Why I'm Taking a Sabbatical

It is with a heavy heart that I sit and write this post. I've written it many times in my head over the past month or so, and this is the third actual time that I've sat and written it. I'm going on a Sabbatical of sorts. 

I've sat and debated this decision for quite some time now. I've literally become burnt out from reading and reviewing the books that I am grateful to have been given. I'm no longer enjoying reading, and have no energy or desire to blog right now, which for me is a HUGE red flag and one that I have to take notice of. 

I've been here before when I was a life coach and was literally run off my feet blogging, reviewing, studying, working 4 days a week in a primary school, and trying to keep it all together. Something else that has made me finally make the decision to take a sabbatical is that for the past 2 weeks i've been unwell with an ear infection - labyrinthitis and it has triggered my asthma. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that for my entire life my asthma has been controlled and has never caused a problem. Needless to say that with my asthma actually being affected and having to use an additional inhaler (I now use 3), really scared me, and upset me beyond words. My body is literally worn out. It's even more worn out due to my extreme anxiety which I've been suffering with. 

Now, it's not the blogging and reviewing on it's own that has worn me out, I've had to deal with a HUGE amount of messiness this year. I haven't enjoyed summer as a relationship broke down and it was awful, one of my lovely accountancy friends actually described the way he treated me during the break up was cruel and inhuman. I agree with her now. On top of that, I've had the news that my Auntie has been diagnosed with Cancer - she's going to have treatment and i'm praying she will be OK. But, all in all, 2015 has been a rubbish year of sorts. 

I have so much to do study wise, I am in my final year at University so this is where it really counts, this is my final chance to secure the degree classification I dream of, I'm also studying my Level 4 in Accountancy which is taking such a huge amount of time and effort, and all in all, I have to say, i'm surrounded by books from studying, and then the piles keep mounting physically and on my kindle for reviews and I'm in a state of despair. I have shelves of books that I've paid for and not even opened yet. I flicked through my Instagram account the other night, came across a post of books I've bought... 53 weeks ago! And I've not read them yet! This has to change. For me. 

So, I HAVE to take a break, I have to. 

For me this break won't be utterly cold turkey, I'll still pop on and post about books I read and have time to review, and i'll honour the blog tours I have signed up for. Also, I'll post shorter posts of a lifestyle theme to help me not feel so overwhelmed with it all, and also allow you, my readers to see a different side to who I am.

I want to blog and I want to review, but I want it to be enjoyable and less intense. This is meant to be a hobby, It's not my career, I don't get paid to be this stressed, tired and worn out, and I have to listen to what I need and want in life. I could say that I'm sitting here blubbing as I write this, but i'm honest, I'm not. I'm too tired to cry about it. 

How long will I be 'gone'?

I honestly don't know. Like I said, I won't be going cold turkey, and i'll still be around, but I won't be machine and robotic lie with my posts. When I post it will be hopefully have energy, punch, enthusiasm, and ooze ME in them. I know that I want to enjoy the run up to Christmas, the novels, the crochet, the snuggling up to watch a movie, all without feeling the pressure to quickly review and rate the book sat staring at me asking me why the hell I am sleeping when I could be reading. 

I think I've said what I need to say right now, so I shall end it here. Remember it's not goodbye... it's not a break-up, it's not even a separation. Its a healthy sabbatical that lets me do my thing and you do yours. 

26 Things That Make Me Happy

As I've been feeling rather sorry for myself of late due to being unwell with Labyrinthitis (not a nice illness to experience), I thought a great post here on A Page of Fictional Love would be where I share 26 things that make me happy. Why 26 things I hear you ponder? Well, 26 because I'm 26 years old... and in a weeks time I'll be 27 and I don't know whether I could find another something that makes me happy - Ha!

1. Pretty Notebooks - I happen to have a HUGE haul of notebooks, and rarely venture home following a shopping trip without a new (a few) additions to the family. See I even refer to my notebook love as a family. Ah... true love!

2. Countryside - I grew up in Shropshire, walks on Clee Hills, along the River Severn, Bewdley, Baggeridge, Clent, ahhh... my childhood makes me happy

3. The colour purple - Need I say more... And I once had my bedroom decorated in shades of pink & purple with silver as a teenager and damn did I love that bedroom.

4. The colour pink - read above

5. Pastel colours - I adore pastel colours... I mean they are scrumptious, light and fluffy... oh wait, I just described the perfect cake... haha, but yes, I love pastel colours.

6. Fast Drying Nail Varnish - now when I say fast drying nail varnish, I mean those 60 second ones... but wait. I mean the ones that ACTUALLY flippin do dry quickly, and not are still not dry 40 minutes later. Really annoying!

7. Curly wavy hair - Yep, I loves me some curls in my hair... here's why: (see picture on the left) Yes, I had my hair chopped ... it was a super long 29" and I had a full 10" taken off, and I feel sexier, happier, and damn... I look good there. And yes, my hair has had a tiny bit of curling action help, but largely, now it will go naturally wavy all on it's own which means less work for me.

8. Shabby Chic Home Decor - I just love it! It kind of ties in with my love of pastels.

9. Italy - Venice, Rome, Tuscany, I've never been but it has ALWAYS been on my bucket list

10. Chunky Scarfs - Seriously how can these NOT make you happy? They are warm, cosy, super soft and totally amazing!

11. Achieving - yes, I'm an achievement nut, I love to achieve things, I'm super ambitious, and will try anything and will aim to succeed in it too.

12. Autumn - Oh my FAVOURITE time of the year. I will be doing a separate blog post about Autumn so I'll explain more in that one

13.  My Magick Man - no I'm not in a relationship right now, the Magick Man I am talking about happens to be my little kitty. He's a BIG 7 years old now, but will always be my ickle baby.

14. Studying - Yes, I'm a nerd and proud. Since I started school as a little one in Nursery there hasn't been a time that I have not been studying or enrolled on some course. I'm in my final year at University (A long 6 years years this has been) and I'm not quite sure what I'll do after.... OH yes I do, I'll be continuing my accountancy studying and training. See... Study Nerd!

15. Taller Men - Oh dear god yes! I love a tall guy. I'm 5ft 6" so, I like a guy around 5' 10" ideally... I need inches for heels and that perfect tip toe kiss.

16. The Body Shop - I love their perfumes, their body mists, their soaps... oh hell, I just love everything!

17. Woolly Jumpers - This is like number 10 - I love the cosy-ness of them

18. Men in a Suit - Oh this has always been something that makes me happy. Seriously, my love for a guy in a suit came around LONG before Mr Grey. And the men in my mind... in a suit look WAY better than Grey.

19. Christmas Novels - I love snuggling down to read a cosy festive book

20. Men Wearing a Black Shirt - Yes... this is like number 18... and men in a black shirt are guaranteed to get a second glance from me... but whether they get a third or more.. well, that depends on how good they look in that shirt. Simple really.

21. Crochet - This is something that I began last year, I taught myself to crochet and I flippin love it. Those granny squares are a passion of mine, and I have so many ideas for this year including more Santa Socks!

22. Gardening - I like to spend time out in the garden with the plants and the grass and yep - love to do some gardening.

23. Freshly Laundered Bedding - What is not to love about fresh clean bedding? Perfection!

24. Flowers - I love having fresh flowers in my home

25. Spending time with my Mum - I'm lucky that I've always been close to my Mum and we've always done stuff together. She's like my best friend too. We have such a laugh, and she's supported me through SO much, and stood by me, I don't know what i'd do without her.

26. Books - I can't end the blog without saying that yes, books make me happy. I book blog, I review books, I have done for a few years, and I still have ALL my books from my childhood. I may have currently hit a book reading slump but they still make me happy and I know that they will continue to do so.

So there you have my list of 26 things that makes me happy. I'd love to hear what makes you happy, you don't have to do as many as me, or you could do more... totally up to you...whatever makes you happy.

Thank's for stopping by and reading what makes me happy.

My Planner Haul - Sainsbury's

Hi there, This is a new thing I'm trying out on my blog because to be honest I was so close to saying goodbye to this blog because I have found that my love for reading right now - with everything that is going on in my life - has just kind of upped and left me.

So I want to share with you my haul from Sainsbury's for my planner.

I've become a bit of a planner addict/freak/junkie/lover! It's true, for someone who is still struggling with fitting everything in I decided a few months ago to try and become more organised. So I grabbed my diary (which I'll be honest, is empty until a couple of months ago), and my rather snazzy fineliners that I picked up super cheap from Wilko's, and I began to plan my week. I think it was a conversation with my Mum about being almost 27 AKA A TwirtieSomething (Twenty coming Thirty = Twirty) and needing to get some proper organisation in my life now... that kicked me up the bum to try this. 

Do you know what I found out about myself doing this?

