April & May Favourites // Time Off Uni Means The Discovery of New Faves

title image for may favourites - booktube wrap up thumbnail blurred in background, white banner across middle saying April/may favourites

A mixed month favourites post? Yep, it’s happening. I feel like April had such a slump for favourites, but boy did May make up for it. I didn’t quite realise just how many favourites I acquired through May, but with the end of my second year of uni popping along with a wholehearted welcome, I (of course) found myself in a good ol’ treat yourself kinda mood, and a whole lotta time on my hands. So here we are!

Bookish Favourites of the month

The Wren Hunt

Now I’ve read some pretty solid books lately, but one that really stood out to me was The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson. This is the book that kicked off Myth-Take (which – more about that in a second) and my god, did I love it. This book is an urban fantasy inspired by Irish folklore, following Wren who is chased through the forest every year as part of a warped game. However, if the people chasing her discovered she’s an augur – a person who can read the future in patterns – that chase would become a lot more deadly. But Wren is on a hunt of her own, as she needs to discover the answer to an ancient secret in order to save her family. This book is just so deliciously dark, the folklore and magic is fascinating, and it feels so…real? Wren as a narrator is so authentically human, her reactions are exactly as my own would be and it’s genuinely just a delight to read. I was captivated by this book entirely – I have a full spoiler-free review here if you want to find out more, and a whole spoiler-free reading vlog too!

Myth-Take

If you didn’t see my announcement on this one, Myth-Take is a book club hosted by my friend Charlotte and I, focusing on fantasy books that retell myths/fairy tales/folklore. We both adore fantasy books and mythology/folklore, and when the two combine together, it often makes for a great read. So we decided to start Myth-Take, and my god was it a fab decision. This has been running since mid-April so we’re not far into it yet, but everything that’s happened so far has been amazing. Every month we have a theme and a “book of the month” that both Charlotte and I will be reading and vlogging, and we’d love for you to take part too! A BIG part of this book club though is that we don’t want to add any pressure in reading – we just want to encourage people to take part in any way they can! So if you want to join us for the group read – fab! If you want to read a book of your own choice that still fits the theme – go for it! Even if it’s not part of the month’s theme, but it’s a myth or folklore retelling – still let us know about it, we want to hear it all! Our hashtag is #MythTakeReads both on twitter and instagram, and we’re loving seeing everyone’s updates so far. Our read for June is The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty – if you’re interested, please do join us!

London

Sneaking in at the last minute is my trip to London on the 31st with Charlotte. Unbelievably, we were both invited to attend a snazzy breakfast event at Sketch London, Mayfair, to celebrate the release of The Wickerlight – the sequel to the above The Wren Hunt! It was SUCH a stunning venue, I couldn’t believe my eyes half the time I was there. Meeting Mary Watson was an absolute delight, she is so lovely and every conversation with her made me love her a little more. Meeting fellow bloggers and bookstagrammers was so lovely too, especially the chats comparing how we take photos and fun things like that. I’ve never been able to attend a bookish event in London before because it isn’t easy for me to get to, and I’m just so unbelievably glad that my first one was this!

Since the event only lasted the morning, Charlotte and I spent the rest of the day visiting some of London’s bookshops. I won’t go into it much here because I’ve posted photos literally everywhere, but I have a vlog coming in a few days so be sure to keep a lookout for that! I’m just glad we managed to visit Gay’s the Word, a bookshop where every book on the shelves has some LGBTQ+ rep! It was such a long awaited delight.

Online Favourites of the month

UKYABA Shortlist

In May, I found out that somehow, li’l old me had made it onto the shortlist of the UK Young Adult Blog Awards under the categories of “Most Inspirational”. I…am beyond baffled, and so so thankful for the support I’ve had on this blog, my booktube channel, and all my social medias. I already uploaded a post all about this during May, so instead of rambling on about it even more here, I’ll leave a link to that here. But let me tell you, this honestly made my entire month.

Basically Britt & Rachael-Marie Book Junkie

Both Britt and Rachael-Marie are people I’ve adored watching on booktube for a long time, but this month in particular I’ve been so invested in their videos/content/lives. Imagine how excited I was to find they’d collabed? Those collab videos were so much fun to watch, and even in their vlogs of their day meeting up, you can really just tell how much joy is seeping from them both. It was so so lovely to see them get together, and honestly I have to admit I was just a little jealous because damn, I’d love to meet these gals!

