Sunday, 11 March 2012

Happy Weekend - Part 2!

Hello again!


Hope you've all had a wonderful sunny weekend - it was 15 degrees here in Yorkshire today, and so lovely. How much of a difference does the sun make?? My Stepdad is currently watching Rugby (a game I don't really understand, but I think England are winning...?)

Here are a couple more pictures from @FatMumSlim's PhotoADay Challenge! Her blog is here and her challenge is to take a photo every day of March, under the category she provides. 




Picture Ten - Loud




This inconspicuous little Diet Coke bottle doesn't look loud, but it is when you're trying to open it without anyone noticing! I constantly get nagged about drinking too much of the stuff *sigh* which I know I do, but as I've pointed out to several people, there are worse vices to have, and at least I'm not harming anyone else! It keeps trying to give me away however, as opening this without anyone hearing is a skill I've had to learn haha!

Picture Eleven - Someone you talked to today



Because I'm sad and skint, the only people I've talked to today are my Mum, Stepdad, dog and several random people in Hebden Bridge. Therefore, I thought I'd post a snapshot of modern day 'talking.' I've spoken to several friends on Facebook this morning, and is an invaluable way of keeping in touch with people I don't see very often. I do think it's sad, and try to see people in real life as often as possible, but think Faceyb is very much a crucial part of modern life. 

Now to carry on where I left off yesterday with the books. This is where it gets more difficult, as I loved books more as I grew up, and reading very much became an escape from the mundaneness of real life. I can feasibly read a book in a day (if I do nothing else, obviously), and at the moment, my 3 hours/day on a train are proving so useful that I've run out of things to read (any book suggestions will be greatly received!!). Therefore, I don't really know what to choose that I read when I was a teenager. So I'll start with the most logical.

Harry Potter
As I mentioned in a previous post, I love Harry Potter, and got into it at the relatively early age of 9. I was lucky enough not to have to wait very long for the first three, as I started reading not long before the Prisoner of Azkaban came out. After that however, as I'm sure you all know, there were gaps of years between the books. I'm glad this was the case, because it only increased my anticipation for them; from Goblet of Fire onwards, I pre-ordered the books on Amazon, and waited eagerly by the front door for the postman on the day of release, often scaring the poor bloke. I would then retire to my bedroom and devour the whole book in one sitting, before dissecting it with the internet (none of my friends finished it quickly enough), then I'd wait anxiously for my friend Martha to finish reading it, so I could talk about it with somebody (it took all my willpower not to spoil it for her; fortunately for me, in the later years, the media usually ruined it, so I could talk about some bits without ruining it all). 

I don't know what it is about J. K. Rowling that makes the books so brilliant. She is, of course, an incredibly clever writer, tying up loose plot ends from early books in the final few, and including twists and turns that nobody expected (Dumbledore's gay??!), but a lot of writers do that, and they haven't achieved the level of success that she has. She also has amazing characters and a brilliant plot; people you can relate to, whilst remaining enough of a fantasy that you can detach from modern life, and submerge yourself in the world of Hogwarts. Again, lots of other writers have equally brilliant characters, that just don't seem to catch imaginations in the same way that Jo does. Perhaps it's a combination of the two, but whatever it is, Jo does it incredibly well, and she deserves every ounce of success that she gets. 

Opinion of HP is divided in my group of friends; half of us love it, probably to the point of obsession, and we would spend hours discussing what we thought would happen in the final book. (May I take this opportunity to brag that I predicted exactly what happened with Snape, and have the screenshot to prove it haha). My friend Martha and I, especially, would spend many walks to school having the same debates, often joined by Seth, and we could talk about it for hours. 
My friend Mel is another fanatic, and we've spent many an hour on the phone to one another raving about it, and I've been to see every film (from OoTP) on the opening night with her, and we're planning on going to Harry Potter Land in Orlando as soon as I get a job that actually pays me (I'm so excited, but aware of how much of a geek I'm sounding right now!). 

One of the great things about Harry Potter is the fact that the films are almost as amazing as the books. It obviously helps that JK Rowling has had a massive influence in the scripts and the casting (I LOVE the fact that it's all-British), and I love all of them (apart from the casting of David Thewlis as Remus Lupin. That's just wrong. Oh, and Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. I wish so much that Richard Harris hadn't died, as he was the PERFECT Dumbledore. Gambon is not.) The most perfect characters are Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid, Alan Rickman as Snape, Maggie Smith as McGonagall and Rupert Grint as Ron. Everyone else is magnificent as well (Daniel Radcliffe grew on me), and the films are the perfect addition to the books.

