Laura Parish

My Favourites: Things I Loved in February

Kikki K Vanskap journalIt’s March! How did we get into March so quickly? We are already getting the lighter mornings and longer evenings and this is totally ok by me. The clocks go forward at the end of this month too.

Before we get too far into March, I wanted to look back over some of the things and products I have been loving in February.

An honourable mention needs to go to Gilmore Girls. This has been in a previous favourites and I am still making my way through it and loving it. I have managed to stay away from spoilers about it (especially around the latest episodes,) and I am hoping it stays that way.

OK, so lets begin with my favourites in stationery.

The first product I have loved in February is my Vanskap (which I believe means friendship in Swedish,) Personal Planner from Kikki K. It has cats on it people. Cats. I couldn’t resist it. Having been late to the Kikki K party, I missed this particular collection so I had to track this down on eBay but so worth it.

I have never really used Filofaxes. I tend to gravitate toward bound diaries. However, I have completely fallen in love with this planner. It’s fabric (not leather,) and it is such a pretty colour. The inserts all have cats on them and there are blank stickers so you can customise it. I think Kikki K are definitely bringing me around to the planners.

I am enjoying using this planner. I am enjoying it very much.

Pipsticks subscriptionNext up is a sticker subscription. I have an unhealthy love of stickers for someone who is in their thirties. I like decorating my diary, planner and notebook with stickers. It cheers up the page and makes me smile. I have recently subscribed to a sticker subscription service. It’s called Pipsticks, it’s based in the United States and it is amazing.

There are various types of stickers in the pack. It’s affordable considering it is coming from the states. If you’re into decorating diaries or planners, this could be a good way to get a monthly supply of stickers. If you’d like me to do a review of this subscription, let me know.

My book favourite this month was definitely When The Sky Fell Apart by Caroline Lea. It’s based in Jersey when the German army invades in World War II. It focuses on a small group of villagers and their will to not let bad circumstances dampen their determination.

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My Writing Ramblings: Count to Three and Then Begin

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225-1-1-300x225.jpgGreetings fellow writers.

It’s a quick catch up from me this week. As I get ready to begin to write my novel, I have been thinking a lot about what starting my book will actually mean to me.

Many people announce that they would like to write a book. It is said that everyone theoretically has a book in them.

However, despite what the overwhelming feeling of standing in front of books in a book shop will tell you, it is only a small percentage of the people who say they want to write a book, who then go on to get the courage and the motivation to get their bum in a seat and apply pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard (whatever your preference is.)

So, even beginning a book is a huge achievement.

Read advice then forge your own routine. Each person’s process will be unique to them.
Read, jot down ideas and practise your craft. Confidence is bred from experience and that can only mean one thing. You need to write.

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My Writing Ramblings: General Catch Up

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225-1-1-300x225.jpgGreetings one and all. How has everyone’s week gone? It’s hard to keep the smiles going when there is so much negativity going on in the news and bad weather going around isn’t it?

I just wanted a catch up this week. It’s been a little bit of a quiet one. I’ve managed a little work toward the novel and hope to start writing on 1st March.

As we race toward the end of February, I am looking back on this month and finding that it went by in a bit of a blur.

My weeks tend to be like that if I am with the day job especially when I am working more night than day shifts. Night shifts are a curious thing. It makes you feel as though you have permanent jetlag (I call night shift me, ‘zombie Laura,) but there is something lovely about being awake in the early hours. It’s always so quiet.

When work does get in the way (or other commitments,) it’s easy for me to fall out of any routine I have begun to build up.

I will have my days off, start to develop routines and habits and then the work days will come and the motivation will waver. I am not sure why this happens. It’s not all the time but it’s frustrating all the same. Tiredness is such a productivity killer.

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My Favourites: My Writing Playlist

Warner Bros. 2016

Warner Bros. 2016

I love music. It’s one of my great loves along with books. It doesn’t take long after a song I like comes on before I am tapping my foot, singing  under my breath or if I’m alone in the house or in my car full on singing and belting it out.

Music is also a big part of my writing routine. I’m not one of these people who can write in silence. Being in silence reminds me of exams and I hated exams. I’d always be worried that I’d say something to myself out loud, embarrass myself et cetera so I don’t have great associated memories.

