2018, audible, Blogtober, event, Uncategorized

A Spark Of Light – Jodi Picoult event

On 27th June 2018 I didn’t hesitate I booked a ticket to a live podcast with Jodi Picoult in conversation with Emma Gannon. I hadn’t worried too much about whether I would get the day off work but thankfully I did. I haven’t heard of Jodi being in the UK since I had become a fan so I really didn’t want to miss this opportunity and thankfully I didn’t.

In discovering Jodi I have been blown away with Small Great Things and The Storyteller. Most people have watched My Sisters Keeper – which so I was told is totally different to the book and not really one of Jodi’s favourites. It’s one I’ve been meaning to read but cancer related stories are always a proper hard one for me to actually stomach. As I’ve seen the sadness first hand in my own experiences and in my work capacity.

Saturday 27th October I was lucky enough to be in the presence of Jodi. Listening to her speak was so inspiring- I didn’t ask a question but listening to the other participants was awe inspiring especially when Small Great Things was mentioned a lot. This is still one of my favourite and most thought provoking books I have ever read. I listened to that on many walks to and from work and I really did miss this tale. Jodi writes controversial stories so well, in listening to her speak she really does go all out to get each and every side of the story. I loved the question someone asked about how Jodi manages to make you feel empathy even with the bad guys and I totally also felt that with Turk.

A Spark Of Light – in hearing how much Jodi went through in regards to research and that her usually three paged outline was actually forty eight pages long just shows how in depth she went. This novel has been written and it will be read also in reverse I’ve read a little and I’m looking to get to it after finishing this post.

I may have to read this book part physical book and part audible as it’s a gorgeous hardback that I’m not going to want to carry around this could be a first for me.

I told Jodi that listening to her is inspiring although I did get a little tongue tied. I’m so grateful to have attended the event it was everything I could have wanted and more.

They say don’t meet your favourites I totally disagree. Thank you for your time Jodi I look forward to devouring more of your books and hope to chat to you again someday. A Spark Of Light is out now and I know it’s going to be a ground breaking book.

2018, Me, Off Topic, Uncategorized, update

My Fitness Journey….

Hey welcome to Hayley Reviews, today I am going away from bookishness and talking about me.

In my younger years I was one of those girls who people said could eat anything and wouldn’t put on weight that soon changed. I’ve never minded fruit but I can honestly say I rarely smashed my five a day. As for vegetables – as a child I had a best mate whose mum would serve up all sorts of veg and expect you to eat it whether you liked it or not. To this day I blame her for Brussel Sprouts – I did try them again quite recently and I can honestly say I can live without them.

If at the beginning of this year you had said to me that I would one be trying to actually cook rather than throwing something in the oven and two that I would willingly want broccoli, spinach and cauliflower with my dinner I would have laughed in your face. Now I’m upset if I run out of spinach or Broccoli or if Sainsbury’s don’t have Butternut Squaffles in stock.

They do say your taste buds change every seven years and they really do. I have such a sweet tooth yet it’s been curbed quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong I still love a hot choc and I’m still impartial to chocolates just not to the excess I would have before. I have also learnt that a lot of the time it was merely through boredom or because it was there. In working in such a busy environment where there are often lots of people around it was often easier to just snack on crap. Fast forward to August 2018 and the thought of some of the things I would have gauged on makes me feel physically sick.

On 16th April 2018 I joined Slimming World – a number of people asked me why and a number of people also said I shouldn’t have. Having seen a number of friends do well from Slimming World I thought what the hell. What do I have to lose. In joining I took one look at the plan and was instantly thinking what am I going to eat. Natasha my consultant was super helpful- she told me not to focus on what I wouldn’t eat and to look at what I would. My first week was a little strange and I somehow managed to put together some odd meals. In that week I managed to lose 3lb but I hadn’t had much speed food.

What is speed food? I hear you say. These are fruit and vegetables that help speed up your metabolism – quite quickly I found a flow that I could enjoy. With my breakfast I often have Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries and Blueberries which are all speedy fruits and with meals it’s often Mushrooms, Carrots, Spinach, Butternut Squash and Broccoli to name a few. Before Slimming World I ate Carrots and Mushrooms but the other vegetables I hadn’t tried in a long time.

