Unfortunately as I grew older and entered my teens my passion for reading got slightly lost and was replaced by hanging out with friends and working hard for my exams which a few years later turned into hanging out with friends and working in an office.
Reading is something I'm always wanting to get myself back into, demonstrated by my shelf of unread books. I read quite a bit last Summer when we had lovely weather so am hoping that when the thick Winter tights come off this year that I'll also reach for my forgotten books and start reading again.
To fuel my desire to get back into my old favourite hobby I recently found myself in Barter Books, a second hand bookshop in Alnwick, Northumberland which is an absolute paradise for book lovers or anyone wanting to rediscover their reading mojo.
Its beautiful home is in the old Alnwick railway station and there are several nods to the building's former life with a model train running round on a track above your head and various pieces of memorabilia dotted around the shop.
Much of the building has stayed the same including the old waiting room which is now a reading area complete with comfy seats and open fire. It is the perfect place to relax and get completely lost in a book. Unfortunately this time I didn't have the time to stop and unwind but I did peep my head into the waiting room and loved how quiet it was, it was full of people yet was so still and silent - the perfect place for a read.
The Station Buffet is home to a little tea room serving sandwiches, baked potatoes and cakes, it's very popular and every seat was taken so I'm guessing the cake must be very good (I know you are all falling off your chairs that I went somewhere and didn't have cake!)
The main space in Barter Books is huge, there are shelves upon shelves of books all organised into different categories. There is something for every taste and so much to look at.
I love that the shop is dog friendly, it was hard to know whether to get excited about all the books or all the dogs.
Dotted in between the shelves are lots of comfy chairs inviting you to crash with a book. The shop has such a wonderful atmosphere, it feels like a very large old library and the smell of coffee and old books made me feel really happy and nostalgic.
In the past I've been pretty guilty of buying brand new books and then letting them sit on my book shelf for ages. Barter encourages people to bring in their unwanted books in exchange for credit to spend on other books in the store. Next time I go on holiday and want some trashy chick lit to take to the beach I know where I'll be heading to stock up!
Barter Books also has a wonderful collection of really old books and a pretty cool claim to fame. A few years ago they discovered a rare original of the famous WWII "Keep Calm" poster lying forgotten in a box of old books. You can see the original in the shop and they sell replica posters for you to take home.
I loved my time at Barter and will definitely be back next time I'm in Alnwick, I can't wait to find myself something new to read and put my feet up with a cup of tea and a slice of cake.