Books · Summer Reading

Summer Reading: A Monster Calls and I Am Malala #2

Hello!

In this post I will be talking about two books that I read in June, as part of my summer reading! They don’t really link together in any way; I just thought maybe having 2 in one post makes it a bit easier and also means not all my posts will be taken over by my Summer Reading series!

Just as a reminder, this post and others in the series are likely to contain spoilers, so if you don’t want the book to be spoiled for yourself please don’t read them!

A Monster Calls

Just to first give a bit of background, this book is written by Patrick Ness but is based on an original idea from the late author Siobhan Dowd (one of her books that you may have heard of, and is the only one I’ve read is The London Eye Mystery). Unfortunately she had terminal cancer and died before she could finish writing it.

I loved how the “tree monster” (thing, whatever you want to call it!) was a kind of metaphor for Conor’s self-deception, and helps him to come to terms with his mother’s imminent death.

The book deals with themes of self-deception, bullying, family situations, illness, death, grief and coping/coming to terms with loss right at the end.

I think Patrick Ness did such a great job with this book- it was incredibly gripping, haunting, clever and powerful.

I now want to watch the film to see if it is as good as the book was! Perhaps if I do I will do a review on it and compare it with the book 🙂

I Am Malala

I am sure many of you will have heard of Malala Yousafzai, who got shot in the head by the Taliban in 2014 in standing up for the rights of girls to go to school and have an education.

Personally I have always found her really inspiring, but by reading her story I got to learn so much more about her character, her background and family life, the things she believes in and why.

It is part autobiographical, part manifesto of what she believes in. You see her journey, going from just being a normal Pakistani teenager to becoming known world wide. But through it all she stays so humble and gracious.

You also get to see from her first hand experiences of how much impact an extremist Islamic group like the Taliban can impact and affect people’s lives-controlling every aspect of their lives, down to even what they wear and how many times they pray in a day. It really made me much more aware and feel much more strongly about everything that is going on in the world at the moment.

It is such an inspiring and powerful story, and one I think many more people should read.

***

Thanks so much for reading!

Let me know your thoughts on these books in the comments below if you have read either of them! I would love to know what you thought 🙂

Hope x

Uncategorized

Sixth Form/Year 12 Q&A

Hey everyone, hope you’re well!

Just a quick post to say that sometime soon (either in the next few weeks/months) I will be posting about sixth form and advice for new year 12s etc. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will try include them in the post!

Thanks,

Hope 🙂 x

Books · Reviews · Summer Reading

Summer Reading 2017: Jane Eyre #1

Hi everyone! Hope you’re having a good week.

I’ve decided to start a series on my blog to go through the summer to keep track of all the books I have read, and share my thoughts.

Most of the books I am reading for pleasure, but there are a few I need to read for school/education purposes too. I thought it would be useful for me to write down my thoughts, because although I do keep a notebook with all the titles I’ve read, I only really write things like “Enjoyed. Great book.” which doesn’t really tell me much about it!

So in these posts I will be going into slightly more detail on all of them. However these will be different to reviews as I won’t be giving an overview of the plot etc. Therefore if you haven’t read the books I’m posting about, I would advise you not to read the posts as I’m afraid I cannot guarantee that there will be no spoilers. On the other hand, if you have read them please feel free to let me know what you thought so we can discuss them together!

Jane Eyre

This was one of the first books I read after finishing my exams. Its one I’d been thinking of reading for a while, as it seems to be one of the BIG classics that everyone always talks about. I’d read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte last summer and not really enjoyed it that much; I found it very confusing and hard to follow. But I decided to just jump straight in with Jane Eyre – it is a big book but don’t let that put you off! I would recommend listening to an audiobook of it (that’s what I did, and I found it much easier to follow). Just make sure it is an edition that’s completely unabridged first so you’re not missing out on some parts of the story.

My Thoughts

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is fairly easy to read as it is written from the point of view of Jane, the main character; so you almost feel like you are inside her head and you get to know her character really well.

