The Great Book Buying Ban 2016


OH YEAH. The annual book buying ban is upon us. And I, for one, am strangely excited.

I mean, OBVIOUSLY I’m excited at the moment because it’s a long weekend and it’s nearly pay day and now I have the perfect excuse for a last minute book haul (or else how would I cope with nothing to read?), but weirdly I’m excited about the whole ban too.

The thing about moving house is that you begin to realise how much STUFF you have. I’m actually pretty brutal – at least four times a year I’ll have a little purge of the books I don’t intend to read again – but still, I’ve managed to keep hold of a surprising amount of books.

(And seriously, lets not even get started on cookbooks… sigh.)

I think part of growing up is the realisation that you don’t NEED to have everything. I can’t say I’ve ever been materialistic, but I do have an obsessive personality. If I see something I like, I will usually buy it more than once, simply because I love it so much. And books… books are the worst. I have a terrible tendency to pick up budget books from supermarkets on a whim and then hate them (According to Yes, I’m looking at you!), but if they look pretty they’ll probably hang around on my shelf for too long.

Anyway, to cut the waffle, I’m announcing my book buying ban. From September 1st until December 25th, I will wholeheartedly try to avoid spending money on books. I will probably try to maintain the rules I made last year; although I’m adding a few extras:

If I am visiting a town with a local INDEPENDENT bookshop, I may buy ONE book from them. Because I’m not about to stop supporting small businesses, you know?

Any books I do buy during the book buying ban should be books I intend to keep forever (aka my Penguin Classics collection).

Unlike last year, when the book buying ban was created primarily to save money, this year’s ban comes from a different place. By stopping myself from buying so many books, I’m hoping to make use of other methods of finding reading materials (essentially I want to use the library again). I might EVEN try to organise a books swap or something… now won’t that be exciting!

Yay for books! Yay for libraries! Yay for… book buying bans?


So what do you think? Care to join me on my book buying ban mission? Any tips for not breaking at the final hurdle? And which books should I stock up on, before the ban starts?!

A Great British Bake Off Inspired Haul


Not going to lie, I am just about ready to explode with excitement over the new series of The Great British Bake Off. (Seriously though, that delay because of the Olympics?? NOT OVER IT.)

I know to anyone who ISN’T British, a show about a baking competition sounds insanely dull, but there’s a reason TGBBO has become a national favourite. Yes, my life revolves around food (and you all thought it was books I obsessed over…!), but there’s something so safe and comforting about the show that I’m pretty sure I’d love it regardless. Hey, it’s the middle class, garden centre loving, grown up me. Not ashamed.

Anyway, to prolong my enjoyment of TGBBO, I’ve made a few little investments over the past few weeks. And in true blogger style, I feel the need to show them off asap, you know?


Twist – Martha Collison
I really ummmed and ahhhed about buying this book – not because it’s not lovely, but because I already have an entire shelf dedicated to SWEET baking books, and I don’t really need to add to my collection. And on one hand, I was right – Twist is full of wonderful recipes for things that I kinda already know how to bake – but on the other hand, Martha is basically a flavour Goddess.

Recipes that need to get in my belly right now please:


Nadiya’s Kitchen – Nadiya Hussain
Ah, good old Nadia. Again, I really wasn’t expecting to buy this, but the food festival we went to at the weekend had a cookery book stall and the rest is history. I didn’t get to see Nadiya’s baking masterclass, but I DID fall head over heels in love with this book. Unlike Twist, a lot of the recipes are savoury, which hopefully means I’ll get a little more use out of them… we’ll see!

Recipes that need to get in my belly right now please:


Celebrations – Linda Collister
IT’S THE OFFICIAL BAKE OFF BOOK, GUYS. I mean, it’s last year’s edition, but I found it and needed it and now I have it. (I really do have a cookbook problem…) Anyway, I really love the concept behind Celebrations: it’s a cookery book designed to encourage you to share in the wonder of all things, big or small. Again, it’s a mix of sweet and savoury recipes, and they all just look TO DIE FOR. ‘Nuff said.

