My Brilliant Friend Review


I know I have been gone a while but I have been on a reading streak and finished Brooklyn and now on to My Brilliant Friend by Elana Ferrante translated by Ann Goldstein.


The book starts by introducing Elena and Lila in their present day. Lila has gone and Elena has no idea where she is. The book then jumps back in time to the 1950s when they are children in elementary school, as time goes on a competition starts between the two girls who is the best at something. Lila always winning with Elena making sure not to be last. At the end of school both girls are given the chance to move onto middle school with only Elena’s parents deciding to continue her education.

Their friendship then begins to change Elena is now becoming first and Lila is helping at home and helping with the family business, and trying to keep up with Elena even studying Latin and Italian to push Elena further. At the end of middle school boys are introduced into the mix and the changes both of them are going through. All the boys seem to be enchanted by Lila and Elena is back being second best.

With Elena passing with high marks in middle school she then moves onto high school where she is challenged even more and pushing Lila aside focus on being the best. This starts to show a strain that anyone can relate to. Elena’s relationship with Lila changes even more with Lina not in school boys are hanging off her every word and fight to be hers. After being forced into an engagement she doesn’t want Lila finds her true love and persuades her parents that she should marry him instead. The book ends at Lilia’s wedding and Elena now feeling like she cannot be last once more.

I have already started recommending this book to everyone and have already started the second in the Neapolitan  Novels. Reading the books anyone can relate to them and get hooked instantly, I cannot wait to finish book two and the rest of the series.

Bye for now


Day 3 and 4 in Dublin


On the evening of day 2 we were knackered and headed right to bed, we decided that night that we would try and see all the docklands stuff as the tour bus had passed the area and it looked interesting. After a lazy morning we headed into town to find the famine statues, after walking for what felt forever we asked someone for directions to find out we had passed the statues and had to turn around and walk all the way back to Custom House.

The statues were beautiful depicting different parts of the famine and how it affected those involved. As we  were right by Custom House we popped in, the building which was used in the 18th century was very grand with high ceilings and was partially rebuilt due to the 1921 war of independence, the building is partially restored with a different stone  so half of the building is in white stone and the restored part is in a grey irish stone.


Once we were finished looking through Custom House we walked back towards Temple Bar and found the National Gallery, I do not know a lot about Irish painters so I found it fascinating they also had Rooftops in Paris by Van Gogh which I had never seen before ,a Monet and work from some of his students. My favourite pieces were Early Morning in Connemara and Dawn, Connemara by Paul Henry and Irish artist who focused on Irish landscape portraits.

After wondering around town for a while we decided to pop into the tourist office by Trinity College for suggestions on how to spend our last day and a half. They were very helpful suggesting we take a half day trip out to the countryside but we decided on the Irish Whisky Museum which I found fascinating. The tour gives you a history of whisky while traveling through different room depicting a significant time in Irish whisky. At the end you get a tasting and told information about each of the whiskies and how they differ from the previous one. If you are over 18 and have an afternoon free I would go check it out it is right by the Trinity tourist office.

On our final half day we stayed on our side of the river so we would be close to the hotel. After a relaxing morning of packing we wondered down the road and went to a 1916 rebellion exhibition  which was at the ambassador theatre that had been taken over. It had a short documentary playing and a more in depth look into the events of 1916 and artifacts from the Easter Rising. On the 50th anniversary the men of the rebellion were celebrated so the 100th anniversary celebrated the women of the rebellion .  As we walked round the attraction each important member of the events were given a detailed description of how they were involved and what their outcome was. The only survivors were the women all the men were killed at Kilmainham Gaol, as you continued through the museum you came across recreated scenes of importance from the rebellion  like the post office, the gaol and moore street.

Afterwards we moved onto the Writers Museum based just round the corner from where we had stayed. Situated in an 18th century mansion each of the rooms had work from famous writers and some lesser know writers as well. Each room had images of the writers, their work and some personal letters or objects that were significant to them. Once we left it made me want to read some of the work of Beckett and Joyce now having some background knowledge about them and their work.

I loved this trip and would love to go back soon and try and get to the countryside parts, now I have got the holiday blues and have already started to plan my next trip this time to somewhere sunny hopefully.

Bye for now



Day 1 and 2 in Dublin


Sorry it’s been a while but it’s been worth it as I was working and planning a four day trip to Dublin.

I left on Sunday and came back Thursday evening,  this part of the blog covers the first half of the trip.

As soon as we landed we jumped into a cab and checked in and dropped our bags off we went and grabbed a bite to eat at Murray’s Bar and Grill which had live music and irish dancing.

On the first day we planned our day and headed out to Trinity College and started to have a look around after deciding to opt out of the guided tour and just wonder around ourselves. In the end we went to The Book of Kells and the Long Room. The book of Kells is the four books of Gospels of the New Testament in Latin each decorated differently due to the time period. Once we had finished with The book of Kells we moved onto the Old Library which consist of a Long Room full of Library’s oldest books stretching almost 65 metres.