I'm devastated now though, that there will be no more hype/anticipation about Potter in the future. It was a huge part of my childhood, and it almost horrifies me that children nowadays can read all seven books in a row, with no gap in between. The anticipation leads to greater enjoyment of the books I think, as you build up in your mind what's going to happen/what you want to happen, then devour the book to find out whether you were right. If I were Prime Minister, I would enact a law which meant that children were given a Harry Potter book on their 11th birthday, and they weren't allowed to read the next one until their next birthday. That way, they'd grow up with the characters as we did, and the anticipation would be the same. Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen, but as long as people read the books that's fine by me. The amount of people I've met who have seen the films but haven't read the books devastates me, and I think this should be banned. The films are brilliant, but it's not the same. If people don't want to read them, they should at least have to listen to Stephen Fry's audiobooks. 

I'm delighted to learn however, that J. K. Rowling IS writing again. It's not Potter (I think I'm grateful for that), but it's a book aimed at adults. I'm ridiculously excited (the first thing I did when I wrote it was to text Mel), and can't wait for more information. She is an incredible writer, and I owe her a large amount of my childhood. (And adulthood)



It was at this point in my life as well where, much to the disappointment of my Mum, I started to get into *shockhorror* ...ChickLit. Now I don't see a problem with this; it's not as if I was reading absolute dross, I was reading books by authors such as Sophie Kinsella and Belinda Jones, but to my Mum it was as if I'd started to read the Daily Mail!! They remain some of my favourite books to this day however, so I'm going to include them in my list.

Belinda Jones
My friend Ellie and I share a love of Belinda Jones; it's easy reading without being complete dross, and you get to travel in your head to loads of exotic locations. Our favourite book is 'I Love Capri' - a romance novel which doesn't quite end in romance (although if you read 'The Love Academy,' one of her later books, you get a surprise happy ending, something which I was very excited about).

Sophie Kinsella
My love affair with Sophie Kinsella started, not with Shopaholic as many of you would assume, but with a book called 'Can You Keep a Secret?' It's about a girl who spills all her secrets to a random guy on a plane when they experience extreme turbulence, only to find out that he's her boss! Brilliant story. And of course, the Shopaholic series is fantastic as well, even if it does make me cringe every time I read them! I'm not too keen on her most recent books however, but hopefully this will change.

Contrary to the beliefs of my Mum, this wasn't all I read as a teenager. Phillip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' remain some of my favourite books, and I started reading them in my early teens. I also read 'The Hobbit' when I was about 11 and loved it! I still can't get into Lord of the Rings however, and I'm not sure why. I think there's far too much description, though I can't get into the films either. I also read 'Sophie's World' in my teens. I think it was initially helped by the fact that she had the same name as me, but I soon got into the book, and it fascinated me. I love Jostein Gaarder's other works as well, including 'The Solitaire Mystery' and  'The Christmas Mystery.'

  

One of my favourite books of all time will remain 'The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank.' I've always been fascinated by history - even as a child I'd read books on the Civil War and the Egyptians, and I used to love the 'Horrible Histories' - and this was a snapshot for me into real life history. It brought an event I'd heard so much about to life, and completely enthralled me.

I'm sure there were many more books that I loved, but they've all merged into one unfortunately (apart from the extra-special ones that I'm saving for the end), so if anyone else can remember what they read as a kid or a teenager, please comment, because if there's one thing I love more than anything it's nostalgia).

