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Project Life Series: Inspiration and community


TIME TO BE INSPIRED! If you have never heard of Project Life, I will forgive you. It's really just blossoming at the moment as the product and style has finally made its way over from the US to the rest of the world! I found out about Project Life last year via Instagram while trying to hunt down cute stationery. If you search the #ProjectLife tag you will find hundreds of people sharing their memories and creative passion for scrap booking. Look a little further, and you will find brands are now creating products specifically for pocket scrap-booking, with many of them offering subscription services to provide you with monthly themes for your pages.


A selection of my Digital Project Life pages which I use for Weekly Reflections!

I'll look a little further into the supplies available for pocket scrap-booking later in the series but for the purpose of this post I think the following is important:

The set-up price for Project Life isn't cheap. In the UK you'll be laying out about £60 for an album, a set of page protectors and a starter pack of journalling cards from the range - that's without any kind of embellishment, which I find is the best way to start. So, I think it's more than fair to want a bit of insight into what you can do before you take the plunge!

As the first post in this series, I wanted to share with you the people and sites that persuaded me to give Project Life a go - and they are also the people whose style of scrapping I still aspire to achieve myself! (I have a feeling I may need a few more cupboards full of craft materials to get there though!)

Below is a small list of my favourite Project Life bloggers and Instagrammers - I really recommend taking a peek at what they do! I've also listed a couple of great Project Life communities and Pinterest Boards to browse.

BLOGS

INSTAGRAMMERS

Laurarahel
HelloTodayCreate
Fashionadictt
MyDocumentedLife

COMMUNITIES

Studio Calico
Gossamer Blue

PINTEREST

Jessy Christopher
 The Geeky Burrow

Are you feeling inspired?! Next time I'll be taking a look at Project Life Supplies.



Project Life Series: Introduction


HELLO! Welcome to my brand new series; The Project Life Series.

If you follow me on Instagram (@mabismab, btw!) you will know that last year I started scrap-booking using the Becky Higgins Project Life system: a pocket-based layout system into which you can insert journalling cards, photos, postcards and other memories in a simple, fuss-free page.



I have never been a scrap-booker before. I tried quite a few times to get into scrapping with things like Smash Books and other paper-based systems and it just didn't stick. I'm not one for arty layers and textures and thickly glued sheets. My style is more clean lines, white space and grid-friendly. That's why when I picked up Project Life, I didn't look back. A year later, I am on my second album and have found so much inspiration and community around Project Life, I don't think I'll ever leave it!

As Project Life is still relatively new in the UK (we would certainly struggle to obtain any of the new product releases over here if it wasn't for some key importers - more on them later in the series!) I thought I would start a small series about Project Life, and how I use it, to inspire others to take it up who may think scrap-booking isn't for them.

As discussed before, I am personally making conscious efforts to do things "offline" and I really think preserving memories and using the things we create digitally, physically is very important!

Over the next few months, I will release posts on the following things. If there is anything else you would like to know about just let me know, and I hope you enjoy the series!

Project Life Series: Inspiration and community
Project Life Series: Photo editing
Project Life Series: Photo printing
Project Life Series: Supplies
Project Life Series: Tools
Project Life Series: My Project Life


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Mind Games by Teri Terry - review


Title: Mind Games
Author: Teri Terry
Publisher: Hachette
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Available: 5 March 2015
Buy it:  Here


Synopsis

Luna is a Refuser - she doesn't have a Pareco Virtual Reality implant, and she doesn't access virtual worlds via plug-in points either. Ever since the death of her mother, Luna has turned her back on technology and instead cared more for real things, especially her nanna who is often "away with the fairies". So why does she receive an appointment for a prestigious Pareco Test? And how will she keep the real reason she's a Refuser to herself, when everyone will expect her to plug in?

Review

I'll get something out of the way very quickly; this book has more than an echo of Divergent about it - BUT - honestly, you will forgive it for that. While the plot is very reminicent, the characters, their motivations and the world Teri creates are very, very different. Mind Games stands on its own two feet, and can hold its head high.

I enjoyed Mind Games immensely. I instantly liked Luna, and was eager to follow her through the path laid out in front of her - real or otherwise! The virtual reality worlds came across really well and the set-up of the sci-fi parts of the plot were easy to follow and imagine.

What I liked most about Mind Games was the sort-of-split half way, which allowed the reader to go back and see things - characters, places and choices - again through a different, more naive point of view. I found myself calling out "NO!" to the page when Luna made a choice in the second half that only the reader knew was a bad one! ha!

Unfortunately I found the ending to be a little messy after such a taught storyline leading up to it. It all passed by very quickly in a whirlwind of real and unreal realities. I might go back and re-read the end a bit slower, as perhaps my eagerness to know how it ended impacted the finale.
 
Overall

Mind Games is hugely fun and fast paced. I think it got a bit lost in its own ending, which had me leaving the book a little confused, but overall I would highly recommend this book to fans of tech-fuelled dystopia.

Score
 

★★

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The Death House by Sarah Pinborough - review

Toby's life was perfectly normal... until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test."  

