Books, Reviews

A Review of Good Omens

Good Omens

Good Omens

By Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Genre: Fantasy, Comedy

I’ve read some of Neil Gaiman’s work such as The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Coraline, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them, so upon hearing that Good Omens was being made into a TV show, I had to read it first. I was intrigued by the fact that this was a collaborative effort with Terry Pratchett, who I’d heard lots of good things about but never got round to reading any of his work. The show has become eagerly awaited by people across the world and the book is considered a cult classic, so I went in with high expectations.

Unfortunately, those expectations for me weren’t quite met.

Set in England, Good Omens is about an upcoming Armageddon, the end of the world, which was prophesied by the witch Agnes Nutter and signaled by the birth of the Antichrist. However, the son of Satan seems to be misplaced, growing up in a little country village with a normal family. Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, must find him before it’s too late and stop the world ending, as they’ve grown quite a liking to their place in England.

The characters of Aziraphale and Crowley were my favourite part about this book as they are so clearly developed and have extreme personalities, working so well together despite their differences. Aziraphale is more anxious and concerned about doing the right thing, whereas Crowley is sarcastic with a mean streak, though this is threatened by his need to stop the end of the world. They are unlikely friends, though they would not admit this. I also liked Adam, the Antichrist, a young boy who quite innocently spends time with his group of friends unaware of who he really is. Their conversations were exactly what conversations between children are like, and it was nice to see that difference between the older characters and them.

“I bet you don’t have to be Spanish to be the Spanish Inquisition,” said Adam. “I bet it’s like Scottish eggs or American hamburgers. It just has to look Spanish. We’ve just got to make it look Spanish. Then everyone would know it’s the Spanish Inquisition.”

Speaking of the dialogue, I really liked the literary device of dialectal speech when certain characters would talk. It can be confusing at times trying to work out what they’re trying to say, but often it makes it easier for me to imagine their accent and the way they would speak, similar to Hagrid in Harry Potter for example. It gave a better voice and personality to the characters.

Another aspect of the book I liked was the way the authors thought outside the box for descriptions, which is where some of the humour would come in. My favourite line of description was describing the clouds as tagliatelle swirling in a pot because it’s so unusual yet so visual. I also love that any tape Crowley plays in his car would turn into a Best of Queen album! It’s so strange that it makes you laugh because no other author would think of a little detail so peculiar but funny. It’s not in your face humour, but subtle and witty. There’s no denying both Gaiman and Pratchett are very good writers, as you can see from the quotes I’ve inserted throughout this post.

Cars, in theory, give you a terrifically fast method of traveling from place to place. Traffic jams, on the other hand, give you a terrific opportunity to stay still.

However, the writing structure and the plot was something I struggled with. Within each chapter there would be a lot of chapter breaks which would switch between different characters. Switching between characters isn’t necessarily a bad thing and I was happy to see the various perspectives, but there were way too many and it happened too often. A lot of the time there would be a chapter break, it would have a single paragraph or even a sentence from another character, then it would switch back. I really didn’t see much of a point in this.

Also, it would often go to characters who we hadn’t been introduced to before and then we’d never hear from them again for the rest of the book, so was there much need for them to be inserted? This wasn’t something that happened once but many, many times. We already had the main characters and story lines of Aziraphale and Crowley, Adam and his friends, the witchfinders and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which was enough in itself. So to then have others thrown in for a page or two, even less at times, was too much for me.

There was a tearing sound. Death’s robe split and his wings unfolded. Angel’s wings. But not of feathers. They were wings of night, wings that were shapes cut through the matter of creation into the darkness underneath, in which a few distant lights glimmered, lights that may have been stars or may have been something entirely else.

The plot seemed to slowly plod on which is why it took so long for me to finish this book, then finally when the time came for the world to end it was extremely anticlimactic and nothing really happened. I found it difficult a lot of the time too to envision what was going on, which was a shame because some of the description could be so good, and it made it harder for me to want to carry on reading. The humour too is very particular; there were times I didn’t get the joke at all, which I think is because it came out in 1990 and I’m too young to understand. I hate to corner a book into an audience but I think it’s definitely for an older age range, though of course other people may enjoy it too. That being said, I did chuckle because the character interactions are funny and there are witty descriptions throughout. There were just too many times where jokes went over my head and knowing them would have made the book more enjoyable.

There would be other summers, but there would never be one like this. Ever again.
Better make the most of it, then.

Overall, I was quite disappointed after looking forward to reading it and expecting big things, which is an issue I often have with hyped up books or films. I just think it wasn’t the right writing style for me and it is very particular in who would enjoy it, though I do appreciate both authors’ writing talent. However, I do like the characters and the premise, so I will be watching the show as I’d love to see a visual representation to perhaps make me enjoy the story more and return to the book another time. I also think Michael Sheen and David Tennant are the perfect choice for Azriphale and Crowley! I feel terrible and might be attacked for criticising such loved writers, but I have to give this a 2 out of 5 stars. I personally found it hard to get through, though I’m sure there are many out there who really enjoyed it.

Have any of you read this book and what did you think? Let me know down in the comments and thank you for reading!

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Film, Reviews

My Thoughts on Game of Thrones Season 8 (Spoilers)

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As I write this, I have just finished watching the Season 8 finale and I can’t quite believe that Game of Thrones has come to an end. Game of Thrones to me has always been a show that has never failed to shock me, give me goosebumps and also make me laugh. Before I started watching, I’d never watched a series where I was quite so on edge at the fates of my favourite characters and blown away by scenes like The Red Wedding or The Battle of the Bastards. To me, Game of Thrones is one of the best TV shows of all time.

Despite all the negativity that has surrounded this season, I want to give you my thoughts on what I thought was a fitting ending for this beloved story. I’d like there to be more positivity and celebration for a show that is loved worldwide, not anger and hatred that it didn’t play out the way some fans wanted. I will talk about the season as a whole and focus on the finale as the episode is more than fresh in my mind!

The start of the season showed us many reunions that I’d been waiting to see for so long such as Arya and Jon, and Sansa and Theon, as well as preparations for the Battle of Winterfell. We also got to see the reveal to Jon that he is a Targaryen. Though there were exciting moments, it was essentially the calm before the storm, and this isn’t a bad thing. I’ve always enjoyed seeing the characters interact with each other, my favourite scene being the knighting of Brienne of Tarth. It was a slice of happiness before things started to go wrong.

The Battle of Winterfell then came, which if you’ve read my review, you’ll know that I absolutely loved despite all the criticism. I won’t go into too much detail as I already have done, but we lost some of our favourite characters like Jorah and Theon, the tension was sky high and it was so beautifully shot with incredible music. Arya got to defeat the Night King, but he was just one of the threats to the Seven Kingdoms.

The next task was to take down Cersei, Dany’s intent to kill her only strengthened by the loss of her child and the loss of Missandei. After hearing about his sister’s fate, Jaime tells Brienne he is going back to her. In all honesty, I was convinced he was going to kill Cersei, only saying such things to stop Brienne from coming with him and potentially dying. We’d been given the pairing of Brienne and Jaime that fans had wanted for so long, only for it to be broken by the next episode. Admittedly it seems like their relationship might have only been included to please fans.

