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2018 Book Review Roundup – YA Fiction

Last year I read so many books and I told myself I’d review them as I went. Did I do that?! Did I heck! So here we are at the start of 2019 and I’m having to go back and review all the books I read in 2018! They won’t be super in depth because it would take me until next Christmas to do that many, and I also think it can be a good thing to just do a little teaser.

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5 Books to Read This Summer

As I am 100% swamped with exam prep (#prayforCodie) and wedding planning (www.quirkynuptials.co.uk) and general life, I asked the lovely Maisie to write me a guest post and, of course, it was about books! I haven’t read any of these, so I will be downloading a few for the honeymoon (62 days and counting!)

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Wilson in my 20’s: The Illustrated Mum

You may remember that a while ago I set myself the challenge of reading every Jacqueline Wilson book that had been published since my birth, as some sort of weird semi-midlife crisis. I was all set to start, but then other books happened. And I got a little carried away with life. But finally, this week, I picked up one of my favourite ever Jacqueline Wilson books, The Illustrated Mum. 

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The Devil’s Work – Mark Edwards

I’ve declared my love for Mark Edwards’ books plenty of times on this blog, however, after reading Catch Your Death and being a tiny bit disappointed (it just wasn’t as amazing as his others!), I was a little wary about The Devil’s Work. I needn’t have worried. In true Mark Edwards’ style, it was breathtaking. 

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Wilson in my 20s

I have always been a big Jacqueline Wilson fan – her books were such a huge part of my childhood but I struggled to keep up with them as I grew up and eventually I just kinda seemed to not bother. So here I am at 24 and a half and I have challenged myself to read ALL OF THE BOOKS. I headed to google to find out exactly how many books the Queen had written and no one could give me a good answer, but it’s clear that there is a whole load. I do know that it was over 100 in 2014… That’s a lot of books.

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The (Broken) Vagina Monologues: Part 5 – A Vaginal Video Game

Hello again friends! It’s been a while! My broken vagina and I have actually been busy growing a little human (I am aware that it’s my womb doing the growing, but it makes more sense poetically to say it’s my vag), and in a few months time (December to be exact) I will be pushing him out of it too! If I thought sex was painful, I feel like childbirth is going to be a whole other level… However, I realise I left you on a bit of a cliffhanger (or a clit-hanger as my pals at My Dad Wrote A Porno blog would say), and it’s time to catch up! 

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The (Broken) Vagina Monologues – Part 2: Let’s talk about Sex

Steven, my future husband, is a very attractive man. The most attractive, I would say, and when we first got together, I was insatiable. We would rock up to everything, slightly late, with sex hair and that glorious haze that follows new couples around post-coitus. It was amazing. He was amazing and, fuck it, I was amazing too. Everything was wonderful.

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The (Broken) Vagina Monologues – An Introduction

I am an unashamed over-sharer. Whether it be ingrown hairs, repulsive (but hilarious) farts, or embarrassing moments, I’m not afraid to have a chat about the things that others shy away from. I’m not sure why this is – perhaps I just have no shame – or where it stemmed from, but one thing I have noticed, is that for every one person who is horrified and vows never to speak to me again, there are several who find it hilarious and one that finds it useful. That’s where the idea for this series came from. 

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Viking Arty Party – Craft, Coffee & Cake!

I love me some crafts. We have an entire room dedicated to it in our house and a huge amount of my paycheck goes on craft supplies “for the wedding”, so when stationary bosses Viking got in touch and invited me to a crafternoon with coffee and cakes, you better believe I was all over that! 

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Blog Events 101

April is set to be a busy month for me in terms of blogger events (#humblebrag) and I thought it might be useful to write a little post about the various types of events and my top tips for attending, to hopefully help some newer bloggers, or those who have yet to venture to an event

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So you want to go freelance?

I’ve seen a lot of questions about this on various Facebook groups and, suffering with imposter syndrome as I do, I’ve never felt quite legit enough to write about it. Not “freelance” enough if you will. 

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Top Tips for Freelancing or Working From Home

On Twitter, a rather lovely follower asked me for any tips I had about working freelance. Weirdly, I hadn’t even thought of myself as someone qualified (is that the right word?!) to give advice, however I thought it would be fun to put together a post of the things I would say are my top tips, after the past few months being my own boss. More than anything, these are tips for working from home – maybe when I get the hang of this freelance lark I’ll do another post on the real stuff! 

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Freelance Expectations Vs Reality

When I decided that I was going to go freelance, it’s safe to say that I had high expectations of how my life was going to change. A few months on and it seems the reality is not quite the same. 

