Sponsor Becky Bedbug in May

May already! I am so happy and excited about the approach of summer. Summer is the time to get bloggy and I love it!

All my sponsors can expect three emails during the course of their sponsorship: One at the beginning, one halfway through and one at the end. These emails are an opportunity to check in with you, see how things are going and whether you want any advice. I really want my sponsorships to be based on mutual dialogue rather than just sticking your button in my sidebar.

Here's what you get:
- An advert in my sidebar for 30 days
A shoutout on Twitter
- With some options, you'll also get a mention in a sponsor post.

Let's take a peek at the stats:
  • 1950+ on Bloglovin'
  • 1300+ on GFC
  • 6600+ on Twitter
  • 14000+ visitors a month
If advertising's not your thing, there are other ways you can get involved, such as sponsored posts and PR reviews. For all the information, take a look at my sponsorship page here or contact me.


Camera Roll // April

Is it just me or has April gone in the blink of an eye? I'm pretty sure it didn't even happen!
Awful photo of me and Tori in Winchester // Hamster friend!
Me and Paige playing tourist // Prosecco with Sarah at L&G Games Night

Losing my balance makes for fun photos // At the world's biggest Lush!
Thug life // Teeny tiny bag!

I'm so happy that May is almost here! The summer is well and truly beginning!


April Speed Reviews

Last month, I posted my book speed reviews and they went down so well that I figured I'd do another one this month. Don't say I never treat you! As with last week, all reviews need to be kept within 140 characters. Let's go! 

A Woman of No Importance^- Oscar Wilde

Witty play mocking Victorian society but slow-paced with a weak plot. Wilde heavily borrows from ThePicture of Dorian Gray. 6/10

Full review of A Woman of No Importance.

Serial Killers- Rodney Castleden
Comprehensive, if often inaccurate, record of the key serial killers throughout history. Some issues with structure and categorising. 5/10

The Reader^- Bernard Schlink
Hard-hitting German novel about a boy who develops an unusual love affair with poignant results. Beautiful but confusing time jumps. 5/10
Full review of The Reader

Perfume^- Patrick Suskind
Beautifully written tale of a boy in 18th-century France with talent for detecting scents. Mostly well-paced and engaging. 8/10

Full review of Perfume.

^Affiliate links have been used in this post.


OOTD // Black & Pink

I feel like a Real Fashion Blogger today with my fancy London backdrop! These photos were taken in the side streets just off Oxford Street in the Fitzrovia area when I visited Lush Oxford Street.
Pink Skirt OOTD
Bodysuit: Primark
Skirt*: c/o George at Asda
Leggings: New Look
Shoes: Crocs
Jacket (below): Primark

Do you ever try on a new outfit and think "YES! This is MY outfit!"? That is exactly how I feel about this. When I visualised it, it felt a little Flashdance- black bodysuit and leggings with a bright pink skater skirt? All I need are some legwarmers and a bucket of water. However, when I actually put it on, it was like the heavens had opened!Pink Skirt and Black Leggings
This skirt is officially my new favourite garment. I was kindly provided it by George at Asda and, although it looked great online, I was not prepared for how fantastic it would actually be. It's a stretch cotton jersey so it's super comfortable and, although it's such a simple shape, the colour is everything! It's already got a huge response on Twitter and Instagram, as well as from strangers in the street, so I'm very happy with it! Pink Skirt and Black Top Outfit


Lush Oxford Street

By now, you may have noticed that I like Lush. I think it goes without saying that I was excited about the opening of Lush's flagship store on Oxford Street. Of course, I was looking forward to visiting the largest Lush shop in the world- there are THREE floors- but when I discovered there were more than 200 new products, I jumped right on the train!Lush Oxford Street
Oh my goodness, it's the most wonderful thing in the world! Being logical, I decided to tackle the store strategically and started in the basement which is home to the spa and therapy room as well as massage bars and candles. Although I've wished for Lush candles forever, I found the scent of these seemed a bit underwhelming and they were pretty pricey so I didn't get one. Pro tip: Since the candles are encased in bamboo, every one is a different size. Keep an eye out for the largest ones!Lush Oxford Street Decor
Lush Candles
Lush Music
The ground floor is home to skincare, haircare and make up. I will call this the Floor of Wonders because everything is huge! Tubs of shampoo and shower scrubs the size of my head, 1 litre bottles of shower gel fragranced with the likes of The Comforter, Lord of Misrule and Yuzu & Cocoa. (Imagine what it will be like at Christmas! A litre of Snow Fairy? Yes please!) The make up range includes solid eyeshadows and lipsticks that I cannot wait to go back and try out! Then there are the truly innovative new products such as showder (a shower powder) and washable postcards! 

