Life Within Four Corners – My Favourite Photos of 2017

Earlier this year, I started a monthly blog series called Life Within Four Corners –Β  somewhere I could share my favourite photos and the stories that went along with them from the preceding month.Β  Over time it’s become a virtual photo album and a place to store my monthly highlights. So to finish off the year,Β  I thought it might be nice to share some of my favourite pictures of 2017 πŸ™‚

The first LWFC instalment in March brought frosty weather and pretty sunsets, both at home (in the far north of Scotland) and away (in our campervan a little further south). It also brought sweet graffiti and baking, but my favourite from the month was probably the one of my littlest and his cousin hiking through the sand dunes one sunny, glorious, family afternoon πŸ™‚

Frosty River

Ducks Loch Morlich

Tree Sunrise

Banksy Style

Cake

Kids in Sandunes

In April, Spring had (just about) arrived in the north, the ferry enjoyed some calm crossings and the kids had fun tearing around empty beaches as we enjoyed a road trip around Scotland as part of our Easter hols. Of course there was always time for pit stops and coffee. And my favourite – holding hands and simply enjoying all the family love.

Orkney View

Beach Freedom

Coffee and Cake

Beach Boys

In May, life was all about bluebells, books, city breaks and spring blossoms. And the month’s favourite? – yet another of my children looking out to seaΒ  πŸ˜‰

Bluebell Woods

Old Book

Inverness in Spring

Fallen Cherry BlossomRoses from Above

Whale Watching

June brought a tentative nod to the start of summer, a few days out and more feet in the flower beds πŸ™‚ I also rather liked the new plaque I’d treated myself to. I love doing flatlay photos – in any sort of weather they can always look nice!

Dunrobin Scene

Chanonry Point Lighthouse

Legs in Daisies

Writing and Coffee

July was all about pretty doors, bunting and beach days, and the month was dominated by our trip to the Outer Hebrides which warranted a whole post to itself πŸ™‚ It was also, of course, the start of the long summer holidays. Those six weeks of heaven when Mum can blissfully switch off the alarm πŸ™‚

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Boys on Uig Beach

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August meant back to school, home cooking and getting organised with the bullet journal πŸ™‚ But we still managed a few days out in wellies – and a trip to the Beauly Priory (prime Outlander territory) was also on the cards πŸ™‚

Back to School 2017

Hemsley Hemsley Chicken Curry

Books, Bullet Journal and Tea

Beauly Priory

September meant a move towards Autumn, leaf kicking, days out and long walks along the coastline. I also sneaked in another photo from our Outer Hebrides adventure and set myself up with some future house goals – hey, a girl can dream! πŸ™‚

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Caithness Coastline

September scenes

Wick Memorial Gardens

Harris House

October was all about our holiday to Mallorca, but also about enjoying home, the sunset, the beach and the big Caithness sky. I think the photo of my son saluting the sunset is my favourite image from the month – and maybe even the whole of 2017 πŸ™‚

Valldemossa

Mallorca Sunset

Cap de Formentor

Sunset Salute

Beach Sunset and Dog

November brought snow, hot toddies, lots of reading – and of course sunsets. My favourite kind of month at any time of year.

Snow in the Highlands

Botanica Health Winter Warmer Hot Toddy

November Sunset Caithness

And December? Well, it’s still unfolding. But I’ll leave you with some of my favourite festive images (you can also read more about my favourite winter photos here). I hope to see you again in 2018 for more colour, light and stories of the seasons. Until then readers, all that remains for me is to wish you a very merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years.

nc-500-stag

Christmas Jumper and Mug

Mince Pies

If you enjoyed this post do pop over to my Instagram, or learn more about Life Within Four Corners here.Β 

Bedtime Stories, Christmas Jumpers and Wreath Making #LittleLoves

Welcome to my final Little Loves round up for 2017, I’ve so enjoyed writing these posts over the last few months and every week I can’t wait to get onto my computer to share some of my tiny joys πŸ™‚Β  Aside from my ‘normal’ life as a wife and mummy, a lot of my time revolves around writing (or thinking about writing), and when my son asked me recently what I’d like to do if I could do anything, all I could think of was exactly what I do! So thankyou to those of you who have taken the time to read and comment on these posts over the past few months – it means so much to me. If I can hand out any positivity or inspiration to those around me while doing something that I’m loving, then all I can say is I’m a very happy girl indeed πŸ™‚

