Sunday, 21 December 2014

Wanderlust: New York (#1)

New York City, aka the city that never sleeps. It's been a place that I've wanted to go for so long and I finally get the chance to this month. One week away with my sister in what looks like such a beautiful city. I cannot wait to get there! 

There are so many things that I'm looking forward to seeing when we're there, Broadway being one of them. I love musicals and I've gone to West End with my school but Broadway is a place that I always wanted to go. We've booked tickets to go and watch 'Les Mis' and I really can't wait to watch. 

Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building Observation Deck are two places that I have a feeling might take my breath away whilst also making my legs shake. It's going to be amazing to have an overlook of New York. 

One of the other places that I can't wait to go and see in the Natural History Museum there, especially since I love watch 'Night At the Museum'. I'm going to be like a child wanting to see everything there. 

There are so many other places that I want to go and see in New York and so many of them that we will be seeing but those are just a few of the ones that I'm really excited to see and I'll be doing a few posts of my trip there later on. 28th of December couldn't come any quicker for me right now!
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*This post idea originally came from Pagex394

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Top Ten: Books of 2014 (#2)

2014 is coming to an end and here are what my top ten books of 2014 ended up being! 

1) The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith
This is the first ever Jennifer E. Smith book that I read and I'm hoping to read some more because I really loved the book and the plot line that went with it. From the cover art to the ending, I absolutely loved this book. 

2) Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider
Even though I did have some problems with this book it was still one that I enjoyed. Ezra Faulkner is a character that I still love and it was great to read a book that I loved and had a male in the forefront.

3) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
I am in love with this book so much, to the point that I think I may have to read this again next year. It was so lovely to read and get through. I was immediately sucked right into the world that I just didn't want to leave. 

4) Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
It might be cheating to put another Richelle Mead book in but this had to be my second favourite one in the series so I have no shame in putting this one down on this list. Yet another amazing book that I could not put down.

5) The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkein 
This book made my year. It did take me a little while to get through it all but it was completely worth it! If I though 'The Hobbit' was good, this book just blew me away and I cannot wait to get my hands on the rest of the series. 

6) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness 
After hearing so much hype about this book I am so glad that my sister got me to read because I didn't regret it one bit. I've yet to read the rest of the series but I'm ready to dive into it as soon as I get the time. This book made me think so much and had me hooked and guessing what was going to happen. 

7) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck  
Even though this is a part of my English Literature course, I love this book and I couldn't help but put it on here. I could read this book over and over (which I have) and not get tired of it. For a short book, it packed a lot in and taught a few lessons along the way. 

8) Day 21 by Kass Morgan 
I loved 'The 100' but the sequel was even better. This is a book that I just want everyone to read. For me, it's dystopia at it's best  It left me wanting so much more by the end of the book. Kass Morgan has this book not letting my interest go. 

9) We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Please, if you have not read this book, go and read it! You are missing on so much! I had no idea what to expect with this book and even though it feels like a slow start, you understand why everything was put in the book. This book is still haunting me, months after reading it. 

10) The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani 
This was such a nice book to read, even though the target audience might be a little younger than me. I love fairy tales and this was the perfect mixture of them. It wasn't at all complicated and the plot was so lovely to follow. I kept going on about this book for days afterwards.

So, those were my top ten book that I read in 2014. Were any of these yours? And if not what books made your 2014? 
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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Movie Review: Mockingjay - Part One

Title: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part One
Based On: Suzanne Collins' - Mockingjay
Running Time: 123 minutes
Director: Francis Lawrence 
Writers: Peter Craig & Danny Strong
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson & Liam Hemsworth 

'With the Games no destroyed and in pieces, Katniss Everdeen, along with Gale, Finnick and Beetee, now end up in the so though "destroyed" District 13. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her friends, Katniss becomes the "Mockingjay" and the symbol of rebellion for the people.' 

I pretty excited to watch this film and yet at the same time I was slightly sceptical about watching it since I knew that there was going to be a split in the middle and I didn't know how action packed this film was actually going to be. The day of gong I saw a few reviews of people saying that they loved it more than 'Catching Fire' and it made me more excited to watch it.

This movie had me drawn in from the very start. The scenery of the movie was fantastic. It was exactly what I had pictured in my head when I was reading the book an so much better. You could tell that there was a lot of effort that was put into it all and it made everything seem very realistic considering what the scenes were trying to show. 

Josh Hutcherson's acting deserved a standing ovation. I know a lot of people are speaking about Jennifer Lawrence's acting but Hutcherson's acting was absolutely amazing. Filming the scenes would have been emotionally draining but he did a fantastic job to the point my chest was hurting from watching the movie. Julianne Moore did a great job as President Coin. Although I did have reservation about her when the casting was first released she was the perfect Coin.

