The Art of Being Brilliant by Andy Cope & Andy Whittaker

Do you ever get the feeling you’ve been gone for a lot longer than you thought you were. Well I do, sorry every one for being a little haphazard recently. I’ve written a lot of posts about why I’ve been away but basically I’ve been busy. REALLY BUSY. When you live with lots of people in shared housing there’s always another job to do but it kinda feels okay to leave it to the next person? When you live in a household of two it’s a little more difficult. Risk pissing off the person you’ve moved in with (sorry T) or get your act together. Then I felt out of my blogging habit and then I did something crazy – I joined a gym and that has been taking up a little more time than I thought. Turns out I really enjoy the gym. But that’s something for another day. For now a brilliant book on how to be, well, brilliant.

We all have good days and bad days. Some days we’re on form, others we can’t really be bothered and feel a little lack lustre. No one enjoys those slump days – so let’s do away with them! The wonderful, uplifting and funny authors of the bestselling The Art of Being Brilliant are here to show us how to get motivated, get positive and get happy, and, most importantly, how to be all three consistently. Every single day. Using a solid understanding of positive psychology, but with clear visual illustrations, simple explanations and a bit of funny stuff, Be Brilliant Everyday shows us how to foster some serious positivity and mental agility and transform our lives. The book is crammed with practical tips to help us ditch those down days and flourish every single day.


img_1808How to live and breathe positivity everyday

Learn to be truly happy, confident and more effective

Become a great example to others and inspire those around you

 How to cope and feel brilliant in a busy, demanding world

This book is a well-constructed self-help book, centrered around the idea that we can get ourselves back on a positive track and the ways that we can help ourselves, mainly by looking at things in a different way. I want to say – this is definitely one of those books that is love it or hate it and would say, it’s for those that KNOW that the troubles lie with their habits or ways that they look at things. I feel like this book definitely doesn’t take into account mental health/depression and I think if I had read this book with that in mind I could have been a little offended.

The idea revolves around us being lazy to change due to a lack of effort, allowing ourselves to be stressed or distracted by our mobile phones when we should be looking at how we see ourselves. Quite clichéd things but things I haven’t really ever thought about too deeply.

Last week I was in a horrendous mood because of the rain. Sounds stupid, but I don’t own a coat with a hood, I recently found out there are problems with my tax from my last job, I lost my purse a few days before and I was RAGING. I stomped home, threw my gym stuff on and raced down to the gym in a horrid mood. As soon as I got there I managed to drop my phone onto the metal rail of the cross-trainer and it smashed horrifically. What I could or should have done is really thought

img_18071)     I have sorted the tax thing – at least initially

2)     I have heard from the person who has my purse I should be able to get it back

3)     I will eventually have enough money to buy a coat with a hood and I should have done MONTHS AGO.

If I had done this maybe I wouldn’t have had a mini argument with T (who has been incredibly supportive through it all) and maybe I wouldn’t have smashed my phone to crap. I mean I might have done but at least I wouldn’t have felt so horrendous due to me being a mood hooverer (someone who is almost looking for things to be angry about – ie the rain.) Looking at things as if nothing, nothing at all would make it better.

The book revolves around this throughout, is backed up by quotes from other self-help motivators and experts and for me it has a brilliant message in addressing negative self-talk. I realise I’m massively going on in this review but it’s my first one back so shrugs. It does have a slightly condescending tone or at least moves towards it. For me it just stopped before pissing me off but the stick men drawings and some of the jokey language was beginning to grate.

I think if you’re looking to make little changes in your life and want a book that maybe makes you look at somethings you’re doing differently once in a while this is a lovely little book to pick up. It would also work wonderfully as a stocking present filler! (If you’re thinking about Christmas already.) Gah I’m going to wrap this up here because I HAVE GONE ON A LOT. I enjoyed it but I think there are lots out there that take a deeper look at psychology and self-help. This was book to start me on a journey of self love that I hope to continue.

LIIIINKS 

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Week Commencing: Nov 7

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Hello readers – I’m here, on a Tuesday with another Week commencing. I realise I haven’t written a book review in a little while but now that we finally have internet I spent the weekend having a content update so look forward to some new reviews cause after having a 5hr commute for three weeks (OH MY LIFE,) I have a lot of new reviews to write. But for now, another week commencing because I really enjoyed writing the last (and they will be my new Monday post! Not Tuesday ;))

Cannalo at Casa Cannoli

(Twittttter)

One of the beauties from Greenwich Market (which we might not be able to get away from in these weekly updates because oh my life – I adore Greenwich Market.) T bought three of these; pistachio, lemon and hazlenut.) These were honestly incredible – hazlenut was definitely my favourite but even though we’d eaten hella burritos at the market we couldn’t help but dig into these.

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Fried Eggs (and lots of toast)

Maybe this is a little, I don’t know odd. But I have never really been a massive breakfast person. I’m kind of the grab an apple and diet coke can as I ran out the door, but I’ve been making a lot of effort to make breakfast every day and I have fallen in love with fried eggs. This (below) covered with hot-sauce #yaaaas.

