Monthly Wrap Up: October 2015

As if it’s November already! Where the hell has this year gone?! It’s crazy! However, I have several friends visiting home to Jersey this month and my best friend from school is actually moving back, so I am very excited ūüôā team that with birthday celebrations, winter snugglyness, hot chocolates and ALL OF THE CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES COMMENCING, and November is looking pretty awesome. My tree will totes be up before the week is out.

And, as I’m about to elaborate on, October was pretty freaking awesome too. This does mean it’s a rather long wrap-up post, but it was just too fabulous a month to skimp on ūüôā

Holly Martin’s White Cliff Bay Party

The first weekend of October was SUPER EXCITING as I flew to London to attend Holly’s launch party, and generally to hug and squish lots of lovely writer and blogger friends. It was superb. Sharon and I met for a drink and catch up on the Friday afternoon before we headed to the party, where I just met so many amazing people I feel like I’ve known my whole life, mainly for the first time and some for the second time having met before in March, like Simona and Sharon. It was just such a special night and I loved every second gossiping with these amazing women (and the odd man, hi¬†Holly’s dad and Olly!!) and guzzling far too much rose than can be called acceptable. Books, friends and wine *ahhh*, what a perfect combination.

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Saturday was spent with Sharon, Simona, Maryline and Rachel, and we had a lovely stroll around Convent Garden before lunch at Jamie’s Italian (yum!) and in the evening we saw Kinky Boots, which was just fabulous. I had a horrendously early start on Sunday, then spent 9 hours sat in Gatwick as I missed my flight due to train cancellations and delays, and had to book a new flight for the evening, so that was all a wee bit stressful, but still couldn’t really dampen how awesome a weekend it was, and how happy I am to have met and squished so many of my lovely online friends.

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Legally Blonde

The week before I went on holiday, after years of deliberation, I finally plucked up the courage to audition for the local amateur dramatics group. It was something I did all the time as a kid, but I get bad stage fright which has prevented me from having done¬†anything for a very long time. Next year, the local club is doing Legally Blonde, and I’m very happy to say I got the role of Elle’s best friend, Margot. It’s my first show in ten years, so to have got a lead is really awesome and I am SO excited to get started, it’s just such a fun show and I can’t wait to just get involved with all that again.

Walk Like an Egyptian

On Tuesday 20th October, I woke up at an ungodly hour to make my way to the airport and begin my travels to the beautiful land of Egypt, somewhere that has pretty much become my favourite place in the world over the last couple of years – largely¬†to do with temperatures consistently exceeding 30 degrees celsius, which just feels much more like my natural climate! As soon as I¬†stepped off that plane and felt the rush of warm air hit me, I couldn’t stop smiling.

This was a particularly special holiday for me, as for the first time in my life I went away by myself. Having spent months discussing/debating holidays with my ex, but never getting round to booking anything (thank god, looking back!), I had pretty much resigned myself to a holiday-less year when we broke up. Within a couple of months though, I realised I was being a total moron and question what the fuck I was doing. Why the hell should I not have a holiday just because I don’t have anyone to go with? If anything, when I’m on holiday I just want to lie in the sun and read all day, occasionally swimming in between, and let’s be honest – those¬†aren’t exactly sociable activities, so I am more than capable of achieving that on my own! So I found time I could take off work and began my search of where to go for a fairly cheap and cheerful holiday I’d be comfortable on my own and – more importantly – where’d have the hottest weather in late October. All signs quickly started pointing to Egypt, and while I wasn’t sure at first having spent two weeks there last year, I did love it and the promise of heat won me over.

Arriving at the hotel late, tired and hungry on my first night after 15 hours of travel and just missing the ¬†restaurant which closed mere minutes before I arrived, I¬†had a quick couple of drinks in the bar before turning in for the night. At 7am¬†I wondered down to the poolside and was faced with¬†my most taxing decision of the week:¬†which sun lounger do I choose? Where will get the best sunlight hours for optimum tanning?! This is serious stuff. Pleased with my decision, I headed off for breakfast before returning to my selected lounger, where I remained until the sunset, with the exception of a few dips in the pool and a few trips to the bar a few metres away. It’s a tough life, but someone had to do it, and I spent every following day doing the exact same thing. Suffice to say, I was in heaven.

