the big 40,000 reads giveaway

Today I was casually sitting on my bed, casually checking my blog stats and casually humming along to my James Blunt CD, when I casually scrolled down only to casually realise that I'd reached a few casual thousand blog reads. I was just casually like, mehh, nothing new, when I casually read the number flashing on my screen, to not-so-casually find that I'D ONLY GONE AND GOT 40K BLOG READS!!!!

My head's still reeling from the excitement, but I'd come to enough sense to realise that, naturally, I've got to host a blog giveaway to celebrate my blog becoming a new world-wide sensation.

The rules;

So basically, all you need to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form thing below and be a follower of this here blog (follow via the 'Follow The Blog Hermit' sidebar thing on the right) to enter. This is an international competition as most of my readers are situated in places such as America and Canada, and is open to all ages.

The competition starts tonight at 12:00pm GMT.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The prizes are currently as follows, but I may also add runner up prizes depending on how many people enter..

1st place -

- Signed Joanna Nadin book & (awesome) hologram bookmark
- Set of five assorted book/ film posters
- Guest post on this here blog (optional)
- Additional prize - Choose from a leather guitar pick holdall complete with picks, Humorous t-shirt of your choice, Magnolia Bloom bath set, The Spooks book; Apprentice by Joseph Delaney, Or a set of jewelry of your choice

The competition closes on the 31st April 2014 at 6:00am GMT.

Good luck!

*Also, you may have noticed that I've had to change my blog theme to accompany the giveaway.. Hopefully it should change again soon - sorry for the confusion.

this or that tag

Thank you to the lovely Natasha of Savouring Each Moment for tagging me for the This Or That tag. I'd read a few other people doing it and just had to wait for my turn, so here it is.


The rules; 
1. Answer the questions given to you
2. Give the people you nominate the same questions

3. Nominate three people 
4. Let the amazing three know that they've been tagged 

So here we go!

 Hair up or down?
Down, definitely. My hair's too thick for me to even attempt stuffing it into a hairband, and I don't think having it up suits my face shape too much.

 Dessert or fruit?
Super easy - dessert all the way. If we ignore the fact that I'm a massive chocoholic and would choose a pack of Revels over anything, anyday, I only really like strawberries and oranges and watermelons anyway. 

 Dress or shirt and sweatpants?
Definitely a dress, because I don't really like sweatpants that much (although in this country we call them 'joggers'), but if I'm just staying home all day and revising (or watching every LoTD film back to back for hours in my case) I don't see anything wrong with dressing down in sweatpants.

 One Direction or Jonas Brothers?
I don't really like either, but if I had to choose I'd go for the Jones Brothers, only because a) 1D is sliiightly overrated, and b) because I love the youngest Jonas' hair..

LOOK  AT THOSE CURLS (he's the one in the middle, btw)

 Radio or iPod?
Radio, only because I have almost seven hundred songs on my Apple device and I find it incredibly annoying to have to skip songs every now and then. Also, the radio has set volume control, whereas my songs vary from extremely loud to pretentiously quiet.

Sleepover at your house or at a friend's house?
It depends on who the friend is, but I'd usually prefer to be a 'guest' in someone else's house.

Cookies or apples?
Due to my sweet tooth, I'd have to go for cookies. Also, I dislike the apple skin and have to spend ages peeling it off each time. And I don't tend to get those annoying little seeds in cookies.. 

Playing cards or painting?
I don't really tend to do either so I can't give a biased answer. I like the mess involved with painting, despite my lack of actual artistic skills, but then I do some pretty ace Derren-Brown-style card tricks.. 

In a board game, would you rather be a green or a white piece?
GREEN - why go colourless when you can just out-fab your opponent?

I Googled 'green vs white board game' and this image came up.. Mehh, I'm not complaining.

I tag;
Shannon of Shanylou 
Alexis of Lexi Swoons

I'm so sorry to those who I didn't tag who really wanted to do this tag - maybe next time..? Sorry! /:

*Thanks to T. Gaze for reminding me to post (hours after I was supposed to).. Oops.

Sue Ransom for Queen Of Teen

As you all may or may not know, (my favourite) author Sue Ransom is going up for this year's Queen of Teen, and so I'd love it if I could get my readers to vote for her. She's the writer of the (best-ever) trilogy 'Blue Small Thing', and ever since I won one of her books in a competition I have been IN LOVE with the storylines and characters.

