Sunday, 5 October 2014

25 Things I Love About Autumn

Well, after a long and wakeful night I'm so pleased to announce that my cousin has had her baby. I cant wait for a big cuddle, she is beautiful. It feels like we've all been waiting for this day for so long and now it's finally here I don't know what to do with myself!

It is a decidedly chilly morning so, after retreating back under my duvet with a cuppa, I thought I'd write a good old list of all the things I love about Autumn! Brr, pass me those slipper socks.

1) Novelty bobble hats - The cuter the better, if they're sporting any woodland animals then that's bonus points!

2) Pumpkins - After watching this hilarious video, I can solemnly say that I am not addicted to Pumpkin Spice Lattes (okay, maybe just a little bit!) but is there anything that says Autumn more than the little orange veggies? And they make a delicious soup too!

3) Woodland Animal Prints - Foxes, owls, I love them all! And the trend is supposed to stay strong throughout 2015 which makes me rather happy.

4) Warming Home Cooking - Something to warm hungry tummies after a long day just makes everything seem so cosy.

5) Halloween - An excuse to dress up like a loon and party hard. Well, if your idea of partying is making some of these jelly worms then come on down!

6) Autumnal Colours - Oranges, reds, browns, matching the cruncy leaves scattered on the floor is always a plus in my book.

7) Crisp Mornings - I think this is one of my top favourite Autumn moments! Being able to see your breath in the morning is so exciting.

8) Bonfire Night - My parents got married on the 5th of November so we always have a special little gathering on bonfire night. Fireworks, sparklers and hot dogs, what more do you need?

9) Sloe Gin - No explanation needed surely??

10) Christmas Planning - It's my favourite time of the year and when the nights start drawing in it's a signal for me to start those prezzie lists.

11) Gigantic Mugs - Filled with tea, coffee, mulled wine, wrapping your hands around a big steaming mug seems to melt many troubles away.

12) Rugby Season - Beefy men in shorts and patriotism, beautiful.

13) Open Fires - Cliche I know but I don't care one bit. Roaring flames, crackling logs and the smell of wood smoke makes me feel instantly Christmassy.

14) Slipper Socks - Another one that needs no explanation, a warm woolly, foot hug.

15) Wood smoke - Already touched upon this but the smell of wood smoke needs it's own special mention, delicious.

16) Gingerbread Lattes - Or any latte to be honest, gingerbread ones make me feel extra snuggly though.

17) Wearing Layers - I'm a very hot person so Summer is usually sweltering for me! It's nice to have minimal clothes on for a while but once Autumn comes around and I can get out the leg warmers and boots then I'm chuffed.

18) Family Duvet Days - Closing the curtains, bringing our duvets into the living room and watching a proper family film makes those wet days a little special.

19) Crocheting Afgans Without Overheating - Crocheters will feel my pain here. It's so annoying to be draped in a wooly blanket and sweating buckets during the warmer months.

20) Awesome TV - Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, it seems that all the good telly starts in Autumn.

21) Rosy Cheeks - Again, a little bit cliche but I love coming back from a walk with the dogs with windswept hair, rosy cheeks and massive smiles.

22) Harvest Festival - I'm not a 'churchy' person but I love harvest festival and try to attend the service in our tiny family church most years. Everything always looks so beautiful with all of the flower, fruit and vegetable decorations.

23) Scented Candles - Yes, 'Beach Flowers' and 'Garden Sweet Pea' are lovely but bring on the 'Apple Pumpkin' and 'Christmas Cookie' to warm a cold evening.

24) Movember - Mustachioed men? Fine by me!

25) Birthdays - Autumn is the time for, not only my lovely Mum's birthday but now also my beautiful niece Lily. We are going to have so much fun over the next few years.

Have a peep at my Autumn board on Pinterest here.

Muchos love,

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Saturday, 9 August 2014


Shaz, me and Millie enjoying Pembrokeshire
Well, I'm home. I've been home for two weeks and it is absolutely lush! I have also done pretty much nothing during those two weeks, and enjoyed every last second of it.

