Lockdown Reads – Reading Rituals

Today I want to share some of my Lockdown Reads with you. One of the benefits of lockdown and staying at home means I’ve been getting a decent amount of reading time. Here’s a look at some of the books I’ve been reading since lockdown began in March…

(no spoilers – just a few thoughts shared about each one)

My Lockdown Reads Stack pinnable image

Lockdown Reads

What Has Nature Ever Done For Us by Tony Juniper

This was an impulse pick-up from a Nature themed display at the library. It’s full of different stories about Nature and its links to life and even the economy.

“It’s estimated that nature is worth as much as $100 trillion annually to the world economy…Yet we take most of that nature does for us for granted.”

I found it quite heavy…in the sense that there was a lot of science and statistics to read…it wasn’t a fun read. But I am glad that I picked it up and I definitely came away feeling like I’d learnt a lot. I enjoyed reading about the examples when humans have worked with nature rather than against it. It made me think about the amount we humans take nature for granted and the consequences of this.

Consider giving it a read if you want to know how money really does grow on trees!

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

The Tagline of this one is ‘A Brief History of Humankind’.

I bought this one a couple of years ago after hearing about it via a podcast. It sat on the shelf. And during lockdown I was ready to give it a go.

This was another heavy read. The font in my copy is small and it’s a big book. But I gleaned SO much from it. I often found myself reading sections to my husband with the question “did you know this?”. The sections on religion, capitalism, and the empire were fascinating and also the most thought-provoking.

I feel like I might be the last one to read this but would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something to make you think about the big picture and how the human race got to where it is today… I’m keen to try his follow up books as well.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

I’ve read this book before. But if you were to look around my house you certainly wouldn’t think so!

I decided to request this from the library at the start of the year (I’m guessing I had a “new decade, no clutter” vision!) but I’ve only just got around to reading it this month. This book and it’s tidying techniques has done the rounds many times already so I won’t share too much about it but it has made me think about all my clutter. I even decluttered a drawer! (Just the rest of the house to do…!)

I think there is much to be said for KonMari’s suggested order of tidying. I am most definitely one of those people that finds myself, an hour into pulling everything out, sat on the floor getting nostalgic over old photos and letters. So I think I’ll give it a go. I’ll start with clothes. Books will be tricky – I am more attached to those than clothes! But I glanced at my bookshelves whilst reading this book and there are definitely some that can get rehomed.

It was worth a re-read. And more light-hearted than the first two.

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

I might have read this just before lockdown. But it’s in my pile of library books I’ve been unable to return due to lockdown so I’m counting it!

I’d seen a few recommendations for this so reserved a copy. I’m so glad I did. I really enjoyed it. It was quirky and fun and heart warming. I loved seeing how the unconventional relationship developed over the course of the book. It was funny and left me with a smile on my face.

I’d recommend giving it a go if you like quirky love stories.


One of the things I’ve missed the most during lockdown has been the library. I love going to have a browse. And I also love being able to get a book recommendation, check the library catalogue, reserve the book then head along and pick it up when I get the notification that it’s waiting for me! The library can also help me with my decluttering journey so I buy less books!

Are you a library member? Have you read any of these books? What did you think about them? And please let me know in the comments if you have any lockdown reads to recommend.

You can find all my Reading Rituals post here.

Freebies for Newsletter Subscribers

Are you signed up to receive my newsletter? I’ve been busy working on the next edition over the last few days. With each one I am creating a free worksheet/printable – July’s is a Mid Year Review Journalling worksheet. It will be sent on the 1st. You can sign up here.

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Feel Better in 5 Book Review

I recently read Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s latest book – Feel Better in 5. And I want to share more about it here because I think it’s a great tool for helping you to find the good everyday.

The Tagline for Feel Better in 5 is “Your Daily Plan to Feel Great for Life”. It contains 30 plus 5 minute tips to lose weight, improve sleep and move more.

