Monday, 16 October 2017

Book Review; Minecraft, The Island by Max Brooks

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Hi readers, 

For those of you who don't know I'm a massive Minecraft fan. So, when I saw that a fiction novel set in the Minecraft world was coming out, I knew I had to read it! It was expecting a fantasy style story but instead The Island is half an introduction/guide on playing the game and half a person's experience of playing the game for the first time. I'm feeling torn about liking it and disappointed that it wasn't what I was hoping for. 

The book is aimed at children and written in a simple way which could mean that older teens and adults might lose interest. I liked the easy style though because the previous book I read was long and heavy (that review coming soon!) There wasn't much of a plot though, it basically was; man wakes up on Island, has to survive, learns lots of lessons then decides to leave the Island to discover more about himself. 

The way it comes across though is good, with the man realising how things are different in the Minecraft world and what he needs to do to 'instantly' make things. I also liked how he made friends with the animals, since there was no one else; a cow called Moo, three sheep called Flint, Cloud and Rainy and some chickens. However, when he's translating the mooing of the cow into conversation it did start to bug me. Kids might find that funny though. The fighting scenes were well described and good too and I enjoyed reading about the battles with the zombies, skeletons and creepers, which for any Minecraft players out there you'll get on board with. 

This book feels like the wisdom of life a way which was something that came to me about 50 pages in when I realised how full the pages were getting with like cliche positive quotes; 'Take life in steps,' 'keep going, never give up,' 'books make the world bigger,' even though these are applied to events that happened with the Minecraft world, they can easily be applied to things in the real world. Which then makes me wonder if that's what Minecraft is a metaphor for? Anyway, I can see these positive messages being good for kids. 

Towards the end of the book, the details of crafting and guide like style do move over for a bit more plot which allows the main character to grow and realise what he must do. I like when he finds the abandoned mine and meets and Enderman! They've always been the scariest monsters for me. He manages to overcome all the problems that face him in the mine, even using some techniques I didn't know about! Afterwards, he reflects he was just using the exploring and fighting as an excuse to put off the one thing he needed to do. So, he leaves the Island to try and figure out even more. The book ends with him saying he's leaving it behind as a guide for the next person. 

Overall, I like this book for what it actually is; a novelized guide to playing Minecraft from a player's point of view but I'm still disappointed because I feel it could have been a lot more. Like the Minecraft Story Mode games which I'm slowly getting into. Will there be any more Fiction Minecraft novels? I don't know but it would be interested to read someone else take on the Minecraft world.          

Thanks for reading and see you next time. 

Please check out my other blog; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/ where I write a short story everyday. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

October Life Update; Leeds Holiday


Hi readers, 

Last week my boyfriend and I went to Leeds. We did lots of things, including going to the Steampunk fair at a mill. We had a great time and it was a nice holiday which after recent happenings was a nice break for both of us. 

Some of my photos didn't turn out great, so I only had a few to pick from. I had issues with my camera again! 

Firstly, the steampunk fair which we went to on the second day, Sunday, though it seemed Saturday was the better day. Last year, we had a great time and there were so many good stalls but this year there seemed less stalls and less people. Maybe the weather had something do with it or maybe there was other events on, but I felt a bit disappointed. There weren't many things I wanted to buy, though needing to save money didn't help that. 

Plus, I wasn't that happy with my costume this year. It wasn't what I had really planned to go in as I wanted to be in the blue ball grown dress I'd worn for Comic Con but after the hassle of it, I decided to wear my skirt and blouse. Maybe, next time when I've lost some more weight which is one of my main goals now. Still though what matters is that we had a good time and we were together.   

The mill itself is an interesting place but because I've been like three times now, we didn't really wander around as much as we did last time. We got pizza for lunch which was really good. There was also some out door activities like a bird of prey flight, but the weather really wasn't great, though the rain held off.    




Below are the few things I brought; a felt bat, a self-published novel, postcard and business cards of the stalls I like. I could have easily made the bat myself, but I really liked the idea of supporting another crafter. The book is part of a series set in a dystopia world and it seemed like a good read. Even though I've so much to read right now!


That evening we went to TJI Friday's for tea and I tried this toffee apple rib dish which was nice but I still think it would be better as a sweet item instead! I also treated myself to two cocktails and this cookie dough sundae. We had a great time and it was a nice way to end the day.



Skipping back, on the first day we went into the city centre and had a walk around. We went into some of the shops and had lunch. Then we went to the Leeds City museum which small but had some interesting stuff. I really liked this skeleton elk which was huge. They also had some more animals and an ancient worlds section. It was a nice little place but it only fill two hours or so. It was reasonably busy but not so bad for Saturday. It was also raining too! 