1) That I CAN actually fit everything in during the day
2) That getting things done is far more enjoyable when you're doing it in colour
3) Planning you week/day can be really good fun
4) Having a routine is good... it's healthy... and I totally got this one from a very special person in my life.

So today, I upped the ante on my planner addiction by hitting Sainsbury's (complete with my labryrinthitis - which was not fun with all the noise going on) and seeing what goodies they had.

I am always the first person to drag whomever I'm with into the stationary store and spend hours looking at all the pretty things... because they are pretty gorgeous aren't they? But sometimes, especially now, your supermarket carries a lot of gorgeous stationary too. So let's take a look at what pretties I got today.

First up, I got myself a brand new diary - I know what you're thinking; "But, you ALREADY have a diary". Yes, I do. Bit this one is specifically going to be to plan and monitor my studies. You see, I'm currently studying 3... yes THREE courses. Firstly, I'm doing my level 4 AAT Accounting Advanced Diploma with Kaplan Financial, And Children's Literature, and Marketing & Finance with The Open University. The last two courses, with The Open University, will complete my degree, and this time next year i'll be a graduate... FINALLY!!

Anyway, so as you can see, I need to be able to clearly plan my time effectively and keep track of assignments, exams, tutorials, etc. Here's the pretty diary I picked up today from Sainsbury's. 

The paperclips were on sale for 75p, and the diary was £1.50 

Yes, you've noticed that 'just picking up a diary for my student days' quickly turns into a mental conversation that says; 

"Oooh I need those paperclips too... paperclips are useful things, I might need them, no i'll definitely need them, and look at how pretty they are" ... and into the trolley they go. 

Next up, I began thinking about my pretty personal planner/organiser and feeling a little more ready to attempt some major prettifying of my planner I picked up these utterly gorgeous gift tags - yes, gift tags - to use in my planner as book marks, writing down really special occasions, amazing things that happened during the week etc... and they will be so easy to attach with a bit of washi tape and they'll look cute and adorable, and will make me want to USE my planner and BE more organised. At 49p for 3 tags, I swept up 6 packs for a tiny £3, again from Sainsbury's. 

So, there you have it, my mini stationary haul from Sainsbury's. It's not massive, it didn't cost massive amounts of money, I think I spent just over £5 in total, so it was a nice little haul that will make my year more organised, pretty, and enjoyable. 

I hope you've enjoyed my little post and I apologise about the pictures.. I promise I will get better at them. It's been really fun writing this and it's been a nice little break from blogging about books. And it does help to explain my NEW blog banner... So i'll definitely be doing little posts like this from time to time about exciting hauls or things that make my Twirties Life a little more enjoyable. 

The Enchanted Egg - By Kallie George

Title | The Enchanted Egg - Magical Adoption Agency Series 

Author | Kallie George 

Publisher | Disney Books

Publication Date | 3rd November 2015 

ISBN | 9781423183835

Source | Review Copy (Netgalley)

Purchase | Amazon 

A Page of Fictional Love Rating | 5/5 

For children of ages 8-12 

There's a new resident at the Magical Animal Adoption Agency-but this one hasn't hatched yet! Mr. Jams brought home an enchanted egg from his last journey, and Clover can't wait to find out what kind of creature the polka-dotted shell contains.

But one morning when Clover checks on the cozy nest of feathers she's made for the egg, she finds it empty, and the baby animal is nowhere in sight! Clover is anxious to find the creature, but the Agency is full of visitors looking for pets of their own. Will Clover be able to match them with their perfect companions and save the mysterious animal before Mr. Jams returns from his trip?

This has to be THE cutest children's book I've ever seen and read since Lucy Daniels' Animal Ark series back when I was a child. The book cover is utterly adorable, and I can see so many young children wanting to read this book based on the cover alone - huge selling point, and one that I would succumb to myself.

The story features a little girl called Clover who helps out at a Magical Animal Adoption agency that organises adoptions of magical animals... and she does this under the supervision of Mr Jams. In this book, which is Book 2, (book 1 is available for pre-order for October 2015) Mr Jams has to go away for a while and leaves Clover in charge of the magical egg that is not due to hatch.. just yet, but no one can be entirely sure because no one has actually ever seen an egg of this kind before.

During the time that Clover is in charge, giants from the beanstalk stop by, an 'imaginary' pet stops by with a little girl who comes with her leprechaun father to adopt an animal, AND Clover has a confidence crisis when she thinks that she can't look after the agency properly. But Clover has to learn how to believe in herself, and believe in the people and friends around her.

