Friday, 27 June 2014

Photo Diary: Summertime

I'm lucky enough to live around some brilliant nature spots. These are some of my favourite photos that I've taken in the past few weeks during the transition from spring to summer, in locations including my local park and from when I recently visited a public hothouse/wildlife centre with my friends (strange day out, I know).

Thanks for taking a peek. What are your favourite places of nature that you like to visit?

Danielle x

All photos in this post belong to Danielle at

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Anatomicals' Make Your Scalp Yelp! Shampoo

I bought this minty delight a few weeks ago, but have only just used it. The effect is the same as when you chew extra-strong gum  - that cool icy feeling... but on your head.

The coolness isnt immediate. However, I realised that you can't feel the coolness of the peppermint properly until you turn the shower off for a little while, which allows the air to work its magic.

+ Pros
  • Fresh, cool effect - not too overpowering.
  • Clears your sinuses because of the strong scent
  • Their minimalist product packaging is great, their slightly-intrusive yet fantastic 'we only want you for your body' slogan - I especially love their notorious rants that complement their products, as well as their contrasting colour palette.

- Cons
  • Probably wouldn't be appropriate for those with sensitive scalps.
  • Not the cheapest shampoo option - it was £2.80 for 250ml from ASOS  (I only bought it to make up the ££ for my order so I could qualify for free P&P!)
  • Wouldn't want it getting in my eyes (even more so than other shampoos) because of how strong it is.

I would recommend this to a friend to try what it is like. But as a long-term, day-to-day product I question how useful this would be. I personally wouldn't buy it again unless it was cheaper. 

Danielle x

Sunday, 22 June 2014

BELIEVE the hype.

Excuse the state of my library copy! 
Wrote this last night:
I've just finished reading this - 5 minutes ago - and immediately felt I had to write about it.
You know when people GO ON AND ON about a book so much, that when you finally read it, yeah it's generally a good book but it's doomed to be somewhat disappointing because it can never live up to the success that surrounds it (BTW, this sort of happened with Looking For Alaska by John Green for me - it was great but I was naively expecting my life to be changed forevermore or something). It's undermined by its own well-deserved hype. What a paradox. 
This didn't happen with Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Not at all. A review by 'The Bookseller' states that 'it will make you laugh, cry and break your heart'. It's no lie. In many moments I laughed out loud, which doesn't happen with many books - little gems of humour peppered throughout, such as the unexpected Justin Bieber reference at the end, in amongst the list of great philosophers, explorers and artists. Fantastic.
With risk of sounding cliched, it really is an inspiring book that left me feeling hopeful after quite a bad day, and ready to face tomorrow as a brighter one. I'm still on a high from it in fact. I have a library copy, but maybe I'll get one for myself - just so I can flick through some of its wonderful snippets of universal wisdom when another bad day comes around. 
So, I'd just like to say: Believe the hype. It may or may not change your life. Hey, we all have different reading experiences and things that move us don't necessarily move others. You may not connect with this book at all, in fact.
But there's only one way to find out.

Danielle x

P.S. For those of you who have read it already, try The Julian Chapter,  a short e-book in the perspective of the school bully from Wonder, Julian.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Eyeopener #02: How tea hinders rather than helps you

“Dad was at his desk when I opened the door, doing what all British people do when they're freaked out: drinking tea.” ― Rachel HawkinsDemonglass
As you can see, the belief in tea as the Cure is nothing new, you only have to watch an episode of Eastenders or Corrie (where they are continuously “putting the kettle on” and offering each other a “nice cup of tea” after a crisis) to know of its powers to resolve any situation.

If you knew me well, then my love for a good old cuppa is hardly a secret. I can drink around 10 cups a day if I’m at home, and can’t wake up properly without one. Yet, when people advise you to watch what you drink, you assume they’re referring to alcohol. This isn’t necessarily the case. Hot drinks such as tea and coffee can also be harmful, particularly regarding your mood. 

Too much caffeine used to give me migraines but it can also mimic the symptoms of stress, such as anxiety, problems with sleeping, and a faster breathing rate. So if these problems sound familiar to you, ask yourself whether your caffeine intake may be fueling your problems rather than consoling or aiding them.  