Feel Better in 5 Book Review - showing book cover

What is Feel Better in 5 all about?

Right from the start it’s clear that Dr Rangan accepts that we can’t all spend hours in the gym and train for marathons to get healthy. He is putting forward quick practical steps we can take to improve our health and wellbeing

The premise of this book very much reminds me of a quote by Gretchen Rubin:

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while”.

The book asks you for 5 minutes of your time 3 times a day to work towards improving your health. It’s full of useful suggestions for how to build small and meaningful healthy habits into your daily life. And it’s all about consistency of small daily actions rather than giant, unattainable goals.

Health Snacks are Bite-size Actions

Feel Better in 5 lays out a range of healthy activities we can introduce into our daily life. The activities are called “health snacks” and Dr Rangan recommends you select one from each of the Mind, Body and Heart sections to do every day.

Within the 3 sections there are categories of activities. Each category has multiple benefits to our health and well being. The ‘how to get more…’ and ‘how to get less…’ lists are a genius idea – especially if you’re overwhelmed by the choice of all the different health snacks.

Some examples of the different health snacks are:

  • Spending 5 minutes out in nature (and I love that the book discusses all the amazing benefits of this)
  • Breathing exercises (with clear instructions)
  • A recipe to make a brain nourishing smoothie
  • 5 minute HIIT workouts (with diagrams and instructions)
  • Reaching out to a friend
  • Forgiveness Practice
  • Gratitude Game

Each section also offers case studies and tips for making your new health snacks stick. (Some of the suggestions line up with my own recommendations in my Sticking With It post from a couple of years ago.)

My Take on Feel Better in 5

I was very pleased to see that I already do a few of the activities suggested in the book! And now my aim is to start adding more. It feels motivating to know I can make a difference to my health 5 minutes at a time.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to help you introduce and develop healthy daily habits.


Last year I shared my thoughts on another book by Dr Chatterjee – The 4 Pillar Plan. Feel Better in 5 is a great follow on from that but each book can also be read independently. Dr Rangan also has a weekly podcast called Feel Better, Live More which I recommend.

Feel Better in 5 Book Review and How It Will Help You Find the Good Everyday pin

For more book related posts and recommendations for books that will help you to find the good everyday check out my Reading Rituals posts.

Inspiring Book Recommendations for 2020

Today I’d like to share some inspiring book recommendations for 2020. Why not add some of these to your Christmas Wishlist? I have read each of these books and can happily recommend them. There’s a bit of a mix here but I think each of them can help you Find the Good Every Day in their own unique ways. 

Inspiring Book Recommendations for 2020

Big Dreams Daily Joys by Elise Blaha Cripe
Inspiring Book Recommendations - Big Dreams Daily Joys by Elise Blaha Cripe

I’ve been a long time fan of Elise. I read her blog for years, purchased from her Etsy shop and took some of her scrapbook online classes. I was excited to see her news on Instagram a while ago that she was writing a book! She shared a lot of the behind the scenes planning and writing of the book which I loved.  

I requested a copy of the newly published book for my birthday in October and took it with me on our recent trip to New Zealand.

The Tagline is “Set goals. Get things done. Make time for what matters.” The book is divided into sections which help you step out of your everyday routine and look at the bigger picture. From the start Elise walks you through what a goal is, how it’s different from a to-do list item and WHY you should set goals. She suggests how you can make room for the things that bring your joy, how to set big goals and break them down to daily actions and how to stay motivated. 

I gleaned many useful tips and new ways to look at planning and goal setting from this book. If you’re keen to start the decade off with some planning and goal setting and you want concrete advice on how to turn dreams and goals into reality – add this book to your Wishlist!

Depression in a Digital Age by Fiona Thomas
Inspiring Book Recommendations- Depression in a Digital Age by Fiona Thomas

I’ve followed Fiona on Instagram for a while now. Back in the summer I was lucky enough to win a 1-to-1 call with her to discuss all things freelance. Fiona had lots of great tips and advice. I’ve now got lots to think about in terms of earning money from my writing (watch this space in 2020!). 

