January 31, 2017

Books I Read in January

Been waiting to upload this because I wanted to take some good pictures of the books, but the weather has been meh in the past few days so I gave up and took them anyway, but I'm not 100% satisfied.


Here are the books I read in January.

milk and honey

This is a truly powerful book and I'm not sure I was ready for it. I'm quite an empathic person, so poetry always makes me feel all the feels, even when it's about situations I've never faced. The content of Rupi Kaur's book is so powerful, beautiful and heart wrenching at the same time, that it kind of made me feel unwell. But I loved it, I love how it's written and the drawings and there are some lines I loved more than others and a few that really spoke to my inner self.

The two poems I loved the most, not because I didn't like the others but because I felt like they were written for me, were the one on page 109 and the one on page 194.

Also, I feel like I need to say that, even though I love poetry, I never really read books of poems. I've decided that I want this to change, because I found many interesting titles and I really want to explore this side of literature and to 'feel' and 'think' more.

Eat Smart

I talked about this book before so I won't spend many words on it in this post. 

I read all the introductory parts and the ending and most of the recipes and I must say I found it all really interesting, especially the bit where Niomi explains how, when and why she went plant-based and the part where she mentions her most used and most loved ingredients and what they are beneficial for. I found that really useful and I learned a lot. I'll go on testing the recipes and I'll let you know how they come out.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I bought this book in Brighton last August, hours before I went to see the show. I didn't want to spoil the plot so I didn't read it straightaway. After the show I decided to wait and keep it for the time I'd feel like I need a dose of JK Rowling to feel better.

Let's start from the beginning, anyway. 

Before the show I was excited, I was hopeful, and I was scared I would be disappointed, because I tend to set my expectations high, especially when I care so much about something. This time I actually tried not to set any expectation. I tried to keep my mind empty and let the show speak for himself. I didn't read the spoilers, I barely checked out the cast. 

Then I saw the show and I loved it*. I laughed and cried and I'd watch it again every night. I loved the show, loved the cast, loved the special effects, everything. What I like most about the story is the relationships between the characters. I believe JK Rowling is one of the best at creating perfectly imperfect characters, people you can always really relate to.

I loved Scorpius more than everyone else, I believe, and I think most of my love is due to the greatness of the actor that actually played him, Anthony Boyle. His voice, his movements, his interpretation, everything he did just stole the scene. I think I could see him perform a monologue in the dark and I still would be fascinated by him. But I really love theatre and good acting, so that would't be much of an effort, after all.

Apart from him, I really loved Albus/Sam Clemmett and I think the actors that played Harry, Draco and Ginny really did a good job. But it would be unfair if I didn't mention Ron and Hermione because they were great as well. The only thing is, I loved the bonding scenes between father and son (Harry-Albus and Draco-Scorpius), husband and wife (Harry-Ginny) and friends (Albus-Scorpius) the most, that's probably why all the other actors didn't really stick to my mind.

I almost forgot to mention Delphi. The actress that plays Delphi is awesome, she managed to portray a multifaceted, complex character so well. I loved her lots as well. But maybe I loved the character she portrayed a tiny bit less, though I found her story fascinating and well built (does that make sense?).

Reading the script made me want to see the show again so much, I'm actually craving it, and I know I should just be grateful that I managed to see it once but I can't help myself. I really hope they film it and put it on DVD before the cast changes, because I NEED to see Anthony Boyle and Sam Clemmett again.

Reading the script also made me realise why so many people disliked the story as soon as the book came out. The problem lies in the way it's written more than the plot itself, I think. It's hard enough to face a new book of your favourite series ever ever knowing that you might not like what it says, but reading it in the form of a script, without even knowing exactly how the actors look or how they talk, is really really confusing and hard. I think it's easier for those who see the show to appreciate it.

*Fun fact about my visit to the theatre: everyone that went to see the show in the days before and after mine (I saw Part 1 on August 11, 2016 and Part 2 on August 12) were given the #keepthesecrets pin, but they didn't give it to me, and I'm sad about that.

The Happiness Project

I started this book last year after stealing it from my boyfriend's bookshelf, but although the cover, title and topic really interested me I found it hard to finish. I didn't click with the author and found the book less appealing than I expected it to be. I still found it kind of interesting and it still made me think, anyway. 

