One for One | TOMS Shoes

One for One, that’s what Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS wanted to realize when he founded TOMS in 2006. TOMS is a company known for selling shoes and matching every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for a child in need. TOMS is now also selling glasses and doing other amazing work to improve children’s education, health and local economies all around the world.

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So where does that leave me? I bought a pair of shoes this past weekend at a local shoe store. Let’s rephrase that. I finally bought my own pair of TOMS shoes. Not only do I love the TOMS shoe design, I think the One for One concept it brilliant. It’s a practical and fun way to help out in a world where basic items like shoes and glasses aren’t available for everyone.

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Instead of donating to a good cause (which is also a great way to help out) you can buy yourself an awesome pair of TOMS and help out a child in need at the same time. It’s easy and it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Also, don’t you just love these shoes? I can’t believe how awesome they are!

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You’ve probably figured it out by now, but I’m extremely excited about my new shoes. If you’re interested in the One for One concept or if you’d like to buy shoes yourself, check out the website right here!

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Catie’s Kitchen: Holiday Meals Pt. 1

One of the most exciting things about going on vacation is trying out local food. In my case preparing scandinavian meals in Sweden. I took a picture of every dinner I ate whilst on vacation for two weeks. Whether you need some inspiration, you’re interested in Swedish food or you’re just nosy and curious about my eating habits.. this blogpost is just for you!

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Fresh mackerel with peper and garlic, fried onion rings, rösti and a cucumber, tomato and olive salad on the side.

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All I can say is.. mozarella sticks! We paired the mozarella sticks with some delicious potato gratin. To add some vitamins there is a salad containing cucumber, cherry tomatoes, green bell pepper, olives and some soft boiled egg.

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Sometimes all you need is an easy meal. We ate some tomato ravioli with shrimp and paprika tomato pasta sauce.

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This is de Dagens Lunch that I mentioned in my last blogpost. A typical Swedish meal with salmon, shrimp, potatoes, salad, fresh bread with butter, watermelon and a dille sauce.

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I love corn! This easy meal is made up of corn, fresh mackarel, some white beans (didn’t really like those) and some rösti.

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And finally some small baked potatos, a salad made with cucumber, yellow bell pepper, cherry tomato and dressing. A wonderful spicy sausage on the side. The red sauce that is in some pictures is a chili sauce we found in the supermarket.

That’s it! I’m not saying these are the most balanced, healthy meals, but I enjoyed each and every one of them! Part two of this series is coming your way soon!

Why Sweden is Awesome

I’m back! You probably didn’t know I was gone, because my lovely brother posted the last two blogposts I had written before I went on vacation. Nevertheless, I’m back and I have a lot of stories to share with you! The last two weeks I spent on the island Öland in Southern Sweden. My family and I rented a cottage from a friendly couple and we explored the island and area by car.

Some people are surprised when I tell them I went on vacation to Sweden. What can you do there? Isn’t it boring? There is no sun there, right? So here is a blogpost about two sunny weeks on a beautiful island, proving them wrong!

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Let’s start with me. Here I am standing in front of the limestone rocks that cover some of the coast of Öland. It’s called Byrum Raukar and the limestone is truly incredible to see. They’re up to 4 meters high and give the coast a spectacular look.

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The biggest town on the island is called Borgholm. It’s a pretty town with a harbor, quite a few shops, a beach and it’s also the place where the royal family has a summer house (Solliden). Near to Solliden you can find an enormous ‘ruin’ of a castle called Borgholm Slot. This is the courtyard inside.

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Scandinavian food. That’s one of the reasons why I love Sweden so much. What you see on the picture is called a Dagens Lunch. It’s a lunch that’s different every day of the week. For about 130 SEK we ate from a buffet and as you can see the plate is filled with potatoes, bread, salmon, shrimps, salad and lovely watermelon. Oh, and don’t forget about the dille sauce!

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The sunsets on the island were gorgeous. I took this photo at a little harbor near our cottage. The sea, sky and surrounding nature were extremely calm, relaxing and beautiful. We often walked to this harbor in the evening, stunned by its beauty every time.

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This isn’t a strange sighting when you’re in Sweden. Most of the coast is covered in rocks and people who visit often make small towers like on the photo. I’ve heard that they’re supposed to bring luck, but even though I’m not superstitious I made my own tower multiple times. Who knows, maybe it’ll give me some luck anyway!

