What feminism means to me…

Hello everyone, I’m back. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure where I went, but it was nice either way. I just needed a little break so part of me was not shackled to the blogging calendar. Plus, it was making me feel a bit nervous! Anyway today, I bring you something different. 🙂

Welcome to my stop on The Guilty Feminist Blog Tour, hosted by Virago Books!

So, what is The Guilty Feminist? I hear you ask. Well, it’s a great book by Deborah Frances-White (Podcast host and legend) about Feminism, women’s imperfections and everything else about being a woman!

As part of the tour, I was asked to choose between two topics (both feminism related) and my choice was ‘what feminism means to me’.

Firstly, I’d like to start with how feminism is defined:

The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

how do I define feminism and what does it mean to me?

Let’s start with a brief history of my childhood. I came from a single parent family and my mum and I lived with my nan and granddad until I was 15 years old. At the time, I wasn’t aware, but now looking back it was clear that I had two strong women in my life, my mum and my nan. My mum essentially made me realise that you don’t need a man (or anyone) to help you live your life or most importantly, be happy. I can imagine being a single parent is naturally an unhappy time because you’d want to share your child and being a first time parent with someone you love – again, whether they are male or female.

My mum and my nan were both heavily involved in political groups and workers unions and people listened to them and were glad of their support. They achieved news worthy things and that’s because they were strong, not necessarily because they were women. They’ve never been afraid to go for what they want and even if they didn’t succeed they were happy they did something, rather than doing nothing.

Now, the strong females in my family don’t stop there. In a (small) family of 8, 6 of us are female. I can honestly say there isn’t a quiet one out of the lot – actually, I lie, I’m probably the quietest, but that’s fine! We support each other and see each other regularly, with times which are always filled with love and laughter.

Family life and being a strong female is what helped me, my work life is a different scenario.

During my career, I’ve never really had a massive problem, or any problem, with my gender. I’ve usually had a great time and enjoyed the company. However, there have been a few situations where my gender has affected how I do my job.

In one place I worked, I remember that when I used to recommend something they’d go ‘no, that doesn’t work’ or ‘we’ll think about it’ and nothing happened. Then a male colleague would suggest the same thing and he’d get it approved. Now, they are just as much to blame for being a sneak, but if a male said something to management it was gospel and if a female said something they would get ignored. To be honest, it could have been they were questioning our knowledge but it seemed to happen more with female colleagues.

And another time, a lady who I used to work with wouldn’t let me lift and move a box because a male colleague should be doing it for me. I kept asking why. The box was not heavy, I was carrying it in the right way (health and safety) and if I didn’t feel like I couldn’t do it believe me, I wouldn’t do it (I’m stubborn). Why did she feel the need to turn a normal day-to-day task into an issue? Plus, why didn’t see ask a female colleague? they could have been stronger than me!

In conclusion, I don’t see myself as a feminist, but more as a strong and confident person that knows what they want. I wouldn’t let anyone (male or female) push me around and I certainly wouldn’t want to be treated differently just for being a woman – I’d remove myself from the situation. The thing is, I would say that this rule should apply to men too. It really shouldn’t have anything to do with gender.

So, there we have it. Just be who you want and enjoy life!

The #JoyDress from La Maison Victor with @abakhanfabrics

In a previous post, I mentioned that I’d be including additional sewing and foodie posts to my blog. So, today, I’m ever-so-excited to type my first sewing review/show-and-tell. 😀

Now, I’d just like to start by saying I am definitely a beginner and if you notice any wonky hems, just turn a blind eye! You don’t realise how shaky you are until you try and cut fabric and sew in a straight line. Please tell me it gets easier?! 😂

Here we have the Joy Dress! (I’ll get better at photography, I promise).

Find joy in your life

I picked up the first UK edition of La Maison Victor magazine (March 2018) at my local supermarket. The magazine includes a variety of sewing projects (not just clothes) for beginners and experts alike. I particularly liked the fun and fresh design that stood out on the shelf.

La Maison Victor Magazine Front Cover

At the time, I had no other patterns to work with and I was itching to get my sewing machine moving. The magazine includes a variety of patterns, so it was an instant way to get going. Also, the pattern I found required no zips – hurrah!

Joy Dress La Maison Victor Magazine

I opted to start with the Joy Dress because according to the magazine’s difficulty key it was suitable for beginners. Plus, it also suited my style because I forever live in skater dresses.

What are my thoughts?