On 13th August 2018 I hit my target weight – this was a very good Monday for me, I had said to myself as I got closer that I wanted to be at target before my family holiday to the seaside and I made it. As you know I’m away as we speak and I’ve had a sketchy food week but I have had some fruit and Weetabix on a few mornings and some semi Slimming World friendly stuff. In town I found a gorgeous Mushroom Risotto which if possible I would love to sample again before we leave – it hasn’t happened so far.

I know there are Slimming World recipes for this so this will be happening when I return home.

Alongside my food and my walking I started attending a number of fitness classes. I have been doing Zumba on/off for years and I still really enjoy it. I managed to get a few free passes to some Boxfit classes. I did Boxfit on Blackheath common and then I found Fight Klub. That’s another thing I wouldn’t have thought a boxing based fitness class would be my thing but I love it and when I miss it, I’m seriously annoyed. Last week I managed to fit in two sessions which I was also meant to do the week before but due to trainer sickness that didn’t happen.

What has surprised me….I’m now a target member- I’ve missed a weigh in week as I’m away but I’m intrigued to see how I fair. As I have relaxed a little this week I have been shocked at the changes. Back in April/May time I purchased this…

On the Friday night before we left home I decided my working week was done and my me time had started so I would sample this. I had two quite small glasses and found it super super sweet. I also realised that I can’t drink normal coke – I asked for a vodka and Diet Coke and was given a normal coke and yet again it was too sweet. I’m pleased to report my love of an Irish coffee and of fudge still stands but once again my body will tell me when I have had too much. I’m also noticing a difference to how I feel when I’ve eaten fatty foods.

The picture on the left was taken at a book event with friends on 30th April so two weeks into my SW journey and the pic on the right was taken in July around the World Cup. I’ve also had a number of non scale victories in the fact I need pretty much a new wardrobe and the stuff that used to be tight now fits.

Thank you to those who took part in my poll yesterday, meaning I actually finished writing this piece.

What would you like to see tomorrow? Book Review, Author Guest Post, or something different. You guys get first refusal on what tomorrow holds.

2018, Author Love, TeamSparkly, Uncategorized, update

Sparkly Inspiration…

On this gloomy Monday.

Don’t get me wrong it’s warm there’s a humid feel here in London but it’s really grey. I don’t really get the Monday blues as working in retail I rarely get a full weekend to myself but today is proving trying.

I am really loving my daily blog posts, I’m not feeling the pressure if anything it’s making me want to do more and progress with my content. If it makes me happy and if my readers engage with it then happy days. That’s when I’m at my most happiest here on my little place on the Internet.

I’m often inspired at times when I can’t write, like when I’m trying to sleep or in the bath just to name a few. Seeing as Miranda Dickinson’s gorgeous Somewhere Beyond the Sea is released this Thursday I was thinking how can I talk of that more….her magical way of writing is just what I need in my life right now. Saying that I’m not looking forward to the book hangover that will follow.

Miranda has written some gorgeous bookish boyfriends for me over the years and I’m pretty much in love with Kieran. I first met him in her ebook prequel Christmas in St Ives and I just loved everything about him. He’s extremely humorous but he’s also very sensitive which is a gorgeous gift in a guy. Where I’m at right now he has only dipped in and out but his humour and sensitivity are there each time he graces the pages.

Today I woke up feeling exhausted just thinking about what today holds for me…but I’m hoping it ends with a massive smile on my personal journey too.

As I said I was looking at how I could talk more of the sparkly talk ahead of publication day later this week, and then the queen of pure escapism put up a soundCloud clip of one of her songs on her Twitter account.

The song in question is called ‘A million Miles’ I must admit I listened to this snippet a number of times whilst getting ready for work and on my descent to work and I instantly felt inspired and awake. I love how a piece of music with such inspirational words could easily change my outlook on my day.

Granted it’s still not going to be a walk in the park but Miranda’s song made me dream, think and more importantly it inspired me for the better this morning.

Miranda Dickinson thank you for brightening my Monday and for making me reach higher without even realising it.

Today might not be great but there will be greatness in today…. Do let me know how your Monday is going and what books or bookish things you are doing?

