The Bibliophile’s Night Out Book Tag


Hey everyone!

It’s been a while since I last wrote a book tag post on my blog, and I saw this post on Beth’s (from Books Nest) Youtube Channel, which you can watch here. She has ALSO written a blog post with the same questions, so all of us in the blogging world can take part too! Since this is an original tag by Beth, you should absolutely go and check out her video, and her blog, which is linked here.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the questions!

Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post
  • Link to the creator’s blog (booksnest.co.uk) in your post
  • Answer the questions below
  • Tag 5 bloggers to take part
  • ENJOY THE TAG!

Pre-drinks | A prequel/novella you’ve read

My most recent prequel/novella was The Pale Dreamer by Samantha Shannon. I downloaded it onto my Kindle last week, and what made it even better was that it was free! I love Samantha Shannon’s books, namely The Bone Season series (as I still haven’t got onto The Priory of the Orange Tree yet) and the Pale Dreamer is the prequel to this series. I really enjoyed it, and it’s only 100 pages or so long, so it’s not difficult to get through at all.

The taxi to town | A book about travel

I’m going to take this one up a notch, and make it about time travel. That counts, right? Either way, I’m going to use two books to answer this question; the first is Alex Scarrow’s The Time Riders series for this one, as pretty much every single book involves travelling back or forward in time which to me, sounds super exciting! Especially the travelling back in time part… man I wish that could be a thing!

The second book I want to include which also involves time travel is the classic love story, The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger. I think it’s such an interesting look at love, and life, and the way the book is written is so so clever! It’s one where you learn so much about the characters at different points in their lives, which did sometimes get confusing at the beginning, but by the end of it it all makes so much sense.

Trying to find a table | A book you didn’t like to start with, but then ended up loving

This may be controversial, but for this one I’m going to go for Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it to start with, but it didn’t really do anything for me until I was about 100 pages in, and then I was really hooked. I love this book now, and I can’t wait to read it again some time.

First round of drinks | A first book in a series

I’m going to go for The Maze Runner by James Dashner for this one, because it was another one that really surprised me. It is middle grade, but it’s really exciting, it keeps you on the edge of your seat, and although it’s a relatively dystopian-esque genre, there are elements that feel very realistic sometimes; namely the friendships and bonds between the group of boys in the maze.

The dance floor | A book that makes you want to jump up and down with excitment

This is a hard one, but I’m going to go for one of my favourite classics of all time, which is The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Some might say it’s a bit of a marathon read, and I won’t blame you for saying that, as it is near enough 800 pages long… but I adore this book, and anyone who knows me will know how passionate I become when I start talking about this book!

The toilets | A book you wouldn’t touch with a barge pole

AKA, a book you wouldn’t go anywhere near. Again, this is a really tough one because for the most part, I’m pretty open when it comes to books. However, I think there are some obvious choices, but none that particularly come to mind…

The first to bail | The last book you DNF’d

The last book I DNF’d, and the first DNF of 2020, was Schindler’s List by Thomas Kenneally. I did only get 56 pages into it, but I just knew after reading the first chapter that I wasn’t going to enjoy it. I found the writing style to be really boring, and in all honesty, I think it might be a case where the movie is better than the book so I should probably give that one a go instead…

The journey home | A book you can’t really remember the plot of anymore

I know this sounds bad, but I’m going to have to go with The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. It’s the second book in the Bone Season series, and the only reason I can’t really remember the plot is because I read it so long ago. Another book which I can’t really remember the plot of is The Tiger’s Egg by Jon Berkeley, for the same reasons. It’s always books in the middle of a series that I can never really remember!

The morning after | A comfort read

And the last question, a comfort read. Part of me wants to say the Harry Potter books, which is a fair enough answer because I know so many people adore the books… even if J.K. Rowling is being far too problematic for her own good. But I think I’m going to go with A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It might be a bit of a weird one to go for, but it’s one of my all-time favourite books, and I just adore Hosseini’s writing style. I’ve read it a couple of times in the past, and I know it’s one I’m going to keep going back to in the future.

