The 3rd 12 Books of 2017

UprootedNaomi Novik

A modern fantasy story with kings, queens, dragons and wizards. The story is a fascinating tale where good and bad is not so black and white. It is a bit predictable at times, but interesting none the less. I found the protagonist a bit annoying at times and the characters are not as well developed, so the story is driven by the plotline. 4/5

The Colour PurpleAlice Walker

This book is based on a time after the slavery. It follows a woman who is passed from her fathers home to her husbands home as she is passed on. It discusses her depressive life, women’s position in the world at that time and the family life. It sounds depressive, but the plotline gets more positive the more you read it and I absolutely loved the characters in the book. 5/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Versions of UsLaura Barnett

This book tells a story about two people with three different scenarios of how their lives might have happened and how they will end up in some way together no matter what. It discusses love, infidelity, regular family life and unsupportive relatives. This book reminded me of One Day in a way, but not as romantic. Still, it made me shed a few tears. 3/5

ParadisoDante Alighieri

The second book of the Divine Comedy tells how the protagonist is climbing into heaven through the different levels of purgatory where souls are repenting for their misgivings before they can get to heaven themselves. The third book is a bit harder to read than the first one, especially as the characters can be unknown which makes the relevance hard to understand. There is an appendix where it explains most lines, but it is even harder to go back and forth while reading. 3/5

The Secret HistoryDonna Tartt

A book that surprised me a lot! A different type of murder mystery, where the murder itself is not the mystery but the reason behind it. It is a very sophisticated book with interesting characters and setting where they study classics. Made me also interested in studying classics, or at least reading more about it. The book is long but reads well and I found every chapter interesting. 4/5

Cradle to CradleWilliam McDonough

I’ve written a whole post about this book before and you can read about it here. It introduces a design philosophy where nothing is wasted and all the ingredients are collected and reused again. 5/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The PowerNaomi Alderman

The power is a dystopian story. It entertains the idea that women get a new part in their bodies which gives them electric powers and therefore power over men. The book follows several interesting characters both female and male through this time when men are afraid and take rash decisions to protect themselves and women get aggressive. The book provides an interesting idea of how people might react in such a situation. This was a fascinating book and I would definitely recommend reading it. 4/5

FatedBenedict Jacka

This is definitely a young adult fantasy book which follows the protagonist while he fights bad mages. Some beings in the story are interesting, but the plot is very predictable, names unimaginative and it is very cheesy most of the time and made me cringe hundreds of times. I didn’t enjoy how he wrote about women, which wasn’t rude but not considerate as well. 2/5

PurgatoryDante Alighieri

The third book of the Divine Comedy was even harder to read than the second. In it the protagonist is trying to get used to heaven, understand it and love everything, especially God unconditionally. It is hard to understand and very slow to read although it is not long. 3/5

Nicholas and AlexandraRobert K. Massie

A history book telling the story of the last tsar and tsarina of Russia. It is a sad, although, highly fascinating explanation on how they lived, what were they like and why the people of Russia misunderstood them, and how all of it resulted in a revolution. You really get a sense of what their lives were like and what it was like being an aristocrat in Russia in the beginning of the 20th century. 5/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Paper MagicianCharlie M. Holmberg

The story is about a young woman who has just graduated from a mage school and is now set as an apprentice to a paper mage where she is to become a paper mage herself, although she is not looking forward to that as she would rather do any other magic than paper. The story takes her on a horrific adventure to save her master and fall in love with paper magic. The storyline moves well but is naive and a bit childish. 3/5

FashionChristopher Breward

This is a book on the fashion history, however quite superficial at that. It was lead by the emergence of the designer and their fame. The book did introduce quite many interesting points on why history moved with fashion in a certain way, but it missed many other factors. The language was dry to read and therefore the book was not very enjoyable. 2/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

What books have you read recently?

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Books and New Year

Alias Grace – Not the Netflix show but the book. The show looks so enticing I had to have and read the book before watching it. Santa obliged and I am almost halfway through the book already and can’t stop reading it is so interesting!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Books and New Year - byLiiL

Exploding Kittens – My sister introduced me to this game a while back when she last visited me and since then I’ve had the feeling that it would be a nice addition to our slowly growing board and card game collection. Finally, during the Christmas break, I just had to have it and I ordered one and we’ve been playing it a lot ever since. Funnily, the game is so quick, even with my very competitive nature I don’t mind losing the game as new one will be played soon.

