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A Day at the Eden Project

One of the highlights of our recent break to Cornwall was a visit the Eden Project. This is a vast garden project with huge biomes, one of which holds the 'largest indoor rainforest in the world'. Despite having been before I was excited to revisit the project because this time the weather was lovely, meaning we were actually be able to explore the outdoor attractions, which were fab.

My favourite biome was the Mediterranean one because it has all the cacti and is such a gorgeous temperature. This time round they had extended the Mediterranean restaurant so we were able to eat inside the dome, how great! It felt just like eating outside somewhere like Italy and I could have stayed there all day. My family and I discussed how nice it would be to live nearby in the winter and just be able to pop in and soak up the warmth.

What's in my bag?

For some reason I have recently been loving watching 'What's in My Bag?' videos on YouTube,  maybe because it is nice to know that I am not the only one who carries too much around in too smaller bag, or maybe it is just because I am nosy! Either way I thought it would be fun to share with you what is in my bag, so here goes...

My bag is actually from Primark and I have had it for about a year. Despite being from Primark it has stayed looking almost brand new, which is surprising considering how badly I treat it.The size is perfect, not to big or too small, and I like how it can be a shoulder or a hand bag depending on what I am doing/wearing.

Firstly we have the permanent residents of my bag, my iPhone and my Accessorize purse. I got this purse for my last birthday, it is a gorgeous yellow ochre colour and it is the perfect size for me. Alongside this other things I deem essential to carry around are a packet of mints, because no-one likes smelly breath pens, and a mirror. I got this mirror when I went to see Marina and the Diamonds and so it brings back great memories as well being super useful.

Holiday Book Haul

Despite the fact I love to read, over the past few years I have just found myself so busy with school and exams that I haven't managed to read as much as I would have liked. One of the best things about finishing school is that I have had lots of free time to use to do my own thing and do some reading that isn't just gathering extra information for my school work.

After really, really enjoying the T.V series, 'The Durrells', I was so excited when my mum recently bought me the book that the series was based on. It is called 'My Family and Other Animals' and is a true story about a family who moved to Corfu and all the crazy adventures they got up to through the eyes of the youngest sibling, and author, Gerald Durrell. I cannot wait to read this, I just know I am going to love it.

Greyson Perry has been one of my favourite artists for a number of years now, so when I spotted this story of his life, as told in his own words I knew I had to have it. It is entitled Grayson Perry: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl' and I it will help me to discover how his life has influenced his incredible artwork and helped him get to where he is today. He is a huge inspiration to me and if you are interested in concepts such as masculinity and gender then I suggest you watch his incredible documentary, 'All Man'.

Away / Trip to Fowey

My family and I recently took a five day trip to the beautiful Cornwall and stayed on the south coast, in Fowey. It was great to be so near to the seaside because where we live is so far from it and we had a really relaxing break after the chaos of the exam season.

Our little house was literally twenty seconds walk from a small beach called Readymoney Cove and only fifteen minutes walk from the centre of Fowey. This meant we didn't have to use the car much which was a nice change. From our house we could see the sea alongside the house where Dawn French, supposedly, lives. Unfortunately we didn't manage to catch a glimpse of her, maybe next time!

Spotify on Shuffle

I recently downloaded Spotify, I know I am a bit behind the times, and have been loving it. Over the next few months I will be shuffling my Spotify and sharing the songs that play with you. Each time I will share 5 songs that come up and why I like them. I love music posts on other people's blogs because I am constantly looking for new people to listen to. I hope that you enjoy this new set of posts, so here goes the first shuffle...

This song is quite old but I remember listening to it so much when I was younger. It really takes me back and I seem to still know all the words, oops! Natalie has a lovely voice, great for easy listening, and if you like this I would recommend that you listen to her song, 'Shiver', another favourite of mine.

On their most recent album three of Paramore's songs were Interludes, they were all acoustic and played on the ukulele. I play the ukulele and love Paramore so loved this little addition to their album, which was amazing anyway. They are so cute and I love to listen to them in succession, as they are only short.