Writing with music playing calms me down, makes me smile and helps me to focus on the job at hand. Now onto my playlists. I debated whether to share my taste in music (as some of it is very questionable,) but here goes.

Listening to music has been made so much easier with Apple Music and Spotify. As I said, my music taste is a little bit strange. Its full of all sorts of songs (plenty of them cheesy, you know the embarrassing kind.) My iPod and playlists are full of those songs you can’t help but love but are quick to skip over if there are people with you. You know what ones I mean.

When I’m writing, I like songs and albums that will either make me happy or chill me out. I find music a little bit less distracting than TV box sets (although that doesn’t stop me playing back to back episodes of Gilmore Girls.)

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My Writing Ramblings: Books, Books, Books!

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225-1-1-300x225.jpgHello all. How is everyone?

This week has been a little bit of a quiet one for me. It’s mostly been consisting of night shifts which has meant that I have been mostly trying to sleep during the day. That sounds amazing when you’ve not got people ringing the doorbell and buses thumping by. Oh, and a cat craving attention. Even when I close the door, we will meow until I have opened it.

It’s that law of when you need to sleep, you can’t and when you get to work, all you want to do is fall sleep. Then when you get to sleep, you wake up and clock watch. My head will remind me of things before I sleep – embarrassing moments in my life (it likes reminding me of those.) My to-do list, that I need a drink of water. It will helpfully wait until I have almost dropped off. Does this happen to anyone else?

I have been managing t0 get a lot of reading done this week which is great. I have read some great books this month too; Who’s That Girl by Mhairi Macfarlane, If I Ever Fall by SD Robertson and The Sixth Window by Rachel Abbott (reviews and blog tours coming soon.)

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More Books I’d Like To See Adapted For Film & TV

Macmillan, Feb 2017

Macmillan, Feb 2017

Once again, I have embarked on the Goodreads reading challenge for 2017.  Last year, I managed to get to the target of forty books but it was seriously by the skin of my teeth. I finished the last page of my book about three minutes before Big Ben donged in the new year. I know how to rock my new year you know.

This year, I have increased my book target by.. wait for it., one. I didn’t want to go crazy with the target as you can see.

As I was setting my target, I ended up having a look through all the books I have  read and logged since I joined in 2013. I’ve read over a hundred and seventy books. I know there are some I’ve not logged. One hundred and seventy. That, for me is an incredible number.

I then got to thinking about how many of them had been adapted into movies. The Girl on The Train for example. In a year where Hidden Figures will be coming to the big screen and adaptations of A Handmaid’s Tale (can’t wait,) and Anne of Green Gables are coming to streaming services, I thought I’d look through my list of ‘read’ books in my Goodreads list and share the ones I’d like to see adapted.

The first one on my list is one that I have mentioned recently and that is Before You Go by Clare Swatman. I love this novel so much. I absolutely adored this book. It was in my January favourites and even though it’s been days since I finished it I am still thinking about it. It has a Me Before You feel to it.

As I was reading, I could imagine the scenes in the book as a movie. I could see the settings so clearly. It would make a great adaptation. It would be one that made you cry though. For sure.

Zoe and Ed are two characters I loved very much and grew to care about. I am not sure who I would cast in the roles. No one seems right for me. I can cast my own stories but not always been good at casting other stores.

Zoe and Ed have been together for years. When Ed dies, Zoe is devastated but soon finds herself getting the chance to change her past and then hopefully, her future.

Black Dot Publishing, June 2016

Black Dot Publishing, June 2016

Kill Me Again by Rachel Abbott is a book I’d like to see adapted into a film. Actually, all of her novels would translate well. Although a film would be good, I can also see this as a TV show. I think it could be as good as Thorne: Sleepyhead.

Rachel’s novels are so moreish that I always manage to storm through them quite quickly. She is very good at the tension which is what you need for a good crime adaptation. I can hear the soundtrack music already.

Kill Me Again had me on the edge of my seat all the way through. Tom Douglas and Becky Robinson are worthy enough to fill the gap we have for a good detective duo (which is what I am going to need after Bones finishes.)