I won't lie, the split did annoy me a lot but that didn't affect how much I loved the movie. With the return of some of my favourite characters in the movie. It was great how the writers managed to balance the movie and add some comedy to what otherwise would have been a very serious plot line. Having the odd line slipped in here and there really did relax the atmosphere of the cinema. 

Although the movie did stray from the book in a few parts it still stuck to it quite a bit which I was extremely happy about. It's not very often I want to watch a movie again after watching it in the cinema already but I would definitely go back to watch 'Mockingjay'. 

I cannot hesitate to give this film this rating. 


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Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Letter To The Future Year 11 Saira

Dear  Future Saira, 

If you're reading this then I want to give you a gold star for remembering that you've wrote this. You tend to forget a lot of things when you get in a tizz. All common sense just goes right out of the window.Since you've remembered though, you've probably remembered why I wrote this in the first place. The reason isn't really a good one though.

You're in year 11 and I'm pretty sure that I don't need to remind you about that and the chances are that you're panicking and stressed and throwing away everything you told yourself to remember at the beginning of the year. So here, let me jog your memory.

Do not stress. Seriously, I know what you're like. Just breath! I know that things are probably going to seem like one huge mess in front of you but just take it little bit by little bit. Don't look at the big picture, I know that you have to but you're going to do it to the point that you'll work yourself up. Just take one day at a time. 

You've got so many people around you that are there to help and support you. You know that you can go to your sister about anything. She'll help you out on the things that you're stuck on and she wouldn't hesitate. Don't panic about something that you don't know or don't understand. Just go and ask. She's not going to yell at you about it. She'll sit with you until you understand. 

Don't be afraid to talk to the family if you're worried about something. Just go over to them and tell them everything that's worrying you. They'll sit there and listen. You're not going to burden them, if anything, they want to know what's ticking in that head of yours. Sit, have a cwtch, get everything off of your chest and then breath. 

Sai, your grades aren't going to define the person you are and you know that. Sometimes you just get a little too caught up in everything. Aim for the grades that you want. Don't listen to what teachers and your friends say, you know what you want to walk out with on results day. 

Enjoy year 11, more than anything else. It's your last year there and it may seem stressful but don't bury yourself in work to the point you don't enjoy what's going on around you. Embrace your last year. You aren't going to get another one in secondary school.

Good luck and have fun.
Saira x

Monday, 3 November 2014

My Month on Instagram: October 2014

Here's what's be going on on Instagram this October. The link to my profile is on the side and I'll be more than happy to accept any follower requests. 
Mas and I have found heaven in our IT lesson.

Being so productive in IT.

Currently reading Looking for Alaska by John Green.

Hair in rollers, sweatpants on, let's get some work done.

Donut and Nutella from my sister and mam for a treat.

Finally putting my birthday stuff away in my room from the bags so there might be a lot of photos. I love this key chain though. Going to find my house keys to put it on there.

Can't wait to get this framed so I can put it up in my room.

This now needs to find a place in my room.

The Comforter has to be one of my favourite things from Lush. Can't wait to use it later. 

Such a cute file.
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Saturday, 1 November 2014

Looking Back At: October 2014

Another month has gone by so quickly and I'm really finding it hard to believe that October has come to an end and we're just over a month away from Christmas. It feels absolutely crazy but there isn't anything I can do about it. 

Compared to September, October has been a relatively quiet month but I've appreciated that if I'm honest with you. Every once in a while, it's nice to have a month which isn't so packed with different things to do and is just a little more relaxing. It gave me so me much needed time to sort myself out. 

Looking back at October, it really was a month where I finally felt like I had a routine back with school. I sorted out some after school revision sessions and organised my school work. Controlled Assessments were started, finished and are in the midst of being planned. School wise, it was a pretty productive month and it's surprising how much, as a class, we managed to get things done. 

Duke of Edinburgh has started up again as we've now officially had two meetings. Admittedly one meeting was to decided when we were going to have all our other meetings. The second meeting I wasn't really sure what we were supposed to be doing. What I have managed to talk to my teacher about is doing a little bit of a film whilst we're on DofE. A lot of things go on during our training, practice and qualifying expedition. More than just learning how to read a map or do first aid. We have such an a amazing time with so many laughs on the way that I wanted to document it all and then compile it into one video. So, my leader has given me the go ahead for that, he even has a water and shockproof camera that he's letting me borrow for when we're out training. It's one thing that I really can't wait to do! 

Other than that though, my month was quite quiet and was spent just doing homework and assessment preparation. 

Book wise wasn't really a busy month either but I thought I'd only be able to finish one book with the rate that I was going. In the end, I managed to finish: 
  • A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani 
  • Looking For Alaska by John Green 
  • Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson 

And I'm currently reading: 
  • 1984 by George Orwell 
I'm still managing to be two books ahead of schedule, so I'm somehow hoping that I'll be able to keep that up or at least stay on track so I can finish my challenge for this year. 

