Book review – Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh

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Silence – the power of quiet in a world full of noise

I was gifted this book by a family member for my birthday. It’s special to me for many reasons but this family member and I often discuss our quest for peace and quiet in our lives, how we try and how we fail – so you can imagine my joy in receiving a book with a title such as this.

I have lightly dabbled in the world of mindfulness and meditation and am keen to learn more. Not just because it sounds wonderful but also because there is a science to it, I can understand it. This book explores what it really means to be a human being at peace and how we can all introduce it int our daily lives.

Throughout the book Thich Nhat Hanh walks you through other peoples stories; their journeys and their development into living a more peaceful life – I found this particularly interesting. I very much enjoyed reading about all types of people who hit obstacles in their lives and yet still found peace through mindfulness and the quest for inner silence. In other sections he makes suggestions on how to introduce changes into your life.  Some recommendations seem simple and achievable so I have started introducing them each day, for example the breathing exercises – I am planning on writing out the affirmations so I can learn them to recite each morning.

There are some parts of this practice that seem perhaps a little beyond me currently, for example ‘making sure you spend 15 outside each morning’. Maybe if I was located in California I would be more inclined to see this through but being UK based in February makes this a less appealing. I know this is a poor excuse and potentially I am missing the whole point but perhaps in the spring it could be something I introduce.

I love the way this book is written, the tone is very calming and I immediately believed him, this is something I can struggle with when reading non fiction. But he speaks with such purpose you cannot help but be drawn into him. As well as discussing an interesting subject matter he is a very informed writer, his words pour over the page and invite you in. I think its fair to say that I indeed drank the cool-aid.

I would recommend this book to any friend or family member who seeks to find the peace in their life. Or even for those who don’t seek it but you can see that they need it. I think it is a book I will return to in times of struggle to help guide me through, I believe it is a piece of writing that perhaps you gain a new perspective on from reading it each time.

Order it from Amazon and click here  – to find the power of quiet in a world full of noise…



Post Christmas Blues


Christmas is a hectic time for most and I am no exception. As my mum would say ‘you’re probably just tired’ and she’d probably be right but I really struggle with this yuletide season coming to an end and it has hit me today.

It happens every year and every year it surprises me, catches me off guard and I am never ready for it. I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of things really; we’ve been really busy, I’ve been travelling and unwell and I do genuinely hate it when it’s all over, I just love it so much.

For me every weekend in December is booked up pretty quickly with family occasions and get-togethers with friends, you’re all trying to fit everything in and do all the Christmassy things. Then its actual Christmas and its busy, I mean every meal time is divided up between seeing different people and its on from one house to the next. Then there is the weird week in-between Christmas and New Year when you don’t know what day it is or what your supposed to be doing, you’re eating all the Christmas food, relaxing and generally loving life. Then its New Years Eve (eurgh) and New Years day, you make resolutions and look forward to positive times ahead.

That’s when it hits me guys, thats when this overwhelming sense of sadness really sinks in. I’m all up for making resolutions and plans but the thought of doing that without Christmas cheer and festive spirit kills me. I hate the thought of the first three months of the year, the drawn out process of waiting for the days to be longer and warmer. Bleak.

Maybe its because we aren’t particularly united as a nation, especially at the moment, and Christmas feels like we are all on the same team. (like when we hosted the olympics in 2012 – that really was a special feeling of being united and inclusive) It does feel like like everyone is trying that little bit harder to be nice, to do kind things and make the effort for one and other. There are so many things I love about Christmas but I think that one is my favourite – the real festive spirit.

Of course I know it’ll come around again but that bereft feeling of it ending gets me every year. Every. Year. It must seem childish to most but I am proud of my festive joy and I hope to pass it onto my own children one day – so if you need me I’ll be in the corner eating the rest of the Roses and mince pies and shedding a small tear for the loss of Christmas – but seriously how am I even going to go back to work?!

I’m sure soon I’ll be buzzing with plans a-new and this too shall pass. I mean I really am looking forward to the challenges of another year and I will get over this feeling of sadness but I cannot be alone in this, there must be others who feel this too…..?

Happy new year one and all, I hope it brings you peace and all that you deserve, let’s get through this year and start hatching plans for next Christmas….

