30 Before 30: Three Years On!

It’s my birthday! And that means it’s time for me to watch 11 hours of the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings, have a look at my 30 Before 30 list and do an update. I updated it when I turned 21, then again when I turned 22, and now I’m 23! *gulp*! That’s not early-twenties anymore, that’s just twenties. Next year I’ll be 24 and that’s mid-twenties. To distract me from this revelation, on with the list…

Some of the photos on my Instagram over the year!

1. Complete Pokémon.
Pokémon Yellow was re-released on 3DS for the 20th anniversary but I haven’t got it yet. Honestly, haven’t been playing that many video games. I need to get on this in 2017 since it’s probably one of the easiest to complete on this list. I may buy it for myself as a birthday present!
2. Write a Novel.
Do 10 beginnings count as one? I need to work on finishing projects this year.
3. Earn at least a 2:1 in my degree.
Working on it!
4. Do a 365 photo a day challenge.
I’ve mentioned every year, this is one for later in my life when my life is more interesting.
5. Copy the ‘Three Men in a Boat’ trip.
Not yet! Although at least with my procrastination, there’s less risk of being exploded by a WWII bomb!
6. Take a plane on my own.
7. Start a Podcast.
Remember how 2016 was awful? This idea got delayed because of that. It’s hard to do a podcast when all your hosts are having a hard time in their personal lives. Fingers crossed for 2017!
8. Learn to drive.
I think I just decided what I’m going to do with my birthday money. Time to take that test.
9. Write a will.
10. Own The Walking Dead #1.
I might just buy a reprint and be done with this.
11. Host Christmas.
12. See my brother get married.  
13. Go to Vegas with my oldest friend.
14. Make a quilt.
I have a few patterns ready, I just need some fabric and time now.
15. Own a Hyundai Ix35.
16. Own a collection of mugs that all have meaning.
I’m counting this as done although I’m still collecting. I have an amazing collection at the moment that are all lovely and mean so much to me. 
17. Get back into Archery.
Something I love about these updates is that this list can grow as I do, and I no longer wanted to ‘start a small business’. But something that I’ve wanted to do for years, and clearly need an extra push for, is getting back into archery. So it was time for this to change.
18. Review 200 books. 
I recently finished reading my 200th book, so I’ll have finished this goal when I write up my reviews for my January reads. I can’t quite believe it. I thought this was going to take me all ten years if I’m honest. And all the reviews so far are here!
19. Road trip the UK.
20. Go to SDCC.
21. Grow a bonsai tree and keep it alive.
Last year I had just bought two little saplings that were still alive but not growing. One did end up dying, but the other is finally growing and looking more alive! You can see him in the background of some of my blog pictures here and here. This is in progress!
22. Travel Europe on a train.
23. Cosplay.
24. Go to all the places Ashley wants to bring me to.
25. Learn to crochet and make something.
I learnt to crochet so long ago! I did start a project in 2016 though, a nest-bed for my cat, but I haven’t finished it quite yet.
26. Keep bees.
27. Cut my hair and donate it to the Little Princess Trust. 
I did this last year, and I’m thinking of doing it again in 2017 because my hair has grown long again. It’s such a worthy cause and I’m not exactly doing anything with my cut-off hair!
28. Learn German.
I had a weird 30 credits that I needed to take to complete first year because of changing universities and one dealing in 40 credit modules and the other in 60. I saw a German class and knew I needed to take it. It’s been amazing, super helpful and I feel like I’m finally getting my head around the language! Enough that I’m hoping to read a book in German this year
29. Visit the German Christmas Markets. 
I visited Köln/ Cologne in December 2015, that you can see here! It was such an amazing experience that I actually went to München/ Munich in December 2016, that I posted about here! German Christmas Markets really are magical.
30. Act.
I didn’t put this on last years list because I thought it would come across kind of silly, but I’ve actually been going to acting classes since April. My confidence has built up, at least enough to put it on this list publicly. We’ll see!

Four out of thirty- but with six on the way of being done. I’m feeling a lot better about this list then I was last year. Progress is fun.

Do you have a 30 Before 30 list? What’s on it?

Bookmarked #2

Remember that series I started in March 2015 where I show you some neat websites I’ve bookmarked? Yeah, I’m a terrible blogger it seems. But! Let us not dwell on the past, but go forth, and look at some of the other things I’ve been bookmarking lately. I promise to do better with this series in the coming months.

