Frank(er) thoughts.

The Christmas Tag (Finally)


I’ve let my mountains of tags pile up in the last few months (yes, months), and for that I sincerely apologise. It’s not much, but may I offer you a sorry salad? I’ll try my best to get them done and dusted now that the holidays have begun!

I was tagged for The Christmas Tag by two people: Anna @ Just a Thought and Elly @ A Hufflepuff’s Thoughts. (A lot of thoughts happening there.) I thought that I’d better do it before Christmas came around,  so on we proceed with the festive spirit!

Anna’s Questions

What is your favourite Christmas movie?
I know it’s kind of bad, but I’ve always liked Nativity. If we’re thinking of something a little more traditional, then my family always has The Sound of Music rolling as everyone comes and goes on Christmas day.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning!

3. Do you have a favorite (favourite; I’m British) Christmas memory?
When I was about five, I spent Christmas with my Australian relations. I remember getting a bottle of Coca-Cola in my stocking and turning up my nose at it: “But Mummy, I don’t like Coke! Why would Santa bring me this?”

4. Favorite festive food?
I ADORE Christmas pudding – you know, the one you set on fire and eat with brandy butter. I wish I could eat it all year round. I’m also prone to a nice bit of stuffing.

5. Favorite Christmas gift ?

I know this is kind of shallow, but probably that Pokémon Black DS game I got one year. I lay in my bed Christmas Eve planning out my whole journey and stuff; I was SO excited. I still haven’t finished the game, but I’m (in theory) just about to beat the Elite Four for the last time.

6. Favorite Christmas scent?

I’m not sure. The smell of cooking Christmas lunch? We have an ancient fake Christmas tree, so I’ve never really associated the smell of pine with Christmas.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

We put milk, a mince pie and carrots in front of the fireplace. I’m responsible for the glitter on the windowsills.

8. What tops your tree?

A star that isn’t meant to go on Christmas trees; it’s rather hard to keep it from falling off.

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?
I didn’t make a massive fuss of it, but I did have some extravagant presents on my list. Sometimes, it was another cat, and others it was magical powers from the fairies. (I want to be able to fly so bad.)

10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

Like Anna, I love being able to see my family. My mum’s one of seven, so it’s not often that the majority of my relatives are together. But I also love the feeling of being absolutely full in the evening, and I’m not oblivious to the Boxing Day sales, either.

Elly’s Questions

1. What do you want for Christmas?
Books, of course, and some earrings from this cute shop called Cakes With Faces. (Their designs are simply adorabubble.)

2. Do you look out the window on Christmas Eve and wonder if you can see Santa’s sleigh or a shooting star?
The sky is quite hard to see from my house, so no. I’ve always been the kind of person who needs their *coughs* beauty sleep!

3. What shape of chocolate did you get in your advent calendar today?
I have a Fairtrade Divine one, and all the shapes are hearts.

4. What did you put on your tree?

We’ve been known to put up Winnie the Pooh baubles, but this year we have an (in my opinion) rather tasteful and restrained silver and red colour scheme. (A colour scheme! *gasps*)

5. What is your favourite Christmas song?
We have a Pink Martini Christmas CD that gets played every year, and I do love Carol of the Bells/Schedryck, Schedryck on that. (I’ve had a full rendition of it in the original language by my Ukrainian friend.) . If we’re just talking about non-carol songs, though, then I’ll admit that I have a thing for All I Want For Christmas is You. It works excellently with All I Want For Christmas is…[insert unpublished book here] too.

I’m tagging The Writing Hufflepuff and YA Inspires. (You can just choose one, if you like.) Anyone reading this is also welcome to participate!

Merry Christmas!

Bookish Bingo and Carry On

Bookish bingo

Let’s start with the sane part of this post, shall we?

Bookish Bingo November

I’ve been participating in the Fall/Winter edition of Bookish Bingo, hosted by Great Imaginations. You can find the books that I read in October here! The books that I ticked off this month were these:

Historical: Scarlet by AC Gaughen
Set in New Orleans: Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. It was a re-read, but…does it count? *shrugs*
Horror: The Mist in the Mirror by Susan Hill. I read it for school, and I can now tell you all about the literary devices in the extract ‘The Chapel’. -_-
Red Cover: Walkabout by James Vance Marshall
Snow on Cover: Here’s where it gets confusing. This one is My True Love Gave to Me, edited by Stephanie Perkins. It used to be on a different square, but I replaced it with Winter Town. (I’m in it to win it, okay? :P)
Birds on cover: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Set during Christmastime: Winter Town by Stephen Emond. (This was the one that replaced My True Love Gave to Me!)
Set in space: A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix. Not my usual fare (it was both my first sci-fi and my first Garth Nis novel) but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Witches: Burn Mark by Laura Powell

At the moment, I’m reading Black Spring by Alison Croggon (poet and author of that wonderful high fantasy series) and I’m loving it. A lot of GR reviews complain that it’s plagiarised from Wuthering Heights, which it was based on, so if Wuthering Heights is anything like this then I WANT TO READ IT. Except I’ll have to hide it from  my mum, because I have a long-standing vendetta against reading Pride and Prejudice (one of her favourites) and this would undoubtedly compromise my position.

