November 2018 in words and pictures for #HighlightsofHappy

I’m really excited to be sharing my #HighlightsofHappy with you all again.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted them but it’ll be a regular thing again.

I’ve been posting my #DailyGratitude list on instagram stories lately and that’s a habit I’ve enjoyed getting back into!

It’s been a busy month so let’s dive in to my happy for November…

 

In no particular order, I love the sparkly pink heart our 9yo made for me… see below 🙂

 

A laaaazy weekend afternoon and one very tired dog!

But before that we had a lovely, crisp walk along here…

 

What’s your happy?  I’d love to know… comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks 🙂 

 

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Best blogs to read in #AllSortsofBlogs 78

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 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 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

 

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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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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

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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!):

Continue reading

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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, the rugs under my feet 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 air 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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