Fiona has written a memoir about mental health and technology and I finished reading it this week. 

Depression in a Digital Age is an honest and interesting look at how technology and social media can affect us in both negative and positive ways. I could relate to Fiona’s story and it’s helped to give me a better understanding of anxiety and depression. 

There’s a lot we can learn from this book. Fiona writes about the importance of taking a break (from both our daily lives and our online lives), how we should work towards our goals at our own pace and when we share our vulnerabilities it can help other people and ourselves. 

This is a great book to pick up and read to get an understanding of living with anxiety and depression. As well as how technology has a part to play in our mental health. 

Other Inspiring Book Recommendations

As well as these most recent books I’ve read and loved I have some older favourites to share with you as well. I’ve blogged about these books before and would recommend you consider adding them to your Christmas Wishlist. If you click through on the title you can read how they’ve worked for me.

The Desire Map
the desire map by Danielle Laporte

If you’re looking for an alternative way to think about setting goals (based on how you want to feel) this is a great place to start. There’s plenty of inspiration in the front section and a workbook in the final section.

The Artist’s Way
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

If you want to explore your creativity and embrace your inner artist (as a writer, poet, painter or any form of creative work) please read this. If you don’t think you are a creative person DEFINITELY read this!

Big Magic
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is another recommendation for those interested in their creativity. This book looks at the link between our spirituality and creativity. It’s also got some great advice for working with your fears rather than letting them stop you going for what you want. 

Better Than Before
better than before by Gretchen Rubin

If you’re keen to stop bad habits or encourage good habits next year this is the book for you. It helps you work out how you react to inner and outer expectations and suggests strategies for habit building and breaking. 

The Goddess Revolution
The Goddess Revolution by Mel Wells

This book provides a refreshing look at the diet industry and the importance of taking care and loving yourself.

The 4 Pillar Plan
The 4 Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

The 4 Pillar Plan is written by a doctor. It offers advice you can follow at home to make improvements to your health and wellbeing.

Other Book Related Posts you may enjoy

Inspiring Book Recommendations for 2020 - pin

I hope you’ve found my Inspiring Book Recommendations for 2020 helpful and added a book or two to your list!

I’d love to know which books you’d recommend to help Find the Good Every Day?

Super Summer Reads (Reading Rituals)

Summer will be officially here (in the UK) at the end of the week and today I want to share some Super Summer Reads with you.

If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere and approaching Winter I think these reads would be equally great to take your mind off the nights drawing in and a chill in the air!

Super Summer Reads (Reading Rituals)

Super Summer Reads

I’m a big fan of romance novels and, for me, they are a great choice for summer holiday reads. Here are a couple I’ve really enjoyed lately…

The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis*

I’m a long-time fan of Jill Shalvis and her latest book – The Lemon Sisters – is an example of all the things I love about her writing. If you haven’t read any of Jill’s books yet this is a great one to start with.

Jill writes wonderfully flawed and relatable characters. And it’s the characters of The Lemon Sisters that drew me right in. I really felt like I got to know the cast of this novel and I loved reading the dynamics between the sisters Brooke and Mindy. Garrett and Linc feature as the romantic interests of the sisters along with their ever-increasing Slip n Slide. The kids and the animals add humour and a good dose of real family life.

If you love books that warmly invite you into family and romantic dynamics and whisk you along for the ride you will love this book!

This is the third book in The Wildstone Series. The series can be read in any order.
(*GIFTED – Advanced Reader Copy provided in exchange for an honest review)

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

One Summer in Paris was released in April and is still available. I love Sarah Morgan’s writing style and I was absorbed into the story straight away. This book was about unexpected friendships and I loved watching the relationship between Audrey and Grace develop.

