Lucy (Creative Writing Piece)

I wrestle with the magnets on the opening of my satchel, trying to find the timetable I was given only hours ago. I stumble along the busy corridor, stepping in between clusters of younger kids, and ducking between older limbs swinging around in joy at seeing their friends.

I glance at the doors, dividing my attention between my bag and my surroundings. “104…105…106…107…” I turn the corner and blink in confusion “141?” I mumble. I back up against the wall, out of the way of everyone passing, and rustle through my bag. “Aha!” I whisper as I begin to smoothen the piece of paper and stare at the grids. “look for yellow…” “Wednesday.. period three” I run my finger down the column, and tap. “104. Back that way.” I shove the timetable into the inside pocket of my navy blazer, pull my satchel strap closer to me, and head back through the crowd.

I stumble up to the classroom and prepare to apologise for my lateness and my appearance, as I feel the heat settle on my cheeks, but the classroom is empty. I pull my timetable out again and look down.

“Hello Dear! Come in!” A woman with short red hair pops up from behind a desk. her legs are covered in a pair of red and black tartan jeans, I notice a tattoo on her elbow, and another on her wrist as she ushers me towards her desk. She has an accent, but it’s faded, Scottish, maybe? “You’re early, we appreciate that in this classroom. Now. Name?” She pulls open a folder, and lays it down on her desk, revealing a seating plan. “Jess.” I mumble, folding my timetable back into my inside pocket.

She closes the folder and looks at me. “Of course you are! Of course.” I let go of my blazer collar, look up at her, my eyebrows fold together as I stand there, they do all the speaking for me, as she looks back at me. “Jess. Your work is in every example folder possible, some of Your work was even published last year, and You have the highest A* streak of any student in the English department yet. I look forward to working with and teaching you.” She smiles at me, and I smile back. “Uh, where is my seat?” I laugh, pointing to the seating plan. She lets out a breath that sounds like a laugh, and points to a small table at the front of the class. Great view of the boards, not that many seats near me, not that many on my table, only seats four, which means group work isn’t really a thing… I look around the room. Right next to the garden door too.. oh, but the blinds are right next to me, which means I’m in charge of them. I pull the back of the grey chair out and take a seat. “Great.” I smile at her. She nods at me, and takes a seat back at her desk. I open my work book which is laid out in front of me ready, and examine the room.

The walls are covered in movie posters, The one next to the door is of the Joker, leaning forward and laughing. Cool. “What do they make you feel?” Her voice penetrates my thoughts. “Oh. well, they’re all quite Dystopic. There is minimal colour contrast to add to that, and by the looks of it, they all use pathetic Fallacy to create a sense of Foreboding. That Joker one, uses the main villain to show fear, and entice people into watching, it almost challenges them to be more superior and crazier than the Joker. The twilight one over there, suggests that life is messy and unplanned and can go on forever just like the books.” She laughs. “I was told you were fiery, and witty, but I think we’re going to get along great this year.” On the wall by Her desk, there are family photos, fraying at the edges, they have clearly been shown some love. I don’t want to bring them up, so I focus on the workbook in front of me.

A few moments later, a brown haired girl leans into the doorway, out of breath, her cheeks pink. “Am I late?” She breathes. I look up, and realise She is looking at me and I shake my head. “If anything, you’re eager.”

She laughs and enters the classroom fully. She is carrying her blazer, her black jumper sleeves rolled up to the elbows, displaying an array of wristbands and bracelets. She is tanned compared to my pale complexion. She is wearing the school socks, over the knee and a deep blue colour, with the yellow band. “I’m Lucy, and I need to work on my cardio, because that warm up Netball match just kicked my arse.” she says to us both. “Hi Lucy, You might also want to tie up your shoe lace in case you die.” I point to her shoe.

She looks down, dropping her blazer and bag, and ties her shoe. “Nice to know, Lucy” The teacher says as she skims her folder and points at the table by the door, like me, she pulls out the grey seat and focuses on the book in front of her. She turns around in her seat and faces me “Hey..didn’t you hear it’s rude to look at another girls ugly school shoes without her permission?” She laughs and shakes her head. Her two braids swaying. “Didn’t catch the memo, but my ugly school shoes are here if you ever want to pass comment. I guess I owe you that.” She grins at me before turning around.

I don’t know why, but it upset me a little that she was sat so far away.

