60 Questions

I’m feeling very uninspired right now so it seemed like a good time to use this post that I’ve been gradually working on for a while. I got it from Audrey, who got it from Emelia. Audrey answered 45 questions, Emelia’s version had 73 and I went for something in between. So here are my answers to 60 questions. Maybe you’ll learn something new about me.

1. What’s the best thing that happened to you this month?

Kristen sent me Wundersmith  (book 2 of the Nevermoor series). I literally hugged the book while I was telling Jan about it. Before it arrived I was planning to say receiving positive feedback from a customer at work, but honestly the book made me much happier – not the book itself  (although I have been desperate to read it) but the fact that someone was thinking about me and wanted to make me smile  ❤

2. What’s your favourite game?

Articulate – it’s sort of like Taboo but my opinion much better. I also love Trivial Pursuit.

3. When are you most inspired?

Immediately after deciding to try something new. Which is why I have crochet hooks and a book for learning to crochet but have never actually tried it. By the time the stuff arrived my inspiration was gone.

4. If you could teach one subject in school, what would it be?

I worked as an English language assistant for two year and realised during that time I hated teaching so preferably none 😉 If I have to choose something then English literature.

5. What’s your favourite beverage?

Dandelion and Burdock.

6. What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?

After I lost the twins someone said they hoped we wouldn’t give up trying because we would make great parents. That’s definitely the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.

7. What is your favourite birthday cake?

Is birthday cake a separate thing to just cake? Probably something chocolate.

8. What is one thing you still have from your childhood?

Other than books…. Nick the purple mouse I’ve had since I was born.

10-bed

9. What is your favourite film?

My go-to answer is A League of Their Own but actually there are others I love equally. I’m useless at picking favourites.

10. What is something you can’t do?

Touch my toes… I’m so not flexible! Also play an instrument. I could probably learn with many years of practice but I’ll never be more than just competent. Also draw.

11. Window or aisle seat?

Window on short flights, aisle if it’s like an 8 hour flight.

12. What is something that makes you laugh no matter what?

The film Clue. Always hilarious no matter how many times I watch it.

13. What are your favourite lyrics of all time?

All time? Wow. Umm. That’s asking a lot. Again, terrible at picking favourites. We’ll go with this:

I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you?
Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel

Also including this because the third line makes me laugh:

I met Jane at the centre of the earth
It was dark there was dirt all around
But I gather you can figure that
Devil in the Wishing Well – Five for Fighting

Other strong contenders were lines from Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, Desperado by The Eagles and The New Year by Death Cab for Cutie.

14. What is your favourite holiday?

Pancake Day!

15. What’s heavily played on your music play list right now?

I listen to music on my phone and I always have it on shuffle so no one thing is usually played heavily, unless shuffle goes mad and plays several things from the same artist. The last song I listened to was Forget Tomorrow by Feeder if that helps.

16. If you could raid one woman’s closet, who would it be?

Kezzie‘s. She always wears the best outfits.

17. Must have purse item?

Since I’m British purses are not handbags so obviously money 😉 That and cards are the only things that fit in there.

18. What did you want to be when you grew up when you were 12?

Author. I’m such a cliché.

19. What is something you will not be doing in ten years?

Given I’ll be about to turn 46 I’m guessing no matter how things work out with IVF I’ll have given up trying to get pregnant by then.

20. What is an important life lesson for someone to learn?

Whatever it is you’re going through, its not the end of the world. It may not feel like it right now, but you will get through it. However, while you are going through things, it really is okay not to be okay. Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you feel. And don’t let anyone else tell you when it’s time to move on. There is no time limit to feeling bad. (However, if it’s been a while and you truly can’t imagine ever feeling okay again, it is okay to ask for help… even professional help if necessary). Wow, that was long. Sorry if you were expecting something more succinct.

21. How do you start your day?

On week days by snoozing my alarm and wishing that time of morning didn’t exist. Once I’m up and showered the day always starts with tea.

