The last few weeks have been really busy! Last weekend, I went back to England to go to my graduation ceremony, and I can proudly say, I have a Master’s degree now! The ceremony was really traditional, and it was good to see my friends who I haven’t seen since I came back to Germany a few months ago. The reception was a little rushed, but someone from my course organized a get-together in the evening, so there was time to catch up then. My mom was also there, which was nice.
Even though my graduation was in Newcastle, we booked our flights from Germany to Edinburgh, because it was cheaper, so after graduation we took the train back to Edinburgh. We had the entire Sunday, so we booked a trip to the highlands. I’ve been wanting to go for ages, so I was looking forward to it even more than the graduation ceremony. I wondered whether winter was the best time to go, but it turned out to be a fantastic idea. It was freezing, but the snowy mountains and partly frozen lochs were beautiful. We had a lot of stops, and not that much time at each one of them because it got dark at 4 pm (I do not like this about winter), but since it was so cold, it was always good to get back to the bus and warm up a little. I’d love to return in summer and go to Loch Ness though. Here are some pictures. Read more »
A LOT is new. First of all, I moved into a new flat last weekend. I was living with my family since I returned from England, but I stayed with a friend in the city for a week at the beginning of November and suddenly everything happened really fast, so two weeks later I was sitting in my new room. It’s a flatshare, and so far it’s really nice, and I’m happy to be closer to the city again, because countrylife is nice and all, but not much happens, guys. I also found an internship while I was staying with my friend (it was a productive week), and I’ve already started that as well.
Things are finally moving, but all of that left me literally no time for NaNoWriMo, which is a little sad. I was committed this year, but it was just impossible to do it while working all day and moving on the weekend, especially because I’ll be working Monday to Sunday next week, as we have a big event coming up. There’s just no way I’ll reach anywhere close to 50k, so I’m throwing in the towel. Hopefully I’ll get some writing done the next weeks anyway. Read more »
Halloween is over, and my grandma is already panicking about baking Christmas cookies, so November is officially here. And you know what November means – it’s NaNoWriMo time! I had this whole plan of carefully plotting a new novel, so I’d be all ready by November 1st, but then Things™ happened, the 1st of November arrived, and I had nothing. I figured I’ll skip it this year, but like every year I just couldn’t resist the momentum of NaNoWriMo, so on the evening of November 1st I decided I’ll join in anyway. Who needs plots, right? Me. The answer is me.
There was a creative writing group at uni when I was doing my postgrad in Newcastle last year, but now I live in the countryside, so I had to get creative. The feeling of community and getting to know other writers is what I love most about NaNo, so I breached out and found some small writing groups in the area. By in the area I mean I have to drive 30-60 minutes to get there, but hopefully next year I’ll be a little better situated again. I went to my first meeting yesterday and got some writing done, so yay for that! I think one of the major reasons I haven’t finished NaNo so far besides being frickin busy is my perfectionism. This time, I’m trying to just get down 50k without constantly worrying that it’s not good, so wish me luck!
I got these on netgalley, so thanks to Hot Key Books and Whicked Whale Publishing! Reviews coming up soon. Read more »
I’m back in Germany! I can’t believe my year in England is already over. It went by so fast it literally feels like it was a dream. But I’ve experienced a lot, and I’m sure I’m a different person than I was a year ago. Now I’m in a weird transitionary period I’m not quite sure what to do with. But so far I haven’t felt bored, both for good and bad reasons. It’s great to spend some time with my family and friends who I haven’t seen in a while. I was home a few times the last year, but I also missed things, and it’s different to be back for good now, even though I still can’t quite believe it.
In less important news, my email subscriptions stopped working, and I lost my subscribers when I fixed it in case you didn’t see my psa last time, so if you were subscribed, you’ll have to resubsribe, sorry for the inconvenience. <3 (Or, you know, just subsribe anyway, since emails only go out for post notifications I can definitely promise there won’t be too many haha) Read more »
***IMPORTANT PSA*** My e-mail subscriptions haven’t been working for a while – I fixed the problem, but I lost all of my old subscribers, so if you were subscribed to get post notifications (or you want to subscribe now – hi!), you’ll have to sign up again. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks!
