Top Ten Tuesday- 25th February 2014


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and combines two of my favourite things; lists and books!

So this week the theme is… Top Ten Tuesday REWIND! (Pick from previous topics that you want to do again or may have missed). I have chosen the theme from last week which is ‘Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader’.

1) I can do both anywhere!

2) Reading transports me to different places and gives me new ways of thinking.

3) There is nothing like sharing books with others.

4) I love collecting books and having my bookcases full!

5) I love being a (partial) book blogger because it allows me to tell people about books I like, add to my wishlist A LOT and lets me know about books I may have missed otherwise.

6) As a teacher there is nothing like hearing a class giggle, sigh or gasp as you are reading to them.

7) Another teacher one- I love children in school coming up to share books they have read and telling me I must read them!

8) I love being a blogger in general because it has allowed me to connect and meet in real life some amazing and inspiring people.

9) I love that feeling when you just cannot put a book down and will be absorbed for hours until daylight arrives, your tummy rumbles or you fall asleep with the book on your face.

10) Blogging about the books I have read helps me remember what I have read! Therefore this year I will keep a much more accurate log of my reading and bookish thoughts.

What do you love about being a blogger and/ or a reader?

Miss Dotty’s Weekly Journal- Books and Travel

Weekly JournalHello! Today I wanted to share a few highlights from this past week.



Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs- see my thoughts here.

The Legend of Ellie Quin by Alex Scarrow

The World According to Ellie Quin by Alex Scarrow


Quiet by Susan Cain

Beneath the Neon Sky (Ellie Quin) by Alex Scarrow

(Note- I was first introduced to Alex Scarrow via his book Last Light which is one of my all time favourite books and then I eventually read his Time Riders series for YA and now he has released Ellie Quin. They are very readable hence managing nearly three in three days!)


Number 1 Royal Crescent

Well this week has been half term and it has been lovely. Last Friday I did something very unusual and left school soon after the children. Eek! It felt very naughty but necessary as Mr Dotty and I were travelling down to Bath that evening for a mini break away. We spent a few days in Bath, a few days in Bristol and then a day or so in the Forest of Dean. As always we wished it could be longer but we managed to fit in a lot each day and I would love to know how many miles we walked!

Bath and Bristol Collage

As well as lots of mooching around exploring the respective destinations we also visited the Fashion Museum in Bath which had a wonderful exhibition of Georgian clothing and Number 1 Royal Crescent which had been closed for refurbishment the last time we went. As a History undergraduate I absolutely adored both places and could quite easily have spent much longer devouring the information shared about the periods on display.  Our stay in Bristol was made even better by the gorgeous hotel we stayed in. Once we settled we then did the usual exploration and focused on the Aquarium and At Bristol which we both loved. The Mr is a science geek so he was in his element and I wished I could take my class there as they would love it! An embarrassing moment came in the Planetarium show where, despite the really interesting talk and show, I may have fallen asleep and had to be nudged by Mr Dotty to wake up. Oops! We also visited the ss Great Britain which was a really impressive exhibit and I would recommend to anyone visiting Bristol. The final part of our holiday was spent with Mr Dotty’s nan in her house in the Forest of Dean.


It is a beautiful part of the country and we used the time to catch up, reminisce over family, read and I managed to catch up on some blog reading. We stayed a bit longer than planned due to Mr Dotty’s nan having a fall but have finally arrived back home and to reality! It was a thoroughly fantastic time away from work and to just have time to think, reflect and make decisions.  And also spend quality time with Mr D. And buy books. And buy lovely polka dot scarf. And a notebook. And eat nice food. So yes a fantastic week and I could definitely get used to hotel living!

How was your week? Did you read any good books or visit anywhere new? Please share in the comments below!

Kelly Dotty

Miss Peregrine and Vintage Photos

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs had been on my wishlist for a while after I had seen it mentioned on numerous occasions online but it wasn’t a book I knew much about. So when on Saturday I found myself in a bookshop with birthday vouchers to spend (woohoo!) I was pleasantly surprised to see this book standing up on the table and waving at me. Well maybe it didn’t quite get up and wave but let’s just say after a little mooch around the shop the book and a lovely notebook were nestled in my handbag.

