2020, Author Love, Buddy Read, Cover Reveal, debut novel, ebook, Fitness, New Author to me, novella, personal, Publication Day, Review, running, Uncategorized, update

Weekly Update #9

Well it feels like only yesterday I was penning last weeks update. In some ways the weeks are flying by in others they really aren’t. So Happy Saturday I hope you are well and safe wherever you are in the world right now.

I’m sorry that this update has come later in the day than usual. As I stated this morning in finishing Annette’s debut I was compelled to write and post that as I have commitments tomorrow and I didn’t want it to wait until Monday.

So it’s been another week of running I finished week 5 and started week 6. Wednesday saw my longest run to date with a 20 min run. It was tough going but I loved every single second of it.

Monday week 5 Run 2
Wednesday week 5 run 3 after my 20 min run
Week 6 run 1

So the last week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I ended up running into Lewisham and treating myself to a Starbucks I sure had missed them but I was also kind of on edge on the days when I was there later and more people were around.

What have I read this week???

I finished these beauties.

What’s been on the blog this week??

There wasn’t a post on Sunday I believe I was reading and time ran away with me, this sentiment baffles me in a way as at the moment it feels like we have so much time on our hands.

On Monday I posted my thoughts on Santa Montefiore’s Here and Now this was my first Santa read and what a book you can read my post Here.

On Tuesday I wrote my mid year update well it’s mostly my lockdown reading update it’s a long one with a whole host of links to the 47 lockdown reads at the time. You can read that Here.

On Wednesday I was sharing one of my most favourite posts it’s a gorgeous cover reveal and you can see it Here.

Thursday was dedicated to Holly Hepburn – I stopped what I was reading to devour this beauty and here are my thoughts.

On Friday I was swayed from writing a review to writing about a new found love you can read my piece on Running Here.

So as well as this post which I’ve come to really enjoy writing, although I wish I had prepped it more. As obviously I was finishing and reviewing Annette’s novel and I’m powering through a different read for a blog tour tomorrow so watch this space. Here is Annette’s gorgeous debut once again you can read my thoughts here.

It’s been an interesting week I could have juggled my reading and writing a little better but we live and learn.

I don’t believe I’ve purchased anything additional this week. I was asked to show my hauls or buys I mean I have overly clicked here and there on 99p reads. I haven’t finished my current audiobook from the library as I wanted to organise my blog tour and Netgalley commitments.

If there is anything else you would love to see on Hayley Reviews do get in touch? Also if you’re an author or blogger who would like to be featured I would love to host you.

2020, Fitness, Off Topic, personal, running, Uncategorized, update

Running…

Running has been the release I never realised I needed. At school I quite enjoyed cross country and 200 and 400 m I was never really a sprint runner but I also never felt good enough. As time progressed I was told I had mild Asthma – saying that I’ve never had an attack and since I made a few health improvements in my eating and in exercising I use my inhaler less and less.

On Friday 5th June 2020 I decided it was time to make good use of the free time I had.

On my first run….

Over the years I’ve done the odd 5k run badly and have said a number of times how I would like to do the marathon but I’ve never been fit enough and for a long time I’ve said I’m not really a runner. I’ve come to realise that a lot of people have said is anyone a runner…we can all put one foot in front of the other and push off. Since getting into my little routine I’ve loved it Friday, Monday and Wednesday are my running days. Although Wednesday just gone was my final run of week 5 and the most taxing of the lot with a run of 20 mins.

On the day I woke up with my feet itching to run but the weather was disgusting – I’ve never wanted to be a fair weather runner but I also felt like I didn’t have the necessary equipment. I deliberated for a while and the weather eased – my best mate nudged me and I got ready to pound the pavement.

After my 20 min run – I was running on adrenaline

There’s a saying that no one ever works out and regrets it. That 20 min run was hard going but my sheer determination and utter stubbornness meant I carried on. I was flying having got through it.

Today’s run was week 6 run 1 and this one was back to working on pacing as there was a 5 min run an 8 min run and another 5 mins. So 2 mins off what I did in one last run but in sections. Today the air felt warmer and my leggings that I wore today are a no go in future but I plodded on and I feel good for another run under my belt. I’m always left itching for more even when my legs feel like jelly.

