Weekly Review #6


Somehow the lighting in this photo made my hair orange. I quite like it… looking into hair dyes as we speak!!

Read this Week:
The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde ** | The Sorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater ***** |

Written this Week:
– I got all domestic and baked an enormous meat pie for Tudor week.
– We spoke about the weekend and being positive and all that jazz, which leads me nicely on to…
– …I started a new project! Thank you for the support on my self love journey posts – I know they aren’t to everyone’s taste, but they’re soooo cathartic to write. And live, I guess.
– I… kinda not really reviewed We Have Always Lived in the Castle for the #GothicReadAlong2016.
– I shared my TBRs for all of the readathons I’ll be joining in with next week!

Loved this Week:
SO MANY SELF CARE POSTS! I liked Becky’s self-care goals and Michelle’s little acts of self love best. | Sophie’s discussion of whether personal posts should have a place on a blog was interesting – judging by your feedback to my new project, I’m going to say YES THEY DO. | I LOVED Jaye’s Westonbirt photo diary – it’s one of my favourite local days out. | Emma’s tips for when you’re feeling blue will always come in handy!

Happy Things this Week:
– It’s only October but I’ve already been planning my projects for 2017. Slightly too early, but I do love feeling prepared!
– We ventured out for churros and hot chocolate for breakfast on Saturday! The hot chocolate was a bit too lumpy for my tastes, but it felt like such a lovely treat!
– We celebrated PB’s cousin’s 16 birthday with ALL of his family, which was interesting. It was nice to be reunited with people we hadn’t seen for a while, though!
– I managed to book Monday off work, so yay for long weekends!!!

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon & Hallowreadathon TBRs


Not going to lie, I’ve wanted to participate in Dewey’s 24 hour readathon since reading Sarah’s recap post on it last year. A whole day to just read and not feel guilty about it?? Sounds Heavenly!!

Unfortunately I won’t be joining in with the readathon this week – due to my boyfriend’s new shifts, we have exactly one day together a week, and I don’t really want to waste that time with him – but I WILL be doing it next week. You know, right before Imogen’s Hallowreadathon. Three solid days of reading. No pressure.

The 24 Hour Readathon has no rules, so I’m planning to read Crooked Kingdom. I’ll be spending next week re-reading Six of Crows, so I should be pretty ready for it! For the Hallowreadathon, I’ve set aside And I Darken as my ‘purple book’ – I know the cover is MOSTLY black, but there’s definitely a purple sheen to it –  and City of Lost Souls as my ‘book about monsters’. As to whether I manage to read two books in two days remains to be seen!!

Self Love Journey | A Self Love Day


A Self Love day is something I’ve been thinking about for the longest time, but I just never seem to get around to. I suppose that in itself is an indication that I’m in need of a day dedicated to just being me!

I’ve already mentioned this before, but I’ve come to the realisation that my day-to-day life is not as fulfilling as I want it to be. I’m actually trying out an ongoing 30 days of happiness project to try to encourage myself to do more things I enjoy on a WEEK DAY, but to start myself off I decided to have myself a day dedicated to looking after myself.

Eat Breakfast
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: breakfast is the bane of my life. I know that skipping meals isn’t healthy, but when I’m on my own I probably won’t eat a proper meal until PB comes home. Obviously that doesn’t fly on a self-care day, when nutrition comes above silly made up rules in my head, so I treated myself to

A Little Work Out
So right now I’m in the middle of 30 Days of Yoga, and let’s just say hat my commitment is slipping. If I do a video every day I should finish by the end of the week, but it’s so tempting to just slouch around and do nothing! In the end I decided my body could do with a stretch, so just got on with it. By the time I’d finished I felt… not happy, but certainly accomplished!

So this is a little gross, but when I hit a tough patch the first thing that disappears from my life is cleanliness. It’s not unusual for me to wash my hair twice a week and brush it once, and as for a skin care routine… forget it! To be honest, double washing and deep conditioning my hair felt half wonderful, half naughty – even though I had nothing else planned for the day, it felt too time consuming and not at all productive. Definitely need to work on prioritising my hygiene over my self imposed to-do list…

Get Dressed Up
The thing with wearing your pyjamas all day is that it feels like a treat for the first half hour, then I start to feel like a slob. But usually I’m too lazy to get changed, so I hang around feeling miserable in my PJs all day. I made a real effort to dress nicely on my self care day, even though I was the only one to see it, and THAT was an incredible feeling.