Miss Peregrine front cover

Even though I had packed my suitcase with about ten books I decided to start it that night and about an hour ago I finished it. It wasn’t totally what I was expecting (I was expecting more horror) but it was still a great read and I can’t wait to read the follow on novel.

Miss Peregrine back cover

A bit of the back cover blurb to entice you!

What I really liked about the book was the inclusion of real photographs to add to the story being told. At the end of the book an interview with Ransom Riggs is included in which he talks about the origins of the book. When talking about collecting vintage photographs he says “It was just a casual hobby, nothing serious, but I noticed that among the photos I found, the strangest and most intriguing ones were always of children.” The book certainly made me wonder at the history of the many photographs he included within the pages of Miss Peregrine.

At the end of the book there is also a sneak peek at the first chapter of the next book. I have realised I never read these as I always like to have the whole story ready in my hands to enjoy. Does anyone else do this or am I the only one? Have you read Miss Peregrine? What did you think? I would love to read your comments below!


Musings and 33 things


Bristol viewMr Dotty are spending the first few days of half term on a mini break to Bath and Bristol. I am currently sat in our Bristol hotel room with a glass of wine, gazing out of the huge window at the river below and musing over the past few months. January and the start of February have been a little bit hectic, culminating in a visit from Ofsted a couple of weeks ago. Those who know me will know I have been obsessing over their visit from September (and I want to thank those people for their patience and loveliness over recent months) and now it has come and gone it has been a time to take stock, recharge and reflect. And muse. As I am sat here looking at the people going by below I am reminded of a list I made back in January just before my 33rd birthday, 33 things to achieve before I am 34. Writing that makes me feel a little strange, when did I get to 33? It also made me realise how important it is to get started on all those things in life I want to do and achieve. So below is my list and I cannot wait to see how I do before I hit 34 in January next year!

33 before 34 (in no particular order)

1- Learn how to do calligraphy properly.

2- Go to the British Library.

3- Buy a house with Mr Dotty.

4- Find an exercise I enjoy and stick at it.

5- Write for at least 5 minutes every day.

6- Crochet a blanket.

7- Keep a log of every book I read.

8- Keep a record of letters sent and received.

9- Get a new hairstyle.

10- Make my own handbag.

11- Run 5k.

12- Get more sleep.

13- Visit one new place a month- locally and nationally (vague but boils down to just get out more!)

14- Read a shelf of books from my TBR bookcase.

15- Read at least one classic book a month.

16- Find a dress I love (I never wear dresses!)

17- Organise my photos.

18- Keep a regular blog schedule.

19- Save a set amount each month.

20- Visit V&A in London

21- Take part in a read-a-thon.

22- Plan more meals in advance.

23- Go to a supper club.

24- Have a facial.

25- Share some journal stories from other people on Miss Dotty Loves.

26- Take Mother Dotty away somewhere new.

27- Learn a new craft.

28- See my friends more.

29- Make my own bread.

30- Become smarter with my time.

31- Get a bike.

32- Meet my personal health and fitness goals.

33- Have more fun!

As you can see some are very specific (and small) and some are a little more vague. But all are ones I am so excited to meet. So see you back here on the 23rd January 2015 to see how it all went!

Miss Dotty

Snail Mail Sunday- January Week 1

Happy Sunday! Today I launch an occasional feature on the blog called Snail Mail Sunday in which I hope to share my incomings and outgoings on the letter front as well as other snail mail news and blog posts from around the internet. Over the past month work has been busy and so letter writing has been slow and so one of my goals for 2014 is to 1) keep more up to date and 2) keep a record of the letters I write and receive.