The last week has been a busy one in our household; my husband is away with work a lot just now and we’ve been squeezing in as much as possible of our Christmas to-do lists while he’s been at home at the weekends. We also had a couple of days off school last week while Storm Caroline battered our little county – good grief the weather can get brutal here in winter. It’s just as well I love the far north of Scotland – you really need to hang onto that feeling when Mama Nature roars. Even I feel the effects of six hours daylight, though, and I’ve been supercharging my house with fairy lights and LED candles to get that ‘hygge’ feeling and beat any touch of the dreaded winter SAD. And thankfully, despite needing an extra hour a day to turn on and off all my twinkles, I’ve managed to have a pretty good week on the reading, watching, making et al front. So sit back, grab a cuppa, and let me tell you all about my latest loves…. πŸ™‚

READ

Ok, maybe I haven’t been doing all that well on every front – I have to admit it, I’m still reading Fangirl which I posted about last week. In my defence it’s quite a big book and I’ve been busy writing a round up of the best books I did actually manage to finish this year πŸ˜‰ The kids and I have also been reading Tom Fletcher’s The Christmasaurus at bedtime – after hearing him talk about it on the Penguin podcast last week I was inspired to dig it out of the Christmas book box and I’m really glad I did – it’s funny, sweet and just perfect for this time of year.

The Christmasaurus.JPG

WATCHED

Oh my, I’ve got a good one this week. After a recommendation from my sister, my husband and I dipped into The Sinner on Netflix while the kids were away at a sleepover with their cousin at the weekend. It’s a thrilling story about a woman (played by Jessica Biel), who does something unthinkable on a day out a the beach with her family, and a detective (played by Bill Pullman), who attempts to unravel why she did the thing she did. We ended up watching five episodes between Saturday night and Sunday morning – post-kids binge watch unparalleled! It’s one of those shows that really makes you want to carry on to the next episode. We only have one instalment left to watch now – I for one can’t wait to see how this fascinating mystery concludes.

WORE

It’s been all about the Christmas jumpers this week, and we’ve been pulling on the festive favourites pretty much every chance we’ve had. Even the dog has been getting in on the act and one of the things I look forward to most come December is getting him into this snowflake number. I’m not sure what his own thoughts on it are but after 365 walks and the same number of nights stealing my bedcovers I say he owes me πŸ˜‰Β  Dressing your dog up for the season has to be one of the most smile-inducing pet ownership perks there is.

Christmas Jumper and Mug.JPG

Vizsla Christmas Jumper.JPG

HEARD

I was listening to the Sara Tasker podcast again this week, and really enjoyed the episode with Jen Carrington on Stopping the Glorification of Busy. There are actually quite a lot of other topics in this episode but the header caught my interest as it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot of late. A few ups and downs with my health this year have meant I need little persuading that glorifying ‘busy’ isn’t something any of us should aspire to. I say that as someone who talks about being busy and getting through to-do lists – it’s a personality issue I’m trying hard to shake! Ultimately I believe we pay a price for long periods spent running ourselves on empty. If there’s one thing I’d urge you to put on your New Year’s resolutions, readers, it’s to be as kind and generous to yourself as you are to everyone else πŸ™‚

Hashtag Authentic Podcast

MADE

On a slightly less philosophical note I made a Christmas wreath/centrepiece type thing at the weekend. I had a frame from last year’s wreath and a bunch of Β£2.99 foliage from my local Lidl’s store so I thought I’d channel my inner Pinterest-er (if an inner Pinterest-er is indeed a thing at all). I went for the minimalist design partly because I like minimal and partly because I ran out of stuff to put onto it – between some bits I picked up on a walk and a quick search through the spice jars I think I just about pulled it off. Insert the LED twinkles mentioned earlier and we’re rocking. I think it might look quite nice on my dinner table come Christmas. I like it so much I’m tempted to try another one to hang on my front door! πŸ™‚

Christmas Wreath and Candles.JPG

AND LASTLY

In actual fact, my wreath might have to hold out for the Boxing Day table, as this year we will be having Christmas with my parents and my sister’s family at my Mum and Dad’s. There will be six adults, three children and four dogs (one of them is a Great Dane so it may get very cosy! πŸ™‚ ) I am a very family (and dog) oriented person so I think it’s all going to be just fab πŸ™‚ Whatever you’re doing for Christmas I hope you have a great one. I’ll see you again in January for more reading, watching, listening to – and so on. Here’s to all the Little Loves we’ll enjoy in 2018 and beyond! πŸ™‚

G x

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links which mean that I will receive commission should you choose to purchase something via them. This enables me to earn a small income from the time I spend on blogging and does not in any way affect the price you pay.

