31 Jul 2015

July '15 In Pictures

  Rooftop screening of The Theory Of Everything, 4th of July treats, Macaroons at Hampstead Summer Fair 

Hampstead Summer Fair, Post Hampstead Summer Fair afternoon tea

   Post Hampstead Summer Fair afternoon tea, Rose scented candles, Baking a cake for my Grandma to celebrate her good health news

Marble Arch, Forever 21 haul, Messing around with nail varnish, Home made banana bread

New Forever 21 dress, Young Adult Literature Convention

Young Adult Literature Convention

Young Adult Literature Convention, London Film & Comic Con

London Film & Comic Con

London Film & Comic Con, Summer weather takes a turn, Flowers bought for my Grandmother, Caught in a down moment

Piccadilly, House and flowers in Hampstead

Rain during trip back to Nottingham, Cake I baked to celebrate my Mum's engagement  

Amani x


29 Jul 2015

Book Review: Life With A Sprinkle Of Glitter by Louise Pentland

'Let love blossom and unfurl like the petals on daisies.'

Louise, AKA Sprinkle of Glitter, was the first Youtuber I ever subscribed to. And to this day I love waking up in the morning and being able to catch up with her videos on beauty, fashion and her cosy yet exciting life. Her blog also happens to be one of the main inspirations for my own, and is where I was first able to witness her impressive writing skills. So when Louise announced that she was to be releasing her own book, I knew it would be something great. Especially since me and the other viewers of her daily vlog channel had been privy to elements of her book writing journey, along with the hard work and passion she was putting into it. And even with all that in mind, Life With a Sprinkle of Glitter managed to surpass my already high expectations.

Firstly, the book is the prettiest that I've ever owned. It resembles a scrapbook inside and out; the cover being made up of multiple textures, including actual stuck on gold glitter! Inside the book each spread of pages carries its own unique aesthetic theme, relevant to its text. The beautiful aesthetics of the book really reflect the creative nature that Louise's blog and Youtube channel were built upon.

In terms of written content, the book is broken up into thematic sections and then sub chapters. And within the chapters Louise imparts her wisdom on subjects of her expertise, including beauty, travel and crafts - whilst also giving inspiring examples of how to wing it when it comes to elements of life that aren't necessarily one's forte. Life With a Sprinkle of Glitter is essentially a glittery 'how to guide' to life. It contains a multitude of valuable life hacks, safety tips and affirmations, but with an added personal touch - you also learn more about Louise herself along the way. Reading this book will leave you with knowledge of how to create a happy, self compassionate and luxurious life for yourself, tailored to your own personality type, stage of life and bank balance.

The chapter that has stuck with me the most is 'Comfort Zones', in which Louise goes into depth regarding her fear of being far away from home. As I have anxiety, I really appreciate her honesty when discussing her irrational fear, but also valued her emphasis on the fact that even the worst possible outcome in a situation that causes us anxiety is never actually that bad, and is always something that one is able to deal with.

With Life With a Sprinkle of Glitter now on my bookshelf I feel more equipped and excited to face the rest of my 20s (and beyond). I can't wait to implement her home ideas into my new flat and to have a go at some of the suggested crafting projects, along with exercising the new found positive mindset that the book has left me with.

Though I love both Louise's blog and Youtube channel, I feel that she excels in this medium. This book is a place where her wisdom, writing skills, humour, positivity, creativity and eye for aesthetics can live as one, whilst being able to fit into a small handbag.

Let me know if you've also read this book and what you thought!

Amani x


22 Jul 2015

25 Random Facts About Me

So, I was tagged to write 25 Random Facts About Me by the lovely Kasia. Seeing as my blog is still relatively new, this seems like a great way for anyone reading to get to know me better. Enjoy!