I’m Tagging…

Rosie – @RosieAbigail

Jess – @jessnipper

Holly – @NutFreeNerd

The Orangutan Librarian

Bethany – @booksandbethany

Of course, if you haven’t been tagged but still feel like taking part, then definitely do so! I loved answering these questions, so don’t forget to check out Beth’s original post, linked above!

-Janet

6 Books For 6 Months | Jan-June 2020


Hey everyone!

Can you believe we’re already halfway through the year? I can’t. I’m not going to go into the typical “what the heck has 2020 been?” spiel, because… you know just as well as I do that 2020 has been all over the place. However, the one constant thing in my life has been books! So, I thought I would do a bit of a shoutout to one book I have read for each of the months so far this year.

January – Uprooted

I finished reading Uprooted, by Naomi Novik, in January this year. I actually started reading it in December, but as I read the majority of it in January, I’m going to count it! I was actually really surprised as to how much I loved this book in the end. There were a few times where I felt it was lacking just a little bit, but overall I really enjoyed the story, and I really enjoyed the friendship between the protagonist and her best friend. It definitely wasn’t what I expected, but I would absolutely recommend it! You can read my full review on Uprooted here.

February – Marriage Unarranged

For February, I have chosen Marriage Unarranged by my fellow blogger Ritu Bhathal! This is in it’s very own genre of “chick-pea-curry-lit” and I’ve definitely not read anything like it for a very long time! I haven’t read very much romance in my time, but I wanted to support Ritu, as I’ve been following her blog for years, and I was really impressed with her novel! The story follows Aashi, a young Sikh girl living in the UK, after her engagement comes to and end. Her family and friends band together and whisk her away on a trip to India, and she discovers so much more about herself, her life, and love. Again, you can read my full review here!

March – A Gentleman in Moscow

This was a really difficult choice, because I read some really good books in March! However, I’ve decided to go for A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, because I really enjoyed the chaotic nature of Count Alexander Rostov’s life in house arrest… in a luxury hotel in the centre of Moscow! I felt that this was perhaps one of the more challenging reads of this year so far, purely because it takes place over 30 years, and there was so much information that I sometimes felt went over my head a little bit. However, that didn’t take anything away from my reading experience. I thought this book was genius, and it’s one I highly recommend!

April – The Underground Railroad

I’ve been wanting to read The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, for the past year now, and I was so glad to finally read it. It follows the story of Cora, who was born into slavery; and Caesar, another slave on the same plantation, and how they plan their escape to the north. The story is one that absolutely keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering whether they will make it out of their plantation; whether they will make it to the north; and whether they will be able to live peacefully and without fear of being taken back to the south. It’s such a thought provoking book, and one I would absolutely recommend, especially at this time when many people are looking to diversify their bookshelves!

May – The Optician of Lampedusa

Although May turned out to be a month of reading books that I didn’t really love, one book that did stand out from the crowd was The Optician of Lampedusa by Emma Jane Kirby. I have already written a full review, which you can read here, but to summarise; the story is about a group of 8 friends who live on the island of Lampedusa, off the coast of Italy, who come across a migrant boat that is sinking, and the hundreds of refugees onboard were at risk of drowning. It’s based on a true story, and how these friends managed to save many of these refugees lives. But it also goes beyond that moment, and it looks at how these events stuck with the characters who saved so many lives on that fateful day at sea. It really is an eye-opening, yet heartbreaking read.

June – The Color Purple

I think that this may perhaps be a very obvious choice, especially considering that my last post was a review on this book (which you can read here!) but I just had to include The Color Purple by Alice Walker. It has very quickly become one of my all time favourites, and all I really have to say is if you’re considering reading it, then do! Even if you weren’t considering it, then you absolutely have to read this book at some point. It’s so beautifully written, but at the same time it’s so brutally heartbreaking. I loved all the characters, because I felt that they all contributed to the story in some way, and I didn’t feel that any of them were just placed there for no reason. It’s a phenomenal read, although there are parts which are difficult, so bare that in mind if you do read it!

