Two years!


Today marks my two year blog anniversary.  Two years since I sat down, and decided that I wanted to write to the world, to you guys. It hasn't always been easy - at first I didn't really have a direction, I just wrote about what I thought I should write about: fashion, beauty, red carpets, but none of that was me. I was lost in the void of wanting to write, but not really having anything to write about.  Then one day, I decided to share my thoughts on a book, and I got so much joy out of sharing my opinions with the world that I started to do it a lot more, and now here we are, two years later!

I've gotten to know some fantastic people through blogging, and I want to thank each and every one of you, whether you follow me or not. The blogging community is a growing force, and even though it's pretty easy to get lost in the chats, you always end up making one new friend.

I hope that in the future I can get over my nerves/fear, kick anxiety in the ass, and actually come to a bloggers meet up so I can see your lovely faces in person, but until then you'll just have to put up with my random selfies on snapchat, instagram, and of course here, Kirstiekinsblogs!

Although I am Kirstiekins, this blog isn't mine anymore. It's ours. Everything I write is shared with you, and I am so happy that you all get to be a part of my share of the internet pizza.

Missed my first ever post? Well, haha you can read it HERE - be warned, it's a bit of a cringe fest!

As a cheeky bit of promo, you can help me celebrate me by following me on Bloglovin, as I would love to get to two hundred subscribers by the end of the year! ;)

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I'm writing again.


I'm a writer. Or I at least pretend to be anyway.

Don't expect to search for me online and have a Goodreads author page come up, a string of novels on Amazon, or articles on Huffington Post, because you wont find anything. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. But that doesn't mean I am not writer, it just means I am an unpublished writer. You could take this to mean that I am a bad writer, and that no one will publish my work, but in all honesty I am terrified of the thought of actually publishing my writing. 

I had a chapter of a novel that I am working on included in an anthology, but I took me until ten minutes before the deadline to gain the confidence and hit send on the email. Although I was accepted, I stopped writing shortly after, due to the amount of uni work that I had, and even then I found that hard to do. If felt as if something in my brain had stopped working, as though a bunch of wires had been ripped out, or the drawer where I keep my writing abilities had welded itself shut. This went on for months. The more I tried to write, the more I hated myself. How could I call myself a writer if I couldn't write. Was it writers block? I don't know. I think it was more of a me block. I got stuck inside my head, and then my head got suck inside of me - wow, that didn't mean to sound as dirty as it come across. Get your head out of the gutter ;) 


For months I would plan projects, even attempt to write them, but nothing would happen. My sentences wouldn't make sense, my plot wouldn't fit, and my characters were telling me to fuck off and do one. They didn't like me either. But here is the funny part. Not funny haha, actually it might be, or it might be a sign of madness. I went shopping last week, and I saw this girl/woman* and I was convinced that it was one of the characters in my novel. It was so weird, because I have been writing her to be this evil, heart crushing (literally) person, but here she was in the supermarket with some other woman, talking about bread. "I like the thick one, I can really get my teeth into it," to which her friend replied: "Oh, I bet you do!" And then they laughed and walked away.  I stood there thinking, why are you shopping, you're supposed to be causing havoc and trying to destroy the lives of everyone you ever met, and then this led me to thinking more of her character, and primarily who she is. Causing havoc is what she does, but not who she is. It was at that point where I felt the office drawer ping open and have all these files spew all over the places, the wires had been replaces and whatever had stopped working, started again. I abandoned the rest of my shopping list, went home, and I have been writing ever since. 

In those nine months I could have finished it twice over and be well into the editing stage right now, but that isn't how it works. I am glad that my brain forced me to take some time away from it, because looking at my old drafts now, I can see where I may have made a few bad decisions, and did what I wanted to do, rather than what the characters wanted to do. 

I find it hard to blog, and write fiction at the same time, which is a shame because I love doing them both so much, but it's not a bad thing, because I now have two writing spaces I can flick back and forth between. That being said, whilst I have my writing mojo back, I will be prioritising that, but I still will be posting as often as I can. A few weeks ago, I sent out somewhat of a questionnaire to bunch of other bloggers, all about their favourite books, which I have formed together into some pretty cool posts, and will be starting to post next week, so there is that to look forward too!  I am also going to start trying to keep to a schedule, and posting at least one book review on a certain day every week, which is yet to be decided.  I may also start sharing some of my writing/updates on my novel writing, if you guys don't mind. 

