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currently listening to... podcasts (again)


I have quite the list of podcasts and I'm always looking for more. I love listening to them when doing chores or traveling. Although I struggle to listen to them when writing or doing work that involves brain power, I'll just ignore the podcasts and get confused.

Side Note: I listen to all of these Podcasts on the Apple Podcast App, I know there are other alternatives - I'm presuming all of these are available across the different apps. 

The Heart of It with Estée Lalonde

When I originally did a draft of this post, this podcast only had ONE pilot episode out. Now that I'm editing it there are more!! It's different to the normal podcasts that I listen to and involves Estée Lalonde (Youtube, Blogger, Author, etc, etc.). In the pilot, she is talking through her story with protests. She talks about her first protest and most recent. Also, talking to the writer of the 'Nasty Woman' poem, that was the phrase of the 2017 women marches all around the world. 
From what Estée said, she's looking to have each podcast about a 'difficult' subject or something that is coming to light in this present time.


Happy Mum Happy Baby

I'm 100% not the demographic for this podcast. And I have no desire to have children anytime soon, or even be in the same room as children. But I seem always be listening to Giovanna Fletcher's podcast the days they're released.


The Emma Guns Show

Beauty, Fashion, Lifestyle, Bloggers, Celebrities, everything that falls into one of those categories and more. I have only listened to the ones where I know of the guest - there are a LOT of podcasts, so eventually, I'll work through the rest. These are long podcasts, one almost cover my 1.5-ish hour long bus journey. Some of the guests get more than one podcast too!

Some of my favourites:
Sali Hughes
Fleur de Force
Caroline Hirons
Jules Von Hep
Pixiwoo
Michelle Visage - YES YES YES
Jo Elvin

The Debrief Podcast

My current favourite podcast. I was recommended this after my last podcast post (here). And have almost listened to all of them. They're so funny, cover so many different topics, and are just two wonderful humans.

Some of my favourites:
Domestic Hacks So You Never Have To 'Get A Man In'
How To Deal With Imposter Syndrome
How To Look After The Environment
How To Poo Properly - I almost died from laughing

Tell me any podcasts you think I would enjoy or you just think of brilliant & everyone should be watching!
- kayleighbkl


September Favourites

01) Bullet Journal
I have used the bullet journal system before, but this time I'm taking it *really* seriously. I have loved using the system throughout September, and into early October, especially being able to start a new one at the start of the academic year. (Although I didn't go back until the last week in September). I've got more blog posts planned; going through my monthly spreads, academic, etc - any requests, send them my way! I'm also loving the grey leuchtturm 1917 (here).

02) Mildliners 
I gave into the hype. I kept seeing them all over bujo blogs and Instagram pages. What finally got me to buy them was watching Rhiannon's video (here) and her linking to an Amazon page where you could get three packs for about £15 (here). I bloody adore them. I use them daily and cannot get enough of the pastel tones. I did not need them, but they're so handy. Especially because they have a felt tip at one end, and a highlighter tip at the other. 

03) Hair Serum
I was trying to think about what new 'things' I had used this month, and I kept going back to this hair serum (here). It was SUPER cheap from Superdrug (own brand, so vegan/vegetarian AND not tested on animals), and it does the job! I use it when I'm going to wave/curl my hair, and it just makes them look sleeker and more defined. I use two pumps in my medium-long length hair (mostly on the ends of my hair) - bringing any excess up to the rest of my hair. This range was on 3 for 2, when I bought it.

04) Autumn
I'm so happy. It's officially autumn. It's gone colder. Halloween is slowly approaching. It fills me with more joy than I can express. Pinterest is one of my go-to places to get into the Autumnal spirit - link to my Autumn & Fall board (here). As well as YouTube videos. Some of my favourite YouTubes for Autumn content are Anastasjia Louise, Neutral Fleur, one of my favourite YouTubes in general: Megan Rhiannon, and Simply Kenna who I've only recently discovered but I went back and watched her past Autumn/Halloween videos!


05) ASDA Home - Bedding 
I went onto ASDA's Home website on a whim, and browsed through their early Autumn/Christmas bedding - just to see what was around - and I found this beautiful bedding for £14.00!! £14 for a king size bedding set (here). You cannot go wrong. It's just the right mix of autumn and cosy, but you could use it all year round. Did I also mention that it is reversible? 

What have you been enjoying this month?

- kayleighbkl

2nd year of uni round-up

The past year has flown by and dragged by in equal parts for me. I moved away from Exeter, back to Cornwall, and started at a new university with no friends.

A year ago, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and knew that it was highly unlikely I could make a career out of photography. Fortunately, I now have a clearer view of what I would like to do and if that turns out I'll be happy, to say the least. 

September 2016; I started at a new university with nowhere to run and no one to run to. 

Originally I was going to be going into the third year, but after consideration, I decided to join the universities second year and retake. Fortunately, I had finished with a first, so I got to carry my first-year grade from Exeter with me. 