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You might be surprised by this photo, but no this isn’t edited and yes this really is Sweden. Blue sky, clear water, white sand and a lot of sun.

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Standing on top of the lighthouse in the north of Öland, called Långe Erik, gave me this amazing view of the northern part of the island. You can see the blue water, lots of trees and the gorgeous land of Sweden!

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Our first and only trip to the mainland had as destination Kalmar. Kalmar is a big(ger) city with a great center, lots of shops and also this beautiful castle. We joined an English guided tour and learned a lot about the history of both the castle and the area.

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Sitting in a small train I spotted some deer. Here’s the best photo I took. Wildlife is everywhere in Sweden, especially on the main land.

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Just a photo of ice cream right? No it’s not! The two ice cream cones on the right are filled with Lakrits ice cream. Lakrits is an ingredient that the Swedish people love. It’s everywhere, in everything and it’s awesome. Lakrits is either the same or the ingredient for liquorice. You either love it or you hate it!

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And last but not least is a photo of the Shipwreck on the coast in the Trollskogen forest. This wreck is of the three masted schooner called Swiks and has been laying here since 1926. It’s a weird and yet beautiful sight to see. The surrounding forrest, coast and sea are also beautiful and worth visiting.

Two weeks of Sweden wasn’t enough. I definitely need to come back again and experience more of the Swedish lifestyle. Have you ever been to Scandinavia? Would you consider going after seeing these photos? 

Catie’s Kitchen: Green Morning Juice

My breakfast is almost always made up of fruit (it’s the only way for me to get through the morning without having to think much!). I like starting my day of with a light and healthy breakfast, because it gives me a great foundation for the day and is beneficial to my health and energy. Since a couple of months I’ve been using my juicer to make juices during the day and I love it! Now that I’m home for summer vacation I’ve taken the time to make a juice every morning for breakfast.

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I know there are a lot of different opinions about juicers, juicing and the benefits of the juice, but for me this is what works and this is what I like to drink. Juicing gives me the opportunity to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables in one day that otherwise would be a lot to consume. Instead of the thick(er) mixture you get when using a blender, juicing will give you a smooth and thin drink that’s refreshing and easy to drink. I’ve tried a lot of different ingredients, usually what I have laying around, and I’d like to share one of my favorites with you in this blogpost. I guess this juice can also be made with a blender, but the consistency will slightly differ.

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Ingredients (for one mason jar):

- half of a cucumber
– 1 sweet apple
– 1 kiwi
– 1 nectarine
– half of a lemon

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Wash the ingredients. Cut the fruits and vegetables as needed for your juicer. I peel the kiwi and cut the nectarine and apple into smaller pieces so they fit better in the juicer. Get your juicer ready and juice! There’s no particular order this needs to happen in, but I start with the cucumber and end by squeezing a bit of lemon juice in there! Serve your juice in a big glass and don’t forget to stir every now and then.

That’s it, you’ve just made your own green morning juice! If you recreate this, send a picture to me and tag me @catiemccartneyblog  #catieskitchen

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Facing Fears

I’ve been haunted by something for years and years now. It’s been a recurring thing in my life, something that would creep up on me when I was least expecting it. Something that would make me totally and utterly scared, fill me with such a panic that I froze with angst. I’ve always feared this particular thing, but it had gotten particularly worse in my teenage years. With other, I thought more important, things going on in my life I survived by living like it didn’t exist, like there was no problem. I couldn’t think, talk or hear someone talk about it. When I saw something that made me remember my fear I felt sick and panicked. It even went as far that I couldn’t hear anyone say the word. Dentist. Tandarts. Yes, I had a severe phobia of the dentist. 

The good news is, I’m doing better, the bad news is, I let it control me for a lot of years. So why am I sharing this with you? You might not have a problem with the dentist at all. You might even like it (are there people out there who enjoy it?). That’s not why I’m writing about this, it’s because everyone has fears, whether it be big or small, important or not. Fear is human, it’s also needed and important to feel fear. Fear helps us humans survive. It’s a way to recognize things that could endanger us. However, fears that are taking over your life or harming you in whatever way, are not OK. 

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Just to make it clear to you, I know loads of people dislike going to the dentist, they might even feel nervous or skip an appointment every now and then. Not saying that I’m something special, but I had gone past that stage of being scared, it had gotten to a whole other level. As I said I couldn’t talk about it, think about it, I had panic attacks about it, I dreamed about it (let’s call that a nightmare) and even worse.. I had stopped going to my appointments all together. My mom, supportive that she is, had talked to me about it for the last year and tried making me appointments, but every time I couldn’t go through with it, for whatever reason. 