My favourite chapter was "September: Pursue a Passion", where she talks about writing a book in a month and finding more time to read. Reading and writing are two of my favourite things as well, so I felt like that chapter really gave me some ideas. I've always thought I'd love to take part in NaNoWriMo but I never felt ready, this year maybe I'll give it a go. Or maybe I'll do that in a different month, not November, but one day I'll just start a short, silly novel and just try to see where it goes.

I'm quite proud of myself for reading four books this month, although most of them were short. Now I'm starting Anne Frank's Diary and I already have plans for the other books I want to read in February.

Book Challenge 2017:
I decided that this year I'll only tick one line off the list for each book, so I'll have to read 52 books to complete the challenge. I don't think I will manage to do so, but I want to try.
milk and honey: a bestseller from a genre you don't normally read
Eat Smart: a book about food
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: a book with multiple authors
The Happiness Project: a book with a subtitle
Marti xx

January 27, 2017

Aubergine (Meat)balls

I wasn't planning on posting twice about food this month, but last night I put together these vegetable balls and I loved them so much I just knew I had to type down the recipe here (so I can share it but also remember it myself, hahah). I took inspiration from various recipes around the web but in the end I kind of made up the ingredients and proportions myself. As usual, I have no pictures to share right now but I'll try to add some later.

These vegetable meatballs are made up of just a few ingredients and, despite the name, do not contain meat. I love the fact that they're easy to make, vegan friendly and taste soo good.

Here's the recipe:

1 aubergine
170g sliced bread (I used Warburtons Seeded Farmhouse Loaf)
A spoonful of oil
A pinch of salt
A pinch of oregano
A handful of walnuts
Start by cutting the aubergine in really small cubes, then put said cubes in a pan with a spoonful of oil and a pinch of salt and let them cook on the hob for a while, stirring them quite often in order not to burn them. Remove the pan from the hob as soon as the cubes have become brownish and soft.

In the meantime, cut the slices of bread in smaller chunks and put them in the food processor. Let them turn into crumbs, then add the walnuts and chop them up too. Add a pinch of oregano and mix everything again.

Add the aubergines to the mix and let the food processor transform the mixture into some sort of creamy dough.

Lay some baking paper on a baking sheet. Scoop up some dough and start forming walnut-sized balls until you've finished all the mixture. Line them up on the baking sheet.

Put the baking sheet in the oven at 200°C and let the balls cook for about 20 minutes.

Since none of the ingredients really needs to be cooked, you can leave them in the oven for longer or take them out earlier and the result should still be great. I left mine for 20 minutes and they ended up being crunchy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside, just as I wanted them to be. I paired them up with some mashed potatoes, and my boyfriend and I really enjoyed our dinner.

Next time I'll follow this recipe I think I'll try to shape the balls as patties and see if they taste just as good inside a bun. I'd also like to test the same recipe with different vegetables.

Let me know if you try this recipe. Also, feel free to share any of your recipes in the comments, I love to experiment in the kitchen!

Buon appetito,
Marti xx

January 25, 2017

Eating Smart

A week ago I bought a copy of Eat Smart, Niomi Smart's cookbook. As soon as I got it I started browsing through her recipes and reading chunks of text here and there. Then my boyfriend and I decided to follow at least one of her recipes every day up until today, and my goal is to try them all, sooner or later.

After going grocery shopping and buying lots of ingredients, we decided to start with her Squashetti + 'Meatballs'. We cheated a little and got some ready made squash noodles, since we don't have a spiralizer. The final result was great, both my boyfriend and I enjoyed it and I think I'll cook it again soon. The only problem I had is that the balls got a bit flat, they looked more like cookies than meatballs, but they were really delicious. They are mainly made of walnuts and lentils, if you like those two things you can't really go wrong with this recipe.

On the second day I prepared one of her grain salads, the Avocado + Turmeric Salad with Quinoa. This one is quite quick to put together and we liked it, though I think it might come second place when compared with the previous 'meatballs'.

The day after I quickly made the Warming Squash Soup. I think I put too much liquids or too little squash in there, but it turned out great anyway, and my boyfriend loved it as well.

One lunch we were really craving sweet potatoes, so we baked some Spiced Wedges. Unfortunately I burned some of them (I'm still learning how to use the oven here), but the others were soft and crunchy and incredibly good.