My first project was a group set building project, we had four weeks (i think) to build and photograph a photographic set and complete a sketchbook to go alongside. Everything about this project was marked as a group, and we had to use one sketchbook between 8 (possibly more or less) people. [September '16 - October '16]

Then we had a collaborative project, this project involved us working with another creative person and create a collaboration project. They were not allowed to be from the university. I chose to work with local independent businesses where I live, to create advertising booklets. [November '16 - January '17]

Next, was a project of our own choosing. I looked at reduced flowers and the relationship between flowers, consumerism, and commercialism. [February '17 - April '17]

Finally, was a short 'trial' project. We had four weeks to start a project or complete a project. I chose to start looking at 'what makes up a hedgerow', the plants, animals, insects, man-made creations, etc. [May '17]

We had two theory projects. The first involved writing an exhibition review & creating a critical journal. The second involved writing/presenting a group project, creating another critical journal & starting our dissertation project for next year.

Below I'm going to show some images from the past year. When I finish my degree, I plan on doing a large post (if I'm still writing then) about my overall uni experience, changing university, pros, and cons, etc, etc.


- kayleighbkl

Charity shop book haul

A sneaky and unplanned trip to some charity shops happened last month.

Normally I would come back with a bag full of books, but I held myself back and they lacked in new books.

Unintentionally all of the books are 'women's fiction'. And there are no books in this collection that I haven't heard of before.

First of all, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

I read Rosie Hopkin's Sweet Shop of Dreams over 5 years ago, and haven't picked up a Jenny Colgan book since!

Synopsis:
"As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work; mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grandes dames of Paris. It's a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime - to work in Paris with her former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier. With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate - and herself - than she ever dreamed."
Bridget Jones' Diary & Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
Like any other female, I've watched Bridget Jones' Diary. I've never felt a reason to read the series before, but seeing them both in the charity shops - I thought I would give them ago. 
Synopsis: 
"A dazzlingly urban satire on modern relationships?
An ironic, tragic insight into the demise of the nuclear family?
Or the confused ramblings of a pissed thirty-something? As Bridget documents her struggles through the social minefield of her thirties and tries to weigh up the eternal question (Daniel Cleaver or Mark Darcy?), she turns for support to four indispensable friends: Shazzer, Jude, Tom and a bottle of Chardonnay. Welcome to Bridget's first diary: mercilessly funny, endlessly touching and utterly addictive."

I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk
I have NEVER read a Lindsey Kelk book, I see them a lot, but I'm yet to pick one up and read it.

Synopsis:
"I Heart series book 1. Get ready to meet Angela Clark as she flees the world’s worst wedding for a new life… It's official. Angela Clarke is in love – with the most fabulous city in the world. Fleeing her cheating boyfriend and clutching little more than a crumpled bridesmaid dress, a pair of Louboutins and her passport, Angela jumps on a plane, destination - NYC. Holed up in a cute hotel room, Angela gets a New York makeover from her NBFJenny and a whirlwind tour of the city that never sleeps. Before she knows it, Angela is dating two sexy guys. And, best of all, she gets to write about it in her new blog (Carrie Bradshaw eat your heart out). But it's one thing telling readers about your romantic dilemmas, it's another figuring them out for yourself … Angela has fallen head over heels for the big apple, but does she heart New York more than home?"

And last, but not least Cocktails for Three by Madeleine Wickham (Sophie Kinsella)
As previously seen on my blog, I'm a fan of Sophie Kinsella's writing. But this is my first book under her *real* name, Madeleine Wickham! 

Synopsis:
"Three women, smart and successful, working in the fast and furious world of magazines, meet for cocktails and gossip once a month.
Roxanne: glamorous, self-confident, with a secret lover - and hoping that one day he will leave his wife and marry her.
Maggie:capable and high-achieving, until she finds the one thing she can't cope with - motherhood.
Candice:honest, decent, or so she believes - until a ghost from her past turns up, and almost ruins her life.
A chance encounter in the cocktail bar sets in train an extraordinary set of events which upsets all their lives and almost destroys their friendship..."

- kayleighbkl

Autumn Goals

I do try to write New Years Resolutions at the start of the year, but I didn't this year. It'll be random goals, like cleaning my room regularly, learning something new, etc. To try and the year on a high, I'm setting myself ten goals to work towards before the end of the year.

01) Pass my driving test - I may or may not have sat my first driving test when you're reading this post, but on 13th September I'm going to try and pass my driving test. If I don't pass, I'm going to be hopeful and book another one straight after. Keep every limb crossed for me, if I haven't passed yet!

02) Capsule Wardrobe - I've put EVERYTHING (minus extremely thick jumpers and shorts) in my wardrobe to see what I do or, more importantly, what I do not wear. Whatever I don't wear after September, I'll be selling on Depop or giving to charity. I used to be really good at keeping my wardrobe streamlined, but this past year I've let it go.

