reading list | january to march

reading in a bookshop One beautiful thing about not studying (through the traditional means at least) is that I have so much time to read! And I love reading. It really makes me inexplicably happy. Why did I ignore it for so long.

I thought I would share what I have read so far this year:

  1. The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett. A kind of sliding doors novel it follows three alternate versions of a two people’s lives. One element that I found interesting was how the relationship you are in can influence your creativity.
  2. My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name – Elena Ferante. These are the first two books in this four part series. It is a saga of two friends growing up in Naples I am planning on getting the other two books in the series for reading on the beach this summer. They have been beautifully translated making the reading easy even though the books are slightly hefty.
  3. The Dust that Falls from Dreams – Louis de Bernieres. Honestly, this book is not Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and the female characters are a bit flat but I still really enjoyed this book. It has a bit of Downton Abbey about it too if you like that sort of thing.
  4. The Museum of Extraordinary Things – Alice Hoffman. Do you remember Practical Magic. I loved that movie as a young teenager. Anyway this is by the same author. Set in 1920s New York it was interesting to have a comparison between America and the UK (as in previous novel) of a similar time. One of the main characters is also a photographer which I liked reading about.
  5. The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert. I thought I would read this after reading Big Magic at the end of last year. I love the big scope of the book and the interesting characters. Some strange bits but overall an enjoyable read.
  6. The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood. This was my first Atwood book and a very different style to what I was expecting. The book is set in a dystopian future where a lot of people have been messed up by an economic recession. A couple signs up to a new scheme where they spend alternating months between a home and prison.
  7. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox – Maggie o’Farrell. I loved this book. An insight into how mental health was treated in the past the book switches between perspectives of Iris, a thirty something vintage store owner, Esme, the great aunt she has just found out about and has been in a mental institute for the last 60 years, and the ramblings of Kitty, Iris’s grandmother who has alzheimers.
  8. Everyday Sexism – Laura Bates. This is a big one. If you are a human being you should read this. Really insightful to think of how behaviours that are mildly sexist to disgraceful become normalised and how it is time to say no more.

If you love to read and have problems finding time for it this is a useful post to show you were you could fit it in.

Also any book suggestions would be appreciated!

11 years

Today Tim and I have been together for 11 years. Isn’t that a beautiful thing! I have to say I feel really lucky that I found my person so early in life. Things aren’t always perfect and we do argue (our arguments generally revolve around the same things and maybe one day they will be sorted out) but I’d probably still say it is good to great 99% of the time. This is what I have learned in 11 years:

  • The simple practise of just being nice to each other goes a long way in making a happy relationship. Say thank you, offer to make a cup of tea when it is normally ‘their job’, pick up their favourite thing from the store for no reason, write a note that shares how much you love them today, try not to do those things that irritate them. It is so easy to let out frustrations on your partner because you know they will still love you and yes that still happens sometimes but try not let it become a habit and when it does happen apologise and thank them for understanding your crazy days.
  • I came across this great quote while reading the other day: “An adventure is real when it involves the heart” (by Italo Svevo). Make your love an adventure! Make the effort to try new things together. Sometimes things can get a little routine and mundane. Try a new place for dinner or head somewhere new for holiday to keep things fresh.
  • Real life love is better than movie love so don’t bother hankering for the cheese. Tim isn’t the typical romantic but when I think about what he does for me and how he helps me to be my best self I realise that I wouldn’t trade that for all the surprise flowers or airport chase scenes in the world (because that would be rather weird anyway).
  • Gratitude! It changes everything.

That is all.

p.s. Love you, Love!

so …


I was going to write a catch up post. But I am going to just roll right into something I have been thinking lately.

Do you know what? I am happy! I am generally a happy person but life is good and I love it and sometimes I feel giddy about it. And do you know what else? I don’t feel guilty about it. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about your awesome life either.

Also I am getting annoyed when people ask what we are doing next. What is that? Why can’t I just live in the moment, enjoying life, chilling out with my friends having apertivi, travelling when a weekend allows between school, making plans for summer, reading books, learning new things. It isn’t like we are sitting in a stagnant pool of depression – why should I want to leave?

So maybe I am back. Things are happening around here that have me thinking and that will hopefully lead to sharing. But I am not making any promises and I am not making any plans so maybe see you, maybe not. And I am not going to feel guilty about it. I think that is an emotion I am about ready to give up on.

not yet back

Well it has been a little quiet over on this little space. Not a totally unplanned absence since with the end of a school year my day job gets busy. And I am taking on an additional role next year (actually teaching a class! On photography!). I am also working on my dissertation. And if you follow me on Instagram you know I am galavanting at present.

I will be back soonish with some posts about Japan (which was absolutely amazing) and maybe one or two about Crete (currently sitting at a rustic wooden table in an old fisherman’s cottage enjoying daily sun and sea quotas).

I have to say the time away has been great. Not constantly checking what my stats are, not comparing, not feeling inadequate when I just don’t get around to doing all the posts I have imagined.

In the meantime if I could ask a little favour. As mentioned I am working on my dissertation and I would be super grateful if you could fill out this survey. Also if you could get your parents and/or partner to do it would be great! I am aiming to get at least 500 respondents and it is a ways to go.

intention update | meh-rch


I’ve seen it around a bit and maybe the idea that February is the worst month of the year moved to March (at least for this year). I kind of feel like everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere has had a lingering sense of winter rather than the hopefulness of Spring and after reading Decor 8’s post questioning whether the weather doesn’t impact on happy people I have to say I feel it does because yes I am still mostly happy but dai (Italian for ‘come on’) I could do with some full-on spring already! It definitely takes the spring out your step sometimes when the sky is grey and you thought you could stop wearing your winter coat and then you can’t.

