Monthly Archives

February 2020

Books

AD | Finding Balance by Kati Gardner

finding balance

AD | This advance copy was kindly gifted by NetGalley
and North Star Editions for an honest review.

Synopsis

Jase Ellison doesn’t remember having acute lymphocytic leukemia when he was three years old. His cancer diagnosis only enters his mind twice a year. Once at his yearly checkup at the oncology clinic and one when he attends Camp Chemo in the summer. No one in his “real” life knows about his past, especially his friends at Atlanta West Prep.

Mari Manos has never been able to hide her cancer survivorship. She wakes every morning, grabs her pink forearm clip crutches, and starts her day. Mari loves Camp Chemo—where she’s developed a healthy crush on fellow camper Jase. At Camp, she knows that she’ll never get “the look” or have to explain her amputation to anyone.

Jase wants to move on, to never reveal his past. But when Mari transfers to his school, he knows she could blow his cover. That’s the last thing he wants, but he also cannot ignore his attraction to her. Mari wants to be looked at like a girl, a person, and not only known for her disability. But how do you move on from cancer when the world won’t let you?

Review

Prior to reading Finding Balance, I hadn’t actually read of Kati Gardner’s books or heard of her work!

That has definitely changed now I’ve read this book and fallen in love with the characters she has created. When I saw this up for grabs on NetGalley, I knew I had to request it. It had such a intriguing plot and unique compared to most books out right now.

You not only have characters who have been through cancer, but you also have the main character Mari who lost a leg to it. It always makes me super happy when I see a disabled character leading the plot and I just loved the determination of Mari. She didn’t let missing a leg stop her from getting around. You felt enraged with her when she gets targeted for being different.

I related to this so much!

I also related with Jase as well in the fact that he tries to hide his differences and seem ‘normal’. I can safely say that being normal is over-rated! Finding Balance literally had me hooked from the first page and I had no problem at all reading the entire book in one day. I couldn’t put it down!

I’ll be making sure to find the first book in the series so I can be up-to-date.

Everyone should pre-order this book, especially if you’ve been through similar situations. You’ll find all of the characters really developed and that all of them have a vital role to the plot! Finding Balance will be released on 5th May so check it out!

What are your thoughts on this book? Do you think you’ll read?

Lifestyle

How Being A Brownie & A Guide Helped Me Grow

Like a lot of young girls, I became a Brownie when I was 7 years old! I can’t remember where I first discovered that they existed but I do remember loving the idea of wearing patches! That and I loved the yellow! Clearly a Hufflepuff before Harry Potter existed! Haha.

I was a Brownie from 7 to 10 and then a Girl Guide from 10 to 14.

I think at a young age I knew how bad my social skills were. To have a place to go once a week and work on important skills was vital to who I became as an adult.

BrowniesPhoto by Pauline Loroy on Unsplash

Brownies

I was taught about how to be social with girls my age and a bit older than me. I’m actually still friends with the Guide who helped me and my Brown Owl! Considering that it’s been a while since I was that young, I reckon that’s good-going. I was able to learn how to be myself, look after myself and others and to have fun! One of the fun things I remember doing is going on nature walks behind the church where we had our meetings.

I fell down the hill into nettles but I quickly learned how to calm nettle stings with doc leaves!

Even when I moved to a new county when I was 8 I was able to connect with the girls there easily. It wasn’t always perfect since I did have a little bit of bullying while I was there, but that was mostly because I was quiet. We got the chance to take camping trips away from home and that was a massive step for me.

I still feel guilty about non-stop crying. Haha! Between being away from my parents for the first time and the creepy Daddy-Long-Legs flying around, I freaked out. My Brown Owl knew what I was like so, instead of sending me straight back to my bed, she made me a hot chocolate and let me butter jam sandwiches for the next day! She was a tough cookie but I respect her so much.

Still feel weird to call her by her first name even when I’m 33!

Guides

The same kind of feeling of being part of something special was there when I became a Guide. It was bittersweet leaving the people I knew when I moved to a different section, but I knew it wouldn’t be long until they followed me.

I’ll admit that I didn’t immediately take to being a Guide because I guess I started to feel like I was getting too big for things like that. It didn’t help that the ladies in charge actually stepped down. I swear we weren’t a bad group! They just couldn’t cope with all the things behind the scenes, I think. Who was the person who ended up in charge of the group next?

