June Reads

This month I have only read 4 books which is really not like me! To some, 4 may seem a lot but I read ALL the time so usually get through a couple more. Saying that, some of these titles were a lot thicker than I’d usually go for which explains it all.

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Who’s that Girl / Mhairi MacFarlane

What’s the one thing you DON’T do at a wedding? When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, her boss suggests an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?
 Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgey, layabout sister.When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

I absolutely LOVE Edie. She is such a a great character. I fell in love with Elliot right away. Such a lovely, feel good book. Slightly unrealistic but these are the sort that make me completely switch off.

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The Queen of Wishful Thinking / Milly Johnston

When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.
As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?

If you’ve read my monthly reads before, you’ll know that Milly Johnson is my all time favourite author. The Queen of Wishful Thinking is her newest release and I was so excited to get my hands on it! Obviously I fell in love with Bonnie straight away, as I always do with Milly’s protagonists. What a talent she has!

 

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The Villa in Italy / Elizabeth Edmondson

Four different people are named in a will – Delia, an opera singer robbed of her voice by illness; George, an idealistic scientist; Marjorie, desperately poor & unable to dislodge her writer’s block; & Lucius, whose personal life is in chaos. This is a tale of four strangers summoned to a grand but neglected villa on the Italian coast.

I was gifted this book by my colleagues at work for my birthday but I thought I would leave it until my holidays in Italy. And I’m so glad I did. This is not the usual kind of book I would read but I absolutely adored it. So much effort and research was put into the setting and characters that it makes you feel like you are familiar with the setting. The book is full of mystery and it’s so hard to put down! I loved every minute of reading this book!

 

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Small Great Things / Jodi Picoult

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.
Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.It is about opening your eyes.

This book was so beautifully written and extremely relevant. There was so much emotion in the book and I feel like it really did open my eyes. I urge you to read it.

 

What have you been reading this month?

Much love,

louise-x

Louise Chatters : June

Hellllllo! Another month is over and what a month it was! June was absolutely fantastic!

It was holiday month and what a fab time I had away. Michael and I went to Italy which was INCREDIBLE. We went to Milan, Florence, Pisa and Lake Garda and of course, there’s a full post on each one (still working on the Lake Garda one.) We honestly had the most amazing time together and it was a well-needed break, especially for Michael. Although we were busy the whole time when we were away, I really feel like I switched off and I really needed it. I did use social media but not constantly so I really did feel like I got away from everything.

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At the beginning of the month, I got to catch  up with my uni boys which was absolutely AMAZING. Two of them had been away travelling so I hadn’t seen them altogether since Grad Ball. I had such a good night with them and we had such a laugh.

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I got to watch my friend Katie graduate this month with a 1st class honours. So so happy for her and she deserves it so much!

I only had a couple of therapy sessions this month as I was away but they were pretty good. We talked about relationships and friendships etc and it has made me realise just how much I’ve grown in the past few years. YAS. Go me.

I have had such a great month spending time with Michael and I don’t think I show my appreciation for  him as much as I should. He is honestly the best. Soppy I know, and such a poor quality picture but he honestly melts my heart.

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I’ve been feeling quite positive about my appearance recently. My skin is behaving so well and it makes such a difference in how I feel about my appearance. I’ve also started using Bondi Sands to give myself a bit of colour which makes me feel so much better than being super pasty (not that there’s anything wrong with it, I just like being tanned.)

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I’ve also had so many realisations this month. One being that life is far, far too short. It’s made me try and push myself out of my comfort zones more and do more things with my  evenings after work. It’s made me realise the importance of being positive and trying to get any negativity out of my life. I think I’m going to make a list of how I can achieve this and push myself further.

I have started running again and it feels so good! I need to keep at it because it benefits me so much. I really want July to be a good one so I’m going to do everything I can to make it great.

I think that’s it for this month. What have you been up to?

Much love,

louise-x

 

Pisa

If you’ve been on here recently, you’ll know Michael and I took a trip to Italy which we had been planning for some time. I was so so ecstatic to have some time away from home and work and to just explore and relax. We went to Milan, Florence, Pisa & Lake Garda and had the most wonderful time. Italy has stolen a big piece of my heart and I will definitely be returning! I wanted to share some of my photos and write about my favourite memories from the trip so that in the future, I can look back and remember. I took quite a few photos so I have split my trip into four posts. Read about what we got up to in Milan and Florence too!

During our trip to Florence, we decided to hop on the train and take a day trip to Pisa. Michael had warned me that there’s not too much to see in Pisa, and that the main attraction was the tower. So I set off that morning with low expectations.

