Working on my blog and online presentation

Back when I started this blog I had quite a bit of time to push out at least one blog post every week or two and since starting University it’s been very easy to let my blog fall through my finger tips and become something I check on and update maybe once a month at the most. University has been an experience that has helped me grow and definitely now in second year has helped me realise the kind of person I want to be and what I enjoy doing and how I want to come across as a person and a writer.

I’ve been lucky enough this year to have opportunities to expand my writing skills both in University and outside. I recently had an article on Culture Calling’s website GoSeeThis where I talk about independent bookshops in Manchester and have been in the works of writing another article for them that hopefully I can share soon! From University I have realised how much I can enjoy writing and researching and studying if I buckle down and find the motivation for it, which is why I’m very interested in the online aesthetic of ‘studyspo’ and the community on websites like Instagram and Tumblr that share their bullet journals and their tips for  becoming more organised and having a better study schedule. All of these little things that have been adding up over my second year have made me realise how I want to put more effort into creating an aesthetically-pleasing blog with articles and posts that obviously still capture a personal approach so I can share my own views but I also want to create posts that can advice people or recommend stuff.

I really enjoy writing recommendations for cruelty-free products or makeup or places to visit and I also enjoy writing about myself and updates about how I’m doing in university and life but I think now I need to focus this blog somewhere in particular or keep a consistent theme. I also want to be able to link my Instagram and blog together so I’m unsure whether to create a new instagram that’s mainly blog-based or not! I’m massively inspired by bloggers such as Lucy Moon, Kiera Rose and Hannah Witton, all of them have assorted outlets whether it’s a written blog, vlogging or instagram. They’re all very talented at focusing their blogging or posting around particular things and keeping it consistent but at the same time they have personal touches and talk about personal experiences and that’s how I wish I could be through my blog.

I am always open to feedback on my blog whether it be what topics people would be interested in or whether the theme is appealing. So, over the summer I am definitely going to start trying to change up my blog and make more posts with consistent themes and topics and if you enjoy the posts shared, I’d love it if you could also share them or show them to your friends! Please watch this space because I am going to try to put a lot of work into my writing and blog over summer.

Thank you for reading my ramble! Look out for some new blog posts soon!

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Books I read in 2017

Happy 2018!

I say, 20 days late! 2017 was a year of up and downs for me; majority of it was the rest of my first year at University, as well as studying I also took part in two performances with my university’s theatre company, visited Dublin and Prestatyn, went to concerts, went to my first Pride festival and lots of other happy memories. One thing I was particularly proud of in 2017 was how many books I managed to read. I’ve always loved reading since I was tiny but during high school and afterwards, I drifted away from reading as a hobby and always struggled to try to find the time and the motivation to sit down and concentrate on a book. Luckily this year, the motivation and drive suddenly came back to me and I fell back in love with reading, bookshops, libraries and literature all over again and I am so thankful for it. Unfortunately, a downside of last year is I neglected my blog massively, which I blame partly on trying to focus on University and get used to the new routine and also blame on just laziness in general but I did manage to crack out two book reviews on my blog last year! You can read them here and here!

I thought I’d share some of the books I managed to read last year and what I thought of them, as well as talk about books I plan to read this year and ones I’d like to read! This list is in no particular order and not in any particular ‘rating’ and doesn’t include every book that I read this year:

  1. Too Close to Home by Aoife Walsh

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Ironically I first mentioned this book back in a blog post in February 2016! Only took me until October 2017 to finish it! I still stand by my original thoughts that Aoife’s novel reminds me of coming of age/YA stories like Ally’s World, which I used to read back in year 7 and 8. It tells the story of Minny who lives in a big, confusing family – where the father and mother are separated and Minny feels like she has to also help take care of her younger sister, baby brother and older sister Aisling who is autistic. I also enjoyed this book because I personally felt Aoife wrote an autistic character well and didn’t draw unnatural attention to how Aisling acted in situations and such. The novel also has typical YA novel topics like family problems, crushes and bullying. Overall I did quite enjoy it, I’m not in any rush to reread it and you can definitely tell it is a young adult novel – but I still enjoyed it and I’m very glad I finally finished it!