This post has ended up being a lot longer that what I hoped for it to be. 

So Until next time. 


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Outline - Rachel Cusk


I wanted to like this book, I really did.

After reading, and hearing so much praise of, Outline, (which was shortlisted for The Baileys Prize, and written by a woman that works at my university) I went to my local Waterstones, picked up the book, and began to read it whilst lounging in my garden, that very same afternoon.
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REVIEW || Through the Woods - Emily Carroll


Voted Graphic Novel of the Month by the Observer and on the New York Bestseller List for two weeks back in August 2014, Through the Woods is a compromised of five 'mysterious and chilling' stories, based on classic fairytales. Each story, combined with its remarkable illustrations, creates an eerie feeling, that can only be described as inspiring. Though some of the tales use a minimalistic approach to narrative, her syntax remains delightfully harrowing - but this could be due to her artistic abilities, and the way she has chosen to lay out each page; with most of the other graphic novels I have read emphasis has been drawn to the images, but Carroll has taken it a step further and has treated the words as if they are also images. No, not images. Art.
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I am the kind of person who shouldn't attend big meaningful events. Even though I dread them, a part of me gets a little bit excited - there's the build up, the prep, the actual day, and then there is the day after. The day after is the worst. During the build up, your emotions are allowed to flourish and be all over the place, you don't have to define them and organise them into a little box, but afterwards, when the reason for your excitement has been and gone, when you've had your three seconds of fame, when you're left with all these feelings that don't want to go away, what are you supposed to do with them? You can't just make them go away! So instead you sit there, still with the latent excitement of the day itself, in awe of the fact that you did something meaningful and worthwhile, pondering the events that happened, and the things that you wish did/didn't happen, wondering if you will ever escape this weird daunting feeling that has made a home within your brain. I love organising things, it makes me happy when everything has it's own little place, or a specific order, messy things hurt my brain. So I am sure you can imagine what it is like when the thing that you want to organise most, is pretty much the most impossible of them all: the thoughts in your own head.  You can't make a list, colour code, colour coordinate, alphabetise, numeratise (numerical didn't really work in the sentence), nor can you just put them in a box, label it 'I'll sort you out later' and then shove it under the bed. You have to carry this unorganised mess of thoughts and feelings around, until they sort themselves out. Sometimes it may take a few hours, other times it could take weeks! Weeks of these thoughts, getting tangled up within new thoughts and old thoughts alike; all the feelings spewing out of their designated brain compartments and mixing together like a dodgy science experiment! And then the panic sets in!

I didn't set out for this post to turn down the alley of, Death, Doom, and Destruction, but that's the thing about writing: when you start, when you really start, you don't stop, you don't think, it just happens. I think that's how you know you're a writer, when words just fall out of you, through your fingers, into the pen and onto the page. Obviously not 24/7, if that were the case, maybe I would have finished my darn novel by now.

I wanted to write about my graduation, and how that three years ago I was nervously waiting my A level results, not knowing what the future had in-store for me, but I think I will save that for another time. I am glad that I graduated, and I am proud of myself for all the hard work I put myself through, especially as I have had teachers all the way through school that didn't believe in me. None of them thought I would make it to university, and the fact that I graduated with pretty much the highest grade possible makes me want to photocopy it and post it to them, just so I can say that I have proved them wrong - but I am supposed to be an adult now, so maybe I wont do that.

Now I guess I need to find a job. Anyone hiring?

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It's Kind of a Funny Story - Ned Vizzini // A Review


I really enjoyed reading this novel

Craig Gilner is a teenager from New York city, who one night decides to commit suicide by throwing himself from the Brooklyn Bridge. He is bright, academic, has a loving home, and a mismatched group of friends, but he is far from happy. His friends call it 'Craig-ing out', he says that he is fine, but in reality it is a different story - he doesn't really know what's wrong. He doesn't really know what's right either.

It took me a while to read this book. One: because I find it so hard to concentrate on anything for more than three seconds at the moment, and two: because although it is written in a light hearted manner, it made me think. It made me think a lot. What would I do if I were in that situation? I would be lying if I said the thought of suicide hadn't crossed my mind - in fact, we would all be lying if we said the thought of suicide hasn't crossed our minds. But thinking about it, and actually acting upon it, are two separate issues.

