Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Harry Potter Tag

When I spotted this post over on Laura's blog I knew immediately that I wanted to give it a go. Harry Potter is and always will be one of my favourite series of books and whilst my Dad re-reads The Lord of The Rings books each winter, I have started to re-read the Harry Potter books each year and it is by far one of my favourite things to do on a cold winters night! 

1. What is your favourite book?
My favourite book is probably the first book because for me that is where it all started. In the months leading up to my seventh birthday a lot of my classmates had been reading The Philosophers Stone and being the bookworm I am, my Mum had repeatedly offered to buy them for me, to which I rather ignorantly replied 'Harry Potter is a boy's book' (Oh the SHAME!). Luckily my Mum was unconvinced and bought me the first book for my birthday and addressed it as being from the dogs so I wouldn't be mad. 2 days later I was hooked and bought the second, third and fourth book with my birthday money.

2. What is your favourite film?
I really like the second film, The Chamber of Secrets. The car scene was exactly how I had imagined it when I was reading the book, which is always a win for me! In my opinion though the books don't cover enough of the antics that Peeves get up to, which is a shame as these were some of my favourite moments in the books.

3. What is your least favourite book?
This is a really tough question! Being pushed I would probably have to go with The Goblet of Fire as for me the start of the book takes a while to get going (especially when reading for the first time). But really, I'd quite happily read anyone of the Harry Potter books over and over again. 

4. What is your least favourite film?
The Half Blood Prince. I remember going to see this film on the day it was released and being whole heartedly dissapointed in it. I mean, they burnt down the burrow! If you're going to add in plot points to films based on books then you should not do so at the cost of existing (and brilliant!) plot points. I still get worked up about this to this day!

5. What parts of the books/films made you cry?
I cry way too easily! And so I cried whenever any of the main characters died in both the films and the books. The bits where Harry sees his parents always make me cry and truth be told, when I am re-reading the books, I often start to cry before the sad part, because I know it is coming up!

6. If you could hook up with any character, who would it be?
When reading the books, I had a major crush on Ron Weasley and my parents find it highly amusing that I am now dating a guy who is ginger and freckley and in the right light, I could probably pass of as a Weasley!

7. Who is your favourite character?
My favourite character would probably be Hermoine as growing up I related to her studious ways, slight social awkwardness and unruly curly hair. 

8. Who is your least favourite character?
I really didn't like Wormtail in the books and the same was true in the films. I have always struggled to put my finger on exactly what it is that I didn't like about him, but he definitely gave me the creeps. 

9. What is your favourite line?
Similarly to Laura, my favourite line is probably a toss up between "Not my daughter, you bitch" and "I'm going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us all killed, or worse expelled." Plus, whenever Ron says "Bloody hell", told you I had a major crush going on!

10. What would your patronus be?
I was always quite entranced by the scene where the White Stag patronus appears on the lake and so in my ideal world (where I received my Hogwarts letter 11 years ago) my patronus would be a White Stag. 

11. If you could have the Resurrection Stone, Invisibility Cloak or Elder Wand, which would you choose?
The Invisibility Cloak! Imagine the fun that you could have with that!

12. Which house would you be in?
I have been sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore which I think is fairly accurate. When I was reading the books, I always wanted to be in Gryffindor, but in reality, I am nowhere near brave enough to be!

13. If you could meet any member of the cast, who would it be?
Rupert Grint. Are you sensing a theme here? ;)

14. If you were on the Quidditch team, which position would you play?
I am so bad at sports, but I have always thought it would be fun to be a sneaker, that way you don't actually pay too much attention to what is happening, except of course when the snitch appears.

15. Where you happy with the ending?
Yes and no. I like the way that you get a glimpse into the future lives of the characters, but when I finished the last book, there was definitely a hole in my life and I will always be hungry for more Harry Potter books. I want to know how their kids get on at University, what has happened to Harry, Ron and Hermoine. J K Rowling keeps teasing with glimpses on Pottermore, but really I won't be satisfied until there is another book!