All the patterns are condensed onto large sheets that are including in the middle of the magazine. Personally, this format was incredibly confusing for me and even resulted in me cutting the wrong pattern piece. It might be my lack of experience but I felt that each should have its own sheet, otherwise if you are a beginner you’re liable to get things wrong – like me!

Regardless of my little mishap at the beginning, I think it was a successful make! Sewing the pieces together was incredibly easy and I even attached the sleeves with no problems at all. If you’re looking for an easy to make garment then this is the one for you. Once you get the pattern pieces cut out you can make the dress in no time at all.

Pick up the latest edition of La Maison Victor at your local newsagent/supermarket/magazine seller now. Alternatively, you can visit www.lamaisonvictor.com for more info!

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#QandA with #WildeLikeMe author @LouisePentland + #bookreview!

Welcome to the weekend you lovely bunch! 🙂 We had a lovely May Bank Holiday here in the UK last weekend but I’m glad that the week is finally over. Do you ever have one of those weeks where you think ‘argh, can you just stop now?’ well, I had one of them! However, one positive was the weather, it has been glorious (minus a few showers).

Today, I am trying to contain my excitement because on the blog I have a Q and A with YouTube sensation Sprinkle of Glitter aka Louise Pentland!

Q and A with Louise Pentland

Wilde Like Me is your first step into the fiction world, how does it feel?

Louise: It’s so thrilling to be a published author, I feel really honoured to be moving about in such a prestigious world and I feel really excited to write more and have a few more books under my belt!

I’m sure you’ve been asked this question many times before, but would you say that some of Robin’s characteristics are loosely based on your own experiences?

LP: So Robin Wilde is the hero of the book, and she is a 29-year-old single Mum working as a make-up artist and bringing up her beautiful six-year-old daughter. Where on earth could that inspiration have come from? *cue sarcasm*

For anyone who watches my channel, they’ll instantly know that Robin and I have a lot of similarities, and there are definitely real-life inspirations in this book. When I began writing Robin’s story, I had only been divorced a short time and was getting used to being a single working Mum and I knew firsthand what a struggle it can be!

How have your family and friends reacted to the novel? Do you get nervous when people you know read it?

LP: My friends and family have, on the whole, been really thrilled for it. A couple of my friends have told me they really related to the idea that you can be your own hero and felt inspired to believe in themselves more which really meant a lot to me. My Grandma though maybe isn’t as much as a feminist as Robin Wilde, so wasn’t too thrilled at some of the sexual themes running through the book. God bless her though, she still found a way to compliment it and said, ‘lovely spelling and grammar’. I had to laugh!

When they’re older, will you want Darcy and Pearl to read your books?

LP: Absolutely. I am immensely proud of the books I’ve written and I’d like the girls to see what I’ve spent their childhoods doing!

What can we expect from book number two, Wilde About the Girl, are there any sneak peeks you can give us?

LP: My god I’m so excited for Wilde About The Girl. It’s my best-kept secret this year because I’ve been dying to spill all the details but I won’t spoil it for you (I think my publishing team would scrap me if I did!). I can tell you though that each character progresses on their personal journey, we have life and death (woah), romance where you’d least expect it, a secret snog in a cupboard and a bunch of new characters to love or hate! It. Is. Juicy.

If you could have written any famous book, what would it be and why?

LP: I get asked this a lot, and my answer every time is Bridget Jones Diary. Firstly, because it’s done so amazingly well and made into a movie! What authors don’t want that? But also because I just love all the characters and how it accurately portrayed a modern single woman just living her life and doing her best.

Everyone that visits A Book and Tea gets asked this question, how do you take your tea?

LP: I’m going to say something a little bit shocking now. I don’t like tea. I’m sorry.

Continue reading “#QandA with #WildeLikeMe author @LouisePentland + #bookreview!”

#bookreview: Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart (@keefstuart)

Days of Wonder Book CoverFormat: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher: Sphere
Published: 7th June 2018
Pages: 480 Pages
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Illness; humour.

The Blurb
Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.

But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah’s diagnosis with a heart condition that will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen, that time is coming.

Hannah’s heart is literally broken – and she can’t bear the idea of her dad’s breaking too. So she resolves to find a partner for Tom, someone else to love, to fill the space beside him.

While all the time Tom plans a final day of magic that might just save them both.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


Father and daughter duo, Tom and Hannah, take you on a hilarious journey of love, laughter and heart troubles. Yes, heart troubles, not just that of the emotional variety. Let’s not sugarcoat the issue here Hannah’s heart is falling and everyone is worried. Other than her tiredness and her ability to lose her breath in 10 seconds, she’s doing fine!

