Tri Curious?

“It’s amazing what you can achieve when you accept the high chance of failure and do it anyway” Laura Fountain

 

I have a new addiction! I have discovered the exciting world of triathlon, well a little bit of it anyway, I’m still fairly clueless to be honest. But who knew combining three different sports could be so much more exhilarating than just doing one. Triathlon is a growing sport and it seems there are lots of you triathletes out there, people I never knew had it in them coming out of the triathlon woodwork! Every Tom, Dick and Harry it seems has done a triathlon at some point, given it a whirl, been there done that got the wetsuit! Knowing this helps make the sport feel a lot more accessible and much less scary, which is great, as to be honest it’s pretty flipping scary. I have just signed up for my first one called the ‘Tough Crow’ and it involves a 400m swim, a 20k cycle finishing with a challenging 5k. The biggest challenge however will be that it starts at 7am! It seems triathletes are early risers and for those that know me well, an early riser I am not!   

 

I have been enjoying combining my new interest in triathlon with my love of reading and have been reading up on the subject. I am now on my third book about individuals who have been drawn into the sport and there is a common theme running throughout all of their stories. They were intrigued and curious to give it a go and ended up going further and challenging themselves more than they could ever have imagined. I am inspired by the very real fears people have overcome to take part and compete in this sport. The author of one triathlon book, a lady called Laura Fountain, learnt to swim for her first triathlon, overcoming her fear of drowning, and went on to do an Iron Man. She says;

“I knew when I started all this Triathlon business that there was a good chance I wouldn’t be able to do it – that my swim would go badly, that my bike would get a puncture or a broken chain, that I would miss the cut-off times and be forced to pull out of the race. But I carried on regardless. Because I’m not scared of failure and there’s no challenge in attempting stuff you know you can do”.

I love that gutsiness. I have to admit I am scared of failure and this gives me a feeling of anxiety, serious butterflies in the stomach, when I think about doing something I haven’t done before. But I guess the courage lies in doing it anyway.

 

My main fear is the swim. I’m a fairly strong swimmer but I’ve never done any longer distance open water swimming before. I went to a swim training session and the instructor was telling stories of how scrappy it gets in the water. He was advocating Vaseline on the ankles so people couldn’t grab them to clamber over you! He also shared some valuable techniques to stop people grabbing hold of you and potentially half drowning you. I’m hoping my first experience is substantially less dog eat dog than this but part of me might quite enjoy getting all Jackie Chan on their rubber encased butts!

 

The bike has been a revelation. I am not an adrenalin junkie, being too scared of heights to ever do anything too crazy. However when going downhill at speed I feel the most connected to my inner adrenalin junkie that I have ever been! It is such a buzz and I’m looking forward to learning more about becoming a better cyclist and becoming one with the Lycra! First lesson learnt, padding in your shorts is essential. However it does feel like wearing a slice of bread between your legs! According to Chrissie Wellington (four time World Ironman Champion) the combative move on the bike part of the race is to pee if anyone is trying to ride in your slip stream, this is called ‘drafting’, spraying a warning shot over their bow so to speak! A more Bear Grylls move than Jackie Chan and not one I can imagine using anytime soon.

 

Combining the three different sports means It starts to get all technical and you have to consider how to seamlessly move from one to the other, swimming to bike to running, these are called the ‘transitions’. It basically involves wearing lots of tight Lycra and air drying! Training sessions may also include combining two of the disciplines and practicing the transitions. My first attempt was not so successful. My training buddy Amanda and I tried out a bike/swim session. Cycling to a swimming pool, doing our laps and then cycling home. Trying to be as authentic as possible we didn’t use the changing rooms. We didn’t factor in dripping all over the leisure centres reception floor and stripping off in front of the bemused staff. Crazy ladies alert!

 

Then there is all the equipment and gadgets and clothing. Cue a serious ebay dependency, daily searching for the perfect fitting tri wetsuit, and a weird desire to own tons of sports gear.  A new bike and a few hundred pounds poorer my wonderful long suffering husband is saying ‘I told you so’ having predicted I would spend lots of money on my new venture. I can see why sports and fitness gear is a growing market. Just purchasing new gear makes you feel more professional! Apparently there is mathematical rule among cyclists: ideal number of bikes to own = N+1 where N= number of bikes you currently own. However a more helpful rule for some may be: Ideal number of bikes to own = X-1 where X = number of bikes it would take for your partner to move out!