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

 

My Ten Favourite Books of 2017

Ah, such a big statement isn’t it, ‘my favouriteΒ books of the year’. I mean, what if the best book ever pops up in the last week of December? A pile of Christmas to-do lists means that’s a chance I’m just going to have to take πŸ™‚

This year has been a fab one for me on the reading front, and I’ve notched up 34 books across my monthly ‘Reading Lately’ posts. I also read 4 health-related books I didn’t post reviews on, and I’m hoping to finish 2 more books by the end of December – hey, I’m calling it a round 4-0 πŸ™‚

This is a massive improvement for someone who struggled to read 4 books a year a while back – see last year’s post for the excuses – life, kids, etc. – I just never seemed to have the time. But getting back my reading mojo has really enriched me – every single book I read gives me a new perspective, some new information, or a quote that resonates – and even my least favourite books have given me some snippets to take away.

You will be in five years quote

So without further ado, it’s onto the year’s favourites – in no particular order (and with the usual caveat that they are based on the year of reading as opposed to the year that they came out). If you’re looking for some Christmas holiday reading inspiration I hope this helps you find it. Or if all else fails, gives you some ideas for your 2018 reading list instead πŸ™‚

1.WUTHERING HEIGHTS

Back in January I read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – believe it or not I think for the first time in my life. It wasn’t my usual kind of love story but I actually really enjoyed it. All that dark and menacing imagery – and despite it’s age, it still felt very fresh.

wuthering-heights

2. DOG MEDICINE

In February, I fell in love with Dog Medicine by Julie Barton – a story about a woman, her dog, and the battle with clinical depression which threatened to destroy her life. It’s a beautiful story of how relationships with animals can quite literally save us. It’s also a touching love letter to the wonderful dog who helped Barton during her darkest days.

Dog Medicine Book.JPG

3. A SONG FOR ISSY BRADLEY

In March, I was captivated by A Song for Issy Bradley, a heart rending book about the devastating loss of a child. It’s a difficult read but also utterly beautiful. If you can handle the subject matter I can guarantee it’s one you’ll never forget.

Song for Issy Bradley RWL Mar 17

4. DAVINA MCCALL: LESSONS I’VE LEARNED

May saw me sail through Davina McCall’s memoir Lessons I’ve Learned, a fabulous, straightforward life guide from one of Britain’s most beloved television stars. The book introduced me to lots of other books and ideas I’ve since enjoyed exploring. If you’re looking for positive tips on how to get the best out of life, then this is one I’d really recommend.

Davina Lessons I've Learned

5. PRESENT OVER PERFECT

In June I found myself raving about Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist, one of the most affecting books I’ve read, not just this year, but at any time, full stop. Maybe it was because this memoir about stepping away from ‘busyness’ came just at the right time for me. In any case, it inspired a whole post on the blog which you can read in detail here.

Present Over Perfect

6. THE GIRLS

Another fantastic read in June was The Girls by Emma Cline, a dark and atmospheric novel about a 60’s cult populated mainly by young girls. Cline must be one of the most gifted writers I’ve come across his year and the narrative in this novel practically sizzles off the page. It’s definitely a good choice if you’re looking for something a bit different. Be warned though – it’s not a feel good story by any stretch at all.

The Girls

7. SMALL GREAT THINGS

Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult, was probably my favourite fictional story of the year overall. It’s an amazing, thought provoking read about racism and how it can exist both overtly and in ways you might not expect. If you enjoy John Grisham novels I think you’ll like it. And if you enjoy books that make you think, second guess yourself and question everything, then this is one book I’d definitely recommend.

Small Great Things

8. BIG MAGIC

In August, I went all whimsical about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic – a sort of guidebook for creative types on living out their dreams. If you’re the kind of person who needs to banish self doubt, do your best work and find that creative fairy dust I think you’ll like it. And if you’re a fan of the movie La La Land, I think you’ll understand why I’m sayingΒ  ‘here’s to the ones who dream.’

Big Magic Book

9. WONDER

October saw me falling in love with August Pullman, the main character from R.J Palacio’s Wonder, all about a boy who is very different from the other kids. This is a book to make you smile, cry and look on at August with, yes, wonder, as he makes his way through middle school. It’s a book that is rightly lauded for promoting kindness, empathy, and the one million and one other reasons that make reading books so great.

Wonder Book

10. A MOTHER’S LOVE

Last but not least was A Mother’s Love, by Deborah Zeigler, the story of brain tumour sufferer Brittany Maynard, who chose to move state so she could peacefully end her life. It’s a beautifully written, harrowing book about loss, grief and the power of maternal devotion. If you’re looking for a story that will grab at your heart and stay there, then this is one you should definitely pick up.

