Monday, 15 July 2019

How, What, Where and When? with Sophie Cameron, on 'Last Bus to Everland'!

I am thrilled to welcome the lovely author queen Sophie Cameron back to the blog, this time for the new series How, What, Where and When

Sophie’s debut novel ‘Out of the Blue’ captured my heart, and now her second has been released, ‘Last Bus to Everland’ and, folks… it’s pretty epic. 




Monday, 8 July 2019

It's totally fine.

My brain is fine. 

The scanxiety came on strong recently; it always does around this time of year, because April/May/June is when I always seem to get sick. I was both depressed and stressed for the 10 days between scan and consultation with my wonderful neurosurgeon, partly due to the aforementioned Time of Year Fear, but also because before the scan I’d got blood test results over the phone from my GP, that my endocrinologist had requested after our last appointment, and they indicated my Cortisol (stress hormone) levels were high, and my Thyroxine (thyroid hormone) was normal BUT working really quite hard to be normal. After I got these results, I hung up the phone and immediately dropped into an old familiar resigned state; the ‘something’s wrong, they don’t know what yet, but it’s definitely something bad’ vibe.

But, no. My brain is fine. 


(Photo: Rebecca Brooker; jumpsuit gifted from JOY)

Friday, 5 July 2019

How, What, Where and When? with Valentina, aka Occhi Ovunque.

I am so thrilled to be branching out a little in my new How, What, Where and When series, and have got an absolute star answering my questions in this post. If you haven’t caught up with the others yet, you can find them all HERE!

Today's interviewee is the lovely Valentina, aka Occhi Ovunque, the magical Italian illustrator. She works freelance illustrating and writing from her holiday house on the Amalfi Coast. She tells me (via email) that in Italian, 'Occhi Ovunque' means 'eyes everywhere', and is the name of her curious Pomeranian that becomes a sweet fox in her drawings and stories. 

Occhi Ovunque is also the name of Valentina's blog, a space where she mixes illustrations with recipes and tales of gastronomic adventures. 


Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Instagram Honesty (3)

I enjoy social media; it's brilliant, clever and connects us all. It's also terrible, toxic and at times dangerous. I know a lot of people who go through phases of ‘detoxing’ now and again for self care reasons, and others who have actually deleted any themselves from every platform. Which is really quite sensible, when one thinks about it… 

But then I know folks who have made careers out of social media. This includes me. New job titles have come into being in the past few years at the most major companies and small businesses; places that suddenly need a social media presence and someone on hand to manage it. Then there are also the bloggers and ‘influencers’ (still hate that term), who are suddenly invaluable to brands and marketers, pushing products in #ad posts and live streaming comped events they’ve been invited to. 



Thursday, 13 June 2019

How, What, Where and When? with Lex Croucher, on 'You're Crushing It!'

I am delighted and only a bit baffled to have the lovely, pink-haired, dungers-wearing sass queen Lex Croucher on the blog for the latest instalment in this series! This brilliant YouTuber, ethical buyer and vegan queen has written a book, called You’re Crushing It


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Well, shit. My book comes out a week tomorrow. I’ve felt so many feelings about this book and this process over the past couple of years that my brain shuts down a bit when I try to confront the fact that I AM NEARLY A PUBLISHED AUTHOR. My sister and I used to take new notebooks on every holiday we went on as kids so we could write stories; I used to write and illustrate my own very blatant Jacqueline Wilson rip-offs in felt tip pen, and then run out of pages to finish them. This has been a dream of mine for as long as I’ve known I could do it, and I’m hoping that at some point I’ll realise I’m living it, because right now I’m just in a state of shock. ANYWAY, LAST CHANCE TO PRE-ORDER MY BOOK PLEASE?? The link is in my bio. Pre-orders help so much and I want my publisher to like me. Thank you. Bye!!!!
A post shared by Lex Croucher ✨ (@lexcanroar) on


Hey, Lex! Thank you so much for taking the time to A my Qs. I’m so excited about ‘You’re Crushing It!’ – I think it’s the book we all need, right now.

