#shelfie

For a bibliophile – just a fancy word for someone that loves and collects books – a bookshelf can be an unmitigated disaster. Perhaps the most difficult part is finding one large enough to accommodate all of ones books!

But how to properly organise is also a hotly-debated topic. So, I thought that I would put my two cents in and tell you all how do it. Or, I suppose, how it is right now because I regularly change it!

I have three main ways that I organise my bookshelf depending on how I am feeling when I do it. I have the artistic way, the easy way and the traditional way. But one thing that is never affected is my top shelf which is home to my classics.

The top shelf remains the home of the classics regardless of anything else. Novels on one side, poetry and plays on the other. Novels are organised by time, beginning with Homer’s The Odyssey and ending with Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye. I decided to organise them like this because I like the way it looks and I like the simplicity of it. The poetry, on the other hand is organised in a blend of time and size because books of poetry vary drastically in size and that has to be taken into account.

But! The three ways I organise the bulk of my bookcase are as follows:

  1. the artistic way
    • this means that the books are arranged in colour order, spreading from white through to yellow, through to orange, to red, to pink, to blue, through to grey and finishing with black
    • I like the way this looks on the bookshelf so I regularly organise it like this however, there are a few downsides
    • it makes it remarkably difficult to find anything unless I can remember what colour it is (and that doesn’t happen often!)
    • so, my bookshelf is organised like this regularly but never for very long at a time
  2. the easy way
    • the easy way is organising it by how often I read a book, ones that get read more go at the top and ones that I don’t read very often go at the bottom
    • not particularly inspired or even very nice-looking
    • often comes after the artistic way because it’s the least effort and the quickest to sort
    • extremely dull though so I get bored of it very quickly and then it’s onto way three…
  3. the traditional way
    • this is where I try to make my bookshelf look as much like a shelf in a library as possible
    • it is organised by genre with each genre being divided into sub-sections and each sub-section is organised by the author’s last name
    • if I decide to go all out, there are dividers to show each section and the genre of each, with the sub-sections written on each one
    • unfortunately, whilst this is organised and perfect… it doesn’t make it very easy to add in new books and thus, back to the artistic way we go

My favourite is probably the artistic way because it looks gorgeous without being too much extra effort!

Let me know how you organise your books in the comments? By colour? By author’s name? Do you organise your books at all or do you just put them anywhere? I want to know!

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vintage on a shoestring

This weekend I was lucky enough to get to attend a truly remarkable event in the south east of England called the Goodwood Revival. It is a show that celebrates all things vintage from the cars to clothes to the cooking!

Everybody dresses up and I saw everything from a 1920s America gangster to a 1960s hippy. It really gives you a chance to just go all out, and go all out I did!

 

20170909_081846.jpgThis is a close-up photo of my outfit with focus on my make up and the accessories. (please ignore the awful background, I’m new to this!)

 

20170909_115839.jpgThis is a second photo of me at the event itself, stood next to a beautiful Cadillac with more of a general look at the entire ensemble.

My outfit and make up of choice was inspired by the glamour of the 1950s film stars like the wonderful Grace Kelly and most notably by the fabulous looks of the irreplaceable Audrey Hepburn.

I paired my 1950s inspired Lindy Bop dress with its lively print of hand mirrors with a few choice elegant accessories such as a pair of white gloves from a vintage shop called The Real McCoy’s, a string of costume pearls that I borrowed from my grandma and a white hat that I picked up from a charity shop for an absolute steal!

The makeup was heavily inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s early looks and featured light eyeshadow with dark eyeliner and a large cat eye flick (I think it looks rather good for my first real attempt!) and slightly overdrawn pale pink lips.

Overall the outfit was a classic and elegant look that fitted in perfectly with the people around me at this amazing event! But even better than that because nothing cost me over £30 and the most expensive part was the dress itself! I call it ‘vintage on a shoestring’!

But this post was mostly to show off my gorgeous outfit and also to tell you all that I am rolling this blog out to incorporate a few other things that I love, this will still be books but with an added element of vintage fashion and possibly some of my own original work!

Let me know what you think of my outfit in the comments and tell me about any amazing vintage finds you’ve found on a budget!

just a quick life update!

I – like many other people – got my A-Level results on Thursday and I am happy to say that all the hard work paid off and I achieved more than I needed to get a place at my first choice university.