1. The majority of my wardrobe consists of black clothing.

2. I love music, Alternative Rock is my favourite genre.

3. I've been to 13 US states.

4. I want to be a novelist in the future.

5. The furthest I've travelled to see a band is over 4000 miles.

6. I regularly do Tarot readings for myself.

7. I study English Literature.

8. I'm single and have so far always been single.

9. I (weirdly) had a moderate phobia of the BT Tower in London up until the age of 14.

10. My taste in books ranges from the Classics to Young Adult Fantasy novels.

11. I prefer the weather to be cool rather than warm.

12. My favourite films include: Les Miserables, Inception, The Dark Knight, Sweeney Todd and Requiem for a Dream.

13. I watch a lot of Youtube, my favourite Youtubers are Dan & Phil.

14. I intermittently battle with Anxiety and Depression.

15. I've been recovering from a Breathing Disorder for the last year and a half, and it's something that continues to affect my life quite a bit.

16. My all time favourite TV show is Lost.

17. I have one half sister, but I grew up as an only child.

18. I enjoy sweet things more than I do savoury.

19. The first thing I do when I realise I'm home alone is start singing.

20. Spiders are my biggest phobia.

21. I'm terrible at spelling, despite being an English student and writer!

22. Lyrics are the most important part of a song to me.

23. My hair has been; brown, black, dark purple, burgundy and bright red in the past. It is currently an auburn/ginger colour.

24. I generally prefer vanilla to chocolate.

25. I would love to live in Nashville, Tennessee one day.

I hope you feel that you've learnt a little bit about me after reading this. I nominate Becster and xgembeanx to now write 25 facts about yourselves, and I also nominate anyone else reading!

Amani x

17 Jul 2015

Great Banana Bread Recipe

So far this summer I've been experimenting a lot with baking. And earlier this week I tried my hand at baking banana bread (which is essentially a banana flavoured cake). It turned out so good that my family (but mostly me) couldn't get enough, so I thought I'd share the recipe I used, for others to try (taken from simplyrecipes.com).


(to serve a family - or mainly yourself, if you're anything like me)

 2 & 1/2 very ripe, peeled bananas (ideally ones with skin more brown than yellow)
 1/3 cup of melted butter
 1 cup of sugar  
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
 1 teaspoon of baking soda 
Pinch of salt 
1 & 1/2 cups of self raising flour


Preheat your oven to 175°C/350°F/Gas mark 3.5

Butter up your loaf pan (this can be substituted for a cake tin or any other appropriate oven dish, as long as it's large and wide)

Add your peeled bananas to a mixing bowl and stir with a fork until smooth and liquidy

Add the pre-melted butter to the bowl and stir in with the mashed bananas

Mix in the baking soda and salt

Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract

Mix in the flour

Once you're satisfied that the mixture has been thoroughly stirred into a single consistency then pour the batter in the buttered pan

Place the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 50-70 minutes - or until golden brown and a fork/tester comes out clean when inserted into the bread

Once removed from the oven let your banana bread cool, and then it's then ready to serve! To serve I sliced my bread both vertically and diagonally, so that people could come and pick up a large chunk as they wished

I hope you enjoyed this recipe. I find that this is something great to make when you have a few bananas left over on the brink of going bad, and instead of letting them go to waste you get to make something ridiculously delicious out of them! Banana bread is pretty versatile and can be eaten for breakfast, as a snack or a desert.

Have you been baking this summer, or are you planning to?

Amani x


14 Jul 2015

Recent Stationary Buys

I'm in the process of getting more organised; which is mainly consisting of me writing out the content of my many phone notes into actual physical notebooks (for some reason this feels more secure and less cluttery to me). I've long ago started using a yearly planner to better organise myself, but there are so many things I note down on a daily basis that don't fit into simple day to day planning, hence always finding myself messily jotting things down on my iPhone. The idea now is to have a few notebook with allocated content themes, which I can keep on display in my room for easy access.

The first notebook I bought is this extremely pastel notebook from WHSmith with a floral/bird print. I had been searching for a notebook for my listography and long term do-to lists/bucket lists, and this seemed perfect for it. It's the ideal size to contain my long lists (slightly smaller than A4), yet is also light and easy to flip through.