Eventually, I’m sat next to a mouth breather, that peers at my work too often and has no idea how to chew with his mouth closed. Thankfully lessons are only 60 minutes long. I try and focus on what Ms. McNamara was saying (She did eventually get to introducing herself to everyone, before throwing a copy of To Kill A Mocking Bird at us all) I decided then, that I liked her, and her Gothic, carefree attitude.

The bell pulls me from my reading. “Okay guys. Great first lesson. Lovely to meet you all. Finish reading the second chapter tonight! I’ll see you all tomorrow before lunch, so be on time or no sandwich break for you!” She calls out as everyone evacuates. I pull my bag out from under my seat, and wrestle my books into my bag. Ms McNamara begins wiping  down the board. “Just chapter two tonight Jess.” She picks up a pen, and begins writing. I smile in acknowledgement and as I leave, reply “What makes you think I haven’t already read it before?”

I find myself in the busy corridor again, and reach into my blazer pocket. “Where are you heading to?” I hear someone whisper in my ear. I turn to see Lucy pressing into me, her chin now resting on my left shoulder. “Oh, German. Cool.” She says, before I can answer. She walks ahead of me and winks as she turns the corner. I push through the series of double doors on the right at the end of the corridor, and find myself outside. It’s raining. Great. I skip along the ground, avoiding the puddles. I cross the grounds, and down the little steps, pushing the doors into the IT building. I’m not late, or those doors would have locked now, and I would have had to walk around. I sigh in relief, and descend up the two flights of stairs.

I open the door, wheezing slightly. I need to work on my cardio too and am greeted by my friend throwing her limbs around me, her afro sticking to my mouth as I try to breathe and stay upright, the force of being jumped on nearly taking me to the ground. “How was your summer!? Ugh, You’re wet. I missed you! Did You do the homework? How difficult was the essay though?” I laugh, and pry her limbs from around my neck. “Ugh, I know, it’s raining. Afternoon. My summer was good, yes it’s all done, in German right? not English? and I missed you too, but you’re the one that decided to jump on a plane and see Beyoncé in three states.” We begin walking up the corridor towards our class, where our teacher has poked her head out, probably due to the screaming and limb throwing.

“When Queen B performs you sit and listen okay, even if it breaks the bank. But honestly it was so so goo- Did You say in German? I wrote mine in English” Her face falls, and she stands face to face with our teacher. “Okay listen miss, I messed up and wrote in English, but because Jess is your favourite, and I consider myself her best friend, you’ll forgive me right?” “Guten Tag girls. Go sit down” “Guten Tag” we reply. She laughs and moves inside the classroom. I look around. Everything is the same. The bright posters of key words are hung along the back walls, the bookshelves stocked with textbooks, the chaotic mess on Ms. Cat’s desk, and the desks in the middle of the classroom, in four rows of two.

I maneuver between the desks and take a seat at my regular choice, third back from the middle, and Darcey throws herself down next to me, dropping her bag to the ground. “Why would the German homework be to write a German essay about your summer in English?” I laugh, shaking my head in judgement. “Shut up Jess.” She rolls her eyes.

“Not feeling like a change this year girls?” We hear Ms. Cat laugh from the doorway, waiting for the rest of the class, signalling to the other available desks. “Miss. We have sat here together for three years, Are you trying to divorce us?” I see Darcey throw a hand dramatically over her heart, and I laugh.”Never, girls.”

I throw myself down on my bed and soak in the day, pulling my sweater sleeves over my hands and resting them on my forehead. History last period was an adjustment, Our old teacher left us at the end of last year and now we have a new one that takes twenty minutes to start, and thirty minutes writing names on the bad side of the board, even though we are all sixteen years old. I roll over onto my side and open my bag, sliding out To Kill A Mocking Bird, I open the cover and find my page. My Laptop springs to life on my desk, and I place the book down to find out why. I lift the lid, and see a new friend request. ‘Lucy M. Wants to be friends’ I confirm, close the lid and return to my bed.

I must have fallen asleep, because when I open my eyes, my clock reads 6:25am. I roll out of bed, grabbing my uniform from the wardrobe as I walk towards the bathroom. Presentable and hungry, I traipse into the kitchen. I pull a Disney bowl from the pile by the sink and fill it with cereal. My brother behind me in the kitchen, cursing over his lost left shoe. “By the door! I nearly died on the way down” I call. “Thanks, Jay!” I hear him call back.

