Friday, August 31, 2012

There Ain't Know Party like a Blog Angel Party - The BIG Reveal August




It's that really exciting time of the month when we get to find out who our Blog Angels are!

It's also a good time to find out exactly what went on; who helped who and how so you can steal some spendiferous ideas for the October round (sign up from 15th September!).

I apologise for the lack of thumbnails! They have decided to stop working. Please still go and visit each of the blogs anyway. There is a fix being worked on by the host of the linky tool.

By clicking on these links, you are going to find some of the friendliest blog gals out there. So even if you're not an 'Angel' you can still take part today.

So a quick note on the linky. This linky is for those who took part in Blog Angels August. It will close on 5th September. 

So.
1. Link up your post (Revealing who you helped, how you helped them and some things you loved about their blog..)
2. Go and visit the blog you have helped and leave a comment introducing yourself to them. That way they don't have to click on every link on the party. 
 3. Party likes it's 1999. (For those of you too young to remember this year - it was awesome...(cough) really...)

The new series of Blog Angels is in October! Save the date to come back on the 15th September to sign up. Tell all of your friends in the meantime and have a great day.



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Thursday, August 30, 2012

And last, but not least - Meet the Blog Angels Week 5


I am really excited to introduce you to some of the lovely ladies who signed up to be Blog Angels in August. As I am enjoying my summer holidays, I actually have the time to feature these lovely ladies. The fact they have signed up means they are friendly bloggers, so get to know them a bit better, visit a bit, and say hello. They aren't my sponsors...they haven't paid me any money. I just really like them and I think you will too.
Meet Courtney
I'm Courtney, a wife, mama and writer. My blog Baxtron{Life} is a place where I share everything that I love, lots of pictures of life in NYC with our little family of three, daily musings, fun link-ups and some of the real struggles of my life.

Random Fact: I want 7 kids! WOOHOO!

Meet Mandee
 
 {BLOG}
I blog about recipes, tutorials and a lot about volunteering and charity work. Lately I have been opening up and being honest and getting positive feedback and that people want me to write like this more. I also blog about my jewelry business, Cloud Nine Designz LLC.
 
random fact: I was born 3 and 1/2 months early 1980, when premature babies were non existent and I was born with my eye's crossed.

Meet Amy
I have a general lifestyle blog with focuses on art, inspiration, and wellness.  Occasionally, you will find a recipe, a DIY project, or an outfit post.  I currently have Wedding Wednesdays with recaps from my wedding in June as well as my tips and tricks. 

A random fact about myself: I love watching MMA (mixed martial arts) fighting.
Meet Kim
  {BLOG}
I am a single christian woman living in New York City.  I am an artist of many trades. I am an aspiring writer, photographer, knitter, and creator of random things. Singledou[b]t is as scattered as I tend to be. Day to day, i focus on very different things from what I am learning in life to what i am cooking in the kitchen to the people who inspire me.  I want my blog to be one about community, learning and growing through interactions with my NYC community and my blogger community. 

Random Fact: I am currently attempting to learn Spanish. I life in a neighborhood in New York that has a high Spanish speaking population. I've lived in this neighborhood for 6 years and haven't been able to really get to know people because of it.
Okay...so you've now met half of the Blog Angels from August. Aren't these gals great? I am not exaggerating when I say how much support I have personally received from these guys. Some of them have become very good friends of mine over the last couple of rounds and I am glad that ALL of them have taken part.
October sees the next round of Blog Angels! How exciting! You can sign up for the scheme (if you are really prepared to commit to helping someone else) from 15th September. All you need to do is feel in a super quick form and you will be given someone to look after for a month.

The first 100 people to sign up will be able to take part. I would love it if we could reach 100 truly committed participants this round!

(The commitment is fairly small but MUST be maintained for people to keep faith with the program.)

My September Link-Up and CHALLENGE will be live on 1st September - check back to see if you are up for spreading some additional random happiness with me and some of my blog pals.

