End of the Year TBR | 2017 | Sitting In The Clouds

The end of the year is approaching rather too quickly, with Halloween now out of the way, if you aren’t American, the next big holiday is Christmas, and then…BAM, it’s New Year. Although I’ve been very happy with what I’ve read so far this year, I love a good old list, so here are the books I really want to get around to before midnight strikes on the 31st of December.



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> Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks 
If you didn’t know by now, I’m a major Tom Hanks fan, he is my favourite actor if you didn’t know, so when I heard he was releasing a book, I had to have my hands on it. I’ll be ashamed of myself if I don’t get to his book by the end of the year. I heard the audiobook is really good as Tom Hanks reads it, and plus my physical book is signed so it’s looking likely I’ll give the audiobook a try.
> Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix by JK Rowling 
The most annoying thing about this book is I started my reread way back in the summer. I got about halfway through and just put it down. I won’t be restarting this book, as I already know the story so I’ll just pick up where I left off. But I’ve had enough of it sitting on my bedside table, it isn’t a small book either.

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> Winter by Marissa Meyer 
I really enjoy the Lunar Chronicles and if I complete Winter, I would have ticked off another series off my list. I really want to get around to this book soon but the size always puts me off. It would be a bonus if I also got to Stars Above, the novella.
> The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
How can I not get around to this book this year? It’s probably the one number book of the year. It’s a must that I read it before the year is out.

Honourary mention goes to Some Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher. Giovanna Fletcher is one of my number one auto-buy authors. This is her newest release and it’s not even out yet. It comes out on the 16th of November and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.



I haven’t included too many books as there are only two months left of the year and seeing the pattern of how my reading has gone previously, I can fit another 10 books in before the year ends. Therefore I didn’t want to restrict myself to only the books I’ve mentioned in this list.

Have you got any must-read books before the year is out? Let’s chat in the comments.

until next time,
xoxo, rachel 



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October Reading | 2017 | Sitting In The Clouds

Sometimes I feel like reading has become more of a sport than an enjoyable hobby. Everyone seems to compare themselves to others and get upset if they haven’t read a set amount of books each month. I’ll admit to feeling like this on occasion and I do try and read a book a week so I feel like I have accomplished something in my reading life. At the moment, five books seem to be around a number of books I read each month, October was no different.



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What I Read

> The Circle by Dave Eggers – ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I only had the interest to pick up this book as Tom Hanks, my favourite actor, stars in the movie adaption, and being the bookworm I am, I tend to read the books before seeing the film. I enjoyed the book and the concept, but I feel like it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. The movie adaption was meh. But at least I can now cross off another Tom Hanks film off my list. I have actually already given this book to my mum, as I know I won’t be picking it up again. 
> Girl Online: Going Solo – ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75
This series is a guilty pleasure for me. I’m not a massive fan of Youtubers bringing out books, but I have to admit, Zoe Sugg has done well. I really enjoyed this series and thought the final book was the perfect ending for the series and the characters. 
> Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I loved this book. One of the best books I’ve read this year. However, I think it’s a book that’s better going into it knowing nothing. All I’ll say is, mind-blown, sci-fi, adventure. 
> It Only Happens In Movies by Holly Bourne – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75
After such an intense, mind-blowing book, I had to dive into a light fluffy read to balance it out, and Holly Bourne once again didn’t disappoint. I loved this book, it was so enjoyable. I loved the romance and loved how she incorporated all the serious issues mentioned into the story. Highly recommend Holly Bourne if you haven’t check out any of her books yet. 
> One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M.McManus – currently reading
I’m currently working my way through this read as I’m writing this post. I’m only around 30 pages into it so I don’t really have any thoughts or opinions on it as of yet. I’m hoping to finish it before the month is up.

If I do manage to finish “One of Us is Lying”, here are my reading stats….