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Vietnamese food (specifically baguettes.) 

I mean look at this. Lemon grass chicken, a hella load of sauces, crispy onions, cucumber and whole load of other bits and bobs. This was delicious.

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MERMAID TAIL!!!

Okay – I bought a mermaid tail blanket and honestly – no regrets. This blanket is warm and snuggly and both T and I have been loving it. I think the New Look one I bought it now out of stock (probably because the fantastic Hannah Gale gave it a shout out.) But I’ll let you know if they re-appear!

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Flannel shirts (and Autumn in general!) 

Gah – I adore a flannel shirt and a cosy coat combo. This is my favourite I’ve been rocking for a couple of week but I utterly adore it. Snuggly leggings, flat shoes (I mean London can hurt your toes) an over-the-shoulder bag. YAAAS.

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I tried to get this out on Tuesday but I just didn’t have time. I’m so busy with 10000000 other bits and pieces. But I hope you enjoyed this post – without further ado I’m off to finish reading the new Lisbeth Salander book – cherrrio.

Social Anxiety Cure by Brittany Hallison

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Helllllo readers, hope you’re wellll. I know it’s Monday and Monday’s suck but I’ve got an interesting book for you today! This popped up in my email inbox and thought why the hell not. I’ve spent the last year squashing my anxiety with blogging and reading but never thought to pick up an anxiety book – so, I thought I would pick one up and give it a read and here’s the review – ENJOY.

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This book is your complete guide on how to tap in to your inner confidence and become comfortable interacting with people for life.
This book will teach you how to recognize the signs the signs and symptoms of individuals with social anxiety, proven steps and strategies to become more comfortable around others, and the types of professional help people with social anxiety can seek.

In the modern world many people struggle with seemingly easy, natural tasks. In some cases they struggle to talk to unfamiliar people, perform under any sort of pressure or go to work. They might exhibit excessive and unreasonable worry about social situations – they fret and make themselves unhappy about how other people perceive them and may consider themselves boring or unlikeable.

If this sounds like you, or someone you know, than that person may be struggling with social anxiety disorder. Fortunately, this book exists to equip you with the knowledge you need to face your fears and overcome your social anxiety.

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Right, so the blurb is REAAAAAAALLY long and that’s not all of it so I’m not going to go into too many details because we might be here allll day. The first thing to say is that I really dislike the title. The idea that there is a cure to anxiety just makes it into a containable thing and if it’s anything I’ve experienced before it’s something that isn’t just cured.

Saying that the information inside is really interesting – we start off with one of the important things like distinguishing between being stressed and insecure and actually struggling with anxiety. With the word anxiety being used so often and often in a ‘funny capacity,’ it’s important to distinguish. People who struggle with anxiety with also struggle with anxious or stressful moments it’s just that feeling is a constant wobble rather than something that comes and go’s and the book details that well.

The book covers many different topics including;

  • Simple Strategies on Tapping in to your Inner Calmness
  • Best Tips to Overcome Shyness
  • Understand the Origin and Causes of Social Anxiety
  • How To Identify the Top Signs and Symptoms of SA
  • A Variety of Different Methods You Can Employ to Alleviate Social Fear

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each of these is managed well and I thought there was a lot of topics covered that help to create a well-rounded book which was nicely done.

In terms of the writing style it is very simple and at times a little condescending. At one point the book describes listing different activities in a list as to how anxiety creating they are – the book then states you should start with the low anxiety creating and then build up before being able to ‘reintegrate the social anxiety sufferer.’ It’s the way it’s said – it just doesn’t sit completely right.

The techniques are very simple as to ways of combating social anxiety – sleeping, not excessively drinking alcohol, not drinking too much caffeine. The book has a little into the science but it mainly links to the basic side of the book.I thought as well, that the book would be much better for someone with a family member/friend/boyfriend or girlfriend

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I think that this book is a really  interesting start to learning more about anxiety. As a free Kindle book this is worth a read just for an over-view; a look at breathing techniques, sleeping techniques and more into helping someone you know with social anxiety. For me, I would want a little more that such a brief over-view but as a first point of call I think this is okay.

So, overall – I think there’s are a lot more informative books out there that are written, one, with better spelling and grammar, at times it’s a bit ropey and with more, scientifically backed up information. If you’re wondering about the basics this works but I would suggest picking something a little more informative.

Linnnks

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52 Men by Louise Wareham Leonard

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Helllllo readers, hope you’re well and happy on this wonderfully wintery Monday. This month and the next are full of really unique books and I’m tempted to write a post about reviewing different genres of books because all the books I’m reading at the moment contrast so definitely. Today’s for example is a look into the relationships with 52 different men and the different ways that relationships evolve. I’ll stop the babbling and get on with the review.

This is a work of memory and imagination; stories, actions, and events have been changed to protect the living.

If it amounts to anything, besides a depiction of one person’s life, it is a testament to the following sentiment found in an old journal of mine: People think that life is to not get hurt. But life is to be radical.