So that is it for today’s post! I really hope you enjoyed it. I am planning on doing this at the end of the year, to recap on some of the books I’ve read during the second half of 2020! Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of the books mentioned above, and what books you’re excited to read for the rest of this year!

-Janet

My Summer TBR | 2020


Hey everyone!

I am so excited to share with you my summer TBR list! Usually, when time were slightly more normal, summer would be the best time for me to get my reading done. I remember spending countless summer holidays buying books, and struggling to fit them back into my suitcase before heading home. This year is slightly different, in that it’s felt like I’ve been in a summer holiday since the end of March, due to lockdown. However, that won’t stop me from posting about the books I want to read over the summer months! So, without further ado, let’s get started.

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

This is one I’ve been meaning to read for the longest time, and have just kept putting off for no particular reason. The time to read The Color Purple is now, and I am very excited to get started! I think this is an especially important book to read at the moment with the Black Lives Matter movement, because it’s so important that we educate ourselves, and read more works, and support works by non-white authors.

One Way, S.J Morden

This is a very different book to the one above, but I also want to read One Way this summer. It is about a group of convicts who are sent to space on a mission, and while they are there, strange things start to happen, and eventually it becomes a fight for your life situation. I don’t know a huge amount about this book, but it looks very intriguing, and I’m excited to give it a go!

Schindler’s List, Thomas Keneally

I had no idea that this classic movie was adapted from a novel. It’s based on true events during World War 2, and if you know me, you’ll know I’m a sucker for historical fiction. Shockingly, I haven’t actually seen the movie either, but hey, at least I can say I read the book first? I’m sure most of us know about the plot for this book, especially if you’ve seen the film!

Becoming, Michelle Obama

Our queen, Michelle. I love her. And I was so excited to find her autobiography on a trip to Sainsbury’s a few weeks ago! It’s one I’ve been meaning to get my hands on for a while now, and I’m really eager to get started on it. She talks about her childhood, getting into college, meeting Barack, and their whole journey to the White House and beyond.

Educated, Tara Westover

I bought this book for my mum as a birthday present, and you can bet that I’m going to try and get my hands on it as soon as possible! I’ve only heard great things about this memoir, and I would really love to try and read it this summer. It’s about Tara’s life growing up in a really strict religious group (some would argue it as being a cult) and how her families views on education were very different from her own. I think this will be a very eye-opening read.

Kintu, by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

My brother got me this book a few years ago for my birthday, and again it’s one I’ve been meaning to read for the longest time. Makumbi is a Ugandan author, and this story follows the life of the Kintu Kidda and his family through generations. The story begins in 1750, when a curse is unleashed that will plague his family for generations… I don’t know about you, but that sounds super fascinating, and right up my street!

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

This book is possibly the oldest book on my TBR pile. I think I’ve had it since before university, so it’s been in my possession for at least 5 years! Again, I’ve heard many great things about this book, and I just want to finally read it! The blurb doesn’t really give a huge amount away, but it still sounds really intriguing, and it has already pulled me in. I actually really like that the blurb doesn’t tell you too much, because it allows you to almost go in blind, and figure things out for yourself! As a keen reader, this is something I always enjoy, so I’m very excited to get started on Never Let Me Go!

So those are just some of the books I want to read this summer! Me being me, I know I’m not necessarily going to strictly stick to this specific list, and there will probably be lots of other books I’ll read alongside these ones. But, these are definitely some of the ones I’m most excited for! What are you planning on reading this summer?

-Janet

What More Can I Do?


Hey everyone!

I’ve been thinking a lot since my post about why Black Lives Matter, about what more we can do as allies to help those in need right now. I live in the UK, and although it is portrayed that a lot of the issues going on are in the USA, that is certainly not the case. Racism is as deadly and as widespread as the pandemic we’re living in at the moment.

