Thursday, 11 August 2016

Reading recently

When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman (4.5/5 stars)

Despite the title of this book, it actually has nothing to do with God, or even religion for that matter. In the book, God actually is a rabbit, a pet rabbit named by a little girl who believed that God could be anything so why not a rabbit? Usually I try to write my own little blurb on what the book was about but I think the one on the back of this book itself is so perfect I'm just going to share that: 'Spanning four decades, from 1968 onwards, this is the story of a fabulous but flawed family and the slew of ordinary and extraordinary incidents that shape their everyday lives. It is a story about childhood and growing up, loss of innocence, eccentricity, familial ties and friendships, love and life. Stripped down to its bare bones, it's about the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.' 

I loved this story. It's beautiful, poetic, captivating and honest. It's a coming of age novel that will capture your heart. The book is split into two parts, childhood, and adulthood, and while I adored both I think part one was slightly better where the characters innocence and childhood creates a beautiful sense of family life. It's like everything in life, as we grow up things become a little less magical but find new ways of being wonderful. 

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon (4/5 stars)  

When Amy was 15 years old she disappeared while walking home from school before later being found in a coma, her attacker having left her for dead. Fast forward 15 years and Amy is still lost to the world, having never woken up she is trapped inside her teenage mind unaware of all the time she has lost. Alex is a reporter who stumbles across Amy while writing a story on the hospital and her doctor's treatments. Remembering Amy's attack, Alex becomes determined to find justice for her, to discover what really happened while trying to overcome her own battle with alcoholism. 

The story is told between Alex's present and Amy's hazy past, unfolding the story slowly but keeping you guessing. It's a story of two women who have spent years fighting coming together to find some justice in the world, creating a bond that only one of them can truly appreciate. Alex's alcoholism also adds an interesting layer to the book which I really enjoyed, although I would have liked to have known more of the back story to her struggle and how she developed the problem in the first place. Although this book is a who did it type, it's so different to any other I have read, taking a fresh angle on the same old plot. A really wonderful debut from Holly Seddon. 

Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani (4/5 stars)

The Trail of Broken Wings follows three sisters, each who followed a different path in life, come back together as their father lies in a coma. Heartache, pain and shame gripped the women and their mother for years, their strength destroyed by their father's hand. Coming back together, they face the memories they had long buried and tried to forget and the pain of discovering the true extent of the damage their father inflicted upon them.

This story really took me into a whole different world, one where pain and abuse are normalised and happiness seems like only a dream. It's a moving and powerful book that really portrays the destructive impact that a of a childhood of beatings and living in fear can have on a future life. Sonya, Trisha and Marin have each hidden their pain for so long, pushing it to one side, running away and trying to live out a normal life, but the bruises go so much deeper than they could ever imagine. Now, the man who created such pain lies unconscious and unable to hurt them anymore, but they still struggle to truly let him go. I really loved this book and although it deals with a difficult subject matter, it is done so in a really insightful and compelling way. 

What books have you loved recently?


Sunday, 31 July 2016

Life, blogging and happiness

I haven't just written down my thoughts in a long time on here. In fact, this blog has become pretty neglected over the past few months as I've really been focusing on my food blog. I wanted to keep this little space here, I feel like I've worked so hard on it that to just stop would be a bit rubbish, but now I feel like I'm losing my way with it a little. Thinking of content has become a chore and it's just slipped to the back of my mind and taken a back seat.

Blogging has given me so much. It's given me confidence, happiness, new friends and a wonderful sense of community. It's given me an escape from the everyday and a creative outlet to do something a little different. It's taught me so much and has really given me the platform I needed to just be myself. It has helped me to believe in myself and has really shaped who I am today. 

Sometimes life can be a little hard. I am so grateful for everything that I have at the moment. A loving family, friends, a good job and enough income to be able to live myself while also being able to save for the future. I'm not working in my dream job, in fact, I'm not even sure what my dream job is anymore, but that's okay. I sometimes forget that I am still young and that I still have lots of time in front of me to figure out exactly what I want. 

Being a part of this community gives me so much inspiration every single day. I never thought that blogging would become such a big part of my life when I first hit that publish button three years ago, but I am so happy that it has.

I've changed a lot over the past three years. I finished my degree and graduated from university, got my first 'real' job and started saving for a mortgage. I learned how to look after myself, how to eat well and live a healthier lifestyle. I became vegan and I became a gym lover. It's crazy how much you can change in quite a short space of time, how you can become things you never thought you would be. I feel like I am finally happy in myself, though. Of course, not everything is perfect, but then I don't think everything ever will be perfect.

Life, I've learned, is about making the most of now. 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Reading recently

The Colour of Water in July by Nora Carroll (3.5/5 stars)

A summer of romance, a childhood broken and secrets buried for a lifetime. Jess grew up visiting her grandmother's lakeside house every summer, a period of stability away from her life on the road with her journalist mother. The summer before Jess left for university was a summer she would never forget, it was the summer she first fell in love and the summer she lost something too precious. Seventeen years passed and Jess did not see her grandmother again so is shocked to discover that she was left the house upon her death. Returning to the house, she slowly begins to unravel a long-buried secret and painful memories that her grandmother tried so hard to bury. 

