‘Wilde Like Me’ Review

This year for our summer holiday we went on a canal boat on the Norfolk Broads for a week which was… interesting.

I spent most of my time sat in the tiniest bedroom at the front of the boat with a book in my hand and Maltesers by my side taking in the views of endless trees and the odd swan through my window.

The first book I picked up was Louise Pentland’s novel Wilde Like Me. I’ve watched Louise’s videos online for years and when I heard about her book, I was very excited to read it. I love her humour and I could sense from her blog posts that the tone of her book was going to suit me.

The story of a single mum isn’t something I can really relate to. I’m a 23 year old with no children so how could I identify with that? But I ended up loving it far more than I thought I would. Reading through the scenes made me picture my own embarrassing moments and I’d find myself grinning and even laughing to myself. I flicked through the chapters so quickly and read it in a single sitting. I was shouting at Robin in my head in places too. Shouting for her to be kinder to herself but also shouting at her to appreciate things more – will you just notice Auntie Kath needs you?! She isn’t the perfect character, but nobody is. And that was nice to see.

Isn’t the mark of a good book when it can make you both laugh and cry? I didn’t quite shed a tear, but I empathised so much with Robin’s struggles and it made me want to grab life a little bit more. Just go for it because what’s the worst that can happen? I loved how the story ended and I am so excited for book number 2!!

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Louise’s honesty and strength really shone through in this book. There was a video she posted on her channel a couple of years ago about her mum dying called ‘My pink hair story’. This is something I can definitely relate to as my mum died in 2014, and the moment I first watched that video I felt so comforted to know that somebody else was having the same thoughts I was about mum not meeting my children or being at my wedding. I watch it whenever I’m feeling a bit sad (or the emptiness as Robin would say) and it makes me feel a little less alone. Reading Wilde Like Me made me feel a similar way and I know it will comfort many other readers too. And give them a holiday read that will make them smile and forget that they’re sitting on a canal boat instead of being on a sunny beach like everybody else.

Congratulations Louise for hitting the number 1 spot and thank you for not only a brilliant book, but for being a good egg!

If you want a page-turning story you can lose yourself in and have a giggle along the way, then this is a book for you.

 

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A Chummy Adventure 

Sorry Holly for taking a million years to write this post but I got there in the end.

A few weeks (more like months) ago, me and my bestie went on a roadtrip to Wales. I spent most of my childhood there so I thought it was about time she saw it in all its glory.

We drove down and sang Spice Girls and The Script and laughed far too much when our ears popped at the same time for no reason – yes, we’re bonkers. The weather was beautiful and we wandered round the forests of the old caravan site acting like children climbing in tree houses. And of course taking the perfect picture, although it wasn’t easy…

IMG_20170601_005914IMG_20170601_010216We went to the Little Orme, searched for seals and explored.

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Again, the wind and the sun made the pictures difficult.

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We drove around basically all of North Wales. We saw beaches and castles and just had the best day.

Thanks Chummy, hope we have many more adventures!

I’m 23!

Despite turning 23 last week, I sometimes still feel like I’m a child.  Where does the time go? I can’t believe a whole year has passed since it was my 22nd birthday and I woke up to my best friend singing Taylor Swift’s 22 to me on Snapchat. This is what I mean by still feeling like a child!

But it has been another year and I am 23!

So I thought I’d share a few small things I got for my 23rd birthday 🙂

Books: 

I love reading so there had to be at least one on this list! It’s Left Neglected by Lisa Genova. I don’t know much about this book as I haven’t read it yet but it’s written by one of my favourite authors. Lisa Genova wrote two of my favourite books – Still Alice and Love, Anthony (which I have written a previous post about love anthony review ). I love her writing style and how health issues are seamlessly woven into her books so I’m excited to give this one a try!

Films:

A larger collection here. I’m a film and TV addict, what can I say?!

Girl on the Train 

When this book came out, everyone was talking about it and I read it on the tram travelling to uni and back. Parts of it I really liked but all in all, I just didn’t see what the fuss was about. I wasn’t wowed by the enormous twist everyone gushed over and I decided it just wasn’t for me.  Then the film came out and again, people raved about it so I knew I had to watch it too. Again, I wasn’t that impressed. Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of flashbacks in films or because I knew how the mystery unfolded? What are your thoughts about it?

