Recent Reads #2

The Secret Lives of Introverts | Jenn Grannerman

If a book has introvert in the title, then I’m in. A Myers-Briggs test once told me that I was 98% introvert so I always devour anything that can help me better learn how to work a world that often seems totally geared up for extroverts. I really enjoyed this book, and while the content is similar to that of numerous others books I’ve read on introverts, I particularly enjoyed Jenn’s writing style.

The Good Sister | Jess Ryder

I enjoyed this book but in all honesty, I read a few weeks ago and it was very much a run-of-the-mill thriller. A pet hate of mine is when the book cover says ‘twisty’ and it turns out that is in fact not very twisty at all. Good for a quick read but not one to sink your teeth into.

A Map For Wrecked Girls | Jessica Taylor

I’ve had this on my TBR list to read for ages but you know when you just put off starting a book and then never get round to it, this was it. So I started this book when I didn’t really want to and felt like it might be difficult to get myself through it. But, how wrong was I? I loved this!

Emma and her sister, Henri find themselves stranded on an island, with Alex as their only company. I loved the focus on the Emma and Henri’s relationship and the secrets that unravelled themselves as the book progressed. A Map For Wrecked Girls is a perfect book for anyone with a love for YA fiction.

What have you read recently? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

 

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Things No One Tells You About Meditation

When it comes to meditation, I am a mere newbie. Over the past few years I’ve come back to meditation time and time again with no success until more recently. Before I really put some effort into it I thought meditation was a load of rubbish. I just couldn’t see how sitting quietly was going to make me feel better. But miraculously it has helped, a lot.

I’ve told very few people that I meditate but those I have told, have given me some erm varying responses, such as

“It doesn’t do anything, you know.”

“Didn’t have you down as a hippie.”

And from my Mum:

“I always think it’s nice that you try new things.”

Generally people aren’t as nice as my Mum was so it’s usually met with a negative response that makes me sound as though I’ve just told someone I can levitate. After some research on the internet, it seems that there are a lot of misconceptions about meditation, so here are a few things that no one tells you about it.

It’s not like the movies

Meditation doesn’t always look like a Buddhist monk sat on top of a mountain chanting Om. You can do it anyway you find comfortable. Personally, I just plonk myself down on my yoga mat, either sitting on lying, whatever I fancy and breathe. Make sure you’re wearing something comfortable, because the last thing you want when you’re meditating is to be thinking about how tight the waistband of your jeans is.

It doesn’t take up loads of time.

I try to meditate for 10 minutes a day. This fits into my schedule and it’s not too time-consuming. I like to practice meditation after a workout or yoga practice, because I can just tack ten minutes on to the end of it. You can do it for longer if you have the time or shorter, depending on how long you have.

It’s hard to start with…

I am someone who really struggles to quieten my mind. It’s always whirring with thoughts and worries and I’m always thinking about the next thing that needs doing. Meditation is really hard to start with, because bringing your mind back to the present when it starts wandering isn’t something we do on a daily basis.

But it gets easier

The more you meditate, the easier it gets. The worries subside and it becomes so much easier to just focus on your breathing and appreciate your surroundings.

Have you ever tried meditation? Let me know in the comments! 

Rachel x-x-x

 

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What Makes Me Add A Book to My TBR?

I like to think my TBR says a lot about me as a person. From a quick look at the far too many books on it, it’s pretty easy to see the kinds of books I pick out time and time again.

So here are some book features that always make me add to my To Be Read pile.

It’s by an author I love

Jodi Picoult, Kazuo Ishiguro, Chuck Palahniuk, Linwood Barclay, Harlan Coben, Susan Hill. Anything new by any of these authors as well as loads that I can’t think of right now, go straight on my TBR. I might not read them right away (Read: for years) but I’m always desperate to get them on my bookshelf.

The synopsis says it’s got a ‘twist you won’t see coming.’

