Browsing Category:


    feature, life, lifestyle, personal, student, travel

    Life Update

    life update.pngHello, lovely people! How are we all?

    It has been quite a while since I last posted anything – since April, I believe – so I thought it might be nice to get back into the swing of things by way of a little life update since it is all go go go right now.

    These past couple of months have been VERY BUSY INDEED. I have finished up my degree and am now just waiting on results which should be with me any day now (I have been refreshing the page roughly every five minutes all week), and just have my grad ball next weekend and graduation at the end of the month to go. Crazy.

    These past four years have absolutely flown by, and I know that I made the right decision with my choice of course and university. It has been stressful, of course, and there has been many a tear shed, but I am so grateful for all the things it has allowed me to experience and achieve, and feeling eternally lucky for the people that I have met along the way.


    Ok, I have been telling everyone I have been accepted, and then I remember that I need to actually pass this current degree first and meet the condition of a 2:1 which is definitely doable (famous last words). I have even been conditionally accepted into not one but all three of the universities I applied for which is such a reassuring feeling since it was very heavily weighted on portfolio work. Everything going to plan, I will be heading back to university in September to study an MLitt in Creative Writing. Yep, more words. Can’t get enough of ’em.

    But, after graduation, and before I start my masters, I have another exciting project up my sleeve (apparently there is a lot of room up there, eh) – I am spending my summer in Fiji!

    On the 1st of July I will be flying out to the tiny South Pacific to live in a rural village and teach English, Maths and sports in a school. I will be working with a group of other UK university students so I won’t be alone out there, and it is being organised through an ethical volunteer charity called Think Pacific. I know there is the whole debate over white saviourism with this type of expedition, but Think Pacific are quite unique in their outlook by only going where they have been asked to, rather than just turning up and declaring that they are ‘here to help’. They also work in conjunction with the Fijian government to ensure the work that we are carrying out is the work that is actually needed, in order to ensure a better start to life for the kids in these rural areas who are at a disadvantage to those in cities where there are far more opportunities available and much higher quality schooling.

    Since I was going all that way, I also figured that it would be a shame not to do a bit of travelling afterwards, especially since the flights were so expensive! So, when the month in Fiji is complete, I will then be flying to Brisbane in Australia with a couple of other people from the project and travelling down the coast to Sydney over the course of two weeks. I am SO excited for this. Mind you, I haven’t met these people yet so I hope I like them considering I’m now going to be stuck with them for an entire six weeks…

    In other news, I also recently visited my best friend who is on a year abroad in Spain. We met up in Barcelona and the most fun weekend I have had in a very long time. It has been months since I last seen her, which has been quite the adjustment considering we have lived together for the first three years of university after being randomly placed together in student accommodation in first year and moving into our private rented flat the next year. I am not going to go into too much detail about this trip though because I am planning on doing a travel photo diary like I did for Hamburg in January. Stay tuned!

    And I think I will leave it there for now. I’m looking forward to being able to read for fun for a couple of months rather than constantly sticking to class reading lists, so I feel like I have got a bit of my old mojo back. Exams and dissertation writing was an incredibly stressful time, even more so than I could have imagined, but now I have finally reached a point of recovery that it isn’t too painful a topic to speak about.

    In typical me fashion, I also have a good bit of motivation suddenly (now that exams and my entire degree is finished, OF COURSE) so I am hoping to channel that into getting back to blogging and preparing for my impending trip.

    Hope you didn’t miss me too much!!


    lifestyle, personal, recommendations, travel

    TRAVEL DIARY: 21 hours in Hamburg

    hamburg.jpgHello! Do you still remember who I am?

    I haven’t been blogging much the past month or so, while I got back into the swing of things with uni after the long Christmas break. I am now halfway through my final semester of classes in my four-year-long degree which I CANNOT BELIEVE I am even saying right now. I really love my classes this semester actually, especially my one on Victorian Gothic literature (Frankenstein, Jane Eyre, The Island of Dr Moreau, some Sherlock Holmes, SO MUCH GOOD STUFF) so it hasn’t even been much of a task making myself sit down at my desk and crack on with it. It makes such a difference to your productivity levels when you really love what you are doing, doesn’t it.