This lovely postcard arrived on Friday from the USA but I couldn’t see a name on it so I am not sure who to thank! So if it was you please leave a comment below!

letter January


This week I wrote a thank you note to Alison from LEP for her surprise Christmas card that I received over Christmas.

letter December

I also received a surprise card from Claire on LEP too so wanted to say thank you to her too. And also Anna from The Dusty Attic should be getting some letter love on the door mat too!

mail January

Other Snail Mail Bits and Bobs

I had shamefully never heard of the shop Tiger under my Teaching Assistant told me one was opening in Cambridge. Upon visiting I found lots of stationery goodies and thought I would share these lovely speech bubble stickers and envelope tags that I will soon be including in my letters. The envelopes are particularly cute!


I have also been ambitious and signed up for A Month of Letters in February, a challenge where you commit to sending mail 23 days in February. I can’t wait to start and send letters and postcards to penpals and friends.

Have you sent or received any nice snail mail this week? Have a good week!

Miss Dotty


Miss Dotty Loves- Museums, Filofaxes and New Year

Hello all and happy 2014!

I want to start off by saying I really love New Year and luckily as a teacher I get to celebrate New Year twice! Once in September when the new school year starts and once on January 1st.  I am not one for making resolutions but I do pay extra attention to my goals and 2014 is a year I am going to focus on goal setting a lot more. But sharing goals isn’t the point of this blog post, instead I wanted to share the first few days of 2014. I am coming to the end of my holiday and so my attention is slowly refocusing on school but I wanted to make sure I still made the most of my time off before term starts at full pelt.

January 1st was spent reading (I am currently gripped by The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon), waiting for and then watching Sherlock (#SherlockLives!), a little bit of planning for school (I was feeling inspired) and sorting out my Filofax setup for 2014. Check back soon for a set up post. A lovely relaxed and chilled day!

Cambridge January 2014

January 2nd was spent wandering around Cambridge buying a few stationery items (well how could I resist) and trying to find an A5 Raspberry Finsbury of A5 Holborn Filofax in a sale somewhere. Sadly there were none to be found but I thought I would try anyway! I then went for a walk around The Fitzwilliam Museum which is one of my favourite ways to spend some time. Every time I go I discover new things I missed before and as I wandered around I scribbled notes of things to look up, artists I admired and areas in history I wanted to know more about. The trouble is there is just too much and every time I go to any museum I find my attention and imagination is captured by the stories being told.

Fitzwilliam Cambridge January 2014

So here’s to the rest of 2014! January brings Mr Dotty’s and I birthday and we will be going watch the National Theatre live broadcast of Coriolanus which is currently at the Donmar Warehouse in London. Now to begin planning for more 2014 adventures! What are your plans for this year?

Miss Dotty

Hamster of the Month- A catch up!

Well I have been a very remiss blogger. The start of the new school year has been manic with getting to know my lovely new class as well waiting for visitors who shall not be named. However Miss Dotty Loves has always been on my mind and I am planning to have a great catch up over the next month so I can start the new year fresh. So the first outstanding order of business is Hamster of the Month! This post concludes the Hamster of the Month series and I have really enjoyed sharing this with you. Thank you for playing along with my love for these cute critters, you have been incredibly sweet! The good news is that we are searching for a house to buy (no luck yet though) which means soon the updates could be a real life hamster! However more about house hunting in another post as well as telling you all about our trip to Brighton, my crafty and stationery updates (including Journal Your Christmas 2013 and 30 Days of Lists) as well as some book reviews.   October Hamster

November Hamster


December Hamster

Goodbye sweet hamsters…


Miss Dotty


Friday Feel Good- 1

I absolutely adore it when I read a blog and see a list. It could be a list of things people have done that month, a list of things they are grateful for or even a list of their favourite popcorn flavours. Well maybe that last one is just something I would write? But it got me thinking about a having a ‘Friday Feel Good’ list of all those things that happen in life that are perhaps not big enough to warrant a blog post of their own but are nice to share. So here is a list of all the things that have made me happy this week!


