My Most Anticipated Spring Releases

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.

–C.S. Lewis

There are a lot of books to look forward to this Spring, and my list of ones I am eagerly awaiting seems to keep growing. These are the top five Spring releases I’m most looking forward to reading: Continue reading “My Most Anticipated Spring Releases”

How Bullet Journaling Organized My Life

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

When I first looked into bullet journaling my thought was “so… I do all the work?” It could have been the video I watched, which began by explaining the indexing process in tedious detail and left me with the initial impression of it being complicated and not really for me. Months later, and a morning of binge watching a series of “Plan With Me” bullet journal videos on YouTube, I decided to give it a try (or rather I got insanely inspired by all the beautiful layouts and wanted in on the fun). I loved the idea of sitting down, organizing the month ahead and really making it my own. Every year I purchase a new planner with the intention to really get organized, and every year I barely use it along with numerous notebooks, each meant for a different purpose. Continue reading “How Bullet Journaling Organized My Life”

Murder on the Orient Express: Does the movie live up to the book?

BLOGWhenever I go see a movie based on a book, it is usually with a mix of excitement and apprehension, especially when I am a big fan of the book. I initially read Murder on the Orient Express many years ago as a kid when I was discovering my love of mystery novels, along with my love of all things Agatha Christie. This particular novel was one of my favourites (it is a classic for a reason), and one that was very memorable. The trailers for the movie were really well done, and I was more than happy to revisit and reread this classic Poirot mystery before seeing it come to life on the big screen. So, does it live up to the book?

Let’s start with the positives. The movie itself looks beautiful and is visually impressive. From the landscapes to the look of the characters, it is quite stunning and has a very grand feel to it. Kenneth Branagh is simply wonderful as the famous detective, Hercule Poirot and his performance is the absolute highlight of the movie. Simply wonderful. Continue reading “Murder on the Orient Express: Does the movie live up to the book?”

Overcoming the Dreaded Reading Slump

img_3185“If I’m in a slump, I ask myself for advice.” – Ichiro Suzuki

Oh the dreaded reading slump. You can feel it coming on as the usual rush to pick up a book starts to fade and a cozy evening with a new read doesn’t hold the same appeal. The mind wanders and a favourite pastime begins to feel like a chore. For me a slump usually happens when I have been reading a lot and need a breather, or after a string of disappointing reads when the motivation to pick up another book is just not there. Some reading slumps are longer than others and usually it is just a matter of time before the nose is back in a book. Over the years I have found what works for me and what doesn’t, and grabbing as many books as I can and hoping something will stick definitely doesn’t. So when I feel a reading slump coming on, or I am fully in the midst of one, I follow three little steps:

1. Step away from the book.
Put the book down and walk away. If it feels like a break is needed then take one. Trying to get though a book or struggling to find one that will spark your interest is just frustrating, and makes it even more difficult to get back in the swing of things. Doing anything with a tired and disheartened mindset will impact your overall experience. 

2. Set a time limit.
I like to set a certain time limit for a book break. This is because if I leave it too open-ended I tend to put things off and may not set aside time in my day for reading. Falling into the “I’m too busy, I’ll make time tomorrow” routine is far too easy, and that is when time really gets away from me. The length of a book break depends on how I feel and may be a few days or a couple of weeks.

3. Read something light and fun.
Once the book break is up, I choose a nice, light read to relax with. Anything that is too heavy and complicated may have you taking the bus back to slump city, so a fun read is the way to go. I usually go for fantasy, mystery, young adult, or “chick lit” (I absolutely despise this term, but could not find an alternative. If you are aware of one, please let me know).

Books from my bookshelf I would recommend:
BLOG BLOG BLOG Print BLOG
Re-read an old favourite.
Or, instead of something new, you can always re-read an old favourite. We all have those special books in our lives that never fail to bring us joy (I’m looking at you Harry Potter!).

Hope this helps the next time a reading slump rolls around. 🙂

Happy reading!

Chasing Windmills: A Spanish Adventure

IMG_2152“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?  Perhaps to be too practical is madness.  To surrender dreams — this may be madness.  Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!” – Don Quixote

Spain is a country very near and dear to my heart.  My time working there as a Language & Culture Assistant gave me the opportunity to travel, meet incredible people, make life-long friendships, and experience some truly special moments.  One of my favourite adventures continues to be a spur of the moment trip to the town of Alcázar de San Juan, in Spain’s Castile-La Mancha region.  A fellow Language Assistant was visiting Madrid from Barcelona and had an idea for a very interesting excursion.  The goal was simple: visit the windmills famous in that part of the country, as it is said that it was this setting that inspired Miguel de Cervantes’ story of Don Quixote.  Brilliant!  So, we hopped a train and set off in search of windmills.

IMG_2155

About an hour and a half later we reached our destination.  The trick then was to figure out where exactly were the windmills.  I think we assumed there would be signs pointing the way as it is a famous part of the area, however this was not the case, and we set off into the sleepy little town in search of windmills… and food.  We did find food in the form of a charming Italian restaurant, and on the way came across Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Continue reading “Chasing Windmills: A Spanish Adventure”