Yelly Writes

Week 1 done!

So, this is my first entry for 2019!

New year and new (recycled) resolutions. Have you written written down yours?

I’ve said I would, this year, do the following:

  • Write more (either blog or journal, although, great Instagram captions might apply?)
  • Read more
  • Get healthy (no that’s not a metaphor for me gaining weight, on the contrary, I need to lose weight, lower my blood sugar levels and move more)
  • Take more photographs (for the blog, for Instagram and for my personal development)
  • Finish the Instaretreat (I am such a good starter but a very weak finisher. I need help and motivation!)
  • Bake and cook more (and write about it, hey, it’s two birds with one stone! Yay me!)

I’ve been busy with real life and the past few weeks have been quite the challenge. I have been adjusting to my new meds (that’s another blog, in itself. But it takes courage to write it down for all and sundry to see. I’m not quite that brave yet!), and they make me really sluggish. But I’m trying to find ways to deal with the sluggishness and the excuses I make for being stuck in the inertia of inactivity.

The week started with me hitting the ground running. It was a short week, but was it ever so busy. The work just kept running and I just felt that some of the people I worked for were throwing stuff at me because they wanted to hold my attention for longer. I used to work for just one person but now that I’m working for 3 directors, someone feels a little less looked after. Bless! I can be magnanimous now but at times this week, I’ve had to bite my tongue and sit on my hands and give in to my desire to say, “Hey, I know what you’re up to, and I’m not falling for the rank-pulling! What are you, five?!” But I didn’t…and I am proud of myself.

I’ve put together a book list and I’ve started with a humdinger of a read. I’m reading Laura Purcell’s The Silent Companions. Have you read it? What are your thoughts? Unlike some people, I don’t mind spoilers because I do get stuck in and despite knowing the end, I still, somehow, get surprised (if there is an unexpected twist). Opinions are welcome! Oh and if you are reading something, what are you reading? I’m curious!

The kitchen in my tiny little flat has been busy this weekend. I’ve actually managed to make banana jam. Why banana jam, you ask? Because Alan and I went to Yotam Ottolenghi’s Spitalfields restaurant and I fell in love with the banana jam (it’s slathered on that lovely piece of sourdough on the the left in the picture below).

Alan found the recipe and I couldn’t believe something delicious only had 5 ingredients and it was so easy to do! I’ll have to remember not to scarf down my banana jam-laden piece of toast and take a photo for the blog (and my food IG account @yellyeats…yep, I’m not ashamed to self promote!). I’m told (by the blog I read it from) that this recipe isn’t in any of Ottolenghi’s books so if you’re interested in making it, the recipe I used Belleau Kitchen’s measurements and it’s ever so yummy. I will, however, take a page from Dominic’s book and tweak it so that it becomes my version of the recipe. I do have a few more bananas left so I guess that means I’m baking banana bread again!

In terms of health, I am going to charge up my Fitbit again and start counting steps again. I’m going for 10,000 steps or more every day. Fingers crossed!

I’ve got to stop now as I do need to finish washing up and making a fish pie for supper. It’s been a lazy weekend but a busy one too! What have you been up to?

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Yelly Reads

What are you reading?

I’ve been on a massive reading spree lately!  I’ve read the following:

Into The Water because, well, because Paula Hawkins!

The Girl Before, mostly because I loved the cover.  But JP Delaney is a brilliant writer.

The Secret, because again, I liked the cover.  But I already had one of Katerina Diamond’s books on my Kindle collection already but hadn’t gotten around to reading it.  After finishing The Secret, I knew I had to read The Teacher!

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay is basically the memoirs of a junior doctor.  If you didn’t appreciate the NHS and all the medical practitioners who work there, you will after reading this book!

I do love a good book.  I am particularly pleased when it’s a proper book because I enjoy turning the pages.

What are you reading at the moment?

Yelly Reads

#readinggoals this week!

