Book Review

Fangirl Book Review


I bought this book a few years ago because I knew I was going to relate to it. The title, the blurb, the whole thing. And finally I got around to reading it and you know what? I was right.
This book was totally relatable. An introverted girl who liked to be locked in her room all day writing fanfiction? That was literally me from about 2010-2014. I used to eat, sleep and breathe fanfiction.
So yes, this book I did enjoy because I connected a lot with the main character Cath.
At first, I thought the book was a bit hard to get into, mainly because of how it was written in the third person, I haven't read many books written in the third person so it was a change. It also took me a while to get to grips with what was happening because it just starts there's not really introductions or anything you're just kind of expected to know who certain characters are. Like I honestly spent the first few pages thinking Wren was a boy...So yeah it took a while to get into it.
The story follows Cath through her first year of university where she's thrust into a new world full of social interaction, tough classes but also keeping up with her fanfiction. Again, I can relate a lot. It is very tempting to just hole up in your room and write all day or hide from the world, and the worst thing about uni is, is that you can get away with it. No one questions it and that can be dangerous.
Luckily for Cath, she has an assertive roommate who forces her out of the room because she can't even go out to eat by herself because she didn't know where the dining hall was.
I really liked Reagan's character - Cath's roommate - she was so mysterious and I wanted to know more about her. But we don't really get to know her besides her little interaction with Cath.
That's something that I wasn't a fan of in the book. I feel like I didn't get to know a lot about most of the characters. Even Cath's twin sister Wren I feel like I don't know that well. The story was mainly focused on Cath and Levi. Oh and Cath's love for Simon and Baz.
So here's the thing, while I initially liked the story, the one thing I didn't like was the long passages of Simon and Baz fanfiction thrown in. Like, props to the author for creating a whole story within a story because that takes a lot of time. But at the same time, I didn't come to read fanfiction about a fictional book series. I came for the actual story of the book I bought. The world of Simon and Baz did not fascinate me like it did Cath.
I imagine it like me being a Twilight fangirl and talking about it all the time to people - which I did - and no one wanted to hear about it. It's not what I signed up for when I started reading this book.
That being said, I know that Simon Snow is important to Cath and the story to some degree so I don't mind them referencing it or talking about it but the actual fanfiction parts I feel like I didn't need. It seemed to take away from the actual story. The passages at the end of chapters weren't so bad but the other passages I felt weren't needed.
I guess I could have just not read those parts but then I would feel I was missing out on the story which...I wasn't.
If anything I wanted to know what was going in Carry On, Simon which was the big fanfiction that Cath was working on throughout the book. Carry On, Simon was Cath's version of the last book of Simon Snow, and she was racing against the author to release it before the final book was really released.
And I was very disappointed at the end when we didn't even get to find out if she finished it or not. I needed to know because Cath basically threw away her fiction writing class to finish the fanfiction and it bothered me not knowing. So there was that.
Aside from the fanfiction the rest of the story was kind of cute. I got about halfway and did wonder how this book was going to end or when because it's the kind of story you write and could probably write forever.
I actually feel like there was a lot that was left unfinished in the book, such as what happened with Nick, Cath's writing partner - I mean okay there was some kind of ending scene but I feel like I needed more closure after he used her like he did.
And then there was the whole thing with Cath's mom and their relationship, and Wren's relationship with her. It just seemed like Cath didn't want to acknowledge her mother existed and that was fine. The end...
And even with the scene where they went to the release of the final Simon Snow book, I felt like there was gonna be more. Mainly because this was a moment Cath and Wren had been waiting for forever and it was a big deal so I felt like maybe there should have been more. But there wasn't much.
I did enjoy Cath's relationship with Reagan and how things sort of grew with Levi. It was obvious from the start those two were going to end up together. Levi and Cath.
I also liked learning bits and pieces about Cath's relationship with Wren because I think that's interesting. I wish there had been more of that. I know the point of the story was that Wren was trying to be her own person away from Cath but at the same time I wanted to know her. I also wanted to know what happened between Wren and her roommate because they weren't talking by the end of the book...
So overall, the theme here is that I feel like there was a lot left out. I did like the story on a level because I did relate to Cath but on a whole, the story was...okay. Nothing super exciting or even really interesting. At first, I did think that Cath writing with Nick was going to be something interesting as well as Cath and Professor Piper's deal but those didn't really become anything.
So that's kind of where I'm at. It did feel like the story was going somewhere in the beginning but then towards the end, it got very Levi central. As in Cath being obsessed with Levi and being with him. Which I understand to a point. I just felt like it needed to go somewhere.
But I think I'm going to leave this blog post here before I go on and keep repeating myself. I think if anything I'm just sad I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I was going to. But it's not the end of the world, there are other books out there to be read.
Speaking of which, I need to find a new one to read. I don't know what it'll be yet, but as always you can find out by looking at my Goodreads page. Or just wait for the next book review which will hopefully be very soon.
~ Courtney x