My mum!

If there was anyone that wouldn’t put up with my mood-swings, then I would be her. It was fun to see what happened and how things worked through her, though I could tell it was stressful. Being a Guide helped me to escape from the bullying I went through at school and the uncertainity of why I was different to others. I love how it’s evolved over the years since I left like the uniform and The Rangers! If I could do it all over again, I would!

Were you ever a Brownie or a Guide or both? Did you enjoy?

Lifestyle

What I Would’ve Done Different As A Beginner Blogger

Next month (March 18th) marks two years since I started this blog and that’s crazy to me. It only feels like yesterday that I came back to blogging from a two year break! If you put that break aside, I’ve been blogging for over 5 years. So much has changed since I started as a beginner blogger and, even though my style hasn’t really changed that much, I think I’ve gotten better in certain aspects.

With my little anniversary coming up, I’ve had a think back to what I would’ve done differently.

beginner bloggerPhoto by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Posted when I felt I could

Something that seems to come hand in hand with being a blogger is that you have to post often to get any results. I do believe that you have to post something to keep readers interested. They want to know that you’re active enough for them to subscribe/comment!

Back then I would post every day.

I did that for a whole year!

That’s something that blows my mind to this day. How the heck did I come up with posts for every day?! I wish I could go back in time to ask past me to teach me. Haha!

With everything that has happened over the last few years, I have chosen to give myself a break. Instead of forcing myself to write a post that I’m not enjoying to get views, I write when I feel I can. Even with this post I didn’t post it on the day I wrote it. I’d had a rubbish anxiety day so typed to distract and that was it.

Don’t compare don’t compare don’t compare!

I should write a whole paragraph with those two words because they never seem to stick!!

I constantly include this tip on every blogger tip post. It’s difficult not to compare yourself to other bloggers when there are so many of us. Way more than we first started! A lot of people feel like they have to do the same as others to get any traction with brands and that’s not the case. Being a blogger may make it seem like we’re similar but we all have our own voice and niche, even when we’re in the same category.

Though I still compare my blog to the success of others, I’ve made it a rule to be proud of whatever I create and know that I’m unique in my own way.

Been wary of my photography

Like a lot of us who were once a beginner blogger, our photography was pretty shocking. I cringe every time I look back at what mine used to look like.

I cringe at the teeny size of the picture and the low quality. No-one is expecting someone starting off their blog to have all the latest equipment and know-how because that’s just silly. That said it is good to do a bit of reading for tips on how to improve.

I’ve been using tips from JennyInNeverland, various posts on Pinterest and Grow&Glow and I’ve loved learning new things!

Been more confident of what I posted

This kind of goes with the comparing problem.

I always thought that no-one would like my posts and that any comment I did get was one out of pity. I didn’t have much confidence in what I wrote because they were different. No-one else at the time was writing about theatre unless they wrote for The Stage or created posts on fandom unless they worked for Mugglenet.

I’m still not confident in my posts but I’m accepting them for what they are: different. They may not get hundreds of views but that’s okay. People seem to enjoy what I write from the comments I get so yay!

What do you wish you could have done differently as a beginner blogger?

Books

10 Book Adaptations On Netflix I’ve Watched/Need To Watch

What I’ve loved about Netflix is the amount of book adaptations they have on their site! Whether they’re a series or a film, there are so many and I love it. You do worry that any adaptations aren’t going to do the books justice but I think Netflix has done incredible.

They even made books from their own creations so it works both ways.

With the UK being hit by two nasty storms in a matter of weeks, us Brits have been trying to find ways to stay in and hide from the weather. For me, that meant curling under my fluffy red blanket and watching Netflix. I think we’re allowed to do this!

Book Adaptations

PS I Still Love You (Jenny Han)

I’ve been a big fan of Jenny Han’s writing ever since I read ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty‘! You knew I was going to love watching ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before‘! It was such a relatable book. I did send an anon love letter to a crush when I was 10. We didn’t know his address so we just put his name and hoped for the best! Haha!

I thought Lana smashed it as Lara in the first film and she was perfect in this sequel!! You can see her heart being pulled in all directions and, unless you’ve read the book, you don’t know who she picks. If only I had guys fawning over me like this! Plus Anna Cathcart was in this!! She played Dizzy in The Descendants films!

