Friday, 29 June 2018

Recent Wrap-up #2


So I've been quite behind on my 'Recent reading wrap-up' series as I said I would upload it every other week, yet here I am four weeks later! I have read a ridiculous amount of books in the past month and I didn't want to post my reviews until I was fully caught up but I'm starting to realise that the is just a bit pointless! So below are a collection of mini reviews of some of the books I've read in the past month, hope you enjoy! 

Bookshop Girl, Chloe Coles

Bookshop Girl follows Paige Turner as she embarks on a mission to save the only bookshop in her town where her and her best friend work. I saw someone link it back to Louise Rennison and I totally agree, it had all the humour and awkwardness of teenage life but also showcased some great friendships. I didn’t love this book, but potentially if I was a young teenager I would. I felt the characters were slightly underdeveloped and the plot a little too simple, but I did really appreciate all the quirks you find out when you work in a bookshop. I read this book so quickly that I’ll definitely pick up the second one in the series. 

Troublemakers, Catherine Barter

Alena lives in East London with her brother and her brother’s boyfriend who have been her guardians since her mother died when she was three. This book was such a fresh new read, the family relationships and dynamics were so interesting and well-written, I struggled to relate, and with the immaturity of the protagonist that I actually wished we knew more about her brother and her brother’s boyfriend! It’s set in East London, which is a place I am obviously very familiar with, which I loved! It’s always great to be able to imagine a real life place when reading a novel. 

Boy Underwater, Adam Baron 

I read this as it is Waterstones Children’s book of the month for June and really enjoyed it. I haven’t read a novel aimed at 9-12 year old’s since I was that age so took a bit of time to adjust but I truthfully recommend this book to customers on a daily basis. It has some great humour and some the plot took me by surprise, I appreciated how it dealt with tougher subjects and made mental health just a normal problem that everyone deals with. This is such a lovely book for young girls and boys. 

Emery lord, Open Road Summer

Emery Lord’s book always do something to me, and this is my favourite of her’s that I have read. The main character was flawed and complicated, the best friend was pure and good-hearted and the love interest was literal swoon worthy and all that I would want in a guy. Lol at me saying that, I’m cringing at myself don’t you worry. But it made me feel things. Made me feel things for old love, new love and barriers being broken. It reminded me of the beauty of being vulnerable, of the fact that however much you plan, your future is unknown, and the fact you don’t know the future, shouldn’t hold you back from going after something you want! This was such a lovely, summer read but that made me feel all types of emotions and really contemplate life. 

The Summer of Us, Cecilia Vinesse

This book meant so much more to me than I thought it would. We follow a group of five friends; Rae, Aubrey, Clara, Jonah and Gabe on their interrailing trip around Europe the summer between the end of high school and beginning of college. It was very much a character based novel over a plot based novel – my favourite. Plus just such a summery read. But it dug deeper as well, it tugged on heartstrings between friends, and that feeling that nothing wil ever be the same once you leave somewhere and the knowledge that you have to learn to live with that, that the future may be scary, and the past may be nostalgic but you have to live in the present. The relationships between all the characters were glorious and well played out, I was rooting for the couples so much! Plus just all the adventures in all the different cities bought me back to my interrailing trip last year – I loved reading about places that I’ve been too! Honestly this book was a dream, a perfect summer adventure filled romantic love and friendship story. If you need a book to escape to, I would definitely recommend this. 

I am now splitting my time between being a bookseller at Waterstones and working at a local pub/restaurant so any spare time I have at the moment is spent reading/ sunbathing in the garden and I'm really okay with that. So I would apologise for the lack of posts but actually, I've just been enjoying settling into my new life back at home and haven't felt the need or worry to post consistently - I'll just post when I can. I've read some really really great books over the past two weeks that I'm excited to share soon!

