June Wrap Post!

Hi Bibliofriends – Happy 4th of July American friends!

How are you all doing? June really knocked the wind out of my sails blogging and reading-wise. I’ve gone from reading about 9 books a month to finishing just 3.

The School Grumbles…

The sole reason for this is being back at school full-time. We’ve been open anyway the whole way through lockdown, even extending our opening hours into the evenings for keyworkers. May half-term was spent entirely in school trying to finish risk-assessments and put all of the social distancing measures in place around the whole school as well as work out staggered drop-offs, pick-ups, toilet allocations, bubble groupings etc etc. And since June 1st it’s literally been non-stop. We’ve now managed to get every single one of our kids who wanted to come back into school and I’m feeling so proud of our team for pulling together, being flexible and achieving something which it doesn’t sound like many school (in our area anyway) have been able to achieve. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team it kind of fell to us to put all of those plans into place and action them as quickly as we could. I’m exhausted, mentally drained, have barely anything left to give and am practically crawling to the finish-line in July. Reading all of the teacher-bashing in the media has been a real exercise in ‘switching off the negative voices’ but on the plus side I’ve also met some wonderfully supportive people in the teacher community. To anyone who thinks they could have done a better job: you are welcome to come and spend a week with me at school. Even though I’m knackered, it has been so worth it to see our children back in school, trying their best to work with the ‘new normal’ and their smiles and resilience have made these last few months and weeks all worth it!

Books I’ve Read

The Rain Heron by Robbie Arnott ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Atomic Habits by James Clear (Audiobook) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Shadow and Flame by Mindee Arnett ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Currently Reading

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Audiobook)

Films I’ve Seen

Downton Abbey: The Movie ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Kitchen: ⭐️⭐️
Maleficent – Mistress of Evil: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Driven: ⭐️⭐️
Prince of Persia – Sands of Time: ⭐️⭐️
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Incredibles 2: ⭐️⭐️
Jack Reacher: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Seven: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Captain Phillips: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Godzilla – King of Monsters: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Alien: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Aliens: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Take (Bastille Day): ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Elsewhere in my little world, with lockdown easing I finally got to see my friend who is expecting her baby in a few weeks time. It was so wonderful just to have a BBQ and sit and talk to friends face to face rather than via Zoom or text messages and it really feels as if the world is slowly becoming more normal again!

Hopefully with the summer looming my reading will pick up again in July and I’ll be well on my way to meeting the elusive reading goal of 45 books which has somehow escaped me over the past couple of years!


What was your June highlight? What are you looking forward to doing now that lockdown is easing? What are your July reading goals? Feel free to drop me your blog links below and leave a comment if you want to chat!

Have a good month everyone!

T xx

OWLs Readathon and April Wrap-Up

Happy May Biblioshelf Friends!

Welcome to the OWLs Magical Readathon and Monthly Wrap Post Mash-Up!
This post started small and then gradually gathered moss so it’s a pretty epic one. I’ve put a kind of contents list below so feel free to scroll to any particular section rather than having to suffer through the whole thing if you want – it is pretty long!

  1. All About OWLs Magical Readathon 2020
  2. New Biblioshelf Twitter
  3. My Chosen Wizarding Careers Path
  4. Books Read in April
  5. Films Watched in April

All about the Magical Readathon

So this month, I took part in the OWLs Magical Readathon for the second time. For those of you who don’t already know, Magical Readathon is a Wizarding World themed, month-long readathon hosted by G (Book Roast). Every year she creates this amazing Wizarding Careers booklet and picks bookish prompts to match each of the Hogwarts school subjects taken at OWLs level. Which prompts you chose depends on the career path you want to complete. In August, we then take our NEWTs and study the final exams/reading prompts for our chosen careers.
It is heaps of fun and G makes it really entertaining by hosting reading sprints, quidditch trials and quizzes. A page counter also lets you submit your reading in return for House Points and those all clock up to see who wins the House Cup at the end of the contest.

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Obviously… *Snape drawl* you can participate in as much or as little as you like so you don’t have to be too daunted with all of the ongoing festivities. This year was extra-special fun as two of my friends also joined in and we created our own little reading WhatsApp group to discuss our progress!


New Twitter!

