Why I Started Blogging

I went to a parents evening two months after I began college and my English tutor said if I really wanted to become a writer, I needed to start then, otherwise I would go nowhere. It was a great meeting

I have always loved writing, it was something I could use as an outlet to create absolute nonsense, (literally when my sister and I were younger we used to come up with stories starring Hannah Montanna, Zac Efron and our toys) and one day, I would really like to write a book. I’ve started many in the past but I would go a couple of months without writing and then look back at what I had written as absolute garbage. Eventually there came a point when I just told myself that I would pick it up again at a later point when I felt more qualified to do so.

However, then I just didn’t write anything ever and as my tutor kindly pointed out, this was doing nothing in the direction of my goals. I had told myself that writing was something I would get round to doing later, except now someone was actually telling me (in front of my mother, which is just added angst) that if I didn’t do something about it now, then I was never going to achieve it.

Now to a student who was just entering the ‘what the hell am I going to do with my future’ stage of her life, this was a tad alarming. My tutor suggested I start blogging and so I did. From the beginning, I loved the idea. I was nervous to do it, but I really wanted to try.

So here I am, three and a half years later (!!), nearly 100 posts down, many questionable posts written, but now I write about what I want and that keeps me happy. I am thankful for my teacher for giving me the idea to start a blog but I think he was wrong to say I would fail otherwise. There is no timeline to achieving your dreams in life, do it when you want to,change your aspirations, add more, give up when you want to and try again later.

Right now, I’m enjoying doing what I want to do, hopefully you all do to.

Anyway, only two more posts to go until my 100th…

Hannah x

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4 Easy Care Succulents for Newbies

Here is my first post about one of my main loves in life: houseplants.

My collection has now reached 18 plants; my room is turning into a mini jungle; I really should stop getting plants but they’re all like children to me. After all, once you’ve proven that you can take care of a plant, you can then progress to small animals and then ten years down the line, you can successfully raise a small army of children. (Don’t question the logic, just do it.)

Here are four easy- peasy succulents to look after, for all my succulent and cacti lovers out there, or anyone who wants to get stuck into the depths of houseplant care.

String of Hearts: My string of hearts are my favourites, they are so easy to grow and so pretty. I got my first plant a year ago and since then, it has easily grown another 3ft, had a really good and long flowering season and it also grew enough for me to get a good amount of cuttings off of to turn into a baby string of hearts, which is also doing really well!

I care for mine my putting it in a position where it will receive a good amount of sunlight (Very important! My string of hearts definitely do better when I’m at home as they can live in our conservatory where they receive a lot of light) and water it minimally. I generally water mine when it either looks a bit lack lustre, if there are yellow leaves (this can also be an indicator of too little light) or if the leaves are really soft – this is a great tip that my sister gave me, so thanks Liv. They’re also really easy to propagate, there are loads of youtube tutorials to follow out there if you’re interested in doing this.

Bunny ears cactus: Yes this is a succulent -all cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti! This is also one of my faves, however I will put out a casual age warning of 18+ on cacti with needles. I have known my adult flatmates to ignore my ‘don’t touch’ sign and end up getting needles stuck in their fingers so there’s no limit to what an actual child would do…) You can get a lot of growth out of it every spring which is really cool to watch. It you look at the photo of mine I’ve included, everything except the bottom centre pad has grown since I got it!

Yeah…don’t touch it.

Like a lot of cacti species it doesn’t require a lot of water. I water mine about once a week during summer and in winter, every 2-3 weeks, or even less! They don’t need a lot of water in the winter as they go dormant, frequent watering in cold weather could make them get root rot. When it really needs water, the cactus pads become thinner and wrinkle slightly.

One thing to look out for with this plant is its teeny tiny needles which will come off on your skin at the slightest touch. It’s really easy to not realise you’ve got needles stuck in your skin because they’re so small, but it will feel like you’ve got splinters in your hand and can be painful. They are easily plucked out with tweezers but it’s still good to be careful!

