Thursday, 29 December 2016

150+ Things I Did In 2016

I had so much fun doing this last year that I knew I had to do it again! Here goes:

1. Won Pimlico Bake off with a yule log.
2. Went to Orange Buffalo in the rain with the rest of the crazy people and S
3. Played Mahjong at Mummy Chan's house (lost ALL the money) S
4. First Street Jazz lesson with S
5. Added swimming to my timetable.
6. First Cogs rehearsal.
7. Life Drawing class.
8. Dinner with Dancing girls.
9. Colossus in Watford.
10. Started learning Cogs choreography.
11. Played Board Games in Draughts S, S+H
12. First Chinese New Year with S.
13. Dinner at Buen Ayre and Smoking Goat with R + M and S
14. First Choir Rehearsal in 2016.
15. Went to see Deadpool.
16. Dinner for A + I's 10 year anniversary, S meets the fam.
17. Party at J + D.
18. Joined the Library.
19. First Valentines day with S + Friends.
20. Learned the Ceroc Nu line.
21. Celebrated my one year anniversary with S. Dinner at Moro.
22. Closed down TCR in style.
23. Tried DD's mad electric door!
24. Competed in World Modern Jive Championships and performed: Cogs Present: Team America. Came 2nd place for Double Trouble, 5th in ProAm with JE.
25. Opened Marylebone Ceroc Venue.
26. Camber weekend of funtimes! (then got very ill)
27. Saw Immortal Tango with S, S+H
28. Started steroid treatment for eczema.
29. Pimlico bakesale fundraiser and performance.
30. Easter Weekend catch ups with Bennett and Black.
31. Danced four days in a row including a tango lesson.
32. Trained on Premium Reports at work :D #notfired.
33. Went to B+M's Wedding Part 1.
34. Went to my first Bookclub.
35. Saw 5SOS at the O2 in a private box N+Z
36. Pottery Painting.
37. Went to B+M's Wedding Part 2.
38. West Side Story with Cogs
39.  Yoga lesson
40. Catch up with College Friends.
41. Cogs Freestyle
42. Friends and Family Performance
43. Break Up
44. Climbing with P
45. Saw Unknown Era with The Fam
46. Was disappointed by Natural History Lates
47. Competed in first London Champs. Third in Team Caberet. Second in Great Escapee.
48. Quarter Life Crisis and struggle with depression.
49. Trampolining.
50. Party on a house boat
51. Dinner with Ceroc Ladies
52. Dinner with HURST Girls
53. 'Savage' party with CB
54. Chicken soup for the soul with K.
55. Southbank with H (Ugh)
56. First Yo Sushi experience.
57. First Hyde Park Picnic of the year!
58. Ballet emerging dancer with Z.
59. PRIZM Freestyle in Colchester.
60. CLMJ Social
61. Undressed Exhibition and Haircut in SK
62. Quarter Century Birthday Party. (25)
63. Dishoom Dinner K, P, D, I
64. Visit to Turkey.
65. Denied NHS Counselling
66. Choir SummerJam, Here Comes The Sun, For The Longest Time, Africa.
67. Bristol Switch, Baby Shower, Did some crying.
68. Vote Bremain.
69. Competed in Northern Champs. Fifth place Fixed Experienced Freestyle (H), Second in Double Trouble (S,N,G), FIRST PLACE Pro-Am with S
70. CB to Stay.
71. Family House Warming and Family Weekend Extravaganza
72. Lunch with MH (birthday midweek picnic in the park)
73. Hen Party - Highlight Fire Hazard Games. Followed by impromptu BBQ
74. Hampton Court, ice cream and sticky bun. DA
75. PokemonGO happened in a big way.
76. Sign language lesson. T,N,Z
77. Choir begins practice for Halloween Mash.
78. Studio Ghibli movie night DA
79. Warehouse UV Party
80. Lazy day. "It's a three" with Z. Swanky BBQ party
81. Feeding deer and picnic with N&N
82. Birthday Picnic for SO. Hula Hoop, Poi, Twister, Dancing, Aerials, FOOD. Bliss.
83. Execute secret birthday plans for Z.
84. Made candles.
85. Frevans Picnic and hoop tricks.
86. Disney Date with DA. Many entertainments were had. RideLondon watching
87. All you can eat Sushi
88. Lido Swimming, Brunch Raw Duck. ENEKO Dinner.
90. Visit from Dream Chasers N&N
91. Staycation with CJ. Watching Meteors.
92. Cinema to see Finding dory with DA
93. Dinner with C&A and Minerva!
94. Impromptu flaming cocktails with H.
95. Madrid with CB - Slept under the stars, walked 30000+ steps, siesta in the park, rowing on the lake, topless sunbathing, BBQ, spent all my money on Jamon.
96. Steak Breakdown and Trampolining
97. Drinks at Sky Garden. North West London Adventures with H.
98. Hedley wedding
99. NHS Talk Interview #2
100. Sadly, our family dog, Jasper, Died 6th of Sept. He had a lovely life and will be missed. Troy died shortly after.

