Monthly Archives: September 2015

Another milestone…


Oh my days! I can’t believe this. Thank you all so so much. I’m really super excited. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this. All your support means the world to me so thank you. Little did I know that my 4 month old blog would reach over 200 followers. Amazing. 

Thank you so much everyone. You’ve made my day. 

Big love x


Filed under Blog, Follows

The Encouraging Thunder Award

Good evening everyone! 

Hope you’re all well! I’ve been nominated for the Encouraging Thunder Award by the lovely Laura at Lala’s Book Reviews. Thank you so much for thinking of me! 
I love these kinds of posts because you get to see how and why people got into blogging. Here’s my story! 

The Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you.

Post the Encouraging Thunder logo. It’s here.

Mention your purpose in blogging.

Nominate others for the award.

What is your purpose for blogging?

On May 25th 2015 my little blog was born. How did I get here? By a book of course. I found 60 Postcards by Rachael Chadwick in my local bookshop. For some reason it stood out to me. It may have something to do with my love for postcards and Paris. Nevertheless, I bought it and read it in a couple of hours. It moved me so much. I don’t want to ruin the plot, but I urge you all to read it. What I loved most, is how a blog in that novel brought people from around the world together. I feel the same with my own blog. I’ve met some amazing people from  all over the world. I feel so lucky to be a tiny part of this community. I’m learning something new through this every day. 

So, I knew why I wanted to blog, but wasn’t too sure what to blog about. I’m only really good at one thing: reading. I decided I would write about books I love and hopefully inspire people to reading them too. I was also baking a lot at this time. The school I was working in was about to close down, I had some amazing students and to cope with closure and exams I would make cakes every week for my class. It really helped both them and me. I decided I could easily blog about this too. Hence the name: booksandbakes1. 

I was really getting into this blogging malarkey, so I decided to blog about other things too, in particular, places I’ve visited and photos I’ve taken. I love how my blog has become almost like a memory book, but an online version. 

I couldn’t imagine my life without my little piece of the internet. I find it really therapeutic to blog about books I like and tags that I’m interesting in. But, I need to thank you all for your support. The blogging community has been so friendly and warm towards me. Thank you. It means a lot!

What’s your story? I nominate:

Erika @ Bookventureland

Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts

Parneet @ The Enchanted Book

Analee @ Book Snacks

Liam @ Liam’s Library

Amy @ Curiouser and Curiouser

Nicola @ Literary Ramblings

Simon @ Sfarnell

Nicola @ Book Bunny

Calliope The Book Goddess

Please feel free to ignore of you’ve already done or if you’re too busy. But, if you could take part that would be excellent. I really enjoy learning about other blogs. 

Big love x


Filed under Award, Blog, Nomination

One Lovely Blog Award


Morning everyone!

Hope you’re all well and happy. I’m slowly but surely catching up on book tags and nominations. Thanks for your patience everyone. Today’s award comes from Travelling In My Bookcase. Thank you so much for thinking of me for this award! I urge you all to check out this brilliant blog.

The Rules:

  • You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • You must list the rules and display the award.
  • You must add 7 facts about yourself.
  • You must nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

Here are my seven facts about me:

1. As Autumn is fast approaching, I’ve recently been quite excited about the leaves changing on the trees by my house. Living by a rather beautiful park means that I can see the daily change in the leaves. They are so beautiful. The change from green to orange and red, all at different times,  covering the whole tree as well is just lovely.

2. My blog celebrated its 4 month bloggerversary yesterday. How exciting! I’ve had a such a great time working on it and writing my posts. I still just write for me, and if others like it then that’s an added bonus. I’ve also met some amazing bloggers as well. What a community.

3. I’ve not baked anything for months and I really miss it. I need to make more time for it, but I still feel like the ‘newbie’ who is ‘finding their feet’ at my new job. It’s only been 3 weeks though. I’m sure I’ll be baking again soon enough.

