Monday, 30 January 2012

Semester 2, Year 2 - Half way...

So as it stands, I am officially less than an hour away from starting my 2nd semester of my 2nd year of university. Provided I don't get held back for failing (Unlikely, but I thought I'd mention it) I am now officially half way through my degree. SCARY. I'm only 19, yet I'm only 18 months away from possibly taking the first steps onto the career ladder. I'm not even sure that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I originally decided to do Biomedical science at University because I was under the impression that I was more likely to get a job this way, and now that's not even true because there are hardly any jobs in this sector any more due to the economic climate. Lovely.

Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to this semester. I just would have preferred a bigger gap after my exams to cool down! (And that the course wasn't going by so ridiculously fast!)

So that's just a little rant.

Writing is unfortunately my Plan B. It's a Plan B that I really want to be a Plan A, but I need to be realistic.

On a happier note, the blogfests that I'm taking part in are coming up soon, and I'm really looking forward to them! Make sure you check them out, the buttons are over on the right hand side of the blog!

Sarah x

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The one about the Oscars and the writers block

I spent the whole of my exams and revision time desperately wanting to be free so that I could get settled down into my manuscript. I have officially been free for a week, but now I can't seem to write anything! It's so infuriating. I can't work out if this is because I really don't have a good grip on my plot, or if I'm just so zapped from my exams. It's not just a new phenomenon though, this always happens. When I really can't afford to spend time on my writing, it's all that I can think about. However, when I get my free time and sit down to write, a tumble weed blows across my keyboard. ARGH!

On another and brighter note, I've signed myself up for another Blogfest! The 'origin's' blogfest which is happening on the 13th of February. I can't wait for this one either. If you're interested, click on the button on the side of my page!

Also, the Oscar nominee's were announced earlier today, and although I'm happy that there are so many nominations for 'The Help' because that is an awesome book and film, I was very annoyed that Michael Fassbender didn't get a nomination for 'Shame'. Although the film isn't out yet in the UK, I have seen nothing but high praise for it. Not only was he predicted a nomination, but the award itself! I feel very annoyed that he's been snubbed (but when it comes to Fassbender, I am decidedly biased!). But hey, ho, that's Hollywood for you!

Sarah xx

EDIT: I have since seen Shame. Although the film itself is good (well made, well acted), I'm not sure if I enjoyed it. Its a very different style to your typical film. The subject matter is very disturbing also and if you have any qualms about nakedness, this won't be the film for you. It can't have been easy to be an actor in this film so Carey Mulligan and Michael Fassbender defiantly need more recognition than they're currently getting!

Monday, 23 January 2012

The moment I realise I'm narrating my own life...

Not a very long post today, I just want to talk quickly about something I've noticed recently...

For example, I got out of the shower earlier and had my towel on the radiator because my Uni house is badly insulated and it's COLD here. But this is what went though my head...

"Wrapping the towel around her body felt like being enveloped in a warm, dry hug. She breathed a sigh of contentment."
It was at that moment that I realised... I'm narrating my own life.

It happened again when I went down to my kitchen to get myself something to eat and discovered one of my lovely house mates had left dirty dishes all around the kitchen.  The first thing in my head

"She blew out a breath through tightly pursed lips. The kitchen was a mess. Again."
When I wrote my profile in 3rd person, it was meant to be a joke. I didn't mean I actually talked about myself in the 3rd person... but now it seems that I do!

Is this an odd thing? Or, is this just something that comes with having a writer's head attached to my shoulders?

Perhaps one of the more experienced writers out there can tell me if they do this too, so I don't think I'm going crazy!

Sarah x

Friday, 20 January 2012

Book Haul!

A parcel arrived for me the other day! This is what it contained:

I've already read Anna and the French Kiss. Finished it in one all-night sitting, and I'm nearly finished Looking for Alaska. I'll be giving a round up of my thoughts on the books I've read in January at the end of the month! 

