Hello everyone. I hope you are all well and having a great February. I’m sure plenty of you know or if you didn’t might have spotted that I’ve been less active than usual. I’ve reduced my posting schedule to just three a week (going out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday), been slow to reply to comments and I’ve not been around much on everyone else’s blogs. No it hasn’t been a love of the Winter Olympics that’s kept me away, although I will admit that I am a fan of watching both the summer and winter Olympics. First I’d like to apologise for being away for quite a bit. Things have been a bit uphill in my personal life lately. Apart from planning a move and the stress and complications of that and other things, I’ve had a bit of an accident too which has put me in a bit of a low mood recently.
So the first month of January feels as if it has flown by and I’ve been very busy. Not only have I managed to post a lot of stuff on my blog and get back to pre-scheduling most posts, but I’ve also been busy in the offline world. My time with blogging is going to be hampered a little bit though over the next month as I’ll be away for a bit, but I’ll still keep reading (I just can’t help but love reading!) and do my best to not let it look like I’ve disappeared. To those kind friends who worry, don’t worry, I’m not pushing myself or anything, I have a lot of pre-saved posts all ready to go so you might not even notice I’m gone! lol In the online world I also have some more exciting news to share but I want to save that until a little later when I’m sure everything’s going well. So anyway, on to what’s happened in the last month…Read More »
Today I am bringing you a picture which I think sums up the word silencevery well. With what looks like civilisation so far away, there is a great silence near this water. The only thing you hear is a breeze in your ears but it’s a beautiful silence otherwise and the perfect place to take a moment to yourself and breathe 🙂
Christmas is coming,
The goose is getting fat,
I won’t be eating it,
I’m vegan that’s a fact.
That’s right, apart from learning something about me (though I’m more vegetarian than vegan as I can’t quite give up a little milk in my tea) 🙂 , it’s also Christmas soon and with a week to go before the big day, most of us are frantically shopping for Christmas presents. If you’re somebody who’s still struggling to find something for a loved one then fear not for I’m bringing you my list of recommended reads to gift to yourself or a loved one this Christmas! The following are a selection of books, and activity kits I believe would make an excellent gifts this year 😀
For those of you looking for something with a Christmas theme to read you can’t go wrong with these titles (click on the titles to see more about each book and in some cases pictures too):
This is the perfect book to curl up on the sofa with. It’s set at Christmas and is all about the lost puppy who’s looking for his forever home and just happens to appear on the doorstep of a family who seem perfect…He just needs to convince them that he’s meant to be their dog.
It’s a heart warming story and told from the point of view of the puppy it’s the perfect book for any age to read and definitely one to read this Christmas 🙂
This book begins on Christmas day and also ends on Christmas day too and is the perfect magical adventure to immerse yourself into this year. Although written for children this book has an appeal even for adults and teens and is all about Number Thirteen, a groundling (a mix of fox and human boy) who lives at a horrible orphanage but one day is forced to do something brave and this sets him on his destiny and helps him discover who he really is.
This amazing tale has a Christmas setting in part of the story. Again a book written for children however it’s set in 1940s Poland, during the war and is all about Karolina, a doll who is given a heart and comes to life thanks to a kind Dollmaker. Together they find a bond and try to help their Jewish friends whose lives are slowly being destroyed by the Germans. The book has magic and an uplifting end however it is honest about the treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust and will make you cry.
For those of you looking for some great Christmas picture books then I recommend these:
This pop-up book is exquisite as its title suggests. It’s an amazingly detailed and beautiful book to open up at Christmas time and one which will be treasured for years. The basic Christmas story is told however its the beautiful pop-ups that capture your heart. Far from being plain the paper craft is stunning and you have to see it to believe it so please take a look at my review to see some amazing pics!
This is such a beautiful story of two cardinal birds who nest every year in the same fir tree. Red and Lulu love their tree but one day when Red is off looking for food, something happens to their tree and they are separated and Red must go on a journey to find Lulu. It’s the perfect Christmas tale and has such beautiful illustrations everyone will love.
If you’re looking for some great non-Christmas themed reads then you can’t go wrong with these great titles:
I know this is one of my favourites so I’m mentioning it again but if you really want the perfect fantasy escape then you can’t go wrong with this book. Lazlo Strange is a librarian who is obsessed with a mythical place called Weep, a place who’s real name has been stolen. He finds an opportunity to travel there and to discover the truth but there are a lot of mysteries surrounding the place including blue skinned Gods. It’s just an amazing epic fantasy but not so much a fantasy with blood, gore and fighting as one of a more beautiful immersive tale.
This also has a magical feel to it although is far less of the high fantasy and more a magical tale of the mysterious Caraval. When sisters Scarlett and Tella receive an invite to Caraval, a one a year magical performance, a sort of old-fashioned circus, they decide to visit. But Tella soon disappears and Scarlett must find her by winning the game. But nothing is quite what it seems at Caraval…This book has magic and is a wonderful tale with lots of twists you’ll be surprised until the end.
