Booktube-A-Thon 2017 TBR | Sitting In The Clouds

Each year one of my favourite booktubers, Ariel Bissett, hosts one of my favourite read-a-thons, the booktube-a-thon. I have participated every year since 2014, so this will be my fourth one and I have yet to complete 7 books in 7 days and this year will NOT be the year. However I think the week is more than just reading; it’s about coming together as a community and just enjoying the atmosphere and the challenges, videos people post and just seeing everyone else around you read at the same time. Having said all that I do create a TBR correlating with the challenges set.



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The Challenges:
>1 Read a book with a person on the cover
>2 Read a hyped book
>3 Finish a book in one day
>4 Read a book with a character who is different to you
>5 Read a book entirely outside
>6 Read a book you bought because of the cover
>7 Read 7 books!



IMG_5243.jpgI have created a double page spread in my bullet journal to track my progress throughout the week. I will just track the books I’m reading and the page count and what I’m thinking about the books. 

My TBR:
>1 By Your Side by Kasie West – This completes the challenge “read a book with a person on the cover” as well as “read a book completely outside“. I will be listening to the audiobook of this in my car on the way to and from work, so even though inside my car isn’t technically outside, it’s outside of my usual reading environment…my bedroom. That counts right? (Update: Ariel tweeted that, yes, reading in your counts for the outside challenge)
>2 Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – This completes the challenge of “read a hyped book” and “read a book with a character who is different to you“. This book is so highly praised in the book community and it is about a boy who is gay aka the complete opposite to a heterosexual female.
>3 Tales of Beedle The Bard by JK Rowling – This will complete the “finish a book in the day” challenge as it is so short, easy to read and Harry Potter. Three key things to able me to read a book quickly.
>4 Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel – This is the booktube pick of the week, a bit like a book club read, you don’t have to read it to participate but I saw it for under £4.00 and thought why not? This book could also count towards the “read a book you bought because of the cover” because look how pretty and also I don’t know anything about it, and really did only buy it because it was the booktube pick and because of the cover.



And that completes my TBR this coming week. I’m hoping I can get through all for 4 books but I am at work from 9-4, Monday to Friday so we’ll see. I’m really excited for By Your Side as it will be my first Kasie West book and I know she is loved by many. But to be honest I’m just excited about the whole week, it’s definitely an event I look forward to each year.

Are you participating? What’s on your TBR? Let’s chat in the comments.

until next time,
xoxo, rachel

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My Favourite Reads…of all time | Sitting In The Clouds

Although I’m currently suffering a major reading slump, I’ve been an avid reader since the summer of 69 2014. 3 years of reading, averaging around 40 books each year, is a3446f639343b08986fe6c5a802c7fcca lot of stories to compete in my mind to be remembered. But without a doubt, as every reader does, you will connect with some books more than others. Therefore today I’m bringing you the books I remember reading and loving and knew instantly they were making my favourite books of all time list.



I will always be drawn towards YA contemporaries more than any other genre so the majority of this list just made my heart flutter due to the swoon worthy characters and the relationships and moments they shared. However, if a non-contemporary made this list, then you know it’s special as it means a book out of my comfort zone hit me hard. However, even the non-contemporary seem to have some sort of romance in them…opsie!



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All eight of these books touched me in completely different ways and no list is complete without Harry Potter right?! It’s crazy how over the past 3 years my tastes have changed and therefore so have my favourite books. Except a few firm favourites, this type of list will forever be growing and changing as you find new favourites to add or realise that a certain book was good before but after reading books of similar content, realise they were better.

Some of my old “all time” favourite books included The Maze Runner series by James Dashner and although this series brings back good memories of when I first started reading it and I still love it because of that reason and still technically class it as a favourite, it doesn’t have that connection to me anymore, therefore didn’t make this list.  Another “used to be favourite” is the Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole. I adored this series when I first read it, falling head over heels for Jack. But as the series progressed, having to wait over a year for the fourth book, I was loosing interest. I actually reread the series up to that point to prepare myself for the new book and just felt differently about it. It just wasn’t as good as I remember and that’s the one downside to rereading book.