I am a sucker for any book that states a ‘killer twist, but when you read as many thriller books as I do, they’re either really easy to predict or really not that much of a twist. But it doesn’t stop me wanting to read anything that suggests it’s going to surprise me.

It’s Terrifying

As a child I would always shy away from anything remotely scary. I hated scary books because I thought the characters might crawl out of the book and get me, especially if the front cover was scary, in which case it would have to be turned over so they couldn’t get out so easily (Vivid imagination…) But now I cannot get enough of scary books. A book that I know I won’t be able to read at night because it’s so terrifying is exactly what I want on my TBR.

It’s Non-Fiction

I never used to be into non-fiction. I thought it was dry and boring and wondered why anyone could possibly pick up a non-fiction book when there were so many novels to be reading. But time has changed me and now it’s rare that I will choose a fiction book over a non-fiction.

It’s mental health related

Fiction or non-fiction, I don’t care. If it’s mental health, healthcare or psychology related it’s going on my TBR. I love anything to do with the mind and besides, I can pretend that sinking into the sofa with a book is ‘work’ when it’s about mental health.

It’s a stand-alone novel

A bizarre pet hate of mine are book series. I know, I know, am I even a book lover? But there’s just something about them that I don’t like. When I finish a book, I like to be done with the characters and move onto something new. You’ll rarely catch me with a book series on my TBR.

What kinds of books always make it onto your TBR? Do you see patterns in what you like to read? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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How To Be Alone

As an introvert, being alone is something I’m pretty skilled at. I love being alone, I crave it, and when I don’t get it, life feels pretty overwhelming. But not everyone feels that way. There seems to be a misconception that being alone equals loneliness when actually that is far from the truth.

Nowadays, alone time is rare. There’s always something to be doing or someone to meet up with, so getting some time alone is something that you need to make a priority, because being alone can be so beneficial. Even if you live with a partner or housemates, it’s important that you make time for yourself too.

You can think more clearly when you’re alone and you’ll be more productive as a result. It also gives you time for problem solving and deep thinking, and by understanding yourself better, your relationships will improve to.

But, for lots of people, spending time alone can be a challenge. Having spoken to some of my more extroverted friends, I’ve found that they hate being alone, and rarely go out and do anything by themselves.

I spend loads of time by myself and I love it, so whilst spending time with a group of people makes me feel incredibly nervous, doing things alone is just second nature to me.

So if you’re a person who struggles to spend time alone here are some ways that might help.

Understand why you always want to be around others

Some people just love social interaction and want to surround themselves with friends all the time. This is great, but make sure you’re not doing it purely because you don’t want to be alone. Being alone means time to think and that doesn’t appeal to everybody, because thinking too much can cause pain. But you also shouldn’t just be filling your time with seeing others as a way to avoid thinking.

(P.S. I’m not saying all extroverts are running from their thoughts!)

Start small

If you want to do more things on your own but aren’t sure where to start, then start small. Take yourself out shopping or for a coffee before moving onto some more daunting tasks like going to the cinema by yourself or for a meal. But, I promise that no one will think you’re weird for doing these things alone.

Embrace it

Alone time shouldn’t be scary. It’s the perfect excuse to do whatever you want with no judgement from anyone else. Get creative doing something you can’t usually do around your friends and you’ll soon find that you’re more focused on the activity than you are on being alone.

Plan

One thing I hate is when my boyfriend goes out for the whole day and I’m left with a huge expanse of time alone. Like I’ve said, I absolutely love being alone but when the person you spend the majority of your time with isn’t there for a period of time, it can feel pretty lonely. To combat this, I like to plan. I decide roughly what I’m going to do with my day, and make sure I’m not spending 8 hours feeling like I’m desperate for human contact.