Today 🙂 state of my hair loving my Girl Power Top although the leggings I powered

If you’re thinking you want to start running I would highly recommend the couch to 5k app – having Jo Whiley cheer me on has been so good for me. If you told me six weeks ago I could run for 5, 8, 20 min intervals I would have laughed. I love my running days and creating a playlist of my fave boybands and a bit of Spice Girls really has been the additional boost I really needed. I know I can do it and those songs carry me through. Right lunch and then back to the books 🙂

2020, A thought? A question, Book challenge, Book Tag, ebook, Libby, New Author to me, personal, Tag, TBR, Uncategorized

The TBR Book Tag

I keep seeing this tag pop up. I haven’t been tagged but I wanted to get involved so here I am.

How do you keep track of your TBR?

I use Goodreads and since lockdown I’ve written more notes in a pad as to what I’m reading and dates especially if I’m part of a blog tour and where I’m trying to have my review up for publication day or as close to it as I can. I’ve loved being more organised and getting to read more books as I truly love escaping into another world.

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

I have a variation. Since lockdown I’ve gone back to having a few more audiobooks – most Arcs are now On Netgalley although I have been sent a few plus was given a bunch at an event before lockdown. I’ve purchased a lot of ebooks with the Kindle sales and I’ve been using Libby I must admit I’ve used my library a lot more since lockdown with mostly audiobooks but I have also got an ebook which is diverse and I’m loving it.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

My TBR choices change at the moment I’m reading/listening to a few library books before I dive into the book that I’m on a blog tour for on 29th June. From 1st July I have another buddy read with Catriona we decided to wait until then as our last I managed to read first but we had both taken a lot longer than we anticipated. After reading Hello Again I was eager to read some short stories and that is what I did including the last instalment in the Meet Me at Pebble Beach series.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?

There are sooo many but I’m going to say Daphne Du Maurier Jamaica Inn. The worst thing is when I discovered and loved Daphne I bought a whole bunch and I actually have this one sat on my shelf mocking me.

A book that you recently added to your TBR?

Following reading Daisy Jones & The Six the rest of Taylor Jenkins Reid back catalogue has quite quickly been added to my ever expanding TBR.

A book that is on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

I am swayed by a gorgeous cover but I don’t think I could say I’ve added one to my TBR based solely on the cover. (Sorry if that’s a cop out)

A book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading?

This isn’t necessarily that I wouldn’t ever read them. Sometimes over the years I added books based on my reading during that time and later on those type of books never appealed to me again. If that makes sense.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for?

This is so easy to answer One By One By Ruth Ware she can literally do no wrong in my book and her last one I flew through and Our Story by the fantastic Miranda Dickinson yet again another go to author of mine.

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you?

There’s a few Me Before You which I’m hoping to listen to via the library. The hate U Give which seeing as I’m literally almost done with On The Come Up seems apt and Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. I have a copy from my time at the charity shop another book mocking me from my shelf.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?

Literally all of the above oh and actually finishing the I Heart series.

A book on your TBR that you’re just dying to read?

My Darkest Vanessa I purchased a gorgeous edition from Waterstones which seems like months back and I still haven’t started it. I will get a few hardbacks read before work resumes oh and the newest Jodi Picoult another of my go to faves.

I’m not going to go through tagging but I challenge anyone who wants to take part in this fab tag.

Life has been pretty crazy recently and thankfully books, blogging and now running is taking my mind away, and challenging me both mentally and physically and I honestly think that’s been amazing for my sanity.

I’m one chapter left of On The Come Up and I definitely think it’s important for us to broaden our minds with different authors. Not only in race but in genre and in expanding our mindsets. So please feel free to send me over some more recommendations?

2020, audiobook, Libby, personal, Uncategorized, update, Weekly Update

Weekly Update #5

Firstly, sorry for the lack of a post yesterday and the late post the day before. I was having a bit of a moment and didn’t want to hash up a review when reviews should take time and care. I have a few half started in my drafts and I will get them finished and up in the coming days, weeks.

Annoyingly I was on a role to have posted everyday of June but heyho. We’re human right and sometimes life gets in the way I guess.

