General musings

Book Review: Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

pre-wedding

Elizabeth is Missing is about an older woman called Maud who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Throughout this book we experience her life both past and present. We travel back into Maud’s memories when she was a young girl, living at home, and trying to make sense of a family tragedy. Flash forward to the modern day, and Maud is trying very hard to comprehend the world around her. She seems to be obsessed with one thing, that Elizabeth is Missing.

The extreme confusion that Maud appears to be feeling is a very powerful observation of what it must be like to suffer from a memory related disease. Her utter confusion about everyday items such as pencils and umbrellas is very insightful. I remember when my grandfather’s memory was going and it was very difficult to watch, but how much more painful must it be to be the person experiencing it?

In the end, we come to understand where Maud gets her wires crossed, and why things such as planting marrows are important to her. Her daughter Helen and her granddaughter Katy do their best to ensure that Maud is kept safe and try to remain patient with Maud’s relentless questioning. Are all of her queries and statements just a confused old woman’s train of thought, or does Maud’s memory serve her correctly? Will she ever find out what happened to Elizabeth, and will she ever get peace from the past that haunts her?

This book is an eye-opening read. We often sit by and observe the effects of dementia, but never give much thought to the way that the individual affected by it must feel. I really enjoyed this book and was very impressed with the ending. The book will leave you confused at times. You’ll find yourself asking whether Maud’s memories can be trusted; is she a reliable narrator? Will we ever understand what happened in her past? And, where the hell is Elizabeth?!

1-star1-star1-star1-star
A great read! Definitely worth picking it up!

General musings

Nature Therapy

Escaping to a place full of natural beauty has always been something that has helped me to de-stress. My places of choice usually include somewhere with lots of trees or somewhere with water. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it but these places make me feel so amazing.

img_0997
Galley Cove – West Cork


Going for a walk in the woods allows me to shake off all of the stress I’ve been carrying. I love to inhale the smell of the trees around me and feel disconnected from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Going to the beach always makes me sit back, inhale deeply, and realise that whatever is troubling me is not that bad. Perhaps its the blurry line of the horizon that reminds me that I’m a teeny tiny person on this earth and that my problems are really miniscule, or perhaps its the soothing sounds of the lapping waves that just allows me to let go. The point is I have no idea why these places cast a magic de-stressing spell over me, but they do.

img_1238
Sunset at The Lough, Cork


Being in nature really makes me feel free. I love to look at new landscapes and discover new sights. I’m the type of girl who would happily go camping in the rain instead of going to a 5* hotel, because I see it as an adventure and an invaluable way of making memories. Being disconnected from the stressful everyday is something that I think is absolutely essential. Busy has turned into something that appears to make us more valuable as people, however I am here to argue that this should not be the case.

img_0092
Lake in Killarney, Co Kerry


Being busy does nothing other than add stress and pressure. Yes you may feel that you are accomplishing things each day but I feel like there is no fun to be had in the Rat Race. We were not born to work, get burnt out, keep working, eventually retire, and then die! We were born to experience life in its most amazing form. Whether that is going on breaks away to see new places, having a BBQ on sunny days in your back garden, or travelling the world with your best friends. Life is meant to be a positive experience and not one that is dominated by stress and discomfort.

img_0940
Beautiful sky over Garretstown Beach, Co Cork


Taking the time to experience nature has so many benefits. Personally, I always feel much calmer, more relaxed, and far more optimistic on days where I take the time to go out and get lost in nature. It’s got this great sense of healing that I just can’t explain. I’ve never once regretted deciding to go out for a walk or drive across the county to the sea because afterwards I always feel rejuvenated and free!

img_1222
Sun shining over the Lee Fields, Co. Cork


The other day I listened to a podcast on my way to work. The podcast, Adventures in Happiness by Jessica Ortner, interviewed Jean Haner in its episode entitled Clearing Negative Energy. In this episode Jean talks about the healing energy that nature has, telling us that it will cleanse away what negative energy we might be holding on to.

