Saturday, 28 November 2015

5s: 5 songs that sum up my life

In case you missed my birthday post a few months ago, I've got 21years stashed under my belt. Figuratively, of course, I'm wearing pjs and have no need for a belt right now and....back to the post. Sorry. 
What I was saying, was that I've been alive for some time now. In those magnificently varied 21 years I have listened to a lot of music. A heck of a lot. 
This weeks 5s post is alllll about songs that sum my life up. 

1) Stop! By The Spice Girls// yep I was a huuuuge Spice Girls fan back in my twee little days. I'll always remember moving back into my Dads house when I was about 6-7. We tried to the gas fire on and found one of the CDs that my little brother had seen fit to stuff up there.... This is one of the first songs I really remember and I love it to this very day.
2) The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance// This is it. The song. The one. The only. The song that started my emo phase. All black clothes, skinny jeans and bad eyeliner. Tbh, it's sounds likeme now... I still carry a soft spot for Kerrang and I love introducing my lil sis to all the best songs now that her emo phase has begun...
3) Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd// This song features on the Pulse album, which was the only album my Dad played in his car for around 6 years. I started off only liking the odd song to liking most of them. I'm not sure if I actually do or if I'm just very well conditioned. We may never know. It started off my love for classic rock that I still have to this day.
4) Bankrobber by The Clash// I never really knew The Clash before I met Lewis.  Now I really enjoy a lot of their songs. This particular song never fails to remind me of when we got our tattoos. Lewis' has a slight Clash reference and the artist played this song during the session.
5) Jukebox Hero by Foreigner// The final song. This brings back memories of summer holidays with mix-CDs. My, then 4 years old, sister liked this song and became a mini dictator. She refused to allow any other song to be played. Evil. At the time, it grew annoying verrrry quickly but now I have only fond feelings for the song.

What songs have stayed with you through the years?? 
Abi x

Sunday, 22 November 2015

5s: 5 bookish confessions

Today's 5's post is allll about reading confessions. I feel it's finally time to get them off my chest...
1. I hate dust covers// despite they're genuine usefulness, any books with dust covers will have then swiftly removed for the duration of the read. Sorry dusty's, were just not compatible.
2. Old books//I love the smell of well loved books, musty and cracked with age. I frequently buy second-hand books and mate it's awesome. I see a new book and it's just like "bring it".
3. Bookmarks// this is probably an extension of the last one. I confess that I'll use just about anything as a bookmark. When I can't find anything to use (which happens pretty regular) I'll fold  the pages. There I said it. I'm a page folder. Sometimes I'll just try and memorise the page number which works 90% of the time but naaaahhh. I will say, however, that when I've borrowed other people's books in the past I don't do it. Ain't that nice??

4. I'm impatient// yeah so are most people. Sometimes, however I acknowledge my impatience and decide not to read a series purely because I cba waiting for the next book to be released. I like to think it's because I get very emotionally involved with books and I'm just not ready for that kind of commitment. You get me?
5. Reading is bad// This is confession is digging deep now. Reading has actively got me into trouble before. Mostly at school, reading when I probably shouldn't have. When I was younger I would read at every available opportunity. I,m not exaggerating. I'd read during meals, in class, in between classes, whilst walking, at night, in the bath. You get the picture. I'm glad I did though because now I feel comfortable reading absolutely anywhere. I have the power!

Do you have any reading confessions?

Abi X

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

I won an AWARD!!

Only joking. Well, kinda.. I got nominated for The Liebster award by Xleptodactylous to answer some ppppreeettty old random questions.
The rules are thank the person that nominated you, create a post if you accept the award, link to them and answer their questions, then choose ten bloggers (typically those with under 200 followers) and ask them ten questions in return. 
1.) Favourite biscuit?

Definitely a choccy digestive. Or a chocolate chip cookie...Or a bourbon....Okay, maybe I have a problem here.

2.) "Hey, Ezio, why you keep falling for?"

I recognize this as a super cool reference to Assassins Creed. If you don't then this is not the blog for you.

3.) What is your favourite book?