In my last post, linked above, I shared some books that you should definitely give a read if you want to educate yourselves further on the topic of race. Since then, I have signed a lot of petitions, and shared so many stories across my social media platforms. In the process of writing this, I’m watching a video on Youtube where all proceeds raised from ad revenue will go directly towards charities supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

So, this post is just a collection of ways you can help, even if you don’t have a lot of money to donate right now. Below, I’m going to link a whole load of petitions, videos, creators to follow, films and tv series to watch, and hopefully at least one of these will encourage you to help, and to educate yourself further. It is up to us, as allies, to do the work ourselves. In a video James Corden recorded for The Late Late Show, he said “how can the black community dismantle a problem that they didn’t create?” and this is something that we need to remember.

Before I start, I am going to leave a link here which is a Black Lives Matter list of resources, so if you want to do some more further reading, it is a good place to start. Without further ado, here is my list of ways you can help the Black Lives Matter movement.

Movies

  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Selma
  • If Beale Street Could Talk
  • BlacKkKlansman
  • When They See Us
  • Moonlight
  • The Hate U Give

Tv Shows

  • Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap, Netflix
  • Time: The Kalief Browder Story, Netflix
  • When They See Us, Netflix
  • 13th, Netflix
  • Who Killed Malcom X? Netflix
  • Noughts and Crosses, BBC
  • Becoming, Netflix

Youtube

How to financially help BLM with NO MONEY/leaving your house:

Petitions/Donations

Black Creators to Follow on Instagram

I know that this is only a starting point for a bigger, ongoing conversation. But what’s important is that we don’t just forget about these incidents in the weeks, months or years to come. Change needs to start now. Like I said in my last post, if you have any other links, or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

-Janet

8 Things I Want To Do After Lockdown


Hey everyone!

I’m sure, like many of us, I’ve been thinking about the light at the end of the very long, dark tunnel, that is this pandemic we’re living through at the moment. I often find myself daydreaming about things I can’t wait to do, and people I’ve been longing to see; I’ve imagined multiple emotional reunions with friends that I haven’t seen since October; and I’ve been impatiently waiting for that first Saturday morning when Parkrun is officially open again.

But I won’t give this whole post away, so let’s get straight on into the things that I am most looking forward to once lockdown is officially over!

Visit Winchester

Winchester is my home away from home. It’s where I studied my undergraduate degree, it’s where I met some lifelong friends, and it’s one of the most picturesque cities in England (in my humble opinion!) It will always have a place in my heart, and the longer I spend away from this city, the more I want to go back and visit!

Parkrun!

I already mentioned this earlier, but I cannot wait to go back to my weekly Parkrun! It was something I really missed while I was in Thailand, and it was one of the top things I was looking forward to going back to when I came home… so much for that! I have been trying to get out on runs whenever I can while I’ve been in lockdown, but it’ll be so nice to be surrounded by people again, and feeling that Parkrun buzz. I’m also excited to be able to sign up to charity races (or just general races), because I’ve only done two in the last year, and they were so much fun!

Visit friends

Again, this is very obvious, but something I’m excited for nonetheless. Like I said, there’s a lot of people I haven’t seen since at least October 2019, as I jetted off to Thailand for five months… little did I know I’d be coming back home into lockdown! I have been doing facetimes and skypes and zoom calls with a whole bunch of friends, which has been amazing, but nothing beats the feeling of having a good old fashioned, face-to-face catch up. I think this is one that I am most excited for!

Being able to travel

Although I’m excited to see people here in the UK, I can’t wait to be able to travel again! And I guess that also includes travelling around the UK. In line with the previous point, I would happily do a week-long road trip across the UK if it meant visiting every single friend who I haven’t seen in ages! And of course, I can’t wait to be able to travel internationally again. As a TEFL teacher, a lot of my work is abroad, and I did have travel plans for August of this year- still TBC- and it was something I was really looking forward to. It will be so nice to be able to travel without feeling terrified or anxious or guilty during this pandemic! This also means visiting family and friends who live in South Africa, other friends who live abroad, and hopefully one day being able to travel back to Thailand!

Get a job!

