Friday, 14 December 2018

Every Book I've Read (so far) in 2018.

 My friend recently asked me what books I've been reading, I had a complete mind blank, and couldn't tell her. However I have been jotting it down in my bullet journal each time finished a book, so I can tell you.  I thought all the bookworms out there might appreciate an overview of my 2018 reading.

So here is everything I've read (so far) during 2018:

Adult Fiction:

Call Me By Your Name by André Acimen.
A beautifully written romance set in 80s Italy.
You can read my thought on it here
Star Rating: 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
This fantasy fiction is about a girl who dreams of going to Caraval, when she eventually does, she soon learns the game revolves around her and her family.
I talk more about this book in this blog post
Star Rating: 

Eleanor Oliphant is Complete Fine by Gail Honeyman
The story revolves around the life of Eleonor, who lives a very routine day to day life. She finds things change as she makes a new friend and it becomes clear that Eleonor has a very troubled past. This book lies somewhere between a romance novel and a psychological thriller.
I talk about this book more here
Star Rating: 

Always with Love by Giovanna Fletcher
This is the final book in Giovanna Fletchers 'Billy and Me' series. It's the story of the relationship between an ordinary girl who lives in a quiet village and a movie star.
Star rating: 

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

My not so perfect life is a funny, and very relatable story about a girl named Katie, who makes out her life is perfect on social media, even when it seems to be falling apart.
Star Rating: 

Young Adult Fiction:

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
This YA story is both a mystery and romance. 
Star rating: 

To All The Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Hann
The book which bought us the much loved Netflix film.
Star rating: 

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Hann
The sequel of To All The Boys I Loved Before.
Star rating: 

Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Hann
The final in the To All The Boys I Loved Before series.
Star rating: 

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
This book begins after the death of Paige's first boyfriend, it's about her journey learning to enjoy being a teen again.
I talk more about this here
Star rating: 

When We Collided by Emery Lord 
This is a beautiful romance novel which discusses grief and mental health. It's written in two different perspectives.
Star rating: 

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Christian teen Lucy goes to be a counsellor at Summer camp after learning her mum is unwell. She makes new friends and learns life lessons.
Star rating: 

Short Stories, Poetry and Prose:

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan:
The insightful short stories feature different characters and lives.
I talk about this book, in this video
Star Rating: 

She Must by Mad by Charly Cox.
Beautiful, relatable poetry and prose around the themes of love, mental health, body image and adulting.
I talk more about this here
Star Rating: 


Everything I know about love, by Dolly Alderton. 
Life lessons and journey of the journalist.
You can read my thoughts on it here
Star rating 

The F Word by Lily Pebbles
This book in a hybrid of genres, in a guide to modern female friendship with a memoir feel to it.
You can read more about my thoughts on this here
Star rating 

Reason to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
This inspiring book teaches you about mental health, whilst telling the writers story.
I talk about it more here
Star rating: 

Self Help, Career and Spiritual Teachings:

Higher Selfie by Jo Westwood and Lucy Sheridan.
A guide on how to make a spiritual life accessible in the modern day.
I talk about this book in this video
Star rating: 

The Anxiety Solution by Chloe Brotheridge
A guide on how to understand and manage anxiety.
Star Rating: 

Return to Love by Yoggi Kanna
A guide to inner peace and a spiritual life.
Star rating: 

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
This was a re-read. It's a best, most empowering, career/self-help book I've ever read.
Star rating: 

You Are A Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
As the title might give away, this book is about how to manifest money into your life.
Star rating: 


Monday, 10 December 2018

Some thoughts on instagram and why I'm engaging in more traditional media...

I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. Although I enjoy the creative process, I find it comes with a lot of pressure. Follow counts on Instagram, seem more predominate than anywhere else, I guess mainly because have a large following in Instagram can be can money maker, and it seems brands are more and more interested in working with 'influencers' on Instagram posts, than they are in long-form content, such a blog posts and youtube videos, which logically, seemed to cut the workload down slight for the influencer, and who would say no to less work and more money?

