Saturday, 28 June 2014

Life Updates: Current Life in Verbs

reading // Magician by Raymond E. Feist. I am really really enjoying it, it's a whole new fantasy world to delve into, with so many characters and according to my dad, it just gets better and better and better. I could not be any more excited to keep reading this book.

listening // To Glastonbury highlights on BBC2, feeling incredibly rubbish because I'm not there and I definitely have festival blues since I'm not going to one this year. *sob sob*

hoping // That I'm going to continue enjoying my new job that I started this week. I've been lucky enough to land a job even closer to home than my last one, and I'm enjoying it even more at the minute, so that's always good news!

watching // Doctor Who (no change there then). But I've actually decided to rewatch every episode, in order, since the start of the New Generation Doctors, aka, from Chrisopher Eccleston's first series. The reason I'm doing this is because I'm going to Cardiff next weekend to go to the Doctor Who experience there and I am so so so so so so so so so so so (so) excited. Every time I think about it I want to scream with excitement. So yeah, I'm currently nearly halfway through Donna's series- Series 4.

anticipating // So many things! The Doctor Who Experience, a week in Scotland with my family and our family friends (pretty much my second parents and brothers essentially), a week in the sun somewhere we haven't booked yet, hopefully a trip down south to visit Highclere Castle (where Downton Abbey is filmed) and to visit the Harry Potter studio tour. If this trip gets sorted and booked, I can guarantee I'll be bouncing off the walls with excitement.

loving // My new shoes. My mum treated me to a pair of heeled burgundy suede Mary-Janes and I've worn them every day since, even if it's just been to tidy my room or to make some food. There is something about them that make me feel very classy and elegant and I just love love LOVE them.

enjoying // Penny Dreadful. If you follow me over on Twitter (@katy_who) then you'll know that every week when I watch this show I waffle on about how much I adore it. Now, it's only the first series, but never before have I been so captivated by a TV show after so little episodes. It's basically a surreal, freaky, dark, horror thriller set in the Victorian times, with darkly lovable characters (even some famous ones creep in, such as Victor Frankenstein and Dorian Gray), a remarkably talented cast including Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Billie Piper and Timothy Dalton, and some seriously WEIRD storylines. Basically it's everything I've ever wanted in a TV show. Catch it on Sky Atlantic on Tuesday nights, or on Showtime if you're an American reader. Or I'm sure it'll be online somewhere if you look far enough.

How has your life been going lately, doing anything interesting now it's summer? I'd love to hear!
Until next time,

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Summer reads

Hey guys! How nice has the weather been lately? Now it's officially summer, holidays are approaching, as are lazy weekends in the garden or weeks by the pool if some of you are lucky enough to have a holiday in the sun booked! And nothing goes hand in hand more with lazy holidays than a good book. I've got a whole three months off before I go back to university so I've compiled a list of books that I want to read whilst I have all of this spare time over the summer and I thought I'd share it with you guys, in case you're in need of a read too!

  • "Magician" by Raymond E. Feist. Currently reading this and LOVING it, I'm such a fan of fantasy novels, especially if they're set in a completely fictional world. I just started this book and it is ticking all the boxes of a high quality fantasy book. Plus my dad has been trying to get me to read it since I pretty much learnt to read, and if my dad loves it, I can guarantee it will be a good 'un.
  • "A Great and Terrible Beauty" by Libba Bray. I have heard SO much praise for the Gemma Doyle novels and it's been sitting in my "to-read" list on Goodreads for such a long time and I think this summer I'm going to sink my teeth into it. Anyone who knows me at all will know that I simply adore anything set in the Victorian era, so add a female protagonist, a Gothic setting and the fantasy genre and you'll have me jumping around with excitement at the prospect of finally getting to read this!
  • "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" by Laini Taylor. This is yet another novel that I've heard nothing but wonderful things about. A novel half set in Prague and half set in a fantasy world sounds incredibly interesting, plus the opening lines of the blurb are so intriguing: "Errand requiring immediate attention. Come. The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things. When Brimstone called, she always came. How much do you now want to know everything about everyone mentioned in that tiny passage?!
  • "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss. Now, this is an author and a novel that I've never come across before, but yesterday  I bumped into an old friend in Waterstones. She had a tattoo on her forearm and another on her collarbone and when I enquired, she explained they were quotes from this novel. She walked me straight over to the shelf this book was sitting on and insisted that I read it because she knew how much I'd love it. So I have no idea what it's about but with such a glowing recommendation, how could I resist adding it onto this list?
  • "The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch. In all honesty, even reading the blurb, I am not entirely sure what this is about, but Patrick Rothfuss (author of the above novel) rated it 5 stars, as does pretty much everyone else who's read it on Goodreads. I find the title really enthralling and there's just something about it that makes me want to dive into the world of Locke Lamora. 
  • "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs. I have been dying to read this book for YEARS. Literally, years and years. I don't know why I haven't got round to reading it, but I am adamant that I will get round to it this summer. A haunting fantasy novel set on a mysterious island in an abandoned orphanage accompanied with vintage photographs throughout the novel. It. Sounds. FASCINATING.
  • "Seraphina" by Rachel Hartman. I'd be totally lying if I said dragons wasn't the main reason this ended up on my "to-read" list. I love a good dragon novel, especially considering I'm probably The Inheritance Cycle's biggest fan, and I've been at a loss since finishing those books, and I'm constantly searching for something to fill the dragon-shaped void in my heart and hopefully this book can do that for me!
  • "The Strange Affair of  Spring Heeled Jack" by Mark Hodder. Now, I think this is a little different to all of the other books on this list, as it's a mixture of fact and fiction. But don't you just love reading a book that includes real historical figures, and then when you fact check you realise that some of the things in this work of fiction ACTUALLY happened?! Well, I do. And the protagonist in this book is none other than 19th Century scholar and explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton. He, and (yet again, another real person) poet Algernon Charles Swinburne end up investigating assaults on young women by a mysterious character known as Spring Heeled Jack. And hey, why not add a few werewolves in there too?!
Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think of them? If you want to have a look at any of the other books I'd like to read, or the one's I've read already, head over to my Goodreads here. I hope this helped you find a few new books, or inspired you to get reading again! 