I hop off the bus, and walk my younger brother through the Shopping center and down the main path towards the school gate. “Just an hour at a time” we both mumble together and laugh as we push through the gate. “That’s a good way to take the day” I hear someone say behind me.

I turn and see Lucy. Her brown hair wavy and chin length today. My brother breaks off the path, and throws a hand out to wave as he crosses through the other gate and onto the lower side of the school. “Morning” I smile at her. As we fall into pace. “How did you sleep?” she stares at me. “Uh, pretty well, thanks. You?” “yeah, good. You just looked tired.” She observes. “I always look like this, I would feel naked if I didn’t have these bags under my eyes.” I grin, and she lets out a giggle. Cute.

“So, what do you think of To Kill A Mocking Bird?” she asks as we approach the front doors. “I loved it the first time I read it. A little controversial, but I think it’s a wonderful book to teach and learn from” she nods. We stop by the flower beds, decorating the entrance to the front doors, and outlined by a low wooden fence. “This is kind of embarrassing, and I don’t know why I’m telling you this, because we met yesterday, but I actually named my horse after Scout, and my dog after Atticus.” She picks at a small yellow flower that has crossed through the gate by her waist.

“That’s fucking adorable” I laugh, before covering my mouth and gasping slightly, shocked by my own cursing “I apologize for that, I normally never swear.” She doesn’t reply, just takes my hand from my mouth and holds it for a moment. She glances at the dainty watch on her right wrist. “Time to get to Tutor. I’ll See You in English.” She winks at me, drops my hand and rushes into the main building. I stand outside and watch her disappear down the hallway. I open my hand, and see the small yellow flower sitting in my palm. I smile down at it, and make my way to tutor, tucking it into my blazer pocket as I climb to the third floor.

After an uneventful morning, I find myself looking forward to English. I can’t will the time to go faster as I’m sat in math, cracking down through my equations. Eventually, the bell sounds and I walk the short distance down the corridor and turn into my English class doorway. “Someone beat you to it today Jess.” Ms. McNamara laughs. Not only is Lucy sitting in the classroom before anyone else, but she’s sitting in the seat next to me. “Hey. Girl needs a sandwich break” she laughs shrugging at the comment.

I pull the back of my grey plastic chair out and set up my desk. “I hope you don’t mind me moving Lucy next to you, I feel she could learn a lot form you Jess. You seem to get along too” Ms. McNamara says as she writes on the board, her back facing me, but I could hear a smirk in her voice. She’s wearing a pair of dark green tartan jeans today, with a velvet waistcoat. Her shoes Platform and leather. “Anything is better than a mouth breather, wouldn’t want to know what sandwiches he has been eating” I laugh, and feel Lucy staring at me. “We’re going to have a lot of fun” she grins, and the warmth in my heart radiates to my cheeks as I smile in agreement.

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Lost Boy – Christina Henry (A Book Review)

If you ever need a peter pan retelling that is dark and thrilling and just great, then please pick this book up.

Lost Boy is a story about Peter Pan and Jamie before girls were taken to Neverland, before the green tights, and before Jamie was Captain Hook. As a young boy, Jamie is unexpectedly collected by Peter and taken to live with him in Neverland, where he never grows up. It stays as Jamie and peter for seasons, as they cause mischief, explore, and form a very close relationship.

Peter and Jamie begin bringing boys from ‘the other side’ to live on the island with them, where they build a small family unit and spend their time being children; they roughhouse, play, swim, wreak havoc for the pirates and live freely under the rules that they obey Peter and never try to leave.

Jamie is the sensible yet feared boy on the island, because of his closeness with Peter. The younger boys respect that, and behave, until Peter returns with a new set of boys, one who in particular hates Jamie, and one who is so young, he clings to Jamie as a mother figure. The bond Jamie forms with the new boys and the threats that exist on the island start to drift between Jamie and Peter, resulting in a series of unexpected, but blood boiling results.

Jamie finds himself mothering these boys as Peter grows colder towards them and suspiciously starts changing his behaviour. Jamie begins wondering just how he came to be Peter’s friend, especially as a series of ongoing nightmares causes Jamie to question his life in Neverland and his life back home.

Christina Henry has created such lovable characters that I could not put this down. The contrast of character personalities on the island made it easy to love one character and wholesomely despise another. For example, we are introduced to a little boy called Charlie, who is too weak to carry supplies, too scared to walk alone and too young to understand.

