Tuesday, 27 January 2015

THE CIRLCE BY DAVE EGGERS (REVIEW)




I know I’m a little bit behind on the hype of this book, but I don’t care because it’s great! I started reading it about a half a year ago and loved it… but the usual, stuff got in the way and I never ended up finishing it… until now!

I’m a massive geeky- literature nerd, I study English Lit at university and I’m constantly reading or buying books, it keeps me sane.  There’s a lot of power in walking into a heavily stacked bookshop and spending hours perusing the shelves for your next literary adventure, or watching your own shelves start to fill up as you build your own collection- I just love it! From used charity shop books, to Waterstones brand spanking new books, I really do love them all and the physical feel of holding a book will never ever be replaced (hence why Kindles are just not my thing!). But I was naughty with this book as did the “buying a book by its cover” thing… I saw the beautiful, bright, intriguing cover and just had to find out what it was about. I read up on it and wowza it sounded good, so without hesitation- I got it!... Easy peasy. 

The Circle is a story of Mae, when she is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company; she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users' personal emails, social media, and finances with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of transparency. Mae can't believe her great fortune to work for them - even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public ... Gripping right?!...

What makes this novel so successful is Dave Eggers on point commentary of the ever increasing power and importance of social media - and when I say importance, I don’t mean it as a positive. Our society is shifting to thrive off the lack of publicity, we feel the need to post a continuous stream of photos about every happening in our life, statuses about the most problematic things that are happening to us and it’s just getting too much! Facebook is slowly changing its policies and paperwork so that it can inch its way into our computers, lives and minds; to control and see all our information - to be frank it’s just scary. Therefore Eggers sees these worries and makes them bigger in the novel, to perhaps make a prediction on the way our society will shift if we don’t become more private. The ‘young adult’ feel to it means it’s accessible to everyone, and the laid back tone is information, yet not overly descriptive or “heavy”. 

If you can’t tell already I really loved the book, and I think if I was to re-read it, it’d just get better. It’s quick, easy and absolutely seeping with tech-savvy creations and innovative ideas. 

If you like 1984- you’ll love this! If you haven't read 1984 read this first!

Tell me what you thought of the book... or

BUY HERE

-Ioana x
 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

ENGLISH LITERATURE DEGREE: IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?



 University has taken over my life recently… and not necessarily in the way you would expect.  There are so many expectations that come with starting university and I had a big long list in my head of what I thought it would all be like; here’s a list:

1.       Work, work, work and more work.
2.       Loads of homework
3.       Stressful, super hard work
4.       Intense lectures and seminars
5.       No money
6.       Being treated like an adult

After finishing Semester 1 and soon to be starting up Semester 2 I thought there was no need for me to wait until the end of the year before I wrote a blog post on my experiences and like the title of the post says ‘Is it really worth it?’ and there’s a simple answer to that- No. Before you start thinking that it’s me not liking university, or studying and being in education is just not my thing- I can honestly say that’s not the case. I am the biggest geekiest person you can image- I used to sit and write essay for fun, and spent my non-existent social life reading books… So education really is for me, but a pointless degree isn’t. In simple terms I felt I was merely paying £9,000+ a year to be at home most the time reading books. I had very little lessons in the first semester and I have even less in the second (8 hours a week). The first few weeks were brilliant, I was learning new stuff and it was all completely new, but I know it now and I find most of the time I don’t really need to attend the lectures as I instead just sit there bored and doodling in my notebook. This doesn’t apply to the whole of my lessons, I was lucky enough to have a lecturer that was passionate and brought up some interesting points and discussions and really got my brain moving but that only lasted 2 hours a week, the rest was rubbish.

If you’re seriously wanting to take English Lit as uni, just do your research and ask questions, because if I had known how most of my time was spend in a pointless lecture or at home because the majority of the learning is supposed to be done by yourself.. I certainly wouldn’t have paid a VERY overpriced £9,000. 

By writing this post I don’t mean to put anybody off- I enjoyed parts of my first semester, but I’m wanting others to know about what it’s like- as I wish I’d known. 

At least I’ve managed to power my way through the Game of Thrones seasons in preparation for Season 5 in April.- Every cloud has a silver lining right?!

-Ioana x


Friday, 2 January 2015

THE BEST KIND OF BAGEL

Bagels can be a bit hit and miss.. some are amazing and some just taste boring and rubbery BUT there's without a doubt a clear winner when it comes to the bagel competition....New York Bakery Co's Cinnamon and Raisin Bagels- just the thought of them gets me excited.


