Where I’ve Been + October Goals

Long time, no type! Hope you’re all well. Thank you for continuing to support my blog while I’ve been away. I’ve not replied to your comments but I have see them pop into my inbox, and I look forward to chatting with you all again.

As you will understand, September is back to school season. That is why I haven’t posted to my regular schedule since mid-August. I’ve been bombarded with work! I can cope with it, it’s just very overwhelming. I’ve had 6 months with no commitments, no brain puzzles, no people. I need to accept that I can’t blog 24/7 (as I used to) while school is in my life. That’s okay! I’m not a superhero, and I will not try to be. 

In the next few years, academics will only become more important. They will be my priority so I can’t pressure myself into being a perfect blogger when blogging is not my job (even though I’d love it to be). This blog isn’t going on the back burner – no way! It’s my passion and I love it very dearly. 

Life’s been good. I’ve finally got into the swing of things in my new school. Not quite found balance between reading, blogging, cello and school yet but we’ll get there as I become more adjusted to the ‘normal’ lifestyle.

We’re also crawling closer to Christmas! A gingerbread scented candle is burning happily away in my room right now. It smells DIVINE! The other day I finished my rewatch of the Harry Potter films and it was so cosy and comforting. Dark mornings aren’t very inviting, but the nights drawing in are certainly hygge.

Many people will be curious about how coronavirus precautions are operating at my school. We have to wear masks in the buildings, but not in classrooms. We have ‘year group bubbles’ which is Bo Jo’s genius idea. I don’t know how it works but between lessons and after school we mash together anyway. Upon entrance of classrooms we disinfect the tables with antibacterial spray. We are also required to sanitise our hands.

I’m no scientist but anti-bacterial spray and anti-bacterial hand gel only kills bacteria. Not viruses! And they’re two very different things. I understand the precaution and I will abide of course. There is no proper ‘virus protection’ however.

I took a break from social media. I occasionally open Instagram on desktop to look at DMs but it’s completely gone from my phone. I don’t know when or if I’ll return, but I know now isn’t the right time. It does help drive traffic towards my blog but I’m not worried about stats at the minute. I need to solidify where I want this blog to go!

I am working on a few changes in terms of this website. My profile photo and other things need a revamp so I’ve been staying up late on my iPad drawing out ideas for logos and website banners! I can’t promise when that will be ready but I’m hoping before the new year.

There are so many more great things going on. I have been accepted into a trip with Girl Guiding to Kenya! It will be an expense so I am depending on some of your help and support to raise the funds. I will be flying out in February 2022. Due to coronavirus, I won’t be able to carry out my regular fundraising ideas. But I’m thinking up new and creative ways (many being online). If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!

My new obsession is pom-pom making. When Bake Off comes on on a Tuesday evening, Mum crochets and I make pom-poms! I’m working on a garland to go across the long wall of my bedroom. It’s alternating yellow and white. Tuesdays are now my favourite day because of my new hobby.

Speaking of telly, Strictly Come Dancing starts soon. My friend and I are fully obsessed. It’s trashy but it’s good trash – you know? Some of you may have read that heartfelt post about my Granny. She adored dancing, specifically Strictly, so I will never not watch it. Besides – who can resist that theme song?

Since deleted social media, I’ve been filling time where I used to scroll reading. In 2019 my blog was book centred which is very telling of that stage in my life. Through lockdown I stopped reading as much but now I’m beginning to love it again. 

I was also in a love/hate relationship with cello. But since having lessons again I’ve fallen in love with the instrument. The better I become, the more I enjoy it. I just have to overcome those parts where it’s ‘too hard’. Things I used to find difficult are now easy-peasy. But Grade 3 is pretty hard. I took my Grade 1 in 2019 so this is a leap but I’m handling it okay. The main difference is switching positions and getting the intonation perfect.

This post is more for me (a time capsule, so to say) than it is entertainment for you, but I suppose it’s nice for you to know what I’ve been up to behind the scenes!

