THE SUBTLE KNIFE // Philip Pullman
"Will has just killed a man.  He's on the run.  His escape will take him far beyond his own world, to the eerie disquiet of a deserted city, and to a girl, Lyra.  Her fate is strangely linked to his own and together they must find the most powerful weapon in all the worlds..."
I read Northern Lights last December with every intention of continuing the series promptly.  Well, that hasn't happened so I'm looking forward to revisiting the world this month.  And perhaps I'll finish the trilogy next December!  I'm all for creating new traditions and this'll be a nice festive one I think. 

THE SNOW CHILD // Eowyn Ivey
"Alaska, the 1920s.  Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before.  When a little girl mysteriously appears on their land, each is filled with wonder but also foreboding: is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her?"
Another one I bought last year but sadly never got round to in time, I've been saving this for the wintery months and looking forward to getting stuck in.  It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and I've heard good things...I can't wait! 

CITY ON FIRE // Gareth Risk Hallberg
"Midnight, New Year's Eve, 1976.  Nine lives are about to be changed forever.  Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, heirs to one of New York's greatest fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better of worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by the punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbour - and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park on New Year's Eve.  Then, on July 13th 1977, the lights go out."
Ok, so this one is a whopper.  I bought it in the summer and have been saving it for Christmas time so I'm hoping that festive feeling features heavily.  If I'm honest I'm a little bit daunted by its size (944 pages!) so will need to get started early on in the month if I've got any hope of finishing in time.

THE VANISHING ACT // Mette Jakobsen
"This is a story about a snow covered island you won't find on any map.  It's the story of a girl, Minou.  A year ago, her mother walked out into the rain and never came back.  It's about a magician and a priest and a dog called No Name.  It's a bout a father's endless hunt for the truth.  It's about a dead boy who listens, and Minou's search for her mother's voice.  It's a story of how even the most isolated places have their own secrets.  It's a story you will never forget."
This one I found in a charity shop and I'll be going in pretty blind.  In the back of my mind I feel like this may have been mentioned on booktube a while ago but it's not one I can remember hearing any reviews of.  But with Erin Morgenstern's endorsement on the cover I'm expecting something whimsical.  

CHRISTMAS DAYS: 12 STORIES AND 12 FEASTS FOR 12 DAYS // Jeanette Winterson
"Read these stories by the fire, in the snow, travelling home for the holidays. Give them to friends, wrap them up for someone you love, read them aloud, read them alone, read them together. Enjoy the season of peace and goodwill, mystery, and a little bit of magic. There are ghosts here and jovial spirits. Chances at love and tricks with time. There is frost and icicles, mistletoe and sledges. There's a cat and a dog and a solid silver frog. There's a Christmas cracker with a surprising gift inside. There's a haunted house and a SnowMama. There are Yuletides and holly wreaths. Three Kings. And a merry little Christmas time. And for the icing on the Christmas cake, there are twelve festive recipes from Yuletides past and present. Red cabbage, gravlax, turkey biryani, sherry trifle, Mrs Winterson's mince pies and more."
Jen Campbell recently featured this book and my interest was instantly caught.  I'm relatively new to short stories but Christmas seems the perfect time to indulge.  I've only read one of Jeanette Winterson's books so far but enjoyed her writing style so am looking forward to picking this one up.  It's a payday purchase for sure!

A CHRISTMAS CAROL // Charles Dickens
""Every idiot who goes around with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding". Charles Dickens' tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, who is haunted by three spirits and learns the true meaning of Christmas has had, along with Dickens' other Christmas writings, a lasting and significant influence upon our ideas about the season as a time for celebration, charity and memory."
Everybody knows what this one's about, so I'll round off this reading list by confessing I've never read any of Dickens' work and I'm looking forward to getting started with this one.  A Christmas Carol is undoubtedly a Christmas classic and it'll be the perfect way to get festive.


My Winter Reading List

17.11.16


THE SUBTLE KNIFE // Philip Pullman
"Will has just killed a man.  He's on the run.  His escape will take him far beyond his own world, to the eerie disquiet of a deserted city, and to a girl, Lyra.  Her fate is strangely linked to his own and together they must find the most powerful weapon in all the worlds..."
I read Northern Lights last December with every intention of continuing the series promptly.  Well, that hasn't happened so I'm looking forward to revisiting the world this month.  And perhaps I'll finish the trilogy next December!  I'm all for creating new traditions and this'll be a nice festive one I think. 

THE SNOW CHILD // Eowyn Ivey
"Alaska, the 1920s.  Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before.  When a little girl mysteriously appears on their land, each is filled with wonder but also foreboding: is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her?"
Another one I bought last year but sadly never got round to in time, I've been saving this for the wintery months and looking forward to getting stuck in.  It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and I've heard good things...I can't wait! 

CITY ON FIRE // Gareth Risk Hallberg
"Midnight, New Year's Eve, 1976.  Nine lives are about to be changed forever.  Regan and William Hamilton-Sweeney, heirs to one of New York's greatest fortunes; Keith and Mercer, the men who, for better of worse, love them; Charlie and Samantha, two suburban teenagers seduced by the punk scene; an obsessive magazine reporter and his idealistic neighbour - and the detective trying to figure out what any of them have to do with a shooting in Central Park on New Year's Eve.  Then, on July 13th 1977, the lights go out."
Ok, so this one is a whopper.  I bought it in the summer and have been saving it for Christmas time so I'm hoping that festive feeling features heavily.  If I'm honest I'm a little bit daunted by its size (944 pages!) so will need to get started early on in the month if I've got any hope of finishing in time.

