A Book and Tea’s (belated) 2018 goals

Notepad on Desk

Well, aren’t I late on the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ posting? It’s now 11th January and I’m only just posting my goals for 2018. It’s better late than never, I suppose!

Reflecting on 2017…

Let’s just say that 2017 started off absolutely terrible. It’s no secret that I had to take anti-depressants and go to counselling. But, do you know what? It helped me immensely and I feel stronger for having reached rock bottom. The second-half was a different story, though. I married my best friend (cue your sick buckets), got fitter (ran a 10k) and ditched the bad things in my life (new job, etc).

Now, I honestly feel better placed to jump into 2018 and grab it by the metaphorical balls. Admittedly, I still have bad days, but don’t we all? If you ever need to talk to someone, I’m always here. Pop over an email and we can have a chat if you need it! 🙂

My goals for 2018 seem incredibly easy to achieve and that’s just what I wanted. There’s no unnecessary pressure on myself and I can continue to enjoy my favourite hobby, reading and lots of it.

Goals for 2018

1. Read 50 books
Last year, I read 40 books in the 2017 reading challenge. Naturally, I was a little disappointed with this, yet the 40 books I did read were bloody amazing, so I’m certainly not going to complain. My favourite books were (click image for review):

East of Hounslow Book Cover Sweetpea Book Cover The Breakdown Book Cover

I’ve provisionally suggested a goal of 50 books to read this year. How many have you set for yourself?

2. Devour my TBR
Let’s be honest here, we’re all a slave to the TBR list, aren’t we? Usually, we don’t even get to look at it and it just secretly grows in our spare bedrooms.

At the moment, I very rarely read books that I’ve purchased myself or been given as gifts and I’d like to change this. I am so grateful to authors and publishers for sending me review copies, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by it all and just want to read things that I fancy. So, that’s what I’m going to do! There’s not even going to be a process behind it, I’m gonna twirl near my bookcases and randomly choose from my selection.

3. Blog more often
Who is the worst book blogger, ever? *Raises hand*. Ok, so maybe ‘worst’ and ‘ever’ are a bit harsh. However, I definitely need to post more often and more importantly, different things! I’m a Digital Marketer by day, so I should know better. I love writing book reviews, but I also love writing new pieces of content that strikes the attention of people. I’ve got a two week trip to America, so I’ll use this time to become friends with a notebook, a pen and a mind full of ideas. Watch this space!

4. Cook more
If you follow me on Twitter, you may notice that I often post tweets about food. I do usually cook most meals from scratch with fresh ingredients, but I definitely need to cook more. I’ve decided to try one new recipe a week to keep things fresh. Expect to see lots of pictures on Twitter.

What goals have you given yourself for 2018?


#Vlog: The Fifty Bookish Questions Book Tag

Happy Monday everyone! If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I posted a new video:  The 50 Bookish Questions Book Tag.

The original post was from Lizzy’s blog My Little Book Blog.

Don’t you just love it when the thumbnail makes you look really weird? haha.

Clare Signature
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The sun has got his hat on…

You may have noticed that I have (once again) been a little absent this past week or so, but that’s because I was away in Spain for Tom’s 30th birthday. We traveled to Murcia, about an hour away from Alicante and it was beautiful.

Beach View

Pictures of Spain

We spent the majority of our time sat by the pool and relaxing and during that time I read 2 books and started another on the flight home. I finished The Museum of You by Carys Bray and  Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (Wow, how powerful?). I’m currently reading The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz and loving it, I’m a bit fan of Victorian literature.

I also have a little book announcement: 

I am re-opening my Review Requests!

For me it’s definitely the right time to open them up again. If you are considering emailing me about a request, please read my review policy.

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Clare: a little update…

As you may have already noticed, I haven’t posted an entry for a little while. I do have many reviews I need to post, but having no computer (whilst in London) made things  difficult! I thought I’d write a little post all about the things that I’ve been up to recently.

London Adventures
Last week, I’ve been on a mini-adventure (can 5 days be classed as mini?) to London, on my own! I’ve been on a Photoshop course (with a company called Certitec) for the week with work, so I’ve had to explore London by myself! It was surprisingly less daunting than you think. Granted, I have felt a little lonely, but I did meet up with some friends, so that broke the week up. I suspected that I’d just say in the hotel room, but I actually ventured out and saw lots of great things, the London Eye, Big Ben, Covent Garden, Foyles; just to name a few.

The London EyePhotoshop Training Book

Book Buying
This word never leaves my vocab’, does it? I’ve bought a few lovely books recently, and not just on my London trip. I was on a semi-book-buying-ban, but that didn’t last long! I have many a shelf covered in books that I should probably read before going out and spending more money elsewhere, but you only live once right?

