Who am I? It is the question we all ask ourselves throughout life. But do we truly know who we are? What part of yourself do you show to the world, exposing society to certain personality traits and what part of yourself do you choose to hide? Are you the secret bookworm? chick flick lover? sports fan? One Direction fan?
You see, there are people who choose to live their life out on social media- every event a photo opportunity, every holiday a chance to show people where you have ventured off too. And there are people who enjoy privacy, keeping some of their more favourite memories to themselves and the people who were there. And then, you have the people somewhere in the middle whom enjoy both a sense of privacy but, also reveal some part of themselves to the world. I think those people are the hardest to identify. Basically, we live our life based on the identity we create for ourselves and that identity is made up of a lot of different events, memories, genetics and so forth. It is that identity that even we don’t truly understand. So, just sit for a minute and ask…
WHO AM I?
I’ll tell you what comes to mind for myself. Well, first off I’m a graduate from University. So for myself, this signals the academic part of my identity- the person whom spent hours studying to get a degree. This further shows I’m a determined, smart individual who likes a challenge but this is the same part of myself that I choose to expose to the world and use to my advantage. It also shows my love of learning, you wouldn’t go to Uni and incur the debt if you didn’t like learning new things, if you didn’t want the challenge.
I’m a runner. I enjoy going for a run, it is a chance for an adventure and to explore. Again, I post my runs on social media so this is another part I choose to expose to the world. Why? Because I’m proud? Because I want to share my route with others who may want to go for a run? Yes, to both. I don’t however stop in the middle of a run to take a picture of myself because that defeats the purpose of my exercise. Yet, others do choose to do it. You see, that is a hidden part of who I am. The annoyance for those who stop in the middle of a run just to take a picture of themselves running, it is like when people exercise with a full face of makeup. Girl, if your makeup hasn’t moved at all while you exercise then you clearly haven’t done enough. It ain’t a beauty competition.
So you see, as you begin to think about who you are, using the exposed part of your identity you can begin to see the person underneath. And from my annoyance, you can dig deeper. Am I annoyed because they stop or put on the makeup? No. Or am I annoyed because they feel the need to tell the world what they are doing right in that minute? No. It annoys me, because it’s nonsensical. Some of these people, are the same ones who criticise others for doing it or complain when they aren’t getting stronger and healthier and fitter. It makes no sense. It’s nonsense.
I like the hidden parts of myself. I know them. It’s the me, I know. The one no one else can understand apart from myself. It allows for you to retreat into a version of yourself, for your eyes only. It gives you a freedom. Despite the fact that I can come off rather social, I’m truthfully not an extrovert. I’m an introvert. But, the identity I have out in society may not signal that as much as if you observed my true identity.
I just think it’s interesting to think about who you are? So, if you have some downtime just ask yourself who am I? Maybe you’ll reveal something you didn’t realise.
It is a fact of life- when we were younger, less experienced and innocent- a child we all imagined what life would be like. Who we would be when we grow up, who would stay in our lives and who would disappear. And nine times out of ten we all wished we could grow up faster. I’m 22, an adult-in-training and if I could go back to my younger self now there are things I would tell her. So, I’ve decided to write an open letter to myself. And maybe we should all do this. Is there anything you would have done differently or people you wished you’d have given more time too. The open letter is one way to get all of that out. Here goes…
To a redhead, blue eyed, freckled care-free yougster,
I’m here to tell you a few things. First off, that attitude you’re sporting at home is not impressive and in about a years time you’ll suddenly mellow out and wonder what all the fuss was about. If I could go back, I’d still push the same boundaries but not so loudly. However, I would thank you for this because without learning from that attitude I wouldn’t be able to harness the same confidence for job interviews, getting through university and meeting some amazing people. But we could have toned it down a bit.
Secondly, you’ll eventually get your own room at eight/nine so just put up with sharing for a little longer…He’s not that bad. Although, the trick of dumping his mess in his bed was the best thing ever because he always tidied up and it still works now. Maybe you could have gotten rid of some of the clutter before hand though because it took myself and mum a week to do when we finally sorted through everything. It was a pain and at heart we were all ready into the simplistic look so do yourself a favour and keep on top of the clutter instead of getting stressed.
