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  • Writer's pictureLilac Mills

Brunch and ponies

I did a spot of Christmas shopping this week and had brunch out - a rare treat, even if it was eaten outside on what was probably the coldest day of the winter so far. And afterwards, a walk to blow away the cobwebs saw this glum bunch of semi-wild ponies sheltering from the wind.

And in a week where we had Storm Arwen, I think my neck of the woods got off lightly. But just in case we get another spell of horrid weather (which we will) Poppy went for a fitting for her new coat. I think she might be asking if her bum looks big in this! Needless to say, it's not quite ready yet.

Favourite word of the year is snacksident: when you accidentally eat a snack. It happens to me all the time!

And I'll leave you with this - An Audience with Adele. I was blown away.

What I've been reading this week

An Endless Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley

Rose Vernon is headed to a quiet Cornish village – to find the man who saved her life.

For Rose, every day is a gift. She narrowly survived a life-threatening illness and owes everything to her anonymous donor. Determined to thank him, Rose follows a trail of clues that lead her to the little Cornish fishing village of Falford.

But things become complicated when Rose is drawn into local life, becoming involved in the legendary Falford Regatta and meeting the handsome Morvah brothers – one of whom might just be the man she’s looking for. But which one?

Can Rose find the answer she’s searching for, or will she lose her heart before the summer is over?

My thoughts...

I'm always delighted to read a Phillipa Ashley novel, and was even more excited when I read this one's unusual premise.

There is a lot going on in this story, apart from Rose's search for her donor. I learnt something about sailing, boats and boat building for a start, not to mention snippets of archaeology, and local legends and folklore. Then there is the wonderful community spirit, the friendships, the sibling angst, and a pair of gorgeous brothers. Oh, and a delicious slow burning romance.

Another lovely book from the queen of uplifting romance.

A Year of Living Simply by Kate Humble

If there is one thing that most of us aspire to, it is, simply, to be happy. And yet attaining happiness has become, it appears, anything but simple. Having stuff - The Latest, The Newest, The Best Yet - is all too often peddled as the sure fire route to happiness. So why then, in our consumer-driven society, is depression, stress and anxiety ever more common, affecting every strata of society and every age, even, worryingly, the very young? