Thursday, 7 October 2010

Review: The Amazon Kindle

We read to know we are not alone -C.S. Lewis
After just under two weeks of waiting anxiously for the arrival of my Wi-Fi Amazon Kindle, it finally arrived and I'm absolutely in love with it. I have always said "Ohhh I hate e-readers. I love real books, I will never buy one of those things", but here I am. I'm a huge fan of collecting books and hope to have a mini library at some point in my life when I don't have to move around so much, but for now I like the idea of saving physical space and storing my virtual books on a nice little gadget like this. I did initially think to myself "What if I can't get used to reading this? What if it feels too weird for me to read for too long? What if it's nothing like reading a book?" and you know? I was worrying about nothing. After an hour of reading it felt completely comfortable, and I forget that I'm not reading a real book.
As you can see, I went ahead and bought the official leather case for mine, despite telling myself not to. The price is absolutely ridiculous at £29.99 but I try to soothe my empty pockets by reminding myself how well-made it is, how well the Kindle fits inside, and how much I enjoy the colour. 
Above: The Kindle has a screensaver up whenever it's turned off and it changes every time you do this, which is quite a nice touch. You can't customize or add your own screensavers which may be a bit annoying for some people, but I personally like the ones that are here already!
Home Page: When you upload a new book to your Kindle you'll find it in the list here. Thankfully, there is the option to create new 'Collections', which means you can organise different books or files into seperate folders to make things look a bit neater. As you can see from the picture I've sorted my books into a 'Modern Fiction' section for books that I read in my spare time and then I have two folders dedicated to University modules, containing relevant books and PDFs.
E-ink Technology: Above I've compared the Kindle's E-ink Pearl screen to a real book. As you can see the quality and contrast of the screen is absolutely amazing which makes for a great reading experience. There is also NO BACKLIGHTING on the Kindle which means that you are not going to get the screen-glare related headaches that more often than not accompany reading from a computer or mobile phone, for example. I'm so bored of people trying to compare the Kindle to the iPad. The Kindle has been made as a device almost solely for reading, hence the lack of  backlighting; hence the lack of colour; hence the absence of an app store carrying your favourite games. You are considering the wrong gadget if you're looking for those things-- that is not what it's for, and it's a fraction of the price for that reason! 

Experimental Features: The Kindle does offer an 'Experimental' section which includes an MP3 Player, A Web Browser and Text-to-Speech. None of these features are particularly great, and I don't intend on ever using any of them, but this isn't an issue for me as I would have purchased my Kindle had they not been there. 
Above: On the Kindle you have the option of changing all of these elements in order to make your reading experience the best it can be. The screen rotation option is brilliant for PDF use (something I haven't really touched on in this review). 
A Kindle at University?: Something that drew me even further into  Kindlemania was the fact that I would be able to get a lot of classic literature for free-- whether this be from the Amazon Kindle store, or Project Gutenberg, and that would be great for me as an English student. There are also pros such as space saving, and not having to lug a tonnes worth of books back and forth with me every time I visit my boyfriend or my family. There is also the brilliant dictionary and highlighting functions available, however, one thing that I do worry about would be referencing in an academic essay. I don't know that it would be acceptable to reference 'locations' instead of 'pages'. The Kindle does not work with page numbers as it allows you to change the font size, the orientation, etc. So this is a major issue to think about if you're considering the Kindle for academic reading.

EDIT March 2011: I do believe that Amazon have released an update which will, amongst other things, include the ability to look up page numbers on the Kindle. I think they will incorporate it into the menu, that way it will somehow be worked out regardless of font size/orientation, etc. 

Dictionary/Highlighting/Note-making: I absolutely love the Dictionary and Highlighting/Note-taking features that the Kindle offers. I hate having to disturb comfortable reading positions to go look up a word in the dictionary, so it's great to be able to click my way over to a word while reading on the Kindle, and have the definition pop up right there for me. Initially only a small snippet of the definition will appear but if you need a more in-depth explanation you can click for more and then press 'Back' to continue reading. 