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

I love an action film. Since I was little we gathered around the TV screen and watched every single Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger film so I never really had a choice! I really liked the first Jack Reacher’s more mystery led plot and it even made me read a Jack Reacher novel! As for this second one, I wouldn’t rave over it but it wasn’t terrible either.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I love the Harry Potter films but I wasn’t rushing to the cinema to watch this. I am excited to watch it though and find out some more of the backstory.

The Audrey Hepburn Collection

I’m not a huge Audrey Hepburn fan but I have been trying to watch more old classic films so this will definitely help! I watched Singing in the Rain the other week and loved it. Make Em Laugh!

Broadchurch Seasons 1 and 2

If you haven’t seen Broadchurch and you like a drama/mystery then PLEASE give it a go. Start at season 1 though because season 3 will give away the big reveal! I’m loving season 3 at the moment and I’m so upset that there won’t be anymore. Oh well – I’ll just have to rewatch it!

Music: 

Was there ever any doubt? Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Ed Sheeran so obviously I had to own his album, Divide. I’m surprised I waited until my birthday, although I may have made my own Ed Sheeran Youtube playlist that is constantly on a loop. I love all the songs so much!

Bonus: 

Every year my brother draws me a picture for my birthday, mainly because he will not part with his money for any reason. Not even his precious sister. He chooses a film or a TV show that I love and draws the characters and Harry Potter was this year’s choice! Too cute.

Now I love the Formula One. I used to hate it but the more I watched it growing up, the more I started to listen and eventually I found myself watching avidly and knowing who all the drivers were. Sebastian Vettel is my favourite and knowing this, my dad put a bet on for me so if he wins the championship this year, I am in the money! I won’t win that much, but it’s even more reason to be shouting at the TV on race days. Oh, and guess who won the first race? 🙂

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A year of two halves!

To say 2016 was a mixed bag for me is a bit of an understatement. I started the year with no job, no motivation feeling a little bit like a failure. But thankfully after months of worry, things got better.

On New Year’s Day 2016, I wrote a list of resolutions. My usual ‘eat healthily’, ‘exercise more’ are great things to work on but I never see them through. So this time I decided to make them more realistic. Things that I wanted to achieve by the end of 2016. And then I purposely forgot about them and didn’t look at them again until New Year’s Day 2017.

It was so scary looking at these yesterday having completely forgotten what my goals were, but it was also so exciting and I was pleasantly surprised at how many I could cross off. I felt so proud at how far I’d come in the year. New Year’s Eve can overwhelm me – it not only marks another year without my mum, but it just so happens that New Year’s Day is her birthday too, making it doubly traumatic. So this little boost of ‘well done me’ was exactly what I needed.

My 2016 resolutions were:

  • Write my CV – I started small but I can still tick this off!
  • Get THAT job – I honestly did not believe that I would be able to do this when I wrote this resolution but I did and it was one of my proudest moments ever.
  • Keep writing your blog – I started this blog just over a year ago and I love how it’s evolved. It feels a bit stupid sometimes writing things on here that nobody probably cares about but I just love writing something and putting it out there. I never thought I’d be brave enough and sometimes the cursor still hesitates over the publish button, but I will still keep writing as long as I am enjoying it – even if nobody reads it at all.
  • Volunteer work – Yeah, I failed at this one. But I did get a job so I’m overlooking it 😉
  • Organisation in professional life – I am trying my hardest but organisation and prioritising the right things is something I have always struggled with. But it’s so much better than the non-existent organisation of early 2016!
  • Drive on motorways – Yes. Yes. Yes. Maybe not a big thing for most people but I was so daunted by motorways and just driving in general and even though I’ll never be the most confident driver, I am definitely getting there. My mum never drove on motorways. Ever. And she drove for over twenty years, so it’s a huge achievement for me no matter how small it seems.
  • Keep playing piano – Now ‘playing the piano’ is a bit generous. I like learning a few simple tunes. I can’t read music and I’ll never be Beethoven, but I have pretty much perfected ‘Piano man’.
  • Read at least 1 new book a month – Failed. I love reading but it does take a back seat. I’m keeping this resolution next year!
  • Watch more old films – I’ve watched a fair few old and new films this year. Forever the film fan.

