The law of attraction and why it works


Even if you haven’t read it, you’ve probably heard of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. A cult-classic self-help book that claims your thoughts can change the world, thanks to the universal ‘law of attraction’.

I have to say, I was incredibly sceptical when I picked up this book last year. After a lifetime of worrying that negative thoughts could impact real life (touch the wall 100 times to keep your family safe kinda thing), I didn’t want to delve into the idea that thoughts aren’t just thoughts. That thoughts can manifest as reality. With the wrong kind of uncontrollable thoughts, that’s really scary shit.

HOWEVER. As with most things, curiosity got the better of me. I devoured the book in two days and I have to say it did actually help to give a better perspective on the way I think. We’ll ignore the fact that most of the theorists look like the same white middle class man, because the premise of the book isn’t exactly original anyway. Paulo Coelho’s classic fable The Alchemist is by far the more beautiful version.

Whichever genre you prefer, both books teach the importance of positive energy. The role of energy in the world is bloody fascinating. Because if it can’t be created or destroyed, where does our energy go?

The reason I’m writing this post is because, however lame it sounds, I have sensed a big shift in my life since I read The Secret last year. The shift being that I didn’t realise how negative my thoughts had become, and how much could change once I actually focussed on changing.

The Secret teaches that negative thoughts give off vibrations of negativity, which the universe echoes back to you in the form of more negativity. You are what you attract. Simple. If you focus your energy on ‘what’s lacking’, ‘glass half empty’, ‘woe is me’ you’re effectively telling the universe that this is what’s shaping your destiny because it’s what you think about the most. You are the author of your life – the universe simply responds.

If the universe truly is conspiring to give you want you want, then you’ll never get there if you’re focussing all your energy on what you don’t want.

The Secret, is simply, to ask the universe for what you want, and focus your energy on believing it will happen.

Stay with me.

There have been a handful of moments in my life where I’ve actively thought to myself, I want this. Not in a superficial kind of way, more like, I was meant to do this.

When I was fresh out of Uni, living with my parents, and writing for pittance, I came across an ad for well-paid Senior Copywriter job in Central London. The dream. It gave me hope that even though I was struggling at that time, there was an end goal in site. Potential. Hope. A reason for what I was doing. I thought to myself, that’s what I’m going to do. And when I look back now, I believed it, too.

Seven years later, I now earn that exact sum for that exact type of job. I started a few weeks ago and it feels more right than any job ever has. It’s quite literally the result of all my other professional experiences. And the best part? The job was created for me. I actually interviewed for a different job, and from that interview this job, salary and all, was offered to me bespoke. I’m not saying this to brag, I’m saying this because I genuinely feel that I’ve got this far because I never allowed myself to believe that I wouldn’t. I never shrouded my career aspirations in negative thoughts.

So, why is it then, that I struggle to apply the same positivity to other aspects of my life?

When I write, it feels right. It feels natural. And I never question how or why that is. For some reason, I rarely feel like this about anything else. I doubt. I question. I can’t make decisions. I often can’t decide what I want.

And so, identifying with the law of attraction helped me to assimilate that that if I can place so much positive energy on my career, why not actively apply the same principle to other aspects of my life?

It actually worked.

Around this time last year, I had been through a weird time and had to do a lot of soul  searching. I asked myself what I truly, deeply wanted. Stability. With this in mind, I willed myself to focus on what stability might look like, and how I could start putting steps in place to make this happen.

Less than three months later, the universe responded with a one-bedroom flat. I went from never believing I would get a mortgage on my own to telling myself that somehow, I would make it happen. And now my little flat serves as a reminder that with the right energy, the right insight, the right people in your life, anything is possible.

If you’re actively trying to lead a more positive life, there’s loads of good stuff to take away from The Secret. Buy it on Amazon today. It might just push you in the direction you need.

The Secret - Book - Rhonda Byrne


3 books to read when you’re feeling lost

We’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s hard to shift the feeling that your life isn’t quite going the way you planned. Staying motivated to be the best version of yourself is tricky when you start to lose sight of who you are and where you’re heading. Believe me, I know.

Maybe your mental health is running rife, or you’re going through a difficult break-up. Perhaps you’re struggling to cope with change, or things are just feeling a bit “blah” at the moment. Either way, feeling like you’ve lost your way is totally bloody normal.

I’ve discovered a truly wonderful combination of books to help pull you through. Alone, they are empowering reads, but each one kind of lifted me in a very different way. One of post-break-up self-discovery, one of normalising mental health, and one of rewriting history.

Reading them in succession definitely gave me a pretty big boost. Two are real life accounts of honest personal struggle, written in a way that make you laugh, love them and love yourself a little bit more. The other, I discovered, was almost finished and re-written totally differently before it became the absolute masterpiece that it is.

It’s amazing to feel that you’re being supported by a community of inspiring female authors who aren’t afraid to break a few rules, and who demonstrate that it’s possible to find your way again, however lost you feel.


Becoming, by Laura Jane Williams


I’ve followed Laura’s blog and life on Instagram for a few years. She is a truly incredible writer and personality, and I wasn’t surprised to see she’s written a hugely successful book (now two…). ‘Becoming’ ended up really helping me through a time of confusion and upheaval. It reminded me that I’m not a huge fuck up, and that it’s important to work out how to be alone. Heartbreak bonds you to other people, but also teaches you a hell of a lot about yourself.


Mad Girl, by Bryony Gordon


Just, wow. I wish I’d found this book earlier, when I was diagnosed with OCD. Bryony is so honest. So, so honest. This book comforted me, reassured me, shocked me and exposed many elements of myself to me. I am one of the ‘We’ Bryony has worked so hard to reach out to by sharing her journey. And the best thing about this book? It made me laugh out loud despite itself, despite myself. It’s a huge step in the right direction to eliminating the stigma around mental health. It’s also the perfect read when you’ve recently committed confused acts of self-destruction.


The Power, by Naomi Alderman


Dystopian novels are kind of my favourite. They serve as a reminder of the resilience of humanity when pushed to the edge of existence. Despite the ominous nature of this book, reading it kind of reignited something in my mind – a kind of hopefulness in the face of change. I felt compelled to draw on newfound inner strength in the face of adversity. It’s also important to escape into a fantasy world when your own thoughts are giving you grief.

The best books I’ve read this year

Summer solstice is fast approaching, provoking, as always, nostalgic thoughts of the year so far. As well as travelling, writing and getting engaged, I have thankfully found the time to read some bloody good books. So whatever your plans are for the next six months of 2016, I urge you to reserve time in your diaries for these life-enhancing reads.

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt


After I fell helplessly in love with The Goldfinch last summer, I decided I had better read Donna Tartt’s hugely successful first novel, The Secret History. The plots couldn’t be more different but there is the same strong undercurrent running through both novels: how far is too far? How necessary is it to push moral boundaries? And what are the consequences? The story is told by Richard, who unexpectedly finds himself as part of an elite, mysterious group of misfits in his first year at Hampden College. He becomes the otherness he used to observe, and is heavily involved in the brutal murder of a friend as a result.

Mrs Hemmingway, by Naomi Wood


If you have ever loved been obsessed with someone you know is bad for you, please read this book. Played out between Ernest Hemmingway’s four incredibly different wives, Naomi Wood focuses sacrifice, identity, power, and all the cloudy areas in between for her chosen account of the character’s real-life intimacies. She unveils the human heart as the most complicated contraption. I spent most of the book loving to hate Hemmingway, and then I accidentally fell in love with him myself.

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson

life after life

As someone who frequently experiences déjà vu and whatever the hell the actually is, I found the concept of Life After Life quite fascinating in a ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ kind of way. It depicts Ursula Todd, who lives her life over and over again every time she dies, with the added benefit of ‘knowing’ what might come next, without really knowing at all. The result? Killing Hitler, of course. I absolutely loved this book. It’s so clever. The heroine is such an inspiring character. She reminds us of the good we are capable in darker times, and that the unknown is not always something to fear.