Maggie thinks she knows her husband. She comes home one evening and Duncan has disappeared. She also is not the only one looking for him. When a woman who looks like Maggie is murdered, DCI Tom Douglas is brought into investigate. If you’ve read it, who would you have in the main roles?

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My Writing Ramblings: My Writing Space

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225-1.jpgHello all. How is everyone’s week going? Can you believe we are already hurtling toward the middle of February? It’s incredible really.

I have been a little obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy, Gilmore Girls, Lucifer and reading loads this week. I always like to snuggle in and make my way through box sets when I am not working. It is so cold at the moment and I am not good with the cold at all to the point where the boy will make fun of me. I give as good as I get though.
Loads of TV time means lots of looking at Pinterest too. I can lose hours on that and You Tube.

I’ve been looking a lot at office spaces (I have been doing a little bit of planning as I have been looking at homes for my characters. Promise.) I am so nosey and love looking at other writer’s writing spaces.

I always think that having a lovely writing space is important. It’s also very personal. Some people like it to look minimal preferring not to have clutter. I always wonder how people manage this.

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My Writing Ramblings: The Power of Yes and No.

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225.jpgHello everyone. I hope you’re all having a wonderful start to February. January was a long old month (it always seems to be for me.)

I’ve attempted to jump into planning my novel over the last few weeks (at times I have been able.) I am discovering the power of yes and no.

I’ve previously not had a good track record when it comes to my writing time. I don’t always protect it. It has been easy for me to say ‘I’ll write some tomorrow.’

I am the queen of procrastination.

I think a lot of this is down to my attitude. I don’t see myself as a writer and so I reason with myself and say it doesn’t matter. Well, guess what… it does matter. It matters a lot.

One big lesson I am trying to take on board this week is the power of yes and no.

YES, I will make time to get to a specified word count so I gradually build my first draft. YES I will keep myself to that promise.

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My Writing Ramblings: Do You Have To Be A Reader To Be A Writer?

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225.jpgHello everyone. We’re over hump day and speeding toward the weekend. Yay!

I come to you today through a cloud of copious amounts of tea, coke zero and probably some of the worst night’s sleep I’ve had. Well, technically day’s sleep as I’ve been on night shifts for the last few nights.

Finding a positive in my sleepy, clumsy state, there is something I like about being awake at a stupid time of the morning (I will always prefer to be sleeping at night but when I can’t, I try to find good.) I like the stillness of the night time. The lack of busy. I find it incredibly calming.

When I don’t sleep, I read. I have been thinking a lot recently about the act of reading and why I like it. I do love the escape. I adore having access to the lives of the characters who inhabit the worlds I read about. I like discovering new book series and authors. There is not a lot that can beat that feeling I have when I discover an author and realise that there is already a vast catalogue for me to pick my next book from (which is pretty much what happened when I discovered Lisa Jewell for example.)

As I have been trying to write my own book, I have been wondering how much being a big reader helps with my writing.

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My Favourite Book Covers – Part Two

looking for alaskaI don’t think I will ever end my love affair with beautiful book covers. They are the thing that will attract me to a book. If it’s a pretty cover, I will sometimes stop reading and just look at it for a while (anyone else do that? Just me… ok.)

I have been thinking again about my favourite book covers. I did a post about this back in 2015 (want to see them, click here,) and I thought it was about time I thought about five more favourites.

It was hard picking just five. I think I have managed to narrow it down.

My first favourite is the 10th Anniversary edition of Looking For Alaska by John Green (HarperCollins Children’s Books, January 2015.) The original cover (which is black with a white daisy) is lovely but this cover is so beautiful.

Gold, the cover is gold. I brought a copy of this edition just because I loved the cover. I already had a paperback copy.

Miles’s life is one big non event until he meets Alaska Young. Alaska draws Miles into her reckless world and steels his heart in the process. His life will never be the same again.

My next favourite is Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (Penguin, October 2016.) This cover is simple but yet so pretty. Sometimes less is more and this was one of my favourites from last year.