Book Review

Ready Player One Book Review


It's been a while since I've read something that wasn't written by a YouTuber. I feel like it was a nice break.
I decided to read Ready Player One after my boyfriend recommended it, and he also suggested I read it soon because the movie is coming out later this month. I thought I would give it a go because it sounded interesting and I had remembered that Joey Graceffa mentioned it ages ago and I wanted to see what it was about.
Ready Player One follows the story of Wade as he explores a virtual reality world called the OASIS in search of an Easter Egg that was hidden there by its creator, James Halliday. And whoever found this Easter Egg first would be the winner of the fortune and the virtual world created by Halliday.
When I first started reading the book I knew right away that there was a lot of it I was not going to understand. Because the book is filled to the brim with 80's references and I wasn't even born until the 90's so I basically didn't get any of the references made in the book. And essentially that was 99% of the content in the book. So right away I decided not to get too hung up on the fact I didn't get any of the references. The gist is that Halliday was really into 80's culture and so the challenges he put in place on the way to find the Easter Egg were all 80's related.
So I guess if you've ever wanted to learn more about the 80's pop culture then this is the book for you.
It's kind of weird to imagine a virtual universe where a lot of the worlds in it were based on ideas of the past but at the same time, it's not so crazy. Trends from the past make come-backs all the time, and I guess the author just really wanted the 80's to come back in a big way.
I also thought when I first read the book that the pace of it was going to be faster than it was. Which I'm glad it wasn't so fast. I did think that once Wade had found the first challenge and succeeded that the second challenge and third wouldn't be that difficult for them to find and so the search for the Egg would have ended halfway through the book.
The book starts with Wade logging into the OASIS and telling the story of how he found the first Gate - there were three gates to clear in order to find the Easter Egg and gain access to Halliday's fortune. And Wade was the first person to find the first gate.
Naturally, after he found the first gate and everyone found out about it he became instantly famous and people were trying to find out from him where the gate was and how to clear it.
As the book goes on, it's clear that the OASIS is not just a virtual world, but it has become everyone's reality. And that some people's threats were more than just virtual ones.
I think the one thing that kept me reading was the idea of the OASIS itself. I wanted to know more about this world where possibilities were ended and I found it fascinating. Virtual Reality is something that has recently come up more in the tech world so to read about a world where VR has become everyone's entire lives is very interesting. And it's also scary how you could see it becoming a reality.
Though I think one of the main points of the book is that while you can experience amazing things in video games and through VR it will never compare to experiencing it in the real life. Several times in the book it does describe Wade logging out of the OASIS and taking in his real-world surroundings and it's not great. I guess it makes me appreciate that we are not at that point yet. And I hope we don't get to it.
Anyway, didn't expect to get serious about that but back to the book.
I enjoyed the story, I also liked that there was a little bit of a romance in the book but that it wasn't the main focus of the book. I think it would have been weird to have an all-out romance in the middle of this book. Even if the story seemed to veer in that direction for a bit.
I do think the biggest plot twist for everyone was the identity of Aech, Wade's best friend in the OASIS but at the same time shouldn't we have expected it? I think so but I ain't mad about still being surprised at the reveal.
I was super excited for Wade to finally meet the people he had been talking to in the OASIS, I guess because I know what it's like to meet someone you've only talked to online. It's scary and it's a risk but it can also be a great thing. Sure, there are dangers, just like everything but it's still cool that the internet connects people in lots of positive ways.
As for the ending, well it was kind of expected. In fact, seemed kind of boring towards the very end but that was okay. I feel like everything leading up to the final gate was good and I think the movie will do really well in capturing the end. But I guess we will have to see.
And so, to sum up - I enjoyed this book. Thought it was a fun read. A nice break from what I have been reading recently. And of course, I am excited for the movie. Although that being said when I watched the trailer, the OASIS didn't look how I imagined it would - but that's the risk you take when you read the book before you see the movie.
Now moving onto my next read... I have decided it will be Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I've been meaning to read this for a while, especially because I have been calling myself a fangirl since 2009 so I feel like this is something I can relate to. So, look out for that review (hopefully) soon! Can't make any promises though, sometimes you read something and don't have a lot of thoughts on it but, I will still leave a rating on Goodreads, so follow me there if you wanna know more about my reading ventures. (And please don't judge me for how slow it seems I read)
~ Courtney x

Book Review

Girl Online: Going Solo Book Review!


