Happy World Stationary Day everyone! Let’s just take a moment to praise all things that are beautiful and amazing about stationary – colourful pencils, smooth gliding pens, bold and bright highlighters, scent gel pens we were all obsessed with as teenagers and beautiful, white crisp paper just ready and waiting to be written on (or drawn on and whatever else).
Since today is a day that kind of includes all types of stationary, I thought I’d do a little post of one of some things that tend to include the use of it all and that’s creative and do-it-yourself books. I absolutely love how popular these books are nowadays, from books prompting you to fill in lists and lists of the most bonkers subjects, to the more creative ones that require you to get really artistic. 
The thing about these types of books are that everyone loves them. If you’re really quirky like me, you’ll adore them. If not? It’s still a fun way for ANYONE to get more creative and think outside of the box. These are the types of books that don’t require neat hand writing using your favourite pen (although if this is what you like to do then by all means go for it!) but they ask you to be a bit unconventional and use more then just colouring pencils and the like. Plus, they make excellent gifts too.
Here are some of my favourites, one or two which I already own and the rest being on my wishlist!
WRECK THIS JOURNAL (Keri Smith) is one of my all time favourites and is also the first ‘creative’ book I ever owned. It’s not really a book to be honest – more so an art piece, by the time you’re finished with it anyway. Prompts vary from creating a drawing by using pieces of your hair, to filling a page with simply good thoughts. I must admit, at first it’s hard to get past the pressure of wanting to make something pretty and stunning but once you do, it’s a hell of a lot of fun. The success of this book has lead to a few more ‘sequels’ being published – each one is entirely different, but continues with the same theme as the first – creating art out of destruction via prompts. It also wills you to use a wide variety of different tools to fill in the pages, from your dinner (yes, I know) to dirt. 
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A few of my ‘Wreck This Journal’ pages
MAP MY HEART: MY LOVE LIFE IN DOODLES (Dominic Evans) is a real fun way to get over a past relationship or just pay homeage to any relationships/dates in book form. I suppose it’s also pretty ideal for when you’re feeling fed up with your love life, but I think even if you’re happy single or taken this book could still be a lot of fun. It’s a mixture of drawing and writing prompts but unlike Wreck This Journal, this is a lot more personal and focuses on YOU, your thoughts, what you want in a relationship etc. It’s kind of like therapy in book form and pushes you to take a long hard (but fun!) look at your love life and will probably help you evaluate it a little too. If you’re angry at someone or struggling to get over a relationship, this will be a way to let out some of that frustration without actually doing anything a little crazy (we all go a little crazy after a bad break up).
Q AND A DAY: 5-YEAR JOURNAL (Potter Style) is another one more focused on you and your life. This one is probably a little similar to Listography Journal: Your Life in Lists but is probably more family friendly and is a lot longer. This is without a doubt one you would keep for the rest of your life, but it is a bit of a commitment! The idea is that each page hosts a new question and offers space for five different answers – one per year. This is a book that will continue to get better as time goes on because once a day you’ll be able to re-read answers from past years, add a complete new one and see how they vary over the years. I’ve actually given a couple of copies of this as a gift for friends and family in the past and I think even when some of the other books featured on this post are a bit quirky, this is a standard traditional one that everyone would love – even your nan!
WHAT I WORE TODAY (Gemma Corell) is the type of creative book that was made just for us fashion bloggers (probably). As a whole, the general theme is sketching your daily outfits and although in all honesty I don’t see what the benefit of this is (I’d love to incorporate the drawings into my outfit posts somehow), it still is a lot of fun. Each one has different prompts alongside though, like mini sketches on how to glam up the outfit from day to night or creating a playlist. It’s a fun and alternative way to keep note of your wardrobe I guess. Other parts of the book ask you to get creative with designing different hats or hairstyle and the book is divided by the four seasons too. I picked this up in the quirky aisle of TK Maxx and to this day it’s still one of my favourite buys from there.