Last Friday I undertook my first run of Couch to 5K. On Monday and Wednesday I did runs two and three and there were improvements. Yesterday I did my first run of week 2 and I’m proud of my progress but out of the five runs in the session the first three felt good the last two were hard. I’ve had a bit of a tight calf since so I’ve been doing stretches and taking it easier. I’m not due to run again until Monday but we shall see how I’m feeling.

This was my final run of week one I sadly didn’t take a pic after my first of week two.

So how was my blogging week I hear you say…..I finished reading….

One of my library audiobooks ran out of time and there were people waiting so I will need to restart that again at a later date. I have started listening to.

I’m loving this story even though it’s heart wrenching at times.

Let’s look back on the posts this week. Sunday saw my thoughts on Daisy Jones & The Six and you can read it Here.

Monday saw my thoughts on one of my favourite authors in Mhari McFarlane’s It’s Not Me It’s You and you can read it Here.

Tuesday saw me take part in one of @lovebooksgroup blog tours and I was lucky enough to share a snippet of the book you can read that again Here.

Wednesday I was lucky enough to be involved in two different blog tours the first was a blog blitz and you can read that again Here and the second one of the day was a gorgeous cover reveal for a Christmas novel oh my god it’s so pretty I would love to know what you think that’s Here.

Thursday I was having a bit of a weird day. I’ve been trying to have my posts ready or to work ok them when I first wake up. I kept meaning to get something up and then the day was passing me by but I did manage a late post. After being a part of a blog blitz for Kelly @lovebooksgroup I got chatting to Graeme Cumming and then this guest post was born and you can read it Here.

This is the buddy read we started this week. Although it seems both of us have had a weird week so we haven’t read as much as expected. Although I must say Miss Broom always makes me want to go on holiday and this is no exception. I would like to finish this this weekend. To then give you guys my thoughts early on in the week. This is currently available in ebook and audiobook with the paperback coming in July.

You can purchase Hello Again Here.

I have a few blog tour commitments this coming week and I will be showcasing another cover reveal. I would like to blitz my library reads

Before my next holds become available. I’m also hoping to read a few more short stories so hit me with any recommendations.

If there’s anything you’re itching to see on my blog or whether you would like to guest at Hayley Reviews do get in touch? Until next time.

2020, A thought? A question, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

Ask me a question???

This is me…

So I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a Q&A for a while and today is that day. Thank you to those who have sent me over a few questions and the rest I’ve found via various blog tags.

My good friend Jax Harrington said: Are there any books that you have started but not finished?

Yup I can wholeheartedly answer this one. The final 50 shades book I still haven’t read after picking up and putting down the second one a lot. I didn’t hate it but I lost focus a lot when I was reading I was into the story buy distract me with something more interesting and I was gone. I have a good attention span as I often read on public transport and in coffee shops but when I just put it down and have no omph to pick it up that’s when it’s shelved. Saying that sometimes I have blog tours where I have to read specific books but a timeframe so in some instances it’s not that I didn’t want to read it. I have a few half started hardbacks as they are heavy to lug around. I’m hoping to get back to a few whilst I’m at home.

Jax also asked: How far have you read before you decide you can’t get into or don’t like it?

I’m not going to say this never happens as it does. But in 2020 I had decided that I wanted to read more for me so I’ve been more selective to the blog tours where I’ve been asked to actually review the book rather than taking on content or interviews.

Jax also asked: Top Three books?

Now this is a hard one as I love sooo many and so many resonate for a number of reasons so I’m going to spin this and my answer is going to be my top three so far from this year.

This woman will always make my list I inhaled this book and wow!
Pretending is such an important book especially for us ladies.
Just wow!

It’s so hard as I’ve loved sooo soo many this year but each of these had me hooked and have left a lasting memory on me.

The fantastic author of Kiss Her Goodbye and Love Me To Death Susan Gee asked me: What’s your favourite opening to a book and why?

Wow! Great question and I feel like I should have a fully fledged answer to this one…I would consider myself a varied reader these days but I love openings that through me straight into the action or those that leave me wanting more. I’m currently reading a book that has letters also adding to the story I like things like that too

Why do you love reading???

