Earlier this month I was emailed about the #GeorgeSecretSanta for bloggers and you can bet I jumped right on that. I love gifting things I think people will really enjoy and get a lot of use out of, and who doesn’t like getting gifts? So I found out who I was gifting, creeped on them, spent hours trawling through the George site and finally put together a list of gifts.

After that was sent off, I checked the mail obsessively one day a massive parcel arrived. I admit, I screeched. So what did my secret Santa pick for me?

My Christmas tree is a mish-mash of decorations collected by my family for longer than I’ve been alive, and this jolly little Santa is going to fit right in as a reminder of my secret Santa. He’s so cute with his pink cheeks and nose! Basically, the classic Santa from my childhood. I love it.

If there are two things I love, they are candles and mugs. The candles are decorating my bookcase right now and look festive without being obviously Christmassy. I’d leave them up year-round. And the mug! I collect mugs and remember looking at this one on the site thinking how I’d probably buy it for myself. Secret Santa is an actual mind-reader.

Winter is a chilly time but I’ll be battling that with my new slippers and hot water bottle. Is it weird I’ve never had a hot water bottle before? Clearly I’ve been missing out. This one has it’s own sweater. I’m all for inanimate objects having clothes.

I could also keep warm by having lots of hot baths with this Beauticology kit. This contains bath salts, a loofah, vanilla frosting hand cream, toasted marshmallow body lotion, frosted cranberry body créme and spiced orange body wash. I’m going to smell like a cake.

And probably my favourite presents. This cute as heck pillow and nordic blanket. I’m redecorating my room at the moment and these are going to fit perfectly as my walls are white and my carpet is going to be grey. The blanket is so soft and fuzzy, I’m currently wrapped up in it.

Thank you to my Secret Santa, George at Asda and Talented Talkers for my gifts. They are perfect. You can find all these gifts and more in the George Christmas Shop!

Did you do a Secret Santa this year?

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Books I Want to Buy and Why #5

Here we are at #5! I love this series and I’m actually really pleased I’ve kept it going so long, with another post in my drafts ready to go. I’ve had some really great comments telling me what’s on your books to buy list and what you think of my picks which has been my favourite part of the whole thing. You can see the rest of the series here!

So what made the list this time?

IQ 83 by Arthur Herzog III
Another book where the origin of my interest alludes me. Pretty sure it was Reddit. Either way, this is a book where a virus starts lowering the IQ of everyone infected. A little bit different from the usual zombie infection you see in books!

A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson
If I’ve learnt anything from my Books I Want to Buy and Why series it’s that I really like love stories where the internet is included. Not surprising, since my favourite movie is You’ve Got Mail and I met some of my best friends on the world wide web. This is another of those romance books where the protagonist meets a guy over the internet and falls in love. I’m looking forward to this one.

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
Whenever I mention that I enjoy Charlaine Harris’s work, the name Anne Rice seems to always pop up. But I hadn’t heard of her until I did some research, bad book blogger! Either way I was immediately amazed that I hadn’t, and added The Wolf Gift- the first in her Wolf Gift Chronicles series. Although I should probably finished the Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughn before jumping into another werewolf-world.

Chew, Omnivore Edition, Volume 3 by John Layman
Chew is a hilarious comic book about a man who knows the history of everything he eats just by tasting it. Mouthful of beef? He sees the cow, it’s life, it’s slaughter, and how it was cooked. Bit of a carrot? He sees the field it was grown and how it made it’s way to him. He uses this skill to see how people died, by y’know- having a taste. It’s great. I own the first 2 volumes but the price makes me cringe a bit now I’m a poor student.

Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano
I admit, my knowledge of Transgender issues is limited at best. And I like to educate myself, so a book written by a woman who is transexual feels like the right place to start. As a feminist, I’m fascinated by sexism and the idea of femininity, and I think there is a lot I could learn from Julia Serano.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Another Penguin English Library book. I have so many of these on my wishlist I could probably make 50 of these posts purely of these books, but I thought I’d space them out. I’ve never read The Scarlet Letter, which feels like a book I probably should have read by now. And I’ve watched Easy A enough to know that I’d probably enjoy it.