Here is a selection of the books I’ve purchased and received:

  • Penguin Little Classics
  • Asking For It by Louise O’Neil
  • The Revolving Door of Life by Alexander McCall Smith
  • The Beast Within by

The Beauty Within Book CoverThe Revolving Door Book Cover

Exploring the countryside
I live in a little village in Wales and there’s miles and miles of countryside I can go to and explore. Tom and I visited Llangollen at the weekend and walked along the canal with our dog Mac. In total, it was just under 10 miles, which was actually quite enjoyable. It’s amazing the type of things that are available on your doorstep.

Mac the Dog

What have you been up to recently? Anything good you want to shout about? Let me know in the comments below!

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Relight my fire…

Nope, I don’t mean the Take That song where Lulu made an appearance, I mean the fire within me and the passion for book blogging!

When I first started blogging I felt like this:

Friends, Happy Dance!

But now, I’m starting to feel like this:

Sad Face

Sad, isn’t it?

The thing is, when I first started I had lots of spare time and a job that didn’t require travelling and also, that it had different hours, and now? I don’t seem to have ANY spare time and it’s stressing me out a little bit. I love reading and do read quite often, so that’s good, but now, I feel like the reviewing bit and blogging about books things is taking a back seat.

When I get home from work I don’t fancy getting my Laptop out and blogging, but more that I fancy a brew and a good book to read in bed.

So, I’m going to try a few things to help me make sure I don’t start hating blogging!

Close my review requests
I feel sad about doing this, but I am not currently accepting any new review requests. At the moment, I seem to be focusing my time on reading request books and not reading the books I’ve purchased myself.  I will be sure to open requests soon, though – keep your eyes on my review policy page!

Pick a day to blog and actually use it
As it says above, I need to pick a day (or evening) to blog and actually use it. I tend to blog on my phone and the visual takes a back seat, I need to start using Photoshop again! If I actually sit down at my Laptop and blog, I know my blog will definitely have posts ready!

Take a hiatus now and again
I think it’s healthy to take a little break and I’ve decided that I might take a blogging break here and there, just so I can keep on-top of things.

I know the above are quite easy things to do and only little, but  I’m sure they’ll make a huge difference to me!

Have you ever felt like you just wanted to give in? Let me know in the comments below!

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Blog Tour & Guest Post: The Trials and Tribulations of an Unusual Name

Today, as part of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper blog tour, I am joined by author Phaedra Patrick who talks about ‘The Trials and Tribulations of an Unusual Name’.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper in a nutshell:

Having been married for over 40 years, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper is mourning the loss of his wife. On the anniversary of her death, he finally musters the courage to go through her possessions, and happens upon a charm bracelet that he has never seen before.

Purchase: Amazon

The Trials and Tribulations of an Unusual Name

Phaedra PatrickRihanna, Beyonce, Apple and Harper – these days an unusual name is essential for grabbing attention. However, as a shy, studious Oldham schoolgirl in the eighties, I definitely didn’t want to stand out. Back then, I often wished I was called Lisa, Debbie, or even Dave.

My name is Phaedra, after Some Velvet Morning, a Nancy Sinatra song that not many people have heard of.  In Greek mythology, Phaedra was the wife of King Theseus. She fell in love with her stepson, Hipplytus, caused his death and then killed herself. The Nancy Sinatra connection is much less gory.

People read my name, I see their eyes glaze over, then they attempt, ‘Ffffff….’ as if they’re trying not to swear. I’ve been called Phoebe, Fedora (as in the hat), Deborah and, my personal favourite, Madeira Cake. ‘Tell him you’re called Louise,’ my mum, who gave me the name, used to whisper when we visited Father Christmas in his grotto. ‘Your middle name is easier.’

Each time I meet someone new, I have to explain how to say it, where it comes from and that, no, I have no Greek ancestry whatsoever. Nor am I Irish, as my surname and red hair suggest. It’s all very confusing.

Now I’m a writer, it’s rather nice to have a curious name. The late Peaches Geldof named her second son Phaedra, and Primal Scream and Kate Moss covered Some Velvet Morning, so it must be pretty cool. But how on earth do you say it? I prefer to use Phedra, with a flat ‘e’ as in ‘egg’. My friends from Oldham call me Phed. I’m fine with Phaydra too. But please never ever Pheedra. That’s a pronunciation too far.

About Phaedra
Phaedra Patrick studied art and marketing and has worked as a stained glass artist, film festival organiser and communications manager. She was inspired to write Arthur Pepper’s story by the memories of her own charm bracelet. She lives near Manchester with her husband and son.

Find out more about Phaedra: Author Website | Twitter | Facebook

I finished The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper at the weekend and I can honestly say the book has changed my life. I won’t reveal too much now as I’ll be posting a review sometime next week, but let’s just say life is worth living.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper blog tour banner

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