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

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

First 12 books of 2017

How To Be A WomanCaitlin Moran

This is a kind of CaiMoran’sorans autobiography of how she sees she is a woman. It is funny and witty and has many forward thinking ideas, but I would not agree with her on all her points. She goes through many important stages in a woman’s life; getting the period, getting married, boy crushes, boobs etc. And the thing I was thinking throughout the book is “I wish I had this as a teenager”. It would have made me feel that what I am going through is normal, although she didn’t make these things sound normal.  3/5

Shadows of the WorkhouseJennifer Worth

Small glimpses of life in the middle 20th century London. It is a portrayal of lives of people who were struggling during that time. The workhouse, the living conditions in that time in London and how people treated each other. I laughed reading this book, I cried, I smiled and I wanted to hear more. It is excellently written and I would recommend this to everybody! 4/5

First 12 books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas

I can’t believe it took me this long to read this classic. It followed the story of D’Artagnan and his musketeer friends. Their blind trust and courageousness. It is an adventure, chivalry and comradery. Quite unexpected. It is not the fastest book to read, but very intriguing and I really wanted to finish the story. I was so excited to learn, as well, that the book is based on real-life events and people, among them D’Artagnans memoir. 3/5

PersepolisMarjane Satrapi

This is actually a two piece graphic novel, which I finished so quickly! Based partly in Iran where the main character Marjane is growing up during the recent Islamic revolution and partly in Europe where she moves as a teenager. It explains what is is like living in this type of a country and what people do to keep their sanity. And later on, it explores Marjane’s feelings of superficial and ignorant Europeans. I recommend everybody to read this one as it opens your eyes to a new culture and the world. The story is so current and I think everybody should read it! 5/5

Me before YouJojo Moyes

If somebody doesn’t know what this book is about I am surprised. It is about a girl who is kind of lost in her life and finds excitement and drive to her life while working as a career to a quadriplegic man. It is a sweet, but also a very sad story. It does keep you reading to find out what happens in the end, although it is quite expected. 3/5

UtopiaSir Thomas More

A story about a world that some might find a dream, other too constrictive. It is a world of the perfect piece, community and one goal. It is an interesting read and it certainly woke my imagination and I instantly wanted to comment on what I was reading. It was a slow book to read, because of it’s monotonous tone. A philosophical read that will make you think. 2/5

The Buried GiantKazuo Ishiguro

One of my favourite books of all time. This book was mystical fantasy. The whole story was a dreamlike tale of a couple’s adventure. The elderly couple struggle upon many challenges, which are directly related to the problems in the real world. Would you like to remember everything or something better to leave unsaid? This story will make you think and it will make you cry, but it is so beautifully written it made me instantly want to read all of the author’s books! Absolutely beautiful book! 5/5

First 12 books of 2017 - byLiiL

My Life On The RoadGloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem’s biography of her travels and experiences when she was travelling to India or around the USA. It is at a time when the women’s movement was firing up and the USA elected their first African American president. This book is a wonderful group of tales about people, how empowering they can be and how when they unite they can make things happen. It was inspiring and at parts very depressing. This book was very concentrated on political and women’s movements, but it provided me with a good insight into the late 90’s of the USA. So Interesting! 4/5

Career of EvilRobert Galbraith

The third book in the Cormoran Strike series and still keeping it strong. I love a good detective book and J.K. Rowlings rich and surprising writing. In this book, Cormoran and his assistant Robin are faced with a serial killer who is threatening them. It is written from both of the heroes view as well as the villains. There are unexpected turns in the love life, there is the deepening relationship in the workplace and the disgusting mind of a serial killer. If you like a detective novel, read this book! 4/5

Animal FarmGeorge Orwell

This book tells a story about farm animals that fight off the human’s of the farm and revolutionise how the farm is kept. At the core, it is about freeing the animals from the human bondage and seeing how new power makes the animals behave. It is interesting to see how these animals start to seem more human the more you read it and how easy it is to manipulate people’s minds through slow propaganda. Interesting but quite depressing! 4/5