He is taken in by Jamie, and looked after, which develops Jamie’s fearsome personality, and occasionally breaks it, meaning we see a less bloodthirsty and masculine side of him, that he keeps up to protect and warn off the boys. Charlie is naive and scared which makes me favour him over an older boy called Nip, who is described to have ‘small, mean eyes’ and a lack of compassion for others, especially the younger boys. He enjoys fighting, where as Charlie is sensitive and cries over the thought of harming another boy.

What I love most about this book is that it is from Hook’s perspective, especially as in the Disney adaptations we see Hook as an angry villain simply there to chase away Peter, but we never know why, and this book gives us some closure, and excitement.

Christina throws in curve balls mid page, mid chapter and keeps you guessing right to the very end. The characters in this book are not all permanent, but their personalities and hearts stay with you forever after reading this..

My favourite character has to be Jamie. From the very beginning of the book, you connect with Jamie and his ability to hope and see good in everything his best friend does. There is a deep vulnerability to him, that he hides to impress, but knows it is okay to let out. I found his story and his bravery fascinating, and was drawn by his maturity and knowledge on the island, given he has stayed a boy for seasons.

My favourite quote also comes from Jamie, when he is in conversation with another boy. “It’s not such a wonderful thing, to be young,” I said. “It’s heartless, and selfish.” For some reason, this resonated with me because of the honesty behind it. Making childish decisions and not wanting to grow up causes devastation of a mild spectrum, whether that be applied in real life and actual scenarios or fiction. There are countless examples of when being childish has caused devastation.

This darker retelling of the Pan we all know and love is everything I needed to start my year off correctly. Pan shows a less vulnerable, more sadistic side which he masters through his collection of boys and manipulation of them, which as a reader, you too are blind to. This book is quite violent, so obviously don’t read it if it isn’t something you are into, but I personally will be reading Christina Henry’s other two books that accompany this one, as they are both Alice In Wonderland retellings.

 

 

Reading Goals For 2018

I finished 2017 with a total of 60 books, which was five books a month, and I want to see if I can push it to 72 books read in a year.

I had a lot of free time last year, I took a year out of school, and I was occasionally working because I’m not 18 yet, and this year is pretty similar.

I never really have a theme, but I want to push myself to read more books outside of the genres that I prefer. That doesn’t mean I’m going to crack open a romance novel and weep at the middle aged lady finding love at her best friend’s wedding, but I am going to try a little harder to continue reading that kind of unrealistic fantasy book I stopped reading when zombies were mentioned, because who knows, there could be a shocking plot twist.

I also want to try and tackle the classics. I dip my toe in and out of that pond, because as an A level English student, to be respected you had to obnoxiously quote and act out Jane Austen as you freelanced the halls to your lessons. Even though I personally never participated in that, I do want to know what happens in the book thief, or the jungle book from the books perspective. There is certainly a perception that designated school books are never very good, but some of the assigned ones are still on my shelf, even though they should have stayed in my classroom, but what they don’t know, won’t hurt them.

I am one of those people that re reads, and I don’t think I want to do much of that this year, as it takes a lot of attention away from other books on my tbr and cr lists. That being said, it depends on how good the releases are going to be this year, other wise I will revisit my bookshelf a lot.

On the topic of bookshelves, I do need to restructure mine. The bottom shelf collapses frequently in the night due to the weight of my angsty YA novels. I also need to re order the books, as since Christmas, there are books on top of books and on the floor, and my bedside, and there’s just not enough space, which will more than likely result in a new bookshelf being installed, or another shelf slotted in somewhere.

As someone that likes to read and write, I want to be more critical of the books I read, and review them more regularly, which is why I want to start reviewing my two favourite books of the month. There are a few reviews out there, but there just isn’t a structure or a posting date to them, which I intend to clean up and focus on.

Finally, I want to improve my book photography, but in a way that won’t make my instagram feed tiresome and repetitive. There is a whole debate about accounts thinking they’re royalty because they don’t break their theme, or follow others with a patchy theme, but I am not one of those that live and die by it. As long as the colours look okay, and isn’t just a rainbow of colour, my feed is fine, hence why my ratio is always so off.

I do also want to follow more bookstagram accounts, both on here and on instagram. Talking about books with people who have different opinions and favourite genres is always a good conversation worth having. Feel free to leave your instagram below and I will follow you, or leave your favourite books and recommendations, after all, I do have 72 books to read.

