December in Photo’s

Christmas fleece – Cotton Traders

Joggers – Hunkermoller

Ugg/Emu style boots – Dorothy Perkins

Making the most of the dark afternoons by making the living room feel all cozy.

Lots of natural skincare and lifestyle goodies in this Freedm Street advent calendar (items available to buy individually from heir online shop).

Making ‘special coffees’ by adding Baileys or Sailor Jerries Spiced Rum and throwing in pieces of salted caramel or hazelnut caramel choccy.

Jumper – Shein

Joggers – Cotton Traders

Bizarrely, for someone who has disabling arachnophobia when I see one, this was one of my favourite books as a child. It’s magical and a little creepy!

Little reindeer I found at the back of a cupboard!

Sparkly chocolate vegan brownie from Zad’s takeaway.

Dad decorated the whole downstairs in under 15 minutes. Secret festive ninja!

I’ve been watching His Dark Materials on BBC iPlayer and I am so impressed with this adaptation. Especially my favourite bad-ass actress, Ruth Wilson as Mrs Coulter.

I’ve developed quite a obsession with cute cartoon penguins so I was really happy to get this card from my Dad ^_^

Tee – Next

Christmas fleece – Cotton Traders

Joggers – Cotton Traders

At the Blokes flat we have our 22inch Christmas tree. I swear, after Christmas this is being packed away exactly as it is now – it was so fiddly to decorate!

Like most people in he UK we don’t have candy canes but we do have gelatine-free sweets!

This wonderful wreath gives me serious Narnia vibes. Unfortunately where we live, neither of us can put wreathes on our front door as they would get nicked and given to someone’s Mam or Missus.



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.


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).


Assembling a Dragon Canvas from Photowall.

When Photowall got in touch asking me if I’d like to review their service I was intrigued. Photowall specialise in posters, canvas prints and more surprisingly, detailed wallpaper designs. As I have so much furniture against the walls of my room I chose a canvas print.

Choosing the Size and Subject

This is a print of Hobsyllwin painted by Ciruelo. I wanted the subject of my canvas to be a peaceful looking dragon with neutral blue and golden tones to match the rest of the decor of my room so this one was perfect! It was easy to browse on the site by looking under different categories or using the search box. You can also upload your own image, such as a photograph.

Once I’d  chosen the subject, I choose the dimensions on a sliding scale (so no working out numbers) and then I saw what it would cost, had I not been gifted this.

Packaging and Postage

The print arrived within two days! I’ve never had anything arrive that fast. It was environmentally packaged in a thick cardboard box, padded with brown paper. It included the canvas, four sides of a frame and fixtures and fittings.

Rather than assembling the frame and stretching the canvas over it like I’m used to, this came with very sticky tape along the edge of the very sturdy frames. You place the edge of the frame planks onto the edge of canvas and then fold them in, to create the frame shape.

This is me practicing before peeling the backing off the tape. Sadly, even though I’d stuck three sides perfectly to the edge of the canvas, the top frame didnt have room to fold over into place. It just sat awkwardly on top of the sides frames at the corners. I had to move it back a little to fit it into place but that meant it was overhanging the canvas slightly. I wished I had a bit of canvas space to spare. The print is going to hang high up so it will be too high to notice it doesn’t reach the edge, very fortunately!


Screwing the frame together was incredibly easy and I did it by hand. I’ve not hung it up as it’s too big for me to manage on my own.

I’d have much preferred it to have been professionally mounted for the price, if I’d have bought it but overall I’m really pleased with my dragon. He’s going to hang high-up at the side of the chimney breast (if he’ll fit), facing the door so he’ll be the first thing you see on entering the room.

If you are interested in getting 25% off a poster, wall paper or a canvas you can use vampituppw2020 at the checkout. Hurry though as offer ends 6/6/2020.


The Ultimate Film List Challenge

Put an emoji against each film you’ve seen, count them up and see how you did!

I got 162 out of 225

The Revenant 🙋🏻‍♀️

Rocky Horror Picture Show 🙋🏻‍♀️

Grease 🙋🏻‍♀️

Pirates of the Caribbean franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️

Harold Lloyd Safety Last 🙋🏻‍♀️


Fight Club 🙋🏻‍♀️


Maze Runner franchise🙋🏻‍♀️

The Great Gatsby 🙋🏻‍♀️

Neverending Story

Blazing Saddles

Airplane 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Princess Bride 🙋🏻‍♀️

Anchorman 🙋🏻‍♀️

Crazy Rich Asians

A Few Goodmen🙋🏻‍♀️

In The Line of Fire🙋🏻‍♀️

How to Train Your Dragon films 🙋🏻‍♀️

Napoleon Dynamite 🙋🏻‍♀️

Labyrinth 🙋🏻‍♀️


Step Brothers 🙋🏻‍♀️

White Noise 🙋🏻‍♀️

Some Like It Hot🙋🏻‍♀️

50 First Dates

The Princess Diaries 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Nightmare Before Christmas 🙋🏻‍♀️

Scream franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Dark Crystal🙋🏻‍♀️

Ginger Snaps🙋🏻‍♀️

Edward Scissor Hands🙋🏻‍♀️

Superbad 🙋🏻‍♀️

Million Dollar Baby 🙋🏻‍♀️

Harry Potter franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️

Resident Evil 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Wedding Singer 🙋🏻‍♀️

Lilo & Stitch 🙋🏻‍♀️

Finding Nemo 🙋🏻‍♀️

Finding Neverland 🙋🏻‍♀️

Jurassic Park films 🙋🏻‍♀️

Signs 🙋🏻‍♀️

My Neighbour Totoro 🙋🏻‍♀️

Coralline 😱

White Chicks 🙋🏻‍♀️

Butterfly Effect 🙋🏻‍♀️

13 Going on 30

iRobot 🙋🏻‍♀️


Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story 🙋🏻‍♀️

Universal Soldier🙋🏻‍♀️

Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Devil Wears Prada 🙋🏻‍♀️

Deep Impact! 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Gridiron Gang 🙋🏻‍♀️

Never Been Kissed 🙋🏻‍♀️

Meet The Parents 🙋🏻‍♀️

10 Things I Hate About You🙋🏻‍♀️

Mean Girls 🙋🏻‍♀️

A Knights Tale🙋🏻‍♀️


The Terminal 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants🙋🏻‍♀️

Baby Driver

Dumb & Dumber 🙋🏻‍♀️

Final Destination franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️


The Ring

Bad Santa🙋🏻‍♀️

Hitchcock’s Rear Window

Mrs Doubtfire 🙋🏻‍♀️

Rock of Ages🙋🏻‍♀️

Practical Magic 🙋🏻‍♀️

Chicago 🙋🏻‍♀️

Ghost Ship 🙋🏻‍♀️

From Hell 🙋🏻‍♀️


Secret Window 🙋🏻‍♀️

I Am Sam 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Truman Show🙋🏻‍♀️

The Day After Tomorrow 🙋🏻‍♀️

Hunger Games franchise🙋🏻‍♀️

Child’s Play

Seed of Chucky

Bride of Chucky 🙋🏻‍♀️

P.S. I Love You🙋🏻‍♀️

Just Married 🙋🏻‍♀️


Sixteen Candles

Coach Carter 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Grudge

The Mask 🙋🏻‍♀️

Bad Boys franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️

Joy Ride

Lucky Number Slevin


Alien Franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️

Ocean’s Eleven 🙋🏻‍♀️

Ocean’s Twelve🙋🏻‍♀️

Ocean’s Thirteen🙋🏻‍♀️

Howls Moving Castle🙋🏻‍♀️

Bourne franchise🙋🏻‍♀️

Bond franchise (new)🙋🏻‍♀️

Black Swan 🙋🏻‍♀️

Kingsman: The Secret Service 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Princess and the Frog (Disney)🙋🏻‍♀️

The Mummy franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️

Predator franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Fog 🙋🏻‍♀️

Ice Age franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel🙋🏻‍♀️

Independence Day 🙋🏻‍♀️


A Bronx Tale

Darkness Falls

Christine 🙋🏻‍♀️

ET 💗

Children of the Corn

Leon 🙋🏻‍♀️

Maid in Manhattan 🙋🏻‍♀️

War of the Worlds 🙋🏻‍♀️

Rush Hour franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Best Bet

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days 🙋🏻‍♀️

She’s All That 🙋🏻‍♀️

Calendar Girls

Sideways 🙋🏻‍♀️

Mars Attacks 🙋🏻‍♀️

Event Horizon

Ever After

Wizard of Oz (original)🙋🏻‍♀️

Forrest Gump 🙋🏻‍♀️

Big Trouble in Little China 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Terminator franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️

Ant Man 🙋🏻‍♀️

Ant Man and the Wasp🙋🏻‍♀️

Die Hard franchise🙋🏻‍♀️

Spider Man franchise🙋🏻‍♀️

Batman franchise🙋🏻‍♀️

Blade Runner🙋🏻‍♀️

Jeepers Creepers

Jeepers Creepers 2

Catch Me If You Can 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Little Mermaid 🙋🏻‍♀️

Freaky Friday 🙋🏻‍♀️

Reign of Fire

The Skulls

Cruel Intentions 🙋🏻‍♀️


Shrek️ franchise🙋🏻‍♀️


Miracle on 34th Street 🙋🏻‍♀️

Old School

The Notebook 🙋🏻‍♀️


Krippendorf’s Tribe

A Walk to Remember

Kidulthood films 🙋🏻‍♀️


The 40-year-old Virgin

Little Miss Sunshine🙋🏻‍♀️

Lord of the Rings franchise 🙋🏻‍♀️

Indiana Jones franchise🙋🏻‍♀️

Basketball Diaries🙋🏻‍♀️


Do the Right Thing 🙋🏻‍♀️

House of 1000 Corpses

Devils Reject

Elf 🙋🏻‍♀️


Mothman Prophecies️

American History X🙋🏻‍♀️

The Jacket

Kung Fu Hustle

Shaolin Soccer

Night Watch

Monsters Inc 🙋🏻‍♀️

Titanic 🙋🏻‍♀️

Monty Python and the Holy Grail 🙋🏻‍♀️

Shaun Of the Dead 🙋🏻‍♀️

Legally Blonde🙋🏻‍♀️

High Tension

Club Dread

Hulk 🙋🏻‍♀️

Dawn Of the Dead 🙋🏻‍♀️

Hook 🙋🏻‍♀️

Mad Max (old or new)🙋🏻‍♀️

28 days later 🙋🏻‍♀️

Ghostbusters franchise🙋🏻‍♀️


Water World 🤣

Kill Bill Vol 1 🙋🏻‍♀️

Kill Bill Vol 2 🙋🏻‍♀️

Mortal Kombat

Wolf Creek

Kingdom of Heaven 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Hills Have Eyes

Miss Congeniality 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Last House on the Left


Army of Darkness

Star Wars franchise


The Irishman

The Matrix franchise🙋🏻‍♀️

Evil Dead1

Evil Dead 2

Team America: World Police

Red Dragon 🙋🏻‍♀️

Silence of the Lambs 🙋🏻‍♀️

Hannibal 🙋🏻‍♀️

The Breakfast Club 🙋🏻‍♀️

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 🙋🏻‍♀️

Grown Ups

Dazed and confused

Natural Born Killers🙋🏻‍♀️

Pretty in Pink 🙋🏻‍♀️

Sweet Charity 🙋🏻‍♀️

Polar Express 🙋🏻‍♀️

American Werewolf in London 🙋🏻‍♀️

Fantastic Four 🙋🏻‍♀️


The Blindside 🙋🏻‍♀️

Inside Out

How did you do?

Let me know your score and what you want (or don’t want) to watch! I’ve got The Irishman, Joker and Inside Out on my watch list. I have no intention to watch any horror films – ever.


Crazy Crafty Chick Club Pin

I came across Crazy Crafty Chick Club on Etsy when this awesome badge (£10.64) leapt out at me. Everyone I showed it to laughed and said it was perfect for me – in a good way!

It arrived fairly quickly considering it came from Canada and was packaged in a funky bubble wrap envelope and a cute cardboard box.

I know it’s hard to tell in these photographs but it’s actually made from a dark silver metal and big enough to need two pins. It really makes a statement!

Crazy Crafty Chick Club also sell other pins, stickers, iron on patches, jewellery and totes with feminist, geek or alternative style sentiments.


I’d love to know, who else still adds pastel-goth influences to their style?


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Karou has two lives to juggle. She is a seventeen-year-old student in Prague and an errand girl to a creature who owns a business in Elsewhere. Raised in his shop but never visiting Elsewhere, she knows nothing of how she came to be there as a baby and never quite feels whole. Now she has to choose between her comfortable life here and the war ravaged world that may hold of the answers.

This almost felt like a book of three parts and four perspectives but when the reason they were interlinked was revealed, I was genuinely surprised. There was another very revealing (and shocking) moment similar to this toward the end but I cannot tell you the reason for that either as it would spoil the entire story.

Don’t let the almost chick-lit parts of the first half of the book put you off if you are into epic fantasy. This is a huge story that really gathers momentum and weight around half way through. It is part of a trilogy and so the plot and characters develop in accordance to that. Trust me, by the time you reach the end, you will be obsessed with reading the next book in the series.


The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

An older couple Jack and Mabel move to a homestead in 1920’s Alaska to find a better quality of life. Mabel quietly longs for the child she lost years before and prefers the isolation of their cabin, rather than socialising at first.

On a rather unusual evening they have fun throwing snowballs and building a snow girl together. After that, each catch a glimpse through the trees of a little girl with a fox.

This is a wonderful book about how people come into each other’s lives, sometimes at the perfect moment. Ivey’s vivid descriptions of the bleak, yet awesome Alaskan countryside and the hard work it takes to survive in this environment really drew me in.


In the entire book there is only a very short and vague sentence which actually ties fact and fairytale together; when Mabel says that Faina surely would have died in the cold had we not built our snow girl at that very same moment, and now Faina is here with us.

The best I have been able to decide is that she is a human who was about to die but through the couples wish to have a child, she was saved and bestowed by nature with powers to thrive in the freezing weather and to control it but also a kind of curse relating to it as well.

Rating 4/5


Modern Fairytale, Fantasy & Graphic Novels I Recommend

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 17.27.48

From Dead To Worse by Charlaine Harris – I’ve started reading The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris again which inspired the series True Blood. I realised that I hadn’t finished them (and I lost touch with the TV series as well). I find Harris’s writing style really easy to read and I love the main character Sookie as she is equally strong and vulnerable.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey – I can’t wait to start reading this novel based on an old Russian fairytale about a child who appears out of the snow.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – A contemporary fairy tail this time about a girl who happens to be an android, has a horrid family and who catches the eye of a prince. I’ll review it once I’ve finished it.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman – The best YA fantasy/adventure books with a female protagonist ever written, in my opinion. I was so relieved the film version of The Golden Compass (Northern Lights, US) did justice to the original material.

The Crow by James O’barr – This was the first graphic novel I ever read and one of the most darkly romantic stories I’d come across also. This version has extra illustrations, poems and quotes. Edgar Allen Poe is included, unsurprisingly.

Sin City The Making Of by Frank Miller (and lots of other people) – I’ve dipped in and out of several of Millers Sin City graphic novels over the years and I’ve really enjoyed them. I found the second Sin City film utterly boring but I’m still a huge fan of this first one, it’s a real one-off classic! I’m also a big film geek so I find those ‘The Making Of…’ documentaries and books really interesting.