Nope. It's going to take lots of bribery and torture to make me choose just ONE book. However, in the interests of fair play, my favourite series will forever be the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
4.) What's your favourite thing to blog about?
Lifestyle probably. Although they don't come naturally, I'm enjoying writing more book reviews .
5.) Remove all boundaries: what one job would you absolutely love to do, regardless of your skill level? 
Probably my current job (Physiotherapist) I've worked so bloody hard to get to this point. It feels like I've been aiming forever.
6.) What's your absolute, one piece only, favourite item of clothing? Show a picture if you can.
I have a ratty old jumper that I've had approximately 3 years now. It never fails to make me feel cosy. However, it is grim and way to misshapen to respectfully post a photo of it.... Maybe on Instagram in a week then? ;)
7.) What one expensive item are you saving up for, even if it'll take you approximately 42 years?
If you'd asked me a few weeks ago I'd have said a coat. But I recently bought a new coat soooooo..I'd probably say Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturiser. I had a sample a while back and literally eke'd ecery drop out of it. 
8.) Which three famous people, dead or alive, would you like to be trapped in a lift with?
Robert Jordan//see above for reasons. Da da daVinci// it'd be cool and you know it. Matt Bellamy//because he's a paranoid conspiracy nut, and it'd help stop me from panicing if someone was worse...
9.) Which three famous people, dead or alive, would you like to trap in a lift, whilst you yourself laugh maniacally outside?
Nicki Minaj// I find her voice nbasally and irritating. Alan Carr// same reason to be honest. David Cameron//admit it, who wouldn't be tempted?
10.) Would you rather touch a rainbow or ride on a cloud?
Ride a cloud. This implies an ability to me. Whereas touching a rainbow seems less realistic. Also Skittles exist y'alll.

Ip, dip, dip, my blue ship....I choose...
Xleptodactylous//Yes, again...hehe

  1. One product to rule them all?
  2. Favourite childhood rhyme (lyrics included please)
  3. Least favourite school subject and why?
  4. Favourite weather?
  5. Are you scared of anything?
  6. Favourite accent
  7. Weirdest song you've ever listened to...and liked.
  8. Pick a Random Fact.
  9. Favourite word.
  10. Can you play an instrument? If yes; what? If no; what would you like to play?
Go forth my pretties!
Abi x

Saturday, 14 November 2015

5's: 5 great things recently!

I feel that lately things have been a bit non-stop for me. Since starting my new job, I've been working during the week and been off at the weekends. Which is great, but I've also been really busy during the weekends. I'm starting to feel it a bit now, not being quite as well rested when Monday rolls round. 
Yet when I look back, I've done some brilliant things recently. 
I thought that in this week's 5's post I'd share some of them with you guys. Well 5 of them...
  1. Grand final: Leeds Rhinos vs Wigan Warriors// This is delving back about a month, now. I went with my boyfriend and his Dad and sister. Neither of whom we've seen for quite a while. So it was a really nice day. Made even better by being an absolutely nail-biting (I hate this word, but it's an accurate description) gritty game that Leeds won! 
  2. London// Fast forward several weeks later and myself and Lewis had a wee train ride up to London followed by a rather disrupted tube ride out to Stratford station. Our destination? The Olympic Park Stadium to watch the rugby! Absolutely, one cracking stadium, although a shame we were in it to witness England get beaten by New Zealand in the second of three test series.  While the atmosphere fell flat at times, the night was salvaged by the brilliant fan park hosted by Rugby AM. I'm still gutted I never won one of their many prizes on offer...
    Blog debut of my new coat!
  3. Leeds// Two Leeds mentions in one post? Yep, that's right ;). The other week I finally, Finally, bloody FINALLY got paid. Months, with no money. Over. So we had a road trip up and across to Leeds. It was brill, I splashed a bit of cash and finally picked up a new coat, one inspired by my Autumn coat wishlist! I even picked a few new books I 've been lusting after...
  4. Coffee date// Following on from Leeds, me and Lewis went for a coffee date. Doesn't sound much right? Wrong. So, so wrong. When you don't have much money, something this becomes a none essential expense. Being able to go for a little treat like this just felt so liberating. Albeit  a coffee date with no coffee...
  5. Bonfire night// Normally I'd go to a local display but this year I just didn't fancy it. Instead, we went for a moonlit stroll (sounds romantic, eh?) along the marshes to Parkgate. I got to see a load of fireworks from as far as Wales, without having to battle a crowd. 
There we have it! I think you'll agree I've been a busy bee recently. Have you been up to much lately?
Abi x

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Books vs Their Adaptations: Controversial choices...

