Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Pointless Book by Alfie Deyes

Title: The Pointless Book
Author: Alfie Deyes
Published by: Blink Publishing
Publication date: 4th September 2014
Pages: 192
Genres: Non-Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Brought to you by YouTube Vlogger Alfie Deyes, The Pointless Book is the ultimate addition to his YouTube channel - a weird and funny video-diary of fun, challenges and nothingness: bake a cake in a mug; take part in a people-watching challenge; create a time capsule; diarise a week of your life, and learn to make origami. Fully illustrated and packed with a host of games, activities and pranks, Alfie invites you to join his online following as he challenges you to complete your journal of pointlessness and do virtually nothing with pride.

Those who know me will know I love YouTubers. I watch their videos every night before I go to bed and they're so entertaining - some even have upwards of a few million subscribers! My favourites are Zoella, Jim Chapman, Marcus Butler, and Alfie Deyes (PointlessBlog) to name a few. Well today, a very special book arrived (so special, in fact, that I'm writing the review and publishing the review the same day I got the book - I never do that!)

What book? The Pointless Book by none other than one of my favourite YouTubers himself, Alfie Deyes. But don't be fooled by the title - it's not so pointless! Full of random things to do from origami and passing the book to a stranger and having them draw you, to making paper aeroplanes and baking a cake in a mug, boredom won't even exist anymore with this book around. Just flip to a random page (don't do it in order) and you're good to go!

I'll admit I wasn't hugely excited about the book when it was first announced, but by the end of Alfie's video where he revealed the book I was fangirling so hard. I personally love books like this. Having filled my copy of Wreck This Journal, a similar book, I was in need of something else... and then this book was revealed. Good timing. I'd say this is more fun and definitely more random; I think the 'Draw genitals on the people below' page proves that. But my favourite page - yet to be completed - is 'Places I'd like to travel to' which for me is pretty much everywhere.

You don't even have to be a fan of Alfie to enjoy this book (although if you're not a fan, I suggest you go and marathon-watch all of his videos until you are.) However if you are a fan, like me, this book also comes with a free app which unlocks exclusive digital content. I couldn't actually get the app to work but it was only released a couple of hours ago and seeing as I haven't seen anyone else scanning a page with the app, I was probably doing it wrong. I'm really looking forward to using it, though! Edited to add: I just tried again and it works - no idea how! Very cool addition to the book.

And the final reason for me loving this book? It's really positive, and I'm all about spreading positivity! There are tasks such as 'Write a compliment, rip out this page, and give it to a stranger' and 'Write five things you like best about yourself and why."

Grab some pens, close your eyes, and flip to a page; your boredom is about to disappear in 3, 2, 1...

Monday, 25 August 2014

The British Tag

*buys a Corgi* *finds a Queen mask* *waves Union Jack flag* Cat tagged me to do the British tag, so... here it is! Grab yourself a cuppa and get ready to realise how un-British I really am.

1. How many cups of tea do you have a day? How many sugars?
Um, based on this question I don't think I should be doing this tag because I'm not stereotypically British... I've always claimed to hate tea but honestly, I've never actually tried it. Hot drinks just aren't my thing and they usually contain milk (MY BIGGEST HATE.) I'm thinking about trying Chamomile tea soon because apparently it helps with stress and anxiety and it doesn't have milk in it so we'll see how that goes... have any of you tried it? Is it nice?

2. Favourite part of a roast?
Yeah, I definitely shouldn't be doing this tag. I hate roast dinners and, in fact, vegetables, even though I'm vegetarian. I guess the nicest bit is the mashed potato (I don't like them roasted. I'm a fussy eater.) If it's Christmas then we'll have oat roast which is possibly the best thing ever.

3. Favourite dunking biscuit?
I hate biscuits. This question actually made me shudder with disgust. It's all about the cookies. ❤

4. Favourite quintessential British past-time?
One enjoys one's free time mostly with one's books, and occasionally one will watch Britain's Got Talent to watch one's subjects make fools out of themselves. One also enjoys pronouncing the letter 'z' like 'zed' - not 'zee' - because that is how it should be pronounced. Innit.

5. Favourite word?
I'm not entirely sure which words are considered exclusively British but I do say 'lovely' a lot. It's a lovely word, and I don't know why but it seems pretty British to me. How about 'enunciate' but in Benjamin Cook's voice? And does favourite count? Colour? Recognise? 

6. Cockney rhyming slang?
I'm Hank Marvin, I right fancy a Ruby Murray, and it's all gone a bit Pete Tong. Apples and pears etc. *cough*

7. Favourite sweet?
I don't really eat sweets but on the rare occasions that I do, I'll probably go for Haribo or Strawberry Laces. Maybe those rainbow strip things from Tesco. ...What are they called?

8. What would your pub be called?
...The Mile Long Pub? No? ... I hate myself.

9. No. 1 British person?

10. Favourite shop/restaurant?
Forever 21 is my favourite shop right now but I think it's American and I've only ever seen two branches of it in England. Also Sainsbury's, simply for the cake and pizza counters. 
I go in cafes more often than restaurants so I guess either Costa (mozzarella, tomato and basil panini) or Starbucks (Moroccan-style wrap with a smoothie.) 