He was right that we wouldn’t need more than a day there, but I thought it was still absolutely beautiful! We knew we had a wee walk to get from the train station to the leaning tower so  we stopped for a little drink. On the way, we also did a fair bit of shopping. I absolutely loved all the little alleyways in Pisa and all the streets were so beautiful and quaint. I could have spent hours just wandering around.

 

To be honest, when we arrived at the leaning tower, I thought it was going to be a lot taller that it was. I never knew that there was a cathedral and baptistery there too but the three of them together looked incredible. It was absolutely heaving busy and it was so funny seeing so many people taking the good old ‘holding the tower up’ picture. It was honestly hilarious and made taking our own photos, so much less cringey and embarrassing.

Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale di Santa Maria Assunta and the baptistery were both absolutely stunning both inside and out. We spent some time looking inside both buildings and admiring the detail in the architecture.

Michael went for a wander and told me he had got us tickets to go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. At the time, I was extremely sun burnt and it was 36 degrees, so there was nothing I wanted to do less than climb the tower. But we did it together and it was SO worth it. It was so strange being inside the tower because you could feel yourself on a slope and you walked up the spiral staircase and got to the top.  Even at the top is was rather tilted which was really strange when walking around the outside of the tower. The views were absolutely stunning and it was definitely worth the climb!

Have you been to Pisa?

Much love,

louise-x

It’s the little things in life

I feel like we spend a lot of our time nagging and complaining about things. I am extremely guilty of this. We focus to much on the negative stuff that goes on and not enough on the positive. If somebody does something for us, we do our best to show them appreciation. But sometimes I think we need to remember the little things in life, the small things that may not change our lives, but do in fact make us happy. The things that make our lives a little brighter.

When someone else cooks for you

Sometimes after a long day at work, the last thing I want to do when I get home is make my dinner. I absolutely love when someone else cooks for you. I always enjoy the meal so much more.

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When it is sunny enough to hang your washing outside

Honestly, there is nothing better than the smell of freshly washed laundry that has been dried by the sun on the washing line. I absolutely love it.

The feeling of freshly shaven legs against clean bed sheets

I LOVE having a pamper night and shaving my legs, moisturising and getting into a freshly made bed. SO SOFT.

When the first day of a new month starts on a Monday

I told you it’s the little things…I love when this happens because it feels like I can start everything fresh. And it helps with actually knowing what date it is.

A perfect cup of tea or coffee

I absolutely love a good cuppa tea or coffee. Especially when you’re busy and sit down to relax and make a tea or coffee and just expect it to be average and then BAMMM. It’s a reallllly good one.

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When you find a really comfy position as soon as you get into bed

I often struggle to fall asleep for a while when I’ve gone to bed. But the past week I have been so comfy that I’ve managed to fall asleep straight away.

Instantly falling in love with a book

See when you are only like 15 pages into a book and you just know it’s gonna be a good one? There is no better feeling.

When you come across a REALLLY good meme

What is better than a good laugh? I love these Theresa May ones so much right now.

When it’s pouring with rain outside and you don’t need to leave the house

9 times out of 10, I have to leave the house when it’s absolutely pouring with rain but on the chance that I can stay indoors and be cosy in pj’s when it’s raining, I love it!

When someone shares good news

I absolutely love it when I see that someone has been successful or something good has happened to them. Even more so when it is a friend or family member.

So there’s 10 little things in life that make me happy. What makes you happy?

Much love,

louise-x

Louise Chatters: May

How are we almost half way through the year? Slow down, pls.

I said I was going to have a sober May but that has not happened at all. OH WELL. I would usually beat myself up over this but do ya know what, I have had fun and that’s okay! I had SO many good nights with friends and found myself a new favourite drink. Emma introduced me to a Berry Bramble and my oh my, LIFE = CHANGED.

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It also explains why despite working hard in the gym, I haven’t lost any weight. Yes, my body is changing. But at a lot slower rate than I want. And yes, I am aware that is my own fault.

I feel like not much has been happening this month to be honest. The weather has completely changed and for the best part of the month, it has been beautiful. There’s so many more things to do when it’s sunny and everyone just seems to be in a better mood. With the summer starting to show itself, I have been on plenty of walks and the BBQ’s have begun!

Michael and I went to see Grease Lightning at the theatre and it was honestly insane. The whole show was so incredible and it was definitely a night to remember! Is it just me or when you are at a show do you just wish so badly that you could sing and dance and be on stage? I do, all the time.

 

I really don’t know how my weekly therapy is going to be honest. See when you just don’t know if there’s a difference or not? That’s how I’m feeling. I’ve built a good relationship with my psychiatrist though which is a good feeling. It is good seeing how things in my life have all linked together to make me feel like I do and I understand how they are linked but I just don’t know if it changes anything.

