42 down and 10 to go!

Greetings you lovely lot, how are things? As the month of October is almost over (how in the hell did that happen by the way?!?!) it’s time for a bit of a reading recap and I’m delighted to say that I’ve now read 42 books towards my reading challenge for 2013, so that means just another ten to go – whoopee to me. I’m actually ridiculously impressed with myself, especially after a few months of rubbish reading habits, so just ten more to read in the 10 weeks before the end of the year – not much pressure then! This month I managed to read four brilliant books and I refound my reading rhythm, hooray to that. About bloody time I say! My reads this month have been a mix of ones I’ve been meaning to read for ages and ages, old favourite and an impulse buy. I think this variety, and the variety of different genres that the books fall into, really helped me find my reading rhythm and meant that I enjoyed each and every book as often when things get a bit samey it can seem a bit stale and not work. At least for me anyway!
October reads
The Little Coffee Shop in Kabul – this was an impulse buy and I really enjoyed it. It was great to visit a country and to read about a situation I’d never pondered: How do the people living in these war-torn places survive and go about everyday life? It was interesting learning a lot about the customs and traditions of Afghanistan too. It really was fascinating, although the book could have done with not ending so perfectly and all perfectly tied up as it seemed a bit too forced.

Treasure Island – I’m ashamed I’ve not read this book before, I mean it’s a classic after all. Whilst I did enjoy it I don’t think it’s a recommended read or a repeat book for me. It’s just not my sort of thing! But at least I’ve now read it and don’t feel like I’m as badly read anymore!

When God Was a Rabbit – My friend lent me this book ages ago and somehow I’ve never gotten round to reading it. I had such high expectations after all I’ve heard about it and I’m so pleased that it definitely lived up to these expectations, it really was absolutely brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The fact I finished in in two days is proof enough of that! It was absolutely beautifully written and such a wonderful insight into one persons life. I loved the way it showed one woman’s important relationships and it felt so realistic and not forced or too fictional. Simply wonderful

Catching Fire – I haven’t read this book for a couple of years so with the film out soon I needed to reread it and I’m so glad I did as I’d forgotten pretty much the entire plot! I remembered the key points: the old victors have to head back into the Hunger Games, but basically everything else had spilled out of my head. What a total numpty I am. Now that I’ve remembered what happened I’m flabbergasted I didn’t remember sooner as it’s such so brilliant isn’t it!? I’m now super excited for the film to arrive,. why is it not out this weekend?

What about you, what lovely books have you been reading recently and recommendations for me to add to the ever-growing pile?


Comfort to me is…


I love that today’s Blogtember prompt is to react to the term comfort as it seems quite apt to where my head is currently at right now.

Ever since I returned from Portugal last week I’ve been feeling the autumn love due to the summer having seemingly disappeared for another year and the appearance of autumn essentials in the shops – I’m talking about you Mr. Unicorn jumper. Autumn is possibly one of my favourite seasons and it definitely beats the sunshine in the summer. My love affair for autumn is most definitely due to the obscene amount of comfort I find during that stage of the year. I’m talking snuggly knits, patchwork quilts on the sofa, mittens, hot chocolate with marshmallows, 100 denier black tights, meaty casseroles, walks in the country in many many layers, crispy autumnal leaves of glorious oranges, reds and browns, warming soups, film nights, darker evenings, woolly scarves, lit fires, Starbucks red cups, bonfires and fireworks and so, so much more. Ah Autumn how I’ve missed you, I’m glad you’ve finally made an appearance.

Augusts reads – five brilliant books

A good book is very magical

The wisest of woods from the queen of writing – J. K. Rowling. (source)

Before I sat down to write this post I thought I’d read barely anything in August, hence why this post is arriving a week into September. As really what’s the point of updating you on my reading challenge when I haven’t got anything to update on? However, I then realised the point of this blog and in particular this challenge was to up date you on my reading habits on a monthly basis, it was a way of being held accountable for my reading. If I want to start a challenge – then surely I have to finish it. So I got over myself and got writing, only to realise I’d been wrong. I actually had a good reading month! After all five books is really quite a good amount for just one month. Although really if I think about it I’ve not read anything for most of the month, as the first three books were read in just one week. Thank goodness Wales happened as since then I’ve been finding it really hard to get into any book I pick up. I’m hoping that with my upcoming week in Portugal things will improve after all I’ll have lots of time and not a lot else to focus on (apart from food!), here’s hoping that plan works anyway! So what did I think about the five books that I did read, well…

