Beauty Kubes Shampoo Review

In 2018 there has been an uprising of companies, brands and creators, in general, trying to improve their ecological footprint and how eco-friendly their products are. From plastic straw bans to more vegan options in chain restaurants – it can be seen as a small but positive change that terms like ‘cruelty-free’ and ‘green’ are starting to edge their way into the spotlight, albeit the fact that not all companies who are suddenly trying to be more green are taking the best steps or are maybe doing it to appear more environmentally empathetic to make money, I do quite like the fact it’s becoming more accessible to find cruelty-free alternatives and that statistics and the discussion of global warming and environmental impacts are popping up a lot more than it used to.

Today I bring to you a product that falls under a lot of those good, eco-friendly categories. A product that has minimal packaging, is vegan, cruelty-free and made in the UK. These are the Beauty Kubes Shampoo cubes. They are little package-free, plastic bottle free alternatives to your regular shampoo and work just as well!

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The website describes the Kubes as ‘zero waste, organic beauty products – vegan friendly’ which is everything an environment-fan could dream of in terms of shampoo. The instructions are literally – take one of the solid shampoo Kubes into the shower, crumble it up in your hand, add water to create a paste and smooth into wet hair. It’s all very simple and the Kubes themselves smell amazing! The website claims that ’27 Kubes in each box is equivalent to a 250-300ml bottle of conventional shampoo.’ You could claim that a lot of cheap, branded haircare products such as a big bottle of Tresemme works out better in price in the long run but with Beauty Kubes you can rest easy knowing your money is going to ensure your haircare is vegan, cruelty-free and you are sending out barely any trash when you are finished with them. The most packaging it comes with is the parcel itself and the small recyclable box the Kubes arrive in. There’s no extra plastic like you would get with plastic bottle shampoo kits! According to Beauty Kubes website the UK chuck away around 16 MILLION plastic bottles every day so I think it can be worth it to invest in shampoo that prevents yourself from adding to that drastic number.

The website has a couple of different Beauty Kubes according to hair type including normal to dry hair, oily hair, unisex normal hair and hair & body wash for men. I have been using the Beauty Kubes for Oily Hair and I honestly think it’s made my hair feel so lovely and soft. The scent of the Kubes both in their first form and after you’ve lathered it up is really nice and not too perfumed/overwhelming. During my shower, I found it at first slightly difficult to create the shampoo paste as I kept dropping little bits of the Kube paste on the shower floor however once I did create a paste it lathered up amazingly! One tiny Kube was enough to wash my entire head of hair which is great considering I have quite long, thick hair.

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After washing with the Kube I followed it up with my normal hair conditioner (which at the moment is Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula) and overall my hair felt lovely, soft and light after drying. My hair felt very ‘squeaky clean’ and healthy. It’s suggested that some people felt just washing their hair with the Kube was enough and felt no need for conditioner, however, I have not tried that (mainly because my hair is already quite dry from dying etc. enough as it is).

A popular product to compare it to is probably LUSH’s Shampoo bars which I have also tried and enjoyed before, although I’m not sure if I could say getting Beauty Kubes works out cheaper, I personally felt my hair felt healthier and much easier to brush through after using the Beauty Kube compared to a LUSH bar and the solid paste lathered up way faster in comparison to my experiences with a LUSH bar. As well as that with LUSH bars they break up randomly over time so you’ll either be left with a big, nice slab of shampoo bar to use or tiny parts you can barely hold so you find yourself struggling to lather into anything worth putting on your hair. However, the Beauty Kubes come in organised, evenly cut cube shapes so you’ve always got the same amount each hair wash.

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Overall I really enjoyed using these in my hair and loved the way my hair felt afterwards. I think these would be really easy to pack and take on holiday or to a swimming bath instead of a big shampoo bottle as well. I’d definitely recommend them because of how great they made my hair feel and the environmental benefits of buying them! Plus it’s always amazing to support a small, independent business instead of a chain!

Thank you for reading and let me know if you have tried these before too!

