A bookity book survey answered

Recently I saw this post on Sailboat. and I loved it! As I’m such a book fiend and I’m essentially a crazily nosey person it was really interesting to find out someone else’s booky habits! So anyway following on from reading this post I thought I’d answer the questions for myself. Sometimes I get so bogged down with reading things that I forget where my obsession with reading comes from or what I enjoy about it, so it was good to think about all these questions. I hope you enjoy my answers and do let me know if you take the survey yourself. I’d love to have a read of your answers too!

Do you remember how you developed a love of reading? Honestly no, from as far back as I can remember I’ve been a reader and always had a book in my hand. Whilst I don’t remember having a book in my hand when I was a toddler I know from stories I’ve heard that I was a big fan. I apparently wouldn’t allow my sister either of our two Spot toys as I loved Where’s Spot? so much that I refused to share. I was also a big Topsy and Tim fan when I was younger, proven by the fact that my five pet fish were called Topsy 1, Topsy 2, Topsy 3 and Topsy 4. es I was that cool! I can also remember vividly that when I was younger I’d read as I walked round the house as even pausing to get a drink from the kitchen was too much when I was engrossed in a book!

Where do you usually read? There is no usually as I’ll read whenever I am. But I suppose I’m most likely to be found reading on my commute to work or last thing at night as I lie in bed. No matter what time I get in to bed I have to read for at least ten minutes or so – it seems to calm my brain down and ready me for sleep!

Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once? I always read one book at a time, I like to be 100% engrossed in my book. So trying to remember two books, or more, at once would be far too much for me to handle. I’ve never understand how someone can manage that?!

What is your favourite genre? Oh that’s a tricky one as I really really do love most genres – romance, crime, historical fiction, biography, YA, kids. I’m really not that fussy. But I suppose what I read really depends on my mood. Sometimes I just need something that’s easy to read so a firm favourite, like Dahl or a Jill Mansell would be my first pick. Other times I fancy something that makes me question stuff so that’s when a Jodi Picoult book would come in.

Is there a genre you will not read? I’ve never really read horror books as being scared doesn’t interest me at all. So I tend to steer clear of books by Stephen King et al. That’s not to say I’d never try one, but not for the time being!

Do you have a favourite book? Gosh another hard one as I have too many to choose from. It goes without saying that Matilda is an all-time favourite as that was the first book that truly ‘spoke’ to me, but then there is a whole plethora of books that I just adore and I could read every day for the rest of my life and not be bored. Books like Harry Potter and The Order of the PhoenixThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, My Sister’s Keeper, The Hunger Games, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Little Women, One Day, Gone Girl and of course my favourite Austen book: Persuasion. So a favourite is almost impossible – sorry! I’d be so impressed if anyone could pinpoint a favourite book as I would most definitely find it impossible!

What is your least favourite book? There are a few books that I’ve never finished so I suppose those would be my least favourite books, but the only one I can think of is The Great Gatsby, which I only recently read. I just couldn’t enjoy that book, maybe that’s because I had been expecting so much more from it as everyone I know had given it rave reviews, Sadly it fell short for me.

What is the longest book you have ever read? Oh I honestly don’t know the answer to this one. Surely Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix has to be up there other than that I’m not really sure.

20131103-192115.jpgWhich was the last book you bought? I recently bought some books for other people’s Christmas presents – yes I’m that organised but for myself it was <<<< this gorgeous version of The Secret Garden. Isn’t it stunning? I’ve been coveting it for ages and finally treated myself. So stunning!

Do you prefer library books or buying books? I do love the library but for me there’s nothing like owning a favourite or beautiful book and having it on my bookshelves to read again and again. It may be an expensive habit but I don’t care. I know that I’ll never regret owning these books as every time I see them I remember why I loved each book and where those pages transported me to.

What are you currently reading? My current read is Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a book I’ve had on my kindle for AGES and just not got round to starting it. Now that I have I’m quite into it already, even after just a few short pages. Like most paranormal YA titles it’s really easy to follow and well written.

So what about you are you going to give the book survey a whirl yourself? I’d love to see your answers! Happy reading x

Willpower schmillpower

I’ve been thinking a lot about willpower recently as at the moment  I seem unable to say no to Starbucks every morning, yes to running more than 3km every weekend or no to bright coloured nail varnish. So whilst there are many many stories that I could tell you that would prove to you just how rubbish my willpower is at the moment I thought I’d focus on just the one story. After all a post about all incidences of my rubbish willpower would take about ten hours for you to read, let alone me to write! So here’s an example of my inability to say no to new books!