Tea and biscuits

22. Would you ever live anywhere besides where you do now?

I love where I live now! I would live in Austria again given the chance though. Maybe Salzburg.

23. What is your favourite dessert?

Again with the favourites 😅. I like a good crumble. Also chocolate fondant.

24. Is there a dessert you don’t like?

I hate melon so probably melon sorbet or fruit salad containing melon  (or even worse grapefruit!)

25. It’s brunch! What do you eat?

All the potato-based products, scrambled eggs, bacon. Maybe some fruit.

26. Where was the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

New Zealand.

27. Favourite Disney animal?

I like Bernhard from The Rescuers.

28. What is a book you are planning on reading?

All of them? Lol. Obviously I am hoping to get to Wundersmith soon and I’m looking forward to reading The World Without Us by Mireille Juchau.

29. What did you read most recently?

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman. I do not recommend.

30. Favourite solo artist?

Tina Dico

31. What is something you’re tired of?

The never-ending story of Brexit. I still think it’s a bad idea but at this point I think if they’re really determined to ruin the British economy (and possibly make me lose the right to work in Germany) I wish they’d hurry up and get on with it already!

32. What’s a city you wish to visit?

Copenhagen

33. Heels or flats?

I only wear heels for weddings. Lol.

34. Where does one go on a perfect road trip?

Around Switzerland, obviously 😉

35. What do you do on a rainy day?

Read, cross stitch, drink tea.

36. What’s your favourite exercise?

This is a joke, right? 😂 Um, I’m saying walking counts

37. What was your worst subject in school?

Art and music. Both teachers strongly advised that I drop their subject when it came to GCSE options. I also hated Design Tech because I was terrified of most of the machines.

38. What animal do you identify with the most?

Red panda. Mostly solitary, spends most of the day sleeping, needs to eat a lot and only comfortable at temperatures ranging from 17 to 25 °C. Sounds like me 😉

red panda3

39. What do you usually eat for breakfast?

Toast… except when it’s plastic-free July and I can’t buy bread 😦

40. What do you usually eat for dinner?

Um, different things. There is no “usually”. I don’t like to eat the same food every night.

41. Cooking or baking?

I enjoy both although when I’m only cooking for myself it seems pointless. I don’t bake as much as I would like because I hate all the cleaning afterwards.

42. Favourite baked good?

Yorkshire Parkin, made to my grandma’s recipe.

43. What is something you wish you could be good at?

Any of the things that is traditionally considered a “talent”… drawing, music, any sport. Oh, and Spanish. I can never seem to get beyond beginner level.

44. Skiing or surfing?

I’ve never done either. Yes, I live in Switzerland and have never skied. I also lived close to a ski resort in Austria. I’m terrible…

45. First celebrity crush?

Devon Sawa based on those few minutes in the film where Casper is alive.

46. Most recent celebrity crush?

I don’t think I have any “recent” crushes. I’ll say Billie-Joe Armstrong

47. What colour was your prom dress?

Purple

48. How do you manage stress?

Badly? Umm, I don’t know. Writing my diary usually helps. Or going for a walk. Also tea  – tea always helps. course, when the stress is caused by work none of those are possible … then all I can do is power through and hope I can actually meet all the deadlines my wonderful colleagues have given me.

49. What do you do to relax?

Read, go for walks, drink tea, sleep.

50. Shoes or bags?

I’d rather buy books. Lol. But seriously in terms of accessories I have more tights than either shoes or bags. I love colourful tights.

51. How do you know if you’re in love?

Personally when I can stand to be around the person every single day without eventually wanting them to just go away. And I still love him even when he’s annoying me. But honestly I feel like you just know.

52. Who do you turn to when you’re sad?

Jan.

53. What are you most enchanted by?

Nature… a waterfall, a mountain view, a beautiful lake.

DSCN8535

 

54. What is your biggest strength?

Manners. I am always unfailingly polite to shop assistants/waiting staff, etc. Even if I’m having the absolute worst day of my life, I will never be the customer that ruins your day. (I was even polite to the nurses at the clinic who needed four tries to get an IV in me and then got my blood all over the bed.) Is that a strength? I think it is.