Books as an adult
As an adult, I'm fairly difficult to please. A book has to either really grip me, or be really easy reading. I've only just got back into reading for pleasure after University, and so something has to be incredible, or just fun for me to get into it. Below is a snapshot of a few select pickings of my bookshelf. Another thing my Mum hates about me, is the fact that I absolutely cannot throw books away. I love to re-discover a book, and often have a bit of a random plot playing at the back of my mind that will bug me until I re-read the book again. I therefore am allowed to keep a few in the house, but the rest I have to keep in boxes in my garage. I can't wait until I get my own house; I'm going to have a room dedicated just to books. I'm so excited. For now, here are a few of my favourites:


For those that can't see, from top to bottom, left to right they are:
* Andy Kirkpatrick - Cold Wars - I've gotten really into reading mountaineering and climbing books at the moment. I'll never be fit or brave enough to do any of that stuff, but I can do it in my head :)
* Take That - because I'm a saddo and it was cheap
* Jodi Picoult - Change of Heart - all her books are getting a bit samey now, but I love a few of them, mainly because my friends started off with 'The Pact' and thought it was incredible, so I'll always have a soft-spot
* Stephen Fry - Moab is My Washpot - he is my hero.
* Stephen Fry - The Fry Chronicles - see above
* Jodi Picoult - Handle With Care - one of my favourites
* Eat, Pray, Love - I want to go everywhere she's been, I love her
* The Long Walk - about a people escaping from Russian prison camps - combines my love of history, travel and a good book
* PS, I Love You - a classic from high school, and still a fave
* Marley and Me - makes me cry every time, mainly because I have a labrador so can empathise
* I Don't Know How She Does It - just a chick-lit, but one that I love for reasons I'm not sure of
* I Love Capri - see the Belinda Jones section above
* Sophie's World - again see above
* Jodi Picoult - Nineteen Minutes - again, one of her best
* The Piano Teacher - a brilliant novel, a bit hard to get into but worth it
* My Best Friend's Girl - Dorothy Koomson is another of my favourite authors, and this is her best book by far
* One Day - was raved about last year and rightly so. Not my favourite book ever, but still brilliant
* Tiny Sunbirds Far Away - I only read this a few weeks ago, but it's about the political situation in Nigeria, without being really hard to read. Love it.
* What About Me? - another chick-lit, but from a mother/daughter perspective
* Jodi Picoult - My Sister's Keeper - her best ever book I think

Of course there are so many more that I'd love to include, but if I did so, this post would never end. The thing I love most about books is that you can disappear into someone's life for a short-space of time, and you don't have to think about anything else. You can travel to places you'd love to go and do the things you'd love to do in the comfort of your bedroom (until you can afford to do them for real of course!)

There are of course, a few special books that hold special places in my heart. And so I thought I'd reserve a section to talk about them. I can't really explain why they're so special, or why I love them so much, but I do. And so here they are:

Michelle Magorian
I love every single one of her books that has ever been written. All of them. They're mostly about childhood in the early twentieth century, and I have read them over, and over and over again.
  
 


The Childrens' Classics
I can't pick a favourite from any of these (although the What Katy Did series will always be up there), but I read them over and over, from childhood onwards, and still love them to this day.

  

  




The Large Family
Jill Murphy's 'The Large Family' books are some of my favourite of all time, as is 'Peace at Last.' We had pictures of this on our bathroom and bedroom walls, and is one of my all-time favourites.

    

I've just remembered one of my favourite memories to do with reading; when I was three, I was in hospital because some stupid person pushed me off a fence with a space hopper and I cracked my head open. I wasn't seriously injured, but had to stay in overnight because it was a head injury. The only thing I remember from my short-stay in hospital, is throwing up sat on my Mum's knee in a wheelchair, screaming because I didn't want to be X-Rayed, and crying because I hadn't gotten chance to read all the Thomas the Tank Engine books before they sent me home!

When my brother and I were little, we used to listen to story-tapes before we went to sleep (that's right children of the 21st Century, no computer games, iPads or phones!), and our favourites were Rosie and Jim, Spot the Dog and Fantastic Mr. Fox; I always used to make my brother get up to turn the tape over (that's right, it wasn't automatic then!) as he was on the bottom bunk. Love it.

There are also loads of books that I've remembered along the way that I've wanted to put on here, but couldn't find a space for them, so here are even more of my favourites:

* Ning Nang Nong - poem by Spike Milligan
* Lord of the Flies
* The Borrowers
* Winnie the Pooh
* Owl Babies
* The Owl that was afraid of the Dark
* Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret?
* The Babysitter's Club
* Animal Farm
* 1984
* Animal Ark (literally just remembered this, I used to LOVE it!!)
* Spot the Dog
* Kipper
* We're Going On a Bear Hunt (can't believe I left this out earlier, it's INCREDIBLE!)
* Winnie the Witch
* Mog
* Narnia
* The Velveteen Rabbit
* Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (I read this when I was quite little, and everybody should read it!)
* Room - Emma Donoghue
* Carrie's War - (the first and only book that had ever given me a nightmare!)