This month hasn’t been helped by a lingering cold/flu thing (the last week of which included waking up in coughing spasms about every two hours – though yay for first full night’s sleep last night). Plus a full schedule at work and ignoring working on my dissertation, which inevitably leads to guilt and anxiety that I’m not going to finish it. Plus not working out because I just don’t have the energy after a bad nights sleep. And not even reading because it requires a functioning brain and scrolling through pinterest is easier.

Another feeling that struck me this month is a sort of jealousy. Not a feeling that I am used to really. And not a sort of outright “I want that” or “I want their lives”. I am increasingly seeing my ‘blog buddies’ (mostly people I have actually met and truly like) working towards their dreams. And it is that that I am jealous of. Yes they have real lives and normal people problems but they have an idea of what it is they want and they are making it happen! Perhaps it is my looming birthday (and related thoughts of passing time and the reflection on how I am doing so far)? I kind of wonder what I am really doing and the question that I am having problems answering is ‘What is my big dream? What do I want to do with my life (in terms of how I make money and find creative fulfilment)?’. I mean I love like 80% of my life (and some days even 100%) but I know I am not doing the sort of work that I imagined myself doing a few years ago. But is that imagined life still what I want and perhaps more importantly realistic? Because a bit of realism is needed when you need to pay bills and you want to travel. Anyway a lot of questions.

So that is where I am at the moment, but always hopeful and optimistic.

That said I have been procrastinating on something at least semi-productive. It involves photography but not in a way I would have thought but we will see where it goes. It also involves learning a bunch of new skills not related to photography (ooh cryptic). It is always exciting to learn something new (at least for me) so that will be interesting. I just need to finish my rather unloved dissertation.

So what does April hold? Hopefully more productivity than procrastination. Getting a bulk of my dissertation out of the way. Turning 31 in less than a week! Hopefully more woohoo than meh (Siobhan and I decided they were the opposites of each other).

How are you doing?

intention update | when life isn’t as intended


Note to self: never put on your blog “I think that was the quietest month ever”!

So February came, a week away was planned and then we arrived back (10.30pm on a Saturday night, Valentine’s Night) inadvertently locked out of our flat by the plumber who had been redoing our bathroom after we started leaking into our downstairs neighbour (sometimes renting is the best). So we found a hotel (eventually). Then, it turns out, we couldn’t actually stay in our flat for a few days anyway because you know there wasn’t a toilet in it! And then it was a dusty dusty mess that took days to clean (and I think I will still be finding cementy dust for months to come).

All alright in the end as we have a new bathroom fitted (although the style is bordering on 1995 aesthetics), the cord for the washing machine no longer has to be trailed with a series of extension cords out the door, we have more storage in the bathroom and we have one of those massive ‘rainfall’ shower-heads.

So how do the intentions fair when life isn’t like it is everyday?

I think the lesson I learned is just stick to one thing.

Week one of February was great and I started really well. I started a daily yoga challenge, I had a smoothie for breakfast everyday (not yet green), I had a hot lemon tonic to wake my body up in the morning and I sat down and journaled in my notebook about gratitude and my wonderful life. I was winning!

Going away always makes life a little difficult in terms of maintaining healthy habits (please tell me I am not the only one!). But I continued daily yoga (except for those mornings with really early flights) and ate pretty healthy while we were away.

Return to ‘Bathroom-Gate’ threw me though. So instead of trying to maintain all these habits in a foreign space, where I had to have a different morning routine I settled on one thing. I brought our blender (which I am loving more with each passing blend) and made a super healthy green smoothie every single day. Just that. That is all I needed to do. No pressure.

So we’ve moved into week four. Home is feeling more home again. I am getting up earlier than I have done in a while. I have my green smoothies every morning. I restarted my yoga challenge (back to day 1 because why not), I have my morning tonic. I got a post on my blog! And I have worked on my dissertation. The preliminary report is due on Monday so no choice really (and perhaps some further explanation why blogging on here has been a bit sparse), I haven’t got 100% back into the swing of journalling but I will.

Another thing that I have maintained in good weeks, bad weeks, home or away is getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Tim and I aren’t the types to go to clubs or even sit in a pub for hours with just the two of us. So even on holiday we were often in bed before 11pm. At home it is more like 10.30pm and I have no shame in getting into bed at 9pm if the day has been a particularly tiring one. That means that on holiday you can get to places before the crowds do. And at home you can get through a morning routine and leave the house at a normal pace, no running for a bus and arriving at work an uncomfortable mess.

Okay so that is two things I have learnt. Sleep and just one other thing!

It kind of relates to the yoga that I am doing. Adriene keeps talking about creating the space to become more flexible. I think that applies to my intentions this month. I am working towards things but sometimes you need to give yourself space.

So what does being intentional in March look like? Continuing to work on being fit and healthy, continuing to work on my dissertation and hopefully spending more time on my blog and photography.Two things I really miss working on. No plans travelled so it should be a more home-focussed month which means getting into my discarding phase of tidying up and minimising clutter in my life (more space!).

Do you manage to keep a routine going when you are away? Or how do you keep sane when life throws you a whole bunch of lemons?