Thursday, 15 June 2017

Book Review: Paradise Girl

A highly infectious and incurable virus spreads worldwide. Seventeen-year-old Kerryl Shaw and her family live on a remote farm and think they will be safe, but the plague advances. Despite deaths around them, the Shaws survive. However, this changes when a stranger arrives, and it soon becomes apparent he has brought the infection to their door. One by one the family succumbs, leaving Kerryl alone.

Kerryl is sure it’s only a matter of time before she, too, dies. She decides to record what she thinks will be her final days in a diary. She realises that it will never be read, so she imagines a reader and calls him Adam. As loneliness and isolation affect the balance of her mind, Adam ceases to be an imaginary character and becomes real to her...

Let's start by saying, for a debut novel, I loved this book. Whilst at first glance the idea of an incurable virus spreading worldwide isn't a new concept, the author manages to take it in a whole new and exciting direction that keeps the reader gripped. Paradise Girl is actually a young adult book but as is often the case I think it's extremely enjoyable for adults too. It works extremely well at building tension and setting the scene of a post-apocalyptic rural town. I honestly can't sing it's praises enough for how well this novel kept me wanting to read more.

However I do have a couple of little bug bears with it. The first being some of the language used between the teenagers in the book. I found it a little unrealistic and flowery and times, and working with teenagers everyday, I can confirm that this certainly isn't how they speak. With the target market being people around the main character's age, it would have been nice to see a more realistic portrayal of the everyday language used by young people. My second little niggle was actually the main character, Kerryl. Whilst for the most part I did enjoy reading about her, I found her to be grating at times but I could quite easily look past this thanks to the good plot. 

In all I recommend giving Paradise Girl a read if you're after a novel that will keep you turning the pages.

Rating: ★★

Monday, 12 June 2017

Thinking time and the art of not being humble

Why is it that when we've achieved something big, we keep quiet about it and take the humble approach? Is it so we don't come across as big-headed? So we don't seem like we're bragging about our achievements? 

Why is it that when we have achieved something big we seem to quickly forget about it, we don't take stock of what we've done and we're too quick to think we want more? We're surrounded by people achieving amazing things, having amazing experiences and somehow we pale into insignificance.

Well today I'm going to practice the art of not being humble. I had some quiet time to think a few weeks ago. The same evening this beautiful photo of the moon was captured. The weather had been beautiful and Josh and I had spent the day tidying up our garden. Tea was cooking, Josh was in the bath and the cats were asleep. I had some time to myself which is a rarity in a house with two mad kitties and a partner who shares the same holidays. So I sat outside on the steps leading from our patio onto our garden and breathed in the cooling but still warm, evening air and I looked up at our house and thought about how this time last year we weren't living in this house, we weren't even living together. I thought about all that's happened in that time and I was proud of what we've achieved and for perhaps the first time in my life, it felt like enough. I thought about how we're home owners, how we're turning our lovely little house into our beautiful home, I thought about how only just over 3 weeks ago we were able to book our dream holiday for next summer and it filled me with excitement that we're heading back to Walt Disney World and it filled me with pride that we did that together. And it all felt like enough.

I'm the first one to moan about not having enough money, about the state of our tired kitchen that I'm desperate to sort out, about not travelling enough. But in that moment all that went. I didn't want to be humble or brush aside the immense pride I was feeling, I wanted to shout from the rooftops that together we've achieved bloody amazing things, we've worked hard and we've saved like you wouldn't believe so why should I keep quiet, why should I not share the happiness I'm feeling right now? Because I'll let you into a secret, the art of not being humble has changed my outlook. Taking stock of what we've done has put everything into perspective and I'm feeling happier than I've ever felt.

So I'm advocating that we all practice the art of not being humble every now and again. Be proud of what you've done, don't hide it! And realise that what you've done is enough!

Monday, 5 June 2017

26th Birthday Wishlist

At the end of next month I'll be turning 26 I thought I'd compile a wishlist to share with you, also Josh has been wanting ideas so hopefully it'll help him out too! To be honest you wouldn't think this was the birthday list of a 26 year old as it's full of Disney items (of course!) but hey, it's what I like so there's no harm in that! I'm also aware it's a large list so I'm in no way expecting all of this stuff for my birthday, it's just all the stuff I've got my eye on at the moment. 

Disney Pins (available from Ebay) - I recently got in to Disney pin collecting and I've never had any of the mystery pin packs so I'd really like to get a couple of bags of those. I've find a UK seller on Ebay that's selling pretty much every pin pack you can get. The ones I'm after collecting are (from l-r) Tsum Tsum series 1, 2 and 3, Nesting Dolls, Couples (though both of the last two packs seem to be out of stock at the moment so I can't provide a link, I'm hoping they come back though), Best Friends and Ear Hats.