So this is just a very quick one to say congratulations to everyone who picked up their results and I hope that you all did brilliantly!

But this is also to say that if you didn’t do as well as you hoped, then it is not the end of the world. Exams and grades don’t mean everything and you can still achieve anything you want to. Good luck in the future and seriously, don’t worry too much!

As they say, whatever will be will be!

 

 

 

 

 

 

as of today

As of today, I have had this blog for a year. It has changed since I first started it but then, so have I. This blog has grown with me as I have and I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone that has read of my posts, and an even bigger thank you to the people that have stuck with it from the beginning.

This year has been a really big and exciting year for me and it’s been wonderful to share even parts of that with you all! Here is a short list of some of the best bits about this year.

  • I finished college and I got accepted into my first choice university, I’m going to study Creative Writing and English Literature in September.
  • I went to Rome and it reminded me why I love city breaks, I went to so many amazing places and saw so many amazing things.
  • I actually starting writing properly again, and writing something that I’m actually going to finish!
  • I got even more into slam poetry and actually managed to write my own, it’s not perfect but it is mine and I love it.
  • I got given a camera as a birthday present and have since got into photography, again, I’m not brilliant but I’m having fun! Maybe I’ll put some up in the future and you can all see how not great I am!

But no, this year has been amazing and I just wanted to say thank you! Here’s to many more years!

 

 

 

something a little bit different

This is something a little bit different because I’m not writing about books. But I am going to write about something else that is incredibly important to me.

I re-watched a film recently that I love, I had forgotten quite how much I loved it. Made in Dagenham is an amazing film with a wonderful cast. It’s set in the late 1960s in Britain and follows the story of the women’s strikes at Ford regarding pay equality.

It is a story of strong, real women who fought for gender equality long after Emmeline Pankhurst and her Suffragettes. This is not to say that the work that the Suffragettes did wasn’t crucial because it was, without it women may never have fought for other things like equal pay. But it does show that women’s fights are not over. They weren’t then and they aren’t now. The battle may be different but the war is still the same.

But after watching this film again, I started thinking more about feminism and I decided that I wanted to share my thoughts on it with you.

People laugh at third-wave feminism, saying that it’s ‘man-hating’ and ‘militant’, many people – particularly celebrities – refuse to identify with the label of ‘feminist’ because of these implications. But this just isn’t the case. This may be the case for a tiny minority but the majority of people who fight under the title of feminism want exactly what everyone else wants. Equality. What about that is militant?

The ideas encompassed in third-wave feminism are in fact, the most accepting and diverse. True third-wave feminism is about intersectionality, the inclusion of all women instead of the vile, prevalent ‘white feminism’ of the second wave. Third-wave feminism was designed to include women of colour and LGBTQ+ women. It is also incredibly important for men and non-binary people as one of the main focuses of third-wave feminism is about battling gender roles and expectations which affect everyone, not just straight, white women.

As with any group, there are a few who have taken it to the extremes, those who have taken an almost misandrist approach and those who having been oh-so-lovingly branded TERFs – to stand for trans-exclusionary radical feminists – but these are not the majority and thus, third-wave feminism is still the most accepting and open of all strands of feminism. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still massive issues that need to be fixed, as a white woman I am unable to speak on behalf of women of colour but I am aware that there are still issues surrounding their inclusion and issues of white women speaking over them about problems that only affect them. There are also issues within the community regarding the inclusion of LGBTQ+ women, mostly issues surrounding gender rather than sexuality but that is not to say that there are none.

So, no, I am not going to stand here and tell you that it’s perfect. Because it’s not. But then, nothing is so how about, instead of writing it off because of this, we work together to make it as close to perfect as possible.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this something a little bit different. Let me know what you think and maybe I’ll write more like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

not to be too Austen-tatious…

but novels make me completely, and perfectly, and incandescently happy!

Finally (!) after having it on my to-read list for months, years even (!) I have finally read Pride and Prejudice. It was as incredible as I always knew it would be and I don’t know why it took me so long to finally buy a copy!

