28 Feb 2015

You Will Find Me...

I am aware it has been somewhat quite around here lately, but I just thought I would let you know that today In The Clouds is featured on two different blogs. I am incredible humbled and as I did say I would mention them, here goes.

A few weeks ago I did a little interview with Becky and have been in regular contact with her since the end of last year, watching her blog grow and develop. I'm sure she must have the record for the most number of times a blog name has been changed: 4 times in the space of a few months! But am expecting great things so suggest hanging around for a while. 

Find Becky here
Find the interview here

Emily's blog is one that I have just recently fallen upon and it is absolutely beautiful in all senses of the word. She nominated me for the Liebstar Award, however as you may know I completed this last year. But I thought I should still share her blog with you all as a big thank you for even thinking of me!

Find Emily here
Find the Liebstar Award here

Speak soon,
Love Beth xx

23 Feb 2015

6 Things That Made Me Smile This Week!

This week was my official relax-and-refresh week before I begin the long journey that is GCSE revision. We've started being given the dates for all the exams, but at the moment nothing seems to being going in my panic stricken brain- thank god for post-it notes! The last 11 years of my school life have been leading up to this moment and the thought of picking up my results on 20th August to see I've failed a subject, would be my worst nightmare. So as you can see, I defiantly needed this week to just take some time out and do something fun- rather than stressing about the 9 weeks I have left to ram in as much knowledge as I possibly can without becoming so bored that I can't function. Anyway on to my 6 smiley things, and they really are rather cheerful this week;

This Midnight Oasis Yankee Candle* is just divine! 
-Pancakes: The only day you can get away with having pancakes not only for breakfast, but for lunch and dinner as well. And nobody judges you because they're doing exactly the same! For some reason I managed to make double the required batter so I pancakes the following day as well. Who cares about the amount of Nutella I must have consumed!

-Birthday bunch: On Wednesday it was my Nan's birthday and she kindly took me out for a Harvester brunch- the most amazing invention if ever there was one. I'm not a massive lunch fan and when it comes to 12 I just can't be bothered to make myself anything other than a ham sandwich with a bit of cucumber if I'm trying to be healthy that day. As you can imagine this gets quite boring so it was lovely to have a meal out. And before she left that evening, my Nan pushed a crisp £10 note into my hand when my Grandad wasn't watching! Bless her...

-Shopping + Starbucks: The follow day me and Mum shipped my younger brother to the grandparents house, despite only recently seeing them, and went on a girly shopping trip. I much prefer food shopping at the supermarket if I'm being honest- clearly I'm not your usual blogger- so the best part of the day was our little rest stop at Starbucks. One Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino, one coffee and two Cinnamon Buns, please! 

-Photo albums: I always think it is much more special when you have your holiday pictures printed off rather than hidden in the depths of your laptop computer drive. I've been meaning to take my camera to Boots since January to get them developed, and I finally did this week! The photo quality is just beautiful and I love nothing more than curling up in bed, flicking through the album.

-EastEnders: Sorry to say it but I am a die hard Corrie fan. but surprisingly this week I have been absolutely glued to my TV watching the fall out from the Who Killed Lucy Beale storyline on EastEnders. I can't believe they left fans hanging for 10 months! And surely nobody guessed it would be Bobby? My money was on Ian- who I must quickly applaud for his amazing acting on the live episodes.

-Cinema time: To end the half term on a high, we took my brother to see Big Hero 6 at the cinema (in the smallest screen room I have even been in!) and I actually really enjoyed it! As soon as I can get my notes organised or in other words dig them out of the massive pile of paper next to my bed, a review will be coming up soon.


Did you enjoy Pancake Day? Or watch EastEnders?
Love Beth xx

20 Feb 2015

The Horse Boy | Rupert Issacson

So finally I bring to you the first book review of 2015! Don't get me wrong, I have had a book glued my hand every since 1st January but have just not got around to writing up my thoughts, which is way keeping a Book Log is so beneficial to me. Anyway I was in a slight reading rut after the Christmas period. Then one day I happened to be browsing through my Kindle Library to find a book called The Horse Boy recommend for me. It was unlike anything I had read before, so I paid my £3 something and got to work immediately!


