Tag Archives: books

A new set of challenges

Hello from a very soggy Sunday morning in Leeds. We are in the middle of “Storm Brian,” which is pretty full on. I’ve been awake since 5am (great Sunday lie in) after waking up from a horrible zombie nightmare. Maybe I need to stop watching The Walking Dead right before  we go to sleep…

Parker is delighted that I’m up so early and has pushed my laptop off me and has started giving me a slightly scratchy massage.

Anyway.

When I first started my blog in 2015, I gave myself something fun to do, and also to write about by setting myself 25 challenges to complete before I was 25. I didn’t really complete them all, but it was good fun. You can click the links to read about when I tried lobster, caviar, and meditated for ten days.

Now I’m picking up my blog again, I’ve decided to give myself a new set of challenges. (With no more fishy business – now I’m a veggie)

Although I’ve just turned 27, I’m sticking with 25 challenges (seems like a more manageable number haha)

Here we go, here are my challenges for the year!

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1- Visit India

2 – Hike one of the three Yorkshire Peaks

3 – Read “Shantaram”

4 – See live comedy

5 – Watch “Gone With The Wind”

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6 – Get a tarot card reading

7 –  Take a language class

8 – Donate 200 things to charity

9 – Spend no money for one week

10 – Go to a pilates class

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11 – Learn to salsa dance

12 – Play piccolo in an orchestra

13 – Learn to sew and make something wearable

14 – Host a dinner party for my friends

15 – Go plastic free for a week

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16 – Try making my own cosmetics

17 – Go Christmas shopping in York

18- Go to Ireland

19- Go to a concert of music from another culture

20- Go vegan for a week

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21- Read sixty books in a year

22- Volunteer to help out with a charitable cause

23- Start drawing again

24- Have a car-free week

25- Do yoga every day for thirty days

So there we have it! I’m excited to get going. How nice to have a list of stuff to fall back on when I’m bored.

I’ll keep you posted with how I get on.

P.S. apologies for the photo overload! These are all photos I took on our visit to Harewood House yesterday where I had my mind blown by the dahlias. I am no longer using instagram, so you can expect a lot of photos making there way on here.

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We’re home!

Hello there,

I’m writing this in……. rainy Kendal. HA

Isn’t it funny, I’m normally in some exotic destination, but it’s good to be back. Really. Kind of.  I really want to keep my blog going, so I’m going to try and update at least once a week. It’s a fun hobby. I’m going to come up with some kind of weekly posts about travel etc. I still haven’t got my proper travel pictures off the big camera so I’ll get some of those up here when I do.

Anyway. Time for a little update. Our flight home was fine, not very eventful. I was amazed by our brief stop in Dubai at 5.30am where it was over 45 degrees. It was like stepping off the plane and into a greenhouse. Even the water in the toilet at the airport was hot!!

On getting back to the UK we spent a week in London with Tom’s family, catching up and seeing friends. It was lovely. And sunny too! Then we had a weekend in Southampton with my brother and Charlie and my parents flew down to meet us. I also saw my aunty and Grandad. It’s been so great to see my nearest and dearest after so long. There’s still more lovely people to see too!

Some other things I’ve been doing….

1)

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OBSESSING OVER THE FACT THAT YOU CAN DRINK WATER FROM THE TAP AND IT’S DELICIOUS AND IT WONT MAKE YOU SICK.

2) Booked our wedding. No biggie. We will be getting married on the 8th of July next year! So expect to hear a bit of rambling about that in the immanent future.

3)

Enjoying having my mac back and being a mac wanker again. 🙂 I’d also forgotten about the witty sticker I’d put on it. Thanks past Heppy. You are a comical genius.

(I am also pleased to see my flute and piano again but my current migraine is making this a little unpleasant.)

4)

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Obsessing over my handbag I bought in Bali and posted straight home. I’d forgotten how lovely it is. It was expensive by Balinese standards (about £20) after a loooong haggling session but I’m so glad I bought it!

5)

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Writing in my diary. I finished a moleskine journal whilst we were away and as I lifelong hoarder of empty notepads, this is quite an achievement. So I bought an empty one, and this journal prompt thing on my kindle. It’s quite cool if you’re stuck thinking of things to write about (now that you’re not waking up in a different exotic location each day… sob)

 

6)

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Obsessing over this woman’s hair like the creepy weirdo I am. (N.B these are photos from a magazine haha!) I think I’ll get this done after we are married, need to stay fringe free/not a goth until then.

