One of Us Is Lying: Book Review

Hello again, how are you doing? I hope you are keeping safe and well and being kind to yourselves.

A little life update before I jump into this post, I decided to dye my hair blue! (If you’d rather get straight into the book review jump to the next paragraph!) I still don’t know if I like it or not, maybe I just need to get used to it? After some research I decided to use the Manic Panic Amplified colour in the shade ‘After Midnight’ which is a deep blue. It’s semi-permanent dye so if I decide I hate it, it’ll wash out soon enough. If you want to see how it turned out check out my Instagram. I’m also still on furlough and I don’t know when I’ll be back in work, so not much else has changed there. What is your current situation? Are you furloughed, or working from home, or is it business as usual for you? Let me know in the comments.

Ok, so, today’s blog post is a book review that was highly requested on Twitter. I recently finished One of Us Is Lying by #1 New York Times bestselling author, Karen M. McManus. Wherever I looked on social media I felt like I could not escape this book. After it popped up in my recommended reads on my Kindle, I felt like it was a sign I shouldn’t ignore any longer.

Front cover of the novel One of Us Is Lying featuring a white background, bold red writing and the faceless shadowy figures of the main characters

I downloaded the book shortly after being hooked by the enticing blurb which begins “Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.” I mean, come on. If that doesn’t make you scream “I NEED TO KNOW MORE” I don’t know what will. The story follows five secondary school students, all of which have very different backgrounds and places in the school pecking order. I won’t spoil anything for you, but you can expect to meet the school jock, the bad boy, the nerd, the gossip and the pretty blonde.

At first, I will admit, I thought this book might be too young for me. It’s described as a ‘young adult mystery/suspense novel’ and when I was introduced to the stereotypical teen characters at Bayview High, I just felt like I’d seen it done so many times before… BUT, I could not have been more wrong…

This book is full to the brim with page turning twists – and as an aspiring author myself – I am well aware of how hard it is to execute a good twist. I felt myself getting so absorbed into the story and hungry to know more. I was torn between wanting to read faster to uncover the mystery whilst wanting to savor the moment and enjoy McManus’ writing. It is safe to say, that until it was presented in front of me, I had absolutely no idea how this book would end. I had my conspiracies (all of which were wrong) and when I reached the end it was a full-blown jaw-to-the-floor moment of disbelief. It gave me goose bumps.

Throughout the book, there is an underlying message that develops and grows as the story goes on, and that message is that not everything is as it seems. There is so much more to McManus’ characters than first meets the eye. They each have their own complications and secrets and struggles. Each character beautifully breaks their stereotypical shell and emerges as someone we would never expect. I absolutely loved the character developments and I think there are valuable lessons we can learn from each of them.

Would I recommend One of Us Is Lying? Absolutely. In fact, I urge you to pick up a copy and dive in a soon as you can. Enjoy the turbulent, emotional and truly tragic journey these characters endure. McManus’ writing style is very addictive. It’s easy to read, but not in the negative sense, in the way that every word and idea flows seamlessly into the next and each twist delivers shock factor with an almighty punch.

I am looking forward to delving straight into the sequel, One of Us Is Next, which I will of course review for you on here too.

Have you read One of Us Is Lying? I’d love to know what you thought if so, tell me in the comments! I hope this review has persuaded you to give this chilling modern-mystery novel a read, you can find it here. For now, I’m signing off, but I can’t wait to be back with another post very soon.

My Skincare Staples

Hello! How are you doing? Thank you for stopping by here again! Today I am back with a new post which was highly requested on my Twitter this week – my skincare staples. Skincare & make up are two of my greatest loves in life, and I adore discovering new brands and items to try, but I do have my staple items that I will squeeze every last drop out of and buy again and again. I am going to introduce you to a few of my favorites in this post that are tried, tested and trusted by yours truly.

Before we get into it, I just want to say this post contains no ads, gifts or sponsorship. All views are my own and I’m sharing this with you purely for my own (and hopefully your) enjoyment. Without further ado…

items of skincare places on a white background with pink flowers

 

SUPER FACIALIST – VITAMIN C SKIN RENEW CLEANSING OIL 200ml (£10.99)

Oil cleansing, or oil pulling, is my favorite way to begin cleansing my face. This is always the first step in my nighttime skincare routine to remove my makeup. At first, I was dubious about using an oil on my face. I have combination skin and my t-zone can be prone to break outs, so it felt backwards using an oil to cleanse my face. After doing some research though I discovered that a good face oil actually works to balance the natural oils produced by your skin. The right oil can aid in healing acne scarring whilst nourishing and hydrating your skin, all whilst effectively dissolving any makeup along with dirt and impurities.