THE VANISHING ACT // Mette Jakobsen
"This is a story about a snow covered island you won't find on any map.  It's the story of a girl, Minou.  A year ago, her mother walked out into the rain and never came back.  It's about a magician and a priest and a dog called No Name.  It's a bout a father's endless hunt for the truth.  It's about a dead boy who listens, and Minou's search for her mother's voice.  It's a story of how even the most isolated places have their own secrets.  It's a story you will never forget."
This one I found in a charity shop and I'll be going in pretty blind.  In the back of my mind I feel like this may have been mentioned on booktube a while ago but it's not one I can remember hearing any reviews of.  But with Erin Morgenstern's endorsement on the cover I'm expecting something whimsical.  

CHRISTMAS DAYS: 12 STORIES AND 12 FEASTS FOR 12 DAYS // Jeanette Winterson
"Read these stories by the fire, in the snow, travelling home for the holidays. Give them to friends, wrap them up for someone you love, read them aloud, read them alone, read them together. Enjoy the season of peace and goodwill, mystery, and a little bit of magic. There are ghosts here and jovial spirits. Chances at love and tricks with time. There is frost and icicles, mistletoe and sledges. There's a cat and a dog and a solid silver frog. There's a Christmas cracker with a surprising gift inside. There's a haunted house and a SnowMama. There are Yuletides and holly wreaths. Three Kings. And a merry little Christmas time. And for the icing on the Christmas cake, there are twelve festive recipes from Yuletides past and present. Red cabbage, gravlax, turkey biryani, sherry trifle, Mrs Winterson's mince pies and more."
Jen Campbell recently featured this book and my interest was instantly caught.  I'm relatively new to short stories but Christmas seems the perfect time to indulge.  I've only read one of Jeanette Winterson's books so far but enjoyed her writing style so am looking forward to picking this one up.  It's a payday purchase for sure!

A CHRISTMAS CAROL // Charles Dickens
""Every idiot who goes around with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding". Charles Dickens' tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, who is haunted by three spirits and learns the true meaning of Christmas has had, along with Dickens' other Christmas writings, a lasting and significant influence upon our ideas about the season as a time for celebration, charity and memory."
Everybody knows what this one's about, so I'll round off this reading list by confessing I've never read any of Dickens' work and I'm looking forward to getting started with this one.  A Christmas Carol is undoubtedly a Christmas classic and it'll be the perfect way to get festive.



STATEMENT SCARF 
So there have been a few hiccups with my capsule wardrobe (which I'm going to be completely honest about in a upcoming post at the end of my first cycle) but I'm happy to say this isn't one of them!  Accessories aren't actual counted in my 45 items and mum treated me to this cosy scarf whilst we were out with the kids.  In the back of my mind I knew I wanted to add something in a vibrant orange shade to my wardrobe and for the meantime was keeping an eye out for a classic camel scarf.  So when I saw that this scarf hit both requirements I couldn't pick it up fast enough!  Add to that the fact that it's thick without being overpowering to wear, super soft and wonderfully warm...it's the perfect autumn scarf.  Check it out in situ here.

READING
So this one's an all time favourite really, but this month I've stepped my reading up a notch.  Roadworks on the way to work make it impossible to get to work on time unless I leave excessively early so I've been using that extra time before work to get a good chunk of reading in.  It really is true that the more time you put in, the more you get out; I'm motivated to read at every opportunity and have been really enjoying the books I've picked.  I'm past my goodreads reading goal for the year and am now on a mission to clear my tbr shelves!

BULLET JOURNAL
I mentioned before that I've been getting back into using my bullet journal again and it's definitely become a favourite.  I've been experimenting with simpler layouts and they've really taken the stress (and time!) out of setting up various spreads.  Art skills aren't my forte and too many times I'd sit down to create a layout only to make a mistake and hate using it.  With the help of some new pens I'm finding it a much more relaxing experience (my version of adult colouring, I guess!) and have started creating weekly spreads to track my time and activities.  Tracking down other bullet journallers' instagram accounts is another favourite....I spend far too much time looking for inspiration on there!

MAC 'PINCH ME' BLUSH
I've had this one years (now that I mention it, perhaps I need to get rid?!) but it's only now that it's become a daily staple.  I think especially more so at this time of year - its reddish tone creates that 'just in from the cold' look but with a lighter hand I've also found it to be really versatile with most looks.  A few of my MAC blushers have left me disappointed with their (lack of) pigment but this one ticks all the boxes.

L.A.B² MAKE UP BRUSHES
I've been thinking I need to update my make up brushes for a while now, so the invitation to try out a couple from L.A.B² couldn't have come at a better time.  The Make Me Blush brush has become my go-to for blush and the Just Blending In brush is a favourite for blending out eye shadows.  I've also got On A Powder Trip and the Read My Lip brush; not only do the names amuse me but they're also really good quality and a decent price!

