Monday, 7 December 2015

Christmas Gift Guide for a University Student

As I sat down trying to think of present ideas for my friends and family I realised that I am so much better at thinking of ideas for things that I would love for myself. So I thought if you have any friends or siblings or significant others that are at uni at the moment, it would be helpful for me to give you some ideas of presents they will LOVE.

Blender - I have discovered since being away from home that it is very hard to get fruit and veg into my diet, recently I have made more of an effort to do so and I have noticed such a difference and felt a lot brighter. An easy way to incorporate healthy food into your diet is to make smoothies, so a blender is top of my list this christmas. I love this one from Breville, the size means it is perfect for a breakfast smoothie I can have to go on the way to a lecture. Also it's pretty darn cheap at just under £20 and my flatmate has one so I know it's good value for money.

Diffuser - You may or may not be aware of my utter obsession with candles, but unfortunately we aren't allowed to burn them here :( but the next best thing is a diffuser. This one from Next is amaaazing, but if you're unsure go and give them a good sniff for yourself. I find the best ones are light floral scents with just something deeper to them. That way your room smells clean but it's still clear that there is a fragrance there. At £15 it seems a bit expensive, but my family have bought me diffusers from Next in the past and they just last forever.

Mug - You can never go wrong with a mug for christmas, I have quite the unhealthy obsession with mugs as I'm sure my Mum would tell you. I couldn't resist including this adorable 'Long Distance' mug which is so perfect for your friend or sister that is at Uni or just lives far away. They would be soooo cute to drink from when you're skyping or just when you miss them and want to feel connected to them. These are pretty decently priced at £20 for the two, the only thing is that you'll have to get in early as sometimes Etsy orders can take a very long time to arrive. 

Make-Up - When you're living on a budget, make-up seems like the most unjustifiable thing to splash out on, so this year I have put a few staple (and a teeny bit pricey) products that I know I will use and love. Benefit 'Roller Lash' mascara is an ultimate favourite of mine and I've also asked for an  eyeshadow palette because these are so handy to take back and forth from Uni rather than awkwardly carrying a million individual paint pots. I love the look of this one from NYX called the 'Dream Catcher' palette, I really like to venture out of the Urban Decay Naked zone and I have heard very good things about NYX. £13 makes it an absolute must as well!

PAJAMAS! - I can't think of anything better than receiving a lovely cosy set of pyjamas for Christmas. I practically live in pajamas whilst I'm at Uni, they make horrible essays and reading just a little bit more bearable. These two from ASOS are adorable and quirky, basically the perfect type of pyjamas. This is an easy, please all present.

So there you have it, my take on what your uni friend/sister/daughter/girlfriend wants for Christmas! All links are availible if you click on the item you like. I hope you're all doing well and starting to get into the festive spirit because I certainly am! Leave me a comment with what's on the top of your christmas wish list :)


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Book Review: I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Hello, remember me?? I disappeared for about three weeks but now I'm back! Uni has been a lot to cope with and adjust to so that has meant my blog has taken a back seat for a while. I do really want to get back into blogging though, it's a shame to just leave it after almost two years. (I know! Crazy!)

Today I have a book review for you, as you may know I adored 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak and 'I am the Messenger' has been on my TBR for a very very long time. I finally got round to reading it after living in fear that it would not quite match up to my one and only. 

The general gist of the story is that average, card playing cab driver Ed Kennedy's life gets turned upside down when he successfully stops a bank robbery and starts receiving playing cards in the post which set him challenges to help the lives of others in the town. Along the way he learns a lot about not only the people he helps but about himself too. 

Ed is very loveable just as the characters in 'The Book Thief' were, and the stories of the people he helped really touch your heart. Each character has so much depth, at first I hated Ed's friends and his Mum but as the story goes on you learn why they are that way. It teaches you that everyone has their own fight going on whether you can see it or not. To be honest I really didn't like Audrey, Ed deserves someone waaay better who actually cares about him and doesn't leave him dangling as she does through the entire plot. Yes she does have more depth to her but I despise female characters whose lives revolve around which man they're going to be with next.

Overall the book was really enjoyable: a nice easy read but with a lot to learn. I would recommend it if only to restore your faith in humanity. It is so important to do little things to help out other people. maybe not in the massive way Ed does but just little things to remind other people that they are not alone. Markus Zusak is a very talented writer and although 'The Book Thief' remains my favourite book written by him, this still is worth reading and supplied my demand for more of his gorgeous writing.

Have you read anything by Markus Zusak? I want to know what I should read by him next, or if you love his work just as much as I do (or not!). Leave me a comment!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

University Book Haul

So, I made it! A week has passed now and I am feeling WAY more settled than I thought I would be. My classes don't actually start until tomorrow but as I was lucky enough to collect my books for the course, and I thought it would be rude not to share them with you!

As you can see there is a lot of heavy reading in store for me. I am currently trying to wade my way through 'The Odyssey' which is very beautiful but also all consuming, definitely not a light read! However, I guess this is a great place to throw me in and I graciously accept the challenge.