Moving out and the journey home went really well. My mum and step dad came to pick me up in their van so we got all my stuff in easily, although it seemed to have bred. I brought home twice as much as I went up there with I'm sure. We made really good time coming back to Pembrokeshire and although it was very cosy with all three of us in the front of the van, it all went smoothly. My room here was tiny, I could fit in a single bed, a chest of drawers and that was about it so I moved into the office. My mum had made out that it was a bit of a cave and that they'd only had time to bring my bed down but when I came home they'd completely set out my room with furniture and some of my knick knacks which were here. It was such a surprise and really lovely.

I have so enjoyed being back with my family and getting back into the routine of family life. I'm still in holiday mode really but it's just so nice to be back. Leaving the children was hard. They gave me a beautiful photo of the two of them in a lovely frame and a card which my boss had written some really lovely things in. We both cried in Carluccio's, haha! I was sad to be leaving them as they're wonderful, funny, clever children but I'm looking forward to keeping in touch with them and visiting them. It was the right time for them but most importantly for myself. It's very difficult as a nanny to think of yourself sometimes, I had such a close bond with them as I'd looked after them for two and a half years but this has been the right thing for all of us.

I've started Slimming World. It's going well, I'm about four days into it and I'm feeling really motivated. I'm hoping to do a full post on my reasons for going and how I'm finding it so keep a look out for that. I have weigh-in on Tuesday evening so I'll keep you updated.

I volunteered with SPAN arts, they were hosting an open air theatre performance and I helped wtih the catering. I really enjoyed it, it was something a bit different and I got to meet new people. My best friend works for them so I got to meet a few of her workmates and they were lovely, we're all going on a night out together soon which will be great. I was also surrounded by delicious looking cakes all night and not a single morsel passed my lips so I was pretty pleased with myself.

I've done lots of crochet since coming home. I've finally finished the blanket for my niece and I'm really pleased with it. I've done a rainbow colour scheme and it's really bright and fun. I can't wait to see her all wrapped up in it.

I've also been enjoying getting out with the dogs to the beach. There were many times in London when I just wanted to go to the seaside so I was determined to do it more now that I'm home. We have an Alaskan Malamute (Millie) and a Siberian Husky (Shaz) and they've been loving it too. The trouble is, in Pembrokeshire a lot of the beaches are closed for dogs during the summer months but our local beach, Amroth, allows dogs on part of it and we went to Newgale today which I'm going to write a full about about. It is so good to get out and appreciate this beautiful world we live in. My friend bought me a Wales travel guide as a leaving preseint! Such a good gift. I've already gone through it and marked all the things I'm hoping to do, I'm determined to visit more places locally.

Well, I think that's all for now! Sorry if this post is a bit 'me me me', I'll have something more interesting for you next time I hope! The dogs are both fast asleep so I may join them for half an hour! It feels very decadent to have a snooze in the day.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

My Week

Well, it's been my last weekend as a Londoner! It's been a lovely, relaxing weekend. Yesterday I spent the day with a friend, S, in Central London, it was so hot. I had tickets for The Pajama Game (no, I haven't misspelled it, I think it's an American spelling) for my birthday from my boss so S and I went to that in Shaftesbury Theatre. It was really brilliant, I'll post a full review soon. Then we had dinner in Bella Italia which was delicious but I couldn't really enjoy it because it was sweltering in there.

Today I've just been pottering around my room, finishing off the last of the packing and I popped into town to do my last Primark shop for a while, the closest Primarni to home is about an hours drive away so we go there on special occasions haha! I feel pretty organised which is worrying me a bit. I was so stressed last weekend thinking about all the things I needed to do but I seem to be nearly finished. I feel like I've forgotten something.

So, this will be my last week with the monkeys (I'm a nanny for twins who were three the other week, when did that happen?). I'm excited about going home but I'm going to miss them terribly. I really hope we stay in contact. We're just going to have a really fun week with lots of laughter as usual. They really have grown into wonderful, funny, kind individuals. They are very special.

Six sleeps until I'm back in Wales!! Eeeeeee!

Friday, 18 July 2014

New Beginnings

Okay, so you may have noticed (actually, you probably haven't, I don't want to seem big headed haha!) that I have not been very regular with my blog posts since Christmas. I am really annoyed at myself for falling out of the habit of blogging because it's something which I enjoy so much and I love being part of this community. I've been wanting to write a post for a while but I wanted everything to be finalised before saying anything as it means that this blog may change a bit.

