Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Reviewing Old Resolutions

I found a list that I made two years ago, thought it would be fun to review it and see what I've accomplished, what I haven't and what no longer interests me. It wasn't a New Year's resolution list, I think it was just a list of targets for the summer holidays.

What really helps is to make specific targets rather than vague goals so they're more achievable and you can tick them off e.g. instead of 'take up running', I wrote 'got for a run every fortnight' (that habit never stuck).

  • Learn a song on guitar 
I learnt several songs on guitar - just chords and how to strum. I've since forgotten everything I've learnt and the guitar is gathering dust.
  • Learn 3 songs on ukulele 
Daisy the ukulele
This is now the only instrument I play. It's so easy to just pick up and strum as a break.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A Lil' Bookish Christmas

I'm finally starting to feel festive - went food shopping with the family today. I volunteered to help cook and then realised I have no idea how to roast a chicken (but that's what the internet's for).

Anyway, it's cold and grey outside and everyone's tired because it's the end of the year. So, it's perfect to sit and read whilst fighting off food comas and "do you have a job yet" lectures from relatives.

'Dash and Lily's Book of Dares' - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

This is my all-time favourite Christmassy book. I've started reading it every year since my younger sibling got it for me as a gift. Sixteen-year-old Lily adores Christmas - but this year her family have left her alone. Encouraged by her brother, she hides a red notebook full of dares in her favourite bookshop, waiting for the right guy to accept. Cynical and uber-snarky Dash isn't one to step down from a challenge and they send each other on a scavenger hunt across Manhattan.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Tea on the Green Cafe, Exeter

Tea on the Green is one of my favourite cafes in Exeter, a place my friend Valentina and I love meeting up at for a catch up.

It's right next to Exeter Cathedral so it's beautiful to sit outside on a sunny day. They serve a range of English dishes, pastries, cream teas, coffees and, something I always look for, loose leaf teas.

The cafe's in a Grade II listed building and dates back to around 1530, so it recreates the atmosphere of an old fashioned tea room. The building was bought and the cafe opened in 2009, started by Ben Mangan, one of the founders of the Boston Tea Party chain (something I didn't know until I did some research for this post). It recently got featured on a Buzzfeed list as one of the places in the UK all tea lovers should visit.

Valentina and I went last week or so before the Christmas holidays. They have a very wide range of black, green, white, herbal and flowering teas. I got Japanese Genmaicha tea (one of my absolute favourite blends) and Valentina got Tea Burst - it blooms in hot water and it's one of her usuals. The Genmaicha is Japanese green tea with toasted rice, a warm and almost-nutty tasting tea and it was wonderful here.

They have a glass tea set and there's this fun pot which never fails to amuse me:

Saturday, 19 December 2015

'The Bosch Deception' - Alex Connor (Book Review)

In 1473, a brotherhood hides a secret within the work of the visionary Hieronymus Bosch. In modern day England Nicholas Laverne, a disgraced priest, returns with an artefact that could destroy the Church and the art world. However, secrets like that could kill.

Art, murder and the Catholic Church. No, it isn’t the Da Vinci Code. The Bosch Deception by Alex Connor has a lot of potential to be interesting; however I wished I didn’t have to read through to the end of this book.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Christmas Tag By Someone Who Doesn't Really Do Christmas

I haven't done a tag here for about three years, but I saw Amber from The Mile Long Bookshelf do this (great blog, do check it out), so thought I'd have a go. I didn't realise how mellow I am about the festive season until writing this - it's never been a big deal for me but I'm slowly getting more into it over the years. Also I write the word Christmas here about a hundred times so enjoy.

1) What's your favourite Christmas movie?
      Die Hard.
      I saw something online that said there are two types of people in the world - those who think Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and those who are wrong. Truer words have never been spoken.
      I don't like most Christmas movies as they're too soppy and force the jingle bell gooeyness on you. However, Elf is a close second because we would always watch it in school before the Christmas break and we would quote/scream at each other "SANTA'S COMING!!! OMG!!"
      Ah, good times.

2) Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
      ...Christmas morning.
      I'm not a big Christmas person but there are just some things - what kind of monster opens them the night before??? Father Christmas hasn't delivered all the presents yet!
     I open them when I wake up on the day, sitting in my bed (would like to take the opportunity to thank all my irritating as fu- wonderful friends who put loads of glitter under the wrapping paper/in Christmas cards to spill all over me.

My silhouette interrupting a festive projection

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The Body Shop Lip and Cheek Stain Review

This is one of their best-sellers but I'm not a huge fan.

This product has been around for a long time - my big sister used to have this when I was little and I LOVED it. It was the first ever lip and cheek stain I ever tried.

So when I started to have my own money, I bought one to make me feel grown up but it's pretty disappointing. I have the rose pink and my friend got the bronze glimmer shade - she feels the same way. The product is like a lip gloss, except the liquid is much lighter. It's fairly watery and therefore difficult to apply evenly, giving me patchy stains on my lips (and dries them out). The colour intensity builds as it dries, but you have to apply quite a lot and keep touching it up.

It does stay on for around three or four hours, so you can eat and it can withstand a couple of drinks (no marks are left on cups and glasses). It's easy to wash off with water which is both good and bad - simple to rinse off at the end of the night but if you wanted it to be waterproof then it's no good. As a cheek stain, it's ok. Again, you have to slowly build up the colour but it's easy to apply.

The tint should be something easily transportable but if you don't screw it back together tightly then it can leak and cause a crimson disaster.

Overall a disappointing purchase and I won't be buying another in the future.

Price: £10 (as of Dec 2015)
Cruelty free? Kinda? The Body Shop's parent company L'Oreal. It's widely disputed in the cruelty-free blogging community whether or not The Body Shop and L'Oreal are cruelty free, so - I'll leave it to you to make up your mind. .

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Writing Update #16

The Christmas holidays are here and I am free to blog a little bit more!


  • I'm writing this on Saturday night and I have a BIG list of posts to write - some of them I've been meaning to write for months. Also, I'm going through all my drafts and figuring out what I want to write and what to delete. There's a few that are two years old...
  • I went to an event held by BedBoat Magazine. They're a small independent magazine and quite new - their first issue came out in September 2015. It was a night full of music to raise money for their second issue. I met the editors (who are really lovely), met some people and hung out with friends - just a great night with excellent music! The line-up consisted of Samuel Wulf, Velvet & Stone, and Atlas Hands. The magazine is really lovely and well made, especially for a first issue - I'll be submitting some poetry and/or article ideas.
At the Bike Shed Theatre with BedBoat Magazine
  • The playwriting group I joined two months ago has disbanded as the founder moved away! Oh well, I'm going to persevere with this script anyway. 
  • Working on a new radio play series, need to get the idea ok-ed before work can begin.


I am utterly obsessed with Owl City. As winter progresses and days get darker, I've been looking for something to brighten my day. Owl City is so bright and cheery it's like liquid sunshine is being poured into my ears. 

I've loved his music for about 6 years now. Like most people, I discovered him from his track 'Fireflies' which was HUGE in 2009. I wish I knew about him before, as his earlier experimental music is really gorgeous, especially the Sky Sailing project. His music has beautiful story-telling lyrics and he's got a day-dreamy boyish singing voice. 

Real Life and Other Nonsense

  • I got my essays back - received a first on both of them!!! Very very happy, had pizza to celebrate. 
  • Term has ended, and it'll be my final Christmas break filled with studying and essay writing which is an odd thought.
  • I've been getting back in doing little comics/doodles and leaving them where I go - my friend Emily suggested I take sticky notes with me, which is a much better idea than constantly ripping out pages from my little sketchpad.
One of my favourite doodles

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas break!

Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Reviews Hub: 'A Christmas Carol' - Exeter Northcott (8 Dec 2015)

This review was originally written for The Review Hub

Writer: Charles Dickens
Adaptor: Katherine Senior
Director: Amanda Knott
Reviewer: Christy Ku
Exeter Northcott and Creative Cow collaborate to adapt Charles Dickens’ festive classic, A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer Scrooge, literature’s most famous miser, despises Christmas and those who celebrate it. However, on Christmas Eve he is visited by supernatural beings who seek to show him the true festive spirit and the error of his ways.