Red, White and Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston | Book Review

2021, books

Hello!

Since I started my Audible subscription last month, I have used my monthly credits to listen to books I haven’t had the chance to buy yet (and it feels like I’m getting free books, which feels good!).

So when my credit came in at the end of September, I was browsing through my wish list on Storygraph to decide what I was going to use my credit on and as soon as I got to ‘Red, White and Royal Blue’ by Casey McQuiston, I knew that was my pick for the month.

I don’t know I’ve seen a book as hyped as I have seen RW&RB – on tiktok, Instagram, booktube, I don’t think I’ve seen a review less than 5 stars. A royal LGBTQ+ love story is a recipe for the perfect book right?

Yes, yes it is. I finished listening to this book in just two weeks (considering it was nearly a 12 hour listen and I only listen to audiobooks when I’m driving) and I was obsessed from the off.

The voice actor for Alex’s character was perfect – the charming First Son of the United States was the perfect mix of hardworking, ambitious politician and 22 year old college student just trying to figure himself out while journalists writes articles speculating every aspect of his life.

Then there’s Henry. This precious, posh British Prince who’s grown up being told about his obligations and duty, knowing that a core part of who he is doesn’t fit the ‘duty’ he is meant to serve. Behind all the bravado of being the Prince of England, he’s a giant nerd who loves Star Wars, the gay history of the British Isles and his dog David.

Even the secondary characters – the White House Trio, the super six, Zara, Amy, Cash, Shan – they were all such realistic characters. They felt real – if I didn’t know the unfortunate truth of the 2016 US Election and the names of the British Royal family, they all felt so human from just a few words on a page (or words coming out of my car speakers) that they felt real. The language was so authentic and didn’t sound forced, particularly the dialogue. The multi-medium storytelling with pros, texts, emails was so immersive and I’ll never get over the narration repeating ‘HRH Prince Dickhead Poop Emoji’ over and over again during the text message scenes.

I can’t put into words how much I adored this story – I have not laughed, gasped and commented out loud on a story as much as I did with Red, White and Royal Blue in a very long time, if ever. The sarcastic dialogue between Alex and his sister June, the authenticity of the President’s staff every time they tell Alex how fucking difficult he makes things and the honest conversations about being a Mexican kid raised in America and elevated to being America’s Most Eligible Bachelor.

It was honest and heartwarming and made me squeal like a fangirl – I’ve not finished a book and immediately wanted to read it again before, but after finishing the audiobook I went a bought a paperback copy almost immediately (and Casey McQuiston’s next book ‘One Last Stop’) and there’s a very real chance that I will read Red, White and Royal Blue again before working through the other two hundred books on my ‘to be read’ shelf.

Red, White and Royal Blue has made it on to my list of all time favourite books and I need somebody to fangirl over it with me please.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

my book rating system

2021, books

Hello!

I’ve just finished my thirtieth book of the year (Good Girl, Bad Blood – Holly Jackson, fabulous read) and I feel like I’ve really figured out my own rating system so I thought I’d write it all down because my memory isn’t great and I like to have everything written down.

So let’s start at the top:

5 stars – the perfect book; one that is easy to read, characters I love and care about and a story that I want to reread over and over again. It’s a slim difference between 4 and 5 stars but a book that I know I could come back to and love it as much the second or third time as much as the first. The perfect ‘Sophie’ book – 5 stars.

4 stars – a fantastic book, wonderful narrative, interesting storyline, an enjoyable reading experience that I probably got through quite quickly. There’s probably nothing wrong with it, I just didn’t love it enough to find it re-readable. A 4 star book is still an entirely positive experience – there was no negatives to the reading experience; no annoying characters, no huge plot holes, just not one that I’m rushing to read again.

3 stars – not a badly written book, not a brilliantly written book. Maybe it took a lot of concentration to get through it, maybe there were characters that really needed to learn how to communicate better (one of my biggest bug bears). I kind of feel connected to the character but I’m not entirely sure why and I probably resent it, especially if there’s one character I like or care about and the others are annoying.

2 stars – there’s nothing wrong with the quality of writing, it just wasn’t for me. I probably didn’t enjoy the reading experience but I’m too optimistic to ever not finish a book. Sometimes it’s the characters, sometimes it’s a boring plot, sometimes it’s whiny, melodramatic characters making their lives difficult for no necessary reason. Technically not a bad book, but absolutely not for me (this includes most classics).

1 star – badly written, plot holes, annoying characters, probably reads like bad fanfiction. I still won’t give up on the book because I can’t help but hope it’ll get better than a 1 star rating, but at best I can hope it’s short. I feel like one star is relatively self explanatory.

On StoryGraph, there’s .25, .5 and .75 ratings, I don’t have specific criteria for those, that one’s more of a gut instinct. Not that there’s a huge impact of rating a book, it’s not like it ‘matters’ in the scheme of things but it’s a good way of giving the extra points before a whole extra star, y’know?

