Saturday, 30 June 2012

Something For The Weekend

Something To Read
If you're starting you own business and hoping to sell your own art, crafts or anything else then it's super important to know how to price your product in a way that means that you get a decent profit while still ensuring that your customers don't feel ripped off.

Sadly we aren't all creatively minded and not everyone feels like they have skills to sell, so how can you find work that doesn't feel like work?

With summer on the way many of you will be thinking about where to travel to, so why not check out a Mini Guide to Iceland?

Something To Do
All you need is Photoshop and a graphics tablet, then you can add your handwriting to photos.

I do love iced coffee and I know I've posted a recipe before, but here's another one. This time it's a yummy mocha frappe!

Friday, 29 June 2012

TGIF: Best I've Read So Far


Best I've Read So Far: We're half way through the year (crazy how time flies!), which top 3 books are the best you've read so far this year?

I've read 40 books so far this year so narrowing it down to my three favourites was very difficult, mostly because I couldn't remember which ones I'd read so had to check my Goodreads reading challenge widget.

I decided to cheat a little bit and I've done my top three books that I picked and my top three books that I've had to review.

Top Three Books I've Reviewed So Far This Year:
The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning #1)
The Emerald Atlas: Review
Ranger's Apprentice The Ruins of Gorlan: Review
The Demon's Watch: Review

Top Three Books I've Chosen To Read This Year So Far:
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
A Game of Thrones
Friends with Boys
Friends With Boys

Thursday, 28 June 2012

From The Review Pile: Starcrossed


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.


This arrived yesterday. I haven't looked into it much but it sounds a of the mill? Gods seem to be the new big thing in YA. We've had vampires, we've had werewolves, we've had angels, now it's time for gods and goddesses. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm cool with trends and if it's what people want then it's what they want. It only irks me a little because whenever there's a trend there are some books that are right on the money and some that are way off base. I hope that Starcrossed is right on the money. I've seen a lot of really positive reviews for it but I've also seen some that completely run it into the ground until it's nothing but dust.

So, it should be interesting.

From Goodreads:
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is--now it's getting harder. She's having nightmares of a desperate desert journey, visions of three women weeping tears of blood. And why is she possessed by the sudden, unstoppable urge to kill the handsome new boy in school, Lucas Delos?
A love written in the stars . . .
A feud started in ancient Greece . . .
A curse not even the gods can break.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Page Turners: The Kissing Game

I am currently (still) reading:
The Kissing Game
The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers

Yep, still reading it.

Short stories and I have an odd relationship. As a kid one of my favourite books was Skin by Roald Dahl that was a collection of his short stories, they were so weird and surreal but I adored them and I can remember two of them to this day. But other short stories have failed to really grip me. I can only remember one other, which was read to me during one of my first ever university lectures. I don't remember it very well or who it was by, just that it really annoyed me because it didn't make any sense and it was left without a conclusion of any kind. 

But I've also written short stories and flash fiction, so I understand how it's created and why it is the way it is. But I've never truly loved it, and I sometimes feel like I'm missing something.

So, short stories and I don't always get along, but I'm always willing to keep trying and I thought The Kissing Game sounded really good from the blurb.

So far I haven't really been gripped. I've really enjoyed one story so far, the rest I'm not too bothered about. But I will be reviewing it so I won't spoil anything right now. It is a good book, the stories are good and the writing is good, but it hasn't blown me away yet.

From Goodreads:
United under the banner of flash fiction, this is a collection of stories, or little 'cells', complete in themselves but connected by the overarching themes of betrayal and revenge. All featuring teenagers and often with an unexpected twist, these frighteningly realistic stories will take you to the very edge and beyond.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sunday Catch Up

As you may have noticed, there's been less weekly updates. This is because I'm working on a project that I'm hoping to do on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays! So most of my week has been spent on my usual work but also on this project, which I'm not telling you about just yet because I'm a big meany.

Today my parents came to visit! My mum texted me the other night to ask if they could pop down and of course I said yes. Every so often they like to come down to see me and we go out for lunch, have coffee and just generally chat. They enjoy the change of scene and we also enjoy simply seeing each other.

This I love about seeing my parents:
We go out for lunch
We walk around town or along the beach
We then go somewhere different for coffee and maybe ice cream
We talk about what my sisters are up to, what other family members are up to, what I'm doing right now etc
They bring me new plants
They bring me food, often treats like chocolate and biscuits, this time they also bought weird instant curry things
My mum often includes odd little things, this time it was lots of pairs of socks and a half finished knitted blanket she thought I might like to complete
My mum always says hello to the gerbils and rats, even though she doesn't really like rats because their tails creep her out
They often pop in to say hello to my fiancé's grandma even though they don't have to, which is really kind. It's also pretty funny because my mum is deaf and my fiancé's grandma has Alzheimer's.

I especially love my parents because when I say things like "I'd really like to *insert activity here* one day" they don't just laugh at me. In fact they usually ask me how I would do such a thing, if you can make any money out of it and tell me that I might as well give it a go.

So, my fireplace now has two lovely green plants sitting on the hearth and the cupboard is stocked with yummy things! Hope everyone had as nice a weekend as I did!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Something For The Weekend

Something To Do
Dolly inspired hair tutorial
Big hair and kerchiefs, gorgeous. A Dolly inspired hairstyle.

I love friendship bracelets, always have, and I want to make them again. If you want to try to make some too, here's a great tutorial.

Something To Read
100 Things To Do Instead Of Procrastinating On The Internet
100 things to do instead of procrastinating on the internet! My issue isn't actually so much the internet but my incessant wandering around the house because I know I should be doing work but I'm not sure what to do with it, but this is still useful.

Go fish
How to feng-shui your home, or 'why Gala Darling bought goldfish'.

A Girl and Her Room: Portraits of Teenage Girl's Inner Worlds Through Their Bedroom Interiors.

Friday, 22 June 2012

TGIF: Authors Are Our Celebrities


Authors Are Our Celebrities: Have you ever contacted  an author you admired? How did that experience go?  If not, which author would you love to have a chat with?

I feel like I'm kind of cheating at this one because I was taught by authors while at university, so I'm in contact with quite a few, have met them, been to a few of their book launches, had classes with some and I am friends with up-and-coming authors too...but I've also had some authors contact me to say thanks for a nice review and I have had brief chats over Twitter/Tumblr with some comic book writers/artists too.

I've met/am friends with/was taught by:
Lucy Christopher
Steve Voake
Mimi Thebo
Lucy English
Carrie Etter
Elen Caldecott
Janine Amos
I'm sure I've missed quite a few people...

I've studied with/am friends with:
Sarah Benwell
Maudie Smith
Emma Carroll

I've met at events:
David Almond
Gill Lewis (also occasionally interact through Facebook/Twitter)

I've briefly chatted to online:
Sam Gayton
Tony Lee
Laura Jane Cassidy
Ross Campbell
Siobhan Curham
Conrad Mason

Writers, authors, artists, whatever. They're just people, so it's not very hard to talk to them really, and that's coming from someone who hates having to talk to people I don't know. I don't actually tend to talk to my writer/author friends about their work very much, we usually end up talking about other things like how they got a new puppy or how they've discovered an amazing new cafe or how they love this new book their reading. Sometimes we talk about writing related things, but I know that I often don't want to talk about my work. Mostly because it's not all that interesting to other people and also because sometimes I just don't want to share. It's similar to how I image my Dad doesn't want to come home from work and discuss the finer points of installing a boiler. He loves his job, but he doesn't want to talk about it all the time.

Sometimes it's nice to talk about something else. Being a writer or an artist can be very isolating and you sometimes lose contact with what's happening in the world because you're so invested in your own, so it's nice to have someone come over and talk about something new, something that's going on out there in the real world. It gives you mind a break from thinking about character development and plot holes.

I would love to talk to more comic book writers/artists. I follow my favourites on Twitter and some on Tumblr as well but I'd really like to meet them. Even if all I do is squeak "you're so awesome" at them and then run away. I'd also like them to sign one of their books for me or an official print. I'll have to save up my pennies so I can go to some conventions.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

From The Review Pile: Long Reach


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

Long Reach
Long Reach by Peter Cocks
Well, aside from the authors unfortunate surname that makes me snicker like the immature child I am, this looks pretty awesome.

