Raiin Monkey

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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Thankyou ♥

Hi lovelies! Today's post is potentially going to be a bit of an informal, rambley kind but we'll see how it turns out once I get into it, haha. If you follow me on Twitter, then you may have seen my tweets yesterday, about the fact that it marked my 3rd blogiversary and that also it happened to be a day when my mental health left me in a pretty shitty state of mind. Without sugar-coating things, last week was sort of a blur for me. Living with depression is often associated with feeling sad all the time, and whilst there are definitely moments like that, it's not really talked about how the mental illness can make you feel numb, like you are sort of just existing in what I can only describe as a world of nothingness. With that comes all sorts of feelings of guilt, etc... like why do I feel empty when 'this' happens, or why do I not feel happy right now when 'that' has taken place? I use this and that in my description because there are just so many examples, when you feel like you are supposed to have, for instance, a happy feeling but instead, you don't feel anything and are left thinking you are, for lack of a better word, broken....

Well my life for the last week or so has been like that, and with this comes all sorts of feelings of confusion, anger, guilt, but because you're not really able to emotionally work through these feelings, they are kind of repressed and once you start to get back into a ''normal'' head space, the feelings all hit you at once, it just makes life extremely overwhelming. Yesterday was like this for me and it was exhausting and all-consuming and bleak, and I wasn't in the right frame of mind to feel like celebrating. Then on top of that, I had a lot of negative thoughts about my blog, insecurities were surfacing that I'm sure all bloggers have from time-to-time, but given the way I was feeling anyway, I was just obsessing over these insecurities continuously throughout the day. I was wondering why people read my blog when I feel like it's such a mess... well, I feel like it's been poor quality this year, I don't really know how to sum up my feelings in one sentence, so bare with me XD

Thankyou for reading my blog!

I feel like I mention it a lot and I worry that people will get bored of hearing it, but this year has been so hard for me. Just when I felt like I was starting to make some progress with my mental health ''recovery'', I went through so much emotional turmoil that made me feel like I was back at square one again. It was a challenge to try and hold myself together. 2018 brought with it so many tough things to deal with, like my mom being ill (I don't feel like I'm in the right frame of mind to talk about it right now, but you can read more here), and another stressful situation involving family that I don't feel is my place to talk about online. As a result of the stress from everything going on, my mental illnesses were very much affected and in turn, my physical health conditions flared up, which of course put further strain on my mental health. I was in a cycle of physical and psychological pain and not really sure how to do anything about it. I felt powerless and lost, and trying to maintain a level of normalcy in my everyday life was proving more and more difficult. 

I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to try to carry on like I wasn't going through all of this, and when I couldn't do the things I usually did, I was beating myself up for it. I was trying to force myself to do things, and then this took much of the joy away from things that I used to find so fun. One of the hardest symptoms of depression is that it takes away your passion for things, they aren't as enjoyable anymore and you desperately try to ignite the love you felt for it, and it's devastating when you don't know if you'll feel it again. Sure, there are occasions when you feel truly happy but at the same time, the emotions often feel somehow muted, not as intense as they once were, and it really sucks! Sorry guys, this post is probably so miserable to read but I just felt compelled to let it all out, to share it with you all 

In my struggles, I stopped taking my anti-depressants because I just felt like they were doing nothing to help me, when I should have instead talked to my doctor about increasing the dosage, but my anxiety had gotten to the stage where I wanted to avoid all social situations that I find difficult enough as it is. I also felt like my local mental health services pretty much abandoned me, but maybe I'll talk about that another time. Nothing seemed to be going right in my life. I stopped being able to function properly; I didn't want to look after myself and I was finding it hard to put on a happy face around people. Things were only getting worse the more I kept trying to carry on with things whilst having no treatment for my mental health. I was struggling to keep myself out of self-destructive mindsets, which were telling me to just give up on everything I had worked so hard at and poured so much heart into, and one of these was blogging.

Thank you card from Whale and Bird

I love blogging! Having my blog has been so helpful for me over these last few years. When I was in a really bad place with my mental health after graduating from university and moving back home, I started my blog as a creative outlet, as a place for me to express myself and to write about all of the things that made me happy. I wanted to focus on the little things in life that brought me joy, and my blog become my little happy place. I was (and still very much am) delighted when other people started to read and comment on my posts and find joy in the same things that I did. I have met so many wonderful new friends through blogging and I love you all so much :) I feel like this year, I have really sucked at showing it though! I struggle with social interaction enough as it is, but with the way I've been feeling, I have just neglected so many things. Of course, this is not because I wanted to, I have just felt so much lack of control over my own life; I don't know how to express fully what it has felt like to be honest. Regardless, I have tried so hard to motivate myself and on a good day, I am glad that I have been able to get a blog post up. On a bad day though, which not to be dramatic but have literally taken up most of my year, I have not been able to find the motivation, the drive, the energy, whatever it is, to do it. No matter how much I have wanted to, despite having so many ideas in my head, I just cannot find the words, or more accurately I cannot find the passion to put it down on paper so to speak (put it down on... laptop, doesn't have quite the same ring to it :D haha!). 