Having some sort of system makes me feel like the ratings make me sense, rather than randomly assigning numbers and then accidentally rating a book I kind of enjoyed and a book I really didn’t both at 3 stars because I was only comparing it to the book I just finished.

Is it a Virgo thing or is it a neurodivergent thing? Who knows, but I like it. And I’m obsessed with reading and stories right now, so I like having a system to rate them all by.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Treasured in… September 2021

2021, books, Favourites

Hello!

Another month, another list of things that brought me joy. This month has flown by and I’m hoping October will feel like it lasts a little bit longer, but for now we’re in the last few days of a month that was full of birthdays, adventures and a lot of stress.

It’s been busy with trips, lots of driving and lots of good food but I can’t wait for it to get colder, to get all my jumpers out and sit with blankets and candles in the evening. Bring on the cold!

But first, here’s the things I loved in September.

What I bought

I’ve definitely been a bit contactless-happy this month, but my favourite purchase has been this NaNoWriMo shirt in a size that’s almost certainly too big but has brought me immense joy. It took three weeks to arrive and I spent far too much on import charges to get it sent over from America but it brought me joy and that’s the most important thing right? Right?

I also bought many accessories and materials for my new Cricut which my wonderful fiancé got for my birthday, lots of Hobbycraft supplies and probably too many books but is there really such a thing as ‘too many books’? (the answer is no)

What I cooked

We had many good HelloFresh meals this month, but I actually want to talk about a restaurant my fiancé took me too – it’s somewhere we hadn’t been before, but apparently it’s the highest rated restaurant in our down! It was a lovely Italian restaurant that apparently was very authentically Italian (the boy who spent 5 weeks in Rome reassured me of that whilst pronouncing everything with a questionable Italian accent). It was wonderful, not only the food but the effort he went to in finding somewhere new for us to go.

Then, when I was visiting my parents at the weekend to celebrate my mum’s birthday, we went to a lovely pub in a tiny village near my home town and had the most incredible roast dinner. I barely thought about eating until the next day I was so full, but it was the most wonderful meal.

I’ve been very lucky to be treated to many meals this month, I feel like my birthday has lasted all month long and I’ve been very spoilt.

What I snacked on

A family friend sent me these cakes in the post from Simply Cake Co and I made 12 slices of cake last much longer than I anticipated. Especially, considering I could have eaten all of the salted caramel brownie in one sitting it was delicious. I’ve always been a bit dubious of cake delivery services but they were fresh, lasted really well and were incredibly delicious.

What I sang along to

I’ve listened to Audiobooks more than I have music, but this song is a bop.

(the video is weird and I don’t get it though)

What I watched

I’m still on the medical show hype, so when my fiancé is home we watch Grey’s Anatomy (or Battle Bots), when I’m home alone I watch The Resident on Disney+ but the biggest hype of this month without a shadow of a doubt was Sex Education series 3.

The characters are perfect in every way – they’re flawed, they’re trying, they’re so gosh darn realistic but also so sweet, the storyline was hilarious, the cinematography was beautiful and I’m so intrigued as to what series 4 will look like.

All I can say is, the scene with the cat was scarring. If you know, you know.

What I read

This is the bit I’ve been looking forward to.

When I first got Audible, I wanted to rant and rave about it straight away but I made myself wait till I was more familiar with the app and how much use I actually got out of it.

Three and a half books in a month later, I’m still very much on the Audible hype train – I love listening to books when I’m driving, I love having the extra capacity to engage with more stories and read in a brand new way and explore books I never would have read before with the plus catalogue.

So here’s what I listened to:

The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow – Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch – 2 stars
I was so intrigued about Zoe Sugg’s latest attempt at fiction and I was so disappointed. It read so childishly, but with a few swear words thrown in because it’s about teenagers, but the murder didn’t feel like it was really resolved and (my biggest issue) – there was no ending. There was nothing conclusive about the ending, it was just a big old pause to make the reader buy the sequel. I don’t mind a cliffhanger, but at least give the book some sort of conclusion, some sort of ending, not just drop it and pick it up in the next one.

And out of principal, I absolutely won’t be buying the next one.

Beach Read – Emily Henry – 5 stars
A book about writers living in their own romance story? Yes please. Beach Read is in line to be one of my favourite books of the year – January Andrews (despite having a really dumb name) is a wonderful narrator – she’s self aware, brilliantly sarcastic and witty, but human and flawed and sad and excited so realistic. I loved her, Augustus Everett was a total sweetheart and I loved getting to know him beyond the stereotype January thought he was in college.

Fantastically narrated, thoroughly recommend.

MumLife – Louise Pentland – 4 stars
My first (and probably last) non-fiction read of the year, this read like one long, monologue podcast from Louise and it was wonderful. Heart warming, heart breaking and hilarious in equal measure. I feel like I learnt so much about myself, even though I’m not a mother yet, I learnt so much that I’d like to carry forward if I’m ever lucky enough to have my own children.