Our Housing Journey Part One

Putting the wheels in motion adulting2

Deciding to get yourselves together, get grown up jobs, pay the bills on time and be a responsible adult is not as easy as I thought it would be, but then I didn’t really give it much though before, hence the struggle.

I used to be self-employed so when we started thinking about buying a house in our future I knew I would have to give that game up. Its very difficult to buy a house when your self-employed so I stopped accepting the work, which as it turns out, I was quite happy to do. I think I needed to get out of that industry for a while. The Boy also went from bar-tending and playing music for a living to wearing a suit and working 40+ hours a week. He seemed to manage it a lot easier than me, but then I think he set his bar a little lower.

We went from being a couple that introduced ourselves as a jazz pianist and a costume designer to an Estate Agent and an unemployed person. Bit of a confidence knock but we both just kept chugging at it.

He started off going to work, bringing in the money and paying the bills, I started looking for work and struggling, working for crazy people, leaving and struggling, the pattern continued. It took me about a year to get into a rhythm, once I did I started paying back my debt and trying to get by. It is not easy.

Some people will already be in steady jobs and saving a little when they start to think about buying a house, good for you people, good for you. I don’t regret being self-employed and working in the industry I did but I wish I hadn’t spent so much time flailing in between that and the job I’m in now. Unfortunately, on reflection, that feels like a waste of time. Although my current job wouldn’t have been available as the lady I have replaced wouldn’t have yet retired, but you see where I’m going with this.

Deciding to buy a house and set the wheels in motion has not been easy, there have defiantly been some tears and frustrations but I’m hoping it’ll all be worth it in the end. We will have worked hard and have something to show for it, the start of our journey has not been straightforward but I guess in this current climate, is it for anyone?

We are now starting to fill in the paperwork for a mortgage application. The reality of this is a horrifying as it sounds. Having to find our old bills, know what’s outstanding and when it will be paid off, what have been our previous jobs and how much money we have saved. It’s like baring your financial soul, which feels a little personal and intrusive but it has to be done. I am hoping with every fiber of my being that it all works out.

We are taking a deep breath and jumping in, please universe, be kind….



Image from Pinterest


Conscious Clothing Choices

cc-choices6Does anyone else have that thing where if they’re not wearing the right outfit or they’re uncomfortable in what they’re wearing then the whole day is ruined?

I don’t know how to accurately describe this feeling but its like the world is getting the wrong impression of me. Not like the lazy or unflattering version but the wrong version. I’ve worn outfits that I’m sure are very unflattering but I’ve been comfortable and confident so I don’t care – its not that, its like having my personality misunderstood through clothing.

I have always been interested in how people dress, not necessarily in a fashion way but I’ve been curious as long as I can remember. I have a very good memory – people tell me this a lot, I probably remind them of outfit choices they’d rather forget. I am mostly good at remembering what things, or a situation looked like at the time, I can tell you what most people were wearing the first time I met them.

Clothes matter to me, they make an impression and I think they speak a lot about who you are, where you are in life and what you want to say. Obviously I don’t think everything is a statement but I believe you really project yourself through your choice of clothing. And that’s the thing; there is so much choice now, bountiful choice, so really we owe it to ourselves to pick things that are right to us.

I wish I had the money to buy really high end, beautiful quality clothing but I do NOT wish to be a part of the rat-race that is the fashion industry. The stress of trying to keep up and be ahead seems just too exhausting and like you’re taking yourself way to seriously. I think you can tell the people who are creating and wearing art and the people who are just trying way to hard.

I’m not sure I have style, in fact I’m 99% sure I don’t but I can tell you immediately when people are not comfortable in what they’re wearing. I think you can spot it a mile off and I fear that people can see it in me too, those are the days when I want to run home and get changed.

When I was a student I was known to leave the studio and change half way through the day because I didn’t like what I was wearing, I felt scruffy or just not my best self. I think people used to think this was a prissy and up-tight quality and maybe it is but I don’t see it that way, it feel like I cannot concentrate or produce good work if I’m just thinking about how bad I look.

I strive for comfort and confidence in my life and that means in my clothing choices too. Some people live for the drama and angst in their day and I don’t know how to identify with those people, we are from different planets. I think when I’m feeling good in what I’m wearing there isn’t anything I can’t do. It also brings out the best side in me. I will be hard working, helpful, patient and funny – but catch me when I’m wearing an outfit I’m unhappy in and you should just run because the chances are you wont come out alive.