4. Every winter I watch my box set of Friends. I’ve done that for as long as I can remember. What amazes me about Friends is, it’s been a long time since it was last aired, and it still manages to evoke a range of reactions and emotions from me. It’s a sign of a true classic.

5. I’d love to set up my own charity. It comes from my ‘mother hen’ instinct to look after everyone and make sure everyone is ok. I’m not sure it will ever happen, but it’s something that I would love to try and do.

6. I like sparkly things. Anything that sparkles is quite possibly in my house. I firmly believe we all need a little sparkle in our lives.

7. I like to surprise people. I like the look on their faces. It’s my Mum’s birthday next week and I can’t wait to see her reaction to her presents. We have an incredibly close relationship. Despite being miles apart she can tell when something is wrong and what I’m thinking. I think little surprises are wonderful things. It’s always lovely to surprise yourself as well.

I hope my fun facts didn’t bore anyone (too much at least!)

My nominations are: 

Meg @ Little Blog Of Books

CK & Ck’s Reading Corner

Ashley @ Dreaming Through Literature

Matt @ Matt and his Cats

Marje @ Kyrosmagica

Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories

Jessica @ Mud and Stars

Lynette @ Memoir Notes

Morgan @ The Secret Diary of a Computer Science Student

Claire @ Coffeeholic Bookworm

Amy @ The Literature Life

Lara @ Katnisspotterbooklover

Deanna @ A Novel Glimse

Trisha Ann @ The Bookgasm Blog

The Candid Cover

Please feel free to ignore if you’ve done this before or if you’re busy or if it just plainly doesn’t float your boat. I don’t mind! But, I wanted to nominate some of my new followers and people I’ve not nominated before. Hope that’s ok!

Big love xx


Filed under Award, Nomination

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR Fall 2015

Hey guys! 

I’ve never taken part in anything like this before, so I thought I would give it a go because it looks like a lot of fun. 

The Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish. I hope they don’t mind me taking part! 

So this weeks is about my TBR list for Autumn. I love this time of year. It’s getting colder, the leaves are changing and it’s just another excuse to stay in with a good book and a hot chocolate. Well, for me it is anyway! 

Here is my Top Ten TBR list. It will probably change! 

1. The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz – Denis Avey. 

This book was recommended to me by one of my students. I better read it next because I’m fairly certain they will ask me about it! 


2. I’m The King Of The Castle – Susan Hill.

Another recommendation, but this time from a co-worker. It’s quite a dark novel, so I’m expecting tears. 


3. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn. 

I’ve been meaning to read this for ages. I’m not too sure why I haven’t managed to get. I hope it’s not a sign!


4. The Old Curiosity Shop – Charles Dickens. 

I love Dickens, and we are approaching the perfect weather to be reading him! 


5. How To Be Both – Ali Smith. 

I heard about this book when it won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction this summer, bought it, and it’s been waiting patiently to be read ever since. 


6. The Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith. 

Pre-ordered and waiting for release. I don’t think I could be more excited! 

7. A Song For Issy Bradley – Carys Bray. 

This book was a birthday present and (superficial I know) the cover is really quite pretty. 


8. The Rabbit Back Literature Society – Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen. 

I just spotted this in a bookshop and it sounded quite intriguing. It’s not my usual kind of book, but something to me to buy it. So I did. 

9. Decline and Fall – Evelyn Waugh. 

Another book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. It’s relatively short, but Waugh is notorious for packing a punch. I expect no less from this novel. 


10. The Illusionists – Rosie Thomas. 

This book has been on my shelf for a while, and I’d hate to think it will stay there, unread, for much longer. Fingers crossed!! 

Has anybody read any of these books? What are your thoughts? I’m looking forward to it, but I should do really! 

Have a great rest of the week everyone! 

Big love x


Filed under Literature, Top Ten

The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins


I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now, as I’d heard and read a lot about it. I was really surprised at the array of emotions I felt when reading this novel: anger, confusion, surprise, shock etc. I was completely hooked, and it’s one of those novels that’s incredibly difficult to put down. 

