BLOG RELAUNCH?!

One of my favourite YouTubers has just relaunched her blog! The rise of YouTube has meant that blogging has become less popular for teenagers but it excites me that the hype is not all lost and forgotten. Please go and check out Grace’s first blog post and, while your at it, take a look at her Instagram and YouTube! They all have a similar positive aesthetic and the hard work definitely shows.
I hope you have a relaxing Sunday,
Erin x

grace ariya

Hey everyone, welcome back to the blog. WOW! It’s been a very long time since I last wrote that! I ended my blog to launch and focus on my YouTube channel at the beginning of July, and now I’m back? You’re as shocked as I am….

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Wonder | The Best Character Development I Have Seen In Middle Grade | Book Review

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Title: Wonder

Author: R.J. Palacio

Publisher: Corgi Childrens

Number Of Pages: 410

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

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My Review

This book has been on my TBR for such a long time. A few days ago I was talking to a friend about how much I wanted to read it and she offered to give me her copy! Within the space of 24 hours I read this book from cover to cover. I must admit there were tears… but only of happiness! I didn’t look into the context much before reading. All I was aware of was that the main character was called August and he had a facial deformity. Throughout the book I did discover the different perspectives which was really interesting. It’s really odd how one-sided a book can get without having the perspective of the ‘so-called’ bad guy.

The overall book was a pleasure to read. The growth of the characters from the start to the finish was really beautiful. Though the book’s main focus was on character development, the plot was also interesting! It’s really hard to express my love for this book without giving spoilers. You really need to read it and then we can chat about it in the comments! The morals of this story are really important: even you don’t think that you need a reminder.

Have you read Wonder? What books have been on your TBR for a long time?

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My Current (And Quite Small) TBR

Writing this post is mainly for my benefit because these books have been on my TBR for a long time and I really need to get around to them. If you don’t keep telling me “pick up Caraval” or “A Darker Shade Of Magic is an amazing book you need to read it” then I never will. That’s the sad fact about book bloggers. Our TBRs are endless and we keep trying to ignore how huge they’re getting! However, this post is also for your benefit because you might find a book you’re really interested in.

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Synopsis (on Goodreads)

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.

I really want to read this book – not only because of its interesting synopsis, but also because of the hype of bookstagram. After reading The Night Circus, I’m really craving another circus-based novel and this sounds like the perfect one. The reason I haven’t yet picked it up it because 1) I only picked it up from the library a week ago and 2) I really don’t feel like reading fantasy at the moment!

A Darker Shade Of Magic – V.E Schwab

Synopsis (on Goodreads)

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive. 

I’m not a big fan of adult novels but I’m really interested in the concept of this novel. As a big fan of Doctor Who, I’m no stranger to parallel dimensions, but this sounds even more interesting (no offence Whovians). As the writing is a bit heavier (compared to YA) I will definitely be taking it slow but it excites me nonetheless! 

Stranger – Keren David

Synopsis (on Goodreads)

Astor, Ontario. 1904.

A boy staggers out of the forest covered in blood and collapses at the feet of 16-year-old Emmy. While others are suspicious and afraid, Emmy is drawn to him. Is he really the monster the townsfolk say he is?

Astor, Ontario. 1994. 

Megan arrives from London for her great grandmother Emmy’s 105th birthday. It should be a happy family occasion, but Megan is nursing a broken heart and carrying a secret she fears might consume her.

I picked up this novel from the library thinking that I would read it around Halloween (because it is a bit spooky) but then I ended up making plans for that night so I couldn’t get cosy in bed and read it cover to cover. However, I am still really intrigued by this book! I’ve not read a book written in different perspectives since Percy Jackson in summer XD and I would love to visit that style of writing again. Have any of you heard of this book? It seems a little but underrated.

Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Paige

Synopsis (on Goodreads)

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

I picked this up from Oxfam yesterday and it looks so good! I’m already 20 pages in (so I guess it’s not on my TBR anymore) and the way its written is just how I like it: simple but effective. I’ve not read any twisted tales (not even the Disney ones) so I was really intrigued by that element. It’s also quite chunky and covers issues like bullying, substance abuse and loneliness. I want to sit down at some point today and get a good chunk of reading done because I’m desperate to carry on reading!

