Friday, 29 July 2011

Follow Friday #3

Follow my book blog Friday is a meme hosted by Parajunkie and is a fun way of book bloggers getting more followers and getting to know each other.

This weeks question: Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?

Maybe Book Lover or Book Worm since that's what I am, Library Chick as I always feel right at home in a library, Books not Bombs...there are lots of book options...But I think this sums me up the most:

Aiming happy and looking for reasons to be happy is something I do on a daily basis, life is too short to let trivial things make you unhappy. Although sometimes terrible things happen that do stop you feeling happy and rightly so but I do believe a lot of the time happiness really is a choice so I try to always choose it. Of course I have my days when I'm a bad mood like we all do, but curling up with a good book can nearly always make me feel happy again!

Happy Friday Everyone

Heather xx

Thursday, 28 July 2011

My Tips for Camping with ME

Last weekend I went  camping for the weekend with some of my family and so thought I’d share some tips based on what I did that helped me conserve energy and all the mistakes I made that didn’t!

  • Pack well in advance, do a bit each day, so it’s not one big energy draining task. Write a list first and then pack a certain number of items each day. Also if you don’t have anything, this way you’ll find out earlier and have time to get it.
  • Pack LOTS of warm clothes, several times what you think you’d need- I thought I had plenty but ended up having to send someone back to fetch more! Wearing a few pairs of long socks- I had colourful stripes ones- is a good idea as the last thing you want if you get lots of muscle pain in your legs is for them to get cold and tighten up. For your clothes, layers are the best idea because heat is trapped between them but then if it does get hot you can take some off.
  • If you have the room pack a warm sleeping bag, a duvet and several thick blankets, that way you know you’ll definitely be warm enough. It might not be sticking to the tradition of camping but you could bring an air bed, it will give you better quality sleep. The mechanical pumps take a lot of oomph to use and aren’t ME friendly, so you might like to ask someone else to do that for you. Or you could take an electric pump that connects to the car if you can get your hands on one.
  • You could also take some low energy things to do, in case you’re not feeling well enough to go out during the day, maybe some crafts, a pack of cards and a board game, or a book to read?
  • If the people you’re camping with  don’t mind, arrive a few hours after everyone else, when all the tents are already set up- this is what I did :P If you do arrive with everyone else, I wouldn’t recommend helping set up the tents if you’re anything other than mildly effected, it’s pretty tiring. Hopefully the people you’re with won’t mind doing it for you.
  • Think about where you pitch your tent, how far is it from the toilet facilities? It depends how far you can walk but if it’s not far then you should try to be as close as possible, you’ll end up having to make the trip several times, and it will seem further in the dark! Also try to remember what direction the toilets are from your tent; getting lost in the middle of the night isn’t fun!
  • Again, this isn’t the traditional way of camping, but if you think cooking a meal would be too tiring, you could do what my family did and go to a pub for your evening meal instead- which will still be tiring but you get to sit in the warm, with decent food and don’t have any washing up to do in a stream :P
  • Remember to have pleanty of rest, i know just how easy it is to get carried away having fun and then pay for it later, a few five minute rests here and there can make all the difference :)
  • My Top Tip: Take sun cream, even if the forecast is bad, British weather is unpredictable as we all know, so you could end up getting burnt if you get a beautiful sunny day instead of the cloudy gloomy weather you were expecting!
  • Or an even better tip for camping with ME is don’t!  Stay at home in the warm!  My camping trip was fun and I did enjoy myself but it was freezing and extremely tiring, cue payback, so I don’t think I’ll be going again until I’ve improved a lot!
I have lots of book reviews coming up soon, as i've read several books lately and after a recent trip to the library a big bag full of books to be read. I also have some make up posts pre written and some posts about some of the crafty stuff I've been up to as well as some other ideas in my mind, what would anybody like to read more of?
Heather xx

Friday, 15 July 2011

Follow Friday #2 and Torchwood Returns! :D

Happy Friday Everyone :) This is in fact a very happy friday for me- despite the fact I feel like death warmed up today- one of the day to day joys of living with ME- because I'm going to see the final Harry Potter tonight and am insanely excited :D Harry Potter has been such a big presence throughout my childhood, I remember looking forward to several of the books coming out, persuading my mum to let me go to buy them at midnight, being told off at school for reading them under the table, going to see each movie, hoping when I was 11 that I'd get a Hogwarts letter through the post... it feels honestly like an end of an era, so sad in a way but still exciting :D

But on to Follow Friday... a book blog hop hosted by parajunkee @           .