It came as a surprise to me then that he was actually going back to Cersei and Tyrion wanted to help. The scene as Tyrion cries to Jaime saying that he was the only one who never treated him like a monster broke my heart. Now, this is where a lot of criticism comes in. People think his character arc is broken and reverted, because he goes to Cersei and they die in each other’s arms at the wrath of Dany, who I will talk about next. They think Cersei didn’t get a gory enough death and that she didn’t deserve the death she had. When I first watched the episode I was annoyed that he was reunited with Cersei and concerned about his character development leading to this point. Throughout the show he had gone from not thinking his sister could do anything wrong and being a bit of an arsehole, to betraying her and going North to help in the fight against the army of the dead. Then we had him sleeping with Brienne and it seemed like he had changed, moved on from Cersei, so to see him going back to her was quite a shock.

But with further thinking, I think this was a fitting end for him. Cersei has always been his weakness. I think fans have forgotten that it wasn’t long ago that he actually slept with her, she is pregnant with his child, and this is after we think he has changed for the better. They came into the world together and were leaving in the same way. And did people not see how terrified Cersei was, acted brilliantly by Lena Headey? She was so certain she was winning this war so to see her shaking and crying, begging not to die only to get crushed under rubble, was a good death in my opinion. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t gruesome like Joffrey’s or Ramsay’s, she still died in fear.

Now to move onto the cause of their deaths and another character development that people complained about, Dany. Even though the city surrendered, she decided to take off on Drogon and burn King’s Landing to the ground. I can’t credit Emilia Clarke enough for this scene, the absolutely grief and anger was so clear to me that it didn’t surprise me when she started burning innocents, though of course it was still shocking to watch. Some fans seem to think her descent into madness was rushed, but to me it has been a long time coming.

As Tyrion put it in the finale, she has always been cheered for killing evil men. So how does she know when to stop, when to think about whether what she is doing is right? She has been told all her life she is the true heir so she will do anything in her power to get there. Dany has never hesitated to threaten people with fire, only recently killing the Tarlys for not bending the knee. Then she loses Jorah, Rhaegal and Missandei in such a short space of time. To say her actions were out of character is wrong to me. It’s always been in her to take what is hers with fire and blood and this was the final straw.

The Bells episode was another with incredible cinematography. Watching Arya stumble through the crowds made me feel almost claustrophobic, thinking of being in the same position as her, and the end shot of her on the horse was simply beautiful. We finally got Cleganebowl which I think was amazingly shot, though sadly we lost Sandor but in a way he would have wanted, taking revenge on his brother. His and Arya’s scene together before his death made me so emotional, taking me back to their journey in previous seasons. Seeing fire and ash eat up a once grand city with the shadow of a dragon looming over it was eerie.

All of this made me very nervous for the finale, but I thought it was such a good end to the show. Tyrion crying over his siblings was heart-wrenching and I feared for his fate as he rejected the Hand of the Queen, being imprisoned with the threat of execution hanging over him. Dany’s speech to her followers was so powerful and that shot of the dragon wings behind her gave me chills. Despite what she had done, I felt for her as she walked into the throne room and touched the Iron Throne with a smile on her face. She had finally got to where she wanted but she never got to sit there. As she begs Jon to join her, he stabs his Queen in the heart after his talk with Tyrion. But this isn’t a triumphant moment for him, he sobs as he holds his Queen’s body. However it was the right thing to do I think; nothing was going to stop her from taking over the Seven Kingdoms and her belief that she was freeing them, which would have lead to so much more bloodshed.

Drogon whimpering over his mother was so sad and for a second I thought he was going to burn Jon, only for him to burn down the Iron Throne instead. It was so symbolic of the way it had changed people over the years and caused them to do terrible things to get to it, and Drogon was destroying the thing that essentially killed his mother.

I was quite surprised when we then jumped to deciding who would be the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. I was sure that the Dothraki and Unsullied would turn on Jon instantly for killing their Queen. Instead, Tyrion suggests that a ruler gets chosen rather than being born into royalty. I laughed out loud at Edmure Tully stepping up to the task only to get shut down by Sansa, and poor Sam merely suggesting democracy only to be laughed at! However, I am happy that they went with the decision of Bran for the king. Though there were many theories, it wasn’t an outcome that I thought would happen, but it does make sense. Bran is not likely to act out of anger, and holds the memories of everything that has ever happened. He knew that he would be king as everything has been leading up to it, and Sansa deciding to be Queen of Winterfell was perfect.

It did surprise me as well that Jon was sent back to be on the Night’s Watch as a compromise. I think we all expected so much more considering he is the rightful heir to the throne. However I believe the North is where he truly belongs as you can see with his return to the old Jon look with his scruffy hair, and Ghost finally got the pets he deserved so hopefully this will stop people complaining (not likely)! Jon gets to join Tormund beyond the Wall which is where he fits with the Wildlings, and it’s not like he can never return.

I absolutely loved seeing Tyrion as Hand of the King with Brienne, Bronn, Davos, Sam and Podrick there and I would happily watch a series just watching them banter around and organise things. Brienne writing Jaime’s chapter was another memorable moment for me as well as Sam revealing the title A Song of Ice and Fire. And we never got to hear the end of Tyrion’s brothel joke! However my favourite scene was the ending, watching the Starks saying goodbye to each other and then the camera switching between each one. It made me so sad that Ned and Catelyn aren’t there to see their children flourishing (sorry Robb and Rickon) and I think all of their fates were perfect. We then finish as the show started, with Jon beyond the Wall. The choral version of the theme song gave me goosebumps and as the credits rolled I couldn’t believe that it was actually the final episode.

Though I’ve sung my praises, I don’t believe this season was perfect. It definitely could have been spread across more episodes and I did question some of the writing decisions. We rushed from the Battle of Winterfell to the Battle of King’s Landing, and I think more episodes in between would have stopped this. I thought there would be a whole episode taking on Dany but she was killed fairly quickly before moving onto the decision of who would rule. Some scenes seemed so weirdly put in there to show a character such as Bronn randomly showing up to tell Jaime and Tyrion he’s been ordered to kill them, or the Euron and Jaime fight scene, moving on as quickly as they appeared which left me wondering whether they were worth being there at all. I would have liked to see Jamie with Brienne, or Arya with Gendry. It would have been nice for Dany to not turn into what she was destined to become.

However, what’s done is done. This is the season and the ending we have been given. The fact that there’s a petition to remake the season shows how entitled some Game of Thrones fans are. The amount of hate I’m seeing makes me question why people are even calling themselves fans. Yes, we made Game of Thrones in part, a show is nothing without fans to keep watching and supporting. But we’re not the ones who have spent weeks away from family to film episodes, or put millions of dollars into it. We sit on our arses and watch it once a week until the next season. People claiming it’s not the ending we deserve need to get off their high horse. Why do you deserve a particular story line when there are plenty of people who were fine with it?

Disliking a season is one thing, but wanting a whole re-write because your fan fiction didn’t come true is arrogant and laughable. If I demanded a re-write of every TV show or film I didn’t enjoy, I’d be signing petitions for days. An ending of a TV show is not exactly easy to write, and many have not ended the way fans have wanted. You can’t please everyone and no matter how this ended people would still be crying on Twitter.