The novel follows the lives of three, somewhat unreliable women, Rachel, Anna and Megan. It begins with Rachel. She gets the same train every day, to commute to and from London for work (or so she says). Whilst looking out the windows, Rachel people watches, conjuring up a perfect fantasy life for a couple whom she is particularly interested in. She names them Jess and Jason. The train stops outside the back of their house each morning. 

The location of this house is significant, as, Rachel used to live on this street before. However, her marriage failed, she couldn’t get pregnant,  she started to drink heavily and her husband Tom cheated on her and divorced her. Her life, is somewhat of a train wreck. 

“When did you become so weak?” I don’t know. I don’t know where that strength went, I don’t remember losing it. I think that over time it got chipped away, bit by bit, by life, by the living of it.” 

The illusion of the perfect fantasy life of Jess and Jason that Rachel created couldn’t be further from the truth. On one of her daily commutes to pretend to go to work, she notices Jess kissing a man that isn’t her husband. A few days later, Jess disappears. The true identity of the couple are revealed: Jess and Jason are actually Megan and Scott. Rachel spends days scanning newspapers, obsessing over the details of Megan’s disappearance. Noticing that nothing is mentioned about her affair, Rachel decides to contact Scott and inform him of what she knows. 

Together, Rachel and Scott reveal the mans identity: Dr. Kamal Abdic, Megan’s therapist. The case gathers pace as he’s called in for questioning by the police, but falls flat. Rachel still obsesses about him, so she books an appointment to see if he can help with her drinking, and significant memory loss. 

“I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.” 

Rachel, struggling and obsessing with her own personal problems, her drinking, knows she was in the neighbourhood the night Megan went missing. But, because she was drunk, she blacked out and doesn’t remember anything else. The only image coming to mind is the underpass. Rachel’s roommate, Cathy, disapproves of her drinking, but tries to be a good friend to her. Cathy soon realises that Rachel lost her job months ago, and feels resentment at Rachel wasting time and money on the train ride rather than finding a job. 

Why was she in the area? She doesn’t know, meaning we as readers also can’t know. We can assume. Obsessed with her ex husband, his new wife and baby much? 

Some time later, Rachel finally remembers something bad happening in the underpass. Although she can’t quite remember what it was, she can remember her ex Tom, and his new wife Anna, being there. Rachel spends a lot of time in the book obsessing over her marriage, over Tom and Anna. Rachel constantly calls Tom, leaves notes. Anna wants her to go away and leave them alone. The strange thing is, Anna is living in the martial home, where not much has changed in terms of its furniture. What links Anna and Megan together? She baby sat for her and Tom. (A twist that develops later!)

“One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl . . . Three for a girl. I’m stuck on three, I just can’t get any further. My head is thick with sounds, my mouth thick with blood. Three for a girl. I can hear the magpies—they’re laughing, mocking me, a raucous cackling. A tiding. Bad tidings. I can see them now, black against the sun. Not the birds, something else. Someone’s coming. Someone is speaking to me. Now look. Now look what you made me do.” 

When Megan’s body, or what’s left of it, is discovered buried in the woods, Scott and Rachel have a brief one night stand. Rachel insists she’s being supportive and wants to help. To an outsider, it’s strange behaviour. Especially when Scott has been treated as a suspect. Anna informs the police that Rachel is a creepy, obsessed stalker. Once Scott gets wind of this, he too gets drunk, angry and violent towards Rachel. Scott locks her in the room. Is this the anger of a murderer? 

Rachel is still desperate to answer the questions clouding her mind. She bumps into a red haired man on the train who remembers Rachel from the night of Megan’s disappearance. By talking to him, Rachel is able to piece together more details of that night. Importantly, Tom wasn’t with Anna that evening. He was with Megan. 