Leaving the House
If I have a day to myself, chances are I’ll really begrudge leaving the house – to a point where I feel like I’m going to get into trouble just for walking to co-op up the road! Normally I’d take my car to minimise my time out of the house, but for my self love day I decided to embrace the Autumn sunshine and walk.


Going to a Cafe… Alone
Normally if I’m by myself I’ll pop into a coffee shop and buy a latte to go. Usually I panic when I see the menu and scared I’m going to mispronounce something, will go for my old favourite (vanilla latte) regardless of whether I actually want one, but today I took my time and tried something new – and then sat in the cafe and read a chapter of my book. It was simple, but such a massive step for me – it took about twenty minutes for me to get over the idea that someone was going to shout at me for taking up space!

Normally on a day alone I’d go to co-op and ‘treat myself’ to an overpriced meal deal. Instead today I came home and made myself a warming soup, which I ate with thick slabs of the loaf of bread I made. The best part? Five more servings to take to work with me!

I ummed and ahhed whether this counted as a self love activity, before deciding that if it’s something I want to do, rather than a chore, it counts. I spent a happy few hours pottering around the kitchen as I completed my bake off challenge. While it’s not something that I would choose to eat, PB loved it and it felt good to use my free time to do something for him.


Back when I first read Radical Self Love I fell in love with the idea of journaling… except I’m an insane perfectionist, and scrapbooks just aren’t neat enough for me. So I bought myself this adorable mini Project Life kit with the intention of using it for this exact thing… and then forgot about it. For my self love day I dug it out, took out my scissors, photos and journaling cards and started documenting my Self Love Journey in a tangible way (…this feels too digital to be real, you know?).

I’m trying to build a better relationship with my sister. We’ve been through a lot together, and although we’ve never been overly close, we have drifted even further apart since I moved out. She and my dad (let’s not discuss) came over for a takeaway dinner that was naughty, but very lovely!


What would you do on a Self Love day?

#GothicReadAlong2016 | 19 Thoughts When Reading: We Have Always Lived in the Castle


After last week’s laughable Jamaica Inn review, I decided to turn my hand to a more comfortable review style for me: a list. I admit, it does read rather nonsensically if you’re not familiar with the novel, but it was fun to write, so I’m cool with that!

1. I cannot believe how much I love the name Merricat. It’s soooo cute and happy!

2. Ehhhh… Merricat is not a very nice little cat.

3. Catchy rhyme though… *hums “‘Merricat,’ said Connie, ‘would you like a cup of tea?'”

4. Is it wrong that Connie’s self-imposed house ban seems kind of nice to me? It would be peaceful, not having to worry about anything but my garden and cooking!


6. Wait, what? I’m so confused with the whole tea party bit – there’s about seven conversations all happening at once, and I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON!!

7. I like Merricat’s magic. I mean, I don’t think it’s magical, but she describes it so beautifully and her beliefs are so strong… it’s fascinating.

8. Not gonna lie, I can sympathise with Merricat. She just doesn’t want change… is that such a bad thing?

9. Why does everyone treat Merricat like a child? Isn’t she supposed to be 18?

10. Charles is a baddie. I don’t like him.

11. You tell him about those poisonous mushrooms Merricat!! It’s a good way to threaten people…

12. So Uncle Julian thinks Merricat is dead… come to think of it, I can’t remember ANY conversation between them.

13. THERE IS SO MUCH FOOD IN THIS BOOK. It’s simply wonderful!!

14. “Silly Merricat”. Connie is so adorably indulgent and caring. I love her.

15. Still don’t like Charles, but it feels creepy to agree with Merricat…

16. *SPOLIER* Sooooo… Merricat set the fire, amiright??? NOTHING IS CLEAR!!

17. Merricat basically confesses, and that’s all fine, except there’s no obvious motive. I know I’m supposed to think that Merricat hated her family so bad things happened, but… there’s just no mention of it. Which, I suppose, is telling in itself, right?