Walker launched a new range of YA fiction last year and the first of the range is Long Reach. Overall it's got great reviews (averaging 3.95 stars out of 5 on Goodreads!) so it sounds like it's going to be good. I'm not particularly into thrillers and the blurb didn't really grab me but I am sure that there are loads of people who would adore it and it's great to see new YA fiction ranges as well as books that move in a different direction to what I normally see. So, hopefully it lives up to the hype!

From Goodreads:
17-year-old Eddie Savage is shocked to learn that the body of his brother Steve has just been washed up in the Thames. But he soon discovers something even more disturbing - that Steve had actually been working undercover for the police and was probably murdered in the line of duty.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Page Turners: The Kissing Game

The Kissing Game
The Kissing Game by Aidan Chambers

I don't read short stories very much, I'm not really sure why, I just don't, so I was really intrigued by this book when it dropped through my letterbox a few months ago. I ditched reading The Pledge to read this instead. I don't like the first story very much, it's a modern take on Cinderella and so far I don't feel like I know the character, Ursula, at all and find it all a bit hard to believe. 

From Goodreads:
United under the banner of flash fiction, this is a collection of stories, or little 'cells', complete in themselves but connected by the overarching themes of betrayal and revenge. All featuring teenagers and often with an unexpected twist, these frighteningly realistic stories will take you to the very edge and beyond.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sunday Update

This week has seen me catching up with Game of Thrones, I some how ended up being six episodes behind. During the final episode I had to pause because there was a seagull outside squawking and dive-bombing a fox that was standing on the front wall of our house, which was certainly weird! We live on the seafront so have a lot of seagulls, and we have a flat roof so I think they like to nest up by there, and we're opposite a small park so you often see local foxes trotting along the road and into the surrounding bushes. Game of Thrones was as amazing as always and I'm so sad that I have to wait a year for the next series, so I'll be buying the next book (A Storm of Swords) soon to get my fix.

I've been very naughty and not read the book I'm supposed to be reviewing next, and I'm considering ditching it for now because I'm just not getting into it at all. I can't pinpoint why though which is very annoying. Instead I've been reading comics, mostly Girly Volume 3, Shadoweyes, Temujin and Sam and Fuzzy: Fix Your Problem. All of which I recommend others read too, they're all very different to each other so if you don't fancy Shadoweyes, you might like Temujin, and so on.

It's Dickens Week in our town until next weekend and there's lots going on. I'm not really a Dickens fan but it's lovely to see everyone out, lots of people are in costume and there are Victorian carriage rides too which is pretty cool. There's also a small fair with stalls selling preserves, Victorian costume pieces, jewellery and such. We went to have a look yesterday and came back with American sweeties, so not very Victorian but very yummy. I might go back for a jar of marmalade because they have some delicious looking concoctions on display.

I've been working as usual but also working on my own project as well. So, it's been a relatively quiet week. 

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Something For The Weekend

Something To Buy
Cheeseburger Wrapping Paper Set
This is possibly some of the oddest but coolest wrapping paper I've seen in a long time.
Ready for action
I can't be the only person who has always wanted to put a camera on my pets so I can see what they get up to when I'm not around, right? I want a cat one too, with night vision, because I image a cat to be more interesting than a dog.

Speaking of cats, when we finally get cats of our own I think we'll have to get them this.

Something To Read
Who Needs Feminism?
This is a really interesting blog that shows why Feminism is still important, it's made up of photos of people contributing their own reasons for my they need Feminism, such as:

“I need feminism because I have the right to live my life the way I choose to!”


I need feminism because we live in a society where feminism is still a dirty word.


I need Feminism because I’m tired of being patronized and called selfish for choosing not to have children. 

Something To Make
Post image for American Flag Shorts DIY
American flag inspired shorts have been about for a while, and I can't be the only person who seems jean shorts and thinks "why should I pay £40 for something I can make myself with a pair of scissors?", well here's an easy guide to customize some old jean shorts to look even cooler without having to splash the cash at Topshop or H&M.

