Saturday, 30 August 2014

Looking Back At: August 2014

So, August seemed to start of with me having a doctor's appointment which then lead to me having a blood test. I hate needles. It's something that I still haven't seem to have gotten over, even having my jabs in school and my MMR just last year. So, I ended up taking my sister in with me to hold my hand. The nurse was lovely though which is always an upside and when I get nervous I tend to laugh and you can guess what happened whilst she was taking my blood. I just started to laugh and she asked me whether I was laughing or crying. I had to try and stop moving because the needle was still in my arm. I can safely say that I am still not over my fear of needles after that blood test and hurt my sister's hand pretty badly. Thankfully though, the tests came back all okay.

My sister had her graduation party earlier on in August. We were fasting when she had graduated so we didn't get the chance to do anything. So, my Dad ended up throwing a party for her and invited a lot f friends and family down. It was a really nice day to be honest, if not a little bit tiring. 

August saw me getting my National Insurance number so I can now start applying for jobs. I started and finished my CV which was an interesting experience after hunting a while for a template. But it's al sorted now and I'm going to be keeping an eye out for some Christmas jobs. 

My parents went away to Istanbul on a four day holiday, a present from my sister after her graduation as a thank you. So,for four days it was just me and her in the house! We ended up taking a trip down to Cardiff where we both ended up buying some more books and went to 'Ruby Tuesdays' for food, which was amazing as usual. As well as that, we watched a lot of movies. It was a really nice and relaxing time to spend with my sister. 

The day that my parents were on the way home was also my results day. More than anything, I was anxious. Year 10s weren't allowed in until 12 so when I woke up I had a lot of time on my hands. I ended up looking on twitter at the year 11s tweets and was so happy to see so many of them get the results that they had wanted and exceed their expectations. Half past 12 rolled around and I went to meet two of my friends at school. I opened my envelope without hesitating and was over the moon to see what was on there. For this year I ended up getting: 

Science: A 
Foundation Tier Maths: C
English Language: A 
Welsh Short Course: B 
History - Medicine and Health: A
Resistant Materials Controlled Assessment: A 
Those results were so much better than I could hope for! I still have another two papers to sit for history and I have higher tier maths to sit in November which isn't far away but at least I know that these ones are behind me and done and dusted with. 

After results though I started preparing myself to go back to school. Falling back into a good sleeping patten and making sure I had everything I needed to start year 11. Getting ready also meant me having my annual eye test and my haircut. The eye test lead to me needing new lenses, which I'm waiting on, because there's a small change in my eye sight. My haircut left me not looking so much of a mess, my hair's a lot more tame now and I can actually tell where my fringe starts and ends since I got it cut back in. 

I have been making some slow and steady progress with my robotic mechanical arm and I'm really enjoying making it. It's pretty relaxing to be honest, expect when I think that I've nearly lost a bolt and I've lost a screw. It's be really relaxing and enjoyable to make.There will be more updates on that, with a lot more picture posted 

I've been in the progress of incorporating some more lifestyle posts into my blog as I am a lifestyle and book blogger. I've got a few features in my mind for it, which I'm really looking forward to posting! 

Reading wise it hasn't been too much of a bad month and I finished four more books than I
usually do, since I normally average out about four books per month. I read: 

  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare 
  • Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan 
  • Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver (Reread) 
  • An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Mopurgo 
  • Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (Reread)
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini 
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Manifesto on How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne 
I'm currently in the midst of reading: 
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer 
Quote of the Month: 

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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Lingering In Libraries (#1)

It's been a very long time since I've gotten book out from a library and for no reason as at all but hopefully I will be going more. And hopefully I will be getting more books out from there. I picked up two books this time around, since I do have a few other books floating around in the house that I'm reading at the moment and want to finish those ones as well. Here are the books that I ended up getting! 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 

'Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more is she tried. 

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black t-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor. 

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.'

Rainbow Rowell is an author that I have been dying to read, so when I walked into the library and saw this book right in front of me as soon as I walked through the doors, I knew that I had to pick it up! 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

'Mara Dyer believes that her life can't get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. It can. 

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left er strangely unharmed. There is. 

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love. She's wrong.'

