BLOG TOUR: The Belles

The Belles: beautiful, haunting and magical

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“I AM A BELLE. I CONTROL BEAUTY.

In the opulent world of Orléans, the people are born grey and damned, and only a Belle’s powers can make them beautiful. Camellia Beauregard wants to be the favourite Belle – the one chosen by the queen to tend to the royal family. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favourite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that her powers may be far greater – and far darker – than she ever imagined. When the queen asks Camellia to break the rules she lives by to save the ailing princess, she faces an impossible decision: protect herself and the way of the Belles, or risk her own life, and change the world forever.”

When I initially heard of the Belles, it was a bunch of my trusted Twitter folk who were RANTING and RAVING about this book, saying it was absolutely incredible. I was very lucky then to be invited to get a review copy from the publishers and then invited on the blog tour… so I knew I would be a fool to say no. And man, I absolutely loved it. 

There’s an incredible duality in this book in the beginning of beautythe rich, lavish life of the rich versus the impoverish, dull world of the poor. The initial few scenes really struck a chord with me. The Belles changing a poor person into a beautiful person to show off their talentsimagine seeing that unfold infront of you. Imagine having the power to do that. I don’t think I would cope. Not with the competition, not with the expectation, not with the burden. I’d love the magic, but not with the expectation and competition that comes with it. 

Throughout the book there’s old belief systems and traditions which run through, which imprint on you so you are part of the world – whether you agree with them or not is matterless. Then BAM, there is all of a sudden this explosion on the beliefs with a whole chunk of deception and lies. A web of well wound deception. Mix this with an incredible power battle and you have an incredible story which you will most definitely want to be part of and you’ll want to read on. I look forward to what comes next, a lot. 

There’s 2 main themes running through this book: beauty and belonging. What is beauty? What does it mean to be beauty? Does it matter? Should we be able to control or change it? Who should you trust? Do you truly trust the people you’re around? Do they trust you? 

The further you read into this book the more you will be gripped. This book has the makings of an incredible booksecrets, lies, power, love – these all make for a gripping and thrilling book. You won’t be disappointed

Thank you so much for reading my post! Check out the others on the blog tour, there’s some brilliant reviews up so far! Check out The Belles!

The Bells Blog Tour Banner

S x

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Christmasssssssssssssssssss!

Hello!

As if this time next week it will be Christmas Day. What is that about? Where has this year gone? BUT ALSO HOW EXCITING. How excited is everyone? On a scale of 1-SANTAAAAAAAAAAAA. I’m about a 5 at the minute. Get me through this last week of school and we’ll be grand! 

Today I’m sharing some of my favourite Christmas songs… I’ll try and stick to 5, but there may be more!

First on my list will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me… 

Michael Buble – It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

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I love this man. I love this song, it makes me feel SO FESTIVE. The whole album does, but the music for this one just gets me!

Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You

WATCH

YEP I LOVE IT. It’s just so brilliant. I often dance around my bedroom to this on a morning, to inspire mysef to get up. It’s a great start to the morning.

Pentatonix – Away In A Manger

LISTEN

For those of you who don’t know who Pentatonix are, they’re this incredible acapella group who make EVERYTHING SOUND AMAZING. They released this version of Away in a Manger this year and I may have listened to it 600000 times already! 

Kelly Clarkson – Underneath the Tree

GO GO GO

This is another one of those that you can properly dance to! I love Kelly Clarkson and her voice is just brilliant. This is one of those brilliant boppy songs! (Yes, sorry I did just use the word bop). The whole Wrapped in Red album is excellent – would recommend.

Frozen soundtrack – Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?

OK BYE

I have grown to absolutely LOVE THIS SONG. Not really Christmassy BUT Frozen screams Christmas and winter at me! 

I could go on and on if we’re honest! 

Honourable mentions to: Last Christmas and O Holy Night.

I am a massive fan of carols, I love going to Christmas carol services! They’re just so beautiful. I’m hoping I can get to one this year!

Do you have a favourite Christmas song?
What’s your favourite carol? 

Let me know in the comments, or tweet me! Happy singing!

S x

Q&A

Hello! 

I put a call out a few weeks ago on Twitter to say I was going to do a Q&A, and today I am answering the questions I received! If you have a question, leave it in the comments and I will answer it!

