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A book published this year:

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

City of the Lost
I want to start off by saying if you have any interest at all in Supernatural fiction, you should really read Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. There are 13 books in total and each one is written from the perspective of a different lead female supernatural character including werewolves, witches, ghosts, necromancers and more. This series was my introduction to this author and I loved them all. 

City of the Lost is the first book in a new crime fiction series by the author. It follows homicide detective, Casey Duncan, to live in a secret, off the grid, town where everyone has a secret. My absolute favourite thing about Armstrong’s writing is how she develops her characters. This novel was no exception and by the time you get to the end, you’ll feel like you know Casey Duncan. It’s a solid story-line with a great ‘who done it’ theme. 

As always, Armstrong delivers in giving you just enough information to keep you interested and wanting more. I still prefer her supernatural novels but would definitely recommend this read and will be looking out for the next instalment in the series.

Rating: 7/10

P.s. I know the topic is ‘published this year’ and it was technically published in 2016 but I actually read it in 2016 & never got around to reviewing it. 

Me looking happy...

Me…looking happy! Duh!

 

I’ve decided to start a new mini series of posts that’s going to be made up of lots of different lists. I love lists. I find the idea of getting ‘to do’ lists down on paper really satisfying. I tend to like actually physically writing them down. I know this is really old school & there’s a bazillion apps to do the same job on our phones now, but I really enjoy the process of writing them down & crossing or ticking things off. I may actually write all of the lists down too.

This first list is a list of the little things that make me happy. I think we can focus waaaay too much of the physical things that make us happy and sometimes on the things we want & cant or don’t have so it’s nice to remember the little things…


Things that make me happy are…

  1. Good books that you get lost in & don’t want to put down.
  2. The smell after a well needed rainfall.
  3. Spending time with the people who make me forget that the world is sometimes an awful place.
  4. Music that triggers memories.
  5. Sunsets with a mixture of beautiful colours (particularly when I’m driving home from work – it lifts my mood).
  6. A shower on a cold day followed by clean pjs & fresh bed sheets.
  7. Family dinners.
  8. When people are polite.
  9. Waking up & realising there’s still lots of time left to sleep.
  10. Holding hands.
  11. Fallin asleep to the sound of rain.
  12. A great cup of tea.
  13. How excited my dogs get when I get home.
  14. Not setting an alarm for the morning.
  15. A smile from a stranger.
  16. Comfortable silences.
  17. TV shows binges.
  18. Taking photographs.
  19. Good hair days.
  20. Laughing until my belly hurts.

I’m sure there’s lots more so there may be another list of things that make me happy at some stage.

What makes you happy?

100 Day Project 100 Day Project

So today marked 15 days of The 100 Day Project and I’m happy to say I’m still in the game. The idea of The 100 Day Project is to do something creative for 100 days and I decide to focus on my blog. In the past 15 days I have written and released 5 blog posts (including this 1), edited photos on my phone from 2 different trips, edited photos on my MacBook from 1 of trip, started a new notebook for the blog, made lists of post ideas, planned a long, detailed post (the Budapest 1) in that notebook, took a couple of photos, shared posts to a Flipboard magazine and pinned lots of old posts to Pinterest. 

I would consider that pretty successful so far. This blog is never going to be the type to have new posts released every single day so I didn’t want to attempt that because I knew I wouldn’t keep it up after the 100 days were over, if I managed to keep it up for the duration of the challenge. I want this to be the beginning of a creative habit which encourages me to work on the Paparali blog regularly and consistently.

So here’s to 85 more days. Are you taking part in The 100 Day Project, or are you considering starting?

 

The 100 Day Project

I’ve decided to take part in The 100 Day Project which started today, 4th April 2017. I know most people tend to do something physically creative but that didn’t appeal to me because I knew it wouldn’t be something I would stick to for 100 days. I wanted to use the project to encourage me to blog more often but I really wanted to be realistic and saying I would release a blog post a day wasn’t realistic for me. As time goes on, I might decide on a number of posts to share within the 100 days but the plan for now is to spend time every day working on my blog. That will include planning, writing, sharing on social media, taking photos for posts, editing photos, researching and all the other things that go into blogging. I hope to post as much as possible on Instagram, ideally everyday but I don’t want to flood my feed with photos for the sake of it either.

