The 5 Books I Enjoyed Most This Year

the 5 books I enjoyed most this year | Charleigh writes

I can’t believe it’s that time of the year again where I share my favourite reads. I’ve had a great reading year for the most part. I’ve been in a slump for about a month which sucks, but I’m still on track to complete my Goodreads challenge! I have read some great books this year and some not so great. In today’s post, I’ve picked out the 5 I’ve enjoyed the most!

You/poet by Rayna Hutchinson and Samuel Blake.

the 5 books I've enjoyed most this year | Charleigh writes

Title – You/poet.

Author(s) – Rayna Hutchinson and Samuel Blake.

Date published – 4th September 2018.

Publisher – Adams Media.

Add to Goodreads. 


Offering a variety of advice for tapping into your creative voice, sharing your work online, and honing your writing skills, You/Poet shows you how to express yourself creatively through the art of poetry.

You may think that writing poetry requires a specific set of skills. You may have read books on writing poetry that were stuffy and full of strict rules and regulations. But You/Poetproves that all you need to be a poet is the desire to share your inner thoughts and emotions with the world. Let HerHeartPoetry—an online poetry community, Instagram, digital zine, and poetry press—take you on a journey of self-discovery and surprise, and show you how to embrace the world of writing poetry with arms wide open.

Writing poetry is an act of bravery. It’s just you, your thoughts and feelings, and the words you choose to express them. You/Poet can help you do just that. With encouragement and advice on poetry writing basics, how to identify your unique creative voice, and prompts and exercises to help you channel your thoughts and emotions through writing, this all-in-one guide will help you share your talent with the world.

This year I’ve really been working hard to improve my writing skills. One of the areas I wanted to focus on was my poetry. This book is one of the best books I’ve ever read on writing poetry. It offers up advice on voice and the basics of poetry. However, my favourite part was the prompt section. It’s divided into single-word prompts, word jumble prompts, image prompts, micropoetry prompts and thematic prompts. It’s well worth a read if you’re looking for inspiration or wanting to improve your poetry skills. 

Lock Me In by Kate Simants.

the 5 books I enjoyed most this year | Charleigh writes

Title – Lock Me In.

Author – Kate Simants.

Date published – 3rd October 2019.

Publisher – Killer Reads.

Add to Goodreads. 


A debut psychological thriller from a major new talent

Whatever you do, don’t open the door…

By day, Ellie Power has a normal life. She has a stable home, a loving boyfriend, a future.

But at night, she suffers from a sleep disorder. She becomes angry, unpredictable, violent. Her mother locks her in her bedroom every night, to keep them both safe.

Then one morning, Ellie wakes up, horrified to find the lock on her bedroom door smashed from the inside. She is covered in injuries, unable to remember anything about the night before.

And her boyfriend Matt is nowhere to be found…

I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. I’ve really been loving psychological thrillers recently, so I requested this on Netgalley and was pleasantly surprised. Look out for a review coming soon!

Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer.

Aphrodite made me do it

Title – Aphrodite Made Me Do It.

Author – Trista Mateer.

Date published – 1st October 2019.

Publisher – Central Avenue Publishing.

Add to Goodreads. 

SynopsisBestselling and award-winning author Trista Mateer takes an imaginative approach to self-care in this new poetry and prose collection, Aphrodite Made Me Do It. In this empowering retelling, she uses the mythology of the goddess to weave a common thread through the past and present. By the end of this book, Aphrodite makes you believe in the possibility of your own healing.

This is one of my favourite poetry collections I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It touches on subjects such as mental illness, LGBTQ+, forgiveness, and love. It’s such a beautiful read and I highly recommend it. 

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

knife of never letting go

Title – The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking Trilogy Book 1).

Author – Patrick Ness.

Date published – 22nd July 2014.

Publisher – Candlewick Press.

Add to Goodreads. 

SynopsisTodd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

Another book I didn’t expect to like as much as I did. I am in love with Patrick Ness’s writing and I am so excited to read his other books. This was such a unique and exciting read. 

