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A Life Update | Writing, travelling, baby guinea pigs

Hi, everyone! It seems like it’s been a very long time since I last sat down to write an update post or something a bit more informal and chatty. I thought I should probably catch you up on everything that’s been going on, especially as I have lots of blog posts planned for the next few months.

The blog has been a bit quiet for the past few months. In fact, that’s an optimistic look because it’s been very quiet for the past year. Since finishing my GCSE’s in the summer, I’m now doing my A Levels at college – English Literature, Creative Writing and Sociology. I love college more than I ever expected; it’s completely changed my life.

The other draining thing that’s been taking up lots of my time is the novel I’m working on. I started my second draft in January and am currently 15,000 words in. I’ve set a self-imposed deadline of finishing this draft by the end of May, but with my AS exams I don’t know if that will be entirely possible. I’m going to try and get as close as possible though!

Here’s a sneak peek at a scene from the first chapter for you:

I adore my characters – they feel like my best friends and are so much fun to write. For those of you who don’t know, the book is a YA contemporary road-trip novel about friendship, books and figuring out who you are when your entire life has been thrown upside down. It is my favourite thing ever.

Another very good thing to happen is this little ball of joy who was born last week. I LOVE HIM. His name is Engelbert because we have a theme of ‘bert’ names going on – his grandfather is called Bertie and his father is called Gumbert (don’t ask). As you can probably guess, baby guinea pigs are extremely distracting when they look that cute.

I also went up to Waterstones Birmingham recently to see the Love and Fandom panel with Lauren James, Maggie Harcourt and Miranda Dickinson. I had such a lovely time and got to spend time with my amazing friend Lauren before the event. It was so nice to sit down and chat about writing, books and, of course, guinea pigs.

It was my first time travelling alone to a place I hardly know at all, so I was extremely proud afterwards. It shows how far I’ve come with my mental health and I still can’t quite believe I did it. It’s definitely given me the confidence to travel more in the future!

Current favourites:


  • Running #ukyachat every Friday at 8pm! I sit down every Friday evening to meet up with my amazing online friends, who always amaze me with their sensitivity, insight and opinions on a range of different subjects. Getting to host the chat every week is one of the greatest pleasures, and I love it!
  • I’m loving the new series of Call the Midwife at the moment. It’s so obvious that the writers and producers are women – they create beautiful stories that are at the heart of women’s lives, and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes. Seriously, you need to watch this if you haven’t already!
  • Netgalley. For those of you who don’t know, Netgalley is a sight where bloggers and book industry people can request to review books and I am OBSESSED. I check it every day without fail and can’t help but click the ‘request’ button when I see something I like the look of. I really do need to have a big marathon read soon of all the books I’ve been accepted to review! It’s also a habit I need to break… I can’t keep requesting all of these books!!

What have you been up to lately, bookish or otherwise? What are your current favourites?




Re-launching Queen of Contemporary!


If this post wasn’t part of the Internet and was actually happening live, this would be the moment I’d cut the red ribbon and declare the new Queen of Contemporary website officially open! Although knowing me I’d probably drop the scissors on my feet or trip over the ribbon…

*cuts ribbon*

I’ve gone through quite a lot of personal changes so far this year, the most notable one being that I’ve finished with secondary school! My exams are over and all I’ve got to do now is wait for my results and it’s been great waving goodbye to that part of my life – whoever says your school days are the best part of your life is obviously lying! I’ve grown up with my blog and so I wanted to re-design it to reflect who I am now – and after slaving away at my computer for a few days and even coding (gasp!) I’ve finally got it to how I want it.


I’ve missed out on a lot of blogging time through school but now that I have the summer ahead of me, writing posts is going to be my priority. It’s been strange not updating as much as I’d like!

A new feature I LOVE is that you can now click the heart at the bottom of the post to show your love for it! This will help me to know which posts you’re loving the most so that I can write more just like it. Go on… give it a go now!

So what can you expect to see?

Queen of Contemporary will be used as the base for all my online projects – my YouTube channel, #ukyachat on Twitter and of course book discussion. This means that I’ll be cross-posting videos that are posted on my channel here with added content and there will be summaries each week for each #ukyachat.

As well as this, I’ll also be posting weekly book reviews, book discussions and recommendations, as well as interviews with authors, bloggers and book industry insiders, and even more!

It’s more important than ever to support your favourite blogs – coverage of children’s and YA books is down and has taken a major blow in the past month with the closure of the Guardian’s Children Books site. Your continued support means the world to me – thank you for reading my tiny book-filled corner of the Internet!

Happy reading!

What do you think of my new design? Are there any posts you’d like to see me write? Spread the bookish love in the comments below!


On Vlog Star and the Power of YouTube


When I first started watching YouTube, around five or six years ago, it would have seemed insane to me that YouTube would become so accessible to so many people (although YouTube accessibility and privilege is a discussion for another day), particularly people like me who didn’t have fancy equipment or didn’t really know how to go about making videos on the Internet.

Vlog Star is the latest YouTube-related product to be released – although it’s worth nothing that it is not associated with either Google or YouTube – and with it comes your own mini-tripod perfect for most smartphones and vlogging guide.

It still amazes me on a daily basis just how big a part YouTube plays in our culture – larger YouTubers are dropped in to every day conversation, book deals, products and projects are announced daily, and still YouTube continues to grow. With YouTube now emerging outside of our screens, I think Vlog Star is a great tool to encourage a new wave of talent, especially for those people not wanting to invest large amounts of money into a product.

The booklet contains information on starting up on YouTube and also has sections that have been written by successful YouTubers, such as Charlie McDonnell and Estée Lalonde, which is useful information to have in one place and for use whenever you may need it.

That being said, £12.99 is a lot of money to pay for information that could be found for free on the Internet and for a tripod that is not of high quality. Whilst it may appeal to teens, it may not appeal to the parents who will be buying it for them.

Vlog Star is available to buy here

This is not a sponsored post. I received Vlog Star for free in exchange for an honest review, but all opinions are my own.


A Celebration! 1 Million Views + New Design!


I am incredibly excited, and feel very proud, to be writing this post today. Over three years ago, I created Queen of Contemporary and when I started I never thought I’d reach a point where I’d be able to say, “I’ve passed one million views on my blog!” How insane is that?! To celebrate, I made some extremely sparkly butterfly cakes, and I also redesigned my blog!

Whilst there have been certain designs on my blog that I’ve loved, I’ve never felt like any of them 100% fit the image in my head. As soon as I started work on my new theme, however, I knew it was The One. Look how gorgeous it is!! I adore the professional feel to it but I also feel as if it’s a warm, community space which is what I want my blog to be. I’m looking forward to showing it off a lot more in the coming weeks and months!

Thank you so much for your continued support in my blog’s journey. It means the world to me that I am part of a loving, friendly and welcoming community.

I really hope you enjoy the upcoming content and changes on Queen of Contemporary. Take a look around, enjoy the view, and relax with a good book!

What do you think of the new Queen of Contemporary design?