This might be a surprising one, but something I’m excited for anyway. Like many people at the moment, I am technically unemployed. I tried and tried (and am still trying) to get online teaching work, but it looks like everyone is in the same boat, and there’s very little work going. Surprisingly, I miss working! As much as I have enjoyed chilling out at home – it was definitely needed – I miss having a sense of purpose. I also found that I really love what I do, and now that I’m not doing it, it’s all I want to do!

Go to the cinema

The last film I watched at the cinema was Joker, before I went to Thailand. It was great, but little did I know that it would be a verrrry long time before I’d set foot in a cinema again, with that smell of popcorn and sugary drinks… Going to the cinema is one of my all-time favourite pastimes, especially when there’s a really good film on. So of course, this is something I’m looking forward to doing once this has all blown over!

Sit in a cafe with a friend (or a good book)

I just want to sit in a cozy little cafe somewhere off the main hightstreet of a city, with either a good friend, or, if I can’t find one, a good book. I find it so relaxing sitting with a hot drink, a sugary snack, and someone (or thing) to keep you entertained for hours, with the dull background noise of people talking, and barristers making coffee. Ah, bliss

Browsing in Charity Shops

I love going into charity shops, and having a look around at all the things they have to offer. I will almost always go to the books section of any charity shop, and happily spend hours and hours looking at all the covers. I’ve had to make do with buying my books online for what feels like the longest time, but I’m so excited to finally go back and support the local charity shops in my area, who I’m sure will be delighted to let customers back into their doors.

I’d be interested to know if any of them are similar or different to the things you’re looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

-Janet

5 Classics I Want To Read in 2020


Hey everyone!

I’m in shock that we’re fast approaching the 6 month mark of 2020. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been wondering where the time has gone this year! It’s safe to say that, for me, reading has been a massive escape during the weird times that we’re in, and as someone who does actually quite enjoy reading classics, I thought that for the second half of 2020, I would see if I can try and read some.

These are the five classics I would like to try and read this year!

The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells.

I got this beautiful copy of The War of the Worlds maybe a year or two ago now, and it’s a story I know very well… considering I haven’t actually read it! Here’s a fun fact, when I was in Year 12, I was part of a theatre company and we did a physical theatre based performance to the musical of The War of the Worlds!

The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas.

I bought this copy of The Three Musketeers in a charity shop many many many years ago, and it’s still one I’ve not got around to reading! (You’ll probably notice a theme with these books…) Again, I’m sure we all know the story of the Three Musketeers, but I’ve never read this story by Alexandre Dumas. I’m really excited to give it a go, and also…. the cover is just so cool!

Dr No, Ian Fleming.

I actually got this book for a university module in my third year and I never actually read it… considering I graduated a year and a half ago, I definitely should have read this by now! I don’t know what stopped me from reading this, but the James Bond stories are such a classic, and I know that it’ll be something a bit different for me to try. I remember when I got this book, I thought it was one I’d love, and that I’d actually read it but, alas…

No Name, Wilkie Collins.

I’ve mentioned several times in the past how much I love Wilkie Collins. I think he’s one of my favourite authors, and my favourite book of his is The Woman in White, which I studied for my dissertation. Having also read The Moonstone, I felt that it was only right for me to try and read another of his works, outside of my degree. Enter, No Name. Again, this story looks really fascinating, and if The Woman in White was anything to go by, I think this book is really going to be filled with drama and lots of characters who are lowkey really untrustworthy and unreliable. I can’t wait to read it! The only thing that scares me is the length…

Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell.

I know. I’m disappointed in myself too. This is possibly my sister’s all-time favourite book, and of course I’m expecting good things when I eventually get around to reading this! I believe I started reading it when I was doing my A-levels, but I didn’t fall in love with it, and so I didn’t finish reading it. But, it’s one I’ve been meaning to give a second chance to so I hope that 2020 will be that year! I think it would be really interesting reading it now, with all the political things going on around the world, so we’ll see how it goes!

So those are all the classics I’d love to try and read this year! Have you read any of these? What did you think? And are there any classics that aren’t on my list that you’d like to read this year?

-Janet

Some Lockdown Essentials


Hey everyone!

