the sunflower award

A massive thank you to Hilda, for nominating me for this award over at her blog!
For a list of my previous blog awards so you can keep up, click here!

Basically, what you have to do to accept this award is 1) share 11 facts about yourself, 2) answer the 7 questions set by your nomination blogger, 3) nominate 11 different bloggers and 4) set 7 questions for the nominated bloggers. Simple enough.
So, firstly, here are my eleven facts;

1)     I’m currently typing this at 12:38 in my maths lesson (woo rebellion)
2)     I’m going down to Swansea for my grandmother’s wedding tomorrow…  a bit late for marriage maybe, but eh, free holiday.
3)     I’m seeing FKG on Friday!
4)     James Blunt’s ‘Cry’ is blaring through my headphones right now – I may have gotten slightly addicted since downloading     Moon Landing…
5)     I’m currently wearing a blue velvet swing dress, black creepers, black and cream odd socks, black banana plant bracelet, mockingbird necklace, five rings and a pair of gold ball earrings.
6)     My camera has a name… (please don’t judge me)*
7)     If I could change my name to anything I’d change it to Luna, because I'm weird and find the moon fascinating, calming.
8)     I like to think that my spirit animal would be either an elephant or a cat. Elephant because, well, they’re just blatantly awesome, no question about it, and cat because I’d like to be fat and warm and sit on the carpet and just be cool and cat-like all day.
9)     I have a massive to-do list 100% of the time. I currently have a list of twelve things to do within the next hour.
10) I have just set my official work experience for an international magazine company in London, and I have another day’s worth this Thursday at a magazine in Swansea.
11) The second I’ve passed my GCSE’s I’m leaving this country, hopefully never to return again.

Next, the questions Hilda’s set;

1)      Can you ride a skateboard?
I have attempted to, many times. Last time I tried I flew backwards and smashed my head on the wooden ground beneath me, very nearly giving myself severe concussion… guess who’s not tried skateboarding recently?

2)     What was the last thing(s) you bought?
A set of moon and star midi rings, half gold and half silver. They’re pretty awesome, and look absolutely lush.

3)     What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was the third Twilight, but I’m currently on the first Game Of Thrones. It’s pretty good, although the sudden POV switches can be a tad confusing at times…

4)     What book did you absolutely hate?
The only book that I’ve hated was the Ten Things I Hate About My Sister hardback by Jacqueline Wilson a few years ago, and it was so bad I’ve stopped reading books by her, despite spending hundreds of dollars on EVERY SINGLE one of her previous ones.

5)     What are you into right now? (Tv shows, movies, songs, games)
TV shows; The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Off Their Rockers
Movies; Chronicle, Repo Men, X-Men Origins Wolverine
Songs; James Blunt’s Cry, David Grey’s Sail Away With Me, Noah and The Whale’s L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N
Games; I don’t actually play many games except for doodle jump /:

6)     Have you ever gotten in trouble for something?
Most recently I got told off yesterday for taking a photo of someone’s hair on the train… it was super awkward.

7)     Do you love buying school supplies?
Nope nope nope. They remind me that school’s just around the corner, and I hate that feeling of inevitable doom…

I nominate the following bloggers for The Sunflower Award (I’ve tried not to nominate anyone who’s already been nominated, but let me know if I’ve double-tagged and I’ll replace you);

1)     Grace 
2)     Lexi 
3)     Angela 
4)     Juli 
5)     Sophie 
6)     Ivana 
7)     Khloe 
8)     Rachel 
9)     Layla 
11)   Claire 

And finally, my questions to those formerly mentioned are as follows;
1)     What would your spirit animal be?
2)     If you had the choice not to go to school, would you?
3)     Favourite constellation?
4)     Opinion on dream catchers?
5)     What outfit are you wearing right now?
6)     Opinion on James Blunt (legend)?
7)     If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?

Also, my competition *click* is open for just another two days, so if you haven’t got your entries in yet maybe now’s a good time to apply! Good luck!! 

*It’s Jayze, pronounced ‘jayzz’  in case anyone’s wondering.


I know what I want to do when I'm older!! 

Okay so basically, previous readers of my blog would have read my statement where I summarized exactly what future jobs took my fancy ("actress, dancer, midwife, doctor, scientist, make-up artist, lawyer, judge, police officer, singer *sighs*, guitarist, journalist, vet, secretary *facepalms*, head teacher *shudders*, photographer, cook, illustrator, writer and rollerskating photographer *tuts*.."). However, bit by bit, I'd ruled them out, all except one - a journalist.