Title: The Death House
Author: Sarah Pinborough
Publisher: Orion
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Available: 26 February 2015
Buy it:  Here


Synopsis

Toby tested positive for the "Defective" gene, and now lives in The Death House with other Defective kids, waiting out their days together under the scrutiny of Matron and her emotionally devoid nurses who are looking for any change or sickness. Sick kids disappear in the night and never return. Determined not to be one of them, Toby claims the nights for himself. That is until the arrival of Clara...

Review

It has been a long time since I stayed up into the small hours to finish a book. The Death House became one of those few novels that had me commited so intently into its story, I couldn't stop until I knew how it ended. Sleep be damned!

Toby was a brilliant protagonist. He was surly and lustful and rebellious and changeable. He reminded me a lot of Will from His Dark Materials, actually. He was true and honest, with all the nuances of teenage boy about him - good and bad. I'm glad that of all the protagonists we could have had, it was Toby. Torn between responsibility to the younger boys, his own fear of death, his acceptance of a slow decent to the end and his desire to be top dog of his dorm, Toby was such an intricate person, with some brilliant inner struggles. Clare is his complete foil, and they are perfect together.

The story is a wash of subtleties behind its main theme of impending doom. Romantic love, brotherly bonds, maternal love and denial of truth/feelings all make profound dents into the emotional taught-ness of the story, and we are reminded throughout the book that this is a Sarah Pinborough novel by the inclusion of a mermaid theme. It sits so prefectly against the characters, you wonder why more authors don't include mythological allusions.
 
Overall

The Death House is an emotional story that weaves mystery, mythology and friendship seamlessly into its short length. I found The Death House to be a brilliant page-turner and just couldn't put it down. Don't miss this wonderful YA!

Score
 

★★★★

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We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach - review

“The best books, they don't talk about things you never thought about before. They talk about things you'd always thought about, but that you didn't think anyone else had thought about. You read them, and suddenly you're a little bit less alone in the world. "  

Title: We All Looked Up
Author: Tommy Wallach
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK Children's
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Available: 26 March 2015
Buy it:  Here


Synopsis

Ardor is a a comet with a 2/3 probability of crashing into earth. Andy, Anita, Eliza and Peter are bound together in karass, each with their own goals to achieve before the end of the world; Anita wants to break free from her parents and sing, Peter wants a life with meaning, Eliza wants to shake her reputation and Andy just doesn't want to die a virgin. However, some problems are bigger and more immediate than a comet on a collision course.

Review

Oh wow - this book has been an absolute highlight of my year so far. The ensemble of characters, the apocalyptic motivator, the emotion... everything comes together so wonderfully in We All Looked Up, and does so in a way that is both philosophical and exciting.

There wasn't one weak POV, although I feel like I enjoyed Andy's the most - purely because I found his relationship with his "best friend" Bobo so intriguing. It was toxic and bound by blood - quite literally - and male friendship strain just felt so new and refreshing in YA.

Something I found very interesting in We All Looked Up is that no-one's initial reaction to the news of Ardor was immense panic. I liked this take on things, it removed melodrama from the event itself and made way for very effective emotion surrounding relationships, family and existential crisis.

The whole book was a joy from start to finish. I really cannot urge you to read this book enough!

Overall

We All Looked Up is like The Breakfast Club at the end of the world - and it has the content to be just as iconic. Diverse, emotionally varied characters battle a spectrum of teenage conflicts in fast-forward, as Ardor brings their lives into full focus. Very highly recommended!

Score
 

★★★★

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I Am The Cheese and Why I write about books

I thought I would put together a little post to share with you why I write about books for World Book Day. I hope you enjoy it!:



I Am The Cheese and Why I write about books

I suppose that I have a lot to thank author Robert Cormier for. There is a defined, singular moment in my life where I can say I literally felt my attitude towards books take a shift from "I like reading" to "my life would not be the same without books". That moment came while reading the final chapters of I Am The Cheese.

Never before had a book taken me by surprise in such a way. I couldn't believe it; I had just been lied to by these pages for almost a week! And I was the fool! I didn't know books could do this. I was 11 years old, starting to realise I kind of really liked my English class, and had been given the book by the teacher to encourage me outside of curricular reading. I guess I also have a lot to thank that teacher for.

I Am The Cheese started me on my quest to be lied to. I loved having the ground pulled from beneath my feet (in pages!) and I devoured the thriller section of my school library very quickly. Four years later, my GCSE teacher placed Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier in my hands and that was it. Gothic literature was opened up to me and I have never looked back. So, thank you to that teacher, too ;)

Books took a huge role in my college education as I studied English Language and English Literature (more on that here!) and when I left college I began work as a production assistant. There was suddenly a huge void in my existence: I wasn't writing about books anymore! I guess when it comes down to it, that is why Mab is Mab exists; I didn't like my life as much when I wasn't talking about books. I needed it. I was lost without the need to analyze, decode, learn from and form opinions around writing.

Although I write about books for myself, I do hope that my need to do so means something to someone, somewhere. As egotistical as that may be... If just one person picks up a book as a result of this blog, it would make me warm and glow-y inside for quite a while. I hope they do :)




Disclaimer: I was contacted by My Voucher Codes to share my story as part of a World Book Day campaign. All text is my own and I will be entering this post as a competition entry to be featured on their site.

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