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How to be a Blogger’s Best Friend

In a frankly typical turn of events, an idea I’ve been harbouring for a while, for a blog post, was recently written by someone else (probably far better than I would have managed) and went viral. 

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So, I Quit my Job…

So… I quit my job! Okay, there’s a little bit more to it than that. It wasn’t a dramatic, slamming doors, “I quit” moment at all. In fact, I shakily handed in my letter of resignation, after spending a good while considering my decision and of course I still have to work my four weeks notice, whilst my boss tries …

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North West Bloggers Meet: 13th July!

On Sunday 12th July, I found myself in a room full of people, frantically swapping business cards, taking arty pictures of bowls of popcorn and tweeting incessantly. This was my first blogger meet!

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A Quirky Etsy Christmas Gift Guide*

The following links are affiliate links but the words and opinions are all mine. I am also being compensated with a gift voucher for writing an Etsy gift guide but that doesn’t affect any of my choices.  It’s that time of the year again where I trawl through Etsy to find the coolest gifts available on the internet. This year …

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Escape Room: The Game Review*

This game was gifted, and the link is an affiliate, but the opinions are all mine baby! I’m bossy and competitive, so of course escape rooms are my ideal way to spend an hour. I have wanted to go to one irl for ages, and finally got the chance a few weeks ago. We got out, of course (although with …

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A Day in the Life of A Working Mum

I get home from my “day job” at 2am and I’m exhausted, but also still wired from a hefty shift and a pretty long drive home. Of course, Ruben is wide awake and has been for an hour or so, so I greet a very harassed husband and cheeky baby. I need the toilet but that’s going to have to …

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Paris in Town – the Perfect Place for Parents

Until you become a parent, you don’t realise just how un-child-friendly so many places are. Is there room to put your pram? Is there adequate baby changing? Can you afford a little treat on your maternity pay, or will you have to go into your overdraft for a slice of cake?

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Quirky Christmas Gift Ideas

Y’all know I LOVE Coolstuff.com for quirky and unusual gifts, and I’ve been working hard with them behind the scenes to put together a gift guide of things you probably won’t see on many other lists. I’m giving some of these things out for Christmas, so if you happen to get something from this post, please act surprised!

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Sleeping better with Leesa Mattresses #Ad

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen me complain about how uncomfortable I am in the last few weeks in pregnancy, and how much I’ve been struggling to sleep at night (and yet just wanting to spend my days sleeping – sigh!). The midwife explained to us at the last appointment that rest while pregnant is so important, as your body just won’t do what it’s supposed to if it’s tired (or hungry, or thirsty – although the amount I am eating, I certainly won’t be going hungry anytime soon!). So that’s why when Leesa offered to gift me one of their mattresses, I jumped at the chance! 

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Music In Unison – A Must-Try Class

Some people are wine connoisseurs (I personally like ‘em sweet and cheap – like me.) while others know everything there is to know about designer handbags, but me, I like to think of myself as somewhat of an authority on baby classes. I bloody LOVE a good baby group, whether it’s messy play or Makaton, a majority of my hard-earned …

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A Day in the Life of A Working Mum

I get home from my “day job” at 2am and I’m exhausted, but also still wired from a hefty shift and a pretty long drive home. Of course, Ruben is wide awake and has been for an hour or so, so I greet a very harassed husband and cheeky baby. I need the toilet but that’s going to have to …

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Planning a Naming Day

. I wrote this post a few days after Ruben’s naming day in June… June! He had just turned 6 months and it was the beginning of summer. Its now mid-September, he’s 9 months old and I’m only just getting to upload this! Mum life is great for content ideas but rubbish for the time to post them!).

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Am I a mummy blogger now? Rebranding!

I’ve never really known where exactly (if anywhere) I fit into the blogosphere. I’m certainly not a beauty blogger – I barely remember to take my make up off, and just a quick look at my dinosaur dress will tell you that I am not a fashion blogger. I do write about travel, but let’s be honest, I don’t have …

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How to support a nursing partner with breastfeeding

Just because you’re not lactating yourself, doesn’t mean that the process is nothing to do with you! Even if your partner isn’t planning on expressing or combi-feeding, which means you can’t help by giving bottled, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to help. My husband was super helpful, especially in those incredibly difficult early days, and I’m …

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Simple Self-care for Busy Mums

When you’re a mum (which I have been for over 6 months now and still can’t believe it!), self-care is the last thing on your mind, behind feeding the baby, changing the baby, winding the baby, naps, cleaning, developmental milestones, sensory play, potential dangers, future schools, and attempting to leave the house with the least amount of vomit on your clothes.

