really enjoying reading it. The main character is a 20 something woman who has lost an awful lot of weight but it still going... desperately trying to fit into a pair of size 10's before she can declare her weight loss "finished". I think I like this book so much because I too have been on diets and lost weight in the past and I totally understand everything she talks about. She mentions how all she has to do is look at an item of food and seconds later has worked out the exact calorie content. I can do that. I always thought it was normal behaviour until I met my boyfriend who was baffled by it. He started playing a game with himself, picking up a chocolate bar or a pork pie in the super market and making me guess the calories just by looking at it, shielding the wrapper from me. He still does it to this day, three years later and I am still getting 9/10 tries either right or scarily close to being so.

Anyway my point is that it's good to read books that we feel we have a connection with. It's wonderful coming across a character who seems to know everything about what you are going through or have been through and nobody should tell anyone what is "good literature" and what is "bad" for this reason.

Much love to all my friends reading and writing what they want to, not what they think they should

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Sims Social!

Oh my goodness! Yes, it's landed and I absolutely love it! I am such a massive fan of everything "The Sims" and when I saw The Sims Social announced I thought to myself hmmm seems a bit crap - a dumbed down version of a game that I really love? Will this work? Actually, it really does. Obviously it lacks a lot of what the "real" games do but the fact that anything you want you have to work at and ask your friends to help you get it means that the social aspect is what makes it work.

So in social you don't actually go out and get a job to earn your simoleons, you do things around the house to earn you xp and money and as you level up and up more things are unlocked for you to play with. I managed to level up several times and earn loads of money just by cutting the grass and clearing away all the rubbish from outside - cleverly placed there to get the ball rolling as you get used to the game.



The bars at the bottom of the screen tell you what your sim wants and when, and again there seems to be a massive importance placed on the social aspect, having to visit your neighbours regularly just to keep your sim in a good mood.

You can build new rooms onto your house and buy new furniture in the shop section but of course your friends need to send you a certain amount of materials per item until it is completely done, the same as in Farmville when you want to build your horses a stable but need 10 wooden boards etc to complete the job. I have also noticed that as you do daily things around your house like cook or take a shower you collect random objects which can then be made into a mood boosting item once you have collected them all:







A nice way of helping your sim stay happy and to keep you playing the game for longer. You can also make money by growing your own food in the garden or even by playing the guitar, depending on what traits you chose for your sim at the start (mine is creative).

I could go on and on about everything I have found so far but really you do need to just go and give it a go. It's a brilliantly addictive Facebook game that actually involves your friends like never before. The best aspect for me is that if you want to flirt or even (yes, I'm being serious) woohoo with one of your friends they will either have to accept or disagree to what you want. Yes it is virtual but the fact that your friends will know you have thought about it is surely awkward enough! EA are being clever by doing this, appealing to a whole new audience, gamers who only want to spend 30 minutes a day playing and also staying social with their friends while doing it.

Thank you EA for giving me yet another version of The Sims to play and love! This will be keeping me off Farmville.... if you haven't tried it out yet go and get on there now!



Thursday, 25 August 2011

Is Gaming Dangerous?

Of course it bloody isn't. Yet we are still told that it's violent games, films and television programmes that inspire violence in our modern day society. It angers me that people, especially those that people respect and listen to, carry on saying this rubbish. Supernanny Jo Frost has now even gone as far as to blame video games for the UK riots. This not only upsets me, it downright pisses me off. Can we really blame something that's completely unrelated to the problem? According to her we can! Here is what she said in her column on express.co.uk:

With hooded youths in pitched battles with police, all reason gone and high on destruction, I felt for a moment as if we had stumbled into a real-life violent video game of the kind that so many of those involved are addicted to. These horrific games where points are given for burning, shooting and killing, where the graphics are so realistic you believe that they’re real scenes of carnage, where those who play fantasise they have the power of life and death, are so brutal they completely desensitise anyone taking part.



I love Grand Theft Auto as much as anyone but I can honestly say I have never accidentally mistaken it to be "real scenes of carnage" and I really struggle to believe that anyone else would do the same. Even the rioters aren't that stupid. Many of the people rioting were doing so for a reason: protesting because the London police killed an innocent man. The people who didn't really know what they were doing were all teenagers, bored over the summer. None of them were running around with guns shooting prostitutes, stealing cars or killing people for no reason whatsoever, so why do games which allow you to do these things come into question? They shouldn't.

