So, What Was It Like To Work In A Bookshop?

So, What Was It Like To Work In A Bookshop?

At the end of 2019 I got to tick off a teenage dream of mine – I got to work in a bookshop. Yes! Almost 10 years after my work experience in the local bookshop I was offered a 6 week contract over the festive period – woo! So, did it live up to my expectations? What was it like to work over Christmas? Keep reading and all will be revealed…

Being surrounded by books all day every day was wonderful and dangerous.

I spent a fair amount of the money that I earned in the shop on more books. I also go ARCs and trades from other booksellers. Ali wasn’t best pleased that I’m now in need of another bookshelf but he knew who he was moving in with!

Also my mental ‘to buy’ list is even longer.

Regular customers are the best

The absolute best and generally really nice people who loved recommendations, which leads me on to my next point…

Giving recommendations was so much fun

Probably my favourite part of the day, which I got to do a lot. I particularly liked the challenge of someone who had read a lot. I even managed to get a few people to pick up YA books who wouldn’t normally.

Kids still read – a lot

And I love it. One of the departments I helped most with was Kids and Young Adult. So many people say that kids don’t read and I’m here to tell you that they really, really do!

As with anything there are readers and people who prefer other things. There was nothing that warmed my heart more than a kid telling me about their favourite books and what they liked. I also loved the challenge of trying to find books for people who ‘don’t really read’.

Sometimes you will get asked baffling questions or comments and you question the majority of the human race

I once had a friend who was asked if they sold sports equipment…in a bookshop. I also had a lot of people telling me their conspiracy theories about Greta Thunberg. Trying not to react was the haaaaardest thing. So hard.

The people you work with make or break the job

I’ve worked in retail before, from the age of 16 up until I was 19 I had some retail jobs and I didn’t really enjoy them. Some of them I’d go as far as to say I couldn’t stand BUT this was completely different.

As I write this I still talk to a lot of the team, I go in regularly and they all know I miss them like mad. They’re an incredible team of people and I’m pleased that they’re still my friends who I can go and bug and they can’t escape haha!

There are parts of your feet that you don’t know exist until they are throbbing in pain

Oh my goodness my feet. Shout out to Sketchers because before I started wearing them (thanks Nanna!) I was in horrific pain with not just my feet but my ankles and my knees because of Hypermobility.

Even after I started wearing them I would come home at nice and my feet would throb. There were a lot of baths, a lot of painkillers and a lot of wincing.

People can be arseholes for no reason

Most of the customers we had were lovely people, then you got some who treated you like you were stupid or were just generally unpleasant. I had someone shout at me because they hadn’t found the book they wanted and I was daring to go home (literally had my coat on and was getting a lift home). I had another person throw a tantrum because they ordered something too late. Some people were just rude because…people.

It’s a physically tough job

I have so much respect for my friends who work in the shop who do it say in day out. Anyone in retail actually. Physically it’s an incredibly demanding job, mentally it can be too and a lot of people in retail do a lot of work for not a lot of pay.

Would I recommend it?

Mostly, yes I loved my time there. I do think that, in general the people in the store every could and should be treated with more respect because they literally keep the business going! They’re also human which is forgotten.

Book Review: Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.

When this book came up on NetGalley I was intrigued because it was a new concept for YA, in terms of books I had read. Personally, I’d never read anything with a young character who has HIV and those I want to read are set in the 1980s.

There was also a lot of representation throughout. Simone’s Dad’s are gay, she has friends who are Asexual, Gay, etc. There are characters who are biracial, there’s definitely been an effort here to be inclusive to a wide range of people which I hope will be appreciated.

This adds another voice to young adult literature and one that isn’t filled with a lack of hope. Simone is a young woman who is HIV positive but she’s also smart, she’s actively trying to work out how to live her life to the fullest, including sexual relationships.

The aspect of sex and teenagers was handled really well too, it was open and honest. Teenagers are curious about sex, they want to know about it and just because someone has HIV that doesn’t change anything which is well conveyed.

Additionally, there are some really great and supportive relationships in the form of family and friend and they all are pretty real, not just left to the side while the focus was all on Simone.

This was a 5 star read for me an an excellent new voice that I think it needs to be put into schools, given out in whatever PSHE/Health classes are called now and generally shouted about. An excellent book and really well thought out.

Thank you to the publisher, author and Netgalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

My 7 Top Tips To Read More

My 7 Top Tips To Read More

I have had a lot of messages recently about how much I read and how on earth do I read so much. Partially, it’s because I’ve been posting my reading updates on Instagram (don’t forget to follow me here) with everything I finish and so far, so good for 2020!

