There’s nothing quite like a good cup of tea…

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you will know that I am a massive fan of treating myself to a breakfast ever now and again.

In Newcastle, we are spoiled for choice of places to go… but I will ALWAYS go back to the same place. And I recommend that you guys start going too:

Quilliam Brothers Teahouse

img_5374(Look at that cute little tea cup man, and my own pot of tea!)

For those of you who have no idea what Quilliam’s is, it’s a teahouse in the centre of Newcastle and it’s just majestic. When you go in you are handed a menu, but it’s no ordinary menu… it’s a tea menu. There are tens of choices you can choose from (I literally have only breakfast tea, or lately I’ve been having a vanilla black tea which is delicious) and there are teas for ALL tastes. The first time I went I had NO idea what I was doing/wanted, and the staff were MORE THAN HAPPY to recommend and help me make a decision. You get a cute little Quilliams tea cup and your own pot of tea (for someone who was a newbie like me, this was a PROPER revelation… not only was I able to choose from 10s of teas, but I got my own pot of tea!)

Now, I mostly go to Quilliams for breakfast (those of you who follow me on Instagram will see that mostly!) and, as the pictures above show, the breakfast is something that is well worth grabbing. You can get a whole host of different breakfasts: eggs, pancakes, granola, sandwiches, full English. There’s options for those who are gluten free and dairy free too! Just ask the people who work there and they’ll be happy to help. I always get the Eggs Claremont (poached eggs on toast with sausages) without hollandaise sauce. I would recommend this 100%. Everything that comes out looks and smells delicious… I’m just a stick with what you know kind of gal ha! 

Quilliams doesn’t just do breakfast though… 

There’s a MASSIVE range of cakes and treats you can get as snacks! Pictured above is the mini egg brownie, chocolate banana bread and orange cake (gluten free). Recently some friends and I went and we all have pretty different tastes in life, but we all managed to find something to eat AND ENJOY. We all had some food, some cake and some tea. It was a majestic day. The other picture shows the nachos they do on a night time and man… they’re just DELICIOUS. 

If you’re in Newcastle, or ever in the North East, I would completely recommend visiting Quilliams. It’s one of my favourite places to eat and just have a little me time. The vibe is really chill and the staff are always more than happy to help! 

Check out their website here where you’ll find more information about their menu, where they are and other essential information! 

What’s your go to breakfast food?
Do you have one place you ALWAYS go for a little treat?
Can you recommend somewhere for me to go and try out in Newcastle?

I can’t wait to hear what you all think! This wasn’t quite books… but Quilliams is another love in my life! 

S x 

 

Half term happy post

Happy Monday! Despite the fact I’m back to work today (we only had one week for Easter holidays), I thought I’d post one of my favourite posts: a happy post! I’m going to list all of my happy things from half term! 

Reading every single day. Sleeping in until I wanted to wake up. Having an alarm set for a good reason. Seeing my twiglets. Doing some tidying. Running. Wagamamas with my fave. Finally getting my ass back to the gym. Going to see people that I love most. Bullet journaling. Cute Snapchat filters. My book bitchez. Quilliams for me. Quilliams with my friends. Just having time to breathe. Looking forward to going back to work. Relaxing and not needing to worry. That feeling of waking up and being able to go back to sleep. Accidental naps. Exciting opportunities with teachers I properly admire. Sunshine and walks. Spending time just wandering because I have time. Texts from friends. Texts from colleagues. Texts from teacher friends. Book post. Laughing. Laughing so much you cry. Not feeling pressured to write blog posts. Starbucks and reading. Banana bread. Light mornings. Light nights. New trainers. New lipstick. Picking up books and devouring them in a matter of hours. Falling in love with characters and worlds. That feeling of tiredness before you crawl into bed. Bookish events with my faves. A bottle of Rekorderlig. Hugs from the twiglets. Texts from my brother. Books. Always books. 

What are your half term wins?
How do you enjoy spending your half term holidays? 

Talk to me! 

S x 

April bujo

Well hello there!

How are you today? 

Today, I’m here to show you April bullet journal set up! 

