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26 Years, 26 Books – My Ultimate Favourite Reads

Hey guys and welcome back to my blog. I turned 26 on the 22nd January, and in honour of this I decided I wanted to share 26 of my ultimate favourite books! This was harder than I anticipated! I wanted to include some of my childhood favourites as well as some from my teenage and adult life. All these books have impacted me in some way and made me who I am today. Grab yourself a cup of your favourite drink and get comfy, because this is going to be a long one..

(All book titles go to Goodreads)

1. Harry Potter Series.

There are never enough words for me to explain what Harry Potter means to me. It’s more than just a favourite book, it’s a world that will stay with me forever, and I mean it when I say I wouldn’t be who I am without it.

You can read my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone here.

You can read my book review of Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets here.

2. The Faraway Tree Series by Enid Blyton.

All of Enid Blyton’s books have a special place in my heart, but one series that has stuck with me is The Faraway Tree series. I mean what little girl wouldn’t want to climb up a tree and meet so many unique people.

3. The Story Of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson.

I was obsessed with Tracy Beaker when I was young (and I still watch the spin off today!). I had the books, watched the tv series, was obsessed with the film and I even had the magazine. I haven’t read many of Jacqueline Wilson other books, but I’ve been reading them as an adult and think they are fabulous.

4. Wasted by Marya Hornbacher.

This was a book I first read when I was entrenched in my eating disorder. Marya Hornbacher’s writing is beautiful, raw and emotional. I really appreciate how brutally honest she is and how she shows what really goes on when someone is suffering from an eating disorder.

5. The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen.

One of my favourite authors of all time – Tess Gerritsen’s writing just blows me away. I was obsessed with this book and I love every single book in the Rizzoli and Isles series – not one book has disappointed me and I look forward to the next book she releases.

6. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman.

This series will always hold a special place in my heart. I didn’t read the books until I was an adult, but after watching the film I knew I had to. I went through a period in my life when I couldn’t sleep until I had the film on in the background, and when I read the books I fell in love even more. The characters, the settings, the plot, I love everything.

7. Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.

This is another book I didn’t read until later in life. However, one of my fondest memories of my childhood was watching the VHS on the tv in my Nana’s back living room. I related to Harriet because, like her, all I wanted to do was be a writer.

8. The Chronicles Of Narnia by C.S Lewis.

Who wouldn’t love this book as a child? A secret world inside a wardrobe, a snow covered land and quirky characters. There were so many times I wished I could escape to Narnia, and the book let me do just that.

9. Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden.

I discovered this series after my best friend set me a reading challenge – one of the prompts was ‘a book published in the year you were born’. I’m so happy I found this gem and I feel like it’s an underrated series. The entire series is fantastic and I’m looking forward to rereading it!

10. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

I don’t read too much sci-fi, but the structure of this book caught my eye. I’m so glad I gave it a chance because I loved it. I was really surprised at how real the characters felt and how well the emotions were portrayed because of the structure, but it was like I was right there in the story.

11. Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

I love retellings and this one is my favourite and also the most unique I’ve ever read. Unfortunately, I haven’t finished the series yet but hopefully it will be worth the wait.

12. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman.

This was the first book I read by thus author and boy had I been missing out. Alice Oseman has a way with words and her characters are just out of this world.

13. Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

I have only good things to say about this book. I was late to the party but at least I didn’t have to wait for the second book, aha! I’m so excited for the final book in the series to be released in May, I need to know how it will all end!

You can read my review of Caraval here.

You can read my review of Legendary (the second book in the Caraval series) here.

14. The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace.

I love poetry, it’s one of my favourite things to write and I love reading other people’s work. This book was a surprise – but I related to so many of the poems and I loved it.

15. We Are Okay by Nina LaCour.

This resonated with me on a whole new level. I didn’t feel like there was much of a plot but it didn’t need one. The character were stunning, the relationships, the emotion was all so beautiful.

You can read my review of We Are Okay here.

16. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy.

I am fascinated with anything to do with witches and I always have been. This book is so fun and really enhanced my love for witchy things.

17. The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess.

A very recent read but it has become a firm favourite. I received an ARC from Netgalley and immediately began reading. By the end of the book I was moved, emotional and so invested in this story.

18. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton.

This was one of those unexpected books that I wasn’t sure I would like but ended up loving. The setting is stunning, the characters well developed and relatable and the plot was so action packed I would nearly forget to take a breath.

19. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken.

I recently reread this book and loved it just as much as the first time. I have a special place in my heart for dystopian books and this one topped the charts for me.

20. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult.

Jodi Picoult is a master writer and has a knack for creating characters you find hard to hate. I haven’t read all of her books yet, but this one is my favourite so far.

21. Legend by Marie Lu.

Although I didn’t particularly like the other books in this series, it didn’t ruin Legend for me. It was a shame I didn’t like them, however I’ll pretend it’s a standalone to make me feel better.

