Favourite reads of 2016: MG edition

So earlier today you all got to see my YA/fiction favourites of 2016, but I am SO LUCKY in that I get to read an awful lot of MG books and picture books, so I figured I would do a MG/picture book favourites too! Again these are books that I’ve read (to myself/with the kids) this year, they may have been published before this year!

ALSO there were 2 or 3 books that could’ve easily made this pile BUT haven’t been published yet, so keep your eyes out for a preview post for those books.

So without further ado…

best-mg-2016-2

 

Again these are in no particular order, just books that I have absolutely loved this year!

  1. Kiran Milwood-Hargrave: The Girl of Ink and Stars. My younger self loved this and my elder self loved this too. I recommend this book to eacha nd every single one of you. Please read it. It is incredible.
  2. Ross Montgomery: Perijee and Me. I devoured this book and my Y4s devoured it when I read it to them too. I can’t wait to read this to another group of kids. It is SO amazing.
  3. Peter Bunzl: Cogheart. Absolutely amazing. Just wonderfully written and woven. Perfect for using in schools.
  4. Gabrielle Kent: Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle. I was lucky enough to get a visit from Gabrielle into school this year and she was so incredible. This book is funny and our kids loved it! The book is CONSTANTLY out of the school library.
  5. Chris Callaghan: The Great Chocoplot. You get hooked from the first line. I read it VERY quickly after buying it at UKYACX (where I got to meet him and he’s wonderful).
  6. Ross Montgomery/David Litchfield: The Building Boy. Incredibly moving and sad tale. These 2 just keep producing amazing picture books! (See The Bear and The Piano… LOVE)
  7. Ed Vere: Max and Bird. I was sent this by Sarah and it made me laugh a lot! I can’t wait to read more from Max! Perfect end of the day story!
  8. Peter Reynolds: Ish. I came across this just recently and it’s so great for kids. It’s all about perseverance and making mistakes being a good thing. I cried the first time I read it. 
  9. James O’Neill/Russell Ayto: The Wolf Who Cried Boy. I love a spin on a well known tale and this one was lovely! It certainly made me smile and the kids loved it!
  10. Faye Hanson: The Wonder. Beautifully illustrated and a wonderful story. I loved sharing this with the kids at school and have planned some lessons based on it!

So as you can see 2016 was a GREAT year for stories for kids! (And adults alike, I mean I won’t stop reading them just because they’re for children!) Massive thanks to Sarah from Penguin for sending me some of these books!

So there you have it! So many others could’ve been on my list! I have so many other books that I’ve not managed to get through yet that would definitely have made this list! 

S x

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Favourite reads of 2016

Now is the time… I must bite the bullet and list my favourite reads of 2016. (I say reads because some of these were released before 2016 and I only got round to reading them in 2016, sorry!) 

Here we go…best-2016-2
They are by no means in any order… and they’re mostly YA. But there you go. My favourite reads of 2016 (from top to bottom)

  1. Patrick Ness – A Monster Calls. Heartbreaking, chilling and magical.
  2. Melinda Salisbury – The Sleeping Prince. Wicked, daring and enchanting.
  3. Alwyn Hamilton – Rebel of the Sands. Dangerous, fun and adventure filled.
  4. M. R. Carey – Girl with all the Gifts. Quirky, heartfelt and interesting.
  5. Jojo Moyes – Me Before You. This will make your heart feel amazing and then rip it out.
  6. Sara Barnard – Beautfiful Broken Things. Relatable, frank and emotive.
  7. Louise Gornell – Under Rose Tainted Skies. Honest, touching and warm.
  8. M.R.Carey – Fellside. Tough, mysterious and dark.
  9. Laure Eve – The Graces. Deceptive, fun and wicked.
  10. I’ll Be Home For Christmas. Touching, evocative and sincere.
  11. Emery Lord – When We Collided. Emotional, loving and tough.
  12. Non Pratt – Unboxed. Easy going, poignant and memory filled.

There is a MG/picture book version coming in the next few days!

What were your favourite books of 2016? Let me know in the comments or on twitter!

S x

British Book Challenge

bbc-pointed-shaded

This year I am going to try a new book challenge (well new to me!) the British Book Challenge! The point of this book challenge is to suport as many British authors as possible. You’ll be able to track my progress through this post and probably many others but I am excited to get this started! 