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‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ by Becky Albertalli: Book Review

One of my favourite feelings is when you’ve been non-stop reading a book for hours in one day and finally finishing it at god knows what time in the morning and having that feeling of fulfillment and excitement to share how good it was with people. I had that last night with Becky Albertalli’s ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’. It’s a wholesome, funny tale of accepting yourself and falling in love with who you love no matter what. It’s a book for LGBT youth with a happy ending and adorable tidbits to give a feeling of hope.

The story follows seventeen year old Simon Spier who is gay, but isn’t open and not quite ready to come out yet. He lives a very chilled and fun life with a dorky but caring family, supportive, funny best friends and has recently started talking to a guy who is also gay going by the anonymous alias ‘Blue’. The novel shares each email conversation between Blue and Simon (who is also anonymously going by ‘Jacques’) as the story develops and reading Blue and Simon share their favourite food, favourite songs, little memories from their life and how each of them feel about coming out and being gay just put a smile on my face each time because seeing them fall in love and seeing Simon find someone he feels so comfortable with and someone who inspires him to come out was just lovely and precious.

Compared to the film (Love, Simon – which I also recommend watching as it was one of my favourite films of this year!), the book has a lot less ‘drama’ moments and focuses more on Simon’s feelings and him trying to figure out who Blue is. Without spoiling anything, in general Simon’s friends are a lot more accepting and understanding of how Simon acts when he is blackmailed. In the film I found myself angry at his friends for being so selfish and not taking a minute to think of how much of a big deal it was for Simon to have his emails between Blue under blackmail. ‘Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ discusses the topic of coming out and the ‘ceremonial feeling’ of it often and points out the unfair fact that ‘straight’ is seen as the default or the sexuality everybody has until said otherwise and that straight people will never have to come out or worry about people’s reactions when it comes to bringing an opposite sex partner home. Blue also points out the fact that ‘white’ is seen as a default too which is another very interesting point and even Simon corrects himself and takes responsibility for instantly believing Blue could be a white person. The book raises important discussions which I really appreciated and I have to hand Becky Albertalli a lot of credit for being very observant on LGBT topics.

Another interesting point to think about when reading is that Simon is very lucky to have probably the more ‘easy’ end of coming out. His family is already very liberal, his friends instantly accept his sexuality and even when he is teased in school when his sexuality is revealed a lot of classmates are quick to defend him and his teacher ensures the suspension of the homophobic perpetrators. Although reading his coming out story might be a bit of a slap in the face or a bit of a strain on the heart for LGBT people whose family didn’t readily accept them or their coming out story was a lot more stressful, I think the story in itself is very hopeful and heart warming and hopefully is a reminder that good people are out there with open minds and open arms.

The story itself is very adorably written. Simon is instantly lovable with his obsession of Oreos, his sarkiness and slightly moody music taste. His friends and family are also very lovely although in comparison to the film I didn’t like Leah as much in the book as I did the film. I’m hoping reading Albertalli’s next book ‘Leah on the Offbeat’ will clear up some things for me. I really enjoyed how much music came in to play in Simon’s story because I feel people’s playlists can really let you inadvertently know a lot about how the character feels and views themselves or people around them. The soundtrack for the film was already incredible but I really loved taking songs and musicians mentioned in the book and listening to them whilst I read it really gave the whole reading of this book a new, wholesome atmosphere.

There was so many incredibly adorable and funny moments in this book but I don’t want to spoil too much so all I can say is that I highly recommend you read this book! It’s quite a quick read (especially if you find yourself lost in it like I did) but it’s such a feel good book and such a lovely read that I give it a 5/5!

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Thanks for reading,

signaturejune18

‘Alice’ by Christina Henry: Book Review

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by L.Carroll is a story popular for being retold, adapted and used as an inspiration for new projects. The list for film and television programmes based on Alice in Wonderland is big enough to have its own Wikipedia page, the novel has been adapted into musical/stage productions and has even inspired stories and characters in video games. However, another common thing artists and writers take from Alice in Wonderland is twisting it and creating a dark retelling of the tale of the girl falling down the rabbit hole. ‘Alice’ by Christina Henry isn’t the first ‘dark’ and ‘edgy’ retelling of Alice in Wonderland I have come across, as the first one is actually PS3/PC and Xbox 360 game Alice: Madness Returns. A game I actually quite enjoyed growing up!