Have you read any of these books? Are you, like me, struggling with endless TBR syndrome?

I hope you have a really good day that helps you tackle your huge TBR!

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Easy-To-Follow Christmas Cake Recipe

It is a bit too early to get excited for Christmas – but it is not too early to bake your Christmas cake! My family has a tradition of making a Christmas cake, though I know not many people make one anymore. The traditional Christmas cake is made from mostly fruit and needs to be fed with brandy a couple of times before you marzipan and ice (which you would do very close to Christmas!) Fruit cakes are best when matured so that is why we made ours so early. Today I’m going to take you through my simple Christmas cake recipe.

Ingredients:

900g brandy soaked mixed fruit and cherries (this is the most expensive ingredient but you can get your hands on it from most supermarkets, though you will have to do the brandy soaking yourself!)

225g plain or self-raising flour

1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice

225g dark brown sugar

50g flaked almonds

225g butter/margerine

4 medium/large eggs (as long as they’re not too small)

Method:

1) You will need to double line a 20cm round cake tin and preheat the oven to 140ºC/284ºF.

2) Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. It should look a bit like this:

3) Beat the eggs into a separate bowl and slowly add to the butter/sugar mixture. Then add in the flour and mix well.

4) Add mixed spice, nuts and gradually fold the mixed fruit in (a couple of handfuls at a time) Mix until everything is evenly blended.

5) Transfer to the tin and spread mixture evenly.

6) Bake in the centre of the oven for 4 hours.Check the cake midway through its baking to make sure it isn’t going dark on top. If it is then wet a piece of baking paper or parchment the same size and the cake and place this on top (you may have to repeat this). 

7) Once cooked, cool for about an hour before removing from tin. We left the cake to cool overnight to prevent any accidents!


Now the shops have got their Christmas stock out, I can’t help but get excited. This time of the year is so full of life and lykke. I tend to be going out more and ‘living in the moment’! It’s all very exciting. If you have a lot of guests over at Christmas then I 100% recommend making this cake. It goes down so well with visitors and it’s also fun to make!

Do you make Christmas cake? Or are you more of a pudding person?

I hope you enjoy the rest of November, instead of wishing ahead to December 25th!

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The Little Book Of Lykke | The Danish Search For The World’s Happiest People| Book Review

Title: The Little Book Of Lykke

Author: Meik Wiking

Publisher: Penguin Life

Number Of Pages: 288

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis 

It’s easy to see why Denmark is often called the world’s happiest country. Not only do they have equal parental leave for men and women, free higher education and trains that run on time, but they burn more candles per household than anywhere else.

So nobody knows more about happiness – what the Danes call lykke – than Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and author of the bestselling sensation The Little Book of Hygge . But he believes that, whilst we can certainly learn a lot from the Danes about finding fulfilment, the keys to happiness are actually buried all around the globe.

In this captivating book, he takes us on a treasure hunt to unlock the doors to inner fulfilment. From how we spend our precious time, to how we relate to our neighbours and cook dinner, he gathers evidence, stories and tips from the very happiest corners of the planet. This is the ultimate guide to how we can all find a little more lykke in our lives.

My Thoughts

Reading this book was really fulfilling. It’s the first non-fiction book that I’ve read cover to cover this year! I really enjoyed the casual tone and I learned so much in a short 288 pages. I know that Hygge is now a popular lifestyle throughout the world though its origin is in Scandinavia. Similar to Hygge, Lykke is the idea of happiness and finding fulfilment in the little things. This book had a constant theme that material things do not bring fulfilment and I agree! I found it almost like my old self giving me a reminder and it felt like meditation whenever I was reading it. The book was split into categories and then the final categories was a round up and I found that really helpful. I finished it this morning and now I find myself off to a good start! I would really recommend this book and though you can find most of its content online, nothing beats the contentment of reading in bed. I feel like the message comes across more prominently when reading. 

Have you read about Lykke? What are your thoughts on a Hygge lifestyle? 

I hope you all get a chance to implement Lykke into your life today,

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