18. People are horrible. How can you save a house, then destroy it?

19. Ummmm… I’m not sure what to make of the ending. It’s kind of positive, but really, really sad. Even for someone like me, who would like to live on their own moon…

So, overall… I didn’t love We Have Always Lived in the Castle , but I didn’t hate it either. I was pretty excited about it when it was first announced as part of the #gothicreadalong2016 – WHALitC isn’t the sort of book I’d have picked by myself, but I loved the premise. In reality, though… I really disliked the writing style. I’m not sure whether it was Shirley Jackson’s style, or just the style of writing associated with narrators with mental disorders (I’m thinking The Shock of the Fall and Alice and the Fly), but I find it bewildering and that upsets me. Anyway, in terms of plot I wasn’t overly impressed with WHALitC – really it involved a guest coming to stay in a house and… that’s about it. And so much was unexplained – again, I don’t know whether that was to do with Merricat’s mental state or Jackson’s precocious writing!  I feel like the characters could have been developed more, but I suppose that air of mystery was supposed to alienate the reader more…

In terms of ‘Gothic’, I do feel like WHALitC fell flat for me. Yes, it may centre around a murderous family, but it was far more relationship themed than spooky. Jamaica Inn at least had an incredible, lonely atmosphere, whereas WHALitC COULD have been claustrophobic (and I do believe that was the aim), but even that fell flat for me. Again, I’m not saying that I HATED WHALitC; but it did disappoint me.


Have you read We Have Always Lived in the Castle? And what are your thoughts on narrators with mental illnesses?

Self Love Journey | A New Beginning


Hold onto your hats: I’m starting a new series. The difference is, this one is far far more personal than anything else I’ve blogged about before.

I’ve always stayed away from talking about mental health and mindfulness and basically anything of meaning. I never wanted TQP to be too personal, just in case that scared someone away. So somehow, I’ve created my own mini empire with over 500 of you(!!) regularly reading my nonsense, without ever really letting you in.

But I think maybe it’s time. I’m at a stage in my life where I’ve finally realised that I’m the only person who can bring about my happiness. I’d gotten so good at blaming other people for reasons why I’m miserable and tired all the time that I’d forgotten that I have a responsibility to myself to make my life as happy as possible.

It’s only really been since I’ve moved into my own home that I’ve come to the realisation that I am my own happiness’ worst enemy. When you live with other people it’s easy to blame them for all the little niggles in your life. Case in point: I always said I wanted to start doing yoga in the mornings, but couldn’t because a) our bedroom was too small, and b) I was embarrassed at the idea of my boyfriend’s dad/mum/uncle/aunt (we lived with both for a while) wondering in and watching me. We’ve been in our own home for three months now, and despite doing my best at a 30 day yoga challenge, I STILL don’t do yoga in the morning.

The problem is, I’ve worked out that the thing that is stopping me is an underlying belief that I simply don’t deserve to do the things that make me happy. It goes back to my time at uni – in contrast to most people’s experiences, I LOST a significant amount of weight in my first few months at uni – not due to stress, but because I lost all interest in food after convincing myself that while a uni I couldn’t have my favourites. I’m not sure how my brain worked it out, but essentially everything I ate at home was too expensive/time consuming for uni, so I went without. (If we want to get deep, I think it was a way of compartmentalising my home (happy) place and study/work (unhappy) place. How sad is that?)

Now’s not the time or the place for some middle-class white privileged girl to write down her not-at-all harrowing sob story, but it is the time to say that maybe that story needs to stop dictating who I am and how I live my life. I think… maybe… now is the time for me to start loving me, and to be my own friend. It’s certainly not going to be easy, but I think it’s something I need to do… and if you’d join me on the way, that’d be great. (If not, just ignore any post entitled Self Love Journey and we should still be okay to stay imaginary friends. I won’t judge… promise!)


Normally I’d end on a question for you to ponder, but I feel like this is just too personal for that. I’m sorry if you hate personal posts, but I am so excited about the things to come with this!


Bake Off Bake Along #7: Tudor Pie


Oh, Tudor week. Why do they include historic themes in Bake Off? I’m not a fan of them myself. It just feels like a novelty inclusion because they can’t think of anything else to base the judging on, you know? I mean, I LIKE Tudor history (I have an A-level in that specific era!), but GBBO just treats it at face value and I hate that.

