Harry Potter Midnight Release

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Hello everyone! 

This is a very exciting post to write and I have been looking forward to it for quite some time now. As many of you will know, today is Harry Potter's birthday! In honour of this, the eighth book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released at midnight last night :-) To say I was excited was an understatement, I mean we've only been waiting nine years for it! 

My local bookstore was persuaded to host a midnight release party for the people who had pre-ordered the books. Being a proud Potterhead I pre-ordered mine some time ago and nothing could make me miss this event. The shop was absolutely packed with people, the majority of whom were in costume. We were all greeted at the door and given tokens to exchange for the book after the midnight count down. 

Playing with this was so much fun! 

 Of course as a proud Slytherin, like J.K. Rowling herself, I needed to represent my house colours! 

For an hour there was merrymaking with cake, butterbeer and nibbles while fellow potter fans could chat and browse the book store. The decorations were funny and aimed at all ages, there was even a colouring station to fill in your house logo. I loved how wide the age range was, there were children as young as 5 and grownups of all ages. People were jolly and the atmosphere was so very warm and inviting. 

I swear the stack of pre-ordered books was nearly as tall as me! 

As the countdown started the children (and adults) with wands were invited to join together to utter the spell "wingardium leviosa" when 1 was reached and the cloth over the books was whisked away for the big reveal. Naturally I was pleased to see it is a hefty tome and could not wait to sink my teeth into it. Although I deemed it best to wait until this morning so I would be rested and ready. 

Reading it this morning took me back to my childhood when the most anticipated moment of the year was reading the first page of the new Harry Potter book with my best friend. We always waited for each other and read them together! Being a play script it is a bit different and some fans could be daunted by the stage directions and lack of narrative. However, I found that all of that melted away as I became immersed in the story. It drew me in and flowed like any other Rowling book. Now, I won't spoil it for you, but can I say it is simply a masterpiece. J.K. has never and never will disappoint her adoring fans and this book will soon be as well loved as all the others. I've put in a cheeky synopsis of my own devising below for anybody who is curious! 

The golden inside is even more intriguing than the outside! 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is set 19 years later when Harry has become a tired ministry official struggling with the demons from his past. Under his very nose his youngest son is also struggling. Sorted into Slytherin, he is becoming increasingly isolated from the rest of Hogwarts, his only friend Scorpius Malfoy. To rebel against the curse of his famous father he attempts to right an old wrong and resurrect a young victim using a forbidden time turner. This endangers the entire wizarding community and risks bringing back the old darkness...

I ploughed through this book and can't wait to pick it up again and again, it has definitely been one of the major highlights of this summer and yes I did cry! All that is left for me to say is Happy Birthday Harry and happy reading to all you Potterheads!

Let me know your thoughts on this marvellous book in the comments below :-)


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New Forest Show 2016

Friday, 29 July 2016

Hello everyone! 

I hope you are all looking forward to another sunny summer weekend. Although my holiday technically finished on Wednesday, we still had the New Forest Show on Thursday to be excited about. Every year people flock from all over to come to the New Forest Show. It's a 3 day livestock and agricultural show in the last week of July :-) It's always loads of fun, with hundreds of stands selling local produce, clothes, food and of course the livestock exhibitions. This was my third year going and we always have a great time there. 

These are some of the bits we got to nibble! Read on for more details...

A lot of people think it's all about the animals and farming, but it's actually just a really fun day out. Of course, with Mr.Gingersnap being an agricultural contractor we go for business as well as pleasure...but let's be honest I'm there for the food. I love the ambience there and seeing all our friends from Young Farmers Club.

 We spend a lot of time looking at machinery, Mr.Gingersnap loves it :-) 

This year we decided to go on the last day so we could make the most of the good deals and final day celebrations. We bought so much food! Sadly I was a bad blogger and didn't wait to take photos before we ate our treats. We had some delicious bourbon and chocolate orange cupcakes followed by some gorgeous macarons! They were from La Patisserie Macaron by Steven Lopez, we had some quite interesting flavours too: lemon and poppyseed, mint chocolate, raspberry and white chocolate and strawberries and cream. They were super yummy! What I can show you are the cheeses we bought from Black's. They did us a deal of three wheels for £10, which is great for how good they are. Last year we had some truly great flavours from them so we had to try their new ones. Little Winker, ale and mustard and Irish whisky and stem ginger tempted us the most along with a traditional mature cheddar. 

