12.4.16

Ten on ten. April 2016.


The closest I've got to tenon ten in a long time! Capturing the afternoon of my baby boy's sixth birthday, drink selfies and chipped nails galore. I spent the morning rushing out early for an assignment hand in and prancing around at uni, all of which was decidedly un-picture-worthy. Relaxing in the garden with my newly six year old and an iced coffee, listening to The Lumineers, was definitely something I wanted to document. 

Bee.

7.4.16

February Reads.

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A little late with this one, March is sitting in my drafts too, life is definitely running away with me. I'm genuinely only writing this now because I'm procrastinating writing an assignment and I'm too full of gummy bears! Despite that, I do enjoy writing these little reviews so I hope y'all enjoy reading them, they're definitely some of my favourite posts to read!
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The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine.
You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of Sinclair’s department store!
Enter a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and MYSTERIES around every corner. WONDER at the daring theft of the priceless CLOCKWORK SPARROW! TREMBLE as the most DASTARDLY criminals in London enact their wicked plans! GASP as our bold heroines, Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose, CRACK CODES, DEVOUR ICED BUNS and vow to bring the villians to justice…You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of Sinclair’s department store!

**** Four stars, I enjoyed this book. It was quite light hearted, for younger readers (despite the obvious themes of child labour and stealing, these aren't described in a dark way at all) this books is fun and thrilling. It kind of reminded me of Ruby in the Smoke by Phillip Pullman, probably because of the strong, young, female character and maybe the era but don't quote me on that, I am an awful historian. I would like to read the next in the series too. 

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.
But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart ...

***** FIVE stars, this book is amazing. It had me on the edge of my seat throughout, I read it within days and have ordered the sequel. A bizarre new world, people separated by the colour of their blood, the magical powers almost makes it unrealistic but the characters sucked me straight in and I became hypnotised by their story. A definite recommendation.  

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo.
This guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.
Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?
Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). 
With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this book featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

**** Four stars, some of the ideas were a little too bizarre for me but overall this book has had a drastic effect on our home. I haven't followed her rules exactly, just taking on a few ideas, and have thrown away countless bags of rubbish, unused bits & bobs and clothes. I like the 'only keep things if they bring you joy' manifesto, I have definitely incorporated that into my life and even my Mama has made comments about how much tidier our home is! I do, however, think I am somewhat addicted and am constantly thinking 'What can we throw away next?' I am itching to tackle Colin's side of the bedroom and the boys' toys! 

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How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a truly extraordinary Viking hero known throughout Vikingdom as "the Dragon Whisperer"...but it wasn't always so. Travel back to the days when the mighty warrior was just a boy, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans. Can Hiccup capture a dragon and train it without being torn limb from limb? Join the adventure as the small boy finds a better way to train his dragon and become a hero!
*** Three stars from me, though the boys would probably give it five. We've been reading a chapter a night as a bedtime story and have since moved on to the second book, the boys think they're absolutely hilarious and are completely obsessed with dragons so this was a definite thumbs up. 

Also read, but not pictured:

  • El Deafo by Cece Bell. ****
  • The Manifesto on How to be Interesting by Holly Bourne. ****
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. ****
  • The Thieves of Ostia by Caroline Lawrence. ***
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. ***
  • One by Sarah Crossan. *****
  • The Worst Witch Strikes Agin by Jill Murphy. ***
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. *****
  • After You by Jojo Moyes. ***

6.4.16

Day trip to the Isle of Wight.

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Last week we took a quick day trip to the Isle of Wight to visit out Auntie Kay. We had a lovely experience on board Red Tunnel Ferries, as ever, a cute little cafe lunch and a windy trip to the seaside. The boys had a blast digging in the sand and even dipping their toes in the sand while the old ladies sat and watched from the bus stop. A sweet way to pass the day, something a little different.

Bee.

3.4.16

March.

