Book Review: All About Mia - Lisa Williamson

Book Review: All About Mia – Lisa Williamson

Mia is definitely the middle child and a bit of a trouble maker. She’s nothing like her perfect older sister Grace and that’s just fine with her. When Grace comes home and drops a bombshell, Mia waits to watch her get in trouble for once, but things don’t work out exactly how she thought they would…

I was a huge fan of Lisa Willamson’s first novel The Art of Being Normal and so picked up Mia. After reading I have been kicking myself for not reading it earlier! Once again she’s written a novel that I could not put down with a realistic plot.

Is Mia a wild child at times? Yes? Does she make mistakes? 100% but this makes her more realistic. She messes up a lot but I still found myself rooting for her the whole way through. We all made mistakes as teenagers, anyone who says they didn’t is lying!

While Mia may not always appear to be an entirely likeable character, you understand her. She is trying to figure herself out and feels in her older sister’s shadow. I could relate to her, your teenage years are confusing enough without surprise family twists!

Speaking of family, that was truly one of my favourite parts of this novel. Mia has two families, her biological family who seemed very real to me and her friends. Both of which are equally important to her and she has to learn the hard way how to open herself up to both.

It’s no surprise that I gave this 4.5 stars. I flew through this and while I worked out within a few pages what the twist would be, I still really enjoyed it. At its core this is a novel about family and finding your own space within it, I absolutely loved Mia and was thinking about her for days after!

The Pros & Cons Of Working From Home

Back in August of last year, I decided to take the plunge and go freelance. Yippie! I still hold firm that it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made, particularly for my health. I was driving 30-45 minutes each way per day and it was exhausting, so a big motivator was being able to work from home and get more done.

A lot of people think that working from home means getting paid to sit around in your PJs and do the bare minimum. While I will admit most of my bottom wardrobe has become comfy jogging bottoms and leggings that could quite easily be slept in, it’s sometimes harder than my 9-5 was!

Pro: You can work in a comfortable environment

No battles over the heating (unless the person you live with is home), a chair as comfortable as you can afford and no shortage of tea.

Comfort is a big plus for me, especially with a bad back. I work with a big pillow behind me and take regular stretching breaks to ease my muscles.

Con: You have to be your own motivator

This is a big one. When you work from home the only person in charge of what you do is you. There’s no one to look over your shoulder and ask questions, no one to give you a kick up the backside.

Pro: You can get things done on your lunch breaks

For me, this makes things like housework much more manageable. I can eat something and then get the hoovering done or put on some more washing (rock and roll, I know).

Other days I might pop out for a coffee or see my Mum, once in a blue moon I’ve been known to go for a walk or to get a little exercise done.

Con: It can get lonely

This is something I wasn’t prepared for. It can get lonely when it’s just you and your laptop. I normally combat this by having some kind of noise in the background.

Also, coworking spaces are great to get out and so are good old coffee shops. Also, if I could get a dog for the company I totally would…one day.

Pro: Wearing whatever you like

I have 3 difference pairs of jogging bottoms in varying colours. Living. The. Dream.

Con: Sometimes it’s hard to switch off

I’m a workaholic, I keep going and going and going. Having my emails hooked up all the time, all my accounts on my phone etc means I’m always thinking I’ll just send this message or check this account.

I wish I had tips for you but I’m learning myself.

Pro: You make the decisions

Personally, I like making my plan for the day. I like having a to-do list that is set by me with priorities. I LOVE not having to go to often pointless meetings.

What would you add about working from home? Let me know in the comments below 👇🏻

Book Review: Let Her Fly: A Father’s Journey – Ziauddin Yousafzai

After Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban as a teenager, the world has watched as she has continued to stand up for the right to girls education. By her side has been her father, Ziauddin and now, it is time to tell his story and the fight for equality he has been working on for more than 20 years.

Malala has made no secret of the love and admiration she holds for her father and in this book it is clear to see that the love goes both ways. There were points where I felt that it was so focused on Malala, I wondered about her younger brothers. This is rectified in the book as Ziauddin talks about his sons and, equally, the struggles he has had parenting two boys in a world so different to his own.

One of the things I loved most, was the dedication to his wife. This felt so pure and wonderful that he truly believes that she is his equal and his love. It was important to see that this was so deep routed in wanting equality for his family from within his home, before extending it to the wider world.

I gave this 4 stars, I really enjoyed reading more about Ziauddin, his life and beliefs. The fact that this looked at him as a whole person, rather than just as Malala’s father. This is an intriguing look at what is an extraordinary man.

A huge thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and author for this copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

How I really felt after getting engaged

Real Talk: How I Felt After Getting Engaged

Hello lovelies,

I’ve started going back to basics and just writing my thoughts and feeling when I feel them – could be a good idea, could be a nightmare, who knows? I’ve been thinking about whether I should talk about getting married on the blog. Then I realised that this is my little chunk of the internet where I write about my life…so it makes sense.

ANYWAY back to the matter at hand. As you probably know, I got engaged a few weeks ago (post about it here if you missed it) which is exciting. Of course I was bouncing off the walls about the engagement, then people started talking about the wedding. A lot. I just wanted to live in the excited bubble of getting engaged!

Within a few hours of getting engaged I was asked whether we had a date…nope. Overnight all of my Facebook and Instagram ads had changed to be wedding ads. People I hadn’t spoken to in years were getting in touch. I was being asked about venues, guest lists, planning. AHHHHHHHHH.

In the two days that Ali and I were the only people who knew about the ring and upcoming engagement it was blissful. While I was happy people were excited, I felt so overwhelmed so quickly. And no one was asking Ali these questions…so I found myself feeling anxious and not being interested in wedding stuff.