Lovely Holiday Time – As the last happy favourites were before Christmas and this one is long overdue it might as well include the lovely time I had while on break. Christmas and New Years were both lovely, quiet and relaxed. We played a lot of board games, saw some of our friends and I completely lost my sleeping rhythm having to painfully try to get back to it now. I enjoyed long mornings with a book and a coffee and delicious food with cheese nearly every day. I rarely let myself relax quite this much, and managed to finish two books, which I had prolonged for way too long, by the end of the first week of January.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Books and New Year - byLiiL

The next set of reading – As I finally finished three books that I had been reading for ages I started a whole new selection of books. I didn’t use to read so many at the same time but find it helpful for different situations. I don’t like to read anything too exciting in the evening as then I won’t sleep, but the Sex and World Peace is a course book for international relations, which doesn’t leave me imagining what will happen next when I am trying to sleep. And I don’t often want to carry a heavy or thick book with me when I am travelling so I am always reading some ebook on my phone. At the moment it is A Gentleman in Moscow.

New plant book – I’ve been wanting a book about plants for so long and as you might’ve read in the goals post I finally received one. Now I should have a better understanding of how to take care of my succulents!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Books and New Year - byLiiL

Delicious Food at Nan Tuk – Our newest favourite place to eat in Glasgow is Nan Tuk which offers tapas style Asian food. The food is delicious and the “tapas” style portions are quite big. Two portions are enough to get you full and satisfied.

Finally back to yoga again – It is one of my goals to get back and used to yoga. I almost went earlier on but my cold came back right on the day when I was planning it. This time it was no stopping me and the feeling afterwards and during was great! Now my muscles are sore but happy!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Books and New Year - byLiiL

How was your week?

With love,

Lii

Goals and Reflections

As the year of 2018 began I scrolled through so many goals posts and New Years resolution posts it just made me depressed. I ended the year 2017 with a couple of colds one after the other and started the year 2018 with yet another cold, so I didn’t have the energy for much else than watching Netflix and drinking my new favourite Pukka tea. I thought to myself every day that I need to now make the new diary and start planning this year, but the task seemed pointless when it was already the 5th of January and everybody had already started working on their goals rather than just thinking about them.

Goals and Reflections - byLiiL

Then I read the blog post by Rebecca from roses about how she also started the year with a cold and how she decided not to let it bother her, and I realised that is exactly how I should be thinking about it as well! New Years is for many the time to start over, but I don’t think I am starting over, I will be continuing with the goals I set last year and building on them with maybe a couple of new ones. But the funny thing is that I didn’t wait until new years to set those goals, I’ve thought of them earlier and started working on them. On New Years I like to reflect on how I did with the goals I set the previous year and then see if I need to refine anything for the coming year. This doesn’t need to be done right after the year changes, but whenever I feel that I need to do it. In the words of my partner “New Years is just one day among the rest of them” the only speciality of it is that our culture has decided to follow this calendar system when the year changes on a certain date. There are other cultures where they might follow another way to follow years and when they change.

Goals and Reflections - byLiiL

It is, of course, easier, after the long holiday break, to get back to business if you have goals, and it is great to make plans to go to the gym to lose all the holiday weight. However, the way I see it, it is quite awful to start working on all those plans straight away with the highest productivity at a time when it is dark and damp and the only thing you want to do is sleep and eat those delicious comfort foods you can get delivered to your door. I feel much more motivated and alive in the spring when nature is coming to life and there is more light. That is the time I feel at my most productive and inspired!

So if you feel left out, like I, from all the goal setting, don’t worry. There are still over 300 days to set goals for this year and many more to set goals for your life! And if you have any trouble to reflect or make goals you should check this post by Anuschka Rees.

Goals and Reflections - byLiiL

REFLECTING ON 2017

You can see what goals I set for myself in 2017 here.

My year of 2017 was tough and demanding in many ways, but also one of the happiest I’ve had so far! I got recognition as a freelancer and due to getting out of my shell and actually talking to people and networking I got more work, was able to gain my main income from freelance work and got great contacts for the future! This was hard but very rewarding! I used my money smartly and only on things I felt I needed. I got engaged, which will mark this year deep into my heart and I met my godson who I will love forever!