Quote of the Month: 

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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

WISE: Ada Lovelace

Ada Gordon, more often known as Ada Lovelace was born in 1815 and was an only child. She was the daughter of a poet, George Gordon, and a mathematician, Annabella Milbanke. Her parents separated just a month after Lovelace was born. Her mother feared that Ada would inherit her father's poetic temperament she raised her daughter on under an strict regime of science, logic and mathematics. From childhood Ada had a fascination with machines. She would design boats and steam flying machines, and would pour over the diagrams over new inventions that the Industrial Revolution brought about that filled all of the scientific magazines at the time 

At the age of 19, she married to William King who was an aristocrat. When her husband, in 1838 became Earl of Lovelace, Ada King became Lady Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. She had her husband had three children together. 

Lovelace was introduced to Charles Babbage in 1833 by her mentor Mary Somerville who was a a scientist. Babbage was a Professor of Mathematics who was famous for his visionary and unfinished plans for gigantic clockwork calculating machines. Both Lovelace and Babbage had unconventional personalities and ended up becoming lifelong friends. 

Lovelace had become deeply interested by Babbage's plans for an extremely complicated device that he called the Analytical Engine. It was to combine the array of adding his earlier Difference Engine. The Analytical Engine was never built, however the design had all the essential deigns of a modern computer. 

During 1842, Lovelace had translated a short article that described the Analytical Engine by an Italian mathematician for publication in England. Babbage had then asked her to expand the article as he believed that she understood the way it worked very well. The final article is over three times the length of the original one It contains several early 'computer programs' as well had strikingly observations on the potential use of the machine. These things included the manipulation of symbols and the creation of music. Babbage and his assistants had sketched out programs for the machine before but Lovelace's were the most elaborate out of all of these ans they were the first to be published. Because of this she is often referred to as the 'first computer programmer'. 

A the age of 36, Ada Lovelance died from cancer, just a few short years after the publication of 'Sketch of the Analytical Engine, with Notes from the Translator', and was buried alongside her father whom she never met, 

The Engine still remained a vision even after her death, that was until her notes had become one of the critical documents that inspired Alan Turing's work on the first modern computer in the 1940s. 

Although Lovelace herself was not able to carry through the vision that she had helped Babbage with, her thoughts and ideas carried on and had affected the way we use technology today.
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Friday, 24 October 2014

Fandom Confectionery: October 2014 - Tim Burton Edition

Halloween comes along this month, so I thought this month's Fandom Confectionery should be Tim Burton inspired. There are a few more of his movies that I want to watch but my sister and my auntie love his work! 

1) The Nightmare Before Christmas Phone Case
It's a hard shell phone case that fits the iPhone 4. I really like the look of this case because you can see Sally in the background as well. This movie has to be one of my favourite Halloween/Christmas movies! 
Buy - £20

2) Tim Burton Bottle Necklace 
Although bottle necklaces are something that I don't wear I do love the look of them and this one is absolutely gorgeous. I love the detail that's gone into making the scene that's inside the bottle. You can tell that it's taken a lot of time and it was definitely worth it. It's such a stunning piece of jewellery! 
Buy - £34.73 

3) Edward Scissorhands Watercolour Paint 
I haven't watched Edward Scissorhands but it is one of the Tim Burton movies that I really do want to watch. Someone has ended up going a watercolour painting of the characters which I think were done really well and would look really nice if they were all framed and put up on a wall. 
Buy - £13.00

4) The Nightmare Before Christmas Decorations
I love novelty Christmas decorations! They are some of my favourite things. For the past four years I get my sister a Christmas ornament so she can put on the tree and they're always fandom based. I think it end up making the tree a little more personal to our family. These look a little bit creepy but still look pretty amazing. They're from the Disney store and are Jack Skellington, Lock, Shock and Barrel. 

5) Tim Burton DVD Collection 
If you're looking for a few of Tim Burton's films to buy in a bundle, this might be something that you'd want to get. I ended up finding it on 'Amazon' and I don't think that the price is too bad for it either. The DVD is suitable for 18 year olds. And the movies on there are: 
  • Batman  
  • Batman Returns 
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 
  • Sweeny Todd 
  • PeeWee's Big Adventure 
  • Corpse Bride 
  • Mars Attacks 
  • Beetlejuice 
Buy - £14.60


6) 'We're All Mad Here' Long Sleeved Top 
I've seen this print on a couple of tops but I really like it on the grey and as a long sleeve because it would be great for winter. It's a cotton t-shirt and is available in different sizes. I'm really, really tempted to get this top and I'm going to have to put it on a 'Pinterest' board. 
Buy - £10. 86

