The Art of Being Brilliant by Andy Cope & Andy Whittaker

Do you ever get the feeling you’ve been gone for a lot longer than you thought you were. Well I do, sorry every one for being a little haphazard recently. I’ve written a lot of posts about why I’ve been away but basically I’ve been busy. REALLY BUSY. When you live with lots of people in shared housing there’s always another job to do but it kinda feels okay to leave it to the next person? When you live in a household of two it’s a little more difficult. Risk pissing off the person you’ve moved in with (sorry T) or get your act together. Then I felt out of my blogging habit and then I did something crazy – I joined a gym and that has been taking up a little more time than I thought. Turns out I really enjoy the gym. But that’s something for another day. For now a brilliant book on how to be, well, brilliant.

We all have good days and bad days. Some days we’re on form, others we can’t really be bothered and feel a little lack lustre. No one enjoys those slump days – so let’s do away with them! The wonderful, uplifting and funny authors of the bestselling The Art of Being Brilliant are here to show us how to get motivated, get positive and get happy, and, most importantly, how to be all three consistently. Every single day. Using a solid understanding of positive psychology, but with clear visual illustrations, simple explanations and a bit of funny stuff, Be Brilliant Everyday shows us how to foster some serious positivity and mental agility and transform our lives. The book is crammed with practical tips to help us ditch those down days and flourish every single day.

img_1808How to live and breathe positivity everyday

Learn to be truly happy, confident and more effective

Become a great example to others and inspire those around you

 How to cope and feel brilliant in a busy, demanding world

This book is a well-constructed self-help book, centrered around the idea that we can get ourselves back on a positive track and the ways that we can help ourselves, mainly by looking at things in a different way. I want to say – this is definitely one of those books that is love it or hate it and would say, it’s for those that KNOW that the troubles lie with their habits or ways that they look at things. I feel like this book definitely doesn’t take into account mental health/depression and I think if I had read this book with that in mind I could have been a little offended.

The idea revolves around us being lazy to change due to a lack of effort, allowing ourselves to be stressed or distracted by our mobile phones when we should be looking at how we see ourselves. Quite clichéd things but things I haven’t really ever thought about too deeply.

Last week I was in a horrendous mood because of the rain. Sounds stupid, but I don’t own a coat with a hood, I recently found out there are problems with my tax from my last job, I lost my purse a few days before and I was RAGING. I stomped home, threw my gym stuff on and raced down to the gym in a horrid mood. As soon as I got there I managed to drop my phone onto the metal rail of the cross-trainer and it smashed horrifically. What I could or should have done is really thought

img_18071)     I have sorted the tax thing – at least initially

2)     I have heard from the person who has my purse I should be able to get it back

3)     I will eventually have enough money to buy a coat with a hood and I should have done MONTHS AGO.

If I had done this maybe I wouldn’t have had a mini argument with T (who has been incredibly supportive through it all) and maybe I wouldn’t have smashed my phone to crap. I mean I might have done but at least I wouldn’t have felt so horrendous due to me being a mood hooverer (someone who is almost looking for things to be angry about – ie the rain.) Looking at things as if nothing, nothing at all would make it better.

The book revolves around this throughout, is backed up by quotes from other self-help motivators and experts and for me it has a brilliant message in addressing negative self-talk. I realise I’m massively going on in this review but it’s my first one back so shrugs. It does have a slightly condescending tone or at least moves towards it. For me it just stopped before pissing me off but the stick men drawings and some of the jokey language was beginning to grate.

I think if you’re looking to make little changes in your life and want a book that maybe makes you look at somethings you’re doing differently once in a while this is a lovely little book to pick up. It would also work wonderfully as a stocking present filler! (If you’re thinking about Christmas already.) Gah I’m going to wrap this up here because I HAVE GONE ON A LOT. I enjoyed it but I think there are lots out there that take a deeper look at psychology and self-help. This was book to start me on a journey of self love that I hope to continue.



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Remember to Breathe: Simon Pont

Firstly, before I start this review, there are thank-you’s as always! Firstly thank you to Simon Pont for writing such as blisteringly sarcastic book of love, heartbreak, meltdowns, work crises and notably Tequila that made me not only smile and cry almost at the same time, but also to Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications, for as Pont puts it ‘for buying into me, and figuring Remember to Breathe was a leap of faith worth taking.’ This book was definitely a risk worth taking and it has certainly paid off. I have not read a book so brilliantly written with style and substance, and a message to boot! But enough of me completely getting ahead of myself, slow down and get ready for a ride of lifetime!