Whenever my head is filled with the negative feelings I have about my blog, I always think about my lack of posts this year. I am forever questioning the quality of my writing or if it reads interesting or my personality shines through in my words, but I imagine that most bloggers feel like that once they have hit the publish button. For me, when I look at how many posts I've shared in my previous two years of blogging, and see all the content that I can look back on and be proud of, I feel good about my little space on the internet. It's not that I focus on quantity over quality or anything like that, but I like to look at my blog almost like an photo album or a diary, it lays out for me so many of the occasions in my life that I enjoyed enough to want to share with the world. It is lovely being able to look back through these happy times whenever I am feeling blue, but because I haven't been blogging in the same way this year, I don't get to do that. I know that there's still lots of posts, but for me it's almost like a diary with some of the pages torn out... 

I'm probably not making my blog sound like it's worth reading much in this post *insert several shy face monkey emojis here*. Oops, but now that I've probably embarrassed myself, I wanted to say the things that were my inspiration for this post in the first place. And that's thankyou. I wanted to give a huge thankyou to every single one of you that have stuck by me and my blog this year, despite the fact that I'm not as active online anymore and I barely share any posts. It means so much to me that you still tag me in your posts, and mention me in Friday Follows over on Twitter, that you all still remain my friends even though I am not around as much as I would like to be. All of these things, no matter how insignificant they may seem to some, have been very important for me, because they have kept me going with my blog when I felt like I should just give up with it. On some of my lowest days when I've felt like I was... forgettable, it has reminded me that there are people that actually like me :D I feel so shy writing this down (eeek!). So I just wanted to explain what's been going on with me, and maybe help someone else with similar thoughts and feelings know that they are not alone in their struggles. I am working my hardest to get things back on track with my blog and my life in general, and I am starting to see little improvements as I go. But yeah thanks for baring with me and for making it through reading this post. I cannot say thankyou enough and I will keep saying it if I continue writing, so it might be a good point to end it here XD haha. Happy three years to my blog and happy three years of knowing all of my awesome followers and friends! You guys make it special for me, you are all stars :) Here's to three more years of putting up with me! 


Thankyou for reading! 
(There I go again :p)


Also if you have a favourite thing about my blog or a favourite blog post/ type of blog post or anything like that, and you wanna share that with me, please let me know in the comments :) 

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Friday, 31 August 2018

August 2018 Kawaii & Geeky Wishlist

Hey lovelies! I hope you've all had a wonderful day, and that you have a fabulous weekend too! What are your plans? I don't plan on doing much of anything :D Well, other than binge watching some shows that I've been meaning to watch for ages! I know I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record now... but oh my gosh, how is it the end of another month!? 2018 is just speeding by! I am happy though because it's not long now at all until my favourite time of the year! In around twenty days, Autumn will be upon us and will bring with it all the glorious seasonal changes, as well as Halloween and my 26th birthday! Also, I think it's pretty cool that September 1st will fall on a Saturday this year, who agrees? I'm crossing my fingers that next month will be more productive than the last! So anyway, here's my monthly wishlist! I hope you all enjoy reading :) 



1) Funko Pop! Vinyl Audrey 2 Figure I actually squealed when Funko announced that they were going to make some Pop! Vinyl figures from the Little Shop of Horrors, and I fell in love as soon as I saw them! If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, you'll know that I absolutely love musicals, but what you might not know is that the Little Shop of Horrors is one of my favourites! It was the first musical that I ever remember seeing, I was around 6 years old when my dad accidently left a video tape on record and discovered that it had taped this fabulous musical. So I can sort of blame my dad for my lifelong love of musicals, haha! :) I want every single one of the Little Shop of Horrors Pop's that they have released, which include: Audrey 2, Seymour with a baby Audrey 2 in hand, Orin the Dentist, and Audrey Fulquad herself. They are all super awesome! I hope that Funko keep making figures of characters from musicals... I want Cats figures next!!

2) Vox by Christina Dalcher This book was recently recommended to me by the lovely Estelle over at Estellosaurus and it sounds right up my street! I know that it's not technically a geeky item, but it's something that's on my wishlist right now so I thought I'd include it anyhow. I have seen it likened to The Handmaid's Tale in quite a few reviews, and since that's one of my favourite TV Shows and I also loved the book by Margaret Atwood, I thought I'd give Vox a read next :) The dystopian genre is fast becoming my favourite type of novel to read, and this one sounds so interesting. The book's blurb reads: 'Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more, and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins. Now a new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you're a woman...'. I'll let you check out the rest for yourselves :) 

3) Farm Animals Origami Paper Folding Set I've been looking for some creative projects that I can get stuck into whenever I'm bored, to try and avoid me overthinking and letting my depressive thoughts consume my mind, and well, I'm not the best at art since I have crappy hand-eye coordination skills. I wanted to do something artsy that wasn't too much of a challenge, and since I love making 3D origami rabbits, I thought I'd have a go at making more animals. I recently scrolled across these origami sets on Tofu Cute, and they are just what I was looking for. It shows you how to make the most adorable cube animals, and at only £2.99, it's a bargain! 

