Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman – Book Review

Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman

I like that most short stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. The pacing of the plot, the scene setting, the detail in descriptions of a journey as well as character development should all be comparative to the size of the novel.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in this short story. When the action does get moving it is gripping but it feels like there could have been so much more squeezed into the pages.

The book even finishes before it explains who one of the main characters are and what they are doing that’s supposedly so important. The whole plot (it turns out) revolves around them though! Lyras Oxford reads like exciting excerpts from a much bigger novel, rather than a self contained short story

The book contains a map of Lyras Oxford, although not really necessary I did think this was a cute addition. It also contains a short explorers guide.

Overall I found Lyras Oxford to be an informative glimpse into Lyras new life. As expected it was imaginative and compelling in places. Frustratingly, it felt rush toward the end and needed more plot and character development overall.

📚✨Chrissie✨📚

Monthly Round Up – September

Now the weather has cooled my chronic fatigue and brain- fog has calmed a bit. Unfortunately this makes my ADHD (self diagnosed as a teen but wildly obvious) a lot worse. It’s like I’ve drunk three espressos all of the time. Nice to have some energy and my quirky personality back though! 😄 It took me five six attempts to be able to write this properly. 😆

Style

MY SLIPPERS
CUTE…
CREEPY (but very adorkable)

My ‘sensible dress’ which I hardly ever wear. However, I got so many compliments on it (over on my Instagram) that I’m going to wear it a lot more.

Food

We went to Allotment Vegan Eatery in town, which had beautiful food and cozy decor but would have been too dear if we hadn’t taken advantage of the government ‘eat out to help out’ scheme.

Had a lovely meal at Sai Spice in Chorlton. Here are leftovers of Mutter Panner (peas and cheese which tastes nicer than it sounds), Young coconut and green beans and vegetable Kolpahuri which was really piquant!

Vegan and gluten free cheese-on-toast using Genius bread and Follow Your Heart, Pepper Jack flavour. Wow!

Beauty

After three months of loosely following The Curly Girl Method (but with other products) my hair is shiny and soft, with less frizz AND holding it’s curl shape.

Lifestyle

The most geeky and awesome book I have ever read! This is like the crazy dreams I’d have regularly as a kid in the 80’s.

Still writing down happy things that have happened, as and when they occur, so I can read them back when I’ve been having a succession of shitty mental/physical health days, to give me some perspective.

Watching

Dark – Complex, family oriented sci-fi

Boardwalk Empire – Sprawling 1920’s Gangsta series set in Atlantic City

Hero’s – Series featuring time travel and a big cast of characters discovering they have unique powers.

The Months Most Used Emojis

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Really looking forward to a chilly but beautiful Autumn and Halloween of course. 🦇

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Monthly Roundup – August

I’ve taken screen shots from my Instagram to remind me, and show you what I’ve been up to this month.

Skincare and Haircare

I cut my curly hair using tips from Brad Mondo and tips from various natural hair vloggers to style my 2C curls.

I changed my contraception so got quite a few hormonal spots and this Body Shop Tea Tree, Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner was invaluable; as was The Ordinary, Lactic Acid which very gently and naturally exfoliates.

Now it’s the end of August and my skin has settled so I’m using Neal’s Yard Remedies Orange Flower Toner and Orange Flower Moisturiser everyday to keep my skin all glowy and nourished (along with the The Ordinary Lactic Acid twice a week).

Food, glorious food!

Me and my bloke spent our Tesco vouchers on Pizza Express (who will be going into liquidation next month apparently) and order two ‘new’ veggie pizzas and all of the salad.

To take advantage of the governments ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme we went to Ruyi Vegetarian Restaurant. Amazing!

I’ve gotten back into the fake meat brand Vivera and have been making simple stir-fries. Like these Vivera Shwarma Kebab strips with rice and pea and sweet corn and Jamaican Jerk BBQ sauce.

The hot weather made really reduced my appetite so these mezze/tapas style bowls were great to nibble on.

Style

I’ve had purchasing a Nirvana tee at the back of my mind for decades and this month I found an official pale pink one. Cute and grungy!

I got sick of buying summer shoes that were either too flat and bad for my shitty joints or too heavy or that flew off my feet going down stairs. I bit the bullet and bought Crocs. I actually think these look pretty bad-ass as they remind me of late 80’s/early 90’s street style. Here’s my full review of Crocs.

I still think the simplest thing to wear is a maxi dress. Hides a ton of sins and all you have to choose are shoes and then a jacket/cardigan for evening.

Lifestyle

In the crazy hot weather I’ve been wearing these sandals from Newlook, drinking Rockstar blueberry energy drink, using this light and fruity perfume from Eden and ( even with my limited concentration span) flew through My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

The households charity shop donations for the second quarter of the year: A crazy wide pair of linen trousers, a face scrub you have to mix from powder (I managed to spill the first pot everywhere), vest I’m now too big for, too small jeans, a teeny-tiny dress from Japan, shoes which I’ve had over a decade and worn out.

Tips on How Not To Be Constantly Late and a fun checklist to see How Basic Are You?

Listened to

80’s pop and bluesy rock.

Watched

Snowfall about the start of the crack epidemic in early 80’s LA, like a mixture of Breaking Bad, The Getdown and The Wire.

Canada’s Drag Race, love Priyanka!

Galdem (on BBC iPlayer) about women making it in the UK grime scene.

Read

My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

Don’t forget to like, comment or subscribe! Xxx

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

The Stuck at Home Blog Tag

The Rules

• Thank the person that nominated you (I found this tag on Cranky Autistic and decided to join in!)

• Answer all the questions below

• Pingback to the creator: Ellyn at Allonsythornraxxbooks

• Nominate five other book bloggers to do this tag (or just leave it as a free-for-all)

What Are You Currently Reading? 

Tina Turner’s autobiography My Love Story. She writes like she’s having a chat with a friend, with all of her personality coming through.

What’s Your Favourite Can’t Leave The House Activity?

Connecting with people through blogging and social media. I don’t have a smart phone, so can’t do this out of the house, unless I’m in a free wi-fi area. I want to be fully engaged in the moment outside the house anyway.

A Book You’ve Been Meaning to Read?

The Velveteen Rabbit. I watched a cartoon film of it as a little kid and it was the first story that made me feel a crazy amount of emotions. “Whaaaaaaah!” “Yaaaaaaaaay!”

An Intimidating Book on Your TBR?

The last two books in the Otherworld series by Tad Williams. It’s very thick and pretty trippy and also disturbing in places so it was giving me vivid, hyper-real dreams of that nature. So literally and literary intimidating!

Top Three Books on Your TBR?

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (prequel to film Practical Magic)

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas (an urban drama about an up and coming female rapper)

Astragal by Albertine Sarrazin (Patti Smith loves this book)

Recommend a Short Book

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley. A gritty neo-noir detective novel, covering race, the American dream, status, trust and self respect.

Recommend a Long Book

His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. An amazing multi-layered story. The film and TV adaptation missed out entire plot lines which were vital to understanding the thing as a whole. Please just read the book instead.

Something You’d Love to Do While Stuck at Home? 

Get into baking but have someone else shop for ingredients, take it out of the hot oven and then tidy up and wash up afterward. So I’d be chucking stuff into a bowl, mixing and awkwardly rolling/folding and messily filling/icing, all the fun stuff basically! I’m heavily playing the Dyspraxia and chronic fatigue card here aren’t I, hehee!

What Book Do You Plan on Reading Next?

A comedy-drama about three more-mature women going on a road trip together through Italy, having fun and discovering lots of surprises about themselves and each other. Can’t for the life of me remember who it’s by or what it’s called! It’s my light summer read for when I’m brain fogged in the heat (appropriate vague answer then I guess).

Hope you found my (slightly random) answers interesting. I’m not tagging anyone as I don’t want them to feel pressured in this weirdest of times, so if you want to join in, then just join in!

Tag me in your post so I can have a read of your answers and please make sure you mention the original creator Ellyn (link above).

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Self Imposed Ban On Buying…

This list is me banning myself from buying more of the things I already have far too much of, and why.

Food

Thai curry ‘flavour’ things – They all taste like lemons, perfume and disappointment.

Oat/Rice cakes – They last five minutes and then taste like a limp biscuit (not the band).

Tins of Indian style curries – Let’s be honest, I’m just going to order one from Uber anyway.

Vegan/dairy free cheeses – I love the vegan Applewood Smoked, anything else is just a bit meh.

Supplements (apart from Omega’s) – These either give me indigestion and I should be getting them from food anyway.

Takeaway – Yeah, right! 😆

Clothes

Those ‘waterfall’ cardigans that don’t close – They’re a bit shit when worn with leggings. “Hell no, don’t want no camel toe!”

Trainers – I rarely wear them because I’m always in boots.

Boots – 10 pair 😐

Yoga/lounge pants – Always either too tight, too hot or far too short. Seriously, is it just me, seriously?

Pointy toe’d shoes/High heel shoes – Oh the horror!

Countless Tees and Hoodies – Even I’m getting bored of seeing me in this combo.

Flannel shirts/Big Jumpers – I swapped the above obsession for this obsession instead!

Hair accessories – I wear my hair in a low bun with curly/spiked bits fanned out 95% of the time. Who am I buying these for?!

Dressing gowns – 6! To be Fair one has ears and another has ears and embroidered raccoon eyes on the hood. I’ll give a few to the charity shop.

Stationary

Partly this is because I’ve gotten gifted quite a bit, through brands or for Christmas but mostly it’s because I can’t resist cute journals.

Jewellery

If it’s dainty I either break it or loose it. I have amassed so much medium-chunky stuff, I’m only buying charity items like pin badges now. I like how I found a reason for more pin badges there. 😁

Certain Disability Aids

Some joints just don’t want to be braced it seems, or shouldn’t constantly be braced anyway, plus they’re too bloody expensive and I can’t try them on beforehand.

Heated neck & shoulder pads – One wouldn’t switch on. One eventually scorched and welded it’s wires together, WHILE I WAS WEARING IT. 😳

Nail polish

I stopped painting my nails for a year because they were too weak but every time I’d see a polish that had an unusual look I’d still buy it. Now my nails are healthy I have a lot of catching up to do!

Makeup

(I should just stop at ‘makeup’ lol)

Foundation/Base – I’m sticking with the one that works. I need to buy more of that actually.

Eyeshadow – I have a whole rainbow of colours in every finish/texture. Enough!

Eyeliner – Too subtle on my narrow eyes. I slap a load of eyeshadow on instead.

Liquid Lipstick – I don’t want my lips to look like shrivelled prunes after an hour cheers.

Books

I’m a slow reader in the sense that it takes me ages to get around to even starting new books. My reading list is ridiculous and my physical ‘to read’ pile is actually intimidating.

Skincare

This is the one category I use constantly so I’m applying a one-for-one rule. Use one item up – buy another one to replace it. No multiple versions of the same item.

No face masks – I can never be arsed to use these.

Bath bombs – I don’t own a bath. 😶

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Would You Rather tag (with bonus christmas questions)

I came across this on the awesome Hunida’s blog. It originated with The Newbury Girl  (I think) but I wanted to keep the chain going so I joined in!

1. Would you rather lose all of your money or all your sentimental items?

When I first read this question I immediately thought I’d want to keep sentimental items (I do have a giant shoe box as a ‘memory box’) but having no money would take away all of my independence and make me totally reliant on others. So it would have to be the items *sob*

2. Would you rather experience unrequited love or never love at all?

I don’t think I’d like to be incapable of love. The guys I’ve loved haven’t loved me back to the same extent and vice-versa. So to never be madly, intoxicatingly in love again would be okay with me!

3. Would you rather own your own business or work for someone else?

I don’t have the executive functioning to be my own executive (bad Aspie joke) and I’ve actually liked a lot of my bosses, so I’d work for someone else.

4. Would you rather give up television (including streaming/YouTube) or reading?

I get eye strain really easy when reading and I love that I can watch telly with people and chat about it.

5. Would you rather give up sushi or tacos for the rest of your life?

I’d give up tacos. The ones in the UK are really hard and crispy and just break in half as soon as you bight them. I love veggie sushi, it’s so refreshing but filing.

6. Would you rather live in your hometown and never travel anywhere, or live in another country but never visit home?

I have lived in my hometown all my life and love Manchester but it would be cool to live somewhere else and have my Dad visit me (he loves travelling btw).

7. Would you rather live in the desert or live in a frozen tundra?

Hmmm, extreme heat fatigue probs or terrible circulation probs. I’d be unconscious with the heat so frozen tundra it is.

8. Would you rather eat dessert (but never dinner) or dinner (but never dessert)?

I’m such a salty person – so to speak. I find a lot of deserts too sickly after a while.

9. Would you rather run a successful blog or a successful YouTube channel?

Blog! I hate the sound of my voice as my Dyspraxia means my pitch and tone can accidentally be a bit over the top (too dramatic) or really monotone (too sarcastic sounding), plus when I’m fatigued I sound a bit pissed, ha!

10. Would you rather give up all makeup/cosmetics products or give up “dressing fashionably”?

I need skincare but I actively try to avoid wearing anything that happens to be in fashion at the time. So I’d bin fashion (or the idea of things being in or out of fashion) in general actually.

5 Bonus Christmas Questions!

1. Christmas jumper or Christmas Jewellery?

These 5 are my questions so I can cheat and say both jumper and jewellery, and a Crimbo scrunchy and pin badges and socks and…

2. Classic or Contemporary Christmas Songs?

Contemporary as in Stay Now by East 17 and All I Want For Christmas by Mariah.

3. Christmas dinner with ALL of your family or dinner cooked by your fave chef in a restaurant?

Well seeing as my Dad is going on holiday and he’s my only family, it would have to be a restaurant in this scenario. There’s a really fit Asian chef that was on Celebrity Masterchef this year.

4. A big surprise present or five things off your wish list?

As I’m (just about) financially stable and can’t buy my own stuff, I’d love a big surprise! Maybe a trip to see The Northern Lights.

5. Snowball fight outside or ice skating at a rink?

I tried to ice skate once, for fifteen terrifying minutes. I’m ace at snowball fights though, tactical and ruthless!

________________________________

Please feel free to join in with this tag and include your own photos of your choices if you want, or just comment instead!

🎄Chrissie🎄

Pocket Dolly Wisdom book – Wonderful, Witty & Wise!

The second book I treated myself to for Christmas is Pocket Dolly Wisdom by Hardy Grant Books (£5.24), a little hardback book full of quotes from the simultaneously fabulous, yet down-to-earth Dolly Parton.

 

Full of Dolly’s opinions on fashion, her career, love, her hair, life, men, and her womanly assets!

Me and my Dad ended up reading out our fave quotes to each other and it started some interesting conversations about life, self worth, style and also gave us a good laugh, so please don’t think that Dolly is just for middle aged Mums!

As I once apparently said as a kid “I want to be like Dolly Parton when I grow up.”

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

 

Guru by Rupaul

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Guru by Rupaul (Sphere publishing £14.99) is 191 page photograph book that is also full of wisdom, insight and and one-linners that slay, proving she’ll never sashay away.

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I decided to treat myself to this for Christmas and I’m so glad I did! This would make a great little coffee table book for anyone who’s more creative and quirky, rather than pretentious and snobby.

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A lovely detail I found at the back is a list of Ru’s fave books, films and music!

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🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

My Autumn Reading List

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Two funny uplifting books, two modern mysteries and a down-to-earth story with people who dangerously have their head in the clouds. I thought it was time I gave fantasy and sci-fi a rest for a while.

Is It Just Me by Miranda Heart

Similar over the top but very relatable scenarios to her show. This time she’s explaining how she experiences things such as fashion, Dr’s, technology and dating to her younger – rather naive but hopeful – self. Jolly good fun, if a tad awks!

Who Is Tom Ditto by Danny Wallace

Toms girlfriend has left a note to say she has left but not actually left him. Confused? So is he. The more clues he tracks down as to her whereabouts, the more he learns about his girlfriend and himself. He realises maybe he didn’t know as much about either as he first thought and why is there a random girl following him?

Junk by Melvin Burgess

I read this when I was 14 and it was a bit of a reality check compared to Sweet Valley High and Point Horror books! It’s about a love affair between two teenagers, heroin and the quirky group of people they fall in with. It’s about pushing boundaries because you feel you should but not caring where they should end.

Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne 

Red and Naomi are in a band together until Naomi suddenly disappears. As Red follows the twists and turns of events she realises that it’s not just their friendship at stake but their lives.

The Getaway Girls – Dee MacDonald

Connie has freedom to do what she wants for the first time in decades. She meets glamorous Gill and downtrodden Maggie and they decide it’s time for a change. A tour of France and Italy in a luxury camper van to be exact. They have funny shared experiences but each still have their own story going on including a secret that catches up with them.

Have you read or would like to read any of these? Let me know – no spoilers though!

Chrissie

 

 

A Photo Tour of My Fave Place in the House

Even though for me to feel peaceful and relaxed I need the main living area of a house to be airy, open and calm, my fave place in my home has to be the bedroom. It’s like a little cave filled with sparkly, interesting and collectible things.

I do my hair and makeup in the bathroom as there’s a really wide mirror and more natural light. This is for costume jewellery, perfume, nail polish and pin badges etc in trinket boxes.

The view I have at the foot of the bed. Nice and plane but bright with the light pouring in through the yellow and gold curtains. Oh, and Guss the gargoyle.

Books, gifts, geeky collectibles and fossils, rocks and gems. Some of my fave albums on CD which should be in the ‘memory crate’ instead on display.

Above the bed.

I had a marble desk and pin board before I was a blogger and it was such a bloggers clique lol. Some pretty little things now live on the left of my pin board because they aren’t fit for their original purpose anymore. Film books, graphic novels and free copy of Festival Annual that one of my photo’s was featured in. A cut glass vase I rescued from a house clearance (hiding behind my Funko’s) that looks like a pineapple.

Hope you enjoyed the tour! I’d love to have a nosey around your fave place.

Chrissie