Coming of Age on Zoloft: How Antidepressants Cheered Us Up, Let Us Down, and Changed Who We Are by Katherine Sharpe
I’ve seen this mentioned a couple of times on blogs, and not just book blogs. Mental health is being taken much more seriously these days and this looks into the way antidepressants are affecting us. I was always interested in this book but since I’m now on Zoloft (the trade name for Setraline), my interest in this book has gone way up.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
John Connolly co-writes one of my favourite series; The Chronicles of the Invaders. And since the third book isn’t due to be released until February 2016, I need something to tide me over. More of John Connolly’s work seems like a safe bet.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

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5 Things I’ve Learnt from the Internet!

On Tuesday I celebrated my blog birthday. It’s been two years since I started Imogen’s Typewriter! And that got me thinking about the internet in general and how much I’ve changed since I started exploring the world wide web and carving out my little corner. So today’s 5 Things post is 5 things I’ve learnt from the internet…

1. Someone will always be smarter!
And that’s cool! I’m not an expert in anything, but from the internet I can learn from people that are. They say if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. The internet is so vast, I don’t think you can ever be the smartest person. There is always someone to learn from. There are always new ways to grow.

2. Sexuality and gender is pretty fluid!
When I got into my teens, I got on the internet and started learning a bit more about gender and sexuality but it’s been in the past couple years that I’ve really paid attention. I think when you grow up in a very closed environment; you live in the same place, you go to the same school, you know the same people, it’s really easy to not challenge the way you think. Now I get irritated by things like gendered kids toys, don’t even get me started on more serious issues.

3. Feminism is awesome!
I wouldn’t have defined myself as a feminist when I was a tween, but after I got on the internet and started learning some harsh realities about the world, I definitely do. And I’m better for it. Feminism isn’t a dirty word and if I see someone use the word feminazi, I roll my eyes so hard my brain hurts. Equality is good. Feminists want to push women up, not drag men down.

4. People lie!
Yeah, this is a generally positive post but people lie on the internet, just like in real life! So you might want to think before plugging your iPod into an onion or putting it in the microwave. I see, and sometimes believe, people on the internet all the time. Most people talking about this stuff believe it too, and it can generally be traced back to a joke.

5. The best people in the world are on the internet!
I’m a little bias on this one as I met three of my best friends in a Walking Dead chatroom about 5 years ago and now I talk to them every day. Obviously take caution, there’s always going to be creeps and weirdos, but if you’re lucky- some of those weirdos might end up being your best friends and a huge part of your life.

What have you learnt from the internet?
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Two Years of Imogen’s Typewriter.

I can’t quite believe Imogen’s Typewriter is two years old. It feels like just yesterday I was debating different blog names with Ashley. And yet it’s been a whole year since my A Year of Imogen’s Typewriter post. It doesn’t quite feel real, but the 24th of November 2013 was when I hit publish on my first post and I haven’t looked back since.

I’ve never felt quite as confident with my blog as I have over the past couple months. I feel like I’ve finally managed to get everything lined up. I’ve been blogging more, I’ve been gaining readers, I’ve been happy with what I’m putting out and I’ve even been scheduling posts way in advance. A post I wrote this morning is scheduled for January 2016!

I’ve definitely moved away from beauty over the past year as I talk more about books, which feels completely natural but sometimes makes me a little sad. I started blogging because of beauty and I’d like to revisit it a little in the next year.

My 5 Things series has helped structure posts that I would have felt really unsure about otherwise. And my Books I Want to Buy and Why series has been one of those posts that I can write without having to take a picture for, which saves a surprising amount of time. Blog Love has finally been revived and I love hearing that people are checking out other blogs I adore because of it.

And I finally bought a custom blog design that should be up soon! Hopefully I can finally get away from this Blogger template nonsense and look a little prettier.

So! I’m going to go eat some celebratory cake and write my next blog post. Thank you to everyone that reads and comments. You make blogging more fun. 
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Book Review: How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake!

Has anyone else been watching The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC? It’s my new favourite show. And if you take the pottery, focus in on the houseboats in the background, add Christmas, then you have just a few of my favourite things that all feature in How To Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake!*

Christmas books have the prettiest covers!

‘Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you’ve found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance’s phone… 

Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve’s boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen. 

But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve’s best friend Daisy know that she isn’t telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve’s boat? 

I really enjoyed this book. It started slowly but I ended up reading for three hours straight to get to the end and find out how it turned out for Eve. It’s weird because I write a character called Eve, and Rosie Blake’s Eve is a little bit like me. She decides to hide from her problems and spend December on a houseboat far from home, but whenever she talks to her ex, she takes no nonsense. If you’re looking for a book with a main character who feels human, How To Stuff Up Christmas will fit the bill.

The writing is very simple but I think it works to it’s advantage. It is, for lack of a better term, chick lit and it’s fluffy and fun for the holiday season. There’s nothing to trip over while you’re reading, but there’s also no beautiful sentences to savour. It’s a win some-lose some kind of situation. But it did make me feel really Christmassy while I read it, there’s scene setting like: “-she had sat on a bench next to the enormous Christmas tree with a hot chocolate, the air smelling of pine needles, her shopping bags around her feet-“ and doesn’t that just sum up December?

The mysteries about Daisy and Greg seemed pretty obvious from the get-go and I spent most of the book feeling smug that I had figured it out, but ended up being wrong on one! Not so smug after that. I still don’t know what the heck was up with the goose though. This story does keep you guessing about where it’s heading, but there’s nothing too drastic or angsty.

Rosie Blake has written a really great contemporary cosy Christmas book I think a lot of people will enjoy this Winter. So if you want to spend Christmas Eve with Eve, you can pick up a copy here!

Will you be reading this book at Christmas? What’s your favourite Christmas book?

*I received this book from the publisher. It hasn’t changed my opinion.

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5 Things to do to Prepare for Christmas!

Am I allowed to mention Christmas yet? Since there’s only 37 days to do so I’m making an executive decision that I’m allowed to freak out! So to calm myself, and maybe some of you, down I thought I would list 5 Things we can do to prepare for the upcoming holiday to make it a little easier.

1. Make a gift list!
There is one thing I know well about myself, and that is that if I go to gift shop without a definitive list of what I need to get, then I am coming back empty handed. So this year I have a pretty simple list in my phone of people I have to buy for, that I can add to as I think of things to get them. Then when I brave the shops- or more likely, the internet, I can get in and get out with less fuss. Plus! If you’re like me and prefer to get people a few smaller things rather than one big thing then it’s an easy way to check it all fits together.

2. Check your supplies!
Tape? Scissors? Wrapping paper? Ribbon? Tags? Cards? Those last minute things that always slip your mind until last minute and then you have to struggle through the shops to find them.

3. Decorate!
Okay, confession time. I have a mini-Christmas tree in my bathroom that stays up all year round. But if you’re a little bit more normal/ less lazy then you probably don’t have any decorations up yet. I like to have mine up as December starts so I can enjoy them all month, they really help me get in the spirit.

4. Check the invite list!
My Christmas’s are family occasions with people arriving and departing at different times. Beds are needed, furniture is moved, outings are planned, food is gone in the blink of an eye. By gosh, I’m tired just thinking about it. So this year I’m determined to know who is coming, when they’re coming and how long they’ll be staying in certainty.

5. Get or make your Advent Calendar! 
One of my favourite things as the holiday season approaches is my advent calendar. My mum actually makes mine which is a really sweet tradition and something I really appreciate. Plus, after not eating chocolate for the entire of November, I am really looking forward to that first taste.