‘Alice’ the 2015 novel by Christina Henry also almost brought that excitement back to me but this time in written form. Now I will say my first write-up of this and the feelings I had when I finished the book was very similar to how I finish most books which are excited and feeling accomplished! I wrote down how much I adored this retelling and that even though it was disturbing it felt like it succeeded in making a point about the dark topics used. But now I’ve sat back and thought about it, I thought I’d share my honest, spoiler-free review of ‘Alice’.

What I did enjoy about this book is that I enjoyed the inverted characters, I really loved seeing Henry’s dark portrayals of originally beloved characters from the books but this time they’d be antagonists and have very dark, irredeemable pasts. Objects and tropes from the original tale made appearances too such as the ‘Eat Me!’ cupcake and ‘Drink Me!’ bottle, the roses and the tea party. But, this time everything had such a darker symbolism and it was quite clever how Christina had changed this. Even after finishing I’m recalling characters and realising their reference to the original story and being quite intrigued. The story itself played out almost like an RPG, in which there was ‘bosses’ and big bads one after the other, the main characters stopping for rest and food and the main character herself having a power she didn’t even realise she had. I didn’t mind reading it this way and actually quite enjoyed it, I liked imagining in my head what Old City was like and enjoyed that some of the names of places and areas called back to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and if they didn’t (or I couldn’t get the reference) they still brought personality to the world.

However, my biggest gripe with the story is that there was way too much sexual violence. I get this was meant to be a mature, disturbing retelling where there will be horror, gore and blood and I could get behind that and in some novels and stories I can understand why rape, abuse and violence comes up and if the victims manage to get a happy ending, revenge and the story emphasizes how horrible it is, I can normally accept a story having it. What I think went wrong in ‘Alice’ however is, although the story is clear the trade of young girls for sexual purposes or being eaten is horrific and the men that puppeteer this need to be punished, the way it’s written feels like they tried to emphasize how horrible it is by making it happen so often, by describing Alice’s trauma in detail, and having every female in the story basically either terrified of being raped or had been. Even then, I personally felt the final fights with the main antagonists that were rapists or allowing this violence and abuse were so anti-climatic that there was no justice? There was a scene of freeing a bunch of girls from the horrible trade and I was grateful for that scene but it’s almost as if the original plot had one antagonist in mind and then it was said the story was not brutal enough or ‘real world dark’ enough so they added in all this sexual violence?

Personally, I found myself gripped to parts of this book and did want to find out the outcome of every character and felt myself wanting Alice to get revenge and justice not just for herself but for all the females in the story. I did also find myself quite wanting to read the sequel book (Red Queen -and pray that hopefully the level of sexual violence is remarkably toned down) just so I can find out what happens next in the story.

I’d rate ‘Alice’ about a 2.5 of 5 as it has some cool fantasy ideas and I could somehow picture it in a film or video game but after sitting back I do see the flaws in how parts of it were written. Shock value is popular for a reason, popular media like Game of Thrones is widely watched and read for a reason and I feel the reason is purely that people are so shocked and astonished by what characters do and think it’s so out of the blue (and normally it is, sometimes very out of character) that they must finish it to find out what happens! I definitely succumbed to that reading this. I enjoyed parts of it but in general was very much turned off by the use of sexual violence and rape as shock value. Would I like to read any of the other stories by Christina Henry such as Lost Boy? Possibly. But ‘Alice’ in itself is a story not for everyone.

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Thank you for reading!

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Current Makeup Favourites

Hi guys,

It’s been a while since I feel I’ve talked about what makeup I’ve been using and although I’ve been using makeup since I was 13, I feel only in recent years have I started to build my own routine and discover my own ‘go-to’s in makeup and find if there is any particular products that work best for me. I thought I’d share some of my favourites that I’ve been repurchasing when I’ve run out and just favourites that I’ve discovered lately that I think are really great!