The Vaccines bring out one amazing album after another and '20/20' is from their most recent one, English Graffiti. This is such a catchy song, on an incredible album, and not one to be missed. The Vaccines are just as incredible live, as they are on CD. You can read my review of The Vaccines concert that I went to a few months ago here.

I discovered Dexy's by watching 'The Perks of Being A Wallflower', since then they have been one of my favourite bands and that has been one of my favourite films. I have been collecting Dexy's records for a while now and only discovered this song recently when I realised I hadn't listened to one of my records, this song blasted out and I have loved it ever since.

Just like everyone, well everyone I have ever met, I love Adele. All of her songs are beautiful and this one is no different, I don't really know what else to say. I can't explain how much I would love to see Adele in concert and hope one day to get a chance.

Love Holly x

General Haul / March

Faux Snakeskin Skater Shoes - £5.00 (Topshop Sale)
Collection Concealer - £3.99 (Boots)
Calligraphy Pen - £3.23 (similar here)
Thank you Cards (can't remember)
Stripy Dress - £12.00 (Topshop Sale)
White Pen - £3.00 (HobbyCraft)
Lipstick Primer - £1.50 (Topshop Sale)
Moth Card - £2.50 (Kaboodle)
Lilac Pug Pants - £2.00 (Topshop Sale)
Orange Card - 30p a sheet (HobbyCraft)
Nib & Ink: The New Art of Modern Calligraphy - £9.09 (Amazon)

On the last day of term I went shopping with my friends and on going into Topshop realised they were having a huge sale. This was music to my ears because, to be honest, I only really buy things in Topshop in the sale. I was so pleased to see this Stripy Dress, which I had been eyeing up for a while, was in the sale and grabbed it! It is so comfy and easy to dress up or down, which is great. I love its versatility. Alongside this my other favourite bargain from Topshop was this pair of Skater Shoes, which cost just £5. I have been looking for some of these for a while and I am so pleased with how they look with my Topshop Mom Jeans.

I recently decided that I really want to learn how to do Modern Calligraphy, in other words, really pretty writing. I bought a calligraphy pen and then realised that I didn't know how to use it and despite a bit of practise wasn't having much luck. Consequently, my dad ordered me the fab book 'Nib & Ink: The New Art of Modern Calligraphy' which will teach me how to do modern calligraphy. It is quite hard but the book is written in a really clear way, with how to's and examples, alongside space for you to practise letters. So hopefully it won't be too long until I have mastered it, although I know it will take a lot of practise. 

Love Holly x

Advice / How to Have A Productive Day

It is really important, obviously, to stay focused when revising and I find I can revise for longer and get more done if I have structured my day. Even if I am not doing revision these steps really help me make the most of my days. I find that in the holidays if I don't do these things that it is impossible for me to have a productive day, I just can't focus. Hopefully these tips will help you to have the most productive day you can.

1. Set that alarm and get up when it goes off - this may seem like a horrible idea but it will get you into a regime. It will mean you have the optimum amount of time in your day and don't just waste it by lying in bed. If you want to have a productive day, spending half of it in bed isn't exactly the way forwards. I would also advise going to bed earlier, it will boost your mood and therefore your productivity.

2. Have a good breakfast - anyone who knows me well will tell you that I love breakfast. It is a really important meal that sets you up for the day and without it I find my mood really dips. You haven't eaten all night and your body needs energy to kick your productive day off to a good start, so load up, especially on fruit.

3. Make a to do list and tick things off when you have done them - on busy days this is the first thing I do after eating breakfast. It puts the day ahead into perspective by setting out your tasks. It may help to order them in priority, or even make two lists, things that need to be done today and things that need to be done tomorrow.

4. Take a break and do some exercise - this can stimulate your brain and therefore boost energy levels, which is so important when you want to be productive. This doesn't mean you need to go to the gym for hours or go out for a 10K run, try having a quick walk or tidying up around the house. Equally playing games like Just Dance or doing a quick fitness DVD can be hugely beneficial and boost your mood.

5. Drink plenty of water - this is one thing that I am terrible at, I just don't drink enough water. It is so important and can improve your mood, which as we have established by now, also improves your productivity. You need to keep hydrated to fuel your body for your busy day.

To productivity and beyond!

Love Holly x

Review: Bourjois City Radiance Foundation

I recently watched Zoella's Boots Haul and saw that she had bought Bourjois' City Radiance Foundation. It looked like a really interesting foundation and I liked the idea of radiance, something that we all want. I bought it in Boots's for £9.99, which was a great price and so far have been really pleased with it.

It has a BB/CC Cream sort of consistency and, as with other foundations of this sort, I have found that a little goes quite a long way. One thing that I really love about this is that it smells super nice, not at all like a normal foundation. It has a sort of sweet, fresh smell which makes you want to use it. As you all know, my skin is quite sensitive and so I am often wary of trying new products because I have to be careful about what I put on my skin.

For me, one of the big selling points of this product is the fact it has SPF 30. I am used to BB creams that have SPF 15, but often that isn't enough for me. I think it is really important to protect your skin from the sun, even in dreary England. It also has an anti-pollution screen, which for me isn't such a selling point because I live in the countryside, however if you live in the city is a great feature that could really save your skin.

I would say this foundation is best to wear when you are having good skin days as it doesn't provide full coverage. It can remove the appearance of some blemishes but not all due to it's thinner consistency. For me this isn't a problem but if you like something with a bit more coverage then maybe this isn't the best product for you. However, I would recommend this to anyone, and it seems to be okay with my sensitive skin, so if you struggle with that then this would be a good choice.

Love Holly x

General Haul / February

Puffa Jacket -£39.00 (TKMaxx)
Sports Shorts - £6.00 (Primark)
Ballet Shoes - £11.00 (Amazon)
Calvin Klein Makeup - £3.00 (TKMaxx)
Garnier Micellular Water -£3.99 (Boots)
Pink Pineapple Notebook- £2.99 (TKMaxx)
Alice in Wonderland Card - £1.50 (TKMaxx)
Beige Coat - £7.50 (Vintage Kilo Sale)
Bourjois City Radiance Foundation - £9.99 (Boots)
Vintage Jumper - £7.50 (Vintage Kilo Sale)
Laptop Case - £5.00 (Tiger)
Canvas Bag - £1.00 (Tiger)

Apologies that I am only just sharing my February Haul with you, as it is the middle of March already, time flies! I was really pleased with all my purchases last month and I have got some really great bargains, particularly from TKMaxx. One of my favourite purchases is my vintage 'trench' like coat from the Vintage Kilo Sale in Birmingham. It fits me really well and was such a good price. I really recommend the Vintage Kilo Sales as a great way to get good quality vintage clothes at great prices. Watch out for a review of the Birmingham one soon.

Another purchase that I loved last month was my ballet shoes. Unlike all my friends, I didn't do ballet as a child and so have never owned a pair. However, I have took dance in this school year and so was in desperate need of some. We made a quick order on Amazon and they are fab. They are so unbelievably comfortable and I love how graceful they make me feel. I wear them around the house so much and I love them.

I hope March is going well for you all so far and that everyone who has exams coming up isn't getting too stressed. Remember to take time for yourselves over the next few months.

Love Holly x

Always Campaign / #Like A Girl

I was watching one of Alfie Deyes' vlogs the other day and before it began an advert popped up. Now normally I am the first to skip adverts but this piece really caught my attention. It was a video from Always' #LikeAGirl campaign, a campaign to try and 'stop the drop in confidence girls experience at puberty' and tackle the topic of inequality on the emoji front.

As much as it may seem like a trivial problem, why shouldn't girls be able to express themselves with emojis as much as boys? Exactly.

From this video I began to look more into the campaign and love their video about what it means to 'do something like a girl', which shows the negative connotations that have been attached to this statement. In the video when they ask adults/teenagers to run (etc) like a girl and they run in a silly manner, flicking their hair and complaining, however when they ask young children to do the same they run (etc) with as much determination as possible. They have not been conditioned, yet, to view doing something like a girl as a bad thing. This really raises an important issue that needs tackling, and I'm glad Always are taking the first leap. They say...