Recipes that need to get in my belly right now please:


Great British Cake Show Colouring Book
Okay, so this isn’t TECHNICALLY related to GBBO, but just look at it. Yes, it’s unbranded, but it’s possibly the most obviously unbranded book out there. Cute. Anyway, I am IN LOVE with my new colouring book (and yes, I do say that nearly every month…). IT’S PICTURES OF CAKE! And bake ware! For the sole purpose of being coloured in… ahhh. Seriously though, imagine snuggling up with a hot chocolate, some fresh toast with homemade jam, an episode of GBBO and this colouring book… Heavenly, amiright??


I’m also planning to get involved with Amanda and Ala’s  Bake Off Bake Along, so look forward to a delicious recipe for once a week! Yaaaaay!


Soooo… are you a fan of The Great British Bake Off? Will you be watching tonight too?

Book Blogging: Tips from Molly Makes (2014 Blogging Edition)


OKAY. Just a heads up: I’m grumpy ’cause I just wrote this post as a review, then realised it was kind of useless to you and so that’s 770 words wasted. So now I’m starting again. GRRRRRRRRR.

Oh, and just putting it out there: Molly Makes: Blogging is targeted towards bloggers who intend to move their blogs from hobby to career territory. These tips should be applicable to both hobby and career bloggers, so just take what you will from them.


1. Go self-hosted. We’re talking the difference between ad Not only is the first short and concise and memorable, it’s also more professional, ’cause it shows you’ve invested in your blog. Yes, self-hosting can be costly, but you can usually find good deals if you look around. Personally, I use Blue host, and have never had any problems with it.

2. Create the content you’d like to read. This is actually a tip from the interview with A Beautiful Mess, but it’s something I wholeheartedly agree with. Since May I’ve been trying to move away from the regular bookish posts to things I’d actually like to read – book-inspired adventure posts, outfit posts, unconventional reviews, etc. And, not surprisingly, I’m loving it. Write what you love, and people will love what you write.

3. Try something different. Blogging is a super-saturated hobby, so if you want to stand out you need to be unique. And the only way to be unique is to try something new, see how it goes, and make it your signature piece. Popular forms of content currently include: lists, storys, reviews (possibly not THAT different in the book blogosphere), tutorials, photos, opinion pieces, controversial arguments, interviews, contests, predictions and round ups. Try to put a bookish spin on one of these and just see what happens! (If you need some more inspirations, you can find 50 book blog post ideas here.)

4. Plan. Plan, plan, plan and then plan some more. Yes, you absolutely can blog when you wing it, but… what about those days when it’s raining and you’re tired and you just don’t want to blog? And when those turn to weeks? Months? That’s how blogging hiatuses happen – and eventually, the sure fire way to lose your hobby.  So make plans. Content planning SOUNDS scary, but actually, it doesn’t have to be. I tend to plan my content in monthly blocks, and it takes about twenty minutes. It’s easy, and fun! (If you like planning, I mean.)

5. Think about your photos. People LIKE pretty things. People especially like pretty books – why do you think bookstagram is so popular? – so take. some. photos. I am by no means a great photographer; my post photos are usually grainy and over/under exposed. But I try, and I’m getting better. People appreciate that fact, and would usually much prefer to see a pretty picture than a graphic taken from a website. Just sayin’.


And there you have it! Five tips from a possible now-unavailable blogging resource. Do you agree with the advice? Will you use any of the tips?

There May Be Trouble Ahead*


*My boyfriend chose the title. Forgive me, okay?

So, lately I’ve been struggling to find blogging inspiration. It may have something to do with the fact that I have a lot of changes going on around me at the moment, but I think there’s another issue too.

As I scrolled through my Bloglovin’ feed the other day it hit me: not one of the blogs I read and enjoy is a book blog. And yet, for some reason I firmly believe TQP is a book blog. You know, even though I can’t write a review to save my life and would rather talk about ACTING OUT a book than reading it…

Anyway, I think you can guess where this is going… TQP is OFFICIALLY becoming a bookish lifestyle blog. OH YEAH.

To be honest, I’ve been heading in that direction for some time, so I can’t imagine much of the content will change. My life will continue to revolve around books, so there’ll still be the odd review and bookish link up. I’ll still be participating in readathons and acting out stories and baking bookish cakes and all that jazz… I’ll just be throwing a bit more of ME into the mix.

As most of you know, my boyfriend is joining the army for a trial period soon, which will be the first time in years that we won’t be seeing each other every. single. day. 2016 is a huge year for the two of us (helllloooo huge mortgage and exciting house things), and I want to make sure I document it as much as possible.

