Hello everybody! Today, I’m going to be talking about some of my favourite things about this year, because despite it being really difficult in some ways I have loved so many amazing things that I want to talk about. Onto the post!
Hello everybody! Recently, I’ve seen some posts and YouTube videos popping up where people evaluate their 2018 goals, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and assess my progress today. Even though these and the other, private goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year went quite well, I don’t think I’ll be setting any for 2019, other than a Goodreads challenge. Onto the post!
Reading 100 books– I didn’t think I’d hit this, but I achieved it around August (I think) and put my Goodreads challenge up to 150, which I have now also hit, even though I’ve not updated the site with my December reads yet. I think I’ll probably start out aiming for 100 next year again!
Feel less guilt over DNFing– I actually DNFed far fewer books this year, mostly because I’ve really honed my tastes and worked out exactly what I like, but I definitely feel less guilt over doing so than I would have last year.
Reread more– this one has been a bit of a fail. I’ve only reread two books (The Apprentice Witch and the Children of Castle Rock), but I might try and squeeze in a couple over the Christmas/New Year period.
Read some Shakespeare– I haven’t read a full play from front to back but I’ve read a fair bit of the Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth for an on going English project. I haven’t really enjoyed it though to be honest, and I’m much prouder of the fact that I’ve read a whole play in Spanish and am partway through a French novel!
Keep blogging– I don’t really know why this was a resolution, but after this year I’m much prouder of it than I imagine past me would have expected I’d be. Even though I unexpectedly had to take a health hiatus, I did indeed keep blogging, and I’m so pleased that I have. I’m really excited for all the posts I have planned for next year already, and I love being part of this community.
How did you get on with your 2018 goals? Are you planning to set any for next year? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Yesterday, as you might know if you follow me on Twitter, was my one year anniversary as a blogger. I couldn’t decide how to mark this occasion for ages, so I decided to keep it simple. Today, I want to thank all of the people who’ve made this year so special, and it’ll probably be pretty gushy. Onto the post!
To the fellow bloggers I now consider friends: thank you for chatting with me, being there for both blogging and personal crises, and having the best book recommendations. I only hope I’m half as good a friend to all of you as you are to me. If you’re one of these people, you’ll know who you are, and I like all of your boots a hell of a lot (so much I’ll still be your friend even if you don’t know that reference).
To the blogging community: I may not be as close to some of you as those I refer to above, but I still love talking to everyone, taking part in chats both organised and random, and I’m so glad I’m able to consider myself a member of this community. Thank you for letting me be part of it, and making me feel so welcome when I first started.
To the authors who let me flail and fangirl: it will never fail to astound me that I actually know and talk to people whose books are just incredible. It will NEVER stop being surreal that some of my favourite authors on the planet follow me on Twitter, and I’ve even been lucky enough to host some of you for interviews and guest posts, which was an honour. Thank you for all of the above, and also not blocking me for telling you 20 times a day how excited I am for your next book. I know it’s probably really annoying, and I’m so grateful you let me fly my fangirl flag.
To the publishers, who make almost all of this possible: even though I write posts about other subjects, this is a book blog first and foremost, and I want to thank you for publishing the amazing books I get to buy or borrow, and read. And if you send me book post, thank you even more. It’s the coolest thing ever that you send me books and let me share my opinions on them. I’m so grateful to you all.
And, finally, to you: whether you’ve never read this blog before in your life or you’ve been there since the beginning, thanks for reading. It means the world, and I hope you enjoyed whatever you’ve read.
Today’s post is a tiny bit different to usual (more in format than anything else), so onto the post! I hope you enjoy it 💜
Of all the books that I count as favourites, the Geek Girl series is one of the very closest to my heart. There are so, so many reasons why I love this series and I decided, since it’s now almost a year since the final book came out that I wanted to write about it.
It fits my taste perfectly.
Harriet’s voice is incredibly unique, and her dry sense of humour throughout never, ever fails to make me laugh at least once a chapter. We’re very different in a lot of ways, though I see similarities too. I don’t rattle off facts or love maths and Science, but I adore history, and books, and I’m the first to admit I’m not all that into fashion. There is a passage in the first book about that very topic that speaks hugely to me, and I’m often heard saying ‘they’re just clothes!’
