I’m back!

Which you may have noticed already, considering the fact that I posted a book review recently. I never intended to stop blogging, and certainly not for an entire year, but it just sort of happened.

At the end of May last year I started a new job, and it’s the first time in my life that I’ve had a full time job. It definitely was an adjustment period for me, and I guess I ended up in this kind of reading slump. I often just didn’t have the energy to pick up a book and finish it, much less to blog about it.

But now I finally feel like I’m getting back into the swing of things, and I really want to commit time again to reading all the books that I have on my tbr pile and share my thoughts with you all.

I certainly don’t intend to take another year long break, and I’m super excited to get back into blogging at least semi-regularly. Who’s with me? 😀

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A New Addition

So I’ve been away from this blog for a few weeks, and for several reasons. The first reason is that I’ve been away visiting family and friends which was really nice. I spent a few days in Amsterdam staying with best friend M and meeting up with some other friends whom I hadn’t seen in ages and I had such a good time.

And the second (and most exciting!) reason is that we got a new puppy a week ago! We lost our dear dog a year ago, on 4 April, and we were all heartbroken. For months we didn’t feel like we would be able to love another dog the way we loved him, but we finally came to the realisation that life’s pretty empty without a pet and that’s when we started looking for a new pup. We finally picked him up on Sunday, 22 March, so he’s been with us for just over a week. He’s a little Jack Russell, nearly 11 weeks old now, and he’s called Kalle (a Scandinavian name). We’re in love ❤

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Top Ten Tuesday (24)

It’s Tuesday again, which means it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and if you run a book blog and want to participate, go check it out!

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This week’s theme is ‘Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR List‘. I’ve got great plans reading-wise for this spring, so I’m excited to share this list with you all.

  • A Dance with Dragons Part 2: After the Feast – George R.R. Martin
  • The Map of Love – Ahdaf Soueif
  • The Yacoubian Building – Alaa Al-Aswany
  • Palace Walk – Naguib Mahfouz
  • The Kalahari Typing School For Men – Alexander McCall Smith

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  • A Dangerous Inheritance – Alison Weir
  • The Museum of Innocence – Orhan Pamuk
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams
  • I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
  • Papegaai Vloog Over de IJssel – Kader Abdolah

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Do you make reading plans/lists for any particular time period?

A Slight Change of Plan

I guess what the last few weeks have taught me is that you can plan all you like, but sometimes things just go differently than you had hoped. My intention was to go to Iceland to work, and stay for a minimum of three months. But shortly after arriving I already started to realise that I wasn’t enjoying myself. I won’t to into too much details about why exactly, because it just wouldn’t be interesting ,but I wasn’t really happy about the kind of work I was doing, and I didn’t feel very safe doing it either (I was expected to work with very young, mostly untrained horses). I decided to stick it out for a little longer and hope for the best. I don’t like giving up something once I’ve started, because I prefer to see things through until the end. But after nearly two weeks I realised that I had to be honest to myself and face up to the fact that it just wasn’t working.

So, to cut a long story short, 2.5 weeks after leaving for Iceland I’m back home again. Even though I didn’t stay nearly as long as originally intended, it’s still another thing that I got to experience and I don’t regret doing it.

Now that I’m back home it’s back to what I’ve been doing all along, which is job hunting. Nothing concrete so far, but I’ve been applying to a few things so let’s hope something comes of it. I’ve also decided that I should start getting serious about learning new languages and improving my language skills. I’m still undecided about whether I want to work on improving my German first, or to finally give myself a good kicking and start learning Arabic properly. Maybe I’ll be overly ambitious and try both? (Perhaps not a good idea though).

I’ve also become a contributor over at a really nice blog called Al Miraah (which means ‘the looking glass’ in Arabic). It was created by two of my friends and fellow students at Edinburgh University, and it covers anything about and related to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA region). So if you’re interested in any of that, do go and check it out.