Which means sharing it, on here, for all the world to see. Whoop.

Anyway, I’m telling you this because I know that some of you will hate the new direction that TQP is going in. I’m not going to be getting excited about ARCs (not that I ever have, really….). Not every post will be a book review. And I probably won’t be telling you about books I hated, because I’m aiming to keep TQP as positive a place as possible. I’m not really a book blogger anymore… more of a book-themed lifestyle blogger.

Hope that’s okay with you.


Okay, be honest: what do you think of the changes ahead? Aaaand are there any posts/series that you’d like me to keep?? Let me know in the comments!

Things I Learned That Time I: Read 878978* Photography Books

*Okay, well… three.


And two of them aren’t exactly serious photography, you know? Aaand one of them is about food photography, so possibly not EXACTLY relevant to book bloggers…

Whatever. A tip is a tip, right??


– Explore with your camera – literally and figuratively! Take your camera around with you for a day, and see whether you can find an artistic way to capture the things you see on a daily basis. Alternatively, just explore your camera – set up an image, and fiddle with the settings until you know EXACTLY what does what. Obviously you could just read the manual, but this way is more fun!

– Try to create a theme across the photos you want to share that is specific to you. Include coffee cups if you’re a coffee addict, or pens and notepads if you identify as a writer. My photos are pretty bare because they fit my accidental-minimalist theme – I just hate clutter! Other ideas for props include everyday items, such as umbrellas, cameras, flowers/leaves, instruments, hair accessories, make up etc. Try to choose something that is meaningful to YOU, and use it as a recurring feature in your photos. That way people will start to associate whatever the item is with you! (Bookstagram is a simplified, massive scaled version of this – every photo will relate to books, but bookstagrammers all have their own unique props that they like to use.)

– Pay attention to your lighting. Shoot in natural light wherever possible, but don’t be afraid to add artificial lighting if you really have no choice. I’d rather see a well lit photo than a too-dark, over-edited grainy one, personally! If you’re shooting outside, try to keep your subject in the shade to avoid over-exposure and distorted colours.

– Try a challenge. Yes, the bookstagram monthly challenges are pretty fun, but another idea is to choose one subject and attempt to take 50 DIFFERENT photos of it. This forces you to explore angles and to look at the subject in a completely different way, and is INCREDIBLY HARD. Alternatively choose an ever-changing subject (like a plant, or even yourself), and take a photo of it every day for a month. Practice really is key with photography.

– Don’t forget the rule of thirds when considering composition – rather than centring your image, you can create more aesthetically pleasing photos by positioning the subject in different ‘thirds’ of your image. Most cameras are fitted with a grid option to help you experiment with this!

– Find complimentary colours to make your photos ‘pop’. Try pairing red and green, orange and blue, yellow and purple or black and white items together.


Whoop! Share your best photography tip in the comments!

Guess Who’s Back?!


Ummmmm… that would be me.

HELLOOOOOO INTERWEBZ! I have returned to you in all of my grumpy, kinda-boring glory. Except I kind of haven’t, ’cause this post is basically a filler post in which I fill you in on changes in my life and this blog.

I moved house. Yep, I am now a homeowner, which means I am a) in debt to the tune of £150000 and b) tied to my boyfriend for the next 35 years (not that that’s an issue, I guess). The joys of being a grown up, right? Anyway, the reason I’ve not been blogging much lately is because we’ve only just had our internet connected. It’s been a tough few weeks, guys!

I bought a new car. Which is entirely irrelevant to you, but it means I can add another entry to my list.

Technically hasn’t happened yet, but it’s coming soon and will impact slightly on my blog, so I may as well share it anyway: PB’s joining the army. In September he’ll be embarking on a 12 week potential officer course, during which I will be ALL ALONE in our new house, with nothing to do and no one to talk to. Sob. Anyway, basically that means posts from now until September will be sporradic at best, as I try to spend as much time as humanly possible with my boy. Then, in September TQP will be back in full force as I try to distract myself from my loneliness. Eeep.


Anyway, that’s enough about me and my plans for now. How are you doing? In the infamous words of Moriarty, did you miss me? And is there anything you’d like to see on TQP soon-ish??? Leave a comment (I’m actually going to try to reply again… shocker!!)!

