30 September 2012

Matthew 6:26

'Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?'

This picture may not be the best I've taken this week, but it does signify a big achievement for me. Last year, at Uni, I cooked very little, I didn't really feel comfortable in the kitchen. This year I decided I would make more of an effort, I feel more comfortable and last night I cooked a veritable feast. It sure wasn't perfect but y'know baby steps.

I even did roast parsnips and orange and balsamic vinegar gravy. I know what I'd change for next time, but it definitely wasn't a bad meal!

Maybe this year I'll be more settled and push myself out of my comfort zone more.

How was your week?


28 September 2012

Book Beginnings: Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

The third and final book in my set of Hunger Games posts.

'I stared down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.'

This beginning is a little more traumatic than those featured in books one and two. It pays a successful homage to the disaster which the people of Katniss' District suffered as the result of her actions. The disaster which she herself escaped in many ways. 

In comparison with the other two books I think that it's much more representative of the book as a whole. 

In other news if I made a mistake in the typing up of this beginning you'll have to forgive me as I left my copy of the book at home and had to get my brother to relay it to me over the phone. We're fairly sure we got it right between us :) Yes this does mean I've already read it...

I'm linking up to Book Beginnings @ Rose City Reader

What beginning have you got?


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27 September 2012

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire, was for me, as it seems to have been for most people, even better than The Hunger Games. The problem I then find is that I can't define what made it so good. 

I found myself reading Catching Fire to the point where I couldn't actually put it down, I even read some in my lunch-break, both aspects of which are much less common these days than before I sat my A-Levels. I actually read Catching Fire in about 24 hours. It was fabulous.

I like that the three parts of the book seemed very distinct, you could definitely see them separately but they still worked well as a whole. I also liked that the book picked up effectively from where the first book left off, with Peeta and Katniss having a very stand-off-ish relationship. 

I liked that Katniss tried to second-guess president Snow and ended up distrustful of a much wider range of people. It made for some very dramatic scenes.

I liked that Katniss' feelings for Peeta developed into some which were a lot more honest than in the previous book. You could actually believe her emotions, and it was fun watching her fall into them. I also enjoyed viewing the conflict she felt over Gale and Peeta, but you could see Gale take a step back.

However my absolute favourite part of the book was the complete cliffhanger of an ending!

I had been planning to link up to Speed Date Night @ The Book Swarm but I seem to have exceeded the word count, shows just how good this book is I guess. 

Happy Reading


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26 September 2012

This Morning

This morning Lectures started, so I got up at 4.45 to travel halfway across the country to make it back in time. I made it to Hatfield about 7.45 and then spent about 45 minutes getting a bus and walking from the campus to my house for this year. That's easier said than done when you're wheeling a suitcase. I literally dumped my stuff and headed straight to lectures.

Today's been a fun day.

But my reward was this morning when I got to watch the sun rise on my train journey!

How was your morning?


23 September 2012

Luke 12:27

'Consider the Lilies,
how they grow:
they neither toil nor spin,
yet I tell you,
even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.'

This week's been a strange one. It was about my fifth last day at the same place of work and my sister moved out today. She's starting at the UEA to do maths, I guess it runs in the family, but she's been uber-excited about it!

These flowers were on the font at Church this morning, they have some beautiful displays.

How was your week?


21 September 2012

Book Beginnings: Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

A little more of the same as last week. Like I said I raced through this trilogy, it was positively warp speed!

'I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air.'

In many ways this beginning holds echoes of the beginning of the first book. It is early morning, the calm before the storm.

Once again the beginning is almost too quiet for the book. Your thoughts?

Linking up to Book Beginnings @ Rose City Reader.


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20 September 2012

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

I dealt with the Hunger Games a bit out of order for my taste. My friend came to stay with me the weekend the film was released, at a point at which I'd not yet read the book, and so we went and saw it. Frankly the movie thrilled me, I felt a range of emotions course through me as I watched it, and unusually I could only hope that the book lived up to my expectations.