03) Read - I'm going back to uni. I'm going to forget to pick up a book. I'm hoping audiobooks will save me from a reading slump though.

04) Dissertation - I'm handing in just after Christmas. I'm going to be amazed if I manage to write one.

05) Strong and Stable Job - I'm looking for a job closer to home, I've got a couple lined up - fingers crossed I find a job that I can stay in after uni!

06) Enjoy Autumn! - Autumn is my favourite month. But I ALWAYS wish it a way too quickly, because I love Christmas too much. This year, I'm putting Christmas on hold, and I'm going to enjoy Autumn!

07) Go into uni EVERY scheduled day - I'm awful at cancelling tutorials when I have a cold or feel slightly under the weather, this year, I'm going to try and go in every-single-day!

08) Get another piercing - I've been meaning to all year. I keep meaning to book in another tattoo too, but I'm also sh*t at saving money.

09) Stick to my bullet journal - I've kept one, on and off, for the past couple of year. But this time I'm committing to mine (here), until at least 2018!

10) Relaunch my photography website (www.kayleighbicklephotography.com) - I took it down over summer to work on a redesign, but I'm yet to go live again.

Do you have any goals for Autumn?

- kayleighbkl


Review: See How They Lie by Sue Wallman

As much as I enjoyed this book, I was equally let down. I expected so much more and forgot that it is technically a YA novel. I read a review saying it was a thriller novel and I agree, but I also disagree. The thriller elements aren't strong, they're good, but there could be more power behind them. 

Synopsis: 
There's no way out. Mae's grown up at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where teens get the help they need from Mae's psychiatrist father. The Creek monitors every aspect of residents' daily life for optimal health and well-being, and everyone must follow strict rules. But after Mae is caught breaking the rules, she starts to question everything about how she lives. And at the Creek, asking questions can be dangerous. 
It's a relatively short book. I chose to read this because I wanted something short and quick to read, to get me back into my reading flow. 

The story follows a young girl, Mae, and how her life at Hummingbird Creek begins to crumble away and holes are starting to appear in all she's ever known. Following her friendship with Drew, disappear. Death at the Creek. And how some of her bonds are as close to a family as she has ever been. 

Do you have any thriller novels to follow on from See How They Lie? I'm not after anything terrifying, but I'm interested in reading more now. 
- K.B 

Bullet Journal: September Set Up

New Month. New Bujo set up.

It's a new month, I'm starting my final year at uni, and I'm starting my first EVER Leuchtturm 1917 bujo. The excitement is very real. I ordered on Prime so I didn't have to watch the tracking app for days on end, waiting for my new journal. 
I went for the Leuchtturm 1917 Medium Squared Hardcover Notebook in Anthracite - Grey - (here). 

My Tools:
20cm Ruler from WHSmith (here)
Zebra Z-Grip Medium Black Ballpoint Pen (here)
Mustard/Yellow Mildliner (here)
Pilot V5 HI-TECPOINT 0.5 Black Pen (here)
Staedtler HB Pencil (here)
Tipp-Ex Mini Shake'n Squeeze White Correction Pen (here)
WHSmith Rubber (here)

Month on Two-Pages 
I find this spread SO useful. I have done the list format before, where you write the days down the side of the page, but I find the grid method much easier to visualise my month via. 

Habit Tracker | Outfits 
Habit Tracker; some of the habits I write are unnecessary but it feels good to have something ticked off early in the day. I'm yet to add more to this list, but I struggled to think of any that would be helpful for September - any ideas?
Outfits; I'm trying to wear more of my clothes. So every day I write a short log of what I wore and at the end of the month, I can see what I haven't worn from my wardrobe.

Blog | Instagram 
Blog; purely so I can see my plans for this month and next months blog posts. I was originally going to go down to one post per week - when I went back to uni. But I might go down to one post a week in October instead. 
Instagram; The calendar is so that I can mark off the days I upload. And then below I have a check-list for INSERT NAME's Instagram challenge that she does at the start of every month.

Budget Spread on Two-Pages 
Budget; I try these every few months. Struggle to remember what I've bought and give-up. But I'm going to *try* again!

Week on Two-Pages
This is my basic weekly layout. I've only shown one week because I do the same layout every week. I prefer a week over two pages because it gives me enough room to write my daily to-do lists. On the side panel, I write any work shifts, appointments, etc. 

For each month I have a colour throughout, for September I chose a mustard yellow - leading me into the wonderful season of Autumn!

I'm thinking about doing a similar post with my university related pages in my bullet journal in October, I don't go back to uni until the end of September - seems a little premature to write them yet! Let me know if you would be interested in that, or if you have any ideas for useful University related spreads.

- kayleighbkl

Review: Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

Honestly, I only bought this book because it was £5 in Tesco. 

I enjoy Sophie Kinsella's books and it has a review by her, so I knew I would enjoy it. 