Remember when I read the first Girl Online book and I said that the series wasn’t for me? Well, that was a lie.
Maybe not a complete one but still a lie. Especially since I have just finished reading the third book of the series.
Somehow Zoe managed to completely change her writing from the first book to the second and then kept up the momentum in the third book. Part of me likes to think it’s because she decided to ditch the ghostwriter.
So yes, here I am reviewing the third and final(?) instalment of the Girl Online series.
This story follows Penny Porter trying to get her life back to normal after breaking up with Noah and leaving his tour. She begins focusing on her photography and helping a new friend overcome stage fright.
Honestly, the story is nothing spectacular. I found the second book more gripping but it’s not like this one lacked any action.
I think it’s important to enjoy the “fluffy” stories like this one. And by that I mean no one dies (spoiler alert) and it’s got an overall upbeat tone. All my TV shows are very serious and full of mystery so I think it’s nice that the books I read don’t also have the same tone. It’s a nice break.
But even though no one died and there weren’t huge mysteries to be solved the book still had a lot going on.
It took me a while to come back to the world of Girl Online though because I couldn’t remember anything that happened in the first or second books. So the beginning of the book for me was kind of slow mainly because I was taking time to piece together what had even happened in the past to lead up to the current situation in the book.
But it didn’t take long for me to be sucked in. I guess it helped that I took some time off work and wanted to read something. So I got through very quickly. One thing that helped was that once the ball started rolling and action was happening it kept going. It made me want to read more. I wanted to know what was gonna happen with Penny and her potential new love interest. I was freaking out when I found out Noah came back. I needed to know who leaked Leah’s song.
And like I said, none of these things are actually that shocking or even big mysteries. It’s the writing that kept me coming back.
With the first book, I felt like the series was aimed at a younger audience because the language was very basic and not very interesting from what I remember. Since then Zoe has definitely stepped it up with the writing. So I’m a fan. I even got emotional towards the end when Penny finally got to meet the mysterious Pegasus Girl.
I think overall it’s a good read. Something kind of fun and lighthearted but also opening up about anxiety which is a thing we know Zoe suffers with on a daily basis. I liked that this time it wasn’t about Penny’s anxiety and it was about someone else’s. It’s important to show that anxiety can be triggered by lots of things and affect people’s lives in many different ways on different things.
I don’t think I have anything negative to say about the book other than maybe that I’m not a fan of Penny and Noah getting back together again. At least I felt like it shouldn’t have been right away after he disappeared and everything. But it is just a fictional story so I’m not too bothered by it. Of course, they were gonna get back together again. Gotta have that happy ending. I just think if you call the book Girl Online: Going Solo you assume Penny is gonna continue on with no man by her side. And she did for the most part.
So those were all my thoughts on Girl Online: Going Solo! Would I hope for another book in the series? I don’t think so. I feel like this was a good ending for Penny and her adventures. And I don’t think Zoe has hinted about there being another one. So I’m happy to leave this series as it is.
Now the only question is what will my next book be? I’m definitely enjoying reading again so now I’ve picked up momentum I’m definitely not stopping.
So follow me on Goodreads if you wanna know what I’m gonna be making my way through next. And let me know if you’ve got any recommendations for me because I’d love to hear them!
~ Courtney x

Book Review

Wilde Like Me Book Review


I picked up Louise’s book one day at Tesco after I had just moved house. I thought I should get back into reading and so if I bought a book then it would encourage me to read. That was a lie.
It sat on my bedside table for months. And finally, at the start of the year, I picked it up to read.
For my first book of the year, I would say it was a good one. I enjoyed it. I think it’s great when a YouTuber decides to write fiction rather than a memoir. Mainly because a lot of them are still young and maybe don't have a lot of stories/experiences to share that they haven't already shared online. And I usually prefer fiction to reading about people's real lives.
This book is about Robin Wilde, a single mum struggling with depression and also trying to be the best mum possible. Very different from my normal reads that consist of teenager/high school drama. But also a welcome change.
I enjoyed the story a lot. I think it was interesting to learn about the struggles of being a single mum. Obviously, I can’t relate because I haven’t had a child but I can imagine it’s not an easy thing. That being said I did find Robin very relatable and I think that’s due to Louise’s writing style. It’s very casual and conversational like most other YouTuber books.
That being said that’s not always a good thing. Because of the style of writing and the way Robin acted it was hard to picture Robin as her own character. Throughout the book, I was constantly imagining Louise. The storyline is very similar to things that Louise has been through in her life. And I know people say it’s better to write what you know but I feel like I was expecting something more.
I kind of felt similar vibes in Girl Online when I read it. Zoe does pull on her own experiences with anxiety for that book but at the same time, it’s very much more fiction than based on her life.
But aside from picturing Louise instead of Robin, I enjoyed reading the book. I thought it was fun to learn about Robin’s first experience with online dating and also found the way she talked about depression interesting. I think she described it well in terms of it being “the Emptiness”.
Though I do feel that things happened to turn around very quickly in the book. For the longest time, we saw Robin struggling with everything, parenting, depression, dating, her job and then all of a sudden everything just turns out all right at the end. I guess it’s not a bad thing to want a happy ending I just felt it came on very fast.
I do like that Robin is surrounded by a lot of positive and strong women in her life though. That's something I can always appreciate. I'm all for girl power and this book has a lot of that.
As for the age group for this book, I wanna say young adults. I don't think younger viewers of Louise's channel would be interested in it and as for older people, I don't quite know. I guess it depends on what kind of writing you like. But it is one of those books that you can read at any age. (Possibly not children as I just remembered they do talk about sex...)
And how it compares to other YouTuber books I think it's somewhere in the middle. I think it's a nice read, and in a way, you get to know a version of Louise. Though as most YouTuber books aren't fiction it is hard to do a real comparison.
Overall I did enjoy the book for what it was. Didn't know what to expect when I jumped into it but I am glad I took a chance on it. Will I read a sequel if one arises? I don't know. I might give it a go - it could be like Girl Online where I end up loving it. But I guess we shall see what the future holds.
But until then I am on to my next book which, funny enough happens to be the third book in the Girl Online series. I think it's about time I got around to it, the book has been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year now. So hopefully I will have another book review for you soon.

