Monday, 30 December 2013

The Best & Worst of 2013

The Best: I moved schools and I met the people who have become some of my closest friends whilst accepting me for who I am. I also went to see The Lion King at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. I went to see Les Miserables at the cinema. It was very lucky that I was sat next to a wall as whilst the 18 year old boy (I'm assuming the age) behind me was sobbing I laughed. I LAUGHED at Les Miserables.
The Worst: I was prescribed more medication whilst I was still very ill. Things at my old school got really bad. There was a week where everyday before I went to school I was violently sick and started having panic attacks.

The Best: I can't remember much about February. I bought a lot of books though and began reading The Fault in Our Stars. I went to see Wreck-It Ralph which was pretty good though - so good that I sobbed in the cinema. I started blogging here again. 
The Worst: I saw my old friends for the last time and they weren't all to pleasant.

The Best: My brother turned 10 years old and I had my first non-uniform day in four years.
The Worst: We started doing swimming in PE which I found really awkward given that (a) I hadn't been swimming in two years and (b) I hadn't known my friends that long and I had flu.

The Best: I had my first Piano lesson - which turned out to be great as I already knew the teacher but hadn't seen her for five years.
The Worst: Revision for exams, meaning no free time.

The Best: My brother went on a five day residential and that meant five days of peace and quiet!
The Worst: 12 exams in 3 days, and I had flue again.

The Best: I bought a lot of books once again. E.g. Entangled and Starter for Ten
The Worst: There wasn't anything really that bad about June... thankfully.

The Best: Summer holidays, LONDON!!! And Warner Bros. Studio Tour. Bought a massive amount of Harry Potter Merchandise. Prince George was born as well so we went up to Buckingham Palace to see the confirmation sign whilst we were in London.
The Worst: I unintentionally missed Manchester Comic-con. 

The Best: I met up with my friend Gabby who I hadn't seen in 7 months after leaving my old school and I saw Monsters University.
The Worst: My bike broke whilst I was in the middle of riding it down the canal. 

The Best: I went to Lancaster University as part of Gifted & Talented. My friend Azeem taught me how to order in Subway.
The Worst: Year 10 began. 2 years since my friend died as I mentioned in yesterday's post.

The Best: I met up with Gabby again. Found a signed copy of The Fault in Our Stars and I met my cousin Russell for the first time.
The Worst: Experienced my first migraine. Dentists. I got a Grade U in my first Physics test... as did most of the class because half of the questions were on topics we hadn't been taught yet.

The Best: It was my friend Savannah's 15th birthday, so we all went to the Red Hot World Buffet in Manchester.
The Worst: Bonfire night. Half term holidays ended.

The Best: I went to the Key 103 Jingle Ball. Christmas! And it was my 15th birthday on Christmas Eve. As well as this, I did my first YouTube video.
The Worst: I had food poisoning at the beginning of the month and our English teacher retired on the last day before the Christmas holidays :(

Holly x

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Top 13's Of 2013

This Tag was created by Cat from Through A Cat's Eyes. Hers was for 2012 and so I've made a few adjustments as we approach the end of 2013.

Top 13 Books Read 
These can be re-read or books you've read for the first time, and they don't have to have been published in 2013.

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling
  2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  3. Torn by Cat Clarke
  4. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K Rowling
  5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  6. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  7. Entangled by Cat Clarke
  8. Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
  9. Geek Girl by Holly Smale
  10. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
  11. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  12. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by J.K Rowling
  13. Starter for Ten by David Nicholls

Top 13 Films Seen
These have to be films you have seen for the first time in 2013, but  they can be as old at you want.  
  1. 500 Days of Summer
  2. Love, Actually
  3. The Great Gatsby
  4. The Hunger Games
  5. Monsters University
  6. Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief
  7. The King's Speech
  8. Black Swan
  9. I Give it A Year
  10. Bridget Jones' Diary
  11. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
  12. Life of Pi

Top 13 Albums
The albums you listened to the most over 2013. * = Via Spotify

  1. McFly: Memory Lane
  2. Taylor Swift: Red
  3. Imagine Dragons: Night Visions
  4. Coldplay: Mylo Xyloto
  5. Ed Sheeran: +
  6. Fun: Some Nights
  7. Gabrielle Aplin: English Rain *
  8. Tom Odell: Long Way Down *
  9. Florence + The Machine: Ceremonials *
  10. Coldplay: X & Y *
  11. Take That: The Circus
  12. Coldplay: Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friends
  13. Bastille: Bad Blood
Holly x

Friday, 27 December 2013

Birthday Haul

Displaying Trafford-20131227-00478.jpg

So, on Christmas eve I had my 15th birthday. It really was a great day, much better than I had expected it to be and I had a brilliant time whilst receiving some wonderful presents. I have ultimately decided to show a few of my favourites instead of showing them all, because these gifts are quite personal to me. 

