I did it. I finished #Blogtober.

Posted October 31, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Personal / 0 Comments

At the start of this month I committed to posting on my blog every single day for the month of October. I didn’t pre-write my posts or anything like that. I’ve literally forced myself to sit down at the end of every day and write. Some days have been harder than others.

Let me give you a breakdown of my October, behind the scenes:

  • At one point I had to hide from a massive spider that decided to come live in my room. I made my mum come and save me from it- but I had to wait for ages until she came home. That was a tense time. Willow did not help.
  • I found a tree full of about ten squirrels- it was impressive. I thought my dog might faint at the sight of it.
  • I went on lots of dog walks.
  • I braved the optician.
  • I got obsessed with The Sims 4.
  • I built a Harry Potter paradise in The Sims 4.
  • I watched a lot of YouTube videos
  • I started writing a plan for the story I want to write in November for Nanowrimo
  • I found my cherished stash of classic Sabrina the Teenage Witch comics
  • My mum and I were involved in a car crash
  • I went to a class on social media
  • I cried in the changing rooms at work *cringe*.
  • I got new glasses (which I love so much).
  • I cried when I watched Toy Story 4 (again)
  • I pre-booked tickets to watch the next Star Wars film with my dad in December
  • I made Halloween themed cakes. Pretty epic ones, if I do say so myself.
  • I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Most impressively (to me), I completed a challenge I set for myself by writing a blog post every day.

I’m not good at sticking to challenges. I like the idea of them but I do not usually follow through on them. So I’m really happy to have succeeded at something. The best bit about this is the self-fulfilment. I didn’t do this because anyone told me to or to help someone else. I did it because I wanted to. I did it to give myself something to do for my own well-being.

In short: I’m really proud of myself for finishing #Blogtober.

Do I have regrets about the content I chose? Kind of. I’ve got a few half written discussions, book reviews and film discussions in my drafts that in an ideal world I would have posted this month. I also have a lot of ideas in my notebook that I didn’t have the energy to even start writing up. But all of these posts will be good for another day.

I hope anyone who has enjoyed my posts this month will be happy to stick around and see what comes next.

For the moment, I’m going to take a little break from blogging to focus on a novel writing challenge in November. I will still blog here and there, but not every day ;). I’m going to try and come up with a blogging schedule in December so I have a plan in place to post regular content by the time next year rolls around.


Now, if you will excuse me, I’m going to celebrate Halloween by hiding in the dark, with my dog. Maybe watching a Harry Potter film.

Thank you for reading.

Lauren x


Spookalicious Cakes

Posted October 30, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Personal / 1 Comment

It’s Halloween Eve so me and my mum decided to bake some spooky treats to celebrate (no thanks to my dog, Willow, who tried to sabotage the whole operation on a few occasions).

We went big on the chocolate when making these cakes. We made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate topping, using a white chocolate pen to make a few different decorations-we’ve got skeletons, webs, bats and ghosts.

I am not an expert cake decorator- this was just a bit of fun! But I’m pretty happy with how these cupcakes turned out. I was going for a cute, homemade look ;).

I wasn’t sure about my skeletons when I was drawing them but on the cakes I think they look pretty cute!

For the bats we used chocolate buttons for ears. We did bats last year and I just think they look super sweet with their little ears and fangs (obvs they are vampire bats)

The ghosts were a late addition to the range because I only thought to make them near the end. They took up quite a bit of the contents of what I had left in my chocolate pen though so that was probably for the best!

I’m going to bring them into work tomorrow as a surprise. My colleagues are fiends when it comes to treats and snacks so hopefully they will enjoy these spooky cupcakes.


Have you made Halloween themed cakes before?

Lauren x


Top Ten Magical Characters

Posted October 29, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Top Ten Tuesday / 0 Comments

This is posted as part of Top Ten Tuesday, a blog feature where That Artsy Reader Girl provides weekly prompts for top ten lists.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

โ€“That Artsy Reader Girl

Today’s topic is a Halloween Freebie. I have chosen to list my top ten magical characters.


1) Elsa from Frozen (2013)

Let it go! This movie came out while I was at uni. I love it so much. Elsa grows so much over the course of the movie, from someone who suppresses her nature to a Queen who embraces her powers. She gets to reconnect with her sister as her true self. It’s a great film.

2) Sophie Hatter from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones

Sophie does not believe that she is in anyway special at the beginning of the story but as the novel goes on her powers are shown to us subtly. I love how slowly and naturally her powers flourish as her self confidence blossoms.

3) Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I had to have a Harry Potter character on this list. I went for Ginny because she’s a strong person who stands by Harry and her family through thick and thin. She’s a clever and loyal witch.

4) Sabrina from Sabrina the Teenage Witch (TV series)

I have done a few posts discussing how Sabrina was a big part of my childhood. She is one of the first magical characters that really grabbed my imagination.

5) Kell Maresh from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Kell is such a cool character. He’s a powerful magician who can travel between worlds. I think one of the reasons I love him so much is because he gives me Ariel from The Little Mermaid vibes. Hear me out, in the first book of the series he loves to collect trinkets from different London’s- just like how Ariel likes to collect things from the human world! Kind of. Anyway, I’m super fond of Kell and how he’s sometimes the serious friend but at other times he’s just a lost young person who enjoys simple, innocent pleasures (like his trinket collection).

