Monthly Archives

December 2019

Lifestyle

8 New Year’s Eve Ideas To Celebrate 2020

new year's evePhoto by Jamie Street on Unsplash

The day is almost here! Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and the final day of 2019! This decade feels like it’s lasted a lifetime compared to the one before and I’m so glad to be saying goodbye to this one. Something that I see all over Pinterest at this time are all the pins of party/celebration ideas for New Year’s Eve. Whether you’re having people round to yours to celebrate or just staying home, it doesn’t matter.

Everyone celebrates differently! As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.

It’s never too late to look up ideas for tonight. I always see people rushing around shops buying balloons, confetti and alcohol right up till late. Hopefully some of these ideas help you decide what you want to do if you were still unsure. I’ll be in my PJs and relaxing if you wanted to know! Haha!

1. Create a balloon clock

If you’ve got kids, then you can help get them excited for the New Year by making a balloon clock. It’s exactly as it sounds. You blow up 12 balloons, add numbers to them and, as each hour gets closer to midnight, you pop a balloon. I only heard about this recently but it would even get me excited!

2. Create a time capsule

Since it’s the end of the 2010s, this is the perfect time to make a time capsule!

Grab little items that you feel described this decade and then, when you hit the 2020s, we’ll be able to see what we loved this decade. It can be songs, words, styles…you name it, pop it in there!

3. Have a scavenger hunt

This can be for any age! I got this idea from Pinterest and it kind of makes me wish that I had a group of people to do this with! You get to choose specific times to go and look for something. For example you could say ‘It’s 7:45pm! Go to the room that has all the yummy food!’. Depending where you are, you can decide what to pop on the clues!

4. Create New Year drinks

This idea can be used for one person, a couple or a group of people. It works! Create yourself some New Year drinks. You could either make some fruity mocktails if you don’t drink (this is what I’m planning) or some champagne jello-shots. Never had a jello-shot since they kind of sound a bit gross but have fun either way!

5. Play some games

I know I’ve mentioned a couple of games you can do but these are some more! One of my US friends told me her family play something called ‘Don’t Look Back’. It involves 2 people: 1 person stands behind with either a big party hat or a bucket and the other person has a ball. They have to try and get the ball into the hat/bucket without looking behind them.

I love the idea of only looking forward and not back to the past!

6. Have a 1920s-themed party

This idea is a little late for tonight (unless you’re a miracle worker or own a party shop!), but it can work for the other years! We’re technically entering the ’20s again which is awesome and that means you can dress up! It sounds like so much fun to wear a flapper dress, do my hair into a bob and try the Charleston! If you know ‘The Great Gatsby’, then why not try a mini version of that! There is a character called Daisy so I think it would be perfect for me! Haha!

7. Create a wishing tree

If you can’t come up with some resolutions, come up with some wishes for 2020! You can use one of those fancy white trees or even from some painted branches from outside to hang little wishes from. If you can’t have a tree, then use a jar. Write a wish, put in the jar and you can then revisit the jar on the last day of 2020 to see if your wish came true.

8. Have a Noon Year’s Eve Party

Let’s face it: kids get grumpy when they’re tired. Heck, I get grumpy if I get sleepy! Trying to stay awake until midnight is no easy feat so, instead of partying until then, why not have your family party at midday? Everyone will be awake! You can still have all the fun of a night party and then you can just chill out and enjoy any fireworks in peace. I might do that for next year!

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?

 

Lifestyle

My Hopes For Blogging In 2020 (inspired by Amie)

Hopes for BloggingPhoto by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I recently read a fascinating post by the beautiful Amie (TheCurvaceousVegan) where she spoke about what her hopes for blogging are in 2020. So many wonderful things happened in terms of blogging this year, but there have also been a few big things that haven’t.

With 2020 only a handful of days away, I wanted to come up with some of my hopes for blogging next year and maybe they will start to happen.

More diversity in the blogging world

There are so many diverse bloggers out there. It could be your race, your religion, your sexuality or your disability that makes you different from others. I honestly want to see more bloggers in these brackets getting the same opportunities as other bloggers. Brands have started taking steps in the right direction but we need bigger strides. If there are press events, disabilities need to be considered. Let everyone get the chance to go on that press trip, do that photo shoot…

Stop the drama

I am so tired of seeing drama in our community.

It doesn’t matter how nice you are or how much you have done for people. It always seems to happen. If someone gets the wrong idea about something, rumours spread like wild fire and everyone comes with their pitchforks! If it’s totally obvious the person has done wrong, I tend to just keep myself to myself. I can’t get involved with drama if I don’t get involved in the first place. If a person has been unfairly targeted, then I just unfollow the people targeting.

I don’t like confrontation even when I’m interally screaming at the bullies. It has broken my heart this week that one of my best blogger friends was targeted so much this week that she has deleted her Twitter. No person should ever be made to feel as if they need to delete their social media to escape. Opinions are fine but I just prefer if people kept them to DMs. You never know what a targeted person could be going through offline.

More natural, less editing

One of my big blogging triggers for Instagram is that I’m too scared to post the pictures I do have because they don’t look as edited as others. We live in a blogging culture where you feel like you have to edit your pictures or make what you post seem ‘perfect’. I find it rather sad that a lot of big bloggers seem to spend a fortune to get the on-trend looks/accessories, use certain angles and go to different places for views. I love seeing how other people live but I wish we could just post pictures.

Nothing crazy done to it.

I think next year I want to post pictures of what I want. I’ll edit them a teeny bit because I like a bit more colour but stop trying to be like others. It makes Instagram a very difficult place to be and I do love photography!

Stop comparing

THIS! THIS RIGHT HERE!! Out of my hopes for blogging, I want this to be one for both myself and my friends. Why do we do this to ourselves? It’s probably to do with my point above where celebs have made their lives so perfect that we feel like we need to show the same. It’s not physically possible! No-one’s life is perfect even those who are super rich. It might seem like it in the pictures we see but we won’t see the publicists working behind the scenes to set out that moment or the 100s of photos taken to get the right one.