I thought I’d write a post listing a few of the things that have been getting me through the recent lockdown extension in the UK. For those who don’t know, we were initially under a three week lockdown, which has now been extended to a total of six weeks… at this point, no one knows if it’ll be extended any further! But these things have been a bit of a foolproof method of keeping me somewhat sane with the lack of socialization due to social distancing.

Technology

Obviously, I have a blog as well as a Youtube Channel (which you can check out here!) so having some standard pieces of technology are quite essential! I use the Canon EOS M3 camera to film vlogs and videos on for Youtube, and I do also use this to take pictures for my blog, as and when I need to!

Of course I do also have my laptop and my phone for general social media browsing purposes, and if I’m being completely honest, I use these things the most! As much as I’d like to try and reduce my screen time on my phone, in times like these it is important to keep in touch with loved ones- be it friends or family, or anyone else!

Arts and crafts

So this is basically a section dedicated to my bullet journal, and all the stationary I have to create spreads! For those who don’t know what a bullet journal is, it’s essentially this system of organising your life in a diary of some kind. I am currently using a dotted notebook from Typo, and it’s okay but not my favourite. It serves it’s purpose, so I can’t complain.

Although I don’t necessarily have anything to plan while in lockdown (as I’m currently still unemployed) it’s still nice to have a creative outlet that doesn’t require a screen. I always loved drawing and doodling at school, so this is a really nice outlet for me to carry on doing something that I would otherwise neglect.

The majority of my coloured pens are Crayola supertips, as well as some Stabilo point max pens that I’ve had for about two years, and they’re still going strong! Another firm favourite of mine are the Stabilo Boss original pastel highlighters, which again have lasted well over the past couple of years.

Fashion

Of course, I couldn’t talk about the current lockdown situation without talking about comfy clothes. My entire wardrobe is full of comfy clothes, with a few things for when I occasionally go “out out”. But, as we’re not allowed to go “out out” those will have to remain in the wardrobe for the forseeable future!

Although I spend a good amount of my days in leggings or baggy trousers, I am one of those weirdos who does spend all day in a pair of jeans… If I hadn’t spent five months in Thailand where I only wore my jeans a grand total of three times, I probably wouldn’t be wearing them so much now… but I kind of missed them? Jeans are a statement piece in my wardrobe so they have to be worn!

Next is my running gear! Since we’re limited to the type of exercise we can do at the moment, I’m so grateful to have a good, sturdy (if ancient) pair of trainers that are getting me through many a kilometre! If I’m not out running, I’ll probably join my parents on a dog walk, which is just as enjoyable.

And finally, here are some honourable fashion mentions:

  • My dressing gown
  • My pyjamas
  • My numerous pairs of fluffy socks

TV, Movies and Books

If you haven’t already read my post about things to keep you occupied in lockdown, you can read it here as it has some other things that are similar to this post… and more! One of those things being reading. I’ve always been an avid reader, for as long as I can remember. Lockdown has given me an amazing opportunity to fall back in love with reading, as I now have the time, and I don’t feel like I need to make up excuses as to why I “can’t read this or that”. Plus, it’s a great chance for me to finally get through the books that have been sitting on my shelves for years.

I’ve also been watching a lot of TV and movies over the past few weeks, and I’ve been on and off catching up on old episodes of Glee. My sister has now overtaken me, and I’ll probably just end up watching episodes whenever she’s watching them. We’ve also been watching some DVD’s, as we have collected so many over the years! We’ve been watching old, beloved films that we’ve seen countless times (such as Forrest Gump) as well as some newer ones that we never got the chance to watch.

I class this as an essential during lockdown, because like with reading, now is a better time than any to do these sorts of things without that little voice at the back of your head making you feel guilty.

Skin/Body Care

My skin care routine (both morning and evening) has always been relatively basic; I wash my face with Simple face wash, and then moisturize with either the Simple hydrating moisturizer, or I’ll use the Body Shop seaweed moisturizer because I just want to try and use it up. I don’t really want to use much else, because my skin is super sensitive, but I feel so much more human once I have washed my face and moisturized, and even if that’s the only productive thing I do all day, I know I’ll feel better for it. I class it as some self care, so I try and make sure I do this!