It has a beautiful teal metallic detail on the cover and a pink chevron pattern on the side of the pages. Inside is also extremely pretty with a pale pink butterfly print on each of the lined pages. I'm really looking forward to making a start on filling up this notebook!

The second notebook will be used for jotting down notes for my novel, along with any other creative writing ideas that come to me. I bought this notebook from the Ebay shop eleanoras12. It's an A5 size, making it perfect to put in my handbag and take with me wherever I go. It has a lovely floral and polka dot print on the cover, with textured, glittery butterflies on top, which adds a vintage scrapbook effect. 

The pages inside are lined and on the top of each page is a space for the day's date, typed in a handwritten font, and is a detail I love. 

Lastly, I was also recently gifted a new pen from Paperchase by a family member. It has a beautiful vintage print which includes butterflies (noticing a pattern here?), flowers and parchment paper. The pen writes nicely and has black ink. I really love Paperchase's biros and this pen is probably among the prettiest that I've ever owned or seen in stores.

What are some of your favourite stationary stores or brands?

Amani x


9 Jul 2015

Mental Health Wisdom from Winnie The Pooh

Now this may seem like an odd title for a blog post, but bear with me (no pun intended, I promise).

Despite it being nearly two decades since I’ve actually read a Winnie the Pooh book (something I need to rectify), I’ve often found unexpected inspiration and affirmation from stumbling upon quotes from the A.A Milne books when browsing online. I also find that a lot of the quotes can be great reference points for those who struggle with mental illness, but of course are not restricted to that demographic; they relate to the human experience in general. 

Here are five of my favourite quotes from the Winnie the Pooh books, along with what they mean to me:

'"I don't feel very much like Pooh today", said Pooh. "There there", said Piglet. "I'll bring you tea and honey until you do."'

This exchange between Pooh and Piglet demonstrates that everyone can go through a period of not feeling quite right - whether it be because of a bad day or even a bout of depression. But it also reminds us that it’s okay to sometimes feel that way, and that it can be remedied. It’s scary to wake up and suddenly not feel like yourself anymore, but by knowing that even Pooh has felt this way you can be sure that you are not alone with it. Importantly, it also highlights the fact that it’s as necessary to be looked after when feeling mentally unwell as it is when one is physically ill.
To me the quote also suggests that simple home comforts can often ground us and let us feel like ‘us’ again. Have you ever spent a day or evening somewhere, or found yourself doing something, that has left you with that niggling feeling of ‘this isn’t right for me’? And then maybe you've come home, still with that feeling of deflation, to then find your family waiting to greet you warmly - or to find you have a message from an old friend wanting to catch up? And then, just like that, you suddenly remember who you are again and those bleak feelings disappear? Well, this quote makes me think of that. It's a reminder that it’s okay to be with the people and surroundings that we’re most comfortable with and that reflect our true nature, away from the pressure of feeling the need to be people we are not. It highlights the importance of good friends and family and wherever it is that we call home.  

'By the time it came to the edge of the Forest, the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, "There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.'

I often struggle with high stress and anxiety, and usually when it’s very unnecessary. I write down every passing thought in my planner in case I forget small part of my daily routine, I have a constant nagging in the back of my head if I haven’t responded to someone’s message immediately, and I walk too fast even when I have no where I need to be. But this quote comforts me with the knowledge that with age comes a retrospective realisation. A realisation that all those times you’ve replied to an email the next day - or forgotten to buy milk on the way home, or were five minutes late for a lecture - ultimately none of that ended up mattering. Because everything turned out okay in the end. And that there will also come an acceptance and understanding that, by living your life in a slower pace and with lower urgency, things will be okay too. 

That's my personal take, but more simply the quote also suggests that the buoyancy of childhood is replaced with a more structured temperament and lifestyle when one reaches adulthood. Not because of any loss, but due to the wisdom and understanding gained along the journey.