Pay bloggers

A goal I’m hoping all brands will take under their belt is to both pay bloggers and to pay us on time. I’ve seen a lot of tweets from friends who either haven’t been paid at all or have to wait months. I never quite understand why some big brands choose to send a product to be reviewed and not to pay. It’s important for a blogger to know what they’re worth (even though I have no clue!) and not allow themselves to taken advantage of.

You are all worth it.

What are your hopes for blogging in 2020?

Fandom Lifestyle

What I Got For Christmas in 2019 (Harry Potter, books…)

What I got for Christmas

Happy Boxing Day! I still have zero clue what meaning this day has but I know it’s a nightmare for my friends in retail. I love getting the chance to be a bit nosy and see what everyone got for Christmas. Even if you don’t celebrate it, I hope you had a great Wednesday anyway.

For the last few years all of the presents I get on the big day are ones that I buy myself. This isn’t as sound as sad as it seems. I have a list of items that I have my eyes on through the year and, if I still like them, I buy. Part of me thought that would be the case this year, but thanks to a Secret Santa and a uni friend, I had surprises!

It was great to feel like a typical Christmas for the first time in a while.

What I got for Christmas (for myself)

Hufflepuff Notebook (£7.99)

I’ve been drooling over this notebook for so many months and I could never justify getting another notebook. However, after almost a year, I just decided to get it! It’s so pretty! I love hardback notebooks! They last super well and the Hufflepuff design looks incredible!

What do you think I just use it for next year?

CHANEL No5 Deodorant (£36)

I bought this a few months ago before I knew someone was going to give me a pocket spray of it. This fragrance has such an important meaning to me since it was Mum’s favourite scent. Dad got it for her anniversary and I got carried on at Christmas. I really missed smelling this and it always makes me feel elegant when I wear it. You know the person who randomly smells their clothes to breathe in that nice smell? That’s me! Haha!

Thank you, Hannah!!

‘Live in the Moment’ 2020 Diary (£9.99)

I can’t find the link to this specific diary but WHSmith officially have some of the nicest diaries! I’ve been using their ones for around 10 years now and I’m never disappointed! I love getting the creative covered ones that are bright and hardback. This year I chose to get this quote because I need to learn to live more in the moment and not negatively.

Literally cannot wait to start filling it with all the dates I have for next year. I have a certain way of writing in my diary and it makes me more happy than it should!

Fellow stationery nerds get me!

13th Doctor Funko Pop (£9.99)

With the new series of Doctor Who starting next Wednesday, I think I timed getting this particular Funko Pop perfectly. It doesn’t take much to find out how much I have fallen for Jodie’s Doctor. She is so cool, intelligent, that usual Time-Lady quirkiness and Northern grit!

Got to say I missed a Northern Doctor since the 9th Doctor!

I wish I could have gotten her in her long jacket but I just couldn’t find that one when I was in The Entertainer. I hope to collect another next week for my birthday so fingers crossed I can get it!

RWBY: The Official Companion (£14)

This was a gift I got myself during my trip in London to see Ali! We headed into Forbidden Planet so I could look for this book and I almost didn’t get it. We were kind of pushing it a little for time to get my train but we fought! Steven Moffatt had been signing there an hour before and I missed him. I was gutted.

Thankfully a lovely guy who worked at the store pointed me in the right direction. It was even reduced from £28 to £14 so highfive for the fangirl luck. It’s £22 on their website right now! RWBY is an incredible show if you love fairytales, the Brothers Grimm and fantasy. It’s so fun to watch and really has you on the edge of your seat.

What I got for Christmas (from others)

Dumplin’ and Puddin’ (£7.99 each)

Both of these copies came from my amazing Bookish Secret Santa. It was my first time taking part in it this year and everyone was so nice! We even have a Valentines one planned for next year so that will be super exciting for this spinster! I watched Dumplin’ on Netflix and it was such a heart-warming and thought-provoking film. If you haven’t watched, please go check it out. The sequel Puddin follows the same kind of idea but with someone new and a whole different situation!

Severus Snape Funko Pop (£9.99)

Look who decided to show up at my Christmas! HE’S ALIVE!! You can never go wrong with a Harry Potter Funko as a present. At least in my books!

The Secret Language of Cats (£7.99)

Ever want to know what the heck your cat keeps meowing at you? This book is going to teach me all the subtle things about what sounds mean in certain situations. Very scientific with the whole looking at phonetics so, Santa, you might confuse me while I read this!

Bomb Cosmetics Funkadelic Gift Set (£8.40)

Never tried bath bombs in my flat bath so that is going to be an experience! According to the little leaflet on the top of the box, it has inside:

  • Paper Tiger Bath Creamer
  • Pure Therapy Soap
  • Sun Seduction Bath Creamer
  • Free Spirit Soap
  • Hypnobath Bath Blaster

I’m going to have a very chilled start to 2020! I love it!!

Hotel Chocolat Nano Slab Gallery (£10)

I had wondered what this was when I was received it. The box it was in made me think of a board game at first but I was so happy to see chocolate! I’ve never tried chocolate from this shop before but it looks so yummy! All the different slabs of chocolate are going straight to my thighs!

I’m doomed! Haha!

‘Angel Wings’ Yankee Candle (£15.99)

My first thought on unwrapping this candle?

WHOA! THAT IS A FREAKIN’ BIG CANDLE!!

I’ve never owned a candle this large before so it was a shock to see. Not an unpleasant one! It smells SO good and I can’t wait to burn it throught the year. It’s going to make my place smell gorgeous. I’m super grateful to Santa for getting me this especially with it being called ‘Angel Wings’. Perfect for my parents!

I never expected any presents from anyone I knew. I don’t live anywhere near family so was expecting just me and me alone. However, someone believed that I should be blessed with incredible friends this month. What I got for Christmas is going to last with me for a long time.

Thank you so much to Ali, Gemma and Joe for thinking of me!

What did you get under the tree this year?

