New Years Resolutions?

Last year I wrote a post about my new years resolutions, to get healthy not thin, this is still sort of the plan but less of a dedication and more of a general way of life. This year I’m not really sure if I want to make a resolution, or if I did what should it be?

Getting healthy was all part of my excited, looking forward, eager to get started and become a Mum kick. A year on a bit of that has faded, who am I kidding? A lot of that has faded. I think everyone goes into the process of trying to conceive eager and a little bit blind to reality. The number of times I exclaimed “I know it could take a while and there might be issues, but I’m ready for that” and I honestly thought I was. I thought I was prepared and ready for all that it had to throw at me. Boy was I wrong. So SO wrong.

The emotions of this process are inevitably exaggerated by the associated hormones, as well as the undeniable longing for this something. Most people don’t tend to have any problems when conceiving, even if it does take time, so in theory it is pretty much guaranteed when you start trying. So why is it not easier to achieve? Why is there not more research? Why do I only have a 1 in 5 chance of getting pregnant each month – even when I do everything right? Even when I follow my new years resolutions and behave and be healthy and follow all the tips. I don’t know and neither does my doctor, it’s just life, it’ll happen, just relax and enjoy it…

Trying not to sound like I’m on a downer is difficult when reality sets in, because I am still positive and keeping my head up and excited about what the possibilities are each month. But it is undeniably a shit process and generally makes you feel shit at least once a month, no matter how proactive you are and how much positive thinking you do.

With all this in mind I think instead of focussing on new years resolutions, what I am going to do instead is focus on the way I think and act. I’m not going to let the “LOSE weight”, “only eat salads”, “no sugar diet”, “become ‘healthy'” police bully me into a resolution I don’t want. This will be an effort in and of itself working in education, if you have ever worked in education you will understand the madness that takes hold every January.

So what I will do?

British Book Challenge 2017

Well I will focus more on doing things that make me happy like reading, a lot. This is why I have signed up to the British Book Challenge 2017 and have a lovely great big stack of books ready to get stuck into. This will also help to keep me distracted – even in the dreaded two week wait! I have also set myself a personal goal of aiming for 52 books read by this time next year.

I will also blog more, writing is something I’ve always enjoyed even if I’m not very good at it! This will also hopefully help me improve my confidence levels as I focus not only on book reviews but clothing reviews as well. This will mean *gulp* photos of me on the tinterweb for all sorts of people to gawp at and recoil in horror, well I hope not but you get the picture.

THINK POSITIVE AND RELAX. Ugh just writing that I can feel my blood pressure rise, but its a good thing to commit to I suppose. Not so much in that it will “help” us get pregnant, more that it will help me to deal with disappointments and the down days.

So with those sort of new years resolutions and as I technically still have one day of 2016 left, what to do? I know! Amazon book sales…

Share

A Christmas Day At The Office by Matt Dunn

A Christmas Day At The Office by Matt DunnA Christmas Day At The Office by Matt Dunn was advertised on my Kindle Unlimited homepage over the last few weeks (I wonder why?) and as I’d enjoyed the prequel A Day At The Office so much I decided it was definitely worth a whirl. To prep for this I reread the first in the series and you can read my review of this here. Other than that there wasn’t much to do except pop my headphones in and huddle down with my new gryffindor cushion, fluffy dressing gown and a comfy chair.

The book is refreshingly familiar to those who have read Matt Dunn’s other works and jumps into the lives of Sophie, Julie, Mia-Rose, Mark, Nathan and Callum – albeit ten months later – without issue. Okay doing my best to avoid spoilers here’s my summary.

We fall back into a familiar rhythm with the secret crushes, trysts and love schemes of our main six characters. Julie and Mark have finally got themselves together, sort of, and life is starting to throw unexpected things at them to test their new relationship and still not quite confirmed feelings for each other. Sophie is single again and on the hunt for love, or at least a relationship and if the two aren’t necessarily exclusive then so be it. Nathan seems to have gotten past his doom and gloom anti love sentiments and although newly single, he isn’t shutting himself away and instead is open to all possibilities whether they be new or old. Callum, my favourite, is as ever as adorably hopeless and clumsy in trying to find a way to have that big conversation with Mia-Rose although he isn’t sure whether she will be happy about it. 

