The Hufflepuff Book Tag


Some time ago What Victoria Read posted a video entitled 'The Ravenclaw Booktube Tag".  I was so intrigued that I instantly sought out a Hufflepuff tag as that is, proudly, my Harry Potter house. (We had Cedric.. we win everything.) Low and behold, I found one created by the lovely Abigail's Book Corner which you can watch HERE. So without further ado, I'm going to get stuck in and embrace my inner Puff. 

Harry Potter: Which Harry Potter book is your favourite?
Same as Abigail, I have to go with the fifth instalment of the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. This amuses me greatly as it was this book that put me off reading the series as it was the movie I was most "meh" about, and the book was bloody huge, However, I loved it because of it's size. I listened to the entire series as audiobooks last year for the first time, and my favourite part of each book were the chapters that were pure nonsense. The day-to-day banter between the characters.

Loyalty: Hufflepuffs are known for their undying loyalty. Name an insta-buy author.
Let's go with a double answer, because I'm laying naked on the floor (if you don't get that lyric.. I'm sorry). Firstly, Taylor Jenkins Reid. Last year she topped my favourite author list as I have yet to read anything by her that disappointed me. Some people criticise her novels as they can be heavily inspired by popular Hollywood movies, and while I do see that, I just can't not enjoy her spin on each plot. She writes incredible female characters, who each has her own voice which I can't not appreciate given how many times the side characters in female focused novels can be a little.. bland. Reid, however, managing to give each female a moment to shine without it ever feeling forced. And the lack of 'girl hate' pleases me immensely. My other insta-buy author is Fredrick Backman. As of right now, I have read all of his work and have yet to give a book less than a 4 star rating, and have yet to not cry when reading his work. If you love heartfelt writing with well developed characters that are realistically flawed, give his work a go. Strongly recommend Beartown or A Man Called Ove as an introduction.

Animals/Magical Creatures: As Hufflepuffs, we tend to have a great love for animals. Name a book/series that has your favourite animal/magical creature in it.
Nana from The Travelling Cat Chronicles. This is a translated novel about an older gentleman who builds a friendship with a stray cat. Together they travel to people from the man's past, and in doing so we get flashback chapters of their dynamic. I loved Nana, the stray. He was written brilliantly. You know, in real life, when you create an inner commentary for your cat? This read like that, in the best way possible. I found myself laughing so many times at the cat sass.

Trustworthy: We Hufflepuffs are very trustworthy, however books can also be very trustworthy. Name a series in which none of the books disappointed you.
I had to really give this some thought as I was at a loss for an answer. I would say Harry Potter but, in all honestly, the first two books really bored me as I already knew the story so well from having watched those particular movies so many times. Perhaps the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson? The second book dragged a bit, but overall I found each book very entertaining and kept instantly picking up the next. The same goes for the Wax and Wayne series that takes place in the Mistborn universe, and technically count as Mistborn #4, #5, and #6. I just really love the entire cast of characters in this world.

Caring: Us Hufflepuffs care for others a lot, even fictional characters. Name a book/series whose main character holds a special place in your heart.
I have to go with Louisa Clarke from the Me Before You trilogy by Jojo Moyes. The first book was quite a controversial topic a few years back, especially when the movie came out starring Emilia Clark and Sam Claffin, and though I fully saw the points people were making I just adored the entire series because of Lou. Her character reminded me so much of myself, especially the parts surrounding her home life, and her growth throughout the trilogy helped push me toward making a difference in my own life. I made more of an effort to be sociable, and even now I find myself thinking "embrace your inner Lou" when social anxiety kicks in. She heavily influenced my decision in moving abroad.

Kindness: Hufflepuffs always strive to be kind to others, no matter who they are. Name a book/series that you love despite its flaws and imperfections.
The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. This was my first introduction into a YA series that Twilight ought to of been. Take all the angst and love triangleyness from Meyer's series and add in girlpower, well developed teenagers that both act young yet don't make you want to hit your head against a wall, and a plot that keeps you enthralled. But like everything YA, it does have some problematic elements.

Patience: Hufflepuffs tend to be very patient, and that's a useful trait when reading slow paced books. Name a book you struggled to get through, but stuck it out until the end.
Literally anything by Donna Tartt. I read her two most popular books The Goldfinch and The Secret History last year and, Jesus Christ, they were both so long winded. Beautifully written? Yes. Worth my time? .....maybe? I felt so disconnected to both stories and the moment I turned each last page I couldn't help but think "what was the point?". They left no impression on me, and neither made me itch to read more by the, by all accounts, modern classic writer. I'm still going to pick up The Little Friend, but I think I need yearly breaks between her books.

