Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Top 5 books of 2014.

At the beginning of 2014 I wrote a post about the top 5 books that I read in 2013 (I'll put a link to this post at the bottom). I decided, since mostly all I seem to do is read, and the year is coming to a close, to do another for 2014.

1. My favourite book that I read this year is 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky.



This book was an experience for me that I want to re-live over and over again. It's a coming of age story which follows the main character 'Charlie' through his transition to High School and how he copes. He goes through the typical teenage stuff, friends, fallouts, girlfriends, music, family arguments, and the like. But Charlie is different to most kids. He's quiet, and clever, and wonderfully thoughful. This story of a short time in his life is heartwarmingly honest, and heartbreakingly tragic.
I'd give this book 10/10. My all-time favourite.

2. 'The Collector' by John Fowles.



This book is one I was assigned to read for class. I enjoyed it immensely and found that whilst reading it I couldn't put it down. It's not at all a light-hearted coming-of-age story like the books I usually read. It's dark, and confusing, and the main character is misunderstood, and very dangerous. It's a definite must-read for anyone who likes a thriller. This book from me gets a 8/10.

3. 'If I Stay' by Gayle Forman.



This is a book which I read because I saw the trailer for the movie and it seemed like something I'd enjoy. Admittedly I haven't yet seen the movie, I will do in time but the book was so incredible. The protagonist 'Mia' is caught in a world of confusion and loss and the book isn't about how she overcomes difficulty, it's about her deciding whether she should. I found this book so insightful and so thought provoking. It's only quite a short book too so it's perfect for someone who isn't a huge reader. Overall, 9.5/10.

4. 'Paper Towns' by John Green.



Already a fan of John Green, having read 'The Fault in our Stars' and 'Looking for Alaska' I was keen to give this a read. I was so happy to hear it was being made in to a film! I found this story one that I struggled to put down when reading and I didn't want it to end. I was slightly disappointed with the ending, having said that I feel it was the best thing to happen to the characters. It also comments on this thing we all do, where our admiration for someone makes them in to something more than human, in our eyes. We put people on pedestals and then are let down when they don't live up to our expectations. This book taught me that it's important to remember that everyone is flawed, everyone is human. 8.5/10 from me.

5. 'Slated' by Teri Terry.


This book is the first in a series, and I haven't actually read the next two yet. I'd describe this book as a cross between fantasy and sci-fi because it takes place in a dystopic future (around 2050 in England) where a war has caused consequences for the entire country. Kyla, the main character is an interesting protagonist because the reader follows her experience of re-learning how to live an ordinary life, and the trials and tribulations of not knowing who she can trust. I'd give this book 8.5/10, I found it gripping, and can't wait to get my teeth in to the next two!



Here is last year's post - Top 5 books/book series of 2013.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Ciaté 'mini mani month' Advent Calendar.

This year I decided on an advent calendar which would be in some way entertaining to me. I'm not a huge chocolate lover, and I spotted the Ciaté calendar on a website and bought it immediately. I love nail accessories and anything like that and I'd never tried Ciaté as a brand before, so I thought a calendar filled with miniatures will let me try them out, and if I want I can buy the full-sized versions :)



Inside each door is a little quote or phrase, and they're so sweet. My favourite was Day 7 which said "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." -Coco Chanel.






I have to say I have LOVED this calendar. The colours are beautiful, and so varied there is something for every occasion. Here are some of my favourites of the pastel-type colours.



Also, I love the little 'caviar pearls' for nail art.


No doubt I will be experimenting endlessly with these. And hopefully next year I can get hold of another one of these! I loved having something to open that I knew I would get pleasure from. I would recommend this for anyone who likes beauty related things and likes doing their nails. I found no faults so I'd give this calendar 10/10.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A little something

To help you guys get to know me better.


Name Your Favourite…


Place
I've never travelled too far. And where I'm from isn't so great. Can it be somewhere I've not been yet? If so, Amsterdam.

Person
I cannot possibly pick one.

Colour
Pink. I like white but it's not a colour it's the absence of colour. I've always liked pink.

Food
Roasted sweet potato. Cut like chips. Mmm.

Smell
Coco Chanel Mademoiselle.

Book
The Perks of Being a Wallflower -Stephen Chbosky. Because it's just so honest and true and tragic but also pretty amazing.

Movie
This is difficult for me because I think if I say a movie that was originally a book then what I actually like is the book, but it's got to be the last two Harry Potter films. I feel they completely encompassed all of the important elements of the story but also the atmosphere of the film was still dark and frightening in just the right amount and, they were just incredible.