I find Instagram tricky, because, my followers rarely grow on there, and I know people endlessly say follow counts don't matter, but when they are what stands between you and your dream job, they kind of do. I don't want a career built on Instagram, not for a second, but as a blogger and a writer, my Instagram following has become something that could give me a ticket into the career I want. It's frustrating. I've said similar things to this on Instagram itself before - so I won't bang on too much about it here, instead, I want to talk about where I think the future of the platform is heading.

I read something recently about how with traditional media, you get the advert between the entertainment, but with Instagram influencers, the entertainment is the adverts, which is completely true, advertising has become more integrated with the entertainment. Or is this just the first time we're realising? Product placements on TV shows has always been a thing. Is it such a bad thing that people are trying to sell us stuff? If we enjoy the free content they're putting out there, I see no reason we should not have to see the occasional toothpaste advert which is simple enough to slid into the content which is already there.

It's odd that Instagram is a career for some people, and a hobby for others, as with blogging and youtube, and many creative careers. Most of us have Instagram, some of us have several accounts. We're addicted to doing what some people get paid for, for free. Although unpaid, we might not be putting so much pressure on the images, and captions, hiring photographers and planning out our grids, but we're still contributing to that platform, unpaid. It's a place where humans are ranked by follow counts. I don't think I've ever looked how many friends somebody has on Facebook, or been concerned by followers on twitter but on Instagram, I'm more likely to interact with an account with more followers, which is absolute bullshit. I know, from experience, your follow count can be low but that doesn't mean your content is not thought out and valuable.

Something which does bother me is the idea that the print industry will one day be replaced by online platforms such as Instagram.

Personally, I've found myself heading more towards traditional media more than ever recently. Instagram can feel a bit samey, and while I have the blogs which I love, it seems bloggers are choosing more and most to posts on the 'gram rather than their own website, which is completely understandable, as writing a blog post takes a lot more time, and probably get a lot less engagement.

But lazy Sunday mornings, when I lay in bed, scrolling through insta doesn't quite cut it, and I begin to feel sick of my phone. I've realised nothing brings me the joy of a magazine and a cup of tea on those lazy. There's something satisfying in flicking pages, and the articles often tend to be a mixture of my favourite writers and some new ones. Articles I never expected to find myself reading can impact my thoughts, change my day - which I'm sure could happen with an Instagram caption, but sometimes I want it to be an event, consuming media, and scrolling Instagram is more of a habit than an event, there's nothing about it which feels special. With Instagram, it feels like something I consume when I want the minutes to slip away from me, but reading a magazine feels like a way to embrace the time I've got, and really make the most of it. It's a way to indulge in the words of others and curated imagery.

There's a pressure to post on Instagram, to create content which adds to what everyone else is posting. It's nice to read a magazine and know I don't need to worry about my input.  On Instagram you expect everyone to be relatable, real, and when they've got abs and a  new home, your average joe doesn't feel quite average which can leave a feeling of inadequacy, at least with magazines, the models printed aren't supposed to be the girl next door, they're too far from me to compare.

Having said all this, I do love using Instagram, I'm not against adverts on there, if they're from somebody who's content I trust. and I think we're all smart enough by now to really, we don't need skinny teas.

I love that is something I can curate myself with who I choose to follow and I love that I have my own input in the space, but it's no replacement for the pleasure of carelessly flicking through the crisp pages of a magazine.

Jumpsuit: New Look - Lipstick: Marc Jacobs Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - i-D Magazine


Friday, 7 December 2018

When We Collided by Emery Lord | When We Collided and The Start of Me and You Comparison.

I whizzed through this book so fast. It's the most mesmerised I've found myself by the characters and plot of a book in a while, so I had to write a full blog post, and with Christmas coming up, I thought now was the perfect time do it as this novel certainly fits in with my series of mini Christmas gift guides/reviews.

The YA novel switches between the perspectives of Vivi and Jonah, both of whom seem to have traumatic pasts they're in the process of both dealing with and avoiding completely.

The characters meet in a small coastal town where Jonah lives and Vivi is spending her summer.

Jonah is tired, whilst Vivi always seems full of energy, and a bit well full on. Although they seem completely different, I found both characters equally enchanting.

They both come with an intense backstory and a bit of mystery, which unfolds as the story progresses.