So this is my book pile.  I’m not entirely sure how long this is going to take me to finish all these books but here goes nothing!

book stackIn my to-read list (from top to bottom and not in any order of importance):

  • Our Kind Of Traitor by John Le Carré
  • Get Started On Food Writing by Kerstin Rodgers (aka @MsMarmiteLover)
  • The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins (reading it for the nth time!)
  • Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss
  • Get Rich Blogging by Zoe Griffin
  • Girl Friday by Jane Green
  • Voracious by Cara Nicoletti (attempting a second read without munching on anything!)

Lord knows when I’m going to finish it, but I’m going to try!

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Yelly Reads

Comfort reading

There are books that you just pick up and read and it feels like being enveloped in a soft, warm duvet.  These are my comfort books.  Over the years my comfort reading list has evolved and my current list has been my go-to list for a few years.  I had titles by Ingalls Wilder, Austen, Brontës, Keenes, and Blume in my list when I was growing up.  I think these will always be my duvet day standbys, but now that I’m (way) over the age of majority, my tastes are a bit more varied.  I find myself reaching for the following books:

The Languedoc Trilogy by Kate Mosse

LanguedocTrilogyIt’s a series of books that are set in Carcasssone, in the Languedoc region of France, near the Pyrénées.  I find myself repeatedly drawn to books that have a bit of historical fiction in them and these definitely hit the spot!  They are an excellent read.  I started with, of course, the first book of the trilogy, Labyrinth.  Once I’d read this, I knew I had to get the other books to read.  So I moved on to read Sepulchre and Citadel.  It’s not difficult reading, even with the history and the Occitan language inclusions.  I’ve read each book about twice now.  Next on my to-read list is Kate Mosse’s Winter Ghosts, which is also set in the Languedoc region.

Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

HarryPotterbooksSo who hasn’t read the Harry Potter books?  I fell in love with the world that J.K. Rowling created.  I first started with the Scholastic Books version and moved on to the Bloomsbury editions which I enjoyed the most.  It had all the British references that makes Harry Potter Harry Potter.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

EatPrayLoveI was still in the Philippines when I watched Oprah Winfrey interview Elizabeth Gilbert in 2007.  Oprah waxed lyrical about the book, how the insights changed her life.  That piqued my interest but I didn’t necessarily think it was going to be this mind-blowing read.  It wasn’t until I moved to England that I actually read the book, and I read the book at just the right time.  I read it when I was at a crossroads of my life and needed to make a lot of difficult decisions about the direction I wanted my life to take and who I wanted to have in my life when I moved forward.  It changed my life and helped me get a different perspective.  I still read the book, when I need to be inspired or need to think about things differently.  Yep, the book is amazing like that.  I even did an Oprah – I bought the copies of the books and sent it to my friends so they could read it too!

Julie and Julia: My Year Of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

JulieandJuliaI love this book but I think part of the reason I love this book is because I really did love the movie and I so loved Amy Adams in it.  Amy Adams made the character relatable and made me want to read the book (mostly because I love to cook, read cookbooks and I have a blog where I can be, more often than not, self-deprecating).  I think Oprah liked the book as well, which was another factor (I do love Oprah’s book club choices!).  I know there are a lot of reviews about how bad Julie Powell really is, how selfish she is and self-centered and all that.  But when I read the book, I found myself wanting to find out how she managed to dig herself out of the hole she put herself in.  I mean, I know that she had an affair (this wasn’t in the movie), but Julie Powell in her book certainly wasn’t a flat character!

The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris

thehappinesstrapI was introduced to this book by my therapist.  I needed counselling because I was fast approaching a burn-out at work and I was getting more and more sick because of stress and it was affecting my performance and my psyche.  I absolutely loved this book because it allowed me to learn how to tackle my worrying (most eldest children will be able to relate to the pressure that we put ourselves under to be perfect, how we all constantly worry that we won’t measure up).  The most important thing is that it taught me to think about my worrying differently.  I think I’m a long way away from not being a worry-wort (I think that’s what makes me good at my job – I worry about the future too much!) but I’m getting better at dealing with the stress that worrying brings.  It is a different approach to therapy.  I still read portions of it when I have moments.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