I'm moving back to Wales. I will no longer be a London nanny but a Pembrokeshire....something!! I don't have a job to go back to but I am chilled out and relaxed (more about that later) and know that it will be alright in the end.

I've made some amazing friends whilst being up here, without whom I would never have been able to stay for two and a half years. They've been so supportive and helpful, a lot of the time without even realising it, and for that I am truly, truly grateful. I've missed my family so much and my friends from back home too. It was very strange for me to come from a community where everyone knows each other and where I was hardly ever alone to a place which seems so impersonal at times. I've really enjoyed my time up here, it has helped me grow in ways I never thought possible, has made me so much more confident and a little bit more sure of what I want in life. I cannot wait to get home to put all my wishes into action.

I had a card reading recently, not tarot but cards pretty similar to angel cards, and it was such an uplifting experience. I was basically told not to worry, to rest and relax, enjoy being home with my loved ones and back in my base. That what I want will come. So that is why I'm not stressed about finding work or trying to do so much that my mind is running around in circles and I never actually acheive anything. I am excited for this 'new beginning' of sorts and look forward to what the next few months have in store for me.

So, this blog. I suppose it won't really change that much. There'll be less posts about London life but I haven't really posted much of that sort of thing anyway. I will hopefully have more time for crafting so will be writing posts about that and I'd like to keep up with the book reviews and author interviews as they are often my favourite posts to write.

Pembrokeshire National Coast (Source)
I'd also like to explore Pembrokeshire and Wales more. I feel incredibly guilty that I haven't seen many of the most beautiful sights in my home country, some of which are a mere thirty minute drive away from my home. I am going to be a tourist in my birthplace and hopefully share with you some of the beautiful places Wales has to offer.

I am also going to be joining Slimming World and exercising. I am a rather large gal and I want to change that. I'll write a full post about that soon but I want to do this for me. I'm going to start putting myself and my family first more often, we deserve it. Happiness is priceless.

So I would like to thank all of you who are still folowing me for not deleting me, and those new followers I've had recently. You'll be seeing more of me I hope and I'm pretty damn excited about it all!

Thanks for listening to/reading my ramblings. I hope they made some sense!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Les Miserables - Review

The lights dim and the first few iconic bars of 'Look Down' blare from the speakers, travelling from the band below. There isn't a free seat in the house and people are standing in a line at the back to watch the performance. I've watched the film of Les Miserables several times, the soundtrack is one of my most played albums, I thought that I knew what to expect, I thought that I had already been fully affected by the storylines and emotions in the script. I was wrong.

One of the first things which I noticed about the play was that the songs are slightly different to the ones featured in the film. Not dramatically, just the rhythm of the singing or the way in which some of the phrases were assembled, some of the sentences had been swapped around. I thought that this was going to be a problem, that the unfamiliarity of the songs would somehow taint my enjoyment of the show. It's safe to say that didn't happen.

Another very big difference about the show in contrast to the film is that the actors on the stage could actually sing. Now, I'm not dismissing Hugh Jackman's, Russell Crowe's or anybody else's performance in the film, I thought that they portrayed the characters brilliantly but some of them didn't have the strongest voices. In the play the actor's voices sounded flawless, with such power and empathy it was amazing.

The set changes were done so quickly and quietly that often I didn't notice what was going on until they had already been changed or rearranged. In the middle of the stage a large circle was set into the floor which could rotate, this allowed the scenery to change, for us to have a different perspective of certain scenes and for characters to change their appearances quite often without the play being held up or becoming disjointed.

All of the actors were amazing as I've mentioned before and their voices were phenomenal. There were quite a few occasions of goosebumps and shivers I can tell you, and many tears were shed too! I'm just going to quickly touch on the actors who I particularly enjoyed watching, which may be a long list because they were all so talented.

