Why Am I Always So Behind on Goodreads?

My Goodreads profile is always a long way behind my actual reading. I like my short Goodreads reviews to compliment my more in depth reviews here on my blog, which means I tend to write them at the same time. But…I’ll be the first to admit that I’m pretty useless at keeping up. I even have a column on my reading spreadsheet reminding me to write reviews, but I still manage to fall behind. It’s just not that easy to write a long, detailed review when life gets in the way, and that means I don’t update my Goodreads either. I’ve been having some struggles recently (and not so recently) that have thrown me way off base, and I’m struggling to know what to do next. I still read but my reading is marred by reality’s ugly head, and having the time and mental energy to review has seemed impossible. While I can think all to well about what I want to say, when it comes down to actually getting it done and dusted I seem stuck. And that blows. A lot.

Just today I moved 6 books from my current list to my read list. I still haven’t reviewed them, but my head seems clearer today than it has in a long time so maybe I can blast some out and get back on track. Just putting a rating and “review to follow” on my books has allowed me to shift them off the current list, and it means I’m catching up to my Goodreads target again. Now I just need to start writing before I actually forget what I thought of the books. For this very reason, I keep rough notes on my phone as I read, so that I can build on them more, but still, it can be hard to remember weeks later what you planned on saying.

We all have our ups and downs, and for the most part reading helps me through mine. I like to review my books so that, later on, I can look back and remember why I enjoyed it (or didn’t), so that I can see whether it’s worth it to reread. It would be nice if my reviews introduced people to books they’d never read too, though reading is so subjective and I always think that it’s better to read and form your own opinion on a book instead of avoiding it because others didn’t like it (or worse, feeling as though you have to enjoy it just because everyone else thinks it’s the best book in the world). Most of the time, writing a review is just part of the reading process to me. It helps me slow down and consider what I’ve just read, rather than running from one book to the next without breath, without remembering what I’ve read or how it made me feel. In these times though, when life itself seems such a chore, reviewing can seem almost impossible. I’m trying though. I hope it picks up. I hope I can get some done before the next wave hits. And maybe this time I won’t fall so far behind.

Advertisements

Weekend Plans and Age of Ultron Excitement.

Hey everyone! I actually have some fun stuff planned for today and tomororw, as well as the obligatory revision and catching up on The Goldbergs on 4od.

Today I’m heading over to a friends house to help her move furniture around. She’s having a new sofa delivered so we have to clear space for it to come through, and then we’ll watch some anime to relax! I’m also hoping for an impromptu rehearsal tonight – I’m an actor and producer in mine and my friends musical production of Supernatural and we’ve planned a mini rehearsal tonight. 

Tomorrow I’ll be going swimming – I’ve just bought a membership to the university sports gym and swimming pool as part of my plan to get fit this summer. I also might be going shopping tomorrow for a dress to wear to a birthday do next weekend – another friend wants to get a bigger work wardrobe so we’ll be hitting the shops together. It’s a good job my student loans come through!! 

But the main thing I’m excited about is…I’M FINALLY GOING TO SEE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON AT SOME POINT THIS WEEKEND!!! I love Marvel, and I’ve been waiting for this for MONTHS!

Do you guys have any plans for the weekend? Share in the comments.

Life Updates, Coming Up Soon and Baking Treats!

What can I say? It’s been a while guys (understatement of the year there) but I’ve been been pretty busy and stressed. No. Scratch that. I’ve been VERY busy and stressed. This post will be a small one to let you know that I’m still here, I’m still blogging and hopefully I’ll be blogging A LOT more after this. I’ve got a lot of ideas for posts that are pretty much done and dusted so they’ll be up over the next week or so. But first, a quick life update.

I had my final three assignments due within a week of each other, and I started one of them (the longest one, go figure) really late so I was scrambling to get everything done. It sucked, and I’m NEVER leaving work that late again. It’s just not worth the hassle. But I finally did get everything done, I got a good result in my Linguistics (no word on the other two yet) which means I now just have to concentrate on revising for my exams. I have one in April and two in May. On the bright side, my last exam is 14th May and I don’t leave halls until the 31st May so I’m planning to do a few day/weekend trips to explore Scotland a little! It’ll be great fun, and a lovely way to get to know my new home more. 

In other news, we’ve finally found a flat for next year! We started looking late January and I was getting incredibly stressed about it because none of us could decide on one and I was convinced I’d be homeless next year! But we finally found it. The perfect flat. Okay, okay, it’s not perfect by a long shot but it has all of our requirements and we’re all happy with it. And we got it! We actually have somewhere to live next year. I’m so glad we got it sorted before we went home for Easter, and it’s just another weight off my mind with exams coming up.