Favourite chocolate? (@GoldenBooksGirl)
My favourite chocolate is probably white chocolate, although I’m not going to lie Guylian shells are the absolute best chocolates in the world.

Why are you so awesome though? (@charlotteswhere)
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA as if. But thank you! I do try!

Most feelsworthy book? (@olivia_gacka)
The books recently which have made me cry most were Countless – Karen Gregory, Paper Butterflies – Lisa Heathfield and Me Before You – Jojo Moyes. However, if we’re talking like FEELS… The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury made me feel THINGS. (Get on The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy guys!)

Favourite ice cream flavour? (@GoldenBooksGirl)
I love mint choc chip ice cream, or raspberry ripple! I don’t eat ice cream that often though!

What was your favourite book as a child and have you reread it as an adult? (@charlotteswhere)
Matilda, obv. I also loved Charlotte’s Web and The Secret Garden. I have since read all 3 as an adult and will keep reading them for as long as I can read. I have much love for those books!

Favourite genre? (@olivia_gacka)
Oh man. Magic. Anything with magic in is GOOD WITH ME. I love a bit of Fantasy too. I will be all over those books, no lies.

First book I ever read? (@GoldenBooksGirl)
I genuinely have no idea! The first book I read which had a massive impact on me however was Charlotte’s Web. That books is incredible. And Matilda obviously!

If I had to live in a bookish world, which would it be and why? (@olivia_gacka)
Oh god. They all have their ups and downs. Like would I choose to live in Harry Potter? NO. Dementors would terrify me. I think I would go with living with Matilda and Miss Honey, so I could help to overthrow Miss Trunchbull, or some magical land.

First character I had a crush on. Last one to do so (@notsotweets)
Oh gosh, I don’t think I remember the FIRST character I had a crush on. However, more recently I have a massive crush on Jin from Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands trilogy. He is a babe. So crush worthy.

Name one thing on your bucket list, and tell us why its there (@2020hines_sight)
I don’t know that I actually have a bucket list? Maybe I should make one! Having my own classroom is definitely on there though. Teaching has been the thing I have ALWAYS wanted to do. (I know, I know. You probably wanted something way more exciting like skydiving or abseiling…)

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments or tweet me and I’ll answer them! I may do another blog post like this one day, if I get any more questions in! 

S x

December bullet journal…

Today I bring you another bullet journal update post.

Now, I would normally share pictures of November’s pages here BUT as you may have gathered from a few of my other posts, November was a bit of a disaster for me (stress and illness being the main perpetrators), so my bullet journal took a sideline. The first third of November I successfully filled in, then it went a bit downhill from then!

However, I felt that a new month, a new approach so I am going to try and be better at keeping up with my bujo now that it is December. I took these pictures as I was almost finished, so there’s still 1 or 2 elements not quite finished, but my pictures will give you a feel for the December-ness!

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Title page – I love my little lights. I’m not so much in love with my Christmas trees, I wish I were a better doodler/drawer BUT my lights make my heart SO happy that I can forgive them!

 

Next up is my mood tracker and my gratitude page. I used a Christmas tree and its baubles as my mood tracker – I think it looks really cute! I am still trying to get the right mix of moods that I want tracked, so I’m still playing about. I can’t wait to see how this one turns out at the end of the month. My gratitude page as you can see is really embracing the red and green of Christmas! I changed it to a more simple layout this month just to give it a go!

 

Next up are bookish pages – my ever trusty book post page, and my monthly reading page. I was able to write in 4 books already on my December Reading page, because I powered through them really quickly before starting my bujo designing! My book post page is ready for any bookpost I get this month!

 

(Apologies for all of the blurring in these pictures… there’s secrets that I don’t want to share!) These 2 pages are new this month! I thought it would be good to have a gifts page to remind me who I need to buy for and what I need to buy – hence the blurring out! The other side is a dates to remember page. Currently not very full, but I can guarantee that it will be full PRETTY soon. I have lots to add already! December is a busy month!

