A Year In Review - 2014

Monday, 29 December 2014
Hello everyone. 2014 is drawing to an end so I'm taking a step back to look at what's happened this year. To be honest, 2014 has been the best and the worst year of my life at the same time. But I've learnt a lot and I'm really looking forwards to 2015. Onwards and upwards.

January - This was a really big month for me. I moved house so that was a lot of stress. It was also really weird because it was the first time I'd ever lived anywhere but the house that I grew up in. I also turned 17 and celebrated by going out for a meal with Stuart at my favourite Chinese restaurant. I also got my advanced higher chemistry project to work for the first time which is what the first photo is of.

February - This is the month where I started my little crocheting business. I started making scarves, hats etc and selling them to people I know. Its been fun and has improved my crocheting skills a lot. I plan on opening an Etsy soon but I have to wait until I turn 18. Apart from that I can't really remember what happened in February, its a bit of a boring month isn't it?

March - In March high school was coming to an end which left me feeling very nostalgic. Although looking back on it now I don't really miss high school at all. Again I don't really remember anything amazing or greatly significant happening this month!

April - This was the month that I left high school which was a really bittersweet moment for me. I didn't expect to get as emotional as I did. I didn't cry at school but when I started walking home I cried the whole way. It was also one of my friends Rachel's 18th which was an amazing night.

May - This was the month of exams. Yay. I probably should have studied a bit harder as I didn't end up getting as good results as I wanted to. Something to learn from however! It was also when my blog got its makeover leaving me with this awesome design.

June - Prom, prom, prom, prom. That was the main focus of the month. And it was the start of what would be a nearly 4 month long summer holiday. Prom was absolutely amazing one of the best nights of my life and I enjoyed every second of it.

July - This was the real summer month of the year for me. The weather was good and I did a lot of reading. I also went on some pretty memorable day trips with friends, including to go and see the Kelpies and having a picnic, both were so much fun!

August - August was a bit of a weird month for me, I guess the end of the summer always is. But I feel like I became a lot more confident with myself and developed a lot more as a person. I also had an amazing trip to the Glasgow Science Centre with my good blogging pal Morag.

September - This was probably the biggest month of the year for me. I moved out into universtiy accomodation, started university and quit my old job and started a new one. All of this really helped me grow as a person. As difficult as it all was, I am grateful for the experience.

October - There's no nice way to put it. October was a shite month for me. I hated my new job and I was working so much I hardly got to go home and see my family/friends and I didn't have much time to see my friends from uni either. I was having a really bad time and I spent most of my time feeling sad and alone.

November - Things started to pick up a little bit for me this month. But I was still hating my job which led to me eventually quitting in December. I started going home on Tuesday's as I finish uni at 1 which made me feel a lot better. Stuart and I also celebrated our 3 year anniversary.

December - I quit my job and finished all my exams which was a welcomed break after all the stress of my first semester at uni. I still enjoyed myself but I am definitely going to make more of the next semester. I had a lovely Christmas and I am now here writing this blogpost!

How was your year?

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Tuesday, 23 December 2014
Just a little message to let everyone know that my laptop has broken so I won't be blogging for a wee while. I'll be back as soon as I can be. Thank you!

Orla Kiely Mini Reed Diffuser Giftset

Sunday, 21 December 2014
Now I have to admit, I'm a candle person. I love watching the wax melt away and release lots of lovely scents into the room. So imagine my disappointment when I discovered that candles aren't allowed in my university accommodation. I've found the perfect thing. The Orla Kiely Mini Reed Diffusers Gift Set* is a lovely limited edition gift set containing three 30ml reed diffusers. The three scents are Earl Grey, Primrose and Bergamot and Fig Tree. At this time of the year a lot of people are going for heavy, spicy fragrances but these are lovely and clean. I just love how fresh they make my room smell, I think my favourite so far is earl grey.

