Tag Archives: 2016

2016 Favourites | What I’ve been loving this year

Hello again, for the last post of the year ūüôā

Last year, I did a post called “15 in 15” because considering it was 2015, the number worked. I thought I’d do a follow up “16 in 16” but… I think I’ll be sticking to fifteen because if I keep that up every year, these lists are going to keep getting longer!

Read on to see what were¬†my favourite books of the year, as well as my top picks of music, film and TV. The majority of titles in all three categories were released in 2016, but some are slightly older things that I’ve discovered.

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Last year I read something like 190 books, and this year, I’ve only read just over 50! I wouldn’t say this has been my best year for reading, but I have discovered some fantastic books.¬†Unboxed¬†by Non Pratt was unexpectedly poignant and¬†Everything Leads to You¬†has become one of my favourite books of all time.

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After my GCSEs ended, I spent a month in bed, on our newly-purchased Netflix, binge watching a gazillion tv shows. I adored¬†How to Get Away With Murder¬†and¬†The Get Down,¬†two shows that weren’t even on my radar at the beginning of the year, but I’m now a massive fan of. Movie wise, the¬†Ghostbusters¬†reboot has to be one of the best things to have happened this year. Bless Kate Mckinnon.¬†Rogue One¬†was pretty fantastic too.

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2016 may have been rubbish, but the music that came out this year most certainly wasn’t. Honestly, I could write¬†pages¬†about every album above. I adore them! While I’ve been veering more into indie sounds, I was also introduced to Sleater-Kinney, one of the most iconic riot grrl bands, and so many songs of theirs have become hugely important to me. Tegan and Sara’s¬†Love You To Death¬†is literally the best thing to have ever happened, and will forever be a favourite and special album. I’ve gotten into quite a few new artists, like Shura and Lauren Aquilina, but my favourite new discovery is probably¬†Christine and the Queens, who’s the musician everyone needs in their life.


So, there we go! That’s another whole year of¬†stuff. 2016 was a bit rubbish in general, but at least there’s been some great media to distract us from it, eh?

And before I go… A huge THANK YOU to everybody who has been reading my blog this year. I am hugely grateful for every view, like and comment on my posts, and seeing that people enjoy my ramblings is what makes me keep blogging!

See you in 2017. ‚̧

2016: in Words and Pictures

So, well, 2016 has been… Um… eventful.

I ended 2015 thinking, in the coming year, I was going to be SUPER OPTIMISTIC, and this was going to be THE BEST YEAR YET.

Well… It wasn’t. Okay, it was in a few aspects, but largely, on a personal level and a¬†global¬†level, 2016 will go down in history as the year from literal hell.

In a beginning annual tradition on this blog, here is how this year has gone for me, in words and pictures!


FEBRUARY

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My first concert of the year, and my second concert ever! I went to see Halsey on her Badlands tour, with a friend of my mum’s (a last minute decision that was quite fun). Still being a lil shy human, I just stood and watched the whole thing and took photos, but it was honestly such an awesome night.

APRIL

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My sixteenth birthday! Everybody bigs up the whole ‘sweet sixteen’ thing, but I really didn’t feel much different at all. I didn’t have a big party, or even go out with friends – I just stayed in with family given that I was in such a tired state from the slowly increasing exam revision. This birthday was notable because I ended up in the doctors because of a sudden freak acne breakout.¬†Lovely.¬†At least I had a pretty brilliant cake.

MAY

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Although I had done early entry exams for a few subjects, the middle of May marked the start of my GCSE exam season. From mid-May to mid-June, I was under so much stress and pressure that I was either frantically writing notes and making mind maps, or not revising at all and giving up completely. There was no in between. If you’d like to see how I (tried to) balance reading and revision, I wrote a post!

However, this stressful month was made¬†endlessly better by my favourite person ever, who will know who they are when they read this! We met online at the beginning of the year through Tegan and Sara, a shared favourite band, but properly got to know each other this month and support one another through this hellish GCSE exam season! I cannot wait to meet them and all of the other friends I’ve made through Tegan and Sara very soon.

JUNE

Exams finished on the 17th of June, hurrah! considering I was staying at my school for sixth form, I didn’t feel even a little bit sad – I stayed to take some photos with friends after the last exam, then went home and literally slept for a¬†month.¬†When I wasn’t sleeping in the last half of June (and early July…) I was binge watching shows on Netflix. It was well deserved.

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On the 22nd of June, I had one of the most life changing and wonderful nights I could ever ask for. I saw Tegan and Sara live at KOKO London, one of the first shows for their new album. It was absolutely incredible, and such an emotional night for many reasons. I’ve been absolutely in love with Tegan and Sara for over two years now, and their music has been the soundtrack to the most important parts of my teenage life. Plus, this show was very shortly after the Orlando shooting, and Tegan and Sara made this evening¬†such a loving, open and happy space in a time that was really dark. I’m so thankful I got to experience this concert, and I met some people who I’ve known online for months, which was so lovely. At this concert, the opening act Oscar dedicated a song to voting Remain in the Brexit vote (which was the next day) and well, it was lovely while that hope lasted, I guess. Sorry, EU. We suck as a country.