A God In Ruins, by Kate Atkinson


Not a sequel but a ‘sister book’ to Life After Life, A God In Ruins tells the full story of Ursula’s brother, Teddy. I would definitely still recommend reading Life After Life first; the juxtaposition between Teddy’s character as a boy in the first book and a (sometimes elderly) man in the second is too stark and purposeful to ignore. This book contrasts mundane routine with the ‘glory’ of war, reminding us of the discomfort and detachment there is to be found in both. Atkinson no longer plays God, but continues to play with time in a slightly unnerving way.

Reasons to Stay Alive, by Matt Haig

reasons to stay alive

Reasons To Stay Alive perfectly expresses all the things you wish you knew how to say to someone suffering with depression, as well as to yourself. It also addresses and includes anxiety, bi-polar, OCD and many other mental conditions in the same breath. Acclaimed author Matt Haig wrote this book about his battle with depression and anxiety as a way of proving to other sufferers that a) talking about depression and anxiety is the first step to controlling it, b) there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and c) you are never alone. Even if you think you know it all, reading this book will change the way you think about depression and anxiety. It is honest, funny and beautifully written.

The Last Act of Love, by Cathy Rentzenbrink

9781447286370The Last Act of Love

Easily the best book I’ve read this year, purely because it’s the bravest. Brace yourself before you embark on this incredibly moving journey with author Cathy Rentzenbrink. She wrote this book about love out of the purest love there is. She wrote this book about her brother, Matty, and how a car accident turned their lives into a living nightmare. Cathy Rentzenbrink is my newest idol. I suddenly saw sense in the ‘bad things’ in my life; the painfully uncontrollable things. Reading this book encourages you to accept more than you’re think you’re capable of, simply because the possibility of a love as strong as Cathy’s exists.

I would love to know your reading recommendations for the rest of the year! Comments below welcome, as always.

Lesson 15: reading the right books

Maybe it’s an age thing, but lots of people I’ve spoken to recently seem to be going through a difficult time. Heartache, illness and hard decisions are a fundamental part of life, making them key themes in almost every book that was ever written. If you’re looking for answers and inspiration, there is honestly no better place to turn. Reading is good for the soul. It’s as simple as that.

It’s a bit of a gamble when you wander into Waterstones or start browsing Amazon, so here are my all-time favourite reads and what they stand for. They are all clever, thought-provoking and insightful in their own way. They do what I hoped my little blog would do – remind people that life will always throw hurdles at us, but without them we wouldn’t learn anything at all.

 1. The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood

The blind assassin

An old lady reflecting back on her life, Iris Chase shares not only the deepest parts of her own history, but also those of her sister, Laura. The maps, puzzles and subtle complexities within this novel address the extent to which we all manipulate the facts, giving away only what we desire, and seeing only what we wish to see in return.

 2. Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Set in 1960s Nigeria during the Nigerian civil war, Half of a Yellow Sun dramatises the effects of the war through five different people: twin sisters, a professor, an Englishman and a boy. They are all connected, but the book focuses on the disconnection caused by the horror and paranoia of the war, revealing everything to have two sides, from personalities to whole countries.

 3. Burial Rights, by Hannah Kent


Convicted murderess Agnes Magnúsdóttir is sent to live with a peasant family during the build up to her execution. Set in 1829, Northern Iceland, Burial Rites is as much a semi-poetic memoir to true events as it is a historical novel. The story of Agnes is built around true events and serves to give her the voice she never had. Not for the faint hearted, this book took me a little while to get over. And yes, I did cry.

 4. Apple Tree Yard, by Louise Doughty

apple tree yard

If you’re looking for a fast-paced page turner, Apple Tree Yard isn’t your average thriller. A story of love and deceit, secrets and sexism: respectable geneticist Yvonne Carmichael finds herself tangled in a court case that comes to define her. Gripping, surprising and very clever, Louise Doughty carefully examines the frustrations of the modern career woman before illustrating the consequences of putting desire first.

 5. Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts


Easily one of the best books I’ve ever read, and the ultimate story to keep your brain ticking while you’re travelling. The protagonist is a heroin addict, sent to prison in New Zealand. He escapes over the wall and flees to India where he lives and works as a doctor in a slum, falls in love, trades in the black market, is eventually recaptured before fighting in the war in Afghanistan. The story is based on the real life of the author, who wrote the novel while in prison where it was destroyed time and time again. This book will have you rethinking every opinion you’ve ever had. It’s inspiring, incredibly well written and heart-wrenchingly sad.

 6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer


This book is pretty unnerving but an important read. It takes convention and turns it on its head with some pretty disturbing images and dream-like anecdotes. The story is written largely from the point of view of a boy called Oska, who’s Dad has just died in the 9/11 terrorist attack. This book explores the impact of trauma and the extremities of both human emotion and humanity itself. We are guided through Oska’s journey to normality and meet some pretty insightful characters along the way.

 7. Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood


I’ve recommended this book to a few people. Some people have loved it and some people have hated it, but I wrote my dissertation on it so I’m kind of emotionally attached. Snowman wakes up in a tree, he is surrounded by a new breed of humans and the world as we know it has been lost to deadly disease. Atwood’s dystopian vision combines the darkest kind of humour with a direct criticism of modern society and the way the world is going. I love her for her wit and the way she explores the tension between science, art and everything in between. The book is part of a trilogy – The Year of the Flood and Maddaddam complete the story, which just gets stranger and stranger.

 8. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker


It’s important that this book is so disturbing, because what was going on in rural Georgia in the 1930s was, quite frankly, disturbing. Celie is an African-American teenage girl who details everything about her difficult life in letters to God – you, the reader. You feel uncomfortably powerful reading this book. Gender roles are subverted over and over. If you read this book at school, read it again. It will seem different to you now.

 9. Written on the body, by Jeanette Winterson


First things first, this book is written by a woman about a woman. It beautifully and intricately illustrates that love knows no boundaries or limitations, and also reminds us of our own prejudices. If you didn’t know any better, you’d assume the protagonist was a man. There are no overt homosexual references, just the implications of a love that is true and raw. I love Winterson’s voice in this book; she is strong, determined, arrogant and witty and yet helplessly in love. A really indulgent read that you can’t help but relate to.

 10. A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini


“Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.” Proving that beauty and hope lurk in the darkest corners, this wonderful book retains so much beauty and grace for a text that directly confronts the rise of the Taliban. A Thousand Splendid Suns reminds us that some people are forced to endure more than others – the heroes in this book are rewarded with having an even greater capacity for love.

11. Beloved, by Toni Morrison


There is a beautiful kind of healing quality that comes from reading Beloved. You hurt and bleed with the characters and live not only their world, but the world of every black family that ever suffered racial segregation. When I can’t be bothered with work, I imagine the determination and strength of pregnant Sethe when her back is split open by a whip and she carries on walking. The surreal and supernatural nature of the story aligns slavery with fiction, forcing the reader to face up to its true horror and the ghosts of our past.

12. Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 Tender is the Night

If the Great Gatsby thrilled you, then you’ll fall hard for Tender is the Night. Fitzgerald continues to expose 1920’s America, only this time he places his characters in the French Riviera. The story centres around Dick and Nicole and the microcosmic world they’ve created. Madness, deceit, identity and lust collide over and over in a haze of glamorous drunken scenarios – each character as doomed as the next. The book has inspired Liza Klaussman’s new read, Villa America – the next one on my list!

 13. Room, by Emma Donoghue


If you haven’t come across this book before and don’t know what the twist is, go and read it immediately. Room is written from the point of view of five-year-old Jack, who has never been outside. This moving, chilling story reminds us what the human race is capable of, both in the best and worst-possible ways. Donoghue captures Jack’s voice brilliantly, too.

14. A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams

street car

Please watch the original production of this after you’ve read the play; it has Marlon Brando in it and that’s all you need to know. A Streetcar Named Desire dramatises the extent which to we are obsessed with the appearance of things. The play focuses on lust, insanity, power struggles and class, and every character is beautifully flawed.

15. How to Build a Girl, by Caitlin Moran

 how to build a girl

This book is completely different to anything you’ve read before. Moran goes one step further than anyone has ever dared. HTBAG is so rude and ridiculous that you can’t help but love it. It’s so real it’s unreal, and so silly it’s clever. Feminism, the class system, identity and society defined, quite rightly, by a painfully honest teenage girl from Wolverhampton.


I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on any of these books, or just any books in general. Comments always welcome below.