When we weren't buying food, we were sampling it. We had fudge, cheese, jam, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and various meats. We ended up coming home with some port and cherry jam, roasted tomato and cumin salsa, two more cheeses and some fudge. Yep, we are super greedy, but we need things for work packed lunches! Well, that's my justification anyway. 

 Sadly, it started raining so we headed into the tents! 

Other than the food, there are a great many crafts and art stalls, with amazing work. Mr.Gingersnap ended up getting a stool for our nephew with a really cute monkey hand-carved onto it and one with a zebra as a cheeky treat for me. Zebras are my favourite animal, so now I can keep my reading list books close at hand on a fabulous stool. The stools are from Made By Lo, who creates beautiful tailor made gifts. 

 The show also has a number of horse events for all you equine fans out there :-) 

When it comes to the animals, I promise you it is very safe and welfare friendly. There are vets on hand constantly in case they are necessary and to ensure all welfare requirements are met. It's a great way to discover new breeds and learn more about these very important creatures. Mr.Gingersnap's dad actually shows their sheep and stewards on the last day, which is why we have exhibitor tickets! 

All in all, whether you are into farming and agriculture or not it is a great summer day out with friends or family. I'd recommend anybody checking out local shows, they really are loads of fun! 

Have any of you been to shows or fairs? Let me know what you thought in the comments below :-) 


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Surprisingly Summery Scents

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Hello everyone! 

Sadly my holiday is almost over! I don't want to leave and get back to the real world, but we all have to at some point. While I have been away I ran out of my current Sephora body scrub, it's so invigorating with its green tea essence. It's a hard act to follow, but as it was a weekend I couldn't just nip out and buy another. Instead I had a little rummage in my Mam's beauty stock, she keeps a few of her favourites stashed at the house for when she gets time off work and can come for a bit of rest and relaxation :-) 

Anyway, in her stash is her favourite festive exclusive from the Body Shop. The Frosted Cranberry collection is only available around Christmas so every year I get her some as a little treat and she manages to make them last for months! Now I can hear you all groaning at the mention of cranberries so out of season, but I swear it is such a summery scent. 

The scrub in this collection is divine, the scent is musky and warm and the sugar beads melt into your skin really well as you scrub. It left my skin feeling soft and lightly scented. As far as those pesky little red bumps on my arms go, it wasn't amazing and I still prefer my Soap and Glory scrub. However, for skin invigoration and freshness it is wonderful. It would make a nice all over scrub, not being too harsh for sensitive skin. 

The moisturiser is actually my favourite in this, it has a slight shimmer to it which is perfect for enhancing that tan for an evening out! I would suggest using this sparingly as it can make you a bit glittery... I mean, there's nothing wrong with glitter, but it would have looked a bit odd in the nice restaurant I went to! 

Finally, the Body Polish :-) This product is slightly misleading as you could think it is another scrub, but it is actually a simple body wash for in the shower. Although it makes a lovely bubble bath too! The scent is slightly lighter in this, so you don't feel too overwhelmed by it. 

Overall, I think cranberry works really well for the summer. It's fruity and fresh toned, without being too floral. I enjoyed the lingering scent on my skin much more than I was expecting to given the season. I know these products are currently unavailable, but I wouldn't rule out other cranberry scented products this summer :-) 

What do you guys think of this scent for summer? Have you been surprised by any other products? Let me know in the comments below :-) 


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Mad for Murakami

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Hello everyone! 

I am back again with another Haruki Murakami review! I know I only recently wrote a post about Norwegian Wood, but I enjoyed that so much that I decided to read another of his books. Today I'll be talking about South of the Border and West of the Sun. 

This book is another stunning read, I actually enjoyed it a lot more than Norwegian Wood as it wasn't tinged with the same sadness. It follows the narrator Hajime as he journeys from twelve years old to his late thirties. Hajime is definitely a character who lacks direction, always searching for that special indefinable quality in life. As a twelve year old he found this in his close friend Shimamoto, but after he moved away they lost touch and life got in the way. In his early thirties he bumps into his future wife, settles down with her, has two daughters and grows two successful businesses. However, he still can't shake that longing for the girl he used to love. 

One plain, rainy day she walks back into his life sending him into a spiral of desire, confusion, guilt and elation. His feelings for her remain, but is she worth walking away from the life he built? The concept of this was really interesting, I think a lot of people are questing for something unknown, that "missing" factor that would make their life perfect and their souls complete. This book addresses this is a very clever way, taking us through each emotion as Hajime feels it. 