  • Ever since I finished the Aurora Teagarden books, I’ve been looking for a new cosy crime series and found this website that lists what seems like every cosy crime series!
  • Are your email newsletters out of control? Unroll.me rounds them all up and makes unsubscribing as painless as the process can be.
  • How can you not want a moon lamp?! The Luna is beautiful and I can’t wait to get my hands on one when they become available.
  • Did you know I put up a post on All Subscription Boxes about a new geek box: CultCrate? Well I did and it was a pretty cool box.
What have you bookmarked lately?

5 Things I Love about Lent!

I should start this by saying I’m not religious, but I went to a school that while claiming not to be Christian put a heck of a lot of emphasis on the religions traditions. And I guess Lent kind of stuck with me. Since I’ve now made 44 days without the love of my life; chocolate, and it’s nearly over- here are 5 Things I love about this tradition…

1. Shrove Tuesday!
My mum makes the best pancakes and I love any excuse to bring out the frying pan, lemons and sugar as a subtle hint. Shrove Tuesday is literally the day to indulge and treat yo’ self. Even if Lent isn’t your thing, everyone loves pancake day.

2. The Challenge
Not only do I give chocolate up for Lent, I also give it up for November in a pre-advent calendar/Christmas detox. I think pushing yourself to give something up forces you to adjust and find out something about yourself. If you manage to get to the end, nothing feels better than that first taste. If you give up half-way through it just doesn’t have the same effect.

3. That Countdown
Countdowns are either the best or the worst. Countdowns to exams, deadlines, Monday mornings, and the end of the holidays suck. But Countdowns to Christmas, exciting events, travelling and the end of Lent are the best. 3 days to go!

4. The Anticipation
I’ve spent more time than I care to admit thinking about what I’m going to eat first when Easter Sunday comes around. Do I go classic Easter with Mini Eggs? Spoil myself with a hot chocolate pudding? Finally rip open the box of my favourite ice cream bars; Maxibon? Whatever it is, it’s going to taste so good.

5. Easter!
Some of my favourite memories from being a kid revolve around Easter. Doing the egg hunt with my brother and cousin, those little plastic fluffy chicks that seem to appear from nowhere, and as I’ve grown up it’s always been a time of productivity for me… Maybe from all the extra chocolate related energy!

Do you participate in Lent?

5 Things I Always Forget to Do!

You know that feeling in the back of your brain like you’ve forgotten something? It’s my nemesis. And it’s always the silly day-to-day stuff, it’s hard to forget to go on holiday or when Christmas is, but the normal stuff can have a big impact! Here’s 5 Things I always forget to do in hopes that it reminds you of something you’ve forgotten…

body butter, nail polish remover, Lucifer on Amazon Prime and bills

1. Buy the staples
I can’t be the only one that forgets to buy things that everyone needs. I’ve gone months without having nail polish remover before because I never remember to buy it. Meanwhile, I have a gazillion nail polishes in every colour under the sun that I can’t use because I can’t remove them!

2. Check my bills are correct
In the age of direct debit, it’s pretty easy to let companies take your money and sometimes- there are mistakes. My phone bill had been a couple of quid over each month for about half a year before I picked up on it! Awful!

3. Message back
This is my public apology to my friends, people who tweet me and email me, basically anyone who tries to communicate with me that isn’t Skype or phone calls- I am really bad at messaging. I generally go for weeks as a chatty cat then I’m incognito for months. If I’m not actively in a quick back-and-forth conversation then I get distracted. I’m working on it!

4. Moisturise my body
I’m fanatical when it comes to moisturising my face but my body is a completely different matter. It just takes so long and I can never find lotion and it just feels so sticky if you put too much on. Such a first world problem, I know.

5. Watch TV shows on a weekly basis
I’m a marathon girl- not the running type, don’t be ridiculous- but when it comes to watching TV shows I tend to get into a show when it’s long over or near the end so I can marathon through the seasons in time for a finale. But there are some really good shows actually on TV right now; Lucifer, The Walking Dead, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and even though I love them I somehow manage to get a couple episodes behind before I watch them. I’m a networks worst nightmare.

What do you always forget to do?

30 Before 30: Two Years On!

The past couple years on my birthday I have looked over my 30 Before 30 list to see how I’m doing, what I’ve completed, and what needs to be remembered- and this year is no different! You can see last years post here and my original list here. Sometimes it feels like so much has changed, and other times it feels like nothing has.