 

When I think back at 2016 it’s in two halves. The ‘panic what am I going to do with my life I need to grow up’ half and the ‘oh wow I have a job and responsibilities and I’m busy all the time how did this happen’ half, and in both halves I did some pretty good things.

My 2016 highlights:

  • I went on my first hen do, which was a really brilliant night, apart from nearly falling down the stairs…
  • I went to my University friends’ wedding and danced to a Grease Medley with some of my favourite people. Such a special day.1483387589329.jpg
  • I had my first hen weekend abroad which was beyond crazy and one of the best times of my life. I loved it so much, thank you again everyone who went.1483388054437.jpg
  •  was a bridesmaid at my beautiful cousin Lauren and Liam’s wedding and had a lovely time at my other amazing cousin David and Jenna’s wedding. (It was a year of weddings!)

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  • We welcomed the adorable Esther-Mary into our incredible family and I spent lots of time with them all.

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  • I got my job and have the most wonderful class and colleagues.
  • I have made some incredible memories with my best chum Holly just generally being idiots. We’ve gone to shows where we’re the oldest by far, sang countless times in the car, stalked minor celebrities, exchanged hundreds of knowing looks, talked and talked and talked and I really needed those chats this year, just like I do every year.
  • I had so many good meals and cinema trips and catch-ups with friends.

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  • I got to see the great H.E.Simmons as she visited humble Manchester and experienced the delights of the Snipe shop. You make me feel like I’m ten again and my words will never match yours.

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  • I spent so much time with my brother Josh who is the most important person in my world. Even if he does steal everything I own.

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  • Me, dad, Josh and Charlie went to Cornwall where I saw beautiful things and had a real chance to just relax.1483390699167.jpg
  • We also went to visit the caravan site and old stomping grounds and had the best day ever being nostalgic.
  • I sang, laughed and smiled with my Gran.

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There was so much good in my 2016 but let’s make 2017 even better. I’ve written my resolutions – maybe I’ll do another post like this next year and reveal them all. Then again, if I fail them all then maybe not.

Happy 2017! And if it’s June and you still haven’t made any changes yet, there’s still time.

The Christmas Tag

Christmas is one of the best times of the year. It’s a time for concentrating on the things that matter the most – family, friends and festivities. I thought the Christmas tag would be a nice little intro seeing as though Christmas is officially tomorrow! Eeeeee

What is your favourite Christmas Movie? Despite loving films in general, I don’t really love any of the typical Christmas films like Elf or The Grinch. But if Love Actually or The Holiday happen to flick onto my TV screen I will be there til the credits roll…

I also love TV Christmas specials – the Gavin and Stacey one particularly.

Do you have a favourite Christmas song? I love so many Christmas songs. Last Christmas, It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Have yourself a merry little Christmas, Christmas (baby please come home), White Christmas, Fairytale of New York… Don’t make me choose – it’s too hard.

When do you put up your Christmas tree? There isn’t a set date. Always on a Saturday maybe 2/3 weeks before Christmas.

Do you peek at gifts or do you like a surprise? I’m a peeker, isn’t everyone?

Do you have any Christmas traditions? New PJs on Christmas Eve, games night on boxing day, eating my weight in chocolate and buying a radio times to circle all the unmissable films that I always end up missing anyway.

What will you be wearing on Christmas day? MY REINDEER CHRISTMAS JUMPER WITH PJ BOTTOMS. All about the comfort on Christmas day. wp-1482536408274.jpg

What does Christmas day look like for you? Family, food, films and games.

Have you ever had any Christmas day disasters? I forgot to cook the Yorkshire puddings once… that nearly caused World War 3.

What would you like for Christmas? Dvds and books. How boring. But true.

What has been your highlight of 2016? Getting a job and having the best class ever – I have something important to wake up to every day.

Will you be making any resolutions for 2017? Pass my first year of teaching. I think that’s a pretty big one! Keep reading, watching and writing. See more of family and friends and not worry quite so much about every little thing.

Feel free to copy the questions and do this yourself! 🙂

What is your favourite Christmas Movie?
Do you have a favourite Christmas song?
When do you put up your Christmas tree?
Do you peek at gifts or do you like a surprise?
Do you have any Christmas traditions?
What will you be wearing on Christmas day?
What does Christmas day look like for you?
Have you ever had any Christmas day disasters?
What would you like for Christmas?
What has been your highlight of 2016?
Will you be making any resolutions for 2017?

