Category Archives: Discussion

A Brand New Look

September 19, 2015

Let’s state the obvious – I disappeared, again. I stopped reading for some reason, and that meant that the blog suffered, and for that, I do apologise.

But I’m back (again), with a new outlook on Music, Books and Tea. I’m treating this as if it’s all brand new. Hence the new look. And things are exciting all over again. I can’t wait to share with you book reviews on books I’ve read on different subjects like beauty and tarot. I can’t wait to start talking about books again.

I’ve missed you all. And I’m so glad to be back.

(P.S – do you love my new design. Blogzilla Studios are amazing!)

Series I Want to Finish in 2015

August 8, 2015

I’m sure that series I want to finish is becoming a recurring theme on this blog, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to 4 series that I absolutely must finish by the end of this year. I’m hopeful it’ll happen…you never know!
Series I Want to finish in 2015I’m currently re-reading Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, and I’m planning on reading the next two books back-to-back. I’d almost forgotten how good this book is, and I’m excited to finally continue Mal and Alina’s stories.

I have to re-read Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi before I think about picking up the rest of the series, but I haven’t read a dystopian book in ages, so I’m really looking forward to diving back into this world again.

Clockwork Princess and City of Heavenly Fire kind of go hand in hand, as I know I have to read Clockwork Princess before the final Mortal Instruments book. I really enjoy The Infernal Devices, but if I’m being honest, I’m ready for The Mortal Instruments to be over with. 6 books is plenty enough for me!

What series do you want to finish up in 2015?

 

Dear 16 Year Old Me…

July 25, 2015

Dear Hollie,

You’re 16, you’ve finished taking all your GCSE’s, and you’re so confident about your future. You’re not going to want to listen to what your 22 year-old, slightly thinner and a lot wiser future self has to say to you, but I’m going to tell you anyway.

These next couple of years at sixth form are not going to be amazing like you’re hoping they will. Things won’t change, people won’t miraculously look at you and think that you’ve changed. Because you haven’t. You’re still going to be the same person you already are, and in time, you’ll come to accept that. And trust me, the sooner you accept yourself as a person, the happier you will be.

Allow me to completely rock the apple cart by telling you that you don’t make it to university. But it’s not the end of the world. And deep down, despite all your tears and anger, you’ll know that. Trust me that in five years time, you’ll find a job you absolutely love and all those university woes will seem so trivial. The chip shop will soon be a distant memory for you, but you’ll always be grateful for the working ethic it gave you. You’re going to feel directionless after university, so grab all the opportunities that are given to you. Don’t wallow, allow yourself to live, and really enjoy yourself.

You’re going to make some terrible decisions in life. You’re going to meet a boy on your 20th birthday who will temporarily make you forget who you really are. And although this sounds all whimsical and nice, it’s not. Go in with caution, and get out while you can. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as when you’re 21, you’re going to meet a boy who you’ll fall madly in love with, who loves the exact same music you do, who makes you laugh and tells you that he loves you every single day. He’s worth the wait. He’s worth all the terrible teenage mistakes, all the horrible drunken kisses on nights out in a nightclub that’s overpriced and over-rated. He’s the Prince Charming that you’ve been dreaming about. (And his favourite song from The Black Parade is Disenchanted. If you need any more proof that he’s the guy for you, I don’t know what else to give you.)

2013 will be a terrible year for you, and you’ll have to watch your world fall apart over and over and over until you’re convinced that you’re going to break. You won’t. You’ll come back stronger, even if you don’t want to. Even if you think you can’t. You’re resilient. You bend, but you never break. As I write this, I’m realising that this is one of my favourite things about myself. Self-love is something we’re working on.

Life is full of surprises, and we love a good surprise, so I’m not going to give you anything else to mull over. You’ll have to fill in the gaps yourself.

Love

Your 22 year old, really bloody awesome self.

P.S – DO NOT try and go blonde. It won’t be a good look, I promise!

 

3 Albums I’ve Listened to a Lot Recently

May 16, 2015

I’m sure many of you know that I’m slightly music obsessed. Only ever so slightly. And there’s been three albums that I’ve been listening to on a pretty constant rotation recently, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on them with you all.