Since a young age stories have taken me away from the troubles of the world and gave me informative insights to a number of topics. As a child I lived for Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven although how I never read Malory Towers after watching almost all the TV series I will be reading it as an adult soon.

So it’s been a short but sweet Q&A I would love to do this again so please do put forward your questions. I don’t want to be overloading you guys so I will be trying to limit the two posts in future but I wanted to get both of these out there, it should have been a morning and an afternoon post but the morning spiralled away. I’ll be back with my weekly update tomorrow.

2020, personal, Uncategorized, update

What has lockdown taught me?

Since lockdown I’ve learnt a few things about myself and my attitude and resilience. I’m a determined cookie when I get myself going my planking challenge and hula personal bests are confirmation of that to say the least. I’ve always had a sweet tooth and when I lost weight I had managed to curb it but during lockdown my sweet tooth has reared it’s ugly head and at times I’ve ended up berating myself over it.

I honestly feel like I’m at war with myself especially at the moment. I mean I’m not all out being awful but I’m berating myself more often than not, considering I’m still being active as I can, which is something.

Covid 19 is something none of us have ever experienced and it’s changing us for a number of reasons and I’m finally starting to accept that that’s ok. Some days we go about our day like we would have before, other days we eat rubbish and drink…it’s whatever gets us through and to start with that panicked me and I was constantly like I need to do more I’m going to ruin all my hard work and then I was like breathe. Give yourself a break. I mean don’t get me wrong it’s great being able to do things round the house and seeing the family I live with. I’m loving being able to read lots more although some days I feel guilty that that’s all I’ve done.

What I will say is that during this time it’s made me appreciate the simple things and the small things that we take for granted.

What are your coping measures? Are you coping with this crazy world we’re living in? I would love to hear how you’re doing and whether there’s any little tips and tricks we can share.

You never know I may even treat you guys to a book review later…now back to the coffee and book in the sunshine of my garden.

2019, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

10 years on…

Ten years ago tomorrow my life changed…some of you may sigh and call me dramatic but life really did change the minute we found out Stephen Gately had died.

I still to this day feel fortunate to have been at Emma’s I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I was alone. It’s funny as we had seen Ronan on a TV show about the Carpenters and then I stayed at Emma’s, we’d had a nice meal out with her family and gone to sleep like any other time.

To then be woken at 3am to Emma’s sister giving us the earth shattering news. Neither of us wanted to believe it, imagining it to be a sick joke. We’d both turned our phones off but when we powered them up we both had hundreds of messages from mutual friends, my family and school friends that neither of us had spoken to in years.

In speaking to loved ones and on Emma putting the TV on our fears case true.

Early that year we’d made comments on not understanding it when Michael Jackson died but when Steo passed it hit us like a train. I’d been a massive Boyzone fan since I was small and all I’d wanted was to meet them. I had met all of them bar Mikey during their solo time but when they reunited in 2007 I was given that chance to go all round the country seeing them and making friends.

That child I was would never have believed how lucky I was….Boyzone will always be a five piece and they will always mean the world to me. They let me escape when I needed to and their music always lifts my mood. Steo lives on in the music and he’s never forgotten.

This is still one of my most treasured photos

Grief is a funny thing that effects us all. I’ve changed so much since 2009 but that raw emotion is still there. It’s not always tears but it’s definitely there.

2019, A thought? A question, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

Senses…

Now to start this post I’m going to have to ramble slightly so I apologise in advance. At the beginning of July well to be honest it could have been from the end of June but I remember it being July as I had tried to get a doctors appointment before my weekend in Dublin. I had been struggling with a piercing earache where it was leaking and all sorts leaving me in pain and slightly death.

It seems whenever I’m unwell I cannot be seen by a GP so I’m usually sat in urgent care or listening to advice from others. I went to Ireland for the weekend and I had a great time although I was still struggling with an earache. So on my return I went to Boots and purchased Earex, it helped for a bit, the puss stopped and the pain subsided temporarily at least. Mid August I was seriously struggling but with a holiday looming I wanted some answers and I wanted something to dull the pain so I went through the process of trying to be seen.