I’ve also been making the most of my leftover bath products. Aaaaages ago I got a frosted berries scented bubble bath from the Body Shop, which I just used up last night, and I’ve also been using some of the Body Shop’s candy cane scented bubble bath too. I know it’s not exactly the right season for candy canes, but it’s basically just a minty scented bubble bath and I am here for it. Unfortunately, I don’t have any face masks, but the second I can get my hands on some, then I will!

So that is all for today’s post! Let me know what some of your essentials have been during lockdown in the comments!

-Janet

Some Movies I’ve Watched in Lockdown


Hey everyone!

Lockdown has really been an excuse for me and my family to have a movie night almost every single night. This is by no means me complaining! It’s been really nice and relaxing to sit together after we’ve eaten our food, and catch up on classics, new releases, or anything in between that we would never have the chance of watching all together beforehand. I’ve decided to list some of my favourite movies that we’ve watched so far, and share some of my thoughts on them.

Forrest Gump (1994)

Of course, I had to include this one. It is hands down one of my all time favourite movies ever, and I will never get bored of it. The story follows Forrest Gump, from his childhood years, to college, to fighting in Vietnam, and beyond. It is honestly one of the most heart-warming and heart-breaking films you will ever watch, and you’ll find yourself smiling the whole way through. Plus, there are some classic quotes in there too!

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Again, this is one of my all-time favourites, and one I could watch over and over again. The story follows Ralph Fiennes’s character Monsieur Gustave H. who is framed for a murder, and the new hotel lobby boy Zero, on their adventures to set things… right? Kind of? If you’ve seen the movie you’ll know what I mean! It is hilarious, quirky, and artistic and just so much fun to watch. It’s one that I doubt will ever get old.

Coco (2017)

This is one of Disney’s newest releases, and definitely one of my top Disney movies to date. It is set in Mexico, and follows a young boy called Miguel, who gets stuck in the land of the dead. He has until sunrise to get back to the human world, and set things right with his family. The first time I watched this movie about two years ago… I cried. I don’t usually cry much when I watch movies, but this one got to me, and I think that’s why I love it so much. It’s so sweet, and the music is fantastic, and the story is just so heartwarming. It’s definitely a nice family movie to watch together.

The Departed (2006)

This was one I watched a few weeks ago for the first time, and I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It stars Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg and it’s essentially a movie about cops, moles, and gangs in Boston, USA. The whole movie has you questioning the character’s motives, and once it really gets going, you’re left wondering which mole is going to rat the other out first. I found that part of me wanted one to be ratted out, then the other, then the other… none of the characters are really perfect but I think that made it more real. If you’re wanting a bit of a thrill, then this is a good one to go for!

Shirley Valentine (1989)

I watched this for the first time with my mum and my sister, and it was a lot of fun. It’s got proper British comedy, and it absolutely shows the stereotypical British tourist on holiday too…! Shirley has always wanted to go to Greece, and so one day she goes with a friend of hers. Shirley learns a lot about what she wants in her life back home in her time away, and meets some wonderful locals. I loved this film, because I felt a bit of a connection with Shirley, especially in my own travelling adventures.

I’m going to leave it there for now! Maybe I’ll do a part two for this post in the future. Let me know about the movies you have been watching during lockdown! Have you seen any that I have mentioned?

-Janet

Book Series I Want to Finish in Lockdown


Hey everyone!