American Beauty/American Psycho by Fall Out Boy American_Beauty_American_Psycho_cover

I seriously delayed in listening to this album, and WHAT A MISTAKE THAT WAS. I should’ve known it was going to be excellent when my friend Ruth told me she had “bought it with her own actual money”, which, considering Ruth is a uni student who only ever really listens to music on Spotify is high, high praise. We’ve both been fans of the band since high school, even more so since they came back off their hiatus, and this album is nothing short of excellent. I spent three days listening to nothing but this album, and I’m still not tired of it, which is pretty impressive for me.

duality set it offDuality by Set It Off

I came across Set It Off just by chance, their music video for Ancient History came on TV, so I looked them up and I’ve been hooked ever since. Seriously hooked. I know all the words to the songs on this album. I know the key changes, the musical solos, everything. I haven’t been this excited about an album since I was about 17/18, so this makes me very happy.

Smile Kid by We The Kings smile kid we the kings

I rediscovered this album when I was driving back to my boyfriend’s, he mentioned We The Kings – much to my excitement, I love discovering that we have bands in common – and put this album on, and, whilst it’s not the best musically/lyrically, it brought such a smile to my face when I was listening to it, and really got me in a summery mood.

What music have you been listening to recently? Let me know in the comments!

Feeling Unprepared Whilst Reading

May 14, 2015

Feeling Unprepared Whilst ReadingNormally, a good 90% of the time, I absolutely love this feeling. I like going into a book with only a vague idea of what’s going to happen – it’s more fun that way. Particularly fantasy books. The less I know, the better. I’m a picky fantasy reader at best, and I know from past experience that I honestly stand a better chance understanding the plot and politics of a fantasy novel going into it as blind as possible, than when I’ve been told different bits and pieces by other people. Strange, yes, but necessary for me!

But sometimes a book comes along that I feel like I should have been prepared for. The idea for this post came as I was reading Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. And if you haven’t read the book yet, just a warning that things get slightly spoiler-y below the tweet, so read on at your own risk!

I knew from reading other people’s reviews that Eleanor’s home life wasn’t the best, but I swear no-one mentioned exactly how bad it was, and it’s the same for her school life. I wasn’t expecting her character to be treated so badly by so many people. It caught me totally unaware, and I had to keep putting the book down before I had a complete breakdown. (And when you’re in clinic, that’s really not a good thing to happen!) I know it’s great that a book can make me feel so strongly, and it really puts testament to Rainbow Rowell’s writing, but I honestly feel I should have prepared myself better for Eleanor & Park.

Do you prefer going into a book knowing very little about it, or do you like to do your research first?

Six Series I’m Saying Goodbye To

May 2, 2015

The

I don’t really like waving goodbye to book series, but I’m trying to be realistic and I’m accepting the fact that I won’t be able to complete every single series I start. These are six series I’m willing to abandon, because I don’t have any real desire to continue with them, or I just didn’t like them enough to keep on reading them.
6 series goodbyeHereafter is a book I thought would work better as a standalone than a series, and I couldn’t get into its sequel either.

I really enjoyed Pure, but I couldn’t find the sequel in my local library, and I’ve forgotten what actually happens in the book by now! The desire to continue has long past me, unfortunately.

13 Little Blue Envelopes was a very so-so book, I liked it but I found Ginny to be extremely annoying, and I’ve found that I genuinely don’t care about her journey anymore, which makes me sad.

The Selection is another where the desire to read it has gone by the by, and rather than force the situation and force myself into reading a book I don’t want to, I’m putting this one to rest.

Sweet Venom and Everneath are both the same in that I didn’t really care for either book, so I don’t really care to finish either series.

Have you read any series? Do you say goodbye to series or do you stay with them to the bitter end?

 

Taking the Pressure Off of Reading

March 21, 2015

So it’s now the beginning of March, and I haven’t picked a book up in over a month. I didn’t read a thing in February, aside from quite a few magazines and cookbooks, which, however lovely, aren’t the review books that I probably should be devoting my time to.

I think this great slump of 2014/15 has come from the fact that I feel this huge pressure to read, which in turn, makes me not want to read.

So I’m taking that pressure away.

I’m not accepting anymore review books from any source, be it authors, publishers or Netgalley. There will be a few notable exceptions, but, as a rule, no more review books for me. I’m only going on Netgalley to add my reviews to the website, and that’s it. I’m only going to buy books that interest me there and then, ones that I know will be read sooner rather than later.