Recently I reorganised all the books on my shelves and got rid of those I no longer wanted, etc, whilst I was doing this I realised that I have a lot of books on my shelf that I still haven’t got round to reading. When I say a lot what I actually mean is 64 books (plus a good 20 on my kindle), um yeah I seem to have gotten carried away there. These are books I’ve accumulated over the last few years so it’s not like I bought them all in the last month and also a lot of these are charity shop purchases and not brand new ones. But still that’s a fair amount of books to be getting on with. You’d think, that seeing as I have this many books still to read, that I wouldn’t need to buy anymore at least for a few months, until say the pile is only about 40 tall. Right?

Um well no, you see this is where my lack of willpower comes in. As since I last counted I’ve gained the following books:

  • On Kindle: Dark Places and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • Gifted: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • For my bookshelf: Wonder by R. J. Palacio, Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner, Heroes of Olympus: The House of Hades, Rick Riordan and The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Yes so another seven books, plus the eleven I was sent by my new boss to read up on before I start my new job. And that’s in the last three weeks alone – what is actually wrong with me. I mean that’s obscene isn’t it? If I don’t stop this book buying obsessive route I appear to be on right this second then I’m going to have well over a hundred books to read really soon. And that’s going to take a hell of a long time to get through – I meant I probably average one book a week so that’s over two years. So yes as you can see my willpower is officially kaput, any suggestions on how I can kick my willpower back in to place? All and any suggestions welcome, I really need to get my willpower to start working again as my bookcases really can’t take it!

I want all the Oasis bags in the world

Have you seen the awesome bags that are in Oasis at the moment? They are all ridiculously gorgeous don’t you think? I was on the site just the other day having a nosey round and I was amazed at all the lovely bags I found. It’s days like that when I really wish I had could win the lottery as I would buy and happily wear to death all of these bags – I mean just look at them. Totally bag envy is definitely something I’m feeling at the moment. Also they aren’t ridiculously expensive, which is great considering they’ll be of a very good quality like all Oasis products are.

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So the big question is, can I justify buying myself a new bag at this very moment in time, or is that absolutely ridiculous? Come on guys convince me, please!

The English Countryside – Travel Tuesday

Greeting chums, how are you all? I’ve suddenly realised that today is my last day off before my new job – eek how has that happened – so needless to say I’m slightly panicking! But anywho enough about me, what have you all been up to? Thanks for stopping by for another installment of Travel Tuesday, I can’t wait to see what travels everyone else has shared this week! In this weeks installment we’re off only a short distance, to the wonderful English countryside and bonus it fits into today’s theme of relationships!

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Over the weekend I went back to my parents house for 36 hours for a good old catch up, we’ve all been busy bees recently so it was lovely to chatter about everything. It’s always really lovely being back in Surrey as it’s 100% relaxed and you’re guaranteed gorgeous food, but this weekend I also wanted to make the most of being in the countryside. With the gorgeous autumnal weather we’ve been having recently it was the perfect excuse to get outside and see all the beautiful autumnal sights. Sights that you don’t often get to see in the heart of London town! So that’s what we did! We pulled on our wellies, our scarves and our coats and drove ten minutes to Ranmore Common and went for a tramp in the woods. We wandered around for about 45 minutes and it was so lovely to be out in the fresh air with four of my favourite people (tick on the theme)! We were all very excited when we came across a load of chestnuts and couldn’t resit picking up a fair amount of those for roasting later on (we did leave some for the squirrels – don’t worry!). There’s something amazing about the crisp autumn air that just makes me warm and snuggley inside and isn’t it wondrous when all you can hear is the rustling of the leaves or the snap of twigs as you go a little off piste. Oh it was such a lovely afternoon and I realised I really must pop back down to the countryside more often, even if just for a quick walk int he leaves. It really is so blissful.

I won’t bore you with more waffling, instead have a gander at the images below to see the glorious autumnal colours, what we got up to, how stunningly beautiful everything was and how much mud I found!

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A fantabulous send off!

Smiley_Happy_ThingsThere was only one thing I could write about this week in my smiley happy things post and that’s the wonderful people who I used to work with as this week they gave me the best send off ever. I really am eternally grateful to them for being such amazing stars and for spoiling me so much. Even though I no longer work with them I know that I’ve made a good set of friends in these people and I’ll be forever grateful to them all for making the last five and a half years bloody brilliant! On my last few days at my old job I was thoroughly spoilt by my lovely colleagues friends with homemade biscuits, beautiful flowers, rocky road, lunches out, multiple coffee trips, a sensational personalised card, a plethora of perfect presents, a lovely evening of nachos, drinks and nattering and some wonderfully kind words. I really was massively spoiled and it really did make the end of an era something special. It was great to ignore the scary parts and all my nerves and focus on the lovely things. I really will miss my old job and I’m very thankful that I’ve made some pretty awesome friends there that I know I’ll see numerous times in the future.

