My Date with a Book – Crafting Kates Etsy Shop Review

A Date With a Book - Crafting Kates

I have lost my reading mojo at the moment. I just cannot get into books or I am too tired to read. I think it is because I am not giving myself time to read. Does anyone else feel like that?


A Date With a Book - Crafting Kates

I, therefore, have forced myself into having some me time and had a Date with a Book, thanks to Crafting Kate. Kate creates a “Date with a Book’ set. Which is perfect. In the box – I received a hand wrapped book, label with a quote, bookmark, card, a handmade crochet coaster and arguably the best part – a Teabag! This was perfect and looked so cute I didn’t want to open it –  but then the other part of me was desperate to find out who my hot date was going to be!

A Date With a Book - Crafting Kates

A Date With a Book - Crafting Kates

I popped the kettle on and settled in with a chilled out playlist and unwrapped my book to find a Collection of Robert Browning Poems. Initially, I wasn’t so sure, I wouldn’t choose to pick up a poetry book. I haven’t read a poem since school, you know when you have to over analyse a poem so much down to the minute details of what the writer had on their sandwich the day before they wrote this poem. I think that took the joy of out poetry for me.  But then it dawned on me that is the beauty of these mystery packages. You find something you wouldn’t normally go for. I did try to read some but I don’t think poetry is for me, that was until my husband came home and saw I had a Robert Browning book. He studied Porphyria’s Lover at school. We read it and talked about how strange a poem it is, I even read the Spark Notes on it. Therefore the book was good at sparking an educated conversation with my husband.

A Date With a Book - Crafting Kates

The other great thing about the Date with a Book is that the book has a great vintage look to it. Which I am totally into. I love anything a bit quirky looking and so will display the book proudly on my bookshelf. The crochet coaster has been admired by many coming to my house too. It is the lasting memory of a great date! I may have to go for a second date soon!

A Date With a Book - Crafting Kates

More Information

You can find Kate’s Etsy Store at CraftingKates. Kate is a fellow Etsy store owner and so we exchanged products in order to give each other a little boost and a different audience. Thanks, Kate.

You can check her out on Twitter and Instagram.


April’s Book of the Month – The Circle by Dave Eggers – Book Review

The Circle by Dave Eggers

April’s Book of the Month is The Circle by Dave Eggers. This book is being made into a film and so I thought I’d better read it before the film comes out. This means we can discuss it as a Movie too! 

The book centers around Mae Holland, a new employee at an internet/ social media company – The Circle. The book is set in a time beyond Facebook and Google. Although you can tell Eggers has taken inspiration from how these companies work and are moving forward. 

Mae initially struggles with the pressures of the job and keeping up her social media persona and the book follows her on a journey through this. The Circle seems like the perfect place to work, however, we soon start to discover that all is not as it seems!  Along the way Mae meets fans, skeptics and some mysterious characters and you, as the reader are taken on a fact-finding mission. The book is quite realistic and relatable in some parts with our growing obsession and reliance with Social Media outlets and it is an interesting look at what is to come in the future!

I really enjoyed this book as it was a really easy read and accessible for anyone who has ever used social media. The most frustrating part of it for me was the fact there were only 2 chapters in the whole book! I like a book split up more!

I don’t want to give too much away as we will be discussing this book on my Facebook page on Tuesday 25th April at 7 pm! Come along and join us!

If you have read the book see the trailer for the Movie here- we will be discussing it at Book Club!

Quiet by Susan Cain – A Cheat Sheet for #JDBOOKCLUB

Quiet by Susan Cain

Hello! How quickly has March flown by! This month’s book was Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

It was another non-fiction book this month and I thought it had a lot of the same themes running through it. This month’s cheat sheet is a little bit different, I am going to give you the questions in advance along with relevant information from the book.

Quiet by Susan Cain

Also there is this TED talk that’s 19 minutes which basically summarises the book!

