Sunday, 19 April 2015

In Which I Show You the Coolest Thing Ever

Who? What? Huh?

A few weeks ago I was approached by Based in Brighton, the company specialises in making custom clothing, from hoodies and t-shirts to jackets and even onesies. They asked if I would like them to embroider my blog logo on a clothing item of my choice in return for a review, and I jumped at the chance.

I'm not a fashion blogger. I've never reviewed a piece of clothing in my life. In fact, I've never reviewed anything other than books. But the woman who contacted me was lovely and clearly enthusiastic about the company, and... well, I've never had the chance to wear my blog logo before.

I knew writing the review and taking the photographs would be a challenge, as I'm not exactly a fan of being in photos, but sometimes it's good to take on a challenge and try something new. And, considering I've been reviewing books and only books for the last five-and-a-half years, I thought, why not?

The service

After browsing the many, many clothing options - seriously, go and have a look, there are tons - it was time for me to pick a colour scheme. Considering there are 56 colour options, it took a while, but I finally settled on one of their varsity jackets in the colours white and heather grey in size Adult S.

After sending off my blog logo, I sat and eagerly awaited its arrival.

It can take up to two weeks maximum for your order to be produced and posted, but it only took a week for mine to get from production to my letterbox. Anna, the woman I was in contact with, kept me updated every step of the way and is one of the nicest people I've dealt with through my blog.

I already had a logo to go on the jacket, so I didn't have to worry about that. But you might not have one. Luckily, that's not a problem - if you have an idea for a design, just let the team know and they'll work on it until you're happy. How awesome is that?

The jacket

Previously, I hadn't been sure of what to expect. I've had custom hoodies before for school things I was involved with, and they always looked so cheap and were horrendously sized.

This isn't one of them. In fact, puts all the other custom clothing companies to shame. I was so impressed.

Despite my logo being as detailed as it is, they have embroidered it to perfection. I still can't get over that.

Not to mention that it fits perfectly, is extremely well-made and is easily the cosiest item of clothing I own. It's fleece inside, people. Fleece. I want to wear it forever.

Do I recommend this service?

Too right I do - it was a pleasure to work with them, and the jacket is a pleasure to wear. If you're a blogger, it's really cool being able to wear something with your logo on it, but this certainly isn't limited to bloggers. The possibilities are endless.

So, how cool is this?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Last Summer of Us by Maggie Harcourt

Title: The Last Summer of Us
Author: Maggie Harcourt
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 1st May 2015
Pages: 295
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Coming-of-age/Travel/Grief
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

The air smells of hot, dry grass trampled underfoot. It smells of diesel, of cider and cigarettes and burgers and ice cream and the ends of things. The end of the summer. The end of us: of Steffan and Jared and me.

If you're looking for a summer road trip book, I have the perfect one for you.

Steffan, Jared and Limpet's lives are each being turned upside down. Steffan is being forced to move to America, Jared's dad is coming out of prison, and Limpet's dealing with the recent death of her alcoholic mother. Each bearing the weight of their parents' issues, they decide to go on a road trip to see out the summer in style. Camping in the Welsh countryside, they learn more about themselves than ever before.

The Last Summer of Us is the bittersweet tale of endings and beginnings.It evokes memories of hazy summer days where the line distinguishing sea from sky is non-existent, and the endless days of freedom are coming to an end.

Despite being a little slow at first, I feel like this book is a shining example of UKYA. The narrative is fresh and funny, the style is super laid-back, and every sentence is brimming with hope and possibility. It carries the message that your parents' issues aren't your fault, and that you should never feel responsible for the death of a loved one, whether it was due to an addiction like with Limpet's mother, or due to an illness, like with Steffan's mother. It's a subtle message, but I think there are people out there who will be able to draw comfort from it.

Overall, The Last Summer of Us is a fun and sparkling debut with one of the best slow-burning romances on the YA scene since Anna and the French Kiss.
On a different topic, I just wanted to let you all know about an exciting competition currently happening over at CultNoise Magazine. They're giving away one complete set of the Folk'd trilogy books - and they're all signed! I'm completely intrigued, and you will be, too, when you read the synopsis. 

"Meet Danny Morrigan. Call centre worker. Young father. Danny's not entirely happy with his life. He finds himself tortured by the 'what ifs', and by one in particular - what if his casual girlfriend hadn't told him she was pregnant before he finished his university degree? What if, out of some sense of decency and not wanting to be like his own father, he hadn't 'done the right thing' and dropped out to support her and the baby? But when Danny comes home from work after a particularly bad day to find his girlfriend and baby son have vanished into thin air, it begins a series of events that quickly moves beyond a simple missing persons case. Danny begins to uncover the Morrigan family's real purpose in this world, a world of lurking danger and concealed horror, where the line between mythology and reality blur."

Click here to enter - you haven't got long!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

10 Books Every Creative Person Needs // Part Two

In part one of '10 Books Every Creative Person Needs' I showcased 5 of my favourite creative books, but they were more focused on drawing, painting, sticking and collecting. If that didn't sound like your kind of thing and you prefer writing, don't worry because these books are all about being creative with... words! You won't get paint everywhere with these, that's for sure. Maybe some pen ink, though.

Burn After Writing (Teen) // Buy the Book

This is my favourite book in this post. Filled with an infinite amount of questions (or it seems like it, anyway) you can't be bored with this around. What I like most about this book is that this edition is specifically aimed at teenagers so all of the questions are relevant and there aren't any annoying ones that you have to skip, like... questions about mortgages. Or something.

Maybe don't burn it after writing, though. It's far too pretty a book to do that.

Burn After Writing (Adult) // Buy the Book

And, of course, I couldn't leave out the version aimed at adults. I'm pretty sure you're not all teenagers, right? I haven't written in this one (I stole borrowed it for the photograph) but, if the teen version is anything to go by, it will be just as fun.

I also like how you can tell the two books go together, and they look much brighter in real life! The covers feel nice, too. It might be worth going to your nearest bookshop just so you can go and stroke it.

Aaaand I think I'll stop there. If you like answering questions, you'll like this book. Moving on.

642 Things to Write About // Buy the Book

This book is a goldmine of writing prompts and, trust me, they're about anything and everything. For example:

"You love to eat Belgian waffles. You cover them in sticky syrup and stuff them in your mouth. Your mother tells you that if you keep eating Belgian waffles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you will turn into one. Then one day you do."

Don't even try to pretend that doesn't sound awesome.

Finish This Book by Keri Smith // Buy the Book

Everyone knows who Keri Smith is. She is, pretty much, the Queen of Creative Books, so it's only right that I include one of her books in this series of posts for the third time.

Unlike Wreck This Journal and The Pocket Scavenger, Finish This Book (or... Fnish Ths Bk) is more geared towards writing, and includes secret writing missions. Shh. That's all I can say right now.

It's Keri Smith. You don't need me to tell you it's good.

Listography: Your Life in Lists // Buy the Book

I like making lists, as you can probably tell by the fact that, y'know, this is a list itself. Luckily, every single page asks you to create a list, for example:

"List your favourite songs" or "List the best gifts you've ever received."

Not only that, but each page features a cute (and, I guess you could say, 'hipster') illustration that relates to the list.

It's your life in lists, which sounds pretty damn good, to me. I mean, I used to start writing my Christmas wishlist in May just because I liked writing lists so much. I know.

Do you have any recommendations to add?