And finally, embrace your hair. We are stuck with this for life so, just embrace it. The colour, the curls because now people try and dye their hair this colour and can’t. So, when someone teases you about your hair simply reply with “And? Your issue is…” That puts off the kids if they don’t know it bothers you. Also you are currently growing it out so you can wear you long, thick curly hair down more…so maybe tell mum you don’t want it cutting short that would have helped a lot. It’s a pain to grow now. Also, you are going to start to straighten it in secondary school so, it isn’t all bad. And when you start putting lowlights in and straightening it- nan does complain but you’ll carry on doing it regardless and she liked it actually once you didn’t put as many in.
Okay, so we’ve just started really getting into secondary school and focusing on studying. The first thing I’m going to tell you is that it is alright not to know what you want to do in life. As a kid, we wanted to be a load of things;
Nurse:Mum and dad can attest to the fact that this should not be your career choice. They had the bruises to prove it.
Teacher:You don’t have the patience for it. I remember getting bored every five minutes and wanting to do something else. Well you have more patience but if you do teach it would probably be at college level because you’ve now turned into one of those adults who can’t believe the mouth on young kids these days.
Athlete: So you fell down some stairs and that put a stop to that. But it’s all good because we like to go for a run now as it is a great de-stressing tool. Plus, by stopping the athletics you got to try out new things. For a start, you became more girly for a while. But, it’s all good because you’ve now settled on somewhere in between a girly girl and a tomboy.
And many other careers… But, at 22 we’ve finally made a decision. So it’s time to start trying to get into that. However, rest assured that you are young, we are still young and can try as many things out as possible. Life is not about money, it is about experiencing things, memory making and having fun.
We finally got that bookshelf and the double bed after years of asking. So it pays off. However, that book shelf is nearly full so the dream of owning a home with a library in one day may become a reality because we won’t be throwing away books anytime soon. The only thing we would probably change now is not asking for two colours in our room because as much as I still like blue and purple, turquoise was then and still is our favourite colour. And would probably match the curtains, carpet and bedding much better. Also, don’t put posters up…you get bored after a few months and now both the walls and doors are bare except for the faint marks of blue tack.
Thirdly, embrace the clumsiness. You not only fell down some stair aged 14 which resulted in a trip to the hospital, eight-twelve weeks of recovery and causing your mum stress on her day off but, the falling is going to happen a lot and you’ll always have bruises to prove it. Just last year, you damaged your ankle again which resulted in some very good friends convincing me to go to the hospital again but the year before that you couldn’t run for four weeks after hurting your knee while running. I’d say don’t push things when it comes to injury, don’t be stubborn but we still are now which gave mum and dad a lot of stress last summer.
Finally, you are now and were then a huge geek. With a love of action adventure films, marvel films, Doctor Who and many other sci-fi/ fantasy books, films and tv shows you aren’t exactly into the girly love films. You will sit and watch a few but they really aren’t your cup of tea. So, when you were putting on all that makeup, straightening your hair and attempting to fit in…well that is what sets you apart from others now. Basically, you should embrace your uniqueness because it’ll be much easier down the line and you’ll meet some amazing friends with the some of the same and different tastes as you.
You know when your parents tell you- you don’t stay friends with everyone in life? You should have listened much earlier. All the stress could have been avoided. In life, we don’t get on with everyone and if you’d have realised that sooner well a lot could have been avoided. Overall, if you hadn’t have gone through this though well, I don’t think I’d be the person I am now. It reminded me of myself, the person I liked who exuded confidence, embraced challenges and loved life and well, we are that person and more now. This doesn’t go without saying that some of the people you meet over these few years won’t still be in your life, and other still are and these are the people who are there for you no matter what. Just remember there are still those childhood friends who you still talk to, and even when you are busy know you will still be there. A click away.