It's a difficult book to write a review about without any spoilers, so I might include some but I'll alert you to them. 

Synopsis:
Meet Robin Wilde! You'll make a friend for life and she'll take you on a journey you'll never forget... 'Does anyone else out there feel like me?' Robin Wilde is an awesome single mum. She's great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and her little Lyla to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine. But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things sometimes feel... grey. And lonely, She struggles to fit in with the school-mum crew. Online dating is despair-inducing, and how can she give her little girl the very best when, honestly, some days it's hard to find a clean pair of knickers. After 4 years (and two months and 24 days) of single-mum-dom, Robin realises it's time to get out there and Change. Her. Life! A little courage and creativity go a long way, and exciting new opportunities are soon on the horizon - maybe a man, maybe the chance of a lifetime... Will Robin seize the possibilities she creates for herself? And what surprises does her life have in store if she does?
This is an easy book to read. I put it down for two weeks, came back, and carried on from where I left off. To me, it's classic women's literature. 

-- Spoilers ahead... --
The first half of the book was a bit boring and the book is very jumpy because it's spread out over a year. Also, I didn't like Theo to start with. So I didn't get caught up in his story line, and I feel as though that part was boring for me too. BUT, once she got to New York and came back, I loved it! Especially because it ends with her being empowered and it sounds as though Pentland could really take this novel somewhere. SUPER SPOILER: I'm really hoping Louise doesn't get Robin and Edward to fall in love, it'll make it too predictable. 

I know that Louise Pentland is a Youtuber and online 'star', have you got any books by Youtubers/Bloggers that you think I should read? I'm into non-fiction at the moment, but equally happy to read more fiction too! 

- K.B

Stationary/Back to School Wishlist

This is as close to a 'back to school' post I'm ever going to get. I don't *need* anything for going back to uni at the end of September, but it's deeply ingrained that I buy new stationary for a 'fresh start' in September. The only thing I'm intending on buying is a new bujo, which I'll go onto include in this post, but there are many things that I consider buying that I'm not in the direct market for. This is also HEAVILY inspired by other stationary videos/posts at the moment!

I am a fan of the bullet journal. Mine last between 3-4 months, and I use to write down EVERYTHING. The Leuchtturm is the common, go-to, notebook of choice. Although I have considered trying a Moleskine notebook instead. This semester I'm going for a squared A5 Hardcover, I love using the squared pages for tracking habits, etc, A5 is my go-to size for notebooks (unless told otherwise or for writing long lecture notes), and I use the hardback because I'm not always in a situation where I can rest my notepad on a hard surface. 

Leuchtturm 1917 Pen Loop

Continuing on from my bullet journal, is a pen loop. Purely for practical reasons and it is matching the colour bujo I want to buy. I'm going for the 'anthracite' this semester, essentially grey. I haven't bought one of these pen loops before, but in the reviews some comments say it's quite small for the average pen. But after researching YouTube, I've seen people fit a normal Zebra Z-Grip Med pen (here). 

I've been lusting over these for months. I have recently bought the Stabilo Pastel Highlighters (here), but I think there is still a hole in my life for the mildliners. If you have no idea what they are, look at any fancy, well-planned, bullet journal video - they all use them. The reason I prefer pastel highlighters/pens is because they don't distract my eye away from the text. Bright, bold, neon highlights stop me from being able to read the text, my eye is drawn to them the whole time.

Fjällräven Kånken Adult Laptop Backpack

I'm so desperate for a Kanken backpack, but they're so expensive and I cannot justify buying a new one right now. I've been researching them and trying to find a reason not to buy one. I'm after the Blue Ridge Laptop one, so a) I can bring my laptop with me, b) I like the blue colour (so sue me). If you have one, let me know if they're worth the money and what colour/style you went for!


- kayleighbkl


Review: Doing It! By Hannah Witton

Synopsis:
Sexting. Virginity. Consent. The Big O... Let's face it, doing it can be tricky. I don't know anyone (including myself) who has sex all figured out. So I've written a book full of honest, hilarious (and sometimes awkward) anecdotes, confessions and revelations. And because none of us have all the answers, I've invited some friends to talk about their sexuality, too. We talk about doing it safely. Doing it joyfully. Doing it when you're ready. Not doing it. Basically, doing it the way you want, when you want. So. Let's do this...

I have done a brief review of this book (here). But I'm going to, attempt, give a more in-depth and deeper review of it now and try not to repeat what I said previously.

Firstly, I think this book could be for all ages. Whether or not you're having sex, it discusses many other subjects. 

If you're looking to read more about everything that surrounds the topic of sex, this would be a good place to start. 

Chapters:

  1. Healthy Relationships
  2. Virginity
  3. Four Generations of Witton Family Sex Ed
  4. LGBTQ+
  5. Consent
  6. Masturbation
  7. Porn
  8. Bodies & Body Image
  9. Sexual Pleasure
  10. Contraception
  11. STIs
  12. Sexting
  13. Sex Shaming
  14. Conclusion
The book is just over 300 pages, so it doesn't go into great detail about everything. But it has the basics and gives you many points to go off and research on if you wish. 