Both of the main characters in this book had some demons to face and I enjoyed the support they gave each other while they did so. The secondary characters were fun as well – especially Mimi.

I’ve never visited to Paris. This book had me checking the Eurostar website to see how much it would be to visit! I’ve not booked yet but it’s definitely higher up on my “must visit” list now. I love books where the location features in the book like a character and Paris shone brightly in this summer story.

If you’re looking for a summer read featuring friendship and the backdrop of a beautiful city – I’d recommend trying One Summer in Paris.


What do you enjoy reading at this time of year? Do you have any recommendations for me?

Reading Rituals

You can see all of my Reading Rituals posts here. If romance isn’t your thing (however much that hurts my heart!) there’s plenty of other recommendations for you.

And you can find me on Goodreads here.

The 4 Pillar Plan (Reading Rituals)

Today I want to share my thoughts on The 4 Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee and talk about other books I’ve been reading. It’s great to be back with a new Reading Rituals post. I missed doing a Reading Rituals post in April due to FTG30 but that didn’t stop me reading!

The 4 Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

My thoughts on The 4 Pillar Plan

Within the same week I had a friend recommend Dr Rangan’s podcast and his books were discussed in a group I’m in. I listened to a podcast episode, visited his website and ended up purchasing his book – The 4 Pillar Plan.

The tagline of the book is “How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life”. This tagline fits in with Find the Good Everyday wonderfully so I was ready to give it a go!

I devoured the book in a couple of days and found it fascinating. For me, it has good balance between real-life case studies and the science that explains it all.

The book contains 4 sections: Relax, Eat, Move, Sleep. Each section has 5 suggestions to adopt to improve your health.

What I like most about this book is that it encourages you to develop healthy habits (rather than focusing on things you shouldn’t do) and it’s based on a holistic approach.

The idea is to create balance across all 4 areas rather than ace one and do nothing in the other areas. There’s a handy table with tick-boxes in the introduction to see how you are doing in each area. This allows you to see which areas need the most improvement.

I ended up using the table as a way of tracking my progress in my Bullet Journal. Here’s a look at how it turned out…

The 4 Pillar Plan Bullet Journal Spread

I could see straight away that I was doing okay in the Relax section and starting to make progress with Eat and Sleep. But Move needed improvement so I’ve started to work on that.

I think this is one of those books to keep handy and dip into regularly. It’s full of great reminders and tips for improving health. I’d recommend giving it a go.

Currently Reading

I’m currently reading Flip It! by Michael Heppell following a recommendation. The book’s tagline is “How to get the best out of everything”.

The book starts by introducing the Flip It method – all about turning things into positives. It has sections with examples in different life areas such as health, money, creativity and relationships.

I’m enjoying it so far and it’s got some interesting tips and questions to make you think about your attitudes and the effect they have on your success. I will need to come up with a reminder to “Flip It” once I’ve read the book and carry forward what I’ve learnt.

And lately I’ve found myself pulling old romance favourites off my bookshelves to re-read. I go through phases of doing this rather than getting stuck into new (to me) books as I find it comforting to revisit stories I’ve enjoyed in the past.

Are you a re-reader? Or do you prefer reading books once?


Reading Rituals

What have you been reading lately? Have you got any summer reads to recommend? I’m planning to share some summer favourites with you next month.

Happy Reading!

PS – did you know I write a newsletter each month where I share quotes and things (sometimes books) that have been inspiring me? If you haven’t already and you’re keen to sign up you can do so here.

Fast-Draft Your Memoir by Rachael Herron (Reading Rituals)

I have a new favourite writing book. It is Fast-Draft Your Memoir (Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours) by Rachael Herron. And I’d recommend it to anyone interested in writing – even if you’re not writing memoir.

Fast-Draft Your Memoir (Write Your Life Story in 45 Hours) by Rachael Herron - Reading Rituals

Fast-Draft Your Memoir by Rachael Herron

I really do love this book. I feel like I’ve learnt alot from it and it has already helped me to move my memoir (& my writing) forward.