2. We are all completely beside ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

After finishing this novel I was completely enamoured by it and the concepts discussed/implied in the story. Not spoiling any twists or big plot points but the story eventually brings up the question of humanity in animals, specifically primates and if they can remember family and if similar bonds between family members can be shown between a human and primate. The story was so surprising and different to other books I have read that once I hit a particular chapter or point in the book where a lot of things became revealed, I found myself glued to the book – not wanting to put it down. I’d love to read another book of Karen Joy Fowler’s as this novel is probably the book of 2017 that brought me back into reading regularly.

3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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I now actually claim this novel as my favourite book, that is how much I enjoyed it. Not only that, I absolutely adore Ishiguro’s style of writing and when I found out that he had won the Nobel prize in Literature I was so proud to be a fan of his work because he is so talented and definitely deserves the prize. I went into detail about Never Let Me Go on a previous review on my blog, but let me tell you – this book has such a natural, raw narration from the main character that you find emotions hitting you for hours after you’ve finished the story.

4. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer

The Shock of the Fall was included on one of my University module reading lists, and that is actually how I ended up reading it but the story was so real and impactful that I ended up sitting for hours not putting my kindle down because I needed to know what happened. I will warn that the story’s themes largely include mental health, schizophrenia, depression, suicide and death. The main protagonist had his flaws and parts of him that you’d find yourself reading and wanting to argue or yell at him but other times you’d pity him. In some parts of the novel, I found myself getting goosebumps because of how blunt and honest the character was and how dark the story could get. But I felt this was good writing because it didn’t romanticize mental health disorders, it didn’t paint them as something that one day would be magically cured, it showed how bleak it could be. That it could happen to anyone, that the symptoms can be far and near from what people expect. In general, I definitely recommend this book because it is so powerful and so well written.

I’m currently trying to power through Jane Austen’s Emma. I do love Austen’s stories and her writing, but sometimes when I’m tired it does take a couple of going over the same paragraph again to try and take in what happened in the scene and sometimes I mix characters up – but I am enjoying it and plan to finish it! Other books I have in my book box ready to read include

  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
  • Georgia, Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
  • Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  • Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher

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So wish me luck! Hopefully I can read way more books this year than I did last! Feel free to share what books you loved in 2017, or any 2018 releases you are looking forward to!

I am also on GoodReads if you’d like to give me a follow!

Thanks for reading,

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phone photography adventures and Easter laziness

Hey guys, long time no talk!

Lately I’ve been really missing blogging, art and just general hobbies I used to enjoy. That’s the annoying side of University life mixed with depression, it’s so easy to drop completely off the map when it comes to things that I really used to enjoy doing. Luckily I’m in the middle of a good 2-3 weeks off University and it’s been a mix of good and bad to my schedule. The first bad bit is that I’ve completely lost my sleeping pattern; maybe I didn’t have a good one in the first place but over the course of a week or two it’s definitely gone a bit tipsy. Although the bonus of being awake at 4am with your boyfriend watching Netflix and playing video games is you get to see how pretty the world is when it’s the dead of night. Especially in Manchester.

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I’ve been really enjoying taking photos lately. Now I’m definitely no photographer or skilled, especially with the fact all I have is my shoddy iPhone SE and editing apps/Photoshop – but it’s been something I’ve been doing a lot when I’m out of the house. Me and Will have been on three or four lovely walks during the Easter break which has given me a great chance to take some nice photos and it’s made me want to start doing photography again. Maybe fool around more with photo editing or even create some mixed media pieces if I can ever kick my butt back into art/drawing.

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Visiting Wythenshawe park provided me with a lot of lovely photos! We visited the Community Farm they have there so I got to see a lot of the adorable animals on the farm. Admittedly seeing the cows in their barn made me feel a little bit sad because it was hard to tell if they were happy or upset being there but a lot of the animals on the farm seemed very calm and were eating/just finished being fed.

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As well as picnics in parks and going for walks, I’ve been mostly lazing around playing video games. Persona 5 is my go-to game at the moment which I thoroughly recommend to anybody looking for a new PS4 game to play! It’s also available on PS3. It’s super unique and if you’re a fan of the Persona series, it’s definitely a step up from 4 and with a lot more gripping, darker storyline. The characters are super lovable and you’ll get instantly attached to them like I did. I’d also recommend it if you’re a fan of games like Pokemon or Final Fantasy because of the fighting and collecting monster themes but for anyone who enjoys games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age since they have a role-playing side to it where you can make personal choices to your game with some sides of it.

I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter holiday and I shall be back soon with another post!

Thanks for reading,

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