July is here and wow, the weather has been amazing. I am keeping everything crossed that it lasts. As June is now finished, I wanted to look at some of my favourite things from last month.
My favourite book from last month was Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay by Ali McNamara. I am a huge fan of Ali’s novels so it was no real surprise that I adored this novel.
Her writing style is so effortless and she creates wonderful characters. The plot for this book was great; a woman inherits a castle and meets a handsome stranger. Also, this cover is just so beautiful.
Here’s the blurb for the novel.
Amelia is a single mother, doing her very best to look after her young son, Charlie – but money is tight and times are tough. When she first hears that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Real-Life Castle by the sea, Amelia can’t quite believe her ears. But it’s true!
She soon finds that owning a castle isn’t quite the ticket to sorting out her money problems that she’d first hoped: she can’t sell, because the terms of the ancient bequest state that any Chesterford who inherits the castle, must live there and work towards the upkeep and maintenance of the family home. So ever-practical Amelia decides to uproot her little family and move to this magnificent castle by the sea.
Living in a castle on the beautiful Northumberland coast is fun at first, but organising the day-to-day running is a lot more complicated than Amelia first imagined. Luckily she has help from the small band of eccentric and unconventional staff that are already employed there – and a mysterious unseen hand that often gives her a push in the right direction just when she needs it most. It’s only when she meets Tom, a furniture restorer who comes to the castle to help repair some antique furniture, that Amelia realises she might get the fairy-tale ending that she and Charlie truly deserve…
There are so many great TV shows being released right now. The one I enjoyed most in June was definitely Black Mirror. I do think that Charlie Brooker is a genius. It’s sad he’s not doing his end of year show but if it’s because he has been writing Black Mirror, that is fine with me.by
Goodbye February and hello March.
Today, I wanted to share my February favourites. I love these kinds of posts. One, I am really nosy and secondly, I have discovered so many products through these kinds of posts.
My favourites this month include TV shows, a podcast, and a new diary.
What have you been loving this month? Let me know in the comments.
I am a little obsessed with diaries. I am always on the lookout for the perfect one and have already changed diaries twice this year.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been using a Hobonichi Weeks mega edition for 2019.
Like the Moleskine diaries, this has space with a weekly view. On the opposing page, there is room for notes.
At the back, there are over two hundred blank pages. If you’re looking for something to begin a bullet journal, this would be a good book to use. Or, like me, if you want to combine a notebook and diary, this is perfect.
I have mostly been planning digitally when it comes to the blog and the daily tasks, events and appointments. I have an iPad Pro and apple pencil. I have been holding off planning my novel digitally. I love pen and pencil and I think I felt as though I wouldn’t be a proper writer if I didn’t use paper. I know, I am being ridiculous.
What I love about the digital notebook I’ve been using for novel notes is that I can have a book for the novel, another for general notes, one for Novel Kicks and it is all in the same place. The pencil allows me to handwrite on the tablet, so it means I have less to carry around. Less confusing and easier on the shoulder as my bag isn’t as heavy. I have found it’s the best of both worlds. This, along with the Hobonichi weeks is doing me just fine.by
How was everyone’s Easter weekend? I may have indulged in an Easter egg… or two.
This is a little late but better late than never. I wanted to share some of my favourite things from March.
Although it was a little bit of a quiet month purchase wise, my favourites include a book, stationary and two of my favourite Lush products.
My first favourite is a TV show. It is one I have mentioned before and it is Gilmore Girls. More specifically, I am talking about the revival episodes. As I was late to the TV show, I was able to finish series seven and move straight into A Year in the Life.
I know fans of the show are divided over these new episodes but I have to say I loved them. The best scene for me involves Rory and rooftop golf (that is all I will say about it in case some of you haven’t seen it. There was one body shaming scene I wasn’t so keen on.) And of course, there are those famous last four words.
I feel these were a nice continuance of the last series which I feel didn’t close properly.
I really, really hope that the makers of Gilmore Girls decide on another series.
My next favourite is an app and I feel as though I am late to this party. Two words… Best Fiends.
It is stupidly addictive and no matter how hard I try, I can’t stop playing it. I have been stuck on a particular level for days and it is driving me crazy.
On a serious note, this app is good for anxiety as it has you concentrating on the game that it takes your mind off things for a while. For anyone who is not familiar with this game, you have a team of bugs and you have to defeat the slugs and reach goals to move onto the next level. It’s very colourful and doesn’t take a lot of effort to play.
Next up is the first of the Lush products to feature in this favourites list. Plum Rain shower gel, although not new to Lush (I’m told it was an exclusive to the Oxford Street store,) is now available across all the Lush stores and I love it.
