Review of Zoella's Girl Online!

I finally got a chance to read Zoella's debut novel Girl Online this month! I purchased it as a Christmas present for my sister with the request that I got to read it when she was finished ha! If you have heard nothing about Girl Online, it's about a teenage girl called Penny who struggles with anxiety and always finds herself in some kind of embarrassing mishap. Her life suddenly changes when she goes on a big adventure and has a whirlwind romance with an eighteen year old musician. I have mixed thoughts regarding this book so here it goes!

Firstly, I think I was a little too old for this novel. I was initially put off purchasing this for myself when I saw on Amazon that it's target reading age was 11 years old. Surely the majority of Zoe's subscribers aren't that young? I think this was a bad move on her part but still an excellent one as people still purchased the book regardless as it's by Zoella after all! I couldn't care less if it was ghost written as I have no doubt that Zoella contributed to the book. I did however, find the writing style a bit immature for my age and even my sister who is way closer to the target age than me felt similar! I am by no means saying it was written badly but I think I am just a little too old to appreciate it properly.

I loved the cultural references to the UK in Girl Online, I thought they were such a nice touch! They would only really mean anything if you live here I suppose but I thought it made the novel very British and that must be kind of cool for international readers! My favourite part of the book was most definitely when Penny went to New York with her parents. I am desperate to visit there so really anything to do with NYC makes me happy!

I also highly commend Zoe for addressing anxiety and similar issues within the novel as you don't often see it in mainstream media. Hopefully it will let other young girls know that it is very common and it's nothing to be ashamed of! I also thought the message regarding growing out of your friends was very thoughtful and reassuring for younger girls. 

I didn't love this book but it was a nice, quick read. It gets quite addictive when you start reading as the chapters are pretty short and before you know it you've read tonnes! I found it a bit unrealistic in places but as a Media student, I was maybe just reading into it a bit much. I absolutely loved the whole concept of Penny being a blogger and the social media aspects of the book. I thought that was very current and something that I personally haven't seen in a book before. It was a refreshing read and I would recommend it if you very looking for a cute little romance novel! I think the younger you are, the more you will enjoy this book.

Have you read Girl Online? If so, what did you think of it?

Transparent: An Amazon Original Series Review

Two weekends ago I watched the entire first season of the Amazon Original Series 'Transparent'. Their Golden Globe win for Best Comedy somewhat prompted me to start watching this when I did but I had considered tuning it to this series before.

If you haven't heard of Transparent, it's an Amazon produced original series which documents the protagonist's journey into becoming a woman. Jeffrey Tambor stars as Mort/Maura Pfefferman who is a retired father of three who gradually reveals to his family that he identifies as a woman. Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass and Gaby Hoffmann all play fantastic roles as the three now grown up children. I had previously seen Gaby Hoffmann in Girls and liked her much more in this role. I would say she is my favourite out of the Pfefferman sibling's as she is a very likeable character.

The show was very interesting but it did not strike me right from the pilot and took a few episodes for me to begin to understand the characters more. It was definitely a grower as I very much enjoyed Transparent as the series went on. However, I didn't find it that consistently  funny to be classed as a comedy. Don't get me wrong, it does have comedic moments but I feel like these are often sporadic and I would say that this show was more of a drama. I suppose it is a dramedy after all!

There were minor subplots throughout the series with the oldest sibling Sarah leaving her husband and reconnecting with her college ex-girlfirend Tammy. The middle sibling Josh also has a lot of trouble with women and we see a lot of his relationships played out over the course of the season. Both of these stories bring a lot of tension to the show but it still does not disconnect the viewer with Maura's journey.

One scene which I thought was particularly heartwarming was Sarah and Ali (Gabby Hoffmann) taking Maura to a department store where they had a makeover. It was a very lovely moment as the two characters tried to connect with their new 'Moppa'. This term was coined to support their father which I also thought was very touching. I don't really want to recap on it to much as I feel like as a viewer it was nice to share Maura's journey without having any previous knowledge at all of the show. I enjoyed it very much and I'm excited to see it was renewed for a second season. I would recommend Transparent to anyone who was looking for a new and fast (10 episodes) binge watch series!