I'm sure there are others, and I'm sure I'll kick myself as soon as I post this, but this is all I can think of for now. Please, please leave comments about your own favourite books, memories to do with books or reading, as I'd love to hear them :)

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Saturday, 10 March 2012

Happy weekend!

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Hello, happy weekend to everyone :)

I've been better these last few days about keeping up to date with @FatMumSlim's Photo A Day Challenge (see the post below the one below), and I'm really enjoying it. I love taking pictures anyway, and the added challenge of trying to be creative with this is really fun.

Picture Eight - Window




Not especially creative, but it is the window in my bedroom. I never open the main blind because I'm on the ground floor, so the world and his wife could look in and see...well, just me faffing around on the computer, but it feels a bit weird, so I leave the two at the side open for daylight haha. As you can see, there are more pictures, my boxes (with cakes on!!) for my jewellery and stuff, a few random cards, fairylights, my Eeyore mug, some sunflowers and pretty Diet Coke bottles that I keep meaning to put flowers in. On the walls surrounding it, you can see even more photos, my noticeboard with lots of random things on it and my Take That calendar. All in all, a pretty good snapshot of my life, just by looking at a window. I didn't know I was so easily summarised haha!

Picture Nine - Red




As you can probably tell, I just picked up the first few red things I saw in my room. My cherry body butter (I love the stuff but always forget to use it, so I currently have 5 different types piled up on my shelf!), my Poppy purse from Octopus which I love (does Octopus even exist anymore, it was my absolute favourite shop for a while, and now I can't find it anywhere??). The third item is a hat in the colours of the Mali flag, which I bought in my first week out there, when we went to watch Mali play in the semi-finals of the women's Afrobasketball tournament. The atmosphere of that game was incredible - Vuvuzelas, drums, singing and chanting, all for women's basketball! - and a really good memory.

I know it's time for the 10th photo, but I'll have to post that tomorrow, as the theme is 'loud' and I know what I want to take,  but can't do it until later.

I've decided that I really enjoy blogging! I like waffling anyway, and usually no-one listens to me, but here it doesn't matter whether people listen to me or not! Happiness on both sides :)

The perks/perils of having a Mum who's a teacher, is that she often brings things home/reminds you of things about being a kid. One of my favourite things when I was little (and now) was reading. I've been told that I taught myself to read before I went to school (no idea how true this is, as I don't remember, obviously), but one of my first, vivid memories of school is of being sat in the Reception class, and being told I was the first person to move on from those little word cards you used to get, onto actual books. Looking back now, I'm not sure how that's progression, because those books (Biff, Chip and Kipper, remember those??) only had about three words in them!

But anyway, I thought I'd take this opportunity to show you my favourite books for each stage of my life, because books have always been really important to me, and still are :)

Books from when I was really little


Dogger
Despite the slightly suspect title (I'm fairly certain that Shirley Hughes knew nothing of dogging when she wrote it), this is the sweetest, most amazing book ever. For those who haven't read it, it's about a little boy who loves this messed up, scruffy little stuffed dog, and loses him at a school fair. No other toys are the same, even the big fluffy bear that his sister wins, and he's really sad because he can't find him. Eventually, he sees Dogger at one of the stalls, but is too late and another little boy wins him. He's really upset because the other kid won't give him back, but then his sister swaps her new fuzzy bear for scruffy old Dogger. It's so sweetly written,  and brilliantly illustrated and just the cutest thing ever!


The Bad Tempered Ladybird


This book is again beautifully written, and beautifully illustrated as all good childrens' books should be. The Bad Tempered ladybird picks a fight with every animal he sees, never satisfied that they are big enough to fight with, even as the animals get bigger and bigger with every one he meets. He soon however, learns the importance of being nice to animals (it gets late and he gets hungry) and it ends with him sharing a nice dinner of aphids with a friendly lady ladybird. Love it :)





The Rainbow Fish


The first time I read this was in primary school, and it captured my imagination brilliantly, as I imagine it does to every child who reads it. It's not so much the story I remember about this book, as the illustrations, and the beautiful shiny pieces on the fish. My Mum, for her classroom, had a piece of fabric that looked like the rainbow fish, and even at the age of 15 I really wanted it!
For those who want a brief synopsis of the story though, basically the Rainbow fish is beautiful, but he has no friends. He then makes these friends by giving them one of his beautiful scales, until he has none left either, so he is no longer as beautiful but is much happier. A good moral I think.




