Books, Challenges, My life, Reviews

My March Books

I read 3 books in March which took me to 10/30. I’m 1/3 of the way there guys! Whoop! Anyway, I know there’s only 2 books on the picture and that’s because the third one has been travelling from person to person since I finished it. Having found it quite enlightening and useful, I’ve passed it on to two of my friends since and one of them currently still has it.

In fact, that’s the book I shall begin with. I’m a bit late to the bandwagon with this, but the first book I read in March was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō. I’m not claiming it was fully as miraculous as it claims, but I got quite a bit out of it. Overall this books is quite nutty in my opinion, you have to pick and choose what to take from it and it’s definitely not going to suit everyone’s taste. However I learned a few neat tricks to decluttering and better organisation. My wardrobe shrank considerably after I put some of those tips into use (like only keeping the stuff that makes me happy) and now I can wear anything from it, knowing that no matter what I pick, I’ll be happy wearing it. Such a simple concept but one that I never thought of myself. So I had piles of clothes that I hadn’t worn in years and a few items I’d never even put on. Well, not anymore! I also learned a few good ways to organise my clothes which I’ve actually stuck to as it just makes a lot of sense (like storing clothes side by side not in a pile). Anyway, long story short, I liked it.

The second book I read was Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman. Right, I’ve tried to start my review about this one three times now and nothing just seems to fit. I thought it was an OK book. It wasn’t amazing, but it was a nice read. It had its interesting bits and some crazy twists which were well done. Overall I’d say I enjoyed it and if you’re after a quick and easy read with some mystery then by all means go for it. Hmm… That doesn’t sound like a very good review. It’s just… You know how some books influence you more and some to a lesser degree or not much at all? Well, I don’t think all books can nor should be life-changing, some should just be simple entertainment. Which is what this books was.

Now then. I saved my favourite for last this time. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson. I’m sure you’re all getting a bit tired about me going oooon and oooooon about the Mistborn series but it’s just that good. If you like fantasy books with magic but are tired of the same old wands and mages then pick this up. I’ve never known magic like this before and it’s just… And the characters and the story and it’s all just. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I love it. Love it, love it, love it. That’s one of the life-changing books for me.

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That’s it for now. If you have any recommendations for what I could read next, let me know! 🙂

G.

Books, Challenges, My life

Literally shaking with anticipation and excitement

To be honest I can’t believe I’m even writing this, but I feel like I need to share it with you lot. I’ve just reached the final hundred or so pages of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy and I feel like I REALLY want you to be a part of it.

I can’t remember when I was last sucked into a book like this, but it’s amazing. It’s all coming together in mind-bogglingly brilliant ways that I somewhat foresaw, but not to the extents that the book is revealing. I don’t even know if any of this is making any sense, I’m just SOOOOOOOOOOO excited.

Like the title says – I’m literally shaking. You’ll probably think me crazy, but I don’t care. To read something this great is just … I’m dreading the end because I don’t want to be done with it, but I know that once I’ve finished this post I won’t stop reading until I’ve finished.

Prepare yourselves for a post full of wallowing about how I’ve reached an end of an era, having finished the trilogy.

Ok, I can’t write any more for now. Must. Go. Back. To. Reading. Can’t leave my characters that long.

My goodness, I truly hope and wish that you’ve had a similar reading experience recently. It’s so invigorating.

G.

Books, Challenges, Crafts, Food, My life

Of life in general, briefly. / Ups and downs

Hmm. It’s really weird what I now consider to be my ‘downs’ as they’re actually more of a ‘not that up’. It’s weird to explain, if you haven’t experienced it. But even on my days when I feel like I can’t really be bothered to do anything, which before would’ve found me in a dark hole, I can now just shrug it off. Dealing with things is so different when you’re not well. Also, realising how it’s different is hard when you’re in a place where things aren’t that great.

Now that I’ve noticed the changes I keep finding that I’m more conscious of the slight differences. For example, the other day I was focusing on the feelings in my stomach and the thoughts in my head and realised I last felt like this more than a decade ago. After struggling for so long, it feels amazing to realise that yes, my memories of feeling like this once upon a time weren’t just ‘memory goggles’ that make times gone by feel better, but that I actually did feel different then.

So, back to the topic — oooooh, I just thought that I should’ve told you about my Sunday. I was SO productive and got a buttload of things done. Hmm. Now I’m torn about whether to continue this post or start again. I think I’ll go ahead with my current one at the moment, but expect to see a ‘The Most Productive Sunday Yet’ post soon.