Have a lovely and safe New Year, look after yourselves and buy that book!

My Favourite Books Of 2017

This year, I managed to read 60 books, that means I read 5 books a month. I don’t know whether to feel proud of myself and push it higher next year, or motivated to go out and find some friends, and a hobby.

Reading that many books means it was really difficult to choose my favourites, but I think I’ve narrowed it down to 10. Some of these books were released this year, others I picked up this year and read, they may not have been published this year they will also be very tight in genre, because I have a habit of not finishing books that I get bored with, and never trying that genre again.

One Of Us Is Lying

10. To start, let’s talk about One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus. This is very much a darker twist on the breakfast club, and whilst I was originally skeptical of it, thinking it would be cheesy, I actually found myself being pulled in, to the point where I finished it in a few hours after purchasing it. It is is a great simple read, with a lot of plot twists and character development.

It keeps the storyline of five kids going into detention, all with contrasting personalities, and one dying as soon as the teacher leaves the classroom. Everyone that was present in the classroom when the boy dies becomes a suspect, and their darkest secrets begin to get unraveled as the police try to rule them out.

To me, this story was fun and eventful and relatable to school life as children see and live it, as opposed to how parents view it. Your thoughts on the characters will constantly change, as will who you point the finger at.

MOTOE

9. Following that murder mystery, we have another. Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie was that book that I had been planning on reading since I was thirteen, because classics and people to impress with my knowledge, but never got around to it until the movie was announced.

There were so many twists and facts to remember in the book, but it helped cement your part in the book. You were Detective Poirot’s assistant. There was the evidence, there was the map, now figure out who murdered him. I was mildly disappointed that I was wrong, multiple times, but every time I managed to guess something correctly, I was proud of myself and ready to sign up for the FBI.

One of my favourite elements of the book, was the language, and the culture that Christie used. For example, the main detective was French, so he would regularly speak french, there were also American characters, so the jargon was different.

Ultimately, the ending was funny, and unexpected, but also kind of lazy, which made me love it a little bit more.

8. The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton I am so incredibly in love with this book, and not knowing it existed, really motivated me to buy it the day I found out, so shout out to the girl on youtube who had it, I don’t remember your name, but your vid was ASMR and I didn’t realise at first, and when I did, I abruptly left because I got irritated. Sorry.

The illustrations and story are both by Tim Burton himself, and it’s just a cute picture book, more than likely aimed at children, but I couldn’t help myself. The illustrations are detailed so well, and just like the movie. The story itself, is poetic, and rhymes, and is just a fun, short read. If you are unfamiliar with the movie, then Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloweentown, gets tired of being scary and wants to bring Christmas over to his world, but he gets a little confused and ends up kidnapping Santa instead. Despite his best efforts to be the Santa he thinks they need, it causes more problems for Jack and the people of Christmastown.

The Characters are easily enjoyable and original above all else, and I will never get tired of praising Tim Burton’s mind.

7. Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling (illustrated edition) Does this count? oh, well. My list, my rules. The illustrated edition was really all I would talk about the whole way through October. The illustrations were great and the story just reads better with the pictures. It may not be my favourite of the series, but I have another year until Goblet of Fire, and there were so many books to choose from, but of all of the wizarding books given to us this year, this is easily my favourite.

The story of Harry Potter coming face to face with the wizard seen as worse and crazier than Voldemort, and then finding out he is his Godson, will never bore me, and I will always find myself quoting moments of the book, because they are just iconic, and printed on everything.

Girlhood

6. Next up, we have Girlhood by Cat Clarke. I am not exaggarating when I say I read this book in three hours, with no distractions and no breaks. Personally, I found parts predictable, but the book and story line as a whole, was great, and one of the best YA thrillers I have read in a while.

Main Character Harper, decided to move onto boarding school after the death of her twin, Jenna. Years on, Harper is working on being happy. She has a close set of friends, and she is away from her home and her past.

A new girl starts, and she grows close to Harper of all the girls in the school. The new girl, Kirsty, has some secrets and an eeriness in the book that kept me turning the page. This is the first book I have read by Cat Clarke, but I feel I am going to look into her more now.

