Top Ten Tuesday! #BACKTOSCHOOL

Hellllllllo readers, it’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday. I absolutely LOVE  today’s topic because I truly believe that my love of reading was really created when I was at school. Although I always found that school kind of stopped me reading the books I wanted to read, I found that it also opened a door that I have never been able to shut, and that is my addiction to reading.

So, today’s topic is what books I would have on my shelf  if I was a teacher.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


This book I didn’t actually read until last year, but I thought it was brilliant and so telling. I think if I was a teacher I would want to share books with my students that would really test how they think about things.

Lee takes us through the eyes of a child to see the injustice of the adult world and how one parent’s love and crusade to represent the underrepresented teaches us all lessons in humility and compassion – it is just perfection.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

If I was a teacher I think I would definitely teach secondary school students but I think this would still be a book that was on my shelf. This is definitely a talking point – what does the book teach us, what does it represent, is it still relevant today.

Shel Silverstein’s book really reminds us of the tenderness of the relationship between the giver and someone too young, too naive to realise just how much has been sacrificed. It’s an adorable but shocking book and  I really love it.

THE Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

 Randy Pausch offers so much more from childhood to adulthood. While it is a book about maintain the preciousness of our dreams, the true gift of this book is that in dying, Pausch shows us with humor and humility how to truly live.

THE Perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I think as a teacher you need to have a real selection of books, some that are really thoughtful and positive and some that look at the difficulties of life. I really think this a book that would help you take on growing up which is a welcome addition to my shelf.

We need to talk about kevin by lionel shriver

Okay, so this might feel a little dark but this book presents a very sensitive look into one way a murderous, sociopathic student might emerge — audiences are left to decide for themselves whether or not they consider such behaviors the result of nature, nurture or a mix of both.

Although incredibly dark I think this is a book to create a discussion between students and introduce them to the power of literature.

THE girl with the dragon tattoo by stieg larsson 

This one is really just because it’s a guilty pleasure of mine. The narrative of this book is an introduction to a completely different culture and mixture of languages which I think creates a patchwork book. I adored this series and I hope my students would too.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

A beautiful but important book that everyone should read. I can see someone being really bored on a wet-lunchtime and just picking it up and getting heavily, heavily involved. The thought of that makes me very, very happy.

THE BFG by Roald Dahl 

Just because you’re a little older doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read Roald Dahl. This book is brilliant and I think sometimes when the world gets too much this is the perfect cool down.

The Art of Being Brillian by Andy Cope, Andy Whittaker

Some of you will know that over the last couple of months I’ve really struggled to FIND myself. I knew that I wasn’t really, really struggling (like going to the doctors struggling) I just needed a bit of a pick-me up that life was okay, and being lost was okay, and that there were things that I could do to improve my mood.

I know during my school time anxiety and stress didn’t really affect me but I think now, because of social media and cyber bullying etc this book could reaaaally bloody helpful. Perfect for the shelf.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes  by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Classic. Needs to be on the shelf. NO MATTER WAHT.

So there you go, the books that would be on my shelf if I was a teacher and wanted my students to have a shelf they could pick from when they needed something to distract them from the struggles of life. Have you read any of these? Would you pick any of these from my teacher shelf? Let me knowwwwwww.


9 Ridiculous Things You’ve Probably Done While Engrossed In A Book

Badass Quotes for a Badass Friday Feeling (1)

Hello readers, I hope you’re enjoying this slightly more relaxed and creative style to my blog at the moment. I do desperately want to make more exciting posts, take more of my own photographs and blog about more interesting and exciting bookish things. Today I wanted to talk about things that us readers do that are a bit silly when we’re utterly engrossed in a book! ENJOY.

1. Stayed up all night and embarrassingly fallen asleep on the way to work the next day.

We have alllllllll done this I feel.  When you start reading a book at say half 9 and by the time you sit up to breathe for a minute you realise it is past midnight and you have WORK TOMORROW. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

2. Forgotten to eat for hours on end.

and then, as you sit up and take into your understanding that you’ve been reading for 2.5 hours, your tummy suddenly jumps into action like ‘OMG WE’RE SO HUNGRY, WHY HAVEN’T WE EATEN.’

