{Books Lately} July 2016

Books Lately | The Open Home

Well it’s been a long time since I shared with you some of the books I’ve been reading as I’ve kind of had a bit of reading block these past few months and just couldn’t work my way through anything, until recently. I then devoured 3 books in just over a month, which is actually a lot for me. So here I am linking up with Quick Lit over on Modern Mrs Darcy again to share with you some short and sweet reviews of the books I’ve been reading lately.


Books Lately July 2016 | The Open HomeThe Rings of My Tree: A Latvian Woman’s Journey by Jane E. Cunningham

Once started this book is hard to put down. I have read quite a few biographies by survivors of World War Two, mainly set in the Netherlands and mainly written by Jews or those trying to hide the Jews, but this book is different. Mirdza is not a Jew so this book does not follow the usual theme of holocaust horrors but instead highlights the journey of a young Latvian woman who is forced to flee her country in 1944, not because of the threat of the Nazis, but because of the invasion of The Red Army. I had never before considered the double threat that eastern Europe and the Baltic States faced with both the Nazis and the Soviets fighting to claim their soil. The end of the war did not bring freedom to Latvia it brought a new regime that would be in power for many years to come. I could feel Mirdza’s anger and anguish as she faced life as a displaced person, an incredibly fascinating account particularly in light of the current refugee crisis that is happening today in Europe. The story is a wonderful reminder that “where there is life, there is hope.”


Books Lately July 2016 | The Open HomeThe Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis

Continuing with the theme of World War Two and Latvia this fictional story is inspired by the authors own Latvian Jewish heritage. The story starts in June 1941 when the Nazis “liberate” Latvia from the Soviets and swiftly put their anti-semitic plans into place. As told by Hanna, an ordinary fifteen year old girl who also happens to be a Jew, life is about to change drastically. This book is beautifully written, incredibly thought provoking and yet horrific at the same time. This book highlights the pain that is felt when your own community seem to have turned against you, a fresh perspective that is not always explored in other books set in the same era. As with reading all books detailing the holocaust it is hard to comprehend how some people can treat their fellow human beings in such a harsh and evil way. This book is very detailed which is why I also recommend it with a brief word of warning: do not read this book before going to bed! The story follows the historic events of the Rumbula massacre which is incredibly disturbing. I’ve been reading books about World War Two and the holocaust since my mid teens but never before have I read of an event quite so wretched. Despite the horrors, this is a story that should be told.


The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organising by Marie KondoBooks Lately July 2016 | The Open Home

As a self confessed neat freak, books about decluttering and organising always appeal to me as I’m always looking for new ways to fine hone my system. However, I’m also a bit wary of these books as some I’ve read in the past have been so basic they’ve just not offered me anything new. I’m pleased to confirm though that The KonMari method however, does have a lot to offer even the tidiest of people.  Marie Kondo is a cleaning consultant based in Japan and by the sounds of it works with some hardcore hoarders. This book is not really about everyday tidying up (which is really just putting things back in their place) but rather about the one-off decluttering and organising that will put your house in order. The first step is to work your way through her suggested categories and discard, discard, discard! Most of her clients discard at least two thirds of their belongings and are left with only the items that truly bring them joy. Her guidance of only keeping items that spark joy has become one of the main things that sets her approach aside from others, that and her folding and storage method for clothing, both of which I can confirm work really well in practice. If you struggle to keep your home tidy, desperately need to declutter or like me just enjoy organising your home then this book is definitely worth a read.

What books have you been reading lately?

{Ten on Ten} July 2016

Today was a usual Sunday for us, filled with a trip to church and a lot of lazing and playing around home. I had an unwelcome early start to the day that left me feeling shattered for most of the day but the girls managed to squeeze in lots of play and I even managed to squeeze in a nap with my big girl.

Linking up again with Rebekah Gough here are my ten shots trying to capture the beauty in the ordinary.

