Sunday, 20 December 2015

Best of 2015 | Albums

This list was actually harder to compile than I thought it would be. Not that there wasn't any good music released in 2015, but I listen to a lot of indie bands and artists that haven't released albums yet.  I've also been listening to a lot of old music from the 80s and 90s. But the main reason was that there were singles that  were released that I absolutely adore, but I wasn't a fan of the entire album. This is the case of 25 by Adele, and this may be an unpopular opinion but I don't love the whole album. My favourite songs are Hello and When We Were Young, the two singles that were released. The same can be said for Made In The AM by One Direction. 

Some honourable mentions - Badlands by Halsey, Purpose by Justin Bieber and Chaos and the Calm by James Bay. 

1 | 2 | 3

Coldplay // A Head Full of Dreams
I can remember my dad playing Coldplay when I was little and it was the only music of his that I actually liked at the time. They are now one of my favourite bands, their music just never disappoints. I actually had no idea they were releasing a new album and when I found out, I listened to it straight away. I'd say the album is a mix of good old classic Coldplay and their new techno sound.
Fav songs: Everglow, Fun, Miracles, Adventure of a Lifetime

The Weeknd // Beauty Behind The Madness
I've been a fan of The Weekend for a while now and I don't know why it took me so long to listen to this album because it's amazing. The Weeknd has such a beautiful voice and I just can't get over how much I love this album - I can imagine it being great live. 
Fav songs: The Hills, Dark Times ft. Ed Sheeran, Real Life

Troye Sivan // Blue Neighbourhood
When I found out that Troye was releasing an album, I was a bit skeptical because I wasn't the biggest fan of his first EP, TRXYE. I was however, pleasantly surprised and I honestly love this album. There is not a single song that I don't like. 
Fav songs: Youth, Bite, Lost Boy, Suburbia

4 | 5 | 6

Years & Years // Communion
I first found Years & Years on youtube and the first song I heard of theirs was Take Shelter. Which, to this day is one of my favourite songs of theirs. I love Ollys voice and pretty much all the songs are up beat and are best listened to on full volume while dancing around your room (no shame). 
Fav songs: Real, Take Shelter, Without

Fall Out Boy // American Beauty/American Psycho
I am not one for rock music, but I have always loved Fall Out Boy. I was utterly obsessed with their last album, Save Rock And Roll and the same can be said for their most recent, American Beauty/American Psycho. The music is upbeat as always and I absolutely adore Patricks Stumps voice. I also love the music videos for Uman Thurman and Irresistible - I was laughing all the way through. 

The Neighbourhood // Wiped Out!
I was a big fan of The Neighbourhoods first album, but I think I might prefer this one. I would say that it is more alternative and sounds amazing really loud through headphones. 
Fav songs: R.I.P 2 My Youth, Greetings From California, The Beach

What were some of your favourite albums from this year? 
I'm really excited for The 1975s album coming out in February next year as well as Ed Sheerans third album hopefully coming out late 2016 (fingers crossed).

Sarah x

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Best of 2015 | Series

I cannot believe I am already writing another series of yearly round ups. How is it December already? Each and every year seems to go quicker than the last. This years 'Best of' series will consist of TV shows, films, books and a new addition this year, albums. 

I was hoping that Game of Thrones would make it onto this list, as it is one of my favourite shows and featured in my favourite series from 2014. However,  the newest season was pretty disappointing up until half way through. I also watched the first 4 seasons of Gossip Girl and it was alright - I didn't LOVE it. Nonetheless, this list is comprised of  some really great TV shows that I enjoyed throughout 2015.

1 | 2 | 3

The Walking Dead
I had a love/hate relationship with TWD until recently, and I can now say it is one of my favourite TV shows. For the first couple of seasons, episodes would either be a hit or miss but I feel Season 5 is one of the best seasons so far and the first half of Season 6 has been excellent so far. It is very slow paced and is not for the lighthearted - you are guaranteed to see some kind of rotting innards in each episode and it's great. 