You’ve applied for university and are waiting to get in. Well, you do. And we’ve just graduated with a 1.1 class honours degree so, we did something right. It is something to be proud of so as you make those difficult decisions, expel the negative energy and start to see your grades rise? Well you made the right decision. Be proud of getting an offer from all five universities, be proud of improving with your overall grade every year and be proud of achieving such an amazing result because it’s all us. We did it!
And finally, at 22 we are still an adult in training. We moved out for university which was the best decision in the end. At 22, we are still growing so don’t feel at 18+ that this is now the time you need to know everything in life. Because all that pressure isn’t good for anyone. Achieve the goals you set for yourself like you have so far. We’ve lost that weight, we run regularly, we eat healthily, we have some amazing friends and we are well on our way to becoming an amazing adult. Although, the best adults are those who never really grew up, the one with their inner child still joking about and laughing.
Still a redhead, blue eyed, freckled, but experienced slightly older youngster….
I got the idea for this post from a friend. We met for out new year catch-up as work schedules will make it difficult the next few weeks. It seemed like the theme of the day was having a clear out- of toys, of friends who don’t bother, of clothes. And that got me thinking- every year we talk about having a clear out but, how many of us do it? This ties in with a tweet I read recently. The poster said:
“Everyone talking about the people and things they are cutting off for 2018…I’ll cut you off as and when you deserve it…not a problem…bye.”
“If you spring clean your life of negative people or energy all year round you…never be miserable…”
And a facebook status wherein a completely different person posted a similar sentiment about not needing the beginning of the year to change? But, I’m not agreeing or disagreeing. I do set myself new year resolutions to follow and attempt to keep to them throughout the year. I just found it symbiotic that as I was wondering what to post about, the idea of a clear out in whatever shape or form kept coming up. Even in my family home, mum is on a mission to clear out and declutter. So, here goes.
Today I started with my own little clear out. For people who know me, and have lived with me- I like cleanliness, I don’t like clutter which is evident in the fact that my room is extremely tidy. Not a thing out of place. No little bits and bobs just laying around. Everything out has a purpose, something I use regularly. Every year at the beginning BECAUSE of all the new stuff we end up getting as I begin to put them away, I have a sort through. I may find a few hidden treasures and I throw other bits away. For me, this is good. As the saying goes “tidy room, tidy mind”.
Then again, I understand the idea to declutter your life. Even if you need a deadline to start it? Not everyone is as brave or as confident in themselves to declutter their own lives whether it be people, tackling your houses, tackling memories etc. The idea behind the clear out is a fresh start and with the new year just beginning people like to start afresh then and make a year of it. This way is gives them time. I can see the association between decluttering and the new year, new me stuff.
We’ve all been there. There comes a time wherein you may leave someone, something, or somewhere behind and it can be a great success (it was for me, I didn’t wait till the beginning of a year though) or it can be a failure. But, the new year brings a fresh start for a lot of people and it’s what they do in that year that defines them. So whatever you are decluttering, I hope you succeed. I hope it starts you on a new journey. And most of all, I hope it gives you peace of mind. In my own instance, I succeeded in life, I started a new journey and decluttering throughout the year always provides me peace of mind.
I’m going to end with a quote.
“Happiness is a place between too little & too much”- Finnish Proverb
It has been hectic over the Christmas period, what with working, finishing up the Christmas shopping, running in a Santa Run, seeing family and everything else the Christmas holidays entail. And now? It’s New Years Day. First of all, Happy New Year to you all. Can you believe it is 2018? So, my first post of the year will be about New Year Resolutions. We all make them, we try to stick to them and we succeed with a few but not everyone makes the whole year.
You know there are the popular ones that we all make at the beginning of the year i.e. lose weight, get to the gym, get a better job, achieve a goal we’ve talked about for a while or taking that trip you always put off. But, do we ever really complete them all? Well, I lost weight last year as I said I would, I got a 1.1 class honours degree- my goal for the year and I have a job, with hopes of getting a better one soon. So, I hit them last year.
