Saturday, 27 February 2016

Cwtched Up With A Classic: Of Mice and Men

My first English Literature exam is in January and my English class has started to read 'Of Mice and Men' to get ready for it, I finished the book a good few weeks ago and all I can say is that I am completely in love with it. 

This book was so much more than I expected it to be and it's one that I'm glad that we're taking into the exam because I enjoyed it which will hopefully mean that the story will stick better in my head. This whole book is based around George and Lennie and the decisions that they make both as a pair and individuals and how that has an effect on their life. There were so many places where the plot surprised me and where I was hoping for the best with some characters. 

One of the main things that I found with this book is that I got really attached to George and Lennie. I found it impossible not to feel for them and wish that they had a better life.Steinbeck created these characters in a way that you can't help but run through every single emotion that they're feeling. George has ended up becoming one of if not my favourite character. I love the way that he's always looking out for Lennie and how he tries to make the both of them happy and stand up for Lennie the best he can. 

It was a really cleverly crafted book. There were a lot of emotional moments and a lot of themes that ran throughout the book. Friendship was an extremely strong theme that continuously ran throughout the book and it was so enjoyable to read. It's the kind of book that I could quite easily just go back to and read again, which is good since I need to re-read it for my exam anyway. 

It was such an enjoyable book though and I'm really glad that I had the chance to read it. 


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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Book Review: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Title: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist 
Author: David Levithan & Rachel Cohn 
Publisher: Ember
Release Date: 28/08/2007
Pages: 183
Service: Gift
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository

'It all started when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who's just walked into his band's show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City - and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Movie Review: Water For Elephants

Title: Water For Elephants 
Based On: Sara Gruen's - 'Water For Elephants' 
Running Time: 120 minutes
Director: Francis Lawrence 
Writer: Richard LaGravenese
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz

'After his parents' death. Jacob Jankowski is left penniless and homeless. Events lead to him joining the circus as their vet, working under their unstable boss, August, whose violent tendencies give everyone reason to be cautious around him, including his beautiful and quiet wife, Marlena, who August is very possessive of and who Jacob finds himself soon falling in love with.'

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Book Review: Pretty Little Liars

Title: Pretty Little Liars 
Author: Sara Shepard 
Publisher: Atom 
Series: Pretty Little Liars #1
Release Date: 01/11/2010
Pages: 244
Service: Gift
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository 
Author Twitter: @sarabooks

'Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back?'

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Wanderlust: Barcelona (#2)

Another place that I am dying to go in Barcelona, Spain and I'm not ashamed to say that this first stemmed from my love of 'Cheetah Girls 2'. The architecture there seems absolutely stunning and I love architecture. I find it really interesting to look at and think about how it was designed and made so that it could still be a safe structure whilst being so unique. 

The Sagrada Familia is definitely a place that I would want to visit. The architecture that go into churches just look so amazing. All the small intricate details both inside and out. You can tell that a lot of thought and time went into it. I also love hearing the stories about the churches as well. When and why it was built and the traditions of the church now. 

The Torre Agbar is a skyscraper that always seems to be seen in any vantage point photographs that I see of Barcelona. It's a 38-story skyscraper that just looks amazing. The way that it looks in the night when the building it all lit up just looks fantastic. It's currently the tallest building in Barcelona at 142 metres high. 

I love looking at botanical gardens and the Jardi Botanic Barcelona looks like the perfect place to just be able to wander around for a while at your own pace if you just want a relaxing day out. 

The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria looks like such a vibrant and exciting place to go. Local markets of different countries are something that I want to see a lot more of when I go away on holiday and this one just looks like it's bursting with life. 
Those are just a few of the things that I would love to go and see if I get the chance to go and see Barcelona but there are a few other things that are on the list. 
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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Coping With My First Term in Sixth Form

My first term in sixth form was probably one of the scariest things I have experienced for a lot of reasons. It was an entirely new school for me and I pretty much knew no one there, A Levels just seemed like a daunting prospect to me and the school was massive compared to my old one. But now it's all done and dusted with and I can say that I survived that first term. 

Settling in wasn't as much of a challenge as I thought it would be. I quickly got to know the people n my form class and classes and started to make friends and it didn't take me long to find a group of friends that I got a long with pretty well and individually were in my classes as well. One of the biggest hurdles to get through when joining a new school seemed to be cleared after three weeks of being there and I could not have been more grateful. 