3. or not gone to the bathroom for an unhealthy amount of time.

Then your bladder joins in and is like ‘hey guys, sorry to interrupt you deciding whether you’re going to be good and eat rice cakes or devour an entire tub of ice-cream but we need to go. So let’s do that first please.

4. Fallen up and/or down the stairs, walked into something/someone with your face in a book.

Now this one, I’m not sure is just me? but I have definitely walked into people, fallen up stairs and also down stairs. I just find you get so engrossed it’s impossible to pull your nose out to function like a normal human being.

5. Hiding in the bathroom to read at work or Forgotten you’ve got waaaaaay over your lunch break reading.

I’ve only hidden in the bathroom once to read a book because I tend to try to be more productive although I would love to read all day. I do however sometimes go over my lunch break because I just get too involved and just have to read to the next chapter. EVERY TIME.

6. Thrown something violently across the room.

I think this is probably a GOT type thing, when people die or something, not that imma into GOT. However there were certain moment in HP where I felt like tearing a book apart (okay not really,) but you know the feeling.

7. MISsing your STOP on public transport…MULTIPLE TIMES.

This used to happen to me allll the time, but it’s less so now because I tend to only take London Midland trains and every two seconds they scream at you which stop you’re at. However, on buses or on tubes I used to miss my stop all the goddamn time and depending where you are, that can be really bloody frustrating. Is this just me?


I very rarely do this anymore because lots of people have moved away from me so I do get kinda lonely quite regularly. However, back at university if I had been working allllll day on essays or on university based reading I would often just get out of nights-out to snuggle down and get some reading done.

9. Forgot that you’re in public and laughing/sighing/groaning whilst you’re reading….And also ugly-crying…like REALLY UGLY-crying…

This is probably the most embarrassing, especially the ugly crying, but sometimes when you just can’t contain yourself and you just need to let it allllllll out. In public, on a bus, with everyone is staring #life.

So there we go 9 Ridiculous Things You’ve Probably Done While Engrossed In A Book. Can you relate to any or these? Or all of these? Let me know if there’s any I’ve forgotten and have a wonderfully beautiful Friday lovelies.



The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. (2)

Hellllllo readers, interesting post today and a book I really want to get into quickly. I’ve started to run. I’ll probably write a post about this soon because it’s something I want to talk about more but basically one morning I got up and went for a 3K walk, and then I did the same, over and over and over again. Then a month or so back I started to run that 3K, over and over again until it became a 5K and a 7K. It’s given me a new confidence and a new sense of determination and one thing that really helped me sustain my running was this book.

The End of the World Running Club by [Walker, Adrian J]

I honestly hold the mantra ‘To Survive you Need to Run’ in my head every morning at 6am when I’m exhausted, my head is heavy with sleep and I feel like rolling over and becoming a duvet burrito. When I started running (a little while before I picked up this book) I didn’t realise how hard it was. As a younger version of myself 5 miles really wasn’t that hard to do, but as an adult I could barely make it ten meters without feeling like I was going to have a heart attack.


The character in the book is the same – stranded from his family in the middle of the collapse of the world, overweight, struggling with mind daemons that he could have done more for his family and relying on too much alcohol to get through it all I saw myself a little in this character. He begins to run, knowing that if he doesn’t make it to Dover where his family are getting ready to leave for a less damaged country, they will be gone, maybe forever. As he continues travelling hundreds of miles the difficulties become more tragic, lack of water, other people who have survived threatening his very existence.

All the way  through he faces obstructions, both physical and mental. Whether an inability to keep his feet moving forward mentally or physical blockages like broken cars, and unstable houses that threaten to cave and squash our runner –  I carried this book everywhere. The thing with running is you don’t really have time to turn over every little stone inside your mind. Instead you have to keep your feet moving, you breath steady, and you HAVE TO KEEP GOING.