Recently I’ve been struggling a little with reading; I think it’s that after a really long day coming home, cleaning, cooking, washing, general adult stuff, by the time I come to sit down and read my brain is fried. However, this book is a collection of different stories that are collated together so it’s more of a dip in and out read rather than a long continuous train of thought. Don’t take that the wrong way because this is a beautiful book full of glimpses and descriptions of men that have been described and their stories noted down.

I feel like potentially the title gives the book a different feel that what it really gives but this is more than the telling of 52 stories with different male persons. It’s tales of loss, love, those special moments where we get to get to know different people. I love these types of books because they have to move so quickly; there isn’t a lot of time to get across a certain feeling and the authors skill is really shown in the way that she manages to get so much into each story. I thought the way the stories are strung together almost as like an anthology made a very fluid sense of novel. There is a rhythm and order to the story; it was like opening an advent calendar and meeting the next narrator or the next male. What would they be like? What could I expect?

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I thought there was something more than just tales; the author is brilliant at portraying the awkward moments, the space, if you will, between the characters. With relationships there is often more one way that the other and the give and take of relationships, the waiting the why or why or not is just as important as the describing of a character. I also liked that the stories came across as statements rather than coming of age; it doesn’t feel sad but more documentary in style. There is a second section of the book where the writing is in a more narrative style. It’s a lot longer in longer in length and it appears to tell the story behind the stories of the letters. It’s written in the same lyrical style and helps to round out the end of the story so you’re left with a warm feeling in your stomach.

The writing style throughout is beautiful and languid; it doesn’t move with a lot of action but  instead is a cool and deep feeling of emotion, life, living, regret, love and letters really. My only slight wobble would be that I think that at times it does get a little heavy; I’m not sure I could read larger chunks of this but found it better to dip in and out. I do think the two sections could have been more clearly linked just to really make the connection. They felt a little alienated from one another when it could have felt more linked.

Overall though this is a really lovely read; I thought the stories and the idea was really unique and it was perfect for the style of book I really wanted to read. I can see myself going back and dipping in and out of this and re-reading the tales which really tells how special I found it. Linking the two sections would have led to me feeling more fulfilled at the end but I loved this book for its story telling and I am very happy to have had the chance to read through it.

Linnnnnnks

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Sugar and Snails Paperback by Anne Goodwin

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Hi readers, lovely for you to join for another review and this one is beautiful; honestly through and through. I am going to apologise this is one of those books that if you give away a lot of the plot then it does ultimately ruin the development for the reader so this may come across as a hazy review, but this book is sublime and is a needed read by  anyone who resides in the year of 2015 because it rings very true.

The past lingers on, etched beneath our skin … At fifteen, Diana Dodworth took the opportunity to radically alter the trajectory of her life, and escape the constraints of her small-town existence. Thirty years on, she can’t help scratching at her teenage decision like a scabbed wound. To safeguard her secret, she’s kept other people at a distance… until Simon Jenkins sweeps in on a cloud of promise and possibility. But his work is taking him to Cairo, and he expects Di to fly out for a visit. She daren’t return to the city that changed her life; nor can she tell Simon the reason why. Sugar and Snails takes the reader on a poignant journey from Diana’s misfit childhood, through tortured adolescence to a triumphant mid-life coming-of-age that challenges preconceptions about bridging the gap between who we are and who we feel we ought to be.

Due to not being able to or wanting to give away too much into the specific plot line I’m going to throw myself into the nitty-gritty. I am so impressed that this is a debut novel;  there is something that makes the author seem incredibly comfortable as an author; it feel natural, well-conceived and given to the reader in a way that feels neither telling neither negative. The topic discussed through the book is at times challenging and disturbing in the way that those around our main character react.

What I can say in terms of plot is that we follow the life of Diana Dodsworth who is an academic psychologist. She is a little nervous, anxious, awkward at times and self-conscious. We see her struggle through a particularly difficult dinner party where she meets Simon. The two appear to find solace in one another and their relationship develops. However tension from previous experiences mean the two struggle and we see their relationship struggle and falter and then grow stronger. I adored the way their relationship was built; it’s not flowers and fairies, it’s gritty, and raw. It discussed feelings that I had yet to really truly experience and when we relate that to Di’s internal struggle it is truly heartbreaking.

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I thought the tale moved with pace and was told with strength; both main characters are well built up and develop strongly throughout. Additionally secondary supporting characters were given the time to become characters in their own selves helping to create a well-rounded plot-line. The writing is strong and moves with enough pace and style. It has a languid feel with beautifully built up moments. The writing does move backwards and forwards time wise and after reading for a long periods of time I did feel a little lost. However, it only adds to the confusion that the author is creating in the story of the main protagonist and it makes it feel all the more real.

I really felt that I learnt something from this book and that’s what us readers want to experience from a novel; not only a story but a meaning and this book has definitely ignited a want to learn and understand more. I’m gabbing on, and T moans my reviews are too long so I’m finishing here. Buy it today because you’ll miss out on something fantastic if you don’t.

Linkkkkks

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