The Highlighting and Note-taking is equally as nice in that to create a note all you do it tap over to the point you want the footnote to be, and then proceed to type your note out. You highlight in a similar way by tapping over to the point you wish to start at, and then clicking over on until the point where you wish to stop! The Kindle also stores all notes, highlights and bookmarks in order in a separate section for you to check out whenever you wish-- brilliant for revision or just copying out the notes onto paper. 
Above: The grey line indicates a highlight I've already made, and the dark highlight is what you'll see while you're creating a highlight! Below: You can see a list of some of my Notes and Marks that I've made in the book I'm reading. Incredibly useful to have them all in one place like this. 
Footnotes: The Kindle handles Footnotes brilliantly. I purchased a copy of Bleak House on my Kindle as I decided to use the real paperback as a door stop. It is a large book, and I figured it would be so much easier to handle if I tried reading it on my Kindle instead. I don't know if, like me, you HATE looking up footnotes at the back of a giant book, and having to awkwardly save your previous page while doing so. The Kindle makes looking up footnotes an absolute breeze. You click on the footnote and it will take you to the explanation at the back of the book, and then back again with a click of the Back button. It's lovely.
So, all in all I really enjoy my Kindle and will be using it for a long time to come hopefully. I haven't had a chance to actually bring it to University yet, to bring it into a Seminar or to the library; I'll be going back tomorrow, but I'm honestly very nervous about pulling this out in 'public'--I don't want to draw any attention to myself, particularly if it's negative! I'll let you know how it goes, though ^_^

Hope this was helpful! If there's anything else you want to know, drop me a comment. 

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Bourjois EOTD + Forever 21 is coming to Birmingham!

You never know how you look through other people's eyes. 
Firstly let me tell you all that FOREVER 21 IS COMING TO BIRMINGHAM!!! I am so incredibly excited that, not only are they coming to the UK, they're going to be opening their flagship store in the Bullring! You'd have thought London would be their first choice when launching the store over here for the first time, but apparently they felt that Birmingham was the best place because of it's young demographic and the better-sized outlet that was available in the Bullring. If all goes well, we should be able to shop to our heart's content in the new store sometime before Christmas ^_^ 
Now that my excitement has been subdued with a deep breath, I'll move on to give a quick review and EOTD taken wearing my Bourjois Smokey Eye trio in number 02 or Baroque. I've had this for quite a while now alongside their brown trio, and I really enjoy them both.

I think I paid something like £7 for them (I can't remember exactly, sorry -_-') and I'm definitely planning on purchasing a couple more in different colours. The shadows are not too bad in terms of pigment, but I find they don't look exactly as they do in the pan, on the eye, which is a shame if you would like a darker look. Like almost every other eye shadow or eye shadow set that I have, they're a veluxe pearl finish which means they've got a pretty shimmer to them and smooth, easy application. These can be applied wet or dry, and today I've used the all-over lid colour (middle) wet, and the dark green/antique gold colour in my crease (bottom), dry. The brush thingamajig provided in this trio isn't great. It's stubby and not great to work with, so although I used it for patting on the all over lid colour, I used my own Gosh Professional brush to blend and work the darkest colour into my crease! 
Ta-Dah! Other products I'm wearing today include:
  • Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit in Golden (love-- you need to buy this)
  • Bourjois 1001 Lashes Mascara in Black Quartz
  • Sleek Blush in Coral 
  • A few light dabs of Barry M's Touch of Magic lipstick over concealer-covered lips
  • Urban Decay Eye-liner pencil in Zero
  • Urban Decay primer potion has also been applied onto my eyes before using the eye shadow ^_^

Thursday, 9 September 2010


You can't have your cake and eat it too.
Sigh. Since going to University everything is incredibly fragmented. I have important people and commitments scattered all over England at the moment, and it leaves me feeling conflicted a lot of the time. Making decisions is quite difficult (and expensive). I've been invited to a friends brother's wedding next Saturday and one friend in particular seems to really want me to come and it is so sweet that she even cared to make the effort to text me, you know. I don't want to be that friend which other friends stop inviting out because she never turns up anyway. I'm in Reading with my boyfriend at the moment and I wasn't planning on going back to Birmingham until the 23rd of September at least to save myself from the Back-at-home-in-Birmingham-Blues... What do I do?