This made myself think. If I did it last year, then I can do it this year so here are my New Year resolutions. We’ll see how many I can achieve.
1. Less Technology
And I feel I am on the way already. With a new phone, deleting a few apps that I don’t need and signing out of all my social media to only sign in when I need to- I’m on my way. I definitely feel like I have been on it less.
2. Carrying On With Last Years- Health and Fitness
I am determined to get all my health issues fixed, and continue to get fitter and healthier in general. I started the last couple years and I want to continue to succeed.
Determination is doing what needs to be done even when you don’t feel like doing it!
3. Get More Blogging Done
I definitely got more views and followers last year, and I want to continue this streak. So, I am going to be blogging at least once a week over the next year, and even more if I have a subject in mind. It is a little bit like therapy. You put yourself out there, talk about what you want- your dreams, or the things you’ve done/read/watched and people read it. I have to say my favourite post from last year is one I wrote rather recently about Brussel Sprouts.
4. It’s Up To Me
This I’ve already started. I’ll explain what I mean. Every year we end up doing things we don’t want to so, this year “it’s up to me”. And by that I mean, if I don’t want too, I won’t. Over the last few years I’ve undergone a transformation of sorts. I’m a confident person for the most part but, a few years ago that was shattered. It’s took a while but, I’m back to being me. So, it’s up to me. This year I’m doing me.
5. You Can’t Control Everything
And no that does not mean my room will suddenly turn into a gigantic tip. Clean room, clean mind. But, this year I’m going with the flow a bit more. It’s impossible to control every bit of your environment and I’m not going to try too either. It doesn’t mean I’ll be a pushover and do what everyone else wants, it just means I’m going to be more relaxed about things.
So this is my list. I hope to stick to these resolutions. It’ll be great blogging next year and saying I hit everyone. Because I am going to do it. But if I don’t, it is out of my control.
Not everyone has a lot of money at Christmas, whether it is because you don’t have a job, you are a poor student who needed to eat this semester, or you don’t like to spend a lot of at Christmas- this list is for you. There are cheap Christmas gift ideas to help you out, even though it is only a few days to go. I’m sure there are still people out there struggling. Sites such as Money Saving Expert suggest loads of cheap ideas for adults, family and kids so if you are struggling simply google cheap Christmas gift idea, set aside some time and get ready to give something useful and crafty to your family members.
Of course, some people don’t expect a lot for Christmas and you may be able to get gifts cheap through vouchers but, not everyone has that option. Here are five options for you:
1. Make Something
It’s simple, it’s easy and meaningful. Nine times out of ten, anyone would appreciate a handmade gift and for those who don’t? Well Christmas is about family, happiness and spending time together and NOT gifts so, in that case take it off them and let them be the grumpy person at Christmas whilst you have fun. Whether you teach yourself to knit, draw something, buy some card and use old scrabble tiles to spell out everyone’s- an original family tree type gift. It’s something and you won’t spend a lot. My nan makes something every year. A couple years ago, we had a very funny incident whilst she was in the middle of making loads of angels. They took on a rude shape before she finished them off.
2. A Favourite Photo
We all have memories. And your mum may talk about loving certain photos. So, remember what she said and buy a cheap frame from Wilkinsons. This gift is both thoughtful and can be given to friends too. We carry tons of photos on our phone and boots offers a cheap print off service. At most, you’ll spend a fiver.
3. Christmas PJ’s
It doesn’t matter where you buy the pjs, whether Primark or Tesco wait until the sales a week before Xmas and get them cheap. We all wear pjs, they are useful gifts and you’ll probably need a new pair by the end of the year. What are you waiting for? Buy some pjs.
4. Memory Jar
You buy food most weeks. Save your pickled onion jar, branston, mayo and rip the label off. Now find some paper in your house, write down some of your favourite memories but don’t fill it all the way to the top because then you can encourage the gift receiver to add their own memories throughout the year. Next Christmas you’ll be able to empty the jar and talk about some of your favourite memories from the year.