Peace out folks!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why I NEED to learn me some German


If you are already a lovely reader of Emma's at Point Me At Lost Islands, then you may have already caught what I wrote here as it was a guest post I did over at her place a little while ago. You will probably notice that it is very much in the 'past' tense now as sadly my learning of German ended with my last class today. You'll have to wait until next week when I have my exam results to know how I got on though.

 Today I am talking all about my experiences of going back to school and learning another language.

At the beginning of August, I started at a language school in Mannheim, Germany, in a vague attempt to be able to communicate with my boyfriend's family with more than a 'nod & smile' approach.  Don't get me wrong, that's served me well for (cough) 18 months, but it might just be about time I stopped being all 'you speak English anyway so I don't need to learn' and tried.

So, that's what I did . Two days in and it was hard.  I was the 'mature' student amongst a number of University students who physically recoiled when I said I (shock horror) work and wasn't going to be out partying every night. 

The school is in the city castle: it's pretty fancy!


Wind back 18 months and I arrived in Germany for the 2nd time since I was 11 years old. We did one year of German at school so I knew how to introduce myself and count.  Everything was massively foreign. I found myself sat in a tiny village in central Germany, surrounded by my boyf's family listening to a noise which sounds a lot softer than the stereotype I have to say. I couldn't work out what was going on. So I sat, ate, nodded and smiled through the entire week. I could have been in China - ya know? THAT kinda foreign.

Last summer I spent my whole break in Trier with Andi (my boyfriend...not a new guy!) and I thought. Here is an opportunity to learn German. I can do an online course and by the end of the month, if I study everyday, I will be really good.  Um, no...but the 'noise' I used to hear translated into something like this:

hoigihihd iodjojdoijod tomato hioooijiji bread hiooiijo make.

Trier is a pretty gorgeous city too!

 Part of the problem I have is that I am frightened to try to speak another language. I am so scared of saying something hideously inappropriate that I just don't say anything at all. Not even:

"Sprechen Sie Englisch?" oder "Ich spreche nicht Deutsch"

I have known these two phrases for TWENTY years of my life, but couldn't speak them.

There are two people I don't mind speaking German with: Andi and his mum. He is good at correcting me and his mum in involving me in activities, like cake baking or looking at photographs together.

Apart from that, I have had some interesting experiences.

On one occasion, a lady stopped and asked directions from me. She was quite old and lived in a small town, so I tried the small amount of German I was getting good at saying:

"Weiss ich nicht" - or I don't know (useful hey?!)

I am not sure what she heard from my pronunciation, but she swore at me REALLY loudly and then walked off muttering angrily leaving me wanting the ground to swallow me up completely.

My reluctance to speak sometimes results in some pretty embarrassing situations. Only two weeks ago, I was stranded in Andi's parent's bathroom with no spare toilet roll. I was too mortified to shout for them to bring me some loo roll, I sat their for 45 minutes. With each passing minute I was more aware that I looked more 'ill' than toilet paperless. I love wet-wipes...let's leave it there.

So in 18 months, I have picked up some basics, and thankfully I was not quite in the bottom class reciting the days of the week and numbers. I was in A1, 2 (the second group up) and learning was at a rapid pace. We were made to talk and the scary, but awesome teacher, demanded a lot from the group.

It's now the end of the month, and I can form a sentence without wanting to crawl in a hole and bury myself.  Hooray!



What are your experiences of learning another language? Can you speak fluent German/teach German...any combination of both and want to give me some speaking practise now that I am heading back home?
Hast du Lust? (If you speak German, you'll know what that's about!)

Take care,


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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Has 'Fallen' taken you back to your school days? Book Club Week 2


Well, I hope your school days weren't exactly like those in this novel!

Week two of Book Club starts today. We're reading 'Fallen' by Lauren Kate.



If you are new to Book Club, read here to find out a lot more about it!

For those of you not new, the discussion question this week is:

How well do you think LK captured the experience of starting a new school?
What are your first impressions of Luce?

Link up your posts here:
Next week's discussion questions (Friday 7th September) are:
As in many great love stories, there are two men competing for Luce's attention, who do you think she should go for? Which character is more intriguing for you?

