Wednesday, 28 September 2016

September 2016 | Monthly Wrap Up

September has been good so far - if really tiring!

Favourite part?


On the first of September, my friend Katie and I went to Bath to explore the shops and the city in general. It was a lovely day and I truly fell in love with the city. There were so many things left that I haven’t seen or visited there.


I’ve seen lots of my friends this month. Those who have gone to the same college with me I’ve either seen every day or most days and those who haven’t, admittedly I haven’t seen as much, though I have met up with one or two of them which has been lovely.

On one of those occasions, I went to see Bridget Jones’ Baby, which I loved! Definitely, rivals the original in my opinion and that’s from someone who is a massive Bridget Jones fan!

Best read?


In all honesty, I’ve not really read much this term. Well, apart from any texts to do with my A levels, which includes The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, a book I haven’t really decided my opinion on yet. I started rereading The Great Gatsby as well, and I have to say that I prefer it much more than I did the first time I read it.

Favourite tunes?


As has been the same as the past few months, ABBA and Fleetwood Mac. I’ve been playing my iTunes library on shuffle while I’ve been doing work in my study periods, so I’ve been listening to a lot of the music I’ve mentioned on here before and a lot of favourites I don’t think I’ve really mentioned liked Olly Murs’ albums and Eliza Doolittle.  


What did I learn?


So much in regards to my A levels; I feel like I’ve taken so much information in, it’s ridiculous! Also, that it’s not as difficult talking to new people than I thought it would be! I should know that last one already, but I think that no matter how many times you’re in that sort of situation it’s a worry.

What’s happening next month?


Well, it’s my 17th birthday in just under 2 weeks, so hopefully that’ll be good. Halloween of course! Other than that, nothing much as I’ve just got college for most of next month.

What’s been on my mind?


College stuff mostly. What my friends in Wales have been doing (they’ve all started sixth form now).

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


I haven’t really been on the lookout for new bloggers much this month, but I’ve been loving Emma Lowther. She has a great style and I love reading her opinion posts. I’ve also been loving Hannah Witton’s new series The Hormone Diaries, in which she documents her life after coming off the contraceptive pill. It’s very interesting and has some funny and relatable moments in! 10/10 would recommend. 

Favourite post?


I think either Books I’ve Read This Summer or 4 Films Based on Jane Austen Novels as they were both really fun ones to write. Also, Why I Love About Time as it was really great telling people about my favourite film!


Biggest inspiration?


The drive that comes from not wanting to fall behind on my college work!

Any other favourites? 

I don’t know, I haven’t found any new TV shows apart from the latest series of Great British Bake Off (RIP). I’ve been wearing a pair of new black suede boots almost constantly this month that I bought just before starting college. I love them so much; they make me feel really confident and go with basically everything!






If you liked this post you might like: August 2016 | Monthly Wrap Up

Monday, 26 September 2016

Bloggers Recognition Award

This isn’t a normal post, but it made me really happy when I was nominated for the Bloggers Recognition Award, so thank you so much to Harriet from HarieeScribbles for nominating me! Everyone should go over to her blog, she’s lovely!

Okay, here are the rules:

   1.     Write a post to show your award
   2.     Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you
   3.  Give a brief story of why you started blogging
   4.   Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
   5.  Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award

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I started blogging back in May 2015, in order to share my writing in a space that I had complete control over. Before I had my blog, so much of the pieces I had written were either hidden away in a folder on my computer or stuffed in the back of a cupboard in a breaking notebook I’ve probably owned for years. I had poems, short descriptive pieces and general opinions that I wanted to get out there for people to read and discuss with me. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better place to do that.

Seeing as I’ve been blogging for nearly a year and a half now, I think it’s safe to say that I’m not a newbie blogger anymore. If you want some more detailed advice on blogging from me, I actually wrote a post a few months ago where I go into more depth than I will here.

First of all, don’t stress about uploading loads. Quality doesn’t always overcome quantity in the blogosphere in terms of views, however, if you want your readers to keep coming back, quality wins every time. Don’t worry about not sticking to a schedule too tightly. If you can get the post published for then, great – if not, it’s not that big a deal. Most likely, your readers will understand that your personal life and other commitments have to be prioritised over your blog a lot of the time. It’s just how it is. Post when you want and don’t get n too much of a fuss about not uploading.

