Rapid-Fire Book Tag

Good evening friends old and new,

In an effort to distract my brain after being ravaged by food poisoning (shout out to the pork belly I had at the Harvester last night, you weren’t even that good anyway) I’ve pinched this rapid-fire list of book related questions from Grace Latter, who has an A+ blog and you should read it.


E-book or physical book?

Physical book. E-books are great for travelling and getting a bargain but my iPad looks much less cool on a shelf than twenty books.

Paperback or hardback?

Eh, paperback. Party because “Hardback Punk Rock” doesn’t sound as good and partly because I generally just…don’t buy hardbacks. It’s nothing personal.

Online or in-store book shopping?

In-store. Particularly if there’s coffee involved. The downside of this is that I go into Waterstones looking for one particular title and come out with six books, a bookmark and some badges. If I exercise some self control.

Trilogies or series?

Trilogies are neat and nice but I don’t really have any strong opinions either way. As long as it’s a series with a purpose and not just putting out books for the sake of it.

Heroes or villains?

Heroes. I’m boring.

A book you want everyone to read?

I’m not going to bang any of my usual drums this time. Read On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Just because it’s cool.

Recommend an underrated book?


The Pellinor books are SO GOOD and occasionally I find other people on Twitter who’ve read them and it’s the best. Where are you Pellinor fans?

The last book you finished?

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard, which I wish I could send back in time to fifteen year old Kirsty.

The last book you bought?

These three from the Edinburgh Book Festival – I talk more about them in this blog post.

blog 2

Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?

My friend’s business card that he gave me the week after he’d been elected as a councillor. What else was I going to do with it? I don’t live in his ward and I’m hardly likely to ever send him an email asking if he wants to go to the pub.

Top 3 favourite genres?

YA. And…er. Crime and contemporary probably.

Borrow or buy?

Buy, because I’m a hoarder and I like to covet shelves of books like some sort of dragon.

Used books: yes or no?

Yes! Charity shops are the best.

Characters or plot?

Characters. I don’t care how astonishingly clever you are for coming up with some dazzling plot if I’m secretly hoping your protagonist will fall down a hole. And if your plot is thinner than a Primark jumper but your characters are awesome I’m less likely to care.

Long books or short?

Depends on the book. A lot of high fantasy with books that you could double up as a coffee table I’m probably not going to start, but too short and it’s like, am I really going to have an experience with this?

Long or short chapters?

Can I go for in the middle? I do most of my reading before I go to bed so long chapters keep me up and short ones mean I accidentally read loads and it keeps me up.

I’m SO boring.

Name the first 3 books you think of…

The Great Gatsby, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Art of Being Normal.

Books that made you laugh or cry?

I Hate Myself and Want To Die” by Tom Reynolds and “The Disaster Artist” by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. Both nonfiction, but they appeal to my bitter, cynical sense of humour and I visibly loled more than once.

I also remember laughing myself stupid at one particular scene in the Georgia Nicolson series back in the day.

Our world or fictional worlds?

I’m big on contemporary, but if you can get me heavily invested in another world then open that door folks, I’m coming in.

Audiobooks: yes or no?

Nah. I’m a really fast reader and audiobooks go too slow for me. Plus I’d rather have my own brain voice doing it, not someone else.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

I’m the easiest person in the world to sway with a really good cover. I’d probably go out and buy the phonebook if you put sprayed edges on it.

Book to movie or book to TV adaptations?

I’m not a big film watcher in general, so probably TV. An hour is about all my attention span can do in one go.

A movie or TV show you preferred to its book?

The Green Mile. Not that The Green Mile is in any way a bad book, but it didn’t make me cry like the film did.

Series or standalones?

How about multiple standalones but set in the same world? That’s what I’m here for.


I wasn’t tagged, so I’m not going to tag anyone else. Take it and go nuts!

Top Ten Tuesday: “Hidden gems” of YA Fiction

I’d like to dedicate this list of “hidden gems” to the people who suffer Twilightitis. You all know it, that strange condition some people suffer where they hear the phrase ‘Young Adult books’ and immediately shout “Twilight!” despite the fact that Twilight a) was published twelve years ago and b) isn’t – brace yourselves – the only book for teenagers that’s ever been written. I know! It’s not even one of the best. Let that sink in.