The Colour of Water in July is a really lovely book. It took me a few chapters to get into it but by the end I had been pulled in and really didn't want it to end. It's filled with rich descriptions and paints such a vivid picture of the characters and the life that surrounds them. There are unexpected turns but it's told in such a gentle way, not like the fast paced and often tense stories I normally gravitate towards. It's a story of lives that wind together, bound by a secret that most didn't know existed. It's about self-discovery and the power of love, family, and hidden pasts. 

The Turning Point by Freya North (4/5 stars)

It was love at first sight when Frankie and Scott met. Despite living thousands of miles apart, they find themselves in the same place at the same time one evening and from there their story begins. After a few wonderful days spent blissfully happy, they return to their homes: Frankie to Norfolk where she lives with her two children and Scott to Canada. While distance parts them, an unlikely love blossoms, a spark turns into a deep connection and they cannot imagine what life would have been like had they never met. For Frankie and Scott, their lives are going to change forever, but just not perhaps in the way you might think.

I'd read the description of this book a few times before deciding to buy it, eventually being persuaded by the huge amount of five star reviews it has on Amazon. The Turning Point is simply a love story, a tale of a connection so deep it can only be fiction. It's about finding love in the most unexpected places and how distance is only a number. It wasn't the story I was expecting when I started reading this book, in fact, in the beginning, I just kept thinking it was too good to be true, that something would happen soon because that's just what always happens. It's beautiful, tragic and emotionally draining. It's not a book I would normally read, the love cynic in me steering away from anything too soppy and romantic, but I really did love this book, just not in the way I thought I might.

While My Eyes Were Closed by Linda Green (3/5 stars) 

When you play hide and seek you expect the other person to disappear out of sight. What you don't expect is that they will disappear completely and become a missing person, which is exactly what happened to Lisa when she played the game with her four year old daughter Ella. A search party is launched and all eyes turn to one man, a convict who lives near the park and also happens to be on the sex offenders list but is that too stereotypical, should they be searching closer to home?

After Ella goes missing quite early on into the book, the rest of the story is told in alternating chapters between the three main characters. It's every parent's worst nightmare to lose a child, but when it happened while your eyes were closed, not watching over their every move, things can become a little complicated. This book captures the terror and heartbreak of not knowing where you child is, but also shows how every move we make is subject the judgement and scrutiny of others, sometimes with disastrous consequences. It's a little slower paced that most psychological thrillers but this gives more time to focus on the characters, their emotions and the things that have happened in their lives that have made them who they are today. I did enjoy it but it didn't stand out among other books I have read recently.

Have you read any good books recently?


Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Life snippets: May

I missed last month's life snippets post so it feels like forever since I've written a little life update on here. It wasn't that I forgot about the April post, it was just that not a lot happened during the month that I thought was worth writing about and sharing. May, on the other hand, has been a much more exciting month.

If you read my last post then you will know that at the beginning of this month I spent the weekend with one of my wonderful blogger friends, Samantha. Samantha and I have been chatting for the past year but our visit this month was the first time we had met in real life. We had the best time and I know I have definitely made a good friend who I hope will be in my life for a long time to come - I won't go into too much detail as I wrote all about it in my last post (and if you're looking for a new blog to follow then Samantha's is worth a wee visit). 

I spent a really nice Sunday in Glasgow during the month as well. I'd got tickets to see Foxes again a while ago and had been looking forward to it for ages. The gig had originally been scheduled for March but due to illness it was moved to May. She was, again, fantastic and I'd definitely recommend going to see her live if you are a fan. I also went for dinner with my friend beforehand to Stereo, which is a fully vegan restaurant in Glasgow. I had a veggie burger and it was so, so yummy.  Everything on the menu looked amazing though so I will definitely be back to try some more of their meals. 

Being in Glasgow for the gig, I also took the opportunity to visit Whole Foods for the first time! I don't visit Glasgow too often as it is quite far from where I live, well compared to Edinburgh, so I thought while I was through there an extra twenty minutes in the car to Whole Foods was really nothing, plus I had been wanting to go for ages. It did not disappoint. Although it did turn out to be pretty expensive for regular things like fruit and veg, there were so many wonderful vegan things that you just don't really get anywhere else so I got lots of things like that to try (some of which is pictured above - yum). It's probably a good thing I don't live closer, to be honest, because this way my bank balance can stay happy.

Another exciting thing that happened this month was my food blog, Ginger Kitchen, getting shortlisted in the Health Blog Awards for 'Best Vegan Blog'! I still can't quite believe it and I am so, so happy to have been shortlisted among so many other wonderful bloggers. I only started my food blog this year so to have come this far already is just incredible. I definitely couldn't get the smile off my face the day I found out.

Other than that, there's been the usual coffee dates, catch ups with friends and lots of yummy food eaten. It really has been a rather lovely month.

A few posts I've loved this month::

Lauren's post on learning to love your body
Samantha's 'Healthy Food, Healthy Mind' post
Hannah's ode to teenage girls

Have you had a nice month?


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