February Goals | Novel Writing & My Etsy Shop

A New Year can be very daunting for all of us. All of this goal-setting can be very overwhelming; I don’t think any of you are failures for already giving up! That’s why I don’t do it. I introduce new habits whenever I think that I need them! For example, I am now working on the plank position. I started by doing it for 30 seconds every morning and night but now I’m bumping it up to a minute. I keep fit because it makes me feel better – the physical results are just a side-effect!

However, setting resolutions can be an attractive idea. That’s why I thought it could be interesting to do a ‘February Goals’ post! Just because the New Year hype is over doesn’t mean that we can’t still be challenging ourselves day-to-day.

Write 5000 words on my novel 

To all of the authors out there, I know 5000 doesn’t seem a lot. But we’ve got to start somewhere and small goals are really the only way for me! Don’t expect this novel to published anywhere soon. No doubt it will be another draft I am too insecure to share with anyone.

Read 100 pages a day

Towards the end of last year I was focusing a lot on other hobbies, so reading wasn’t in the forefront of my mind. Now that school has started again it feels more necessary to be reading a lot! Fiction also helps me develop ideas for my own books.

Sell my first scrunchies!

I’ve been working on an Etsy shop for a little while. Though everything I have the products and the website, I don’t have the packaging. This month I’d like to work on that and hopefully post my first order. Etsy isn’t something I want to do in the long run – I just thought it would be a good way to fundraise for GirlGuides! And if I somehow found the time then I’d make stickers too. I’ll link the shop here. All purchases are much appreciated! 

Do you set monthly goals? Have you kept up with the New Year’s resolutions you set?

erin x

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Orphan Monster Spy | Book Review

Okay, so we’ve encountered a five star read. It’s the first one in a while, which is what really excites me! Historical fiction has got to be my favourite genre and this book has everything in it that I love about the genre. There were elements in it that were  unique, such as including the dreams/nightmares of Sarah. They weaved into the plot slightly and gave it a lot more depth.

Synopsis

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah–blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish–finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can’t attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she’s ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined.

The style of writing wasn’t too ‘heavy’ yet it did have a good few metaphors! I wish I had written them down to how you examples but I’m not a literal critic and this is just meant to be a casual post. Sometimes I really get carried away with myself and start thinking it’s a language exam 😂

It doesn’t have much hype as it was only released in 2018, but I think it deserves more. There isn’t anything romantic or overly ‘YA’ about it other than a bit of bloody description. Similar to The Book Thief it is a book for all ages. I would press my mum to read this if she could before it was due back in the library! I don’t know if it’s for everyone, but as it isn’t spoken about much on bookstagram I don’t know many other opinions. If you have read this then I would really appreciate a chat in the comments!

Have you read any five-star reads this year? Do you like historical fiction?

erin x

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First Line Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

Rules (just in case you want to try this out for yourself)

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first.
  • Finally… reveal the book!

While I was still in Amsterdam, I dreamed about my mother for the first time in years. I’d been shut up in my hotel for more than a week, afraid to telephone anybody or go out; and my heart scrambled and floundered at even the most innocent noises: elevator bell, rattle of the minibar cart, even church clocks tolling the hour, de Westertoren, Krijtberg, a dark edge to the clanger, and wrought fairy-tale sense of doom.

And the book is…

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt!

Synopsis

“It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

“As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.”

This book has been on my TBR ever since one of my friends was reading it. As you can see from the first lines, it really does ramble on. All the same I would love to read this book at some point! Fortunately there is a film and I may do the devil’s act of watching the film before reading the book, just so I can get a good idea of the storyline. I found my copy in a charity shop when I went out the other day! So far this year I haven’t bought any new books… I’m kind of proud.

Have you ever read The Goldfinch? Has it been on your TBR for a long time?

erin x

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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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The Little Book Of Lykke | The Danish Search For The World’s Happiest People| Book Review

Title: The Little Book Of Lykke

Author: Meik Wiking

Publisher: Penguin Life

Number Of Pages: 288

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis 

It’s easy to see why Denmark is often called the world’s happiest country. Not only do they have equal parental leave for men and women, free higher education and trains that run on time, but they burn more candles per household than anywhere else.

So nobody knows more about happiness – what the Danes call lykke – than Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and author of the bestselling sensation The Little Book of Hygge . But he believes that, whilst we can certainly learn a lot from the Danes about finding fulfilment, the keys to happiness are actually buried all around the globe.

In this captivating book, he takes us on a treasure hunt to unlock the doors to inner fulfilment. From how we spend our precious time, to how we relate to our neighbours and cook dinner, he gathers evidence, stories and tips from the very happiest corners of the planet. This is the ultimate guide to how we can all find a little more lykke in our lives.

My Thoughts

Reading this book was really fulfilling. It’s the first non-fiction book that I’ve read cover to cover this year! I really enjoyed the casual tone and I learned so much in a short 288 pages. I know that Hygge is now a popular lifestyle throughout the world though its origin is in Scandinavia. Similar to Hygge, Lykke is the idea of happiness and finding fulfilment in the little things. This book had a constant theme that material things do not bring fulfilment and I agree! I found it almost like my old self giving me a reminder and it felt like meditation whenever I was reading it. The book was split into categories and then the final categories was a round up and I found that really helpful. I finished it this morning and now I find myself off to a good start! I would really recommend this book and though you can find most of its content online, nothing beats the contentment of reading in bed. I feel like the message comes across more prominently when reading. 

Have you read about Lykke? What are your thoughts on a Hygge lifestyle? 

I hope you all get a chance to implement Lykke into your life today,

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