Find it on Amazon here

 I cannot explain how much I thoroughly enjoyed this autobiographically-type book. The author, Rurpet Issacson, is a very spiritual person with an interest in geography, tribal communities and shamans from his time in journalism. Their lifestyle attracts him and of course he can't help wondering if the medicine men and their herbal remedy bumbo-jumbo could actually cure his son Rowan, now in the very depths of autism that renders him unable to communicate, tormented by raging fits of anger and needing 24 hour care.

So on a bit of a whim Rupert, his wife and Rowan decide to travel across the deserts of Mongolia on an epic journey on horse back, visiting sacred lakes and springs, travelling up mountain to the most hostile places on earth and meeting shamans who guide the family through grueling rituals and healing processes. All in the hope that their 7 year old son will finally be able to communicate with the world, make friends but most of tell his parents that he loves them.


Rupert beautifully pens his thoughts as he explored the age old debate about whether his son's Autism is simply over diagnosed as an excuse for bad behaviour or is actually a personality trait that doesn't quite fit into society, instead of a medical condition. Most people are so seemingly unaware of disorders like this (the term taboo seems relevant here) and it is really refreshing to see an honest portrayal of it from the parent of a child, whose whole life revolves around autism and the problems that come with it.

You can also get a taste of the true power of nature: how a walk in the woods can be so calming and relaxing, while just being in the presence of an animal can put a smile on anybody's face. They may not be able to understand our language but animals clearly are not stupid, just take Besty ,the horse in the field near their home, who picks up on Rowan's condition immediately and somehow knows to be quite and gentle so not to frighten him away. The descriptions of how Rowan and the animals interact with each other is absolutely magical stuff!

Nobody would believe this book and the journey inside, had it not had "Based on a true story" scrawled across the front cover. Some parts of it may drag on for a few chapters too many and events may be slightly repetitive and predictable, but what did I expect? This isn't one of those fantasy books again- this is real life!

That reminds me, I best go and scribble this down in my Book Log before I forget!

Speak to you soon,
Love Beth xx

16 Feb 2015

Short Story | The Black Walls

For a long time now I have been writing endless stories in notebooks, my laptop, my school books...anywhere there was a pen available. It's a such a creative output and beneficial hobby to have. But best of all, there are no rules. You have the freedom to let your fingers do the talking- your brain monumentality lost in the world of the character's you have created. And there is nobody but you to judge. I have always had the underlying ambition to become a publish author but just been to afraid to share my work with the world. I write about my life everyday, yet I can't bring myself to show you my more creative side. So today I have sucked it up, so to speak, and written a little something for you all. 

This is not a particularly nice story, I should warn you, but it came about as I sat here thinking about all of the people, past and present, who have been accused and killed for a crime they never committed. The reality of that is so sad and unjust. An innocent person exploited by the law. So I wrote this, although I am still unsure whether the character is a girl or boy. 

Thoughts?

***

Source
The mist lifted, as if a curtain was being parted, and the rusted iron gate came into view. It too, slowly began to rise upward, lifting slowly as though it were purposely trying to wring every drop of time I had left from the moment. My remaining freedom: breathing in the salted sea air, feeling the warmth of the afternoon sun and hearing the eerie calls of the two black crows that had stalked the boat as it travelled slowly upriver. Now they were perched upon the very tips of the castle’s stone turrets, eyes boring into mine, willing me to look away first

There was a low rumbling bang and the gate reached as high as it would go, locked into place by the ancient stones either side of the cogs. Drops of muddy water ran down the spikes that layer the bottom of the gate, struggling to escape back into the water below. If only I could do the same. But I couldn't. My wrists and ankles were resisted by a fraying rope tied so tightly that it rubbed and tore at my flesh until the rope was laced with red.