So, a little more about them individually:

Rachael-Marie is just an absolute power woman. I am constantly baffled by the amount of content she puts out. And I don’t just mean video-wise, because I swear she announces a new readathon/readalong/book club every few weeks. I just have to admire how on it she is. Not only that, with all these readalongs she actively works on being inclusive, and the level of organisation that must take place behind the scenes to have it all running smoothly just astounds me. She’s so supportive, and is a just a li’l delight of a human. I could listen to her talk for hours because she’s just so good at wording her thoughts on books, and honestly I just love her personality. Please do check out her channel!

As for Britt, she is just a li’l ray of sunshine. She’s so creative, and I can’t help but smile whenever watching her videos. It’s adorable seeing her fangirl over books, and her vlogs in particular seem to be the perfect blend of productivity, creativity and books. She just has one of those personalities you can’t help being drawn to, and I could watch her talk about anything and hit that “like” button. She also happens to share a few favourite books with me, which…y’know, is always a bonus 😆 Again, be sure to check out her channel!

random favourites of the month

Finishing Uni

As mentioned before, I’m now officially done with my second year of university! And my god, was it needed. The end of a uni year is always a drag, but this year in particular just felt particularly hard. My mental health has been all over the place, I had so many things going on over the past couple of months, and the pressure of uni just felt too much at times. But now we’re done, I feel like I can take that long awaited breath.

*she let out a breath she didn’t realise she was holding*

It’s been a few weeks since that last dreaded exam, and I still get a bubble of excitement every day when I realise tomorrow holds no pressures – I can do whatever I want. I can make videos all day. I can read in the mornings. I can slip on my shoes and walk through the woodland just after it rains. I can do anything that takes my fancy, and love every second of it. It feels like bliss. One thing I’ve particularly loved doing is visiting the Waterstones Cafe in town, taking my current read with me and getting lunch out by myself. The walk into town does me good, and getting out of the house even to do what I usually do at home make a nice change.

I hope this relaxed feeling lasts longer because lord, has my brain got a lot of making up to do.

Macbook – iMovie

So amongst the uni stress of May, I also had multiple breakdowns over my laptop suddenly not working. Which I feel ridiculous for, because I don’t want to rely on technology so much and be so distraught to lose it. But booktube and blogging has been my saviour regarding my mental health for a loooong time and my entire life is built around books, reading, and sharing my thoughts on them. I spend every day working towards a booktube video or blog post, and to lose the ability to do that so suddenly just left me feeling like I’d lost a limb. And so I made the decision to fork out the money for a MacBook, and while I shed many tears about it, I know it was ultimately the best decision I could’ve made – namely for iMovie. It’s so difficult for me to find a decent video editor for anything that’s not Apple, so I just didn’t. And my lord, returning to iMovie is just so so easy. Everything has become so much easier when it comes to both making videos for booktube and blogging. It had to be a favourite. I just can’t believe the difference it’s making in both my stress levels (i.e. basically eradicating them video-wise) and ease of use.

Revolution Eyeshadow Palettes

Of course when I came out of my exam I was in a treat yourself mood that resulted in a mini haul, and one of the things in that haul was two Revolution eyeshadow palettes. I adore playing with makeup, but I have ridiculously oily skin and it often feels pointless to even try putting eyeshadow on. Still, I adore it nonetheless and fawn over palettes often – and then Revolution was recommended to me. With the palettes being so cheap, I figured it didn’t matter too much if the eyeshadow ended up sliding into the crease after half an hour or dissolving altogether. So I picked up two palettes – one pink toned, one with very bright bold colours – and my god do I love them. I’ve been wanting to play around with bolder, more colourful looks, and now I have the means to do so. The pigmentation in these is so good, both for the mattes and shimmers, and it actually does stay on my eyelids for a decent amount of time, or fades with enough of a stain for it to still look semi-decent. Which is better than anything else I’ve tried. And they’re only £4, cruelty free, and the pink palette is vegan! And absolute gem of a find.

The Body Shop Ginger Body Yoghurt & Recycling Scheme

The Body Shop levelled up for me in two ways in May.

First, I tried one of their body yoghurts, a relatively new product of theirs and in the new ginger scent. And I honestly feel like this is my new favourite type of product from The Body Shop overall. I love their body butters, but with them being so thick it can take awhile for them to sink in and it’s not always a convenient choice. But these body yoghurts are so light, sink in pretty much immediately, and this ginger scent smells divine. Not what I was expecting from ginger – it definitely has more scents mixed in, because it reminds me of a long forgotten sweet I had in my childhood (and dammit, I’ve been trying to figure out which one for weeks). But now I can stop applying this stuff after every wash, or even if I just fancy smelling it again.