Monthly Reading Stats

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I’m really happy with how much I read this month, and I also read some awesome books.  I don’t think you’ll ever see a reading wrap up post that doesn’t feature at least one contemporary book, haha! What did you read this month? Have I attempted you to add anything to your TBR pile?

until next time,
xoxo, rachel



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Plan With Me | October Review & November Set Up | Sitting In The Clouds

I’m a creature of habit so when I find bullet journal spreads and a system that works for me, I tend to stick to it. So although these posts tend to be fairly similar, I always like switching it up ever so slightly, even if it’s just with the design or colour scheme for that month. However, I wasn’t blogging when September ended and October graced us so I thought I’d show you how October turned out in my bullet journal as well as planning for November and Christmas…shh I didn’t say that.



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October saw me restart university and start year two of my course. Therefore, I divided my three columns in my monthly spreads differently. Usually, I have an “AM”, “PM” and “All Day” column so I can arrange my events according to the time of day. In October, I chose “Uni”, “Work” and “Personal”, so I could easily see how I’m spending my month activity wise. Having a social life amongst working part-time, and going to university full time can be a struggle sometimes. But I found dividing my columns like this in October really helped manage my time better.

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I’ve been tracking my habits and sleep for a while now but in October I switched up both spreads. I got inspiration from Boho Berry for the sleep tracker, however, I can’t remember who inspired me to try out a portrait habit tracker but I adore it. Both of these spreads worked really well for me and I have continued them into November.

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And surprise surprise my spending log has also stayed the same. One difference though is this month I made it a double page spread. I thought the budget review would work out really well for me but I ended up not really using it. In the end, the second page became redundant.

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At the beginning of October, I started tracking my meals within my weekly spreads but that idea also fell flat by the end of the month. However, this past week I did finally switch up my weekly spread (below) and although I liked it, I will be returning to my classic one (above) next week.

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This month I went to see Goodbye Christopher Robin in the cinema with Tom and I adored it. I cried through-out and it’s easily the best film I’ve seen this year. Therefore I had to dedicate a whole spread to the film.

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In October, I started doing yoga as well as taking time out of my day to meditate. As these habits began after I had created my October spreads I simply made an “October Goals” tracker as well. I laid it out like a calendar for each habit and simply crossed off each day I did the corresponding habit. In November I have included “yoga” into my habit tracker.

As I started university this month, I had to include my university timetable for the first couple of weeks while I got used to the new schedule.

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More uni spreads but they came in very handy. On the left I simply created a spread to jot notes down on the very first day I went back. I now have a whole notebook dedicated to rough notes I make at university so they didn’t “mess” up my bullet journal…eek! On the right is a huge uni to-do list, a section for each teacher and I just write down what I have to do, it’s basically my master to-do list for university.



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Can we just quickly acknowledge the fact that Christmas is quickly approaching. In a few days, I can say Christmas is next month…yay! I went for a pink theme this month and although the spreads kind of seem very Valentine’s Day appropriate I was feeling it. The typeface has also been changed this month and I’m loving the overall feel of the monthly spreads.

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Similar habit tracker in layout and style but a few of my habits have changed. For example, in November I will be tracking yoga, work on blog and publishing post.

I have also created a university tracker. I will simply write down the assignments I have for November to complete and hand in and I will also track the number of hours I’ve studied at home in a line graph.

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Yay for me for being back on my blogging game. But that also means my trusty blog tracker is back.

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As you can see, a simply dutch door is separating the blog tracker and my spending tracker. I have used this technique a few times and I really enjoy it. As you saw in October I used two full pages for my spending and I didn’t really end up using the second page. The Dutch door allows me to have added space without needing two full pages. I find my blog tracker and spending log work really well in this style.

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I really enjoyed tracking my sleep with this spread last month so I carried it on. All I do is mark when I went to sleep and woke up, then colour between the two marks to tracker how many hours I’ve slept.

And yes, that is a Christmas related spread on the right.