The pair meet when Jonah takes his younger sister to paint pottery where Vivi works - he's surprised he doesn't know her, as he's the townie in the small coastal town. The reader soon learns that this isn't Jonah's only sibling, he's one of 6 and has recently lost his Dad (this isn't too much of spoiler, that gets revealed pretty early on) Jonah's younger sister befriends Vivi, so she begins to spend time with his entire family, besides his mum. It Vivi seems like the light Jonah's family needed in the tough time, he's almost blissfully unaware she's going through her own problems.

Vivi is unpredictable, and Jonah is a sensible 17 year old, playing the grown-up, struggling to make it through the summer.

It becomes clear that each day Vivi throws a pill into the ocean and goes about her life. It becomes clear Vivi is running from a troubled past and isn't as carefree as her almost hippy persona gives off.

The book includes themes of mental health, grief, relationships, sex, acceptance family dynamics and so much more. There's a lot packed into it, and it all entangled into the love story, which makes it feel so much more real.

Come to the end of the book, I found myself in floods of tears, both satisfied and heartbroken.

When We Collided and The Start of Me and You Comparison

I discovered the author Emery Lord, from reading her novel 'The Start of Me and You' so I wanted to compare the two.

To give some overview of the Start of Me and You, it is once again, a Young Adult Romantic fiction. A story which begins 6 months after Paige's fairly new boyfriend dies in a drowning accident. Paige wants to feel like a teen again, so write of list of things she wants to achieve, from dating to swimming. The book sees her friendship group grow, as she finds herself again, and as ever, fall in love. There are some unexpected bits in the book, but as a whole, I found it slightly more predictable.

Despite beginning with the theme of death, I found this book felt much more lighthearted. I liked the characters but didn't feel quite so captured by their quirks as I was with the characters in When We Collided.

However, I find the author Emery Lord writing, such a pleasure to read, it's both simple and poetic at the same time, and the worlds she creates feel real.

I would recommend both if you're into YA fiction.  When we collided definitely felt more pack full, but both story were both interesting, and well written!

I will definitely be reading more by Emery Lord. Have you read any of her writing? I'd love to know what you thought!


Monday, 3 December 2018

Dear Diary,

Something I've been thinking about a lot is Youtube. I stopped making videos, it was time-consuming and it was another platform I felt invisible on, and I got sick of feeling invisible. It's easier to not exist somewhere, that to exist there unseen.  The thing with subscriber counts is that everyone starts somewhere, but with so many 'big' account, you can feel ridiculous promoting something before it has the following, which leads create content for an account that's unseen and the longer you create content for a small account, the smaller that account seems, and the more you feel stupid promoting it. You have to be brave to put on there that you believe in something when the numbers are telling you, that you're almost completely alone in that. I also fell out of love with watching Youtube.

The issue is when you put so much love into something, and nobody seemed to see it, no matter how therapeutic you find the lengthy process of editing videos, it's disheartening.

But recently, I've found myself intrigued by it again, wanting to document my life. It feels like there a new wave of content Youtube, which is more grown up, and I want to find my place there.

It's not that I want to be a typical Youtuber, because that's a pipedream, and there are so many other things I want to do. It definitely takes much more work than is acknowledged, but I want to use my creativity on the platform to experiment and create.

I've found myself thinking about the filmmaking industry lately, how it intrigues me, and the closest way I can think to get to that, with where I am at, it practising filming and editing video and sharing where I can, which is on Youtube.

I feel as though I've gone in a full circle with it. At the start of the year, I claimed I wanted to take youtube more seriously, and yet the numbers seemed to disagree with me. I was putting in a lot of work, with a very little payoff, I decided I'd be better spending my time elsewhere.

Now, a few months later, I've lost a small handful, of my already small handful of subscribers, but I'm ready to enter that world again, maybe this time do more than peak around the corner.

At the start of the year, I promised I'd Vlogmas time year, and as you read this, we're a few days into it. It going to mean working hard, completely unsure whether anyone will watch the videos, but I want to do it for me, to know that I can because I made a promise to myself.

I have a good feeling about this. It feels like it's for the right reasons this time.

If you want to make this journey a little less lonely for me, you can always subscribe to my channel and check out my videos!

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