4) Converse X Hello Kitty Trainers It's been so long since I bought myself a new pair of trainers and these black & pink platform trainers from the new Hello Kitty collection by Converse are the perfect excuse! They are so cute!! It would be amazing  if they released some Hello Kitty additions of the classic 'Chuck Taylor All Star' converse :) 

5) Tofu Cute Stationery Lucky Bag If you're just reading my blog for the first time, you won't know just how much I love surprises, especially in the form of blind bags, subscription boxes and lucky bags, but I seriously adore them! The novelty of not knowing what I'm going get has followed me into adulthood and I don't think it's something that I'm ever going to 'grow out of' :D Although you only have to look at my blog to see that I'm not a believer in restricting yourself to the confines of being an adult so to speak, I think that you should be able to love whatever you want to, and ignore anyone who wants to call your interests or tastes 'childish'! Anyhow before I get carried away with myself and end up ranting about that, let's talk about this awesome stationery lucky bag from Tofu Cute!! I have been hoping that they would bring out a stationery version of their lucky bags ever since they were first brought to my attention at Comic Con. The UK-based kawaii store sells a plushie and a snack lucky bag, and I am delighted that they now have a stationery one available! I will be getting myself one as soon as I can. You can check out what I got inside a Tofu Cute plushie lucky bags in one of my previous posts here

6) Jiji Necklace I love Etsy so much because it helps me find the most wonderful artists and stores! Last week, I came across an etsy seller called CherrylocoJewellery whilst searching for Studio Ghibli items, and fell in love with their Jiji the Cat Necklace! Jiji is a character from the Japanese animation movie Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), which is one of my top 5 Studio Ghibli movies! I don't see much merch of Jiji other than pin badges, so I would love to get myself one of these necklaces. I love how simplistic it is and how big Jiji's eyes are. It is such an eye-catching design in my opinion. It's also great that the artist is UK based so I can avoid paying any of those pesky customs fees with my order! Who else is a fellow Ghibli fan? Let me know your favourite of their movies in the comments :) 

7) Blushsprout Hamtaro Pin Badges I am so so so over the moon that Blushsprout has released a collection of Hamtaro pins for pre-order! Hamtaro is a super adorable anime about hamsters, and it was one of my favourite shows as child/teenager. I even named one of my pet Syrian hamsters Hamtaro after the main character! The show will forever hold a place in my heart, and whenever I see anything to do with it, it instantly puts a smile on my face! I am super happy about these pins and I really want to order all of them!! There's all 14 of the Ham-Ham Gang, plus four bonus pins including three magical hamsters and the Ham-chat dictionary. The pins are based on the Hamtaro DS games, as well as from the anime, and they are all so pretty! I chose to use the photo of Sandy in my wishlist because she was one of my most favourite Hamtaro characters :) The pre-order price per pin is $10 and it's so hard for me to only pick a handful of them, so I'm having a real dilemma right now! Can I justify spending close to £100 on pin badges at once!? Help

8) Funko The Nightmare Before Christmas Mystery Minis It wouldn't be one of my wishlists if it didn't feature more than one vinyl figure, haha! I have a problem XD But lately Funko have been releasing the most amazing The Nightmare Before Christmas products in celebration of the Tim Burton movie's 25th anniversary! This is the third series of TNBC Mystery Minis that the company have made, and I have already decided that they are my favourite because of the chibi design of the characters. I want to collect them all! They are not available in the UK yet but you can pre-order them. It is estimated that stock will be expected in October which will be in perfect timing with Halloween around the corner! I'll end my August Kawaii & Geeky wishlist with a question :) It has been regularly debated amongst fans whether TNBC is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie... What do you think? 



Thankyou for reading! 



What's on your wishlist this month? 

Also, which is your favourite of the items that I've featured in this post?


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Thursday, 23 August 2018

Scent Circus Wax Melts Review*

Happy Thursday Everyone! Today's post is one that I've been really looking forward to sharing with you guys! I have been lusting over the wonderful, colourful products by Scent Circus* for so long now and so you can imagine how delighted I was when they offered to send me a box of goodies! I can't wait to show you all these gorgeous wax melts. They are so bright and eye-catching, smell amazing, and are super photogenic, which is always a bonus for getting the perfect Instagram snap! 


Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

Scent Circus is a UK based company that specialise in making wax melts, or wax tarts, and they have such awesome variety! Not only are their products super cool and designed to fit a particular theme, but they are also really affordable. All of the wax melts they sell are under £2 each, and very much exceed the price in quality and fragrance! The company come up with such lovely and quirky scents for their melts, and make sure they look fabulous too! To top that all off, the products by Scent Circus are made from soy wax, meaning they are cruelty-free and more environmentally-friendly They are a great alternative to other popular wax melts and personally I think they look so much better ;)

I was lucky enough to receive six wax melts from Scent Circus, who asked me which of their range I was most interested in. As a lover of anything fairytale and fantasy related, I had had my eyes on the Mad Hatter's Tea Party collection ever since I'd heard of it. Alice In Wonderland is one of my favourite classic fantasy stories; it's just so wonderfully peculiar and fun, and I was very curious about how Scent Circus would materialise this fantastical world into wax melt form. As you can see in my photograph above, they've done a marvellous job with the visual side of the collection! 


Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

The Alice in Wonderland themed collection is just so aesthetically pleasing, with the loveliest food themed details... the wax melts literally look good enough to eat! Wouldn't you agree? haha :D I love how each of them is unique and has its own signature scent. Keep reading to learn more about each of the wax melts I got. (Also, check out how adorable my new Funko Rock Candy figure of Alice is, I just love it so much)!


Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

I decided it's only right to talk about this wax melt featuring Alice herself first since she's the protagonist of the children's novel by Lewis Carroll, and therefore the star of the show! I love the traditional Victorian dress she's wearing, and I also really like how the shape of the wax melt makes me think of old fashioned picture frames, especially with the border. It's a nice touch that the wax melt is blue, since that's the colour theme we most associate with Alice because of her dress and bow colour in the original Disney adaptation. This wax melt is called Adventures of Alice which is definitely fitting of it's design. When I first smelt this wax melt, I reminded me of Blackberries. I really liked this as blackberries always remind me of forests, and this seemed perfect since Alice has to travel through forests in the story. Upon checking the Scent Circus website, I discovered that the fragrance is actually 'black raspberry and vanilla' so blackberries isn't too far off. It's a lovely scent :) 

Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

This next wax melt is called Down The Rabbit Hole, and the first thing I loved about it was how bright yellow it is! Yellow is such a cheerful colour, and so I think a wax melt like this one would be perfect for using on a gloomy day when it's raining outside to bring a little bit of sunshine into your life :) I don't know what it is about old-fashioned and ornate keyholes but I find them so aesthetically pleasing. I, again, am a fan of this shape and the edging/border, because most wax melts I've seen have always been round. When I initially smelt this melt (hehe, cheeky rhyme there), the scent reminded me of those fruit salad sweets, and I thought I could make out a mild undertone of something like tootie fruitie. However when I smelt it a couple of days later when I hadn't just been sniffing all of the other melts around the same time, I instantly knew it was rhubarb and custard that I could smell. I love the scent of custard so much and rhubarb just adds that little extra tang as the Scent Circus website wonderfully describes. This wax melt has to be one of my favourites out of all the ones I received, because of both the fragrance and the look! 


Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

An Alice in Wonderland themed collection wouldn't be complete without one of the most iconic quotes from the story. It is certainly one of my favourites and so I really liked this feature. I loved that the Cheshire Cat design was so detailed for such a small wax melt, and especially liked his stripes. This melt is named the Cheesy Grin and my first impressions of its fragrance was that it was super sweet, which is right up my street. I always opt for sweet, food themed candles and such. The scent personally made me think of traditional Shortbread biscuits, but with a stronger sniff, I thought I could make out the scent of jam. This made me wonder whether the intended scent was something like Afternoon Tea, with cream and jam scones. When I referred to the Scent Circus website, I learnt that the fragrance is actually cheesecake... 'Say cheese...cake! A delicious cheese cake fragrance.'. I'm lovin' the play on words there and think this is such a great scent for the theme of the melt! I definitely couldn't smell cheesecake myself, but to be honest I don't eat it enough for the scent to be recognisable to me. It is nonetheless a very yummy fragrance and makes me hungry :D 


Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

With the colour of this wax melt, I really couldn't guess what the fragrance might have been, which is always a little exciting. However, I could smell lime as soon as I took the Wacky Wonderland melt out of it's packaging and I thought it was such a refreshing change after the other three scents, not that I don't love them! The smell of lime always reminds me of traditional chocolate lime sweets, which are delicious and so if I haven't got any of the sweets themselves, this is the next best thing, right? :D I love the bottle and clock details and I think they match well with the name given to the wax melt. They make me think of the Drink Me scene and I love that! After having a nosey on the website, I found that this wax melt is actually designed after the 'drink me' theme too so that's cool, but what would have made it even better for me would have been if the wax melt itself was shaped like a bottle! Also reading the product description let me know that the fragrance is supposed to be '...fizzy cola with a slice of lime'. I really couldn't smell the cola though. Regardless of that, I think the melt smells wonderful! 

Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

Yayy! We've reached my most favourite wax melt of the lot! I really really love the design of this wax melt. The colour scheme of pink and yellow is one of my favourites, and the Jammie Dodger look is just fabulous! I like how the colour shades chosen are pastel too, so they are still cheerful but very pretty as well! This was the wax melt at the top of my list, and I'm so happy that I now have it. It's called the Takes The Biscuit melt; how awesome is that name!? I wasn't sure what the fragrance was going to be, whether they were going to opt for a matching jammie-dodger-esque scent or something a little different. I was over the moon to smell marzipan as soon as I sniffed the melt, because I love the stuff and have always enjoyed the scent of it! Who else is a fan of marzipan? Scent Circus describes the fragrance as 'Get the (tea) party started with this sweet almond and macaroon biscuit melt', and I can say that they did a perfect job with the scent :) I would so rather get the tea party started! I have wanted to have myself a little Mad Hatter themed tea party since I was a kid. 


Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

Another wax melt that I was really interested in trying was one from the company's Crazy Kitten range. I opted for Banana Milkshake because a) it's my favourite flavour of milkshake, and b) because I haven't seen a lot of banana themed scents for either candles nor wax melts. I adore cats and so the theme also appealed to me. As with the Down the Rabbit Hole melt, I very much like the vibrant yellow shade they've chosen, even though they are slightly different yellows, I just like how eye-catching they are! It's awesome how a colour can affect your mood, and this wax melt is certainly uplifting to look at. I do really like the fragrance of this melt, but I have to admit I was hoping for a more artificial banana scent, like those foamy banana sweets or actual milkshake. The melt smells to me like real banana and is reminiscent of a smoothie, which is still great of course. I am one of those weirdos who likes banana sandwiches XD and whenever I smell this Crazy Kitten melt, I picture those. I can't be the only one who likes them... let me know if you're a lover or a hater in the comments guys! 


Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

Before I tell you all about my thoughts after using the wax melts, I just wanted to share my opinions on the packaging. My wax melts arrived to me in a thin cardboard box, which I feel has both it's pros and cons. The advantage being that it can fit through your letter box (well if you only order up to six wax melts) so you don't have to be home when it arrives or answer the door to the postman (yay for my fellow socially awkward people!). The only problem with this kind of box, which is too thin to be able to fill with padding like bubble wrap, means that your wax melts could get damaged. Mine luckily arrived in perfect condition :) Scent Circus offer all postage for £1.95 which is amazing if you do a big haul because the price never changes, but I'm thinking that £1.95 for a smaller package means that it might be special delivery mail and therefore less likely to get damaged on it's travels. 

Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

Inside my box, I was greeted with this gorgeous paper wrapping decorated with the company's name in the coolest font! I am such a fan of the circus theme!! They kept it up inside the rest of the packaging too because it was filled with colourful confetti and the admission ticket that you can see in my photographs :) I think this was such a brilliant little touch! It's actually a coupon, and you get one with every order so that you can collect them. If you get 10, you can claim a free box of melts, which is just fabulous!! Okay, so now it's time to talk what I thought of the wax melts in use... are they as good as they look? 


Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

I decided to just use two of the wax melts, because I absolutely love the products and didn't want to use them up quickly! I will be doing a review of the other four melts in a future post, but for now let's talk about Cheesy Grin and Down the Rabbit Hole. Firstly, I wanted to mention how strong the scents of these wax melts are. I've never used soy wax products before and so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I did not think that the fragrance would be so good. I really liked that they filled the room with sweet scents but I didn't find them so overwhelming that I had to blow them out after a couple of hours. The scent seemed to fill the whole upstairs of my house when I was burning them in my bedroom, but I wasn't complaining because my hallway smelt of cheesecake for a few hours after using the wax melt. I used one tealight with the Down the Rabbit Hole wax melt and it took around half an hour to fully melt because the candle wasn't very strong, however with the Cheesy Grin I used two tealights and in just over 10 minutes, it had melted. The website stated that the melts last for '...at least 8 hours' but they lasted for so much longer. I was using each of them for days! 

The Down the Rabbit Hole wax melt smelt lovely, it was very sweet and I could mostly smell custard. The rhubarb was more subtle, and I could only really pick it up when I was standing close to my oil/wax burner. I was worried that I would get a headache from the strength of the fragrance, especially because it was powerful even when the melts were inside their individual plastic wraps, but I didn't and my room smelt amazing! It was lovely to relax and watch movies in a room filled with the smell of sweet treats. I'm very much looking forward to using the others. The Cheesy Grin wax melt was a lot stronger than the Down the Rabbit Hole one, but other than that, it was very similar to the other wax melt in terms of melting process and longevity. My favourite thing about the Scent Circus wax melts was that the fragrance didn't fade away after several hours of melting, like I have experienced with other brands. It smelt the same all the way up until there was only a little wax left in the oil burner. Basically the quality of these wax melts is just fantastic! They are most definitely as good as they look, if not better :) 


Scent Circus Wax Melt Review

Overall, I am impressed with the design and fragrance quality of the wax melts that Scent Circus sent me. I cannot recommend them enough, and I'm very much looking forward to trying out some of their other collections. They have some unicorn and mermaids products that I have my eyes on! The company actually sell gift boxes for many of their collections, including the whole Mad Hatter's Tea Party range which contains 14 wax melts for only £17.80. With Christmas not that far away now, I think that these boxes would make marvellous gifts for your loved ones. Another cool thing about Scent Circus is that they will send you a freebie wax melt with every order and who doesn't love a freebie? 