It's no secret that I love to read (What do you mean you didn't know?)and when Patrick Rothfuss (Author of the Kingkiller Chronicles) recently announced his beloved series was going to be adapted, well, I had a mixed reaction. It was the same reaction I have whenever I hear a book is going to be adapted in some way. Incredibly excited, because how cool is it to see your favourite stories in a new way? Then the flip side, incredibly worried: what if it's bad? It looks like we'll be getting a movie, TV series and a game! Hell yeah! If it works...
Fortunately, Pat Rothfuss loves his books more than anyone else and at this early stage, it appears that Liongate our giving him the chance to have a big influence over the potential works. 

As exciting as this is (and it is!) it got me thinking about other adaptations, and how they've fared during the transformation. Normally I'd spout that the books are always better but are they? 
Well not always. Sometimes I prefer the adaptations, others the books. 
Who wins? 
I had a good rattle around my brain and these are what I came up with:

Book winners
  1. The Wheel of Time (WOT) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson// This is cheating a bit. There was a lot of funny business regarding the TV rights to the series which resulted in a 1-hour pilot being produced. Get the full story here. Frankly, it was utter shite, that I hated absolutely. The books definitely win this one.
  2. Dresden files by Jim Butcher// I am addicted to this series. It was a bit of a random find for me but I adore it now. Sadly, when it was adapted into a TV show a few years back it never really took off. RIP dreams.
  3. The Wardstone Chronicles by Joseph Delaney// This is a series I started reading solely because i loved the covers. It's dark and twisted and full of monsters. The film? Well, I took one look at the advert and just went Nahhhh Mate.
  4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde// I'm not a big fan of classics, in general, but this book is brill and I adore it nonetheless. The film adaptation? Not so much...
  5. World War Z by Max Brooks// I did like this film (mostly because it just played Muse the whole time) but as an adaptation it severely disappointed me. The brutal depth and harsh beauty found within the book just wasn't there.
Adaptation winners
  1. Atonement by Ian McEwan// I'll be honest, I haven't read the book. I love this film and it's magical ability to make me instantly cry. In fact, it made it onto my list of things that make me cry. I really can't be bothered to read what I'm sure is a decent book, and you can't make me!
  2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte// I'm putting this out there, I just didn't get the book. I read it and yup that's all I can say. My bad. The adaptation in question? Well maybe I'm stretching it out a bit, but it has got to be Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights. It's warbly and high and I love screeching along to it. So there, suck it up.
  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen// I think I spent half my teenage years watching the film, gazing in adoration at Keira Knightley. The book? Well, I finished it. That's about the best I can say really. I just found it so hard to settle into this book that I never enjoyed it. I made myself finish it purely by strength of will. 
  4. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien// Okayyyy, I'm a bad geek. I admit it here for all to see; that I just didn't like this book. I made it about through the Fellowship of the Ring and the Two Towers and threw in the towel part way through the Return of the King in defeat. 

A few books I struggled to decide which I really liked better and just concluded a draw:
  1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling// Yep both are good. For different reasons but I love them both.
  2. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin // I've loved this series for a long, long time and it makes me super happy to watch the TV series. I get that its deviating a fair bit from the books at this point but I don't mind because it's brilliant watching.
  3. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien// Wellll, I know this is inconsistent buuuut, yep, I loved The Hobbit. Hated the trilogy, loved the prequel... just go with it. Again I know there were big changes in the film adaptations but I really enjoyed them, so no complaints.
Woah! Quite a long post here... I've come to the realisation that although I'd automatically say I'd prefer the books, it's more varied than I'd guessed. I've also reaffirmed that classics are just not my cup of tea... 

Do you agree with my choices? Are there any that you would add?

Abi x

Saturday, 7 November 2015

5's: 5 Inspirational Instagram Accounts

If you follow me on social media, you may (or not) have noticed an incy, wincy, tiny increase in my Instagram usage recently.
Well, yep....just a little increase... 
I've always loved taking photos and I used to use Instagram a fair bit when the mood struck me. But somewhere along the way my Instagramming just fizzled out. 
Now fast forward a wee bit. To September when I started this here blog. I started expanding my social media profile, mostly on Twitter. And by extension I began to look at what other people did with theirs. This naturally led me to peruse other people's Instagram's (translation: stalked). 