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LISTOGRAPHY JOURNAL: YOUR LIFE IN LISTS (Lisa Nola) is a super cute list based book (obviously) which when filled in, can be used overall as a type of autobiography. This is creative in a different way because although it’s just making lists, the subjects are completely varied and get you thinking. It’s the type of book that’s fun to fill out and even more fun to flick through and read back in years to come. Although the author has gone on to release books that are more subject specific such as a travel one, a music one etc, but this one is a more varied one. Although it’s very cute and one you’d like to keep for years and years, there are some list prompts inside that you’d probably want to keep for yourself, such as ‘top places I’ve had sex’! So although still fun, maybe this isn’t one to show to the future grandkids one day!
So there we have it – five fab books that I think really call on your creative side and are a lot of fun using various different stationary. I think with some of these you need to have a little kit aside of coloured pens and pencils, a ruler and a rubber, paint and more. These are all the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon and can easily be dipped in and out of anytime. 
I also found it interesting that a few of these books were listed in some real interesting categories on Amazon, such as self help books and medical counselling & therapy! It just goes to show that even though they are a lot of fun, they’re also very very good for you 😉
What do you think? Do you have any creative books like these?
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Today officially marks the start of National Stationary Week and – to be specific – today is Pen and Pencil Day. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about this whole week, being a self confessed stationary addict myself. I’m one of those people who will buy notebook after notebook after notebook and each one will have it’s own specific use for doodles and writing and such. I find myself right at home Paperchase, and I even get exited approaching that quirky stationary aisle in TK Maxx.
One of the aims of National Stationary Week is to get people writing more – whether that be writing a letter instead of an email, forgoing your notes on your iPhone and instead putting pen to paper for your daily to-do list and more. This actually sits well with me on a personal level because I’ve always claimed myself to be a writer through and through. Though most of my writing takes place on this blog these days, that’s not to say I don’t keep a journal or many notebooks for novel ideas, blog ideas and more. Even from such a young age when I once published a short and slightly geeky story in the school newsletter, I’ve always loved calling myself a writer and in my heart, I feel like if there were ever to be any definition of my ‘thing’ or something I was always known for among others (others being a blogger, a music addict and a rock star enthusiast) then writing or being a writer would be right there at the top – even if it is rare for me to show my work to people…
There is something so special and sacred about putting pen to paper and producing something that only started as an idea in your head. Sure, Microsoft Word is great for spell check and looking neat, but I think there’s something really kinda cool about actually writing with a pen or pencil, showcasing mistakes and all. It shows that nothing is ever perfect and that even a minuscule and mistake-ridden idea can turn into something big and great and amazing over time.
Speaking of pens and pencils, if I had to pick a specific favourite brand, I would be lost. But I will tell you that when it comes to writing, for the most part, everything has to match! If I begin something with one pen which runs out of ink half way through….I’m buggared! Biro’s are fun for scribbling notes but when it comes to really writing, I absolutely adore the pens that those smooth and thick lines that look ever so neat. The thicker the ink, the better. I have fond memories of upgrading from using a pencil to these bad boys in primary school!
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Even now sometimes I wish I could still use them, even if I have advanced to brands more classier and grown up…!
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Luckily I’ve since upgraded to more beautiful pens like this one from Sheaffer!