Planning a luxury getaway...


* This post was written by a contributor *



Wednesday, 12 June 2019

42.


Hi, I’m Grace.


(Photo: Rebecca Brooker; knot wrap from LUSH, dress gifted from JOY)



I love to collect pin badges but rarely wear them, I’m finding Fathers Day shopping really fun this year, I have so many TV binges on the go right now I just can’t, my hair is currently tinged with ginger, super salty crisps are my weakness, I am really missing weekly counselling, I’m ridiculously passionate about recycling, my days in Stargazy are the happiest days, Greg James recently told me to start a podcast and because of that I feel I am obligated to, I’ll never wear gold jewellery or a black top, I could talk about the truly evil dairy industry and how human consumption of animal products is horrendously awful all day, and I’m happier in my pants than I am fully clothed, but I look fabulous either way. 


I started these little posts when I was at uni, in a time when I was truly learning about myself. I still am. It’s funny how big a response this series has received; maybe because others are particularly curious (/nosy) about me as a person, or maybe because we’re all constantly getting to know ourselves, and it’s strangely captivating learning more about those around us, seeing if we can relate somehow.


Tuesday, 11 June 2019

How, What, Where and When? with Tanya Landman, on 'One Shot'.

I’m so thrilled to welcome the absolute dream that is Tanya Landman to the How, What, Where and When series! I asked her a few questions about her recent release with the babes at Barrington Stoke, ‘One Shot’; the story of Maggie, a young girl who, after losing her beloved father, seeks to support her family doing what he did – hunting. She horrifies her family and the locals by doing this, is branded ‘unladylike’, and subjected to a young life full of cruelty. She soon learns the only person she can count on is herself, and begins to fight for survival. 

Sunday, 9 June 2019

The perfect city break - on a budget!


* This post was written by a contributor *

Friday, 7 June 2019

What I've watched: grief, ugliness and a dominatrix.

I often lose confidence writing regular ‘series’ like these, because despite them getting a fair bit of traffic and the odd comment, they always feel a bit forced after a while. My Recent Reads posts have built up many loyal readers over the years, which is lovely, but sometimes having to write reviews regularly makes me worry I’m not getting through books and putting them up on the blog fast enough. Then there’s the new How, What, Where and When series, which is off to a gentle start, as I’m trying not to put any pressure on myself… but I have big plans for it. 

These 
semi-regular collections of TV recs (or non-recs), however, are just for fun. And I won’t lie, I really enjoy being perfectly succinct and honest in my mini reviews. 

I know the last post was almost entirely negative, but don’t worry, I have some good eggs in this one… 


(yes, I have broccoli patterned bedding. And what?)

Friday, 31 May 2019

'Numbers have colours', and other things my brain has decided for me.

Oh, what’s this? Another peek inside my head, that you definitely did not ask for? You bet your sweet, healthy brains it is! Today we’ll be learning about my experiences of Synaesthesia. Hope you enjoy… 


(Photo: Rebecca Brooker; watch gifted from MVMT, dress gifted from JOY)

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

How, What, Where and When? with Keren David, on 'The Disconnect'.

I am delighted to have Keren David appearing in my (still sort-of new) series, How What Where and When! In this post, the queen herself will be answering my Qs on her new Barrington Stoke book, ‘The Disconnect’

'The Disconnect' is about Esther and her peers accepting a challenge to go without their mobile phones for 6 weeks, with the promise of cash and a job at the end of it – I mean, is there a downside to that…? 


Hey, angelic Keren! Thank you so much for being part of this series. 


Hi lovely Grace! Thank you so much for asking me to do this. 

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Mental Health Awareness Week, 2019; a peek inside my head.