In August I was given both ear drops and then antibiotics (first via urgent care, second via an actual appointment with a GP) it improved but I knew deep down I wasn’t done with the ear pain. I then managed to get a doctors appointment and was seen by a helpful lady who told me what I knew, my ear was still blocked and I would need to be seen by ENT. That again seemed to be another battle, if they had listened to me before my holiday I would have been seen by ENT earlier.

My first experience in ENT left me in tears and I was grateful for a good book and to have work to get back to. Not only did I feel lost I felt vulnerable, having studied Physical Education and most recently fitness I know a lot of technical terms but of the ear I’m baffled. I understand that the NHS do an amazing job and are seriously stretched but on the occasions I’ve been seen I’ve been made to feel like an inconvenience. I didn’t understand what the doctors were telling me and I instantly burst into tears.

Thankfully my fears weren’t as bad as I first thought but it’s a long process that I’m still waiting on. I had to go back the following Monday – the hearing test was well explained to me and I felt somewhat better now I was being listened to. When I was then called in to see the doctor I instantly felt that vulnerability and sadness once again. On my initial appointment I was told on my next visit I would have the hearing test and the MRI and from there I would know if I needed an operation. That wasn’t the case and when I explained my frustrations and asked if there were any dos and don’ts in the meantime whilst I await the MRI letter I was merely treated like an inconvenience – like why would you ask something so stupid?

Here I was thinking that your hearing was an important part of daily life.

To my surprise it wasn’t an eight week wait for my letter regarding an MRI appointment on 1st October I arrived home after my induction for my new job to a letter for an appointment on 4th October. So as I type the continuation of this blog post I’ve had my MRI and it wasn’t fun in the slightest. That’s over with now to await my results.

Having just started a new job it’s not ideal at all but I’m hoping that seeing as I was seen a lot sooner than expected I hope that means my full hearing could be back with me soon.

The one thing that’s terrified me in this whole experience is how vulnerable I have felt. I can’t hear people walking by me until they are right in my face. It’s also made me value my senses a lot more than I have before. Feeling helpless is heartbreaking and my journey isn’t over yet but I’m trying to make the best of a bad situation.

I love audiobooks but as it stands I’ve put a hold on my audible account as my hearing is limited unless I’m listening in the comfort of my own home. I guess the positive there is that I save some money.

I’ll keep you posted…that’s if your interested.

2019, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

My Blogger Journey

So yesterday I asked what you would like to see on the blog today and a personal post won. I’ve been at work today and it’s been a hectic day to say the least, but I’ve been racking my brains with what to write and my blogger journey just kept coming to the forefront of my mind.

I’ve already mentioned my Fight Klub and my fitness stuff including the Exercise to Music qualification and everything that’s gone with that. Alongside my Slimming World journey and what that’s taught me in relation to my relationship with food so I thought let’s delve into being a blogger.

My blog originally started over on Blogger and it was called the Ramblings of a London Girl- I loved it but there was no real focus and I was often posting short posts just to post and quotes etc. Over on Blogger I had started writing book reviews as books and reading is a passion I’ve had since I was small. I have to mention my beloved Grandad Sam – my most favourite bookworm whose birthday it is today. I miss him dearly and this morning I finished listening to the audiobook of a George Orwell Classic and I instantly missed him once again.

I knew nothing about book blogging and then a friend of mine Casey was looking for reviewers to join her over on Dark-readers.com also a blogger site. I jumped at the chance, and just like that I was a book blogger being invited to events and meeting lots of other likeminded readers. It took me a while to realise that on Dark Readers I could review any books not just fantasy and paranormal although back then I was heavily invested in angels and vampires. So much so I had to take a break from those books. I then decided I wanted to talk about a number of subjects and I was interested to try a WordPress blog.

Hayleyslilworld was born – I used this platform for book, film and quite possibly theatre reviews. I undertook a number of writing prompts spoke of events I went to and used it as an outlet to share some of the articles I had via various work placements at publications and online.

Life was good I had two platforms to share content. Casey and I drifted apart and on Hayleyslilworld I started to receive a huge number of troll like messages getting to the point I didn’t want to blog anymore. Every time I received a notification I was scared to read it until I couldn’t take anymore and I made the page private and stopped altogether.