Non Fiction: Sane | Emma Young



1. Mindfullness, meditation, yoga, tai chi… they’re all essentially the same thing, with the same benefits. Obviously the practices are different, but each approach brings about focused relaxation, which, when practised regularly, can have a major impact on day to day life. And when I say regularly, I mean everyday. Apparently it’s important to meditate in your chosen manner continuously, but only for 10-20 minutes at a time. Manage that, and you could unlock an ability to calm yourself, improve your sleep, become better tempered, worry less, and enjoy life more.

2. Exercise and mental wellbeing go hand in hand (sadly!). You already knew that, I’m sure, but the important thing that Emma stresses is that while you are exercising, your body and mind will NOT thank you for it. It’s totally normal to HATE every. single. moment. of exercise, but actually, that shows that it’s working, apparently. Your body can deal with stress, and some stresses – reading an exciting book, doing something challenging for work, working out – are important to feel regularly. It’s the everyday stresses that are to be avoided, and exercise can help with that. Turns out that when you relax after exercise, your mind relaxes too, which can help calm you for the next 3-5 hours. Yay!

3. Food can affect your mood, but don’t believe everything you read in the magazines. Fad diets are just that: fads. Often with no real scientific/medical backing, too. Yes, eating healthy foods is likely to make you feel better, but you need that balance to ensure you get all the minerals. Long story short: eat like you know you should.

4. Sleep as much as you need. Don’t feel guilty if you get less than 7 hours a night. As long as you feel fine, your brain and body will be fine too. Similarly, if you need more than 7 hours, that’s okay! Listening to your body is the key.

5. TRY to be optimistic. Believing is half way to achieving, and all that jazz.


Errrrmmm… that’s about it, really. As you can probably tell, I kinda lost interest in Sane towards the end. To be honest, I was a bit confused about the whole premise of the book – was it an advice book? A self-help guide? To achieve what, exactly? – but it wasn’t an unpleasant read. I LIKE the idea of not being stressed. I LIKE the idea of being anxiety free. I LIKE the motivational factor of a book like this, full of tips and advice and scientific studies… but it’s essentially common sense. Still, for my first foray into non fiction, Sane was surprisingly satisfactory.

What do you think of non-fiction? Do you have a compulsion to take notes, like me? And have you bowed to the mindfullness craze yet??

Bronte Month | 19 Thoughts When Reading: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall | Anne Bronte

Urgh. Longest title ever, amiright??

Also, to pre-warn you: this post is a little bit sweary. Not really sure why… maybe Classic lit just brings out the uncultured swine in me?


1. Oh, I LOVE how the Victorian writers feel the need to give their novels purpose by pretending they’re letters to some vague acquaintance. Can you imagine writing a 480 page letter about your wife’s harrowing past to some bloke who’s mildly offended with you for not telling him all about your past? But that’s the context that we’re given, regardless.

2.  So I know I’m not supposed to like Helen yet, but I do. She’s opinionated and obstinate and spends her life actively avoiding people. She’s like me, but… grumpier, if possible.

3. Not going to lie, my favourite parts of Classic novels are the bits related to the Victorian social scene. I love me a little bit of gossip and a thinly veiled insult!

4. Ahhhhh, how cute is Arthur? He’s just a five year old who loves his mummy and some dogs. So sweet!

5. I do like the fact that the narrator/love interest is a bit of a knob. Markham’s no hero to rescue Helen: he’s just a well meaning but flawed man.

6. Oh look, here’s a misunderstanding to fuel an argument and create romantic tension, because that’s NEVER been used as a plot device in a Victorian novel before.

7. Now we have an abrupt switch to Helen’s pov… through Markham’s letter. So it’s Markham recounting Helen’s writing in her diary, before he even knew her. It’s all a little bizarre and jarring.

8. Shocker: young Helen is too headstrong to listen to her well meaning Aunt’s advice and marries the wrong guy. (Having said that, she had to choose between an old, ugly bore and a charming handsome ‘gentleman’. Neither option had a happily ever after for her.)

9. PB take note: if we are married you are never allowed to leave me for three months to go boozing and drugging and prostituting in London. That is just not acceptable behaviour. (Why was it okay then? Urgh, patriarchal society makes me sad).