Have you seen Transparent, if so what did you think of it?

My Favourite Looks from the 2015 SAG Awards!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me live blogging the red carpet arrivals at the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards last night! I absolutely love awards season so these kind of events are my favourites. 

I would like to mention the success of Orange Is The New Black last night. If you are a frequent reader of my blog you will know that I love the show. I am so happy for them to have finally won an ensemble prize at a prestigious award ceremony which they very much deserve. Uzo Aduba was also very deserving and I can't believe she beat out those other very well established comedic actresses! 

I am very disappointed with the loss for Tatiana Maslany as like OITNB I feel she is as much if not more deserving of recognition for her roles in Orphan Black in which she gives truly phenomenal performances. I do hope this is start the of the nominations for her and she gains that recognition at next year's ceremonies. 

Additionally I'd like to mention Eddie Redmayne's win for The Theory of Everything.  I feel they could of not have picked a better winner than his incredible performance as Stephen Hawking.  

I really enjoy spotting my favourite celebrities so like I done previously with the Golden Globes this year, here are some of my favourite dresses!

Kimiko Glenn

Natasha Lyonne

Maisie Williams

Sarah Paulson

Sofia Vergara

Tatiana Maslany 

Sarah Hyland

Joanne Froggatt

Camila Alves

Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting

What are you thoughts on these looks? Did you have any other favourites? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Cooking from the Orange Is The New Black Cookbook!

If you saw my What I Got For Christmas post, I received the Orange Is The New Black cookbook! It was something I wanted more for the behind the scenes element featured in the book as I actually thought the recipes were more of a novelty than anything else. However, upon looking through the book there is a lot of recipes that I would try! Over the past few weeks, my Mum and I have tried out three of the recipes so I thought I would share our attempts!

The first one was Red's Chicken Kiev. Each recipe in the book is contributed by a character from the show which I think is a really quirky addition!  A lot of the recipes in the book are a reference to something in the show so in all honesty, if you don't watch OITNB this aspect of the book is kind of wasted. My Mum was interested because she likes chicken kievs whereas I picked up the joke if you get me!

They were actually really nice though and I would imagine much healthier than the chicken kiev's you would pick up cheap in the supermarkets. I wouldn't rush to have them again but they were a nice change. This recipe can be found on p84 of the book.

I also made Piper's Burrata sandwich for lunch one day! This recipe can be found on p33 of the book.

This was a complete nightmare to try and collect ingredients for. I think this may have been easier in a better area as our supermarkets are pretty small. I ended up substituting most of the ingredients best I could in order to make this! I used Mozzarella instead of Burrata cheese as I discovered that it is just Mozzarella in cream. I also used cherry vine tomatoes instead of heirloom ones and rocket instead of baby arugula as I could not find that either! I think that due to this book being printed in America a lot of the ingredients required for it's recipes can't be easily accessed over here. The sandwich was amazing though, it was extremely tasty! I'm not a huge fan of sandwiches but I would definitely make this again.

 Finally, my Mum also made Vee's Butternut Squash, Leek & Ginger soup. This can be found on p50 of the book.

I have to say I honestly did not think I was going to like this but it was really nice! I know she didn't add the cream or the wine so that may have made a difference. Like the sandwich, I would definitely have this again!

I hope you enjoyed this post, I will also be back tomorrow with my favourite dresses from tonight's SAG Awards! If you have a copy of the OITNB cookbook, have you made anything from it?

Gossip Girl Tag!

Something a little bit different for today's post - the Gossip Girl Tag! I knew I had to do this at some point after seeing this as I'm a massive Gossip Girl fan. Thank you @ScottishStefsNails for making me aware of this tag! 

1. How did you discover the show?

I started watching around the first half of Season 3 in 2009 after seeing people talk about it online really. I purchased the first season on Amazon for the mere price of £8 which was such an incredible price for something that I would now say is one of my all time favourite TV shows.