If you want to do either of these tags, consider yourself tagged! What's your Harry Potter house? And which book do you think symbolises your house the best?

Inside Birchbox | March 2020


By now, you know the drill. I enjoy my Birchbox subscription and like to show you what I receive each month in a bid to help you decide whether this is a beauty box that would benefit you. Did I remember to choose a curated beauty box for April after my mishap in March? No, no I did not. So instead we had another month of surprise products, which is both fun and terrifying. $15 may not seem like a lot to some people, but I personally want to only receive beauty products each month that I can foresee myself using up by the time next month's Birchbox lands in my mailbox. Did this one seem worthwhile to me? Read on to find out.

Brand: Beauty Protector
Product: Protect & Oil
Full-sized details:  $28
Sample size received: Doesn't have the amount on the bottle, but I'm assuming 15ml.
This argan oil for your hair is said to go a long way as it's recommended you only use 1-3 drops per use on damp hair. I've said it before but I'll say it again, though I do enjoy receiving hair care products in my box it sometimes feels like overkill when there are multiple items. I don't go through oils, serums, or hair creams fast enough to make it worthwhile. I've only received hairspray and a heat protector once, which I think would be the most beneficial of the hair care family as it'd be something you could use daily. Will I use this? Yes, but I may not need to open it for awhile. 

Brand: Marcelle
Product: BB Cream Golden Glow
Full-sized details: $29
Sample size received: 7ml
This is probably my second favourite product in this box. I enjoy receiving these type of makeup products as it's something I might actually contemplate buying full-sized. However, I'm not entirely sure how the shade works. Whether it's a 'one shade for all' deal as it can be worn as a makeup base, or if it's dependant on what you've put on your Birchbox makeup profile. If you know, please tell me.

Brand: NatureLab TOKYO
Product: Perfect Smooth Blowout Lotion
Full-sized details: $12
Sample size received: 30ml
This is a take it or leave it product. It's affordable, which I guess is a good thing if you really like it, but it's not exactly what I hope to get in my monthly box. It smells orangey, doesn't have a very clean ingredient list, and doesn't quite appeal to me. The packaging is also just 'meh'. Definitely the low point of my April box.

Brand: Stila Cosmetics
Product: Beauty Boss Lip Gloss - Synergy
Full-sized details: $15
Sample size received: ?
Over the past year or so, there's been many Stila products in my Birchboxes. I like the brand, I think their lip products have great staying power and the packaging is always appealing. It's always a risk receiving lip colours as it may not be to your liking, which begs the question, will I actually wear this? I'm not sure. But I'm excited to give it a go. 

Brand: Sunday Riley
Product: Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment 
Full-sized details: $85
Sample size received: 5ml
I love this skincare brand. I find their products show me results without weeks of usage, and they feel like a luxurious treat to try as the full-size pricing can be quite steep. 5ml skincare products like this will usually last me until my next box, which I personally appreciate. It's a great way of trying different skincare brands but not just for a one-off use that won't really sell you on anything. 

All in all, this was a mixed box. I will make it my mission to have more control over my May box, I just need a fair few alarms as the curated boxes sell out shockingly fast. Which product from this box would you be interested in trying? 

Hummus + Tomato Fusilli | Pasta Friday #2

For the second post in this yummy series (the first being Artichoke + Caper Spaghetti), I've decided to go with something speedy and simple given our current situation of being at home. This makes for a delicious lunch or dinner, and only takes 15 minutes to whip up. You can make this extra fancy by whipping up your own hummus with the basic cupboard ingredients (chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, oil) but for the sake of ease (and laziness), I'm going with the good ole fridge bought hummus that you will still be able to find at your local supermarket. I love this recipe as it's easy to adapt, you can switch out the spinach for arugula, kale, or any good green. I'd recommend sticking with the tomatoes as it gives the pasta a moister element that hummus can lack.


  • Fusilli
  • Plum or cherry tomatoes
  • Hummus (flavour of your choosing)
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt + pepper


  • Cook pasta to your desired texture, I like it with a little bite.
  • Drain your pasta (do NOT rinse), sprinkle in a little salt.
  • Mix in the amount of hummus, tomatoes, and spinach you want. I like it to be coated but not drenched in hummus goodness.
  • Squeeze over your lemon, red pepper flakes, and season. 
  • Enjoy!
*This makes for a great cold pasta salad the follow day if you're a fan of leftovers, or picnics.

What's your favourite food to take on picnics? If you're able, I strongly recommend venturing to your garden for a picnic during this lockdown. It feels like a outing, without breaking the rules. A great way to get out of the house, especially if you have children. 