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Paris in Town – the Perfect Place for Parents

Until you become a parent, you don’t realise just how un-child-friendly so many places are. Is there room to put your pram? Is there adequate baby changing? Can you afford a little treat on your maternity pay, or will you have to go into your overdraft for a slice of cake?

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AD | Exploring Liverpool

I think it’s true for wherever you live, that because something is on your doorstep, you just don’t appreciate what it has to offer. Liverpool is just a short train ride away from us, and yet we rarely explore it properly unless friends from elsewhere are visiting for the first time! It only then that we realise just how epic Liverpool really is. 

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Why Centre Parcs is the best place for a UK babymoon

Being pregnant is really bloody hard. I won’t go into all the reasons why, but if there is ever a time you need a holiday, it’s when you’re pregnant. A baby moon might seem a little extra, but when you really think about the fact that in just a few more weeks your life is going to be turned upside down by a tiny tornado and this is the last time you’ll be able to travel with your other half as just the two of you, you’ll start to see why it’s a necessity. 

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Pre-Christmas Getaway Ideas*

As we will have a baby by Christmas(!) I am deffo feeling rather consumed by wanderlust. Sure, summer is great for holidays, but I love taking trips outside of the school holidays as things are quieter, cheaper and all-round better. I think if you only ever travel in the summer, you’re really missing out on seeing some beautiful places in the snow, or enjoying a bit of winter sun, and besides, the world is too big to limit when you visit! So, I headed over to Cickstay to check out some of their villas, apartments and holiday rentals to put together some dream destinations.  

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Haute Dolci Luxury Desserts*

When it comes to luxury, I am not a fancy lady at all. I don’t wear designer clothes, and I’m happy enough in a budget hotel, however, one luxury area I can get on board with is desserts, so when I was invited to try out Haute Dolci and their range of deliciously decadent desserts, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes!

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Why The Florist is the Ultimate Night Out

I was recently lucky enough to be invited to The Florist for their pre-launch weekend and it was incredible. Here is why you need to include The Florist for your next night out, boozy brunch or big event. 

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Music In Unison – A Must-Try Class

Some people are wine connoisseurs (I personally like ‘em sweet and cheap – like me.) while others know everything there is to know about designer handbags, but me, I like to think of myself as somewhat of an authority on baby classes. I bloody LOVE a good baby group, whether it’s messy play or Makaton, a majority of my hard-earned …

View Post

Am I a mummy blogger now? Rebranding!

I’ve never really known where exactly (if anywhere) I fit into the blogosphere. I’m certainly not a beauty blogger – I barely remember to take my make up off, and just a quick look at my dinosaur dress will tell you that I am not a fashion blogger. I do write about travel, but let’s be honest, I don’t have …

View Post

How to support a nursing partner with breastfeeding

Just because you’re not lactating yourself, doesn’t mean that the process is nothing to do with you! Even if your partner isn’t planning on expressing or combi-feeding, which means you can’t help by giving bottled, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to help. My husband was super helpful, especially in those incredibly difficult early days, and I’m …

View Post

Simple Self-care for Busy Mums

When you’re a mum (which I have been for over 6 months now and still can’t believe it!), self-care is the last thing on your mind, behind feeding the baby, changing the baby, winding the baby, naps, cleaning, developmental milestones, sensory play, potential dangers, future schools, and attempting to leave the house with the least amount of vomit on your clothes.

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Being a Mum: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I can’t believe that this Mother’s Day, I’m an actual Mum. Last year I was a bit sad as we had been trying to conceive and it felt as though it was never going to happen. Thankfully, this year I am writing this while Baby Roo sleeps next to me, looking precious and making my heart want to burst. Obviously it’s a bittersweet one, as it’s my first one as a Mum, but also my first without my own Mum. But today, I want to focus on my first 3.5 months of Mum’ing and what it’s really been like.

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The (Broken) Vagina Monologues: Part 5 – A Vaginal Video Game

Hello again friends! It’s been a while! My broken vagina and I have actually been busy growing a little human (I am aware that it’s my womb doing the growing, but it makes more sense poetically to say it’s my vag), and in a few months time (December to be exact) I will be pushing him out of it too! If I thought sex was painful, I feel like childbirth is going to be a whole other level… However, I realise I left you on a bit of a cliffhanger (or a clit-hanger as my pals at My Dad Wrote A Porno blog would say), and it’s time to catch up! 