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Finally, we have my weekly spread. I’ve found that this kind of layout really works for me, so I think it is one which will stay. As you can see, it isn’t quite completed yet (date and steps graphs aren’t quite done) but this is the general layout. I’ve found it useful tracking my mood daily, as well as monthly – there are some interesting patterns arise once you look over a few. My weekly overview helps me to stay on top of planning and other school stuff, as well as uni assignments and locations for training!

And there you have it: December’s bujo SO FAR. I’ll post pictures on my social media (@eenalol on twitter and Instagram, go give me a follow for pictures of books, bujo and more!) as the month progresses! 

What is in your December bujo?
Do you have any staple pages, that you use monthly?
What is your favourite thing about your bullet journal?

I would love to know the answers to these questions, and your thoughts on my bujo! Comment, tweet me, link me to your posts! I’ll come and check out your posts too!

S x

 

November bujo!

A new month is upon us, so a new bullet journal post is also upon us!

Thank you for all of your enthusiasm about my October bullet journal! post. I got some lovely comments from you all… I am still very much a bujo novice BUT I have started to see the benefit in using it every day. My bullet journal has quickly become part of my nightly routine – I fill in the mood tracker, my happy thing for the day and check out what is happening the next day. Not only that but it is now part of my weekly routine too, Friday night or Saturday night I will get round to doing the next week’s weekly page too.

Reflecting on the pages that worked really well in October, I have to say my mood tracker is easily my favourite mood tracker I have done so far – it looks SO colourful and gorgeous. I might share a picture on my IG/Twitter if you’re interested! I have to say November’s mood tracker isn’t nearly as fun, but I’m thinking about adapting the October idea for a Christmas theme… watch this space! Other pages that worked well were my book pages, primarily due to the fact I managed to read so much in October… 16 books in total! Wow! Thanks half term!

But anyway… now that we’re in a new month, we have a new set of pages! 

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This is my month title page. I am WELL CHUFFED with the lettering. I know it could be so much better but I am quite impressed tbh. The random splodges are meant to be fireworks: it worked in my head, not so much on the page. But I love this page.

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The next double spread is my mood tracker (see, not as fun as October’s umbrella) and my grateful page. I went for a maze of boxes and some new emotions to track this month. I definitely am still figuring out which emotions I feel most often to track BUT I think I’m getting there! The other half of the page is my thankful/grateful page. It says, “Find the sunshine in EVERY day” as I’ve come to notice that I NEED that look back and finding something positive about my days, especially on bad days. Looking back on these pages are great for my well-being too. Seeing the successes (no matter how big or small) from the months is definitely something to perk you up. 

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The next double spread is a bookish themed double spread. My book post page is becoming a staple. I am still so very lucky to get book post, so this page helps me to keep track of what I’ve received and from who, whether I’ve put it on my social media and whether I have read it or not. It’s interesting looking back to see how much of my bookpost is the stuff I have read! (side note: how cute is my little face on my title?!) The other half is my books read page – I’m being brazen and going for 9 books… I don’t know if I’ll achieve that but I definitely will be trying. I started tracking pages at the end of October, so decided to add that in on this page too. 

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My final double spread so far is the biggie – the weekly spread. I love the little flag post that helps me track the weeks (for those who’ve asked in the past, I track in academic weeks, being a teacher and all. My year works from September to August ha!) So there’s space for Mon – Fri, where I write in what lessons I’m teaching, training etc; a massive To Do box, because so much to do, and a Weekend box – if I have any plans that weekend (that don’t involve work ha!). On the other side is the basic calendar, a sleep tracker (I work better on enough sleep, it’s useful for me to track my sleep), a mood tracker graph (I don’t find my monthly mood tracker enough to gather lots of info about my mood over the day, but a mood tracker graph has become a fave of mine… I can track my mood in the morning, afternoon and night). There’s also a self care box (what have I done for my own self care) and a box for ideas (whether its blogging ideas, life ideas, lesson ideas: they can all go in there!). Self care and ideas is something new I’m trying, I don’t know if it will stay or not… we’ll see how well it works! 

And that’s it so far! 

What am I missing that you have?
Have you had a favourite spread that you’ve kept?
Which moods do you track?
Have you got any bujo tips for me? 

Talk to me! Show me your bujo. I love seeing them! You’re all so talented! Comment or talk to me on twitter/instagram (@eenalol). 