So what exactly is a reed diffuser and how does it work? Reed diffusers consist of a little bit of scented oil in a glass jar. When you place some reeds into the oil, the oil diffuses up the reed because it a very porous material and then the scent is released into the air. These are ideal for people like me who like the scents of candles but can't burn them. Also because they require no flame they would be ideal for offices, homes with young children, shops etc. Whilst they are small, they have a very good scent throw and one of these will last you absolutely ages. 

This gift set would be a lovely thing to pass on to a friend/family member. I know I would have really appreciated one under my tree. And in case you think your loved one would prefer a candle, they have a little candle gift set that contains 6 mini candles. Both gift sets retail at £26 and can be found at John Lewis, Fenwicks or online at orlakiely.com.

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Book Rainbow: Pink

Saturday, 20 December 2014
Hello everyone! Today I'm wrapping up my book rainbow series with this post on pink books. Again, pink technically isn't a colour of the rainbow but I still own a lot of pink books so I decided to do this anyway! I hope you all have enjoyed this series, I'm quite pleased with the amount of interaction on the posts so I consider it to be a success! Also I had a lot of fun photographing and writing the posts.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - To be honest when I first heard of this I was completely put off by the name. I thought it would be ridiculously cheesy and totally not my thing. Whilst it does contain some romance, this has actually become one of my favourite books. Stephanie Perkins' writing style is so addictive, she writes a story that leaves you grinning like a maniac whilst unable to put the book down. This is about a girl who goes to a boarding school in Paris where she meets one fine young gentleman.

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson - This is possibly one of my favourite young adult romances ever! This is about two teenagers who have to take a really long road trip together and obviously romance ensues(as always in YA fiction). What I love most about this is that Morgan Matson took the road trip herself and has included photos, tickets, receipts, playlists etc which really just gives it something special. 

Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen - Most of the books in this post are sugary and sweet apart from this one. This is the diary of a girl in the 60s who is in a psychiatric hospital. Its based on the author's own experiences. Its kind of like One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest but with women instead. I enjoyed it but it is a bit morbid. I definitely went through a  phase a while ago where I was obsessed with books about 1960s mental health care. Now I don't read that sort of book so often but when I do they are still interesting!

Inside Number One Two Nine by Caroline Elvin - This is a story about a girl in her final year of university who discovered that her friends and her boyfriend aren't all that they cracked up to be. This is the debut novel of author and fellow blogger Caroline who is hopefully releasing a second novel soon!

Sugar Rush by Julie Burchill - To be honest its been so long since I read this that I can't really remember exactly what happens in this book. But I do know that its about a young teenager discovering that she is a lesbian and that I really enjoyed it. If you're into LGBT books then I bet you'll enjoy this one.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - Oh man I do love a Rainbow Rowell book. This book follows a guy who works with computers in an office building. He runs a programme that flags staff emails that are inappropriate: ie swearing, racism, sex talk etc. He keeps getting emails between two girls that work in the office talking about the men that they like in the office and eventually he realises they're talking about him. What will he do about it? This book is such an easy read, perfect for just curling up with and reading in one day.

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Crochet Pattern: Chunky Infinity Scarf

Friday, 19 December 2014
Hello everyone! Today I've got a quick and easy crochet pattern to share with you all. This one would be great if you are a beginner to crocheting as you don't need to know any complicated stitches and it will take you less than an hour. I think that chunky wool is a great thing to use when you're learning to crochet as it works up much faster than double knitting which allows you to gain confidence and even if you do make mistakes, its much easier to spot them. I really want to bring more crocheting to my blog because its something that I really enjoy and am passionate about.

You will need:
200g of chunky wool. I used Patons Fab Big in Mustard and Rust Orange.
10.00 mm crochet hook
Wool Needle 

Row 1: Create a slip knot on your hook and then chain 10.
Row 2: Double crochet into the third chain from the hook. Then double crochet into each chain.
Row 3: Chain two and then double crochet into each stitch.
Rows 4 - 52: Repeat row 3, 48 times. 
Row 53: Sew the ends of the scarf together to create a loop. Then weave in your ends.

Enjoy your scarf!

 I'm considering opening my own Etsy store in January. Would you be interested in this? Please let me know if you would be as I would like to have a rough idea of how successfull it would be before I open it.