Finale by Stephanie Garber.


Title – Finale (Caraval Trilogy Book 3).

Author – Stephanie Garber.

Date published – 7th May 2019.

Publisher – Flatiron Books.

Add to Goodreads. 

SynopsisA love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time—only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…

Although I am beyond sad this series has come to an end, I absolutely loved the final book and thought it was a fitting ending. Caraval has become one of my all-time favourite series and I’m so excited to see what the author writes next. 

What were your favourite books this year? 

the 5 books I enjoyed most this year | Charleigh writes

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Harry Potter Scenes I Wish Were In The Movies Part 2

Last Blogmas I talked about the scenes I wished they’d put in the Harry Potter movies (you can read this post here) and today I’m bringing (finally!) part 2. As I was re-reading the books and compiling this list, I realised how much people are missing out on if they haven’t read the books. I’ve read the books many times and even now, I still forget about the tiny details that really make the Wizarding World come alive. Honestly, if you love the Harry Potter movies and you haven’t yet read the books, then what are you waiting for?!

Also, this is definitely not a complete list of things I wish we’re in the movies. However, I’ve condensed this list down otherwise I’d be here until next year! Let me know in the comments if there’s anything you wish we’re in the movies.

*This post will contain major spoilers for the final 3 Harry Potter books*

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Petunia and her howler.

I thought this was such an important moment at the beginning of The Order of the Phoenix. Although we don’t find out the whole reason behind it until later, it explained why Petunia couldn’t just toss Harry out onto the streets as Vernon was ready to do.

Grimmaud Place and Mrs Black’s portrait.

One striking thing about the fifth movie was the absence of Mrs Black’s portrait. Strangely, I missed the screaming that would commence whenever the doorbell went or anyone made too much noise. Instead, we only got a little bit of muttering here and there. It just felt so wrong.

Ron and Hermione becoming prefects.

It’s so sad we don’t get to see this moment in the films. Especially because Ron always felt like he was second best to Harry. However, becoming a prefect gave him something he had achieved all by himself and in the books, it gave him a boost to his self-esteem.

Dobby and the come and go room.

I’m always disappointed we don’t get to see much Dobby in the films. In the books, Dobby discovered the Room of Requirement (or as he liked to call it ‘the come and go room’). In the movies, it’s Neville that discovered the room for Dumbledore’s Army. I loved Dobby and he deserved much more screen time.

St Mungo’s Hospital.

This one might be the one that irritates me the most. I loved seeing where people go when they’re sick. I especially loved Gilderoy Lockhart popping up again after he lost his memory in The Chamber of Secrets. However, the most important detail about St Mungo’s is when we get to meet Neville’s parents. They aren’t mentioned much in the movies, and especially because they were important members of the Order of the Phoenix I feel they should have been introduced properly.

Umbridge sending the dementors after Harry.

This was so frustrating! Nowhere in the movies did it say Umbridge was the one who sent them after him (in fact, I’d forgotten it was even her!). It was just left up to interpretation in which I imagine people would assume it was Voldermort who ordered them to attack Harry.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Harry Potter scenes I wish were in the movies part 2 | Charleigh writes

The other Minister.

In the films, we never got to see the muggle prime minister meeting with Fudge and the new Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour. I thought this would have been great in the movies and would have shown the way the magical community interacted with muggles and how they kept them safe.


In the movies, Luna finds Harry after Malfoy used the Petrificus Totalus spell on him on the train. However, in the books, it’s actually Tonks who found Harry and helped him get to Hogwarts. In fact, we hardly ever saw Tonks (or Lupin) in this movie which is such a shame because they’re such great characters.

Tom Riddle’s family.

We learn next to nothing about Tom Riddle’s family in the movies. In the books, one of my favourite parts was finding out where Tom Riddle came from and how and why he ended up as Lord Voldermort.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Harry Potter 7

The Elder wand.

At the end of the final film, Harry snapped the elder wand and threw it away like it meant nothing. Except in the book he used the Elder wand to mend his own wand and left the Elder wand in Dumbledore’s tomb. For me, this was some form of closure and also respect for Dumbledore. Missing it out in the movies was a huge mistake.

Peter Pettigrew’s death.

I believe Peter Pettigrew’s part in the movies was way less developed than in the books. In the books, his own silver hand (the one Voldermort gave him in the 4th book) strangled him because of his hesitation in killing Harry. In fact, the last we see of Pettigrew is Dobby knocking him out at the end of part one, so it wasn’t even confirmed that he had died.

Luna’s painting.

This was my favourite scene in the entire last book. On her ceiling, Luna had painted Harry, Ron, Neville, Hermione and Ginny with the word ‘friends’ linking chains between them. It was so beautiful and I would have loved to have seen this in the movie.

What moments/scenes do you wish they’d included in the movies?

Harry Potter scenes

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Harry Potter Christmas Tag (Part 2!)

Harry Potter Christmas tag | Charleigh writes

Last year I created a Harry Potter Christmas tag and I had so much fun doing it (you can check that out here). This year I decided to create another one, except instead of not being able to choose Harry Potter books, this one is based completely around it!

I hope you have as much fun doing this as I had creating it!


  • Link back to me so I can read your answers!
  • Tag as many as people as you wish.


Where in Hogwarts would you spend the most time?

Definitely the library. I’d be so at home with all the books.

The family you’d love to spend Christmas with.

The Weasley’s 100%. They are my favourite ever fictional family and I would love to be a part of their festivities.

Characters you’d have a snowball fight with.

Fred and George. I can imagine them bombarding me with snowballs as I walk into Hogsmeade.

Harry Potter goodies

A magical gift you’d love to find under the Christmas tree.

Invisibility cloak. I would love to stalk around Hogwarts and explore after hours (especially the restricted section!). Even better, I wouldn’t get caught!

A fantastic beast that would make the perfect reindeer.

Buckbeak the Hippogriff. I can imagine him flying around with Santa delivering presents to everyone in the castle.

Fictional character you’d think would make a perfect Santa.

I don’t think it could be anyone other than Hagrid. He’s just a big, cuddly giant who’d love nothing more than making everyone happy on Christmas morning.

Harry Potter Christmas

The character most likely to eat Santa’s treats left for him on Christmas Eve.

Ron Weasley. If eating all the chocolates laced with love potion is anything to go by, I’m sure he would have no trouble gobbling Santa’s treats.

What would your favourite character find in their stocking on Christmas Day?

My favourite character is Hermione, and I definitely think she would find new quills and books in her stocking.

The character most likely to drink too much.

Winky. I was going to say Professor Slughorn, but then I remembered about poor old Winky getting drunk in the kitchens so she seemed more likely.

Harry Potter lego

The character most likely to embarrass themselves at the Christmas party?

Neville. The poor old guy always seems to get himself into trouble in some way.

3 characters you’d bring back from the dead to share Christmas dinner with.

Dobby, Sirius and Dumbledore.

Character who’d go all out on their Christmas outfit.

Luna Lovegood. Remember what she was wearing when she attended Slughorn’s party with Harry?

I tag.

Harry Potter pinterest graphic

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4 Popular Books I Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

popular books i haven't read yet but want to | charleigh writes

With so many books out in the world, it’s no surprise there are so many popular books I haven’t read. I don’t have the best track record with popular books, so I tend to avoid reading them until the hype dies down. I’ve heard great things about all of these books so I’m excited to read them very soon.

*All book titles go to Goodreads*

The Raven Boys Series.

popular books i haven't read yet but want to | charleigh writes


“It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.”

I haven’t read any of this author’s work before but I’ve heard good things. This series has been on my shelf for the longest time but I’ve never been in the mood for it. With so many great reviews how could I not want to pick this series up?

The Book Thief.

popular books i haven't read yet but want to | charleigh writes


“It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.”

I first started reading this back when the film was released, however, I never finished it. It wasn’t because it was a bad book, in fact, it’s far from it, but I either wasn’t in the mood for it or my concentration wasn’t great. Either way, I did enjoy what I did read and I’d love to get back into it. 