It’s upsetting to me that the finale of this ground-breaking show is now shrouded by negativity, which is why I wanted to give my positive thoughts to break through that. There will never be another show like Game of Thrones. Its characters, its plot twists, its music, its cinematography, its acting. The break between the last season and this one made me forget just how much I love it; I definitely need to re-watch it from the beginning now it’s all over. I am going to miss discussing theories with my family and friends, jumping onto Reddit after each episode to see the memes and the best parts, and waiting for Monday to come around. So thank you Game of Thrones and goodbye to one of the best shows on TV!

What did you think of this season? I’d love to know down in the comments and have a discussion! Thank you for reading.

(All gifs found on Giphy.com)

Writing

Finding the Perfect Writing Work Space

Work Space

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, writing can be hard, no matter what it is that you’re writing or how good you feel you are. One day you can write a thousand words with ease, and the next squeezing out a hundred seems impossible.

You can’t exactly control how your brain is going to be on a particular day, but one thing that can help the writing process, which I discussed a little in this post, is having a comfortable work space. This will help increase your productivity because you’re not distracted by the feeling of discomfort. I’m going to be giving you some tips on how to find the right place for you and making a zone which is best for your writing.

Try out multiple spaces and see which works best

Your writing space doesn’t have to be just one place, though that may be the case for some people. For me, the best place is sitting on my bed as I don’t have a desk, however I am writing this from the dining room table where I also feel comfortable. I’ve tried working in cafés but I get too distracted by the people around me or the cake that I’ve ordered! But this might be the perfect place for some people. Sometimes, I will work in the garden with my notebook when it’s sunny, but I’ll end up sunbathing or stroking my cats who come to join me, halting my productivity.

It really depends on what kind of person you are; I feel most comfortable in my home, but others may prefer a public space. Have a go at writing in different places and compare how much you get done. If it’s significantly more in a certain area, you may want to think about setting that up as your permanent work space. However you don’t have to limit it to just that place, as it can all depend on your mood. When the sun is shining, you may not want to force yourself to sit at your desk, which is completely fine. If one day you want a change to go sit in a coffee shop, go for it. Experimenting in different places is all part of the fun of writing!

Have everything you need to hand

There’s nothing worse than moving out to the garden, then realising you’ve left a notebook upstairs, coming back down only to forget your pencil case too. Make sure before you start writing that you have everything you need. Your laptop, a planner, a notebook of ideas, whatever you use. Having to get up and down is just a way to stop you from being productive. I know all too well about procrastination, so you may even use going to get something as an excuse to do just that. Have a bottle of water or your favourite drink to keep you hydrated and some food to nibble on, to stop you from taking snack breaks just to avoid writing. It almost forces you to stay in that area, giving you the discipline to concentrate on your work. It tricks your brain into thinking, okay this is my writing time, which leads me onto my next point.

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Photo by Slava Keyzman on Unsplash

Associate that space with writing

A lot of people say that you should never work on your bed because that’s where you sleep, and therefore your brain associates the area with it, meaning you’ll be less likely to get work done. However, I think you can clarify the two fairly easily. When I work on my bed, I have things to hand like I explained in the point above. I know that when I’ve cleared my laptop and notebooks off my bed, it’s a place for sleep. Just because I’m working at my dining room table, it doesn’t mean I get confused between working and eating. I think if there’s a clear difference, it won’t affect your productivity. You will know when all your equipment is laid out that it’s time to write.

This is a lot easier if you do have just one work space like a desk though, which you know is separate from any other area and where all your equipment permanently is. There’s no risk of wanting to get under the bed covers (I’m very guilty of doing that when it’s cold) so if you are someone who would get distracted by this, maybe a desk is right for you. No matter what you choose, you want your body to know that you’ve sat down specifically to write.

Eliminate distractions

I feel like a hypocrite writing this as it’s something I need to work on myself, but getting rid of distractions in a work space is sometimes the only way to get anything done. Put all your electronics on airplane mode (unless you need them for research) so even if you pick them up there will be no notifications to steer you away, or put your phone in another room. Maybe from your home you can hear the sound of the road outside or some building works, so think about whether putting headphones on will help you. Of course, some people don’t like listening to songs with lyrics while they write, why not try some soundtracks? Some people can write with the TV on, but if you can’t, switch it off immediately and stop watching Netflix instead of writing! The distraction could even be as simple as a book next to you that you keep picking up to read, or a pen that you keep fiddling with. Whatever it is, whatever you find yourself doing instead of writing, eliminate that from the work space.

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Photo by Benjaminrobyn Jespersen on Unsplash

Your environment is important

There are so many times where I’ve been trying to write for an hour before realising I’m sat in the dark and the room is stuffy. A space with windows to let in the natural light will ensure that you’re not straining your eyes which makes the writing process more difficult. Open the windows to let in some fresh air to avoid getting a headache and feeling uncomfortable. Having to be staring at a laptop to write can make you feel a little ill sometimes anyway, so ensuring the space around you is bright and there is fresh air can help limit the risk of that. You also don’t want to be sweating or shivering, so make sure the temperature is right for you, opening the windows wide when it’s hot and putting on some extra layers when it’s cold. Your surrounding environment can really change how comfortable you feel and therefore your productivity.

 

I hope these tips will help you think about where you write and whether there are things you can do with your work space to increase productivity. However, I’d also like to say taking breaks is important and you shouldn’t force yourself to be sat down for hours just to get some writing out. These are just ways you can make writing a little easier!

What does your work space look like? Let me know down in the comments and thank you for reading!

 

Writing

A Guide to Short Story Writing

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At first glance, it may not seem that short story writing is that much different from writing a novel. They both involve a story with characters and plot, but one is a lot shorter. How hard can it be?

At least, that was along the lines of what I thought when I started studying creative writing at university and was given the task of writing many short stories, which I share with you in my short story series. It wasn’t until I took a short stories module in my second year that I really learned that there was a certain art to it.

Today, I’m going to share with you some of the things that I learned about writing a short story. Even though it’s shorter and seems less complicated than a novel, it’s actually not as simple as it seems and there are things you have to consider.

Being concise is key

In a short story, you don’t have time to write pages about a flashback scene your character has or reams of dialogue between two characters. According to a quick Google search, a short story generally is anything up to 7,500 words. However at university, we had to write between 1,000 – 1,500 words, which is more flash fiction, a shorter type of short story writing. No matter what length you want your story to be, it means that every word and every sentence that you include in your story has to be important. If you’ve found yourself giving a paragraph long description, think about cutting it down to just one or two. Think about what words you are using and if there is a more effective word you can use instead of the lengthy sentence to describe your protagonist’s feelings, or a certain action they can do to get this across. It’s all about being punchy and powerful, and though you may write long descriptions beautifully, there really is no space for them in a short story.

A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it – Edgar Allan Poe

Readers have to care about your characters

To me, characters are one of the most important things in any sort of writing, and a short story is no different. In fact, it is probably more important in a short story. With a novel, the reader has an entire book to spend time with the character and get to know them. But in a short story, the reader may only be spending a couple of pages with them. In any writing, you want your reader to feel attached to your characters, to worry when they are in a life-threatening situation and to want to get to know them. This is where the task is a little difficult in a short story. How can you make the reader care about a character they’ve barely experienced?

