About Me, Bookish

Lately..

Hello my friends,

how have you all been? If you don’t know who I am, that’s purely because I went away from the online world for a bit and then forgot I had a blog.

I actually remembered I had a blog this week.

Terrible, I know. I started creating a website for my coaching business and there was this nagging feeling telling me: ‘wait a second, don’t you already have a website?’ An honest story, I swear. 😉

Anyhow, how have my last months been?

I read a lot of coaching and psychology related books. Also, a lot of marketing / strategy related material. It is a lot to take in but then to show up in the real world and to apply it is another level. I am loving every minute of it. 🙂 If you ever fancy hearing about any of these books, please give me a shout and I will tell you more. 🙂

From the world of fiction I read:

  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – such a treat to read. It’s a coming of age story / murder mystery / tribute to nature. Owens is a zoologist and her love of nature is apparent from every page.
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – another emotional novel set during the World War II in France. I started reading it during the 75th anniversary of D-Day and despite not generally loving historic fiction that much, this was one of those exceptions I would gladly read over and over again.

I absolutely adored those books and will review both of them. They made me both cry and laugh and I highly recommend them. 🙂

  • Cassandra Clare‘s first book in the Infernal Devices series – Clockwork Angel was also something I quite enjoyed. I love London and being transported back to it during Victorian era was fun to experience. I am currently reading the second book in the series. 🙂

TV-wise, I am enjoying watching second season of Killing Eve, had fun with Netflix’ Dead to Me and was seriously addicted to Chernobyl. I wasn’t massively in love with the last season of the Game of Thrones but I appreciated how theatrical some of those episodes were and I thought overall acting was ace. Especially Emilia Clarke‘s. 🙂 I recently discovered Nashville and already have a feeling this will be my thing – drama, drama and some country music – I’m in.

My main focus, outside of my my full time day job, is on my coaching business.

It has been such a privilege to start working with many amazing clients and to witness what they are capable of. I always knew they could do amazing things but seeing them realise that too – that’s my WHY my friends. When things get busy beyond what I want them to be, I keep on reminding myself that particular reason, grit my teeth and keep on going.

I am likely to be writing very sporadically over the next months, but if you would like to stay in touch, you can find me on these social media platforms Instagram & Facebook. Focus there is on coaching but as I talk about anything that relates to our minds, reading and books are part of it. 🙂 I would love to see you there. ❤️

Before I go, I want to give a massive shout out to Norrie @ ReadingUnderTheBlankie, who I have managed to meet in person a few times this year. Thanks Norrie for the awesome Dead to Me recommendation. 🙂 It shows how wonderful this bookish community is – it’s equally amazing meeting bloggers in person as well as reading their blogs. I am so grateful for this lovely blogosphere. ❤️ Thank you.

Have a wonderful summer and if I don’t see you on social media, I’ll see you here sometime soon.

With love,

Vera ❤️

Monthly Wrap Up

February Wrap-Up

Hi there, remember me? I decided to take a break from blogging to focus on my coaching course, which has proven to be more work than originally anticipated. 🙂

I tend to suffer from the endlessly optimistic ‘how hard can it be’ attitude and it tends to get me into trouble on a regular basis. For example I was seriously toying with an idea of entering an ultra-marathon this summer. Background info: I have never ran anything longer than 10km! 😉

The same attitude was used when I applied for my course. Once I fully grasped the amount of work that needs to be invested into my three essays, I threw myself a pity-party that lasted a while, and which involved some lots of chocolate and turned into an even darker party after my ankle was diagnosed as possibly ‘damaged’ and running has been out of question.

Also, remember that slow-reading experiment I talked about here? Well, it’s going so well that I haven’t finished a book in more than a month… actually, that’s a lie. I have finished a few psychology / coaching non-fiction books but the fiction reading is somehow on hold these days.

And, so you don’t think I’m not complaining enough… I need reading glasses. Yes, that age has come my friends… 😉

OK, now the what is bugging me is out of the way, let’s take a look at what I have been enjoying lately.

Despite moaning about the amount of work required for my coaching postgrad certificate, I have been loving every minute of it. I enjoy both the academic side as well as the practical applications of it. I developed a special place in my heart for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which can be rather neatly applied into coaching, and am toying with an idea of signing up for a formal course on it once the coaching qualification is out of the way… because ‘how hard can it be, eh?’. 😉

Book-wise, I have read quite a few non-fiction books (course related) as well as finished Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead book. 

