Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi [Book Review]

I bought this book on a complete whim when I was out in Waterstones for the first time since before lockdown, and I was super excited! I loved the cover, had heard the name flying about somewhere on bookstagram, so thought: why not give it a go?

Summary

Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a Japanese bestseller in translation, all about a little coffee shop in the back alley of Tokyo with unique powers – the ability to send people back in time. If a visitor sits in one particular seat, they can travel back to any moment they choose. But there’s a catch: they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold.

My Thoughts

First of all, I just wanted to say how much I love the concept of this book. I have such a vivid image in my head of what it would be like to live in this coffee shop of a world, where travelling in time becomes a way of finding purpose, of understanding others, of understanding yourself. I found myself telling my family the plot of the book in so much detail, because it’s such an inspiring story, I couldn’t help talking about it!

However, there is a but. The but is that I really did not enjoy the writing itself, and that disappoints me so much. I really wanted to like it – I tried so hard to like it – but I couldn’t connect to the characters in the way I wanted to. It felt like standing in front of a brick wall and I just couldn’t get past it.

For me, a good book is one I can connect with on a deeper level, one where the characters come alive and exist in themselves, and I think with this one they felt a little bit like templates that hadn’t fully formed inside my head yet, which is such a shame, but that’s my honest opinion!

Overall, I feel like this book has so much potential – there are so many different directions it could have taken. The key message by the end of the book did swing it for me a little, because I liked the way it was concluded (I won’t reveal spoilers, don’t worry), but I can’t give it more than 3 stars.

This book won’t be for everyone, and it was a very conflicting read for me, but I still feel like I got something out of it – I’m sure the plot will stick with me for a while, regardless.

Have you read Before the Coffee Gets Cold?

Let me know in the comments below!


You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Goodreads: mymindspeaksaloud

Removing Toxic Labels That Others Have Assigned To You

Have you ever had someone tell you that you’re something so many times that you’ve believed you are defined by it?

Perhaps someone has told you that you’re bossy, impatient, sensitive, that you don’t think about others. Perhaps you’ve been labelled as smart, funny, but these things have become something to live up to. How has it changed the way you live your life?

The truth is that we often define ourselves through the lens of someone else. When we are asked to describe ourselves we often use adjectives we’ve heard other people say to us, because we think they know us better than we know ourselves, but is that really true?

When we use labels other people have given us, we are focusing on them so much that they become the truth, even if they’re not. It’s the law of attraction in play. We are constantly giving these thoughts attention and unintentionally they are becoming detrimental to the way we live our lives.

Personal Example

For me, the one label that has become toxic in my life is being called “Quiet”. It’s something that I was told throughout my whole time at school. I would go to Parents Evening and I would feel good because I was doing well in class and I was getting the right grades, but the teachers would constantly tell me that I was never putting my hand up in class. I’d heard it so many times across countless years that being “quiet” became something negative. It became a limitation. It made me feel like being a good student didn’t matter because I wasn’t very good at talking about it.

Turns out, there are so many positives to being “quiet”, but I forgot what these were because I was told so many times that it was bad. I forgot that quiet could mean reflective, observant, calm. I forgot that it could mean being conscientious, intuitive, sensible. But it can mean all of these things and so much more!

Finding our True Selves

It’s interesting because the labels that become toxic in our lives don’t often stem from a singular source, and even when we know roughly where they came from, we can’t blame those circumstances. I’m sure no one intended for the word “quiet” to completely change the way I lived most of my life, but it did, because of the way I personally experienced it, and that’s okay, but it’s about breaking the mould and fighting to regain our true values, not those other’s have given us.

When we start to believe we are the labels others have given us, that’s when we lose who we are and that’s when the label we’ve been given is then accentuated by our behaviour because we feel like that’s all that we are. Or, we go in the opposite direction and try to become someone we’re not, because we think that’s what the world demands of us. But there is no limitation to who we can become, and one label doesn’t mean you will be that kind of person forever. We must accept ourselves as we are.

What is the Solution?

I don’t think there is any simple solution to this; I just wanted to share my thoughts on the topic. But I do think it starts with getting to know yourself and exploring what does make you a good person. It’s about letting other people’s thoughts of you go, because they don’t matter. You know who you are inside, and if someone doesn’t understand that, that’s not your problem, right?