In other news, there's a new girl around the apartment and all I want to do is pee all over the flooring and mark the baking utensils with my scent. I've found myself in the midst of some strange Alpha-female complex and I can't quite shake it off. I'M RESIDENT CAKE MAKER AROUND HERE OKAY, BACK OFF.

ANYWAY... Aherm. Here are some cute blue earrings that I made earlier:
For the record, I've recently started to use a 17 Eyes trio in Metallic Toffee that I bought from Boots a few months back.  The colour pay-off when applied dry is great and the shadows have a nice silky feel to them, BUT THEN I DECIDED TO FOIL THEM (apply it with a damp brush) and the colour and texture both become so much more impressive. I love the golden toffee colour in this trio; it's subtle but very pretty-looking and I'm going to have no qualms in wearing it wet all day this week. This is the only 17 product I own at the moment, but I definitely plan to check out their other eyeshadows AND I THINK YOU SHOULD, TOO. 

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Handmade Jewellery by Yours truly ^_^

Not on one strand are all life's jewels strung. -William Morris
It's my friend Nina's birthday gathering tomorrow, and I decided today that I would make her some jewellery as part of her gift. I've been tinkering with jewellery-making for a while now and I love that I can make anything I fancy in any colour that I want (provided I can find the pieces to suit my needs). I've already made myself a few things, but Nina will have the honour of owning something I've made before anybody else! HOW PRIVILEGED IS SHE? AMIRIGHT? I'm a big fan of the earrings and it will pain me to give them away, so she better like them xD

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Keeping Friends

The man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world. -Oscar Wilde
Last Thursday I went down to London to meet a group of friends from University--some of the fair few that I've managed to like. I bumped into a couple from my course about a week ago in Reading town centre, and it was like seeing a fish out of water, or a teacher outside of school; apart from that, though, I hadn't seen anybody from school since it ended. It was nice finally making the effort to maintain the friendships that I do have, without shying away from them.  
The original plan was for us to buy cheap theater tickets on the day, but we ended up finding that there wasn't much choice, and out of the options we did have, the more appealing cost a lot more than we could all afford to spend. The stress of expensive tickets made us all very hungry and we made our way to Westfield to eat. We decided on Wagamamas, and I was glad of course because they're pretty gluten-free-friendly. They even offered me Tamari/gluten-free soya sauce! Mains were followed by dessert, which was the coconut reika for me, Sonal, and Danielle, while Emma and Vaneeta had the fudge cake. Curse my coeliac to hell--If I didn't have this autoimmunity disease I would have had the fudge cake, too. I mean, the reika is a deliciously refreshing ice cream dish with a mango sauce and grated desiccated coconut, BUT HOW I CRAVED A WHOPPING GREAT SLAB OF MOIST GLUTEN-FILLED FUDGE CAKE :-(
Here we have Danielle and Sonal attempting to work out who pays how much. 

Monday, 2 August 2010

Poached eggs and Lego

He that looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart - C.S. Lewis.
I'm in Reading with my boyfriend for a huge chunk of time now-- 3 weeks! Periods like this are pretty important to me, and to the relationship. We have to settle with fortnightly weekend visits while I'm at University, and of course it could be much worst, but the weeks we spend together are practice for the future. Our goal of living together would seem a lot less plausible (to me, at least), if I didn't get to spend a big amount of time with him in one go and get a real feel of things to come. The same with him, too. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think I'll be great to live with minus my crazy. I love to clean, especially when I'm stressed, and I love making cake. I honestly don't know what else anybody could want...