That afternoon I tried to bake some granola, but the oven made the heat detector go off (it happens, like, ALL THE TIME and I hate it) and that made me burn my granola, so I gave up for the day.

Yesterday I baked the same Cacao + Coconut granola and managed not to burn it (and I didn't even make the heat detector go crazy, yay!). I also made some Orange Spiced Biscuits. The granola is great and I think I'll do it again as soon as I finish the first batch, but I'm not too keen on the biscuits, I think they taste too much of coconut (oil + sugar) and whenever I'll decide to make them again I think I'll just cut on the amount of oil and sugar I put in the mix. My boyfriend really liked them though, and I noticed that they make me feel full quite fast, which is a great thing because I don't end up eating too many. They also look good, just like the ones in Niomi's pictures.

So far that's all I tested. I must say I'm happy with all the recipes, with the written parts of the book (the introductory pages are very useful) and I love love the pictures, all of them. I mean hers, the book ones, not mine. 'Cause I tried to take some pictures with my boyfriend's camera but I didn't know how to change the settings, so they all look kind of weird. But it's fine, for now. I'll take better ones some other time, maybe.

Also, before I go, I need to tell you the truth about something: I skipped some ingredients here and there in the recipes. I know it kind of defeats the point of following a recipe and that I cut out some nutrients but there are some things my boyfriend and I don't really like, such as garlic and onion, so I just avoided adding them to our recipes. Sometimes I think I'll make an effort and add them anyway, just to see how Niomi actually wanted the recipes to taste like, but for now I haven't.

(How good does that pizza look? I reeeally need to make it!)

Do you ever follow any cookbook? Have you ever tried any of Niomi's recipes?

Marti xx

January 24, 2017

Confused and Running Out of Time

I was supposed to upload a post two days ago. I completely forgot to write that, but since it talked about something that I did on November 23 I thought I could upload it the day after.

Yesterday (AKA "the day after") I started writing that post, but soon abandoned it. Today I opened that page again in order to complete it, wasted about an hour trying to fix it, then realised I wasn't happy with the result anyway.

In the end I decided to change the publishing day of that post (while whispering to myself, "I can always publish it February 23, right?") and decided to write the first few things that came to my mind just to make sure I had something to upload.

First of all, yesterday I bought a wonderful dress and I'm going to wear it for my graduation (if and when that happens).

Second, while I was trying the dress I found out the store manager was an Italian girl, about my age, and we ended up chatting for a bit. She seemed such a nice person, and she even told me to bring her my CV because she knows that there are some free positions for new employees in the other shops of the same brand. How nice is that?

Third, I should really be revising my dissertation but I can't stand it anymore and I feel sick whenever I even think of it.

Fourth, I cooked and baked quite a lot recently and you're going to hear about that pretty soon.

Now, I'd like to go on with this list until dinner but unfortunately I really have to go back to my dissertation.

Bye, thanks for stopping by.
Marti xx

January 20, 2017

Selective Shopping

I love going shopping. I like to check out all the new collections, I like to try on different things. I feel good when I buy something new. But I'm not one to splurge on many things at once, and I usually end up buying one or two items even when I try on plenty.

In the past few years I've set myself some simple rules that I always keep in mind when I'm visiting a shop. It's not something I had to force myself to do, it actually came up spontaneously. At some point I started to realise I liked some features more than others and I just stuck to that.

The first thing I do is to check out the fabrics. Whenever I see something that I like I tend to touch it, and I only proceed to take a good look at that piece if the fabric feels nice to the touch. It might seem silly, but the feeling of something against my skin is really important to me, and I hate when fabrics seem too rough or too cheap.

Whenever I'm looking for knitted tops (or other knitted items such as hats and scarves) I also take a look at their labels, because I don't like most synthetic fibres - they often feel cheap, plasticky, get ruined easily and smell bad - and I usually don't buy a top if more than 40% of it is synthetic. The only exception to this rule is viscose, because I really like how it feels on my skin, it's easy to wash and doesn't crease too much. I never buy sweaters that contain acrylic or polyester because I really really can't stand them. I generally go for cotton, viscose, cashmere or wool.

Another thing that I keep in mind is what kind of cut does (or does not) suit me. For example, I tend to buy tops with broad necklines, because I find them more comfortable (high necks make me feel like they're trying to choke me) and I also know that they look best on me, since I'm short and my neck is on the short side as well.