So, next time you have a free moment, sit down and think about what labels have been given to you over the course of your life. They could be negative, or they could even be positive, but what negative experiences have occurred as a result of them? Has it caused you anxiety in a certain situation, or have you felt like you are defined by the negative parts of yourself?

If you’re feeling confident, share it with me in the comments below. Let anything you’ve been holding in go and encourage positive change.


You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

I Asked 17 People What Happiness Means to Them…

A while ago, I was on Instagram and I was inspired by a post that said “Happiness is…” – I turned to my Mum and asked her what her answer would be, and found that it was completely different to my own. Whilst I answered with an abstract definition, my Mum answered with a real-life concrete example. It made me wonder what everyone else would make of this question.

So, on my quest to figure out different people’s thinking processes, I asked people I know to answer the question too, with the first thought that popped into their head!

At first, I thought about the Myers Briggs personality type – would intuitives be more likely to reply with an abstract answer, and sensors with an example grounded in real life? However, I found there wasn’t a pattern at all, and both overlapped one another.

I found it so interesting listening to everybody’s answers and I think it’s also a great way of learning more about others and the way that they think. So, here is a list of all the answers I received!

I hope it brings a little more happiness to your day!


Happiness is when you are accepting and at peace with yourself and the world around you.

Happiness is walking in nature.

Happiness is being content with what you have in this world and being the best version of yourself.

Happiness is pets.

Happiness is peace.

Happiness is good.

Happiness is to forget about the world and just concentrate on dancing, creating art with the flow of your body to music.

Happiness is travel.

Happiness is freedom and laughter, being lost in a moment where all you feel and all you are is in the present moment.

Happiness is hope.

Happiness is spending time with friends and family and being grateful for what you have.

Happiness is a choice.

Happiness is feeling loved, feeling like you have enough and are enough.

Happiness is when you find beauty in the simple things of life, when you put love of nature before your own desires.

Happiness is seeing your children happy.

Happiness is contentment, a treasure buried inside of you, waiting to be found within.

Happiness is hugs.

Happiness is happiness.


I hope you found it interesting reading everyone’s answers!

I’d love to make this into a series with more fill-in-the-gap questions, so let me know if you’d be interested in reading this kind of post again, or feel free to suggest future questions!

And don’t forget to leave your own definition of happiness in the comments below – I’d love to hear it!


How to Naturally Increase Your Energy Levels!

When I think back to my life a year ago from now, I was at my lowest ever energy level. I was struggling with extreme fatigue and it worried me that I couldn’t get things done because I didn’t have the energy to do it.

Skip forward to now, I feel the complete opposite. This is the most energetic I’ve ever felt, and it means I can really live life to the full because I feel fully alive in my body.

Reaching and maintaining a high energy level is difficult – sometimes the things we have to do to get there aren’t naturally what we want to do. But it is also very important for our health and wellbeing. So I’m going to be sharing some tips on how to naturally increase your energy levels, based on my own personal experiences.

I hope this will help some of you out there!

Stop Overthinking

Impossible, I hear you say. How can you stop your own thoughts?

Trust me, I used to feel the same way.

Turns out, we can change the way we interact with our thoughts. If you really think about it, when you are overthinking something of the past, or something that might happen in the future, your brain is working. You are placing concentration and emotion onto something that isn’t happening, and surely that’s a waste of energy? Couldn’t you use that energy on something else?

Stopping overthinking is all about reframing and replacing negative thoughts into positive ones and shutting off the overthinking before it spins out of control. Once we have done this, we can truly let go of all the emotions that come with that.

Identify Food Intolerances

Over the last month or so, I’ve been doing a little experiment: I’ve given up cow’s milk. Random? Yes. Crazy? You might think so. But it’s completely changed my life.

I find it so interesting how most of us go about our daily lives eating food without really thinking much about what it does to our bodies. I’ve always drank milk so I don’t think about it. However, when my Mum gave up milk, I wondered if perhaps it was causing chaos inside my body too.

Ever since I’ve given it up, the tight throat and fatigue I used to get upon working has reduced significantly. At first, I was completely blown away (and to be honest, I still am!), but I realised that this whole time I was intolerant to something that was causing a lot of stress inside my body.