On the last full day we went to the Royal Armouries, which my boyfriend was most excited about. You really need all day to this museum as it's a huge place with lots to see and do. My favourite parts are the horses and elephants. There was a lot of armour and weapons of course! Also, lots of history to take in. As it was a Monday, it wasn't busy which was good news for me. I bet at the weekend it gets very busy!

We saw two talks; WW2 dad's army and civil war weapons. These were really good as we learnt a bit about how the weapons were used and it was nice to bring the history alive in that way. The staff are really nice too.

I had a good time here and really enjoyed the Armouries and hopefully we can go back soon.      






We both had a great time and it was nice to escape things awhile. I hope we can go back next year but we've some plans already so we might not be able to fit it in! Leeds is a nice place and there's lots of things to see and do there. I do like it and my boyfriend enjoyed it too. 

Afterwards, I stopped by my boyfriends for a few nights and we went to this huge garden centre and I really wanted this bear statue but it was like £4000! Of course I've no where to put it and can't offered it but I can still dream! 

That's it for this post, thanks for reading.  

Thursday, 21 September 2017

September Life Update; Losing My Job


As a new season arrives and nature begins to change, I have to face the realty that my life is about to also under go a dramatic transformation. Come this time in two weeks, I will have lost my full time job on reception at the youth center. It's a blow I wasn't quite expecting, so I'm in shock and very emotional. 

I've been volunteering and working there for close to five years now as I started a few months after The Factory opened. Since then, I have worked with so many great people and good young people, I have passed on my skills and helped some children by being a friendly, trustworthy person who'd listen to them. I have learned so much, changed as a person and realised I could do so much more then I first thought. I love this place, it's become my second home and family. So, saying goodbye is going to be very hard.

I still have my other two part-time jobs, but that's only 8 hours a week and with future plans brewing, I need a full time job and a steady sum of money. I'm no longer going to find that at the youth centre. So, I'm facing a flash to the past in my re-joining of job hunting. However, unlike last time I'm in a far better position to get a new job. All my previous skills have advanced, I've gained lots of new skills and my confidence has improved. I don't quite feel hopeful about the future as my past is lingering but at least things might be different this time. 

I think what also is making it tougher is the fact they are going to replace me with volunteers which doesn't sit well with me. I don't think they've thought it through. Where are they going to find these volunteers all year round? They can't make them work long hours, so other staff will have to help out thus not getting their own jobs done. Who will train them and supervise the volunteers as only I have been doing it? Who will cover other receptionists holidays and sickness etc? Who will do all my other tasks? I can see it just falling apart so fast. However, it's not my problem! 

I love this quote below. It keeps me going when I'm feeling down and it reminds me that because it's not my problem it's not my worry. 

Image result for not my circus not my monkeys free to use


Sadly, my boyfriend is in the same boat. He'll be made redundant about the end of this month. So, we'll both be on the hunt for new jobs. One of my plans is for us to try and find jobs that are in the same or close by area so we can move in together. If we both get jobs close to his house, I could move in and we could see if living together really works for us. That would progress the relationship then we could look at getting a house together. But right now, just moving on and getting any kind of full time long term job is my goal, no matter where it is. Though, it's worth having a look and trying to move closer to that plan.

The hardest part of applying for jobs is all the stuff you have to physically do like writing your CV and doing cover letters. They say the best way to get an interview is to tailor them both to fit the job you are applying for and to not send out the same all the time. Which is fine, but I get tried of doing that quickly. Plus, I hate having to fill in forms! This is basically your CV that they want but they get you to expand on key parts of it and I can spend maybe 3-4 hours doing something like that. Then you have to look through all the job ads across different places and apply for ones that you know you tick all the boxes for and also some which you might not get but it's still worth applying for. 

I was told at some point that job hunting is like an actual job and it feels that way to me. I guess I should be grateful that everything is online now and it's easy to just email your CV and to type out the forms. I'd struggle if I had to hand write everything and walk around going into places to give my CV in. Though there's still no harm in that because you can get luckily. - It's not worked for me though! 

Yeah, so at the moment, I've applied for 30 jobs or there about and I've had one interview which was today. It went okay, but I'm not sure the job is suitable for me. Seemed like too much demand and pressure, which might sound odd, but I got to look after my health. I'm still waiting to hear back, so for now I'm going to look at more jobs and try and not spend any money.      


I know I'll find something eventually and I can already see how a new job would be good for me - more money, better hours, more stable. But still leaving The Factory behind is going to be tough. It made me who I am today, in a strange way and it proved that I could hold down a full time job and I'm capable of doing many different tasks. It's like there's a piece of me there now. It's just a shame they are making me move on.

At least it's going to be there still and I can go in and see everyone and maybe volunteer again if I have the time. So, that knowledge should help. I need to try harder to turn away now and think more about what I really want to do and how to get there.

I just need to stay positive.



Please check out my other blog; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/

Images from Pixabay.  