I have had terrible experiences at the dentist. The dentist itself is a friendly and skilled guy. I’ve been going to him since I was young and he knows me and my family well. It’s the procedures that made me scared in the first place. My sensitivity for sound, smells and pain made it worse. I couldn’t handle the feeling and experience, I remember (almost) fainting one time. I had panic attacks (picture me sobbing hysterically in the room) when I tried to go. The dentist recognized I had a problem. I had a phobia.

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And then it was enough. I needed to go. My mom had made an appointment for herself and I knew about it. It was right before a vacation and I had some discomfort in my mouth and felt so worried about it. So I made myself go to her appointment (accompanied by my mom). Tip: go with someone you trust. The dentist knew about my fear (we called him before I came) and took his time explaining everything. He also didn’t use any tools except a mirror. Turned out I had two cavities. That could be fixed. Long story short. One cavity turned out to be much worse. I had inflammation under my tooth. It needed to go. It took a handful of appointments to get everything fixed. He described some drugs to make me calm and less worried, which helped a lot. I got through the process and each time had more courage to keep coming back. And the thing is, my fear became less and less.

Things that helped me:

talking about it with someone

making a plan and sticking to it (face your fears)

have someone there to support you

having the dentist know about it

taking some drugs the first couple of times

writing down my thoughts and feelings

doing it multiple times 

accepting that you’re scared 

It’ll be something that I’ll need to work on for the rest of my life and no I’ll never like going to the dentist. As long as I’m okay with going to my appointments once or twice a year, having a dentist that supports me and is careful, I’ll be okay. So don’t ever think there’s no hope. Never ever give up, because there’s always something you can do, there’s always hope. Don’t feel like you have to conquer your fears alone; find someone that understands and will help you. Fear is a part of life, but it’s not supposed to be consuming your life. When you feel ready to tackle it, go for it! I believe in you! 

Have you conquered any fears? Or are you still struggling with it?

200 Blog Followers!

It never was and it never will be about the numbers, about how many followers I have. I can say that because I started this blog because I love writing, I love sharing my life and I have loads and loads of creative ideas that I needed an outlet for. However, when I reached two hundred followers yesterday my heart skipped a beat. I love that there are 200 of you, my readers, who are following what I write and what I do on this blog. So for this day it is about the numbers, about the 200 of you who have subscribed to this blog and everyone who is reading it!

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I am truly grateful for each and every one of you out there who has been reading my blog! I started in August 2012 and almost two years later I am still writing, still loving it (maybe even more) and I am so excited for the journey that’s ahead!

So, thanks. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much!

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How I make most of my Summer

It’s summer, it’s warm outside, I’m home for summer vacation and there are a lot of things I have the time and space for now that I’m home from school. Since I don’t have to worry about things like doing homework, being on time and getting things done I’m using that time for different activities. Things that you might like to do as well. Here are five summer-y things I like (to do).

Read a lot of books
I’ve recently dedicated an entire blogpost to the books I bought for summer. You can read that here if you haven’t already. I’ve secretly added some more books to that collection since I was going through them on such a high speed that it wouldn’t last me very long. The book I’m reading now is called The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-Banks by Emily Lockhart. It’s set in a boarding school and it’s witty, interesting, lighthearted and sometimes very philosophical. It’s a perfect book for summer reading. Why not keep your brain in check whilst relaxing outside in the sun with a book?!

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Drink a lot of water
Drinking water is good for you, that’s what everyone says and everyone knows. It’s also easier said than done for me, because even though I’m always thirsty I can’t seem to make myself drink lots of water. The solution for me? Don’t buy any juices (what you don’t have you can’t drink), add fruits like lemon and lime to you water, fill a pitcher with the amount of water you’d like to drink during that day and start drinking until you’re finished that evening. It’s working for me and (I know how cliché this sounds) I’m actually seeing the effects of drinking 1,5 to 2L of water on my skin, hair and energy level. You can do it!

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Watch movies
I’d describe myself as a TV show kind of girl, not really a movie kind of person (although I love them). During the school year I can’t seem to make time to watch a movie the whole way through. Since I’m more relaxed now and feel like I have the time to watch whatever I want to I’m watching movies. The last movie I watched is called Frozen, because everyone has been talking about it! Coming from a girl who hardly ever watches Dinsey movies or animated movies for that matter, I thought it was funny and cleverly made!