So, sometimes it’s good to check in with your eating habits and see if anything could be going wrong there. If the body is clogged up with food it doesn’t like, it’s no wonder it’s going to feel tired.

Create a Consistent Sleeping Routine

I think there are a number of factors which tie into this one, but consistency is absolutely the key to making sure your body knows exactly when to be alert and when to fall into sleep.

These are my favourite tips:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time (even on the weekends) – our bodies naturally catch up on lost sleep by sleeping deeper, so, contrary to what we might think, we don’t actually need to sleep for longer!
  • Expose yourself to daylight as soon as you wake up – as tempting as it is to lie in the dark, this only makes us feel more groggy
  • Turn off your phone (or put on airplane mode) at least an hour before bed – the blue light from screens tells our bodies it’s daytime and will likely affect how easily and how deeply we sleep, decreasing our energy
  • Write a gratitude journal before bed – Whilst this doesn’t directly affect energy levels, it increases our overall satisfaction in life and the happier we are, the more energy we have!

Save the image below to remind yourself to keep your energy levels up!

There are many more natural methods of increasing energy levels, such as exercising and eating healthily, but I wanted to talk about the ones that are often overlooked and not talked about enough.

I hope this list provides you with some interesting insight into the changes you could make in your own life to boost your energy levels.

Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to try any of these tips, or if you already do them!

I’d love to know what you all think!


You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig [Book Review]

Where do I even start? This book was brilliant, inspiring, heart-warming, emotional, interesting and, most of all, important. It had a lot to say and it said it beautifully.


Summary

“Sometimes just to say your own truth out loud is enough to find others like you.”

The Midnight Library is a place between life and death. When Nora decides to end her life, she finds herself in this library, full of books of lives she could have had if only she’d made a different decision. One by one, she enters these lives, in an attempt to find her ‘perfect life’, in an attempt to really live.


I absolutely loved this book – from the beautiful cover, to the world created, to the final moments of the story. I felt completely entranced by the world Haig had created and I honestly couldn’t put it down.

There were so many directions this novel could have taken. Like the amount of potential lives available to Nora, the book had infinite possibilities in terms of what lives could be chosen and described, how Nora entered and lived lives that weren’t technically hers, and how this would change her as a character.

But I needn’t worry how Haig would make this happen because he found a way (like always), and I absolutely loved journeying with Nora as she figured out what she wanted from life and what she needed to be happy. Although she was switching between physical lives, I’m sure this is something relatable for a lot of people who switch between careers, hobbies, trying to find who they are and what makes their life meaningful. We all have regrets, things we wished we would have done differently. This book is all about how we deal with them.

The ending particularly resonated with me, not because I had necessarily been through the exact same experiences as Nora, but because I’ve experienced that same metaphorical clicking of a “switch” where suddenly everything that once felt exhausting now feels full of acceptance and gratitude and love. It’s a transformation where your life is the same, but you feel like you’re a different person and you’re seeing it in a different way. And seeing Nora have this same realisation really meant something to me. The solutions we think we need aren’t in our exterior surroundings, but within ourselves.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I am a huge Matt Haig fan and he inspires me hugely in my own writing. This book honestly blew me away, to the extent that it may even replace my current favourite book The Humans.

Overall, I would describe The Midnight Library as a philosophical dystopian reflection on what it means to truly live. And I think it is full of deeper quotes that would help anyone reflect on their own lives and find their inner meaning.

Check out my other Matt Haig book reviews here:

The Humans / Reasons to Stay Alive / Notes on a Nervous Planet / The Possession of Mr Cave / How to Stop Time / Echo Boy

Have you read The Midnight Library?

Let me know below – I’d love to discuss it!


You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Goodreads: mymindspeaksaloud

5 Things I’m Grateful For This August (2020)

Here’s my monthly gratitude reflection!

Going to a Bookshop

This month, for the first time since before lockdown, I went to a bookshop! As I’ve mentioned a couple times before, I fell back in love with reading this year, after having a love-hate relationship with it during studying English at university, so it was super lovely to actually go back into a store and surround myself with so many wonderful stories that have found a way to be heard.

In my overwhelming excitement, I ended up purchasing 5 new books (I had a book token, that’s my excuse) and I’m halfway through The Midnight Library by Matt Haig and absolutely loving it! I’m grateful to have so many amazing stories to read.