    Anyway, now that I truly have the hang of it again and am back into a good routine, my blog can return from its place on the back burner. I have missed writing on here!! I have a couple of blog posts planned for the next couple of weeks, including a book review on The Wicked King, if you aren’t sick of those already from every other book blog under the sun (although I could read people’s thoughts on Jude and Cardan all day long).

    Today though, I wanted to tell you about a very exciting and last minute trip I took a couple of weeks ago with my flatmate courtesy of Ryanair flight sales.

    Yep, I went to Germany for the day for the same price as it would cost to get the train home for the weekend.

    Warning: long post ahead.

    hamburg 1hamburg 2The week before we went, or even knew we were going, my flatmate got an email through advertising cheap Ryanair flights as part of their January sale. It started off as sort of a joke, wondering where we could jet off to, and we started looking at flight times without really caring about the destination. Most of them didn’t suit because they didn’t fit around our university classes, and since we are semi-responsible adults now we didn’t want to miss anything so close to graduation. Then we spotted one to Hamburg in Germany that meant we would only be away for a day in total, and a few minutes later we were booked. Read more

    feature, life, lifestyle, personal

    A 2018 Re-Cap

    photo-1482329833197-916d32bdae74Happy new year everyone! I know we all say it every year, but I really can’t believe 2018 has already been and gone. So much happened throughout the year, both for me personally and across the world, but at the same time, it also feels like it has absolutely flown in.

    2018 saw me start my fourth and final year at university. I definitely don’t feel ready to (hopefully) graduate in a few months time – I should still be that little fresh-faced eager first year who hasn’t a clue what is going on around me! My flatmate for the past three years also went off on her year abroad to Spain, so it has been a very different few months living with my school friend who took her place in the flat. I also started a new part-time job in September working behind the bar in my student Union, a job I absolutely adore. It is a surprising amount of fun working with only other students, serving students. Working nights doesn’t bother me in the slightest either, probably because I am a night owl anyway.

    My sister, her husband, and their three young children also visited in the summer. They live in America so it was an absolute delight to catch up with them properly and hear “Aunt Holly” coming out of their little mouths. At Easter, I spent two weeks on the east coast of Spain in a small town called Los Alcazares, which is the third time I have visited there now. I really love it there. It isn’t super busy, and everyone seems to know each other. Our favourite bar owner remembered us, and we would sit and drink the ridiculously large measures of gin into the small hours of the morning, chatting to the staff and the ex-pats who frequented it too.

    I also turned 21 just last week. I am officially an adult. To be honest, I was always kind of forgetting that I wasn’t already 21 because my friends’ birthdays are all earlier in the year so they have been that age for a little while. But still, it is pretty exciting, even if I do feel like I have to get my shit together now. And I can legally drink in America!! As if I haven’t been drinking in Scotland for years… Speaking of which, wow hangovers are a BITCH now that I am old.

    All in all, it was a pretty damn great year. There were many lows as well of course, many moments of self-doubt, lack of motivation, and generally feeling like shit. But, I am looking forward to 2019, and everything that it is set to bring. I hope to look at myself in the mirror and think, ‘actually, you’re not too bad.’ I hope to put in my best effort possible into my final semester, so I don’t come out the other end wishing I had done more, or tried just that little bit harder. I hope to graduate from university with a grade that I am proud of. I hope to plan what I am going to do next, which may include applying to study for my masters. I hope to do so some solo travelling, most likely to visit my best friend on her year abroad. I hope to be adventurous in the summer too, and maybe even work in that little part of Spain that I love so much. I hope to continue to write for fun, whether that is here on my blog, or articles for The National Student. I hope to read for fun, and not just because I have to attend a class on that book or topic.

    Here’s to all of us having another great year.



    Image credit
    discussion, feature, life, lifestyle, personal, student

    Learning Basic British Sign Language



    A little bit of a different kind of post today. For the last couple of weeks, I have been attending a Beginners British Sign Language course run by my university. The course is 20 lessons in length, with two-hour classes one night per week. BSL is something which I have wanted to learn for some time now, probably ever since I watched Switched at Birth and was fascinated by this language told completely in hand gestures and facial expressions.

    And then, during the summer when I was working in a local café before going back to uni, I served a deaf couple. They were very understanding, and didn’t expect us to know anything in the way of sign language at all. They wrote down what they wanted to ask us, and were able to make very simple signs and point at things to order. But, this encounter has really stuck with me ever since. All I could actually say to them that they could fully understand was ‘thanks’. That’s it. An entire language, and I can say thanks.

