Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Scene of the Blog Featuring Bex of An Armchair By the Sea

This week's guest lives in Canterbury, Kent, England, and has been blogging since January 2011. Bex's blog, An Armchair by the Sea, is a place where you can find book reviews, progress on reading challenges, and a monthly feature called the Fairytale Feature. Bex knows a lot about fairytales, and I learn something new whenever I read these posts.

I certainly hope you'll take the opportunity to stop by An Armchair By the Sea to explore and to say hello to Bex!

Bex's creative spaces are coming up next, but I just wanted to take a second to remind you that you can click on each photo in this post to view it in a larger size. Now... let's visit Bex!

I am a graduate of English Lit and Creative Writing. In November 2010 I relocated to the coast of Kent, England with my boyfriend, after living my entire life with my family in the London suburbs. 

By day I work in retail, and have done since I graduated, three years ago. I use my lunch breaks to peruse charity and second hand book shops, and my days off to rummage car boot sales for more books. I’m working towards becoming an accredited Proofreader, so for now I just like to scribble on things – my blog posts, my little sisters practice exam essays – you name it, I’ll correct it! 

I dream of being a ‘proper writer’, and have had some poetry published way back in my adolescence. When I’m not reading or writing, I love walking and have an ambition to one day walk around the entire coast of England, Scotland, and Wales. 

I also love films, and the fact that our local cinema is tiny and only costs £4 a person during the day. I’m very into the theatre, too, and will hopefully soon be getting lots of free tickets to shows, as my fiancé works in one! 

I mention my fiancé a lot, because he puts up with a lot. When books threaten to take over our living space, he calmly finds bigger bookshelves to buy. If he hears me mention a book that I’m really excited about, or knows that I love a particular author, he will often go out and buy me the book. For my birthday, he got me books signed by David Gemmell and Scarlett Thomas, two of my favourite authors. He takes me to car boot sales and searches out amazing second hand bookshops for me. For all of this, he needs mentioning!

The Desk
Both my fiancé and I really dislike this desk. My dream is to own a huge oak one with drawers down either side, but for now we’re stuck with this, as it was a leftover from his business, and thus free. The cable running from the bottom of the picture out is what connects us (very patchily) to the internet via some kind of usb thing I don’t understand. On good internet days, this is where I can be found doing all my bloggy things. I tend to type out my posts, print them off, scribble all over them, and repeat that a few times before I actually post them (it’s the proofreader in me, I think! The amount of scribble indicates the degree to which they’re ready to be seen by other people), so that’s what you can see on the left hand side, on top of my much loved Complete Grimm’s Fairytales. 

Last week, our computer got a virus and had to be formatted, so I’m rebuilding our music library, hence the CDs on the right – Ella Fitzgerald is one of my favourites! When I’m writing, I like silence, but when I’m browsing, and reading other people’s blogs, I like to have some music. I have very eclectic music taste which ranges from stuff like Ella Fitzgerald, through Johnny Cash, Elvis, and Chuck Berry via Wham, The Kinks, and the Beatles to my fourteen year old self’s loves, Blink 182, Feeder, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and my absolute favourites, Muse. My boyfriend and I don’t always agree, as he is a trained singer of Classical Music, and although I do love classical music, I don’t think that he appreciates being forced to listen to All The Small Things over and over!

The Armchair
This is the Armchair of my title, people. Bought for 99p on Ebay, it is the best bargain I have ever got, and far and away the most comfortable reading spot in our house. It’s big enough to fit two of us in, and for a while when we first moved and didn’t have a sofa, that’s exactly what it did. I literally spend hours curled up reading here. I do a lot of writing here as well, in my trusty Moleskine notebook. This is a bad addiction of mine, as the notebooks cost around £12 each, but the paper is so gorgeous and they are leather-bound, and now I’ve been writing in one, I can’t write in anything else! 

You can’t actually see the sea from the armchair, but I know it’s there! Hiding away behind the armchair is my guitar and my fiancé’s trombone. We are both musical, but hiding it at the moment as we lament not being able to get a piano up the stairs to our 2nd floor flat! (I’m a pianist, and he composes).

One of my many bookcases is next to the armchair – this one contains all the books I need to read for challenges, plus a few ARCs and my Scarlett Thomas collection. She is probably my favourite author, and definitely the one I recommend the most. As lots of her books have been really difficult and quite expensive to get hold of, I like to keep her in my sight at all times!