INSTAGRAM
Speaking of instagram, I mentioned this in my last post and at the risk of sounding like a cliche, I have been working on a theme of sorts for my instagram feed and am loving the way my photos now sit much more harmoniously together.  I've been enjoying experimenting with editing features over on VSCO cam, so if you want to see the finished results be sure to follow me over at @lornaliterally!

Currently Loving: Recent Favourites

15.11.16


STATEMENT SCARF 
So there have been a few hiccups with my capsule wardrobe (which I'm going to be completely honest about in a upcoming post at the end of my first cycle) but I'm happy to say this isn't one of them!  Accessories aren't actual counted in my 45 items and mum treated me to this cosy scarf whilst we were out with the kids.  In the back of my mind I knew I wanted to add something in a vibrant orange shade to my wardrobe and for the meantime was keeping an eye out for a classic camel scarf.  So when I saw that this scarf hit both requirements I couldn't pick it up fast enough!  Add to that the fact that it's thick without being overpowering to wear, super soft and wonderfully warm...it's the perfect autumn scarf.  Check it out in situ here.

READING
So this one's an all time favourite really, but this month I've stepped my reading up a notch.  Roadworks on the way to work make it impossible to get to work on time unless I leave excessively early so I've been using that extra time before work to get a good chunk of reading in.  It really is true that the more time you put in, the more you get out; I'm motivated to read at every opportunity and have been really enjoying the books I've picked.  I'm past my goodreads reading goal for the year and am now on a mission to clear my tbr shelves!

BULLET JOURNAL
I mentioned before that I've been getting back into using my bullet journal again and it's definitely become a favourite.  I've been experimenting with simpler layouts and they've really taken the stress (and time!) out of setting up various spreads.  Art skills aren't my forte and too many times I'd sit down to create a layout only to make a mistake and hate using it.  With the help of some new pens I'm finding it a much more relaxing experience (my version of adult colouring, I guess!) and have started creating weekly spreads to track my time and activities.  Tracking down other bullet journallers' instagram accounts is another favourite....I spend far too much time looking for inspiration on there!

MAC 'PINCH ME' BLUSH
I've had this one years (now that I mention it, perhaps I need to get rid?!) but it's only now that it's become a daily staple.  I think especially more so at this time of year - its reddish tone creates that 'just in from the cold' look but with a lighter hand I've also found it to be really versatile with most looks.  A few of my MAC blushers have left me disappointed with their (lack of) pigment but this one ticks all the boxes.

L.A.B² MAKE UP BRUSHES
I've been thinking I need to update my make up brushes for a while now, so the invitation to try out a couple from L.A.B² couldn't have come at a better time.  The Make Me Blush brush has become my go-to for blush and the Just Blending In brush is a favourite for blending out eye shadows.  I've also got On A Powder Trip and the Read My Lip brush; not only do the names amuse me but they're also really good quality and a decent price!

INSTAGRAM
Speaking of instagram, I mentioned this in my last post and at the risk of sounding like a cliche, I have been working on a theme of sorts for my instagram feed and am loving the way my photos now sit much more harmoniously together.  I've been enjoying experimenting with editing features over on VSCO cam, so if you want to see the finished results be sure to follow me over at @lornaliterally!

I've already shared with you how I didn't *quite* manage to tick off everything from my Autumn Shake Up challenge, but that doesn't mean I haven't still been making changes.  I guess it goes back to all my years working in a school, but I find that this time of year feels more suited to new beginnings than waiting until January.  And with simpler living really resonating with me at the moment I'm all about discovering easy ways to feel settled and revitalised....which is exactly what I'm going to share with you today!

TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
Ok, so slightly annoying for my friends but I've turned off my Whatsapp notifications and feel *so* much freer.  I never realised quite how much time I dedicated to it...getting sucked in to (sometimes irrelevant) group chats and easily getting distracted throughout the day.  So I just turned off notifications.  Unplugged.  There's still text for anything urgent, but now when I catch up with Whatsapp chats it's on my terms.  It's hard to explain why the shift works, but trust me, it does.

RESCHEDULE
Recently I'd got into a bit of a funk when it came to doing those ongoing tasks we have to do if we're going to be 'proper adults'.  My weekend routine was starting to feel exhausting; I loathed getting up to do the weekly shop on a Sunday and felt like I was doing a never-ending rota of clothes washing.  So I switched things up and feel motivated again.  I don't get up early to hit the supermarket as it opens anymore; apparently 3:30pm on a Saturday is the ideal time to avoid the queues and shop stress-free.  Plus I now spread the washing out over a couple of days to make it more manageable.  Sounds simple, but if your routine is making you feel drained then it's up to you to change it.

ENHANCE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
I'm all about quick decorative extras to make a house a home.  I love the appearance of fresh flowers but doubt I'll ever be a person who buys them on the regular as repeatedly spending money on something which is already dying just seems illogical to me.  No, for me it's all about lights.  Candles (I know....how ironic that I'm happy to figuratively set fire to my money) and fairy lights adorn our front room and I've recently replaced a few of our worn out blankets with new ones.  Things are feeling seriously cosy around here and I love it.