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I did have a slight wobble for all of about half an hour that first evening in the bar, where I wondered if I could really do the whole being on my own for a week thing, but I took stock of the situation, realised I was in a beautiful (HOT!) country with nothing more to do than swim, sunbathe and read, no one else to worry about whatsover and realised: fuck it! This is amazing. After that I had one of the best weeks of my life, and loved every goddamn second of it and am trying to plan a way to go back and live there, naturally.

Honestly, as soon as I stopped¬†worrying I think I was probably the most relaxed and content I’ve ever felt. And I wasn’t truly alone, because I got to know other guests and the staff, and we had a great time together. What I enjoyed was having the luxury to spend time with them, or choose to simply sit and enjoy my own company with a book if I wanted to! Though ¬†honestly, I think they thought I was pretty weird the first few days, constantly having my nose in a book – especially when I began each meal by cutting it¬†into little pieces like one might for a child, just so I could eat one-handed and hold my kindle in the other! But they soon got used to me and it became a conversation starter.

It was definitely up there with Best Holidays Ever, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go alone again, possibly even to the same resort.¬†As I’ve mentioned previously, these past few months have been really important for me, and I’ve found I’ve become more myself – the myself I want to be – than ever before, and being able to spend so much time in my own company, and relax and enjoy it, is a massive achievement for me, and something I totally recommend.

October in Books

So it turns out what I needed to get me out of my reading slump was a good old week in the Egyptian sunshine! I may have to do that more often then ūüėČ it was slightly odd as I was catching up on a lot of Christmas reading, which can be slightly difficult to get into when lying in 35 degrees of heat, but I enjoyed them none the less. I tried to get a nice mix of Christmas, general catch up, and some nice summery/sunny books too.

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Books Releases to Get Excited About in November

I am totally in full-on gunas-a-blazin’ Christmas mode now, so nearly all releases to get excited about this month are Christmas related. Oh, and the new Cecelia Ahern, obviously!

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A Christmas Tail by Cressida McLaughlin¬†‚Äď November 5th

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake ‚Äď November 5th

A Girl’s Best Friend by Lindsey Kelk – November 5th

The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern ‚Äď November 5th

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons – November 6th

Wickham Hall, Part 4: White Christmas – Novemeber 26th

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What are you looking forward to this month?

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Monthly Wrap Up: August 2015

I am Rubbish.

Yet again, I have to put my hands up and say I am absolutely shit. I know it, you know it, lately it feels like the universe knows it and is floating around taunting me with whispers in my ear of how unproductive I’ve been, and that I’m the worst blogger in the world, but I just can’t help it. Having resolved to get over my reading slump in August and get back on track, I think, if anything, I actually read less. So, yes, I am totally useless, and very, very sorry. I blame the wine, it calls to me. However, my bank balance is not on such good terms with the wine as I am, so I think I am really going to HAVE to reign it in this month, whether I want to or not, so I should find myself back on track! Although I do plan to go back into my writing cave for the next week or so, so the reading may still take a back seat for now. We’ll see.

Granny Hair

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Okay, so I did my original Silver Fox look at the very end of July, but I’ve gone a bit darker now so it’s more of a grey-silver (with a slight hint of a blue rinse, but shhh!) but seriously, I am so in love with it that I had to include it as one of my highlights of the month, even if that seems silly. I’ve wanted silver hair for several years now and I’m just so happy to have finally done it!

Weekend Away

I wouldn’t normally go into such detail, but honestly, last weekend was just AWESOME and I’m feeling very soppy about it all and how much I love my besties, so thought I’d do a bit of a write up.

For the Bank Holiday weekend, I went back to Devon, where I lived for 6 years, to catch up with my friends. I think it’s going to go down as one of the best weekends EVER. We just had so much fun, and I hardly ever stopped laughing. It was a very busy weekend, but it was just brilliant. My best friend Fran and I have ‘our boys’, Tom and Niall, so the four of us and Fran’s other half, Nick, just had such a proper Summer weekend, despite not having the best Summer weather!

Friday we had a girls day in Plymouth once she picked me up from the airport, then met the boys for dinner and drinks in my beloved Wetherspoons in the evening. Wine was drunk, fun was had, Taylor Swift was danced too, and we took 99 selfies. Literally, that’s how many photos were on my phone from that night – and that’s just my phone! They were all super attractive too, as I’m sure you can imagine!! Given both boys were driving, they do pretty well at taking mine and Fran’s crap, and don’t need telling twice to get up and dance to Taylor Swift with us. We’ve trained them well.

