The Ramblings Book Club

Yes! I’m excited to announce that I am launching an online book club! I always say I want to read more and when I mention it to other people they say the same thing. So, I thought why not create a book club to motivate myself to read more and, in turn, motivate others too. One book a month. That’s 12 books a year. Doesn’t seem like much but it’s 12 more books than I otherwise wouldn’t have read.

So, if you’re like myself, why not join in? The first Sunday of every month, I will write a review of the book we have read and announce the new book for the following month. I’m hoping this will give people the opportunity to discuss the book in the comments and bond with people during a time where people seem to be at a great distance. Giving people the chance to discuss a book. Not the news, not the pandemic, not doom and gloom but something that allows you to escape that and communicate together.

With that in mind, I am excited to announce our first book is…

The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory.

About the Book

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game in LA with her actor boyfriend, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn't difficult - they've only been dating for five months, and he can't even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans...
At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik's rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He's even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik's social media goes crazy. Believing that neither of them are looking for anything serious, Nik embarks on an epic rebound with the handsome doctor, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, will they be brave enough to admit what they're really feeling?

Get the book now at Waterstones!

About the Author

Jasmine Guillory is an American romance novelist. Her works' protagonists are often African-American professionals. In February 2019, her book, The Proposal, was ranked on The New York Times Best Seller list for paperback trade fiction.

Why did I choose this book to start with? Because I want to read it! It’s one of those books that I bought a while ago that I constantly look at and think “I must get round to reading that”. Next thing I know, weeks, months, years have passed and it still sits on the ‘to-read’ list. If you have a book like that, leave it in the comments below. You never know, it might be the next book in the Ramblings Book Club?

So, to summarise:
WHO? Anyone can join the book club.
WHEN? First Sunday of every month (I’m giving you a head start this month).
WHERE? Here on the blog!
WHAT? BOOKS! Just pick up the book in any form you like, be it hardback, paperback or digital download and get reading. You have a month to read it until I publish my review and announce the next book.
WHY? If you want to read more, connect with others or are just looking for book recommendations.
HOW? Follow the blog so you’ll be emailed when the next book club post is published before anyone else.

I hope you take the time to read along and participate in the comments! What are some of the books you wish to see in the coming months? Leave your suggestions in the comments 🙂 xx

Advertisements

Best Bedside Books

I, personally, really like having a collection of books on my bedside table or my ‘night stand’. I think it’s a great tool for when you can’t sleep and let’s be honest, I think there’s quite a few of us that are struggling to sleep during this time. Instead of reaching for your phone, grab a book. The light from our phones can actually keep us more awake. It triggers the part of our brain that tells us when it is day or night and could potentially make it harder for you to drop off. So whether you can’t get to sleep, or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t switch your brain off, these are some of my favourite books to relax my mind and ready my brain for slumber.

1. Notes on a Nervous Planet

I’ve mentioned this book before in a blog post (about how to survive January) but I have found that keeping this book next to my bed is the perfect solution for easing my anxious mind. Sometimes, I can have a great day, totally anxiety free (for the most part) but then, when my head hits my pillow -BAM! Oh there you are, anxiety. All of a sudden, I have irrational thoughts rattling around in my head. “What would I do if someone broke in right now?”, “Is Olivia still breathing? Maybe she choked on her bed sheet because I didn’t put it on right?”, “Does Steven get mad at me for not keeping the house tidy enough?”, “Should I have a full time career? Do people think I’m lazy?”, “Maybe I need liposuction”, “What if lock down never ends?”, “Am I doing enough? Am I good enough?”. It can get loud. Especially recently. But when I reach for this book, it’s a huge reminder that I am human. I am flawed but that’s okay because so is everyone else. And what about the bigger problems in the world? Well, we all worry about those too but at the end of the day. If it’s not in your control, there’s no point worrying about it. This book just helps me feel less alone when it comes to my irrational thoughts and brings some quietness to the noise.