Fandom Lifestyle

My Highlights From The Last Decade (2009 – 2019)

decade

I can’t believe I’ve managed to get through another decade. This last decade has been one of the toughest of my life due to losing 4 of my relatives. I also was diagnosed with severe depression & anxiety, had 2 big operations and had me saying goodbye. Though have been many, many heartaches that had me questioning my life, there have been highlights scattered in between.

This won’t be a photo-heavy post at all since I don’t have many photos from the last 10 years. It’s definitely a family thing! I just don’t like having my photo taken much. I want to share what I’m proud of accomplishing so I can begin 2020 with a fresh mind!

2009-2010: Started a nursing degree

That’s right! I was almost a nurse! A Children’s nurse to be exact. I had done an Access to Higher Education course on 2009 and thought that doing the degree would make my mum proud. If you didn’t know, my mum had been a nurse for over 30+ years at this point and I did love children. I was accepting onto a course that only had 4 places available and had had to figure out maths! I am hopeless at maths. I’m not even joking with you…I struggle with multiplication, division and even substraction.

Somehow I was able to pass that exam with ratios and weird sums.

If I started this degree, why am I not a nurse now?

10 months into the course, I chose to leave. It wasn’t an easy decision because I desperately didn’t want to disappoint my mum by being a drop-out but, during an adult placement, I saw something horrific. It involved a child too. I questioned whether nursing was for me for a good few months and my tutors tried to get me to stay. Eventually I decided to go for my mental health.

2011: Started a theatre degree and graduated

In 2011, I started another degree!

I have to thank a friend, who was on the course, for pointing this out to me. I didn’t even know my university had a theatre course until then and it finally gave me freedom! The only career I’ve ever wanted to do from a child is acting. I heard all the usual stuff about how it wasn’t a proper career and that I wouldn’t have a life if I pursued it.

I knooow! Even on the first day of my degree my lecturer told us that 99% of us wouldn’t get any work.

People think theatre must be an easy and relaxing degree compared to the others but it’s actually the opposite. My course had everything included: stage management, script-writing, stage management and more. It was to make us completely ready for the industry! I loved everything about my course even the moments I really struggled. They made us work!

I was the first one on my dad’s side of the family to graduate from uni so I’ll always be proud of that! Being proud of everything I’ve done is a major thing!

2011: Fangirled at the final Harry Potter premiere

Having fangirled at almost all the Harry Potter premieres (except the first two!), I couldn’t not go to the final one for Deathly Hallows: Part 2! I knew that every fan would want to be there so I did what I hadn’t done for the others…I camped overnight. I couldn’t do the week that a few fans did but sleeping out in Trafalgar Square is an experience you don’t get too often.

It was so much fun though!

I was a bit too scared to sleep because I didn’t want to get mugged by anyone who snuck in so I gave Mum a camp chair so she could. It’s amazing how you can ignore how hard concrete is after almost 19 hours. Plus I did make friends with some Potter fans around me! I got interviewed by Radio 1, had my photo in the Evening Standard and had memories to last me a lifetime! It’s crazy to think we said goodbye to the Harry Potter cast this decade, especially since we grew up with them!

2012: Attended the Paralympics

2012 is definitely a moment in the decade that the UK will remember for years!

We got to host the Olympics and Paralympics with London being on the world stage for all to see. I’d actually auditioned and was accepted to be a volunteer at the Opening Ceremony but had to pull out due to life. I remembered being glued to the front of my TV watching all the events I could!

You might not know but I’m a big fan of athletics, swimming/diving and equestrian! There is nothing like the thrill of seeing your favourites trying to win gold!

While everyone else was desperately trying to get tickets for the Olympics, I applied to go and see the Paralympics.

I’ve always been interested in how a person adapts to a situation like sport, whether they had a disability they were born with or had one through an illness/event. Didn’t matter to me one bit. All I wanted to see was the athlete and how they did their thing.

When I heard that I was able to get the tickets to sit in the arena and watch, I was super excited! It had a double motive in that it was also a 60th present to my mum!

One of the incredible things I witnessed was seeing blind athletes doing the triple jump. They had a person at the end of the sand-jump who was there to help them perform. They clapped to get them running to a decent speed and then stopped when it was time to hop, skip and jump. Majority of them landed right in the pit which was incredible! Though one did miss a little bit and knocked one of the officials off his chair!

My favourite Paralympics had to be Richard Whitehead, Ellie Simmonds, Hannah Cockroft and Jonnie Peacock!

2013-2016: I started blogging

Who remembers when I was PromptsbyDee?

If you’ve known me for a while, you will. When I first started blogging I was planning to be a theatre/lifestyle blogger. I would chat about what plays I loved, what I’d been to see…basically a super bad version of Carpe Diem Emmie. Theatre is a big love of mine and I genuinely wish that I could see plays super often. However money and life just didn’t let that happen.

That’s why I turned to my other love: fandoms.

Unfortunately I lost that site when my domain and hosting ran out after looking after Mum. Caring took up more of my time so I decided to put blogging aside for a while. It wouldn’t be the last time you saw my face this decade!

2014: Won a competition to see Benedict Cumberbatch’s wax figure unveiled

You see that picture at the top?

That was one from the event and, ever since then, I keep popping up on the odd Madame Tussauds ad. It’s crazy seeing my face scattered around the internet! I googled before writing this post and apparently my ugly mug was on/in:

  • The Today Show
  • Madame Tussauds Website
  • The Metro
  • Vanity Fair
  • Wales Online
  • The Mirror
  • The Express

I look so awkward!! The girls I knew (Irene and Charlie) look really professional in any shots they’re in. I look a bit like a dork! At least I got to wear a deer-stalker!

2015: Visited Los Angeles

This had been a dream of mine for so many years! I think every actress pictures themselves in Hollywood filming at a studio or attending premieres in Downtown LA. When my mum told me that we could go after not being on holiday for over 14 years, I may have screamed. Not only were we going to LA, we were staying at the Beverly Wilshire right opposite Rodeo Drive.

It was mind-blowing!