Do we have any of the same favourites? Let’s chat in the comments.



xoxo, rachel

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Hitting 800 Followers & Life Updates | Tea Talk #8 | Sitting In The Clouds

WARNING: a lovely long rambley post

I haven’t posted in nearly a month which means I’m kind of out of the loop with this whole blogging thing and it feels weird to be writing again. Yes, I’ve been off my blogging game for about a month now, but I personally don’t feel this is wrong or that I should feel guilty for it. Everyone needs a break, not only when it comes to their blog but with everything in their lives. Whether it’s reading, bullet journaling or any other hobby you may have. And for me all my hobbies have taken a back seat recently, it just so happens blogging has been the most noticeable. University work has pretty much been my life for the past couple of months as I’ve been working towards finishing my first year and getting all portfolio work complete. Therefore, not only had my blog taken a back seat, I’ve barely touched my bullet journal and I haven’t finished a book in nearly two weeks. To be honest I’ve barely had any motivation for anything. But today, at 2pm my 4 and a half month long summer started as I handed in my portfolio.

However, for the past week or so I’ve been eager to get back into blogging but I feel the reason why I’ve had little motivation for it is because my blog is titled “a beauty blog” and I’ve been labelling myself “a beauty blogger” since starting a year ago. Don’t get me wrong sometimes I love writing beauty and makeup posts and I do enjoy experimenting and buying new makeup but out of all the topics I like to discuss on my blog, it isn’t my favourite. Therefore, starting today I will focusing more on the lifestyle, much like this blog post as well as including fashion as I love doing OOTD posts, and book side of things more. I will still be sticking a few beauty posts in here and there but I won’t be forcing myself to do an empties post at the end of each month, or always making sure I have new favourites to talk about. It’s no longer the direction I want to take my blog. But by all means that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to post this type of content nor enjoying reading other beauty bloggers.

And continuing on…sorry this is such a rambley blog post but while I’ve been away I’ve hit TWO major milestones in my blogging journey. I hit 800 followers, which is incredible, I can’t even imagine that many people. So thank you. But what excites me most is that I’ve now been blogging for an entire YEAR! I wrote and published my first post on the 22nd of May 2016 called Am I Really Sitting On A Cloud? and to this day it’s still one of my favourite blog posts I like to go back and read. I just want to thank you all for your continued support through-out this first year but even more so when I’ve been absent. I was still getting hits on my blog while I was away which is amazing as it shows people still enjoy my content even if I’m not posting consistently.

I’ve been away a month and although I wasn’t the busiest person in the world I did get up to a few things in the midst of the chaos that was my life during uni stress season.

So, What Have YOU Missed?

I spent a lovely long weekend in the Cotswold with my extended family to celebrate my Grandmas 80th birthday.

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I celebrated the end of uni a week early by going out for drinks in my favourite cocktail bar with my friends in London.

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don’t worry those drinks weren’t all mine…I think anyway. 

I spent some great quality time with Tom which always helps me destress and just forget about my never ending to-do list for university. It helped that the weather has been amazing this past week even if the past couple has been the complete opposite.

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Reading….

I’ve read a few books here and there. Reading has always been something I do to get away from the real world so I really enjoyed getting into bed after a full day of work or uni and escaping to another world.

If you saw my April Wrap Up you would know that I was in the middle of History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera last time I updated you. Unfortunately it was my second DNF of the year. My next read however was 5 stars and that was The Christmasauras by Tom Fletcher.

I’ve been making really good use of my local library recently and all my current reads have been library loans. I really want to buy a physical copy of The Christmasaurus though, it was too good not to.

  • The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

I’m currently reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

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This was such a strong book at the beginning, I was raving about it, I knew it was going to be 5 stars and one of my new all time favourite books but nearing the end it’s getting slow and repetitive. I’m still enjoying it but not as much as I was. It’s now nearing around 4-4.5 stars, it depends on the ending.

Bullet Journalling…

Much like my blog and reading, I fell into a little bit of a bullet journal slump in May. My monthly spreads got neglected, even my weekly spreads were failing me. However I’m so excited about this weeks spread as I think I’m finally out of my LIFE slump. I’ve added a lot of colour, doodles and stickers into it and I love it.

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I’ve been experimenting a lot with my weekly spreads at the minute as I was in my slump, trying to find a layout that would work for me and I think I’ve finally found it.

I’ve been very motivated the past couple of days in every aspect of my life. I want to make my blog better than ever, really experiment with my bullet journal, I’ve included a dutch door into my next spread, and I’m going to start swimming to get into a better healthy lifestyle routine. Let’s just say I’m excited about the future.


So yeah, I just wanted to let you know I’m alive and well and I’m officially back to blogging. I hope you’ve enjoyed this ramblely post and that you’re excited for the future of my blog.

until next time,
p.s. I’m really trying to grow my twitter presence at the minute so if you’re not following go ahead. I post a lot of blog updates on there as well. 

xoxo, rachel
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April Wrap Up & May TBR | Sitting In The Clouds

Can someone explain to me how it’s May already? One month away from being half way through yet another year living in this world. However, being May also means it’s only a one month away from my birthday and apart from Christmas, my birthday is my favourite time of year.

April reading wise, however, really saw me experiment with my reading resources. I read my first ever library book (that I can remember) this month. I discovered the amazing world of Overdrive and signed up immediately. I’m really trying to step out of my comfort zone with reading, not with what genre I read but with books I haven’t heard of before. Books that haven’t been hyped on the internet and I know pretty much the entire synopsis before diving in. It’s been good. But my main reading goal for April, if you saw my March Wrap Up, was to reread one of my favourite series, The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole.

April Wrap Up

  • Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • Endless Knight by Kresley Cole (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • …And A Happy New Year? by Holly Bourne (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Although I loved being back in the Arcana Chronicle world and with the characters again, it wasn’t as good as I remember being it but I guess that’s the risk you take when rereading books, you may not love them as much as you used to, and I’m fine with that. Arcana Rising was a great addition to the series and I will continue with the next two books, when they are released, because I want some of my favourite characters…JACK!!! to have a good ending. I didn’t end up reading the novella, Day Zero as I was reading reviews, and apparently it doesn’t add anything to the story and is really just like a textbook with information about all the characters. I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

I LOVED the novella to the Spinster Girls trilogy by Holly Bourne though, …And A Happy New Year? It was only just under 200 pages and I read it within 24 hours. I loved being back with these girls, seeing how their futures were panning out and I was truly satisfied with leaving them there to live their lives.

Currently Reading

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  • History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

I saw this on Overdrive and downloaded it before I could tell my brain not to. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book. I’m about 70 pages (eBook format) into the story and I’m liking it so far but it hasn’t swept me off my feet just yet.

May TBR

I really don’t have anything in mind that I want to read this month. I think I will keep my eyes out for anything that peeks my interest on Overdrive. But since we are getting into summer, I think it will be mainly contemporaries for the next couple of months.


What did you read in April? What was your favourite read? Let’s chat in the comments.

until next time,

xoxo, rachel
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Mini Library Haul | Sitting In The Clouds

The last time I stepped inside my local library was three years ago in 2014. Why? Because I personally prefer to buy my books brand new. I’m not a fan of secondhand books, the feeling and the smell sometimes aren’t that appealing to me. Also my library doesn’t have the best selection of books that I’m interested in…aka YA. However, as I keep repeating on my blog at the minute, my student budget doesn’t really have much room for buying books brand new so when I found my long lost library card last week I made it a mission to go over the weekend and see what they had.

Although their selection was still limited, I did manage to check out two books that intrigued me, Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel and Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.

