Monday, 4 March 2019

Elaine Everest - A Gift From Woolworths Book Review

Hi all,

I was very lucky to be invited to join in my very first book tour last year for the latest book in the Woolworth's Girls series, and it was a lot of fun to send in my questions, and read everyone else's posts. You can read my stop on the blog tour HERE. I was also kindly gifted the book to review as well, and have finally got around to putting my pen to paper and writing a review.

One of the first things that struck me about this novel, having read the other books in the series, was the marked change in tone and mood within the characters. They are no longer fearful of war, they are fearful of life when the war ends, and the changes that will bring. It's quite an intense piece of writing that really brings home how the female characters adjusted to life in wartime, and their new found independence, and work home/life.



What's also interesting, is the contrast between the characters that seem to embrace change and look forward to moving on, and those who are fearful, or are very used to their current roles, and don't know how to adjust. There's Betty who faces new challenges as a mother, but can't imagine life without the store, while George faces a family tragedy, yet is positive, ready to move on, and looks to the future.

One of the best additions to this story has to be the addition of Mr Porter. Having felt the changing tones in the novel and read the previous stories, I think he was a breath of fresh air. All the scenes featuring his character as he tries to rule the roost at Woolworths were very visual and amusing, and it was quite satisfying as a reader to picture the Woolworth's girls causing some mischief and standing up to him. I was a bit sceptical beforehand as to what else you could add to this story, in wartime, which hadn't already been covered, but this was the perfect way to add some light relief.

I've not written any stories since I studied English at school, so it always surprises me to read and notice all the little details Elaine includes in her novels, things as a reader I may not have thought of; such as putting the brake on a pram so it doesn't roll down the hill, or placing a plate in a bowl pouring hot water from the kettle on top. Very little detail is missed in the scene setting, and that helps keep things interesting.

I think the book, and perhaps the series came to a natural conclusion with all the characters looking forward to life without war, and although I've loved reading the books, I'm not sure how you'd continue on from that point and keep the same quality of writing. I'm ready for a change, which is maybe just as well, as the next release from Elaine Everest is brand new, shiny, and coming out in May. Keep an eye out for The Teashop Girls, but after you've caught up with the Woolworth's Girls series of course!

And Elaine, I'm still holding out for a sequel to The Butlins Girls!

This book was gifted to me for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are my own. Many thanks to Elaine Everest, Pan Macmillan and ED PR for continuing to support my blog through these opportunities.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Passion In The Bones - Elaine Howard - Book Preview

"We are never too old to learn and pursue new adventures"

This quote comes from Elaine Howard, an American attorney, palaeontology enthusiast, and now author, who has released her book Passion in the Bones: A Guide to Breaking the Chains of Negativity and Living Your Own Adventure. I've been lucky enough to be invited on to the blog tour for this release, so for my stop I thought I'd preview the book and the ideas behind it, and maybe someday soon (I have a huge reading pile to get through first) some of you will join me in checking out the full book for yourselves.

One of the things that appealed to me when I was sent details of this book, was the creative angles taken. Creativity and well-being for me go hand in hand always, so for Elaine to link mind-set, mental health, and pursuing your passions, to her passion for dinosaurs is intriguing.



Passion in the Bones has been described as a 'step by step guide to changing your mind set, exploring your interests, identifying and nurturing true passions, and sharing them with others.' The common theme is all surrounding the fact that you have the power to change your life, and make the most of it, and that passion provides purpose.

Elaine describes the four essential characteristics of any life changing passion as:

1) It must be something positive and productive.
2) You're genuinely excited about it.
3) You pursue it on an on-going basis.
4) It's something you share with others.

Would you agree with those sentiments? is there anything else you'd add? let me know below. It's clear from the blurb on the book that Elaine Howard has found her passion in dinosaurs and palaeontology, after challenges with self-esteem and other issues, and she wants to use this help and inspire other people.

Find out more one the website or Instagram and you can purchase the book using these links:

Amazon UK
Amazon.com


Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Colouring A Sunset Scene - Handmade Card Project

I've been watching some Instagram stories lately with nature and sunsets in them - two things I love to see, experience, and watch, and just on impulse the other night decided to get my colouring pencils out and try and create a sunset myself.

