Books I have read in 2017 (1-4).

22.1.17

#1 The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell - 2.5/5

I ended 2016 and started 2017 with something I thought would be easy to read and familiar, to ease me into my year of reading more; a good old "chick lit" book. I used to devour this genre of books but they just don't seem to hit the spot with me anymore. Perhaps because I'm older, wiser and a bit cynical to the "happy after ever" storyline ;)

The clue is in the title; the storyline follows Abi who is dumped and, upon finding her ex boyfriend's bucket list, decides to tackle each item on his list in an attempt to win him back. I really enjoyed the concept of the bucket list; it was motivating to show how you can reinvent yourself after a break up and use the time to try new things but, honestly, I disliked the main character too much to be interested in what happened to her. "Don't Tell The Groom" by the same author is a much more enjoyable read which I would recommend over this one.

#2 The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - 4/5


The Snow Child was recommended to me by my sister and I didn't really know what to expect, but I loved it. It's the story of Jack and Mabel, an elderly childless couple living in a remote cabin in Alaska in the 1920s. This book is so descriptive that it's incredibly easy to imagine every little detail of the story, from the changes in the seasons and how bitterly cold and bleak the winters are, to the array of wild animals living in the forest, and the snow child herself.

I won't spoil the storyline but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the way it was written and I suggest you pop it on your reading list. 


#3 The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan 3.5/5

I was drawn to this book firstly because it was 99p on my Kindle and secondly because I am really interested in gratitude and how we can change our outlook by seeing everything with a positive twist. I keep my own gratitude diary as part of my recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome and in an attempt to reprogram the way I look at life in general, so I wondered how it can have an impact on people's lives.

When I first started this book I struggled with it. I couldn't identify with the writer at all, with her happy marriage, smart kids, and a comfortable lifestyle, it seemed so far removed from where I am in life at this moment in time. She certainly has a lot more to be grateful for than I do. However as I persevered I found the book really interesting, especially the parts where Janice meets up with different professors and people who have researched and done studies using gratitude, and they can prove that it does make people happier, more productive, healthier, and so on.

The book is split into chapters with topics on health, relationships, children, and work, each one being a real eye-opener into how Janice's new found gratitude (even when things were going badly) could improve her life.

#4 How To Be Good by Nick Hornby - 1/5

This is the first Nick Hornby book I've read, plucked from my book stash at the last minute before the boxes went off to the charity shop. I expected good things and I was sorely let down! The storyline was so random, the characters were irritating and the ending was disappointing. I only persevered as I don't like to be a quitter. 

It's annoying when that happens isn't it? But onwards and upwards, I have a massive pile of books to get through! 

5 good things (new friends and old favourites).

12.1.17

It would be a fair statement to say that December and January have been far from "good" but I am trying this new thing where I focus on the positives instead of the negatives so with that being said, here are 5 good things from recent weeks.

1) A cup of tea and a good chat with an online-turned-real-life friend (hi Lauren!) We have been in touch for a while now, keeping each other up to date with the ups and downs of our lives/love lives and we finally met on Tuesday. I had such a lovely time; I could have chatted all afternoon! 

2) Moving to a house right next to a canal. This means my walks have become a lot more visually pleasing! Tonight I went for a quick stroll and the sky was the most beautiful colour, the ducks were out, I was wrapped up warm but the wind wasn't too cold on my nose, and I felt really grateful that I had somewhere like that on the doorstep to lift my spirits.


3) The return of the Undateables on the telly. Without a doubt one of my all time favourite things to watch! 

4) Finally getting round to seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. I took myself off for a cinema date for one, and left with a new appreciation of Eddie Redmayne. He's rather lovely isn't it? Aside from enjoying him I also really enjoyed the film.

5) Getting back into reading. This time last year I could barely find the energy to hold a book up or the space in my brain to process the words. I might not be where I want to be health-wise but I am getting through books at a fast pace and that is amazing progress. Also I forgot how much I love reading!

Goals / gentle reminders for 2017.

8.1.17

Long time no speak! I hope you all had a good Christmas? I took a blogging break throughout December and it was nice to step away from it for a short while, but now I am raring to start writing again. December turned out to be one of the most eventful months of my life, but more on that another time. Today I'm talking goals! 

I keep reading that you shouldn't share your goals because they're more likely to fail, but mine are more like gentle reminders of things I need to see written down in black and white, to help me stay focused and positive. 

- 2017 is going to be all about me, myself and I. I spent the whole of last year worrying about how my ill health was affecting other people to the point where I was walking on eggshells, becoming very withdrawn and negative which was potentially delaying my recovery even further.  I don't want to feel bad or guilty for the changes I have had to make to my diet, sleep routine, habits, and life in general because essentially they're all going to help me live my life to the full again! I also don't want to beat myself up about being negative and not always being the best person I could be last year, because it has been an enormous struggle and I really have done my best to battle through it, despite what other people think.  

- Spend more time writing on my blog and sharing what's going on in my life with you guys. This year is going to be a big one for me with lots of changes and I want to talk about it all (warts and all!). There are going to be ups and downs, highs and lows, and that is the rollercoaster of life. I used to resist it and now I embrace it because honestly, the last few years of my life have been crazy / stressful / amazing / happy / sad, and everything in between. If you want to read a blog of a 30-something who has her life together then you are most definitely in the wrong place. 


- Meet some of my blog friends. When I first started blogging in 2009/2010 I went to quite a few events all over the country. I remember being nervous but it never stopped me going and enjoying myself. These days the thought of doing the train journey alone fills me with terror. In some ways I am more confident than I was back then but when it comes to meeting new people I am definitely a scaredy cat. I don't know how or why this came to be but I know that I don't like it and I want to change it. I want to escape my comfortable little bubble which actually isn't so comfortable anymore. 