If you haven’t read any of Jenny’s books or seen these films, do it!

All The Bright Places (Jennifer Niven)

I’m going to be honest…I haven’t read this book yet but I had to pop on this list because of its power. The only reason I haven’t read it is because it chats a lot about mental health and looks at a boy who wants to die. Way too triggering but I’m really hoping in the future I can both read and watch this!

I love the idea of two people are struggling with two different but similar things helping one another. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of both Violet and Theodore. I already discovered the end to this book and it’s so strong!

I love Elle Fanning as an actress so I know she’ll kill it as Violet and I thought Justice Smith was awesome in Detective Pikachu!!

It comes out on February 28th.

Anne With An E (based on Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery)

This show…

THIS SHOW!

Anne With An E has to be one of the most incredible shows on Netflix by far and there are a lot of shows on there! As soon as I saw the trailer for Season 1, I knew that it would capture a special place in my heart. I grew up watching and reading Anne of Green Gables, especially the 1985 film with Megan Follows!

This comes with everything and more. The acting is phenomonal, the cinematography is utterly breath-taking and I would happily sit and listen to the soundtrack all day.

The one person who ties everything together has to be Amybeth McNulty who plays Anne. She’s fiesty, heart-breaking and stubborn all at once and I love it!

Sad that the final season was released last month. I honestly wish we could have more but I was glad that this book adaptation was created!

Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford

There are a few reasons why you need to watch this TV series:

  • It has Benedict Cumberbatch in it and he was amazing! He even won an Emmy for his role in this so that’s pretty awesome right! Plus he gave us this gif:

    Image result for drinks tea angrily gif

  • It has a stellar cast with the likes of Roger Allam (he’s in a play with Colin Morgan soon!!), Miranda Richardsoon and the screenplay was adapted by Tom Stoppard!!
  • It’s pretty heavy going since it’s set before and during World War I but it’s just so good! Bring tissues to use and throw at your screen!

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa)

If you ever watched the 90s show ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’, then you need to watch it. I warn you in advance though: the characters are far more sinister, darker and tormented. You still have those we love such as Sabrina, Aunt Zelda and Hilda and Harvey, but we get more characters too!

My favourites have to be Ambrose, Lillith/Mrs Wardwell, Prudence and Theo!

Seeing as I don’t usually do horror shows, I was nervous about watching this but I genuinely love it! There is so much heart behind the fear! That and I just love Lucy Davies and Michelle Gomez!

Part 3 started last month so watch the 2 parts you’ve missed and join us on the dark side!

Pretty Little Liars (Sara Shepard)

I didn’t even know that Pretty Little Liars was a book series before I saw it on Netflix! I guess because it came from the US and wasn’t in our bookstores until the series kicked off.

I haven’t actually read the series yet but I’m planning to at some stage. It’s on my TBR list and anyway…A will kill me if I don’t.

This show is amazing, messed-up, confusing, intriguing and more!

You literally have 0 clue who the heck A is until the very end! You actually begin to suspect everyone is A! It has so many clever moments. If you love mystery/thrillers, then you will love this!

It’s a little like Sherlock Holmes meets Clueless! Probably not the best description but that’s how it seems in my head!

Heartland (Lauren Brooke)

Here’s a quick story: I loved horses ever since I was young. The end.

Growing up happened along with social anxiety but my love for horses remained. These days I tend to watch Badminton and Chatsworth Horse Trials because I love being surrounded by them and I just find show-jumping exciting!

Heartland was a book series that I still have copies of to this day and it has all the things a horse lover would need. A girl who dedicates her life to horses, a gorgeous person to crush on and lots of descriptions! The show really brought Amy to life and, even though I haven’t gotten through all the seasons yet, I’m still loving!

Gossip Girl (Cecily von Ziegesar)

Image result for gossip girl gif

Another book adaptation that I didn’t know had books before the show!

I’m going to use the whole ‘it came from America’ excuse like before because that’s the only reason! I was still too young to understand everything that was going on in the books anyway! I even got a little confused by Sweet Valley High (who else remembers that show?!).

Whenever the show came out, I was in my teens so was able to get more and loved how you never knew who to like or hate. It made so happy when Netflix brought the series onto the site! Nothing like a bit of high-class backstabbing to ignore the gales.

