My Muji Haul: Skincare and Pens!

I went down to London over the Summer and took the opportunity to buy a few things from Muji without the shipping costs. My main interest was skincare, although I did make sure to stock up on my favourite pens! The shop makes me want to throw everything I own out the window and try minimalism, so I went in with a plan.

My Muji Haul

I’m really trying to get a fuller routine and address some of the skin concerns I have so after copious research I’m tentatively moving forward with a couple of Muji products that I’m hoping will make a difference. So what did I pick?

My Muji Haul: Skincare

For a more DIY approach to sheet masks, I picked up two packs of the Compressed Face Masks that come with twenty each. I’m really looking forward to trying out different toners and lotions to see if I can get a really nice effect with these. Plus, it’s fun when they soak up liquid and pop up.

The big items physically are the two 180 packs of Unbleached Cotton Pads! These are not only cheaper than the ones I normally pick up from Boots, they’re unbleached which just makes me feel a little better about using them on my face. Whether that makes any difference, I don’t know, they’re unbelievably soft and thick. Treat yo’ skin!

Before I headed off to London, my eye bags were so ridiculous I probably could’ve packed in them so I used my ‘Buffy the Eye Bag Slayer’s from Anatomicals. I really liked the effect and since Muji has some Under Eye Patches that, again, you add your own toner/lotion to- I thought I’d give it a go!

My Muji Haul: Skincare

I’ve had a pack of the Sensitive Skin Sheet Masks before and they are really nice. Sheet masks in general are a nice treat and coming in at under £2 each when a pack of 5 is £9.95, I decided to stock up on these. If anyone has any sheet mask recommendations, I am all ears because I love the relaxing aspect to them.

When it comes to the add-your-own face masks, I wanted to try a few things out that I’ve already got, but I’ve been learning more about skincare and building up from my very basic cleanse-tone-moisturise into something more substantial. Including a humectant toner to help my skin soak in my moisturiser. So- the Moist Essence Lotion was added.

I have a headband that keeps my hair out of my face when I wash it, but it has velcro on it, which sticks to my hair. It’s one of those little annoyances that happens everyday so replacing the band with this stretchy one has just cut that out of my morning and evening.

My Muji Haul: pens

And lastly, pens! The Muji pens are my absolute favourite ever since I discovered them on Angela’s blog years ago. They’re cheap, easy to write with and don’t bleed through paper, my ultimate pet-peeve. But the 0.5 nib was getting a little thick so I picked up the 0.38 in my three most used colours.

Have you ever bought Muji skincare or pens? Doesn’t the shop make you want to try a minimalist lifestyle?


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(Audio)books I Want to Buy and Why #12

Recently, with Amazon and Audible I took advantage of their 90-day Amazon Prime Free Monthly trial. Which translates to three credits, one a month, meaning three audiobooks. I’ve waxed lyrical about my love for Amazon Prime before but this was the thing that actually got me really excited since I’ve been trying to get back into audiobooks but dang, they expensive! So, I thought I’d write a Books I Want to Buy and Why post and ask the opinion of you, dear reader…

Out of these eight, which three do you think are the ones to buy?

Under The Dome by Stephen King
I’ve recently started watching the TV show of Under The Dome and I love it! It’s exactly what I wanted Gone by Michael Grant to be. But I’m a firm believer that the source material for a TV show or movie is, not always but generally, better. And I haven’t read a Stephen King in a while even thought he’s one of my most owned authors.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
I mentioned in my Books I Took to Northumberland post that I was currently reading this book aloud to a friend of mine. Well, that was doing a real number on my throat so I thought I’d just get the audiobook instead and we could listen to it together. This is just the type of book that deserves a long, slow read.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R Tolkien
This series is on my Eventually TBR and I really do want to read them. However, after a bad experience trying to read The Hobbit last year I don’t want to go in unprepared. So I’m thinking that an audiobook to read along to, at least until I get accustomed reading Tolkien, might be the way to go!

On The Road by Jack Kerouac
There are certain plots that just sound like they would make great audiobooks, and doesn’t a road trip across America sound like one? Although, add Gods to that and you have American Gods by Neil Gaiman which I didn’t get along with. Hmm…

Dune by Frank Herbert
How about a throwback to the first Books I Want to Buy and Why with Dune! I haven’t bought the physical book and I’m not sure how the plot of this epic will translate to audiobook. But I do still really want to read it and I like the narrators voice.

