mid-week catch up [13]

Well, yet again I’ve dropped off the face of the blogging world.

The past two weeks have absolutely flown by and I’ve just needed my evenings and weekends to do nothing. I’ve never taken so many guilt free naps and I feel recharged.

It’s so strange to have a job that I like and to live with just Matt. It all feels surreal and like it’s going to be ripped away at a moments notice.

This next week is going to be no less hectic but far more fun. Tomorrow I’m off to Scotland for a couple of UCAS events and I’m quite excited to explore in the few spare hours that I have. I really want to try and visit Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh but I’m not sure that I’ll have time. I may just have to appreciate it from a distance.

After the UCAS events I need to speed back to London as my sister is visiting for a theatre weekend. At the moment, we have Waitress and Mamma Mia booked, but we may add an evening show on the Saturday too. If you have any recommendations, let me know!

Let me know how your week has been and link your most recent blog posts below!

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wrap it up [august]

August has drained me. but in a good way; I finally feel like everything is coming together. Most importantly though, I’m happy. The new flat is an absolute dream and it hasn’t quite sunk in that I’m never going to have to live in a house-share again.

Now it’s time to get this blog back on track after a much needed break.

It’s been a pretty good month for reading, I aced my goodreads challenge of 75 books and I’m now sitting on a pretty healthy total of 80. It seems like I might surpass 100 by the end of the year which I haven’t done since 2016.

Archer – We’re slowly working our way through the new season. It’s pretty damn good!

Taylor Swift

Luca Brasi

Stand Atlantic

A Day to Remember

  • Unpack everything: We nailed this, everything was unpacked on our second day here. We just need to move our junk/memento boxes into boxes that can fit under the bed now that we know we’re getting rid of the last kallax.
  • Post at least once a week: I’m going to try to ease myself back in. September is looking to be quite busy and I don’t want to feel guilty for not being as active as I’d like to be.
  • Figure out which socials I want to use: Currently, I’ve got Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest but none of them really get much attention.

tbr [august]

mid-week catch up [12]

wrap it up [july]

ql book drop [5]

Well, that was short and sweet. Link me to your wrap up posts below!

ql book drop [5]

Now that the stress of moving is over I’ve had the chance to review the books that I own and pull out all of those that I no longer want. Some of them I’ve read, some of them have been ignored for years, and others I’ve picked up recently.

They were all dropped off at my local little free library which I found this morning on my way to work.

  • A Woman’s Age – Rachel Billington
  • The Craft Bible
  • The Diamond as Big as the Ritz & Other Stories – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Discovery of Mr Nobody – E. F. M. Smith
  • The EU an Obituary – John R. Gillingham
  • Flowers for the Judge – Margery Allingham
  • The Galaxy Primes – E. E. ‘Doc’ SMith
  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
  • Mad, Bad and Sad – Lisa Appigananesi
  • Persuader – Lee Child
  • Platform for Strategies in the Augment Era – Adera and Anders Ewerman
  • Postcards From the Edge – Carrie Fisher
  • The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine – James Le Fanu
  • The Sea Chase – Andrew Geer
  • Still Missing – Beth Gutcheon
  • Tender is the Night & The Last Tycoon – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Tiger in the Smoke – Margery Allingham
  • Twelve Days on the Somme – Sidney Rogerson
  • Vegan Baking
  • Young Stalin – Simon Sebag Montefiore

Hopefully these books are enjoyed by their new owners!

wrap it up [july]

We’re almost halfway through August now so I’m not sure that there’s much point to a wrap up. I’m going to keep this short and sweet so I can get this blog back on track!

After a slow start I began to race through books. It was like something clicked. I have so many favourites this month that it’s hard to even pick out a top three! If I had to though, I’d go with Cellini’s Autobiography, Trans Power and Stage Dreams.

Spider-Man Far From Home – This was such a fun movie! It felt very Disney channel, but I’m not mad about it.

Good Girls – It feels like this show is being drip fed to me when what I actually need is for it to be fired right at me.