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No. 1 definitely has to be Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner in ‘Trooper’ which is black and honestly it’s been a god send for my makeup routine because I literally live in the winged eyeliner style. I actually started teaching myself how to do a cat-eye/eyeliner wing around 16 and I’ve definitely gotten better at it and I find, personally, that felt-tip or pen style liquid eyeliners are the best way of getting a good wing because you have a lot of control with them and can build the colour or style up with them really easily. The skin on my eyelids can get quite oily during the day so I find with a lot of eyeliners they just smudge and move throughout the day really quickly but this eyeliner, even without primers or setting sprays, stays in its place really well! It’s my favourite eyeliner ever and is cruelty-free which is double amazing!

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Next up is Barry M’s Crown Jewels eyeshadow palette which is super affordable and comes with some gorgeous shimmery shades. I normally find myself instantly scouring out for just matte shades when I want to buy an eyeshadow palette because a lot of the time glittery or shimmery shades sit weirdly on my eyes and just make my eyes look older than they are – not sure if it’s how the shadows sit with the creases around my eyes? But I adore the colours in this palette and have done looks before where I’ve just used one of the colours built up with a bit of darker matte brown in the outer corner for definition and mascara and it’s suited me really well! The coppery and red colours in the palette are my absolute favourite! For under £10 and 10 shades you really can’t go wrong – plus Barry M is another cruelty-free brand!

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A more pricey eye shadow palette I love using is Too Faced’s Sweet Peach Palette, I may have mentioned it before in my blog but I got this palette not long after it released because I absolutely fell in love when it was revealed. I have a big thing for wearing warm eyeshadow shades like red, orange, pink and warm browns because I think they help make my blue eyes pop but these shades are also just such a universal look because they suit brown eyes too. The palette itself also smells of peaches and the scent lasts a long while too which is just something I think is really cute. The shadows can be built up but are also very pigmented. There’s a shimmery shade in this palette called Nectar which is just beautiful and could probably be doubled as a cheek/nose highlighter it’s such a nice colour.

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Unfortunately my final makeup favourite is unfortunately, not cruelty-free, which I am always disappointed in and still aim to find a brow set that is cruelty-free, doesn’t dry out and go rubbish after a while and paraben-free. I did use to use Anastasia Beverly Hill’s dip pomade for my eyebrows and it was INCREDIBLE, but after a while when I used it up I decided I wanted to try to get a paraben-free eyebrow kit because of how regularly I put eyebrow makeup on (I am at a point in my life where I will happily go outside with no eyeliner or mascara or even foundation sometimes but my eyebrows are so sparse and bare without being coloured in). This eyebrow kit is also very affordable and cheap which was useful when I couldn’t afford to test and splurge out on a high-end makeup brand and you can get it in both Superdrug and Boots. The Rimmel London Brow This Way Eyebrow Kit comes with a little brush which is actually SUCH a useful brush in my opinion. I have bought angled eyebrow brushes and they’ve always clumped up or just been too thick for the precision I want in drawing my eyebrows in but the tiny one that comes in the Rimmel kit is really good and doesn’t dry out easily. It comes with a gel and a shadow which are both really pigmented and last a long time. If anybody can ever find me a cruelty-free and paraben free eyebrow kit that’s similar to the Rimmel London one – definitely let me know!

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What are your makeup favourites you’ve discovered recently or have discovered over the past year that you will rebuy or recommend? Let me know if you enjoy these posts!

Thanks for reading,

signaturejune18

Etsy Spring 2018 Wishlist

 

In 2016 (a while back now!) I made a post sharing some of what is on my Etsy ‘favourites’ list or wishlist in general and I really enjoyed making it and sharing some of my favourite artists off the website because I love bringing attention to artists and some of the amazing things they create! Lately due to University and other scenarios I haven’t been able to save up much money or treat myself to stuff off Etsy but hopefully in the future I’ll be able to splurge and make some purchases towards independent businesses and I definitely encourage other people do as well!