Everyone loves the presents they can eat at Christmas. You get to pig out on boxing day with these gifts. Pop to your local shop, pick up some flour, eggs and other baking items. Google a recipe and you’ll be set for Christmas. The person gets food for Christmas and you’ll have spent about £3-5 at most.
Love ’em or hate ’em, brussel sprouts cause debate across the nation. They aren’t everyone’s favourite vegetable, and people try to avoid them if possible unless you absolutely love them. Opinion is divided in my house, three people; myself, dad and nan love ’em and three others are forced to eat them once a year on Christmas day; mum, John and grandad. It is genuinely amusing to watch my brother cover them in mash potatoes and pull the face a two-year old makes when they are forced to eat something they don’t want or like.
Have you seen this years marmite advert? Wherein the people get a ‘genetic test’ to see if they are marmite lovers or haters…well that little boy who screams
“I hate it, I hate it” *and stomps off*
is my brother. I’m convinced there should be a Christmas themed version of the advert. Marmite makers? Get on it! If you haven’t seen it, here it is:
So, back to the sprout. I heard the most hilarious Christmas story on Radio 2 about confessions. It’s about brussel sprouts, a dog and a break-up after over the holidays. Here goes, this women had drifted from her partner and they’d decided to go to seperate places over the Christmas holiday. They shared a dog, and she took the dog with her for the holidays. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, well not in this case so after Christmas they decided to break up and he had the dog. Well before returning the dog to him, they’d got some leftover sprouts… the poor vegetable- it wants to be eaten and it is used a weapon… The dog had already had its breakfast but, she also gave him a bowl of sprouts. Let’s just say that would be one very long, smelly three hour journey back to his place. It had me in tears.
As you can see, the sprout gets a bad rap. Used as a weapon, left to go cold and abandoned in most houses but it isn’t all bad. I love a good brussel sprout. The more on my plate, the happier I am. But, it might not be up to you. I stumbled across a Facebook article from Derby University which suggested that loving or hating the brussel sprout is actually to do with your genes. So, it may not be your fault. For anyone interested, here is the link for you to read: Click here
For those who love ’em, carry on championing the brussel sprout and for those who hate ’em just because it could be a genetic preference it doesn’t mean you get to not eat them at Christmas (yes I’m talking to you mum). Embrace the marmite of Christmas, the brussel sprout is a brilliant little vegetable that deserves a little bit of love.
Sitting in your corner, the fire on, a glass of wine on the speaker and a good book in your hand. That is the dream- for us bookworms. But, when you’re working all year round, get busy over the year it can sometimes be impossible to find time to read your favourite books. So, while Christmas is upon us and you have some time off maybe you should pick up those books you’ve been meaning to read and settle in for a relaxed night of fun and simplicity.
Of course, we all have our own list of books we want to read over Christmas and as a bookworm- I have my own. So here is the list.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
I saw the film earlier this year and absolutely loved it. And now, I would like to read the books to compare the similarities and differences between the stories. I’ve been looking in the book shops and once I get paid this week, I think I’ll be investing in the books for myself.
Harry Potter Series- Including Fantastic Beasts and The Cursed Child
I got these books this year, and added onto the original set I would love to be able to read the entire set all the way through. I’ve heard great reviews of both books and so, I have high hopes. Especially as I’m such a fan of the original series. Let’s hope they don’t disappoint me.
The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden
It’s a book by an author I love. Another one of his books ‘The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared’ is a favourite of mine. I find a particular scene hilarious which entails a dog’s disappointment from being shut away from the drama ensuing in this woman’s kitchen until he realises he has been shut in the pantry with the FOOD. It is how I imagine most dogs think actually. The author- Jonas Jonasson is a genius. And so, I’m expecting big things from this book but I am utterly sure I’ll love it.
Birthdays For The Dead
I got this book on O2 priorities cheap book deal with WH Smith. I had to repeatedly visit the shop as they kept running out of stock. Must be a good sign. Or the bookworms of the world couldn’t pass up an opportunity to get a really cheap book. Stuart MacBride is said to be an extremely talented writer and I do love a good crime book.