22. Madness by Marya Hornbacher.

Another book by the talented Marya Hornbacher, except this one deals with her Bipolar disorder. Again, like Wasted, I appreciated her raw emotion and her honest portrayal of her disorder with nothing left out.

23. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.

This was another book I read whilst entrenched in my eating disorder, except this one is fiction, not a memoir. I loved the storyline and instead of the typical plot we normally see in eating disorder stories, it was unique and a different take. The writing is also stunning, and I’m a big fan of beautiful prose.

24. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne.

Another series of books that I feel is underrated. This was a action packed story that took me a wild adventure full of twists and turns.

25. The Sweep Series by Cate Tiernan.

Another lot of witchy books and another series I discovered during a reading challenge. I haven’t completed the Series yet (it’s a long one!) but the first few books blew my mind and I rushed through them like my life depended on it.

26. The Famous Five by Enid Blyton.

Lastly we have the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. I can’t tell you how much I love these books. When I was a child I used to be desperate to get back to my book so I could go on more adventures with the five. Nothing much has changed now!

Well, congratulations if you’ve made it this far and I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. What are some of your ultimate favourite books?


My Must-Have Lush Products (When You Only Have A Shower)

Blogtober graphics with leaf and black cat

Hey guys and welcome to Blogtober day 22. In today’s post I’m going to be sharing my 7 must have products from Lush. There would be more on this list but since moving I haven’t had a bath (internally cries!) So included in this post are products you don’t need a bath for. Here are my top 7…

All heading titles go to the product in question.

Tea Tree Water.

I’ve tried using the cheap stuff, I’ve tried to make do with a different sort of toner but nothing comes close to this. This is one of things that has cleared my skin up loads, and it’s so easy – just spritz and go. I also love how refreshing it is – especially when it’s been a hot day or I have a flushed face.

Grease lightning.

This is another thing I believe has cleared my skin up. The bottle is only small however a little goes a long way and the bottle lasts for ages.

Dark Angels face cleanser.

This is a recent edition I purchased. I can’t comment on whether or not it’s helping my skin because I’ve only used it a few times. It’s on my favourites list because it leaves my skin feeling so soft and clean when I use it. The only thing I super hate is it’s so messy and gets everywhere!

Twilight shower gel.

This is my absolutely favourite shower gel (and my favourite ever scent). I hate that it’s exclusive and not available all the time. It smells so good and is really relaxing. I’ve got a few bottles stocked up but I’m scared to use it in case I can’t get anymore.

Sleepy body lotion.

(No picture because I’ve ran out)

I’m one for collecting body lotions but never really using them. That all changed when I found this. It smells quite similar to the twilight shower gel. It leaves your skin silky smooth, and it’s relaxing and smells like bedtime.

Twilight sparkle jar.

I’ve always loved Lush’s dusting powders and was super apprehension about trying the naked format. The outside of the bar gives your skin a beautiful, soft finish, and then you poke the holes in the top to ‘release’ the dust. The result leaves your skin feeling smooth clean and shimmery. It also last for ages so also saves you money.

Twilight Body Spray.

Ok, so there’s a bit of a theme going on here with scent lol! This is one of those products I looked longingly at whilst browsing the store. It’s quite expensive so I never thought I’d get it. Then my best friend swooped in and saved the day by gifting it to me at Christmas. Safe to say I still have 3/4 of the bottle left because I’m too scared I’ll run out!

What are your favourite Lush products? Let me know in the comments.

5 Silly Things I’m Superstitious About

Hello and welcome to Blogtober day 2! Today I’m going to be talking about 5 things I’m superstitious about. I’m not an overly superstitious person – I don’t believe in Friday the thirteenth, or black cats being bad luck (in fact I’ve probably had more good luck with my black cat than bad.) But whilst I was researching for this post I realised there are certain things I am superstitious about and that’s what I’ll be talking about today. As it’s impossible for anyone to know 100% where a superstition comes from I will just be suggesting some of the more popular theories about the origin of the superstition.

Find a penny – pick it up.

Origin – different cultures believe this phrase stems from different things. Some people believe this superstition comes from ancient times where there was a belief metals offered protection against harmful spirits. Other people believe it comes from a pagan ritual where a pin would be used as a good luck charm (‘see a pin and pick it up; all day long you’ll have good luck’).

I have no idea why I believe in this superstition but I always have. Every time I see a penny on the ground – I pick it up. Whether or not I have good luck for the rest of the day is irrelevant – it’s so engrained I’ll believe it for the rest of my life.

Walking under ladders.

Origin – some people believe it represents the place where people would be hanged – the gallows. Others believe it can be traced back to Ancient Egyptian times where a triangle (the leaning ladder) is sacred and if walking underneath it would be disrespecting the Gods.