JULY

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After a month of sleeping and winding down from exam stress, I finally left the house! One notable day out was when me and my family went up to London to visit the MinaLima Harry Potter exhibition, which is just around the corner from where the Cursed Child is playing.¬†I haven’t really been feeling the hype around the new film and play, but this exhibition was such a lovely, nostalgic look back at the props and artwork used in the films that were my entire childhood.

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At the end of July, of course, was the third annual YALC at London Film and Comic Con! I’ve been really out of touch with the blogging world this year, so I sort of just floated around this year, going to talks but not really speaking to anyone. The event this year was incredibly well run, though, so huge props to the team for another incredibly successful year. Thank you also to Macmillan for inviting me to the blogger’s breakfast, where I was lucky enough to get to talk to David Levithan and Nina LaCour. I may have been a tiny, quiet kid who just shuffled past with my signed books awkwardly, but it was so surreal to get to meet them! Levithan and LaCour have written the books that are most important to me.

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My leaver’s prom was also in July, and honestly, I didn’t understand the hype at all. People in my year have been squealing about prom since year seven, and I honestly couldn’t care less. I wore a blazer and skinny jeans instead of a sparkly dress, and worked the whole evening as the photographer! A pretty unconventional way to spend what was meant to be the ‘best night of my life’ or something, but hey, I prefer being behind a camera over partying.

AUGUST

I spent the beginning of August working at my school’s summer camp for the second time. It’s a huge stressful job that I take on by myself, photographing the whole camp and producing promo videos in a week’s space – but it’s incredibly rewarding and such great experience. I absolutely love the atmosphere and it’s my favourite job.

The week before results day, I did a week’s internship at a publisher in London. It was in non-fiction publishing, so quite different from what I usually read, but it was a really valuable experience (and also such a good way to take my mind off of results!).

At the end of August, I nervously went to pick up my GCSE results. I had made a tracker whilst revising, with all the grades I was aiming for, and somehow I got every single one – 4 A*s, 2 As, 2Bs overall. I was strangely dissociated from the ‘excitement’ of results day – people were congratulating me on my results, but I genuinely didn’t feel a thing? It was weird. I was happy, of course, and I should have been very excited and relieved but it just didn’t hit me! I signed up to sixth form at my school, then spent a relaxed afternoon with my friends in the park, which was us just basically flopping on the grass like FINALLY IT’S OVER.

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Right¬†at the end of August, I did a thing. I’ve never been able to love long hair and all the things it entails. I’ve wanted short hair forever. So I finally got a pixie cut. Adios, seven inches of hair. If you want the longer story to this, it’s on my photography blog as I took many photos.

OCTOBER

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In October, I was unexpectedly given the chance to spend a week at Wieden + Kennedy, working with a team called The Kennedys to learn all about advertising. This company is so large, and do things in such a cool and creative way. It was an absolutely awesome experience, and gave me totally new ideas about my future career. I’m veering away from aspiring to work in publishing now, and I’m really interesting in film production and photography, particularly within advertising. Thank you, Kennedys! (It was in Shoreditch, hence the artsy wall above… more of my photos here)

NOVEMBER

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I won an award! Although I couldn’t make it to the ceremony, I was chosen as the winner of a UKYA Blogger Award, in the Champion Teen Blogger category. This trophy and book token arrived in the post a few weeks after it was announced, and I wasn’t expecting them at all – it was the loveliest surprise!

DECEMBER

So much tiredness. Sixth form has really caught up with me in the last two months of the year – I’ve been coming straight home to crawl into bed, doing just enough work to get by. I was doing okay at the start of term, but the exhaustion finally got to me. A sad way to end the year, but… Here’s hoping things are more manageable in the next term!


So… That was my year! Last year, I listed my five favourite posts from this blog, but looking back, I’m really proud of a lot from this year. So here’s a top… eight!

Cinnamon Girl Blog Tour: Review Graphic

GCSE English Literature | A Call for Diversity on the Curriculum

Cover to Cover: My Favourite Overseas Book Designs

Favourite Quotes: You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour

Book Review: As I Descended by Robin Talley

The Bibliomaniac: A Bookshelf Tour

GIRLPOWER: My Favourite Girls in YA

Life Online: Thoughts on Internet Personalities

If you’re still reading this very long post, then congrats, and thank you!

Watch this space… In a few days I’ll be posting about my favourite books from 2016 (and films and music… I have a lot of favourites, guys)

YALC 2016: Recap and Book Haul

YALC YALC YALC YALC YALC!! YEAR THREE!!

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I was so pumped for YALC this year, though admittedly, slightly¬†less¬†pumped than usual -I haven’t been to a book event in such a long time (was my last book event YALC 2015…? OH NO) due to exams and stress and life being ridiculously busy and draining. So I was pretty nervous about going and talking to (or not being able to talk to) the many lovely bloggers I know online but haven’t talked to in so long because, as mentioned, life is busy and draining.