Dead to Me – I watched the first two episodes but I’ve not had a chance to come back to it. It’s not that great, but I enjoy mindless shows.

Instant Hotel – Why was this season so short? I need 17 more ASAP!

Blown Away – I binge watched this whilst I was ill and I was invested. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more stressed. I want more of this show, but with less racist judges next time. Momo never received the respect that she deserved.

Queer Eye – I can’t believe that I’ve not finished Season 4 yet. Who am I?

Can’t Swim

Movements

The Story so Far

Camp Cope

Cayetana

  • Bullet journal: I’ve mostly been keeping up with this, I just need to work on making sure I create my weekly spreads.
  • Prepare for my new job: I did not. It’s fine though, I had nothing to worry about.
  • Swim regularly and stretch: I was doing well with swimming until I got wiped out by a bug. Now I’ve moved house I’m hoping to settle into some sort of routine.

As we’re already racing through August I’m only going to set my goal as ensuring that everything in the new flat is unpacked and has a home by August 31st.

wrap it up [june]

the fatal passion of alma rattenbury : an e-arc review

tbr [july]

from savagery to civilization : an e-arc review

lie with me : an e-arc review

dnf july

Well, that’s that. I hope July was good for you! Link me to your wrap up posts because I definitely missed out on the vast majority.

mid-week catch up [12]

This week has been beyond stressful and I’ve spent most of it feeling like I’ve dropped off of the face of the earth. 

We finally have everything in place for moving on Saturday, except for sufficient funds to buy the kitchen equipment we need, but that’s definitely a problem for later.

I had another hospital visit on Wednesday and they still can’t figure out what’s wrong with me so that’s fantastic. With fantastic obviously meaning frustrating and slightly terrifying. At this point, I’ve had a year of tests with all of them coming back negative and my health just keeps deteriorating. 

In slightly better news though, I finally feel like I’m settling in at my new job, and hopefully next week will be a turning point.

At the moment, I just want to move and feel settled. Matt and I definitely need our own space. I’m so happy that we won’t have to be in a house share anymore and I am absolutely stoked that we’re going to get to decorate it!

Hopefully the blog will be back to normal soon and I’ll finally get my July Wrap Up posted. For now though, there might just be some filler posts until we have internet set up.

Let me know how your week has been! I trust that it’s been less hectic.

tbr [august]

July saw me finish almost none of the books on my tbr list. I got through Book of Beasts and The Wayward Bus, and DNF’d Polygamy. I did manage to start three more, but I never found the energy to continue them. That said, I did manage to read ten books last month.

In August, I’d like to focus on clearing out some shorter reads to try and downsize my collection, and get through a few more NetGalley reads.

Currently, all of my books are packed away ready to move this weekend, and I’m not sure how accessible they’re going to be. So, I’ve opted to select five books, three which are from NetGalley and two that were still on my shelves.

Are any of these books on your tbr lists? If not, what are you planning to read this month?

mid-week catch up [11]

I’m not sure how I feel about this week overall, I’m just glad the weekend is approaching so I can have five minutes to do nothing.

Thursday dragged, and I spent most of it calling students and trying to organise my files. I wish I had just taken another day off ill, but I felt guilty about taking two days off before leaving forever.

After work I met Aidan so that we could hang out on the journey back and it ended up being a rather extended catch up as Waterloo effectively closed down as there was a dog loose on the tracks.

We trekked it to Westminster and waited forever for a train as there had been a fire further down the line and there were only trains to Richmond. All in all, it took three hours to get home and I was exhausted. 

Friday was my last day at work, and my manager got me some treats as a leaving present. By far, my favourite thing was the jar of jalapeños. Is anything more me? 

I thought I’d be a little sad to leave, but during my last 15 minutes we got yelled at for being too loud so good riddance. I didn’t realise that people saying goodbye to me and having a joke was the end of the world, but there you go. 

I was real productive and finished my little binge watch of Blown Away. I also finished Washington Black, it was a captivating read, but not a favourite by any means.