If you or someone you know suffers from Twilightitis, rejoice! I’ve got ten books for you to educate yourselves with. None of them feature sparkly vampires and none of them have lengthy scenes where the main character thinks she might as well just stop living as now that her boyfriend, who her entire life and purpose revolved around, has gone away. Enjoy!

(All blurbs are from Goodreads – links are included.)

Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson


“Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

The Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot

Princess Diaries

‘You’re not Mia Thermopolis any more, honey,’ Dad said. I raised my head. ‘I’m not?’ I said, blinking. ‘Then who am I?’ He went, kind of sadly, ‘You’re Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo, Princess of Genovia.’


Yeah, right.

One minute Mia’s totally normal. Next minute she’s heir to the throne of Genovia.

Well, her dad can lecture her until he’s royal-blue in the face, but no way is Mia going to behave like some posh princess. And they think she’s moving to Genovia? Er, hello?

The Chronicles of Pellinor – Alison Croggon


Maerad is a slave in a desperate and unforgiving settlement, taken there as a child after her family is destroyed in war. She is unaware that she possesses a powerful gift, one that marks her as a member of the School of Pellinor. It is only when she is discovered by Cadvan, one of the great Bards of Lirigon, that her true heritage and extraordinary destiny unfold. Now she and her new teacher must survive a journey through a time and place where the forces they battle stem from the deepest recesses of otherworldly terror.

The Impossible Knife of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory

For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over?

What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows – Nora Raleigh Baskin

What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows

Twelve-year-old Gabby Weiss is in the market for a stepmother. If only her father would cooperate, Gabby would have someone to tell her what is and isn’ t happening to her body. For awhile her father’ s girlfriend, Cleo, forms a bond with Gabby. But when the adults break up, Gabby’ s hopes for a stepmother are shattered. Still, sharing feelings with a woman has awakened Gabby’ s curiosity about her own mother’ s mysterious death. Once and for all, Gabby is determined to discover the truth.

Radio Silence – Alice Oseman

Radio Silence

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…

She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard

A Quiet Kind of Thunder

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it. 

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

Guitar Girl – Sara Manning

Guitar Girl

Seventeen-year-old Molly Montgomery never planned on becoming famous. Molly’s band, The Hormones, was just supposed to be about mucking around with her best mates, Jane and Tara, and having fun. But when the deliciously dangerous Dean and his friend T join the band, things start happening fast. Soon The Hormones are front-page news, and their debut album is rocketing up the charts. Molly is the force behind the band, but the hazards of fame, first love, screaming fans, and sleazy managers are forcing the newly crowned teen queen of grrl angst close to the edge. Fame never comes for free, and Molly’s about to find out what it costs.

Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale – Holly Black


Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death.


Now repeat after me: there’s more to YA fiction than Twilight.

What’s the big deal about autumn?

I’m slowly rediscovering a love for sunsets at dinner time and central heating all day every day after years of being ravaged by winter depression. But from a brief peruse of social media is looks like everyone else is WAY ahead of me. When did everyone begin to loathe summer and love autumn? Is this part of growing up, or is it a new phenomenon?


There’s plenty to be excited about in autumn, but there’s also plenty of hype that leaves me scratching my head and wondering if everyone else has moved to some higher plane and left me behind. Inspired by a conversation I had on Twitter, here’s all the things about Autumn that are SO OVERRATED.


Seriously, when did Halloween become A Big Deal? Halloween when I was little was a homemade cat costume, leotard, black tights and faux fur tails sewn on the back. I looked like I was starring in an amateur production of Cats and I loved it. Now it seems to be just as big as Christmas. There are entire supermarket aisles full of decorations. If you had Halloween decorations when I was wee you were That Rich House in the street. I don’t get the hype. Why is Halloween good?

The benefits of living right at the top of a hill with no kids in the immediate area is that I don’t have to draw the curtains, turn all the lights off and sit in the dark to pretend I’m not in, which is what we did every year before I moved out. The downside is that I no longer live with my mum, who would buy bags of sweets “just in case” and then we’d actively avoid luring anyone to the front door. Good times.

