Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Five - Four Things I Want To Do Daily

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Five – Four Things I Want To Do Daily

Like many freelancers I’ve seen a drop in work because of what’s going on and while that is absolutely terrifying it also means I have more time and not much I can do.

I’ve seen people say that they’re going to learn a new language, decorate their houses or do something really amazing and creative. I’ll be honest, right now, getting up, dressed and showered is a sign of a good day. That said, I wanted to have little, achievable goals for my days in lockdown.

While these might not be amazing and they might not change or accelerate my life it’s something I can do right now to put a smile on my face.

Start The Day Reading

Today and last Saturday I started the day reading and it was really soothing. It’s no secret that I love books, all I do is read BUT being able to escape into another life or another world is a great form of distraction and counts towards my yearly Goodreads goal. So really it’s a win, win situation.

Write for 20 Minutes

A while ago I saw on Victoria Schwab’s Twitter that she said writing for 20 minutes at a time is how a lot of her books were written. Having dedicated time for writing and in short bursts helped her and I thought I should try that.

I might as well start now and who knows my book might actually get written. A first draft is a good start but if I make it into a daily habit then who knows.

Find A Positive Thing/ Silver Lining

It might feel like the world is on fire and everything is awful BUT there are some little things to be grateful for. I want to try and find something every day to bring a little light or a little hope.

Listen To Music

I’ve found that music is really helping me right now. Back when I was really depressed as a teenager music got me through a lot. I would have my iPod playing through classes where I could get away with it (whether the teachers noticed and didn’t care or just forgot I was there who knows) and at night when my anxiety was bad I would just play music until my brain calmed enough.

So I’ve been alternating between my positivity playlist, Apple Music playlists and albums I like to keep my brain at bay. Seeing as it’s something that is working it makes sense to try and do it every day.

What’s something you want to do every day? I’d love to hear below!

What I Read In February 2020

What I Read in February 2020

February may be a short month but that didn’t stop me reading. I did find myself in a little bit of a slump in Feb, I think because I read so much in January my brain needed shorter reads. So, here they are – have you read any of them?

On my trip to Brighton I found a copy of Renée Watson’s latest novel What Momma Left Me and I couldn’t leave without it. This is a story about a young girl who’s life changes after the death of her mother. It’s about family, secrets and finding your place in the world. This got 4 stars from me.

Next I picked up an ARC from Netgalley that I was granted. Sincerely, is a sweet collection of poems that was written as part of a proposal. A lovely concept with some sweet poems and a 3 star read for me.

Another NetGalley ARC I received, The Voice Of My Mind, came next and this one just wasn’t for me. It was also a poetry collection (I’ve been pretty into them this month) but I just couldn’t connect with the tone of voice. A 2 star read for me.

I read Always Here For You as part of a book tour I took part in, you can read the post here. This is for younger teenagers and looks at who you’re really talking to online and how young people may find themselves in this situation. A good read that would do well in schools. 4 stars from me.

This Soul Estranged was sent to me by the author for free in exchange for my thoughts. I enjoyed this collection and felt that I could connect with the poems and the tone of voice. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next. A 3 star read for me.

Next up another Netgalley ARC, this time it was a graphic novel/information type book. A Quick & Easy Guide To Sex and Disability was a really interesting read and had a good message. I would be interested in a longer guide but obviously that doesn’t match the title! A 4 star read for me!

I got an ARC copy of Diary of a Confused Feminist while working over Christmas but only just got around to it! I wasn’t sure at first because I felt super old (I’m 10 years older than the protagonist eeek) but the second half of the book I was hooked. If you like Holly Bourne I think you’ll like this. Another 4 star read for me.

A bit of a light read (note the sarcasm), Fascism and Democracy is super short but I thought it was incredibly relevant in today’s world. Now, I’ve read a bit of Orwell before and I stand by my earlier assessment that his non-fiction work is long winded. That said, this had interesting ideas and was good to see it through the lense of the 1940s while Hitler was in power. 3 stars from me.