6) Magnus Bane from the Shadowhunters novels by Cassandra Clare

Magnus Bane is a tremendously fun character. He’s an old soul with a trunk full of history. I like how he’s a character who we are introduced to as an experienced warlock, rather than as someone who is new to their powers and only just learning how to use them.

7) Dorian Havilliard from the Throne of Glass series by S.J. Maas

Dorian gives me strong Frozen vibes. In the second novel in the series he is shown to have hidden powers that, if found out, could ruin his relationship with his family. But over the course of the series he takes greater ownership of his powers and makes them part of his identity.

8) Merlin from BBC’s Merlin TV series

Merlin was a massive part of my life for a while. I once went to Comic Con and met a few of the actors who played the knights. I was so happy!

Merlin himself is such a lovable character. He’s always getting into trouble and using his magic to find a way out.

9) Cardan Greenbriar from The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black

I am obsessed with this series and part of the reason for that is Cardan’s character development. I could write a whole essay about him, I swear. He is a complex and really interesting Faerie King.

10) Cala Athmaza from The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Cala is one of Maia’s original dedicated guards. We don’t see him use his magic very much but when he does it’s certainly dramatic. He literally puts his life on the line for Maia and he cares about Maia on a personal level, not just because he’s the Emperor.


Who are your favourite magical characters?

Lauren x


November’s Bookish Checkpoints

Posted October 28, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Bookish Adventures / 1 Comment

I love to keep an ongoing list of things I’m looking forward to. From holidays to movie releases, I like to set myself checkpoints in the future to keep me going. Right now my current batch of checkpoints is made up of a few books being released in November and Frozen II.

Today I will be rounding up the books released next month that I am most eager to get my hands on. I have even pre-ordered them because I am that excited.


First up is a fantasy novel inspired by Arthurian legend:

November’s Bookish CheckpointsThe Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1) by Kiersten White
Published by Delacorte Press on November 5, 2019
Pages: 352
Goodreads

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot.

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom's borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution--send in Guinevere to be Arthur's wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king's idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere's real name--and her true identity--is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old--including Arthur's own family--demand things continue as they have been, and the new--those drawn by the dream of Camelot--fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur's knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

*THE FIRST BOOK IN THE CAMELOT RISING TRILOGY*


Second on the list is Erin Morgenstern’s second novel. This book sounds fabulous- I love books about the magic of books.

November’s Bookish CheckpointsThe Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Published by Harvill Secker on November 5, 2019
Pages: 512
Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world--a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues -- a bee, a key, and a sword -- that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians -- it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose--in both the mysterious book and in his own life.


Last, but certainly not least, we have this beauty. I already know this novel will be the highlight of my year.

November’s Bookish CheckpointsThe Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3) by Holly Black
on November 19, 2019
Pages: 320
Goodreads

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

The finale to the New York Times bestselling Folk of Air trilogy, that started with The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, from award-winning author Holly Black.


What book releases are you most looking forward in November?

Lauren x


Dear Diary #3

Posted October 27, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Personal / 0 Comments

What I’ve been doing this week

Another week, another struggle. I hate to sound so negative all the time but I feel like I’m on a roller-coaster at the moment. At home I’m happy but at work things weigh me down. Really I need to look for a new job. I know this and yet I get scared about being rejected. I’m the only one who can make the change though…. I don’t know. It’s something I really need to think about.

This week I picked up my new glasses. I am so in love with them. They are round and rose gold. Iโ€™m looking forward to experimenting with different hairstyles and makeup looks and seeing how they go with my frames.

Getting my glasses helped improve my mood after having a breakdown on Wednesday. Luckily I had Thursday off from work to pull myself together.

The weekend has been great. It absolutely chucked it down with rain yesterday so me and my dog had to paddle down the pavement to get anywhere! It was fun though. I also watched Toy Story 4 on Blu Ray yesterday. I watched it when it was in the cinema so it was nice to finally be able to watch it again at home. It makes me very emotional, in a good way.

Today I’ve mostly been messing around with The Sims 4.

About Blogtober

After today I only have four more days of #Blogtober to get through. Iโ€™m struggling to believe that Iโ€™m going to make it. I havenโ€™t been this dedicated to a personal project in a long time. There are things I wish Iโ€™d done differently- the main thing being interacting with others. I have been so focused on making sure I have a post up every day, regardless of what else is going on in my life, that I have neglected the interaction side of blogging.

Iโ€™m really grateful to everyone who has interacted with my posts so far. Once I survive #Blogtober I will go back through the comments and check out other peopleโ€™s posts, promise. I will be taking a break from posting on the blog in November. Next month I want to concentrate on Nanowrimo. I might try and blog about my progress with that as I go, though.

I will also continue to post book reviews as I read. I haven’t been reading as much I would like to recently. All my spare time has been spent on Sims or blogging!

But there are loads of amazing sounding books being released next month so I think that will help me out of my reading slump. I’ll probably post about my most anticipated November releases next week, so look out for that if you are interested.


What have you been up-to this week?

Lauren x