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


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. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

How, What, Where and When? - with Alyssa Sheinmel, on 'A Danger to Herself and Others'.

I am so thrilled to have had the chance to interview Alyssa Sheinmel, author of ‘Faceless(2016), 'R.I.P Eliza Hart' (2017), and now ‘A Danger to Herself and Others’. The latter tells the story of Hannah Gold, a 17 year-old girl who has been checked into a remote treatment facility after a mysterious incident with her room mate in California. But her being admitted is obviously a mistake, and it’s only a matter of time before everyone sees that and she’s released. Right? 

This is just the second in my new interview piece format, How, What, Where and When! In case you missed the first (with Lauren James) let me remind you: every post in this series will ask just 4 questions, starting with each of those words. Simple as. Let’s do this!  

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Clear out your head… physically and digitally!

I had a Stress recently. A Stress here meaning: I burst into tears trying to fit a short phone call appointment into a day that already had, like, three things happening in it. This may seem a bit dramatic, but actually things had been building up for some time. Fortunately I receive counselling every week, and can unload a substantial amount of Head Mess in that hour, but I still need some pressure taken off here and there. 

So here are some simple, quick tips on how to do that, if you’re like me, and do a Stress now and again… 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Monday, 11 March 2019

'The Great Gatsby' experience; a review.

I’ve finally cracked it, folks. I have found the perfect solution for the Sunday eve pre-working week woes. You simply need a night of brilliant, twenties-themed immersive theatre! You’re welcome. 

Yes, on Sunday 10th of March the fabulous Stevie Finegan and I were plunged into the super glam and glittery world of Gatsby, with help from Guild of Misrule and From the Box Office

(photo from Stevie)

Thursday, 7 March 2019

How, What, Where and When; Lauren James, on 'The Quiet at the End of the World'.

I don’t get soppy that often (hehehe) but nearly every day I take a moment to be truly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in the past few years, in the book world. I know for a fact that Young Me who read Eva Ibbotson, Hilary McKay and Lemony Snicket novels, not so subtly tucked into her Science textbooks at school, would be properly gobsmacked at what I get to do now – and she’d fangirl over many if not all of my blogger and author pals, too. 

Speaking of Young Me, I know for a fact she’d love this particular author I have been lucky enough to interview for this brand new series. I don’t have favourites, obvs, but this brilliant woman has got to be up there with the very best. 

Lauren James is a UKYA science fiction/romance/coming of age/all of the above writer; she also blogs, edits and coaches aspiring writers. I am so excited to have her as my very first guest on How, What, Where and Whentalking about her latest novel with the babes at Walker Books  ‘The Quiet at the End of the World’!

Thursday, 21 February 2019

What I've watched; sex, stalkers, Sunny.

So you all know my long running series Recent Reads, yes? Well, here’s a TV version of that! Original, I know. Anyway, let’s crack on with my latest recs – and non-recs… 

Harv, loving 'Sex Education'.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

An old home.

It’s always different, when I go back to my old home. And I don’t just mean the changes to the high street – clothes store turned fancy restaurant here, yet another hipster cafe there, shiny automatic doors installed in the ancient shopping centre – I mean the way it makes me feel every time I return. Yes, sometimes I do swallow a lump in my throat seeing an old favourite shop is no longer there, but more often than not I don't care. I can feel a distinct excitement when I browse in a certain bookshop, but then other times it's just another branch.

I can always count on certain things, though. Walking through the town's monthly vintage market still makes me smile. Peeking into the cinema bar gives me a smack of nostalgia. And I think walking down the path towards the cathedral, looking up at that beautiful building I sat with when I was sad, explored with family and friends, took countless photos of and eventually got to graduate in, will always make me tearful.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

'Come From Away'; a review.

On Tuesday 5th of February, I was lucky enough to be able to see ‘Come From Away’, a brilliant new musical that’s just landed in London! 

This show tells the story of the people flying over America on the 11th of September 2001, who had their journeys drastically derailed and ended up landing somewhere very unexpected... 

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

'How are you?'

I'm fine

That's what you say, isn't it? Well, what if I actually answered your question honestly? We'd be here a while. You might need to grab a cuppa. Ready? Here we go... 

I'm restless

My 2019 is going to be big. I can feel it. I've made my little resolutions, started scribbling in my new diary, put the changes in motion; I'm letting myself get excited, and hope

(Photo: Erin Veness)

I’m impatient

My face is still ‘in progress’; it’s healed infinite amounts since my surgery in September, and yet I’m still far from satisfied. I’m self-conscious, I’m sad, and I’m swollen. Every day I’m checking in the mirror, frowning at myself, actually willing wrinkles to appear and dying to see any kind of change. I’m told to wait at least six months. I cannot accept that that’s not now. People tell me they don’t notice, and really, that hurts to hear when it’s not prefaced with a ‘I know you’re not happy/this won’t help’. Because it makes me feel I’m making a fuss over nothing. 

Stub out your smoking habit. *

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Waterstones Piccadilly; a little love story.

It was the summer of 2015, when I first went there. I was not long out the woods after my second brain surgery – in fact, that very day I’d had an aspiration intended to remove the excess CSF fluid that was leaking through my skull and into my face, mmm – and I was in a pretty foul mood, generally, as I’d been signed off work and was genuinely missing making coffee every day for customers who would normally irritate me no end with their requests for skinny milk but extra whipped cream, or a wet cappuccino with no chocolate on top. 

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Hello, 2019.

Ooh, look out, it’s not just another big list-type post from me on here but also fits nicely into that cheesy blogger category of New Year New Me #goals Manifest Destiny shizz. (not attacking there, I’m just a little tired of that whole theme being re-hashed every January… oh no wait, I’m about to do it. Sh*t.) 

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

2018, in my measurements.

There’s this little known song from a like, totally obscure musical you probably haven’t heard of idk, that asks us, the audience, how we measure a year. In daylights? In sunsets? In midnights? In cups of coffee…? 

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