I received an ARC of What Kind of Girl and also bought a physical copy because I really enjoy Alyssa Sheinmel’s way of writing. This looks at domestic violence in young adult relationships. It’s pretty heavy and there’s also details about mental illness and methods of self harm so know that going in if that’s something you struggle with. Another very well written book. 4.5 stars from me.

I also read Letters On Motherhood incredibly quickly because it was such a sweet and wholesome read. In this Giovanna writes letters to her three sons, her husband, parents and herself about motherhood. While I don’t have children I fell in love with this collection and felt it was so honest about the highs and lows. A great read.

I read the poetry collection Surge for a post that you’ll find out about soon! It’s a collection that looks at race in Britain starting with the New Cross Fire, also known as the New Cross Massacre in which 13 young black people were killed. Political, personal and a new perspective this is a really interesting collection. 4 stars and you’ll find out more about it soon.

And finally I picked up a copy of You’re Crushing It by Lex Croucher which I’ve been meaning to get to for ages. It’s a quick book which made me laugh out loud more than a few times while reading. It was a 4 star read for me and a nice pick me up.

And finally, thanks to the extra day in the month I also finished A Danger To Herself and Others also by Alyssa Sheinmel which I’ve had on my TBR for a while. It’s an exploration of mental illness and it can be quite a tough read but another excellent book. This got 4.5 stars from me.

I haven’t listened to an audiobook this month – for some reason I’ve struggled getting into them but I’m sure I’ll come out of that soon. Did you read anything good in February? Let me know below!

What I Read In January 2020!

A new reading year and a new Goodreads challenge. I was so, so excited to set my goal this year, it hasn’t changed – it’s still 100 books, but what will they be? Will I find a new favourite? Will I read more or less. THE EXCITEMENT GUYS.

In January I got on it. I decided that every evening I wanted to switch off my laptop and read, not just spend my whole evening watching YouTube or scrolling endlessly through my Instagram. That means I got a lot of reading done! Here’s what I read in January…

My first book of the year was one I started at the end of December after seeing everyone say what a great book it was and it held up. The Only Plane In The Sky by Garrett M. Graff was incredible, moving and, of course, heartbreaking. Hearing what happened from the people who were there was something I’ll never forget. A 5 star read.

Next up, I needed something a little lighter with more humor which is why I picked up a copy of How To Have Feminist Sex by Flo Perry. A graphic guide with a lot of laughs as well as making you contemplate how women are viewed in terms of image, desire and sexual preference. A 4 star read for me.

I received an ARC of The Recovery of Rose Gold on NetGalley and it seemed like such an interesting premise. While I did read it very quickly I felt pretty let down by it because of the hype I’ve seen. The ending just wasn’t for me. A 3 star read for me.

I’ve been looking at getting Sunday’s Child for ages as a woman looks at her Grandfather’s past as a child in Hitler Youth. I really wanted to learn from this and for it to be a great read but it was a bit flat for me – 3 stars.

I got an ARC of Strangely Wrapped Gift via NetGalley. It’s a poetry collection where the author considers her life with OCD. I don’t like being negative but this one just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t gel with the style of writing 3 stars.

Jasmine Warga’s previous book My Heart And Other Black Holes was a really strong read so when I found a copy of Here We Are Now going cheap I picked it up. I’m kicking myself for letting it sit on my shelves for as long as it did. A girl meets her rock star Dad for the first time and embarks on getting to know him and the family she didn’t know. A 4 star read and now I’m trying to find more of her books.

I got A Good Time To Be A Girl on Audible. I didn’t know anything about Helena Morrisey but I’m always willing to hear about awesome women who want to change the system. This memoir wasn’t exactly that, instead it looked at Helena’s career and life and while it was interesting I didn’t really gain much from it, 3.5 stars.

I’ve seen We Are Okay on BookTube a lot and was intrigued I mentioned it to a friend and because she’s great she remembered and got it for me for Christmas. I absolutely adore this book and definitely need to read more Nina LaCour in the future. 4 stars from me.

