Harry Potter Turns 20 || Harry Potter and Me

Monday, 26 June 2017


Harry Potter, probably one of the most recognised names on the planet (probably after Jesus), is turning 20 today! This day, June 26th, 1997, Harry Potter and The Philsopher's Stone was first published. Which means that 18 years ago, I found out about Harry Potter.

I first became aware of Harry Potter, The Philospher's Stone and J.K. Rowling when I was in Primary Seven, I had just turned 11 years-old and one Monday mid-winter, my Headmaster took my class after lunch and read from The Philospher's Stone. I will admit that I'm not the best when it comes to imagining things from something being read aloud and I doubt that I remembered much from what he said as he read, but all I remember was that I wanted to get that book and read it for myself. 

A week or so later, (he had read to us the following Monday too but never finished it), my Mum and I were in Easons in the town and I found it. I got home and I read it. I remember enjoying it greatly but unaware that it was going to be a series. This was before the Internet was a thing and I could find out everything. 


It wasn't until a couple of years later that I picked up the second book in the series, The Chamber of Secrets. I borrowed it from my high school's library. However, I didn't get through it fast enough and I had to return the book early without finishing it. From that moment, that's where my interest in Harry Potter kind of dwindled. 

I watched the movies as they came out. I didn't see them all in the cinema. I only went to see The Half-Blood Prince in the cinema with my brother. Don't fret, friends, I did pick the books up, however late.


At the start of this year, there was an offer in a local supermarket to get two books for £7 or £4 individually. All seven of the Harry Potters books where included in this offer. So, I did the mathematics in my head. I could get six books for £21 and the final one for £4 bringing my grand total to £25. (Plus the fact that I get 10% discount because I work there...). The regular retail price for each books is roughly £8.99 (depending on where you get them) which brings the total to approximately, £63 (give or take a copper or two).

I started all over again. I read The Philsopher's Stone again, I finished The Chamber of Secrets and read The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire and The Order of the Phoenix for the first time. My favourite so far has definitely been The Goblet of Fire. It's my favourite out of the movies and so I loved the new things that I discovered from the book and how different and informative it was because the books are usually better than the books. 

With the movies, though, I will say that at times, the movies had made a better decision to change who said certain lines. In the books, Ron or Hermione would say a line that a secondary character would take in the movie. Sometimes I preferred that and sometimes I didn't like it. Another thing that the movies did that I was a fan of was that they took them out of the robes. In every single situation, J.K. Rowling had them wearing robes. When Harry was swimming in the Goblet of Fire as part of a task, he was wearing his robes. Going to the Ministry of Magic to get the Prophecy, guess what they're wearing? Robes. It's like they never packed normal clothes with them. 

Honestly, after reading The Order of the Phoenix, I had to take a break from the Harry Potter universe and by that I mean that I had to take a break from Harry Potter, himself. In all honestly, I don't like Harry. I like practically every other character in the books but Harry. In the books, he whines and moans so much that I couldn't support him or like him anymore. It took me longer than I anticipated to get through the Order of the Phoenix purely for this reason. In every chapter, he moaned and groaned about something. I get it, Harry. Okay. I get it. It was just a struggle.


Another confession; I'm not a huge fan of J.K. Rowling's writing. Don't get me wrong, the world that she has created is phenomenal and I'm by no means trying to take that away from her. However, the way that she keeps using people's full names when the characters are the sole ones with that name is pointless. For example, there is only one Neville and I don't need to know that it's 'Neville Longbottom' every single time he's mentioned. I can understand it when a teacher is involved, but not when the kids are involved. At times, it makes it tedious to read. At times. If it was simply to get to the required word-count, then I think taking out the surnames would've added about 100 words that could've gone to something else. 

Nevertheless, I do love the universe that J.K. Rowling has created and I enjoy the vast majority of the characters. I love Hermione and Luna. Ginny is less annoying in the books as she is in the movies. I'm not the biggest Ginny fan. I loved the backstory of Voldemort and history that you get with the books. They explained more than the movies did (naturally). I should continue with the series soon because I only have two more books to go.

