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Monday, 31 August 2015

What I've Read Lately #2


1. Gather Together In My Name by Maya Angelou

This is the second volume of Maya Angelou's five part autobiography series.  In this volume, she is now a young mother who leaves home to embark on a new life with her son.  The book details the challenges she faces as a young black woman in 1940's America.  The book is written with a naïve honesty and courage showing triumph over adversity and unwavering love for her young son.  I would highly recommend this book but would definitely advise reading the first volume (I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings) if you haven't already done so. 

2.  #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

I think everyone has been raving about this book over the past few months so if you haven't already read it, you've probably at least heard of it.  This is a real rags to riches story (I know that sounds cliché but it really is). Sophia Amoruso started off shoplifting to pay her rent and dumpster diving for bagels before selling vintage clothes on eBay and is now the CEO of Nasty Gal (a company worth millions which I admit I'd never heard of before reading her book). I found this book funny, straight to the point and really inspiring.  I'm kind of at a career crossroads just now and sometimes feel like I'm caught in a bit of a humdrum (if that makes sense).  #GIRLBOSS shows that with hard work and dedication to what you love, you can succeed.  Highly, highly recommended particularly if you are also feeling a bit blah!

3.  Kid Me Not: An anthology by child-free women of the 60's now in their 60's by Aralyn Hughes

I stumbled upon this book completely by accident while looking for something new and exciting to read.  As the title suggests the book is a collection of essays by childless women about why they don't have children and how their lives are now without them.  Some of the women don't have children by choice and others don't have them through circumstance.  The stories completely resonated with me at this point in my life.  I think the decision to have or not to have children is often taken for granted and it's difficulty is greatly underestimated.  It's a decision I've struggled with for several years going from definitely wanting to have a child to definitely not.  Now that time is most certainly running out I feel caught between what my heart tells me and what my head tells me.  Sometimes even those messages are confused.  Reading this book really helped put things in perspective for me and actually helped me realise that my feelings and fears are ok and completely normal.  I would recommend this book to any women feeling the same way about motherhood. 

Have you read any of these books or do you plan to read them now?

Thursday, 5 February 2015

What I've read lately #1


       


I've always loved reading but since I got a Kindle last year I've been enjoying it even more. For some reason, I seem to be getting through books much faster than I ever did before. Seeing as none of my friends are as enthusiastic about reading as I am, I thought I'd start sharing my recent reads here. Well...I need to tell someone about them. Especially the good ones. 

Here's what I've read lately: 

1.  Wild by Cheryl Strayed

This book (recently turned into a film starring Reece Wotherspoon) is a memoir starting when Strayed was in her early 20's and going through a particularly rough patch.  Having just lost her mother and divorcing her husband after a series of meaningless sexual encounters with other men, she turns to drugs in order to dull the pain of her loss. Strayed then decides to hike solo along the Pacific Crest Trail in order to regain some control of her life.  Wild tells the story of her trek and some of the characters she encounters. I've read some pretty harsh reviews of this book where people are slating Strayed for being stupid, unprepared and self-indulgent. I think they're missing the point entirely. The fact is she was unprepared and perhaps didn't always make the best choices but that's what makes her story so interesting. It's a really honest account of grief and survival which demonstrates that we can go through tough times in life and come out ok at the other side. I would definitely recommend it and can't wait to see the film. I hope it does the book justice. 

2. Simplify by Joshua Becker

This is a short, basic guide on the principles of minimalism. I've read a couple of similar books over the past few months during my journey to let go of my less meaningful possessions.  While I have no desire to be minimalist and found some of the book to be a bit extreme,  I would say that it offers some common sense advice as well as some brief personal insights into what motivated some people to de-clutter or become minimalist. I found it interesting but it wasn't as motivational as I had hoped it would be.

3.  The Kindness of Strangers by Mike McIntyre

This is another memoir starting off when McIntyre, stuck in a rut with his job as a journalist and generally afraid of life, decides to set off on a penniless journey across America. His account of his journey and the people he meets will make you laugh, cringe and restore your faith in humanity all at the same time. As a person who is also scared of just about everything and a born worrier, I could relate to some of the feelings he describes in the beginning of the book. I thought his decision to take the journey penniless was both crazy and awe inspiring at the same time. The story itself was heart warming at times, it's funny how the people who have the least often give the most. I would highly recommend this book. 

I plan to post reviews of more books soon. Meanwhile, have you read any of these books? Or has this post inspired you to read them? I would love to hear your comments. 

Friday, 1 August 2014

Restoration

When I'm feeling a bit stressed or under the weather, a trip to the Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh always lifts my spirits and leaves me feeling restored.  I decided to take a trip there last month when I was in need of some alone time with my camera. Here are some of the pictures I took that day.  

Hello!










Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Review - Garnier Ultimate Blends Conditioner: The Silky Smoother


I'm always on the lookout for the perfect conditioner and I hate to think how much money I've spent over the years trying to tame the frizzy/split ends of my hair.  On a recent shopping trip I came across the relatively new Garnier Ultimate Blends range.  There are six different blends within the range and I chose 'The Silky Smoother' because I have mid-long hair with split ends.  

From the first use of this product, I was hooked.  It's absolutely fantastic.  The ends of my hair are noticeably smoother and my hair is softer in general without being weighed down.  The whole range is inexpensive so suits pretty much any budget, it smells fantastic and it's also paraben-free.  What's not to love?

I would highly recommend trying Ultimate Blends the next time you need to replace one of your hair products.  

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Garden Sunbathing

We normally don't have very good summers in Scotland but the past couple of weeks have been mostly sunny and really quite warm.  I didn't want the noise and bustle of a public park and I decided there was no better place to enjoy the sun but my own garden.  Armed with SPF 30 sun cream, my kindle and ipad (for Spotify) I took to the garden for a afternoon of sunbathing.  The last time I sunbathed in a garden was at my Gran's house over 20 years ago.  I forgot how enjoyable it is just to lie there doing nothing much except listening to the birds and the trees and enjoying the smell of grass and sun cream. 

My sunbathing place
Looking up 
Looking up
Garden flowers
Garden flowers

My garden isn't particularly big or fancy but a couple of hours just lying there enjoying the heat of the sun was very good for the soul. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Thrifty Finds #2 - 1970's Staffordshire Pottery Soup Set

As soon as I saw this amazing soup set in the window of my local charity shop, I knew I had to have it. It was made by Staffordshire pottery for Boots.  I don't think it has ever been taken out of the box so the set itself is in great condition with no chips or cracks. 


I love everything about this set and I think it will be great for serving desserts too. I especially love the pattern. I can't wait to use them.

 
Have you found a thrift shop bargain recently?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Nostalgia - a look back at April '97 with Vogue

Over the years I have gathered quite a collection of Vogue magazines. I've been having a look through them recently trying to decide if I want to keep any. This is probably one of the oldest ones I have. Here's a peek...

In April 1997, I had just turned 18. I was working as a Beauty Therapist, completely obsessed with make-up and I was a bit of a Goth. I probably wouldn't have admitted to anyone that I bought Vogue. 


Kirsty Hume was the face of Chanel and Chanel N.o5 was being celebrated with a Andy Warhol makeover. 


David Bailey's Rock and Roll Heroes exhibition was about to open and his book of the same title was being published.


Lisa Armstrong and Pamela Hanson gave us a look at what was happening backstage at the Catwalk shows. 


Courtney Love had been re-invented and photographed by Steven Meisel.


Sherbet colours and wedge heels were hot for summer...


..and make-up was metallic 


The end


What were you up to in 1997?

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