Book Love: Top 5 Children’s/Young Adult Series

I just finished re-reading Checkmate by Malorie Blackman (from the Noughts and Crosses series) and it reminded me just how much I still love series from my younger years – they just give me all the feelings!  Obviously these books are particularly special for me because I feel like I’ve known the characters for years, but even so I think they’re brilliant.  In a fit of nostalgia, I thought I’d list my favourite book series from my childhood/teenage years, so I hope you enjoy.

5) The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Surely everyone knows these by now?  They made a film out of the series with Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews and, as ever, got a lot of things wrong.  The books are much better than the films, honest.  The quality does start to tail off a bit towards the end of the series, so I’m not sure I ever read the very latest ones, but the first in particular were funny and relatable, and had a good love story going on that was a bit different from the usual – I still love a good romance, but it’s always best when it’s not the main focus.

4) Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison

Otherwise known as the ‘Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging’ books (and no I do not accept the adapted title given to the film).  I laughed myself silly at these books when I was a teenager, and probably still would now to be honest.  They were my embarrassing, snorting with uncontrollable laughter on the bus books.  I would need a re-read to do a proper review (not a bad idea actually!), but, in short, these are the diary of teenage Georgia Nicolson, telling us about her bonkers family, friends and school in a hilarious manner.  The comings and goings of her life are occasionally slightly ridiculous, and yet perfectly relatable for a British teenage girl.  From what I remember, they weren’t particularly rude or grownup, just very, very funny.

3) Malory Towers by Enid Blyton

Before Hogwarts, every girl wanted to go to Malory Towers.  These were just lovely boarding-school books that take you back a few decades to years of jolly hockey sticks and french irregular verbs.  In true Enid Blyton style, they’re full of moral lessons, but not so much that you feel lectured and certain characters can do no wrong.  This is a lovely, innocent kids series that I still like to have a quick read of when I’m feeling nostalgic.  Timeless.

2) Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Blimey, this is a good story. I wrote a bit of an ode to the first book in the series here when I started my re-read, and I just finished the third one, which still manages to be equally as good.  Have a look at my first review to find out what it’s all about, but I think my favourite thing about this series is the fact that it progresses.  Characters really do grow up and develop, instead of keeping the same traits they have aged 12 at the start of the first book.  I find that the character voice, especially for the teenagers, can be a little off at times, but the story and the character development are absolutely good enough for that not to matter.  I feel like I know these characters inside out and these (along with my number 1) are the books that get me jumping for joy and reaching for the tissues.  Highly recommended for everyone, teenage and up.

1) Harry Potter by JK Rowling

A predictably dull choice, maybe, but I absolutely flipping love Harry Potter.  And I’m not ashamed to say it!  I started reading these books aged 7 and was part of the generation that grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione.  I’m not sure I can say much that hasn’t already been said – I know some people aren’t keen and think they’re overhyped, but you get that with any bestseller.  I still think JK Rowling is a brilliant writer and is especially brilliant at building up a world for her stories to take place in (this is what I loved about The Causal Vacancy too – mini review here).  I can (and do) read these books over and over again.

So that’s it for my favourites – I’d love to hear yours in the comments!  What series did you love when you were younger?  We can have a reminisce together.  Or if you have kids and know of any great newer series, I’d love to know and I can pass them along to my little brother and sister.  Leave your tips below!

The Favourites #1

Hello lovely people!

I’m back with a bit of a roundup post.  I know that monthly favourites post are super popular in the beauty blogging world, but since my blogging is sporadic at best I thought it was best not to attempt to commit to a monthly post…  Instead, here’s the first instalment of my new ‘The Favourites’ series, where I’ll round up all the things I’ve been a bit obsessed with recently.  I’ll try and do them fairly regularly, but we’ll see how we go!

Favourites 1

You’ll probably recognise most of these favourites from the haul posts I did a while ago – there were some hits and misses, so let me know if you’d like reviews of the stuff I didn’t love.