The third thing I keep in mind is the kind of style I'm trying to go for. This is not easy, it's always easier to go for something similar to what you already have or know, but when you find yourself constantly dissatisfied with what's in your wardrobe it's time to try and step out of your comfort zone. I also try to avoid the opposite thing, that is buying something just because I like it and then realise it doesn't match my style and can't be worn with anything I already own. Unless you're going for a complete makeover of your wardrobe, it's easier to go on step by step until you've reached the point when you like your style again.

The last thing I tend to consider before buying a new piece is whether I actually need a new one or if I have enough. I don't like to collect too many clothes so whenever I buy something new is either because I didn't have it (or didn't have enough of it) or because something needed to (or could) be replaced. A new thing comes, an old thing goes.

That's it, I think. I might have forgotten something but right now I'm happy with what I just put together.

Do you have any rule that you follow when you're going shopping? If so, let me know in the comments. I'd really like to find out whether we share some of them or if we have totally different ways.

Marti xx

January 18, 2017

In a jolly mood

I wanted to upload a post about my shopping 'rules' but I'm also in the mood for talking about what I've been doing this week, so if you're interested in the other one stay tuned, it's coming soon.

Since I've passed my exam last week I've obviously started feeling better, less anxious and more free, if that makes sense. The best days (mood wise) though have been the past two days, and today as well, because I'm closer to the end of my dissertation and that's making me feel like I might graduate for real. 

On Monday I completed the third chapter of my dissertation and, after sending it to my tutor, I went shoes shopping with my mum. I bought two pairs of shoes, which was quite unexpected because: 1. I didn't really need them and 2. I'm really, really picky when it comes to clothing and shoes, so I more often than not end up empty handed.

Yesterday I had to go to Milan for a blood test super early, and after that I went to the city centre with my mum and bought some super comfy pyjamas. We then met my brother and had our lunch together. In the afternoon I met some friends for tea and later I watched a film with my parents. We picked Brooklyn because me and my mum really wanted to see it, and oh my I LOVED IT! Like I'm ready to watch it again right now, and tomorrow. Saoirse Ronan is a fantastic actress and is a natural beauty. The plot is amazing, I'm really into mid-1900 american immigration and the like. I'd actually love to read more about this topic, because I've watched some films and I've been to Ellis Island but I've never read novels about that time. Another thing that I really like about that film is the style of their outftis and the colours of the images. The scene in which Eilis and Tony go to Coney Island is perfect, from that point of view. Another thing I enjoyed was seeing my dad super panicky because he shipped Eilis and Tony super hard and when she went back to Ireland he empathised with Tony and spent all the time worrying that she'd change her mind. Oh daddy, hahahah.

Today I landed in the UK at 8 AM (I have to catch up with sleep because lately I've had too little sleep). I went home and, since my boyfriend was out, cleaned up the whole flat (not really, I skipped the bathroom because I was tired). After that I went out to buy something to eat and along the way I picked up my Amazon order - I bought Eat Smart and Milk and Honey. I'm so happy I finally got those books! I've been waiting to get Niomi's and I don't even know why, but when Amazon told me it was out at £4.99 I just ran and paid for it. Along with that I ordered Rupi Kaur's book because lately I kept seeing her poems around and loving them so I thought why not.

At the moment I'm reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and my reading list is long, but I think Milk and Honey will soon be read as well. And I'll try and cook something from Niomi's book everyday, if I have time.

I'm bugged because I couldn't fit my Canon camera into my hand luggage today, so I won't be able to take pictures unless the boyfriend lends me his camera. Maybe I'll just ask for help with the pictures, so I can also learn something from him.

Have a nice evening,
Marti xx

January 15, 2017

Growing Up with Disney

So, as you might know I met my friend Vava for breakfast yesterday. We chatted a lot, trying to catch up with each other's life in the space of a couple of hours, sitting in front of our cappuccinos and sweet treats. Before we left the cafĂ© we exchanged our Christmas presents, then we said goodbye - and let's hope we can meet again soon, maybe even next month. 

Moving on to the present she got me, let's just say she knows me very well. She handed me a huge Disney Store bag and when I opened it I found Toy Story's Bullseye - how adorable is that - and a beautiful Woody mug.