11. What British song pops into your head?
Swapping this to British bands instead, it's easier. Spice Girls (ew, but iconic), The Beatles, Oasis, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Blur, The Smiths, Queen, McFly, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd... I hope all of these are British - I think they are.

12. Marmite?
Put it in your food and it will be improved by 100%. 

I tag Rachel at Booktastic Reviews, Holly at Lost in a Library, Rachel at Rachale's Reads, and Holly at Holly Quills and Ivy. I swear the name thing wasn't intentional.

Don't forget you can let me know what you think of this blog in my survey. Thank you to everyone who has answered so far :)

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Battling Book Blogger Envy // You're Awesome

...and when I say envy I don't mean being quietly jealous of another blogger and keeping it to yourself. I mean being so jealous and envious of another blogger that either:

a) You go out of your way to make them unhappy - or, at least, you consider it.
b) You get really, really upset.
c) You start to wonder if blogging is really for you.

You might be jealous of stats, books, writing style, popularity, event invites or something else entirely, and I think we can all agree, non-bloggers and fellow bloggers alike, that it's sad this kind of thing arises in such a close-knit community. But I'm sure everyone in the world has felt like this at some point, including me, so I've gathered a few tips to help you remember that no matter what happens with other people, YOU ARE STILL AWESOME. *sprinkles unicorn-shaped confetti everywhere*

For a couple of weeks last year I remember lots of good things seemed to be happening to everyone except me. It made me unhappy, I doubted myself, and I quietly became the green eyed monster. But I never said anything to them. These bloggers had clearly worked their butts off to get such awesome stats or opportunities, and I stopped. I thought. And I respected that. I didn't let the jealousy consume me, I moved on, and I turned that envy into motivation to work harder. It's easier said than done, but it worked!

There's the normal jealousy, of course, like when you really want a book that someone else has, or someone else got to be on a blog tour that you didn't. I'd be worried if there were any blogger that doesn't get jealous, because it's natural to be! We envy bigger bloggers, and I'm sure they envy people too. But when it starts to consume you, that's when you need to battle that envy with some rationality. If you need help with that then this post is for you - and you can adapt it for offline life, too.

1) Think before you type.

If what you're going to say implies that the blogger shouldn't have gotten whatever they got, don't say it. Whether it's high stats, a rare ARC or something else, it's going to be down to their hard work.

2) Turn it into motivation.

I know it's easier said than done, but if you let the jealousy consume you all it's going to do is make you demotivated, and the quality of your blog posts will probably suffer as a result. Instead, let it motivate and inspire you into doing better. Have a brainstorm. Think of things you can do to improve, but make sure whatever you're doing is what you really want to do. Soon, you'll be getting whatever it was you were jealous of before, and you'll probably be happier with your blog too!

3) Remember why you started in the first place.

Chances are you started book blogging because you love books. Not free books, event invites or blog tours, but your pure love of literature. Go back to your roots. Read old posts no matter how embarrassed they might make you feel. See how far you've already come. Be nice to yourself.

4) Say something nice instead.

There's the old saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Well, I changed it to, "If you can't say something nice, say something nice anyway." It's not impossible (unless you're Peter from Divergent) and believe it or not it will make you feel better, I promise. It's not being fake. It's overcoming the negative feelings you're having under the surface. It'll probably make the other person a bit happier too, to share good news and get a happy response back.

5) Remember these.

If it's an ARC you didn't get, it's not the end of the world - it's going to be published in a matter of months, you can get it then. And if you're really lucky, maybe someone will let you borrow it beforehand. While ARCs are awesome, at the end of the day they are just bound pieces of paper. Don't let them make you sad and doubtful of yourself and your skills!

If it's stats you're jealous of, have a brainstorm. How can you make your blog better? How can you get more people to look at your blog? Getting an amount of page views you're actually happy with isn't going to happen overnight, but it will happen. Set goals and keep them in mind to keep you motivated (I've done that this year and it's so helpful.)

If it's an event you weren't invited to or couldn't attend, just remember that in a couple of weeks the hype will have died down. Like YALC - I didn't get to go and for the two days it was on and for a few days afterwards, I'll admit I was feeling pretty sad and I grumbled every time I saw a tweet about how awesome the event had been. But you just have to remember that it won't be long until photos stop being shared and event recaps fall into the archives. Then you can forget it. Most events will happen more than once (again, like YALC or Hay Festival) and if it's an author signing then it's likely they'll be back near you one day. Just try to feel happy that there are people out there who got to go - they're lucky people, and no doubt there's been something you've done that they're envious of.
And if these don't work, maybe it's time to take a blogging break and come back to it with fresh eyes and a refreshed mind - it'll do the world of good and you'll come back with more energy and love for blogging, too! Blogging is ridiculously hard work and very time consuming so don't feel guilty about needing a few days or even a few months away from it.

There's a quote which I've always loved and recently rediscovered when I was reading We Were Liars, and that is:
"Be a little kinder than you have to."
I've been trying to keep that in mind for a while and it's definitely made a difference in everything - not just blogging. Hopefully (fingers crossed) if you're having a hard time with blogging envy and you take these tips on board you'll be happier in the long run. Now, before I bookmark this post so I can actually take my own advice for once next time I let the jealousy take over, I want to know...

What are your tips for keeping the jealousy at bay?