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Why I Overshare…

If you have spoken to me in real life, it will come as no surprise that I am a bit of an over sharer. My broken vagina updates come up as a regular topic at various blog events and if I take a particularly noteworthy poop, I’m more than happy to offer a detailed description. Hey – I have never pretended to be classy! 

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NumNoms: Crazy Creation*

NumNoms challenged me to create a #CrazyCreation and so – I grabbed some of our niblings (Did you know that’s the plural for nieces & nephews?!) and borrowed the mother-in-law’s kitchen and with an overly-extravagant video set up (perks of having a videographer as a future husband!) we got to work. 

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Chester Roomzzz Review*

impression that hotels should be nice and fancy (& a little pretentious), with an over priced restaurant and unnecessary room service. However, after staying in two Roomzzz apart-hotels, I am actually gutted that they’re not in more cities – I love them! (They are also incredibly priced if you’re on a budget!)

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Guess Who’s Back Baby?!

Happy 2016! My Vlogmas was something of a giant failure, but I managed to film a few videos this month before Panto started, so hopefully I’ll be back in the swing of things soon! If you’d like to subscribe, please feel free to – it makes me feel all fuzzy inside!

#BEDN: Whining with Wine

Y’know those days where your brain doesn’t want to work and you can’t think of a single thing to write? That’s where I am right now, however I’m 20 days into Blog Everyday in November, so I thought I would cheat a little and post a video today instead! If you haven’t seen any of my Youtube videos, you should …

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Being Diagnosed with CFS & Fibromyalgia

Last week, I was diagnosed with CFS & Fibromyalgia (incase you didn’t get that from the title – haha!), and I figured a video was a good way of getting all those feels out. It made me realise that I have stopped posting my Youtube videos on my blog, so I really need to try and get back on that. …

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Speaking Love Languages

I’m one of those people that loves to do little personality quizzes in order to find out about myself. Whether they’re the silly Buzzfeed ‘ How Compatible with Jim from The Office are you?’ (91% thank you very much) or the renowned Meyers Briggs type test (I was an INFJ but recently scored as an ENFP – who even knows?!), I just like to know. 

The one that has actually been useful to my life, is the Five Love Languages. A short and simple ‘Would you rather’ type test which tells you your ‘love languages’ at the end – basically, how you like to be shown love. 

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HomeSense Wedding Haul!

The friendly beans over at HomeSense sent me a voucher a few weeks ago to spend in their store on wedding items. That’s like all of my favourite things!

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Hubby? Fella? Bird? Bae?

Being engaged to the love of my life is pretty cool. Don’t get me wrong, this announcement is very often met with a look of disbelief – why on earth would someone want to marry you, you giant dork?! Honestly, I have no idea. 

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BEDN: Where shall we go on our Honeymoon?!

Wanderlust-inflicted travel-lovers that we are, Steven and I are already thinking about our honeymoon. We have so many ideas and (sadly) we can’t do them all, so I figured there was a blog post in there somewhere! Our first thought was Disneyland Florida, spending our days screaming on rides and watching amazing shows and taking selfless with princesses – the …

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How my optimism has failed me…

Generally, in my everyday life, I’d like to think of myself as pretty low-maintenance. When it comes to buying gifts, for example, family and friends often remark how easy it is to buy for me. I don’t want diamonds or designer clothes, a battered old book, novelty socks or craft supplies would make me much happier!
So when it came to planning for the wedding, I figured my vision of a beautiful, outside, rustic themed ceremony was pretty low-maintenance too.

How bloody wrong I was!

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Cute, but easy Bridesmaid Proposal DIY!

My mantra for this wedding is ‘I only plan on doing this once, so let’s do it right’. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I want to spend a whole bunch of unnecessary money on it, but I do want it to be special. So, instead of just calling my friends to ask them to be Bridesmaids, I decided to make a little keep sake for them to pop the question as it were. I looked all over Pinterest but everything seemed to cost quite a bit, and with a fair few bridesmaids, I just couldn’t afford that!
As I was going home just a few days after we had gotten engaged, and I wanted to ask them in person, this meant I had to think fast, on a very tight budget. I got a multi pack of matches, in the bigger box, for about £1. Everything else used were just bits and pieces from my over flowing craft drawers.

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WTF I’m engaged!

Holy crap balls, I am engaged. I, Codie Louise Austin, who has no matching socks or earrings, who would eat chocolate for breakfast every day, who still thinks farts are hilarious, am getting married!

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