55. What is your biggest weakness?

Caring too much what people (might) think. I find it difficult to make friends because I’m scared of talking to people I don’t know… I’m always afraid I’ll say the wrong thing and think I’m weird/not like me. So instead I say nothing and they think I’m weird anyway… and antisocial. I know it shouldn’t even matter what they think of me, but it does. And that’s why most of my friends live on the Internet 😉

56. What are 3 words to describe living in your city?

Rhine, culture, basilisks

57. Cutest thing on planet Earth?

Well-behaved dogs. Seeing them trotting along beside their owners,  off the lead, occasionally glancing up for reassurance/approval melts my heart. If they’re carrying a favourite toy  (stuffed friend!) it’s doubly adorable.

58. Favourite colour?

Red

59. Favourite time of day?

At the moment… when work is over 😅 (can you tell it’s been busy again?)

60. Favourite band?

I usually say Green Day but I haven’t even listened to their last album so I feel like that makes me a bad fan. Although in fairness I haven’t listened to any music released in the last five years except by accident so…

That’s it from me. Tell me your answers to some of these questions in the comments. Or let me know if you’ve done/are going to do this and I’ll come and check out your post.

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Friday letters

I haven’t written one of these posts in a while and I’m not feeling particularly inspired lately, so here you go.

Friday letters

 

Dear neighbour. I have no idea who you are, but I would be very grateful if you could not steal my washing appointments in future. I wrote my name on the reservation list… you did not. Yet it’s my laundry that remains unwashed. Not cool!

Dear organic waste bin. Why can’t you sort yourself out? You’re so smelly and horrible and I just don’t wanna!

Dear sleep. I don’t know what you’ve had against me this week, but I would really appreciate if you could not wait until I’ve been in bed for two hours before showing up in future.

Dear magpies. If you’re going to insist on hanging out beside our building could you please refrain from doing so singly? I really don’t want any sorrow thanks very much!

magpie
This particular magpie was not outside my house (but still hanging out alone… single magpies seem to be following me)

Dear work. Thank you for letting me translate a fun text this week. Wine is so much nicer than technical manuals or lists of dental equipment!

Dear self. Remember, patience is a virtue. And don’t forget to enjoy life while you’re waiting.

Dear boyfriend. Whichever way the decision you are awaiting goes I am proud of you. ❤

Dear real-life friends (some of whom may even see this). Sorry I am so useless at keeping in touch. I need at least another 8 hours in my days!

That’s all for today folks. Have a happy weekend!

 

Off to the motherland!

unionflag

I’m off work this week, which theoretically gives me lots of time to blog but unfortunately doesn’t help with my lack of inspiration. Instead, I’ve spent most of the last 2 days cleaning and sorting out ready for us flying to England tomorrow. Does anyone else go in to major clean-all-the-things mode before a trip? The place must be tidy before we go away even though it’s going to be empty during that time. So things have gone to the recycling point, laundry has been washed, our bedding has been changed, I have hoovered and scrubbed and washed dishes. I was also naughty today and went shopping. I bought shoes, which is okay because I needed some for the wedding we’re going to on Saturday, but I also bought two summer dresses and a pair of trousers, which I really don’t need. Oh, and nail varnish. Oops! So much for my May spending ban!

Anyway, I have a shower that needs cleaning then I can finally sit down and have a cuppa! I hope you’re all having a much more relaxing day.

Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt 2.0

Hello friends! You may remember that a while ago I did a bookshelf scavenger hunt – basically taking various prompts and finding books on my shelf that fit them. I recently watched another version, with different prompts, on Books and Lala‘s YouTube channel (I guess I should call it Book Tube channel?) and wanted to play along again. I can’t credit the original creator because I have no idea who that was. So, without further ado, here we go…

1. Find a book that starts with an “N”

I’m guessing in the title, as opposed to the first letter on the first page 😉

1-Starts with N

Neverwhere… and there is also a bonus N book to the right.