Personally I found Jane a really appealing character as she’s headstrong, independent and determined (she knows what she wants). To me (and quite a few critics I think) it seems clear that there are some elements of feminist ideals coming through in her character which I really liked. I think Charlotte Bronte was a feminist of her time before such a term existed.

I loved the romance between Jane and Mr Rochester, but I wouldn’t say this book is just about that-there is much more to it. It is a book about self-discovery, love, growing up, loss, lies, deceit and much more. It also touches on themes of mental illness and how this was regarded at the time in which the book is set-through the character of Bertha Mason (Mr Rochester’s wife who is locked up in the attic).

My favourite part was probably at the end, when Jane finds Mr Rochester and agrees to marry him-BUT she only does that when she has enough money to be able to support herself, as an independent young woman! She doesn’t need him to support her, but she loves him so much she wants to marry him just to be with him. In fact in the end it is almost as if she is the one supporting him, as Mr Rochester has become blind so needs a lot of help. Loved that whole end section- I feel like it really gets across the message Charlotte Bronte was trying to portray- that true love is more powerful than fitting into society, and that women can be independent and strong-willed while still being moral and good people.

This is also a book that I didn’t just read and forget about-I realised it is so much more complex than you first think. After watching and researching some discussion about it online (what I do in my free time!) I see there is a lot more to it than what I read on the pages. If you are interested in watching some of the videos I watched, I would recommend the following people/channels on YouTube; Eve Bennett, Jen Campbell and booksandquills. Search Jane Eyre on their channels and see what comes up. (Unfortunately WordPress isn’t letting me link them down below!)

***

Thank you so much for reading, and I really hope you enjoyed my first Summer Reading post! I will do another one soon-I’m going to try to post for all the books I read this summer but we’ll have to see! Hopefully there will be posts about other things going up too, but it really depends how much time I have. It seems most of my posts will be book-related, as that’s what I’m really enjoying writing about at the moment.

As I said before please do let me know if you have read Jane Eyre and what your thoughts are- Do you agree with the things I said or not? I would love to have a discussion about it; I absolutely love talking about books as you may have guessed 😉

Have a lovely day,

Hope 🙂

 

Favourites · Lists

June Favourites :)

Hello! Hope you’re doing well.

Today I am going to be telling you about all the things I’ve been loving through the month of June!

  1. My Kindle- With my birthday money I decided to buy a Kindle, and I went for the Paperwhite which is slightly more expensive but better I would say. It has an in-built light and is just more generally better suited for reading. And I’ve been really enjoying it! I love how if I want to read a book I can download it there and then. It is especially good if you want to read classics or older books as most of them you can get either for free or very cheaply. I always used to say physical books were so much better than e-readers, but I have to admit I’m now being converted!
  2. Brighton– Brighton is a really nice and quirky city by the sea, which I recently went to for a day trip with my best friend to celebrate my birthday. We had such a nice day looking round the shops, walking along the pier and chilling on the beach. We also went to a really great vegetarian restaurant for lunch, called Food For Friends-really recommend if you’re in Brighton! The food is so nice, even if you’re not vegetarian, and our experience there felt special without being too expensive.
  3. Work Experience– at my school this was a compulsory thing for all year 12s, and I knew when applying to places that I really wanted to do something meaningful and worthwhile. I worked for a week at a charity near where I live and I had a fantastic time. Everyone there was really friendly, the atmosphere was great and I found the work/tasks I had to do really enjoyable and interesting. The experience has taught me that I would love to work for a charity in the future, to help other people as much as I can.
  4. I have read many great books in June, but here I’m just going to say a few of my favourites; Jane Eyre, A Monster Calls and I Am Malala. (All of these I will talk more about in upcoming posts!) I thought all of these were really good in different ways, and each made me think in different ways.
  5. Oxfam teabags- I might be a bit biased as I work at Oxfam but I find their teabags so nice! Every time I go there to volunteer I make myself a cup of tea using one of their teabags, and the last time I was there I persuaded my mum to buy a box so we can have them at home too, which is great! Although now that means the novelty has kind of worn off. Maybe I’ll just enjoy them when I’m working there from now on 😉

So those are all my favourites for June! Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed this!