Purchasing from independent businesses can be pricier sometimes and I understand not everybody can ‘treat themselves’ over a certain budget but I definitely encourage browsing and following these creators because they put so much time and effort and love into their creations and definitely deserve recognition and reward for what they do! So here is a quick, illustrated wishlist along with links to each shop/creator and the product themselves!

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1) ‘Be Kind to Yourself’ A4 Print
2) Amelie A4 Print
3) Poirot A4 Print

SHOP: andsmile
INSTAGRAM: @andsmilestudio

The first creator is ‘andsmile’ who is based in London, England and creates gorgeous illustrations as prints to sell. I originally came across the ‘Be Kind to Yourself’ print on my Etsy recommended and fell in love with her style and would love to get one of her prints for my bedroom one day or I could totally picture one in my future dream study.

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1) Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte Quote T-shirt
2) Ophelia Shakespeare Quote T-shirt
3) Oscar Wilde Quote Inspired Necklace

SHOP: LiteraryEmporium
INSTAGRAM: @litemporium

The next store on my wishlist is a creator I’ve been really lucky to have purchased a t-shirt from them earlier this year. I already own LiteraryEmporium’s Pride and Prejudice quote t-shirt but I’d absolutely adore some more of their quote apparel, also I adore their jewellery ranges because I think how they are gifted with the quotes they are inspired by is a really lovely touch.

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1) ‘MADE IT THROUGH’ Print
2) ‘WHERE I NEED TO BE’ Print
3) Clarence and Sol Badge
4) Grow. Bloom. Badge

SHOP: emandtheearth
INSTAGRAM: @emandtheearthart

My last pick for this post definitely has to be the glorious artist Em and her etsy store which is filled with gorgeous positive art that promotes self-love, self-care and loving the environment. I absolutely adore the ‘Made it Through’ print because it’s the kind of reminder I need myself sometimes and I think her style is absolutely gorgeous. Her badges collection is also really adorable and affordable!

Feel free to share some of your favourite creators from Etsy or even Instagram, Society6 and other freelancers! I definitely recommend checking out these three shops and their social media and supporting what they do because there is some incredible talent right there!

 

Thanks for reading,

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Books I read in 2017

Happy 2018!

I say, 20 days late! 2017 was a year of up and downs for me; majority of it was the rest of my first year at University, as well as studying I also took part in two performances with my university’s theatre company, visited Dublin and Prestatyn, went to concerts, went to my first Pride festival and lots of other happy memories. One thing I was particularly proud of in 2017 was how many books I managed to read. I’ve always loved reading since I was tiny but during high school and afterwards, I drifted away from reading as a hobby and always struggled to try to find the time and the motivation to sit down and concentrate on a book. Luckily this year, the motivation and drive suddenly came back to me and I fell back in love with reading, bookshops, libraries and literature all over again and I am so thankful for it. Unfortunately, a downside of last year is I neglected my blog massively, which I blame partly on trying to focus on University and get used to the new routine and also blame on just laziness in general but I did manage to crack out two book reviews on my blog last year! You can read them here and here!

I thought I’d share some of the books I managed to read last year and what I thought of them, as well as talk about books I plan to read this year and ones I’d like to read! This list is in no particular order and not in any particular ‘rating’ and doesn’t include every book that I read this year:

  1. Too Close to Home by Aoife Walsh

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Ironically I first mentioned this book back in a blog post in February 2016! Only took me until October 2017 to finish it! I still stand by my original thoughts that Aoife’s novel reminds me of coming of age/YA stories like Ally’s World, which I used to read back in year 7 and 8. It tells the story of Minny who lives in a big, confusing family – where the father and mother are separated and Minny feels like she has to also help take care of her younger sister, baby brother and older sister Aisling who is autistic. I also enjoyed this book because I personally felt Aoife wrote an autistic character well and didn’t draw unnatural attention to how Aisling acted in situations and such. The novel also has typical YA novel topics like family problems, crushes and bullying. Overall I did quite enjoy it, I’m not in any rush to reread it and you can definitely tell it is a young adult novel – but I still enjoyed it and I’m very glad I finally finished it!