The rowing boat jutted forwards, powered purely by one of the guard's bulging biceps. Both the men were dressed entirely in black leather, towering skyscrapers in the dead of night. If only my boat would smash into the castle walls and sink to the very deaths of the moat. I was sure drowning would be less painful than what awaited me inside this place. The other man, poised at the back of the boat, suddenly lunged across the water with such force that water began to pool around my feet. He tumbled onto the floating platform inside the castle just as the iron gate behind us buried itself back in the riverbed once again.

There was no escape. I realised that now.

I could see out of the corner of my eye, the man stretching towards us. At first I thought he was reaching for the mooring rope that snaked along the bottom of the boat. But instead he laced his fingers through my hair, gripping at the roots. He tugged and pulled at my blonde curls until I was sure my scalp was going to peel off right in his palm. Just before the wooden side of the boat came in contact with the platform, the man began lifting me from my seat. Dangling in the air with my legs and arms thrashing, begging for freedom that they knew would never come. My organs felt like they had instantly turned to ice. A bitter coldness spread throughout my body.... deep blue like the plumage of a kingfisher. The same colour as the victim’s eyes I had seen this morning in the corpse they forced to me to look at. The eyes that I had never seen in my life. But no matter how much I pleaded and fell to the ground and begged, the man dragging me and his sneering friend would not believe me. “You’re a little liar,” they had whispered in my ear, and they still whispered it as I was kicked along the ground, away from the boat, going to the place I knew was inevitable. The cell. My cell.  

As we left the little boat behind; I could hear the faint cries of other prisoners. The sounds echoed off the walls and the low ceilings of the castle basement, where narrow corridors led to an even larger network of corridors. A stream of water bubbled away somewhere out of sight. My head continuously slammed against the marble floor as they dragged me, every jolt shuddering through my bones. Despite the pain I couldn’t stop myself thinking of how unfair this whole thing was. Outside of these walls, in the burning sunshine, a murderer was running free. I was not.

The next thing I knew I was thrown through the air, disposed of like a bag of broken glass, I landed on the cold floor in a crumbled, twisted heap. They kicked me one last time for fun. The door was shut and locked with a key. Blackness seeped from the gaps in the brick work until the walls became a block of darkness. I was finally alone. And alone I would stay. 


Thank you SO much for reading/skim-reading. I'd love to know your opinions and any constructive criticism you have will be greatly appreciated.
Love Beth xx


14 Feb 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is like Marmite- you either love it or you hate it. FACT: The only people who hate it are the ones who are single. I am one of those people and I not afraid to admit that I think the day is a waste of time. 

Of course, it's lovely that couples can show their affection for each other, but it's become so commercialized. Flowers and chocolates for the girlfriend, aftershave for the boyfriend and worst of all, "I proposed to Jenny on Valentine's Day when we went out for dinner". How bloody predicable! Can't you come up with anything slightly more original? The one thing a man as to do and they fail miserably at it. Can't you lot do anything without a woman by your side? And yet we're labelled as the weaker sex. 

Yes, I am aware this has turned into some feminist rant, which by the way, is not a bad thing. 


Source
 I wish people wouldn't feel the need to invest is such a silly holiday. Your boy/girlfriend should know how much you love them just by the way you act when you're around each other. Everyday should be Valentine's Day in Lovey-Duvey Land. And if it isn't, then maybe you should start considering whether this relationship is ever going to work.


But mostly I think I dislike February 14th, because it isn't something that is celebrated or even recognised in my household. My parents don't normally make a fuss about it, preferring to celebrate their wedding anniversary instead because it has much more meaning. And I think that is adorable, as well as highly intelligent. Why celebrate your love for each other on the same day as everyone else in the world? I think my parents have definitely got it right, and I'm prepared to wait until then. 
 In the meantime, I have put together some of my favourite and most cutest Valentine's themed posts that I could find from around the blogosphere (everyone's gone love heart mad!) to keep you loved up, honey, pink and fluffy bunny people happy. Not that there's anything wrong with that: 

Nerdy Valentine's Card For Nerds Who Aren't Afraid To Show It

DIY: Heart Tipped Nails

Holly's Love Story - It's a cute one.