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Things That Make Me Happy #82

Thursday, 18 December 2014
1. These Christmas cookies are just the sweetest looking things. The way they've been decorated to look like Christmas puddings is such a nice touch.


2. At the moment I'm all about cuddling up and staying cosy. This living room looks so perfect and cosy.


3. On the other hand, this little reading nook looks so lovely and bright.


4. An abandoned church. There is just something so beautiful yet creepy about abandoned buildings.


5. A cute little DIY for my creative readers.


6. Does this even need a caption?

7. These are adorable!


8. This would be the perfect outfit for new years!


9. This crocheted gingerbread man is adorable. Will make one as soon as I finish my Christmas orders.


10. This is just stunning!


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Book Review: My True Love Gave To Me

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Hello everyone! You may remember that in my Christmas Wishlist I mentioned a book called My True Love Gave To Me. At the time I was unsure if I wanted to receive it as a present or buy it for myself as I though it would be a great read in the run up to Christmas. Well, I caved and bought it. Isn't it beautiful? Without even mentioning the content, the work that has gone into designing this book is amazing. I especially love the pink pages. My True Love Gave To Me is a collection of Christmas themed short stories from a selection of young adult fiction authors. The stories were compiled and edited by Stephanie Perkins, the author of the Anna and the French Kiss novels, which was possibly one of my favourite series I read this year.  

As expected, there was some cringey mushy romance in this. But sometimes, that's just what I need in a book. There were 12 different stories and obviously some were better than others but there weren't any that I seriously disliked. I did think that the last one in the book which was written by Laini Taylor was really weird and a little bit morbid so I wasn't a huge fan of that one but hey, 11/12 ain't bad. My favourite short story was 'Welcome to Christmas, CA' by Kiersten White which I was quite surprised by as I have never read any of her books before! I also really enjoyed Ally Carter's and Matt de la Pena's stories. And lets not even talk about Stephanie Perkin's, so adorable.

Despite loving a few of the stories, I wasn't completely blown away by this book. There was just something about it that I can't quite put my finger on. Because of this I've decided to give the book as a whole 4/5 stars, even though I thought a lot of the individual stories were 5/5. I've read a few books that are compilations of short stories and whilst they're nice, I don't find them very satisfying. I would rather read one whole book. I just wanted more from most of these stories which is such a frustrating feeling!

If you want to keep up with what I'm reading then you can add me as a friend on GoodReads here.

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Book Rainbow: Purple

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
I know what you guys are thinking. "Hayley, purple should not be in your book rainbow series. Purple is not a colour of the rainbow. It should be indigo and then violet. Idiot." I know, I know. But I'm not the best with colours, I struggle to tell the difference between indigo and violet so I just lumped them together into the one blog post. So sue me.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth - If you ask me, this is the best book in the Divergent Trilogy which I'm sure you've all heard of by now. This series is quite popular since the Divergent movie was released and the trailer for Insurgent was released recently. I've still not seen either yet! This is a young adult dystopian series. I don't want to talk about the plot too much because this is the 2nd book but I will say that I really enjoyed this series and do recommend it. 

Quidditch Through The Ages by J. K. Rowling - This is a little companion novel to the Harry Potter series. I really wanted to like this one but it is essentially a book about sport. I'm not a hugely sporty person and even thought this is about quidditch, its still a bit boring. Fun fact: my university has a quidditch team.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabhan by J. K. Rowling - Weirdly enough this is possibly my least favourite Harry Potter book. Its between this one and the Order of the Phoenix. I do really love the introduction of the care of magical creatures classes however and of course, Sirius Black. If you haven't read these books then you need to get on that ASAP because that is just not acceptable.

The Meaning Of Life by Joanna Nadin - This is a book in the Rachel Riley's Diary series. This was a series that I read a lot when I was younger. Maybe 11-14 and I still can't bring myself to donate them to the charity shop. One was released quite recently and I've asked for it for Christmas.