Starting a New Job

Since graduating university this year, I’ve been spending lots of time applying to tons of jobs. It’s one of those times where everything feels in limbo, and you have to keep a positive mindset and not let all the rejections get to you!

After following up on an application, I got invited to an interview (and subsequent case study work) and was afterwards offered a place! It was a very surreal moment, to feel as though finally all my efforts had got me somewhere, and I’m super thrilled to be working in marketing which was my goal!

I’m really grateful for this opportunity because, not only has it given me the challenges I need to grow my career and as a person, it’s also inadvertently helped me create a better work/life balance. I feel like at university, the week and the weekends would merge into one and I felt guilty when I wasn’t studying, but having set hours of work is helping me truly relax out of hours.

Prioritising Self-Care

As mentioned in the paragraph above, I’ve been finding it easier to give myself relaxation time this month and it’s been a really nice feeling! I often tell myself I need to be productive all the time, and I think when I was job hunting I felt like I had to be applying 24/7, but this month I feel like I’ve let myself have the time out that I deserve and I’ve enjoyed having restful moments!

As some of you may have already seen, I recently created a Self-Care Jar, with my 10 favourite self-care activities. I’m planning on picking out an activity every weekend to remind myself to do something beneficial for my health and wellbeing. I’ll be sharing the activity over on my Instagram story at @mymindspeaksaloud if you are interested in taking part too!

Learning New Things

I feel like this month has been a huge month of learning, and I love it! Even though official education is over for me now, I don’t think learning ever stops. Learning is what keeps the mind active and alert and I hope it is something I make sure to practice throughout the rest of my life, in whatever way feels fit.

This month I have learnt a new song on the piano (Exile by Taylor Swift ft Bon Iver). I participated in an online Screenwriting Course with my brother where we learnt about the 10 finger pitch and read lots of cool scripts! I learnt how to work within my new job role, and I learnt more about my diet and health (I’m apparently intolerant to milk!). I think it’s super exciting learning new things and, as I’m writing this, I’m kind of realising it’s one of the things that drives me forward in life. I don’t know what I would be without it. So, for that, I’m thankful.

Writing

Because writing has been something I’ve participated in since I was around 13 (both in a creative and academic sense) I often don’t give it much thought. I sometimes overlook it as a quality because it seems so ingrained into who I am as a person. However, I feel like this month I realised how important writing is for applications, jobs, as a hobby in itself. I’m grateful that it’s something that resonated with me at a young age and encouraged me to pursue the direction in life that I took. I wouldn’t be here, writing this blog, if it didn’t mean something to me, and I’m really happy about that.

What are you grateful for this month?

Let me know in the comments.


You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom [Book Review]

During lockdown, I read the book Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and was blown away by how inspiring and emotional it was. I knew straight away that I wanted to read more of Albom’s books, and so that’s how I stumbled upon The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

What I love about Mitch Albom’s writing is that, although it’s very simple, it encourages a lot of inner reflection. I find myself viewing my life through a different lens and finding meaning I didn’t realise was there. It keeps me philosophising and thinking and feeling in new ways, and that’s one of my favourite things to do.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven was no exception. Set in the afterlife of Eddie, an eighty three year old war veteran, his seemingly unimportant life is explained by five people who were in it, from loved ones to strangers, each one unravelling a deeper meaning. Every person he meets in heaven has a lesson to teach him.

I think this book, similarly to Tuesdays with Morrie, has endless amounts of potential to teach people how to find their place in the world. It touches on the very real notion that sometimes, as humans, we feel like we are just living every day the same. We become consumed by habits and mistakes and emotions, amongst the good of course, but sometimes we reflect and wonder how much impact we are really having on the world.

For me, the overarching message of this book was that everyone has an impactful life, whether they believe it or not. Within the book, Eddie is a man who feels lost in life; he believes he wasted his time working his father’s old job and could have made something better of himself, but it is only once he is in heaven that he realises he impacted the world in ways he had never even considered. The children would not be safe and happy if he had not fixed the fairground rides. His wife wouldn’t be a wife without him. His life was more than just his life. He was part of everybody’s life who he came into contact with.

The book is asking us to find those impactful moments in our own life, to dig deep and really understand where we’re making a difference. We must find our meaning before it’s too late, before we haven’t fully appreciated the mark we’ve left on the world, and the marks others have left for us.