Now, onto the rather more…let’s say, panicked part of today: RAINBOW ROWELL’S NEW BOOK IS GOING TO BE CARRY ON!  Yes, based on Simon Snow in Fangirl! I know that Simon Snow is basically just fake Harry Potter, but I can’t help myself. Plus, there’s going to be a(nother) special edition of Fangirl with an excerpt from it coming out May. It comes in three different colours and includes fan art from various tumblr artists.

yay merida

I already have three editions of Fangirl, but I’m seriously considering increasing that number. Seriously. Such is the life of a book addict.

Have you read any of the books I ticked off this month? What are your thoughts on Carry On? I’d love to know!

How Did That Happen?!

On Thursday, I was not at school. I was not, in fact, dying a slow death by geography test and double physics. (Surprising, I know!) Instead, I was here…

london youth choir

The view from the stage

The view from the stage

…at the Royal Albert Hall. On stage. As a performer.

Now, don’t get too excited. I’m not a celebrity in disguise. I’m one of those people in the purple t-shirts, London Youth Choir. It was just that we somehow ended up singing at the Royal Albert Hall.

I actually sang at the RAH at the end of November for the Scratch Youth Messiah (with 1,000 other people) so this was my second time. It was still awe-inspiring nonetheless, though – I mean, me! – and it was a very surreal day. School is my rhythm; if you break the rhythm, it breaks my groove. It feels wrong, somehow.

The crazy thing is I’m not even a very good singer. I only stumbled across this by chance through a poster at school; I never expected this to happen. I’m off to perform again this evening, albeit at a slightly smaller location.

What were you doing on Thursday?

(And don’t you dare try and pick my face out from that picture.)


7 Terrible Cover Redesigns

I know that people say you should never judge a book by its cover, but it does make a difference. Sometimes, publishers decide to redesign perfectly decent book covers, and it really bugs me. Granted, there are some books that need them, but seriously?? IF PEOPLE LIKE IT THEN YOU SHOULD JUST LEAVE IT AS IT IS. Ahem. Sorry.

7. Harry Potter

harry potter new  harry potter old

I don’t know if this is version two or three or four or whatever,  but I’ve never really liked it. I mean, they’re not bad, but I prefer the originals. (But some even-newer ones have just been revealed, and I don’t mind those. Oh, and all the new covers are on the left!)

6. The Hunger Games

hungergamesnew the hunger games

I’m a sucker for the more minimal cover art for THG, although it actually isn’t the original design. But I don’t like the new neon ones – they just hurt my eyes every time I walk past them in the bookshop.

5. Eleanor and Park

eleanor and park useleanor park uk

When I requested a copy of this for my birthday (I read it on Kindle) I had to specify that I should be bought the US cover rather than the UK one. It’s SO MUCH PRETTIER, guys.

4. H.I.V.E

hive new hive old2

I don’t understand why they had to change these and make them glossy, of all things. I hate glossy covers.

3. Holes

holes new holes old

Movie covers are never great, but this one hurt me particularly because the original cover art was so awesome. I bought the old edition from Oxfam the other day, and it was just so…satisfying. Everyone loves a bargain, right?

2. Artemis Fowl

artemis fowl new artemisfowl

My friend and I have a personal vendetta against this one; they gave Artemis a goatee in some of them. He looks like even more of an idiot than he is. Plus, he would hate the cheesy tag line.

1. Cat Royal

cat royal new cat royal old

No! My eyes! Gloss! AND FACES! NOOOO! I hate it when they put photos of faces on books, and these ones make Cat look much less badass than she is. (By the way, apologies for the weird photo size. :-/ )

Agree with me? Do you have any complaints for cover redesigns?

November Favourites!

November favourites

I’m looking at the quality of this photo now, and wincing. Ah well. Dark afternoons are the price we must pay for the holiday season, it seems. On with my November favourites!

1. The Raven Boys Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater I got all three published books out of the library (why not?) and devoured them in less than a week. The cover for The Dream Thieves was particularly beautiful.

2. The Graveyard Book I had to return this one to school, but I put an image of the cover in there anyway. I think that it was more of a children’s book than I am used to, but it was still wonderful. Neil Gaiman is an excellent author.

3. Mockingjay Part 1 Yes, yes, that is a mockingjay pin; it’s just a little small. I wore it to the movie, which in my opinion was as good as the others, if not better. (Although a tad *coughs* more gloomy, like the book.)

4. The Body Shop gingerbread body butter This makes me smell like a Christmas candle. LOVE.

5. NaNoWriMo I completed my goal, yay! You will note that neither the novel title nor the author name are on my certificate, and that is because a) I have not yet decided on a title b) I blanked my name out. (Yeah, no. Don’t think you’re getting it out of me that easily. ;-) )

6. Matchy-matchy oyster card cases The blue one is from my last trip to the Japanese Matsuri, and the pink one is from my most recent one. I didn’t see a chocolate one, unfortunately, but I’ll look out for it next time.