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Another month bites the dust. My entire life seems to be a cycle of work/uni, play, sleep. I'm definitely not complaining though, I am pretty lucky. The last week I've been poorly, I rarely get ill with my super duper immune system but I've picked up a kind of head cold which has really knocked me for six. I haven't had time to let my body recuperate so I've been drinking green tea and taking vitamins like it's my job and napping at every available opportunity. The start of March, however, was much healthier. We celebrated World Book Day at school with dress up and International Women's Day with a lunch date and prosecco. We started softball training which has influenced a slight health kick; I started counting my calories to check I was eating okay and it turns out I'm totally not. Carb and sugar overload and not nearly enough protein, oops. Colin and I managed to sneak out for a date night to see London Has Fallen and eat our body mass in popcorn, which I really enjoyed. Easter was fun, we decided not to spoil the boys with crazy amounts of chocolate so got them a few little presents and hid a few chocolate coins and jelly rabbits around the house, they had so much fun hunting but didn't quite understand when it was over. We even hosted Easter Monday, which was good fun but my dishwasher has basically been on overdrive this week what with a girls' dinner too. I've been on a crazy social media spree, even downloading snapchat (again) in an attempt to get me back into blogging. Unfortunately, I have two file checks and an assignment deadline next week so my timing isn't great but I have taken some photos and written a few posts over the weekend. Fingers crossed, eh?

Bee.

2.4.16

#littleloves

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read
I just finished I am Malala, which was an incredible story that I'd urge everyone to read, absolutely fascinating. The boys and I are reading the second How to Train Your Dragon Book, How to be a Pirate, as our obsession with dragons continues.

MAde

I had friends over for dinner last night and made this delicious concoction. I prepped everything in the afternoon so it was easy to throw together while drinking champagne with the girls.
watched
Criminal Minds, I'm currently watching series seven (I think) and hoping to eventually get up to date! I've also just got back into Call The Midwife, series two, gimme all the babies! I bought the boys new Disney DVDs for Easter so we'll be watching 101 Dalmatians and Alice in Wonderland soon too, our collection is growing slowly but surely.
wore
I finally bought a pair of Converse, in white, which I have been wearing to death this week. Perfect for climbing around at the park and chasing Joshua on his bike. My outfits tend to be a little more casual in the holidays, so I took advantage of our girls night last night and wore a skirt AND lipstick. Wild huh. Daniel did tell me I looked scary but my friends were much more complimentary, despite the fact I was probably a little overdressed to be sitting on my sofa.

heard
We've been listening to the Spotify playlists All Out 90's and All Out 00's, reminiscing our youth and feeling motivated to do housework. Also, the Jennifer Lopez and James Cordon Carpool Karaoke is absolute gold, inspiring me to listen to ALL the JLo.
and lastly
We've been non-stop this week - we have had workmen in re-doing our patios so we have tried to get out of their way, meaning we've been leaving the house by 9am and coming back at 7pm. Park hangs, a day trip to the Isle of Wight, play dates and a birthday party have kept us busy. They're just finishing off the back garden today so we're having a pyjama day.

Bee.

LittleLoves

14.3.16

#2016ClassicsChallenge, The Jungle Book.


This month's classic took a little longer than expected, considering I started it mid-January and have only just finished. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling was NOT what I'd expected, having grown up with the Disney film. 
WHEN I Discovered This Classic
I kind of think classics aren't classics unless you have known of them for forever, The Jungle Book is a key example. 

WHY I Chose to Read It 
I thought it would be different to anything I was reading, and boy was it different to anything I'd ever read! 

WHAT Makes It A Classic
The Jungle Book (1894) is a collection of stories by English author Rudyard Kipling. The stories were first published in magazines in 1893–94. Kipling was born in India and spent the first six years of his childhood there. After about ten years in England, he went back to India and worked there for about six-and-a-half years. These stories were written when Kipling lived in Vermont.
The tales in the bookare fables, using animals in an anthropomorphic manner to give moral lessons. The verses of The Law of the Jungle, for example, lay down rules for the safety of individuals, families, and communities. Kipling put in them nearly everything he knew or "heard or dreamed about the Indian jungle." The best-known of them are the three stories revolving around the adventures of Mowgli, an abandoned "man cub" who is raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. The most famous of the other four stories are probably "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", the story of a heroic mongoose, and "Toomai of the Elephants", the tale of a young elephant-handler. As with much of Kipling's work, each of the stories is followed by a piece of verse. (Source)

WHAT I Thought of This Classic
I am not sure what I think of this book. I gave it two stars on Goodreads, mostly because I found it really difficult to understand. Each chapter is quite long (30+ pages on my iPhone) and the language is very old fashioned, by the end I was just willing for it to finish. I did persevere, though I did skim-read the last chapter, but man that was a lot of words. I guess that's fables for you, though. 

WILL It Stay A Classic & WHO I’d Recommend It To
Quite probably, though I'm not really sure I understand why. I don't know who I would recommend it to either, it must have a very specific audience.

The Railway Children, by E. Nesbit is next on my list of classics, which I'm sure I have read before but I cannot remember it, so that should be interesting. What classics are you reading?

Bee.