Book Review: The Outsiders by S.E Hinton

Title: The Outsiders

Author: S.E Hinton

Publisher: Penguin Random House LLC

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis

The Outsiders is about two weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy. The novel tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles with right and wrong in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider. According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for “social”) has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he’s always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers–until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy’s skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser


Review

I can’t stress how much I love this book. This is the sort of novel that takes you into another universe and you completely lose track that you’re reading (I read this in a day and just couldn’t put it down!). As a reader you immediately feel an immense amount of pathos for the ‘greasers’ and fall in love with each character. S.E Hinton shows the injustice of prejudices and stereotypes that burden on lower class individuals but also shows that the competing gangs, Socs (short for society) and greasers, share loyalty and compassion within their groups. The moral message is if society focused on similarities in one another rather than differences, everyone would get along better.

It shows the struggles that all of them suffer in, like domestic abuse, poverty, sleeping rough and being a young carer, or from the Soc’s point of view, having too much responsibility, stress and pressure. The brotherly love of Sodapop, Ponyboy and Darry makes my heart melt, as well as the protection over one another in the gang, it is honestly the nicest thing to read and made me smile stupidly (maybe a tear or two). The treatment they got for simply being poor as well as the unfortunate consequences of constant misery and abuse, like death, crime and disputes, was eye-opening. Due to the fact they consider themselves as ‘outsiders’, they accepted their oppression in society and fighting was the only way they could retaliate, it takes characters like Ponyboy, Johnny and Randy to leave the vicious cycle of violence against each other. Together they realise “[they] saw the same sunset” and that the ‘greasers’ and the ‘Socs’ are just people and they disregard labels put on them.

If you haven’t read the novel yet, get to it! It has an amazing moral. Every page you flick through makes you think and feel, until the last turn and you don’t want it to be over.


If you’re interested in buying the book ‘The Outsiders’ by S.E Hinton, you can click the link here!


Banana Loaf Recipe

I know I’m late on the trend but over the weekend I made a banana loaf for the first time. It was really quick and easy and (trying not to sound completely big-headed) delicious! My dad is a big lover of banana bread, so he was very happy my next baking experiment was this.

Ingredients

140g butter, softened, plus a little more to butter sides of the tin

140g caster sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

140g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 ripe bananas, mashed (our bananas weren’t fully ripe, so we put them in the microwave under kitchen paper and thankfully they came out very brown and mushy)

50g icing sugar

dried banana chips for decoration

optional: raisons for decoration

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4
  1. Butter a 2lb loaf tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment
  1. Cream 140g softened butter and 140g caster sugar until light and fluffy. Then, slowly add two beaten large eggs with a small amount of flour (NOT ALL FLOUR)
  1. Fold in the remaining flour, 1tsp baking powder and the 2 mashed bananas
  1. Pour it into the tin and bake for about 35 mins until the skewer (or a metal knife if you don’t have a skewer) comes out clean.
  1. Let it cool for 10 mins, then remove to a wire rack.
  1. Mix 50g of icing sugar with 2-3 tsp water to make it runny.
  1. Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake and decorate with some banana chips (and raisons)

This will be a blog post I’ll keep going back to : )

Thanks for reading!

Bye x

Morning Routine Ideas

I can definitely say I’m a morning person, I normally wake up at around 6:30. I like to have a slow, long routine and have those few hours on my own. As I am still having a full day of work from home, I use the morning as my relaxing time and depending on the day, these are some things I do…

“Every morning you have two choices. Continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them”

  1. Read
  2. Journal
  3. Write a to-do list
  4. Learn a language (every morning I sit down with the Duolingo app and learn French)
  5. Make bed
  6. Tidy up space for the day
  7. Open curtains
  8. Open windows
  9. Morning skin care routine – wash face, cleanse, moisturise etc
  10. Go outside and breath in the fresh air
  11. Exercise – go on a walk, go on a run or do a home work out
  12. Drink a lot of water to rehydrate your body after sleep
  13. Blog! – this is the time that I write all my blog posts and it is such a productive but relaxing hobby to do in the morning
  14. Have a cup of tea or coffee
  15. Make yourself breakfast and enjoy it. Actually sit down and take your time to eat it!
  16. Connect with friends and family – send a good morning text or have breakfast with them over a video call
  17. Get dressed – when I know I have a long to do list, I wear clothes that I’d normally wear to Sixth Form to make sure I’m productive but mostly I am living in joggers and sweatshirts to be comfortable for the day.
  18. Make a list of three goals for the day
  19. Set yourself up for work – after breakfast, I set up my work space with my laptop, a tea or coffee, and get all my notes and papers that I’ll need. I try to avoid doing anything else on my desk but work, so when I sit down my body knows it’s time to get going!