So that’s my life update. More soon 🙂

Happy 2015

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Credit: http://funmozar.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Happy-New-Year-2015-Wallpaper-02.jpg

Yes I’m late to the party, but only by 2 weeks (we’re still allowed to wish people a happy new year, right?). I would like to wish everyone a lot of love, health, happiness, and plenty of great reads to go round this year. And on a personal note, I hope I’ll be able to get a lot more reading done than I did in 2014.

There are many reasons why I’ve been absent again for a while. We had a big, busy family Christmas, and we decided to have a ban on laptops, iPads and smartphones outside the bedrooms, so we could have some proper family time together. And it was actually quite nice! And I’ve also been busy making a lot of other preparations, because I’m leaving for Iceland next Monday (the 19th). I’m going there to work for a few month and I’m really excited. I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland, and now I’m finally getting the chance to do so.

So I know I’m going to be very busy in the next few months, but I’ll be bringing my Kindle so I hope I’ll be able to squeeze in some much needed reading time as well. We’ll see how it goes.

And as for looking back to 2014: it was a strange year for me with lots of ups and downs. I was super busy which didn’t leave a lot of time for reading. I had initially set my reading goal to 50, but I soon realised that this was way too much. So I brought it down to 30, but I didn’t even manage that. In the end I read 27 books which, considering how busy I’ve been with my master’s, isn’t all that bad. I’ve set my goal for this year at 50 again, so here’s to hoping I will be able to reach it this time.

Graduating was absolutely one of the highlights of 2014, but apart from that it wasn’t one of my better years. So here’s to hoping that this’ll change in 2015!

While I’m getting settled in Iceland my posts might be few and far between, but I will try my best to keep things going. And for those of you who are interested in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) I’ve got another reading suggestion. Two of my uni friends started a blog called Al Miraah, filled with news items, book reviews, and reflections about the MENA region, to which I try to make a regular contribution as well. So if that sounds interesting to you, go check it out!

So that’s all from me for now, and I hope 2015 got off to a good start for everyone!

Did you make any resolutions, bookish or otherwise, for 2015?

A Short Life Update

Hi everyone! As you may have noticed, I’ve been AWOL again this past week and a half, and with good reason: I graduated! My parents and I went to Edinburgh last week for my graduation, and it was amazing. It was so good to be back in town and see everyone again, as well as experiencing a proper graduation for the first time. It was an absolutely wonderful experience and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. This means that I haven’t had a lot of time to read, but I’m back home now so there’s plenty of time to catch up. So stay tuned for more book reviews and other bookish things soon 😀

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A Return to Blogging

So I said I would be on semi-hiatus because of university. That was about a year ago. And my last blogpost was well over three months ago (oops). Due to everything that was going on in my life it turned into a full-on hiatus instead, and for a while I wasn’t sure I even wanted to continue blogging at all. I spent all summer in Edinburgh writing my Master’s dissertation, which took up most of my time, and caused me to read so much that I couldn’t bring myself to read anything for pleasure. But now that I’ve been back home for nearly two weeks my entire outlook on reading and blogging has changed again, you could say it has reverted back to normal, and I’m ready to get back to blogging regularly and, most importantly, reading for fun again! In the short time that I’ve been home I’ve already finished three books, and this is only just the tip of the iceberg. 

As you can see I’ve changed the blog’s theme, and I’m ready for a fresh start! So stay tuned for new book reviews, random book ramblings, and stories of this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival!

xox Philippa

Festive Fun

I absolutely adore the festive season, especially the build up to Christmas. Decorating the house, baking all sorts of delicious treats, and deciding what to have for dinner on Christmas Eve. But what I love most of all this time of year is staying in with a good book and a nice cup of tea, especially when it’s cold and dark outside. There’s so much that I love about the holiday season, so I thought I’d share some of it with you. Hope you enjoy it!

Books
As I said I love to read during this season, especially because uni leaves me little time to read for pleasure, so the holidays are the only time when I can do some catching up. I made a list of winter reads last year, so I won’t do this a second time, but there are a few I feel I should mention.