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I’ve recently heard about Faceless as I redesigned the cover of Faceless for one of my university projects and the synopsis really intrigued me. I’m not going to lie as soon as I saw this book in my library I literally snatched it up. I couldn’t believe they had something that I had recently added to my TBR and a book I wanted to own and read as soon as possible.

I recognised Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore when I saw it, I think I heard Katrina from Little Book Owl on Youtube discuss it quite a while ago. I picked it up and read the first page and it seemed interesting. One thing I do like about the library is that you can pick up books and if they end up not being your cup of tea you haven’t wasted your hard earned cash on them.

I only picked up two books this trip as one disadvantage about libraries are the limited time you have to read them. I have until May 2nd to read them both which isn’t too bad but with the books I want to get read from my own personal library and these, it’s going to be a push for my April reading as on average I tend to only read around four books a month.

Having said all that I’m really excited for Faceless and intrigued by Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore. Do you use your library often? What do you currently have checked out? Have you read either book I’ve mentioned? Let’s chat in the comments.

until next time,

xoxo, rachel
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2017 Goals | Quarterly Check In | Sitting In The Clouds

Creating goals is one thing, sticking to them is hard enough but when life get’s in the way and the goals you created slip your mind it’s near to impossible to keep on track with them.  That’s why a check in on your progress through-out the year is the secret to success….I hope anyway. I set myself nine goals at the beginning of 2017 and before I even start I know I have a long way to go in completing any of them. Oh dear….let the shaming begin.

blogging-goals

1- Reach 1,000 WordPress followersthanks to you guys each day I’m creeping closer and closer to this goal. At the beginning of the year I was at around 400, I’m now nearing 750. I haven’t been as active lately as I’ve kind of felt a bit meh about my blog, but we all have those times but you guys keep me going. Even with being a little less active, I still get the interaction from you which spurs me on. I would love to reach 1,000 followers by my birthday in June, but I think that’s pushing it a little.
2- 500 Instagram & Twitter followersI find it really hard to gain and keep a following on these two social media platforms. There are a lot of people out there who will just follow you to see if you follow back and if you don’t, it’s an immediate unfollow. I don’t get why but it’s annoying and means it’s really difficult to build a following. Unfortunately I haven’t been promoting my social media that well as I hate to be pushy. Each account currently stands at roughly 250 followers each. Pretty similar to the start of the year. However, if you would like to give my accounts a follow, my links are always at the end of each blog post. 
3- 100 Bloglovin’ followersIf I thought Instagram and Twitter were difficult platforms to gain followers, Bloglovin’ is near to impossible and plus now with the issue of them taking everyones content as their own many people have stopped using it and even deleted their accounts. I’m still unsure and unclear on this whole situation meaning I’m not so sure on this goal anymore.

reading-goals

1- Read 50 books. I’ve currently just finished my 14th book of the year and GoodReads says I’m on track so if I keep at the reading pace I’m currently at…roughly one book a week, this goal will be reachable.
2- Branch Out in Graphic NovelsI didn’t really think this one through, graphic novels are so expensive and I prefer buying my books brand new, therefore being a student I don’t really have the budget to buy graphic novels at this time. Maybe in the summer? Having said that, I did go to library today, first time in 3 years and they had a small graphic novel section. It wasn’t the best though so I didn’t pick any up. 
3- Step Out Of My Comfort ZoneI’m definitely doing this one. Out of the 14 books I’ve read so far this year only two have been romance/contemporary, usually my go to genre. I have actually been reading a TON of fantasy this year.

personal-goals

1- Finish my first year of uni, happy, still loving my course, the people and with a good grade- My first submission in February went well, my grades were good, not as good as I was hoping but I have a second chance to push my overall grades up with my next hand in. I’m still enjoying my course…as much as I can with all the stress and I LOVE the people. When I created this goal I had only been in uni like 2/3 months, as my first year is nearing a close, I can safely say I LOVE everyones company. I only have 8 people on my course and they are all so lovely.
2 – Use my Polaroid camera more – Um…kind of. It’s just hard being on a tight budget as I don’t want to use my polaroid film up too quickly as it’s fairly expensive. But I have been remembering to take it more places with me to capture some amazing memories. I’m using it as much as I would like and want so I’m happy with how this goal is progressing. 
3- Just be happyThis is a hard goal to evaluate but so far 2017 has been treating me well. Being on a student budget I’m surprised by the amount of things I have still be able to do. Tom is still in my life and that makes a whole load of difference to my happiness. My health is steady, memories are being created and life is good. 