I’ll be honest… I went off the boil a bit in March – I had a weekend away in London and it just totally knocked me off kilter, so I stopped updating. However, I’ve got back on the bujo bus and I’ve done my bujo for April and I quite love it! As usual, I scoured google images for inspiration and magpie’d some ideas, adapted others and then came up with my own! 

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This is my title page (yes, I know. It bothers me that the a isn’t a capital, but it just didn’t look as nice with a capital letter… I’ll deal with it ha!) The example I saw and used as my inspiration just had black fletchings, but I decided to make mine green to match my green theme going this month! 

Next up, we have a quote page (we all know I love a good quote page) and then the monthly calendar (which now looks very different – I coloured in holidays and such like!) I really like starting the monthly bullet journal off with the monthly calendar – I can write important dates on and such like! April is a considerably quieter month than March though!

Over the page, we have my little mood tracker and my grateful page. I found this little cup and leaf dude while I was looking at examples of mood trackers and I just thought he was ADORABLE. I matched my quote to the theme of plants too. In terms of colours, I went back to using different colours this month (last month I used shades of blue and I found it a bit of a pain in the arse tbh). I realise it would’ve looked better with just shades of green, but hey ho! The other page is just a very simplistic grateful page… a line a day with a little quote!

The next double spread you come across is my bookish double spread – book post and books I’ve read this month page! On the left hand page is my book post – I’m still playing around with this page because I’m not sure how I best make this work. I’ve tried a few different ways to catalogue them and I’m just yet to find one that I love using. On the right, you’ll find the books I’ve read this month. By the time I remembered to take pictures, I had read 3 books! The yellow highlighter shows me a MG book: the green highliter shows YA books read. As it’s half term, I’m aiming for a good chunk of reading this month! I try to alternate between MG books and YA books. 

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The last double spreads are my weekly spreads. This week was half term… hence the blankness. I’ve got a “next week” and the blank space beside it is for a “to do list”. I’ve got rid of my daily mood tracker but I’m doing it within my days. I get 3 smily faces – one for morning, one for afternoon, one for night time – and I just draw them in the daily box somewhere. It’s interesting to watch the patterns form! 

And that’s it! April in bujo! 

Do you like a colour scheme?
What are your must have bujo pages?
Which of your pages are your fave?

Talk to me! I’ll happily talk bujo all day! 

S x 

Would you rather…? bookish tag!

Well hello there Tuesday! How are you my love?

Today I’m taking on the Would you rather… bookish tag! I was tagged by my lovely friend Charlotte (yes, nominated best newcomer Charlotte! so proud) to take on her 8 questions. If you fancy checking out her post, you’ll find it here!

The way it works is I’ll answer Charlotte’s WYR questions, then I’ll come up with my own and then tag some people to do it! I hope you enjoy! Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Even if I don’t tag you, you are MORE THAN WELCOME to join in!

LET’S GO.

Would you rather only read standalones or only read series?

This isn’t really a question in my life. I dig a standalone, but my gosh, I LIVE FOR a series. I’m all about getting emotionally involved, falling for the hero, watching the villain wreak havoc over multiple books and FEELING ALL THE EMOTIONS. So series. (If Sara Barnard however started writing series, I’m not sure my poor little heart could take it!)

Would you rather only read contemporary or only read fantasy?

WOAH THERE CHARLOTTE. That’s like asking me to choose between Mel and Sara. THAT’S NOT OK. I’m just going to ignore this questions because RUDE. (But fantasy, let’s be real)

Would you rather drop your favourite book in the bath, or have it fall into a shredder?

I don’t know why this answer, but it was my gut reaction: shredder. I guess I could use the shredded pieces as something cute afterwards (and I’d go out and buy a new copy of the book regardless!)

Would you rather read a book that ended on a cliffhanger or one that broke your heart?

I do not live for a cliffhanger… so a book that will break my heart EVERY SINGLE TIME THANKS.

Would you rather have every book you read spoiled or never get to know how any book you read ends?