I've always loved both reading and writing, and journalism has always struck me as a good career to undertake. But before now, I've never really known which path to follow.

ALAS, after a LOT of Googling and reading and just overall research, I think I've found my dream job (woohooooo).

I want to be...

Wait for it...


Because, honestly, what could be better than travelling the world and getting payed for it?

So, to mindmap and plan out just exactly how this is going to work, I've made a time graph type thing.

2014 - 2015; Pass all eleven GCSEs of which I am currently undertaking.
This one, obviously is vital. Despite the fact that I don't agree with the British education system, I still need to conform to the rules. I'm pretty confident about this one, although for subjects such as Spanish (just.. ugh) it might be a tad hard to even scrape by a C.

2015; Get a greencard, apply for online A Level courses in journalism, fly to HAWAII - WOO!!
I read in Company magazine that you have to apply for a greencard before you reach 19? Is that true? Because I was actually thinking I should maybe apply now as it'll take a while to process (I'm guessing?), but I'm not sure as to how the whole thing works. It'll also be great if I could study at home, as I've been looking at a load of international courses that can easily be taken online where 
I could homeschool myself, which seems pretty cool. 
Oh, and I don't quite know what it is about Hawaii that makes me want to visit it so much, but can anyone remember the Lilo and Stitch film/ television series'? I've always loved it, and since it's set in Hawaii.. well I guess it's just had an impact.

2015 - 2016; Whilst undertaking A Levels, practise travel journalism, writing about Hawaii.
I was thinking that I could just simply write about my experiences, and maybe get an internship at one of Hawaii's institutes. However, the pay will be pretty low to begin with so I'm not quite sure as to what to do in that scenario - maybe take up hula dancing..?

2016 - 2017; Finish journalism course, start sending off travel articles.
National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveller - wherever there's work I guess. Just as long as my articles are out there and are read by brilliant people like you, I'll be happy. Hopefully, by applying to a varied range of travel magazines (especially those of which that were formerly mentioned), I'm hoping to find a single, respectable company that'll take me in. 

2017; A year of solid work (still in Hawaii) for either a single or a couple of magazines.
I thought it'd be easiest to stay in one part of the world to begin with, so that I can get steady on my feet, all whilst I'm still a teenager (and Hawaii seems pretty awesome). How naive does this make me?

2018 - 2019; Move countries, perhaps to Fiji or Africa.
Once I have a solid job and a healthy pay cheque, I think I can broaden my horizon. I might just lay low somewhere simple like Costa Adeje, but as long as I'm residing out of the UK I'll be fine (don't get me wrong, England's an alright place to live, but I want my life to be filled with culture and passion and music and food and sun, as of which are all typically pretty dull in this republic).

2020; Write for a solid set of travel magazines, happily exploring the world.
And then, finally, I can do what I came into this world to do - explore the world, meet new people, maybe understand their traditions and religions, go to volcanos and climb mountains, swim with sharks, try cultural food, and, obviously, bathe in weather of at least fifteen degrees celcius, ALL THE TIME. This would be my ultimate goal in life, and getting payed for travelling seems to be pretty awesome.

2021+ ; Branch out and stay in multiple different countries per year, writing about experiences, with a solid income, maybe set up a travel blog to expand on.
Japan, New Zealand, New York, Italy, Costa Rica, The Carribean Islands, Las Canarias - I want to do it all.

I'm aware of how far fetched this all sounds, but as long as I've done my research and I enjoy it, then I'm not all too worried about what happens from there.

Also, I've been Googling images of Hawaii {source}, and, well, let's all just admire their white beaches and hula dances and, most improtantly, their ohanas (I tried to embed a lilo and Stitch quote into this post, somewhat unsuccessfully), for a while, now shall we?

Hawaii has everything, as shown in this image here - palm trees, sand, sea, warm climate, city life, energy, volcanos.. As I said, everything.

The quality of this image annoys me, but just LOOK at it. LOOK AT IT. *sighs*, it's so beautiful.

Just casually dancing the hula. On the beach. In the hot weather. With blue skies above her head and a palm tree in the background. Hawaii is practically my Utopia. All it needs is James Blunt, and well, it'd be downright perfect.

Remember that what three things would you take if you were stuck on a desert island question, constantly asked by teachers at school (the education system is seriously in ruins)? Yes? Well, quite simply, I'd have palm trees, warm golden sand, and a Hawaiian lemonade shake. What else do you need?

HOW EXCITING DOES THIS LOOK?? I would give my left arm to be there right now. And my right arm, too. And maybe my legs and hips and neck and... I guess I should stop here.