I just realised the last Cake Conversations I wrote was all the way back in January, so… HELLO BLOGGLINGS I’M STILL ALIVE. I don’t think I’ll remember everything that went on since then, so let me just tell y’all where I’m at right now. I’m finishing up my postgrad in England, and then I’m moving back to Germany at the end of August. When I say “move back” I mean my family is saving me from being homeless, because I don’t have a place there right now. I’m currently looking for a job (wish me luck! or better, employ me), so I have yet to sort out the living situation. EXCITING TIMES.
Right now, I’m mostly at home writing my dissertation, but I also have some friends visiting before I leave, so I hope I’ll get to enjoy England a little more before I leave. It’s insane how fast the year went, but there’s some time left!
In other exciting news, I’m joining Shattering Stigmas as a host this year! Shattering Stigmas is a mental health event focused on mental health in literature, but there are also discussions about more general aspects of mental health. If you would like to write a guest post for Reviews and Cake, you can find all the information in my call for guest posts. I’d love to feature you! Read more »
I may have mentioned this before, but I used to write about travelling. Like most people, I abandoned my travel blog once I got back home, but I still love travelling, so I figured I would just turn it into a category on my blog. So from now on, every once in a while, I’ll write about the places I’ve been and the things I experienced there.
As many of you know, I moved to England for my postgrad degree last September. I’ve now lived here for ten months, so I decided it was about time to write a post about all the little things I noticed since moving here. I always love reading about how someone experiences a different country, and all the small things that give a place its character, so I hope you’ll feel the same!
Speaking English and Dialects
I would consider myself a fairly competent English speaker. Out of all the things I worried about when I moved to England, the language was probably the least of my concerns. You can imagine my surprise when I arrived and realised I couldn’t even understand everything the taxi driver said, or comprehend when a cashier asked me if I needed a bag at the supermarket. Oh, the lectures at university and communicating with my fellow international students were no issues – it was the locals I had trouble understanding. After talking to a guy from the U.S. who said he showed the people at Subway a picture of a tomato to illustrate what he wanted to order, I felt slightly less bad about my struggle to understand the Geordie accent! Read more »
I’m in a summery mood, because I can actually see the sun today. From inside my room, I mean, let’s not get crazy. I went to visit my family over Christmas and New Year, but now I’m back in England. So far I’ve spent all of my time holed up in my room writing essays, but I can see the light on the horizon. Sort of. In a few weeks. In more exciting news, I have decided that I’ll go to YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) in London this year! It’s at the end of July, and I don’t know anyone, so if you’re a fellow blogger who’s thinking about going, and you’d like to meet up, let me know! I’ve never been before, so if you’re an experienced YALCer, any information is welcome. :D I’m always jealous about all the US folks, who get to meet up at conventions, so I figured I have to make use of my time in an English-speaking country!
The answer is I shouldn’t. Trust me. I keep struggling with random words that are different in British English and American English. Like the time I ordered a flapjack expecting a pancake and got a muesli bar thing instead. Or last week, when I asked someone where I could find the zucchini, and he looked at me all confused and asked whether I meant aubergine, which I didn’t because I call aubergines aubergines (turns out zucchini=American English and courgette=British English, but aubergine=British English and eggplant=American English). It’s a constant surprise, living here. :D Read more »
If you come back after weeks of absence, come back with a bad pun, I say. I haven’t been around much due to both my laptop and my netbook breaking and being swamped with essays I should be writing (but why am I even mentioning that? Procrastinating an essay is a permanent state of being for me at this point). Nevertheless, now that my laptop is repaired, and I can use it again (fingers crossed it’ll stay that way), I’m continuing the great tradition of setting goals for the new year. I did this last year as well (and the year before that), so let’s see how I did first. I also noticed some of you wrote down your goals in the comments of last year’s post, so if that’s you feel free to go ahead and see how you did along with me. :D
My goals for 2016 were
I want to get good grades and finish my Bachelor’s
Hey, I actually did that! What a good start. I got my BA this summer, and I was pretty satisfied with the grade as well, so I’ll count this one as a win.