The chats are on Tuesday 28th at 7pm on Facebook or Thursday 9pm on Twitter.

  1. What is your Myers- Briggs personality and do you agree with it?

Myers Briggs is a personality test that suggests there are only 16 Personality types in the world. I am INTJ, which is quite rare, especially for females. You can read about the test and my results and find out how to complete the test on my previous post!

It would be great for you to complete the test in advance of the chat so you can add into the discussion.


“It’s not that I’m so smart,” said Einstein, who was a consummate introvert. “It’s that I stay with problems longer.”


2. Do you feel like you relate to what Susan Cain was saying about Introverts/ Extroverts?

Susan Cain talks about how 2/3s of Adults are Introverts, which is quite a surprising figure. She makes the point that many Introverts are acting like extroverts as that seems to be the norm. This is the case in different situations such as in the workplace, going for interviews, at parties etc. She says that Introverts are more likely to spend time with smaller groups for friends, are more creative, are good listeners and hate small talk. She also talks about how some extroverts act more introverted at times too.


“Bill Gates is never going to be Bill Clinton no matter how he polishes his social skills. And Bill Clinton can never be Bill Gates no matter how long he spends with a computer.”


3. Do you find yourself ‘faking it’?

In Quiet, Cain discusses many experiments and times when people and even animals have ‘faked’ extrovertism in order to conform. This can be from young children all the way through life. I want to know if you have ever faked it? Do you fake your personality on a regular basis?


“It’s about accommodating oneself to situational norms, rather than “grinding down everything to one’s own needs and concerns”


4. Do you ever push yourself too far?

Do you ever finding yourself too far out of your comfort zone that you are making yourself ill or panicked? What do you do? I know so many offices and schools are moving to group work and collaborative learning or collegiate working. Cain and the research found in ‘Quiet’ suggests this is counter productive – do you agree?


“People who tend to [suppress their negative emotions] regularly,” concludes Grob, “might start to see the world in a more negative light.”


5. Where do your strengths lie?

Everyone has different strengths. Interestingly Cain says that introverts are more likely to share their thoughts and feelings online or in a piece of writing that extroverts are. So where do you think your personality strengths lie?


“Extroverts are better than introverts at handling information overload. Introverts’ reflectiveness uses up a lot of cognitive capacity”

“When a political struggle occurred on the committee, Gandhi had firm opinions, but was too scared to voice them. He wrote his thoughts down, intending to read them at a meeting. But in the end he was too cowed to do that”

“They said he was weak, that he should have stood up for his beliefs. But Gandhi felt that he had learned “to appreciate the beauty of compromise”

“Restraint, Gandhi believed, was one of his greatest assets”


6. What is the lasting message from the book?

What will you take away from the book/ TED talk? I know being a teacher I have taken way a new way of thinking and engaging pupils. I find myself on lots of report cards writing ‘should engage in discussions more’ but now I think just because someone doesn’t speak doesn’t mean they are not engaged.

Cain asks you to re-evaluate your life based on a simple question –

“First, think back to what you loved to do when you were a child. How did you answer the question of what you wanted to be when you grew up?”  

She argues that when you are younger you have the passion and the creativity to know what you aspire to be. You may still not want to be a firefighter- but you want to be someone that cares for others, that rescues people, that takes risks perhaps.

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll attend a set number of social events in exchange for not feeling guilty when you beg off.”

So there we go there’s the questions for this month’s book club. Next month we are going to read a fiction book. I want to do a book that is coming out on film so we can discuss it later when the film comes out. Our short list is detailed. Hope to see you at a chat or answer the questions in the comments to start a discussion. Also Vote for next months books in the comments!