That’s something Geek Girl has given me. There are whole sections of this book I can rhyme off by heart; Harriet’s vocabulary has seeped into mine. Ostensibly, which features in one of the most uncomfortable bullying scenes throughout all 6 books is one of my go to phrases in an essay, and it’s one of my favourite words ever. I also try and learn some of the glorious facts sprinkled throughout that always fit just right with the narrative, which never feel jarring as they could be in other hands.
The rest of the cast are just as special. Eccentric agent Wilbur; so bizarre I can’t help but giggle when he’s on the page. Her parents; clever and caring, and undoubtedly my favourite book parents of all time. Toby; initially an irritation, but someone I came to care about by the end of Forever Geek. Best friend Nat; ferociously protective of Harriet, hilarious, a true ‘girl bomb’. Scary fashion designer Yuka Ito, whose terrifying manner provokes Harriet into some of the best moments of the series for me. And Nick. Lion Boy. A character I’m unashamedly in love with. He’s funny, charming, gorgeous and I can picture him so vividly throughout. He’s perfect for Harriet, to me, and she’s perfect for him.
Watching them grow over the course of the series is a pleasure, and letting them go in Forever Geek was difficult (I spent the entire sitting in which I read it in tears, even as I inevitably laughed). I don’t think I’ll ever stop rereading them though. At the end of any especially tough week, or in preparation for something I’m dreading, I go to the drawer in which I keep these (the most easily accessible I have), pull them out and start reading. And it feels like going home.
Why do you love Geek Girl? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl
Today, I’m doing a little bit of reflection on why I enjoyed doing blogmas so much during December. After all the stress was out of the way, I thought it was an incredible experience, and one I personally loved (though I totally respect anyone who doesn’t enjoy it; every blogger is amazing regardless 💜). Unless anything drastically changes over the next year (which is entirely possible), I’m very much hoping to take part again in 2018. Onto the reasons why I decided this!
Increased Engagement– I’d be a liar if I didn’t own up to liking a boost in my stats, but I mean other things by this too. I thoroughly enjoyed reading other bloggers’ posts and trying to comment on and engage with them.
Creativity– I got to come up with ideas, both for myself and working with guests to decide on their posts. It was brilliant fun, and I love how differently they’ve all turned out, even when working from similar titles. It was a big challenge, especially considering that I usually post 13 times a month on average, but I’m genuinely thrilled with every idea that made the cut (and some which didn’t, that I’ve added to thoughts for 2018 blogmas)
Getting to Organise Something- I’m nowhere near near as organised as some people seem to think I am, but I do really quite enjoy it. Blogmas unleashed my inner organiser (blogging does in general, if I’m honest). Spider diagrams of brainstorming sessions and schedules have been in my notebook since July. This was admittedly extreme, but I’m so proud I pulled it off. In the interest of full disclosure, I already have a loose schedule in mind for blogmas 2018, should I take part…
Doing Something a Bit Different– When my blog first began, I posted exclusively about books. Then I introduced the odd Disney post, and then a lifestyle tag and then films. I really enjoy writing them for a change of pace, and I loved doing festive versions during Blogmas! In the New Year I’m hoping to start talking a little bit about music too, which I’m super excited about. I hope you like these different posts too!
Guest Posts- As well as hosting some amazing guest posts here, I also contributed posts to several blogs I love. It was so much fun, and I really couldn’t pick a favourite of the ones I got to write!
Thank you so much for reading! Why did you love doing blogmas, if you did it?
Today’s post is a personal piece that I wrote as part of my coursework (which we call folio) for English National 5, which I sat last year. I’m both nervous and excited to share it, so I hope you enjoy.
Imagine for a moment that you are seven. You`re too tall, and you`ve started puberty around five years too early. No one knows what`s wrong with you, and the doctors you go to see brush you off and say you`re being silly. But your mum is terrified so they send you for an MRI scan to get your case off their desks. I don`t have to imagine it; that seven-year-old was me.
The appointment letter arrived, and the date was set. The 30th September 2009 at 6 o`clock. My mum prepared me in the weeks before, told me how I had to be brave for the scan so we could make sure I was okay.