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5. It Only Happens In The Movies, Holly Bourne. I have praised this book endlessly, and even got a note of thanks from the author. So, it pains me to have leave it at number 5. It was jam packed full of female drama, fuckboys, and fluff. The book had an educated main female character that I loved, and it sensitively looked at the damage caused by divorce, family separation, and alcoholism. Above all that, it was funny and relatable and just a good time.

The main characters were easy to love and easy to hate, ahem, ex flings of said favourite fuckboy. Harry, bad boy slash secret romance movie lover was funny and charming and easy to love, where as main character Audrey, doesn’t want to fall in love with Harry because it’s generic and too close to the imperfect romance movies she has to watch with her mess of a mother, and in film class.

Again, I cannot praise Holly Bourne’s work anymore than I already do, because it’s funny, and educational and just relatable in the worst ways.

4. It’s a pretty expressed fact that I love The Maze Runner trilogy, it is easily one of my favourite series, next to Harry Potter. So, when I was staring at my bookshelf and realised I never read The Fever Code by James Dashner, I dropped everything I was doing and finished it in two days.

Thomas and Newt’s friendship was precious and hurt me deeply at the end of the Death Cure. TFC is a prequel to The Maze Runner, it provides you with how the maze was built, how the characters were recruited and named, but more importantly, why.

I still strongly hate the bones of teresa, and cry at the mention of Chuck, but the story as a whole, cannot be faulted, and if you have no clue who these characters are, or what I just said, I highly recommend you read them all. Or watch the movies. A couple hundred times.

AMC

3. A Monster Calls Parick Ness / Siobhan Dowd. I read this book last year, but the movie came out in January, and because I love emotionally torturing myself, I read the book again.

Conor is just a kid when his mother is diagnosed with cancer, he has no one to talk to and bullies to deal with, so he keeps his emotions to himself. One night, the monster comes to talk to Conor, after a series of nightmares. He shares a story and expects a story in return.

The worse the condition of his mother gets, the angrier and less in control of his emotions conor becomes. He becomes reckless, and stuck in a place he cannot escape with the monster, He loses touch with what is reality and not, and this quickly catches up with Conor in his school and home life. It affects his relationship with his mother and his grandmother and he feels alone

This is one of the first books to ever make me emotional and I never cry. Personal trauma? no tears. Angry 13 year old boy dealing with the death of his mother? Hit me. The illustrations, again, were simple but so effective and with the real story of the author added into the emotion and gosh, I was a mess. Siobhan Dowd created a masterpiece that I am proud and honoured to have on my bookshelf.

2.  On a brighter note, Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks is number two. The grandfather of America has cared for us all with his collection of short stories. There are seventeen in total, and each story has a different theme, there is love, humour, adventure and courage. They are good, short reads that leave you feeling something different each time. I cannot praise Tom Hanks enough as both an actor and an author.

My favourite story in the book changes a lot, but one of my favourite things about the book is the cover without the sleeve on. There is a typewriter engraved on the front of the book and it just looks really classic and simple, especially with the running theme of typewriters.

These stories show how surprising, talented and intelligent Tom Hanks is with his characters, he portrays them in such a way that you feel like they live in your neighbourhood, or that you have known them for years.

Friend request

1.  My Favourite book this year, has to be Friend Request by Laura Marshall. Oh, The plot twists. The drama. The thrills. If you’re going to be a thriller author, then please take notes from Marshall’s work. This book is easily my most talked about and highest recommended book I have ever read, and I cannot force it upon you any more than I have already tried this year. Just read it, and love it and hate the characters.

Maria died in Highschool after a tough year of being the new kid, and for years it was ruled suicide until she gets in contact with Louise Her former best friend, nearly 20 years later on facebook, just in time for their highschool reunion. Maria’s facebook page plays with Louise in ways that are almost cruel, and drive Louise back into the friends she chose over Maria before her death. Secrets are revealed and Louise see’s her former classmates in new lights.

The characters in this book were so well explored that I had chills and often found myself talking to the characters, when I predicted a particularly nasty turn out for them, or when I had a suspicion. This book was current and showed the true effects of our decisions and the dangers of social media.

 

December Photo Diary

With the first of December, we had snow in London, which rarely happens, and I was perfectly content with photographing it from my back garden, but one of my friends asked if I wanted to go outside with her dog, and because she has the cutest Shiba I have ever seen in my life, I do what I always do, and use her for her dog.