My most comfortable staples for my wardrobe are:



How basic am I? So basic that I don’t care.

I like clean lines, lately I’ve gone off prints (except stripes because they’ll live in my heart forever) and I don’t like anything too fussy. On me that is, I love when other people wear really out-there crazy clothes, I like to think I can live vicariously through them.

I want to get out of the habit of just buying things because they fit and somewhat flatter me, that is not the point. What do they say about me? Do I want to be the type of person who owns this garment? The chances are no, so I’m trying to make more conscious clothing choices. This has mostly resulted in me not buying much and wearing the same stuff every weekend but I’m hoping to turn it into a cohesive wardrobe that I love and represents a bit more of who I am.

Photo image courtesy of: Pinterest

First 5 book reviews of 2017


I have only read five so the pile in this picture is probably being a bit generous but it’s a nice image. That chair is so inviting, I would love to curl up with a coffee and read all day.

So one of my resolutions this year was to read more. (as if I’m the only one). I love to read and don’t seem to have the time, until I get into a good book and then pockets of time magically appear so I can sneak of and read and read and read. I wanted to make sure I always have a book on the go, I know it’s only February but I’ve managed to stick to it pretty well. I’m actually finding it quite addictive, like the more I read the more I cannot wait to read other books and just devour them. I regret not doing this sooner but hey 2016 wasn’t exactly a stella year for everyone was it?


So the first book I read this year was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, a classic that I never got round to reading but made it my priority this winter. It’s a hard slog and by the time I got to the end I felt like there should have been some sort of prize but I loved it. There is a reason this is a classic and why people keep re-reading it. I loved the style and how I could imagine everything so clearly; I cherish being transported to a time so different to mine, being in their world felt special. I fell in love with the March family and cried and laughed with them. What a hero of a writer.

7f78c3efe83491306e51e07491fe8547Skipping forward into very much this generation I then read Mindy Kaling’s Is everyone hanging out without me I already knew I loved this women so I didn’t really need to be won over. I adore the US Office and have recently started watching The Mindy Project so I was already sold. She really inspires me to work hard and go after what I want, it’s so amazing that we have so many more powerful, female role models now, still not enough but there are so many more than I remember growing up. I love her honest writing and cannot wait to delve into her second book.


My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff, my boyfriend bought me this one for Christmas, amongst others, and I loved it almost immediately. Its about a young girl starting out in the literary world in New York in the 90’s. She finding her way, stumbling and striving, I found her more relatable as her story got deeper and the choices she had made were explained. Usually I can visualise the book I’m reading straight away and whilst I did with this one another sense grabbed at me that I wasn’t expecting. I found the sounds in the book to be intoxicating, the noise of the train and the transcribing machines in the office, imagining the sounds of the pages of the transcripts opening and coffee being slurped, it set the scene for me so well. Also her description and love for vintage clothes spoke to the costume designer part of my soul.

304bf6a43505f086268b6e8cfca29a5eTalking as fast as I can by Lauren Graham. I am a Gilmour Girls fan and a Lauren Graham fan for that matter so I was really keen to read this book about the return of the show. This was another inspiring one about how hard work really pays off, don’t give up and be confident. I always find it refreshing to hear about other peoples journeys, they struggled too – its not just me! Her spirit is infectious and uplifting, you cannot help but to go along  her train of thought with her. I could hear her reading it to me throughout and loved that, in a very low-key fan girl way it was like chatting to a friend.

a1e36ba133e7109d2a840a79499c0340A fortunate Age by Joanna Rakoff, ok so I may have bought this one after reading My Salinger Year, and I also may not be completely finished but I have have read enough of it to give my opinion. Although set in a similar time and place I knew this book has a different tone, I sometimes find the wonderings of each character a little hard to keep hold of and have found myself re-reading sections to catch up but I like her overall voice. It’s based around a group of college friends trying to find their way and carve out the next section of their lives with complicated relationships and new careers. Each person in the story is coming from a different angle and I enjoy how their narratives fuse together, I like the romantic picture she creates in this world and its like Joanna lets you in so close you could touch it.

Having written out this list I have just realised that they are all female authors. This was not intentional but I’m loving what it says about my latest literary choices. There are so many more books I want to read this year, a mixture of classics I’ve never read and new fiction I’ve never tried, I think I’ll keep track and keep reviewing

What are you guys reading at the moment?