I just want to say a big thankyou to Scent Circus for working with me and for sending me some of your wonderful products, I love them all so much! I hope you guys all enjoyed reading my post! You should totally go treat yourselves to some of these wax melts :)



Thankyou for reading!



Are you a fan of wax melts? 

Have you ever used any from Scent Circus? 
I'd love to hear about your favourites! 




(*) All posts/content marked with an asterisk signify that the item(s) featured have been gifted or sent to me for the purpose of review. I have kindly been sent the products featured in this post to review. See my full disclaimer here

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Thursday, 9 August 2018

My Thoughts After Reading the Harry Potter Books

Hello guys! How's your day been? I've spent mine getting some photography done, writing notes and ideas for a story I'm currently working on, and I also watched my favourite Studio Ghibli movie, Mononoke Hime aka Princess Mononoke. Did you know that today is National Book Lovers Day? I thought this would be the perfect day to share a post that I've been thinking of writing for ages now. Last month, I finished reading the last of the seven Harry Potter novels. I only ever read the first two back when I was in primary school, and I'd been wanting to read the rest for years. So when I spotted the entire book set for only £30 on Amazon, I bought them right away!! Even though I thoroughly enjoyed the books, and at the moment, they are one of my favourite series, there were still some things that I disliked, or things that I loved about the movie adaptations. I wanted to share my thoughts with you guys! Obviously, this post is going to contain spoilers, so if you would rather avoid them, why not check out my recent Comic Con haul post? For those of you sticking around, I hope you enjoy reading! 


Harry Potter Books



Severus Snape has always been my No.1 Harry Potter character, ever since I saw the first movie at the cinema when I was around 10 years old. This is probably because I have forever loved anti-heroes and have always rooted for the villains. I also put it down to the fact that Snape was played by the incredible Alan Rickman and he did an amazing job of the character, even though he was much older than the Snape in the books. I'm not gonna lie, I totally have a bit of a voice fetish when it comes to Alan Rickman XD I always have done so that certainly helped Snape win my love too, haha! How can you not love that voice though seriously!? But yeah, reading the books just made me love Snape even more! He's such an interesting character, and I find myself just wanting to know more and more about him. I still have so many questions! 

Something that I loved about the books was the pets! In the movies, it seems like the owls, cats, rats and toads are just in there to stay true to the books and to keep fans happy, and basically to look pretty. We don't really get to know much about their personalities or see them very much either, other than Scabbers because of Peter Pettigrew's storyline. However, in the novels, the animals have so much character and they mentioned quite a lot. They even play integral roles in the plot. For example, Crookshanks plays a big part in Prisoner of Azkaban when he befriends Sirius and helps him try to catch Pettigrew. We also get to see more of Hedwig's cheeky personality in the books. The movies let the pets down in my opinion. What do you think? 

I love how much more we learn about the Marauder's gang in the books! Lupin was another of my favourite characters, and Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite of the movies and also the books, so it was nice to discover about it in more detail than the movies give us. He is so sweet :) However, when it comes to the James and Sirius, I never really liked them much anyway, and after reading the books, I haven't changed my mind. They were bullies and as someone who has experienced bullying myself throughout my childhood, this made me unsure about whether I liked them or not. I know that people can grow up and regret that they were once mean to people, but I don't know, I just also find both characters to be pretty arrogant. I'm just not a fan of their personalities in general, even though Sirius' interactions with and love for Harry are endearing, I'm still not big on the characters. Also, how did James Potter end up with someone as lovely as Lily!? 

I really like Emma Watson's Hermione in the movies and think that Warner Brothers did a great job with her character, but something that I liked about book Hermione was how relatable I found her. As the years go by and her personality develops more, we start to see the strong and confident Hermione that we knew and love from the films, who isn't afraid to let people know what's what. However, in the book Hermione comes across as quite an anxious girl, someone who likes to know all the answers to help her feel more prepared to face the world around her. Her 'bossiness' was much more from a place of not wanting to break the rules or be caught in dangerous situations, rather than because she was a know-it-all sort of person. I like book Hermione more than movie Hermione :)

On the subject of actors, I think that Fred & George were perfectly cast in the movies. James & Oliver Phelps did such an amazing job of portraying the Weasley twins spot-on! I couldn't picture anyone else as I was reading the books. They are such cheerful and hilarious characters, you can't not love them!? 

For a long time, I have heard people in the Harry Potter fandom talk about how much of a crappy job the movies did with Ginny Weasley, and after reading the books, I can definitely say that I agree! They really didn't do Ginny's character justice; she's so strong-willed and brave and a lot like her mother (who is also a fantastic character!), and they just didn't really put much emphasis on building her character or her relationship with Harry. They just sort of fell together and ended up married at the end, when it seem from the movie that Harry should have gotten with Cho. In the books, we see their relationship develop and get to read Harry's internal thoughts about being jealous when he sees her with other boyfriends and when he starts realising his feelings for her, etc. I love how book Ginny doesn't let anyone walk over her, she's sassy and she's determined, and it's clear to see why her and Harry make a good match. 