Instead of being excited I avoided talking about it, I got stressed by numbers and how damn expensive this shit was. It’s one day? How can one day cost so much money! I tried to reason with people surely that would be better spent to have a marriage than a party?

I think this is something people don’t talk about. I’m excited to marry Ali but the actual wedding? It’s overwhelming when so many people are interested and I feel like I have so much to do. Then after a few conversations and a few breathers I realised this is about us. This isn’t about anyone else.

So, I am going to be updating on this wedding thing and how we’re getting on and I need to bloody relax while doing it.

How I Unwind After A Long Day

How I Unwind After A Long Day

The only thing I want to do after a long day, particularly one in the city, is relax. I’m not the best person at relaxing…I’m actually quite terrible but there are some things I can do to help myself out.

Lush Bath

I love a good Lush bath to unwind. I’m always a big fan of something sweet as well as colourful, oh and glitter. I’m not afraid of glitter. Luxury Lush Pud below!

Lush Bath

Comfy Clothes

On with the pyjama bottoms and a baggy t-shirt. If I’ve had a long day, it normally means I’m quite achy too

My home is my space and I want to be as comfortable as possible, you’ll also find that my make up is scrubbed off my face at home.

Slipper Socks or Fluffy Socks

I’m a huge fan of fluffy socks or slipper socks, even better if they have woodland creatures on them (I have two fox pairs as I write this).

I’m always cold and not a big fan of regular slippers so these are a dream. Buy yourself a pair and you will never look back.

A Cup Of Tea

I have a mug that is almost as big as my face because I love tea that much. Getting a good cuppa and curling up is a very British way to chill out but it’s one of my favourite ways to do so. If you’re wondering, it’s milk and two sugars.

Mug and Socks

A Good Book

I’ll read at any time but it’s one of the very few ways I can really relax and switch off from real life. I get invested in the story, which is why I’m also not afraid to discard a book if I’m not interested!

It sounds cliché but I really can get lost in a good book. Everything else disappears and it’s just me and the story.

Sleep

An early night does the world of good, and sometimes that’s all you need.

What helps you relax? I’d love to know below!

International Women's Day 2019 Blog

Quotes To Celebrate Women – International Women’s Day 2019

Happy International Women’s Day!

I’m so proud to be a woman, of the wonderful women I surround myself with and those I admire from a distance. So, why not celebrate it with words of wisdom from badass women. Here’s 8 quotes that I loved!

“Know what? Bitches get stuff done” – Tina Fey
Sylvia Plath
“Girls are not machines that you put kindness
coins into and sex falls out” – Sylvia Plath
“Don’t let anyone speak for you,
and don’t rely on others to fight for you”- Michelle Obama

” I’m a woman phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman, That’s me.” – Maya Angelou
“No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor.”
– Betty Friedan
” I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I will now exert to leave you.”
– Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
” I feel like young girls are told they need to be a princess and fragile. It’s bullsh*t. I identify much more with being a warrior – a fighter. If I was going to be a princes, I’d be a warrior princess. Definitely.”
– Emma Watson
“I’m tough. I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes a bitch, okay.”
– Madonna

These are just some that I absolutely love, what are yours? Let me know in the comment below!

Book Review: The Year I Didn’t Eat – Samuel Pollen

14-year-old Max has a fight on his hands. Living with Anorexia is tough enough without having to be at school and trying to keep it secret from your closest friends. As Max writes to ‘Ana’ and tries to navigate his illness he has to deal with the new girl at school who won’t stop staring, family drama and seeing his therapist. Can he beat this?

I was asked if I would like to receive a copy of this novel and I was immediately intrigued. There are very few stories of teenage boys going through an eating disorder, so of course, I wanted to read, I’m incredibly glad I did.

Starting and ending on Christmas day, the novel chronicles a year in Max’s life, alongside writing a diary to his disorder – aptly named Ana. This was a particular highlight for me, the writing was emotional but not sad – I actually laughed a fair bit reading this. Pollen isn’t trying to make Max a sympathy figure. The combination of the diary entries and showing some of the obsessive thoughts was incredibly well done –  I could see similarities between Max’s and my own thoughts from our respective mental illnesses.

It is mentioned a few times within the novel the disconnect that Max feels from what is stereotypically viewed as what a with Anorexia looks like – a teenage girl. By confronting this head-on, Pollen shows insight into something incredibly important – anyone can get a mental illness. The fact that Max is a teenage boy, known for being quite geeky with a loving family and great friends and still has these problems reinforces that.

This shows a new level of representation that is rarely seen, in fact, I don’t believe I have ever read a novel featuring a guy with an eating disorder – which is absurd! I’m hopeful that this will start more conversations. The fact that Pollen has drawn on his own experiences makes this even more realistic.

The novel shows not only the impact that eating disorders have on the person with the illness but also the pressure it can put on families. We meet Max’s family and often feel for them as much as him. That said, despite the hardships faced, Max’s relationship with his older brother Robin was probably my favourite part. They truly seem to care for each other and Robin’s encouragement of Geocaching really seems to be a turning point.

Of course, this is a tough read and it does give descriptions of disordered eating and calories – if these are tough for you to read it might be worth picking this up at a later point.

Is it any surprise that I gave this 5 stars?  This is a novel that needed to be written. Showing that eating disorders can affect anyone and that, by talking about it, we have more of a chance of helping those going through it. I absolutely adored this novel – it will truly make its mark. I truly feel that this will make people feel less alone.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Conker communications for the chance to read this in exchange for an open and honest review.