16. How much does Harry Potter mean to you?
Like I said at the start of this post, I re-read the Harry Potter books every winter and if I ever have kids, it will be one of the books that I encourage them to read. These books are the only ones that I have ever preordered and queued up at midnight to collect, they are the only books I have sat down and refused to move until I have finished them.

Are you a Harry Potter geek too? Please be sure to send me any links to more of these Harry Potter Tag posts! 

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Monday, 28 July 2014

Things that made me happy #1

Some of my favourite blog posts to read are about the things that have made people happy that week and so inspired by Rosie and Alice, I have decided to try and focus on what has made me happy during the week. I mentioned in this post that I have a bad habit of letting myself get overwhelmed and so I am hoping that by having these posts it will help me to pick out the positives in my life.

So without further ado, here is what has been making me smile this week:

1. Catching up with friends: Between my work experience and holidays it had been over a month since I last saw my best friend (crazy!) so we decided to have a girly day out shopping in the beautiful Chester before she jets off to Spain to au-pair for a month. 

2. Reading: I have been making more time for reading lately and I am slowly ploughing my way through The Goldfinch. There is something about the simplicity of reading in bed with a cuppa that is so good for the soul. 

3. Self Confidence:  I am notoriously bad with self confidence but this week I decided that it might actually be possible for me to attempt my driving test before going back to Bangor for my final year of University (eeep!). 

4. Weekends off: Fellow retail workers will understand my joy of discovering that I had this weekend off without having asked for it! Whilst I didn't do anything majorly exciting with it, I did get to spend some quality time with my boyfriend eating junk food and binge watching TV shows. 

5. Rain: Finally, after what seems an endless heatwave, it finally rained last night. I love the smell of the air when it has rained and being a girl whose favourite season is Autumn, this heatwave has been far from enjoyable!

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Friday, 25 July 2014

REVIEW: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

When I was younger, more often than not you would find me with my head buried in a book, however during GCSES, A-Levels and consequently University I have fallen out of the habit. Faced with the prospect of days on end of revision during my last term I decided that I wanted to purchase a new book to read. For me when I have a break from revision, I find that I like to completely switch off from technology and anything academic and order for a book to keep me from checking my phone every 5 minutes, it has to be good. 

The Rosie Project did not disappoint at all! I frequently found myself extending my revision breaks to try and fit in another chapter (or two!) of this book. Graeme Simsion is an incredibly talented writer and as soon as I can, I am going to try and get my hands on some more of his books (and if there aren't any published yet, I intend on pre-ordering an unwritten book!).

Don is a scientist at a University in Australia and lives his life by a very strict routine (think OCD levels of Sheldon Cooper) and he embarks on trying to find the perfect wife using a quiz based on all sorts of obscure preferences such as the amount of alcohol drank and their favourite ice cream flavour. A colleague at the University sends a girl called Rosie to the office of Don under the premise that she had passed his quiz with flying colours. Little did Don know that Rosie wasnt even aware of the quiz, let alone partaken in it. The pair begin to date leading to Don offering to aid Rosie in finding the identity of her birth father. As the relationship between Don and Rosie evolves, this book becomes more and more of a page turner! 

If you are looking for a book to pack for the pool or beach then this comes highly recommended! 

Have you read the book yet? 

Monday, 21 July 2014

RECIPE: Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Those of you who saw my work experience post may have noticed the chocolate cake I baked whilst staying with my friend and her family. It was one of the nicest cakes that I have had in a while (if I do say so myself!!) and I am excited to share the recipe with you all as it is SO simple to make. 

You will need:

200g flour
200g soft brown sugar
200g butter or margarine
4 eggs
4 tsp cocoa powder
Tsp baking powder
Bar of milk chocolate
Bar of dark chocolate
Punnet of raspberries

Put the flour, sugar, eggs and margarine all in a bowl and whisk/beat together until it is smooth and resembles cake mixture! Add in the cocoa powder and mix again. Split the mixture between two greased and lined cake tins and pop into a preheated oven circa 180 degrees for 25 minutes (or until you smell the lovely cake smell coming from the kitchen and pop back into check it). To check if the cake is cooked, insert a skewer and it should come out clean (aka no mixture on it!).