Sadly, I haven't seen quite a few people to exchange birthday/christmas presents with yet and so I haven't received all of them yet but like how those things are something to look forward to. I didn't ask for a main present from my mum but instead she got me quite a few small things which I have wanted for quite a long time such as Insurgent by Veronica Roth, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Finding Cherokee Brown by Siobhan Curham given that I am a complete bookworm. I also got Glee Season 4 which I've wanted to watch for ages but couldn't because we don't have Sky. My main present from my Dad was Harry Potter: Page to Screen which I had seen on BooksbeforeLooks' YouTube Channel and desperately loved. It is just the most amazing book I have ever seen and basically shows how Warner Bros. transformed every character, every place, and every object from the books into the films. 

Amongst many the things said above, I received many other gifts that I was thrilled to be given including Totes slipper socks from somebody I haven't seen in years and has no idea how much I love slipper socks and and also a Japanese Kokeshi Doll inspired Pencil case. I love anything from Japan and so I'm incredibly pleased that I got something as truly lovely as this.  Finally another one of my favourite things was Miranda Series 3. I think Miranda Hart is amazingly hilarious and she is just a joy to watch and so I'm very grateful to my Auntie Helen for getting me this.

It's only the third day of Christmas so Merry Christmas everyone!

Holly x

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! Thank you once again to everyone who wished me a happy 15th birthday yesterday. It certainly was a great day. 

Christmas day has been surprisingly present so far. I am not good at being social at all and get very nervous even around family. I don't like the social interaction surrounding Christmas day and would much rather be on my own. But I have been out in the wild today and now have come to hide in our smaller living room whilst watching The Big Bang Theory. I was so pleased with the presents I received, a lot of books, films and music along with other assorted items - including 2 jumpers, one being a Christmas jumper with a robin on from my Grandma. My Dad came round earlier and brought Alex's and my Christmas presents and so I've spent most of the day reading and listening to music. 

Hopefully, by the end of the day, I will add some photos to this blog post, providing that I actually remember to take them and hopefully over the next week I will do a birthday haul and a Christmas Haul/ Book haul. However right now, there is something that I'd like to do which is why some of you have been mentioned in tweets. I saw Amber do the same thing on her blog this morning and I'd like to steal the idea and add other people that I want to say thank you to. I did a similar thing for my Blogoversary but this will hopefully be more concise and accurate.

Amber, you are just... awesome. You gave me the idea to do this after including me in yours and I appreciate what you've done for me so much. You even blocked someone from your YouTube channel because of me. You are so lovely, understanding and have listened to me when I really needed someone to talk to.

Cat - Through a Cat's Eyes.         
I don't know if you saw what I said in my blogoversary thank you post but I would like to re-iterate what I said then, now. Your blog inspired me to make A DayDreamer's Thoughts and if I hadn't read Through A Cat's Eyes, I probably wouldn't be typing this now. I really admire and respect you and like Amber, I really appreciate all your help.

Charli - To Another World          
You are so sweet and have made me develop a twitter addiction. Your tweets always make me smile and I have loved our conversations on BBM. In the past month or so I feel like I've really gotten to know you and have loved your sense of humour when we have talked.

Jack - The Book Stop                
Broccoli, I only got to know you recently after discovering your blog - which is amazing by the way. Your twitter name is just hilarious and it is always a pleasure to talk to you. 

Again, like Jack you are someone I have only come into contact with rather recently but you are so, so friendly and interesting to read about from your blog posts or listen to in your YouTube videos. You even said happy birthday to me like Amber on Facebook and twitter.

Rachel - Booktastic Reviews     
My fellow Ravenclaw! I've known you for a whilst now but I have been talking a great deal more to you in the past few weeks. You are great to talk to and I really enjoy hearing from you.

Ruby - Feed Me Books Now      
Ruby, your blog never fails to make me smile, even if it is a negative book review. Feed Me Books Now is amazing. It has been wonderful to "meet" you and your little monster - Wilde and I want to take this opportunity to say your infographics are spectacular.

This year, you have really got me to come out of my shell through the Bloggers on Bullying post. Sadly it ended in disaster and for some people to become even more horrible towards me but I feel glad that people listened and understood my situation better afterwards.

