Christmas trip to London

Two weeks ago, I went to London for a couple of days with Oliver.  It’s somewhere we only visit separately for some reason, so it was really great to be able to spend time there together.

Our first stop was Harrods.  Oliver had never been there before so I really wanted to show him around.  We bought lots of chocolate as gifts for our families, before we explored the Christmas gift shop and the bookshop.  The whole building was decorated beautifully and the lights outside were gorgeous.

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We did buy ourselves some treats as well!  This orange hot chocolate will keep us warm this winter, and these chocolates look amazing (and I can vouch that they taste the same way too!).

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The next day we went to the Imperial War Museum (Oliver’s choice).  It is an amazing museum though; both world wars fascinate me in the way they truly affected every aspect of life.  We spent a few hours wandering around the galleries before heading back to Westminster and enjoying some dinner and drinks around Trafalgar Square.

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I can’t wait to go back to London soon.  What are your favourite things to see and do in London?

 

Linnet Sig

Late to the party… Book chat with Lindsay

Big oops.  I missed the November book chat due to my blogging break.  However, I did read a Young Adult book for it!

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Oh my gosh, what a book it was.  I read A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab, which is the second book in the Shades of Magic series.  I adored the first one so I knew I simply had to get my hands on this second one.

Kell lives in Red London, a powerful young magician who can travel between parallel Londons.  It’s four months since Delilah Bard left on a ship, and the city is due to celebrate the Element Games.  However, Black London is coming back to life and it threatens Red London and all that Kell holds dear.

The new characters and the new adventure set this novel alight for me.  It was fabulous to be back in the thick of it with Kell and waiting for his reunion with Lila, which was tantalisingly delayed for most of the novel.  If you want magic, excitement and lots of three-dimensional characters who you want to be your best friends, read this now.  This series is the best since Harry Potter! The third book comes out in February and I wish it wasn’t the last.

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Check out Lindsay’s post!  Do you want to read this series?

Linnet Sig

Bloggers who share their whole lives online… what are the rules?

I’m sure that you follow lots of bloggers, via their blogs and social media profiles.  One blogger in particular who I follow is Emily from The Freckled Fox.  She is a blogger with a unique story which stands out among the thousands of blogs out there, and one I’ve been thinking about for several days.

Emily turns 26 in January, and she has five children, each one born over the previous five years.  She has received piles of hate for this.  She’s beautiful, with red hair like a princess, and has endured hate for that too.

Her husband Martin was diagnosed with cancer and she received even more hate for this than for anything else.  It’s completely despicable but several trolls accused her of staging photos and of making up the cancer diagnosis (I feel sick at the very thought of anyone saying such a thing).

This year Martin died and I can’t comprehend how that must have felt, for Emily and their children.  Then, three months later, Emily posted the above on Instagram to announce her remarriage to a man called Richard.

I was so shocked to see this post, and to be honest I had deep reservations and so many questions.  When did Richard arrive in Emily’s life? Did Martin know and approve? Had Emily’s grief been processed while Martin was still alive? How was this decision explained to the children?

I scrolled through endless comments but it was clear that any naysayers had been deleted.  Surely she couldn’t expect everyone to just accept this news calmly?  Yet, Emily has shared her whole life online and she has received abuse in such huge quantities that it would make anyone’s life hell.  Why would she keep any type of negativity on her online profiles after that?

Although I’m still shocked I just hope that Emily and Richard make each other happy and that the children grow up in a loving home after losing their father at such a young age.  How do any of us know how we would react in this situation?

One thing that’s certain is, haters gonna hate and bloggers who share their lives online will be subjected to that hate.  What do you think about Emily’s remarriage?

Linnet Sig

Why I’ve Stopped Blogging Lately

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Over the course of a few months I have gone from blogging five times a week, to a couple of times a week, to barely once a month.  So what’s happened?

In September I began a new job, and overnight I went from working in an office where everyday was the same to working varied hours, going to meetings and events and constantly being on the go.  It’s been a shock to the system, but it’s also been a huge positive in my life.  I love it, and for the first time I really feel like my career is taking off.  In light of that, I have stepped back from blogging as I’m feeling more fulfilled in another part of my life.