I went to the extreme of making my own BookTwitter just to take part in the Readathon! I had been thinking of doing this for a while anyway now just seemed like the perfect time. I’ve kind of neglected my bookstagram badly and been spending a lot more time on my personal Twitter account. You can follow my bookish account @biblioshelf if you wanted to – come and say ‘Hi!’, I usually always follow back! So far I am loving the BookTwitter community so fingers crossed I can keep it going now that it’s original purpose has ended!


Chosen Wizarding Career Path

Last year, I graduated as a Hogwarts Professor so this year I decided to try something a little different. Being as indecisive as I am at the moment, I settled on two different career paths, Spell-Maker and Ministry Worker (Department of Mysteries). That way I figured I could choose the one that I preferred best by the end… however, I did kind of screw myself over as this meant that I had to do 9 of the 12 overall prompts…


Prompts and Books Read

ᚠ Ancient Runes: Read a book with a heart on the cover or title.
A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmer – 📚📚📚📚
Read my review here!

Abacus on Apple  Arithmancy: Read something outside of your favourite genre.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – 📚📚📚📚📚
Review to come on 6th May

💫 Astronomy: Read a majority of the book when it’s dark outside.
Awful Auntie by David Walliams – 📚📚📚

✨ Charms: Read a book with a white cover.
Selected Poems by T.S. Eliot – 📚📚

💀 Defence Against the Dark Arts: Read a book set at the coast or at sea.
The Beholder by Anna Bright – 📚📚📚.5

🔮 Divination: Read a book using a random number generator from your TBR.
Romanov by Nadine Brandes – 📚📚📚📚

📖 History of Magic: Read a book with witches or wizards in it.
Circe by Madeline Miller – 📚📚📚📚

🕷 Potions: Read a book under 150 pages.
Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers – 📚📚📚📚📚

🎴 Transfiguration: Read a book featuring a shapeshifter.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare – 📚📚📚

Total pages read: 3272

I am so happy that I actually finished my OWLs! I mean, it was down to the wire right up to the last day but April has definitely been my best month for reading so far. I started the month being behind on my Goodreads reading goal of 45 books and now I think I’m 2 ahead! #winning 🍾
Bring on the NEWTs in August, the Spell-Maker/Ministry Worker dream is still alive!


Films I Watched

I can’t remember if I mentioned this anywhere before, but at the start of lockdown I came across a Sky Movies deal on Now TV that was 2 months of movies for £2; it’s one of the best £2 I’ve ever spent. Those of you who knew me from before might recall that I’m part of a film club. We used to go to the cinema about 2-3 times a week; now everything is shut we’re having to get our film fix in other ways. Here’s what I watched this month – some were rewatches and others were films that I’d missed from last year.

The Kid Who Would Be King: 🎬🎬🎬🎬
Loved this movie, not just because I have ties to Cornwall but King Arthur’s tales have always been a part of folklore I’d love to read more about.

Clue: 🎬🎬🎬🎬
I am a massive sucker for board games, particularly Cluedo and this film was just so perfect, can’t believe I haven’t seen it before!

Bad Times at the El Royale: 🎬🎬🎬
I missed this when it came out at the cinema and was so glad to get the chance to watch it. It had a really interesting plotline and I wasn’t at all sure which characters to trust or believe in.

The Secret Life of Pets 2: 🎬🎬🎬
Gotta say, I still think the trailer for the first film is the best part of this franchise, otherwise, it’s pretty much your average animal animation movie. I still loved it though!

Coco: 🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬
I’ve always known that everyone has said I should watch Coco but I didn’t really understand why until I actually saw it! The music, the graphics, the heartfelt message in the story, it was pure magic!

Spider-Man into the Spider Verse: 🎬🎬🎬
This was the 2018 film of the year in our film club but I never got around to seeing it when it came out at the cinema. I can admire the storyline, the production and everything but sorry guys, Spiderman is just not my thing!

Rocketman: 🎬🎬🎬🎬
This was a rewatch for me but I think Taron Egerton does an exceptional job at portraying Elton John. I really love his music and the movie felt so raw and personal.

Yesterday: 🎬🎬🎬🎬
Another musical rewatch. Richard Curtis is one of my favourite film makers. I think he’s a bit of a genius really and it was so much fun seeing him do a talk at the Cheltenham Literature Festival last year. I thought Yesterday had such an intriguing storyline and actually made me fall a tiny bit in love with The Beatles.