10. How are the Victorian’s so blase about childbirth? They’re all like: ‘a year ago I was a newly wed. Now I am an experienced wife. My husband is a dick. Oh, and I popped out a baby. Probably could have mentioned that I was 9 months pregnant in the last chapter, but… no biggie.’

11. Oh noes, here’s the adultery. I hate adultery. Hate it even more when it’s essentially the man’s RIGHT to have a mistress, and the wife just has to put up with it.

12. Domestic abuse in the Victorian era is horrific. Genuinely not sure if I can continue reading this…

13. I’m also really loving the redemption theme that runs parallel to Helen’s story. Millicent’s husband turns out to be rather lovely, in the end.

14. F*ck, there’s an attempted rape scene. Were women even allowed to talk about such things back then? Anne Bronte was a brave lady, that’s for sure.

15. Actually, the escape scene was rather more simplistic than I’d expected. But they’re free, and that’s adorable.

16. Ummmm… why were Victorians such martyrs? Helen basically says: ‘you know my secret and you know that I’m in love with you, so never contact me again even though you are the main source of happiness in my life.’ Yeah. Logical.


18. Oh, and look: even on his deathbed, he’s STILL a twat. What a knobhead.

19. AWWWWW. It’s okay, guys. There’s a fairytale ending.


So this was actually kind of a cheat, because I half-read Tenant a few years ago (I got up to point 13 and then DID DNF). But I wasn’t blogging then, so I’ve never reviewed it, or finished it until now. I’m actually really pleased that I did pick it up again, because it’s probably been my favourite read of the month! Tenant is very easy to read, as Classics go; there’s an emotive subject and engaging characters and depravity and… yeah, it’s just really, really good. I’m actually quite surprised at how relevant it is today – no, women aren’t forced to marry now, and yes, they can file for divorce, but domestic abuse and alcoholism are things that we still hear about all the time.

Actually, I have a bit of an issue now, in that Anne Bronte maaaay have overtaken Charlotte as my fave author… hmmph.


Have you read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall? Or will you? What were your thoughts?

Bronte Month | Worlds of Ink and Shadow | Lena Coakley


Can we just talk about how excited I was when I stumbled upon this BEAUTIFUL hardback novel in a tiny independent book shop in a little local town?

It was like all the stars collided and all my favourites things happened at once. Fabulous book? Check. Supporting local businesses? Check. Cafe Nero Tiramisu Frappe in hand? Check.

That was a very good day. And that was BEFORE I realised that Worlds of Ink and Shadow is a YA novel based on the Bronte siblings. (PB told me off for squealing in a silent bookshop. My bad.)

Anyway, how cool is that? It’s fiction, but based on a family of writers that is my fave (and it maaaaay have had something to do with the idea conception for Bronte Month. Possibly.). I actually researched the Bronte family before reading WoI&S, just so I had some idea of what was real and what was fictionalised, and I hadn’t realised just how fascinating the siblings were.

Nor had I thought about how heartbreaking their story was, either. But more on that later!

As I was saying, WoI&S is fictionalised – I highly doubt Charlotte and Branwell ever literally crossed over into their imaginary worlds – but the theme of magic was beautifully woven throughout the plot. There was much talk of gytrashes (folklore which features again in Jane Eyre – remember her first encounter with Rochester among the mist?) and Old Tom, which did add an air of ancient wonder to the plot. (Also, it was lovely to read about some proper English myths. Even living here, you rarely hear about them now.) Having said that, there were a handful of scenes set about the family home which were fascinating – Lena Coakley dropped in historically accurate facts about the time and family life of the Brontes (for instance, though they were relatively poor, the girls all wore silk dresses because their father was too worried about cotton ones going up in flames), and I loved the interactions of the family.

Oh, and speaking of family, let’s talk Branwell. I actually think he was presented really well – as the only boy of the family, he was spoiled, but rather resented his sisters’ freedom to do as they wished – the males being expected to support the family, after all. His relationship with Charlotte was my favourite; she resented the fact that the art teacher that should by right be HERS was employed for him (Charlotte was a talented artist, as well as a writer); whereas he resented her talent. Branwell was just a funny character – peculiar, I mean, not haha. He loved his siblings and hated them, appreciated the fact that he was spoiled and yet still expected more, and ended up drinking himself into a stupor. I can’t say I liked Branwell, but he did add an interesting point of tension.