Harry Potter Books

Another aspect of the books that we got to see a lot more intricacy for was Voldemort's backstory. There's just so much more detail, and we get to really learn how his character developed to turn him into the cruel and ruthless person he is by the time we get to the Battle of Hogwarts. It's a shame that they left out The Gaunts, Tom Riddle's mothers family, because I really enjoyed their parts in the character's history. Being able to follow Voldemort's early life and experiences helps you to understand how he became what he did, and it just adds more dimensions to him. Again, he is another villain that I can't help but like. Who doesn't love a good bad guy though!? 

After watching the movies, it is easy to have a love-hate opinion of Draco Malfoy. It just seems that he is actually more of a product of his family situation and that behind the hard and judgemental exterior, he's just a lost little boy who doesn't know how to escape his fate (I totally just thought about the band Escape the Fate after typing that, the emo days are never truly over! :D haha). I thought that by reading the books, I would see this side to him even more, but the books just clarified for me why I dislike Draco. I think he's a great character because again, fantasy stories need a good bad guy, but after reading all of the novels, I just found Draco to be more nasty and I found it tough as his character grew older and experienced life more to blame his cruel comments and actions solely on his background. He's a meanie! It's just impossible not to love Tom Felton, who plays Draco in the movies.  

Going back to the Marauder's gang, something that I really enjoyed about them was that they all learnt how to become Animagus to help Remus whenever it was a full moon and thus he turned into a werewolf. I loved learning all about this in the books, about why they did it and about the origins of their nicknames: Padfoot, Prongs, Wormtail and Moony. I am really fascinated by Animagus and I wish that we would have got to discover more about Professor McGonagall's abilities, and to be honest I would have liked to learn more about her character in general because she's so mysterious. Who is she!? What was her life journey like before she came to Hogwarts? I guess we'll never know :') 

I was expecting my opinion of Dumbledore to change after reading the books, because of what I'd heard people saying about why they disliked him. The book goes into a lot more detail about how Dumbledore used Harry as a weapon to destroy Voldemort when he knew that he was putting him in severe danger, basically 'raising him for the slaughter'. On the other hand, I found that I liked Dumbledore more after reading the books. I love how much of his backstory we got to discover and in the scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry believes he's dead and is talking to Dumbledore in that strange  heaven-esque version of King's Cross Station, he was so much more remorseful about how he had used Harry than he was in the movie. He is a very intelligent and skilled wizard, and even though he had a bad past, so did Severus and he's my favourite, so I can't seem to dislike him! I do think the way he went about things sucked. It really  gets you thinking about the ethics of potentially sacrificing one to save many. Do you like or dislike Dumbledore? I'd love to hear you opinion on the whole thing! I can't wait for us to get a glimpse of young Dumbledore in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movie :) 

I could include so many more points on this post, but it's already gotten super long so I'll just share one more! Books will always be better than movies, or they will for me. You can never include everything in a movie adaptation, and there will always be a fan who is annoyed about a specific detail being left out because it was meaningful or important to them. Almost all of my thoughts on the Harry Potter novels are about how much more intricate something was in the books, and how I wish the producers had included specific things or put more emphasis on characters. However there are some parts of the books, and thus the movies too, that I wish happened differently. The first 'complain' that pops in my head is the death of Remus Lupin & Nymphadora Tonks. I know that they died fighting for a great cause and that they will be remembered as heroes and for their roles in the Order of the Phoenix, but I just hate that we didn't get to follow their last moments, that we didn't get to read about their bravery and how they fought until the end. We just got to see/read about Harry entering Hogwarts and seeing that they had been killed, and I just feel like this was such a sad way to hear about the loss of two beloved characters. How do you feel about this scene? 

Okay, so I'm going to stop writing now! I have so much more to say, does anyone want a part 2? haha! I have only just finished the books and after writing this post, I just really want to pick them up again! It doesn't help that I am also writing a fanfic novella branching off the Harry Potter story at the moment. I'm having a lot of fun though :) I'm really happy that I've managed get back into reading again, because it's something that my depression had caused me to loose my passion for. I am now excited to read whatever I choose next, I'm considering The Lord of the Rings novels by JRR Tolkien. Would you guys recommend them? 

Thankyou for reading!


♥ 

Have you ever read the Harry Potter books? 

If so, which did you most enjoy? If you've just seen the movies, which is your favourite?

I'd also love to hear what you enjoyed more about the books? 
And if there was anything that you wished was done differently? 


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Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Mystery Blogger Award

Hey lovelies! I hope you've all been having a wonderful day :) I've spent most of my day so far working on a story that I'm writing at the moment. It's a fanfic because I'm a nerd through and through, haha! Have you ever written any fanfiction? Do you like to read it? Last week, the lovely Natalee over at There Might Be Coffee tagged me to do the Mystery Blogger Award and so that's what today's post is going to be! The original creator of this awesome tag was Okoto Enigma. Thankyou very much for the tag Nat I hope you all enjoy reading my answers! 