Thursday, 14 September 2017

September Life Update; Flash back To August: Sweden Trip



 Hi everyone,

I know this post is late, but lots of things have been happening. I still wanted to write about my weekend holiday to Sweden! This was the first time I've been out of the UK since 1999 when I was 12 and went to New Zealand for a summer. There's been a few reasons why this has been, but that's not important here.

My boyfriend invited me to go as his dad's second wife and their young daughter have a summer house there. I was a bit unsure and at first decided no, but then I changed my mind and decided to give it ago. What helped was the fact I wouldn't have to pay for anything! So, I got my passport sorted and my boyfriend booked the flights. I've no problems flying but due to my anxiety I wasn't sure how I'd be.

Things went fine, though I did get patted down by security and having to go through the body scanner! (turns out the metal under wiring of my bra was to blame!) I was also worried about my suitcase getting lost! Paranoia whilst traveling is like double the normal amount! I did get my suitcase back on the other side, so it was all fine. The flight itself was okay and kinda remind me of a roller coaster when it goes up. I'm glad the flight was short though!

When we arrived in Sweden it was pretty late, they are an hour ahead so it was about 10pm. It was dark, so I didn't get to see a lot but what I did learn was that all the roads over there are really quiet even during the day his dad said. We were traveling maybe 5-10 minutes without seeing another car. the drive was an hour and a half and though I was tried, I was too excited to sleep.

We got to the house and had a tour, the house was really cute and big then we went to bed. In the morning, I had a good look around and you can see the front of the house below. They had a large kitchen across from a living room/dinning room then there was an outside deck area and a corridor running down the side led to the bathroom and three bedrooms. The bedroom we had was a good size and looked over a patch of the back garden.

I was hoping to see some deer or even elk during our stay but I didn't see any!  


From the house its a minute or two walk to the lake side,- you can see it in the cover photo but also further below in the last section of this post. My boyfriend's dad left the area natural, so you have to go through some tall trees and grass before walking on the getty and being on the lake. It's really pretty and quiet out there. My boyfriend and I often escaped there to have some time alone.


On our first day, we went to what use to be Sweden's royal family's summer castle. I had in made the British castle style, - large, dark stone walls, tall towers, twisting staircases and the feeling of being in a medieval movie. So, I was shocked to see a manor house instead! It was only a small place, with lots of history behind it and due to the lack of money it was never finished nor fully furnished, even though like 4 or 5 queens lived there. The grounds were very pretty and the weather held out.



The next day we went on a tour of a few places, but one of the most important and interesting was
The Ramsund Carving which is the legend of Sigurd the dragon slayer carved into a stone in the viking age. It was looking very faded and the bright sunshine through the pine trees didn't help. There was a lot of information about the legend and the history of the area, but I can't recall much now. It was very interesting and I wish I could have spent more time here and researching the legend.





That evening my boyfriend and I took a walk around the area where is Dad's house is. It's mostly the countryside are outside of Eskilstuna and there's not much out there. It reminded me of the countryside back home, but it was a lot quieter. It had been rainy and overcast for most of the day, but it was an okay evening. It was nice to walk and have a chat though we just talked about how nice Sweden is!

I really like that all the buildings and most are painted red and stand out. I learnt the reason for this is that from a distance you think it's red brick which Swedish people believed would make people think they were rich! Close up though, you can see that most of the building are made of wood.  

I love the photo of the clouds rolling back in.



We took a lot of selfies!


On our last full day we went to Parkin Zoo. I thought this would be a nice way to finish our break and it meant we could go somewhere all together but not have to stick together like we had to do when visiting other places. Being in the zoo reminded me more of home which I thought would be good if I was feeling homesick as it would take my mind off things, but actually Sweden as whole kinda felt like home, so I shouldn't have worried!

We saw lots of animals at the zoo, below are my favorites;  


This wild cat is real, honest! It was just watching another catching a cricket and so was standing very still. 

Lizards are so cool because they are laid back. 


These wild dogs were awesomeness to watch because they were so active. I've not seen them before either and I really liked how they seemed to be a cross between a wolf and a fox.



Otters and meerkats are the stable and stars of any zoo. They are small, cute and fascinating to watch.


Capybaras are one of boyfriend's favorite animals and though I joked about him over this, I like them too!



Us with some lemurs watching us. 



Even though we were tried after a full day out, we decided go down to the lake in the evening to see the sunset. I had been wanting go but the weather had been against us. I'm glad it was warm and sunny for our last day because watching the sunset over the lake was so romantic!

We took lots of photos and had a really nice time. It was a great way to end our last day in Sweden.  






Overall, we had a great time and I really liked Sweden. I'd like to go back some day. As for doing more traveling, well I've my list and now I need some more money!


