A Day In The Life Of Willow

Posted October 21, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Personal / 1 Comment

First things first, I want to clarify that Willow is a dog. I feel like it’s important to specify this. Fun fact about my family: my mum used to be convinced that Timmy in the Fantastic Five series was a child. Timmy is a dog.

Anyway, today I will be sharing a snapshot of a typical day in Willow’s life.

Imagine: It’s Sunday morning. The sun is creeping through the windows and there is a waggy tail thumping beneath the quilt. It’s a new day and it’s time to pounce on people.

Willow’s favourite game first thing in the morning is slipper police. She’ll steal a slipper, force you to chase her for it, and then as soon as you get it off her she will go back for the other slipper. This dog is wily. She knows slippers come in twos.

Next order of business is to find me. She likes to knock on my door and generally whine until she is let in. Remember that scene in Frozen where Anna knocks on Elsa’s door and asks her if she wants to build a snowman? That’s me and Willow.

When Willow gets in she begs to be picked up and placed on the bed. I don’t know why this is. She is very capable of jumping onto my bed at other times during the day-just not in the morning. I think she just wants the attention. Usually I will stumble out of bed, half asleep and forklift her on to my bed (because, to be honest, she’s pretty big). She will then force me to lift the quilt so she can tuck herself in and settle down for bedtime #2. Until breakfast arrives. Then she starts whining again.

When I start to get dressed to take her out things can go one of two ways.

Option one: While I am getting ready Willow will pretend she’s asleep and ignore me. When I’m ready to take her out she will not be helpful and will only get up for a biscuit. She will look super depressed as I put her lead on and go out in a gloom mood.

Option two: She will start being naughty while I get ready. She will steal things, get in the way and be very chatty. While I put on my shoes she will be bursting with excitement and likely start barking. She’ll head out in a happy mood.

The main thing that determines her mood is whether my mum is coming out on the walk with us or not. I am sad to say that she is more likely to be happy when my mum comes. I try to act like Willow’s not insulting me by only being grumpy when it’s the two of us. But, to be honest, I do take it personally.

During her walk she gets to partake in one of her favourite activities: playing with tennis balls. If she doesn’t have one with her, she will likely produce one from a random bush. Creating tennis balls out of thin air is her super power.

Willow likes it when you throw the ball for her but at the same time she hates giving it to you. This makes playing fetch rather difficult. It has also resulted in her carrying tennis balls all the way home before, all because she would rather make her jaw tired than let me carry it for her 😂.

When she gets home from her walk she will generally be calm and sleepy until tea time. She likes to sit on the sofa, stretch out and watch her TV. She really loves TV. If you tuck her under a blanket she will fight it until she has her head poking out so she can see what’s going on. Her ears go all big and she stares intently at the screen, barking when things disturb her.

As she watches TV we will often stroke and cuddle her which she pays back with kisses and head nuzzles.

At teatime she will start to stir because she gets a special snack (and woe betide anyone who forgets to give it to her). Once she has had her treat, she will settle down again until about 9 pm. After that she will dazedly come upstairs and try to get in my bed if my parent’s haven’t come up yet.

Willow is a very unique dog and perhaps the most pampered one I know. It’s a hard life, but someone has to do it.

I’m lucky to have her.

Lauren x

Dear Diary #2

Posted October 20, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Personal / 0 Comments

What I’ve been doing this week

This week was not easy. Lots of stuff happened and I was super happy to make it to the weekend.

On the plus side, I made some fun purchases. I picked up my Christmas tree on Friday. I’ve already started a stash of decorations thanks to Primark’s selection of Disney decoration sets. I’m going to add to it over the next few weeks. Now I have a selection of baubles I want to concentrate on finding quirky one off decorations so the tree has hidden surprises for anyone looking at it.

I also purchased new glasses. I have gone for round, Harry Potter-like frames in rose gold. I’m going to pick them up near the end of next week. I’m super excited. I have been continuing to build Harry Potter themed properties in The Sims 4 to celebrate. These frames are very different from the chunky, plastic ones I’ve been wearing so far. I’m looking forward to changing my style up.

Apart from that I have been dealing with the usual work problems (😥), keeping up with writing Blogtober posts, and walking my dog. Oh, and I’ve been reading The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic and starting to watch part two of the Netflix show- both of which I have been enjoying.

Speaking of Sabrina, I managed to find my old stash of Sabrina the Teenage Witch comics this morning. I am so excited to go through them and do a reread.

Plans for next week

My main wish for next week is to have no near death experiences. That might sound strange but I really have had a rough week and I can’t take it two weeks in a row!

Obvs I have to pick up my new glasses.

In terms of blogging, I’ve got a few ideas for posts. I want to write more Sabrina themed posts, share a day in the life of my dog based on her activities today, and I want to post some book reviews. I might throw in a post on my new glasses this week or next week, as well. At some point I want to talk about my Sims 4 characters and houses too.