After the cakes are out of the oven and cooling melt the two bars of chocolate. Then, after setting aside some raspberries for decoration, mash up the rest of the punnet in a bowl.

Once the two cakes are cooled, sandwich together using your mashed up raspberry concoction, cover it in chocolate, then pop some raspberries on top to impress your friends and family. 

As I made this cake at my friends house I sadly don't have pictures of every step but I do have some lovely finished product pictures for you!

Be sure to let me know if you make this yourself! 

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Sunday, 20 July 2014

My Week 29

This week was the first week that I moved into my new Kate Spade planner after waiting for what felt like a lifetime (and was only in fact a month) for it to arrive from America. I didn't love it as much as I thought I would at first but it is growing on me day by day, truth be told, I am currently more in love with inserts than the planner itself! 

I have spent most of this week getting back into the routine of my summer job as well as trying to get back into a proper blogging routine (so far, so good!). I also started a spending ban, which is taking some adjusting to and FINALLY passed my theory test

How has your week been? 

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Friday, 18 July 2014

Celebrations and falling back in love with my degree

Today I managed to pass my Driving theory test which is great as I have put myself under quite a bit of pressure (as usual!) to be test ready by the end of summer and pass first time. No biggie. After passing my theory test I realised I was reasonably close to the centre of Liverpool and so some shopping may have occurred, but I did manage not to break my spending ban which is yet another reason for celebration!

As I mentioned in this post I got a First overall for my second year of University which now means that it is logical for me to try and maintain this for my third year and come out of Bangor with an overall First, a girl can dream eh? 

So tonight I am trying to focus on the positives and cut myself some slack by sitting and eating cake and watching the Masterchef final. Long term readers of the blog may well have come to realise that I tend to be quite hard on myself and I really do need to stop and look at how far I have come. 

Last summer I was dreading going back to Bangor for second year and came very close to transferring or dropping out of University all together. Now I am really looking forward to applying for my PGCE and powering through the last year of my Zoology degree, determined to give it my all and come out with no regrets over the classification of my degree!

Do you ever sit back and focus on your progress? If not I recommend you give it a try, we all need to cut ourselves some more slack. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Work Experience Musings

I absolutely loved my 2 weeks placement in East London and although commuting from Essex meant that my days were long I still managed to fit in exciting things. First up was the Soapbox Festival which took place on Sunday 30th June on London's Southbank aimed at highlighting female scientists and whilst I am not planning on pursuing my career in Zoology further than completing my degree it was still a very inspiring experience! 

Rather fortunately my time at the school coincided with a trip to the beach, which with the current weather the UK is experiencing as well as 120 inner London kids, most of whom had never been to the seaside before led to one of the craziest, yet most enjoyable days I have had in a long time.

One of the highlights of my commute every day meant that I had a lot of time for reading and although I didn't manage to complete a book in my 2 week stay, I am now halfway through The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. 

I was fortunate enough to be staying with my bestfriend from Bangor and her family whilst doing my experience and so when we were presented with a rainy Sunday afternoon we decided that we would bake a cake (because you know, the shops are open post 4pm on a Sunday and one can still purchase the necessary ingredients!). A delicious chocolate raspberry cake was born and demolished pretty promptly which must have meant that it was nice. (Recipe to follow shortly!). 

Keeping with the cake theme, me and A found out last Wednesday that we had both gotten a First in our 2nd year of university and so when we were in London shopping on Thursday we decided to celebrate with cake and this my friends is quite frankly the BEST carrot cake I have ever eaten. Well done me. 

Unfortunately my time down south had to come to an end and what better way to celebrate than a bowl full of ice cream, chocolate, sprinkles and marshmallows?! 