Hope everyone has a good weekend! I'll be working two 12 hour days - luckily I enjoy both of my jobs! Let me know what books you've recently been reading! Christina xox


Friday, 15 June 2018

What I've learnt about friendships

This year I have learnt how to let go of one-sided friendships. I’ve had lots of different conversations with some of my university friends recently about friendships and what we should do when a friendship isn’t equal, or doesn’t make you happy. Now, I’ve had quite a bumpy ride with friends and friendship groups my whole life really, all I ever wanted to do was please my friends, but sometimes life happens or personality’s clash. Eventually I realised that a friendship needs to be equal and I like to think I’ve learnt what it takes to maintain good relationships with the people who you value the most (obviously I’m only 21 and I am well aware that I don’t know everything about life, but I wanted to share my thoughts of friendship as I move into a different chapter in my life). 

With most of my friendships throughout my life I have been the one who organises things – whether it is an activity or what film we are going to watch. I have a side of me that needs to be in control and organised, and this has flowed into my friendships. However, I’ve found that with me taking control in organising things, sometimes friends stop trying and just wait for me to organise when we meet up, and it hit me in the past six months that I’m fed up of being the only one who ever suggests to do something (which I therefore feel like I’m the only one making an effort in the friendship.) For example, there have been moments in my long term friendships when I decided I’m not going to be the person who texts first, I’m going to wait until they message me, but in reality, that experiment actually is quite sad and has gone with me not speaking to that person for a month or so, then finally giving in and texting with a passive aggressive ‘we haven’t spoken in so long!’ Some of those friendships have continued but others just haven’t; not because something happened, but I gave up trying to push for a friendship that wasn’t natural, or two-sided. Other friendships survive on a text every month, but those are the people who although I don’t speak to them everyday, I just know that they are there. All friendships are different, but this is just a trend I’ve noticed.

At university I often became close with someone through an activity – whether that’s because I saw them weekly in a seminar, or through clubs/work - and once that ended I tried to continue the friendship because I genuinely really wanted to, but sometimes people just don’t reciprocate and after a long while, I just stopped trying. And I’m not saying this to paint myself as a great person or anything, maybe I’m a hypocrite and maybe I never tried with a friend and I was the reason we grew apart. But I am just describing what I have noticed over the past year and what I’ve learnt from it: You have to put in effort for a good, balanced friendship.

I’ve never really properly argued or fallen out with anyone, all my friendships just grow apart because of the way life has taken us. In a sense, it almost feels worse. It’s such a horrible sinking feeling when you realise you’ve grown apart from someone you used to speak to everyday. Some friendships withstand distance and can survive on occasional texts, others just can’t, and that’s okay. Every person you’ve had in your life was there for a reason. 

But what I do preach is that if someone wants to be your friend, they will try – they will make time for you, they will text you, they will care about you – and if they don’t, then go and find someone else because everyone is worthy enough to have a best friend that they can text absolutely anything to. 

I have had this blog post written for about two weeks but was actually quite nervous to post it. I’ve always wanted to write more personal posts on my blog, but have been scared with how much to share and conscious of the people in my life. The topic of friendship is something that has grown incredibly interesting and important for me and I just wanted to share my thoughts. I’d love to know anyone else’s thoughts on one-sided friendships and what it takes to maintain a good friendship. Feel free to drop a comment down below, or tweet me your thoughts!

Thanks so much to Nicole for snapping these fab photo's! 

Friday, 25 May 2018

Recent Reading Wrap-Up #1

I am powering through so many books at the moment and I love it. The thing with my new job is that I *have* to read, but I can read anything I want. Like what?! That is honestly just the dream. So, below are my small reviews of the books I have demolished in the past two weeks. I have given spoiler warnings before each book (and please be kind as these are my first mini reviews I’ve written in a while and I forgot how hard they are to write!) So grab a cup of tea/coffee/whatever takes your fancy and have a scroll.

A Torch Against the Night, Sabaa Tahir 

Contains spoilers to An Ember in the Ashes, but not a Torch Against the Night. If you’re a fan of YA fantasy and Sarah J Mass or Victoria Aveyard’s book I’d definitely recommend this series. Go read the first novel then come back to this review!