The goals that I did achieve were:

  • The reading challenge of reading 24 books, which I exceeded by reading 36, more on them in another post.
  • I kept most of my plants alive and learned better to understand what they need. I also finally got a book about plants for Christmas!
  • I made great leaps in understanding sustainability not only in fashion and textiles but on a much wider and global scale. The biggest thing I learned is that the problem is much more widespread and rooted into our culture and the humankind and it will take a lot of hard work to change our culture into a more mindful and nurturing towards our planet.

I still need to work a lot on German, yoga and photography!

Goals and Reflections - byLiiL

MY GOALS FOR THE YEAR 2018

  • Holidays and Trips – I have several trips scheduled for this year either for work, seeing family or just a holiday. My goal is to actually make them all come true and be a sustainable traveller at that.
  • Family and Friends – Spending more time with family and friends who are close to me. We live quite far away from our families and so need to make extra effort to see them and keep in touch with them. I know that I feel better after talking to my family and friends and I want to share the same feeling with them!
  • Being healthy – In my body and in my mind. When I get busier with my work I seem to lose touch with keeping myself healthy, maybe that is why I’ve got so many colds in the past couple of months? So as I want to progress with my career I need to remember to take care of myself and listen to myself. In other words more yoga, meditation and walks outside alone or with a friend!
  • Sustainable life – make at least 3 changes for a more sustainable life. Only 3 because I realise that I want to properly change my lifestyle to accommodate the changes and because 3 is attainable.
  • Learn German – I am sure this will be on my goals list until I will be fluent in it!
  • Social skills – As I saw already some development in my social skills I would like to develop them more and be more comfortable around people.
  • Time for creativity – I realise that the reason I didn’t achieve some of my goals is that I didn’t give them the time to actually be creative with it and trying things out. So now I need to give myself time to be creative with photography, writing and any other creative endeavours I come up with!

Goals and Reflections - byLiiL

2017 was great! I am now more confident with myself and my career. I couldn’t be happier with my partner who supports me in anything I do and loves me unconditionally. I have a great life and I am striving to make others lives better. So now I hope my 2018 will be even better!

 

What are your goals for 2018? Have you made goals? What do you wish for 2018?

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Trips and Wildlife

A Trip to the Isle of Mull – We had a visitor for the week and to make things more interesting we decided to visit the Isle of Mull. I was really excited about Isle of Mull being one of the best places for wildlife watching, although we only saw a bunch of birds and seals, it was still exciting! The island was beautiful and Tobermory charming! And I will have a separate post about the trip soon.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Trips and Wildlife - byLiiL

Seeing New Lanark – Another trip we did with our guest was to the New Lanark, the Unesco World Heritage site, and a Brick City which was on the site as well. It was quite a fun day. I enjoyed learning about the history of New Lanark, play with Lego’s and have a walk along the river Clyde and the Falls of Clyde. If you want to read more about New Lanark I wrote about it here.

Beautiful Ring Neck Parakeet – After a week of trying to see wildlife in different locations around Scotland, we finally saw something exciting in a park next to our house! Due to a warmer climate in the Scotland (affected by climate change), a family of Ring Neck Parakeet have moved to the park next to us. They are these beautiful green parrots that look absolutely out of place there. Nevertheless, of the horrid truth of climate change, it is interesting to see how life finds its way.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Trips and Wildlife - byLiiL

Seeing Highland Cows Finally – While on our drive I finally got to see the Highland cows. It is quite unbelievable that it took me this long to see them when Scotland should be littered with them.

Guests – It is always lovely to have guests. It is new kind of socialising that I don’t do daily and it is amazing to see people who you see rarely! You get that extra energy after their visit for some time.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Trips and Wildlife - byLiiL

Mull Heather Soy Candle – As the weather has been getting colder I’ve been enjoying using candles again. Not often, but it does make a chilly day a lot more comfortable. On my trip to the Isle of Mull, I found this candle in one of the little local shops. I loved the scent, which was natural and gentle, and it is made out of soy. Score!

Print Pattern Book – I love books! Both that I can read and that provides me with inspiration. So I was absolutely thrilled to find this print pattern book in the shop at New Lanark. It is about the history of prints and patterns with beautiful imagery!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Trips and Wildlife - byLiiL

Now looking at the points I see that mostly I was excited to see animals and it definitely is one of the most exciting things in life!

How was your week?