"Hi, I’m Sue Ransom, or S C Ransom, author of the Small Blue Thing series, published by Nosy Crow. The books are set in London and are a story of teenage love, loss and betrayal.
Celebrating the end of exams with best friend Grace, 17 year-old Alex rescues a swan caught on a wire in the Thames mud and finds an extraordinary bracelet. Through its disturbing and compelling powers, she finds Callum, a soul locked in a half-life of sadness and mystery following a terrible accident, and his persuasive and sinister sister, Catherine. As Alex and Callum grow closer despite the enormous obstacles to their love, the dangers mount until Alex must risk everything to save Grace and Callum must risk everything to save Alex.
I wrote the first book as a birthday present for my daughter, never expecting for it to be published, and was thrilled when I was given a publishing contract for a whole series. Like most authors I have a day job, so I do my writing in my spare time. Most of the Small Blue Thing series was written on the train during my daily commute, and most of the first book was actually written on my BlackBerry! I’ve been delighted with how well the books have sold – they have been translated into various languages, and are available in lots of different corners of the world. Not bad for a birthday present, but it would be great to get a film deal and write full time.
I recently finished my next book (also for Nosy Crow) which will be coming out early next year. It’s called The Beneath, and is a story about two girls from very different worlds. Even though the book is written, there is a huge amount to do to get it to the shelves. Today I got to look at potential covers, which was very exciting.  Next month I’ll have to make the copy editing corrections and then it will be made into Uncorrected Proofs which will go out as Advance Reading Copies orARCs. In the meantime, my publicist is starting to compile lists of bloggers who will get ARCs in the summer. Let me know if you’d like to be on the list! I’m really looking forward to hearing what you think about it."

You can vote for Sue over at the Queen of Teen website HERE.

The rules state that "you can nominate absolutely ANY author you've loved reading. Just tell us in 100 words or more why their book(s) has meant something to you and why you can't stop talking about it. Plus, with each nomination you will be automatically entered into our prize draw to be in with a chance of winning tickets to attend the award ceremony and meet your favourite author on 11 July 2014."

 The nominations close on 29 April 2014 so you'd better hurry!

&if you guys remember, I did a post like this last year, also voting for Sue Ransom to be Queen Of Teen. I did an interview with Sue Ransom and wrote not one, not two, but three SBT book reviews of the trilogy last year if you still need convincing as to why to vote Ransom.

lucky stars

A massive thank you to Awfully Fond Of Words for giving me the inspiration for writing this here post.

I've never been particularly great at origami, but I found these stars to be incredibly easy to make. I tried to photograph each of the steps bit by bit, but I'm sorry if it's hard to understand due to the painfully bad quality of my phone camera.

Step one; cut a piece of paper or card half an inch wide and A4 length long. Try to get it as straight and clean as possible.

Step two; tie the paper into a flat knot like so.

Step three; lightly pull the paper strand through without ripping or tearing it, getting it as tight as possible.

Step four; after cutting the shortest strand and tucking it under, wrap the longest strand over itself again and again until there's none left.

Step five; after checking the camera quality and cringing, tuck any loose ends of paper under itself, so that it looks like a small paper hexagon.

Step six; I actually can't do this myself without my nails slicing through the paper so I had to get my father to use his nailless hands to push out the corners (how about we ignore my horribly chipped nails..).

Step seven; the star should then look something like this.

I then moved on to make about fifty more 'lucky stars' for a birthday present, using variously patterned card strips (the photo quality of this physically hurts to look at).


I moved the stars into a glass vase thing and tied it with red ribbon to try to make it look okay, but I'm not too sure it looked good enough to be a birthday present. I was meant to also buy one of those air flowers to place on the top of the stars but forgot.. oops.

Despite the fact that I'm obviously not going to pursue a career in paper origami, I found it reasonably easy to make these stars. And if we ignore the fact that the whole present wasn't completely finished until 3:00am, the stars were pretty easy to make.

~ Should I start doing craft posts like this more often? And have any of you tried or want to try to make origami lucky stars? ~

Ford Sportka - Banned Commercials


In my media class the other day we were looking at a variation of banned advertisements from across the country, which to be honest was a pretty good way to end a Wednesday afternoon. We went through a few legendary ones like the Coke vs Pepsi advert and the one featuring that Chinese weight loss diet drink, before moving onto some that I'm pretty glad are banned.

The majority of these advertisements were funny, but then a few really stood out for me because they freaked me out a bit. And then we came across the Ford Sportka advert which really, reaaally creeped me out. Apparently, by the comments on YouTube, it's "wickedly funny", with many people "loving it", and batting down the protesters by stating that there's "nothing wrong with it" - yet I couldn't help but feel extremely disturbed by it.

