Monthly Archives: December 2017

11 Things I Learnt This Year

Ahh 2017. The year that felt like a decade.

2017. The year political culture, what felt like constant terrorist attacks, and the Weinstein scandal made it feel like the world was ending.

On the other hand, it was also the year I became Mrs Copley, backpacked around Europe and the year two of my best friends brought their first little ones into the world. Hello Luca and Polly!

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So, without further ado, I thought I’d finish the year with a list of things that I’ve learnt this year:

  1. Spin classes are a torture that no human should have to endure

Before the wedding, I was trying to lose a bit of back fat to fit into my frock. I joined the gym. I spent hours in the gym, going to the gym, showering after the gym, returning from the gym, and thinking about the gym. I even went to a spin class several times which meant I had to walk up the stairs to the changing room backwards, like someone who had just completed the New York marathon.

And guess what? SO BORING!!!!! OH MY GOD!!!! When the wedding finally rolled around, I told the woman on reception that I would be cancelling my membership. She asked “why?” To which I responded “I’m about to get married, and then I plan to get very fat.” I will summarise with a photo of Olive, from the immortal film: “Little Miss Sunshine.”

2. Plants are harder to keep alive than cats

This is a fairly self-explanatory point. What is it with plants at the moment? They’re very in, and I was eager to jump on the Jungalow bandwagon in turning the whole house green, which just resulted in a lot of death and destruction, and wasted money.



3. Once you hit 27, hangovers now last two days

WHAT IS THIS BLACK MAGIC. I used to spring back, and be in a lecture at 9am after getting in at 4am. Now I am bed ridden for a day and a muggy head with terrible reaction times the day after that… It’s all downhill from here. Still no stopping me though. 🙂



4. Sometimes it’s okay to not read the news

I don’t know why it took me a while to figure this out. I’ve always felt it’s my duty as a literate citizen of the planet to be up to date with what’s going on in the world. But then I hit a point of earlier mentioned despair.. this sounds like an exaggeration, but I started to feel very anxious, not good in crowded spaces, etc. So I’ve decided to give myself permission to avoid the news when I feel like I need to.


5. It’s possible to gain a stone in three weeks

Ha. I’m actually quite impressed with this one. Over the course of our honeymoon, Mr Copley and I both put on a stone! HAAA! All the aperol spritz and deep-fried cheese of Europe took it’s toll in the end. Worth it.


6. Eyeshadow primer is liquid gold

A slightly boring one, but wow! That Urban Decay stuff is really bloody good!


7. If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it

This sounds obvious, but it’s taken me until the age of 27 to stop agreeing to everything and just do the things I want to do. Time is precious.


8. I will never be a professional wedding planner


(The above photo of Parker is an accurate representation of what wedding planning did to my brain.)

When planning a wedding, I was like “yeah nine months is ages, and it’s just a big party, what’s the big deal?!” Well… it turns out that having a wedding reception somewhere that rarely holds events is quite difficult, and you shouldn’t try to plan your own hen do on top of that. (bridesmaids to the rescue!) Anyway. I didn’t quite go full bridezilla, but as someone who is outwardly quite chilled, finding myself wailing “How on earth could all this hassle be possibly worth it?” a few days before my wedding came as a bit of surprise. I will never ever get married again. 🙂

9. Social media is destructive to mental health

In October, I found myself fairly addicted to social media. I was completely hooked on Facebook and Instagram, wasting precious time trying to prove something that no one cares about.

I’m my own boss and I work weird hours, and I would often just fall down the rabbit hole and spend hours online. Not only is this a massive waste of time, but it was also making me feel shit. No, I’m not interested in your before/after weight loss photo. You look great either way, and as Ruth so wisely says: “you are not allowed to be on a diet unless you have diabetes.” This whole wellness bullshit just makes everyone else feel inadequate and terrible for having a snickers for breakfast.

The news on Facebook is unreliable and untrustworthy. I’ve also found myself spending more time speaking to my friends and spending time with them in real life now I’ve taken a step away. I still pop online once a week or so, but I’m no longer hooked on the dopamine highs of getting a “like” and god, I feel so much better for it!

10. If you wear a really long wedding dress, you will spend your entire walk down the aisle trying not to faceplant


One last wedding-related one. Nobody tells you that when you walk down the aisle, you’ll have one hand holding flowers and the other clutching onto who is giving you away (thanks Daddy) for dear life. This means that your little toes are going step step step step on your wedding dress and you spend the entire thing going “oh my god oh my god I’m gonna fall, DAD! I think I’m about to fall over. Don’t let me fall over in front of all these people! If I fall, will you catch me?! Oh my god OH MY GOD.”

I didn’t even SEE Tom until I got to the end of the aisle. I could have been about to marry the wrong person for all I knew! Anyway. Advice to the future bride who may be reading (hey Leanne 😉 ) SORT OUT HOW TO WALK BEFORE YOU GO DOWN THE AISLE


11. My backpack is forever my happy place


Waking up and taking a few seconds to remember where you are. Having nothing to do in the day but explore and eat. Saving every penny I earn to explore.

Bring on 2018, and INDIA


I completed my reading challenge!

Hello from the sick bay!

This is a post I’ve been working on for quite a few weeks. I’m currently wiped out by a chest and kidney infection, but I’m feeling like I’m coming out of the other side now. so I thought I’d update the old blog to stop me dying of boredom. I’m going back to the doctors later on today where they will decide if I need shooting or not.

Anyway. As those of you who know me will know that I love to read. I’ve always loved reading and I’ve spent a lot of time with my head in a book. Every year I set myself a reading challenge on the goodreads app. This year, I decided I wanted to read sixty books. I realise this sounds a lot, but my biggest achievement so far was reading 78 books in 2015, so for me, it seemed manageable.