2. Who's your favourite character?

My favourite during the early seasons was definitely Serena but I would say from about season 3 if not definitely season 4, my favourite has always been Blair. 

3. Who would you see yourself being friends with on the show?

I really don't think I would ever be friends with the main clique if they were real people as I definitely wouldn't be that popular! I would probably be friends with Jenny as a bit of a wannabe and wanting to fit in with them.

4. Chair or Dair?

Oh my god, Chair without even question haha! I consider Dair to be a particularly low point of Gossip Girl as I could never realistically see Blair being with Dan especially after how much she slated him in the earlier seasons. I feel like their relationship also came out of nowhere whereas Chuck and Blair were a long running story arc throughout the series (regardless of their break ups). I think that Chuck and Blair are truly an iconic TV power couple of my teenage generation therefore I most definitely have to pick them. I loved when they went scheming together! 

5. What's your favourite ship that would never actually happen?

I really have no idea as I've never thought about it! I think one of the only couples that never happened was Serena and Chuck so let's go with that. Blair would be fuming at her BFF though!

6. If you were to be a character who would you be?

I would quite like to be Blair because I admire her character so much. We have nothing in common though but she was always so witty and stylish with everything she wore during the show. She really truly was the Queen Bee in my opinion. Dating Chuck Bass would be pretty neat too ha!

7. Have you read the book series?

I haven't read the book series, no. I do own the first two books in the series and have done for years now but I haven't read passed the first couple of pages. I am aware that they are very different from the show though. I even have the first novel of the spin of series with Jenny Humphrey! I have a pretty bad habit of collecting books on impulse and reading very few of them...

8. Who was your crush on the show?

Chuck Bass is one of my ultimate TV man crushes, I'm not even gonna lie. I hated him in the first season as I found he was SO incredibly sleazy but as he got older and his character developed, I grew quite fond of him. He also got really nice looking swell and that voice! One of my university flatmates used to joke with me that we would one day go to New York and track Chuck Bass down. We would share him to be nice to each other of course. She went to New York herself and purposefully passed the Empire hotel and unfortunately didn't see him ha! She told me this all over a postcard and I still have the picture of the hotel somewhere!

9. What was your first initial thought of the show?

I first watched Gossip Girl so long ago now so I'm actually not sure what I first thought of it! If I'm not drawn into a TV show pretty much straight away, I find it difficult to continue watching it in all honestly. I did really like it from the start as the rich lifestyle of fellow teenagers was very appealing to me at the time! They had the perfect lifestyle which I think was why a lot of people really loved the show. 

10. Who was your favourite villain?

I've always liked the villains since I was really young, no idea why! I actually really liked Ivy or the fake 'Charlie Rhodes'. I thought her whole storyline was really interesting. I'm not sure if she is classed as a villain but she was lying to the whole van der Woodsen family about who she really was! I did also quite like Bart Bass in a weird way and Georgina was a classic menacing character throughout the whole show. It would of made so much sense for her to be Gossip Girl!

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you answer these questions on your own blog, send me a link as I'd love to read it! 

Girls Episode 2 Review - 'Triggering'.

I wanted to follow up on my review of Girls' season premiere last week and the comments I made about me hoping that the episode was setting up for better things. Well, I can safely say that I was throughly impressed with episode 2 last night!

The episode was fantastic and I would say it was one of the best Girls episodes I have seen in a while. It was consistently funny and enjoyable from start to finish. I loved the change of scenery as we followed Hannah to Iowa to start her post graduate college life. Ironically one of my favourite episodes of Orange Is The New Black is the season 2 premiere episode where Piper is shipped to a prison in Chicago so maybe I enjoy change in my TV settings! I thought it was a nice touch how we saw the other three girls even just for the one scene as I did wonder if we'd lose touch with their characters now that the focus of the show seemed to be shifting to Hannah's experience in Iowa.