This cleansing oil from Super Facialist is really lightweight and leaves absolutely no greasy residue on your skin. You only need a very small penny sized amount. Pour it into your hands and massage it into your face. Once the product is distributed into your skin, add some warm water and the oil transforms into a milky cleanser, then you can wash it off. Magic!

It smells citrusy and floral so not only does it feel silky and luxurious when you rub it into your skin, it smells divine too. Here’s what they have to say about it on their website:

Infusing Vitamin C with nourishing Olive oil, transforms itself upon contact with water, into a light milky texture, to gently dissolve make up and remove daily impurities.”

It’s priced at £10.99 which is really good, in my opinion, considering how long each bottle lasts and how effective it is. You can get 15% off of your first purchase on their site at the moment too.

Yellow Vitamin C Face oil pictured against a white background with pink flowers

NIP + FAB – GLYCOLIC FIX SCRUB EXTREME 75ml (£14.95)

Exfoliating is a really important part of your skincare and if you’re not exfoliating regularly already –  you should seriously consider it! I love exfoliating and I’ve been hunting for something seriously scrubby, kind to the environment and packed full of skin loving ingredients. When I found this product from Nip + Fab, I stopped searching. I think I’m on my fourth bottle of this now. I use this scrub every other day and massage into my face with warm water after cleansing with oil. It feels so satisfying and leaves my skin smoother than it’s ever been. Here’s what they have to say on their website:

“A supercharges, 3-in-1 micro exfoliant with glycolic and salicylic acids to cleans, exfoliate and resurface the skin.”

Glycolic acid is renowned for its exfoliating and resurfacing properties whilst salicylic acid is known for unclogging pores and aiding in oil control. You only need a little of this product and even though £14.95 is a little expensive for a scrub, I would say it’s worth every penny.

Face scrub in a blue bottle pictured against a white background with pink flowers

ORIGINS – RETEXURISING FACE MASK WITH ROSE CLAY 75ml (£22)

I’m a self-confessed face mask addict and I always try to incorporate one into my skin care regime at least twice at week. Now this one is pretty expensive at £22 per bottle, but, I’ve had the same bottle for about six or seven months now and I still have just under half of the bottle left to use. It smells really delicate like fresh roses and has a beautiful baby pink colour. I simply apply it after washing my face, allow it to dry fully and then wash it off.

It contains Mediterranean Rose Clay, Canadian Willow Herb and exfoliating Jojoba beads. Rose is particularly good for calming the skin whilst clay is known for its ability to draw out impurities from deep within pores. According to their website, this mask is recommended for oily to combination skin. You can also get 15% off by signing up!

Pink bottle of rose clay face mask pictured against a white background with pink flowers

VICHY – MINERAL 89 15ml (£20)

This product is like the holy grail for me. The skin around our eyes is so delicate and a lot thinner than anywhere else on our face and so it’s important we are gentle with it. This eye gel is packed with 89 skin loving minerals – yes, you read that correct – 89!

According to their website, this gel is “A hyaluronic acid booster that hydrates, smooths and brightens the delicate eye area.”

Again, this skin care staple may seem a little pricey, but I haven’t even used half of the bottle and I’ve had this for SO long. I use it every morning and night.

TOP TIP: Keep this gel in the fridge. It feels absolutely incredible on your eyes when it’s cold. It really wakes me up first thing in the morning. Use this after cleansing and gently dab it around your eyes with your fingertips.

Blue glass bottle of eye gel pictured against a white background with pink flowers

ST. TROPEZ – SELF TAN PURITY VITAMINS BRONZING WATER FACE SERUM 50ML (£22)

I can’t explain how thrilled I was when I discovered this absolute gem. I always love to give myself a little natural glow with fake tan as, for me personally, it makes my skin look healthier and makes me feel better about myself. However, I hate putting tan on my face. It’s sticky, it smells funny and it feels like it is clogging my pores. This product has been a game changer. It’s a face serum packed with skin loving vitamins that also acts as a gradual bronzer. Here’s what they say about it on their website:

Infused with 93% natural ingredients, plus Vitamin C and D boosters to brighten, protect and mimic the effects of sunshine without the harmful effects of UV rays.”

I use this product daily as the final step in my skincare routine, before using a primer and doing my makeup, for a natural sun kissed glow.

