Heartstopper Volume 1- Review

I first discovered Alice Oseman after being recommended her novel ‘Radio Silence’ due to its asexual representation. I think it’s fair to say that I absolutely loved that book and have basically been recommending and gushing about to anyone that would listen. I then found out that she would be releasing this graphic novel and of course I had to read it!!

SPOILER ALERT!! This review contains spoilers for this graphic novel. If you have not read it yet and would like to experience it spoiler-free, please stop reading this post and come back after you have read it.

At the time of writing this review, I have currently read this book twice. I read it as soon as I bought it the first time and this second time, to help me get out of a reading slump which it successfully managed to do. So, if you want a book to get you out of a reading slump, this is definitely one to read.

Plot

If like me, you don’t read a lot of graphic novels you might not think there would be much of a plot in this book but there is and it’s so cute. Without giving too much away, the story follows Nick as he discovers his sexuality and Charlie who develops feelings for Nick. It’s overall a really cute, gay romance but it also highlights the struggle that many LGBTQIA+ people go through. Even with this, it is still very much a wholesome read and  you will definitely feel uplifted from reading this

Characters

I know that Heartstopper has been a comic for a while now but I went into this completely blind except knowing that Nick and Charlie were in a relationship. I really like all the characters except  (if you’ve read this, I’m sure you can work out which two characters I mean). The relationships between the two characters are so clear, even in parts where there is no dialogue, the relationships just come across so well. There are a lot of characters briefly mentioned (like Charlie’s sister Tori) who I really hope start to feature in later volumes.

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Illustrations

Of course, you can’t talk about a graphic novel without talking about the illustrations! I absolutely love the art style of the illustrations in this graphic novel. The settings themselves are not that detailed but this is perfect as it means that all of the focus is on the characters themselves. Saying that though, there are moments with beautiful interiors drawn such as at Harry’s party.

Overall Thoughts

I would definitely recommend this graphic novel to everyone reading this who haven’t already. It’s such a wholesome story with characters you really do fall in love with. I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on the later volumes and follow Nick and Charlie’s love story.

I hope you enjoyed this review (I haven’t done one for over a year so I’m sorry if it’s a bit rough). Have you read Heartstopper, what did you think of it?

Beth x

Lookback On Blogtober

It’s the end of Blogotber! I’ve managed to write a post every day for a month and although it has been a challenge, I’ve really enjoyed the experience. I’ve learned a lot about blogging over this last month and I wanted to round up my experience.

Posting A Blog Post Every Day

I’ve tried to post a blog post every day for a month and I’ve only managed it once before so I’m very happy to have completed it again! There were times near the end that I thought to myself that I wasn’t going to achieve one every day so I’m SO happy that I was able to.

Next time, I’m definitely going to plan and do more in advance. I created a schedule which would have had me finished over a week before the end of October but I fell behind and am only writing them really, the day before.

My Love For Blogging

I started blogging three years ago but I never allowed myself to actually throw myself into it due to personal reasons. After a really bad patch of mental health, I’ve found going back into blogging really therapeutic and I’ve found my love for it again. I’ve found the thing I’m passionate about and I can’t wait to pursue it further and devote more time for it.

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What’s Next?

Well, the first thing I should say is… I’m doing Blogmas! I know, I’ve only just finished Blogtober and you would think that it would put me off but if anything, it’s made me want to do it more. I’m hoping doing Blogmas will really help me make more or a routine when blogging.

What this does mean is that I’m going back to weekly blog posts during November. Hopefully looking into the future, I’ll be posting more than once a week but I’m going to be posting every day on the run-up for Christmas so hopefully, that will make up for it.

Did you take part in Blogotober? I hope you’ve enjoyed my posts this month as I’ve really enjoyed it.

Beth x 

How To Throw A Great Halloween Party

Halloween is tomorrow  which means that a lot of people will be throwing a Halloween party! It’s probably a little too late to do one tomorrow with no planning but you can use this as a checklist and guide for next year instead.

Costumes or not?

If you’re planning a Halloween Party, one of the first things you should decide is whether it’s going to be a costume party or not. Costumes can take a lot of time to plan so it’s important to know in advance whether you want to have costumes or not. You could also have a specific themed party with decorations, food etc. that link to it.

Games

I don’t remember playing games at Halloween but if you’re planning a party for younger children or perhaps for a little bit of nostalgia you could always plan some Halloween games!

You could do the classic apple bobbing or a variation on pin the tail on the donkey or a pumpkin carving competition. I think it’s definitely worth doing some research if you’re interested in including games.

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Movies or Music

Of course, you could do both but I imagine that you’d want movies if you were going for more of a relaxing, chilled party and then music if you wanted to play games etc. This is entirely up to you! I personally enjoy a more chilled occasion involving watching movies but if you think music will work better, then go for it.

Food

Food is very important when it comes to parties and when it comes to Halloween, you can make your food really out there and match the theme of the rest of your party! Pinterest is a great place where you can find easy recipes for simple Halloween treats that look really effective. Of course, you don’t have to make Halloween themed food but it is a fun addition that will really up the look of your party.

Decorations

I think whatever form of Halloween party you’re throwing, you need to have some decorations! You can go crazy with cobwebs, giant spiders and animatronic dancing creatures or just go for a scaled-back minimal pumpkin look. If you wanted to save money, the environment and have some fun with family or friends, you could always make your own! Pinterest is again, another great place to look for some inspiration.

Are you having/going to a Halloween party this year?

Beth x 

Looking For Alaska – Review

I recently finished the TV show ‘Looking for Alaska’ and I had so many feelings that I just had to write a blog post about it! I went into the TV show completely blind, as I hadn’t even read the book so these thoughts are going to be on just the TV show. I know that not everyone will have seen it (if you do want to see it I know in the US it’s on Hulu and in the UK it’s on BBC Iplayer) so the first half of this post will be a spoiler-free review whilst the second half will include spoilers.

Spoiler-free Review

The soundtrack and cinematography are amazing!!

The cinematography and the soundtrack are just fantastic! It was a beautifully shot programme in terms of lighting and camera work. The soundtrack is also a great part of this show. I’ve been listening to the Score Suite a lot since finishing the show and it is so beautiful.

The show is set in 2005 and although I would only have been 4, I can still see elements of stuff I remember such as the older phones and even though it’s set then, this doesn’t harm the plot or look of the show.

Made me cry – a lot

My brother would read this and immediately roll his eyes as I cry at basically anything. There are certain moments (which I’ll talk about in the spoiler part of the review) that made me cry. I think it’s a really good thing that I cried as it means that a believable world has been created and I feel that I can be empathetic and connect with all the characters rather than them appearing flat.

Characters are well done

Like I said above, I think that the characters in this show are very 3D. I think John Green who wrote the book was involved in creating the show so I think that would have been a HUGE help. Of course, the main two characters (Miles and Alaska) have been worked on a lot but I feel that Chip/The Colonol was also a well fleshed out character

Intriguing and engaging plot

Like I said in the beginning, I didn’t read the book before watching this adaptation but I think it does have a really solid plot. I didn’t skip forward (which I sometimes do if I don’t find the plot that interesting) and found myself wanting to find out what happened next. I didn’t feel that there were that many gaps in the narrative either which is obviously a good thing.

That’s the end of my spoiler-free review! If you’ve already watched it or don’t mind being spoiled, you can, of course, carry on but if you want to watch it without spoilers, I would recommend stopping now as I’m going to talk about some important plot points.

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Confused by side characters e.g. Holly

I’ve already mentioned that I think some of the characters that are included are well fleshed out, well some of the others I thought the opposite. Now it might have been that I wasn’t paying enough attention but I felt that the character Holly sort of appeared out of nowhere. Her dad got involved with trying to sue the school after the admission prank and Holly started talking about Alaska in Episode 7 when I didn’t think they were close. I just felt maybe some characters could have had more of a back-story than it was shown but of course I know that is challenging when you only have a certain number of episodes to show it in.

The teachers

I absolutely LOVED Dr Hyde! He had an interesting backstory and I think some of the most powerful parts of the series included him in some form. I don’t think he’s included in the book and I’m so glad he was added in as he adds a great dynamic to the story that would not have been there otherwise. Also, the fact that he was in a same-sex relationship that although ended in tragedy, was handled well really added to the show.

Contrasting this, I think ‘The Eagle’ or Mr Starnes was on the cusp of being well developed but for me, it fell slightly short. I know that the show is focusing on Miles and Alaska but I feel like he’s such an interesting character and although we know that his wife left because he was consumed by his job and that he wanted to protect the kids but I would have loved to see this developed more. Maybe it would have been interesting to see him looking after the kids more in the background or something would have helped personally.

Alaska’s death

As I hadn’t read the book I didn’t know that Alaska died BUT I did guess it from the first episode. I think that isn’t a surprise though as the show is so cleverly structured that you know what’s going to happen without it explicitly telling you. You see Alaska’s flowers on the road and the number of days before and then after that, you just see the days before. I think it was done SO well and I absolutely loved that aspect of it. The way that the story is split between before and after is just such a clever narrative structure.

I also think that they handled her death well. Yes, there was the mystery of what happened but the characters ultimately accepted that they would never know.  The way grief was portrayed was also very sensitive but powerful and I cried a lot. I cried when Miles didn’t believe it and ultimately broke down and I cried so much when The Colonol broke down with Dr Hyde.

How will I ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering? – last Words

I think the focus on the last words was very interesting and to me, it’s made me want to research int these words more but also some other last words.

Miles leaves home to go to Culver Creek because of the words “I go to seek a Great Perhaps” and the words “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering?” is mentioned throughout the whole series.

The book is called Looking for Alaska and maybe that was the Great Perhaps that Miles was looking for. Perhaps it’s, in fact, the life that Alaska lead. Miles loved the Alaska he ‘knew’ but it was clear that he didn’t really know her. Did she kill herself or was it an accident? Did she think the only way out was straight and fast and she decides that’s what she needed to do? Or was the straight and first referring to her leaving her past behind and doing all she could for a future she never lived?

I’d love to know your thoughts on the series! I love dissecting stuff so perhaps I’ll do a post on what I think the answer to the question is or looking at last words. Also, let me know if you’d like me to do some more movie/TV show reviews!

Beth x 

Halloween Playlist

If you’re throwing a Halloween playlist, you definitely need to have some music! As opposed to Christmas, there aren’t that many songs that are for Halloween but you can easily make that the case. Today I’ve made a list of songs that are perfect for a Halloween party. I’m not going to explain each of these choices so this will be a shorter post than normal but if you click on each song it will take you to the YouTube video for it.

DISCLAIMER: Just because I have included the song in this list, does not mean that I support the artist themselves, I just wanted to include the song as it can be linked to Halloween. It is down to your personal view whether you listen to these songs and support that artist or not.

Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett and Cryptkickers

Thriller – Michael Jackson

Ghostbusters Theme Song – Ray Parker Jr.

Hungry Like The Wolf – Duran Duran

Bury A Friend – Billie Eilish

Addams Family Theme Song

I Put A Spell On You – Screaming Jay Hawkins

Highway To Hell – AC/DC

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This Is Halloween – The Nightmare Before Christmas

All The Good Girls Go To Hell – Billie Eilish

Demons – Imagine Dragons

The Time Warp – Rocky Horror Picture Show

Danse Macabre – Camille Saint- Saëns

Youngblood – 5 Seconds Of Summer

Bat Out Of Hell – Meat Loaf

Are there any songs that I’ve missed that you feel are great to include on a Halloween playlist?

Beth x 

Day In The Life During Blogtober

Taking part in Blogtober has really allowed me to create a schedule to fit in blogging around my life whilst on my gap year. It’s weird having all this free time and I need to use it as productively as I can. I’ve created a little routine now which will most likely change but here’s my day in the life of a normal weekday whilst taking part in Blogtober.

7:30 am

This is the time I get out of bed. I can be awake from any time between 7am until then. If I wake early, I’ll usually scroll on my phone to catch up on my social media and check my emails.

After getting up, I will then get ready for the day. I’ll get dressed and eat my breakfast which is always some soya yoghurt, oats and chia seeds. I’ll sometimes add some fruit and seeds if I feel like it.

8:15 am

This was the time that I left for school but I still go with my mum to drop my brother off at school. I’ve had trouble recently being able to travel so this has been a really easy way to introduce me back into it, plus it’s nice for my brother that I’m not relaxing whilst he still has to go to school.

8:35 am

After dropping my brother off, I’ll then take my dog out for a morning walk. This really helps to wake me up and I get some exercise in. It’s been really lovely taking my dog at recently as all the leaves are turning orange and there are so many leaves on the ground. I’ve also been spotting some mushrooms/toadstools everywhere which have been so cool to see.

10:00 am

After walking my dog, I will normally have a cup of tea and look through social media if I didn’t have the chance to earlier. I’ll also feed my pet guinea pigs, put some clothes washing on and sort out the dishwasher.

From 10am, I will then get started blogging! Sometimes I’ll be able to get a lot done and other times, I struggle for inspiration.

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11:00-11:30am

This is when I have a break. Sometimes I do have it earlier, it really does depend on how hungry I am. During this break, I will normally watch a YouTube video, watch an episode of a TV show or put on BBC News if something interesting politically is going on.

After my break, I’ll then be blogging again until 1pm.

1:00 pm

This is when I stop to put on some lunch to eat with my mum. With lunch, we always watch a film or TV show episode together which at the moment is Downton Abbey.

Some days we go out at 2pm-2:30 pm for an hour or less. Sometimes this could be going into our local town or going food shopping or taking my dog for an afternoon walk. However, somedays we might decide to carry on watching something before my mum goes to pick my brother up from school.

4pm

This is when I head upstairs to do more blog work! I don’t always go at this time, sometimes I’ll go up a bit later but I aim to be at the latest, starting at 5pm. 5pm was the time I would do my homework when I was at school still so this is part of my past routine.

If it is my turn, I will have to stop for a little bit to let my guinea pigs out of the hutch but I alternate this every day with my brother.

7pm

Food time! This is when I eat my dinner with my family. We normally watch a film or we watch another Downton Abbey episode.

I’ve written a separate post about my autumn night-time routine here that you can read to see the end of my day. Is my day similar to yours?

Beth x 

 

Book Halloween Costume Ideas

One of the things people love to do at Halloween is dressing up! It can be hard to come up with a good costume idea and that’s why today I’m sharing ideas for book characters that you can dress up as this Halloween. I’m also going to share some ideas on how to easily dress up as each character too!

Harry Potter

This is obviously a great book series with a lot of different characters that you could dress up as. I’ve picked a few that hopefully show a variety of different costumes that you could wear.

Luna Lovegood

Luna is one of my favourite characters in the Harry Potter series so she is obviously a great person to dress up as for Halloween. Of course, if you have a Ravenclaw robe, you could wear that. You could also go for more of her casual outfit as long as you have some boots, a colourful skirt and a purple jacket. Or you could aim more towards the yellow dress that she wears during the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

 

Harry Potter

Out of all the Harry Potter characters to dress up as, Harry Potter is obviously the clear favourite. Like Luna, you could go for the Hogwarts robe look or the ‘classic’ Harry Potter look of a pale blue t-shirt, blue jeans and an optional red/burgundy jacket.

Bellatrix LeStrange

The last two characters I’ve chosen have been on the ‘good’ side so I thought it would be time to recommend a death eater! Bellatrix is my favourite death eater and all you would need is a black dress, dark makeup and some messy curly hair. I think it would be a lot of fun to dress up as her.

A background character!

Of course, if you don’t want to dress up as a specific Harry Potter character, you could always go as a generic Hogwarts student, especially if you have a set of Hogwarts robes. Or if you want a really simple costume, you could just dress up in your normal clothes and pretend that you’re going to Hogsmede.

Alice in Wonderland

My favourite book of all time is Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland so of course, if you wanted to have some fun with some more weird and crazy costumes then this would be a fun thing to do.

Alice

Out of all the characters in this book, Alice is obviously the easiest to pull off. A blue dress with a white apron is something that can easily be bought and made into a great costume.

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Mad Hatter

I think with this costume, you could go as over the top as you want. As long as you have a top hat, I think you could do pretty much anything else with this costume. I would personally lean more towards bright colours as it’s more mad and crazy and to me, just means the Mad Hatter.

Queen of Hearts

I think this is another pretty easy character to dress up as. As long as you dress up in red and have red makeup, I think you could pull it off. If you wanted to, you could also buy a red wig to wear or you could spray your hair red for a little extra red.

Roald Dahl books

I was trying to find some more characters you could easily dress up as if you didn’t want to go too over the top and Roald Dahl books just came into my head.

Matilda

Matilda is a very easy character to dress up as all you need is a blue dress and a red ribbon on your head. You could also carry some books with you if you wanted to or have a red wagon with books in just like in the movie.

James and the giant peach

Another very easy character to dress up as. If you want to go more towards the character shown in the films, all you need is a white shirt and some shorts. If you want your costume to be more obvious, you could always get a peach or make your own.

Witch

Now, this costume is leaning more towards the traditional Halloween costume. You could always dress up as a witch from The Witches by wearing a black dress. I haven’t watched it in a long time so I would look into it more but I think it would be some fun.

I hope this post gave you some great ideas for some Halloween costumes. What other book costumes would you want to dress up as for Halloween?

Beth x