So, um…hello again. It’s me, Poppy…I’ve come home…(to the blogging world.) It’s been almost a year since I wrote my last extremely half-hearted blog post (a review of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina back when it first hit netflix) and honestly? I’m scared. I’ve been telling myself for months that I do want to get back into blogging, that I miss it. I’ve still been active on Twitter and Instagram, and even found myself buying things every month ‘to review on the blog’ – or at least that’s been my excuse! But I haven’t actually managed to sit down and type out a single paragraph, and the longer I left it, the more difficult it’s been to start.
Perhaps the biggest impetus for me to start blogging again happened a few weeks ago when I met the lovely @graphicsbysoph on twitter. I nominated my friend for a new blog header, and Soph also kindly designed one for me, which you’ll see at the top of this here blog page. Her work is so beautiful, and she’s such a kind soul – I can’t recommend her enough if you need any design work done. I gave her the prompts of ‘cute but creepy’ and within 48 hours she’d designed this gorgeous floral skull design, which fits my aesthetic perfectly. I’m definitely going to be hiring her to create a spooky header for me when #spooktober rolls around in a few month’s time. (EDIT: She seems to have deactivated her account on twitter but here’s the link to her Instagram)
In other life news, I’ve been so busy this year so far. I was lucky enough to win a place on a 3-month training course with my work back in April, which saw me heading all over the UK for 12 weeks, and it was hella intense, but it has also given me a lot more confidence in my own ability now that I’m back in my job, which has in turn, given me much more of a sense of identity within the company, something I tend to lack in general thanks to those pesky borderline traits that I’m prone to.
Whilst I was on this training course, I also met A Boy….
I know…I’m as surprised as you!
He’s wonderful, and I love him, but let me tell you, after 4 years of being single and only worrying about me and my dog, learning to care for someone else again is really difficult, especially when you can feel all your worst toxic traits kicking back in – only, now you’re diagnosed, you can see them for what they are. I feel like there’s a blog post to be written about this at some point in the future, but for now, I’ll just say that it’s been slightly tricky for me, and my emotions have been all over the place, but I’m learning how to help myself out when things get hard.
And now I think you’re probably up to date with my life, so the only thing left to update you on is that I want to move this blog to talking slightly more about books. I’m a bookseller by trade and I feel like most of my life is spent nose-deep in a book or falling asleep to an audiobook. And what better way to segue into this change than to tell you all about the wonderful Magical Readathon that’s taking place during the month of August. It’s an internet tag created by the gorgeous BookRoast, and she hosts 2 Harry Potter themed readathons a year – the O.W.L.S. in April and the N.E.W.T.S. in August, based off of the exams that students take in Hogwarts. I’ll link you to her video that explains the rules <here> and in the description of the video you’ll be able to find all the documents you’d need, should you want to join in!
Essentially, you choose a magical career from the booklet provided by BookRoast, which will then tell you what grades you need in your N.E.W.T.S to get onto that career track. I chose a Librarian and my Grade requirements are:
Outstanding (O) in Ancient Runes
Exceeded Expectations (E) in Defence Against the Dark Arts
and an Exceeded Expectations (E) in History of Magic
Each grade for each subject has a reading prompt and there are 3 grade levels – A, E and O. If you are required an O grade then you must also complete the reading prompt for both the A and E grades of that subject, as well as the O. If you require an E, you must also read a book that meets the requirement of the A grade.
So, my prompts were:
A – Read a book recommended by a friend – (Status: complete. Book read – Smashed by Junji Ito – 5 stars)
E – Read a book written in the past tense. (Status: Not started)
O – Read a book that has been on your TBR for aaaaages. (Status: complete. Book read – Labyrinth the novelisation by A.C.H. Smith – 3 stars)
Defence Against the Dark Arts
A – Read a book that’s black under the dust jacket (Status: complete. Book read – The Warlow Experiment by Alix Nathan – 4 stars)
E – Read the FIRST book that springs to mind when you think of your TBR. (Status: not started. Book chosen – The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill)
And well…I don’t *need* an Outstanding in this subject, or the next one, but to those of you who know me irl, it won’t come as a surprise to you that I was somewhat of a perfectionist at school.
So, as a bonus, for a O in Defence Against the Dark Arts, I need to read a book that’s either by an English author or set in England. (Status: not started.)
History of Magic
A – Read a fantasy. (Status: half complete. Book chosen – Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, currently on page 210.)
E – Read a book that includes a map. (Status: complete. Book read – The Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan – 4 stars).
And for that bonus Outstanding grade that I don’t need, but I want, I need to re-read a favourite. (Status: complete. Book chosen – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – 5 stars).
So I only *need* to read another 3 books to have completed the Magical Readathon by the end of the month, but I’m hoping to get that O grade in Defence Against the Dark Arts so my actual target is 4. I think the most challenging one will be A Game of Thrones, mostly because it’s such a tome at almost 900 pages, but I’ve got a week off work coming up soon, and I’m hoping to just have A Game of Thrones to finish come the final week of August.
Yesterday (the 10th August) was the Magical AllNighter, which was a 24hr time-slot where everyone completing the Magical Readathon was encouraged to ‘study’ for their N.E.W.T.S. and get as much reading done as possible. I managed 600 pages during the 24 hours (but allowed myself to sleep for about 10 of those hours) which I was super proud of. I finished up Labyrinth, and then me and my flatmate stayed up until 3am reading The Hunger Games simultaneously, which was oodles of fun (and we intend to do the same thing with Louise O’Neill on Thursday night).
Anyway, I suppose that better be it for today’s post, I don’t want to bombard you with too much useless information in one go. I’m hoping to start daily blogging this week to get back into the swing of things, but we’ll see how that pans out.