'72% of girls DO feel society limits them — especially during puberty — a time when their confidence totally plummets. Always is on an epic battle to keep confidence high during puberty & beyond.

We’re on a roll, and we’re not stopping! Now, we’re spreading that word that girls everywhere can be Unstoppable #LIKEAGIRL when they smash limitations.' - Always

I love this campaign and urge you to share it around as much as possible, make it your good deed for the day!

Watch the Girl Emojis video here and the #LikeAGirl video here. The Unstoppable Video is also fantastic and you can view that here.

Love Holly x

(photo & quotes from always.com)

Review of Best Moisturisers

Cetraben Cream - £3.32 (Lloyds Pharmacy)
Egyptian Magic - £29.00 (Boots, Amazon, Liberty)
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula - £3.99  (Boots)
Superdrug Coconut Oil - £2.49 (Superdrug)

For me moisturising has been a vital part of my daily routine for as long as I can remember. The reason, I have eczema and therefore dry and sensitive skin. Because of this I have been through countless moisturisers trying to find the most effective one for me. It is important to remember that different moisturisers work for different people, however if you have dry and sensitive skin these are the ones I really recommend.

I would say that Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula is the best full body moisturiser out of all of these and I also love the smell of it. I think the best time to put it on just after a shower, it is great for locking in moisture for an entire day. Over the years I have been using it I think it also reduces the appearance of uneven skin. It is fairly thick in consistency, meaning it doesn't last as long as some other moisturisers, however is so reasonably priced that it doesn't matter.

For non-presciption eczema relief I have recently discovered Cetraben cream and I love it. It is great as a less harsh alternative to my prescription medicine, it soothes and softens skin. I think it is best applied before bed so it can work its magic, although it is also light enough to wear in the day and absorbs into the skin really well. It comes in a great pump container meaning it is quick and easy to grab and use.

The most expensive moisturiser on this list is Egyptian Magic, an all-natural all-purpose moisturiser. I apply this twice a week to my face as it is a fairly deep, oil like moisturiser, almost having the effect of a moisturising face mask. It has really helped my eczema and the general moisture of all of my skin. It melts in your hands, turning into an oil like constancy, which absorbs really well and I would highly recommend it. It can also be used for replenishing hair moisture, something that works really well, and for generally giving you a natural glow.

Last, but by no means least, we come to Coconut Oil, which again starts solid but melts in your hands to create a great oil-like consistency. Again this can be used for hair and skin, and although doesn't provide quite as much of a deep moisturise as Egyptian Magic, is still a very good moisturiser, plus it smells, quite obviously, like coconuts, lovely. With consistent use this moisturiser certainly reduces uneven skin tone and can be also used as a hair mask.

Overall these are all moisturisers I highly recommend and that I regularly use in different combinations. If you are struggling with eczema or any other skin condition, however, I recommend looking for specialist moisturisers, like Cetraben or E45, and if it gets no better contacting the doctors.

Love Holly x

Art to Die For / 'Girl in Bed' by Lucian Freud

In half term one of my friends invited me to London to go to the National Portrait Gallery, and obviously I took them up on the offer. We had a lovely, sunny day in London, we visited Tower Bridge and Harrods, but the highlight of the day was the stunning National Portrait Gallery. We specifically looked at the contemporary portraiture and one piece that enchanted me was 'Girl in Bed' by Lucian Freud.

I am going to be honest, I am not normally the biggest fan of Freud's work, but this piece was beautiful. I have been trying to pinpoint exactly what it is I like so much about this piece and have been really struggling to put my finger on it. It could possibly be how delicate it is, the gorgeous colour palette used, the enlarged eyes of the figure or the simplicity of the composition, whatever it is I just love this painting.

I have been captivated by all sorts of art since I was very young and I have to say that only on a few occasions has a painting or piece of work had such a profound effect on me as this painting did. You will not know what I mean unless you have had this experience, but it is a magical moment. I hope that if this kind of encounter is something you are yet to experience that you can find that one piece that really makes you tick, you will know when you have found it.