TheGirlOnTheTrainI LOVE this book.  I bought it off Amazon because it was about a girl who rode a train everyday.  Hello! My daily work commute involves me getting on a train for over an hour to get to work.  It was something I thought I could relate to (no spoilers so that’s all I’m going to say).  But I didn’t expect this lovely little thriller to grip me in the way that it did.  I couldn’t wait to get home so that I could read more of it and find out how the story unfolded.  I nearly missed my several times because I was so engrossed!  Am so looking forward to Paula Hawkins’ second book.  This was an amazing debut!  I would suggest reading it before the movie hits the screens (Emily Blunt’s in it!) because they’ve changed a few things in the screenplay.

Yelly Reads

Now reading: The Year of Taking Chances

I am so far loving this book!  I think it’s mainly because I can relate to each of the characters.  I am at a crossroads in my life where I want to gain a better perspective on all the aspects of my life: my relationships, my career, my passions and my life plan.  I’ve been constantly sighing and whinging about wanting to change things and yet I am plagued by an immobilising inertia that stops me from going after what I want.

This might just be the book that I need to inspire me!  Well, realistically, if it isn’t, it’s a brilliantly written book that is definitely entertaining! 🙂

The Year of Taking Chances

Yelly Reads

Book change: Practical Magic

Sometimes you find that books are hard to read; sometimes because the pace is not quick enough or sometimes things move on too quickly for you to catch up, or sometimes because there are too many hard truths that you can relate to that reading has become uncomfortable, or sometimes it’s just not exactly the read you expected it to be.  I’m at that stage in reading Us by David Nicholls.  I love it, but I’ve hit a reading wall with it, so I’m putting it down for a while and coming back to it later.

I’ve started on a different book: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman.  I read it once when I was in a “witchy” phase (chalk it up to taking anthropology and world history in one semester and working on a paper on comparative witchcraft!) but I don’t think I completely appreciated the book when I read it.  I loved the movie though (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman in one movie with one heck of a soundtrack!).  The movie screenplay is different from the book but nevertheless, I loved the movie and the book.  I’ve started the book again and I am reading it with different (probably more jaded) eyes and a fresh perspective.  I knew why loved it then and I am enjoying it now.

There’s a twist to this as well: I’m reading an actual book!  The action of actually turning a page is priceless.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my Kindle (being able to carry a veritable library in one’s handbag is amazing!) but there is something beautifully interactive with reading an actual book!

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Yelly Reads

Good read: Us

I’ve actually started a new book – yes again!  Someone said that I was a quick reader.  I think it’s a sign that I’m stressed.  Reading is a bit of an escape for me.  I get to stop thinking about things that worry me and I get to wonder about someone else’s issues for a change – and I don’t have to worry.  I just have to read so that I see things unfolding.  It’s a good thing.

I’m reading Us by David Nicholls (he wrote One Day).  It’s about a biochemist whose marriage is failing.  But he and his wife decide that despite the fact that they are going to get a divorce, they go on a trip with their teenaged son and while on the trip, the son disappears.  I haven’t got any further than that though.

The story appeals to me though, because of the sciency bits.  One of the nerdy jokes that got me giggling to myself on the train (no doubt attracting weird looks) was the joke that said “The only acid in this house is deoxyribonucleic acid!”  As the main character is a biochemist, I wasn’t surprised that there was a lot about labs and research.  It made me smile when the Drosophila melanogaster was mentioned along with genetic mapping.  The Drosophila melanogaster is the scientific name for the common fruitfly.  I have first-hand experience with fruitflies because my dad is a geneticist and he was working on a project that involved fruitflies.  Fruitflies are a blight on Philippine mangoes and my dad was attempting to sterilise the fruitflies, so that they only produced female flies.  I don’t really know if my dad was successful, but it was because of this project that Drosophila melanogaster was a big fixture in our life for a very long time.

I’m still reading.  So the jury’s out.  But then again, I did get the book because it was a David Nicholls book and I loved One Day.  I am loving the book so far thought.  More so now because I seem to have found a connection with the main character!

Us by David Nicholls