The Office US
The Office is one of the many series where I saw a gif set on tumblr and proceeded to watch the entire thing. I'm currently halfway through season 8 and have loved every minute. The first season is definitely the weakest and consists of just 6 episodes - you just need to get through it and the rest is brilliant. Jim is favourite character, and this might be my love for John Krasinski taking. Jim and Dwights continuous pranks on each other never fail to make me laugh out loud. I also thought Ed Helms was really good when he joined in season 3. I don't know what else to say other than it's great and you should really watch it if you haven't. I am also going to watch the British version once I'm done and I'm interested to see which one I prefer. 

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
I had heard so much about this series but held off because of exams and binged watched in two days. I can wholeheartedly say that it is brilliant. I am a big fan of Ellie Kemper from her role in The Office and Bridesmaids. The show follows Kimmy Schmidt (obviously), a bubbly and very enthusiastic young woman who is rescued after 15 years in a cult and tries to make it in modern day New York. It has a bizarre concept but it works, and it's unbelievably funny.

4 | 5 | 6

The premise of Elementary is that it is modern day Sherlock Holmes living in New York. I absolutely love Jonny Lee Miller, who plays Sherlock - he does such a good job of the character. Something that makes this show stand out is that Watson, who has always been previously portrayed as a man, is female and is played wonderfully by Lucy Liu. Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones) played a small role, but prominent character and she is great as always. This is one of those shows where they have a new mystery to solve every episode, but there is always an underlying and sometimes prominent storyline with the main characters. 

Malcolm In The Middle
I think this is one of the most underrated series. There is not an episode where I am not laughing out loud at the hilarious antics that Malcolm and his brothers get up to. The acting is exceptional from the onset and throughout. I've been watching random episodes here and there but have managed to watch the equivalent of a couple of seasons. If you are looking for a new comedy series, definitely check this one out. 

Jane The Virgin 
It took me a couple of episodes to get into Jane The Virgin, but once I got into it, I was hooked. The show follows Jane Villanueva, a 23 year old engaged virgin, who is accidentally artificially inseminated. From then on, there is a series of intertwining plots and characters that calls for a lot of laughs and chaos. It can only be described as an Americanised Telenovela and it's brilliant. My favourite character has to be Rogelio, he is incredibly hilarious and quirky. 

What series have you watched and loved this year? 
Check out my favourite series from 2014 here

Sarah x

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Lifestyle Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas season is upon us and if you are a procrastinator like so many of us, here are some great 'lifestyle' gift ideas for friends or family.

You can never go wrong with a photo frame if you include some personal photos of silly nights and fun adventures. Try this one (no. 6, £10) from Paperchase or perhaps this one (no. 9, £29.99) from Zara, both with a very minimalistic design. 

I've selected two options for jewellery storage - first, this glass box (no.2, £18) from Urban Outfitters and second, this trinket bowl (no. 8, £8) also from UO. Both are relatively inexpensive and gorgeous. The 'Essentials' (no. 7, £18) pouch and the Maggs London 'Grayson' (no. 5, £26.99) bag would be perfect as a gift for makeup on the go. 

Books are always a perfect present and the 36 Hours 125 Weekends in Europe Book (no. 3, £16.99) is great for someone who loves travelling. I personally love the Humans of New York posts and if you know anyone who does as well, this book (no. 10, £13) would be perfect. The Noto Grey 2016 Diary (no. 4, £12) is simple and would be a great gift for someone who is either organised, or wants to be. Lastly, these Jotter Journals (no.1, £14) are beautiful. 

Have you already done your christmas shopping?

Sarah x

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Eleanor & Park Book Review

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Rating: ★★★

The story follows Eleanor and Park (obviously) who are two misfits that meet on the bus and bond over music and comic books in the 1980s. Eleanor has big red hair, is a little chubby with a wild fashion sense and a tough family life. Park is an outsider but not enough so that he gets picked on - he's just an all around likeable guy. 

Eleanor and Park was such a pleasure to read. I loved the writing style and the fact that the narrative went back and forth between Eleanor and Park. It was interesting to see what they both felt about the same events as well as getting to know both of their living situations and family dynamics. I appreciated the fact it was set in the 1980s and the constant references to comics and music from that decade, that still manage to be relevant today. 