Until next time my dears! 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Sunshine, daisy-chains and picnics

Is there a better way to enjoy this beautiful weather we've been having than by spending it with a best friend?

That's precisely how I've spent today! I stopped over at my lovely friend Beth's last night, and we watched Aquamarine, painted our nails, drank hot chocolates and talked endlessly and it was wonderful! Today we had a lie in and then wandered down to nearby Towneley Hall and spent the afternoon lounging around in the grounds, eating the picnic we'd made up, making daisy chains and soaking up the beautiful rays.

(what's a sunny day with a best friend if it doesn't include far too many selfies?)

How have you been enjoying this beautiful weather? I'd love to hear!

Until next time,

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Caster Chronicles -spoiler free-

The Caster Chronicles
Rating: 4/5
Genre: YA Fantasy/Urban Fantasy
For lovers of: Fantasy novels, romance, definitely for fans of The Mortal Instruments/The Infernal Devices

A year ago (nearly to the day) my best friend and I were at a loss for something to watch at the cinema, and after watching the trailer for Beautiful Creatures, we decided we'd check it out. The began my adoration for all things Caster Chronicles. Now, the film is wonderful, but as a Literature student and all round bookworm, of course I had to read the book. 

For those of you yet to delve into the wonders of these brilliant Young Adult novels, I'll give you a quick overview of what they're about:

Ethan Wate, a high school student stuck in a tiny (fictional) town called Gatlin in South Carolina, keeps dreaming about a mysterious girl. To his utter amazement, the girl of his dreams (in both ways of the interpretation) is new to town and walks into a class at his school. Lena, the mysterious girl turns out to be a Caster, a person who possesses magical abilities and her 16th birthday is approaching. On her 16th birthday, Lena will either be claimed for the Light side of magic, or the Dark. Thus begins an epic love story, in a sleepy American town with magical secrets. In the following three stories we meet more characters, more mythical creatures, and waaaay more complications. Suddenly Lena's claiming seems an almost petty problem in hindsight, when so much more complexity is awaiting Ethan and Lena in the following few years.

I'd recommend these books to anyone in need of a bit of light reading, Young Adult novels tend to get a lot of stick, but I don't feel like there's a level of immaturity within these books. Instead I feel like they can be enjoyed by everyone, old and young, male and female. They are written from Ethan's perspective, and this adds a lot more depth and insight into the stories and honestly, it's impossible not to fall in love with Gatlin and it's inhabitants. Each book gets darker, more exciting, and by the final book, the tension, confusion and excitement really comes to a head.  I could not predict what was going to happen with these stories, and for me that's a big deal, since I've usually worked out the plotline by the second chapter!

So yes, I would 11110000% recommend checking these books out, and if you've seen the film, don't let that put you off! I hope you fall in love with Ethan, Lena and Gatlin as much as I did.

If you've read them before or are now fancying giving them a try, let me know in the comments!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Maleficent Review ~spoiler free~

Hey guys!

Last night I went to see Maleficent, Disney's newest big live-action film and I have to admit, as Sleeping Beauty's biggest fan, I was preeeetty nervous about seeing it transformed into live-action, and to see it from a different perspective.

My anxiety however was compleeeetely unneeded!! The cinematography and CGI is absolutely mind-blowing. "The Moors", the fairy/mythical land in the film is genuinely one of the most magical and stunning fantasy places I've ever seen, and my heart yearned to become a fairy and grow wings and just live in a place that is that beautiful.

The story itself is pretty much faultless as well. The only downside I could find within was the character development, as it was just about an hour an a half long, a good extra 15 or so minutes of character depth could've been added to characters other than Aurora (played by the lovely Elle Fanning) and  Maleficent (played by the phenomenal Angelina Jolie), such as King Stefan and his mental state in the latter stages of the film. Other than that it was immensely captivating to see Maleficent as a child, and watch her grow and develop and finally understand why it is that we know her as the ultimate Disney baddy. I genuinely can't imagine anyone else adopting Maleficent the way Angelina Jolie has, she is flawless, giving the role just the right amount of vulnerability as well as her most famous evil badassery!