There’s plenty of appropriate cliff hanger moments or almost moments where major plots are about to unwind but in true romcom style they veer off at the last possible moment with comedic and frustrating consequences. For those who love those moments this book will delight you, but if you’re like me and are a much more “oh god just kiss her/dump him/propose/sell him your sister” kind of person there will be lots of indignant huffs and palm slaps to the forehead. All of this my husband finds very amusing about me, but come on why read an escapist book if you aren’t going to escape into their lives completely?

There were a few moments of the book that did frustrate me on another level, the mocking of the minor characters and jokes about weight and looks seemed a lot more cut throat this time around. A bit like the original versus revisit of the Gilmore Girls, it was the same old characters and same old jokes just harsher and it didn’t sit quite right. For example, ‘Eggs’ Benedict had been a joke in the first instalment but this time it seemed to go a bit too far and the jokes about poor Mary and her failed dieting attempts just seemed a bit too personal. But I suppose it could be argued that as the book is written from the characters perspective that it was true to people’s actually thought process? Perhaps the bit that annoyed me the most were the consistent references to Callum and Mia as a “big” couple who would have “big” babies and can’t be missed on the dance floor etc etc.

Overall A Christmas Day At The Office by Mark Dunn was a fun read, a great way to pass a cold December afternoon and one I would definitely pick up again – just like the prequel.

Share

A Day At The Office – Matt Dunn

A Day At The Office

I read A Day At The Office by Matt Dunn a while ago and after seeing its sequel A Christmas Day At The Office available online and I decided to read it again; I’m glad that I did. It’s not often these days I indulge in a feel good rom com, but this is a good choice if you fancy something that isn’t too sickly sweet and has a good range of characters. An easy way to explain this book is a literary version of the Love Actually format, several characters with their own story lines and all linked together in some twee fashion – in this case they all work together!

So we have Sophie, Julie, Mia-Rose, Callum, Nathan and Mark all just trying to survive Valentines Day and all the corny crap that comes with it. We find out about Julie and Mark’s secret hook up at the works Christmas do, Sophie’s crush on Nathan and her plans to woo him, Callum’s date with the mysterious Emma, oh and of course all of their messed up pasts and how these effect their ongoing love lives.

In some of these rom-com style books you can get a bit fed up of the characters and the twee-ness of the way in which they interact and yet in Mark Dunn’s book A Day At The Office the characters are likeable, realistic and amusing. It’s easy to read and to relate to, no out of the ordinary (ish) stunts and no completely unbelievable love story endings. The writing is clever and to the point, not too flowery and yet it still manages to get some beautiful imagery and descriptions across. My favourite parts being following Julie on her runs across familiar parts of London and Callum’s antics in prepping for his mystery date.

The story has enough suspense in it to keep you interested and curious about the characters fate, even enough for this rom-com cynic is still wanting to read the sequel and see what happened afterwards. Overall I would definitely recommend this as a nice Sunday afternoon, bath time or holiday read or even maybe something more if you fancy an alternative to the crap on TV (which is likely if you are anything like me). Go get it, crack it open and enjoy – I’m off to start A Christmas Day At The Office.

Share

To Tulle Skirt, or not to Tulle Skirt?

I have been lusting after a tulle skirt for as long as I can remember, when they became fashionable it was almost like a constant ache that I did not own one. Well maybe not that dramatic, but come on what little girl who loved to twirl doesn’t want a tulle skirt now as a grown adult? Exactly.

As a lover of all things pouffy and vintagey and a complete Lindy Bop and Lady V London addict, I own more than my fair share of 50s style dresses and petticoats. In fact the bridesmaids at my weddings wore Audrey style dresses, coloured sashes and big, bright and beautiful coloured petticoats. So, it is a little bit painful when I think about how long I have gone without my very own tulle skirt.

