The Switch by Beth O’Leary – Review!

This is a book I recently read and I wanted to do a little review about it, there will be spoilers so if this is on your TBR List, stop reading!

We meet Leena, a young businesswoman working for a firm in London and her grandmother Eileen, who lives in Hamleigh in Harksdale. It is a made up village but the author has said it was inspired by a village she visited in the south of the Yorkshire Dales. After a quick Google search this is the sort of village I am picturing!



Within the first few chapters we come to realise Leena’s sister Carla has passed away and left a massive void in everyones lives. Leena has a very strained relationship with her mother and Grandma Eileen’s husband, Wade has recently left her for a dance instructor. Eileen refuses to mope around and decides to seek love and passion, sadly there isn’t many compatible bachelors in her village! After a big presentation at work goes terribly for Leena she is given a 2 month sabbatical from work and escapes to Yorkshire to see her grandma. The two decide a change of scenery would be a fabulous idea and so Grandma Eileen goes on a big adventure to London, looking for love while Leena stays in Yorkshire engrossing herself into village life & meeting a rather distractingly handsome schoolteacher.

Leena meets the Neighbourhood Watch Committee and becomes involved in their activities and May Day celebration planning. We are introduced to a funny bunch of elderly ladies and gents who show amazing strength and support in really tough situations. Leena learns to how live life in the slow lane and befriends her elderly next door neighbour with whom she meets up for a daily coffee catch up.

Meanwhile, Eileen meets Leena’s friend Bee who helps her compile a dating profile and before long, messages are flooding in from all types of interested chaps! Eileen cannot resist meddling in other people’s lives and soon becomes friends with all her neighbours including isolated Letitia (who turns out to be a total gem with a fabulous vintage home!) It’s not long till Eileen is inspired to create a Silver Shoreditch Social Club, a social space for people within her age group who can meet for coffee, to read or just to have a chat with like minded individuals. A little sanctuary in the busy capital, somewhere to feel less alone. Back in Hamleigh, Leena is trying to navigate her feelings towards her mother, who is Eileen’s daughter. The loss of her sister has created rage within her, blaming her mother for the death of her sister, thus creating a rift between the two. Like her grandmother, Leena cannot stop herself in meddling in the lives of the villagers and is soon caught up in challenges faced by the residents of Hamleigh village.

This book is about healing from loss. It is about love between friends and between family. It shows us two very different communities coming together through the help of both characters. In a place like London, we are used to dodging people and having the bare minimum conversation with strangers, especially with our neighbours. Eileen has no filter, she is courageous and witty and encouraging and she decides to befriend everyone in her apartment complex. She is an extremely likeable character and you find yourself wanting to meet her! Traditionally, grandmothers are portrayed as more strict & uptight, whereas in this book it is Leena who has these qualities. It was very interesting to see Leena’s behaviour change throughout the book. In the early stages of her stay in Hamleigh, her mentality was very much “get stuff done and go home” whereas towards the end it felt like she wasn’t ready to leave. Hamleigh helped her heal in more ways than one.

What I loved about this book is how easy it was to relate to the characters. I very much enjoyed seeing the narrative from two different perspectives. Usually if books are written in a dual narrative, we have main characters within a similar age group, so it was lovely to see the contrast between the two ladies. They had a lot of things in common but very different ways to go about things and it was nice see Eileen live a life she dreamt of having when she was younger.

This book makes you realise the significance of family but also the significance of taking a break to self-reflect and to pause, to remember to put yourself first, allowing yourself to heal and grow.

The Switch had me giggling & it had had me tearing up a few times. It was such a heart-warming read; it was simply impossible to put down. I would definitely recommend this for a cosy night in with a cup of tea and a scented candle burning in the background.

Has anyone else read this? What were your thoughts?

Kamila 🙂

Quitting my job during the pandemic.

Yep, you read that right.

I quit my job.

In the middle of a pandemic & during a third national lockdown.

By choice.

I am fortunate in the fact, that leaving my job was a decision I could take, on my terms and leave at a time I was ready. I am aware that many jobs have been lost and many people have been made redundant in these uncertain times. I wanted to share my experience with you because I know there are people out there with a similar internal struggle and I just wanted to say “Hey, it a tough decision but don’t think about it alone, share your thoughts with someone, it’s okay to think about whats right for you”. I also want to mention that I am not going to sit here and bash the company I worked for, I am just going to share my headspace with you all.