I loved the setting, Regency England is one of my favourite periods in English history, the glitz and the glamour of the culture of high society is caught so beautifully by Austen with her vivid descriptions of beautiful houses, beautiful dresses, beautiful people and their beautiful lives. The description of Pemberley are some of my favourites and one can imagine the beauty of it simply from the words of wonder Austen weaves into the narrative

However, whilst the setting and the descriptions are excellent, it is the characters that make Pride and Prejudice such a brilliant novel! The Bennett sisters are all wonderful and, to be perfectly candid, I would struggle to pick a favourite if Elizabeth didn’t soar above so far. Out of the others, a favourite is near impossible because I love them all for their own characters which are all very different. For whilst I love Jane for her solid, steadfast and kindly nature, I also love Lydia for her demeanour which could be called the exact opposite. Mary and her constant feeling of inadequacy covered by bluster and over-confidence struck a cord with me as did Kitty’s constant comparison to Lydia and her constantly being dragged into trouble by the younger sister.

But Elizabeth, Elizabeth Bennett, with her witty turns of phrase and no-nonsense attitude is by far my favourite sister. Her slightly more cynical view of marriage and society coupled with her fierce loyalty, her witticisms and her passionate love for Darcy make her a truly brilliant woman and a wonderful character. She is a strong, independent woman capable of making her own informed, intelligent decisions that is still an excellent role model to young girls.

And Darcy, the hero of our novel, the classically handsome, witty, loyal, kind-hearted, proud, dismissive, oxymoronic Mr Darcy. I loved him, I loved the way he was presented to begin with and how Austen slowly reveals more about him throughout the novel until, like Elizabeth, the reader realises that they had completely misjudged him. This is shown through his change from proud and dismissive man he appears to be at the ball at Netherfield to the kind-hearted, loyal man he is shown to be in the latter part of the novel. A large part of this is shown through his loyalty to his close friend Bingley and how he wishes to help him even though the actions he takes are not necessarily for the best. This makes him feel so much more real because he isn’t perfect and he does make mistakes. But the main thing that made me love Darcy are the scenes in which he talks about or to his younger sister. The clear devotion in everything he says and his utter adoration for her wee what made me see him for the loving, kind-hearted man he is shown to be in the latter parts of the novel.

And the relationship between the two of them is also excellent. I love the way their relationship develops throughout the novel and I love that it is never at the expense of her character. Elizabeth is still the same fiery, antagonistic, independent woman that she begins the novel as. This was uncommon in Regency era literature where most of the women in novels were Janes rather than Elizabeths but that is why Pride and Prejudice has stood the test of time and why it is still as enjoyable now as it was when it was written.

Their relationship is built on them being equal intellectually and morally, if not socially. The equal nature of their characters makes this an excellent portrayal of what a relationship should be like, especially towards the end of the novel. Their teasing, sweet, loyal, loving relationship is honestly wonderful and will lead to a happy mariage. As Elizabeth states towards the end of the novel, she is “happier even than Jane, she only smiles, I laugh“.

 

secondhand treasures

I am a fan of secondhand anything, I love hunting charity shops and vintage stores for hidden gems. I love that everything you buy has a story already and that you are just adding to an already rich history. This is why one of my favourite things to buy secondhand are books. I love finding secondhand books where someone has scrawled notes on the edges of the pages. I love secondhand books with turned over corners and cracked spines. Splodges of ink and passages underlined. I love seeing the parts that other people loved – or didn’t. I just think that there is something sort of magical about old books with stories upon stories.

Because in a way, you get two. You get the story of the actual book you’re reading but then you also get the story of the previous owner, you get to see how well-loved the book was and how many times they read it. You can see if they felt the same way about the characters as you do, even 20, 30, 50 years apart.

I also love secondhand books because who wouldn’t love to be able to buy a hardback copy of Pride and Prejudice for £1.50? It’s a wonderful way of doing it and if you don’t buy secondhand, then please give it a go!

Here are some of the gems I have found:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – £1.50

Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare – £1.50

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas – £1.00

Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare (annotated)£1.00

The Importance of being Earnest and other plays by Oscar Wilde – 50p

 

Secondhand books are cheap and they’re beautiful. I know that some people prefer buying things new but honestly, buying things secondhand, be it books or clothes or anything not only helps you because the price is so much lower than it would ever be to buy it brand new but it so often also helps other people. Charity shops use the money they get to help others so please, just, give them a chance. You might find something amazing!

Let me know what book bargains you’ve got from buying secondhand in the comments!