2. We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

After finishing this novel I was completely enamoured by it and the concepts discussed/implied in the story. Not spoiling any twists or big plot points but the story eventually brings up the question of humanity in animals, specifically primates and if they can remember family and if similar bonds between family members can be shown between a human and primate. The story was so surprising and different to other books I have read that once I hit a particular chapter or point in the book where a lot of things became revealed, I found myself glued to the book – not wanting to put it down. I’d love to read another book of Karen Joy Fowler’s as this novel is probably the book of 2017 that brought me back into reading regularly.

3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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I now actually claim this novel as my favourite book, that is how much I enjoyed it. Not only that, I absolutely adore Ishiguro’s style of writing and when I found out that he had won the Nobel prize in Literature I was so proud to be a fan of his work because he is so talented and definitely deserves the prize. I went into detail about Never Let Me Go on a previous review on my blog, but let me tell you – this book has such a natural, raw narration from the main character that you find emotions hitting you for hours after you’ve finished the story.

4. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

The Shock of the Fall was included on one of my University module reading lists, and that is actually how I ended up reading it but the story was so real and impactful that I ended up sitting for hours not putting my kindle down because I needed to know what happened. I will warn that the story’s themes largely include mental health, schizophrenia, depression, suicide and death. The main protagonist had his flaws and parts of him that you’d find yourself reading and wanting to argue or yell at him but other times you’d pity him. In some parts of the novel, I found myself getting goosebumps because of how blunt and honest the character was and how dark the story could get. But I felt this was good writing because it didn’t romanticize mental health disorders, it didn’t paint them as something that one day would be magically cured, it showed how bleak it could be. That it could happen to anyone, that the symptoms can be far and near from what people expect. In general, I definitely recommend this book because it is so powerful and so well written.

I’m currently trying to power through Jane Austen’s Emma. I do love Austen’s stories and her writing, but sometimes when I’m tired it does take a couple of going over the same paragraph again to try and take in what happened in the scene and sometimes I mix characters up – but I am enjoying it and plan to finish it! Other books I have in my book box ready to read include

  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
  • Georgia, Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
  • Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  • Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher

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So wish me luck! Hopefully I can read way more books this year than I did last! Feel free to share what books you loved in 2017, or any 2018 releases you are looking forward to!

I am also on GoodReads if you’d like to give me a follow!

Thanks for reading,

signaturejune18

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro: Book Review

“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.” 

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The story of how I discovered and decided to buy the Kazuo Ishiguro novel, Never Let Me Go, is actually quite funny – me and my mum were watching Pointless over dinner, we love trying to answer the questions on it and seeing if we’d do well if we were on the show. It’s actually a typical dinnertime thing that happens that I look forward to because obviously I love bonding with my mum. But this one episode the category was books shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and this book came up and my mum asked if I had heard of it because Ishiguro’s books were meant to be highly spoken of and from there I looked up the summary on it and added it to my to read list! I’ll say this though, the blurb only hints so little of how many interesting themes and the amazing story in this novel.

Photo 10-11-2017, 03 28 42.jpgKazuo Ishiguro is a Nobel-Prize winning novelist, short story writer and screenwriter. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan but him and his family moved to Guildford, Surrey when Ishiguro was the age of 5. Interestingly enough, Ishiguro’s first novel was the thesis he wrote in his Master of Arts in Creative Writing – I love finding these kind of things out about authors/novelists because it gives me inspiration and hope almost to continue with my own writing and trying to improve. This is my first Ishiguro novel to read but after finishing Never Let Me Go, I would love to read some of his other novels. His writing flows beautifully and the tones and emotions he puts into scenes are beautifully executed.

(Reading warning: Spoilers from here on out)

Never Let Me Go follows the reminiscing of Kathy H. She is a thirty-one year old carer and has had this job for almost twelve years. She talks about her time at a place called Hailsham which is pretty much a boarding school that her and many other students, which all have something in common, attend. Throughout the book she talks about childhood memories like watching other students prank a boy named Tommy, the different guardians (pretty much teachers) they have, how they can attend exchanges and sales to pick up secondhand items and art for their collections and the most peculiar experience of them all – how a mysterious woman they all call ‘Madame’ visits every so often to look at different kind of art the students create and take the art away.