The highlights of the episode for me were all Hannah moments. My favourites being her response to renting a house for $250 in Iowa, her video chat with Marnie and her humorous remark about how 'affairs usually work', her reaction to seeing a bat in her house at night, her disastrous attempt at phoning Shoshanna and Jessa and finally, her first college class reading. I don't want to explain the these moments in too much detail as it definitely wouldn't be as funny if you were to watch it yourself. I also loved the college party scene with Hannah and Elijah's crazy dancing as I loved the episode a few seasons ago where they danced to 'I Love It' in the nightclub. Elijah's comment about people at the airport thinking he was 'Blake Lively's husband' was also hilarious.

Another added surprise gem of this episode was the appearance of Dorota from Gossip Girl! I wasn't sure if it was actually her to begin with or my eyes were deceiving me. Despite not being a main character as such, I think Dorota is such an iconic character for Gossip Girl fans. After Natasha Lyonne's appearance last week, I truly think this season may have some fantastic guest appearances.

Did you watch this week's episode of Girls? If so what do you think of it? Since I have reviewed the show two weeks in a row, would a Girls recap each week be something any of you would be interested in reading? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @dyan_x.

Hope you have a wonderful day :)

Sunday Shopping Haul!

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you are enjoying your day whether you are having a lazy day or a busy one. Over the past couple of weeks, I have collected quite a bit of new things both in the sales and just general spending so I thought I would share them!

My first sale purchases were these two necklaces from New Look! I absolutely love the white one as I think it looks really fresh. I love flowers on the right hand necklace but the big chain put me off a little. I purchased it anyway as it was only £2 and the white necklace was £4.50 so both were great buys.

I actually saw these pyjamas on someone else's blog and needed to have them! The top comes with grey shorts and they were from Topshop. They were crazy expensive at £22 but they are just so cute!

I had a gift card expiring this month so purchased these two items.The Ralph Lauren perfume smells incredible and a bargain at £25 reduced from £50! The box contains a 50ml bottle and a big pink bag. My friend also bought one too as we liked the smell that much! The satchel was from £30 River Island. It's navy and the strap can also be converted to use it as a backpack. It's not very big inside even though the bag looks big so I won't be able to carry around as much unnecessary junk with me! (Probably a good thing.)

Two fashion purchases from the sales: the item on the left is actually a green swing dress which I found at the amazing price of just £1!! I haven't tried it on so it might not even look nice on but for that price, who's complaining? The other item is actually leggings from Hollister. These were £11.99 and I love them so much. They are a bit more bold than I would usually wear but I've liked wearing them so far. They are super comfortable.

I'm also upping my reusable bag game with this £3 Harry Potter gem from Primark.

I picked up one of Hollister's body mists for £5 in their sale and this bargain Ciate 'Big Beauty Bus' for just £7. I cannot wait to try these out as I have a few of their polishes already and they are great.

Finally, last week it was time to upgrade my phone. I went for the iPhone 5S in silver and I'm really liking it so far. I haven't had an iPhone before so it is taking some adjusting to get used to. I also purchased a bunch of cases because I really couldn't choose just one!

I hope you enjoyed this post, did you find any bargains in the sales?

What's In My Handbag!

I absolutely love reading these kind of posts so I thought I would do my own! I am actually surprised how tidy my handbag was when I took these photos as trust me I normally carry around the biggest bag full of rubbish possible.

The handbag that I am currently using is my black handbag from Accessorize. I saw this handbag when I was browsing in there one day and I fell in love with it. I can't remember exactly how much it cost but it was pretty expensive for a non branded handbag at something like £38. I actually left the shop and had to go back for another look at it! I bought it maybe about 8 months ago and had a lot of use out of it so far.

The handbag has three compartments - one main section with two zipped pockets at the side. It is a bit insecure as the main compartment is pretty exposed but I've never had any issues with it. I usually keep everything in the main compartment with bits and pieces I don't use often in the zipped parts. It has two handles for carrying and also has a large shoulder strap.

From left to right: Cath Kidston reusable bag, Marc Jacob's cosmetic pouch,  River Island purse, iPod Touch 5th Generation, iPhone 5S with Kate Spade case, Tanya Burr Lipgloss (Champagne Toast), Glasses, Bonjela ( I don't even know why this is in here...), Apple EarPods, Keys, Hairbands, Rayban Wayfarer Sunglasses, Pink Baby Lips, Clinique Chubby Stick, Cuticura Hand Sanitiser,  Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham ( I always carry some kind of book) and some pens!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to share links to your own Whats In My Handbag posts as I would love to see them!