There's been so much talk about this series, so I'm really glad to be picking it up. 
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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Fandom Confectionery: August 2014

1) Toy Story Hamm Piggy Bank
I'm a huge fan of Toy Story and the Disney store are selling Hamm as a piggy bank which I think is pretty amazing. I don't care that the description aims this piggy bank at kids. This is something that I think Toy Story fans. 
Buy - £16


2) Never Trust A Duck Pinback Button
I recently just finished reading 'The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel', and I absolutely loved it. There were some amazing quotes in that book and one of my favourite ones had to be "Never trust a duck" because it did make me smile when I read the whole sentence.So, now I kind of just want this badge because I love the quote and I think it would just confuse people. 
Buy - £2.50

3) The Purple Eye Sticker 
I, personally, have never listened to the Night Vale podcast but I know that there are people who love it. So, I thought that I would throw this one in. It's the purple eye which I've seen every where when Night Vale is mentioned. 
Buy - £4.45

4) Eat The Rude Hannibal Phone Case
Hannibal is a show that I haven't watched since I think that I'm a bit too squeamish for it but my sister seems to love the show. The case comes for an iPhone 4, 4s and 5. Perfect way to scare people into being polite to you. 
Buy - £9.84 

5) Imagine Dragons T-Shirt 
I'm a huge music fan and I love Imagine Dragons, they're music, to me, is just stunning. Which is always what I think about this top. It's a unisex top that you can get a few different colours as well.
Buy - £15.52
6) The Hunger Games Tribute Guide
For those of you who love 'The Hunger Games' trilogy and want to know more about the 74th Hunger Games tributes this is the guide for you. Official Hunger Games merchandise and you get information about the tributes strengths and weaknesses and the weapons that they chose for the Games. 
Buy - £4.79

7) Batgirl Costume Top
The top's from Blue Banana. My sister is a huge Batman fan and whereas I need to get around to watching the movie, I think a lot of people who have watch them might want this top. 
Buy - £15.99


8) Black Widow Print 
This is a 4x6 digital print of the Black Widow from 'The Avengers'. It's a really simplistic print but I'm in love it and a few of the others the shop has. 
Buy - £2.26

9) Fall Out Boy & Blink 182 Bracelet Wristband 
I'm a fan of both of these bands and I'm slowly wanting to get some wristbands like these and when I was looking on Amazon for some FOB merchandise for this post, these bracelets caught my eye. 
Buy - £ 7.98


10) Lumpy Space Princess Mens Jumper
I haven't actually watched Adventure Time... at all. But I know that a lot of my friends do and a lot of people in my school tend to talk about it. So, since it seems to be very popular lately I'm going to add in this jumper. 
Buy - £14.99
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These price do not include postage and packing.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

WISE: Nora Stanton Blatch Barney

Nora Stanton Blatch Barney was born in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England on the 30th September 1883. When she was a young child her family moved to New York, America. Barney was the daughter of Harriot Blatch and the granddaughter of Elizabeth Stanton, both of these ladies were leaders of the women's rights movement in America. 

Barney went to Cornell University in New York and it was here that she obtained her degree in civil engineering; she was the first woman to do so in the USA. The same year that she had graduated, Barney also became the first member of the American Society of Civil Engineers - with a junior status. From 1905 until 1906, she worked for the American Bridge Company and the New York City Board of Water Supply. She also took courses in mathematics and electricity at Columbia University so that she would be able to be a laboratory assistant to Lee  De Forest who was the inventor of the radio vacuum tube. Barney ended up marrying De Forest in 1908. Barney worked for her husband's company in New Jersey until 1909 when they separated and later divorced in 1912. 

Barney then returned to New York after she had separated from her husband and worked as an assistant engineer and chief draftsman at the Radley Steel Construction Company from 1909 - 1912. For several years she worked as an engineer for the New York Public Service Commission. In 1914, Barney started to work as an architect and developer on Long Island. 

In addition to her work in civil engineering, Barney had devoted her time to the women suffrage movement. She had founded a suffrage club whilst studying for Cornell, and from 1909 to 1917 she heavily campaigned in New York for the cause. She ended up becoming the president of the Women's Political Union in 1915, succeeding her mother, and edited the organisations 'Women's Political World'. 