Music artist
Sia because she's so incredible, not just her own voice etc but her writing. She'd written so many iconic songs that you wouldn't even think about. Sam Smith is pretty great too.

Genre of music
Everything.

Genre of literature
I love Young Adult Fiction, but I'm also partial to a Classic like Pride and Prejudice.

Magazine
Company, Cosmopolitan, or ELLE.

Texture
My dog's fur coat :)

Time of day
Late afternoon, in winter. When the sun is setting.

Day of the week
It varies.

Thing to do when bored
Read a good book or play video games.

Celebrity
Jennifer Lawrence. I know that's a cliche answer but she just doesn't give a damn and I love that. Or Taylor Swift because she's amazing.

Class in school
English.

Website
Etsy.

Drink
I'm presuming this means alcohol but seeing as I don't drink, anything strawberry flavoured. Flavoured water, Ribena etc.

Precious stone
Sapphire is my birthstone, but I love diamonds, and I also really like Rubies.

Animal
Dog. 100%.

Flower
Orchid.

Time in history
The roaring 20's seem like they would be amazing, also the 50's. Having said that I like my current rights as a woman.

Font
Georgia.

Video game
Ooh difficult one. I like noir style games so, Beyond: Two Souls. But I love Red Dead Redemption too.

TV show
Haven. Or Under the Dome. Basically anything originally written by Stephen King :')

Play
A Streetcar Named Desire.

Sound
Piano.

Fruit
Strawberries and Mangoes.

Vegetable
Sweet Potato.

Store/shop
Waterstones

Article of clothing you own
Teddy bear onesie. Because why not?

Pattern
Tartan. Especially in winter. Love a good ol' tartan blanket.

Quote
"Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.” -Nicole Krauss.
OR
"We accept the love we think we deserve" -Stephen Chbosky.

Historical figure
I love literature, so I thought maybe Charles Lutwidge Dodgson or 'Lewis Carroll', because 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' was the first book directly aimed at children and I think he changed the face of literature.

Girl’s name
Erin. My first daughter will be called Erin, end of discussion.

Boy's name
I can't decide.

Potato chip flavour
Ready Salted (Plain).

Meal of the day
Tea. (Dinner, we call it tea up north).

Ice cream flavour
Chocolate Fugde Brownie.

Soda
I don't really drink fizzy drinks but, Fanta.

Popcorn flavour
Salted.

Season
Winter.

Month of the year
December.

Word
Incommensurable. It's when two things are so different that they cannot be compared.

OR

Anachronism. Something placed in an era in which it doesn't belong. Like a digital watch in an episode of Downton Abbey. I like to look out for them. Also, sometimes I feel like one.

Disney princess
Elsa. Because she's independent and isn't falling all over the place in search of a man to 'complete her'.

Letter
A

YouTube channel
I watch A LOT of YouTube channels. I'll link all my favourites.

Zoella
ThatcherJoe
Will Darbyshire
FunForLouis
SourceFedNERD
Vlogbrothers
Jenna Marbles
Grace Helbig

Eye colour
I feel like there's more to look at in a blue eye.

Dessert
Strawberry Cheesecake.

Candy
Parma Violets.

Restaurant
La Tasca. I love Spanish food.

Language
English.

Thing to learn about
History.

Thing about yourself
I like how, if I want to do something, like achieve something, I usually end up seeing it through. I don't like to give up.I also like my hair because it is the longest it has ever been.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Zoella, Girl Online, Thoughts.



So as you might be aware the internet has been divided this last week over the 'news' that Zoe Sugg had help writing her book. I wanted to share my thoughts. I said 'news' in inverted commas because it's not news to anyone who watches her videos. She has spoken openly throughout the entire process that she has worked with the editorial team and been given guidance with the book, which I feel is fair, given that it's her first book. Most people's first books don't get published because they aren't good enough, writing well is something that has to be learned and just because she had help is no reason to punish her.

I've read the book, finished in just over a week. I loved it. Yes writing style is important, but the plot is just as important, if not more so. She created that, and it's a true achievement.

There are also discrepancies regarding how involved she was in the process, whether she just gave ideas or whether she did some of the writing herself, nobody knows. But i ask, does it matter? Look at Katie Price, she has written around 10 books, that have all been successful, ALL ghost written. Nobody cared then. (And I've just heard that Katie Price is fully supporting Zoe). Also people have questioned the money that the ghost writer made, wether or not it was fair... they didn't decide to be a ghost writer without knowing they weren't going to be loaded, however I have heard speculation of the sum, and it wasn't exactly a small amount.