Speaking of next week, I can’t believe that will be essentially the penultimate week of Blogtober! I’m starting to believe that I will make it to the end without missing a post.

What plans do you have for next week? Let me know in the comments.

Lauren x

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Occult Edition, Chapter One

Posted October 19, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Bookish Adventures / 0 Comments

I have been a fan of Sabrina Spellman stories for a long time. I read a lot of the comics, the first medium Sabrina appeared in, when I was a child. But I only started reading one of Sabrina’s newest incarnations, fashioned as the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, today. I am reading it in a hardback bindup that covers all the chapters published so far. I’m really excited to dive into it. Especially because it’s this version of Sabrina that inspired the Netflix TV show (of which I’ve only watched part one so far, though I’m looking to watch part two over the next few weeks in preparation for Halloween).

Today I will just be covering my thoughts on chapter one of this comic series. First of all I want to mention how different this is from my previous experiences of Sabrina. From the colour palette to the narrative tone, this feels like a complete turn around from the versions of Sabrina that were popular when I was little.

In this first chapter we get Sabrina’s origin story served up with all the darkness of a horror story. Orange is the overwhelming colour giving this story strong autumnal and Halloween vibes. The art style from the outset signposts that this a mature version of Sabrina. This one is dark and gritty where the previous incarnations I read were bubble gum cute.

Surprisingly, it didn’t take me too long to get used to this new version. I’m looking forward to continuing with it.

Chapter one gives us a thorough grounding in Sabrina’s origins, respun in CAOS‘s edgy style. It begins with her father, Edward, convening a coven gathering on Sabrina’s first birthday. It doesn’t take long for us to be shown how dark the witchcraft in this version is. The narrator tells us Edward has ‘conjured his Lord Satan, in the living flesh, numerous times’ and we see him condemn Sabrina’s mother to a horrible fate. The witches in this world meddle with demons, place curses and play with thoroughly destructive magic.

Character wise, this book features a few regulars of the Sabrina universe. Edward is the absent father figure (though for new reasons here). Zelda and Hilda are the protective aunts and mentors for all things magic. Salem, a long standing favourite of mine, is the back talking familiar we know and love (unlike in the Netflix show ☹️). Sabrina herself is still half mortal and half witch, and by the end of the chapter she’s attending a mortal high school and has already developed a crush on Harvey Kinkle, the staple heartthrob of the Sabrina universe.

In this chapter we are also introduced to Ambrose, Sabrina’s cousin. I do believe Ambrose has existed in the Sabrina universe before, check out this link for more info. But this is my first proper experience of him as a firm member of the comic cast and by all accounts this Amborse seems to be a very different character to his previous incarnation. I love Ambrose in the Netflix show and I’m excited to see how his role develops in the original CAOS (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) comics.

So far I find Ambrose’s role quite similar to what Salem’s has been in the past- he’s an experienced warlock who is more in the loop on what shenanigans Sabrina is up to than her aunts, more best friend than family. Because of the crossover between the role Ambrose serves and the one Salem traditionally plays, I see why Salem doesn’t really get to talk on the CAOS tv series (still makes me sad though). But in the CAOS comics we get both of them talking. I’m really excited to see how Salem and Ambrose play off each other as the story goes on.

Another interesting thing to note about chapter one are the Archie-verse crossover cameos. Betty and Veronica feature as witches. Also, we see a Josie poster which I would see as a reference to Josie and the Pussycats. This Sabrina is definitely grounded in the same world as the rest of the Archie-verse (albeit reinterpreted in CAOS‘s edgy horror style).

After quickly pulling us through the first few years of Sabrina’s life the chapter finishes with the introduction of a villain. I’m really interested to see where this comic goes next.

Have you checked out the CAOS comic yet?

Lauren x

Unpopular Opinion: I like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Posted October 18, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Book Review / 0 Comments

Unpopular Opinion: I like Harry Potter and the Cursed ChildHarry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two (Harry Potter, #8) by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling
on July 31, 2016
Pages: 330
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

**This Post Contains Some Cursed Child Spoilers**

When the script book of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released I saw a few negative reactions. I’ve watched numerous reviews on YouTube where the presenter was not fond of it and I’ve read blog posts along similar lines.

I, on the other hand, loved this story. I’ve been lucky enough to see it on stage as well which ramps up the awesomeness even more.

I love seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione grown up and facing new problems. More than that, though, I enjoyed the themes of family relationships, he fallout of the ‘chosen one’ storyline, time travel, and the way the Hogwarts House stereotypes were tested.

In this story the focus is on Albus, Harry Potter’s son. He has to deal with the burden of being the child of a celebrity and being marked as ‘different’ for being placed in Slytherin versus Gryffindor (where most of his family are). This is one of the consequences of Harry’s ‘chosen one’ status from the Harry Potter series. His whole family effectively carry the burden of his past whether they want to or not. This causes people to make assumptions about his children and if they don’t match those assumptions, like Albus, they receive negative attention.