The only paper book I managed to finish this month was Tarzan of the Apes – Edgar Rice Burroughs – 2 stars – it took me nearly a month to finish reading this one. I’m not a fan of classics or books written a long time ago, not my style, it made it harder to read because I had to concentrate more and after a one chapter (sometimes not even that) I’d be exhausted and fall asleep within minutes. But I finished it – it was nothing like the Disney movie and the ending literally finishing with an asterisk that said ‘read more about Tarzan in the next book’.

It wasn’t written badly, but I didn’t particularly enjoy it and will be donating my copy to the charity shop.

And I’m currently reading Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson and listening to The Cove by LJ Ross and thoroughly enjoying both.

It’s been a long month, but I’m ready for another one for sure!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Treasured in: July 2021

2021, books, Favourites

Hello!

The time has come to once again wrap up the month with a list of things I’ve enjoyed or have made me happy! Is this a glorified favourites post? Absolutely, but I’d be lying about who I really am if I didn’t come up with pretentious names for things!

(I’m knackered and I’m losing it a bit, can you tell?)

Without further ado – the things I treasured in July:

What I Bought

I really struggled to think of something I bought in July (except books, I can’t stop buying books…) but I actually jumped on the Glossier hype a little bit – I’d seen the Anna Edit talking about the beauty bag which was marketed as the bag that fit everything in it. It has pockets, it actually holds all my make-up (like all of it, I don’t have a lot) and I’m really pleased with it.

And that order came with a free sample of their perfume ‘You’ – I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Glossier perfume but I wasn’t going to spent £45 on something I hadn’t even smelled. But then I got the free sample and I literally couldn’t stop thinking about it. I can’t describe it, but it smells grown up without smelling floral or fake – it just smells really good and it’s probably the most I’ve spent on a beauty product ever but I don’t regret a single penny. It’s actually amazing.

What I Cooked

Last month I mentioned that I’d just got my first box of HelloFresh meals and I can’t lie, I continue to be moderately obsessed – we’re on our third or fourth box now and the meals are just brilliant and I love not having to think too hard about what we’re eating, buying the ingredients or finding recipes – the recipe cards are really easy to follow, the food is always good and then I just chuck everything in the dishwasher and it’s all ready for the next day.

Some of my personal favourites are the mushroom risotto, chicken korma style curry and cheesy oven baked risotto.

What I Ate

I’m really craving cake at the moment and Sainsburys do these wonderful little Victoria Sponge cupcakes and they’re delicious. That’s all I have to say.

What I listened to

I’m still listening to Bo Burnham’s ‘Inside’. This is the one I probably listened to the most:

What I Watched Online

I’ve not watched much YouTube this month either, but here are a selection from my history that I enjoyed:

What I Watched on TV

This month, I could have watched Loki on Disney+ with my partner once he returned from a long work trip to Italy.

What we did was start watching Pokémon Journeys on Netflix because sure it’s a kids TV show but it’s only 20 minutes long, it’s easy to watch and it’s not emotionally taxing so it’s perfect to watch with dinner and it makes my nerdy Pokémon boi very happy when we confidently shout the wrong Pokémon in the ‘who’s that Pokémon’ section.

It’s the little things.

What I Read

I have absolutely adored reading this month. I’ve finished three books and I reckon I’ll finish my current read before August too! I’ve read:

  • Remnants: The Mayflower Project, K. A. Applegate a book from my teenage years that I couldn’t remember much about, so I kept it to reread to figure out if it was worth pursuing and reading the 14 sequels (I’m not exaggerating). It was an okay concept but it was all a bit disjointed and I didn’t love it so it’s going to the charity shop.
  • Perfect, Cecelia Ahern – I didn’t love Flawed, but it had such a non-ending that I had to buy the sequel to find out what happened. It was a very stereotypical political riot Hunger Games Mockingjay ‘I’m the girl that’s different that can save the world’ YA that was 3 stars at best? It all felt very holocaust but not done very respectfully, it was weird.
  • Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie – I don’t have many classics on my shelf because I prefer the modern style of writing, but Peter Pan is my favourite Disney movie and it was short so one step closer to my GoodReads goal for the year. Wow the book is quite different to the film! Peter is a cocky little so and so, the Lost Boys are all murderers and I kid you not, there was a line about fairy orgies.

And I’m currently reading ‘Adrenaline’ by Jeff Abbott – I’ve had the sequel book on my shelf, ‘The Last Minute’, for literally years so last payday I bought a couple of prequels I was needing. It’s a 500 page book about spies and espionage and it’s not YA! I’ve read one Jeff Abbott book before and I really enjoyed it and I’m approximately 83% through and this one is brilliant too. I’ll be posting the review on my bookstagram when I’ve finished reading it.