7) Sweeney Todd Poster 
This is a 69x102cm poster which is great if you're  huge fan of the film and you're looking to decorate your room. It looks like a slightly creepy poster to me but that makes it look that much better. 
Buy - £19.99

8) Corpse Bride Runaway Groom T-Shirt 
This top looks amazing! It only comes in the grey but in a few different sizes. I love that they've got the tree that's shaped as a heart around the two of them. I love 'Corpse Bride' which makes me love the top even more. 
Buy - £12.89

9) Art of Tim Burton Book 
If you're a huge, mega fan of Tim Burton then this book might be worth buying for you. If you're in love with the artwork in his movies and are obsessed with his work then you're probably going to love this book. It features his pre-production drawings for his movies and an overview of his art. 
Buy - £49.99

10) The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories 
23 tales that Tim Burton has put together into one short book. It's been released for about ten years now and is not only filled with his stories but some sketches. 
Buy - £6.74

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Book Review: Love... Under Different Skies

Title: Love... Under Different Skies 
Author: Nick Spalding
Publisher: Coronet
Series: Love... #4
Release Date: 31/01/2013
Pages: 384
Service: Ninja Book Swap
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @spalding_author

'Even on the other side of the world, problems always have a way of finding you. 

Sometimes, the hardest part of staying together is keeping a straight face...

Ever wish you could leave all your problems behind and make a fresh start somewhere else? Trade the stresses and the strains of everyday life for your own slice of sun-kissed paradise on the other side of the world? 

Jamie and Laura Newman certainly have. 

When Jamie's spectacular meltdown at work results in him being handed his P45, and Laura finds her working days end up with her rugby tackling defenceless pensioners in the hight street, a move ten thousand miles away sounds ideal. After all, it might mend some of the cracks that have appeared in their marriage over the past few months.

So when Laura is offered a new job in Australia. the Newman family think their dreams have come true. But as the old saying goes - be careful what you wish for, you might just get it. As the hapless couple soon find out, problems have a way of finding you, no matter how far you go to avoid them. 

Can love survive under different skies?
When I put this book on my wishlist, I didn't realise that it was part of a series and goodreads didn't seem to tell me either. That wasn't a problem though. As I started to read this book, it didn't seem to matter that I hadn't read the other books in the series, it seemed like I had all the information that I needed. It seemed to be that Spalding made it so that you could read these books as a standalone and you can read the other if you wanted to know more about the couple's journey. Sadly, I didn't manage to finish their journey this time around  The book has come a DNF for me. 

I didn't completely dislike the book. I did like the fact that the chapters alternated between Jamie writing in his blog and Laura writing in her diary. Laura's POV was the one that I enjoyed more. I think Jamie's character was a little too blunt for me and I didn't really agree with some of the things that he did. 

There is quite a bit of swearing in the book but that wasn't what really bothered me. There were some jokes in the book that I didn't agree with and I just really didn't like Jamie's character. I couldn't continue with the book, so I really had to end up putting it down before I got 100 pages in. 

Rating: DNF
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Friday, 10 October 2014

Admiral's Swansea Bay 10K

A few months ago I was sitting on the sofa when my sister tells me that she's going to be signing up for Admiral's Swansea Bay 10K and asked me if I wanted to join and I said yeah. Why not? I always see the signs for it and it seemed like something different to do. I wanted to do some races and with the sign ups for this one coming out, I thought I may as well sign up. 

So, on the 21st of September I went down to the Bay and lined up with at least 4000 other people ready to start this race alongside my sister and I had no idea what was going to happen. I'll be honest here, I didn't really train for this 10K :which probably wasn't the smartest idea in the book. There were people there from overseas and people a part of running clubs or who just trained regularly and then there was me. Majority of the people there looked so ready for this race and like they knew what they were doing when they were warming up but I was definitely not one of those people. 

I heard the start gun go and started to wonder what in the world I ended up getting myself into but there seemed to be no going back. So, I started off with some jogging and walking. And my and my sister managed to make it through the whole thing together. The course did seem to go on forever though and I was just waiting for the point where I would be able to turn back around and get towards the finish line because at least then I would have known that I was halfway there. 

When we did get to that point, I was so happy! I didn't think I would be able to make it that far and the finish line seemed to be that little bit closer. So, we kept going. Pushing ourselves through and getting a bottle of water to the amazing volunteers who were on the side. Eventually, we managed to get to the point where there was only one kilometre left and I couldn't believe it! We were nearly there and then at 100 metres we decided to have a little race to the finish and in the end, we both had the same finish time of 1:39:38. For me, that's a fantastic time and I'm over the moon with it. 

This race has just made me want to enter a few more and try and beat my time. So, hopefully I'll be entering one or two of those but we'll wait and see what happens there. 
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