A key chapter is Healthy Relationships. This is important for ALL relationships; friends, family, love, work, everything. One of my favourite parts of this chapter was tearing apart how toxic rom-com relationships are, and how if Wormtail (Harry Potter reference) would be creepy doing it than anybody doing it is toxic! 

I would love to think that in 20 years time being a virgin won't be such a taboo, and vice-versa (this could lead onto a long ramble about how you're bad for having sex, and bad for not... but I'll stop.). Witton discusses how there isn't anything that changes about you having sex and not having sex. And there isn't a way of telling unless the person tells you they're having sex. 

Witton includes essays written by others around the world of Sex, which add another take on the subjects that she is already talking about. It, also, allows the reader to read a person's first-hand experience in that field. 

You don't have to read this book, but I recommend you do.

- K.B

What I Read in August 2017

I'm FINALLY back reading again, just in time for me to go back to university and start my dissertation. Brilliant. I haven't read lots this month, but I've read more than last month - and that's all that matters!

Doing It! by Hannah Witton
I spoke about this a few weeks ago in another post and went into more detail. But in essence, it's a brief book about sex, relationships and everything associated with those fields.

Synopsis:
Sexting. Virginity. Consent. The Big O ... Let's face it, doing it can be tricksy. I don't know anyone (including myself) who has sex all figured out. So I've written a book full of honest, hilarious (and sometimes awkward) anecdotes, confessions and revelations. And because none of us have all the answers, I've invited some friends and fellow YouTubers to talk about their sexuality, too.
We talk about doing it safely. Doing it joyfully. Doing it when you're ready. Not doing it. Basically, doing it the way you want, when you want. So. Let's do this ...

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland
I bought this book back in July and kept putting off reading it! (I have got a review of this book in a couple of weeks - keep your eyes peeled for that one.) I really enjoyed it overall though.

Synopsis:
"You'll never forget the day you meet Robin Wilde!
Robin Wilde is an awesome single mum. She's great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and little Lyla Blue to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine. But behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things sometimes feel . . . grey. And lonely. After 4 years (and 2 months and 24 days!) of single-mum-dom, it's time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life! A little courage, creativity and help from the wonderful women around her go a long way. And Robin is about to embark on quite an adventure . . ."

See How They Lie by Sue Wallman
Again, there is a full-length review coming of this book in September. So not to give any spoilers or make my post a waste of time. This is a teen thriller about a girl who grows up in a psychiatric hospital, owned by her Father, where she lives a 'healthy lifestyle' with daily exercise and meal plans. But everything she knows to be true is a lie.

Synopsis:
"Mae feels lucky to have grown up at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where rich teens with psychological problems can get the help they need from her father, a prominent psychiatrist. The Creek has world-class cuisine, a state-of-the-art sports centre and the latest spa treatments. Every aspect of daily life is monitored for optimal health, and there are strict rules for everyone. When Mae is caught breaking the rules, the response is severe. She starts to question everything about her highly controlled life. And at the Creek, asking questions can be dangerous"

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan
TECHNICALLY, I haven't finished reading this book. But it felt a bit small only including three books in this list. I am over half way through though. It's a nice, cosy and slightly predictable book about Anna who has an accident at work ends up in hospital/recovery and reunites with an old teacher, Claire. Anna loses her job as part of the accident settlement, so Claire finds her job in Paris with her old lover.

Synopsis:
"As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work; mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grandes dames of Paris.
It's a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime - to work in Paris with her former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier.
With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate - and herself - than she ever dreamed."

Well, that is everything I have read in August! Now that I'm going back to uni this month, the posts are going to go down to once a week - on a Sunday. Mostly because I'm not going to have as much time to read for fun and also, I'm worried about not having enough time to write two posts a week.

- K.B

College reading list

Although I used to LOVE reading and studying literature, I fell out of love with reading. That was because of situations and lecturer's, which shows how fragile students are to the way their lecturers/teachers teach. Fast forward 3/4years and I'm enjoying reading again. Hurrah. 

I'm slowly making my way through books I read in 'high school' (secondary) and college (sixth form) and thought it would be nice to make a collection, while I still remember, of the books I read while in education. I do still read books in university, but they're on the boring side and are textbooks that way me down to and fro from the library.

GCSE Literature:
Blood Brother by Willy Russell
A play about two brothers. Separated at birth. And mixed up in superstition. They meet again when they're older and make a pact to be 'blood brothers'. The play follows their life and death together. 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
A group of private school boys end up alone on a deserted island. It follows the story of them creating leaders, wars, and fighting to survive. A book that explores the survival of mankind and our animalistic instincts. 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Two brothers are working their way through the great depression in the America, following their time together on one plantation. 