But the pain does not continue any further, I now own my very own beautiful ASOS blue tulle skirt and it is beautiful. After the husband allowed (pfft) me to spend my Christmas bonus on myself I invested in the ASOS CURVE Tulle Prom Skirt With Multi Layers and gleefully waited its arrival. Thanks to ASOS Premier Delivery this was next day delivery, I seriously don’t know how people cope without it when ordering from ASOS.

The skirt met all my hopes perfectly, it is pouffy enough to give it some drama and yet not as big as my petticoats which I was a bit worried about. It is a bit darker in person that it is in the photo on ASOS, but its a deep and rich blue that really will go with anything. It has two top tulle layers, a silky under layer, a further tulle/net layer and a final underskirt. It has a simple zip and hook and eye fastening at the back which hide away easily. Very comfy and easy to wear! No itching from the tulle and my god it twirls amazingly! You also get that fun thing of it fanning out behind you as you walk downstairs.

Look at the glory!

The reasons I may have been hesitant in buying one before now are a bit random and would probably irritate a few. Firstly, I was worried about when I would wear it, it is a sad fact that modern life does not lend itself to prancing around in tulle – unless you are Carrie Bradshaw. Secondly, how would I wear it? I don’t mind drawing attention a bit but I’d rather not if I had a choice. Finally, as a plus size woman I have been told for years and years that fluffy layers and a pouffy skirt will only serve to accentuate my wide hips and thunder thighs.

But now I own one I am going to tackle these issues step by step!

A bit flattened and I’m twisted sideways here.

Firstly, I may not be Carrie Bradshaw but I can still rock a damned tulle skirt. I’ve worn mine to my works Christmas do, a meal out with my best friend, Christmas Day at my parents and I plan on wearing it for my husbands 30th in January. Problem one, solved!

Secondly, I started off by wearing it with a simple, pretty black camisole and then I added a wraparound cardigan with a couple of Etsy broaches. But the second and third time I wore out I branched out and tried jewel tones and a sparkly jumper and do you know what? I looked FABULOUS each time I’ve worn it. It may be a showy item to wear but it lends itself well to a multitude of pairings. Problem two, solved!

If you are looking for heels and fancy posing, you’re in the wrong place…

Finally, this one did worry me as when I told friends and coworkers what I was planning to wear I was inundated with comments that really made me panic. I am building on my self confidence but I am still not 100% happy with my body. Things such as it standing out on my hips to make me look wider, all those added layers puffing me up even further. But sod them, I enjoyed wearing the skirt and got so many compliments and most importantly I felt great. Problem three, smashed!

Okay, so that is me and my tulle skirt! Now go, go quick! They are on sale!

Share

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher - Leia at the beach

I can’t let this one go by without posting something. Today 2016 took the great Carrie Fisher.

I’m not going to go into any detail about her life because others will do that so much better, but I have to say something about the woman who was a big influence on my early life.

As the daughter, sister and wife of nerds and a fully blown geek in my own right Carrie provided a character I couldn’t help but love. She was strong, intelligent, sassy, brave and by god she could kick ass – what more can a girl want to look up to?

Whilst I always loved Disney and have vivid memories of dancing around with a tea towel on my head, Leia Organa was the princess my childhood needed. She inspired me to believe that a woman could do more than just be beautiful, wear a pretty dress and wait to be saved by a man. I mean seriously, Han and Luke couldn’t even rescue her without her help!

Carrie Fisher - Star Wars V

So with that, I am going to retreat to the twitter-sphere and send protective thoughts to all the other greats still going.

2016 you are an utter twat.

RIP Carrie Fisher.

Carrie Fisher - Star Wars 7

Share

The day after the day after…

Soooo… What did you do this day that is the day after the day after?

Did you go for a walk? Tidy up? Play with your new toys? Put your new toys away? Veg on the sofa watching crap tv?