I have been dying to get around to reading Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' so I am thrilled that this is also on the course, Also we have some other classics: 'Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'Dracula'. But the other's seem a bit of a mystery to me.

Collecting these books has made me really excited to delve into the course, I think it's important for any reader to visit the routes of literature (hence why I chose this course) and now I have the chance to. I am considering writing posts about a few of these books as I go if only to tempt those considering a Literature degree. If this is something you would want, let me know in the comments.

At the moment I am trying to work out a routine to blog, I will keep you posted with any changes I decide to make. I hope you're all having a lovely day and if you're at school/sixth form/university I hope you're settling in well :D

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I am a self confessed fan of Rainbow Rowell, 'Fangirl' and 'Eleanor and Park' are two of my favourite books that I have ever read! So when I started to hear about 'Landline' as being something more adult I had to give it a go. 

The thing that I love about Rainbow Rowell's books is that she has this incredible way with creating characters which are so real and loveable that you need to read until the end just to see if they are ok. She showed off this talent even further in 'Landline' as a huge part of the book is just phone calls between the main character Georgie and her husband Neal, but even through this you feel as if they are real people as their personalities are so complete down to the minute detail. 

The concept of the story is that Georgie discovers a 'magic' landline in her family home where she can call Neal from the past which she uses to change the mess they have found themselves in in present day. I have to be completely honest and say that this just didn't work for me. I didn't really get the whole idea for a long time and thought it kind of detracted from the many other parts of the plot such as Georgie's job writing an up and coming show, her dysfunctional family and the strained relationship with her husband. The use of the phone calls was a really clever way for Rainbow to form her characters and their relationship but personally I don't really think the time travelling bit was necessary.

That being said it was definitely was it was hyped up to be: a signature Rainbow Rowell book but with an adult spin with much more adult problems. It was really enjoyable to read and to get to know these characters who were really three dimensional and interesting. 

Rainbow also has another book out called 'Attachments' which is said to be similar in the sense that it's adult rather than YA so I will definitely be giving that a go. I'm desperately trying to catch up before she releases any more so I can truly call myself a superfan which I most definitely am.

Leave me a comment to let me know if it is just me who didn't get the whole magical phone thing, or if you've read 'Attachments' and think it's worth a read!

Remember you can also follow me on BlogLovin and Twitter so you will never miss a post! 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Life Update: Off to Uni!!

The day has finally come, as of today I am officially an undergraduate!! I am studying English Literature at the University of Essex and I couldn't be more excited to throw myself into books and reading for the next three years. As you can tell from this blog, reading is a huge part of my life and it is so lovely to be able to learn more about it and hopefully get a job involving books. 

I am literally the last of my friends, or anyone I know for that matter, to be going so I have been getting very restless especially over this last week but I know I will be fine once I am there and settled. This is a huge shift in my life so please bear with me in terms of uploading blog posts, it is something I really want to keep up but I will just have to find a routine that works around my lectures (ahhh lectures!!!). 

So there's my little life update for now, I'm sure you will be hearing much more about my experience, I would love to do some posts giving tips for getting settled as I have found the whole process so confusing and stressful so I would love to help other people in the same boat!

Speak again soon!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Book Review: Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O' Porter

Paper Aeroplanes narrates the tough lives of two high school girls, Renee and Flo in their struggle to fit in with the crowd whilst also struggling with some quite serious problems at home. Although very different in character, the girls find comfort and friendship in each other and work together to make life just that bit more bearable.

This book was recommended to me by a friend who described it as a book that was really fun to read and reminiscent of the first years of high school. I totally agree with that but it was also pretty hard hitting, my struggles during high school were very very small compared to what these two poor girls went through. That being said there are laugh out loud moments and you really get attached to the characters which makes it all the more enjoyable to learn where their stories lead. 

Definitely give this a read if you're looking for something to make you laugh and cry in equal parts, also there is a sequel which I will definitely get around to reading at some point! Let me know if you've read this, or if you've read the sequel and think it's any good.


Friday, 18 September 2015

Goodreads Reading Challenge Update

This is just a quick one to let you all know where I'm up to on my reading challenge. This is the first year I have properly done it and set myself a target to aim for and to be honest I am proud of how I'm getting on. 

Being a Literature student means that this is a bit easier for me as 4/20 of those books I have read have been ones I studied for my A Levels but I've still managed to fit 13 in around them! I'm also quite close to finishing 'Landline' by Rainbow Rowell who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. So this means I am so very nearly on track to making the 30 books by the end of the year! 

I don't know if 30 is pathetic to some people but I have never actually counted how many I can get through in the space of a year, maybe next year I will try 40 or even 50! It is also a great motivator (and excuse) to stick my nose in a book, cuddle up with a blanket and a cup of tea, and just forget the world.

Let me know how you're doing with your reading challenges!
© What Does Mel Think?. All rights reserved.