This is why it’s so important that your character is well developed. You need to get their personality across almost immediately. Focus on the way they speak, or what little quirks that they have which makes them unique. You don’t even have to describe the way they look in detail, maybe just mentioning a hair colour within another sentence, for example “she pushed back her red hair away from her forehead and sighed.” I’d much rather information about how a character acts and what makes them special than their appearance, as this is something the reader can imagine for themselves. You want the reader to be left wanting more of that character so that they will return to the story time and time again.

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Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

There needs to be a clear story line

Just like a novel has a beginning, middle and end, a short story has to as well. When I first started writing short stories, I fell into the trap of not being able to fit an entire story into that space, instead coming up with an idea which would work better for a novel. Personally, I do prefer novel writing because of how much you have to play with and all the ideas you can fit in. However, I soon learned that you needed a clear plot for a short story to work and the narrative arc which I talked about in this post still applies. There needs to be an inciting incident and a climax no matter what your story is about. It makes your story more structured rather than a piece of writing about a character or a place. It can be fun to have a cliffhanger, particularly if your story is part of a collection, but ultimately there needs to be a clear ending. A short story is generally a stand alone piece and you don’t want readers to be left with a sense that it isn’t complete. Of course, you want readers to be thinking long after they’ve read it and you can play around with things left unsaid, but you need to make sure it is tied up.

Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner – Neil Gaiman

Read short stories

It is not often that many of us read short stories in comparison to novels and that was the position I was in when I first started writing short stories. I just wasn’t familiar with how they were written which made writing them myself more difficult. Before getting into short stories or if you feel like yours aren’t up to scratch, I would highly recommend getting your hands on a short story collection or even just Googling to find one. An example of a short story writer is Ray Bradbury, who we read a lot of in university as well as many others. I found that it helped me get a sense of what a short story really was; they could be about anything from sci-fi and aliens to the mundane of a couple in the midst of a divorce. However what really stood out was the way they pulled you in and left you thinking as I wasn’t aware how powerful a short story could be. There doesn’t need to be an extravagant back story or a page long description of a character’s home. Instead, you’re thrown into this new world and given a screenshot of what it’s like, then chucked back out again with thoughts whirring in your mind.

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Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

Practise time and time again

I was writing at least one short story a week at university and it did wonders for me, which is why I had to include it in this post. My grades would slowly climb up with each submission because I was getting better and better. It’s very unlikely you’re going to nail the perfect short story with your first try, or even your second or third try. The more your practise, the more you get to grips with the short story format. Ask for feedback from peers or your teachers, anyone you usually share your writing with. Their advice will be valuable to you to either improve your existing story or make your next one even better. Play around with the different styles and genres to find out which you like best. Soon enough you’ll come out with something that suits you and what you feel is your strongest example of writing.

Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row – Ray Bradbury

 

I hope anyone looking to get into short stories or wanting to improve can find this information helpful. There really is a particular art to short story writing that can be difficult to master straight away. If there’s any other advice you have, let me know down in the comments and thank you for reading!

Blogging

5 Ways to Generate Blog Post Ideas

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One of the most frustrating things about being a blogger is coming up with blog post ideas when your mind is completely blank. It happens to all of us; the day you usually post looms closer and you still aren’t any closer to settling on what to write about. This is exactly how I felt this morning before I started writing this. I have some future blog post ideas in a notebook, but none that I could do ready for Friday’s blog post.

That’s when I thought, why not write about blogging itself? By looking at how I can generate ideas, I am in turn helping others searching for inspiration while also helping myself. I have written before about finding inspiration for your novel which can also be applied to blog writing and about how listening to soundtracks can help. However, this post is specifically aimed at writing blog posts to get you out of that rut!

Think about what you’d like to read and write it yourself

As mentioned above, I was staring blankly at my screen with no idea what to write. I needed to read something that helped me generate those ideas, and though there’s a lot out there that I’ll mention later on, I decided to write it myself to help others in the same position. If it’s something you enjoy reading or something you’re searching for, you’re going to be passionate about writing it and this will come across to your readers. Maybe there’s something you’re struggling with right now and you’d like to hear some supportive words or give advice? Writing a blog post about it simultaneously means you’re helping yourself and others. You might be trying to find some vegan recipes, so maybe doing some research and writing a blog post of your findings would be ideal. It could be you just want to read a highly detailed review about an obscure book you enjoyed; why not write that review yourself? There might be that gap in the blogging world which doesn’t cover a topic you enjoy and you can fill that gap with your own writing.

Look around your bedroom

Right now as I’m writing this sitting on my bed I can look around to see my crammed bookshelf, my Xbox, some clothes scattered on the floor and various ornaments that I’ve collected over the years. Your room is going to be filled with things you enjoy which is the perfect inspiration. I can pick a book or game and write a review on it. I can style some outfits that I think are great for summer. I can look at an ornament and talk about where it came from. A lot of the time, we have inspiration sitting there right in front of us but we continue to stare at our laptop screen thinking ‘I have no ideas!’ Try scanning the objects in your room and writing down any ideas for blog posts that could stem from them. They don’t even have to be necessarily about the object itself, it could just spark another idea; for example I have a Sainsbury’s bag on my floor and that could lead me to think of a post about food or tips for doing grocery shopping, or even about the use of plastic.

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Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Read other people’s blogs

Of course, there is a limit to what you lift from other people’s blogs and plagiarism is not okay. However looking at what other people are posting is a great way for ideas to click in your head. They may have done a film review which inspires you to write a review of something else you saw recently, or they may have done a skincare routine that makes you want to write about your own. There are so many bloggers out there that you’re  going to see similar posts but talking about skincare because another blogger has doesn’t mean that you’re stealing their content. As long as your work is original and you have your own way of writing about things, you can write about whatever you like.

A lot of bloggers have also done lists of blog post ideas which is perfectly okay for you to lift from as they have been written to help you, and chances are many people have probably done it. I decided to not give ideas but tell you ways to generate them to try and put my own spin on things, but I’m sure someone else out there has written a post like this. It’s very unlikely that a post will be entirely unique, but it’s your personality and writing style that makes it stand out.

What have you done lately or where have you been to?

Writing about events that have happened or places you’ve visited recently is a great idea for a blog post. I wrote about my birthday because that’s what happened to me recently but it could be about literally anything. You could have gone to a restaurant for a meal, why not write a review about your experience? Maybe you visited your local beach for the day, talk about how it went and include pictures. People are happy to read about anything that has happened in your life no matter how insignificant they seem. You can write about your extravagant holiday to Italy or you can talk about a trip to a garden centre, and your readers won’t mind because it’s about you.

It doesn’t even have to be about what you’ve done recently; I wrote about my trip to Florida because although it happened years ago, I thought it could help others. There might be a holiday from five years ago that you really enjoyed, so write about it to share your experience with your readers while also taking a trip down memory lane. I find that picking out photos can be a lot of fun and you can remember things that you’d perhaps forgotten!

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Photo by sarandy westfall on Unsplash

Get Creative

I think within the blogging community there can be a lot of pressure to settle on a niche but frankly I don’t care if I see someone posting something that doesn’t fit their niche or they don’t have one at all. You can see from my blog that I talk about a lot of things. So why not take a break from what you usually write about and post something using a creative talent? If you’re a beauty blogger, maybe one day if you’re feeling stuck post a short story or poem that you’ve written. If you’re a gaming blogger, post a make up look that you’re particularly proud of. Some people may not like this advice and that’s fair enough, but it’s an idea to help you out. You could post pictures of your art work and talk about the meaning behind each piece, or post photography from a photo shoot you did. I think if people really care about you and your blog, they won’t mind whatever you post and will enjoy seeing you show off your talents. I do my short story series every now and again particularly if I’ve been busy so I still have something to post.

