Monthly Wrap Up

August Wrap Up

Happy 1st September my friends! I am so happy to be back. 😊

Welcome to the meteorological autumn! I know that the astronomical autumn will start on 23rd September but because I love autumn, I am embracing it from now on. Come on, what’s not to like? 😊

All those vibrant pumpkins, warm blankets and cardigans, those cosy nights in. And let’s not forget those crisp autumnal days full of wonderfully colourful leaves. Albert Camus once famously said: “autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”. And I could not agree more.

I took a month off from the ‘online world’ to slow down. I must admit it was quite an experience.

Initially, they were honestly times when I didn’t know what to do with myself. 😂 😂

For example: I was so used to scrolling down my feeds every morning and all of sudden I was like… ‘ehm, I have time. Ehm, lot’s of time… what will I do? Shall I actually read?’ It took me a while to break that ‘twitch’ – I’m referencing the fellow minimalist’s, Anthony Ongaro’s blog, Break the Twitch. If you don’t know his work, I really recommend checking it out. 😊

I slowly unhooked myself from those news feeds. And frankly I don’t know if I want to go back to them. It’s something I’m still contemplating. 😊

I know that I want to blog again and connect with my readers and carry on appreciating this lovely blogging community.

I also know that I want to use Facebook sporadically to stay in touch with my family. But… I found out that when I was not using Facebook, I actually made more of an effort to reach out. Not to not just ‘like’ photos and posts but to rather make a phone call or to meet up. Which was lovely. And gave me plenty to think about… 😉

In August, I managed to read following books:

Celeste Ng – Little Fires Everywhere – a very clever fictional novel about “planning your life” vs. “living your life”. It was an extremely enjoyable read and I am desperately craving its sequel (which is of course not planned. 😉). Full review to follow in September.

Matt Haig – Notes on a Nervous Planet (dnf) – alright, I really, really wanted to love this book. Especially as I am someone, who suffers from anxiety and sometimes do feel overwhelmed. But it didn’t click. It’s a witty book but I was either not in the right mood for it or my expectation were just not in line with what this book is all about.

Side note: it’s current GR’s score is 4.21 so clearly, it’s me, not the book.

Sarah J Maas – Catwoman: Soulstealer –  I binged on this book. It was everything I needed at that moment. Fast pace – check, action – check, banter – check, fun & complex heroine – check, romance – check… I loved it. It reminded me why I enjoy Maas’ books so much. Full review to follow for sure.

Katherine Center’s books. My favourite Dr Brene Brown recommended How to Walk Away a while ago and ever since then, I’ve been eyeing it. When it finally become available at my library, I literally could not put it down and read another two of Center’s books shortly after I finished it as I really loved her writing.

  • How to Walk Away – a very sensitive look at dealing with disability and discovering of one’s core self, once our previous identities have been taken away from us.
  • Happiness for Beginners – another ‘search for our identity’ kind of book. It’s funny, full of romance (I know, I am as shocked as you are but I am clearly on a romance roll these days, must be all that summer hot weather I think…) I loved how appreciation and gratitude were slowly built in. It was a great and quick summer read. Cover appreciation – LOVE IT!!! ❤️
  • The Lost Husband – this one was probably my ‘least favourite’ but I still enjoyed it. It dealt with grief, starting over and again, discovering of who we are and what makes us happy. I recommend it as well.

I had a nasty digestive flare up and had to take some time off work. I managed to watch some movies and TV and following sort of stood up for me:

Movies

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

  • Netflix – To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – oh, this was such a cute teen romance movie. Those two main actors were just adorable, and I really, really loved it. I am seriously considering re-watching it again, it was just so sweet and brought me back so much nostalgia.

TV

UnReal

  • UnReal – I got hooked on this TV show. It’s dark, messed up and I did binge on it. It follows ‘behind scenes’ of a fictional dating show called ‘Everlasting’. It shows how some of these reality TV shows may get ‘produced’ – read ‘manipulated’. I really enjoyed it, especially the first few seasons, the forth one was a little bit of a let down but the first few ones are really, really dark and twisted.

Entertainment

michael mcIntyre

  • Michael McIntyre’s stand-up comedy show – James and I went to see Michael McIntyre and he was so hysterical. I’m still laughing remembering some of his jokes. If you don’t know him, please check him out. He is sooooo funny. 😊

Health-wise, I am still being tested and prodded. I had many tests done over the last few weeks and I am seeing my specialist next week to hear if we are getting anywhere near a concrete diagnosis. So far it’s been ‘elimination’ only but that on its own is a progress I guess. 😊

Coaching wise, I attended a brilliant three-day coaching course and I am still buzzing from it. It was so much fun. Not only am I learning how to coach but I am also growing as I am learning something new about myself every day. More to come on that note shortly, stay tuned! 😊

Thank you for reading and for being here, I appreciate every one of you. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️


Now over to you.