Monday, 14 July 2014

100 Day Spending Ban... Eeep!

I am back from my work experience in an East  London Primary School and I am thrilled to report that I enjoyed it and haven't been put off applying for my PGCE in November! However those of you who are from London will know that it is a very expensive area and so my bank balance isn't quite as thrilled about the experience as I was! (But I do have some exciting haul posts to show you over the next few weeks!)

From reading other blogs out there I have come across the idea of a spending ban and whilst I don't strictly need to do it for 100 days I thought that this would be a good way to try and reign my spending in as I have a habit of buying lots of little things constantly and this soon mounts up! I am hoping that over the course of the ban I can keep a closer eye on exactly where my money is going and also rediscover some items of clothing, books, dvds etc that I have bought and never gotten around to using properly! 

So here are my spending ban rules!

1) No Stationery whatsoever! This will probably be one of the most challenging aspects of my spending ban as I do have quite the addiction. I am sure that I will be able to 'shop my stash' and hopefully use some of the stock pile that I have accumulated so far! EXCEPTION: Printer Ink and Paper. 

2) No buying clothes without a good reason: Whenever I go shopping with my friends I usually come back with at least one item of clothing and so I am going to try and cut back on this and only buy clothes if I have a genuine reason for doing so! I am hoping to buy no more than 3 'cheat' items of clothing over the 100 days of my ban. EXCEPTION: Bras (within reason)- I recently got myself measured and now I only have one bra which correctly fits which of course will not be practical for 100 days. 

3) Limit the amount of NEW toiletry products: I have been experimenting with my skin care regime lately and trying to use more beauty products but this has resulted in me pretty much purchasing any product that I have seen a good review of on a couple of my favourite beauty blogs! I have recently just signed up to 6 months of the Birchbox subscription box and so I am hoping that this will satisfy my craving for new products without spending a small fortune. EXCEPTION: If one of my favourite products runs out that cannot be swapped out for something else in my stash then I am allowed to purchase it. 

4) No new bags or handbags! This one is fairly self explanatory for those who have seen my handbag collection. I simply do not need anymore! 

5) Limit buying random food at work I work at a fast food restaurant during the summer months and I am really quite bad at buying something like an ice cream when I finish which is not only bad for my bank balance but also for my waistline! I am hoping to do this no more than once a week during the spending ban. 

6) Only allowed to buy take out coffee or food if a social occasion Again this is similar to above but I am trying to stop buying packaged sandwiches, take out coffees etc unless I am meeting a friend or it is date night! 

7) No new books I have a hefty stack of books that I have bought because I like the look of but haven't actually gotten around to reading yet! Easily enough to last me 100 days!

8)  No magazines I have 2 monthly subscriptions which should easily satisfy all of my magazine cravings! I am quite guilty of buying a magazine as a way of getting change for the bus to work and so hopefully this will be cut out of my spending habits! 

9) Nothing from eBay! I am pretty sure that I have an eBay addiction as I am forever browsing auctions and buying random little things here and there. 

During the spending ban I am going to write down every single penny that I spend and try and keep my spending to mostly cash so that I can have a better idea of how much cash I am actually spending! I started the ban today so I still have another 99 days of minimal spending to survive... so wish me luck! Have any of you ever done a spending ban? Do you have any tips for me?

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Out of office

Appologies for how quiet it has been around here the past few days! I am currently in London doing some work experience and clever me didnt bring a laptop so I am confined to blogging from my phone.

I am finally getting some experience in a Primary school and I am 3 days in and loving it... so far I haven't been put off the profession and I am already thinking up new ways to strengthen my application.  Y'all are gonna have to keep your fingers crossed for me around November time.

Sadly I cannot reply to comments from my phone but I shall try my best to catch up when I am back (in just under 2 weeks).

For now lovely readers I will leave you with this hilarious classroom anecdote:

Whilst encouraging a 7 year old boy to do his time telling worksheet I asked 'how will you know what time it is?' To which he responded 'I'll just ask siri miss'