Threadbear








One of my favourite books of all time, EVER! I don't really know why (apart from the fact that Mick Inkpen is fabulous), and again it had wonderful illustrations. (I just remembered Kipper, another wonderful book by Mick Inkpen, but I don't think I have space to include that as well). Threadbear has always had a squeaker in his tummy that has never squeaked, and it makes Threadbear sad. He travels to the North Pole to see whether Father Christmas can fix it for him!




Alfie and Annie Rose




Shirley Hughes is such a magnificent childrens' writer that I just had to include two of her books. Alfie and Annie Rose are brother and sister, and Shirley writes several storybooks about their adventures. The ones I remember the most, are when they set up a stall selling things they found in their garden, or when Alfie camped out all night and found things really scary, even though it was just his back garden.
My little brother (he's two in May) is called Alfie, so this was obviously one of the first things I bought him (in fact I bought him all of these! The only one I couldn't find was Threadbear!).





The Very Hungry Caterpillar


Now here's a book that needs no introduction! Everybody knows The Very Hungry Caterpillar! Again with beautiful illustrations, pull out sections and just really well written, this book is a classic and definitely should be! For those of you who haven't read it (have you been living underground??), it's about a caterpillar who turns into a butterfly, but he gets very hungry along the way so eats lots of things. You have to see it to realise why it's so amazing I think.


The Jolly Postman


I forgot this book existed until last Christmas when I saw it in Waterstones, and immediately wanted to buy it (I just managed to resist sadly). It's a wonderful, interactive book about letters. The Jolly Postman delivers letters to classic children's characters, and it has actual post within the book! It's incredible, and just talking about it makes me want to buy it again! It's written by the same people who wrote Funnybones (another incredible book), Please Mrs. Butler and the Ha! Ha! Bonk! jokebook, all of which I had when I was a kid.




Books from when I was a bit older
When I was a bit older, I started enjoying books even more, and wanted something with more of a story. I was an avid reader, and so there are far too many to name all of the ones that I loved, so I'm going to name a few authors, and a few individual books I think.

Dick King Smith


Dick King Smith is one of the best children's authors ever, and I was really sad when he died last year. I loved Sophie's Adventures (I would imagine this was helped by the fact that she was called Sophie haha), and in my opinion, Hodgeheg is one of the best books ever written. Ever!

Flat Stanley
Flat Stanley


Flat Stanley is a brilliant book, and one that I read over and over again. It's about a boy called Stanley who got squashed flat one day, and about all the adventures he subsequently got up to. He pretended to be a painting to catch a burglar, he posted himself in a letter and he let his brother use him as a kite before he returned to his original size again. Clever and funny.







The Worst Witch
The Worst Witch (Young Puffin Story Books)

This book was brilliant, and really got me into reading series of books. It's also one of the only books that I enjoyed the TV adaptation of. It's a book about Mildred Hubble, who attends Cackle's Academy for Witches. She's a rubbish witch and always ends up in trouble, and has a deadly enemy by the name of Ethel. Jill Murphy also wrote some incredible books for younger children, including 'Peace at Last' which I might have to dedicate a special section to!





Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's WebbThe first book I read in which I realised books could be emotional and make you cry, and in fact some of the best books do so. For those who haven't read it, go out and buy it now. It's about a pig called Wilbur, a spider called Charlotte and a little girl called Fern, and is an emotional rollercoaster of a story that really makes you think, laugh and cry, even as an adult.
Tom's Midnight Garden







Tom's Midnight Garden
Tom's Midnight Garden is, and will remain one of my favourite books ever. It's about a boy who goes to live with his aunt for the summer, and resigns himself to boredom, but instead finds mystery and adventure. When the clock strikes Thirteen, and mystical garden appears outside the house, with all manner of strange people and adventures.
Stig of the Dump (Puffin Books)
Stig of the Dump
This is another book that should need no introduction. It's about a boy called Barney, who meets a man called Stig, who lives in a disused chalk quarry. The man is a little odd though, as he looks a bit like a caveman, and can speak in nothing but grunts. Nobody believes Barney when he tells his family about Stig, so he spends his days visiting the man, bringing him presents and teaching him the ways of modern life. In return, Stig teaches Barney, and they have many adventures together.