I’m not alone.  I’ve also noticed other bloggers who were posting five times a week over summer drop to zero.  It’s a pace that cannot be committed to when you throw in a 9-5 job, family and daily life.  I will post when the mood takes me, when I have something interesting to write; but there’s no point in forcing it.

How are you feeling about blogging?

Linnet Sig

Book chat with Lindsay: The Rory Gilmore Reading List

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Confession: I know nothing about Gilmore Girls, and less about Rory Gilmore and his list.  But I know Lindsay has been looking forward to this month’s challenge all year, so here we are!  The good news is, turns out that there’s lots of great books to choose from on Rory’s list.

I decided to go for Emma by Jane Austen.  Emma is my favourite Austen novel (sometimes, how can I ever choose just one?) so it was a joy to revisit this month.

You all know the story… Emma has just been to the wedding of a couple who she introduced to each other, and feeling quite satisfied with herself, decides to become a matchmaker for her other friends.  Much confusion, heartache but ultimately happy endings ensue.

It’s such a charming story and it’s such a sassy social commentary, it’s really quite clever.  Also Emma as a character is someone who you could so easily dislike; she’s convinced she’s always right, is very self centred, and is quite shallow.  Yet, Austen manages to portray her in a way that we don’t end up groaning in despair every time Emma opens her mouth.  We end up cheering her on and pleading with her to open her heart.  That’s quite a skill!

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Next month is our penultimate chat! Where has the time gone?  Don’t forget to check what Lindsay read.

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Non HP Characters who I Wish Were in Harry Potter

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There are so many characters that I wish could join the Harry Potter world!  Here we go…

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

She may be an obvious choice, but how much fun would it be to see Sabrina at Hogwarts? Especially since Melissa Joan Hart recently said that she thought Sabrina would be in Gryffindor.  I can totally imagine Sabrina and Hermione in the library together, and Salem causing havoc in the Gryffindor common room.

Moon Face

Does anyone else love the Enid Blyton series about the Magic Faraway Tree? It’s definitely a childhood favourite of mine.  Moon Face is my favourite character and I think he would be a big supporter in the fight against Dumbledore.  Perhaps he could run a shop in Diagon Alley or have a position in Gringotts?  He’s a lot nicer than the trolls!

Emma from Jane Austen

I think Emma would make an interesting Hogwarts student.  She would be sticking her nose in everywhere and be a gossip, but she’d also be loyal and kindhearted, a girl who you’d want on your side. I think she would be a determined and plucky member of Dumbledore’s Army, and she could root out some useful information on the Death Eaters.

Kell

I love the A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy.  Kell is the main character; he’s a sorcerer who can travel between worlds.  As a diplomat he can bridge the uneasy relationships between Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic.  I would also advise Harry to lend Kell the invisibility cloak; Kell knows a thing or two about magic coats and he is experienced in espionage.

Who would you like to see join the Harry Potter world?

Linnet Sig

Things I DON’T Like about Harry Potter

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Welcome back to today’s installment of Harry Potter week.  The topic today is a controversial one…. the things I don’t like about Harry Potter!

Quidditch

I don’t really get quidditch.  The rules go over my head, and I always skip over the quidditch games in the books or go and get a snack during the games in the films.  I can’t be the only one surely?  As much as I think the addition of a sport to the HP universe is great, this one in particular is just not my kinda thing.

The curriculum

Why do the Hogwarts pupils not study any Muggle subjects?  Geography, English, Maths, French…  As amazing as learning about magic and how to use it is, surely having lessons in Muggle subjects would benefit the pupils too.

Harry and Ginny

This relationship has never convinced me.  I am a big Hermione/Ron fan, so maybe because I just love how that relationship develops so much, Harry and Ginny just can’t compete.  To be honest I don’t love Ginny as a character, nothing against the girl but I think there are better characters in the series.  If I could have had my way I would have married her off to a minor character, not the central one.

Harry Potter isn’t real

I wish the universe was real but it’s not!