I joined Pottermore a couple of years ago and was sorted into Ravenclaw (which I managed without even having to cheat), I love my wand, (12.5 inch holly wood with a Phoenix feather core) and my Patronus is a swallow. I was beyond excited that my Patronus was a bird because what that quiz came out, I was obsessed with Miss Peregrine from Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Naturally, when the twentieth anniversary House editions came out, my priority was to get the Ravenclaw book in the hardback cover. My house. I have priorities. I then added to my collection by getting Slytherin in paperback. I may get the Ravenclaw version in paperback. Maybe.

In my Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone collection, I have four versions. My original copy that I got in 1999 (and it's still in remarkable condition, even though I wrote my name in it and put a Star Wars sticker on the inside. I was 11 and stupid, okay), a more recent printing that I got in January 2017 and the newly published twentieth anniversary editions.

I adore the Harry Potter realm. I would love to add to my Funko Pop collection and Luna Lovegood is the top of my wishlist. I would love two wands, Luna Lovegood and Fleur Delacour specifically and my own house badge. I got the Slytherin one for my brother because he's evil as most big brother's are.

How has Harry Potter effected and affected your life throughout the past twenty years?



Bonding With My Dogs

Friday, 23 June 2017



Yes, friends, another post about my precious dogs. What can I say? It doesn't take much to get me to talk about them. I've introduced them and talked about how they've improved my life. Today, I'm going to talk about how much we have bonded in the six years we've been together. I never thought that I would have such a connection with my dogs. I've been around dogs all of my life, but never actually had my own. So nothing prepared me for this bond I have with my dogs. Especially with Millie, my baby girl.


Actors I Thought Of When Reading

Saturday, 17 June 2017



If you're anything like me, you may have a set stock-pile of actors and actresses that you go to as templates for characters that you read in books so that you can visualise them clearly. Okay, so you may not be like me but that's what I do when reading. I do take in the physical attributes that the authors convey but the characters tend to be a generic blur. That's when I pick an actor and copy + paste their faces into the role. 

I want to say that it is not a 'fan-casting'. I don't necessarily want these actors that I put into the role to be that character when and if it is turned into a movie or TV-series. It's purely so that I can visualise everything more clearly and therefore not get too bogged down or concerned with whether or not I'm understanding the narrative and plot correctly. Because that is a big hang-up for me. I'm always terrified that I'm not imagining it clearly enough. 






The book where a character came instantly and so vividly to me was Heartless by Marissa Meyer. I had no idea how I was going to imagine Cath, the lead character. I don't think I was given a lot of physical information when it came to the character. But it wasn't until Cath made her entrance at the King's Black & White ball at the start of the book in a red dress, that I instantly knew who I was going to picture as Lady Catherine Pinkerton.

K A T I E    M c G R A T H


I instantly went to Katie McGrath because of that red dress she wore recently in Supergirl in which she plays Lena Luthor. Katie looked beyond epic in that dress and I instantly saw her walking down those steps in the King's ballroom. From that moment, she was Cath in my mind.Also, Katie McGrath wore a number of spectacular red dresses when play Morgana in BBC's Merlin. Red is certainly a colour that looks incredible on her. 

From there on out, I imagined other faces for Jest, Hatta, the Marquess and Marchioness and Mary Ann in actors. Again, they aren't who I would like to play them, because the ages are all wrong and some of the physicalities but that doesn't matter, it's a visual aid. ↤ That's the phrase that I've been trying to think of since initially filming the video where I share some of my 'visual aids' for books that I've read recently. 








Do you have any actors or actresses that you've placed into the shoes of some characters as visual aids? Let me know. I could always use a few more in the barrel. 



Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Tuesday, 13 June 2017



When Flame in the Mist first came on my radar, it was being described by every BookTuber as a Mulan retelling where a girl dresses as a boy after her envoy is attacked and with being the lone survivor, swears revenge. Mulan vibes right? 

When I read the book... not so much. I did get slight Mulan vibes but only in moments where I feel like it was just plucked from the Disney movie. 


May Wrap Up and Books I Would Like To Read in June

Wednesday, 7 June 2017


I didn't read as many books in May as I did in April but that was because I wasn't constantly reading. I wanted to find a better balance of work, working out, reading, hanging out and fulfilling life admin and so that reading to a hit. Nevertheless, I read five books and one comic book. Strangely, I picked out five books and 1 comic book for June.





Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Monday, 29 May 2017



One of my most anticipated reads since I discovered the world of BookTube was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. It was one of the books in my inaugural book order from Waterstone's and included in my first book haul video on my YouTube channel. I was beyond anxious to read it and I was determined to get the hardback version. It's beautiful without the jacket.

It did not disappoint. From the first page to the very last, I did not want to put this book down. I was reading from the moment I got home from work to the moment I put out the light at night. I delayed putting the light out because the suspense just shot through the roof when I was supposed to be asleep (usually around midnight). I practically devoured this book in the space of three days. It was that captivating. 

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over. 
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. 
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever. 
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away. [Goodreads]

Within this book, I found myself loving it because the characters that Garber created reminded me of some from a TV show that I have such a love for that it made the book all the more more captivating and the characters all the more endearing. I mention them in my video if you want to find out who they are.  



★ ★ ★ ★ ★


May Book Haul aka I Have No Self-Control

Wednesday, 24 May 2017



Soooo, I did that thing where I ended up in Belfast a couple of times in May and bought more books. Seriously, Book-Tube was singularly the best and worth thing that I have discovered this year. Don't be fooled by the thumbnail. I bought more than five books. 





REACTION || Star Trek: Discovery Trailer #1

Friday, 19 May 2017




THERE'S NEW STAR TREK COMING TO TELEVISION. I REPEAT! THERE IS A NEW STAR TREK SERIES!!! I AM VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!






Okay, okay, I'm calm. I'm calm. But seriously, there is a new Star Trek series coming to television and I am very excited. It has been a while since Star Trek was on television due to lot of attention being on the new movie series. I love the new movies but there is just something about a Star Trek television series that makes my fangirl heart leap for joy, get stuck in my throat, make me hyperventilate and not breathe. That awesome feeling, you know?

The new series is called Star Trek: Discovery. I already love the name. The first trailer was released on Wednesday night. I decided to film my reaction to watching this trailer for the first time. 

This will be the third Star Trek incarnation that I will watch in real-time (translation: as it comes out) and I am very excited by this prospect of weekly Star Trek. 








My Funko Pop Collection 2017 [so far]

Wednesday, 17 May 2017



Did you fall for the Funko Pop craze like I did? I triiiiiied to resist the adorable little buggers for as long as I could but then my favourite characters came out and I just couldn't resist any longer. At this moment, I have 7 and an honourary 8th one (watch the video and you'll see). I do want to add to the collection....*Cough*StarTrekVoyager*cough*Stargate*coughcough*




Which ones do you have in your collection? Or which ones do you want to have in your collection?



BOOK TALK || Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Tuesday, 16 May 2017


FINALLY! I'm getting around to posting my thoughts online about this absolute gem of a book. I picked up Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor in Belfast airport when heading on holiday to Portugal. I started it mid-way of my holiday and I couldn't put it down. I didn't want to put it down. I was captivated by this treasure from the very first sentence. Anytime I had to put it down, I was devastated and felt like I was going cold-turkey. I couldn't wait to get back to the villa and pick up and continue. 





This was the first book that I had ever read by Laini Taylor and I was not disappointed. Her writing style captivated me and spurred me to read from sentence to sentence to discover more about this mystical and ancient world and to find out what happens to the characters that I was falling in love. I know that some people thought that the plot moved quite slowly at first but for me, it moved at the perfect pace to entice my curiosity. I was curious about Lazlo Strange and his obsession with books and Weep (like looking in a mirror). 

In filming the featured book talk video, I had to film it 4 times to get my thoughts into a succinct order. Or what resembled a succinct order. This book gave me so much joy and excitement that every time I went to open my mouth, all I wanted to do was go 'ASDFGHJKLMNBGWHADBJAS' - that's how succinct my thoughts were. 




With the characters themselves, it felt like I was encountering old friends because in my head, I was seeing Morgause and Cenred from BBC's Merlin in two of the main characters and that made it all the more endearing to me because I wanted to see what happened to them - if you know me, you will know much I LOVE Morgause and Cenred. I devoured this book. The characters themselves were very complex, endearing, intriguing, relatable, unlikeable and a pure joy to get to know. 