2. Find a book cover that’s mostly brown

This was actually quite difficult – apparently I don’t have a lot of brown books! I found one though.

2-brown cover

3. Find a book that’s based on a true story

I’m reaching a little here, but this book is about a woman suffering with severe M.E. and the author also has M.E. (the book is described as an “autobiographical novel) so it kind of counts…

3-true story

4. Find a multiple perspective book

4-multi-perspectives

This book is told from the perspectives of the two main characters, Scarlet and Ivy.

5. Find a book you read last year

I read lots of books last year. Here’s one I liked a lot:

5-read last year

I can’t believe I’m still waiting for the final book in the series to come out!

6. Find the most recent book that you bought

This was easy! I was in the office again the other day and I needed a new book for the way home, so I went to the train station bookshop and found this:

6-recently bought

I tore through it on the train and loved it.

7. Find a book cover you don’t like

7-disliked cover

I love Stephen King, but what is this cover all about? So ugly!

8. Find a retelling

I haven’t read this yet, but I’m fairly sure it’s a retelling of Peter Pan:

8-retelling

9. Find a book that is also a movie film (sorry)

I wanted to use The Princess Bride for this but I couldn’t find it, so here’s this:

9-also a film

I have read this book 3 or 4 times but never seen the film.

10. Find a book written this year

Umm, I don’t have one. I rarely buy new books. I was thinking of Eliza and her Monsters but the copyright is 2017, so I have nothing for this prompt.

11. Find a non-fiction book

Easy! All our non-fiction books are together on one bookcase 🙂

10-non-fiction

I haven’t read this yet but I really want to!

12. Find a book you have told others to read

I have told several people to read this. As far as I know none of them have:

11-recommended book

13. Find a book with a tree on the cover

Another one I haven’t read.

12-tree on cover

By the way, that Costa thing isn’t a sticker but is actually printed onto the cover of my book. Why?!

14. Find a book where the author’s name is the same as yours (first, middle or last)

The spelling is different but it still counts!

13-author shares name

I took out all the Ramona books from the library when I was about 7 purely because the author shared my name.

15. Find a book you have read more than once.

Many, but I went with a childhood (and all-time) favourite:

14-read multiple times

I’ve only just noticed The Secret Garden peeking out at the side… I’ve definitely read that one multiple times as well!

16. Find a book you didn’t finish

15-never finished

I started reading this once with Jan and then again on my own for a reading challenge (the category was to read a book you had previously failed to finish… ironically, I again did not finish). It’s not like it’s a bad book, it’s just so long and the writing is so tiny…

17. Find a book with a king in it.

I wanted to use a Terry Pratchett book for this but annoyingly none of the books featuring King Verence are on the bookcase. I know I’ve bought Jan at least one so he must have left them at his dad’s place. So instead, have this:

16-king in the book

This is a King Arthur retelling. I’ve started it but so far I’m failing to really get into it.

18. Find a book that’s purple with its dust jacket off.

I took off so many dust jackets for this prompt, and in the process discovered that most of my books are boring black when naked. This one is kind of purple though. I also took a photo of it with its dust jacket so you can see what it is.

I’m not sure how purple it looks here, but it’s purplish in real life. I read this one a few years ago and I think I liked it at the time, although I don’t remember much about it now.

19. Find a book you will read by the end of the year

This is the final prompt. And the book I chose was this one:

18-will read in 2018

I’ve had it on my shelf for a while and it sounds really interesting so I will definitely be picking it up sometime soon.

That’s all folks! This is a really fun thing to do – you should give it a try 🙂

If I were a book character…

I have recently seen two things going around Twitter: a thread in which female authors describe themselves the way a male author would, and a counter-thread in which female authors describe themselves the way a woman writer would… so I guess describe themselves the way they would if they were a book character. In that second thread, I spotted this tweet:

She was quiet; not for lack of things to say but for lack of knowing how to say them. She thought too much about everything and it often left her unsure. It was hard for her to express herself because she had been hurt too many times before and didn’t want to be hurt again.