A Mother's Love Book

That’s it for this year’s round up, I wonder what 2018 will bring? Hopefully more books, more stories and lots more reading. Until then, here’s to a happy festive season – and Christmas stockings filled with lots more lovely books to enjoy πŸ™‚

Gx

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links which mean that I will receive commission should you choose to purchase something via them. This enables me to earn a small income from the time I spend on blogging and does not in any way affect the price you pay.

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Fangirl, Sparkly Dresses and Christmas Lists – #LittleLoves

I know I start almost every Little Loves post with a variation of ‘I can’t believe another week has passed’, ‘how can it be Tuesday again already?’ or ‘where has the time gone?’ but really, how did December come around again so fast? It seems like only yesterday we were rolling forward clocks and heralding the start of Springtime, and here we are pulling out the Christmas decorations and writing letters to Santa yet again. Thankfully, I love December – even if it has sneaked up on me a bit – for me, it’s all about the run up and savouring the little moments – school concerts, twinkly lights, Christmas jumpers…the list goes on. I’m sitting here typing in my festive sweater while drinking coffee from my favourite Santa mug πŸ™‚ And while I may be feeling a bit behind re buying Christmas presents, now that we’re into the last month of the year, it’s definitely going to be all systems GO! πŸ™‚

READ

I suppose I might be further on with my Christmas shopping if I didn’t spend so much time reading, but in my defence I do most of my reading in the bath these days and that’s probably not the best place for shopping, or for that matter, anything else πŸ˜‰ This week I’ve been reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (great name, eh?) – one recommended by my blogging friend Hayley who always has lots of lovely bookish posts. This one is probably aimed at people much younger than me but let’s just skim over that mere detail πŸ˜‰ It’s a lovely story about a girl who goes away to university and has to wrestle a Harry-Potter style book series obsession, a changing relationship with her twin sister, and some blossoming affairs of the heart. It really takes me back to my youth, and that feeling of connection to something that really strikes a chord with you. It’s a lovely, sweet read and I’d really recommend it – whether you’re a younger reader, a fangirl or just a teenager at heart πŸ™‚

Fangirl Book.JPG

WATCHED

My husband has been working away a lot recently, so we haven’t been dipping into any new box sets. Even though I’m desperate to get into Designated Survivor and Vikings, it’s no fun when you have to wait up to a week for your next episode – and so naturally we decided to re-watch the Twilight series all over again. Believe it or not, this was actually my husband’s suggestion – thankfully I love all the teenage angst, earnest stares and wolf/vampire stuff (good grief, looking at what I’ve been posting so far, you’d think I was about 18!) Regardless, it makes me want to re-read the whole book series. For me, Breaking Dawn, the final book in the series, was one of the most page-turner-ish novels I’ve ever read! πŸ™‚

WORE

Technically more trying on than wearing, but how about this sparkly River Island number I picked up for the princely sum of Β£6.95 in a local charity shop at the weekend?Β  I’ve always bought a lot of my stuff from charity shops and I also pop lots of items back in when we’re done with them. This one was a total bargain and so nice for the party season (or at least my version of the party season which involves spending a lot of time indoors and going to bed by 10pm). One of these days I’ll have to do a blog post on some of my favourite charity shop purchases. It’s such a good way of getting a shopping fix if you’re on a budget but also gives you that feeling that you’re doing something good! πŸ™‚

Sparkly Dress Christmas.JPG

HEARD

Another tip from Hayley recently was introducing me to the Penguin Podcast in a post she did recently about podcasts for book lovers. Last week on a dog walk I listened to Tom Fletcher talk about writing The Christmasaurus, which I thought was quite a nice one for the time of year. One of my sons got this book for Christmas last year so we must try to dig it out again to read before the big day is upon us. We have a pile of Christmas books in the decorations box so bedtime story-wise, we are pretty much spoilt for choice : )

MADE

This week we’ve been busy making Christmas lists – mine included (there’s nothing like looking after number one, is there?). I’ve been leaving this lying about in the hope that my husband will take notice – to be honest though, after spending ten minutes explaining to him what ‘pretty notepads’ are I’m considering just ordering the whole lot myself πŸ˜‰

Christmas List and Bullet Journal

We also made a last minute advent activity list (also known as ‘what to do when your mum forgot to buy one of those ones with chocolate treats’). We thought up some things we could do between now and the 25th December and popped them in keepsake box. Each day we can pick out an activity to suit how much time we have – I have to say that putting it together has actually been a lot of fun! πŸ™‚

Advent Activity Box.JPG

AND LASTLY….