Carrie Hope Fletcher plays Eponine and she was amazing. Her performance was brilliant and tears were streaming down my face when she sang 'On My Own' and 'Little Fall of Rain' which were, in my opinion, the most emotive songs of the show. I thought the effort and finesse put in by Carrie was amazing and inspiring. She also has a very popular personal YouTube channel ItsWayPastMyBedTime with some great videos including her own Cup Song Mash Up which is genius. I am wondering how she tamed her gorgeous hair enough to fit under the cap during the barricade scenes though!!

Thenadier and Madame Thenadier, played by Cameron Blakely and Wendy Ferguson, were hilarious. Their presence, even in a serious scene, really brought some comic relief to a play which, without it, could be rather overwhelming and depressing. Their performance and timing was spot-on and they had the whole audience laughing several times.

Gavroche, the little cheeky chappy who also has some brilliant one liners, was played by Tom Burgering. He had confidence and swagger which fit Gavroche perfectly and his voice was also amazing for such a young person. I have found out through research for this post that Gavroche is actually Eponine's younger brother and the Thenadiers' son which really surprised me.

Another actress who I felt deserved a mention is Ne-Young Jeon who played Fantine. She is a Korean singer and actress who was born in Holland but her accent was impeccable, I would never have guessed that she was not British. Her protrayal of Fantine, especially during her 'protitute times' was excellent. She didn't over dramatise or overact but you knew exactly what was happening to her. Her love for Cosette and determination to help her shone throughout her performance and when she sang 'I Dreamed A Dream' it was really heartfelt and harrowing.

Overall I absolutely loved the performance, I could go and watch it again straight away and it is a performance which I will hopefully see a number of times in the future. And the soundtrack is still a regular favourite of mine. I think the next step in my Les Miserables obsession will be to actually read Victor Hugo's book Les Miserables.

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Monday, 12 May 2014

To Love Another Person Is To See The Face Of God.

My Mum came up last week which was brilliant. I met her after work onThurday and we went for dinner in a lovely local Italian restaurant called Little Italy. The food was delicious and I'd never seen such an enormous pile of pasta, my favourite.

On Friday she met me at work and spent some time with the children I look after. She bought them a comic each from the newsagents then we walked to the park for a quick go on the swings. The children were great, chatting away with her. We all had a lovely time.

We went straight to the hotel after I finished work. We were staying in the Eurotraveller Hotel which I cannot commend highly enough. It was spotlessly clean, had a hot shower and a blissfully comfy bed, what more could we have needed? We bought a picnic on our way to the hotel and ate it on the bed in our pyjamas. Sharing a bottle of wine, some olives and salad and chatting for a few hours is what I love most about when we spend time together. I love how our relationship has evolved as we've grown older into one of best friends rather than just mother and daughter.

The next day we were up and out of our room quite early and made our way to Camden. I've been there a few times now and I think it might be one of my favourite places in London. When I'm there I just want to wear Doc Martins and get a facial piercing and drink beer with a shisha like all the cool kids who spend their time there. It was my Mum's first time there and she loved it, she's definitely a convert.

We went round the markets and, to be frank, there is a lot of shit there. There are quite a few things which you see over and over again, the same clothes, the same handbags, crappy phone cases and counterfeit 'designer' goods, but if you're prepared to look past all the rubbish and dig a little deeper you can really find some gems. The stalls with really individual items that you've never seen before. I bought a few bits and bobs, a Harry Potter picture which i thought was really unusual (anything with Harry Potter will usually get my attention!!), a VW Camper photo on owl print travel holdall and a sketch of the Southbank.

My favourite type of stalls are the ethnic stores, the smokey dens filled with the smell of incense, beautiful fabrics and gleaming wood. From these stalls i bought two wall hangings and a notebook. I have a soft spot for notebooks and when I looked inside it contained the most beautiful handmade paper, so I added it to my ever growing collection. Plus, it was only £3 so I couldnt say no could I?!

That evening, and the main reason for my Mum's stay, we went to see Les Miserables in the theatre. I'll write a full review soon but I will say now that it was phenomenal. Absolutely breathtaking.

On Sunday we got up a bit later, not much because check-out was at 10am, boo! We pretty much drank coffee, people watched and chatted until it was time for her to get the train back to Wales. We talk for hours when we're together, I haven't got a clue what we find to talk about but the only time we stop is when we're asleep.