img_0898
A hidden gem by Inniscarra, Co Cork


I listened to this podcast and felt that it resonated with me so much! I’ve listened to every single episode of this podcast to date and this episode was one I have taken a lot from! Nature, for me, is therapy. I can go into the depths of nature and do whatever it is I need to do; sometimes I might talk myself through a difficult situation, sometimes I might spend time with friends laughing, and other times I might be extremely mindful and soak up every ounce of the beauty that surrounds me.

img_9115
Sunrise in Cork City


Sometimes that beauty can be in the midst of the city. Whatever the beauty, as long as it’s natural, it is a gentle reminder that we are more than our jobs, more than our stressors, and more than we allow ourselves credit for. Nature and natural beauty allow me to be myself, wholly, truly, and completely. Unapologetically me. I can cry, laugh, sing, shout, and nature will still be there and will still be beautiful.

img_8052
Borghese Gardens in Rome, Italy


Do you feel that nature has a therapeutic role in your life? Let me know in the comments below! 

Sending love,

Cx

General musings

Life Updates…

Today the Universe taught me a lesson. Before 8am!

I got up, I went downstairs to the kitchen and applied my make up as breakfast was cooking. After I had eaten I went upstairs to brush my teeth, and because I was in a world of my own, I moisturised my face…. over my make-up… and ruined the whole thing…! Instead of freaking out and getting stressed I just laughed it off.

I was thinking about the moisturising incident on my drive to work and felt that the Universe must be telling me to try to focus more on the fun things, the funny things, the positive things. And I am so grateful for that lesson because it genuinely feels like the day just got worse from there. I can’t even go into it without wanting to cry so I’ll swiftly avoid the rest of the day and skip straight to my conclusions….

Working full time and studying = lots of stress
Life = lots of stress
Every day = good little things
Little things > Stressful times

I need to get my ass in gear and stop putting myself under so much pressure.
I need to do more of the things that make me happy.
I need to enjoy the ride.

This blog tends to get less of my attention as I’m doing assignments, which makes sense as I’m reading far more academic papers than I am books… I’ve been thinking of perhaps making this a book and lifestyle blog instead of just a book blog. I may have something interesting to say, and then again I may not! Who knows!

So, expect a bit of redecorating! I will still be posting book reviews but you may be seeing a bit more about me and my day to day life! (I apologise in advance if my life bores you!)

With love,

Cx

 

General musings

Where Have You Been?!

I’ve been exceptionally quiet here!
I have been working endlessly at college work and have not been able to read at all. I know this might sound very odd but it made me feel so resentful! I’ve been working so hard, day and night, to complete a fairly hefty project and in order to do this I had to sacrifice my reading time. Reading and writing for pleasure were deleted from my schedule; ironic given the fact that the tag line of this blog states “because there’s always time to read!”
I have been slowly reading The Master Key System each morning for 20 minutes as part of my Miracle Morning practice and am looking forward to reviewing it when I finish reading it! Fiction however was pushed to the wayside and, if I’m brutally honest, I missed it so much! It’s almost like a coping mechanism for me. You know that feeling of escape you get when you’re immersed in a fantastic book?! That’s what was missing for me! I felt as though I couldn’t escape the real world anymore. Not that the real world is a place of hurt or hate or torture for me, by any means! I simply missed the bliss of book reading! I’m glad to announce (and yes I’m announcing it because I feel like I have just climbed Everest!) that I have completed the project and can now get back to reading for pleasure as opposed to conducting interventions, researching academic journals and writing up findings! That is, until the next deadline comes a-looming!
As a reward to myself for completing the work, I’ve come to the rural coastline of the West of Ireland! A place where I have no phone reception and no internet! (Except for when I can tether my phone to someone else’s!) Why, you might ask?! To read in absolute peace and quiet!!! I’ve just finished Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult and can not wait to write up my review!
So, my fellow bookworms and bloggers, please forgive my absence! I’m back and am so glad and so grateful to be able to read and write and review again!
With love,

Cx

General musings

On Giving Up 

Do you “give up” on books??