Love Holly x

(close up image from: www.bridgemanimages.com )

Shazam / Part 2

I haven't updated you on what I have been 'shazaming' for quite a while and so that is what we are going to do today. Over Christmas my Shazam was full of Christmas songs because they were everywhere and I wanted to know what they all were! Since then I haven't been using it as much, however I think we have just enough non-Christmas songs to make it worthwhile me sharing with you. Enjoy!

Boyce Avenue have been doing amazing covers for a number of years and when I heard their version of Want U Back I instantly fell in love. I saw Boyce Avenue a few years ago as a support act and since then they have just got better and better. I particularly like their collaborations, especially when they are with girls, because I don't think we get enough songs where boys and girls are singing together. Perhaps this is the reason I like Secret Love Song by Little Mix so much, because Jason Derulo collaborates with them and it is great. Sidenote: I think Little Mix are extremely underrated.

I would give you a rundown of all the songs featured, but we would be here all day. All I will say is both old and new, these songs are all incredible and I really recommend that you give them a listen. Shazam also continues to be one of only a few apps on my phone and I recommend it alongside this top music.

Love Holly

* The Passions song is 'I'm In Love With A German Film Star' and I love it.

Heart Inspired Style / Valentine's Day Special

1. Learn how to do a heart shaped braid with Vogue.
2. Cover yourself with this bold heart print dress from Lazy Oaf.
3. Style you house in a loving way with this cute print from Urban Outfitters.
4. Wear your love on your chest with one of these Double Trouble Gang Jumpers.
5. Share the love with these cute notecards form Bonbi Forest.
6. Take inspiration form musician Marina and the Diamonds lonely heart makeup.
7. Make some Valentine's cupcakes and house them in these adorable cupcake boxes.
8. Show love to everyone who visits you house with this wall ornament.
9. Share your love from head to toe with these cute ballet flats from Asos.

I hope you have all had a lovely day and have spent it with those who love you. We went on a cute walk around the area we live today and it was just really nice to spend some time together, even if it was freezing. Make sure that today, and every other day, you let the people that you care about know that you love them and treasure them.

Love Holly x

The Life-Changing Power of the Rookie Yearbooks

I would not be the person I am today without my four Rookie Yearbooks. These incredible paper versions of the Rookie website (shown above & below), run by my idol Tavi Gevinson, have opened my eyes to a world of possibility.

They have proved to me that teenagers are incredible, productive and wonderful and that you don't have to be an adult or a male or rich to be incredibly successful and well respected. They have taught me how to grow up in my own way, how to create zines and the power of music. Trust me my music taste is in a better place thanks to these books and the incredible people who contribute to them.

I have learnt that success is based on happiness, and therefore if you are not happy you are not successful, and that sometimes it is more than okay to be alone. I now know that fashion isn't just what is in the magazines, not to do things just because others are doing them and that no one but you can define your body. That it is okay not to be okay and that there are many ways to deal with difficult experiences, together. That the world is big and scary, but exciting and full of opportunities just the same. Finally, that we are all winners & that we are all loved.

A must have for any teenager or adult, male or female, it is an incredible collaboration of beautiful teenage minds. I would not be the person I am today without Rookie.

Access the Rookie website here and buy the Rookie Yearbooks here, you won't be disappointed.

Love Holly x

(photo credit: rookiemag.com / screenshot)

Calvin Klein Bargains / TK Maxx

I love TK Maxx and I like to visit it regularly to look for new bargains. When we went at the weekend and, alongside buying a lovely puffa jacket by Champion, I bought this Calvin Klein Makeup. I really like how TK Maxx makes big brands, that most of us would otherwise not be able to afford, accessible.

This is one of the best bargains that I have ever found in TK Maxx. This set of Calvin Klein bronzer and two lip glosses cost me just £3, with the normal price being £29. I just couldn't believe my eyes and had to refrain from buying an excess, such a bargain.