How was your August? Please let me know! 😊

Monthly Wrap Up

June Wrap Up

Welcome to the second part of 2018!

Hope you all are having a great summer full of warmth and sunshine. Sun With Face on Messenger 1.0

Here’s my recap on all things that were happening in June:

Food

June was quite a self-focused month for me. Apart from reading a lot, possibly to distract myself from how I felt, I have also been figuring out my health, mainly my relatively poor digestion and a complete lack of energy. And it has been tough. I successfully completed the elimination diet programme (which I talked about here a bit here) but not much has changed. Something I find quite challenging psychologically as it’s nice to see some progress to keep the motivation going. I’ve realised this will be a long distance run rather than a sprint as I need to address not only my nutrition but also my stress levels and look at my health from a more holistic approach. I’ll write a separate post on Whole 30 and why I am still on it for those, who may also struggle with Crohn’s-like symptoms, and who may find it helpful.

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Relax

June was a brilliant, warm, sunny month full of walkies with my sweet and extremely loud pup. We found some shaded local river walks, went wild swimming, went swan gazing and generally had a lot of fun. Due to my current health, I have zero energy to do anything but walk slowly and do gentle yoga. However walking in nature has been very restorative and is recharging me for sure. I recommend morning walks, when everything is so quiet and serene. 🙂

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My gardening attempts continue. 🙂 I gave up on those poor lavenders (more on them here). They have been replaced by miniature roses. And I haven’t killed those… yet…

IMG_1076Favourite Movie

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Mildred Hayes is on a mission to find justice for her murdered daughter. With no arrests after seven months, Mildred puts up three roadside signs to goad Ebbing police chief into action. It’s a story full of not entirely likeable, complex characters. I thought the entire main cast was absolutely phenomenal, and Frances McDormand‘s performance was truly outstanding.

Favourite TV Show

 

The Durrells

  • The Durrells 

British comedy TV series. It’s a story of a widow, who moves her four children from England to Corfu in 1935. I love the witty dialog, the Greek setting, as well as a picture of a unique family, that goes through a lot of struggles, but where you always feel a strong presence of love.

Favourite Book

eleanor

  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman my review

A very touching book that talks about some tough topics. Mainly, it addresses loneliness and social isolation as well as mental health in general. I loved both the consistently paced writing as well as craftily developed characters that were driving this story.


Reading Summary

It may seem that I read quite a lot but many of these books were read for a few months and I merely had a few chapters in some of them to finish in June. 🙂

I loved all my picks for fiction, and enjoyed those non-fiction reads as well.

I especially liked Upcycling Outdoors, as it’s full of quirky DYI step-by-step projects. Mind you I have an endless amount of optimism and always start projects thinking ‘how hard can it be‘… and the results are not always ‘ideal’. 🙂 I do want to try some of them though. Wish me luck. 🙂

Fiction

  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (review to follow)
  • Circe by Madeline Miller (review to follow)
  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (review)
  • The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (review)

Non-Fiction

  • So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (review)
  • Dear Martha, WTF? by Tricia LaVoice
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Being Mental by Natasha Devon
  • Emotional Agility by Susan A. David
  • Kitchen Ideas You Can Use by Chris Peterson
  • Upcycling Outdoors: 20 Creative Garden Projects Made from Reclaimed Materials by Max McMurdo
  • Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It by Josh Axe

Now over to you:

  • What did stand out for you in June?

Hope you had a wonderful month! 💖💖

Monthly Wrap Up

May Wrap up

Welcome to June! We are nearly half way through 2018… the variable speed of time seriously puzzles me sometimes… some years go by slower than other.. 2018 is somehow flying by… 😉

So what happened in May?

Glad you asked. 😊 May was the month when I decided to become a gardener. I apologise to those lovely plants, but I honestly am doing my best and do try looking after them. My mission is not to kill them even though it seems that way sometimes..

As we are all friends here, I must tell you I am starting to be somehow sceptical about the well-being of my lavender plants. They were blooming when I bought them in April… now they are this woody / shrubby thing. I keep on telling myself they are going through a cycle – but in all honesty, I have absolutely no clue what’s going on there. I have researched gardening YouTube videos, read many articles and know a difference now between dead heading (the danger of reading too many fantasy novels is that words like dead heading tend to trigger vivid imagines in my head… oh dear), light shearing and hard cut back..