To learn why Maleficent is as dark and twisted as she is, and to see her relationship with the beautiful and heart-warming Aurora, as well as spell-bounding special effects, a stunning setting and a really truly lovely story that subverts any previous misconceptions we may have had about the story of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent really is a wonderful film for all of the family to love.

I hope you're all having a lovely week, until next time, all my love,

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Advice from a Fresher..

.. to all potential/imminent freshers starting this coming September or in the future.

Hey guys! SO. I just finished my first year at university. Which feels ridiculously surreal considering I literally feel as though I just moved in and had to conquer living alone and making friends in a city I'd visited twice.

Whilst I've hit quite a few barriers on my journey as a fresher, I genuinely feel like a better, slightly different person. I feel like I've gone from having the odd friend to having several wonderful, amazing, kind people in my life who I now can't imagine life without. I have however learnt so so much this past year about myself and life in general and  I feel like I want to pass this information along to people about to start university feeling as nervous as I did, this time last September.

  • Throw yourself into it. This sounds simple but believe me, it's all too easy to be overwhelmed by the whole experience of moving in and being surrounded by new people and if you're anything like me, all you'll want to do is hide. Now of course, hiding occasionally is completely fine, we all need our alone time! But freshers week/fortnight/pretty much the first month I guarantee is when you're gonna make the friends you'll have for the next year, if not longer. Everyone on the first day knows pretty much no one, so it's the easiest environment you'll ever be in to make friends. So at least try to make more of an effort than you usually would, just for the first couple of weeks, because after that you won't neeeeed to make loads of effort as you'll already have friends so it'll come a lot more naturally.
  • If you don't get on with your flatmates, it's not the end of the world!! I personally loved mine, but  I made friends who had pretty rubbish flatmate experiences, but made friends with people off their course and spent as little time socialising with the flat as possible. But the chances are, you'll be landed with a decent group of people who are at least tolerable. So just be patient and open and go into that moving in day with a positive attitude, accepting the fact that you're going to try to accept each of the other people in your flat as best you can. 
  • Eating well is really really important. It sounds like a silly thing to say, I know a lot of people will read this and think "of course I'll eat well!" but honestly, after a long day of lectures, it's so hard to find the motivation to get up off your arse and make a decent meal. But it'll be worth it, I promise. If you know you'll find it difficult to find motivation after long days, plan ahead. Make double or triple the amount of food when you're cooking and then freeze the other servings ready to defrost and cook on nights when you don't have the time or the energy! 
  • Do the work. I know it's only first year and you probably just want to go and have a good time and enjoy yourself (which of course, you can!!), getting into the habit of working hard and teaching yourself self-discipline now will make the next couple of really important years much easier because you'll already be in the habit of working hard. 
  • If you aren't a going-out/party person, DON'T WORRY. There is a surprising amount of people at university who prefer nights in with tea and cake and a film with their friends or alone too! Of course people go out a lot, but do not feel pressured to go out all the time if you're not comfortable. There are other ways to bond and make friends with the people you meet. Just make sure if you are rejecting plans, to try and reorganise something a little more gentle so people know you're not just blowing them off, but you do actually want to hang out with them in a situation that isn't a dark sweaty nightclub :-D 
  • Enjoy yourself. It's really easy to get caught up in homesickness or work or anxiety in general. Allow yourself the time to yourself, to appreciate how lucky you are to be at university. This is such a wonderful opportunity and it's going to absolutely fly by, so appreciate every second!
  • And finally, if university life isn't for you, and you really can't see a way to enjoy your time there, you are not obliged to stay. It is a lot of money to spend on something that isn't going to make you happy or get you to somewhere you don't really want to be in life. At the end of the day, this is your life, so live it how you want to, regardless of "expectations". 
I hope this is a little bit helpful. I just wish I'd had something like this to read and reassure me before I started, so if this helps even just one person, I'll consider it a success.
Of course, if you have any university-related questions, please please pop a comment in the box, or you can even email me (see contact page) and I'll do my utmost to help you out!

All my love,

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Happiness in the littlest things

Hello my beauties! I am so sorry for being a bit absent, exams and essays and studying has sucked away all the time I thought I had and suddenly it's been well over a week and a half since I last posted?! So today  I thought I'd make a photoblog of the things that have been keeping me happy!

Train journey accompaniments | Stormy train journey home
Came home to pretty tulips and beautiful copies of my favourite books from mum | new crochet dress from Next and a rare good hair day
Rachel Sermanni at The Continental in Preston with my dad (it was a dream come true to see this beautiful lady play live)
Treated myself to another new dress, whoops | pretty window views at a trip to Astley Hall with my mum

Lunch with mum at the prettiest little tea room in my home town
Essay fuel in the form of my favourite chocolate ever ever ever | Pat Val's with my besties for 2 of their birthdays

More Pat Val's | Reading the last Caster Chronicles novel (so close to finishing this amazing series!)
 I hope you're all well and regular posting will be back at soooooon as the uni year finishes!

Lots of love to you all,