From there, I began to enjoy thinking how I would style things. Or what would look interesting in a picture. 
I found it quite inspiring and it made me want to join in too.

Wow, longer intro than I'd intended...but what my ramblings have been trying to say is that this weeks 5s is about Instagram accounts that I enjoy.

  1. Xleptodactylous// I think this account deserves the number 1 spot. Hers not only one o my favourite Instagram accounts but also blogs. I have serious photo prop envy and just love Xleptodactylous's general style
  2. Spookykiah// I really like Kiah's photos. But what I think I like most is that they are frequently places I know. I'm really enjoying seeing familiar spots from someone else's viewpoint. Plus her posts are spooky and kooky, 'nuff said.
  3. Bookwormboutique//Soooo I like books. Did you know that yet? This instagram tends to show a fair bit of book merch in cool, varied ways.This account first introduced me to the "I'd rather be a bookdragon than a bookworm". I am a bookdragon. Hear me roar.
  4. Georgina Grogan// This is a lass with a whole lot of sass. Also, the best Halloween make up ever set eyes on.My favourite was her depiction of Ursula from Disney's "The Little Mermaid". Awesome or what?
  5. Hannahfgale// My favourite lifestyle blog, reflected in pretty Instagram pictures. What's not to love? In fairness, Hannah writes with an element of levity that comes across in her pics.
Just a few accounts I'm loving at the moment! Do you know any of these? Are there any you'd recommend?
Abi x

P.s. If you fancy a peek at my Instagram account, then I suppose that's okay ;)

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Book review 5// A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, by Marie Brennan

I first saw this book online in a review. I didn't really read the review but I was totally caught out about the cover. For one; dragons are the bees knees. Two; I love the way the dragon turns into an anatomical drawing, it's a brill idea. It brings dragons and science together; perfect for me! And finally three; the style of the cover is reminiscent of a diagram from some old encyclopaedia somewhere. It makes a suggestion that dragons are a normal resident on the planet that require studying, in the same vain as lions and tigers etc. 
Any world where dragons live is one I want to read about!!
So this all flashed through my mind the first time I saw the book, and the second, and the....well you get the idea! 
A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, by Marie Brennan. Modelled by Heffa the Elephant
It, therefore, didn't take much persuasion for me to pick up kindle copy (dreaming of a real one, someday).

In terms of the actual book...In this installment (there's been 3 so far) we see Lady Trent grow from small child to a married young woman. We see her interest in dragons grow and flourish, taking her study from backyard varieties to those in distant cold mountains.

The period is reminiscent of late 1800's to 1900's, during which it would be frowned upon for a woman to be interested in science. Although set in a different world, it easily brings reflections of our own. We, as the reader, get to see how Isabella Trent tries to balance societies expectations of her and her own curiosities and scientific nature. I personally, think this is a fascinating perspective, as it is only within the past century that science has truly begun accepting women. It is easy to imagine women having similar struggles in our own history, albeit not with dragons.

I found the writing style pleasant and easy to follow. One could easily believe that these are in indeed the memoirs of a successful female scientist, with plenty of foreshadowing being laid down. 
I think, that the foreshadowing is probably the only negative I have about this read. There was plenty, most of which fit nicely and created appropriate levels of anticipation and curiosity. Other times, it just felt too much to me. Maybe it's just me. I had a similar kind of "clunky" sensation when picking up on foreshadowing when reading Lee Child's Make Me. Maybe I just don't respond well to the literary technique.

Of the character Isabella Trent, I was extremely impressed. She had her own layers and thought processes that the reader could follow. Felt real emotions, guilt about manipulating people to her own wishes. Her frustrations, her fears and wants, all came across clearly because the character depth was there.
She wasn't a perfect woman, and that makes her interesting.

 The nature of the book being a memoir style meant we had her own insight into her flaws. Of which there were a few, as you would expect from many young adults. As people age, they grow in maturity, and I felt this was beautifully reflected in her musings about her younger self. 

In conclusion, I'm rating this book 4.5/5. It really was a brilliant read that I'd recommend to fellow fantasy lovers, but the foreshadowing just held it back for me. Nearly a 5/5, just not quite there...

So, I totally judged this book by its cover, and it turned out great. Have you ever done the same? Or had a book with a good cover that was a total letdown?
Abi x