Not sure if anyone sees my ad on blog comments, but I always do ‘Daisy xoxo’ as a nod to Gossip Girl!

The Mortal Instruments (Cassandra Clare) and The Kissing Booth (Beth Reekles)

I’ve paired these two together because this post is getting super long and I’ve yet to watch them yet!

I know I’m probably missing out on a fandom with not reading The Mortal Instruments but I have heard about Malec! As for The Kissing Booth, you’ve got to love more teen drama!

What book adaptations have you loved on Netflix (if you have it)?
If not, what book adapations have you loved to watch?

Lifestyle Mental Health

5 Things You Should Try To Do Every Day

do every dayPhoto by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Every one was taught as a child to do certain things every day to be healthy. I can remember being taught how to properly brush my teeth at school, eat a balanced diet and even dealing with periods. It was like having a third parents in my life!

The problem is that, as soon as you reach adulthood, things start to lack. You wish that there were lessons for you to do every day to maintain sanity. Those lessons could be super simple or they could be tricky like money! I still don’t get money. I guess it’s a good job that I don’t earn a lot. Haha! I thought I’d try to come up with things to do every day that you might not think of yourself.

Stay hydrated

You would think that this would be a super obvious one to do every day but you’d be surprised! I don’t even do it and I know that I should.

The recommended water intake you’re meant to have is 8 glasses a day. It isn’t that Sometimes you have to be creative with how you take it in. You could have cups of green tea, buy a hydro-flask that tells you times to drink at or just always have water near you. That way you’ll see it when you look up and will be able to sip.

Since you’re reading this post, why not go grab some water now?

Laugh

This is another simple yet tough one to do especially if you suffer from mental health or struggling. Apparently 3-4 years old laugh up to 300 times a day and adults only 17! That’s crazy when you think about it, right? It’s sad that we lose that sense of fun as we grow up. I can understand why since life happens but still sad.

While I doubt we’ll be able to get you laughing as often as a kid, maybe these ideas could help:

  • Watch a comedy film you haven’t seen in a while
  • Watch a cat/dog video
  • Tell a loved one ‘bad jokes’
  • Look back at old photos/watch home videos

Make at least one meal at home

So many of us either eat out or order in and that’s understandable. We have busy lives and don’t always feel like cooking.

You don’t have to make a four course meal! You could easily make something quick like scrambled eggs or a salad. The meal doesn’t have to be hot, just homemade.

Walk 30 minutes a day

Something that has made life easier for me or at least feel accomplished is walking 30 minutes a day.

If my legs aren’t declaring war on me and the weather is behaving, I walk. There is something really relaxing about walking in the sun. You can get away from social media and clear your mind. Not everyone can walk 30 minutes in one go so you could try doing it in 10 minute intervals.

Hug a loved one/pet

Apparently it’s been shown that by hugging someone your blood pressure goes down. Don’t quote me on that but I’m sure I heard that fact on some scientific show! Haha! It could be your pet!

Even though I can’t do this one every day, I do try to visit my local cat cafe once a week to hug cats. They keep me calm and ease my anxiety. If I can have at least one day with being anxious I’ll be happy! You can never go wrong with furry cuddles! Though you have to catch a cat at the right moment.

Talk to someone

It isn’t just the elderly that can get lonely. Any person of any age can suffer from loneliness. I myself suffer with it almost every day since I don’t have any relatives closeby. It’s why I try to take myself out of my flat and do something. I go to craft classes, visit my local library or just walk around town. Along the way I’ll eventually chat with someone and that is a good thing.

Try not to exclude yourself for people. You matter.

Oh, and talk physically! We’re all online way too much methinks!

What things do you think we should do every day?

do every day

 

Books Fandom

Review | Heartstopper Volume 3 by Alice Oseman

I’m not embarrassed in the slightest that I have been fangirling over Heartstopper! There is something so special about Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series and people need to read! This is my call to any friends, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community, get Volume 1 and feel all the rainbow feels!

I may have jumped ahead of myself a little.

Kind of saw Alice in person this week at her event for Heartstopper Volume 3 in Nottingham. Yeah…still kind of on a high from that and proud of it.