Regardless, we can't deny that Zoe has grown from being a young girl filming videos in her bedroom, into a successful and respected businesswoman. She should be proud of what she's achieved.

Monday, 8 December 2014

My Bucket List.

Writing a bucket list is something I've always wanted to do. I've always been profoundly aware that what i have will end some day, but I never had the right platform to share the things I want to do, and so I never thought it out completely before. So here lies, the definitive edition.


1. Become somebody.

Okay so I know I'm already a person, but I mean somebody. I want to do something with my life that leaves a legacy. Ideally I would write the best novel anyone has ever read and it would imprint on people's lives and make a difference. Alternatively I could write a mediocre book that speaks to a few people, that'd be pretty great. But realistically, and short term, this is why I want to teach. I want someone to remember me fondly and for me to have made a difference.


2. Travel.

Ive never travelled far, France, Mallorca etc. I want to experience everything. I'd like to colour in a blank map, with all the places I've been.



3. Photograph the Aurora Borealis.




4. See the ball drop in Times Square NY on New Year's Eve.




5. Visit Amsterdam, and see the Van Gogh museum, and the Anne Frank museum, and everything else.




6. Go to rome, see the Colosseum, Pantheon, Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain etc.





7. Conquer my fears.

Both rational and irrational. I'm scared of spiders and sharks. This I feel is irrational. Panic setting in and finding it hard to breathe when theres a spider on my bedroom wall can, surprisingly, have a negative effect on my life (as does spending the following week staring at the walls looking for more like a gibbering wreck).


8. Conquer my nerves.

It is completely normal to have a fight or flight reaction when you're facing off a bear, or are jumping from a plane, or are going for surgery. Recently however I've found myself getting hot and cold flashes, feeling sick, and becoming quite agitated over the smallest things. Going into university for class, assignment deadlines, and other stressful but not-life-threatening things. I'm also reacting to excitement, the same hot and cold flashes, when I bought a new laptop, or when I think about christmas. Its happening once or twice a day now and I think I need to get a handle on it.


9. Make enough money.

I know most people want money, more than they have. I want to have enough that I can do what I love without having to work 60 hours a week as well, just to pay the bills. I also want to be able to give to charities, I feel strongly about animal welfare and being able to make a difference would be amazing. Hopefully one day I can open a humane animal shelter, but to do that I'll need a substantial amount of money to begin with. (Also if i want to complete 2-6 I'll need some spare cash too).


10. Be happy.

I know everyone wants to be happy, its a cliche really. I think we all have a choice, to be happy. I don't always make that choice. I like to sit with my dog and watch tv, or play video games, or read, and that's okay because that is what makes me happy. But theres this common misconception that being an introvert and needing time to recharge, alone, cannot possibly make someone happy, but it does. One day I hope that I can spend time alone, and not feel conflicted because of the needs and opinions of others.

Is there anything you want from life? Anything you really want to do? Let me know in the comments.

Alex.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Regrets.

We all have them. Some people like to think that everything happens for a reason, and I too follow that train of thought but, somehow there are always things I wish hadn't happened, had happened, or happened differently.

Sometimes I get lost in my head imagining how my life would be different if just one detail was changed. If I'd gone to this party would I have met the love of my life? If I hadn't ever listened to that one obscure song would I have different memories? If Mrs. Worthington hadn't been my English teacher at secondary school would I love it so much? Would I want to follow in her footsteps? If I hadn't been let down too many times would I still be me, introverted, or would I have loads of friends?

I like to think that I have some control over the way I spend my time, and live my life but the truth is I don't think any of us do. Maybe it's just me.

I regret leaving school at 16. I should have continued on for sixth form but I went elsewhere.
But if I hadn't experienced life outside of a private school, I wouldn't appreciate what I had quite so wholly.

I regret being horrible. When i was 14, and I didn't know who I wanted to be yet, I met a few bad influences and I wasn't nice to people and I think about it a lot.
But if I hadn't lived this phase I wouldn't have known who I wanted to be. Who I have become.

I regret letting people take away my self esteem. I have this notion that had I been confident I'd be a singer.
But if my self esteem had never been low, I wouldn't have spent so much time alone, I wouldn't know me the way I do. I know what makes me happy, what I'm comfortable with. I spent so much of my life wandering around following other people, fooling myself into thinking I liked the things that others did just to fit in, and now I just don't care.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that even though we may regret things, a good spin can always be put on the outcome, and show that everything really does happen for a reason.

If you understand me at all, and have any regrets you want to put a positive spin on, you can in the comments.

Thankyou for reading if you got this far,

Alex.