Bonus shoutout for StoryGraph – it’s an alternative reading tracking app to goodreads and it does everything that goodreads does as well as more interesting statistics on what you’re reading (including genre, pages and pace which consequently gives you better recommendations) and it’s not affiliated with Amazon, so win win all round!

What I Planned for the Wedding!

This month was a sort of catch up month – I finally got wedding insurance, I spoke to the flower lady who makes silk flowers and I’ve got a consultation with her next month and I even found a sash and some Bride Squad pins on Facebook Marketplace for free so thought that would be a good one to pick up!

It still doesn’t quite feel real yet – I feel like I’m too calm about it but also there’s so much to do and it’s going to cost so much money, but I’m focusing on the short term for the moment, tackling my to do list one task at a time.


Every month I think these posts might be a bit too old school but then I write them and every month I feel positive and excited about the month ahead! Especially with what I’m reading. My bookshelves are looking really pretty and my database is looking really… unbalanced, so hopefully lots of reading in the sunshine in August!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

highlights from my tbr

2021, books

Hello!

Just because of who I am as a person, when I was unpacking my books I wrote them all down in an Excel and begun my own little database and now I have an official tbr list (to be read).

59.5% of the books I own haven’t been read (138/232) – which isn’t too bad? I thought it would be much nearer 70%! Though this doesn’t stop me from buying new books (however hard I try!), it means I’m not short of books to read.

I thought it would be nice to take you through some of the books I’m most excited to read from my book shelf – I’m not going to be reading 138 books by the end of the year, but I’m going to read as much as I can!

So if you like an easy read, a rom com, a fantasy story, a mystery, a YA story of any genre or a little bit of anything really, here are some books I’m excited about reading!

  • All That She Can See – Carry Hope Fletcher

I’ve read several of Carrie’s books and they’re always filled with a fantastical sense of wonder – I acquired this one from a pile of books that was being donated in my childhood home and I don’t really know anything about it, but I imagine it’ll be wonderful.

  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing – Hank Green

I’ve heard incredible things about this book in regards to capturing the teenage experience growing up with the internet and the impact it has on mental health (as far as I’m aware!), I’m intrigued to find out what Hank’s writing style is like but it has to be good to have such an incredible reaction!

  • Good Girl, Bad Blood – Holly Jackson

I devoured ‘A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder’ last year and I’m so excited about the sequel – I know there’s a third book out now and I can’t wait to dive back into this series. I never thought I’d really be into crime novels but the way the protagonist is written as a teenage girl who cares about school and getting into uni but isn’t a ‘traditional’ nerd made her such a believable narrator to read. And the plot twists were brilliant!

  • Five Feet Apart – Rachael Lippincott

Did I buy this book exclusively because I want to watch the film with Cole Sprouse? Yeah, to be honest. I think he’s cute, so I want to read the book with him in mind and then watch the film to compare. There’s something about a YA medical love story that just gets me!

  • The Switch – Beth O’Leary

I saw a lot of people talking about ‘The Flatshare’ and the concept didn’t grab me tbh (though the hype around the book still convinced me to pick it up!) but The Switch sounds brilliant – a young woman living in a busy city looking to slow down and her nan looking for some adventure swapping houses for a bit? Sounds brilliant, I can’t wait!

  • Gods Behaving Badly – Marie Phillips

If I didn’t mention it enough in writing about ‘Lore’ by Alexandra Bracken on my bookstagram, I love Greek mythology and retellings of it. My sibling sent me a tiktok of someone recommending this book as a kind Friends meets the Gods and I love reading interpretations of the mythology. I think if I only read one genre for the rest of my life it would be interpretations of Greek mythology.

  • Percy Jackson series – Rick Riordan

And along the same lines… I’ve read the first one and seen the films but I never got into them properly when I was in school so when I saw the series for £10 in the Works, I bought it for my partner to give to me for Christmas and I’m yet to read them. But I will get there!

  • The Princess and the Suffragette – Holly Webb

This book I picked up from the children’s section last time I went to my favourite book store High Peak and it just intrigued me. I love when people cleverly bring conversations that many would deem ‘controversial’ to children and make it accessible. Plus it’s incredibly pretty!

The Princess and the Suffragette: Amazon.co.uk: Webb, Holly: Books

And with that, I’m going to have an early night so I can finish my current book and get onto a new one as soon as possible!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

reading in every room – my favourite parts of my new house

2021, books, interior homeware

Hello!

It’s been almost a month since we moved into our new (rental) house and I’m just about happy that we’ve unpacked basically everything – there’s a few bits of furniture we want to upgrade in the long term but we intend to be here for a long time so we’re not rushing.

There are so many aspects of this house I love – corners that were selling points, ways I’ve decorated that I’m really pleased with and satisfying storage solutions making the most of the space we have, so I thought I’d take some pictures and share them here as a nice capsule memory of when we moved into this house.