I love the magazine rack next to the armchair as well. It cost £4 from a charity shop, and it’s gorgeous. It serves us well, and keeps all the magazines, newspapers (see The Saturday Times Review on the arm of the chair for example) that I’m not done reading yet, and scraps of paper on which various important things are written, out of the way of my fiancé, who likes things neat.

The Sea
This is the view I often have while sitting in bed drinking tea and reading blogs on my Smartphone. It’s also as close to the sea as I dare to get on a sunny gorgeous day like today. Our town is a major tourist hub, and on Sunday when we tried to go to the beach, it was absolutely packed full of Italian tourists, small children and all their accompanying paraphernalia, and locals have barbecues. Because our beach is sandy and the water is shallow for a long way out, it’s really popular with everybody!

I adore living here – there’s something about the sea which makes me feel inspired and always has done. I can’t imagine keeping this blog while living where I used to live in London. There I was always so stressed, but here it’s easy to relax myself just by going to the beach. If I do go at the moment, I usually go later in the day, when most people are leaving, and sit myself down on the concrete promenade, so my feet just touch the sand, and the sea is really close as the tide comes in. It’s one the best places to read, except that I always end up with backache!
The Library
The library-- My absolute lifesaver when we first moved back in November, and I was only working 8 hours a week. The first thing I did (of course) when I moved was get a library card, and I was, and still am, amazed that they let you take out THIRTY items at a time here. Back in London the max was ten. They are absolutely great about ordering books in for me, too, and for months before home internet, and occasionally now when the temperamental nature of our internet is annoying me, this is where I blog from. You only get an hour a day, though, so I type everything up at home, take my memory stick and upload stuff, which takes five minutes, and then spend the next fifty five reading other people’s blogs!

The other place I do a lot of reading is the train on my daily commute to and from Canterbury for work (about 25 mins). I couldn’t get a picture, as people give you funny looks if you get up and start trying to take pictures from a good angle on a busy train at rush hour. Also, I was standing in the aisle, and the ticket inspector couldn’t get past me... but it’s usually a really nice place to read, as the journey takes us through the countryside, so I have a nice view of fields, sheep, and the occasional lake, while temporarily forgetting that I’m on my way to work!

That armchair certainly is a bargain, Bex, and I envy your ability to go to the beach to unwind. Thanks so much for showing us your creative spaces-- we really appreciate it!

Don't forget to stop by next Wednesday to meet another book blogger from our worldwide community. Cheers!


  1. Thanks so much again for featuring me! And oh my goodness I didn't realise I had talked so much, sorry! :-/

  2. Thanks, Bex, for sharing your space with us nosy parkers. We miss the ocean terribly here in Pennsylvania, so I really envy you being so close to the water. Wish you good luck in finding work as a proofreader; it does sound like a perfect job, doesn't it?

  3. I work in communications so do a lot of proofreading - an really enjoy it. My colleagues look at me strangely whenever I find a particularly challenging problem.

    Love your view!

  4. I think I would love living there too! It looks gorgeous!

  5. Hi Bex! I commented properly on your blog because it didn't occur to me to do so here (:s) but just thought I'd let you know I stopped by!

    And Cathy, this is a great feature. I never knew about it until the other day but I'll definitely be back.

  6. You are so fortunate, Bex, to live near the ocean. I have a good friend who lives in Kent and he's always posting pix. I envy both of you living near the sea.

    And what a comfy chair that looks. Perfect for reading.

  7. Hi everyone, thanks for reading about me! :-) I definitely feel very lucky living by the sea, as I know what it's like not to have it so close! Unfortunately the chair's given me unrealistic ezxpectations- i'm now looking for a 99p sofa!

  8. I want your big cushy chair!!! lol

    Great post!!

  9. Bex-- Don't be silly, you did NOT talk too much! What's really very awkward is to have a guest who says extremely little. (Good luck with the 99p sofa!)

    Hanna-- That is music to my ears! :)

  10. I think this is probably my favorite Scene of the Blog so far! I love everything about it, but I love especially the fact that you live near the sea! I want to live near the sea, too, haha!

    - Anastasia @ Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog

  11. Thanks for sharing. The sea scene has to be great.


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