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Spend time outside
Maybe it’s blazing hot, maybe you don’t feel like it, but make yourself spend time outside. Feel the summers breeze through your hair, the sun on your skin and the smells in the air. Take a book and read in the shade, go on a bike ride when it’s cool outside, spend time swimming or laying on the beach and most of all enjoy the beauty of nature. My favorite is eating breakfast or dinner outside in the garden with my family.

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Writing and journaling
You don’t have to start a blog (although, why not, if you’ve been thinking about it, this is a perfect time!) but maybe you’ve always wanted to start a journal, or maybe you have some great ideas or memories that you’d like to remember. Go get yourself a journal or notebook and start writing away. Journaling isn’t only a great way for remembering things, it’s also a way to let go of things that are filling up your head. My tip for writing is, write like nobody is ever going to read it. Write with your heart and emotions and worry about the flow or grammar later if you ever need to. Have fun with it! You can even make a summer journal and add photo’s, movie tickets and drawings to it.

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Trying new food
Whether you’re on vacation and there’s something on the menu you’ve never tried before, or you’re at home making dinner for the family. Go outside of your comfort zone this summer, try new ingredients, new items and new food. Maybe your local (farmers) market will have some ingredients you’ve never tried. Search for new recipes like I did yesterday and prepare yourself something delicious. It’s all about the fun of trying! I made portobello mushrooms stuffed with goat’s cheese, green pesto and pine nuts baked in the oven. It. Was. Delicious. Definitely trying the mushrooms again!

Enjoy the summer, wherever you are in the world!

 

Catie’s Kitchen: Sweet potatoes, Fish & Samphire

I promised my parents one day that I would cook dinner. This is something I often do during the weekends or when I’m home for a break. I love cooking in their big, clean kitchen, with all the right utensils and my moms support if I need it. I searched the web for a recipe that I’d like to try and I came across this one with a sweet potato. Since we live in a rural, coastal area, samphire is locally grown here. After a mid day hike we picked up some samphire from our local farm and I decided to add this to the recipe. It ended up being this: roasted sweet potato with filling, a Dutch kind of cod coated with dough (we call it ‘Lekkerbek’ which means someone who loves refined food) and samphire. 

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Roasted sweet potatoes (3 persons)

- 3 big sweet potatoes

- (olive) oil

- salt and pepper

- goats cheese (as much as you’d like)

- a couple of spring onions (I used about 5)

- a couple of hands of rucola

- two big tomatoes

The recipe didn’t ask for this but, I also added some fresh chive from our vegetable garden. 

Get out your baking dish and grease it with some oil. Wash the potatoes and coat them in the oil as well. Poke some holes in each potato with a fork. Put the potatoes in the baking dish and in the oven for about 45-55 minutes at 200 degrees celsius (392 fahrenheit). Check in on them every now and then and poke them with a fork to check if they’re getting any softer. They’re ready when they’re soft and squishy. 

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When the potatoes are in the oven you can start on the filling. Crumble your cheese and put it in a bowl. Cut the spring onions, after washing them, and add them to the cheese. Also add your washed and chopped chives and start cutting your tomatoes. Get rid of the seeds and insides and cut the outer parts into small cubes. Add everything to the mixture and finish it off with some pepper and salt. 

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Cod
I used the special Dutch kind called ‘Lekkerbekje’. It’s the kind of fish you’d use for fish and chips if you were British, but any kind of white fish, like cod, would do. I greased a baking dish with oil and put two big pieces of fish in to the dish. I put them in the oven with the potatoes on the same heat for about 10-15 minutes. You’ll see the fish turn a golden brown when it’s finished.

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Samphire (3 person)
- 150 gram samphire

I used the samphire as a side dish, therefore 150 grams will do. Rinse the samphire with some water. Put some water in a bowl and let it get to a boil. When it boils add the samphire for about 10 minutes. When it’s done get rid of the water and you’re ready.

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Finishing touches
I added a handful of rucola to each plate and put the potato on top. Cut down the middle of the potato and add the cheese and tomato mixture. Finish the plate with the samphire and cod and you’re ready to eat!

