The reading bug – a rare species?

Reading bug Bookworm Read Books Library Wellbeing Self Care

 The reading bug has well and truly bitten round here lately

I say ‘lately’ but it’s now May and I started reading again in January.  I was striving for some me-time, for some screen-free time (though I’m still toying with an e-reader of some form!) and to read something that’s, frankly, not blog-related!
Reading bug Bookworm Read Books Library Wellbeing Self Care

Yes, the reading bug has been a rare species around here.

I found a way to get back into reading when I stumbled upon Bookish Mamas (a reading group on facebook), got stuck into the first read and I was off!  I started reading that first book part way through January which gave me 2 weeks to finish it before the live discussion.  On average, I had to read 25 pages a day to be finished for the discussions.  And I did it! 🙂  I find that giving myself the goal of reading 25 pages a day works really well and spurs me on.  It’s manageable and I also feel like I’ve achieved something!
My book challenge is to read 12 books in 2018, so a book a month.  I’m smashing it and I’m loving it and actually addicted.  I’m something of a bookworm again.  The inconvenience of mundane, every day life can get in the way but I’ve managed to find time for my books.  I’ve only had to abandon one book because I wasn’t feeling it.

The library – an endangered species?

My current read, “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah is a library book.  We live in a small (but developing) town and I wasn’t sure if I’d have to pay to reserve a coy.  I didn’t, so I utilised my local library and am now whizzing through it!  I used to love taking our now 8yo to our library and love that I’m supporting our local again.  I love to do this because I feel like
Our 8yo is seeing me read every day/night and she does the same.  She’s got the reading bug too and what a great hobby to have!  We’ve just had the most glorious Bank Holiday weekend in the UK and I’ve taken a dive right into my reading.
When I was growing up, it was rare for my Mum not to have a book on the go.  In fact, I’d like to bet that there was never a time when she didn’t.
It’s such a great hobby to have.  There are so many genres out there; fact or fiction, long or short, different formats.  However or wherever you choose to read, whatever genre or format, it doesn’t matter!  In our fast-paced digital world, with so much online, isn’t it lovely to have a chance to slow down, even to stop, to breathe and to escape.

Let’s get reading!

Have you got the reading bug?  Did someone close to you read a lot when you were younger?  Do you like to read in front of your children to encourage reading?   I’d love to hear from you!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks.
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5 ways to get back into reading

5 ways to get back into Reading Wellbeing Read Books

5 ways to get back into reading

 I’ve always loved reading.  I can remember sitting on a bean bag in my bedroom one Sunday afternoon aged around 8, reading The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton.  I was totally absorbed in this magical story, my imagination working with the words that Blyton weaved, meeting all the magical tree folk.
As I grew up, I remember reading the box sets of St Clares and Mallory Towers.  Then there was Judy Blume and Sweet Valley High.  There came a time when I started to read some of the books that my Mum read (and still reads today) but I found the genre (war-time sweethearts tales and the like) too predictable.  They were probably the latter day version of what is today referred to as ‘chick-lit’ (which I’m not drawn to either!)
At A-Level English, I loved studying the themes of a play, poem or story and picking it all to bits.

Being inspired by reading to a child  

Then I had our now 8 year old and of course, I read children’s stories instead.  But this intrigued me too.  How the use of rhyme and rhythmn completely entranced her (and me), how she would ask for the same stories over and over and over again!
I was inspired to write my own children’s series which is still waiting in the wings for a publisher.
As I was saying, due to the time restraints of having a growing baby, working and keeping a home (and blog!) ticking over, reading just never happened for a good few years.

When it all changed

That has all changed this year though.  I stumbled upon a post on instagram from Lucy of Mrs Hs Favourite Things.  She was holding a book which was a read in the Bookish Mamas facebook reading group.  With just a couple of clicks on my phone, I was back in the swing of reading again.  And I love it!  I even like the fact that I’ve given up on the latest group read because when I really don’t like a book, I don’t see the point in going through the pain!  But I love that it’s opening up new genres to me.  Books that I wouldn’t even have considered, I have read since January.  I’ve got back into my GoodReads account, have a long list waiting to be read and bought a delicious new book last week – The Mitford Murders.  Don’t you love the feel of a crisp new book?
And I’m even ahead in my reading challenge!
5 ways to get back into Reading Wellbeing Read Books

So if like me, you’ve let reading slack because of ‘life’, here are 5 ways to get back into reading