As I’m so new to this whole thing and not very good with words the amazing Chelley Toy is so much better at explaining and you can read about it better here.

Some of the books I am excited to read include…

Image result for scarecrow queen book

TroubleOrangeboyImage result for wing jones

Image result for truth or dare non prattBook Cover of Margot & MeBook Cover of Unconventional

I can’t wait to get these and others read for #BritishBooksChallenge17

Are you taking part in the challenge too? What books should I add to my list?

S x

#good2016

Y’know what, 2016 is getting a lot of stick (and probably RIGHTLY SO, so much bad has happened this year) and I think it’s important to remember good things, positive things, lovely things that have happened this year. I’ve had a weird year, it’s been both good and tough… but even through the tough you need to remember good. So here we are… here’s my favourite things about 2016 (in no particular order really!)

Blogging
I have absolutely loved EVERY SINGLE second of becoming a blogger. This is a total and utter passion project of mine that I never thought would get off the ground, but here I sit 4 months down the line and I am a blogger. I don’t do this to get 1000s of hits, to get 100s of comments… I do it because it gives me somewhere to talk about what I do and what I love. Blogging has opened so many doors, it has enabled me to do so many wonderful things and has opened me up to some absolutely incredible people in this sometimes horrible world and I am so grateful. If you read this because I make you, because you’ve come across this blog by accident or because you’re one of these new wonderful people in my life who support then I thank you forever and ever. I love my blog. I love my blogger friends. I love that this is my corner of the world. I do this for me. It certainly made 2016 more bearable to talk about things I love, rather than reading lots of negative. 

Bookish twitter friends
Becoming a blogger, and becoming more involved in the incredible twitter community has meant that I’ve made and met so many amazing friends. The little corner of twitter that I reside in, that houses me and my friends is wonderful. There are some people that I’ve had the luxury of working with, there are people that I’ve had the luxury of meeting and there are people who I am lucky enough to get to talk to daily on twitter. One of my favourites places to reside on twitter is with the SundayYA crew. My wonderful Rachel
(@_sectumsemprah) looks after us so wonderfully and I am so so lucky that she’s allowed me into the bookish community of #SundayYA. There are so many people that I’ve become friends with on twitter that it astounds me… 6 months ago I was just a reader, now I’m a reader and a blogger and friends with these amazing people who blog and have important things to say. If you’re ever on my twitter just have a look at the people I talk to and you’ll find my wonderful friends… 

Amazing publicists
One of my favourite things that has happened as I got more involved in blogging and books and twitter and being all over the place is that publicists open their doors and pass on their books. I have had the opportunity to read and review some absolutely incredible books this year. Mainly thanks to my wonderful friend Sarah
(@xpectopatronerd). She has thrown so so so many wonderful books my way this year. I have loved reading each and ever single one of them to myself AND then to the kids in my school. The kids love when I come in with a new story. There have been so many other wonderful publicists letting me read their books, especially on Netgalley… (thanks to my wonderful bookish friends for introducing me to Netgalley!)

Communicating with authors
Maybe this post should just be a twitter appreciation post? Ha. I think twitter might be my favourite social media platform as it gives you such opportunity to communicate with people you might not necessarily get to otherwise! I was introduced to so many wonderful authors on twitter, and keep in contact with some of my faves (coughQueenMelcough) through twitter. It has been lush being able to just share with them that I loved their book/that the kids at school loved their book. Authors are wonderful people. They work hard and we should tell them we love their books!! Go on, find an author whose book you loved and tell them. 

Bookish events
I was lucky enough to get to go to 2 bookish events this year! Having never been to one I was NERVOUS as anything to go to my first one.. UKYACX, which was in Newcastle this year (See my reviews here
:
 UKYACX Take 1! MG editionUKYACX Take 2: YA edition!). It was absolutely amazing. I loved everything about it! I was so lucky in that I was asked to be involved in the blog tour for 2 different authors (UKYACX blog with Gabrielle Kent!UKYACX blog tour: Sara Grant). Kerry Drewery and Emma Pass are absolute machines organising and orchestrating the whole day. It was amazing! A few months later I got the chance to go to London and go to YAShot. I was HELLA nervous. Here was a massive bookish event, held in London with so so many authors and bloggers and people I admire that I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like. I had amazing people watching after me though… my wonderful friend Cora (@Corazzz) looked after me! I got to meet so many incredibly talented people that weekend… bloggers, authors and vloggers alike. My personal highlight was getting to see Melinda Salisbury again! She is my queen. Special mention to Chris from YAfictionados for being Irish, handsome and the sweetest. I had the best time at YAShot. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.