My First Job

In September I started my first ever job.

I went to school, college and then uni and after a grand total of 18 years in education I clearly wasn’t sick of it because I’m back again. In school. But this time on the reverse of it – as a teacher.

After taking a year out after Uni I am back in the real world teaching children in a primary school and I love it.

I am constantly tired, always yawning, always moaning about how much my feet hurt and how much my back is aching. I am endlessly patient dealing with disputes over who stole whose pencil or who looked at who in the wrong way and then all the frustration comes pouring out in the car on the way home where I crank up the volume and scream songs out on the motorway – I’ve had many concerning looks but I’m past caring.

It’s been far from easy. I’ve not watched any films or read any books (anyone who knows me knows what a sacrifice this is) because there is just so much to do. I’ve not seen my friends much and I feel constantly distracted by the impending marking and planning I have to do whenever I do go out… but it’s so nice to feel needed. To have something to get up for in the morning. And to know that no matter how awful I feel, one of my kids will walk into the room on Monday morning and make me smile.

They will ask me what I did at the weekend and what I had for tea on Saturday. I’ll fib again and say it was healthy when really it was a take away curry followed by chocolate cake. Then they’ll tell me I’m their favourite teacher, and although I am fully aware this is nonsense they say to everyone, it’s still nice to hear. One of them might ask about the science experiment we did last week or tell me about a book they read and I will get on with the week feeling like I made a difference to their lives.

Quotes said to me by the children:

“I love our maths lessons”

“My favourite days are Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays”

“I will miss you next week”

“You’re the weirdest teacher in the school Miss, but you’re also the best”

Even though I am so relieved when the holidays come round and I can’t wait for a break at Christmas to have lie ins and laugh with my friends and be able to wear my pyjamas in the daytime, I know I’ll also be excited to see the kids again.

Caravan Nostalgia

I spent most weekends from the age of 10 to 18 going to a caravan site in Wales and a few weeks ago I visited it again.

I went to the caravan site every single weekend and as a teenager I moaned a lot. I would rather have been shopping with my friends or going on facebook – can you imagine a weekend without internet when you’re 15? But visiting it today reminded me how much I really did love it. Even if I played it down for the sake of my teenage sulk.img_20161113_000320

One of my favourite places in the World is the Little Orme. It’s basically a grassy hill overlooking the less than blue ocean, but everything about it seems special to me. The hidden, secret staircase. My dog Charlie running about. The seals popping their heads out of the water in the sea and one of them lying on the beach. They seem to always be there whenever I go. It’s just nice to go somewhere without an agenda – to just sit and be for a while. Maybe I sound like an old woman, but when do we actually just sit and look at something? Especially in Manchester – there’s nothing much scenic about it. It is and always will be my home and I love it, but it doesn’t have everything.

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Then there is the actual caravan site. My childhood. I always think of Stand By Me when I think of caravan Summers. Nostalgia and incredible memories.

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Some of those memories…

Thinking we were risking our lives getting shot by the farmer when we sneaked in the cornfield for no apparent reason.

Cry laughing and nearly wetting myself on the grass because I was having way too much fun laughing at the 10 mph sign to go inside for a wee.

Sitting by the cherry tree talking about life.

Visiting the phone box. I love that it’s still there now.

Stealing and emptying the scary teenage boys’ beer cans all over his secret den because they chased us on their bikes.

Writing secret plans of revenge on paper and pretending they were nothing to do with us when they were discovered.

Writing love letters – there were also found. We were not great at hiding things.

Playing the shoe game.

Having insane water fights between about 100 people.

Spending £2 on the gambling machine every Saturday night for years and never winning.

Playing the picture game – without doubt the best game ever invented.

Riding round the site endlessly on our bikes and crashing into a car while singing Blondie because we were cool and retro.

Lying on the park late at night looking at the stars pretending to be philosophical.

Using bluetooth to send ringtones. Banana phone, MC Smally and Dancing in the dark were essentials.

Almost getting arrested for no reason.

Meeting Hannah while riding my bike and misunderstanding each others’ accents. Every single one of these memories was made with her.

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AND a few of the many, many dens we made. We practically lived in the forests. We even had a coat peg at one point. So civilised. 

I loved it so much and seeing it brought back how special it all was. It seems like a lifetime ago, but like yesterday at the same time.