Dear GreenpeaceDear Greenpeace
This book should probably be with the little kids books above, but I love it so much that I just have to include it here, because I read it over and over for as long as I can remember. It's again got beautiful illustrations, and is about a little girl who has a whale living in her pond, and believes it is unhappy, so sends many letters to Greenpeace asking advice. Greenpeace initially don't believe her, but finally help her to set the whale free. 










Jacqueline Wilson

I love Jacqueline Wilson with all my heart, and believe that she is an amazing, brilliant, fantastic author for older children, because she touches on real life issues, such as eating disorders, divorce, mental health issues and children in care. And she does so in a way that is phenomenally touching, funny and interesting, and keeps children hooked. I love her. I can't name all of her books that I love because there are too many, but some of my favourites are:
* Tracy Beaker
* Girls In Love
* The Lottie Project
* The Suitcase Kid
* The Illustrated Mum
* Double Act
* Bad Girls
* The Bed and Breakfast Star


Roald Dahl

I couldn't do a list like this and not mention Roald Dahl. I know it's a bit of a cliché to include him, but that's because he is so amazingly incredible, and I love his books so much. I also love the illustrations by Quentin Blake, and don't think his books would be the same without them. Again, some of my favourites are: 

* Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
* Esio Trot
* Fantastic Mr Fox
* James and the Giant Peach
* Matilda 
* The BFG
* The Witches
* The Enormous Crocodile
* The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me
* The Twits

Everything about Roald Dahl is amazing; he's got so many children into reading, and may he long continue to do so. 

Enid Blyton

I couldn't not put Enid Blyton on here. She was my absolute favourite author when I was a kid, even when I was too old to read her stuff, and even now she brings back fond memories. I've been sure to continue that by buying her books for my little cousin, who is almost as into reading as I was. Here are some of my Enid faves: 

* The Magic Faraway Tree
* Malory Towers
* Famous Five
* Secret Seven
* Wishing Chair Adventures
* St Clare's

And I have a lot to thank Enid Blyton for really. I'll share a little story with you; when I was in Year 4 at primary school (about 9 years old), we used to go to the library every week to choose a book. As I've said, I was a tad obsessed with Enid Blyton and would, without fail, pick one of her books (I can still picture where the shelf was in the library), even if it was one that I'd read a million times before. My teacher knew that I was capable of reading much more challenging things, and wanted to push me out of my comfort zone, but despite him telling me millions of times, I always, always chose Enid. One day, he'd had enough, and banned me from getting an Enid Blyton (I was devastated). He asked the librarian to choose a book for me that was still fun, but more challenging, and (bearing in mind that this was 1999 and before all the hype), she came out with......

And the rest, as they say, is history! I was hooked, and continued to get all of the books as soon as they came out, dying with anticipation, even as a small child. I got the Prisoner of Azkaban as a present for a good report when it came out in July 1999, so I must have devoured the first two pretty quickly! Of course I would have gotten into them eventually, but I have Mr. Cockroft, the librarian, and of course Enid Blyton for showing me the ways so quickly, so I could enjoy them as much as possible!

I have so much more I want to say about books (because I'm a saddo), but I feel this post is getting a little long now, and people are probably getting bored and I want my lunch. Therefore, I'll post more this afternoon or tonight. Please leave your comments on your favourite books, or your favourite memories about reading, I'd love to hear them, as it's something that's very close to my heart!

Lots of love xx


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Teenage Granny

Forgot to mention on the post below, and can't be bothered to go and edit. It's more prominent if I do a separate post anyway; the person that inspired me to blog more is Teenage Granny aka Scarlett Curtis. She's quirky, funny and writes brilliant blogs (mainly about her love of baking, knitting or her dog, Posy) which make brilliant reading, and have kept me entertained for hours on end. If you have the time, you definitely need to go and read her blog!

The life of an intern...

Hello all!

Sorry for those of you who are avid readers of my blog (i.e. nobody), and those of you who just happened to stumble across it because you were bored one afternoon (yes, I'm on to you; stop procrastinating and get back to studying!). I haven't posted in a while because, despite my reservations, I took the NSPCC internship that I was talking about before. Turns out to have been a good decision! Yes I'm skint, and am out of the house for 12 hours a day, working full time four days a week for a job that I don't get paid for, but the people are lovely, I'm learning lots and will have a huge amount to put on my CV which is always good!