TAKE TIME OUT
This one's a bit like rescheduling, but sometimes it's easy to forget that (work commitments excepted) your time is your own and you shouldn't have to justify how you spend it to anyone.  A couple of weeks ago I was running around here, there and everywhere each night of the week.  I was exhausted.  I enjoyed every dinner date or catch up I'd scheduled in but it was all getting too much.  Once my diary was cleared I kept it that way for a few weeks and looked forward to nights in on the sofa after work.  I feel calmer and more relaxed, and with the party season soon to be upon us I know that having these evenings in the bank is going to serve me well.

READ A BOOK
And finish it!  One thing I hear a lot is people saying they wish they could read more, or that they used to read a lot and miss it.  The feeling I get finishing a book is similar to the rush of endorphins post-spinning class.  It feels good to have started something and finished it.  Pick any book that takes your fancy, I guarantee when you turn that last page you'll feel you've accomplished something.

How do you take time to recharge?

5 Ways To Feel Recharged

10.11.16


I've already shared with you how I didn't *quite* manage to tick off everything from my Autumn Shake Up challenge, but that doesn't mean I haven't still been making changes.  I guess it goes back to all my years working in a school, but I find that this time of year feels more suited to new beginnings than waiting until January.  And with simpler living really resonating with me at the moment I'm all about discovering easy ways to feel settled and revitalised....which is exactly what I'm going to share with you today!

TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
Ok, so slightly annoying for my friends but I've turned off my Whatsapp notifications and feel *so* much freer.  I never realised quite how much time I dedicated to it...getting sucked in to (sometimes irrelevant) group chats and easily getting distracted throughout the day.  So I just turned off notifications.  Unplugged.  There's still text for anything urgent, but now when I catch up with Whatsapp chats it's on my terms.  It's hard to explain why the shift works, but trust me, it does.

RESCHEDULE
Recently I'd got into a bit of a funk when it came to doing those ongoing tasks we have to do if we're going to be 'proper adults'.  My weekend routine was starting to feel exhausting; I loathed getting up to do the weekly shop on a Sunday and felt like I was doing a never-ending rota of clothes washing.  So I switched things up and feel motivated again.  I don't get up early to hit the supermarket as it opens anymore; apparently 3:30pm on a Saturday is the ideal time to avoid the queues and shop stress-free.  Plus I now spread the washing out over a couple of days to make it more manageable.  Sounds simple, but if your routine is making you feel drained then it's up to you to change it.

ENHANCE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
I'm all about quick decorative extras to make a house a home.  I love the appearance of fresh flowers but doubt I'll ever be a person who buys them on the regular as repeatedly spending money on something which is already dying just seems illogical to me.  No, for me it's all about lights.  Candles (I know....how ironic that I'm happy to figuratively set fire to my money) and fairy lights adorn our front room and I've recently replaced a few of our worn out blankets with new ones.  Things are feeling seriously cosy around here and I love it.

TAKE TIME OUT
This one's a bit like rescheduling, but sometimes it's easy to forget that (work commitments excepted) your time is your own and you shouldn't have to justify how you spend it to anyone.  A couple of weeks ago I was running around here, there and everywhere each night of the week.  I was exhausted.  I enjoyed every dinner date or catch up I'd scheduled in but it was all getting too much.  Once my diary was cleared I kept it that way for a few weeks and looked forward to nights in on the sofa after work.  I feel calmer and more relaxed, and with the party season soon to be upon us I know that having these evenings in the bank is going to serve me well.

READ A BOOK
And finish it!  One thing I hear a lot is people saying they wish they could read more, or that they used to read a lot and miss it.  The feeling I get finishing a book is similar to the rush of endorphins post-spinning class.  It feels good to have started something and finished it.  Pick any book that takes your fancy, I guarantee when you turn that last page you'll feel you've accomplished something.

How do you take time to recharge?
LIZZY HADFIELD (@shotfromthestreet)
Why to follow: Lizzie's feed is street style goals; a perfect blend of smart tailoring against vintage denim.  There's high end brands aplenty and it's the account I most like to vicariously curate my wardrobe through!


Why to follow: there's that tumblr-esque dark, grainy quality to Alice's photos which I absolutely love right now.  Her feed also harks back to tumblr era with photos of things inspiring Alice interspersed between fashion and beauty shots.  And can we take a minute to appreciate her amazing full fringe?!

BILLIE ROSE (@billieroseblog)
Why to follow: travel, fashion and pretty things.  Billie Rose's feed, aesthetically, is spot on for me right now!


HANNAH ALLINSON (@hannahallinson)
Why to follow: perhaps it's that amazing hair, but Hannah's feed screams autumnal perfection.  Fashion features predominantly, but there's also beauty and lifestyle pics to check out as well.


DANIELLE WARD (@littlefashbird)
Why to follow: because leopard print is pretty much my life right now and anyone who shares this love is someone I want to be following!  But on a serious note, Danielle's feed is full of fashion inspo and well worth a look.


CHELSEA LANKFORD (@truelane)
Why to follow: because Chelsea's is another feed giving me all of the autumnal feels.  There's fashion here but it's set against a backdrop of Chelsea's everyday life rather than feeling like a traditional street style photo shoot. 


Why to follow: if you like #bookstagram then Polly's is the best account I've found.  Perfectly composed flatlays and a beautifully curated feed.  Definitely one of my favourite instagrammers I've found recently.

How about you....what is it about an instagram account that makes you hit 'follow'?

