There’s honestly nothing I love more than snuggling up under my duvet with a book. Bonus brownie points if I have some sort of snack nearby (100 extra points if said snack is a bag of Cheesy Wotsits). I read my first book when I was about two and a half – no joke, this kid was OBSESSED with reading – and had bookwormed my way through the entirety of my primary school library by the time I hit Year 5. My teacher got fed up of me asking for new reading material that wasn’t Biff and Chip (remember those legends?!) and presented me a compilation edition of all three of the Lord of the Rings books.  “There you go,” she said, all smug. “That’ll take you a while.” Spoiler alert – it took me half a week.

I can still remember that book – it was emerald green and the back cover was coming off. Books have had such an impact on my life. When I was younger I escaped from the harrowing stress of 10-year-old life (my Neopet kept losing against that inflatable clown in the Battledome and I was NOT here for it) by burying my head in the latest Jacqueline Wilson. Now I’m 23 (good god), I escape from actual adult stresses by going to the nearest charity shop and bulk-buying as many books as I can carry. Any book can jump out at me, but while compiling this list it seems I love a classic ‘coming of age’, with as many dark twists as possible!

I tried to keep this list a little unusual – fingers crossed you can pick up one of my recommendations and find a new favourite! Let’s dive in.

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  1. The Chocolate Money by Ashley Prentice Norton. I actually picked this book up in the Pound Shop, expecting it to be a casual, easy read to fill a few hours. It wasn’t – I was completely absorbed within the first two pages, and read the entire book in one sitting. Just a note – the book focuses on issues such as sex and abuse, so if that’s not something you’d like to read about, try another of my suggestions! The novel takes us through the childhood and teenagehood (teenagehood? Is that a word?) of Bettina, the daughter of distant, brutal heiress Babs, and we see how her uncomfortable childhood affects her in later life as she enrols in private school. The characters are SO intricate and detailed that they’ll stay with you for a very long time. The book is totally unflinching; very, very honest, and I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down if it’s your kind of thing.
  2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Sorry to my fellow bookworms, but I actually watched the film version of Lolita before I read the book – it’s a gorgeous film, by the way, very dark and very uncomfortable but full of absolutely amazing performances. Obviously the undertones of Lolita (which features an illicit ‘relationship’ between a young girl and an older man) are not to everyone’s tastes, but it’s difficult to resist the acerbic and witty style of the narrative voice. I wrote about Lolita in a practise A-Level essay and was told off for including ‘inappropriate literature’. Soz, Miss – this book is a classic for a reason.
  3. The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite by Beatrice Colin. I love this book so much I bought an extra copy when I saw it in a charity shop just in case I dropped my original copy in the bath or something (which is actually one of my biggest fears – can you IMAGINE dropping your fave book in your bath and it turning into a soggy bath bomb?!). It’s set in Berlin “at the turn of the twentieth century” (I’m embarrassed to admit that I copied that off the back of the book because I don’t actually know what date that is. I got an E in History). The book is a whirlwind, taking us with Lilly from childhood to a seemingly glamorous film career. She’s one of those characters who you want to make decisions for, and you just DIE when she makes the wrong ones.
  4. The End of Everything by Megan Abbott. I can’t give too much away about this one without ruining the book. It’s intense and heady and you’ll probably have to read it in one sitting because it’ll superglue itself into your hands. It tells the story of best friends Evie and Lizzie – and then Evie disappears. That’s all I’m saying! Read it & DM me on Twitter so we can talk about it.
  5. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. This book is a whole journey – it rekindled my love for reading after skimming through it one desperately boring afternoon, and yanked me right into the world of the story. It’s so interesting and detailed – following 14-year-old Lee as she discovers the unspoken social rules and rituals of her exclusive Massachusetts boarding school.

So what are your top 5? Have you read anything on my list? Got any recommendations? Sick of me asking questions? Okay. Sorry.

 

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Happy December 1st, friends! As you’re reading this I’m probably stuffing my face with the strawberry cream chocolates that I jammed into my own advent calendar, because that’s what you do when you’re an adult and you buy an EMPTY advent calendar. I’m super motivated with my blog lately, which is just as well, ’cause it’s been going for three years now and I haven’t been offered even a hint of an LA Blogger Trip or an all-expenses-paid jaunt round Disneyland Paris. Rude.

