Hi, It’s Me, I’m Not Dead!

After realising it’s been a whole three months since my last post, I figured it was about time I finally crawled out from under my rock and put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and made myself get something down. I’d normally be writing my monthly wrap-up post about now, so I guess I’ll try to do a bit of a quarterly one instead!

I’ve sat here several times attempting to put together a post, but somehow come up short. I guess for starters, I’m not even entirely sure why I haven’t been writing in the first place. I have been busy, incredibly so, but it’s something a bit more that.

I seemed to somehow rediscover my writing spark around October, and bashed out a new first draft surprisingly easily in November, but some point after that I seemed to lose my mojo a bit again. I guess the feeling encompassed most aspects of my life really; work, friendships, love, health.

Some old, familiar problems started to rear their ugly head again, which had me at a worrying precipice for a while, but I’ve spent the last month to six weeks regaining some control and getting things back in order again, focussing on the healthy, positive person I want to be, and I’m pleased to say I’m in a much better place for it.

In terms of relationships, I have both started seeing someone and ended it within the time I’ve been absent. A guy who seemed to pretty much tick all the boxes – good looking, sweet, caring, funny, just downright lovely – but I realised that yet again I was probably holding on to things for all the wrong reasons, and ignoring some fairly glaringly obvious gut feelings, until they became quite blindingly unavoidable. But I’ve realised it’s okay, and that I was coming dangerously close to once again settling for something I knew wasn’t right because perhaps it seemed safe, reliable or easy. But the truth is, I don’t want that, and it was getting in the way of what I truly do want. I’d rather have something unpredictable and at times difficult, something I’d have to work at, if the feelings are right. I know even more now what I do want and that I’m not prepared to settle for less – no matter how many boxes are ticked, it’s not going to be right if the ones left unchecked are passion and connection, and there’s nothing like someone swooping into your life and making you feel all those right things to remind you of what’s important!

So for now, I’m using my single days to focus on making the best of me. Taking care of my health, spending time with friends and family, and working towards the goals I somewhat neglected last year.

As for the bookish side of things, I’ve done some reading and some writing, though not nearly enough of either! But my heads in a better place, and – despite a sincere lack of free time – I’m ready to try and nail down on this again. I’d wanted to have a finish draft of my first book by now, and instead I’ve put off editing and am sat in the same place I was a year a go, but now with two barely revisited first drafts instead of one! So, I have rescheduled my deadline till the end of this year, and now need to work my little butt off to make sure I actually get it done – wish me luck!

Now… how the hell have you all been??

Signature 14 ja2

Advertisements

Monthly Wrap Up: November 2015

decemberFreaking December, you guys! The final stretch of the year. I can’t quite believe it. In some ways this year has seriously zoomed by, but when I look back SO MUCH has happened. It’s been a hell of a roller coaster for sure, but on the whole it’s been a pretty awesome year with a particularly awesome journey for me personally. And now we are solidly in winter. While my shivering body weeps at the cold temperatures that I am unable to deal with (I was not meant to be British, I swear, I belong somewhere warmer!), there’s still a big chunk of my heart that loves the cosiness of winter. Hot chocolates, chai lattes, blankets, jumpers, thick socks and, most importantly…

It’s Chriiiiiistmaaaassss!!!

I’M SO FREAKING EXCITED YOU GUYS!!!! Yes, I am a massive 5-year-old at heart, no, I don’t care. I bloody well love it. My heart’s been in Christmas-mode since my birthday passed on November 20th, and now that it’s December I am pretty much full on freaking out. At first I worried about living alone this Christmas, but I’m away with family for Christmas itself, and my ex actually didn’t like Christmas (weirdo), so this year I am just going to go all out, 1000% Christmas crazy. There will be tinsel freaking everywhere, and I don’t even like tinsel, but the point is BECAUSE I CAN. I will have my very own grotto – god knows I already have the penguins!! (And the bloody temperatures for it – my flat is arctic!!) – and that in itself is another reason this month and Christmas are so awesome: Penguins. Everywhere. ALL OF THE PENGUINS.

tumblr_n0kxs7xN7a1toyhh4o1_400

Christmas is especially exciting this year being my gorgeous little beastie’s first Christmas, and my oh my, do I plan on spoiling him rotten! I really need to stop getting him stuff, but it’s so hard! Everything is sooo cute! And he’s so perfect he deserves it all. So, apologies in advance to all my other friends and family who are unlikely to get anything because I’ve bankrupted myself spoiling Sonnie; I have no regrets. I can’t wait to spend Christmas day with him.