In 1919, she married Morgan Barney, who was a marine architect. The pair ended up moving to Greenwich, Connecticut, where she work as a real estate developer. Barney carried on being politically active in her later years and wrote things such as, 'Women as Human Beings'. 

On January 18th, 1971, Barney passed away. 
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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Book Review: Far From You

Title: Far From You
Author: Tess Sharpe
Publisher: Indigo
Release Date:  27/03/2014
Pages: 352
Service: Gift
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @sharpegirl

'Nine months, two weeks, six days. 

That's how long recovering addict Sophie's been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, dies in what everyone thinks was a drug deal gone wrong - a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered. 

Forced into rehab for an addiction she'd already beaten, Sophie's finally out and on the trail of the killer - but can she track them down before they come for her? 
This was a book that seemed to have a huge amount of hype surrounding it and I was really excited to read it. My sister got the book for me before exams and I told myself that I wasn't going to touch it until my exams were over so I could sit and enjoy it properly. And I'm glad I waited because I finished this book within three days. I absolutely loved it!

One of the things that I really, really like about this book was that even though it was in Sophie's point of view, it wasn't always what was going on with her at the time. There would be a chapter with what was going on and the next chapter would be linked to the previous one only it would be about something in the past. At the start of the chapter you were told how long ago it was and how old she was at the time so it wasn't confusing. It was a great way to get to know her character a lot better and you understood in a lot more depths why things had happened and why she did certain things. 

There were a lot of surprises in the book but I don't want to share any of them and spoil the book for you guys. There were some that I was expecting and there were some that I really wasn't expecting at all. It was nice to not guess everything though, it gave the book a little more punch to it. 

Sharpe really smartly wove this book together and the events that were going on which made it an extremely enjoyable read. When I say that she was going back to earlier times with the characters, I did think it would be confusing and that I wouldn't be able to understand what was going on but instead it made the book a lot more enjoyable. She made sure that you were constantly guessing. About four chapter into the book I was already trying to come up with theories so I could try and guess the murderer.

I did hope that the book would have ended a little bit differently but it did put things to rest and tie up some loose ends. I was hoping to hear more about some of the other character but it was from Sophie's point of view so we weren't able to have that. 

This was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed though and I would recommend it to just about anyone. 

Rating: ★1/2 

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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Book Review: Outshine

Title: Outshine
Author: Nola Decker
Publisher: 7 Sparks Press

Release Date: 11/04/2014 
Pages: 327
Service: Netgalley 
Format: Ebook 
Download: Kindle
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @Nola_Decker

'When agoraphobic Gabe and his outgoing nemesis Jessa go on an adventure to locate Gabe's missing brother, the two teens discover they are both hiding unnatural abilities: Gabe is a living lie detector and Jessa is a kick-ass powerhouse pretending to be a delicate diva. 

Gabe's sole reason for Watts, his overbearing younger brother, is to clear his own name: he's been framed for Watts' alleged murder. Jessa is after Watt because she is, well, after him. 

They find with with Deacon, the twisted eugenicist responsible for their unusual powers. He encourages them to stay and join him "Family" where they'll be able to live openly as the genetically-modified freaks they are. When Jessa and Gabe discover the truth about Deacon's past - and what he wants for the future - they band together to stop him. Watts. however, might have other plans...'

I'll be honest, Outshine did take me a very long time to finish off and there were a few reasons for it. The plot itself was extremely interesting. After reading the blurb on Netgalley I was really looking forward to reading it. So, once they said I could have a copy and it was sent to my tablet, I started it straight away. Was I disappointed in this book? A little. 

Jessa was a character that I thought was going to bug me throughout the book and she did. I really didn't like her, it was part of her character because as I read on I learnt more about her ad it made sense why she was acting the way that she did but I still couldn't find it in me to look her. She wanted everything. The best of both worlds. And even after going through what she did in the book, I felt like she didn't really grow. Not as much as I thought she would. Gabe was someone that I just constantly felt bad for. Luck never seems to be on his side and he always seems to be second best. I loved the way that Decker played his character out and the way that he coped with being a 'human lie detector'.