I’m joking – of course! I love my little blog the way it is, sponsored posts or no sponsored posts; award-winning or not. But I’d love to give it a bit more welly in the New Year. Is that just a Northern thing, giving something ‘a bit more welly’? I feel like my Mum would say it. Essentially I’m going to kick my butt into gear and make 2018 the year my little blog discovers its superpowers. I wrote this post about my 2017 blogging goals (which I 100% cheated at and wrote in May…?) but it’s safe to say I’ve got new ideas and I’m ready to do some SERIOUS blogging. Just FYI – that’s blogging where I’m not in my bed, downing Pepsi Max Ginger (it’s UNREAL), wearing some iteration of pyjamas (ie my boyfriends sweatshirt, knickers that my dog has probably chewed, and odd socks) and eating Mint Poppets like they’re tictacs. Let’s move on, shall we?!

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  1. I want to write about SO MANY new things! I’ve been in my new house for a year now (WHAT), and it’s still nowhere near finished – there’s one room solely for ‘stuff I don’t want to get rid of but have no idea where to put’; I’m scared to climb into the loft, and my dog ripped up half my kitchen lino. I want to add an interiors section to my blog – sharing my shambolic journey as I attempt to make my house a home. Give me a free afternoon and you’ll find me browsing eBay for vintage Disney Store merch, watching The Little Mermaid and snuggling under my Baymax blanket, so you better believe I’ll be adding a Disney section too! I’m a massive animal lover (this coming from the girl who once had 9 pet rats and is still a bit fuming that she never found another one so she could have a nice solid 10) so I’ll be sharing anecdotes and advice on my fluffy lil pets too!
  2. Inspired as ever by the fab and lovely and generally perfect Jemma, I want to start a happy little community on Twitter – and by the time this post is published I’ll have dipped my toes in the water of hosting my very own Twitter chat! #littlechat is going to be exactly that – a quick fire round of questions with a different topic each week. It’ll be on Monday nights at 9pm – the spot that left a hole in my heart after #sassybloggers disappeared off the face of the earth. Sob.
  3. Improve my photography. Photography is the bane of my actual life – I feel like I can whack out a blog post no problem, and then it comes to getting the perfect photo – you know the one: a blurry background, twinkly lil fairy lights, artfully arranged coffee in my prettiest mug balanced on my white bedding. I’ll let you in on a secret – my bedding has multicoloured llamas on it and there’s never not mascara on my pillows. I’ll be taking part in some photo-a-day challenges to up my photography game!
  4. I’ve always wanted to be a vlogger – the idea of talking to a camera doesn’t phase me as I talk to myself twenty four seven anyway. However, ya girl works 7 days a week and any downtime is used solely for cuddling James until I get beard hair in my eye/up my nose; snuggling my pets until I get pet fur in my eye/up my nose; or sleeping. So I’ll be taking full advantage of Instagram Stories – to share my hilariously messy life with you all without having to crack out Windows Movie Maker.
  5. I have so many life experiences that I want to share with you all, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. I mean, who wants to know what it’s like having 10+ pets? Or what I learned from being cheated on? I’ll be starting a new series – What I Learned – so I can have a little reflect and you can have a chuckle (even at the whole ‘cheated on’ thing – there was a flying frying pan involved).

So fingers crossed, and here’s to a productive New Year of littlebudget! What are some of your goals? Hit me up on twitter @little_budget and let me know!

 

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Hi! Remember me? No? Sorry.

I’ve neglected my blog this year. 2017 was going to be THE year I grow my blog – get those stats rising, go to events, have new wonderful content uploaded every other day.

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Yeah, that didn’t happen. Oops.

What have I been doing with my 2017 instead, I hear you ask? Well. I got another job (I’m never satisfied until my days are so busy I don’t have time to breathe); I got a puppy, and I found someone weird enough to want to be my boyfriend. I graduated with a First in Media Studies and won an award for my work during my degree. I started a Masters Degree. I bought a house.
I also ate a great many Mini Rolls, put on two stone, needed to double my antidepressant prescription, played the Sims, slept a lot, cried a lot and generally felt crap about myself.

I’m still not massively happy. I have horribly hard days and then I have some days where all I want to do is sit and write, but life gets in the way (generally in the form of a floor that needs mopping or a puppy that keeps ripping up my socks and running off with them).

But I want to be creative; I want to write and take photographs and make films and videos. I want to DO something. So, inspired as always by the wonderful women in the blogging community, that’s what I’m going to try to do. I want to introduce so many new things on this blog. Funny things. Sad things. I want to blog my shambolic journey through my 20s and have you here for all of it. I don’t want my complete lack of motivation to stop me.