‘One of the most important findings of my career is that courage can be taught, developed and measured. Courage is a collection of four skill sets supported by twenty-eight behaviours. All it requires is a commitment to doing bold work, having tough conversations and showing up with our whole hearts. Easy? No. Choosing courage over comfort is not easy. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and work. It’s why we’re here.’

~Dare to Lead, Brené Brown

I have noticed that I have slowed the non-fiction reading process significantly – I take many notes, highlight and write into text as well. I have a legit excuse to wonder around stationary stores to get the right highlighters, notepads and everything else, that may be needed. Heaven! 🙂

I haven’t read any fiction recently but have watched some TV to unwind. I am seriously hooked on two shows at the moment: The Handmaid’s Tale and Dietland.

You can probably sense a theme here – both of these shows have strong feminist vibes and do make me think a lot.

I am completely blown away by how bleak and brutal the The Handmaid’s Tale is. Margaret Atwood wrote the book, the series is based on, back in 1985 and I need to read it ASAP. I am seriously disturbed by Atwood’s dystopian future and I want to scream every time I entertain some of those possibilities. I also think Elisabeth Moss is completely mesmerising (I was her big fan in Mad Men). She pulled me in convincingly and I have been living her nightmare with her ever since. I really recommend the show and hopefully, will feel the same way about the original story behind it as well. Disclaimer: if you get triggered easily, proceed with care – it’s completely messed up, the story cuts very deep.

I appreciate how Dietland  looks at the ‘ beauty ideals’ and how it questions what it means to be a woman. Its humour is very dark and there have been times when I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Its messaging hit me pretty hard and I am planning on reading the original book, Dietland by Sarai Walker shortly as well.

That’s it for now my friends. I am likely to carry on working on my University essays but you can catch me at the Space Fleet and I will be writing reviews again once my workload eases off a bit.

Thanks for reading and being here, I really appreciate you all. Till next time! ❤️

Fantasy

Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey #ReadingValdemar

arrows-of-the-queenLast year, Melanie @ GrabTheLapels mentioned that she was planning on reading 15 books written by Mercedes Lackey – she talked about the story behind those books in this lovely post. I got immediately intrigued – books that feature magic always draw me in and I wanted to give the world of Valdemar a chance.

Melanie and Jacky @ DeathBySundoku decided to co-host an official read along called #ReadingValdemar – its schedule can be found on their picture below. True to my inner rebel, I somehow did not quite stick to the schedule (hey, I’m only a few days late!). I am glad that I took part in reading The Arrows of the Queen as it turned out to be an enjoyable read.

For those interested, here are also Jacky’s review and Melanie’s review of The Arrows of the Queen.reading-valdemar-v2Let’s start with Goodread’s blurb first:

Follows the adventures of Talia as she trains to become a Herald of Valdemar in the first book in the classic epic fantasy Arrows trilogy.

Chosen by the Companion Rolan, a mystical horse-like being with powers beyond imagining, Talia, once a runaway, has now become a trainee Herald, destined to become one of the Queen’s own elite guard. For Talia has certain awakening talents of the mind that only a Companion like Rolan can truly sense.

But as Talia struggles to master her unique abilities, time is running out. For conspiracy is brewing in Valdemar, a deadly treason that could destroy Queen and kingdom. Opposed by unknown enemies capable of both diabolical magic and treacherous assassination, the Queen must turn to Talia and the Heralds for aid in protecting the realm and insuring the future of the Queen’s heir, a child already in danger of becoming bespelled by the Queen’s own foes.


What did I think of Arrows of The Queen? I was entertained by it despite thinking it was probably not the best written book I have read. However the characters as well as carefully added social issues wan me over in the end.

I could not help myself but to compare Lackey‘s with Tamora Pierce‘s books. Both of these female authors write fantasy books featuring strong female protagonists and their messages promote gender equality.

Pierce‘s Alanna: The First Adventure from the Song of the Lioness quartet was first published in 1983, and Lackey‘s Arrows of The Queen in 1987. If you enjoy Pierce‘s books, I think Lackey‘s books may be worth checking out as well.


As mentioned already, I had some minor issues with the way Arrows of The Queen is written. This could be that it was Lackey‘s first book. I would have probably preferred it to be edited a bit more and for it to omit the somehow slightly confusing change in narratives, which at times felt a little disjointed.

