Books I’ve Read Lately 2018 Part 2

Books I've Read in 2018 Part 2

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

I kept seeing this book in Waterstones & heard so many people saying how good it was so I knew I had to read it too. It did not disappoint & lived up to every good review I’d read. I loved it and was completely gripped from beginning to end. This book is the diary entries from an NHS Junior Doctor from 2004 until 2010, I laughed (a lot), cried and quite often gasped out loud at almost every page. This is an eye-opening, honest and quite often shocking account of working on the front line in the NHS from a Junior Doctors perspective. I loved the way is written and I won’t give anything away but I cried and laughed in equal measures. It is heartbreaking to think our NHS staff are working almost 100 hour weeks at the expense of their mental and physical well-being. I urge you to add this book to your reading list, I think it should be a mandatory read for everyone.

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

Another true story and an account of a middle-aged couple who find themselves in a situation beyond their control and completely out of their depth. This book gave me the sobering realisation that we are all only ever one step from losing everything, I found this humbling and inspiring. I felt like I was walking with Ray & her husband Moth every step of their journey. This story will lift your spirits, inspire you to embrace the unexpected and reminds you to be a little kinder to people you meet along the way. I found this book to be a quick read and I recommended it to my Mum who also really enjoyed it too.

Stalins Daughter

Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan 

I am completely fascinated by Russia and always gravitate towards books about its rich history and culture. It’s a country that has been through so many changes and it’s people have so often triumphed over adversity. I couldn’t wait to read this book when I heard about it.

Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan is an in-depth account of the little princess of the Kremlin who never escapes her father’s legacy. Svetlana endures so many tragedies in her early life, most at the hands of her brutal father Josef Stalin but after his death, she learns more about the extent of his reign of terror and makes the decision to defect from Russia.
Then begins a life of emotional turmoil and her constant search for peace that sadly never came. This is an emotional account of Russia’s most important defector. I found it heartbreaking that she wasn’t able to become her true self. The world just wouldn’t allow her to be anything other than Stalin’s Daughter and that was such a heavy burden to bear.

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E Frankl

This book by Viktor E Frankl who is a Holocaust survivor and a leading psychiatrist explores what keeps people from giving up & what gives a life meaning and purpose. He talks about his time in Auswitch and how the people who managed to survive the longest were the ones who refused to succumb to depression or a broken heart but instead had an attitude of hope which gave their life meaning and purpose. They were the ones that helped people at any cost even if they made the smallest difference, they were the ones that refused to give away their inner fight for survival. You learn a lot about the strength of the human spirit.  It is a very interesting book and one that makes me realise your attitude can have such a positive impact upon everything you do. If like me you feel like you’re stuck in a rut or having a low time of it, this book might help you focus and make some positive changes to the way you think and your ability to focus on the good.

The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana

This is a book about solving a crime that happened years before, about understanding family lies and secrets that stop the truth from surfacing. It all centres around what happened to Gabriella 30 years ago and her sister Anna returning to the family home to finally put all the pieces of the puzzle together. I thought it was a little hard to follow in places but I couldn’t put it down and loved the twists and turns. If you like crime/mystery novels this is one to add to your reading list for 2018.

The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is so out of my comfort zone and not the usual genre I go for, it is what I would call a crime/fantasy/thriller. Most people describe it as a gothic novel and I would agree. Set against the backdrop of post World War II Barcelona and centres around the enchanting Cemetery of Lost Books and what one boy discovers there. The Shadow of the Wind’ becomes a hunger to discover what really happened to its author Julian Carax to save those left behind. There is no quiet moment in this book, my heart was always in my mouth and I couldn’t put it down. It is enchanting, harrowing and the plot is so dark in places that I was scared to read it at night (what a wimp, I know). I enjoyed it from start to finish and want to read more books from Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Bring Me Back by B A Paris

Bring Me Back by B A Paris

Now, this was a book I really did not enjoy, it was disjointed and odd. It is about the disappearance of a young woman 12 years ago & the odd things that start happening that question what really happened to her all those years ago. If she is dead or alive. I found the whole book far-fetched and not very well written. Not a book I would recommend at all!