I’m lucky enough now that I have someone who supports me completely and lets me bounce my aspirations around as I try to convince myself that yep, losing two stone is going to be easy; I’m going to buy some new gym gear and watch me go! I’m assuring myself that a 3000 word essay will flow magically from my brain and get me a First. I’m 100% certain that if I redecorate my spare bedroom it’ll make me feel a thousand times better. That if I blog about my life changing it’ll make me change it.

Expect so many new things from me. I’m not going anywhere – I’ve found my place in the blogging community (somewhere in between ‘sober one at the party wishing she was at home with her animals’ and ‘absolute advocate for girl power’) and I want to make the most of it.

I’ve just sat back from my laptop and read this post through. I’m not sure I’ve rediscovered my blogging voice (sarcastic, uses too many hyphens, abbreviating queen) but this feels like me and for now, that’s what I’m grateful for.

I’ll speak to you very soon.

x

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I’m all about Technic Cosmetics. My first EVER makeup was one of their dinky lil eyeshadow palettes that I smeared all over my eyelids and looked, quite frankly, a mess – but felt great. Technic has definitely had a glow-up since then; boasting super glossy highlight, Pro brushes, palettes, shimmer… and all at crazily affordable prices.

They were fab enough to send me a little package containing two of their Pro brush range (which are bright orange and super sassy) and their solid brush cleanser.

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Now, real talk – I’m SO lazy when it comes to cleaning my makeup brushes! I’d rather guiltily spend a few quid online picking up a bumper pack of unbranded brushes than risk ruining my favourite brushes with my haphazard method of ‘whatever shower gel I’m trying to use up at the time’ and a mixing bowl of warm water.

No more! The solid brush cleanser is easy to use (even for layabouts like me) – you just wet your brush (I popped mine into a little glass of warm water), swirl it around on the cleanser – making cute lil bubbles as you do so – and voila!
I put this cleanser to the test with some of my messiest makeup – namely a super orange bronzer that I’m not sure why is still in my makeup bag, and a dark forest green eyeshadow that I want to wear RIGHT NOW but will have to wait til Autumn.

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The cleanser has a really light, fresh cucumber fragrance, without being overpowering (I learned my lesson after I washed my brushes in Green Apple washing up liquid and they made my eyes water). Once you’ve swirled your brush on the cleanser and it’s all clean, let it air dry and dab a bit of tissue or paper towel on the cleanser to dry it up again before putting the lid back on.

I can’t even get over how long this will last me – it’s really convenient and saves making a foundation-water flood all over my bathroom floor.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to wash the makeup brushes I’ve been neglecting since 2015. Speak soon!

You can follow me on Twitter @little_budget or on bloglovin here!

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Summer, where did you go? Over here in the UK, we got one glorious week (ish) of lovely hot weather – just in time for me to sashay about in my new sunglasses at my beautiful cousin’s hen do. Let me tell you – I have never in my life been more thankful for the existence of suncream, sunglasses and sandals.

The lovely peeps at WatchShop.com were kind enough to pop me over a pair of sunnies, so I chose these gorgeous ones. “They’re a bit glam,” my mum said when I showed her, and she’s right – except they’re totally practical and understated too. They’re brill for everyday and don’t look out of place with a maxi dress (which is what I lived in all weekend).

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Here’s my lil disclaimer: I used to be a Primark sunglasses girl. They’re super cheap; you can fling ’em in your bag without a second thought, and when they inevitably break, you can pick up another pair for less than you’d pay for your bus home. But they’re not the comfiest, and they do almost nothing to actually protect your eyes from the sun. After wearing these Raybans all weekend, I didn’t have that ‘sunglasses headache’ – they didn’t dig into my nose, and miraculously (though tbh probably nothing to do with the glasses) I didn’t get a tan line round my eyes. I’ll be using my Primark sunnies for cute Instagram props from now on!

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Here’s a little moment of body confidence. I LOVE this picture of me. I don’t even mind how much bigger my arm looks than I thought it was. I love that you can see a little circle on my wrist where my watch rubbed my tan off. I don’t even care that I’m doing something awkward with my super-thin hair. I love that you can see the scar on my hand that I got from a rogue stir-fried mushroom (not even kidding). I love that I’m dressed like a fairy princess (dress was £8 in Primark – thank me later), but most of all I love that I look so happy. Expect this photo all over my Instagram, ’cause it isn’t often that I feel so happy with myself!

So thanks WatchShop.com for the sunnies – make sure you follow them on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – let me know if you pick anything up and we can be glasses twins!

Speak soon!

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