University
This year was the year in which I passed first year of uni and started my second year! What? Who would’ve guessed that?! It’s been a passion of mine for a long long time to become a teacher but I wasn’t ready for uni at 18 when I left college so I kinda had to put that dream on hold for a while. I never stopped trying though. After years of pushing and prodding from my colleagues, I had the moment where I knew I needed to get my ass to uni. So I did. Here I am a year and a half down the line with my first year under my belt, my dissertation to write and only 1 more module before I graduate. This is unreal. But I am pretty proud of myself. It is HARD working full time and studying. I’ll get there. 

SCITT
Yep. There we go. I got on a SCITT course. I will be (providing I get my degree) training to be a teacher from September 2017. What even. I am SO SCARED but SO READY. (See: Follow your dreams! for the full story.)

My job
I think by default my job is always going to be one of my favourite things in a year. But I couldn’t go without mentioning it. I get to work with some of the most incredibly supportive, kind and funny people in the world and I get to work with kids. I’ve never not wanted to teach. It’s all I’ve wanted to do and I am so so lucky that I get to do it every single day. I love my job, I love the kids and the colleagues I get to work with. I can’t wait to keep that positivity into 2017. Teaching isn’t easy. It’s not the holidays and the playing that everyone thinks it is. It’s long days, emotionally draining, sleep depriving (the amounts of nights you’ll spend lying awake thinking about your next lesson, or your lesson that didn’t go so well is unreal) but it is so rewarding. I talked about how much I #loveteaching in this post: #loveteaching.

Tweacher friends
Not only has twitter enabled me to communicate with bookish people but it has opened up a world of tweachers (teachers who tweet). There are some incredibly inspiring people out there on twitter and getting to tweet with them and share ideas and thoughts with them is wonderful. We even have a growing teacher book community! I will get the people around me reading! It is my mission! 

Books.
Obviously. I have read some absolutely incredible books this year. Some people may say it is ridiculous to have one of your favourite things about a year being books, but I don’t. Books are transformative. They take you away from whatever is going on and transport you to a whole new world. They’re just majestic. Well done to all of the authors and book sellers who managed to convince me (let’s be honest, it’s not hard) to buy your book. I love books. SEND ME THEM ALL. I have a best books of 2016 coming up tomorrow! Keep your eyes peeled! 

There we have it. My favourite things of 2016. I rambled on a bit. But you get the idea. 2016 wasn’t all bad. 

S x

Christmas madness!

Hello everyone,

I am sorry I have been AWOL for the past few days! After blogmas I just seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth but have no fear I am still here! I have been enjoying myself like mad over the past few days – Christmas was lovely! I do need to get back to the real world soon however, there is uni work, school work and blog stuff to be done! I am looking forward to getting my teeth back into using my brain again but I am enjoying the peace for a few more nights. 

There’s blog posts galore coming over the next few weeks – round ups for 2016 (my favourite books, memories of 2016 etc), what I hope 2017 brings, what I’m excited for in 2017 and other miscellaneous posts!

As usual you know where to find me! I would love to know what you guys want to see on my blog! Please let me know! 

Speak to you soon,

S x

My Christmas traditions…

As I’ve done this blogmas it has been amazing to read what my guest bloggers think of Christmas, what Christmas traditions and what Christmas means to them so I thought I would share just a short post on MY Christmas traditions! Now most of these are now my traditions as an adult, but some have prevailed since childhood!

1. New pyjamas: every Christmas Eve you MUST have new pyjamas. It is the rule. I don’t know if it is a thing everyone does, but we do. You get a new pair of pyjamas that you get to wear on Christmas Eve. They should match too (they won’t ever again, but Christmas Eve is a very special night).

2. Christmas Eve cocktails: my gorgeous best friend and I will, on Christmas Eve, go out for cocktails and swap presents. This was a thing we started a few years ago with champagne and cake but then it has since evolved into cocktails and presents. It is lovely. It’s so nice to spend some time with my closest friends on Christmas Eve.