Nostalgia and memories are big themes in Never Let Me Go, as the story is made up of a lot of memories Kathy has of Hailsham, her best friend Ruth, a boy named Tommy and when they move into cottages after Hailsham. However during their time at Hailsham, the students discover something about themselves and their future which separates them from any usual child – A) they’re clones and B) they’re destined to give away their vital organs until ‘completion'(death) before they even hit middle age.

“None of you will go to America, none of you will be film stars. And none of you will be working in supermarkets as I heard some of you planning the other day. Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults, then before you’re old, before you’re even middle-aged, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That’s what each of you are created to do. You’re not like the actors you watch on your videos, you’re not even like me. You were brought into this world for a purpose, and your futures, all of them, have been decided.” 

What is so interesting about this twist to me, is that it wasn’t an ending twist, it wasn’t like a massive emotional dagger to stick in the characters, and in fact Kathy isn’t even shocked by it. It comes at the end of part 1 and I did almost find myself going ‘how could they keep this from them?’ and maybe expecting the rest of the story to be Kathy, Tommy and Ruth escaping from their fate. Although, that does almost happen, eventually in the story, the main three hear a rumour that finding Madame and proving two clones are in true love can defer becoming a donor and they do go on a journey to try to discover this – the ending is very bittersweet and does end with the accepted fate for Ruth and Tommy. Kathy is still alive at the end of the story but we are safe to assume she will go on to become a donor like her past friends and students.

After I finished the book, a lot of the afterthoughts and what this story means to me and how interesting the themes didn’t actually hit me until an hour after. Like I said, nostalgia and memories are a big theme in it and I think what’s really educational and inspiring about Ishiguro’s story is that the difference between Ruth and Kathy is Kathy holds onto her memories, the quote at the beginning of my review is actually said by Kathy, she doesn’t ever try to deny her past or even mistakes she’s made or arguments she’s gotten into compared to her best friend Ruth who when they move on from Hailsham has moments of possibly forgetting memories of Hailsham and pretending she’s past of it, she even confesses to Kathy that she asked the caretaker of the cottages they live in after Hailsham to take away her old stuff from school. I resonated massively with Kathy because I hoard so much stuff from growing up, I keep diaries, I keep journals, I have a notebook where I try to write down every positive memory or thing that happens, I have a box in my room that I put stuff that reminds me of happy times (old tickets, photos etc.), I keep my old teddies from childhood, I keep all my old schoolbooks etc. etc., I’m obsessed with keeping memories close to me and keeping as much as I can in my thoughts. Kathy and Ruth’s lives are so much shorter and planned out than mine and because of Kathy keeping all these memories, look at the story it provided – I think it just shows how important memories and nostalgia is and how bittersweet it can be.

The other theme and afterthought that stuck with me is the themes of time and morality – a quote that actually comes from the movie adaption of the book really spoke to me too: ‘We All Complete.’. It basically sticks with me in the way the saying ‘memento mori’ sits with me – our time on earth is timed and not limitless, we need to appreciate the time we have on earth and appreciate the memories we make. Why didn’t Kathy, Ruth and Tommy run from their fates? Because it’s what they were taught since childhood, although subliminally, and they know nothing else – much like us humans. We know nothing else than to live our lives out as long as possible, stay healthy and try to follow our dreams.

I just love that this story haunted me even after reading it, it kept me thinking and bringing up the story to my mum to get my thoughts on it out – this book would be so good for book clubs because there’s so much you can discuss. It makes you think so much about mortality and a different view on growing up although Kathy’s memories are not different and unique because of her being a clone – they are so human and she has stories that a lot of people could resonate with. I really recommend picking up the book, it was shortlisted for a Man Booker Prize for a reason!

You can purchase ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro for £6.99 on Waterstones. UNIDAYs also do a 10% student discount (online only).

Thank you for reading,

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