And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini - I am usually a massive fan of Hosseini's books, especially A Thousand Splendid Suns but I wasn't the biggest fan of his latest offering. This is the story about a young boy who would do anything for his little sister. One day she is adopted by a rich family and he never sees her again. The story was really interested but it is told from the perspective of loads of different characters which was very confusing.

The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket - This series made up my childhood. I have to admit that by this point in the series(9th book) the story is getting a little drawn out and repetitive but these books are still amazing. Now that I'm older I can read them in a few hours so they're good to read when I'm just looking for something fun and easy to read.

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Top 5 Wintery Nail Polishes

Sunday, 14 December 2014
Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be talking about some of my favourite wintery nail polishes. I have to admit that I've gone off nail polish a bit as of late but I'm sure I'll wear each of these at some point over the festive season. I think its just because I'm not allowed to wear nail polish at work, I hate putting it on knowing I have to take it off really soon. Plus I always seem to get the urge to paint my nails just before I go to bed even though I know it won't dry propely and it I'll get fabric print on my nail polish. First world problems! Anyway, these are my favourite wintery nail polishes.

Paprika by Barry M - This is a new addition to my collection this winter and I am absolutely in love with it. Its the perfect browny-orange colour. I'm one of those ridiculously pale girls(which I do try to embrace) and I feel it really compliments my skin tone. The Gelly Hi-Shine polishes from Barry M and 10x better than their regular range if you ask me, definitely worth the investment. This was part of their a/w collection and I would love all the colours.

Absinthe by Model's Own - Would you look at this one! Isn't it just the most perfect glitter polish? Absolute pain to remove mind you. I absolutely love the kind of matte but sparkly nails. It means that you don't get glitter everywhere, perfectly smooth finish. I also really love the velvet lid on the bottle as its part of the Velvet Goth collection. This would be perfect for a Christmas/New Years Eve party!

Dusky Mauve by Barry M - Whilst I am not a massive fan of the regular Barry M nail polishes, I am willing to make an exception for such a gorgeous nail polish. Dusky mauve is a beautiful mauve shade with finely milled lilac iridescent shimmer through out it. It looks absolutely beautiful in the winter sunshine.

Red Lustre by Model's Own - You can't beat a red at Christmas time! I think this is just the perfect red nail polish to wear along side some red lipstick. Its just a classic. It also looks amazing underneath glitter so I really recommend it. The Model's Own Hypergel range is such good quality! I also like that it gives off the slightly raised nail feeling that a real gel manicure does.

Siberian Nights by OPI(not cf) - Ok so this one isn't from a cruelty free brand(I'm sorry I'm sorry) but I have had this one for years and I love it. Siberian Nights is just the perfect dark purple. Infact it looks almost black at times. You really can't fault OPI on their quality, I could wear this for a week and it wouldn't chip.

What are your favourite nail polishes at the moment?

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Ways To Give Back This Christmas

Saturday, 13 December 2014
Hello everyone! Its coming up to Christmas which is a time for giving and being with family. Whilst spending money on my family and friend feels great it also feels amazing to donate some money to charities. Knowing that you're making a difference to someone who really needs it is a great feeling. We will all be happy, safe and warm this Christmas which isn't something that everyone else has. So I've decided to share a few of my favourite charities with you to hopefully inspire some people to give back this Christmas.

As someone who runs a book and lifetsyle blog. Its easy to say that book are very close to my heart and were a really big part of my childhood. But not everyone has the opportunities that I had growing up. Book Aid International help fund and stock libraries in some of the poorest African counties and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I buy books without even thinking about it but the reality of it is that libraries are often people's only supply of books. Infact, I even get sent books for free to review on this blog. So this Christmas I'm going to donate some money to Book Aid International in the hope that someday a child reads a book bought with my money. They also accept donations from publishers, in fact, they kind of rely on it. So I think if you're a book blogger, we should email/tweet our contacts in publishing and ask them to donate some books to them. Its the least we could do.