Join a reading group  – Bookish Mamas on facebook is a great place to start.  It’s useful to find one that does discussion threads on the books too, which helps to make sense of a book you didn’t get and also gets you involved if you did like it!
If you don’t enjoy a particular book, accept it, give it up and browse some more titles.  This happened to me just this month.  I was trying hard (too hard?), to get into the group read and ended up getting too distracted by all the things I could have been doing instead.  Not exactly condusive to a relaxing read so I gave up and started a shorter book which means that I’ll hopefully be finished in time for the next read!
Take part in a reading challenge.  I’m sure you can do this on your own or as part of a reading group challenge.  But I’m doing it through my GoodReads account.  I love that it’s a little community and that my reading list is ever growing due to the numberous recommendations that pop up every time I go on!  But that’s spurring me on to read even more 🙂
Set aside time for reading every. single. day.  Because that’s how habits are formed.  For me, as part of my screen-free commitment, having something to do apart from those little jobs around the house for half an hour before bed, means I get my reading time in.  Tricky if you’re got a very good book though!
Try different genres.  There are 2 sides to this.  The book that I abandoned was a memoir and not a genre that I’ll rush to again but now I know!  And I gave it a go!  And that’s what I love about getting into reading again as part of a group.
If you’re on GoodReads and would like to be my friend on there, I’m Carol Cameleon 🙂   It might be an idea to add a comment below so that I know who you are!
Do you enjoy reading?  Did you have a lapse and how did you get back into it?  Got any recommendations?   I’d love to know!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks.
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Sun, moon, stars ~ essential oils

Sun, Moon, Stars ~ Essential Oils Diffuser and spirituality Universe Astrology

Sun, moon, stars ~ essential oils

You may have read how I’ve started my sun, moon, stars journey.
Part of that journey is to use essential oils each month to compliment my monthly intention-setting, manifesting and moon work.  Last month I used Laurel essential oil by literally wafting an open bottle under my nose because I’m yet to get a diffuser!  On one occasion I did use my old oil burner and it’s an amazing scent.
Sun, Moon, Stars ~ Essential Oils Diffuser and spirituality Universe Astrology

 The search for the right diffuser

I used essential oil burners years ago and got out of the habit.  But then my sun, moon, stars journey began and I found the much more pet-friendly contemporary diffuser option.  I say pet-friendly because you don’t need a candle to heat the oil with the diffusers.  So nothing for the cat to knock over or the dog to swish her tail at!  This month I’m using Patchouli and my next step will be to use an essential oil diffuser, when I’ve got one!  Then to get one of those handy and cute essential oil bottle holders to keep them in!  A tidy house is a tidy mind after all.
I’m looking forward to trying one out and also to hopefully feel the benefit, alongside my work with chakras and angels.
  
Do you use essential oils?  Have you got a diffuser to recommend?  I’d love to know!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks.

Sun, moon, stars ~ working with the moon

Sun Moon Stars ~ Working with the Moon and Spirituality Universe Astrology

Sun, moon, stars ~ working with the moon

I’ve always been someone who follows my gut, someone who doesn’t necessarily conform to what society ‘expects’ of me but someone who knows my own mind.  Some of this has come with age and maturity (!), some has come with life experience and some of it has come from a ‘need’.
By that I mean that depression led me on my spiritual journey.

A journey to the sun, moon and stars

Reiki opened up a whole new world of understanding of how the energies around us work.  Usually in harmony with us, if we would only let it in….
So, depression led me to self-help and to self-discovery.  Ironically, I’ve got a lot to ‘thank’ depression and anxiety for!  It’s been over a decade since myself and my doctor recognised I had depression.  But the beginning of my spiritual journey didn’t start straight away.  In fact, over 10 years later, I find myself more and more drawn to astrology and the moon and their effects on us all.
Sun Moon Stars ~ Working with the Moon and Spirituality Universe Astrology

Simplifying my journey 

To that end, I’m going to try to simplify my journey (thought I’m certain it’ll go quite deep at times) and share my sun, moon, stars journey.  It’s an exciting adventure that I’m looking forward to.
The first thing to share is how I’ve been using the new and full moon information sheets by astrologer and moonologer, Yasmin Boland.
This is not a collaborative or affiliated post; I just believe in sharing the good work of amazing people.  To take a step back a little further, in July 2017 I attended a new moon manifesting session hosted by Yasmin.  It was a total game-changer.  I can happily say that the moon worked its magic (with my help) and the intentions I set (or ‘wishes’ as Yasmin prefers to call them) came to fruition.  It’s definitely worth adding here that though the moon is most certainly ‘magic’, you absolutely have to put actions behind your intentions too…