Honestly, just thinking about Christmas I’m getting over excited. I’ve come to realised it brings out quite an aggressive excitement in me, where I literally feel the need to jump and shout and generally behave in a way which is (unfortunately) not accepted in every day situations. Personally, I think the world is a poorer place for it. At least at Casa de Paris, this whole month will be one amazing festive party, even if it only has an attendance of one. I will bring enough festive spirit (in both a figurative and literal AKA alcoholic sense) to make up for a hundred.

10_signs_10

Nanowrimo

If anyone did notice my absence throughout the month of November, it was – for once! – with very good reason. Being me, I did my typical leave-it-to-the-last-minute game where I decided I wasn’t going to participate, then changed my mind around the 5th of November. No plan, no idea, no outline, nothing. So I didn’t actually start for the first week or so, and with a hectically busy month of Birthday plans etc, this resulted a mad writing frenzy yesterday, the 30th, where I type like a loon for 6 hours until I finally updated my word count at over 50,000 with one minute to spare at 23:59, and typed those two precious words, ‘THE END.’

Now I can finally breathe easy again and tuck it away until I bring it back out in the New Year with the big ole red pen to start working through it.

Birthday Shenanigans

A couple of weeks a go saw me turn the milestone corner of a quarter of a century, and I have to say it’s freaked me out a bit. I can no longer say I’m in my early twenties. FUCK. What have I done with myself? What have I achieved? To be totally honest, not bloody much. BUT, I am on a much better path right now to head towards the things I do want to achieve, so I just have to focus on that (while sobbing into my wine glass alone at night). I’m an optimist, I swear.

However, the one thing I did do was made sure my early twenties went out with a bang, and had a whole week of celebrations. It was a really lovely week spent with my closest friends and family, filled with love, laughter, dancing and theatre, which was pretty darn perfect.

November in Books

Lack of reading this month is actually guilt-free for once, as I have been in my writing cave, so have hardly dared look at a book the last couple of weeks for fear of distraction (naturally, I found a hundred other ways to procrastinate, but that’s not the point!).

25649030  26125929 26826598lost girs angela marsonsMagnetic_Front_HiRes 25911963

Books I Plan to Read in December.

I am going to be massively catching up on my christmas reads throughout December. I actually had some annual leave left to take, so I finish on December 16th and am off to the New Year, which will leave me plenty of time to read all of the Christmas books 🙂

What are you looking forward to this month? Are you as much of a Christmas fanatic as I am?

Signature 14 ja2

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 🙂 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 🙂

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.

IMG_1198 IMG_1211 IMG_1213

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.

IMG_1225 IMG_1224 IMG_1235

Long Lost Friends

Now, while I have not had much any luck on Tinder when actively trying to find a date, I have found it a worthy platform at reuniting long lost friends. When I was casually quick-swiping every mother f*cker left as I often do when bored, a familiar face popped up and I swiftly swiped right. I was quickly alerted of a match and typed a cheeky message to a guy who used to be one of my closest friends as a kid before I moved to Devon, but who I haven’t really seen or spoken to for a good five years, as though I’m now back in Jersey, he now lives in Paris. After a few messages, it was decided a dinner was in order, and we made plans to go out the next week for dinner then the cinema.

It turned out to be the BEST ‘date’ Tinder has ever provided, and generally one of my favourite evenings for a very long time. I did not stop giggling the entire time until my face was literally aching by the end of it. It took mere seconds to fall into our old relationship of being so close, and we had a great time catching up on our lives. Anyways, I’m rambling, but I just think that’s such a wonderful thing! So often these days I seem to lose touch a drift apart with more and more people – simply because life just happens – so it’s great to reconnect with someone instead for once. It’s put a massive smile on my face for most of the month having re-found my friend, and even though he’s returned back to Paris, neither of us have any intention of losing each other again. And hey, I’ll just have to plan a visit there next time, after all, Paris is always a good idea! 😉

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 there 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.