Mission Impossible Fallout: 🎬🎬
I’m not the biggest MI or Tom Cruise fan so this just went over my head really as an afternoon filler.

What Men Want: 🎬
I thought this would at least be funny enough to keep me entertained. Sadly, it wasn’t!

Mary Poppins Returns: 🎬🎬🎬🎬
I adore Emily Blunt and Julie Andrews. I think Disney did an incredible job at giving Mary Poppins a fresh new life, whether it needed it is another matter. I love the little nods to the original but can’t help wishing whether I feel Julie Andrews should have just done that little role as the balloon lady at the end. I can totally see why she didn’t want to be involved but I just can’t decide whether my heart wanted her to do the cameo or she was better off just staying out of it. I’ve clearly thought about that way too much…

Aqua Man: 🎬🎬🎬
Like in books, any kind of watery film will instantly make it to my watch list. I wouldn’t say this is the most ground breaking film DC have ever done but I really did enjoy watching it.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu: 🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬
I need a sequel to this film NOW! I love Pokémon, so much so that after the film I had to complete the Pokémon book tag. You can find it here.

Ma: 🎬🎬
Octavia Spencer does a really great job at playing a creepy role although I just couldn’t stop myself from yelling “why would you do that?!” to the bunch of kids who decided to go and illegally drink with her in her basement.

The Lion King: 🎬🎬🎬🎬.5
The Lion King is one of my all-time favourite Disney films, so much so that I made my Y6s do it as their end of year production last year. I was very sceptical about this live action remake which is why it has taken me this long to get around to watching it. I think it’s brilliant…and yes I still cried at all my favourite songs!


If you’ve reached this far… 👏👏👏 Well done! I can’t actually believe that I’ve watched and read so much!

Did you take part in OWLs? Did you reach your reading goal for April? If you want to chat films/books/Readathon, as always drop me a comment to chat or leave me a link to your own wrap!

Enjoy the weekend!

T xx

April Wrap Up

Wow, what a busy month April was, particularly the end of the month, hence the lack of posting on here and on my Instagram. I’m hoping to catch up at some point soon… 😂 Participating in the OWLs Magical Readathon has definitely helped my reading challenge. After being about 2 books behind schedule last month, I’ve now read 21 of my target 50 books and am 6 ahead of schedule! Having two weeks off for the Easter holidays definitely helped! You can read more about my Magical Readathon escapades here. I’m hoping to get a wrap post up for it during the start of May.

Books I’ve read this month:

  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud – musings here.
  • Five Give Up the Booze by Bruno Vincent
  • Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye – musings here.
  • The Lost Sisters by Holly Black
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – musings here.
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander [J.K. Rowling] (reread)
  • To Best the Boys by Mary Weber
  • The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien [audiobook]

Films I’ve seen this month:

  • Wild Rose (15)

I love country music so a film about a single mum trying to get to Nashville was definitely going to be on my “must-see” list. Also, it has Julie Walters so it’s a win-win! Asides from the brilliant soundtrack, the film has a great sentimental message at the heart of it too.

  • Greta (15)

This film FREAKED ME OUT – but in that great ‘scary-movie’ kinda way! It isn’t a jumpy film with the non-existent soundtrack and bad guys jumping out from everywhere but it definitely leaves you really reconsidering the phrase ‘the kindness of strangers’. Kudos to Isabella Huppert for playing one hell of a scary psychopath! Basically her character utilises her lonely widow status by leaveing fake handbags on the subway in the hope that people will bring them back to her. She befriends them but then gradually wields her stalkerish and obsessive ways with them. If you love films that leave you with the chills, then this one may just be right up your street.

As the calendar has been quite busy and I was away for part of the holidays, I didn’t really get to see as much as I like at the cinema. May is definitely going to be busier as I’ve already got three films scheduled this weekend and one of them is Endgame! 😆

Other life stuff:

