A Little Pick Me Up: ‘Shining a light on your darkest emotions’ and learning to love yourself – book review

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How often do we openly criticise ourselves or others? How often do we feel guilt over what we do day-to-day? And how often do we let fear stop us from doing the things we desire to do? 

All too often in today’s world it seems. But it’s time to start changing our mindset with Katie Portman’s first book A Little Pick Me Up (published by The Writing Hall). 

In this useful and concise book Pouting in Heels journalist Katie guides us through some our difficult emotions from hate to guilt from fear to love and jealousy. Better still alll the emotions are separated into chapters so if you’re busy like me and you want some help in a certain area you can just flick to that chapter.  

The book not only inspires the reader with anecdotes from Katie’s life but it also shares ‘Pick Ups’ to take away at the end of each chapter. 

Here’s a whistle stop tour of the book and my favourite bits… 

– Jealousy 

“Remember, in most cases, the person we’re jealous of does not intentionally create those feelings within us,” writes Katie. 

I love the idea that jealousy is about changing our own mindset rather than pulling down someone else or negatively impacting someone due to our own green eye monster. 

“Kill the monster with thanks. Ditch the lack mentality. Stop focusing on what you don’t think you have and start appreciating everything you do have.” 

This is so true and something I encounter a lot in the media and dance world. I genuinely don’t get jealous. Yes I sometimes feel envious of people but then I use that to question myself… why am I envious? And what can I learn from that person? 

But then it’s funny because people are surprised I don’t get jealous that can sometimes make people think that I am full of myself when I am really not I have just worked hard on negative emotions to use them to a positive. And this is something Katie addresses in her final chapeter (see below…). 

– Fear 

“Many of the things you are afraid of can and will be the making of you, if you allow them to be.” 

I love this motto that fear is actually enabling us to do great things rather than stifling us (unless we let it.). 

I have always told myself: “Feel the fear and do it anyway,” because then that way we won’t regret having tried (and regret is touched on in a Little Pick Me Up too!). 

– Guilt 

“We’ve been sold a lie. We can’t ‘have it all’ (or at least, not all at once). Far from being empowering, this statement places immense pressure on us, causing frustration, exhaustion and masses of guilt. The sooner we realise this, the sooner our feelings of guilt will lessen.” 


“Dread is also a perfect breeding ground for other unpleasant emotions we’d rather not feel, with anxiety and fear being two of its stable-mates; because, when dread comes into play, it never comes alone. 

“I think dread has an unfair reputation. Whilst it may make you feel uncomfortable and anxious, it’s also a brilliant reminder that we need to tackle something.” 

I love this positive way of looking at something negative like dread. It reminded me of what my drama teacher at Youth Theatre used to tell me to do what I dreaded first and then everything else is easy after that task is completed. 

Katie concludes: “Dread disappears quickly when we take action. Tackle whatever it is that’s causing you worry and stress and dread will leave you alone.” 

– Powerlessness 

I think this section is particularly poignant as the book is geared toward women and as a woman I know there have been many times in my life where I have felt powerless. And rather than fighting for something I have gone into self-destruct mode. 

But Katie rightly points out: 

“We all have the power to create a happier future. Remember, it takes just as much power to destroy your life as it does to make it flourish.” 

– Regret 

One of the biggest issues I hear people talk about is ‘regret.’ “I wish I had…” 

I think it is too easy to dwell on the past and get lost in it rather than taking action and doing the things we love today.

Katie writes: 

“Your life is precious, so don’t let it pass you by. Respect it and shape it into a life that you adore and which you can be proud of. Create your own story.” 

She finishes with this key message: 

“The biggest regret we all face is the thought that we’ve wasted our limited time here and that we didn’t really live.” 

– Hate / Love 

Katie’s last chapter is about crossing out hate and swapping it for love. 

“If you’ve ever tried to love yourself, though, you’ll know how difficult it is to achieve.” 

Too often we feed hatred towards ourselves and others rather than focusing on loving ourselves, especially as women. 

“We must stop seeing women loving themselves as a bad thing and start seeing it as the only thing we should aim for.” 

A Little Pick Me Up 

Often I don’t give myself time to read, but somehow I quickly flicked through different chapters of this book at different points. I love how easy it is to “pick up” and how concise it is for busy women like me everywhere. 

I highly recommend you buying this gift to yourself and then passing it on to a friend. 

A Little Pick Me Up by Katie Portman is published by The Writing Hall.

The book is £8.99 and you can purchase here.


DISCLAIMER: I received this book for the purpose of this review. 

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