Next week will be my last Little Loves before the holidays – I have a couple of other pre-Christmas posts to write and I also really need to find time to fit that all-important Christmas shopping in! So for now, I’ll leave you with twinkly lights and sparkles – and thanks to the lovely tecchy people at WordPress, hopefully as you’re reading this you can also see a little bit of falling snow! πŸ™‚

G x

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links which mean that I will receive commission should you choose to purchase something via them. This enables me to earn a small income from the time I spend on blogging and does not in any way affect the price you pay.

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

 

Reading Lately – November 2017

November has been a fab month for me on the reading front, and the combination of darker evenings, horrible weather and my penchant for a 40-minute bath every night have really seen me rattling through my ‘to read’ list. I’ve managed to surpass my three-books-a-month limit for the first time in ages, which makes me so pleased! Life as a book and writing nerd is pretty much my Utopia. Put me in a second hand bookshop or a library and I’m basically living my best life.Β  πŸ™‚

Coincidentally, my first book for November was all about positivity, and Happy, by Fearne Cotton, is a truly smile-inducing read about relinquishing perfect and finding balance in your busy day. In the book, Fearne talks openly about her battles with depression and provides lots of tips and exercises to promote a positive mental attitude. There are interviews with some inspirational friends like Tom Fletcher (who has had his own battle with bi-polar), as well as expert advice from Mind, the mental health charity, too. I particularly liked the book’s guided meditation session – I’ve been reading it aloud to the kids at home and the first time I finished it I looked over to find my 8 year old sleeping soundly! It’s exactly the kind of thing we need in our fast-paced society, and if you’re feeling like you need to slow down a bit, I’d really encourage you to give this book a try.

Happy Book

My second book for November was The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben – when I saw this book on the display shelf at my local library I knew it was exactly up my street. As a big fan of the outdoors and nature I was fascinated by all the science-backed information about how trees might communicate, think and experience ‘memory’. And although a few of the chapters were a bit in-depth for me the overall message that trees fare better in natural forests could not have been more clear. Discovering how trees from the same families communicate with and help each other was truly heart-warming. If you need a reason to go out and hug a tree or two, I guarantee you’ll find it here.

The Hidden Lives of Trees

My third book for November was The Muse by Jessie Burton, a spellbinding story about a love affair, a mysterious artist and a long-lost painting, weaved together in a way that keeps you guessing right until the very end. It’s a beautifully written novel that makes me want to seek out more by the same author. Burton’s previous novel, The Miniaturist, has been added to my to-read list and I can’t wait to see what it has in store.Β  πŸ™‚

The Muse Book

My final read for the month was How to Be Brilliant by Michael Heppell – in all honesty, this was one I’d had lying around for quite a while. I’d read about it in Davina McCall’s book Lessons I’ve Learned and kept meaning to dip into it, but perhaps it had that air of ‘corporate manual’ I associated with my time in a Training department in my pre-kids days at work. Once I actually started reading it, I realised it wasn’t at all like that, and in fact it contains lots of snippets and ideas that people from all walks of life can incorporate into their everyday life. And when an author starts by revealing they wrote their book over Easter weekend after telling a publishing editor they had it ready in order to grab a publishing window, you know it’s going to be funny. This is an engaging, uplifting and inspiring read and for me, it was every bit as brilliant as it’s optimistic title implied.

How to be Brilliant Book

That’s it for this month’s round up, I hope you’ve enjoyed it πŸ™‚ I’ll be back in December with a look back on my favourite reads from the year. Until then, have a lovely month and do keep reading!Β  πŸ™‚ I’m off to add a few more titles to my ever-growing bookish Christmas list πŸ™‚

Gx

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links which mean that I will receive commission should you choose to purchase something via them. This enables me to earn a small income from the time I spend on blogging and does not in any way affect the price you pay.

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Reading Lately Nov 17.png

Life Within Four Corners – November 2017

Welcome to this November instalment ofΒ β€˜Life Within Four Corners’, where I share some of my favourite photos, and the stories that went along with them,Β from the preceding month. You can find out all about Life Within Four Corners here, and I’d love it if you joined in by sharing some of your favourite monthly photos and stories too! You can alsoΒ get involvedΒ on Instagram using the hashtag #lifewithinfourcorners, and at the end of each month I’ll pick a few of my favourites to post up on my feed (thanks so much to those of you who’ve already been joining in!)