Pumpkin Spiced Lattes

Let’s get real: these things are not good. I get that they’re the unofficial Harbinger of Autumn, but why? They’re disgusting. It’s like drinking a Yankee Candle. I’ve tried one exactly once to see what all the fuss was about and gave it away after one mouthful. This was a much bigger paragraph when I first drafted this post, until I realised it was eight different ways of saying “they are vile”.

Seriously though, all the cool things about this season and we as a people have made this horrendous drink the biggest phenomenon?

Really gif

Christmas things in the shops from September onwards

I swear this is happening earlier each year. August is barely over before you start catching strains of Cliff Richard while you’re standing in the cheese aisle in Tesco. I fastidiously try to avoid anything festive before at least November, but it’s the middle of August and the Christmas chocolate boxes are out. The adverts will be on TV soon. HELP.

I like Christmas as much as the next person but how fatigued do you end up feeling by December when it’s rammed down your throat every time you do literally anything?


You might get to this stage and think “What a miserable cow”. In order to correct this assumption, and since I mentioned at the start that I liked autumn, I figure I should probably name some things I actually do enjoy about this time of year.

Toffee Nut Lattes

I’m sorry, this is the real deal as far as seasonal drinks go. This blows Pumpkin Spiced Burn Time 30hrs away. I genuinely can’t go past a Starbucks when they’re in without having one of these. The moment the first taste passes my lips I sprout a woolly hat, scarves, gloves and the world’s thickest jumper spontaneously like some sort of stop motion animation. Even thinking about it is making me want one. When do they come out again?

My birthday

I’ve already spoken in my Florida hype post about how I’m spending my 26th birthday. Generally though, as much as I’m generally ambivalent about birthdays (hello late 20s, it’s a bummer), 23rd September is the point at which it Becomes Autumn and isn’t just Late Summer. All bets are off now. Jumpers are worn regularly. You’re allowed to say the C word out loud instead of just thinking it like a dirty little secret. I learn how to work the thermostat in my house again. Everything is right with the world.


I like weather. Doesn’t matter if it’s blazing sunshine and blue skies, massive snowstorm, wind that could blow you over (actually happened to me outside work earlier this year) or torrential sheet rain, as long as I’m indoors (or outdoors if it’s nice).The only kind of weather I really can’t be doing with is your bog standard grey skies and nothing else is going on, which unfortunately is the prevalent weather condition in Scotland.

Generally autumn means it’s time for ridiculous poor weather, and there is NOTHING better than whacking on a dressing gown, lighting enough candles to do Molly Ringwald for the rest of her life and writing something while the rain goes sideways against the window.

Top tip: Heartland by Runrig is the best album to listen to on cold dark winter nights. Trust me.


We had a pretty reasonable summer in Scotland this year (take note, people, because those words don’t appear next to each other in a sentence very often) so it’s a little sad to be winding down into September, but I won’t deny that I am ITCHING to put a jumper on. It’s too muggy right now for that to be a viable clothing choice, but give it time…

Autumb sunset
Afternoon sunset from the office window.

On Dogs: a National Dog Day special

I normally post on a Monday, but it’s National Dog Day today!

I love dogs. I’ll quite often break mid-conversation to shout DOG when I see one going past, alarming everyone around me. Puppies move me to tears. (As in, I cry literal tears of joy and love when I see them.) DOGS ARE AWESOME. Thus, in honour of this most special occasion, meet my dogs. DOGS!


Tess was found wandering the streets of Warrington as a puppy and brought up to Second Chance Kennels in Thornton, where we adopted her after YEARS of begging Mummy and Daddy Mac for a dog. She wasn’t there for very long before we were taking her home as a very, VERY bouncy puppy in a cardboard box in the back of the car. We later established she’s a Staffie cross, which explains the bouncing and the fact that she loves everyone she meets, without prejudice.

Aggressive kisses for Maw

The rules were clear from the start: she wasn’t getting into the carpeted living room until she was house trained. She wasn’t ever getting on the couch. She wasn’t ever EVER getting on the furniture on the caravan.

That went well.

She was in the living room on the first night, sleeping on the bed in the caravan on her first holiday and adopted a chair in the living room quickly thereafter. She discovered a penchant for disappearing in wooded areas and turning up cheerfully hours later. She destroys everything that goes into her mouth – sticks, plastic bottles, squeaky toys.