But the second – and more important – way The Body Shop levelled up for me is in how they’ve brought back their recycling scheme. Now, you can return all your empty Body Shop packaging (besides perfume bottles) to a store – 5 at a time – and they’ll be taken away to be recycled! AND you also get a £5 voucher for doing so! I’m so thrilled about this, as I use a fair few Body Shop products on a regular basis – face wash, moisturiser, body butter/yoghurt – and now I can simply collect the empty packaging and take it back in. I’ve been hoping for something like this for awhile, and my li’l heart is happy to know it finally exists.

Soya milk

Do you know how strange it felt to hold up a carton of milk to take a fairy-light photo of? Never did I foresee the day when this is what my blog would be featuring.

But I recently figured out that I may have some kind of dairy intolerance, and to try and figure that out I’ve been slowly swapping out the dairy in my diet. There’s not too much of it anyway – mainly chocolate, which won’t go completely because yikes I love it – but the swaps I have made have been successful so far, though none more so that soya milk. For one, I’ve loved actually knowing that dairy = bad for me because every since swapping it out, the acne on my face has reduced significantly. My skin still doesn’t look fab because I have tonnes of scarring on both cheeks, but I used to have new bouts of acne on a daily basis that seemed unrelenting…until now. Now, out of habit, I look to see what damage has been done and there’s just…nothing. I’m honestly baffled by the difference.

But besides that, I’ve genuinely been enjoying the taste of tea and coffee a whole lot more with soya milk instead. I can’t explain why, but it just seems more comforting to me in a way? It’s slightly annoying that I can’t seem to find any smaller cartons of soya milk besides this size in my local supermarkets because it’s difficult for me to get through so much of it, but hopefully I’ll come across something like that soon enough. For now though, I’ve been enjoying copious amounts of tea and coffee since switching to soya milk, and can’t see that stopping anytime soon.

So that’s it for my April and May favourites!

Wow, it was a long ‘un. If you read all this then go treat yourself to something (maybe off this list?) because that was an intense exercise.

Let me know what some of your favourites of this month have been, or link your own favourites post down below!

Here’s my May Wrap Up if you’re interested:

And until next time,

sign off handle saying "Ashleigh" for A Frolic Through Fiction blog

12 thoughts on “April & May Favourites // Time Off Uni Means The Discovery of New Faves

  1. Looks like May ended up being a good month for you with finishing uni and going to London! Your trip looked amazing (the aesthetic of that building was incredibly) and I’m so glad you and Charlotte had a good time. 😀

    I’ve got one of the Body Shop yogurts as well (the almond one) and they’re so good! Their recycling scheme makes me so happy too, and I’ll definitely be trying to make the most of it in the coming months when I run out of things and need a top up.

    Omg I’m so happy that you’re loving soya milk! I’ve been vegan for about 2 and a half years now and Alpro’s original soya has been one of my favourites since day one. Do you think you might go vegan, or are you just testing cutting out dairy for now? One of my friends cut out dairy and then went vegan about 6 months ago, so I’m curious whether you were considering it?

    Congrats on being shortlisted for Most Inspirational! You’re an inspiration to me and so many others so I was thrilled to see you shortlisted. You 1000% deserve this. ❤ Happy reading in June!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really did end up being a fab month! I can’t believe the trip to London even happened, if I didn’t have all the videos and vlog footage it wouldn’t seem real at all.
      I’ll be doing the same! Any products I buy with plastic packaging will be The Body Shop – then at least it can go back and be used for a better purpose.
      I won’t be going vegan anytime soon for health reasons – I’ve still not managed to cut dairy out altogether. But I don’t eat much meat on a regular basis anyway and have swapped a lot of what I do eat for Quorn, so I try not to feel to bad about it. Still, if I can manage it someday, then I will.
      Aww THANK YOU KATE! Honestly it was such a surprise and baffles me to this day. Sending all the love your way ❤
      Happy reading!

      Like

  2. Ahh congratulations for the nomination, you really deserve it! ❤ Also, yay for finishing uni! I'm currently on a 2-weeks holiday before 2 week of finals and then 2 months of internship, so this holiday is really needed and I can totally see how you feel 🙂

    I've been seeing Wren Hunt in my local bookstores for a while, I really need to pick it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOUUU!
      Ahhh enjoy the holiday while you can! Gotta get all the rest so you don’t burnout at all ❤
      Yessss The Wren Hunt is so underrated, I really want more people to read it!

      Like

  3. Congrats on finishing your second year of uni, and on the nomination!! ❤ It's such a lovely feeling when you realize how much freedom you suddenly have–so much free time! So many opportunities! So much time for just you! I hope you enjoy every second of it this summer! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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