I’ll start off by patting myself on the back for posting this before the end of the month for once (yay!) before being slightly less smug and admitting that November hasn’t been the best month for me on the photo-taking front. The month has had a lot in common with my favourite Guns N’ Roses ballad and November Rain has pretty much summed up life lately. I’m trying to think of a song analogy for howling gales and complete lack of sunlight but I think you get the picture – the weather has been really really bad πŸ˜‰

Clouds and silver linings though and there have been some beautiful moments within our six hours or so quota of daylight. And when that November light has made an appearance it really has been quite something to behold.

November Light Caithness.JPG

And those lost daylight hours mean I now have more chance of catching both the sunrise and the sunset – winter bonus! πŸ™‚ There have been some beautiful skies this month, the type that stop you in your tracks and make you feel so lucky to be alive.

November Sunrise.JPG

Harbour Sunrise.JPG

November Sunset Caithness.JPG

In amongst the bad weather, there have been a few days of blue skies that have made me dance around my living room. And even when the sun hasn’t been shining, there are always trees, books – and books about trees if you’re into that sort of thing πŸ™‚

Tree November.jpg

The Hidden Lives of Trees

Whatever the outlook, my dog is always on hand and happy to pose for photos (especially when I have a treat in my hand: note the angle of the stare and the slightly worried look). Don’t you just love a weathered door by the way? Blogger paradise. The scruffier the better as far as I’m concerned!

Dearest Dog and Dearest Door.JPG

And here’s to late afternoons on the beach when it was just us, the sunset and the golden hour – pure bliss in a photo. This is exactly my kind of day in winter – December, can you order in a few more of these for me please? πŸ˜‰

Sunset Beach Dog.JPG

And last month I think I might have promised you a bit of the white stuff – I aim to deliver πŸ™‚Β  Seeing this at the weekend on our way to Edinburgh certainly made up for all that rain.

Snow Scottish Highlands

I’ll leave you with an old book, home made toddies and a cosy blanket. Wrap up warm and I’ll be back in December with a round up of the year’s favourite photos. Have a good one Life Within Four Corners readers. I hope to see you in the blogosphere again very soon πŸ™‚

Botanica Health Winter Warmer Hot Toddy

 

 

A Winter Getaway, Apple Crumble and Snow Days #LittleLoves

I love writing these weekly Little Loves posts – they really help me to focus on how special the little things in life truly are. Keeping track of all the things that make me happy and reminding me that the small things in life really are the big things – life’s simple pleasures πŸ™‚Β  I firmly believe that being grateful for all the good things in life is a very positive way of promoting happiness and overall mental health.

And this week I have so much to be grateful for – we’ve just returned from a weekend break to Edinburgh which I have to say was pretty magical in every way. We visited the Christmas markets, rode on the carousel, took a trip to Santaland, and ate yummy food at the city’s Hard Rock CafΓ© (for info, they have a fantastic gluten free menu if anyone else is GF like me). We also got to see some snow (and managed a few snowballs) on our journey which was just the cherry on top of the icing πŸ™‚ I’ve come home feeling full of festive cheer and so looking forward to the next few weeks running up to December the 25th!

All I can say is that if you haven’t been to Edinburgh in the run up to Christmas just go – it’s fantastic. In fact at any time of year it’s a fabulous city – if you need any more persuading, just have a look at my post on things to do on a break to Scotland’s capital here.

READ

Anyway, back to all the other things I’ve been loving lately, and this book, all about How to Be Brilliant, has been fab to dip into during bath time over the last week. I always feel a bit silly telling people that I read books like this but I also believe that we should all try to be the very best we can be – everyone’s got the right to be brilliant πŸ™‚ There are so many tips and snippets you can take away from this book no matter what your role in life – if you ever feel like you need a boost of inspiration (or a kick up the backside), I’d definitely recommend giving this one a try.

How to be Brilliant Book.JPG

WATCHED

We haven’t had a lot of time for telly this week, but we have enjoyed catching up on a few episodes of Blue Planet II on iPlayer. If you’re a nature lover like me you’ll find it pretty awe-inspiring. And if you haven’t dipped into it yet it’s really worth a look.