Heartstopper Volume 3

Since this is a review of the latest volume, I might as well calm myself down a little and give you my honest opinions. This is a continuation following Nick and Charlie’s gentle journey into their relationship. They’ve had quite a few bumps in the road in terms of homophobia bullies (I’m looking at you, Harry!) and Nick trying to understand his sexuality.

It doesn’t matter what these boys go through!

They’re just so in love and I literally feel my heart grow every time I read their moments alone together. You forget that you’re reading a graphic novel and truly feel immersed into their world. It’s so interesting how your brain adds colour to the pictures even when they’re black and white! Alice clearly paints the world with her words!

I can be good with words too, y’know! Haha!

This difference between Heartstopper Volume 3 and the last book is how many different topics are covered! We have depression, sexuality, homophobia, eating disorders and more! I adored how much Alice had me thinking even when the moments got rather dark. I will be honest and say that there were a couple of moments during this where I was triggered and had to step away. It wasn’t that they were super horrifying or anything. I loved them so much! I guess the character going through those moments reminded me of myself and I cried for them.

Just when you think you know what is going to happen, a curveball is thrown at you and you literally can’t turn the page fast enough.

Heartstopper Volume 3

Even though we only get the odd glimpse of her, one of my favourite characters has to be Charlie’s sister Tori. There is something so cool and sassy about her. She says what’s on her mind, doesn’t really if it embarrasses her brother (only sibling banter) and I just love her! I really hope that we get to see more of her in Volume 4 next year because she deserves more paper time!

Other characters I love are Darcy, Tara and Elle. I definitely have to say that Darcy and Tara are just as cute together as Nick and Charlie! They’re always holding hands or sitting in the other’s lap. To see them being so comfortable with who they are after everything is amazing! Plus Darcy is just a big Nick x Charlie shipper!

heartstopper volume 3

This above moment had me giggling for a few minutes!

I’d probably say something along the same lines if I knew two of my gay friends had been caught kissing. Nick and Charlie are still super new to being boyfriends and testing the waters. The fact that they’re having a quick snogging session while on a school trip to Paris (the romance capital of the world!) makes me proud of them. They still have a long way to go until they feel more comfortable being open but they’re taking great steps.

Moments that you have to look out for when you read:

  • Charlie’s reaction to Nick speaking another language
  • A medical emergency
  • Two characters finally getting together
  • Nick and Charlie posting on Instagram (and their comments!)

Oh!! Before I forget: Alice actually has two new books coming out this year which is incredible! They are Nick and Charlie (3rd September) and Loveless (9th July). I can’t wait to preorder my copies next week! We even have the TV show of Heartstopper happening at some point in the future!! Not sure when but I’m already casting people in my mind!

What are your thoughts on Heartstopper Volume 3?
Have you read any of the other Heartstopper books?

 

 

Books Fandom

My Top 8 Favourite YA Book Covers

Before we even read a book, we see book covers.

Sometimes you get a simple version to announce that the book will be published. Sometimes you get the gorgeous cover straight away (Alice Oseman is amazing for this!). Other times you’ll get a book that gets a new cover for their hardback or an update for the paperback! The amount of book covers that Harry Potter has had is crazy but I still adore all of them!

This post has been inspired by one of my favourite booktubers, HaileyInBookland. She spoke about being a book collector in her last vlog and you should see her Alice In Wonderland collection!

I have to admit that book covers are one of the big reasons for me to pick up a book and look at the synopsis. I’m a visual kind of person so colour, illustrations and gorgeous font always gets my attention. You’ll be surprised to see that I don’t have any of the Potter books on my list. It isn’t that I don’t love all of the covers but these ones really had me captivated!

book covers

Proud

If you’ve been a follower of my blog for a while then you won’t be surprised to see a couple of LGBTQ+ choices! The pride colours are some of my favourite to see on a cover! They’re just so vibrant and speak volumes on behalf of people who can’t!

What I loved about this particular design, other than the colours, is the fist in the air! It

That to me signifies a person who is celebrating who they are, determined to get their voice across and just has a strong personality! I could be wrong but that’s how it makes me feel!

The Places I’ve Cried In Public (Holly Bourne)

This book is one that definitely was picked because of the cover!

I mean…look at the design!! It looks so wistful! A person sitting on a bench by themselves and a tree with fallen leaves. It’s only when you see the smudge stain from a tear falling onto ink that you get the connection to the story. I know I related to the title when I saw it mentioned on Holly Bourne’s Twitter. I can think of quite a few times when I’ve publically cried about something.