I will be spending Easter alone this year. I left it too late to book train tickets so the only ones I could get that were a reasonable price were after Easter Sunday. But no matter. I’m going to an Easter service and then out to lunch with a friend so I won’t be TRULY alone. Like my birthday, this Easter will be the first I’m spending away from my family, which sucks but hey, I’m growing up. I’ll be okay. 

Finally, I’ve joined Camp NaNoWriMo this April. I’m hoping to get all my character sheets, a plan and plot outline and a good few chapters of my novel done this month. The people in my cabin seem nice, if a little quiet (but hopefully that’ll change now that camp has actually started). If any of you are on NaNo, feel free to friend me – A J Maslin.

Well, I think that’s just about everything with me! Now I’ll do a little list of posts I have waiting in the works: reviews of Romeo and Juliet, and A Streetcar Named Desire (yes, I still haven’t done these but they are top of my list so look out for them soon); multiple book reviews (I’ve finished three books that I need to review, and I’m hoping to finish four more before I go home for Easter); a reading and writing challenges update (I didn’t do one for March but I’ll definitely be doing one early this month, probably within the next few days); and more of my revision pages (I’m getting down to revising properly now and these pages help me and, hopefully, some of you too). That’s all I can think of now, but I’m sure I’ve left some stuff out. Keep an eye out for some cool stuff over the next month!

And last but not least, I thought I’d share with you a couple of bits of baking I did yesterday, courtesy of my cookbook A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe. It’s a really good book, and I encourage you foodies to pick it up if you like lovely food on a budget. I made the Vegan Banana Bread and the Cabbage Griddle Scones with natural yoghurt and Brie, and they were both delicious! Definitely making them again. I doubled the banana bread recipe to fill my tin, as we don’t have a loaf tin and I had a lot of very ripe bananas. 

   

 

Well that’s it for now, but I promise you won’t have to wait as long for the next post! See you soon.

Life Update and Book Haul

Hi everyone! I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been super busy with university and exams – but they all finish this week which means I’ll have far more time to talk to you. I’ve got a tiny book haul here from Urban Outfitters; a gift and a small present for myself. Enjoy!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/629/79888371/files/2014/12/img_0648.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/629/79888371/files/2014/12/img_0649.jpg

For myself, I bought Off Track Planet’s Travel Guide for the Young, Sexy and Broke – I love travelling and reading about travelling and this book seems ideal to flick through and discover a world of amazing possibilities, as well as tips on how to budget and where to start.

642 Things to Write About – this is a Christmas gift for a writer friend of mine, for when she has writer’s block or needs to get started on something. After having a quick flick through, I’m thinking of buying it for myself too!!

I’m sorry this post was so short, but I just wanted to check in and let you all know what was happening. Hopefully I’ll have plenty of time in the near future to think of some more exciting post ideas. See you soon!

Breakfast! Scrambled egg, bacon and Scottish oatcakes

Hey everyone! One of the main, regular features of this blog will be recipe ideas and meals that I, a poor broke student, actually eat. The idea is to keep all the meal ideas I like in the same place for easy use, while also helping anyone out there who needs some cheap and easy recipe ideas that are delicious to eat and quick to make. So let’s get started!

IMG_0539.JPG

The main ingredients you need for this are:
2 eggs
3 rashers of bacon
3 Scottish oatcakes (or whatever other savoury, breakfast biscuit type thing is local to you).

IMG_0540.JPG

First, you need to hear a little bit of oil in a frying pan. I used olive oil but any oil or Fry Lite will do. Put the heat up to the highest setting and make sure the oil is hot enough to slide around the pan and coat the bottom.

IMG_0541.JPG

IMG_0542.JPG

Then of course comes the actual cooking. I did the bacon first because that takes the longest to cook. Turn the heat down to a medium setting, then place your bacon rashers down. REMEMBER to wash your hands after this and before doing anything else – please don’t give yourselves food poisoning! Leave the bacon to cook away until it’s completely opaque and then flip.
I also cracked my eggs into a bowl because I’m always worried about shell getting into the frying pan. If you’re better at cracking eggs than me, you can just skip this bit.

IMG_0543.JPG

Now, when I woke up his morning I was planning to do fried eggs but I got to the kitchen, opened the fridge and realised I needed to use my milk up. SO I went for scrambled egg instead. Really, any kind will go with this. I drink soya milk but, again, any milk is good; splash a little into the bowl and mix with a fork until all the egg and milk is combined.