Are there any things you don’t like about Harry Potter?

Linnet Sig

 

Why I love being a Hufflepuff

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Despite being a big Harry Potter fan, it’s only a couple of months ago that I did the official sorting test on Pottermore.  I’d always felt drawn to either Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, but as soon as I was sorted into Hufflepuff I felt really excited about it and began researching more about the house.  Here’s why I love being a Hufflepuff!

Hufflepuffs are underestimated

We aren’t the most famous house and we’re definitely overlooked and sneered at in certain quarters (looking at you, Professor Snape).  However, that can give us the upperhand.  While you’re writing us off, we are out there being good and kind and loyal and generally awesome.

Cedric Diggory

I think Cedric may just be the winner of the good guy award in the whole Potter universe.  He was just soooo kindhearted and such a great ambassador for Hufflepuff.

The badger is our emblem

Badgers may look cute and cuddly, but they’re resilient and tenacious.  They will protect themselves if they are overlooked and pushed into a corner.  A little bit like Hufflepuffs themselves!

We make great friends

Trust me, you want a Hufflepuff in your circle of friends.  When you’re going through a rough patch, we’ll be here for you.  We’re loyal and good listeners.  Don’t think you can’t have fun with us too though, we make fab dinner guests!

Which Hogwarts house are you in?  See you tomorrow for my next post as part of Harry Potter week.

Linnet Sig

Which pet would I take to Hogwarts?

Things have been quiet around here recently, but today I’m back with the first post as part of Harry Potter Week on my blog!

I recently watched this video of Ariel Bissett’s and I decided to rank the Hogwarts pets myself.  In fourth position…

Rat: I’m not one of those people who think a rat is cute.  Their tails make me feel all creeped out for some reason!  Also I suspect that as a Hogwarts pet, they’re the easiest to lose and that would stress me out.  I would always be worrying that the rat would go missing, unless I could put a charm on it, and I’m not sure if that’s against the rules (there are so many rules!).  A rat is definitely last on my list. In third place…

Toad: A toad is another prospective pet that has never endeared itself to me.  Like a rat, I would worry about it getting lost but at least toads ‘ribbit’ loudly.  My boyfriend Oliver quite likes toads so that’s the only thing going in their favour! Onto second place…

Cat:  As a child I was never very fond of cats, but it’s a different case now.  A feline friend would be the ideal companion at Hogwarts.  As a witch you couldn’t do much better than a cat as a pet but first place has to go to…

Owl: I adore owls.  Both cute cartoon owls, and the real thing.  As a flying postal service, they also can’t be beaten.  Owls are elegant, beautiful and intelligent.  I would be best friends with my owl and would spend time in the owlery every evening stroking her wings and telling her about my latest spells.

See you tomorrow for another Harry Potter post!  Which pet would you take to Hogwarts?

Linnet Sig

Book Chat with Lindsay: New York Times Bestseller

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It’s that time of the month again, and we are closing in on the end of our book challenge!

This month we’re discussing New York Timers bestsellers.  It just so happened that my penpal Aimee sent me The Girls by Emma Cline and it fitted in with this challenge perfectly.

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I feel like I was the last person on Earth to read this book.  It tells the story of Evie, a fourteen year old who becomes entranced by an older girl called Suzanne.  Evie’s parents have divorced and she is struggling to get on with her mother so she goes to live in the commune where the girls all revere a man called Russell, the leader of the commune and a struggling musician.

The girls scavenge and steal food, drug use and underage sex is rife and children are unkempt and malnourished.  Russell introduces Mitch to the girls, but when their relationship sours, the novel catapults into a violent end.

The story is inspired by the Charles Manson ‘family’ commune and the murders committed by them.  We meet Evie not just as a 14 year old, but as a woman in her 60s whose life is still sadly haunted by what she did, or didn’t do, as a teenager.  It’s an intriguing novel that I raced to finish – but it failed to give me the closure and resolution which I needed.  So many questions remain!  Have you read it, what did you think?

Check out what Lindsay read!  Next month we are discussing a book from Rory Gilmore’s list.2016-Book-Challenge

Linnet Sig