1984George Orwell

Very much like the Animal Farm, 1984 follows what seems like a ubiquitous place. A very communist world where people are not allowed to think for themselves, where even though it is supposed to be communist there is a small group of people who are in command and everybody is perfectly manipulated into the same mould. Where love is forbidden, children are coached to spy on their parents and nobody is your friend. Everything is for the good of the republic. It tells about an older man who wakes up to different views and hopes that there is resistance among the people in this country, that it wouldn’t always be like this. This story made me think of North Korea. I don’t know if North Korea is like this, but this is the closest to what I can imagine and it is very horrifying! This book will make you thankful of being in the world that you are in and in the wrong hands good give ideas of how to make it worse. 3/5

The Underground RailroadColson Whitehead

A recent Pulitzer prize winner, this book tells a story about a girl who escapes slavery with the help of the underground railroad. It tells a story of the time when slavery was ending, but people didn’t know what to do with the African Americans. In the south they were a property, in some states they were banned, in the north some became free. In each case, there were difficulties with the people around them. White people were afraid of them and thought of ways of how to minimise their threat, how to elevate themselves. It was an interesting and a quick read, which thought me a lot about the horrible way people were treated at that time. Although, I am not sure if I like that the underground railroad was portrayed in such a literal way, as it made me very confused. 3/5

 

What books have you read in 2017?

With love,

Lii

What was I up to in January

Unlike the usual belief of January being gloomy and depressing mine has been anything but. January, for me, has been busy with planning the year ahead, reflecting on the previous year and sobering from the holiday festivities. I wrote several posts about my goals, how to make goals that stick and how to make your own diary for the year 2017. Following my own tips, I have created a several step plan for this year how to achieve my goals. Starting with getting a membership card to a yoga studio, which I have been loving!

DIY Diary 2017 - byLiiL

Although full of work and thinking, I have not been as busy as in December so I’ve had the time to enjoy my Christmas presents, some culture this month and reflect on my favourite books from 2016 while planning on my extensive book list for this year.

Favourite books of 2016 - byLiiL

Sustainability has been firmly on my mind and I have shared with you the Bee’s Wrap sheets as well as the sustainable form of vegetable marking. Now I am off to research more sustainable topics and plan new content for the blog. It will be exciting!!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Full of Culture - byLiiL

How was you January?

With love,

Lii

How to make your Goals stick?

When I first started making goals I just came up with things that I wanted to happen without another thought about them and it was not a surprise that they did not happen. It wasn’t until I really really wanted something that I made it into a goal (without realising) and started working hard towards it. Now 6 years later most of my goals I have actually achieved. How I did it? With these simple steps.

How to make goals - byLiiL

Think what you want from life.

I call these the ultimate goals or life goals. Is it travelling, owning your own house, a person who loves you, getting high grades? Write them down. They might seem impossible now, but writing them down is the first step towards making it happen.

What you would need to do to make that happen.

Do you need to earn money? Do you need to educate yourself in some way or maybe become more social? Write these down under your life goals. There can be more than one step to each life goal, actually, there can be many steps. Don’t let this frighten you or depress you.

How to make goals - byLiiL

How long?

Now with each of these steps decide how long will it take you to achieve that or how long you will give yourself time to achieve it. Are there more steps within these steps that you need to take to achieve them? Write them down.

That is how you make goals. You make something that seems so far out of reach reachable by making small steps to attain them. Each step you can make into a goal. However, for the goal to stick you need to have a time period in which you want to achieve it and write it down specifically.  If your goal is ‘read more books’ it doesn’t really determine how many books you want to read and it will not make you push towards that goal. Instead ‘read 15 books in the year 2017’ will actually make you push towards that goal.

Happy 2017 Goals- byLiiL

Rewards

Although, I think reaching a goal feels rewarding in itself I do sometimes set a reward to reach a certain goal. Such as ‘I can order 3 more books ones I’ve read the 25 books’. It helps you push towards that goal when you really don’t feel like it.

When you break your life goals into steps it makes it much more achievable and more in your control. It also helps you to track how far away from your goals you are. Goals help you feel the sense of achievement and I find they help me feel satisfied with my life and a sense of purpose.

 

Happy Goal making! Do you have any additional suggestions on how to make goals?

With love,

Lii