October Goals

Now we move on to the part of the post that excites my Slytherin heart: ambitious goals! Here are a list of my aims for October (some easier than others):

  • make a chai latte
  • make pumpkin spice baked donuts
  • stay on top of blog comments, Instagram comments, DMs and emails. I will put this into action by having a weekly ‘blog afternoon’ where I just sit down and get admin tasks done. 
  • post 2x a week on my blog and get geared up for Blogmas
  • finish all the books I’m in the middle of

At the end of October I’ll come back to review my goals and hopefully say that I’ve achieved them! The blog admin one is so important to me. These notifications popping up everywhere get overwhelming if I allow them to pile up.

All the books I’m in the middle of!

Thank you for reading, if you’ve made it to the end. I plan to post every Tuesday and Friday from now on! I hope you appreciate the photos that I took, exported, edited and uploaded very late on Thursday night for you. 

Take care and wear your mask,

catherine x

Chit Chat Life Update

This post will naturally not perform as well. That’s because I won’t be using social media to promote it, for the first time in two years? You’re probably wondering ‘why not use social media to promote it if it gets better results that way?’. The reason is… I’m taking a social media detox. I’ve wanted to do this for a while, but out of fear of losing engagement, I stuck with it until I completely burnt out. It’s a much needed break, I assure you. I was feeling anxious, physically, and my whole mind felt cluttered. Here I am. Still blogging, of course. Even if Instagram and Pinterest slip through my fingers, I will always keep blogging. Nothing can stop me. Nothing has stopped me for 3 years!

This post goes live in a few hours, so I haven’t taken any photos either. It’s strange not living up to my high standards. There’ll be no Pinterest thumbnail… no stress of filtering through photos last minute and editing them minutes before the upload deadline. Just me. Pure me. 

No Electricity 😥

Today the electricians are doing work on the power line, so no electricity from 9-5. No music, no kettle, no hot water. That’s why I decided to sort out my room today. We recently bought some Ikea boxes so I can organise my over-bed shelves. At the moment everything is up there, collecting dust, so I wanted to put them in boxes to a) not have to clean them all the time and b) make my room look neat. I have an audiobook lined up on my iPad (The Selection, might I add) so I can keep my mind occupied while sorting. I do love sorting, but without food for thought, I would go crackers. 

Live In The Moment

My plan through this detox is to take life as it comes. Although it would be amazing to go out for frequent walks, practise my cello a lot and wake up earlier – that’s not the main aim. I just wish to live more presently. 

Plans For Content Going Forward

You thought you could get rid of me that easily? No way Hosé. I’ll still be uploading three times a week on here. I don’t expect numbers to excel with the absence of Instagram, but blogging is about enjoyment. The numbers do matter somewhat, I would love for lots of people to read my message, but my main aim with blogging is to progress my writing and find other likeminded people. I have very successfully achieved that. Hmm, maybe my English teacher has something to say about the first one but slow progress is still progress. And writing three posts a week has got to be more than some people do, eh? 

Thank You!

Thank you for the support over the last three years. It means more to me than you will ever know. Thank you for your patience with me, and to those who have stuck with this blog through thick and thin. It’s been a wild ride and I am gladly awaiting the future. 

Have you done anything cool in the last week? Or even something small that made you feel happy?

I love chatting with you, so please leave a conversation starter in the comments. Sending love,

catherine x

My inactive but still awesome Instagram

Check out what I’m reading…

My bookstagram

My Pinterest (I’ll still be immersing myself in cute cat photos, and aesthetic book pics)

My Name Isn’t Erin | A New Chapter

My name is Catherine. Erin is an abbreviation I used for blogging. I used to need to separate my two ‘identities’: online and offline. Now I am less reliant on that idea. I am going to embrace who I am, Catherine, in all walks of life. That includes this blog. It’s just a small announcement I’d like to make because I felt like I was being dishonest to you all. The blog is still going to be Kitty Jade though!

Kitty is derived from Catherine. My mum used to call me that a lot.

My middle name is Jane, but Kitty Jane didn’t have the same ring to it as Kitty Jade. Plus Jade is a beautiful colour.