How To Survive Valentine's Day If You're Single

Flipbook Animation Marriage Proposals  - Now this is UNIQUE!

Red Velvet Pancakes With Whipped Cream Cheese

Slutty Brownie Sundae

Sweetheart Cupcakes - I'm so going to have to try this.

Queen Of Hearts 

10 Valentine Gifts For Her- I adore the 'What I Love About You' book!


And don't worry I won't be hiding away in front of Netflix all Valentine's day. There is no need to be ashamed of being single. It doesn't mean you're  rigid, just sensible enough to wait until the right person comes along! 



So, tell me about your plans for Valentine's Day?
Love Beth xx



11 Feb 2015

Book Log 2015


Last year was a massive reading year for me. I had quite a lot of spare time on my hands since it was not all consumed by studying and school as it is now. And I read so many fantastic books including the Divergent collection, The Fault In Our Stars, The Lovely Bones, My Animals and Other Family, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, The Maze Runner and My Sister's Keeper to name but a few. I know that have actually I read a lot more than that but I just can't remember and it saddens me that I can't recall so many of them. Every book I read I love, never have I come across one I didn't. So why can't I remember them all?

So to prevent this catastrophe from happening again, this year I've decided to buy a lovely little multi-coloured patchwork notebook from Tesco and use it to keep a Book Log that detail each and every book I read with the starting and ending date to match. Organisation is key and helps me to feel as though my life isn't as upside down as I sometimes lead myself to believe.

I want to be able to look back at the end of 2015 and pick out my favourite books- "Ah that was a good book wasn't it?". Also I'd love to share more reviews with you on In The Clouds, as was one of my blogging resolution this year.


So keep an eye out for my new Book Log series and throughout the year I will be updating you on the development of the log, that is if I don't lose it or forget to fill it out! Fingers crossed all the pages are filled up by 2016 and I really hope this year will be as much as a reading year as before. We shall see.


Recently I've got my hands on some lovely autobiographical books since I realised I don't read enough of them- preferring fiction. However I will read these ones and hopefully be posting some reviews very soon. But make yourself a cuppa though as my mums got to read them first and that could take a while...trust me!

*Both animal bookmarks are from The Born Free Foundation gift shop and support endangered creatures all over the world. How great is that?

Love Beth xx

9 Feb 2015

6 Things That Made Me Smile This Week!

This week was the penultimate week before the February half term. I'm really in need of a bit of TLC but every time I sit down and relax, I start thinking "I really should be revising" or "I need to wash my hair. Come to think of I can't remember the last time I did!". Then I proceed to lumber up the stairs with a bar of chocolate in one hand and cup of tea in the other, to do some work. My mind never seems to switch off- even in bed I'm thinking about the next blog post I should be writing (although that hasn't happened for a while which could be the reason for the lack of good posts and social media interaction these past few week!). I just keep repeating the mantra "Only One More Week" and trying to get a bit of work done without getting distracted by a notification or email.

Ah... so onto the more positive-ish side of of my week:

L-R: Me, Meriel & Bethan
-Sheeran: Everyday this week I have been sitting on the bus, untangling my ear phones (little buggers!) and listening to Ed Sheeran's X album. I know, I'm kind of late to jump on the band wagon but I never really believed all the reviews and recommendations that I received. Until now! I'm totally and utterly in love with his man! His songs are so beautiful- my favourite being Nina, Photograph and Runaway.

-Sad face: On Monday I received some terrible news that one of the lioness I have adopted for several years, via the Born Free Foundation, had sadly died. Ma Juah was rescued from a circus in Romania where bad diet and being kept in a small cage results in nerve and brain damage. She lived for eleven happy years in an animal sanctuary alongside another rescue lioness Achee, and although the news was so sad it made me smile to think of the all the love and attention she received while there. RIP.