And I’m also going to have a good clear-out of all my books, and get rid of the ones that I know I won’t read, or even want to read. Knowing that I haven’t got a gigantic TBR pile looming over me will surely encourage me to pick up a book instead of feeling like I’m drowning in masses of books that I will never read.

I want reading to become fun again, so I’m going to pick up what I want, when I want to, and remember why I pick up books in the first place, instead of feeling like I need to read that book right now.

How do you take the pressure off of reading? Any tips for beating away this hideous slump that I’m stuck in?

March Goals

March 4, 2015

March GoalsI like setting myself goals. And I like writing lists (in case Top Ten Tuesday didn’t give it away), so I figured why not combine both those things together and create a blog post about my monthly goals so I can try and make myself a little more accountable.

-Post on Instagram daily.
So I’ve managed to become an ace Instagram lurker, but I don’t post all that regularly, so I’m trying to change that by posting daily for a month. Turns out Instagram is more enjoyable when you actually post your own stuff instead of stalking someone’s recent make-up/book purchases. Or their meals. I like stalking people’s food on Instagram. Not ashamed to admit that.

-Workout for a total of 4 hours this month.
I’m trying to ease myself back into exercising slowly so I’m more encouraged to continue with it, so I’m aiming for at least 4 hours of activity in March, which can vary from hula-hooping to zumba to skipping to 30 Day Shred.

-Drink lots of water.
I do so well and then I start slipping up at the weekend, which I really want to change because I’m terrible at keeping myself hydrated properly.

-Blog more.
I’ve brainstormed a ton of new post ideas, and I’m actually really excited to write them all and share them with everyone. Yay blogging!

-Finish Unit 1 of my NVQ.
This bloody NVQ will be the death of me. Unit 1 is the hardest unit, so everyone gets told to save it until last, which I’ve done, and I have half a question to go, but finding the motivation to complete it is proving tricky.

Do you set yourself monthly goals? What are you aiming to achieve in March? Let me know!

On Not Feeling Yourself

February 24, 2015

Something I’ve noticed quite recently is the fact that I don’t feel like myself anymore.  But I can’t exactly pinpoint what’s wrong with me, I just feel different and not in a good way. I don’t want to read, I’m eating too much and most of it is crap food, and I just feel like I’m stuck in this rut that I can’t get out of. I hate the fact that I’m neglecting my blog, I have all these great ideas for posts that I want to share with you all but when I get home from work, I decide I just can’t be bothered and end up vegging out and wasting time doing bugger all, which isn’t good for my physical or mental health.

I know if I keep on like this, I’m going to go insane.

So I’m going to take things slowly to pull myself out of this self-inflicted bog. I’m going to adjust my diet so I actually feel more human again, the saying “you are what you eat” is incredibly true when all I’ve been eating recently is crap. I’ve never felt this lethargic and just ‘blah’ my entire life. And when I’ve got my diet back on track, it’ll be time to start exercising again, with my trusty toning hula hoop that I’m rubbish at but can at least laugh at myself whilst I do it! So I want to know, what’s your favourite healthy recipes? I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, so I’m willing to give anything a go! 🙂

Blogging-wise, I’m going to start sharing more personal posts with you, as well as trying to keep up with posting reviews and playlists and top ten Tuesday lists. I want to post about things other than books, like food-related posts and beauty-related posts because this blog is a reflection of myself, and I need to focus on all these other little things that I do! I do enjoy blogging, and it’s something I do for myself, so I’d best get back to it! Reading-wise…that’s another story for another post. I’ve got a plan. I’m hoping it’ll work.

So, yeah. That’s where I am at the moment, but hopefully not for much longer.

A Revised Blogging Schedule for 2015

January 3, 2015

If I learnt anything in 2014, it was that having a rigid schedule is sometimes detrimental to my blogging routine. Plus, even though I’ve been blogging here for a number of years now, I don’t feel like you really know who I am outside of the reader, so I want to share a few lifey/personal posts with you so I can connect to you more. So I’m making it a goal in 2015 to be a little more relaxed with my posting schedule, and have come up with a new, less strict, schedule for myself. Hopefully this will help with my blogging and will keep the posts rolling for most of the year!

Monday – Review
Tuesday – Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday – Free – or review if I miss Monday
Thursday – Perfect Playlist
Friday – Free
Saturday – Review/Discussion/Book Haul/Free
Sunday – Free/Life update if it takes my fancy.