New and full moon info sheets

To go back to these info sheets then, we’re now at the start of the zodiac with the new moon being in Aries and I’m about to embark on my full 12 month new and full moon journey for the first time ever.  Of course, you can start at whatever sign of the zodiac you like and this post is just as relevant when the moon is in any sign of the zodiac!  The idea of working on a full 12 months is that I’ll be working on all 12 ‘houses’ in succession and therefore all of  Yasmin’s ‘cosmic extras’ such as essential oils, chakras and angels.
There’s so much more to all ‘this’ of course and over the next 12 months much of it will be mentioned and, to some degree, explained on my blog.  However, I don’t want to risk information overload for you or me!
As I say, it’ll be an exciting and interesting journey.

To find out much, much more…

visit moonology.com which is Yasmin Boland’s site.  It’s through this site that you can also find your zodiac rising sign.
Are you as fascinated by the sun, moon and stars as me I wonder?  If you are, why not share your thoughts?  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks.

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Why you should get on your bike

Why You Should Get On Your Bike Wellbeing Mental Physical Outdoors Biking Cycling

Why you should get on your bike

Before we moved house, I used to bike to work.  It took around 30 minutes and although I would often feel sluggish and have the can’t-be-bothered mentality before I started out, once I’d arrived I felt great.  There’s nothing like a good bike ride to wake you up!

 

That feeling of being invigorated from biking before you start work is something else.  It helps to lower your blood pressure and therefore reduce stress for starters.  I’d cross paths with colleagues in the corridors after locking my bike up in the secure bike shed and they’d be heading straight to get a coffee.  Not me.  No need with all that fresh air pumping through me!  If you could bottle the ‘just biked’ feeling, you’d never look back.  Once you’ve started biking and you remember that feeling, it makes getting into gear so much easier.  You don’t have to go far to get kitted out either.

Why You Should Get On Your Bike Wellbeing Mental Physical Outdoors Biking Cycling

Admittedly, it took me a while to get used to biking after however many years of driving.  First there was getting used to the saddle, which I changed to a more comfortable one.  Boy do you know about it when your saddle’s too hard!  Then there’s making sure your helmet’s the right fit and is actually fitted on your head properly.  Not forgetting the lights of course.  It’s useful to get the sort that you can easily snap on and off, making them portable and not open for the taking…  talking of which, you can get kits to security mark your bike too.  Very handy and good to know.  The security markers are often only visible under infra-red but you can of course put a visual deterrent on your bike too.  A good lock is essential for any bike owner.

 

You can accessorise with a pretty bell and you can even get bluetooth speakers for your bike now too… with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes!

It’s a good idea to build your bike ride into your routine if you can, that’s when it becomes a habit.  And what a great habit to have.  There’s no easier way to build a bike ride into your routine than pedalling to and from work!  That habit loop lifts your spirits and is the perfect antidote for our busy lives, helping to keep us in top condition, mentally and physically.  All in all it’s great for your wellbeing.

 

Why stop at the weekend?  With a range of bikes for men, women, kids and also unisex, there’s really no reason not to get out and get into the fresh air!

Have you got on your bike lately?  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

*This is a collaborative post

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5 reasons pets are good for a child

5 reasons pets are good for a child

Being a household with 2 pets, I don’t need any convincing as to the benefits of our pets on our 8 year old daughter.  They have and continue to teach her very important life skills.  I’d like to share with you 5 reasons pets are good for a child (with a little help from some lovely blogging friends):
5 Reasons Pets are Good for a Child

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Review of Owl Hot Water Bottle

Review of Owl Hot Water Bottle Wellbeing

Review of Owl Hot Water Bottle

You know when you just want to get snuggly and cosy?  If your home is anything like mine, you’ll be all snuggly in one room, off you go to bed and you get into your cold bed!  Well, not anymore!  Our old hot water bottle had been well-loved, well-used and become unsafe because the rubber had perished.

Enter stage left, this cute owl hot water bottle from The Hot Water Bottle Shop!  I mean, just look at it, begging to be cuddled and snuggled!

Review of Owl Hot Water Bottle Wellbeing 2

What I love about it

What I particularly love about this cover is that it’s quirky.  It’s not just any old cover you might get from your local chemist or from a hardware store.  It’s inviting, it’s easy to open, easy to slide your water bottle inside and easy to do up again.