More Instagrammers To Follow

8.11.16

LIZZY HADFIELD (@shotfromthestreet)
Why to follow: Lizzie's feed is street style goals; a perfect blend of smart tailoring against vintage denim.  There's high end brands aplenty and it's the account I most like to vicariously curate my wardrobe through!


Why to follow: there's that tumblr-esque dark, grainy quality to Alice's photos which I absolutely love right now.  Her feed also harks back to tumblr era with photos of things inspiring Alice interspersed between fashion and beauty shots.  And can we take a minute to appreciate her amazing full fringe?!

BILLIE ROSE (@billieroseblog)
Why to follow: travel, fashion and pretty things.  Billie Rose's feed, aesthetically, is spot on for me right now!


HANNAH ALLINSON (@hannahallinson)
Why to follow: perhaps it's that amazing hair, but Hannah's feed screams autumnal perfection.  Fashion features predominantly, but there's also beauty and lifestyle pics to check out as well.


DANIELLE WARD (@littlefashbird)
Why to follow: because leopard print is pretty much my life right now and anyone who shares this love is someone I want to be following!  But on a serious note, Danielle's feed is full of fashion inspo and well worth a look.


CHELSEA LANKFORD (@truelane)
Why to follow: because Chelsea's is another feed giving me all of the autumnal feels.  There's fashion here but it's set against a backdrop of Chelsea's everyday life rather than feeling like a traditional street style photo shoot. 


Why to follow: if you like #bookstagram then Polly's is the best account I've found.  Perfectly composed flatlays and a beautifully curated feed.  Definitely one of my favourite instagrammers I've found recently.

How about you....what is it about an instagram account that makes you hit 'follow'?

Image found via pinterest

#49  - THE BUTCHER'S HOOK
This was a dark read set in Georgian London where our protaganist, Anne Jaccob, carries out some disturbing deeds after becoming obsessed with the butcher's boy.  It reminded me of The Crimson Petal and The White in the atmosphere it created and how encompassing and vivid it was.  At points it felt almost stifling but I really enjoyed being that swept up in the scenery.  Some of Anne's actions seemed far-fetched, but then equally she was a genuinely complex character from whom nothing would surprise me.  I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected from the online hype surrounding it, but I'm glad I read it nonetheless.
Rating: 3/5

#50 - NOW YOU SEE ME
One from our book club, this also ticked "murder mystery" off my reading challenge for 2016.  I'd heard some negative things online, so although the blurb caught my attention I wasn't expecting too much.  The writing was a little 'basic' for my reading tastes and I felt there was a lot of emphasis on characters' physical appearances....it was done in an almost chick-lit way, so once I got my head around this it was easier to gloss over and focus on the story instead.  And the story I actually enjoyed!  There's a killer on the loose, heavily inspired my Jack the Ripper, and it's a race to uncover their identity before the next victim gets claimed.  Overall perhaps a little too long and I could have done without a few of the twists and turns, but an unexpected like!
Rating: 4/5

#51  - THE TREES
This was the perfect autumnal read and I urge you all to track it down!  Set in a world where a forest have sprouted up overnight and destroyed life as our characters know it, Adrien's on a mission to travel to Ireland  and reach his wife.  He's not your typical hero and there's an element of The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry here as he picks up a motley crew of travel companions as he goes.  There's also a dose of magical realism/fantasy within, which to be honest I didn't enjoy by the end even though I liked the touches of it throughout.  The characters were complex and the relationships fascinating yet real.  One of my favourite reads of the year.
Rating :5/5

#52 - NORTHANGER ABBEY
I'd never read any Jane Austen before and if I'm honest always felt a little intimidated.  I didn't need to be and once I'd got my head round the language and writing style, I found it to be a witty and enjoyable book.  I bought it on a day trip to Bath which made it all the more fun to visualise the characters' surroundings, as our protaganist Catherine Morland settles in to her first season there.  There's a lot covered in this book; romance, a love triangle, mystery and friendship, and I found Catherine's naivety charming to read.
Rating: 4/5

#53 - PERFUME
Like The Trees and The Butcher's Hook I think October was the perfect month to read this book.  Jean-Paul Grenouille is born with no scent of his own but possess an almost superhuman sense of smell.  Which ultimately sets him on a quest to bottle the scent of a virgin and make perfume from it.  Sounds fanciful, disturbing and dark....which it was!  At times I found this felt almost fairy tale-esque as the author dipped into decorated backstories for some of the characters, and as with The Butcher's Hook the setting felt real and heavy in atmosphere.  I raced through this and although the ending was crazily overdone it all just worked.  Loved it!
Rating: 4/5

#54 - OF MICE AND MEN
I hadn't read this since studying it at school and I think I actually enjoyed it all the more for having that background knowledge.  Second time through I appreciated it more without the need to analyse and unpick everything, and I'd forgotten how sad this book is.
Rating: 4/5

#55 - THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT
Another book I whizzed through and despite reading the blurb and seeing a few reviews online I still wasn't fully prepared for the book I got.  Beth loses her eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, at a festival and the book is a dual narrative of both their experiences.  Carmel is kidnapped and raised by religious fanatics, one of which tells her he's her grandfather and that her mum has died, while Beth is left picking up the pieces of her shattered life.  I loved the first half of this book and the emotional anxiety really pulled me in, but I felt like the second half dwindled and the end was slightly abrupt and left too many things up in the air.
Rating: 3/5