I’ll be honest and say that I did cry for the first couple of days due to feeling unbelievably awkward. I felt so out of place compared to the beautiful and rich people I saw around. Thankfully a super lovely lady who worked at the hotel made me feel really special. We chatted, got to see her almost every day and she gifted me a gorgeous red lip gloss from Sephora. She’d been wearing it every time I saw her and I kept saying it looked nice! Haha!

Mum and I felt like stars! Guests at the hotel were able to be personally driven to anywhere we want to within a 4-mile radius and then picked up. IN A FREAKING BENTLEY!! I thought I’d get fined for even breathing funny in that car. The guy was great and gave us great advice on where to check out. My highlight had to be seeing Jennifer Lawrence buying coffee at a place called Urth Cafe! OH MY….I literally stopped breathing at the sight of my girl crush. My decade was everything including her! Hunger Games, memes, her winning an Oscar! She even said thanks when I held the door open since I did automatically without seeing who I was holding it for!

I personally can’t think of any other highlights after this since my world has been pretty dark since then.

If I ever do come up with other highlights for this decade, I’ll add them in.

What have been your big positives of the last decade?

Books

Looking Back At My Favourite Books of 2019

books of 2019Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

It’s Christmas next week, everyone!! What are you hoping to get from Santa? I actually have gifts under the tree this time and I’m super excited! In past years I’ve done wishlists, but there’s kind of no point when you know what you’re getting! I will be doing one for my birthday because it’s fun! Haha! There have been so many incredible books I’ve read for the first time this year, some old and some new. I wanted to take the time to look back at some of my favourite books of 2019!

Jemima Small Versus The Universe (Tamsin Winter)

I actually finished reading this book yesterday but I loved it so much!

Jemima Small just wants to be like other girls. She hates being called “Jemima Big”, being forced to join the school health group – aka Fat Club – and that she can’t apply for her favourite TV show without worrying everyone will laugh. But she also knows that the biggest stars in the universe are the brightest. So maybe it’s her time to shine.

Jemima is such a fun character who has to put up with so much! People can’t see past her size and see the amazing person she is. I loved how strong she was against the others and how, even though she struggled, she fought! I won’t spoil what happens but it’s so good!

She reminds me of so many of my friends who may be judged for what they look on the outside, but who should be looked at from the inside. They’re smart, beautiful, strong, determined and so much more! Tamsin, if you ever read this teeny review, please bring Jemima back for a sequel!! I will be doing a proper review in the next few days but I just had to chat about this!

Heartstopper

Heartstopper: Volume 2 (Alice Oseman)

I’ve been a fan of Alice for a little while after falling in love with her Heartstopper comic on Tumblr. When it was published last year and I knew how much everyone would fall for Nick and Charlie, I was so happy! I continued to be estactic when she announced the she was coming out with Volume 2. You never know what goes on inside Alice’s head. Some people are surprised that you can love drawn characters but the expressions and the story make it hard not to.

REVIEW | Heartstopper: Volume 2

The Paper & Hearts Society (Lucy Powrie)

You wouldn’t think that this book was Lucy’s debut into being an author! She has been such a vital voice for books on Youtube where she spoke a lot about classics! You can tell how much love and attention she put into each of her characters. I think Lucy knows how much I loved her first book and how excited for her sequel: Read With Pride! If you haven’t pre-ordered, do it!!

You won’t regret it!

REVIEW | The Paper & Hearts Society

Calling All Witches

Calling All Witches (Laurie Calkhoven)

Something that I adore about Harry Potter is the amount of strong women that we have! Yes, even Bellatrix Lestrange! There are so many witches that deserve some love and, even though half of these women are mentioned in passing, they are still awesome. My favourites have to be Luna Lovegood, Hermione Granger, Queenie Goldstein and Nymphadora Tonks.

They know what it’s like to be different and do their very best to make their way through the Wizarding World. In times like today, it’s important that everyone is loved! All women are women.

REVIEW | Calling All Witches

Five Feet Apart (Rachel Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry & Tobias Iaconis)

It must have been a crazy 2019 for Rachel, Mikki and Tobias! The fact that their book was released in the UK in January and then the film (with Cole Sprouse!) came out in the March! Insane, right?! I absolutely loved this book and Stella’s journey through it. I may not suffer from Cystic Fibrosis but I know what it’s like to have to follow a list and stress when it’s not completed just right. That and I have a bunch of medication that I have to remember.

If you haven’t read or watched Five Feet Apart, please check it out!

There are so many books in 2019 that I’ve loved but we’d literally be here for ages! I discovered yesterday that I had reached my goals for books on Goodreads and I’m pretty proud of myself. For someone who spends a lot of her time battling her mental health, 30 is awesome. Go me!

What have been your favourite books of 2019?
Did you do the Goodreads Reading Challenge?

 

 

Books

What Are My Favourite Christmas Reads?

Best Christmas Reads

One of the things I love about book shops during Christmas is the sheer number of Christmas reads that appear! Some that are true classics and others brand-new. I love getting the chance to sit down on a freezing cold day with a festive book. I’ve gone through the little list I put together over the last few weeks and picked the ones that I would personally read.

I’ve got a mixture of Children’s, YA and Adult Fiction because we all know I’m a big kid! If you’re looking for a new book to gift to someone in your family, hope these help!

The Christmasaurus (Tom Fletcher)

You might have heard of Tom Fletcher before! He’s in the band McFly and the big brother of Carrie Hope Fletcher! I knooow! They’re a talented family! You might also know his wife Giovanna Fletcher who is a well-known author too! A few years ago Tom started writing books. First he wrote ‘The Dinosaur Who Pooped A Planet’ with Dougie Poynter in 2013 and then, 3 years later, he wrote an incredible book called The Christmasaurus!

There are so many reasons why I love this book!

Not only is the main character Will Trundle in a wheelchair, the book is just full of magic that every kid needs to be reminded of at Christmas! Not long ago he even turned The Christmasaurus into a musical which was a massive hit with everyone. It has one of the best songs which is called ‘Afraid of Heights‘! I literally have played it every Christmas since Tom released it in 2017!

Is it too late to make it a Number 1? Haha!