I was going to be okay.
The day arrived. At hometime that day, my mum and dad picked me up instead of the bus. We arrived at Yorkhill at half past three. “You`ll have to wait,” the nurse told us.
Cancellations are as rare as happy endings in the MRI unit, I`ve found out since. But by some twist of fate, there was a cancellation at 4 o`clock. I was ready, and then they strapped me in.
I had a meltdown. I couldn`t do it.
“You can come back,” the nurses said. “There`s no rush.”
Tempting as their offer was, I couldn`t accept, not after I looked into my mum`s eyes and she begged me to do it for her. I gripped her hand so hard she wouldn`t be able to feel it for days, but she didn`t care. I`d done the hard bit, and now I was going to be okay.
After we`d been waiting for over three hours, my parents knew I was not okay at all.
A doctor finally appeared. His face was so white he could have been dead. I still remember the first thing he said to me: “I think you`ll have to take a few days off school to process this”
He went on to tell us that I had a tumour the size of an orange, with a rat tail pressing on my pituitary gland, growing in my brain, along with several in my ears and on my spine. I needed surgery urgently. I think my family and I knew in that moment that I was never going to be okay again.
My mum took me into the corridor before he started explaining the various ways my surgery could go wrong. “Am I going to die?” I sobbed, falling to the floor.
“If you do I`ll kill you again” my mum said, helping me up. In more ways than one, she`s kept me standing ever since.
I don`t remember the two weeks before I had surgery, apart from playing ridiculous amounts of Wii Sports. I didn`t go to school apart from the day before the October week began, to say goodbye (possibly forever) to my classmates. I didn`t speak to a single person all day.
Instead of the full week, we spent a few days in Eyemouth before my operation. Neither my mum or dad stopped crying the full weekend.
I don`t know very much about the aftermath, apart from what I`ve been told. I was more helpless than a new-born baby; I couldn`t walk, talk, eat, drink or see. I had to learn everything from scratch, and I spent almost a month in hospital, but no amount of effort would bring my sight back. My surgeon Miss Brown, hands down the cleverest person I know, thought it was the price we`d paid for my life.
Somehow, after six weeks, I gradually began seeing blurry colour, then fuzzy shapes and eventually some sight returned. My mum didn`t leave my side the whole time. I can say with some certainty I don`t think I`d have survived without my mum, encouraging me every day I spent in hospital.
My health still isn`t amazing. I`m no longer walking about with a ticking time bomb inside my head, but the tumours in my ears have grown, and I`m facing some sort of treatment in the next year due to tinnitus. And due to where the brain tumour was located, I have frequent headaches and nausea, and if I go a day without falling it`s a miracle. Because my `major` tumour was in my brain, they can`t be sure, but doctors think I have neurofibromatosis type 2, a condition which produces tumours on your nerves.
Things are never going to be truly okay again, and I`ve come to terms with that, just about. I`ll always spend quite a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms; I`ll always have headaches and feel sick most days; always have to be careful when I walk in case I lose my balance and fall. I`m terrified about the idea of having another surgery, or radiation therapy in the near future.
Looking to the future, the chances of me being able to drive are slim, and perhaps the thing that upsets me most of all, if I was to have children, something I would like to do at some point, I risk giving them this. I risk putting my child through numerous operations and treatments and day to day illness. I risk killing my child. It`s a long way off, but I think about it almost every day. That`s the thing that scares me most about my condition; the idea that I`ll have to make a decision one day about playing Russian Roulette with a baby`s life.
If I could go back and tell my seven-year-old self something, I`d tell her that even though what she`s about to do isn`t easy, she`ll get through it. She is braver and stronger than she knows and she`ll overcome the odds. I`m not okay, but after a while I got used to it, and I`ve found a new version of okay.
And maybe that`s all anyone with an illness like mine can do.
Thank you for reading ❤
Today’s post is something a little bit different, and I’ve found it very emotional to write. I’d be really grateful if you could let me know your thoughts about it in the comments or on Twitter.
One year ago today, news broke that the body of Helen Bailey had been found, along with her dog Rufus in her septic tank. Both had been murdered by her partner.