The bronzer is shade '14303 Sun Bathe' from the 'Summer Affair' collection and to be honest is a bit dark for me. This doesn't matter too much as it just means I will have to apply less, in a way it is good because it will last longer. It goes onto the brush really easily and although I am not normally a fan of bronzer I would really recommend this.

The lip gloss shades are '22311 Berry Cool' and '22312 Shades of Pink' from Calvin Klein's lip gloss collection 'Ultimate Edge'. I really like both of these, they have an almost cream like consistency and are easy to apply with your finger. My preferred shade at the moment is 'Berry Cool' because it is quite a wintery shade however, I think 'Shades of Pink' will be lovely to wear in the summer and I can't wait.

Another thing to say about these lip glosses is that they are a great size to just slot into your pocket or bag to use when you are on the go and because they aren't in a tube you don't have to worry that they might squeeze out into your handbag and mess everything up, a great design. The shades aren't hugely long lasting, what lip gloss is, however I have noticed that they last for slightly longer than quite a few high street lip glosses I own, which I suppose is what you pay for.

Overall great products at a stunning price, I recommend that you all get yourselves down to a TK Maxx soon before they all sell out! Enjoy!

Love Holly x

My Accessories: The Essentials

1. Dr. Martens 3 Eye Black Shoes
2. Topshop Textured Grey and Black Coat
3. Casio Watch in Silver
4. Handmade Bracelets from Uganda
5. Specsavers Glasses

Everyone has those certain things that they are never seen without and I am no different. There are just certain things that we all absolutely love, whether that is something super comfortable, like a trusty pair of shoes, just practical, like a watch or a pair of glasses, or something that brings back amazing memories. I think it is important to have those few special things that make you feel comfortable, they are those essential belongings that just make you feel like you.

Love Holly x

Zines / Red, White and Black

'There is a shade of red for every woman' - Audrey Hepburn

Here is another one of the zines that I have recently created. Again this was an A5 creation, I just really like them small, I think the dinkiness of them just gives them even more appeal. The theme of this zine is the colours red, black and white. I really like how it has come out, I really like the striking red against the black and white.

Out of all the zines I have created this is possibly my favourite one. When I had finished it I felt like it just needed something else so I decided to add some triangular road signs, they were just something a bit different. I am so pleased with the finished product. I recommend if you haven't tried making a zine that you give it a go, they are quick and easy art. Check out my other zine posts here and here, you can also find a link to Tavi Gevinson's zine tutorial in those posts.

Love Holly x

Favourite Books / The Great Gatsby & It (Alexa Chung)

The Great Gatsby is one of my all time favourite books and is partly due to Baz Luhrmann's incredible film of the book that I was inspired to read it. In my opinion the book is better than the film because it paints such a beautiful picture by itself, Fitzgerald is the master of description and leaves nothing undreamed. In many ways the story is very saddening, however this is still an excellent read that I have enjoyed many times over. I would say if you are new to the classics that this book is an excellent place to start. It isn't too long and the language is, although stunning, easy to understand.

I have loved Alexa Chung for a long time, she does effortless style so well and is a genuinely funny person. My friend and I were so excited when we heard that she was bringing out her own book and it lived up to all of our expectations. It is a mixture of writing, sketchbook pages and photographs and is so well put together. Alexa not only shares with us the secrets of her style but also gives amazing advice on coping with love and life. This book is a masterpiece and a must read for any young man or woman looking for answers.

Love Holly x

Book, DVD & Game Haul / Christmas

Rookie Yearbook 3 - Tavi Gevinson - £16.58 (Amazon)
Babe - Petra Collins - £16.58 (Amazon)
The Satorialist: X - Scott Schuman - £20 (Urban Outfitters)
Amy DVD - £6.99 (Amazon)
Mario Kart 7 - £39.99 (Nintendo UK)
Hairspray DVD - £4.99 (Amazon)
Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - £14.79 (Amazon)

Here is a quick run through of all of the books, DVDs and games that I received for Christmas. I am always so thankful for everything I receive because I know that other people in the world may not be as privileged as I am. I always feel very lucky and I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year. I know we are well into January now but, whether you have or haven't made a New Years Resolution, I suggest that we should all resolve to be more thankful in life, not only for gifts but for the people around us and the lives we have.