2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

A classic! I keep this by my bed because sometimes you just want to escape, right? Sometimes you just want to live in a different world for a while. To help me wind down before bed, I like reading a chapter or two just to transport me to another world but also another time. A time where I am 8 or 9 years old reading this book for the first time and really believing in magic. I think we could all use a little belief in magic right now, don’t you?

3. Happy Mum Happy Baby

I love this book! I started reading this while I was pregnant with Olivia and I am so glad I did. I love Giovanna’s outlook on motherhood and I find it so helpful to have it by my bed so when I question my mothering and “Am I a good enough Mum?” or “Why am I so burnt out?” I can pick this up and remind myself. As a Mum, you need to take care of you before ANYTHING. Seriously. You cannot care for your children, your partner, your work or your house if you haven’t taken care of you first. You need to be happy and healthy on the inside in order to be happy and healthy on the outside. Your kids need a happy, well-looked-after Mum who will then be able to take care of them. Not a Mum who is stressed, tired and burnt out yelling at them because she’s at the end of her tether with everything! So this book really does preach what it says on the tin.

4. The Little Book of Hygge

Now, this one is a little different. This is one I like to read when my mind is in ‘to-do-list mode’. When I’m thinking of everything I have to do tomorrow in what order not forgetting this and that. This book is a gentle reminder that it doesn’t matter if I forget to dust the TV unit or don’t have dinner ready for when Steven comes through the door. It matters that we talk at the dinner table to each other about our day and be thankful for the food on the table. It matters that I soak up every cuddle before bedtime and take pleasure in the simple every day things.
This is also a great one to read first thing in the morning to start the day off in a good mindset.

5. A Dream Dictionary

There are hundreds of different dream dictionaries on the market but this one is one my Grandmother gave to me when I was about 12. I am a frequent dreamer. I mean, every night, I have at least 3 dreams and they’re always wacky, disturbing or very vivid. I love looking up things that appear in my dream in a dream dictionary. More often than not, I find my dreams are reflecting an aspect of my life or the mess that is my mind. It’s so helpful to observe these reflections so you can give them some proper attention and get to the root of what’s bothering you or be thankful for things that you may have taken for granted.

Polish_20200414_121452308

Let me know what some of your books are that you like to keep by your bed! Just FYI and in case you’re wondering, I also keep: photo booth pictures from my best friend’s wedding (because they make me happy), Roary (my microwavable dinosaur), body moisturiser, hand cream, a tiny Buddha and tissues beside my bed. Also, how cute are these bed sheets? They’re my favourite!


 

You Can’t Bubble Bath and Candle Your Way To Self Love

After the devistating news of Caroline Flack hit the media this week, my social media has been bombarded with #BeKind and Self love content. I would like to clarify I 100% support the #BeKind movement however a lot of content advising people about self love is unhelpful.
As I scroll through my feeds, I see beautifully illustrated posters informing people how to achieve self love like: have a bubble bath, light your favourite candle, make a cup of tea, meditate, drink water and get some sleep. While this is all very good advice for SELF CARE, this will not help you achieve SELF LOVE.

self love 4

Self love is accepting yourself for who you are. No exceptions. It’s the art of being kind to yourself. I say an art because it’s more of a skill than you think. Everyone has that voice in their head telling them “You’re not good enough” or “Why are you so pathetic?” or even “You don’t deserve to be happy” and some voices might be louder than others. Self love is recognising that voice and turning your thoughts around. It’s harder than you think because we have such a nasty habbit of being cruel to ourselves. We would never say these things to someone in real life (I hope) or if we heard someone saying this to somebody else we would think it was incredibly cruel, so why do we talk to ourselves in this way?

self love 3

As someone who struggles with these voices (some days are louder than others), I am trying my hardest to turn them around. I’ve noticed they come more frequently since becoming a mother. I think this is because being a good Mum is so incredibly important to me. I constantly think, as long as I’m a good Mum, nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter if I’m struggling, it doesn’t matter if I haven’t had 10 seconds to myself and it doesn’t matter if people judge me for being a stay-at-home Mum (and boy do they!). This means, as soon as Olivia has an ‘off’ day or is grumpy, I instantly hear those voices. “You’re a rubbish Mum”, “You can’t do anything right”, “You’re her Mum and you can’t even make her happy”. This is when I have to stop my train of thought, notice I’m being harsh on myself and turn it around. “You’re not a rubbish Mum, she’s clean and healthy. You’re doing fine”, “There are kids much worse off than she is”, “She’s just having a grumpy moment, it’s nothing you’ve done”.