And Erin was a name I made up on a whim. But I’d much rather be known as Catherine to all of you, since that is my honest name.

Hope I haven’t confused any of you! Thank you for being so supportive through these mini-identity crises and crazy changes. The content won’t change at all. I won’t change at all. It’s only the label (like when Morrison’s change their home-brand packaging)

Signing off,

Catherine x

P.S I understand that some of you may want to unfollow, due to my lack of transparency over the last few years. Please, go ahead if you feel you need to. I deeply apologise. Anonymity was a shield I held up for myself in fear, rather than fun. Now I am confident enough to be known as Catherine on the blogosphere and I would appreciate support for that. It was fun while you were here.

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The Goldfinch | Donna Tartt | Book Reviews Are Back Despite No-One Reading Them Because I Ramble Too Much

Where do I start in reviewing such a masterpiece? It’s left me feeling accomplished (since it was a hefty book) though not necessarily happier or sadder. Although it has left an impression, I can’t exactly pinpoint where or how 🤷‍♀️ That’s not to say it’s a bad book because I loved it! From start to finish, the description enticed me and the plot was so detailed.

Initially I picked this book up in aim to defeat my fear of large books. I’ve always avoided books with 600+ pages, especially if their font is small. In a way, it has helped defeat my fear. But the book was so fascinating that I forgot about the word and page count, and became immersed in the plot and characters.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate. 

Theo Decker is our main protagonist. I don’t know whether to love or hate him, but I do dislike him at the very least. In the last few pages he gave a beautiful, poetic passage that seemed to come from a place of wisdom. However, that alone does not counteract the mistakes he made throughout the novel that in my opinion where stupid. Perhaps this is a spoiler, although it doesn’t affect your enjoyment of the novel if you decide to read it: Boris and Theo become really close friends. They have no support from outsiders so are left primarily to their own devices. They turn to drugs and crime in this period of abandonment. It follows them around like a shadow far into their adult life, and hinders their social abilities. The way Tartt describes and develops their characters appears to be incredibly realistic, although I have never known a drug addict/criminal 😅

I took this book slow, despite it being a page-turner. Every sentence was a work of art, and I wanted to savour that as much as possible. However this morning I woke up late, around 8am, sat on the sofa all morning and trundled through 165 pages worth of this novel until I reached the end. Do I regret rushing the last few chapters? Not at all! It felt so right, and I couldn’t put it down even though I tried. I thought, ‘I’ll just go and practise my cello, and come back to this later’ but my eyes kept moving across the page and physically could not stop reading. 

My favourite character has to Hobie. If any of you have read this novel, I’d love to know who your favourite was! He took on a father-like role for Theo, and became a solid rock for him to rely on. Unlike Boris, who often slipped away without warning. Ever since I was introduced to Boris I felt wary and did not trust him in the slightest. I don’t think Theo did either!

Theo’s character was believable, and this whole book almost felt like a retelling of a non-fiction story. It’s written in first person, from his perspective, but from other people’s dialogues you could guess that he wasn’t someone to admire. Even up to the last pages, Theo was incredibly pessimistic and brutally honest. However I did like this a lot! Many chapters just sounded like one great old moan, but it was entertaining simultaneously. It made the book more believable and almost made me feel guilty because I’m under blankets with a cup of tea while he’s committing drug abuse and being dragged into a criminal underworld… 

The reason I give this book 5 stars is for reasons I’ve just explained, but also the timeline. We see Theo grow from 13 to his mid-twenties! And it’s not as if details have been skimmed over or anything has been missed out because it did make loads of sense. 

Bought this copy from a charity shop for £2. Safe to say I’m a happy customer!

Have you read any big books recently? Or are you afraid of them?

erin x

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Advice From The Best Of The Blogosphere | Interviewing Sophie’s Corner

For a while I have been contemplating starting an interview series on my blog. They are some of my favourite posts to read, so why not start writing them? Blogging is more than just writing posts and it takes a lot of effort behind the scenes. These interviews are to show readers what it’s like to be a blogger, and hopefully it’ll be relatable for those of you that are writers! Through my blog I aim to inspire others, share positivity but also be realistic. To kick off this exciting new project, I’ve decided to interview one of my favourite bloggers (you’ve heard me mention her before) Sophie’s Corner! Sophie’s blog is incredibly inspiring, the perfect place for you to find ideas and motivation. The girl behind the screen is super lovely too. We’ve collaborated together in the past and have been chatting with each other for a really long time. It was really intriuging to read her answers, and I’m sure you’ll find it interesting too!