Happy 30th Rebus! – An Evening with Ian Rankin

ian Rankin

You may have read previously about the time I met Ian Rankin at Haymarket. I made a really funny joke about it in my Review of Knots and Crosses. I recently read this book the first in the Inspector Rebus series,  which was released 30 years ago this week.

ian Rankin

An Audience with Ian Rankin

Inspector Rebus is an Edinburgh-based detective who doesn’t give a F**k about what people think of him. I think he’s been reading Sarah Knights book. He is likable and although I have only read a few of the Rebus books but I love them. They are set in Edinburgh so you can visualize where they are going and what they are talking about, it also adds a personal element to the book.

ian Rankin

On Sunday Night I attended an Evening with Ian Rankin, a Question and Answer session with Ian Rankin, In Kirkcaldy in Fife. Ian Rankin, like me, is a born and bred Fifer. Rebus also is from here. The event was run by Waterstones and appeared to be a sellout. They had books on sale, although it was a card machine that sort of took at a photocopy of your card – I am not sure if I was entirely convinced it was legit – but we will go with it! I bought a copy of the latest book Rather Be The Devil – which has black pages so looks pretty cool! This is the first proper book I have bought in a long long time!


The Q & A was led by Stuart Kelly, a Scottish Book Critic. I will be honest, I didn’t think much of his questions, but we went with it. There were some issues with a crackling microphone throughout but overall it was good. One thing that I love about Ian Rankin is his humor. I follow him on twitter and he has the same dry sense of humor as me that I love. Also although he mentioned that he has met the Rolling Stones and Van Morrison he seems to be a totally down to earth guy. A local lad did good.


Interestingly he discussed how Rebus wasn’t supposed to survive past the first book. In the first draft, he died at the end of the book. I am glad he decided to change this and turn his story into a series. Rankin also reiterated that he doesn’t really like the TV Shows on Rebus as it can ruin the magic of the imagination and books. I agree.

Good News is Rankin is not finished with Rebus yet. He wants to continue his story but is looking at also bringing in books as told from other characters perspectives such as Siobhan or Cafferty. This would be great! Although we will have to wait as this is Rankin’s “year off”. In which he is celebrating Rebus’ birthday and organizing Rebus Fest  -a festival in the Summer celebrating all things Rebus. I am definitely going to attend some of these events!

ian Rankin

I was lucky enough to meet the author afterward and he signed my book. I was a bit star struck and didn’t know what to say. I also got a really awful photograph!


Definitely, check out Rebus Fest! Here’s a photo Ian Rankin (@beathhigh) posted. Can you spot me?


How many of my MUST READ Books have you read?

With World Book Day this week and my timeline filled with kids dressing up for World Book Day. (which by the way I love!) I was inspired to write my list of some of my must read books. Most of these feature on most Must Read book lists but here’s why I love them so. I will be sharing a part 2 soon!

Must Read Books

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – by Stephen Chbosky

I remember seeing this book in the shop before the film came out in the supermarket on a 2 for £5 deal and thought if they’ve made a move it must be an alright book. I read it in hours! I really loved it! The main character, Charlie is so relatable as an innocent teenager who begins to try to make sense of the world. There is a great storyline and it’s a good read!

The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

If you are a fan of any of Shonda Rhimes work – Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, How to Get Away with Murder etc. You will love this book. It is written from her perspective all about how she became a ‘yes woman’ for a year. Not like in the same way as the Yes Man movie that turned a bit much. More like putting in perspective what we all actually do – avoid going out because we cannot be bothered. I am torn whether I follow her idea of saying yes or not giving a f**k and doing what I want.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

I loved these books as a child. Okay, admittedly the first 6 books are the best. After that, the story gets a little bit monotonous. I have not yet watched the Netflix series as I don’t want to ruin the illusion or my childhood. It is a good piece of escapism.

How to Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

I have already written about how much I loved this book. I genuinely think everyone should read this book. Moran puts into words all experiences of all women throughout their lifetime. It just makes sense and also puts things in perspective. I recommend the Audiobook!