What are the Five Lessons in The Five People You Meet in Heaven?

As previously mentioned, Eddie meets five people during his time in heaven, and I thought it would be interesting to compile all five lessons he learnt, alongside my favourite quotes from the section.

Lesson 1:

“No life is a waste,” the Blue Man said. “The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone.”

Everything happens for a reason. Nothing and no one is unimportant because everything filters into a meaning, even if it is incomprehensible.

Lesson 2:

“Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you’re not really losing it. You’re just passing it on to someone else.”

Sacrifices are inevitable. They are part of life. They aren’t always about losing. Sometimes they are about gaining in a different sort of way, but they should never be about regret.

Lesson 3:

“Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.”

Forgiveness is important – not just for the other person, but for ourselves. Revenge does nothing but fuel the anger inside of us. Forgiveness is what lets the pain go.

Lesson 4:

“Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. Your nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.

Life has to end. Love doesn’t.”

The power of love, beyond the immediacy of physical life. It doesn’t falter with distance or death. It reignites with memories.

Lesson 5:

“The secret of heaven: that each affects the the other and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.”

(My favourite quote of the book!)

Every life is purposeful, meaningful and impactful. We live in a world where lives coalesce – we can’t help it. We share our stories in more ways than we could ever know.

Have you read The Five People You Meet in Heaven?

Or are you inspired by any of the quotes I’ve shared?

Let me know in the comments below!


You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Goodreads: mymindspeaksaloud

How to Make a Self-Care Jar! (My 10 Favourite Self-Care Activities)

Self-care is so important. It is what reminds us of who we are, to focus on our wellbeing, to check in with how we’re feeling and promote long-lasting mental health.

But how often do we neglect it?

Over the last few years, I’ve been trying a lot harder to add self-care activities into my life. This involves everything from yoga, to phone detoxes, to simply watching a funny video. There are endless possibilities.

Last weekend, I made my Sunday a self-care Sunday. I did a lot of reading, I drank lots of tea, I let myself chill without placing any expectations on myself, and I also created a self-care jar, and that’s what I want to share with you all today!

 

What is a Self-Care Jar?

A self-care jar is a jar full of self-care activities. I’m not sure if it’s a well-known concept; I simply thought it would be a fun and beneficial thing to do!

The idea is that you put your hand into the jar and pick out pieces of paper, each one containing a surprise self-care activity for you to do!

 

Method

1. Firstly, you need to find/buy a glass jar. Luckily, I already had one that I’d bought a few years ago for my Gratitude Jar, but if you’re not willing to buy one, you could reuse a jam jar or something similar!

2. All you need after this is paper and a pen! Rip off pieces of paper (I like them to look imperfect and ragged, so I didn’t bother with a ruler or scissors, but feel free to do that too!) and write on each piece a self-care activity.

TOP TIP: Choose activities you genuinely enjoy, or believe you will enjoy if you had the time and motivation to do them. The idea is to promote relaxation, not make you dread taking part! (see my examples below)

3. I wrote down each self-care activity twice, so I ended up with about 20 pieces of paper and 10 different activities. I had a leftover piece of paper, so I wrote on that one “Treat yourself” – something which is nice to do, but not as often, especially if it involves spending money!

4. Fold each piece of paper in half and throw them all into the jar!

5. Then, you can decide how often you want to pick out an activity. Although I practice a bit of self-care everyday, with journalling, reading, etc. I decided to pick one out every Sunday! That will be my day to focus on something for myself.

 

My 10 Favourite Self-Care Activities

If you’re struggling for ideas, here are the 10 self-care activities I used in my self-care jar!

  1. Read for an hour
  2. Do a face mask
  3. Have a relaxing bath
  4. 30 minutes of yoga
  5. Phone detox for a few hours
  6. Cup of tea, podcast and a candle
  7. Go for a walk in nature
  8. Do some meditation
  9. Play a card/board game
  10. Declutter/Organise

 

Overall, I’m hoping this will be a fun way to take some time out for myself, but also make self-care a consistent routine. There is no reason why you can’t also include your friends and family in your activities! Go for a walk with a friend, or do a face mask with your Mum. It may be self-care, but you can practice self-care with others too.