I absolutely loved A Torch Against the Night. I’ve had these books on my bookshelf for two years and finally got around to starting the series in April. After not being entirely won over by the world in An Ember in the Ashes, I loved A Torch Against the Nightand the world Sabaa Tahir continues to build. In a journey to save Laia’s brother from Kauf prison, Elias and Laia meet lots of different characters and obstacles on the way, reuniting with old friends and finding new ones, all whilst having the trail of Martial Soldiers (and Elias’ former best friend, Helene Aquila) eager to catch them. Having the three points of view (Elia, Laia and Helene) made the story very well rounded and it flowed well. As I’m not the greatest fan of fantasy I still struggled with certain magical and otherworldliness elements of it but I learnt to get used to it – The Waiting Place was such an interesting concept. Both Elias and Laia are compelling characters in their own right, but as a pair, they are one of my favourites. Tahir doesn’t shy away from ensuring her characters have flaws and I really appreciated how those flaws impacted the characters.  This was a gripping page-turner with some twists and turns that I did not see coming. I didn’t want this book to be over, and am so glad I only have a few more months until the next one is released!

Clean, Juno Dawson

This review does not contain any spoilers, but TW of addiction and drugs (in the novel.)

This book took me by surprise, and I loved it. I’ve never actually read any of Juno Dawson’s books, but I’ve heard her speak many times at YALC and this book was just as amazing as her panels are. She takes on such a huge topic of addiction, but does it so well. There are so many great pop culture references that situate the novel in contemporary life - from youtubers to Gigi Hadid – this book feels real. But even more than these random references the topic of addiction, a subject rarely tackled in YA fiction, was tackled so well. The ups and downs were shown through all different types of addictions – drugs, sex, food, alcohol –through, what I thought, a realistic view. I loved the filthy rich element of the character’s lives – I’ve heard this novel been described as a mix between Gossip Girl and Girl, Interrupted. Read this book, it’s a fun, easy read, but also an important read, it’s definitely on my list of favourite YA contemporary novels

King’s Cage, Victoria Aveyard

Contains spoilers to all books in the Red Queen series (except War Storm) – honestly, just go and read Red Queen right now if you love any fantasy/dystopian YA series.

I unashamedly LOVED Red Queen (the first in this series) when I read it about three years ago. I loved the world, the characters, the twist and turns (that big one took me by surprise completely.) I still liked Glass Swordand King’s Cage, but perhaps not so much. As with a lot of series, the second and third books become a lot more political, and King’s Cage in particular was a bit too political for me. I understand that the book is about more than just Mare, Cal and Maven, but it’s the relationships between those three that interest me the most and make me continue reading, and I continued reading (in a haste – I read this hefty book in three days) in search for moments between Mare/Cal/Maven. I did love getting Evangeline’s POV (and hope there is more in War Storm) and although I did not find Cameron’s POV exciting, it was necessary to understand the plot. The end shocked me, but not a huge amount, I would love if we were able to read Cal’s POV as I just want to know what’s going on in his head! I’ll definitely be reading War Stormsoon, but mostly because I still love the first book so much that I’m intrigued to see how it all ends. I would love Mare and Cal to end up together, but I actually think it would be more of a statement if Mare ends up alone, and happy to be all on her own and not to rely on anyone – we shall see!

Hope you enjoyed reading the first of my ‘what I’ve been reading posts.’ I loved writing this post so am planning on posting these updates and reviews every two weeks. I shall also be putting these reviews on my Goodreads so be sure to check out my page for some sneak peeks. If you pick any of these books up let me know what you thought of them either in the comments or tweet me! 

Have a lovely weekend, 
Christina xox


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Here's another 'I'm back' post for you, but no seriously, I'm back for good now

Photo taken by the beaut Charlotte (at Roof East, Stratford) 

Remember me? It’s been (once again) a while since I’ve written here but, I’m definitely back. Throughout my last year of uni I had moments of motivation to come back to the blogging world, but they would disappear after one day due to so much going on. So, now I’ve finished with university back in the blogging world for more than just one post. 

It’s weird, I’ve had this blog for seven years now! I started it in 2011 (please don’t go back and read my first crappy posts) and a small part of me didn’t want to come back to it as I thought - what have I achieved with my blog in seven years? -  But then I realised that I would often lose myself reading posts from four years ago and found myself wishing I had kept up with this documenting of life. I couldn’t, and didn’t want to blog at uni if I’m honest. I wasn’t inspired, all my creative energy was zapped out of me by reading books I didn’t necessarily want to read and planning essays that I had little joy in writing. Not that I didn’t enjoy my course, I did, but academics is just not my passion (that’s a whole other blog post.) Now I’ve had a week and a half since I’ve handed in my dissertation, all my passion for books and writing has come flooding back. 