Jonathan and I had a very lazy Sunday which we spent building a Lego model and learning how to make poached eggs. I bought him the Lego for Christmas, and a quarter of the way through building we discovered that a piece was missing and so of course that brought everything to a grinding halt. It's such an agitating feeling when you can't find a piece that you're looking for -_-' It was okay in the end though because we e-mailed Lego and they sent the spare piece REALLY quickly which was nice. 
Eggs. While browsing John Lewis (and planning what we would buy when we live together xD) Jonathan found himself being drawn to the little egg poaching device thingamajigs that make the whole process a bit easier, but we decided that we would try and make them ourselves first. Turns out boyfriend is an egg-poaching pro and he managed to make edible poached eggs straight away. Tip: Boil your egg for 20-30 seconds max before cracking it cleanly close to the water ^_^ As you will see from the picture I've posted below, Jonathan also made us some HAM&BEANS to go with our toast and poached eggs lol. I was Lego building while he created this concoction and had the AUDACITY to laugh at him when I saw it. BUT IT TURNS OUT HIS HAM AND BEAN CREATION WAS DELICIOUS.
Jonathan's concentration face, saw a lot of this yesterday:

Thanks for reading!

P.s. The bread that's shown in the picture above is by Genius, and it is the best gluten-free bread I've found yet. It is pretty much exactly like normal bread STRAIGHT OUT THE PACK. You do NOT need to heat this up before using. I nearly cried with happiness when I first found Genius. You can find it in Tesco and Sainsburys! 

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Movies and MAC.

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I've been having a shitty week (with the past couple of days being especially horrific) and I figured I could do with cheering up, which means that today I've been watching DVDs and playing with make up! I've just finished watching The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and I loved it! I have a thing for films like this. If you're into Studio Ghibli-esque movies, don't mind the slightly cheesy undercurrant of a love-story in your films and enjoy strange plot lines, then you should check this out. Anyway, here is my ~~~FOTD~~~
I finally got my eyebrows threaded for the first time in a long time last week, and it makes me feel so much more pulled together. I get them done in a little shop on Soho Road and it only costs me £2.50. It pains me when people tell me that they go to places like Selfridges and get threaded for £10. Today I filled them in with a Natural Collection (Boots) eyeshadow that I've had laying around for about a year. The colour is Crushed Walnut and I cannot believe I hadn't thought to use this sooner. Up until today I'd been using a black Rimmel shadow to fill them in, but I think that will definitely take a back seat now in favour of Crushed Walnut!
I've used Expensive pink all over the lid; Honey Pot on the inner corner; Antiqued has gone in the crease and slightly into the outer corner; Highlight colour was from the Bourjois Smokey Eyes trio; Inner corner of my bottom lid (?) was lined with a lovely toffee colour from 17's Metallic Toffee eyeshadow trio. I also used the Cocoa Puff e/s by Too Faced which accompanied Honey Pot in a really nice Duo (which I forgot to swatch, sorry!) I line the bottom of my eyes with this pretty much every day (alongside Urban Decay's eye pencil in Zero) to soften things up a bit, as I'm not a big fan of a harsh black line alone on my eyes. Most days, like today, I also wear MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack. Mascara is Maybelline The Falsies Volume Express~
Antiqued and Expensive Pink are the first ever MAC eyeshadows that I've purchased, and I think I'm in love. On the MAC website, Antiqued is described as being "Ash brown with bronze cast"-- I TOTALLY thought this was a red/purple colour, and I honestly can't stop seeing it that way xD On the otherhand, then, I'm glad that I did manage to venture out of my brown safe-zone with Expensive Pink because it really is the perfect pink colour. They're both a Veluxe pearl finish--as are all the eyeshadows I've swatched here (I think!)--which  makes them extremely soft, pigmented and super easy to blend. Looking through my eyeshadow collection, it seems that I've subconsciously been attracted to the aforementioned finish without realising it. I'm not a fan of Matte eyeshadow, granted I haven't really given them much of a chance before. I mean, they just seem so much more difficult to work with when you're a n00b like me.
As for the rest of the face I'm wearing Bobbi Brown's creamy concealer in Golden under my eyes, and a  matte Barry M Blush in terractoa. FYI, I don't wear foundation because I could do without the hassle, so I won't have any on unless stated otherwise ^_^

Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, 1 July 2010


When your cat rubs the side of its face along your leg, it's affectionately marking you with its scent, identifying you as its private property, saying, in effect, "You belong to me" -Susan McDonough
Carrying on the pet theme from my last post, this is Harry. I'd wanted another pet for a while, and  after a couple of incidents with some mice last year *Aherm* I finally found good grounds on which to persuade my grandma to let us get a cat. A cute furry addition to the family and mouse repellent all in one! I advertised on my Facebook friends list asking if anybody had kittens for sale and luckily for me a friend from Primary School (who I hadn't seen in over 8 years) responded saying she had 4 which were ready to leave their mom. And so it was, we went round--despite my pet allergy--and chose Harry from a group of four kittens. The other three ran away and Harry was the only one I managed to catch. It was love at first sight. He wasn't trying too hard to get away, but when he eventually calmed down completely, he looked right into my eyes and said "~~~Take me, Tash. I'm the kitten for you. You won't regret this~~~" lol no rly guys. HE SAID IT WITH HIS EYES OKAY.
"Is that okay? Is this a good angle? Does my nose look big like this? How about if I do it this way?"
I have to take allergy tablets every day, otherwise I will sneeze non-stop for 24 hours if I go anywhere near him. But, I don't know, it's worth it. He follows me around a lot; for example, I was using the toilet~ earlier today, and he started meowing outside the bathroom door, and so I let him in and he sat and waited with me until I finished.  He also plays peek-a-boo when he's feeling frisky, and he likes to chase bumble bees. He even got stung in the face once, and his cheek was huge and swollen for a day.

 It sucks to have allergies, but they will never stop me from having pets. I'd rather sneeze a billion sneezes than not have Harry following me around the house, plotting my demise

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Say hello to my little friend...

Guys are lucky because they get to grow moustaches. I wish I could. It's like having a little pet for your face -Anita Wise
This is Marley, my Russian Dwarf. I took her home from the pet shop about... I forget how long ago. I should know this. I have a certificate somewhere. Maybe 4 months. Anyway, Marley kind of hates people and will BITE YOUR ARM OFF if you go anywhere near her. Once while filling up her food bowl, she LUNGED herself at my hand and bit so hard that it drew blood! I whimpered. It's impossible to hate her back though because she is so incredibly sweet. She spends half her day running on her wheel, and another chunk of time hanging out in her pet-shaped dust bath rolling around and grooming herself.
Lately, because of the really hot weather, she's taken to sleeping outside of her little house and will nod off in her running wheel instead. At first I thought she was sick because she was sat there on her bottom looking quite lethargic, but when you disturbed her, she would be wide awake and bright eyed all over again, and she would only ever sleep there when it was very hot outside. I've been trying everything I can to keep her cool without going overboard. She's only tiny and I don't want her to catch a cold or anything :-| Here is a picture of her falling asleep, on her bottom, in her wheel:

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Oven-baked risotto (gluten-free, of course)

We signal the captain, taking time out against the wall. He frowns. He groans. His feet hurt. His ulcer rages. He hates his wife. The risotto will take 25 minutes. Lasagne will take even longer. -Gael Greene
The night before I left Reading and headed back to Birmingham, I made oven-baked risotto for dinner. I really, really love this recipe. It is SO INCREDIBLY easy to make and I love creamy cheesy dishes like this. You can find the recipe here at For some reason mine looks completely different to the picture shown on the website. I like to think that it looks BETTER and less... Crusty xD It's delicious, I promise. Don't let the photo on the actual recipe put you off!