It is also a really easy book to read. I finished it in about two sittings and it would have only been one, but I needed sleep.

Spoilers Ahead - Stop reading now if you haven't read the book. 

1. I loved the element of multicultural characters. However, I felt like there was more room to highlight racism that was evident in the 1980s. Park mentioned his insecurities but we never saw any discrimination towards him. It could have been an interesting subplot of his character.

2. I loved Park as a character. I pictured him as a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt (think 10 Things I Hate About You). I also loved his family. His mum was really funny and the part when she gave Park a Christmas present to give to Eleanor and told him about her family in Korea was so sweet. I also loved how his dad really welcomed Eleanor into the family and was really understanding about her needing to leave at the end. 

3. I thought it felt a bit rushed towards the end and I would have liked to have known what happened to Eleanors mum and siblings. Their fate was unclear - at first I thought they have left Richie, but then again, he was an abusive drunk and anything really could have happened. It's a bit far fetched, but all we were told was that the toys disappear from the front yard and they weren't seen anymore.

4. I've read some reviews and almost all say they hated the way the book ended - the postcard with three words on it.  I genuinely liked the way it ended. I do think that Eleanor wrote 'I Love You' because she never actually tells Park she loves him. I read something that I completely agree with on a goodreads forum about how Eleanor finally told Park she loved him because she finally felt worthy and that it is a sign that she is healing, now that she is away from her horrible stepdad. Yet again, she could have just written 'stupid asian kid'.  

Have you read Eleanor and Park? What did you think of it?

Sarah x

Sunday, 15 November 2015

What I've Been Watching Lately no. 3

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I am a big fan of the James Bond franchise and after the masterpiece that was Skyfall, I was really excited for Spectre, but was a bit sceptical before watching it because the reviews aren't great. Overall, I thought it was a very enjoyable film and  the performances were all great. Christoph Watlz, who plays the villain was particularly brilliant and the scene where he was introduced was a masterpiece full of suspense. I would however, liked him to have had more screen time. The main issue for me was the script and somewhere along the way, it gets disconnected. Another problem I had with it is that it took away what I love about Casino Royale and Skyfall, being that those films took a step back from the classic Bond. In Casino Royale, a waiter asks Bond if he wants his drink shaken or stirred and he says "Do I look like a give a damn?". In Spectre, he orders his drink to be shaken. In Skyfall as well, Q gives Bond a gun and a radio and says "What were you expecting an exploding pen?". Again, in Spectre Q gives Bond an exploding watch. Do you see what I mean? I also didn't buy the romance between Bond and Lea Seydoux. Not enough time was dedicated to their relationship and when they confessed their love for each other, it just came out of the blue. For me, Spectre tries to make up for the weak plot with more action scenes. I did actually think the action scenes were brilliant though. It's by no means a bad film and and I really did enjoy it - it is well worth the four stars I gave it. 
Rating: ★★★

The Martian
I found The Martian a lot more enjoyable than some of the recent space films such as Gravity and Interstellar. One reason being that it was surprisingly  funny. That being said, there were also scenes that filled me with suspense and got be on the edge of my seat. I thought Matt Damon was great in this film and he played his character perfectly, who is a very likeable, smart and optimistic guy. There was no point in the film where I didn't know what was happening and the visuals were also brilliant. I am not a fan of 3D but it was definitely worth it. Probably one of the best films of the year and I'm eager to see how it does in the awards season. 
Rating: ★★★

Camp X-Ray
I've watched this film twice now and I can honestly say it is brilliant. Kristen Stewart plays a female guard at Guantanamo Bay and she forms an unlikely friendship with one of the detainees. I was pleasantly surprised with  Kristen Stewarts performance as well as Payman Moaadi, who plays the very likeable detainee who strikes a friendship with Stewarts character. What I love most about this film is that it is something different - it shows that not everything is as black and white as it may seem. Its both funny, sad and very captivating and I highly recommend it. 
Rating: ★★★