7. Rulers Granted, this is not exactly a favourite, but: do you know how many rulers I have lost in the last month? Three. THREE. Including my nice fold-out one from Muji. :-(

That concludes my monthly favourites! How was November for you?

HyperJapan | Homesick??

WARNING: this post is pretty picture heavy!

I don’t think I’ve said this, but I used to live in Japan, between the ages of 3 and 7. It’s not that much compared to how long I’ve been back in England, but I do think my time there helped form me as a person.

A lot of things have been coming up recently that remind me of Japan: frequent trips to sushi restaurants, my friend eventually getting me to watch some anime, being bought some of those Chocolate Koala things I used to eat, re-watching The Wind Rises, and some of my friends actually going to Japan (!). This isn’t really the right word, but I guess I was feeling kind of…homesick?

You’re no doubt wondering how I could be homesick whilst at home, and I’m not really sure myself. We haven’t been back to Japan since my return for the start of Year 2, and basically I just really, really want to go back. I’m probably looking at things through rose-tinted glasses, though; most of my friends moved away after the tsunami and earthquake, and it’s just not the same when you go there as a tourist. Still… NB: I’m actually feeling okay now :-)

Anyway, I usually visit the Japanese Matsuri, a free market sort of event, in late September, but for some reason we missed it this year. To make up for it, I took a trip to a different event called HyperJapan with my awesome friend Anna. I didn’t buy that much, but I took a lot of leaflets so that I can visit their shops or online shops myself in a less busy environment. But, seriously, look at those cat ears! THEY’RE HAIRCLIPS. BUT ALSO CAT EARS.

WP_20141115_053 WP_20141115_048 WP_20141115_037 WP_20141115_042 hyperjapan hyperjapanhyperjapanhyperjapanWP_20141115_041
Hyper japan haul


Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrated it yesterday! Have you guys ever felt homesick at home?

(And guys, I’m sorry about the state of my blog. It pains me to see it so aesthetically displeasing. IT WILL BE FIXED SOON I PROMISE!)

What’s Up With Me and NaNo? part 2

Okay, this isn’t so much of a ‘what’s up with me and NaNo’ as a ‘what’s up with me, NaNo, books, school and pretty much everything in between’. Let the ramble commence!

What’s Up With Me and NaNo
In your absence, I have become a master thief, stealing a variety of different things including:

- a large amount of plot from the roleplay I started like 2 years ago
– and also one and a half characters from said roleplay
– all the best jokes I overhear, because I’m terrible at humour
– the name of my cousin’s friend whom I have never met, but doesn’t sound awfully nice
– my own backstory, slightly changed to become my MC’s backstory

And probably some other things too.

But seriously, guys, I’ve only just remembered how good roleplays are for writing. I was a pretty active RPer around a year and a half or so ago, but not so much anymore. If you join a ‘literate’ RP, you can meet up with some excellent writers, as well as getting the chance to practice character creation and play around, like writing as an utterly evil and selfish character. Hehehehe, that was fun. I was only aiming for 15k, but I’m more than on track since I’ve now got up to the point where I can write up to 500 words in 10 minutes. (Although only in short bursts, sadly.) I’m hoping to continue my novel/novella throughout December and the following months. :-)

What’s Up With Me and Books

Yeah. I hopped along to the cinema on Friday night with my wonderful friend Anna, mockingjay pin in hand, and basically spent the entire time either a) fangirling or b) clapping my hand to my mouth in horror. Despite its darker nature, I thought it was as good, maybe better, than the other films. (Although the book wasn’t as good as THG or CF, so I had lower expectations.)

I took a visit to the library this afternoon, and came back with around 12 books, including the entire Raven Boys series. (‘Cause, you know, why not?)

Library Books

What’s Up With Me and School
I’m being flooded by homework, and once I’ve finished this up I’ll be going to revise the final draft of my English essay. *sighs* However, I’m participating in my school debate which I am pretty excited for, because the movement my friend and I are arguing is:

This house would make the Cruciatus curse Forgivable.

I thought it was very lucky on my part, because everyone else got the usual things such as ‘This house would ban zoos,’ and ‘This house would only go on holiday in the UK,’ and such. Those ones are still perfectly respectable, but they’re not from Harry Potter.

What’s Up With Me and Everything in Between
1. I keep stumbling across fanfiction for Supernatural, which I haven’t even watched. Can I do that? Anyway, now I kind of want to watch it, despite the *coughs* large episode number.
2. I’ve been sucked into the Snowverse again, and I spent an hour in bed on Thursday night mentally writing my Simon Snow fanfiction.
3. I keep getting the urge to call people ‘honey’. Where is this coming from?
4. I went to see the sixth form production of Anything Goes, and it was excellent, although slightly different in tone to last year (‘Anna Karenina’).

What’s up with you?


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