Imagine this - you're just casually strolling down the beach when you notice your neighbours. They're there, wearing traditional hula wear, juggling flames, and dancing along to the beat of the dums, being played by ol' Lindsay from the corner shop. You say hey and join in, accepting it as a natural daily activity.

These people look happy exploring volcanos and lava and stuff in Hawaii, and if we ignore the fact that they're photoshopped in, it altogether seems to be a pretty convincing take on the island.

Need I really explain just how pretty dang cool this looks? NEED I??

Just... awesome.

Sorry for the ramblings, but let's be honest here - I just reached a milestone.

Just.. shush.


We all knew this post was coming, now didn't we?

I downloaded a super cool app called Phonto so I'm going to make thumbnails like this a lot more often..

I've always been a book nerd. I was introduced to books practically from birth, where my parents would read to me even before I could string together a single sentence. Once I had the ability to read, I'd always be found with a book in my hand. I was surrounded by the magic of reading, and still am to this very day, as I own hundreds upon hundreds of books, and am a constant library-goer. So, for me, the whole Ebook Vs Print Book debate is something that I find really interesting.

Personally, I prefer print books, mainly because of how portable they are. I also love that classic book smell of which they all hold. So Kindles and electronic reading devices confuse me. It's like being given the option to have icecream or a bowl of sprouts, yet choosing sprouts because they're apparently easier to get the hang of - I could cope with the sprouts, but I'd been severely lusting over the icecream. You know what I mean?

Even so, for the purpose of this post I am going to try to be as unbiased as possible, although I can't make any promises.

Okay, so with my new app Phonto I've created two lists of pros of both print books and ebooks specially for this here post, despite the fact that I found it hard to find positive points for the former..

Research shows that 53% of readers prefer ebooks, with print books falling short at 47% - despite the obvious fact that print books rule. I'm pretty dumbfounded by this, especially with the pros listed above. 

What are your opinions on this?

And yes, this post is a day early instead of late for once!

Interview with Betty G. Birney

Thank you to Betty G. Birney, widely known for her 'Humphrey' book series, for supplying today's interview.

So, Betty, what was the first book you've published? 
The first book published with my name on it was a Disney book, so I was hired to write it. The first book that was entirely my own was a picture book called Tyrannosaurus Tex. I sent it to a few publishers and it was rejected so I put it away for a while. Then one day I realized what it needed, rewrote it and sold it right away. 

How long have you dreamed of becoming an author?
Every since I was seven. As soon as I could read books, I loved them so much I knew I wanted to write them.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It varies from three months to years, but I get good ideas every single day. Sadly, only a few of them turn into books. Getting ideas is easy. Writing books is difficult.

What is your favourite book written by somebody else?
Too many to name. I love Charlotte's Web but I have about 30 "favourites."

What were your previous jobs?
All my jobs had to do with writing. I started out in advertising - writing newspaper adverts, radio and TV commercials.  I even worked in advertising at Disneyland. Then I moved to the Disney Studios where I did advertising for Disney films. From there, I began writing for the first show on the Disney Channel (a Winnie the Pooh show) and spent the next 20 years writing children's television, before branching out into books full-time, which had been my goal for a long time.

Have you ever wanted to be somebody else?
Maybe for an hour or two, but not really.

How were your teenage years?
My teenage years were not difficult. Of course, I had some of the teenage ups and downs. I had spots but my mother took me to a dermatologist and that worked fine. I read a lot, wrote a lot, but was also very social and had a great time!

What is your most treasured possesion? Why?
I'm not terribly attached to my possessions, but I would really miss my watch. It's a very good watch, vintage and my husband gave it to me years ago.  

Do you go by any pseudonyms?

Why did you want to become an author?
Because I adore books and I enjoy writing. I always had a knack for writing. And I love the fact that I can communicate my ideas with so many people I'll never even meet.

Do you ever receive fanmail?
A few, but it's not something I encourage.

How many pets have you got? Have they influenced your writing in any way?
I have a dog named Desi. She and the animals I've known in my life have influenced my feelings about animals and their roles in humans' lives.

What do you do when you're stuck for something to write about?
If I get stuck, I usually just sit there and think of a solution. But sometimes I take a walk or do something else for awhile. I actually don't believe in writer's block. Getting stuck is just part of writing. You have to think it through. It's like solving a puzzle.

Do people ever chase after you in the streets and beg you for autographs? 
No, thank goodness. People wouldn't recognize me. But if I go to a school, that happens. 

Do you have a certain writing place?
I have a little house all to myself in the back of my garden. I have all my books here, my desk, a couch and I spend most of my time here.