This doesn’t even have to apply to arty things such as writing and photography. You might just want to write about something different for a change. You might be a book blogger but one day want to talk about a trip you went on or a shopping haul. I really couldn’t care less if it goes against what you usually post! Again, some people don’t want to stray from their niche and that’s fine too, but it’s not a bad idea to venture onto something a little different if you’re really stuck for blog posts.

 

Now, these ideas may seem common sense but I find that when your brain is empty and you’re panicking over it, you forget just how much inspiration is around you. I hope this is helpful for those stuck with ideas and I feel like just writing this post has reminded me there are many things to write about. How do you get the ideas flowing for your blog posts? Let me know down in the comments and thank you for reading!

Lifestyle

What I Got For My Birthday

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I’m 22! My birthday was on Saturday, I had a lovely day with my family and Jordan having a BBQ. I’m thankfully nearly always lucky with the weather and it often lands on the May bank holiday weekend which is always nice.

I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers do birthday posts and I decided to join in with showing you some of the presents I got. I know I really enjoy reading other people’s hauls so thought I’d do it for myself!

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Here are the clothes that I got; the t-shirts, skirt and the dress are from ASOS, and the floral top is from New Look. I’ve tried everything on and luckily everything fits! I really needed some plain t-shirts as they’re ideal for wearing if you have a nice skirt or trousers and don’t want to clash with a patterned shirt too. I love the square neck shape of the floral top and had seen many showing up on Instagram or when I was browsing, and I thought it was perfect for summer! I also thought it would go nicely with the denim skirt; I needed a blue one as it goes with everything, and it’s also stretchy and tight, which is good because I’ve always found some denim skirts can be quite shapeless. And finally I absolutely loved the look of this dress and I don’t have a lot of dresses for summer; the back is open which you tie with two bows which I really liked, and the design is gorgeous!

I also received two games, one for Xbox and one for Switch. Jordan and I played Go Vacation on my birthday and it was so fun! It’s a bit like Wii Sports Resort except there’s a lot more activities to do as there are four different resorts, where you’re able to do anything from jet-skiing to dog sledding to skateboarding. You also get to run around each resort rather than just do the activities and have your own villa to design, so I can see myself playing this on my own a lot as well as with others for some competitive fun.

As for Kingdom Hearts 3, I’ve wanted this game for a while. Now KH fans don’t hate me, but I’ve actually only played the first one on PS2 and never got round to playing the others especially as they’re only on Playstation. When I heard this was going to be available on Xbox I had to get it; I just love the art style mixed with Disney characters and this one has so many of my favourites like Big Hero 6, Toy Story and Monsters Inc. I can’t wait to get stuck into it!

As I now have to go gluten and egg free for my health, treats and sweets are limited or the free from ones can be quite expensive for not very many. Both my parents and my nan got me a variety of things that are both gluten free, vegan or both! Above is some of the snacks they bought me. I really love the hummus chips and how cute are the cat gummy sweets? I was heartbroken when I saw that I couldn’t have a lot of fizzy sweets so these are a good alternative. And flying saucers are one of my favourite sweets!

Here’s where I can also show you the lovely cake my mum made, which is gluten and egg free but the milk can be substituted to make it vegan too. Everyone was skeptical, including my mum, to try it but honestly it didn’t taste any different from a regular cake. I will definitely be using the recipe to make some cupcakes.

I also got this book from my brother which I actually had on my post here, where I listed what was on my TBR. I was so eager to read it before I saw the film and now I can! I’m still making my way through Good Omens but this will be the next book I pick up. Edit: I also just received One of Us is Lying from my sister in the post so that’s another to tick off the list!

Jordan got me this beautiful purse and some bath things, because he knew just how badly my purse was falling apart! He was there when I bought my current one in Poland when we went on a school trip years ago and always complained about how I needed a new one when I’d pull it out, seeing how scruffy it was. I love the colour alongside the butterfly clasp and it goes well with a blue handbag I have.

There were some other things I got like a notebook, a file organiser, vegan soap, a Game of Thrones word search and a cool colour your own travel mug which I’ve started, with some money from other relatives. I like getting little things like this as now I’m older I do find it a lot harder to think of what to ask for; I actually struggled writing my list this year so only stuck with things I really wanted or needed.

I hope you enjoyed this type of post! I find it fun to see what other people get so thought some of you might like that too, as well as giving me something to look back on. What did you get for your last birthday or do you have some things that you want for an upcoming one? I’d love to know down in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Film, Reviews

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 3 Review – A Cinematic Masterpiece (Spoilers)

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The final season of Game of Thrones has been eagerly awaited globally; one of the world’s most beloved television series is coming to an end, the most important questions asked being who is going to end up on the Iron Throne and how are they going to defeat the Night King?

I was going to write my thoughts of the entire season once it came to an end. However, since watching this episode twice with an urge to rewatch it again and again, I just had to write up a review.

We all knew that this episode was going to be the Battle of Winterfell and I think we were all holding our breaths, anxious to know who would survive and how the Great War was going to play out. I knew it was going to be good, just watch Battle of the Bastards to see how incredibly well done the battle scenes can be. But I can honestly say I did not expect what I was about to watch. I was blown away, and I am hailing this episode as a cinematic masterpiece for many reasons.

Firstly, I’ll address what everyone is talking about. Yes, the entire thing is at night which meant it was very dark and some scenes were damn near impossible to see (I mean, it is called The Long Night). I had this issue with my first watch in the morning, where I had glare on my television screen and was squinting to make out who was who. Although when I re-watched at night with all the lights off it was a lot better and as many people have pointed out, it makes you feel exactly what the characters are feeling. It’s chaotic, made worse by the night setting and misty snow, things happening so quickly you’re not sure if one of your favourite characters just died. This added to the tension and I was quite literally on the edge of my seat with my hands on my head.

However, the cinematography in general was simply amazing and I would have loved to have seen it on a cinema screen. The scene of the Dothraki swords catching alight as Arya and Sansa watch them, along with them charging across the battlefield with Jorah and Ghost on the front line gave me goosebumps. When they hit that wall of wights and their lights slowly started going out one by one, it was terrifying. The sense of hope quickly vanishes just as fast as the lights fade into darkness. The use of fire would not have worked if this was a day time battle; the dragon fire and Melisandre’s fire lighting up the battlefield was visually beautiful, casting an orange backdrop amongst the characters.

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Photo by mauRÍCIO santos on Unsplash

Another view I particularly liked was as Dany and Jon ascend over the clouds on the dragons for a breather, the moon shining in the background with a sky of silver beneath them. You can tell how much work went into the dragon scenes, seeing their shadows moving across the clouds over the battlefield, and having mid-air fights. Though I do agree with Kristian Nairn (Hodor) as he said on Thronecast, it was a little like Transformers where you’re watching two objects just smashing against each other, but I liked that you could see the dragons ripping into each other and it added to the chaos.