Children of Blood and Bone.

popular books i haven't read yet but want to | charleigh writes


“They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.”

This is a relatively recent addition to my TBR, but I’ve heard amazing things about this book. After reading the blurb and other people’s reviews, it sounds like a fresh and exciting addition to the YA world. 

Red Queen Series.

red queen


“This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.”

This is another series I’ve had on my shelf forever, however, I have a pretty valid reason for not having read it yet! When I first purchased Red Queen, the series was close to been finished so I decided to wait (because let’s face it, who here hates having to wait for the next book?!)

What popular books haven’t you read yet but want to? 

popular books

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How To Deal With Anxious Thoughts Around Christmas

For many people, Christmas is a time for happiness and being together, but for others, it can be so terrifying it can cause an increase in symptoms. The anxiety around money, the thought of having to go to family gatherings or parties, the pressure to be happy, the thought of being alone, having people tell you ‘pull yourself together, it’s Christmas!’ can be very unhelpful and make symptoms worse.

I used to hate Christmas and everything to do with it. I would avoid even thinking about Christmas but when it’s everywhere you look it can be hard to do that. The pressure of knowing I had to see people when all I wanted to do was hide, knowing I had to seem happy and put together was almost too much to bear at times. But unfortunately, Mental illness doesn’t take days off – no matter what time of year it is, and having the right tools to get you through is so important. Below are some of my top tips to make things more bearable.

Be honest about your feelings.

This one can be hard if you have people who don’t understand or who are not supportive of your struggles, but if you do have family who understands then be honest. If something feels too difficult or scary, let people know, they might surprise you and you might be able to come up with something that feels easier so you don’t miss out.

Have a plan.

If you have to attend Christmas gatherings or parties, have a plan. Decide what time you’re leaving so you have something to aim towards. For example – ‘I can get through this, there are only x amounts of hours left and it’ll be over’. If you’re responsible for hosting parties or cooking Christmas dinner, have a step by step list or plan so you know exactly what you have to do, so you’ll less likely to become overwhelmed.

Make time for yourself.

Self-care is important – especially if you find this time of year more difficult. It’s important to make time for yourself and your needs, away from anything that stresses you out. It can be something as simple having a bath, feeding yourself and drinking water – anything that doesn’t feel like a chore to do.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

There’s already enough pressure from society and other people, so there’s no good piling on more. It’s ok if you can’t do something, it’s ok if you have to leave early or not go somewhere at all, no good comes from putting too much pressure on yourself. It’s okay to say no if you can’t manage something. I know one of the hardest things for me is saying no, but it’s important to have healthy boundaries and realistic expectations for yourself.

Distraction, distraction, distraction.

With Christmas everywhere, it’s hard to escape. However, whilst you always have some degree of control, in the comfort of your own space, you are in the most control. If watching Christmas films or adverts makes your anxious thoughts worse, turn Netflix on and watch something not related to Christmas, listen to music, read books, anything not related to Christmas. It can help to have that space where you can pretend it isn’t Christmas and just relax.

Know where to turn for support.

Sometimes, no matter how much you prepare or try out different ways to cope, you can become overwhelmed. Below, I have listed various organizations you can contact if you need extra support:

UK support.

  • Samaritans (Call 116 123, open 24 hours, 365 days a year, Email,, response time within 24 hours a day). For more information visit their website here.
  • Shout (Text Shout to 85258, open 24/7). For more information visit their website here.
  • SANEline (Call 0300 304 7000, 4.30pm to 10.30pm every day). For more information visit their website here.

International support.

Other posts you might find helpful.

Do you have any more tips on dealing with anxiety at Christmas?

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Bargain Christmas Decorations Haul 2019

One of my favourite things to do every Christmas is look for new decorations. In 2018, we had recently moved into our new bungalow so we didn’t have a Christmas tree. This year we haven’t had to buy anything huge, so we had so much fun looking around for things to add to our collection (we are very enthusiastic about Christmas in this house!).