    Read more

    5 Things, lifestyle, list, personal, student

    5 Things: What To Do When It All Gets A Bit Much

    I have had this blog post sitting in my drafts for a while, and this week seemed like the perfect time to pull it back out. There were no words in it, just the title so I could come back to it. Writing this introduction after I have finished writing the rest of the post, I can safely say that one of the things that I can to when it all gets a bit much, is write. So I guess that goes with number 5.

    We are halfway through week 2 of semester 1 of year FOUR of my degree. This is my last year at university, my honours year – also known as the year. This is the year that everything rides on, and every grade counts towards what level of degree I am awarded with at graduation next summer.

    If you have finished a degree yourself, you will know that that is a LOT to think about. It is constantly at the back of my head, and has been all summer, but it is just in the last couple of days that it is has really hit home. I was awake until the small hours on Sunday night stressed out my mind at the pressure of it all. I don’t want my last few years to have been a total waste of my time, and I don’t want to be disappointed with my degree next year when I know I could have done so much better if I had just put the work in.

    A lot of this is probably geared towards university stress, t least in my head it is because that’s what I am stressed about, but you can apply it to your own personal situation.

    Maybe this blog post is just as much for me as it is for you. We can all be little balls of stress together. (Or should I say LOVELY CALM PEOPLE together after we all read this blog post???) Read more

    life, lifestyle, list, personal

    30 Questions To Get To Know Me

    Well that’s a large photo of my mug to start us off, isn’t it.

    HELLO. It has now been nearly a month since I posted on my blog, and like I said on Twitter, it was beginning to feel like the longer the break became, the more stressful it was.

    I am also back at university now and officially a FOURTH YEAR Honours degree student. I honestly can’t believe. Where did the time go?! How can I really be nearly DONE?! The pressure has really been mounting up, especially the past week. I am perhaps even a little bit too overwhelmed. I think the weight and importance of it all has suddenly hit me all at once and now I am like, “SHIT I need to get my act together,” whilst also simultaneously letting Netflix auto-play the next episode of Jane the Virgin.

    This is a post that I had saved in my drafts, nearly complete and ready to go for a rainy day. Well that day is today (although, actually, it isn’t raining). Now that I have come to terms with those first week jitters (almost), I am hoping to get a little bit better with my time management and motivation and get. shit. done. Encouraging words are welcomed!!! Please!!!

    I came across this list of questions while reading a blog last month (sorry I have forgotten who! I will update this if I remember, I knew I should’ve put the link in this post while I was still on the page).

    I have been blogging a few months now, so it must be about time that you knew something about me other than the fact that I quite enjoy a good book and a good glass of pink gin and lemonade. Turns out, there are a few other almost interesting facts about myself. Who knew. Read more

    books, personal, tag

    Bookish This or That Tag

    Hello everyone! I am back today with another tag post (I absolutely loved doing the book blogger tag, Behind the Screen, which you can read here. I have been tagged in quite a few different ones recently so I will slowly be working my way through them in amongst my book reviews and other chatty discussion posts and may be caught up around, oh, say next year sometime.

    A massive thank you to my friend Noly from The Artsy Reader for tagging me in this one! There were some seriously hard choices in there but I struggled through this “torture” tag, as Noly very aptly named it.

    I am also going to cheat and not tag anyone in particular to do this (lol lazy I know, don’t hate me), because I have so many tags to get through that I don’t think I even know that many bloggers!! So, I am taking the easy way out and just saying that if you fancy doing this tag, then help yourself, and leave a link for me to have a read. It’s a good one, even if was so incredibly hard.

    Now, without further ado, here are my answers…

    1. Series or standalone?

    As much as I love standalones for the fact that you get to read book after book and inhale so many stories and worlds, there is nothing better than reading a great book and being able to pick up the next one right away and find out what happens next! I am never ready for my favourite characters’ stories to end.

    2. Magic earned or magic born?

    I’m going to say magic earned (I’m guessing this is like Feyre a la A Court of Thorns and Roses?) because that probably makes for a more exciting story in my eyes! I love seeing how they adapt to this new world and how they bring their own world along with them.