Blogger envy is also something that every blogger will experience at some point or another. My solution to it? There is none. There is always going to be someone with a better layout than you, more followers than you, seemingly better content than you and who takes better photography. That doesn’t mean, though, that your blog matters any less than theirs does. No one started out with a perfect blog, and no one ever gets a perfect blog. Just keep working on your blog and try not to think too much about others’.

Here are my nominations! I hope you check out all of theirs and love them as much as I do:

  1.  Katieswaytohappy
  2.  A Fabulous Feminist
  3.  Sara’s Chapters
  4.  Thrifty Vintage Fashion
  5.  Whitney Loren
  6.  Love, Tiffany
  7. Nerd Word Blog
  8.  The Amanda Way
  9.  Keep Calm and Start Writing
  10.  Through Our Eyes
  11.  Shy Life Living
  12.  Georgie Blue
  13. Hope Talks About Everything
  14.   Explore, Refresh
  15.  Emma Lowther



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Friday, 23 September 2016

5 Reasons to Love Reading

I love reading. I always have done - it’s been one of my favourite things to do since I can remember. So, I don’t quite understand it when people say that they don’t like reading. It completely baffles me! To answer those people, I’ve found 5 great reasons why reading is one of the best things to do!


1. Reading can help you relax and go to sleep


Lots of people use reading as a form escapism and I definitely agree that it’s a great way to turn off, chill out and forget the world. There is nothing quite like sitting back with a good book and zoning out from everything else that’s going on. Perfect. Definitely, something that helps me if I’m having trouble going to sleep as well. There's been some research on the power of reading in aiding sleep. 

2. It can improve your knowledge and vocabulary


I’ve learned so much from the books I’ve read - and it’s not all from non-fiction. My love for interesting words is harboured in my bookshelf, among the many researched words that lurk between the pages.

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3. Reading makes you more empathetic


By reading other people’s stories and getting into characters’ minds, we improve our understanding of others and can relate to others we meet in real life more easily. Empathy is honestly so important and I think that any way to increase the amount of empathy in the world is one that should be used.

4. Reading broadens your imagination


I find my imagination roaming in almost every spare moment and occasion - why shouldn’t my far off thoughts be a bit wilder?

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5. It’s so much fun!



Who doesn’t love a good story to get stuck into?! You can be 100% guaranteed that there’ll be a book out there that you love - there’s such a huge amount to choose from! The possibilities are truly endless as new books are being written and published every single day.




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Monday, 19 September 2016

Why I Love About Time

I’ve mentioned in probably far too many of my posts that my all time favourite film is About Time. However, I don’t think I’ve ever really explained why. Here goes!

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At first glance, About Time is your stereotypical romcom (believe me, I love a stereotypically cheesy and mushy rom-com, however…). The title image is of the 2 main protagonists on their wedding day and the description describes how Tim (Domnhall Gleeson) wins Mary’s (Rachel McAdams) heart using time travel. It makes it appear as if that love story is all that the film has to offer, when, in fact, it probably just takes up about half of the story. “I’m sorry, WHAT?” do I hear you say? Yes, this is a romcom where half the story isn’t even romance related. (I say half I have no idea in reality but let’s just pretend I know exactly what I’m talking about here.)

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*SPOILER ALERT* here as I am going to give away key details about the plot in order to explain myself properly.


To me, this film is about family. How the people you love romantically become your family if feelings are reciprocated, no matter how weird your family is you still love them anyway, having to see people you love suffer because you know that’s the only way for it to get better. There are so many ideas linked with this theme that are demonstrated in the film.

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KitKat (Lydia Wilson) is an example of this. She’s generally a bit lost; she keeps losing jobs, can’t really maintain independence and has a very on-off and unhealthy relationship with the handsome Jimmy (Tom Hughes), who she is seen to meet at the start of the film. Jimmy is very attractive to her and, although he seems exciting and interesting to her, is very damaging to her life from the moment they meet at the New Year’s party when I think she might be in her late teens (I don’t know exactly but her older brother Tim is 21 then so that would make sense). 