I can honestly say that having the morning to myself helps me organise my 24 hours and calm any stresses or anxieties that I have. It gives me a few extra hours to be productive whilst people are asleep.

Bye x

Weekly Challenges

As we have lots of time on our hands, we might as well make it a bit more interesting. These challenges will push you out of your comfort zone and you might learn something new!

  1. No spend week
  2. Reading week
  3. Sleep by 11 p.m. week
  4. No alcohol week
  5. No TV week
  6. Floss and mouthwash every morning/night week
  7. No phone week
  8. No TV week
  9. Journalling week
  10. Exercise week
  11. Take a 20 minute walk everyday for a week
  12. Self-care week
  13. Meditation week
  14. Spend an hour with friends or family (virtually too) week
  15. Try a new craft week
  16. Learn something new week

(doesn’t the word ‘week’ look like gibberish because I wrote it so much aha)

If you don’t want to do it for a week, maybe try it for a day and see how it goes!

Enjoy! Bye x

Acts of Kindness To Do From Home

As we feel far away from everyone, we need to take part in little acts of kindness to cheer people up and make sure they still feel connected. With the ambiguity of not knowing when all this will end, we must urge the little things in life that boost-up a day’s mood for yourself and others.

Everyone is experiencing this together and we must show that no one is alone.


“And like the moon, we must go through phases of emptiness to feel full again”

  1. Send someone flowers

Flower deliveries are still going on! Perfect for people missing the fresh air and smell of summer flowers. This will create a happy, colourful atmosphere in the home, a perfect reminder to know you are loved.

Bloom & Wild

2. FaceTime and Zoom Calls

Bring the pub quizzes to you! Have weekly quiz nights with some drinks, friends and family. A perfect way to catch up and have an almost “normal” night.

Do some surprise calls to make someones day. Go through all the emotions, cry and laugh, and forget about your troubles for a bit.

3. Deliver some baked treats

Bake and bake and bake! Keep yourself busy by trying out new recipes and of course the best part of baking is you will always have a treat in your cupboard. Deliver your goods to friends and family onto their doorstep and listen to their love of them over the phone.

4. Send a letter

A hand-written letter is the best way to say ‘I’m thinking of you’. It’s more than a text on a phone, it takes effort to write a letter and the receiving person can feel the love that goes into it.

You can get creative by adding pressed flowers, drawings or some seeds to plant!

5. Helping out your neighbour

If your neighbour is struggling in any way, to get to the shops or feeling lonely, offer to do anything that will make their life just a little easier. Even if it is a chat on the phone every so often, it will still make someones day.

I want to know what you are doing to show acts of kindness during Quarantine?

Self Care Ideas

@lilygracemelton

In our current situation, we need to take care of ourselves mentally and physically. It has been a challenge for everyone, so here is a list of self-care ideas to help.

  1. Go for walk (if you’re allowed to go on a walk, depending on what country you’re in)
  2. Take a long bubble bath
  3. Try some yoga (on youtube or apps)
  4. Bake some treats for yourself
  5. Watch your favourite movie (i’m currently going through all the Harry Potter movies)
  6. Watch your favourite TV show
  7. Read a book or listen to an audiobook
  8. Journal, journal, journal
  9. Have a solo party with your favourite tunes
  10. Meditate (I’m using the Calm app)
  11. Put on a face mask
  12. Try some adult colouring
  13. Take a nap (but only for 30mins or you’ll wake up even more tired!)
  14. Listen to relaxing music
  15. Get cosy under a blanket
  16. Drink some water (you probably need it!)
  17. Light a candle
  18. Diffuse essential oils
  19. Stretch
  20. Make sure you get at least 8 hours sleep
  21. Tidy up your space to help you think straight
  22. Wash your sheets, so you can crawl into a clean, fresh bed
  23. Do some gardening, you can buy some seeds online or if you live in England garden centres are currently open
  24. Try embroidery or sewing

I’ve only recommended self-care ideas that I have personally used and loved. If there are any you would like me to add, message me and I will definitely try it out!

I hope you are all happy and healthy x

What To Do With Empty Notebooks

Here are some journal ideas that fills those blank notebooks that are sitting collecting dust on your bookshelf or in your draw. Don’t deny it! These ideas help organise daily life or future ambitions and is perfect to start off your day successfully or to fall asleep happily.

