21 Aug 2014

6 Things that Make Autumn my Favourite Season

This summer in England we were subjected to a heat wave. This meant nonstop extreme temperatures of up to 35 degrees celsius for over a month. Now I’m sure some of you who live in hotter countries are laughing at our definition of a heat wave, but non UK residents are often unaware that the heat in England also brings with it a very heavy humidity. And that paired with this country’s general lack of air conditioning has made the summer pretty much unbearable for me, and I spent most of it refraining from going out where I could help it. It didn’t help that I live in an area in London notorious for its steep hills, and having to walk up and down them in order to venture out of my house in such a climate felt like a death wish. With all this in mind you can imagine my pleasure to find that as of last week it has become apparent that England has now descended into an early autumn. The average temperature has suddenly dropped by around 10 degrees and there is a new continual presence of a cool breeze, which is starting to tug at the changing leaves.

Being in the midst of the switching seasons has left me more than eager for the coming months and reflective on what, other than just the neutral climate, makes autumn so exciting to me.

That 'back to school' feeling. In Primary school ‘back to school’ meant the excitement of purchasing new stationary, staying up sharpening pencils the night before your first class and the anticipation of finally seeing your friends after the holidays. And as you get older you find that returning to university after the summer isn’t much different. For me the exciting yet comforting feel of the ‘new start’ always accompanies the scent of the crisp autumn air.

Halloween. Halloween is potentially the best night of any year. For one night only you have the opportunity to extravagantly dress up and pretend to be whoever, or whatever, you want to be and go out partying in that guise, whilst also marvelling at everyone else’s. Not to mention that spooky feel that encompasses the atmosphere on the days surrounding Halloween, making it also the perfect time to spend your nights hiding in bed with the lights off whilst binge watching American Horror Story.

My birthday. This one mainly applies to me personally. Luckily for me my birthday falls at the start of this amazing season. So the anticipation of a new school year is also combined with the excitement of a new year of my life, making autumn feel to me like the ultimate new beginning.

The fashion. I can certainly see the appeal of spending the hotter months wearing pretty summer dresses, and the liberating feel of them against bare skin. But to me nothing looks better or makes me feels more comfy or feminine than a pretty dress in combination with tights, a cardigan and a wool hat. I personally find that my general style is most suited to autumn, particularly as I prefer to wear darker colours, and I love seeing other people’s autumnal looks.

Fireworks. On the 5th of November we in England celebrate Guy Fawkes Night (or Bonfire night). And for the days leading up to the event the air is constantly emblazoned with the sight, sound and smell of Fireworks. Guy Fawkes Night itself is then usually spent next to a crackling bonfire and/or gazing up at a firework display. And if you’re extra lucky you’re likely to find yourself spending a portion of the night attempting scrawl your name in the air with a sparkler. I personally can’t think of many things better.

The start of Christmas season. So we’ve already got our snuggly weather and comfy clothes, and now that the final firework has been lit it’s time for their presence in the sky to be replaced with the enchanting glimmer of Christmas lights! This finally signifies the lead up to winter coming to completion. Not everyone has positive associations with Christmas, but it’s hard not to be enamoured upon first finding your town centre sprung into a shimmering winter wonderland.

What are your favourite things about Autumn?

18 Aug 2014

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.”

Daughter of Smoke & Bone is winter in a book. It’s black early evenings, mugs of hot tea and the hint of magic behind a flickering street lamp.
And its prose reads like tapestry. Fantastical words are woven into hypnotic descriptions and embroidered with mystique. And within those words can be found tales of fallen angels, sister moons and teeth collectors, all sewn together to create an enthralling and wistful story of love, war and magic.
Karou, our protagonist, attends art school in Prague, but often spends her time stepping through wooden doors and into other worlds. She has blue hair that grows that way out of her head, a part human wishmonger as an adoptive father and a burning angel as a newly acquired stalker. But who, or what, is Karou? This question is one that has plagued her from birth, and is something she is now finally about to find out.

Laini Taylor uniquely manages to portray not only an immensely nuanced and likeable female lead character, but also a sublimely un-cliche and absorbing romance. And she proficiently incorporates beautiful lore - both borrowed and created - into her story.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone is brimming with mystery and suspense constantly willing you to turn page after page in the exciting anticipation of answers. And come the last part in the book the key pieces start to place together to slowly pave way for a gratifying and affecting conclusion- though not so gratifying that you don’t want to rush out and purchase the next instalment immediately.
It’s safe to say that Daughter of Smoke & Bone has made its place among my all-time favourite books, and I cannot wait to immerse myself in the warm familiarity I’m sure to find in the next instalment.

Amani x 
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