If you haven’t heard about the project before check out Elle Luna’s Instagram here. You should also check out Elise Cripe’s podcast on her experience and plans for The 100 Day Project here. If you don’t see this on time, you can join in and start your 100 days anytime.

Have any of you decided to take part in the challenge? What will you be doing for 100 days?

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A book by an author you’ve never read before:

Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

 

Not That Kind of Girl

I want to start by saying I absolutely love the TV show Girls. I don’t think there’s anything else on TV like it. I heard once that the second episode of a TV show tends to do worse than any other episode and that stuck with me while I watched Season 1, Episode 2 of Girl’s because 6 seasons later, it is still my favourite episode and I’ve watched it multiple times. It’s important for me to say that because I’m not going to be very pleasant about Lena Duham’s book. 

You’ll notice first of all, that normally my book review posts include a picture of me holding the book in question, but this one doesn’t. I won’t lie it felt like it took a lifetime to get through this book because I really really didn’t enjoy it. I finished it on a flight to San Francisco and I won’t lie, the thing that annoyed me most is that I couldn’t throw it against a wall when I eventually finished it because that might have startled a few other passengers. I dumped it back on my book shelf when I got home and haven’t looked at it since. So it wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realised I never took a picture of it and I don’t want to either.

I have read some short essays and interviews with Lena Dunham that I thought were brilliant and I couldn’t wait to get more so I was delighted to dive into this memoir. There were definitely some pearls of wisdom, but over all, the only thing it did for me was confirm that Lena Dunham and Hannah Horvath appear to be very similar, which isn’t a compliment considering Hannah is the singe most narcissistic character I have ever come across. One thing I will say in her favour is that it’s really refreshing to see such candor coming from a woman in a world where plenty of women are still taught to put up and shut up.

Rating: 2/10

February was a pretty big month so I had 3 spreads. 

Feb 1 Feb 2

Spread 1:

The month started off with a weekend in Exeter visiting family  so that’s what spread one is about. It’s made up of black, white and a kind of turquoise.I used a turquoise Sharpie pen for the handwriting. 

Project Life Kit: Favorite Things (core kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The black ones used for ‘February’, ‘Orla & Oscar’ and ‘cream tea’ are ‘Ali’ Thickers designed exclusively for Studio Calico.
  • The small light blue stickers used for ‘The Darwents’ are Ocean Melody by Webster’s Pages.

Embellishment Stickers: 

  • The black love-heart outline sticker is Amy Tangerine for Thickers. I think but I’m not 100% that is part of her Plus 1 range.
  • I’m unsure where the arrow sticker is from.

Pocket Pages: I used Design F for the left and Design G for the right.

 

Feb 3

Spread 2:

The left side of spread two is from a trip to London with my mam and brother for a match. The right side of this spread are a few random snapshots from the month. I almost always go for white but this kit has a cream base. It’s great for a change but I normally prefer the crispness of white.

Project Life Kit: Azure (core kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The grey ones used for ‘LFC V MCFC’  are Project Life stickers.
  • The red ones used for ‘More of February’ are Sn@p Studios by Simple Stories.

Stamps: 

  • I’m unsure where the paw print stamps are from but they’re rubber stamps that are used with an acrylic block.
  • The ink is Dovecraft pigment ink pad in jet black. 

Pocket Pages: I used Design G for the left and Design R for the right.
Feb 5 Feb 6

Spread 3:

Spread three for February is a mixtures of snapshots from the month as well as a mixtures of kits.

Project Life Kit: The left page has a 6×4 card from the Confetti core kit with some words about documenting on it. it also includes a 6×4 grey and white striped card from the Midnight core kit.

The right page has a 6×4 polka dot card from the Midnight kit, a 6×4 lined card with a love-heart from the Plus 1 mini kit, a 3×4 quote card about cherishing the little things from Becky’s Quotes themed cards and a fold-able 6×4 card from the Seafoam kit with ‘date’ and ‘story’ on it. Instead of folding it, I cut it in half and used a corner cutter to round the new edges.