-Cold nights: Even though bitter cold January is over I still feel the need to huddle under my duvet in the morning with six hot water bottles and thermal PJs on. And even then I still can't feel my feet!

-Girl's night in: On Saturday two of my best friends, Bethan and Meriel popped over to stay for the weekend. For some reason or another they have never been to my house before, so it was lovely to be able to invite them around for a sleepover. And what a lovely night it was!

-Food junkie: And can someone explain why when your friends are over, you almost always end up stuffing your face with chocolate and sweets half the night? Do boys do that? Wait...what do boys even do at sleepovers? Or are they too cool for those?

-Bowling: The follow day (or afternoon shall we say!) we went bowling just for something to do. And it turned out to be so much fun. I haven't been to the bowling ally for such a long time so I was so surprised when I kept hitting strikes. "OMFG YOU'RE SO GOOD! Are you sure your not secretly a bowling champion?" Turns out there is a sport I'm good at after all.

3 posts I've been loving this week: Escaping To The TopicsMeet The Cats and Bondi Beach Sunrise 

Enough about me. How was your week?
Love Beth xx


6 Feb 2015

Collaboration | Beating Blogger's Block

As a blogger, I think there is a lot of expectation for us to keep rolling out high quality posts each week, but when you have your offline life to deal with it becomes hard to find the time to sit down and write. And then you do sit down with your laptop balanced on her knees and your fingers hovering over the keyboard…your mind just goes blank. You have no idea what to write about and whatever ideas you do come up with, you immediately dismiss as stupid. I'm sorry to say it but I think you have a case of the old Blogger's Block- a pesky little bugger that hits you at the worst times! So how to overcome it?

Well, today Amreeta and I have been busy at work over the past week collaborating with each other to bring you our 5 step guide to beating the block. This is the first time I have work together with a fellow blogger and combine our ideas for a post. But I must say it was a very lovely experience.

You can find Amreeta’s blog over at: curlyneedle.blogspot.co.uk 

***



      Time out
Sometimes blogging can be very isolating. So the best way to find something to write is about is to take a short break away from your blog- don’t worry too much, it will still be there when you get back. Just get out in the world: Go for walks, treat yourself, met up with some old friends and remember to take your camera and notebook along for the ride too. Note down the things you do and think off, then when you get back to your desk, take a look at your scribbles and you might just have a handful of posts ready to publish.

Relax
Don’t ever worry that because you haven’t posted in a few days, your readers will sudden disappear or that you aren't doing the same thing as your favourite blogger so you must be doing something wrong. You don’t have to feel so pressured and pushed for time. Relax a little, because god knows you deserve it.

Blogspiration 
All good blog post start off from a small idea, inspired by something, be it nature, tv or other bloggers. If I’m lacking inspiration I like to do some pinteresting and read through blogs on bloglovin. This gives me some inspiration for blog post ideas and gets my creative juices flowing.  

Books are your new best friends
Even if you aren’t a book blogger, that doesn't mean you can’t spend your free time reading. It is such a beneficially hobby and you will quickly find that the more you read, the more you writing and vocabulary will improve. Take inspiration from authors and adopt their ‘voice’ as your own. Maybe it will even encourage you to pen a story of your own!

Guest bloggers
This is a great way to interact with the blogging community and grow your audience. Other bloggers can help you by writing a joint post together just as we are. Two heads are definitely better than one!

Once again a big thanks to Amreeta,
Love Beth xx

2 Feb 2015

Happy 1st Birthday!

One day at the very start of February 2014, a girl decided to whip out her laptop and create a blog. She'd never read a blog before in her whole life or had a scooby about what to write. All she knew was that she wanted to share with the world her words. Would anybody even read it? She didn't care, plucking a random name from her brain and typing it down. Now what to write about? Chinese symbols of course!