Me, Earl and The Dying Girl
I hadn't heard much about this film before I watched it and was gladly taken by surprise at how much I liked it. It has a bit of a Fault In Our Stars feel to it, in terms of the poetic dialogue but it still managed to be original. It was really funny and all the performances were great. Nick Offerman is also in it and he was fantastic as always. I loved that the film just stuck to the theme of friendship rather than romance between the main characters, which makes it a bit different to most films these days. 
Rating: ★★★½

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

It was a very slow paced film and by no means has a phenomenal plot. Without the acting and cinematography, it would be your average drug bust film. It is however, incredible. I am a big fan of Emily blunt and this is one of her best works. This film is filled with suspense and is very dark, there is no scene that is hopeful.  I left the cinema just dumb founded, but in a good way. Even though the film mainly follows Emily Blunts character, Benicio Del Toro steals the show. His character is so interesting and you never who he is working for or if he is one of the good guys or not. I loved the music which gave an amazing effect in the cinema and I really hope it translates well to DVD. 
Rating: ★★★½ 

Man Up
The film follows Lake Bell as an awkward 34 year old who accidentally hijacks a blind date with Simon Pegg. This film has a bit of a cliche plot and it would be easy to discard this film into a collection of bad romantic comedies but its everything else that makes this film so great. The acting was brilliant, Simon Pegg and Lake Bell had great chemistry, the humour was just right and it was all around such a joy to watch. I particularly loved Lake Bells character, she was so unapologetically herself and a very realistic, funny character. It's not a groundbreaking comedy film but it is hilarious and I guarantee you will enjoy it. 
Rating: ★★★

Inside Out
I heard nothing but good things about this film when it first came out but I wasn't rushing to the cinema to watch it. There are just some films that are not cinema films. And when I got around to watching it, I really enjoyed it. I actually found myself laughing out loud at parts. It was a bit predictable, but then again, it was made for kids. The main reason I really like the film was that it had a really prominent message about depression. I also really loved how everything tied together with all the memories and subplots. Overall, it was brilliant and can't recommend it enough. 
Rating: ★★★

Little Miss Sunshine
I remember watching this film when it first came out and I think I was too young to enjoy it properly and get all the jokes. And because of that, I had the impression that the film wasn't great and never watched it again. Recently, Jack Howard mentioned it as one of his favourite films and I thought I had to give it another go, and I loved it. I'm sure most people have watched it but if you haven't, its about a very dysfunctional family going on a road trip to California to support young Olive in a bid to win the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant. I thought all the characters were the right about of quirky and were also well rounded and likeable. It's a real feel good film eventually after lots of mishaps  and has just the right amount of humour and heart-felt moments to make it great.
Rating: ★★★

Have you watched any good films recently?

Sarah x

Sunday, 4 October 2015

My Love For Pintrest

I've been poorly for the last couple of days and I've been on Pintrest nonstop. I never thought I would be that person that loved Pintrest, but here we are.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

I love the aspect of organisation; the fact that everything has a place, pleases me immensely. Whether that is inspiration for tattoos, motivational words or stunning interiors. I can spend hours just scrolling though, making new boards and lusting over autumn fashion. I cannot wait till I have my own apartment/house so I can make it look Pintrest worthy with loads of plants, books and the ever so popular copper decor. 

I am aware that this is a bit of a odd post, but if you don't already have a account, I highly suggest you get one so you too can share my obsession love for Pintrest. 

Do you have Pintrest?

Sarah x

Sunday, 27 September 2015

September Playlist

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

September has been a month of indie and alternative music for me. I've found a lot of music from The Hyve, which is a youtube channel with tonnes of alternative and indie music from various artists. Definitely check it out if that is the sort of music you like. 

Cape Cub // Swim

Eliza and The Bear // Let Us Be Young

LAYLA // Smokestacks 

Hollow Coves // The Woods

Magic Man // Paris 

Magic Man // Waves

We The Wild // Body Electric (Blue)

Bad Suns // Cardiac Arrest 

Daughter // Candles

What have you been listening to recently?