With love,

Lii

What I Was Up To In July

In July I wasn’t writing quite as consistently but I cut myself some slack as I was busy with work and enjoying the summer. We’ve had surprisingly quite a few sunny days in Scotland during July (not just the usual greyness throughout), so I spend many days walking, enjoying a drink in a beer garden or dreaming (who else dreams when looking out and it’s sunny?). Books were like magnets to me this month, and I finished my goal for reading 24 books in 2017 in July.

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

Sustainability was strongly on my mind through out the month, possibly because I found and got inspired by Anthony Day’s podcast the Sustainable News Report. I wrote about why I rather shop from small brands, about one sustainable fashion brand Doo.Bla.Vey and about natural and organic toothpaste brand Georganix, in addition to sharing articles on different points of view in sustainability and other topics. It is really exciting to be able to write about sustainable topics and research them and quite mind boggling to realise how little I still know about sustainability and climate change.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Happy With Plants - byLiiL

At the beginning of the month, I shared my favourite Instagram pics from June, which looked more green than I imagined they would. I also got some additions to my plant family in my house and have been ogling at them ever since I potted them in the cutest coloured pots.

Overall July was a good month and I hope August will keep the same feeling going! I would love to hear how your July was and if you got up to anything fun or enjoyed something, in particular, share in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Happy With Plants

New Potted House Plants – Actually, the plants themselves aren’t new, I’ve had them for ages just hadn’t had the time to plant them. Now they are in beautifully colourful little pots.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Happy With Plants - byLiiL

My Avocado Is Growing – Following up on the previous point, I also planted two avocado seeds already in April and now I planted them in pots as well. Here’s hoping they will grow beautifully!

Logan – I really liked the X-Men series so decided to watch Logan as it kind of was part of the story. I liked the movie but felt a bit disturbed by it. The story was sad, although the ending full of hope and new beginnings.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Happy With Plants - byLiiL

Uprooted – I have a funny relationship with this book. I couldn’t stop reading it, although some of the text made me cringe. But what this book did was got me absolutely into its world and thinking and pondering it through out the day when I wasn’t reading it. Definitely, recommend this to those who like some fantasy!

The Environmental Impact of Web Hosting – This post by Ethical Unicorn was a revelation to me. She explained why she changed hosting her website to a wind power powered hosting site and although it all sounds absolutely logical, I had never even thought about it! Something for us all to think about and for other hosting sites to take an example off!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Happy With Plants - byLiiL

Game Of Thrones – And it is here again and I am so excited, although I know it will end before we know it. I am so excited to know where the story is going!

 

Let me know how your week was in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

 

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017

I’ve been really good with reading this year and already finished my 24 book goal that I had set for myself for this year. If you missed the review on the first 12 you can read it here. Here’s to fishing I will manage to write a third one before the end of this year as well!

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Good Girls RevoltLynn Povich

A story about how the women of the Newsweek sued their bosses, because of the discrimination towards women in pay and title. The book observes the lawsuit and what led to it in the 70’s, in addition to what are the women’s rights and conditions at the newspaper now.  The book is not told in a story telling way but is rather a report of the events. However, it is very interesting to read about what the conditions were then and now and to acknowledge how long it still is to be truly equal, even though the book only considers journalism. I really enjoyed it, although felt spurts of anger every now and again. 4/5

An Artist of the Floating WorldKazuo Ishiguro

This is a second book I read by Kazuo Ishiguro and I instantly recognised his style. The writing flowed smoothly and it was enjoyable to read. I am not usually interested in reading when travelling, especially when flying, but this book didn’t leave my hands when I was travelling. However, as in his other book, the main character in this book as well was oblivious of what was going on around him and was wondering it through out the book. Unlike the other book, in this one what the main character was oblivious about wasn’t really explained and I felt the books ending was abrupt and confusing, which is a shame as I enjoyed reading it.

The story itself is about a Japanese old man who used to be an artist before and during the Japanese revolution and the second world war. At his older age, he wonders how Japan has changed since the war. How women are more outspoken, people don’t respect quite the same values and Japan isn’t the glorious country it once was. It was interesting learning about the Japanese history from this point of view, but the ending kind of ruined it for me. 3/5

A Girl In ExileIsmail Kadare

I chose to read this book because it was easy to carry with me on a flight, but the impulse buy wasn’t quite worth it. The story is about a famous author in an eastern European country where after a revolution the Royals have been shunned from the public eye and locked/controlled in small towns from where they are not allowed to leave. A young royal girl is in love with the author and when she dies he gets entwined into the investigation. This all sounds more fascinating than it is. Most of the book tells of what is going in the author’s head and his struggles with the situation. 2/5

