Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Walk With Me | 20-07-14

I know when I initially started these posts I said they wouldn't be weekly, however they are becoming quite regular here on Bits & Bobs. I enjoy sharing them and it seems like you guys like them, so I've another Walk With Me! Today's edition was taken last Sunday - the weather was glorious, as you can see from the images - and those kinds of days always seem to make the outdoors just that little bit more beautiful, don't you think?

Next time you're out and about, be sure to take in your surroundings, whatever they may be!

As always, thanks for stopping by Bits & Bobs :-)

Monday, 21 July 2014

Rainbow Rowell | Landline

The Blurb
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. It's been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and he still loves her - but that almost seems besides the point now.

Two days before they're supposed to visit Neal's family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells him that she can't go. She's a TV writer and something's come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her - he is always a little upset with her - but she doesn't expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she's finally done it. If she's ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It's not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she's been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts...

Is that what she's supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

First Lines
'Georgie pulled into the driveway, swerving to miss a bike. Neal never made Alice put it away.
Apparently bicycles never got stolen back in Nebraska - and people never tried to break in to your house.'

The Plot
I was determined to read a Rainbow Rowell book this summer, and after hearing so many great things about Landline, I decided to check it out (literally, as I borrowed it from my local library. I was the first to actually read this copy - does that make anyone else happy when reading library books, or just me?). Also, the plot spoke to me more than her three previous novels.

Written in third person, for just over a week, we follow Georgie, a career driven woman wanting to get her crumbling marriage back. She knows what she wants, but with family involving themselves and making contact with her husband, via telephone, before he was even her husband (circa 1998), a lot of question and doubt is in mind.

Essentially, Landline is a love story - but one of the best love stories I've encountered.

With the narrative being full of memories, and Georgie reminiscing, we get quite the glimpse into Georgie and Neal's relationship. Their story isn't all hearts and roses, it isn't perfect or flawless - it's real, and beautiful, and one I got lost in.

The Characters
I'm putting it out there, I didn't like Georgie - she's somewhat self centred, takes things for granted, and work comes before her family, just to name a few things. Whilst she does make steps to redeem herself as a person, I don't know if she could truly redeem herself, if she could really change. I think it would be interesting to see the marriage beyond the book's ending.

The main character, Georgie, has quite an identifiable personality, but she isn't the only one in the book who does. Everyone featured in this book has a personality of their own, they aren't cardboard cut outs, they have quirks, and traits and identifiable characteristics - and I'm not just talking about Noomi pretending she's a cat.

There are some characters I would have liked to have known more about, there are some I detested, and some, aka Georgie, I wanted to kick up the butt, but regardless of how I felt about them, they were all real and they all contributed, in their own little way, to the telling of the story.

The Writing
Why, oh why, have I not read more of Rainbow Rowell's work before now?!

I felt all kinds of emotions whilst reading Landline. I also read incredibly quickly, wanting to devour the story in one but at the same time wanting to savour the words. Not only does Landline depict a wonderful story, it conveys a great message too.

The whole time reading Landline I had this feeling of giddiness. It was just perfect - a perfect read for me.

'Nobody's lives just fit together. Fitting together is something you work at. It's something you make happen - because you love each other.'

'"You cannot be jealous of Dawn - that's like the sun being jealous of a lightbulb."'

'I think I can live without you, but it won't be any kind of life.'

'Heather's face followed her around the room like a sunflower chasing daylight.'

'Wasn't that the point of life? To find someone to share it with?
And if you got that part right, how far wrong could you go? If you were standing next to the person you loved more than everything else, wasn't everything else just scenery?'

Final Thoughts
This book is being added to my collection, ideally before the Christmas season because I think it will make a perfect re-read - I'm all about the re-reads in winter.
Where possible, be sure to purchase from a local independent book retailer

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Pinterest Project | Gummy Ice Lollies

The Pin: Gummy Ice Lollies

The Website: 123homeschool4me

My Initial Thoughts: How fun are these lollies?! Colourful, and simple, surely this is a Pinterest Project that can't fail.