Q. What do you do when you're not reading?

This is a difficult question for me and makes me feel quite sad as there is so so much I would like to be doing with my time but can't because I'm so limited as to what I can do on a day to a basis because of  ME. But I don't want to be negative- I'm not a negative person, honestly I'm not, I'm usually uber positive. So if I can rephrase the question to ' what do I do when I get a window of time 'feeling well' -and I'm not reading'... I spend far too much time on facebook and on ayme- a forum for young people with ME, I love reading blogs, journelling, listening to music, writing to pen friends, texting, watching tv shows... my favourites are gossip girl, vampire diaries,  the apprentice, waterloo road, glee- yep I'm a gleek :P- doctor who, torchwood and Eastenders, going to see theatre, I'll watch anything but I especially enjoy musicals, doing crafty things...knitting, sewing, cross stitching, jewellery making, card making, scrapbooking the list goes on... taking lots of random photographs, people watching in cafe's, going to the library, spending time with my friends and family and lots of  talking, I talk far too much, I'm always told I could talk for England and I love controversial ethical/philosophical discussions a little too much!


I am absolutely in love with Doctor Who, but when it's not around, the next best thing is of course Torchwood. I've been looking forward to it coming back for a long time, although admittedly I've been a little skeptical about whether it can possibly be as good after the death of certain characters and the tragic death of one character in particular, I'm sure every torchwood fan knows who I mean- I can't mention him by name or I'll probably start crying, it was my all time saddest tv death (sob).

However I am pleased to say I loved last nights episode, Miracle Day, the show certainly came back with a bang and I really enjoyed it. There was plenty of action, it was very fast paced- which did fry my brain a little but I kept up with the help of my brother explaining things- there were some great new characters which I'm looking forward to seeing lots more of in the future and I think could come to love. I thought Gwen was fab, yes she's got her -adorable- baby now, but she's the same old Gwen at heart, I loved her shooting with one hand, holding the baby in the other. I was kind of surprised Captain Jack, got over the children of earth events so quickly.. unless he didn't of course, we shall see in future episodes. I liked the concept of the episode, at first i thought no more death would be pretty good until I realised how quickly there would be a crisis with millions of extra mouths to feed in a matter of days. It provides of scope for ethcial questions in future episodes which is always a good thing in my opinion but I'm sure there will still be plenty of action for people who prefer that. Overall I'm already hooked and can't wait to watch the rest of the series :D

Sorry to any book bloggers who just want to read about books- this blog is becoming quite a melting pot of all sorts, I even have some beauty posts planned :P But there are also plenty of book posts coming up so don't worry- they will always be my number one passion.

Heather xxxx

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Cross Stitch Gifts

Cross stitch is something I quite enjoy doing, I can do it without paying much attention, so I can be chatting to someone or watching television at the same time as I'm stitching. I find it quite calming and therapeutic if I have a lot on my mind and it’s also a low energy activity- when living with ME it’s very important not to do too much high energy activity each day and so I’m always looking out for low energy activities I enjoy. Therefore cross stitching little gifts for friends and family is ideal for me; I enjoy making them and get satisfaction out of every gift I make. They’re sweet and it’s obvious that time and effort has been put into them so I think they make perfect little gifts.

These two teddy bear keyrings took three hours each to make. The design is simple so I found them very easy and think they’d be fine for a beginner. I’m a fairly slow stitcher so other people may be able to make something similar in even less time than I did. They don’t weigh much and obviously are small so they’re great for sending in the post, they can go straight in the envelope with no extra packaging/bubble wrap as they’re not at risk of breaking. They also don’t cost much to make which is good if you want to send a friend a little something but don’t have a lot of money to spare. Lots of designs can be found free online or you can create your own if you’re feeling creative.

This bookmark took a longer and cost a bit more than the key rings, but would make a great birthday or Christmas present. It took me 15 hours to make but then as I’ve said I’m fairly slow and I did about half an hour a night for a few weeks normally watching television, so others could definitely make it in less time. You’d probably have to be used to cross stitching to make something like this, and have done several smaller projects, I wouldn’t recommend this as your first, but it depends how quickly you pick things up, there’s nothing too complicated in this design.
I’ve made a few bookmarks in the past but I’ve never kept one and used it, so I have to admit I don’t know how practical they are and whether they’re durable or not but I know friends have really liked them. I’m currently working on some more cross stitch gifts which I may post when I’ve finished if anyone is interested in seeing more?

