The Year in Books :: December 2016

Better late than never – right??

I thought I would pop by to tell you what I read in November – October seemed to be a bit of a lull in reading and I didn’t really read anything at all.  November got me back on track though, so here we go;


First up was the gorgeous The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.  This was delightful – beautifully presented with some wonderful ideas to put into practice to make your like a little more hygge.  I can’t wait for Christmas, as I think it will be easier to be a little more hygge then than at any other time of the year.  I am looking forward to hunkering down with some good books, films, food and (hopefully) no internet for a while.  Bliss.


Next I dipped into Accused: British Witches Throughout History by Willow Winsham which was fairly interesting.  I did find the style a little disjointed and confusing at times, but a lot of the cases discussed were really absorbing.  I knew very little about any of them, and I was so interested to see such recent cases – going right up to the 1940s.  Well worth a dip into if witches are your thing.


After that, I fancied a little lighthearted murder!  So I picked up the first in a series, Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver.  I enjoyed this one a lot – it is a lighthearted murder mystery set in the 1930s.  It was very fluffy and there were lots of small descriptions of dresses (which I found slightly annoying after a while) and some fun characters.  I would recommend it for light escapism, and I would certainly read the next in the series if I came across it on my travels.

December might see me reading Christmassy things – including my annual rereads of A Christmas Carol by Dickens and Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I am hoping that I can fit in some more wintery feel good reads too – what they will be, only time will tell!

What have you been reading lately?

Organdie. x


The Year in Books :: January 2016

December is always a rereading kind of month for me, and this year was no exception.  I reread A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens as well as Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R Tolkien.

I love these two books an awful lot – so I do look forward to December so I can curl up with them again!

Does anyone else reread a lot in winter, but December in particular?

I also had a little dip into the new illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which I was lucky enough to receive for Christmas, and it is stunning.   I am really enjoying going back and reading a familiar story with unfamiliar elements added!

I am not sure what I will start 2016 off with yet – I am going to let it be a surprise!  Who knows what will grab my attention first.

What have you got lined up for 2016 reading wise?

Organdie. x

PS – As always this project was started by Laura over at Circle of Pine Trees– go and say hi, her blog is gorgeous!  You can find more information about The Year in Books project by visiting the page on her blog here.


The Books That Made Me

I have been following some people on YouTube who talk about books (if you are not familiar with BookTube – have a look, it is addictive…) and there are a lot of tag videos out there on a variety of subjects.  A tag is a set of questions normally that you answer, usually involving a lot of books.  Now, as I don’t have a channel on YouTube (and am not very likely to start one!) I thought I would adapt a few of the tags on the blog instead.

The first on that caught my eye was on Victoria Harris’ channel and it dealt with the books of her life.  She has just turned 20 and chose 19 (as the 20th has to be decided this year) books that have defined her years so far.  She challenged others to do a response to this by choosing the books of their years so far.  This means for me, having just turned 31, I need to choose 30 books that made me.

What fun!

Victoria kind of matched her books to each year of her life, but I can’t seem to do that so well, so I am going to just list them instead… Here goes, in no particular order my 30 books and why they are so important to me;

1 The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 1 – The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I have a sneaky suspicion that this one might be on a lot of peoples lists.  I remember this one from very early on in my childhood, and I loved it!

2 Meg and Mog

2 – Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll

Another early childhood favourite – I love Jan Pienkowski’s illustrations, so vibrant and fun.  Another firm favourite to be read over and over again.

Mog The Forgetful Cat

3 – Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr

Apparently I was very fond of cats called Mog as a young child.  This one was a firm favourite along with The Tiger who came to Tea.  Brilliant.

3 First thousand words in french

4 – The Usborne First Thousand Word in French

I loved the Usborne books when I was younger, the illustrations were wonderful (sense a theme here…) and I adored finding all the hidden ducks on the pages.

4 Janet and John

5 – The Janet and John books

I remember these books from my Grandma’s house, there were only a couple and they were really outdated even then, but they do bring back strong memories of learning to read for myself.

6 Miffy in the Hospital

6 – Miffy in the Hospital by Dick Bruna

I got this gorgeous little book when I went into hospital as a child and I fell in love with Miffy instantly.  Simple, lovely stories and simple, lovely illustrations.  I still have a Miffy lunchbag.

5 Ginger's Adventures

7 – Ginger’s Adventures

Another find at Grandma’s house, this series of books all had the same pattern of rhymes and I remember my Dad reading from two books at the same time so they still rhymed but made no sense.  We thought it was hilarious.

7 a necklace of raindrops

8 – A Necklace of Raindrops by Joan Aiken

I have to confess to remembering this one for the illustrations rather than the stories themselves.  Another stunner from Jan Pienkowski!

8 The Folk of the Faraway Tree

9 – The Folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

I still have my mum’s copy of this book, a little tatty now but very well loved.  I didn’t realise until really quite recently that this is actually the third book in the series, and now I can’t read the other two as an adult – this one on the other hand I can happily reread.