Just like the cliffhanger question, I love when a book gives me some closure in life, so I’d rather have spoilers ALL OVER MY LIFE. I’m quite a fan of spoilers actually – I openly embrace them (mostly: there are times when I DO NOT appreciate them)

Would you rather your book was missing the first and last page, or a random page in the middle?

A random page. I need my closure thanks.

Would you rather be stuck on an island with no book to read, or stuck in a library where you couldn’t read any of the books?

What are the rules behind “couldn’t read” the books? Am I not allowed to? Am I not able to? Are they too high for me to reach? Charlotte, I need clarification for this question… because my answer will change depending on the rules.

Would you rather have your best friend hate your favourite book or your worst enemy love it?

I would forgive my best friend for hating a book I love. Although all of my best friends have WONDERFUL TASTE so we’re alrite there!

My questions:

  1. Would you rather be best friends with your favourite character or your favourite author?
  2. Would you rather have lunch with the villain or the hero in the last book you read?
  3. Would you rather only read books by men or women?
  4. Would you rather recommend a book that everyone ends up hating or hate a book everyone keeps recommending to you?
  5. Would you rather only buy plain book covers or movie tie in covers of books?
  6. Would you rather only own hardbacks or ebooks?
  7. Would you rather have a main character named after you or a book dedicated to you?
  8. Would you rather have to annotate every book you read or have to fold the pages of every book you read?

I tag Cora, Aoife and Andrew.

S x

Let’s get real for a minute…

Last week was a tough one. I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t BAD particularly. I was just exhausted. I’ve been on the go for a while now with no weekends off in the middle. It was a long work week too. I’m super grateful that I get all these amazing opportunities, but they take their toll eventually… and this week was evidently when they started to take their toll.

I knew that it was going to be a tiring week, so what I decided to do was to write a blog post, little by little, day by day, thinking about the things that make me smile, make me feel better or make me feel calm. What came of it is this blog post. It gave me something to think about at night when I was just exhausted. Some of the days I wrote a lot of words, some of the days I wrote two or three and that was OK. Some days I wrote words on a morning, some days I wrote at lunchtime as I sat at the table in the staff room, some days I wrote at the computer or in bed. But every day I managed to find something that was positive.

 The things that make me happiest:

  • Texts from friends;
  • Drag Race – in particular the Snatch Game episodes;
  • Laughing with my children;
  • Reading blog posts;
  • Listening to the same songs 100s of times;
  • Being in bed early;
  • My brother;
  • Reading books – whether it’s 10 pages or 50;
  • My mam;
  • Knowing I’m doing something I want to do for the rest of forever;
  • Parents Evening – might be exhausting, but so lush to talk to parents and the kids;
  • Knowing other people are equally exhausted;
  • Looking forward to the holidays;
  • People saying lovely things about me;
  • My kids not being scared to be honest with me;
  • Oreos;
  • Waking up after a great night’s sleep;
  • Just ignoring texts occasionally;
  • Having friends who understand that you’re not really ignoring you, but you just need space;
  • Watching SimplyNailogical videos on Youtube;
  • Pictures of cats;
  • Making time to just look after myself;
  • Allowing myself to have a cry;
  • Putting on my pyjamas;
  • Book post;
  • Post from friends;
  • Quilliams for breakfast;
  • Sunshine!!!!

I think it’s so important that we find time to look after ourselves. I’m not always great at it. Do you have any tips for how to get better, especially when I’m grumpy and exhausted? What are your favourite self care things to do?

S x

Twenty Questions tag

WELL HELLO PALS.

It is Tuesday. I’m doing a tag. I LOVE A TAG. Do you love a tag? Do you like reading tags? I love reading other people’s answers to tags… they’re such fun!

Today’s tag is the 20 questions tag. I found this as I was perusing the Queen of all Blogging: PaperFury’s blog. I’ve seen other people do it too, but I found it on Cait’s blog. If you’d like to see that post, check it out here. Feel free to join in!

HOW MANY BOOKS ARE TOO MANY FOR A SERIES?

Am I in charge? I love a 3.
Maybe 4.
Definitely no more than 5 is MY ideal though. Any more than that and I am OUT. (This explains why I’ve not read any Cassie Clare guys!)