Zoe - Bookhi                         
Zoe you are a scream. You are so, so friendly, brilliant and funny. We have spent ridiculous amounts of time talking about Harry Potter, Griffinclaws and Ravenpuff's on twitter and facebook and I have had a wonderful time doing so.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Holly x

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

My 15th Birthday

Displaying Trafford-20131224-00433.jpgSo, today is my 15th Birthday!!!! As I write this it is 16:10pm and I have had a wonderful day overall and it's still not over. I got up at 5:30 this morning and my family did not wake up until 8:30 so I had a few hours to watch television and finish uploading the next chapter of one of my Harry Potter fanfictions. We never go out on my birthday as a lot of places are either busy or closed on Christmas eve so it isn't really worth it. I normally spend the day using my presents, so today has been spent watching a lot of Glee Season 4 and reading some of my new books. 
Displaying Trafford-20131224-00435.jpg
 I'm very slow when it comes to unwrapping so I spent easily nearly 2 hours and not all of my presents were even there. My Dad is supposed to be coming over later on with presents from him, his mum and my auntie and uncle. But here is a rough idea of what I've had so far...

    Displaying Trafford-20131224-00434.jpg
  • Five books, all of these were from my Mum including Insurgent by Veronica Roth.
  • 4 DVD's including Glee Season 4 and Miranda Series 3.
  • 2 CD's - OneRepublic - Native, Lawson - Chapman Square Chapter II
  • A LOT of stuff with owls on. 
  • Chocolate, stationary, notebooks, slipper socks and gloves!
Displaying Trafford-20131224-00431.jpg

 I also got an amazing Owl door stop for my bedroom from my mum, which just blew my mind and I can be seen holding it in one of the pictures above. We have a dog and so I've decided that I might make another use for it instead of having it on the floor.

But two of the best things I have received... so far that is, are two birthday cards. The first was from my mum. As many of you will know by now that my mum is an English teacher at my school and she is friends with the librarian who happens to make cards. So I was given a birthday card with a hand drawn picture of Hogwarts in the snow. The number 15 has also been added on in black glitter and it is just beautiful. The other card was from my friend Savannah. She had told me on Friday when she gave it to me that she had got it from but I had no idea what it would be like. When I tried to see through the envelope all I could see was Roses. But then I opened it this morning and it is just wonderful. Her birthday was last month and so she has placed on the front two pictures of us together with our friends and then she has also put a photo of Harry, Ron and Hermione on it. She knows me so well and I was so shocked when I opened the envelope that I ended up crying.

I might update this post later on once I've got my presents from my Dad and we have had tea - Pizza Hut Delivery!!!! 

Thank you to Amber, Charli, Rachel, Cat, Zoe, Ella, Lucy and Sabrina for wishing me a happy birthday. It was lovely of you to contact me!

Holly x

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmassy Book Covers

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
Dash & Lily's Book of DaresI personally wasn't a big fan of this book, but I'm thinking of attempting to read it again over the Christmas holidays. The cover of this book is just gorgeous. I love how the text is fitted into all these different New York road signs with the snow falling around the words. The colours are bright and bold but softly blend into one another making the book seem just even prettier. The houses on the front are all different colours and I think it's just amazing how this cover as been so brilliantly pulled off.

The Tragedy Paper
The Tragedy PaperTim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “It” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

This is one of the many books that I am yet to read but really want to over the next couple of weeks while winter begins. I was a bit naive when I bought this, and fell in love with the cover way before I fell in love with the ideas behind the book - although I do like it now. This is possibly one of the most beautiful and elegant covers I have ever seen, with the snow falling heavily in New York and a silhouette running into the distance. This really reminds me of Christmas and I can't wait to read it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)'His hand closed automatically around the fake Horcrux, but in spite of everything, in spite of the dark and twisting path he saw stretching ahead for himself, in spite of the final meeting with Voldemort he knew must come, whether in a month, in a year, or in ten, he felt his heart lift at the thought that there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione.' With these words "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" draws to a close. And here, in this seventh and final book, Harry discovers what fate truly has in store for him as he inexorably makes his way to that final meeting with Voldemort. 

This obviously is a book that I have read. Bar Goblet of Fire, I own the signature editions of the series which were released just after the final film was. The cover on this features Godric's Hollow on Christmas Eve where the gravestones are dusted in snow. The main reason that I regard this as Christmassy is because Harry and Hermione visit Godric's Hollow on Christmas Eve and the cover reflects this beautiful scene perfectly.