On the other side of Albus’ story we have Harry who is evidently struggling with fatherhood as someone who hasn’t had a dedicated father figure to model himself on. He grew up feeling like an isolated member of the Dursley household for years. As an adult he is faced with the challenge of being a big figure in the family he has made for himself with little guidance or knowledge of how to do so.

I like that this story had a focus on two Slytherin students to evidence that there is much more to this House than the dark stereotypes. Scorpius, Draco’s son, is the best ambassador for this Slytherin rebrand. He’s super clever, sweet and loyal. I also liked how Draco is depicted in this story and that him and his father-son relationship is placed on the same page as Harry’s. This offers an interesting comparison as both Scorpius and Albus have been judged based on their family in different ways.

Another thing I enjoyed about this story is how it reflects on the casualties of the chosen one’s journey. People like Cedric Diggory die in the wake of Harry’s journey through the Harry Potter books. These are innocent people who have their chance to have their own story stripped from them because they are secondary to the ‘main character’. On top of that these innocents leave behind families and friends who are touched deeply by the tragedy.

What responsibility does the ‘chosen one’ have to these casualties of their story? It’s an interesting question and I enjoy how it’s explored in Cursed Child. Cursed Child shows us that Harry’s story, and that of the wizarding world at large, doesn’t just end with a neat bow on top at the end of Deathly Hallows. Cursed Child deepens my concept of Harry’s world and brings it back to life in a thought provoking and narratively conscious way.

Time travel is a favourite plot device of mine. Cursed Child uses time travel to excellent effect to play with alternate realities and explore the different routes Harry’s story could have taken. It also gives characters like Harry and Ginny a chance to confront the traumas of the past as adults. It’s the perfect setup for character development whilst also giving a fresh new look at scenes Harry Potter fans are already familiar with.

I will probably talk about Cursed Child and it”s themes again in a future post but for now I think I’ve sufficiently explained why I enjoy it.

Have you read Cursed Child or watched it on stage? What’s your opinion on it?

Lauren x

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Beauty & The Beast Book Tag

Posted October 17, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Blog Tag / 0 Comments

This tag is from a blog called Kirsty and the Cat Read. Check out Kirsty’s blog for more info!

1. “Tale As Old As Time” – A popular theme, trope or setting you will never get bored of reading.

Enemies to something more. So many of my favourite pieces of media feature this story line. From the Descendants movies to The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Oh, and Sophie and Howl in Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

I also have a soft spot for time travel. For example, I love Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for the time travelling twists.

2. Belle – A book your bought for it’s beautiful cover that’s just as beautiful inside too

I bought the hardcover edition of The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo because I thought it looked beautiful- it has rose gold lettering and a stunning cover design. The inside is just as lush (if not more so) because it is illustrated and the stories are sumptuous. You can more about my thoughts on this short story collection in my review.

3. Beast – A book you didn’t expect much from but pleasantly surprised you.

This pick might be a surprise to some. I’ve never been shy about discussing my love of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. But did you know that I wasn’t very interested in it when it first came out? I had it on my shelf for ages and only read it around about the same time as the sequel, The Wicked King, came out. At least I didn’t have o wait long to read on once I knew I loved it!

4. Gaston – A book everyone loves that you don’t

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. I did not get on with this book at all. I really wanted to love it so my expectations were super high, which did it no favours, unfortunately.

5. Lefou – A loyal sidekick you can’t help but love more than their counter part.

Christopher Chant in Conrad’s Fate by Diana Wynne Jones.

This book is quite a turned around story. It’s part of the Chrestomanci series of which Christopher Chant, being Chrestomanci, is a huge figure.

Christopher certainly behaves like he is the main character in this story but it’s all told from Conrad’s perspective so really Conrad is the main character. This story plays with the idea of untrustworthy narrators. Conrad does not have the right information to interpret what is going on around him correctly, while Christopher runs around on his own private mission. It’s a very interesting character dynamic.

Like Conrad, I found Christopher super interesting and mysterious and I love how his involvement helps turn everything Conrad believes on it’s head by the end. I love them both but having read the rest of the series I love the insight this book gives into Christopher’s life and how he can functions as a side character to other people’s stories.

6. Mrs Potts, Chip, Lumier & Cogsworth – A book that helped you through a difficult time or that taught you something valuable

I have a lot of different answers for this question. The most recent example, however, is Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn. This was my fluffy and safe escape during a difficult time.

7. “Something There” – A book or a series that you weren’t into at first but picked up towards the end.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. I struggled with this one when I started reading it. It was taking me forever to get through. But at some point I started whizzing through the pages. By the end I had quite a high opinion of it and what it’s doing. Check out my review for more of my thoughts.

8. “Be Our Guest” – A fictional character you’d love to have over for dinner

Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle. In particular the book version who is a mysterious wizard on the outside and a cowardly modern day Welshman on the inside.

Feel free to try this tag yourself!

Lauren x