Lush washable postcards
Pink Lush lipstick
1kg Lord of Misrule shower gel
The Comforter Shower Cream bottles
650g Big Shampoo tub
Happy Happy Joy Joy conditioner bottles
Up the stairs to the first floor reveals the bath products. Brand new bath bombs and bubble bars as well as classics reinvented, such as this gorgeous new take on my favourite Green Bubbleroon, and pick and mix bath oils in a range of sweet, musky and fruity scents. To one side is an area dedicated to gift sets and, beside the floor-to-ceiling windows, an area to sit down and play with Fun to your heart's content!
Lush Art of Bathing Wall
Bath Bomb trolley
Floral bath oil
Sacred Lotus Flower bath bomb
Guardian of the Forest bath bomb
The Experimenter Bath Bomb
Oxford St Exclusives sign
Oxford Street Green Bubbleroon
Lush Oxford Street Fun corner
I came out with a bag stuffed to the brim with brand new products that I cannot wait to try out and review. Of course it wasn't enough though, so I'm already looking forward to my next visit!
Lush Oxford Street Haul



Sarah has written about the L&G Games Night and included photos of my face. 

Sara has metallic flashing shoes!

Other Favourites
Wondering how to take OOTD photos in public without feeling stupid? Amber has the answers!
Erica has been keeping it real on her blogging hiatus.
Confused about politics? Kay has written a perfect post on the basics of UK politics.
No biggie but Cosmopolitan featured me in their post that proves women of all sizes can look good in a bikini.

Book Review // The Reader

The Reader^- Bernard Schlink

Back when Kate Winslet was nominated for an Oscar (which she later won) for her role in this film, I bought the book before watching the film. Fun fact for you: In 2008, she received two Best Actress nominations at the BAFTAs for roles in films adapted from books- one for The Reader and one for Revolutionary RoadShe won for her role as Hanna Schmidt in the adaptation of the former. Anyway, irrelevant facts aside, I recently decided to re-read and review all the books that I bought in my reading phase of 2008 and this, along with Perfume, was one of the first I reached for. 

The Reader follows Michael, a 15 year old boy who finds himself in the company of Hanna Schmidt when he is suddenly taken ill outside her home. Once recovered, Michael's mother encourages him to visit Hanna to thank her for the help. So begins a friendship that blossoms into a relationship based on sexual intimacy and reading to the much older woman who has expertly seduced the naive schoolboy. Set during the late 1950s, Michael is led on a journey through an unbalanced relationship while dealing with the issues of male puberty. When Hanna disappears without a trace, he finds it difficult to move forward with his life until he suddenly, coincidentally, encounters her again many years later in the most shocking of ways. 

Shlink's writing style is very easy to read. It's functional and free from unnecessarily flowery language, although still describes certain scenes in beautiful detail. In a first-person narrative, the reader is welcomed into Michael's thoughts as he battles with his conflicting feelings and, with this, Sclink creates a powerful sense of empathy.
However, I found it very difficult to get a real sense on the passing of time throughout the novel. World War II features very heavily so I often became confused with exactly when the story was taking place. In fact, I only know it's set in the late 50s because I ended up Googling it. This lack of explanation around the setting made it quite difficult for me to follow and, now that I know it's set later than my initial thoughts, I'm even more confused with why Hanna left! I think I'll need to re-read it.

This is almost rectified with the conclusion. One of the most important features of a novel for me- if not the most important feature- is how it ends. The ending of a book (and a film, come to think of it) can make or break it for me. In the case of The Reader, it ends so poignantly and beautifully that it brought me to tears. 

Although the writing was fantastic, and it was certainly redeemed by such an emotional conclusion, the confusing setting limits the impact The Reader had on me and therefore I rate it five out of ten.

With its themes of young boys being seduced by older women, The Reader is similar in some ways to Tampa although the latter is not quite as accomplished!