Yellow and orange bottle of face tanning serum pictured against a white background with pink flowers

FACE TOOLS – ROSE QUARTZ FACE ROLLER & JADE GUA SHA 

Face tools are something I have only very recently discovered, but now I’ve started using them, I don’t intend to stop.

Face rollers are the latest viral skin care hack. This double ended face roller from Revolution (£15) is perfect for use on the face and around the eyes. Simply roll over your skin in upwards motions to stimulate blood flow and aid the absorption of serums and masks. Rose quartz is renowned for it’s skin calming properties. I use mine every morning and evening, and I also keep this in the fridge as it feels amazing when it’s old running over your skin.

The Gua Sha is a traditional Chinese healing tool. It can help to increase the flow of blood, drain your lymph nodes and improve the general health of the skin on your face. It is said this form of facial massage can also reduce stress and fatigue. I found this particular one on Amazon for just £9.99!

Each edge of the tool is used to run along a different section of your face, like the bridge of your nose, your cheek bones or your forehead and temples. I suffer from really regular migraines and I have found this tool relieves pressure in my head which helps me with headaches. You can type in ‘Gua Sha tutorial’ on YouTube for an abundance of help and tips on getting the best out of this tool!

Pink rose quartz face roller and jade green gua sha pictured against a white background with pink flowers

That just about wraps up my skincare staples post. I hope you’ve enjoyed a little taste of my everyday skincare regime! As I said, I love discovering new products, so why not tell me one of your favorite skincare items in the comments?

Bye for now – Paige x

Depression, anxiety & anger

Hey guys, I ran a poll on Twitter see what you wanted me to talk about next on Cocktails & Curves… the result was a post with a focus on mental health. So, buckle up, we are about to get deep!

*DISCLAIMER* I am in no way, shape or form an expert on this subject. This is purely a documentation of my own personal experiences and how I deal with them.

Before I get into it, I just wanted to say how thankful and overwhelmed I have been with how quickly this blog has taken off. I started this less than a week ago and, thanks to the power of social media and the blogging & writing communities, I have built relationships with so many like minded individuals and discovered some truly amazing blogs. I am so excited to keep growing and getting to know all of you and your work! Thank you for your support so far.

Today I want to cover something that has taken me a long time to understand as it is often so overlooked and misunderstood in the world of mental heath awareness. I’m hoping that talking about such a vulnerable subject on this platform will help at least one other person think “Thank God; I’m not the only one.”

I want to talk about being angry.

mental health

I have struggled with depression and anxiety for years now, but it’s taken me until very recently to understand the complexity of these mental health conditions. Being depressed does not always equal the stereotypical sadness, numbness and inability to leave your bed. Of course, I’ve had days where all I’ve done is cried and exhausted my body to the point where just thinking of leaving my bed to shower hurts; but there’s more to it than that most of the time. Anxiety is not just “extreme nervousness” or feeling worried. It’s cripplingly powerful and can leave you physically sick and aching and trapped. On top of all of this, I’ve discovered that my depression and anxiety make me so, so angry.

For as long as I can remember, it’s not uncommon that I have been described as irritable, frosty, stand-offish or just angry by people close to me. I never understood it and it always made me feel awful because, hand on heart, I don’t realise that’s how I can come across. I’m a really loving, caring and kind person and it’s always confused me that I can have this other, quite ugly, side to my personality.

Growing up and learning more about my mental health I began releasing that depression and anxiety can manifest themselves as anger. This was like a eureka-light bulb-hallelujah moment all in one for me! It meant that I could learn more about why my emotions come out in such a destructive way and what I can begin to do to try and help myself.

Think of your mind like a sealed bottle of fizzy drink. When you’re triggered and you can feel yourself becoming more depressed or anxious, it’s as if someone is shaking the bottle vigorously. They shake it and shake it and shake it. Before long that lid needs to come off and what happens? The drink explodes and leaves behind a big mess to clear up. For some people, this explosion of emotion comes out as anger, or irritability or something similar.

The thing is, when I’m exploding, I am so clouded by the intensity of the emotions I’m feeling I don’t see the mess I’m making. It’s only afterwards, when the episode calms down that I can see what’s just happened and I feel horrible. It’s usually people close to us that feel the force of the explosion too because, whether we do it knowingly or not, we assume they will always come back. (I’m not suggesting using your loved ones as emotional punching bags, that’s a whole other topic… but I am saying that it’s usually the people closest us that suffer at the hands of our out bursts).