Because I wasn’t going to be spending Christmas day with my Dad, he decided to take me to his favourite fishing spot whilst it was covered in snow so I could take some photos and read and catch up. I did pack a lot of hot chocolate with me, and rightfully so, because it was freezing.

The views were amazing, and the roads were virtually empty. London isn’t really a place I expect to be photogenic, but when you catch the right moment and the right place it truly is astonishing, and makes me wish I continued on with A level Photography, but that’s another conversation.

Once the snow stopped and cleared, I spent a lot of December reading, and travelling between my house, the library and the bookstore. My reluctance to go outside and be social definitely relied heavily on the weather and just tiredness I guess.

Hence, why Christmas shopping was very last minute, it just wasn’t my main priority like it has been in the past. I wanted my gifts to be sentimental and have justification behind buying them, so it took me a while to think of good and practical presents. I mostly spent the month drinking hot chocolate and chilling by the fireplace to keep all ten toes, because the cold was unbearable.

I did manage to get the house decorated for Christmas and feeling festive. The tree took me a while and had a theme, which I tried to stick to, but it didn’t really work out too well. As for the rest of the house, I just hung up my siblings stockings and changed the pillows on the couch. I did DIY some cute pine cone strings that hung up in our front room.

 

The main tree in our house (on the right) was just silver and gold, we decided to leave the tinsel off for the moment, because it made the tree look odd. The smaller trees in our bedrooms were all just the classic silver and red, and my one had some small Disney ornaments on, because they looked cute.

Overall, December was pretty chill, I spent a lot of time at home with my family and Christmas day was lovely. It’s just that adjustment period now where everyone is waiting for New Years.

Happy Holidays!

Christmas 2017

I feel mildly attacked that it decides to snow two days after Christmas, instead of giving us all the white Christmas we deserve because of how rough 2017 was to us all, but unlike the snow, I guess I’ll settle.

My Brother woke me up at 9am, but despite his best efforts, couldn’t manage to make me move until 9:30, by which point, he had stopped sitting on the floor staring up at me with his gift, and climbed on top of me holding out his gift. Reluctantly, with my mismatched pajamas and missing sock, I sat up and attempted to break through the sellotape barrier to get to the gift my brother kept shoving in my face. When you’re half asleep, pulling back wrapping paper and seeing someone’s face staring back at you is mildly terrifying, especially if that face belongs to young Justin Timberlake.

My brother, bought me the *NSYNC Christmas album on record, which would have done perfectly for me, but there were two more vinyls underneath, If You’re reading This It’s Too Late by Drake, and Curtain Call by Eminem. He then insisted that I let him choose where on my wall of records to put them, and before I could hug him, he was across the room pulling down vinyls and reorganising my wall.

*NSYNC

When he was done and happy with that, we went downstairs to join the rest of our family, whilst I made everyone pancakes and waffles depending on their preferences. I was also on cooking duty with my sister, and although a 17 year old being let loose on a chicken sounds dangerous, I received a multitude of praise for my cooking ability, which I gratefully accepted. Despite the fact I went meat free, I was pretty proud of myself.

With all breakfast foods put away, my sister threw a paper sack with a creepy reindeer on the front at me. My family are fans of Sellotape, and so with great effort and care to preserve the Harry Potter wrapping paper, I unwrapped the first present.

Which was a signed copy of The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton. I nearly cried when I realised it was signed. I stopped everything I was doing to read the book from front to back and just take a moment to admire how beautiful the artwork is. The illustrations and story were all done by Tim Burton himself and it just made the book feel so much more special.

Next, There was a book called Lost Boy by Christina Henry. This is a darker retelling of Peter Pan from Captain Hook’s point of view. There are so many new things and old things in the book that I am excited to start reading. The cover is beautiful as well, and of all the books in the series, Peter Pan is definitely my favourite choice.

I didn’t realise the bag my sister threw at me was full of books and bookish things. Next, was a pop vinyl and easily one of my new favourites, it was Velma from Scooby Doo. This was supposed to be a joke from when we were younger, because of that hideous Scooby Doo sweater I wore everyday as a kid, but the sentiment and comedy value made it even more special, although it’s even funnier that I still really do enjoy the old school Scooby Doo.

My bookshelf was truly blessed this year by my sister, as the next gifts were hardback covers of classic books I loved, and my sister and mother loved reading to me when I was younger. I have Goodnight Mister Tom, The Jungle Book and The Wind In The Willows. The covers are just stunning and the pictures do not do them justice. If I can find the copies, I will link them below.