Our town has quite a few charity shops which we had fun looking around, and that’s where we got most of our new decorations. It’s great to find bargains but also give to charity too. I will obviously link to anything we didn’t get from charity shops in case anyone is interested!

This year we decided to theme our Christmas tree around Harry Potter. I’m a Ravenclaw and my best friend is Hufflepuff and we are huge Harry Potter fans so it only seems right we should do this theme. We couldn’t find Hufflepuff yellow, so we went with gold which has a similar effect, it was an absolute nightmare trying to find green and blue tinsel which I was very surprised about (especially green, like hello its Christmas!). Eventually, we found some in an independent shop in our town as surprisingly we couldn’t find it in any of the major retail shops.

We also found this set of 4 Harry Potter baubles in Primark. They have brilliant Harry Potter themed items all year round but especially at Christmas!

We found this in a charity shop for £3.99. I love how you can adjust the words to have it displayed in any way you like. The colours are perfect for Christmas.

This was another charity shop find (£2.50). We don’t burn tealights because we have 2 cats and a labrador with the waggiest tail! However, we have some electric tealights we put in and I think they look just as good.

Another tealight holder found in the same charity shop (also £2.50). I love the mice around the Christmas tree, they’re so cute!

This Santa ornament was another charity shop find. It cost around £2.99 and has been featuring in my opening Blogmas graphic.

I found this little fellow for £3 in Primark. I think he’s so cute so we had to add him to our Christmas decorations. There’s also a larger version (linked here) for £6.

Finally, we found this tree decoration in Asda (and it was only 50p too so even better!) I love this quote and I think you’re never too old to believe in the magic.

Do you add new decorations every Christmas or do you stick to what you already have?

bargain Christmas decorations haul 2019 | Charleigh writes

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Ultimate Gift Guide For The Book Lover In Your Life

I’m here today with another gift guide – this time for the book lover in your life! It can be hard to think of ideas that aren’t books, so this guide is centered around things other than books. Of course a bookworm would love books (clue is in the title!), however, it can be hard to pick books they’ll enjoy or to know what books they already have. I hope you find the perfect gift!


Bookmarks are a book lover’s best friend. Nothing is worse than having nothing to mark your page, heaven forbid that someone might dog-ear a page! Bookmarks come in all shapes and sizes – woodmarks (like from Ink and Wonder), magnetic bookmarks, metal bookmarks, leather bookmarks, the choice is yours.

Bookish pins.

I for one love collecting book-related pins. It can be a good idea to think about what books they love to read and try to find pins based on them. For example, is your loved one a Harry Potter fan? – then these from Ink and Wonder are perfect.

Expecto Patronum pin.

Lumos pin.

Mischief Managed pin. 


Candles are a wonderful present for a bookish loved one. You can even find candles based on your loved one’s favourite book. Some great places to find bookish candles are;

A Court of Candles.

Bookish Burns.

Amelia Kitchen Candles.

Book sleeves.

Personally, my favourite bookish gift. I didn’t even know these were a thing until a few years ago when I received one in my Fairyloot subscription box. They are perfect for keeping books safe when out and about. They help protect from spillages, knocks, and creasing of covers/pages. They come in beautiful designs too! Here are some great places to find them;

Grumble Bums Crafts.

Artisanal Ane.

Reading journal.

Reading journals are perfect for the book lover in your life. It’s great having online sites like Goodreads to track books, but it’s nothing like having a journal to record your thoughts. This one is from Amazon and it includes a book log: with space for thoughts, as well as information like title, author, date read, stars given, etc.

Bookish mugs.

How about a bookish mug to sip their favourite drink whilst reading. Hot drinks go wonderfully well with reading so this is a great gift. You can get mugs with quotes, favourite book images or anything that looks cute! Here are some Etsy shops that do great bookish mugs;

The Story Gift.

Sweet Sequels.

TBR jar.


Lastly, if you’re on a budget or fancy being creative why not make them one of these TBR jars (you can check out my post on that here). It’s a really simple and fun gift that any book lover will love!