I was a little uncertain about the Sprite and gummy bears in terms of sugar content and so used four of my moulds for the Sprite and gummy bears and then the other four moulds for flavoured water and gummy bears.

The End Result: These ice lollies are perfect as a summer time refresher - I shan't lie, the day I write this post I've actually eaten three... Oops.

My Final Thoughts: There are probably a lot healthier ice lollies out there, but I'll definitely be recreating these in the future. The big kid inside of me was in my element making, and enjoying, so I can confirm that children would like making these lollies. Whether they'll be patient enough to let them freeze is another story - I know I checked on mine a few times in the freezing process! My lollies took approximately 4-6 hours to freeze. Also, I actually preferred the Sprite lollies over the peach water ones... Is it a surprise that the sugary one trumped? I think not.

This was only a little project, but I thought I'd share it regardless. Have you tried to recreate anything you've discovered on Pinterest lately? I'd love to know how it turned out, so be sure to let me know in the comments below!

Previous Projects
Weetabix Muffins

As always, thanks for stopping by Bits & Bobs :-)

Monday, 14 July 2014

Listing | Summer Activities

I don't know about you, but I love a good list...

Today I'm sharing with you a few activities you can enjoy this summer season. Whilst I've grouped these in to different categories, all activities can be interchangeable.

- Pick your favourite book, find a comfortable place and spend the day reading.
- Join a short course, summer is the perfect opportunity to learn something new or pick up a new skill. A great online course provider is Future Learn.
- Speaking of learning new things... Dreaming of a holiday you aren't able to take for whatever reason? Discover a few destinations through research online - explore the area, the cuisine, even the language. You'll be well prepared for when you do visit.
- Volunteer. Many of us find ourselves with spare time in the summer months, so why not make use of that and give it to those who may need it.
- Be creative - start an art journal, get writing, take up photography!

- Enjoy the sunshine with a food related gathering, be it a picnic in the park or even a BBQ.
- Go camping. You don't need to venture far; many of us have undiscovered beauty spots locally.
- Movie marathon! Grab your snacks, comfiest clothes, and spend a day lounging around with your favourite people.
- Cloud watching or star gazing. It'll be interesting seeing the various shapes you can spot in the sky.
- Make an ice cream or sorbet. Of course this could be done as an individual, but it's more fun to share, right?

With Children
- Get outdoors, explore, there's lots to see and do. Why not organise a scavenger hunt or pick up pieces on a nature walk to create art with when home?
- Summer doesn't always mean sunshine. Take a trip to your local library on a rainy day and join in on story time. Not only will your little ones meet some new friends, but you may well meet some new parents.
-  As a parent, you may well not love the mess, but kids love crafts! Water gun painting, print with fruit, make your own bubbles, create a wind chime from cans, have fun with sidewalk chalk, the possibilities are endless!
- In a similar vein to the above point, make some child friendly summer treats - homemade ice lollies will always go down well and you can keep them healthier than shop bought ones too.
- Go on an adventure. Think zoo, seaside, park, museum.

However you spend Summer 2014, the most important thing is to make memories!

As always, thanks for stopping by Bits & Bobs :-)

Friday, 11 July 2014

Cover Art | Middle Grade With A Hint Of YA

My love of an appealing book cover is well known on Bits & Bobs, so when one of my recent reads truly caught my attention, I went in search of more beautiful books.

In this cover art post I'm featuring predominately books aimed at a middle grade audience. I say predominately, because a lot of the books featured are in both middle grade and young adult categories on Goodreads - I'm not the creator of audiences and I haven't read all of these books so who am I to argue with the members of Goodreads!

As I mentioned above, I haven't read all of the books, however, I have read some whilst others are sitting on my unread shelf, some are waiting to be bought on my wishlist and some are just new discoveries in their own right.

Enough waffling, let's get on to the books!
(All links will take you to Goodreads)
The Riverman by Aaron Starmer | May B. by Caroline Starr Rose | Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee

Which of these covers, if any, appeal to you the most? Also, if you've read any of these books I'd love to know how you found them.

As always, thanks for stopping by Bits & Bobs :-)