Half Term Holidays (I love my job but a break is nice) — Spending the weekend by the coast with Mr Dotty and friends as part of a surprise weekend away — Mr Dotty taking two days off and spending some quality time with him — Seeing seals off the Norfolk coast — Going to London to meet up with two lovely friends from my time at Uni — Reading lots of books (my Agatha Christie love is still ongoing — David Suchet as Poirot — the anticipation of going to see the finished crochet plants that were created as part of a project I took part in with Cam City WI and Cambridge Botanical Gardens (I hear they look amazing and can’t wait to see them!) – my new Filofax dividers — meeting Cambridge friends Miss Sue Flay and Claireabellemakes for drinks and cake at Afternoon Tease — being inspired every day by real life and online people — Filofax pictures on Instagram — Classroom pictures on Instagram — sunshine and blue skies — a new journal — starting to house hunt, eek!

afternoon tease




Coffee and cake has featured a lot in my life this week!

What has made you feel good this week?

Miss Dotty


An A to Z of Books


I first saw this A to Z of books on Planet Millie and after you have finished here I recommend you go and read her great post. You can start tracking back to other people who have blogged about the A to Z list and, if you are as geeky as me and love to read about what people are reading, you will find some good reads! To whoever started the A to Z I have to say thank you so much as it was really fun to fill in. If it was you let me know and I will add in a link to you!

So without further ado here is my A to Z of books!

Author You’ve Read The Most Books From:

There are a few authors I have read several books from but the ones that spring to mind are Stephen King, Roald Dahl, Sue Grafton and M.C. Beaton.

Best Sequel Ever:

I don’t know if this is truly the best sequel I have ever read but again it is the first that springs into mind and that is the rest of the The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

Currently Reading:

I have a few books on the go at the moment which are a mix of some teaching books, children’s books, The Library Book which is a collection by a variety of authors and Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Water, diet coke or wine.

E-reader or Physical Book?

I use both but tend to buy and read physical books a lot more as my bookcases will attest.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Um…nope can’t think of anyone at the moment but when I do I will update this section!

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Wuthering Heights! I tried it years and years ago and hated it so put it back on the shelves for a few more years and then picked it up again and really liked it. It taught me never to write off a book completely as you never know when it will suit a different time in your life.

Hidden Gem Book:

Last Light by Alex Scarrow. I don’t tend to find many other people who have read it but I really loved it and still recommend it a lot to others.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

1) Getting a library card.

2) Earning money so I could buy my own books.

3) Finding other bibliophiles on the internet!

Just Finished:

The Hollow by Agatha Christie.

Kind of Books You Won’t Read:

I am not a huge fan of romance sagas but generally I like to try a wide variety of books.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

This is probably The Stand by Stephen King.

Major book hangover because of:

Probably a few!

Number of Bookcases You Own:

6 bookcases (one double stacked with books), a variety of boxes with books stored in and piles dotted around my desk and the rest of the house. Plus my recommended box at school.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Some of my journaling books like The Awe-Manac and the SARK books.

Preferred Place To Read:

Anywhere really but at home the bed is most popular at the moment because our sofa is so uncomfortable.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

Keeping a list of quotes is something I always mean to do but never do! Must do!

Reading Regret:

I haven’t read more classics but luckily I have the power to change that!

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

Hunger Games

The Dark Tower

Agatha Raisin

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

I hate these questions because it changes all the time! I would have to say at the moment Last Light by Alex Scarrow, Flood by Stephen Baxter and The Stand by Stephen King. And yes I have spotted the theme there!

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

dystopian novels.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Anything by a favourite author!

Worst Bookish Habit:

Reading lots of books at the same time and then leaving one or two to languish on my desk for ages.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.

Your latest book purchase:

The Library Book by Various.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. A book for teachers but it had me awake until the early hours finishing it!

Blogging on the International Geek Girls Penpal Club Blog



Phew that title was a mouthful! This is just a post to say I written a blog post for the lovely IGGPPC team all about stationery! Check out this link to read about how I deal with letter writing on the move!

In other news school has restarted woohoo so I am getting to know my new class and trying hard to stay organised and ahead of myself! How are you?

Kelly Dotty