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Here are those poor lavenders. Do you think they make it? Those two in blue pots are English lavenders and they are the ones I’m worried about. The white pots ones are French lavenders and they seem to be doing ok-ish I think..

May was also the month when I was really worried about our dog. 😦 We found a lump on his paw and it was growing. He did have it removed and fortunately, his results came back with good news of the lump being caused by viral papilloma. Something apparently quite common amongst young dogs. I was so relieved and happy when the vet called to give us those news. Not knowing what was going to happen felt so helpless. And I found it extremely hard to talk about it. But I did discuss it with James, who was equally worried, and it helped. It is still something I probably want to learn from though.

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Anyhow, apart from me getting some soil on my hands, spending time with the dog and climbing outside, I have also discovered audio books.

Everyone: ‘Vera, audiobooks are awesome, you should try them out.’

Me: ‘Hmmmm, I’m not sure…’

Me in May: ‘Audiobooks are awesome, why hasn’t anyone told me about that…’ 😉

I loved listening to We Should All Be Feminists and Norse Mythology. Both narrated by their authors. Adiche’s voice is something I could listen to for hours. So soothing and beautiful. And I found Gaiman to be an excellent narrator as well. His voice would change with each character and I was imagining Thor’s booming voice and Loki’s sly one.

Do you have any good recommendation on audiobooks you enjoyed please? Was there a particular one that stood out for you? If so, fancy sharing it with me please? Thanks!

Let’s talk lists, shall we? Here’s my May’s reading list:

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – my review here

A thought provoking essay that is extremely digestible as it is told via stories. There is no judgement or hate attached to it. Just an open mind and a vision for better future. Shout out to Kristin for her interesting review that piqued my interest.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – my review here

I absolutely adored this collection. Gaiman’s sharp writing makes those myths extremely modern. They are fast paced and full of action and there is also a lot of humour involved! Shout out to Holly for her wonderful review.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – review to arrive on Monday, 4th June

Teaser: Frost covered wings of cruel winter bring mysterious riders to Lithuanian villages. They travel to the human world via their winter road; steal people’s gold and kill whoever / whatever gets in their way. They are called Staryk and people fear and hate them equally. Three females may be able to stop them. Will they succeed?

My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel – mini review to follow next week together with the one below

This novella drew me instantly in via some interesting psychological manipulation. Two females, a game of cat and mouse =  an exciting summer read.

Thanks Norrie for the recommendation!

Homes around the World by Anita Martinez Beijer – mini review to follow next week together with the one above

A beautiful collection of photos accompanied with stories behind those visuals. I am interested in carefully chosen home décor and enjoy knowing the Why behind.

I have purposely not included rating for these.

I am considering omitting my coffee style rating from reviews as I am finding it hard to sometimes compare fiction, non fiction and there are so many nuances between 4 stars, 4 ½ starts etc… in other words, it’s starting to stress me out. 🙂 I know there are bloggers out there who don’t give ratings. I will keep this topic for my next discussion post as I am curious to hear your thoughts. Stay tuned! 😊

My plans for June are following:


Non-bookish:

  • If possible, try to revive those lavenders (please wish me luck!)
  • Create a vase feature in front of our house to make it look welcoming (research ‘hardy plants’!!!)
  • Get our dog myself into running (so far we have done three runs and all I have to say: mixed results…)
  • Do Whole30

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I have been feeling under the weather recently with hay fever being the worst I have had in a very long time. I am currently figuring out my allergies and am doing elimination food experiment in June called Whole30. I have eliminated common trigger food groups and will start slowly re-introducing them back to my meals in July / August. The premise is to find out if I have any sensitivities to these and if so, eliminate them to decrease my body’s inflammation. Which will then hopefully make me cope better with other allergies. Well that’s the theory anyway, I am happy to test it though to see what happens. 🙂

Would you be interested in hearing about Whole 30 weekly recaps? Would someone benefit from that?

Bookish:

  • Listen to another audiobook
  • Finish Emotional Agility by Susan David (nearly there!)
  • Be whimsical about fantasy / thrillers / memoirs / whatever else I may fancy reading that month
  • Reflect about my ARC behaviour… I think I have a problem… 😉

That’s it for now. Now over to you.


What did really stand out for you in May?

It doesn’t have to be bookish, just something you really enjoyed. 😊

And have you tried elimination diet before? And if so, did it work? (please say yes!!!) 😊