My Favourite Books

My Favourite Books

I adore reading, I just don’t read enough, even less now I have a toddler. We have bookcases in all rooms apart from the bathroom with more in the hallway. Storey time with my toddler is one of my favourite moments of the night, more now that he has  started to choose the books and actually stay with me and listen for the duration. I hope he takes after my love of books as his daddy isn’t interested in reading at all now! I kept most of my childhood books and already have them set up in Lucas’s room for when he’s a little older.

I find reading very satisfying and calming, getting lost in the facts of true stories or the imaginative fiction helps me de-stress and unwind from the day. I’m the type of person that will re-read my favourites over and over again, I can’t put my top four in order but they are:

Lord Of The Rings Trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings books were my first obsession, I got the trilogy one Christmas when all my school mates were receiving their first Harry Potter book (I thought Harry Potter was ‘too childish for me’ at my grand old age of seven). I read them every night and found it so hard to put them down, I can’t remember how long they took me to complete, I had to re-read a few chapters in The Two Towers as I found that one the hardest to follow that young, but it wasn’t long. I found it hard to put them down, only giving in when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any more.

The Godfather – Mario Puzo (spoiler in this paragraph if you’ve never seen or read)

It takes me longer than usual to finish a read of The Godfather than another book of the same size, but once I finish the chapter before Sonny Corleone’s death, I have to put the book down for a week or two, if I don’t carry on reading it, he won’t die, right? Once I have had enough mental preparation, I can read through and ‘kill sonny’, as I know it’s going to happen, I always feel personally responsible..

Helter Skelter, The True Story of the Manson Murders – Vincent Bugliosi

Helter Skelter was my introduction into true crime and my only other book obsession, I’ve read other Manson books and plenty of other true crime books but nothing is as gripping as Vincent Bugliosi’s first hand account serving as the prosecutor in Manson’s trial. The book is in two parts, the crimes are described in detail first then it goes onto describe how the police, courts and prosecution managed to gather and piece together evidence to build up the case against Manson and his self described family. An amazing and interesting insight to behind the scenes, especially at that time in my life when I was completely lost and undecided in which direction to go in with regards to subjects, exams and career. Criminology was a path I was considering.

The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis

These chronicles were another childhood Christmas present, when all of the books were on the shelf next to each other the spines made a picture of Aslan. I was unaware that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was more known than the others and shocked when my friends only knew of the one book, rather than the whole set. These are my go to books when needing to read about and immerse myself with courageous thoughts and feelings, thinking about certain Aslan/C. S. Lewis quotes have helped in my real life situations.

Courage, dear heart.

Aslan/C. S. Lewis

I have to read books before watching any film/tv adaptations, I know it’s cliche, but they are genuinely always better! I hadn’t heard of The Game of Thrones before the TV series came out, so downloaded the books onto my kindle app and got reading before I started watching (I’ve finished season 5 and taking a break to watch season 2 of Stranger Things).

I have no ambitions to become a writer or an author but if I did the books I would write would need to be as influencing to people, as my favourites were to me. They would be long fiction crime/mafia novels, printed in a small type writer font on light brown pages, in small soft cover books. That’s exactly how I’d imagine the books I would write.

Prompt: Sunday Scribblings #7 – The Books I Would Write

Photo: Clare S, Nov 2017

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I Had A Cry Tonight #parenthood

I Had A Cry Tonight #parenthood

This was written through tears one late night in August 2016:

I Had A Cry Tonight

Yes I’m up to my knees in nappies, wipes, bottles, washing, cleaning and cooking.

Yes I’ve got poop under my fingernails and baby sick in my hair.

Yes I cancelled a good friends catch up last week and also missed my summer work party.

No I haven’t had a shower yet this week or attempted my facial routine and I still haven’t returned the pump I’m renting but no longer using.

No I haven’t had a longer sleep than 4 hours in the past 3 months.

No I’m not anywhere close to pre-pregnancy weight or fitting into pre-pregnancy clothes.

But I do have a dry, clean, smiling, giggling, full up, healthy, 11 week old happy baby and when I picked him up tonight (after a nappy change to settle back to sleep) he nested his head under my chin, happy sighed and held his arms out spread hugging me intently.

The wave of emotion was strong, I had a big old grateful cry tonight ❤️

Photo: Clare S, 2016, London.