What other ideas could someone gift their bookish loved one?

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Make Your Own TBR Jar (Fantastic Gift)

Today I’m going to be showing you how to make two different TBR jars. They make fantastic gifts for Christmas. They’re super simple and hardly take any time at all, and you can decorate/personalise them however you like! If you’re on a real budget you can even use old washed out jars or ice lolly sticks.

Starry night sky TBR jar.

What you’ll need.

  • A plain glass jar (I got mine from Wilko).
  • White Acrylic Gesso.
  • Paintbrushes/water pot/palette.
  • Dark blue paint (I used Docrafts Artiste Acrylic Paint Night Blue) but you can use any sort of paint as long as it paints over glass.
  • Ultra-Fine pin tip Posca paint pens (White and Gold).
  • Mod Podge (or any kind of water-based sealer).
  • Plain paper.

Step one.

First, give the jar a few coats of the gesso. I ended up giving it 3 coats – to be sure I couldn’t see any glass left through it. This gives the jar a good base for the paint to go over. I chose not to paint the rim where the lid covers so it wouldn’t cause the lid to stick, but it’s up to you if you want to paint it or not. I would recommend leaving it overnight to make sure the gesso is completely dry.

Step two.

Next, it’s time to put the paint on! I used a midnight navy blue colour and a flat paintbrush. Make sure you cover the entire jar. Wait for it to dry (this will vary depending on what paint you use) before giving it another coat to make sure there’s no patches or streaks. Now, depending on what brand/type of paint you’re using you may need to give it another coat. The paint tends to look different when it’s wet, so it’s best to wait for it to completely dry before judging if it needs another coat or not.

Step three.

Next, it’s time to decorate! I used the ultra-fine gold Posca pen to draw some dots and stars onto the jar. I then went back and added some white dots using a white ultra-fine Posca pen to break up the gold.

Step four.

Once the paint has dried (again I would it leave overnight before completing this step), give the painted jar a coat of Mod Podge (or any water-based sealer). This will seal everything in and make the jar last longer! You can use gloss, matte or whatever you prefer your finish to look like.

Step five.

The last step is to add in your TBR books! I cut up plain paper but you can use post-it notes or anything to write them on! Now, whenever you don’t know what to read just pop out a slip of paper and there you go! (obviously, if you’re gifting this to someone else you won’t be able to complete this step (unless you have access to their TBR books), but you can always add in some of your favourite reads to get them started!.

Simple polka dot TBR jar.

What you’ll need.

  • Plain glass jar (I used this one from Wilko).
  • Coloured lollipop sticks (I used these from Amazon).
  • Colours of choice Posca pens (any tip size you want!).
  • Post-it note/paper.
  • Pens to match your lollipop stick colours
  • Shredded coloured paper (optional).

Step one.

Choose a genre/category for each coloured lollipop stick (I used red for Fantasy, orange for Mental Health, green for Sci-fi, blue for Contemporary and yellow for a surprise).  Write on your TBR books with a black Posca pen (or any other pen that will write and not smudge on wood) and leave to dry.  I added simple sentences to my surprise sticks such as ‘a book you love the cover of’ or ‘the book you’ve been meaning to read for ages’ for when I don’d mind what to read. Don’t forget to create the coloured key so you know what each colour means!

Step two.

Next, add your different coloured polka dots to the outside of the jar. You can use whatever colours you like. I mainly used PC-5M thickness Posca pens, but you can use thinner tips if you prefer.

Step three.

When everything is dry, pop your lollipop sticks into the jar and you’re done (it’s that simple!) I also added some shredded paper into the bottom to add more colour and to make the sticks easier to grab out.

Remember these are only two designs, let your imagination run wild!

Let me know if you create any designs, I’d love to see your creations 🙂

Book Review | The Rain Belongs Here by Julie Rogers

book review

Title – The Rain Belongs Here.

Author – Julie Rogers.

Publication Date – 1st November 2019.

Add to Goodreads. 


If she succeeds in finding him, he’ll be charged with murder. If she fails, he won’t likely survive on his own.