…so I can apply to university in Glasgow (I might not get in and if I do it’s going to be one hell of an organisational and financial challenge to move to Scotland for a year, but I think this is an excellent idea, so wish me luck!)
HA! Another one I accomplished. I have a good feeling for this year. So I’m not studying in Glasgow, but that was kind of random, because someone told me there are no student fees in Scotland (or at least that they’ll be payed back by the government), but it turned out that that’s not true for postgraduate degrees, so instead I applied to universities all over the UK and ended up in Newcastle, where I’m currently living and studying. (And you were right, Vlora of the past, it was one hell of an organisational and financial challenge, but it was worth it so far!) Read more »
I’m back! Sort of… I’ll be posting again, just not very often. But once a month is better than never, right? Right, so let’s move on. I’m writing this from my new home in England, where I have recently moved to do my postgrad. One of the reasons for my hiatus was that I was a little burned out from writing my bachelor thesis, working part time, applying to universities and organizing a move to another country, so it’s good to be finally here! I’ve semi-recovered now, and I was missing the blogosphere, so here I am.
Afternoon tea is one touristy thing I won’t get tired of…
I arrived in England with a nasty case of tonsillitis, so thank god (the queen??) there’s good healthcare here. I had to spend the first few days in bed, poppin’ pills like I was part of a very bad, miserable rap video. Thanks to modern drugs, hot water (my house didn’t have a kettle when I moved in, leading me to question whether I accidentally got on a plane to the wrong country) and Netflix, it got better fairly quickly. After some initial hiccups (like missing my bus stop because individual stops aren’t announced here, or desperately trying to understand the local accent), I’ve settled in quite nicely. Read more »
as you may or may not have noticed I haven’t been posting much at all the last few months. I didn’t want to extravagantly proclaim I’m on hiatus, because my posting schedule was always irregular, and I doubt anyone’s frantically refreshing my website, but posting has never been quite this sparse, so I’ll just make it official now:
Reviews and Cake is currently on hiatus
I’m sure I’ll be back eventually, but I can’t say when at this point. All’s fine, but the last few months have been very busy – not in a bad way, but it left me with very little energy for blogging – and the months to come very likely will be quite packed as well. I’m doing some exciting stuff though, so I’ll be sure to share it all eventually (at the latest in my end of the year recap :D).
Hope you all are fine, and I’ll try to stop by some of your blogs every once in a while, because I do miss it. :) I’m also on twitter quite a bit, so find me @vloralia if you feel like it.
Later, gators. I will never stop using this ironically but actually very seriously
New? Oh, not that much. Just, you know, GOT MY FRICKING DEGREE, but other than that… Yes, as of two weeks ago, I am the proud owner of a certificate that I can hang on my wall (I mean I probably won’t do that, because it feels douchey, but I gave a copy to family members so THEY can hang it on their walls and brag about how cool I am. I don’t think they have yet, but I’m sure they will do it soon. Any day now). It looks very fancy. Definitely worth the last three and a half years I’ve spent attaining it. Also, I now have an unconditional offer for my MA and will be starting that next month. I’m moving out of my current flat next week, my last day at work is on Tuesday, and basically IT’S THE END OF AN ERA. I’ve been kind of silent here lately, because I was attempting to recover from doing literally all the things (I think my battery recharge is now at about 60%, but apparently you do not get a complimentary holiday with your degree – shocking, I know) and also because I’m trying to spend time with my friends before I move. Read more »
I handed in my Bachelor thesis this week! I cannot believe it’s finally done. I was more or less satisfied with it by the end – now I only hope I’ll pass and everything will be okay, but it’s out of my hands now. I’m having a weekend right now. An actual weekend, guys! It is the best thing in the history of best things. Personally, I feel like I deserve a fucking holiday, or possibly a small island, but apparently I still have to go to work. BUT DID I MENTION I GET TO HAVE FREE TIME AGAIN.
