Adventures, book groups, book review, Books, self acceptance, self love

Sunday Sevens – book reviews

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I’ve struggled a little with the concept of Sunday Sevens because in all honesty my life is pretty ordinary and not all that exciting, but I enjoy reading other bloggers posts and it is only fair to share. All in all, its been a pretty quiet week – no migraines thankfully! so I thought I would use the opportunity to write a little book review and a few of the simple things that have given me pleasure this week.

 

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Firstly, I am really enjoying this Sencha Sakura Green Tea from Char in Winchester. It is a scented tea – and has a delicate cherry flavour that is simply divine! perfect for Spring.

Rivers of London Book review

I really enjoyed this book! Right from the beginning I felt incredibly sorry for the protagonist – DC Peter Grant – he has a sardonic humour! To quote the blurb… Meet DC Peter Grant he will show you his city. But it’s not the capital that you all see as you make your journey from Tube to Bus, from elephant to castle. It’s a city that under its dark surface is packed full of crime. And of magic. A city that you never expected…

This is a wonderful book, (I am delighted that this is the first in a series) it has been described as Whitechapel mixed with Harry Potter – it is a great imaginative mix. There are the vampires living in a basement, a witness to a murder comes forward .. the only problem is the witness is ‘corporeally challenged’ as in not having a body because he is a ghost. It is a really good read and one that will keep you turning the pages.

Self care revolution

There are so many books on Self Care at the moment – many of which I have passed over because they are pretty thick and to be honest… boring. This one stands out because there is a lot of pictures… and I do love pictures! There is a lot of wisdom in the pages, but it is laid out in such a way that you can take chunks at a time for example there are a couple of yoga poses that could be done before bed. They take ten minutes and it has helped me achieve the desire to do more yoga because its achievable – I found the hour and a half sessions I attended a struggle if I am honest! but ten minutes before bed, four restorative poses – that is achievable!

There are various sections covering all aspects of good living – movement and nutrition, sleep rest and relaxation, coping skills, physical environment, social connections, mood boosters, goal setting and accomplishments and finally values and purpose.

It is written with such honesty, the author was in need herself – and she is honest about her depression which helps. Sometimes self help books are written in such a way that you feel the author has never had a problem – but Suzy Reading is open about her own journey which seems to make the advice more authentic.

The Simple Home Book Review

I had to have this book as a physical book because I bought Rhonda’s simple living on my kindle and really wished I had bought the book. Rhonda gave up the rat race of life.. realised that the key to freedom lay in living simply – within your means and cutting back on all the should haves and must haves. She writes a great blog, down to earth about her life growing their own vegetables and making her own bread. This book is set out in home making areas by season. (although you have to tweak it a little because we are in the northern hemisphere)

A month to month guide to self reliance, productivity and contentment.. With all the talk of financial uncertainty, sky-high property prices – I know this book can help people, you and older, live well in difficult times. There needs to be a way forward that gives ordinary folk the power to choose family and home life instead of intense consumerism and the bleak consequences of it. Living simply can e that way forward.

It is so easy to underestimate just how our lives are tethered to a consumerist culture.. the must have phone upgrades that have us in debt for another couple of years, the lifestyles pumped into our living spaces unconsciously by Television programming as well as advertising. Not to forget that since the introduction of the national curriculum – independent living skills have been virtually eradicated from education – instead of spending 6 weeks a year learning to cook, children spend most of that time designing packaging for their food product – running an imaginary food company. Debt has become a way of living and shopping a way to pass time – made even easier at a click of a button. What we don’t realise is that it takes our lives away, we are selling our time and future for items that really don’t matter. Living within your means without debt – is the way to freedom. Eating food made from scratch – is taking back the control for your health.

ok… rant over. This book is awesome – I am only disappointed that I can’t have chickens anymore!

Paris Undressed Book

In America women save their best lingerie for date night or Valentines day. French women don’t need a special occasion or permission. They resist cookie cutter definitions and labels for love. Why put a quota on pleasure? If lingerie feels good next to your skin, why not wear it as much as possible? Life is the special occasion. Today. Right here. Right now.

We pretty much follow our American cousins when it comes to lingerie – and so lingerie shopping in the UK is very limited. I have to admit I am ashamed of the underwear I reach for every day – its not pretty but it is – thankfully comfortable!