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Saturday, we all went for lunch then went to a wake boarding park, which is something I never knew existed before, but was seriously cool, and I definitely recommend it. While you were waiting, there were paddle boards and kayaks to use in the lake, so the boys all did some stand-up paddle boarding – with some efforts to knock each other over! – while Fran and I shared one board, sitting cross legged, while gently paddling around singing Pocahontas songs. Obvs. It was amazing. Then the wake-boarding itself was equal parts terrifying, brilliant and hilarious, and I absolutely loved it – what a thrill! I managed to get the knack of it pretty quickly which was great, especially as I’d been so scared, so I was really pleased about that. They also served some of the most amazing hot chocolate afterwards, which finished the afternoon off perfectly.

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Saturday night was probably the most horrendously Devonshire event I’ve ever been too. Seriously. After being coerced into going to ‘a bonfire,’ which actually sounded pretty cool to me, that is definitely not quite what this turned out to be. It started out all well and good, we had burger van food, candy floss and ice creams (it really was not a good weekend for the waistline!!), then after hanging around for a while, they had some very bad entertainment, then played episodes of Trumpton on a big screen. I have never heard of said show before in my life, and it’s ridiculous. It’s laughably bad, and boy did we laugh. We were then promised the BEST PYROTECHNICS SHOW YOU HAVE EVER SEEN. No pressure then. After an agonisingly long wait between poor entertainments, there was a fireworks display which, to be fair, was fairly impressive, as some things were set to music, then the miniature version of Trumpton which had been built over the last two years, was burned down. Kind of weird and sadistic, but cool, whatevs. What the organisers hadn’t foreseen, was that the wind carried the embers of the burning buildings towards us, and basically the rest of the show couldn’t really be enjoyed as you were jumping around trying to avoid the raining embers and almost certain death. I’m not even joking, there were pieces of wood still on freaking fire, falling down around our heads. It was probably one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. Health and safety for the win. Or not.

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Somehow we escaped the impending doom, and retreated to the campsite to stay the night. The following morning started with bacon (and fake-n) sarnies in the tent, followed by a farm tour in the rain, which was awesome. I met some beautiful horses, which absolutely made my day. We went for another pub lunch (whole baked Camembert, YUM!) before parting ways and returning to Fran’s to regroup before I headed back out to Spoons to cram in a catch up with other friends. When my friend Ry arrived, the Prosecco quickly appeared, and four bottles later we stumbled into taxis clutching cheesy chips after a very, very good night.

A slightly fragile Monday morning saw breakfast with one of my other very best friends, who I hadn’t seen for about 3 years, so that was wonderful, then a day of shopping in Exeter before catching my flight back to Jersey in the afternoon. Honestly, it was just one of the best weekends of my life, and I don’t think I have continuously laughed and smiled so much in a long time. These guys mean the world to me, and I don’t know what I’d do without them. I love how we can be so diverse and varied in what we do together, and that we’re all happy to go along with what anyone wants – even risking (almost) certain death! I miss them so much when I’m back home, but it’s great to have weekends like this that remind me it doesn’t matter how far away they are or how long we go without seeing each other, we’re best friends and that doesn’t change.

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August in Books

As previously mentioned, I have been absolutely shit, and this pathetic effort is all I managed to read this month. I hang my head in shame. Although what I did read was fab, so that’s good, and quite a varied selection of styles too. But this is definitely the least I’ve read in a very long time, certainly since I started blogging.

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Books Releases to Get Excited About in September

I am actually seriously psyched about September’s book releases. Not only is there a new Nic Tatano, meaning a new snarky red head for me to love and adore, but later this month sees the start of the Christmas book releases! I shouldn’t be this excited in September, but I am, and I don’t care. First up on my list is Christmas at Lilac Cottage by the amazing Holly Martin, and you just know it’s going to be adorable – look at that cover, for chrissake!! I’ve also been really excited about A Parcel for Anna Browne for quite a while, as I’ve watched Miranda’s own excitement on Twitter and shared in that with her, so I can’t wait to get stuck into that one too.