So all-in-all it was a brilliant weekend. Tiring and busy but so much fun, and I could go see Les Mis again tomorrow!

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Monday, 10 March 2014

Review - Out Of The Ashes by Michael Morpurgo


This review contains spoilers.

I love Michael Morpurgo's writing, I think his stories are beautiful and so well crafted. After enjoying his classic War Horse so much, and remembering the Butterfly Lion from when I was a child (and seeing both in the theatre) I vowed to read more of his novels. I started with Out of the Ashes, a story about foot and mouth disease and the impact it has on a Devon community. I remember the outbreak so vividly, I can't believe it was thirteen years ago. Something which had such an enormous impact on farmers and the communities surrounding them has been sympathetically and accurately documented in this book.

Amazon Description - This story is not a story at all. It all happened. On New Year's Day Becky Morley begins to write her diary. By March, her world has changed for ever. Foot-and-mouth disease breaks out on a pig farm hundreds of miles from the Morleys' Devon home, but soon the nightmare is a few fields away. Local sheep are infected and every animal is destroyed. Will the Morleys' flock be next? Will their pedigree dairy herd, the sows with their piglets, and Little Josh, Becky's hand-reared lamb, survive? Or will they be slaughtered too? The waiting and hoping is the most agonizing experience of Becky's life . . .

This is obviously a children's book so I read it in less than an hour but it was really harrowing and thought provoking. The description of the fear and panic that people felt at the beginning of the outbreak was so accurate and Morpurgo really captured the dread which gripped the countryside at this time. When the animals were being put down, there was such a sense of dispair. Farmer's whole livelyhoods were destroyed, herds which they may have been breeding for many years and sometimes generations were just killed. My blood went cold when reading it, it was so clinical and incredibly sad.

Becky's father develops depression after all his animals are killed. I like that Morpurgo tackled this issue because it wasn't all done and dusted once the corpses had been burned. Farmers feel an incredible responsibility towards their animals and to see them all being slaughtered just because of the disease (a very dangerous disease, I understand that) must have been terrible. I also feel like children's books, for older children anyway, should lightly address issues like mental health. These things affect many children and their parents or family but they don't know who to talk to about it or what to do. It also shows the children that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, there is a life after devastation. There were illustrations in the book, some which were pretty sad, but they did break up the intensity of the story which would be good for younger readers.

Not one of Morpurgo's more romantic novels but a thought-provoking, realistic on none the less.

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Dogs and Babies.

I deliberated with myself a lot over whether to write this post. I don't intend it to be a bashing of the parents or families of children who have been seriously injured or killed by dogs because lets face it, they've probably been punished enough. It's just a matter which has been weighing on my mind for the last couple of days and I wanted to defend these so called 'dangerous' dogs. I hope it doesn't turn into a massive incoherent rant but it's a matter which is very close to my heart.

Yesterday in Pontyberem, Wales, a six day old baby was reportedly killed by her family's pet, an Alaskan Malamute. You can read the full story here. How many times does this have to happen for people to wake up and realise that a child, alone and unsupervised, with a dog just isn't a good mix? I would never fully trust any dog with a child, they are animals.

Alaskan Malamutes 'should be supervised around unfamiliar small animals, as they have a strong prey instinct'. Why would you leave an animal which is described like that around a young baby? Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love dogs. I cannot wait to be in a situation where I can get one of my own and it will most definitely be a large and widely regarded 'dangerous' breed. But even if i got a Jack Russell I wouldn't be leaving it alone with my child.

My mum has an Alaskan Malamute and a Siberian Husky and I can relate to the quote about them having a strong prey instinct. They are both brilliant dogs, so soft and gentle with us and they have really loving, laid back temperaments, but there is no way in hell I would ever let them be around children alone. I have seen them run after and pluck a seagull from the sky, thrust their heads into a hedge and come out with a bird between their jaws. I don't encourage it, obviously, but I can't punish them for it, they're animals and it's their nature. They had to survive for many years by hunting for their prey. Just because humans have decided that we like their company doesn't mean that we can change what's been hardwired into them by hundreds of thousands of years of evolution.