Whether it be from bullying (crying in the school corridor), losing my mum (crying in the nursing home) or being told bad news (crying on the back seat of a bus).

Chasing the Stars (Malorie Blackman)

I’ve been a big fan of Malorie’s ever since I discovered her through ‘Pig Heart Boy’. We were taught about people with differences and bullying through this book and I was always really excited to hear another chapter. After that, I tried to follow a bunch of her other books especially Noughts & Crosses and Chasing the Stars.

Even though I was overly sold on this particular book, I still loved its cover!

The gorgeous pastel colours all blurred, the gold background for the title that reminds me of a supernova and the lines going in circle that also remind me of when you need shooting stars! There is probably a better description of the cover (where are my astrophysicists?) but that’s as much as my mind stretches!

The Raven King (Maggie Stiefvater)

I’ll be honest and admit that I’d never heard of Maggie and her books before today. It wasn’t until I spotted her book covers on the Waterstones website that my interest was piqued.

The reason why this cover is on my list out of the ones I could have chosen should be pretty obvious.

Any guesses?

It looks like Harry’s stag patronus!! The stunning illustration of a stag with blue paintstrokes within it surrounded by ravens is something I would for certain put on my wall. It’s simple yet full of so much detail! I really wish I knew who created this cover so I can fangirl over them! I’ve now got the Raven Cycle on my TBR list to check out so I’ll let you know if I love!

Girl Hearts Girl (Lucy Sutcliffe)

LGBTQ+ cover number 2!

Believe me, my whole list would have been full of books with these covers but I had to kind of draw a line. Don’t worry…I’ll be allowing my little heart to run free for Valentine’s Day! If you have any other books in their genre, I’d love to hear some recommendations! I always want to read more!

This book, like Proud, is based on the personal experiences of someone in the community and that is Lucy. She writes about her experiences of discovering she was gay at 14, trying to figure out where to go next and then meeting her girlfriend Kaelyn. This broke and then glued my heart together when I read!

I already said that I loved the rainbow colours but I also love that blocks of colour are plane tickets! They have little hearts, the London skyline, two girl icons and are just adorable!! It’s amazing when little details are added to the cover and tell you the visual story.

The Paper & Hearts Society (Lucy Powrie)

If you haven’t read Lucy’s debut novel, then it’s a must!! It has such an amazing group of characters and, if you read it now, then you’ll be ready for its sequel ‘Read with Pride’ coming out in May!!

Does it have a Pride link to it?

*shuffles* Maybe.

Okay, yes!! I like what I like and proud of that! Haha!

What I love about Paper & Hearts Society is the sheer vibrance of the cover!! As well as being a brilliant bright yellow (my Hufflepuff side was so happy!), it also had little stars and hearts and a young girl sitting on a bench with a pile of books next to her.

This is me in book cover form!!

Autoboyography (Christina Lauren)

Okay, this list should really be titled ‘My Top 8 Favourite LGBTQ+ Book Covers’ because here is another one!

The main character, Tanner, is bisexual so wooo for the bi community!!

Unless you knew what colour were on the bi flag (they’re pink, purple and blue), then you might see some of the cleverness of the cover. It’s obviously upside down but I see the colours there as well as the gorgeous night’s sky! It’s a gorge blending of the colours and the two characters seemingly seem to be standing on a book and a mountain! That’s how it looks to me!

Utah has a lot of snowy mountains, right? I watch ThisIsHowWeBingham and they show lots of snowy mountains on their vlogs!

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

I had to finish this post with Pride and Prejudice!

I might be bias about this cover since I don’t live all that far away from Chatsworth House and there it is on here, but I do have other reasons for loving this version. It catches the romance of the story with the night’s sky and Elizabeth Bennet with Mr Darcy, but it also shows her sass!

She has her back to him and is too busy with her book! That is the fiesty Lizzy we know!

Puffin always seems to make the most beautiful designs so I’m not surprised that I added one of their classics!

What book covers have you fallen in love with?

Books

Books I’ll Be Reading Through February

readingPhoto by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Hello there, February! Who else thought that January dragged on for way too long? I know I did and I’m glad that we have a new month ahead of us. Since it’s February I get to share with you some of the books that I’m planning on reading. I didn’t do too well last month but, if I read any book, it’s a win!