S x

BLOG TOUR: Chris Priestley

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Curse of the Werewolf Boy: friendships, time jumps and hilarious Latin women. What more do you need?

“Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom­laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!
But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?”

I saw this book floating about on the Bloomsbury twitter so when I was asked to be part of this brilliant blog tour I jumped at the chance! Any book that looks as good as this one does is a winner with me.

In the book you’re introduced to Mildew and his best friend Sponge, two typical boys looking for a bit of adventure and fun in their school days! They go to a pretty fancy school, Maudlin Towers, and one day the infamous School Spoon goes missing. OH NO. So obviously the two boys make it their mission to try and track down the spoon. OBVIOUSLY while they’re on their mission things start to go awry. Strange ghosts appear, a Viking man is found wandering, there’s a mysterious time travelling machine left by a dead member of staff. All these things club together to make a very pacey and fun story!

(Plus, look at these illustrations! Love them!)

The friendship between the two boys was so spot on. It’s great to see a positive frienship at any time, but to see one written so well is a bonus! There’s some brilliant non-words (detectivating is a brilliant example), which definitely had me giggling. I really enjoyed the humour in this book. One of my favourite people is definitely Miss Livia – kids will love her situation, she’s ridiculous yet hilarious. There were some moments of absolute ridiculousness that I loved. All of the time jumping started to hurt my head, but I was hooked. I wanted to know what was going to happen, because come on WHO DOESN’T WANT TO TIME TRAVEL? This book would be perfect for the boys in my class: it’s totally down their street! If you’ve got an 8+ year old in your life, then get one of these for them! It’s perfect. 

Thank you so much to Bloomsbury and Faye for inviting me on this book tour! If you’d like to know more, check out the links below and check out the rest of the blog tour, it’s been great!

Goodreads Link: clicky
Amazon Link: go on, treat yourself (or someone else!)

Author Information

Chris P Author Pic 2016 MID RES (C) Martin Bond

Ever since he was a teenager, Chris has loved unsettling and creepy stories. He has fond memories of buying comics like Strange Tales and House of Mystery, watching classic BBC TV adaptations of M.R. James’ ghost stories every Christmas and reading assorted weirdness by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to Ray Bradbury. He hopes his books will haunt his readers in the way those writers have haunted him.

Website: http://www.chrispriestleybooks.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/crispriestley
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chrispriestleywriter/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christopherpriestley/

Blog tour

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Me in TBR

Today I am doing something a little bit different! I’m going to list some books on my TBR (or which I need to put on my TBR) which spell out my name! I might have pinched this idea from my lovely friend Aoife (If you’re interested in her choices, check out her post here).

Six of Crows
The Dark Wild
Extinction Trials
Panther
Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella
All That She Can See
Northern Lights
Illuminae
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

What is your name in your TBR books?
Have you read any of these books?
Which ones should I read first?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter! I would love more suggestions, and I’d love to see your names in TBR! Thanks Aoife for the idea!

S x

5 weeks down…

Morning! Week 5 has been done and dusted and it’s mad to think that I’m 5 weeks through my teacher training… 2 more weeks until half term. This time is FLYING: part of me is terrified, part of me is thrilled. 

Last week was a really positive week! 

I taught Maths every day I was at school (I’m not in on Thursdays, those are our training days!) and one of those lessons was an informal observation. I was observed on Wednesday – the kids had been struggling with word problems and picking out the important information and then using that to calculate, so I asked the teacher if I could go off script and do a lesson with just word problems. We did a lesson of word problems, with me doing lots of modelling, and they had some word problems to do themselves. I thought the lesson went well, and the teacher agreed. She had some absolutely lovely things to say about my lesson, which was brilliant! There were things from the observation for me to think about too. 

The class teacher has been really supportive of me in the past few weeks. She’s stayed about in the lessons I’ve been teaching and she always gives me feedback. We’ve been working on Journey (Aaron Becker) in English. I recommended it to her for something a little bit different for narrative writing, and we absolutely love it. The kids are really gripped. We use Talk4Writing in my school, so last week we spent time looking at the book (it’s a wordless book!) then boxing up the story and finally we got round to doing some shared writing. The class teacher sat in on one of my shared writing sessions, to see how I did it, and she had some more lovely feedback for me for that lesson too. I love creative writing, it makes my soul happy. I definitely feel like it’s one of those passion subjects for me!