Julius Zebra by Gary Northfield
This (so far) three book series is the perfect set of books to give someone who enjoys a laugh. Aimed at kids and filled with really silly pictures and a silly story, it’s all about Julius Zebra and his adventures in ancient times. This series has become a favourite of mine and it just made me laugh so much I think it’s the perfect gift for anyone who wants something funny this Christmas.
-In Rumble with the Romanswe’re introduced to Julius who lives in Africa until the Romans kidnap him. He has to fight as a gladiator to win back his freedom but with lots of slapstick humour and silly animal antics from Julius and his friends you do wonder if he’ll make it.
-In Bundle with the BritonsJulius and his friends find them selves in ancient Britannia and must fight against the Britons but things don’t go according to plan.
-In Entangled with the EgyptiansJulius and his friends wind up in ancient Egypt where Julius is mistaken for a Horse God! But will he admit to the mistake or enjoy the fame and luxuries it brings?
This stunning and very heavy book is filled with amazing illustrations and wonderful stories. The tales of the Norse myths told in this book are exciting and very engaging and although written for kids many adults have themselves enjoyed this book. I love the artwork in this book and the whole atmosphere the myths produce, it’s definitely one I’d recommend for anybody interested in a bit of mythology.
Classic Tails by Eliza Garrett
If you’re interested in the classics or want to try reading them for the first time why not try a simple illustrated classic instead. These books make great gifts, they contain some very fun illustrations and some funny stories, adapted into animal versions. The Great Catsby, Pugs & Prejudiceand Romeow & Julietare suitable for all ages while The Picture of Dorian Greyhound is a little darker but perfect still for older teens and above.
If you’re looking for non-fiction books I’ve read a few but for me these are definitely worth considering for yourself or a loved one.
This brilliant 3-book set is filled with pop-ups, flaps and lots of little extras to keep you and any Harry Potter fan engaged. Each book covers a different aspect of the Harry Potter universe and features all the details of not only the props, creatures, etc. you can find but how they were created for film. there are lots of interesting facts about the filming of the Harry Potter universe of movies, including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them. Click on the title above to see more about each individual book.
This book is a great one to give to teens who are worried about social situations like school or who are feeling a little alienated or lonely. Not only does the book provide some key information on how to better make friends and deal with social situations but it also talks about things you can do and be aware of in yourself like how you can make yourself appear open or closed to other people or how to better get along with others when you meet them. It’s something I would have loved reading as a teen and can help someone with confidence issues.
And if you’re thinking of a more activity based gifts this year then how about these:
This fun kit is designed to help kids create their own play and with everything to get them started including how to come up with ideas it’s the perfect kit to keep them busy this year. It’s a really fun box of things and it’s something I would love getting at Christmas and using right away!
Why not combine a the fun activity of looking for Wally and his friends with all the fun or colouring too? In this small and handy travelling size collection you get pages and pages filled with scenes from the famous books with virtually nothing coloured in. Not only is it a chance to put your own spin and colour on the classic scenes but while colouring in you also see lots of details you may have previously missed. It’s a great book for any age and comes with an added poster to colour in too!
So that’s it for this post and I hope you’ve enjoyed some of my personal recommendations for Christmas this year. I will be doing a best of 2017 post where I speak about my ultimate favourite books of the year but this is my list of top books to gift yourself or a loved one this Christmas.
What books and gifts would you recommend for Christmas? Are there any in my list that pique your interest? Let me know I’d love to hear from you. You can also find me in these places 🙂 :
For most of yesterday I’ve been feeling like the cat in the picture. I’ve had a splitting headache, found it hard to function and am struggling hard to shut out thoughts of guilt and sadness which have plagued me since I started coming down with something a few days ago.
I don’t like to admit I’m not feeling good, but the truth is that although the last few days of last week I’d been feeling positive, I started to come down with something and it seems relentless in wanting to put me on bed rest. I feel like I’ve got a sleeping sickness, I’m just so tired all the time and when I sleep, which has been for most of the last two days, I don’t feel refreshed at all 😦
Though I suspect (and hope) that all I’ve come down with is a nasty virus or similar, it’s the negative impact on my mood that’s really worried me. I try to keep myself cheerful and upbeat, in fact I want to feel positive, but something inside, almost like a disconnected thing is trying to bring my mood down and bring in all these horrible negative thoughts which ultimately plunge me into depression.
Sometimes it’s been so easy for me in the past to give in to these thoughts, to embrace the pain and horrible feeling they give me of guilt and upset. It’s been so easy to give up, to let go, to enter that dark realm of dark thoughts that spiral me ever further into a place I can’t crawl back from. It’s a place, a realm, I’ve sometimes been almost eager to enter, not happy with my own life, my own existence, I’ve found it hard to even want to grab the sides of the long dark pit and crawl out.
But despite that horrid darkness, I stop. I stop myself going there again.