#56 - IN ORDER TO LIVE: A NORTH KOREAN GIRL'S JOURNEY TO FREEDOM
I'm finding it hard to put into words my feelings about this book as I feel it's really hard to express thoughts on the book itself without appearing to review the author, Yeonmi Park, and her experiences.  Which are horrific.  This is the true story of her escape from North Korea and the ordeal she had to go through for freedom.  There was a lot of background and it wasn't until quite far in until you got to Yeonmi's actual experience as it focused on the political situation in North Korea and her family dynamics.  It was an eye-opening read and learning more about secretive North Korea was shocking.  The juxtaposition of Yeonmi being sucked in to human trafficking whilst China was preparing for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was crazy to get my head around.  And all of this happening while she was just 13 is even more upsetting.  But at times I didn't enjoy the writing style of this book.  Sometimes it wasn't in depth enough (not in terms of gory details, I just felt like I wanted more information) but on the other hand the political and economic particulars of North Korea were a bit too much for me.  
Rating: 3/5

#57 - LITTLE FACE
  In the past I've found Sophie Hannah's books to be clever psychological thrillers but sadly this one just didn't hit the mark.  It could be because my reading tastes have grown vastly since I last read one of her books, but I felt this was a bit basic and there were parts of the dual narrative which I really didn't care about or enjoy reading.  In a nutshell, Alice Fancourt returns home one day to discover that the newborn baby sleeping in the nursery is not her daughter.  Or so she thinks.  Her husband disagrees and with no one else to corroborate what follows is Alice's quest for the truth in the face of everyone else's doubts.  Alice's story made me want to read on, and her husband's treatment of her was shocking, but I didn't enjoy the detective's side of the story and found the ending to be a letdown.
Rating: 3/5

Read in 2016: October

3.11.16


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#49  - THE BUTCHER'S HOOK
This was a dark read set in Georgian London where our protaganist, Anne Jaccob, carries out some disturbing deeds after becoming obsessed with the butcher's boy.  It reminded me of The Crimson Petal and The White in the atmosphere it created and how encompassing and vivid it was.  At points it felt almost stifling but I really enjoyed being that swept up in the scenery.  Some of Anne's actions seemed far-fetched, but then equally she was a genuinely complex character from whom nothing would surprise me.  I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected from the online hype surrounding it, but I'm glad I read it nonetheless.
Rating: 3/5

#50 - NOW YOU SEE ME
One from our book club, this also ticked "murder mystery" off my reading challenge for 2016.  I'd heard some negative things online, so although the blurb caught my attention I wasn't expecting too much.  The writing was a little 'basic' for my reading tastes and I felt there was a lot of emphasis on characters' physical appearances....it was done in an almost chick-lit way, so once I got my head around this it was easier to gloss over and focus on the story instead.  And the story I actually enjoyed!  There's a killer on the loose, heavily inspired my Jack the Ripper, and it's a race to uncover their identity before the next victim gets claimed.  Overall perhaps a little too long and I could have done without a few of the twists and turns, but an unexpected like!
Rating: 4/5

#51  - THE TREES
This was the perfect autumnal read and I urge you all to track it down!  Set in a world where a forest have sprouted up overnight and destroyed life as our characters know it, Adrien's on a mission to travel to Ireland  and reach his wife.  He's not your typical hero and there's an element of The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry here as he picks up a motley crew of travel companions as he goes.  There's also a dose of magical realism/fantasy within, which to be honest I didn't enjoy by the end even though I liked the touches of it throughout.  The characters were complex and the relationships fascinating yet real.  One of my favourite reads of the year.
Rating :5/5

#52 - NORTHANGER ABBEY
I'd never read any Jane Austen before and if I'm honest always felt a little intimidated.  I didn't need to be and once I'd got my head round the language and writing style, I found it to be a witty and enjoyable book.  I bought it on a day trip to Bath which made it all the more fun to visualise the characters' surroundings, as our protaganist Catherine Morland settles in to her first season there.  There's a lot covered in this book; romance, a love triangle, mystery and friendship, and I found Catherine's naivety charming to read.
Rating: 4/5

#53 - PERFUME
Like The Trees and The Butcher's Hook I think October was the perfect month to read this book.  Jean-Paul Grenouille is born with no scent of his own but possess an almost superhuman sense of smell.  Which ultimately sets him on a quest to bottle the scent of a virgin and make perfume from it.  Sounds fanciful, disturbing and dark....which it was!  At times I found this felt almost fairy tale-esque as the author dipped into decorated backstories for some of the characters, and as with The Butcher's Hook the setting felt real and heavy in atmosphere.  I raced through this and although the ending was crazily overdone it all just worked.  Loved it!
Rating: 4/5

#54 - OF MICE AND MEN
I hadn't read this since studying it at school and I think I actually enjoyed it all the more for having that background knowledge.  Second time through I appreciated it more without the need to analyse and unpick everything, and I'd forgotten how sad this book is.
Rating: 4/5

