Posted in Blogmas, Book reviews, Christmas, life

My Reads of 2016

Well, as the year comes to an end (and before I start to consider my New Years Resolutions) I thought I’d share with you the list of books I’ve read this year, all in the one place with their review where appropriate.

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  • The Freedom Writers’ Diary (review found here)
  • Carol by Patricia Highsmith (review found here)
  • Room by Emma Donoghue (review found here)
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (review found here)
  • The Housewife Assassin’s Vacation to Die For by Josie Brown
  • The Housewife Assassin’s Recipes for Disaster by Josie Brown
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • The Dog Who Dared To Dream by Sun-Mi Hwang (review coming in the new year)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (Original Screenplay) by J. K. Rowling

Now I’ve to try and plan my books for the new year. Did you read anything you would recommend? Or did you read any of those books above – if so, what did you think of them?
I can’t wait to see what books 2017 will bring into my life!

 
Ktkinnes xx

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Posted in life

Edinburgh Napier

Some of you may be thinking “Wait a minute, doesn’t Katie go to University of Glasgow?” and you would be correct! However, it’s Rachel’s last year in school and so she’s currently deciding which university she wants to go to. This, of course, meant a road trip for me as this past weekend we took Rachel to explore Edinburgh Napier!
Anyone who has me on Snapchat will have seen me starting out and coming home again, however I managed to forget to keep going the rest of the day… So I decided to write up a little about our day!
After an extremely disturbed night’s sleep, I left the flat and made my way to Buchanan bus station. It was so cold! My first thought was to buy a coffee and so I managed to burn my tongue off on the most unpleasant coffee I’ve had to date. On the bus, I listened to the bus driver make some semi homophobic comments and just generally be a bit rude to other passengers.

However I was on my way and that was all that mattered. It was so foggy! October really brought the autumnal weather in. On arriving at the airport, where I was meeting Mum and Rachel, I decided to treat myself to my second ever Pumpkin Spice Latte! Felt like a real blogger then… They took forever to get to me after the plane landed and so we practically sprinted to the taxis to get in on time for Rachel, who had her plan of the day all worked out but she hadn’t factored in that their flight could be delayed.
We got to the reception area of Sitehill Campus of Edinburgh Napier, and it’s a lovely new (or relatively new) building – anything’s new compared to Glasgow’s main building! We got her registered and went to a talk on applying to Edinburgh Napier. At this point, Rachel realised just how helpful school has been as so many of the other applicants had no idea about the application process! One interesting thing she learnt in that talk was that she won’t be allowed to apply for accommodation until she has an unconditional firm offer from the university – something she won’t have until a level results day, either the 10th or 17th of August. Not great but then again at least a lot of the applicants will be in the same position!
We then went to a talk on midwifery and what to expect from the course and I had to laugh out loud – her holidays would be 2 weeks at Christmas, 2 weeks at Easter, and 3 weeks in the Summer! Again, there was a lot of useful information for her but I won’t bore you all with it. The lecture theatre seemed nice though, and it was definitely big and warm enough!
We then had an hour to kill before getting the bus to the accommodation so had a quick lunch from the canteen in the main building. For a sandwich, drink and snack it was £3.35 – not too bad! However it wasn’t labelled very well and we ended up having to swap so many different things that in the end it was very stressful. We ate outside in the sun as it had warmed up a bit, and then jumped on the bus to what I’m assuming is the main accommodation block. We had a quick tour of it and it was actually quite nicely done up! I certainly wouldn’t have minded spending first year in one of those bedrooms! Although I’m not sure how I would’ve liked having so many people all in the one complex… 
We quickly got a taxi back to the airport and parted ways, and I jumped on a bus back to Glasgow. It really was just a flying visit and a brief day away for me but at least I got out and about for a day! 
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Films, life