On the other side, I absolutely enjoyed reading about the main character, Talia. If you have been following my blog for a while, you may know that I have a special place in my heart for ‘coming of age’ stories. And Arrows of the Queen certainly fitted that category. Talia, who is 13 at the start of the book, is going to a magic school to learn how to become a Herald (I was sensing strong Harry Potter vibes there, but Lackey‘s book was written a decade before HP was published!).

Talia is certainly a likeable character. She is not perfect though – she struggles with asking for help, bottles up her feelings, doesn’t trust others and is quite shy. She is therefore having problems forming friendships and connections with other and finds it hard to belong. She is a fellow dreamer with a kind heart that compels her to contribute and to help others. Despite her flaws, she is willing to grow and learn – something I find crucial when deciding if I care about a character or not.

I was really impressed how carefully Lackey embedded many social issues into the book. Gender equality, homosexuality, casual sex – it was all there and there was no judgement attached to any of these messages. Diversity is nowadays quite common in many YA books but I dare to say it wasn’t that well represented during the time this book was published and I do applaud the author for doing so!

As I absolutely adore animals, I also appreciated the Companions – magical horses, that choose their Heralds. Reading about those special bonds between Heralds and Companions made me so happy. I do believe that animals talk to us, especially when we listen very carefully.

Overall, it was a fairly slow coming of age story that introduced me to Valdemar as well as its very likeable heroine, Talia.

I have bought the other two books in this trilogy as I do want to know what happens next. I will not be reading them on schedule though as I’m currently swamped with compulsory reading for my course but I will give those books a chance later on in the year. I am really looking forward to it! 🙂

Recommended? Yes if you enjoy slower paced coming of age fantasy that feature likeable heroin, magic schools and beautiful horses.


Over to you!

  • Have you read The Arrows of the Queen?
  • What’s your favourite coming of age story?

Fancy sharing it with me? Thanks for reading! ❤️

Fantasy

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch

I’ve taken a week to formulate my thoughts about the mesmerising finale of Arden‘s Winternight Trilogy. I’m afraid my emotions are still all over the place and I do apologise in advance for extensive gushing.

Let’s first back up a bit. The Winter of the Witch is the third book in the series and I do not recommend reading it as a standalone book as it heavily leans into its previous instalments. On the flip side, if you haven’t read any of these books yet, you have quite a treat waiting for you. There are full of magic, highly atmospheric and I do dare to agree with Amalia and her beautiful review of this book – I also think this trilogy is ‘making its way to be a classic‘.

The Bear and the Nightingale started this magical series with a highly atmospheric, coming of age story. I got to meet Vasya and I immediately fell in love with Arden‘s writing, her clever story telling and all that Slavic folklore, which always screams ‘HOME‘ to me whenever I am exposed to it.

The second book, The Girl in the Tower, turns darker. The innocence of youth is long gone and Vasya, a young adult, is determined to travel the world. Its tone is different – it’s not only that darkness but also its faster pace that contrasts the first book. It’s a roller coaster of events and I could not put it down.

The Winter of the Witch starts exactly where The Girl in the Tower ended. You can sense the torment medieval Moscow is experiencing, you can feel the fear her people are immersed in. The beginning is DARK…. and it gets darker, much much darker.

It’s rare to be amazed by all books in a series but that is the case of Winternight Trilogy – I do not know how it’s possible that every book makes me so sad when it’s over and every time I read those books I keep on thinking ‘this is why I read‘. It makes my heart sing, it makes me happy on so many levels. Arden‘s characters are believable and complex. Vasya is not beautiful and her appearance is utterly irrelevant. It is who she is as a person that counts. She is set on a quest, makes mistakes, asks for help, admits her flaws and owns all of it.

The Winter of the Witch explores Vasya‘s dark side. What I enjoyed in particular was her interaction with Medved (the Bear). Medved is a clear antagonist. In a perfect hero / anti-hero tradition, Medved almost completes Vasya and despite him behaving terribly and doing unacceptable things, you almost get to like him. Something I always appreciate when reading about villains.