At first I thought he should walk away and be with the love of his life, but as I read further I changed my mind. I don't believe she was right for him, she might have been at one stage, but not now. She is mysterious, beautiful, funny and clever, but also dark and full of pain. She is a woman who needs saving, but might not want to be saved. I'm not going to spoil this by telling you what he chose or how the book ended, but I will say that I was uplifted by the ending and filled with hope. Hajime comes through his spiral, becoming a better man and knowing more about himself than he could ever have hoped. 

Murakami's narrative is utterly spellbinding, whenever I read his books I feel as though I am really there. I can see it, smell it, hear it and above all feel it. His descriptive prose and deeply relatable characters leave an imprint on your mind long after you put the book down. I would say that anyone starting university or facing a tumultuous time of life should read this book. 

Have you read this? Let me know what you thought in the comments below :-) 


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Ransacking Rimmel

Friday, 22 July 2016

Hello everyone! 

Who else is on holiday now? I'm away on a jolly holiday in the south of France with Mr.Gingersnap, but I thought I should keep posting while I'm away, plus it is quite fun :-) Today I thought I'd share my new summer make up with you. I have been surviving on tinted moisturiser for the last 3 months while I decided what new foundation to try. Foundation can be quite a commitment if you don't have the budget to try multiple ones at once, being a poor student this is the case for me...

Bearing that in mind I turned to the high street stores. I haven't used a high street foundation in years! So I had a little look online at what people rave about and thought the best fit for me would be Rimmel's Wake Me Up foundation in 100 Ivory. The formula for this sounds ideal, it's anti-fatigue, skin brightening and has vitamin C to help re-vitalise your skin cells and give you that perfect flawless skin glow. It also has SPF 15 which is not amazing, but better than nothing. 

I have been wearing this for about a week now and really love it. The formula is thin, without compromising the coverage. I'd say it's semi to full coverage and does actually give me a lovely glow. It lasts all day without dehydrating my skin and is super easy to blend in with a brush. My one slight issue is the big jumps between shades in this product, it took me ages to find one to match my skin tone! I think after holiday when I have a bit of a tan I may have to mix it with a slightly darker foundation to match my skin completely. Nobody likes a ghost face! 

I can't really say much more to praise this powder, it does what it says on the box and has a lovely peachy finish to it. 

I was planning on repurchasing my trusty Benefit powder, but what kind of beauty blogger would I be if I didn't trial new products from time to time! Rimmel's Stay Matte powder hasn't really had much hype around it, which is a shame as it is a truly lovely product :-) It's a long lasting pressed powder to smooth and set your foundation or for touch ups of oily zones throughout the day. I went for the shade 002 Pink Blossom because it is a super pretty peachy tone that goes really well with the pink/rose golds I've been going for this season. I was very impressed with the range of shades in this product as well as how nicely it applies. The packaging is fairly standard and easily portable. Some say that a powder is a powder, but to me I think it is a key part of any makeup routine. 

Finally, as it was 3 for 2 I picked up this gorgeous pastel/dusky rose nail varnish in 405 Rose Libertine. Also from Rimmel by the way! This nail varnish is perfect for summer, I am loving all things pink at the moment and this fits in so well. The only small problems are that the formula is quite thin so needs multiple coats to avoid the dreaded patchiness. This then means it isn't a 60 second dry as it claims to be. Yes it is super shiny and beautiful, but if you want it to be batter proof and smudge proof then wait 30 minutes to dry it! Worth the wait though :-) 

Have you tried these products? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below :-) 


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Second Hand Specials

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Hello everyone! 

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a little haul post about the books I had recently picked up in charity shops. This post seemed to go down really well with you guys and I even had a few requests to do a post on my more special charity shop finds :-) 

Now I could wax lyrical about the wondrous books you can find tucked away in charity and second hand book stores, but I did that last time! Sometimes I can go for ages without finding anything at all, but then other times I do fantastically. One day last summer was particularly lucky! I was out in our local town of Lymington with my best friend checking out all the shops, she collects books so she knows what she's looking for, when we stumbled upon these four beauties all in one day. 