Also, I got my Kindle! I wanted to wait until after my exams were over so I didn't get distracted from my exams but now that they're over, I went to the store and bought it! So far the only books I have downloaded are the free classics, like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I have only read a few of the 'Classics' because I find them difficult to really get into. But hopefully the appeal of the kindle will push me to make a better effort!

My exams were... tough. But I had been warned about this from a friend who finished the same course a year ago. The last exam, which he aptly named the 'bitch' module, was an absolute train wreck. I'm glad it's over but I am worried that I might have failed. If that's the case, I'll have to try again in August. Fingers crossed I won't have to go through the torture of that again!

Sarah xx

Monday, 16 January 2012

My First Blogfest!

I'm taking part in my first blogfest! Hurray!

Here are the credentials for the posts. I'll be well finished my exams by then so it'll be no trouble for me to do come February!

The Posts:

February 6th - MondayCharacters on the couch: Have one of your characters answer the following questions (to make this work to your benefit, choose a character who is the hardest for you to write :) Max 250 words (Not including the questions—only the answers).

1.      What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret?
2.      What do people believe about you that is false?
3.      What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why?
4.      What would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?
5.      What do you want most? What will you do to get it?

February 8th - Wednesday - Dialogue Introduction: Have two characters introduce each other using only dialogue—no backstory, no internalization, just dialogue between the two. Max 250 words.

February 10th - Friday - Emotion Flash Fiction: Emotion is the engine of a story. Pick an emotion and in a flash fiction piece of 250 words MAKE us feel it! We want to connect with your character. This will be a challenge in 250 words.

If you want to take part, of just find out about this and of course the fabulous prizes, then check out either of the co-hosting blogs HERE or HERE

I'm very excited! So keep tuned for those posts on the 6th, 8th and 10th of February!

Sarah x 

Friday, 13 January 2012

Starstruck: Period Drama Costume Exhibition

WARNING: Picture heavy posts.

A while ago there was an exhibition in my local museum which featured actual costumes from some of the best known and loved period drama films and TV shows. It was a fabulous experience seeing all the costumes up close and personal. The detail is so fine, way beyond what the camera's can pick up, so I wonder why they do it? The work that would have gone into some of them is astounding.

Here are some of the pictures of my favourite costumes, the movie that they're in and the actor/actress that wears it.

Howards End - Susie Linderman

Onegin - Liv Tyler

The Secret Garden - Irene Jacobs

The Merchant Of Venice - Joesph Fiennes

Portrait Of A Lady - Nicole Kidman

Charles II: The Power And The Passion - Rufus Sewell

Downton Abbey - Maggie Smith

Downton Abbey - Jessica Brown-Findlay

Downton Abbey - Thomas Howes and Rose Leslie

Downton Abbey - Michelle Dockery

Pride and Prejudice - Colin Firth

Elizabeth I - Cate Blanchett

Phantom Of The Opera - Minnie Driver

Casanova - Heath Ledger 

The Kings Speech - Freya Wilson and Ramona Marquez

The Kings Speech - Colin Firth

The King's Speech - Helena Bonham Carter

Ever After - Drew Barrymore

Sarah xx

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Wonders of Listening

I don't know if there are many people who listen to Audiobooks, or even to spoken word on the radio but I just love having people talk to me. I also subscribe to a number of podcasts. During the summer, where I have a lot more time on my hands, it sometimes gets so bad that I don't know what to do unless someone is talking to me!

My favourite audiobooks and radio series' are as follows:

1. Animals of Farthing Wood.

This was my childhood. It was on the BBC for 3 series, and I had an audiobook. I must have listened to it every night until the cassette tapes broke, and then I think insisted that I got new tapes and wore those out. It was amazing, and from the TV series anyway, it was real. The animals died which is uncommon in children's TV nowadays. I found the intro theme on Youtube, and the nostalgia had me tearing up!

2. Earthsearch

When I grew up a bit mum let me in on the wonders of Earthsearch. It's a sci-fi radio drama from the 1980's, set on a ship that has been searching for an earth type planet, and when it returns home, the earth has vanished. It's amazing, as is the sequel and the spin off series. We also abused this until the cassette's gave out. Thankfully, the BBC brought out CD version's of it so we now have those to see us through.

