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Review: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8

I've been sitting on this review for a while because I wanted to get a good feel for the camera before I passed judgement, but I have to say it was love at first sight. Mat bought me the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 for my birthday back in May and it did not disappoint. For years I had lusted after an old Polaroid camera, but a mint condition oldie didn't come cheap. At £69 Fujifilm's modern offering has more than made up for this.

The first thing that struck me about this camera was that it's vertical, not horizontal like its retro counterparts. This means that it looks a little different but that ultimately it's easier to carry. This coupled with the chunky hand grip means it's a dream to use.

The camera is battery powered and fairly basic, but the lens slider automatically senses a range of shooting options for different lighting conditions to ensure your images aren't overexposed. You have to turn it to the setting that's lit up, but it's a small price to pay for the perfect shot. There's even a high exposure option for super 80s looking snaps. Films are very easy to replace but my are the pricey. Check out eBay and Amazon for the best multipack deals.

Even if you purchase a film and camera bundle, it doesn't come with a case. This is something you will want to invest in to stop the case from scratching, and is especially important if you opt for one of the pastel coloured cameras to stop them from getting dirty! I found a great one here on eBay that arrived quickly from China and was pretty cheap! I usually shove the photos into my purse once developed to protect them until I get home as they're credit card sized.

Here are my favourite images from the last couple of months! I've been a bit conservative with film and there were one or two accidental failures (I forgot to set the lighting settings before shooting!) but I'm really pleased with how they came out!

Have you tried the Instax Mini 8?

The Harry Potter Tag (!!)

Image Copyright Kelly Anne Rist 2011

I saw this tag over on A Little Boat Sailing the other day and jumped at the chance to have a go! It's awesome seeing how my answers compare to everyone else's and I could never miss a chance to talk about good old HP!

1. What is your favourite book?
For me I would say Prisoner of Azkaban. It was the first of the books where I felt things taking a real dark turn, and like many I adored the Marauders tales. I remember reading through it over and over with friends at school, each taking the character we loved the most and saying their bits out loud! It was the first time I got myself totally lost in a book.

2. What is your favourite film?
I am an enormous fan of the films. They aren't perfect but I found myself growing up alongside the cast and the way they bring out both the humour and the darkness of Harry's world really made me love them. If I had to pick I would probably say the final two films (Deathly Hallows Part 1 & 2) because I found watching the end on the screen so damn emotional.Having said this I always go back to Prisoner of Azkaban for a one-off watch.

3. What is your least favourite book?
Probably Order of the Phoenix. I feel like it was far too long for a children's book and while as an adult I can appreciate it a lot more, I found the excessive back story made this instalment drag on a bit when I was younger.

4. What is your least favourite film?
I don't think my opinions of this book helped but Order of the Phoenix received a shockingly bad adaptation treatment if you ask me. I found the script very awkward, I never enjoyed the Harry x Cho relationship debacle and all that blue light gives me a headache. 

5. Which parts of the books/films made you cry?
Unlike most people I didn't feel very strongly about Sirius's death, but Dumbledore's and Dobby's both really got to me. I mean really. It's embarrassing how attached I can get to fictional characters and I've spent many a tear on these two over the years.

6. If you could hook up with any character who would it be?
I'm a Weasley girl through and through. I think it was the jumpers that did it.

7. Who is your favourite character?
Growing up I was Hermione Granger. I remember plaiting my hair overnight and unravelling it in the morning for maximum bushiness and pretending to carry my Hogwarts books around. I was ever so slightly to young to audition but I totally would have! Something about the way she made being intelligent cool (ish) and overcame bullying helped me come to terms with the fact that I was a little bit different at school.

8. Who is your least favourite character?
Rita Skeeter. Dolores Umbridge. Enough said.

9. What is your least favourite line?
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” - If you don't recognise this, I don't know who you are! Such a wonderful, stand out way to start her legacy.

10. What would your Patronus be?
I'd like to think it would be a bird of some description.

11. If you could have the invisibility cloak, resurrection stone or elder wand, which would you choose?The invisibility cloak. Not for mischief though, just to go unobserved for a time.

12. What house would you be in?
Ravenclaw through and through. I don't think I've ever taken a house quiz that's said otherwise. I've even got the scarf hanging above my bed thanks to WWoHP!

13. If you could meet any member of the cast who would it be?
Probably either Dan Rad or Rupert because they seem like awfully nice chappies! I think Dan would be a great conversationalist!

14. If you were on the Quidditch team, what position would you play?
Probably a chaser. I love to run and this is totally the same thing, right?

15. Were you happy with the ending?
Yes and no. I wasn't pleased with the changes to the treatment of Voldemort's death made from book to film and I don't think the flashfoward scene was produced very tastefully, but overall they gave it the epic conclusion it deserved,

16. How much does Harry Potter mean to you?So very much. I don't think anyone could ever understand. I have a Deathly Hallows tattoo to remind me that I would not be where I am if it were not for these books. They taught me so much growing up and they were the reason I became such a prolific reader and ended up doing a literature degree. I'd even go as far as saying Hermione's character inspired me to be astute and proud of it, and that this is how I ended up with a first class degree result.

You're all tagged! Please do let me know if you do this as I would truly love to read your answers.