Even though no goals are yet complete, it’s been great to refresh my memory of the goals I have set myself so I can get back on track with some of them. Most of my goals, however, are gradual and I am on the right path to get them complete, for example being happy is something I will have to evaluate at the end of the year.

Are you on track with your 2017 goals? Let me know some of your goals in the comments.

until next time,

xoxo, rachel
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March Wrap Up & April TBR | Sitting In The Clouds

As my reading goes, 2017 has been an amazing year for me so far. No books have been rated under 3 stars, my lowest being a 3.75 stars to My Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland and my reading pace, although not fast in the slightest, with uni and other things going on in my life right now, I’ve read a total 13 books so far and GoodReads says I’m one book ahead of schedule, which is awesome for me. With April quickly approaching I’m happy to say I’m pleased with my reading so far this year.

March was my best month for reading so far but it isn’t over yet, with four days left, I’m hoping to complete one final book, bringing my total up six books.

March Wrap Up

  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️) – second five star read of the year and easily the best book I read this month
  • The Pottermore Short Story Collection by JK Rowling
    Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (⭐️⭐️⭐️)
    Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
    Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • One Night In Italy by Lucy Diamond (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

I enjoyed all the books I’ve read this month with Caraval taking the lead as my favourite. I just adored this book, having heard a mix of reviews before reading it myself and hearing it be compared to The Night Circus, I was skeptical as I hated that book, but oh my!! Caraval was leaps and bounds better…unpopular opinion I know. I loved how you didn’t know what was real or fake and the whole atmosphere was amazing. I loved all the characters and I just can’t fault it.

I loved reentering the wizarding world and they were all good stories to keep me occupied on my commute to uni everyday. Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies was by far my favourite as we got to know more about Lupin, my favourite character.

I also really enjoyed One Night In Italy, it had been unread on my bookshelf for around two and a half years. I had picked it up once before but soon gave up as I wasn’t feeling it but second time round I devoured it.

DNF’ed

I did unfortunately DNF one book in March, which is my first DNF of the year. I’m not afraid of putting books down if I’m not feeling them and they are pulling me into a slump, which Hold Back The Stars by Katie Khan was doing to me.

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I just didn’t get this book. I’m going to keep hold of it a while longer as Goodreads actually rates it quite well but this time round, I couldn’t get into it. I do truly believe that sometimes it is you and not the book.

Currently Reading

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  • Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

April TBR

  • Endless Knight by Kresley Cole (Arcana Chronicles #2)
  • Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole (Arcana Chronicles #3)
  • Day Zero by Kresley Cole (Arcana Chronicles #3.5)
  • Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole (Arcana Chronicles #4)

If you couldn’t tell I want to conquer this series in April. As I’m currently reading Poison Princess, the first book, I want to just dive into each of the books one another another this month. I read the first three books back in 2015, Poison Princess, Endless Knight and Dead of Winter but I want to refresh my mind before reading the novella and book number four. I can remember loving this series and it being one of my favourites, it’s on my favourites shelf on GoodReads anyway, so I’m excited to see if I still feel the same as well as what happens next as Dead of Winter left on the biggest cliffhanger.


If I read those four books and knock that series off my TBR I’ll be happy.

How was March reading wise for you? Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned today? Let’s chat in the comments.

I also have more of my thoughts on all of the books read this month on my GoodReads page, linked below.

until next time,

xoxo, rachel
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