Whilst Rachel is suspicious of Tom, Anna too stumbles into a problem. She finds a secret phone in Tom’s gym bag. The pre-paid mobile turns out to be Megan’s. Why would Tom have this? Rather coincidentally, Rachel turns up trying to convince Anna that it was Tom who murdered Megan. Unfortunately for Rachel, Anna is unable to put her dislike for Rachel aside to leave with her. So, the evidence against Tom mounts. 

“I am no longer just a girl on the train, going back and forth without point or purpose.”

Hawkins, to increase the tension further, flashbacks the narration to the night Megan revealed to Scott that she had had an affair. Her therapist has advised her to come clean, and had given her a friendly kiss after their talk. That’s the kiss that Rachel saw, and misinterpreted. Scott doesn’t take this news too well, assaults Megan, and she leaves running towards her lover, Tom. 
Tom comes home, surprised to see his wife and ex wife in the same room together. It doesn’t take long before Tom reveals everything that happened: he was having an affair with Megan and she was pregnant. Tom demanded she have an abortion, not realising Megan in the past lost a baby accidentally when she fell asleep in the bath. Megan reacted badly at the abortion demand, and started screaming claiming she would reveal their affair. Tom had to shut her up. 

After the confession, Rachel runs from Tom, but he attacks her. She stabs him in the neck with a corkscrew she took from the kitchen. Anna, clearly angry that Tom lied to her, finishes the job by twisting the corkscrew deeper. 

Tom dies. His lies are exposed. Everyone knows him for what he is. Anna and Rachel, ultimately become a team. The novel ends with Rachel taking the train. 

“So who do I want to be tomorrow?” 

The great strength of this novel is the fact that the characters all have their own traits that we as readers will naturally hate. Rachel’s drinking causes her own frustration, yet she doesn’t stop. Anna plays the good wife, but why move straight into the marital home of the ex? It’s just a bit weird. 

This novel is compelling, gripping and full of suspense. When stripped back, the plot comes from ultimately looking out of the window on a train. Millions of people do that every day. It’s clever to take something we all do, and manipulate it to turn it into something sinister as part of a wider plot. A brilliant read. 

Big love x


Filed under Book review, Literature, Thriller

The Creative Blogger Award 


Hey guys! 

Another award, I’m genuinely so honoured. This one comes from one of my first blogger friends, Erika @ Bookventureland. She is so lovely and always really supportive. Her blog posts are some of the best I’ve seen. Thank you for thinking of me for this award lovely. 

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • Share 5 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate some bloggers in return and notify them about their nomination.
  • Keep the rules in your post to make it easy for everyone to know what to do.

Fun (I hope) facts about me! 

1. When I read certain books, that may arguably contain scary parts, they give me nightmares. For example: Dracula, Before I Go To Sleep, Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray etc. 

2. I’m a little bit obsessed with Glee. I also love the whole principle of how there’s a place for everyone, despite what you like and who you are. Also, who doesn’t love singing a whole host of songs? We all belong somewhere. Sometimes we just need to remember that. 

3. Every Autumn/Winter I watch the Friends box set. I just love it. When it’s cold outside and dark, you just don’t want to go out. Well, I don’t anyway! So for me, it never gets old! I always laugh at the same bits though. In fact, it’s coming to the time to start watching this again! 

4. I’m ridiculously clumsy. I walk into things, trip up over my own feet and bruise like a peach. I wish this wasn’t true, but it is. Prime example: leaving the theatre at school today, I walk into the side of the next chair, despite having plenty of room around me. 

5. I live by the ethos of ‘treat others how you wish to be treated’. A little kindness goes a long way. I think so anyway. 

So, I thank you, my ever supportive followers. I’ve not been posting any reviews recently, because I’ve been writing a million schemes of work, so I apologise about that. I will get on it as soon as things calm down. And thanks to Erika again! 

My nominations: 

Liam @ Liam’s Library – Liam has been teaching me all about Australia in our daily chat. Thank you 🙂 

Lia @ BookLand – Today is Lia’s birthday, so I hope this makes you smile love! 

