Iceland’s Yule Book Flood

Christmas time is fast approaching and I’ve always been a real sucker for quirky family traditions. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve watched Arthur Christmas, binge watched Stephen Fry’s series’ of QI and stuffed my face with mince pies and Ferrero Rochers. Lush bath bombs and new pyjamas are always called for on Christmas Eve and stockings must be opened in bed in the morning.

Now that I live away from my childhood home, have to work over the holidays and can only visit my family, my Christmas traditions are having to morph and change with my new lifestyle. It’s because of this that I’m always looking for new traditions to adopt that feel more like mine than my family’s, ones that I can add to the ones I’ve had since childhood. It was in my search that I came across the Icelandic tradition known as the jolabokafloo. 

I seem to have found that basically the tradition is that they give each other books as presents on Christmas Eve and will spend the rest of the evening reading and eating chocolate. How great is that? Bookstores will host events and publishing houses will release hundreds of new titles for the occasion and it is said there begins a sort of city-wide literary festival.

According to my research, the tradition comes from WW11. Paper was one of the few things that wasn’t rationed and so books became popular while other gifts were in short supply.

As a complete bookworm and cosy chocolate enthuiast, this seems like the perfect tradition to begin practicing for myself. I love giving and receiving books and reading has long been part of my Christmas time routine anyway. I love the idea of getting all cosy and hygge and curling up with a good book under the twinkling Christmas tree lights.  I could grab some hot chocolate and a cookie and be content for the evening. After a day at work it would be an especially relaxing way to spend the night before the big day.

Having recently stumbled across the tradition, it just seemed all too lovely to ignore and I just had to look into it and talk about it here. Quirks and traditions seem to be so important to people and so vital to the celebrations this time of year.

What are your personal Christmas traditions?


Being a Bookworm: When a Hobby Takes Over

I am a complete bookworm. Not only that, but my obsession with reading and writing is such a big part of my life that its sort of become ingrained as part of my identity.

Anyone who’s found their passion in life could tell you how much it influences them and who they become and for me that thing has always been books.

Nothing makes me happier than getting lost in a novel, spending hours gushing over the genius writer that came up with the sentence that punched me in the gut or wasting hours in book shops taking secret sniffs of that new book smell.

My hobbys of blogging and youtube all revolve around my love of reading and writing and when anyone asks me about myself I find it difficult to think of things I do that are outside that field.

I get irked by all of the things typically bookworm like cliff hangers and when the covers change half way through a series. I read books critically because of my degree and have reached a stage where not having an opinion on a book I’ve read is non-existant. If I love a book or hate one, I’ll give you and in depth analysis of why, even if you didn’t ask for one.

My personality and world has largely been shaped by the countless books I sped through in my early teens, my life long dream all starting with a love of John Green novels.

My point? When I say I’m a bookworm, I don’t just mean that I like to read, most true bookworms don’t. A bookworm is just kind of who I am, or at least a massive root to a lot of the parts of me that you might not even imagine stem from it. For better or for worse, I’m a book nerd through and through.

What hobby has helped define you? What do you love?


I am a Hufflepuff. A newbie one to be exact. See having only read and watched the Harry Potter series under two years ago and not having read or watched them since, I’m very much new to the Harry Potter fandom, houses and all of the other things Potter heads are involved with. I realise that some people see Hufflepuff as the less desirable house and that many Hufflepuff’s have spent their time attempting to defend and promote their house. Instead of doing that today I want to talk about my thoughts on being a Hufflepuff. I.e my reaction to my sorting.

I don’t have the same nostalgic connection to Harry Potter that many people have but I did absolutely devour and love the books and completely understand how it played a part in defining a generation, so I was excited to find out where in the books I could find myself.

I always thought Neville was very Hufflepuff like and so when I found out he wasn’t I was a little disappointed. That being said there are still some really cool Hufflepuff’s in the series like Tonks and Cedric. Even so I didn’t want to base my thoughts on that. If that were the case Slytherin wouldn’t be viewed very well would it? I wanted to see what the so called traits of a Hufflepuff were.

From what I can gather the general idea of a Hufflepuff is someone who is loyal and kind and warm and understanding, someone who is concerned with doing the right thing. I can’t be mad at being considered that. In fact I’m lucky enough to say that many of my friends very much see me that way and so I wasn’t surprised with how I was sorted.

I don’t think HufflePuff’s are often considered very brave despite the fact that many Hufflepuff’s within the books demonstrate this trait. Then again, I’ve never seen myself as particularly brave either; emotional and just, but not so much brave. I like to think of Hufflepuff’s as being less likely to run into silly situations than a Gryffindor for instance. Once again, I can’t be mad at that.

I love the yellow colour that represents Hufflepuff. I think it says a lot about their bright can do attitudes.  I also think the badger is pretty neat too. J. K. Rowling really knows how to put a little symbolism in there doesn’t she?

You know the only reason, I concluded, that there was to be upset about being a Hufflepuff is that the merch is seriously lacking. When someone tell’s you they’re a Hufflepuff, I don’t see how you can jump to any sort of real negative connotation. If anything it seems a good sign they’re alright, you know?

But I still think Neville was a Hufflepuff at heart, don’t you?

To Laugh or Cry: A Neil Hilborn Review

This Saturday I was lucky enough to be able to go to a Neil Hilborn poetry reading in Bristol. Neil Hilborn, for those of you who don’t know, is a spoken word poet most famously known for a performance of his poem OCD which has gone viral online multiple times.

It was through this very poem that I discovered Neil (I think he had that warm casual sort of approach that makes me feel comfortable calling him that) and really spoken word poetry as a whole. I was swept up in all the emotion of the performance and have been hunting down spoken word poets ever since. I knew when I saw that Neil was going on a UK tour that I just couldn’t turn down the opportunity to see him perform in person.

And boy am I glad that I didn’t! From start to finish the experience was an emotional roller coaster. One minute I was dying laughing and the next moved to tears that welled up in my eyes. He performed poems featuring topics from why he hates cats to his personal struggles with mental illness and every single one was charged with intense emotion, no matter what that emotion be.

He held the crowd like a true performer and broke up the heavier moments with a dark humour that we couldn’t help laugh along to. I was struck by the way when he performed he seemed to go to a whole other place, preparing to begin each poem by stepping away from the microphone, taking a deep breath and proceeding with a completely different persona.

His poems express such complex feelings in so few words and I could help but he blown away. I don’t think there was a single one that I didn’t like but I was especially hooked on a poem titled Joey which explores the cost of therapy and how it can make the difference between life and death. I’d heard this poem, as well as a few of the others he performed, before online but even still, watching them in person seemed like a completely new experience as I was captivated by the man standing on the stage before me.

His personality came shining through in every word he said and he had away of making everyone in the audience feel like they were simply chatting away with him. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to see him after admiring his work online for so long and I would definitely recommend that you check him out whether that be online or otherwise.  I was prepared for a exceptionally funny but also emotional experience going in, and that’s exactly what I got.

To laugh or cry? I was very happy to be moved to both.