Love Holly x

Inspirational / Virgin Media Advert 2015

An advert that I love is this last year's Virgin Media advert, entitled 'Inspired'. It is such a beautiful advert showing some of the most fabulous women inspiring a young girl, through her mother, and proving to her that women do rock. I love it because, firstly, it shows the importance of educating young girls to believe in themselves, and secondly because although it is an advert it has an important message to share. This advert has been criticised but honestly I think it is great and I love it. I think this may partly be due to the fact Paloma Faith features in it and she is one of my idols. It would be great to see Virgin create a male version to go alongside it.

You can watch the advert here and make up your own mind.

Love Holly x

Newfound Love / Songs

Recently I have been really struggling to find new music to listen to and I just don't know why. I have been re-listening to a lot of David Bowie classics (obviously) but other than that I have had to turn to Spotify for inspiration. On my browsing journey through Spotify I came across two absolutely gorgeous songs, and so I suppose you could say mission completed.

The first song is Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Russian Red, this is a cover of the awesome 1980s classic by Cyndi Lauper and it is lovely to hear a really different style of voice. Russian Red is a Spanish indie/folk singer who writes her own songs, as well as performing covers. I love how she is an artist as well as a musician, you can check out her website here.

Secondly I came across White Winter Hymnal by Birdy (originally by Fleet Foxes) and on hearing it I repeated it three times before moving on. It is such a beautiful song and I had no idea that Birdy had covered it, even though I have been a fan of her music for many years. I don't know how I missed it! It is enchanting and I really recommend it. If you ever get an opportunity to see Birdy live I would also really recommend it, we saw her at the V Festival a few years ago and she is inspirational. It also becomes all the more impressive when you realise she is only 19 years old.

Love Holly x

Zines / Under the Sea

I feel like I haven't made any zines for ages! I find creating them a really relaxing and creative process. The fact they are relatively quick to make is one of the reasons I like them so much. I always want to do art outside school but don't want it to take over the work I am doing for my exams, making these perfect.

I decided to theme this zine around the seaside, as although I am not a big fan of sand or the sea, the seaside is a really happy, summery place. It was fun to make a summery zine in the winter as it temporarily took me away from the cold and the wet.

I made the collages by cutting up old Pop and Glamour magazine, the background is also from an old Pop magazine. It is great to look for different textures in different magazines.

If you want to make your own zines you can use Tavi Gevinson's tutorial for Rookie Magazine. Remember you don't need to use A3 paper, A4 is fine, it just means your final product will be smaller.

Love Holly x

General Haul / December

Canvas 'My Other Bag Is Dior' Bag - £1.99 (B&M)
Funnel Neck Jumper - £16.00 (M&S)
Mushroom Soap - £3.00 (Yorkshire Soap Company)
Christmas Pants - £5 (Jack Wills)
Pocket Mirror - £2 (Jack Wills)
Velvet Scrunchie - £1.50 (Claires)
Ickle Baby Bot Bath Bomb - £1.95 (Lush)
Bubblegum Lip Scrub - £5.50 (Lush)
Tea Tree Water Toner - £8.50 (Lush)
Striped Shirt - £10 (Primark)
Black High Heeled Boots - £56 (Office/Vagabond)
Picture Frame - £1.50 (Ikea)

I feel like I haven't done a haul for such a long time. From now on I have decided to do monthly hauls to share with you what I have buying. I know this is very late but here is my haul from December. Normally I hardly buy anything, well anything for myself, in December because obviously Christmas is just around the corner, but for some reason this year I have bought quite a lot. Some of this was given to me though so I guess that could be a reason.

I have wanted a good pair of boots for so long, probably about a year to be honest. When I came across these 70s style Vagabond Boots, in the Office sale, I instantly fell in love with them. The plan was to buy them after Christmas but whilst shopping for some family presents I went into Office and so just bought them. I used some of my birthday money, from September, so I kind of treated them as a late birthday, early Christmas present. You just have to treat yourself sometimes!