I’ve been saying I wanted to read a Stephen King book for ages and Carrie appealed to me, as did this epic cover. I can see from this book why people love Stephen King so much and I’ll definitely be reading more. Carrie was fantastic and I could not stop thinking about it 4 stars from me.

So, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse was the Waterstone’s book of the year and I was intrigued, mostly because of the gorgeous illustrations. Old school illustrations, a heart-warming story and also one you can pick up for a little boost. 4 stars from me.

After a trip to Limited Edition Comix I found a copy of Violent Love Volume 1 and oh this series is great, I’ll be picking up volume 2 soon because the ending was absolutely brilliant and I didn’t see it coming. A 4 star read for me.

I picked up a copy of Sleeper and Spindle with my staff discount over Christmas because the cover was so beautiful. The art was stunning and from that respect it couldn’t be better but I just felt a bit let down by the story. It was pretty odd and I genuinely thought from the cover it was LGBT so that was a little disappointing. A 3 star read for me.

So, I thought I loved Heartstopper volume 1 & 2, then I read volume 3 and oh my word. This is the sweetest series! Charlie and Nick are adorable and this volume does get a little more serious…so pleased we have more to look forward to!

I’m keeping track of my reading all over the place at the moment so make sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter or become a friend on Goodreads to keep up!

What did you read in January? Let me know your favourites!

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.

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!

Everything I Read in 2019

Everything I Read In 2019!

Well, what a reading year it’s been! I smashed my goal of 100 books (although at times I wondered if I would!). I’ve read some absolutely incredible books, found some new favourite authors and had my heart broken by words more than once this year.

So, here’s all the books I read in 2019…

January

Becoming – Michelle Obama

You Are A Badass At Making Money – Jen Sincero

Everything I Never Told You – Celest Ng

Unnatural Vol 1, – Mirka Andolfo

Saga Vol 8 – Brian K Vaughan

Notes To Self – Emilie Pine

Born Lippy: How To Do Female – Jo Brand

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing – Hank Green

Pop Star Jihadi – Nick Tyrone

February

Soho – Richard Scott

Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story – Leah Hazard

Some Girls Survive On Sourcery Alone – Thiahera Nurse

Royals (Prince Charming) – Rachel Hawkins

Snotgirl Volume 2 – Bryan Lee O’Malley

What Would The Spice Girls Do? – Lauren Bravo

Standing Female Nude – Carol Ann Duffy

Heartstopper Volume 1 – Alice Oseman

Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women – Sarah Bargiela

Far From The Tree – Robin Benway

If My Body Could Speak – Blythe Baird

A Story About Cancer With a Happy Ending – India Desjardins

Saga Volume 9 – Brian K Vaughan

March

You Do You – Sarah Knight

The Burning – Laura Bates

Eye Level: Poems – Jenny Xie

Five Feet Apart – Rachael Lippincott , Mikki Daughtry (Contributor), Tobias Iaconis (Contributor)

Ctrl, Alt, Delete: How I Grew Up Online – Emma Gannon

Mind On Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recover – Arnold Thomas Fanning

My Solo Exchange Diary Vol 2 – Kabi Nagata

Voices of Powerful Women – Zoë Sallis

Internment – Samira Ahmed

That’s Not What Happened – Kody Keplinger

April

Your Heart Is The Sea – Nikita Gill

Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Mermaid’s Voice Returns In This One – Amanda Lovelace

I Found My Tribe – Ruth Fitzmaurice

Evidence Of The Affair – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Blossoms in Autumn – Zidrou

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven

May

Questions I Am Asked About The Holocaust – Hédi Fried

The Cut Out Girl – Bart van Es

White Rose – Kip Wilson

Love Looks Pretty On You – Lang Leav

How Not To Lose It: Mental Health – Ana Williamson

The Paper and Hearts Society – Lucie Powrie

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row – by Anthony Ray Hinton (Introduction), Lara Love Hardin