What are some of your favourites from June? Let me know below.

Have a nice day, enjoy whatever weather it is where you are!

Hope x

Books · Lists

My Favourite Books <3

Hi everyone,

I love books. I have always loved reading ever since I was young, and it has always and probably will always be one of my favourite things to do in my free time. I have been to my local library probably about…(actually I won’t even attempt to guess how many times, but a LOT.) I don’t know what I would do without books, libraries or bookshops in my life-I would probably cry!

So, with that in mind (!) , I thought today I would do a post on my all time favourite books. Many of these are actually ones I have read quite recently, but down below there will also be a list of some of my favourite childhood books. Most of these books made this list because they had some kind of an impact on me; I was really invested and immersed in them when I was reading, and these are the ones that stick out the most in my memory. This may change in the future as I read more wonderful books, but as of now these are my top 10 books of all-time.

  1. Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling– I’m sure this is a favourite for most people, it is just so wonderful and magical, dark and scary but so familiar and comforting at the same time. I only read the series for the first time a few years ago, and they probably took me about nine months in total. Thankfully it was at a time in school when I didn’t have much going on, so most days I would come home and just read for hours of whichever book I was on at the time! It also provided a very welcome break from school; it was so lovely to be able to just get completely lost in such a magical world which is so different from real life. If you haven’t read Harry Potter (firstly you’re probably tired of people being shocked and then demanding you read it) but honestly you should try give it a go, you never know, it might become one of your favourite books.
  2. Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern– You might have heard or seen the film of this, which is based on this book. I do actually love the film too, in fact it’s probably one of my favourite films; but the book is even better! It is written in, fancy word alert, “epistolary narrative” (meaning not in the conventional narrative style, but instead in letters and emails etc.) which I think makes it really interesting as there are not many books that are written like that. At first I thought it would be harder to get to know the characters properly written in such a style, but actually it was fine; the characters of Rosie and Alex that Ceceila Ahern has crafted jump off the page anyway-they seem so relatable and realistic people who face real-life problems, unemployment, friendship, the changes you go through as you move from adolescence to adulthood, and of course love. But really it is a novel about how good friends stay with you for a lifetime, which I love. It is also such a funny and uplifting book, it made me both laugh and cry at the same time. You really do go on a journey with the characters through their lives, and get to know them as well as you would your friends.
  3. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian- This is a really lovely and heart-warming story about a young boy called Willie who gets evacuated during the Second World War and is sent to the countryside to live with an old man called Mr Oakley. What I love most about this book is the fact that Mr Oakley (Tom) at first seems a very grumpy old man, but he has loved (and lost) before in his life and he and Willie over time become as close as father and son. It also deals with themes of mental illness, friendship, life and death and just overall is such a warm story which I would happily reread many more times 🙂
  4. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes- this is a book I would really recommend if you loved Love, Rosie or even vice versa! I feel like they are quite similar, and I love them both. In case you are unaware of the plot, it tells the story of a 26 year old girl called Louisa Clark who has lived in the same small town her whole life and seems very happy there. But once she loses her job she has to start working for the Traynor family, who’s 30-something year old son, Will, is a quadriplegic who is paralysed from the neck down. At first he and Lou clash in every way, as they have such different personalities, but over time they start to bond and get…closer… I won’t tell you the rest, you’ll have to read it! But if I were to sum it up in just a few ways: funny, touching, unputdownable (that’s not a word is it?!) heart-breaking, but also so uplifting. Just lovely.
  5. Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery- I love children’s classics, they are just really easy to read and also such nice, cheery books. This is one of the best in my opinion! I read this last year during my GCSE exams and I just remember enjoying it so much, and it completely took my mind off my exams. I looked forward to reading it in bed each night to wind down. Anne is such a loveable, optimistic, naive young girl with a wonderful imagination and outlook on the world. She is perhaps one of my favourite literary characters of all time!
  6. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart- wow. Just wow. I expect you may have heard about this book, as it has been very hyped on the Internet since it came out a few years ago. This was such a beautiful, twisted, tragic, clever, haunting story. I read it last summer but it has really stayed with me-I think about it a lot. In fact I want to reread it soon to pick up on all the things I missed the first time!
  7. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee- I actually only read this for the first time recently but I really loved it. It is such a powerful book, that really stays with you even after you put it down. It really made me consider how racism is, sadly, still prominent in our society even today.
  8. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith- I loved this book so much. It is a gorgeous tale of love, family life and dynamics, and living in a crumbling castle! What’s not to love?
  9. Calm by Michael Acton Smith (Calm book)- this is possibly my favourite non-fiction book. It gives you practical tips and helpful advice for being (and maintaining) calm in our busy modern world. It is such a lovely book with illustrations, quotes and several activities you can do yourself so it is also very interactive. I love to flick through it randomly whenever I feel like it, and even just picking it up instantly makes me feel so much calmer.
  10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman- this book made me think so much about life and death and how quickly things can change. It is about Mia, a teenager who loves music, her boyfriend and her family and friends-but one day an accident changes her whole world. As she lies in a coma in a hospital bed, we see her story revealed through flashbacks to her recent and not so recent past, and how these shape her decision to stay in this world or not. I thought this was beautifully told; almost lyrical or poetic, and it was so gripping and tragic, yet also funny (at times) and uplifting. It really affected me.