101. First Zumba lesson
103. Restarted Kayla (Shredding for Xmas). and failed again.
104. Last night at the Proms sing along Z+N+F
105. Welcomed E. 9/9/16
106. Saw Nina Conti. Got involved.
107. Zoo Riot Zumba Party
108. Memory Walk
109. Welcome collection and Arts Theatre adventures Z+N
110. Mushroom hunting for chicken of the Woods with I + K
111. Welsh Champs. Intermediate with NS, LuckyDip with KH, DT (fourth no place with N+S, Smack to face), Second Place Dragon's tooth ProAm with JE, Third place Cogs. - Devastated by emotional revelation that devalued the past year of my life.
112. Failed to give blood
113. Got Stomach flu and was ill for AGES (Also depressed, didn't want to leave my bed, eat, speak, It was bad but mostly I just didnt ever want to see day light again.)
114. First sorely needed gingerbread hug with H
115. Breeze Weekender. Won Great Escapee with B. Baby sitting and chatting with Z,N,F,M, E
116. Meeting with therapist x 2
117. Catch up with Hurst Girls
118. Dinner with MK
119. Interview with DA for Nanowrimo
120. Choir Autumn Performance
121. Chess with Z.
122. Tango as a cat with N.
123. Demo in Rochester with DA as Tinkerbell
125. Finished Dress
126. Dark slump of depression in time for winter.
127. M's Birthday and Trampolining with F,N,Z,E
128. Visit to Bristol on my own for all things E
129. Birthday darts with R, L + M.
130. Therapy continues.
131. Missed out on Rumpus.
132. Brunch and hanging out with E, Z, N, F, M (all my favourites)
133. Went to Coffee and Cocktails event with K
134. Finished papermache.
135. Got most amazing advent calendar from Z!
136. Sent Imgur Secret Santa!
137. Work Christmas Dinner
138. Beach Blanket Babylon for Birthday meal S
139. Played guitar (KIND OF) with M
140. Read DA's second book and edited
141. Made first pot roast.
142. Christmas Markets with MK.
144. Saw Moana with K
145. RENT for N with Z, DA, and friends
146. Birthday dinner for SH (Who's initials may have changed :P)
147. First date with P.
148. Skating at Somerset House w/P
149. Pottery again.
150.Christmas at K's house with DD and + I

Can you figure out your initials? How many adventures did we go on together? If you'd like to see last year's list click here.

In bold are the things that really really mean something to me on another level. If you can see the purplish coloured ones, that's depression or memories that are clouded by bad experiences. It's good to see the purple beginning to fade out towards the end.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Popular Blog Posts

Last year I made a list of all of the most popular blog posts from 2015. The criteria was based on views and I am pleased to say that this year has been the most successful year yet for Stories in Books. Here is another list of my most popular blogs in 2016:

My Christmas Haul blog about the books I was given in December 2015, amazingly I still haven't read them all.

This summer we had some glorious weather, so I wrote about those books that really encapsulate summer for me with: Books for the Heatwave. 

Need to escape? Become a World Traveller through your reading.

I'll be making some new Reading Resolutions this year to up my reading, but this is what I attempted last year.