My office

The entire point of getting a three bed house for us was so that I could use one of the spare rooms as an office – for the first three months of my job, I often attended video meetings with my fiancé playing video games in the background because I had to set up my work desk in the living room because there was nowhere else to go but now he’s not even on the same floor as me!

My office is in the littlest third bedroom and it’s not a lot of space but I’m really pleased with how much I’ve managed to squeeze in without it feeling too cramped. It always takes living in a space to really figure out what works best and I’m still figuring a few things out, but I’m so excited for when I don’t have to work from home anymore and this can be my craft room.

The library

Technically bedroom 2; the spare bedroom; our uni friend Nick has been referring to it as ‘his bedroom’ since we told him where we were moving, but I call it The Library. This is where all my books are currently living – the plan for this room is to get an IKEA Hemnes Day Bed so it can also be a bedroom when needed, but predominantly it’s going to be my reading nook and line the walls with as many bookcases as humanly possible (thank you mum and dad for donating the furniture).

It’s very much a work in progress at the moment – books are all still in boxes and shelves are empty, but I think I’ll do a whole post about it when this room is finished – I want to make it really cosy in here – some fairy lights, my Harry Potter themed prints, as many story themed things as possible, all the cushions for the day bed, I’m so excited to develop this room.

Kitchen window

This might sound a little ridiculous, but our old house was closed in on three sides – we only had two windows in the entire house; one in the living room and one in the bedroom. Our kitchen was tucked away at the back of the house and there was no windows at all…

Our new kitchen has TWO windows!

I love this deep window and I’m so excited to dress this window sill with as many plants and greenery as my fiancé will allow me to buy!

The garden

please ignore my pots of dead daffodils…

WE HAVE A GARDEN!! I never thought I’d like astroturf, but it’s surprisingly soft and doesn’t need any maintenance which suits me just fine! The garden is 100% a work in progress – I’ve started my gardening for the summer, but I want to get a garden shelf to do my potting at and we’re looking at getting some garden chairs and a lounger because I want to have a summer reading spot (I meant it when I said I was planning a reading nook for every room!).

We’ve even got outside plugs so I’ve got hopes for a garden of fairy lights in the summer and icicles on the front of the house for Christmas (I’m not sure how enthusiastic my fiancé will be…). Hopefully the pandemic will allow us to have a bit more of a relaxed summer because we’re planning a house warming BBQ in July and it would be nice to have actual people there.

Oh summer, how it feels a million miles away in both weather and human company.

The extension

Now, let me tell you the extension is the biggest reason we wanted this house – the living room is great, decent size, I like the way we’ve laid it out but having the extension on it completely opens up the room – the extra floor space, the sky lights (which sound simply magical when it rains) and the tri-fold doors. The light in this East facing room in the morning is just glorious.

Right now, we have a sofa bed under my photo wall (which survived the move from the old house!) but the long term plan is to replace this with a couple of arm chairs so I can… (guess what)… have another reading nook! I guess I’ve got all four seasons covered – Spring/Autumn in the extension, maybe with the back doors open if it’s warm enough, Summer on the deck and Winter in the library!

With it’s under floor heating (that we still can’t figure out), the natural light from all the windows and my sentimental af photo wall, it’s no wonder this is my favourite part of the house and I can’t wait to experience it in every season.

There’s still a fair bit of work to be done till it really feels like home, but the more we explore the area and start putting our own touches on the place the more I feel like this is where we’re going to settle.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Treasured In… April

2021, books, Favourites

Hello!

Another month, another round of favourites – things I bought, watched and eaten that have made me happy in the last month the share a bit of positivity on the internet!

But we all know I like categories and lists so I couldn’t just manage a list of nice things – gotta give it some structure!

Purchase

I mean, I moved into a new rental house so I didn’t buy it per say but I paid a deposit on it and spent probably more money than I should have on new things for said house… but it’s pretty, it’s got a nice garden and it’s got more than two windows! The kitchen and living room are in separate rooms and I can work from home without my boyfriend playing video games in the background! So that is top of the list.

But also shops re-opened and I accidentally bought 5 new books but I spent less than £20 which is pretty good value!

Recipe / Food

Sometimes the food you love is the old favourites – my comfort food is either a jacket potato drowning in butter and cheese or pasta drowning in butter and cheese (I’m sensing a theme and it’s carbs as a vessel for butter and cheese…) and both of these have been great this month for comfort food and easy food whilst we’ve been unpacking.

But then we really treated ourselves this weekend by buying a small leg of lamb and cooking it in the slow cooker and wow it might have been the most expensive piece of meat I’ve ever bought but it was incredible. Not going to become a common purchase by any means but it was delicious.

YouTube video

I’ve not watched loads of YouTube this month, but here are some of my faves!

Books

I actually haven’t read a single book this month – the first weekend in April was the Easter bank holidays so I spent all of it packing, the following weekend we moved and my books have all been in boxes since then.

