"Imogen Tate, editor-in-chief of Glossy magazine, is a legend in the fashion world.  But when she returns from a sabbatical to find her 26 year-old former assistant, Eve Morton, behind her desk, she realises times are changing.  Armed with a business degree, naked ambition and an iPhone, Eve announces she has been brought in to turn Imogen's beloved magazine into an app.  With herself at the helm.

In this terrifying new world, Imogen is almost invisible.  In place of her team of dedicated staff is a constantly evolving line of twenty-something bloggers at their desks day and night, amateur snaps instead of elegant photo shoots, and a URL address in place of Imogen's glossy pages.

But Imogen isn't ready to give up her hard-earned career without a fight.  Where Eve has Twitter followers, Imogen has experience, talent and real relationships, and she's prepared to fight for the fashion world she knows and loves.  Even if it means going to war with a ruthless Techbitch..."

Before | This book was Leanne's pick, and I approached it with more than a little trepidation.  The title felt a bit cringey, the topic 'done' and it just isn't the sort of book I'd reach for.  So yeah, I'll admit I felt set to hate it.  I know book club's all about reading new genres, but I could feel myself rolling my eyes through the first few chapters and generally having the wrong mindset to enjoy this book.

During | Unexpectedly, I found myself beginning to enjoy this book after the first hundred or so pages.  So the writing's not the best and it's like a mass social media name dropping sesh, but I'd forgotten how good it feels to read an easy book and whizz through the pages.  It's not without its flaws though.  Imogen's been out of work due to having cancer - a detail which I guess is there to explain her absence, but it felt half-hearted.  Along with her cancer scare midway through the book which, again, felt unnecessary.  She'd only been out of work for six months, yet her office was unrecognisable upon her return and Glossy magazine defunct; I found myself questioning whether this was realistic in a relatively short period of time.  And the fictional website which the book is named after was another pointless addition.  It's barely mentioned, doesn't enhance the story and doesn't open up any additional plotlines.

After | Despite my thoughts above, it turns out Techbitch wasn't as bad as I anticipated!  If you like Devil Wears Prada-type books, I'd recommend reading this.  Fashion mags are always a winning backdrop for films and tv series (hands up who else loved Ugly Betty!) and this definitely felt like it could be adapted for screen.  Eve is the stereotypical mega bitch who's so easy to hate, whilst Imogen's so likeable that you're instantly rooting for her to win.  I guess it just goes to show that I shouldn't be afraid to go back to classic chick lit every once in a while!

Now you've read my review, go and check out Lizzie and Leanne's round ups, plus new Blogger Bookclub recruits Alyssia, Chloe and Sarah's thoughts, too!

Next month - The Book of You by Claire Kendal, be sure to join our Goodreads group if you want to keep up that way!

Blogger Bookclub #7: Techbitch

30.11.15


"Imogen Tate, editor-in-chief of Glossy magazine, is a legend in the fashion world.  But when she returns from a sabbatical to find her 26 year-old former assistant, Eve Morton, behind her desk, she realises times are changing.  Armed with a business degree, naked ambition and an iPhone, Eve announces she has been brought in to turn Imogen's beloved magazine into an app.  With herself at the helm.

In this terrifying new world, Imogen is almost invisible.  In place of her team of dedicated staff is a constantly evolving line of twenty-something bloggers at their desks day and night, amateur snaps instead of elegant photo shoots, and a URL address in place of Imogen's glossy pages.

But Imogen isn't ready to give up her hard-earned career without a fight.  Where Eve has Twitter followers, Imogen has experience, talent and real relationships, and she's prepared to fight for the fashion world she knows and loves.  Even if it means going to war with a ruthless Techbitch..."

Before | This book was Leanne's pick, and I approached it with more than a little trepidation.  The title felt a bit cringey, the topic 'done' and it just isn't the sort of book I'd reach for.  So yeah, I'll admit I felt set to hate it.  I know book club's all about reading new genres, but I could feel myself rolling my eyes through the first few chapters and generally having the wrong mindset to enjoy this book.