1. Complete Pokémon.
Technically, I completed Pokémon X this year. But the game I really want to complete is Pokémon Yellow so call it practice! There are rumours of a yellow re-release for the 20th anniversary so…
2. Write a Novel.
Still working on this one. I’ve started a cosy crime book that is almost completely plotted out and I’m really enjoying writing it when I get the chance. I think I might do one of the Camp NaNoWriMo’s in 2016 to really bang out some words.
3. Earn at least a 2:1 in my degree.
I’m actually changing universities and degrees but all my scores point to a 2:1 so yay!
4. Do a 365 photo a day challenge.
I mentioned last year, this is definitely one for later in my life because my pictures would be super boring these days.
5. Copy the ‘Three Men in a Boat’ trip.
No progress on this one, yet. But I did buy a couple of my buddies copies of the book so fingers crossed.
6. Take a plane on my own.
Nope. Still not done this!
7. Start a Podcast.
This used to be ‘Spend a St. Patrick’s day in Ireland’ but honestly, I don’t really feel like doing that anymore and this list is kind of evolving as I grow up. Anyway, a couple friends and I are going to be starting a podcast in 2016 that we’re super hyped about. 
8. Learn to drive.
A couple weeks ago I got behind the wheel again after being terrified for ages and it just- clicked. And I’m actually pretty good! I think I can pass my test in the next couple months. Hopefully.
9. Write a will.
10. Own The Walking Dead #1.
Unfortunately, the tooth fairy hasn’t left two grand under my pillow lately but hey- a girl can dream!
11. Host Christmas.
12. See my brother get married.  
13. Go to Vegas with my oldest friend.
14. Make a quilt.
I went to a talk by Jane Brocket this year and picked up her book so this will hopefully give me some ideas so I can complete this one soon.
15. Own a Hyundai Ix35.
16. Own a collection of mugs that all have meaning.
I have a few but if I didn’t live at home, I’d struggle to have enough cups for a tea party. 
17. Start a small business.
No closer on this one. I think originally, I saw myself with a little Etsy shop but seriously- the time those sellers put into their work is extraordinary. This one might change in the next year. 
18. Review 200 books. 
I think I’m at around 120 for this goal and you can read all of them here!
19. Road trip the UK.
20. Go to SDCC.
21. Grow a bonsai tree and keep it alive.
I bought two little saplings this year and they’re still alive- but don’t seem to be growing. I think I need to do some more research.
22. Travel Europe on a train.
23. Cosplay.
24. Go to all the places Ashley wants to bring me to.
25. Learn to crochet and make something.

I can’t believe I learnt to crochet two years ago and still haven’t made anything. This year. I must.
26. Keep bees.
27. Cut my hair and donate it to the Little Princess Trust. 

Done! I finally did this in December! I donated 26 inches and I love having short hair now. The time I save in the shower is incredible. I’ll be writing a post about it soon.
28. Learn German.
29. Visit the German Christmas Markets. 
Another thing I did in December 2015. I visited Köln/ Cologne in Germany and saw so many beautiful and different markets that blew my mind, ruined my bank balance and made my Christmassy spirit soar. You can see my picture heavy post here!

Do you have a list like this? Does it help you keep track of your goals?

5 Things I would Save if my House was on Fire!

I think everyone has pondered this at one point in their lives. What would you save if your house set on fire? Not including cats, and people. Narrowing down things I would save was hard, I am definitely not a minimalist and sometimes I wish I could move just for the opportunity to cut the fat. But anyway!

1. The family jewels!
I’m kidding. There are no diamonds or pearls here. We got robbed a couple years back and most of the family heirlooms got stolen. I have one bracelet that my grandfather bought for my grandmother back when she was alive, that my mum passed on to me when I turned 21. It is my most prized possession. If I got to only save one thing, that would be it.

2. My laptop!
Here’s the thing; my laptop has all my degree work, all my pictures, all my writing, my chat logs from Skype, a heck of a lot of irreplaceable content that is backed up on a disk, that is also in my house. So I’d just grab the laptop. It wouldn’t be difficult, 99% of the time I’m at home my laptop is close by.

3. My stuffed animal!
I’m 21 but c’mon, everyone is attached to their stuffed animal they had when they were a kid. A lot of things can be replaced but that comfort you get from that toy when you were young? Irreplaceable.

4. My phone!
My house is burning down in this scenario. It would be nice to be able to call the fire trucks. And I’d probably tweet it. I wonder what hashtag you use in that situation…

5. My childhood books!
A lot of my books are replaceable, although that would be one hell of an Amazon order. It would suck to lose them but I don’t have memories attached to them like I do with my childhood books. In the spirit of- picking too many would be cheating, I’d probably grab for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and my collection of The Faraway Tree Stories. Gosh, losing my books would suck. Please, house, don’t burn down!