There were parts of the book that really did want me to carry on reading. These little shots where something exciting would happen, or it would be left on a cliffhanger and I wanted to know what was going on. But these were few and far between. For me, I felt as though the plot just dragged a little to much for my liking. Normally I quite like it when I in the middle of a book and I think things are coming to an end until I realise I've still got a huge chunk left. It makes me wonder what else could be going on. This time around, I didn't really enjoy that. There were quite a few times when I thought that the book would have come to an end until I realised that there were still lose ends to tie up and that I was only about 60% of the way in. There was just no real love for me to want to pick up this book.. The idea of the plot was great but when written, it wasn't something that I really enjoyed and the writing style really wasn't for me. 

Jessa and Gabe, from the beginning, were a pair that I really hoped wouldn't end up together. I really hoped that they wouln't fall for each other for the fact that they hated each other from the beginning. I was expecting it though, and trying to prepare my self for it For me, the two of them falling for each other just came out of nowhere and I don't really understand how it happened. That was one thing that really did bug me. 

There is a sequel to 'Outshine' and I don't think that I'll be picking it up. This book really wasn't for me but there were a few parts that I did really enjoy.

Rating: ★1/2

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Netgalley and 7 Sparks Press sent me this book in return for an honest review. 

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Book Review: The Pledge

Title: The Pledge 
Author: Kimberly Derting
Publisher: Alison & Busby
Series: The Pledge #1
Release Date: 26/03/2012
Pages: 380 
Format: Paperback 
Buy: Book Depository 
Author Twitter: @kimberlyderting

'In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can be free is the drug-fuelled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there she that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy names Max who speaks a language she's never heard before... and her secret is almost exposed. 

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.'

This book really surprised me, I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did! 
The prologue of the book immediately drew me in. There were so many questions in my head about what was going on. It did confuse me slightly but it pushed me to read on and find out what was happening. I did think the beginning part of the book could be a little more gripping though. The first few chapters did drag a little bit for me but it didn't take long before the pace started to pick up. 

Charlie is a character that I really do love; it didn't take long at all for me to become attached to her. I just felt that there was a huge insight to what her character was like and what she was feeling.  Sometimes, when a book is in first person, I find there's no balance in what the character is seeing, thinking and feeling. I think Derting had the perfect balance with Charlie. I loved the relationship that she had with her sister and how protective she was over her and the way she took care of her. It was just really sweet to read and made me love Charlie's character a lot more. 

Max was a confusing character in terms that I had no idea what was going with him or his friends. But it was an aspect of the book that I really did like. It was nice not being able to guess who he was or what was really going on. As a character, I have to admit, there wasn't a point where he really grew on me but it wasn't a huge problem.

The surprises in the book really did shock me and I didn't expect any of them. This book was so beautifully written, I cannot get over the fact of how amazing the quality of the writing was. The description was amazing and though there were so points where I thought there was too much information given in one go, it did help me understand a lot of what was going on. There were a lot of other characters that I wished that we got to read more of but I'm hoping that I'll see more of them in the rest of the series. 

The ending of the book wasn't something that really surprised me or was that overwhelming to be honest. There wasn't really much of a cliffhanger but I know that I will be picking up the next book in the series. 

Favourite Quote: 

Rating: ★1/2

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Stick A Fork In Me: Lemon Meringue Pie

So, I've wanted to do a lot more baking lately and I've also decided to take Food and Nutrition as a GCSE after school. So, I thought I would try some of the things that I wanted to cook for it in the house before I have to do it in school.  

I decided to make a lemon meringue pie and I had no idea what it was going to turn out like but my mam helped me out as well. I decided to do the pastry by hand as well because I just wanted to see how it would go. To be honest, the pastry was probably the most frustrating part of it all. It took a little while to get the right consistency and get it from the counter into the tin without any of the pastry cracking of baking but we eventually got there after numerous filed attempts. 

The meringue and the lemon filling were actually quite fun to make and the meringue was a lot easier than I thought that it was going to be. Personally I don't think it came out looking too shabby.

