Book Review, Books, Lifestyle, Slow Living

Cosy January Reads

Its that time of year again. The time of year most people hate but I actually love, winter and autumn for me are the best as I love nothing more than snuggling under a blanket, hidden away from the cold weather outside, reading a book. I like the dark nights that make warm baths and early nights acceptable. I love hot chocolate, home made soup and stew bubbling away in the pan whilst scented candles burn and fairy lights flicker prettily. Don’t get me wrong, I love spring and summer too but nothing can beat that cosy hygge feeling I get to indulge this time of year. One thing I also love about this time of year is the feeling of a fresh start, a new beginning and a time to start following those dreams and learning new things. For me a big part of January is putting things in place to help me reach me new year goals as well as reading and learning as much as I can. I love to read books that will inspire me for the year to come and encourage me to try new things. With this in mind I have created a list of books I am looking forward to reading over the next few weeks. This time next week I will actually be married (woohooo!) and on my honeymoon so a lot of the books I’ve chosen with the idea of being able to read them quietly snuggled up in front of the log burner with my husband. Let me know if you have any new year reads you’d recommend, I love to add books to my list of to read!

The Little Book of Hygge – Meik Wiking
I bought this book before Christmas with the intention of reading it during my week off however I was bought another book about Hygge by my wonderful fiancè an so I read that one instead but have been itching to read this since. I am really interested in the Danish concept of hygge and how this can be applied to a Christian way of life. The whole cosy concept is exactly what I love about this time of year and one of my new years goals was to learn more about slow living and taking time to be present which is exactly what this little book talks about. It has the most gorgeous cover and the inside is full of pretty pictures and practical advice. I am really looking forward to taking this on my honeymoon!

8 Women Of Faith – Michael A.G. Haykin
This book was given to me by my soon to be sister in law and I am really excited to get to read it. It is a series of 8 small biographies of famous women who were devout Christians and how they faith influenced their lives and work. It is an inspiring book for men and women alike encouraging them to live out their faith. I am super excited to get my teeth into this one.

The Life – Changing Magic Of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo
I know this one has been circulating for a while and although I bought it almost 6 months ago now I haven’t gotten down to reading it yet. This year however is all about slowing down and creating space to live and after moving into a new flat that is lovely and petite I decided to read up on minimalism and simplifying your home. I love to learn about new things and then create something that works for me so I am hoping this book will teach me a lot about minimalism which I can then add to the things I’ve learnt about hygge and create something that works for me.

Soulfulness – Brian Draper
I am so excited for this book! When my anxiety was getting particularly bad I started to learn a lot about mindfulness however I found a lot of the literature was very person centred. I found that I could apply some of what I learnt to my life and allow God into it but I really wanted to read about mindfulness from a Christian perspective. This book came out in the summer and I quickly snatched it up, but again with the wedding and busy life I haven’t had chance to read it yet. I am hoping with my new years resolution of taking life slowly and calmly I will be able to enjoy reading and learning from this book.  

Book Review, Books, Lifestyle

What I Read | May

One of my big resolutions this year was to find more time to read. I love reading, I always have but when you’re working full time and planning a wedding and also trying to write your first novel there isn’t always a lot of time for reading. Or should I say there isn’t enough time for watching tv, exploring pinterest, catching up on other blogs and reading. But as I said in my previous post about my night time routine I have been trying to turn off screens by a certain time, not only has this helped me sleep but it has also given me an excuse to tuck up in bed with a good book. And so I find myself reading more than ever before and catching up on a few books I’ve been meaning to get into for a while.

The Little Shop Of Happily Ever After is definitely going on my list of feel good books. The author Jenny Colgan is one of my absolute favourites and I am now nearly always bound to buy her latest release. This book however was given to me by a friend after she read the back and decided the book was clearly specially written just for me (I love finding those books) and I have to say I agree with her. The Little Shop Of Happily Ever After is about a quiet book worm called Nina who after losing her job at the library in Birmingham decides to buy a van and turn it into a travelling book shop and move to a tiny little village in the Scottish highlands. The book is a story of self discovery, creating the life that makes you happy and romance – everything I ever need in a book.