The cover is from the sequel ‘The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch’ and it sounds like it will be just as amazing!

One year has passed since William Trundle’s incredible adventure with the most extraordinary dinosaur: the Christmasaurus. Now, William is swept back to the magical North Pole, where he meets the mysterious, icy Winter Witch – whose power to control time allows Santa Claus to make the long journey all around the world every Christmas Eve. And when they learn that the fate of Christmas itself hangs in the balance, William and the Christmasaurus must work with the Winter Witch to protect it…

Spot’s First Christmas (Eric Hill)

Spot! I hope there are people who remember good old Spot the Dog.

He was one of the very first books I read from as a kid and still vaguely remember reading it which is great for my awful memory! I spotted this when I was in Foyles last Saturday with Ali and it just brought back so memories. It has to be in the Top 2 of festive stories for children. It’s easy to clean so you can’t go wrong with that!

Spot gets to find out about what Christmas trees are, carol singers and Santa Claus! It’s a perfect way to get your little one super excited for Christmas Day with little flaps for them to lift! Even as an adult, I still can’t resist lifting flaps or pressing buttons on noisy books!

The Night I Met Father Christmas (Ben Miller)

This was a book I hadn’t heard about until last month and it really intrigued me.

The front cover was what caught my attention to begin with since it reminded me of Peter Pan a little bit. Maybe it was the magic and the horizon of London which did it! This was illustrated, along with pictures inside, by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini.

The other was the name of the author: Ben Miller! You might not automatically recognise the name but he’s an incredible actor and comedian! He’s half of Armstrong and Miller, started in Death In Paradise and recently been in the P&O Cruises ads!

Jackson knows all about the flying reindeer, he knows about the elves and the secret North Pole workshop, he knows about the magic that allows Father Christmas to deliver presents around the world in just one night, but there’s one thing he doesn’t know … how did Father Christmasbecome Father Christmas?

That all changes when, one Christmas Eve, Jackson meets Father Christmas and hears his incredible story.

So begins an enchanting fairy-tale into a magical snowy landscape, where Torvil, a mean-spirited and miserly elf, is about to discover the true meaning of Christmas. This might not have been the story Jackson was expecting but, as Father Christmas tells him, no good story ever is…

A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)

It wouldn’t be Christmas without A Christmas Carol and hearing about Scrooch’s journey of enlightenment! I read bits of this when I was at school and it took me a while to understand all the language! I didn’t start to get what it was really about until I started seeing the films on it. They’re all pretty freaky but my favourite has to be ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’ and I watch it every Christmas Eve!

It’s so fun, musical and actually makes the scene with Death a little easier to watch.

There is one version that scared me so much that I had nightmares about it!

Father Christmas (Raymond Briggs)

The other story in my Top 2 for Christmas Reads has to be Father Christmas!

Raymond Briggs has to be the King of British Christmas because he is the creator of ‘The Snowman’. I adore listening to the music from the film even if I was confused at first! Are you sensing a theme here? Haha.

The reason why I love reading (and watching) Father Christmas is because it’s just such a funny take on Santa. He’s not the jolly guy we usually see but a grumpy bloke with a heart of gold. He grumbles about his work and life but gives his pets presents, eats a festive lunch and clearly loves what he does! Mel Smith did the voice for him in the film and it still makes me smile hearing his voice.

The Christmas Stocking and Other Stories (Katie Fforde)

I don’t read a large amount of grown-up books but, when I do, I tend to go for romance novels with humour. My go-tos are usually Lindsey Kelk and Katie Fforde! They have such a great way of story-telling and having you want to know more about their characters!

Katie doesn’t just give us one Christmas story but a bunch of short ones!!

THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING: Romy is all set to join her boyfriend and his family in France for Christmas, though truth be told she isn’t looking forward to it very much. And then she meets Felix – and her plans for the big day suddenly become a lot more interesting.

CANDLELIGHT AT CHRISTMAS: It was meant to be the perfect Christmas – surrounded by friends and family in their beautiful home in the country. But then the lights go out, and Fenella knows she will have to work very hard to keep everyone happy …

THE CHRISTMAS FAIRY: It’s Christmas Eve in Crinan, and a young man is on his own with only his nephew and niece for company. Then Ella arrives. Dressed as a fairy, she is determined to wave her wand and give them all the best Christmas ever.

Letters From Father Christmas (J.R.R Tolkien)

You might know J.R.R Tolkien for his legendary books on Middle-Earth such as Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and more. I’ve added this to my Christmas Reads because it just sounds such a sweet book.

According to the synopsis, all these letters arrived every December for Tolkien’s children and came from Father Christmas. He would talk about his life in the North Pole, how a polar bear climbed the North Pole and fell through his roof and other tales. They would have some illustrations with them with little notes from the polar bear or from one of Santa’s elves!

This reminds me so much of what my mum and dad used to do with me at Christmas and really got me excited for the day! It’s cool to think they did the same all those years ago.

The Nine Lives of Christmas (Florence McNicoll in partnership with Battersea)

The final book on my list is about a cat!

I love cats with a passion and, upon seeing this book, I knew it would automatically be on my festive book list! I never knew that Battersea also looked after cats until I started watching Paul O’Grady’s For The Love of Dogs and we got glimpses.

Just like the saying goes for dogs, a cat is for life not just for Christmas.

It’s Christmas at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and Laura is desperate to find a home for Felicia, a spiky, bad-tempered moggy with a heart of gold. Her boyfriend, Rob, can’t understand why she’s spending so much time at work, but for Laura, the animals aren’t just a job – they’re her life. She needs a partner who understands that – doesn’t she?

As the December snow falls, Laura encounters nine people, all of whom need a little love in their lives and find it in new pets. Everyone needs somebody to curl up with at Christmas, and when the handsome Aaron walks in, he takes not just Felicia, but Laura’s heart too…

What are your favourite festive books to read?