I looked out a few to tide me over until I get proper storage for my books, but I decided I was going to read ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge, but turns out that’s a bit heavy when you’re anxiety is sky high about moving house!

So I thought I’d share the books I bought on my first trip into our new home town since the shops opened:

In a 3 for £5 deal from The Works:

The Start of Us, Hannah Emery
The Flatshare, Beth O’Leary
It’s Now or Never, Carole Matthews

And in a buy one get one half price deal from Waterstones,

Good Girl, Bad Blood, Holly Jackson
Lore, Alexandra Bracken

Did I need 5 more books when I’ve just admitted I haven’t read anything in April? Probably not but books bring me joy and I’ll make up for it in May I’m sure.

Something to watch

Other than continuing my Marvel Cinematic Universe marathon with my boyfriend (and thoroughly enjoying it), I’ve not watched too much this month because I’ve been trying to do a writing challenge so listening to music instead, but in the past couple of weeks I’ve spent about three days absolutely binging ‘The Good Doctor’ on Sky Go (thank you to my wonderful friend Beth for sharing her login with me!) and I absolutely love it.

Learning so much about autism and watching how it’s represented on the show is fascinating – autism is a spectrum, so it presents differently in every autistic person, but seeing how it manifests and how the other characters treat Dr Murphy is really clever.

And it turns out I really like medical dramas – I’ve been watching clips of House, Greys Anatomy and Chicago Med on Facebook and I’m definitely watching House after I finish The Good Doctor.


As the country starts to open up again, lockdown 3 draws to a close and Spring crawls into Summer, everything is starting to feel brighter and like there is a life beyond covid. I’m hesitant to let myself get too excited about it all, because we said the same last year and look where we are now, but I’m definitely making the most of nicer weather.

Things are still a bit scary, but they’re looking in the right direction I think!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

Treasured In: March

2021, books, Favourites

Hello!

It’s that time of month where I’m baffled about how we’ve got to this time of month and it’s nearly the next month, with a bonus helping of oh my god we’re a quarter of the way through the year already and it doesn’t even feel like 2020 ever ended.

But taking the time to think and write about the things I liked in the last month makes me feel a bit brighter and it’s nice to talk about happy things so here are the things I Treasured In March!

Purchase Other than putting the deposit down on a new rental house and having to get new glasses (which look the same but I can actually see out of them now), I actually haven’t bought a lot this month. I bought a box set of one of my new favourite book series ‘The Selection’ by Kiera Cass (which I’ll get to later) and I got some wool trackies from Asda that are glorious for working from home, but otherwise, I’ve actually been good at not spending this month and that is oddly satisfying.

Song – I’ve actually been listening to a lot of music this month, but nothing particularly new? I’ve made a few new discoveries and some new music has come out.

I’ve been watching a lot of Lottie Mednick on Twitch and she is currently designing an Avatar: The Last Airbender themed island in Animal Crossing New Horizon and she had Avatar music on in the background on one of her streams so… I started listening to Avatar music and ‘Kai’s Theme and Agne Kai‘ is a banger – if you’re a fan of soundtrack music, it’s fantastic and I can’t wait to listen to it whilst driving down a motorway in the summer.

All Time Low just released a new song called ‘Once in a Lifetime‘ and I’m obviously going to have it on loop for at least the next two months, it’s so catchy and I love it.

I’ve also been listening to the Georgia remix of ‘Hate Myself‘ by dodie, I just found ‘90s Kids‘ by Jax on tiktok and ‘weapon‘ and ‘that won’t save us‘ by Against The Current are also catchy af.

YouTube video – I’ve caught up on my watch later playlist! I give it approximately a week before it’s at 30 videos again but some of my favourites from the last month have been;

Books I’ve read

As I write this I’m reading my sixth book of the month, so March has been really good for reading but like I said earlier I bought ‘The Selection’ series having gotten the first book in a blind book gift my sister bought me from Etsy and demolishing it in the most ‘guilty pleasure’ way.

My first read was ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan and it was a beautiful little book about one night with a stranger in a beautiful city and reckless teenage abandon – it was lovely and I definitely need to watch the film now.

Then I read ‘The Elite’, ‘The One’, ‘The Heir’ and ‘The Crown’ by Kiera Cass to complete ‘The Selection’ series in about three weeks (very fast for me) – I don’t know how I can describe it because it wasn’t good, the fact the main character is called America Singer and she’s a musician irritated me from the off but the dystopian story with an old royalty feel (I’d just finished watching Bridgerton as well) all wrapped up in what is essentially a reality TV competition for the Prince’s hand in marriage and I gobbled it up. The third book in the series ended very abruptly and I did not enjoy the sequels about America’s daughter, Eadlyn, anywhere near as much but I still read the whole series in less than a month so I must have at least somewhat enjoyed it.

