Looking forward to spring

This is pretty obvious, given the weather today and how bleak it’s been, but – I have more than one reason for looking forward to spring. And that is that work is about to being again on our house – hurrah!

It’s been almost a year since I last opened my “House Work Planner” spreadsheet and since then there hasn’t been a lot of progress in our house. But, we certainly haven’t been doing nothing. During that time our household has acquired two cats, got one new job that has taken up many hours, written at least one book (not by me), travelled round Southern California, survived an office move and got a new mortgage. The last of which means, hurrah – work can begin on our house again!

So, that is why I’m looking forward to Spring.

Because in just under a month, our builder will be back and ripping out our bathroom. He has to start outside with our ancient pipes and drains, and then gut the whole bathroom before he can do anything. I’m trying not to think about that stage. Instead, I am doing the exciting bits – obviously – and dream shopping for bathroom fittings.

This is our current bathroom, complete with makeshift shower held up by a decorating pole and NHS curtain.

Old bathroom shower pole come decorating pole

It’s not hideous but it is dark, and so very blue. And always just a little bit damp. I dread to think what is lurking under the lino…(Poor Kristian…our builder).

So, I think after living with this for the last 18 or so months we will be going clean, and bright. And likely white, with one bright colour splash somewhere.

I took a walk to Romford Road today to visit the excellent TJR Bathrooms, which has a surprisingly good range of lovely bathroom fixtures and fittings. There I was before I went, saying, ‘look, I definitely don’t want to spend a fortune on the bathroom’. But, ahhh – but then I picked up a Clearwater ‘Simply Exclusive’ bathroom brochure. Disaster.

My current shortlist should budget/bargain hunting allow is:

This beautiful Clearwater Roll-top basin with stand –


Perhaps paired with this Modern Free-standing bath, again from Clearwater –

Pass the sponge

And, oh definitely need one of these:

Heritage Heated Towel Rail
Heritage Heated Towel Rail

Hmm. I think I might have to do some shopping around. But, for now, I will carry on dreaming!


In other news, I’m adding a feature to this blog – stolen from a friend and colleague Be Nourished. Seeing as I read so much in my job, I thought I’d share my recent reads and soon-to-be-reads with you.

So, this month:

– The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton. Stunning debut I thought and one of the books last year that everyone was talking about. Weird and wonderful, not perfect but I loved it.
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. God, I loved The Rosie Project so much, and this sequel completely lived up to the first book in my eyes. I laughed and cried in equal measures. I love Don Tilman (though think he *might* be hard to live with)
The Wronged by Kimberley Chambers, for work – East End crime/drama at its best. If you love Eastenders, or anything to do with The Krays, you’ll love it. Coming in March – can’t wait to work on this one.
The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins – this debut went to Number One last week in the Hardback charts on its first week of release and surprised everyone. I’ve just started reading it, it’s definitely compelling so far.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters – maybe my favourite author, I’m halfway through this and it’s as good as I thought it would be. Just need the time to get back to it! (You can probably tell I read a lot of books at the same time, bad habit of my job)

On my to be read shelf:
The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan – been hearing a lot about this haunting collection of essays and stories. Bought in Waterstones January Sale and staring at me on my bookcase.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – gift from a friend at another publisher, have been wanting to read for ages. Might be next on my list!

Let me know if you’ve read or reading any of the above and what you thought!

Until next time…



Your local bookshop

An East London gem
An East London gem

The fantastic Newham Bookshop is now my local bookshop and I am VERY HAPPY about it.

I am lucky enough to work in publishing as my day job, and I’ve worked for many years with the great Newham Bookshop, organising events and the like. I even did a day ‘work experience’ as a bookseller there one day about five years ago and completely loved the experience. Back then I never thought it would end up being my local bookshop, but I’m so pleased it is. It’s such a great example of how a bookshop can be at the heart of the community. It’s a real gem; stuffed full of books (obviously), with a beautiful children’s book section, staff that know literally everything, and they also host and organise fantastic events. (There’s one at Coffee7 soon, but I think it’s already sold out – check out their future events, I quite fancy the Tony Benn one)

The lovely children's section
The lovely children’s section

This Saturday (14th) they are having a Big Bookshop Party in aid of the Books are My Bag campaign which is all about supporting your high street bookshop. Newham Books have several authors there doing book signings, and are also offering 25% off their titles during the party (12-2pm). I’m definitely hoping to pop down to support them.

Go buy books from shops people!
Go buy books from shops people!

There should be several similar events happening up and down the country in a bookshop near you. The Books Are My Bag campaign is all about raising awareness of how great bookshops are and how we don’t want to lose them from our high streets. 1 in 10 bookshops closed in the last year, which is really sad.

So, check out Newham Bookshop if you’re in the area, or your local bookshop (if you’re not) to see what’s going on.

And go buy some books from an actual shop, sold to you by REAL PEOPLE (you know, rather than from Amazon).