Holly x

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

12 Days of Pottermas

12 Cornish Pixies...

11 Veela's Dancing...

10 Years of Filming...

9 Weasley's...

8 Film Adaptations...

7 Horcruxes...

6 Wands a-Waving...

5 Golden Snitches...

4 Hogwarts Houses...

3 Deathly Hallows...

Two MASSIVE kisses...

And a cloak of Invisibility.

Holly x

Monday, 16 December 2013

Interview: Jamie Baywood

Hello Jamie! Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your book, Getting Rooted in New Zealand?
I grew up in Petaluma, California. By the age of twenty-six, I was actually much happier being alone than dating, but I was completely bombarded by guys trying to date me. I read in a New Zealand tour book that the country’s population has 100,000 fewer men than women.  I wanted to have some me time and an adventure. New Zealand seemed like a good place to do so.  Although I intended to have a solo adventure I ended up meeting my husband a Scottish man in New Zealand.

Have you always wanted to write or did you have another career path planned?
I consider myself an accidental author. I didn’t go to New Zealand with the intentions of writing a book about my experiences there. I had funny experiences that I had trouble believing were true. I wrote the stories down to stay sane. I wrote situations down that were happening around me and shared them with friends. The stories made people laugh so I decided to organize the stories into a book and publish in the hopes to make others laugh too.
My education is in fine arts, I didn’t write until I moved to New Zealand. I had a lot of art shows in California and New Zealand and even managed an art collective in Auckland. I was bored with the fine art scene. Everything has already been done before in painting, but I am the only person that can tell my own story. Writing feels like a more honest form of art than any other method I’ve tried.
I had the opportunity to write and perform for Thomas Sainsbury the most prolific playwright in New Zealand. I performed a monologue about my jobs in the Basement Theatre in Auckland.  The funny thing about that experience was Tom kept me separated from the other performers until it was time to perform. I was under the impression that all the performers were foreigners giving their experiences in New Zealand.  All of the other performers were professional actors telling stories that weren’t their own. At first I was mortified, but the audience seemed to enjoy my “performance,” laughing their way through my monologue. After the shows we would go out and mingle with the audience. People would ask me how long I had been acting. I would tell them, “I wasn’t acting; I have to go to work tomorrow and sit next to the girl wearing her dead dog’s collar around her neck.”

How did you manage to combine all those memories into a book?
Most of my book was written as the events happened. Reading my book would be similar to receiving emails from a friend living abroad. I didn’t really come up with the distinct writing style. It’s just how I honestly observed things and described them. I only know how to write my truth. My truth tends to be stranger than fiction.
It would be impossible to write down every single thing that happen to me in New Zealand for over a year and it probably wouldn’t be interesting to read. My book is 100% true. These are 100% my experiences. I have changed some the names, but not all of individuals and organizations to preserve privacy. Most of the book was written as the events happened; it just took me a few years to work up the nerve to publish. To write my book Getting Rooted In New Zealand, I relied upon my personal journals, e-mails, and memories. In February 2013, I organized my stories into a cohesive narrative. It went through several rounds of editing and then I published in April.  

Did you have any challenges on the way to publishing?
I love making people laugh more than anything else. I love hearing from readers that my book is making people laugh out loud. The hardest part has been when people don’t understand my humour. I have been in a lot of situations where I had two choices: laugh or cry. I’ve chosen to laugh. I write my experiences from a purely personal standpoint. Compared to other travellers who worked abroad in New Zealand my experiences have been very unusual. I would highly recommend everyone goes to New Zealand to experience their own adventure.
I think readers need to remember this is the dairy of a young, hormonal and confused twenty-something, this is not a travel guide to New Zealand.  I am sincerely appreciative of everyone that has read Getting Rooted in New Zealand. I’m absolutely grateful that readers are enjoying the book and reviewing it positively. I love making people laugh. I hope you enjoy Getting Rooted in New Zealand

What are your writing essentials?
I constantly make myself notes. This summer in Wales, I was scribbling stories on the backs of maps and Google directions as a passenger in the car. I also send myself text messages or emails riding in trains or buses. It might not look like I’m writing a book if one was to observe me, but I am constantly watching, listening and thinking about writing. 

Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
No matter how wonderful our dreams, how noble our ideals, or how high our hopes, ultimately we need courage to make them a reality. Without action, it’s as if they never existed.” – Ikeda

Thank you SO much to Jamie for putting herself forward for an interview, she is absolutely lovely and it has been great getting to know her.

Holly x