So one point to this post if any would be that if you own a blog or enjoy writing as a escape, try forgoing the laptop at least once this week. You might feel vulnerable picking up a pen and writing on brand new crisp white paper and yes, there probably will be a few mistakes, but at least it’ll be raw and honest, misspelled words and all 😉 Try actually jotting down some blog ideas instead of adding them to your iPhone notes, or perhaps even think about getting yourself a pen-pal to ensure you keep up traditional writing on a regular basis. Hell, I’ll even be your pen pal! Me and Bex tried it once years and years ago when we first became friends, and I still think I have a letter to reply to…well, maybe hailing my love for pens and pencils today might have just inspired me to finally write an answer.
Do you still use an actual pen and paper to write? Let me know with a comment!
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So I’ve wanted to branch out into some oddball blog posts for a while now, even though they don’t necessarily belong in the niche I tend to write about. Everyone knows me knows how obsessed I am with anything freaky or spooky – ghost stories, conspiracy theories, anything to do with aliens or the supernatural – you name it, I’ve probably read up about it and bored my friends half to death talking about it.

But there have been a few instances where I’ve come across something interesting online and gone on to share it on Facebook with many people replying and offering their opinions in return. I’ve found that a good few of my friends don’t really have a huge interest in anything ‘weird’, but still find stuff I share sort of interesting or worth a read.
So for a while now I’ve really wanted to incorporate some of these things on the blog…hence my new feature, Freaky Friday’s (such an original title, I know!). I haven’t yet decided whether this will be every single Friday, once a fortnight or even once a month but nonetheless, here is the first! I hope you find it interesting…
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The death of Elisa Lam was wildly reported when the last known footage of her alive – taken in a lift, shortly before her death – went viral due to its disturbing and odd nature. The video shows her running into a lift at the Cecil Hotel where she was staying at the time, and repeatedly pressing buttons to get the lift door to close. Throughout the short video, the doors remain open (kinda freaky, right?!), but it’s her strange behaviour which is the oddest part of the whole video. She continually jumps in and out of the lift and makes weird gestures with her hands. Various theories of her behaviour include the idea that she is possessed, high on drugs, hiding from someone who was pursuing her into the lift or perhaps even that her odd behaviour is simply down to her bipolar disorder and that maybe she was experiencing a psychotic episode.
Being a believer in these things, simply by watching the gestures and the way she moves her hands was kind of freaky for me to watch and immediately made me think about possession! The video is only half of the story though. After being reported as missing for almost three weeks, her body was finally discovered in the water tank on the roof of the hotel, after guests at the hotel had been complaining about low water pressure. Bizarrely, there has been no conclusion to how she actually got into the tank herself. The tanks on the roof of the hotel were locked (with staff only having pass codes and keys to access the area), as well as the tanks protected by heavy lids. Some suggest that it would have been almost impossible for Elisa to not only gain access to the roof, but get into a water tank and replace the lid all by herself without the help of another.
Although the official autopsy reported that her death was caused by accidental drowning – with her bipolar disorder being a significant factor – there are many more unanswered questions and odd parts to this story. Changes in the autopsy report show that the death was originally noted as accidental, then changed to undetermined at a later date. Rape and fingernail kit tests were processed during the autopsy – but the results of these were not published or released. There were no drugs or alcohol found in her system and her mobile phone has never been found either. Finally, there has been speculations that the footage taken in the lift has actually been edited, with footage clearly having been cut out.
There are many conclusions to this case and although the fact that she could have been having a psychotic episode seems most likely, there are still lots of unanswered questions surrounding the death of Elisa Lam which make it one of the most bizarre reports to go viral over the past couple of years.
What do you think? Did the elevator video freak you out, or do you think it’s a case that can simply be put down to Elisa’s psychotic state? Let me know!
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It seems like almost forever since The Maine released new material and this album was definitely a long time coming. With the addition of the boys going on a media blackout during the recording process of the album, I think the anticipation for this record hit an all time high. First and foremost, the marketing and promotion during the lead up to the release has been an interesting and beyond successful concept. Choosing to adapt a blue colour theme for the whole lead up, among other promotion, the band members have uploaded all new Instagram content using a blue filter and created a somewhat temporary logo of six colour blocks – each in a different shade of blue – posted weekly, each block disappearing week by week and representing one week closer to the release.
As someone who briefly studied advertising in college but who actually has a bit of an interest in this side of things – anything that’s different – I thought this whole concept was beyond amazing. And, to celebrate the release day of the album, the band hosted a 24 hour live stream of them all promoting the album by putting on a free show, hosting a pop up merch shop and much more – all whilst including behind the scenes footage of them all. This was also a little nod to the way they promoted a much older album – Black And White – where they also hosted ’24 hours with the Maine’. 
Beyond cool.

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My initial thoughts during my first listen of American Candy where that this was a side of The Maine I did not know, but still really loved. Although I was not yet a fan of them when they first came onto the scene with a pop punk sound, I’ve known the band to release anything from upbeat to deep and dark music before. But somehow they’ve brought a whole new sound entirely to this album and it’s a sound that is sophisticated and grown up whilst still being a lot of fun. 
In short, this album is filled with tracks I could easily imagine being played on mainstream radio or on a soundtrack of a movie. That’s not to say that they have lost their sound or the genre that I believe them to produce from, simply that this music is more versatile and that I feel will probably gain them a bunch of more fans. 
There is a lot of rock music we all love and even when not obviously different, we couldn’t quite imagine hearing it played on a radio station among the likes of Katy Perry, One Direction or even You Me At Six. I feel almost any song from American Candy can easily slip in there.
More importantly, they have kept to their roots. I really don’t know how they do it, like most bands, I have no idea how they continue to improve and explore their sound and experiment but still keep something that will always represent them. But alas, the band have done it once more. This album still has the typical ‘Maine’ sound we love so much and I think that’s pretty damn impressive.