I'm going to start with the least exciting in terms of rarity and monetary value. Well to me it has a lot of value, but Terry Pratchett is my favourite author. Nation is one of his stand alone books which takes place outside of the discworld. When it was first released it took the world by storm and was turned into a very successful West End play in London. I adored this book and re-read it so many times that my paperback was definitely looking worse for wear. Sadly, as so often happens, I lent it to somebody and never got it back! I can't remember who I lent it to though, so I can't even chase it up. This hardback edition is a beautiful blue clothbound with a lovely dust jacket for protection. I love the inside cover with the dark blue dotted with stars and a tiny crab in the corner. It's so perfect. The story follows a young native boy who is swept onto an island after a tsunami. Slowly he finds other castaways and tries to rebuild a home with them. It is all going smoothly until a real ship is found tangled in the swamp... It is a wonderful tale of adventure, survival and coming of age :-) 

These next two form a set. They are published by Folio Society and form part of their classics collection. Any book fan or collector will know how stunning all Folio Society books are. I haven't actually got around to reading these two yet and I might actually read these on my Kindle or borrow some from the library as these aren't exactly easy to carry around. Such hefty tomes are beautiful, but hardly practical. I love the story of the Three Musketeers and adore the old movies and the newer tv series. I believe I got these for £3 each which is an absolute steal and I almost felt as though I was robbing the shop by getting them so cheap! 

These illustrations are superb and really capture the story!

Finally, this is my favourite of the bunch! Tolkien is one of my comfort authors, I like to read his novels in times of stress or around exam periods and the Hobbit is such an easy little book to get into. This edition is actually quite rare and old, it is a first edition of the illustrated copies by Michael Hague and published in 1984. It does have a dust jacket, but I just love this green cloth binding so much. It is stamped with the gold Tolkien insignia like all of his clothbound books and it looks so fresh and intriguing. It's definitely a jewel in my collection and I was so happy to stumble on it. I think this one was also £3! Online I believe these go for much more, but I'm not interested so much in that side of it. I like to keep pretty editions from my favourite authors for sentimental value. 

That is all of the special books I have found so far :-) If you guys love this kind of post and want updates if I get lucky again then please let me know in the comments below. Have you guys found any stunning books? 


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Summer Holiday Essentials

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Hello everyone! 

It is finally the summer holidays :-) I could not be more excited about that fact. I am a massive sun bunny and intense heat is my comfort zone. Keeping this in mind Mr.Gingersnap and I are off to my childhood home in the south of France for a 2 week holiday. 

Now I love watching videos of people's summer essentials and what they pack to go away! If that's not your thing then you should probably stop reading now... I took some snaps while I was packing and thought I'd share my holiday staples with you. 

Firstly I like to pack as many pretty, floaty dresses as I possibly can! Being a tiny person I can get away with a lot more clothes in a small suitcase (it has to have some perks tbh!). I like to vary between the floral prints, bright colours and pastels, that way I am prepared for any kind of day or dress code. I always pack at least one full length dress just in case I have a more fancy evening out. 

I always take my Kindle on holiday just because it's more portable and I can get more books if I run out! 

When it comes to swimming it's important to have a comfy bikini or swimming costume. I love Jack Wills' bikinis, they fit beautifully and have very classic understated patterns. I would also recommend Hollister for quality swimwear, yes it's a bit pricey, but worth it when your clothes last several summers instead of dropping to bits straight away! If, like me, you're pale or fair skinned it could be a good idea to pack a top or pool kimono to keep the worst of the sun off you and cover up a little more. For this I have a cut out cotton, floaty black mesh kimono. It's lovely and quite timeless as a piece. 

 I must admit I love a wide brimmed hat!

Every girl needs a good pair of denim shorts on holiday. I got these ones at Pull & Bear and I adore them. I can throw them on with a bikini top, with a body, a bandeau (another essential for me) or just a normal floaty top. Continuing with easy to throw on looks, a flowery kimono instantly makes a look seem polished and stylish. I've had this one for years, but they seem to be cropping up everywhere so get on out there and buy one! Trust me :-) 

I love high heels and wedges on holiday, they really give me that dressed up and put together feeling. These ones are my essentials this holiday. I do of course have the standard flip flops and converses for everyday wear, but they were boring to photograph!

When it comes to makeup and skin care, it's important to have products that protect your skin. Look for SPF on products and make sure you moisturise and stay hydrated! You want to come home with that holiday glow, not looking like a leather bag left out in the sun... I am feeling the pinks this summer as you can probably tell from the picture! All these pinks are so pretty and feminine, I just love them and I'm sure y'all do too! If you were wondering that is the Naked 3 palette from Urban Decay, the YSL lipstick is a Rouge Volupte shine in 41 , the Too Faced Sweetheart Blush is in Candy Glow and the Rimmel London nail varnish is the 405 Rose Libertine :-) 

What are your summer essentials? Let me know in the comments below :-) 


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