IMG_1645 IMG_1644 IMG_1709

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.

IMG_1892Halloween

I actually had a relatively chilled Halloween, we got ready at my mum’s house then all headed to the localYacht Club for a party which was really fun.

However, as I’m a bit of an obsessed perfectionist when it comes to fancy dress, I thought I’d post a few quick pics of the night! I was pretty pleased with it, but as a slight overlook on my part, I hadn’t really thought through is that it simply did not work what so ever with my tan, so it looked a bit silly, but I’d planned it before going away, so couldn’t do anything about it! I also did my mum’s weird doll make-up, which I was quite pleased with…

IMG_1901IMG_1921IMG_1919

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 😉 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.

26052279the ice twins26081315cover girl26214652TheBrokenHeart_C2a-012561883825618840one wish in manhattan24549194-2265942051879869125817964A Parcel for Anna Browne2621482125767084stirred with love

 

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!

27258255253944382550383927210829lost girls angela marsonswickham hall cathy bramley

A Christmas Tail by Cressida McLaughlin – November 5th

How to Stuff Up Christmas by Rosie Blake – November 5th

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

The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern – November 5th

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons – November 6th

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

***

What are you looking forward to this month?

Signature 14 ja2

Monthly Wrap Up: September 2015

I still cannot quite believe it is October! Where does the time go? As much as I am a total sun-worshipper, who adores the heat, I do love how snug and cozy autumn is. I’m looking forward to snuggling up with hot chocolates or chai lattes, to autumn walks through rustling leaves, to amazing winter squash recipes, to carving pumpkins and fancy dress, to layered clothing and chunky boots. There’s so much to enjoy this season, so as much as I’ll miss the sunshine (which we didn’t even get that much of!) I definitely plan to make the most of it. Plus I’ve just bought a winter wetsuit so I can stay in the sea, and I’ll be jetting off for a week in the sun soon anyway! So I will hopefully get the best of both worlds 🙂

large

Reading Slump.

I entered September totally ready to beat my reading slump and delve back into things full throttle, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I really don’t know what it is – it’s not that I’m not getting into books, because I’ve really enjoyed what I have read, I just haven’t read much. Also, I’ve just been downright busy, which is actually quite a pleasant (and surprising) change  – I can’t remember the last time I was actually out and enjoying life and socialising so much that I didn’t manage to read. Don’t get me wrong – I miss the reading, but normally I’d pick reading over most other things, so actually enjoying myself so much that I don’t have time to read is in some ways quite nice for once.

World Suicide Prevention Day

On September 10th, it was World Suicide Prevention Day, for which I decided to speak out about my own experience with depression. I just had to note it here because I was absolutely overwhelmed but the love and support I received from you all, so I just wanted to say a great big thank you. It was a very cathartic exercise, writing it all down, though emotionally exhausting too! But I’m in a really great place right now, and putting my story out there – and receiving such phenomenal support – has really helped me feel even more strong and empowered. You guys are awesome. Seriously.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 16.52.54

September in Books

As aforementioned, sod all! There really is no excuse for being this bad, but somehow I was! I hang my head in shame.

24389206 25618905 jersey dreamboat COYtaBeW8AArSJv

Books Releases to Get Excited About in October

ALL OF THE CHRISTMAS BOOKS ARE HEEEEEERREEE! Oh my God, it’s so exciting, I am feeling so festive already! Here’s a few of my fave choices for October releases (congrats Bookouture on the super strong Christmas reads game!):

 26214652 26594205 26214821

Christmas Kisses and Mistletoe Wishes – October 16th

Bella’s Christmas Bake Off – October 22nd

Snowflakes on Silver Cove – October 30th

Books I Plan to Read in October.

Luckily, I am taking myself away to Egypt for a week later this month, which means I have one whole week on my own, with nothing to do but lie in the sun and read. So, I have absolutely NO EXCUSES for not catching up on some reading! Still fairly unlikely I’ll actually read all these, but here’s hoping!!

stirred with love  cover69679-medium 26214652 26594205 26214821 cover girl

What are you looking forward to this month?

