My Top 5 books of 2020

I’ve read a lot in the past year and to be honest I probably can’t remember every single book but I do want to share some of my favourites, ones I have reviewed and ones I have kept in the corner of my brain (in the hope I will write about them and never do).

Reading has proved ever so useful in the midst of numerous lockdowns and worrisome times. It brings a sense of escapism and adventure, an experience we all crave but can’t experience in person. Plus if you’re in the same position as me and read as part of your education then you also get exposed to a wide range of literature at the same time.

Luckily for you I can share a bit of both, I usually try and avoid writing on texts I study because my brain is full of my education anyway and I don’t always want it leaking into my hobbies. Plus I don’t want to give away all my secrets to my course-mates (not that they probably read this anyway).

Anyway, if you have a New Years resolution to read more, you want to start reading or you’re just looking for something to escape in then I have you covered. Here are my favourites;

Book 1: Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other

I have banged on about this book to no end and probably am boring you at this rate however it really did stand out to me as both interesting in form and content. Proven in its award winning status, if you haven’t read this book yet, what are you doing?

Steeped in black culture and experience it highlights the lives of 12 women and their sexuality, insecurities and womanhood.

A book we can all relate to in some degree.

If you have read this wonderful book and want some thoughts on it or if you want to hear some more before buying it then you can read the review I did here.

Book 2: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

I read this not long after reading the aforementioned novel. Both were reaching a wide audience and sense of acclaim at the time, both highly deserving of it. Queenie is one of those novels I was supposed to look further into and write a post on…. and then life happened. However, even then I have not forgotten it.

Queenie is a 25 year old Black woman who has just split up with her white boyfriend Tom. The novel explores her mental struggles with this period in her life, her struggles to embrace her culture and understand that of others, and her battling feeling displaced in all corners of her life.

Queenie is filled with sorrow and laughter. It truly feels real. A factor which majorly attracted me to its narrative. I highly recommend you read it.

Book 3: Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners

This was assigned to me as part of my reading for a module I was doing. Modernist in style it depicts the story of Moses who goes to collect a fellow ‘Jamaican’ (I quote this because a lot of those coming to Britain were labelled Jamaican when they weren’t all from there) coming into London after the Great War. It’s one of the first stories where poor, black immigrants were depicted in fiction and made a name for itself because of how deep and real the narrative is.

Selvon effectively highlights how such a city in London, steeped in promise and wealth, was in fact shadowing a life filled with misery and struggle, especially for those of the Windrush.

Selvon’s novel is one I thoroughly enjoyed and I implore you to read it, not only for its fantastic narrative but for its relevance to todays wrongdoings. Please look into #jamaica50 and the sad reality that those of the wind rush generation are still facing.

Book 4: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare was a novel I read during lockdown, a cozy read with a particularly inviting narrative, it sucked me into the reality of Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey rather quickly.

The story had all the charm of a classic rom com while keeping you interested with the comical idea that both characters had never actually met.

This novel leaves you itching for more and, while reading, an urge to shake both characters into realising what they are missing. If you want an easy read that goes perfect with a cup of tea then this is the one for you!

Book 5: Affinity by Sarah Waters

This is another book that I read on my course this year, it is filled with superstition, history and apprehension. Not necessarily a genre I usually read, Affinity certainly took me by surprise.

I mentioned it in this blog post if you would like more recommendations from my studies.

Incorporating mystery, magic and plot twists, the tale of two women from different parts of society takes you on a journey steeped in history and spiritualism.

A must read if you want to broaden your horizons and are in need of a bit of escapism.


I was going to make this list longer but with my academic year being cut short in second year my reading list was abruptly stopped. Plus, if I am honest, my want to read after being pushed into a lockdown faltered and it took me a while to pick up literature for pleasure.

It’s something I’m going into this year trying to look at differently, I want to appreciate the books I read and take more time to understand them and importantly, remember them. I’ve started a Good Reads account so if you want to look at what I’ve already read and what I am currently reading, whether that is for my course or for leisure, you can stay updated there.

