What I Got For Christmas 2019 | Book Edition

It feels like ages since I’ve last sat down to write a blog post. Christmas has flown by and so have most of days. Yesterday I went for a walk, sorted out my wardrobe and had guests over but it feels like I have barely moved. I can’t wait for the mornings to get lighter so the I can go for my early-morning wanders again! Spring is one of the most interesting seasons. It’s when everyone is attempting their new years goals. A lot of us give up by summer but the initiative is still worth reward! It’s a bit late for a What I Got For Christmas post but I’m still going to share it with you. I’ll only be showing you the books I got for Christmas because otherwise this post would be dragging on for far too long! (besides, books are probably the things you read by blog for)

I didn’t actually get any novels this year for Christmas. They’re all non-fiction! I did ask for these books because I was really interested in the topics. Though I won’t speed through them, I thought it would be nice to have some educational books that I can read in anticipation of the new year (to make it one of the best years yet!)

Turning The Tide Against Plastics

I don’t share much of my plastic-free passion on this blog but I certainly will share more of that in upcoming content. This book really intrigued me because it is not covering sorely the new plastic revolution but also the protests of the past. The truth of what’s going on in the world around us is not pleasant. However I do feel like I should be educating myself on this topic because it determines my future! I have read a couple of pages already and really enjoyed it. It’s not too heavy yet it still has a lot of statistics and numbers in it.

Synopsis

Plastic flows into our lives from every direction and most of it is not recycled. Instead it is incinerated or ends up in landfill, where it will sit for hundreds of years, or enters the world’s seas where it fragments into tiny pieces to become microplastics – the environmental scourge of our times.

Many of us had assumed that governments, brands and waste authorities were dealing with plastic on our behalf. But the impact of shows such as Blue Planet along with national beach cleans and high-profile campaigns have resulted in a collective wake-up call. If there were plans and strategies, they have not worked as we imagined. It would be easy to feel despondent but instead we need to turn our anger and emotion into action, starting by making a big dent in our own enormous consumption.

Turning The Tide On Plastic is here just in time. Journalist, broadcaster and eco-lifestyle expert Lucy Siegle provides a powerful call to arms to end the plastic pandemic along with the tools we need to make decisive change. It is a clear-eyed, authoritative and accessible guide to help us to take decisive and effective personal action.

Because this matters. When it comes to single-use plastics, we are habitual users, reaching out for plastic water bottles, disposable coffee cups, plastic straws and carrier bags multiple times a day. If only 12 of us adopt Lucy’s ‘reduce, rethink, refill, refuse’ approach, we could potentially ditch 3,000-15,000 single items of plastic in a year. When we consider our power as influencers – whether at school, the hairdressers, at work or on the bus – we suddenly become part of something significant.

So now is the time to speak up, take action and demand the change you want to see in the ocean, in the supermarket aisles and on the streets. It’s time to turn the tide on plastic, and this book will show you how.

Lucy Siegle – Turning The Tide On Plastic

Quiet Power

This is a book I added to my TBR because of bookstagram. I’m not sure who’s account I saw it on but I was really interested in it. Putting labels on myself isn’t the best thing for my mental health, but being an introvert is certainly part of my identity. I do feel that the power of introverts is being better recognised now however there are still people who underestimate the power of quiet people! This book might be a boost for my self-esteem or it could turn me against all the loud people in the world 😂

Synopsis

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts–from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Susan Cain – Quiet Power

The Little Book Of Hygge

Early this year I really enjoyed reading The Little Book of Lykke. Lykke is my word of the year, as you will see in an upcoming post! As I really enjoyed Meik Wiking’s writing the first time I thought I might try reading another one of his books too. I enjoy the way he talks about the issues of the modern world without sounding too pessimistic. There is also a common theme of kindness in his books too!

Synopsis

Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: hygge

‘Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight…’

You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.

Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.

Meik Wiking – The Little Book Of Hygge


Thank you so much to my parents for kindly getting me these books for Christmas! I always appreciate that you take notice when I say ‘I would like to read this’ or ‘I think I might ask for this for Christmas’. Christmas is not about the gifts though nothing beats when you give gifts to other people and they have a beaming smile on their face! I was really smiling when I received these presents on Christmas morning. Thank you so much.

I hope you all had an amazing day, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas!

Do you have any plans for New Year’s Eve? Whatever you’re doing, please stay safe!

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10 New Year’s Goals | Ideas To Pursue In 2020 | Collaboration With Sophie’s Corner

Happy *almost* New Year!

The prospect of a new year invites time to reflect and set goals. I sat down with myself (and my bullet journal) a few weeks ago and starting listing things I wanted to do in 2020. It would be unrealistic for me to set more than five goals for myself I have managed to cut it down! Today’s post is a collaboration with Sophie’s Corner. As she only started blogging back in August this will be her first collaboration which is very exciting! We have both written 5 goals and some of them are quite similar (great minds think alike) and I thought they would be great inspiration for your new year’s resolutions if you don’t yet have any. After reading this post I would really recommend you go and check out Sophie’s beautiful Instagram or take a look at her wonderful writings on her blog!