I’ve been working on a memoir since 2016. It’s about emigrating to New Zealand, our life there and then the decision to return to the UK. I’ve got a chunk of words (over 50k!) sitting in a document and I got stuck. I didn’t know how to shape the spill of words (and emotion) into something that people would want to read. So I procrastinated. A lot. But I still felt hope that one day I’d be able to wrestle the story that’s inside of me (and partly typed out already) into something worth reading.

Reading Fast-Draft Your Memoir has been like a breath of fresh air. I feel inspired and motivated to carry on and finish getting my story out onto the page.

The book is jam-packed with wonderful pep talks, honesty about the hard bits of writing and lots of tips for planning, writing and revising your work.

The chapters on planning and revision are practical and give lots of advice and steps to work your way through. There are exercises all the way through the book that help to build a story, get it down on paper and then polish it up ready to shine.

I know this post sounds gushy but I really can’t help it. I know this book has changed the way I look at writing and how I will plan and revise my work going forward.

If you’re interested in writing – read this book!

More Information

Rachael’s website is filled with useful information for writers and memorists and is worth a visit.

Rachael also hosts a podcast called “How Do You Write?” and I’ve been gradually watching/listening to some of these whilst also reading Fast-Draft Your Memoir. She’s featured the revisions chapter on one of the podcasts so you could start there.


Reading Rituals

Reading Rituals is my monthly post about all things reading. I usually discuss books I’ve been reading and talk about my reading habits. Click here to see all of my Reading Rituals posts.

My Latest Reads (Reading Rituals)

Today I want to share my latest reads with you. I seem to go through phases with my reading and how much I do. Over the last few weeks I’ve been reading A LOT (which is great!)

My Latest Reads (Reading Rituals)

My Latest Reads

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

I came across this book via A Bookish Baker Book Club. This was the January pick. I read it over several days and enjoyed it. It was quite different from anything I read usually – it’s about an elderly lady and set around the retirement centre she lives in. There is a mystery to be solved and lots of quirky and interesting characters. I’m glad I read it.

The Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly

I’ve been a Cathy Kelly fan for a long time. I remember reading a lot of her books when I lived in Scotland (between 2000 and 2005). I spotted this one on the library display and picked it up. It tells the tales of 3 women each celebrating a big birthday. Callie is turning 50, Sam 40 and Ginger 30. Each of their lives falls apart in a different way. I found it incredibly easy to resonate with these characters. Particularly Sam’s anxieties about motherhood and Ginger overcoming her body confidence issues. I really enjoyed this book.

Playing for Keeps by Jill Shalvis

I’m also a long-time fan of Jill Shalvis who writes fun romances with great characters. I enjoyed this one which tells Sadie and Caleb’s story and how they saved a three-legged dog called Lollipop. Parts of this one felt more serious than some of Jill’s other work but I enjoyed it all the same. Jill’s books always make great holiday reads.

Shadow Rider, Shadow Reaper and Shadow Keeper by Christine Feehan

I read some of Christine Feehan’s “Dark” series a long time ago. When I spotted the first book of the Shadow Rider series on the library display recently I decided to give it a go. I’ve been working my way through all 3 books currently available in the series. They’re not the best books I’ve read lately and I have some issues with the characters but I’m persevering! (I don’t like giving up on books halfway through – it makes me wonder what happens!) If you’re keen on paranormal romance or urban fantasy it may be worth giving them a try.


That’s a quick summary of my latest reads. What have you been reading lately?

I also want to note that every single one of my latest reads was a library book. I love my library – it’s part of a big network of libraries and I can search the whole catalogue and reserve books for free. They also have great displays where I often pick up books I wouldn’t necessarily seek out amongst the shelves.

Do you use your local library? Why not visit your library this month and pick up some free books on loan?

Happy Reading!

