Monthly Favourites // May 2020

Goodbye May! Hello June!

I hope you and your family are safe and well. Can you believe June is here? What happened with May! I don’t know about you, but I feel like May went faster than April. Is that because I’ve gotten used to this whole lockdown thing? Well whatever it is, I’m happy for June. Normally June is a really good month, it’s full of car shows and it’s the start of Summer.

I’m not sure what June will bring but hopefully, whatever it is, it will be good! Of course, my Favourites are a little different at the moment, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do much. This month’s Favourites includes just that, what I have loved throughout May. If you following me on Instagram, you might just recognise some of my Favourites as I’ve been sharing with you A LOT of content on Instagram.

What has been one of your Favourites from May? Let me know in the comments! I’ll love to know.

It’s time to reflect on my May Favourites:

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Book Review // After Darkness*

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I’m excited to be a part of today’s blog book tour. Today, I am reviewing After Darkness by J. F. Johns – on the third day of the blog book tour hosted by R&R Book Tours. I love sharing book reviews on An Ocean Glimmer, I love exploring new genres. This is my second blog book tour in May! Before that, I shared The Vatican Games in February. My Goodreads 2020 Reading Challenge is looking good at the moment, after reading this book, I am now half way over!

Before we start my review and what I thought, let’s read the book bio for background context.

After Darkness? Let me tell you a little bit about it;

Year 2160

RULE #1: Humans AND Cyborgs are prohibited from communicating in any shape or form with each other.

RULE #2: Curfew is from 12 p.m until 7.30 a.m. Applicable to ALL citizens, humans AND cyborgs.

RULE #3: All propaganda against the government, written or verbal is a crime.

RULE #4: All the above laws if broken are punishable by death.

WELCOME TO THE NATION Are you ready?

I knew this book was a sequel when I came across the blog book tour, turns out it’s the fourth book in the Eternal Darkness series! Now I’ve read this book, I’m definitely going to look at reading the others in the series. You can read it without the reading the others but I feel for a more enjoyable reading experience, do read the books before After Darkness.

A good book for me has to have good characters and that’s exactly what After Darkness has, Terra is a interesting, strong female protagonist. Her development over the course of the book was great! The minor characters were also pretty in-depth I’m glad a couple of them received their limelight. J. F. Johns did a great story of setting the scene and creating the characters.

Also I love how each of them had their own personality, this is soo important and it shows they’re not just the same! Another thing I love is the scenery, the story is set in a futuristic dystopian world which is totally up my alley. It’s definitely different from what I normally read but worth it! The world-building is great, also J. F. Johns provided a really good backstory of how the Nation came to be.

Overall, the book gave me a Hunger Games/Divergent feel, two series I fell in love with! So I carried on reading to see how it ended. Even though there are certain features that provide those feels, there are sufficient elements to make it a unique story. Also it’s not like typical dystopians that I’ve read before. Over the years, I’ve read a couple of different ones and this one speaks to me in a different way.

This book is great for those who love a good futuristic love story. Also the writing style was easy to follow, J. F. Johns did a really good job here! There was some repetitions though, I feel this could have been avoided but that’s one minor thing in an overall very enjoyable book. One grip, the book ended in a cliffhanger! I was left wanting more from the book. I’m very glad to hear there’s another book in the series.

How about a little about the author, J. F. Johns;

J. F. Johns is 27 years old and was born and raised in Spain. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at ARU in Cambridge, UK. She won the Indie Book Awards 2017 for best book written by an author under the age of 25, and was a finalist for best book cover with her novel Eternal Darkness. She’s an animal lover, and spends her free time playing with her adopted dog and rescued cat, drinking too much coffee and posting book photos on her Instagram.

You can follow J. F. Johns on Instagram and Twitter.

There are a lot of bloggers on the book blog tour so I would love for you to check out their reviews! You can do this by following R&R Book Tours on Twitter, as she will be retweeting the reviews. As well as clicking through the links below in the Blog Tour Schedule, there is a range of reviews and excerpts to check out:

Monday 25 May

Tsarina Press (Spotlight)

Jennifer Mitchell, Bibliolater (Review)

Vick’s Bookish Writing (Review)

Tuesday 26 May

Breakeven Books (Spotlight)

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight)

One Book More (Review)

Lecari’s Live Journal (Review)

Rambling Mads (Review)

Scarlett Readz & Runz (Review)

Wednesday 27 May

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight)

Back Shelf Books (Review)

Jessica Belmont (Review)

Rea’s Reads (Review)

Thursday 28 May

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Interview)

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

Cup of Toast (Review)

Friday 29 May

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review)

Misty’s Book Space (Review)

Book Reviews by Satabdi (Review)

Please give some love to J. F. Johns and if you can not wait any longer to read it for yourself, you can buy After Darkness to read in Ebook (Kindle Format) or Paperback from Amazon. You can also find it on Goodreads now!