 

 

 

Do you practice self-care?

What’s your favourite self-care activity?

Let me know down below in the comments!

 

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Q&A – Favourite Crisp, Aliens, Blog Advice + Book/Music Talk!

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about reaching 1000 followers! I asked you to ask me questions and I loved the ones you came up with! So thank you to everyone who participated. Here are my answers! (in a post that turned out much longer than I expected)

 

Blogging-Related Questions

 

What made you want to start blogging?

I started blogging back in May 2016 when my friend Lia was telling me about her own blog. I’d never considered blogging before, but it sounded like fun! I created one not thinking much of it; it was simply a place to speak my mind, share my thoughts, be undoubtedly myself. It was a time where I didn’t really feel as confident in my skin, so blogging was a way for me to practice being open about how I feel. Skip a few years later, and it became something more consistent, something I continue to do because I love, but that compliments who I am in real life as a person, rather than replacing it.

 

What’s the vision for your blog or are you just having fun?

It may sound strange, but I never really had a vision for this blog in the first place. I started it as a hobby with no intention of it accumulating lots of views and visitors. It’s always been something I’ve enjoyed doing for fun, because I love writing about subjects I’m genuinely passionate about and chatting to other people who are like-minded.

I’m not sure if I have a vision for where it could go from now. Sometimes I think about what it would be like to grow it further, buy my own domain and monetise the site. However, I’m in no rush to do this. I only want to make that jump when I feel like I’m ready, and that it will be worth the investment.

Nevertheless, I do see my purpose of this blog as a place where I can share meaningful experiences that will help others in their journey of self-development, or to feel understood. So I like to think that’s my vision in some respect, that I can inspire others to make positive changes in their lives.

 

What advice would you give to someone to get more followers and views on their blog?

My top advice would be to interact as much as possible! This is what I did at the beginning of my blogging journey, without realising how impactful it could be. I was always reading other’s posts, liking, leaving comments. It’s how you get yourself out there.

I would also recommend giving social media a try. Since I made an instagram and twitter for my blog, I’ve gained a lot more views and followers – not only through promoting posts, but interacting with other bloggers and diving more into the blogging community. It isn’t for everyone, but it’s a worth a try!

 

What blog post(s) are you most proud of writing?

This is such a difficult question, because I think most of my posts have a puzzle piece of myself within them. However, I think I am most proud of What is a Fixed vs Growth Mindset? because I feel like adopting a growth mindset completely changed my life. I would have never written a post like this when I first started my blog, so it makes me proud to think that I’ve come a long way since then, and that now I can share positive posts that will hopefully inspire you all to do the same.

 

Fun Questions

 

Would you rather live underground or in the sky?

This is a difficult one, because I’m not good with heights, but I also hate the claustrophobic idea of living in small places underground. However, I will have to go with underground, because who said you couldn’t build a super fancy tunnel and a whole city down there?

 

What is your favourite type of butterfly?

I don’t really know all the specific names of butterflies, however I saw one recently that was particularly beautiful and when I looked it up, found out it was the Peacock Butterfly.

 

Would you rather have 376 legs or 376 arms?

Well, doesn’t this sound exciting 😂 I’m going to go with 376 arms because I have a vision in my mind of cooking up lots of meals at 1000x speed and I think that would be pretty cool!

 

Favourite type of crisp?

I don’t eat crisps as much as I used to, but when I do I really love Salt and Vinegar (particularly Pringles)

 

Favourite way to eat potatoes?

Every way! No, but really, I feel like potatoes are good in any form. I do love mash though. Mash is great. With cheese also. And chicken kiev. But that’s not the question.

 

Interesting Questions

 

What would be your dream house?

My dream house would be a balance between big and small – enough space to store all my books, but small enough to feel cosy and homely. I would love to have bookshelves up to the ceiling, a big kitchen for cooking, and a cosy lounge with a large TV for watching films. It would ideally be nearby to nature, so I could go on long walks, but not too far from a town so there are also things to do!

 

What is your favourite song and why? (Or favourite artist if one song is tricky)

I find it almost impossible to pick a favourite song, but even a favourite artist is a tricky one too. My music taste is very varied so it’s all dependent on my mood. However, one of my favourite artists has to be the singer-songwriter Orla Gartland. Her music is super cool, she sings with a lot of passion, and she cares a lot about her fans. Hoping to see her in concert at some point in the future!