Harry Potter Jumper (Heather Grey Size Medium) (available from Ebay) - This jumper has featured on wishlists before but I've just never got around to buying it. I love it though! 

Animators Mug (available from the Disney Store) - I love the Animators collection from the Disney Store and I've wanted the mug since it came out but you just can't seem to pick it up in stores anymore so I'd really like to get it before it completely disappears.

Eve and Wall-E plushes (available from the Disney Store) - I don't really collect Disney plushes but Wall-E is one of my favourite films so I just can't resist these two cute plushes.

Rapunzel Tradition (available from Amazon) - I only have one Disney Tradition and there's a few I've had my eye on for a couple of years now, they're just such beautiful pieces. Rapunzel is my favourite Disney princess and Pascal is super cute so I'd really like to add this to my collection!

Alien Perfume (available from All Beauty) - I'm running low on perfume and birthday's also seem like a god time to get a new bottle. I'd really like to try a bottle of Mugler's Alien as I've smelt it on other people and it's beautiful.

Lush Bath Bombs (available from Lush) - I'm pretty much out of bath bombs and Lush have released lots of new ones so I'd really like to stock up on a few on the new items. Most of the ones featured on my list are only available online though. The ones on my list are Intergalatic, Calavera, Golden Slumbers, Metamorphosis, Yellow Submarine and Over and Over.

Copper Vintage Globe (available from Amazon) - I'm not sure why but I've always wanted a little globe. A few months ago I found the most beautiful vintage style copper globe in a little shop and haven't been able to find one like it since. Then I came across this one on Amazon and although it's quite different to the one I first saw, I really like it. The copper effect would fit in perfectly with the copper accents in my little office. 

Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray (available from Amazon) - I absolutely loved this film when we saw it at the cinema, so much so I wanted to watch it all over again as soon as it had ended. It was done so well and kept to the original really well too. 

The Disney Book (available from Amazon) - I spotted this book a few years ago and I think it'd be the perfect edition to our bookcase where we display all our good books. 

Bing Bong Funko Pop (available from Amazon) - I'll be honest this wishlist could have been made up entirely of Funko Pops. We already have a huge collection but there's so many more I want. I only included Bing Bong because I got the Anger Pop for quite cheap not so long back so now I need some other Inside Out Pops. The Funko Pops currently at the top of my wishlist though are Eve, Wall-e, Luna Lovegood, Moana and Pua, live action Lumiere, live action Cogsworth, live action Beast and live action Celebration Belle.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Happy List: May 2017

May was a pretty busy and good month, with a couple of exciting announcements coming in this post, you'll see why. It's baffling me how we're half way through the year now. Time really does fly when your an adult! 

1. During May we celebrated two birthdays, first my Dad's then our nieces 5th birthday. I can't believe how quickly she's growing up and what a funny little lady she's becoming.
2. We also celebrated a birth this month and Josh and I became an Auntie and Uncle again to the beautiful baby Pippa.
3. The spending I said I'd cut down on last month? Yeah it didn't really happen! I bought 5 new Disney pins this month, oopps. Two haven't arrived yet so I'll show them in the next happy list, but I managed to get all three of the 45th anniversary of Magic Kingdom pins which I'm super happy about! My Newt and Pickett Funko Pop finally turned up too, 5 month after a pre-ordered it. It was completely worth the wait though.
4. The weather was so good towards the end of the month so Josh and I took advantage and went on some nice long walks after walk. It was nice to be out in the fresh, catching up on each other's day rather than sitting in front of the TV so we're definitely going to make more of a habit of getting out for a walk.
5. Perhaps the biggest news this month is that we've booked Florida for next summer! I still can't believe that we're going back and I don't think I will until I'm actually there. It's just such a long wait now because we aren't going until August 2018 but I'm so happy that we've finally booked it. Now to save for the park tickets and spending money because we've both got a list as long as our arms of stuff we want to buy there.
6. I've actually started buying a few things for Florida as I can't pass up on cute Disney stuff when I see it so I've been picking up a few things to put away, the Marie pj's being one of them. I was so happy when I saw these, they're super cute.
7. We also got out and about quite a bit in May. First we went to see Micky Flanagan who was so funny then we went to see Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in concert with a live orchestra which was amazing. We also booked tickets to see Avenue Q in September and The Tenderloins (the Impractical Jokers stand-up show) in October.