Are you ready for a challenge beginning with A?

Welcome to my take on the #AtoZChallenge You don’t need a theme to take part but I’m going by the theme of ‘A to Z’. The aim is to write each post in rhyme, incorporating keywords that begin with the relevant of that day.

So here we go…!

There once was an Author near here

Who created the right Atmosphere

Creating the mood, trailing breadcrumbs of clues

Led to a banquet of feelings like fear


Because I’m just having fun with this series after a while away from the writing scene, I’d love you to comment but please be gentle 😉 Please like and share too! Thanks 🙂


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Are you ready for a challenge?

More precisely, are you ready for an #AtoZChallenge. Drilled down even more, I’ll be blogging every day in April (but I get Sundays off!) as part of the Blogging from #AtoZChallenge.

Why am I doing this?

Because I want to do something a bit different. Something that involves stumbling upon other blogs that I might even want to follow, never mind read and enjoy. Some way that doesn’t involve me having to search and search.

I’ve taken part in the challenge before, many years ago and I thought that now I’ve ‘niched-down’ to reading, writing and wellbeing, I’d like to give my blog a fresh airing!

Are You Ready for a Challenge?

You don’t need a theme to take part but I’m going by the theme of ‘A to Z’. The aim is to write each post in rhyme, incorporating keywords that begin with the relevant of that day. So, for ‘A’ I’ll write a short poem which uses keywords starting with A. I say ‘aim’ because I’ve got a list of words but haven’t written any yet… Either way, it’ll be fun and you can’t argue with that!


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What’s World Book Day all about?

As a parent, I’ve ‘been through’ several WBDs. By ‘been through’, I mean our now 9 year old not being able to decide what to dress up as. Any parent knows the potential chaos and trauma and last-minute headaches this can bring. It’s no biggie though really, is it? I mean, it’s not compulsory, she doesn’t have to dress up and it certainly doesn’t mean she can’t celebrate books without getting into character.

She took to reading books, and literacy as a whole, like a duck to water. Thanks in no small part to her being surrounded by narrative every day; I’d walk along, pushing her pram or pottering around at home, giving her a narrative of the day.) So the fact she loves reading gives me a happy, fuzzy feeling inside.

For me, WBD is not just for the children. Of course, it’s a fantastic opportunity to encourage them into the wonderful world of books and hopefully encouraging their imagination too.

For me, WBD is about celebrating our heroes, heroines, villains and in-betweens that come alive so much when we read a book.

For me, the beauty of WBD is that it gets us thinking and gets us talking about how everyone’s imagination is different. We might talk about WBD at work but it’s mainly in schools. You don’t have to be a complete bookworm (like me!) to get involved in WBD either. Anyone can generally pick up a book and read, opening that door into another world. If that door fuels anyone’s imagination to aspire to be someone or do something, all the better.

It doesn’t have to take long either. My facebook group #ReadFor5Today might be a clue to how passionate I am about encouraging everyone, particularly busy women, to read every day. Whether it’s for 5 minutes, 5 lines or 5 chapters, just do it. Pickup a book on WBD (and every day!) and relinquish that reading journey.

I’ll bet you’ll be glad you did!

So tell me, what will you be reading on World Book Day? Tell me in the comments below or tweent me @AllSortsHere. I’d also love for you to tag your bookish instagram posts and stories with #ReadFor5Today 🙂


Remember to join my #ReadFor5Today facebook community! Just click below…


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The Right Writing Tool

I love to write and generally I find that my words flow with paper and pen.

Sometimes pencil but mainly pen.

what's your writing tool pen pencil computer?

When my words flow, the inspiration keeps coming, the idea keeps growing, the creative juices don’t scratch on the page and all is well.

Rare is the occasion when I find myself typing directly to computer. My notes are only understandable by me, partly due to my writing which when ‘in the flow’ is what I would call ‘artistic’. I wouldn’t win any house points for handwriting, that’s for sure.

There are arrows drawn from here to there with asterisks, triangles, squares – anything that can be married up with ‘go to [star, triangle, square]’.

Parts are sectioned off and numbered so that I know which section goes where. You’d struggle to do that on a computer.

Back in my school days I used a fountain pen with actual ink cartridges and I loved it. There was a real sense of ‘old skool’ about it. I’m tempted to get another for the sake of nostalgia!