Monday, 14 August 2017

August Life Update; Flash back to July part 2. Birmingham bear hunt and London trip




Hi readers,

In July, I went to Birmingham for a night and a day then on to London for two days and two nights. I had visited Birmingham before a few years back whilst on a canal boat holiday and stopped in what's known as the Birmingham basin. This time, I stayed in the city center and I had a really good time. Currently, they have this bear statue hunt on and there's like over 200 bear statues and some little bears to find. I had great fun doing this and it also helped me navigate about the town center. My favorite bear has to be the first one I found; Shakesbear.  



Around the church yard there were lots and I spent time taking photos and looking at the gravestones. It was a nice place to chill. I went inside the church too and saw the pretty stained glass windows.


My favorite bears here where Peony the panda and this love hearted one. There was also a jungle bear and a metal bear called Snowy.



 I then went over to the art gallery and museum which I'd picked to spend the afternoon in. On the way I found some more bears! This moon and star one is so cute.


Everyone loves the Spock bear.


My favorite in this section had to by Olly bear because he was so funny. Lots of people wanted their photo with him.


It was also at this point I helped someone to find a bear. I had a printed out map but it made it easier as I had already seen and taken a photo of the bear she wanted to see. Later, I picked up a real map from the train station and discovered the locations of all the bears!

I also liked this bear with a northern lights theme. Then I went on to the art gallery and museum. They had a lot of the little bears there and I too far too many photos to post up here. I looked round and did enjoy it, but with the weather being so nice and the wanting to find other bears, I left early.


The bear who cares a lot was the first bear on my list but I didn't find her until we had got back to the train station. She was the last bear I found because we then had to leave for London. I did so want to stay and look for other bears though!


I had a good wander around Birmingham city center and I really enjoyed it. There was lots of shops and people, who were all interesting to watch. I found a cool Japan shop and brought some presents for myself and my boyfriend. I found this like hidden cathedral and this cool waterfall, which the water falls over a poem about the city and it's really interesting to watch. I'll miss Birmingham and hopefully I can go back someday. 



London

Next came two nights and two days in London. Sadly, I wasn't feeling well and choice the first day just to stay close to the hotel which was in Blackfriars, so I just had a wander around there. I walked alongside the Thames and I saw the Eye. I've been on it a few years ago and I saw some of the bridges and some boats. It was a nice walk under lots of trees. 



Then, just wondering about, I found St. Bride's church. I think I'd past it last time I was in London but this time I decided to check it out. It's really small and pretty. The old woman at the desk was so nice and happy too. I went down to see the crypt which had some buried headstones inside of it. No one actually knew about the crypt and foundations until the a second world war bomb hit the church. Then they found that it dated back a long time.


This is like a underground chapel that's just off the main crypt. It was really quiet and cool down here. I took a few moments to chill out.


From there I went to St. Paul's and had a walk around the gardens which I'd missed last time. I also saw and went on the Millennium bridge which felt a bit weird crossing. I only went like half way because I had no reason to cross to the other side.  




View of St. Paul's from Millennium Bridge. 

The next day, I was feeling worse, but I couldn't stay in the the hotel as we'd checked out. I went to see The Temple church which wasn't far away. Though I did get lost and had to ask a doorman where it was. There are lots of doorman in London and they may seem scary but they are actually nice and helpful.


You have to pay to get into The Temple church, but its' worth it. Inside is really nice and bright, it's quiet expect from when a load of tourists come in! They had lots of history information up but I was distracted by the knight statues. It actually took me a good few minutes to figure out this was the Knight's Templar church! You can go to the first floor and look down which gives a nice view of the structure of the tower.


There's lots of knights and other important people statues. There are like from the 1300 and have worn a bit. I found that there wasn't much information about them and some of the statues haven't been identified! There are some memory stones too and it was interesting to read some of them.


The Templar's have a thing about Pegasus, I saw a lot whilst I was there in all the designs of the floor and hangings. There was also one in a stained glass window. I should have asked what it meant, but I forgot.  


I also liked all these little faces which came out of the sides of the tower. These two were like the cheekiest as most were sensible. They made me laugh though.  





I also liked all the old Bibles, prayer and hymn books there were in the pews. I took some cool photos of them. This one is my favorite though. 


Temple Church is really nice and if you want to escape the busy flow of London It's a good place to just sit and chill. Though I'd prefer St. Bride's as it's less busy with tourists.


You can't get into the gardens, even though I wanted to. I had to make do with the courtyard. It was nice with this water fountain, though it was really loud. I read my book for a bit and then had to go back to the place my mum was at because I still wasn't feeling great.

I wished I'd been better and bale to travel around London more. There's so much more I want to see there. Maybe next year when I hopefully go for my birthday.

That's all for now anyway. I'm off to Sweden on Thursday, so my next post will be all about that. In the meantime please check out my other blog; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/ I write a new shor story everyday on there.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!