The downside to it is that I have to leave the house at 6.45am, and don't return until at least 6.45pm, which is a long day. It is only 4 days per week however, and so worth it! I'm working in the HR department (something that is NOT  a long term career goal, believe me!), organising training courses and doing quite a bit of administrative work, as well as editing bits of the website and other things. As I said, it's not the most riveting thing in the world, but it's fairly straightforward, lots of good experience and I seem to be picking things up ok. I've been doing a bit of job shadowing and extra work as well; the week after next, I'm shadowing someone from the fundraising department, which I'm really excited about, as I've decided that that's where I really want to work! I'd love to work organising some of the challenge events I think. So although it sucks not being paid for it, and I don't think I could do it for more than three months, I'm enjoying it and think it will be more than worth it.

Other than that, there's not really much going on in my life, as per usual. Pottering around with the dog; I did get to see my friends last weekend which was lovely. I miss them living in silly Yorkshire, and it's always amazing seeing them (soppy I know).

In an attempt to make my life seem exciting, I've decided to follow @fatmumslim's Photo a Day challenge. Her blog is here and her challenge is to take a photo every day of March, under the category she provides.




I'm starting a bit behind, so I cheated a bit and took 1-7 all today, but I'll start doing it properly as of tomorrow.

Picture One - Up




I looked up and saw, on top of the fridge, the remnants from Christmas. Every year we buy a Christmas pudding that no-one eats, because only my Stepdad likes it, but of course "It wouldn't be Christmas without it!"

Picture Two - Fruit




We didn't have anything particularly inspiring in our fruit bowl as we've just had my Stepsisters for the weekend and don't go to Tesco until tomorrow (our sad little routine) so I made do with what we had. Was tempted to use this for the 'Smile' category too :)

Picture Three - Your Neighbourhood




I could have gone out and taken some pictures of the hills, but I was too lazy and, as you can see, it was snowing (yes, in March, welcome to Yorkshire!) so I'll save that for another day. It's still quite pretty, or it would be without the houses in the way.

Picture Four - Bedside




I wasn't sure what to do for this one at first, as there isn't anything particularly inspiring at my bedside, but then I spotted my chocolate doggy snoozing, and so took one at HIS bedside. He's too cute for his own good really.

Picture Five - A Smile


Again I wasn't sure what to do for this one, as you really don't want my ugly mug on here, so I decided to take one of half of one of my bedroom walls. As you can see, I love photos, and can't resist displaying all of them at once. There are plenty of smiles on here, and it always makes me smile when I see it, so thought it would qualify. All my free walls have photos on them, and in the middle of this lot is a world map, which I stick stickers onto when I've been somewhere; I love to travel too so this equals lots of smiles and happy memories. 

Picture Six - 5pm


Really unimaginative here, although it is a nice clock. 5pm in my kitchen, sitting writing this blog

Picture Seven - Something You Wore


The top on the left is one I wore yesterday, one of my favourites from Mantaray (a make from Debenhams which is really pretty and one of the only shops nowadays that does shops that flatter my shape). I have three others in different colours and wear them pretty much every day. The two on the left are new ones that I bought (very cheaply) from eBay after I extended my overdraft as a treat. I tend to wear things to death, and wear the same things every day so, especially now I've started a job where I have to look relatively smart, it's nice to have some new things to wear. In the middle is my make-up bag (one I bought while I was in Africa) and I wear make-up everytime I have to go out because (even at 21 years old) I have awful skin.

 I started getting spots at the young and innocent age of 9, and used to dream of the day when I would have lovely skin. Fortunately I've gone past the days when I had to use cream that bleached the hell out of my clothes, but I still have to use Clearasil, and feel like a teenager everytime I use it. I didn't wear makeup for three months while I was in Africa, and my skin  didn't improve at all, so now I don't even feel guilty about wearing it. I only wear concealer, foundation and a bit of eyeliner and mascara so not too bad!

I've decided I really like this challenge. It makes me think, and then start waffling about really random things haha! I'll love you and leave you for now, but expect to hear from me much more often now I've started doing this challenge.

Ciao!