Reading Rituals

Reading Rituals is my monthly post about all things reading. I usually discuss books I’ve been reading and talk about my reading habits. Click here to see all of my Reading Rituals posts.

My January Reads – Reading Rituals

Today I want to share my January Reads with you. The end of January is in sight! It’s felt like the longest month. And one where I haven’t found as much time to read as I’d like. But here’s what I have read and I’m reading next…

My January Reads - Reading Rituals

My January Reads

The Pants of Perspective by Anna McNuff

I started my January Reads with a book I’d received for Christmas. I really enjoy running memoirs and have already spoken about some in a previous Reading Rituals post.

This one made it onto my wishlist because not only was it a running memoir but it was all about a woman running the length of New Zealand.
(Side note – I lived in New Zealand for 11 years, I got married there and my son was born there. I adore New Zealand!)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had me laughing out loud and on the edge of my seat. I read parts aloud to my husband. I felt nostalgically homesick for parts of New Zealand I recognised as I read about them. And I now have even more places to visit on my list. I was vaguely familiar with the Te Araroa Trail (which runs for 3,000km along the length of South and North Island) but this book really brought it alive for me.

Anna McNuff also talks about mental health and resilience. I love her analogy of fears as threads that you roll into a ball and roll aside…but then someone tugs on a loose thread and it can all unravel. This really resonated with me.

I’d recommend giving this a go – even if you’re not a runner or don’t know New Zealand particularly well.

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

The next of my January Reads was Uncommon Type. This book is completely different from anything I usually read. It’s a series of short stories written by Tom Hanks (yep – the actor from Big, Forrest Gump, Castaway…). Some of the stories are related to each other and they all feature some reference to typewriters. It was fun looking out for the reference as I read.

Some of the stories were heart-warming, some funny and some were a little disturbing. It was an interesting mix. They ranged over different periods of time and had different settings. I was quickly absorbed into each story and enjoyed the writing style.

I would definitely read more of Tom Hanks’ work in the future and may look for some other short story anthologies to try as well.

What’s next?

I’m starting Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon next. It’s the ‘A Bookish Baker Book Club’ pick for January. I talked about the book club in my Reading Resolutions post.

Reading Rituals

Reading Rituals is my monthly post about all things reading. I usually discuss books I’ve been reading and talk about my reading habits. Click here to see all of my Reading Rituals posts.

Reading Rituals – 2019 Reading Resolutions

2019 is almost here. Today I want to talk about Reading Resolutions.
Do you set yourself goals or resolutions for the new year? And do you set any reading specific resolutions?

I don’t usually set reading resolutions or goals but I thought it would be fun to give it some thought for 2019 and share some ideas.

Reading Resolutions 2019 Quote 1 - "Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light." —Vera Nazarian

Ideas for 2019 Reading Resolutions

Join a book club

I’ve recently found 2 online book clubs. These are great if it’s tricky to get along to a physical group or there’s not one locally.

Your local library might be a good place to start if you’re looking for local groups. Or maybe get together a group of friends?

Reading a certain number of books

I’m always in awe of the people that read 40+ books each year!
I have a small reading goal as part of my 37@37 project – to read 12 new to me books. Based on current progress I should exceed this goal.

I’m keen to keep track of my reads in 2019.
I’ll probably set up a tracker in my bullet journal and rate them as I go.

Do you keep a record of what you read? It so, how?
I’ve never had a Goodreads account but perhaps I should set one up? If you have any online recommendations for book tracking please let me know.

Reading something new

I am a big fan of a romance and I tend to stick with those most of the time. I always feel rewarded when I step outside of my reading comfort zone though. So next year I’ll be on the lookout for new authors and different types of reads.
What are you keen to try?

Reading Resolutions Quote 2 "Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end of a long day makes that day happier." —Kathleen Norris
Read a classic

Sometimes this feels more like a “must do” than a want-to-do. But I remember back to classics I read at school and through the years and a lot of them have stayed with me. So I might try and read a new-to-me classic in 2019.

