Tuesday, 15 March 2016

What I'm reading - March

Sometimes I'll read a whole book in a matter of days, and others it will take me months because I simply don't sit down and read in that period, or I completely forget I've even started that book. At home I have several unfinished books, and at uni I already have 3 and I've only been here 6 months (that doesn't count textbooks... of which I haven't read anywhere near enough!)

The three books I currently have on the go here in Plymouth are The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkein, South of the Border, West of the Sun - Haruki Murakami and Anna Karenenina - Leo Tolstoy.

I started the Murakami novel in the Autumn after reading recommendation after recommendation Becky. I've read barely any of it, but I enjoyed what I've read so far. This book was in my handbag for the bus journeys to work, and unfortunately it stayed in the handbag and got rather neglected! Have re-read the blurb, I really want to read the rest of the story!

I downloaded Anna Karenina onto my kindle because it was either free or dirt cheap on Amazon. I started reading it about a week before War & Peace started on the BBC, and promptly became very confused and they've merged into one snowy, high-class, Russian blur. I think I'll have to start re-reading this one from the beginning again, as I'd have no idea what was going on! I've heard from a friend that its "the most accurate representation of love and the human condition [he's] ever encountered" so I know I must finish it one day (in the near future).

Aaand... The Hobbit. Now this one I'm nearly half way through. It looks like a fairly thin book, but I feel the amount I've read I should be further through it than I am! Lord of the Rings is a funny one for me; I've never seen any of the films the whole way through, I've only seen odd bits when they've been on the telly and nothing else is on. I saw the first Hobbit film at the cinema, and was really confused at the end as they hadn't got anywhere - I only later realised it was going to be a trilogy, and I haven't seen the rest! My cousin and my brother love this book so I thought I should get round to reading it, and I was advised that I should read The Hobbit before reading Lord of the Rings.
I read most of this on the train back to Wales from Plymouth - a 6 hour journey, and the man with the drinks trolley said how good it was. I'm reading my Mum's copy form the 70s, and its full of annotations from her teacher training days. I can tell that this is written for children - but its also a book adults can thoroughly enjoy. I don't read a lot of Fantasy (apart from Harry Potter, which I've not actually re-read since they first came out). My problem with fantasy is that the situations aren't realistic - which I suppose is a given - but the author can put the characters in a sticky situation and then lo-and-behold a giant bird flies along and rescues them out of a tree that's on fire with angry wolves and goblins at the bottom. But I'll stick with it - Tolkein is an author I feel I must read ( and I'm not counting his Oxford English Dictionary entries).

I've noticed all these books have been recommended to me by someone who really loves them, which can only be a good sign. I know they're worth finishing.
Have you read any of these? Is there anything else I should be reading?

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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipsticks Review

You know when you go to Boots, Superdrug, Debenhams etc and come out with a multicoloured hand from swatching about 50 different products?

It has been said, on more than one occasion, by more than one person, that I can be rather indecisive. When I went to Boots the other day in search of the perfect rosey-nude lipstick, I honestly could have spent hours there. It was a good thing I was with friends and they were nagging me to hurry up! 

I did find one and I was like YES THIS IS THE ONE but they only had a tester, and no stock left. And now I'm writing this I can't even remember which brand it was let alone the shade! Anyway I moved on to the Max Factor stand I came up against this dilemma:

I spent aaaages deciding between Firefly and Raisin in store - do you see how difficult they make it for us!? 

After very much deliberating I settled for Raisin, and though my friends had pointed out that it was 3 for 2 I very nobly said I only needed the one lipstick and tootled off to pay. BUT Boots & Max Factor obviously had some kind of marketing guru working for them and they'd put a stand right next to the self check outs that was just Max Factor and just these Colour Elixir Lipsticks. WHY YOU DO THIS!? Its like putting chocolate and chewing gum by the till in supermarkets, targeting poor, unsuspecting impulse buyers like me. 

There was a queue and I was in a hurry so I picked up the first two lipsticks that caught my eye, and these just happened to be Angel Pink and Dusky Rose. So I did actually make use of the the 3 for 2 in the end and got myself a free lipstick, right?

I popped into Boots yesterday to double check what Max Factor called this particular lipstick, and spotted they've now got an offer where if you spend over £15 on Max Factor you get a free gift worth £30 (or something like that..). Not going to lie that bugged me a bit that I missed out but I'm informing you good people so you can take advantage. Don't say I never do anything for you, now ;)

Even now I can't actually decide which is my favourite shade out of the three of them. I just pick out one of them and put it on and get pleasantly surprised by which ever one is on my lips. 
This is what Max Factor say about them:

Colour Elixir Lipstick gives you smooth, soft lips with gorgeous colour.
  • Instant fabulous colour.
  • Actively moisturises for smoother, fuller lips (vs bare lips)
  • A blend of 60% emollients, conditioners and antioxidants including vitamin E

Their texture is quite creamy and feels comfortable when its on. With some lipsticks you can feel them drying out your lips but these feel quite the opposite, more like when you put a lip balm on. The shades are nice and bright and last quite well. They passed the take-away coffee test but my lips were notably less colourful after lunch, which is to be expected - nothing a quick re-apply won't fix! 

These lipsticks do have a little bit more of a shine than I'd prefer, but that's only if I'm being really fussy! 

I would definitely buy this lipstick again in some of the other shades (as if I don't have enough already...).  

  Have you tried these lipsticks? Tell me your favourite shade in the comments!
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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Franco Manca Pizza

When we were in London, Mark and I had lunch at Franco Manca pizza, on my brother's recommendation. We are so glad we went! They have a few branches dotted across London, and we went to the one in Covent Garden, just off the strand.

We were a bit wary of London prices when it came to food, but the pizzas were very reasonably priced and we got nice big portions - cheaper and much better quality than Domino's!

The interior of the restaurant is fairly industrial - exposed brickwork and lightbulbs without shades  and this makes for a really cosy atmosphere, even though it doesn't sound like it!

There are set pizzas on the menu but they were more than happy for me to swap mushrooms for spinach on mine as they are all made to order.

Franco Manca are all about excellent quality and provenance of their ingredients, so you know your super tasty pizza has had a good upbringing.

Have you ever been here? What did you think? I'd love it if they expanded outside of London!

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