WORE

It’s been all about the winter woolies lately – hats, scarves and extra pairs of socks. I even bought some new thermal underwear at the weekend as I’m getting cold on dog walks. If you’re looking for glamour I’m guessing you really haven’t come to the right place πŸ˜‰

Autumn Leaves.JPG

MADE

Last week I made a yummy apple crumble. We don’t eat desserts often but there’s something about the cold weather that makes you want to seek out warm, tasty, comforting food. This one is gluten and dairy free and based on a recipe a friend gave me. If you want to try it just stew some apples in cinnamon, pop them in an ovenproof dish, melt some coconut oil in a pan, add porridge oats and maple syrup (or sugar), and then top the apples with the mixture. Dot some more coconut oil on top and pop the lot in the oven for 20mins. Serve with custard (or in my case, coconut and mango yoghurt). Wrestle your children/husband/dog for the biggest piece and sit down and enjoy! πŸ™‚

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HEARD

Last week on a particularly miserable dog walk, I listened to writer Rachael Lucas being interviewed by Sas Petherick on the Courage and Spice podcast. I’ve heard Rachael being interviewed before and I love her relaxed and chatty style. I follow her on Instagram and her account (and her books) are lovely. Plus she’s Scottish, didn’t get a book published till she was 40, AND started off her writing career as a blogger. So much inspiration just in that last sentence right there! πŸ™‚

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AND LASTLY

I can’t let you go without a winter photo from the weekend. My tip for a perfect week of Little Loves? Grab your family, your sense of adventure and JUST ADD SNOW πŸ™‚

Gx

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*This post contains an Amazon affiliate link which means that I will receive commission should you choose to purchase something via it. This enables me to earn a small income from the time I spend on blogging and does not in any way affect the price you pay.

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So Much to Look Forward to: The Power of Positive Thought

My son woke up recently and exclaimed ‘So much to look forward to!’ From the outside at least, there was nothing special about this particular day. He had to go to school and the weather outside was miserable.Β  But in his mind, the promise of a new day was imbued with wonder. It held that special notion: the possibility of something new. The positivity of his attitude made me in turn feel quite elated. That ability to shift the way someone else is thinking is such a precious gift.

Lately I’ve been contemplating a lot about positive thinking, and the way that thoughts, feelings and emotions can influence both our mental health and any physical issues we may have. For the best part of a year now I have been suffering from a post-infection chronic fatigue type illness. Undoubtedly it has affected my inner compass, my overall happiness and my mood.

Despite this, I try to remain a very positive person. I know that nothing has ever been gained for me by being any other way. I like smiling and I like being nice to people – it makes me feel good. When I complain a lot or talk in a negative manner I know it just ends up making me feel a whole lot worse.

I think my kids have already learnt this lesson, and we encourage each other to find the positive in situations or perhaps seek out a lesson they can teach us. One of my sons was very morose about Halloween being over recently so we talked about trying to be happy that we had such a great time rather than dwelling on it being done. Of course there are situations in life for which there is just no upside, no lesson to be found – I get that. But I do believe that wherever possible, finding that silver lining makes the difficult times a little less hard to bear.

One of the things we ask each other at dinner is ‘tell me three good things that happened today?’ It gets us chatting and helps us focus on all the good things in our lives. Although we don’t go to church often, it reminds me a little of the feeling I had when I was a child and gave thanks each night in a prayer at bedtime. It is a very simple way of being grateful every single day.

Positivity and gratitude also have such a ripple effect on others – just look at the way my son’s positivity completely changed my mood in the example at the start. Being positive also leads, I believe, to an open heart and kindness.

There is so much to look forward to.Β  Isn’t that the truth?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Muse, Stranger Things and Winter Warmers #LittleLoves

It’s been a slightly healthier week in the Wellies household this week and I’m just glad I don’t have to put ‘sick days’ in another title for this post. We’re all back to school, work and the normal Monday to Friday – but after a week of dodging hailstones on dog walks I could do with some slightly better weather if that isn’t too much to ask? πŸ˜‰

This week we’ve been spending a lot of time indoors reading, binge-watching and making things. So sit back, grab a cuppa – and let me tell you about my Little Loves for the week…. πŸ™‚

READ

This week I’ve been reading The Muse by Jessie Burton, and after a spell of reading mostly non fiction it’s been quite nice to dip back into someone else’s imaginary world. I read about Jessie Burton over on Mostly Yummy Mummy by the lovely Sarah – I’m not too far into this one yet but so far all the signs are looking good.

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WATCHED

At the weekend we took the kids and one of their friends to see Justice League at the cinema. We’ve seen a few superhero movies lately (Thor, Wonder Woman), and I have to admit this was my least favourite of the three. Henry Cavill (Superman) has been a favourite of mine since his days in one of my all-time favourite shows The Tudors. But if I’m being honest, I think I prefer the more character-driven individual movies where one Superhero really gets to steal the show.