Because there’s no doubt that if you use a good quality pen, the whole process is going to feel better. It’s a no-brainer!

What about you? What’s YOUR writing tool?

Comment below and/or tweet me @AllSortsHere Thanks!

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Remember to join my #ReadFor5Today facebook community! Just click below…

Jump on board and #Readfor5Today


#ReadFor5Today
 is all about making time to read. 
It doesn’t matter if it takes you 5 days, 5 weeks or 5 months to finish that book. All books are different lengths and we all read at different speeds.

What matters is that we make time to read, every day. Whether that’s 5 lines, 5 paragraphs or 5 chapters, if it works for you… do it!

For me, reading is where it’s at; a time to relax, to escape, to kick-back. Time for me, reading what I want to read!

My #Readfor5Today facebook community is a supportive, closed group where you can tell us what you’re reading, be accountable and get support and cheerleading along the way. Please do share any inspirational posts or quotes that fit in with the feel of the group. Thanks for joining in to make reading YOUR aim.

And here I am, getting my act together and creating a poll for the March #Readfor5Today ! Yes, you read that right… March! That gives us a week to vote for which book to read and 3 weeks to find the book, whether that means ordering it online, reserving it from the library or borrowing it from a friend. The aim of this group of course, is to encourage us all to #Readfor5Today and every day, whether that’s for 5 minutes, 5 paragraphs or 5 chapters! Which one would YOU like to #Readfor5Today ?

Hop on over to my facebook group to vote for the March read!

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Remember to join my #ReadFor5Today facebook community! Just click below…

Share your #BrilliantBooks January 2019

I’ve always loved to read, have been brought up around books and have passed on this love of books and reading to our daughter. And there’s the key. For the past (almost) decade, I haven’t made the time to read, always putting some else’s needs first (rightly or wrongly – there’s a discussion for a separate blog post!).

#BrilliantBooks a place to share your reads and reviews blog linky

In January 2018 I decided to start reading regularly again. I wanted to give my eyes a break from allll the screens and enjoy some down-time. Some time where I could dive into another world for 5 paragraphs, 5 chapters, 5 minutes…

I also took up a book reading challenge last year through GoodReads and am doing the same this year. Last year’s challenge was to egg me on to keep reading (I love updating my book with ‘read’!).

All this reading gave me the idea to share the books that I’ve loved. There won’t be full-on reviews, just a personal view of why I enjoyed a book. What better way to share my reads than in a blog linky for everyone else to join in with?

#BrilliantBooks was born. If you’ve blogged about your favourite read, share it here! There aren’t really any rules; it doesn’t need to be a recent read or a recent post. Just a book, any book, any genre, any author. I think you get the idea! And it doesn’t have to be an actual book either, e-books are welcome. I’m not saying that I’ll read every single post but I will share every single post on various social media. If you’d like to be featured next month, link up and share each post on twitter tagging it @AllSortsHere #BrilliantBooks . The person who has shared the most tweets posts with the hashtag will be featured in the next linky post which will be the last Friday of every month.

And let’s not forget instagram… link up your picture and use the hashtag #BrilliantBooks . Just copy the url of the actual picture into the linky tool below.

Share my badge (see bottom of the post and my sidebar) or link back to my blog and let’s go!

7 reasons to be a bookworm

7 Reasons to be a Bookworm Reading Imagination Hobby

I’ve always loved reading and remember my Mum, my sister and myself each having a book on the go when I was younger. And I’m still a very happy bookworm. More so this last year because of my book reading challenge.

I’d forgotten how nice it is to get lost in a book.  In fact it’s my idea of bliss.  So much that I’ve been making sure I read every day.

7 Reasons to be a Bookworm Reading Imagination Hobby

It’s so much fun being a bookworm and here’s why:

You’ve got an amazing hobby…

…a hobby that opens up a whole world of imagination and discussion

There’s always something to read, even if you’ve read it before!  I’ll never be lost with my Jane Austen collection.

If you’re a parent, you’re showing your child the wonder of reading a book.

You can shut yourself away from the world and relax (at least mentally).

No-one need ever be stuck for a gift idea again!

Reading gives your eyes a rest from the screens that we’re surrounded by every day in modern living.