Signature 14 ja2

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

CNeloYxXAAAoPim

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.

fran and me with boys faces

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.

suitswetboarding

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.

tom all embers

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.

bestfriends besties

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.

25263264 cover71669-medium 25487640 the vineyard

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.

stirred with love cover girl The Beachside Guest HouseThe Misadventures of a Playground Mother A Parcel for Anna Browne Christmas at Lilac Cottage

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:

25618905 stirred with love  cover69679-medium

What are you looking forward to this month?

Signature 14 ja2

Monthly Wrap Up: July 2015

Unofficial Hiatus

Firstly, I have to put my hands up and say sorry for the fact that I have been absolutely rubbish this last month. There was no conscious decision to do so, but I did kind of take a step back from everything; tweeting, reviewing, writing – heck, even reading! So, secondly to saying sorry, I want to say thanks for all your wonderful support and for standing by me through my rather absent and unresponsive time. I am definitely feeling ready to get back on top of things this month!

Single Life

The response I got to my June Wrap Up was completely overwhelming, I was so deeply touched by the love and support I received from you all; whether on my blog, on twitter, on Facebook or via email – I was truly inundated with kindness and support, and it took my breath away. You guys are truly AMAZING, and I am so, so grateful to the entire blogging community every single day.

It’s been pretty strange adapting to single life, but actually – though I can’t quite believe it myself – I’m kind of loving it. I miss the companionship and the friendship me & the Mr had, and I miss having someone there at the end of the day, but I am also loving the freedom and time to spend on myself and the things I want.

I’ve treated myself to some gorgeous new bedding, cushions and bits for the house – all fantastically bright and girly! – and am making it much more of a ‘me’ home. I’ve been having so much fun with my friends, and catching up with all the ones I’ve been meaning to for months, but somehow never quite got round to.

I’ve been out dancing more than I had for months, I’ve drunk wine, eaten cheese, been to France, gone shopping, done Zumba, watched films (& The Vampire Diaries!), had pizza and ice-cream, seen my family, planned holidays, been to a mini-festival and generally just enjoyed myself and my life the way I want to. I actually feel more myself, and more alive than I have done in a long time…possibly ever!

And it’s strange as we didn’t have a bad relationship by any means, and we certainly loved each other, but when I made the decision to end things in June, I did so thinking of the future. But, actually, what I hadn’t realised, was how much I was already missing out on in the present.

Ultimately, I’m 24 years old, and for the first time feel like I’m actually living my life, and you know what? I LOVE IT.

Blogoversary
3d5de8809fc6fcb8ce496e194efae412

July saw my first Blogoversary! I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I started, when I still feel like such a newbie! However, I do know i’ve come a long way from where I was.

Blogging has been the best – and craziest/most surreal/most stressful-but-amazing – experience I have ever had, and has totally changed my world around. For the first time I’m ‘surrounded’ by like-minded people, who I feel totally at ease gushing over the things I love with, and who have helped me build my confidence no end. Heck, I get to interview, and chat with and befriend freaking authors I love, how amazing is that?!

Just want to give another big thank you to everyone’s support throughout the past year, and also to the gorgeous bloggers and authors who so very kindly donated prizes for my blogoversary celebrations. You are absolutely wonderful human beings and I love you all.

July in Books

As previously mentioned, I really didn’t get much reading done this month. I think I was just struggling to get my head truly into anything and I have been very busy. I did opt for a nice few novellas which have been on the TBR for a while, which I really enjoyed.

24548860 fairytale beginnings 25577573 cover63057-medium 25340865 23433709  25340862

Books Releases to Get Excited About in August

cover71640-medium cover71669-medium 25205422

Stirred With Love – August 3rd

#PleaseRetweet – August 4th

Who Do You Love – August 11th

Books I Plan to Read in August 

I have bought so many gorge paperbacks lately that I am dying to get through, especially with  #paperbacksummer, and I also plan to participate in the #HIreadathon, so hopefully these will all get me out of my reading slump!

cover66002-medium 25487640  25618905 cover71669-medium cover69679-medium cover67703-medium

What are you looking forward to this month?