How do you prepare for Christmas?
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Books I Want to Buy and Why #4

Welcome back to Books I Want to Buy and Why! I can’t believe this is my fourth of this series. I think these are some of my favourite posts to write actually, there’s something about writing when you’re excited about the books that makes it so much fun. You can read the first post here, the second here and the third here!

And here are the books I picked for the fourth post!

If You Meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him by Sheldon Kopp
You may remember the Fringe book I mentioned in the last Books I Want to Buy and Why post. This is a book that was actually mentioned in the show as Peter Bishops favourite book. Now he has a (fictional) IQ of 190 so his favourite book is probably good. And he liked it as it tells you to look inside yourself for answers, sounds like something I’d enjoy.

Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris
Charlaine Harris has four completed and one ongoing series. I have three of the four completed series and- you guessed it- this is the first book in the series I don’t have. It’s a mystery series like the Aurora Teagarden books so I have high hopes!

Written by Rebecca R Curran
This has been on my wishlist forever. I can’t remember why either but it’s the story of a writer so that probably has something to do with it! It has some pretty questionable reviews too so I’m not sure if it’ll stay on my wishlist but it’s on it for now.

How To Be A Heroine: Or, what I’ve learned from reading too much by Samantha Ellis
I like reading about reading; blog posts, articles, so a book about books sounds good. This looks at the heroines in books, how they shape the way you think and how it changes when you grow. When I re-read books I read when I was a kid, sometimes I like certain characters more/less then I did, and Samantha Ellis explores this.

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
Philippa Gregory is an author I keep seeing recommended when I look around for historical fiction recommendations so I added the first book in The Cousins War series. Now this is only £2 on Amazon but the entire six book series is on The Book People for a tenner! Gosh, I’m tempted!

Men Explain Things to Me: And Other Essays by Rebecca Solnit
Ever since I got Tinder, I’ve had a lot of mansplaining aimed at me. This is when a guy feels the need to explain something in a really condescending way even if you already know what it is. Really irritating, and the inspiration behind this book. It’s a collection of Feminist essays that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
I’ve never read a Rainbow Rowell book before! Honestly with a lot of them, I have just been put off by the hype but Attachments has the aspect of the internet being involved that I really enjoy in love stories.

2001: A Space Odyssey by Sir Arthur C. Clarke
This was a book I saw on /r/books a while ago and I honestly can’t remember the context of it being recommended. I don’t know much about it apart from that it’s a Science-Fiction classic so I’m always excited about that genre.

What do you think of my picks? Have you read any of these?

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Blog Love #3

Welcome back to Blog Love! A series where I share four blogs that I love and tell you why I read them! You can see the first four here and the second four here. Today’s picks are quite book based but they all have a lifestyle element that I think everyone will enjoy. So here they are…

First is Bekka at Foreverebekka. Not only does she take the most beautiful photographs, her posts are amazingly written and she’s from my area. Greater Manchester represent! Not only that but her bucket list and my 30 Before 30 list are super similar. Spooky! She’s doing NaNoWriMo at the moment so pop over and wish her good luck.

Next I have Beth who writes at The Quiet People. She’s also doing NaNoWriMo and writes the most brilliant 19 Thoughts when Reading posts. When I found her blog I read it from beginning to end all in a couple days, and I always read her posts as soon as they’re published no matter the subject!

Chances are if you read book blogs then you already know Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner. Jamie’s blog was one of the first book blogs I ever followed when I started this little blog of mine and she remains one of my favourites, even though we read quite different books, her personality shines through her posts.

Last but definitely not least is Nikki over at The Lunar Lights, a relatively new blog to me as I only found it a couple months ago. But I fell in love. Nikki has perfected the art of book photographs with shabby chic backgrounds and her reviews are spot on. Her re-read of Harry Potter is making me think I need the new covers!

What blogs have you been loving lately?
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Book Review: A New York Christmas by Anne Perry!