Also, have you tried Tudor recipes? I did a short placement in an open air museum as part of my degree, and while I LOVED being part of the cookery demonstrations, I hated the food. Pottage and heavy flours and game and bleh. Not my cup of tea.


But PB loves the idea of a huge Tudor banquet, so to make him happy I got over my annoyance (seriously, how can you say you’re doing Tudor baking IF YOU USE A KITCHENAID????) and made him a pie. THIS pie, to be exact.


It actually wasn’t too tricky, and probably would have been much quicker to make if I’d had all the ingredients as leftovers, rather than having to cook them all and wait for them to cool and all that jazz. Oh, and it would have been handy to have had the correct quantity of plain flour, not you know, half. Yeah… there’s a reason my pie has a sloppy half-lid, and that’s because I didn’t factor in the fact that I’d halved my pastry quantity when I selected my tin. Oops. (Hey, it just looks rustic!)


The pastry itself IS actually quite impressive – my pie is so thin that it had no chance of a soggy bottom, and the colour is pretty smashing too! Also, I won SOOOOO MANY girlfriend points when PB unwrapped his slice of pie in front of his colleagues at work. At least the Tudors knew how to impress, right??

Little Things That Made Me Happy This Weekend


I had a bit of a down turn last week. PB’s working new shifts now, so most of my evenings are spent alone. While most of the time that’s fine – I quite enjoy being alone – this time I ended up getting locked in with all my thoughts. Thoughts about whether or not THIS (life in general) is enough. Worrying about the future. Worrying about not making the most of life.

I’m tired, and that makes me miserable. Or am I miserable, which is making me tired? Either way, at the moment I feel like I have nothing to look forward to. Except for Christmas, but that’s too far away to sustain me, you know? I’m simultaneously burned out AND restless, and as much as I want to enjoy peaceful little things, it’s a struggle.

I’ve got myself into a phase of living for the weekend. It’s not great; not only are my weekdays monotonous at best, I then put so much pressure on myself to have a wonderful weekend (PB works Sundays, so we only get one day off together each week and I don’t want to waste it!) and the we try to rush through everything and it all ends up being shit.

Eh, sorry for the downhearted rant thing. I’m not trying to be negative – I want to start focusing on more positive things, and book in some fun experiences that will make me smile! In that vein, here, have some pretty pictures about things that WERE wonderful at the weekend!


– Blogging for hours on Friday night. I have a new series/project lined up that’s completely different from anything I’ve done on here before, and I’m so excited about it!
– A cup of coffee and a chat with PB’s mum. We haven’t seen her for a while, and she’s had some sad news about a relative so it was good to touch base.
– Walking to town – squeezing in a bit of extra exercise made that Cafe Nero Caramel latte feel so much more deserved!
– Now that PB is working full time, we actually have a tiny bit of spending money, so it was amazing to go to town and not feel guilty for picking up a few treats!
– Speaking of which, I treated myself to a few Lush bath bombs AND bought a new lipstick. I also discovered that my Boots has a new ‘Make your own eyeshadow palette’ stand which is good to know!
– Meeting my Aunt and Uncle for lunch. We went for Tapas, which I’ve never had before. Safe to say I ordered ALL of the chorizo and patatas bravas, and is was incredible.
– My sister is vegan, so couldn’t eat much during our meal. To make up for it we went to a local health shop and had a competition to see who could order the tastiest juice. I won, with a combination of carrot, pineapple, mint… and some other goodies, too!
– Shopping with my mum and my sister. I felt guilty for my earlier buys so I didn’t buy anything, but it was nice to look around and find some things to add to my Christmas list!!
– Spending Sunday only doing things I wanted to – that meant an awful lot of cooking and pampering!!
– I made THIS damper bread. I’ve actually used the original recipe before, and it was horrible. This time though, everything worked out and it looks glorious! I can’t wait to try it with some soup for lunch!