It doesn’t always work out this way, of course, sometimes I relish being in that realm and enjoy breathing in the mind-choking air, but now I’m discovering I’m stronger than I think. I can resist the urge to fall into that dark pit, or at the least I hover past its entrance, look down and fight that will to put myself there, to accept that I have to feel that way just because everything in my life seems to want me to.
Today, although I still feel ill and an incredible guilt is filling me for not being able to keep up my personal commitment to check in with all you wonderful people and your blogs, I still resist the urge to get fully depressed. It’s almost like I’m fighting myself and the happy me is winning this battle. I refuse to let the depression take hold, to let it throw me into that pit, to make me resist the urge to leave. Today I am okay.
Does this mean it’s not possible to become depressed like that again? No. It just means that today, I’m coping better than I used to with this thing, and I’m determined to not let it control me.
Well I went off-topic here, waaay off-topic and wrote something from the heart based on my emotions and how I’m feeling today. I am still feeling ill and this post was a real depiction of how I feel and became far more raw than I thought it would be. I’ll be posting up a lot of book review posts the coming days which I’ve prepared so I can sleep off this (hopefully a virus) thing. Inspired by the daily prompt: Gremlins
Please let me know any of your thoughts you have on this post, I’d love to hear from you (though I might need time to reply as I may be asleep) 🙂 You can also find me in these places:
Well I’m lazy today. It IS my birthday but I took the day off and didn’t have anything prepared for my birthday blog post 😮 So I thought I’d post a quick image I took which to me fits this week’s photo challenge: Temporary. To me berries and summer fruits are very temporary and as you can see from the photo these ones are already beginning to dry up. I’m also aware that birthdays are temporary, as they come and go only once a year 🙂 🎂🎂🎂🎂🎂 😀
I’ll be back online later but I’m taking the morning off, hope you are all well and thank you all for the birthday wishes I’ve already received 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤
Do these berries speak ‘temporary’ to you? What in your mind is temporary? Please let me know your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places:
A round-up of September is not going to feature much this month as I had a little blip and didn’t do as much as I had wanted to on this blog. I actually forgot about doing a round-up post at all until today! lol But I wanted to wrap up the month by showing you which posts were the most popular as well as give anyone who hasn’t seen some of my previous posts the chance to catch up.
There were three top posts this month but by far the most popular is one I put out recently which was for a classic book with a feline twist.
Romeow & Juliet is a fun picture book for any ages based on the classic play ‘Romeo & Juliet’, however the entire book features cats rather than humans and the illustrations are simply stunning! The review has had a lot of shares on the web so well worth looking at if you have time.
The second most popular blog post was my little post about my return after taking a break from the blog called Hello…Anyone Miss Me? Oddly my personal post about how I’d been feeling down about my blog and things in general had a lot of views and even shares. I felt better after having a chat with several people from posting that post and it goes to prove that sharing really is important and helps if you’re ever depressed.
The third most popular posts were both a book haul post and another review. The review is for Yuki Means Happiness a book I found interesting and much darker than it’s blurb or cover would have you believe! Well worth checking out if you like modern cultural books.
My book haul posts have been doing better than expected recently with around the same number of views for both Walker Books September’s book haul post and a new Bookbridgr one featuring those animal inspired classics. Look out for another book haul post from Walker Books about to come up – this month with new Christmas books and Christmas inspired gifts! 😀
I’d also like to share this month’s poetry which got quite a few views. I’m afraid I only wrote two poems this month and haven’t had much time or inspiration to write more but hopefully that will change especially with Christmas and Halloween inspiring some fun poetry. There were two serious poems however, one light and one dark. The lighthearted poem I do hope you will enjoy, even if it’s just for the picture of a zonkey (check it out!), is Different Is Fine.
As usual the dark poetry got more views with Why Did You? featuring a particularly difficult subject that is still a serious problem in our world but that’s considered a little taboo to even talk about.
October’s going to be a far busier month and I have a lot of exciting things to share with you. I have a new book haul post to share with you this week as well as of course plenty of books I have yet to share from last month’s set. I’ve decided to try and do something for Halloween at the end of the month, even if it’s as little as a spooky poem.
As well as poetry and book reviews I hope to share an article or two this month. I have an article that’s been bugging me, sitting in my drafts for ages and I just need to read back through it and give it a bit of editing before it’s done.
Apart from all that I hope to just enjoy getting to know you guys more and visiting as many of you as I can. I’m not able to constantly be online and visiting blogs is something I can only do every few days rather than everyday, as I’m just too swamped with everything in my offline life at the moment. The run up to Christmastime is a busy one for me and the next few months look like they’ll be busy for me although I hope you’ll enjoy what I do manage to post out 🙂
I hope you’ll all want to keep reading this blog and the content I put out. You are the reason I keep enjoying blogging. I might still blog if I had no audience but it’s so much more rewarding to know others are reading.
So a big thank you to you all for following this blog and I hope you have a great October!
Did you have any highlights for September? What are you looking forward to in October? Please let me know I’d love to chat with you 🙂 You can also soon find me in these places: