Books I Read in January 2021

31 Jan 2021

How crazy is it that the first month of 2021 is over? I've set myself the goal of reading 40 books this year. I managed to read 54 books last year but after a bit of a drought at the end of last year (I literally didn't finish a single book in December) I decided not to be too over ambitious with my goals and 40 is double what I would usually set because 2020 was such a great reading year for me but I'm not sure if I'm up to 10 books a month in my current state. I started off really well but then Olivia Rodrigo dropped drivers license so that took up way too much of my time but I finished strong. That being said in January I did manage to read NINE books which means we're off to a good enough start and I'm almost a quarter of the way to 40 already! I don't trust myself to maintain this especially since I read so so many great books this month I'm worried that I've peaked too soon and nothing will quite live up to these.

It's A Snow Day - Some Thoughts on Anticipation

24 Jan 2021

Well, it finally happened, we got our snow!!! For weeks it's been forecast and for weeks we haven't gotten any. There's been snow in other parts of the country, heck even other parts of the city, but my little corner of Belfast was snow-free until today. I love being inside when it's snowing far more than I love being outside in the snow but for some reason every time those sweet white flakes come down I become a child again and run out the door, carefree, ready to embrace the cold like an old friend.
The wait for the first snow of the year is a funny time. It usually hits around late January to early February but as I mentioned, living in the city, in the lowlands, and near the water, we get it a little later than everyone else. I've been seeing my friends. who live out in the country or up in the hills posting on their Instagram stories for the past few weeks of their snowy exploits and you begin to feel like you're missing out. Even if it is a trivial little thing like waiting longer for snow it really got me thinking about anticipation and seasons of waiting.
Social media is in some ways such a positive thing but at the same time is such a leader for toxic thoughts and comparison. Seeing other people reach goals that you are nowhere near to achieving can be encouraging and damaging. We're all on different paths and just because all around us we see people younger than us achieving these great things it doesn't mean that we are behind, it doesn't mean that we're failing. We don't need to look back and analyse all the mistakes we may have made that may have led us to this moment of not being where we wanted to be because the truth is you are right where you're supposed to be at this moment in time.
It's frustrating, especially now that COVID and lockdowns are preventing us from really getting out there and smashing those goals, we've maybe had to hit pause on that exciting venture but that doesn't mean that we just stop. We can continue to look forward to the future with anticipation that better things are to come one day you will get your snow and you will reach those goals and if it happens later than you thought it's not a reflection on you, you're just on a different path than you maybe thought. In Isaiah 55:8-9 it says:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord For as the heavens are higher than the earth,so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
We can trust that God has us on the right path and that in the end if we continue to trust in his plan for our lives, we will prevail.
This was really a spur of the moment post with spur of the moment photos because sometimes no matter how hard we plan for things sometimes ideas just come and it just feels right to post them then and there so hopefully everything I said here makes sense a little bit.
Has it snowed yet where you are and do you get as excited about snow as I clearly do? And are you more of an inside when it snows or outside when it snows kind of person?

A Box Of Stories: What's Inside

14 Jan 2021

Did you know that 77 million books get destroyed every year in the UK and that 83% of published books don't get the publicity required to be discovered by the masses? A Box of Stories operates to stop this from happening. I stumbled across this company randomly while scrolling on Instagram and knew that I wanted to give them a go although I was kind of apprehensive about it because I'm such a picky reader (aka I don't really like mystery/thrillers). They send you four books that have received good reviews from readers but aren't necessarily getting the hype that they should.
I ordered a fiction box for £14.99 which came with 4 fiction books across a variety of genres. My favourite genres to read are generally fantasy, historical fiction and ya contemporaries but I opted for this box because sometimes you can discover a new favourite completely by accident (I didn't think I liked historical fiction until all of my favourite books from last year had a historical setting!) so I was willing to give anything a go! I also find that I very rarely buy adult fiction for myself when I'm in bookstores so I thought this would be a great way to maybe discover more interesting reads.

For £14.99 you can get either the fiction box (which I opted for) or the mixed box which also contains some non-fiction titles as well. And then if you're particularly picky or you just want to try a specific genre you can also get Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, and Light Reads boxes for £21.99. It's also available as a subscription service where you receive 4 new books every one-four months!

Now we get to move on to the fun bit (and probably why most of you are here), just what did I get in my mystery fiction box from A Box of Stories?

New Year, New room

8 Jan 2021

*this post contains gifted items*

New Year, New Lockdown restrictions. It looks like even heading into the new year we'll be spending even more time inside and as it's the winter it's important that our inside time is as cosy as possible. I got a new blanket for Christmas so I'm definitely getting into the cosy staying inside mood.

One thing that's super important for staying sane during lockdown is avoiding monotony because when every day starts to roll into one, things can start to feel a little heavy, especially now that we're in the winter season and the days are darker. One thing I struggle with is spending all the daylight hours working which means that when it's time to relax, it's dark outside so you can't even really get outside to do your once a day exercise.

Thet's why I decided that my gallery wall needed a bit of a freshen up. Fresh look, fresh mindset and all that. Gone are my beloved Copenhagen prints (for now at least) and hanging in their place is my new Orange Rainbow Poster from Photowall.
It's no secret that I'm a tad obsessed with all things Scandi (hence the Copenhagen shots) so whenever Photowall, a Swedish design company, reached out to me I was beyond thrilled to accept. I try to incorporate as much Scandi style into my life as possible and I just immediately fell in love with everything that Photowall have to offer.