London at the turn of the Millennium. Samuel Grant has it all – the look, the job, the achingly cool suit… but he isn’t having any fun. Worse than that, he’s depressed. He loathes his dream job, has grown a boil, fashioned a Walter Mitty-complex, and his perfect girlfriend has dumped him. That he drove her away only makes matters worse. Samuel admits he’s hardly the worse off of London’s 8 million residents, but that’s hardly the point when you’re busy styling the perfect pre mid-life crisis. Remember to Breathe is Bridget Jones from the other side of the gender divide. The tale of one man’s search to feel like a hero, without having to do anything heroic. Samuel is “that guy”, the one you’ll naturally love to hate, and yet can’t help forgive and love just a little – because there’s a little bit of Samuel Grant in all of us. Remember to Breath follows the life of an unlikely anti-hero, who rather distressingly is going through a mid-life crisis. Drowning in hangovers, the bore of meetings in a career he is currently disinterested in, and heartbroken over a woman who appeared to be perfect Samuel Grant is in a rut (and don’t even mention the boil!) Pont describes a man weathered by life in a distinctively unrestricted and uncensored dialogue. Not only does the main character scream of a slight snobbery, and uncontrolled freedom but he also reeks of vulnerability and weakness. He is a liability if you will, and yet underneath the pretence of reckless abandon there is a spirit waiting to be nurtured back to life. Remember To Breathe, is a book of discovery, and of flaws and contradictions, written in an incredibly beautiful fashion. I guess as Samuel Grant continues to wallow in his life without the ‘golden boy’ label he wanders towards an unpretentious life that is openly genuine. But before getting there, Pont takes the reader on a road of discovery, through fancy meals in glitzy but notably pretentious bars selling expensive G&T’s, elaborate emails, nostalgic flash-backs to times where things all seemed perfect and hangovers, really, really bad hangovers.

This book had me from the word go; reading the blurb and the line

‘[RTB] is a rom-com trip set to a retro beat for anyone who’s ever partied like it was 1999. And woken to realise that the last tequila was unwise.’

You can’t really go wrong can you? The one thing I really loved about this book was the description; mocking and cynical the dialogue is rife with sardonic statements. The language used really allows the reader to get inside the mind of the main character and to understand the pain that he is going for. For at least the first thirty-two pages we are allowed unlimited access to the broken heart of the main character and to anyone that has recently gone through heart-break (myself, recently included) it made me cry but also want to laugh. The routines, the numbness, the sheer chasm of being alone is incredibly well described and definitely rang a bell with me. This description is exemplified in the portrayal of the London restaurant scene. Sardonic, snobbish and expensive, with rolling descriptions; ‘I went for their signature starter, a seriously yolky eggs Benedict served with enough hollandaise to down a Large cat.’ This sarcastic demeanour is a fixture throughout the entirety of the book and adds a mature understanding of style that I have never seen performed so well before. I have never seen a book written so honestly or so demeaning that works so incredibly well. The characters are also incredibly well-built up, not only Samuel Grant but the supporting members of the book; Tam is a strong, beautiful female with ambition and drive, she wants Grant to succeed and supports him throughout, whilst struggling to find herself in her own life. The romantic chemistry between the two I thought could have made an interesting sub-story, however their friendship comes through as very real and genuine and I think by the end both know that there could have been something more, that only makes your heart ache more. Jamie is ultimately a posh twit, with a love of beautiful women, sexist and disrespectful you can’t help but detest him and laugh at him albeit in a careful way and Sean is the dozy but loveable character that you can’t quite get enough of. They mesh together beautiful, fuelling hilarious email conversations, rollicking dinners, excessive partying and sarcastic life lessons.

If you haven’t realised yet, I loved this book and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any reader; I have not read a book of this quality in a very long time, and I cannot wait to read more of Simon Pont’s books. All-in-all this is a bittersweet nostalgic book of lost innocence, parties, love, friendship, heartbreak and overall, new leases of life. Set in the backdrop of the beautiful late 90’s this book screams of maturity in a sexy sarcastic way that I could not get enough of. I cannot wait to read this book all over again; pure brilliance (and I mean that!)

Buy a copy here, (you know you want to!)