After spending years with Jimmy, KitKat eventually has a car accident on the way to her niece’s 1st birthday party, having argued with Jimmy and driven while drunk. This obviously terrifies Tim, as he’s nearly lost his little sister who he is shown to love immensely, so he decides to tell her about his ability to time travel and bring her back to the party where she met Jimmy and change that so she never meets him. However, when they return to the present, Tim finds that his daughter, Rosie,  is now a completely different baby (a son) as the timeline changed. Wanting his child back, he reverses his actions and helps KitKat through the long way round. This way is better, I think, even though it may not feel like it at the time. Everyone learns a lot more from this: KitKat still has all her experiences with Jimmy and her many jobs but is seen to reach the same happy ending she would have reached anyway. I think here, it’s clearly shown that the long way round has to be taken sometimes. The easy way isn’t always the best way.

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One of my favourite characters in this film is Harry, played by Tom Hollander. From his first appearance, he is shown to be self-centred, bitter and irritable. However, by the end of the film we see that he did love the friend he told Tim he “always thought was a bit weird.” No matter how cold and abrasive he presents himself, there are real feelings hidden under there. Harry’s great. I find him hilarious and love his sarcasm. 

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The relationship I think I love most in this film is that of Tim and his father (Bill Nighy). They’re portrayed as being close throughout and they’re the only two who can time travel and know about each other’s abilities. (Bill Nighy also has some of the best lines of the film can I just add that in there, okay, thanks.) So, when Tim’s mother calls up one night to tell him that his dad has cancer and it’s worsening, the whole family are devastated, which is completely realistic. Once his father does pass away, Tim is the only one who can still see him and talk to him due to time travel. While the others are forced to move on and get on with their lives despite their grief, Tim continues to see his father while he is grieving his loss, until Mary becomes pregnant for the 3rd time and Tim knows that the time left with his father is limited as he cannot visit him in the past once the child is born. He now has to grieve the same way the others do and learn to let go.

One night, late in Mary’s pregnancy, Tim visits his father for the last time. They play a lighthearted game of table tennis as usual, but there is still a melancholic feel to it. Together, they decide to travel back to when Tim was a young boy to play on the beach and skim stones, making sure to change nothing so their lives wouldn’t alter as a result. 

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Personally, I love the final scene of the film. It’s kind of like the Heathrow Arrivals Gate scene at the end of Love Actually to me. It’s things like that that make my heart go mushy.

There are so many more things I love about this film and I could talk about it for weeks probably. A Richard Curtis script and direction, with some of my favourite actors and a soundtrack I completely adore and could listen to forevermore. I’d love to know what you think about About Time and whether it’s just me who loves it this much!




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Friday, 16 September 2016

5 Things That Should Have Been in the Harry Potter Films

Every Pottered will know how frustrating it is that certain elements of the books have been changed or left out altogether - anyone who loves the book original of a film adaption will know that! I could go on for ages about things left out of the Harry Potter films but I’ve narrowed it down to 5 points that I think are pretty important.

1. Harry finding Lily’s letter to Sirius


This scene is really heartbreaking to me and to Harry. It reminds both him and the reader of the life he could have had. It’s also a harsh reminder of the tragedy of his parents’ death. I think the films really remove James and Lily’s youth, which doesn’t resonate with the audience as much. They were only 21 and had their whole lives still ahead of them and I think that’s something that’s super important to the story.

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2. Dudley’s change of heart


One of my favourite scenes in all 7 books is the last scene with the Dursleys, mainly down to the way Dudley behaves. He and Harry have a sort of truce as Dudley says “I don’t think you’re a waste of space,” and the way it’s portrayed just gets me. It makes me so sad that this is actual a deleted scene in Deathly Hallows Part 1! Why! It was so close to being included!

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3. GINNY!!


I know the practically everyone agrees with me that Book Ginny does not in any way shape or form resemble Film Ginny. Yes, both are good at Quidditch and are Weasleys, however, I think Book Ginny stands up for herself a lot more and is more mischievous than her on-screen counterpart, who doesn’t spend as much time in cahoots with her prankster twin brothers. 