Reading isn’t meant to be a chore.

Read when you feel you can.

I’m planning on reading around 5 books, depending on my mental health. That always seems to dictate whether I have the energy to read or not.

Orion Lost (Alastair Chisholm)

There was a ship in space, lost.

The transport ship Orion is four months out of earth when catastrophe strikes – leaving the
ship and everyone on board stranded in deep space.

Suddenly it’s up to thirteen-year-old Beth and her friends to navigate through treacherous and
uncharted territory to reach safety. But a heavily-damaged ship, space pirates, a mysterious
alien species, and an artificial intelligence that Beth doesn’t know if she can trust means that
getting home has never been so difficult.

I’d never heard of Alastair before but the front cover of this book really caught my attention. It reminded me a little of Ender’s Game meets Wizard of Oz! I know that’s a weird combo but the bright green had me thinking it! I also love that it has space pirates and aliens! The Whovian in me is really looking forward to reading this!

One Of Us Is Lying (Karen M. McManus)

Five students walk into detention.

Only four leave alive.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond. Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks of her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.

Woooow! This synopsis really hits you and this is before you’ve even started reading the book! I don’t usually read crime YA books because they don’t tend to be my thing, but this really got my interest. Another combo feeling: The Breakfast Club meets Riverdale! You’ve got an interesting bunch of characters and you literally won’t know who the murderer is until you read.

Karen, I’m ready to be confused and on the edge of my seat!

One Of Us Is Next (Karen M. McManus)

Another year.

Another drama.

A whole new set of rules…

Bayview High is just about recovered from the death of gossip king Simon Kelleher a year ago. Now there’s a new copycat in town who isn’t ready to forget him just yet.

A school-wide game of Truth or Dare seems fun, right?

But this game is lethal. Choosing the truth may reveal your darkest secrets, accepting the dare could be dangerous, even fatal. The teenagers of Bayview must work together once again to find the culprit, before it’s too late…

You guessed it. This is the sequel ‘One Of Us Is Lying’ that I mentioned above. This only came out last month and I figured that, if I was going to read the first book, it would make sense to get the second book too. Unlike the first, this sounds a little more vague. You don’t get so much of an idea of what could happen but that tends to make a book more fun reading. It’s fun to think!

Maybe that’s why I love Sherlock! Haha!

The Star Outside My Window (Onjali Q. Rauf)

Following the disappearance of her mum, 10-year-old Aniyah suddenly finds herself living in foster care. With her life in disarray, she knows just one thing for sure: her mum isn’t gone for ever. Because people with the brightest hearts never truly leave. They become stars.

So when a new star is spotted acting strangely in the sky, Aniyah is sure it’s her mum, and she embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to make sure everyone else knows too — an adventure that involves breaking into the Royal Observatory of London, a mischievous scurry of squirrels and the biggest star in Hollywood…

I have adored Onjali Rauf’s writing ever since I read The Boy At The Back Of The Class. She has such a way of chatting about difficult subjects that other authors might not write about. I’ve heard that this book looks at domestic violence and, though it might be hard to read about, I think it’s important for children to understand that domestic violence by anyone is not right.

This sounds like it will still be a touching read and I can’t wait to see what journey Aniyah goes on.

The Flat Share (Beth O’Leary)

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

Wow.

I have to admit that this sounds a little like a plot to a fanfiction but I love it!! The idea of sharing the same home and bed but never meeting is such a fun idea! Kind of wonder how they came up with this idea of sharing a flat without having met. That would seriously have me on the friend side of things questioning their sanity, but I’m intrigued!

Let’s see what happen these two! I’m predicting that they eventually meet and fall in love!

What books are you planning on reading this month?

 

Lifestyle

10 Sustainable Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas For Her

It’s almost that time of year that you either dread or look forward to and that is Valentine’s Day! I wish life could be as easy for single people since you usually feel a little left out.

Since last year I’ve really found myself thinking. I’ve been reading Greta’s book and it really gets you thinking! There are so many of my favourite bloggers and vloggers who are giving great advice to be more sustainable. My favourite definitely has to be Niomi Smart.