2018, audible, Author Love, Review, Uncategorized

Audio Review: Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square By Heidi Swain

Blurb: Kate is on the run from her almost-divorced husband who is determined to have her back, and she has found the perfect place to hide…a little cottage on Nightingale Square in Norwich, far away from her old life in London. But the residents of Nightingale Square don’t take no for an answer, and Kate soon finds herself pulled into a friendship with Lisa, her bossy buy lovely new neighbour.

Within a matter of days Kate is landed with the job of campaigning the council to turn the green into a community garden, meanwhile all the residents of Nightingale Square are horrified to discover that the Victorian mansion house on the other side of the square has been bought by developers. But when all hope is lost, the arrival of a handsome stranger is sure to turn things around.

Review: Right first off I have to mention I first met Heidi Swain last June and I am ashamed to say this is the first of her books that I have devoured. Although I did start Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market, and then Christmas came and went so I sadly stopped.

I decided to download the audio version and I got some listening in on publication day. I had truly adored the first few chapters that Heidi had shared on her blog and I loved rehearing that before delving into the heart of the story in the gorgeously sounding Nightingale Square. From the off I warmed to Kate, her husband had betrayed her in the worst possible way but the way she handled changing her life was awe-inspiring.

So the setting sounded beautiful and it makes you long for a close knit community like Nightingale Square. Lisa was a hit for me from the off. First setting eyes on her as a nosey neighbour but there’s so much more to her. I don’t want to say too much as I want anyone who hasn’t inhaled this beauty to find out more about Lisa and her passions in the OMG that’s so beautiful kind of way that I did. I want to say more on this but if I do that will also ruin the surprise. I also have to mention Heather as the three musketeers bond was truly enlightening to see as it blossomed.

The characters all have their quirks just like real life communities and work places and I truly loved the eclectic bunch that Heidi created. I have to mention Mr Luke Lonsdale in his own right. Now I have fell in love with many bookish guys but Luke has that mix of sophistication and just damn right down to earth and I love that.

Like any story there are a number of bumps along the way that will have you reeling for the characters especially that of Kate. I’m glad the heroine I liked from the very starts life changed dramatically for the better. As mentioned earlier I haven’t read Heidi’s other books but I have them and in reading this you also hear about a few of the residents from Wynbridge and I honestly cannot wait to delve into The Cherry Tree Cafe – I know it would be a regular haunt for me.

Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square is so much more than a feel good read. It’s inspiring and full of hope and beauty in a world that is often plagued with sadness. If like me you are new to Heidi Swain then fear not this is a beautiful way to start her collection. I promise you will also be excited to read more about the Wynbridge contingent as soon as you turn the final pages of this novel.

2018, Author Love, ebook, novella, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Random Acts Of Kindness Part Four – New Adventures

Blurb: Welcome to Littlewood, a small town community with a big heart…

Summer is drawing to a close as Huntley Manor is due to have its grand re-opening. Abbie is determined to save the hotel from closure but she has to remember her own career too… As she and Thomas grow ever closer, will she end up making Littlewood her home for good? Or will she set up her own PR company back in London…?

Eszter has to decide whether it is time to go back to Hungary… But what has she got to return to? She has no career to speak of, and their home is filled with painful memories of her beloved husband. But can a new job, a new home and a surprise new dog convince Eszter and Zoe to stay?

Louise wants to tell Alex how she feels but decides she needs to show him after pushing him away for so long. Will a grand gesture be enough to show him she won’t run away this time?

As the town of Littlewood comes together to help Huntley Manor, we’ll find out if kindness really does have the power to save the day….

Packed full of love and kindness, this heart-warming story will reaffirm your faith in humanity!

Review: Now it goes without saying I have been waiting for the final part of this story since I finished reading part three back in April. Although I must admit I was also worrying about saying goodbye to Littlewood and its residents.

I did think I would have devoured this a lot quicker than I did but I am going to blame work, my fitness sessions and the fact I was blooming scared to say goodbye to the gang.