And finally, have you got any tips for young writers?
Here a few of my favourites:
-Write something you’d enjoy reading. Have fun with your writing.
-The more you write the better you’ll get. It takes practice, so try to write on a regular basis.
-The more you read, the better your writing will be. Read a lot of different kinds of books, too.
-When you’re writing a story, you shouldn’t think about what other people will think of it or whether it will get published. You should only think about making it the best story you can possibly write. That’s all that counts.
-Read your work aloud. You'll catch a lot of mistakes that way.

Juli, Just Pepperminty

DIY- Homemade lipstick 
(from crayons!)

Hi everyone, my name is Juli and I blog over at Just Pepperminty!
Amy-Anne was kind enough to consider me for her monthly guest post and here I am!
Thank you for letting me do this Amy-Anne:)

So, today, I'm going to be sharing with you all how to make your own lipstick. 
From crayons nonetheless!! 
This is actually super easy, and it's actually GOOD for your lips.
 Me and my sister made this shade with 'Red Violet' colored crayon and it's one of my favorites that she's tried! She's also done bright blue, and purple etc.
So if you wanna know how it's done, read on!

Here's what you need:

1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil // 1/2 teaspoon of petroleum jelly(aka Vaseline) // Crayola crayon color of choice // a water bottle cap to store it in (or any other small container you have on hand)

Other supplies used: Glass measuring cup// sauce pan

How you do it:
1: Fill your sauce pan with water five or so inches high, then put it on the stove at medium heat
2: Unwrap your crayon color of choice(you can also mix and match colors!), and carefully cut into small pieces like shown below

3: Set the petroleum jelly, coconut oil and crayons inside the glass measuring cup.
If you don't have have both coconut oil and petroleum jelly you can substitute one for the other.
note: I only needed two pieces of the crayon
4: At this point your water should be close to boiling, if it is turn it down to low and hang your measuring cup on the side like shown below. You'll want the water in the pan to come about half way up your measuring cup.
5: Stir until it becomes a smooth liquid then turn off the heat.
6: Immediately following, use a potholder to take the handle of the measuring cup and carefully pour into your lid or container

Now you're done!
Just let it sit until it has set, you can do this by putting it in the fridge or just leaving it on the counter- it doesn't take long!
You can now wear your awesome lipstick wherever you please :)

Scandal Eyes

So the other day I went shopping with a few friends *waves* in a small city-like-place called Croydon. Naturally, as we passed Superdrug I couldn't help but spend every single penny of my money on supposedly unneeded beauty products, resulting in the newest member of my makeup collection being yet another mascara.

I don't usually wear much makeup apart from mascara and eyebrow pencil, and a bit of eyeliner every now and then, so it really wasn't surprising that I went home with armfulls of shopping bags of those former products. After a few weeks of trying out every product, I finally came to a strange red bottled mascara which I hadn't tried yet. Minutes later and I was OBSESSED.

The mascara came in a red snake print embedded bottle, which I absolutely fell in love with. I took the lid off, and then BAM I saw the strangest mascara brush - it twisted this way and that, mangled neck and curved body. This meant that it adapted perfectly to my lashes and just.. ugh. I love it so much. 

Ignoring the somewhat bad quality of these photos, I found the mascara to be clumpy, but not so much so that it made me look all Katie Price -like, you know?

The unfocusness (totally a word) of this image annoys me so much, but I felt I should post it despite the lack of quality *sigh*

I know I know, my photographic skills are really.. something.

It took so many attempts to even try to get this image - do you realise how hard it is to take an image of something without looking at the camera? Let me tell you, it was excrutionally painful to go through the click, check, delete, click, check, delete, click, check, delete phase a gazillion times.

The embossed faux snake print bottle.

The brush was SUPER strange, and really took some getting used to.

I didn't mean for this to turn into a review, but hey I guess it did. Oops.

Anyway, I just had to illustrate my new found love for Scandal Eyes mascara, and ignoring the shortness of my lashes, I think it looks pretty damn good, even if I do say so myself.

Woo, makeup!

Also, my blog giveaway is open for another nineteen days, so there's still plenty of time to enter.
Good luck!

no, i am not a robot, thanks for asking.

There's one single word that never fails to bring fear to all bloggers of the human race. Internationally, locally, singletarily - it is undoubtedly rage-inducing. These eight letters when combined can create the perfect mixture of both terror and heartbreak. What is this word, you may ask? It's easy. 


Ah yes. Captcha. The computerised system used to detect spam via comments, log ins, sign ups and website deterring. I'm pretty sure that every blogger in this industry has been exposed to this monstrosity at least one.