I think 3 is the perfect amount to get invested and then get satisfaction from. I do love a duology too, but I ALWAYS WANT MORE CAUSE I LOVE ALL THE BOOKS. But no more than 3/4 really.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CLIFFHANGERS?

OH GOLLY GOSH. If I know there’s going to be another book, then I can live with that… but if it’s a stand alone… NO.

Cliff hangers are just not good for my little heart (see: they make me feel all of the feels which I love but then I yearn for more books INSTANTLY)

HARDCOVER OR PAPERBACK?

Paperback EVERY SINGLE DAY. But I do love the occasional hard back. I don’t own many, but the ones I do own are special to me.

FAVOURITE BOOK?

Lol, who do you think you’re talking to? JUST ONE? LOLOLOLOL. I can give you a few?

LEAST FAVOURITE BOOK?

I just don’t have one? I don’t see the point in being all NEGATIVE NORA about the shop. So no thanks… next!

LOVE TRIANGLES, YES OR NO?

Dear God, no.

THE MOST RECENT BOOK YOU COULDN’T FINISH?

I tend to finish everything I start? I’m not a DNF’er because I think EVERY book is worth finishing.

A BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING?

d2vvcsdwoaamjoh

Meat Market by Juno Dawson. SO GOOD. I am 200 pages in and I WANT TO KEEP READING MAN.

LAST BOOK YOU RECOMMENDED TO SOMEONE?

Ooooh… *checks twitter* Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone. It’s not even out yet, haha!

OLDEST BOOK YOU’VE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?

Who even knows!

NEWEST BOOK YOU’VE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?

Hmmmm… probably Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone again. That’s not out til May!

FAVOURITE AUTHOR?

Can we change that to auto-buy authors?! Melinda Salisbury, Sara Barnard, Katherine Webber, Maz Evans, Kiran Milwood Hargrave, Abi Elphinstone. ALL women, cause women power!

BUYING BOOKS OR BORROWING BOOKS?

I’m a buyer… because most of the books I buy then get transferred to the school library, or my classroom library!

A BOOK YOU DISLIKE THAT EVERYONE SEEMS TO LOVE?

I wasn’t a MASSIVE Caraval fan. It just moved really slowly?!

BOOKMARKS OR DOG EARS?

Something that weirds my friend Kelly out about me is that I just REMEMBER what page I’m up to. I do own bookmarks, but I never seem to have one with me! I would NEVER fold a page over. Who would even do that? (My friend Charlotte that’s who… she’s a bad person, but I love her and accept her despite her faults haha!)

A BOOK YOU CAN ALWAYS RE-READ?

Matilda. It’s probably the only book I’ve ever reread. I do plan on rereading all of Melinda Salisbury’s books this summer though.

CAN YOU READ WHILE LISTENING TO MUSIC?

Another weird factoid about me… I can read and listen to music if I’m travelling on a bus/train/car/aeroplane etc. but I can’t if I’m in bed reading. It’s a very bizarre thing, I know.

ONE POV OR MULTIPLE?

I do love a multiple perspective, but they have to be written well.

DO YOU READ A BOOK IN ONE SITTING OR OVER MULTIPLE DAYS?

I LOVE A BINGE READ. I tend to read over the space of a few days – it’s just how my life works. During the holidays however… gimme that 3 hour reading binge of one book.

WHO DO YOU TAG?

ALL OF YOU, lol. So Charlotte, that’s you.

S x

 

Getting to know yooou…

Today, I come at you with a little question tag! I don’t remember where I saw this first, so if it’s from you then please me know so I can thank you!

If you want to take part, please do! I love a good question and answer type tag!

1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Not really! I don’t remember the last time I was in a car for long enough to read though! I do read on the bus quite often though, so I wouldn’t imagine I’d get car sick. Anyone wanna go on a road trip to test this out?!

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

Hmmm… I always know when I’m reading a Mel or a Sara book. It has nothing to do with the fact I’m a massive fan of both ha!

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give three points to defend your answers.