As well as the amazing visuals perfect for the big screen, we got to see the characters in peril and genuinely terrified, and the tension was so high at the thought of losing any of them, which we sadly did. Before Game of Thrones I was never that afraid of major character deaths, as it simply didn’t happen much in the shows I watched. But this series is not shy of doing this, so I was waiting with baited breath. Honestly, I was expecting it to be a lot worse than we got, though there are still three more episodes left to kill off our favourites!

Edd died saving Sam on the battlefield. Lyanna, the tiny badass that she is, died being crushed by a giant but not before she took him out with a stab to the eye. Beric died as fate intended, saving Arya, unable to return as his purpose was complete. Theon died as a good man, charging towards death to protect Bran. Jorah died protecting the love of his life which is what he would have wanted. Melisandre died as she said she would, before dawn came, collapsing to the snow in old age.

Theon and Jorah’s deaths hit me the most. Theon has had one of the greatest character arcs in television, going from an arrogant boy that we hated, to feeling sorry for him as Reek, to saving Sansa and vowing to fight for Winterfell. I was in tears as he ran towards the Night King, knowing it was the end for him. Then Jorah has been one of my favourites since season 1 and I bawled my eyes out as soon as he swooped in to save Dany, knowing the inevitable.

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Photo by Nick Kane on Unsplash

I think in this episode we got to learn more about the characters in general and how they react under pressure, by throwing them into battle. The Hound (another favourite of mine, please survive) was seen utterly lost and hopeless, surrounded by two of the things most frightening for him; fire and wights. But when Arya was in danger he snapped out of it, which made me tear up. Despite Sam’s inability to fight as well as the others, he did his part, crying as he’s surrounded by wights but stabbing them all the same (though honestly, he was a liability). Brienne and Jaime meanwhile showed off their skills, literally fighting for their lives, covered in blood, as well as Tormund and Gendry on a pile of bodies. Jon was determined to reach the Night King and end it all. And of course there’s Arya, who killed just as many as them while also taking down the Night King herself.

I have seen many people upset about the plot and how the Night King came to his end, but I honestly really enjoyed it. A lot definitely could have been changed in the plot to avoid the many deaths and people have come up with battle strategies that would have been better, alongside the issue of ‘plot armour’ where characters survived situations where they most likely would have died. But personally I loved the twists and turns we had. It seemed all was lost as the tsunami of wights gets closer and closer to the castle, before Melisandre lights the trenches just in time. Then they build a bridge of their bodies over the fire to let the others in. Dany knocks the Night King off her dragon and thinks she has burned him to death, only for him to emerge from the fire, smirking.

Jon tries to take the Night King alone only for him to raise the dead fighters as well as the bodies in the crypt putting Sansa and Tyrion in danger. With Theon dead and Jon unable to reach the Night King because of Viserion, we think he is going to kill Bran before Arya leaps onto him. I almost thought she was going to die as he grabbed her by the throat, before she swiftly drops the dagger (that Bran gave her the previous season!) and stabs him in the stomach, destroying him and his whole army.

People were annoyed that he was killed so easily by Arya and that the rest of the season wasn’t going to be about the army of the dead but a battle against Cersei. However, though this has been a long time coming, the story has ultimately always been about the battle between humans for the throne. The Night King was just another problem to worry about and I think we should be grateful we got an 82 minute battle showing his downfall. The episode took 55 freezing night shoots, is the longest battle in TV and film history, it’s longer than the Battle of Helm’s Deep and cost $15 million to make. Technically, it wouldn’t be possible for this battle to have kept going over numerous episodes because of the cost and for the health of the actors/team.

People can have issues with the plot, that’s fine. The more I read about other people’s opinions of the plot, the more I can see the problems. I think most people were expecting huge character deaths since it literally looked like they were dying at one point, for example Brienne screaming as she’s surrounded, but when the camera panned back she were fine. However so much work went into it that it does annoy me when people say it was disappointing after all the effort. It’s impossible to please everyone and no matter what direction the directors took it in, there was going to be at least someone unhappy.

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Photo by Atanas Malamov on Unsplash

Even if you didn’t like the plot, you can’t deny the incredible camera work and the score, which was nothing short of spectacular. ‘The Night King’ song that plays towards the end of the episode as everyone is fighting, Jon running from Viserion and the Night King approaching Bran, gives me chills. It only increases the tension and gets those emotions running high. It’s definitely up there with the Rains of Castamere. Ramin Djawadi is so talented and needs to receive more appreciation for making the episode even greater.

Overall, if you couldn’t quite tell, I think this is the best episode in TV of all time. I felt like I was watching a full length film as it was visually stunning with plenty of twists to keep you on your feet and the tension was sky high. My mind is blown and I will be thinking about the episode at least until the next one, which I can’t wait for!

What did you think of the episode? Let me know down in the comments and thanks for reading!

Gaming, Reviews

A Review of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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Before I was gifted my Nintendo Switch for my birthday (almost a whole year ago) alongside Breath of the Wild, I’d only merely dabbled in the Zelda franchise. I had played it on the Gamecube and the Nintendo 64 over my friend’s house when we were young, and I’d also played a bit of Spirit Tracks and A Link Between Worlds. However upon seeing clips and screenshots of the game, I knew I had to give it a go. I’m going into this review as someone who isn’t a die hard Zelda fan and who has just completed their first Zelda game, so please bear that in mind!

The reason this game has taken about an entire year to finish the main story is not because it was an effort to play, but because there is so damn much to do. I absolutely love open world games and Breath of the Wild‘s is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve spent the majority of the time riding across the hills on my horse or gliding down from mountains, just taking screenshots of the scenery. This was particularly what caught me eye when looking to buy the game and I wasn’t disappointed; the graphics are beautiful, and it still amazes me that such a small console can hold them. Unlike the DS where you know the games aren’t full length console games and have average graphics, holding the Switch in your hands feels just as good as playing on an Xbox.

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My very first screenshot from the game!

Besides admiring the locations, you have both the main story and many side quests, 76 to be exact. A brief overview of the story is that Link wakes up in a shrine after 100 years, where he learns Zelda is trapped in Hyrule Castle where she holds off Ganon, the villain of the story, until your arrival. You must take over four of the Divine Beasts, giant mechanical creatures, which have been corrupted by Ganon before you tackle the boss himself and save Zelda. Link must also restore his memories, which gives you a look back into the past.

I deliberately didn’t charge through the main story so as not to rush it. I’d actually had the final mission ready and waiting for a while, but wanted to collect all the memories and do some more side quests first. I loved collecting the memories in particular because they gave you cut scenes of what happened before Link woke up, which developed the story and gave you a further understanding of the characters. In general, I liked that you weren’t constantly bombarded with cut scenes in the main story like some games and that it was relaxed; it gradually unfolded and was more about exploring than plot, though I thought the plot was exciting anyway as the fate of Hyrule rested in your hands.

As well as side quests which range from collecting items for someone, to discovering hidden places, there are also shrines for you to unlock. To unlock the shrine you must either go through a puzzle or a test of strength. Now, I don’t know if I’m just dumb but some of the puzzles were incredibly challenging considering this is a children’s game; the motion control ones left me wanting to throw my Switch out of the window and others I spent ages wracking my brain trying to work out. It is very satisfying when something clicks and you figure out what to do though!