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

I loved Jamie Ford’s debut novel ‘Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweetwhich was a lovely read and I so wanted this book to be as good but although I enjoyed it and loved the main character Ernest Young, I just felt the story wasn’t as gripping. It is set in Seattle and much of the plot centres around the fate of a young Chinese orphan who finds himself in an adult world and all that comes with that life. The story flits between Ernst as a young boy & as an older man and I quite like the way this is done. Although I wouldn’t say this is a must read I would say it is a nice, easy read.

The Fourteenth Letter by Claire Evans

This was the second book in this roundup which I wasn’t blown away by. It was quite boring in parts and often I felt the story was rushed. This is a story that will leave you with more questions than answers and I struggled to connect with any of the main characters. This is a book to avoid!

If you have any book recommendations please leave them in the comments, I’d love to hear them.

Exploring St Ives Cornwall 2018

First Glimpse of St Ives Bay Cornwall

Pretty Cornish Cottage St Ives Cornwall

We are lucky enough to only live an hours drive from St Ives and love to pop over for a day trip – although we 100% don’t visit enough. So we thought with the Summer holiday’s looming (St Ives gets so busy over the Summer) we’d go for a whilst it was still quite quiet. We picked a glorious day, although I do still enjoy St Ives when it’s overcast it feels super romantic on days like those and it gives you an excuse to hide from the rain and explore all the galleries and coffee shops.

We park at the top of the hill opposite the St Ives Brewery, it isn’t the cheapest parking but it is easy to find and the view across the bay is stunning. The walk down is quite steep but easier on the way down and it brings you right into the centre. If you have trouble with inclines you can get on the car park bus for a small fee.

St Ives Bakery Vegan Pasty

I have shared photos of my previous visits on my blog and I never grow tired of taking photos and wandering through all the beautiful back streets that are lined with tiny whitewashed cottages. I also really like how people decorate their fronts with pretty flowers & plants, it reminds me of Amsterdam.

Fore Street, which is the main shopping street is always busy but I do like having a peek into all the shops and the smell of the bakeries (Cornish pasty) always tempts me in. This time we arrived at lunchtime and couldn’t resist a Wholemeal Vegan Pasty from The St Ives Bakery – which was just heaven, you need to try it if you visit St Ives.

Summer in Cornwall

The Blue Bramble Gallery St Ives

Then we just enjoyed the sunshine and explored all the little side streets snapping photos along the way. There are so many cafes and places to grab Ice Cream so if you need to take a break you can. We always stop at The Pier Coffee Bar for a cuppa, it is right by the harbour but tucked away enough that you can always get a seat.

White Washed Cottages St Ives Cornwall

Day Trip Ideas Cornwall

Exploring St Ives Cornwall 2018

Summer in St Ives Cornwall

Ivy Cottage St Ives Cornwall

Mermaid Seafood Restaurant St Ives

Cornish Dairy Ice Cream

The Grey Mullet Guest House St Ives

St Ives Door Steps

The Cornish Catch Citroen Van

British Seaside Vacation

Blas Burgerworks Review St Ives

Now our main reason for visiting St Ives this time was so we could eat at Blas Burgerworks which is located in the Warren. I have walked past it so many times but we tend to be in St Ives too early as it only opens at 5 pm. On this occasion, we were there later & ready for burgers. They have so many Vegan options available which made me so excited so I opted for the Blackbean Burger & my husband picked the Sunflower Burger.

Blas Burger Works Vegan Options

The decor is very basic and you mostly have to share a table as it is small and gets very busy. Even at 5.30, we were lucky to get a seat. Now on to the burgers, well let me just say that I was so disappointed. I wanted to love it but both of us elt our burgers just were not up to scratch. They came beautifully presented and the chips, OMG the ships were so yummy but the actual burgers turned into a soft paste, they lost all structure and you had to admit defeat and eat them with a knife and fork and I don’t know if you feel the same but I think burgers are meant to be eaten with your hands!