~ Courtney x


Working Gal - Six Months On


It has been a while! I am not sure how often to make these posts although considering I only have five months of placement left, I think there might be one or two more. I guess it depends on how much there is to share about how placement is going.
Since the last time I wrote here I have obviously become more adjusted. I now feel like a part of the team like everyone else. I have recently been working on something with some other members of the team rather than an individual project and so I have been interacting with more people. Before I would only ever really talk to my buddy but that's because he was the one giving me work.
I also feel like the addition of a graduate to our team has really helped the integration. Our team is kind of a quiet one, we only ever really talk to each other if we have to. So it's usually very quiet around our bay. But with the grad there, he's very outgoing and so he sparks a lot of conversation between us which has been really great. It's good to be able to have banter between your teammates, it helps you get by.
Sadly though he won't be on the team for much longer because he has to rotate to another team in a few months. So I wonder what the team will be like without him or if they will get another graduate to replace him. All graduates rotate between teams before they choose where they want to end up in the company. But for now, he's on our team and I think he will remain there until after I leave, so the banter will continue.
Aside from the team banter, my workload has increased recently. This is definitely a good thing because it means time goes by a lot faster. Sure, it can be stressful but it's not been too bad. Although it hasn't really been any development work so I would like to get back into that soon. Coding is where I feel most comfortable, even though I know that isn't all of the job.
I also recently had a meeting with my manager to discuss my year-end review, which sounds weird because I've only been working there six months. Everyone has to fill in a self-evaluation at the end of the year and that included me so I did the best I could. The meeting went really well and I found out that I don't suck at this job which is great. My manager asked me if there is anything that I wanted to be doing while on placement and I said anything. I still don't know exactly what I want to focus on when I leave uni so I really want to get the most out of my placement as possible. So basically anything that they are willing to let me do, I will do it. So I guess we see what comes from that.
Then there are the other placements, not much to report there. Although we have now kind of split off into smaller groups, we used to all sit together in the canteen but now we all do our own thing. Which was bound to happen because there are so many of us. But we are all still friendly towards one another and it's so much easier to talk to people now that we have split off into smaller groups.
Overall working has been good, I don't have any complaints. It's been a great experience so far and I am confident that I will be able to survive in the working world now when I graduate from university. Whether that is with the company I am in now or somewhere else.
I still don't know what I'm doing when I graduate but I think I should keep my options open. I never liked the idea of being trapped doing one thing for the rest of my life so that's a big deal for me. But we see what happens. Maybe this is the job for me, maybe it's not. At least I have some time to think about it.
In the meantime, I just have to finish up placement and then try to prepare for my final year of university. This year has barely started and I know it's going to be a busy one and as always, I will try to keep you posted as the year goes on! And if you don't want to wait for a blog post to know what's going on in my life then follow me on Twitter because it's where I update the most. Although be aware I do tweet a lot...
~ Courtney x


New Year, Same Goals


Last year I made a YouTube video talking about my 2017 New Year's Resolutions and they did not go very well. I only had four, I wanted to do things that were manageable and I knew that I could do. Yet I still didn't come through with them.
I think it was because I wasn't serious about them. I mean everyone makes New Year's Resolutions. And most of the time people don't really mean them. I did have good intentions but that went downhill pretty quick. I think it was mainly just because I forgot. I did write them down on a sticky note and I still have it on my desk but it's not something I would look at often.
So I have decided to try again and hopefully this time things will be better. I don't know why, but for some reason, this year feels very different. I feel more positive about things and setting goals. I guess I never really embraced the whole new year, new start thing because nothing ever changed. I think it had something to do with the last blog post I made. Seeing all the things that happened last year when I wasn't even planning was amazing, so I guess I thought if I set some goals that things would be even better.
Anyway, these are not big goals, just small things that I think would help make me feel better and more productive. Things I know I can do if I actually put the effort in, better to start small I think. So here we go:

Blog More
I always neglect blogging. I just don't make time for it. But when I do it, I love it. I don't really have a focal point for my blog but I do plan to find something to write about! I think what discouraged me from blogging is a lot of the things I blog about can also be covered in my YouTube channel. I just need to find a way to split the content and how to cover it. Sometimes writing a long blog post is a lot better than an hour long video. So I guess I have to figure out the balance. But I do look forward to putting more out on my blog!
Of course, what comes with that is me again wanting a new blog or something. I would love a really pretty designed website to have my blog and other things on it, but every time I try to design one it doesn't end well.
I used to always want to make my own website from scratch with HTML but now that I am older and actually have some experience with code, I know it's not something that will magically just happen. It will take a lot of time and I would have to learn a lot about web design. So I think that might be something to aim towards in the future, but for right now I will stick with my blogspot blog.