I’ll start with the beauty bits, from left to right of the photo:

  • Soap and Glory Heel Genius Amazing Foot CreamLike most of the rest of the blogging world, I love most things Soap and Glory.  I pull this pepperminty, bright blue, utterly marvellous foot cream out whenever my feet are getting a bit too hard and gross – it’s been doing it’s duty recently so that my feet can be flip-flop ready at a moment’s notice whenever the sun decides to show itself.  Slather a good amount on before bed, stick some socks on and feet are silky smooth by the morning.  Miracle worker, and it’s only a fiver.
  • L’Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil.  This stuff makes my hair gorgeous and soft.  It’s stopped me being tempted to shell out 30 quid on some Moroccan Oil.  And it seems like it’ll last me forever.  Enough said.
  • Barry M Gelly Polish in Prickly Pear.  Every blogger and their mother have been going on about these nail polishes lately and I’ve been loving this one.  I have to say, I’m not sure they quite live up to the hype (I have the orangey-coral Papaya shade as well, and just can’t get it to last more than a day without chipping or just peeling off!), but this is my perfect spring colour.  I’ve never really been a fan of blue nails, so this is a great shade for me to branch out from my usual pinks and corals to try a lovely lilac pastel shade.  I like.
  • L’Oreal Skin Perfection Micellar Solution.  Apparently this is the high street’s best answer to Bioderma.  I’ve never tried Bioderma, but I do like this a lot – it gets off all my makeup really easily, without leaving any horrible residue.  It seems to work on eye makeup almost as well as my Clinique eye makeup remover, which I find pretty damn impressive.  This has been an absolute saviour for me over the last couple of months as I’ve been doing a couple of shows, so I’ve been using this to get my stage makeup off backstage – much better than face wipes!  From the looks of things, this and other L’Oreal skincare is currently on 2 for £6 at Boots and Superdrug, so get in there quick for a bargain.
  • MUA Undressed Eyeshadow Palette.  I’ve been pretty shimmery with the eye makeup recently, so this has replaced my lovely Urban Decay Naked Basics matte palette for everyday and nighttime wear.  I didn’t want to pay out for the original Urban Decay Naked Palette as I didn’t think I’d get enough wear out of it, and I think I was right as this seems to be suiting me fine.  I generally only wear the lighter shades, so I’m glad I didn’t go for the expensive option, but I find them nice and easy to wear, and I like having the darker options for eyeliner.  It’s also turned me into a big fan of the gold sparkly eye for nights out – I never thought I’d be that brave!
  • Lush Popcorn Lip Scrub and Blistex MedPlus Lip Balm.  My lip-saving duo.  I have pretty dry lips – not so much that they hurt or cause me problems, but I do need to take care of them. The Lush Lip Scrub tastes amazing (it’s made with salt as well as sugar) and I’m pretty sure it’s making a difference.  I know a lot of people think these are overpriced, but I’ve been using this every day and it still seems brand new.  I can’t see myself needing to buy a new one for at least a year, and I’m positive I couldn’t make a scrub that tastes this good in my kitchen.  The Blistex is a heavy duty lip balm that’s a bit tingly, but is completely wearable.  I’m not a fan of Vaseline or Carmex as I feel like they make my lips drier overall, so I’m thanking my lucky stars that I’ve finally found something that works!

You can all see something else in the photo – my book of the last few months has been the bestseller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  Blimey, that’s a good book.  I obviously don’t really want to give anything away about it, but I will say that everyone should PERSEVERE.  I was not into this book at all, then halfway through it clicks.  Trust me.  I promise.  I keep seeing people giving up before the halfway point and I just want to beg them to keep going!  If you’re one of these people, then consider this my plea to you.  I recommend this, and I’m really not a thriller girl in books or films.  Amazing characters, amazing twists, and brilliantly thought through – it kept me up reading until the small hours of the morning.

In the TV category, Mad Men is back!  This has excited me massively.  I love this show, it’s one of the few I watch.  I’m obsessed with the imperfect storylines, the unpredictable plots and, of course, how completely gorgeous the whole thing looks. This show is my weekly escape and I love that the creators have managed to keep the things we love about the show while still letting it move on – too many TV dramas end up going round in circles with the same love triangles and breakdowns.  SPOILER ALERT: If you’re watching, is anyone else a bit overexcited about Peggy being reunited with everyone?  God, I love this show…

I’ll leave you with some lovely music.  I went to see Matchbox Twenty in concert in Manchester the other week and it’s rekindled my obsessive love for them (Rob Thomas especially).  If you don’t know who they are, Matchbox Twenty are a rocky-pop band that have been massive over in the States for years.  They’re one of my mum’s favourite bands, so I’ve grown up listening to their music since I was about 3 years old.   The lyrics are ingrained on my brain!  I’ve had the latest album on repeat in my car lately, so here are a couple of my favourites from that, but you can expect some classics to pop up on this blog at some point.

Radio is a great upbeat song, guaranteed to cheer me up:

And Overjoyed is utterly lovely and chilled out.  And I’m kinda in love with the video…

If you want any more in depth reviews on anything I’ve mentioned in here, just let me know in the comments.  And of course I’d love to hear your recommendations – what have you been loving recently?