And then there is Morozko (Frost Demon). Not portrayed as a monster but rather as someone, who can feel human emotions and who can care despite being terrified of it. A very minor spoiler ahead: yes, he is featured in this book and yes, Vasya doesn’t forget him. 😊

‘’I am a witch’’, said Vasya. Blood was running down her hand now, spoiling her grip. ‘’I have plucked snowdrops at Midwinter, died at my own choosing, and wept for a nightingale. Now I am beyond prophecy.’’ She caught his knife on the crosspiece of hers, hilt to hilt. ‘’I have crossed three times nine realms to find you, my lord. And I find you at play, forgetful.’’

This book is full of action, features battles, moments of sadness when lives are lost, moments of hope when Vasya steps into her power and utterly charming moments of magic when Vasya travels the Midnight road to start her new quest.

I appreciate how Arden mixes old and new beliefs together. How this book is not just about what you believe in but how strongly you believe it. Fans of Gaiman‘s American Gods will enjoy this messaging for sure!

I also enjoyed reading Arden‘s parting comments, in which she shares Russian history and explains how some of her characters got to be. Some of them are based on real historical figures. I do recommend reading this section as it is a fascinating read.

I loved everything about this book, its pace, well developed characters, that feeling of bittersweetness and Arden‘s gorgeous writing. Russian folklore, medieval setting, atmospheric descriptions… it will all steal your hearts.

To me, it’s an utter perfection. I could have easily read it in a day but forced myself to read it over seven days to prolong this magical journey. I cherished those evenings I could read yet another chapter of this book.

I’ll leave you with a question: “if someone lives in our thoughts, does it mean that person still exists”?

I firmly believe so.

I would like to thank both the publisher, Penguin Random House UK as well as the author, for proving me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ❤️


Over to you: have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? If not, are you planning on doing so?

Happy reading and thanks for stopping by. 📚❤️

 

Bookish

2019 Wishlist & Slow Reading Experiment

slow reading

Happy New Year!

I’ve recently read many wonderful posts written on goals for 2019 – in particular, Umut’s confession really resonated with me. I started thinking about my own plans. I have been reflecting on what I learned during 2018 what I want to take away from it:

I’ve noticed that setting a concrete challenging reading goal for 2018 produced a few interesting outcomes:

  1. I read more – much more than I would normally read – I haven’t met my 100 books goal, but wasn’t that far away from it.
  2. Reading became a chore and I had to abandon my goal to preserve my sanity and to enjoy reading for what I want it to be – something I cherish but also something that I don’t want to do all the time.

I started this blog with the intention to write on a regular basis as well as to talk about books. That indeed was a success. I wrote a lot more in 2018 than I did in previous years. It was hard at times, but it also brought me a lot of joy. And as a lovely byproduct, I happened to discover this supportive and amazing community. I am so grateful for your love my friends, I feel so lucky to be part of it.

There have been many ups and downs in 2018 and I am so appreciative for my loved ones, that were there for me. To celebrate the great times together and to lend me their strong shoulders when I needed them to cry on them during those tough times.


Let’s look ahead.

I like to choose a theme for the upcoming year. I like to write it in my journal and use it as a beacon in the dark, whenever I feel like I’m losing my way. I’m currently toying with following words as contenders for 2019:

Notice / Listen / Tune In

I want to listen more this year and be more attentive in general – I’m striving to notice rather than to react. I want to give my full focus to others when they speak – no interruptions, no offer of an immediate advice. I also want to tune in inwards to hear my own voice – in order to observe my habits and my thinking… I’m leaning towards Notice so far but that may still change.

Based on my summary above, do you have any other suggestions please? I’m reaching out to all those creative souls out there.

I’ll be grateful for any other suggestions please. 🙂 Thanks! 


In terms of my goals for this year:

Big Goal:

Get certified as a Life Coach. I am starting Masters in Coaching later on this month. This will take a lot of my spare time as I still have a 40+ hours a week full-time job. I’ve gone through my compulsory reading list (nearly fainted a few times after I fully grasped its length 😉 ) and started cracking on with a few of those mandatory reads. They are super interesting! 🙂

Bookish / Creative:

Read fewer books and enjoy slow reading experience. This may go against many reading goals but I honestly want to read less this year. 😉 I started experimenting with it with my last book, The Winter of the Witch and it made me so happy.

I’ll be writing a separate discussion post about it as there’s a lot to talk about. Stay tuned for that one. 🙂

Read some of the books I already own but haven’t read yet. Perhaps many of you can relate to the process of buying books, looking at them lovingly, being excited about reading them…. and then forgetting all about them. I have many eBooks. I don’t even know what I own and haven’t read.