Ten on Ten July 2016 | The Open Home
Morning horse ride.
Ten on Ten July 2016 | The Open Home
In true hobbit fashion, Blossom likes to make second breakfast.
Ten on Ten July 2016 | The Open Home
Pre-Church colouring session
Ten on Ten July 2016 | The Open Home
Pre-Church pencil throwing session.
Ten on Ten July 2016 | The Open Home
Gift all ready and wrapped for the birthday girl.
Ten on Ten July 2016 | The Open Home
Post-Church nap time.
Ten on Ten July 2016 | The Open Home
Post-nap play time.
Ten on Ten July 2016 | The Open Home
Afternoon reading binge, toddler style!
Ten on Ten July 2016 | The Open Home
Blossom playing interior designer again.
Ten on Ten July 2016 | The Open Home
Planning our city break to Riga.

What beauty did you find in the ordinary today?

{Ten on Ten} June 2016

Such a beautiful day today, the sun is shining and it feels like summer may have finally arrived. We spent most of our day pottering around home, having fun in the garden with friends and then ventured a little further in the afternoon to our thoughtful spot to make the most of the fresh air and sunshine.

Linking up again with Rebekah Gough here are my ten shots trying to capture the beauty in the ordinary.

Ten on Ten June 2016 | The Open Home
Pre-breakfast colouring for the budding artist.
Ten on Ten June 2016 | The Open Home
My newest piece of chalkboard art and our current inspiration.
Ten on Ten June 2016 | The Open Home
A pre-brunch gardening session.
Ten on Ten June 2016 | The Open Home
My decorating style summed up in one photo, white, navy and lots of pot plants!
Ten on Ten June 2016 | The Open Home
Brunch time pals and tent time tickles!
Ten on Ten June 2016 | The Open Home
The new shelves in progress.
Ten on Ten June 2016 | The Open Home
Our newest postcard; a much sweeter version of Disney’s Ana & Elsa.
Ten on Ten June 2016 | The Open Home
The obligatory Woodies photo.
Ten on Ten June 2016 | The Open Home
Getting ready for the England match.
Ten on Ten June 2016 | The Open Home
My new piece of wall art, thanks to the Husby.

 

What beauty did you find in the ordinary today?

{Ten on Ten} May 2016

Okay, so it’s the 9th but I decided to do my ten shots a day early as here in Guernsey the 9th May is a public holiday, a day when we islanders celebrate our liberation from the occupying forces that invaded our island during world war two. I thought today would be a fun day to capture as I knew it would be full of family, friends and festivities.

Linking up again with Rebekah Gough here are my ten shots trying to capture the beauty in the ordinary.

Linking up with Rebekah Gough for another Ten on Ten.
Love my little garden, so much beauty to be found here, especially in the Spring.
Linking up with Rebekah Gough for another Ten on Ten.
Curly chops! I wonder if these will stay?
Linking up with Rebekah Gough for another Ten on Ten.
A patriotic Liberation Day brunch with a few friends.
Linking up with Rebekah Gough for another Ten on Ten.
Blossom enjoyed receiving a few belated birthday presents; reading and writing are currently two of her favourite things!
Linking up with Rebekah Gough for another Ten on Ten.
Homemade Guernsey gache (pronounced gosh!) slathered in Guernsey butter made for a tasty late lunch.
Linking up with Rebekah Gough for another Ten on Ten.
Sisterly love is the sweetest thing.
Linking up with Rebekah Gough for another Ten on Ten.
Some people argue whether Costa or Starbucks have the best coffee, we Guerns know better.
Linking up with Rebekah Gough for another Ten on Ten.
Bedtime time meltdown diverted thanks to new Gruffalo’s Child jammies. Whew!
Linking up with Rebekah Gough for another Ten on Ten.
A spot of letter writing and postcrossing can always be squeezed into my day!

 

What beauty did you find in the ordinary today?

 

Pooh Bear Tea Party

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Pooh Bear Tea Party | The Open Home.

Blossom turns three is a few days and to celebrate we invited family round for a party, but not just any party a Pooh Bear tea party!