I'm really hoping that I can cook a lot more, especially with Summer coming up so I'll have a lot more time on my hands and I definitely want to try my hand at a few things in my Hunger Games cookbook! 

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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Wishlist Wednesday (#1)

Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Release Date - 03/05/2011
Pages - 344

Blurb - Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father dies in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, who also has to make the cross-country trip - and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar - especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory - but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way. 

Why I Want To Read - This book reminds me of 'Dash and Lily's Book of Dares' a little and I really did love that book. Even though this does fall under romance, I do think that there might be a little bit more to it than that and I'm really interested in what "baggage" Roger has. 

Publisher - Little Brown Books 
Release Date - 20/11/2012
Pages - 272

Blurb - Struck By Lightening: The Carson Philips Journal follows the story of a outcast high school senior Carson Philips, who blackmails most of the popular students in his school into contributing to his literary journal to bolster his college application; his goal in life is to get into Northwestern and eventually become the editor of The New Yorker. At once laugh-out-loud funny, deliciously dark, and remarkably smart, Struck By Lightening unearths the dirt that lies below the surface of high school. At a time when bullying torments so many young people today, this unique and important novel sheds light with humour and wit on an issue that deeply resonates with countless teens and readers. 

Why I Want To Read - I have been dying to read a book by Chris Colfer and this one seems really interesting. I'm want to see how all of the plays out for Carson and the blackmail that he uses against the popular people. I'm really hoping that this is a book that's true to what school is like for teenagers and not just all the cliche stuff. 

Publisher - HarperCollins
Release Date - 02/10/2012
Pages - 288

Blurb - The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco web-design drone, and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey have landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour book store. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realise that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead "checking out" impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and he has soon embarked on a complex analysis of the customers' behaviour and roped his friends into helping him figure out just what is going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the secrets extend far beyond the walls of the book store. 

Why I Want To Read - This book has so much mystery behind it and it's made me so curious to find out about the secrets of the book store and the customers. The whole book just sounds like something I think I'm really going to enjoy and I love the setting that it's in. A book store! So, this is one book I can't wait to get my hands on! 

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Saturday, 2 August 2014

Looking Back At: July 2014

It's been an amazing month for so many reasons! It's been both relaxing and exciting and sometimes very tiring! 

July was the month my sister graduated from University! If you saw my last wrap-up you may have seen me talk about her getting her results but on the 14th she finally graduated and it was such and amazing day. I was so proud of her and so happy. I became an amateur photographer for the day while I went around taking photos of her and her friends. It was a fantastic day though and I was so glad to see her enjoy! 

Summer finally started! Year 10 has gone by so quickly that it's actually kind of scary. I have no idea where it went but the year is done and over with and now I have a six week break where I don't have to worry about anything and can just enjoy time with my family! Which is something I fully intend to do since I go back in September to a very hectic year! 

Ramadan finished this month and Eid was celebrated. After a month of fasting, I was getting used to not having to wake up and two o'clock in the morning and eating during the day. The month went by pretty fast, faster than most years! 

Other than that it has been a pretty quiet month. I started building a mechanical robot arm that I had from my sister for Christmas. There will be more on that! I haven't really done a lot to it to be honest. But hopefully I shall get more done in August! 

I'm doing a little add-on when I look back at my month, where I just show you my month on instagram. So, here it is! 

It's been a really good month book wise, I've started books I've been dying to pick up and finished books that have seemingly been taking me ages to read. So, in July I read: 
  • An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestly 
  • Far From You by Tess Sharpe 
  • Outshine by Nola Decker 
  • The Runaway Queen by Cassandra Clare & Maureen Johnson
I'm in the middle of reading: 
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare 
  • Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
  • Love... Under Different Skies by Nick Spalding
I'm about a book behind in my goodreads challenge but hopefully that shouldn't take me too long to catch up with since I'm really enjoying these books.

August is going to be a month where I don't plan on doing all too much but just enjoying my Summer before heading back to school. I know that I need to start training for a 10K and I'm going to be a lot more active over the course of the month hopefully. 

I hope you all had a good July and good luck to everyone who are picking up A-Level and GCSE results in August! I hope you get the results that you were working for! 

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