On a side note, I'm really enjoying blogging so far :) A cheery hello to my first few followers :) I've finishedd two more books which I'll be reviewing soon, I'm off to see Harry Potter tomorrow- SO excited!- which I will probably be sharing my excitement about and I have lots of ideas for future blog posts forming :) I don't know where on earth my header has decided to wander off to but hopefully I'll sort it out soon- in the meantime if my photo's show up then I'll be more than happy.

Heather xxx

Monday, 11 July 2011

Bridesmaids: My Thoughts

Last week I went to see Bridesmaids- on a wednesday because yes I like a bargain and i'd rather pay £3 than £6,but then the other £3 went on buying myself a fanta frozen- the best drink ever after shloer which I'm in  love with- so I didn't end up saving after all :P
I wasn't expecting a lot from it, it just looked like the best thing on when I looked at the list of films currently showing and thought it would be your average chick flick romantic comedy.

The Story

Annie, ( Kristen Wiig) is a thirty something women whose life is frankly in a bit of a mess, she's lost her cake making business along with all her money, lives with two very strange siblings, has a job got for her by her mother which she hates, and is in a casual relationship with a guy who throws her out of bed in the morning at the beginning of the film. Her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) then tells her she's enagaged and Annie becomes chief bridesmaid. She takes an instant dislike to Lillians new friend and another of the bridesmaids Helen (Rose Byrne)- pretty legitimatelty as she's an upper class snob who makes no effort with Annie and seems to enjoy showing her up. The whole crew of bridesmaids prove to be an odd mix of people who provide some good entertainment.
Annie's life continues to fall apart around her, she loses her job and her flat, it appears to Lillian that Annie is sabatoging the wedding plans and so she is fired from her role as chief bridesmaid and uninvited from the wedding. On top of this Annie ruins her budding relationship with irish police man Rhodes (Chris O'Dowd) who is obviously the perfect man for her. On the day of the wedding Lillian goes missing... can Annie find her and make ammends? Will the wedding run smoothly? Will Rhodes forgive her? Watch the film to find out! :P

Any Negatives?

I liked the mostly women cast and the different characters of all the bridesmaids, however I felt there wasn't enough development of two of them in particular and I would like to have seen more of them. They just felt a little two dimensional.

Although there were lots of funny moments I felt too many of them moved from funny to completely cringey and my friend and I were both watching through the gaps in our hands which were across our faces. One scene in particular, where the bridesmiads go to try on expensive dresses in a posh shop after having lunch in a didgy restaurant and then suffer from poisoning bringing on vommiting and diahorea- i can never spell that!-which gets everwhere, was just awful, personally I didn't enjoy it at all, it was just too much and really gross! I also felt this film was a bit too long, and didn't always flow fast enough, some scenes were just too drawn out.

Parts that Stood Out

Annie's antics after getting drunk on an aeroplane- helped by Helen- is very laugh out loud funny! As was a scene twoards the end where Annie and Helen were trying to get Rhode's attention  (who was ignoring Annie after she ruined their relationship) by driving past committing all manner of driving offenses. I think the scene I laughed at the most however is at the engagement party where Annie and Helen fight over the microphone both gushing about how much they adore Lillian and competing to profess the most love for her, this had me in stitches!

In a Nut Shell...

It's refreshing to see thirty somethings looking their age, not air brushed and perfect looking like in some hollywood films, there isn't as much vanity in this film, which I saw as a good thing. This film is very funny and has the audience laughing all the way through it. Yes it goes on a bit too long and has some awkward cringey scenes and okay it's far from being an unmissable film but I think Annie is character easy to relate to and there are lots of laughs provided. If you want to watch something fairly lighthearted that will give you a ton of laughs then this film could be worth seeing.

Heather xx

Friday, 8 July 2011

Follow Friday: My First :D

Feature and Follow Friday is a blog hop hosted by - a fantastic blog! I'm really excited to be joining in :) However, I've not figured out how it works yet myself so can't explain how to join in-this post may not work in fact :P You'll have to visit to find out more!

This Week's Question: Let's step away from besties...What is the worst book that you've ever read and actually finished?