9 Wheres Wally

10 – Where’s Wally by Martin Handford

Yes!  Where’s Wally?  There he is!  I could spend hours looking at those intricate drawings and trying to find all the things listed in the back of the book.  I am not sure I ever completed any of the books if I am honest, but it was great fun trying.

10 Beatrix Potter

11 – Anything by Beatrix Potter

Who doesn’t love a bit of Beatrix Potter?  These were a big part of my childhood, I think I may even have been lucky enough to have the whole set.  I don’t know where they are anymore which is quite sad.

11 The Island of Adventure

12 – The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton

This one was part of a three volume bind up that I had when I was about 9 or 10 I think.  I remember taking it on holiday and rereading the three books quite a lot.  This book was my favourite of the three though, and I think it may even have been the first in the series!

12 Biff chip and kipper

12 – The Biff, Chip and Kipper books

Learning to read at school in England means the Biff, Chip and Kipper books.  Not much more to say about those really, but they brought back so many memories when I saw them in the bookshop I worked at a few years ago – I didn’t know that kids still used them.  Brilliant.

14 Finn Family Moomintroll

14 – The Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

Another book that my mum introduced me to as a child.  I remember this book (which I no longer own in it’s original guise which is a real shame as it had a much nicer cover than the reprint I have) and the TV series that went along with it.  The book was enough to instil a life long love of the Moomins in me.  Started a little bit of a collection now…

15 Matilda

15 – Matilda by Roald Dahl

My absolute favourite Roald Dahl as a child.  I think that most kids have some experience of Dahl during their reading lives, and I really can’t imagine that many of them don’t like him in one way or another!

16 Charlottes web

16 – Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White

Another Grandma special!  A lovely, although sad, story – I really much reread this one again soon to reacquaint myself with Wilbur and Charlotte and the others.

17 Winnie the Pooh

17 – The Winnie the Pooh books by A.A.Milne

Need I say more? I could read the Winnie the Pooh stories all the time.  These were a huge part of my childhood and I remember both my dad and also Alan Bennett (via cassette of course) reading these books to me over and over again.  Very comforting.  We still recite certain parts of the books to each other on occasion.

18 goodnight mister tom

18 – Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

This book was wonderful – I remember reading this when I was about 12 or 13 I think and being absolutely blown away by it.  Sad in parts, but ultimately uplifting.  I am scared to reread this one in case I don’t find it as amazing as a grown up.

19 Harry Potter

19 – The Harry Potter Series

No words necessary surely?

20 The Hobbit

20 – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I read this when I was fairly young – it is a kids book after all – and quite enjoyed it.  I enjoyed it far more as an adult though, I read this and The Lord of the Rings just before the films started to come out – I can’t really bring myself to watch a film without reading the book first – and absolutely adored them.

21 The Lord of the Rings

21 – The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

One of my all time favourite books.  At one time I reread this book every year, but in recent times I have slipped a bit.  I am rectifying that now by journeying into Middle Earth again this year.  I am thoroughly enjoying meeting old friends again!

22 Jane Eyre

22 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I read this one on the beach in Majorca on my first proper grown up holiday when I left high school.  I got quite a lot of stick for reading it actually – I suppose it is not standard beach reading material.  I am so glad that I did though, it has stuck with me ever since and reread it numerous times since.  A treasured favourite.

23 Letter's from father christmas

23 – Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Love it love it love it.  Another book I try and read every year.  It is enchanting and I really enjoy it every time I read it.

24 A christmas carol

24 – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I sound a bit like a broken record, but this is one I try to read every year.  I have loved this story in various forms (from Muppets to the amateur dramatics production I was in when I was about 11) for years, and it is a joy to read it leading up to Christmas.

25 I capture the castle

25 – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

A recent reread for me as you might know, and it was an instant 5 star read for me.  I love the writing and the story and could happily imagine myself living with the Mortmains.

26 A year of mornings

26 – A Year of Mornings by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes

A book that showed me that not all photography needs to be “special” or of something “spectacular” – there are lots of moments and objects in your everyday life that are just as stunning and meaningful as a beautiful sunset or landscape.  (It inspired me to write my own online photography course which you can find more information about here if you are interested.)

27 You can buy happiness

27 – You Can Buy Happiness and it’s Cheap by Tammy Strobel

This one was a recent find for me, it has added a lot of fuel to my “trying to be a minimalist” fire.  It is a slow burning fire I have to say, and there is a lot that I need to learn, but one day I will have a tiny house and feel a bit freer from all this stuff that I don’t actually need!

28 The legend of Elizabeth siddal

28 – The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal by Jan Marsh

This book was so important to me at University – I wrote my dissertation on Lizzie Siddal and absolutely fell in love with The Pre Raphalites.  Even writing that sentence has made me want to dig out all my Pre Raphaelite books and get stuck into them all again.

29 the story of at

29 – The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich

Another very important book to me.  I was struggling at Uni with my original Psychology and English degree choice, and this chance purchase made me realise that there might be more options for me.  So I swapped courses just after starting my third year at Uni (Nuts? Maybe.  Did it make me happy? Yes!) and started to study The History of Art and Design instead.