Vlog More
Last year, my YouTube channel was all about Pretty Little Liars. I can't even deny that. Which isn't a bad thing I mean I loved Pretty Little Liars, but looking back I do wish I had vlogged more. So this year I am focusing more on follow-me-around vlogs and things less to do with TV shows. Or at least I would like to try.
I also want to post more videos in general - last year I tried to post at least once a week and I feel like I succeeded for the most part but I want to try and post more often if I can. What I will make videos about I don't know. But there will probably be some TV show videos thrown in with other things.
And of course there is my Sims YouTube channel. I really want to finish my Sims 2 Let's Play and also continue making videos for there too. So it's going to be a busy year in terms of social media for me. :P

Read More
I have so many books that I bought that I still haven't read. And last year I wanted to get back to reading because for a while I was doing really well. That might have been to do with the fact that every YouTuber was coming out with a book at the time but it was good for me.
I want to be excited to read again. I used to finish a YouTuber book and be on the next one in no time. But last year I barely picked up a book.
So to help with this goal I decided to use GoodReads. I signed up for an account a few years ago because I wanted to win a giveaway (I didn't win) but I got a notification the other day saying one of my Facebook friends was now using it so I decided to take a look again.
And it has a built-in feature for you to set a reading goal and keep track of your reading too. It's the kind of thing I would be really into because I love to document things. So I have set myself the goal to read 12 books this year. Which I know, isn't a lot. It's one a month, but I feel like if I can do that and exceed it, I will feel super accomplished. Plus, it'll be something else other than TV shows to talk about.

Save Money
Something I failed at terribly last year. Honestly, I don't like to talk about how I spent money last year. It was not good. I mean, I guess everyone goes crazy when they start their first paid job but I feel like I went above and beyond.
So this year I am going to start saving. I still believe in living in the moment and spending money, don't get me wrong, but if I can put even a little bit of money away at the end of each month I will feel proud of myself.
I have even set myself up with a different bank account to put the money in and so I will definitely not get to spend it. If I don't see it, it's not there. So hopefully this will be the better way to save. And it'll mean when I finish work placement and stop getting a monthly wage that I won't be super poor.

Learn To Drive
Finally, this is something I want to do, and not just because my boyfriend has been nagging me to do it. It would be great to be able to drive rather than take public transport. I mean I know public transport is better for the environment and cheaper but from being a student, travelling at weekends and moving house, all without a can be a struggle.
Sometimes it would be handy to have a car and be able to drive, mainly so I didn't have to lug half my belongings on the train every weekend and also so I could repay my boyfriend for driving us around for 2 years.
It'll be scary but I feel like it's something I should do. And then I don't have to be waiting on public transport all the time.

Clear Out My Room
This is a recent thing that I really need to do. The past couple of years I have been living away from home and so I've just let junk pile up in my room at home. My uni room is nice and clean and uncluttered, but when I come home I feel like I just have too much stuff. And most things in my room I don't use or need thrown away.
Plus it would be nice to come home at the weekend and not feel suffocated in my room because of all my stuff. I admit I can be a hoarder, I definitely keep onto things I don't need but I think it's time to start letting go of some things...
Plus it will make it easier for me to move out in the future/move back home after graduation.

I think these are all the goals I have for 2018. I probably have more but these are the main ones I know I can stick to. So let's go with that. I'm hopeful that I will be able to accomplish these things. I mean even if I don't completely succeed at least I will have accomplished some things. Or have tried to.
I know this year will be a busy one for me with uni and everything but I also want to keep doing things I enjoy. So here's hoping this year is a fun and productive one! I really don't know where all of this optimism is coming from. Not that I will complain. I will just use it while it lasts.
I hope if you have set yourself goals in 2018 that you will also achieve them. And if you haven't set any goals that's okay too. I have seen a lot of posts online that say you don't need to wait around for a new year to change your life/begin striving for your goals and they are right. You just gotta decide it's time.
Anyway, I'm going to go now. I seem to always end up getting really inspirational towards the end of my blog posts haha. That's another thing I know I need to work on, ending my blog posts. It's not something I'm good at, but maybe if I blog more I will figure it out.
So I hope you enjoyed reading, and I'll be back (hopefully) soon with my next blog post!
~ Courtney x




Another year has gone by and as always I am wondering where the time has gone. It seems like year after year time just keeps moving faster. I guess this is what happens when you get older. And as always with this time of year, I like to reflect on all the things I have done the past year and think about what is coming ahead.
So, 2017, what a year. Honestly though when I try to think of all the things I have done this year I can't really think of any. Which I think means my memory is getting worse with time. But luckily with the help of the internet and social media, I can kind of piece together how my year was.
I started out the year with my boyfriend, which was a first for me. I have never had someone to kiss on New Year's and have never even had plans to go out on New Years. Not that the kissing part was ever a big thing for me, but it was nice to start the year with someone special. And going out was nice and a good change from staying home and playing Animal Crossing to ring in the new year. That being said, I love playing Animal Crossing on New Year's because it's so cute and all the villagers wear hats. :P

New Years

The first month of the year of me is usually a lazy one. Especially last year because I didn't start back at university until the end of the month. That meant a lot of my time was spent playing Sims, watching Netflix and sleeping. Which is always an ideal situation. Not for too long though, mainly because after a while you do feel like you should maybe be a little productive and do something.
February in comparison was a much more productive month. I started back at university and started my level 2 Korean classes. I completely forgot that I took Korean for 10 weeks. As you can see I learnt a lot - I enjoyed the Korean classes though. It was interesting and I also think it is one of the easier Asian languages to learn in terms of reading and writing.
On top of Korean, I also continued to work on my second year Android game project. That doesn't have the most pleasant memories attached to it. A lot of late nights staring at code. If I am honest, I know that I could have done so much more with that project but I let the other members of my group overshadow me. I think the learning curve really threw me. But I still feel like I learnt a lot and we did end up with a pretty great game in the end. Even if my contribution to it wasn't the biggest.