What would you save?

5 Things to do this Halloween!

This is Halloween. This is Halloween. Pumpkins scream in the dead of night- nearly. It’s two days to go. I’m 96% resident of Halloween Town at this point and nobody can stop me. If you’re not quite as prepared as I am, I have a post with 5 things to do to prepare for Halloween. And here are 5 Things to do this Halloween that will make your holiday fun and spooky!

Pumpkins, candles and books with the headline 5 Things to do this Halloween.

1. Carve up a pumpkin (And save the insides)!
Obviously, carving up a pumpkin is a fun way to spend an evening- and harder than it looks! Then you can pop in a tealight and sit it on a windowsill to spook trick or treaters. But! You can also roast up the seeds inside for a healthy and super tasty snack too. Pumpkin seeds are not cheap but my big pumpkin only cost me £3 and I’m sure as heck chopping it up into a pie after Halloween too.

2. Watch a horror movie!
Good horror movies are rare. They’re like the unicorns of the film industry, and I know this because I have a buddy who is obsessed with anything scary and makes me watch bad horror movies with her. It’s lucky I love her because I’ve seen Nazi zombies, growling sharks, and every bad trope you can imagine. There are some gems though; pretty much anything Tim Burton has been involved in, the Scream franchise, or embrace the bad and watch one of Ashley’s ‘Horrors of Netflix.’

3. Sneak some halloween candy just for yourself!
Chocolates just taste better mini. It’s science. I’m doing my No Chocolate November again this year, even though it makes me miserable, because I eat way too much chocolate. And advent calendar chocolate tastes 87% better if it’s been a while since you had chocolate. Again, science. So it’s my last time to really make my veins run full of sugar.

4. Join my #Hallowreadathon!
I swear, I’ll stop mentioning the Hallowreadathon in every post once it’s over! But it is a lot of fun and it doesn’t even have to be hardcore nose-in-a-book-all-day reading. If you have errands to run, kids to dress up, trick or treating to do you could even listen to an audiobook. Playster has recently added a bunch including Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, which is on my TBR pile!

5. Start thinking about what you want from the end of the year!
I’m a little freaked out that there are only two months left in 2015. Two months. 63 days as of when I’m posting this. Yikes! There was so much I wanted to do this year that I haven’t, I’ve barely made a dent in my 30 before 30 list, and I haven’t even left the country! I miss traveling! Okay, breathe. 63 days. 1512 hours. We can do something cool with that time. I’m sure of it.

What will you be doing this Halloween?
*Post sponsored by Playster. Money to be spent on halloween chocolate. That’s what grown-ups do when they earn money, right?

5 Things to do to Prepare for Halloween!

Halloween is definitely one of the easier holidays to prepare for. It took me a while to think of 5 things to do whereas my preparing for Christmas has already begun and is already freaking me out. Another reason Halloween is better! But here are 5 Things you can do to make your Halloween run smoothly (and give you all the more reading time for the readathon).

1. Buy your candy!
I love trick or treaters at Halloween. I think it’s cute seeing all the little kids all dressed up and excited, and I think it’s a shame that it seems to be less of a tradition these days. Either way, it’s time to stock up and make sure no kid goes home without one hell of a sugar rush!

2. Get your costume sorted!
I’m not a costume gal since I spend Halloween on the couch but I’ll pull on my Captain America jumper in solidarity. If you are a costume person, it’s time to start organising to avoid any last minute scrambling at the shops. ASOS has some great things if you just search Halloween and there’s still time for an order from Black Milk!

3. Decorate!
This is definitely more of an American thing than a British thing. My pals were talking about yard decorations and pumpkins for their stoop while I sit here so jealous! But they shouldn’t get all the fun,  I’ll be doing a little decorating around my room/desk to get into the spooky spirit.

4. Make sure to get a good pumpkin!
Pumpkins are in stock in supermarkets now, but they won’t be for long. I didn’t have one last year because I waited for too long to get one so it’s definitely worth getting one early since they can last 8-12 weeks pre-carving.

5. Get your Hallowreadathon TBR ready! 
The Hallowreadathon approaches. You can read all about what it is and the reading challenges here! And I’ve narrowed down my TBR options to about 10 which is, of course, ridiculous for a two day readathon. I posted about it here in hopes of some help because I am terrible at deciding. And I wrote a post last year about Too Spooky Reads if you need some help!