Vegan Burger at Burgerworks St Ives

The burger was unrecognisable as a burger and was so soft that I felt I’d been robbed of my burger experience. I have had Vegan Burgers that didn’t have great structure but these took it to a new level. I am sad to say we won’t be going back. Let me know if you have been & tried the Vegan Burgers and if you had the same experience. I told our server that they were a little too moist but she just said Thank You like I’d given her a compliment?!

St Ives

If you have any recommendations of things to see or do in St Ives leave me a comment & I am always looking for suggestions of places to eat!

Free Valentine’s Day Printables 2018

Best Free Valentines Printables

  Best Free Valentines Printables

I put together something similar on my blog about 4 years ago but since then so many more amazing Free Valentine’s Printables have become available. These are such a cute way of marking Valentine’s Day without having to spend a penny. I love free printables and use them for so many things, they’re such a fab resource to have.

I have put together a selection of my favourite Free Valentine’s Printables which includes cards, printables for kids to take for their classmates, fun prints, cards to attach to sweet treats (these are my particular faves) and a couple of Galentine’s Day offerings too. So if you want to celebrate your friends you can! All the printables I am sharing are for personal use only so please respect that.

Je t’aime Mini Valentine’s Card 

These Je t’aime French Valentines Cards are from Eat Drink Chic and you can even print off your own polka dot envelope liner for your mini love card to go in! Adorable.Free Valentines Printables

I Love You Deerly Valentines Cards 

These 3 cards are from Landee and have a simple more modern theme. You can pick from 3 colour options, I love the Deer theme and think they’re super cute.

I Love You Deerly Free Valentines Cards

I Heart U Valentine’s Print 

These four I Heart U Prints are from The Craft Patch and you can use them for a Valentine’s gift or print out to hand in your home all year round.

Free Valentines Day I Heart U Print

Star Wars Valentines Printables 

These Star Wars-themed Valentines cards are from Skip To My Lou. They will be so popular with movie lovers, the Yoda Best one is my favourite. These would be sweet to give out to your kids class at school if that is a thing in the UK – I know it’s popular in America to send in sweets and cards on Valentine’s Day.

free star wars themed valentines cards

Cute Valentine Donut Printables 

These are my absolute favourite. I love the colours and the doughnut graphics on these, being a complete donut addict It’s no surprise that these are my top pick. You don’t just have to save these for Valentine’s Day, you can use them anytime you feel like sharing a little love (and doughnuts). I have already printed a set and they print very well. These are from eighteen25. cute free donut valentines printables

Printable Valentine’s Day Cards 

These printable cards from Very Jane give you so many options, there are 12 cards to pick from and they have more modern phrases. Being a tea addict I like the You’re My Sweet Tea one and the Netflix one is quite appropriate in my house!Free Sassy Valentines Day Cards

Movie Themed Free Valentine’s Cards 

The lovely people at The Dating Divas have compiled a fab selection of movie-themed Valentine’s Cards and some of them are amazing. Like the Harry Potter Golden Snitch and I know someone that will really appreciate the Batman one too. They have a lot of designs to pick from so if you will be spoilt for choice. movie themed free valentine cards

Fun Free Valentines For Kids 

These cards from Live Laugh Rose are more child appropriate and have really sweet, fruit-themed sayings them. They’re bright and quite fun.free valentines cards for kids

Awesome Valentines Day Cards 

These Awesome Valentines Cards from That’s Pretty Ace are very chic and simple. They have lovely typography and I like their minimal feel. You get four cards to pick from and again, they don’t just have to be used for Valentine’s Day they’d also make really nice note cards too.awesome free valentines cards

Galentine’s Day Free Printables 

This whole Galentine’s Day was totally new to me, but I really like the concept. So it is a day where women appreciate their female friends & I am totally down with this! These two pink themed Galentine’s Day offerings are from Pizzazzerie and super cute to send to all your lady friends! Galentines Day Free Printables

Galentine’s Day Free Printables 

Two more Galentine’s Day Cards and these are from Bravelets Blog and she has put together 5 options for you, these two are my favourites. Free Galentines Day Cards

 

So there you have my favourite Free Valentine’s & Galentine’s Day Printables. Comment and let me know if you use any of them.