It’s hard to reverse bad habits as anyone who has tried to quit smoking, cut out sugar or stop biting your nails, knows. It’s even harder to reverse bad mental habits. Especially when you don’t even notice them happening.

selflove2

A lot of these voices can be prompted from Social Media. Seeing perfectly sculpted and airbrushed models and comparing your body or seeing that person’s ‘perfect’ life and comparing yours, can make you feel fat and ugly or like your life is a mess or not good enough. One woman you should follow to break up your ‘perfect’ feed and inject it with realness and self love is Chessie King! She promotes a lot of body confidence, healthy habbits, self love and anti-bullying. She is such an inspiration on how to keep smiling through this messy life and enjoy it! She is planning her wedding at the moment so I’m loving watching her process on how to enjoy wedding planning rather than getting stressed. Not to mention she recently became a Doula too. She’s just incredible.
So definitely follow @chessiekingg on Instagram!

chessie
Chessie King @chessiekingg on Instagram

 

So please remember to #BeKind to others but also remember it’s equally important to #BeKind to yourself!

Images taken from Pinterest.

The Blue Month

First of all, Happy New Year! I can’t believe we’re in the year 2020 already. Unfortunately, with the new year comes the worst month. January, yuk.

January is just the longest month but also the most miserable. Not only do you have to suffer the financial backlash of Christmas and wait even longer until the next pay day but there is so much social pressure to better yourself, make big changes to your life and announce them to the world. Why? There’s a huge fad to start diets with the new year but I honestly think that this is the worst time of year to do it. It’s still winter! Biologically, our bodies are still craving comfort food and foods with higher calorific value. Only a few generations ago, we had to consume more food to survive the winter and since it was in short supply we had to find food with higher fat content.

Do you also find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the mornings? Its thought that our ancestors slept longer in the winter in order to burn less calories as food supply was low. Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to work in the fields and burn more calories, they would sleep longer and conserve energy.

I, personally, feel the lowest in January (and usually February) mostly due to coming down from the hype of Christmas. Now, the days are still short, the home looks bare and no one is celebrating. People don’t go out together because they’re trying to make it through until payday, people aren’t drinking or eating ‘naughty’ foods and people bully themselves about what they need to ‘resolute’.

IMG_8086

Every year I find myself in a grey day slump for 2 months. Last year, I was too busy to notice with a new baby. This year, I prepared. For Christmas, I asked for lots and lots of books. I thought I would read my way through the slump and therefore my mind would be on vacation for the majority of it. I think I will do this every year. Not only did my mind have the opportunity to transport somewhere else, but even when I wasn’t reading, my mind thought of its vacation spot. While changing Olivia’s nappy, my mind wondered to ‘Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and other lies’ instead of how miserable the weather is. Before I fall asleep my head thought of ‘The Proposal’ rather than my never ending to do list.

It’s not just the reading. It’s transforming it into a form of self care. I light a candle, I cuddle up to Cody with a blanket, take a few deep breaths and immerse myself in the moment. It’s a great way to be present and switch off.

IMG_8078

I also started journaling. At first, I was using it as a way of dumping my thoughts, worries and hopes but after reading ‘The Witch’s Book of Self Care’ by , I tried other methods of journaling for self care. It took my mind off my worries and made me focus on the things I love and am grateful for.

IMG_8083 (1)

One of the books I started reading was ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ by Matt Haig. In this beautifully outlined book, Haig talks about his own personal struggles, the trial and errors he went through to solve them and why society may be feeling this way. Tucked between this are beautiful quotes and pieces of texts on the matter that I found very resonating. The chapters are short and for that reason I like this book as a bedtime read. You don’t have to force yourself to persevere 5 more pages until the end of the chapter as your eyes get heavier.