I count myself as a crafter much more than an artist, but have a collection of adult colouring books, and love playing around sometimes.

To help me with this doodle I looked up sunset images on Google, and chose a scene with the type of colours I was looking for, that I thought I could do a version of.


I coloured on to white card, and tried to blend in the shading as much as possible. When I was happy with the result I added in a little landscape of rocks, inspired by Roque Nublo in Gran Canaria, which I had just mentioned in an article on the island, and a touch of glitter, as white pencil does not show up enough and I needed to create some whiter cloud parts.

As a finishing touch I mounted the finished piece on card, then added a musical note stamp, inked in the same colour scheme, from Creative Stamping Magazine. The final touch was the quote, something that has always resonated with me, and seemed to fit really well with the drawing I created. After adding in a few touches of Nuvo Drops, it was a complete card.


It's not very often I do things like this, but I was pleased with the result, found it really relaxing, and would definitely try again. Would love to know what you think, and if you have any other ideas for nature scenes/landscapes, or settings I could add a sunset to. Let me know below, and thanks for reading. 

*This blog contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Going To Gigs & Anxiety

Although life with anxiety is never plain sailing, and there is still a long way to go to get my life where I want it to be, one of the things I am most proud of is my gig going adventures. They are and have been just local, and are not without their challenges, but to have pushed myself to do as much as I have done, is something that I always come back to for motivation.

I think part of it is that music is a powerful motivation. I've always been a huge fan of music, it makes me feel alive! I enjoy music and dance based films, sometimes write lyrics, and more recently I have written about it as a freelance writer. So that has pushed me where other things haven't, and perhaps the other thing is I have done all this on my own. I'm not always the best with any kind of planning and social expectations, and don't really have a close social circle locally for support on these outings. I have tried and succeeded, tried and failed, tried and found things got a lot easier. It's an entirely different experience going on my own, but in some ways it works. I can come and go as I want, don't have to think about anybody else, and have got to know quite a few people, to varying degrees, that I might not have done otherwise; people in bands, music fans, people that promote and run events locally, and people that have been very supportive of my writing.

I've been there and done it as far as tension, anxiety, and unsettled feelings go. I've been beating myself up a bit if I have gone home or missed a specific performance, fidgeted through a whole theatre show and struggled to relax, then equally done other things and felt absolutely fine. Sometimes I've also seen a band that I know for the first time in ages, and quite happily and confidently chatted to them, feeling better about doing it, than I have done all the other times I have seen them before.

But there are things I make sure I do every time I am planning to go out, so I thought I'd share a few with this post, in case they help anyone else who might need some coping mechanisms.

- Aisle Seats - if it's a theatre show these are always a must-have with me, even if I was with someone, I wouldn't want to be in the middle of a crowd, I just think it would be a bit claustrophobic. I also try and book in the sides of the theatre, sometimes the back, or maybe even the balcony, so I am a bit away from it all, and it's easier to relax.

- Try a 'practice visit' to a venue - this only really works for local venues, but I found going to something I wasn't that fussed about helped me to scope out different places, their vibe, and decide whether I would feel comfortable going to gigs there. It didn't 'matter' how long I was there for.

- Be prepared - I always make sure I have certain things with me, even if I never use them for weeks or months on end, I always feel better if I have a supply of mints, rescue remedy, tissues, water. It may seem like a simple thing, but it all counts for me.

- Don't be too early or too late - I always check timings before I go to an event, especially if I really want to see a specific act or band above all others. If it's a festival, I try and work out the time I most want to be there to get the best experience, but so I'm not trying to amuse myself hanging around too much waiting, or with nothing to do. I try and give a decent time to get ready, travel, and deal with any unsettled feelings, then go and enjoy as much as I can.

Anxiety and the way you deal with it always has it's critics, but equally people I know have said to me that I am doing things they wouldn't ever do on their own. I hope your gig going experiences are successful ones, and if you suffer with any kind of anxiety, you've found lots of ways of dealing with whatever comes your way. I have my first gig ticket booked for 2019, and can't wait to buy more and see what happens.




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Elaine Everest - A Gift From Woolworths Book Review