For the first time in my life, I felt a strong need to prioritise me. I took a step back and thought about what is it that I want, what is not bringing me happiness? I felt like for a while, I haven’t been growing and I very much felt like I have been standing still but not really sure why and what I was waiting for. Eventually it dawned on me, I didn’t find my job fulfilling anymore.

Now for a bit of back story, I was in my job for just under three years and is started off as any new job does; it was great! The best place I ever worked in, I loved the environment & the energy, the people I met and worked with and the individuals I dealt with on a daily basis. It was exciting & it was something new!

Over time, it came to a point, where in my heart, I realised I wasn’t passionate about my job anymore, I couldn’t agree with the direction the company was taking and I craved something more. I needed something full-filling, something that kept me stimulated on a daily basis, something to help me thrive. I always imagined myself being in a job which I was able to continue to grow in, this is so important to me. A job which would continue to challenge me, helping me develop professionally and as an adult but also I need my job to provide enough stability for me to one day be able to buy a home, start a family, purchase a cute little pup and my dream car. Over time, I realised that if I wanted something bigger and better I will have to make a choice. I also realised the only thing truly keeping me there, where the people I worked with, because despite everything, I felt like we were a little family and it was hard to picture myself flying from the nest, so to speak.

It took me a while to have a very frank conversation with myself because leaving a job is scary. Especially in the world we live in now, but I had two choices, leave now and be scared but exhilarated by the possible opportunities out there, or be too scared to leave and stay in a job I don’t love anymore for the sake of comfort and familiarity. You can see which one I chose.

Making this decision was not on overnight thing, it was over a period of time, where I realised what I had just wasn’t aligning with what I wanted. I mentioned before, I had to take a step back and evaluate things, I thought about my life and I thought a lot about my mental heath too. I have always been the type of person, that if I am unhappy I don’t tend to share how I feel and I tend to hope it will go away on its own some day. I felt that if I leave, I will will be letting people down. I felt like I would be disappointing my parents because my decision might seem irresponsible. I felt like I would be letting my partner down, that it would be selfish of me to be the only one without a job in our relationship. I felt like I would be abandoning my team, my friends and my manager because we’re in a pandemic and I’m tapping out.

This feeling, this guilt, it wasn’t healthy and I just needed to stop. To stop over thinking and evaluating because at the end of the day you have to put yourself first. Sometimes unapologetically. What do you do with the people around you? Well, the rights ones will understand and they will stand behind you in solidarity. The wrong ones? They were never meant to be a permanent piece of your life.

Telling the people closest to me, outside work, I felt a collective but silent sigh of relief from them and received so much support for the decision I have made. I was wrong when I thought I would be met with doubt and uncertainty followed by questions such as “are you sure” and “maybe this isn’t a good idea”. Each person I told showered me with support and love and it only solidified my thoughts further; I was making the right decision.

Telling people that I work with, especially those with whom I have made deep friendships with- boy that was another kettle of fish entirely! Handing my notice over, had to be done over a video call, it was definitely not the most ideal way to have that conversation. The moment I saw my managers face, I started bawling, I think I gave her a fright to be honest! It was very difficult to say “I’m leaving..” to someone you care so much for. Telling my team? I barley managed to get my words out! See the one thing I will always be grateful to my old job, is that it brought some truly wonderful people into my life and created friendships which I will always cherish and hold close to my heart.

I think it was the moment I stopped putting pressure on myself that I realised I’m ready to let go and it was then that everything just started to feel right. I finally felt like leaving is the best decision for me and for the first time in a while something stirred within me. It sounds silly but it’s almost like there was a part of me that go so caught up in life and working and adulthood, that I’ve just shoved it down completely and me deciding to take control of my life again, resulted in this little part of me waking up again and I want to do everything that I can to never let that part fall asleep again.

Greenwich Park

I’ve also decided to take a little bit of a break in my life. I have pretty much had a job since I was 17/18, whether it was full time or part time, I’ve always been working. It seemed like the expected thing to do, having a break is such a foreign concept unless you’ve booked annual leave from work! To be honest, I probably would have tried to immediately find a new job right after finishing my old one, if it wasn’t for my partners friend who asked me if I’m taking a break. I thought to myself “A break from what? I need a new job, I need to make money”. We are so programmed to think we cannot take any time off, that we must have a job at all times and that something must be wrong if we don’t find one as soon as possible. The work life balance is so faint & we only take time off when someone allows us to!

So yes, in answer to her question I am going to be living life in the slow lane for a little while. I will read, I will take walks, I’m going to take beautiful pictures. I’m just going to live life for a little while and try and be in the moment. I will still apply for jobs, but I will not put pressure on myself to take the first one that wants me.

