PUMPING IRON: My Experiences as a Hardcore Gym Lass

I have been transformed- from ordinary Sunset, to Muscle Sunset. Yes, that’s right. I’m basically a bodybuilder now.

Okay, in all seriousness I’m as flimsy as ever. But I do feel healthy and refreshed. I went for around an hour’s workout at the gym today, and it was tough, but rewarding. I didn’t actually want to go in the first place, however. Going to the gym makes me nervous- I don’t know why- but I never want to go. So despite my mum’s well-reasoned argument (exercise is proven to help revision) I was adamant that I did not want to go. Pathetic, but true.

In the end I was forced out the house and ended up at the gym. The walk there cheered me up a bit, but I was still nervous about getting through my workout programme. I had it written for me at an earlier session, but boy, it doesn’t get any easier. It involves the treadmill, crosstrainer, bike, and worst of all, floor exercises with 3kg weights. That’s what I was dreading. 6 different exercises, 30 of each- that’s 180 individual actions!

By the time I got to them I was already worn out from the machines. My speedy sister, who came to the gym with me, zipped through the floor exercises easily. Meanwhile, I was floundering. At some points, almost literally-there’s one exercise where you’re resting on your lower back and your feet are straight up in the air, and whilst holding a weight you have to reach up and touch your toes. It is SO PAINFUL on your abs. My stomach muscles are obviously EXTREMELY WEAK, because I kept getting to about 4 reaches and then collapsing, dropping my legs and clutching my stomach. Not to mention I can barely actually reach my toes. But, after a lot of sweat, I got to 30 in total.

I’d done it. All 180 exercises, including the dreaded toe reach. I was very proud of myself. I went over to my sister and told her I’d done all the exercises, even the ones I hate.

“Oh, yeah, I saw you struggling there!”

Thanks, sis.

She didn’t mean anything by it. It’s true, after all, I was struggling. Nothing could dampen my pride, I can’t compare myself to my super-gym-child-sister. I laughed and we went to leave.

As we exited the gym I was in high spirits- but with jelly legs. The walk home was painful and I said “ow” approximately 300 times. Then, after lunch, and a shower, I did some solid revision! Today has been a productive day.

I’ve written this post so that I can read it next time I don’t want to go to the gym, and remind myself what it’s actually like. It’s hard work, but it’s worth the satisfaction. I forget the good points and get scared every time. But never again! I’m pleased with what I’ve achieved today, although it’s small, and I don’t want to forget it.

See you soon guys- I’m trying to post regularly but I’ll properly pick it up next week, when exams are over.

Sunset x

 

Top Ten Reads of 2016

Yes, it’s late. Extremely late. But… I went to the effort of taking pictures. Plus, I love books! So here it is: a countdown of the best novels I read last year, and a tiny little review for each one. Read over half a year ago… But still! Enjoy!

10. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell


This was such a great read. Having loved Fangirl, I knew I’d enjoy the story of Simon and Baz. Some could argue it’s a little too Harry Potter but I think this is a great novel in its own right.

9. Demon Road by Derek Landy


So I’ll admit I only bought this as part of a 3 for 2. And that I wasn’t expecting to like it that much. But I was hooked. Following on from reading it I bought the next two in the trilogy- even the expensive hardback. It’s an easy but very thrilling read, and although to start with the characters were unconvincing I grew to love them. My only problem is that it became slightly over-the-top with the graphic gory scenes as the books progressed.

8. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis

Of course they were good. I’m shocked that I only bothered to read them last year!

7. The Call by Peadar O’Guilin

This, my mum bought for me after it being highly recommended to her. It was a nice YA dystopian novel that I read by staying up late (that’s how you know a book is good.)

6. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowlingwp-1485616457349.jpg

So, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding this book. Some hate it, others think it’s great- it’s a bit of a marmite situation. I, personally, LOVED IT! I thought it was a really refreshing new HP story. It’s like a fanfiction, but better, ’cause its REAL. (As real as fictional stories can be, anyway.)

5. The Novice by Taran Matharuwp-1485616474029.jpg

A seriously good book. The story- magic school, little dragon friend- sounds a bit cliché at first, but the book actually has important messages about racial prejudice within it. And, it contains a very well-constructed world within its pages. All round thumbs up.

4. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maaswp-1485616479566.jpg

This series is AMAZING, this book is AMAZING, can’t wait for more! If you haven’t read Throne of Glass, I would definitely recommend you give it a go.

3. Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralstonwp-1485616492593.jpg If you don’t recognise this, it’s the story of ‘127 Hours’- about a man who gets trapped in a canyon, being pinned in place by a rock, and resorts to cutting his arm off to escape. This is one of the books I read last year that has really stuck with me. It’s not just about Ralston’s time in the canyon, it’s also about his mountaineering and other outdoor pursuits- including a story about a bear which is terrifying. The film is great too, but the book (as always) is so much better!

2. Radio Silence by Alice Osemanwp-1485616487201.jpg

I don’t know how well known this book is. I didn’t know about it until I received it as a birthday present, and I don’t know anyone who’s read it. This is surprising, as it’s an incredible story! It revolves around a friendship between two teenagers. The main character is so relatable and it’s the second-best book I read last year. So… READ IT!

1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseiniwp-1485616461855.jpg

Probably one of the most well known books on this list, and for good reason. The Kite Runner is…amazing. Powerful. You have to read it to know, but it is 100% worth the read.

 

Whirlwind tour of my 2016 books over! Whew! Have you read any of these books? Do you want to? Let me know in the comments.

Sunset x

I’m alive! See?

Hi guys! Remember this blog?

Well, I’m back with an apology. I thought in my last post I’d said I wouldn’t be posting for a while due to exams, but when I actually read it, I realised I’d said I’d just be a little inactive…but still post.

Due to this unfortunate misremembering, I haven’t posted in AGES! So here I am… back to the ol’ blog.

I’ll update you a little on life for me right now:

  • I’m in the middle of EXTREMELY FUN exams which are NOT AT ALL STRESSFUL
  • I’m on ‘study leave’, but I’m spending practically all my time in school anyway
  • 2 weeks to go and it’s all over.

And apart from that, everything is just the same. Over summer, I plan to post a lot (I have lost time to catch up on!) so get ready for a POST EXPLOSION. Or something.

How is everyone? I’ve missed talking to you all! Sorry I’ve missed all your posts.

Sunset

100 followers, YAY!

Hi guys! Yep, 100… I think that’s pretty cool. 100 people following this little blog.

I want to say thank you to you all for all the likes and lovely comments you leave. It’s so nice to be part of this community! 

Also, just to let you know that I’m going to be less active for a little while (until I get through exams.) I’ll probably still post but I won’t see all of everyone else’s posts. But I’m not going completely- I’m just going to check WordPress less often than I do now.

That’s it from me for now! Thanks for 100 🙂

Sunset

Changes!

Goodbye bloggingsunsets, hello Blogging Sunsets! I know, you wouldn’t even guess it’s the same blog.

So as mentioned in a post a little while back, I’m changing my blog. It’s now called Blogging Sunsets. I know, it’s hardly changed, but a some capital letters and a space can go far in improving a title (right?)

But the biggest change is that I, previously known as bloggingsunsets, will now be called Sunset! Wow, it feels weird to name myself. But yeah, I like this better.

Also, along with the name changes, I got a new header, generously made for me by My Bookish Life! (Mahriya.)

I think it’s so pretty!! I was originally sent 5 possible designs (5, I know! I was expecting 1!) I couldn’t choose, but my mum loved this one. She said: 

“I know it’s an orange, but it looks like a sunset, and it’s very pretty!”
Can’t argue with that. So that’s how I chose. Thanks so much to Mahriya for making me the new header. If anyone else needs any blog graphics, I would 100% recommend her. It’s free, she made the 5 designs in a few days, and it was all so friendly and nice! 

I hope you guys like the changes, it’s all pretty exciting. 

Sunset (wooooooooooooooo)

The Uniquely Me Tag

Hello bloggers! I’m here with a post I’m really excited about. It’s a brand new, shiny tag created by Elm, who I’m sure most of you have heard of, but if you haven’t CLICK ON THAT LINK RIGHT NOW AND CHECK OUT HER BLOG! She’s one of my absolute favourite bloggers, she’s super kind and writes amazing posts. Thank you so much for the tag, Elm!

So the tag is basically here to make everyone realise that they’re unique, and interesting, and that you should love your personality and quirks. Which I think is a brilliant idea. Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person that nominated you for this tag and link to their blog (spread the love, basically).
2. Write as many things that are unique to you as possible: these can be things that you do, say, like or have that make you different to other people or let you stand out. It can be what defines you as a person, a little thing about you that is just simply you or something little known that you think makes you up as a person.
3. Nominate up to 10 bloggers or as many as you like; there isn’t a limit.
4. You can take this tag as seriously or non-seriously as you like; you can laugh whilst doing it or feel contemplative: this is about you, after all.
5. After you’ve written this and if you ever feel like there’s nothing to you but what other people have already said and done, look back to your post and remember that it isn’t true.

 

Things unique to me

  • I’m the fastest-walking person I know. Honestly I have no idea why, but I just have to march everywhere. I’m also pretty intolerant of slow walkers…family walks can be frustrating sometimes!
  • I adore axolotls. They are, in my humble opinion, the best animal to live on planet Earth. So cute! So mysterious! Just all-round snazzy. Hopefully I’ll get one as a pet when I’m older (and it will be called Solomon.)
  • I find the stupid jokes that teachers make in class actually funny, which can be embarrassing when I’m the only one laughing.
  • My fossil collection (which I’m very proud of) contains an impressive total of 2 fossils.
  • When I say ‘guess what?’ and my friends say ‘what?’ I quite often answer ‘nothing.’ This really, REALLY annoys people, but I find it a bit too funny. Yes, I have a mature sense of humour.
  • Writing in notebooks with my messy handwriting gets on my nerves a lot. They are so nice before I write in them and then BAM, ruined with scribbles. Otherwise known as empty-notebook fear.
  • I never ever wear dresses or makeup (which is why the whole prom thing is a big deal for me.)
  • I love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, even though they’re aimed at children approximately 6 years younger than me.

