Saturday, 28 July 2018

Louise Pentland's 'Wilde About The Girl' Preview Party

On Thursday evening I had the pleasure of attending the preview party for Wilde About The Girl, Louise Pentland's second novel. Wilde Like Me, her first book, was a huge success, and having enjoyed Louise's online content for a few years, I knew I had to go - for that, and also who can resist that stunning coral cover?

The party was at the flagship Benefit Cosmetics store on London's Carnaby Street. As I waited for Google Maps to load on my phone outside the tube station, I was nearly abducted, dear reader. Yes, a random man decided to drag me away by the hand so we could 'talk', and then asked me to go to a nearby restaurant and sit with him. Funnily enough I decided against being trapped in a situation with this random dude, made my excuses, and walked away. I don't care if you 'get lonely sometimes', I would quite like to stay alive long enough to read this book I'm about to go and celebrate.

ANYWAY. (Yay London...) Benefit is a predominantly pink brand, and the room downstairs was the perfect location to match a gorgeous book. There were canap├ęs and drinks, pink sofas, goodie bags, piles of books adorning the surfaces and a surprisingly heavy Instagram frame. ("I can hold my drink too! Wait, no I can't...")

Excuse the photos, it was 34C and I didn't want to lug around more than I had to which meant leaving my camera at home. These are phone pictures, but they do the job just about...

Zoom in to see what people wrote. I won't tell you which is mine...

It was a very intimate party, and it felt great to actually have proper conversations with most of the people there. Sometimes you can go to a book launch and not even get chance to speak to the author (as it was, we spent about half an hour towards the end sat at a table talking about anything and everything, it was most excellent.) I also spoke to two lovely competition winners, Jade and Amelia, as well as a blogger I know from Twitter called Zarina, and numerous people from Bonnier Zaffre. I was feeling very anxious at the beginning (yep, that's made a comeback) but it was such a lovely evening and I'm so glad I was able to go.

I said this on my Instagram (oh hi, follow me!) but I'll say it here too: it's been a joy to watch Louise's journey, from when I was a young teen obsessing over YouTubers, to growing up and joining that world myself and seeing them go on to achieve even bigger and better things. I cannot wait to read about Robin and Lyla's adventures, and additionally to see what's next in store for Louise. Having interviewed her earlier this summer for my Wonder Women series, it was a pleasure to meet her in person.

And now for our usual sneak peek into the goodie bag, because everyone loves a goodie bag!

How cute is Lyla's snack pack? And yes, the gigantic bar of Galaxy did melt on the way home but I ate it anyway.

Thank you so much to Bonnier Zaffre for a lovely evening. I can't wait to read Wilde About The Girl, and you can pre-order your copy here!

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

On Work, Unhappiness, and Big Dreams

I feel stuck. Can I tell you a story?

At some point last year, I decided to take the pressure off in regards to blogging. For roughly a decade before that, I'd been pushing myself to get all manner of 'content' out there regularly, including videos which took entire days to film and edit, and blog posts that took hours too. There wasn't much reward - I was making a bit of money, but not enough to survive, so I had to get a job. It ended up being a full-on, stressful job, and soon enough I was officially burned out. Work sucked all of the joy and creativity out of me. I was, and still am, a cog in a big machine. When I come home, it's not even that I'm exhausted, although I often am, but that the creative juices have simply gone.

And for a fundamentally creative person, it's devastating. I rarely feel inspired to blog. I've completely lost interest in YouTube. I prefer my personal Instagram over my blog Instagram, where I often go months without posting. Before, these things were my life. And I desperately wish they still were, but the love has disappeared.

I think it's still in me somewhere, or I hope so, anyway. I want it back. But it doesn't help that my domain provider completely messed up my domain name when I renewed it a few months ago, meaning that you won't necessarily get to my blog when you type in my URL - it's hit and miss. And I can no longer link directly to certain blog posts, just my generic, which means if I want to point someone to an old blog post, I can't. My views have tanked but they can't seem to fix the issue. They've literally broken my blog, so even though I want to come back, there isn't a lot of point as it's pretty unusable. Honestly, if you're reading this, it's a miracle.

And I am very unhappy in my job at the moment. I only work four days a week, yet they are long shifts, mentally exhausting, physically laborious and painful, and... it's just not what I enjoy. It's not me. I've been close to quitting many times, and people online and in books are always like, quit the job you hate! Life's too short! But I can't afford to just quit my job when there aren't any others around. I want to chase my dream, but I can't put the finances of my future in jeopardy. If I dropped even one shift at work (if they let me) I wouldn't be earning enough, so that's not a possibility either.

For a while, work made me question if I even wanted to work in publishing/journalism anymore, despite having wanted that for years and years. I felt no joy for it anymore. I think it's slowly coming back to me, as well as the dream to finish a novel and become a published writer which is SO strong and SO big and it's a need, not a want. But I just can't seem to do that while working this job which I've come to hate.

I know most published authors have a full-time job as well as writing, but at the moment, I can't do it. My job is one you end up taking home with you. Even when I'm not there, I might as well be. There's no space for me to be me, whether I'm at work or at home.

So, readers, we come back to what I said before: I feel stuck. I am stuck. And I am well aware that this is a first world problem to have. At least I have a job. At least I have some sort of income. But it's having such a negative impact on not just my mental health but also my physical health (I was there for three months before I had to be referred to physio for my knees, having been perfectly physically healthy before).

Question, universe: why wasn't I born into a rich family, damn it?

In an ideal world, I would be back to putting all my time and effort into blogging, vlogging, freelancing, writing, and all that jazz. It would be making me just enough money to live on. I would be handing in my resignation right now (something I genuinely dream about). I'd be working on my new WIP, and seeing if I could take it further. I would be so much happier.

So, reader, what should I do?

Have you been in this situation? If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it. I miss you!