Back when I was at sixth form college – around the time this blog started, because I was bored between lessons and had a lot of FEELINGS that needed to be expelled – we did this exercise in A Level Drama called ‘automatic writing’. This involved us sitting (or more likely, lying) down on the floor of the black box theatre and just scrawling non-stop in our notebooks or on scraps of script we were meant to be learning, either as ourselves or as characters. We’d tap into our own internal monologues, pull them out and onto a page; it helped us get more in touch with the people we were playing in our upcoming performances, or just get out of our own minds in a time when it felt like all the pressure was on us to do well, get good grades and make our families proud, blah blah blah.


(Photo: Sophie Mayanne for Girlgaze, Dove & Getty Images #ProjectShowUs)


Well, for the past few days I’ve been trying to conjure up a post for Mental Health Awareness Week, and I’ve realised the only way I can write honestly and without fear is if I do it, hilariously enough, without thinking too hard. So you’re about to read my automatic writing. Enjoy – I hope it helps some of you, somehow…

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

School of Rock, the Musical; a review.


– Tickets to this show were given to me in exchange for a review. –

I was lucky enough to finally see ‘School of Rock’ last night at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, in London. I’d been meaning to for a while, but something always stopped me – maybe it was the fact that I loved the film so much when I was a teen, I couldn’t possibly see it done any other way? Fortunately (spoiler alert), I did enjoy this show. 


(We were allowed to take photos/videos during the final song. Cool, eh?)


Make Summer Plans with Your Pals! *

Monday, 29 April 2019

How, What, Where and When? - Lisa Williamson, on 'Paper Avalanche'.

I can’t help but feel like the marvellous Lisa Williamson was an intro to the wonderful YA community for me. After seeing her at an event in the magnificent Piccadilly (my first; the New Day New Normal tour with the absolute babe that is Louise O’Neill, and the YA legend David Levithan) we met up for a coffee, and I realised that authors are the best kind of humans – they’re up there with neurosurgeons, parents, and baristas. 

After this I soon found out more about book blogging; the influence it can have on new readers, the value it has to publishers and how much an author will appreciate even the littlest positive review. We’re good humans too, we bloggers. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

What I've watched: moms, voices and unicorns.

You all know my long running series Recent Reads? Well, I seem to have made a TV version of that! Original, I know. Anyway, let’s crack on with my latest recs – and non-recs… oh, there's definitely more of the latter in this one... 


Friday, 19 April 2019

'Little Shop of Horrors', by The Talentz; a review.

For those of you who don’t know, The Talentz is an epic, award-winning musical theatre company offering professional training for folks aged 4 to 21 in Kent and I finally got the chance to see one of their shows, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, last night. 

First of all, I was amazed just how many people were in the audience, considering it was a Thursday night and the show was running all weekend – clearly these superstars are very well loved. Then I spent the rest of the night being awed again and again at how incredibly talented the whole company are. 


Thursday, 4 April 2019

Recent Reads: the first of 2019.

This post was definitely meant to be published in January... oops. Well, happy 2019, my book loving pals! This is set to be an exciting year in the book world, and the magical UKYA community. I started the year with a bookish bang; three YA novels! Wanna know how I felt about them? Read on… 


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

41.


Hi, I’m Grace.
 
(Photo: Sophie Mayanne for Girlgaze, Dove & Getty Images)


I cry when people get through to the next stage on a TV talent show, even if I don’t particularly like them or their performance. Greggs’ vegan sausage rolls are a new found weakness. My ears are uneven. I’m finally reading Adam Kay’s ‘This is Going to Hurt’. My idea of treating myself is paying to park in a multi storey, rather than leaving the car on a residential road a long walk from work like I usually do, because it’s free. I own purple lipstick, but am rarely brave enough to wear it. Bird & Blend may have a silly name now, but I love their teas. I was on 5 News last week, talking about Project #SHOWUS.

I don’t judge. I really struggle to balance things in my life. Everything I do, I do to make Teen Me proud. 

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