If you’re wondering how much is end of the world style writing and running, it’s about a 75% to 25% split, but every move in the book has the need to survive. Whether in a cellar with no air, ravaged cities, or crammed military bases, there’s a sense of hope, seen mostly in the passages of running – where we get to really feel the mental aspect of running, kinda like this passage here:

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“That other beast inside you, the one you rarely see? You have it tethered tight. It watches and waits while you mess up your life, fill your body with poison and muddy your mind with worry. For some it takes just one call to free it. For others it takes five hundred miles of agony. But mine was free now, for the first time since I was a boy, running with a grin like a wolf through moonlit bracken. Pain ran alongside me, kindred and beautiful and garinning my grin. I’ll always be here, it said. Always, but now we’re friends.”

In terms of characters, Ed actually feels REAL. Like a real character – he has problems, he has insecurities, he has wobbles but at the same time he’s exciting to follow. The motley crew that he runs with including the terrifying but hilarious Bryce add their own tune to the book – each has a very special addition to the story line and reading about them all, getting to know their stories, it was beautiful. I have rarely felt so in tune with a book.

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In terms of the writing, the book is beautifully written, the writing is soulful and also to the point, it has such a strong rhythm and as we move further into the book and find more and discover extra characters and subplots Ed pulls us through – no matter how messy the world is, we get to keep going, we keep running no matter difficult or dangerous the road gets. The ending is beautiful, I won’t give it away because that’s not fair but I had a real step back moment, where I had to give myself five minutes (on a bus in Nottingham) but I might have shed a tear.

This book is incredible, whether you define as a runner or not. I know it’s made it into my top ten list of books due to its sheer power to encourage me to always look forward, lace my trainers up and get running. Now it’s your turn.




Ten Books That Have Been On My Shelf Since Before MLBB (that I still haven’t read.)

HOLLLA readers, I feel today’s topic will be incredibly eye-opening. I think one of the things that happens as bloggers is that we have a list 10 pages long of books we want to read, but because we’re constantly adding them on, some books just kind of get left behind. Today I’m going to try to list ten that I still haven’t read. Now a lot of these I expect will be classics because when I started my blog I was determined to read a hella load. I’ve read a few but there’s many to go.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

When I was in high school certain English classes were given different books to read dependent which teacher you were in the class of. I studied Gatsby, Frankenstein and also Enduring Love, but I know that almost all of the others studied The Catcher in the Rye. I’ve always wanted to read this because I just hated the fact that we didn’t all get to read the same – it felt unfair for some reason.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

This one is on the list because I have little idea what it’s about. For some reason this book has eluded me for years, and that’s really on purpose from my point of view. I am yet to read anything from Oscar Wilde and I think this should be the first book from this author that I read.

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery (image credit Penguin) VIA

This is on so many people’s lists for books they adore and I haven’t read it still – I will get it to it eventually. Hopefully it doesn’t take another three years.

Lord of the flies by William Golding

This is another book from my high school years that I didn’t read. I know that I definitely could have read it on my own time, and space. I haven’t yet but I will.

On the road by Jack Kerouac

I was bought a beautiful copy of this book and it’s been sat in my bookish suitcase. It just needs to be picked up and read. It’s just another author I’ve read nothing by yet and I need to!

I am the messenger by markus zusak

This one is a little bit of a cheat because I read The Book Thief before I started blogging, it was just that once I finished the book, I mean started it even, I knew I would have to read something by this author again. I’m yet to

the golden notebook by Doris Lessing

This book was suggested to me by someone I really respected while I was at university. This person also loved books and was very passionate about them and writing. I know I have to get this read, not due to just their recommendation but also because it’s been sat in my mind for the past few years.

Notes from a small island by bill bryson

I love BIll Bryson, and I’ve started this book maybe four or five times, I’ve just never QUITE made it all the way through but I intend to very soon.

Anna karenina by leo tolstoy

These last two books are books that I feel I should have read but haven’t. I like the idea of reading them and being all cultured and a proper reader but, ya know. Not quite yet.