Weekly Review #5


Read this Week:
We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson *** | An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir *** |

Written this Week:
– Things have been pretty Autumnal ’round here: I shared the Autumn Book Tag AND a recipe for a homemade PSL. YESSSSSS.
– SHOCK: I actually bared my face in my lounge wear haul (and yes, you’d better believe I’m wearing that same dressing gown to write this post!!).
– I made a super chocolatey Marjolaine cake for the Bake Off Bake Along! No, it doesn’t match the gorgeous green confection that they made on last week’s show, but it’s NUTELLA flavoured, so who cares?
– On the book side of things, I reviewed Jamaica Inn and the ENTIRE Splintered series this week. Yay!

Loved this Week:
Cassey’s discussion of unreal instagram bodies | My Aunt and I are ‘planning’ to open a cat cafe one day, so I ADORED reading about Jen’s trip to Catpawchino! | You know I love a good book recommendation – Kate’s are surprisingly fabulous!

Happy Things this Week:
– Coming home on a Friday to a well stocked fridge of treats courtesy of my PB. I had Twirls and Coke and macaroni cheese… he knows me so well!!
– We accidentally had the BEST weekend in a long time (more on that tomorrow…), which was a wonderful surprise!
– There’s been a real chill in the air this week – I even had to defrost my car for the first time this season – and I’ve loved wrapping up warm in my bright orange coat.
– My copy of Crooked Kingdom FINALLY arrived this week. YAY!

Coffee and a Book #2


Why yes, I am a basic blogger. To be fair though, why do we condemn those who enjoy popular things? Yes, I like PSLs and Autumn. I like bobble hats and get waaaay too excited for Christmas. I enjoy Disney and baking. That’s just who I am – can I help it that millions of other twenty-somethings have the same interests?

Urgh. It just irritates me.

Anyway, to continue my Coffee and a Book series I present to you the anything-but-humble Pumpkin Spice Latte. (Served in a rival store’s mug, just to be contentious!) This cup is LOADED with syrup, spice, whipped cream, caramel – and coffee, obvs – which makes it any coffee purist’s worst nightmare.

Tastes AMAZING though… like Autumn in a cup!

I’ll be honest with you: my pumpkin spice syrup does not contain pumpkin. WHY WOULD I WANT TO DRINK A VEGETABLE??? Yes, I know ‘pumpkin’ is in the name (and can we just take a moment to consider how fabulous that word is? ‘Pumpkin’ IT’S SO HAPPY!), but it’s pumpkin as in ‘pumpkin spice’, not ‘spiced pumpkin’. If it were the latter, then yes, it would need to contain pumpkin, but because it’s the former we’re all safe.

That’s my argument anyway.



And I suppose I should mention the book too… An Ember in the Ashes has been on my TBR for over six months now, and I just couldn’t make myself read it! I’ve been meaning to read it for a while (mostly because of the guilt…) so I started it earlier in the week. And it’s okay. I much prefer it to the book I featured in the last edition of this series, so that’s something, at least! I’m not a massive fan of the dual narrative – right now, all of Laila’s chapters seem so short, which is a shame because they’re much more engaging than Elias’ thoughts. I’m only mid way through the book at the time of writing this, and to be honest, I’m more than a little confused – Elias and Laila have just met, and he’s kind of into her in a look-but-don’t-touch way; but at the same time I’m not getting ‘just friend vibes’ from him and Helene… BUT I do like the military school theme. It’s kind of Hunger Games crossed with Red Rising, which is cool, but VERY uncomfortable. Anyway, I’ll stick with it – if I love it, I’ll let you know!

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
Serves 1

1 cup of milk
2 tsp Coffee
1 tsp Sugar (optional, to taste)
1 shot of Pumpkin Spice Syrup*
Whipped Cream
Caramel Sauce
Pinch of Pumpkin Spice Mix*

Make the latte in EXACTLY the same way as my Gingerbread latte recipe. To the empty serving cup, add a shot – literally, one shot glass – of the pumpkin spice syrup. When hot, pour in the latte and stir gently to combine. Top with a squirt of cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce and a dusting of pumpkin spice mix!

* To make the pumpkin spice syrup, I used THIS recipe to make a batch of pumpkin spice. I then substituted all the dry spices in THIS gingerbread syrup recipe for 3 1/2 tbsp of my pumpkin spice mix, and swapped the treacle for honey.