My game's Menu Screen
February was also the month that I celebrated my anniversary with my boyfriend. It's weird to think we have been together for so long but at the same time, I couldn't imagine not being with him. We just spend so much time together that being apart from him for too long feels weird.
I also spent February wrapped in some new TV shows, and they happened to take up a lot of my time this year. It was a big year in terms of TV for me. Mainly because two of the biggest shows in my life ended in 2017. Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries. At first, I really did wonder what I would do without them, I always looked forward to the new episodes, but now part of me is glad the shows are over. I guess all good things must come to an end. And it makes way for new TV shows. But I will say, I will miss making Pretty Little Liars videos, I don't think I will find another show that will get me as worked up as that one.
March seemed to be another blur of uni work and Sims. But one super exciting thing for me was meeting YouTubers for the first time. I had the opportunity to meet James Turner aka TheSimSupply and Dylan Clawson aka ConflictNerd. They decided to hold a meet up in Belfast and I just happened to have a free afternoon from class so I thought I would go and hang out with them.

ConflictNerd and TheSimSupply!

I was super nervous. I am not good in situations where I am meeting new people by myself. But I am really glad that I went. It is super weird to talk to people you have only seen online, I mean they are just people so you talk to them like you would anyone else. But at the same time, it's crazy because you have gotten to know them through their online persona, so when you meet them in real life they are different. And I don't mean that in a bad way, from making my own videos I know that you can't expect people you watch online to always be so energetic and happy in real life.
James is actually a quiet person in real life, especially when the rest of the people at the meetup and I started talking about Northern Ireland and James didn't have any idea what we were talking about because he is from Australia haha.
I really enjoyed meeting them and I am glad that the first time I met YouTubers I was able to sit down and talk to them rather than a standard meet and greet. Plus, there were only a small number of people at the meet up which made it a lot easier to talk too. It was very relaxed and I am a fan.
April was spent doing a lot of coding and playing Another Brick in the Mall. I haven't played Another Brick in the Mall in months now, but it has updated a lot so I think I should revisit it again soon. But, I was watching Conflict Nerd's Let's Play of the game and I thought it would be a fun thing to try out and it was. I was very invested for a couple of months.
I also got to attend my second ever hackathon with my boyfriend at the end of April. I was nervous about it because I never have ideas for those things and also I was worried I wasn't going to be able to contribute anything and just be sitting doing nothing for 12 hours.
But things took a surprising turn as we ended up joining up with a team that was working next to us, they had a similar idea and instead of looking at them as competition, we decided to team up. And I think it worked out in our favour as we ended up coming in second.

The hackathon team!
It was really fun and interesting teaming up with new people and getting to know them in a short space of time. Again it's not something that I would immediately think of when attending a hackathon but I enjoyed it a lot. And when you are all working together 12 hours can feel like nothing.
I have yet to attempt a 24-hour hackathon but I don't think I would be able to do it. Normally after a hackathon, you feel drained and all you want to do is sleep. So I feel like after a 24-hour one I would need a lot more than one night's sleep. But who knows, maybe 2018 will be the year of the 24-hour hackathon?
After the hackathon came the final stretch of university - finishing my Android game and exams. I remember sitting with my flatmate working on our project and then Git went down at like 5 a.m. It was not ideal, we sat refreshing our laptops for an hour before it came back up. Talk about cutting it close to the deadline. Luckily everything was submitted and I was able to get a well-deserved rest afterwards.
Then in June, I headed to my second hackathon of the year, again a 12 hour one with my boyfriend and a couple of my university friends. I have to say this one might not have been as productive as the first one as this one was from 4 p.m to 4 a.m and I had been at a technology event during the say so got pretty tired.

Hackathon snaps
Actually, everyone ended up leaving the hackathon early because we had to come back in the morning to present our ideas anyway. So we thought it was better to work a little bit more on the project from the comfort of our house rather than in the hackathon space.
But the next day we were able to pull it together for our presentation. I had to present our idea at this hackathon and it was kind of scary. Public speaking is not a thing I enjoy (I feel like there's a theme in this blog post...) but it went well. I just always think that people will look at me like I don't know what I am talking about but I did know what I was talking about and all was well.
Again we came second, but it was okay because we did win a lot of prizes throughout the actual hackathon. Even though the prize for the hackathon was a trip to Dubai to present your hackathon idea to a company. It would have been amazing but I guess there's always the next time.
June was also exciting because I got to go to England to visit my friend Jasmine. It was her first year at university and I hadn't seen her in ages. It was also the first time that I was going to be travelling by myself - I had planned to go over and see her with some other friends but all our schedules didn't line up so I went on my own. Again, a scary thing but I feel proud of myself that I was able to do it.