This one has a button which might appear fiddly but it’s not.  It not only keeps your hot water bottle ‘hot’ but it keeps is secure too.  Over the years I’ve found that some covers stretch and you wake up stuck to a hot water bottle that’s now tepid and has left an imprint in your thigh!  Not so snuggly!

What about the price?

At £18.99, this is very good value in my opinion.  The cover is well made and has stood the test over several months in my clutches and through the Beast from the East (if you’re reading this in ‘archive mode’, do you remember that storm?!).  You really can’t get a better test than that!

As the product description says, this: uses an ultra-modern, thermoplastic rubberless design which does not only make it easy-to-use and comfortable but eco-sustainable too. This product is made from 80% renewable materials, is PVC free, recyclable and unlike may other hot water bottle odourless.

Review of Owl Hot Water Bottle Wellbeing

Not only is the bottle odourless, but you can freshen up the washable cover too.  Win, win!

You can follow the Hot Water Bottle Shop on twitter, facebook and instagram.

What about you?  Have you snuggled up with your hot water bottle lately?  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere.

Thanks.

*I was gifted this item for the purposes of this review but all views are my own.

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How to have a wonder-filled family adventure

How to Have a Wonder-filled Family Adventure

How to have a wonder-filled family adventure

What is wonder?  Is it being amazed at something?  Is it being in awe?  Is it experiencing something for the first time?  Is it doing something or going somewhere you’ve been before?

The answer is, surely all of the above?

How to Have a Wonder-filled Family Adventure

To have our wonder-filled family adventure, we chose to visit one of our favourite places.  Why is Ferry Meadows one of our favourite places?

 

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Diary of a bookworm

Diary Of A Bookworm Reading Relax

Diary of a bookworm

 

I came across this fun post from Jo Tracey and thought I’d join in.  I absolutely love getting absorbed in a book, sometimes ‘lost’ in a book and I do my utmost to read a bit of my current book every day.  I’ve recently rekindled this habit and I love it!

Diary Of A Bookworm Reading Relax

So here we go:

 Do you have a specific place for reading?

I’ll read anywhere comfortable but on an evening, preferably a weekend, cosied-up with a drink on the sofa, footstool out. 🙂

Bookmark or random piece of paper?

A bookmark our 8 year old made for me.  (I’m not a 2 book person so this works fine.)

Do you eat or drink whilst reading?

Quite often.  Depending on the mood (and book) or season, it’s either herbal tea, hot choc and snacks and/or chocolate!

Music or TV whilst reading?

Rarely the TV because it’s too distracting.  Maybe some light music low in the background.

One book at a time or several?

Definitely one!

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I can read anywhere but tend to vere to people-watching if I’m in a public place which obviously isn’t ideal for hardcore reading!

Read out loud or silently?

Silently.  But I still read to our 8 yo and it’s strangely nice to hear the pronunciation of the words and brings it more to life!

Break the spine or keep it like new?

Break it in, enjoy it, savour it!

Do you write in books?

Nope!

What books are you reading now?

‘How to Stop Time’ by Matt Haig.  And loving it!

What is your all-time favourite book?

I might’ve known this question was coming up and I can never answer it…  though I’ve just finished ‘The Secret of Nightingale Wood’ which was February’s read in the Bookish Mamas facebook group.  I read it very quickly, which is rare for me and I loved the theme for various reasons.
I also love Pride and Prejudice.

Give up or read on if you don’t enjoy the book?

I’ve been known to give up.  In fact I decided to read, instead of watch, Game of Thrones.  The first one was okay but I gave up on the second one after a break and I couldn’t get into it at all.

Would you lend your books?

Totally!
How about you?  Are you a book worm?  If you are, why not join in?  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks.

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5 reasons pets are good for our mental health

5 Reasons Pets Are Good For Our Mental Health Wellbeing

5 reasons pets are good for our mental health

Being a household with 2 pets, I don’t need any convincing as to the benefits of our pets on my mental health.
But it’s not just my health that benefits of course – my hubby’s and our 8 year old daughter’s benefits too.
As someone who has experienced depression in the past (and knows how easily it can rear its ugly head again),  I’d like to share with you 5 reasons pets are good for our mental health (with a little help from some lovely blogging friends):
5 Reasons Pets Are Good For Our Mental Health Wellbeing

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