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This album has a real mix of songs. Miles Away and English Girls are without a doubt those easy listening songs that you can boogie along to or sing along to in your car. 24 Floors is easily an anthem to everyone and anyone who may need that particular type of anthem at that particular point in their life. It’s a song that bridges the gap between their previous slightly darker album to this one, and gives this album a subtle and more serious note, along with (Un)Lost and American Candy. Am I Pretty? and Diet Soda Society are two songs that I know will speak to everyone and I know many people will relate to these two a lot. 
Finally, another song worth mentioning is Another Night On Mars. An ode to all the bands friends, family and good time memories, this is the type of song I’ve found has secured a regular place on most of their albums. Almost every one of their records have a song that I think is written not for the record or for the fans. It’s the type of song that you can imagine was written jamming with their closest friends and is a bonus track added just because it’s so damn good. It’s a representation of good times and never grows old, even though it’s a theme regularly touched upon among albums. There are other excellent songs of course, but these particular ones are the ones I have come to understand the most in the short time since the release of the record.
American Candy is a record that is already a firm favourite and an album I know I can easily get my friends listening to. On the first play, it does sound like it’s easy listening, and that anyone can enjoy it. But after more listens, as you study and dissect each lyric, you’ll come to find that it’s just as deep and powerful as previous material. And, of course, it’s still The Maine through and through.

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Overall, I think in comparison to their other albums, American Candy is all about loving yourself and having a good time. There are still some underlining tones to the album approaching different issues too of course. But for me, it’s main message conveys that you shouldn’t care what other people think and that whatever you feel – whether that’s lost and alone or bored and wanting to just get away – it’s all okay. You shouldn’t let other people or the media influence you into thinking anything other then what you feel.

You can purchase American Candy for £6.99 on iTunes.
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It’s not often that I’ll write a whole actual blog post to enter a competition, but every now and then a prize is so amazing that I simply cannot miss my opportunity to win. Transun are hosting a blogger competition for one lucky blogger (and a plus one!) to win a trip to see the Northern Lights. And everybody knows just how stunning that would be. Viewing the Northern Lights are often considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and certainly one I’d love to cross off my bucket list.
And that’s not all. Even though seeing the Northern Lights would blow me off my feet, the prize also includes return flights, full board accommodation, a husky safari, a snowmobile ride, a visit to a reindeer camp and much more! And we all know how cute husky’s and reindeer are…
To enter, all you need to do is –
Write a blog post about your top three travel bucket list destinations and then tweet the post to @Transun once it’s live. Also, don’t forget to include the hashtag #TransunLights.
The competition closes at midnight on the 30th April.

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This years travel adventures so far!

I’ve talked about travel a fair few times on the blog before so I doubt my top three travel destinations will be a surprise for you but here goes anyway!
  • America is my ultimate bucket list destination. I’m obsessed with everything American from the gorgeous accents to the famous food joints (In-N-Out burger sounds so awesome). It’s my absolute dream to do a road trip across America, from one end right to the other, but there are also lots of states I’d happily visit on mini holidays including Arizona, L.A, San Francisco, Vegas and New York. I’d also love to visit Roswell!
  • Mexico is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go too. It’s so different from anything I’ve ever known and I’d love the opportunity to swim in an underground pool/lake in the middle of the jungle, visit the Mayan pyramids or even check out that creepy doll island too. I’d love to visit during Day of the Dead as well because I feel that would have the most amazing atmosphere. 
  • Finally, you might all find this a weird choice but I’d also love to visit Chernobyl, where the famous Chernobyl incident took place. I know it seems like a pretty oddball choice, but I find it fascinating and would do anything to see what the deserted city looks like now. Photos show the abandoned buildings as looking beyond creepy which I think would be a pretty unique thing to see in real life.
So there you have it, just three (of many!) of my bucket list destinations. There are many more of course, but these are three I absolutely must visit once in my life, without fail. I also think the three are very varied choices when you line them up next to each other, which I think is part of the attraction of travelling. When you travel you want to see and experience something new, something which is a whole other world of what you’re used to or what you even know, I believe that America, Mexico, Chernobyl, and, off course, the Arctic Circle when watching the North Lights!
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