And I’m currently reading ‘In at The Deep End’ by Kate Davies and so far it’s a solid 3/5 – there’s a lot of sex in it, which usually I wouldn’t read as it’s not my thing, but the way the narrative voice is written just makes it all feel so normal? It’s not trying to be scandalous or seductive – it’s just a girl with real hormones and real feelings figuring out herself and her sexuality and a lot of it is really sweet. I’ve got about 50 pages left which I think I’ll finish tonight (on the last day of the month which is really satisfying!!) so if you want to see my full review it should be on my bookstagram sophiesreading in the next few days!

Something to watch

I think it was end of February that I watched Bridgerton but my viewing habits have been pretty standard this month – I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos (as detailed above!), I watched Wandavision on Disney+ and I’ve watched the first two episodes of ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ which is brilliant so far.

My fiancé and I finished watching ‘Avatar: The Legend of Korra’ which was brilliant and I’m so excited about the announcement of a continuation of the universe. But we’re looking for a new series to binge – we’ve finished Korra, Falcon and Winter Soldier is weekly episodes, so whilst we figure out what show we want to watch next we’ve started a Marvel marathon – so far we’ve watched Captain America, Captain Marvel, Iron Man and Iron Man 2 (we’re watching in timeline order not release order!) and I’m thoroughly enjoying that actually!

Wedding planning update

I feel like I’ve mentioned this approximately three thousand times, but I’ve broken down everything we (I) need to plan for the wedding and put it into monthly tasks, this month was researching wedding insurance and booking the photographer and videographer and I did all of the things! We’re going to buy the wedding insurance once we’ve moved (because we’ve got to space out the funds!), the photographer and videographer are officially booked and we’ve booked a photobooth as well which is really exciting! It’s all starting to feel a little more real now.

A new habit

I wasn’t sure how else to categorise it but I definitely couldn’t not mention it – I’ve started using Duolingo to learn Italian! I have always want to be better at languages but I’ve always struggled, so I thought I’d give it a go and I love how it’s laid out and I actually feel like I’m doing quite well! I’m not having a fluent conversation anytime soon but I can tell you that the insects are in the sugar and I don’t question why duolingo has come up with this sentence (i insetti sono nel zucchero! I think?).


As the world starts to reopen again, we’re packing to move into a new house and everything feels new and different, it’s definitely a little daunting and scary. I don’t really like change, but I’m excited about the new house and the new chapter it will bring.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

read at your speed – comparison is the thief of joy

2021, books
Hello! Growing up, reading as a hobby was never cool – using the library was weird, reading in your own time was ‘nerdy’ and don’t get me started on fangirling over books. I was definitely the geek growing up but so were all my friends, so I actually had the opposite problem… I’m a slow reader (or at least, I was always led to believe I was!) – my friends would read a book every couple of days and I would take weeks just to finish one. No one ever made a comment about it but it always made me feel silly for not being able to read as quickly. Fast forward to today with kindles and goodreads and bookstagrams and I’m feeling the pressure to read faster from a different place – I can generally get through a book in a week, depending on the length of the book and how much I’m enjoying it, so my goal for the year is 25 books which is the equivalent of two books a month with one bonus, or roughly two books a week. Of the people I follow on Instagram and book groups I’m in on Facebook, some people have already read 50 books this year and have goodreads challenges of 200 books and that is baffling to me. I’ve read 10 books this year and I’m 5 books ahead of schedule for my goodreads goal but suddenly 10 feels like nothing compared to people who’ve read basically a book every single day. But I was surprised that it didn’t make me feel like I wasn’t reading fast enough – it inspired me to make more time to read my books at my own pace! I don’t have the time or energy to read a book every two days – I’m not someone who enjoys reading in the morning or on my lunch break (because I would never want to stop to go back to work!) and whilst I would love to spend my whole evening reading, I also like spending time with my fiancé! So I manage to read for a couple of hours a night before bed and in the past couple of nights I’ve read about 100 pages which is a lot for me! Ironically I’m not enjoying this book as much as the last couple of books I’ve read but it’s somewhat addictive and I can’t figure out how or why. It’s so easy to compare yourself and your progress to other people, whether it’s life goals, careers, holidays or even reading but here is your sign from the universe – you are exactly where you are meant to be in this moment. Reading, in particular, is meant to be a relaxing thing that is done for joy! Take your time to enjoy reading as a fun activity, whether you read 10 pages or 100 – it’s not about numbers. It’s about the way your eyes start to burn a little bit because you’re desperate to just finish one more chapter, it’s about the way you tell all your friends and family about the character drama because you’re so excited about it and the way we feel everything our protagonist feels. I’ve properly fallen back in love with reading and stories over the last couple of years – I love statistics and numbers, I love setting my goodreads goals and reading as many books as I can but it’s not about numbers; I love the stories and the amazing characters and getting lost in the words. Reading isn’t a race – read at your speed! Comparing the amount of books you’ve read is like a squirrel and fish comparing how many trees they climbed – climb your tree however you like! Was that analogy too weird?