Ulysses by James Joyce

Everyone has to try this one right?

So, there they are. Ten books that have never been read by yours truly but I have always, always wanted to. Except for Ulysses which I know a lot of people have opinions of, which books have you read? Are there any I should take off the list, is there one I should read first? Let me know in the comments!

Badass Quotes for a Badass Friday Feeling

Badass Quotes for a Badass Friday Feeling

So, since I’ve had a bad couple of months I’ve realised, a little, that bad mindset doesn’t help with self-respect, general mental happiness and general love for yourself. I can tell you I’m the kinda kid that if she’s feeling down can cry for three days straight, and I have. Which is terrifying.

Now I know as well as anyone that a down or unhappy mind needs a hella varied set of things and to do that alone is impossible but, I strongly believe that we can try to attempt to lift whatever is sitting on us. Lift that monster a little to breathe and so I’ve listed ten bloody baddass quotes if you’re having a fiddly Friday.

  1. Be Weird. Be Random. Be who you are. Because you never know who would love the person you hid. – Unknown. 

2. If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down – Mary Pickford.

3. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours. – Ayn Rand.

4. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer. 

5. FInd out who you are and do it on purpose. – Dolly Parton

6. Those who dance are considered insane by those who can’t hear the music – George Carlin

7. All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t it at the time. – Mitch Albom  

8. Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. the future is not guaranteed – Wayne Dyer 

9. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar.

10.  Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. – Malcolm S. Forbes. 

Have an absolutely bloody unbelievable Friday, and if not live by one of my favourite quotes; “I know you’re sad, so I won’t tell you to have a good day. Instead, I advise you to simply have a day. Stay alive, feed yourself well, wear comfortable clothes and don’t give up on yourself yet. It’ll get better. Until then, have a day. ” Just have a day my beautiful readers.

Greatest Inspirational Quotes by Joe Tichio



Dangerous by Ian Probert

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. (2)

Helllo readers, LISTEN UP, because I have a really special book for you. When I started writing reviews BACK IN THE DAY, the author Ian Probert got in touch and to be honest I’ve been reading everything he’s written ever since and that’s because it’s brilliant, and this book is no different. Less rambling from me, onto le review.

A quarter of a century ago journalist and author Ian Probert decided never to write about boxing again. His decision was prompted by the injuries sustained by boxer Michael Watson during his world title fight with Chris Eubank. Now, in common with so many fighters, Probert is making an inevitable comeback. Dangerous sees Probert return to the scene of an obsession that has gripped him from childhood. In the course of numerous meetings with a number of leading figures in the fight game, including Herol Graham, Steve Collins, Michael Watson and Kellie Maloney among others. 

Probert takes a look at how lives have changed, developed and even unravelled during the time he has been away from the sport. From an illuminating and honest encounter with transgender fight manager Kellie Maloney to an emotional reunion with Watson himself, Probert discovers just how much the sport has changed during his absence. The end result is one of the most fascinating and unusual books ever to have been written about boxing.

Dangerous: An Intimate Journey into the Heart of Boxing (Paperback)

I’m not quite sure how to review this book because it’s like nothing I’ve ever read before and I’m not sure I’ll ever read anything like it again. This is a book about a journey, about self-worth, about family and roots and finding, or trying to find answers that might have always been slightly out of reach. In the book Probert tries to come to terms with the death of his father. Their relationship, built so strongly through the passion for boxing has become weathered and tense through the lives of both, and now that he has passed Probert wants to break free of the shackles of a tumultuous relationship and delve back into the sport that drove the two of them together – maybe more so than the bond of father and son.