It may be a bit odd but I’m really curious about this. My social media is filled with all sorts of variations. From the unbearably smug matching running outfits with matching ear muff couples out on hills “burning off the turkey”. Those who have spent the day elbowing and fighting through the sales, be it online or in person. Those who have collapsed and put the electronic babysitter on whilst they snored all day. To the total weirdos who have gutted, cleaned, stripped and taken down all signs of Christmas (including filing away all gifts), basically people like my mother. 

Me? What have I done? Well I’ve slept, a lot. Cuddled in my insanely comfy and soft and fluffy and beautiful new dressing gown. I’ve watched crappy tv and eaten my body weight in junk food. And since I’m ill and feeling sorry for myself I’ve spent way too much money on clothes I have no room for… reckon IKEA have a sale on wardrobes?

Share

Our first christmas since it all started

I can’t help but reflect today that if things had been different I would now be 6 months pregnant. With a nicely rounded belly, well even more rounded, and a little one wriggling around in there somewhere. Not getting to enjoy a baileys or bucks fizz tomorrow morning, but instead nesting and prepping our house for the soon to arrive little one. But all that changed after an early miscarriage in August – lovely happy way to start a blog post I know, but please hear me out!

Instead we are now on cycle 7 of trying to conceive. This Christmas Day the only rounding of my belly will be due to a few too many sprouts and spuds. I’m not going to lie that is a painful thought, I would much rather have the above scenario if I am perfectly honest. But as I have found out, getting pregnant is not as easy as the nuns at my Catholic school made it out to be (I have definitely done more than sit on a man’s knee).

I always had immense sympathy with those who struggled to conceive, the years of stress and anxiety, doctors visits and needles only to be followed up with a slim chance of hope. How did they cope? I have no idea, they must have the patience of saints. But what I never really thought about were the people in the middle; those not quite far along enough to have to get tests, but those for who sitting on a knee once or twice doesn’t quite do it either. As we are now in that position, I can tell you its no fun! Each day is a rollercoaster of emotions, hormones, disappointment and excitement.

It started with excitement and planning, book buying and research. Now each day can vary wildly from high hopes and convinced that our bfp is coming today, to sheer disappointment and sometimes guilt. I know that it is no one’s fault, no one can do anything more than just keep trying and try and stay positive. In fact, being negative and stressing is just about the worse thing you can do – but for gods sake please do not tell me or anyone else who is trying to “just relax and it will happen” you are likely to end up on the receiving end of their flying fists.

My grouchy Yorkshire husband is still the calm one, the one who reminds me that it will happen, the one who makes me smile and keeps me moving forward. In the end, this is why we are on this journey to bring into this world a little piece of him and a little piece of me – hopefully this little one will have the sports talents of the Vunipola brothers and Anthony Joshua or the creative talents of Tolkein and Austen.

So! Moving on from the gloom and doom, instead of ‘we are now’ how about ‘we are only‘ 7 cycles in and ‘I am only‘ 27 and we are still excited and committed to bringing our own little geek into this world. Because, in the end thats what this process should be – exciting!

Also, I feel it is necessary to send a great big thank you to all the women (and men) of Mumsnet who have accompanied, helped, encouraged, laughed and cried with me so far on this journey.

Share

J.R.R. Tolkein – A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter

I feel like I need to put a disclaimer on this post. So here goes –

I am a Tolkein nerd, I can measure my life by my first and each successive time of reading Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. I will forever be more than a little bit gutted that I wasn’t born early enough to meet the man who wrote these great works. So you could say that I’m a bit biased. 

Now with that over, I will try and objectively review this book.


It’s not very often I will read a biography and since leaving university there are very few times that I successfully finish a non-fiction text. I usually pick them up fascinated and eager to read but about half way through I lose interest and venture back to pure escapism. But, with Humphrey Carpenter’s attempt at a biography I didn’t feel this; instead I was hooked from the outset.