Holding up the universe little teashop of lost and foundEveryone thinks they know Libby – the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen.’ No one has looked past the weight to see who she really is.
She’s been trying to deal with the grief of loosing her mother.
Now she is ready for school. For new friends. For a new life.

My third favourite is The Little Teashop of Lost and Found by Trisha Ashley (which is due to be released by Bantam Press in March.)

This cover is absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to be able to add it to my book shelf. I absolutely adore it. The illustrations are just lovely and has such wonderful detail.

Alice was discovered on the Yorkshire Moors above Haworth as a baby.

Adopted but then later rejected by a horrible step-mother, Alice struggles to find a place where she belongs. Only baking brings her a sense of comfort.

When Alice does return to Haworth, she returns to baking. She makes friends but there are a couple of last twist and turns in her story.

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My Writing Ramblings: A Tip For Staying Focused

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225.jpgHello everyone. I hope you’re all having a good week. Can you believe we’re already halfway through January!

One of my new year resolutions was to try and be a little bit more productive. This is the year I want to start and complete my first book. Less talking, more doing.

I’ve been using something called the Pomodoro technique over the last few days. Many people have probably already heard of this but for those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s a helpful way to be more focused and disciplined.

There is a series of twenty five-minute sessions and then five minute breaks per twenty five minutes. During the timed session, you do one task and then completely focus on that. The phone goes to silent, the internet gets forgotten (yes, that one is hard to comply to.) You focus on one task for twenty five minutes.

Once that time is up, you walk away for five minutes. You get a cup of tea, have a little dance, grab some water. Then you come back and try again.

You know what, it works. I’ve managed to do some blog stuff, stay on top of my e-mail (for the most part,) and most importantly, some novel planning. Hurrah.

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My Writing Ramblings: New Year, New Goals.

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225.jpgHello 2017. I am hoping for a bit of snow. Building a snowman then going inside for hot chocolate, stew for dinner and then snuggling up with a book. I love snow provided I don’t have to drive in it.

Aside from the weather, this time of year always has me thinking about resolutions. I do try and make them every year. They usually last about a week and then I lose the plot with them. Thinking about it, I usually set resolutions that are unattainable. I set too many and then always end up disappointed. So, this year, I have only set three.

The first one is to write something positive and put it in the happy box that is sat on my desk. I did this the year before last and it really did make a difference to my frame of mind. I tended to add a thing a day toward the end of the day and this meant that I ended the day on a positive note. I got out of the habit over the last twelve months so I am pleased to be getting back to it. If this is something you’ve not done before, I recommend it.

The second resolution is to get more exercise. I love to swim. I find this form of exercise works for me so much more than going to a gym every day. I have never felt that comfortable at the gym especially since I did a Bridget Jones off a running machine when trying to pick up my water bottle. Yes, it was an embarrassing but funny sight! Swimming is much more my pace and it’s so great for thrashing out plot ideas and blocks as well as reducing anxiety. Also, if I manage to get healthy and loose weight, then that is a bonus too.

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My December Favourites

christmas-carol

Penguin Clothbound Classics

I know we are nearly halfway through January but I wanted to share some of my December favourites before we got too far into this month. I have not done a favourites post in a while so I thought I was a little overdue. Plus, I love reading these sorts of posts so I want to share some of my favourites from last month.

My first favourite from last month was this stunning version of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and other Christmas writings from the Penguin Clothbound Classics. I do have a paperback version of this book but there was something that drew me to this copy. The cover is so beautiful. It looks very nice on the bookshelf. I couldn’t resist treating myself to a copy prior to Christmas.
I adore A Christmas Carol and this puts me in such a Christmas like mood whenever I look at it. I can’t wait to read it at the end of the year.

My next favourite is a DVD of possibly my favourite Disney movie as well as one of my favourite films of all time. It’s the big sleeve edition of Beauty and The Beast. This is something else I may have treated myself to just before Christmas. It was one of those impulse buys. I knew that if I didn’t buy it, I would never see it again.
I, like many other fans of Beauty and The Beast were slightly disappointed that we were not going to be getting the 25th Anniversary special edition here in the UK. I believe this version to be the next best thing (I am so looking forward to seeing the live action version in March.)