  • Create a revision timetable and stick to it

My mock GSCE exams are in April so I would like to create a revision timetable so that I can revise. In the past I have attempted this and then not really kept up with it so I would like to try again and then stick to it religiously so that I get the best grades possible for my mocks.
  • Grow my blog

I started my blog in August and the main focus was getting some content on there, writing blog posts etc. But now I would like to grow my blog’s audience and try to invest a little more time into it. Blogging is something I would like to do in the future so I am going to be focusing more on trying to increase my readers.
  • Limit screen time

I think I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t like my phone; a quick scroll through Instagram, replying to messages, checking my emails, clicking through Snapchat. I wouldn’t say that I overuse it but I would still like to try cutting down the time I spend on it. I will do this gradually.
So, in January, I will start off by limiting my time to 50 mins per day, then in February in will be 45 mins and so on. This means that by the end of the year I will hopefully satisfied with the time I spend on it!
  • Do one kind thing per day for other people

I always aim to do this anyway but I thought that I’d make it into a real goal so that I am even more keen to do it! I love doing random acts of kindness and it makes me feel so happy when other people are happy! I have written 31 good deeds and put them in a jar so that for each day in January I can pick out a good deed and carry it out that day. Then I will do the same for February and so on.
  • Get a specific number of hours of sleep every night

I think it would make me much healthier to have consistent sleeping patterns, especially as I already wake up super early every day!

  • Work my way to sugar-free

The way I’m going to work this goal is by gradually cutting out sugar as the year goes along. In January I’m aiming to do one day a week without sugar. Then in February it would step up to two days. If I cut out sugar immediately then I would get cravings and probably flop. My friend is going sugar-free from Christmas to Easter so I won’t be doing this alone!

  • Daily journal

This is a traditional new years goal but I really think that I’ll be able to do it. In the end of 2019 I did daily journal and I felt it really cleansing. I did enjoy doing meditation for a time but it’s a very expensive habit so journalling is the next best thing. I know that I won’t be able to journal every single day but just when I can.

  • Read 100 books

Reading is one of my favourite hobbies (I don’t know if it beats blogging?) so this one will be easy for me. I managed it last year and the summer is my prime time for reading so I’m not going to force myself to finish a book every 3 days because I’ll be able to catch up in the holidays.

  • Collaborate with other bloggers a lot more often

In the beginning of last year I did a lot of collaborations and towards the end as well. However in the middle of the year it was lacking so this year I’d like to be more consistent.

  • Become a RAKtivist

Becoming a RAKtivist and performing random acts of kindness is such a lovely new year’s goal. Most of the goals I previously mentioned are based around my personal growth, but to bring happiness to another person is a really special idea. I have already signed up on the website and soon after writing this post I’m going to print of the kindness calendar for January!

Have you set any goals for 2020? What did you achieve last year?

Thank you so much for reading. I look forward to reading your responses in the comments below!

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Peppermint Cream Inspired Chocolate Cupcakes

One Sunday afternoon I decided to do an experimental recipe and it went surprisingly well! This is the first festive bake of the year and I’m really excited for you to try it out for yourself. As always my Instagram DM’s are open for you to send me photos of your recreations! I really enjoy seeing the twists you put on my recipes – especially with the decoration! These cupcakes are plain in decoration but full in flavour. It would be a great idea to crush a candy cane and sprinkle that on top – but I didn’t have any candy canes when I was making these!

Ingredients:

4oz self-raising flour

2oz cocoa powder

4oz caster sugar

2oz brown sugar (this gives the cakes a brownie-like texture but if the classic cupcake is more to your taste then add another 2oz of caster sugar instead)

6oz margarine or unsalted butter

3 eggs

For the icing:

2oz icing sugar

1tsp of peppermint extract

Method:

  • Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Pro tip: use a spoon to break up the ingredients and then use an electric whisk to make it light and fluffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 160C (if you preheat the oven before you start mixing your ingredients you are wasting energy and throwing away money!)
  • While your oven is preheating spoon the cake mixture evenly into 24 cupcake cases.  This recipe is easy to divide if you want to make more or less!

  • Place your cupcakes in the oven. Let them cook for 10-15 minutes. The less time you leave them in the gooey-er they are!
  • As the cupcakes cool you can prepare the icing. Combine 2oz on icing sugar (roughly – we didn’t measure exactly) and a few drops of water. Once you have the right consistency add your peppermint extract. Don’t use too much as it may taste like toothpaste!
  • Using a knife spread the icing on to your cupcakes. If you do want to add decorations then make sure you do so before the icing sets. Otherwise they will not stick on!

Because I am so forgetful I completely didn’t take photos of the decorating process. It’s not too impressive anyways – but I thought you were due an explanation as to why you won’t be able to see the final result! Thank you all so much for reading this recipe. If you get any time with some little ones this holiday then I do recommend you make these with them. They’re super simple and very hard to bodge up! You may also get creative with the decorations.

Do you enjoy the combination of mint and chocolate? What is your favourite festive treat to bake?

Only two days left until Christmas now! I hope that you really enjoy yourself – whether you celebrate the occasion or not. I won’t be posting on Christmas day (even though it is my usual upload day) because I want to spend some time with my family. Though I would like to wish you a merry Christmas all the same!

Many blessings,

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Because you won’t let us down…

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The Commercialisation Of Christmas

Christmas is all about money these days. Before we begin I’d like to mention that I’m not a Christian – more of an atheist – though I still think that it is important to remember the reason for the season. Most of you will have done the Nativity plays when you were in primary school. It’s really important to educate people, especially young children, as to why some nations celebrate this occasion. Supposedly, this time 2019 years ago, Jesus was born. You might not believe in Him as a miracle maker (neither do I). What you must understand, however, is that He is a symbol for hope. That is why Christian nations believe Christmas a time of community. It’s not about celebrating the birth of a baby, but to celebrate the birth of hope. Everybody should be welcome at Christmas. That’s why schools support charities such as Save The Children, because some kids won’t be getting presents this year, or a warm fire to sit by. I can’t bear seeing the commercialisation of a season that is meant to be interpreted as a time where money shouldn’t matter – and everyone is equal.

Don’t get me wrong, I love making Christmas content for you. I’d just like everyone to take a step back and remember why we celebrate this occasion in the first place 🙂

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