Also, pokémon go came out literally the day I handed in my thesis, so that’s pretty much what I’ve been up to the past few days. I’m currently at my grandma’s place in the countryside because it was her birthday this weekend and there’s literally nothing here, but I’ve taken walks just to hatch eggs (this app is what would have gotten me to do sports as a kid, not traumatic PE in school). I’ve even started watching pokemon episodes again, because why not I HAVE FREE TIME. I’m technically also doing the fantasy favorites read-a-thon, but I didn’t really have enough energy to read yet. Right now I’m just recharging my batteries and enjoying my free time!
I got two books from netgalley, and they both feature baked goods. I’m sensing a theme with this lately.
I hope you’re all having a great week and that you’re enjoying your summer! Oh, and if you have any good adult book recs, leave them below. :) I read a lot of YA, but recently I’ve been feeling the need to switch it up a bit. I usually read classics or contemporary(?) adult books when I feel like that, but I’m in the mood to try something new.
First things first, mark your calendars, because Olivia from Olivia’s Catastrophe and I will be hosting an I Like Big Books (and I cannot lie) read-a-thon in mid-August, more specifically Aug 12th to Aug 21st! We’re still looking for co-hosts, so here’s a quick overview to give you an idea of what’s gonna happen:
The idea started because I decided I finally have to read the A Song of Ice and Fire series after watching the Game of Thrones season finale (how epic was that by the way? I’m still not over it). I thought I’d do a read-a-long, but we decided we’ll just make it about long books in general to give people that extra boost of motivation to tackle them. ASoIaF will be the featured series, and there will be some posts focused on it, but you can read everything you like and set your own goals (heck, you can even start watching the series if that’s what you’d like to do). There will be more announcements about this in the next few weeks, but if you’re interested in co-hosting, please comment below and/or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org :)
The first three evenings of the week were spent showing people around our flat to find someone to rent my room to this coming September. Thankfully we’ve found someone both my roommates are happy with and she wanted the room, so that’s one thing to cross off the to-do list. As to my room search in England I’ve also found something – the contracts aren’t signed yet, but, if all goes well, that’ll be done next week too. Lots of things are coming together and even more are still up in the air, but this whole moving thing is becoming more real every second. On a related note, if the UK votes to leave the EU just when I’m planning to move there, I’LL TAKE IT PERSONALLY. It’s rude, ok? Read a hospitality guide or something, jeez. It’s also becoming increasingly hard not to make King George from Hamilton references, which no one in my environment would understand, so don’t force me to confuse the people around me, k?
I also finally started working on my BA thesis for real, but right now it’s still just research and copying passages and stuff like that, so it doesn’t feel like I’m getting tons done. I’m actually at the library right now, but I worked for at least an hour before I went outside to watch the thunderstorm, so clearly I deserve a break.
Remember when I said I wouldn’t buy any more books, because I already have like 40 I haven’t read yet for a lack of time? No? Me neither, how convenient.
My cover isn’t this one, sadly. It’s the UK version, which – as far as I can tell – doesn’t have a particular meaning as opposed to this one with the violin. I preordered this book months ago, so clearly it doesn’t count. I’ve already started reading it, and I’m liking it so far. It’s nice to read some Victoria Schwab, even if it isn’t A Conjuring of Light. (Have you seen the amazing cover for that by the way??)
Here’s the deal: these don’t count either, because they were 99c for Kindle. I only went to check them out because they’re one of the featured books for the Fantasy Favorites Read-A-Thon this year, and then I saw the price, so obviously I had to get them. I mean 99c for a book? A BOOK? Do you know how much work goes into that? Anyways, I didn’t even remember that I said I wasn’t going to buy any more books until someone reminded me, so clearly I didn’t actually mean it.
Tune of the Week
I love this version of the song. I’ve had it on endless repeat while writing a couple of times, because it always makes me feel all the things.
How’s your weekend going? Didn’t expect another post so soon did you? WELL, NEVER SAY I’M PREDICTABLE. (I am, actually. Very much so.)