Winter Warmers

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Now that the clocks have gone back I’m properly embracing the autumnal and wintery feel in the air. I suppose yes you could argue I did that a while back, after all I’ve been rocking the tights and boots combo and drinking copious amounts of the autumn flavoured drinks for quite a while now. But it’s only this past week that I’ve been looking at warming winter woollies and I’ve decided that my current striped mittens just won’t do. The number of holes in them make them more useful for draining pasta than warming hands so the hunt has commenced for the perfect pair of mittens. Above are the current contenders. What do you think, do you have a preference? I’m heading towards the cream and neon pink ones at the moment (5) as they’re so unusual although maybe a more neutral pair like number six is most sensible? But the ones with the string do hark back to one particular outfit I owned as a five-year old. For a long time it  was all about the mittens, shiny buckled shoes and my special ‘smart’ coat that was a dark blue with a black fur collar. Gosh how I loved that coat!

October’s budgeting bloggers round up

Greetings blogging friends, how are you on this lovely morning? I’m crossing my fingers that you’re snuggled up with a good coffee on a squidgy sofa rather than working hard (that’s my current position anyway!). A girl can dream right? So today’s post is all about my  October clothes shopping and how well I’ve done with the purse strings this month. As per usual I’m joining up with Franish and all the other lovely budgeting bloggers, so don’t forget to pop over to see how they’ve done too! As for me I’ve had an okay month in October – no thanks to the big spree in just one shop in the middle of the month. But despite this I I somehow  managed to keep to my budget and only spend £115.98, which leaves me a little bit to add to the Christmas fund – hooray! So what did I get for this money, well not a huge amount compared to last month to be honest, but I’m not to worried about that as it’s all lovely stuff!
Budgeting Bloggers: October

 

The last months shopping exploits have been in just two shops: H&M (for no less than three pairs of shoes) and Matalan for everything else. All the shoes I bought have been won loads already and are perfect for what I needed, so that’s a bonus! I have been searching for boots like these for ages as they look so practical, are comfy and can be worn with loads in the autumn months. And these ones don’t disappoint. As for the pumps I’ve been needing some for ages that were interesting colours, so I’ve ticked that off this month at least!

As for the clothes, I couldn’t say no to the tweed biker jacket as it was a mere £15 and it’s just lovely. [I think I’m a little bit in love with it if I’m honest!] As for the other jacket/blazer thing I loved the pattern (not the exact one on here, it’s a flowery pattern) so I had to buy it, I mean a black and white blazer is an essential yes? Not in the above picture is a navy and red striped long sleeve top that is perfect for lazy Sundays and walks on the common – very similar to the waffley one above, which was perfect until I spilt coffee down it – oops! As I don’t own skinny black jeans I could hardly say no to these black ones for a mere £12 could I? Especially when they fit absolutely perfectly (and look awesome with the new boots)! The one other purchase I made this month was a simple grey tshirt with fake leather capped sleeves. This top is such a simple item and was relatively cheap (only £8) but I’m totally in love with it. It is such an easy top to throw on with a pair of jeans and automatically looks like you’ve made an effort, which let’s be honest everyone loves right?

So there we have it, quite a lot of awesome things for my money this month, what about you how has your budget gone this month? Has it been successful or not?

Boring walls: a problem and a solution!

Happy Sunday one and all, how are you all? I’m away this weekend in the stunningly beautiful Peak District with the family so hopefully I’m having a whale of a time. I will obviously update you all as soon as possible upon my return to London – you lucky lucky things! Anyway back to today’s post, let’s talk about art. For a while now I’ve been wanting to do something more interesting with my bedroom walls as they feel a little bit unloved. Don’t get me wrong they’re not bare, I do have stuff on them, lovely stuff in fact – but it’s all a bit higgledy-piggledy and things have been put up without thought. So this needs work.

I just wasn’t sure what to do until I saw a recent post by Will at Bright Bazaar’s recent, which got me all excited. As a gallery wall is most definitely the answer to my boring bedroom wall problem. The only problem is that I only have a couple of pictures in my room  – this one and a landscape picture of the wonderful Moreaki Boulders in New Zealand. So what I need are a few more frames to work with, so of course that means I’m on the lookout for some gorgeous works of art! Current faves are below and weirdly I seem to have headed towards brilliant quotes (let’s be honest we knew there’d be a Potter one in there somewhere didn’t we) and skylines/maps. Not sure what that’s all about but I must find both things fairly inspiring, which to be fair isn’t the worst idea for my bedroom wall. Surely waking up to lovely inspirational quotes is a good plan – won’t it just mean I’m taking the inspiring words to heart and doing more? Who knows! But maybe I should buy all of the below and see!

Wall inspiration

Dr Seuss quote / Albus Dumbledore quote / Bookshelf picture / Edinburgh Skyline / Always Remember / Life is too short / Hope quote / World Map / London Skyline

What’s your favourite quote and would you ever pop it on your wall? Any suggestions about what I should be adding to my wall, all ideas/suggestions/thoughts welcome. I’m clearly in dire need of help!

A treat for myself, making a list

Happy Friday you lovely people, how are things? I’m (hopefully) nice and settle in the Peak District for a weekend of family fun. To be honest I can’t wait for board games, my favourite people, scrumptious food and lovely walks in the countryside – bliss I tell you. What about you, what are you up to over the next few days?

In a few weeks I will be starting a brand new job, which means leaving the place I’ve worked at for the last five and a half years. Gulp. Yeah big news alert. I’m massively excited about this move (more explanation about that and why I’m moving soon I promise) but it goes without saying that I’m going to miss my current job. I’ve made so many fantastic friends there and I really don’t know how I’ll cope without them sitting next to me or indulging me in multiple coffee and cake trips. Very sad times indeed.

To cheer myself up I’ve decided that when I leave my current job I’m going to treat myself to something lovely. Not just to make me smile (yes I’m that shallow) but also because 1) I’ll have a new better wage, 2) finally leaving is a big deal for me and it has taken me a while to pluck up the courage to do it, so a reward is needed and 3) something tells me that the first few weeks in my new job might be quite hectic, so I think something nice might get me through those crazy few weeks. It’ll act as a reminder of why I’ve made the change I’m making. Well anyway that’s my excuse for this little gathering of lovely things and I’m sticking to it!

Treating myself
Treating myself a little bit more

So the above thirteen things are all gorgeous and clearly no explanation is needed for any of them, yet…you know me and you know there’s nothing I like more than waffling on about stuff. So first up bags – I’m in dire need of a new one, as my current one is being used to death, so a bright coloured bag would be perfect to see me through the winter. I obviously won’t be buying the massively expensive Kate Spade bag but I had to add it because it’s so wonderfully gorgeous and I will be buying it once I win the lottery. There are a fair few rings on the above list and this is because I’ve not been able to wear mine for a while – thanks to them needing to b e re-sized – so it would be good for my fingers to not be so bare. I love the Monica Viander ones, they are so beautiful and I like the idea of mixing them up and wearing one or three, depending on how I feel. Which I suppose I could do with all these bracelets too so simple and I always like the idea of multiple ones on one arm, so far I only really have two that I can wear at once, so these three would be good additions!

Iv’e just noticed that there’s a bit of a Kate Spade thing going on on this list – what can I say I want everything on that site. As for the two cushions, they had to be included as I love cushions on the sofa and my bed – so snuggly. Finally I love that purple purse from Fossil, such a beautiful colour and pockets for everything I could possibly need to put in it (including the money I won’t have once I buy this!).

So there we have it my list of potential candidates for when I get round to treating myself, don’t worry I’ll check back soon to let you know which of the above lovely things I went with!

Pinterest Corner #32 – Marshmallow Brownies

For this month’s Pinterest Corner I knew straightaway that I wanted to bake something rather than craft something, as it’s been a while since a recipe made an appearance on here and baking is a BIG part of my life. Despite all this, it seemed to take me forever to settle on what that baked item should be – possibly that’s due to the fact that I have over 500 recipes saved on my Sweet Eats board, yes what can I say I have a VERY sweet tooth! Anyway finally over the weekend I hit on the perfect recipe, which just happens to have been pinned to my Sweet Eats board twice, yes really twice. And now I think about it was a logical choice. I mean my obsession with brownies is really quite well documented on Cook Bake and Eat (my foodie blog) as over there I’ve shared Oreo, sweet potato and mint brownies in the past, so these fantastically chocolatey Marsmallow Brownies seemed like a great recipe to try next. As surely marshmallows (one of my favourite things) would make the perfect addition, when I think of the pairing of chocolate and marshmallow gooeyness, I can’t even form words. Just wow – talk about match made in heaven! Also don’t they just look divine?

As for the ingredients, this was another plus point as I have all the required ingredients in my cupboards already – they are staples after all. So limited preparations – perfect! The recipe suggests that you make them for Halloween, which is quite ingenious, but I honestly could not handle waiting until then, I needed to make these brownies asap!

So here’s the recipe:

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1 – Mix together the flour, cocoa and sugar

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2 – Beat the eggs together

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3 – Melt the chocolate and butter together
4 – Stir all the ingredients together

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5 – Fold in the marshmallows

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6 – Pour into a lined tin (30cm squared)

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7 – Bake on 190oC for twenty minutes until set on top but still gooey in the middle

So easy right? And can I just say, totally delicious, full of gooeyness and crunch as well as caramelised bites of marshmallow. Divine.

I should flag that I baked these brownies for twenty minutes at the temperature specified and the top burnt whilst the middle was a tad (okay a lot) too squishy. So definitely cook these for longer and on a lower temperature if you’re not prepared to dig in with a spoon!

So what do you think do you fancy giving these a whirl? And any other brownie flavours I just have to try?

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