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is basically me. Except I don’t have as good special powers! I love books, I was a child genius. Okay, my parents were nicer than hers. But its just such a good and well-written book! I loved reading it as a child. The movie is also good.  The show home of our house has a Matilda themed kids bedroom, I admit this was a deciding factor in buying the house!

How many have you read?

What books would be in your list?

Remember to SUBSCRIBE so you never miss a post!

5 Things I Don’t Give a F**K About

Zero Fucks Given

Inspired by Sarah Knights book – The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K. I decided to write a list of things I didn’t really care about. You can read my cheat sheet here.  The book says you should sit down a write things you care about and then from that score out the ones you really couldn’t care less about. I think however I am just going to keep an ongoing list of things I come across that I think, you know what I don’t give a damn about that. Next time it comes up I am just going to walk away. I have started my list and so am going to share some items on it. I am starting a spread in my Bullet Journal that I will add to as I go through life.

Zero Fucks Given

5 Things I don’t give a F**k about…

Other People’s Sex Lives

I don’t really care if you are having sex with 16 different people in one night. I don’t really care if you have whips and chains. I don’t really care if you are getting some or not. I don’t really care how big someone else’s penis is. I really cannot be arsed listening to people share all the ins and outs (quite literally) of their sexual encounters. What am I supposed to do with that information?

Whether people like each other

From this moment on I no longer will be completing the Sudoku of getting people together. I hate having to work out who is talking to who, who likes who, who cannot be in the same room as who. Instead if I have any sort of gathering or party, I’m just going to invite people and they can work it out amongst themselves. I am also sick of people saying why didn’t you invite me to things – when they know fine well its because they cannot be in the same room with other people.

Spending Money to be Polite

How many times do you buy something just to be polite. Whether it is at a friends, candle, make up, beauty product, Tupperware party (okay I am too young to have been at a Tupperware party and in all honesty I think I would love a Tupperware party) It may be you going in a shop purely to use the loo and feeling compelled to buy something. Trying out samples of things that you don’t particularly think are worth the money but feel compelled to buy it. Or going to an event that you don’t particularly want to go to and know you won’t enjoy just to be polite. Sponsoring someone you don’t really know or like but because you have been handed the form in front of all your colleagues. Therefore from this moment on, I will only be spending money on things that I want to spend money on.

Chasing Up Kids Homework

Being a teacher my life seems to be one big long list of to-dos. One thing I could do without is having to chase kids who haven’t handed in their homework. It’s inconvenient and means that I basically have to do lots more work to mark something that I most probably just handed out because I needed to mark a homework grade on their report cards.

Eating “Breakfast Food”

I do believe that breakfast is an important meal. But I hate traditional breakfast food. I don’t like traditional cooked breakfast. I don’t like cereal really, but also I hate the reaction I get when I say I really fancy pasta for breakfast. I don’t get why their are certain foods only for certain times of the day. A cheese and tomato toast for breakfast would do me nicely. I am no longer going to justify my breakfast food choices to anyone.


These are only a few items on my Zero F**KS Given list. We are going to be discussing the book on Tuesday 28th February at 7pm on my Facebook page. Come join us there as you get more inspiration for your own list!

The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**K – The Clean Cheat Sheet


February’s book is “The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k” by Sarah Knight. I have just finished reading it and really enjoyed it. I was talking to my mum about it but she is reluctant to read it because of the name. She doesn’t like the F Bomb. So instead I have decided to write a cheat sheet or cliff notes version for her anyone else really who either doesn’t like swearing or has no time to read the book. I shall change the word to damn.

“You’re like me, You’ve been giving too many damns about too many things for too long. You’re over extended and over burdened by life.”

Sarah Knight describes her inspiration for the book as being drawn from the Marie Kondo book on decluttering. Like me she loved it and went around telling everyone all about Kon-Mari! She talks about how exhausting and cluttered her life is because she gives too many damns about too many things. This is true of so many of us. We take on a lot we have a lot of things on that we don’t particularly enjoy doing or caring about but they are there and we need a clear out. Knight sets out two main rules.