  1. a to-do list
  2. a quote a day
  3. vision or mood boards
  4. step-by-step ways to reach your goals
  5. favourite songs this week
  6. personal diary
  7. affirmations
  8. travel journal
  9. gratitude journal
  10. fitness tracker
  11. diet or calorie tracker
  12. a bucket list
  13. an address book
  14. password book
  15. habit tracker
  16. mind maps
  17. reading journal
  18. books to read
  19. writing or novel ideas
  20. blog post planner
  21. movie or tv shows to watch
  22. dream journal
  23. scrapbook
  24. revision daily schedule
  25. bullet journal

Hope you enjoyed! Bye x

: )

June’s Novel Picks

Hello! For June I have two books that I have had my eye on for a while. These books are completely different in every aspect, however, show the brutality of discrimination in social class and gender. (Perfect for a novel comparison essay!). They are…

Ignore the scruffy nail polish!

Hard Times by Charles Dickens

– summary by Goodreads

“My satire is against those who see figures and averages, and nothing else,” proclaimed Charles Dickens in explaining the theme of this classic novel. Published in 1854, the story concerns one Thomas Gradgrind, a “fanatic of the demonstrable fact,” who raises his children, Tom and Louisa, in a stifling and arid atmosphere of grim practicality.

Without a moral compass to guide them, the children sink into lives of desperation and despair, played out against the grim background of Coketown, a wretched community shadowed by an industrial behemoth. Louisa falls into a loveless marriage with Josiah Bouderby, a vulgar banker, while the unscrupulous Tom, totally lacking in principle, becomes a thief who frames an innocent man for his crime. Witnessing the degradation and downfall of his children, Gradgrind realizes that his own misguided principles have ruined their lives.

Considered Dickens’ harshest indictment of mid-19th-century industrial practices and their dehumanizing effects, this novel offers a fascinating tapestry of Victorian life, filled with the richness of detail, brilliant characterization, and passionate social concern that typify the novelist’s finest creations.

Of Dickens’ work, the eminent Victorian critic John Ruskin had this to say: “He is entirely right in his main drift and purpose in every book he has written; and all of them, but especially Hard Times, should be studied with close and earnest care by persons interested in social questions.”

A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks

– Summary by Goodreads

A powerful contemporary novel set in London from a master of literary fiction.

London, the week before Christmas, 2007. Over seven days we follow the lives of seven major characters: a hedge fund manager trying to bring off the biggest trade of his career; a professional footballer recently arrived from Poland; a young lawyer with little work and too much time to speculate; a student who has been led astray by Islamist theory; a hack book-reviewer; a schoolboy hooked on skunk and reality TV; and a Tube train driver whose Circle Line train joins these and countless other lives together in a daily loop.

With daring skill, the novel pieces together the complex patterns and crossings of modern urban life. Greed, the dehumanising effects of the electronic age and the fragmentation of society are some of the themes dealt with in this savagely humorous book. The writing on the wall appears in letters ten feet high, but the characters refuse to see it — and party on as though tomorrow is a dream.

Sebastian Faulks probes not only the self-deceptions of this intensely realised group of people, but their hopes and loves as well. As the novel moves to its gripping climax, they are forced, one by one, to confront the true nature of the world they inhabit

Podcasts to Listen to

I know I am months or even years behind but only recently have I fallen in love with podcasts. I listen to them to go to sleep and while I do my morning routine to get my brain ticking. (Next job is to get an audiobook!) Here are some of my favourite podcasts right now:

  1. Shagged, Married, Annoyed!
  2. Women’s Hour
  3. Harry Potter At Home
  4. Everyday Positivity
  5. TED Talks Daily
  6. Oprah’s Supersoul Conversations
  7. Stuff You Should Know
  8. My Favourite Murder
  9. Crime Junkie
  10. How I built this
  11. Recovering From Reality
  12. Thick and Thin w/ Katy Bellotte
  13. Casefile
  14. Myths and Legends
  15. Coffee House Shots
  16. Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories
  17. The Tony Robbins Podcast

I think I got carried away! You’ll definitely find a love for a podcast from that list. They are all so different form each other, talking about crimes and conspiracies to a normal life of a husband and wife. I used to think I would never like podcasts but there are so many genres and topics out there that I never knew existed and now love.

TV Shows on Netflix to Watch During Lockdown

I was looking through the TV shows that I love or have watched on repeat for years! And the list kept growing and growing, it scared me to realise how many programmes I have actually watched and fell in love with! But, I chose all my favourite series, old and new, that have never gotten boring as episodes went on.


Series to Get You Through Lockdown

  • Friends (of course!)
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Gavin & Stacey
  • Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
  • Full House
  • Gossip Girl
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • The Vampire Diaries
  • Peaky Blinders
  • The Umbrella Academy
  • Stranger Things
  • How To Get Away With Murder
  • Never Have I Ever
  • The Stranger
  • Sex Education
  • After Life
  • Unorthodox