My to-be-read pile is always growing. Sometimes I just take a wander in a bookshop and then oops I’ve bought a new book. NetGalley is a killer as I love requesting books – but I really need to stop. I also have family members who give me free books. Then of course there’s Amazon and other bloggers and booktubers suggestions. I’m always just adding, to the point where I have too many books I need to read. Now this gets quite intimidating right? Now, I have created a method for me to shrink my TBR pile and also combat it head on.

1. Accept and Acknowledge

First you need to acknowledge that you have a mountainous TBR pile. Then you need to accept that you need to start reading it. Also, accept that it is okay if you’re in a reading slump. But if you keep putting it off, the pile will probably grow instead of shrink and you’ll feel even more intimidated.

2. Decide on a Number

Now this is the important part. Pick a time frame E.g 3 months and think about how many books you can read in this time frame realistically. So in 3 months maybe you can read 10 books? So then your TBR list will now be just 10 books. You can do this per month, per 3 months, yearly etc. Just make sure you think realistically. I do 3 months because at uni my free time changes a lot over the whole year. So in Summer months I can read a lot more than in November/December when I have assignment hand-ins.

3. Split and Be Particular

Go through your TBR pile and split it into exactly the amount of books you can read in the time period you’ve stated. Be really precise with your choices, and then those which havn’t been chosen put aside. So I put all my unread books on one shelf so I know I havn’t read them. These will then be the ones you pick for the next time period. Or whenever you complete your list. You will then have a TBR in this amount of time book list or pile.

4. Proclaim and Publicise

If you tell people you will be more likely to actually do it. If you’re a blogger, tell your followers. If you’re not let your friends and family know. This is what I love about the Goodreads yearly challenge because you can publically announce how many you’re going to read, and you can also make TBR lists.

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With a long Easter break and an upcoming shorter summer due to starting work, I decided to visit family early this year. With the stunning North Wales countryside a simple train journey away, I spent 2 nights staying with my aunt. Although catching up was the main reason, as a family we can’t not visit the local art gallery while we’re wandering with coffee shop visits a must.

Conwy Castle

We vist Conwy nearly every year as it’s so easy to drive to. Although I’ve visited often, I’ve never had the chance to visit the castle and the walls. This year I dragged my aunt up along some of the wall to get a glimpse of the views from above.

Conwy Castle - North Wales

Conwy Castle - North Wales

The Royal Cambrian Academy Art Gallery

Along a side road and up a hill you’ll find the hidden treasure that is the Royal Cambrian Academy Art Gallery in Conwy. With only two artists on display, I fell in love with Rob Piercy’s watercolour paintings of Snowdonia.

Top left: Diane Lawson – ‘Mortal Coil’ charcoal drawing and bronze resin statue; The others are all part of Rob Piercy’s ‘Landscapes, Drawings and Personal Memories’ exhibition. They consist of watercolour and oil paintings, mainly of the Snowdonia landscape. 

Rob Piercy - Art Gallery - North Wales

Coffee and Bookshop

A bit more coffee shop than bookshop nowadays, but the food here was wonderful. They let dogs in as well, so there were so many cute pets in the shop.

Denbighshire Art Society

A quick detour to the Denbighshire Art Society let me take a quick nosey through some of the work before their upcoming exhibition. North Wales is the perfect place for artists due to the gorgeous countryside I swear.

Prestatyn

My family live in a few places across North Wales but I was staying in Prestatyn. It never gets old how stunning the view from their house is. We also spent some time along the beach while it was sunny although it’s still pretty cold out with the wind.

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I received All The Places I’ve Ever Lived* by David Gaffney as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

I found this book… strange. But in a good way. It’s got mass murder, a ghost who isn’t really a ghost? time travel and some teen drama as well. When I described it like that, it doesn’t sound that great. Honestly? It worked really well. We follow Barry Dyer (although I kept reading it as Danny Dyer oops) after a local attack has taken place on a girl from his school in the 70’s. He is a ‘tether’ to the paranormal in this plot due to the metal discs on his body which only he can see.