I don’t feel like I have much to report on to be honest. I just feel completely exhausted. Work has been so busy and so have weekends so I feel like I need a good break. Things are good. But I’m tired and I feel like I haven’t had a moment to myself, although I definitely have. I feel like I have hardly written which sucks. I have so many half written posts in my drafts but never get round to finishing them. I also feel like all I have written bout recently is mental health and as much as I love raising awareness and hoping that sharing will help others, I feel like I just keep repeating myself.

 

Oh my gooodness, it is June and this is the month I’ve been looking forward to the most! It is gonna be good. With me, it’s always the little things in life. In June, I won’t be needing any nights out now that Love Island is on! Absolutely buzzzing! It’s so sad how excited I am for appalling reality TV but I cannot wait!

Butttt… this month I also go to ITALY! I AM SO EXCITED. I cannot wait to visit the beautiful country and eat lots of ice cream and pizza and do lots of exploring.

I have promised myself I am going to eat and drink clean when I get home.

So that’s it for this month. Also, if you have any post ideas for me, pls leave a comment.

Big shout out to one of my favourites, Tyler! She’s going through a tough time but she’s a lil fighter.

Much love,

louise-x

May Reads

Another month has flown past so of course, another bundle of books have been read! Here’s what I’ve been reading this month!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / JK Rowling

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Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can’t wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn’t if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school…

Okay, I love this Harry Potter so much. I love how yo get to know so much more about his parents and their friendships. It just makes everything make sense! I love Sirius SO much. Ahhh just read it already if you haven’t.

 

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Good Luck, Fatty?! / Maggie Bloom

Spunky North Carolina teen Bobbi-Jo Cotton is overweight, oversexed, underloved and misunderstood. When Dr. Harvey Lassiter, her former high school principal turned bicycle shop owner—with the help of Lex Arlington, a hometown celebrity—sponsors a charity bike race, Bobbi sees an opportunity to test her Schwinn and her fortitude. And when Tom Cantwell, her best (and only) friend, reveals he’s crushing on her, Bobbi figures it’s time to quit passing out screws like they’re dentists’ office suckers.  What Bobbi is having a harder time letting go of is the resentment she feels toward her missionary parents, who, after abandoning her in the night, have flitted back into her life with a surprise: she’s about to be a big sister. Will Bobbi win the race (and maybe even lose the weight)? Can she overcome her promiscuous past and earn the trust of the boy she just may love? Will her parents care enough about her—or her new baby brother—to stick around (and if they don’t, will she be tough enough to survive another of their betrayals)? The only way to find out is to come along for the ride. The way Bobbi sees it, all of life’s questions can be answered from the seat of a bicycle. And if they can’t, at least your hair will look great fluttering in the breeze.

This was a light hearted easy read. I instantly fell in love with Bobbi, she was such a cute character. The plot isn’t the most riveting or interesting but sometimes it’s just nice to escape into someone elses world.

 

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I Followed the Rules / Joanna Bolouri

Rule 1: Never ask him on a first date. Rule 2: Laugh admiringly at all his jokes. Rule 3: Always leave him wanting more. … wtf?! Have you heard of The Rules of Engagement? It’s a book that promises to teach you to find the man of your dreams in ten easy steps. Unsurprisingly, I don’t own a copy. What is it, 1892? But I’m a journalist, and I’ve promised to follow it to the letter and write about the results. Nevermind that my friends think I’m insane, I’m stalking men all over town and can’t keep my mouth shut at the best of times. My name is Cat Buchanan. I’m thirty-six years old and live with my daughter in Glasgow. I’ve been single for six years, but that’s about to change. After all, I’m on a deadline. I Followed the Rules and this is what happened.

This is the second of Joanna Bolouri’s work I have read and it is just as funny as the last. I instantly fell in love with Cat, and of course with her daughter Grace. I can relate to Cat so much and when I can connect so well with a character, I absolutely hate finishing the book. I love how realistic most of the situation and dates are in this book and I fell in love with this fiction just a few chapters in.

 

18666181We Were Liars / E Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I think this is one of the strangest books I have ever read. I gave it 2 stars on Good Reads because I just didn’t know what to make of it. But I think that might be the point. For me, there were far too many characters to begin with but it was easier to remember them nearer the end. I want to reread it to see if I understand it any better. It is very well written though.

 

Wuthering Heights / Emily Bronte

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Emily Brontë’s only novel, a work of tremendous and far-reaching influence, the Penguin Classics edition of Wuthering Heights is the definitive edition of the text, edited with an introduction by Pauline Nestor. Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff’s bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

I have not read Wuthering Heights since I was 16 and in high school. Analysing a book to the extent you do in Higher English, left me feeling extremely bored of this novel. Fast forward 7 years and I feel completely different. I absolutely loved rereading this and the book meant so much more than it did at 16. I enjoyed the characters so much and my opinion of them is now completely different than it was at 16.

Perfect (Flawed #2) / Cecelia Ahern

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Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured–all her freedoms gone.
Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number-one threat to the public, she has been on the run with the complicated, powerfully attractive Carrick, the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret–one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground.
Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save only herself, or risk her life to save all Flawed…

I was SO excited for this to come out. My friend Katie was so so kind and sent this to me. As soon as I opened the cover, I could not put it down. It was so so easy to immerse myself back into Celestine’s world. JESUS IT WAS AMAZING. I really really urge you to go out and buy Flawed and Perfect.

How Not to Fall in Love, Actually / Catherine Bennetto

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Emma has a job in television which is distinctly less glamourous and exciting than it sounds. She’s managed to claw her way up the ranks from Tea-Maker and Rubbish-Collector to 2nd Assistant Director (heavy on the ‘assistant’. Even heavier on the ‘2nd’).
 So when she finds she’s accidentally very pregnant and at the same time accidentally very sacked (well, less accidentally: she did tell her boss to stick his job up his bum), she knows things are going to have to change.
 Luckily she’s also accidentally the heir to a lovely cottage in Wimbledon, with a crazy Rottweiler-owning octogenarian as a neighbour and a rather sexy boy as an accidental tenant. But this baby is coming whether she likes it or not, and she needs to become the sort of person who can look after herself let alone another human being – and quickly.  
I absolutely love the protagonist Emma. And I also absolutely love this story. I love how all the characters are completely different! But all so likeable. I am definitely looking forward to Catherine Bennetto’s creating more wonderfulness in the future. 

What have you been reading recently?

Much love,

louise-x

13 Reasons Why…We Should Talk about Mental Health

*Trigger Warnings Throughout.

Stigma is everywhere. And we all know it’s a problem. Education about mental health is needed not just in schools, but in society in general. Netflix’s recent production of ’13 Reasons Why’ has got many people talking about suicide and mental health. No matter what your opinion of the show is, we can all agree that this is a step in the right direction towards breaking down the stigma. We must talk about mental health. And I’ll give you 13 reasons why…

    1. So that people know they’re not alone

Talking about mental health can sometimes be comforting to sufferers as they know they are not alone. At first it can seem pretty daunting but once you have shared your feelings, the biggest step has been taken. There are so many people around you that are also suffering and it’s so important that people are made aware that they are not alone.

 2. People will be more likely to ask for help

There are so many silent sufferers out there who have no idea how to handle what’s going on in their heads. Talking openly about MH can help people come forward and ask for help

    3. So people know that it’s completely, 100% okay, not to be okay

Bad days and even bad weeks are completely normal. Together we can all help each other. Always remember, it’s absolutely, 100% okay, not to be okay!

    4. So people can think about having a future

The 2017 Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report tells us 6,188 suicides were registered in the UK and 451 in the Republic of Ireland.  This statistic is extremely high. It pains me that so many people just cannot go on any longer or see a future. The more we talk about mental health, hopefully, more people will seek help and know they have options.

    5. To be able to support your loved ones

You might think you know somebody extremely well and that you know absolutely everything that happens in their life. False. We have absolutely no idea what is going through anyone else’s head unless they tell us. Talking about mental health provides an opportunity for loved ones to tell you how they are really feeling, which can then help us support them.

    6. To understand your own feelings

1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health illness. Many of us can go about our everyday lives with feelings and symptoms unexplained, causing us to suffer. Talking and education ourselves about mental health allows us to have a deeper understanding of our own feelings.

    7. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health

We need to pay attention to our mental health just as much as our physical health to help us function.

    8. Help people figure out triggers

Helping people identify what triggers them can help them greatly. By distinguishing what triggers unwanted symptoms of their mental health, sufferers can try to avoid them and/or find a way of coping!

    9. So you can look out for warning signs

By recognising warning signs, you can help both yourself and somebody who may be suffering!

   10. It is everywhere!

Our mental health is with us every single day of our lives, whether it’s good or bad mental health. There is no way of avoiding it. Yes, you can block it out for a while but at some point you need to pay attention to it before it’s too late.

    11. We have a right to live!

It’s a human right.

   12. Somebody is always there to listen.

It doesn’t matter what time of day or night it is. There will always be someone willing to listen to you. If you’re worried about waking up family or friends to speak about things then there are other options. You will not be judged. Samaritans are there every day of the year, every hour of the day.

13. To break the stigma!!

People should not be afraid to ask for help.

 

Please speak out if you need help, it’s a massive step towards feeling yourself again!

Much love,

louise-x