Books

My Favourite Book-To-Screen Adaptations

Book-to-Screen

I can’t be the only one who can easily name a handful of book-to-screen adaptations. They’ve become more and more common which is both a great and a bad thing. If the director knows the book and stays true to it, the adaptation will be awesome. However there are some horrific ones out there that you can tell the person had zero clue about the book or the characters.

I’m going to look at some of my favourite book-to-screen shows/films and then maybe share a couple that I didn’t like. Some may surprise you!!

Harry Potter

I had to start with this because I have two particular favourites! They have to be Philosopher’s Stone and Prisoner of Azkaban. I didn’t use to like POA because it was such a different film style compared to the others and because Ron’s lines were stolen. That has changed over the years. The first one was just so faithful to the book! It had the lines I could read word for word. Chris Columbus was just so brilliant directing it and Chamber of Secrets and you could tell that he truly read the books.

Part of me wishes he would have stayed on longer but the other directors did great too!

Five Feet Apart

I only saw and read Five Feet Apart this year and I adored it!! It was such a brilliant book and I immediately fell in love with Stella and Will as characters. Hearing their voices going through such a unique situation of dealing with Cystic Fibrosis was interesting. It also helped that Cole Sprouse was cast as Will and I adored his take on him! Plus he has been incredible dedicating any wins to Claire Wineland who passed from the disease last year.

I think the world needs more YA books looking at people with certain illnesses so that people feel connected. For me I wish I could see more books looking at autism so it can teach people that we’re different yet the same.

Pride and Prejudice

I had a reason for using the book in my picture! This is automatically my mum’s fault! We used to watch the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice and it was what got me into classic books and period dramas. It had the elegance and the drama and Colin Firth coming out of a lake!

Ever since watching this show I’ve loved Mansfield Park, Emma and so many others! You have to admit that the BBC does a pretty decent job casting the right people for these dramas!

Hunger Games

Two words: Jennifer Lawrence!!

I’ll admit a faux-pas that this was one of those moments where I watched the film before I read the book. In my defence, I wasn’t a massive fan of dystopian books since they were always the same. Hunger Games was something completely different and it had my attention straight away. I loved how strong Katniss was and how dedicated she was to fighting to keep her family safe and bring honour to her District. I hadn’t seen much of Jennifer Lawrence before this and this was how I developed a girl crush on her!! She’s just so pretty and sassy! I was never overly fond of Josh Hutchinson as Peeta but he definitely got better.

Bridge to Terebithia

My heart!! This book and film broke me so much!! If you haven’t read the book, then you need to either order it now or run to your local library tomorrow! It’s such a heart-wrenching novel that had you on a rollercoaster and seeing through the eyes of a child differently. This was the film that I loved Josh in and made me fangirl Anna-Sophia Robb as an actress. Those two were just so perfect as Leslie and Jesse! Even to this day I cry when I read or watch this.

I also have Bailee Madison (the baby sister of Jesse) following me on Twitter so score! Haha!

The Princess Diaries

I’d never read a 1st person book before this but loved the style in which Meg Cabot wrote. You really felt as if you were reading someone’s diary and Mia was everything I wanted to be and more! Is it bad that I wish I could have had her cat Fat Louie? The film adaptation of this was Anne Hathaway’s first ever film!! It’s crazy to think of that and where she is these days! She was brilliant as a gawky Mia who just wanted to get through high school and who wouldn’t want to discover that Julie Andrews was your grandmother!

I’m still hoping I’ll find a connection in my family tree one day!

Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Love. this. book!!

Becky Albertalli has quickly become one of my favourite YA authors behind JK Rowling. She really writes relatable characters that you wish you were friends with and/or could possibly see in your therapy group. I haven’t read too many LGBTQ+ books (something I’m aiming to change!) but this was beautiful. It’s all about a young guy called Simon who is secretly gay but hasn’t told his friends or family yet. He comes out to a stranger called Blue and stuff happens. It helps that this character is a Hufflepuff and has an awesome friend called Leah!

The film version was so good! Nick Robinson was made to be Simon and I wish we could see more of him in other roles! Did you know another one of Becky’s books ‘What If It’s Us‘ is being made into a film?!

The Babysitter’s Club

Okay…this one is an oldie but a cheesy goodie! Please tell me someone else has read and watched The Babysitter’s Club! This was one of the first book-to-screens that I ever watched! I was 8 when it first came out and seeing these ‘big kids’ doing such cool things really made me want to grow up! I loved making my own little club that only certain people could join. The Lion King was the best club I did! Haha! The books were a little old for me at the time but I definitely read all of them when I could! There were so many to love! They’ve even been made into a graphic novel now!

You’re probably wondering the ones that I didn’t like. Don’t hate me but:

  • Twilight
  • Percy Jackson
  • Paper Towns
  • Divergent

What are your favourite book-to-screen adaptations?

Lifestyle

13 Things To Do Before The End Of The Year

end of the year

Everyone to your panic stations!! There is only a little over 2 weeks to go until the end of the year. We officially say goodbye to the 2010s and say hello to the 2020s! That is barely any time! Though I’m strangely not over-panicking about this. Maybe because the New Year means a fresh start, especially if the previous year had been awful.

I’ve already done a post or two about starting 2020 so feel free to read!

One of my favourite things about December is that I can to start to prepare for the upcoming year. I don’t mean plan out my entire year from start to finish! That would make even more insane! I mean…sorting out the bits and bobs that need doing to make sure you wake up on January 1st feeling less stressed.

You know my blog is pretty much consisted of list posts so let’s add another one to the pile!

19 Things To Do Before The End of 2019

Donate old clothes to charity:

So many people are doing this these days which is awesome so let’s continue! By Christmas you’ll probably have gained some new clothes and/or seen the state of your closet. That’s one thing I don’t have to worry about…I have NO wardrobe! Got to love when movers break the door to the one you had. A pro to this problem is that it made me see what I had and what I didn’t love.

Clothes are a very touchy subject for me so I don’t own that much.

I’m planning to donate any remaining items that don’t make me happy and force myself to buy something that does.

Decide on a new morning/night routine:

This is at the top of my to-do list for the start of 2020!