  1. First up was the work manuscript, which I obviously can’t tell you about as it’s not out till next year, but it was honestly such a brilliant read! It’s the third book in a brilliant series, and I’m so pleased that this book doesn’t disappoint, it’s really very good.
  2. Book number two was Heroes of Olympus: Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. I’ve mentioned in the past how much I enjoy these books and this still stands. It was really good to learn more about the characters and see how the story is developing. I can’t wait to read book three as I think it’s going to be brilliant when the two groups of characters start working together – I think we’re in for some trials and tribulations, and of course humour. Oh I love these books.
  3. Harlan Coben is one of my favourite crime writers, and Six Years is another excellent book. It really does keep you guessing until the end and he creates a really interesting character who is faced with some really interesting situations and decisions. I can’t even fathom how you would react when finding out some of the things he does. I highly recommend it!
  4. The Enemy by Charlie Higson – This book was truly amazing, I loved it! It’s a books with such brilliant writing and a great story, coupled with hideously gory parts (so gory that I almost felt sick!). It’s also a wonderfully interesting concept, which has you second guessing what you would do in a similar situation – I still don’t know. I also couldn’t help but loving all the characters. My final thought on this book is how it reminds me so much with Lord of the Flies, in the way that it gives children responsibility and questions how they would react.
  5. Last weekend I finished Private Down Under, which is by James Patterson. I’m a big fan of the Private series and you’ll be pleased to know that this book is just as good as the rest of the books in the series. The best thing about this book – apart from the fast pace, interesting characters and intriguing cases – is that it’s reminded me how much I want to go back to Sydney. I love that city so much and it’s great to read about areas that I know, even if only a little.

So that’s what I’ve been reading – what about you, what did you read in August and what did you think about each book? I’d love to know!

Three months to do whatever I want

I often ponder the question of what I would do with my life if I didn’t have to work for a long stretch of time or, if say, I won the lottery. I can come up with so many amazing ideas that I inevitably force myself to stop day-dreaming as otherwise I’d just quit my job there and then without a second thought as to how I can make these dreams a reality! So when I saw today’s topic on the Blogtember challenge I thought I had to share some of my dreams with you, so below are my current three favourites. I know sadly that they are unlikely to happen (at least anytime soon) so I will instead satisfy myself by dreaming from the comfort of my desk.

*crosses fingers that the winning lottery ticket currently resides in my purse*

Picture 487

The absolutely stunning Lake Wanaka

Top three ideas if I were to win the lottery tomorrow:

  1. Travel to New Zealand. I was lucky enough to spend five weeks in New Zealand during in my gap year (hence this stunning picture) and I loved every single second, it really is a stunningly beautiful country. Every corner you turn shows you a new unbelievably spectacular vista and you soon run out of adjectives to describe what you’re seeing in Rotorua, Dunedin, in Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson, at Lake Wanaka and everywhere else in between. I often had to pinch myself as I couldn’t always believe my eyes! Even though I’ve been before I’d love to return to do it all again, at a far slower pace, with no time pressure thanks to a pre-booked flight and also to discover many more beautiful places. It would also be wonderful to go round in a camper van so I could just wake up to the Mount Cook view or a step or two from the beach.
  2. Open my own bookshop/ tea rooms/library/gift shop. This would be a mix of all my favourite things in one place and I would love it. From being able to concoct and share new recipes to introducing people to new voices and places through a simple story – that would be bliss. Not to forget all the coffee I could ever want, beautiful things for me to keep for myself instead of selling and interesting people to talk too. A girl can dream.
  3. Travel the length and breath of the UK. I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve been to loads of places, lucky me!, but I still feel like there are parts of the UK that I don’t know well enough. So I would love the opportunity to walk along Hadrian’s Wall or visit John O’Groats and maybe fulfill my dream of visiting Loch Ness or getting lost in the countryside of central Wales. It would be so much fun just to pack up the car, set off for a few months and see where I fancy stopping.

What about you what would you choose to do if you weren’t at work for a three-month period?

Who made me, me?

Howdy, little blog readers, how are you this fine SEPTEMBER (when did that happen?!) day? This month I’ve decided to take part in another one of Jenni’s blog challenges, after all ‘Blog every day in May’ was a blast so I thought why not?! I love all the different topics she comes up with for these tasks and it’s a good excuse to test my writing abilities and push my sharing boundaries. If you missed my posts for the May challenge you can see a few of my favourite ones here, here, here, here and here.

For the first day of Blogtember Jenni’s suggested we talk about where or what you come from. I like this topic – what a nice one to start with, hey. I come from these two lovely beings and in this post I want to talk about the amazingness that are these two.


I come from a pretty awesome family and my childhood was fairly idyllic. We lived (and my parents still do) on the edge of the suburbs and countryside, I didn’t want for anything (apart from the odd new toy or book, like all children do), we had nice holidays and I got on really well with my family. We were fortunate not to be tested too much when I was growing up – we didn’t have money troubles, my parents didn’t fight and I wasn’t really touched by the death of a loved one until I was in my late teens. I will always be fortunate that this was the case (and don’t worry I know just how lucky I am). Despite all the good things I had in my life growing up, the absolute lynch-pin to all of this was my parents. My parents, which I’m sure I’ve said before, are like best friends. I can talk to them about anything, I love spending time with them and just think they were the best parents ever. They weren’t overly strict unless they needed to be, they somehow taught me the true value of things and how to handle money, whilst never making me feel like I was missing out and I grew up knowing that I couldn’t ever do anything that would properly upset them – not that I’d ever want to. I was always encouraged to try new things and they enabled me to have amazing experiences, whether through brilliant holidays or just fun days in the garden. At the dinner table my opinion was always valued the same as anyone else’s no matter their age or stature and I always knew I could go to them with any problem, without judgement.

For this I’ll forever be grateful, my parents really are that awesome. Don’t get me wrong there were days when I screamed at them, slammed doors or thought they hated me, but in reality I was brought up by two amazing individuals and they are the reason that I am who I am. I can’t even fathom how I would have turned out if I’d been born to someone else, after all it takes a pretty special set of parents to raise twin girls without once comparing them to one another, dressing them the same or allowing others to get away with treating them like interchangeable people. I could have had a serious complex from this, or from the arrival of a little sister at the age of eight, I’m sure a lot of people have done. But not me, and that’s thanks to The Mothership and Fatherbear Evans. Love you guys. xx

What about you, what makes you, you? Why not join in with Blogtember and let your readers know? You don’t have to write a post every day, just choose the ones you like. I’ve already picked out the ones I want to join in with, as I don’t want to overload the bloglet with posts and I already have lots of posts threatening to spew out of my brain this month, it’s great that there’s no pressure at all!

A June Running Challenge

Hello lovely blog people how are you? I just thought I’d pop by this morning and share with you the brand new challenge I’ve set myself. I fear I’ve lost the plot with this one fyi! So here’s the thought process behind the challenge: I figured I should set myself a running challenge now that I no longer have a run to focus on with the Bupa 10k having been and gone. I know from past experience that I need something to make me keep running week after week and I currently like my fitness level so I need to make it stay around for a while yet. So that leads me to the challenge:

To run 30 miles in a month.

Yes I know, what am I thinking?! That’s actually quite a long way – 7.5 miles a week, when I rarely do more than five…. Hm perhaps I should have thought this through for longer than five minutes. Especially considering the fact that this month I am away for a weekend and I have friends staying this weekend (right this second actually). Oopsy. So far I’ve gone for three runs – one long one and two mini ones – yet I’ve only done 5.89 miles. Yes that’s right I’m already behind in my plan. But you know I’m sure I can pull myself together and do much better over the next few weeks. Maybe I should set myself a reward so that I get something awesome at the end of the month. Decisions decisions!

Even if I don’t meet it, I will at least be running and exercising, which at the end of the day is what matters!


Have lovely weekends one and all. I will hopefully be having an epic weekend that doesn’t involve any running, oops! xx

Photo Challenge – the home stretch

So January is over, which means so is my January photo challenge. I’ve actually really enjoyed the challenge of taking a photo a day although I know there are some days where I could have tried harder, but just ran out of time – three things and comfort I’m looking at you now! But overall my little challenge was good fun, it certainly made me look at things from a different perspective to normal. So anyway, here are the last eleven photos, let me know what you think….