My subjects seemed to be a completely different ball game compared to GCSE but that was something that I had been prepared for. I knew that it was going to be a pretty big leap going to GCSE to A Level but experiencing it was completely different. Maths was an entirely new syllabus for me since I hadn't done additional maths but it was something that I knew had to adjust to quickly. Whilst physics and maths were subjects that I found myself falling in love with even more, biology was a subject that I really wasn't enjoying and if anything, I was dreading my lessons so much. After two weeks of trying to get through the lessons, I realised that maybe this wasn't the subject for me and I decided to have a chat with my head of year to swap my subject around. I initially wanted to swap Biology around for History but it turned out that the History class was completely full with people moving into the class. So, in the end I decided that I would swap to Economics instead. That came with it's ow task of copying two weeks of the course up and trying to catch up with the basics that were right at the start of the course. I managed to get my head around it all though and enjoyed it a lot more than I did Biology. 

Towards the beginning of the term I decided that I was going to sign up to become a Prefect. The title doesn't particularly entail much and is mostly me having to make sure none of the lower school come into the building during lunchtime for half an hour once a week and help out the Parents' Evening and Open Evenings. As well as that, I managed to get a space on the HE+ program which is a scheme that's run by Cambridge University to teach students in Year 12 out of the syllabus and give them advice on applying to Russell Group Universities. Even though it's not the most exciting Tuesday evening, I have people there that help me get through it. 

Altogether, my first term in sixth form was enjoyable but still very stressful. I don't think anything was going to prepare me for what A Levels were going to bring with them but I'm slowly adjusting to them and getting use to them. 

I hope everyone's having a good second term back in school/college right now and everything has settled down.
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Saturday, 6 February 2016

Looking Back At: January 2016

What's Been Going On?

For me, January is always a month that's slow to go by and it's never the happiest of months after the high energy of Christmas quickly come crashing down. Heading back to school does nothing to help that either and after finishing my first term in sixth form the school thought that it would be a great time to start mock exams off. So, heading back to school was exactly a cheerful experience at the beginning of the month. Thankfully, I only had four mocks to sit: two maths, one economics and one for physics. And respectively I ended up getting 2 As, a B and a C which I was definitely pleased with. 

Other than that, it's been a pretty quiet month. I've seen the arrival of my new bookcase which I was extremely excited for. My room had been painted in August and since then my books have been residing in boxes in my parents' room since I haven't been able to find a bookcase that I've liked and would fit in my room since I haven't got much space. But I finally found one and nothing has brought me greater joy than to see my book all lined up on shelves. 

I've been slowly getting myself back into blogging and it's been helping me find a balance between school work and just having me time again. It's been so nice to just be able to write since all of my subjects are maths based. Hopefully, I'm going to be able to keep this up for now, even if I'm just posting twice a month to start of with until I get back into the swing of things again. 


I'm so glad that this has been a month that I've slowly been able to get back into reading. I set my reading challenge a lot lower than previous years, down to 15 books but I had to make it realistic. I've been so busy with sixth form, I wasn't sure how much time I would have to read when summer came along and towards the end of the year when I'll hopefully be applying to Uni. But, whilst it's been quiet I thought I would get a head start. 

So, here's what I've managed to read:  
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 
  • Binge by Tyler Oakley 
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K Rowling 
And I'm currently reading: 
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen 


A photo posted by Saira Ahmed (@sai_498) on

I hope you all have had a good start to the year! 

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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Book Review: Eleanor & Park

Title: Eleanor & Park 
Author: Rainbow Rowell 
Publisher: Orion 
Release Date: 12/04/2012
Pages: 325
Service: Library 
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @rainbowrowell

'Eleanor is the new girl in tow, with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and her unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried. 

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black t-shirts, headphone, head in a book - he things he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor. 

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love they way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.'

This was the first Rainbow Rowell book that I picked up and I can quite happily say that I was not at all disappointed in what I read. I had started to read this book with high hopes and if anything, this book exceeded all expectation. Rainbow Rowell, you have yourself a new fan. 

'Eleanor & Park' was a memorising story of two people discovering love for the very first time and how they cope with that. It was such a beautifully written story and Rowell's writing style was something that I gelled with so well. I couldn't get through the book faster once I had started it. 

Her characters were perfectly written. I loved how they weren't your stereotypical character. Both Eleanor and Park had insecurities that they knew about and they didn't like and didn't really come to terms with feeling comfortable with. It was nice seeing that side of characters, seeing them not feel comfortable with the way they look or just who they are as a person. They had problems and they were realistic problems, ones that you would come across. Rowell has no problem with throwing diverse characters into this story with made it such a refreshing read. We see different cultures in there and the way that those cultures effect the characters. 

The plot itself was written so well. There were parts where my heart just ached for some characters and the plight that they were in. You couldn't help but empathise with them. Though you could see where the plot was going, it wasn't in an annoying predictable way that you didn't want to read the rest of the book. I wanted to keep reading to see if I was right, to see how things were going to end. 

Did I expect the ending? No, not at all. It's such a heart breaking book that when I read the ending, I wish that it didn't finish there. I am yearning for more of Eleanor and Park's story.
I can give nothing but praise for this book and I'll definitely be picking up more of Rowell's books. 

Favourite Quote: 


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