It got me wondering whether I could come up with a gift guide with a difference. It would still be romantic and everything but you would be helping the planet too! I never realised that there were so many easy ways to be sustainable in your life. You could get bamboo straws, glass eco travel cups and more!

Sustainable Valentine's Day

Josephine Thomas Soy Candle | La Aquarelle Eco Sleep Mask | Haoma Organic Perfume | Biodegradable iPhone Case | Kantha Connection Bracelet: Unity, Strength, Hope, Energy, Serenity and Compassion | OneNine5 Wash Bag | Olivia Burton Snowglobe Vegan Watch

You wouldn’t believe that that the pieces in my gift guide were great for the environment! I never realised that big brands such as Olivia Burton had vegan watches so that was a brill find! I hope that these give someone an idea on what to buy their loved one this Valentine’s Day!

I’ll be your eco cupid! Haha!

Josephine Thomas Soy Candle

I first heard about Wearth while reading Vogue and I loved the ethos behind them!

When I think about Valentine’s Day, I immediately think about candles. They’re romantic, right? You see in films a room with lots of candles or a prepared bubble bath. This Josephine Thomas candle caught my eye! It’s rose gold (SO PRETTY!! I kind of have a thing for rose gold items!), it’s a handmade candle with natural soy wax, essential oils and 100% cotton wick!

The fact that it’s made with natural ingredients in the UK and is plastic free make it the perfect candle!

La Aquarelle Organic Sleep Mask

The best gift you can give your wife/girlfriend in 2020?

Sleep!

If it was possible to marry my bed, I would do it in a heartbeat! I might have insomnia but I still love my sleep. Something popular I’ve seen with friends are sleep masks. I’ve heard that they’re great to make everything super dark and relaxing. According to the site, the mask has a choice of 2 natural fabrics: organic cotton jersey or bamboo silk for people with sensitive skin!

Haoma Organic Perfume

Every time I see a woman’s gift guide, there is always a mention of perfume somewhere. Not all the time but there is something special about having a gorgeous perfume. Even the perfume bottle makes a fancy little decoration for your room/bookcase!

The perfume is made from cruelty-free ingredients in a glass bottle (begone plastic!!) and comes in a bunch of fun scents such as:

  • Ylang Ylang
  • Lavender
  • Orange
  • Frankincense & Myrrh

Biodegradable iPhone 11 Pro Case

One thing that we always have in our hands at all times is our phone!

You only have to look around you when you’re out to see someone with their phone. Since that’s the case, some people are a little clumsy and end up breaking the screen. I’ve managed to avoid that (touch wood) but I have to have a case just in case. It protects and also looks fun!

What I find incredible about these particular iPhone cases is that they are not only made of bamboo straw but PBAT bioplastic! That means you’ll be able to compost it at home! Now that’s sustainable at its very best!

You can get different cases depending on what iPhone you have.

Kantha Connection Bracelets

You can blame Jenny (JennyinNeverland) for my interest in these.

She chats a lot about yoga and crystals on her blog and that kind of thinking seemed like an amazing gift to have. I saw these bracelets and the concept behind them is inspiring. The bracelets are sustainably handmade by a group of women in India to improve lives through fair trade.

The beads are made from recycled saris and dhoti scraps. Knowing that you are supporting these women makes my heart feel warm. You can get different bracelets with different attributes so have fun!

OneNine5 Wash Bag

I always saw a washbag as a vintage idea. That could be because I hardly ever travel anywhere so never need to use one. I’ve started looking into getting one though after seeing one of my favourite travel youtubers, FlyWithStella, chatting about hers. It’s amazing how you get influenced by people! I’m doomed! Haha!

The washbag itself is made with an 100% recycled plastic lining. It comes with a detachable airport bag so you don’t have to have single-use plastics! When you’re done with the liquids bag, you can post back to OneNine5 and they’ll recycle it!

Olivia Burton Vegan Watch

The final sustainable gift you could buy for your girlfriend/wife/significant other is this gorgeous Olivia Burton watch. I’ve always wanted one of these watches because they look amazing! All of the designs seem elegant and luxurious. The design on this particular watch is adorable with the deer and it automatically made me think of Snape’s patronus.

Potter on the brain at all times!

The strap on the watch is vegan so score!

What sustainable gifts would you love to get on Valentine’s Day?

sustainable valentines day gift