Visiting Jasmine!
It was so great seeing Jasmine, especially because it was the first time I was going to meet her university friends and her boyfriend. I had heard so much about them so I was excited to meet them. They were all so lovely and it made me so happy to see that Jasmine was settling in well to uni.
While I was there we went to the beach, the arcades, played mini golf and went bowling. It was an eventful few days. And the weather was great while I was in England which was also great. It was my first time in England and it was such a change from being in Northern Ireland. I mean you wouldn't think it would be because it's still the UK but just the weather difference was so strange. Not that I was complaining.
Overall it was a great trip and I know I would gladly go back over to see Jasmine anytime.
Not long after my trip to England, I was off to Dublin for my 20th birthday with my boyfriend. We ended up in Dublin during Dublin pride which was super fun. I had always wanted to go to a pride parade and this was my first ever one. I have always loved the idea of pride because everyone is all dressed up and spreading love and it's just overwhelmingly positive and fun So if you have never been to pride I highly recommend it.

Twitter's pride float
In June I also pushed aside Another Brick in the Mall for Stardew Valley. It was a birthday present from my brother because I didn't know how I would feel about it but it turned out to be a really addicting game. I don't know how to explain it but I really enjoy it. And when it was released for Nintendo Switch I was obsessed all over again. It's one of those games that is perfect to have in a portable format like Animal Crossing.
After a super exciting month of June, I feel like July was a lot calmer. I was enjoying the last few weeks of summer before I started work placement. Starting work was something else I was nervous about because I was super worried I would have no idea what I was doing but again, not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I feel like I don't have to say too much about my work placement because I have already made a blog post about starting work, so if you are interested in that you can check it out here.
I need to do an updated blog post about work placement because I am now halfway through. It's weird to think I have been working for that long but I feel like once you settle into a routine it's not so bad. Plus, I was able to settle into work and not feel like a total idiot in a couple of weeks. Plus it helped that I was starting with a group of placements rather than being thrown in by myself like other workplaces. So I am thankful I was around with people who could relate.
August was a crazy month as I settled into work and tried to keep up with making time to see all of my friends who were back for summer break before they went to university again. I was probably the busiest in August than I had been in a long time. Because not only was I working 9-5 but then I was also immediately going out to meet my friends. It was kind of crazy but I was also grateful to be kept so busy.
One of the most memorable things in August was going to see Bianca Del Rio and Charlie Hides at Belfast Pride. I didn't get ready in time to really see the parade but my friends and I got tickets to see Bianca and Charlie and I couldn't wait.

Meeting Charlie and Bianca!
This was the second time I would be seeing Bianca perform because I had seen her earlier in February while she was on her comedy tour. But I love seeing Bianca perform. She was the first Drag Queen that I ever got to meet and see in person. And now anytime she comes to Belfast I feel like I have to see her.
And on top of that, pride was the second time that I got to be on stage with her! I had another opportunity to lipsync for my life and this time I was more than ready for my moment. It was so much fun and I loved it. And as always it was great to see Bianca again.
Aside from Bianca, I also got see Charlie Hides perform and she was great too. I was a fan of her on Drag Race but she was put out of the competition for her lack of lipsync performance. Luckily she more than makes up for it live and in person.
As well as Charlie there were also local drag queens who performed and they were amazing too. I can't really describe how it feels to be at a drag show. It's just not like anything else I have ever experienced - they are just so much fun and I highly recommend them.
Another big thing in August was that it was time for me and my flatmates to move out of our university flat. One of my flatmates moved out early because he was going abroad for the year so we had a temporary replacement flatmate for a month. The moving out process was kind of crazy - especially because we left it so late. We didn't intend to leave it until the weekend we had to be out of the flat - we had just been so busy with work and trying to house hunt for a new place to live.
Luckily we were able to have the place spotless and had our stuff moved in one day. We didn't live in a big house so there wasn't that much to clean, but because it was the first place we had ever rented we didn't want the Landlord to have any reason to deduct money from our deposit. But luckily we got it all back.
I really liked living in our flat, I was unsure about it moving in but it actually turned out to be super cosy. And as for it being the first time I was living away from home I thought it went really well. I lived with great people and it was always warm. And I consider that to be a good uni flat, and if our third flatmate hadn't have been going abroad this year we totally would have stayed in the same place.