The book did all this and more. I think the film was very true to it, but the two dealt with the same content from different angles. The book is very personal, told using Katniss' raw emotions; anger, fear, love. The film contains these elements, but they're almost held in sterile containers compared to the book, instead it takes you more behind the scenes, demonstrates just how much the game-makers are manufacturing the Hunger Games.

The plot of the Hunger Games is central to it's success I feel. It's a topic which so many of us have thought on and questioned at some point or another. It's a fascinating premise. We live in a world of Reality Tv and cosmetic images, and we do need to question at what point the whole thing just becomes too much. I don't think it would take a lot for our culture to reach the one Katniss lives in.

I liked the maturity of Katniss as a character, the way in which although all her life she has suffered at the hands of the Capitol she doesn't instantly condemn all it's citizens to the same mold. She's willing to learn to like these people and she empathizes with those close to her, particularly her design and makeover team.

Even if you don't particularly like this genre it's a fascinating read for it's moral implications, something I think was sewn perfectly into the setting of a wonderful story. I loved the Hunger Games, I barely put it down.


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18 September 2012

Book Bears

I have a thing about books, I guess it's a fairly common thing amongst avid readers. I like to collect them, those close to me are generally fairly supportive of this, although I have had the odd comment like why do you want a book for Christmas when you could have something you could keep and treasure? To which my unspoken answer is 'well that's what i was planning on doing with the book'. 

I get fairly upset when I find a book which has been defaced in some way. So here are a few of my personal book bears;

Turning Corners Over

Why? I feel that this really isn't necessary and yet so many people do it!
Personally I don't use bookmarks, I have a nasty habit of taking them out to read and leaving them places. Lucky for me then that I'm capable with very little effort of finding my place in a book, even if in a fit of temper I've put it down for two or three weeks, I did this last year while reading 'A Feast For Crows' and still was able to find my place. 

My mother however used to be incapable of this, she's better now than she used to be, but in the day she was a real corner turner! I'm not talking about minor corners and dog ears either, she'd turn those corners so that half a page would have a fold mark through it! When she started to borrow books from me I had to extract promises she wouldn't do this to my books for my own peace of mind. After lengthy discussions on the subject she seems to have reached my viewpoint.

Breaking the Spine

This is one that although I hate it happening I find myself guilty of far too often. I find that it easily happens with large books, and often happens with the more regularly sized ones too. I try and challenge myself to get as few marks down those spines as possible. 

I think there are some preventative measures which can be taken, for example not lying your book open, although I do this semi-regularly as people remove my attention from the book I'm reading to another purpose. Another measure which can be taken is using thin rather than fat bookmarks. My sister borrowed my copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, not long after it came out and both me and my mum had read it, and not only did it take her about 3 months to read, but she used a piece of string for a bookmark. At the time it drove me nuts and I can still remember the sense of betrayal I felt. Probably a bizarre reaction, but an honest one. The pain has dimmed with time, but if i loan my sister a book these days I loan a bookmark with it.

Writing in Books

Once again I feel strongly on this point. Why do people write in books? I'd say that there were probably a variety of reasons depending on the person but that there're two main culprits.

Those who don't care enough when they're in school being forced to study. From personal experience they tended to draw faces and genitalia and write rude words. Often they'd find it hilarious, I got very irritated by it!

The other people are those who study so hard that they actually write in the books to help them study. They highlight and annotate to a level bordering the obsessive. Those so studious that all their books 'have notes in the margins', to quote Dirty Dancing. I can see why people do this, but I feel that Post-It's work so so much better!

Book Burning

Personally I've never seriously come across this, but it's the most heinous of the four book bears I have!

Partly I have to admit this is due to the historical and political implications of this action. Too many cultures have been restricted by the burning of books and the restriction of available literature which I more or less put down as the same thing. Most notable are the Nazi's who burned thousands of books written by Jews and other minority groups, as well as those books which didn't promote their own agenda. 