String of Pearls: This is really pretty plant of green vines with little green buds to make up the ‘pearls’. (Can you tell I like trailing plants?)

They’re super easy to take care of because they don’t require a lot of water, string of pearls suck up water into their buds so they can go along time without water if need be. I find that mine definitely does better on the drier side. I generally water when the soil is dry, about as often as I would water a string of hearts. Other than that I make sure it gets a good amount of sunlight, trim off any dead buds and it ticks along very happily!

Aloe plants: These are very common succulents and you can find them really easily in shops. I have two, one from Ikea(!) and one a gift from a friend and I love both of them. They grow a lot in the spring- from my photos, you can see small off-shoots and they have all grown since I’ve gotten them, which has been less than a year for each.

Again, they require minimal watering and do better with under watering rather than over-watering (they don’t like being sat in soggy soil) and want lots of natural sunlight.

A few general notes for all the plants, I would be careful of having them near heaters or radiators as they do not react well to the dry heat. Also, even though all these plants like bright sunlight, try to avoid putting them in positions where they can receive a lot of intense sunlight (like right next to a window in full view of bright sun) as they can burn! In terms of when to re-pot, I am yet to re-pot any of these plants since I first got them (a good few months ago), yet none of them have shown signs of being pot bound (e.g roots coming out of the bottom of the pot) and if the plants are happy, it’s better to leave them alone. In terms of feeding my plants, I give them all Baby Bio very occasionally.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my overview of some of my favourite plants and that it may inspire you to add some greenery to your life- succulents really are so easy to look after, and if you get a plant and you’re not sure what it is or how to look after it, it’s always worth doing a bit of research first!

Happy planting!

Hannah x

The Haircut (Short Story)

Here is a short story I wrote for my creative writing module at university, hope you enjoy it!

Hannah’s hair fell across the pages of her book. She lifted a hand to tuck it behind her ear and her mirror reflection beside her copied the motion. Olivia and Hannah sorted their hair simultaneously, looked at each other and burst into laughter. Olivia squinted at her twin’s face and fiddled with the front of her hair so it fell more across her face, covering her pink cheeks. Hannah flapped her hand away and they went back to reading. It was their first day at a new secondary school and the twins were filling the time until bell rang for form. A couple minutes had passed when Olivia slammed her book shut and dropped her head on to Hannah’s shoulder.

“Frankenstein is not like how they show it on TV,” Olivia muttered.

“You know you shouldn’t have read it, mum said you’re not old enough,” Hannah replied.

Oliva shrugged, “I was only doing research.”

“On what?”

 A group of girls sat on the fence opposite tossed their heads back and exploded into peals of laughter. A girl who wasn’t laughing ripped off her coat and stuffed it in her bag before standing and staring at the ground, arms crossed over her body.

Olivia lifted her head and grinned at Hannah, “Monsters.”

“Right…,” Hannah mumbled, “Just remember to take it back to the library soon so mum doesn’t find it.”

A shadow fell over them and the twin’s heads flicked up. A boy wearing a duffel bag stood in front of them. “Do you… er, know where E6 is?” He asked.

Olivia wrinkled her nose. “Are you new?”

“Uh…I started at the beginning of January, but I’m still getting a bit lost.”

Hannah smiled, “We started today.”

“Why didn’t you start at the beginning of term?”

The girls blinked at him.

The boy pulled up his trousers, “Er…so, I guess you don’t know where E6 is?”

“No, sorry,” the twins replied.

The boy studied the girl’s faces. “Are you two twins?”

Hannah and Olivia looked at each other. “No.”

He frowned. “Is that a joke?”

“No.”

“Do you always say stuff at the same time?”

“No,” they repeated for the last time, bored.  

The boy chewed on the string attached to his hoodie and stared at them. Hannah and Olivia raised their eyebrows. The boy scowled at the girls and walked off.

Hannah turned to her sister, “Do you think we should try and make friends this time?” She asked. Olivia gazed after the boy and then at the group of girls opposite now crowding around a tiny touchscreen phone, declaring their peace signs and pouting.

“I think that would be a terrible idea,” she answered.