Liberty In North Korea are a charity that I only discovered last year but the work that they do is absolutely wonderful but very dangerous. Liberty In North Korea help North Korean refugees escape a brutal regime and reach South Korean soil. Most North Koreans escape into China and then have to have a journey to South Korea. If they are found living in China, the Chinese authorities will send them back to North Korea where they will most likely be put into one of the infamous camps. North Koreans are essentially not 'safe' until they are in South Korea. It costs approximately $3000 to save each refugee. This seems like a lot but if each of my BlogLovin' followers donated $10, we could save 6 refugees.

If you're struggling to find a present for an animal lover in your life, why not make a donation to The Retreat Animal Rescue? They're a UK based animal rescue charity with 3 branches. And they operate a no kill policy. They also have a program where they take in feral cats, neuter them and where they can, return them to where they came from. They house loads of different types of animals: from horses, to ferrets. If making a donation is not your thing then maybe buy them something from their Amazon Wishlist? They especially need a lot of horsey things so if you know anyone that loves horses(AKA my sister) I'm sure they would appreciate if you bought them some horsey supplies on their behalf instead of a gift.

The next time you go shopping could you spare some dried goods? Most large supermarket's have donation boxes/trolleys at the tills where you can donate foods to the local foodbank. They rely heavily on donations of dried foods with long shelf lives. Next time you're food shopping, add a few extra bags/packets into your trolley and give them a little donation. More and more people are turning to foodbanks in the UK which is so shocking. A bag of pasta/rice could really make a difference for someone. Or if like me, you'r a student and you're heading home for Christmas. You probably have some food in your fridge/cupboards that will go off whilst you're gone. Maybe put all that food in a bag and give it to a homeless person on your way to the airport/bus station/train station etc. I bet it would make their day!

What are your favourite charities to give to at Christmas? Help spread the Christmas cheer!

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Book Rainbow: Blue

Friday, 12 December 2014
Hello everyone! Today I've got another book rainbow post: blue. Blue is actually one of my least favourite colours for books. I don't know why its just never been one of my favourite colours. That being said, a lot of my favourite books have blue covers. Proves you can't judge a book by its cover.

Looking For Alaska by John Green - Ok, do I really need to go into this one that much? I feel like 3 years ago, no one knew John Green's books and now they're every where. Don't get me wrong, I still love them. But I think I also really liked recommending them to people who has never heard of them because they'd then fall in love with them and it was awesome. Whereas now everyone already knows about them. This one is about a boy who starts at a boarding school and is my 3rd favourite John Green novel.

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider - This one was probably one of my favourite books of the year. This is about a boy who used to be really popular until he was in a bad car accident that left him unable to play the sports that had made him so popular. Over the summer he realises that his friends weren't as great as he thought they were and he has to work out who he really is and who he really wants to be. This is called 'The Beginning Of Everything' in its US print, I don't know why there was a name change.

Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple - If you're looking for a fun quirky read, then you'll love this. Its made up of a collection of emails, letters etc found by the daughter of a woman who runs away/goes missing. She's trying to piece together the story and work out where her mother has gone. It sounds a bit morbid when I put it like that but trust me, this is a very funny story. Bernadette is such a funny character. Really recommend this! 

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - I actually really don't like this one. Its an interesting concept, its about hermaphroditism. However, it tells the story of a family over 3 generations and is just way too long. By the end of the novel I'd kind of forgotten what had happened at the start. I would still recommend this but wouldn't say you should read it unless you have a lot of time to give it. 

The Ask And The Answer by Patrick Ness - This is the second book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. This is also my favourite book in the series, which also happens to be one of my favourite series! The writing is beautiful, the covers are beautiful, Patrick Ness is beautiful. Yay, yay, yay! This is a series that gets really deep and goes into the moraility of war and whether people are born evil or become evil. Would seriously recommend this series to everyone. Its targeted as a YA book but I think adults would enjoy it as well.

The Life Of Riley by Joanna Nadin - This is just another book in the Rachel Riley series which is the diary of a teenage girl. These books are really aimed at younger teenagers but I can't bring myself to through them away. I really need to reread them. I'm getting the newest one for Christmas so maybe I'll reread them then.

What are your favourite books with blue covers?