This is an amazingly charming book that will be enjoyed by children and adults alike, and I really enjoyed reading this myself. Definitely one for your child's bookshelf.

From the point of view of a teaching assistant with an interest in primary school aged children's reading abilities, I can wholeheartedly recommend this book because it offers;

  • progression for children's reading ability through the introduction of 'larger' words
  • comprehension opportunities aplenty... asking children questions such as; What do you think this book's about by looking at the cover? Do you think this book is factual or fantasy? Why do you think that? If you could hatch a magical animal from an egg, what would the animal be called? what would it look like? Favourite food? Colour of egg? etc... 
  • enjoyment of reading which is important for children, because it by enjoying reading that they are encouraged to read more, develop their language skills and thus equip themselves for further learning right into adulthood 

A Killing Moon by Steven Dunne

Title | A Killing Moon  
Author | Steven Dunne

Publisher | Headline 

Publication Date | 13th August 2015

Source | Review Copy

ISBN | 9781472214898

Purchase | Amazon

A Page of Fictional Love Rating | 5/5 

For the young woman kidnapped on her way home from the pub, the nightmare is about to begin…
Weeks after Caitlin Kinnear goes missing, the police are unable to break her case. Worse they are not even certain harm has come to her. But determined to pursue all leads, DI Damen Brook and his team begin to trawl through the murky world of cheap migrant labour. Convinced that the answers lie hidden within its depths, Brook soon begins to realise Caitlin is in terrible danger.
When the body of another young girl turns up it becomes clear that Caitlin’s abduction might not be an isolated incident and the race is on to save her. But with time running out, can Brook put the pieces together and find Caitlin before it’s too late?

I was rather excited to read this book when it arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago. In fact I'd say that I also felt a little scared... because it's a hefty book to read, and I knew it was one that would grab my total attention.

I've never read anything by Steven Dunne before, so I had not had the pleasure of meeting DI Damen Brook... but when I did I instantly loved him. Not in a mushy romantic kind of way, but in a "wow this guy kicks ass!" kind of way. I was instantly drawn in by the plot and the characters and each and every one of them, although some were bad... OK a lot were bad, I still liked them and saw how they each were adding value to the plot. The chemistry between Brook and his team is brilliant, and I loved how he called in 'favours' with the chief superintendent.

The story line itself is a raw, and pretty awful one in that it's horrible to think that crimes like this actually go on in our world...but they do and it makes you grateful for the work... jeez the sheer amount of work that goes into investigating and bringing these big headed vile beings to justice.

The team piece together evidence of foreign students going missing... female students. There is a connection between these disappearances, and it's not until you reach almost the end... (I'm not saying where exactly - so no skipping chapters!) that you fully understand the connection between them. I will say that some of these women might in fact be found dead... some may survive... but Who? How? and When? Well, you'll just have to read this book to find out.

I honestly really enjoyed it, and have already put the other 4 books in the series on my Christmas Wish List.... Santa, I've been a very good girl this year .... Not sure if Santa even reads my blog but had to mention it just in case.

Anyway, Please, if you like crime novels, mysteries, enjoyed watching programs like; Broadchurch, The Bill (I know... I'm ancient), CSI, etc then you definitely need to read this book. Ahhh just go read it already!

The Lilac Cottage by Jean M. Long

Title | The Lilac Cottage 
Author | Jean M. Long

Publisher | The People's Friend Pocket Novels

Source | Purchased
Pages | 194 
A Page of Fictional Love Rating | 4/5 

When Eliza Ellis was left Lilac Cottage by her reclusive great-uncle, she decided to live there. 

However, unbeknownst to her, Greg Holt was already living there...and he had no plans to leave!

Just what had Great-uncle Henry been thinking?

My mum actually recommended this pocket book to me and i'm glad she did. It's small, handy for taking with you in your handbag, the print is a good larger size, and it really is just a good story. 

I rated it 4/5 purely because it was so short... had it been longer it would have easily gotten the full house of 5/5. The characters were realistic, and the story-line whilst griping, was calming and enjoyable. 

My mum has been collecting these books for a while now (available every fortnight) and she has raved about this book so much - literally she almost bent my ear off to read it!

I didn't mind that you kind of knew where the story was going, it was rather nice to simply be able to enjoy it, and it was so good to read for pleasure once again. 

As for purchasing this one, you might be able to find a few around the internet on sites such as ebay or the amazon marketplace.