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

CosmopolisDon DeLillo

Is a story about a rich business owner who drives on his limousine through a day, has sex with multiple people and is paranoid for his life. He gets into weird situations and seems to have lost his interest in life. Ir is an odd story and I found it really hard to relate tot eh protagonist. For being such a thin book it was surprisingly hard to read. 2/5

Big MagicElizabeth Gilbert

I read this book because I was interested of the praise it’s gained in the social media. I really liked Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and thought I might like this one as well. I was right. This one is more of a self-help book than a novel, but it is full of the positivity with which Gilbert wrote ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. The book was full of positive affirmations and offered ways of thinking about creativity which lets creativity flow and reduces the pressure from it all. Truly uplifting and motivating book! 4/5

Cabaret of PlantsRichard Mabey

I got this book as a birthday present and read it through a couple of months before bed time enjoying the world of plants. The book was fascinating with the history of discovery and research of plants accompanied by illustrations and beautiful photography. It was too exciting so that I got good nights sleep, but exciting enough that I wanted to reach for it every night before bed. The book was very well written. I don’t really know much about plants and I wanted to keep reading this beautiful book. I loved to learn about the rare plants, the oldest trees and the plant weirdoes. I would definitely recommend reading this one! 4/5

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Orphan Master’s SonAdam Johnson

Not a book for the light hearted. Although it was easy to read due to the easy flow of the writing, it tells a story about North-Korea and the most horrible things the people are faced with there from torture to slavery. The story is about a man who grew up as an orphan and how he went through his life through a series of obstacles that should’ve left him dead, but somehow he lived. I thought the book was very interesting, but it left me shaken. The book was well researched and believable, although not relatable and felt more of a dystopian novel. 4/5

A Box Of Stars Beneath the Bed

This was another book that I was reading before going to sleep. It is a perfect for it with so many different and beautiful short stories written by different authors. Even if you don’t like all of the stories there will be several that will stay with you! 4/5

I Am MalalaMalala Yousafzai

I’ve already written about this book a couple of times when being inspired by tit. It is an autobiography by Malala Yousafzai who grew up in Pakistan, fought for girls right for education and got shot by the Taliban. It was interesting to read about her growing up in a Muslim country where people just want to live in peace but are int eh mids of Talibanisation. Really open your eyes to what Muslim is about and how terrorism affects us all. 4/5

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Architect’s ApprenticeElif Shafak

A story is about a young boy’s (Jahan) growth into manhood as an elephant mahout and an architects apprentice in Istanbul. Strange, unexplainable things are happening to Jahan and their building sites, whilst Istanbul’s population keeps growing and it is hit with one after another problem. The book is about Istanbul, love, bureaucracy, friendship with people and animals and perseverance.

I found this book a bit tough to read and felt that many parts of the book didn’t make sense. There were many story buildings which just unravelled or dropped out without explanation. In addition, the protagonist, Jahan, seemed to be very lucky through out the book that made it quite unrelatable. It was still interesting, but not the best book in the world. 2/5

The Heart Goes LastMargaret Atwood

A second book I’ve read by Atwood. In this book, compared to Handmaid’s Tale there was less remembering old times and the story builds on a straight timeline. It was about a couple who live in the USA during a time when 50% of the population is unemployed. A businessman comes up with a solution for the anarchy and offers people a twin city to live in. One month they live in beautiful houses, having jobs and security, and the second month they live in prison. It is a self-sustaining city and everything looks perfect. But it feels as though something else is brewing behind the closed doors. Although the book sounds like another dystopian story, the dystopia is within the love relationships, which it follows much more intently.

The book was easy to read and interesting, but not quite as good as Handmaid’s tale. 3/5

InfernoDante Alighieri

The first book from the Divine Comedy trilogy by Dante. I was afraid to start the book if it was too hard to read, but it wasn’t really. It is written as though it is one continues song and to make sense of what is happening you do need to concentrate on it. The harder part is the people discussed in the book who are from the 1700’s or before from history and other tales that the story slightly builds on. There is an accompanying explanation for each canto (chapter) at the end of the book though.

The story is about a man who is taken on a tour through the different levels of hell. It is interesting to read what was considered the worst sin at that time! 3/5

The 2nd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

What have you been reading lately? Can you recommend any books for me?

With love,

Lii