It’s a beautiful scent (in my opinion anyway.)
This shower gel I believe is a little different to the other ones available. Plus, it’s purple.by
It’s March! How did we get into March so quickly? We are already getting the lighter mornings and longer evenings and this is totally ok by me. The clocks go forward at the end of this month too.
Before we get too far into March, I wanted to look back over some of the things and products I have been loving in February.
An honourable mention needs to go to Gilmore Girls. This has been in a previous favourites and I am still making my way through it and loving it. I have managed to stay away from spoilers about it (especially around the latest episodes,) and I am hoping it stays that way.
OK, so lets begin with my favourites in stationery.
The first product I have loved in February is my Vanskap (which I believe means friendship in Swedish,) Personal Planner from Kikki K. It has cats on it people. Cats. I couldn’t resist it. Having been late to the Kikki K party, I missed this particular collection so I had to track this down on eBay but so worth it.
I have never really used Filofaxes. I tend to gravitate toward bound diaries. However, I have completely fallen in love with this planner. It’s fabric (not leather,) and it is such a pretty colour. The inserts all have cats on them and there are blank stickers so you can customise it. I think Kikki K are definitely bringing me around to the planners.
I am enjoying using this planner. I am enjoying it very much.
Next up is a sticker subscription. I have an unhealthy love of stickers for someone who is in their thirties. I like decorating my diary, planner and notebook with stickers. It cheers up the page and makes me smile. I have recently subscribed to a sticker subscription service. It’s called Pipsticks, it’s based in the United States and it is amazing.
There are various types of stickers in the pack. It’s affordable considering it is coming from the states. If you’re into decorating diaries or planners, this could be a good way to get a monthly supply of stickers. If you’d like me to do a review of this subscription, let me know.
My book favourite this month was definitely When The Sky Fell Apart by Caroline Lea. It’s based in Jersey when the German army invades in World War II. It focuses on a small group of villagers and their will to not let bad circumstances dampen their determination.by
Literature is full of many great characters; heroes and heroines that I’ve loved. What I find though, when these books and characters are written about, it is the main characters that get most of the attention. There are so many supporting characters that are not talked about half as much as they should be.
With so many to choose from, I had a hard time trying to decide which ‘sidekicks’ were my favourites. This list could change tomorrow but for now, these are my favourite supporting characters in literature.
Jane Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth Bennett is the type of girl that you want for a friend. She is kind and fiercely loyal and knows her mind. I believe though that Jane is sometimes over looked for the more popular Lizzie (do not take this for Lizzie hate. I love her.)
Jane is the quiet Bennett sister. She’s seen as the bestest bet in terms of making a good marriage and is seen as beautiful but I feel there is so much more to her than beauty and prospects. Unlike Lizzie, Jane sees the good in everyone and in every situation and is always keen to seek out the positive.
We all know Harry Potter. I adore this series of books. These are the books I go to when I am having a bad time and want something comforting. We all know of the main character of course. Harry Potter is one of the most recognisable fictional heroes but I want to take a moment to admire Ron Weasley. Hermione is also a great character but I think Ron is my favourite.
It must be hard to be in the shadow of his friend and yet he rises above and is always there for Harry with his loyalty and humour. Harry would be nothing without his friends. Ron can be hilarious but he can do the serious thing. Plus, I want to visit the Burrow. It sounds so amazing.
Speaking of loyal friends, I couldn’t have a list like this and not mention Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings.
If you need a friend, Sam is the one you want to have. Frodo fell at the last moment and it was Sam who helped him get the ring to where it needed to be in order to destroy it. Sam is why they succeeded in my opinion. Had he not carried Frodo that last bit up the hill, then it would have all been for nothing. Sam doesn’t want much in life. He wants love and the people around him. He never had an adventurous side like Frodo and yet he followed him.
I love music. It’s one of my great loves along with books. It doesn’t take long after a song I like comes on before I am tapping my foot, singing under my breath or if I’m alone in the house or in my car full on singing and belting it out.
Music is also a big part of my writing routine. I’m not one of these people who can write in silence. Being in silence reminds me of exams and I hated exams. I’d always be worried that I’d say something to myself out loud, embarrass myself et cetera so I don’t have great associated memories.
Writing with music playing calms me down, makes me smile and helps me to focus on the job at hand. Now onto my playlists. I debated whether to share my taste in music (as some of it is very questionable,) but here goes.
Listening to music has been made so much easier with Apple Music and Spotify. As I said, my music taste is a little bit strange. Its full of all sorts of songs (plenty of them cheesy, you know the embarrassing kind.) My iPod and playlists are full of those songs you can’t help but love but are quick to skip over if there are people with you. You know what ones I mean.
When I’m writing, I like songs and albums that will either make me happy or chill me out. I find music a little bit less distracting than TV box sets (although that doesn’t stop me playing back to back episodes of Gilmore Girls.)by
It’s Valentine’s Day. I can’t help but get caught up in all the romance of this day. I know a lot of people don’t consider it an important day but I can’t help myself. I am soppy. Always have been. Hey, I like Disney. It would be hard not to be a little sucked in by all the happy.
I love romantic stories. The stories where there are two people who are meant to be together. I love that moment when they get out of their own way and get their happy ever after. I am such a sucker for the rom coms and books about love.
The boy gets the girl and the girl gets her man.
No matter how many times I watch it, I l adore the end of Valentine’s Day where Calvin ends up with Kara, Reed gets with Julia. Kate manages to get home to see her little boy. The end of Love Actually just makes me happy full stop. The end of Enchanted when Giselle and Robert get their happily ever after. I just love it.
So, this got me thinking about my favourite couples. Who are they I hear you cry.
Elinor and Edward Ferrars and Marianne and Colonel Brandon – Sense and Sensibility.
These two couples are just fantastic. No one can do romance like Jane Austen. I know my favourite should be Darcy and Lizzie (they are amazing) but there is something about the couples in this novel/film that make me smile.
Elinor is the sensible one. She’s the sister that remains level-headed and serious. Edward I feel has more of a playful streak. They complement one another.
Marianne of course needed a little bit more time to fall in love with Colonel Brandon (OK, so Alan Rickman had a big hand in this character being one of my favourites. I mean come on, that voice. I still get sad when I remember that he’s gone.)
Marianne gets there in the end. He is stable, loyal and kind and he loves her. Yes, Willoughby seems more fun at first glance but you want the guy who’s going to ride through a rain storm to find you.
Rosie and Alex from Where Rainbows End are amongst one of my favourite couples of all time. I have mentioned this novel a few times on this blog. I don’t think I will ever stop loving it. It would be in my list for books on a desert island for sure.
I fell in love with their story pretty much from the moment I picked up this novel.
The Rosie and Alex in the film are great but I much prefer the Rosie and Alex from the page.
The novel spans from when they were children until they are in their fifties whereas the film only covers to thirties (I appreciate you can only get so much into a film.)
You get such a wide understanding of these characters from the book. I got to know them and care about them. They were like a set of friends that I wanted to match make and shout at for not getting on with it.
Rosie and Alex should be together if only they could be honest with one another. These characters are proof that it’s never too late to pursue love and right wrongs.
I thought it was about time I did another favourites post. I do love reading these kinds of posts. There were plenty of things I loved in January, including stationery, a TV show and some music. I wanted to share them with you today. (Side note; I have not been paid to mention these products. I brought them with my own money. It’s simply that I’ve loved them.)
My first favourite is actually three items (slightly cheating but what can you do?)
I have become seriously obsessed (and yes, completely obsessed) with Kikki K. I am new to their products but I really can’t stop myself visiting the website. So many pretty things. I am certainly a Kikki K convert. What’s that? Oh, it’s my bank balance crying in fear.
The three products I have been particularly loving are:
This notebook from their sweet collection. I am a sucker for a notebook and this one is one of my absolute favourites.
It is hardback so fairly durable. The cover is so pretty and the illustrations carry on through the whole book.
The only thing I have been finding is that it is a little heavy. A small price to pay though for such a beautiful notebook. I am in love.
The second favourite is my diary. I was using the diary from the Busy B collection but then I discovered this. It is soooooo cute. It has a week to view, it has little pockets to put things like stickers in (it comes with a sheet too) plus it has sections for books I’d like to read, movies, websites and expenses which were all things that helped sell it to me. It’s very colourful. It never fails to cheer me up whenever i see it.by
I don’t think I will ever end my love affair with beautiful book covers. They are the thing that will attract me to a book. If it’s a pretty cover, I will sometimes stop reading and just look at it for a while (anyone else do that? Just me… ok.)
I have been thinking again about my favourite book covers. I did a post about this back in 2015 (want to see them, click here,) and I thought it was about time I thought about five more favourites.
It was hard picking just five. I think I have managed to narrow it down.
My first favourite is the 10th Anniversary edition of Looking For Alaska by John Green (HarperCollins Children’s Books, January 2015.) The original cover (which is black with a white daisy) is lovely but this cover is so beautiful.