So yeah, it's time to be honest with you all: I'm actually a seven years old tomboy.

No, just kidding. I'm not really a tomboy, I think I've been quite feminine for most of my life. But I can't promise you I'm not actually seven, because I'm not too sure myself.

Anyway, after noticing the recurring theme of Vava's presents (she is the one that got me a Woody doll last year) I thought I might just talk about the films I used to watch the most when I was younger.

Right now I love most Disney films if not all of them, and I really, really can't pick favourites because I feel like I would just be unfair, but when I was little my brother and I used to watch the same VHS tapes over and over, and I remember their titles clearly.

The first film I really got into, when I was teeny tiny, was Dumbo. Quite a weird chioce if you ask me, I don't even know why my parents picked that one, but I still have a thing for little Dumbo and I love the way it is coloured and drawn (does that even make sense? I don't know).

Then, my second huge favourite was Robin Hood. I guess my love for foxes and woodland animals in general might start from there (and other cartoons like The Animals of Farthing Wood, how good was that?). Robin Hood's story and characters are just so great, I still quote that film sometimes ("One o'clock, and all's well!" is a must in my family), and growing up I've always loved a good medieval-like setting. I also have this sweet memory of my grandfather teaching me how to shoot an arrow with the handmade bow he made for me when I was little, and my mum told me that I used to play Robin and he was Little John.

My next huuge favourite is Hercules. I think I can still sing most of the songs and repeat half of the lines in that film. Maybe it's not my favourite style drawings-wise, but it's an awesome film that suits both children and grown ups ("Hey man, wanna buy a sundial?" still cracks me up). Hades must be one of my favourite Disney villains. Oh and how cute is newborn Pegasus? 

Then I'm moving on to Toy Story. You already know I (capital L) Love it. My brother and I lived for that series. We watched those VHS tapes so many times they'd look all blurred and scratched if you try to play them now. Toy Story is still one of my favourite examples of computer animations, and I've always been fascinated by the fact that it has been Pixar's first feature-length film, and it's almost my age.

My other favourites were The Sword in the Stone (Merlin is the best of the best), Red and Toby (again, foxes), A Bug's Life, and then some non-Disney features, such as All Dogs Go to Heaven (that pizza, guys), Thumbelina (wanna talk about its soundtrack?) and Anastasia (Once Upon a December *-*).

As you can see, I didn't watch many girly films or traditional Disney princesses films. I used to love them as well and I had a couple of VHS tapes, but my brother and I were just more into other genres. I'm really happy about that though, because I feel like I had the chance to appreciate some unusual films and now that I'm older I can still watch all the ones I didn't watch back then.

What about you? What did you watch when you were little?
Marti xx

January 14, 2017

My Uni Experience: Facts and Figures

Yesterday I started this post but didn't end it, ops. I decided to publish it today, even if I'm late, because I really want to keep up with my three-posts-a-week schedule. I'm already working on tomorrow's one, so stay tuned!

I had my last university exam on thursday and I still can't believe it! I think it will take time to realise I won't have to face another exam ever again if I don't feel like doing so. Right now I'm still in a learn&revise state of mind, but I still have to complete my dissertation, as I said previously, so that's good, I guess.

I thought I could wrap up my university journey in a short and simple post, because I realise I've never talked much about what I'm doing and I'm sure that as soon as it will be over I won't be in the mood for talking about it too much. My experience has been a bit different than what I expected when I enrolled, and I had some highs and (super low) lows, so I'm not going to dwell too much on it on here. If you have questions just ask them in the comments, I'm always glad to answer them - even when they are about this kind of topics.

I'm graduating in International Relations and Applied Languages at UniversitĂ  Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. The languages I chose to learn are English and Mandarin Chinese.

Let's move onto the figures I mentioned in the title:

2013-2017: 3 academic years of courses (plus half a year to complete my dissertation)

An average of 30 hours of classes and lectures per week.

28 subjects in three years (split between recurring ones and ones that we learned for one semester only)

Favourite subjects: English Translation: Theory and Techniques; English Language and Phonology; International Regimes: Institutions and Rules (this subject's professor was hands down one of the best teachers I've ever met); History of Civilisation and Political Culture.