Photo Challenge (Days 10 – 20)

My January photo challenge is now over two thirds of the way through so I thought it was about time I updated you with the second set of photos from day 10 to day 20. So here they are below, let me know which are your favourites and which you think are rubbish. It’ll be interesting to know how your thoughts on the photos match (or don’t!) my feelings on each one!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

So I’ve finally done it, I’ve watched one of the films off of my 25 classic films I must watch list, whoop! Last night I settled down to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s armed with popcorn and to be honest I wasn’t really a fan of the film. In fact I found it quite disappointing, I’m not sure all the fuss about this film is warranted. So below is my little reviewing system for the films I watch this year as part of this list.

* Holly’s flat – her sofa is half a bath, WANT!
* New York – I love any film set in New York, although I wish we’d seen a bit more of it.
* Holly’s perfume holder – I loved where she kept her mirror and perfume, genius!
* The shoplifting scene was genuinely brilliant and I couldn’t stop laughing.
* The taxis – I thought a New York yellow cab was the coolest cab alive. Oh no these colourful classic cars win hands down.
* Cat – he was super cute and did the best facial expressions, especially when he was soaked!
* George Peppard – I loved him and his character and loved his utter bewilderment at the beginning when faced with Holly as well as his speeches in the library and taxi.

* Holly Golightly – I really really didn’t like the character of Holly. I found her annoying, pathetic, stupid and so incredibly selfish. There wasn’t any redeeming quality that I could see in her and I certainly didn’t empathise or feel sympathy for the situations she got into.
* The Japanese neighbour – what the hell was that about?! Why was he a fake Japanese person? Why did he even need to be Japanese? WHAT!
* The plot – what actually happened? Barely anything as far as I could tell. I wasn’t expecting action or fights but I honestly thought there’s be a bit more meat to the story than a couple meeting, there being complications – ex husband, he’s a gigolo, money and prison – and then it’s all fine in the end.
* Audrey Hepburn – I’ve never watched her in a film before and I have to say I didn’t think she was that great. I mean yes she’s beautiful and stylish but I didn’t think her acting was amazing considering how she’s spoken about by people.

Favourite bit:
When Paul freaks out at Holly in the taxi at the end and storms off in the rain to look for Cat.

Making my lovely photos even lovelier

I take a fair few pictures each day using my iPhone either with Hipstamatic or just the camera function and then I improve my snaps using Instagram. But lately I feel like my pictures have started to become a bit samey and boring. By ‘samey’ I basically mean my iPhone photography consists of three main themes – the food I’m eating, my latest nail polish designs and the clothes I’m wearing!

So I feel I need to challenge myself a little in the New Year to improve my photography, not just what I’m photographing but also how, the colours and the style. So hopefully the January photography challenge I’m starting will steer me in the direction of more exciting pictures! I’ve seen quite a lot of different challenges online – there’s the Fat Mum Slim Photo a Day Challenge and also Capture your 365 – but none of them are quite what I want to do, so instead of joining in with one of those I’ve made up my own list of 31 things to photograph in January. I’ve provisionally assigned each one to a specific date in January but I can’t imagine I’ll stick to these dates for the entire length of the challenge. As it’s all about creating the best images, so if I’m doing something one day that works best with the ‘life loves’ challenge I’d be silly not to use that image then!

1 – Life loves
2 – Smiles
3 – Blue
4 – Time
5 – Shapes
6 – Lonely
7 – Letters
8 – Texture
9 – Morning
10 – Treats
11 – Darkness
12 – Sound
13 – Feet
14 – Movement
15 – Landscape
16 – Spots
17 – Something beginning with ‘J’
18 – Weather
19 – Buildings
20 – Three things
21 – Scrumptious food
22 – Self portrait
23 – Work
24 – People
25 – Rushing
26 – Up or down
27 – Nature
28 – Comfort
29 – Happiness
30 – Something you own
31 – Repetition

So there we have it my list for January. Hopefully these 31 photos will help me photograph some more interesting things and improve my iPhone picture taking abilities. I’ll let you know how it goes…

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