The town and characters that Victoria has created instantly had an impact on me. Being kind is definitely something we should all do more of. I have started to make these changes in being kinder to myself although I am still very much a work in progress my mindset is changing for the better. I just wished I had a place like Brew, to head to whenever I needed that little pick me up and reminder that being kind to yourself and others really does make a difference in a world full of such sadness. The kindness board really has made me think and I loved how Victoria wove it into certain aspects of the story especially with Louise. I wont be adding any spoilers here but that note melted me. There are aspects to Louise and her wariness that I can see in me, and maybe I just need to up the kindness stakes in being kinder to myself and the rest will fall into place, when I least expect it.

In part four the story comes together and loose ends are tied up for the three main ladies Louise, Abbie and Eszter. They all have life-changing and affirming decisions and what I will say is their journey truly is beautiful. At the beginning of the Summer these ladies really didn’t know just how much they needed one another. I love that it ends in a way where Victoria could and I truly hope that she does return to Littlewood and its residents as everyone could do with a little bit of kindness in each and every day.

If you are looking for a read that will not only let you truly escape the trials and tribulations of everyday life, it will also have you asking yourself thought provoking on how you can be kinder in general and to yourself, then Random Acts of Kindness is definitely for you. You will not regret it, you will be sad to see it end but you will be left with tears of joy and genuine smiles.

This serial truly inspired me and I loved all of the leading ladies for different reasons. Sometimes you have to go with your gut instinct and sometimes you have to choose the wrong path to see the right one. I’m not done with kindness, I need more of this in my day to day. It’s not always easy with the rollercoaster that is life but if we all make a concious effort we can start little by little.

If there are any truly kind books that I should be adding to that ever growing TBR list feel free to let me know below. If you want to chat about this serial some more also do get in touch.

I already have Eva Woods How to be Happy – which I have heard good things about so I am hoping to bump that up my list. Very shortly I will be devouring Miranda Dickinson’s latest I was meant to buddy read that one but life got in the way. She is another author who lets me escape and who also inspires. I also have Derren Brown’s Happy which I am sure will be enlightening, but I am looking forward to what suggestions you give me.

2018, Author Love, Guest Post, Publication Day, Uncategorized

Guest Post: The Power Of Kindness By Victoria Walters

Today sees the publication of part four of Victoria Walters Random Acts Of Kindness and I truly cannot wait to devour it. Although I will miss Littlewood and it’s residents.

So in honour of publication day I have the lovely lady herself here at Hayley Reviews without further ado I give you Victoria…

The Power Of Kindness

When I started writing my four-part serial, Random Acts Of Kindness, I was sceptical at how much kindness there really was in every-day life. The story is set in a small surrey (fictional) town called Littlewood and follows three women over one summer who discover that kindness can change your life. There is an act of kindness in the very first chapter, which starts a butterfly effect of acts of kindness through the story, and inspires the three women to make a pact to be kinder to both other people, and to themselves.

After I had written the first part, I experienced an eerily similar act of kindness to one of main characters. I was in a shop and suddenly realised that my handbag was no longer hung on my shoulder. I immediately panicked and frantically tried to retrace my steps in the store. There was no sign of it so I assumed it had been taken by someone. It’s a shame that was my first feeling but I thought it had gone. Then I turned around and saw a woman coming up the escalator carrying my bag. She worked for the shop and had seen it fall off my shoulder (note to self-do not wear a leather jacket with a gold chain strap in future – it slips right off!) and had picked it up and tried to find me in the shop. I was so grateful, I gave her a big hug! I think she was surprised but no more than me that someone had found my bag, and reunited me with it.

What was so crazy about this act of kindness was the mirror to my book. In the first chapter, Abbie has arrived in Littlewood from London and she drops her bag at the train station. Later, she is stunned to have it handed back to her by a stranger who followed her to a local café called Brew. Brew has a kindness board where customers write up acts of kindness that others have done for them, and it inspires Abbie, the stranger Eszter, and Abbie’s sister Louise to do their own acts of kindness. I love the idea of kindness having a pay-it-forward effect on people.

As I wrote Random Acts Of Kindness, I have noticed kindness so much more than before. If you look for it you do see so much of it that my faith in human nature has been restored. Even if it’s just someone giving you a compliment or holding the door open for you, all these small things can really make someone feel special, and turn their day around. I really hope my story inspires readers to make kindness more of a priority in their lives, and I’m definitely trying to make it more of one myself.