Girls Season 4 Premiere

I have watched Girls for a couple of years now and it was something that didn't strike me straight away if I'm honest. I had to rewatch the pilot a couple of times to get into the show but it's definitely a grower and I wouldn't miss an episode now. Season 4 debuted last night so I wanted to share a few thoughts on it!

I was pretty excited for the premiere as it is one of my favourite shows but I feel like I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. Don't get me wrong it was enjoyable and I am happy that it's back but the premiere lacked something. I feel like nothing really happened in the episode but maybe my expectations were too high. I also spent the duration of the episode trying to back track on what happened in the previous season (I probably should of rewatched the season 3 finale) as the storylines were a  little confusing. However, It was very clever how each character was reintroduced to the audience one by one over the course of the episode but by the time this process was over, the episode was pretty much done.  I feel like it was setting the viewers up for something bigger so I can excuse the lack of action!

The premiere episode also featured Natasha Lyonne's appearance (Nicky Nichols from OITNB) which I have been looking forward to since it was first announced. However, she had a very small part and only appeared in one scene which was a little disappointing as I think she is great. Once again I think my expectations were too high.

On a more positive note, there was a few funny moments with various characters that made me laugh. I particularly liked Shoshanna's trauma over both of her parents being called Mel and it being the worst and first thing that has ever happened to her. I thought the Jazz Brunch scene was especially good with the characters meeting to watch Marnie's performance. I really enjoyed reconnecting with the characters again as they may be a strange bunch but the majority of them are very lovable and relatable.

I'm looking forward to the coming season of Girls and hope it builds on the premiere episode. I am also delighted that the new episodes are airing one day after the US now as last year, it was a whole week behind! (That is a long time for someone with no patience).

Did you watch the Girls season premiere? What did you think of it?

Golden Globes 2015!

It's awards season! The Golden Globes were held in Beverley Hills last night marking the start of the big award ceremonies this year. I have loved award shows for years and have always enjoyed spotting my favourite celebrities. I live blogged the red carpet event on my Instagram (here) and want to share my favourite looks of the night in a full blog post! I was a little disappointed with some of the winners last night as I hadn't actually seen many of the films/TV shows that won the Globe over my favourite actors. I think everyone kind of roots for their favourites though at these events so I have no doubts that the winners were deserving.

I am no major fashionista (not even going to lie) but there was so many lovely dresses on the red carpet last night. Therefore, it was a struggle to pick my favourites so I have complied a top 10.

Emma Stone - Not so much a dress I know but I thought Emma's jumpsuit was so cool!
I'm not too sure about the bow but the embellished bust made the outfit look great. 

Greer Grammer - I thought Greer's dress was really cute and girly.
Therefore, it was quite refreshing from the more sophisticated gowns.

Emily Blunt - I thought this was such an effortless look and not to in your face either!

Kate Beckinsale - This is so glamourous! I think I liked it as it a dress I would definitely wear  myself.
I love the sparkly top with the nude bottom!

Katie Cassidy - This was my favourite look of the night. She looked stunning!
I love the silver on the black, so simple yet glamorous. 

Laura Prepon - I love Laura's style and the train on her dress looked so elegant.
I'm not too sure on the pattern but it's maybe not just for me. Her hair also looked amazing!

Reese Witherspoon - I love the simplicity and sheer glamour of her dress. Her curls swept to one side
is a similar look I wanted my hair for my graduation ball last year so I loved that too.

Taylor Schilling - Firstly, I love the colour of this dress.
I also liked how puffed out it was as it made something so simple look very nice!

Amy Adams - The baby blue colour is what I like the most about this pick for sure!

Uzo Aduba -  She was glitzy from head to toe and looked fab! I loved her sleek hair as well.

What was your favourite look from the red carpet? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you!