Whenever I go round to visit you’d think I’d been away for years. You can ask her where anyone in the house is and she’ll run to them. She talks to you when you ask her if she wants her tea. She’ll offer on command a paw, the other paw, and both paws. I love her.

Tess in wind (Eearrrs)


When my mum told me cheerfully that we were adopting another dog, I didn’t think we’d be getting one from continental Europe. The charity Rags 2 Riches bring dogs over from Romania, where dogs are often left in public shelters – horrible, grim places bereft of any sort of love and happiness, where the dogs are at best unloved and at worst actively mistreated. You can read more about them on the Rags 2 Riches website – they do a lot of good work bringing “Rommies” over and rehoming them in the UK. Including Isla!

Isla R2R photo
The photo that sealed the deal for Mummy Mac.

We don’t know exactly what happened to Isla before she came to us, but she’s uncomfortable with the following:

  • Cyclists
  • Spaniels
  • Any dog that gets right up in her grill
  • Sticks
  • Lorries/buses going past
  • Men (although she likes them more now!)
  • Barking dogs
  • People raising their hands
  • Fireworks (apparently people used to throw fireworks into the shelter to frighten the dogs, so whenever they start going off she hides behind the TV.)

She’s not as antsy as she was, and is now completely ridiculous. You have to run to get the post before she does or you’ll find pieces of it all over the floor. She managed to break the letterbox on the front door in a way that I didn’t even know it could be broken. If she’s pleased to see you she folds herself almost in half until her nose is in her tail. She’s cute and barks a lot. ❤

Cute Isla with ball


Meg is my gran’s Labrador, and she’s frankly ridiculous. She’s got a tail like a cricket bat and it’s merciless in its approach to everything in its path – glasses, faces, food, if it’s not nailed down it’s on the floor.

She’s the most anxious dog I’ve ever met. She’s frightened of everything. She’ll scream – like, actually full on scream – if you lift your arm to put your jacket on. She’s terrified of my cat, who’s never taken a claw to anyone in her life. If you touch her ears she’ll cry like you’ve set them on fire. You’d think she’d spent years being beaten within an inch of her life.

When she runs her legs all move independently of each other in absolutely no rhythm whatsoever, to the point where I don’t know how she’s travelling forwards. It’s hilarious and fascinating in equal measure.

Meg mid gallop
Deceiving photo of Meg in what looks like a normal forward trajectory.

She’s the biggest clumsy dope dog I’ve ever met, but I love her. The night before my Papa died I had to go home from the hospital in floods of tears after only being there for about ten minutes, and I sat on the floor on my own, completely inconsolable. Meg sat in front of me and shoved her big goofy Labrador face in mine and stayed there, completely still, for the rest of the evening while I cried into her neck.

What a good dog.


In conclusion, dogs are awesome, and I miss mine now that I’ve moved out, but when I go round to visit and they’re falling over each other to throw themselves at me it’s pretty life affirming.

Happy National Dog Day – and please feel free to send me pictures of yours! I LOVE DOGS.

Sing when you’re ginning: Edinburgh Book Festival

In order to break up what risks being a series of me counting my top five anythings and being a thoroughly sarcastic cow about all of them, I thought I’d actually write about Some Things That I’ve Done. Particularly since this weekend I washed my hair, wore clothes that weren’t pyjamas, found some lipstick I didn’t know I owned and actually left the house.

I ended up in Edinburgh yesterday for a Fringe show (planned) and a wander round the book festival (unplanned). A trip to the book festival always leaves me feeling like a bit of a fraud. I have this real complex – that I’m trying to shake off – about how I’m n o t a w r i t e r because nobody’s read anything I’ve written, I’ve never been published, if it comes up in conversation I have nothing to show for myself. I’m not a Real Writer™. The last time I went to a book festival was Dundee Lit Festival while I was doing my MLitt, and it made me so cripplingly stressed that I’ve made all the right noises about going to one without actually going ever since.