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Enjoy your meal! Tag me on Instagram and Twitter #catieskitchen @catiemccartneyblog

Catie’s Kitchen: Cheese Pie (Savory Pie)

Since you all seemed to love my recent recipe in the last Catie’s Kitchen I thought I’d share another one of my favorite recipes. This one entered our family a lot of years ago. I remember my mom making this for the first time and we all instantly loved it. It has been one of those recipes that we keep getting back to, it’s been there during bad times and good times. Okay, so if that wasn’t cheesy enough for you, let’s get on with baking this cheese pie, or as we say in Dutch „kaastaart”. 

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Ingrediënts:

- 4 pieces of puff pastry (or enough to cover a baking dish)

- 4 eggs

- some pepper

- cheese slices (I used 7 slices)

- some butter, oil or non-stick spray

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Preheat your oven to 170ºC  (338ºF). Get out your baking dish and grease it however you like. This will help you get the pie out of the dish after baking it. Cover the bottom of the dish with puff pastry and make sure to create a little side as well. Use a knife to make some cuts in the puff pastry as shown on the photo. 

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Lay the slices of cheese on top of the puff pastry and cover the whole baking dish. I used about 7 big slices, but you can you as many as you’d like. More cheese is better in my opinion. Mix the four eggs and some pepper together and add the mixture to the baking dish. Spread it evenly over the cheese.   

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That’s it! Put your baking dish in the oven for 30 minutes at 170 degrees celcius. When the top has a golden color your pie is finished. This cheese pie can be eaten hot or cold, it’s truly delicious either way! You can store the leftovers in the fridge if there are any!

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Have a nice meal! Be sure to use the #catieskitchen if you recreate this recipe!

Catie’s Bookshelf: Summer of 2014

I can hear you all say “Catie, what are you reading this summer?” Well, what a coincidence. In this blogpost I’m sharing the books I’ve bought for this summer. I won’t bore you with summaries that you can find anywhere on the internet. I’m just sharing the books I’ve ordered (some haven’t arrived yet, that’s why they’re not on the photo’s) and why I want to read them. Maybe you’ll like some of them and can read them with me! Together I spend 57 euro’s on these books and I bought them online. Let’s start with this first edition of Catie’s Bookshelf!

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Robyn Schneider – Severed heads, broken hearts
I’ve never read anything from this author but I’ve heard so much about it. This book has a different title nowadays. It’s called ‚The beginning of everything’. I’ve bought it with the old title because it was cheaper and it’s the same story. I love books that revolve about changes, tragedies or events and I find it enjoyable to read books that take place in a school setting.

Emily Lockhart – We were liars
The title sucked me in to buying this one. And because I’ve been recommended it so many times. It’s quite a well known book and it seems intriguing. Whenever there’s a mystery or something you don’t know as a reader I feel like I need to read this book to figure out what’s going on. Also, it’s about privileged kids on a private island. I love a setting like that.

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Rainbow Rowell – Eleanor & Park
I couldn’t help myself, so I’ve already read this one. This one is an easy read, it has two main characters and it’s a love story. Yes, it’s about teenage love, yes it takes place in 1986 and no it’s definitely not cliché. I found myself sucked into this story, the characters grew on me and I was so surprised by the plot twist. Defenitely recommend this one. Also, don’t be scared by the cursing in the first few pages, it’ll change.

Beth Revis – Across the Universe
Fantasy, an amazing book cover and a mystery story. What else could I ask for? I bought this because I heard essiebutton on YouTube talk about it. It’s about space but it’s not a space-kind-of-book, apparently. I’m really excited to read this.

Emily Lockhart – The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-Banks
Since I bought ‘we were liars’ from the same author and I saw great reviews on this book as well, I thought I’d give it a try. It’s another school setting, but this time my favorite kind to read about: boarding school. It’s about growing up and making choices. Also, John Green (author and Youtuber) recommended it.

Sharon Creech – Bloomability
This might be an easy read and maybe I’m too old for this book (technically). Although, it’s for ‘young adults’ and I’m still young right? I wanted to read this one because it’s another boarding school book (see the obsession?) and I’d like to have one easy read for the summer. A book you can take to the beach or read before you go to bed. I think this’ll be great.

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E.M Froster – The Machine Stops
I found this short story by accident when I was searching for books with a futuristic theme. I love thinking about the future, about mankind and technology. I’m not sure I can handle the old fashioned English (this was published in 1909) but I’ll definitely give it a try. It’s about humans being dependent on technology.

That’s it for this summer! What are you reading? And what do you recommend?