I am certain I am not alone – I have piles of bras that I have worn that have tortured my body until I can bare it no more… it is why I have now taken the sum total of five bra making courses! Yet I the perfect bra seems to elude me! I have a large pile of toile bras that simply don’t fit well either…

But here lies the problem.. French Women spend a lot of money on their lingerie and they have a wide choice of shops to choose from. Here I pick up a £3.00 bra in Sainsbury’s and wonder why the blasted thing is so irritatingly uncomfortable before chucking it on the ever growing pile of torture devices that I hide in overflowing drawers.

Its not just not as simple as Kathryn kemp-Griffin makes out – I’ve visited Agent Provocateur and spent a lot of money on lingerie and yes, you can tell the difference in quality, but sadly, what lingerie manufacturers don’t seem to understand is that women above size 10 would like something beautiful. And yes, women with a cleavage a bit bigger than a D cup would like the same amount of pretty lace and bows that you get on a double AA cup! Why does it all disappear after C I wonder?

ok… yet another rant over.. !

There is a lingerie shop near where I get my hair done… I will make an appointment and let you know how it goes. I really would like to believe that it is as easy as Kathryn kemp-suggests – lots of beautiful lingerie that is comfortable and pleasurable next to the skin!

This book does suggest the holy grail of comfortable underwear exists.. you just have to visit Paris … !

Emotional Sensitivity Book review

This little book rocked my world and has helped me more than all the growing self help books on my shelves. I am an Highly Sensitive Person – its a bit like having extra sensory perception and it does make life incredibly hard sometimes.

I have to admit, there were early chapters in this book that brought tears to my eyes. Imo Lo knows a great deal about her subject – because finally a lot of my painful past not only made more sense but I realised I was not alone – that there are others who also struggle.

There is great practical advice – how to look after yourself, how not to close down and shut off all feeling. Being HSP means that if you sit with an angry person – you feel their anger, their rage, it is uncomfortable – it is painful and it is overwhelming at times. It means you cannot hurt someone – no matter how much they deserve it, without feeling that hurt too. So it makes you very vulnerable – and a target that seems to bring out the bully in a lot of people.

I cannot recommend this book enough – it is practical and offers strategies that give me hope.

Be Gentle to yourself

I have finished another little quilt – these little sewing meditations are soothing and relaxing. You can read about my first little quilt here.

 

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Decluttering, Decluttering list of items, Rhonda Hetzel

Less is more

Around six months ago I also become aware that my chaotic approach to finances, meant I had very little idea where my money was going, and I was slowly sliding into debt. It took a great deal of courage to finally face my situation and it was worse than I imagined, but it felt liberating to be in control. It wasn’t until I was out shopping one day and I realised that I could buy something if I wanted it, without the huge stack of guilt on my shoulders about buying – it was wonderful to know that I had money to pay for it, rather than hoping.

I read Julia Camerons – Prosperous Heart,

Prosperous Heart

She was very open and honest about her journey, it made me feel that I was not the only one! that was a huge weight off my shoulders.

The book is very good, it gives workable steps so that I felt I was moving forward. She discusses the concept of getting the right payment for artistic endeavour and helps you to evaluate your spending ‘personality traits’.

One of the big revelations to me was that I could not afford the ‘bigger things’ I desired, so instead I was compensating by purchasing lots of little things, especially when it was ‘charity’ shops. Yet, if I stopped these purchases and gave myself time to consider what I really wanted, and why I wanted things, I could actually afford these ‘bigger’ things. I felt as if everything was within my reach, more importantly I began to feel blessed. I also used affirmations to enforce the belief that the universe provided for all my needs and wants.

The first month was really tight, I had overspent the month before so had to manage on a tiny budget but I was determined to do so. Instead of focussing on the ‘lack’ I began to pay attention to what I had.

I live in a fair size two bedroom flat and when I moved in I was creating a new home having been living with friends in the interim. There was a lot of space, but there were a lot of boxes it took me six months before I finally emptied the last box. In the three years I have lived here, my magpie tendencies has meant my little home has become full of ‘suff’.

lots of stuff

I spent a Sunday afternoon going through my larder, my freezer and my fridge – as I made my list I began to realise that I had a great deal of food and could manage to feed myself for quite some time without needing to do a big shop. I also realised that I was still in the habit of buying for a family even though I lived on my own.