Hayley Reviews – which I write from now originally started as a blog about my volunteering with Cancer Research until I moved over to be a paid member of staff. I had got an ok following and thought it was a shame to get rid of it. So I changed the name and started talking about books. I had a few contacts from the Dark Readers days but some of the publishers moved on and my reading habits changed in some aspects.

Of late now the main hardcore studying has been done I’m now getting my reading mojo back and I’m loving it. It made my day last week to have been the first review for Daisy Tate that was a blogger highlight, and this month my reading has been great so much so I’ve started penning my what did I read in July and I’m so chuffed with the results already and there’s still a week or so to go. Although major fail I forgot my latest paperback read I’ve been missing it all day and I had hoped to finish it today.

Watch this space.

I’m looking at doing more questions and adding different additions to the blog. So give me a shout if you have a burning question or you would like to see me do something specific the meme’s have been working quite well of late.

Also if you’re an author or another blogger who would love to guest over at Hayley Reviews also give me a shout.

I look forward to hearing from you.

2019, Fitness, Me, Off Topic, personal, Uncategorized

Self Doubt

Now today there should be a well overdue Thriller review but after some fantastic news yesterday and some insightful conversations I decided to pen a more personal post.

Anyone that knows me even if you don’t particularly like me knows I’m a damn hard worker. You tell me no and I’m determined to prove you wrong, I have always been the same.

When I was at school I really enjoyed PE even took it as part of my GCSES but I was made to feel that I wasn’t good enough. So as much as it was something I truly enjoyed I looked into other passions and this one was shelved. At school it’s easy to get the necessary exercise in your day and then exams and life take over.

Anyway I’m rambling now.

Last year I found out a lot about me my habits, traits and I have changed so much in a year.

Not only am I eating things I would never have imagined I’m pushing myself both mentally and physically.

Almost a year ago I discovered Fight Klub a high intensity workout to music using punch bags. From the moment I took part I was addicted and had to work out when I could go again. I regularly attend the Falconwood class and sometimes make the Bexleyheath class. Between better eating and dedication I’m now a lot fitter than I was. At my first ever class I loved it but I was so out of my depth.

In November 2018 I took a few weeks out of work to study Exercise to Music – a course that opened my eyes and my imagination. I was one of nine ladies on the course and how each of us changed during those few weeks was impressive. I had done all the course work that I could before the course had start so in that instance I was a few segments ahead but for me nerves always take over on exam day.

On the course we did both theory exams back to back – I didn’t do badly I got 26 for Anatomy and 24 for Principles the pass mark was 28. I was deflated but had to let it go as I wouldn’t have had a chance to retake until after my practical exam.

Illness meant my practical was pretty much a car crash but my girls from the course were amazing and I got some really great feedback I felt awful and I felt like I had let myself down. So I had a bit of time going back over my theory and some time out for me.

As I have a full time job it was then trying to work out when I could take the exams. So on 10th April I went in and retook my Principles exam I improved I got 26 still two short of a pass. As these exams are multiple choice there’s no actual feedback I was frustrated but I had my Anatomy exam two weeks later so had no time to dwell. I felt much more confident and hadn’t over checked my answers and second guessed myself or so I thought. Over a week later I got an email to say I had got 24 that was two less than what I’d got on the course.

That nagging doubt and negativity crept in. I was also frustrated as the exams are done on Wednesday evenings and Wednesday’s are a pretty crazy day at work so I couldn’t see when I could redo any of them. After a few chats I had put in to redo my Principles exam on 29th May – I did some of the same revision plus I took a tutors advice and went back onto the online portal and in re-listening to it and doing the quizzes I started to see my confidence peak. Seeing as I get plagued by nerves I also decided to try Kalms tablets so I took them for a few days before and on the day of my exam.

Yesterday I received the email that would make my week I passed my Principles exam with a score of 29. I’m now one step closer to the ETM Exercise to Music qualification I’ve had a brief email chat with the tutor who gave me some advice and encouragement and I’m hoping to get booked on go retake my Anatomy exam on the 19th.

One step closer to ETM and one step closer to becoming a Fight Klub instructor.