I’ve been thinking for a while about all the series that I’ve started and have never finished, and since we’re in lockdown, it’s a better time than any to get all that reading done! I’m currently plodding my way through The Bloodprint which is apparently going to be the start of a series… but I don’t think it’s one I will be in a rush to continue with…

So, here’s a list of the ones that I do want to finish!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I have read the first book in this trilogy, I have owned the second book (The Rosie Effect) for several years, and I recently discovered that there’s a third and final book! (The Rosie Result) I remember really enjoying The Rosie Project when I first read it a few years ago, but just never got around to reading the rest. So, this is definitely one I want to get through during lockdown!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I read The Maze Runner while I was in Thailand, as it was yet another book that had been sitting on my shelves for several years! I got through this one really quickly, and I was actually disappointed at my past self for not reading it sooner. I think I really would have loved it as a teenager. So, I have now got my hands on The Scorch Trials, and when I finish that one, I’ll order the next book in the series!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Again, this is a series I started a long time ago, but just never got around to finishing it, or keeping up with the new releases. I read the first three books (Throne of Glass, Queen of Midnight and Heir of Fire) and the prequel, and although I adored these books, life just got in the way! So I’m hoping to start the series from the beginning, and actually make the effort this time to finish the series.

The Palace of Laughter by Jon Berkeley

This one technically doesn’t count as a “series I want to finish” but it’s a series I want to re-read during lockdown. These were my all-time favourite books as a child, and I really think they deserve more credit. I think this was really the series that got me loving books and reading (although I loved reading anyway, this book was very much a game changer). I think this will be quite a quick re-read, as I’ve already read them in the past, and they’re children’s books, so it’ll be fun to take a trip down memory lane!

So those are all the book series I want to finish in lockdown! Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of these, what you thought, and if there are any book series you’re planing on finishing during lockdown!

-Janet

10 Years Online


Hey everyone!

Yesterday afternoon, after I’d already written and posted my post all about the books I’ve read in lockdown, I got the wonderful notification that I’d been expecting…

I’ve officially been part of the WordPress community for 10 years! It’s crazy to think back on all the years that I’ve been online. Blogging was the first form of “social media” that I ever joined, and I remember not telling my mum that I had a blog for years, and now she’s one of my biggest supporters!

I remember 13 year old Janet, sitting at her desk, looking out the window, trying to think of something to write, and after a while, I gave up blogging. Although I opened this account 10 years ago, it was only a few months later that I actually got used to writing posts. Some of my first posts included one about my cat, who at the time of writing, was walking all over my desk; one was about how annoyed I was that it was raining, and if you really felt like it, you could go back and have a read for yourself. There’s no way I’m linking those posts for you to find so easily!

This blog has seen me through some of the biggest changes in my life; from doing my GCSE’s and A-levels, to the whole drama about getting into university; to the friendships I made and the break ups I endured; to the solo travels I embarked on and trying to figure out what to do as a fully functioning adult. This blog has been my outlet to just… be. I find writing is a therapeutic way for me to just figure things out that are going on in my head, and I find so much joy in sharing my favourite things with the internet.

This blog is literally the story of my life, and I don’t know where I’d be without it.

Through this blog, I have met some incredible people. It’s sad to think how many people have come and gone and that there are some people who I am no longer in contact with; but there are some who I talk to on a regular basis (shoutout to the Unicorn Squad group chat on Twitter) and I’ve even had the privilege of meeting some of my fellow bloggers in person. I’ve branched out so much over the years, and I’ve learnt so much from everyone that I follow on this platform.

Of course, I have to be honest and say that after 10 years online, I thought I would have made it by now. Do you know what I mean? Once it actually became a thing for people to make money from writing, I thought hey maybe one day that’ll be me. But it’s not. And I’m okay with that. I don’t want my blog to become my job, because I think it would take the fun out of it. I love writing on here, but I don’t think I’d fancy the pressure of writing for someone else. This has always been for me, and it’s going to stay that way for as long as I’m writing on here!

There’s so much more I could still say, but I think this is a good time to bring this post to a close. I know for many of us, 2020 was meant to be the best year yet… of course, it’s not really gone that way so far, but as always, I have hope that things will get better. Writing this, and looking back on the times I’ve shared with all of you, has made me realise how important this space is for me, and just know that whatever happens this year, me and my blog aren’t going anywhere.

To those who have stuck with me from the beginning (sorry to sound like that person but I genuinely don’t think there are many) thank you. To those who have only joined me today, thank you. To anyone who read my posts in between, thank you.

-Janet