Wuthering Heights – Emily BrontëWuthering-6
This is one of my favourite books, and it’s one I would definitely want to read again at some point. I don’t think I’ll do this anytime soon because there are so many new books I still want to read, but because it’s so gothic and spooky, and therefore perfect for this time of year I would recommend it to others.

13337715A Dance With Dragons part 1 – George R.R. Martin
It’s not a very Christmassy book, but I got it for my birthday and I’m determined to read it over the holidays.

 

 

18A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings – Charles Dickens
I suppose if you want something classy and Christmassy to read, this is the perfect book. I read a few of the short Christmas stories last year, and I am planning on reading a few more over the next couple of days.

 

Food
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without some of these delicious goodies 🙂

Mince Pies

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Mulled Wine

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Gingerbread Biscuits

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Film and Television
It’s always fun to sit the whole family down and watch a nice film or series together. This is what I intend to watch this Christmas:

Last Tango in Halifax
I love this show, which is now in it 2nd series, and I’m so excited that it’s going to have a 3rd series next year. The series finale is on Christmas Eve, and I can’t wait!

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The last episode airs on 24 December at 9 PM on BBC1

Doctor Who
You can’t have Christmas without the Doctor Who special on Christmas Day. This year will both be extra sad and exciting, because we’ll be saying goodbye to Matt Smith, but we’ll be welcoming Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor. I for one am very excited to see what he’ll bring to the character of the Doctor.
Christmas Day at 7.30 PM on BBC1

Love Actually
I just love it because it’s such a feel-good film, and I definitely intend to watch it sometime next week.
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Death Comes to Pemberley
I’ve not read the book yet to be honest, but I’m really excited about this series. I’ve seen a few short previews on tv, and it looks really good. The cast is pretty amazing as well, so I can’t wait to watch this. It starts on Boxing Day (26 December) at 8.15 PM on BBC1.

So this is what I’m looking forward to this Christmas. How about you? 🙂

Hiatus Explanation

Hey everyone!im-back

I’ve only just come to the realisation that I’ve been absent for about a month and a half, which was never my intention, but I guess sometimes things just happen in life. You probably know that I started my Master’s degree back in September, and I suppose you could say that it’s been a bit overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I am really enjoying it, but it’s been even harder than I had expected it to be. I also moved to a new country and it took me a bit of time to settle in and get everything sorted, which also attributed to my infrequent posting. And then in the build-up to Christmas I was suddenly swamped with work and deadlines, and I really had to put the blogging on hold for a bit. I only managed to finish about 2 books this semester as well, so I wouldn’t have had that much to blog about anyway to be honest.

But now my Christmas holidays have officially begun, so I’m delighted to announce that I’m back! I fully intend to use this break to catch up on reading, blogging (and sleeping as well!). I’ll also try and make some sort of schedule so I can keep up the blogging once the 2nd semester kicks off. But that isn’t until January 13, so until that time I’ll definitely be around.

So watch this space, because I’ve a lot of catching up to do!

xox Philippa

Quote It: On a T-Shirt

REDBUBBLE LOGOA bit of shameless self-promotion on this rainy Saturday, but this is something I’m really quite excited about!

I’ve been playing around with this idea for a while, and now I’ve finally gone and done it. I’ve started my own portfolio on Redbubble. I really love t-shirts with prints on them, and I’ve always been frustrated at the lack of a. shirts with great quotes on them and b. girlie shirts. So this whole idea behind creating my own portfolio is to offer t-shirts with fun, interesting, and hopefully more original quotes printed on them, because I think that there are already enough t-shirts with “To Be Or Not To Be” or “Okay” out there.

I’ve set up shop here with only 2 t-shirts available for now, but I intend to add more really soon. Also, if there’s a specific quote you’d love to have on a t-shirt (or iPod/iPhone/iPad cover) don’t hesitate to email/tweet me, or leave a message on this post and I’ll design it for you. Just bear in mind that it actually needs to fit on the t-shirt in a reasonable font size, so the quote should be no more than 2 lines ideally.

So what do you think of this new idea, yay or nay? Please share your favourite book quote below if you like, and tell me why that one stood out to you 🙂