It rained pretty much all day, which sucked, but it did mean that the greenery in our garden looked fantastic.

I spent most of Sunday being lazy. I did my most important task – ensuring we could get our next gas and electricity bill – and then gave up on the day.

I planned and completed my August bullet journal spread. Hopefully, I’ve learned from my mistakes in July and it’ll be a more useful tool.

I also read my 70th book of the year (according to goodreads at least). Regardless of the true total, it’s unreal to think I’ve read that many books so far when last year I ended on 49 and the year before that 81.

This was the first day of my new job. I ended up being quite nervous and having a stress dream that everyone would hate me. 

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case (as far as I can tell). It’s a small office so I’m sure I’ll feel at home in no time. 

The commute wasn’t as bad as I expected and it’s going to be even easier once we’ve moved to Surb!

Today was long, but I finally got to make my first call. I’m ready to start getting into the role, and I hope that I do get to be involved in the UCAS events. 

After work, I sped to our estate agents so that we could sign the final contract. As long as we pay our deposit and first month of rent in the next seven days the flat is ours! I cannot wait to move in!!

Following that, I made dinner (and wished that I had a bigger budget to make fewer basic meals) whilst Matt worked. The rest of my evening was spent finishing up my dnf post. If I’d had more time, I’d probably create a new banner for the post as I kind of hate the one I have now now. 

When trying to find my last dnf for June I had the realisation that my blogging output this month has sucked and I hope I can rectify that. 

Today I’m feeling much more settled at work, but I still have quite a way to go. That’s very much normal for me though, so I’m not concerned! I went on two tours today, and I’ve picked up some interesting facts!

I really want to create my own knowledge base though and find out a little more about the Admissions Process as it’s quite different to my last job. 

Now I’m heading home and hopefully picking up some vegan cupcakes on the way – or ingredients for flapjacks! – so that I can have a treat at the baby shower tomorrow. 

Each day seems to have improved, so hopefully I can continue on this trajectory.

Let me know how your week was!

dnf july

Boy oh boy, I have been absent this month! I’ve hardly posted a thing, and now it’s time to wrap everything up.

Marvel Versus DC

I started this month going through a very short graphic novel phase. In my first year of university I bought maybe 200 graphic novels (thanks depression and isolation!) and I’m still working my way through what’s left of them. I’ve been apprehensive about this to say the least, and rightfully so. It was a mess, verging on unreadable. I’m not sure how it made it to print, I guess anything with the two brand names will sell, but really, they should’ve shelved it.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Trans (But Were Afraid to Ask) – Brynn Tannehill

As a quick disclaimer, I received a copy of this text via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve been considering DNF’ing this for almost two months now, which is rather unlike me. I’m not one to continue reading something that I’m not enjoying or invested in. However, this was somewhat of an anomaly as I didn’t actively dislike it and I read over half of it.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Trans is a tome, providing a wealth of information on trans related subjects. As someone who has been out for years and is from the UK though, I found that most of the work was targeted either towards those who want to be an ally to transgender people; those figuring out their gender identity; newly out trans people, and; Americans.  

Tannehill’s written voice is conversational, and at times this results in simple points becoming convoluted or extensive anecdotes. Whilst this style of writing works for some, I found it somewhat exhausting. I just wanted to get to the point and move on. There’s a lot of ground to be covered, and streamlining the work would have, in my opinion, made it a more enjoyable and well[-paced read.

With regards to my favourite elements, I loved how academically focused the book is. Tannehill never shies away from referencing and will actively respond to data. That data is also included in the book so you can understand exactly what she is drawing from rather than having to complete the research yourself.

I have no doubt that this a fantastic resource and will most certainly be the perfect read for those looking to glean as much as they can from an individual book.

