I can’t quite believe it’s already been a year since I left York and headed to London - I’d just finished my degree and had been offered an internship for a start-up in central London. Scared was an understatement but this was probably the biggest risk I’ve ever taken and I’m not the type of person to take risks. Everything has to be planned to perfection and while I did everything in my control to do that, it wasn’t guaranteed. While there have definitely been some curveballs thrown my way over the year (personally and worldwide problems), I think my first year living in London has taught me a lot and has definitely been one I won’t forget. 

I recently shared a blog post over on Olivia’s blog “What My Internship Taught Me” where I shared a bit more about my experience moving to London as a new graduate with just a 6-month internship contract. The 6-month part was definitely scary but, just a month in, I knew I wanted to stay with the company I was at, and so I pushed as much as I needed to try and land a full-time job at the company or at least extend my contract. In January, my contract ended and I started a new full-time contract as SEO Marketing Executive. I was thrilled! I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could relax more into the job and living in London, feeling more secure in my role and my life in London. 

It can be hard to find peace in a busy city but it doesn’t mean it’s not there and it also doesn’t mean that there aren’t like-minded people who also like their own company and having small little adventures around London in the quieter hours. Visiting the best bookshops in London, meeting for coffee or visiting a gallery - all things I would happily do on my own or with a friend. Don’t get me wrong, the tube still scares me and I will always take an hour bus journey over a 45-minute tube ride with a change at King’s Cross. But, before the world made 2020 decided to flip life on its head, I was becoming more and more comfortable navigating around London. I definitely had my routines and maybe I definitely haven’t explored everything that London has to offer but I’ve definitely made a start. 

The let of my flat was due at the end of June, and we’ve decided to extend it another year. Who knows what that means for me. I think it’s another year in London for me but I type this from my family home back in the good ol’ North. After staring at the same 4 walls for 3 months, I decided to come home. While I can still work from home, it feels nice to be around some familiar sites and people. I am so happy with my job and I do enjoy living in London but I’m learning more and more about the things I love and what I want for the next few years - who knows if that involves a few more years in London. For now, I’m almost playing it by ear. I’m enjoying being back home and I love the people I work with. Let’s catch up in another year. 

Hope you’re doing great, 
Sarah x

Summer book picks and sunglasses
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While the weather doesn't seem to be able to make up its mind what season we're in, it's definitely the middle of summer. On the warmer days, there's nothing better than sitting outside with an ice tea and a good book. For me, summer is all about making my way through my reading challenge, reaching for some easy reads and ticking off some of those romantic, contemporary picks on my TBR. Here is just are just a few of my own summer book recommendations and some that I also plan on reading myself over the next few months. 

The Shelf by Helly Acton

I was sent an ARC of this book just last and I have to recommend it for a perfect summer read. Our main character Amy has just been dumped and if that isn't bad enough, her partner Jamie dumped her on live TV as she was chosen to participate in the new Love-Island-meets-Big-Brother TV show The Shelf where newly-dumped women will compete to be crowned "The Keeper". This was such a fun read that points out all the flaws of dating and the wat for women to be the perfect girlfriend for all men's needs. A simple plot to follow that still has some great feminist messages to make it the perfect summer read. 

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

This is a fantastic debut novel by Kiley Reid which explores great topics surrounding being black in America. It has an easy-to-read feel but written in a thought-provoking way and I just could not put it down. It follows Ermira, the baby sitter for the daughter of white blogger Alix Chamberlain. When Emira is accused of kidnapping the child she is babysitting, Alix sees this as more of an opportunity to help herself rather than support Emira. We follow both characters' stories through the months after the incident and see how life changes for each of them going forward. If you're yet to pick this up, it's a short book that is more than worth the read this summer. 

Beach Read by Emily Henry 

If the title doesn't scream "Summer Reads" then I don't know what will! Augustus and January are both writers but they can't be more different - one, a literary fiction writer who no longer believes in love and, the other, a romance writer. One thing they do have in common is they have both come down with a case of writer's block. Being beach house neighbours for the 3 months of summer, they decide to take on the challenge of writing in the style of the other, in hopes they will regain their writing spark. 

I cannot wait to give this a read soon! It's everything you want in a summer read - romance, sun, a beach setting and an easy story to get swept up in. 

Summer Days & Summer Nights: 12 Summer Romances by Stephanie Perkins and others. 

If you want to truly embrace the summery-ness then this anthology is for you. With 12 different summer love stories from 12 young adult writers, this is the perfect summer book to dip on and out of as the season ticks on. This is the perfect celebration of summer all wrapped up nicely in one single book. I've only read a few of the stories so far and I can't wait to read even more in the coming months. 

The Haters by Jesse Andrews

Is a summer reads list truly complete without a book with a road trip? Corey, Wes and Ash are spending summer at jazz camp. Convinced that musicians are born to be on the road, they flee camp to begin their road trip; "The Haters Summer of Hate Tour". This is a book about friendship, young fun and music. It's definitely one to enjoy over summer. 

What books are you planning to read this summer? 

I hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x