5 reasons to use your library (and 5 reasons not to!)

5 Reasons to use your Library

I set myself a little book reading challenge this year and I’ve exceeded my own expectations!  We’re now in November and I’m set to read 2 more books before the year’s out, making me 3 over my goal!  I’m really pleased with this because in simple terms, it means that I’ve rekindled an old habit and hobby of reading actual books.

My ‘want to read’ virtual pile

When I come across one that lures me in online, when I’ve seen one recommended by someone else online or in real-life, or if there’s one to read for one of the book clubs I take part in, I pop it in my GoodReads ‘want to read’ virtual pile and then I add it to Amazon to my ‘save for later’ pile.  You could say I’m getting a little obsessed with reading again and that the reading bug has bitten.  Which is great!

5 Reasons to use your Library

A library lesson learned

One of those ‘on a whim’ reads that lured me in was ‘Perfect Death’ by Helen Fields.  Now, I borrowed this one from our local library and got a bit lazy about renewing it.  So lazy that I found it had been reserved when I went to renew.  Not one to go and buy a book when I’m trying to stick to borrowing, I duly returned it and re-reserved it!  But there are (or were) 4 people in the queue, potentially a 12 week waiting list because you can renew them 3 times, for 3 weeks at a time.  You might think I’m a little crazy and why on earth don’t I just buy it?  Well possibly because I’m a little stubborn and annoyed with myself and also because I’ve got lots of other books on my list to read.  Did I log on to my library account or pop down there in person?  Well no actually…  and this situation got me to thinking about the pros and cons of borrowing from a library:

The books are free! (unless you get a fine!)

You get the feel-good factor of doing something for the community by helping to keep your local library running.  It’s the whole library experience.

The author/publisher still gets their royalties.

The anticipation of your reserved book being ready for collection.

You’re under more pressure to read regularly to avoid the pitfalls I’ve outlined above of having to return your book!

…and 5 reasons not to use your library…

You have to read in a given time-frame which might not always suit because sometimes life just gets in the way.

If it’s reserved, you can’t renew your book (looks shiftily at her feet).

It’s not your book to keep and put on your ‘read’ shelf or to lend to a friend or get the feel-good of giving to a charity shop.

You don’t get the just bought from the bookshop/just delivered to your door fuzziness.

Your reading habit could become a semi-expensive habit!

~

So there are pros and cons but do the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa?

What do you think?  I’d love to know!  Please comment below…  thanks 🙂 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

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#HighlightsofHappy blog linky is back!!

Highlights Of Happy Blog Linky Because Life's For the Good Stuff

#HighlightsofHappy is my monthly blog linky where I invite you to share anything and everything that’s made you happy!  It’s quite simple (we like simple!)

If it’s made you happy, share it!  A new linky opens on the 1st of the month. 

The linky was born when I started to write in my gratitude journal every day and I’ve really felt that it’s made a difference.  Every month I look back over my journal and bring you my #HighlightsofHappy , which is great because it gives me the opportunity to look back and be grateful all over again 🙂

So if you’re a blogger, why not share your happy post from the last week or so?  If you’re on instagram, why not tag your happy snap #HighlightsofHappy and link up your pic here?  If you’re on twitter, why not tweet your happy?  If you’re all 3, why not do all 3??

Here’s the latest linky!

And don’t forget to add my badge to your blog post (it’s at the bottom of this post).

 

(If you join in with my #HighlightsofHappy community on instagram, I post up my favourite snaps of the week every Friday on instagram.)

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#HighlightsofHappy blog linky ~ because life’s for the good stuff

Highlights of Happy Blog Linky November 2018

#HighlightsofHappy is my monthly blog linky where I invite you to share anything and everything that’s made you happy!  It’s quite simple (we like simple!)

If it’s made you happy, share it!  A new linky opens on the 1st of the month. 

The linky was born when I started to write in my gratitude journal every day and I’ve really felt that it’s made a difference.  Every month I look back over my journal and bring you my #HighlightsofHappy , which is great because it gives me the opportunity to look back and be grateful all over again 🙂

So if you’re a blogger, why not share your happy post from the last week or so?  If you’re on instagram, why not tag your happy snap #HighlightsofHappy and link up your pic here?  If you’re on twitter, why not tweet your happy?  If you’re all 3, why not do all 3??

You can link up here!

And don’t forget to add my badge to your blog post (it’s at the bottom of this post).

 

(If you join in with my #HighlightsofHappy community on instagram, I post up my favourite snaps of the week every Friday on instagram.)

 

The badge is below.  Just copy and paste the code in the box below the picture.  Then paste the code into the ‘text’ tab of your blog post.  Thanks!

My Button

<a href=”https://virtuallyallsorts.com/all-sorts-of-blogging/highlightsofhappy-linky-lifes-good-stuff/” title=”#HighlightsofHappy”> <img src=”https://virtuallyallsorts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/HOH-badge-rebranded-vas.jpg” width=”250″ height=”250″ alt=”My Button” style=”border:none;” /></a>
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Best blogs to read in #AllSortsofBlogs 77

Welcome to AllSortsofBlogs

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


This is where I share #AllSortsofBlogs in my pick of the best blogs to read from recent weeks (or months!).

Firstly thank you so much for ALL of your links!  Again, feel free to add any or all of your favourite posts to the linky.  I’ll share all posts across my various social media ~ twitter, pinterest, g+.

The door’s always open with a new linky starting on the last Friday of the month…


And if you’d like to add my badge, it’s at the bottom of this post.  Thanks.

~

Now on to my best reads of recent-ish months:

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5 reasons to do a book reading challenge

5 Reasons to do a Book Reading Challenge

So I’ve reached the target in my book reading challenge for the year and it’s not even the end of October yet!  I’m really pleased with myself for many reasons and I’d like to share my 5 reasons for doing a book reading challenge:

5 Reasons to do a Book Reading Challenge

  1. Give your brain a break!  I’ve made a big effort to stop at a certain point in the evenings (and at weekends), turn my screens off and read an actual book.  This is huge for me.  If you’re a fellow blogger reading this, you understand when I say that there’s always something to do and you can never quite switch off.  If you’re not a blogger reading this, trust me, there’s so much more to blogging than typing a post and publishing.  So to at least shifting my brain away from multi-tasking and take my head into another world regularly really makes a difference.
  2. Discovering new genres but not reading stuff you’re not enjoying.  I got the reading bug again back in January when I discovered the facebook group Bookish Mamas.  I loved the first few books we read and the discussions that followed but hit a stumbling block with one of them.  I’m not to going to name the book here but by chapter 3ish I was having to read each paragraph, if not sentence, several times to ‘get’ it.  I wasn’t enjoying it and didn’t see the point, so I didn’t persevere.  I stopped.  I gave up and moved on to something else.  This meant that I was out of synch from the Bookish Mamas.  I tried to short book to see if I could squeeze one in before the next month’s read but like I said, I was out of synch.  But no matter, I carried on regardless along my own reading path!
  3. I haven’t had a glass of wine and chocolate every time I’ve sat down to read (seriously!).  I know this is a cheeky random point to make but actually, it’s a big achievement for me so I’ve slotted it in at number 3 🙂
  4. Use your library instead of buying your books!  One of the Bookish Mamas reads was Kirstin Thomas ‘The Great Alone’.  I was lured to read this book and really wanted to but to be honest, I couldn’t justify buying the book, so I reserved it from my library and have done the same for several of my book challenge reads.  This has egged me on to read more because of the timescale given to read a library book!
  5. Ditch the mini-series and turn the page instead!  I’m up to season 3 (I think) of Game of Thrones and was hooked but since I’ve been reading again, I’d frankly much rather curl up with my book!  And that means less TV, less ‘blue light’, less stimulation for my brain and better sleep.  Note that I didn’t say more but ‘better’!
  6. It’s a win-win!  So number 3 was a bit random…  If you join a book group as part of your challenge, there’s a sense of community and if you don’t, you’re still doing yourself a favour by relaxing with a book!

Which have been my favourites?

Hands-down the best one I’ve read in this challenge and easily one of my best reads ever was ‘The Great Alone’ by Kristin Thomas.  Life literally fitted around me reading this book in 2 weeks-ish.  It’s not a short one either.

The house was more of a mess, tea was regularly fish fingers (well not really but you get my point), I didn’t speak to my family for the duration (again, not quite but humour me!).  If I were to write a review of this book, which I’m not because I’ve never been good at reviews, I’d use words like gripping, tragic, warming, beautiful…  I defy anyone to not enjoy this book.

 

The 2nd favourite one is definitely a tie between Tubing, How to Stop Time, The Secret of Nightingale Wood and This is going to Hurt.  They’re all very different genres which makes it difficult to even justify ‘ranking’ them in my opinion.  Should we even do that when they’re all words of art in their own right and genres?  Tubing was one that I read earlier in the year when I was getting them from Amazon; it was a pre-ordered one that I’d forgotten about and bought on a whim to be honest.  It arrived and I settled down to start it with a list of jobs to do but I still began reading and found it very hard to put down.

 

How to Stop Time was very clever and I loved the historical background and the London setting.  Such an amazing book.

 

The Secret of Nightingale Wood handled depression/post-natal depression through the eyes of a child if I remember (it’s been a while since I read it!) but in any case, it was an easy read, had a good story line, if a little stretched at times and I remember thinking that was one of the best I’ve ever read (then along came The Great Alone).

As for This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay the author deserves a medal for this book.  I agree with the blurb – I laughed out loud, cringed and was drawn in to the unbelievable conditions that the NHS junior doctors worked and still work.  I’m passionate about the NHS in the UK and will defend it to the hilt.  Maybe this was why I got behind the book so much.  Perhaps it’s because it’s in diary form and easy to read.  Whatever the reason, it’s a must-read and I’m so glad I did.  Our library has a rule that you’re not allowed to renew it either because it’s a popular reservation.  I read it within a week!

How about you?  What reason would you give to do a reading challenge?  I’d love to know!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere  Thanks 🙂

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you buy one of the products featured, I get a few pennies at no extra cost to you.

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Best blogs to read in #AllSortsofBlogs 76

Welcome to AllSortsofBlogs

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


This is where I share #AllSortsofBlogs in my pick of the best blogs to read from recent weeks (or months!).

Firstly thank you so much for ALL 39 of your links!  Again, feel free to add any or all of your favourite posts to the linky.  I’ll share all posts across my various social media ~ twitter, pinterest, g+.

The door’s always open with a new linky starting on the last Friday of the month…


And if you’d like to add my badge, it’s at the bottom of this post.  Thanks.

~

Now on to my best reads of recent months (as ever, it’s a varied and interesting list and some really are from the archives of my bookmarked reads!):

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7 reasons to love Autumn

Autumn.  I love everything about it.

(Or Fall to our American friends!)

From early Autumn when I can still wear my flip flops (because I hate sweaty feet!) to the throws (no pun intended) of Autumn when I like socks and boots or cosy slippers.

From early Autumn when I can still sit in the garden with hubby with said flip flops on, writing my goals, sipping on a herbal tea, dog at my feet, 8yo pottering in an out.  To the throws of Autumn when I’ve got the layers on and we’re planning various home projects from dining room rejigs with feature walls , and bathroom refits to a kitchen refurbishment.

From early Autumn when the temperature in the air changes after a balmy summer, when you can feel the air changing and you feel the slightly damp and cold after stepping outside for the first time in a morning.  To the throws of Autumn when there’s a definite crispness to the air, a cool feel as you pull your jacket collar up closer around your neck to keep the chill out.

7 Reasons to Love Autumn

From early Autumn when I slip a thin jacket on over my top to go outside, to keep the slight chill out.  To the throws of Autumn when the jacket gets thicker and I keep my gloves in my pockets, just in case, because I can’t stand cold hands.

From early Autumn when I begin to sort through my summer clothes and dig out the thicker clothes in a bid to declutter.  To the throws of Autumn when the thick coats have firmly taken their place on the coat pegs that were barely used in the Summer.

From early Autumn when I determinedly still hang my washing out on a semi-dry day just to get some air to it.  To the throws of Autumn when a load of washing goes straight in the tumble drier because we’ve really no room for a clothes horse and anyway, drying clothes inside is bad for your health and the house.

From early Autumn when I love to see the sparkle of fairy lights in our hygged-up living room and I can see them slightly earlier as the nights begin to draw in.  To the throws of Autumn when the clocks go back, the blinds get pulled, the sparkly fairy lights go on and a little bit of indulgence in the form of hibernation begins.  🙂

What do you love about Autumn?  Tell me in the comments below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .  I’d love to know!

*This is a collaborative post

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Essential accessories to hygge your home for Autumn

Essential Accessories to Hygge your Home for Autumn

We’ve recently given our living space a lick of paint and a freshen up.  It took a while to find the perfect shade of paint for the walls and we did the skirting boards a different shade to contrast.  Turns out that hubby seems to have an eye for interior design and presented me with this scene which I loved.

Essential Accessories to Hygge your Home for Autumn

On a night-time, it really does feel cosy (so you kind of have to use your imagination for this daylight shot!).  I thought I’d share what we’ve got in our hygged-up home.  (these are not the exact items but very similar.  I couldn’t find the exact ones we’ve got online)

 

I love how these fairy lights are battery powered because our house is short on sockets.  And the sockets we do have are all used up!  So to find these battery powered lights was amazeballs…  I love fairy lights, hubby loves them (and not just because I do) and our 8yo love them too.  They even seem to chill the dog out.  What’s not to love?

~

 

So this house plant might not be exactly like ours but it’ll give the same effect.  Live plants are best of course, because of the oxygen they release.  I’ve read that spikey plants are not good for feng shui so I’ve had a word with hubby and he knows for next time!

~

No home of ours would be complete without candles and pretty candle holders and lanterns.  Love love love them and as long as they’re high enough for the dog/cat not to get to them, they’re an essential addition, creating a chilled out, relaxed mood.  Bliss!

 

Put all this together and what have you got?  A hygged-up home! 

Our home 🙂

~

Do you like our accessories?  Have you hygged-up your home?  Tell me about it in the comments or tweet me @AllSortsHere  

I’d love to hear from you!  Thanks.

This is a collaborative post and it contains affiliate links which means I get a little something if you buy something from this post, at no extra cost to you 🙂 

~

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5 tips to nail the school run

5 Tips to Nail the School Run

Ah the school run…

So we’re back into ‘school’ mode now (or at least we are in the UK).  And how are you coping? 

Love it or hate it, it’s a necessity with young children.  And whether it’s going well or not, there will inevitably be a time when it all comes apart at the seams.  So here are my top 5 tips for a smoother school run!  I say ‘smoother’ because no school run is perfect… unless you know the secret, the holy grail.  In which case, do share!  For now, here are those tips:

5 Tips to Nail the School Run

The List

Write out a list and order each step the night before each school day.  Or keep the same one if your routine never changes.  In that list have things like: take bread out of freezer for sandwiches (It’s very hard to fold/cut frozen bread neatly – I’ve tried!); Trust me, if you’ve got your bread out of the freezer for packed lunches, your pre-breakfast routine will go so much better!

Freshen up

Try to have a shower before everyone gets up (or at least the kids).  It’ll make you feel ahead of the game and therefore make you feel more organised!  And if you feel it, you’re half way there…

Make a note

Note down extras to be taken the next day (violin, P.E kit, reading book, reading record, and the list goes on!) and put the list somewhere obvious like the front of the fridge.  Definitely nowhere that curious toddlers or cheeky dogs can get it!  For older children, ask them to write the list. Even better, ask them to refer to it the next day so they get used to the responsibility.  Although I totally get that it’s sometimes just easier and quicker to do it yourself…   Of course, you could be ultra organised and get everything ready the night before so that you don’t need a list.

Breakfast at night time

Get the breakfast things ready the night before.  Whether that means physically laying the table or simply putting the cereal boxes on the kitchen side with bowls and spoons.  It all helps!

The rogue sock

Lay uniform out the night before.  Okay so they know what they’re wearing but you leave in 10 minutes, there’s a sock missing and the one in the linen basket has been nestled up to a wet towel all night.  For the sake of everyone’s sanity (mainly your own), laying uniform out the night before is a sure fire way of checking that all uniform is present and correct!

If it all goes to chaos, just remember to breathe and remind yourself you’re not the only one and you’re only human…

 

Have you got any tips to add?  Or even funnies about the school run that wasn’t fun?!  (see what I did there?…) I’d love to know. Tell me by commenting below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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Read a Book Day ~ are YOU well read?

Read A Book Day Are You Well Read Reading Challenge

I love the idea of Read a Book Day! 

There’s the obvious excuse of getting stuck into another world, with your nose inside a book.  There’s also the perfect chance to look back on my reading goals and how I got back into reading.

I also love that this Day has prompted me to look back before my reading challenge has finished for the year because I’m not one to wait until new year to start new things and set new goals.  Why wait?  I also love that the picture in this blog posts is of a dog reading a book – suggesting that anyone can get involved and read.  So come on people, read, read, read…!  I set myself a reading challenge of 12 books this year and I’m very pleased that I’m ahead of target.

Read A Book Day Are You Well Read Reading Challenge

Having looked at my ‘read’ shelf on GoodReads I saw 3 books that had particularly given me that pick-up-a-book-and-can’t-put-it-down feeling!

 

You know that feeling, I’m sure.

 

There’s also the feeling of being lost and not knowing what to read next because nothing seem sappealing after such a good read.  Well the 3 that gave me both of these feelngs were:

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

 

Pop them on your To Be Read pile!

I’m not going to review them simply because I’m not very good at reviewing books.  I think I’m too subjective and would much rather discuss them in a facebook group like Bookish Mamas.  Talking of which, I must thank Lucy, Jess and Naomi for establishing this great group.  They’ve encouraged me to actually read again.

 

I had intended to gather all of the group reads, take a picture and publish it on instagram and on here but I only ended buying my own copies of a few before turning to my library.  I love a visit to the library don’t you?

 

As for next year?  I’m going to stick with 12 books as my goal becuase it’s clearly working and puts me under less pressure.  Now I’m off to find my cosy throw, pop the fairy lights, chillax and get all hygge 🙂

But first, tell me what’s your best read of the year so far?  Or what’s on your TBR pile?  I’d love to know.  Tell me by commenting below or tweet me @AllSortsHere 

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