Our childhood dog was a Staffordshire Bull Terrier mix. He was the best dog ever. That's the only way I can describe him. The best dog. Staffies are immensely protective and in tune to their owners emotions, a soppier breed of dog you'd be hard pressed to find, but they are strong. More people every year are hospitalised because of Labrador bites than bites from a Staffordshire Bull Terrier but it is not sensationalised in the news because people aren't often killed by Labradors. A Labrador's instinct is to go for the arms and legs, they will bite and let go. A Staffy, with jaws that could bend steel, will instinctively go for the face and body and they do not let go. Also, bad people get Staffies. They think of them as a status symbol, a dog to make them look 'hard'. This is why there are so many Staffies in rehoming shelters, because people buy them thinking they're a dangerous breed then realise that they are soft as anything. I know there are exceptions, I am widely generalising, but on the most part if a dog has good owners then it will be a good dog.

People forget that these are wild animals which are living in their homes. Huskys and Malamutes are the purest breed of dog there is, the closest to the wolf, so surely they have some lasting instincts that make them wild and untameable? People hit, hurt and shout at these animals forgetting that the dog could quite easily kill them if it chose. People leave their children alone with these animals, forgetting that an elbow in the wrong place when the kids are climbing all over the dog or the kids taking food away from it could make it snap, bite, instinctively protect itself or it's prey. They are animals.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

1984 Theatre Review

I read George Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty-Four as part of my English A-level in college and I loved it. It seemed to eerily reflect our current society, a text which really was before it's time. I've re-read the book many times since I studied it and I enjoy it more and more every time. It also inspired me to read some of Orwell's other well know classics. Animal Farm is one of my all time favourite books, so depressing and clever. How someone can describe Britain's social state through animals so accurately is beyond me. George Orwell was such an impressive, brilliant writer.

When I saw that a stage version was coming to Richmond Theatre I was so excited and I booked tickets straight away. I couldn't imagine how the book could be transferred to the stage but I think they did it well.

Description from ATG's website :- April, 1984. 13:00. Comrade 6079, Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary, and falls in love. But Big Brother is watching him - and the door to Room 101 can swing open in the blink of an eye.
Its ideas have become our ideas, and Orwell's fiction is often said to be our reality. The definitive book of the 20th century is re-examined in a radical new staging exploring surveillance, identity and how thinking you can fly might actually be the first step to flying. 
This new major production explores the world inside Winston Smith's head, as well as the world without, and catches the euphoria and bliss buried deep underneath the cold face of Big Brother. In an age of mass surveillance, ‘total’ policing and GPS tracking, 1984 is as relevant now as it ever was.
I really enjoyed how they had adapted it for the stage. The set changed very subtely, using mainly music and lighting, but you knew what was going on. Some of the actors would wheel pieces of scenery to a different position and that would mean that the stage was now a different place, the Ministry's cafeteria or the second hand shop. The actors also played two or three different characters but it wasn't as confusing as I would have imagined, I could follow the story. The back room of the second hand shop, Winston's secret room, was set off stage. We saw Winston and Julia via a large TV screen at the top of the set. The cameras were placed quite abstractly so it was quite difficult to see the whole room but the overall effect was interesting, very different.

When Winston was taken to Room 101, he was on a chair in the middle of the stage with tarpaulin all around him. There were about eight surgeons around the stage and O'Brien. O'Brien would ask Winston a question and if his answer was 'wrong' the surgeons would descend upon Winston, the lights would strobe, then it would cut to blackout as all we could hear were Winston's screams. When the lights came back up, Winston would have blood on him, his fingers, his mouth, because he was being tortured. It was a really tense atmosphere.

If I hadn't read the book before-hand then I'm not sure how much of the play I would have understood. Because I already had a background knowledge of the story I could fill any gaps within the plot myself but I'm not sure how someone who hadn't already read it would fare. One of Orwell's best features in his writing, in my opinion, is his description. There's one part in the book which I have to skip because the description makes me feel so sick. I felt like there were a few details missed out of the play, details which make the book brilliant, but the play was only an hour and forty minutes long so there is only so much they can include I suppose.

Also, there was no interval. I know it's not a very long time but the story is extremely intense. I could have done with a break around an hour in.