Buy The Reader here

Affiliate link has been used in this post


What I learned from an accidental blogging break

A couple of weeks ago, I accidentally took a blogging break. For over 2 years now, I've blogged every day, with the exception of my holidays in August when I posted maybe once every 3 days. Suddenly, I found myself not posting for days on end. Admittedly, this was hardly a complete departure from blogging but it was just so not me. I've always prided myself on my consistency and, although I doubt there was anyone frantically refreshing my page and crying into their keyboards, it still stressed me out. However, I did learn some things from this unexpected break.

Your stats will go down 

I'll admit it- I'm addicted to my stats. I know I shouldn't be, and it goes against every piece of blogging advice ever, but I'm terrified of them dropping. Of course, going from one or two posts a day to 4 in a week meant my stats fell massively. In fact, on some days they were more than half what I usually get. But you know what? It wasn't the end of the world because...

People will still be there

To my surprise, although my views fell, my followers increased. Yes, I know. Again I'm going against all the blogging advice. It's about views, not follows, but we've already established my views dropped so give me this one victory please?

I earned more with Adsense

Now I have absolutely no idea why this is. There is no logical sense that fewer views = more clicks but, somehow, that's exactly what happened. My Adsense income increased by 25%. Almost enough to make me want to take another break. Almost...

Essentially, the biggest lesson I learned was that the world goes on and I won't erase all my hard work. People will still read, my stats went back up again as soon as I returned posting regularly and it was like nothing ever happened. Will I be doing again soon though? Probably not. I just can't handle the stress!


Review // MAC Cinderella Royal Ball Lipstick

Oh, I can never resist hype! Especially when it's MAC hype. This time, for the first time ever, I managed to get hold of a limited edition collection product! Admittedly not in the first run but I spotted that MAC had restocked their Cinderella collection online about a week later and pounced on the Royal Ball lipstick. Unfortunately, in my excitement, I put down the wrong address and it was delivered to my mum's where she opened it before I had taken photos. Eventually I got hold of it and I could not wait to try it!
Royal Ball is a lustre which isn't my favourite finish. I find them too sheer and they tend to wear off very quickly. Unfortunately this shade is no exception and the colour has all but gone within the hour. It's a shame as it's a very pretty, shimmery nude. Perhaps a little too nude as it's so sheer and ends up giving me a little bit of a corpse face. 

I also think the packaging is really cute. A lot of people disagree, I know, but I love the blue and lilac iridescence that reminiscent of both Cinderella's dress and the glass slipper. Although I wouldn't exactly recommend this lipstick (not that it would be relevant, since it's sold out), I'm still glad I tried it. One for more natural looks when I pop out quickly!

OOTD // Blue and White Florals

Top: Peacocks
Skirt: TU at Sainsbury's
Shoes: c/o BHS
Necklace: My grandma's

Ooh look, the sun is out! In Bedbugland (totally a real place), that means it's time to get the outfit posts on a roll! I really do love outfit posts- in fact, that's the reason I started this blog- but I find them difficult in the winter months. Spring is very welcome!
These gorgeous ivory satin ballet shoes* were kindly sent to me by BHS. Yes, they're bridal shoes but I really think they work with summery outfits like this. This is one of the great things about wearing flat shoes as a bride- You can reuse them for daily outfits afterwards. In fact, I wore ivory satin trainers at my wedding so I am a total bridal flats advocate! This pair are wide-fit so originally I consider sizing down but I'm glad I didn't as they're quite stiff and the extra width stops any rubbing or blistering. 
It was a beautiful day when I took these photos, so I was thrilled to be able to crack out this lovely skirt that I've had waiting for me a few weeks. Whenever I go to a supermarket, I cannot resist looking at the clothes and this skirt was crying out for me. At first I was worried the length might be too long and unflattering (I like a short skirt!) but, as you can see, it's pretty much perfect. 

Sitting by the pond watching the ducklings was so lovely. They're the cutest, fluffiest little things and don't worry, I have no plans to stuff them!
These beads are very dear to me. They were given to me by my grandma for my 21st birthday and were originally given to her by my grandad for their 20th wedding anniversary back in 1975. There is also a matching bracelet which my grandma never wore as she had tiny wrists and it kept falling off. I've inherited her wrists and hands so the bracelet is kept stored away. 

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