“Same.”

Olivia leant against Hannah’s shoulder to see her book and the twins began to read.

*

That evening Hannah sat at the kitchen table and coloured as their mum, Amy, chopped vegetables. Hannah looked at the blank silhouette of the girl in front of her and picked up a red crayon. Amy gazed at her daughter bent over her book, nose nearly on the page, colouring a person crimson. She took a deep breath.

“How was school?”  Amy asked.

“Good,” Hannah answered and after studying her drawing, picked up a black.

“Make any friends?”

“Yep, loads.” Hannah pushed her black further into the paper.

Amy rolled her eyes. Hannah and Olivia weren’t even teenagers yet they were already only communicating with her through monosyllabic words.

“I was wondering if Olivia would like to get her hair cut,” Amy announced and turned to busy herself collecting plates.

A crayon rolled off the table.

“I am not getting my haircut,” Hannah hissed, right beside her mother.

“Agh!” Amy shouted and a plate skidded across the floor. “Hannah!” she scolded. “What have I said about you creeping up on me?”

Hannah returned the plate to her mum, “Sorry.”

“Anyway, I wasn’t asking you. I know how precious you are about your hair. I was wondering about Olivia, I think it would be nice if she did something different.”

Hannah clenched her hands into fists and stood staring at her mother, “Why?”

Her mum began to collect cutlery, “I’m not trying to be mean but you two don’t look the most approachable of people when all you do is drift around with the grumpiest of expressions and Amish hair covering your faces.”

Hannah stomped back to the table.

Amy threw up her hands, “Well? Do you think your sister would like to get a haircut?”

“She doesn’t like that?” Hannah muttered.

Her mother peered at her daughter, “Pardon?”

“She wouldn’t like that,” Hannah cried and stalked out of the room.

Amy wandered over to look at the drawing Hannah had left on the table and frowned at the page. Although it was mostly covered by a short mop of dark hair, Hannah had drawn a sad expression on the girl.

*

 Hannah and Olivia’s first week of school passed without incident. They claimed the bench by the Music Block as theirs and spent breaks there, reading and studying the students that walked by. No one paid them any attention and the boy with the duffle bag never made a re-appearance. However, Saturday soon arrived and their mother marched them into the hairdressers at the earliest time possible. Olivia plonked herself down in a chair and Hannah settled on a sofa nearby. Amy stood by Olivia to watch. A young man whipped a cloak around Olivia’s neck and brushed her hair. As the hairbrush was raked through, strands of hair drifted to the floor. Hannah’s fingernails sank deeper in to the arm of the sofa. The hairdresser picked up a pair of scissors and tapped Olivia’s arm with them, two inches below her shoulder.

“You want it here?” The man grunted at Amy.

Hannah’s heart stuttered. “I thought Olivia wasn’t having that much off?” She asked, her voice climbing in pitch.

Olivia grabbed Amy’s arm and dug her nails into her flesh, “I thought so too,” she hissed.

Amy wrenched her arm out of Olivia’s grasp and gave her a sharp tap on the shoulder.

“No. I’m paying for it; you’ll get cut as much as I say.”

“Wait,” Olivia grabbed the scissors out of the man’s hand and ran their closed blades across the bottom of her neck.  “I want it here then.”

Amy rolled her eyes and sighed.

Olivia looked at her reflection and spread her lips into a sly smile, “I want it short.”

The hairdresser looked at Amy for confirmation and she waved her hand for the go-ahead.

“Right,” the man grumbled. He tied Olivia’s hair in a ponytail so it would come away all at once and began to snip. Hannah stuck two fingers in her ears and pressed hard; the noise was like cutting through bone. Amy waved a hand at Hannah to stop jigging her legs. The sawing became louder and the slices quickened until the noise abruptly disappeared and the hairdresser held up Olivia’s ponytail.