Thank you Victoria for joining me here at Hayley Reviews. I also would like to make kindness more of a priority in my life too. Sometimes the smallest things can mean the most to others and we should also all be kinder to ourselves, I am getting better at that but I can be my own worst enemy.

If you haven’t devoured this gorgeous series then be sure to do so part one is free and the others are 99p each what a bargain.

Random Acts Of Kindness

Before I go here are my reviews from the first three parts.

Part one

Part two

Part three

Keep your eyes peeled for my thoughts on finishing the series this week. I’m getting the bus into work instead of my usual walk so I can start devouring this beauty. Saying goodbye to Littlewood will be hard but being kind should be part of our everyday existence.

2018, Author Love, Guest Post, Uncategorized

Guest Post: Anita Cassidy talks Sugar….

I’m super excited to share this guest post from the fabulous Anita Cassidy. I truly loved Appetite and a lot of the messages within this novel hit a nerve for me. Not that I’m as bad as these characters but there certainly are little aspects that I share with them. If you remember back in January I spoke wholeheartedly about David as David’s story in Appetite was one that made me stop and truly think. I was part of the blog tour and I shared this from David Here

Here is my Appetite Review.Sugar and You…

Clear your plate? Don’t be so greedy! This will make you feel better… Enjoy… You deserve it… Don’t get fat… We are all taught how to eat by the messages and actions we see around us. Maybe our mother dieted, or ate a lot of low-fat but high-sugar foods and so we associate those chemical-laden horrors with health? Maybe we were taught to eat up, and so we never learnt to hear our body’s signals of hunger and satiety? Maybe we were rewarded with sweets: pudding is all too often an easy way to show a love that it can be hard to say.

We use sugar to celebrate and commiserate. It’s certainly what I do. Good day: chocolate. Bad day: chocolate. And it is, quite frankly, unhelpful. Especially when the reality is that we just eat and eat, hoping that the food will fulfil the promise we have been sold – that it will make us feel better – and then blame ourselves when we just feel worse…

For me, it was the comfort that the sweets provided, the sense that I had chocolate to hand and that meant I would be okay. The chocolate became a way to soothe feelings that I had not been taught to handle by myself or to sit with. And yet all the sweets ever did was distract me from the hurting for a while. After the binge (how do you stop? Once the third biscuit has been eaten, isn’t the seventh just inevitable?), I was always left feeling guilty and queasy.

The breakthrough came when I was writing Appetite. Through David’s story in particular, I began to unpack the story of my relationship with sugar, how I used food and sugar as a comfort, and the extent to which that was a habit from childhood. I realised that, even at six years old, I was hiding food, storing it away as a secret support for myself.

And now, despite the fact that I see the truth of it, I still find myself picking up ‘treats’ and ‘rewards’ for myself as well as for my young family. And I want to break that connection.

The change cannot come from outside: no sugar tax will effect a real shift. It all begins with thinking about how you interact with food and sugar. It begins with observing. What do you eat and when? What is your family story when it comes to food? What memories or feelings come to mind when you think about your childhood and food? About yourself and food? It is about seeing the stories we tell ourselves about food and time, to see where they have come from, and begin to think about which parts are helpful, and which are narratives we need to let go of.

For me, one practical solution has been to limit sweets and desserts to Friday-to-Sunday, and to only two items a day. This still often feels like too much, but it is the best I can do right now. It is about honestly seeing where you are right now and then making one change at a time: whole-nut peanut butter not jam, brown toast not sugary cereal, water not juice at lunch… Small changes made one at a time (and not making more changes until that one has mostly stuck) do make a difference.

And, to help unpack the emotional associations, it is about pausing when there is upset with the young, and not so young, ones and saying: You feel bad and part of me wants to give you sweets to make you feel better but how about we just sit together and have a cuddle? How about we do a drawing? Read a book? Go for a walk?

Work on my own habits and awareness is very much a work in progress. I am still watching how I interact with food. I see myself hiding a bar of chocolate (or three) in my drawer still – I did it this week… I have to learn to let go and trust that I will change more permanently when I am ready.

This work is the work of learning to soothe ourselves, learning to sit with some discomfort and pain and not instantly trying to push it away, make it disappear. It is a personal journey, and not an easy one. But it is one that we can take together and, by talking and sharing these stories, we can begin to make the changes we need to for ourselves, our families, and each other…

Thank you Anita. I truly am inspired by your words and I am about to embark on my own fitness journey. I haven’t decided how much of that I’m to share here but it could happen. Anita has kindly written another piece for me which I will share with you next week…

international women’s day, Thursday Thoughts, update

International Women’s Day 2018

Today is international women’s day and I couldn’t let the day pass without mentioning every single beautiful lady out there. We are all beautiful in our individual ways if we were all the same the world would be a very different and in the most part a boring place.

I personally could feel better in myself but today I am aspiring to give myself the cheer of encouragement and motivation that I would to my girlies. I like to think I’m good at telling my friends don’t be stupid – you’re awesome or it will work out and I’ll be there to help in any way I can. It’s time for me to listen more to my awesome girls and to encourage myself.

I can I will. Go watch me…

I saw a comment mentioned by the lovely Isabella May today saying that she wants to see women stop apologising for eating cake – or anything else of a naughty nature for that matter. It’s true we do justify so much that we do. A little of what you like isn’t bad it’s all about moderation – don’t take away the goodness in the naughty by counting calories and instantly working out how many steps you need. It’s good to have a focus but not to the extent where you are upsetting yourself and depriving yourself of everything. Life is to be lived and we need to make it the best possible one we can for all those gorgeous ladies who came saw and conquered before us.

I’m thankful and grateful for all the inspirational women that have been and are still in my life. To speak of you all individually it would take me days but what I will say is each of you have touched my life in some way and I hope you know that.

The one person I will mention is my Nan June – you are forever missed in my life and each trip away I take I think of you. I loved being able to share my dolphin experience with you via DVD. I just wish you were still here even if you tried to fatten me up each week. Films and milk tray were such a beautiful time we shared and the films you showed me were fantastic. Since you have been gone there’s been a number of things I have seen and hope to see that you would have truly loved.

When I started penning this post I wasn’t sure what route I would take I could talk about many inspirational celeb ladies but I decided to look to those close to me.

Each of my friends and the ladies in my family are inspirational for different reasons and I adore each of you for what you bring to my life. Today maybe a national day to celebrate women but we should celebrate each other and our successes everyday.

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour, debut novel, New Author to me, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Appetite By Anita Cassidy

Blurb: Because everyone hungers for something…

Food and Sex: two appetites the modern world stimulates, but also the ones we are expected to keep under control. But what happens when we don’t?

Embarking on an affair, lonely wife and mother Naomi blossoms sexually in a false spring while David, the fattest boy at the local comprehensive and best friend of her son, struggles to overcome bullying and the apathy of his divorced mother.

David finally starts to learn about the mechanisms of appetite through a science project set by his intelligent but jaded teacher, Matthew. David’s brave efforts to change himself open Matthew’s eyes to his activist girlfriend’s dangerous plans to blow up VitSip, a local energy-drink company where Naomi works.

At the mercy of their appetites, this exciting debut novel shows that some hungers can never be satisfied…

About the Author

Having enjoyed a successful career in recruitment and advertising and begun to raise her children, Anita started to write in 2012 during NaNoWriMo. She divides her time between London and Kent and is currently writing another novel focusing on the intersections between work, love and life, covering issues such as commercialisation of the charity sector, family and self vs community, BDSM and polyamory. Her writing both challenges and entertains.

Review: Firstly, I hope that what comes out of my mouth can convey how amazing this book is. I feel bad that I started reading this in January even though I had received it much earlier as my blog tour date was nearer the end of January. Due to work, life, feeling unwell and simply frazzled it did not happen for me. Although I did share a piece from David.

Appetite is split into three sections focusing on three characters – David, Naomi and Matthew. I must admit as much as I liked all three of them for separate reasons it wasn’t until later on in the novel that I really understood and appreciated Matthew as a character but I will come back to that.

David became my favourite early on which was why when I couldn’t honour my review I wanted to share a hard hitting piece from him.