Lara @ katnisspotterbooklover – Lara has some amazing posts on book I’ve never read. She’s really useful in terms of finding books to go on your TBR list. 

Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories – The place where I gain my YA knowledge! 

The ladies @ What Will She Read Next? – They’ve recently posted a really interesting blog about books being tranformed to screen. 

Feel free to take part or ignore. It’s entirely up to you! 

Big love x


Filed under Award

The TBR Book Tag

Good evening everyone! 

It’s been a really intense and busy week starting my new job, but it’s been great. I’ve got a few reviews I need to write, but I’ve got a little time now to catch up on my tags and nominations. Thank you so much to all the bloggers who have been patient with me! 

I was nominated to take part in this tag by the very kind Travelling In My Bookcase. This blog is great – go check it out!

On with the tag… Again, I’ve tried to pick books I’ve not mentioned before! 

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

As I’m sure many of you already know, I have a number of lists, including one for my TBR list. I actually have two: personal and work. There’s always books that I need to read because I’m teaching them, but the list of books I want to read for myself are probably one hundred times longer! I also have a spreadsheet of the books I’ve read as well, but that’s a different question altogether! 

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

The majority is print. I find it difficult to read on screen as it makes my eyes tired. Also, you can’t beat the feeling of holding a book and physically seeing how much you’ve read, and what’s left of it. However, despite saying that I do have a number of books on my iPad. 

How do you determine which book from your TBR to be read next?

It depends. If there’s something I need to read because I teaching it, then that obviously has to come first. However, if it’s personal choice it just depends on what takes my fancy. There’s usually something I’ve been dying to read, so I pick that. I’m not very good though, because I can’t read more than one book at once. I get confused. 

A book that’s been on your TBR list for the longest

Revolutionary Road has been on my TBR for years. In fact it’s just sat on my bookcase of books to be read staring at me. I pick it up and can’t quite get into it which is a massive shame. I live in hope that I will read it one day. She says. 


A book you recently added to your TBR

It’s a play, so I hope it counts! It’s Face by Benjamin Zephaniah and Richard Conlon (adapted). I don’t know anything about this, but I love Zephaniah’s poetry, so I have high hopes here! I hope it’s interesting with lots of debate points for my students as well as myself. I’m teaching this from Monday! 


A book on your TBR strictly because of its cover

I hope I’m not superficial enough to just have books because they are pretty, but my choice for this is because it’s the latest find I’ve had that was a) an amazing price (£3) and b) it’s a set. It’s so pretty and posh looking. I love poetry too, so I’m quit excited about this. 


A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading

Well, never say never, but Jamaica Inn has been waiting on this list for years and years. I saw the BBC version and this didn’t help me either. In all honesty, it will probably still be there when I’m 40. I hope not, but I’m quite realistic. 


An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for

The third Galbriath novel of course! But, Galbraith aside, I’m really excited because my friend has just finished writing his fourth book. I’m hoping I get a copy! 

A book on your TBR that everyone has read but you

I feel like I’ve seen a lot of writing about Gone Girl. It’s been on my TBR list for a while, so I will read it at some point. I hope! I also hope it lives up to the hype. As well, I won’t see the film before I’ve read the book! Fingers crossed. 


A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read

I’m really looking forward to reading The Fires of Autumn. I’m currently reading The Girl On the Train, so as soon as I’ve completed that, I’m moving onto Fires. It fits this season as well, and I’m really interested in the historical background too. 


How many books on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

Don’t judge… but I don’t have a Goodreads TBR shelf! Maybe I should get one. But, to be honest I have a bookcase of books that I need to read. I think this system is more my style. I may get a Goodreads one, but it’s quite unlikely. 


I nominate anyone who wants to take part. I’m not nominating anyone specifically, because I’ve seen lots of people already take part in this! If you’ve missed out and fancy taking part, please feel free! 
Big love x


Filed under Literature, Tag