As for the others… well, Charlotte was my favourite. Sensible and creative, Coakley implied that Charlotte had the most power over their imagined world. Emily was simply depicted as romantic, and Anne was quiet – I feel like their characters weren’t given as much depth as Charlotte and Branwell’s, which was a shame because ANNE! (Still remaining to be convinced on Emily.)

Urgh, this review feels pretty crappy, to be honest. It’s getting long and I’m getting frustrated, so we’ll start rounding it up now: I really enjoyed Worlds of Ink and Shadow, but more for the focus on the Brontes familial context than for the plot. I feel like THIS review sums the plot up nicely – it’s just a little… confusing and bewilerding and even a little boring. It is nice to see the beginnings of characters who would later become infamous romantic heroes/antiheroes, and the little snippets that are recognisable from the Bronte stories were fun to find too. I’d recommend for anyone fascinated by Victorians or the Bronte family or historical-vaguely-magical novels, but I do feel like the plot leaves a little to be desired.

And I’ll leave you with the last sentence in the book:

‘The Reverend Patrick Bronte survived all six of his children.’


So… would you read Worlds of Ink and Shadow


Bronte Month | Agnes Grey | Anne Bronte


Ahhh, Anne Bronte. I always image Anne to be the sweet little good girl of the Bronte family (an idea helped by Worlds of Ink and Shadows, no doubt!), and the main character of Agnes Grey is EXACTLY THE SAME.

You might think that reading a story about a Victorian goody-two-shoes would be dull, and… to be honest, it kind of is – but in a GOOD WAY!

Hear me out: Agnes Grey is like a warm cuddle from a novel. It’s short and sweet, and a little bit of Cinderella fairytale-esque. It’s a quiet novel; not passionate like Wuthering Heights; not romantic like Jane Eyre. Agnes is undeniably an introvert (YAY MY KIND OF GAL!) who happens to be a governess due to hard times at home, but who is never all that fond of children. Apparently Anne heavily leant on her own experiences as a governess to depict Agnes’ terrible plight; but even though our narrator indicates she was tormented and tortured by the children/families she worked for, there’s really nothing that breaks the peace.

Oh, except there is a little talk about hurting/killing animals, so if that turns you off, maybe skip that bit. (You have to remember though, Anne/Agnes (they’re THE SAME PERSON, okay?) is clearly horrified by the instances of animal cruelty, but back in Victorian times even WOMEN were viewed as lowly creatures, let alone some baby sparrows, you know? It just demonstrates the mentality of the time.)

Anyway, there is a lovely little love story in amidst all of Agnes’ strife, and even the beginnings of an early love triangle. Poor Mr Weston has to choose between the lowly governess, and the high born flirt, and in a shock move reminiscent of a less-romantic Mr Rochester, guess who he picks? (Hint: our story has a happy ending. Just sayin’.)

Actually, the love story did break my heart a bit – when you consider that Agnes Grey is more or less an autobiographical version of Anne Bronte’s life, it does make her tragically youthful death even sadder. I feel like I KNOW Anne now, in a way that I don’t really have much of an idea about Charlotte or Emily. Anne was pious and moral and good. She was quiet and introverted, but hated to let people – especially children – walk all over her. She felt judged and persecuted and was terrified of criticism. She loved her family fiercely, and even dared to dream a happy, romantic ending for herself. That she never found that happily ever after is heartbreaking.

Let’s be honest: if you haven’t read a Classic before, you’re probably not going to want to start with Agnes Grey. BUT YOU SHOULD, because a) even if you’ve never heard of it, that doesn’t make it worth less; b) it’s actually super short and easy to read; and c) even if you don’t read it for the story, you should read it for the history. It’s FASCINATING – especially if you’re interested in early feminism or education of just Victorian families. It’s probably the most interesting and insightful primary source you’ll read, even if it is fictional. And then there’s the whole autobigraphical stance: Agnes Grey ensures that Anne, though the most obscure of the Bronte siblings today, will be remembered.


Have you read Agnes Grey? Or will you, after this? BECAUSE YOU SHOULD. Go download the ebook now. Go on, go. It’s free!!!!!!

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