Game of Thrones Set
I’ve been trying to track down the last couple books I need to complete my set. Aside from the fact I’ve had to buy the out of order depending on when I see these books in the charity shops or on market stalls which has not helped my OCD nature of wanting to do things in order, I’m hoping someone has bought me one of the books I’m looking for. And then, I can pour over my books and follow it by re-watching Game of Thrones because you can never see it too many times.
I’m aware that in reality this is a lot of books and it would be impossible to read them all. However, I do know I’ll be able to make a start on my little Christmas wishlist and carry on reading into the New Year. There is always time to sit down with a good book. I’m going to leave you with a very good quote, written by an amazingly talented man which rings true.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one”- George R R Martin
As promised, this is my Winter clothes survival guide. In the UK, we’ve had some snow and that spawned an idea to write this post. I hail from Derbyshire- more specifically a little ex-coal mining village called Grassmoor. Surrounded by hills, farms and more hills and not far from the peak district, here we are equipped for Winter weather all year round. Mainly because that same Winter gear comes in handy when it’s has rained and that is due to a lot of mud and puddling. Let’s begin.
Wellies and Walking Boots
Whether you own a pair of Hunters, Dunlops, Joules, Barbour, Trespass, Le Chameau, Aigle or any other types of wellies it’d be a good idea to find them out of the dark cupboard you’ve stored them in. That is unless you live in the countryside like I do, because we’ve always got them on. Ideally, everyone should own a good pair of wellies but if not, a pair of walking boots or shoes/boots with good grip will do in a pinch. While we may not get snow every year, it is always icy throughout December so if you’re accident prone or walking the dog invest in some good Winter shoes.
Hat, Gloves and Scarves
Every Christmas your nan gifts to you a new set of hat, gloves and scarves for the coming year. And every year, we cry in unison “I’ve still got last years!” Well, put them to good use. Around November times, the temperature tends to drop and as Winter begins to settle in, it is time to find out the gloves and eventually our hats and scarves. So, that annoyingly useful gift your grandparents buy for you every year, is in fact probably one of the best gifts you’ll get. Especially, if you are prone to losing them every year too. We know who we are…
I love a thick, fluffy-hooded coat. In fact, I’ve had a new one for Christmas this year seen as my four-year-old cold-weather coat has thinned and is falling to pieces- LITERALLY! I don’t know where one of my press studs buttons is, there are holes all over it and I now get soaked every time it rains. Of course, I do have other coats. I have my short, black, bought from an outdoor shop coat which I’ve had since secondary school. And my fancy orange fitted coat works well in Winter too if it is not raining or snowing. My point is if you don’t already have a good warm, waterproof coat for Winter then I suggest you buy one. It is cold. And I don’t have sympathy for those who moans it’s freezing but only walk around in their jackets and jumpers for protection.
Leaving for work at 5am in the morning, it is FREEZING. So to keep warm, I layer up. Starting with a pair of tights, two pairs of socks and my work trousers. And closely followed by a long sleeve top, a T-Shirt and my Christmas jumper. This is just for inside the house. On top of that, I’ll have my hat and gloves on alongside my trust Winter coat. As my dad says…consistently ” you need to have a good base layer”. And maybe this is because we live in the countryside, it’s common sense or the runner in him- it is actually very good advice. So, layer up if you want to keep warm!
Earlier I spoke about wellies and walking boots, quickly mentioning investing in a pair of shoes with good grip. Well the best footwear for Winter aside from wellies around here is a pair of Doc Martens especially if you need to venture into town on a particularly cold and wet day. Or if you decide to pop to the pub for a couple of pints. These shoes are both practical and stylish this time of year. And I know they can be expensive but, if you buy them they’ll last your years paying your money back in tenfold.