Books Waiting to be Read

Books to read in 2018

Books to read in 2018

For me, books make the perfect gifts. I love buying my favourite books for people & the thought that someone else might get as much joy as I did from reading a certain book is such a nice feeling. I also really like discussing my favourite books with people and listening to their take on it. Receiving books is so nice too, adding a book to your collection that you may never have picked yourself but it ends up becoming a favourite read is exciting to me. It is safe to say the book fairies were very kind to me this Christmas and I received quite a few new books to kick off my reading list for 2018.

St Petersburg by Jonathan Miles 

I have always been fascinated with in Russia because I feel like it’s quite a dark, unknown place with a very interesting, rich history. It’s so different from anything I have ever known and I love learning all about its past. This book spans three centuries from Peter The Great right up to Putin. It is a hefty book but I started it on Christmas Day and I’m flying through it at some speed. I’ve read about 150 pages and so far it’s very interesting and quite shocking in parts. It’s described as ‘An epic tale of murder, massacre and madness played out against squalor and splendour. It is a remarkable portrait of a city and it’s people.’ What country sparks your interests?

The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking

I’ve read the first book in this Scandi series, Little Book of Hygge & I have to tell you I’m 100% onboard with the whole lighting candles, drinking hot drinks and snuggling under a warm blanket (even when it’s not Winter). I also read The Year of Living Danishly which is a similar book but it takes a more in-depth look at the reasons people in Denmark are inherently happy. It was fantastic, a real eye-opener to learn what almost simple pleasures and small changes in your life can bring you that sense of happiness. This Lykke book seems to be in a similar vein so I’m excited to read it to learn just what happiness means to the people of Denmark and see if I can adopt some new behaviours to increase my own happiness.

Lagom by Linnea Dunne

This is another Scandi inspired book and although written by a different author to the Lykke and Hygge books is it similar in that is discusses the art of balanced living and just how important that is to our relationships and happiness. It is not about the Danes this time but focuses on the Swedes, who also rank very highly on the happiness scale. It looks like a refreshing take on how to find a healthy balance in life to ensure you have time to relax, be sociable and not let work become your entire life. It sounds very interesting and something I think we all strive to achieve a healthy work-life balance is the dream and Sweden appears to have it all worked out. I really like the simple illustrations in these books, they make so nice to flick through even after you’ve read them.

Berlin Style Guide by Ellen & Petra

I adore Berlin and have visited 5 times over a 30 year period and it is safe to say I have seen Berlin go through some major changes and some more subtle changes. It is a mysterious City and one that nurtures creativity. At face value, it feels very quiet, stark and utterly freezing in the Winter but if you get to know it and take time to seek out its beauty it is a city that welcomes you in and gives your soul doses of creativity and inspiration. I love exploring its city streets and each district is very different. This Berlin Style Guide takes you through 8 of Berlins suburbs and in each you get so many recommendations of delicious places to eat, stylish, quirky places to shop, beautiful places to get coffee and many hidden gems that will get your creative juices flowing. It has been so well curated so that you feel like you’re an honorary Berliner (for a few days at least). I love flicking through this guide and bookmarking places I have to visit on my next trip.

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood 

I don’t know much about this book, it was a gift from my friend Hayley (who has excellent taste in books). What I do know is it written by the same author that gave us A Handmade Tale so I am expecting great things.

Orwell on Truth

This was bought for my husband but I will be reading it after he has finished. ‘This selection of George Orwell’s writing, from both his novels and non-fiction, gathers together his thoughts on the subject of truth. It ranges from the discussion of personal honesty and morality to freedom of speech and political propaganda. Orwell’s unique clarity of thought and illuminating scepticism provide the perfect defence against our post-truth world of fake news and confusion.’

•This post contains affiliate links