The Playlist Shuffle Tag

The Playlist Shuffle Tag image

Thank you to Deanna at a novel glimpse for tagging me in The Playlist Shuffle Tag. This is such a fun tag and gives great insight into bloggers’ taste in music. You can see Deanna’s playlists here.

The rules: are simple! Put your music on shuffle and list the first 15 songs to play (no cheating) then tag 10 others to do it as well.

Now. I only have music on my ancient MP4 player which I haven’t put any music on for about 3 years. So if you’re wondering where all the up-to-date stuff is… well, I don’t have any, I just listen to it online.

My random playlist (with links to Youtube):

1. Boys Boys Boys – Lady Gaga (not my favourite Gaga track, but does contain the fantastic lyric: “You taste just like glitter mixed with rock and roll”)

2. It Must Have Been Love – Roxette (I have the Pretty Woman double soundtrack album!)

3. Ready To Go – Republica (I love this. A great “getting ready to go out” song)

4. Got The Feelin’ – 5ive (ah… memories of high school…)

5. Lost In Space – Lighthouse Family (also happens to be a rumba… should you need one to dance to)

6. Mack The Knife – Frank Sinatra (a classic)

7. Tender – Blur

8. Everybody’s Changing – Keane

9. Piensa En Mí – Luz Casal (my Spanish teacher used this song to teach us the subjunctive!)

10. The Bartender and the Thief – Stereophonics (love this one. Great to run to!)

11. Never Be Lonely – The Feeling (not my favourite song by The Feeling… but it’s good)

12. Tenía Tanto Que Darte – Nena Daconte (this is one of the catchiest tunes you’ll ever hear. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand Spanish – it’s terrific)

13. Great DJ – The Ting Tings (not my favourite Ting Tings song, but a good one)

14. No Me Crees – Efecto Mariposa con Javier Ojeda (I think there’s an English language version out there but it’s not as good as the original)

15. Thrift Shop – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (I’m particularly pleased this turned up as it never fails to make me smile!)


I tag a bunch of lovely writers-bloggers-people (I know the “rules” say 10, but I’m going with 5):

  • Simon (he features a top tune on his blog almost every day so I’m sure he can do this!)
  • Mollie
  • Sarina
  • Faith
  • KJ (have I mentioned that KJ’s book – EVO Shift – the second in her EVO Nation sci-fi/urban fantasy series is coming out on March 1st? I have? Oh well, just checking you were paying attention 😉 You can currently get the first book in the series – Evo Nation – for free!!)

and… you! If you would like to share some of your music with us, consider yourself tagged! Make sure you let me know when you publish your post so I can check it out 🙂

As always, please don’t feel like you have to do this tag. I’m the worst at getting round to replying to tags and nominations so I completely understand if you don’t have the time to do this!

Claire Huston / Art and Soul

How I Read Tag


How I Read Book Tag

This tag does what it says on the tin!

Thank you to Deanna at a novel glimpse for tagging me 🙂 It’s only taken my two months to respond. Sorry!

How do you find out about new books to read?

Mostly through blogging! I usually choose books based on the recommendations of other bloggers. I have become a little skeptical of books which receive a lot of hype so I tend to wait until I see a range of reviews before picking those books up. I add most books to my TBR on a Wednesday thank to WWW Wednesday, a weekly book meme hosted by Sam over at Taking On A World of Words. Please join in!

How has your taste in books changed since you got older?

I don’t think it’s changed much! Early favourite authors included Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton. I remember when I was about twelve working my way through all the books by Diana Wynn Jones our school library had (about 20 I think) and loving them all. Howl’s Moving Castle is still one of my favourite books. I also started reading Terry Pratchett when I was about the same age (Truckers, Diggers and Wings, and Only You Can Save Mankind before the Discworld). However, while sci-fi and fantasy has always been my “thing”, I also remember enjoying detective stories and mysteries like The Three Investigators and Nancy Drew.

Childhood favourite books

How often do you buy books?

Not as often as you might think. I use my library a lot; mostly because we ran out of shelf space for books a long time ago. Maybe, on average, once a month? I tend to buy quite a few at a time rather than one a week 🙂

On this topic, I found this cartoon the other day and it made me think of lots of the lovely bloggers I follow, so I’ll share it here…

Running out of space for books get new shelves bookish problems cartoon

This cartoon is by Grace Buchele Mineta. You can check out her cartoons here.

Continue reading…

Help! I’m now on Facebook and Pinterest!

I finally did it. I created a Facebook author/blog page! I even figured out how to put the widget in my right sidebar here on the blog, although at time of publishing this it still wasn’t showing up properly in Firefox (although Chrome is fine… weird) and I don’t that’s something you see if you’re viewing the blog on your phone… But hey, I still managed it! 🙂

Claire Huston author Facebook page and pinterest

I’m still working out what I’m doing with it, but I’m getting there. In the meantime, if any of you would be kind enough to drop by and “Like” my Facebook page I would really appreciate it. It’s a bit lonely over there at the moment… *tumbleweed rolls past as the wind howls*.