I haven’t read Twilight, so this is not a debate I can engage in.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what’s in it (besides books…)?

I DO INDEED. My lovely friend Kelly fave me one of her Fairy Loot bags last year and ever since my books have inhabited said book bag.

5. Do you smell your books?

Erm… not intentionally?!

6. Books with or without little illustrations?

I love an illustration… PARTICULARLY if it’s on a chapter page. Those make my heart leap with joy. If you haven’t seen the inside of Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth, then PLEASE go and check it out. It is EVERYTHING that is good about chapter pages!

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

I’m not sure I understand the question haha! Who am I to judge the quality of writing? If I’m enjoying it, I read it!

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!

Not really funny. But I knew I wanted to be a teacher from when I was about 7 because of Matilda. I was reading this book about an incredibly kind and compassionate teacher and thought ‘I wanna be that person, she’s amazing’

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

Possibly The Heart Collector by Melinda Salisbury – a collection of short stories that I’ve definitely read at least 69568 times.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

O LORD. Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

I do write, and I love creative writing. But not on a ‘I want to write a book’ level.

12. When did you get into reading?

As soon as I could read? I’ve always been a reader. My mam has always been a voracious reader, so being surrounded by books and reading since I was a child had a massively positive impact on me!

13. What is your favourite classic book?

Hmmm… The Secret Garden or Charlotte’s Web – are they classics?!

14. In school, what was your best subject?

Languages – I did French and German at GCSE. Although I really enjoyed RE at A Level.

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated… what would you do?

Totally depends who gave it to me!

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games?

The Paper Magician trilogy by Charlie N Holmberg is a completely incredibly YA fantasy series that so many people sleep on.

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while filming?

Lol, me, booktube? No one needs that.

18. What is your favourite word?

Favourite word changes quite often. I love new words. Please send me your favourite words.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?

Lol a dweeb to a Geordie is an affectionate way of calling someone an idiot. But then I don’t know the difference between a dork and a nerd… so who knows!!

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?

Urgh. Fairies if I really had to.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?

Shapeshifters – IMAGINE BEING ABLE TO TURN INTO ANYTHING YOU WANTED! How cool.

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?

Spirits – who knows what’s going to happen with them around. Could be good, could be terrible.

23. Zombies or vampires? Why?

URGH – if I had to? Vampires.

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

Oh lord, these are two of my LEAST favourite tropes. I’m gonna have to go forbidden love though. Love triangles are too much dramz.

25. Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

Action packed with love scenes in – then I get the best of both worlds – winner!

That was fun! I’m sure those answers were mean to be quick fire… but I did not manage to be quick fire haha!

S x

March bujo

Well hello there friends! 

Today, I have the joy of sharing with you my March set up in my bujo… I am RIDICULOUSLY in love with my monthly page (so much so that I’ve shared it on most of my social media haha!). Thank you for all your lovely comments about my February bujo post – you are all too kind! My bujo is very much something I look forward to doing at the end of a night. A tiny bit of colouring in, a big chunk of thinking about how the day has gone! 

Stop rambling Steph, and let’s get on with it:

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March’s bujo colour scheme is blue and grey. I actually saw this idea months ago on a good old google search and it stuck in my head. I thought this colour scheme was fitting of the scene. I love the little paper planes!

My first 2 pages are a quote page and my gratitude page. I’m all about a quote now it seems! I had a few quote pages in February, and this has continued into March! I’m a big fan of the importance of kindness so decided this quote was the one to go with. The other page is my gratitude page. As usual, I choose one thing that I’m grateful for/one things that made me smile on that day and add it to my page. These are my favourite pages to look back on because I’m just reminded of all the positive things that happen in a month! 

My next 2 pages are my bookish pages: book post and reading page. The first page (on the left) is the page for my book post. I loved my postbox last month (and so did a lot of you!) but this month I decided to go back to a minimalistic approach. The other page is for my “books I’ve read this month”. I’ve strayed away from a book shelf type format and I’m just going to write any books I read in clouds (to match my front page!) 