It's also however because whilst every person close to me whilst generally supportive of my book obsession they have all suggested I might like to cull them a little by using them for kindling, a suggestion which goes against everything in me.

So there you have it. My Book Bears. Anyone want to share their own?


16 September 2012

Proverbs 26:1

'Like snow in Summer 
or rain at Harvest,
so honor is not fitting for a fool.'

This particular quote made me giggle and since this photo was taken a month ago and summer seems to have passed now it seemed fitting!

This week was a busy week, moving to a new house for next year and coming home again all in one day; working four days of the second busiest week of the year at the shop I work at. I even seem to be getting back into the swing of a regular schedule, still waaaay behind on reading everyone else's posts though. I'll get there.

Not to mention that it was back to the pre-holidays routine of four nights of scouting a week, shame there's only one week like that left this year though!

Hope you've all had good weeks. 


14 September 2012

Book Beginnings: The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

'When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.'

Having already read this my reaction is a little post haste but I can tell you it was good. Instead what I'm going to do with this beginning is treat it a bit like a coursework quote and analyse it.

Firstly we can tell from this quote that Katniss is in a large bed which she usually shares. The fact that the other side of the bed is cold has been made noteworthy shows that it was unexpected. It sets you on the alert for something out of the usual happening.

The other thing I think is important about this beginning is that for all the hype of a book which has a lot of pace and drama to it 'The Hunger Games' doesn't begin with great speed and gusto but with and almighty calm.

Apologies for using a book which has probably been used a hundred times before, but it deserved it!

I'm linking up with Book Beginnings @ Rose City Reader and I promise to catch up with everyone else's posts eventually, it may take a while though.


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13 September 2012

Lady Grace Mysteries: Betrayal - Patricia Finney

This book was similar to the first in the series. It was somewhat trivial with some anchor in fact. The main character, Lady Grace, is a fictional Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I.

In the first book she was named the first Lady Pursuant, or detective, and she uses this as a licence to act as a tom boy and solve mysteries. Although the morals the characters talk of during the book are bedded in those typical for the period Lady Grace herself doesn't fit the time period at all.

I somewhat preferred this book to the first although it still left me dubious. I don't think I'd recommend this as a book to buy new, but secondhand it's ok as a light read. 

My main criticism of it really is that it's childish, but as it was written for children I guess I should just get over it!


4 September 2012

Potter Sewing anyone?

Sew Festive Handmade is a blog I read. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Rebecca sews, a lot!

She's a Graduate who has recently been putting a lot of time into her blog, creating so that some of her stuff is sale-able, and creating patterns so that everyone else can use them and enjoy them! It's a fun place to look around.

A few weeks ago she released for sale a collection of embroidery patterns, her own designs, based on various elements of the Harry Potter Books. They are epic, and if your love for reading can transpire into a love of sewing you should go check them out! They are for sale here, and you can read about their release here and here.

In her own words 'I've loved Harry Potter since I read the first book at 7 years old. My family moved a lot when I was younger and the release of the books always seemed to coincide with a cross-country move. My sisters and I had to share a single book between us, and would only get to read a chapter at a time before we had to hand it off! I know it will be one of the sets of books that I tell my kids about and that I encourage them to read. Since I've taken up sewing, I wanted to be able to combine my love for the stories with my love for all things stitched and handmade. I hope that everyone enjoys all the Harry Potter inspired patterns and feel inspired to stitch your own spell artwork!'

And even if you don't buy the patterns her blog is worth a look around, she makes some pretty cool stuff!

And I'm really sorry because I honestly meant to have this post up the week after she released the patterns but life happened.