We then moved onto Dublin Castle and the Chester Beatty Library. We ended up paying for the tour of Dublin Castle as it covered the medieval part of the castle, the chapel and the state apartments, if you do the self guided tour you only see the state apartments so it was worth paying a little extra to see the other parts of the castle. On the tour you start with the medieval section showing you parts of the castle that are still remaining and also the black pool that gave Dublin its name. Once we finished with the medieval part we then moved onto the chapel which is no longer in use, next up was The State Apartments that are still in use and close when need for state purposes. Within the grounds of the castle there is the Chester Beatty Library which is full of exhibitions full of  Asian, the Middle Eastern, North African and European artwork, manuscripts, rare books, prints and drawings.


Once we were done with the Castle we walked to  Christ Church Cathedral  which was beautiful with a crypt underneath it. The Cathedral has been used in many films and tv shows including the BBC drama The Tudors which had a display of their costumes in the crypt. After the Cathedral we walked to Kilmainham Gaol which we found out was sold out and you could only buy tickets from the Jail when it opened.


On our second day we grabbed breakfast and jumped on a tourist bus and went to Kilmainham Gaol and queued for almost three hours to get a time slot. While we were waiting for our time slot we walked across the road and went to the Irish Museum of Modern Art. If you end up getting tickets for the jail and you have some time to kill check out the museum. As you walk through the jail you are given information about the 1916 easter rising and those involved. Each cell has the persons name above the door many of the cells held people involved in the easter rising all apart from one were executed the only person who survived was a woman who was moved to an English prison and years later was released.


After the Gaol we walked to the Guinness Storehouse, we had heard mixed reviews about whether it was worth the 20 euros but after reading many reviews online we decided to give it ago. Starting on the ground floor you are given a brief introduction to Guinness and how to move around the building. The building is built like a Guinness glass so you are walking up in a spiral to eventually the top floor which has a 360 degree glass window so you can see all of Dublin at all angles. The museum covered how Guinness is made what goes into it and what machinery is used and how it has evolved over the years. The part I liked the best was the floor dedicated to the old adverts and seeing how Guinness’s branding has changed over the years. On the fourth floor you learn to pour the perfect pint and can then take your pint up to the top floor and drink it while looking at the beautiful view. On the way back to the hotel we jumped on the tour bus and finished the tour to our hotel got changed and made a plan for the evening.

I have also more photos on my instagram from the trip and will put up a post about the last day and a half later this week.

Bye for now



Kiko Haul


I was given a Kiko gift voucher for Christmas and finally got to go and have a look at what my local store had to offer.

I wear quiet a lot of lipstick so I thought it would be best to get some more lipliners in to match my current favourites.

First up the Creamy Colour Comfort Liners I got this in colours 302 and 307. Both these colours are close to Melon Pop my Clinque which I have almost finished and will need to repurchase soon and 110 in the Kate for Rimmel range which is a coral red toned lipstick. The liners go on nicely and do not feel chalky when applying. I also bought the Smart lipliner in 702 which is a brighter coral colour that will match many of my lipsticks, I also bought the Intensely Lavish lip liner in 03 this was in the sale and a beautiful red which making my mission to find the perfect red lippy much needed. All the packaging is simple but effective in black boxes like Mac for the Creamy Colours and a purple and pink rose gold box for the Intensely Lavish liner.

I am also a sucker for a nude eyeshadow and my L’oreal colour riche nude 206 had broken when I was away in Morocco and the Kiko High Pigment wet and dry eyeshadow is a lovely replacement in shade 16 its a bit darker than 206 but has plenty of shimmer. I used this on Saturday as a base and a highlighter and it looked great. I also bought the Long Lasting Stick in 35 which is a rose pink shimmery colour that you can use as a base or build up to get a more dramatic feel. I used this on my crease and the outer corners of my eyes which looked great and lasted all night. As I wanted a soft evening eye both of these products were perfect. The packaging is lovely the High Pigment eyeshadow is in a black box which has a wide clear area to see the colour and is easy to open, the eyeshadow stick is easy to use and  chunkier which is nice as you can get a better grip on the stick.

On first impressions I would return to Kiko they are reasonably priced and the quality of the make up is amazing with superb pigment for the price altogether I spent just under £30 for 6 products. If your looking for a good quality brand that doesn’t break the bank then have a look at Kiko.

Images taken on Cannon 600D , 18-55mm lens

Bye for now




Vogue 100 Exhibition


Last month I went to see the Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize exhibition and saw that Vouge 100 was being advertised. After trying to get in on Sunday I booked tickets and went on Tuesday.

Each room is dedicated to a year starting with 1920 and ending with 2010.