The rules of the Mystery Blogger Award are as follows... 

1) Display the logo/image of the award on your blog post,

2) Share a list of the rules,

3) Thank whoever nominated you to take part in the award & link to their blog,

4) Mention the original creator of the award & link to their blog,

5) Tell the readers three things about yourself.

6) Nominate 10-20 people, and notify them by commenting on their blog,

7) Ask your nominees any five questions, with one being weird or funny (let readers know which one that is),

8) Share a link to your best posts.


Three facts about me! 

My favourite books are the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. 

I am an avid collector of so many things, but my favourite things to collect are vinyl figures/toys and at the moment I own 56 Funko Pop! Vinyl figures in my ever-growing collection! 

I am a huge fan of musicals and I can be found randomly busting into song at least 80% of the time :D


Here are the questions Nat asked me... 

Q1. What is one thing you are really looking forward to this year? It can be as big or small as you wish. 

Since the start of the year, I most look forward to attending my local MCM Comic Con at Manchester, but that took place this weekend just gone, and I had a fabulous time! I shared a post yesterday all about what goodies I picked up there :) Other than that, my best friend & I are going to see The Rasmus in concert in October and I'm super excited!! I first heard this awesome Finnish rock band back when I was 11 years old (when their song In The Shadows was released) and it just ignited the alternative side of my personality that I was so eager to express! I loved their music a lot in my early teens and they also gave me a passion for listening to music by foreign artists. It's gonna be super nostalgic to finally see them live after all these years! Who's a fellow fan of The Rasmus? What's your favourite song by them? 

Q2. Who is your oldest/best friend? I want you to tell me how you two met and a funny moment you both share.

My best friend is called Jess and she's also a fellow blogger (check out her blog here). We met at high school and became the best of friends in Year 8 when we discovered that we shared a mutual love for lots of the same musicians, particularly Matt Willis from Busted. I still vividly remember the moment that we both realised this shared love for him, back when celeb crushes and teen angst music was our entire world :D Hmmm... it's so tough to choose just one funny moment, there are so many! One of the most recent though was when we were in Frankie & Benny's enjoying a meal and I was trying to describe a song to her, and as I'm in full song, our waiter walked over to ask if we were enjoying our food/needed anything, and I basically serenaded him! So that was lovely and embarrassing!! I pretty much shouldn't be allowed out in public! 

Q3. If you could be a biscuit, which biscuit would you be? (funny question!)

For an entire week now, I have constantly been pondering over which type of biscuit I most relate to, so thanks for that Nat! :p I finally came to the conclusion that I'd have to be a Smarties chocolate chip cookie! a) because I love sweet things! and b) because I am filled with an eclectic, random assortment of quirks, and I think Smarties are the best way to represent that fact. Haha, reading back my answer is reminding me how much of a dork I am XD I craving a Smarties chocolate chip cookie so much now though! 

Q4. What band/artist would you like to see before you die? 

I'd have to say the band Nightwish because I absolutely love their music and they have been one of my favourite bands for a long time, yet I've never had the opportunity to see them. Some of their lyrics and instrumentals just fill me with such strong emotion when I'm listening to it, so I can't imagine how it's going to make me feel in person. It would be amazing to find out! 

Q5. As it is the summer holidays, what is your favourite childhood memory from your six weeks off school? 

I can't actually pinpoint one specific memory from the six weeks holidays. I didn't go on any vacations with my family then because it was so expensive to book them for June/July as everyone wanted to go on holiday then, so we always went earlier in the year! All of my childhood memories of summer days off school are filled with the games that I would play with my friends on the park behind the houses on my street, and in some of the fields nearby. When the council would send someone to cut the grass on the park, afterwards we'd collect all of the lumps of freshly-cut grass left behind and make 'forts'. We'd spilt into teams and pretend we were battling to protect our fort from invasion. We'd make huge piles of the cut grass in our forts to throw at the opposing team whenever they tried to get close XD Other than that, we'd spend weeks building the perfect den, searching around for materials to use for it like wooden boards and such, and in the end our dens were usually taken over my teenagers or something after all our hard work! :O My summers were filled with a lot of bike rides, getting stuck in trees and looking for frogs and bugs :D 

Ooops, I'm going to defy the rules and only tag three fabulous bloggers...





My five questions for you guys to answer...

1) Do you collect anything? If so, what? 

2) If you were going to change your name, what would you change it to? 

3) What was your favourite childhood cartoon, and why did you love it? (I find it a challenge to choose just one! So if you're like me, change this to Top 5). 

4) Tell us the weirdest thing that you like the smell/taste/feel of (this is my weird question).

5) Name your go-to song(s) when you're feeling down and/or need a good cry. 


And finally, here are my top three posts... 






Thankyou for reading!



Please feel free to do this tag too if you want, 
& be sure to tag me so I can check out your answers!

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