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Dear Diary: 2015

Monday, 5 January 2015

It's no secret that I love stationery, and I always get particularly passionate about diaries. Not gonna lie - I have wanted the frankie diary since February last year, bought in August, and it arrived in October. The hardest part was watching it sit there, a juicy fresh notepad, waiting to be devoured. Too far?

2014 was a big reconnaissance mission, a year of unfinished notepads, "trial" diaries. But I've got it sorted this year. I struggled to constantly keep a diary every single day for years, because I didn't want to restrict myself by buying an actually diary with lines and dates, so I used a notepad but then it would put more pressure on me and in return I just stopped writing in it altogether. 

Here's my plan: write everyday a few lines in my diary. And if I want to write more about a day, maybe if something special happened, then I can do that in my notebook (which has both lined and unlined pages - BRILLIANT). I can also write prayers, doodles, thoughts, drawings, etc. in it too.

May you have a fantastic new year and happy diary keeping - what stationery have you purchased for 2015? 


Was Girl Online ghostwritten?

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Even though I love Zoella, I'm going to be honest here (no bias - I'll try).

Ever since Zoe Sugg announced she was writing a book, I knew I had to get a copy. So it's been on my christmas wish list ever since July! Books are kind of my thing, so there was quite a bit of excitement there.

Then about a week after if was officially released, it popped up in the news. Why? Because speculation suggested it was ghostwritten. Now, I didn't actually know what a ghostwriter was, so after a quick splash in the google box, I realised what this meant. Before freaking out, I did whatever research I could, because the media tend to exaggerate things.

Facts: Siobhan Curham is thanked in Zoe's acknowledgements as "being there every step of the way" along with the editor. It is unexplained what Curhams job in the book is. Not long ago, Curham published a blog post telling the world that she recently had to write a 400pg long novel for a company (approx the same length as Girl Online). She doesn't disclose what novel it was.

So, everyone is saying that Girl Online was ghostwritten. Appropriately, Zoe's addresses the issue in a tweet:

"Thanks for all the positive feedback about Girl Online and for the doubters out there, of course I was going to have help from Penguin's editorial team in telling my story, which I talked about from the beginning. Everyone needs help when they try something new. The story and the characters of Girl Online are mine. I want to thank all of you who have taken time to support the book."

Penguin also said “To be factually accurate, you would need to say Zoe Sugg did not write the book Girl Online on her own.”

Her name is on the book as the only author, but on GoodReads Zoe Sugg and Siobhan Curham and both listed as authors.

You can read about in depth here.

I believe she wrote parts of it, that it was a joint effort. I don't mind that she got help - that's fine, if you were her you would probably accept help too - but if she'd told us rather than the media blabbing it all, that would have been nice. I would have liked it if she'd disclosed it, rather than having to confess after someone found out her secret. I follow her blog, and she has written a few posts where she says she was "writing her book."

But I would like to say THAT IT IS NOT FAIR that Zoe is recieving all the backlash for something that has been happening for years. I'm not a fan of ghostwriting, but I don't blame Zoe for doing it, there are tons of celebrities that get their books ghostwritten, so why should Zoe get all the disparagement? She's one amazing young lady and she doesn't deserve all this hate! Plus, most of what the media is saying is bollux!

I don't have great expectations as to the quality of this book, but hey, I never did in the first place when I put it on my wish list!!! I don't expect it to be fantastic, I just feel like having it on my bookshelf will be an inspirational reminder to keep writing.

I don't care if people think I'm just another girl, buying into their schemes. I genuinely think that Zoe is a lovely person (even though I haven't met her). I think of her as a friend, and yes maybe she wasn't completely honest about who wrote it (I said maybe - I will never judge someone I have never met), but I can move past that and enjoy the book anyway.

So, I'll see you in a bit when I've finished reading it. Wish me luck.


I'm back. Penny for my thoughts? You'll get this reference once you read it.

I can't stop thinking about it. In a wonderful way, I enjoyed Girl Online very much. I kind of forgot that it was Zoe's book halfway through, so for those of you who don't know who she is, I wouldn't completely discount this book. Although if you have never heard of her and don't follow her, you will probably not get all the references, the insight into her life, and it won't be as special. It doesn't compare in quality to something like "To Kill A Mockingbird" (not many books do to be fair) but it was a lovely read. Romantic too - and let's be honest, who doesn't love a sweet little love story.

The way it was written just made me feel all sweet inside, and the story flowed nicely. There were a few points when I would have pulled out my thesaurus and swapped some of the words to make it sound more eloquent, but I'm a word freak so we can forget I said that because it doesn't really count as criticism. The book was very "Zoe" (again it is better if you have been following her), but it didn't really feel like her "voice"coming from the pages. Loved it all the same though.

The word that is going to get overused in this part is "sweet." Because that's exactly how I would describe the plot. It's very relatable to a young girl, with fairy lights, bath bombs, New York, blogging, self-confidence, boys, photography. I've read a lot of reviews saying that the plot was "predictable" but I didn't find it too bad. I was actually on the edge of my seat to be utterly honest! (Let's just say it was a bit of no-makeup duvet day). It always amazes me when I read a book and I find my emotions getting entangled in the characters lives and beings, and it touches me in a wonderful way. I'm sounding cheesy now, it was inevitable at some point in this post.But seriously, it was....sweet.

Among the many positives, this book helped me gain an insight into panic attacks. After hearing Zoe talk about the Girl Online, I was a bit worried that it would be dominated with anxiety issues and whatnot, but it was all interwoven nicely and even though I don't struggle with anxiety myself, I found it mildly interesting and I finally get what a panic attack is.

Overall, I'd have to say that this novel is hard to fault. Sugary as frosted cupcakes with caramel sprinkles! And, did I mention, it is the fastest selling book of the year? Woo woo!

Now to the ratings.

Writing: 3 stars ★★★
Plot: 3 stars ★★★
Characters: 3 stars ★★★ (I would give more but I don't think "Penny" and "Noah" are particularly original names - sorry to be picky, it's a personal thing!)
Quality (as in would it be a classic in english lit): 2 stars ★★
Enjoyment: 5 stars ★★★★★
Overall: 5 stars ★★★★★

I want to spend a whole page fangirling and raving about Girl Online, but who would take me seriously if just said that I loved loved loved loved loved loved this book?

Well.....the truth is.....


I'm VERY if not SUPER EXCITED for Zoe's second novel, all the best for the future babe! You deserve the best!


PS: I'd like to point out that all the hate she is getting online right now is quite ironic - SPOILER ALERT - that's what happens to Penny in the book. She recently tweeted out, which was also written in the book as one of Penny's blog posts, that "every time you post something online you have a choice - either to make someone happy, or to take away their happiness."

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

I can see why everyone wants a puppy for christmas (me included).

Thanks to everyone who has stumbled across this blog and given it a look - it really means a lot. You are so fantastic, even if you look at the floor and blush bashfully, it's  true.

Merry Christmas! Have a festively fun day! And don't forget the #reasonfortheseason. 



Easy No-Bake Caramel Popcorn

Monday, 1 December 2014

Because I can see that magical word "December" on the calendar today, that means that I can start OFFICIALLY AND LEGALLY GETTING EXCITED ABOUT CHRISTMAS!

One of the first things I do, generally, is bake something christmas-y. After a quick hop in the google box I bravely decided that I would try caramel popcorn. A lot of recipes said that you have to bake it for at least an hour, but since that would be way too long to wait, I went ahead and tried doing it the no-bake way. 

It turned out amazing. Absolutely amazing. It's one of those rare things that you taste, and you're just like, this can't be any better. I'm no Donna Hay but I'm begging you, try out this recipe!! It's insane!

You need:
-approx. 10 cups of popcorn
-125g of butter
-1 cup of brown sugar
-1/4 cup of glucose syrup/corn syrup
-1/2 tsp of baking soda 
-1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
-a shake of salt 

1. Pop your popcorn and remove any kernels or burnt bits. Set aside. 

2. Place a tray or two (big enough to fit all your popcorn) lined with baking paper on the bench.

3. Find a really big pot and add the brown sugar, butter, and glucose syrup. 

4. Bring to boil, and boil for approx 4-5 minutes. Stir fairly constantly with a wooden spoon. Then add vanilla and baking soda. Stir well.

5. Don't panic, but you'll need to work quickly. Add half your popcorn to the pot, stir to coat in syrup. Then continue adding popcorn and stir until all of it is coated (NOTE: you may not need to add all of the popcorn - make sure you only add as much as the syrup can coat). 

6. Spread the popcorn over your tray. Let cool for about a minute and then break up clumps. Sprinkle salt for a delicious "salted caramel" flavour.  

7. Cool and store in an airtight container, it lasts for about a week (but in my house it was gone before the clock struck midnight.....make that 10pm....).

8. NOTE: On a hot or humid day you may need to bake it - just place it in a baking dish and put it in the oven at 120o for 20min or so, stirring every 5 min. Until it is crunchy, basically.

Here's the question: what should I bake next? Let me know! (Also if this has made you crave caramel popcorn....sorry  )

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