And now here are my top 5 favourite childhood reads 🙂

  1. Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton (and Pamela Cox)- I think Enid Blyton has to be one of my favourite authors of all time, and I love love love the Malory Towers series! I am not exaggerating when I say I have read them all at least 10 times. They tell the story of a girl (Darrell, and in the later books her younger sister Felicity) who goes to Malory Towers which is a boarding school in England. The stories are quite simple and don’t deal with any big themes(!) but I find it hugely enjoyable to read about the girls’ antics and adventures, the quarrels, the drama, but also the friendship and community feel between them all. I also love some of the teachers in these books, who always seem to be very sharp and dry; there don’t seem to be too many well-meaning but terrible teachers we often have for supply these days!) My personal favourite is Miss Grayling, the headmistress, who always seems to be able to say exactly the right thing at the right time and always sounds incredibly wise. To me she is the female version of Dumbledore 😉
  2. A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler- one of my favourite things to read about has always been time travel, and this and Beswitched are two of my favourites of these, even though I haven’t read that many! This is about a girl called Jenni who goes to a timeshare apartment every year with her family and her best friend, called Autumn, also goes to the same place with her family. There is a kind of predictability to it, but one year Jenni goes and nothing is the same. Why? Because she has gone forward a year in time! How will it affect her friendship with Autumn, and her family? (Trying to pique your interest here ;)) This book made me consider how much events can shape relationships and friendships. It is a clever story with time-travel, friendship, family among other important themes. I really enjoyed it when I read it for the first time when I was probably about nine. I have also enjoyed some of Liz Kessler’s other books, including North of Nowhere (another time-travel-esque adventure) and Read Me Like A Book (her first YA about a teenage girl struggling to come to terms with her sexuality.) I would really recommend her as an author for ages roughly 9-16.
  3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series by Jeff Kinney- I don’t care if these books were written for ten year old boys, I flipping love them 😉 They are so laugh out loud funny and easy to read books. I have nearly the whole series on my shelf and re-read them regularly whenever I need a laugh! However, I would say they get less funny as they go on (or maybe because I’ve got older!) so I would recommend the first six or seven the most.
  4. Beswitched by Kate Saunders- another time travel book! It also combines a boarding school element which I of course love. It is about a spoilt and selfish girl Flora who is going off to boarding school while her parents are going to look after her granny. But when she’s on the train, something strange happens and suddenly she finds herself back in the 1940s! I found it quite funny to see how she struggles to adapt at first to the new situation (for example, she wonders if she could ring her parents and then realises they haven’t been born yet!) It is funny, heart-warming and has some really great vivid and colourful characters. It also has quite a mystery element to it all the way through, with you wondering why Flora ended up going back in time, and if she is there for a specific purpose or for a specific person. A great book which I loved!
  5. Clarice Bean (series) by Lauren Child– I think Clarice Bean is possibly one of my favourite characters in a book ever. She is just so funny and likeable. I loved these books when I was younger and read them a lot.

Thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed this post! I definitely enjoyed choosing (even though it was difficult) and talking about my favourite books. If you have any questions for me about any of these books you can leave them in the comments and I’ll reply. Feel free to let me know what some of your favourite books are down below too, or if you have any in common with me-I love chatting all things books 🙂

Have a great day!

Hope x

Books · Reviews

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith-Review/Thoughts

Hiya!

Over the last few months I have read some really great books and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith has to be one of my favourites (and I think now possibly one of my favourite books of all-time too!)

So today I thought I would tell you some of my thoughts on it.

This is a collab with Jess from TeaLoverJess, so be sure to check out her post too, which will likewise be a book review.

Synopsis

I Capture the Castle is the story of one girl and her family who live in a castle. They are seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, her sister Rose, brother Thomas and father and stepmother Topaz (who is more than a little bit eccentric). Cassandra decides to start a diary to practise her writing. The family is desperately poor; their meals pretty much consist of bread with occasional eggs. One day two American men arrive; having to come to the castle after their car breaks down nearby. Quickly things start to change for the Mortmain family, Cassandra and Rose start getting invites to posh parties and over time become closer to the two brothers, called Neil and Simon. There is also a sub-plot involving their father, who having written a bestseller decades before is now suffering from a long bout of writer’s block and seems incapable of writing anything. The story overall is about love, family, life and was just really enjoyable to read.

My Thoughts

I loved the character of Cassandra- she was charming, truthful and quite funny too. I definitely had a few moments where I laughed out loud whilst reading this.

I also really liked the character of Thomas, Cassandra and Roses’ brother; who seems quite quiet at first and keen to keep out of the drama of his family, but as the story goes on he and Cassandra become increasingly closer.

One thing I found so enjoyable in this book was the way in which it is written-it felt so immersive, and I often felt like I was there in the castle with them! It also kind of made me wish I lived in a castle, even if its old and crumbling! It was also nice to read a story set in the past that almost didn’t feel like it was (if that makes any sense.) I think this was because of the diary format, which makes the whole story seem much less dated.

In all, I really loved this book and would definitely recommend it! I may also try reading some of Dodie Smith’s other books sometime as I like her writing style.

Have you read I Capture the Castle? Let me know in the comments below, or if you have read any books recently that you have really enjoyed!

Thanks so much for reading, and have a fun day 😀

Hope x

Favourites · Lists

May Favourites

Hello, hope you’re all doing well.

Today I have my favourites of May to talk about!

