My Top 5 Gift Picks for Book Lovers!

I love a good book and I also love giving books for gifts (or book related gifts)! Here are my top 5 book related gift ideas that are suitable for almost any age and budget.

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1. Book Vouchers. Easy-peasy, but still a really fantastic gift, for almost any age group. These can suit every budget and are very quick & easy to buy and for the recipient to use. Also, they are truely beloved by book lovers. A book token is a double gift, it offers the recipient a reason / excuse to spend many happy hours researching, browsing and sampling books, along with the pleasure of reading actual book purchased with the book token.

2. Book light – this is such a nifty little gadget, perfect for all those night time bookworms. I know you are thinking ‘well they read on kindle and don’t need a light’. But the research shows we should not be using screens near bedtime if we want a good nights rest. So get them a good book and a cute light & you’re even gifting them a good nights sleep – bonus!

3. A book bag. So if you buying for a book lover, they will need something to store and carry their book stash so a book bag is a sure fire winner!

4. A Book Lamp! What’s not to love? A lovely lamp (all book lovers need more of these in their homes) IN….THE….SHAPE….OF…..A…..BOOK – amazing!

5. A mug. All avid book lovers know that the best way to enjoy a good book is with a cup of tea, so a mug is a brilliant gift for a book lover!

As the festive season approaches; I hope these ideas help provide a little inspiration.

Thanks & enjoy!

Sarah

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I re-read Wuthering Heights – after 25 years and here’s what I found…

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I am a Bronte fan and have read and loved almost all their work, revisiting much of it in book or film almost every year, with one exception – Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte.

It has always been my least favourite book by the Brontes. I first read it when I was about 15 and I really didn’t enjoy it. I found Cathy & Heathcliff and indeed almost every character in the book spoilt, petulent and vapid, the atmosphere was bleak and depressing – the whole thing felt pretty whingey!

Having been a Bronte fan for a long time, I have discussed and debated many aspects of the Brontes & their work and I found that I’m not alone in my view of Wuthering Heights. However, I try to keep an open mind about most things and having discovered a love for olives, coffee, knitting and cherry brandy (all of which I hated in my teens) I decided I should give it another go. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while – about 20 years! Anyway, last week, I finally got around to re-visiting Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte and here’s how that little adventure turned out…

It was with some trepidation that I sat down and started with Wuthering Heights again. I told myself that I’d give it a few chapters and if it’s still not my thing, at least I tried. That first sitting lasted over two and a half hours! I only stepped away when backache and hunger could no long be ignored. I now have bags under my eyes from late night / early morning reading sessions! I couldn’t put it down and having reached the end I have taken a little break to read Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte and then I shall return and read it again. I am amazed and delighted at the change in my perception of this fabulous book.

Reader I loved it…..

My long awaited second reading of Wuthering Heights revealed how much I had missed as a teenager! Having now realised that the main protagonists of the story were barely adults themselves, I suspect that my original irritation with Catherine Ernshaw and Heathcliff stemed from the unflattering reflection it gave of my own teenage behavior and attitudes.

Also, I have yet to meet a teenager who would not stare blankly at the utterence of the phrase ‘ look at that view’, so it is clear that the remarkable depiction of the landscapes and environments that Emily acheived were lost on me, during my original reading. The ‘great love story’ between Cathy & Heathcliff was lost on me as I was a pretty cynical teenager – ah time is great teacher!

My more recent reading of Wuthering Heights has revealed a story populated by fantastiacally rich and nuanced characters. I discovered the landscape, so beloved by Emily, captured in intricate detail.

Most striking was her inherant understanding of the nature of love and how facetted and, at times obscure, it is. Yet, how it sits within the foundation of self and is unmoveable. I love how beautifully she illustrates that we often cannot be saved, especially from ouselves and that we must try to make peace with that.

I can’t wait to get back to Wuthering Heights again, I am sure I’ll find yet more wonderful detail and I long to escape back into that captivating world, so carefully created by Emily – it really has been a ‘gone to the heather’ moment.