3. Stay in bed til someone else is awake: growing up my brother and I were always in different rooms so we would knock on the wall when we thought the other was awake and then we would sneak into each other’s bedrooms to talk, watch something or play on his PlayStation until Mam or dad was awake (“until Santa had come”) . This was something that continued until he moved out and I have to say that even now as an adult I miss that! But I still remain in my bed until one of my parents is awake.

4. Piling up the presents: I realise I won’t have done this as a child but as long as my slightly older brain can remember I’ve piled up the presents in our designated spots. Paul (my brother) and I would be around the fire, one on the left and one on the right, Mam on one settee and dad on the other. I would dish the presents out on Christmas Eve and then the presents would be ready there for Christmas morning!

5. Family time!! I have a really big family and the aunties take it in turns to host Christmas breakfast. This is one of my favourite things in the whole year. We all get together on Christmas morning, whoever is hosting has to make sure there’s sausages, bacon, mushrooms, tea, wine, beer, whatever, on the go to please the people who visit in Christmas morning. It’s really important to spend Christmas with the people you love and going to an auntie’s house on Christmas morning and seeing everyone makes me so happy. We talk about what we all got and its great to see everyone. The aunties are there, the cousins, the husbands, the kids… loads of people! Loads of noise! That’s my family! Ever since the Twiglets came into existence Christmas has just been that much more special! I get to spoil them rotten and see their gorgeous faces! 

I’m sure there are loads of other things that i do but those are my main Christmas traditions. Do you have any Christmas Eve/Day traditions? 

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! Speak to you all soon!

S x

Christmas adverts

Christmas adverts… love them or hate them they are DEFINITELY a thing these days. They make some companies BIG money! They probably cost a WHOLE chunk of money to make too… but I imagine they’re worth it! 

I love them. It makes me feel like ‘yes, it’s Christmas, I can get excited about it now!’ I love that on the whole they’re so heartwarming, so honest and just make you smile. They make you feel. There’s so much on TV these days that’s just mind numbing that it is lovely to watch something meaningful every once in a while. Christmas adverts ALWAYS make me cry. 

So here are some of my favourites! Let me just say though that I am a fan of a Christmas advert in general, they make the world a bit more festive! 

Toys R Us – Magical Place

Let’s get this straight. I’m a kid of the 90s. I was born in ’89. For me and my brother once you heard this absolute tune of ‘THERE’S A MAGICAL PLACE WE’RE ON OUR WAY THERE…‘ you knew… you just knew. It was CHRISTMAS. We used to go to Toys R Us every Christmas and would have £50 to spend! That sounds like nothing these days but when I was growing up (lol, how old do I sound?) it would get you loads! Some of my favourite memories are of me, my brother and my dad in Toys R Us buying Christmas presents!

Coca Cola – Holidays are coming…

I couldn’t do a Christmas advert post without mentioning this. This iconic ‘Holidays are coming… holidays are coming…‘ humming and the bell. Yeah, you KNOW it’s Christmas when this comes on the TV. My friends even now text me and say ‘IT’S CHRISTMAS! THE COCA COLA ADVERT HAS BEEN ON‘. So as much as it’s not the advert that is iconic but the song, it’s still gotta make the list!

John Lewis – Man On The Moon

Now I know not a lot of people loved this… I did. I really liked it. It helps that I spent my run up to Christmas using this advert as my literacy topic in Year 6 (I still have all of the work if any teachers reading this want to see! My Year 6s loved it!), so we watched it many a time. The kids loved it. I loved it, it was a great example of using video to stimulate learning as well as delivering a message about Christmas!

Sainsbury’s – The Greatest Gift

I love the message this promotes… that it doesn’t matter the gift you give, that it should be that you give your time. It’s very appropriate at this time that we’re going through at the minute… people need to be around people. You can buy them all the gifts in the world, but your time is what matters. I like James Corden. I like the song. Good work 2016 Sainsbury’s.

Now I think this last one may be my favourite of all…

Sainbury’s – 1914

This is the one with the soldiers on No Man’s Land. The one where they play the football match. The Christmas Truce. The one where the man leaves the chocolate in his pocket. The Germans vs The British. It was created to coincide with the anniversary of WW1 in partnership with Royal British Legion. Now, 2 years after the advert was made and probably 10s of times watched it still makes me cry. There’s something so touching about it all… the hymns, the war, the comeraderie, the opposition, the harshness of it, the true stories behind it. It just makes me so sad. But it makes me so hopeful. I absolutely LOVE this advert. It is everything that Christmas adverts should be. I also used this one a LOT in the classroom. My literacy topic in Year 5 that Christmas luckily was The Christmas Truce (planned long before I knew this advert was coming!). The whole class adored it. 

