Love in the time of Covid-19

Photo by Shelby Deeter on Unsplash

12 months ago, the UK went into lockdown and I know many people are using this anniversary to reflect on what we’ve individually and collectively lost- and in some cases gained- during that time.

A million other writers will be attempting to assemble their thoughts into words today and I must admit, I wondered what I could possibly have to add to the conversation.

I’ve been so fortunate during the pandemic in so many ways, chiefly that I’ve stayed well and haven’t lost a loved one, my livelihood or my home. I felt certain then, that the world didn’t need…


Let’s banish the term ‘Guilty Pleasure’ from our reading conversations

Gabrielle Dickson on Unsplash

The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘guilty pleasure’ as:

“something that one enjoys, despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.”

I.e. something we should feel embarrassed about enjoying.

When it comes to books, most of us could name a so-called guilty pleasure, either our own or someone else’s. We’ve certainly been told often enough what sorts of books qualify for the title. But I’d argue that these books — and we as readers — deserve better.

I think when it comes to reading, our pleasure should come without a side-order of guilt. …


Lessons from a debut novelist

a black and white image of a young woman sitting at a table writing in a notebook
a black and white image of a young woman sitting at a table writing in a notebook
Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

My debut novel came out on 28th March 2020, just five days after the UK went into its first lockdown. My launch party plans were launched out of the window and instead I held a virtual party on Twitter, all-dressed up in my living room with nothing but a hashtag and a cocktail to buffer my nerves and excitement.

One year on, I’m reflecting on what my first year as a published author has taught me.

1. Nothing in life is ever how you imagine it will be

At least, not in my experience anyway and especially those things that you’ve spent countless hours daydreaming about and imagining down to every last…


My new approach to self-care

the image shows a young woman sitting in long grass holding up a mirror and smiling at her reflection
the image shows a young woman sitting in long grass holding up a mirror and smiling at her reflection
Photo by Caroline Veronez on Unsplash

My previous attempts at self-care have mainly involved wine, chocolate and bubble baths, usually resulting in a migraine and a mild case of thrush. For 2021, I’m mixing things up and taking a radically new (for me) approach.

Some of you may have already realised this but for those of you, who like me, conflated the notion of ‘self-care’ with ‘self-indulgence’, I want to share how flipping the concept entirely on its head can have a more positive impact on your life.

‘Do something today that you’ll thank yourself for tomorrow.’

That’s my new motto when it comes to self-care.


#sorrynotsorry

Photo by Rachit Tank on Unsplash

We’re living in the age of group chats and really, how wonderful. I know you’ll read that as sarcasm, given the title of this piece but I genuinely mean it. How fortunate are we that in a matter of seconds we can communicate with a large number of people all at once by swiping our fingers over a touch screen in order to stay connected with those we love in these strange, difficult times?

Truly, modern technology is a wonder.

And yet. The group chat. Can we talk about it?

Because sure, in theory, it sounds great but in reality…


Every day is a school day

the image shows a transistor radio on a chair in a field
the image shows a transistor radio on a chair in a field
Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash

Since becoming freelance, I’ve been embracing the (many) perks of working from home. Along with comfy clothes, furry co-workers and a well-stocked biscuit barrel, my new workday has also involved listening to the radio pretty much every day so far in 2021.

Initially, it started as a way to make homeschool and working from home during yet another lockdown, slightly less dreary but since the kids went back to school I’ve carried it on as part of my daily routine.

Historically, I’ve never been a big radio listener, aside from the times in my life where I’ve driven a car…


After so many years in public services, there's very little that surprises me anymore! Thank you, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.


After 5 years, here are the things I’ll miss most (and some I won’t!)

Photo by Paul Schafer on Unsplash

After over five years of working in libraries, last month I hung up my badge, shrugged off my cardigan, sheepishly returned my long-overdue books and left my job as a librarian. Here, I’m sharing some of the highs and lows of my career in libraries.

Library Highs

Living my best bookish life

It’s cliche but it’s true, for a bona fide bookworm there are few jobs better than being a librarian. …


A woman in 19th century dress lounges on a chaise longue beside a bookcase and she is holding a book
A woman in 19th century dress lounges on a chaise longue beside a bookcase and she is holding a book
Image: La Lecture (1890) by Georges Croegaert

Introduction

As readers, it’s not difficult to imagine others getting the same joy from reading that we do but there’s a temptation to project our own reading experiences onto that vision. In reality, even two people picking up the same book on the same day will bring different perspectives to that book and have a different experience as a result.

If you transport one of those people into a different time period entirely, the experience shifts even more dramatically. We’re all products of our time to one extent or another and the same is true of literature.

Here, I’m going to…


A 2,000-word spooky short story inspired by my broken cellar door

image shows an old, neglected door with frosted glass panes and the silhouette of a figure leaning against the glass
image shows an old, neglected door with frosted glass panes and the silhouette of a figure leaning against the glass
Photo by Nathan Wright on Unsplash

“And here’s the door to the cellar.” The estate agent chirps.

She throws the door open like this is the Pièce de résistance. We both peer into the gloom, the smell of damp rushing up the crooked stone steps to greet us.

She doesn’t falter. “Well, you can never have too much storage.”

I turn from the unending black at the bottom of the steps and look at her doubtfully. She smiles brightly and closes the door but it pops back open immediately. I catch the faintest hint of irritation at her brow, the facade cracking for a split second…

Rebecca Laura

Bookworm, author, freelance writer, mum of two. Figuring life out as I go.

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