  1. Study leave- bit random I know, but I have been “off” school for the last 3 weeks (and one more week after half-term) to just study, and I only have to go into school for my exams. But I’ve been enjoying having more freedom and less structure to my days. However, I am quite strict with myself and get up at 7.30 each day and only lie-in at the weekends if I feel like it. I have found I work much better at home, as there is less to distract me and its much noisier at school! (Possibly at some point I may do a post on how to make the most of study leave, as I feel like that’s something some people struggle with, and it’s the kind of post I would have found helpful!)
  2. ‘Coming-of-age’ genre of books- I actually didn’t realise this was a thing until quite recently, and I’ve now come to realise that many of my favourite books are technically coming-of-age stories! In case you are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to books that involve some kind of aging, but it’s usually not just physical. For example, To Kill A Mockingbird could be considered a “coming-of-age story” because although the main character Scout Finch doesn’t age much, she learns and experiences things which change her views and make her grow up a lot more. I have read quite a few of these books recently, and I really enjoy them! These include: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (a lovely, cosy read) A Little Love Song by Michelle Magorian and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (loved this so much! And I will be doing a review on it soon.)
  3. Bridget Jones- I watched the films again recently, and also read the book series for the first time which I really enjoyed. They are such light, easy to read books which are laugh out loud funny! Perfect for exam season I think! Also Bridget is such a likeable, scatty and funny character who I love reading about. I would recommend the first two the most, which are Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Edge of Reason. (Just to say though, there is quite a lot of “language” and sexual references in them so maybe wait till you’re at least 16 to read them.)
  4. Bible reading/studying- I decided to start doing this recently, to get closer to God and also because I have always found the Bible very intimidating. But I have realised it is really not, its just because I was always looking in the wrong places before. If you are a Christian like me, I would really recommend trying to read the Bible (ideally a bit each day) as it really does make you feel so much closer to God and its also nice to have just a little time for peace and reflection in your otherwise very busy day. I started with Matthew’s Gospel, and have since read Mark and am currently doing Luke. I would not recommend trying to read it like a normal book and starting at Genesis- it’s much better to jump around, and the New Testament is much easier to read as a starting point. Personally I get the most out of it by not just reading the scripture but studying it too; I like to have a notebook/journal by me and I write down the verses that stand out to me or strike me in some way, and also my interpretation of what that means, and how I can apply it in my life. I also always end with a prayer, usually written. (I may do a post on this at some point going into more detail.) Overall I have found it to be really good, it is so nice to have some quiet time in my day when I can just talk to and listen to what God is saying to me. It also really helps me feel calmer and happier too. And I look forward to doing it each day 🙂
  5. Stepping out of my comfort zone- okay, so I haven’t done loads of this in May-I haven’t been skydiving or anything! But earlier in the month I did apply to be head girl at my school which was quite a challenge for me. I am not the most confident of people, but I knew I really wanted to do something to help and give something back to my school (which I feel like has given me so much) and it was a good opportunity. I didn’t get it, but the whole experience was so good for me and really good for my confidence. I had to have my picture displayed at school for two weeks, then a speech in front of my whole year group (!) and an interview. So it was quite a lengthy process! But as I learnt so much from it, it definitely wasn’t a waste of time in my view. It has made me see that sometimes with things, it is not so much getting the “prize”, as it were, it is much more about the experience. Maybe the quote “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey that matters” sums this up quite well.

Thank you for reading, and speak to you again soon! Sometime next week I’m doing a collab post with Jess from Tea Lover Jess about books so be excited!

Have a great day,

Hope x

Lists · Ramble · Tips and Advice

17 Things I’ve Learnt in 17 Years

Hi everyone!

So I recently turned 17 (on the 1st June) and wanted to share some “wisdom” or just things I have learnt in my (relatively short) time living! I hope some of these might help you in some way 🙂

