After a recommendation from one of my friends, I picked up the Sleek Solstice highlighter palette. Even though I usually use Revolution’s highlighter, I wanted to try out a cream highlighter. The gold metallic case is quite sturdy. Both the product and mirror were intact after moving day! It comes with 4 highlighters and a small brush.

From the top right clockwise the colours are: Ecliptic, Hemisphere, Equinox and Subsolar. Ecliptic is a rose-nude colour and is a cream highlighter. It creates a very subtle highlight, as it’s not quite as shimmery as the others. The cream texture feels quite oily, which I dislike when I have oily skin. When I first tried it, it was a lot better because I had dry skin at the time. So I expect it would work well for those with normal to dry skin.

Hemsiphere and Equinox are baked powders. Hemisphere is really strange as it’s lilac. It’s not as strong a colour when on your skin though. When applied, it looks  very vibrant, and is the strongest highlight of the four. It also applies quite heavy, you don’t need to put a lot on to see the effect. Equinox is not quite as bright as Hemisphere, but it’s still very visible as a highlighter. It’s more peach when applied, so don’t worry about your face looking orange like it looks it the palette.

Subsolar is a silky shimmer powder and has a yellow colouring within the palette. It is a lot less vibrant than the other two powders, but because it’s a more neutral colour, it works better on day to day basis. I prefer using Subsolar with my everyday makeup just to bring out my cheekbones a bit. Hemisphere and Equinox on the other hand work a lot better for night time looks. This is a personal preference as I prefer to keep my make-up ‘natural’ looking for my everyday.

I will probably still use my Revolution highlighter, as once Subsolar runs out, I won’t the Sleek Solstice Highlighter Palette for everyday. But, when they all run out, I would be happy to purchase again as they are good value for money.

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Ray and Sasha share three half siblings but aren’t related themselves. The Whole Thing Together takes place over the summer as Ray and Sasha occupy the same room alternative weeks due to his mum and her dad splitting the time at the house they both own. This summer is about to change lives for the whole family.

The Whole Thing Together

Although Ray and Sasha are our main characters, we also follow their half-siblings, Emma, Quinn and Mattie. This was probably too many people to focus on. There was a noted family tree at the start but as I was on a Kindle it was harder to flick between my page and the notes. As I continued reading I could differentiate a bit but the character’s didn’t have a lot of depth.

Ray and Sasha are basically the same person. The way they are written is so focused on one another and their siblings, you could interchange their names and it would probably still make sense. Actually, Brashare’s did interchange their names within the book. Which made it even more confusing.

Each of the half-sisters had their own storyline. But the only one I enjoyed was Mattie’s. The premise of her plot isn’t a unique or original story, but I would have preferred just focusing on hers rather than all five of them. It would have made Mattie and her parents more three dimensional, and would’ve made her reaction to the whole thing a bit easier to understand. I felt she was a bit upset and then got over it pretty quickly because there wasn’t enough time to spend with her and also have time focusing on everyone else.

The Ray and Sasha being two sides of the same coin being brought together felt boring. I didn’t care if they were going to meet or not. They ‘shared’ a room which fair enough there weren’t enough rooms within the house. But I found it really strange how they wouldn’t tidy before they left. I really questioned whether they were changing the bed sheets because Ray spent so much time saying the bed smelt like Sasha. I found it really awkward and weird the way it was set up for them to be two sides but the same.

The romance aspect was set up from the beginning but I hoped I was reading too much into it and it wouldn’t happen. Unfortunately for me, it did happen. I didn’t really like it for a couple of reasons. One reason is a spoiler so I wont say it. The other was that I felt they didn’t know each other enough for there to be a romance.

I disliked the ending. It felt very much that Brashares had rushed it. Basically a big life-changing event needed to happen and so there was an incident. After this incident, it was very ‘so this happened, and then this happened, and this happened, done’. It was a complete abrupt and hurried.

Overall, The Whole Thing Together wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read. But I didn’t really enjoy multiple aspects of the book. The plot wasn’t for me, it was predictable in places. There was one shock, but that was it. I didn’t really feel for the characters either, which would have helped to make the ending more likable.

I received The Whole Thing Together* by Ann Brashares as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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I’ve officially been blogging for one whole year. It seems like a lifetime ago that I started Uptown Oracle, but this year seems to have flown by so fast.

What have I learnt?

Over the year I’ve realised what I do and don’t enjoy writing about. I enjoy writing book reviews, my thoughts on make-up products and my time at university. I disliked trying to write about clothing and doing tag style posts. This was weird for me because I wanted to focus on clothing when I first started. I’m always buying new clothes and finding my next favourite piece. I just disliked taking photos of myself and writing about my outfits.

I’ve become a lot more confident in my writing. I find that I can write a book review fairly quickly because I now know I work better writing down thoughts as I read. This means my writing is often spur of the moment, honest but also well written because I’ve gone back to edit it.

I’ve learnt a lot about copy writing and SEO which was one of my aims of why I started blogging. I mentioned this in my Q&A post. I haven’t really learnt too much about affiliates, but I did have two months work experience in that beforehand so there wasn’t much more to learn. Book blogging has also helped me in my new job. During handover they tried to explain to me why they have special not-for-sale pre-release copies of video games and I could say yeah I get the same but for books. So I’ve been on both sides of PR requesting too.