Gold, the cover is gold. I brought a copy of this edition just because I loved the cover. I already had a paperback copy.
Miles’s life is one big non event until he meets Alaska Young. Alaska draws Miles into her reckless world and steels his heart in the process. His life will never be the same again.
My next favourite is Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (Penguin, October 2016.) This cover is simple but yet so pretty. Sometimes less is more and this was one of my favourites from last year.
Everyone thinks they know Libby – the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen.’ No one has looked past the weight to see who she really is.
She’s been trying to deal with the grief of loosing her mother.
Now she is ready for school. For new friends. For a new life.
My third favourite is The Little Teashop of Lost and Found by Trisha Ashley (which is due to be released by Bantam Press in March.)
This cover is absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to be able to add it to my book shelf. I absolutely adore it. The illustrations are just lovely and has such wonderful detail.
Alice was discovered on the Yorkshire Moors above Haworth as a baby.
Adopted but then later rejected by a horrible step-mother, Alice struggles to find a place where she belongs. Only baking brings her a sense of comfort.
When Alice does return to Haworth, she returns to baking. She makes friends but there are a couple of last twist and turns in her story.by
I know we are nearly halfway through January but I wanted to share some of my December favourites before we got too far into this month. I have not done a favourites post in a while so I thought I was a little overdue. Plus, I love reading these sorts of posts so I want to share some of my favourites from last month.
My first favourite from last month was this stunning version of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and other Christmas writings from the Penguin Clothbound Classics. I do have a paperback version of this book but there was something that drew me to this copy. The cover is so beautiful. It looks very nice on the bookshelf. I couldn’t resist treating myself to a copy prior to Christmas.
I adore A Christmas Carol and this puts me in such a Christmas like mood whenever I look at it. I can’t wait to read it at the end of the year.
My next favourite is a DVD of possibly my favourite Disney movie as well as one of my favourite films of all time. It’s the big sleeve edition of Beauty and The Beast. This is something else I may have treated myself to just before Christmas. It was one of those impulse buys. I knew that if I didn’t buy it, I would never see it again.
I, like many other fans of Beauty and The Beast were slightly disappointed that we were not going to be getting the 25th Anniversary special edition here in the UK. I believe this version to be the next best thing (I am so looking forward to seeing the live action version in March.)
This version includes the blue ray as well as the DVD version and there are four beautiful postcards of some of the characters in the movie. I love this and don’t regret buying it for an instant.by
Happy Christmas Eve all. This has to be my favourite day of the year. Christmas day is great but the anticipation of Christmas almost being here is so magical and wonderful. Everyone has their traditions at Christmas whether it be seeing family, going for a Christmas day walk or snuggling down with a Christmas themed book or a movie. I wanted to share some of my Christmas story and movie traditions. There are certain ones that I try to watch and read every year. Some of these traditions I have had since I was a kid and some are fairly recent. I can never wait until 1st December to be able to begin them.
My first Christmas story/film tradition is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I have been watching various adaptations of this all my life (I actually really love the version with Kate Winslet. Does anyone else?) This is the film I will usually put on when wrapping presents. The latest version I love is the Jim Carrey version although the scene where the candle changes faces quite frankly is creepy.
It wasn’t until last year though that I read the book these wonderful adaptations are based on. I don’t know why it took me so long. It’s full of great moments and in places, very funny dialogue. I love how faithful some of these film adaptations have been to the book. Reading this story though gave me a whole new appreciation for it. I will be trying to read it every year now instead of just watching it.
My next tradition is also a film adapted from a book and that is The Snowman. I mean, it’s a classic. I have been watching this animation since I was small and Christmas is not Christmas without it. This twenty minute film is so magical. I wanted to be able to build a snowman and go off to the north pole but I can’t remember the last time we had snow. I still hold out hope even though I am now in my thirties that we will get a white Christmas. It’s always good to hope right?
The Snowman is so wonderfully animated and even though it doesn’t have the happiest of endings, I can’t help smiling when I hear those first few beats of Walking in The Air and they begin to fly toward the North Pole. I notice something new every time I watch it. The Snowman is so timeless and will be part of my Christmas for years to come.
Speaking of which, The Gift by Cecelia Ahern is one of those Christmas stories that will have you reaching for the tissues as it will make you cry. It did me. Lou doesn’t have enough hours in the day. The advancement of his career comes at the sacrifice of spending time with his family. His life is turned upside down when he meets Gabe. Something happens where Lou can be in two places at once but can he discover what is important before it is too late?