  1. Firstly, in relation to school- participating in lessons is for your benefit. This is something that I’ve definitely struggled with over the years, I’m naturally a quieter person and I never used to like putting up my hand to say something. But a very wise person (my mum!) told me that it is more for your own understanding, so try not to get into a nervous flap at saying something wrong in front of class. Honestly, nobody cares if you do!
  2. Similarly-nobody is really judging you for the things you say and do. They are more likely not bothered or too concerned with themselves. Just focus on how it makes you feel and don’t worry about what others might think.
  3. Always do things to please yourself only, don’t worry about pleasing others because you never will be able to please everyone! For example in what you choose to wear, how you speak and act etc.
  4. Be YOURSELF! Be the true you, and be the best version of yourself you can possibly be- healthy, happy and living life to the full ❤
  5. It’s the friends and people who lift you up and support you who you want in your life, not those who bring you down and make you feel bad.
  6. Working hard is often not fun, but it will be worth it in the end.
  7. Things that may seem a big deal to you most likely are not to other people (for example, it took me ages to tell people I’m a Christian but when I did people were very supportive and didn’t mind at all!)
  8. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because someone is mean to you, doesn’t mean you should be back. Try remember to turn the other cheek. And also remember that everyone is fighting their own battles-you never can know what someone else might be going through.
  9. Nobody can have perfect anything, so don’t waste time looking in the mirror or at the scales and feeling bad about yourself- when you could be having fun!
  10. Always make time in your life for the people who matter to you. Even just a text message conversation with one of your closest friends may turn your or their day around.
  11. Nothing is worth getting so upset about (particularly relevant for exams) so just do your best as that is all you can do. And often, life has a way of working itself out anyway 😉
  12. Make time in your life for the little things that make you happy 🙂 even just something simple like having a cup of tea, or smelling a flower when you’re out on a walk. If it makes you feel happy, that’s all that matters!
  13. Life is too short to be quiet! Stand up for your beliefs, and be confident in yourself and your voice.
  14. Don’t worry about the future-it’ll be what it’ll be ❤
  15. Laughter is often the best medicine for when you’re feeling down. If not, try cookies and/or a hug from a friend/family member 🙂
  16. You won’t find happiness from acceptance from others (e.g. on social media). Find acceptance from yourself, within, and that should be enough.
  17. Lastly, whenever life gets tough- keep smiling and you will get through it. Everything will be okay. ❤ 😀

I hope you enjoyed this post, and feel free to share some wisdom/life lessons you have learnt down below! I would be very interested to know.

Speak to you soon in another post, and have a happy day.

Hope x

Lifestyle · Lists · Random

10 Things To Do Instead of Going On Social Media!

Hiya!

I’m feeling back in the blogging mood at the moment after having finished the majority of my AS exams, so want to make the most of it. I’m really loving it 🙂

I wanted to talk a little bit about how social media plays a part in our lives, and also suggest a few alternative things you could do that don’t involve using it. And yes, I see the irony behind me doing a post like this (which is effectively a form of social media, but oh well!)

I think social media is a great way to connect with other people who you would never normally have the opportunity to. Take this blog, for example! I have been able to chat to so many different people who I wouldn’t have come across had I not set it up. I also love to be able to keep in touch with friends and family from all over the world, using Facebook Messenger for example. YouTube is also great, as there is literally a video for anything you could want, and I find I learn quite a lot from it as well (so it can be educational sometimes!) But sometimes I just want to take a break from it all, as it can be overwhelming that there is so much information out there for us, quite literally, at our fingertips. I have had my fair share of days where I spend the whole time slumped on my bed watching YouTube videos (please tell me it’s not just me!) but actually, after a while I stop enjoying it. The trouble is, it sucks you in and you keep feeling like you need to watch more, or check Instagram one more time. So recently I have been trying to have more time where I don’t use it all the time, and do activities that don’t involve the use of social media.

That being said, here are my top 10 things to do that don’t involve social media!

  1. Go outside– go for a walk/run/cycle ride and just enjoy the nature around you. Perfect for this time of year!
  2. Write a postcard or letter to a close friend or family member, just because! I personally really enjoy doing this, and think its a shame its not done so much anymore.
  3. Do some calm colouring (one of my favourite things to do to relax) and listen to your favourite relaxing music.
  4. Get lost in a great book, or just re-read an old favourite. (I’m reading a book called I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith at the moment which I’m really enjoying, so that helps keep me away from my laptop/phone!)
  5. Tidy your room-but it doesn’t have to be boring. Put on some lively music and see how quickly you can do it.
  6. Get into the kitchen and bake some nice cakes, or cook a meal for your family.
  7. If you play an instrument, practise it! I really enjoy playing the piano and need to try to remember to practise more often 😉
  8. Go out to your local library (I practically live in mine, I go there so often!)
  9. Go meet a friend at your local coffee shop for a catch up.
  10. Do some writing-depending on what you enjoy, this could be creative (e.g. writing a story or some poetry)-I love to write lists 🙂

There we are! I hope that gave you some inspiration to do something that doesn’t involve social media. In the summer I’m planning to do a social media “detox” or something similar for a week or maybe longer, and see what I learn from it. But even small things like spending Saturday or Sunday afternoons without it go a long way in making you think about the usage and dependence of it in our daily lives.