I’m moving back home to my parent’s house permanently in a couple of weeks, I’ve got a part-time job at Waterstones which is exactly what I wanted. I’m getting a foot into the book industry and five days of work into it, I’m absolutely loving it. I want to take full advantage of this by building up my online portfolio; I want to document what I’m reading, discuss my time at university and share some photography. I just want to read, write and take photos and share it with the world through this little website. 

So yes, my blog may not have achieved that much in the blogging world over the past seven years, but my blog is my way of documenting my life and expressing myself. I love taking photos, hence why I love Instagram so much, but I love writing about life and my blog is the way to do that. I’m planning on posting every Friday with fortnightly book updates and other fashion and lifestyle posts, so if you have any other blog posts you’d like to see please let me know! 

Whilst you’re here, why not go follow my other social media channels – I updated my Goodreads last night, my Instagram is my favourite thing and I’m slowly starting to tweet more! 

Talk soon, 
Christina xox

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

The Barbican Observatory

On Sunday, Madeleine and I wanted a 'free and fun' afternoon as A) The January blues had taken full effect and B) I think we are both feeling the need to do London things as we will both be leaving the city summer. So we went to the Barbican Conservatory after I had spotted an article on my university's magazine, Cub, and it was perfect. This free conservatory opens up for four hours to the public most Sundays and it was wonderful, we walked around for just over an hour, I had my camera with you so I took full advantage of the beauty and snapped away. I really wanted to share my photo's on here as I'm not going to lie in saying I'm rather proud of some of them! So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy scrolling.

  I do have an outfit post coming up of the outfit I wore to the conservatory with some trousers that I am in love with. But in the mean time, don't forget to follow my Instagram where I post photo's everyday documenting my final year of uni! Hope you are having a good week, Christina xox


Friday, 5 January 2018

My Thoughts on 2018

Happy New Year!

This post is probably a little late but today is my official day off university work. I handed in my last essay yesterday so in celebration I am having a lazy morning in bed and going shopping this afternoon! 
So, because I struggle to not do anything productive in a day I come to you with a blog post talking about the start of 2018 and what I would like to achieve this year. As with many people, I don't like setting out resolutions. I don't like having that pressure, having that sinking feeling that I didn't complete what I wanted to and feel like a failure. So I'm just going to call them my *thoughts* for the year. What I envision and what I hope to accomplish:

Finish my degree with a 2:1 and feel proud of it!

This is my absolute main focus for the first Half of this year I have 126 days left of my degree, 126 days until I hand in my dissertation. Wow, that's a scary thought, but also actually really a welcoming thought. These next few months are going to be tough and are just going to be head-in-the-sand studying to get to that finish line. I will be so unbelievably happy to have finished. To not have anything to read anything, or do essays or feel tied down to finishing a book quickly. I want to do my best so I can be proud of what I accomplish. 

Having a more positive outlook overall

I think a lot of people would describe me as a positive person. And I think I used to be, and I can still seem on the outside. However in the latter part of 2017 I feel like I slowly lost that part of me, I started becoming negative and would worry constantly about things I know can't change. I need to get my positive thinking self back, I need to start weeding out the bad thoughts and ensuring I wake up the day with at least one positive thing to look forward to.

Being more kind

I don't think anyone would necessarily call me unkind, but I don't think kind is specifically a word that people would use to describe me. I want to care more about people, I want to be there for them, and for them to know I am there for them. I would like to be more forward thinking about what I say, and how this can affect people, or how I can help.

So those are the three things I'm going to try and focus on in 2018. I don't want to put pressure on myself but I just want to being positive and kind throughout life. In my head this forthcoming year is split into two halves - uni and after uni. After university my immediate plan is to look for an easy job back at home and save up some money to go travelling this time next year. I want a gap year, I want a break from everything and I want to travel more! So that is my motivation to get through the next five months (which hopefully I will actually end up enjoying!)

Hope your first week of 2018 has been grand, don't forget to check out my Instagram for new posts everyday! Christina xox

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