What do I do now?
I can share a few things that I do that have helped me considerably:
  •  I didn’t cut out all caffeine/tea immediately (yes you can even have withdrawal symptoms with caffeine) – but gradually.
  • I have a personal rule: If it’s AM I drink caffeinated tea, and if it’s PM then I switch to decaf. I’m quite flexible about it mind – I don’t turn into the Gestapo after 11.59 or anything.
There are actually some pretty nice decaf teas...
My faves:

I hope I haven’t put a negative tone to the fun of all you wild teapartiers – like with everything, moderation is key.

Photo 1 this post belongs to Danielle at This post is merely my own opinion.

Monday, 16 June 2014

First fifteen songs (iTunes shuffle)

These are the first 15 songs, however embarrassing (many in my case!), that play when I put my iTunes on shuffle. I love reading other peoples version of this because it shows their guilty pleasures and old obsessions (Hannah Montana, oh dear), plus it widens my own musical horizon. Feel free to use the links and have a listen for yourself/reminisce...

1. Jake Bugg - Taste it Listen
2. Hannah Montana - Just Like You Listen
3. The Cure - Boys Don't Cry Listen
4. Ramones - Beat On The Brat Listen
5. U2 - The Saints are Coming Listen
6. Lorde - Still Sane Listen
7. Ramones - Judy Is A Punk Listen 
8. Marina & The Diamonds - Miss Y Listen
9. Gym Class Heroes - Cookie Jar Listen
10. Morrissey - Speedway Listen
11. The Pretty Reckless - Follow Me Down Listen
12. Jay Z and Kanye West - In Paris (pretty sure this one is my sisters...) Listen
13. McFly - Transylvania Listen
14. Green Day - Viva La Gloria (Little Girl)  Listen
15. Lana Del Ray - Carmen Listen

Danielle x

Friday, 13 June 2014

The Fault in Our Stars - UK advance screening


The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green has been nothing less than a sensation amongst its teenage/YA audience since its publication in 2012. Indeed, whilst many books exist for several years until a film adaptation is even discussed, this film has already been released in the US and is on the road to becoming a huge success here in the UK too. Thanks to my friend who booked tickets for an early screening of the movie, I got to see it last night, a week before general release. I usually don't particularly go for the romance genre because their films often scream CLICHE, or are generally too soppy for my taste, but I have to admit that this is definitely something different - whether it's the innovative sub-plots, the fantastic (and rather British, did you notice?) soundtrack, or the fact that it was as equally funny as it was sad (I should say 'sad' with inverted commas because it's not a sadness that leaves you feeling deflated), I really enjoyed it!

Yeah, I am very wary of the 'the book is always better than the film' pattern, but in this instance I can genuinely admit that the movie DOES, in my opinion, do the book justice. I even welled up in numerous moments throughout the movie, which says something about its quality because I am usually a robot when it comes to movies (not even the Ultimate tear-jerker Marley & Me did it for me I'm afraid - though maybe this was because I didn't have a dog at the time).

Have you seen TFIOS yet, if so, what did you think?

If not, no worries - it will be released in UK cinemas on June 19th. I would definitely recommend it.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)

Danielle x

All photos in this post except image 2 belong to Danielle at

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Uni summer ball 2014

So me and my friends went to our first uni Summer Ball (more like music/funfair event) on Monday. We regretfully haven't been to many student events at all as most of us don't live on campus, though that's no excuse (a personal aim for next year!), so I knew that it may be a bit of a 'in the deep end' moment as it is the biggest student event in Wales. Tickets were £40 each so we were hoping for something pretty grand and many acts such as Scouting for Girls were headlining.

We arrived a while after it started and after going on a few rides ( i love rollercoasters/rides, the bigger the better!!) we realised that we had paid to stand in a field and chat/drink. Ok, this actually sounds quite fun, but call me an idiot I can do this almost everywhere and anywhere if I chose to. You can already guess that we didn't stay for long. We did give it a chance and it just didn't seem like our scene, so we didn't see much point in staying for much longer in a situation that we weren't really enjoying. However, I think if we had come later - perhaps 8.30 or 9pm, then it could have been excellent (I've heard and seen many many positive comments from other attendees), but we just didn't fancy waiting hours just for the sun to go down (the dark outdoors is somehow more fun don't you think?) and for them to start playing some good music.