Mid-Summer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare
A play about four interconnecting plots that are all connected by the celebration of a wedding. It's set in a wood land, the realm of Fairyland, under the moon light. 

Poetry was a selection chosen by the examination board from a large selection of authors.

Books I've read of the syllabus after my GCSEs:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brönte
Following the life of Jane Eyre, from living with her Aunt & Cousins, going onto school, learning to be a teacher, falling in love, running away, and coming back again. 

Animal Farm by George Orwell
A novella that, Orwell says, discusses the lead up to the Russain Revolution in 1917. A revolution of a farm, from being run by a man and taken over by the animals. How a revolution can take place for the better and the worse. 

AS/A2 Literature:
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Following Tess' life from poverty, finding ancestors who might be wealthy, motherhood, love, and showing the juxtaposition of female & male rights during the 1800s. 

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald 
A story that revolves around the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his obsession and love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. 

King Lear by William Shakespeare
Following King Lear's descent into madness after he splits up his kingdom to two of his three daughters, based upon their flattery to him. After the kingdom is split a tragic sequence of consequences happen, creating a civil war in his kingdom. 

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
Two young men, Ennis and Jack, are hired to look after sheep for the summer. They form an intense emotional and sexual attachment, but part ways at the end of the summer. Over the following twenty years, their separate lives play out with marriage, children, jobs and reunite throughout for remote camping trips. 

Kindertransport by Diane Samuels
A play about the kindertransport that got children to safety in Germany at the start of WW2. Examining the life, during and after world war II and afterward, of the Kindertransport children. It is based on many real kindertransport stories.

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles 
While Oedipus is young, his parents receive a prophecy, that he will become King, kill his father, and marry his mother. The King orders for Oedipus to killed, but he is instead given to a shepherd who returns the child to his King. The King takes Oedipus in, looking after him as if he is his own. The play then follows Oedipus' life and fulfilling the prophecy that his father had tried to prevent. 

The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
Dorian Gray is the subject of an oil painting by Basil Hallward, a painter who is impressed and infatuated by Dorian's beauty. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and is soon obsessed by the aristocrat's hedonistic worldview, 'that beauty and sensual fulfillment are the only things worth pursuing in life'. Newly understanding that his beauty will fade. Dorian has a desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the painting will age and fade, instead of himself. The wish is granted. Dorian goes onto live a free and varied life, while his portrait ages and records every sin.

Poetry I studied was by Sheenagh Pugh, Robert Frost, and Carol Ann Duffy.

I've attempted to write my own synopsizes about the books without giving too much away about the stories. I recommend that you go online and read what is written about these books for more accurate and articulate synopsizes. 
- K.B

magazine favourites

I'm a lover of print. Printed words. Printed photographs. Printed words and photographs together. There is something so special about holding a physical magazine in your hands, full of stories and beautiful imagery. My first step into magazines (aside from trash-mags and my little pony) was during my A-levels and I've been hooked ever since. Although I would be lying if I didn't say, my mum used to buy me cosmopolitan from the ages of 15-18. And although you wouldn't catch me reading a cosmo now, there is something glamorous about a glossy magazine.


Oh Comely: 
Perhaps my favourite. Or at least the only magazine that I'm subscribed to. I adore the imagery and illustrations in Oh Comely, it is so pure and almost nostalgic. Also, they run a wonderful hashtag #onegoodthing and it keeps my love for Oh Comely in-between issues. Oh Comely comes out bi-monthly, allowing the pages to be full of rich and fascinating stories. In general, each magazine works around a theme (examples: the body, secrets, strength, awake, touch, passages, and so on). What Oh Comely says about their magazine:
...a curious, honest and playful independent magazine. It’s a place to meet strangers, hear their stories and look at life a little differently – where our readers are our writers and our models, too. Each issue we pick a theme and see where it takes us. We try something old, something new and something that scares us a bit. Then we present our findings in a beautiful, artbook style, putting new writing, photography and illustration talent at the heart of it. We believe good things come in threes. We began as the bedroom project of three pals at university and we’re now produced by a small publishing house started by another set of three friends. You can find us all over the world in small newsagents, indie mag shops and cafes. 
Frankie:
I struggle to find Frankie magazine where I'm currently living too, it was so easy to get hold of it in Exeter but in Cornwall... not so much. So I don't have recent copies to rave about. Only my small archive. I first discovered frankie in 2013, during my A-levels, while deciding what the hell I wanted to do at university. This was the first 'indie' print that I got my hands on. I found it tucked away in WHSmith and bought it before looking inside. Frankie is an Australian magazine and publishes bi-monthly. The covers of frankie are, quite frankly, works of art. I bloody love 'em. They look at design, art, photography, fashion, travel, music, craft, home, life, and much more. Also they have a brilliant website, where you can find articles too, very cute and perfect for young adults. 
What frankie says about their magazine:
frankie magazine is a national bi-monthly based in Australia, aimed at women (and men) looking for a magazine that’s as smart, funny, sarcastic, friendly, cute, rude, arty, curious and caring as they are. We cover design, art, photography, fashion, travel, music, craft, interiors and real-life stories – we aim to surprise and delight readers with every turn of our beautifully matte pages, and have a good old laugh while doing so.
Cereal
I slightly pricier 'indie' mag. But beautiful. I originally bought Cereal on a whim. I enjoyed it but I wasn't going to rebuy, originally. Then I listened to Filler podcast and they interviewed Rosa Park and I was obsessed with Rosa & Cereal magazine. Looking specifically at Travel & Style, mostly travel, it's a wonderful coffee table magazine. You can just flick through and read it at a leisurely pace. They didn't briefly produce the magazine monthly, but they've gone back to bi-annual publications now. Many of these magazines work so well because they aren't quickly massed produced every month. They take the time to create artbooks essentially. Alongside the Cereal magazine, they also create, city guidebooks and recently a photobook 'A Portrait of the British Isles' (here). 
What Cereal says about their magazine:
Cereal is a biannual, travel & style magazine based in the United Kingdom. Each issue focusses on a select number of destinations, alongside engaging interviews and stories on unique design, art, and fashion.