Just wanted to say thank you so much for sticking with me, it really means a lot to get likes on my posts after not having done it consistently for so long. Hopefully from now on (though I can’t promise) I will be able to have a blog post up every week. Like I said in my last post, if you have any particular requests/ideas for blog posts I could do, please do let me know! I would love to be able to post whatever my readers want to see.

Thanks so much for reading, I really hope you enjoyed this.

Have a great day and speak to you soon!
Hope x

Faith · Q&As

Christian/Faith Q&A

Hiya, hope you’re well!

Today I’m going to be answering some of your (and some extra that I wanted to answer!) questions on being a Christian and my faith, as it is something that I feel like I want to share and talk about more on my blog-perhaps it may help some of you out there who want to be a Christian, or just if you have questions about it. Personally I still have so many more questions to ask to do with it, and there are always going to be more I think.

But let’s go!

Have you always been Christian?

No I haven’t, in fact it was quite recently I became one really. Just to give you some background on my, I guess “testimony”- I have been going to church since I was little and I would go to Sunday school etc., but I never really understood any of it, I would usually just go because my mum and brother were going, or for the biscuits they gave out after the service 😉 but then two years ago I went to a Christian youth camp, and quite honestly, it changed my life. As well as having one of the best weeks of my life, I met so many lovely and amazing people and learnt so much more about the Christian faith-so I would say that is how I found God, and it has changed my life in so many different ways and I am so much happier because of it. Now I can’t really imagine not being Christian 🙂

How does your belief in Christ get you through the hard times?

In life, there are often ups and downs and we can all have really bad times sometimes. I am very grateful for the fact that I have never experienced any major losses or terrible pain or sadness, but that is not to say that things have always been great for me. But being a Christian and having something to believe in really helps, and praying to God whenever I feel confused or upset always makes me feel safe and peaceful. I still don’t quite understand the whole notion of how evil and suffering in the world and God are interlinked (something which comes up in my AS Philosophy course!) but I find it interesting to think about and speculate on. Personally I believe in a loving God, so I don’t think he is behind all the suffering that goes on in the world but I am still not completely sure. But what I am sure on, is that God will always bring about some form of good in the end, and he will answer your prayers; even if its not in quite the way you expect 🙂

Favourite bible verse? This may be a bit biased because it has my name in but Psalm 31:24 – “Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord” 😉

Fave worship song? This is really hard as there are so many great ones out there! But I really love “Amazing Grace”, and “Be Thou my Vision”.

How do you openly share your faith?

This is an interesting question, I definitely never used to be comfortable saying I was a Christian but recently I have realised that it is such an important part of who I am that to say I’m not religious is actually a lie. I would say it’s more important to show your faith through your actions, the things you say and do-and just generally being a loving, kind person. If people ask me, I say I’m Christian, but I try to show rather than explicitly say what my faith is. However, if you do want to physically express your faith, jewellery is really great for this; for example I have a pair of cross earrings that I like to wear.

So there we go, that was just a short little Q&A on my faith, I hope you enjoyed it! As always if you have any more questions please do leave them down below, I would love to answer them. I would also really love to do more faith posts in the future, so please let me know if you have any requests/ideas for the kind of ones I could do!

Thanks so much for reading, and have a lovely day-if you’re in the UK try make the most of the (finally) sunny weather we’re having at the moment!

Hope 🙂 xx