This version includes the blue ray as well as the DVD version and there are four beautiful postcards of some of the characters in the movie. I love this and don’t regret buying it for an instant.

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My Writing Ramblings: My 2016 Round Up

MRC, Panic Pictures, Soundtrack New York, Trigger Street and Netflix

MRC, Panic Pictures, Soundtrack New York, Trigger Street and Netflix

Usually, as we reach the end of the old year and are approaching the new one, I am a mixture or happy, excited and nervous. I’m also a little sad that the year is coming to a close. However, 2016 has been a year I am quite happy to say goodbye to and won’t be too sad to leave.
It’s been a difficult year personally (probably the worst one I’ve had) and so I look towards 2017 with hope that it has got to be better than 2016. Please, 2017? Pretty please!?

One of the few saving graces of this year are the great TV shows I’ve discovered and amazing books I’ve read.
Thanks to Netflix and fiction, I’ve managed to procrastinate beautifully.

Some of my favourite shows this year have been House of Cards (such a fan of Kevin Spacey anyway but he’s brilliant in House of Cards,) The Big Bang Theory, which had me wondering why it had taken me so long to discover it and The Gilmore Girls. I want to go live in Stars Hollow.

Book highlights this year have included so many wonderful books. Some of my highlights have included The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell, Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern, Bridget Jones’ Baby: The Diaries by Helen Fielding, No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan, Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent, The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale, Somewhere inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin and Hungry For Love by Lucy Beresford.

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My Favourite Christmas Books and Film Traditions

Penguin Classics, New Ed. Edition. Oct 2003

Penguin Classics, New Ed. Edition. Oct 2003

Happy Christmas Eve all. This has to be my favourite day of the year. Christmas day is great but the anticipation of Christmas almost being here is so magical and wonderful. Everyone has their traditions at Christmas whether it be seeing family, going for a Christmas day walk or snuggling down with a Christmas themed book or a movie. I wanted to share some of my Christmas story and movie traditions. There are certain ones that I try to watch and read every year. Some of these traditions I have had since I was a kid and some are fairly recent. I can never wait until 1st December to be able to begin them.

My first Christmas story/film tradition is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I have been watching various adaptations of this all my life (I actually really love the version with Kate Winslet. Does anyone else?) This is the film I will usually put on when wrapping presents. The latest version I love is the Jim Carrey version although the scene where the candle changes faces quite frankly is creepy.
It wasn’t until last year though that I read the book these wonderful adaptations are based on. I don’t know why it took me so long. It’s full of great moments and in places, very funny dialogue. I love how faithful some of these film adaptations have been to the book. Reading this story though gave me a whole new appreciation for it. I will be trying to read it every year now instead of just watching it.

Snowman Enterprises, CH4 Television corp. TVC London. 1982

Snowman Enterprises, CH4 Television corp. TVC London. 1982

Hardcover Edition, Harper Collins, 2008

Hardcover Edition, Harper Collins, 2008

My next tradition is also a film adapted from a book and that is The Snowman. I mean, it’s a classic. I have been watching this animation since I was small and Christmas is not Christmas without it. This twenty minute film is so magical. I wanted to be able to build a snowman and go off to the north pole but I can’t remember the last time we had snow. I still hold out hope even though I am now in my thirties that we will get a white Christmas. It’s always good to hope right?
The Snowman is so wonderfully animated and even though it doesn’t have the happiest of endings, I can’t help smiling when I hear those first few beats of Walking in The Air and they begin to fly toward the North Pole. I notice something new every time I watch it. The Snowman is so timeless and will be part of my Christmas for years to come.

Speaking of which, The Gift by Cecelia Ahern is one of those Christmas stories that will have you reaching for the tissues as it will make you cry. It did me. Lou doesn’t have enough hours in the day. The advancement of his career comes at the sacrifice of spending time with his family. His life is turned upside down when he meets Gabe. Something happens where Lou can be in two places at once but can he discover what is important before it is too late?
This book has stuck with me for so long. Even years after first reading it I still think about it and this is a book I always try and read this time of year. It has such a lovely and important message especially for Christmas. If you’ve not added this to your Christmas reading list, I urge you to. It’s wonderful.

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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