Signature 14 ja2

Monthly Wrap Up: June 2015

If you’ve read my last few wrap-up posts, you may know life’s been a little hectic the last few months. If I’m honest, they’ve been pretty tough, I haven’t been in the happiest of places, and that all culminated in June.

All the Single Ladies

I pondered whether or not to include this in here, but it’s obviously a large part of what happened to me last month. After 2 wonderful years together, my partner and I have separated. It was a heart-breaking decision, and not for lack of love for each other, but because we simply didn’t seem to be on the same path for the future.

And so, I find myself single once more, and living alone, when I had quite smugly thought that I’d had my whole life mapped out for me. There have been ups and downs, good days and bad days, I have been sad, angry, miserable, okay, indifferent, guilty, happy, raging, tired and everything in between, but luckily I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by an incredibly loving and supportive family, and have some amazing friends who are always there for me. I have spent most of the last couple of weeks staying with my Dad and Stepmum, who have been incredible, and I’ve had copious amounts of cuddles with my little brother, and much love (and licks) from our very over-enthusiastic and affectionate chocolate lab; after all, I think there are few pains which cannot be eased by dogs and babies.

And do you know what? For the first time in my life, when everything seems to be falling apart around me, I am actually feeling pretty damn strong. I have had a fairly dark past at times, where something like this may have destroyed me, but while my heart has been broken, I have somehow broken new ground for me. For a start, it’s the first time I have had the strength to admit that, actually, I’m not doing so great, and I need a little help, rather than pretending I’m fine. And I now know that that is TOTALLY OKAY. So I went at stayed with my Dad for a bit. Did it make me feel me feel helpless or weak? Actually, it reminded me of how lucky and loved I am, and allowed me to heal and find strength in a safe environment.

I think I’ve just reached a giant point of FUCK IT (excuse the french!). I actually feel more empowered than ever to go after the things I want in life and make them happen. I’m finally working on my book again, after having neglected it for several months. I’m meeting the friends I’ve been saying I must catch up with for months, but have never got round to. Yes, this last week I have had too much wine and not enough food, but mainly because I’ve been out with people who make me feel good and I’ve had fun, rather than isolating myself alone at home and doing this, as I may have done in the past.

So here’s to new beginnings, and to making your own dreams come true!

Here’s a few quotes that have helped me feeling motivated (there has been a LOT of “inspirational quotes” searching on Pinterest when I’ve needed a pick-me-up! By all means, if you are also inclined in the way of super cheesy affirmations, do feel free to check out my Pinterest board).

573aa64ec46cc71d99518463180fdf4a 7b4f00dc8c1de665bd107794ed2d4416 5e3f340f6bf1ae7411bade50f51333c8

June in Books

Nursing a broken heart did mean that I decided to submerge myself in reading again, and managed to get through more than I had in the last few months. Overall, a damn good selection as well, Killing Monica didn’t really do it for me, but I loved everything else I read this month, so that’s great.

 18040689 CGKmpq1UIAA5he2 24480276 Killing Monica always the bridesmaid 25613484 Return to Bluebell Hill 04 20877628 25646142-2

Books Releases to Get Excited About in July

 24548860 25646142-2 cover63057-mediumfairytale beginnings 23433709 cover66002-medium

The Quality of Silence – Jul 2nd

Some Kind of Wonderful – July 2nd

Summer Flings and Dancing Dreams – July 3rd

Fairytale Beginnings – July 10th

Secrets at Maple Syrup Farm – July 17th

The Little Flower Shop by the Sea – July 30th

Books I Plan to Read in July 

Given my shit-ness at getting through the reading goals I’ve set my self lately, I’m just going to put the 3 from above which I’ve not yet read, and I also want to enjoy some of the lovely paperbacks I’ve bought myself recently for #paperbacksummer. We shall see!

cover63057-mediumcover66002-medium23433709

BLOGOVERSARY!

July marks one year since I first started blogging, which is super exciting, so I’ve got lots of amazing giveaways to celebrate with you all!

What are you looking forward to this month?

Signature 14 ja2