Thursday, 26 January 2017

New thing every week in 2016 #2

This is the second post in my 'new thing every week in 2016' series - you can read the first post here.

I love documenting one new thing I do every week, however big or small. This instalment is a pretty good mix of big exciting things and terribly mundane ones... here's what I got up to between 11th March and 19th May 2016!

Week 11: Went to the top of the CN Tower in Toronto

Week 12: Went to Toronto Island 

Week 13: Ate cream tea at a wedding 

Week 14: Had a meeting in the Harvester 
(yes, this was obviously a very dull week!)

Week 15: Went to Cafe Citta

Week 16: Got layers in my hair 

Week 17: - Went to the Stable 

Week 18: Bought plant pots for the garden 

Week 19: Went to the gym in the middle of a working day 

Week 20: Attended a conference in the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea

I'm sure you can spot the terribly mundane entries, as well as noticing that I ate a lot of pizza during these ten weeks! Check back next week for the next instalment in my 'new thing every week in 2016' series. 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

New thing every week in 2016 #1

Last year, inspired by Liz at Distract Me Now Please, I started my 'new thing every week' series. I really enjoyed recording the new things I'd done every week, both big and small, so I thought I'd continue the trend for 2016.

I'm not always very good at making a conscious effort to do something new every week which means that the entries aren't always particularly exciting. However, I'm still impressed that I've somehow managed to do a brand new thing every single week for two years!

I'm going to split this series into five instalments which I'll publish over the next few weeks.

So, to begin with, here are the new things I got up to between 1 January and 10 March 2016.

Week 1: Tried adult colouring books

Week 2: Bought a star-shaped bowl

Week 3: Went to Locke and Remedy

Week 5: Went to Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Week 6: Got up early on a Sunday and watched a film instead of reading in bed!

Week 7: Walked to The Captain's Wife

Week 8: Had afternoon tea at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich

Week 9: Had a hot chocolate at the Wales Millennium Centre

Week 10: Marched to Cardiff city centre as part of the Homes for Wales rally 

It's definitely been a nice varied bunch for my first instalment... check back in a few days for the next post in the series! 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

What I read in 2016

I set myself a target to read 50 books in 2016, just like I did in 2015. Although I fell 4 books short of that figure, I'm still pleased that I managed to read 46 brand new books during a pretty busy and turbulent year.

Rather than giving a mini review of each book like I did last year, I thought I'd use a traffic light system to categorise the books I've read. I love categorising and I love colour coding so this is the perfect solution! All the books I loved and raved about fall under the 'recommended' category, books I didn't fall in love with but which others might enjoy fall under the 'unsure' category, and books I thought were either terrible all the way through or had an awful ending which rendered the whole book a waste of time fall under the 'not recommended' category.

As you'll see from the extensive list below, I read lots of my usual crime fiction books in 2016. Also, as a result of Kindle recommendations and daily deals, I read quite a few psychological thrillers last year. It turned out my mind was a little too fragile to deal with those types of books at the time but hopefully I'll be able to go back to that genre at some point. Due to being so stressed out during the second half of the year and unable to read anything too frightening and/or twisted, I regressed to my childhood and read a few teenagers' books as recommended by Liz over at Distract me Now Please. These books kept me entertained before, during and after the recovery from my operation and they were perfect for my traumatised mind. I also read a few non-fiction books last year, as well as a screenplay, so it's fair to say that last year's books were a very mixed bag of genres, formats and recommended age ranges!