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On top of the side quests, memories, and shrines, there are also 400 Korok seeds to collect throughout the land. So with all of that, plus being distracted by the beauty of the game, you will spend a lot of time playing, making it well worth the price! You don’t feel rushed to complete the game and can take your time doing whatever you please, though I do wonder how Zelda feels about you leaving her trapped in a castle while you run around collecting plants…

Another thing that makes the game so beautiful which I discuss in this post, is the soundtrack. It adds that atmosphere to the game, each song matching perfectly to a specific place. I felt relaxed wandering around the villages, but on edge when riding through forests at night. The tunes often get stuck in my head after I’ve played it and it really is a perfect soundtrack to listen to with its songs to fit any mood and an array of instruments.

Now, here is where I get a little picky to give you some cons of the game because although I loved it, there were some things I did pick up. Though this is a feature of the Zelda games, I really dislike how at the end of the game, it takes you back to before you started the final mission. This means the world is exactly how you left it before you destroyed the evil. I’d like for there to be some sort of end game where you get to interact with Zelda and the characters across the world have new speech interactions, even if that’s just to thank you. It feels quite unfulfilling and as if you haven’t actually completed the game, though your save is marked with a star to show that you have.

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The horse controls didn’t work for me either; you have limited control and the horse doesn’t follow wherever you try to move to, unlike Red Dead Redemption for example. It makes it even harder to shoot arrows off your horse, though I don’t know if that’s just me. It’s frustrating trying to avoid enemies and fight with them when your horse doesn’t have the means to be agile with its slow turning circle.

I think that the mechanics in general can be quite difficult, particularly for someone who isn’t much of a gamer or someone younger; as mentioned before, some of the shrines are hard and the Divine Beast puzzles aren’t any easier. The game is a 12 but there are obviously going to be children younger than that who are playing it. There are also a lot of different controls to remember and things like finding specific items to cook into a recipe so that you don’t freeze/burn to death in certain areas.

This is more of an observation rather than a negative of the game. I’m not trying to say it’s a game only for hardcore adult gamers, but it isn’t as user-friendly as it could be because there are so many mechanics to remember. For example, when fighting Guardians you have to time your shield hit with its laser blast to bounce it back and kill it, otherwise your shield breaks or you get a nasty amount of damage inflicted upon you. It involves acting quickly and pressing numerous buttons at the same time. I didn’t work this out for ages, so would someone younger or less experienced in video games know to do this?

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That being said, a lot of its audience is older and toning down the difficulty would make it way too easy. I’m sure there are also many people would could pick it up easily, but it isn’t a game I would choose to give to someone with not much experience of gaming. It’s nowhere near the hardest game in the world (maybe Master mode is a different story!) but some parts do make me wonder how someone younger or someone not used to games can do them if I’m struggling!

Overall, this game is beautiful, fun and I am happy that I have sunk many hours into it. You will always be finding new things to do no matter how much you’ve played of the game, because the world is so vast. Even though I’ve completed the main story, I will be returning to the game in order to finish all the shrines and side quests. I’m going to give this game 4.5 out of 5 stars merely for the fact that I would really like more of an end game and the horse riding did drive me bonkers at times, as well as mastering some of the controls, though this is more how I felt personally. I would highly recommend the game for anyone looking to get into open world games on the Switch and those who don’t like to rush through games.

Would you like to play this game or have you already played it? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments and thank you for reading!

 

Blogging

The Sunshine Blogger Award

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I’m so utterly grateful to be writing this post, as I have been nominated by both Chloe and Jess for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Thank you so much again to the both of you, please go and take a look at their blogs. It makes blogging worthwhile knowing that people enjoy my content and show their appreciation through awards like these!

Sunshine Blogger Award Rules

The Sunshine Blogger Award is a way for bloggers to give recognition to those who spread positivity in their posts and bring you happiness. Blogging for me is a place where I come when things are stressful to be greeted with joy and a supportive community. I couldn’t think of a more fitting award for many of the bloggers whose posts I read! Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, including a link back to their blogs.
  2. Answer the 11 questions they have given you.
  3. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  4. Notify your nominees that you have nominated them.
  5. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo.

As I have been nominated twice, I’ve decided that I will answer both lots of questions in one post!

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Chloe’s Questions

  1. How are you today? I’m feeling good today because I’ve just hit 60,000 words of my novel! I’m so close to the end and it feels so strange that soon I will be going through the editing process. I’m very excited though and a little nervous because I’m going to start sharing it with my friends and family for feedback.
  2. Where are you from? I’m from South Wales, UK!
  3. What inspired you to create your blog? I was actually inspired by a university lecture by someone who had a blog, and we were always encouraged to start one as a way to promote our writing. I created it but didn’t start posting properly on it until November/December of last year.
  4. What do you love most about blogging? Being able to share my writing. I love writing with all my heart so being able to share it with others and have them compliment it or find it helpful is a dream. The community has been nothing short of supportive.
  5. What is your biggest aim for your blog? To go self-hosted and continue to grow. At the moment I can’t afford it but I want to make my blog more professional and develop it further, as full time blogging would be amazing.
  6. So far which is your favourite post and why? Probably this one because gaming is one of my greatest hobbies besides writing and it was fun to take a trip down memory lane.
  7. Who is your hero? This is a hard one but I’d probably have to go with Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters. His music has helped me in unimaginable ways and has been the soundtrack to my writing for many years.
  8. If you discovered a time machine where would you go and why? I’d go to a Nirvana concert, probably the MTV Unplugged one. I would have loved to hear Kurt Cobain perform live, that album is incredible.
  9. What’s your favourite book? What’s it about? Oh gosh, this is tough, I don’t think I can pick just one. But one of my favourites is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I loved the concept of the Triwizard Tournament.
  10. Where is your dream holiday? Either Iceland to see the Northern Lights or the Maldives.
  11. And finally the most important question, cats or dogs? Cats all the way.
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Photo by Jeb Buchman on Unsplash

Jess’ Questions

  1. How do you spend your free time? Playing games or watching Netflix! And of course working on my novel or writing blog posts.
  2. What are your top three favourite books and why? I named one in my previous questions but my other two would probably be The Two Towers because seeing Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn in action is amazing, and Ready Player One because it blew my mind that gaming could one day become something like that.
  3. What are you most afraid of? Not to go all deep and dark but the unknown, experiencing something I haven’t before. Otherwise it’s sharks and any other creatures lurking in the ocean.
  4. What is your strongest personal quality? I’d probably say my loyalty. I’m small but honestly down to fight whoever messes with someone like my boyfriend or my brother.
  5. If you could witness any event of the past, present or future, what would it be? I sort of answered this before with Nirvana, but I’m going to cheat and give another answer; it would be cool to go to just any day in the future and see how much has changed. It’s sad but I’d see what films, music and games have come out.
  6. What job do you think you’d be really good at? Hopefully an author as that’s what I want to be!
  7. What game or movie universe would you most like to live in? Definitely Harry Potter. I’d love to be able to do magic to make everyday life easier and see fantastical creatures.
  8. Are you usually early or late? Early. I absolutely hate being late no matter what the situation, I’ve gone half an hour early to the train station so many times just to ensure I don’t miss my train.
  9. What do you wish you knew more about? Probably history and science in general. I did well at school but honestly don’t remember a lot and I love listening to people who are knowledgeable in those subjects.
  10. What is your best childhood memory? Going on holiday with my family. We used to hire a mini-van because there were lots of us and we’d stay in a cottage somewhere in the countryside that would also be close to the beach.
  11. What do you feel most proud of? My novel. Once I’m done, I’ll know I’m capable of writing a book and I’ve put so much work into it!

Questions for my Nominees

  1. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  2. How long have you been blogging for?
  3. What do you think is the film you’ve watched the most times?
  4. What do you like most about your appearance/your favourite physical feature?
  5. What skill would you love to learn?
  6. What would be the title of your autobiography?
  7. Do you know any other languages apart from your native one?
  8. What is your go-to outfit for a casual day?
  9. Why did you start blogging?
  10. Which song holds the best memories for you?
  11. What is your favourite meal?
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Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

My Nominees

  • MSB Life – Millie is honestly a little ray of sunshine; her posts are always so positive no matter what topic it is and she’s always so excited/enthusiastic about things which is honestly infectious. And she has been supportive of me from the very beginning!
  • Emily Gabriella – I love Emily’s Chatty Tuesday posts in particular because they feel so relaxed and like a nice discussion about different things. I really enjoy her writing style too, it’s casual and she slips in things that make me laugh, so they’re easy to read because they flow so well. Her blog is just such a nice place to chill!
  • Shannen Claire – Shannen is another blogger who has supported me from the start. I love her blog because it covers things that we both have in common like writing, or things like overcoming travel anxiety which is encouraging and positive for people in the same position. Also as a fellow writer I really enjoy reading about her novel!
  • Mischievous Words by Marta – Marta’s writing is so beautiful and is always such a joy to read. I love her posts on life lessons such as how to say no, because they’re always things that we’re often too hard on ourselves for, so they will always raise your spirits.
  • Hanmwill – I love Hannah’s posts because there’s always something you can relate to, from driving to what our dreams are about. I really liked the pessimist one she did because I could relate and it made me feel less alone, ensuring me it wasn’t always a bad thing! I liked her Disney Princess series too because it celebrates women and is very empowering!
  • Madi Dearson – Madi’s posts are super helpful because she writes a lot about blogging such as how to help with traffic and motivation. I’d definitely recommend if you’re in a blogging rut because they’re uplifting and will make you want to get back to writing and give you determination to continue your blog!
  • Lauren’s Travel Adventures – I’ve loved reading all about Lauren’s Iceland trip. I feel like all you see about Iceland usually is the Blue Lagoon but Lauren shows so much more and is very honest about her experience, which makes it so informative for people looking to go there too. I would recommend it highly for those who love travel!
  • Itsjustabbsxo – Abbs’ blog is really fun to read because her posts will inspire you to do things such as get into a morning routine, organise your makeup or even just invest in a new foundation to try. You can tell she wants to help others by sharing her tips or parts of her life!
  • Ellie’s London – I love reading all about Ellie’s travels with all the beautiful sights and delicious food, which will make you want to book a holiday to the same place! Her posts are always informative and helpful, as well as just nice to read because reading about people’s trips is something I enjoy.
  • Chloe May Blogs – I think I’m a tad nosy as I love lifestyle blogs and Chloe’s is one of them! Recently I’ve loved reading about her new tattoo as someone who has been looking to get one for years, and she’s a really talented photographer! I particular like her posts about lambs and her flower photography.
  • Nerds Like Me – Claire does some really great book reviews so if you’re a book lover her blog is the one to go to! They’re helpful if you’re like me and want to get opinions before buying a book, as they’re always honest, giving both the positives and negatives. Her London Book Fair posts were also super helpful.

Sorry if you’ve already done this but I wanted to show my appreciation anyway and these are all people who I believe spread joy with their posts! Thank you for reading and please be sure to check out everyone I’ve linked in this post.

Film

Why Everyone Needs to Watch Our Planet

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As a young child, I was weirdly obsessed with nature documentaries and animals in general for that matter. I remember a book at my nanny’s house all about birds was one that I used to return to and look at all the pictures every time I went there. I’d happily sit and watch cheetahs chasing gazelle accompanied by the great Sir David Attenborough’s voice. My friends would play with their dolls and I’d play with plastic animals (I once asked for a doll to fit in but got so terrified of the noises it made that I never played with it again).

However, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like nature documentaries. No matter what TV shows they usually like, we’re all partial to sitting down and watching Planet Earth, which I think is greatly down to David Attenborough’s soothing voice and wisdom. We’ve had many great BBC documentaries narrated by him over the years.

Yet somehow, Our Planet has trumped them all; it’s something that everyone needs to watch and here’s why.

Nature documentaries have always been one of the only ways we get to see animals from all around the world, many of which are endangered or rarely caught on camera. We are so blessed to live in a time where we have amazing technology, so we can see close ups of these animals, from bees to deep sea creatures.

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Photo by AJ Robbie on Unsplash

Our Planet has captured beautiful moments on film. We’ve seen a male elephant pull down the leaves of a tree after the rest of his herd couldn’t reach. Birds carrying out mating dances which are so detailed and intricate you can’t believe they’re real. A baby orangutan learning how to eat ants from a tree using a twig as a tool. Each episode focuses on a different part of the ecosystem such as forests and mountains, so we see a wide variety of animals and landscapes. It’s such a privilege to witness them without having to step foot from your house.

However with every nature documentary, we must also see heartbreaking moments, such as baby animals not making it and hunters killing their prey. But we all understand that’s a part of nature. Not every animal survives but every animals needs to eat. There’s always an animal that’s the enemy of another.

In Our Planet, we are the enemy. In this story, we’re the villain.

A polar bear unable to find trapped fish to eat. A baby flamingo with legs so encrusted that it can’t keep up with its family. A walrus walking off a cliff in a bid to get to the sea. These are all a result of climate change, caused by the human race.

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Photo by Gislane Dijkstra on Unsplash

With each episode and each animal we see, we are constantly reminded that their troubles are caused by rising sea levels in particular. We are told how little of their species are left in the wild. But this time, we can’t justify it by saying ‘well, it’s part of nature’ because it isn’t. We have made the planet this way, and the series opens your eyes as to what the consequences of our actions are. We hear about climate change but it’s not very often that we actually see it play out. I challenge anyone to watch the harrowing walrus scene and not want to change their ways.

It isn’t just your usual nature documentary which helps us learn about many animals. It does that but also acts as a warning; this is what our planet looks like now, and if we don’t do something about it, the future is bleak. It’s an encouragement to think about the actions we carry out in our daily lives, to secure a future for not just our children but nature across the globe.

What really intrigued me was the last episode where we visit Chernobyl. Birds nest in skyscrapers, wolves prowl along the roads and horses trot through houses. No human can stay there long enough safely, yet nature prevails, plants taking over the buildings. No matter what happens to humans, nature is strong and can find a way to survive. It’s a message of hope.

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Photo by NASA on Unsplash

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth saving. If we act within the next decade we can save the planet. If you’re not convinced, watching Our Planet will do just that, which is why I’ve named it as something everyone needs to watch. We are all guilty of doing things that aren’t great for the environment, whether that be taking long showers or using plastic straws. But if each person does something, changes their lives just a little, we may be able to save our planet.

Have you watched the series yet? Let me know down in the comments and thank you for reading!