I feel so positive that there is something really good out there for me, I know deep inside that the next step I take, the next job I find will be what I have been waiting for. I know things happen at the right time and I am trusting the process.

Am I scared? A little yes, but I am thankful that I was brave enough to take this step. Sometimes you have to do what’s right for you.

Welcome to this next step of my journey.

Be kind to one another,

Kamila

“I quit my job, in the middle of a pandemic & during a third national lockdown. By choice”

Thoughts #1

Image taken by me (K.W) inside a little coffee shop I found in Guildford (2019)

How many thoughts and dreams have you suppressed because you thought you weren’t good enough? How many times were you your own reason for not following through with an idea or a passion? I’m not talking procrastination, I’m talking pure fear and self doubt that you were going to fail so badly that you didn’t even bother trying. You didn’t even bother to see if you were wrong?

This is something that I am definitely guilty off. There are so many things I would like to do, things I am interested in or passionate about and I just never do any of them. I sit around wallowing in this guilt that I am not living to the fullest, I am not experiencing enough, not trying enough. I feel like I am watching life happen around me, all the while certain that the good stuff and the successful things happening to other people would never happen to me. In my head, I think; why would they? I don’t have what they have, the knowledge, the skills the whatever they have and to be honest this thinking is exhausting. It is so demotivating and while the years of my life tick by, I am still failing to believe enough in myself .

It is hard to pick a time where this thinking became the norm for me, where all this anxiety and self doubt stemmed from. What I do know is that this needs to change. I need to develop a mind set where I just go and do things. I don’t want to be 80 years old and regretting life because I was too afraid to pursue anything. I need to work on becoming more positive and more accepting of myself, of the possibility of success and the chances of failure. I need to build on my confidence.

Something I would like to focus on is photography. I’ve always enjoyed how a single click can capture a moment so beautifully. I loved how a picture can say a thousand words. So this is something I am going to try and educate myself a little more on, things like editing and programmes. If anyone has any suggestions for tutorials please drop them in the comments! I am very open to information. I will also post some shots that I take on my page here, because there is nothing wrong with being proud of something.

Another thing I have always enjoyed is writing. Probably where the idea to start a blog was born. I have a very creative imagination and I absolutely love writing stories, in my head! I really struggle writing my ideas down and more often than not, by the time I sit down to write something down I am struck with writers blog! I am going to try and jot down things in my notes on my phone when I am out and about. That might help! I also want to submit one of my stories into some into some kind of competition, anyone know of any? I know I could probably google some but I would love to hear about the process from anyone that has submitted their writing.

I am not going to go into crazy amount of details of every thought or interest I ever had- I’ll be here for many days & hours!

I must admit writing all this down has made me feel better, I was definitely sitting bubbling in my own thoughts, so writing them down and getting them out of my head has helped. Of course now that I have voiced these things out loud, I want to believe that I am going to actually go ahead and do all those things which will help to create a more confident version of me. I do believe, to be able to sit here and reflect about myself like this is a good first step. However, I really hope I’m not the only person that feels like this? If this is something you, my dear reader, have experienced, what was your way to overcome this? or how are you still working through it?

It will take time, Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that.

Be kind to one another

Kamila

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Moments

This is a little piece I wrote a while ago and I still stand by what I think.

It has become more and more apparent to me that we live in a society where we seek social validation through all the different social media platforms. Many ( notice I didn’t say all!) girls post more revealing pictures of themselves because they know that this will bring them more likes and followers, some guys pose with their newest purchases and flex their muscles in the gym (or outside ) Don’t get me wrong some of these images are encouraging body positivity of all shapes and sizes, telling stories and sharing different experiences but most of these images are there for us to see and envy (because that’s what a lot of us subconsciously end up doing)

For some people, social media is about sharing aspects of their life casually and inspiring others but there are people who need likes and comments to feel a certain way about themselves. They need others to know that they have hit a certain pedestal and need to feel important. I am not slashing anyone that does this, these are just my thoughts, if you feel the need within yourself to build up a persona online then maybe there is something about yourself that you need to work on?

A couple of years ago, I went to a concert with my dad to see my favourite band, the experience was great, we had standing tickets and were in the middle of the whole crowd. Now I’m pretty average height and I could see relatively fine in between all the people in front of me, however the minute the band came on stage everyone’s hands went up in the air. It wasn’t to cheer the band on, oh no, ALL the mobile phones were out to film every second of the concert. I admit I did pull my phone out and film the concert a few times but maybe 30-60 seconds at a time. It was very difficult to actually see the stage and there was a lady in front of me who was filming and sending the videos to every social platform she seemed to be a part of.