I have an active, spamless acount, and yet you Captcha continue to haunt me throughout my blogging journey. Oh Captcha, how irritating and time consuming you are. How I hate you so.

I love commenting on other blogs and joining discussions and everything, but the second I see a blog with word verification I am automatically disheartened. Even the very name, Captcha, sends chills down my spine. Seriously, why would you name a computer system after a means of, let's say, kidnapping? Geez Captcha, get yourself together!

Rant over, I just really dislike the abomination known as Captcha, and if I could I would ban it from computer screens all over the universe, no doubt about it.*

*Almost as much as comic sans.

monthly guest post; ivana

A massive thank you to Ivana of Bookish Teens for supplying The Blog Hermit's monthly blog post!

Books You Have To Read Before You Die

(Amy, thank you so much for asking me to do a guest post. This is such an honor!)
Hello. I'm a book blogger, Ivana, from BookishTeens, and this is my monthly guest post on The Blog Hermit.
Here are some books that I think every teenager should read.

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Summary: Charlie isn't the biggest geek in school, but he is by no means popular. Shy, intelligent, yet socially awkward: he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run away from it.
Why you should read it: The story's protagonist is such an extraordinary person. He tells his story through letters to a complete stranger, and discovers secrets and traumas of his life. A lot of young adults can find themselves in this book because of how sad and messed-up Charlie is.
Favorite quote: "I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be." - Charlie

2. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Summary: When a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters appears at Hazel Grace Lancaster's cancer support group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
Why you should read itThis is such a sad but incredible story. Everyone should read it to understand how little time we've actually got.
Favorite quote: "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once." - Hazel Grace Lancaster

3. Paper Towns by John Green
Summary: Quentin "Q" Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving his adventurous neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life, he follows.
Why you should read it: I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves adventures, which is pretty much every teenager. Margo Roth Spiegelman is a mysterious love interest of Q, and you'll never know what to expect from her.
Favorite quote: "She loved mysteries so much that she became one." - Quentin "Q" Jacobsen

4. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Summary: Miles "Pudge" Halter's life is one big nonevent, so he heads off to Culver Creek Boarding School. His life immediately becomes the opposite of safe, because down the hall, there is Alaska Young.
Why you should read it: If you believe things can last forever, you need to read this book. This story taught me everything can disappear in a matter of seconds.
Favorite quote: "If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane." - Miles "Pudge" Halter

5. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Summary: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box, containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
Why you should read it: I genuinely think it's very important for every teen to read this book, because most of us don't know what's going on in a suicidal person's head.
Favorite quote: "You can't go back to how things were. How you thought theywere. All you really have is now." - Hannah Baker

6. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Sallinger
Summary: Holden Caulfield tells the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life - just after he's been expelled from prep school and right before he got into a  mental hospital.
Why you should read it: This story is a classic, and you should read just so you can have your own opinion about it. I personally hated it, because the protagonist isan annoying liar, but I am still so glad I've read it. What amazes me the most is that the story itself doesn't have a plot, yet it is somehow still interesting.
Favorite quote: "What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though." - Holden Caulfield

7. Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Summary: Harry lives an unhappy life with his aunt and uncle, but it's all about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger - he is invited to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed.
Why you should read it: Do I even need to give a reason? Every living person should read it. We all lack of magic in our lives and this book is just what we need.
Favorite quote: "To the well-organized mind, death is nothing but the next great adventure." - Albus Dumbledore

8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Summary: Katniss Everdeen enters a terrifying reality TV show, where twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.
Why you should read it: If you're looking for a story with a strong, independent, intelligent female protagonist, you've come to the right place.
Favorite quote: "I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.” - Katniss Everdeen

9. Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
Summary: When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy take their first steps into the world behind the magic wardrobe, little do they realize what adventures they are about to unfold. 
Why you should read it: Such a classic story, everyone should read it at least once in their lifetime. Parts of the story are connected so wisely that you won't understand it all unless you read all the books!
Favorite quote: "The trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.” - Edmund Pevensie

10. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
Summary: Summers span decades, winters can last a lifetime, and the struggle for the Iron Throne has just begun. But in a world full of royals, warriors and knights, everyone hides a dark secret.
Why you should read it: This book will either be the best thing or the worst thing you've ever read, there is no in between. You should take a shot to see if you like it; if you do, you'll be hooked!
Favorite quote: "When you play a game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.” - Cersei Lannister 

That's it from me. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed typing it. Once again - thank you so much, Amy! It was a pleasure to post here.

Happy reading!

Ivana @ BookishTeens