Polygamy: An Early American History – Sarah M. S. Pearsall

As a quick disclaimer, I received a copy of this text via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Polygamy has a thrilling premise, but a rather lacklustre delivery. Written by Sarah M. S. Pearsall who has, in her own words ‘has no personal investment in polygamy.’ Rather her ‘interests are purely historical’, and consequently her prose suffers. After a jovial, if extensive, introduction, we are led into the world of dull academic prose. It’s not a quick descent, but it happens nonetheless, and I found myself becoming disengaged from the text.

Pearsall broaches interesting ideas, such as polygamy being maintained as a means of revolt and solidarity, allowing communities to be knitted together despite increasing distance and rapidly reductions in population. Yet, I never felt that an idea had been fully explored before she had moved onto the next.  

Some of the notes were more interesting than the text itself and should have been included within the main body. Others are complete paragraphs and a minefield of further references which are challenging to follow.

Our Stop – Laura Jane Williams

As a quick disclaimer, I received a copy of this text via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I requested Our Stop as I’d seen the hype surrounding it. I love nothing more than a little light romance, and one set around the Tube seemed to be a match made in heaven. Sadly, this book was disappointing to say the least.

It started out doing its absolute best to tell me every detail, it’s as if Williams was unable to trust me as a reader to utilise my imagination. I also found it difficult to get into the book when errors are so glaringly obvious. Phone signal has not arrived in the depths of Angel station (I’m pretty sure it’s not even available halfway down the escalator). There is absolutely no chance that you’re texting your best friend unless you’re desperately trying to cling onto the WiFi as it loads at each station.

Despite the romance being between two grown adults, the language was juvenile and the whole narrative felt stilted and like it couldn’t quite decide if it wanted to broach the adult romance genre. Everything was presented in too idealistic a manner and paired with the must be as woke and relatable as possible stance it takes, it felt cheap and depth-less.

All that said, I have no doubt that Our Stop will find its audience, and that they will love it.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro – Ernest Hemingway

I’m just done with Hemingway. We’re through. I’ve given all my remaining books to Matt.

It seems that this has been a month of giving up. I think it’s important to stop reading once you’re disengaged though; forcing yourself to complete a text will never make it an enjoyable read. It’ll be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Was July a month of perfect picks for you, or did you too stumble and become a little disenfranchised?

mid-week catch up [10]

It has been a week.

On Thursday, I just spent the whole day being sad that we can’t move into the flat that we had paid a deposit for. We’re getting a refund but it just sucks that they’re citing the one non-protected characteristic as the reason that we’re ineligible to live there. It reeks of homophobia if you ask me, and once we’ve found a place to live I will be launching a formal complaint.

Friday was the longest day. Work was a little hectic as once again, we hadn’t got all the information we needed to do our jobs. My last hour was spent frantically emailing 40 students and hoping that they’d actually read it.

After work, Matt and I went shopping for wedding outfits. Naturally, his was a one stop shop and I couldn’t find a single thing that fit. I ended up panic buying a dress made of a material I can’t even touch without wanting to vomit. Love that for me. Also, why is Oxford Street allowed to exist?

I feel like I lost the entirety of Saturday to shopping for a better outfit and I found absolutely nothing.

I did rinse my bank account in Oxfam on some Folio editions though. I really don’t have the extra cash to justify these but I was sad. That’s justification enough, right?

We went to our friends Walima. It was lovely to spend the day hanging out with people I hadn’t seen in an absolute age.

Being at a segregated wedding was a little strange, but I think we were mostly jealous that the ladies side had fairy lights and a much fancier set up.

Hania looked stunning and I hope that the wedding was a dream come true for her.

I woke up knowing I had five days left at this job, and just lost the will to go. The day itself wasn’t bad, and was an even split between doing work and organising files and completing documents to share with the rest of the account before I go.

As I worked, Matt went to a couple of flat viewings and I fell in love with the more expensive of the two (obviously). I can see myself living there, but it might take a little bit of persuasion for Matt.

After work I did a small shop at Asda and Matt was nice enough to make chilli for dinner so that I could clean out our cupboard under the stairs. I wish I knew how we’d managed to get so many plastic bags.

