A Pretty Little Package: Silver & Sparkles from Nadia Minkoff

WILDBERRY

I’m blessed to have an amazingly talented, creative family! My aunty is the fashion designer Nadia Minkoff, and when I saw her latest range of silver pieces I got very excited! She very kindly offered to send me some items, and I absolutely love them.

They arrived in this adorable little canvas pouch, tied with a ribbon:

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Inside were lots of beautiful, sparkly, silver masterpieces!

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Left to right: Patina Cushion Stone & Spike Bracelet Silver; Patina Cushion Stone & Spike Drop Earrings; Patina Oblong Stone Ring Silver; Patina Cushion Stone Bracelet Silver

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I’m in love with these beautiful items – lately I’ve been streamlining my life a lot (including getting rid of a lot of jewellery), but these will all make up part of my new minimalist collection. They go wonderfully with my all the items in my wardrobe, and are perfect for a formal occasion or just jazzing up a casual outfit. And what’s more, if silver’s not your thing, these pieces all come in black (for a more dramatic look) and rose gold (perfect for spring). Yay!

All these items can be purchased from nadiaminkoff.com

How To Read More Books in 2016

HOW TO READ MORE

If you read my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016, you’ll have seen that I am aiming to read 52 books this year. Now, I love to read. But I am a really, really slow reader. I lose concentration and momentum really easily and struggle to finish books that I’ve started. So, 52 books in a year is quite a tall order.

That said, January is not yet over and I’ve already read four books! I’m confident that this year I will achieve my goal.

Here’s how I’m going to do it:

1. Audiobooks

I used to think it was cheating to count a book listened to as a book read. But then I saw others who said that listening to audiobooks was helping them reach their reading goals, and I decided to change my thinking. If I’ve listened to a book intently, followed the story and been engaged in the narrative, it’s as good as read. One of the reason I love audiobooks is because you can “read” at times when you wouldn’t normally be able to, such as when cooking dinner, washing dishes, falling asleep (which only really works if you’re an insomniac and take more than half an hour to fall asleep), etc. I have an Audible account, and also make the most of the free, public domain audiobooks on loyalbooks.com. TONS of free classics, which I absolutely love!

2. Morning Reading

Part of the reason I didn’t read much last year is because I kept deferring until later in the day. Then later would come and I’d be feeling tired and lazy, and I’d be sucked into a Netflix binge, or a Candy Crush binge, or a Pinterest binge, and reading would go out the proverbial window. So this year, I’m making the effort to start reading when I wake up. It doesn’t have to be a lot – a couple of pages, or a chapter, just to set the tone for the day. When I’ve done that, I find I’m more inclined to keep going back to my book throughout the day, and I’m much more excited to read it in the evening, which makes the electronic traps a lot less enticing.

3. Putting Away the Electronics

How many times have you thought, “I’m going to sit down and read now”, only to look up from your phone or laptop hours later and realise you haven’t even opened your book? For me, the answer is many MANY times. I’m trying to get in the habit of leaving off the electronics in the evening and reading before bed. But if my laptop remains on the bed, I have a tendency to pick it back up again and get sucked in. I’m trying (often failing, but still trying) to get into the habit of shutting it down and putting it away in the evenings, so that I can be freed up to read without temptation. If reading requires a device (e.g. A kindle book), I’ll try and remember to close all other apps and turn on flight mode. I’m less strict about audiobooks because I am able to take in the story even if I’m doing some other menial task (e.g. playing Candy Crush).

4. Reading the Short Books First

If I start the year with War & Peace, here’s a very likely scenario: I’ll start out enthusiastic, will race through the first quarter of the book and think, “Why was I scared to read this book? It’s so easy!”. Then, a third of the way through I’ll hit a wall and struggle regain momentum. In the meantime, I won’t want to start another book because I’m already supposed to be reading War & Peace. So I’ll just stop reading and spend all my free time playing Candy Crush (I should really just delete it from my phone). In order to prevent the above scenario from occurring, I’m starting with the year with some shorter, easier titles. The sense of accomplishment from finishing a book is super motivating, and makes me want to read more. Plus I’ll be able to tick of a big chunk of my list early on in the year!

How many books are you planning to read this year, and how do you make more time for reading? Share in the comments!

 

My New Year’s Resolutions for 2016

malikorsten.com

I know it’s almost February, but to me the year is still very much new!

Confession: I love making New Year’s resolutions, but I’m not very good at keeping them (is anyone?). Nevertheless, every year I get excited at the prospect of things being “new”, and I make a long list detailing all the things that I want to achieve or change in the coming year. Here are some of my resolutions for 2016:

1. Read at least 52 books

Considering last year I finished less than ten books (and the ones I did finish were all audiobooks), this resolution might seem a bit unrealistic. But, we’re only three weeks into January and I’ve already finished four books! So I’m well on track. I’ve been making a lot more time for reading (more on this in a future post), and of course, audiobooks make it so much easier to squeeze in extra books when you wouldn’t normally be able to. Stay tuned for my reading list!

2. Write at least 1 letter per month to a friend or family member in England

I love writing (and receiving) handwritten letters, but it’s one of those things that I never make time for. I want to change that this year.

3. Attend a church gathering at least twice a month

I’m blessed to be part of a wonderful community of believers who gather together in homes for times of worship and sharing. Unfortunately, over the past couple of years I haven’t been to many gatherings at all, as we were living quite far away. But now we have moved closer again, I’m making these meetings a priority in my life.

4. Share a meal with friends at least twice a month

Few things are as nourishing to the soul as sharing a meal with friends. When I think about the things that bring me the most contentment, this is definitely high on the list. Problem is, it’s in my (introverted) nature to isolate myself and not make the effort to socialise, even though I know I need community and fellowship. So this year I want to make a real effort to step outside of my comfort zone and do what I know is important.

5. Write at least 12 songs

Last year was not a very prolific year for me (out of choice, really – I chose to give time to other things). Although I have lots of big projects planned for this year, I want to make sure I don’t neglect my passion – songwriting. Twelve songs is the bare minimum, but I hope to write more than that!

6. Write at least 1 blog post per week

Ah, dear blog, I’m sorry I’ve neglected you. This year I will do my very best to update you regularly!

7. Complete at least 1 art project per month

I used to love art as a kid. I was always drawing or painting or crafting. Since becoming an adult (if I can call myself that), I’ve hardly given any attention to this side of myself. But whenever I do, I feel peaceful and happy. So I’m going to do it more often.

8. Write and self-publish a new book

It’s scary to write that where everyone can see it, because it means I’m accountable! But I guess that’s kind of the point. I’ve already made a start on a new book (which I can’t tell you anything about yet, but I will at some point!), and am on-track to finish it within the next three months. So… watch this space!

Happy (belated) New Year, everyone! I hope 2016 is the best yet.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Share in the comments!