Right up my street this week though has been Stranger Things (and in a rare binge watching flurry, Stranger Things 2 aswell!) This story about a bunch of kids in the 80’s wrestling with other worlds, alien-types and mullet hairdos was exactly the kind of thing I like. I’m showing my age here but it brought back so much nostalgia about my own movie-watching childhood. There are echoes of films like ET, Poltergeist and Stand By Me in there – children of the eighties, didn’t we have it good? πŸ™‚

WORE

You might remember a few weeks ago my husband bought me a Jo Malone perfume for my birthday. I’ve fancied a Jo Malone perfume for ages now but the huge array of choices had left me a bit confused! In the end I settled for Peony and Blush Suede which is the one I kept coming back to. I’m wearing it a lot just now and I have to say I think I’m smelling rather nice! πŸ™‚

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HEARD

I haven’t been listening to any podcasts this week, but our Stranger Things binge watch has got me in the mood for all things 80’s on my music playlist. Think Wham, Bananarama, and The Glory of Love by Peter Cetera. More school disco than Stranger Things, I get it – but hey, that was the soundtrack to my pre-pubescent eighties life.Β  πŸ™‚

MADE

The bad weather has meant lots of making this week – I seem to be making soup and bone broth on a constant rotation just now. There’s nothing quite like the smell of chicken broth filling the kitchen when the weather outside is really bad, though. It’s one of those comfort things that just makes you feel like you must be doing yourself some good.

Winter Soup.JPG

I’ve also been making a winter warmer hot toddy with this recipe by a lovely local family of herbalists this week. After seeing them talk about their winter health tips on the Countryfile TV show lately I really wanted to give this concoction a try. It was very tasty and I have to admit I drank the whole lot in a one-er! This time next week I expect to be positively glowing with all sorts of winter health. πŸ˜‰

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AND LASTLY…

I’ve been going through a bit of a quote phase again lately and I rather like this one I posted on my Facebook page recently. It very much falls in with my philosophy about becoming the things you expose yourself to in life. So it’s off for another week of adventures and being with people who bring out your best self people πŸ™‚ And whatever the week ahead brings, here’s hoping it’s filled with lots of little loves, happiness, adventures and fun.

Gx

You will be in five years quote

* This post contains an Amazon affiliate link which means that I will receive commission should you choose to purchase something via it. This enables me to earn a small income from the time I spend on blogging and does not in any way affect the price you pay.

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Keeping Out of the Lost and Found with Petit-Fernand (Review)

Now that the weather is getting colder, we’ve been doing a bit of winter shopping. Kids grow like weeds, don’t they, and last year’s winter woolies are already looking a bit small. In the north of Scotland, exposed wrists are not a good idea come December! With this in mind, we’ve invested in a new parka and a couple of ‘jazzy’ (as my eight year old calls them) jackets for the new season. Unfortunately, with the promise of new clothes comes the possibility of Mummy searching through the lost and found box when said goodies disappear!

Enter French company Petit-Fernand, who invited me to test out some of their personalised clothing and object labels. After looking at their lovely website and range of cute products, my response was a big ‘yes please’ (I would have tried ‘oui, s’il vous plait’ but my French is rather poor). Could this spell an end to my messy Sharpie pen labelling scribbles? I didn’t hesitate in placing an order (and did I mention that they’re French?Β  πŸ˜‰ )

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I ordered a selection of Petit-Fernand stick on clothing labels, some iron on labels and some item and object labels (including some handy shaped stick on labels for the inside of shoes – no more sweaty feet rubbing away my attempts at inking the insides!) Everything could be easily personalised for my two children, and they were able to choose their own motif from a selection that included animals, fairytale characters and space rockets (amongst many others). After long deliberations between a unicorn and a gaming controller my youngest chose the latter and my eldest chose a sports car. Personally I would have gone all out on unicorns but that’s just me! πŸ™‚

Delivery (even with our location in the north of Scotland), was speedy, and the labels were presented in a lovely booklet which included full instructions and even some little festive stickers which my youngest has already been using to make his first Christmas cards. We’ve now added the labels to our new purchases and can confirm that they look lovely. Best of all, we have plenty left over for the start of a new school year come the summer of next year!

I think I can safely say that I won’t be going back to labelling my kids’ clothes with the Sharpie pen. If you’re looking for some cute labels to save you rummaging through the lost and found box, why not pop over to the Petit-Fernand website and take a look?

Gx

*For the purposes of this review I was sent a selection of personalised labels from Petit-Fernand.Β All thoughts, opinions, unicorn obsessions (and the desire to stay out of the lost and found box) belong to me πŸ™‚Β