Weaving Pages

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

We Fight On - The 2016 Presidential Election

Tuesday had the opportunity to be historic; Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first female President of the United States of America, a symbol that women could shatter that "highest and hardest glass ceiling."

The glass stayed unshattered.

Tuesday had the opportunity to symbolise two victories: one for progression, a unanimous cry that prejudice does not and will not define the futures of our children; the other, a sign that we still collectively cower in fear, flinching away from what we are convinced is different, carving ourselves into our own enemies.

The fear won.

This election has shaken communities around the world to the core; the results are personal. There are people who do not have the luxury of simply waiting out the next four or eight years, because the rhetoric of the winning campaign has turned them into scapegoats, has threatened them based on aspects of themselves they cannot control. Being able to "put up and shut up" is a privilege not many can afford.

Women, African Americans, Muslims, the LGBTQA+ community, immigrants, Hispanics: His campaign has frequently and hatefully targeted minorities, ranging from insulting a Muslim gold-star family to his derogatory manner of talking about women, immortalised by his words that he could grab them by the genitals. These people face a man in power who claims to represent them and then vilifies their very being, who threatens their civil liberties and wishes to silence them. They, we, refuse to be silenced.

A single apology was received at the end of this election, from the one person from whom it was not required. "I am sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country." These were the words of Hillary Clinton, an apology when although that glass ceiling has not been shattered, because of her we can now see the cracks. When it all finally smashes it will be the loudest reminder that love trumps hate.

That is the message that now stands tall. This election has failed people everywhere, people who are mothers, fathers, daughters and sons, not statistics on a screen. They are your own family and friends, the people you pass on the street, who make your coffee, look after you when you are sick and they cannot be allowed to believe this atmosphere of hate and fear is now the status quo. It wasn't before, and it will not be now, no matter the twisted words and values of a single man in his walled castle. In the words of Michelle Obama, "When they go low, we go high." That is our driving force.

So stand taller, hold your head higher, make your voice be heard loud and clear. The battle may have been lost, but the war against contempt and prejudice continues. More than ever we must fight harder, write faster, hold each other tighter and together we will rise up as people who understand that liberty, equality and love will make us greater than anything else ever could. 

What we are fighting greatly surpasses this election.

And so we fight on.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by J.K.Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: J.K.Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany
Series: Harry Potter #8
Source: Bought
Publisher: Little Brown UK
Published: July 31st 2016
No. of Pages: 343

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

 5 stars

Friday, 16 September 2016

FANTASTICALLY GREAT WOMEN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD BLOG TOUR: "If it hadn’t been for one great woman..."

Author Kate Pankhurst has written a book that I will pass on to my sister, my parents, my future daughters and sons, and their daughters and sons too; that's how shiny of a gem I think this book is. With gorgeous illustrations, this is something for you to feast your eyes, your heart and your mind on, but until you get your hands on it I have another wonderful thing for you. 

Here at Weaving Pages, we are all about empowering girls to be passionate about life, and we are all about stories too. It's no secret that everyone has a fantastically great woman who changed her world, and that woman should be celebrated. Today, Kate is here to share her story about the great woman who changed her world, so that perhaps everyone who reads this can take a moment to remember all the fantastic women to whom we owe so much to. Don't forget them.

Want to know what I thought of the book? My review will be posted in the upcoming weeks, but in short I adored it! Another thing I would adore would be for you to comment who the fantasically great woman who changed your world is. Share it with me in the comment below!

A Great Woman Who Changed my World …

To say I feel lucky to be doing a job that really doesn’t feel like a job is an understatement. It doesn’t feel like a job because everyday I get to do something I’ve loved since childhood.

I’ve always loved the surprising things that can happen as you doodle. I say surprising because even now I still find a blank white page daunting. I get the fear that I’ll never draw anything good or think of a new story idea. But slowly, from scribbles emerge sparkly new ideas. Drawing seems to tap into a part of my brain that is otherwise hard to access, where all of my best story ideas are squirreled away, waiting to wiggle their way to freedom onto the page.