I usually get up okay in the morning (when my depression doesn’t hit), but my night time routine? Oof! That is a whole other story. I really want to sit down and look at what I can do to make it better. What am I possibly doing that keeps me awake?

As for the morning, I just want to work out a flexible routine. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’m currently out of work so don’t have a set routine. This really triggers me for some reason and 9 times out of 10 the reason why my mood slips. On the days where I’m not looking for work or at medical appointments, I need to sort out a timetable. A bit like you had at school! Obviously I need to make it flexible as not every day/week is going to be the same.

If I plan for changes, I won’t be blind-sided!

Work on that reading list:

A lot of my friends are book lovers so have a set amount of books on Goodreads that they want to read by the end of the year. I haven’t actually updated mine in months so may end up doing this after I publish this! Haha! These next couple of weeks are perfect for taking a minute to read 20 pages a day (if/when you can) and hit your target! If you don’t reach it, there is always next year!

Congrats on reading even one book!

Clean out your emails:

Everyone hates glancing at their emails in case they see a negative one, see how many are unread or just wanting to avoid work. I actually have 3 email accounts! Before you cart me off to my therapist, I have reasons!

1 is my personal one where family and other personal people can email me. It has my real name and seems a little more professional. 1 is my blog account where I get all the notifications of comments, brands can contact and more. The last one is my fangirl account! This is where I get pokes for Friday Forty (Cursed Child!), new chapter alerts for my favourite fanfic writers and all that nerdy stuff.

It works but wow…lots of spam to cope with!

Celebrate the past year:

As hard as it probably is to do this, try to celebrate everything you have done over the last year. It makes the end of the year feel more positive!

If you’ve kept a gratitude journal, then flick through and read everything good that has happened to you. I haven’t had the chance to do that this year but I’m definitely planning to do it next! I have been writing a journal so will just check that back!

Clean your phone:

Just like your emails, go through your phone! I have seen some horror pictures with people having over 20k email messages, 1k texts to read from the year. Seeing as I rarely text, that’s fine with me! The only reason I keep some texts is because a few are from my Mum and others are memories that I want to hold onto.

I go through all my pictures to see what I want to save or delete! I have McAfee Security on my phone that helps keep any viruses at bay and also comes with a media vault! A safe place to keep any pictures/videos I want to keep away from snooping eyes!

How crowded is your phone? Haha!

Send thank you notes:

This is something new that I want to do for the end of the year.

There are so many people who have helped me with my personal and mental health this year and I want to physically say thank you. I do thank them every time online but there is something special about writing it. I wish I could send them to everyone but I’ll do my best!

Celebrate yourself:

You’ve celebrated your year (or at least a day!) so the end of the year is the perfect time to celebrate yourself. Book yourself a facial, a nail appointment or even a massage! Spoil yourself and use this time to remind yourself that you are important and are deserving.

I love how I give this advice and hardly ever follow it! May treat myself to a facial!

Add dates to your calendar:

This is a good thing to do after Christmas and is something I’ve done since 2010! I love keeping a list of dates that will be important to me the following year and then adding them to my diary and calendar. I tend to add birthdays, films I want to watch, any fandom/book releases, conventions and more! It seems to make me more proactive if I see when something is happening in the future.

Do you do this too?

Sort out any finances:

This is a boring grown-up thing to do, but sometimes needs must. Go through your account to see how your bills are looking along with any debt. If, like me, you have debt from university then plot around all the payments you will be making so you can keep on track.

We’ll be old and wrinkly before the debt goes away. It’ll be worth it though!

Visit friends or neighbours:

We’re at an age in time where we no longer physically connect with people. Of course we chat online or on our phones but we hardly take the time to meet up and chat! I’m actually meeting up with my ‘twin’ Ali this weekend for the first time in a year!! I’m so excited! We’ve been meaning to do this all year and I’m so glad it is finally happening.

As I live near old neighbours, I’m planning to go and visit a couple to catch up. They’re so nice and have made living in my cul-de-sac a lot easier. We’ll just ignore my bad neighbours.

Declutter an area of your life:

If you have a moment in your day or week, use it to declutter something in your life that is causing you stress. It could be your bookshelves overflowing or your makeup bag. I bet you’ll feel so much better seeing it less cluttered and organised. I really need to sort out my kitchen cupboards so pray for me! The end of the year is when I start to feel antsy that things are untidy or triggered!

Write some targets for the next year:

I’m using the word ‘targets’ instead of goals because we’re more likely to achieve a target. I’ve been learning a lot about SMART goals in my work classes and they are really handy. Basically you can choose something you want to achieve like losing weight and you make it specific. You could say ‘I’m going to lose 1b a week’ and set a date you want to achieve your goal on. It’s best to only have a few targets to work so you feel more accomplished!

What things are you hoping to achieve by the end of the year?

Books

The Bookish Christmas Gift Guide

Bookish

Remember when I said that my last post was my final winter post? Well, I lied! I looked at my list of post ideas and saw that I hadn’t written my bookish gift guide. I’ve seen some amazing things online and in person to share with you! I have a lot of book lovers for friends so maybe I can convince them to treat themselves to a product or two.

As always, I hope that some of these ideas help you with some last minute gift ideas. Even if it’s not for Christmas, then a birthday or a thank you gift!

By the way, this post isn’t sponsored! I just found The Literary Gift Company when I was looking through Google and saw they had a bunch of great ideas!

Jane Austen Doormat (£20)

What I love about this doormat is that it perfectly describes a home.

At least for a book lover anyway! I much prefer staying home reading or when it’s freezing outside. It’s much comfier and I’m a social outcast! Haha! You can never have too many door mats. When your old one gets too filthy, you can throw out and use the next.

Exercise The Mind Bookends (£16.99)

HA! Is this true or what?!

The brain is a muscle, right? What else better to exercise our minds and take us travelling around different worlds than reading? If reading was considered an actual exercise, I would be super toned and practically an athlete now! Do you think it’s too late to make a recognised one?

Penguin Mug (£8.99)

Quite a lot of my book friends have at least one Penguin mug in their life.