Our flat keys
But for our second house, my remaining flatmate and I decided to find a place closer to where we are working. So far this house has been nice, I don't really have any complaints although we did have some heating trouble when we moved in. And so I finally got to experience what an actual student house was like because it was so cold, but we have the heating sorted now. Well, we did until we ran out of oil a few weeks ago but it's all sorted now haha.
I definitely prefer gas heating because it's so much easier to top off and a lot cheaper than oil. So hopefully when we go for our third and final university house we can get somewhere that's got oil heating.
Then we move on to September, which was a pretty calm month. Though I do remember that this was the first month I really got to enjoy having a paycheck as a splurged and got myself a Nintendo Switch. I think it was a perfect purchase for me. I mean, I'm not really a console kind of gamer in terms of PlayStation or Xbox but Nintendo always seems to do it for me.
And like I said earlier, they brought out Stardew Valley for the Switch and that made the console worth it entirely. I am excited to see what other games they bring out for the Switch because I am enjoying playing it. Whether that's battling it out with siblings in Mario Kart, or trying to teach my family how to play Overcooked - it's just a great console.
Plus, I always thought I would only play it in handheld mode, but I have been enjoying TV mode too. I mean honestly, this is the console dreams are made of. And I'm so excited for them to bring Animal Crossing to the Switch because I need that in my life.
From what I can tell October was also a pretty calm month - towards the end of the year I guess things start to wind down and everyone is working hard at uni so I didn't really get to see them. Of course, I was still working but there's not too much to report on that.
One thing that definitely perked me up in October was the fact they announced an Animal Crossing mobile game. This was the first new Animal Crossing game to be released in years and I was more than ready for it. I just got so excited starting to think of what it would be like. I won't say too much about it here but I did happen to make a blog post and a video about it if you are interested in knowing my first thoughts on the game.
Obviously, when the game was released in November it completely took over my life. And with the screen recording tool on iPhone, I have been capturing gameplay non-stop. It's all so cute and I love it and it gets me excited for the Nintendo Switch game and what it could be. So yes, there's that.
Animal Crossing wasn't the only thing that made November exciting though. I also got my very first tattoo in November. I have thought about getting a tattoo for years, and I finally decided to bite the bullet and book my tattoo. I always wondered what kind of tattoo I would get too, and one night when I was searching I found the perfect thing.

My tattoo!
To most people, it probably looks like nothing, but to me, it means so much. It represents Animal Crossing (surprise, surprise). But I thought it was super cute and also a perfect first tattoo because Animal Crossing has been a huge part of my life. From getting my first Animal Crossing game for the DS to making online friends in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. It is my childhood and I still love it today. And I know it'll be a part of my future.
I also think I did well on the tattoo placement, it didn't hurt that much and it was also a good place in terms of hiding it if I need to, but also showing it off. And it was also really great when it came to cleaning it and keeping it moisturised. Once I started getting into the routine of washing and moisturising it I started wondering how people cared for the tattoos they couldn't reach or see, but I guess that's why you have family/friends haha. But the tattoo has healed now and I couldn't be happier with it. Sometimes I forget about it or catch it in the mirror and I still can't believe I have it.
Another super exciting thing for me in November was that I got to see Steps in concert. They were my favourite band when I was younger and I was never able to go to one of their concerts. And when I grew up and found out the band had broken up I was heartbroken, but luckily for me, they reunited for their 20th anniversary in 2017.
My sisters always promised they would take me to a concert and they came through with this one as we all went as a big group. I loved every second of it. It was my childhood dream come true. Words can't even explain how I feel about it. It was just an amazing night, I sang my heart out and danced the whole time. Such an amazing experience.

My Steps ticket
Also in November, I became obsessed with the musical Hamilton. I have never been a musical person before but my boyfriend recommended it to me and I really love it. And not only that, but I was able to get tickets to see Hamilton on the West End for my boyfriend's birthday. So I am super excited about that. It's only a couple of weeks away now and it's so crazy. It'll be my first West End show, and I know it's not going to disappoint.
December was mostly a calm month for me, work was winding down and I was thinking about Christmas. I also considered doing Vlogmas this year, as I have done Vlogmas every other year I have been doing YouTube but this year I was mostly working so I wasn't doing anything worth vlogging. Although I did my best to be more active on YouTube because in between the time of finishing uni and starting work I had slacked on videos.
I also got to go to see the Christmas Queens in December. It was the first time I was going to see a drag queen stage show and not just a club performance. I was super excited but also super nervous because I was once again, going alone. I was mainly worried about what I was going to do at the meet and greet because I would have no one to talk to and I had no idea what I was going to say to the drag queens when I met them.
But I am so glad I decided to go because it was so much fun. Even though I had some awkward moments on my own when waiting in line and sitting by myself at the show, it didn't matter too much because I was enjoying myself.
The show itself was incredible, most of the queens sung live and are amazing performers. 100% worth the money and also it was amazing to be able to meet all the drag queens too. I knew all of them from RuPaul's Drag Race and to meet them in person was so crazy. They were all so lovely and wonderful and I wish I was able to say more to them when I was with them but I think I was so starstruck I couldn't say anything. But I still loved it.
I also vlogged a little bit when I was there so if you want to see some of the performance and know more about how the meet and greet was, you can check it out here.

The Christmas Queens!
Aside from the drag queen excitement, the rest of December was pretty calm. I spent Christmas with my family and friends and it was really nice and chill. It was a well-deserved break from work too and I was able to catch up on all my sleep haha.
And I guess that wraps up a pretty amazing year. Honestly, when I started this I had no idea what it was going to turn out like. I had really forgotten a lot of the things I have done this year, and being able to reminisce about everything in this blog post has been great. It really makes me appreciate what a good year I had and all the amazing people I spent it with and all the things I've experienced.
As the new year begins I can only hope that it's going to be as amazing as 2017. And as always I hope to share my year with you throughout social media. I'm hoping that I vlog more in 2018 because I love looking back at vlogs and seeing all the fun times I had, I guess that's also why I take so many pictures.
Anyway, that was my year. Kind of crazy and all over the place but at the same time things seemed to all flow well for me. Like I said I can only hope my 2018 is as good as my 2017 if not better. I guess we see what happens. But I'm looking forward to it, and I can't wait to share it with you guys in a similar post next year! :)
~ Courtney x