Please don’t wear them outside. I know some people do. This suggestion is to keep warm in your house. Invest in a onesie. They are snug, warm and alright for lazing around in. And a benefit to you and your parents- the nagging about the heating will stop because you’ll already be warm. Plus, you can be any creature- real, mythical or festive you want so head on to Primark and invest.
If you’ve got walking boots, wellies or Doc Martens then you already own a pair of thick socks. If not, you should invest in them otherwise you’ll be double socking all the time. The only reason I double sock for work is because I don’t think I’d be able to get my work shoes on… Also, they are amazing for keeping your toes warm. You see we have certain areas of our body that are sensitive to touch and one of these areas is the bottom of your feet. Others are the palms of your hand- near your wrist area and the back of your neck. So, if they are warm then your body also tends to warm up. The same goes for Summer when it is boiling and you need to cool down. Stick a flannel on the back of your neck or stick your hands in water and you’ll cool right down.
*Extra Tip- Stick a pair of socks with those rubber bits on the soles over your shoes and it should stop you slipping all over the place.*
These are just a few suggestions for surviving the Winter weather, if it’s raining, snowing or just frosty. With these few tips, you can’t go wrong with keeping warm and safe. We’ve all got our own tips to survive Winter and it’d be interesting to see what everyone else does. So, please share your tips because odds are somebody will find it useful and adapt it to their own lives.
Normally I’m a pretty fast reader. Ask anyone who knows me. I completed two Game of Thrones books in a weekend, the entire Harry Potter Series over four days and both The Hobbit, and Lord of the Rings within a week and that is a long book. This was only 600+ pages. For me, that is child’s play but, I took my time with this book. Not because I love it more than some of my favourite series, or because I absolutely hated it. I took my time with this book because from the very first page I realised, this book needs to be read slowly, re-read and savoured.
*Disclaimer- the book is completely different to what I have seen of the show*
Firstly, I am going to talk about the overall story, then the characters and finally recommend ten times over that this is a book you should all read.
I did not see the story ending how it did. It was magnificent. With some books, the ending has a twist but then it isn’t explained, or it comes too late in the book instead of building from the beginning, or the twist is so damn predictable you could have written a better ending. And those are the most disappointing kind. I won’t tell you how the book ends because that would ruin the surprise for anyone reading it however, I just had to begin with the ending because as you can see I’m still in a state of shock and awe.
The book begins with Shadow facing a personal tragedy resulting in his early prison release. What the follows is mystery, action, adventure, myths and legends coming to life, a little bit of love, family, betrayal and renewal. And most of the time, these kind of books aren’t good because there are just too many elements however, Neil Gaiman is a magician and has managed to sow these elements together to create a wonderfully, original story wherein you don’t always realise a new clue to the overall mystery has been identified within the story. Furthermore, the characters as there are so many names and descriptions to remember all bring an individual piece of the puzzle with them. Some openly know what bearing their knowledge has whilst others simply trade on it assuming it useless to Shadow.
So, with all those characters I’ll rattle off the few which stuck in my head.
Shadow- We discover the mystery through him, and only when he finally understands a part of the puzzle then so does the audience. Lost and angry, Shadow is the key to the whole picture with obstacles always thrown in his direction whilst grieving for his wife and friend. He is every gods pawn until he realises the true power he holds. Your classic protagonist who is rough around the edges and broken deals with identity issues stemming to his childhood. Overall an amazingly complex character who is great to follow within the story and provides the reader with a relatively normal character to follow the story through.
Wednesday- A man in disguise. A mystery. A scared god who uses Shadow to complete his true plan. However, you constantly get the feeling he is trying to tell Shadow all along who he is and what he needs. Wednesday demonstrates that the biggest conman in the world are the gods within this story, they’ve lost themselves and stooped to the level of humans (a travesty to them) to survive. He just admits this fear. He plays the bad guy trying to be the good guy. Or does he?
Low Key- I never actually got this until the end. A very good ploy by the author to disguise one of the many antagonists in plain sight. Introduced to this character as Shadow’s mentor in prison, the man who helped him cope and gave pearls of wisdom to him, it is hard to understand how I missed his true godly identity. It was smacking over the head the entire time. This is why I love this character because you think someone so minor was just to set up the story but, instead he plays a major role. The author brilliantly hid this character till the perfect time for which he revealed himself cementing the entire con.