Recognising that aner is a trait of my depression and anxiety has meant I can begin to try and learn how I can cope with my emotional outbursts in a more healthy and less destructive way. I still struggle, I haven’t got it all figured out quite yet, but here’s a few things I try hard to remember when I can feel myself getting irritable:

  1. People aren’t mind readers. They don’t know that you’re struggling to convey complex emotions. Give them a break if they don’t understand.
  2. Try and decipher the root of why you’ve started to feel this way. If you can’t figure it out; talk it out. Don’t be scared to be vulnerable and talk about how you’re feeling with someone you trust.
  3. Find a healthy distraction. For me, grabbing a cold glass of water to drink really grounds me. You have to find what works for you.
  4. Recognise that being angry at the world and the people in your world can cause upset and collateral damage. If you have been short or irritable or cold with someone, once you’ve recognised this, go and apologise and talk it out.
  5. It’s ok to cry. You’ll probably feel better for it afterwards.

I think I will leave this post where it is for now. I am conscious it’s getting rather long! My overarching message is that it’s normal be angry when you’re struggling with depression and anxiety. There are ways you can help yourself and you are not alone if you struggle with this like I do. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and try and break those feelings down so you can deal with the root cause of the problem.

Thank you for reading. If you’ve got this far – I would love to know your honest thoughts and, if you feel comfortable sharing your similar experiences, I would love to hear them. Of course, you are not obliged to share and there is zero pressure.

Thanks again, until next time,

Paige x

Hey you, let’s get to know each other?

*clears throat and taps mic* Is this thing on?

For my first ever post on Cocktails & Curves I thought it was only right that I introduce myself.

My name is Paige and I’m currently 24 years old but stuck in my teenage emo “phase” (clearly it was not a phase, mum). I would say I’m known for my love of writing, my heavy metal music taste and my love of food. On a normal day you can find me sat at my desk working as a Marketing Associate. In my free time you can find me blogging, going out to eat (and drink!) or just chilling with my boyfriend and our cat, Munchkin.

If you don’t like anything to do with Astrology skip to the next paragraph… I bloody love it. I’m a true Scorpio; fiercely loyal and full of ambition, but I can sometimes have a sting in my tail (I’m a big softy really!) I find Astrology and the star signs absolutely fascinating and I enjoy reading and learning more about it all whenever I get a chance too.

about me image

I’m still waiting on my Hogwarts letter (Dumbledore, if you’re reading, this get a wriggle on pal!) I’m kidding, I’m obviously a muggle *cries* and a huge Potter head. If I were to go to Hogwarts, I’d definitely be in Slytherin. That’s another thing about me: I love the bad guys in movies. It’s not that I’m rooting for them, but villains just make everything SO much more interesting! Imagine movies and books without some amazing bad guys – we’d just have a protagonist running around having a good day every day? BORING!

As previously mentioned, I absolutely love metal music. I enjoy loads of different genres but nine times out of ten I will always ask Alexa to play Kerrang Radio so I can jam out to some filthy guitar riffs and a little screamo. My favorite bands include Bring Me the Horizon, My Chemical Romance, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold and While She Sleeps. I know my taste isn’t for everyone but it’s cool to have differences, it makes life so much more diverse.

Something else I’m really into, that takes up a lot of my time, is skincare and makeup. One can never have too many sheet masks or eye shadow palettes! I love discovering new skincare routines to try out but I also have my staple pieces which I will buy over and over again (I may do a blog post on this – my tried, trusted and tested skincare faves, what do you think?) In terms of make up I have a pretty huge collection of eye shadow palettes (I may also cover these in a post too!) My favorite brands for eye shadow are Urban Decay, Jeffree Star Cosmetics and Lime Crime. I’m in no way, shape or form an “MUA” I just love playing around with makeup and getting glam once in a while.

Hopefully this gives you a good idea of who I am and what I’m into. As for my blog name, Cocktails & Curves, I decided on this for a couple of simple reasons. Firstly, I love cocktails and I have curves! Secondly, I thought it was catchy and sort of encapsulates what I want my blog to deliver; fun, realness and positivity.

If you’ve read all the way to hear, thanks for giving me a chance! I hope you’ll come back and check out more of my content soon. For now, I’d love to get to know some of you! Drop me a comment telling me;

1.Your star sign
2. Which Hogwarts house you’d be in
3. One of your fave bands

Thanks again, until next time

Paige x