This month, I finally managed to finish reading this Christmas themed book that I started last Christmas. I quite enjoyed it once I got into it, despite the 12 month interval.
It's called 'Miracle on Regent Street' by Ali Harris, and told the story of Evie a stockroom girl, working in an old established, but failing department store in the West End of London. After finding out that the store is in danger of closing if sales don't increase dramatically by Boxing Day, Evie sets about secretly trying to turn the store's fortunes around. It is a heartwarming and light hearted read with some romance thrown in of course.
As it was January, a time for New Year resolutions and diets (for many, but not really for me), I often like to read books which have a self-improvement theme running through them. This January was no exception and I decided to pick up a diet book I've had for a while called 'Nerys and India's Idiot Proof Diet'. I've been a fan of India Knight's writing for a couple of years now, so when I saw this book in a charity shop I couldn't resist it, despite the fact that I don't ordinarily buy diet books.
This book, however, was quite entertaining and charts India and Nerys's attempts and success at losing weight - five stones each to be exact! It was written back in 2007, well before the latest fasting diets became popular and tends to promote it's own version of a low carb/carb free diet.
What I liked about this book is that it was written by two real women, who admittedly liked food and had developed issues around consuming it, whose aim was not to be stick thin, but just to reach a normal, healthy weight that they were happy with. The use of humour in the book alongside their own experience and insights, made it very interesting and entertaining to read.
The only problem I had with the diet, is that the first week or two of the diet is quiet severe, in that it advocates a complete avoidance of carbs and sugar. Whilst I could understand why this might have the beneficial health and weight loss effects they suggest, I'm not sure I can ever see myself committing to it, although it was an extremely tempting thought throughout reading this book. (Especially as you could have bacon and eggs for breakfast quite often!)
It has, however, made me think about sugar and carbs and how they can mess with your bodily systems (i.e. blood sugar levels, fat burning, etc.) and I am seriously thinking of reducing my dependence on them as much as I can in the future, to try to achieve a better balance, healthier weight and improved feeling of wellbeing, if this is possible. I will definitely be keeping this book for future reference and who knows I may one day decide to actually do the diet.
In the same self-improvement vein, I picked up another book this month called 'Romancing the Ordinary - A Year of Simple Splendour' by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I first read one of her books a couple of years ago, which was called 'Peace and Plenty' and I really enjoyed it. This lead me to seek out a couple more of her books on eBay, and this is one of them.
In this book, she encourages you to embrace and value the ordinariness of your everyday life, by appreciating the simplest of things, and by utilising what she calls the seven senses through which she believes all women understand the world.
As this is my year for 'Keeping it Simple', I thought this would be a great book to read. It is organised by way of a chapter for each month of the year, so I am thinking that I might read a chapter a month throughout the year. Something tells me that I might want to get ahead of myself, as I do enjoy reading this writer's work, but we'll see.
Finally, this January, I decided to start reading a book that I've had in my 'to read' pile for a long time now. It's called 'Watching the English' by Kate Fox and in the past I have read quite good reviews of this book, so was interested to finally get around to reading it. I understand that an updated version of this book has now been published, but notwithstanding, I am enjoying this edition. In it, Fox, who is an anthropologist by profession, takes a look at the English as a tribe and the hidden rules of their behaviours. It is quite a lengthy read, as this edition was published in quite a small print, but it is written with humour and is turning out to be a very interesting read. I did find the introduction and the first chapter or two a bit hard going, but on persevering I am starting to really enjoy reading it, to the extent that it had me chuckling away to myself this morning. I will be continuing it into February as it may take a while to finish and will hopefully post again next month with my overall impression.