So my question is, when did we stop to live in the moment? When did we stop and just enjoy our surroundings? Our friends and our loved ones? The older generation watches us and probably feels sad that we spend so much time living through social media rather than just actually living. I’ve noticed lately every where I go people are using their phones; friends at a dinner take part in a photoshoot before actually eating their food, couples pose millions of pictures online to show everyone how in love they are, others tweet every action of their day.

People are using Snapchat and Instagram stories to show everything, where is the privacy? Everything is on display, you can follow a random person on Instagram and scroll through their pictures and be able to tell their life without having to ask them directly.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am also guilty of sharing things on social media and there was a time where I did Snap something everyday, but it was times where I didn’t take my phone out that I created the most memorable moments. It is so easy to miss something when you’re trying to open up your social media to share something. My Facebook was always filled with me ‘checking in’ at a location or a new picture/ selfie. Nowadays if I decide to post something it is usually a day or two after rather the same night.

When I’m out and about I love to capture a few pictures but 9 times out of 10 I get caught up in the moment and forget to use my phone. Why do people feel the need to snap their entire night from the minute you’re getting ready with your friends to the second you’re in your bed at the end of the night? What is it inside you that feels the needs to show everyone how much of a good time you are having? I guess what irritates me is the necessity to almost perform on social media that you’re having a good time because you want to convince others around you that you are. What happened to having a good time for yourself?

A few weeks ago I was walking across the embankment in Central London, it was a beautiful sunny day and yes I did pull my phone out and took a picture but then I just stood there and watched the world go by and my brain and everything that was frazzling around in my mind momentarily stopped and I relaxed and as basic as that sounds I do believe we need to do that more in our lives. Enjoy each moment, actually live it. Or in this instance, just stop and breathe.

Sometimes when I talk to my parents they tell me about the things they got up to when they were my age, through the way they describe it and their faces, I can tell that their memories are really wonderful. They are able to portray this picture without a need of a physical image to show me. Sometimes I envy them, they lived in a much simpler time, everything was so much more appreciated and sometimes I do think that because everything is so accessible we take it for granted without realising it.

Now I’m not telling people to stop using their phones, but I do believe we should find a balance of what we share with social media and what we keep for ourselves. Social media is very much starting to consume our lives. If you surround yourself with people that only validate you through your social channels then you are spending time with the wrong people. If you’re having a night out and your priority is to snapchat the entire night rather than have a good time with your friends, maybe you should re-think your priorities.

You only get one life, don’t live the majority of it through social media.

Be nice to one another,

Kamila

Thanks for reading! Do subscribe to my blog if you enjoyed reading this!

Hi there!

bookshellointeriorintroductionnewblognewbloggernewpostplants

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is samantha-gades-0fmxvma1glo-unsplash-1.jpg

I’ve been toying with the idea of blogging for a while now.

In fact its something I actually started in the early months of 2018, but I lost my motivation or interest (I’m still not quite sure which) either way, the blogging came to an abrupt halt. Until now.

I think I always believed that I needed to have some kind of structure & content planned ahead so that I have something to write about each time. Clearly I have been overthinking this and putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself. So with this new adventure- let’s call it that- I am determined to actually follow through with this new creative idea and I will allow this blog to be whatever I want it to be.

With the being said, here’s bit about me!

I love to read! I have a goal of reading 100 books this year. Ambitious? Probably! Still going to try! I am open to recommendations so if you have any please do share!
I will probably pop some reviews over here if a book has really blown me away.
I also pop some small reviews on my Instagram page.

I do love my plants, slowly and steadily I am becoming a plant mum whilst growing my collection, I just love how cosy they make my home feel. Might share some images of the little family!

Recently, I have also become really interested in interior so if I feel like creating some mood & vision boards, might pop this up on here too.
In a normal world, I’d be looking up some holiday destinations but given the current climate, we can’t go anywhere, so I might pop some photos and memories of past trips while I reminisce.

So that’s me! Subscribe to my blog if you feel this is something you might enjoy!

Be good to one another!

Kamila

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Photo by Micah Boerma on Pexels.com

Thoughts #1

Do you ever have a lot of thoughts on your mind and you don’t know what to do with them?  I’m having one of those days. To be honest, I have been having a few of those days lately. Leaving my job has left me with a lot of time, and a lot of time … Continue reading Thoughts #1