I hope you have enjoyed this little review! I highly recommend After Darkness if you love a good Dystopian book.

Also, make sure to follow me on my blog (in the sidebar) and don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin’FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Love Gemma x

*Thank you R&R Book Tours for hosting the After Darkness Blog Tour. The eBook was kindly sent to me for free, in return for an honest review. The featured image was sent to me in the Media Pack, for more information please see my About Page.

5 steps to be more organised

It’s no secret I am an organised person. Over the years of being a blogger, I have shared a couple of tips with you, from keeping organised as a blogger to Get Organised month. I have joked with so many people that I should give them some of my organisational skills. They just love what I do and how I do it, it was always a running joke at the office. To me, I just feel normal, sometimes I don’t even feel like I’m being organised until someone mentions it to me.

Today’s post is no different! I have another 5 steps to be more organised in your day to day life.

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My productive morning routine

Has anyone else been having productive mornings since the start of lockdown? Now I have an extra two hours in the morning before work, rather than travelling to work, my mornings have been completely different. I know I could have a line in but I prefer to be productive in the mornings. Also, I’m still going to bed the same time, so why not a couple of hours to my self.

I hope I can keep this routine going after lockdown but it will be difficult Monday to Friday with travelling to work. I can see this continuing Saturday and Sunday though, we will have to see! I recently shared ways to keep busy during the lockdown, but I didn’t explain what my mornings are like. How is your quarantine going? Let me know in the comments!

Wake up

Since working from home, I have found the perfect time to wake up is 7am. I’m going to bed around 9pm so I’m still getting at least 10 hours of sleep. If I go to bed any later than that, then I definitely find it hard to wake up at 7am! Also, this provides you with time to do what needs to be done. I could have an extra hour in bed, but this wouldn’t allow me to do the things I mention below.

Work out

Before I start anything else, I complete at least half an hour of exercise, sometimes this is one workout or it can be two. I’ve been using FitOn on my phone to keep a track of my workouts and explore new ones. I would be lost without this app and I’m progressing nicely along my plan created on the app. I’m on week four and so far I’ve done a workout each day.

Have breakfast

I’ll usually have a bowl of Muesli perfect start to the day! This will also be when I have my first cup of tea of the morning, I’m still on my decaf kick to help with my acne. I have not had any caffeine since middle of January, I’m pretty impressed with myself here! I also have my Vitamin C tablet. Most days, I’m able to go until mid-morning before feeling hungry.

Basic hygiene and skincare

Obviously, I’ll brush my teeth and wash my face. For just over two months now, I have been using AlumierMD, my skincare morning routine is a long one! But in the end, it will definitely be worth it. I’m not going to go into too much detail here as I recently wrote a post all about my AlumierMD skincare journey. I then get dressed into normal clothes and make myself look slightly more presentable.

Review and write my to-do list

I am a massive fan of lists! I write down all sorts and my to-dos are no different. I would be lost without them, sometimes I will write a simple list the night before. Then review in the morning and add stuff throughout the day. I don’t know what I would do without my lists! I try to keep them manageable, understand what’s important and go from there.


Now if it’s Monday to Friday, I would have completed this all before I start work at 9am. I know, it’s crazy how much you can get done in two hours! I feel very refreshed and ready for the day ahead. It also feels very rewarding to do all this in the morning. I think I’m definitely my most productive in the morning. On the weekend though, my mornings look a little different after the above.

Saturday

Read

I leave some time to read before going into the rest of my day. Before this, it’s been quite busy, so I love sitting down and reading. I have read so much since the start of the lockdown! I’m noticing this is a thing for most people, some have even smashed their Goodreads challenges. I am currently two books ahead of schedule, which considering the start of this year, I’m pretty impressed with this!

Food shopping

Next up, is the first main chore for the weekend, the weekly food shopping! I try and go as early as possible, I find this is the quietest period and I’m in and out. I don’t mess around, just get what I need. Sometimes this can be a couple of hours as I go to a couple of stores but it’s normally just Aldi, it’s good to get this out of the way! I also find that if I’m sat down for too long, I don’t want to go out. Get it over and done with.

Sunday

Washing up

Sunday morning consists of getting as many chores out of the way as possible! First chore, the washing up, I have to get this out of the way, it feels so rewarding to have a clear side. Also, it’s the perfect time to let your thoughts go wild and I have the music blasting so I can have a little sing-song in the kitchen.