“All gone!” he exclaimed and waved it in Olivia’s face so she could have a closer look. Olivia flinched away, twisting her fingers through her hair and staring at her reflection instead. The hairdresser gave it to Hannah. She ran her fingers down the ponytail and over its bristly stump. Goose bumps bristled at the nape of her neck as if touched by a sudden draft of air. She was surprised at how sharp the cut ends of hair were.

“Lovely,” Amy said and hugged Olivia before taking out her phone to snap photos of her. That was the final straw. In a flash, Hannah leapt off the sofa, grabbed a spare pair of scissors off a tray and ran at her mother.  

“Woah!” her mum cried and caught Hannah’s wrists, pulling her in for a hug. “You can have your hair cut as well. There’s no need to be jealous silly.” Hannah’s hand was mashed against her mother’s thigh and the scissors slipped from her grip. Amy patted Hannah’s back, pushed her into a chair beside Olivia and ushered another hairdresser over. Before Hannah could protest, the hairdresser put Hannah in a similar chokehold with another cloak and after a brief exchange with her mother, began to jab at her hair with scissors and a comb. Together, Hannah and Olivia sat and waited as their hair was snipped away and their new faces were created.

Forty-five minutes later they were finished. Once free, Olivia and Hannah slid down from their chairs and stood opposite each other to analyse each other’s appearance. Their pale skin was unchanged, their eyes were still grey and their lips still set in their usual hard line, except they looked completely different. Olivia’s hair now fell an inch short of her shoulders and Hannah’s now ended just below her ribcage, only slightly shorter than it was previously.

Hannah gaped at her sister. “Do you actually like yours?” She hissed. Not only had their mum managed to make them both get their hair cut, but now their hair was totally unalike. They were no longer identical.

“Do you like it?” Amy asked, grinning at her daughters.

Olivia stepped next to Hannah, “I think mine’s really nice, I love it,” she lied and pinched Hannah’s arm.

“Same,” Hannah muttered.

As they were leaving Hannah grabbed her sister’s hand, “I don’t like that we look so different,” she whispered.

Olivia nodded. “Me too, but we won’t have to put up with it for long.”

“We won’t?”

A cunning smile returned to Olivia’s face. “No.”

*

The following Monday in Maths class, Hannah and Olivia as usual doodled in their textbooks and ignored their teacher, Ms Barrett. They didn’t worry about being called on as their teacher couldn’t tell them apart, and to save herself embarrassment, left the girls alone and never attempted to call them their names.

“Hannah do you have the answer to question 3?”

Bent over their textbooks, the girls froze. Their different appearances had apparently inspired new confidence.

Olivia lifted her head, “Is it-”

“Hannah’s the one with longer hair,” Someone interjected from across the room. Everyone whipped round to see who dared to name the twins. A girl stared back at her classmates. Her long blonde hair was smoothed back with a headband so her face was exposed; she was someone who wanted to be seen. Hannah’s stomach dropped. On their first day of school the girl, Jessica, had introduced herself to the twins whilst they waited outside their form room. She had been answered with a repulsed silence and never spoke to them again. Olivia and Hannah looked at each other, wide-eyed. Somehow the girl clearly knew their names.

The teacher turned her gaze to Hannah, “I see. Do you know the answer?” Hannah looked up from Olivia’s panicked eyes. Everyone was now gaping at her. Her classmates were seizing the opportunity to stare at Hannah without inviting the usual glare.

“The diameter is 5?” Hannah blurted out.

The teacher smirked, “Not quite.”

The class dropped their eyes and turned away. Olivia pinched Hannah on her leg under the table and glowered at her as if she was too embarrassed to even be near Hannah. She then turned away to begin copying out the maths problems on the board. Tears welled up in Hannah’s eyes. Olivia had never looked at her like that before.

*

The last bell for lunch rang across the school. Hannah brushed away a bead of sweat from her forehead and scuffled down the empty bench to the end. Apparently Olivia wasn’t spending lunch with her today. Hannah went to pick up her lunchbox that was sat beside her but it slipped from her fingertips. She leant down to retrieve when a hand shot out in front of her, grabbed the lunchbox and shoved it in Hannah’s face.