When We Were Wee

When We Were Wee

Having recently become a parent I have reminisced about my own childhood dearly, especially weekends and summers spent at my grandparents cottage in the countryside, a breath of fresh air to the concrete and pollution of central London.

My circle of friends rotated visiting the cottage with me, remembering fun days spent with them at different beaches, play the arcade games, going on the rides at Margate funfair, visiting different zoos and animal sanctuaries, fruit picking all manner of fruits and hot sunny day trips to France feature heavily in my childhood memories.

My time spent at the cottage was always so special and magical, my friends felt it too. My grandparents always went over and above what was expected to make sure me and my friends were always entertained, always busy, never bored.

I can only hope that my son will feel the magic when we go to the countryside, maybe he can one day take his friends along… Which reminds me, apparently Dream Land in Margate is reopening/has reopened, I must check!

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Photo: Clare S, 2013, Kent

Prompt: Sunday Scribblings #3 – When We Were Wee

New Years Resolutions 2018: What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?

New Years Resolutions 2018: What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?

Alert: Typical first post subject?

I decided to take a different approach to my News Years Resolutions this year, why? Because I nearly ALWAYS fail before the end of January, sometimes I never even started… (much like this blog I’ve been meaning to start). That left me making the same vague resolutions year and year again, not making any big changes at all. The ‘Big Bang’ for me was looking back at my 2017 resolutions as I had no inspiration for this year, I realised I only started half of them and finished last year doing none of them.

Now, this isn’t a ‘New Year, New Me‘ makeover type of post, I’m not trying to reinvent myself or make a strict set of rules to abide by for 2018, that I must follow or fail miserably like always before. This year I’m making small (dare I say easier?) changes but also for the first time, throwing myself in at the deep end. With this I mean, I’m actually starting these resolutions, if they don’t work, or I don’t like them, at least I can say I tried and move on.

So I’m here right now, typing away at a ‘What I would attempt if I knew I would not fail?’ prompt, attempting to blog, something that’s been on that re-occurring resolution list since FOREVER. This blog to be my accountability (and proof) that I’ve actually completed at least one of my goals this year, but hopefully it can account for more, which actually leads my nicely to some of my resolutions:

  1. Simple. Start a blog. Start writing posts. Aim for two to three posts a week. Keep it up for a year. Previously, I started a blog when my son was 12 weeks old and aimed for a post a day, I failed after 3 posts. I think two to three posts a week is a good aim for me for now. I want the opportunity to write a little freely, if I like it I continue, if I don’t like at, at least I tried!
  2. Meal Plan & Prep More, Take Away Less. We order food in a lot, way too much in fact, and I love cooking! Convenience of a food order normally wins because I fail at meal planning and no one wants to take spontaneous cooking responsibility. Our meals need to feed five (4 adults plus a toddler and a dog makes 5) and although we normally have a big selection of meat in the freezer, advance planning and preparation is needed to ensure meat is defrosted properly and it takes as little time as possible to get it on the table. So far I’ve meal planned for the rest of the week and will be delegating the cooking out on some days.
  3. Drink More Water. I was feeling so tired and sluggish last October when I decided to try gain back my water intake, I was filling up with coffee until noon, having cola with lunch and dinner and in between, I’d been forgetting to drink any water! I drank the 8 glasses of water that I was supposed to and after just two days I felt so much better, I started tracking it via my bullet journal then by FitBit app but when I didn’t reach my goal a few times I just stopped tracking. Inevitably, the habit dropped off too. So now my goal is to simply drink water, it’s back in my Bullet Journal combined into my monthly layout.
  4. My Well Being. Me Time. Including Fitness. Being a mum of a toddler that isn’t currently sleeping through and working a forty hour week (plus over time and commute) I hardly ever take time out for me, including doing any exercise apart from walking the dog. I used to do guided meditation nightly, before and throughout pregnancy, but since my son was born there hasn’t been enough time in the day! Luckily my partners work schedule recently changed from a monthly shift pattern including weekends to a weekly Monday to Friday with occasional Saturdays, meaning I’ll be able to plan more me time into my weekend.

This blog will mainly cover Food + Drink as I love cooking and sharing, Health + Wellness as I work in Health & Safety and sit on the well being committee at my workplace, and Parenting. But will probably also contain prompted and unprompted ramblings on pretty much anything.

If you find yourself still reading, feel free to comment and subscribe!

Prompt: Sunday Scribblings #1 – What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?