Clothes Washing

The second chore on Sunday, clothes washing. Now I could do this during the week but, there’s really no point! This has always been a weekend chore, I’m not going to change that just because I’m working from home. Clean laundry smells amazing! Also, it means the washing machine can be on all day without me having to pause because I’m on a call for work.

I hope you have enjoyed this post! Have your mornings been productive? Let me know in the comments!

Also, make sure to follow me on my blog (in the sidebar) and don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin’FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Love Gemma x

6 of my current Disney+ picks

While in lockdown I have watched A LOT of films and series on both Netflix and Disney+. Yes, I’ve been working but I need something in the background, also I’ve got more time in the morning and evening. Also, I’m not really doing that much on the weekend! Disney+ was launched whilst in the lockdown and I forgot how many films are Disney, it was like going back to my childhood.

If you don’t know what Disney+ is, it’s a streaming service just like Netflix and Amazon Prime, but it has everything Disney! I have been watching so much, it was definitely time for a new platform, I was starting to run out of things to watch on Netflix. There is so much to watch on Disney+, where do you start!? In the past, I’ve shared my Netflix recommendations, today I thought I would share my current Disney+ picks.

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Book Review // Undead Ultra*

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I’m excited to be a part of today’s blog book tour. Today, I am reviewing Undead Ultra by Camille Picott – on the fifth and final day of the blog book tour hosted by R&R Book Tours. It’s been a little while since my last blog book tour, the last one was back in February with The Vatican Games. There should be just a few book reviews coming to An Ocean Glimmer in the next couple of months – I’m excited to share these with you!

Before we start my review and what I thought, let’s read the book bio for background context.

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My AlumierMD Skincare Journey

If you’ve been following An Ocean Glimmer for a little while, you might know that I’ve been on an interesting acne journey. I’ve tried a range of products but unfortunately, nothing seems to work. I see minor changes but nothing that clears up my skin. Now, I know acne doesn’t go away but if I can combat and reduce it, then I’m happy with that! I have truly tried most products on the market.

I know before you can go anywhere with your Doctors, you need to at least try most products. I feel like I’ve tried most of the main products on the market but I know some health or beauty clinics have acne products as well. Yasmine visits one near Aylesbury for her laser hair removal, while at her last appointment she noticed they have acne treatments and recommended I check them out.

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Introduction to: The Classy Planner

It’s no surprise I love stationery if you don’t know this, where have you been! I’m always sharing my stationery favourites and today is no different. Now, you might just recognise this from Instagram because I have enjoyed sharing it over there, but today’s post is about The Classy Planner. I wasn’t seeking out a new planner for 2020, but I came across this one and I fell in love! As a stationery addict, I couldn’t say no.

I know, I know, before you say anything, yes I did purchase this in the Coronavirus pandemic but I still need a diary to understand what I’m doing! Also, this is more than just a planner, all will be revealed soon in this post. Now, before looking inside The Turquoise Classy Planner, I wanted to introduce you to Greta, the person behind The Classy Planner.

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Monthly Goals // May 2020

Goodbye April! Hello May!

I hope you’ve had a lovely start to May. As it’s the beginning of a new month, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the Goals I set myself at the beginning of April. Then create new Goals for May, which is going to be an odd month! I love setting new Goals, they get you excited for the upcoming month. If you want to see what I got up to in April, I have shared my adventures in my Monthly Favourites // April 2020 here.

It’s great to review and reflect each month, sometimes you even forget what you’ve done. I love sharing these Monthly Goals with you. They definitely help me to stay on top of my Goals and to always think about them. If you’re trying to achieve Yearly Goals, I would definitely recommend breaking them down into Monthly Goals, that way they’re more manageable and you remember them!

Before I set myself some new Goals for May, let’s reflect on my April Goals!

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Monthly Favourites // April 2020

Goodbye April! Hello May!

I hope you are all well and trying to live life as normal as possible. It’s hard to continue as ‘normal’ because what is normal anymore but this is the only thing we can do. Enough chit chat, about what we can’t control, today is the start of May – a perfect time to reflect on my Favourites for April. Now, this is definitely no ‘normal’ favourites! Just like March, my Favourites is exactly that – what I have loved throughout April.

If you following me on Instagram, you might just recognise some of my Favourites as I’ve been sharing with you A LOT of content on Instagram. I didn’t realise until updating my Goals, actually how much I have shared to Instagram – I hope you have enjoyed the content. What has been one of your Favourites from April? Let me know in the comments! I’ll love to know.

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