Also, I have to put this out there, I’m loving Taylor Swift’s new album Folklore. If you haven’t listened yet (regardless of whether you’re a fan or not), I recommend you do!

 

What is your favourite book and why?

Again, a very tough question, because a lot of different books have affected my life in a lot of different ways. However, in classic “me” style, I’m going to recommend The Humans by Matt Haig yet again, just because it’s such a unique book with a very interesting reflection on what it means to be human. But also Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom – that book is absolutely life changing I genuinely believe everyone should read it at some point in their life.

 

What project are you most hoping to finish this year?

During lockdown, I wrote the first draft of my first novel and I would love to be able to finish the editing process of this by the end of this year!

 

What language would you like to speak fluently?

This is a tricky one – I think Spanish would be widely beneficial, but I learnt German for GCSE and really enjoyed it, so would love to be able to speak it fluently.

 

Deep Questions

 

Do you think existence is an illusion and that none of us actually exist?

I don’t think anything can be entirely ruled out – and we shouldn’t rule anything out because it limits us – but I do hope that we are real. However, I also think that, even if we’re not real, does it matter? If we can still live happy lives and feel like we’re purposeful, then it shouldn’t matter if we are non-existent creatures. I suppose it links to Descartes popular phrase: I think, therefore I am. We feel alive, so isn’t that all that matters?

 

Do you think aliens are watching us?

I’m unsure about this one. I’ve always been the kind of person to have neutral stances on religion, extra-terrestial creatures and the like, because I don’t like to believe or rule anything out until I’ve seen it in the flesh. Alien life could exist, but what makes it alien life and not another form of human or animal? I think we alienate what we don’t understand, but it doesn’t mean it can’t become familiar and become part of our world. I reckon there’s definitely something out there, but what it is, I don’t know. One day we will perhaps find out.

 

Who are you, really?

Who is anyone, really? No, I’m joking, but there is some truth to it. I don’t think you can ever fully know anyone. We can’t enter anyone else’s mind. So who am I really? I guess you’ll never know…

 

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Thanks again to everyone who sent me questions! I really enjoyed answering them. I hope this gives a little more insight into my blogging journey and who I am behind the blog!

What was your favourite answer?

Do you agree with me on any topics?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Goodreads: mymindspeaksaloud

5 Things I Learnt When Writing The First Draft Of My First Novel

During lockdown, I (finally!) embarked on writing my novel! This is something I’ve been planning on doing for such a long time, and so I’m really glad I pushed myself to sit down and churn it all out.

I’ve done a lot of writing over the years – short stories, poetry, a novella in my early teenage years – but I’d never completed a novel, so this was a new kind of journey for me!

I found that it was a very very long process, not even in the span of time (I aimed to complete it within two months), but the amount of dedication and consistency that has to be committed to get it done. Some days I really didn’t want to write but I knew I had to!

However, overall, I feel like I learnt a lot, so I want to share this with you all. I’m sure you writers out there can relate! And perhaps it will give you some positivity and motivation for your own novel.

 

Here are 5 Things I Learnt When Writing My Novel:

 

1 – Just when you think you’ve come to a standstill, and that you can’t write anything more of value, you will find a way. Every time.

2 – Sometimes you will hate writing. You really won’t feel like it. But it’s worth pushing through those parts for the moments when you feel really proud of yourself, when you feel like what you’re saying really matters, and that it can be something truly great.

3 – Trust yourself. Trust that whatever complications are forming within your thoughts of self-doubt, you will be able to fix when it comes to editing. Because nothing is perfect first time round, but that does not mean it is a waste.

4 – Writing is scary. It’s frightening when you’re writing something that means a lot to you, but equally feels like a huge looming statue over your head that might topple and break at any moment. But it is fear that produces the best results.

5 – Don’t judge the first draft. Mine was a lot shorter than I expected, and when I read it back, there were moments when I questioned whether it was good enough, or if anyone would even like it, but the first attempt is never perfect.

 

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Now that the first draft is done, I am onto the editing process!

I wish everyone the best of luck with their own writing projects. Let me know what you’re working on in the comments below! Or if you have any writing advice of your own.

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Goodreads: mymindspeaksaloud