My feeling is that; Wuthering Heights is one of The Bronte’s best works but, if like me, you struggled with it – then go and give it another chance. I hope it ensares you too!

If you need a new copy of Wuthering Heights then take a look at this edition, that is being released this month – it is a thing of beauty!

Finally, have a great week!

Thanks & Enjoy

Sarah

P.S. If you’d like to read a little more about Charlotte, Emily & Anne Bronte check out this new blog piece I’ve written about the Bronte Sisters Lives.

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Happy Halloween!

Keep it green for Halloween – your guide to an eco-friendly Halloween.


We’re big fans of Halloween and about to start decorating for it. It’s inspired me to think a bit about how we can keep Halloween green – I’m thinking eco, not purtid green!

It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and want to create a great Hallowen experience, but, I’m that finding that simple is good, for my wellbeing (physical and emotional) and it’s less stress on the environment and my budget. So here are a few of the things we’re doing this year to create our happy Halloween!

One a year for once a year! After the first Halloween, that I decorated for, I found we could wash and re-use lots of the Plastic ‘disposable’ decorations and accessories, so we do this and we now have a wonderful collection of ‘mummified’ drinking straws and a cardboard Halloween cakestand that with a careful wipe down has lasted 5 years!

I now also have a rule where I only buy one new decoration or accessory and it must be re-usable. This year I bought a really awesome halloween spider web, which will be used again and again.

Halloween DIY. There are loads of fun things to make for Halloween, that can be eco-friendly.

The most obvious one is a carved Pumpkin. We carve ours the day before and then put it out on the doorstep (it’s nice and cool and helps keep it fresh). To keep everone safe please don’t use candles, use eco-friendly Solar powered LED tea lights. Once all the trick or treaters have been we take the pumpkin in, give it a quick wash down, to remove any grit and chop it up for soup – no waste!

You can make ‘mini pumpkins by drawing on tangerines with a non-toxic pen to make them look lie tiny pumpkins – sweet, eco-friendly and healthy!

Halloween bats are a must too; cut them out of Black craft paper & put them in groups on your doors and walls, they look fab, putting them up with bluetack means you can re-use these next year!

Make some spooky garlands, you can use leaves and cut out bats and again theses can be re-used next Halloween.

I hope these ideas inspire you to go a little green this halloween – mwwahahahaha!!

Thanks & have a great Halloween.

Sarah x

5 Things to do in Autumn – that will make you feel great!

The Autumn is officially upon us! The nights are drawing in really fast now and as we lose the daylight, I find it challenging to maintain my mood. So as the temperature drops, the leaves turn Red and Gold and half-term approaches, I wanted to share a few of my favourite ways to embrace the Autumn and boost your mood over the next few weeks….