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe by Various Authors
One of the times that I find myself listening to audiobooks and podcasts the most is actually in Winter, and specifically the run up to Christmas since so much mundane nonsense needs doing. Tidying, decorating, wrapping, all prime audiobook listening time. So why not listen to something christmassy? And it has stories from Charlaine Harris and Carrie Vaughn, both of whom I love.

Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen by J.K. Rowling
I’ve been low-key trying to learn German for a while now and one of the things that’s recommended is to read your favourite book in the language! Harry Potter isn’t my favourite book (shock horror!) but I know it very very well so I think I’d be able to follow it pretty well, even in German. I wanted to read the book a while back but now I’m thinking the audiobook would be better to get to know pronunciations and tone better.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher
I mentioned wanting to read this in another Books I Want to Buy and Why #9 back in February but I wondered about the audiobook and found myself listening to the sample. The voice was familiar. Turns out it was James Masters! AKA Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Seriously, Spike as a wizard private detective? Sign me up.

So which should I pick?
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My Autumn TBR!

Today is officially the beginning of Autumn so Happy Autumn!

My Autumn and Winter reading is always different from my Spring and Summer reading. In the darker months I feel like I can get stuck into deeper reads, whereas in the bright months I want light reads. It’s not a hard or fast rule, but it is a trend I’ve noticed for a while. So here are the books I want to read now that Summer- or what we got of it, is well and truly over.

My Autumn TBR!

I’m continuing my re-read of The Chronicles of the Invaders by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly that I started last month because I really want to finish this series this year. I can’t believe I’ve had the last book for over a year and haven’t read it yet. Last book fear is real!

I reached for Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth a couple months ago after finishing the series and wanting to read the source material, only to find it was blank for the first 50ish pages! Luckily the publisher was absolutely wonderful about sending me another copy and thus, it joined my Autumn TBR. I’m excited to read more in-depth about London in the 1950s.

The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell were on my Summer TBR but it just didn’t feel like the right time to read them. They’re full of dark forests and creaking ships, and that’s more Autumn to me. So I’ll be picking them up this season instead, in a different order than I thought after reading this. Especially now that two of the books are signed by Chris Riddell!

Since finishing the Harper Connolly series in August, I’ve been unfortunate in being Charlaine Harris free. I’ve not wanted to start the Midnight trilogy because the third book isn’t out in paperback yet and I’ve been hesitant to start the Lily Bard mysteries because the third book is a Christmas themed story. However, now it’s Autumn, Christmas is closer (95 days) and I think I can pace myself enough to save the Christmas book for nearer the season. So The Lily Bard Mysteries: Shakespeare’s Landlord and Shakespeare’s Champion by Charlaine Harris join the TBR pile.

I started the Lux series by Jennifer L Armentrout series as part of my Summer TBR with Obsidian and I loved it! I promptly ordered the rest of the series and in true Imogen fashion, was completely intimidated by the pile of books. I really want to dive back into the world though, Jennifer’s writing is so easy to read.

And lastly, I want to start the Lord of the Rings series with The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s about time I finally read it.

I’m hoping a shorter list, darker nights, slightly less work and more hot cocoa will make this TBR a success! Of course, this doesn’t include the books I have on my #Hallowreadathon TBR! But more on that soon…

What do you plan on reading this Autumn?
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My Summer TBR: End of the Season!

In my original Summer TBR post I had the rather hopeful idea that I would read 1000 pages a week. Little did I know how ridiculous a claim this was! I had a busy Summer so my most was about 780 pages, but I did much better on my Summer TBR then I did on my Spring one. And I found tracking my pages a really interesting experience. But onto the books.

My Summer TBR: End of the Season!

First off, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams didn’t get read as the friend I was going to read it with was moving and had internet problems. I honestly don’t know when we’ll get to it because 2016 has been both a sucky and annoyingly busy year, but I hope it’ll be soon! I think we could all do with some humour in our lives.

On a high note, I finally started my re-read of the Chronicles of the Invaders by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly! It’s slow going because I’m not much of a re-reader of books that I’ve read as recently as a couple of years but I’m really enjoying revisiting the world. Syl is one of my favourite female characters.

I decided to give up on the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett at the beginning of Summer, and re-read The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell but ended up doing the opposite. The Edge Chronicles were moved to next seasons TBR whereas I started The Colour of Magic this month, I’m still not sure if that was the right choice though… More on that when I review it.

I did end up going down to London and meeting Jennifer L. Armentrout who is absolutely lovely. So it was a good thing that I did get round to Obsidian. And I loved it! You can read my full review rave here but in short- the perfect book for a book blogger.

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor is still unread. It seems that I’m not as forgiving of the season 6 finale as I thought. I just haven’t wanted to pick up anything Walking Dead related over Summer. The same for World War Z by Max Brooks. But I did read Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier and my review should be up soon!

The Princess Diaries: Seventh Heaven was a bit of a disappointment, I have a real hatred for slut-shaming which I go into a little more detail here. So I didn’t pick up the rest of the series and I’m not sure I ever will. Life is just too short for books you’re not 100% passionate about. This may be the one occasion where the movie is better than the book.

Gorilla Beach by Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi is put away for another year. It doesn’t seem right to read such a beach read in the dreary town I live in.

And lastly, I finished the last two books in the Harper Connolly omnibus by Charlaine Harris. One in July, and one in August. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have this big chunky book on my ‘read’ shelf next to all my other Charlaine Harris completed series. Onto a new one!

For me, this was a success. I don’t know, maybe I need to do monthly TBRs rather than seasonal ones. I thought I would prefer the openness but I find myself getting distracted from my choices. I’ll see how I feel after my Autumn TBR (up on the blog tomorrow).

Did you have fun with your Summer reading?
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Books I Took to Northumberland: Take Two!

Now, last time I went to Northumberland, I took twenty books. This time I filled up exactly the same box but clearly my Tetris skills are waning because I only seem to have managed to fit sixteen in. All my currently reading went in first, then it was proofs, and some from my Summer TBR, then whatever the heck I wanted that could fit. So what made the cut?

Books I Took to Northumberland

Conquest by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly was a current read that I immediately added to the box, shortly followed by Empire and Dominion*. Yes. I’ve actually started my re-read of this series and it’s all very exciting.

The Countenance Divine by Michael Hughes* was a book I was reading but I’ve since paused. It sounded really interesting and I’m curious about how the story ends, but the lack of female characters and the way women were spoken about made me too uncomfortable to continue this one.

Kitty’s Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn is another of the books I was currently reading and the one I read for the first couple days of my holiday. It even featured in my monthly wrap-up. I really enjoy these books and I definitely want to pick up the rest of the series as soon as my back account allows.

And my last currently reading auto-pack was The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers*. I’m not only currently reading this, I’m reading it aloud to a friend of mine. I really want to finish it before the sequel; A Closed and Common Orbit comes out in October but reading aloud takes a surprising amount of time!

I try never to go away without a Deaver and since I live in horror that I’ll finish a book and not have the sequel with me, I brought along The Bone Collector and The Coffin Dancer. These are the first two books in the Lincoln Rhyme series that I’ve been meaning to re-read for a while.

Frostblood by Elly Blake, Caraval by Stephanie Garber and Replica by Lauren Oliver* are all proofs of books coming over the next six months and I’m so excited about all of them. Seriously excited. They all sound amazing and I couldn’t leave them at home, even if I only started one of them! And on the YA front, I apparently wasn’t satisfied because I shoved These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly in too.

I recently passed The Governors storyline in The Walking Dead comics and since The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor and The Road to Woodbury cover his story pre-comics, I figured I didn’t have to be completely caught up in the comics to re-read them.

And lastly, If You Go Away by Adele Parks* was actually in my handbag and hitched a ride without me noticing until I got here but I’m actually pleased. I promised my dear readers a full review and haven’t delivered yet so this gives me a good opportunity to work through my sticky notes and write a hopefully coherent blog post about how amazing this book is.

In all honesty, I didn’t even get much reading done though! It didn’t turn out to be the relaxing holiday I had hoped for. But, better to have a lot of books and not read them, then finish a lot of books and have nothing left to read! Right?

Am I the only one that over-packs books for holiday?
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Podcast Love #1: Welcome to Night Vale!