I’ve been compiling a spreadsheet (my inner organiser is loving it) of all books I own. My plan is to choose my reading material from this list on a regular basis. I won’t constrict myself entirely to it but will start reducing it.

Space Fleet adventure – my dear friend Alexandra invited me to take a part in her Fleet Space Adventure. I have a character that I’ll be writing about – her name is Ada Novák. I have learned so much about this creative writing process already – thank you Alexandra for all of your help, you are such a wonderful friend and I am so grateful I have met you.

Please come over to say hello – either to read along or to take part and to join our expanding crew. Ada may even coach you if you let her… 😉

Carry on writing blog posts but post less frequently – I’m currently thinking once a week or once every two weeks. Again, this may change but having a less of an internal pressure to ‘create content’ will help me focus on studying.

It will also hopefully enable me to enjoy blogging for what I want it to be – a hobby that will connect me with others and that will honour my value of creativity as well as my love for books.

Mental Health:

Less time online, more face to face interactions. Sadly, this will mean less blog hoping but I’ve noticed tremendous health benefits when I switched off my phone and went out for meals or walks with others or on my own. I’m currently setting up boundaries – I’m thinking no online time on weekends as well as some evenings. This may still change but that’s where I may be heading…

Fitness:

Running challenges – I’ve signed up for several 10-12km long trail races, one of them includes 600m elevation – I may have got carried away a bit with that one but hey, let’s embrace it… somehow …. 😉 Strangely, I started enjoying running during 2018 – miracles do happen my friends! Running longer distances still doesn’t come naturally to me (I’m an ex-sprinter, anything longer than 400m is looooong….). It is hard sometimes, especially on those cold and dark mornings. But it makes me happy afterwards – all those endorphins, that sense of achievement, that joy of watching sunrises and smiling at other runners I get to meet on trails… it all totally outweighs the initial discomfort I think.

Fun climbing challenge – my boyfriend and I created a friendly (a total lie he he!) climbing couple competition for 2019. I may even start climbing more often as I’m totally going to win this one. 😉


Over to you now:

  • Do you use a theme for the upcoming year?
  • Where’s your focus going to go this year?

Fancy sharing it with you? As always, I love hearing from you. 💗💗💗

Bookish

Yes Please & No Thanks Books of 2018

As 2018 is coming to an end, I’ve decided to look back to reflect on what I read this year. I read many excellent books and am extremely grateful to all those wonderful authors for writing such great stories. I know how hard writing can be so thank you for creating and keeping us entertained.

What a privilege is to be able to read all those books.

There were a few books that were not meant to be but that’s OK. Just because a book didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. Edmund Wilson once wisely said:  “No two persons ever read the same book.”.

Let’s take a look at books I absolutely loved and can not stop talking about:

Eleanor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine by Gail Honeyman. I loved everything about this book. How darkly twisted it was, how that conscious stream of Eleanor’s thoughts made me both cry and smile and how she didn’t get saved by love. Because she didn’t need saving. I wrote a rather long review about it here. Big thumbs up for consistent pacing, vivid characters and that perfect bittersweetness.

Circe by Madeline Miller– if I framed every quote I loved in this book, our entire house would be covered by frames. It’s a slow but extremely philosophical read. It questions what it truly means to be alive and what a gift our mortality, in a way, is. There are so many messages there, its language is exquisite and I still think about it to date. Of course the fact that Greek mythology is ever present was a big bonus for me. Review can be found here.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng– it took me a little while to get into this book as its writing style is quite unusual. It has a sort of journalistic feel to it as it is describing what happened and why. Once I got used to the style, I could not put this book down. Again, there are many messages there and it will make you think. About privilege, how a perception of who we are, can be derived from where we come from, about friendships and life in general.

Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden: The Girl in the Tower / The Winter of the Witch – do you remember how much I loved The Bear and the Nightingale? Well the series gets better from there on. Book 2 – The Girl in the Tower – takes us to medieval Moscow and everything starts turning darker. It’s still atmospheric but that innocence of youth is long gone, book 3 – The Winter of the Witch – goes even darker. It’s brutal at times but there is hope. To me, this series is an utter perfection. Everything I ever wanted from fantasy. Its language is lyrical and creates powerful atmosphere, the world is craftily built, characters aren’t perfect and have many flaws, and its love story doesn’t distract us from the main plot.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty- another “I can’t put it down” book. All about shame, in particular parenting and appearance based shame. All these little lies we tell ourselves to keep going, all that hurt that’s buried inside of us. All those secrets we hope nobody will find about us. It’s an excellent character driven mystery, that really dives deep into what makes us tick and how we can overcome shame and heal. Full review can be found here.