This is just a small taste of the book but I recommend you all pick it up and give it a go. Without trying to give too much away, I hope I’ve told you why I love this book. And I’ll say it again; there is shock and awe, the characters are brilliantly written and developed and you never understand the full picture of the book till the end. This is because the author wants it like this to pull in the audience. It is definitely worth the read.
Scratch that, Winter is here and in all its glory we’ve actually had a bit of snow before Christmas. The real question is- will it stay? Probably not! But the temperature has begun to drop, it’s getting icier and wetter out in the world. This means one thing, if you hadn’t already got the Winter gear out (like the runner I saw wearing a pair of shorts on his morning run) then it is officially time. I bet you are thinking this post will be about suiting and booting yourself for Winter and I will be writing one tomorrow about that. No! This post is going to be about Christmas traditions, more specifically my family ones plus, a few I’ve adapted whilst living away for University.
1. 12 Days Before Christmas? Time to Put Up The Tree
In my house, this is always the case and dad has been pretty adamant about this tradition for as long as I remember. It is one of my favourite things about Christmas to decorate the house so, over the last couple years we had to adapt the day because I would be at University and wanted to put the tree up thus, last year it went up a week early because that was the weekend I could come back.
2. The Christmas Specials- Specifically Doctor Who
Every year we go to my grandparents house for Xmas and since I’ve been old enough to come back home especially as my brother can drive. I do. And always in time for Doctor Who. You see my family don’t like Doctor Who. :0. I know I mean how can you not like it? It’s Doctor Who! But they don’t. They all pull a face at it when I’ve got it on and so, it is just easier to come home and have my own little Christmas Tradition. Doctor Who and a hot chocolate? Yes please! I do like other specials though such as Downton Abbey- when it was on after my Uni mate introduced me to the show, Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show- technically shown on Xmas Eve but still I watch it.
3. Christmas Songs
I’ve already created a blog post on my favourite Xmas songs and if you click this link you’ll find it. But, the week of Christmas the only songs playing on my iPod are Christmas related and that is the way I like it. It’s just my little build up towards Christmas.
4. Nan’s Christmas Tarts
I actually wrote a blog post entitled this last year. Named ‘My Nan’s Christmas Tarts’ it attracted a bit of attention, sometimes creating a blog post to get views is all in the name. Every year, she bakes Christmas tarts- jam and lemon curd- I love the lemon curd ones, and mince pies. They are yummy. I don’t know if she’ll do any this year but, it feels a bit like a Christmas tradition so, maybe it is time for a young, red-head who loves a bit of baking to take up the mantle?
While dad and grandad wonder up to the pub on Christmas Day, the girls- myself, mum and nan have a bottle of Prosecco between us to keep us going till Xmas dinner. John doesn’t drink, he is not a fan so he’ll be having some Shloer. We started this last year but, nan liked the idea so much she’s already bought the bottle ready. It’s been in the house since November. So, every year we will be having a glass of Prosecco to start our Christmas off right.
6. Little Christmas Tree Presents
I realised this wasn’t a regular every house thing whilst at Secondary school when people didn’t know what the little Christmas tree presents were, and had never received any. At my nan’s we have a small gathering of presents near her dinner table and after the meal we open these presents. So whilst you all play with the gadgets of Christmas morning, in my house you get a second rush opening more presents. And these are things you’ll need for the year such as body sprays, lip balm, make-up, car air freshener, torches, bookmarks etc. This just means we are equipped with those few little bits and bobs that we’ve talked about needing in the year. It is quite handy actually and a tradition I’ll be carrying on in the future.
These are just a few of my own traditions. It is fun to think of how everyone’s Christmas is a little bit different but, equally magical. If you don’t have many traditions find something that you like. Make it your own. And one final thing: Happy Christmas Everyone.