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4. Voldemort’s body 


The fact that Voldemort’s body is let in a store cupboard until someone goes to move it is really symbolic to me and the fact that this was completely changed in the film is so annoying to me. The body is a comfort for the magic population and confirms that their nightmare is at an end. Without the body left over, there’s still the tension and uncertainness and they wouldn't have been able to breathe easily seeing as Voldemort had already come “back from the dead” once before. The wizarding world would be in complete disarray without there being a stone cold body left over. It also forces us to realise that he is still human and that n matter how hard you try, you can't evade death. 

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5. S.P.E.W.


To me, this shows Hermione’s determination and strength in standing up for what she believes in. It’s so important. The way houselves are treated shows that the world we all see as so fantastical, fun and completely amazing is actually, well, not. It reveals the prejudice, hierarchy, oppression and downright slavery that is hidden underneath the bubbly surface and, let’s be honest, that’s something that’s really super important to highlight. 



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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Telling Kids What To Read

Do you know the excitement you feel in Year 7 when you start having English lessons in the school library? It’s something completely different and new and you think it’s going to be so fun! Except it’s not. You end up having to read what is, inevitably, a dreadful book in complete silence but you and your friends still find something hysterical to laugh at under your breath.

On one of these particular lessons, I went to pick up Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. A classic that I’d always been interested in. I sat down with it and was then approached by my teacher. He then talked very seriously to me about how it was “a very challenging text” and that I should maybe “consider something a bit easier.” I can’t remember his exact words but that was the basic gist: that I should I try something a catered a bit more to children. Something easier.


At this stage in my life, I hadn’t yet been introduced to the wonders of Jane Austen and hadn’t really read any classics. But this was a 12-year-old being told not to venture out and be more adventurous and challenged by her reading material. People bang on about how good certain classics are and we get taught about them in school, but then we’re told: “oh no, that’s too difficult to you.” I also don’t think that this particular teacher knew how much I love reading and how enthusiastic I am when it comes to trying out new books and I feel like telling children what they can or cannot read is really damaging and can stump a young person’s desire to read.


Five years on, I’ve still not read Great Expectations or any other work by Charles Dickens. It’s one book that’s very high up on my TBR list but it’s one of those books I just haven’t gotten round to reading yet. (You know those annoying ones that just sit there and then you always pick the newer book next to it?) I was reminded of it a lot last winter when I watched the BBC series Dickensian. I loved it so much and loved the characters so much, which kicked me up the bum a bit about how much I actually need to read more Dickens, as I know most of the stories but have never actually read the original texts. 

Did something similar happen to you? I’m going to get round to reading Great Expectations soon, it’s about time, I think.




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Monday, 12 September 2016

Books I've Read This Summer

Before the summer started, I was a bit behind on my yearly reading challenge. Now, at the end of the summer, I am way ahead with only 1 more book to go! I thought it’d be nice to do a bit of a recap of all the books I’ve read this summer!



1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews


This first of my summer reads and I’d seen a lot of hype around it. To be honest, though, I didn’t think it was all it was cracked up to be. Yes, it was interestingly structured and there was a bit of humour but I found practically all of the characters to be annoying as hell. The plot was decent but I didn’t feel like there was any real character development anywhere, least of all Rachel, the dying girl, was just that: the dying girl. She didn’t really have any substance to her. All we knew was that a) she had cancer, b) she laughed at Greg’s unfunny jokes and c) she had Daniel Craig posters up in her room. From that, she naturally felt a bit 2D - not great when she’s one of the characters mentioned in the title. Greg and Earl weren’t explored that much either but never mind.



2. The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern


I love a lot of Cecelia Ahern’s work. Loads of her books are right up there as some of my favourites. This one, however, is not. I loved the concept of your life being a real person and your decisions visibly affecting them, but I found this book to get into - it dragged until about three-quarters of the way through, where it started to get good. I got through that last bit very quickly!



3. On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher


I’ve been a fan of Carrie’s for years; I’ve seen all her videos and loved All I Know Now so much, so I had a lot of faith that this book would be great, and it was. It felt lighthearted and imaginative. I read it so quickly and I know it’ll be a good comfort read in the future!