During | Unexpectedly, I found myself beginning to enjoy this book after the first hundred or so pages.  So the writing's not the best and it's like a mass social media name dropping sesh, but I'd forgotten how good it feels to read an easy book and whizz through the pages.  It's not without its flaws though.  Imogen's been out of work due to having cancer - a detail which I guess is there to explain her absence, but it felt half-hearted.  Along with her cancer scare midway through the book which, again, felt unnecessary.  She'd only been out of work for six months, yet her office was unrecognisable upon her return and Glossy magazine defunct; I found myself questioning whether this was realistic in a relatively short period of time.  And the fictional website which the book is named after was another pointless addition.  It's barely mentioned, doesn't enhance the story and doesn't open up any additional plotlines.

After | Despite my thoughts above, it turns out Techbitch wasn't as bad as I anticipated!  If you like Devil Wears Prada-type books, I'd recommend reading this.  Fashion mags are always a winning backdrop for films and tv series (hands up who else loved Ugly Betty!) and this definitely felt like it could be adapted for screen.  Eve is the stereotypical mega bitch who's so easy to hate, whilst Imogen's so likeable that you're instantly rooting for her to win.  I guess it just goes to show that I shouldn't be afraid to go back to classic chick lit every once in a while!

Now you've read my review, go and check out Lizzie and Leanne's round ups, plus new Blogger Bookclub recruits Alyssia, Chloe and Sarah's thoughts, too!

Next month - The Book of You by Claire Kendal, be sure to join our Goodreads group if you want to keep up that way!
So the Christmas tree is a given.  We've got that, and after the initial shock (and expense!) of having to buy a complete set of decorations from scratch all those years ago I'm slowly getting round to buying bits and pieces to add a bit of Christmas cheer to the rest of the house.  The goal is to make it feel like Christmas in every room.  Here's what I'm eyeing up right now, from budget to blow out.

Gold candle // £20
 Mini tree // £20
Tea light holder // £41.95

Christmas Interiors Inspiration

25.11.15

So the Christmas tree is a given.  We've got that, and after the initial shock (and expense!) of having to buy a complete set of decorations from scratch all those years ago I'm slowly getting round to buying bits and pieces to add a bit of Christmas cheer to the rest of the house.  The goal is to make it feel like Christmas in every room.  Here's what I'm eyeing up right now, from budget to blow out.

Gold candle // £20
 Mini tree // £20
Tea light holder // £41.95
It's been a long time since I've been to any sort of blogging event.  To be honest, the bustle, networking and cliques of people you'll probably never make any sort of meaningful connection with just isn't for me.  Which is exactly the sort of thing Bloggeration tries to combat, so when Sarah got in touch to invite me to their workshop with Penguin I got excited about events again.

Let's start off with a bit of housekeeping.  The workshop was sponsored by a variety of brands and it seems only fair to give a shout out to them.  Please don't think this is a post stuffed with links that I'm obliged to post, it just seems right to show my gratitude in this way!  The venue was a beautiful bright space underneath O Bag Factory and the main sponsor was Zazzle.
Those gorgeous flowers were supplied by Bloom & Wild and as well as the Basilico pizza we had for lunch, we were kept going throughout the day with Ringtons oh so colourful teas, hot chocolates and biscuits.

We kicked things off with a whip round of who's who, where we're at with our blogs and where we want to go in the future.  I found this part really interesting - we spent a good hour or so doing this with the 10 of us there and it was a chance to really share ideas and advice.  All written down in those Wordsworth quote notebooks gifted by the Literary Emporium.  Much better than the fleeting introductions between bloggers at events that I've known in the past!

After lunch, Stephenie from Penguin Books came in to chat to us all.  This was my favourite part of the day - it was fascinating finding out more about the various jobs within the publishing industry that manage to remain hands-on with the books.  It was also a real insight into the direction Penguin's going when it comes to working with bloggers and YouTubers.  She had us all enthralled and it was an amazing opportunity to sit down and chat books with likeminded people.

The day was rounded off with goodie bags stuffed with books and various other treats.  My personal favourite?  The Nibboxx which I scoffed on the train home....it was a much needed refuel after dashing across London!  I also managed to win a competition which was running on the day, thanks to that tea shot you see above, so I went home armed with a colouring book and pencils from Hobbycraft, a stationery box from Yoohoo HQ and a box of Lindt truffles (which may or may not have been tucked into on the train as well...)