I’ve finally decided on a university for my postgrad! And a postgrad for that matter. My number one choice from the beginning was Film Studies at the University of Edinburgh, although I waffled for a bit when I also got accepted to the Film Studies program at St Andrews (ugh, wait, will I have to switch my spelling to UK again because all this back and forth is making my head hurt). I also really liked the campus at the University of Nottingham and got a very late and very unexpected offer for International Film Business from the University of Exeter (and then saw that I CLEARLY didn’t look at how much the fees are there before I applied, what the hell). So which university did I decide to go to? That’s right, none of the above.
It’s easy, Burr. You just actually run out of time. I MEAN HELLO, PEOPLE OF THE INTERNET. It’s time for the monthly update I never fail to deliver, because I’m reliable like that. As you may be able to guess by my title and introductory words, I’ve been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack. And by ‘listening to’ I mean ‘it has taken over my life and my roommate has accused me of being obsessed even though she’s not even here to hear me sing along to it all day long, but my other roommate is and I’m sure he appreciates it’. PLEASE tell me someone else thinks it’s as genius as I do, because I HAVE OPINIONS.
In a stunning turn of events I find myself in an airport, I’m busy writing something for university. Only this time it’s my Bachelor thesis, so I actually have to be, like, serious about it.
So far I’ve procrastinated for a few days and looked for some literature to use. Last time I had to write something long, I spent a month watching Great British Bake Off, baking Christmas cookies and sewing a mishappen sleeve for my Kindle. I think this is the perfect time to take up some new hobbies. Read more »
What ISN’T new would be the better question. The last few weeks have been kind of crazy, but mostly in a good way. I’m writing this from the sofa of my temporary flat in Berlin, where I’m staying for six days to participate in a film journalism seminar. It was all very last minute and stressful, because I was also visiting a friend in Dublin last weekend, but now that I’ve had some sleep and rest again I’m very glad I did it. I love movies and writing, and we’re learning a lot about Polish films, because the seminar is organized by the Polish Institute, so overall I’m having a great time.
I know, I know. It seems like we’re back on the whenever-I-feel-like-it blogging schedule of last year, but I’M ALIVE AND WELL HELLO LET ME HUG YOU. I haven’t had tons of energy for blogging lately, but I’ve been reading loads. I’m very active on Goodreads at the moment, so if you feel like running commentary find me there! In actual news, I’ve been applying to universities all over the UK for my MA. I have no clue how realistic it is that I’ll get in (my grades are fine, but these universities want A LOT of stuff for the fact that you have to be filthy rich to attend). During the process of doing this, I have learned to appreciate German universities, simply because they’re free. I mean seriously 9k for a year PLUS stupidly expensive living expenses? I don’t compute.
It seems I bought a lot of books the last few weeks, but I have also been reading a lot, so there. Of course I could have been reading the books I already have, but where’s the fun in that? Pictures all courtesy of Goodreads, because I bought all of these for my Kindle.
Goooood day, blogglings. I have been informed that I said I’d be back in February and it is now one week into the month without a post from me. All I have to say to that is well… yes, BUT I never said I’d be back on the first of the month, so it’s really not my fault if you don’t read the fine print.There was no fine print. Also, when am I ever early to something, give me a break. One week is still fashionably late. Now two weeks, that would have been rude. To make up for the fact that you had to live without me, I decided the best way to celebrate my reappearance would be with some baking pictures. Never let it be said that I don’t put the cake in Reviews and Cake. Sometimes. But first things first.
I’d ask what you’ve all been up to, but obviously you can’t answer me now, so there’d be an awkward pause, kind of like when you send someone a recorded message on whatsapp and ask them a question before you realize they can’t reply and then you have to keep speaking as if you weren’t just expecting an answer. Just me? Ah, well. I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to in the last month then. Brace yourselves; it’s an exciting list. Many adventures were had. Read more »
As I have to pretend to be an adult for the next 2,3 weeks, I will take a brief hiatus until the end of January, so I can finish my university assignments. I’ll be around on twitter, goodreads, and probably in your comment sections. Check you later, gator.