Alpha Stickers: The black stickers used for ‘Still February’ are ‘Hard Cover’ Thickers.

Stickers: The quote sticker on the striped 6×4 card is from K & Company.

Pocket Pages: I used Design R for the left and Design A for the right.

2016 Cover

So it’s April and I’m only just sharing my cover page for my 2016 Project Life album now. I know, must try harder. I try to mix it up when it comes to my cover pages but yellow has made an appearance on my cover page two years in a row because I love it. I rarely include pictures on this spread. I like to include the year and it’s the second year in a row I’ve added my One Little Word to the cover spread. 

Stay tuned for some posts on my Project Life method.

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A book that was made into a movie:

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

image

The third book I read as part of The Big Book Challenge was Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín. I thought this would be a good one to read as ‘a book that was made into movie’ because I had just recently been to see it in the cinema. I really loved the movie so I’d hoped I’d enjoy the book as much.

Brooklyn is a romantic drama about a young Irish immigrant moving from a small town in Ireland to Brooklyn, New York. The story follows Eilis as she falls in love, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a romantic novel, it’s much much more than that. 

For many reasons, this book didn’t disappoint. The first thing I loved was that it included my two favourite places in the world, my lovely country Ireland and New York. The second thing I loved was that although it was based in the 1950’s, there was still so much to recognise about Irish culture today. Apparently busy bodies are timeless.

My favourite characters in the book were Eilis, the main character (which is unusual for me because I normally don’t like main characters), Tony, the Italian-American who captures Eilis’ heart and Mrs. Keogh. Although I think I loved this character even more because of the brilliant portrayal of her in the movie by Julie Walters.

The only thing that let the book down for me was a piece of dialogue that really stuck with me from the movie. In it, Eilis has a conversation with Father Flood that goes like this:

Father Flood: We need Irish girls in Brooklyn.
Eilis Lacey: I wish that I could stop feeling that I want to be an Irish girl in Ireland.

I loved Eilis’ line and I looked for it in the book. I suppose if that’s the only fault I can find, it’s not bad going. 

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is from Ireland, wants to read about Irish culture in the 1950s and the reality of immigration, likes romantic drama novels or indeed just enjoys good writing.

Rating: 9.5/10.

OLW #2

One of the things I really struggle with is the work/life balance. It seems to either go completely one way or another. I can be a complete workaholic & spend my weekends working and late into the nights or else it’s the complete opposite and I’m living a little too much. Going out more than I should at the weekend and mentally not turning up for work as much as I could. I’m trying to find a happy medium on this one. I agree with the idea of ‘work to live, don’t live to work’ and fully believe nobody, on their death bed, wishes they’d worked more. However, I think that’s a bit too simplistic. The majority of us have to work in order to have a good life which makes both work & life very important. This quote really stood out to me because in order to fill our souls with adventure, we have to work to fill our pockets, therefore I think it’s important to work hard & enjoy what we do in order to have the adventures.This year I hope to find a healthy balance between the two.

I found this beautiful image on Pinterest and you can go to kaylanicole.me to find the poster designer.

The 2nd Saturday MarketLin Design
Lin Design

I was in town on Saturday doing some book shopping with my Dad when he noticed a sign for a Saturday market. I’m a sucker for markets so we went around to have a look. The market is called The 2nd Saturday Market and as you may have guessed, it’s on the second Saturday of every month. We were lucky that that was the day we happened to be in the city. It’s in The Chocolate Factory on King’s Inns Street in Dublin and it’s worth a visit if you are in the area. There are lots of lovely handmade, homemade and vintage things to buy including food, jewellery & art. 

I bought the beautiful necklace pictured above from Lin Design. It’s made of concrete and I thought it was really unusual. They had all sorts of concrete designs from candle holders to jewellery and even Darth Vader molds. I love the necklace and can definitely see myself going back for more. I’m already kind of raging I didn’t buy a second necklace I was eyeing up and 1 of the tea-light holders.

You can check out some of the beautiful things Lin Design make and sell, on Facebook here. The prices were good and they’d make lovely gifts for others as well as yourself.