My Must Sees

Since it’s now officially my summer and I can stop revising for resits, I can lie in bed watching as many films as I want! Or at least as many as possible when I’m not doing family based things. So before I go any further, let’s take a second to appreciate that my summer has officially started! And I’ll be back in Glasgow in less than 4 weeks! Who knows what the plan is at this stage but I’m working on it.
Summer means long lie ins and hopefully getting a bit more reading done too, so here’s a list of my 10 must see movies. For the sake of making things simple, I’m going to count series/trilogies as one, I know it’s cheat but ah well. Please note, these are in no particular order.
1. The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea

Just so you all know, that’s my all time favourite kids movie and there’s nothing you can say or do to change my mind. As you can see, Ariel and Eric have a daughter who dreams of spending all her time in the sea. As usual with Disney films, nothing is ever simple and so Melody takes it upon herself to find out why her mum is so against her being in the water. Cue some fantastic songs, great laughs, and of course the fun that comes with mermaids!
2. The Lord of the Rings

My dad first introduced me to The Fellowship of the Ring when I was 8 years old and since then I’ve been in love with the story. Yes, Frodo annoys me more than words can ever express. My favourite of the three films would probably have to be The Return of the King because of the ending, however my least favourite is definitely The Fellowship of the Ring. Once you’ve seen it once, you can skip it and just watch the other 2 on repeat. For 3 months. Not that I ever did that… Shh stop looking at my like that.
3. The Harry Potter series

Do I really need to explain this? Okay those of us who read the books have a certain amount of trepidation when it comes to the films, I’m yet to find a reader who loved the films as much as they loved the books. However, the cast can make you forget you ever read that book. And who can honestly say they grew up not wanting to either be or date Emma Watson?
4. The Birds

This film terrified me when I was 14 to the point that even now if I walk past a group of 3 or more birds, I’m on edge and try to get away as quickly as possible. If you’ve never seen any Hitchcock films, I would definitely recommend this one to start with. 
5. Lady and the Tramp (1 and 2)

Having loved Lady and the Tramp, I’ve always had an obsession with golden cocker spaniels and so when I was asked which type of puppy I wanted for my 7th birthday I immediately said either a cocker spaniel or a Dalmatian. Unfortunately a Dalmatian was apparently too big, and now having had Baron for so long I couldn’t honestly imagine having any other dog. Whoops I’m getting off topic! Yes, these two films are fantastic. Watch them. Go. Now!

6. The Hunger Games trilogy

Considering the books got progressively worse as the series continued, the films actually weren’t too bad! Of course, Jennifer Laurence does help the series.
7. Bridget Jones’ Diary

For all girls everywhere, this is one of the best rom coms you will find. Plus, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant are in it so what more could you want?

8.  Pitch Perfect 1 and 2

Okay, I really shouldn’t have to explain why this film is on this list. Take one look at the cast and the soundtrack and you’ll understand me. Yes, Becca is one of those irritating main characters who can’t appreciate how great her life is but you still fall in love with her and feel everything she feels.
9. Pirates of the Caribbean 

Pirates, gorgeous scenery and more great music.
10. Shrek

“Get outta my swap!” This film was great for quotes and little quips for the parents to laugh at. Honestly, rewatch it tonight and you’ll see what I mean. And did any of you ever question how Donkey and Dragon had kids? No, just me? Whoops.
What would you list as a must see film?
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Book reviews, life

Which Main Characters Annoy You?

We all know them. They’re the whiny, moaning lead characters in a book, film or tv show. No matter how hard you try to avoid them, you’ll always manage to find one of those books and you’ll resent yourself for it. Here’s my list of books with annoying main characters!

  1. The Hunger Games Trilogy. Is there anything more tedious than a female lead who starts out strong and then complains that life is so difficult because she has 2 boys fighting for her attention? Katniss was a great character and reminded us in the beginning of the first book that the bond between sisters is special. This is then completely overtaken by the fact that Gale and Peta are the 2 fighting for her attention. 
  2. The Private Series. Reed Brennan starts off as your average every day girl who most of us can actually relate to. I loved this book for so long! Until it became (firstly) “oh my life is so much better now I’m popular and have a boyfriend”, closely followed by “oh no, 2 boys are interested in me and I can’t pick between them”. Stop doing this to girls, we don’t need a boyfriend to be happy. Trust me.
  3. Harry Potter. Has there ever been a more irritating boy who can’t accept that the battle to save the wizarding world is more important than people’s loyalty to him? Constantly talking about how guilty he feels because people gave their life to protect him, he doesn’t ever seem to consider that there are more important things in life.
  4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Frodo Baggins is the worst. I can’t describe how much he annoys me.

These are my main 4. Who are yours?
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in life, Lifestyle

Well then

So this is a last minute post and I’m not sure how I feel about sharing it yet as I’m still forming my thoughts but then I remembered that that was one of the reasons I started blogging – to talk through my thoughts and ideas and possibly (hopefully) receive feedback from you lovely people. All I’ll say is please forgive me for the lack of continuity as my brain bounces from one thought to the next.
In the next 48 hours, I have exams 3 and 4 of my 5 resists. I’ve done the revision, I’ve completed past papers and tutorial questions and all the stuff you’re meant to do to prepare for an exam. And then today I hit the wall. You know the wall, don’t you? That one that sits there and you physically cannot break through it to continue. 

I woke up this morning asking myself why I was still trying. Yes, okay, today’s a bad day for a number of reasons that I can’t get into right now without crying and starting a pity party. You shouldn’t listen to your mind on a bad day, right? Except today isn’t the first I’ve felt like this. 

Ever since last week’s disastrous Physics paper, I’ve been seriously thinking about just leaving university. Unguided learning just isn’t for me. I’ve admitted that to myself in the last few days. I lack the motivation to complete simple homeworks. I struggle to persuade myself to get out of bed regardless of how much sleep I’ve had. There’s a complete lack of routine in my life and therefore no structure. Now, I know I’m the one who can fix that but I don’t think university is right for me.

I’ve been proud of myself for being at university. My cousins either didn’t go or dropped out quickly and I was always proud of myself for even just making it to second year. But I didn’t feel like I wanted to be here for any reason other than it’s what was expected of me. Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. But I’m not sure now that I do. To be honest I don’t have a clue what I want to do with my life. I’m 4 weeks off my 21st birthday and I still feel like the 13 year old who’s floating along as if she hasn’t any responsibilities. 

But I know tomorrow’s exam won’t go at all well. Even having gone to lectures and studied for ages last exam diet, I got a G2. To be honest, that’s better than I remembered. Could’ve sworn I got an H2 but there it is in black and white for you.


Seeing my grades displayed like that, surely you can now see for yourself why I’m considering just dropping out of university. 
To be honest, I’m even considering not showing up to tomorrow’s exam… Or Friday’s for that matter. But I know that would be stupid. Do I email my adviser and ask to meet him in the morning and explain to him how I’ve spent the entire summer revising but I know it’s not going to have made any difference? Do I tell him that I just want out but can’t face telling my parents that I dropped out? Yes. The truth is I would rather be kicked out of university than tell my parents I chose to walk out. It’s not like they’re paying for me to be here or helping me in any way. Apart from paying my phone bill and feeding me when I’m home, I’ve been completely financially independent since I started university in 2014. Big wow I hear you guys say, that was using a student loan and a maintenance loan. Those need paid back the minute I start earning. But if I can get a full time job and earn roughly £500 a month, I’d be pretty much where I am now. That’s 75 hours a month so not even 20 hours a week at minimum wage. That’s reasonable, right? 
To be honest, I don’t know why I’m asking these questions. You know as well as I do that I’ll go in tomorrow and Friday and sit those exams. I know I’ll fail them, you may have more faith in me but I’ve given up hope. Friday morning at 11:30 I will be beginning to look at full time jobs here in Glasgow. Who knows, maybe when I’m working I’ll be more involved in my blog. And maybe then I’ll be happier.
I don’t even know what I’ve said in this post, I’m just going to hit post and hope that you guys can give me some advice. If you don’t want to comment below, find me on Twitter (@kvburton657) or email me at katiekinnes@msn.com.
Thanks
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in life

Thank you

Today I wanted to write a different kind of post. One that thanks someone who has really supported me recently, especially with these resits and everything else that’s been going through my mind. 1 Week Mary, I can’t actually thank you enough.
Thank you. Between your comments, advice and tweets, you’ve kept me going through the last lot of days. You somehow seem to know exactly what to say and when, and always manage to get me to smile – regardless of how my day’s going. You’re incredible at writing posts, too. They’re written so well and it’s clear that you’re interested in each one you write. With the perfect balance of humour, your posts provide a great place to come and read for a while, to forget any negativity, and restart my efforts with a new-found energy. I don’t know how you do it! 

Your positivity shines through all your words, whether on Twitter or on your blog, and helps lift those of us who have the pleasure of talking with you. Even just these little conversations during BeeChat inspired me to keep going! 

So, to finish off, thank you for all your support and for inspiring me to keep going. Keep up your amazing work!
Ktkinnes xx
If you don’t already, please consider giving 1weekmary.com a read and/or follow! It’ll honestly be one of the best decisions you make today.


Posted in life

10 Things I Wish I’d Known At The Start

Having had a few days of not a lot of blogging, I decided to make a list of the 10 things I wish I’d known at the start of blogging.

  1. Twitter is your friend. There are so many amazing bloggers out there who can support you in every little thing. Sometimes you find these amazing people completely accidentally and find yourself getting really excited when they simply like one of your posts – this person is the one you owe a lot to. Be their friend and support them back in whatever way you can.
  2. It’s okay to not post daily. I struggle to actually post daily, sometimes I remember to schedule posts, other times I’m so far behind posting that I feel guilty for not being online 24/7. This guilt is completely unjustified.
  3. You don’t need to have a specific genre of a blog. Yes, it’s great to be so invested in a specific type of blogging but this doesn’t mean you can’t diversify and cover a wide range of things! Take a look at me, I review things, post ramblings, and rarely ever branch into fashion or beauty. I suppose you could say that I do have a genre then, but it’s an open one – one in which I can be as diverse as I want!
  4. Followers will stay if you disappear for a while. Everyone needs time off. I took a year away from the blog and came back to still find I had followers! This was great motivation to continue.
  5. Your statistics will fluctuate a lot, unless of course you’re a professional blogger, and this is 100% okay. Even last week, I went from 59 views one day, to 6 a few later. 
  6. Scheduling Tweets makes life so much easier. Got a post that didn’t get as much attention as you think it deserved? Get it back out there! I use Hootsuite and its so easy to use. You should consider it!
  7. Try and have your photos preprepared for any posts that might need them. Pictures really liven up your blog and so having them handy is always a help.
  8. If you’ve got a list of blogging ideas, you don’t need to worry about writers block. I try and keep a list on either my phone or laptop as these are the 2 things I have near me when blogging. 
  9. Join as many chats and groups as possible, through whatever platforms you can! There are always great people out there to give advice on anything and everything blog related. 
  10. Blogging is addictive. Once you get the bug for it, it takes over a lot! So enjoy it and always hold onto the reasons why you started blogging. 

Any other advice? Good luck to anyone just starting out!
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in life

An open letter to my mum

I felt the need, especially after talking to Sarah of Writing & Rambling briefly during the #beechat today run by the brilliant Charlene McElhinney – you should really check out both of their blogs by the way, great reads. 
My mum and I have one of those relationships where we live each other but there’s so much I feel I could never say to her, and so there’s always been a distance between us. Now I know she’ll never read this but I felt it necessary to write it in the hope that getting it off my chest will make things easier between us.
Mum,

The number of memories we have, some good and others not so good will always come to mind when I’m talking about you with friends. The fights we’ve had over stupid things and the fact that even when I’m at university you still want to chat every day, both make it clear that even through our slightly disfunctional relationship we do care about each other. And that’s why I’m writing this – there are some things I need to get off my chest, starting with the elephant in the room.

Rachel wrongly told you in November that I’m bisexual. I’m sorry that she did this, to be fair to her my version of coming out to her was me sobbing outside Co-op because I couldn’t cope any longer with the fact my friends had ditched me after coming out to them as liking girls. I was 15 at the time, she was 12. Now before you ask questions, I know I “had a boyfriend” for a while but really that was just me trying to pretend to myself that I liked boys and he seemed the easiest to like. He was kind and easy to talk to, something I needed when you and dad were going through rough patches and none of my other friends seemed to understand me. I was hurt when I told you about my first real date this year and your response was “I can’t talk about this, I won’t talk about this.” I was disappointed you couldn’t even pretend to be okay with me dating a girl, the way dad could, and I think I may have let that influence the way the date went in the end. I’m not blaming that part on you, just to be clear – that part is fully me. I used to blame you for my failings but I realise now how childish that was.

I do, however, blame you for my issues with confrontation, the real reason I’m writing an open letter to you. From the first time I was fully aware of you and dad arguing, you made it your job to inform me of how terrible he was and constantly said that you were only still married to him because of me and Rachel. If it wasn’t for us, you would’ve left him years ago and you would’ve been happy. That’s not something any 10 year old needs to hear. That’s not even something a 20 year old needs to hear. You can’t blame your children for your unhappiness in life. 

I know that what he did all those years ago was wrong, and last year was even worse, but at both times you were free to walk away and Rachel and I would’ve understood when we were told the full story, when we were old enough to hear it. 

It wasn’t until recently, however, that I remembered some of your arguing in Forfar. You’d had a horrible argument over something before the two of you were meant to go out for dinner. It was a Friday night, Rachel and I had been fed and were watching You’ve Been Framed before Pamela, the babysitter, got there. Dad sent me upstairs to ask you something, but you were still so angry at him that you didn’t care what it was I had to say. You lifted me under the arms and dropped me at the top of the stairs in such a way that I fell down them and hit my head off the wall at the bottom. I didn’t know what I’d done to make you so angry with me, but I was too shocked to cry at the pain. And that’s my earliest memory of you. Did you know that? 

But all that’s in the past. I’m trying to move on from that, and try and get to know you as you are now. You still try to involve me in your arguments, you never let things go, and you stand firmly in your beliefs. But you’re my mum and I still love you, even if there’s a part of me that you can’t love. 

Tomorrow’s the anniversary of Tom’s death. You’ve no idea how much I want to be at home with you right now. I don’t want to be alone in the flat thinking about it, or about how you were the one who had to make that horrible decision to turn off the machines – I certainly don’t envy you that. When we came to pick you up from the hospital afterwards and you took the keys from me to allow me time to register everything that had happened. How we got home and I went outside to be alone while crying, and you came out and just hugged me close. I need that right now. I try to pretend I’m grown up and don’t need you but right now I do. 
I was terrified to tell you that I’d failed my exams this year and would have to resit and most likely wouldn’t get back into university. I felt like the world’s biggest disappointment to you. However, you instantly told me everything would be okay, that you’d support me no matter what happened, and that you knew I wouldn’t move home even if I failed. That last part, I could see it hurt you. But you were accepting of the fact that I’m (mostly) ready to enter this world as a responsible adult. You talked me through my options, and you made me feel like there was hope.
So the start of this letter was to talk through the things I can’t say to you out of risk that we’d fall out and not speak again. But I just wanted you to know that I’ll happily keep that locked away inside, forgiven and forgotten, as long as you stay the strong person you always have been. I love you, always have and always will.

Love, your little girl.

xx

Posted in life

Sleepy Sunday

Well I’m not going to lie, I’m exhausted today! It’s been a busy(ish) week. How are you? Been up to much this week?

Sunday was a quiet day of revision and settling back into life at the flat. This did of course involve figuring out where a few things had “hidden themselves” and trying to discover the source of the weird smell… Yes guys, you do need to bleach the bin to remove the mould. 

Monday involved writing 2 blog posts, taking part in Twitter chats, and yet more revision. New month at the start of a new week – the organised side of me was celebrating! Did I claim to have been busy? Whoops…

On Tuesday, however, I had a lot of last minute cramming before my exam at 2:30. After it, I came back and settled into more revision and a few Twitter chats – what can I say, they’re so much fun! 

Wednesday morning was another exam and that was a bit of a disaster. I came back to the flat and was quite upset when I got a message from Pablo (his chosen blog code name) asking to go to Edinburgh for the day. I’m so glad he did! We hadn’t seen each other since the middle of May so it was great to catch up over lunch before finding ourselves mixed into the start of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! We saw 3 great shows and it really cheered me up. Even when life sucks you can find a reason to smile, I certainly did! 

Thursday I got up early to do more revision in the morning to allow myself time to clean the flat before Rachel arrived that evening. I scrubbed the kitchen, bathed the bathroom in bleach, and gave my bedroom a quick go-over to try and make it look decent. Of course it would’ve helped if I’d taken the boxes in my room to the bin but I felt they were acceptable considering a certain someone’s dishes being left by the sink for 4 days without having been washed. Rachel arrived and so we went for dinner in The Hill on byres road before coming back and watching The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It was a good day.

Finally it was the weekend and Friday saw us heading to Dundee to see our cousins before one heads to China for the year and another is starting boarding school in a few weeks. It was a busy day of talking and travelling and so I actually got starting Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! Don’t worry, no spoilers here.

Yesterday, (Saturday) we took a drive to Edzell, a small village I went to probably about 14 years ago. We bought cupcakes, looked around the stalls, and watched a dog herd ducks around an arena – it was more fun than it sounds! After this, we took a drive to our old house in Forfar. It was strange driving into the street and seeing it all, everything looked smaller than we remember it being. I guess that’s what comes with growing up. We then took a detour into the town and found our favourite café from when we lived there and ordered our old order – a milkshake and a funny face biscuit!


We then went back to Dundee to get ready for a meal out together. It was a great meal at Papa Joe’s and the night was brilliant! Until Rachel cheated at Family Fortunes back at the house after dinner…
Today we arrived back in Glasgow where I did some more revision while Rachel read. We then had dinner and watching both parts of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay. And that’s you up to date!
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in life

The Night Circus

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

Well here’s the review I’ve been promising for a while! Written by Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus was a curious book. I can’t say whether I enjoyed it or not as it was a bit of a seesaw of emotions. 
I took a long time to get into this book. After posting Ideas… I was pointed in the direction of The Girl Gang’s Book Club and their book for the month was this one.
It took a while for me to get into the story. I couldn’t decide whether I was enjoying it or whether I wanted to continue, you know what I mean? It was incredibly well written, a lot of description, and the concept was intriguing enough to keep me from putting it down. However, it frequently jumped from one character to another, from one year to another, and I found it hard to get into due to this lack of continuity. Whilst this is a personal opinion, I know a lot of people enjoy this sort of a book. To be honest, I was just waiting for it to end. 
And yet, given my lack of attachment to the characters or the storyline, I was disappointed when it ended. Not disappointed with the ending! Disappointed it was over. It felt a tad rushed. Like a roller coaster that you’re finally beginning to enjoy (after the initial “oh god why am I on this”) and then suddenly you’re back at the start and being told to get off. Did anyone else feel the same way?
So overall I would probably rate this about 6/10. Would I read it again? Probably not. However I would recommend it to other readers so who knows!
Have a read and let me know what you think!
Ktkinnes xx