I personally think that advertisements like this are wrong and shouldn't be broadcasted, but apparently I'm in a minority group as most people posted comments such as "I literally fell out of my chair laughing so hard!! Lighten up, people!!" and "its always the best adverts like this that get banned..".

Does anyone else agree with me and think that these adverts are a little creepy, if not traumatizing? Or am I extremely strange for not finding it 'hilarious'?*

*I blame it on the graphic quality..

Back From Swansea.. *sigh*

Today was the final day of my week holiday in Wales, and the homesickness of Swansea life has hit me hard.

Whilst on the coach home (a six and a half hour long journey, just saying), I was reminiscing about the previous seven days spent in my hometown, and all the emotions and memories of which I had partly relived. This got me thinking about my young life at Brynhyfryd*, my primary school, and all the Welsh songs and poems we were constantly taught. My train of thought eventually led me to remember a poem I once recited for a competition in front of the whole school (before I inevitably fainted), and the broken half-forgotten words of which the poem entailed.

The second I got 'home' to London (note the quotation marks, *sigh*), I spent a while trying to make sense of the words, eventually mismatching them together to find the exact poem. It's called A Path To Wales and was written by someone called Sanjay Amruce. Honestly, I don't think the poem is of the highest standard, but I empathize with it all the same. It holds the magic and intrigue that I felt towards Swansea when I was young and Welsh (and somewhat naive), and I still sort of love it.

A Path To Wales by Sanjay Amruce
An old woman set me on a path to Wales
Where dragons roamed and Knights had homes
and wizards lived in epic poems
and maidens leapt from burning homes.

I set on a path from sea to lair
and picked up strands of broken hair
I breathed in air that wasn't there
and watched as sea was pushed by air.

An old woman set me on a path to Wales
where broken swords lie with dragons tales
and the waters sweet and never stale
and where I'll live and never ail.

Later reading it now, five and a half years after I had first been introduced to the poetry of Amruce, I'm beginning to understand it more. It's not just a black-and-white simplistic poem of a magic-ridden nation (although partly it is), but of a young man's interpretation. I'm not quite sure how to word my thoughts towards it, but to me it just shows Wales as more. It's not the existing Wales, but the Wales behind the fairytales and stories and myths and legends. It's what's there but.. isn't.

Anyway, despite me being utterly chuffed that I'd found such a memory-ridden poem, I now have a whole forty-seven days until I can go back down to Swansea, as of which I'm really looking forward to as I have a wedding to go to and my Welsh friends to meet and my First-Kiss-Guy to see - I'm so excited.

Tuesday 11th March, beach with my First-Kiss-Guy; sums up what I'm missing out on being up in London ):

*Welsh translation for 'Summerhill'

Swansea; Sun, Rugby, Graveyards, First Kisses, Brogues.

I am currently blogging from a small city in Wales, after situating residency in my friend's guest room. With only a handful of days left before I have to catch the coach back to London, the homesickness is really beginning to kick in - the problem? I'm homesick over my hometown Swansea, not where my house, school, and family are in London.

Back up four and a half years, and I was a young Welsh girl with a strong accent and overpowering wanderlust, staying in a glass-roofed house in the extremely patriotic city of Swansea. Despite my Welsh friends and unexpected acceptance into a good comprehensive school, my family and I fancied a change of scenery and so decided to move to London, where the rest of my family lived. Don't get me wrong, England is a reasonably nice place to live, but my past few days here in Wales have brought back so many emotions and memories that I'm going to find it really hard to leave. Thus, I decided to take a load of photos to remind myself of the place I once lived.

I realised on my second day in Wales just how strange the Swansea architecture is. You get the busy city life and bright lights and music, but with small old buildings decorating every street corner. I couldn't help comparing this to the modern, hi-tech buildings of London, and, naturally, felt my first wave of homesickness for this mismatched city.

Walking down party-central Wine Street with my friend Michael and stopping at one of the least noisy restaurants, I couldn't help notice that even the bathrooms have drink holders, and for some reason I found this immensely funny. 
Down Wine Street with the loud throbbing music and bleach-blonde girls (not much older than me) in skimpy dresses with their arms linked around an equally orange-skinned friend or shaven-head overpowering boyfriend, I couldn't help but realise that Essex and Ibiza are overrated - drunken twenty-year-olds all over the country should just visit Wine Street.

Michael and I then went to my favourite American-imitation diner, Eddie Rockets. Unfortunately I'd forgotten how absolutely MASSIVE their portions are, and could only eat a quarter of the double-burger-triple-cheese-thick-ridged-bun-with-salad that they served me.