Make more time for reading

I read most nights before bed but not always for as long as I’d like…although I seem to miraculously find more reading time whenever I’m reading a really good book!

Perhaps you don’t read as often as you like and you’d be keen to develop a habit of reading more? My Sticking with It post might help you work out how to fit more reading into your days.

Read with/to your children

A while ago we’d fallen out of the habit of reading to our son each night at bedtime. It became something we did when we had enough time (so quite rare!). We got back into it this year though and we look forward to reading a few pages each night. (We’ve just started Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire). Finding books that the whole family enjoy can help with this resolution.


What are your 2019 Reading Resolutions or Goals? I’d love to hear!

Reading Rituals

Reading Rituals is my monthly post about all things reading. I usually discuss books I’ve been reading and talk about my reading habits. Click here to see all of my Reading Rituals posts.

Christmas Reading Rituals

December is just around the corner so I’m hoping it’s not too early to use the C word and share some Christmas Reading Rituals with you!

I thoroughly enjoy reading books with a festive feel to help find some Christmas spirit. As mentioned in last month’s post I started re-reading some Christmas favourites in October.

I love a Christmas romance and I also enjoy reading Christmas stories with my son. We have some family favourites which I’d like to share with you.

Christmas Reading Rituals

Family Christmas Reading Rituals

Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers by Lynley Dodd

We’ve had this a long time – it’s in board book format which means we got it when my son was a baby or toddler. I adore Lynley Dodd’s Hairy Maclary and friends (as mentioned in our Family Reading Rituals post and this is a wonderfully festive rhyming story. We’re more of a ‘dog family’ than a ‘cat family’ but we still love sitting down and reading about Slinky Malinky’s festive mischief and mayhem.

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

This is a favourite from my childhood so I wanted to purchase it for my boy. I added it to his Christmas Eve box a couple of years ago so we could sit together and enjoy the story for the final bedtime before Father Christmas visited.
The book contains letters which you can open and read as the Jolly Postman delivers each one. It’s fun to “open” each envelope to see what’s inside.
This is a great option to keep little ones amused for a while during the excitement of Christmas Eve.

A Creature Was Stirring (One Boy’s Night Before Christmas) by Carter Goodrich

We picked this one up in a library sale years ago. It’s a beautifully illustrated take on The Night Before Christmas and features a boy’s thoughts on what’s happening alongside the original text. I like the balance between the older style of the original story and the modern additions written from the point of view of a small child.
It’s fun to read together and is another great one to read on Christmas Eve as the children are settling down to sleep.

A Romantic Christmas

I love reading a cosy, heart-warming romance when the nights draw in and I feel like hibernating. For me, Sarah Morgan is the Queen of Christmas romance novels. Last month I mentioned re-reading some of her Christmas stories – Miracle on 5th Avenue and Christmas Ever After.
This month I bought her latest Christmas novel – The Christmas Sisters. I enjoyed the family dynamics in this story and learning more about each of the characters as I continued reading. Not everyone looks forward to a family Christmas and this story portrays how it can affect some people. It was a heart-warming story and I am sure it will become another favourite of mine to re-read at Christmas time!

Non-Christmas Reading This Month

Times Convert - Reading Rituals

I also read Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness. This is a follow on from the All Souls Trilogy (A Discovery of Witches) which I blogged about a while back.
Time’s Convert tells the story of Marcus and Phoebe. I enjoyed reading (and learning more) about the American Civil War and the French Revolution. It was also great to see snippets of other characters from the original trilogy. The ending felt a little rushed or unfinished so I wonder if there is more to come. (The New Orleans bloody finale wasn’t as big as I expected). If you enjoyed the original trilogy this is definitely worth a read.


I’ve picked up some Christmas themed novels from the library recently and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into them on the lead up to Christmas.
Do you enjoy festive stories or have any Christmas Reading Rituals? What have you been reading lately?