WATCH MY BOOK TALK VIDEO ⇓


I loved this book so much that I bought the hardback version so that I could have the beautiful blue edges on my book shelf....who am I kidding? I have no self-control. That's the real reason. 




Characters:              ✥✥✥✥✥
Plot:                         ✥✥✥✥✥
Originality:               ✥✥✥✥
Writing Style:           ✥✥✥✥✥
Cover Artwork:         ✥✥✥✥✥
Recommendable:     ✥✥✥✥✥

I cannot wait to see what happens next to the characters that I have become so invested in. 



MOVIE MUSINGS || Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2

Friday, 12 May 2017



One of my most anticipated movies of 2017 was Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2. The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie is one of my favourite Marvel movies to date. I loved everything about it and so when the second one was in the pipeline, my anticipation started to build and build and build. 

I absolutely loved Vol.2. There were laugh-out-loud moments in abundance and I won't lie, it made me cry great sobbing tears. It was amazing. 




[Marvel] Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

Wednesday, 10 May 2017



I bought this book for my best friend for her birthday last year because she loves Black Widow from Marvel. She loved this book and so this year, I borrowed it from her. After finishing it, I wanted to share some of my thoughts. 

Enter the world of the Avengers’ iconic master spy… 
Natasha Romanoff is one of the world’s most lethal assassins. Trained from a young age in the arts of death and deception, Natasha was given the title of Black Widow by Ivan Somodorov, her brutal teacher at the Red Room, Moscow’s infamous academy for operatives. 
Ava Orlova is just trying to fit in as an average Brooklyn teenager, but her life has been anything but average.The daughter of a missing Russian quantum physicist, Ava was once subjected to a series of ruthless military experiments—until she was rescued by Black Widow and placed under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection. Ava has always longed to reconnect with her mysterious savior, but Black Widow isn’t really the big sister type.
Until now. 
When children all over Eastern Europe begin to go missing, and rumors of smuggled Red Room tech light up the dark net, Natasha suspects her old teacher has returned—and that Ava Orlova might be the only one who can stop him. To defeat the madman who threatens their future, Natasha and Ava must unravel their pasts. Only then will they discover the truth about the dark-eyed boy with an hourglass tattoo who haunts Ava’s dreams… 
Black Widow: Forever Red features all the heart-pounding adventure readers expect from Marvel, written by #1 New York Times best-selling author Margaret Stohl. Uncover a new side of the Marvel Universe that will thrill loyal fans and newcomers alike, as Stohl reveals the untold story of Black Widow for the very first time.



April Wrap Up

Monday, 8 May 2017



In April the reading bug was dialed to 100. I couldn't stop reading, I wanted to do nothing but read, read and read some more. I felt bereft when I didn't have a book in my hands. I felt a failure when I saw new books and didn't buy one. I didn't want to film. I didn't want to blog. I didn't want to exercise. Here's hoping May will be a better month for filming and exercising. I have some weight to shift before August. 

With all of that being said, I read a total of eight books in April which is a freaking record for me. Even when at university, I don't think I read that many books in a month. I will have video reviews for three of these books up very soon. Stay tuned. *cough*SubscribetomyYouTubeChannel*cough*




A Dog's Purpose



My mother and I are glutons for punishment, it would seem, and so we went to see A Dog's Purpose in the cinema. Bear in mind that we are two people that consistently cry at the end of Homeward Bound when Shadow can't make it out of the pit and when Peter thinks he was too old to make it home. Then he limps over the hill. Cue us bawling our eyes out. Can you just imagine what we're going to be like watching this movie?

My mum is a sucker for anything to do with dogs. She is constantly reading books about dogs and so when she saw the trailer for this movie, she said that we had to go see it. Then cue me asking her if that was a good idea because we both know that we'll end up crying in public. 

A Dog's Purpose follows puppy Bailey (for the sake of argument, we'll stick with that name) as he lives through 5 lives over the course of 50 years, in order to answer the question, what is the meaning of life? With each reincarnation he meets a new human and in turn teaches them how to love and how to laugh. In one life, he finds a kindred spirit in a young boy, Ethan Montgomery and as he grows older, the dog comes back into his life, reunited once again to teach him.