7)

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Reading Rachel Brathen’s “Yoga Girl” for some inspiration to get me yogaing now I’m back home. And watching Girls. I love it.

 

I realise all ove the above make me seem very vapid, but I can’t post an image of how I’ve been spending time registering for an NHS dentist, booking the cats into the vets and calling the plumber to have a look at the boiler. Plus, it wouldn’t make very interesting reading would it?!

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Book review: Amanda Lindhout’s “A House in the Sky”

As a general rule, I avoid non-fiction books that I know will disturb me. If it’s fiction I can cope with horrid/terrifying subject matter because I know it’s just the spawn of someone’s imagination. The books I absolutely cannot bear however, are true crime and accounts of people who’ve been abused as children.

The reason I tell you this is because I wanted to give a background for how I felt before reading Amanda Lindhout’s “A House in the Sky.”

A House in the Sky is the memoir of Amanda Lindhout, a woman who travels the globe. In August 2008 she visited Somalia, “the most dangerous place on earth,” where she is abducted along with her friend Nigel, by masked gunman.

They are held hostage for 460 days, tortured, and kept in chains before finally being released.

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I’d seen that the book had rave reviews online, but I was selfishly a bit scared to read it in case it put me off travelling. (It didn’t, but I’m not in any hurry to go to Somalia now!)

The book was incredible. I gave it a rare five stars on goodreads. I couldn’t put it down, I HAD to know what happened. The account is incredibly harrowing, as you can imagine, but ultimately uplifting. Lindhout survives her ordeal by visiting a house high in the sky, a safe place she’s created for herself.

There’s a passage where she fantasises about waking up at home, going for a run in the fresh air and returning home for pancakes. On reading, I was suddenly filled with an enormous sense of gratitude. These are all things that I can do any time I fancy, and I’m so lucky to be free!

Lindhout faced criticism for even going to Somalia in the first place. She is seen as a rich Westerner whom can be held for a huge ransom. Governments don’t pay ransom money as it’s seen as negotiating with terrorists, hence how she was in captivity for such a long time.

What did I learn?

There’s a lot to cover, but what struck me most was her incredible will to survive, her inner strength, her choices, and her friendships.

I’m filled with gratitude for the lucky life that I’ve lived so far, and eager to see the world in all its colours.

Here is a quote from a goodreads review which I think sums it up beautifully:

“Go anywhere. Fall in love. Make mistakes. Be kind. Forgive. Know that you are strong enough. Make change. Be hopeful. These are the thoughts I am left with, after closing the book. There are others of course – the baseness of human brutality, cultural realities that scare me, how governments work in our lives, the role of women in society, the feeling that there is so much work to be done in so many places. In all this, Amanda leaves her readers with hope, hope for change and hope that despite what she has been through that life holds for her so much more yet.”

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Go read it!

 

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Book review: Rita Golden Gelman’s “Tales of a Female Nomad”

I’m still hunting for travel literature and devouring every single one I can get my hands on. My latest? Rita Golden Gelman’s “Tales of a Female Nomad”

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Golden Gelman is a children’s book author, who similarly to Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love), goes through a divorce, sells her possesions and then takes off alone, with a dream of seeing the world, and living among people of another culture. To this day, (she’s now in her seventies) she lives as a nomad.

Nomad: a person who does not stay long in the same place; a wanderer.

During the course of the book, Rita visits and lives in:

  • Mexico
  • Guatemala
  • Nicaragua
  • Israel
  • Galapagos Islands
  • Indonesia
  • New Zealand
  • Thailand

(The above countries in bold are places Tom and I hope to visit.)

I loved this book. On goodreads, I gave it four out of five stars. (Had it been a mark out of ten, I’d have given it 9/10)

What inspired me most was how she lived with local people, became a part of their daily life, and paid back their favours by teaching English and helping them with writing.

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I loved how Golden Gelman met local people, many of whom she didn’t share a common language with, and experienced their way of life. I find this concept very life-afirming. At the end of the book she asks the reader to get in touch. I’ve just sent her an email.

I completely empathise with the sense of freedom that travel gives. I can’t wait to experience it again. Oh how my feet itch!

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