Wonderful Wednesday 55

27 June 2018

Since I sat down at my computer at the weekend and loaded up this dear old page, and typed out a brief ramble that had been going around my head for the preceding days, I've done my best to put my money where my mouth is (was?!) and focus on one thing at a time, to try to give myself time to truly concentrate on a task and do it well. I sat out in my garden on Sunday evening, taking only my book with me and enjoyed a glorious hour or so just reading. Right now, I'm just sipping a cup of tea and taking the time to think back to what has made me smile in recent weeks and it feels like I'm able to think a little more easily, with less actual and imagined background noise going on. I know it'll be a work in progress but here we go...


A visit from my brother... My brother and his girlfriend came to stay with us this weekend and it was so much fun! I'd been looking forward to their visit all week and, you know when you don't sleep properly the night before Christmas because you're just too excited for the next day? That. I woke up in the middle of the night and was exhausted the next morning, so much so that I had to put a podcast on and have a little power nap first thing in the morning to keep me going!

It was their first visit to our little house and I'm sure that that was one of the reasons for the excitement because I'm just so happy to show it off and have people to stay! And the sun shone gloriously all weekend and really made the visit that bit more special. Doesn't everything look better in the sunshine?!

I met them from the train and took them back to the house for a little tour before we headed out for a walk through the fields - they live in London so we wanted to give them the full countryside experience! Just as we were all starting to feel a little parched, we headed back to a brewery shop that's been high on my beer-appreciating-brother's list of must visits in our new town for a couple of drinks in the sunshine (they do a really tasty gluten free beer!) We knew that the weekend was going to be a gorgeous one so we'd decided to do a bbq and it was the best choice really as we sat out in the garden for hours enjoying good food, the sight of the sun setting over the hills and lots of conversation. What good weekends are made of.

♥ Stationery... Always always a good thing and something that regularly pops into my list of things that never fail to make me happy. I've been disappearing into the stationery-ogling black hole that is Japanese stationery websites in recent weeks and it has been so much fun. Some people have Asos wishlists, mine is full of notebooks, pens and washi tape but I think I've whittled it down to a few key items that I've decided to treat myself to come payday in anticipation of our forthcoming holiday adventure. Just watch this space! 

♥ Sunsets... Haven't they been glorious over the last few nights? The sun is glowing gloriously in the sky behind me as I type this but nowhere near as intensely as Saturday night's fabulously red sunset. I wanted to record this here for posterity because, wow. Have the sunsets been as amazing where you are?

♥ Books upon books upon books... My parents have visited a few times over the last few weekends bringing with them my books, which have been boxed up at my parents' house for quite a few years since I moved out and into my first teeny-tiny flat with my husband. Opening these boxes up again has been so exciting - they contain my childhood books, my university texts and all the books in-between, comfort reads and books I can't even remember getting. I don't think I need to buy any new books for a while and I still don't know where we're going to put them all but that's half the fun, right?!

♥ Exciting discoveries... I mentioned this over on Instagram at the weekend but on Sunday, we decided to go and look for an old oak tree that one of our neighbours mentioned that's in a field not too far from our house and on which people often hang coloured ribbons. We followed the route that she'd described to us and there, looming in the distance was a huge old oak tree, with a variety of coloured ribbons hanging from the branches. Not just ribbons though, some people had hung medals and little carved items (I think I saw a dove), as well as placing other little remembrance items around the trunk.

When I got home, I got straight onto the computer to carry out a little research into this custom and discovered it's a really ancient tradition dating back to pagan times, when people would hang coloured ribbons in trees as a wish or a prayer to nature deities. I love seeing things like this continue into the modern day, even more so when it's so close by. I shall be visiting this dear old oak regularly from now on!

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoSamKerri, LauraSarahPetaElMimmiMartinaLynseyKatie and Em (I think that's everyone - shout at me if you're not on the list!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Too many tabs...

24 June 2018

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

So, I sat down with my laptop on Tuesday night to type up a Wonderful Wednesday post for the next day and...didn't get any further than the first few lines. 

I did, however, watch a TV show with my husband, catch up on Instagram and Twitter, browse birthday gift ideas for my mum and research some places to visit during our holiday next month. But if you asked me anything specific about what I was looking at or even what happened in the particular episode we were watching, I doubt I'd be able to tell you. 

I know that so many of us are guilty of doing too much, trying to cram too many things into every free moment we have and becoming distracted, particularly by social media (Instagram is a huge vice for me!) I've read so many posts about the quest to spend less time on our phones, which are a real distraction now and especially when you should be doing something else or even just devoting your time to one specific task. When did these little devices become so all-consuming? It's got to the point where I struggle to even sit down and focus on one thing without my brain constantly running through a to-do list of other things I should be doing at that very moment. So instead of just focusing on one task, I'm trying to achieve that and 8 others but getting very little done instead - so nothing is actually getting crossed off the list and the cycle repeats itself. I feel like my brain has too many tabs open and, just like they would on a computer, they're slowing everything down!

How to resolve this? As of right now, I really don't know. I suppose, like anything, it will take work and focus, which is an appropriate word for the task at hand - focusing on one thing at a time. And, as I do in the office when  I write my to do lists, I need to look at things in terms of the order of importance and just cross them off, one at a time. And, perhaps most importantly of all, recognise that when I'm doing something relaxing like reading a book, watching TV with my husband or sitting down to collect the happy highlights of the previous week, that those things are good and necessary too, so I shouldn't have to try to cross off other must-dos at the same time. Just being a little more mindful in my actions.

Are you guilty of the 'too many tabs' mentality too?!

Review: 'The Keeper of Lost Things' by Ruth Hogan

1 June 2018

The engagement on Instagram has been at a real low in recent weeks and I know I'm not alone in noticing that. My feed, which for a while seemed to be vaguely chronological, has reverted to a really illogical order and I'm seeing posts from some of my favourites days later than originally posted or sometimes not at all. But in weeks where the general activity is at an all-time low, this book generated almost as much comment as the Eleanor Oliphant post did before it. And I love engaging in book chat and hearing from people who love a book as much as I do or recommend others I might enjoy.

And I really enjoyed this book!

Here's the cover blurb:

Anthony Peardew has spent half his life collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.

Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.

But the final wishes of the 'Keeper of Lost Things' have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters...

Whimsical, absorbing and completely charming, I devoured this book in about a day and a half. There are a few stories woven through the main arc, which I enjoyed and kept me guessing how they would tie together in the end. The main characters themselves are as lost as the items collected by Anthony over the course of the years but in fulfilling Anthony's wishes, they are brought together and begin to discover what's important. 

I've read some reviews calling the book 'twee' but I was very much in the mood for that, it was a deliciously comforting book that was a pleasure to read, with wonderful well thought-out characters and moments of real humour and sadness. 

Have you read this book? Do drop me a comment and let me know what you thought if you did, as well as what you're currently reading and any other books you'd recommend - I need to build up a list pre-holiday!

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