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

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Treasured In… January

2021, books, Favourites

Hello!

Will I ever stop being baffled by the passing of time? Absolutely not – how is it February next week?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels like 2021 hasn’t really start and we’re just living in a strange extenuation of 2020 – most New Years feel fresh and new somehow but this year definitely hasn’t.

But there’s been plenty of new experiences – I’ve nearly finished my first month of work as a full time marketing and communications assistant, we’ve had our first proper snow whilst we’ve been living in Buckinghamshire and my fiancé just turned 25 which feels far too grown up.

I love doing this little series to talk about things I’ve enjoyed this month so here are the things I enjoyed in January 2021!

  • Purchase

I’ve not bought a lot this month because saving for a wedding is a lot but there are two things I bought that I absolutely adore.

I bought myself a label maker from Amazon and I had no need for it, but I have thoroughly enjoyed labelling things. I’ve not used it for anything functional or important yet but one day I will and it’ll be so satisfying. So far my plans are to use it for scrapbooking and in my bullet journal predominantly and I love the aesthetic of it.

The second favourite purchase wasn’t actually for me – as I said, my fiancé turned 25 this month so I bought him birthday presents. I’m someone who likes buying things with function, so I decided that this year I’m doing presents that are ‘something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read’. The thing I wanted to share was these jogging bottoms from 2tall.com with a 40 inch inside leg… 40! My boy is 6’7″ – he is a tall bean, so finding him trousers that cover his ankles and his bum is a mission.

  • Recipe

I’m not cooking many new things right now because full time work is exhausting and I don’t have the energy right now, but I did try this slow cooker chicken casserole and it was really good! The fact I could just chuck everything in and leave it for 7-8 hours and it made my house smell amazing while I was at work and that was very enjoyable.

If you have any slow cooker recommendations please send them my way because I’m obsessed with it and it’s perfect now that I’m working full time.

  • YouTube video

I’m slowly but surely getting through my watch later playlist, so here are some of my favourite videos I watched this month.

My Dad Died | The Michalaks (to clarify: not my favourite because Stef’s Dad died, it was just a really good video)

What Is Autism? | DSM-5 ASD Diagnostic Criteria

insecurity mashup 2 – dodie clark (Lauren Aquilina, Orla Gartland and Tessa Violet)

Something we want to tell you! | Amazing Phil and Dan Howell

I have a secret… | Jessica Kellgren-Fozard

  • What I’m watching

My one-track mind finds it difficult to watch anything that isn’t YouTube while I know that I still have videos on my watch later, but my fiancé and I have been watching Avatar: The Legend of Korra and I love it! So far I think I prefer Avatar: The Legend of Aang, but it’s interesting to see how much the story universe has developed. We’re only on season 2 so we’ve still got a fair bit more to watch!

  • Books I’ve read

I’ve started my 2021 reading with a bang so I’m just going to go straight into it!

Worlds Away From You (Charlotte Mednick) – this is a book my friend from uni self-published last year and it was lovely to read! It was a very modern YA book with lots of character traits I empathise with and it felt like a Disney Channel Original movie – thoroughly enjoyed! 4/5

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds (Gwenda Bond) – I wasn’t sure about reading a book based on the TV show and how it would add to the general story but wow I was blown away. It felt like it properly developed the story universe of Stranger Things and I’d love to see it made into a screen adaptation. I picked this book up in a charity shop for £2 and my fiancé picked up another book in the series in the Works so I’m adding that to be tbr list too! 5/5

A Quiet Kind of Thunder (Sara Barnard) – This book has been on my tbr for so long – someone I follow on my bookstagram account (@sophiesreading, if you’re interested!) was selling her copy for only £3.50 to cover postage, so this is the only book I’ve bought this year (which I’m proud of!). I don’t think I’ve felt such a real world impact from a book before – I loved reading about selective mutism and deafness, I loved how the narrative easily changed from speech, sign language and written words so effortlessly and it made me actually want to learn sign language! It was a lovely story, it was nice and gentle and didn’t break my heart. It was worth the wait – full 5/5.

And I’m currently reading See Through Me (Kevin Brooks) which I’ve had on my unread shelf for literally years and though the concept sounds very scifi and cool, I’m only about 60 pages from the end and nothing’s really happened? The reviews on goodreads are generally average so I don’t have a lot of hope for it, but I’m not the kind who can just stop reading a book so my full review will go on my bookstagram account when I’ve finished it.

Although time feels a bit funny, January has actually been pretty good! I’m still getting used to working 9-5 at home in a pandemic and I’m exhausted but I actually feel really good and like my work more than I thought I would. I don’t have a lot of energy, but I’m getting there – feeling mildly hopeful for this year!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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