Bedboat
I fell in love with this magazine as soon as I saw the gold foiled 'bedboat' in my postbox. Their message is to 'live fearless' and I find reading these magazines so inspiring. Beautiful imagery, beautiful words, and the added bonus that a lot of the content creators are local. It's amazing to see my friends and people I know being shown off in print. They aren't a very regular magazine, but you can still get hold of the first issue now and I believe they're going to be publishing issue 4 soon!
What bedboat says about their magazine:
Live Fearless.

Bedboat is an independently published lifestyle magazine based in the UK. Our aim is to inspire readers to live fearlessly and creatively by promoting incredible people, places, and ideas.
We set out to produce an honest publication that shares stories, photos, and illustrations from makers and creators with a real passion for what they do.
We work broadly and cover all elements of lifestyle. Our rule is simply that we must be truly enthusiastic about everything we cover. We understand that our excitement for our content connects us deeply with our readers, and that they in turn become a part of who we are. We talk about food, fashion, music, human interest, travel, history, and so much more. Our mantra to live fearlessly has never meant jumping out of planes, or strutting naked down the street. To us, living fearlessly is about pursuing those social and lifestyle opportunities that come to us, and following the dreams we have without apology.
We love print, which is why we don’t currently offer an online version. We believe in the value of owning something that has been carefully curated. 
Other magazines/zines:
Negative Feedback (here)
splash and grab (here)

Links to where you can purchase these magazines:
Oh Comely Website (here)
Frankie Website (here)
Cereal Website (here)
Bedboat Website (here)
Splash and Grab Website (here)
Negative Feedback Website (here)
WHSmith (here)
NGNG (Exeter) - (here) The main place I used to buy my magazines, if you subscribe to their magazine 'club', they'll reserve your magazines when you come in AND you get a free soya latte when you collect! (Only reason I don't buy from them now is that I rarely go to Exeter anymore).

What magazines are you drawn towards? And are there any missing from this collection that you think I would love?
- K.B

Review: The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

Look who is FINALLY back with a book review. It's a real kick in the teeth when you realise that by having a reading slump you won't have any books to review for your blog. But we're starting off the reviews with some non-fiction. I'm a sucker for life/well-being/ways to change existence books. When The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up first hit the mainstream, I was straight on it! And I've done the same thing with The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well. 

The main reason I bought this book was that it was less than £5 on Amazon (link to the book here), and it had been on my book wishlist for a little while. And I do not regret it. 

Synopsis: "Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That's down to one thing: hygge. 'Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight...' You know hygge when you feel it. it is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right. Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. From picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating a hygge emergency kit and even how to dress, Meik's beautiful, inspiring book will help you be more hygge."

It's a perfect little book. 

Encompassing everything you love about being cosy/safe/relaxed into your day-to-day life, but also explaining why you feel this way, as well as including ways to make your life more hygge.

P.S. You pronounce 'hygge' as 'hooga'. FYI.

- K.B

Side Note: This was my 50th post since creating this new and 'improved' blog! Oh yea!

Mid/Late Summer TBR


After my last TBR post, I've made some decent headway. But now I have a whole new list of books that I want to read, from my own bookshelf. Some of these are from my last TBR, others I've bought since. I am slowly, but surely, trying to read every book on my bookshelf. Here is what I currently have left to read:

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Susie Salmon, murdered at age fourteen is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, while back on earth her grief-stricken family is unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy. This phenomenal #1 bestseller is a novel celebrated at once for its narrative artistry, its luminous clarity of emotion, and its astonishing power to lay claim to the hearts of millions of readers around the world. 
I've had this on my bookshelf for a few months now. I'm not sure why I haven't picked it up yet, it appeals to me and I have heard raving recommendations. I'm hoping to pick this one up before I go back to university though!