When I make this I like to add TWO reasonably sized onions (I bloody love onions in cooked food, which would explain why I'm always adding more to any recipes I try to follow). I also like to add a load of frozen peas which not only makes it taste LOADS better, but means I get one of my five-a-day, too. I think that's about all I change with this recipe, I don't even bother to add any extra herbs or anything like that. It's pretty much perfect as it is. 

The recipe from makes about two night's worth of dinners for Jonathan and I, which, is just enough for us to not get bored. It's good for batches (3/4 nights) if you're anything like me and find cooking for one really dull and lonely and you'd rather just cook something at the start of the week that will last you till the end. I LOVE cooking, but only if I have somebody to share the experience~~~ with; Otherwise, I will just eat sausages every day for a week. I had a thing about sausages last semester. Sausages all day every day. Sausage sandwiches for breakfast, sausages for lunch, sausages and beans and a fried egg for dinner. The PERILS- that's right- PERILS of having a George Foreman that will quickly grill your sausages to perfection at the press of a button. 

I have a pack of sausages in the freezer that I'm trying to avoid. This obsession NEEDS TO END NOW.

P.s. For my fellow Coeliac-liver-withers, Knorr's chicken stock in the tub  (the yellow one), is gluten-free! (Although, please do check the labels for yourself just to be 100% sure) ^_^

Monday, 21 June 2010

I WON A GIVEAWAY! Chanel + Anya Hindmarch

I WON A GIVEAWAY! A big thank you to Jen at A Little Bird Told Me for this giveaway ^_^ This is incredibly exciting! I won a bottle of Chanel's Orange fizz nail polish, the coveted colour for this summer, and a lovely canvas bag from Anya Hindmarch's summer collection. Wheee. I can't wait for them to arrive ^_^ I feel incredibly lucky to have won this. [Pictures have been taken from A Little Bird Told Me].
Of course if you haven't already, go and check out Jen's Blog-- It was featured on, and if that isn't reason enough to go and check it out, I don't know what is. She posts lots of different outfits from her daily life, and you're highly likely to find something that you like there. 

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A Day in the Garden.

Don't wear perfume in the garden-- unless you want to be pollinated by bees. -Anne Raver.

My grandma likes to grow herbs, vegetables and fruits in the garden, and I love to use the things she grows as ingredients in my cooking. On Saturday I made Chicken Cacciatore for dinner with a side of roast potatoes that were sprinkled with parsley fresh from the garden (pictured below)!I also used fresh basil in the Cacciatore and it tasted so much better than when I make it with  the dried stuff. For the record, I love chicken Cacciatore, it's one of my favourite dishes to make and eat at the moment; there's a really good recipe for it here. The only difference is that I use TWO onions as opposed to one, and three to four cloves of crushed garlic as opposed to the listed two. I also add a teaspoon or so of Paprika, mixed herbs and brown sugar to cancel out the sourness from the tinned tomatoes. This dish is lovely served with rice, potatoes, vegetables, salad, and even pasta! 
We also have some strawberries growing in the garden and there's something very pleasing about eating strawberries you picked from the plant yourself. We also have some Lavender growing (not pictured), and I plan to make some Gluten-free lavender fairy cakes once they start flowering a little more. I found the recipe for the cakes in a magazine that I receive monthly from which is, I think, the leading Charity for Coeliac in the UK. When you're first diagnosed with Coeliac you can sign up to this website and you get 6 months free membership within which they will send you a Welcome pack, a Food and Drink directory for the year, and a monthly magazine filling you in on the latest Coeliac-orientated news. When I was first diagnosed it was really nice having an organisation like this providing you with all the information you need and more. It's also comforting knowing that there are many other people in the World who have to live with this condition, and can do so happily. 
While I took pictures of things in my garden, Jonathan worked on fixing my very old, very battered bike. The tires were flat, an inner tire was punctured, the right-hand gears wouldn't shift, my back tire was bent, and the handlebars were uneven. He spent four long hours working on it, and when he was finished it was just like new. He's my grumpy Knight in shining armour ^_^ Look how much fun he had fixing it:
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