Ok, can I pleaaase get back to my post now? — Today I didn’t go bouncing/trampolining. I should’ve done, but didn’t. Why did I not go? Well, because today is one of the days when I felt like I’d rather eat a reasonably sized portion of lasagna and attempt to make T-shirt yarn. Check and check. The lasagna was a frozen ready meal and actually surprisingly nice. (Today was also one of the days where I couldn’t be bothered to cook from scratch.) T-shirt yarn however… well, I think I’ve got some room for improvement. The first one would be to get proper scissors. The second one would be to learn how to cut even strips… I’m pretty sure some toddlers could surpass me in cutting skills. Once I’ve practised a little bit more I’ll let you know in more detail how it goes and what I’m going to make of the yarn.

Speaking of toddlers (erm… young kids), I watched an episode of Masterchef Junior today. Turns out I’ve got a LOT to learn about cooking and I could learn a lot of it from kids — my fiance just tried to ask me what my post is about and as it’s about everything whilst being about nothing I didn’t want to lose my train of thought so I growled at him. He didn’t appreciate it. — that are half my age and less. My cooking skills were very extremely limited until I was in my early twenties, I think. That’s when I started to explore the world of food a bit more courageously.

Watching a cooking show also reminded me that I haven’t made many soups this year. For those of you who are wondering why I’ve singled out soups – my this year’s challenge is to make 12 different soups. So far I’ve made two. That’s low even for my usual cooking variety, not to mention that I’m supposed to be doing this to complete my challenge. I’m pretty certain I made a lot more soups when it wasn’t a challenge. I’ll need to look into this, I think.

Anyway, it may not have been as brief as the title suggested, but there it is. I got most of the stuff off my mind – a lot of it straight from thoughts to paper without much editing, so I hope you’ll enjoy a glimpse into my brrrrrain. Oh, the image I used is a picture of daffodils that are on my way to/from work. How cool is that. A sea of daffodils that I walk past every day.

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I’ll go try to make amends with my fiance now and then go read my book. I’m getting really close to the end of the last book in the trilogy and such interesting things are happening! I can’t even… Yeah. I’ll see you soon!

G.

Books, Challenges, My life, Reviews

February books!

Yes, there’s an exclamation mark. There’s a very good reason for that by the way. In February I read the first book from a series that has become one of my all time favourites already. And apparently the books only get better as the series goes on. Can’t wait!

So, the first book I read in February was The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky. I really enjoyed it. It was sweet, yet bold, and kept me reading almost without stopping. I think it was the perfect book to kick-start February. I gave it 8.5/10.

The second book I read is the one I was so excited about in the beginning of this post. The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson. Oh. My. Goodness. Do you know that feeling when you’re reading a fantasy book and it’s got magic, but it’s the ‘usual’ kind of magic and even though you love it, you feel that it’d be so great if there’d be something different and new about it? Well, this book series would cover that quite nicely. It’s a fantasy book with the kind of magic that I’ve not read or seen anywhere else. And it’s so good. The author really knows what he’s doing with the characters and the twists and the world where it all takes place. It’s just brilliant. 10/10.

Lastly I read War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. I’d already seen the film adaption of this so I was preparing to cry my eyes out, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the book was quite a bit mellower than the film. So my tissue box remained untouched and instead I enjoyed the great little read about the adventures of a horse during war time. 7/10.

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That’s 7/30 books read for my this year’s reading challenge. Going pretty well. And I’m soooooooo excited to continue with the Mistborn series. I’ll let you know what I think of the next ones from that series, but I have a feeling I’ll only have more good things to say. I have also already read some rather interesting books in March, so watch this space 😉

G.

Challenges, Crafts, My life

More unicorns, of course

That’d be the answer to ‘What have you been up to tonight?’. Well, kind of. But yes, I’ve been dealing with a unicorn. And Mischief. Fine, I shall talk in riddles no more. I made a cushion cover tonight. Out of an old jumper that never fit me quite right (the sleeves just felt off and weird). I have to say, it turned out quite a bit better than I expected. Here’s a quick tutorial or whatever you want to call it – me showing step by step how I did it.

1. I started off with my jumper – exhibit A. Plus some buttons, thread, scissors, a cushion, needle and measuring tape. I also used some pins but I forgot to include them in the ‘before’ picture. Oh well.

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2. Then the actual first step, which was measuring my cushion and the jumper. With some help from my loyal side kick/assistant, of course.

3. This was followed by me completely ignoring the measurements I’d just taken (once I got the cat off the jumper) and just cutting out some shapes. I’m not going to call them squares or rectangles or give them a defining name, as to do so would probably damage my reputation in the geometrics circle. Do I even have a reputation there? What is this?

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4. Anyway, now I got to use pins to try to make it all cushion shaped. I must say that it went better than I expected. That little colourful bit you can see there is my slight ‘envelope’ design. If you want to know what that is, please check out a proper tutorial.