It’s 2064. Ana lives in the City, an experimental community that has had little contact with outsiders in decades. When her older brother Finn disappears on her 22nd birthday, a seemingly impossible event given the City’s extensive monitoring, she quits school, moves into her station wagon and embarks on an obsessive manhunt. Unable to find him on her own, she’s forced to partner with Aaron, a detective with his own complicated history and agenda.

Together they comb the dregs of the outside world, encountering both the horrors of lawless survivor communities and the unclaimed beauty of the old world. As Ana comes closer to understanding her brother’s disappearance, she’s forced to confront the truth about herself and her place in the City.

My thought on the book

4 star book review

* I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review*

The Rain Belongs Here follows Ana as she desperately tries to find her older brother Finn. The book is set in 2064 in an isolated city with no access to the outside world.

The author has built this incredible, addictive world. Firstly, we have the city where people have been made to fear the outside world. It was so interesting to read about this new city that had been created to protect people from the horrors of the outside. When we head out into the old world, it was just as compelling. The different factions we read about are fascinating and I only wanted to find out more about them.

Ana was a great protagonist. Her dedication and obsession with finding her brother drew me into the story. I found myself just as invested as she was in finding her brother. I also found it interesting following her journey into the outside, and how she reacts to this strange, new world she had feared her entire life.

I was constantly guessing about what happened to Finn and what his goal was on the outside. I found myself not believing he would leave his sister, not for anything small, it had to be something big or important.

The writing was incredible – it kept me engaged and reading when I probably should’ve been doing other things. The only disappointment is that this isn’t going to be a series, as I’m not ready to let go of these characters and world. (I have since found out the author is writing a sequel which I’m so excited for!)

Have you read The Rain Belongs Here? If so, what did you think?

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6 Christmas Stocking Fillers When You Have No Ideas

black board with words '6 stocking fillers when you have no ideas' with blue tinsel and santa ornament

I always used to struggle to buy stocking fillers, but the last few years I finally have it all figured out. I know that stocking fillers mean different things but I see them as anything that fits into a Christmas stocking. Part of our Christmas tradition is that me and my best friend both get each other a stocking full of small (and cheap!) gifts. I personally think it’s so fun to open little gifts and when you get to the bottom you have to feel around to make sure there’s nothing left. One year I missed a gift that was shoved right into the bottom and didn’t open it until the following year! If you’re stuck for ideas I got you covered. Here are 6 perfect ideas for just about anybody!

Fridge magnets.

You can never go wrong with a good old fridge magnet. I know our fridge is full of magnets that we’ve accumulated over the years: from days out, holidays, and gifts to one another. There are so many places to get them from and you can get just about anything on them (even personalised with photos or quotes). My favoruite places to find them are Etsy (Katie Abey has some wonderful ones), independent shops in my town, and card shops usually have some nice ones.


Again, you can get just about anything on a badge now. They are so fun to collect too. Some of my favoutire places to find them are Punky Pins and Ink and Wonder.


Who doesn’t love socks? It’s one of my favourite gifts to recieve and buy for people. I always end up buying way too many socks for people because there are so many cute ones out there. Primark is my favorutie place to get them from, but again you can find them most places.

Pocket mirrors.

This is always a handy thing to carry around so why not make it a stocking filler? I know I always wish I had one if I’ve left mine at home.

Lush lip scrub/perfume/body spray.

I love Lush and everything they sell. I especially love their lip scrubs because they work so well on dry lips and taste really good! My favourite one is the Sugar Plum Fairy  lip scrub, but they also have many other flavours including Bubblegum. 

Also, Lush also sell perfume. Although, a little more on the expensive side but perfect to fit in a stocking. They also sell solid perfume which is cheaper than the liquid perfume and works in a similar way.

Stickers/washi tape.

Do you have a friend/family member who loves planning? Or perhaps they just love stickers, then this is the perfect stocking filler for them. There are plenty of places to find them – The Works, Etsy and Whsmith.

Do you struggle to buy stocking fillers? Do you have any more ideas?

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