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Stirred With Love – September 3rd

Cover Girl – September 3rd

The Beachside Guest House – September 10th

The Misadventures of a Playground Mother – September 11th

A Parcel for Anna Browne – September 24th

Christmas at Lilac Cottage – September 25th

Books I Plan to Read in September

I’m not setting myself much of a target as it never seems to go to plan lately!! So I’m just going to do what I can, but here’s a few at the top of the TBR:

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What are you looking forward to this month?

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Holiday Reads – 21 out of 12!

If you saw my previous Holiday Reads post, you’ll know I took a lot of time deciding which books I would read on my two week escape to the sunshine, and after much deliberation, I narrowed it down to 12 carefully selected choices. I was a little worried this was too many for a 14 day holiday where we planned to do quite a lot, but I obviously didn’t need to be. I ended up reading 21 books.

I was SO HAPPY with my choices and read so many amazing, beautiful, wonderful stories. I managed to get through both many review copies and lots that I’d bought for myself but hadn’t had/made time between review copies previously. I’d luckily made sure my kindle was stocked up before leaving, just in case! (Except after reading one particular book I did have to scavenger around for the hotel wifi to buy the other two to read immediately, I’m looking at you Rebecca Raisin!!)

Here’s what I read (in the order I read them): Continue reading

I’m back!

Hey guys!

I am (very reluctantly!) back from holiday. Mr and I have had an absolutely amazing two weeks in Egypt – I did not want to leave. I can’t pretend the weather wasn’t a big part of that; 35-40 degrees every day and I hadn’t seen a single cloud since we got there, until we arrived home this morning to a grey sky and rain, that is. Home Sweet Home.

We managed to have the perfect blend of chilling out and seeing the sites. We went to Cairo to see the pyramids, the sphinx and the museum, which was fascinating. We went into the desert and drove quad bikes and buggies and rode on camels. We went on boat trips to go scuba diving and snorkelling and to a little paradise island. We also spent lots of time at the resort, in the sunshine, in the pool, and on the beach.

I also read 21 books. (And I thought 12 might be too many!!) I’ll post on them later.

It was perfect.

I haven’t loaded up any snaps yet, but I’ll put up some of the best ones when I do.

I’ve got a hundred and one things I should do today, and¬†too many notifications to count that I will get through as soon as possible! So this is just me checking back in and saying hi, I missed you!

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Holiday Reads!

Only¬†3 days to go till Mr and I set off to Egypt, and I can’t believe how quickly it’s come around! We started planning a holiday around April, and it felt so far away, but the last month or so has just flown by and now the time is actually here!

Packing is always a bitch, and for the book lover, even more so. It¬†does pose some certain¬†Bookworm Problems. While 2 glorious weeks off in the sun will provide me with lots of lovely reading time by the pool, there’s a couple of things I have to keep in mind. Continue reading

This Month…September 2014

September 2014
September is finally here and it’s going to be such an exciting month!!!

Asides from all the fabulous book releases that I posted about yesterday, I’ve got a lot going on!

#NetGalleyMonth

All hail the NetGalley! Such an amazing resource for us bookers and bloggers (yes, I may have made up the word bookers, but shh!) and we’re all going to be working super hard to read & review as many reviews as possible from our NetGalley shelves to get our percentages up, so that’s exciting for everyone!

Holiday!

From September 16th, Mr and I have two, glorious weeks off for our holiday in Egypt. I am SO excited. All we’ve managed in the last year are two weekends in the UK, so a nice, long sunshine-filled holiday is definitely overdue!! This will also give me lots of lovely reading time in the sunshine, and I can’t wait to go see all the culture Egypt has to offer; from the pyramids to the old markets, it’s going to be amazing!

Writing

These last couple of weeks my book has really felt like it’s come to life, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in even more this month! Again, The holiday will give me a great chance for writing days, either out in the glorious sunshine or perfect for when I need a break from the intense heat!

My First Ever Giveaway!

I’m running my first ever giveaway! Wahoo! This is a thank you to all you amazing readers, writers and bloggers who make me smile everyday ūüôā so if you haven’t entered yet, get your cute little butt over there and enter now!

Tattoo Continues…

I’ve got my second session on my tattoo this Wednesday, I’m very excited but insanely nervous and as much as I can’t wait for it to be finished, I’m a wee bit ancy about another all day session! At least I know it’s all going to be so very worth it in the end!

So, yep, a very exciting month ahead! What have you got to look forward to this month?

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