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The Ghost Written Girl Online

Thursday, 11 December 2014
My my my, what a week its been in terms of Zoella's new book. After becoming the fastest selling debut novel of all time, its had a little crash. After Penguin told the Sunday times that "Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own". After that, the internet erupted and it seems to have created a divide. It seems that quite a lot of people don't care whether Zoe wrote the book or not. It sold over 78'000 copies in its first week because of Zoe's enormous fan base which, she built up by herself. In theory, people would have bought the book no matter what it was about, because it has her name on it and her fans wanted to support her. The other half of people feel angry, betrayed and lied to. Zoe mentioned several times in her vlogs that she was writing a book and now we are unsure how much of it she actually wrote, if any at all. Did she do this for the money? Did she do it for the extra views? To widen her network etc etc etc. There are a lot of things we don't know the answer to. So what are my thoughts?

To be honest. I have absolutely no idea where I stand on this, and maybe I'm writing this post so that I can get all my thoughts written down. But first of all, I really don't agree with the way that Zoe has handled the situation. After all the drama came out she tweeted that she was going to be taking a few days off of the internet. and since then there has been complete radio silence from her apart from one tweet explaining that she is not quitting YouTube for good as a few reporters are saying. And to me this says 'I can't handle criticism, I'm outta here.'. I think the best thing for her to do would to make a video, explaining in detail how much of the book was written by her and how much of it was not and apologising for any confusion that may have caused.

Because despite all of this we don't know how much of the book was written by her. There was ghost writer involved for sure, but did she write the whole thing or just help bulk it out a bit. When I was reading Girl Online, there were a lot of bits where I thought that Zoe's voice was really shining through. Admittedly, this was mostly during the cringey bits but hey, it was still there. If I had to put my money on it I would say that Zoe wrote a 'skeleton' of the book which was then filled out by someone else. I spend a lot of time running this blog. And its a small blog, I don't even edit my photos or anything. I can't even begin to imagine how much time Zoe spends just filming and editing her videos, never mind all the meetings she has to go to, emails she'll have to reply to etc etc. Full time YouTube really is a full time job, even if it is a rather cushy one. Was it naive of us to think she had written the whole thing in the first place?

When I subscribed to Zoella, the channel had about 800 subscribers, so I've really seen Zoe grow up on YouTube. I don't think she ever estimated that she would become this successful out of it. But she has and therefore she has to learn to deal with that, and that will involve a lot of criticism. It sucks, but its part of the job. I think she needs to come out of her 'hiding' and sort this mess out. I do think that people are being quite harsh over the whole thing. Yes, she isn't 100% innocent but we don't know what went down in the meetings over her book. Maybe she wanted to write the thing herself and we just don't know. I can imagine that when entering a new industry they know nothing about, people can be very easily swayed.

And the final thing I want to talk about. YouTube culture and books. A lot of people are unhappy with the fact that YouTubers and bloggers who did not set out to be writers, are now being offered book deals left right and centre. Some people will work their whole lives trying to become writers and never get published. And it sucks. A lot. It sucks mega balls and there is no denying that. But the thing is, the big people at the top of these publishing companies probably care more about making money. And that is exactly what Girl Online has done. But does this have to be a bad thing? Girl Online has probably boosted the profits of a lot of book shops. That can only be a good thing right? And hopefully, Penguin will use the money they made from Girl Online to sign up new authors, and publish loads more books.

So that's everything I have to say. In summary: I don't think Zoe is 100% innocent in this situation but I think people need to stop being so harsh towards her(online hate is not ok) and wait to see what she has to say about the situation. We want an explanation.

What do you think? If you'd like to see my review of Girl Online, you can read it here.

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GIVEAWAY: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Monday, 8 December 2014
Hello everyone. Today I'm going to be giving away a copy of The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I reviewed this book and the rest in the series on my blog yesterday, you can see that post here. I read this way back in the summer and after reading the first novel, I knew I wanted to read the whole series. I saw that it was on sale for £10 in The Works so I bought that set, meaning I have two copies of The Maze Runner. So I've decided to giveaway the new copy to one of you lucky readers. Books are one of my favourite things to giveaway on my blog as they seem to attract real, genuine readers rather than people that just enter giveaways for the sake of it!