I couldn’t figure out how to talk about podcasts on my blog. A currently listening to post? Some kind of monthly wrap-up maybe? It didn’t fit until I was looking through old posts and found my Blog Love series. Then it clicked, a Podcast Love series where I share a podcast that I adore and tell you why you should listen to it! And how could I start it with anything other than the first podcast I listened to. The start of it all for me.

Welcome to Night Vale book, podcast and mug.

Welcome to Night Vale is a fortnightly 20-30 minute podcast set in the small fictional town of Night Vale; where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and flashing lights move overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Essentially it’s a community radio show set in a seriously strange town, hosted by smooth-talking Cecil. The show is diverse, it’s weirdly comforting and always positive, and it’s the kind of podcast you can listen to in the dead of night when you can’t sleep. Taking twenty minutes out of my day to rest and listen to a Night Vale has always been a great self-care exercise for me.

It’s been going for almost four years now so there’s a lot to catch up on. They say you can just jump on anywhere but the early episodes are definitely my favourite. A few people I know have stopped listening to the current episodes, and I tend to find myself going back to listen to older episodes, but I still think it’s great now too. There’s also live shows, I went to the one in Manchester and it was fantastic, and a novel. Not only that, it’s the first podcast I’ve seen to bring out books of the scripts, which is great for people with hearing difficulties.

If you’re intrigued, you can download it from iTunes or find out more on their website. And I’ll leave you with the quote that helped me through some rough times, and had me falling completely in love with Cecil and Night Vale…

“Sometimes you go through things that seem huge at the time like- a mysterious glowing cloud devouring your entire community. While they’re happening they feel like the only thing that matters and you can hardly imagine that there’s a world out there that might have anything else going on. And then the Glow Cloud moves on. And you move on. And the event is behind you. And you may find, as time passes, that you remember it less and less. Or absolutely not at all, in my case. And you are left with nothing but a powerful wonder at the fleeting nature of even the most important things in life. And the faint but pretty smell of vanilla.”

Have you listened to Welcome to Night Vale? What is your favourite podcast?
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Books I Read in August!

Apologies for the unexpected hiatus! Unfortunately, deadlines are deadlines and then I was struck down by an ever so fun stomach bug. Either way, I’m back with the books I read in August. The month was full of paranormal books for me. That wasn’t even my intent but that’s the thing I love about these round-ups, I start to see trends in my reading!

Kitty Goes to War and Kitty

Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn
Kitty Norville continually finds herself in trouble, this time with the military and a wizard.
I liked the military aspect, it was nice to see aspects of the military that aren’t often dealt with; PTSD, the return home, dealing with no longer being in a war zone. As well as the werwolf side; how would werewolves be dealt with in the army and have they been utilised in this way before?
I wasn’t a huge fan of the wizard angle. It felt so shoved in, like the military storyline wasn’t enough so this could add a little extra drama. I wanted more of Vaughn exploring the military side! It’s so obvious she cares about it that I would’ve loved more depth. I liked the book well enough anyway, this series continues to be super fun.
After the passage of time, this professor explained, ancient languages became the language of magic, the meanings forgotten but the power of them remembered.

Kitty’s Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn
If anyone has ever seen the movie As Above, So Below then you might understand the creeped out feeling I get about underground tunnels. The catacombs are terrifying. And so are the underground tunnels in this book too. It was a good, if a little spooky, read though. These books tend to cover a couple of weeks but the majority of this one covered one night. And boy, it was busy.
This one also went into more of the history of the supernatural in this world, and the big overarching storyline. I liked it a lot, but I haven’t bought the next book yet. It isn’t high enough on my priorities to finish this series when I have so many other books to read right now, but I’ll get to it eventually.
the answers felt close, as if I could read them in a book if only I could find the right page.

Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris
So I finally finished this series! I’ll be doing a complete series review (and giveaway) soon but as for Grave Secret, I was pleased. But maybe not thrilled.
Charlaine Harris never leaves a loose end which I appreciate. However, in tying them all up this managed to feel a little rushed. Kind of like when a TV show finds out it’s not getting a next season and the writers cram everything into the last couple episodes. We got a conclusion to everything brought up over the past three books but it was very similar to a previous story in the Harper Connelly series. The only surprise was that Harris would re-use it.
I love Charlaine Harris and her writing, but I’m glad to have finally finished this series as it really wasn’t my favourite of hers. I’m looking forward to starting a different of her series ASAP.

What did you read in August?
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