Earlier in the year, my darling daughter suggested that I should set up a journal. She'd been keeping one for a while and thought I might enjoy it too. Initially, I resisted. Intimidated by too many images of fabulously illustrated and organised layouts, my non-existent art skills were destined to flop, but then my wise one reminded me that this would be my project, for my eyes only and I could organise, embellish (or not) and add anything I wanted.
So... I caved. Just in time for March, I ordered a black, squared notebook and I haven't looked back since!
Using DD's layout as a blueprint for my own, I spent a contented few hours drawing out grids, weekly diary pages and best of all, cutting out and pasting in inspirational and aesthetically beautiful images from all those old copies of Country Living I'd been hoarding. I always knew they would come in handy one day. It turned out, I didn't need to worry about artistic talents because I could embellish my journal without picking up a pencil!
DD kindly applauded my efforts - in spite of the fact that her stock of washi tape was much depleted.
So far I haven't missed a day and I've added to the initial layout too. I now have pages on which to make Nature Notes, record What I'm Reading, What I'm Watching and What I'm Listening To. At the end of March I was able to look back and remind myself that I had achieved far more than I would have acknowledged had I been carrying it all about in my head!
I also realised that I'd read some fabulous books, watched some great interviews and films and listened to some inspirational podcasts and music and so, I decided that at the end of every month, I would share some of my faves from the last, here on the blog, in the hope that you might seek them out and enjoy them too!
Here are a few highlights from March -
What I'm reading
I was fortunate enough to be sent a proof copy of THE READING LIST, by Sara Nisha Adams. It's a stunning debut, publishing on July 22nd and I can't recommend it highly enough. Here's the blurb -
Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life after the loss of his wife Naina. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his disinterested granddaughter, Priya, who tucks herself away reading whilst he watches David Attenborough.
Aleisha is working at the local library on Harrow Road for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill A Mockingbird with a list of books that she’s never heard of before – let alone read. In turn, each story on the reading list gives up its magic, transporting Aleisha away from the painful realities she’s facing at home.
And when Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm of a granddaughter, Aleisha discovers that the reading list will be a lifeline for him too. And so begins a new chapter between two lonely souls, who’ll learn that fiction can teach them a whole lot about real life…
I predict this book is going to be a HUGE success!
I also loved
The Ladies' Midnight Swimming Club - Faith Hogan
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 - Cho Nam-Joo
The House Beneath the Cliffs - Sharon Gosling
What I'm Watching
I don't spend much time in front of the TV, however, the return of GARDENERS' WORLD has been a joy. For reasons I won't bore you with, I didn't watch it at all last year and so this new series has been a revelation.
I'm loving the mix of time in Monty's garden, the antics of the dogs (of course) and the many videos viewers have sent in from all over the world. Whereas before the featured gardens sometimes felt out of reach and way beyond what most of us can achieve, these insights into the passions of other green-fingered folk are inspiring.
I particularly enjoyed listening to someone waxing lyrical about their love of cacti and the concrete back yard transformation was a total triumph. I urge you to tune in for a weekly dose of green things growing. I watch on a Saturday morning with a cuppa and a blanket.
What I'm Listening To
I'm a huge fan of Dorothy Koomson and thanks to an online afternoon tea hosted by the Society of Authors, I discovered her podcast, The Happy Author.
I particularly enjoyed Dorothy sharing her words of wisdom about -
Another great podcast came to me via Helen Redfern. I receive her newsletter which is an inspiration in itself. The most recent one discussed who you create your content for. Her wise words have encouraged me to kick-start my blogging again and I'm loving it!
Anyway, I digress! One of the podcasts recommended by Helen was from The Rebel Podcast Author -
You know how sometimes things land in your life when you need them most? Well, for me, this was one of those occasions! Just the boost I needed, at exactly the right time!
So, that was March. I hope you enjoy at least a couple of my highlights and I hope I might be able to tempt you into journaling too. I'm very aware that I've over-used the word INSPIRED in this post, but I hope you'll forgive me because that's how I'm feeling. Take care my loves and stay safe.
Sending you all so much love