  1. Deciding what you don’t give a damn about

  2. Not giving a damn about those things.

Sounds pretty simple right? Some things are easier to get out of your life than others.

“Although giving too many damns can result in you feeling anxious, stressed out and desperate”

The rule is simple – you should give a damn about something if it does not annoy you and does bring you happiness. You are in control of your of damns. You can start to think about all the time, effort and money you will save by focusing on things you really do care about!

“You have no control over what other people think”

This is the key message of the book. Stop worrying about what others think. You can’t control it. Human beings have every right to politely disagree with things. Its human nature.

So Knight gives four categories to think about when you are writing your damn list.

  1. Things
  2. Work
  3. Friends, Strangers and Acquaintances
  4. Family

The task involves you writing a list of everything you give a damn about and then really thinking about the things you care about and scoring out the rest. Some highlights of things Knight wrote about are the use of Powerpoint’s, taking notes in a meeting, bikini waxes, conference calls, dress codes amongst other things!

Basically you have to think about all the things you feel you ought to give a damn about and the things you do actually care about. Only give a damn if you really want to! There are other ideas like for example making personal policies about things, such as donating to co-workers charity fundraising or other obligations. If you have a personal policy then you don’t have to give a damn.

This is just a short summary of the book, in all honesty it’s not doing the book justice. I do suggest you read it in it’s entirety. Preferably before next Tuesday at 7pm when we can discuss it over on my Facebook page! If you haven’t read it don’t worry you’ve read this review and got the general gist. I am going to share my top 10 things I am going to stop giving a damn about over there, feel free to get your list together!




Obama Out: A British Reflection on the Past Eight Years

Today is a monumental day in history. Obama is out, Trump is in. Ironically Trump and I have one and only thing in common we are both moving house today. Him into the White House and us into the Whyte House. (My surname is Whyte, in case you didn’t understand the pun) .

I remember this week 8 years ago vividly. I ran home from school and parked myself in front of the television for the rest of the evening. Barack Obama was being inaugurated as the President of the United States. I am not sure why but American politics is so much more exciting and glamourous than UK politics. I was hooked on the whole presidential debate that year. On my fridge I still have an Obama/ Biden fridge magnet.

I loved the whole ceremony, from Rev. Al Sharpton’s speech to Beyonce singing. The pomp and ceremony of it all is brilliant. You don’t really get that in the UK. That is what we are missing! I’d love Little Mix to perform on the front steps of Downing Street before Theresa May walked out. Okay maybe not.

I love all the Obamas. They seem to be the right mix of approachable, relatable and wanting to make a difference. They don’t mind taking the mickey out of themselves and are good humoured. I feel we are laughing with Obama as opposed to laughing at Bush. And face palming at Trump.

The last few months I get all emotional when there’s another montage of Obama’s best bits. I spent days laughing my head off at the Biden/Obama memes. It took me a few days to work up the emotional courage to watch Baracks last speech after Michelle’s made me weep. I am going to be sad to see them go. I loved this article showing some beautiful photos too.

I recently finished reading “Dreams From My Father”, this was Obama’s first book. It was written before he was even voted as Senator. It tells the story of his childhood, his heritage, moving to the Philippines and visiting his family in Kenya. It was a wonderful book. Extremely honest. Again he is very relatable. He didn’t grow up with money, he’s worked in the slums of Chicago. He knows what poverty is. He’s experienced it.  Obama is the People’s President in my eyes. He wants to make a difference.  As for his successor… I am not sure he is as much ‘down with da people’. I feel he is that kid in class that used to put themselves up for class rep for a joke. They made a ridiculous speech full of unrealistic promises like no homework and 3 hour lunches. People voted for them because it was funny. Trump is that guy.  He is the joke candidate.

I know I don’t normally get too political on here but this had to be documented that…