So what did I learn on the day?

The opportunities available through blogging are far and wide-reaching | from dream jobs to new friendships, valued hobbies and valuable skills....it really does seem that blogging can be whatever you make it.

No one's journeys are the same | the bloggers I met were a varied bunch and despite differing levels in terms of subscribers and followers, the diverse stages we were all out was incredible and a real reminder that it's never too late for new opportunities.

Brands really do want to work with bloggers! | I was surprised by the enthusiasm and admiration Stephenie had for bloggers and the emphasis she put on Penguin wanting to collaborate, expand and create exciting content with us.  It was refreshing to see the relationship between bloggers and brands viewed as a partnership on equal footing and left me excited to start thinking about directions to move in the future.

Don't be afraid to ask | I've never been a blogger to ask for anything - it's always felt cheeky to effectively ask outright for something I'd like, but don't want to pay for.  Stephenie reassured us that Penguin loves the opportunity to create a buzz that bloggers and YouTubers provide and are more than happy to send out books for review.  I guess it's just about forming a relationship with willing brands who recognise that bloggers work hard and sometimes need support when it comes to creating content!

Invariably, it's who you know | Meeting with Stephenie has created a 'way in' of sorts.  Not only did she give us a link for the aforementioned review copies of books, she was also nice enough to offer work experience for any of us wanting to find out more about working within a publishing house.  It seems the same across many industries; experience is key and often a way to fast track that is through the people you know.
Workshops are the way forward! | I like the expression 'workshop' - it's much more encompassing and accurate than 'event'.  This wasn't simply a get together for the sake of it; there was focus, the chance for discussion and the opportunity to learn from others' perspectives.  More of these, please!

All in all, a Saturday very well spent.  Thank you again to Bloggeration, Stephenie and all the other brands who made it possible!

Life: A Day With Bloggeration & Penguin Books (Plus What I Learnt!)

23.11.15

It's been a long time since I've been to any sort of blogging event.  To be honest, the bustle, networking and cliques of people you'll probably never make any sort of meaningful connection with just isn't for me.  Which is exactly the sort of thing Bloggeration tries to combat, so when Sarah got in touch to invite me to their workshop with Penguin I got excited about events again.

Let's start off with a bit of housekeeping.  The workshop was sponsored by a variety of brands and it seems only fair to give a shout out to them.  Please don't think this is a post stuffed with links that I'm obliged to post, it just seems right to show my gratitude in this way!  The venue was a beautiful bright space underneath O Bag Factory and the main sponsor was Zazzle.
Those gorgeous flowers were supplied by Bloom & Wild and as well as the Basilico pizza we had for lunch, we were kept going throughout the day with Ringtons oh so colourful teas, hot chocolates and biscuits.

We kicked things off with a whip round of who's who, where we're at with our blogs and where we want to go in the future.  I found this part really interesting - we spent a good hour or so doing this with the 10 of us there and it was a chance to really share ideas and advice.  All written down in those Wordsworth quote notebooks gifted by the Literary Emporium.  Much better than the fleeting introductions between bloggers at events that I've known in the past!

After lunch, Stephenie from Penguin Books came in to chat to us all.  This was my favourite part of the day - it was fascinating finding out more about the various jobs within the publishing industry that manage to remain hands-on with the books.  It was also a real insight into the direction Penguin's going when it comes to working with bloggers and YouTubers.  She had us all enthralled and it was an amazing opportunity to sit down and chat books with likeminded people.

The day was rounded off with goodie bags stuffed with books and various other treats.  My personal favourite?  The Nibboxx which I scoffed on the train home....it was a much needed refuel after dashing across London!  I also managed to win a competition which was running on the day, thanks to that tea shot you see above, so I went home armed with a colouring book and pencils from Hobbycraft, a stationery box from Yoohoo HQ and a box of Lindt truffles (which may or may not have been tucked into on the train as well...)

So what did I learn on the day?

The opportunities available through blogging are far and wide-reaching | from dream jobs to new friendships, valued hobbies and valuable skills....it really does seem that blogging can be whatever you make it.