The festive season has been filled with spiced treats such as gingerbread and mulled wine and although Christmas is coming to an end and the decorations are coming down, I've definitely not had enough of the food and drink. One word that can be used when describing my culinary preference would be "snug". Anything toasty, warm and hearty and I'll most certainly LOVE it and this new addition to my bread bin does not disappoint. Hear me out- even if you're not a converted bagel eater... try this tasty treat, perfect for breakfast or just an evening snack ,and then I'll gracefully accept defeat.

Now for the best way to eat it!!...



Firstly- Buy more than one bag of these beauties because once you get a taste for them you'll be replacing breakfast, dinner and tea with them- and 5 is not enough!...

Slice the bagel in half and toast...
Butter it up whilst it's still warm and pop a sliced banana on top.

It's yummy, buttery, banana-ery, toastiness is just to DIE FOR!



and if you're feeling a little bit more adventurous try it with: peanut butter// nutella// jam and even cream cheese...mmmm....

No need to thank me!

-Ioana

P.S. Feel free to comment with any winning combinations!

 


Thursday, 1 January 2015

CHRISTMAS, HOSPITALS AND A FAINTING BOYFRIEND

It's safe to say the Christmas season has been a wild one for me! However much I've enjoyed it, I'm undoubtedly looking forward to settling back into my everyday routine for the new year.
There's nothing better than the prospect of a shiny new year stretching out in front of us, filled with the hope of great memories, amazing new journeys and a fresh start to implement all those personal goals you never got round to achieving in 2014. This brings me on to my own goal for the forthcoming year... Write more blog posts and get more people reading them.


 At the end of my last post I promised to DEFINITELY upload the final  installment in the last minute gift guide collection. I sweated over making the pictures look pretty and editing and re-editing my draft ready to fulfill my promise and BOOM I very inconveniently had an asthma attack and that little promise became shattered. But I'm sure you last minute present buyers managed even if it was only a packet of jelly babies from the co-op. 

I wanted to write this post to tell you a bit about my time in hospital (don't worry there's nothing gruesome) and about how lucky and greatful I am to have had such an amazing family Christmas.

Okay so lets rewind! Me being the foodie I am- I picked to wheeze my way through a family carvery over going to hospital to get my asthma sorted. I struggled through and after making it through the meal, through the present giving and barely out the other side, I got whisked away to the local hospital. Unfortunately due to amount of drugs they pumped into me, I am unable to remember the many name of all the amazing hospital staff that helped me through that tough patch. To start I'd never been in hospital for any long period of time before, and I'd only recently moved to my boyfriend's house so he'd never seen my asthma that bad- which is very scary! I was worried, he was worried... and together we were both completely useless. The staff at St. James' Hospital in Leeds were phenomonal and I wish I could remember their names to send them some chocolates and a card- but regardless of this... I will tell anyone and everyone how brilliantly I was treated and although hospitals get a lot of stick for being badly run, it just shows that the staff are human, and normal and are just trying to earn a decent living whilst helping people and that YES! they're not all moody and horrible because they've been working long and horrible shifts. I was a bit worse for wear, grumpy about being stuck in a hospital bed so close to Christmas but they still managed to make me laugh even when I couldn't breathe.

Moving back to the point of me and boyfriend being useless... Picture this for a giggle. Me... Drugged up, can't breathe, worrying and having a million horrible needles stuck in my from every angle and my wonderful, and very worried boyfriend thinks this would be the perfect time to faint in A&E- hitting a trolley and landing very uncomfortably on the ward floor at my feet. Worrying= A little!... Funny= Definitely!!! It was certainly a laugh till you can't breathe moment...Not a good thing when you can't breathe anyway!

Moving on from all this morbidness.... Christmas was magical. I spent it with my amazing and very hectic family. Playing Just Dance, eating more food than I thought was humanly possible... devouring my favourite food of all time, Salate de Beouf and waking up early in the morning like I was still 8 made for possibly the most wonderful Christmas of my entire life! After a hectic hospital visit, being next to my boyfriend for our first Christmas and opening our presents was priceless.

I hope you all had as beautiful a day as me and keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming Christmas Haul post.

Enjoy the start of the new year!- Make it an exciting one.

-Ioana