1920s- 1960s

Each of these rooms had the majority of their images in black and white with a handful of colour images. As you went through the 1920s room you saw drawings of items that would have been in the magazine or appeared as the magazine cover all in colour. When walking into the  1960s room more and more colour was being introduced and intensified with adventurous shots an aerial shot with  a girl surrounded by ten cars while standing on one. Walls were full of images of Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton the 60s it girls.


Going into the 1970s room was a huge difference from what the 60s produced with the photography breaking the mould with motion images with girls running with a pram her outfit in focus but the background blurred of a nurse walking near by also pushing a pram. The techniques used have also improved with bold and bright colours being intensified in the editing process and the photography copying what music was popular then with a dystopian theme which complimented Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust.

The 1980s room had evolved even more with a black model on a cover and the photo concepts breaking barriers like a woman only wearing a feather headdress covering her. The camera techniques were expanding as well with the playing of exposure to the image so more light would be let in and give the photo a softer feel to it. They also focused more on the accessories than just the clothing with images of muddy wellies in a field full of pink tulips.


Walking into the 1990s room I was surrounded by Kate Moss, celebrities on covers and the new supermodels. With images that were high glamour contrasting the black and white images it showed that times were changing from the bright and colourful 70s and 80s. The photographer used the backdrop to emphasize the clothes rather than just compliment them. If an outfit was black the backdrop would be bright to show off the intensity of the clothing, another image that I loved was how the photographer captured the texture of the dress while she was twirling her dress let out pink powder from the layers of the dress to create a pink cloud  as she spun.

The 2000s room focused on the special effects to the image like a plane coming through a living room wall while a woman posed while lying on a sofa, the picture was so colourful and eye catching you couldn’t look away. Another way the effects increased was through using after effects to touch up images making them look brighter and gritter giving them a more adventurous feel to them. More of the images focused on travel and different locations for the backdrops  with added props to draw your attention rather than a plain colour behind the outfit like the earlier images.

The last room was the 2010s which was the smallest room, in the images the use of after effects, photoshop and video were evident with colours being muted to pastels and black and white with a contrasted background. Images would have had the background intensified to match the striking outfit that was featuring.


I would recommend this  to anyone who loves a V&A, Somerset house and Kensington Palace fashion exhibition. The next exhibition I am going to see is the Fashion Rules Restyled at Kensington Palace which opened on the 11th February. The Vogue 100 exhibition runs till the 22nd May.

Bye for now



Being Gluten Free


After watching TalkBeckyTalk‘s video this morning it made me think about what advice I would have as in January I will be gluten free for two years due to pcos.


I started with reading the Atkins new you book which helped me think about the food I could eat and what carbohydrates to avoid.

For my birthday after I was diagnosed  I was given the Gwyneth Paltrow It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes that Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great, this is a great go to book as she is gluten free so all the recipes are going to make you feel great and she gives you an easy baked sweet potato recipe.

I recently bought the Deliciously Ella recipe book which I cannot stop using, if you want to make some great sweet treats then have a look at this book and her website. With a new book coming out in the new year I am defiantly going to buy it and keep my sweet tooth happy.



Over the years I have found it tricky to eat out always looking ahead of time at possible places to eat to have an idea of what I could order ( I ate a lot of salads)

Nandos – This is always a go to for me as it is all meat with a side of your choice, I normally go for a quarter or half chicken with salad on the side.

Pizza Express, Ask, Zizzi, Dominos -If you like pizza then don’t worry you can get your fix. Last christmas eve at a pizza express myself and my mum found that they started doing gluten free which meant we weren’t going to have to just have a salad like always. Dominos only does gf in a small when ordering.



Sainsburys, Tesco, Waitrose – Their free from sections will become your new best friend. I have gf bread (genius is the best brand we found), cereal( big oz uses buckwheat) , porridge,  frozen pizza and there are gf biscuits, and other sweet treats. I have also found that quourn do gf stuff like sausages and burgers which are nice.

If you are newly gluten and wheat free I hope this helped.

Bye for now



Winter Survival Kit


As the weather has gotten colder I started to think about what products get me through winter.

First up Cold and Flu medicines, this past week I have been dosing myself with Nurofen cold & flu, Beechams max strength all in one and Vitamin C tablets to try and beat this bug. I have also been drinking as much water as possible and added lemon juice to help soothe my throat. I’ve also been told zinc is meant to be good for colds as it helps the body heal quicker.

Last winter my skin was destroyed by the cold so this year I am upping my game and moisturising like crazy. I have stuck to my La Roche Posay anti redness moisturiser for my face which has worked great for a day cream and has UV protection, at night I have been going a bit mad with my Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream applying it under my eyes, under my nose, my lips, my knuckles  and my nails or anywhere else that needs it.

As I get cold easily I always layer up, recently I have not stopped wearing my blue and black checked New Look scarf from last year. This scarf has been my saviour these past few weeks as when I’m cold I just use it as a shawl when indoors. Although I have not started using my winter coat I cannot wait to use it soon as it is the cosiest woolen coat that has lasted me six years.

Bye for now