Sarah x

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Autumn/Winter Wishlist 2015

I cannot begin to explain how sad I am that I have never properly experienced Autumn and Winter. We don't really get seasons where I live, it's pretty much sunny at hot all year round. Nevertheless, I still love Autumn/Winter fashion and here are a few pieces that I've found recently and simply adore. 

What are some of your Autumn/Winter staples?

Sarah x

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Summer 2015 Summary

I think it is safe to say that summer is officially over. We are now in the first week of September and everyone is either going back to school or work and I've got to actually start doing something with my life. 

Summer 2015 was a good'un. And there were some specific things that really stood out and made this summer, one to remember.

1. Probably the highlight of my summer was going to see Ed Sheeran in concert with my sister. This was my first concert (shock horror) and it was brilliant. Passenger and One Republic opened and they were both amazing. 

Ryan Tedder, lead singer of One Republic (pictured above)

Passenger (Pictured above)

My sister and I were a bit anxious at first because the concert was at Wembley Stadium which was a capacity of 80,000 people and we were standing. The only annoying thing that happened was that a man behind us kept trying to push us out of the way and I had to actually tell him to take a step back several times throughout the night which was really quite annoying. But apart from that, it was an amazing night and I need to go see more concerts now!

If you want to see a video of the concert click here

2. Every year we go up to the UK to visit family and it was great to see them again.  My cousins who live in Malaysia also came up to surprise us towards the end of our visit and it was the first time I had seen them in years! And they had a baby girl last year and it was the first time we got to meet her she is such a little treasure. 

3. I friend and I went for a day out in London and I loved visiting Camden Town again. I just love the little stalls full of trinkets and the food stands that smell amazing.

4. And as always, shopping! I mainly online shopped because it is just easier than making the effort to go to the shops, which were about a 40 minutes drive away. But, I absolutely love some of the pieces I bought this year and there will be more outfit and fashion posts, so watch this space.

5. Going on safari was another highlight of my summer. We saw loads of animals and I wrote a blog post about it here. Getting to see a leopard was probably the best part and we were so lucky to have seen it. 

6. Lastly, I just loved having not a care in the world. I haven't had a summer in a long time where I didn't have some sort of school work and it was amazing to just relax and not have to worry about school.

What did you do this summer? Anything exciting?

Sarah x

Monday, 31 August 2015

August Playlist

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Another month has come and gone and August has been a good one for music.  

I have also been been listening to Birdy's Album 'Fire Within' found here. Jaymes Young has been on constant repeat and you can listen to all his music on soundcloud here

I also reached 100 followers on Bloglovin'. It means the world that people want to actually read what I have to say so thank you so much!

What are some songs you have been listening to this month?

Sarah x

Monday, 24 August 2015

Tsavo West Safari

I absolutely love going on safari and am fortunate enough to live only a couple of hours away from Tsavo, one of the oldest and largest national parks in Kenya. My dad is very keen on us being campers and not 'lodge people' but as a treat for my sister and I for graduating, we went to Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, located in Tsavo West.  

It was an amazing weekend with the family and the highlight must be when we spotted a leopard just but the side of the road. It is very rare to see a leopard so close and we were so lucky to be able to see it. We also saw loads of zebra and giraffes.The second night we were there, nearly 20 elephants were by the water hole and it was such an amazing sight to see. 

Have you ever seen any animals in the wild? If so, which ones? I am desperate to see a lion. 

Sarah x

Friday, 14 August 2015

What I've been Watching Lately | Summer Edition

Mad Max Fury Road
There are so many things to admire about this film from the stunning visuals to the script and the bad-ass female characters. Something I also love is the fact that the plot is so simple; they drive down a road and turn around. It is as simple as that and yet, you get to experience two hours worth of a brilliant movie. This is probably my favourite film of the year so far.

Ant Man
I did not have high expectations for this film after watching the trailer and though it would be a bit silly. But, it was actually rather good. There was humour that was actually funny and not cringe worthy like in Avengers 2. There was also a good ratio of action scenes to the rest of the film. I do recommend that you watch it just because it is a good film and if you ever what to watch any future Marvel films and understand them, I'm betting that you will need to watch this one.