I love this question! Without a question of a doubt my answer is Just In Case by Meg Rosoff. I read this book several years ago as a year nine student taking part in my school's Carnegie Shadowing Club.... and I absolutely couldn't stand it... at all... not one single page. I finished it as I have a big thing about finishing books and never giving up on them however rubbish they seem- of course also wanted to earn the six house points available for finishing all six books on the carnegie shortlist :P

 I can't honestly say I remember why I hated it I just thought it was awful, as did the majority of the shadowing club. I was gutted when it won :( This is pretty much the only book I've ever hated as I tend to get some enjoyment out of any book I read even when it's not quite cup of tea- as is the case with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest which I've nearly finished and will be reviewing soon :)

Heather xx

Monday, 4 July 2011

Captain Corelli: My Thoughts

Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
This book was nothing like I expected it would be, I have to say. My preconception was that it was a straightforward love story which isn't the case at all. Love is certainly a theme but there is a much bigger theme of war throughout the book and in many ways Captain Correlli and Pelagia are but minor characters. This isn't a bad thing however, it is much more than a love story and I was glad it was, although I felt the love story itself was beautiful. Overall this book was actually much better than I had anticiapted it to be!

The Story
There is a mix of true political history and then the ficticious story of characters lving through this period of history.Throughout the book there is commenty on the nature of war and of facism and communism which are portrayed as bad as each other. We are taken through the decision process in some of the leaders heads, these decisions have huge effects on the lives and deaths of the ordinary people in the novel which they failed to fully consider.

Captain Corelli is an Italian soldier posted to occupy the greek Island of Cephallonia, where a beautiful young girl Pelagia- which I have no idea how to pronounce :P- lives with her father Dr Iannis. She had been engaged to Mandras, a handsome young fisherman in her village but he goes away to fight in the war, not replying to her love letters and she falls out of love very quickly once he has left.
She and Corelli slowly fall in love, a much stronger beautiful love, but they cannot openly be together as they are on different sides of the war. Does their love survive the war and do they live happily ever after- you'll have to read the book to find out :P

There is another smaller story within this book- the story that captured my heart, which is about a character named Carlo. He experiences much inner turmoil and never felt he fitted in anywhere because of his secret- that he is gay. He joins the army and falls in love with a young soldier named Francis, only to tragically have hime die in his arms. He is then posted to Cephallonia with Correlli, falling in love with him and eventually choosing to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Any Negatives?
If I were to be really picky there were a few things I could mention that I personally didn't like about ths book. As a rule I really enjoy books where each chapter is from the viewpoint of a different character or follows a different character, I really love it when severa of the charcters have real depth, not just a few. But somehow in this case I didn't like how this it done. I felt it followed too many characters, some very briefly with only a chapter or two based on them where I would have preffered many more about them or none at all. I would have liked more chapters following Carlo but really that's just becasue he was my favourite character!

I also didn't like how obviously Pelagia and Mandris's love was purely lust based. I realise that it was meant to contrast with the much genuine ever lasting love between Pelagia and her father and Pelagia and Corelli but I thought it was far too obvious from the start that there's was a not a love that would make it and was clearly shallow, I would have liked it to perhaps appear more real.

The only part of this book I didn't enjoy was the laast few chapters. After the war had ended, Pelagias life over the next several decades is played out very quicklywith characters rapidly introduced such as her grandson or son in law, who I really don't feel are gicen the chance to develop in any way and didn't feel to me like fully fleshed out characters if that makes sense? I just felt like I was struggling to keep up with the pace which was fairly slow throughout the book and suddenly sped up to a crazy speed where years and years were going by with each turn of the page!

 Parts that stood out?
Chapter One was actually one of my favourite's, it successfully drew me in and the story of the pea stuck in the old man's ear had me laughing hysterically- this could just be my odd sense of humour but  defy you not ti chuckle at it :P

The death of Francis and the reactio of Carlo was the part of the book that tore at my heart strings the most , it was so emotional and sad, it had me crying my eyes out, i felt for Carlo so much and wanted to travel through the pages to comfort him.

The massacre of the Italian Soldiers wasn't enjoyable to read as such, but it was well written and one of the most emotional, tragic parts of the book, made worse because it was based on truth. It's certainly a scene that sticks in my mind after finishing the novel.

And of course the words of Dr Ianis to his daughter, about the nature of love, that are read at many weddings today were nothing but beautiful :)

In a Nutshell
I really enjoyed this book and how it portrayed how political history has such a profound effect on the lives of individuals.The best thing about Captain Correlli's Mandolin in my opinion is how it could swing from being laugh out funny to desperately tragic so quickly. There was so much humour in this book, often a dry sattical humour which often seamlessly led into the sad and bleak scenes. At the end of the day this book made me chuckle and laugh and made me cry- at the death of Frances and the death of Carlo, and this is the most I can ask from a book, it drew me into it's world enough to make me really believe in the characters and cry at their losses. If anyone hasn't read this book, then my advice is to drop what you're doing and head straight to your nearest library, this is a must-read!

Has anybody else read this book or want to? What are your thoughts?

Heather xxx