So there’s some of my favourites. The WW1 advert is definitely my favourite. Don’t let me watch it again. I’ll just cry more. And waffle on more about it too!

Do you have favourites in this list too? Any you think it’s an abomination that I missed out?

S x

Fenwick Window

Growing up in Newcastle, we have this incredible tradition of our flagship Fenwick store getting an incredible Christmas window every year. Every Christmas we would go and look at the window. That’s how, as a Geordie growing up, you KNEW Chrismtas was really coming. Even now as an adult I get SO EXCITED to see them put the boarding up in front of the window. It’s always a top secret thing. No one ever knows. I think the people who work on the project are sworn to secrecy. But that just makes it even more special. I love that it is never revealed. 

Image result for fenwick window 2015(2015 Christmas in Newcastle! This was an incredible year! There were so many sights in the North East featured in the window! Santa crashed into Fenwick’s roof! Uh ho).

There have been some years I didn’t quite understand (alien year, I am looking at you), but on the whole Fenwick window is something that all Geordies know of and absolutely love. There is ALWAYS a queue at the window, going down Northumberland Street, of people to see the window. People with kids, couples older and young, tourists, locals. It’s absolutely incredible!

This year celebrates the 150th year of Beatrix Potter…

Image result for 2016 fenwick window

(For those who aren’t sure what Fenwick is it’s a department store on Newcastle’s “high street”, Northumberland Street).

(2012 Reindeer Express)

I have scoured the Fenwick website (so all credit for these images goes to their website, and I will put all the links at the bottom of this post!) and thought I would share with the rest of the world the incredible things we get to witness at Christmas time! 

 (From top to bottom: 2005 The Snowman, 2006 Gullivers Travels, 2007 Peter Rabbit, 2008 Oliver Twist, 2009 The Nativity, 2010 Santa’s Workshop) 

If you get the chance to come to Newcastle during the festive period, then get yourself up here! There’s incredible shopping but there’s also this. It is worth looking out for, it’s worth coming up for! Plus you can tell me you’re coming and we can have coffee! Woohoo!

S x

 

Credit: Fenwick website for pictures

There’s a bit of Christmas in the air…

IT’S WEDNESDAY. YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS… TIS GUEST BLOG TIME!! Wooooo. This week, our final guest blog comes from another one of my wonderful YA book friends, twitter friends and in real life friends Aimee! And what a treat you are all in for! This is an epic post filled with Christmas traditions and pictures galore! If you want to follow Aimee you’ll find her here on Twitter!

There’s a bit of Christmas in the air…

aimee-1Christmas lights illuminate the cold, dark winter nights as people bustle the streets; hunting for the perfect Christmas gifts in shops decorated with enticing displays of sparkling winter aimee-2colours. The scent of hot chocolate on a frosty evening fills the air as crowds gather to admire the glorious Christmas markets which offer unique gifts and scrumptious food. Mulled wine is poured, mince pies are baked and children eagerly write their letters to Santa hoping that they’ve been extra good during the year. Love, kindness and joy are sprinkled around with that extra bit of care as families and friends unite during a pretty bleak season.

aimee-4I personally believe that Winter magic lingers in thaimee-3e air between Bonfire Night and Chinese New Year as there is something heart-warming and surreal about the way people gather together on cold, dark winter nights to enjoy extra special experiences and create annual traditions. There’s a little bit of Christmas in the air and it feels so nice to be able to share my Winter Magic traditions with you guys. Winter Magic traditions play a massive part in my self-care, particularly during a period where my depression is more amplified due to shorter daylight hours and colder weather, so it’s very important that I try to focus on the more magical side of things.

My Winter magic traditions include:

  1. Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night may be over for another year but it is one of the most magical times of the year. There is nothing like treading on the autumn leaves that have fallen off trees in preparation for winter, the smell of bonfire smoke filling the air on a dark, chilly evening as a crowd gathers in anticipation of what colourful patterns may explode across the skies. For me, Bonfire Night signals the beginning of winter and I take great comfort in being reminded that “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one remembers to turn on the light” just by staring in awe at the fireworks that create glittering images against the night sky.