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It’s November, Christmas is next month. Before I know it, the Coco-cola advert will be on TV. I’m getting ahead of the game and I have started thinking about present ideas for my nearest and dearest already. I have made a simple table where I can write the person, the present idea and where I saw it so I don’t forget. As well as a budget for that particular person.



And that’s it. I love starting new months in my bullet journal as all the spreads are so clean and ready to go. My November spreads took about 6 hours to complete but I did them across multiple days. I love going all out with my bullet journal and making it really pretty but I know 6 hours is a lot of time to spend setting up a month and some people don’t have that kind of time. Make the bullet journal system yours and keep it as simple or decorative as you need it to be.

I hope you enjoyed it. I know my bullet journal posts have gotten a lot of love in the past, so I knew when I came back to blogging I would be sure to include them.

I hope you all have/had a lovely weekend.

until next time,
xoxo, rachel



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Everything’s Fine |Sitting In The Clouds

This idea for a blog post came to me last week when one of my favourite bands of all time, The Summer Set, announced their indefinite hiatus, aka announced they are splitting up.

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I found them on Spotify, under recommended artists way back in 2012/13, I can’t remember exactly. Their album, Everything’s Fine, connected with me so much, and I remember vividly walking to school, which was about 30 minutes, listening to the entire album and falling in love.

Back then, I was in a very controlling relationship and I wasn’t allowed to listen to opposite genders, aka male vocalists. But I couldn’t live without this album or band, so I listened secretly, deleting my Spotify history in case he ever saw it. After a while, I felt too guilty, so I let the band go.

It wasn’t until 2016 when I met Tom and we were texting back and forth our favourite songs, albums and artists that I came across The Summer Set again and the album Everything’s Fine reentered my life. I had remembered every single lyric of every song off the album, and since that day they have been one of my favourite bands, and Everything’s Fine, has been one of my all-time favourite albums.

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I’m really saddened by the news. Tom and I went to go see them live when they came to the UK for their Stories for Monday tour in May last year. They were the first band we saw live together and it holds a special place in my heart. I remember coming out of the concert, Tom and I faced one another and said, “we need to go see them again”. Unfortunately, that day will never come, and I actually want to cry, I’m tearing up writing this blog post.

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I’m sure other fans have more connections to the band, their songs probably mean more to them, they have probably been following them for their entire journey. But the tiny slither I got to experience of their music, has made them one of my favourite bands of all time and their Everything’s Fine album will always be one of my favourite albums. I don’t think I could ever get bored of any of their songs. Brian’s, the lead vocalist, has such a distinct and incredible voice, I knew instantly last year, they were the band I discovered all those years ago.

I don’t want to be sad about the news, but grateful that I ever had a chance to experience their music, and see them live. I think that concert will always be one of the best I’ve experienced.



I don’t know what gave me the urge to write this blog post but I’m glad I’ve managed to write my feelings down. I’m not going to lie, before their news, they were a band I liked, saw them live, and listened to them more frequently. But since hearing the news, and knowing I will never get new music from them, or see them live again, it showed me how much I do truly love them. They will now be one of my all-time favourite bands. The Summer Set wasn’t a massive band but if you knew them and liked their music, how do you feel about the news?

Please give them a listen as they are truly incredible musicians, all five of them. I wish them all the best for their futures and I know Brian, is already pursuing a solo career so I will be following him on his new journey.

This is much more of a personal post and something quite different for me, so if you enjoyed it, please let me know.

until next time,
xoxo, rachel



Check out my other posts
The Do’s & Don’ts of Blogging
18 Before 2018

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The Do’s & Don’ts of Blogging | Sitting In The Clouds

The blogging community is all about helping each other grow. There’s so much competition out there today as people are making it their jobs and young people are following in the footsteps of their idols. We have to remember though when blogging became a thing, no one started out to make it their career, it just happened that social media and the internet became a part of everyday life and brands took advantage of that. People starting out today, yes the majority are beginning their blogs because they have a passion, but quite a few are only starting them to get free things and become “famous” and earn a living. No one should start out with those intentions.