IMG_0544.JPG

IMG_0546.JPG

IMG_0545.JPG

Now, I like a little cheese when I’m doing scrambled egg, so I chopped a little Wensleydale with cranberries…mostly because that’s the only cheese I have right now. Tastes good though! You can skip this step if you want, but I just think the cheese adds a little extra taste.

Then, take your bacon out of the pan and place it on some kitchen towel, just to drain off any oil or fat.

Pour the scrambled egg into the pan, and don’t forget to keep stirring it with a spatula or wooden spoon – otherwise you’ll get an omelette instead! Keep stirring until it’s turned solid and there’s no liquids left. I’m always of the mindset that it’s better to slightly overcook than undercook, especially where eggs and meat are concerned.

IMG_0547.JPG

Then, when the egg was cooked through, I just turned off the heat and mixed my cheese into the egg.

Then just put the bacon, egg and biscuits onto your plate.

That’s it! It took around 20 minutes, and it’s VERY good to eat. Best of all, you can adapt it to use up anything. Got some tomatoes that need eating? Put them in your egg too! Forgotten about that turkey you bought a few days ago? Have that instead of bacon!
It’s really simple, really delicious and really quick! And that’s all I need in a breakfast. Hope you enjoyed this post and, if you give this idea a whirl, let me know what you think! Did you like it? Did you modify it? See you soon!

IMG_0548.JPG

Amazon Haul…Did I go Overboard?

Hey everyone! Books are my passion and I buy more at every opportunity I get – so it makes sense that my first blog post will be a book haul! There is one DVD in there too, to add some variety. So, from the top down:

IMG_0536.JPG

Hogfather by Terry Pratchett – bought on a good friends recommendation, the plot is something about Death having to pretend to be Father Christmas. It’s the 20th Discworld novel but I’ve been assured I don’t have to have read the ones before it.

The Child Bride by Cathy Glass – as a psych student and aspiring clinical psychologist, I have a fascination with these true story, foster-care-for-abused-children type books. This is as the title suggests; a young girl about to be forced into marriage.

City of Ashes and City of Glass by Cassandra Clare – the second and third book in The Mortal Instruments series. I have the first (City of Bones) on my kindle and I’m saving them up to read on my (long) train journey home for Christmas. The series is about Shadowhunters who fight demons; it’s received a lot of hype and I’m looking forward to reading them!

Gone by Michael Grant – the first book in another series that has lots of good reviews and I’m only now jumping on the bandwagon. Suddenly, all adults in the world disappear and it’s up to the kids to find out what the hell is going on.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks – a classic which, I’m rather ashamed to say, I haven’t read yet. It’s set in the First World War and, as I love historical novels, I’m sure I’ll love this one too.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – this won the Man Booker Prize last year and is set in 1866 when a group of people team up to discuss and solve some crimes.

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg – I love YouTube and Zoella is one of my favourite beauty YouTubers. This book is, I imagine, light hearted, read-in-a-day pure unthinking escapism, which we all love every once in a while.

The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis – a companion book to the aforementioned The Mortal Instruments series. I’ll also be saving this for the train (did I mention it’s a LONG journey?).

And, finally, The Little Prince (bilingual version) by Antoine de St. Exupèry – I borrowed this (a standard English version) off a friend and loved the story. I bought the bilingual version, which means it has the English and the original French side by side. I did French and German GCSEs (2 years ago) and enjoyed the languages although I haven’t really kept them up as much as I should. I’m working on it though, and I thought the best way to brush up on my reading skills is to…well…read a book in French! As well as the actual story (and pictures!), the unabridged version of the story, both English and French, is included in audiobook form in a CD at the back of the book.

Well that’s it for the books! Aside from The Little Prince and Girl Online (and Hogfather and The Shadowhunter’s Codex, both of which were bought separately), the other six books were on sale on UK Amazon.

I also got:

IMG_0537.JPG

The Fault in our Stars DVD, with special features (stick around and you’ll soon learn I have a slight obsession with special features). This too was on sale when I bought it.

Phew! That’s a hell of a lot. Quick disclaimer here though: all of these books and the DVD were purchased, by me, using my own money. I don’t usually buy this kind of thing (I don’t usually have the money) but I had a bit extra and thought I’d treat myself. It’s a rare occurrence for me to have been able to buy more than two books, but hopefully I will love them all! Of course, reviews will follow.

Well I guess that’s it for my first post. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe got some inspiration for lovely new book purchases (Amazon is having a Black Friday sale – hurry, go!). Thank you all for reading and I’ll see you again soon!