Technology is allowing us to do or be whoever or whatever we want in this modern world and I think it's a wonderful thing. What about all the children who want a puppy but can't have one? Nintendogs will sort that out. What about all the football games that allow you to play for your favourite team? What about all the games that allow you to sing and dance in the comfort of your own home? There are so many games out there that aren't violent in the slightest yet it's the same thing. Obviously there are more grown up games like Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty where you can kill people, but coming home from a long day of work and shooting a few people on the Xbox is not going to make someone think they can do this in real life in the same way that playing Guitar Hero doesn't automatically make people think they can go and become a real rock star.

As for "completely desensitising anyone taking part" I wonder if Jo Frost actually realises how stupid people would have to be for this to be true? If she is owning up to seeing a violent game and therefore feeling the need to be violent within her life like she is suggesting, then to be honest she needs help. We play these games because we can't and wouldn't do it in any other way and there is nothing wrong with that. In my opinion, this is the way life should be. I love taking my anger out on Black Ops by shooting people in the face, it makes me feel better and if I'm stressed there's nothing else that makes me feel better this quick. You really don't need to be a genius to know right from wrong and it really isn't hard to understand the difference between real life and a fantasy. I play a hunter on World of Warcraft it doesn't lead me to believe that I can go tame a wild lion and shoot dragons in order to get myself shiny things. I dare Jo Frost to find a handful of people that play games who believe that they can do in their day to day lives what they do in the game - they just do not exist. With technology advancing the way it is "gamers" do not exist anymore. Everyone plays games in some sort of capacity even if it is just Farmville or the Wii Fit. The people playing these games are normal people who are brought up to know the difference between right and wrong, real and fake.





Saturday, 20 August 2011

Bare Minerals Bright and Beautiful set


I wanted to say a few words about this make up set that my Mum bought me for my birthday. I have used Bare Minerals before but mostly just the foundation and brushes.

The first thing that I will say about it is that the foundation that comes in the kit is absolutely massive. I had a smaller pot that actually lasted me over a year with frequent (but not always daily) use so I was over the moon when I saw the size of the one I was getting in this kit. It also has SPF15 in it and because of the soft mineral style of the foundation it never goes on cakey or thick and most importantly to me it never causes me to get spots like other, cheaper and especially liquid foundations do. The Prime Time Brightening foundation primer does exactly what it says on the tin, as well as leaving my face feeling soft and ready for foundation in just one quick spray. I simply pump once onto the palm of my hand, rub my hands together and quickly rub all over my face. It's wonderful putting make up on when it feels so good and kind to your skin as there's no worrying about what spots you're going to come across the next day due to thick make up!

The "vivacious" blush is yet again in a massive pot that I should think will last me forever, and if not forever it will certainly keep going for years. I was worried about putting this on when I first used it as I have very pale skin and if I put even slightly too much on the brush with other brands I always end up looking like a clown, but that doesn't happen in this case. I can put a decent amount on the brush and apply straight away. You learn how much is the right amount for you by starting off putting a small amount on and building up. This blush allows you to make the look right for yourself, if you only wanted a tiny amount on you can do this by applying a small amount and buffing onto your skin. It blends right the way down or up if you wanted a heavier night time look. I love this about this blush as I was using cheaper brands before and had to use different colours for different occasions. Now I can do everything with just one.

One of my favourite parts of the kit is the Prime Time Brightening eye lid primer. It really does keep all my eyeshadow in place for hours on end and gives a beautiful soft nudey golden shimmer. You can even wear this alone for a natural but bright eyed look. I like to apply it all the way up to my brows so that it works as a highlighter above my shadow once I put it on.

The eyeshadow that comes in the kit is a lovely dusky pink colour. I find that it works in the same way as the blush, If I apply a small amount it stays pink and fresh looking and blends down lovely, but if I want a darker more dramatic look (which I always do as I love playing up my eyes) I simply apply more and blend and it becomes a more purple plum colour which is gorgeous and very flattering. It also goes very well with the plum Big and Brightening eyeliner that comes in the kit. It's very creamy so goes on with no tugging, even on the upper lashes which I usually struggle to do with pencil eyeliners with other brands. I have quite sensitive eyes so it's a joy to find an eyeliner that I don't have to spend ten minutes applying. After two minutes if that both of my eyes are done and raring to go. The best aspect of this eyeliner is that it does not budge! I can wear it in the daytime and not need to worry about needing to apply it again every thirty minutes. This makes it a great one to wear to work, or actually anywhere that you will be busy.