I know it’s the stupidest thing in the world, because obviously you don’t have to be writer to go to a book festival, same way you don’t have to be an comedian to go and see one at the Fringe, but Imposter Syndrome is a powerful thing and whenever I go to them I feel like this:


I took Sean and Richard with me, because I thought if I’m going to feel horribly self-conscious I’m going to do it with people who aren’t afraid to tell me to get a grip. Plus they both likes books and Richard can hear a bottle of gin being opened from 200 metres, so that helps too.

In this vein, I discovered that a good way to beat imposter syndrome is by buying half pint glasses of Pinot Grigio within about thirty seconds of being inside Charlotte Square. Which is exactly what we did.

blog 4

Wine always tastes different when you’re outside drinking it out of a plastic cup, and I’m going to blame that for why I got so tipsy very quickly and went on a big rant on why voices in YA fiction are important all the way round the Children’s Book Market tent.

Sean and Richard got bored of listening to me eventually and became enthralled in an adventure.

blog 3

Two double gins in pint glasses – PINT GLASSES OF GIN, FRIENDS, the future is here – and a spontaneous rendition of “The Internet is for Porn” later and I’d spent the cash that was meant to do me the whole day on books and booze. I have no regrets, mainly because I picked up the following:

blog 2

  • A signed copy of Wing Jones. I love signed books. I think it’s got something to do with the fact that there’s a direct link between you and the author. You’re holding something that they picked up and wrote on. It’s easy to forget that an author isn’t just a name printed on the front cover or a Twitter picture that rolls down your newsfeed. An actual human being poured hours of graft and heart into the words between the covers, and I love that in a signed copy of a book you’ve actually got words that came from a pen in their ACTUAL HAND.
  • Beneath the Skin by Sandra Ireland – Sandra is a fellow MLitt graduate from the University of Dundee – she was in my class and is a wonderful writer. Beneath the Skin came out last year and despite thinking “right, I’m going to pick it up this week” for more times than I can count life inevitably got in the way, or I forgot, or I went into a bookshop and it wasn’t there. I knew from social media that it was on sale at the festival so I promptly dispatched the team to look for the Polygon stand. Now I’m looking forward to starting it. Can you sign my copy at some point Sandra? 😀
  • The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I don’t know if I’m just a n00b and sometimes festivals have advanced copies of books? I didn’t think Loneliest Girl was due to come out until next month but it’s been getting such rave reviews had already decided weeks ago that I was going to be picking this up, so when I clocked it in the book tent I’m pretty sure I nearly clotheslined a child by mistake in my haste to double check that my eyes were not deceiving me. (They weren’t, and I’m sorry if that was your child. It’s next on my TBR list, if that makes it any better.)

Book Festival was a resounding success. I think next year I’d probably pull my finger out and actually look at the event schedule and see what’s on when and book some tickets, since going this year was a bit of a  last minute decision.

I also, in a moment of gin-fuelled madness, announced that by the time next year’s festival rolls around I’ll have completed a first draft of a book. We’ll see how much I hate myself for this in the coming months.

blog 1

The world of Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy.

I’m going to Florida with my family next month! Have I told you yet? If not, buckle up: I’m about to get really annoying for the next four weeks.

My sister – who has been at least once a year since 2014 and for whom the word “obsessed” is putting it lightly – doesn’t believe I’m excited, despite the fact that I’ve spent the past three years bawling whenever she’s shown me her photos. When we booked the flights a full twelve months ago she nearly battered me with a spade because I “wasn’t excited enough”.

She spends a lot of time watching review videos, POV videos, Vlogs and stuff. She wants me to do this too, so we can be excited together. I refuse. To quote River Song: spoilers.

I’m not unconvinced Megan moved to England earlier this year to avoid throttling me out of frustration.

So, because I’m pretty sure she won’t let me onto the plane unless I stop saying “I don’t know, everything” whenever she asks me what I’m most excited about, I’ve dug deep into my surface level knowledge of Disney World and picked the five things that have me at MAXIMUM HYPE.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I turn 26 right in the middle of the trip. 26 is a horrible number. It’s on the wrong side of 25 and dangerously close to MY LATE TWENTIES. I will no longer fit into the 18-25 age bracket.

