Monday, 22 January 2018


I've just finished reading The Sober Diaries by the brilliant Clare Pooley and surprisingly loved it. I say surprisingly because I was unsure how I would relate (not being a drinker) but also questioned how genuine it was going to feel. Thankfully it exceeded all my expectations and I found The Sober Diaries to be an emotive, bravely honest but also witty and light account of one woman's struggle. The book is Clare Pooley's diary during the year she accepted she had a problem with alcohol, decided to quit the booze for good, discovered and defeated breast cancer and worked hard on falling in love with being a mum to her three young children again.

Clare's book is based on her hugely successful blog Mummy was a secret drinker. Clare a Cambridge graduate became managing partner at one of the world's biggest advertising agencies and, after having her children, decided to become a full time stay at home mum. However, fast forward 18 months, she had become an overweight, depressed, middle-aged mother of three who was drinking more than a bottle of wine a day and spending her evenings googling 'Am I an alcoholic?'. The first half of the book centres around Clare realising and accepting her problems. I found it incredibly endearing just how open and frank she was in accepting her own demons and realising the road ahead was not going to be an easy ride. I think many readers will be able to relate to those feelings of fear when facing personal challenges and the strength you find in yourself to take the first few steps towards whatever it is you're aiming to achieve. 

The Sober Diaries is an upbeat, funny and positive look at how to live life to the full. It delves into topics about motherhood, depression, addiction, the pressures of juggling a busy modern life whilst all the while making you laugh and nod along with Clare's hilarious musings. Interwoven within Clare's own very personal and frank story is invaluable research and advice and answers to questions like, How do I know if I'm drinking too much? How will I cope at parties? How do I cope with cravings? Will I lose/gain weight? And many more.

I would absolutely recommend The Sober Diaries, currently sold in hardback at £16.99, available at Bay Tree Books & Gifts.


Saturday, 13 January 2018


If, like us, you watched Oprah deliver her Golden Globes speech with a distinct feeling of pride in your stomach then you'll definitely enjoy some of our empowering, unapologetic, books about strong women who broke the rules and changed the world. It truly feels like we are in a moment of huge movement and change. It's fantastic to see so many women, and men speaking their own truths and wanting to know more about female history. 

Similarly in the book world we have seen huge growth in books for women, about women. From beautiful photography books, such as 'Strong is the New Pretty' by Kate T. Parker, to children's books such as the popular 'Little People, Big Dreams' collection which educate, simplify and illustrate the stories of Rosa Parks, Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo and many more. In a time where women are speaking up against modern prejudices and using their voices to be heard, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the books that look at the women through history, who also did just that.

'Bad Girls Throughout History' and 'Rad Women Worldwide' are two fantastic books which explore hundreds of remarkable women who 'had a ton of fear and personal flaws and faced insurmountable obstacles but did amazing things anyway'. It teaches girls and women alike that you are never too old, too small or too late to live the life you're meant to lead, even when it means rewriting the rules. From Josephine Baker, the showgirl who spied for the Allies during World War II, to Joan Jett, the godmother of punk. These are books we believe should be in every home and school and make for a brilliant gift for the ladies in your life.

Some other fantastic books we have on our shelves at Bay Tree Books are those of bestselling feminist poet Rupi Kaur, author of 'Milk and Honey' and her latest offering 'The Sun and Her Flowers' which celebrates and explores womanhood, freedom and empowerment but also explores topics such as love, loss, society and restriction. Her books and social media presence have helped push modern poetry back into popularity and have inspired millions around the world. 

'I am Malala' by Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and international symbol of peaceful protest, is the memoir of her life. It's an incredible story of one girl who stood up for her right to an education and was shot by the Taliban but survived and went on to be one of the most influential young people in the world.

Maya Angelou, American poet and civil activist's books have been the topic of much conversation in recent years, most notably her work 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' feature short stories and poems about her life growing up as an oppressed black female.

All books mentioned in today's blog post are available from the shop and are truly wonderful additions to any book shelf or coffee table.

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