The pink glittery lip gloss ties it all together into a completed sophisticated look. I shy away from colours on my lips as my eyes are always the focus of attention which suits me perfectly in this kit as the lip gloss is a barely there colour but gives an amazing amount of shine and glamour. For girls who like to show their lips off if you put a lipstick underneath this gives an amazing top coat and looks incredibly glamorous.

The only pieces that I use that are not bare minerals is a liquid concealer for bags under my eyes and mascara as I like my lashes to look very black and bold.

The kit comes with an eyeshadow brush with a smudge type brush on the other side which I will be treasuring. It's so hard to find decent brushes without paying mega money and the brushes I have got with my Bare Minerals kits soon became my favourite and easily the best brushes I have ever used.

I would not call Bare Minerals cheap but one kit really will last you such a long time that it is brilliant value for money. Personally I would rather spend a chunk of money in one go and know that I will not have to spend anymore for a long time (6 months - a year) than spend small amounts but end up needing to spend more every few weeks. I am a student with not much money at all and for me these kits are brilliant as I can get pretty much everything I need for a full face and not have to worry about replacing for, in my case a year or possibly even longer.

Because of how well these blend I would say they would suit any skin type and especially would suit girls who suffer from spots or bad skin because of how light they are. I tend to get spots from wearing make up but since using Bare Minerals I rarely ever get them now - only when my hormones are going crazy!

The best thing for me about Bare Minerals is I can go to uni looking natural but groomed and can blend more in for a night time look very easily. Also, it goes on so easily that it literally only takes me about ten minutes to have a completed full face of make up which for a student is great news - more time in bed before those early morning lectures!

http://www.qvcuk.com/ukqic/qvcapp.aspx/app.nav/params.pricefilter.00000.brandfilter.null.stonefilter.null.specialfilter.0.trymefilter.0.ezpayfilter.0.level.3.class.UKAKTFOP/walk.yah.UKHB~U050

That link will take anyone who is interested in Bare Minerals to the QVC page, they don't seem to have the kit I have reviewed here in stock but there are other kits listed that I will be looking into buying when my student loans come through. I absolutely love Bare Minerals and can't wait to add more to my collection!




Monday, 15 August 2011

Great knitting pattern

OK so with me having some spare time before going back to uni I've started on the knitting habit again! I was looking for some ideas for some fairly simple projects and came across this one:


http://www.allfreeknitting.com/ChristmasKnits/Christmas-Present-Pillow/ct/1#

I hadn't thought of doing something like this before and I'm surprised with how simple it is, I'm hoping to do this or something like it with my own twist on it once I've finished my current project - a scarf for a friends christmas present. I really do love the home made touch and think that if anyone can make presents for friends and family that they should. It gives you a lovely warm feeling inside and makes you feel very proud of yourself that you simply can't achieve from anything else!

Happy Crafting!



Thursday, 11 August 2011

Real Idiots On The Streets

Is exactly how I feel about what is going on in England at the moment. Although as usual I don't have one overwhelming feeling, instead I can't quite make my mind up whether or not it is a good or bad thing.

I always said that if David Cameron was ever in charge of the country I would leave... unfortunately I am halfway through my uni course and couldn't afford to leave. And now I am sitting at home, glad that I live in the respectable area of Cheltenham instead of a big city, worrying whether or not my car will be set on fire.

Don't get me wrong, I think the people on the streets are idiots, degenerate bastards who wouldn't know how to work if they tried and I think they should stop hurting people and generally ruining peoples lives. However, the longer these fools are out  of control the harder our government will fall and the more people will realise what a mistake voting Cameron and Clegg in was. The grass is always greener on the other side? I'm so glad I didn't make that naive mistake.

I guess I am looking on the bright side of this terrible mess - I wish the idiots on the street a long reign until something serious is done about the state of our government and country. If that means destruction has to come first then so be it. I can only hope that this is enough for the people of Britain to realise what a huge mistake they have made as I dread to think what will happen next....

On the bright side, at least everyone has stopped talking about Amy Winehouse now.





**Just a note that I am now free from work and intend to update this much more now** :)