No one's journeys are the same | the bloggers I met were a varied bunch and despite differing levels in terms of subscribers and followers, the diverse stages we were all out was incredible and a real reminder that it's never too late for new opportunities.

Brands really do want to work with bloggers! | I was surprised by the enthusiasm and admiration Stephenie had for bloggers and the emphasis she put on Penguin wanting to collaborate, expand and create exciting content with us.  It was refreshing to see the relationship between bloggers and brands viewed as a partnership on equal footing and left me excited to start thinking about directions to move in the future.

Don't be afraid to ask | I've never been a blogger to ask for anything - it's always felt cheeky to effectively ask outright for something I'd like, but don't want to pay for.  Stephenie reassured us that Penguin loves the opportunity to create a buzz that bloggers and YouTubers provide and are more than happy to send out books for review.  I guess it's just about forming a relationship with willing brands who recognise that bloggers work hard and sometimes need support when it comes to creating content!

Invariably, it's who you know | Meeting with Stephenie has created a 'way in' of sorts.  Not only did she give us a link for the aforementioned review copies of books, she was also nice enough to offer work experience for any of us wanting to find out more about working within a publishing house.  It seems the same across many industries; experience is key and often a way to fast track that is through the people you know.
Workshops are the way forward! | I like the expression 'workshop' - it's much more encompassing and accurate than 'event'.  This wasn't simply a get together for the sake of it; there was focus, the chance for discussion and the opportunity to learn from others' perspectives.  More of these, please!

All in all, a Saturday very well spent.  Thank you again to Bloggeration, Stephenie and all the other brands who made it possible!
It's that time of year again when whilst shopping for Christmas presents for loved ones I'm struck by the sudden urge to treat myself.  I know I should just add bits and pieces to my Christmas list, but there's this irrational voice inside of me telling me that it will all sell out and I should just buy EVERYTHING NOW.

So what have I got my eye on at the moment? It's still a clean, cool-toned colour palette with touches of monochrome pattern thrown in.
// Jeans
// Hat
// Bag
// Jumper
// Scarf

Simple Seasonal Updates

11.11.15

It's that time of year again when whilst shopping for Christmas presents for loved ones I'm struck by the sudden urge to treat myself.  I know I should just add bits and pieces to my Christmas list, but there's this irrational voice inside of me telling me that it will all sell out and I should just buy EVERYTHING NOW.

So what have I got my eye on at the moment? It's still a clean, cool-toned colour palette with touches of monochrome pattern thrown in.
// Jeans
// Hat
// Bag
// Jumper
// Scarf
The Accidental // Ali Smith
The more I get into BookTube the more authors are mentioned in an almost iconic, 'must read' status.  Ali Smith is one of these, so I thought I'd give it a go with the book I'd heard most of.  The Accidental tells the tale of a family on holiday in Norfolk when Amber turns up out of the blue and virtually gate crashes.  Each member of the family assumes she's someone else's 'guest' and we see the short journey as this dysfunctional family falls apart.  Shall I start with the good bits?  I liked how each chapter was narrated by a different family member with a very clear voice and different writing style for each.  I liked how the book was split into three sections 'beginning', 'middle' and 'end' with a chapter from each character (in the same order!) within each secion, and overall I liked Amber's role as a bohemian fairy godmother, so to speak.  But I didn't actually like Amber.  I didn't like the length of the chapters, I didn't like having to concentrate so hard on what I hoped would be a fairly easy book and I didn't like the feeling this gave me of not quite getting it.  I just didn't understand the hype, and won't be reading any of Ali Smith's work again.
Rating: 1/5