4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany


I remember crying of happiness when this was announced, but I couldn’t help but feel a little bit disappointed by this book? I know it would never be the same as the original 7 books as, obviously, it’s a script and so we wouldn’t get into the characters’ thoughts but still. I did see a summary of the plot weeks beforehand which made it seem quite ridiculous. There were elements I absolutely loved but the story still felt a bit weak to me and some of the characters didn’t really feel like themselves to me. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see it on stage as I think it’ll be a lot better and I’m so excited to see how some of the scenes are handled!



5. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler


I saw a short review of this in one of the videos by The Banging Book Club and thought it’d be an interesting read, so I picked it up in Foyles with the intention of reading it while I was on holiday. I read it within hours. I don’t know quite how I feel about it to be honest. The whole “personifying your vagina” thing just annoyed me. My vagina is not a separate being - it is part of my body. And no, it’s not a “flower”. There were some bits that I found very funny in it, some bits that saddened me and some bits that shocked me. I can see how it would have been groundbreaking at the time of publication, but as someone born 3 years after, it doesn’t seem so out there. The last chapter or so about the funds and awareness V-Day has raised really inspired me, however. 



6. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote


Ugh, this book. It fascinated me and kept me intrigued the whole way through. This is the novelisation of a real life event, which made it even more interesting to me. I wrote a whole review on it a few weeks ago, you can read it here if you want to have a look! 



7. What Matters In Jane Austen? by John Mullan


I LOVED this book! I’m such a huge fan of Austen and it was fascinating reading more insights about novels I already know and love so well. There were so many things that I hadn’t picked up on before and will definitely notice more when I read them next time round. A brilliant fan for any ardent Austen fan!

8. This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire


I’d been wanting to read this book for ages - as soon as I first saw a video of Will’s in which he mentioned it. So, when out shopping for college supplies and I saw it on a table in Waterstones I just had to get it. I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed at all. It was heartwarming, heartbreaking and sassy in all the best places. I wanted to cry at times and laughed out loud at others. A book that I'm sure will be great for everyone: whether you’re a bit of a hopeless romantic, a sceptic, have a crush or are going through a breakup. 



9. Wicked by Gregory Maguire 


This was the last book I started when I was on holiday in Croatia and I finished it on the 3rd of September. This book was a mixed bag for me. I loved some parts (like when they were at Shiz, discussing Animal Rights and when Dorothy came onto the scene), however, other parts seemed to drag a bit.The beginning, for example, took a while, and I didn’t realise why it was actually relevant til a bit later on. 





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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Life Update // Starting College

Hey everyone!

As you may have gathered from some of my posts this year, I’m about to start a new chapter in my life: college (not university for any Americans reading. I think it’s the age equivalent of the last 2 years of high school - correct me if I’m wrong, I’m really not sure!). Having finished my GCSEs at the end of last June, therefore completing my secondary education, I’ve had a very long summer, which has been so lovely. 


This summer I’ve explored new places and returned to old ones; I’ve had fits of laughter with friends and cried at books; I’ve been on tours of places I’d only ever seen on TV or read about in history books and I’ve had days where I wore my pyjamas and watched FRIENDS for hours on end. 

It’s been great. However, it could never last forever. This time next week I’ll be in college, beginning my A Levels (which I’m really excited/scared for. Maybe leaning a bit more towards excited!). I’m doing 4 subjects I love (English Language and Literature, Classical Civilisation, History and Government & Politics for anyone interested) and am fascinated by and I can’t wait to learn more in regards to them. 

As my A Levels will probably require more of my time than my GCSEs did, I’m going to be going back to the blogging schedule I used in Year 11. i.e I’ll try to stick to my current schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday (and Sunday on  Through Our Eyes) but may miss out a post here and there.

I may have some posts inspired by my experiences in college, who knows. You’ll just have to look out for those at a later date!





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Monday, 5 September 2016

OOTD // Bath Day Out


Last Thursday, Katie (katieswaytohappy) and I went to Bath, a truly beautiful city - one that I had never been to before but fell in love with instantly. 



Top - H&M
Skirt - H&M
Shoes - Converse
Socks - Topshop
Necklace - Argos (but it was bought in like 2010 so they probably don't sell them anymore)







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