So those are 5 things to do to prepare for Halloween! What do you think? Have I missed something?

5 Things to do in Autumn!

Summer is over! And with the season change comes a cold that has knocked me out for the week, thus the lack of blog posts. Despite this, I’m personally breathing a sign of relief. Autumn is my absolute favourite season as you get Halloween, the best holiday, the run up to Christmas and all the good TV comes back on air. So here are 5 things to do now the season is here…

1. Go back to school!
I used to hate going back to school but now as a degree student I am so upset that I can’t start my new module until January. Learning! I love it! And I’m in a pretty fortunate situation where I live in a country where education is so easily obtained. I think that’s pretty easy to forget under all the- wishing homework was outlawed and Summer lasted forever. Plus, new stationary.

2. Autumn clean!
Spring cleanings less popular sibling. Not only have I been dusting and polishing, I’m slowly starting the process of moving everything out of my bedroom for it’s redecoration and going through various collections to see what can be tossed. Make-up, clothes, half-finished projects, books, and even my finances are getting a good going over so I can settle into the end of the year feeling lighter.

3. Flip your mattress!
While looking on the Martha Stewart website for tips to clean and de-clutter I found out that apparently you’re supposed to flip your mattress twice a year. Please tell me I’m not the only one that didn’t know this. And if you, like me, was unaware that this was a thing- flip it. It helps it last longer and as someone who is getting a bigger bed soon and is researching new mattress prices, extending their life seems like a good thing.

4. Dust off the Candles!
I’m not one for burning candles in Summer, preferring fresh flowers but Autumn is when I pull out my candles. Certain makes have been giving me headaches though so I lean towards soy and beeswax ones now. And I might be going to America in a couple months, Bath and Body Works best prepare.

5. Start getting excited for Halloween and Christmas!
This year I’ll be hosting the Hallowreadathon again and I’m so hyped. This year has challenges and a giveaway and I’m really looking forward to it, and Halloween, and then as soon as that’s over I can go full blown Christmas and nobody can stop me.

What are things you do when the seasons change?

5 Things I Love About Blogging!

I think every blogger I’ve ever spoken to has slumps now and again. I think every person I’ve ever spoken to has had a slump when it comes to a hobby. You put a lot of effort in, you try your best, and sometimes you don’t feel good about what you produce, whether it’s a blog post, a cake or a painting. I’m in a bit of a slump right now, so I thought I’d make this weeks 5 Things post about blogging because this is my hobby and I know even under this cartoon raincloud I have over my head- I love it. So here are 5 Things…

1. Having a productive hobby.
I have no idea how I spent most of my time on the internet before I started up my first blog. Hours and hours with nothing to show for it. Now when I’m online I’m editing pictures while I watch Netflix, tweeting about my latest blog post, instagraming pictures of what I’m reading, drafting a post, emailing people- having fun and getting the satisfaction of pressing that big orange publish button at the end of it.

2. Learning new skills.
I still haven’t figured out HTML or how to turn my DSLR off automatic but I’m finally comfortable writing lifestyle posts like this, and I’m pretty pleased with how far my book reviews have come, and I feel like I have a voice on my blog that represents myself. And that’s pretty neat.

3. Having your hard work recognised.
I was googling my blog the other day out of curiosity and found that I’m quoted on the Chronicles of the Invaders website. It really brightened my day because it’s one of my favourite series and I put a lot of work into my original review. Things like that, comments, emails, tweets, knowing someone is reading and is liking what you’re putting out- makes the hard stuff worth it.

4. There’s always going to be someone doing better than you…
And that’s okay! Something I learnt from all-girls school is that jealousy doesn’t get you anywhere but can easily make you really miserable. But also that you can think of it another way, and be inspired by people doing better than you. Let them pull you up rather than trying to drag them down. I’m inspired by being surrounded with positive, powerful, intelligent people like my fellow bloggers.

5. There’s always going to be someone just starting out…
According to CNET there are two new blogs started every second. That’s two people sitting down in front of a computer with something to say that only they can say. Everyone’s experiences are different and so everyone has something unique to talk about. That’s one of the best things about the internet in my opinion. And you can help them. One of my favourite moments as a blogger was when a brand new blogger emailed me asking for help, and helping them the best that I could so I could get to read what they had to say.

So those are 5 Things I Love about blogging- What do you love about blogging?