I’ve learnt so much about community engagement. It’s not just about posting my links on social media, engaging with other bloggers really makes being a blogger. I love the fact I have regular conversations with people from all over. I was shocked when one of the girls I’ve ever spoken to online, knew me well enough to tweet back exactly what I was thinking! It’s so amazing how much having similar people in your life can help motivate you in all aspects of your life.

Another thing, I’ve improved my time management skills. Even though I wasn’t bad beforehand. I’m now meticulously organised about what posts will be posted when, months in advance. Like I have some content scheduled in November already. It’s made me think more creatively. I’ve started carrying a notebook with me just to jot down ideas. I regularly set aside time specifically to write posts.

Best posts of the year:

What’s Newcastle University Really Like

University Room Tour

Day in North Wales

 

Who Inspired Me?

I was inspired by multiple bloggers in different niches but some of my main ones were:

Isa Wonders

Eleanor Wears

Ramblings of a Blonde

No Space For Milk

Carpe Diem Emmie

Maria J

The Little Plum

Charlie Friend

 

 

From now I’m going to continue trying to better myself, better my writing and better this blog. Being more professional is a big thing for me. I want to be able to proudly show a future employer this blog as a show of what I can do. I also want to meet some people. Since I’m down south now, I think I’ll be able to reach out more since a lot of people I speak to are down here.

If there’s anything you want to see more of, please message me or comment below!

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Molly has had 26 crushes. 26 Crushes but no boyfriends. When twin sister, Cassie, gets a girlfriend with a new set of friends, Molly meets Will. At the same time, Molly also meets co-worker Reid. The Upside of Unrequited follows Molly as she decides to be less careful around boys and we see her develop a brand new crush.

The Upside of Unrequited

One of the big points is that the characters are so diverse. Molly and her family are Jewish. She has two Moms. Her twin sister, Cassie, is dating a pan-sexual, Korean-American. Molly and siblings are sperm donor babies. Molly is fat, but this book doesn’t make her change that or make her ill. There’s probably a couple of other diverse factors as well.

I wanted to read The Upside of Unrequited because it was being hyped up by a lot of people. I hadn’t fully looked into when I requested but I soon realised it was a YA Romance book. As the romance was the main plot point throughout the book, this didn’t annoy me as romance as a subplot does. The romance was also written slowly and realistically. It was quite sweet and didn’t have any annoying tropes that some writers use.

I personally didn’t think it lived up to the hype. I enjoyed it, it was a decent book. The diversity was definitely a selling point. But the actually story and premise wasn’t life-changingly fantastic. Some of the ‘Crushes’ that Molly previously had seemed strange. It was more of a ‘Molly found a guy attractive and Cassie wont let her forget it’ kind of thing for a couple of them.

It did have a lot of good points within though. There were discussions about sex between characters where really good points were made. The grandmother is shown to be stereotypically less understanding, but does learn throughout the book that some of the things she says aren’t politically correct or are hurtful.

The Upside of Unrequited is a very quick book to read. I read it over two sittings and it’s a very enjoyable book. I did find that I wasn’t particularly routing for certain things to happen. I just wasn’t emotionally invested in the characters. I also felt like there wasn’t a big ‘thing’ that happened within the book. The book led to a big event but it wasn’t very climactic in how it was set out. This kind of made the book less exciting.

A problem I had was with the texts within the book. It could just be my copy – but it wasn’t clear who was sending the text and sometimes I had to reread because I didn’t even realise it was a text. Can someone let me know if the paperback/hardback makes it clearer when and who is texting?

I received The Upside of Unrequited* by Becky Albertalli as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review

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So in my previous post, I talked about Clinique Skincare. In order to receive those samples, I signed up to go to the beauty counter in my (then) local Boots.  Clinique offer multiple free services to help you pick out the best products they have for you. I chose to get foundation matched because I’m so pale everything makes me look orange. Okay not everything, but I struggle with finding foundation.

I tried a couple of foundations, but this one was the only one that really went pale enough for me. It’s the Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation and Concealer. It’s got a good coverage because it’s also classed as a concealer. It manages to cover all my imperfections. Such as spots, discolouration, bags under my eyes etc. But it’s not too heavy and doesn’t make my face feel ‘cakey’.

I find it works wonders over dry skin. Because it’s liquid formula, it doesn’t highlight my dry patches. It’s also a moisturising foundation so it helps in the long run. I find it works less well with oily skin. Recently in particular, I’ve been struggling with oilier skin, and my foundation seems to rub away more easily throughout the day. I use the Hello Flawless Powder on top, but it still doesn’t help that much. I would recommend for anyone who has dryer skin.

It comes with this magic wand applicator. You use the wand to put product across your cheeks, chin, forehead and nose and then blend it out with fingers or a brush. I’ve tried using a beauty blender, but I just didn’t like it. It didn’t seem to cover as much as it did with the brush or my fingers. The applicator picks up quite a lot of product. There’s no need to dip it back into the foundation.

Overall, this is one of the better foundations I’ve tried. I’ll definitely be re-purchasing in the future. For me, it will probably be better for my skin during the winter months when my skins dryer. Hopefully, I’ll find a product that’s good for the summer months soon.

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