34 exams + 6 mid-year exams (+ 4 exams I failed and 2 I voluntarily chose to repeat)

Lowest grade: 18/30 (Chinese, three times *facepalm*)

Highest grade: 30/30 cum laude (English Translation: Theory and Techniques and Theology, twice. As you can see I covered the full scale, hahah)

Current grade (they'll grade my dissertation on a 1 to 5 scale and add that to this number in order to decide my final graduation mark): 104.27/110

25 days until I hand in my dissertation.

37 to 41 days until I graduate (yaaay).

And that's it for today, some random bits of information about my personal experience as a uni student.

Tomorrow's post is going to be more interesting, I promise. It's all about childhood and Disney.

Have a nice weekend,
Marti xx

January 11, 2017

This Week's Goals and Plans

It's only Wednesday but I already know this week is going to be full of plans and (possibly) achievements. I already know some of my goals might not be fulfilled this week, but I'm trying to focus on the positive things, so let's start with the brighter news.

First of all, as you might have noticed, I managed to get a custom domain and install it all by myself. Yay! I'm proud of this one, because I successfully did it without asking for help and it didn't even take so long, I expected it to be a slow process but no, www.paperplanepond.co.uk is already here. 100 points to Gryffindor!

My friend Vava and I managed to organise our Christmas gift exchange breakfast. I know it's a bit late for Christmas meetings but our agendas are always so full of things to do and we didn't manage to see each other earlier. We last met in July (or June even?), so I really can't wait to see her!

I also booked a super cheap flight to London for next week, that's another great news for sure! I can't wait to be back to London, I've already planned to buy myself a couple of books and explore a bit, although I will have to focus on my dissertation quite a lot.

Which brings us to the other side of the coin, the ugly boring university stuff. Tomorrow I'll have to face a tricky written exam. It's supposed to be my last exam ever ever, but if I fail I'll have to repeat it in February, and that might mess up my plans quite a lot, since I still have to complete my dissertation and have it printed and I'm supposed to graduate by the end of February, right before my birthday. I'm freaking out a little because I feel like I won't pass the exam and I won't be able to hand in my dissertation before the deadline, but I keep switching between this negative mood and the more confident one and I hope the second one will win.

That's it for today. I might come back and add a picture to this post at some point, but this week the sky has been grey all the time and it didn't put me in the mood for pictures.

Have a nice day,
Marti xx

January 08, 2017

Feeling meh

It's Sunday and in order to stick to my new schedule I'm supposed to upload something before the end of the day.

Let's start by saying that I think I might have a flu. I've had constant headaches for the past few days and I feel all the usual symptoms - achy limbs, stingy eyes, weird feeling in my mouth. I'm also freezing, and I'm wearing layers and layers of winter clothes.

That might be one of the reasons I don't feel inspired for a blog post today. The other is the fact that I'm a bit worried for my exam and dissertation and whenever I feel nervous I tend to forget how to "do things", so any activity becomes kind of challenging.

I thought I might share some tricks I generally follow when I need to take a break in between studying sessions, or when I feel stressed in general.

First of all, I like to go out and take a walk. I like to explore the neighbourhood, visit a couple of shops or buy something to snack on as I walk. I think that going out to observe the world and other people's life for a bit helps to resize whatever problem you might be facing that is causing your stress, and also helps to understand where the cause of the stress lies, since sometimes it happens to feel anxious or upset or sad without knowing why.

Second, I like to do something practical, handmade, like DIYs or baking or colouring in a picture, because this kind of activities lets me feel like I'm actually doing something, unlike intangible stuff like learning or revising. While I do those activities I can also choose whether I want to think about what is making me feel worried or stressed or just disconnect my brain for a while. Recently I've taken up puzzles, and I like to put together some pieces while I unwind.

Another thing I often do is watching YouTube or a film or an episode of some TV series, because it helps me disconnect from my real life for a bit and focus on something different, either useful or just entertaining.

What about you? What do you do when you need to rest your mind?

Marti xx

January 06, 2017

Ed Is Back

On New Year's day I woke up (earlier than expected) and the first thing I found out was that Ed Sheeran would release new music later in the week. This is what I needed to hear! Finally, Ed is back! I missed his sweet face and ginger hair and his music and I can't wait to find out what his beautiful mind has been creating in the past year. I'm also pretty sure that 2017 won't suck as much as 2016 now that he's back (makes sense, right?).