It shocked me to remember that the Welsh buses are white and single-decker instead of red and double. The majority of their taxis are also white and square-looking instead of shiny black hairdryer-lookalikes.

Another thing that I remembered was how artistically cultured Swansea is when I went into town and saw one of their many eye catching pieces of board-art, with small patriotic swans in the bottom corner and dark buildings painted beneath the black starry sky.

Surprisingly still, the weather is incredibly hot and the skies a bright blue. The hills here are a dull green and surround everything, EVERYWHERE, and houses are usually semi-detached and a light brown or pastel yellow/white colour, in preparation for the six days a year that the weather is hot up South.

This is just an example of culture mixed in with city life. One second you'll be in a loud Route 66-themed pub, then step out to a modern New Look shop with glass walls and marble floors, and then as you cross the road you'll see a crumbling half-castle. Strange.

I almost died when I saw that Swansea town still has the water boat in the centre of the square. It brought back so many memories, and actually physically hurt to know that despite the ever-changing city life, this one artifact was still standing steady.

Yesterday was the big England vs Wales rugby game, so about 40% of Swansea residents went to the square to all watch the game together in the sun, on the big television screen. People were everywhere and I felt so patriotic to be part of it all. I don't think you understand how positive I felt in that particular moment of time, surrounded by strong Welsh brogues and red-shirted citizens in the (burning) hot weather, all crowded together to celebrate our city's famous sport.

This is an image of the blurred-out Swansea streets as the sun went down. Blame my crappy Samsung phone for focusing on a piece of floating dust instead of the view ahead of me because the sunset really was stunning.

Walking back to the Square yesterday I passed a tall clock-tower-like building, and couldn't help but feel like part of an extremely art-orientated culture as I noticed the floating handcrafted angels balancing on the stonework. Then again as I passed an average sidewalk wall decorated with red and white hearts, each featuring a different statement that Swansea nationals had written about what they love about the square.

Seagulls were absolutely everywhere, and no matter where I was in Swansea you could bet your bottom dollar that there was at least one seagull within a twenty mile radius of each person. Fun fact: I can see at least three from my guest room window right now. 

Last night Michael and I went to the graveyard down the road from his house, mainly because I'd never been to one before and I also wanted some names for novel characters. It was absolutely MASSIVE and carried on for miles on end. I felt a bit grief-ridden, despite the fact that I knew no one there, but when you're surrounded in concentrated death in a place like that I guess emotions tend to surface.

As people slowly drained out of the streets yesterday evening it suddenly hit me that everything about Wales is just a shell of it's former self, the one I used to live in; and I felt an immense emotional pain when I realised that it's not just the town, but the people too. All my previous friends had moved on and spread out to make new friends - they're not who they used to be and never will be again. The people I know are now just memories. 
Then it hit me, looking around me at the pregnant women in kitten pumps and the bodybuilder men in their tight Adidas jackets, that Swansea is really just a town full of, as John Green would say, paper people. I'm not meaning to be offensive, but that's the exact statement that ran though my head. It hurt so bad just watching these people walk past, knowing I'd forget their faces within the next few minutes. 

However, my past few days in the mismatched city of Swansea have been absolutely brilliant, and homesickness is getting worse. I've been to town, the Square, met up with friends, shopped, cooked my own lunch (burnt it like heck), been to the cinema, went out for dinner a few times, and even had my first kiss (squee!). I'm going back on Thursday and ugh, I'm going to miss it all so much, I really am.

Footnote; Apologies, as I'm sure these will be photos of buildings and views and products that mean nothing to anyone but me, but they're all so insignificantly significant.


So I was going through my blog post drafts when I came across a poem that I wrote for Black History Month when I had just turned thirteen. It's not the best, by far, but I feel guilty that it has gone unpublished for so long. So, without further ado, here it is; 


One day when we are old
we may finally share the same shade of colour.
We may finally both be grey.
Yet it is my hair that will be grey,
not my withered-up heart.

One day you may finally realise
the pain and anger you bought.
The people loved by the One Half,
are equally hated by the Other Half.
By You.
You are the person with evil and spite,
yet I am the one looked down upon.
How is that not wrong?

One day you may finally have children too,
as loved and happy as mine were.
Before you spat on their feet
and threw stones at their heads.
All of us, just animals in a zoo to you.

One day we will die out,
none of us left to protect the world.
Imagine that. A world full of Whites.
Would that make you happy?
Would it?
Would it?!
Then happy you will be,
just as long as I don't have to live
to see the world burn, burn, burn.
Until there is nothing left but black ash.
Black trees.
Black houses.
Until there is nothing left of You.

But plenty left of Us.