Reading the Classics can be tough, but here's what I think might make things easier.

September is the perfect time to say Thank You to the teachers and influencers in my life.

Podcasts come a close second to my love of books, consider trying some of these podcasts.

I loved doing this open book blogging tag, for Book Lovers.

My thirty minute Commute is the perfect time to read as much as possible. But let's face it standing up and reading sucks.

A poem. The irony of my poem, Paper, hits home now that that relationship is over. The fragility of the relationship and my own happiness.

I would highly recommend writing a letter to your self it is a brilliant way to think about what advice you would give from your perspective now. #DearMe.

Sit tight for the 2016 version of this list coming next week. The 100 highlights of 2015.

Valentines is a time for love, that includes Fictional Couples as well.

I have no issue with Film Adaptations of books.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Wish List

I'm pretty sure everyone has a little scrap of paper somewhere with a big old list of TBR books. As we get closer to the end of this year; this is mine that I still have not managed to clear.

Half of a Yellow Sun
The Secret Life of Bees
The Ethical Slut
The Widow
The Power of Now
The Signature of All Things
Eat Pray Love
Wild Swans
The Woman in White
Lean In
The Arsonist
The Lemon Grove
White Tiger
Ella Minnow Pea
Station Eleven
The Old Man And The Sea
Tuck Everlasting
The Colour Purple
Of Mice And Men
Slaughter House 5
To Capture The Castle
A Christmas Carol
Jekyll & Hyde
Good Omens
Purple Hibiscus
On Beauty
White Teeth
Tipping the Velvet
Grief is a thing with feathers
The Unmumsy Mum
Anil's Ghost
Peter Pan
The English Patient

This is compiled from my Amazon wishlists and from what is still on my shelves that needs to be read up. What is on your To Be Read list? I like to hand over my TBR list to family and say pick what you want from it and that'll be my Christmas wishlist!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

November Reviews

Igoni Barrett
Chatto & Windus 09/07/2015 Paperback
Work book exchange

This book is absurd, as soon as you grasp the Kafka in the story, you tend to be more forgiving. At first I read the story as an insight into the benefits that a white person might be awarded in the heart of Nigeria. As he goes for his first job interview ever, he is catapulted to the front of the queue. People give him money and help, for seemingly only one reason, that he is now white. The author plays with everything, and it feels like a very experimental piece of writing. The author meets his own protagonist and at times is the observer of his characters right alongside the reader, and perhaps more interestingly, the characters look back at him.
There was one VERY low point in the story where we had to read some twitter exchanges. Which to my mind put a stop to my picking up the book every day. I read slowly glad that the twitter fiasco was over, but unforgiving of the author for putting me through it and wary it would descend again.
Overall I thought this was an interesting novel with a readable story and it was a very thought provoking novel. But sometimes got caught up in its own literary brilliance and tripped itself up.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Ungrateful Reader

In 2014 I wrote a post about a readers Christmas List. It can be difficult for those who do not share your love of reading to understand that, a book would be the perfect gift. My post was half jokingly trying to explain that a book to me, and to other readers, is one of the best gifts you can buy.

It's not that your other gift isn't lovely, in fact I will probably end up wearing/using it more than anything else. However, books have become more and more of a luxury that I can't afford. Titles I really want to read are £10 a pop and those moments like Christmas and Birthdays are the ones I look forward to in the hopes of a book!

I cannot make excuses for my behaviour last year, I was very sulky with my Christmas gifts. I received two books. A ton of other amazing presents; but just two books. Buying for family that you no longer live with can be difficult because, unlike your friends, you don't really know any of your family's likes and dislikes or new hobbies they haven't told you about. I would like to think that people know me as a reader, and to not get me a book made me feel like my family didn't know who I was.

Of course, this is not something to whine about. I can buy my own books every year but I think the take away should be if you know someone likes books, go for it, buy them a book or something book related and you can't go wrong. Maybe it seems boring, but that isn't the case, a book presents endless hours of reading and enjoyment, that's the true gift.

Avoid the ungrateful reader this Christmas and pop into Waterstones.