Quick and healthy Easter lunch from  Super Healthy Kids  : Granola with a sesame seed candy in the lower left compartment.  Hard boiled egg chick in the upper left. Main compartment contains sandwich (cut into a lamb)  Carrots, lettuce, red peppers, and red onions (all finger veggies, no fork needed). And a cup of cuties.
I have a thing for adorable lunch boxes. Look at it! I don't know if I could bring myself to eat it. 

Friday, 15 June 2012

TGIF: Most Valuable Book


Most Valuable Book: From your personal collection of books, which ones hold the most value to you - is it signed by the author? or maybe it's your favourite story of all time? Share it with us.

I have lots of books that are very, very special to me and here they are:

Yeah...just a few. As you can probably guess I tend to buy different versions of the same books a lot. 

I have two versions of The Hobbit here, but I also have another copy that isn't so special. The two here are special because one I've had since I was a kid and is an anniversary edition and the other is one of my favourite cover versions. The Hobbit is a firm favourite of mine, and you can probably guess from looking at the photo what other books are also favourites of mine.

The two versions of Skellig belong to myself and my fiancé and are both signed (see below). 

The little red book is Through The Looking Glass and I also have an old version of Alice in Wonderland. I really like Alice in Wonderland by the way. In getting these books out I also discovered that I have two identical copies of the Penguin annotated classics version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass which I didn't realise, I thought I had lost one of them so bought a new one because I couldn't bear not having a reading copy to hand.

I adore the Narnia boxset here but I also have another set of Narnia books, I have another copy of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe that would have originally been a part of a boxset, I also have the TV cover version, as you can see, and I have this copy of The Magicians Nephew which my Dad got me. I really like The Chronicles of Narnia.

The Little Grey Rabbit books, Betrix Potter books and Molly Moves House book are all childhood favourites. 

The Room With A View, The Go-Between, The Awakening and the Christina Rosetti poetry books are all from college and I love them to pieces. 

The Last Rabbit book contains a favourite poem (The Last Rabbit) which both my mum and I love. 

Earthsea Quartet was given to me by my sister and I still love it. 

Stolen, Flyaway, Fighback and Blood Hunters were written (and signed) by my former university tutors. 

Writes of Passage is the anthology that has a piece of my writing featured in it.

Signed books! Lucy Christopher and Steve Voake both taught on my university course and my masters course, they're wonderful people and I'm still in contact with Lucy. So of course I asked them to sign my books.

David Almond did a talk during the Bath Literature Festival a couple of years ago so I took the books along to be signed by him, I asked him to sign my fiancé's book too because he had to go to work so couldn't attend which was rubbish, but at least he now has a nice signed book.

I have a lot of books that I adore and I would be so sad if I ever lost them. This is also interesting because I think it accurately reflects what kinds of books I like, I obviously have a thing for fantasy and children's/YA books.

This week at The Paralian Girl:

Still to come:
Something For The Weekend
Sunday Catch Up

Thursday, 14 June 2012

From The Review Pile: 172 Hours On The Moon


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.
172 Hours on the Moon 

172 Hours On The Moon sounds really interesting, although I'm also not completely sure that I'll like it because I don't like horror/thriller elements very much. Which is weird when you consider that I love The Walking Dead. Overall it seems to be getting positive reviews so hopefully it will live up to that! I'm also intrigued because it's set in 2019, which isn't very far in the future at all.

From Goodreads:

It’s been more than forty years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2—a place that no one but top government officials even knew existed until now. The three winners, Antoine, Midori, and Mia, come from all over the world.
But just before the scheduled launch, the teenagers each experience strange, inexplicable events. Little do they know that there was a reason NASA never sent anyone back there until now—a sinister reason. But the countdown has already begun. . .