I’ve been blogging for a fair few years now, I used to have another blog before this one, so I’ve been part of the blogging community for a while now. During that time, I’ve learned what works well when trying to grow your audience and what really puts people off. I hope this blog post can help some of you who are just starting out, or even if you’ve been blogging for years, like me, it’s never too late to learn new tips and tricks in this competitive field.



interact

Do Interact but Don’t use the automatic Direct Messages or comment on someones else’s blog to check out your blog if it’s not relevant to the blog post. For example,

Do: “I totally agree, long distance relationships are hard. I’m currently in one and some days are just really tough. I’ve done a blog post about how to cope and what to do on those days.
Don’t: Hey, great post. Here’s mine: http://www.example.wordpress.com

For me personally, it feels like they haven’t taken the time to read your blog and they have headed straight to the comments to try and get hits on their own blog. If someone is interested or drawn to your comment, they will go to your blog no matter what, even other bloggers. Interacting, reading other bloggers posts, following them on social media accounts and getting involved in the community is a great way to get your name and your blog out there. However, don’t overdo it. Don’t just post about your blog on your Twitter or Instagram, the reason most people follow you on those accounts is to get to know you on a more personal level. Get the balance right and use social media to your advantage.

Note// Don’t only make interactions on other blogs, allow interaction on yours. Leave people with a question they can answer in the comments. This is a great way to increase comment numbers. 

milestones

Do enjoy hitting those milestones, whatever they may be, and feel proud of yourself once you’ve hit them. But don’t live for the numbers. Numbers and hits aren’t what’s truly important. They will come eventually and it feels great when they do, but don’t worry if it takes time. You should be blogging because you love it no matter what, and I know it’s hard to not think about the numbers but if you only posting to gain a following, it will show through to your content.

proofread

I’m guilty of the spelling or grammar error in my blog posts once in a while, no one is perfect. But if there are tons of mistakes in your blog posts and it doesn’t flow while you are reading it, it puts people off. I have installed the free version of Grammarly that helps me notice the little mistakes I would have overlooked.

Ensure all the links you put within your post direct your reader to the correct place. Use the “preview” button WordPress offers to see how your blog post will look to others once it’s published. And my top tip before hitting publish is ensuring your comments are enabled.  I personally find it rather irritating when I’ve just read a really good blog post and want to make the blogger aware of it and interact with them and then there’s no place to write a comment. I know it seems like an obvious one but it’s always good to double check that your comments are enabled before posting your blog post.

Just triple and double check before publishing, even if that means posting your content a day later.

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Do make use of free tools. You don’t need to spend loads of money to make your blog look good and grow a following. I have never gone out intentionally to buy things for my blog and think “Oh this will be great for my blog”. There are so many free tools out there you can use. If you need help creating eye-catching headers, canva.com is the place to go. If you need help with your pictures, unsplash.com is a great source of royalty free images (all images today are from unsplash). Also using items from around your house as props is a great way to save the pennies. I use natural lighting for all my images, and use the wooden floorboards in my house, or even some white A3 paper as backdrops. You do not need to spend money to make your blog a success.

have fun

and finally…Do have fun. If you’re enjoying writing and producing your content, it will reflect in the people responding to it. Put your own personal touch to your blog posts, yourself is your own unique selling point, so use your personality to your advantage.



Of course, there is no right or wrong way to blog, if you love it, express your personality through your content, and have fun, you are doing it right and the recognition will come.

I’ll allow this blog post to come full circle. Blogging is all about helping each other out. Do you have any tips, tricks, or advice that I haven’t mentioned? Leave them in the comments. Let’s make this blog post full of useful ideas, links, and advice for others.

until next time,
xoxo, rachel

P.S. I’m only 4 followers away from 300 over at Twitter, so if you fancy following me, it would be highly appreciated.



all images within the blog post today are from unsplash.com, a great website to get professional royalty free images.

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Autumn Book Haul
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18 Before 2018

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