If I had to pick a favourite memoir of this year, it would be a tie between Born a Crime and Educated, but if you twisted my arm really hard to make me choose, I would scream out Born a Crime.

Born a Crime by Trevor NoahNoah is a very political, intelligent and highly opinionated stand up comedian. His comedy will make you think. I watched a lot of his shows on Netflix and am his big fan. His collection of essays is the best audio book I have ever listened to, and in my opinion, one of the best memoirs I have read. It’s both funny and sad, there are many strong messages and I will be re-listening to it again next year. Full review here.

We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Adichie – in my opinion a must read for everyone. Not to create hate or division, but to connect us and to realise we are in this together. It’s not driven by judgement or fear, but by love. I recommend this as an audio book as the Adichie‘s voice is utterly mesmerising and I could listen to her for hours. A perfect length for a walk or a commute to work. Full review here.

Books I enjoyed a lot and that I think are worth mentioning:

Books that were not meant to be during the time I read them:

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (review) – The biggest disappointment of the year as it started off so well. I’m forcing myself not to go on a rant here, but this book made me really angry and I tend not to feel that way when I read books. I usually just lose interest and move on, but as we are friends here, this book really made me mad. The language was haunting and beautiful but I had many issues with both its messaging and the lack of growth of the main character. I still see red whenever I think how sex was implied to be “a rite of passage to an adulthood” and how it glamorised dangerous “monsters”.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (review) – This may be quite a controversial choice given how many people loved this book. By the way I hope we can still be friends if you loved this book. No hard feelings please. 🙂 I loved the messaging of this book – i.e. the questioning of if evil is born or rather made make me really happy… but… it could be that mermaids are just not my thing or that I found both narratives quite indistinguishable and the version I read didn’t have any captures of who was speaking when – either way, it somehow didn’t work for me. I still think it was a strong debut but sadly, not my thing.

Find your Why by Simon Sinek – Gosh, this was so boring. It again started off so well and then turned into such a drag. I DNF in the end, maybe I will revisit it but will need to forget it first before my next attempt.. I still shudder whenever I think of it… sorry!

Linchpin by Seth Godin – I respect Godin a lot. I generally feel aligned with his messaging and think he’s a very interesting person. However I was not impressed with this book. It just went on and on, repeating, admittedly a great idea, that could have been summarised by a few chapters, if even. I do have a short deficit spam but even I didn’t need that constant repetition… I gave up on it in the end, another DNF for me.


There you have it my friends, I wish you all a wonderful end of 2018, full of laughter and fun.

Thank you for reading, commenting and being here. Your time, love and support means a wold to me. ❤️

I look forward to seeing you all in the new year. Šťastný Nový Rok (Happy New Year).💕

Bookish

Happy Holidays

In the Czech Republic, our main Christmas celebration is tomorrow, on 24th December, Christmas Eve.

My family starts the day with some light breakfast, for lunch, we have ‘kuba‘ – a meal made out of mushrooms, groats and garlic. We then go for a long walk, which we finish visiting a cemetery to light up candles for those, who are still in our hearts but no longer with us.

Our main food of the day is Christmas dinner, which usually consists of some fish soup, which I absolutely hated as a child 🙈, a fried carp and some yummy potato salad.

Carp is a traditional Czech Christmas meal, which symbolises Christianity.

We open presents after dinner. After we hear a bell ring coming from the living room. That’s to let us know that Ježíšek (baby Jesus) has visited and left us something underneath the Christmas tree.

I still remember that sense of wonder when I saw the decorated Christmas tree. My parents would decorate it the day before Christmas Eve, lock up the room and let us, kids, see it for the very first time after the Christmas dinner.

There was something magical in those sprinkling lights reflected in glass baubles. I absolutely loved it. That sense of surprise mixed with anticipation. Feeling giddy with excitement. It’s one of my favourite memories I cherish dearly.


Regardless if you celebrate Christmas or not, I wish you all a very peaceful holiday full of wonderful moments we people you care about.

Happy Holidays my friends. ❤️❤️❤️