Overall I really enjoyed it. It was interesting to see a different adaptation of a classic and well-loved book and it must have been hard to fit it onto a stage. A great night.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

I'm Still Here!

As Bloglovin' seems to enjoy reminding me, I haven't written a blog post for 39 days. This is bad. One of my New Year's resolutions was to blog more and that obviously hasn't come to fruition. I'm starting to post again regularly from this week, sometimes it takes a break to realise how much you enjoy something. I've taken a couple of these breaks since starting this blog not even a year ago, terrible, but I keep being drawn back. I miss it. So here I am, apologising profusely and promising much more regular posts from now on.

I've reached 160 followers! Wow, thank you so much. To all my new followers, I will be much more active on here in future. I don't usually leave such big gaps between posts. I'll also be following you all back very soon and I look forward to reading everything you have to write.

I'm part of the 2014 Blogger Challenge and I've missed a few of those posts but I'm hoping to catch up on them and start a fresh.

Currently Reading :-
On My Bookshelf :-
Source Source Source

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Review - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

by Markus Zusak

I really like reading books before watching the film adaptation. I like to be able to form ideas about situations and characters in my head first before being shown on a screen. I have also found that some books are absolutely murdered when turned into a film so I like to discover them in the way the author intended first. I hadn't heard much about this book before, I'd heard the title but I knew nothing of the story. When I heard that it was being turned into a film I looked it up on Amazon, read the blurb and wondered why the hell I hadn't read it yet. So I bought it. I read it. I LOVED it.

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.
It's a small story, about:
a girl
an accordionist
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.

I wouldn't say that I enjoy reading books about the Holocaust and World War II but I do find them interesting and I have read quite a few, fiction and non-fiction, this one is so different! At first I didn't like that the story is narrated by death. I thought that it was quite impersonal and the writing style took a little while to get used to. After a couple of chapters however, I was hooked. It was also a bit annoying that you knew many of the main storylines, and deaths, in advance. I think that it took some of the shock factor away from the book but it was still brilliant.

The characters, the non-Nazi ones, are loveable and really burrow into your heart. I cared about each and every one of them. Liesel was sweet and caring, Rudy was chilvalrous and daring, Papa was everything a papa should be, I loved mama's brash exterior and the fact that she loved her family so much, Max was poetic and scared. I loved them.

I liked the fact that there were no 'Hollywood' moments. There were a few times I expected something to happen in a certain way, the predictable, happily ever after way, but it didn't. I felt like it represented real life pretty accurately. Lives were saved by pure coincidence and lives were taken too. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to ruin such a wonderful book for someone who hasn't read it yet.

I was in the hairdressers when I finished the book. I knew that I was going to need a good cry at the end of it and that I should stop reading but I just couldn't. I also couldn't let all my emotions out whilst having a wash, cut and blowdry without risking looking like a totally crazy person. So I held them all in, I only let a tear or two escape as I read one of the most distressing endings to a book ever. I held it in all the way home and then I lay on my bed, re-read the last chapter and had a bloody good cry. God, that makes me sound pretty mental. But the book was just so emotive! And good!

I am so looking forward to seeing the film now, I hope that it does the book justice and they don't change it too much! If you haven't read it yet I would definitely recommend it. It's one of the best books I've ever read and it will be one of those books that I will read many more times. Five stars (5*).

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Inspiration - 2014 Blogger Challenge #1

This year I'm taking part in the 2014 Blogger Challenge hosted by Gaby at Another Girly Blog. This is the first post and the subject is inspiration. The idea is that instead of writing a resolutions post we should post a picture which will inspire us throughout the year.

I am really going to try to keep this quote in my mind this year. There are so many things which I want to do and I keep putting them off, thinking that I'll see what happens and waiting for other people to make decisions which will impact my life. I am saying 'no more'. I am going to get up off my arse and go and grab the world instead of waiting for it to come to me. I need to make plans, do research, make lists, but I need to actually follow through with them for once. I need to go and do the things I plan, and do them rather than waiting. If I don't fulfill some of my dreams now then I may never get to and that would be a major regret.

So here's to 2014, to travelling, writing, education, experiences, doing more of everything. I hope it's going to be a good year for you all.