Oh My Love playsuit, £40 incl. student discount.
Wore with denim jacket & purple Doc Martens. 
I must also add that my day didn't start very well either - I discovered actor Rick Mayall, from a great comedy show that I like had passed away that morning, plus my friend had a dress catastrophe after an hour's wear (although thankfully unnoticeable with a jacket on!)

Here's what we did instead: Ditched the 'ball' and went into town and decided to have an Italian at Frankie and Benny's. I had Penne Arrabbiata which was stunning because I loveeeeee olives (despite not realising how much chilli the meal would would involve!), plus delicious Mango sorbet for dessert. I also had a tea (because I'm hardcore) and the waiter joked to me 'you're on the hard stuff tonight then?' when he brought it over :P - It's strange because with some friends I'm more confident/chatty WITHOUT a 'proper' drink that I could possibly be with other people even WITH drink (does that make sense? Probably not)

Basically we spent ages in there and had such a laugh. Cheesy to say this, but it really does come down to the people you're with and not the event itself.

I don't think the ball was BAD - like I said I've heard great comments about it and I'm sure most people genuinely enjoyed. It's all about preference at the end of the day. I think it would have been really fun if somehow we had persevered until the later events occurred/gone later or if it started later and cut out the rubbish early events/we were in a bigger group/didn't still feel like nervous freshers - haha!

Ultimately though, it was a great day and end to our first year at uni. All that's left to do is to collect our results - fingers crossed!

What was your end-of-term uni/school event like?

Danielle x

All photos in this post belong to Danielle at

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

This is what you shall do:

I have yet to have the pleasure of discovering most of Walt Whitman's corpus of work (I'm planning on it!), for I have read only a few of his poems/essays. However, in his 1855 preface to the Leaves of Grass anthology - this is even before the actual poetry begins!! - his words are simply astonishing, and I'd like to share a small section of them with you. 

Danielle x

All photos in this post belong to Danielle at

Monday, 2 June 2014

Hay Festival 2014

Book art at the festival
I was so excited to go to this years Hay Literature & Arts Festival in Hay on Wye in Wales this year, even if it was just for 1 (Friday, Day 7) out of the 10 days in which it runs for. Book + food + music = my perfect day out so you could say I was in my element. Indeed, this festival has been visited by many familiar faces in the past including Rowan Williams, Carol Ann Duffy, Boris Johnson, Bono, Bill Clinton, and there were many additions to the list this year such as Benedict Cumberbatch(!!), Dame Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Jacqueline Wilson, Stephen Fry, Paloma Faith, and more.

This was my first year attending the festival and, although most of the events were sold out because I hadn't booked in advance, I still had a really fantastic day!

Interior of one of the book shops 

Personal highlights/+:

  • Discovering the bookshops around Hay on Wye, famous as the 'Town of Books'. In short walking distance I went in about ten, and they were all so original and quirky, especially in their decor. I also thought it was funny that many of them had a 'No Kindles allowed' policy (I daren't mention I had one in my bag that I used for the journey up!)
  • Book signings! There are about 10 book signings throughout each day, open to everyone. 
  • Being in the audience of the One Show filmed live from the festival. Funny being near something I watch regularly.
  • The shuttle bus was only £1 for an all-day ticket. A great perk to the day as I pay at least £4 in my city.


  • Parking! Took us a while to find a parking space but in the end we had a bit of luck and landed a space in a field directly opposite the entrance!
  • Food prices - although I'm sure there were other, more reasonable venues to eat at, we were forced into a place where two salads and two pots of teas cost over £25 which we thought was just crazy.

I will DEFINITELY be coming back next year and do the whole 'festival experience' properly, perhaps camping and all. It's really not something to miss out on as a book enthusiast and recommend everyone goes at least once! 


        Poetry book shop in Hay on Wye                                                             Hundreds of Penguin Classics

Filming of the BBC One Show

Books everywhere!

Danielle x

All images in this post belong to Danielle at