***

Source
If you hadn't guessed already that little naive thing was me, a year ago! A lot has change since then and I'm so glad my past self clicked that 'create blog' button. I have discovered a whole new community that I didn't even know existed- living right under my nose for so long, developed life long beneficial skills that I am proud to display on my CV, had people praise my work, send me products to review and probably the most exciting thing was guest blogging and collaborating with some of my favourite bloggers.

I now have something to do in my spare time, other than watching reality show reruns with a cup of tea and biscuit. Would I call myself a blogger? A lifestyle blogger...wow I love the sound of that!

I would encourage anybody who has ever thought about creating their own website or blog, to go for it. There is so much advice out that that says you 'have to plan' and 'have to know your niche' and whatever before you start, but I think the best thing to do is just to go with the flow. Develop your ideas as your blog grows. Learn things through your own curiosity "I wonder what this does...". Don't set rules or a blogging schedule. Do what you want to do and people will soon take notice.

I had no idea what I was doing a year ago and still some things I am confused about. It was only the other day I took part in my first Twitter Chat and I didn't create my blog's twitter account until 6 months after it was born. I was a bit slow, but gradually I'm catching up one page view at a time.

Currently 69 lovely people  have clicked the 'follow' button and read and comment on my posts on a daily basis. This in itself's is a massive achievement, and has not gone unnoticed. Thank you SO much!

I'd love to venture into the unknown land of Youtube but at the moment the idea of creating a vlog freaks me out. So sorry not for me, but thanks for the offer. You can see what else I'm planning for 2015 here.

And lastly what would I change about my blogging journey? Nothing, other than wishing I had done this a long time ago!

 Now I hope you will join me in a cheerful rendition of 'Happy Birthday In The Clouds' and a toast to plenty more birthdays to come. Fingers crossed eh?

Love Beth xx





1 Feb 2015

6 Things That Made Me Smile This Week!

Wow! It has been a long time since I last posted one of these. The most recent one being on 14th December  and now it's 1st February! I only meant to take a short break over the Christmas period and then I started contemplating whether or not to bring this series back as it wasn't pulling in massive amounts of traffic. But eventually I realised how much I missed documenting each week of my life, so I'M BACK. I just love the idea that this space has turned into a diary- well a very public diary at that. And anybody who reads it is a star!


-Time for tea: Recently in almost every blog post I have read, the word 'tea' or 'mug' have been mention. And I just love how this once inaccessible, solely-for-the-posh-totties drink has become so popular with everyday people. Of course, I can see why!

-Animals on TV: At the moment Tuesday nights are dedicated to watching the lovely Paul O'Grady, travel around Africa visiting animal sanctuaries, being climbed on by monkeys and getting hugs from elephants. I'm so incredibly jealous and am going to start saving up right this instant for a trip to Africa myself! Who cares about school anyway?

-Drugstore buys: After some well deserved retail therapy this week, I feel upon a little beauty in Boots. I'm really trying to up my skincare routine so I brought the Deep Cleansing Facial Mask that you apply twice a week for 3 minutes. It left my skin so smooth and clean. I just love it!

-Let it snow: On Thursdays I got my first glimpse of snow. Okay, it was barely enough to be called a sprinkle of snow, but all the same it's the first I've seen. And I was so exciting about the prospect a pulling on my wooleys and going for a walk...only for the damn stuff to melt a few hours later!

-Prom prep: At the momet I'm in the process of organising limos for our leavers Prom in July and have already ordered a few dresses to try on from ASOS and Little Mistres. All I've got left to do is book up a hair appointment and start shoe shopping!

-New stationary: And last not least you may have noticed my amazing new custom notebook in the picture above from VistaPrint. Hopfully it will help to keep me organised and on top of all this revising. Fingers crossed!

3 post I've been loving this week: Winter Time In Brussels, DIY Bookends and Fairytale Photoshoot

Love Beth xx
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