Naturally, walking into this movie, I knew that in order to be reincarnated, the dog would have to die first. I cannot handle those kind of scenes even when I know the dog is an actor. I cannot even get through an episode Supervet or Vet on the Hill without welling up or blubbering. With that being said, I spent a lot of time during this movie in tears. I mean, a waterfall streaming from each eye. I'm so glad that I brought tissues with me. I was prepared. 

Within the dogs that Bailey is reincarnated, I could see elements of my two dogs. They have the same eye movements, the same facial expressions, the same little legs and adorable paws. In terms of Toby, the same insatiable appetite and the same loyalty. In terms of Millie, the insistence on playing. 

I love all of the lives that Bailey lives. Each of them were heartbreaking in their own way. I felt for each owner that had Bailey in their lives. Then I wanted to run the douchebag over that abandoned him. But it all worked out for Bailey in the end. 

As for the human actors, I was very happy to see Dennis Quaid back on the big screen. My mum turned to me at the end and asked who he was and why she recognised him. The Parent Trap.

The dog performers were fabulous. I don't know how the trainers get the dogs to do what they do. I can barely get my dogs to sit. The dogs were amazing. On a shallow note, I wanted to cuddle every single one of them.

Josh Gad is the internal voice of Bailey. Initially it felt as if Olaf was narrating but that quickly dissipated and Bailey really came to life. Gad's voice brought a lot of levity and brevity throughout the movie. He has great command over his voice. He knows when to be softer and when to hold back on the speed of his speaking and when to really go hyper with it. Excellent.

I enjoyed the storylines with each incarnation. The storyline with young Ethan was quite a cliché tale - the early 1960s household, the father working on the road and struggling with the beginning signs of alcoholism, the dog being a stray and then welcomed into the family and being a pal for the only child. It was a storyline that has been recycled often but when told from the dog's perspective, it seemed new and all the more impacting.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and there were a lot of cry worthy moments and then a lot of laugh-out-loud moments where the dog was just too adorable and funny. I laughed more because the dog reminded me so much of my two dogs especially when he gave the 'puppy dog eyes' and then when he chased his tail. Millie is a great one for chasing her tail or her back leg. My favourite laugh-out-loud moment was when Bailey thought the cat was hiding from him, when it had actually died. So Bailey decided to find him, dig him up and show 'Mom' that he found the cat.


I would highly recommend this movie to anyone that loves movies about dogs but be warned, have tissues handy,


April Book Haul

Friday, 5 May 2017



At the tail end of March I discovered the Black Hole that is Book-Tube. I loosely knew that this branch of YouTube existed when Estée LaLonde did a collaboration with a 'Book-Tuber'. I followed her collaboration partner for a short time but was just not interested in any of the books that she posted videos on. I'm a Fantasy type of reader whereas this Book-Tuber read a lot of Contemporary.

Fast forward a year or so later and they are all that I watch. I pretty much spent the vast majority of April reading or watching Book-Tube videos and getting recommendations on Book-Tubers to watch. 

I ended up joining Goodreads to keep track of my reading list and my ever lengthening reading Wishlist. I'm constantly adding books that I want to read to it. There's only so much that notes on an iPhone can do with keeping track. If you want to follow me on Goodreads, you can follow me or add me as a friend here. Plus, I gave myself a reading challenge. I want to read 50 books by the end of 2017. At the moment, I've read 15 books. I probably have enough unread books on my bookshelves to accomplish this but we all know that I will be buying more books. Since filming this video (yesterday), I have 8 more books. No willpower. I know. 




A Week in a Villa in Portugal

Sunday, 30 April 2017



What's better than going on holiday to a sunny destination? Going to your own personal house with more amenities than you can shake a stick at. I'm talking a villa, baby. That's exactly where my family and I went to at the beginning of April for a week. We went to the villa, Villa Das Laranjeiras which in Portuguese translates to 'the 'Orange House' and let me tell you, there were plenty of orange trees around the house. Orange trees, kumquat trees, grapes growing and acorns a-falling. Didn't I say that there were plenty of amenities? Homegrown breakfast, y'all.

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