I’ve spent every Christmas of my life so far at home, but I think one year I’d like to spend it in New York- as cliché as that is. I’d even settle for Jersey. But until that happens, I’ll just have to escape my town in the books I read. Starting with the high class area of New York in 1904, where Anne Perry’s A New York Christmas* is set.

Thomas Pitt’s daughter Jemima, now a young woman, leads the cast of Anne Perry’s enthralling festive mystery. In New York, at the turn of the century, where new American money and old English aristocracy collide, a young bride’s secret past could destroy her future. Jemima, in America as a chaperone until her friend’s wedding, is instead drawn into the crisis, and must decide whom to trust, and how to thread her way through the dangerous streets of this cold, brash new city.

Turns out that this novella really isn’t as Christmassy as I was hoping, which is why I’m okay with reviewing it so early in November! It’s set in December, in the snow and cold, and the deadline for the murder mystery is Christmas. But there’s just three pages set on Christmas day and the holiday isn’t a main focus. It is very short, taking me just a couple hours to get through as well. If you’re busy as heck around Christmas, this is perfect. Depending on what you look for when it comes to Christmas books, this could be great or a real disappointment.

The murder mystery in itself was quite clever and it actually took me a while to figure it out. There’s something about a creepy murder on a cold day that just fits together. We follow Jemima as she tries to figure out who did the killing so she can clear her name, and she’s a really great protagonist. I could really put myself in her shoes as she walked the streets of New York.

The only thing that didn’t really do it for me was the relationships between the characters. Maybe because of how short the novella is, but it just felt like the familiarity was too sudden with those that had just met. I’ve been feeling that a lot lately, maybe I’m just being spoiled by series!

This is the first Anne Perry book I’ve read, although I’m sure I own a couple somewhere. I think I’m going to dig them out, I’m definitely interested in her longer stories now, especially those that feature Jemima’s father, the police inspector. The writing was beautiful so I’ll leave you with my favourite quote; “She had a fear that some people’s lives were like that: words skimming across the surface of reality, like birds over the waves, without ever getting wet.”

If you’re after a easy read this December then A New York Christmas might be for you. You can pick up a copy here!

Have you read any of Anne Perry’s Christmas novellas?

*This book was sent for review but it hasn’t changed my opinion.
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5 Things I would Save if my House was on Fire!

I think everyone has pondered this at one point in their lives. What would you save if your house set on fire? Not including cats, and people. Narrowing down things I would save was hard, I am definitely not a minimalist and sometimes I wish I could move just for the opportunity to cut the fat. But anyway!

1. The family jewels!
I’m kidding. There are no diamonds or pearls here. We got robbed a couple years back and most of the family heirlooms got stolen. I have one bracelet that my grandfather bought for my grandmother back when she was alive, that my mum passed on to me when I turned 21. It is my most prized possession. If I got to only save one thing, that would be it.

2. My laptop!
Here’s the thing; my laptop has all my degree work, all my pictures, all my writing, my chat logs from Skype, a heck of a lot of irreplaceable content that is backed up on a disk, that is also in my house. So I’d just grab the laptop. It wouldn’t be difficult, 99% of the time I’m at home my laptop is close by.

3. My stuffed animal!
I’m 21 but c’mon, everyone is attached to their stuffed animal they had when they were a kid. A lot of things can be replaced but that comfort you get from that toy when you were young? Irreplaceable.

4. My phone!
My house is burning down in this scenario. It would be nice to be able to call the fire trucks. And I’d probably tweet it. I wonder what hashtag you use in that situation…

5. My childhood books!
A lot of my books are replaceable, although that would be one hell of an Amazon order. It would suck to lose them but I don’t have memories attached to them like I do with my childhood books. In the spirit of- picking too many would be cheating, I’d probably grab for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and my collection of The Faraway Tree Stories. Gosh, losing my books would suck. Please, house, don’t burn down!

What would you save?
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