3. Old Harry's Game

A radio comedy set in Hell of all places. As a Christian, you would think I wouldn't approve as it does have a tendency to be a bit... well... blasphemous. But, I really, really enjoy it. Mum and I have spent countless hours on car journeys, outside on the grass, or just sitting by the CD player listening and guffawing at this hilarious series, written and starring the same guy who writes for BBC's Outnumbered.

4. Pillars of The Earth

I bought this as a book for Mum ages ago. I just liked the front cover, I don't even think I looked at the synopsis. She said she enjoyed it when she finally finished reading but I was put off by the sheer size of it. It's  a MASSIVE 976 pages of tiny print. This is the sort of book that you either love or hate. Then it was turned into a TV mini series made of the book starring Donald Sutherland, Ian McShane, Eddie Redmayne, Matthew Macfayden and Hayley Atwell. I LOVED the series, and so decided to get into the book... however, I cheated. I signed up for an audiobook website, and was given a credit for a book. I wanted to find the biggest book I could, and this was it. A massive 40 hours of audio. And I lapped up every second. I did the same for the sequel World Without End (also now being turned into a mini series!)

5. BBC Radio 4 / Radio 4 Extra

Everything from drama's to books to comedies. Whenever I run out of things to listen to, I always go and check out BBC iPlayer to see what's there that I can listen to. Some of my favourites are the dramatised Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Poirot, Agatha Rasin and Cabin Pressure.

Do you listen to programs on the radio? Or Audiobooks? Have you a favourite?

Sarah xx

Saturday, 7 January 2012

To Kindle, or not to Kindle.

So, I'm having a dilemma. 

I've been avoiding the subject of getting an E-reader of any kind for a while now. If someone said they had one, I'd nod my head and smile, but inside I'd be thinking, "I'm never going to get an E-reader... that would be like... betraying books in some kind of way."

I've always stuck by the ideology that holding a book, being able to smell the paper and the print, is a far superior way to read than any electronic device.

Of course this opinion, like all good opinions, was based entirely from one side of the argument. I've never properly read anything on an E-reader, and I've only held one and that was in the store, so me saying that it's a 'far superior' is more than just a little biased.

However, I'm beginning to have second thoughts.

E-gads! Technology!


1. Price. The first thing that has made me begin to doubt myself is the price of some e-books, more specifically, the Kindle books from Amazon. 77p or to you Americans, about $1.20, was the cost of one of the books that I came across and my mouth hit the floor. Now I know that I'd have to cover the cost of the Kindle first, but with the amount of books that I buy, or better would like to buy, I have no doubt that I'd have saved that in about a year! 
2. Ease of transport. I take the train up and down from Uni every weekend, and end up carrying a small suitcase of clothes for washing, a laptop, and a large handbag with weekend work, my normal handbag stuff, and the book I'm currently reading. I know it wouldn't be a huge difference to my load. But every little helps when you're lugging it down the street! 

3. Desirability factor. ITS SHINY TECHNOLOGY AND I KIND OF WANT IT JUST BECAUSE I CAN. Ahem. Yes, quite so. 

4. I have some money lying around after Christmas that I know should go in the bank but it hasn't managed to get that far yet... 

5. Not all publishers have turned to E-books, so for those books that don't have an electronic counterpart I can still purchase in paperback, and get my fix that way!


1. Pride. I'm still quite stubborn with regard to my feeling of somehow betraying the printed word. Am I just being silly, or is this something someone else has thought about? 

2. I can't share. Me and mum would have a very similar taste in books, and we seem to end up reading the same book at the same time quite often. It makes for great fun, chasing each other around the house calling, "It's my turn to read now!", interspersed with, "I know what happens next!"
If anyone's the adult in our house it's me. Seriously.