I am never disappointed with a Jenny Colgan book but this one was particularly special due to the fact it was written for and about book worms and about the changing power of books as well as being set in beautiful Scotland. It was both hilarious and heart wrenching and definitely caused me to think more about what it was I wanted in life. I like a book that makes me think and this one not only caused me to wonder about what I wanted from life but also encouraged me to go out and get it. The protagonist is so relatable, simply a girl who bucks up the courage to follow her dream and inspired me to do likewise. Colgans amazingly realistic portrayal of the Scottish countryside, community life and the stark contrast with the city life of Birmingham made it all the more relatable. Having lived in suburbs and cities all my life I could totally relate with that feeling of utter peace and calm the countryside of Scotland brings. I really really enjoyed this book and it just goes to show how well my best friend knows me, it really was a book written just for me.

Book Review, Books, Christianity, Inspiring

Redeeming Love – Book Review

“California’s gold country, 1850. A time when men sold their souls for a bag of gold and women sold their bodies for a place to sleep.  

Angel expects nothing from men but betrayal. Sold into prostitution as a child, she survives by keeping her hatred alive. And what she hates most are the men who use her, leaving her empty and dead inside.  
Then she meets Michael Hosea, a man who seeks his Father’s heart in everything. Michael obeys God’s call to marry Angel and to love her unconditionally. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation, until despite her resistance, her frozen heart begins to thaw.  
But with her unexpected softening comes overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she no longer can deny: Her final healing must come from the One who loves her even more than Michael does…the One who will never let her go.  
A powerful retelling of the story of Gomer and Hosea, Redeeming Love is a life-changing story of God’s unconditional, redemptive, all-consuming love.”

As you will know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, I absolutely love to read. I will read anything and everything and am always trying to steal away to little corners of my house to snuggle up and dive into the worlds of others. I read often and love to immerse myself in the lives of the characters but rarely does a book touch my heart so much as Redeeming Love. I was suggested this book by a friend and, as is usual with most of the books on my reading list, I intended to read it at some point in my life but when the book was physically handed to me I decided now was as good a time as any.
As I began to read the book I started to realise this was one of those rare stories that touches my soul. The story is a fictional adaptation of the story of Hosea from the bible, the story of a man whose obedience to God is so strong he follows Gods lead and marries a prostitute and even though she is unfaithful and runs away many times he always forgives her and brings her back. The book is transformed from biblical times into mid 19th century America, set in California during the gold rush where morals are lose and only the fittest survive.
The story follows Hosea’s wife, known as Angel in the book, and through her eyes we see the transforming power of Gods love. This book could easily be one of the best I have ever read, it gave me knew and interesting insights into true unselfish love within christian marriage and the redeeming power of Gods love. But more importantly than that it helped to remind me that I am a child of God. Pure and blameless in his sight. I cannot even express in words what this book has meant to me and the difference it has made but all I can do is tell you to go and read it for yourself. Find sometime to immerse yourself in it and feel the power of Gods redemption. I can tell you now you will not be disappointed! 

Book Review, Books, Inspiring

Start Something That Matters – Book Review

Being a bookaholic I am always on the search for new and interesting books that will help inspire me and so when I heard that the creator of TOMS one of my favourite all time organisations had written a book about starting something that matters I knew I had to read it. And boy am I glad that I did! This book has to be one of the best and most inspiring books I have ever read. Whenever anybody asks what is important to me and what I would like to do with my life I often to say I would like to make a difference even if its just to one person it would be worth it and that is why I am studying a degree in Social Work. But there is part of me that wants to try doing something a little bit different and although I have lots of idea’s I often have no idea where to start. 
Enter Blake Mycoskie! This book is so fantastic for helping to inspire you to make a difference and to do something that will help others. Step by step Mycoskie goes through the stages of how he believes is the best way to start something that matters using examples from his own company TOMS and from other companies that have also tried to make a difference. If you are looking for an interesting and vibrant read full of tips and inspiration than I would really suggest you get a copy of this book. It was so amazing that I managed to read it in just two days and now have lists and lists of things I’d like to try to make a bit of a difference.