    3. Enemies to lovers or friends to lovers?

    Ooooh enemies to lovers, for sure. All that tension.

    4. Hilarious banter or emotional ruin? 

    Noly – can I copy you and say both???

    5. Love triangle or insta love? 

    Love triangles quite often get on my nerves because there is always either the one person they are quite obviously going to choose, or – worse – they choose the wrong one and I am not happy with the ending. An insta love story can be a little on the corny side but if done well, it goes down a treat!

    6. Keyboard smash names or names start with the same letter?

    I can be quite bad for not remembering who is who if there are loads of characters in a book, so a bunch of keyboard smash names would be a recipe for disaster. As annoying as names all starting with the same letter would be, I would definitely have to choose that one.

    7. Mean parents or dead parents?

    Is it cruel to say dead parents? Mean parents is so hard to read but dead parents might mean happy memories? (Apparently I just stole your answer Noly lol sorry).

    8. Supermodel looks or constantly says how “plain” they are?

    Supermodel looks, because that doesn’t necessarily mean that they boast about it all the time, or really recognise it much themselves. A constant reminder of their “plainness” though is boring and frankly a little annoying.

    9. Face on cover vs. typography on cover?

    That is HARD. I THINK I prefer typography on a book over a face the majority of the time, but it really does depend on the individual cover.

    10. Villain turning a little good or hero turning a little bad?

    No! Don’t give us the disappointment of a hero not staying a true hero! It is much nicer to think everyone has a good side to them.

    11. Best friend dies or love interest dies?

    Oh, god. Do I really have to pick? Um, the best friend? Is that mean? I don’t want my friends to die, I promise!!! But if it’s their one true love they can’t die! But no wait, their best friend in the whole world? ARGH. NO ONE. NO ONE SHOULD DIE.

    12. Awesome writing with a dull plot or amazing plot with murderously bad writing?

    Awesome writing all the way. I would barely get two chapters into a book with bad writing, I can’t stand it. How does it even get published, or past the editing stage?! A dull plot would just mean it wouldn’t be an all round amazing book, but it would be readable at least.

    13. Cliffhanger ending or heartbreaking ending?

    I’d rather have neither but if I have to be absolutely pushed for an answer then I suppose I would have to pick heartbreaking ending because although I may never get over it, I hate the idea of a story unfinished. I don’t want to wonder what happened next. I need to know.

    14. Breaking the spine or dog-earing the pages?

    I really should use a bookmark more often but I usually just end up dog-earing the pages because then at least you can’t see that when it is sitting in your bookcase, whereas you would see a worn spine. It is such a shame if the spine is a pretty one!

    Then again, how good does it look when the spine has been broken so many times and it looks so well-loved? Ok – I am going to say a very unbroken spine (not one or two pesky little lines) and dog-earing the pages as well. Is that allowed? Screw it. My blog, I make the rules.

    15. “Bad boy” trope or “perfect golden boy” trope as love interest. 

    Oh, we all like a bad boy, don’t we.

    And I will leave it at that.

    books, personal, tag

    Behind the Screen – A Book Blogger Tag

    Happy Tuesday! If you live in the UK (particularly Scotland) and enjoy sunny weather, you will have been basking in the heat as much as I have and spending every waking second outside in the garden when you aren’t stuck in your sweaty place of work with a disgusting amount of perspiration leaking from every pore on your body. I even have a ~tan~ in SCOTLAND. Unheard of. If the weather was like this every summer we would never need to spend so much money on holidays to Spain! Mind you, I do still enjoy a proper authentic sangria or two…

    Anyway, I was so happy to get a Twitter notification the other day telling me that I had been tagged in my very first tag. I have already done the writer tag, but I found it and chose to do it myself rather than being tagged by someone, so thank you Adrianna! You can find her blog, For The Love of Books, and read her answers to these questions here.

    The “Behind the Screen” book blogger tag was first created by Amber at Du Livre, who I am so glad to have found now as her reviews are amazing! You should definitely check out her blog, as well as Adrianna’s and the ones I am going to be tagging myself at the bottom of this post (especially my new blogger friend Noly).

    I love tags, and this is a long hearty one at that. They let me ramble to my heart’s content, but you also get to know the person doing the rambling too, so let’s just have at it, eh.