“There you go.” It was Jessica from Maths class, the girl who had known the twins names and made everyone look at her.

“Thanks,” Hannah murmured, taking it back.

 “Do you mind if I sit with you? My friends are at hockey practice,” Jessica asked.

Hannah opened her lunchbox, tossed the lid on her bag and stared at Jessica who nibbled her lip. She was clearly not used to having no friends around to hang out with. White peeked through the skin on her knuckles on the hand that held her bag. Or maybe she was scared of who sat in front of her.  Hannah hoped it was the latter. “Of course not,” she said and gestured to the bench beside her.

Jessica sat down beside Hannah.

“I’ve never seen you by yourself before,” Jessica remarked.

Hannah sighed, ripped the film lid off her packet of Lunchables and laid it on her knee. “I know. Uh, Olivia’s at hockey too.”

“Oh right. Sorry about what I said in class today by the way, you looked a bit annoyed.”

Hannah shrugged and began to peel her Cheesestring into strips. “That’s okay, I think I was just surprised someone knew our names, as in could tell us apart. How did you know by the way?”

“After I spoke to you on your first day, when we were outside form, I saw you calling each other your names. So I just remembered:  Olivia’s the one with the pink bag, Hannah with purple. It’s so weird when you guys are together, you guys look so similar,” Jessica said and began to giggle.

After a second’s hesitation, Hannah copied the squeal coming out of Jessica’s mouth. “We can look pretty intimidating,” she admitted.

“I was speaking to my friends about it, you guys do look a bit creepy,” Jessica said laughing. “Is that why you cut your hair?”

Hannah fell silent and tore the cheese string apart into the final piece. “It was our mum’s idea actually. I mean, I like having the same hair as Olivia, but mum thought it might help people tell us apart…,” Hannah said and trailed off. She frowned at the ground.

“Huh. Yeah, I guess that’s a good point. Why don’t you guys ever spend time apart?” Jessica asked.

Hannah raised her eyebrows at her as she emptied her packet of Lunchables. “What do you think we’re doing now?” She said.

“I guess you’re right.”

Jessica wrapped an arm around Hannah and gave her a quick squeeze before dropping it back to her side.  “Well feel free to come and hang out with me when Olivia’s at Hockey practice.”

Hannah patted Jessica on the arm, “Sure.”

Jessica grinned at Hannah, “Good- wait, hang on. Is that me?” She asked, peering at Hannah’s lap. On the film lid laid out on Hannah’s knee, was Jessica, erected out of two fat slices of ham for the head and body, strands of Cheesestring for Jessica’s long blonde hair and smaller pieces torn up for eyes and a big mouth.

“Yep,” Hannah said and rolled up her cheese ham person, stabbed her thumb through the body so she could mash it together into a smaller ball and stuffed it in her mouth. Jessica stared at Hannah. Hannah opened her mouth and gnashed her teeth together so Jessica could see the hair and skin being split and ripped apart. Hannah swallowed, lifted her chin and smiled at Jessica.

Jessica opened her mouth to speak and then shut it.

Hannah scowled at Jessica’s horrified expression. She stuffed her rubbish in her bag and stood up. “I’ve got to go.”

“Wait!” Jessica exclaimed, prompting a pause.

“Uh…”

Hannah walked away.

*

After school, the twins met at their usual spot.

“Thanks for ditching me at lunch,” Hannah said.

“I was speaking to someone in referral; I got caught sneaking around the art rooms.”

Hannah’s eyes widened in realisation, “Did you get the scissors?”

Olivia nodded.

Hannah hesitated before asking her next question. “Why do you think mum made us get our hair cut?”

 “Because she’s evil.”

“Jessica said we looked creepy and intimidating before we got it cut.”

Olivia’s eyes narrowed. “Let’s go and speak to mum.”

They took hold of each other’s hand and went to find Amy.

*

“Did you have a nice day at school?” Amy asked. Olivia and Hannah were sat on either side of the car backseat, chins cupped in their hands, elbows propped on the door handles. Hannah peeked at Olivia who was making no movement to answer their mother.