I was never the kind of person that could leave a book unfinished but I feel, as I get older, why waste my time on something that brings me no joy?! 

Source

I’ve given up on The Man In The High Castle! It was incredibly boring! I decided to read the book because my Boyfriend started watching the TV show and said it was incredible. Naturally, as an avid reader, I assumed that the book would be better. Unfortunately for me I was very wrong. It was not to my taste at all. Different narratives were taking place within the same chapters and I was incredibly bored… not a happy happy! However, when I reached the 50% mark I made the decision to close the e-book and leave it closed. I couldn’t force myself to read a book that was not bringing me any satisfaction . 

What is your stance on  Giving Up? I’d love to hear what you have to say below!

Cx 

General musings

Self Help or Self Sabotage?

Picture This:

You’re sitting on the couch. You are feeling completely relaxed. The sun is shining through the window, highlighting all the little specks of dust that are floating about almost magically in the air. You have the window opened, just a smidge, leaving in a refreshing,cool breeze. You can hear nothing other than the cheerful chirping of the birds that are perched on the tree outside your house. (Optional: you have a sumptuous glass of red wine in hand, enjoying the bright and fresh flavours that grace your mouth with every sip!) You pick up your book which, contrary to your usual genre of fiction, is a “self-help” book! Intrigued, you flick to the opening pages and begin to read…

Do you a) feel completely inspired by the words on the pages and aim to go forward to live your best life or b) read a few chapters and think to yourself “what a load of bulls**t!”?

The reason I ask is because I am interested in the general perception of these books! A few years ago I would have scoffed at the thought of curling up with a self-help book and trying to figure out how a book could teach me to be happier. Now, however, I am fascinated by them!

I learned how to believe in myself. I learned how to set goals, you know, self help books man. I just read every single one I can get a hold of, and I still do.

– Drew Carey

I’ve read titles such as The Road Less Travelled, The Secret, The Power of Now, etc and love how they make me feel like anything and everything is possible in my life! I love taking the time to learn about ‘bettering’ myself and dealing with stress. But I do know that a lot of people read these exact same books and end up giving up because they feel completely useless and uninspired. They don’t see the lessons and possibilities the book holds, only the lack of calm and opportunity in their lives.

At the turn of the year, one of my best friends and I decided to make a conscious effort this year to be less stressed and much happier in our day to day lives. We decided that we would both read one self help book a month. I chose the one for January, she will choose the one for February, and so on. This mini reading challenge is really exciting me! I can’t wait to see what tips and tricks I learn along the way and what adventures it will inspire! As with all the books I’m reading this year, I will post a review here when I’ve finished each one!

January’s book is The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight. I’m halfway through the book and am absolutely loving it! I honestly can’t wait to write my book review on this and hopefully encourage others to enjoy this laugh-out-loud gem of a book!


So, tell me this much, are you a believer in self help, or do you believe that it does nothing more than sabotage your self-esteem?

I’d love to hear what the general consensus is around this topic!

C x

General musings

My 2017 Action Plan!

Something I love about the turn of the new year is getting to start a brand new reading challenge! When I was in college I studied English and had to read all sorts of stuff from Chaucer to Beowulf, and Shakespeare to modern greats such as McCarthy and Morrison. It’s fair to say my love of reading dwindled during this time, being forced to critically read things like Tess of the D’Urbervilles doesn’t exactly ignite a fire inside me! 

To renew my love of reading I initially set myself a goal of one book a month, increasing my reading goal bit by bit every year! Last year I read 29 books! What a success! Not a huge number by any means but big enough for me! 

This year I’m planning on beating last years number and reading as many books as possible from this reading challenge I found on Pinterest: 


I’m also in two book clubs; one online and one where we meet up each month to discuss and decide upon a new book! I will   Most definitely be reading all of the books suggested in the second book club, and others that I can fit in along the way!

The plan for this blog is to review the books I read! I don’t know if anyone will even end up reading this, but if they do then I would hope that they might find some inspiration among my posts! 

Any advice, suggestions and comments will be most welcome! As well as any book recommendations obviously 😉! 

C x