7 Best Books for the New Year

To Love To Read, Uncategorized

I can’t believe we are already three weeks into the new year.  If you love the feeling of a fresh page that can come with a new year, why not settle down with an awesome book about new beginnings and starting over to inspire you in 2017!  Here are some of my favourite…

Unknown.jpeg1. The Woman Who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson

One of the things I love about it is that although it is about new beginnings she doesn’t abandon her whole life to make it happen (despite the name), she discovers a new way to enjoy what she already has – although some much-needed changes are made along the way.  A book about fiding your own inner strength and making positive changes.

This book is  also wonderfully uplifting

 

 

Unknown-1.jpeg2. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

I have spoken about this book before.  It is moving and powerful and you may need some tissues at the ready.    The main theme of this book is identity and how much you identity is tied into your family and the people around you, as well as asking the question about if it is possible to ever really ‘start over’ again.

A moving book that is highly recommended.

 

 

Unknown-2.jpeg3. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you haven’t read the book then I am sure you have seen the movie with Julia Roberts (which I equally love).  This book is creative non-fiction and Gilbert’s personal experience of the year after her divorce.  Its honest and moving and will probably have you wanting to travel the world by the end.

Touching and inspiring novel.

 

 

images.jpeg4. The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

This is a poignant and moving novel – especially in light of the recent inauguration and possible wall building – is about people moving to the United States of America as a way to make a new life and discover their place in the world.  Themes of family, identity and what it means to be an ‘American’ wrapped in a story about different forms of love.

A novel to make you questions why people do the things they do.

 

Unknown-4.jpeg5. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben

This is a great book to start the year with.  Another non-fiction book in which Ruben decides to start the year making changes to her life to make herself happier.  Ruben does a new thing every month with each chapter showing what she does that month so you can try to emulate these ideas.  In my case I didn’t follow everything but picked out the parts that I knew would work for me.

Great read to motivate yourself.

 

Unknown-5.jpeg6. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Two books by Elizabeth Gilbert on one list – outrageous!  But if you write books about making changes and positive living, I guess that’s inevitable on this type of list.  I’m such a massive fan of this book, all about living creatively which is clearly completely up my street.  You don’t have to be in a creative industry or anything, this book is more about being creative everyday and is a great place to start bringing joy and creativity into your life.

Inspiring, creative living.

 

Unknown-6.jpeg7. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Again, even if you haven’t read the book you may have seen the awesome film.  The plot is not a million miles away from Eat, Pray, Love in that its a woman trying to figure out what makes her tick after the loss of her mother and recent divorce.  Rather than travelling the world she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA, spending much time on her own to reflect and think.

Very honest and raw reflective memoir of change.

 

Please do comment below and let me know if you have read any of the books and what you think of them, and what books you would recommend that are around based around new beginnings or starting over.

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What’s On Your 2017 Anti-Bucket List?

Any Human Heart, The Anti-Bucket List

If you haUnknown.jpegve been following me for a while you will probably be aware of my Anti-Bucket Lists.  If you haven’t or need reminding you can read all about it here but basically, when I was having treatment for advanced Colorectal Cancer I decided that when I got better I would flip the traditional ‘things-to-do-before-I-die-Bucket-List’ idea and came up with ‘The Anti-Bucket List’… these are things I am going to do because I’M ALIVE!

I think Anti-Bucket lists are different to New Years Resolutions because resolutions are more goals of the year like losing 3 stone (obviously this is on my list) or drink Green Juice everyday (also on my list), whereas the Anti-Bucket list are things I want to do and experience this year.

I think especially after or during something like cancer, it can be especially good to have one of two things to focus on that aren’t illness related.

A couple I have are…

  1. Take the children to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the West End
  2. Visit Harry Potter World at Letchworth Studios (this has been on there for a while, I really hope that this year will be the year!)
  3. Visit somewhere new – This has been on my list the last few years but I think this will remain on my list forever…

So what are you putting on your list?  What are you going to enjoy doing this year to celebrate being alive?  Whatever they are I hope you have fun doing them and send you lots of love for 2017!

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It’s All About Me! 11 Random Facts

Any Human Heart, What's Happening?

A reader messaged me saying they love the blog (thank you) but felt they didn’t really know anything about me. Interesting!  I had never thought anyone would want to know about me in general but there is slightly more to me than cancer and colostomy’s – so here are 11 random facts about me.