Screenshot of Ed's announcement video on Facebook

To celebrate today's new music release, I thought I could look back to when Ed Sheeran entered my life and write down some memories.

Lego House - I first heard of Ed through this song. A friend of mine told me to check out "a song that has something to do with Lego, because Ron is in the music video". I did and I fell in love with Ed from the beginning. The music, lyrics, voice, handsome ginger guy(s)... I immediately checked out all of his songs on YouTube, watched the videos, and from then on he became one of my favourite singers/songwriters ever ever. I could listen to him on repeat for days (and I actually do).

Ed Sheeran's music is also one of the first things that Lorenzo mentioned when we first met, and that made me realise that he was a special person and that we shared something. After we got together, we went to see Ed in concert in Milan, and it was just as I imagined. I really hope to see him again soon somewhere.

Screenshot of Ed's announcement video on Facebook

This morning I listened to the two songs he just released and I must say I liked them. So far I like Castle on the Hill a little more than Shape of You, but I think they are both catchy and I can't wait to listen to the full album.

What about you? Did you listen to the songs and, if so, did you like them? (I'm taking for granted you like Ed Sheeran here because come on, who doesn't)

Have a nice day,
Marti xx

January 04, 2017

A New Reading Challenge

I'm ready to start with this year's Popsugar Reading Challenge, but first let's sum up the books I've read last year and see how far I went with the 2016 Reading Challenge.

Image copyright: Popsugar 2017

First of all, I want to spend a couple of words on the books I've read and still haven't talked about.

The first one is The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna, which is really a wonderful book (both aesthetically and content wise). I'm going to talk more about it in another post, and I promise I will (I feel like I need to write this promise down so I'll have to keep my word, because I've read this book before summer and still haven't even taken pictures for the blogpost I had in my mind).
  • A self-improvement book
  • A book you can finish in a day

The second book I haven't mentioned yet is Always With Love by Giovanna Fletcher. You just know how much I love her novels.
  • A book that is published in 2016
  • A book and its prequel
  • A book with a blue cover
  • A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy

The third book is Winters' Snow by Carrie Hope Fletcher. Basically, I went to Waterstones in Piccadilly to track down the only book Giovanna Fletcher published that I do not have (which is Dream a Little Christmas Dream) and I came out with Carrie's book instead. I didn't even know this tiny book existed (and I don't even know how I missed this important information), but as soon as I saw it I just had to get it.
  • A book that's under 150 pages
  • A book you can finish in a day
  • A book that is published in 2016
  • A book and its prequel
  • A book with a blue cover

Let's move on to the actual challenge results.

Books read in 2016: 11 
Challenges checked off of the list: 14 
Challenges I missed: 26

All in all, I can say I'm pretty proud of myself, although I would have loved to check all the challenges off the list. I also thought I'd read more than eleven books, but apparently I didn't. Oh well, it's still a good number, and I definitely have room for improvement.

Now let's move onto this year's Popsugar Reading Challenge. I read all the ideas they've written on the list this year and I'm really intrigued by some of them, and I love the randomness of others.

Are you going to accept the challenge?
Let me know what book you're reading and your favourite books of 2016.

Marti xx

January 01, 2017

Happy 2017!

I'm not ready to write down a proper list of resolutions but I can tell you one thing, and that is that this year I'll really try to take my blog more seriously than I ever did before. I'll try to be more active and consistent and I'll try to upload three posts a week, on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

I'm going to get a brand new domain name with the help of my boyfriend (who offered to get me a domain as a Christmas present) and of the lovely Jordan of hellomissjordan.com who kindly answered to some of my questions concerning blog makeovers. I'll probably make some minor change to the look of my blog as well, and I'm finally going to write something in the 'About Me' page (something that I kept putting off for some reasons).

Along with those changes, I'd love to see an increased number of returning readers and comments, and I'm going to make an effort to feel less shy and put my blog 'out there' a bit more than I ever did. Who knows, I might even reveal my real life friends that I have a blog. 

Oh, and I'd like to take part in bloggers activities, such as chats, and maybe meet some fellow bloggers and make some new friends in London, that would be great.

As you can see the plans for my blog are huge. What about yours? Also, do you have any advice?

Happy new year. Let's hope it's a good one.
Marti xx