 

However the most memorable lesson I have learnt so far on my triathlon journey is not to type ‘tricurious’ into a search engine, it could get you into all sorts of trouble. I was looking for a birthday present for my triathlon training buddy and saw on Amazon an anecdotal book written by two ladies about their new to triathlon experiences. It looked funny so I thought I would search if I could buy it elsewhere cheaper. I searched under the title name ‘tricurious’ and let’s just say if you want a book on Menage a Trois techniques, I can point you in the right direction!

 

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Silence calms my soul…

Do you ever feel like you are on a roundabout that just won’t stop spinning, moments of your life flashing by in a blur? Or running on a treadmill, music blaring, that if you stop for one second you will be thrown off the back of it like a ‘you’ve been framed’ clip! Life can sometimes feel so full and busy and noisy that it can prove difficult to find those moments of calm and stillness, moments to rest and restore your inner balance. Space to enjoy not just outward silence but stillness of the mind.

I recently read that research has shown just ten minutes of silence can improve your memory, with results lasting for up to a week. So if you are as scatter-brained as me, silence is even more essential! This last weekend I was in London with some friends. We were staying in a hostel opposite St Pauls Cathedral. Now London is the epitome of noisy and busy anyway, but add in a regular clanging of bells, and you soon find your stress levels rising and mind clouding! It reminded me how necessary silence and stillness is but also how much I struggle to make time for it.

There are so many distractions. A month without managing to write a blog post has flown by before I could even blink. I am a month behind on my reading challenge of one non-fiction book a month, and it’s only May! I blame Netflix! Life has never been busier or noisier for many of us. From the children’s demands early in the morning, checking the phone for messages, Charlie and Lola blaring out at me in the car, checking phone again for messages, replying to emails, looking at Instagram on phone, shopping for food, cooking dinner, breaking up squabbles, checking Facebook, fitting in some exercise, fitting in some social life, checking phone for messages…you get the picture!

The constant assault of social media in our lives and being in immediate contact with the world can make it even harder to rest and find peace. I know friends that have set a cut off time for their phones and screens in the evening or they may have a screen free day on the weekend. I think these are great ideas to switch off some of the outer noise in our lives and cultivate stillness.

I had been thinking about my time recently and decided to write a list of all my responsibilities and whittle them down by saying ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Maybe’ to them. I felt I needed to de-clutter my week as I had my house! I wanted to focus on a few things and do them well, rather than feeling like I was spreading myself too thin. I wanted to be more present for my daughters and not feel rushed all the time. It was a useful exercise however I found that it was not enough to just say no to a few things and then expect to be Mrs Zen and have bags of free time! The space I had created was very easily filled with more busyness and noise.

A very wise lady said to me time only really means something because of what you do with it. Time in of itself means nothing really. Have you ever fallen down the Facebook black hole, sitting down to check it for five minutes, only to realise and hour later that you are reading the latest baby news of your great-aunt’s sister’s cousin’s son’s best friend! An hour frittered away. Yet you could have ten minutes of silence and it sparks a creative solution you have spent weeks looking for. Time has potential and we can chose what we do with that potential. To cultivate calm and stillness we need to be intentional with our time. For me this is a challenge to just stop, be still, turn off my phone, stop doing chores, stop exercising, stop planning and just stop. Sometimes I think I find this hard because I’m scared of what I will find when all these things are stripped away. I also find it hard because when I am that still I tend to fall asleep!

My book for April (yes it’s May and I’ve not finished it yet!) is called ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brene Brown. She is a researcher into vulnerability and shame, and talks about how having the courage to be vulnerable can transform the way we live. I haven’t completed the book yet but so far it has been full of lightbulb moments for me and the themes are universal. Every single person would relate to what she is talking about. In fact it’s so good, I was reading it on the train, and I had to stop myself from agreeing with her out loud. I wanted to cheer and shout ‘yes Brene, come on, you go girl’ Rikki Lake style!

One of the things she talks about is wholeheartedness. Wholehearted living is a way of living and engaging with the world from a place of worthiness. Showing up, letting yourself be seen and taking chances, a way I’m sure we would all want to live if we had the courage. From her research she came up with a list of 10 things that people who live wholeheartedly do. One of these is:

 ‘Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of anxiety as a lifestyle’.

Anxiety as a lifestyle, rushing, striving for perfection, fear of failing or messing up. With a busy life it’s so easy to fall into this rhythm, to find yourself on that hamster wheel, chasing your blinking tail! So my challenge to myself is to plan more times of quiet and stillness into my week. To cultivate the habits that bring calm and stillness and try and limit the habits that don’t. If you come to my house and there is a massive pile of washing up, don’t mind me I’m just cultivating calm and stillness!

 

Life without limits…

 

It’s done, BOOM!

Half Marathon mission accomplished.

team.png

Team #inspiredbyzahra

 

(See  here for more on why I ran).

The weeks of build-up, training, injuries and fundraising came to a heady finale on a cold and dry Sunday morning when myself and hundreds of other mad runners slogged up a few hills, pounded down yet more hills and just about managed to keep going on the flat!

 

hastings.png

Spot the numpty?

 

 It was an amazing experience and the first longer distance race I have fully enjoyed (training does actually help!). And I am so thankful for these things;

1.       I achieved my personal goal and finished in 1hr 55 minutes, sub 2hrs and a PB.  This is 6 minutes faster than my last half when I ran 2hrs 1 minute and was so cheesed off at that minute!

2.       I actually enjoyed it! Last time I ran this distance I couldn’t catch my breath on a long hill near the end and had what felt like a panic attack. I had serious beef with this distance!

3.       I didn’t poo myself – not outside the realm of possibility when running long distance after 2 traumatic births!

4.       The amazing ladies Amanda and Sarah whom I ran with. Just wouldn’t have been the same without them and their friendship.

5.       The support of friends and family who came to cheer us on. Seeing familiar and loved faces, smiling and cheering you on means so much. Also random strangers shouting ‘go girl’ and handing out jelly babies, oranges and strangely beer! The atmosphere was great and you are buzzing for hours afterwards.

6.       The generosity of people inspired me. We were running for a local charity ‘Chestnut Tree House’. After this event the current total is over a thousand pounds on our group Just Giving page.

So what’s next I hear you ask!

Well you’re probably not actually, but I’m going to tell you anyway!

 I am thinking of dipping my toe into the unique and exciting sport that is Triathlon. That’s right TRI baby! I’m going to dabble in some lake swimming, a bit of lycra clad cycling (eeek!) and finally some more foot pounding running! It’s a totally new thing for me, so I’m looking forward to being outside of my comfort zone and trying new things.

My non-fiction book for February (see previous blog) was ‘A Life Without Limits’ by Chrissie Wellington.

She is a multiple Ironman World Champion and has set numerous world records as one of the greatest triathletes of all time. Her story is seriously amazing though. She shocks everyone by winning her first World Championship in one of the most gruelling single-day sporting events, as an unknown thirty-year-old from Norfolk.

It is such an inspiring story and I really recommend it, even if you are not into running. She has such a positive attitude and talks a lot about the mind and how we are capable of so much more than we can imagine. She talks about testing the limits;

“For a start there’s the importance of keeping an open mind. The brain is programmed to protect us, and that can mean imposing limits on what it thinks we can or should do. Constantly push at those limits, because the brain can be way too cautious. Not so long ago I would have laughed at you if you had suggested I do an ironman. Imagine if I had allowed that attitude to persist. It is up to each and every one of us to change ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’.”

Many of us have hopes and dreams, things that we would love to try but are often too scared to try, too scared of failure or scared of what other people will think. Writing was one of those things for me among many others! But one of the things running has taught me is the truth in not accepting your limits.

When I first started 5k felt like a marathon, 10k felt almost unachievable. Then each race, each small goal I realised I could push my body further, 10k under 50 minutes, running 13.1 miles. I also know there is so much more in me, but I don’t really like pain, and that is the battle of the mind that Chrissie talks about. She says we should relish pain as it shows us how hard we are working! She is one of those people that is like ‘PAIN, I laugh in the face of pain’! I’m not sure I’m fully on board with that yet, and that’s why extreme endurance is not so much my bag. But it is so inspiring and who knows if I’m still writing this blog in ten years, who’s to say what new challenges there will be!  

Never imagine anything is impossible and never stop trying new things!

It’s certainly a challenge.

 

Life Changing Magic? (The KonMari Method of Tidying)

book

Since writing my first blog post about my New Year resolution to read one non-fiction book a month I have noticed two things;

  1. Part of the reason I find non-fiction more challenging to read is that it often requires a response or provokes taking action and quite frankly it’s hard to find the time. It’s not the simple escapism of a good novel, when it’s finished all you need to do is pick your next book. January’s book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying’ gave me a lot of tidying homework to do! I kept delaying writing this blog so I could finish tidying and report back!
  2. There are so many more people out there interested in tidying than I would ever have imagined!! Reading a newspaper on the weekend Marie Kondo’s book was in their top ten books this week. I have also come across her book on other blogs and quite a few of my friends and family said that they had read her book or were about to. So it is not just me that’s geeking out on this one!

Untidy?

I absolutely loved the premise of the book which is that if you do one good, humongous tidy up you should never have to tidy again. Do it once properly and you won’t have to do it again.

Now I know what you are thinking, this lady is living on cloud cuckoo land, and yes she does talk to her belongings, but her theory makes sense if you give her a chance! Untidy people fall into two categories or often both:

-they have too much stuff

-they don’t put things back after they use them

Discard by category

SO you start with one almighty clear out and you do it all at once, not by room or location but by category in a specific order. The last categories are harder to be ruthless, so you leave them until you have perfected the art!

-clothes

-books

-papers

-miscellaneous

-things with sentimental value (photos, letters etc)

Say clothes for example, you gather all your clothes together, from all around the house and you pick up each item in turn and ask yourself ‘does this give me joy’ or ‘is it useful’? If the answer is no you discard or donate. You then do the same for the rest of the categories.

Everything has its place

Once you have only the possessions left that give you joy or are useful you find a place for everything. Simple storage is the best. Now the idea is if you use something and then put it back in its place, you won’t spend your life tidying.

Magic?

I has taken me a few weeks to go through the house and discard by category. It gave me a bit of a buzz and discarding became a bit addictive. I tried to disperse my donations among various charity shops so I didn’t seem like a crazy lady! I also had to reign myself in with my husbands and daughter’s possessions as they wouldn’t have thanked me for it! For a while if I picked something up my eldest would look at me with a panicky look and beg ‘don’t give it away mummy’!

The feeling of having less stuff is liberating and it is definitely easier to keep the house tidy with less stuff in it. The hardest part was sorting out things that weren’t my own. For example my daughter’s mountain of stuffed toys definitely does not give me joy but they do give the girls joy. Also I was discarding a load of photos and my husband caught me sorting them. He got all soppy looking through them and has stashed a pile in his bedside drawer!

Putting things back after you use them is simple if it’s just me but try telling the girls that! For example yesterday afternoon they were playing libraries and this mainly consisted of emptying a whole bookshelf and stacking them under the table! Bless them it took them so long to put them all back! I think like with anything you have to find a balance. Your home has to feel liveable for you. Perfection is not the aim, but instead having more time to focus on the things that are important.

I found it a really interesting book and surprisingly easy to read. Some of it I think you can take with a pinch of salt, for example believing your possessions have feelings! But she has some real gems in there too. Here are a couple of links to other blog posts about the book if you want to read more. And if you give it a go, let me know how you got on?

the simplist

thoughts by Natalie

 

 

Confessions of an unnataural born runner

 “Understand that it is ok to be scared or uncertain, however right beyond those barriers ultimately lies your dreams.”
Josh Hinds

 

Against my better judgement I have signed up for the Hastings Half Marathon taking place in March. I’ve got that feeling of nervous excitement about it but the primary thing that scares me is that the route has a hill that is 3 miles long. Say WHAT?! 3 miles slogging up a hill, who would be crazy enough to do that! It’s not an Iron Man or anything but for someone to whom running does not feel like it comes naturally it might as well be!

When I was in secondary school, each year a week before cross country my friend Alice and I would don the trackie bottoms and take off round the village for a practice. After running for ten minutes at the most, I would be red faced, panting, have a stitch and feel pretty nauseas! I resigned myself to the fact that I was not made for running and made my excuses on the day. Period pain, fake asthma, forgotten P.E kit anything to get out of the run. It didn’t always work. Once I forgot my shorts on purpose and was made to do it anyway in only my P.E knickers and a t-shirt! Seriously embarrassing moment for a teenage girl having to run in front of boys in basically your pants! After these few attempts I decided long distance running just wasn’t for me and I was better to stick to other less painful hobbies. I’m not ashamed to admit one of those hobbies was stamp collecting. Geek is Chic!

In my late twenties I worked in an office where for some reason nearly everyone that worked there was a runner in some shape or form. It’s contagious I think. Frequently the office talk would come around to running and it got me to thinking. I wondered if I could shake of my P.E knicker shame and become a runner. I decided to challenge myself and though 10k was a manageable distance to start with. I’m not sure how I reached this conclusion considering I couldn’t run for a minute non-stop!

Around this time I got pregnant and had my first daughter Sofia. A few months after she was born I decided this was the perfect time to sign up for a 10k, I wanted to complete it before I turned Thirty and I was Twenty-nine and a half! Of course, as if recovering from birth, sleepless nights and discovering how to be a mum was not enough of a challenge. I looked up a training plan online and got going. I managed to time my runs for Sofia’s bed time/grouchy evening time and my runs quickly became really precious moments of alone time and recovering my sanity! I discovered the joy and freedom of running and the rest is history. I’ll admit I shed a few tears when I started running my first half marathon. I couldn’t quite believe it was me, I was actually doing it. I had by far exceeded my own expectations of myself and it felt really good. I shed a few tears at the end too but for a very different reason!

Apart from the endorphins the thing I love about running is the camaraderie and the amazing people you get to meet. Sharing this passion with my husband, family and friends has made it so much more enjoyable and rewarding. I signed up for the Hastings Half Marathon because of two friends Amanda and Sarah and I definitely wouldn’t have done it without them (thanks guys!). We have been training together, encouraging each other, sharing our aches and pains and post run chocolate cravings!

One of the things I admire about the running community is the different reasons people have to start and keep running. Some people might commit to their first race when they lose a loved one or face a serious illness or difficult circumstances. It can provide a focus and a means to raise money and awareness for someone or something close to their hearts. It can be a really moving experience when running a race to see the pictures of loved ones on people’s t-shirts or a quote or memory of someone they are running for.

Christmas 2015 my beautiful friend Vicki lost her baby daughter Zahra. Zahra battled with serious health problems for most of her short life, but in that short time she touched the lives of so many people around her. She was absolutely gorgeous and it was such a privilege to know her. Seeing what Vicki and her family are going through has made me more aware of the amazing organisations that support and care for seriously ill children and their families. Vicki has very bravely decided to share Zahra’s story here, to raise the awareness of these organisations and what they do, in particular Demelza and Chestnut Tree House. As a group of friends we have decided to support her in this by running various events throughout the year to raise money, the first of which is the Hastings Half. So when I’m plodding up the 3 mile hill, I will be thinking of Zahra, of Vicki and of the many families that so need the help and support of The Chestnut Tree Hospice.

Running is not for everyone but a good old challenge, stepping out of our comfort zones, can be rewarding for everyone. What is your challenge this year? Is there anything you have always dreamed of doing but not quite committed to make happen? Do it, sign up, and tell someone you are going to do it! I would love to hear your personal challenges and goals for this year.

 

 

What the blazes is a Capsule Wardrobe?!

 

‘The practice of keeping a small number of useful clothes in your closet and remixing them each season’

 

Whenever I start talking about this subject with my dear long suffering husband his eyes glaze over and he has that ‘I love you but I don’t give a toffee about capsule wardrobes’ look on his face! So sorry if this post makes you want to fall asleep in your bowl of cornflakes but I get pretty excited about anything that makes my life easier and a capsule wardrobe does just that!

I’m not going to lie, my fashion sense as a young adult was highly questionable. I’m talking brown checked trousers, orange Teflon jumpers, oh the horrors. Fruit of the loom t-shirts and shell suits, what was that all about! University introduced me to a whole new world of fashion crimes. I spent my uni days sweeping the pavements of Manchester with the bottoms of my baggy skater jeans and I had a wardrobe-full of ASBO worthy hoodies! After university I found it really hard to move on from the hoodies, it was a bit of an obsession! Throughout my twenties and through two pregnancies I found it really hard to discover my personal style. I often felt like I was stuck between adolescence and adulthood and my clothes portrayed this. Choosing clothes felt like a chore and I mostly felt uncomfortable, un-confident and frumpy in what I wore.

Last Christmas my sister-in-law mentioned that one of her New Year’s resolutions was to try out a capsule wardrobe. I’d never heard of this so I checked it out online, in particular this site, www.un-fancy.com, and totally loved the idea of a minimalist wardrobe. I have tried it out now for a year (clunk…that’s the penny dropping why I always seem to wear the same clothes!) and totally plan to carry on. The magic of the capsule wardrobe is in its simplicity and minimalism. It allows space for creativity and really helps you find your personal style.