She lifted her head and dropped her hand to her lap, “I made a friend today.”

The twins saw Amy’s eyes widen in the rear view mirror. “Really?” She asked. “That’s nice. What’s he or she like?”

Hannah shrugged. “She’s called Jessica. We had lunch together, it was nice. Olivia left me at lunch so I would have spent the whole break alone if it wasn’t for Jessica.”

Amy’s eyes lit up. “Oh right? What did you do at lunch Olivia?”

“I spent lunch with someone as well,” Olivia grumbled into her palm. “But,” and she turned to Hannah, her glower transforming into beam, “I really missed Hannah.”

The twins grinned at each other.

“Love you Han.”

“Love you Liv.”

“Wait,” Amy interjected. “Maybe that’s good to make your own friends. I think you guys would like some independency.”

 The twin’s eyes flicked towards their mother and silence spread throughout the car. So Amy was pushing for them to make their own friends; she was trying to push them apart.  

 “Never mind,” Amy muttered.

Olivia turned to Hannah. “Do you wanna play when we get home?”

 “Makeovers?”

The twins smirked at each other.

Once inside, they grabbed each other’s hand and ran up the stairs together.

*

“Supper!” Amy called. She listened for the thunder of feet on the stairs. There was no answer. She called again from the bottom of the stairs, “Hannah! Olivia! Supper!” They had clearly gone deaf. Amy sighed, she would have to go and get them herself.  She marched up the stairs, past all the closed bedroom doors, to the very top room of the house. Olivia and Hannah were sat on the floor with their backs turned, playing with dolls. Amy gasped at the sight of them. “What have you done?” She cried.

The twins turned around and held up their Barbie heads proudly, “Makeovers!” they chorused.  The twins had decapitated their dolls, drawn makeup on their faces with coloured pens and cut their hair into bobs.

 But Amy wasn’t looking at the dolls, she was staring at Olivia. “What have you done to your sister?” She whispered. Hannah’s hair was gone. Her hair had been cut so it was now identical to Olivia’s. Hannah put her hand to her head and stroked the ragged ends where it had been hacked away.

“I cut her hair,” Olivia said.

“Did you not like it before?” Amy breathed.

The smiles dropped from the twins faces.

“No.”

Olivia dropped her Barbie head which bounced on the floor and rolled into its body. She stood up and opened her arms for a hug. Amy pulled her mouth into a smile, robotically knelt on the floor and opened her arms, “Come here Olivia. You too Hannah.” She muttered. Hannah and Olivia knelt on the floor in front of their mum, wrapped their arms around her neck and squeezed tight.

“How could you tell us apart? I thought you wouldn’t know when we looked the same,” Olivia mumbled.

“You two are my children, of course I will always be able to tell you apart,” Amy whispered. She was careful not to touch what had truly given it away. From the back, they almost were identical, except for the bloody marks Olivia had cut into the back of Hannah’s neck as she chopped off her hair. 

The twins looked at each other and squeezed tighter.

How to Cope With Homesickness at University

Missing home when you’re at uni is extremely common and it’s something I feel doesn’t get talked a lot about; mainly because there’s a stigma that an 18/19/20 old adult missing home is embarrassing and because at this age, you’re kind of just expected to get on with it.

I remember going on a PGL trip in year 6 for five days with school and on the first night a girl cried her eyes out because she missed home and I thought she was an absolute wetty (which I know was a bit harsh). So, to miss home at uni when you’re a fully fledged adult and you should be beginning to make your way in the world away from home and your parents seems…embarrassing?

However, the reality is that of course you’re going to miss your family because they’re your family and you love them. Uni especially seems to heighten this because for a lot of people, its near enough moving out at age 18/19 and you’re put in a house full of strangers (in my case 11!) and you’ve got to make that situation work.Through navigating that and also adapting to living in a place which is the complete opposite of your home and most likely a dirty hole most of the time (because apparently no one knows how to take the bins out or wash up the dishes!) it is inevitable that you will miss home.

