January 2019 In A Nutshell

I want to do a monthly wrap-up post at the end of each month where I share what I’ve been reading, listening to and photographing. Because affiliate links are basically how I make a large chunk of my income. If you click one of the images below and then go on to buy that item within 24 hours, or if you go straight from there to something else on Amazon, I receive commission. I got the idea from the Girl Who Reads blog and since I’m crediting her, I hope she doesn’t mind me pinching her idea!

What I’ve Been Reading

Sex Drugs & Opera by Roland Orzabal is a book that’s been on my wish list for a year or two. I finally received it as a Christmas present in 2018 and couldn’t wait to get started. I wasn’t left disappointed. The story is intelligent and engaging and the writing style reminds me of Nick Hornby. I loved that the chapters were short (can’t beat a book with short chapters for bedtime reading!) and I would give this book 5 stars.

Helium by Rudy Francisco is a collection of poems, and probably the first book of poetry I’ve read since I was at secondary school taking Standard Grade English. He’s an American spoken word poet and he first came to my attention on YouTube when I saw him reciting My Honest Poem. I can relate to that so much and not just because his birthday is one day after mine! What I would say is that this is a collection that will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. He takes you to places you’ve never been and makes you walk in his shoes. This white girl from Scotland has never thought about what it’s like to be a black man in America until reading this book – I mean, really thought about it. Would recommend, but dip into it. Don’t try to read too much in one sitting.

What I’ve Been Listening To

Didn’t really listen to his first album, except for the singles. Luke was obsessed with Hold Back The River and still wants it played every time it’s just me and him in the car. Kids latch on to the strangest things! Decided I’d give the second album a go since Pink Lemonade was my most played song on Spotify last year and it’s really good.

Another Spotify suggestion is Vampire Weekend. I hadn’t really listened to them much but I had heard of them and I really like 2021. It’s a great song.


Maggie Rogers is an artist I hadn’t heard of before and after seeing her all over everyone’s Instagram stories a couple of weeks ago, I added some of her songs to my January playlist. Would recommend.

James Morrison is another singer I haven’t really bothered with much until now. Obviously I was aware of him and his music but other than the singles I heard on the radio, he wasn’t on my radar. I’ve started looking at the Spotify suggestions because every time I ask for someone’s recommendations for new music they never really hit the spot. So, Spotify has this month, with all the things I’ve tried. Would definitely recommend trying the new James Morrison stuff.

What I’ve Been Watching

I’m at that weird stage of my life where I’m rediscovering kids’ movies and TV shows, because I’m a parent and I’m forced to watch them. However, sometimes I discover movies that are aimed at children that are so good that I’d probably watch them myself. A great example of this is The Lego Batman Movie or Captain Underpants (tra-la-laaa!). Ralph Breaks The Internet is excellent. It’s a truly modern film that is hilarious, especially the part where Vanelope meets all the Disney princesses. Would recommend for all ages.


I thought my parents might enjoy Bohemian Rhapsody but they didn’t, which is weird since they were young in the 1970s and 1980s, when Queen were big. I think most of the people there watching the movie were my age, or slightly older, so that means people who have grown up knowing how great Queen were but never having lived through the height of their fame – or being too young to remember it. For me personally, I think they were probably one of the best bands of all time and they’re my son’s favourite. He’s only 7. Best part of the movie? Mike Myers playing the boss of the record company saying that Bohemian Rhapsody wasn’t a song that kids were going to sing along to in their cars. Genius bit of casting there.

What I’ve Been Buying

I’m broke. I have very little money to spend after Christmas and every spare penny is going towards physiotherapy, dental treatment and this year’s holiday. However, I did decide to spare £7.95 on a new eye shadow palette, since the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani one I got for Christmas two years ago hasn’t quite wowed me and is probably a bit old to keep using now. This palette caught my attention because it’s got all the colours I like using on my eyes, nothing too flashy and it’s therefore a good make-up bag staple. It also comes with an applicator which has a sponge on one end and a brush on the other.

What I’ve Been Snapping

Here’s some pictures from my private Instagram account (shaz1138 – don’t add me unless you know me though) and my public Instagram account which you can add by clicking this link here. I’ve also included a few drafts that never made it to Instagram.

What I’ve Been Writing

I’ve been working on Leger’s Valentine, which is the process of being edited right now. I’m also laying the foundations for a new novel which I’ll be sending to agents instead of self-publishing. I have to try the traditional route just once to see if it’s for me. I’ve always been a self-publisher and always will be. I just fancy reaching out to agents to see what kind of response I get. It would be a good experience.

Here’s a list of January’s blog posts:

The Quest For The Magic Shield – Or How I’m Struggling To Find Support As A Student

When Rock Bottom = Fresh Start

Coming Face To Face With A Goblin

My Best Ideas Come At 4AM

Putting Out The Fire

Review: The Night Sky Star Charts – A Unique Gift

Seeing Results

I Did Not Invent Post-Its

The Fall And Rise Of Shaz (Again)

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