30 The Principles of Druidry

30 – The Principles of Druidry by Emma Restall Orr

I was recommended this book by my piano teacher when I was about 16 years old.  I have always been interested in alternative ways of life for want of a better phrase and this one was the beginning for me of finding out more.

What books have made you?  I would love to read or watch your take on this one!

Organdie. x

The Year in Books :: December

I still don’t seem to be fully recovered from my reading slump as yet, although I have read three books this month.  I wouldn’t say that any of them were particularly stand out for me, but I am completely attributing that to my lack of interest in reading in general and not on the books themselves.

I read Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult for the Radio 2 Bookclub, and got through it fairly quickly.  I can see that if I had been on top of my reading game, I would have really really enjoyed this.  As it was, I thought it was a decent read and one that did keep my attention in the end because of the multiple narrators and cliff hanger type chapter endings.

Leaving Time

I also dipped into The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell.  This was an easier read being non fiction, and also full of small chapters on different bookshops around the world.  I found it easier to read because it was easy to read one or two sections and put it down guilt free.  Some of the stories are charming and Jen’s style and enthusiasm is wonderful.

The Bookshop Book

The final book I read this month was The Winter of Enchantment by Victoria Walker.  This one was mentioned on Dove Grey Reader’s blog years ago, and it seemed like something that I would like.  Unfortunately when it came to it, this didn’t hold my attention at all despite being short and aimed at children.  I think I was trying to get in the mood for winter and Christmas and perhaps I was forcing the issue slightly, who knows.  I wish that it had worked for me though!  Perhaps my old faithfuls A Christmas Carol and Letters from Father Christmas will help me a little bit later next month.

The Winter of Enchatment

As for December….Well who knows really.  My reading slump is getting me down a little bit now if I am honest.  I would love to be able to switch off from business stuff and really settle down to read something lovely, and really get into it again.  Hopefully that will happen for me soon.  Perhaps an audiobook will work, something I can read along with like I used to do as a kid – Bing, turn the page!

I hope you all have something lovely to read this month – I’d love to know your choices!

Organdie. x

Catching Up

Oh dear! I seem to have gone off the radar for a little while without meaning too.  We have been a little bit busy with a lot of things to do with Saltmarsh and Samphire and time just ran away with me…

We are looking into the possibility of getting a little shop, and it is so exciting!  If we can pull it off I think we will have a good chance of making this whole business thing work – if not then we might have to rethink what we are going to do in the future.  That makes me a bit sad – we have been giving this whole business thing a go for around 18 months now, and to be honest we have been struggling quite a bit with money and morale, and it would be awful to have to give up really.  So we are doing everything we possibly can to make our Saltmarsh and Samphire dreams a reality.

Have any of you started something and found it tricky to make it work?  How did you resolve things?  I am curious!

In other news, we went to The Country Living Christmas Fair the other week which was a nice day out.  I did think that the whole experience would be ever so slightly more Christmassy – as it was it was a lot more shopping-y than I thought it would be for some reason – but it was still fun.  I do feel a little sad (a lot sad actually) when I think of how Christmas is all about shopping now and not about the things that actually matter like family and friends and recharging a little after a busy year (and of course the religion if you are that way inclined!).  Working in retail really did kill Christmas for me a few years ago, before that I was all about Christmas and the festive season, and it upsets me that my Christmassy feelings have still not really returned in full all these years later.  So I have got some of my favourite Christmas books lined up to read in the run up to the big day and I am hoping that it might instil some lovely Christmas spirit in me once again!  I will let you know if it works.

I read A Christmas Carol and Letters from Father Christmas every year in the run up to Christmas and I love it – it is nice to have some little traditions at this time of the year.  Do you have anything that you do without fail around the holiday season?

Winter Books

Organdie. x


Book Friends – The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

I thought I would start up a little series of posts on some of my favourite books.  I’m not quite sure why, but here are some of my all time favourite reads – I was going to do a top ten post, but found that there may well be more than ten…so I will spread them out instead.  You will be able to find them all on the Book Friends tab at the top of the page if you would like to see them all together once they have been posted.

The Hobbit

The Hobbit – J.R.R Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkien

My battered copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have seen me through leaving home, starting Uni, life in between and moving back home.  They have moved with me twelve times in the last eleven years.  I used to read them both around once a year, but lately that commitment seems to be too much sadly.  Perhaps I need to change that – maybe a couple of chapters of Middle Earth and the epic quests of Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Men are just what I need right now.

These books are also a rarity in that the film versions are just as good as the books.  Extended edition DVDs and a big cup of tea (well OK, vats of tea would be needed to continually top up during these mammoth adventures…) make for a perfect rainy Sunday afternoon.  Actually it is raining now, can I pretend it is Sunday now?

Tolkien, I love you just a little bit.


Organdie. x

PS – If you haven’t read Letters from Father Christmas and want to get yourself in a Christmassy mood later on this year, I can highly recommend it.  Wonderful little book.