  • 1.  I live in Hertfordshire which is just outside London but being born and bred in ‘Norf’ London, I struggle slightly with not living in London and still consider myself a Londoner.  The realisation a few months ago that I no longer know the whole tube map by heart actually made me cry inside.  Having said that I do love my town and would be surprised if we left, but I did say I would never leave London so, who knows?
  • 2.  Even at 34 I’m a complete daddy’s girl and have no problems with it – that man is my hero.  Am mildly obsessed with all my family.
  • 3.  I’m half American.  And not just half American, I’m half Texan!  This fact surprises everyone as nothing about me suggests I am anything other than English.  My mother moved here as a child and actually, nothing about her suggested she was anything apart from English either.  Except her passport which she never changed.
  • 4.  Growing up I wanted to be either a writer or a dancer & spent everyday after school in some sort of performing arts class & did a BTEC in Performing Arts at college.
  • 5.  In my worst nightmare I would be stuck in some sort of dark pit with rats.  It is actually making my skin crawl just thinking about it!
  • 6.  I have three tattoos but I have actually been tattooed five times – two were to cover up what was already there.  You would think on that basis I would have learnt my lesson but I would like one more re-done and then one final one which will be the date I found out I had cancer.  Sounds morbid but I want it as a reminder that life is to short not to be living the life you want to lead.
  • 7.  I change my mind about things – you may have worked that out?!
  • 8. I love making things, in particular jewellery and gifts.  I would much rather give (and receive) something heartfelt that has had effort and thought put into it.  It made my day this summer when a friend wore a necklace I had made her as part of her wedding jewellery – very cool.
  • 9.  Mexico is my favourite country.  I love the language, the people, the culture, the food, the architecture, I could go on and on but basically, its flaming fabulous.  I spent a month travelling there when I was 19 and went back travelling for three months when I was 24.  I will return soon, but there are just so many new places to explore and I am obsessive about visiting new places.
  • 10.  I love shite TV.  Reality shows like Big Brother, TOWIE, Made in Chelsea, they are all complete guilty pleasures of mine.  My husband can’t abide them so I only get to watch them sneakily on catch-up.  By then my twitter feed is full of all the gossip so I know what is coming which sort of defeats the point.
  • 11.  If I could give some advice to my teenage self it would be to worry less and do more that made me happy.  I was always so worried of what people thought and I think at times I really let it hold me back.  Of course hindsight makes everything seem so black and white but I wish I’d had the confidence I have now at 15.

So there you have it.  11 very random facts about me.  If there is anything that you would like to know, leave a comment, let me know and I if it is something I want to share I may do a similar sort of thing soon…

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The Anti-Bucket List

Cancer & Me, Journey Back to Health, The Anti-Bucket List

I think everyone is now familiar with the term Bucket List as a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.  When I was having treatment for advanced Colorectal Cancer  I decided that when I got better I would flip the idea and came up with The Anti-Bucket List… these were things I was going to do, not because I was going to die, but because I was going to live.  Got the idea?

I see this as different to New Years Resolutions because I consider those the be goals of the year, whereas this list is more things I want to do and experience.

Last year I only included a few things as I was still having treatment / recovering but there were;

  1. Travel to somewhere I haven’t been before / Travel for the first time with my P1010291colostomy bag – I went to Morocco.  Truly amazing experience.  I was so nervous to travel for the first time with a colostomy bag but in reality it was fine.  Just made sure I had plenty of everything (I took about 2 months worth for 3 nights) and in all different bags in case something happened, but nothing did.  No trouble flying.  Everything was cool.  Have now flown a few times, all fine.  And Morocco itself was out of this world.  It is firmly at the high end of my favourite places to go list (Mexico remains number 1).
  2. Go to University – Wasn’t easy and at times I wondered why I put it on the list but I did it.  I now go to the University of Hertfordshire reading English Literature, Philosophy & Writing and I absolutely LOVE it.  It is one of my favourite things to do on earth at the moment.
  3. Read another 3 books of my list – My list is the BBC Top 100 Reads voted by the public.  Its been really good actually, made me read loses of books I wouldn’t have otherwise, most of which I have really enjoyed.

So that was last year, but what about this year…  This is what I have so far…

  1. Go to a fancy Horse Race – by that I mean like Ascot, a traditional big race where the ladiesIMG_2621 get seriously dressed up.
  2. See a Ballet at the Royal Opera House –  I haven’t been for years.
  3. Visit Harry Potter world at Letchworth Studios – as close as I can get to the real thing.
  4. Take part in Cancer Research’s Colour Run – Have you seen how much fun this looks… has to be done.  If you want move information about it, visit www.thecolourrun.co.uk or if you want to know more about why Cancer Research means so much to me specifically you can click here!
  5. Go somewhere I haven’t been before – This doesn’t have to be abroad, there is still a lot in the UK I haven’t seen.  Quite like the idea of the outer-Heberdies… anyone have any suggestions?

So that is the Anti-Bucket list as it stands but I am looking for inspiration and things to add so please leave and comment & let me know what else I can do that will bring fun and excitement to this year I’m living.

But, most importantly, what is on your Anti-Bucket list?  I really would like to know leave a comment & tell me.

Whatever it is, hope you have fun doing it! x

Some other awesome lists to check out….

101 Things to Do When You Survive

Bucket List Publications