This book has stuck with me for so long. Even years after first reading it I still think about it and this is a book I always try and read this time of year. It has such a lovely and important message especially for Christmas. If you’ve not added this to your Christmas reading list, I urge you to. It’s wonderful.
I have always loved reading and always will. There is something so magical about being able to escape to another place for a while. Whenever I feel anxious and want to relax, I pick up a book. It can be such a comfort.
One of the things I love most about escaping into a book is that I get to experience all of these different worlds. I get to travel, get to know the characters and see life through their eyes (it appeals to the part of me that is incredibly nosey.)
Having loved reading since I was young, I have visited many places and worlds. Some I have loved, some I have found intriguing and there’s some where I’ve outright wanted to pack up everything and go and live there.
I don’t think it is any surprise to anyone then that the first book world that’s my favourite is the world Harry Potter inhabits. From the moment I started reading these I fell in love with the magical world. I want to be able to own a wand and do magic. I want to go to school at Hogwarts and learn spells, potions and transfiguration. I don’t think there would ever be a dull day. This is the one world where I would like to actually go live rather than just visit. Can I head to the Hogwarts Express now?
Narnia is another world I would love to go and visit (although unlike Hogwarts, I am not sure I’d want to live there.) The stories and the world of Narnia is something I’ve been reading since I was a young child. When I was little, it was the characters within the world that I loved the most and the power to overcome someone like the white witch. As I grew older, I began to appreciate the whole world.
Is it strange though to say that I love the bit with all the snow (yes, coming from the christmas freak.)
My favourite bit is the part with Father Christmas. The setting is just so magical. The imagery you also get at the end where Cair Paravel is described as being by the sea with what I imagined as a beautiful view. It would be somewhere nice to go on holiday.
Never Never Land – the land where you don’t have to grow up. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to grow up and become an adult. I ignored all of the warnings my Mum gave me when she told me to not be in such a hurry and… yes… she was right.by
I have been hauling some lovely stationery things recently (I need help… seriously.)
I wanted to share some of my favourite products from the last few weeks. I love doing these kinds of posts as I love reading these kinds of posts. You never know what you’re going to discover. I’ve included a link to each one.
I love writing in pencil. There is something quite freeing about it. I know that I can always erase anything that I don’t want to keep. I do tend to hoard pencils actually. I’ve also just recently brought a set of Beatles pencils too. I remember writing a lot with pencils when I was at school when I used to do creative writing and I guess that’s what I like about it. When I was that age, the internal editor was a lot more co-operative.
I think I actually got these ones for Christmas and they are so cute. They are very nice to write with too and comfortable in your hand as they are smooth.
The best thing about these pencils though are the little quotes on them. For example, these ones have things written on them like ‘Once upon a time, it was a day just like any other, it was a dark and stormy night and for the Star Wars fans amongst you, in a galaxy far far away.’
I want to aim to get the procrastination pencils too which include funny sayings such as ‘a to do list..you need a to do list, just chew on me and look thoughtful for a bit or you probably need another coffee.’ Hmm, maybe not such a good idea. I don’t need anymore procrastination encouragement. Haha.
Day One is an app I’ve been using for a few weeks.
It was an app I had installed on my phone a few months ago and had been meaning to use. When I did eventually get around to trying it, I found it to be a really simple journal app to use. Some of them can be a bit complicated and hard to navigate.
Day one allows me to have more than one journal so I can separate things out a little. At the moment, I have a random thoughts journal, a notes folder, a blog folder etc. Plus because it is available on both the iPhone and the Mac, it all syncs which makes things so easy. You can password protect the app too which is great for me as I am also using it to write letters to my Mum (sappy I know.)
I’ve found that I’ve been using it every day and it’s developed into one of my favourite apps.
Usually I would use Microsoft Word but I’ve been increasingly using Scrivener lately. I have just found it to be perfect for what I want to do. It allows me to create pages for the characters where you can incorporate images and things. I work better when I can visualise people’s faces and surroundings. You can use the templates if you want to. It will give you a cork board view if it’s easier to see your ideas in that way and more importantly, it will allow me to create chapters which I can jump to and from but will give me the option to include them in a complied document at the end.
Writing the book is frightening but so is the editing part (and one of the reasons why I have been putting it off – the idea of facing this big document.) It being split into chapters means that it’s already in bite size sections and therefore not as scary.
It can be hard to get your head around. I’ve been using it for a while and I’m still not aware of all its features. Sometimes I have no choice but to use another word processing programme (if I’m not using the computer but using the iPad) but it is easy enough to copy and paste in and keep it organised. I love it.by