If it hadn’t been for one great woman, I might never have got past that fear of the blank page. (It’s something that seems to take over many people as they get older when it comes to drawing.) That great woman was my Mum, Lyn. Without her my passion for the pencil might have remained a nice little hobby I was once quite good at, in a childish sort of way.

Drawing and painting was something both my mum and my nan, enjoyed and were good at when they were young. But back then the freedom to toddle off to study a degree in something like illustration wasn’t really an option. Painting was a pastime rather than a career.

For over forty years my mum has enjoyed a satisfying career as a children’s nurse at Alder Hey Children’s hospital in Liverpool, but she always said that she’d loved to have had more opportunities to develop her artistic talents. The endless encouragement my wonky sketches received from mum helped me to believe in myself and not to listen too much to that voice that says you can’t do something.

Mum never said, “oooh, maybe you should do something that you’ll actually be paid for?”  Or, “perhaps it would be safer to do business studies instead?”.  In fact, it never crossed my mind that I couldn’t have a career in the arts. As a child you don’t realise that you are very fortunate to have that freedom to follow your talent. I can see now, especially after years of working with children in primary schools as a visiting author and illustrator, that being surrounded by those who encourage you and make you think that anything is possible is essential to having the confidence to follow your dreams.

Back in the eighties, I remember the living room focal point at my nan’s house – two colourful oil paintings of birds hanging above the gas fire. Nan proudly told me that it was my mum who painted them when she was young. I was hugely impressed. Birds were tricky and were something I just couldn’t draw very well. These looked like the sort of realistic artwork you’d see in old fashioned Ladybird books about British hedgerow wildlife.

Mum would talk wistfully about bird paintings and the talent she never had time to explore anymore, saying that when she retired she’d get a shed put up at the end of the garden to use as a painting studio.

The shed idea never really went away. When I returned home from university after graduating from an illustration degree, my parents set up a shed at the end of the garden for me to begin work on my first two published picture books. As a skint ex-student I had nowhere to work apart from my childhood bedroom. Without the shed my career really may never have got off the ground. (Although the resident spider population that came to join me in the shed did make me question my career choice.)

My mum never got round to using my shed to revisit her talents but she has since semi-retired and dabbled in an art course and randomly, tap dancing.
I really should remind her of her plans for the shed next time we speak.

Thanks mum. 

Monday, 12 September 2016

This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab

Title: This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity #2
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: July 5th 2016
No. of Pages: 464

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
4 stars

Thursday, 8 September 2016


1. You get what you give.

In the words of Angelica Schuyler, 'WORK!'. It's a pretty simple equation. The effort, the time and the work that you put into your exams will ultimately control the outcome of your results. Yes, I know everyone tells you this, but trust me, you won't believe it until you've actually experienced real exams. Somehow, people always fool themselves into thinking that no matter what happens it'll be okay, and that's a lie. That person (and there's always one) who claims they got 12 GCSEs without lifting a finger is also a liar. Everyone has to work during exams, and ultimately that will define how you feel when you receive your marks. Even if you're convinced that your friend is the next Einstein and therefore the laws of the universe state they must do better than you, stop. Stop for a minute and realise that the only person in control of your success is you, and you must be willing to work for it.

2. It won't be easy; that's not the point.

You've made countless mind maps, run out of ink in way too many pens and now you're about to walk into the exam room. This is going to be easy, right? Let me stop you there, I wish it was like this. At one point, I thought it was going to be like this. Then I realised it wasn't. The reason behind that is exams aren't meant to be easy, otherwise there would be no point to doing them. If you're taking an exam properly, then you should be having to think and reason and use logic to get an answer, and that isn't meant to be easy. So even if you've memorised the entire textbook, and well done to you if you have, don't expect the exam to be simple. These things are meant to test you, and that's especially true for when you know all the information.