We spent Thursday at university, looking at assessment for learning and our upcoming assignments. It was an up and down day as I don’t feel we were as productive as I would’ve liked, but it was lovely to see all of the primary people again. The upcoming assignment requires recording myself teaching, so I am interested in how that’s going to go (I don’t think I’m going to like doing that!!). 

There’s been other teaching going on – I did some French and History on Monday, then Guided Reading. Lots of variety, always brilliant!

Last week in 3 words?
Invigorating. Reassuring. Positive.

Remember if you’ve got any questions, I’m happy to answer them! 

S x

October bullet journal!

After the success of my September bullet journal, I’m sharing some pictures of my October bullet journal today! Thank you so much for the positive comments about my bullet journal from September!

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I’m no artist… but October is definitely the month of Halloween inspired art!

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My mood tracker this month makes me so happy! I decided I needed to be able to track a bigger variety of emotions (the past few months I’ve only been tracking a few emotions!). I can’t wait to see what this looks like when it’s done!

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My gratitude page worked so brilliantly last month that I needed to keep it, and adapt it slightly (gosh darn you October having 31 days!!) but I think this has worked out well. I’ve loved looking back on September’s happy things, especially on tough days.

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My bookish pages are so important! They help me stay on top of my book post and the books I’ve read! This month I’ve gone for 8 books in a stack… we’ll see if I need to add more! 

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The last bit that I’ve completed is my weekly spread. I’m going to use this to help me keep on top of my blogs/my work and my assignments. I’ve added a sleep tracker tooI’m RUBBISH on little sleep. I’ve added a little key too for my ‘to do list’. A girl’s gotta prioritise in life! 

And that’s it for now! That’s the basic bones of my bullet journal. I spent a few hours last Friday doing all of this. I’m not the most creative of people, but the colouring in bit makes me so happy! 

What are your MUST HAVE pages in your bullet journal?
Do you have a colour scheme you like to follow?
What’s your favourite thing about journaling?

Let me know in the comments, or share your posts with me. I love checking out everyone else’s journals!

 S x

How time flies!

It’s Monday again, which means it’s a recap of my last week time! 

This week was week 4 and I was back to school after having 2 weeks of block training away from school. To say I was glad to be in school is an understatement. I was pretty nervous though: I’m not really sure why! I was worried that everyone would’ve forgotten who I was (ha, I know, unlikely!).

Monday
Monday was lovely. Seeing everyone again and the kids being glad to see me (and remembering who I was!) was lovely. It was like coming home! I spent time observing and working with groups in Y6. In the afternoon, I taught some History (The Great Exhibition), French (clothing) and we did some Guided Reading

Tuesday
Tuesday brought along a full day of teaching for me. I was in Y6 all day – we got up to all sorts and it was great to be back in my usual habitat, the classroom. It was incredible to build those relationships with the kids again and to get used to being around them again. There was a staff meeting on Maths reasoning after school, which was pretty informative!

Wednesday
Wednesday brought me a whole new challenge. Just as Tuesday, I was teaching all day. However I was teaching all day in Y1! It was a big challenge, and a massive change from Year 6, but I loved it. It exhausted me! From Phonics to doing some Talk 4 Writing, Maths to RE, we had a brilliantly productive day! The highlight of the day was definitely doing Venn diagrams with them and it working! The kids did some amazing reasoning using Venn diagrams too! After school, I had a meeting with my mentor. I’m going to have to learn to be kind to myself after these meetings. 

Thursday
Thursdays are my day out of school. We were at another local primary school learning all about Phonics. It was lovely to see all of my fellow SCITT trainees again and to be in another school, doing some learning and observing.

Friday
On Friday, I did some more observing and working with groups. The teacher did a brilliant lesson on personification in poetry and I loved it. More importantly though, the kids were all super engaged and loving it too! Friday pm is PPA time, so I spent the afternoon planning and doing things for assignments!

This week in 3 words? 
Exhausting. Invigorating. Home

Thank you all for the support on this rollercoaster of a ride! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. 

S x