Beyond the Bookcase – Autumnal Awesomeness – The Truly Devious Series of Books by Maureen Johnston.

As the days get shorter, and the nights draw in and everyone is now back at school or university what better than to settle down with a series of books set in the home of all things autumn and fall related, New England? The ‘Truly Devious’ series of books (the fifth book is set to be released in December of this year) by Maureen Johnston are set in the Ellingham Academy near Burlington, Vermont. The Ellingham Academy is a school for gifted children who otherwise don’t fit into the normal schooling system. Autumn leaves, maple syrup, and murder await the enthusiastic reader!

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‘I want to be let alone!’ A room of one’s own and time to oneself, necessary or not?

Greta Garbo is often misquoted of saying ‘I want to be alone’ in the 1932 film Grand Hotel whenever she said ‘I want to be let alone’ according to John Gainbridge’s 1955 book entitled Garbo. Garbo’s character utters these words before other character’s leave, and she relishes her ‘aloneness’ when she closes the door to her hotel room. The satisfaction in her face is palatable as she finally relaxes after a hectic ordeal but how realistic is this satisfaction for women who crave, indeed need, as Virginia Woolf describes both a room of one’s own and time to oneself in order to pursue hobbies, self-employment or any other activity that requires time alone?

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Wellness. Wellness. Wellness. Say It Three Times And It Might Be Real.

Wellness. Wellness. Wellness. If you say it three times then it might be real. Saying something three times refers to Beetlejuice and if you say his name three times. But you really don’t want Beeltejuice to appear. For me, 2017 seems to have been the year of ‘wellness’ and many different industries trying to market their own brand of ‘wellness’ to those interested in a heatlhy and well-rounded lifestyle.

I openly admit that I have struggled with ‘wellness’ and what that word means to me for the latter part of 2017 after I got my first full-time job in Scotland in July of this year. For me ‘wellness’ has always been taking ‘me-time’ (another big buzz word of 2017!) regularly whether that is going to the gym, eating a well balanced diet with the odd indulgence, meditation, yoga, reading, walking, meeting friends amongst many other things. With this prelude to over doing ‘wellness’ in 2017 being nearly everywhere one looks I have felt overwhelmed in that last few months to do everything prescibed to have a complete ‘wellness’ lifestyle. It is only since last week that I’ve decided to re-evaluate my ‘wellness’ activities to find things that will work for me in the long-term instead of short-term quick fixes.

In 2018 I plan to make more time to do things I want creatively speaking. For example, I plan to knit, paint, draw and sew more as a form of relaxation. I want to walk more and not stress out about going to the gym six times a week and only do four classes a week that I really want to do and some additional at home or gym-time strength building.

I want to grow my career in 2018 to start the beginnings of a career that comprises of blogging, YouTubing, academia, working in a museum and sharing my love of history and fashion history with a wider audience. I don’t know how that is going to plan out as of yet but I’m open to ideas and won’t turn down opportuinities that will be beneficial for me. I hope that in 2018 I will restore my ‘wellness’, exercise and lifestyle balance (with more travel!) to have a healthy and happy 2018.

Anxious Anxiety Part One

I might have touched on this topic before however if I haven’t I’ll discuss it now. I suffer from anxiety, mainly social and large crowd anxiety (particularly large crowds of small children; nothing puts me into a panic more than a pack of unruly, shouting children). I have developed coping methods for my anxiety as I travel a lot and need to make sure I can cope with packed airports, trains, buses etc. Read on if you want to know more about how I cope on a daily basis with anxiety.

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Charity Shop Shopping


As a self-confessed vintage addict (also craft beer and ice cream addict) I love a good charity shop. In fact I prefer to shop in charity shops over normal shops because you can find some vintage treasures in charity shops. My 1920s Chanel and Lanvin dresses and 1920’s opera coat have come from charity shops. Also my Madeleine Vionnet and Dior dresses and accessories. Who says charity shops are horrible when you find vintage designer clothing in them?!

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