A message to students on A Level results day

This (interesting) picture is of me on A Level results day in 2010. Aside from the fact that this was a whopping four years ago and that alone makes me feel like crying, I can confirm that not hitting your traget grades is not that big of a deal.

I remember being 17/18 and the nerves that came with those dreaded AS and A Level results days. Would I make the grade for my first choice university? What the hell would I do if I didn't?! It was testing to say the least. I never liked those days. The night before my GCSE results I fainted in the bathroom because I'd been up half the night worrying about them. But guess what? The world didn't end the next morning and it didn't end two years later at college either.

I did pretty great in my GCSEs. A nice handful of As and the rest where healthy Bs. I missed most of original target grades but I didn't care as I did great on all the subjects I loved and had always been academic.

I screwed up my A Levels a bit though. Somewhere along the line I lost enthusiasm and got tangled up in having a social life and a relationship or two. I came out with all Bs in the end after retaking a couple of exams including my English AS written exam (THREE times) and dropping a subject that was giving me anxiety attacks.

Again, this wasn't my ideal outcome. We all have our own standards and goals and expectations and when we don't reach them it can be disheartening. HOWEVER I got into the university of my choice, my grades were good enough to earn me a small scholarship that alongside my loan got me through three years of student living and I worked my butt off to end up with a 1st class degree in English Literature that I couldn't be more proud of.

Not only this but I have friends who really did do horribly on their A Levels, took university places through clearing and never looked back. You can still do something you love and do well at it even if this one set of results doesn't turn out so good.

I also have friends and family who didn't bother going to uni and are doing absolutely fine and are very happy with their decisions, so if you're not picking up results today, don't think about how you're missing out - you're just carving a different path and that's fine.

The bottom line on A Level results? They do not define your potential for achievement nor should they be your basis for self worth. Life will go on and there are so many options available. If you do feel disappointed today, talk to a tutor or careers advisor straight away about your possible avenues and do not let shame take over. Embrace the fact that maybe you had a bad day or that subject wasn't quite right for you, then move on!


5 awesome blogs I read every day

I feel like it's time to share the blog love! I don't see enough of posts like this and I enjoy seeing what other people are into, so here are 5 blogs I read every single time I hit my bloglovin' feed!

Jennypurr - This freelance blogger and editor of A Little Opulent magazine (another favourite read) posts a mixture of lifestyle, beauty and some seriously helpful advice on blogging, finding inspiration, and life in general. Check out her latest post about living on a budget! That's certainly something I can relate to!

Vivianna Does Makeup - Chances are that if you're into beauty blogs, you've read Vivanna's blog or seen her great quality YouTube vids before. I try not to exclusively read just beauty blogs as it can have me getting carried away and building a shopping list WAY out of my budget, but Vivianna presents things in an honest, interesting way so she will always be a favourite.

Becky Bedbug - Becky's blog is tonnes of fun and is a mixture of lifestyle, beauty, book reviews and hilarious musings. She's also currently jetted off to Florida to get hitched at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - What's not to love?!

From Roses - Rebecca's blog is one of those that just oozes style. Also co-editor of A Little Opulent magazine, I only stumbled on her blog recently but it ticks all the right boxes. A perfect mix of post subjects and great photography.

Free People - Fashion brand Free People's blog is all about simple, clean and ethical living. I'm trying to clean up my act in a variety of ways at the moment, mainly through finding the right routine throughout the day, eating better and embracing life as much as I can, and these guys have been a great help so far!


How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Apologies for the dodgy instagram pic - I had to lend this to my sister so I had someone to gush about it to!

As Young Adult writers go, Meg Rosoff has quite a reputation. Having never read anything by her before I chose How I Live Now as a starting point. It tells the story of a fifteen year old american teen named Daisy who is sent to live with her Aunt in the English countryside as the modern world breaks into a full-scale war.

Cool storyline aside, the writing itself has an incredibly refreshing style. It follows Daisy's chain of thoughts and has little punctuation. At first I found that a bit jarring but after a few chapters you get well and truly sucked into the character's head. Luckily that's a good thing as her thoughts are witty, funny and written in a frank, realistic tone.

The narrative doesn't focus, and in fact hardly mentions, why the war is happening and who 'they' are, but it gives a startlingly realistic idea of how something like that might impact the modern world. Closed borders leave Daisy's Aunt stuck abroad and the children must fend for themselves in a country house while bombings, food shortages and invading troops reek havoc in the UK.

There was of course a romantic sub-plot, which weirdly involved Daisy and her cousin and was frankly a bit uncomfortable, but their connection was presented carefully and powerfully and drives Daisy through the very worst of times when the two become separated.

By far my favourite character of the novel was Piper, a captivating blue-eyed young girl to whom Daisy becomes an unexpected guardian of when the cousins are split up. Having said this, each of Rosoff's characters is perfectly formed and individual.

This is a novel that doesn't shy away from the realities a modern day war might pose, but focuses on a normal girl's experience of being on the fringe of it. It's a refreshing read in contrast to the Divergent and Hunger Games series' in which conflict happens in the distant future and is far removed from everything we know.

The ending left me feeling a little bewildered as it is somewhat rushed, but the resolution was touching nonetheless. Well worth the read.

What have you been reading lately?