3. I've heard they break easily. Especially the new ultra-thin one. Even with a case. And I think my heart would break if I spent that amount of money on something that would expire within two years.

I'm torn. Have any of you got E-readers, and if so, what do you think of them? Comments below please!

Sarah x

Friday, 6 January 2012

I really have to start listening to 'normal' music

The story that I've made a start on is set in modern day, and there is absolutely nothing fantastical about it. 'Normal' people requires a 'normal' taste in music for inspiration and that was when I realised... music collection is completely unprepared. 

I like listening to dramatic music such as Nightwish, and soundtracks by Hans Zimmer. When I need something a bit more mellow, I turn to Loreena McKennitt. But these people, and the lovely people that they share my iTunes with, don't really seem to cut it in your every day 21st century.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not disowning the music that I love just for the book. It's just, it's hard to write about something ordinary while Hans Zimmer's strings are trying to tell me that all hell is breaking loose aboard the Black Pearl. There's a time and a place, and this isn't one of them. 

So, I'm off to check out the charts to see what there is there that I like, but never really considered putting into my music collection. Bruno Mars? Perhaps. Take That? Their new album is pretty good. Adele? All right then. Everyone else on the planet has 21, it's probably about time I did too.

I draw the line at Rihanna. When she writes a song about a 'hopeless' place and films the video in my country, I do take it a little personally.

Sarah xx

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Look back: Favourite films of 2011

I love all forms of escapism, be that reading, TV shows, or movies!

2011 was a good year for films! Here are a few of my stand outs! I'm very easily pleased when it comes to films and will watch almost anything, so you won't find very much criticism here!

1. X-Men: First Class

Not only were James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender pleasing to look at, they were very enjoyable to watch acting. Also, I got my first look at Jennifer Lawrence's acting, in preparation for the Hunger Games next year. I now have faith that she'll do Katniss justice. I really enjoyed the storyline, and I'm really excited to see the next instalment of the series.

2. Fright Night

I'm not really into 'scary' movies. I did, however, want to see this one for the selfish reason of ogling David Tennant in leather. I couldn't find anyone to go with me, and when I passed the cinema on my way home from shopping it started to rain and I mean rain. It was a sign. I went in and watched it by myself, and ended up really enjoying it. Anton Yelchin is so adorable, and a good actor. The story was predictable, but tolerable and the comic relief actually had me laughing out loud at times.

3. Three Musketeers

An all star cast. The plot was a bit far fetched at times and they missed the opportunity to have an amazing action movie but it was good fun. There were great comic lines and it had some of my favourite actors including Northern Irish born Ray Stevenson. Seeing Orlando Bloom in a 'baddie' role is almost enough for anyone to sit through it, even if it's for all the wrong reasons.

4. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

Saw this with Mum on our holidays and we really enjoyed it. It's jammed full of emotion and heartbreaking stuff, along with action and drama. It was one of those films that I got totally absorbed and if a bomb had gone off beside me I don't think I would have noticed. The last film I remember that did that to me was Taken with Liam Neeson.

5. Jane Eyre

I love costume drama's and Michael Fassbender's face. So naturally, I adored this movie.

6. In Time

Really got into this film. Didn't expect it to be so good (sorry JT) but it surprised me. I was gagging with fanfiction plots afterwards because the world the movie is set in is so interesting. Almost went to see it twice but I'll have to just wait until it's out on DVD.

I should also mention Lion King 3D. I don't think that the 3D added anything to this movie HOWEVER, being able to see a film that had such an impact on my childhood, in the cinema environment, with my friends was an experience I'll never forget. It is a truly magnificent film and I STILL cried when Mufasa died even though I dare not count the number of times that I that I've seen this movie.

That's my round up of my favourite movies! I'm going to do a post on the movies I'm most looking forward to in 2012 next!

What was your favourite movie of 2011?

Sarah xx

Monday, 2 January 2012

Some very good advice!

Just reblogging this from another blog that I follow. It's great advice, that can stretch way beyond the boundries of an artistic lifestyle!

Sarah xx