- Stop putting so much pressure on myself to go to bed and wake up "fixed". As my mum quite rightly pointed out I didn't get into this pickle overnight so it's not going to clear off overnight. I have come to realise that I put humongous amounts of pressure on myself to get better by a certain day or event, and then I'm constantly disappointed when it doesn't happen and so the vicious cycle continues. When I sit and really think about it I have made huge progress since this time last year and if I keep going it will lead to good things. And boy when the day comes that I feel better I am going to be one happy chappy! 


What are your goals for this year? 

Novemblog #30 - the end, and a little rest.

30.11.16

Day 30! November has been the longest month ever, probably because I have a chronic illness and decided daily blogging would be a good idea! ha. In all honesty I have enjoyed putting more time and energy into my blog. I know it's not the best or fanciest out there but it makes me happy that it's still going after 7 1/2 years. 

It's certainly not the last you've heard from me for 2016 but I'm going to have a few days off to enjoy a break on the Isle of Man and I'll be back to share the photos from our trip and maybe a 2016 round up of some sorts (spoiler: it has been shit).

In the meantime I will leave you with links to all of my November posts below to make things easy for ya. Ciao for now and thanks for reading! x












Novemblog #29 - 5 good things.

29.11.16

1) Finding somewhere that sells gluten free stollen; my absolute favourite of all the festive food. The shop in question is The Free From Bakehouse which has an online shop with lots of gluten free cakes so I don't have to miss out on eating myself silly this December!

2) Frosty mornings. I absolutely hate snow due to the fact it is usually slushy and disruptive rather than picture perfect, but I love waking up to see that it's cold and frosty outside. Even better if I get to stay warm indoors and look at it from afar, with a hot cup of tea. 


3) Having a huge clear out to take to a charity shop. I'm nowhere near living a minimalist life but I do enjoy being free of clutter and not hanging on to things that I don't use or need. Recently we have both had a clear out of clothes, books and kitchen paraphernalia ready to take to Rain Rescue later in the week. 

4) We just booked flights to go to the Isle of Man again to visit my sister. I am really excited to see my little niece for a few days, as it has been a few months since I last saw her and she is changing so quickly! 

5) From Friday onwards Paul is on annual leave for a couple of weeks which means lots of quality time together and, most importantly, buying our Christmas tree and decorating the house! 

What are your 5 good things at the moment?

Novemblog #28 - my favourite crafty Christmas DIY projects/the things I want to make!

28.11.16

There was a time I didn't really "get" Pinterest then I gave it a chance, had a browse, and resurfaced about 6 days later after looking at every photo that ever existed. I can be found here - and my favourite thing to do is look for DIY and craft ideas.

I have put together some of my favourite festive DIY ideas for cards, wrapping, home decor and baking. You can find the source of each photo by visiting my Christmas board using the link above and clicking on each photo.

I seem to have a fondness for reindeer shaped ideas; I'm obsessed with the fudge and the idea of dressing up a simple crate of beer using brown pipe cleaners, boggly eyes and red fluffy noses.


This year my mum has tasked me with taking crackers to our family Christmas day, which got me thinking that this highly important task can't be taken lightly ;) I really want to have a go at making my own, either from scratch or using the "fill your own" kits which come with hats and jokes included. I love the idea of crackers containing mini gifts that people actually want; mini toiletries, mini bottles of booze, scratchcards, lottery tickets.. have I missed anything?

I like the idea of decorating my own crackers using Pinterest for inspiration of course.


Something I love year after year are the melting snowmen biscuits. They would look adorable as part of a festive spread, and if you use shop bought biscuits they're even easier. How amazing are they with peanut butter cup hats?!


I recently decorated our small living room fireplace to give it a cosy Autumnal vibe, so I thought I would give it a festive Christmas themed update once we pop our tree up at the beginning of December. I'm thinking lots of pom poms, a garland across the ledge and some snow globes or trinkets amongst the garland?! I am obsessed with the fireplace in the photo below which is decorated to perfection!


I am really looking forward to Christmas this year; it will be a nice mixture of relaxing, eating, a drink or two, and catching up with family. We are splitting our time between the Lake District and Leeds between our families, and over the next few weeks I hope to use a little energy for some small DIY projects and presents. I'll let you know how I get on with my crackers!!

Novemblog #27 - five more kind (and easy) things you can do today.

27.11.16

Click here to read the first five ideas.

1) Send a Buddy Box to someone having a hard time or feeling under the weather. It's a wonderful idea described as a "hug in a box", which can be purchased as a one off or by subscription. Everyone likes receiving surprises in the post, especially if they contribute towards feeling more relaxed or happy. 

2) Pop positive and encouraging notes in random places either for a loved one or strangers to find. 

3) Send a postcard, letter or small gift to a poorly child using the Post Pals website. 

4) If you get good customer service tell them/their manager/your friends. We are so quick to be vocal about the bad service but we also need to shout about the people who go above and beyond! A quick compliment about someone to their manager can go a long way. 

5) Offer to babysit for friends or relatives with young children so they can enjoy a (probably much needed and long overdue) date night. 


Novemblog #26 - Lily loves Lola on Etsy / raising funds for my treatment.

26.11.16

I've run out of steam this afternoon so it's just a super quick post from me to say that I recently reopened my Etsy shop (here's the link). I make and sell simple friendship bracelets at really reasonable prices, and I will ship anywhere. I have a good selection of charms from owls and elephants to wishbones and stars. 

From now until Christmas I will be popping a free bracelet in with every order under £5 and two free bracelets with every order over £5. Any funds I make through my shop go towards my treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome so you really will make a difference to my life if you place an order. Thank you in advance to anyone who does.

Enjoy your Saturday evenings! It's X Factor and an early night for me! x