When I began to look around my home all the stuff was making things difficult, to get a saucepan out of the cupboard I had to remove other pans, cooking pots everything in my home was like that. I began to question why I had so many pans when I only really used one or two. Since then I have been slowly, systematically, working my way through my cupboards and bookshelves – considering if I really need it. Once I realised just how valuable my space was, I began to make decisions about wether or not something deserved a limited resource.

glass and china

I had a whole glass cabinet full of so many glasses it was difficult to find the right one. I ended up taking two huge boxes to a local Charity shop. Having room to display the items that pleased me the most gave me immense satisfaction.

My bookshelves were full of books that I had read and would not likely read again, so I took those away and now I buy kindle books because they don’t take up any room.

Its a slow process, one that I do when I feel the moment strikes, I’ll do a shelf – or a cupboard and then rest. If you do too much its overwhelming.

I had three cake stands so I listed a glass cake stand on a Facebook group, offering it for free, and spoke to a fabulous lady miles away who was very much looking forward to owning one. She was arranging for it to be picked up so after finding a big enough box I realised that I could wrap it up in some fabric – I no longer wanted rather than bubble wrap. (We both enjoyed sewing!) and I also found a three tier cake stand that was also a duplicate and that also fitted in the box. It gave me a great deal of pleasure to be able to give things away, knowing that they would be valued and appreciated.

I have been reading around this subject and have found some other wonderful inspiration that has helped me enormously.

The simple Life

This is a wonderful book, Rhonda creates a warm cosiness about her lifestyle, contentment drips off the page. It made me yearn to have chickens and a veg patch. She has links in the ebook to her online community which is full of more great advice and like minded folks.

There are some very good questions that help you to re-evaluate what is important.

Well worth a read you can get it on amazon for as little as 60p.

 

It seems that clutter is endemic according to the BBC and it is affecting our health. I think that there is more to it than merely space, its stressful when you have to unpack a cupboard to get something out, or that you cannot fit all your items in your cupboards. I believe it affects our energy flow as well, living in a cluttered space does not give us the ‘white space’ to relax in.

I would be interested to hear what you think!

In the meantime I shall create a list of things that I have given away.

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So far:

2 boxes of glassware

1 glass cake stand

1 Three tier china cake stand

1 Vax upright hoover

A set of six willow pattern dinner plates and bowls

A potato ricer

Two carrier bags of reading books

book review, Books

Book Review – Little Lies Liane Moriarty

Another gripping page turner
Another gripping page turner

Liane Moriarty is a genius!

The sign of a good book is when I think about the characters even when I am not reading, Maddie, Jane and Celeste felt as real as my own friends.

Liane Morriaty creates believable characters – Maddie was my favourite, maybe the one I can relate to the most because she loves a bit of drama! she is far from perfect, a bit of a stirrer, but has the best of intentions.  The characters seem to struggle with the similar issues, big and small, grappling with modern family life. The school gate mothers were so true to life here in the UK I enjoyed a giggle as I could pinpoint a Renata alongside the blonde bobs! My school yard experience seems not quite as unique as I thought, I spent many a terrifying time quaking in my boots waiting for my children to come out of school!

I have to admit the story telling gave me a little headache at first, you flit through so many characters, it seems to hop from one to another but this is put to good use as the tension builds and grows until I found myself reading well into the early hours! The observations that come from minor characters give more depth to the main characters, you get to see them through different eyes.

What could be more hilarious than fighting men wearing Elvis Costumes while a host of Audrey’s gaze on?  Murder might not be a usual occurrence at a school event, but its the humanity that Liane weaves into her tales that makes all her books such gripping reads, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. We might dislike some characters, they may behave in unreasonable ways, judgemental attitudes, bullying that occurs not just among the children. Domestic violence is tackled with understanding and realism, constructed in such a way that it is credible, it helped me to understand why domestic victims have mixed emotions.

It does reach a satisfactory conclusion, we do discover who the murderer is, and more importantly who the victim is, and I am smug enough to report that I guessed correctly! (Perhaps its written so well that the clues are easy to follow!) The loose ends are tied up so neatly, that I found myself smiling as I read the end; although somewhat disappointed that I had lost a host of wonderful entertaining friends.

I cannot recommend this book enough, alongside the Husband’s secret, What Alice Forgot and the Hypnotist’s love story.

If you haven’t discovered Liane Morriaty yet, then I am envious! She is a tremendous writer, I am sure it won’t be long before we see one of her books on film.

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