June

Saved as Draft by N.D. Chan

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling

This Is The Journey by Alison Malee

Everything’s Trash But It’s Ok by Phoebe Robinson

The Hormone Diaries – The Bloody Truth About Our Periods – Hannah Witton

Red, White and Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

The Hidden Power of F*cking Up – The Try Guys

July

Heartstopper Volume 2 – Alice Oseman

[Dis] Connected edited – Michelle Halket

Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come – Jessica Pan

Look Closer – Stewart Lewis

 The Power – Naomi Alderman

Calm the F**k Down – Sarah Knight

Misfit – Charli Howard

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé – Morgan Parker

Vicious – V.E. Schwab

August

Eat, Drink, Run – How I Got Fit Without Going Too Mad by Bryony Gordon

The Disconnect – Keren David

Birthday – Meredith Russo

The Truth About Alice is – Jennifer Mathieu

American Royals – Katherine McGee 

The Stolen Ones – Vanessa Curtis

Can Everyone Please Calm Down? A Guide to 21st Century Sexuality – Mae Martin 

Aphrodite Made Me Do It – Trista Mateer

The Good Immigrant edited – Nikesh Shukla

The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

September

Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed – Jack The Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

The Other Mother – Jen Brister

Sex, Power, Money – Sara Pascoe

Archie 1941 – Mark Wade

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Artwork – Emily Carroll

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me – Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

October

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue And Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield

The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson

Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness

Freedom by Jaycee Dugard

Truth To Power by Jess Phillips

 Twas The Night Shift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Heartstream by Tom Pollock

Dear Girls – Ali Wong

November

Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett

Our Super Canadian Adventure – Sarah Graley and Stef Purenins

A Winter’s Promise – Christelle Dabos

City of Ghosts – Victoria Schwab

They Called Us Enemy – George Takei

No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference – Greta Thunberg

December

The Perfect Dress – Louisa Leaman

Tunnel of Bones – Victoria Schwab

Break The Fall – Jennifer Iacopelli

Love Her Wild – Atticus

Journey to The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance – Ethan Sacks

The Truth About Magic – Atticus

Which books did you read in 2019 and what are you hoping to read in 2020? Let me know in the comments below!

Please note: A number of these book I was gifted or sent for review. This does not impact the rating or review they have been given.

Blogmas 2019: Everything I Read In November 2019

Well, I’m glad November is over! It’s probably the least I’ve read all year with no audiobooks as I haven’t been working at home much! That said, I was impressed with most of the books I read in November, so here they are!


A Winter’s Promise – Christelle Dabos

So, this is one of our book club reads for January chosen by my friend Maddie and I am in LOVE with this book, I can’t wait to read the next in the series and there will be 4 books altogether! This was originally published in France and has been translated so there are some points where it doesn’t flow as well BUT it’s a magical book that I gave 5 stars.

City of Ghosts – Victoria Schwab

My second Schwab book and another Maddie recommendation and it LOVED it, this is at the younger end of teen but it was completely gripping and I couldn’t put it down. Again, this is the first in a series and I can’t wait to read the next one after Christmas! Another 5 star read.

No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference – Greta Thunberg

I’ll admit I didn’t know that much going in but I’ve seen snippets of Greta’s speeches. This little book contains 11 of those speeches which are all pretty similar. I have the utmost respect for her and what she is doing but I much prefer watching her rather than reading her speeches. 3 stars for me.

Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett

This book is going to be huge, if it’s not then I don’t know what’s going on. An incredible read about an HIV positive teen who’s navigating relationships, friendships and life as a young adult. A 5 star read that I loved and am so grateful I got an ARC of this.

They Called Us Enemy – George Takei

I didn’t really know anything about Japanese American injustice until I heard about it from George Takei. This was incredibly important in current times and I think everyone should read it. 5 stars!

I backed this on Kickstarter because I enjoyed Sarah and Stef’s other adventures, so I got this for me and Ali. It’s a cute book of comic strips about their time in Canada. 4.5 stars.

What did you read in November? Let me know in the comments below!