This is what I shared https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2018/01/26/blog-tour-appetite-by-anita-cassidy/

I have to admit at times David’s words were hard to read. I have felt some of his struggles but not to his extent. I must say in seeing him make positive changes for himself with no help, only his own will power and determination that was extremely inspiring. A proper enlightening moment where I felt truly happy for him and as if a light bulb moment had happened for me.

I won’t be ruining anything but what happened as David took his defining moment for his presentation no one could see happening and it just goes to show appearances can be deceptive. I really liked that twist in the story even though I felt like I was reading on autopilot as I just needed to know what happened next.

Naomi is an interesting character, I didn’t always agree with her actions but from an early age in discovering her body she was criticised for her actions. That alongside having to grow up extremely quickly in learning of loss and suffering- when she should have been playing and exploring.

I do think our life experiences change us and I can see why Naomi made those choices. On the outside she looks like the perfect 40 – something a good job – where she’s successful and climbing the ladder, a husband and a young son who is a good kid – Naomi’s story showed me just how deceptive appearances can be.

I don’t want to say too much but in what she lacks in her home life she more than makes up for in her fantasy life. But does this come at a cost? I truly loved the many twists that came with Naomi’s story and her words have also made me think. There really is no point settling in life – but sometimes what we crave also isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Matthew – at times I found myself speed reading Matthew’s sections as Naomi’s and David’s had a much larger appeal for so long. I loved the early parts of how inspired he felt after returning from Brazil. His longing made me sad, I can safely say I understand that feeling of being completely lost and at times I do still feel that way. When he met Polly I could see he was being influenced by desire rather than being actually interested. His happiness here was short lived and I can see why his actions weren’t completely honourable.

At times this was hard to read – when he had a moment with a friend and then his lightbulb moment came from David, really being truly inspired by his teacher and his initial passion. That was when I was like yes Matthew that’s all that you needed to see your worth.

Anita takes the reader on a journey of various self discoveries that we all as individuals have. I loved the concept of the differing ages yet they were all lacking something in their lives and they were all linked.

Anita has really opened my eyes and I’m definitely a fan of her writing and her way of explaining subjects and there interlinking subjects. She has a way of informing and enlightening and I’m truly excited to read more from her.

If you’re looking for a book that will not only open your mind but also your heart and your true potential then look no further. I’m open to sharing my copy as I have thought about writing a message and my Twitter handle in mind and leaving it in a coffee shop or something along those lines. But if one of my lovely readers is desperate to feel empowered then do leave me a comment below and I will still write you a note.

2018, audible, ebook, novella, Reading and blogging intentions, Short Story, update

Welcome to 2018

Happy New year to you all.

I happen to be one of those unlucky souls who had to work today. As I speak I’m walking home and that in itself is a positive I’m determined not to let my ankle beat me this year. I will need to do a few more stretches later this evening and to keep an eye on it, but it feels good to have been energetic and walked to and from work. I hope to do it as often as I can although it may not always be both ways, I don’t want to burn out and do my ankle anymore damage.

I’m saddened that I haven’t finished all my Christmas reads – I may try and throw a few in during January. Dependant on time as I have blog tours and commitments.

In 2017 I set my GoodReads reading goal as 100 and I didn’t make it, I believe I hit the half mark and there were some books that didn’t show but that’s gone. I am keeping my reading challenge at 100 as I still hope to do it.

This year I also aim to read more classics and non-fiction books as I take great pleasure from both.

So I’m reading:

The Break I’m listening to I started it before the year ended but it’s a lengthy one and as I have walked today I have been able to listen to a good amount.

Frosty Mornings at Castle Court pinged through to my Kindle at midnight, and I managed to read a small amount during my short break. It’s so good to have them back.

The one other thing I want to mention is my Bullet Journal – in the days leading up to New Year I had seen lots about these and had spent some time researching it so I could learn. Yesterday on my train to meet friends I started putting pen to paper it’s a work in progress but I’m hoping it helps motivate me and keep me organised. I’m also really looking forward to tracking my progress.

This was the start of my 2018 page although since taking this pic I have added more positive words to it.

Do you Bullet Journal? I would love to see your stuff. Also I’m always open to feedback on things I may have missed the lovely Katey Lovell has been an inspiration so far. Thanks Kate 🙂 #letsdothis