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
After Oliver Twist asks for more food, he has to flee the workhouse for the streets of London. Here he meets the Artful Dodger, who leads him to Fagin and his gang of pickpockets. When a thieving mission goes wrong, Oliver narrowly avoids prison and finds himself in the care of kind Mr. Brownlow. But Fagin and the brutal Bill Sikes go in search of the young orphan, determined to drag him back...
I have read this book before. I know exactly what happens. But I *really* want to read it again, now that I'm older and perhaps more appreciative of the Classics. 

See How They Lie by Sue Wallman
Mae's grown up at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where teens get the help they need from Mae's psychiatrist father. The Creek monitors every aspect of residents' daily life for optimal health and well-being, and everyone must follow strict rules. But after Mae is caught breaking the rules, she starts to question everything about how she lives. And at the Creek, asking questions can be danergous. 
I picked this book at the beginning of the summer. I saw it in Tesco but held off buying it, and by luck found it in a charity store for pennies of the original price. Winning. 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed... On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. Though curiously distant, he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations ring eerily true. As Nella uncovers the screts of her new household she realises the escalating dangers they face. the miniaturists seems to hold their fate in her hands - but does she plan to save or destroy them? 
I've had this book for so long, I'm starting to forget what my bookshelf was like before buying this book. I want to read it. But I never pick it up. I almost bought another book by Jessie Burton, but stopped myself after remembering how I still haven't picked up The Miniaturist!

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
Maud is forgetful. She mades a cup of tea and doesn't remember drinking it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognisable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger. But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it. Because somewhere in maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone, except Maud...
I bought this book 3 summer ago, I started to read it, and then forgot the book existed. I keep meaning to pick it back up. Hopefully I will, before the year is out.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Clary Fray is seeing things: vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhattan. Irresistibly drawn to the Shadowhunters, a secret group of warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City - and the dangers of forbidden love.  
I'm so behind with this book and series. I keep seeing other book posts talking about books further along in the series! I've not been drawn to vampires/werewolves/etc in books, but so many people speak about The Immortal Instrument series.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
A terrifying encounter with an escaped convict in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decaying Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactir - these form a series of events that changes the orphaned Pip's life forever, and he eagerly abandons his humble origins to begin a new life as a gentleman. Dicken's hautning late novel depcts Pip's education and development through adversuty as he discovers the true nature of his 'great expectations'. 
A classic that I'm yet to read.

Emma by Jane Austen
Emma Woodhouse 'had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her'. but during the course of this, the wisest and most disturbing of Jane Austen's novels, she at last reaps her share of the world's vexations, with consequences both comic and surprising. In this perfect comedy of manners the heroine learns to come to terms with the reality of oter people, and with her own erring nature, but in the process the small town of Highbury is convulsed by Emma's ill-judged schemes. 
Admittedly I bought this on a whim one day, from a charity store. If I don't read the classics on this list this year, I might, emphasis on the might, make next year the year of the classics for myself.

According to Yes by Dawn French
Manhattan's wealthy Upper east Side has its own rigid code of behaviour.One strictly adhered to by the Wilder-Bingham family. Emotional displays - unacceptable. Unruly behaviour - definately not welcome. Fun - no thanks. So when Rosie Kitto, an eccentric primary school teacher from England, bounces into this fortress of restrint with a heart as big as the city, the family quickly disocvers that she hasn't read the rule book. After a lifetime of saying no, what happens when everyone starts saying... yes?  
I have NEVER read any of Dawn French's novels. I know she hasn't written a fair few at this point, so hopefully this will be good and will lead me onto wanting to read the others.

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen by Paul Torday
When he is asked to become involved in a project to create a salmon river in the highlands of the Yemen, fisheries scientist Dr Alfred Jones rejecrs the idea as absurd. But the proposal catches the yee of severel senior British politicians. And so Fred finds himself forced to set aside his research and instead figure out how to fly ten thousand salmon to a desert country - and persuade them to swim there... As he embarks on an extraordinary journey of faith, and diffident Dr Jones will discover a sense of belief, and a capacity for love, that surprises himself, and all who know him.
I'm not sure when I bought this book, but it's on my bookshelf and eventually I will read it!

Finally,
The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff
It starts with a question, a simple favour asked by a wife of her husband while both are painting in their studio, setting off a transformation neither can anticipate. Uniting fact and fiction into an original romantic vision, The Danish Girl eloquently portrays the unique intimacy that defines every marriage and the remarkable story of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history, and the woman torn between loyalty to her marriage and her own ambitions and desires. 
I lent this book to my Mum almost a year ago, completely forgot I had even owned. Until the other day when it was returned to me. I've held off watching the film, with the intention to read the book. Hopefully, it will happen soon!

- K.B