Wherever this superstition comes from – I hate walking under ladders because it’s just not safe. I always have visions of people under them and the whole scaffolding collapses on top of them. I’d say that would be pretty bad luck!

Crossing fingers (and toes) for good luck.

Origin – one of the theories of this superstition is that it comes from a Pagan belief. Two people would combine their middle fingers to form a cross whilst making a wish. They believed crossing their fingers would encourage good spirits to make their wish come true.

We’ve all heard the saying ‘keep you fingers and toes crossed for me!’ I’ve never really thought about where this superstition comes from. I’ve always been told you cross your fingers for good luck or when you’re wishing for something good to happen.

Wishing on a star.

Origin – no one really know where this superstition comes from. Some think it’s because shooting stars are rare, beautiful occurrences. Also, for thousands of years stars have been considered to have divine powers.

Who hasn’t sat staring out their window waiting for a shooting star to zip past them? People want to believe miracles about wishing on a shooting star is possible (me included). I think we as humans love to have the thought miracles and magic do happen in this world.

‘Break a leg.’

Origin – some believe this superstition is derived from the belief it’s bad luck to wish a performer good luck. Hence why people say the phrase ‘Break a leg’ because it’s about the most unlucky thing to have happen whilst someone is performing on stage!

Growing up around a theatrical group I was so used to hearing the phrase ‘break a leg’. When I was old enough to take part in the shows myself, I loved hearing the phrase because it meant I was performing – I was part of the team.

These are all the main superstitions I believe in. I’ve really enjoyed putting this post together. I’ve never thought about where superstitions came from and why we believe or don’t believe in them.

What are some of the things you’re superstitious about? Let me know in the comments.

7 Things I Wish People Knew About Chronic Illness

I’m sat on the end of my bed, my useless legs dangling over the edge, the pain throbbing though my entire body. This a regular occurrence for me. The simplest things overwhelm me, exhaustion engulfs me and my head spins.

A lot of the time it’s about riding the waves, it’s about trying to find things you can still do whilst unwell. I am a full time wheelchair user and have been unable to walk or use my legs in over 3 years. But I am still me, as everyone knew me before, when my legs walked and my arms could hold weight without giving way – I just need more help now to do everyday things.

Having a chronic illness is hard and it’s sucks, but one of the worst things about it is people that don’t understand. Comments like ‘just get a job’ or ‘get more sleep’ and the countless other comments I’m tired of hearing time and time again are unhelpful and frustrating. It doesn’t take a genius to be respectful and educated about these things.

DISCLAIMER – Remember everyone with chronic illness is different, and these are my own opinions.

1. A good day doesn’t mean my symptoms have gone away.

I am still in pain. I am still exhausted. I am just better able to function and push through to get things I need to get done. The prospect of being unwell for my entire life is terrifying and I don’t know when a good day will come around, so when they do I grab it with both hands and make the most of it. For me, a good day always leads to a flare up but there are things that need to be done no matter what.

2. I am just as entitled as you to have a holiday or a day out.

This one riles me to no end. Even though I have a chronic illness that prevents me from working, doesn’t mean I can’t go on holidays or enjoy a day out. I don’t think people realise how much planning and preparing has to go into these things so I can join in. Just because I am chronically ill doesn’t mean I am completely incapable of doing anything, ever, but neither does enjoying a rare day out mean I’m capable of getting a job.

3. It’s not fun to sit around all day.

This is a big one. It’s not fun or enjoyable to sit or lie down every day. It’s frustrating and upsetting. I would love to be able to get a job but some days it’s impossible to even concentrate on my book or cook a meal, let alone go out to work.

4. Everything isn’t always about my illness, but it also kinda has to be.

I wish things didn’t have to revolve around my illness, but when I’m living with this everyday I have to work around what I can and can’t do. It’s incredibly frustrating but why should I have to apologise for it? I wish it wasn’t this way but it is.

5. Limiting myself and rethinking my goals isn’t the same as giving up.

I’ve wanted to go to university for a number of years but it’s never been possible. I’m now in my 3rd year of The Open University and it’s extremely hard and exhausting but I’m getting one step closer to my goals. I’ve always wanted to attend a campus uni but as that’s not possible I’ve had to rethink my expectations and come up with a solution.

6. I am not ungrateful and I appreciate the sacrifices my best friend makes for me.

I have been blessed with the most amazing best friend who took on looking after me when my health took a turn for the worse. She has been there for me through thick and thin, through the bad, the good and the ugly and I will be forever grateful. I appreciate how difficult it is to have to do so many things for another person and I am grateful for it with my whole heart.

7. I have to learn to appreciate the small victories.

Sometimes the only thing I can do some days is sit up, other days I can go out to the zoo. When I’m so weak I can’t leave my bed, sitting up is a small victory. It’s important to celebrate the big things but also to be proud of the small accomplishments.

What are some of the things you wish people knew about chronic illness?