  1. The Theatre Royal, Newcastle

Going to watch the pantomime at theatre is an annual tradition and one that also creates a bit of nostalgia. Pantomimes and trips to the theatre will always hold an extremely special place in my heart because it is so much more than just a one off annual tradition. For me, a lot of my childhood memories are from theatres and they’re so much more than just watching a production. Being part of theatre productions in the most well known theatre in your city is more than just magical, it is an exhilarating and phenomenal experience that remains with you for life. I appreciate my visits to the theatre and the productions that occur more than words could ever describe, because I know how much work and effort is put into every performance and it’s part of the reason why I get so damn emotional every time I see a production.

  1. Fenwicks window, Newcastle

A favourite annual tradition of mine is going to see Fenwicks’ Christmas window display in Newcastle and it’s one that I’ve done since I was a child. Every year has a different theme and some of them are just so spectacularly produced that there is usually a massive queue just to witness the phenomenan of a window display. Visiting Fenwicks window is now an annual tradition that I share with my younger sisters as it’s just lovely to spend a bit of quality time with them whilst standing in awe at a magical window display that tells a story.

  1. Reindeer dust

Every year, I make reindeer dust for my younger sisters, my cousin with Downs Syndrome and my parents’ two adorable little God-children. Making reindeer dust is a very therapeutic way to destress from all of the hustle and bustle that goes on during the countdown to Christmas and it’s a perfect excuse to get the glitter out and create a bit of a mess. Sprinkling the reindeer dust along the path to help Santa find his way to our house is just magical and it looks even more spectacular if there’s a dusting of snow too.

  1. Baking

Baking isn’t necessarily classed as a Christmas tradition, particularly as my dad is a professional baker, but there’s just something so magical about baking at Christmas time. It’s as though extra love is sprinkled into the cookie dough, Christmas cake has that extra dusting of shimmer and pies are baked in more festive pastries. Baking at Christmas can be extra special if you’re making Christmas decorations for loved ones or just baking for the annual Christmas Eve buffet (with an added Mince Pie for Santa of course).

  1. Snow

There is nothing more magical than waking up to snow. It is like a whole new world. Abi Elphinstone got it absolutely perfect when she said on her Winter Magic book tour with extra special guests that snow makes you notice so much more about the world. It’s like everything you don’t usually notice is brought to life by a blanket of snow. Jack Frost also does an exceptional job of giving the world that extra sparkle during the night (clearly everything magical happens at night. Especially if you build a snowman…)

  1. Christmas Day

On Christmas Day there is nothing I love more than snuggling up on the sofa with a blanket to watch festive films such as the Snowman, the Nightmare before Christmas and Love Actually. There is also nothing I appreciate more than sharing festive reads with my sisters hidden inside a blanket fort and enjoying the only proper family dinner of the year with everyone sat around the same candlelit table, pulling crackers and having a laugh.

  1. Boxing Day

Some quality father/daughter time is spent on Boxing Day where we take a trip to St James’ Park or stay at home and watch the Newcastle United football match on TV as it’s one of the few opportunities we get to do this. The atmosphere at St James’ Park is always spectacular but there is nothing more magical than a Boxing Day match, especially if we win!

  1. New Year/Chinese New Year

Both New Year and Chinese New Year are magical. There is nothing I love more than approaching a new year with new resolutions and goals for the year ahead. For me, New Year means hope, opportunities and new dreams; my new reasons to stay alive. New Year is also a major time for reflection and I always feel more motivated to become a better me, to keep battling with the demons in my mind that affect my mental health. Beginning the new year will also bring with it a new annual tradition in the hope that it will promote my self care for the year ahead. This new annual tradition will come in the form of a floating lantern as I hope it will help me to release just one negative memory along with the lantern every year to enable me to become more at peace with myself. I am also a massive lover of Chinese New Year, even though I have no links to Chinese traditions. I just adore how they celebrate New Year and I think that the whole idea of sharing luck for the year ahead with one another is a perfect way to begin what is hopefully a very positive and meaningful year. I also enjoy exploring the Chinese markets and looking at all the little quirks they have to make New Year that extra bit special.