A Man Called Ove // Fredrik Backman
This was the most charming, wonderfully heartwarming book I've read in a long time.  Set in Sweden, it tells the tale of Ove who at first sight is a grumpy old man.  I don't want to give too much away, but the book has two threads; present day Ove who is adjusting to his wife's death, and younger Ove telling the history of how he came to be the man he is today.  It's a beautiful story of friendship, community and family, and you soon learn that Ove is (in my eyes) actually the perfect gentleman: helpful, kind and trying to be a good man.  Albeit a bit shouty and punchy.  But I liked that!  If you liked The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you'll love this.
Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer // Renee Knight 
What a book!  I whizzed through this in the space of a collective few hours....often the case with this thriller-type books, I find.  The cover is adorned with a sticker promising that "if you loved The Girl on the Train, you'll love this"; you may remember that I didn't love TGOTT, and in my opinion Disclaimer is miles better.  A book appears in Catherine's house, and upon reading she realises that she is the focus of it and it's laying bare her deepest secret which she thought nobody knew.  It's a psychological thriller that had me gripped.  It's full of twists, kept me guessing and featured characters so real and believable that I felt genuine disgust upon reading some parts.  Even if this isn't your usual genre (and it isn't mine!) this was still an exciting, un-put-down-able book.
Rating: 5/5

Grace Williams Says It Loud // Emma Henderson
I've got mixed thoughts about this one.  The subject - Grace Williams, who is institutionalised by her family in the 1950s - was fairly interesting.  The blurb promised a tale of love between Grace and Daniel, a boy with epilepsy who sees something special in Grace.  The book then spans the next 30+ years of Grace's life.  I found their love story touching, Daniel endearing and Grace really quite sweet.  But the book just didn't really do anything for me.  It was honest, raw and shocking at points (mainly because of the now outdated lingo being used!), but I also found it hard to follow and difficult to get in a flow with at first.  That said, I soon got used to the rather disjointed style of writing and managed to get through the second half of this book in an evening.  It just wasn't a favourite.
Rating: 2/5

read // 11

9.11.15

The Accidental // Ali Smith
The more I get into BookTube the more authors are mentioned in an almost iconic, 'must read' status.  Ali Smith is one of these, so I thought I'd give it a go with the book I'd heard most of.  The Accidental tells the tale of a family on holiday in Norfolk when Amber turns up out of the blue and virtually gate crashes.  Each member of the family assumes she's someone else's 'guest' and we see the short journey as this dysfunctional family falls apart.  Shall I start with the good bits?  I liked how each chapter was narrated by a different family member with a very clear voice and different writing style for each.  I liked how the book was split into three sections 'beginning', 'middle' and 'end' with a chapter from each character (in the same order!) within each secion, and overall I liked Amber's role as a bohemian fairy godmother, so to speak.  But I didn't actually like Amber.  I didn't like the length of the chapters, I didn't like having to concentrate so hard on what I hoped would be a fairly easy book and I didn't like the feeling this gave me of not quite getting it.  I just didn't understand the hype, and won't be reading any of Ali Smith's work again.
Rating: 1/5

A Man Called Ove // Fredrik Backman
This was the most charming, wonderfully heartwarming book I've read in a long time.  Set in Sweden, it tells the tale of Ove who at first sight is a grumpy old man.  I don't want to give too much away, but the book has two threads; present day Ove who is adjusting to his wife's death, and younger Ove telling the history of how he came to be the man he is today.  It's a beautiful story of friendship, community and family, and you soon learn that Ove is (in my eyes) actually the perfect gentleman: helpful, kind and trying to be a good man.  Albeit a bit shouty and punchy.  But I liked that!  If you liked The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you'll love this.
Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer // Renee Knight 
What a book!  I whizzed through this in the space of a collective few hours....often the case with this thriller-type books, I find.  The cover is adorned with a sticker promising that "if you loved The Girl on the Train, you'll love this"; you may remember that I didn't love TGOTT, and in my opinion Disclaimer is miles better.  A book appears in Catherine's house, and upon reading she realises that she is the focus of it and it's laying bare her deepest secret which she thought nobody knew.  It's a psychological thriller that had me gripped.  It's full of twists, kept me guessing and featured characters so real and believable that I felt genuine disgust upon reading some parts.  Even if this isn't your usual genre (and it isn't mine!) this was still an exciting, un-put-down-able book.
Rating: 5/5

Grace Williams Says It Loud // Emma Henderson
I've got mixed thoughts about this one.  The subject - Grace Williams, who is institutionalised by her family in the 1950s - was fairly interesting.  The blurb promised a tale of love between Grace and Daniel, a boy with epilepsy who sees something special in Grace.  The book then spans the next 30+ years of Grace's life.  I found their love story touching, Daniel endearing and Grace really quite sweet.  But the book just didn't really do anything for me.  It was honest, raw and shocking at points (mainly because of the now outdated lingo being used!), but I also found it hard to follow and difficult to get in a flow with at first.  That said, I soon got used to the rather disjointed style of writing and managed to get through the second half of this book in an evening.  It just wasn't a favourite.
Rating: 2/5
I'm rounding off this week of appreciation with Instagram.  It's one of my most used apps, and I've curated a selection of my favourites for you below.  There's a strong fashion theme here, and you'll see that I do love a good white background flatlay mixed in with that old favourite #fromwhereistand.