3. Prioritising is key.

The other regrettable fact of exams is that sacrifices will have to be made. With a lot of your time allocated to studying, other aspects of your life will suffer, and the best thing to do is try to accept that. Attempting to fit in time for everything is exhausting, and will ensure that you don't actually get the full benefit of the work you are doing or the time you are using as a break. You have to rest, and so you can't constantly be working at lots of different activities. For me, this is true in regards to blogging. During exams, I often find I can't blog because my time has to be allocated to doing something else, which can be frustrating. Yet I know that for my blogging and my revision to be as beneficial as possible, I have to prioritise the latter over the former, which is a very important step to being able to work efficiently.

4. Procrastination is NOT key.

Okay, so you chose to spend two hours on Saturday revising, and that consisted of creating a revision timetable and organising the brightly coloured stationary you bought that now is carefully placed all over your desk. I get it. Revision is repetitive and boring, stationary is.. well, it's everyone's weakness. But, please, put the cute little bunny eraser down. Procrastination is the worst thing you can possibly do. You're not revising, but you're also not relaxing, so in short you are going nowhere. When revision gets too much, what you should be doing is taking a break and enjoying your time away from the textbooks, as opposed to deciding that now is the perfect time to move your bed over to the other side of the room. Doing this will ensure that you're ready to study once more, instead of feeling like you'll have to dredge through a load of facts and information that you won't actually take in.

5. Enjoy the little things.

Here's the thing, exams may not be all that enjoyable, but you can do a few things to stop them from being downright miserable. One of those things is to focus on the things you actually enjoy during that time period. Whether that's the glorious feeling of crossing out another exam on your list, or even the relief of finishing the exam paper and being able to forget all the stress that comes with it, just remember the little pleasures of life instead of how much you want it all to be over and done with. This is the most important lessoned I learned out of all my exams, because it reminds me that things don't seem as horrible if you look at the entire picture instead of focusing on the little negatives.

Monday, 5 September 2016

What About Law? by Catherine Barnard, Janet O'Sullivan and Graham Virgo

Title: What About Law?
Author: Catherine Barnard, Janet O'Sullivan and Graham Virgo
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Published: October 1st 2007
No. of Pages: 213

Most young people considering studying law, or pursuing a career in the law, have very little idea of what is involved or how universities teach people to become lawyers. This new book provides a 'taste' for the study of law. It is a short, accessible presentation of the study of law as an academic subject, designed with invaluable advice to help pre-college level young adults and others decide whether law as an academic discipline is the right choice for them when entering the university level of study. The book will also counter the perception that law is a dry and boring subject, showing how the study of law can be fun, intellectually stimulating, challenging, and of direct relevance to them. In doing so, it introduces to prospective law students issues involving the legal system, including the structure of the courts and the legal profession, precedent, statutory interpretation, and comparative law. This is a book that any student about to embark on the study of law should read before they commence their legal studies. Each of the editors has been involved in advising prospective law students at admissions conferences. -(Goodreads)
 5 stars

Monday, 18 July 2016

Head Over Heels by Holly Smale

You may remember a while ago I wrote about how a book got me through my sister's operation, which you can read all about here. That same post made its way to the eyes of Holly Smale, who's book All That Glitters helped me in that really tough time, and in response I was sent this lovely pack of Geek Girl related things, along with the 5th book, which is the one I'm reviewing now. So before I begin, here's a massive thank you to Holly and HarperCollins for their kindness and being absolutely amazing in sending me the next instalment in one of my favourite series!
Title: Head Over Heels
Author: Holly Smale
Series: Geek Girl #5
Source: Publisher
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Published: April 7th 2016
No. of Pages: 416

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I will always be a geek.”
The fifth book in the bestselling, award-winning GEEK GIRL series.
Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.
She knows duck-billed platypuses don’t have stomachs.
She knows that fourteen squirrels were once detained as spies.
She knows only one flag in the world features a building.
And for once, Harriet knows exactly how her life should go. She’s got it ALL planned out. So when love is in the air, Harriet is determined to Make Things Happen!
If only everyone else would stick to the script…
Has GEEK GIRL overstepped the mark, and is following the rules going to break hearts all over again?

4 stars

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