If you have a Facebook page, please leave me a link in the comments below so I can return the favour 🙂

Also, if any of you have any Facebook wisdom/insight of the “if only I’d known this when I started using Facebook” kind, I’d really appreciate you sharing it with me! Are there any groups I should join, for example?

Pinterest Claire Huston book covers board

And as if that weren’t enough, I finally got onto Pinterest too. So far I only have a few boards, but it would be nice to have some friends on there. If you have an account, please let me know in the comments below so I can find and follow you 🙂

You’ll see I also put together a little bookish social media graphic to put at the bottom of my posts. Clicking on the appropriate button will take you to my pages on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest. Looking forward to “seeing” you there. If I’m not yet your friend on Goodreads or Twitter, leave me the links for those too so I can put that right!

Claire Huston / Art and Soul

New pages to make my blog easier to navigate

Holidays are a good time for some blog housekeeping (cue brilliant comic from Fowl Language Comics…)

Christmas clean up from Fowl Language Comics

I’ve recently created a few blog pages to keep my blog content organized and make posts easy for visitors to find (I hope!).

Now under Sweet’s Cakes on the top menu (see screen-grab below) you’ll find:

  • A new Recipes Index. I’ve listed all my recipes in alphabetical order under headings such “Cakes” and “Biscuits/Cookies”. Creating this page was also a great excuse to use this cute cupcake clipart:Cupcakes images cartoon for blog
  • Baking. The archive of all my baking posts, appearing in reverse chronological order.

Screengrab of new Art and Soul recipe index page cakes muffins brownies biscuits cookies and desserts with links

And then under Reading (see screen-grab below):

Continue reading…

The Real Neat Blog Award


Thank you to Charley at booksandbakes1 and Deanna at a novel glimpse for nominating me for the Real Neat Blog Award. As is becoming a bit of a theme here, it’s taken me a while to get round to responding to these nominations. Sorry. Please check out Charley and Deanna’s lovely blogs to help make up for my tardiness.

Thank_you cat gif

The Rules:

1. Thank and link to the blogger who nominated you.
2. Answer the 7 questions the nomination has provided.
3. Nominate 7 other bloggers.
4. Create 7 questions for your nominees.

I’m going to “bend” the rules. To stop this post becoming ridiculously long, I’m going to answer the first 4 of Charley’s 7 questions and the last 3 of Deanna’s.

1. What is the best book you’ve ever read?

Continue reading…

The Encouraging Thunder Award

Thank you to Felicia Sue Lynn for nominating me for the Encouraging Thunder Award! Please check out her lovely blog about “books and whatnot” 🙂 She is also taking part in #NaNoWriMo at the moment, so be sure to give her some words of encouragement to keep writing!

Although how long it takes me to accept/do them might suggest otherwise, I honestly do appreciate being nominated/tagged. It’s so nice when other bloggers think of you.


  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post the Encouraging Thunder logo.
  • Talk about your purpose in blogging.
  • Nominate others for the award.

Why I blog:

Initially this blog was something for me to do after I finished writing my first novel, Art and Soul (hence the name of the blog!). I still wanted to write, but I didn’t want to start on a second novel straight away. And I wanted someway of connecting with other writers and readers while I was submitting my novel to literary agents. Basically, I needed a distraction! 🙂 And maybe, one day, I might be able to use the blog to tell you all I’m getting published… *sigh*

I’ve been amazed by blogging. Mostly by how friendly and supportive the community is. All you seem to hear about in the media are trolls and other unpleasant characters lurking under the virtual bridges of the internet. But I’ve been lucky enough to “meet” some genuinely lovely people. You’re all funny, creative, witty and eloquent.

you are awesome doctor who gif

And I’ve also been surprised by just how much I enjoy blogging and that I’m still doing it! I wasn’t sure how long I would stick with it. I might have to scale back the amount I post if I ever want to finish my second novel, but I wouldn’t stop entirely. Besides, blogging is a great excuse for searching through Dr Who images… 😉


I’ve tried hard not to nominate anyone who has already accepted/been nominated for this award. So apologies in advance to:

Sarah @ The Country Bookworm

Tori @ Book Dreamer

if you’ve already done this one. Feel free to ignore the nomination! 🙂 But, if you have time, it would be great to hear more about why you blog.

Thanks again to Felicia Sue Lynn for nominating me!

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul

The Reading Habits Tag

reading habits book tag image

I was tagged forever ago by Charley over at booksandbakes1 to do the Reading Habits Tag. After doing a post about writing habits last week, I thought this would be a good one to follow that up with. Thank you, Charley!