If you’re interested I might share a post on how I’m keeping updated with my reading and remembering them. Let me know below if you like the sound of this!

Much love,

Sophie x


Looking at 2021

I wasn’t planning writing any sort of post that looked back at 2020 to any degree and I suppose this post doesn’t exactly do that either. However it didn’t feel right to start back up again and not acknowledge my feelings towards 2021.

I am definitely ready to move forward and hopefully go into a year that looks a bit more positive and I don’t mean that just with coronavirus. My education, personal health and surroundings definitely took a hit last year and I’m willing to fast forward to something kinder and happier (to some degree, after the fast changing world we live in I can’t exactly be wanting miracles).

Over the past few weeks during my break from posting I noticed hundreds of posts from people ecstatic about 2021 thinking it would be a new start or they were looking back on 2020 picking out all the positives. But I can’t sit here and gloss over a worldwide pandemic and not consider the affect that has had, possibly to numerous of my readers. I definitely couldn’t shove positivity onto a page and think it would make absolutely everyone feel better. So, instead I posted nothing.

Which could sound rather pessimistic but I’d rather use the term realist.

Instead, I am going into 2021 a bit more prepared mentally for the stress that could arise from online learning and an extended pandemic. I am purposely not being too hopeful because I don’t want to disappoint myself (this was written literally just before lockdown was announced so I was probably right in not being too optimistic). I turn 21 in February and I am slowly coming to terms with the fact this will probably be a very different birthday for me. Yet you have to make the most out of what is given to you and I am determined to carry a smile on my face for as long as possible.

If 2020 taught us all anything it is that we are strong, capable individuals who are prepared to make sacrifices for long term health and positivity. It might not seem like it but this will pass. At least that is what I am reminding myself daily (if we can do it for a whole year I am sure we can continue to do it for a bitty longer, right?).

I was never a goal setter or a New Years resolution type of girl however I have set some mental goals for myself that are completely manageable and lenient. I think I have realised there are things I can do to make myself feel a lot better, rather than any physical changes, I want to do what’s right for me.

I want to have a better relationship with exercise, which is something I plan to write on in the near future because it definitely is a can of worms which bothers me on the daily, I want to work hard at being creative and looking after my creative self, I also need to get a part time job (please send me all the positive vibes with this one because in an economic crisis I’m kind of scared about this one) and I want to take more time to be in touch with my emotions rather than chucking them to the back of my head.

I guess I look at these things as goals I can work towards and keep in the back of my head, I don’t actually strive towards them everyday, I understand that it will be a gradual journey which I am more than happy to be on.

For now going into 2021 looks more like an extended version of 2020. Which, surprisingly, I’m just rolling with. I’ve become a lot more easy-going with my emotions towards the constant changes because I know there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Does it suck that my time at uni, which only happens once, has been a fraction of what I’ve been promised? Of course it does. Is it frustrating that my future career prospects could be damaged because I can’t get any relevant work experience? Yes. Am I scared that I am losing out on opportunities to meet new people and experience new things? Yes. But can I change any of these things? No. I just have to deal with it and do as much as I can in the environment I am in.

I’m going into 2021 with my friends and family close, realising what matters to me most and hopefully getting a clearer idea of what/who is good for me and what I should let go of.

Let me know your thoughts towards the new year below, remember we are all in this together!

Sending you lots of love and positivity,

Sophie xx

My Summer Highlights

Considering I am moving back to Edinburgh today (I am writing this a few days before because to be honest there is no way on earth I could write a blog post in the car without being sick). On top of this uni is about to start *sends shiver through my spine*, so to round off the 6 months at home, I thought I’d share my highlights.

I must say that considering the summer was tinged with good ol’ Covid, (tinged is probably too light of a word to use in these circumstances but we’ll roll with it). I have to preface this with the fact I am in no way waving a wand to pretend it didn’t exist. All memories were part of lockdown and a constant feeling of ‘this could be my last day on earth according to the news’. Hence why I am stating the sorry old fact that Covid is and was a thing. Despite that, you have to look at everything and remember you still managed to be happy and experience great things even when the world was basically doomed.