The Second Quarterly TBR Of 2020 [April - June]

I can't believe it's already been 3 months since I wrote The First Quarterly TBR post, it's insane. Since my first post, the entire world has been thrown into the deep end and we're all just trying to keep safe. Who saw that coming? The only semi positive that this pandemic has had on our lives, is that we now have more time to read. (I truly believe that it's important to try and see the good in our current lives, even if we're saying it through fake optimism. Fake it til we make it, people.) I am having to carry 3 books forward, which are The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Red At The Bone by Jacqueline Woodson, I've decided to fully remove The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin for now, and will instead include it in a TBR for Fall. I recently read Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson and it's fulfilled my desire for a high fantasy novel for the time being. So, what's on the cards for the next few months? Read on to find out.

To Kill A Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
The story is told by the little six-year-old girl Jean Louise Finch, nicknamed Scout, who lives in a small town in Alabama in the 1930's. She lives with her elder brother Jem, and her father, Atticus, who is widowed.

How have I gotten to the grand age of 24 without having read this modern classic? I'm failing miserably in my career goal of becoming Matilda, I know. This was my husbands pick for me this month (we have a monthly prompt jar thingy that we do together, I'm making him read Never Let Me Go) This book has seemed to be shelved on my TBR for literal years, but the few times I've tried to pick it up I've struggled to be sucked in and always seem to end up DNFing it. So for that reason, I'm hella daunted. It's fine, it's fine.

My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward
by Mark Lukach 
A heart-wrenching, yet hopeful, memoir of a young marriage that is redefined by mental illness and affirms the power of love. Mark and Giulia’s life together began as a storybook romance. They fell in love at eighteen, married at twenty-four, and were living their dream life in San Francisco. When Giulia was twenty-seven, she suffered a terrifying and unexpected psychotic break that landed her in the psych ward for nearly a month. One day she was vibrant and well-adjusted; the next she was delusional and suicidal, convinced that her loved ones were not safe. Eventually, Giulia fully recovered, and the couple had a son. But, soon after Jonas was born, Giulia had another breakdown, and then a third a few years after that. Pushed to the edge of the abyss, everything the couple had once taken for granted was upended.

I choose a non-fiction to read each month, usually it's a random pick but for May I know I'm going to be picking up this memoir for the Mentalhealthathon. Though it's weird to say that I'm excited to pick this up, I am. This seems like a book that's going to make me laugh, sob openly, and grab my highlighters. I'm ready to be broken.

One Day
by David Nicholls 
15th July 1988: Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? This is a 'what could've been' novel that seems quite reminiscent of Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Do I only want to read this because Hazel Hayes said it's one of her favourite books? Maybe. Though it has been on my shelves since the movie came out and I did that thing we all do, I said "I'm going to read the book before watching the movie!". So.. it's now years later and I've consumed neither. Jokes aside, this book does seem straight up my street.

by Neal Shusterman
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

This is my most adventurous book of this TBR pile. I have no idea whether I'm going to enjoy this YA dystopian novel, but everyone I follow through Booktube seems to give it 5 stars, even those who aren't huge fans of this age range and genre, so I'm very intrigued.

The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

This is one daunting novel, but I really want to read it. Am I terrified? Yes, beyond belief. But I have faith in myself to pick this up. So many people adore this book about books, and after shopping my husband's book stash, I found the sequel. So if I love this, yay! I can instantly continue!

A Closed And Common Orbit
by Becky Chambers
This is the sequel to A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet which I read last year and really enjoyed, as it's a continuation of the first in the series I won't give you a synopsis to prevent any possible spoilers. This series is very reminiscent of the TV show Firefly, so if you like character driven space operay goodness, check it out. It's heartfelt, fun, and very comforting to read.

The Shining Girls
by Lauren Beukes
In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. Curtis stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back.

This sounds like such a fun twist on a classic thriller, but the not-so-shiny reviews on Goodreads keep making me put this on the back burner, which is silly as people raved about The Silent Patient which I disliked. Will this be another case of an unpopular opinion? Here's hoping! Also, how pretty is this cover? It's definitely swaying me into picking it up.

We Were The Lucky Ones
by Georgia Hunter
It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.

I've recently stopped picking up so many historical novels set around WWII, not for any specific reason, I just haven't really been in the mood. However, the non-stop positive reviews of this debut novel has put it right atop my anticipated TBR. I'm not usually a huge fan of books that span across a few generations of a family (think Pachinko by Min Jin Lee) as I haven't yet read a book that hasn't felt disjointed because of how much time it's trying to cover. Hopefully We Were The Lucky Ones will be the exception..?

What's on your TBR for the next three months? Let me know! 

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