Until recently I wasn’t aware that this book even existed and at that moment I thanked god for Amazon Prime. Once it had plopped down on my doormat I quickly sped through the first 150 pages and ended up completely addicted. The book is well written and easy to read, which I imagine was no easy feet to achieve when you consider the subject. I felt (although possibly skewed) that Carpenter dealt with Tolkein’s character in a very respectful but still honest manner. He shows the good, the great, the odd and eccentric as well as the bad and possibly ugly of this great author.

The book moves on in a speedy fashion and relatively chronologically, bringing you from the Victorian era through to the end of the swinging 60s in what feels like the blink of an eye. You spend youth and innocence with John and Hilary in the rustic pastoral midlands, survive the loss of their mother. From there on to the boarding house where we enjoy flirtation and young love upon meeting Edith. Inevitably and heart breakingly we survive the First World War with all the loss and heartache it brings. After the war we ping pong up and down the country following Tolkein in his academic career. Finally settling in Oxford, we see Tolkein through his life as an academic and then on to retirement in Bournemouth. After the loss of Edith, Carpenter takes us through Tolkein’s final years and his death.

Obviously the biography is much more detailed and give us much more insight into the life and loves of Tolkein, into his mindset and experiences. But I don’t want to give too much away! With a good range of access to letters, diaries, written first hand accounts and memories of those who knew him and his family best; I found that I got to know a man as complicated as Tolkein as much as is possible in this style.

If you are just looking for a book that will tell you about the inspiration and writing of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, then this is not the book for you. As Humphrey Carpenter explains, there is no definitive experience or inspiration which created these mythologies – only a man with an immense imagination and an immeasurable talent for languages who spent his life working and reworking these texts. But it will undoubtedly leave you with a better understanding of how and why these texts came about, as well as a peep into the mind of Beren.

As an avid Tolkein fan I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to any of my fellow geeks, and to those with just a passing interest (if they really exist) this will always be an account into the life of an interesting man. He may have seemed to have lived the ordinary life of an English academic, but anyone who has read a word he has written will know that that cannot be the whole story.

Share

British Book Challenge 2017

I have decided that since I own over 500 books its about bloody time I stepped my game up again in terms of my reading pace. At university I managed around 6 books and over 20 critics/poems a week and now I have no idea how I managed that.

So I have been trawling the tinterweb to try and find book clubs/groups/challenges to help motivate me and ensure that I pick up my reading pace. This was helped along by the fact that the renewal for this website came out of my bank account, nothing is a bigger kick than your Yorkshire husband complaining “how much?!” for something you are paying for but not using. Also the fact that i’m a stubborn cow and refuse to give up something just because it costs money…

So I am officially signing up for the British Book Challenge! It is being run this year by Chelle from Tales of Yesterday, and her blog is awesome – I have definitely stolen a few ideas and titles from her page!

To find out more about this challenge go take a peek here.

Right! I am going to try and do my best to do a mix of old and new books, there are quite a few classics which as an graduate of English I should be ashamed that I haven’t read yet. I also have quite a few new books which are starting to gather dust on my shelves.

(Also who knew how difficult it was to find out if a book was published in Britain/British Author!)

Right so heres a list of books that I am hoping to tick off my list in 2017!

  • Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  • Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf – Read and reviewed here
  • Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Dreamsnatcher – Abi Elphinstone
  • Beautiful Broken Things – Sara Barnard
  • A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
  • The Lost Soldier – Diney Costeloe

Oh and i’ve just realised I only own one of those so off to the OXFAM shop I go to see if I can find them cheap… If not Amazon will have to do I suppose…

My read list to date –

  1. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
    • For The Fat Girl’s review click here
    • For Goodreads reviews click here
  2. Escape by Kate Cann
    • For The Fat Girl’s review click here
    • For Goodreads reviews click here
  3. Gilded Cage by Vic James
    • For The Fat Girl’s review click here
    • For Goodreads reviews click here
  4. Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson
    • For The Fat Girl’s review click here
    • For Goodreads reviews click here
  5. After You by Jojo Moyes
    • The Fat Girl’s review to come shortly
    • For Goodreads reviews click here
  6. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
    • The Fat Girl’s review to come shortly
    • For Goodreads reviews click here
Share