A Real Bookshop

I am not a great shopper so I’ve not found the restrictions particularly affecting, but I do LOVE a bookshop and when I was running the art class in Soho (a thousand years ago back in 2019) I spent many happy hours beforehand in Foyles, Waterstones or Stanfords drinking cappuccino and reading books or just working on my laptop in relaxed and communal surroundings. I stuck bird stickers on my MacBook so I could find it in amongst everyone else’s…

Happy days. I’ve not been to London since March 16th 2020, and apart from a couple of very brief forays to Tunbridge Wells, I’ve not been to any shops at all. Thankfully the excellent Bookshop provided me with an alternative to *ugh* Amazon and I buy a lot of secondhand field guides and nature books from AbeBooks, Book Depository and Wordery which is always fun as you never quite know what’s going to turn up.

I will not be selling my books through Amazon so it’s important to me that I get the books in to real shops as it’s just something I believe in. I was thrilled to be invited to Much Ado Books in nearby Alfriston, an impossibly pretty chocolate-box village here in Sussex, to discuss stocking my birdwatching logbooks.

It is a beautiful shop. Comfy seating in a bookshop is an absolute win in my view!

Cate and Nash made some interesting points so I thought I would share them (and some others) here.

My credentials as an author:

I’ve been a keen naturalist for as long as I can remember, and my parents are great birders which is something I have passed to my children; I home-educated my 3 until each of them reached 14 and wildlife/nature featured a great deal in our projects.

My credentials as an artist:

I am self-taught in gouache but I have been drawing for many years, and co-run a life-drawing class in London. I have exhibited my gouache originals at a number of galleries in London and the south east, as well as attending various art fairs like the excellent Ink, Paper + Print.

The birdwatching logbooks:

These have 22 birds in each: just over half are commonly seen, and then of the remainder about half need a little more experience/observation, and a couple are really quite a challenge. A few birds crop up again in different books but I use different paintings when I can, and all the accompanying text is freshly written for each book as it is contextual. There are a few blank pages at the back for Notes & Sketches, and I would love people to share their entries and findings by tagging #birdwatchinglogbook so I can post here on the blog and on social media. Send me a photo of your completed logbook and I will post you some goodies!

Are they only suitable for beginners?

No, although I like to think I have written them in such a way that they are straightforward for those less familiar with birding-speak to get to grips with some of the identifying factors for each of the birds. This means they are great for families, and even more experienced birdwatchers have some groups that they get stuck on (waders and warblers for me!) so they are suitable for all.

Why a logbook?

Writing down and recording is a fantastic way to cement information, and just a few notes can make a real difference. Birdwatching is so much more than simply seeing a bird as its behaviour is just as important. The logbooks can be written on in biro, fineliner, ink pen, or pencil. Paper choice was a big factor and I really hope people scribble in them and memorialise their experiences in their little logbooks. The ticklist is a great way to check off sightings, and we all love the I-Spy books of our childhood.

Can they be posted?

They are perfect for posting. Use one of my little stickers to add some personalised charm – especially if using the extremely useful but rather utilitarian Click & Drop online postage facility. I use a large letter stamp just to be on the safe side (the books are right on the the 5mm thickness limit for a standard letter) but is still less than £1 to send.

I am pleased to say that my little logbooks will be stocked in the shop – with stickers! – so if you are local, or visiting the area, then do pop in and support one of our fantastic independent bookshops.


  1. I think it’s great and very brave that you’re approaching bookshops. I have tried gift shops for my greeting cards in the past, and I just tremble in fear, even though they’re always friendly and 9 out of ten times take the cards on. But in end gave up on doing it, too nerve wracking and now sell on-line only. I think it’s fantastic you’re doing this and am sure your lovely books will go down well. I’m still so pleased with the 2 we have.

    Liked by 1 person

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