At first I struggled to read this book, just because I didn’t know what I was going into. I’d completely forgotten the blurb, and I thought ‘eh I’ll just read it instead of googling it’. Some of the scenes were extremely surreal, and I still have a lot of questions. Maybe I didn’t read into the details enough but I still don’t know who the murderer is. In a mystery styled book, I normally want to find out a bit more about who the person is. We only really get an insight into Barry and his friends and family, the second story line, if I can call it that, doesn’t have much expansion on who people really are.

Another issue I had, which isn’t by any means a problem. It might not annoy anyone else, it could just be me. But once you notice something, and you realise it’s unnecessary it can get quite annoying. So Barry has a friend called Samantha Fry, and she seems great, yeah, good addition to the story as the coming of age aspect. What bugged me, was that whenever she was mentioned, it was always ‘Samantha Fry’ it was never just Samantha. I just don’t understand why the last name always had to be used.

Petal, the ghost in the story is explained about halfway through by a secondary character. I really liked this explanation because it brought the information needed to the question I, and Barry, had. I also really liked that the time travel didn’t enable them to talk to people and move things etc. Because this way was a reasonable way to make it work well.

I would recommend this book, for definite. The only problem’s I had were me just being picky about it. The name thing isn’t a big deal, and the knowing the killer isn’t actually important to the plot. I just personally would have changed it slightly. It’s still a great book though.

 

 

 

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Do you ever feel like you have nothing to watch? I always seem to sit scrolling through Netflix trying to find something new to watch, and then sometimes I just dont feel like it. I know me, and I know the shows I do like. Some are a lot easier to binge watch when you have a free day and here’s my list of go-to binge worthy shows.

Friends


If you haven’t binge watched friends on Comedy Central when you’ve been off work/school have you even lived? Friends is also the show that I revise to because I’ve seen it so much.

Gossip Girl


Sometimes, I’m not fully sure what to watch on Netflix so I revert back to rewatching Gossip Girl episodes. There’s always something you’ve forgotten on a re watch.

Pretty Little Liars


I spent so many hours rewatching PLL after the last season came out just to try and see all the clues about A.

Supernatural


With a solid 12 seasons, it’s one of the best shows to binge watch because there’s so many episodes.

Gilmore Girls


Especially with the new episodes on Netflix, Gilmore Girls is ready for a binge fest.

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So when I first started University, I dragged a pile of my TBR books with me to my student accommodation. Because of course there will be loads of free time right? Wrong. Whether it’s actually going to uni, doing uni work, socialising, having a part time job, or just you know not doing anything really, there’s not a lot of time left to read. I think I only read about 1 book that year. I was really annoyed about this actually, because I love to read, so during the summer and going into my second year I decided to read more. Here’s how I did it.

1. Carry books at all times

Now, you dont need to carry that massive 600 page book you’ve been trying to read everywhere, but carrying small paperbacks or investing in an e-reader are good choices. I started buying the Penguin Little Black Classics* which are short easy reads to just put in your handbag. I also have the kindle app on my phone, as I dont actually own an E-reader. But this means I always have something I can read on me, so whenever I have spare time between lectures or something I can read.

2. Prioritise your time

So, you think you dont have enough time to read? Do you spend hours binge watching Netflix? Or hours scrolling through social media? Yes? Then yes you do have enough time to read, you just need to prioritise some of this time towards reading. Cut down one episode of Netflix per day and you can get a good chunk of a book read. Or you can do what I do and read while watching Netflix and confuse yourself. Every. Damn. Time.

3. Schedule time

Similar to above but a bit more specific. Schedule your time for when you want to read. If you want to read more, I would suggest telling yourself to read before bed. One, you might actually go to bed at a reasonable hour, as being away from a screen is proven to help you sleep better. Two, you will get used to it as a habit to read before bed, therefore making you read more.

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