Just before bed we bit the bullet and emailed the estate agent to ask if we could put down an offer for the flat, and he responded within minutes! I couldn’t believe he’d reply so late, but he now has all our details so I guess it’s in his hands.

I think I’ve forgotten how to sleep. I woke up every 20 minutes after Matt left at 5 and so getting up was upsetting to say the least.

The day was pretty good, we had our offer approved by the landlord so hopefully we’ll end up with everything confirmed by the end of the week!

Going home absolutely sucked though; as soon as I stepped out of the office I felt awful. I’d spent the entire day in the office under the air con absolutely frozen (even my thickest jumper couldn’t warm me up) and I immediately went from like 18 degrees to 33 and my body was unable to take it.

I had to catch two trains to get home because I felt so ill and by the time I was at my home station I felt like I was going to drop dead. I ended up sitting on the platform for ten minutes and then vomiting down a drain. Not my classiest moment.

From there on out I just got worse and whatever I had peaked around 9 and ended with me having a panic attack on the floor and my entire body going numb. Love that for me.

I barely slept and yet I still felt guilty calling in sick to work. I’m only there until Friday and they’ve probably all assumed that I’m faking given that last Wednesday I was also pretty unwell. Today took the absolute cake though, I haven’t felt this ill in a long time.

Today I was like maybe a percentage or two better. My fever had gone down a little and I could occasionally sit up for a few minutes.

It did take me four hours to gather the energy to get up off the sofa though and when I did I immediately collapsed so that was cool.

I’ve just managed to have some dinner and write up the last of this post, and I can feel some energy back. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll feel a little more like myself and be able to go to work.

It’s been a pretty rough week, but it should get better from here on out. I start my new job on Monday so I’d better start feeling more alive.

Let me know how your week was!

lie with me : an e-arc review

I was provided with a free copy of this text in exchange for an honest review courtesy of Penguin Books UK via NetGalley.

Have you ever read something so moving that you feel the need to distance yourself from it for a while? Philippe Besson’s Lie With Me is that book. I am beyond grateful that it has been translated from French to English so that it can be accessed by a wider reading population, and Molly Ringwald’s translation is stunning. Admittedly, it did take me a moment to get used to the American English, but after that I was consumed by the text.

The novel opens in 2007, but quickly shifts to the winter of 1984, in a childhood without choice, ‘a bygone era, a dying city, a past without glory.’ Our narrator is nameless, and we learn that he has been branded by the homophobic slurs typical of children. He is an outsider, and his inability to refute their claims confirms their suspicions.

At seventeen, the narrator is experiencing what might be his first crush. Thomas brings choice and emotion into his life, but this is not a thrilling tale of romance and first love with all the salacious details. Instead, there is vulnerability, secrecy and heartbreak. It encapsulates the experience I’m sure many of us find familiar and potentially traumatic to remember. Given that society is homophobic, affection feels unfamiliar and undeserved, and learning to be tender is not always an option available.

I found myself in tears when the narrator reflects upon the AIDS crisis. As a teenager he would have been unable to imagine the catastrophic loss ahead. Besson’s reflective style allows for the narrator to impart realities in the midst of teenage naïvety.

‘It’s there but we think we are safe from it. We know nothing of the grand decimation that will follow, depriving us of our best friends and old lovers, that will bring us together in cemeteries and cause us to scratch out names in our address books, enraging us with so many absences, such profound loss.’ 

The next two sections of the novel are set in 2007 and 2016, and they are equally moving. These chapters further explore the cost of shame and internalised homophobia.  

As the narrative is so ambiguous it is almost impossible to determine if this is a work of fiction or if it is rooted in memoir. Regardless, Besson has captured the experience of a life unlived and it is heart wrenching.

I would wholeheartedly recommend that you read this when it’s released in the UK on September 5th. It’s available to pre-order now, and there’s even an audio download copy listed!

Please note that all quotes are from an e-arc copy and so may not be present in the final copy. As I read this on my kindle I’m unable to provide accurate page reference numbers.