If you enjoy Sophie’s interview (which I’m confident you will) then head over to her blog and check out her beautiful Instagram. They’re all worth a follow! It’s like having a little sunshine in my feed. In fact, Sophie is one of my main motivators to blog. If ever I’m struggling for ideas, I head right over to her!

Without more of my rambling, let’s hop into the post:

Why did you start your blog?

I started blogging because I always had a passion for writing and I wanted to express my thoughts to the world. After I joined Instagram back in January 2019, lots of people had blogs that I enjoyed reading and I felt so inspired! So I tried it out for myself – not sure what I’d make of it – and then fell completely in love with it. Now I can’t even imagine my life without blogging!

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get inspiration everywhere! Sometimes I will just be out & about, at the supermarket or on a walk for example, and I will suddenly get an idea for a new blog post so I’ll jot it down in my notebook which I carry everywhere with me! I also feel inspired by some of my favourite bloggers (like Natalie Kennedy, Infinitely A Daydreamer, Oh Lola, The Progress Project, Jess’s Wondering and My Blurred World) as well as all of the wonderful friends I have made through Instagram and my blog. These girls inspire me every day to be the best possible version of myself and I am so grateful for every single one of them!

Why did you decide to post daily during lockdown, and have you ever struggled with content ideas because of it?

Initially, before we entered lockdown, I was posting three times every week and I wasn’t being as consistent as I would have liked to be. When we came into lockdown, I seized the opportunity to make the best of a difficult situation and be much more active on my blog. As one of my niches is ‘positivity’ I decided that I wanted to continue spreading this positivity while we were all at home in lockdown. I wanted to lift people’s spirits and give them all some content to read through this strange time period. I haven’t really struggled with content ideas as I have a list that I constantly refer to which I have been adding to since August last year and it has hundreds of post ideas!! I also get regular emails and DMs regarding requested posts so I enjoy reading through these & then writing them out for my readers! I have also gained over 100 followers and my engagement has shot up in numbers since I started posting more regularly!

Why are you anonymous/will you reveal your face in the future?

I set my Instagram account up when I was twelve and I was super cautious about staying anonymous, just for various reasons and I didn’t really understand the Instagram algorithms so I didn’t want to expose myself too much or anything like that. I’ve not told anyone at school about my blog, just because it’s not something I really feel I need to tell them about. I also have quite a large friendship group at school so I feel like if I told anyone then it would get around very quickly so I prefer to keep quiet about it. I’m sure if my Instagram account and blog both continue to grow, I will build up the confidence in the future to possibly reveal my identity etc but for now I am very comfortable and I feel that I can fully be myself without being judged and so on.

Are there any tips you could give to new bloggers struggling with inspiration?

My advice to new bloggers is probably to be yourself, find your ‘niche’ and be patient. Engagement will not happen straight away and this will be disheartening but just stick with it & don’t give up! If you’re struggling for inspiration then I would advise that you binge-read lots of your favourite bloggers’ posts and this will probably inspire you lots! Or you could scroll through Pinterest as this never fails to make me feel motivated and inspired!

Wasn’t that as amazing as I promised? Sophie is such a talented writer, and I hope she carries her gift into later life. Please support the work she is putting into her blog at the moment. I’ve linked it here! Also, for snippets and behind the scenes, she has a wonderful Instagram that she regularly updates. 

Are you a blogger? Is there any advice you could give to beginners?

Leave it in the comment section so that anyone scrolling by, wondering whether to start a blog or not, has some advice! When I started out I was very naive and hardly knew a thing about formatting and engagement. Some help back then really would have been useful. Hope you all have lovely days! 

erin x

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