I thought that was it, but then my sister pulled out a surprise gift, that I really wasn’t expecting or too comfortable accepting. A lot of persuasion later, and inside the bag was a new pair of white Sk8-Hi vans. The joke here, was that I always wear the same pair of shoes everyday (not true. I just alternate between two pairs of my favourites, comfort, you know?) So my sister bought me the same shoes again, just a little cleaner and livelier.

Honeydukes

My Mother then gave me a small paper sack, which was Harry Potter heaven. This mug has now become my newest obsession. It’s a honeydukes mug from the Studio Tour, and is so spacious, perfect for soup, large cups of coffee, or like me, cereal. To go with the mug, my mother also bought me two boxes of cereal. My first favourite cereal in the world, is Multigrain shapes and my second favourite is Cookie Crisp, and she bought me both so I won’t have to buy it for a while.

And Finally, from my dad, I got another pair of Sk8-Hi vans, identical to the ones my sister got me, but in black. They worked together on the joke, and it worked, because I laughed a lot.

Christmas is a time for peace, and togetherness, but it is important, especially in times of togetherness, to remember that things are always going to fracture. The people that make the effort to think of you and make memories with you are the people you need to continue surrounding yourself with. If you are still hanging onto someone and forcing a friendship or relationship ‘because it’s the holidays’ then you need to think about it before the new year. I need to take my own advice and re-evaluate my Christmas Card list for 2018.

I hope everyone had a lovely festive period, filled with good food and happy memories!

Winter Holiday Essentials

It’s officially three days before Christmas, and I’ve done no Christmas themed activities at all, so I guess I’ll just try again next year.

Despite having snowed, it hasn’t motivated me up and out of bed to make an instagram worthy snowman, or learn how to ice skate and fall into a cute boy. What the snow did motivate me to do though, was bury myself into a duvet and blanket pile thick enough to ensure I keep all ten toes this Christmas, and only pause my Christmas movie, when the timer of whatever baked good I was baking, had finished.

To achieve the level of coziness and warmth that I did, My first winter essential, has to be crisp, new pajamas. It’s kind of a tradition that my Grandmother started with me and my siblings when we were younger and I guess we carried it on, we just have a lot more input into the pajamas we wear now though. Alongside pjs, I do love a pair of novelty slippers, or bed socks. At the moment, my slippers aren’t Christmas themed, but are novelty, they’re just grumpy from the Seven dwarves.

Sticking to the theme of clothing, I love a terrible sweater. If it lights up, or the joke makes you cringe, it needs to be appreciated. I do also love just a basic sweater that keeps me warm when I go outside, but when it’s that cold, it rarely happens.

snowella

Only recently have I started paying more attention to seasonal scents, and cared about making the environment around me match. I found it improves my mood so much more, and it feels a lot more festive. I currently have seasonal air fresheners that smell like vanilla cookies, Christmas trees and even gingerbread. For myself, I just use the snow’ella body mist scent, from Zoella’s Christmas range, it was given to me by a friend, and smells festive, and the packaging is just really aesthetically pleasing, which I love.

Next, we have throws and blankets, because comfort and warmth is key when it comes to the winter. I always leave a few on my bed, and some on the couches, so if I were to watch a movie downstairs (which I never do, because my family will just talk through it) I won’t get cold. If my room doesn’t feel like Christmas by the time my tree goes up, then I change my bedding into something more appropriate. This year, I’m alternating between candy canes and gingerbread houses and red tartan.

With a good book, you obviously need a good novelty mug and a warm beverage. I am not a big coffee lover, and despite being from London, am not all too fond of tea either. I often find myself experimenting with hot chocolate flavours to see what my siblings like and what they don’t, to try and find that staple hot chocolate flavour and make it a tradition. At the moment, I think we can all agree on salted caramel.

Finally, Christmas playlists. As cheesy and repetitive as they can be, I can’t not sing along to last Christmas in the car. There has been a significant increase in bands and artists of newer influence creating their own holiday songs and EPs, or even creating their own versions, and as much as it feels like I’m cheating on the classics, I can’t refuse it a play in the car.

If you have anything that gets you in the Christmas spirit, I would love to hear it, or if you too just love a good ugly Christmas jumper and a sing along to Bublé in the car.

Happy Holidays!