Glasses Direct review

A less explored tangent of books and reading is reading health - I'm talking specifically about eye health. There are so many people I know who wear glasses permanently - or even specifically to read - and it's a huge part of being able to enjoy a book. I mean, you don't want to be straining to see the words and end up with a headache 10 pages in?!

I am a wearer of both glasses and contact lenses, and I find glasses much more comfortable to read in. I have more than one pair because I tend to leave them scattered around (at the office, on the bedside table, by the TV...) but, as you can imagine, that doesn't come cheap. With that in mind, when I recently got a new prescription I decided to try out online glasses store, Glasses Direct.

Glasses Direct offer complete glasses (frames and lenses) from £25. My decision was also spurred on by a voucher code from Money Saving Expert (great email for saving/cash management, by the way!) which would get me two pairs, delivered, for £23! Bargain!

Glasses Direct offer a brill "Home Trial" service where you can order five frames to see if they'll suit you before purchasing. As my voucher code had a time limit, I wasn't able to try this out, but it's definitely something I think is a great idea! Instead, I uploaded a mugshot to their virtual "trying on" system, Ditto, and started browsing.

There are a huge range of styles available to pick from. I like my glasses quite dark and chunky so I went looking towards the "geek chic" end of the glasses-spectrum! I ended up choosing Billie and BellaDonna frames, which seemed to look good on my virtual face! I added them to my basket, filled in my prescription details and skipped over the extras (there are options to add coatings, tints and thinning to the lenses at extra cost.) Within THREE DAYS my new glasses were in my hands! I'm amazed the service was that quick.

I tried them on straight away and both pairs look a little different on me than on my virtual self, but I expected that. Still they looked quite good and I was able to take the glasses to my local Specsavers who were happy to fit them to my face for £5.

I do however have two small negatives about the experience. First of all, I wish I had paid extra for the anti-reflective coating. When I read on my Kindle Paperwhite I do notice the glare which can be distracting.

Secondly, when filling in my prescription I didn't know my pupil measurements, and so I put in the "standard/don't know" option as advised in the form with the caveat that someone might call me to advise. I didn't receive a call, and one of my glasses feels a little weird to look through. I don't know if the two things are related, but it's just on one pair and sending them back seemed like more effort than it was worth! I do put this fault down to me though, as I should have found out my pupil measurements!

Overall I am extremely happy with the service and glasses Glasses Direct provide. I would definitely use them again, and make use of the Home Trial option :)

NOTE: I am reviewing Glasses Direct because I was a customer who was personally impressed with the service. I did not receive anything for this review and it is not in collaboration with Glasses Direct in any way. All views expressed are my own

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Twitter followers may have noticed me using the #OTSPSecretSister hashtag a lot recently - and that is because I recently signed up to be a Secret Sister!  The activity is a mail-based cheer group among the book loving community, organised by three wonderful bloggers; Brittany (@bookaddictguide), Amy (@TrippingBooks) and Alyssa (@WithTheBanned).

For six months, sisters send gifts, letters, books, and happy mail to their partner - all the while keeping their identity a closely guarded secret - and use the hashtag prolifically to get to know each other (and maybe figure out who the person behind their own happy mail is!) It's such a fun, supportive, positive group and it feels really nice to be part of something like that.

This is the first time that OTSPSecretSister has been opened up to UK and Europe residents, and I am so happy to be part of it. I have gotten to know and discover some wonderful new people already, and I have really enjoyed making my own sister's days a little brighter with mail-able treats. Unfortunately I can't share any of that with you, as I might give myself away! ;)

I can, however, share a little of what I have received from my own (amazing) secret sister. If she is reading this - THANK YOU, you are so kind and generous :)

This Northern Lights card was so thoughtful - it's my favourite book series and the artwork is amazing :) I'm hoping that my sis and I can write to each other throughout the OTSP round.

I loved the use of scrapbook cards on the packages!

And here's what was inside! I can't wait to read, watch and devour my way through all of this - HOME MADE BROWNIES?! YES!

In January, I hope my sister is still none-the-wiser as to who has been her Secret Sister, and I hope even more so that when the reveal is made, she is happy! Are you part of OTSPSecretSister? How are you finding it?!

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The Harry Potter Studio Tour - Round II

I recently had a weekend in London with my mum, in which we took a trip to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford. It was my mums first visit, and my second; she read all of the books along with my brother and me when they were released (after we finished with them, of course! Ha!) and I thought the studio tour would be a great thing to do together. Plus I was desperate to see the new Hogwarts Express and Death Eater mansion, which weren't there the last time I went!

So was it as good the second time around? YES! The new exhibits were worth going again for but the parts I had already seen were just as interesting again. On my first visit I didn't take time to read all of the trivia and hunt out the hidden snitches, which I did this time, and my second trip included a bit of sunbathing outside Privet Drive ;)

Here are a few photos from my visit. You can read all about my first trip to the studios in a lot more detail here!

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A recent foray into celeb autobiographies

I’ve recently read a lot of non-fiction, and I’ve been loving the small break away from what could be called my “usual” selection of darkly intense characters and situations! The shift happened after an afternoon in the pub with Sarah (@WBites) who started telling me about all the hilarious autobiographies she had been reading on her holiday. I left the pub feeling like I was missing out on something awesome by not really reading non-fiction. I wanted to dip my toe in!

However, there was a bit of a snag: I don't really take much interest in "celebrity lives", all the latest critically accliamed shows are still waiting for me on Netflix/Tivo, and I watch Youtube for about 10 minutes a month - usually to check out how good a band is live. For a woman in my 20's, I'm pretty old! What was I going to read? WHO was I going to read?! I approached autobiographies with trepidation: if I bought one, would I know what the author was on about half the time? How meta would their book be? Would it matter I hadn’t had much experience of their other work? Could I read and enjoy their books if I just thought they were pretty cool on Twitter?! 

Turns out, I flippin’ well can. 

I chose a couple of women I loved on Twitter/ Instagram; Lena Dunham always seems to have something to say, and my miniscule TV viewing list includes The Mindy Project, which always makes me laugh. So Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling ended up on my Kindle.

I think these were great choices because although the books referenced the women’s most notable work, the books were actually a series of essays on life, not a life story. This was perfect! A lot of personality came across in their views on different topics, and anecdotes of their past experiences were amusing most of the time, and cringey at a few others!

I finished the books I bought wanting Mindy Kaling to be my friend, and never wanting to watch Girls. Make of that what you will. But I finished my larger adventure into non-fiction by wanting to read a lot more of it! 

I think I will need to stick to essay based books. The moments the titles I bought did stray into “authors work” territory left me feeling a little lost as I didn’t get the in-jokes and name-dropping. But it did actually make me want to see more of what the authors do outside of the book world.   

Do you have any autobiographies you would recommend? I’ve heard so much about Amy Poehler and Tina Feys books, but having never seen any SNL, would they be good choices?! Let me know in the comments!
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A walk around Bristol: Montpelier, Stokes Croft and Kingsdown

I've been taking some time out recently to explore the city, and be a tourist in my own town. Instagram meet-ups arranged by @igersbristol have been great in helping me see places I never knew about!  I thought I would share with you some of my photos from my latest exploration around Stokes Croft, Montpelier and Kingsdown.

I'll be back next time with my walk around Clifton, and July will bring another set of photos from an @igersbristol meet-up at Upfest street art festival!

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