To add another disclaimer, I have a veryyyy bad memory, so most of this came from my camera roll. So don’t be sad if I missed you out.

Long walks with the dog

I can’t even tell you how many walks I went on with the dog in these 6 months. One that particularly stood out to me is when we ended up going on an *extremely* long walk. You may be wondering why this memory particularly stands out, well that walk was 4-5 hours long. I couldn’t move for days afterwards and I’ve never felt hunger like that before in my life. However, to make the walk even better my lovely dog Ruby (who actually belongs to my brother but we’ve had her during lockdown) decided it was an optimum opportunity to stick half her body in a dead whale and this whale was HUGE.

I have never smelt anything like it.

Ruby was happy.

I was not.

To end off the note about this glorious animal I couldn’t not mention the countless amounts of smiles she brought to my face. I know that is super cheesy but coming from someone who never owned a dog I never understood, until now. Honestly not sure what I am going to do without her.

Not that she can ever read this.

Early Lockdown Catch-ups

I love catching up with friends on a normal day but when you’ve been stuck inside for what feels like too long and you can’t see them, a zoom call goes a long way. I feel like I am going to look back on this thinking how bizarre it is that we had to video call people just for a little bit of human interaction. Quiz nights were a highlight of my week even if I was so so bad at them.

I don’t think I will ever take for granted seeing people in person or even giving hugs.

Appreciating Home

I feel like this is a mindset rather than a memory but it made summer all the better.

This is the first time since coming home that I have fully appreciated where I have grown up. Not that I didn’t before but I think getting made to explore and find new areas that maybe I hadn’t spent so much time in, made me look at my surroundings in a different way.

This photo is from a time when my sister, the dog and I sat at the top of the salmon river and just chilled. We actually also watched a salmon jump for the first time which was great.

So at least I can say I gained something from the awful situation that is coronavirus. Looking at the positives definitely makes the negatives seem a bit less extreme.

Watching the Sunset.

If you haven’t checked out my Instagram (@sophieseditblog) then you wouldn’t have seen the post about watching the stunning sunset at Dunnet beach. I in-fact had never watched the sunset and considering we have optimal views for such a thing is quite shameful.

There is something quite calming about watching the sun slowly disappear while it paints beautiful colours across the sky.

I will have that beautiful view engrained in my brain and I am very happy with that.

Dunnet Forrest

I had a lovely walk around Dunnet Forrest. It’s a well kept area full of little sculptures and hidden gems. You can easily spend hours in it (we did). It’s a great place to feel fully connected to nature and gives you the chance to forget everything else.

This moment is particularly important because we managed to see two Deer in the Forrest. One extremely up close. Now I have seen deer before but never as close as this. So, if you get the chance to go a visit then do it and see if you too can spot some deer.

Starting a Business

I didn’t really want this to come across as a self promo but I couldn’t not mention the fact that my summer was extremely filled up with writing two blog posts a week and releasing two drops of prints. Thank you all so much for the support. I have nearly 50 followers getting emails every time I post and a Facebook and Instagram audience that grows weekly. I am just so glad that people enjoy what I write and on a personal note it is great for me to expand my writing knowledge. So, thank you and if you want to subscribe then please do. It’s a great way to stay updated and read when and where you want.

Baking

This is a personal achievement for me. I have never been a baker, in fact the majority of the time my bakes ended up being a massive fail. However, after nearly baking every week, especially at the start of lockdown, I now feel more comfortable in the kitchen and actually enjoy it. Plus I have had some delicious bakes from it.

You can find some of the bakes I’ve made here.


There are definitely more things I could have written about. For example my two trips to Dornoch which I’ve written about here or my countless trips for ice cream to John O’Groats but I would have been here for ages and that’s not to say they won’t feature in other posts.

I’d love to hear one of your favourite moments of Summer 2020. I can’t believe it’s coming to an end already.

Hopefully summer 2021 won’t be dictated by a global pandemic.

Much love,

Sophie x


Print shop is available here.