So I thought why not pop it in a blog and share with you guys how I get through an average of 100 books per year.

Read short books to get you in the swing of things

There is no point in starting War and Peace if you’re not a regular reader of you’ve been in a bit of a slump. Shorter books are a great way to get into a story and feel a sense of accomplishment that you’ve finished a book!

Read what you enjoy!

Love romance books? Go for it. Think YA is incredible? I agree? Or maybe you want to read about farms in the 1800s? You do you. There can be a lot of snobbery over what people read but, honestly, it’s no one else’s business if you enjoy it.

Join a Book Club

I took a chance, joined a book club and met some of my closest friends as well as being introduced to some of my new favourite books like A Winter’s Promise.

Book clubs are great to encourage you and introduce you to books that you might not have tried otherwise. Also the good ones also have sweet treats, just saying.

Absorb books in the best way for you

Hardback, paperback, ebook, audiobook – they’re all ways of enjoying a book. Some people enjoy listening and get more from it.

Take a book with you wherever you go

This is where the Kindle app is great because you’ve always got a book on you as long as you have your phone and you can get books for as little as 99p!

Or just put a read in your bag so if you get delayed/ are waiting for something/ have a quiet lunch break and are in the mood to read.

Set time aside to read

Whenever works for you but if you really want to read make time for it. For me, it’s normally in the evenings so I can get away from screens and chill out.

I also used to use any time I was on a train or bus because the only other thing I could do was sit on my phone. I’d probably read a lot more if I didn’t have my phone…

Goal orientated? Set that goal!

If goals work for you – set one. Even if it’s 1 book for the whole year or , if you’re completely mad like me, 100 books. I love having a goal and tracking them on Goodreads and it really motivates me to keep reading when I’m in a slump.

Heading To The Aisle: 1 Year To Go!

This time in 1 year I will be a married woman getting ready for her reception after saying ‘I Do’ to my favourite person…whaaaaaat?! It feels absolutely crazy that we’re down to the one year mark. Despite how organised I apparently am, I’m still feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed about getting things sorted in the next 364 days.

That said, I also feel a little more settled in what I want for the day. My guestlist has been cut down to people I care about, I’ve sorted colours, the venue, the band and other big stuff and I’m on the hunt for my dress.

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of people getting engaged (congrats if that’s you!) and a lot of WHERE DO I START posts. That was 100% me, as I explained in my real talk post. I did wonder if I should have written it but now I am so glad I have because I was how I felt at the time! Nervous and overwhelmed by other people’s expectations I’m slowly letting go of what other people think or want which is so refreshing.

Now my focus is to get everything paid (eek), sort out our honeymoon to Disney World, Orlando obvs and get the finishing touches sorted so it’s not a totally crazy and stressful year.

So 365 days to go…not that I’m counting or anything! πŸ˜‰

Do You Really Have To Get Up At 5am To Be Successful?

Do You Really Have To Get Up At 5am To Be Successful?

We’ve all seen it, the days of multimillionaires that start a 5am with an intense workout, a mix of strange ingredients in a smoothie, micro meetings and switching their phones off at 7.30pm for meditation throughout the evening before going to bed at 9. But these people are deemed successful so they must be doing something right. Right?

Maybe not. Hear me out.

This way of living, first of all, sounds very boring – it also sounds like something that is steeped in privilege. We can all work on ourselves and develop good habits, eating better, getting more exercise and getting off of our phones – I think everyone could benefit from those. But, most of us have jobs, families, housework, commitments etc. This isn’t me creating excuses but think about it for a second.

A lot of these ultra wealthy people we’re doing all of these things in their 20s, in the start of stages of their career. They were doing whatever they could to get themselves where they wanted to be. Now they have the means they can have the best food, they might even have a cook. They could spend hours in the gym with personal trainers who are specialists. They can run a business with a team behind them.

We see these ideas and schedules a lot. While before it was in magazines (I can’t remember which one had the ‘what’s in a celebrities fridge section but ugh) now it’s on our social media. It puts a new wave of pressure on us to strive to these ideals that are exactly that – ideals.

While I’m obviously not writing from my mansion and private library (I wish) people have called me successful in the past. Most of the time I’ve brushed them off BUT I do know people who in my mind are successful. They have 8 hours of sleep, they do like having a takeaway pizza, they also like going out with friends.