Well, the Days of Wonder is certainly one of my favourites reads of 2018. It’s going to take a lot for me to add another book to this category anytime soon.

There is a natural balance of humour from the Willow Tree Theatre with a seriousness of Hannah’s heart disease. You’d imagine that on some occasions you’d feel sadness or grief, but you would be wrong. It made me laugh, whilst still appreciating the need to listen to the important topics that Keith highlights throughout. I think the main idea behind this approach was to add a hint of normality to an often traumatic time.

Hannah’s character is strong and realistic. She has an adult head on her young shoulders. However, she still likes to hang around with her best friends and boyfriend.

Tom and Hannah’s relationship was something I admired. It’s very rare that you read about a single dad raising their children, especially when they are going through something as dramatic as Tom is experiencing. They never have to worry about being alone as the Willow Tree Theatre company are like their family. The community spirit from Ted, Sally, Magaret, Shaun and James (I’m sure I’ve missed a few characters off this list) radiates from Keith’s words. Each member of the theatre provides you with enough backstory to keep your curiosity at bay. I particularly liked Magaret and her ‘way back when’ stories.

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#bookreview: Mr Peacock’s Possessions by @LydiaSyson

Format: Hardback
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
Published: 17th May 2018
Pages: 432 Pages
Genre: Fiction, Historical, American, Literature.

The Blurb
Oceania 1879. A family of settlers from New Zealand are the sole inhabitants of a remote volcanic island.

For two years they have struggled with the harsh reality of trying to make this unforgiving place a paradise they can call their own. At last, a ship appears. The six Pacific Islanders on board have travelled eight hundred miles across the ocean in search of work and new horizons. Hopes are high for all until a vulnerable boy vanishes. In their search for the lost child, settlers and newcomers together uncover far more than they were looking for. The island¹s secrets force them all to question their deepest convictions.

An intimate, intense and beautifully realised novel of possession, power and the liberating loss of innocence, this will delight fans of MISTER PIP and THE POISONWOOD BIBLE.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depository


What a wonderfully written piece from Lydia Syson. Mr Peacock’s Possession makes me want to read historical fiction more often than I usually do. Each time I turn the first page of a his-fic, I shy away because I worry that I’m not going to enjoy the topic. However, travelling back to 1879 with Mr Peacock filled my mind with curiosity. I did jump onto Google to find out some more about Oceania which I have to admit is interesting.

The small New Zealand Island is home to two different communities which come together to make it their home. Sadly, a small child goes missing and in a bid to try and find him all their dark secrets make an appearance.

I thought the book’s title was clever. You presume it is referring to objects that Mr Peacock’s most values when in reality it’s talking about the people of the island. You can sense how the Islanders are feeling by each of their stories. The novel highlights certain characters POVs and their differences.

I noticed from reading page one that the book would air a pessimistic and dark feeling. Given the nature of people’s attitudes during the 19th Century, I doubt life was always a pleasant experience.

Check out the other stops on the tour below!

Take a look at yourself and then make a change

Clocks in Space

Do you recognise the lyrics? You may know the title of this post as a famous Michael Jackson song, Make a Change. As much as I’d like to talk about MJ and his musical career, this post is going to be all about me and things going on in my life. Things are a-changing.

A Book and Tea began in 2013. I wanted to create a little home on the web to talk all things books, typically book reviews and author interviews, and to share my love of reading. It’s pretty obvious that I love to read and most of the time my nose is always in a book.The past 5 years have been fantastic. However, times change and I think my blog needs a new direction to reflect my life. I’m sure you have all noticed that all I’ve posted recently is book reviews and also, that it has been less frequent. There are many reasons for this and I won’t bore you with the details, but let’s just say my hobbies and lifestyle has changed.

As result, I’ve decided that I am going to start including foodie posts (baking/cooking/Weight Watchers) and Sewing (clothes making). My life isn’t just about books anymore and I’d like my blog to reflect that. Don’t worry though, I will still be posting about books – it’s my number one love (after my husband, obviously).

I was talking to Lisa (from Lisa Talks About, go visit!) this afternoon and honestly, I felt so relieved to talk to someone else about it. I’m not sure why but I haven’t wanted to say it out loud as that makes it all final, doesn’t it? However, it does feel right and I’m going with what my heart and gut tell me.

So, there you have it. Welcome to A Book and Tea, version 2 – books, food and sewing. I hope you continue to join me on the journey and if you decide not to, then that’s ok! Thank you for your support during the past 5 years – it’s been magical!

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