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Either on the sofa or in bed. The only problem with reading in bed is that I tend to drift off…

trying to stay awake fighting sleep giftrying to stay awake fighting sleep gif

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

I have bookmarks I forget to use. I sometimes use pieces of paper or I just remember a page number/chapter.

Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop at the end of a chapter/a certain amount of pages? 

I do try and finish a chapter just so I can remember where I left things.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

If I’m reading on the sofa it’s always nice to have a cup of tea nearby. If the book’s engrossing this can result in a cold cup of tea!

Wait! There’s more. Click for the rest of my answers and more cute GIFS!

The Confessions of a Writer Tag

Michelle at Sidereal Day tagged me for a new tag: The Confessions of a Writer Tag! I always feel like I’m the last blogger on earth to get round to doing tags, so it’s lovely to be in on the ground floor for once. Thank you, Michelle 🙂


The Confessions of a Writer Tag was created by Nicolette at A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly. It is a ‘get-to-know’ the writer interview tag, dedicated to spotlighting the creative process, works in progress, and connecting to other writers.

Rules of the Tag:

  • Please link back to A Little Bookish, A Little Writerly’s post, so that the original rules are always accessible to anyone who is curious and wants to participate!
  • Acknowledge the person who tagged you in your post.
  • Tag your friends and fellow writers – it’s up to you how many!

The Questions:

  1. When did you first start writing? Was being a writer something you always aspired to be?
    I recently found lots of short stories I had to write for English classes in high school. A couple of them were ok! I’ve always enjoyed writing but never aspired to write as a full-time job until recently.
  2. What genre do you write?
    My finished novel and novel in progress are both contemporary romances. Think more Pride and Prejudice than Mills and Boon though! My short stories all seem to be sci-fi/fantasy/magic realism. All the more unusual and fun stuff that doesn’t make it into the novels 🙂

Wait! There’s more. Click for the rest of my answers and pics of cake!

The Creative Blogger Award

The Creative Blogger Award badge

I was delighted to be nominated for The Creative Blogger Award by Calliope The Book Goddess and Tori at Book Dreamer. It’s taken me ages to write this post. Please help me make up for my uselessness by visiting their wonderful book blogs! 🙂

The Rules:

• Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
• Share 5 facts about yourself.
• Nominate some bloggers in return and notify them about their nomination.
• Keep the rules in your post to make it easy for everyone to know what to do.

5 Random Facts about Me:

  • I love a bargain. Any kind of bargain. Finding great books in charity shops for 99p or less is a particularly enjoyable one.
  • I’m definitely a tea rather than coffee person. If I drink coffee it has to be so full of milk and sugar it doesn’t taste of coffee. Which is ridiculous. Easier to have tea!

Tea Rex cup of tea cartoon

  • While I usually like to receive quite impractical gifts, this year I’ve asked for a stand mixer as a joint birthday-Christmas present. Sounds dull, but it’s going to make baking a lot easier. I might start trying to make bread…
  • I’m not very good at Twitter. I’ve only been using it a few months and I’m still not sure I’m using it properly! That said, if it weren’t for the BBC’s breaking news feed I would probably miss out on most of the big things going on in the world.

Twitter Cartoon funny

  • Wednesday is my new favourite day of the week. Partly because I take part in WWW Wednesday (hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words) and get recommendations for future reading from lots of brilliant book bloggers. If you enjoy reading, please join in! And also because of #1lineWeds on Twitter. Each week writers share one line of their work in progress (it has to fit in a tweet) following a theme (which changes each week and is announced in advance). If you’re a writer, I encourage you to take part. Everyone is really supportive 🙂

That’s it! Thank you again to Calliope The Book Goddess and Tori at Book Dreamer! I won’t nominate anyone in particular, but if you fancy receiving this award please consider yourself nominated and let me know when you publish your post 🙂

 Claire Huston / Art and Soul

More Happy Than Not Tag

More Happy Than Not Tag Image

Thank you to Amy over at Curiouser and Curiouser for tagging me to do the ‘More Happy Than Not Tag’. This is the tag that has been on my “to do” list the longest. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long – better late than never!

What’s This Tag About?

The I Am More Happy Than Not Tag was created by Shelumiel @ Bookish and Awesome but originally made in response to the “What makes you #MoreHappyThanNot?” question inspired by Adam Silvera’s debut More Happy Than Not. It gives you the chance to highlight ways you find happiness.

Rules for the tag: (1) answer the question “What makes you more happy than not?”, (2) link back to the person who tagged you, and (3) have FUN.

I like to think, in general, I’m quite a happy person. So to stop myself from rambling on, I’ve limited myself to 6 examples of when I’m more happy than not 🙂

Wait! There’s more. Click for my answers!