It’s easy to get sucked into the idea that there is one formulae for success and if we do it then we’ll get the result we want. Life doesn’t work that way so instead why don’t we make the changes we can.

I’m trying to go to the gym twice a week and increase my vegetable intake. Because I have work, friends, family and other parts to my life I’m doing the smaller things to contribute to being a better version of myself and hopefully more successful. Also if I got up at 5am every day I would not be a nice person, or a well person – just saying.

What do you think? Let me know below!

Book Review: Over The Top – Jonathan Van Ness

Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey. The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.

Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so…over the top. 

Whew! This book! If you read my ‘Top Books of 2019’ post then you will know that Jonathan was on that list and my favourite non-fiction book of the entire year. So, you can bet this is going to be a glowing review.

I didn’t know that much about Jonathan apart from the few episodes of Queer Eye that I watched where I absolutely adored him. Who was this guy with fabulous hair and who I wanted to have as a friend? Then I started seeing him on interviews everywhere and the stories he told to presenters made it so that I needed to know more, so I got the audiobook.

The only way to listen to this book is with Jonathan narrating it and it was absolute perfection, I couldn’t have asked for more. Looking at Jonathan’s roller coaster life makes the book so fast that I found myself wanting more, even though we get his whole life story. From a child who was different to a young adult struggling with himself and addiction and the long journey to become the fun loving guy we see on TV.

What I appreciated most about this book is that Jonathan is incredibly real. He has a positive attitude but is completely honest about his darker times, that he wasn’t a person we’d want to know at times. About the fact that his issues are something he has to work through every day as well as living with a HIV positive diagnosis.

You probably will have seen Jonathan campaigning for HIV awareness and for support for the community so that they can get the right treatment no matter what. I learnt so much about HIV from what Jonathan had written and looked into it further so I could understand and that’s going to have a legacy of its own.

I think you’d probably guess that this was a 5 star read for me, I absolutely adored this book and Jonathan because it was so raw and honest without being all doom and gloom. That said, the appropriate attention is given to the seriousness of certain topics. I loved it and I’ve been recommending it to EVERYONE. What are you waiting for honey? Go add it to that to read list!

What I Read In December 2019

What I Read In December 2019

December was a funny old month, I thought I hadn’t read anything and then all of a sudden I browse my Goodreads and realise I’ve actually done pretty well in a super busy month.

So here’s what I read in December!

The Perfect Dress – Louisa Leaman

This was a sweet but intriguing read. I haven’t read a book about weddings for a long time but as I’m starting to try and find my own it seemed fitting that I would read this novel and I’m so glad I did. Romance, history, intrigue I absolutely adored this book! A solid 4.5 stars from me

I was sent this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review which is coming soon!

Tunnel of Bones – Victoria Schwab

The second in the Cassidy Blake series and another that I had to keep reading at every spare moment I had thanks to my Secret Santa (thanks Izzy!). Even more creepy than the first and made me just want to read more, the 3rd novel in the series comes out this year and I am SO here for it!

Break The Fall – Jennifer Iacopelli

You guys are going to want to read this when it’s released because it’s bloody incredible. This is focused on an abuse scandal in the USA gymnastics team (similar to what we have unfortunately seen recently). A stunning debut with incredible chronic pain representation. 5 star read without a doubt.

Love Her Wild – Atticus

I’ve been intrigued by this collection of poetry for a while, partly because it’s a hardback poetry collection and partly because it has beautiful images. It’s very short and some wouldn’t consider it poetry but I thought it was beautiful. 4 stars from me.

Journey to The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance – Ethan Sacks

This was ok, but that was about it for me. I understand they couldn’t give much away before the films release but I just didn’t care much for it so it only got a 3 star rating from me.

The Truth About Magic – Atticus

The third collection of Atticus’s work, although I thought it was the second. I wouldn’t say this was hugely different to the first but I still found it very enjoyable and a great book to dip into. 4 stars.

Drawing Europe Together – Various

I got this from my friend Charissa for Christmas and it was a lovely, although slightly sad read. Beautiful illustrations and wonderful ideas. 4 stars.

This is How You Lose the Time War – Amal El – Mohtar & Max Gladstone

I’m going to put it out there that most of the time while reading this I had no idea what was going on through a lot of the book but I adored it. Beautifully written and full of a strange kind of love but so, so wonderful. If you don’t mind me confused while appreciating great writing then I’d definitely read this one. 4 stars from me.

Did you get much reading done in December? Let me know what your favourites were!