3 September 2012

Delayed Apologies

So I had an unexpectedly busy month which resulted in me spending a bit of time away from the blog. It started out with the Church holiday club, which was great fun. I was one of the helpers for the 5-6 years age group, and was in charge of a table of five boys, they were great fun, and in many ways more creative than some of the girls. They were loud and talkative for sure, but they joined in all the activities and had fun, one of them even told me that he 'loved it here'. 

Me and my friend's who got engaged having bench time at my dinner party
The day after the holiday club ended my parents went on holiday for a fortnight during which time my boyfriend came to stay. My sister split time between home and her boyfriend's and my brother went to stay with my Nan. On the first weekend my boyfriend and I held a dinner party, something I also did last year, but basically an evening where we all have great fun on the non-alcohols. We served Stuffed Peppers, followed by Pasta with Key Lime Pie and Panna Cotta for dessert. It was my first time making a Panna Cotta and it turned out waaay better than I expected. 

Panna Cotta Dinosaur, not the slice that made me sick :P
The trouble we then had was that we made a lot more than six people can eat, especially on one of the hottest weekends of the year where we'd all lost our appetite's. This resulted in me eating Panna Cotta for the next few days and getting food poisoning. I was pretty much knocked out for the whole of the Wednesday and recovering for much of the Thursday.

My sister LANing it up at i46, you can tell the sort of family we are!
The Friday through Monday of the bank holiday weekend we spent with a group of friends, my sister and her boyfriend at the UK's biggest gaming festival i46. As one of the main features of this event is that it's a massive LAN party and as such has pretty amazing internet speeds I could, in theory, have checked the blog and written a couple of posts, except that you have to take into account we entered the Minecraft creative build competition which is the most time consuming of the competition's and pretty much ate away our entire weekend. We ended up coming third with what I would myself say was an awesome build, an adventure mountain filled with puzzles and games. Last time we competed we came second which was a bit of a disappointment this time but y'know we weren't the judges. The audience highlight for this was that we had not one but two mazes which when the host demolished a bit in an attempt to get out faster he still couldn't, you can see the video footage of this here. Our specific competition doesn't actually make an appearance until 1:11:20 but the rest of the Minecraft Competitions were also pretty fun to watch, trust me I sat through them live, but particularly the Hunger Games Competition. 

The boyfriend and I waiting for the Minecraft finals to start.
This brings me to my next point which is that we spent a total of about 12 hours travelling to and from this event. We travelled by train but had some friends who travelled by car, they took most of my books with them and so when we got to Birmingham New Street with only 2 chapters to go in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, 5 more hours of travel and no other books I succumbed to the purchase of the frankly awesome Hunger Games trilogy. I spent the rest of the week reading these, finishing Catching Fire in it's entirety in one day despite 6 and a half hours at work. I have posts ready to go on these books for the next few weeks.

My parents came home on Saturday and I didn't finish tidying in time resulting in some maternal disapproval as both my Nan's turn 70 this month, one was born literally the day after the other, and one of them had a birthday party yesterday which resulted in family and some of her friends coming back to ours for tea and cake. For this I made a sponge, I make an awesome sponge, but that resulted in yet more work.

My Nan's birthday cake, made by my other Nan, Ironic!
Yesterday evening one of my best friend's came round to tell me that her and her boyfriend of five years or so had gotten engaged on saturday night. I spent the past 24 hours in a state of frantic excitement, perhaps more excited than her as she's still struggling to absorb it. She also gave me some Herman Cake which I'm going to spend the next few days trying to keep alive, wish me luck!

Then I met another of my friend's for lunch to say goodbye as she's going back to Uni on Thursday. One of my other friend's went back Saturday, we said goodbye Friday evening.

It's my brother's 16th birthday tomorrow and my parent's 25th wedding anniversary Wednesday,  and my driving test on Thursday. Wish me luck! All being well I'll be back tomorrow with another post I meant to put up just before all of this happened, but if not rest assured I'm hanging in here and I'll be back to normal scheduling as soon as possible. And I'll try to get round to reading some blogs.

Sorry Guys.