BUT. To the fun stuff; let’s ignore my brain for a sec. I was very excited to go, and see how the convention is developing even further in its third successful year. So, onto a¬†messy recap/book haul post!


I arrived at around 8.30 to YALC – earlier than the starting time, because I was very honoured to have been invited to this year’s blogger’s breakfast before the opening. I was really excited for this, as each year of YALC a few authors come and do a small, more intimate talk with bloggers and vloggers – this year, to celebrate You Know Me Well and #BookPride, it was David Levithan and Nina LaCour!

29848950Being me, I didn’t take photos, because I’m stupid. I was also a little in overdrive at the prospect of my two favourite authors in the same room as me. I adore their books more than anything, they’re all so important to me – reading titles from You Know Me Well, to Wide Awake, to Everything Leads To You have been pivotal moments¬†in my life, no exaggeration.¬†David and Nina discussed YKMW, then opened up to the bloggers for questions – and there was a short signing after, in which I was much too shy to say a huge thank you to them for such beautiful books.

It was incredibly cool of them to do the press junket the day after their big YALC appearance, especially as they must have been a lil jet lagged. Thank you to the both of them for the great morning, and to the YALC team for organising the press junket and inviting me!

The first things I did when YALC started officially was sit in on the first two panels. The first was a range of authors mostly with their debut novels releasing this year, celebrating new talent in YA. It was really interesting to hear from a lot of them, as I don’t think I would have otherwise. Claire Hennessey was on this panel, and¬†Nothing Tastes as Good is set to be an awesome release – ¬†in fact, I read an early manuscript of this so can vouch for it!

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The second panel of the day was ASK YALC, with Holly Bourne, Juno Dawson and Rosalind Jana, hosted by Gemma Cairney of BBC Radio 1. I loved this panel so much! It was probably my favourite. It had a little twist to it, as beforehand audience members wrote down questions they wanted advice to – and the panel members answered them on stage. I loved hearing all of the advice – they’re all such brilliant, intelligent and funny people. I was also introduced to Rosalind Jana through this panel, whom I hadn’t previously heard of (ok I probably have, I just have an awful memory). I rushed to buy a copy of her book afterwards!

As I went to Juno and Rosalind’s signings after the second panel, I’d missed a lot of the next one, which was a fantasy one including Philip Reeve. I was a little sad about that, but I decided midday to take a lil break from YALC, and hop down a floor to LFCC to see what was going on there!

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Having spent most of my money on books, it wasn’t the best use of my time; LFCC is mainly a place for buying merch from stands, and queuing for paid autographs and photos with Sci Fi icons. (Very cool, but less so for a broke student like moi)

I did enjoy wandering around a lot, though! It was so different to YALC. The cosplay that I was was amazing (note: a small six y/o-ish¬†Harley Quinn that outdid EVERY other Harley Quinn I saw, like, whoa) and I loved looking at artists’ stands of prints and comics.

I then went back to YALC, to watch the¬†Morally Complicated YA Panel.¬†Even though I was basically winging the whole day, going to panels on a whim, I knew I¬†had¬†to go to this one. It was set to be fantastic – Louise O’Neill and Melvin Burgess, two authors very well known for their controversial but life changing fiction, were joined by¬†Monsters¬†author Emerald Fennel (which I am still yet to read!) and¬†Girl, Detached¬†author Manuela Salvi (this looks SO GOOD).

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So many interesting points were raised about censorship in young adult fiction – from where we draw the line, to banning books, to comparisons with movies. This is a topic I’ve been quietly interested in for a while – and, as I’m currently looking for¬†EPQ ideas (an essay project for extra UCAS points in sixth form) this has actually inspired me to consider writing about YA and censorship for my project!

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The only author photo I got at YALc was with Louise O’Neill, but that was incredibly cool – I’ve been to one of her signings before, but I only bought¬†Asking For It¬†today and I cannot wait to read it. I have a feeling I’ll have an in-depth discussion blog post following reading.

I didn’t actually spend as long at YALC as I did the last two years – I left before the last panel (a Harry Potter Party!) had ended. But I still had a fantastic time!

Similarly to my smaller amount of time at YALC, I also got surprisingly few books (I mean, look at 2014…). However, they’re some pretty awesome books. I can’t wait to delve into them asap. Also pictured: a tote bag and poster from the lovely Hot Key Books, and some postcards of books I must keep and eye out for!

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Books purchased:

-Harry Potter and the Cursed Child¬†(Finally, it’s here! I can’t wait to go back to my childhood again.)

-The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance¬†(Loved Jess’ debut. This looks very mysterious.)

-Notes on Being Teenage by Rosalind Jana (Rosalind was fantastic on her panel and this sounds nice!)

-Asking For It by Louise O’Neill¬†(I’ve needed this book in my life for. so. long.)

-[FREE PROOF:] Girl, Detached by¬†Manuela Salvi¬†(This sounded very interesting, and I don’t read much translated fiction)


A HUGE thank you to the organisers behind YALC for putting together such a fantastic event – the whole weekend looked amazing, and the day I visited was really enjoyable. Thank you also to the authors and publicists for putting together such cool panels! Bring on next year ūüôā