I don’t actually mean a mug with a penguin (though that is a cute one!). I mean the book publisher ‘Penguin’ who have an amazing collection of classic book designs on them. I’d say they were pretty iconic so would make a brilliant gift. A cup of tea while you read…bliss!

Reading Journal (£6.99)

This is something I’m planning on getting for next year to help me keep track on what I read. I tried to do it with my bullet journal but I got bored trying to create my tables. The thing about this particular journal is that it has a list of the Top 100 books on Goodreads for you to tick off. It also has a reading log, place for reviews, a table of books you want to read and more!

Sounds great for all book lovers in your life!

Personal Library Kit (£9.09)

Have you ever had friends see a book on your bookshelf and ask if they can borrow it? I have and I’ve had a couple that never came back! Yes, I’m still salty!!

A great of keeping track on them is by treating your shelves a little like a library! You can put details of the book, select a date you want it back and even stamp it like a proper classic librarian. So cool!

I’m tempted to even get it for the stamp! I’m a child…

‘Draco’ 9oz Soy Wax Candle (£13.09)

You don’t have to get this specific candle (though you totally could because you would get to say that you’re smelling Draco). Haha! I’ve really been loving candles recently and I’ve been wanting to support smaller businesses. When I found Nali aka A Court of Candles on Etsy, I adored the sound of her candles! They’re all named after books, book characters or places in books!

How cool, right?!

They sound so nice and, since she has a large amount of candles for you to check out, I’m sure you’ll find one from a book you love!

‘Too Many Books? I think you mean not enough bookshelves!’ Sign (£5.99)

Ever looking for a sign to put near your bookshelves? I think this is perfect! It’s not that we buy too many books…it’s just because we don’t have enough bookshelves in our lives!

Cat Book Sleeve (£11)

The final gift for my bookish gift guide is actually something I see a lot of my favourite booktubers using. I never knew they existed until them and that is a book sleeve! There are so many incredibly talented people on Etsy who create book sleeves but, as soon as I saw cats and books, I knew this was mine!

I’ve actually ordered one while I wrote this post!

A book sleeve is basically a protective pouch you can pop your book in to keep it safe. That way you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged or dirtied while in your bag!

What bookish items have you got on your list this year?

Fandom Harry Potter

10 Magical Ideas For Any Harry Potter Party

Harry Potter party

There is one thing that I wish I could have had as a kid and that’s a Harry Potter party! I was lucky in the fact that my parents were great at doing parties for me! My dad made the best jam sandwiches! Something I still love to this day so thanks Dad!

It doesn’t matter how old you get, you are never too old for a party!

Before you say it, I know that most kids get them and adults get them on specific birthdays. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a little Harry Potter Potter party on your special day. It’s a little too short notice for my birthday (it’s next month) but I’m still going to share some ideas on how you can make a normal party into a magical one.

Game Ideas

Pin the scar on the Harry:

You’ve heard of ‘Pin the tail on the donkey’, but this is pinning Harry’s scar onto his forehead. Another pin game you can have is ‘Pin the nose on Voldemort’. It sounds like amazing fun and it would be brilliant to see how close people get!

Indoor Chaser Practice:

If I could I would totally play Quidditch! I’m so athletically challenged so would be horrendous at any position but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try. A great way to discover a future Chaser is to build either build a mini table one with bottles, glow sticks and cups or a bigger one with buckets, poles and hula-hoops. The big one is awesome with red balloons as quaffles!

Horcrux Hunt:

Harry, Ron and Hermione obviously go on their hunt for the Horcruxes in Deathly Hallows so that would make a fun game! A Horcrux scavanger hunt! You get a handful of clues and have to search around for each Horcrux. Depending on how big your party is, you could even work in teams!

Harry Potter Scramble:

It’s exactly what it sounds like.

You get a list of Harry Potter items/characters and you have a certain amount of time to try and unscramble them all. I have actually played this game at a couple of midnight launches and it’s amazing how hard a couple can be!

Flying Keys:

Feeling a little hangry? Try playing ‘Flying Keys’! All you have to do is have a broomstick, attach 3 gummy/chocolate keys to it with strong string and, without using your hands, you have to catch/eat the key first.

Catch the Death-Eater:

Did anyone ever play the game ‘Wink Murderer’ at school? The basic idea is that a detective is picked, sent out the room and then a murderer is picked. The detective has to find out who the murderer is and the murderer has to secretly wink at someone which kills them.

You can totally do this at a Harry Potter party!

Instead of a detective, it’s an auror and instead of a murderer, it’s a Death-Eater.

Instead of a wink, you have to pretend to flick your wand at someone to kill them with the Killing Curse.

Food Ideas

Hufflepuff Puffs/Pizza Puffs:

There are so many things you can do with House foods! I love the idea of having either puff crisps like Wotsits or Hippeas as a snack or pizza puff bites! It’ll be easy to make these vegeterian/gluten-free too!

Sorting Cupcakes:

Every Harry Potter fan wants to be Sorted into their Hogwarts House! If they haven’t been Sorted yet, why not make it fun for them by finding out through cake! You can either make yourself some cupcakes or fairy cakes, make a hole on top and pop either red, yellow, blue or green icing inside. That way, when a person bites into the cake, the person sees what House they’re in.

Better than eating an old hat!

Fruit Owl:

Who doesn’t love food being shaped into different things! If you want a more healthier treat for your party, then why not have a fruit salad in the shape of an owl. At least it won’t bring you mail from your dentist! Haha.

Honeydukes:

Have the funds left for food? Treat your Harry Potter party to actual Wizarding World sweets! You have Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, Pepper Imps, Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizz-Bees. There are so many to choose from and, if you don’t all that much money, then buy normal sweets and add magical signs to them.

Children love the idea of sweets regardless!

There are so many other things you can do for a party like this! You can have invitations made like a Hogwarts letter, handmade wands as party favours, potions for drinks. You name it, I’m sure there is a Potter spin you can do on it! If you do have a Potter party, then have an amazing one and hopefully this post has given you some ideas!

What would you have your Harry Potter party?