Obviously the way I’m going to counter this is by regressing into my ten year old self and bawling my eyes out in a Harry Potter theme park for the day. If my family don’t think I’m going to embarrass them all by running around in Ravenclaw robes with a wand and an owl under my arm then they don’t know me at all. I’M NOT SORRY.

Disney BoardWalk

I’m finding it difficult to look at the entire BoardWalk and not just shout YAAAAAAS whenever I see it. In an ideal world I’d be here most evenings. It looks AMAZING. Arcades, food, a great big lake with boats and a bar that sells eight different varieties of margarita? When can I move in?

I hope there’s mini golf. We love mini golf.


The Magic Kingdom


This was my first response when Megan asked me what I was MOST excited about. (I hope I’m more excited than she is in that photo.) She said “yeah, but what about it?”

Like…what do you mean, “what about it”? EXISTING THERE.

But I continue to aggravate her with vague answers, so I looked at the map as much as I could and still be spoiler free and picked the highlights.

  • Main Street, U.S.A. – they do a song and dance when the park opens and then you get to walk right up the middle to the statue of Disney holding Mickey’s hand and Cinderella Castle? SISTER HOLD ME I’M CRYING ALREADY.
  • Thunder Mountain – I HATED rollercoasters or anything vaguely scary as a child. I’m not overly enamoured with them as a bigger child, but I remember crying and freaking out on the walk up to Thunder Mountain – yes, the tamest coaster in all the land – so I’m going to on this one to prove a point.
  • The Peter Pan ride – this was my absolute favourite when I went last time because it was so pretty and chill.
  • Fantastic show – I might be cheating with this because I can’t remember if it’s in the Magic Kingdom or not but whatever, I cry every time Megan plays clips of it and I’m going to cry when we’re there. No regrets.



Epcot is the park that I liked the least when I was there last time. In hindsight I was probably too young to actually appreciate it since it looks cool af now. There’s Future World and fireworks and stuff, but let’s get real: hello World Showcases.

I like food and I like atmosphere. I’m very keen to inhale lots of both. There’s also a Drinking Around The World challenge, which is where you have to have a drink at each of the eleven World Showcase country pavilions in one day, sounds right up my avenue. Will I be able to walk out of the park afterwards? Who knows. I’m not sure if there’s a prize for managing it, but by the time I get there I doubt I’ll care.

Also the Epcot International FOOD AND WINE Festival is on while we’re there and y’know.

these are a fwe of my favourite things

The Disney water parks

For someone who spends so much time indoors and is paler than Casper, nothing makes me happier than brightly coloured alcohol and sun. I’m literally going to drink cocktails and spin through shades of brown faster than a Dulux mixing machine. I’m not one for flumes or being dumped into pools because I’m hopeless and I will drown, so really the rides don’t matter here and Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are equally going to do it for me. Mainly because they’ve both got those things where you sit in the middle of a rubber ring and float round a river.

Those things are awesome.


There you go Megan. Happy trip planning. It’s going to be awesome and I hope we’re as stylish this year as we were in 2002.


Five true things people didn’t tell me about owning a cat (and one lie they did)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I’ve heard many things about cats in my 20something years on the planet. Aloof, unfriendly, claws, disappearing for days on end, bringing dead presents into the house like every day is Christmas Day.

It might explain why we were always dog people. I grew up playing with my grandparents’ Labradors until, after years of pleading, we got a dog when I was 13. It wasn’t until I got into my twenties and started to hang out with a few cats that my cold cat heart started to melt.

Subsequently, shortly after I finished my undergrad degree, I acquired this:

1506_10151504187722449_1179112252_n (1)

(Check out the nick of my stupid face. It was love at first sight for me. I think Stella knew she was doomed to being squished forever. SHE WASN’T WRONG.)

It’s been four years now since I acquired Cloth Cat, and I’ve come to realise that quite a lot of the misconceptions were, frankly, total nonsense. Below are just some of the things that Stella exists to disprove.

Not all cats are divas when it comes to food.

Here is a list of everything I know Stella has eaten in the time I’ve owned her.

  • Wet food
  • Dry food
  • Dog food
  • Grass
  • House plants
  • Cooked chicken I was about to take to work for my lunch
  • Pizza
  • Ham
  • A bit of Rich Tea biscuit
  • Mashed potato
  • String
  • A stray olive
  • Some feathers
  • Her own fur.