Something new I’m trying this month is a habit tracker (left page). I’ve never had a habit tracker before, and I don’t honestly know if it’s going to stay, but I thought it would be an interesting thing to try for a month. I’ve decided to track going to the gym, daily reading, daily water intake, blogging, 8 hours of sleep and 10k steps. If I do the thing, I get to colour in the box. As you can see so far I’d managed to sleep for 8 hours but had not yet attended the gym… let’s hope by the time March finishes, I’ll have SOME of the gym ones coloured in! On the right of the double spread, I have my trusty mood tracker. I’ve gone for a Tetris style of tracker and using varying shades of blue. I can’t wait to see what it looks like finished to be honest. I’m also tracking far fewer moods than I have in the past – I’ve gone for excited, happy, meh, tired and sad

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The last double spread we have so far is my weekly spread. I’ve gone for a different style from last month… I’m all about experimenting until I find the one I love the most. I enjoy using my weekly spread because it helps me to plot what’s happening in a week. My trusty mood graph is firmly in my bujo – I find it REALLY helpful for tracking moods and when I’m at my lowest (generally night time!) I have already needed to adapt it to add a “life” box, for all those life things I need to do that aren’t work or blogging related! (I’ll be honest, the fact the days don’t have capital letters makes me sad… but it’s for stylistic reasons! Also, if I’d been wise, I would’ve taken this picture before I wrote in it… but never mind!)

And that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed my blue and grey themed March bujo. 

Do you have a bujo?
What’s your favourite thing about being a bujo-er?
Which of my pages do you like most?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or tweet me! 

S x 

WOOOOOOAH WE’RE HALF WAY THERE…

The title for this blog has LITERALLY just come to me as I start to type. It is ironic in that it is both true and one of the things I’m going to be mentioning in this blog post.

So… we’re HALF WAY THROUGH THE ACADEMIC YEAR. 

Ahem. Yeah, that’s a thing. I’m half way done being an NQT. What a half a year it has been. I’ve laughed a lot. I’ve cried a bit. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve loved every second. I thought I’d share a happy post kind of thing about all of the things that have happened in my first half of my NQT year. Don’t get me wrong there have been some tough moments, but I’m all about celebrating the good.

So here goes, happy memories of my first half of the year:

Being poorly and my kids listening. Working with my brilliant colleagues. Every time we receive a letter from an author and seeing their joy. Singing Livin’ on a Prayer at the school disco. Watching my kids at the Christmas play, having worked their arses off for 3 weeks of rehearsals. Pictures and poems “for you Miss”. “Miss, can I show you this I did last night?”. Watching them go home at night with smiles on their faces. Delivering two whole school collective worships and them just being brilliant humans. Seeing them start to share their opinions. Watching them grow in confidence and comfort. The amount of progress they’ve made in half a year. Working on Greek myths with them. The confidence with which they use mathematical vocabulary. Putting up my first Christmas tree. The sheer dogged determined-ness of some of them. Their brilliant attitudes. Asking them what my 3 most used phrases are and laughing at their responses. “I love being in your class Miss, you’re dead funny… sometimes”. How quickly they embrace change. Learning Mandarin together. Having an opinion that is not only listened to but encourages. Making mistakes and learning together. Building our very own Nowhere Emporium. Watching them create their own dance routines and seeing some of them just shine. Seeing their enthusiasm for EVERYTHING. Encouraing them to question everything and watching them get to grips with it. Their incredible resilience. Their love of singing. Listening to the radio. Every time they catch me out. Saying good morning every single morning. Every time we have laughed together. Having 200 children sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. Seeing them take on some BIG questions and embrace it. Looking to the future. Talking about books and them devouring everything. Meeting Lisa Thompson and my kids’ faces just lighting up. Challenging myself. Challenging the children. Positive feedback about my books. Struggling. Knowing I work with some of the most brilliant people. Growing as a person and a teacher. Laughing about dating advice. Laughing in the staff room. My terror every time I’m observed. Constantly learning and striving to be the best teacher I can possibly be. Listening to new artists with them. Story time. Hearing lovely things about their progress. Seeing their progress with my own eyes. Knowing that every day I get to go into work and work with them. Challenging their thinking about themselves and others. Allowing them space to be who they are, without judgement. Being the teacher I am, without them judging me! Listening and being heard. Allowing reading and writing for pleasure to be a thing, and for them to ASK for it. Going in every day and smiling.