  • My friend Emma got married in April! This was my second wedding of four this year. She lives in Lanzarote so she and her now-husband had a quiet UK ceremony for their friends and family over here before flying back to Lanzarote for the ‘party’ part of the celebrations and their friends over there. It really was the perfect celebration to suit my friends; her dress was beautiful and the lace hair piece (which she had instead of a veil) was so gorgeous and intricate. It was a wonderful day which very nearly ended up with us crashing a country dancing event that was also going on in the hotel!
  • Keeping with the wedding theme, I spent the last weekend in April on a hen party for my Potterhead friend who I’ve known since primary school. We had Potter-themed T-shirts, went on a cauldron cocktail making experience at the Cauldron Pub in London and then finished with a Witchcraft and Wizardry escape room at Escape Leicester. Cocktail making was so much fun – there were robes, interactive wands, magically stirring drinks, fire, mythical beast heads and alcohol a-plenty! It’s amazing we made it back to the train in one piece! The Escape Room was also an absolute blast. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it out of the room as we ran out of time, however we’re hoping to go back sometime to complete it again. We’re all such competitive people that the idea of not finishing the game left us slightly dejected until we saw online that it only had a 51% success rate… at least we weren’t the only ones not to finish!
  • The Racing Club I am a part of were treated to a morning on the gallops to watch one of our new horses whose stable-name is ‘Happy’. She wowed us with her speed so we’re looking forward to seeing what she can do once the summer season commences fully. Afterwards we were treated to some deliciously home-baked cakes. One of our members really has top-notch baking skills.
  • The rugby team I support has made it into the top 4 of our league which means we get to enter the play-offs this month! Our boys have worked so hard this year and we’re looking forward to seeing them get their rewards. The final games of the season will be super exciting!

April has been so fantastic and it seems like there is going to be so much to also look forward to in May.

How was your April? Did you meet your reading goals or see any cool films? What are you most looking forward to doing in May? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

 

March Wrap Up

I can not believe ¼ of 2019 has gone already! I am so pleased that the sun is shining more and we are getting into warmer weather. We have so many blossom trees where we live and it’s beautiful when they all come out.

In terms of my Biblioshelf life I am so happy with how March has gone!

Positive things that have happened:

  • Managing to vaguely keep up with the Blog and Bookstagram (at least as much as I could)
  • New Blog and Bookstagram followers (💜 thank you all!!!)
  • My best month yet for reading (even though I’m still “2 behind schedule” according to Goodreads). I’m up to 10 out of 50 and half of those have been March reads.

Books I’ve read:

  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – In my bid to try and finish off some of the book series I was part-way through, I finally got around to ticking this off. What a stunning duology. I really enjoyed it. You can read my spoiler-ridden Biblioshelf Musings about it here.
  • Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett – I was way behind with reading my Fairyloot books from last year’s boxes so many of them are forming as my immediate TBR list to try and catch up. Onyx and Ivory was fab for getting me back into the fantasy genre and I really enjoyed reading it. I added the second novel Shadow and Flame onto my TBR straightaway.
  • The Duke, the Autobiography of David Nicholson – The Duke is one of our local heroes when it comes to horse-racing. He trained his horses in a village not far away from where I live and the trainer and his wife who run the Racing Club I am a part of both used to work for him as well. March was the perfect time to finish this book, which I’d started and then put down last year, as the Cheltenham Festival takes over the whole area where I live so there was a real buzz in the air. It offered a great insight and history into the sport and it was quite strange to read about people who I have met and even know in real-life.
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – I tried to read this in order to take part in the Fairyloot readalong as this was their February book, however my work schedule didn’t really give me that much time to read it during that week. I have now finished it and love it. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairytales and this retelling offered a fresh spin of such a traditional story. Biblioshelf Musings are yet to come…
  • The Time Machine by H.G Wells (Audiobook read by Kelsey Grammer) – As I have said previously in my Top Ten Tuesday post Audio Freebie, I’m not that keen on audiobooks. I think the price is something of an issue, plus I like to have a physical book in my hands to get lost in. This audiobook was free on iTunes so I immediately downloaded it. It’s quite a classic must-read novel for any fans of Science Fiction. I surprised myself by how much I enjoyed it. Grammer’s narration really suited the character of the time-traveller, almost as if he was the time-traveller himself. The story was just short enough and suspenseful enough to keep me tuned it. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who has this on their TBR.

Other hobbies in my life include going to the cinema. I am a co-organiser of a film club and we often see 2-3 films a week at our local cinema. Like with all things, I’ve missed a few of our film events due to doing other things but here are three of my top March film releases:

  • Fisherman’s Friends (12a) – I absolutely loved this! As I split my time between the Cotswolds and Cornwall it made me really nostalgic to go back to my little house by the sea! Stunning scenery and location aside, this film was heart-warming, funny and poignant in all the right doses. The only thing that disappointed me was that the tale of the ‘music manager falling in love with the village girl and buying the pub to save the day’ was purely fictitious! Anyway a fantastic film nevertheless; if anyone wants to join in a sea-shanty sing-a-long one Friday night down in Port Isaac then count me in!
  • Us (15) – This is probably going to be one of my Top Ten Films of 2019! It had scary bits, humour, mickey-taking, horror, doppelgangers, audacity, fairgrounds, violence, story-telling, mythology and pure, downright weirdness in buckets (or boat-loads 😉)! There are so many layers to this plot that keep you guessing right the way to the very end. Just when you think you’ve worked it all out, something else happens to make you think something completely different. It’s one of those films that you watch again and again and discover something new every time. I won’t spoil it for anyone who is going to see it but if dark, twisty, multi-layered psychological thrillers are your thing, then this is your must-see film of the year!
  • Fighting With My Family (12a) – Any film with The Rock in is immediately added to my cinema list. What I enjoyed about this film was how accurately it portrayed the real-life family which this film is based on. It represented a part of our society that does not get a lot of air-time (if only for the wrong reasons) and showed the hardships that they go through, the struggles they face just to make their way in the world and find a space for themselves. I honestly didn’t feel that this film would be my type of thing. I’m not a wrestling fan at all but that really didn’t matter – the key meaning to take away is about the sense of community and the dreams people can achieve if they all pull together. It’s a message of positivity in what can sometimes feel like a very negative world.

Other life stuff:

  • My friend got married – She had one of the most gorgeous wedding cakes I have ever seen! As a massive fan of the film Labyrinth, her three tier cake was themed around the film. The characters were made of fondant icing and there was even a dancing Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie at the top from the ball scene. It was almost too good-looking to eat but it tasted so delicious. We are massive fans of Gloucester Rugby and always go to their matches. We call ourselves the “Shed Family” after the area of the ground we stand in and in true Glaws Family style, we all piled into the bar to watch the Gloucester match that was taking place that evening – a true rugby wedding!
  • Cheltenham Races – I’ve already talked about this above and in a previous post but Race Week is always a highlight of March. Along with the Six Nations Championship the month is great for sports fans like me!
  • George Ezra – To be honest, if it wasn’t for my friend I don’t think I would have gone to see him live in concert but I am so glad I did! I have his album Staying at Tamara’s which is on constant repeat in my car at the moment and this sunny weather is perfect for blasting out Paradise and singing along at the top of my voice! He is even better live and the anecdotes he told throughout his set were funny too. He was supported by Sigrid who brought her catchy, bouncy pop songs to warm the crowd up. Before George came on they played Don’t Look Back in Anger into the auditorium and there is nothing like a classic Oasis song to get 15,500 people to burst into the biggest round of karaoke ever – fabulous! A brilliant evening and I’d love to see him again.

Tonight I am off out with friends to celebrate their birthdays. We are eating at The Botanist which is new in town so I’m really looking forward to trying it out. I’ve heard lots of great things about it. The restaurant looks so pretty and I bet they have an exceptional Gin/Cocktails list. Afterwards we are going to Mr. Mulligan’s Crazy Golf which I am extremely looking forward to!!!

I want to leave you with a quote from V.E. Schwab which I read from her Instagram post on 8thMarch. It was one of those motivational things you read which seems to come along at the exact time when you need it. I read it after getting some disappointing news and it really helped me to hold things together and get through the remainder of the day. I’ve referenced to it as well in my Six for Sunday post which comes up tomorrow. I’ve written it down; I read it often; it gives me the motivation to carry on doing my own thing, on my terms in my own way. I may not read as many books as everyone else; I may not post stuff on a regular basis; I may not have a viewpoint or an opinion that is groundbreakingly different or that people are even interested in; but this is my little corner of the big wide blogosphere and I am learning to stop putting myself under so much pressure to meet deadlines for this or fit into a mould for that and to just be happy and at peace with my extremely blessed life!

‘Show up. Put in the work. Let go of the outcome. The list of things out of your control is too long. Success is not guaranteed, and sometimes you can do everything right and still miss the mark. Because the mark is arbitrary, and always changing. The only thing you can do is tell your story.’

Gold star to you, reader if you made it through my March ramble! Have a super weekend and enjoy whatever is you’re up to!

T xx