UK only
You have 5 days to enter the giveaway
You must be following me on Twitter and BlogLovin'
Only entries from real accounts will be counted, not those made for entering giveaways.
If you don't reply within 24 hours I will contact another winner, I need to get this sent out before the xmas rush.

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Series Review: The Maze Runner

Sunday, 7 December 2014
Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be doing something a little bit different and reviewing all 4 of the books from The Maze Runner series in the one blog post. I think its good to know if all of the books in a series are good or not before you start it! This series consists of 3 novels and a prequel. The prequel is set before the first novel but I would recommend reading it after the other books as it will help your understanding of it.

The Maze Runner - This is the first book in the series and if you ask me, the best. This was so fast paced and I really couldn't put it down. I don't think it is particularly well written but I found myself totally immersed in the story line. The characters are all really well thought out and unique. They don't remind me of characters from other books which is something that I commonly find with YA novels. I really enjoyed it and I would recommend that everyone at least reads this one. Some parts of this were really terrifying, I think Dashner should go into writing horror novels! 

The Scorch Trials - I was expecting to like this a lot and to be honest felt very let down by it. Not to give too much away after getting out of the maze they discover that a disease has raged the earth and they need to help find a cure. This book didn't grip me as much as the first one did so it took me a while to read as I wasn't really motivated to pick it up. The world just completely changed and it wasn't really a setting I was interested in.

The Death Cure - This was basically an extension of the 2nd book and I felt the exact same way about it. Neither of them compared to the first one if you ask me. I think its actually quite popular for the last book in a trilogy to be the worst. Mockingjay I'm looking at you(did love the movie though)

The Kill Order - After not really enjoying the 2nd and 3rd books I was a little apprehensive going into this one. Its a prequel and goes into talk about how the disease mentioned in books 2 and 3 came about and how it spread. It focuses on a whole new set of characters so it was nice for a bit of a change. I liked this almost as much as The Maze Runner apart from the fact that parts of this are terrifying. There are some shit scary parts in The Maze Runner but they're all fictional, this one was the real deal.

Stay tuned as tomorrow I'm going to be giving away a copy of The Maze Runner right here on Water Painted Dreams.

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Blogger Interview: Sweet Serendipity

Saturday, 6 December 2014
Hello everyone! Today I'm going to be trying something new and interviewing another blogger. I've read a lot of these posts over the years but never actually written one myself, so now its my turn. My first interviewee is Shannon from Sweet Serendipity, my large advertiser for December. Shannon is a fellow univeristy student, avid reader and lifestyle blogger. I'd tell you more but then what would be the point of the interview? Lets get started!
Blog // Twitter // Instagram 

1. Tell us a little bit about your blog?

I’d definitely class my blog under the ‘lifestyle’ category. I pretty much write about anything that comes to mind but typically you will find posts about my everyday life, university, wishlists, book reviews and of course being a HUGE animal lover, my two cats Sadie and Jude and my old pony Rocky tend to feature quite heavily in the mix.

2. What else do you do apart from your blog? University, work, hobbies etc?

In and around blogging, I am actually studying an English Literature degree at the University of Reading – which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time! When I’m not at uni, I’m generally found at the local stables where Rocky is kept! Other than that, I tend to drink far too many cups of tea, have a slight obsession with scrapbooking and spend most of my spare time with my family as they mean the world to me.

3. Why did you start blogging?

I’ve always tried to keep a diary and it would always start out well but then I’d slowly give up again. One day I stumbled across a few blogs and spent a few months reading them before I built up the courage to start one of my own - it just made sense to combine my wishes to write a diary with my love for the internet and at the same time it gave me a way in to the huge community of bloggers that I was dying to be a part of!

4. What is your favourite ice cream flavour(we ask the important questions here)?

100% Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie!

5. Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Without a doubt a cat person, my theory is that if a cat didn't love you, it would just leave so if it stays then you know you’re loved by that cat!

6. Name your 3 favourite blogs?

This was really hard to narrow down as I read so many amazing blogs, but these are the three that I am constantly checking for new posts… Alphabeth (www.alphabeth.co.uk) , Charlotte’s Web (www.charlotteswebblog.co.uk) and Ellie’s Favourite Things (elliesfavouritethings.com)

7. What are your favourite books?

This is another hard question! I will have to go for A Room with a View by E.M.Forster and Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes. Both incredible books that you really need to read!

8. What is your favourite combination of pizza toppings(again on the imprortant questions)?

I’m not actually a huge fan of pizza, I generally just go for a margherita pizza with chicken on top. Boring, I know, but tasty!

9. Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

I’ve had a pony on loan for the past six years and from the age of 15 I paid for them entirely on my own. At one point I had my own pony, looked after another one and had three jobs alongside my GCSE’s, so I guess you can say that I am definitely determined and dedicated once I set my mind to what I want!

10. Give us a link to your favourite blog post that you've ever written!

I don’t know if I would say that this is my favourite post, but it is definitely one that I find myself constantly going back to and re-reading. It is from the day that I had to say goodbye to Rocky, my pony, before moving to university this year. It was the most difficult post that I’ve ever had to write but sometimes I like to read it again to remind myself of the good times that I had with Rocky before I had to say goodbye!

Thank you for some amazing answers Shannon. I hope you all enjoyed reading this post as hopefully this won't be my last blogger interview!

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Pluto Does Not Have Feelings

Friday, 5 December 2014
I have a bit of a pet peeve. And its not a very common one. I absolutely hate when people say that they feel sorry for Pluto being demoted to dwarf planet status. Pluto does not have feelings. Pluto is practically a giant rock. Giant rocks do not have feelings. There are actually a lot of really important reasons why Pluto is not a planet and is a dwarf planet. Pluto is no longer deemed a planet because a lot of really smart people put a lot of work into proving that its not.So the purpose of this blog post is to talk a little bit about why Pluto is no longer a planet, what makes it different from the other planets and who was behind the change.

1. Pluto does not have a circular orbit. Everything orbits around two fixed points. In the case of all the other planets, these points are so close together that the orbit is circular. Pluto's orbit points are far away, meaning it orbits in an elliptical. This means that at points in it's orbit it's actually closer to the sun than Neptune. This completely messes up the order of the solar system. It also means that its distance from the sun is not constant, and changes greatly with time.

2. Pluto does not have a large enough gravitational field. There are 3 criteria that need to be met for on object to be considered a planet. They need to 1) Orbit the sun 2) Be spherical and 3) Have 'cleared the neighbourhood' of its orbit. Pluto checks 1 and 2 but 3 is where it falls down. This means that there will be no other objects of a comparable mass in the area of its orbit. Pluto doesn't meet this criteria as it's only 0.07 times the mass of other objects in its orbit. Earth for example is 17 million times the mass of other objects in its orbit. Source.

3. Pluto doesn't fit in. Pluto is a small rocky planet. Its similar to the rocky planets(Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) but is found after the gaseous planets(Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune). Its a bit weird. In theory it should be made of gas but its not. Some scientists believe that Pluto did not originate in our solar system but was caught by the Sun's gravitational field and is now stuck here. Source.

When was Pluto denounced from its planet status?

After a 'planet' larger than Pluto was discovered beyond Pluto(Eris) a massive debate was started as to what defined a planet and whether both Pluto and Eris were planets or not. This debate led to the International Astronomical Union officially define a 'planet' in 2006. This definition states that a planet is a celestial body that is A) In orbit around the sun B) Has sufficient mass to assume hydrostatic equilibrium(ie it is spherical) and C) Has 'cleared the neighbourhood of its orbit'. As I've already gone into, Pluto does not do C and neither does Eris. So Pluto was denoted to dwarf planet status along with Eris. 

So there you go. There's some more information about what makes a planet a planet and why Pluto cannot be considered as a planet. If you were one of those people that felt sorry for Pluto I hope this has helped you see the light -wink wink-. Trust me, Pluto is not sad, its with its own kind now.

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