    I have only been blogging for just under two months now, and I am loving it so far. My first review was Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher which I have no doubts you will have at least heard of by now, if not read it yourself. I am so excited for the rest of the trilogy if the first instalment is anything to go by!


    I really wanted somewhere that could let me write more, especially as I am about to start my final year of university studying English Literature, Journalism and Creative Writing. I also know a lot of authors started out as journalists and bloggers and that is exactly where I would like my life to end up. It also meant the ability to connect with people who love books as much as I do and would understand the struggle between choosing whether to organise my bookcase in alphabetical order by author surname or to colour co-ordinate it.


    I’m not necessarily huge on numbers (although I love seeing the follower count rising – such a good feeling knowing that people have found your blog and like it enough to stick around for more) so instead I would like to find ~quality~ readers who it is fun to interact with. I love my blog twitter account for this too. I would also love if my blog provided me with some outside writing opportunities in the future, so hit me up people.


    God, isn’t it TIME CONSUMING. There’s the actual writing process, taking the photos and editing them, not to mention coming up with ideas, designing your blog, promoting yourself on various social media, the list goes on. It’s a good thing it is fun.


    Working with people from the real book world! I was lucky enough to take part in my first cover reveal last month for Katie McGarry’s newest book, and next week I have a review of Alexandra McCann’s New Adult novella Angels Can’t Swim, as well as a short Q&A with her. It feels like quite an accomplishment for a new blogger as I was contacted by her and asked if I wanted to review it. She actually read my blog and wanted me to do an unsolicited review! This might not seem much for established bloggers and probably happens every day for them, but I’m sure you all remember your first review request and how exciting it was.


    I love writing lists (like my 7 Tips for Studying An English Literature or Creative Writing Degree or 8 Of The Best Kindle 99p Bargains) and rambly posts that aren’t about one particular thing. I’m terrible for just writing and writing when it could have been so much shorter – as my university tutors are well aware of when they frequently comment on how ridiculously close to the top margin of the word count I am – but I love the ability to just write as much or as little as I want on any topic. Imagine blog posts had a word limit too?!?! We would all be doomed.


    Ignore how absolutely vile my laptop keyboard is. It needs a scrub, seriously.

    So far I have written every single blog post from the comfort of my office, also known as my bed. I really want to be that person that sits in a coffee shop with their cappuccino and their laptop though so maybe one day (who am I kidding).


    I have just finished reading A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas and it was BREATHTAKING. I thought ACOTAR (book 1) was good, but this was a whole other game entirely. Planning on doing a full review of either the book or the series so far, but for now, you can read my Goodreads review of this book here.


    I very rarely rate a book as one star, but the last book I marked as DNF was Things Liars Say by Sara Ney. I thought it was going to be a nice, easy, light-hearted read but I couldn’t get past the majorly cringe-worthy dialogue to actually enjoy it.


    Love. Forbidden. Breathtaking.


    Hufflepuff all the way.


    Talking of warm sunny weather, I love reading out in the garden lying on a sun lounger or deck chair. In winter, I like to get all wrapped up in my bed under a million covers. Never the couch, for some unknown reason.


    I’m not sure I am quite qualified to give advice yet when I am such a new blogger myself, but I would definitely suggest setting up a twitter account for your blog as the majority of my traffic and new followers have found me through that. It is also great to find other blogs like yours to follow that you would never otherwise know about, and get the chance to interact with people who love your chosen obsession as much as you do!

    Thanks again for tagging me, Adrianna!

    I tag:

    Here are the questions all together to make it easier for you all (it’s a nice hearty, long blog post for when you are really in the mood for a good ramble and some typing):
    • When did you start blogging and what was your first review?
    • Who/what inspired you to start blogging?
    • What is a blog-related goal you have?
    • What is the one thing you wish someone told you about blogging?
    • What is your biggest blog-related accomplishment?
    • What type of posts do you enjoy writing?
    • Where do you usually blog? What is your set-up like?
    • What was your last five star read?
    • What was your last one star read?
    • What are three words that make you pick up a book?
    • What is your Hogwarts house?
    • What is your favourite reading environment?
    • What advice would you give to new bloggers?

    Looking forward to reading your answers girls! If you have done the tag before, feel free to leave a link to it in the comments – I’d love to have a nosy.

    Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!