Do you love alone time or can’t stand it? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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Slowing Down

Sometimes the world seems simply too big for me. Other times it seems miniscule. I feel like I bump into the same people, go to the same places, can’t get myself out of a rut, and then suddenly, faster than I can blink, the world is huge again. The amount of things to do in such a short space of time feel overwhelming. And time is racing.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Often we are quick to react. We get angry, upset or frustrated so much more easily than we are ever happy about a situation. But, I’ve found that the slower I take things, the more I enjoy life and the better I react to negative situations.

We’re always looking so far into the future for the next big thing that we forget to be present. Being present is something that scares me actually. I don’t like the thought that I might miss an opportunity by not planning far enough ahead. I’m scared that life will run away with me if I stop for a moment. But I know that it won’t. That thought it just fear. And, I know that if I just slow down everything will carry on the same way, and more likely, it will be even better because I’ll be present enough to enjoy myself.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and come to the conclusion that I really do want to slow down a bit, so here’s what I’m doing to help myself.

You can only control what you can control

This is probably the most important life lesson I’ve ever learned. There are so many things in life that I worry about and 90% of those are things that I have no control over. Life happens and the only control that you have most of the time is how you react to situations. Slow down and allow change to happen.

Work at your own pace

We all seem to be caught up in this panic that we must all have a stable career by 23, own a house by 25 and be on our way to 2.4 kids by 30. I want to stand on the rooftops and scream down that all of the above is a lie. Imagine how boring life would be if everyone did everything at the same pace? Work at your own pace, choose what’s important to you and focus on living YOUR best life, not the one you think you should be living.

Stop multi-tasking

I’ve found this really difficult. I can barely remember a time when I wasn’t a serial multi-tasker, but the older I’ve got, the more difficult it’s been to multi-task as well as I used to. So now I’m done with it. I need to slow down because my brain just cannot take doing a million things at once and honestly, I don’t think I want to. I want to focus on one thing at a time and give it my full attention.

Look after yourself

Finally, slowing down for me has meant looking after myself. It’s not rushed breakfasts on the way to uni, or living life at 100mph until I go to bed. It’s making time to relax, getting enough fruit and veg and sleeping for 8 hours a night. It’s not a myth. You can actually do all the things you want to do and still look after yourself!

Rachel x-x-x

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Recent Reads #1

I’ve toyed with writing monthly book posts for ages now but it’s not uncommon for me to read up to 6 books each month, leaving me a little overwhelmed when it comes to writing reviews for them. So instead here are 3 books I’ve enjoyed reading recently.

My Lovely Wife – Mark Lukach

I’ve read so many memoirs of mental illness, more than I could probably list but this book really stuck out to me. If reading this was difficult, revisiting these memories in order to write it must have been incredibly painful for Mark Lukach, who beautifully chronicles his marriage during his wife’s mental illness.

This wonderful book is in essence a love story, which looks at the realities of caring for a loved one with a mental illness and offers a glimmer of hope for anyone in a similar situation.

The Doll House Р Phoebe Morgan

I always love a thriller but what a book this turned out to be. I stormed through this in one weekend, feeling both desperate to get to the final page and not wanting it to end.

Corinne and her partner, Dominic are desperate to have a baby, but when pieces of her childhood doll house start turning up at her home, Corinne becomes terrified that she might be in danger.

Halfway through I had convinced myself that I knew exactly how it was going to end, then later realised how wrong I was. The characters were so well written, and felt so real. It’s the perfect no-fluff thriller for anyone who’s a fan of the genre.

Live Lagom – Anna Brones

Last year I was all over the Hygge hype. Then came Lagom and I fell in love all over again. This is the second Live Lagom book I’ve read and in all honesty, the content is similar, but I think that’s often the case with books based on a specific part of a culture or tradition. Lagom is the Swedish concept of living a balanced life, and Live Lagom offers practical advice on how to live a more balanced life whether in your work, health or relationships.

It’s also got a super cute cover, so it’s perfect as a coffee table book to get your friends talking.

What are your favourite recent reads?

Rachel x-x-x

 

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