  1. Homeaimee-16

A perk of Winter magic is being at home. Now I usually struggle with being stuck in the house or not having something to do but there’s just something a bit more magical about being at home in Winter. With less hours of daylight, I find myself being completely relaxed and at peace when the dark nights creep in as I’m able to snuggle up with a blanket in front of the fire, light some candles, add some festive joy with the glow of fairy lights, drink hot chocolate and read a favourite book. There is absolutely nothing more magical than getting all cosy and lost in a favourite book as your parents try to finalise Christmas plans whilst your siblings create festive mayhem with their crafts.

Personally, these are my top 10 favourite Winter Magic traditions as they signify love, kindness and hope – the three things that we all could do with in the world right now. The festive period isn’t about the more commercial side of things, and some people aren’t lucky enough to have a family to rally around them or to receive gifts which is really upsetting. Give the true gift of Christmas this year by just doing one small act of kindness for someone who really needs it, and help to make their festive season that little bit brighter.

I’d love to thank Steph for asking me to write this blog post and I wouldn’t have managed to write it without the inspiration of her prompts, the wonderful Winter Magic book tour or without listening to Christmas in the air (tonight) by Scouting For Girls on repeat; which was the inspiration for the title of this blogmas post. I’d also love to wish you all a safe, merry and extra magical festive period alongside luck and well wishes for the future ahead. Please feel free to share your Winter Magic traditions too!!

 

20 things about me!

Hello! It’s me! I thought I would tell you more in a blog! About myself. (It didn’t sound so self centred when I was planning my blogmas haha!) 

As I sit here I’m listening to my Christmas playlist on Amazon music and I feel festive as can be! So here we go it’s the 21st December so I figured…

21 things you may not (or may) know about me!
Thank you to all of the people who helped me think of interesting things about me!

  1. I have an awful lot of letters in my name – 24 in total! 
  2. I am a bit of a collector! Pens, nail varnishes, sharpies, ear rings.
  3. I love mint Matchmakers.
  4. When I was growing up I wanted to be a ballerina, a vet or a teacher. I went for the teacher option. I knew as soon as I was able to make that conscious decision that teaching was the way for me. 
  5. Reading Matilda and Charlotte’s Web had a massive impact me as a child.
  6. I have a really big family. My mam has 6 sisters, so I have LOTS of cousins. 
  7. My brother lives in Sweden. I’ve only visited once but it was so snowy that I think it put me off for life. I hate snow.
  8. I am quietly passionate about Newcastle United. I don’t live far from St James’ Park and I absolutely love it. Football is one of the loves of my life, it’s in my blood!
  9. I have many nicknames. The most prominent one is ‘Spot’. There is a tale behind that… I shall have to ask one of my aunties/my mam to recap that one for me. Something about when I was born? 
  10. Growing up, my brother and I would speak to each other backwards. We developed our own language and it still is evident in our text message conversations these days. From that we developed nicknames of Luap (Paul backwards) and Eena (Einahpets is Stephanie backwards but far too difficult to say, so it became Eina which then became Eena).
  11. I love books. I know, you never would’ve guessed ay? Mostly fiction. Mostly ones that involve magic and fantasy
  12. Katniss Everdeen may be one of my least favourite leading ladies. I just found her really unlikeable in the books.
  13. White chocolate and raspberry is my favourite combination in the world. It should always exist. Sadly it only tends to exist in summer.
  14. Love Actually, Notting Hill and Sister Act 2 are my favourite films of all time.
  15. I have a tattoo on my lower back of a treble clef and a red star. I want more.
  16. I hate winter. I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) and winter wreaks havoc with my moods! 
  17. I can’t stand having notifications unread on my email/Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat. If I know they’re there, they’ll be read. 
  18. Leading on from that, I am a PROLIFIC texter. I couldn’t count the amount of texts I send. Leading on from the leading on from, I HATE phone calls
  19. I used to have recurring dreams about pitbull dogs when I was younger, in a distorted world where everything was in skewed perspective. 
  20. I would love to play Tracey Turnblad from Hairspray on stage one day. I would also love to write a children’s book. I doubt either of those things would ever happen though!
  21. (now this is the last one, it has to be interesting…) (my mind has gone blank. I am obviously not interesting…) I didn’t read Harry Potter until I was 23/24. I am not a fan of “hyped” books. I wanted to discover them in my own time! I read them all in the space of a few months though. The Cursed Child is sitting on my shelf waiting to be read… I am afraid to open it!

So there you are, 20 things about me. Some you may have known about me, some which will be new! I hope you’ve learned something new about me! 

S xx