#55 - THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT
Another book I whizzed through and despite reading the blurb and seeing a few reviews online I still wasn't fully prepared for the book I got.  Beth loses her eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, at a festival and the book is a dual narrative of both their experiences.  Carmel is kidnapped and raised by religious fanatics, one of which tells her he's her grandfather and that her mum has died, while Beth is left picking up the pieces of her shattered life.  I loved the first half of this book and the emotional anxiety really pulled me in, but I felt like the second half dwindled and the end was slightly abrupt and left too many things up in the air.
Rating: 3/5

#56 - IN ORDER TO LIVE: A NORTH KOREAN GIRL'S JOURNEY TO FREEDOM
I'm finding it hard to put into words my feelings about this book as I feel it's really hard to express thoughts on the book itself without appearing to review the author, Yeonmi Park, and her experiences.  Which are horrific.  This is the true story of her escape from North Korea and the ordeal she had to go through for freedom.  There was a lot of background and it wasn't until quite far in until you got to Yeonmi's actual experience as it focused on the political situation in North Korea and her family dynamics.  It was an eye-opening read and learning more about secretive North Korea was shocking.  The juxtaposition of Yeonmi being sucked in to human trafficking whilst China was preparing for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was crazy to get my head around.  And all of this happening while she was just 13 is even more upsetting.  But at times I didn't enjoy the writing style of this book.  Sometimes it wasn't in depth enough (not in terms of gory details, I just felt like I wanted more information) but on the other hand the political and economic particulars of North Korea were a bit too much for me.  
Rating: 3/5

#57 - LITTLE FACE
  In the past I've found Sophie Hannah's books to be clever psychological thrillers but sadly this one just didn't hit the mark.  It could be because my reading tastes have grown vastly since I last read one of her books, but I felt this was a bit basic and there were parts of the dual narrative which I really didn't care about or enjoy reading.  In a nutshell, Alice Fancourt returns home one day to discover that the newborn baby sleeping in the nursery is not her daughter.  Or so she thinks.  Her husband disagrees and with no one else to corroborate what follows is Alice's quest for the truth in the face of everyone else's doubts.  Alice's story made me want to read on, and her husband's treatment of her was shocking, but I didn't enjoy the detective's side of the story and found the ending to be a letdown.
Rating: 3/5
So October was somewhat of a fail on the blogging front!  The lack of daylight hours caught me out, and despite taking time to draft blog posts I've been struggling to take the accompanying photos.  Must plan my time better next month.  I think I need to start taking photos in advance and then sit down to write in the evenings but that just feels backwards to me.  What do you think?  Do you write and then take photos, or work it the other way around?

Speaking of taking photos, I'm pleased to say I ticked off last month's goal of using my instagram more!  I've been playing around with filters and am really happy with the warm cohesive feel I've managed to get on my feed.  I took my profile off private (go and follow me... @lornaliterally!) and I also upped my target from posting two pictures a week to four.  I had the last week of October off work so I've been snapping away on my travels to make sure I've got plenty of content in the bank and think this is a far more manageable way of me maintaining things.  I feel like people don't really talk instagram tips (besides the general "how I edit my photos" type thing) and it's actually something I'm keen to learn more on.  During the working week it's rare that I do anything out of the ordinary/feel inspired to take photos and I'd love to know how people with full-time jobs outside of blogging juggle that with posting regularly.

Let's talk more about that week off.  To start I caught up with Lizzie and had a lovely day seeing what Farnham's finest secondhand bookshops had to offer.  I nabbed four books for £8 (three of which were on my 'want to buy' list!) and it's made me think I should shop around a bit more when there's a book I'd like to read.  I spend far more than I'd care to admit in Waterstones so could do with balancing things out more in the future by switching between buying secondhand books, downloading books on my kindle or visiting the library.  Nothing beats the satisfaction of a shiny new book from a *proper* bookshop, but I'm all for mixing things up to save some money.

On the Tuesday we had a trip up to the Sky Garden.  It was a nice thing to do but not my favourite activity in London.  It made for some good photos though and even though the clouds dampened the view I appreciated the de-saturated vibes it gave my pictures!  A trip to Honest Burger followed (the Bank branch is a new favourite) before we hit Selfridges for the Christmas shop.  It's become an annual tradition that we do this during the October half term and it's something I really look forward to.  And yes, I did buy another new decoration for our tree!

To finish off the week, my besties and I dusted off our gladrags and hit the town.  It's true what they say, you do become a hermit as you get older, and we wanted to relive our youth with a retro night out.  It happened to coincide with Halloween so we also decided to dress up; we went with a Day of the Dead-inspired look and considering how little effort we put into our costumes (compared to most!) I really like how it turned out!  We couldn't have asked for better music, with songs from our college days when we first started going out playing, and all in all it was an awesome night. And the clocks going back meant I was home and in bed by 1am...yep, we're that cool.

// MONTHLY GOALS

Last month I wanted to read more widely and regularly, and I've definitely achieved that by getting through ten books which included an autobiography, a Jane Austen, a murder mystery and a couple of Penguin Modern Classics.  For November I just want that momentum to continue.  I'd also like to start reading one of my Little Black Classics each month so will be doing that, too.

My second goal for October was making time to blog and doing so in advance which, as I mentioned above, I didn't do so well at.  I think this will be ongoing (there were a couple of things eating up my weekend time this month which put me out of schedule!) and I'm optimistic that I can get back on track this month.

The Autumn Shake Up challenge needs a mention here, too.  I failed.  Although all of the challenges were achievable, and I did manage to tick a fair few off the list, it was really hard finding the time to do some of them.  I think I'm going to extend the challenge and do it over the course of a season (so the next couple of months) so it doesn't feel like such a rush and something I *have* to fit in at the end of each day.  I certainly enjoyed the activities I did manage and it would be a shame to leave it unfinished.  Did any of you join in?

In a bid to not bankrupt myself over the coming months, my spending habits are something I really want to work on in November.  I've been tracking this in my bullet journal and aim to have more 'no spend' days throughout the month.  I've also set myself the challenge of buying no clothes or cosmetics (I know, I shouldn't be buying clothes anyway with my capsule wardrobe but will discuss this at the end of this current cycle!) which I'm really planning to be strict on and achieve.  So often when I say I'm not buying clothes I transfer this and spend my money on make up instead (or vice versa) so I want to work hard and break this habit.

Is there anything you'd like to achieve in November?

The Month: October

1.11.16

So October was somewhat of a fail on the blogging front!  The lack of daylight hours caught me out, and despite taking time to draft blog posts I've been struggling to take the accompanying photos.  Must plan my time better next month.  I think I need to start taking photos in advance and then sit down to write in the evenings but that just feels backwards to me.  What do you think?  Do you write and then take photos, or work it the other way around?

Speaking of taking photos, I'm pleased to say I ticked off last month's goal of using my instagram more!  I've been playing around with filters and am really happy with the warm cohesive feel I've managed to get on my feed.  I took my profile off private (go and follow me... @lornaliterally!) and I also upped my target from posting two pictures a week to four.  I had the last week of October off work so I've been snapping away on my travels to make sure I've got plenty of content in the bank and think this is a far more manageable way of me maintaining things.  I feel like people don't really talk instagram tips (besides the general "how I edit my photos" type thing) and it's actually something I'm keen to learn more on.  During the working week it's rare that I do anything out of the ordinary/feel inspired to take photos and I'd love to know how people with full-time jobs outside of blogging juggle that with posting regularly.

Let's talk more about that week off.  To start I caught up with Lizzie and had a lovely day seeing what Farnham's finest secondhand bookshops had to offer.  I nabbed four books for £8 (three of which were on my 'want to buy' list!) and it's made me think I should shop around a bit more when there's a book I'd like to read.  I spend far more than I'd care to admit in Waterstones so could do with balancing things out more in the future by switching between buying secondhand books, downloading books on my kindle or visiting the library.  Nothing beats the satisfaction of a shiny new book from a *proper* bookshop, but I'm all for mixing things up to save some money.

On the Tuesday we had a trip up to the Sky Garden.  It was a nice thing to do but not my favourite activity in London.  It made for some good photos though and even though the clouds dampened the view I appreciated the de-saturated vibes it gave my pictures!  A trip to Honest Burger followed (the Bank branch is a new favourite) before we hit Selfridges for the Christmas shop.  It's become an annual tradition that we do this during the October half term and it's something I really look forward to.  And yes, I did buy another new decoration for our tree!

To finish off the week, my besties and I dusted off our gladrags and hit the town.  It's true what they say, you do become a hermit as you get older, and we wanted to relive our youth with a retro night out.  It happened to coincide with Halloween so we also decided to dress up; we went with a Day of the Dead-inspired look and considering how little effort we put into our costumes (compared to most!) I really like how it turned out!  We couldn't have asked for better music, with songs from our college days when we first started going out playing, and all in all it was an awesome night. And the clocks going back meant I was home and in bed by 1am...yep, we're that cool.

// MONTHLY GOALS

Last month I wanted to read more widely and regularly, and I've definitely achieved that by getting through ten books which included an autobiography, a Jane Austen, a murder mystery and a couple of Penguin Modern Classics.  For November I just want that momentum to continue.  I'd also like to start reading one of my Little Black Classics each month so will be doing that, too.

My second goal for October was making time to blog and doing so in advance which, as I mentioned above, I didn't do so well at.  I think this will be ongoing (there were a couple of things eating up my weekend time this month which put me out of schedule!) and I'm optimistic that I can get back on track this month.

The Autumn Shake Up challenge needs a mention here, too.  I failed.  Although all of the challenges were achievable, and I did manage to tick a fair few off the list, it was really hard finding the time to do some of them.  I think I'm going to extend the challenge and do it over the course of a season (so the next couple of months) so it doesn't feel like such a rush and something I *have* to fit in at the end of each day.  I certainly enjoyed the activities I did manage and it would be a shame to leave it unfinished.  Did any of you join in?

In a bid to not bankrupt myself over the coming months, my spending habits are something I really want to work on in November.  I've been tracking this in my bullet journal and aim to have more 'no spend' days throughout the month.  I've also set myself the challenge of buying no clothes or cosmetics (I know, I shouldn't be buying clothes anyway with my capsule wardrobe but will discuss this at the end of this current cycle!) which I'm really planning to be strict on and achieve.  So often when I say I'm not buying clothes I transfer this and spend my money on make up instead (or vice versa) so I want to work hard and break this habit.

Is there anything you'd like to achieve in November?

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