This was an easy theme to pull off and as usual I made use of a lot of the home decor items I already had to hand. My trusty hessian table runner, cake stands, chalkboard and jam jars turned vases from Blossom’s first birthday party all made another appearance, with the simple addition of some balloons, flowers, party hats and a classic pooh bear (which was one of Blossom’s birthday presents).

As requested by the birthday girl I attempted to make the much anticipated “pink chocolate cake” as seen at the Hero Party in “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.” It is actually from this scene that we got our pink and blue colour theme from as the characters all wear these colour hats.

The cake was not as pink inside as I’d hoped (despite using an entire tube of pink paste) but Blossom happily ate it and seemed to really enjoy her little tea party, especially playing with her cousins in the garden.

What was the last party you went to?

{Ten on Ten} April 2016

I’m a day late for Ten on Ten, but then you’ll forgive me as the 10th of this month was spent in both shock and sadness following the loss of two much loved family members. Today I decided to seek the beauty in the ordinary despite the sadness and I find myself especially thankful for my two happy little girls who keep me busy and keep me smiling.

Here are my 10 shots linking up with Rebekah Gough for Ten on Ten.

Participating with Rebekah Gough for another month of Ten on Ten | The Open Home
Morning stroll in the garden and the wisteria is beginning to bud.
Participating with Rebekah Gough for another month of Ten on Ten | The Open Home
Sunshine on the nappies makes me happy!
Participating with Rebekah Gough for another month of Ten on Ten | The Open Home
Today’s incoming happy mail, 3 postcards from Germany, Czech Republic & Netherlands.
Participating with Rebekah Gough for another month of Ten on Ten | The Open Home
Need to add the fancy extras but our bedroom is really coming together, just check out that gorgeous glass pendant light.
Participating with Rebekah Gough for another month of Ten on Ten | The Open Home
My budding writer.
Participating with Rebekah Gough for another month of Ten on Ten | The Open Home
The tower where my almost three year old intends to get married!
Participating with Rebekah Gough for another month of Ten on Ten | The Open Home
A lovely afternoon spent exploring Candie Gardens.
Participating with Rebekah Gough for another month of Ten on Ten | The Open Home
I love how much she loves being outdoors.
Participating with Rebekah Gough for another month of Ten on Ten | The Open Home
Her joy is contagious.
Participating with Rebekah Gough for another month of Ten on Ten | The Open Home
Hunting Tigers in town this afternoon was lots of fun, fingers crossed we’ll win the prize.

What beauty did you find in the ordinary today?

 

{Books Lately} March 2016

The Open Home 342

My reading has slowed down a little of late mainly because most of my spare time this past month has gone on letter writing and mail art. However I am still linking up with Quick Lit over on Modern Mrs Darcy to share with you some short and sweet reviews of a couple of books I’ve been reading lately.


Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 22.47.22Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

I adore reading books that are written in letters and this childhood classic by Jean Webster did not disappoint. Set in the early 1900’s the story follows orphan Jerusha “Judy” Abbott through her college years as she sets out to become a writer. Judy writes rather witty letters to her anonymous and rich benefactor, a trustee of the old fashioned orphanage where she grew up. I was able to guess who Daddy-Long-Legs was early on in the book but this did not take away from the books charm, it’s an incredibly enjoyable read with themes of social reform and women’s rights. I now plan to read the sequel to this story, Dear Enemy.


Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 22.46.57French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billion

When it comes to food (and fashion) the French seem to know what they are doing, don’t they? This book is the personal story of a Canadian mother who moved to France with her french husband and two young daughters only to discover that here children ate “grown up” up food. What followed was a year of food education that led to her coming up with ten food rules that took her girls from being incredibly picky to gourmet eaters. These food rules are mainly things to encourage or avoid, such as encourage family meal times and avoid snacking and eating alone. I was able to glean a lot from this book. Thankfully my girls are usually good eaters, but I have definitely picked up on some areas to work on both for them and for me. I highly recommend it to parents who are willing to put in the hard work and for adults in general who want to improve their own eating habits.

 

What books have you been reading lately?