1. Only the Innocent, Rachel Abbott - Recommended
2. Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking, Susan Cain - Recommended
3. Sleep tight, Rachel Abbott - Recommended
4. The strange case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson - Unsure
5. The Back Road, Rachel Abbott - Recommended
6. Nowhere Child, Rachel Abbott - Recommended
7. The Disney Book - Recommended
8. Kill me again, Rachel Abbott - Recommended
9. Dead Lost, Helen H Durrant - Recommended
10. Someone to watch over me, Madeleine Reiss - Not recommended
11. Behind closed doors, B A Paris - Recommended
12. Between you and me, Lisa Hall - Recommended
13. The Accident, C L Taylor - Recommended
14. While my eyes were closed, Linda Green - Recommended
15. Into thin air, Jon Krakauer - Unsure
16. Clean and Lean Diet, James Dulgan - Not recommended
17. Forget me not, John Hemmings - Unsure
18. The Darkest Secret, Alex Marwood - Recommended
19. Play Dead, Angela Marsons - Recommended
20. Dark Houses, Helen Durrant - Recommended
21. Gone, T.J.Brearton - Not recommended
22. Grey, E L James - Not recommended
23. Not quite dating, Catherine Bybee - Unsure
24. Angus, thongs and full-frontal snogging, Louise Rennison - Recommended
25. A year of Marvellous Ways, Sarah Winman - Unsure
26. Out of bounds, Val McDermid - Recommended
27. Playing with Fire, Tess Gerritsen - Recommended
28. It's ok, I'm wearing really big knickers! Louise Rennison - Recommended
29. Knocked out by my nunga-nungas, Louise Rennison - Recommended
30. Dancing in my nuddy-pants, Louise Rennison - Recommended
31. And that's when it fell off in my hand, Louise Rennison - Recommended
32. Then he ate my boy entrancers, Louise Rennison - Recommended
33. Startled by his furry shorts, Louise Rennison - Recommended
34. Luuurve is a many trousered thing, Louise Rennison - Recommended
35. The little bookshop of lonely hearts, Anne Darling - Unsure
36. The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins - Recommended
37. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, John Thorne - Unsure
38. Murder most unladylike, Robin Stevens - Recommended
39. Go set a watchman, Harper Lee - Recommended
40. Tell me no lies, Lisa Hall - Not recommended
41. Dead and Buried, Helen Durrant - Not recommended
42. Dead Nasty, Helen Durrant - Unsure
43. Blood Lines, Angela Marsons - Recommended
44. The Forgotten Woman, Angela Marsons - Recommended
45. Stop in the name of pants, Louise Rennison - Recommended
46. Are these my basoomas I see before me, Louise Rennison - Recommended

So those are the books I read in 2016... I'm looking forward to reading many more in 2017! 

Thursday, 5 January 2017

What I had for Christmas!

I love writing 'what I had for Christmas' posts, as well as reading other people's posts about their Christmas gifts. Writing these posts gives me a chance to document all my presents before I find homes for them (or eat them!) and it's a great opportunity to thank people again for their kindness. Just like every other year, I had lots of lovely presents from family and friends and I'm excited about showing them all to my readers!

I'm not writing a lengthy Christmas haul post this year as I'm going to write more detailed reviews throughout the next few weeks on my Pandora gifts, my Disney Traditions gifts and so on. However, the photos below give an excellent flavour of what I've received over the last few weeks.

This pile includes lots of toiletries, hot water bottles, hot chocolate and
heart-shaped scourers!

Lots of Pandora gifts, pyjamas, slippers, dressing gown, scarf, pom pom,..
I've already worn all the items in this photo at least once. 

More Pandora and toiletries! CDs, DVDs, gift vouchers, alcohol,
candle, kitchen equipment... 

I'm not even going to attempt to name everything in this pile
as there's so much of it... rest assured that it's all great! 

I've photographed this one on its own so that you can see it in detail.
Beautiful personalised phone case from Venice from my in-laws!

My parents also bought us a microwave for Christmas...
this one wasn't wrapped up underneath the tree as it was a bit big
and we were in desperate need of a new one before Christmas!

I love buying presents for other people as much as I love receiving them and I always put a lot of thought into other people's gifts. With this in mind, I'm considering blogging about some of my favourite presents I bought for other people as well as blogging about the presents I receive next year... any thoughts? I thought it could be an interesting twist on the usual theme!

I'm always sad when Christmas is over but, on the plus side, I have all these lovely gifts to enjoy and to keep me entertained for the foreseeable future. 

Have you written your own Christmas haul post? Send me a link if so, I'd love to read it!