Series Review: Splintered


Why yes, I am right in the middle of reviewing a completely different series on this blog. Reviewing* an unrelated series shouldn’t be too difficult, right??

Ehhh, I’m not going to go into too much detail because I wrote an in-depth review (possibly my first one ever? I can’t remember…) waaaaaaay back when I first read Splintered. But I will say that I didn’t enjoy the story quite so much the second time around… it was fine, and I do love the way that AG Howard presents Wonderland with such flourescence, but I felt that Alyssa was ridiculously juvenile. IDK… maybe it’s because I’m a real grown up now. Or something.

Pretty sure I was Team Morpheus when I first read this last year – but even then, I remember not warming overly to him – but this time, I basically hate the b*stard. Little cockney shit. He’s manipulative and selfish and why is there even a love triangle? If Alyssa had even an ounce of sense she’d be happy with Jeb. Greedy. Anyway, I didn’t enjoy Unhinged as much as I did Splintered, possibly because the major thing I enjoyed about Splintered – namely, Wonderland – hardly featured at all. Instead we had the moaning of one girl about her boyfriend and the hot exchange student (Morpheus, obvs) who wanted to take her back to her kingdom.
Rabid White is pretty cute, though, I’ll give him that.

I waited for eighteen months before finally finding a copy of Ensnared, and you know what? I’m glad I didn’t buy it. Again, there’s very little actual WONDERLAND in the Alice in Wonderland retelling, with most of the action taking place in Anyelsewhere instead. And did I say action? Sorry, I meant mooning over who is good enough to be with Alyssa. You know, who cares that Alyssa’s Mum is trapped in Wonderland and Jeb may never see his family and Thomas isn’t even called Thomas, he’s David; what really matters is Alyssa realising that she loves two boys and how can she ever live without one?
To be honest, I don’t think that Ensnared was that bad, but it’s pretty damn evident that I am no longer the target audience of these books. It’s too Twilight teenage angsty for me. That being said, I can’t bring myself to hate Ensnared – the updated version of a Classic might encourage more teenagers to seek out Alice, and that is admirable. Also, Alyssa KIND OF SORT OF saves herself, which is pretty feisty.

If this collection of novellas has taught me anything about the Splintered-verse, it’s that I am thoroughly team Jeb. Except his name. I REALLY dislike his name.
Untamed contains two follow on and one parallel story, but let’s be clear: there’s only one story that counts in this trilogy. Six Impossible Things is essentially the ‘what happens next’ fanfic of the Alyssa’s lives. We see Alyssa’s weddingS (yesssss, plural); her death and rebirth and… well, another birth. It WAS interesting, and at times heartbreaking (JEB!), but… it didn’t make me love Alyssa anymore. By the time I got to Untamed, I was a little fed up with her to be honest – can a character become more chosen one trope-y? – but I lost all respect for her in the immortality part of the story, which focuses on the birth of the baby dream child. And yes, a baby born of Wonderland is pretty cool, but it felt terribly unfaithful to Alyssa and Jeb’s children – you know, the ones she abandoned so she could live with Morpheus? I don’t know, something just rubbed me the wrong way with this.


Soooo… I think this is probably my first ever negative series review! I started off really enjoying Splintered; I loved the manic vividity with which Wonderland was retold; but as the story strayed away from Alice’s Adventures I began to dislike it. By Ensnared what had been a fantastical, slightly mad retelling became overpowered by trope-y characters: the chosen one, the damaged bad boy turned good, the selfish obsessive magical boy. I felt that the love triangle took away from the story, and I truly hated the outcome. I mean, it’s just my personal opinion but YOU CANNOT LOVE TWO PEOPLE AT THE SAME TIME. Love to me is wanting to put another person’s happiness above your own. It’s caring for someone else’s wellbeing and believing that they deserve the utmost respect and dedication you can offer. How can you want the best for someone when you aren’t prepared to wholeheartedly give them everything you can?

Well, that got moral pretty quickly. *Awkward.*

Soooooo. Have you read the Splintered series? Did you love it? Team Morpheus or Team Jeb? And what are your thoughts on love triangles??


*If you can call this mindless drivel a review *snorts*.

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