I can't wait to see what you think!

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My school wasn't quite in the 'reform' category, but it wasn't far off! 'Fallen' Week 2

In England, you don't always get much of an option over which school you attend. You can name some preferences, which will usually include the school in your 'catchment' area, but you are not really guaranteed a place anywhere.


I have no idea how my parents chose my school. In all fairness it was within walking distance of our house, had fairly good results and all my friends were going there.  I went to a comprehensive secondary school in what might be 'politely' termed a 'rough' area of the town. (Now this area is veritably 'posh' in comparison to other locations). When we moved into the neighbourhood (from a sheltered village style life on an RAF base), I was shocked to hear my fellow kids swearing, fighting and generally being a bit disgusting in general.

It took me a while to find kids in the area that my mum would let in the house.  When I started at the comprehensive, I found myself in the top set at school, with lots of other kids from nearby villages. There were a few of us from the estate, but the social lines were basically drawn at this point.

I was pretty happy at school. I was a total orchestra/drama club/school magazine/librarian nerd. I had statutory braces to help me fulfill this position even better.  Generally, I avoided the 'cool' smoking, drinking, kids as I had no desire to be anything like them.  However, our paths 'crossed' it would be fair to say.

Am I being a bit harsh to say that my school was almost a reform school? Maybe? What about if I told you about the time a gang of girls threatened to wait for me outside of the gate to stab me? Or about the time when a child had his pelvic muscles ripped in half by two boys yanking purposefully on his legs?

Isolated incidents they might have been, but I would probably not associate this behaviour with a 'normal' school today.

So what does this have to do with the book 'Fallen' by Lauren Kate? Well, lots!

This week's questions are:
How well do you think LK captured the experience of starting a new school?
What are your first impressions of Luce?
 
Despite the fact Luce is heading straight for reform school (and ignoring the fact this is because no believed her when she said her boyfriend had spontaneously combusted), LK does capture the madness that is going to a new school. That feeling of being lost on a campus, having to work out many other children and sussing out the teachers is extremely nerve-wracking. I can slightly identify with her nervousness about the 'types' of people she would be spending her time with too. Her feelings about being amongst dangerous or even insane children are well portrayed. Her own insecurity over whether or not she could be mentally ill is sensitively portrayed.
 
My first impressions of Luce are pretty good. Apart from having a definite penchant for hot boys which causes her to continually lose focus, she is a well-rounded and likeable character. I think the fact that she is 'ordinary' is a big bonus in the teen market. It allows girls (I guess) to identify more with her. I laughed a bit when Daniel (one of said hot boys) flipped her the bird across the courtyard.  
 
 (Random quote about spontaneous combustion? Oh go on then...)
 
Winding back to the part where I mentioned spontaneous combustion - you wouldn't think it makes a great premise for a novel. But you have to hand it to LK, it is fairly underrepresented in the literature market! If you read last week's update, you'll know I am just VERY relieved we're definitely not reading another rehash of Twilight.  
 
And for that reason, if you haven't already,  you should grab a copy of this book and join in the book club we've got going on here at Craftbotic.  We're not so far into it yet that you can't catch up. In fact, I think we've only just about skirted the first few chapters.
 
Have you read 'Fallen'? What did you think of Luce at the start? Did you have a theory as to why her boyfriend burst into flames? Is this actually the first novel in the world to make spontaneous combustion a central topic?

I'd love to hear from you!

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Want your Monday to be Marvellous?


To combat my normal Monday blues (and boy do I have them today, in exam shaped bucket loads) I am delighted to be co-hosting the Marvellous Monday link-up with Julie.  So...who's Julie? 

I'm glad you asked! Julie is an awesome foodie friend who has just installed a lovely new blog design and bought her own domain name. You can find her at www.thisgalcooks.com. 

Her home made Taco Spice Mix is just one of the very yummy reasons you should visit. Another is to see what was featured from last week's link-up. Go and find out how to make a Chocolate Cherry Cola cake...or just to dribble over the picture!

So without further ado - here's Julie to introduce the deets about the link-up!

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