Bloody hell, that’s a lot of pages.

2017 was a big year for us, because we got married! In terms of my reading though, this really didn’t help. I found the wedding planning incredibly stressful, and for one of the first times in my life, I found myself unable to read! The wedding was on my mind so much that every time I picked up a book, I’d just stare blankly at the text whilst my brain was tackling seating plans, or a food bill etc.

So there was a few months during the summer when I didn’t read a word. Then, as a wedding gift, my brother Jacob bought us a copy of “The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil” and it was exactly what I needed. Once the wedding dust (confetti?) had settled, I started reading again by tackling some graphic novels, then easing myself back in.

This reading hiatus left me really behind on my challenge, so I told myself “50 pages a day if you’re working, 100 pages a day if it’s a day off” and I got there in the end!

Here’s all the books I read this year. (The ones in bold were my favourites, which I’ve (very briefly) reviewed below the list, and italicised ones were audiobooks).


  1. The Martian by Andy Weir
  2. My Dear I Wanted To Tell You by Louisa Young
  3. The Girls by Emma Cline
  4. Pretty Iconic by Sali Hughes
  5. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  6. So Much For That by Lionel Shriver
  7. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
  8. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  9. Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden


10) Pure by Andrew Miller

11) The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman

12) The Trees by Ali Shaw

13) The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

14) Maus by Art Spiegelman

15) Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

16) A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

17)Rose Madder by Stephen King

18) A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry


19) When The Floods Came by Clare Morrall

20) Like A Queen by Constance Hall

21) Ctrl, Alt Delete: How I Grew Up Online by Emma Gannon

22) The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

23) How To Understand Israel in Sixty Days or Less by Sarah Glidden

24) The People At Number 9 by Felicity Everett

25) Domina by L.S. Hilton

26)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling

27) Beautiful Bodies by Kimberley Rae Miller



28) The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin

29) He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

30) Rough Music by Patrick Gale

31) Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince by J K Rowling

32) The Children Act by Ian McEwan

33) Habibi by Craig Thompson

33) The Power by Naomi Alderman

34) Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J K Rowling

35) The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry



36) The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

37) Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delise

38) My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

39) The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood

40) American Gods by Neil Gaiman


41) A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman

42) I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

43) The Mandibles: A Family 2029-2047 by Lionel Shriver

44) Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman

45) How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti

46) Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala

47) Nutshell by Ian McEwan

48) Wonder by R.J. Palacio

49) The Bricks That Built The Houses by Kate Tempest


50) The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura

52) Kaleidoscope City – A Year in Varanasi by Piers Moore Ede

53) Wool – The Graphic  Novel by Hugh Howey

54) Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

55) The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

56) Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

57) Black Hole by Charles Burns

58) Leap Year by Helen Russell

59) The Good Children by Roopa Farooki

60) The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff


I was interested to see all the books in one place, and see what that says about my reading habits:

I read 37/60 books by women (so 23/60 by men)

I read 47novels and 13 non-fiction books

I read 7 graphic novels


This year, I felt I read a lot of “easy” books, and the focus felt more quantity over quality. Next year I’m going to set a challenge of less books so I can hone in on some longer, classic novels.

Here are the books I’d recommend that I’ve read this year:

If you’re looking for the audiobook equivalent of comfort food: Listen to the Harry Potter audiobooks read by Stephen Fry

If you want a true life account that will render your troubles insignificant: Read “Wave” by  Sonali Deraniyagala – written by a woman who lost her family in the Boxing Day tsunami

If you’ve been living under a rock for 27 years like me: Read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Hilarious.

If you need an easy feel good read: Read “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. It’s just been made into a film too!

If you want a weirdly beautiful book with incredible language and imagery, read: “A Year of Marvellous Ways” by Sarah Winman (Thanks for lending me this Mimi!)

For an intriguing historical novel with a touch of the supernatural: “The Wonder” by Emma Donoghue

If you’re brave enough to have your heart blown into a million pieces (don’t say I didn’t warn you: Try “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara

For a laugh out loud, read: “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris

The best graphic novel: “Maus” by Art Spiegelman

If you want to fall in love with the characters, and then sob at the end: “A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry

For a weepy love story: ‘My Dear I Wanted To Tell You” by Louisa Young

Here is what I did to read more:

Set a goodreads challenge. This is the single thing that motivates me to read the most. For those of you who haven’t come across it, goodreads is a book app. You make a profile, set a challenge and log the books you read. I also really enjoy reading other people’s reviews.

Read what you want to read. This may sound obvious, but to read a lot, you need to read what you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to read anything because you think that’s what you should be reading. This joins onto my next point:

Give yourself permission to ditch rubbish books. I have a fifty page rule: if I’m fifty pages in and I’m still hating a book then I give up and read something else. Life is to short to read shit books (and believe me there are SO many!!!!!!)

Listen to audiobooks. Yes, in my opinion, this still counts as reading. Controversial. Tom doesn’t believe that listening to audiobooks “counts,” but the way I view it, I still know the story, and all the characters, and can discuss the book with someone who has read it.

Always have a book with you. There’s a quote by Lemony Snicket that I feel is a good philosophy for life “Never trust anyone who hasn’t got a book with them.” Similarly, I always feel a little unsettled if I go to someone’s house and they haven’t got any books. Anyway, I digress. Always have a book with you. Those minutes where you arrive early somewhere, or you’re sat on the bus staring at your smartphone can be spent reading instead.

Quit social media: I’ve read SO much more since doing so.

Variety is the spice of life. If I’ve just read a 1000 page literary award-winning piece of literature, I’ll read a trashy page-turner next. Otherwise I get fed up and loose steam.