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Page Turners: Making Comics

I am currently reading:
Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels
Making Comics by Scott McCloud
Again. I probably re-read this book every few months, it's just so good. Even if you don't want to create your own comics it's an interesting read in regards to storytelling and how comics work. Scott McCloud has also written Understand Comics and Reinventing Comics which we also own and I've also read a few times too, but I love Making Comics the most.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Listen To This: Enya

Enya - Watermark

I love Enya. My Dad used to listen to Enya in the car so I have a lot of fond memories of her music and I always enjoy listening to it. I know that she isn't every bodies cup of tea, but I particularly like this song and urge you to give it a listen. It's a lovely, chilled way to start off your Monday morning.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sunday Catch Up

I spent most of this week in Yorkshire! My Grandpa and his wife were visiting from Canada so myself, my fiancé, my Mum, my Dad and my niece all popped up for a visit. We also saw my other grandparents who live near Leeds twice and did a bit of sightseeing too.

We visited Knaresborough, Whitby, Bradford, York, the Cow and Calf on Ikley Moor and stayed in a bed and breakfast my parents have been staying at for years and years which is on The Chevin ridge. So we did a fair amount of travelling around. We also drove through the North York Moors national park to get to Whitby because my Dad fancied taking the scenic route, a.k.a. he got lost.

The Cow and Calf, Ikley Moor

 It was very misty on the second day we went up, we didn't have the camera with us the first time because my parents just randomly decided to visit while we were on the way to the supermarket to get some shopping for my grandparents. My fiancé took these photos.


We only briefly visited Knaresborough. My Dad grew up very near to here, he used to go fishing in the river you can just see in the photos, and it's also where my parents got married! My fiancé took these photos at the top of town, near the castle.


This is why we visited York. My fiancé and I have been to York once before, and I've visited several times. When we first went to York together we discovered a small restaurant called El Piano. We had a big jug of hot chai tea and a selection of yummy dishes, all vegan by the way and all very, very yummy. Everyone must visit El Piano. All of the food is amazing and the staff are super friendly, it's always an award winning restaurant which is really no surprise. If you're ever in York and fancy some delicious nibble, check out El Piano.


 We walked up to the Abbey and the church next to it (as you can see above) to take some pretty photos. We didn't go into the Abbey because you have to pay and we're cheapskates, so we walked around the outside and saw some really pretty swallows darting about over the fields and one that was sitting on the telephone wire and chirruping away to it's buddies. It was adorable.

This was a little alleyway that looked like it just dropped away into the sea! There was actually a slipway just below, for a boat, but it still looks pretty awesome. 

A seagull sitting on Captain Cook's head.

Delicious Ferreo Rocher sundae from a cute little ice-cream parlour called Ice, it's next to the market square and we highly recommend that you visit them if you're in Whitby!

 The square outside city hall has awesome fountains and weird steam things, which you can see myself and my niece playing with.

 This is what Bradford station looks like, it has weird twisty sculpture things outside and has an overgrown patch next to the platforms. I've never been to an overgrown train station before, especially not in a city!

National Media Museum
A little collage of some of the things at the National Media Museum.
The three largest images are from the 'Life Before The Internet' exhibit.
From top to bottom, left to right:
Street Fighter arcade machine. Gaming consoles including Sega Megadrive, N64 and Snes. Kinect visualizer programme. My fiancé reaching into a curved mirror. Old television sets. Morph. Set from Wallace and Gromit The Wrong Trousers. The Wombles.

What we returned from Yorkshire with:
My Mum gave me the tin of Jubilee tea and the French cat books (French For Cats and Advanced French For Exceptional Cats), they are written in both French and English and are hilarious. The mug is from the Jorkvik centre in York. The animated origami is from the National Media Museum as is the Sign Language book, which my fiancé bought as a 'bathroom book', and the poster is an underground Super Mario Bros level which we've never seen anywhere else. The penguins and the York hoodie were bought for us by my parents, the hoodie is for my fiancé and the penguins are for both of us. My fiancé adores penguins by the way.

When we weren't in Yorkshire we were at my parents house in Essex. My Mum recently treated herself to a few quails and they are adorable! We have six of their eggs in our fridge and they're so tiny, when we cook them I will take a photo. The quails live in a long, tall run that my Mum made so that the local fox won't bother them, their run also contains some plants, bark chippings and two sand baths for them to play about with. They also have a little house at the end to shelter in.

So yes, that was my week! Next week's update will not be anywhere near as exciting.
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