The novel opens up by giving the reader some backstory, as to who Craig is, and why he feels the way he feels. We become privy to his meetings with his doctor, conversations with his friends, and the thoughts inside his head, right up until the moment, he doesn't commit suicide. He instead calls a suicide hotline, and checks himself into his local hospital. It is at the hospital where the story really comes alive. Vizzini's vivid description allows the reader to see what the hospital is really like, from the people he meets (and lends shirts to) to the food he finally manages to eat in the cafeteria.

It was interesting to read about a mental hospital/psych ward, that isn't written about in a negative light. Craig actually finds help, and clarification during his time there, he puts his life and his problems into perspective, and comes out with rational answers for the problems he has been battling. It's so refreshing to read a YA novel about mental health, with a positive outcome!

It really is, kind of a funny story.

Should you read it? Most definitely!
You can buy the book, here!

The author, Ned Vizzini wrote this novel in the space of five days after he spent some time in the psych ward of  Brooklyn Methodist hospital and it has been said that the novel is based around his own experiences there. Sadly, although Craig, the novel's main protagonist sought the help of his local suicide hotline and got the help he needed before he had the chance to act upon his thoughts, Vizzini did not. It was reported on December 19th 2013, that he had committed suicide. His work within his local community will not go unmissed, as he frequently visited schools to talk about the importance of writing and mental health.

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#Kirstie goes to Rome!


If you read my last post you would know that I was M.I.A from the blogging world last week, due to the fact that I was in Rome! As I mentioned before, it has been on my list of places I want to visit, ever since I was little and watched the Sabrina goes to Rome movie. Although I couldn't see the Trevi Fountain in all it's glory (it was boarded up for renovation) I still had a tremendously amazing time, and I can definitely say that I will be going back at some point in my life.

I fell in love with Rome. Not in the 'Love at first sight' kind of way, and not in the cliched 'it happened slowly and then before I knew it, I was falling head over heals at speeds unfathomable' kind of way either. If I am being honest, I didn't even know I loved Rome until I wasn't there anymore.  I had an inkling when we left the city behind to go and fanny about on the beach for the afternoon, but it wasn't until I was on a plane heading back towards London that I really felt it. I realised that from the moment I got there, (even though I couldn't - and still can't - speak a word of Italian) I felt at home; I felt like I belonged. After you have been to a place like that, even if you live in one of the most desirable cities in the world, the place where you live just doesn't compare. London is wonderful, but I would trade it for Rome in a heartbeat.

It wasn't the scorching heat, or the fact of finding history around every corner, or even the remarkable works of art and architecture - it was the people. I am a strong believer in that people make a place special, and even though the Roman people that I met were simultaneously both polite, and ill mannered, I wouldn't change them - sure maybe some common courtesy when letting people off trains on the Metro would be great, but you can't judge other cultures by the standards you hold of your own, that's how wars start!

I fell in love with the dirt that the buildings had collected, the poor lighting at Repubblica station, the smell of the heat rising from the concrete in the evenings, the little cobbled streets, the multitude of gelato flavours, the fact that I walked into a pasta shop and the tattooed woman behind the counter was singing along to the R.E.M song blasting from the radio, the gypsy woman that kept asking me for change in St. Peters Square, the crazy old lady that sold me ice water from her drink stand every morning and evening, the waiter that served me in the little restaurant across from the forum, the same waiter when I went back a second time and he remembered me, the view from St. Peters Basilica, the eerie silence in the Sistine Chapel, the way the moon looked different even though it's exactly the same, the sound of water coming from the numerous fountains around the city, the funky looking bread my hotel served at breakfast, the volcanic sand that I still can't get out of my shoes, and finally, just knowing that I was walking on the same ground, climbing the same steps, sitting in the same places as the ancients did all those years ago! There aren't words to explain how I feel, it's overwhelming, it's - is it cliche to call it magic? I'm going to call it magic. Not in the conventional way as to what we believe magic to be, with witches and potions, and what have you, but in the feeling way. To know that we as humans, had to ability to create a civilisation that is still recognisable today, that was still standing until around four hundred years ago, it really is remarkable. We are constantly looking for excuses to believe in magic, when really the only proof we need is history.

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