I am grateful EVERY SINGLE DAY that I get to do the one thing I know I was meant to do for the rest of my life. Bring on the second half of this year – whatever challenges you have to throw at me, I will embrace them. Year 5 and I will get through them together. 

#CelebrateYA

HELLO.

IT IS ME. Your resident YA loving bookworm. 

Recently, there’s been a lot of MEH-ness about YA books and its decline (?? not in my life lols). I saw this tweet from the brilliant YA author Lisa Williamson and thought ‘YES. I WANT TO BE PART OF THIS MOVEMENT.’

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So here I am today to do just that… I am HERE to celebrate YA. To shout about how brilliant it is, how necessary it is, recommend some of my favourite YA books of the past few years and to inspire you all to go out and either share your favourite YA books OR to just pick up something new. Your local Waterstones will have a YA section, go and explore… I guarantee you’ll find something that you’ll love.

So, why YA?

I get asked this question A LOT. “Why do you, as an adult, read books marketed at teens and young adults?” and the simple answer is because YA books are BLOODY MARVELLOUS.

YA books don’t shy away from some pretty tough subjects. If I think of some of my favourite YA books they’re about hard hitting topics: love, loss, heartbreak, friendships, OCD, manipulation, empowerment.

YA books MOVE so much faster than adult books. The pacing, the characters, the plots… they’re just SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING.

YA books start conversations. If you look at The Hate U Give for example (a book I still haven’t read… I know, I might be the only YA reader IN THE WORLD who hasn’t!) that had a BIG impact. That made people start talking. Another example of a book that got my little twitter YA worls talking is the brilliant The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. This book deserves ALL of the praise it gets. It is BLOODY incredible and makes some REALLY bloody important points.

YA books will make you think, feel and want to act. We all know I cry at every book (that’s just who I am) but some of the books that have hit me the hardest have been YA books. If I think about Countless by Karen Gregory for example… man, I read that book almost 2 years ago and STILL now it makes me tear up. They don’t just make me cry though. They make me angry, they make me laugh, they make me hopeful.

YA is doing a lot for representation. People want to be seen. People want to have their stories heard. Finding yourself represented in a book can change a lot of things. Last year I read a book that I remember vividly feeling seen and MY GOD it was a bit of a punch in the face. For so long, books have been written about the same group of people and YA is slowly changing that. I know what it’s like to be seen, I know how important it can be. The brilliant people of Stripes have published an anthology full of LGBTQ+ books and it’s going to make waves.

There are so so many other reasons why you should read YA. I will stand on this I LOVE YA pedestal whether anyone is listening or not.

So, where do I start?

Now, just because I recommend these books doesn’t mean these are the only books that you should read because LET’S BE REAL there are so so many, but here are some of my absolute favourites (authors/stories) from the past few years. Some of these won’t be a surprise to long time readers of my blog, some of them may!

In there you have books that will make you laugh, cry, anger you, move you, make you think about life. You have representation of all sorts of relationships. You’ve got books which span genres. You’ve got books from some of my favourite authors in the world. There’s books there that changed something for me. There’s books I’ve read that I’ve felt seen in. There’s books that have made me change my thinking about things.

I loved them all and they’re ALL YA.

OK, so I could keep going. I really could. I won’t. I want this to be a conversation, not Steph’s Lecture on Why YA is Something The World Needs. Talk to me. Why do you want to #celebrateYA?

Every day this month, I pledge to #celebrateYA. Starting tomorrow (Valentines Day) I’m going to #celebrateYA by sharing one YA book I love!

Now let’s keep the conversation going:

What was the last YA book you read?
What’s the next YA book you’re going to read?
Why do you think we need to #celebrateYA?

I really really want the conversation about YA to continue. So talk to me, tweet, whatever. Get it out there that YA is a thing and we need it to stay a thing!

S x