I do really enjoy university, my degree and living with friends (most of the time) but I also miss home a bit too. That doesn’t mean I want to drop out and live with my parents until my sister can afford to move me into a mansion with her, it is just something to cope with, so here is what I do, or have done to help with homesickness- hopefully they will hope you too!

  1. Visit Home – Now I know this seems counter-productive to go home and I’m definitely not suggesting to go home every weekend (because that will make it harder to keep on coming back to university) but if you miss your family and can afford to go home or wont miss loads of lectures to do so, its definitely worth it. Spending a couple days away from university can refresh your mind for when you return, plus you will be guaranteed nice food and a warm house!
  2. Make your room homey– This I think is so important, in first year when you’re living in university accommodation, your room is the only space that you can make homey as all other communal spaces in university accommodation will be shared by people you perhaps you don’t know very well. In second year, your accommodation will feel more homey because you’ll (hopefully) be living with friends in actual houses, but again, its hard to feel relaxed in a kitchen that is a crapfest 24/7 or a livingroom which in my case, is always cold and wet and is decorated with a large piece of pipe and a cushion someone threw up on. So, your room is a good opportunity to decorate with perhaps things from your room at home so where you’re living wont feel so alien.
  3. Talk to someone about it– It’s always better to talk to someone about your problems than to bottle it up and you’d be surprised how likely it is that someone else, perhaps a flatmate, or all your flatmates, are feeling similarly to you. I know that if I were talk to my brother and sister about missing home they would probably give me a pat on the arm and pinch my cheeks and give me a sympathetic ‘awww’ but I also know they miss home because they always moan about our parents not visiting them enough, so everyone could benefit from a chat every once in a while.

I hope, if nothing else, that this post shows that its okay to miss home at uni and its just one of those things that you may encounter as you move out and into the world, let me know what you think!

(Also, look at me bossing it at getting posts up??)

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Review

If you read my goals for 2019 post, you will know that one of my aims for 2019 was to read 25 books so I thought it would be cool to let you guys know what I’ve been reading and what I thought!

The first book I read was The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle which I got for christmas (thanks parents!). It was weird because two days before christmas I was in a bookstore and I picked up this book and thought, ‘bledy hell that looks like a cool plot’ and then talked myself out of buying it (as I do with most things). Good thing I did because two days later I received it as a present!

I finished it pretty quickly; it’s one of the books where you start reading and then you don’t move until you find out what happens in the end. As I initially thought from the blurb, the plot is really clever, its a really intricate mind-blowing murder mystery. It has all the joys of a good murder plus all the complexity of the time travel (kind of)- its like in ‘Harry Potter and the prisoner of Askahban’ when you see how everything falls into place when Hermione and Harry go back in time but over and over- its such a clever, well thought out plot and something I really like about the book.

On the other hand, I feel the plot is also the downfall of the book (I’m sorry Stuart Turnton!) I was reading the interview with the author in the back and Turnton says that he’s a massive Agatha Christie fan and he struggled for so long to write a good murder because Christie had thought of every twist, so couldn’t think of an original idea and so was obviously ecstatic when he thought of the idea for this book.

However, the need to make a really elaborate plot hinders the book as there is too much focus on making the plot really intense and this takes away from other aspects of the book, like characters. I found that there wasn’t enough backstory for the main character, Aiden Bishop to keep me invested in him. What kept me reading wasn’t that I was interested in the character and his emotional journey, I just wanted to find out who committed the murder. The details put in near the end that reveals more about Anna and Aiden’s backstory and that they are connected more than the reader thinks, seems vague and is a mediocre attempt to make the book more than just a clever plot. When I finished reading, I was kind of baffled about how little Turnton puts in at the end about Anna and Aiden and left me more annoyed than wanting a sequel.

I’m glad I read it because it is a good book and worth a read but I felt unconnected to the characters, something that was emphasised by the fact that I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine straight after which is completely dedicated to the emotional journey of Eleanor (also a really good book but you probably already knew that.)

I’d be interested to know if anyone reading this has read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and what you think.

In the mean time, happy reading!