I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It was a bit strange at first hearing Sheldon Cooper's voice making grammatical errors but soon got over it because I was just so engrossed in the film. Yes, it is a film for kids, but who does't love watching a kids film now and then? If you are looking for a humorous, feel-good film then definitely watch Home. 

I have been a huge fan of Melissa McCarthy ever since her role in Bridesmaids and was very eager to see Spy. And I loved it. It was really funny and the cast was excellent. I particularly liked Jason Statham and Rose Byrne. The only bad thing I can say about the film is that the plot was a bit generic to any other spy comedy film. None the less, this is a must see. 

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation
I really really really liked this film. I am a big fan of the 4th Mission Impossible and I might even like this one a bit better. I liked that you couldn't really tell if certain characters were good or not and there were a lot of surprises from the onset and thought. And as always, the stunts were brilliant. If you can, go see it in the cinema!

I pleasantly surprised with this film. I genuinely enjoyed everything about it, from the cast to the visuals and script. This might be my bias towards Disney talking, but there are just so many things about this film to love.  If you are a huge Disney fan then I really do think you will enjoy this film.

There is no nice way of putting it, this has got to be one of the worst films I have ever watched. The film was so confusing with under-developed characters and a very weak and predictable plot. I do not understand how a film with such a good cast including Emma Stone, Bradley Cooper, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murry and Alec Baldwin can be so so poor. I was actually really looking forward to watching the film and it was a big disappointment. 

Age of Adeline
I really don't know how I feel about this film. I can't tell if I feel bad for the main character, Adeline, who doesn't age for over 100 years or annoyed that she victimises herself constantly throughout the film. It's an alright film if you feel like killing some time. 

Any good films that you've watched lately?

Sarah x

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

World Elephant Day

I had never seen an Elephant in real life until I was about 10, and I can remember being completely mesmerised by them. Now, I can't even count the number of Elephants I have seen. And it never gets old being able to witness these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. 

This post isn't just me confessing my love for elephants. I wanted to draw attention to the fact that they could be extinct in our lifetime. How scary is that? Both African and Asian Elephants face threats such as the escalation of poaching, illegal trade, habitat loss and mistreatment in captivity. 

When trying to tackle such a big issue like this, you can sometimes feel like there is nothing you can do the help. But there are so many different things you can do to help keep these animals alive.

Become more educated on threats to elephants and the solutions to such threats. Awareness is key. 

Only visit Eco-tourism operations. Support those who treat elephants with respect and dignity and aid in conservation efforts.  

You can also support any of the organisations listed here. Whether that is donating funds or simply sharing their efforts on social media. I personally support the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust through fostering Lasayen, an orphaned elephant who fell down a well. 

And lastly, support World Elephant Day.  Help raise awareness by expressing your concern and knowledge as well as solutions for the improvement of care for captive and wild elephants. Get involved and sign a pledge here to "support a world that protects elephants, wildlife and their habitat". 

This post was written with aid from resources available from the World Elephant Day website.

Read more about World Elephant Day here.

Don't forget to use the #WorldElephantDay hashtag today. Make your voice heard for those who don't have a voice. 

Sarah x

Sunday, 9 August 2015

MAC Hot Tahiti | Review

I have always heard tales of the wondrous MAC lipsticks but have never been prepared to fork out £15 for a lipstick. That is, until a couple of weeks ago. My sister and I were waiting in St. Pancreas Station waiting to meet up with some friends when she suggested that we just take a look in the MAC store. How many times will I have to learn that 'just taking a look' never means 'just taking a look'. 

Several swatches later, I walked out of the store with £15 less in my pocket and my first ever MAC lipstick. And boy is it pretty. I got the shade 'Hot Tahiti', which is a glaze finish. 

I am not one to venture out of matte lipsticks but the glaze finish does feel super creamy and smooth on the lips. However, because it is a glaze finish, I must say that it doesn't last long. You can certainly build up the colour, or just have a sheer tint and both options look gorgeous. 

Sarah x

Design by | SweetElectric