And that's it!  Hopefully you discovered some new faces this week - let me know if you did, and tell me if you think there's anybody else I should be following!

Instagrammers To Follow

6.11.15

I'm rounding off this week of appreciation with Instagram.  It's one of my most used apps, and I've curated a selection of my favourites for you below.  There's a strong fashion theme here, and you'll see that I do love a good white background flatlay mixed in with that old favourite #fromwhereistand.

And that's it!  Hopefully you discovered some new faces this week - let me know if you did, and tell me if you think there's anybody else I should be following!
So today I'm talking YouTube; specifically, the YouTubers you need to have in your subscription feed.  I covered my favourite booktubers in this post, so hop over there if you're looking for the best bookish videos.  The list below covers a real mix of everything else I love watching.  If you're after vlogs, I'd recommend Brogan Tate or Samantha Maria.  If straight talking's your thing, go for Roisin Thora, Leila Buffery or Kate-Louise.  Or if you like a fusion of beauty, fashion, hauls and favourites click over to any of the other girls I've listed below.  There's a mix of established favourites (sunbeamsjess, itslinamar) alongside people like Amy Farquhar who's relatively new to YouTube.  Oh, and if you fancy watching hilarious lookbooks with minimal flounce but maximum fun, The Little Magpie is a must.
TheVintageVision

Don't forget to come back on Friday for the final installment of Appreciation Week!

YouTubers You Need To Subscribe To

4.11.15

So today I'm talking YouTube; specifically, the YouTubers you need to have in your subscription feed.  I covered my favourite booktubers in this post, so hop over there if you're looking for the best bookish videos.  The list below covers a real mix of everything else I love watching.  If you're after vlogs, I'd recommend Brogan Tate or Samantha Maria.  If straight talking's your thing, go for Roisin Thora, Leila Buffery or Kate-Louise.  Or if you like a fusion of beauty, fashion, hauls and favourites click over to any of the other girls I've listed below.  There's a mix of established favourites (sunbeamsjess, itslinamar) alongside people like Amy Farquhar who's relatively new to YouTube.  Oh, and if you fancy watching hilarious lookbooks with minimal flounce but maximum fun, The Little Magpie is a must.
TheVintageVision

Don't forget to come back on Friday for the final installment of Appreciation Week!
Let's kick off the week with some positivity, shall we?  It's been a while since I've shared the love or written a bookmarked post - that age old cliche of life getting in the way -  so I'm dubbing the next few days 'Appreciation Week'.  Ok, not the slickest of titles but you get the gist!

I rarely find time to comment on blogs and show my support that way, and in the absence of any blogroll featured here I'm starting off with blogs.  I've mentioned many of my favourites in past posts, so have tried to stick to ladies I've not yet featured.  Click on any of these links and you'll get a real sense of what I love in a blog: slick photography, crisp layout and a strong voice.





Watch out for Wednesday's installment - the YouTubers you need to subscribe to!

Blogs You Should Be Reading

2.11.15

Let's kick off the week with some positivity, shall we?  It's been a while since I've shared the love or written a bookmarked post - that age old cliche of life getting in the way -  so I'm dubbing the next few days 'Appreciation Week'.  Ok, not the slickest of titles but you get the gist!

I rarely find time to comment on blogs and show my support that way, and in the absence of any blogroll featured here I'm starting off with blogs.  I've mentioned many of my favourites in past posts, so have tried to stick to ladies I've not yet featured.  Click on any of these links and you'll get a real sense of what I love in a blog: slick photography, crisp layout and a strong voice.





Watch out for Wednesday's installment - the YouTubers you need to subscribe to!

Instagram Feed

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