They are such good quality boots and although the heel is quite high I have found I can walk in them for hours, which is so great. I would really recommend Vagabond and I am sure I will be buying from them again. I know these boots will be well used for years to come and I can just tell that they are going to last really well. All round an excellent purchase and a great bargain, they were reduced from £80!

Love Holly x

Revision / Top Tips

I have spent many a month of my life revising and so would like to think of myself as a bit of an expert at it. As much as we all loathe it, it is just one of those things that we have to get on with and hope it all pays off in the end. I recently started revising for my mocks, which are this week and next week, and to be honest I feel as though I have got revision down to a T. It has taken me a long time to get to this point so I thought I would share my top revision tips to try and help you guys get there a bit faster than I did...

1. Make sure you have had plenty of sleep, it will make your brain far more receptive to learning. If you get sleepy whilst you are revising then have a break, or chill for a while, it will make the revision you do afterwards far more productive! That leads nicely onto my next point...

2. Have regular breaks, this is so important and can really help you reboot for your next session. I don't timetable my breaks, I just have them when I feel I need to, which is when my concentration starts to wane and I start to think about other things.

3. Make a list of all the topics you need to cover, not only will this help you plan your time more effectively but it is also so satisfying to be able to tick them off when you have done them. Yes this sounds stupid, but don't knock it until you have tried it.

4. Drink plenty of water. I always find that if I have a glass of water, and drink it whilst I am revising, then I can revise for a longer period of time without needing a break. Don't ask me why, there must be some scientific reason.

5. Track how long you have to go until your exams, it will help you know how much you need to do each week/day. You can do this with a revision timetable, which is something I would really recommend making, especially for GCSEs where you have a thousand and one different subjects to try and revise for.

6. Work out what time of day you work best at. For me it is mornings and from about 4 onwards, I really struggle to work in the afternoon. Once you have worked it out revise at these times, it will make life a lot easier for you.

7. Eat well. I know this sounds odd but if you eat a load of rubbish when you are trying to revise it makes it harder. If you eat healthily, you will feel more healthy in yourself, and therefore probably be more efficient in your revision. I know this certainly applies to me.

8. Make time for exercise, it is a great stress reliever and can give you a boost, making you feel awake and ready to work. It is great to go out and get some fresh air, go for a walk or a run, or even just play an active game, such as Just Dance.

9. Take time to relax. You shouldn't work 24/7 because it will likely make you less efficient. I like to stop revising a few hours before I go to bed and just chill, to let my brain wind down before I go to bed. If I revise right up to bedtime I really struggle to get to sleep.

10. Have your own workspace. Make it somewhere quiet and out of the way so you can just leave your stuff as it is at the end of a session and pick up from where you left off when you resume.

I hope these are useful tips and although you have probably heard some of them before I can tell you from experience that all of these tips are things that I do and they genuinely help me to make my revision the best it can be.

Love Holly x

Favourite Books / The Handmaid's Tale & Girl Boss

I studied the dystopian novel 'The Handmaid's Tale' in English Literature last year and really enjoyed it. It is such a powerful book and it is hard not to be incredibly moved, or even changed, by it.

The book follows the journey of a woman, in the futuristic society of Gilead, whose only purpose is to reproduce. She must comply to the regime or die. Can love, alongside other emotion, survive in such a seemingly bleak society? Since studying it I have read it again and the second time round I loved it even more. An amazing read by an incredible author, Margaret Attwood is outstanding. If you haven't read this already you are missing out on an incredible opportunity.

I love motivational books and one of the ones that has had the biggest effect on me is 'Girl Boss' by Sophia Amoruso. It is all about the highs and the lows of Sophia's journey to set up her company, 'Nasty Gal', and gives great advice for business and general life. It proves that you can go from not knowing what to do with you life to having a successful business, all it takes is a lot of hard work.

A great book that reminds us that you can do what you are passionate about and still be successful. Read it and prepare to be motivated.

Love Holly x