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Attempting to buy a house


Holy crap how hard it is to be in your late 20’s trying to get your shit together?!

We are living in a tough economy right now and everyone is scared of Brexit and Frexit and Trump (lions and tigers and bears oh my!). I’m finding it really hard to be a part of the generation who want to move up in the world and settle down at this time, and I’m not even talking about having children yet, me and my boyfriend just want t buy a house.

I’m not saying anything new here, but I am really struggling with what the consequences of my decisions and actions actually mean. It’s so easy to live beyond your means now, you can buy so much on credit, get cheap holidays and live pay-day to pay-day, but this is not good. It has come back to bite me and I didn’t even know it was happening. I felt like we were just living like everyone else around us and now we want to get financially serious it’s like we’ve missed the boat – we are both still in our 20’s – that to me does not seem fair.

It’s not even like I went crazy in my 20’s and lived it up in Thailand and travelled to Australia, I worked hard and went on a few holidays, nothing really irresponsible or out of the ordinary but I now cannot help but feel like I have failed. I feel like I’m failing at being an adult and the consequences of my 20’s are much harder than they should be. Like I’m being punished for this lazy, unemployed, lay-about life style that I didn’t even get to enjoy. It’s like having a hangover when you didn’t even go out and indulge the night before.

We have a very minuscule amount of debt we are paying off and I’m trying to make my credit card balance look a little less scary. But we both work, we both pay our bills on time and we both have an honors degree from a prestigious university, but it feels like none of that matters as much as it should.

A cousin of mine said that you can enjoy your 20’s; go to uni, travel a bit and find your career – or you can buy a house! It is crazy to me that it’s one or the other; you cannot have both, unless of course you come from money.

If I had my time again I’d like to think id do it differently but I’m not sure I would. I have definitely made some mistakes but on the whole I would move abroad when I did, gone to university when I did and chosen the career I chose – all over again. So what are people supposed to do? I guess if I had been made aware of the seriousness of money problems earlier I would have been more cautious but no one knows what’s going to happen – 2008 and Brexit was a shock to (almost) everyone and the best laid plans…

I wish someone had sat me down and explained the real consequences, I guess then even if I ended up in the same position I would know I chose to be in it. But the luxury of being in the position you have chosen, in todays economy seems like too much of a tall order.

Please excuse me whilst I go and look at this week’s lottery numbers…

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Here goes nothing…


Okay. Here we go. Nothing to lose. Right?

I am, in fact, finding this whole thing pretty terrifying and secretly empowering. I guess thats how most people feel starting a blog like this.

So why am I starting a blog? To be honest I’m not totally sure, I already have a full time job and I’m also trying to start up an Etsy shop, so the last thing I need to do is take up something else in my *spare* time. But something is telling me I have to do this, something is telling me I need it and its going to help, in some way, with something, but I’m not completely sure what that is.

I would, in no way, consider myself a writer. I am not remotely unqualified, but I love the idea of writing, it feels cathartic. I love reading but don’t seem to have read as much as I would like by this age, I would not consider myself ‘well read’ who does? I hated English Language at school, picking apart a piece of text and analysing the words seemed to kill the magic for me. My adolescent self didn’t care about the formation of words and how cleverly they could be used, I just liked how reading made me feel and how much it made me think.

This attitude, is not however, consistent. I love to know how other things work and how they’re made. I am a trained seamstress and dress maker and I worked in theatre and television for years, I love the ‘behind the scenes’ scene. I wonder why I hate that so much in writing? Maybe its because I just don’t care to understand. I’d rather be romantically ignorant.

Anyway, because of this lack of enthusiasm for language I skipped studying it at a further level and let other people do that. My mum is a writer but has a completely different view to me, she loves to understand how words work and why we use them the way we do. She loves to edit and proof things and would die inside if she knew I was publishing something online without it first being passed under her critical and painfully accurate eye, but I am, gramatical errors and all.

No one who knows me knows I am doing this and I think I’d like to keep it that way. I have been told, on more than one occasion, that I cannot write but I don’t care. I like the therapeutic quality it holds for me, I like how empowered it makes me feel and I can only hope that it does improve my writing. I’m not sure what my goals and aspirations are for this blog yet, I think I’ll follow where it takes me.

Here goes nothing…

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