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  • Get out and go for a walk. As the days shorten through October and November, here in Yorkshire, I like to try to make the most of the precious day light and get outside. Take time to absorb the beauty of Autumn and appreciate the soothing autumn colours whilst they are with us. – Seeking experiences that allow us to feel and express appreciation and gratitude are really great for our wellbeing. The fresh air and exercise will brighten your eyes and put a spring in your step too!
  • Be creative! While I’m out and about, I like to collect treasures, and often come home with pockets full of sticks, conkers and fallen leaves. If you find that you or a small family member brings things home, display them – make one of those lovely little displays that we so often droll over on Pinterest (but never quite get around to making)! You can take 10 mins and really create a pretty leaf garland or a dried foliage display – giving yourself a neat little sense of achievement into the bargain – good for our self-esteem & mood!
  • Turn the heat on. I really should live somewhere sub-tropical; however, my heart is in Yorkshire and the price I pay for living somewhere I love, is that it’s cold and damp. I try really hard not to turn the heating on until we really need it, wearing jumpers and scarves. But, having the heating on, even just a tiny bit, makes this time of year feel really cosy. Set your heating to come on for a short burst just before you get up, so you wake up to a lovely warm home and do the same for when you come home. If you want to wake up to a really sweet-smelling home put a few drops of essential oils on to a folded hanky or tissue and tuck it behind the radiator, as it warms it will release it’s fragrance. I like to use this organic, eco-friendly Orange essential oil room freshner ; it’s refreshing and comforting. A warm welcoming environment is a great mood booster.
  • Make your Christmas cake & mash. So, this one sounds slightly random, but stay with me! As the days draw in, my need to eat carbs skyrockets and from now until May I will mainly be eating Potatoes – my favourite food group! Also, as we all know, a great festive dinner is really about all the little extras, such as roast and mashed spuds, 100 different veggies and ALL the sauces. However, preping the endless list of food can be a real pain, so I try to do some of it ahead of time. During October I buy, prepare and freeze pigs in blankets, bacon rolls, Bread sauce & Cranberry sauce. I make extra mash when cooking and freeze it; all ready for December. I like to make my Christmas cake at half-term, it gives us something useful to do, other than hibernating and it means we have a calmer Christmas. So why not give yourself an extra Christmas present and unload some of the stress and work for a fab Yule-tide, by doing some of the prep in October. Delicious smells and a warm kitchen, coupled with a sense of achievement is a top mood booster. Delia Smith has an excellent set of Christmas recipes & timings; as an act of self-care, get a copy of her book!
  • Join in Halloween. We love Halloween in our house, but, so we don’t bankrupt ourselves we buy only one decoration each year, and store them carefully away afterwards to reuse. We now have good collection and add to it with homemade decorations (which we also reuse). Halloween can be as elaborate or simple as you like, but do join in, it’s a great way to meet your neighbours and join in with your local community and you don’t even have to take off your slippers or leave the house. So, grab a bowl-full of sweeties, stick a handful bats (cut them out of Black Sugar paper) to your front door, pop some eco-friendly solar powered LED jar lamp (DO NOT USE REAL CANDLES, there will be children about) in your carved pumpkin on the doorstep on October 31st and get ready to join in, meet the neighbours and feel part of something!

I hope you find my Autumn mood boosters helpful and have a great week!

Thanks

Sarah x

I love the Brontes….

There I said it!

It’s good to get these things out there, so that’s what i’m doing here.

Welcome to the mish-mash that’s my blog – part lifestyle, part travel, a little creating, trying to be kinder to ourselves, others and our planet, some laughs and a LOT of old literature.

So if you enjoy a bit of free-range wandering, don’t mind a few affiliate links (that’s one of the ways I pay my bills) and have a passing interest in the Brontes, Jane Austen, Dickens, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, France, Japan, the lake district, the Norwegian Fjords, the seaside, caring for elderly parents, music, foraging, gin, handbags, True Crime, hand made earrings, cups of tea, parenting, The Clash, food, knitting, slime-mold, embroidery, eco-friendly life, cats, dogs, papier mache, jam, running, Whitby Jet, cocktails, books, cheese, fashion, crafts – (glueing & sticking), nature, interesting articles, shoes, art, ideas, vintage jewellery, snoopy, parabolic geometary – yes really, films, well being, biscuits and much much more (and indeed, who wouldn’t?) then you’re in the right place…… and breathe.

As you can see, I really love lots of things and people (mostly), as I’m sure you do too, and that can feel really busy – but, I’m taking a leaf from Emily Bronte’s book.

She famously, absconded from the daily hum-drum of her domestic duties and life and escape to the moors behind Haworth Parsonage. She was, as one of the Brontes so beautifully put it, ‘gone to the heather’.

Hence the blog title – this is our moor and our escape, so come and join us!

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As final note in today’s blog post, I wanted to share with you my favourite book, which is Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte. It is the perfect escape from the frenetic-ness (no, I’m not sure that’s a word either) of our modern lives. I do believe that everyone should have a set of the Bronte Sister’s works and if you don’t, then why not indulge yourself in a firm act of self-care: click on the link below and escape to the heather….

A lovely set books featuring of the fantastic works of Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte & Anne Bronte.

Thanks & have a really lovely day.

Sarah