But there are some side-effects too…

Any bookworm will likely tell you that they’d rather enjoy a good book than take part in a conversation any day.  Unless it’s a discussion about a bookclub read!

…which tends to make them ever so slightly unsociable!

Reading a gripping book?  Then say goodbye to sleep, household chores and normal life in general until it’s finished!

You get that ‘lost’ feeling when you’ve finished a really good book and have to re-connect with real life.

You can’t be friends with anyone who doesn’t understand you love of reading.  Shame really, but books come first…

Are you a bookworm?  Can you think of any other reasons?  I’d love to know!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks!

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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

 

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 🙂

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Tips for a Better Sleep

Tips For a Better Sleep

If you want to perform and feel your best, it’s important to not only get enough sleep but to get ample quality sleep. Find out what you should and shouldn’t do to sleep well and wake up refreshed by reading the article below:

 

Not getting enough sleep has been associated with a wide variety of health issues such as impaired cardiovascular health, testosterone production, insulin signalling, fat loss and increased inflammation.

Tips for a Better Sleep

If you’re not getting enough shut-eye, try the following:

Magnesium

A lack of magnesium can lead to impaired sleep, as this dietary mineral plays a very important role in the brain. A magnesium deficiency is especially notable in active people, as it’s lost through sweat. There are plenty of magnesium-rich foods which can fit a wide variety of diets. Of course, another option is to supplement magnesium.

 

If you’re not sure which dietary supplements to trust and which ones to stay clear of, Analyze That will help you narrow down options because it gives comprehensive, unbiased, honest product reviews.

Exercise

Physical activity seems to improve the quality of sleep especially when you’re experiencing stress.  Different types of exercise, like resistance training, aerobic exercise, tai-chi and yoga can potentially improve the quality of sleep as well as overall health and mood.

Sleeping Schedule

A 24-hour schedule is followed by most physiological processes based on clues such as light and temperature. This is also known as your circadian rhythm. If you go to bed at more or less the same time every night, your sleep quality can definitely be improved. A bedtime routine can also be very beneficial as your body will get signaled that it needs to lie down soon. This routine can include anything from reading, meditation, brushing your teeth or showering. It should not include any activities which stimulate your senses. Also, keep in mind that the blue light produced by your computer, cell phone and TV disrupts the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone).

Melatonin

Melatonin is produced when blue light is absent. If you are avoiding blue lights before bed and have tried all of the above, you could try supplementing melatonin. It can improve quality sleep, help fight jet lag and help stop insomnia.

Lavender

The scent of lavender can improve the quality of sleep, stop insomnia and promote relaxation.

 

The following things should be avoided if you’re trying to get more sleep:

Noise

Even if a specific sound doesn’t wake you up, it can still reduce the quality of your sleep and increase stress. Think about getting earplugs if you’re live a noisy area and can’t make your bedroom silent (unless off course you’re a parent!). Some people find soothing music or white noise helps, especially if it masks other irritating sounds. Read more about what gadgets might help you to sleep.

Heat

Insomnia has been associated with an elevated core body temperature. If it’s warm enough in your bedroom to raise your core body temperature it may impact the quality of your sleep. The opposite is also true – if your bedroom is cool enough to lower your body temperature you’ll enter deep stages of sleep much sooner and also fall asleep faster.

Alcohol

As alcohol helps us to unwind and relax, we often think it’ll improve our sleep. But this isn’t true. It IS true that alcohol might help you to fall asleep, but it’ll definitely also impair the quality of sleep. Drinking a lot of alcohol has even been directly linked to insomnia.

Caffeine

Even though many of us can’t function properly without our daily cup of coffee, it definitely has its downsides. Caffeine enhances mood, increases dopamine levels and increases alertness. People who drink a lot of coffee every day might not feel stimulated by the effects of caffeine any more and they might also imagine that it won’t affect their sleep. Even though this might be the case and they may sleep for several hours, their sleep will be more shallow than non-caffeine users. If your quality of sleep is really important, it should be avoided at least five hours before bedtime.

 

How about you?  Do you have problems sleeping?  Have you got any tips to add?  I’d love to hear!  Comment or tweet me @AllSortsHere  Thank you

*This is a collaborative post