See the original here. I responded to it with “Uhh… are you me?!” – very articulate, I know 😉 Not being an author, I didn’t want to contribute to the Twitter thread, but I thought I would have a go at describing myself as though I were a book character here.

Her hair, once somewhere between chestnut and copper, had faded to a dull brown, the hint of red visible only in the right light. Her eyes appeared blue or grey at different times. In social situations, she was generally quiet. Too many friendships that had turned out not to be had made her wary of strangers, and she had learned she would be thought weird whether she opened her mouth or not. Best not to let the things she had to say out; they usually came out wrong anyway. Better to leave no impression at all than risk being hated. She didn’t mind, really. Most of her favourite people lived on the Internet anyway.

Well, clearly I’m not cut out for Twitter… I could never have fit all that into a tweet 😂.

How would you describe yourself if you were a character in a book?

One lovely blog award

I’m so sorry my blog seems to be a giant tag-fest recently, but people keep nominating me for things and, honestly, I’ve been feeling uninspired so it’s nice to have ready-made posts. Today’s is the “One lovely blog award” and I was nominated by Chomeuse with a Chou. She’s a fellow Brit abroad (in her case France) and she has such a wonderful writing style. Please go and check out her blog. I was also nominated by Irish Procrastinator. She is Irish (no, really?), very funny and an excellent poet. Again, you really must check out her blog. Thank you both so much for the nomination – I am genuinely touched that somebody considers me “lovely”!

lovely blog

There are rules, of course.

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award;
  • Share seven things about yourself;
  • Nominate 7 other bloggers and inform them.

I have done similar posts before and I don’t think I will be able to dredge up seven entirely new facts, so apologies to long-term readers who’ve probably seen some of these before.

  1. This one is in my About Me section, but I’m using it here anyway. I have three siblings – a sister and two half brothers. My brothers are not related to each other. At my sister’s hen do (which I couldn’t attend), people were asked to take a quiz about her, and one of the questions was how many siblings does she have. Not a single person got it right – including my youngest brother’s mum! Oh, and I’m the eldest, by the way. My sister is actually the middle child twice.
  2. The first “adult” book I was ever allowed to read was The Clocks by Agatha Christie, when I was around 10. I can remember reading it in bed one morning before anyone else was awake and going downstairs to get the big dictionary so I could look up the word “illegitimate”.
  3. In my entire life, the place I lived the longest in one stretch was Karlsruhe, Germany – from September 2006 until I moved to Switzerland at the end of April 2015.
  4. Following on from the above… I always find the question “where are you from” really hard to answer. I lived in the place I was born twice, but even while I lived there it never really felt like “home”. It was just where army families get put when the army has nowhere else for them to go. Northumberland feels like home more than anywhere else, and that’s usually what I tell people, but if I have to specify a town it gets awkward again. I moved in with my dad aged 13 (he was out of the army by that time) and went to high school in the town he still lives in, but I hated it there and couldn’t wait to get away, so I certainly don’t consider that home! My parents are both from Morpeth, where my remaining grandparents still live, and that’s been the most constant place in my life. We went there for at least one holiday every year. It’s probably the place I am most likely to think of as “home”, but I’ve never actually lived there in my life.
  5. I’m obsessed with names… how people choose names for their children, how naming trends have changed through the years, which names are popular in which parts of the world. Jan gets so sick of me talking about people and their names!
  6. I lived in Austria for 10 months and have now been in Switzerland for close to three years but I have never tried skiing. Every year we say we will, then every year we don’t.
  7. When I was about 7 or 8, I wanted my name to be Abigail. I have no idea where I even got the name from – as far as I’m aware I had never met an Abigail at that stage in my life. To be honest, I would probably have chosen any name of my own at that point though. Beverly Hills 90210 came out the year I turned 7 and I got so sick of people at school chanting “90210” at me. Or alternatively saying “hey Beverley, are you a cop?”. Obviously they thought they were being sooo creative. *eyeroll*. So it’s kind of ironic that these days when German speakers don’t understand my name the first time I will actually say “Beverley as in Beverly Hills”.

Hmm, some of those were kind of long. Hopefully not too boring though?

I’m not actually going to tag anyone this time because I’ve been throwing tags around like confetti recently and I think I’ve already tagged everyone who might accept at least once. Sorry about that. I promise my next post will not be a tag or award!

Sunshine blogger award… again

I know I did this fairly recently, but I was nominated a second time by Confessions of an Irish Procrastinator WEEKS ago and I feel bad that I haven’t answered her questions yet.

sunshine blogger

The rules, in case you forgot already:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for a blog post and links back to their blog.
Thank you! I am truly honoured that you think my blog is worthy of this award.

2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
See below

3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
Hmm

4. Display the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog.

Here are my answers:

  1. What’s your favourite animal and why?
    I like lots of animals. I’m going to be really unimaginative and say a dog though. They’re just so loving and seem to truly like their owners no matter what. Nobody is ever as happy to see you as a dog!
  2. If you had to be a character in any book who would you be?
    Oooh, that’s a good question… but also a difficult one. I think I would like to be Susan Sto Helit (aka Susan Death) from the Discworld books. She is, quite simply, awesome! Plus I would get to meet Death.
  3. What habit would you like to kick?
    Leaving things lying around. I need to make sure everything has a place and then put things in that place, even if it means taking a detour into another room.
  4. What would you like to achieve before the year is out?
    The main thing I want to achieve isn’t for the blog, so I’ll give another boring answer. I’d like to lose 2-3 kg.
  5. If you could live in any known fictional land (for example Wonderland or Narnia) where would you live?
    Aah, I want to say Discworld but that seems like cheating after picking a Discworld character for question one! Okay, Narnia. After the White Witch is defeated, obviously.
  6. What uplifting thought or quote you do you live your life by?
    Try to live by would be more accurate! “Be so happy that when others look at you they become happy too!”. I don’t know if that’s actually a quote or who said it, but I bought a postcard with it on and stuck it inside my front door so every time I leave the flat I see it and try to act on it.
  7. Share one thing that makes you really happy.
    This is going to sound really weird, but the River Rhine in Basel. Even on a cold, grey, rainy, miserable day, walking across the Rhine never fails to make me feel happy and… hopeful, I guess? No matter what’s happening, at that moment I feel like eventually everything will turn out okay in the end. I don’t remember a place in Karlsruhe ever having that effect and it makes me really glad we decided to move here. See, I told you it was weird!

    12_Rhine
    The Rhine by night
  8. Share something you’re proud of.
    My Master’s dissertation. I wrote it about the translation of children’s literature and got 70% for it. (I actually got a higher mark for my Bachelor’s dissertation but I feel like a Master’s dissertation is more of an achievement so…)
  9. Do you have any unusual party tricks?
    Hmm… no. Not that I can think of.
  10. Who’s your favourite band?
    Finally an easy one. Green Day
  11. If you could fly or be invisible which would you choose?
    I think fly… assuming I could fly really fast over long distances it would be a useful skill for getting to England in a hurry if necessary.

I’m actually going to cheat and not nominate anybody because I’ve already done it once recently and can’t think of anyone else, but I will give you 11 questions and if anyone feels like answering them please feel free to say I nominated you for the award!

  1. What is your most treasured possession and why?
  2. What would be your dream job?
  3. What was the last film you watched?
  4. What was your favourite subject in school?
  5. What’s your favourite thing about yourself?
  6. Have you ever been told you resemble someone famous? Who was it?
  7. Do you snore?
  8. If you could learn to transform into an animal (but only one) which animal would you choose?
  9. What’s your favourite cartoon?
  10. What was your favourite film as a child?
  11. If there was a film about your life, what would it be called?

Feel free to pick one or more questions and answer them in the comments if you don’t want to do the whole thing 🙂