Through the book Probert visits and talks to many boxers from his past – you see this book is almost a sequel to the novel Rope Burns published in 1998 which I will link for you. Being a sports journalist for rather a long time Probert became well acquainted with LOTS of boxers and we get to visit so many of them. Chapter by Chapter Probert delves into his history meeting boxers such as Michael Watson, Chris Eubank,  Nigel Benn  and interestingly Kellie Maloney. This is all contrasted with the author going to see a rather awkward therapist for sessions to talk, just talk. It’s a really interesting concept as we see both sides of the ‘healing’ process

The writing style is incredibly personal –  it’s as if you’re inside the authors head throughout, feeling his inner thoughts, and seeing all of his memories converge as we kind of wade through a lot of boxing knowledge. Which is what I wanted to come to next I actually read this book on my computer because ya know the joys of ARC copies, but I actually found myself  googling and watching a lot of different fights, finding out facts and researching different boxers. I was actually shocked at how engaged I felt with a book that talked about something I have, before now, had no interest in at all. This book opened my eyes to a completely new world of boxing. 

The end is also utterly beautiful – we don’t quite get a perfectly sewn up ending but, I’ll leave that to you because you have to go and pre-order it and then go and read it because it’s awesome. So yep. #NOSPOILERSHERE.

SO, time to sum up. This is one of those reviews where there is JUST TO MUCH TO GET IN. I can’t tell you about all the special moments, the sweet stories, Probert’s bittersweet pain of delving into his past and then comparing it to the present and the current lives, loves and health of the boxers that we get to meet. Go and pre-order the book. Go, because it is fantastic, it is wonderful and it is a brilliant book that might open your eyes to a completely new world.


Rope Burns 



Reflections: An Exploration of Self Through Colouring, Mindfulness and Focus by Tracy Badau



Reflections: a book for all those seeking peace in a frantic world

 “Reflections is not like any other colouring book. Besides engaging focus in beautiful, well detailed illustrations, it helps us to reflect on how daily stress can be harmful to our mental and physical health. I think that one of the most valuable messages it gives is that, through the exercises and colouring, we can learn techniques to help us alleviate the negative thinking and stress in our lives. An amazing, soul-touching book which I recommend for anyone to use and enjoy!” – Daniella Liberato

The reason that I put this book together was to give people some of the tools and techniques that I’ve learnt on my own journey and now use to disconnect from negative thinking, beliefs and anxieties that used to run my life, in the hope that these tools may help other people to do the same.

I think it’s incredibly hard to remain balanced in today’s world, with the pressures we face on a daily basis.  So having tools and techniques that we can call upon to use when life is challenging us, helps to get us back into centre before we drop into negative thinking and spiral downwards.

It was 14 years ago that I left the UK to head off travelling for what I thought would be for a year.  Little did I know that I was in fact embarking on what would become a journey of self-discovery and wouldn’t see me settling back in the UK for 12 years.

I realise looking back now that when I set off on my travels I was searching for something more, something that would take away the underlying feeling of anxiety and sensitivity to life that I was carrying with me like baggage.  I was searching for happiness and peace and at the time thought that it was outside of me, in another country, another relationship or another job.

I wasn’t happy and was reacting to the world, in victim mode, and was a bit lost.  I felt like sometimes I was just existing through life and often each moment was just a means to an end in the hope that something in the future would come along and give me the happiness and peace I was desperately searching for – I was living in my head in my thoughts a lot rather than experiencing each moment in the present for what it was and that was a really painful, anxious and stressful place to be.

I was drawn to a lot of different teachers and practices who all teach different techniques in their own way, but I realised that they are all pointing in the same direction, that change comes from within.  I recognised then that the happiness and peace I was seeking was already in me and I just had strip away the layers of negative thinking and beliefs that I’d accumulated over the years to re-connect with me.

What I wanted to do is to create a workbook that people can use however they are drawn to using it.  I’ve alternated colouring illustrations with mindfulness techniques, visualisations, negative belief changes, empowering belief integrations, finding your inner strengths exercise, looking at a challenge from different perspectives etc.  I’ve also incorporated some thought-proving quotes throughout the book that have been a source of inspiration to me.

By integrating the self-help exercises with colouring illustrations, I wanted to create a book that would appeal to a wider audience, an audience who might not necessarily reach for a self-help book even when life is challenging them which in today’s world it often does and with this in mind I have kept all the exercises simple, light and easy to follow.


Author’s email address 

Author’s website