Here is a list of things that she’s turned down.

  • A piece of vaguely expensive salmon that I dropped on the floor by mistake and figured I’d put in her dish rather than waste. Because it was vaguely expensive.

It ended up in the bin.

There’s no escaping the hair.

Stella’s adoption certificate lists her as a British Short Hair. “Ah, excellent,” said I when I met her tiny, British Short Haired kitten face. “I won’t have to buy a million lint rollers and hoover five times a week.”

Wasn’t I stupid.

There’s hair on my kitchen utensils, hair on my towels, hair on every available surface. All she has to do with walk within three feet of me and I look like I’m cosplaying Chewbacca. I’m live in a state of constant bafflement as to how she isn’t entirely bald as she seems to be on a one-cat mission to carpet my entire downstairs in shades of ginger and brown.

British Lotsof Short Hair, more like.

Cats aren’t always graceful ancient feline god material

I mean


For a long time I thought cats slunk about like Si and Am from Lady and the Tramp but without the singing. YouTube did solid work in shattering these expectations but I still wasn’t fully prepared for just how ridiculous cats are. Cue falling out of bedroom windows, jumping out of trees onto garden parasols (the cartoon sliding down into the shrubbery was a particular highlight) and two memorable incidents of jumping behind the bed and getting wedged, feet dangling, between the headboard and the wall and squeaking pathetically until I got up and rescued her.

If cats are ancient gods, I’m pretty sure mine is the equivalent of Mushu from Mulan. But Mushu’s awesome, so it’s OK.

Cats WILL come when you call them

Breaking news! You don’t need a variety of weird cat-friendly noises (you all know them, don’t tell lies) and a bag of biscuits to make a cat appear. You can teach them their name and then they’ll show up (the biscuits do help with this part though). It does however mean I end up channelling Marlon Brando whenever I want to see her.

(Yes, contrary to popular belief, Stella’s last name isn’t Artois. She’s named after Stella Kowalski from A Streetcar Named Desire. Prior to this, she was known as Beyonce in her foster family because she’s got a patch of light hair on one of her toes that looks like a ring. I chose badly re-enacting classic American theatre, however hollering “Beyonce!” in the garden to coax a lazy cat from the bushes would also have been excellent.)

They’ll shred you the moment you even vaguely displease them

Cardinal rule of cats: you pat them very carefully and you stop when you start to get That Vibe: the one that says they might suddenly turn around and rip off your epidermis. Don’t touch them underneath. Ever.

I don’t know if it’s her overall personality or the fact that I was so enamoured with Stella when I first got her that I used to pick her up and squeeze her several times a day, but she’s a teddy bear. She’s quite open to being seized and cuddled at random. All you have to do is think about patting her and she falls over. She’ll roll onto her back and stick all her legs in the air and let you stroke her underneath until you get bored or she falls asleep.

In fact, in four years I can count the number of times she’s taken her claws out on one hand.


And one lie about cats I believed for a shamefully long time:

Cats won’t love you like a dog would

Every day, when I come in from work, I go into the living room and deliberately make a hell of a lot of noise. Every day, without fail, Stella will come barrelling down the stairs like a sack of bricks with legs, aquaplane (but on fur, not water – furplane?) across the laminate flooring and start decimating the couch out of sheer joy until I go and grab her and throw her over my shoulder.

She sleeps on the bed most nights, sometimes rolled up on the end, sometimes right next to me so I’m spooning her, sometimes across the top of my head on the pillow like an odd little hat.

It’s very unusual for her to not be in the same room as me if I’m in the house. If I’m doing the dishes she’ll be trying to get into the cupboards so she can drop a kilo of hair all over the plates, if I’m in the spare room on the PC she’ll lie under my desk. If I’m in the living room she’s either on the floor in front of the window or on the couch between us.

She’s a ridiculous, dopey, lazy sack of cat who often forgets to put her tongue back in when she’s been licking herself, sees a closed door as an invitation and is currently standing on my keyboard without a care in the world, so I’m writing this with my chin on her back and a mouthful of tail.

And she loves, wholeheartedly and enthusiastically, everyone who comes through the door, without prejudice.