'"What day is it,?” asked Pooh. “It's today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favorite day,” said Pooh.”'

This quote helped me a lot when I experienced a bout of existential depression a few years ago. As a result of this - as extreme as it may seem – I spent a lot of time getting severely anxious and down at the prospects of dying, getting old, and simply about bad things that could potentially happen in the future. But this very simple exchange is a reminder to appreciate what we currently have, and to live in the moment. Pooh's favourite day is today, because it’s the only one that is actually happening! Whenever I read this I adopt Pooh’s innocent approach to life, which holds no anxiety or apprehension about the future. And he is right to think in such a way. After all, the future hasn’t happened yet; the present is the only thing that exists. And the ideal frame of mind is to actually live in the present, instead of constantly and anxiously trying to leap ahead.

'You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.'

Sometimes we isolate ourselves without even realising it, and this quote exemplifies that. Before you label yourself as being lonely and claim defeat, always first make sure you’re doing things to actually combat that loneliness. I’ve often found myself upset about specific people not contacting me, or sometimes even feeling that no one at all is making the effort to reach out to me. But I’m also the type of person who refuses to contact people first. See the problem here? Someone has to make the first move. And it’s very likely that the people you want to connect with are thinking the same about you not contacting them, or will at least be happy to connect once you give them the nudge by reaching out first. Friendships and relationships can’t start or be maintained unless someone is willing to be the one to make the first move. 

And whether or not you yourself are feeling isolated, it’s likely that some other people you know are feeling that way. So if you don't already, then why not try reaching out to people you wouldn’t normally think of reaching out to, or to someone who you think could need a friend? The result will likely be rewarding for both parties.

'"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."'

I’m not sure if this is a common belief in others, but I've never been able to consider myself brave. In fact, I often think to myself worriedly; ‘I’d probably be a Hufflepuff, 'cause I sure as anything couldn’t be a Gryffindor’. But despite these thoughts, many people I've known have called me ‘brave’, due to the fact that I’ve faced a lot of struggles. And though I always shrug off being labelled as such, the truth of the matter is that we all are brave. It's only that one normally doesn't realise how brave they are until faced with a difficult situation, in which being brave is the only option. Everyone one of us has that in us. This is also true when it comes to strength, as the two go hand in hand. The quote also highlights that no matter what we look like on the outside – whether it be physically small, clinically depressed or physically ill - it's no representation of the vast inner strength we encompass. In fact, the weaker one may seem on the outside, the more strength is likely being put to use on the inside, due to them having to fight that much harder.

And this can also be said for being smart or funny or any other positive trait. Because at the end of the day, as humans, it’s almost impossible for us to see ourselves as we really are. And the majority of us will unfortunately play down our positive attributes due to insecurities. This quote tells us that the people who see us for how we really are, they are the ones who will think the highest of us. 

Let me know in the comments if there are any quotes from unlikely sources that mean something to you.

Amani x


6 Jul 2015

My Alternative Summer Playlist

Whilst on my quest to make the UK's current soaring temperatures more bearable for myself, I had the realisation that great songs with summery vibes are able to get me into the summer mood! So I decided to put together a few of those songs to create a summer playlist for myself and others to enjoy. All these songs make me want to go out and embrace the warm summer days and nights, whilst making the most out of my summer holiday.

Here's what my summer sounds like:

Riptide by Vance Joy

Work on Me by Kings of Leon

Over the Hills and Far Away by Led Zeppelin 

All The King's Men by Wild Beasts

From Eden by Hozier

First Time by Vance Joy

Helena Beat by Foster the People

Yellow Sun by The Raconteurs

Florida Kilos by Lana Del Rey

Camaro by Kings of Leon

Click here if you'd like to have a listen to the playlist yourself. Enjoy!

I'd also love to hear what songs are on the soundtrack of your summer.

Amani x
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