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5. This was followed by sewing all the edges together, except for the one with the colourful bit showing. I also added buttons because why not. That’s the back of the cushion cover once I’d finished sewing (if you have a sewing machine it’ll take you about 2 minutes. It took me a bit longer as I did it by hand), and stuffed the cushion in it.

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5.2 And that’s the front of it. You have no idea how difficult it was to get a picture of it without my loyal side kick/assistant (or his shadow) blocking the cushion.

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5.3 Exhibit B.

Now that I’ve established myself as a crazy cat/unicorn lady who enjoys a night in sewing cushion covers… To be honest I wouldn’t even know where to take it from here. I think I’ve reached my limit. And probably yours. I’ll just leave it at that.

I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial/step-by-step. I think it’s the first craftsy thing I’ve done this year and it was a nice little project to kick things off with (this means that now I’ve done 1/4 of my crafts for this year’s challenge). I’m hoping to get some more waves of inspiration soon enough. Possibly something wedding themed? Any and all ideas are welcome!

G.

 

Books, Challenges, My life, Reviews

My January Books

You know I love my challenges and I love books, so of course I needed to combine the two. If you’ve read my previous posts you know I set myself a reading challenge which I track on goodreads. In January I read four books. My challenge this year is to finish 30, so that’s a great start, I think. I have to say I enjoyed all four very much. Some more than others, of course.

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The first book I read this year was The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan. It was a nice feel-good book and a great read just after Xmas to keep the holiday feeling going for just that little bit longer. In general I liked the idea and the story of it, as well as most of the characters (there were a couple of characters that I didn’t understand at all. They just didn’t feel like humans to me, more like cartoon characters). There were also quite a few references in there that I didn’t understand and which therefore annoyed me a little. Overall I feel I’d give this book a 6.5/10.

The next one I read was While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green. I really liked this book. Like, really. It was one of the ones that I just couldn’t put down. I think I finished it during the very late hours of one night. It had some great twists and I always felt like something was happening. Loved it. 8/10!

Looking for Alaska by John Green was my third book of the month. I liked it a lot for what I think it was supposed to be. The way that the story unravelled was good and annoying at the same time. Whilst I realise that some rocks are better left unturned, I still wish I could’ve had a peek. I just like knowing. I don’t like not knowing the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of things. But that’s just me and that was the whole point of it, so I can’t fault the book for that. 7/10.

Last but not least I read Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding. I think this was one of my favourite ones from January. It was very easy to read, the story was flowing nicely, the characters reasonably lovable. I don’t think there was anything that I disliked about it. I loved the little twists and turns, the honesty of it. It made me laugh out loud and giggle quite a few times. Yeah, loved it – 8.5/10.

I’d love to know what you’ve been reading and if you’ve read any of the books that I’ve just talked about, let me know what you thought of them 🙂

G.

Challenges, Crafts, My life

Late night thoughts

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Late night? It’s only just gone 10pm. Wow, I AM getting old. Well, in just less than two hours it’s my birthday so I guess that’s fitting. Anyway, I’m in bed, watching Pretty Little Liars and thinking the awesome thoughts and making the awesome plans that you can only do when you’re utterly comfy and just feel like you’re in your happy place at this moment in time.

We’ve been celebrating my birthday weekend and it’s been super awesome. Went to Manchester today for sushi and a bit of shopping. I had way too many cheesecake balls but not nearly enough. I feel like I should’ve bought some to take away. Oh well. I guess that only makes them so much more special. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you want to look up Strawberry Cheesecake Mochi) As for shopping I actually didn’t buy much at all. I was feeling a bit anxious so everything was a bit swirly and closing in on me. It was alright and I had it under control thanks to my Mr but I felt more like browsing than actually buying anything.

I did get two candles from Home Sense though (yeah, I’m still a candle nut). A Cooling Eucalyptus one (I’m hoping it’ll lure a couple of koalas in for me to cuddle as it smells very strongly and amazingly of eucalyptus) and one called Serenity which is … you know what, I’ve no idea what it actually smells of. But it is a rather fresh yet calming sent. Kind of purifying maybe? Is that a way to describe a smell? I don’t know. Continuing with the smelly theme I also picked up a reed diffuser – Purple Blackberry Fig scented one. Very nice and quite fresh. This year I’m really feeling the fresh theme for some reason. Usually I’d still be pining for Xmas at this time but this year it’s all about freshness and spring and all that.

Changing the topic completely – I said I’d write more about my goals and challenges and stuff. Well here’s what I was going to say – I want to do at least six craft projects this year. Last year I did way more than the four I’d set as my target and I’d like to keep it up this year. I love wearing the clothes that I’ve made myself or using my crafty and nifty bits around the house. So yeah. More crafts!

Anyway, I’ll go back to PLL now. I’m in the middle of season five so just two and a half seasons to go!

G.