 

My nominations

These are the bloggers I’d like to nominate for this tag, so that they can celebrate their personalities as well!

My Bookish Life

Out n’ About

Thoughts in Life

Sheemazaman

HatLily

Dreamsandwavesxo

Book Emma

The Outgoing Introvert

My Life Online

Wolfish Delight

Aaaand that’s it! Hope you guys enjoyed this post! If anyone else really likes this idea, consider yourself nominated as well. I’m going to be posting really soon about some changes to bloggingsunsets, so I’ll be back then.

bloggingsunsets

Book review- Winger by Andrew Smith

Hi everyone! This is the first book review I’ve ever done on this blog, so I’m not really sure what you’ll think of it-it may be SUPER BORING and you might wanna leave now. On the other hand it could be AMAZING… be sure to comment what you think, and whether I should continue with reviews in the future.

Before I start, (although I guess it is part of the review) I want to say that this book is the best I’ve read in absolutely ages, and I recommend it to everyone!  Even if you don’t read the review, YOU SHOULD FIND THIS BOOK AND READ IT INSTEAD. Seriously.

Winger by Andrew Smith

img_20170323_204752.jpg
Winger and Standoff (sequel) displayed on my very grown-up bedsheets. I’ll admit the covers aren’t the prettiest, but the stories are just perfect.

Ryan Dean West’s life is complicated. 

He’s a student at Pine Mountain, a boarding school for rich kids. He’s sharing a room with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s totally in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little kid.

…Sounds like your typical teenage school book, doesn’t it? Well, in some ways it is- bullies, crushes and all that- but the thing about Winger is that it’s so down-to-earth, funny, honest and truthful that it stands out among other same-genre books.

The characters

Ryan Dean is the main character. The book is from his perspective, as if he’s written it himself. He’s a 14-year old trying to make it through school with classmates 2 years older than him. I don’t have that much in common with Ryan Dean, but I can relate to everything he says. His emotions and responses to events in the book are so genuine I wouldn’t be surprised if it was actually Andrew Smith’s biography, just with a different name. Throughout the book you like Ryan Dean more and more, you understand him more and by the end YOU JUST WANT HIM TO SUCCEED IN EVERYTHING HE DOES BECAUSE HE’S PRECIOUS.

And obviously there are other characters. Annie, Ryan Dean’s best friend/extreme crush, source of frustration for Ryan Dean and consequently the reader throughout the book. Chas Becker, roommate/bully, source of humour and fear. And some other very important friends of Ryan Dean, but I don’t want to ruin anything or talk for too long about characters.

 

Plot

Okay, so, there isn’t that much I can say about the plot without major spoilers, and I don’t even want to hint at anything. But what I can say is that the whole book is thoroughly entertaining. I was laughing and crying (and I hardly ever cry at books) and I devoured it in a couple of days.

It mostly revolves around Ryan Dean’s school life. Rugby, Annie and friend issues are major themes, as well as the new dormitory Ryan Dean is assigned to. It all spirals into a seriously addictive plot which I’m pretty sure can’t not be enjoyed.

 

Structure

Don’t worry, English students, I’m not going to talk about how short sentences are used to interest and engage the reader. I’m going to mention the comics and doodles smattered throughout Winger.

DO NOT be disheartened by the comics. At first I was skeptical about a teen fiction with pictures, but IT DOESN’T MAKE THE BOOK CHILDISH, it makes it funnier, and more like Ryan Dean really has written/drawn it all himself.

There are comic strips like these every now and again. I do have one criticism of them-in this one, Ryan Dean was supposed to have drawn it in Lit class. I find it a little unbelievable that he drew an extremely-well rendered comic out of nowhere in the middle of a lesson. Or is that just me?

wp-1490302478487.jpg

But in general the comics were really entertaining. (In Stand Off, the sequel, I think the comics are even better, especially ‘Princess Snugglewarm to the Rescue.’ No spoilers though.)

The other drawings are smaller and quicker, just a visual insight into Ryan Dean’s head at the time:

wp-1490302482922.jpg

All of the comics are hilarious. The book is hilarious, actually. However, it’s not just a comedy, it has a serious plotline which gets even deeper in the sequel.

 

Conclusion

All in all, Winger was a 5/5 terms and conditions on the Bloggingsunsets Things You Are Obliged to Read Index.

(That was an extremely poor attempt at a Winger joke. Go read it and then come back and laugh at me.)

A final note: THANKS SO MUCH, ANDREW SMITH! THIS BOOK (AND STANDOFF) ARE INCREDIBLE!

That’s the end guys! Please tell me what you thought. Has anyone else read Winger?

Bloggingsunsets