How to build a capsule wardrobe

-Pick a number and limit items in your wardrobe to that number for example 37

-Include Tops, Bottoms, Shoes, Dresses, Outerwear

-Exclude workout clothes, accessories, pyjamas, underwear and formal wear

-Store items you love but are out of season somewhere else, and donate the rest. Only keep items you really love

-Remix every 3 months for each season. (Our seasons are pants so it is a bit of a challenge, layers work well!) Mix in items you have stored or buy a few new pieces to freshen up your wardrobe for the new season. Rotate items but stick to your number

-shop less

Benefits

Find your style – By keeping only those clothes I really loved and regularly wore, I was able to discover what I really liked. I like mostly neutral colours, particularly black, love stripes, nothing too feminine. I like a little bit of edgy and comfort is a priority.

Confidence – Its great knowing that you actually like every item in your wardrobe and you feel comfortable in it. I definitely feel more comfortable in my own skin in my 30’s than I did in my 20’s and it’s nice to feel my clothes reflect that.

Decide what to wear in less time – Most mornings I get both girls dressed, pour their cereal then I have about 5 seconds to get dressed before they spill something or get into an argument – True fact! So easy and quick is good!

Buy less disposable fashion – I have always had a quantity rather than quality approach to clothes. And the appearance of ‘Primarni’ has fed this, when clothes are that cheap you can afford to buy and dispose. This new approach has helped me chose my clothes more carefully. I might now spend more on an item that will last. I also think about whether it goes with other things in my wardrobe and if I already have something similar I try not to buy it. We’ve all been there, repeat buying the same style of top again and again…guilty!

After one year of my capsule wardrobe journey I’ve learnt a few things, made a few bad purchases, but absolutely love the freedom it brings in my day to day. So hooray for that! I am looking forward to trying to be more creative with it this year now I’ve found my feet and maybe sharing it on here will help me with this. I look forward to sharing my spring wardrobe with you at the start of March

If you want to learn more and get some ideas check out Caroline’s blog www.un-fancy.com it’s seriously amazeballs and she is about to start blogging again after a year break woohoo!

The first chapter….

 

reading

 

I have always been a book worm. When I was younger I would devour in one sitting my weekly haul from our local library, more recently I started a book group. So I have always toyed with the idea of writing, enjoying the process of emptying my head onto the page. A few years ago a lot of my friends were starting blogs. At the time I was temping for a finance company, nine to five data inputting. Whilst I was waiting for the new data I spent my time reading my friends blogs and writing lists of all the things I wanted to do before I died! I decided to try this blogging malarkey, and set up my first blog. As I recall I wrote half a blog entry on being excited to finish work that same day and go and catch a train, moving stuff I can assure you! I deleted it straight away and felt dejected that I hadn’t just started my first masterpiece!

Looking back I can see my expectations were too high, I wanted to write what I knew but my writing was reflecting how bored I was with my job and frustrated that I wasn’t doing something that suited me better. I didn’t have a clear idea about why I was blogging or who it was for. I was worried people would read the blog and make judgements about me, not that I could blame them it was pretty boring!!

So ‘Sunshine and Stories’ is a new beginning, a space to hopefully inspire myself to be more creative this year, to make myself stick to my resolutions and record the journey.

One of my resolutions for this year is to read more of a variety of books. I love my fiction and won’t be giving that up any time soon. However I would love to challenge myself and read more non-fiction, particularly life affirming and inspirational books. I have sometimes struggled with non-fiction, finding books hard to finish on topics I felt I should be interested in but in truth found quite boring. I have been reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin (more on that to follow) and one of her rules of happiness is to be yourself. Let Nicole be Nicole! So I am trying to make a list not based on what I feel I should read but books that suit my very own quirky geekiness! For example there is a book on tidying that I have been wanting to read for ages, not everyone’s go to for feel good inspiration but I have a feeling I am going to love it! So here is my list so far, a book for every month of the year, plus a couple extra! What would your list look like? Have you read and enjoyed any of these books? What was your best read of 2015?

 

 

1) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo

2) How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish

3) Big Magic: Creative Living beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

4) Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

5) A life without limits by Chrissie Wellington

6) Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

7) Running like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley

8) The Magic of Thinking Big by David J Schwartz

9) The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller

10) The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris

11) The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam S. McHugh

12) No greater Love by Mother Teresa

13) Run, Ride, Sink or Swim: A year in the exhilarating and addictive world of women’s triathlon by Lucy Fry

14) An Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling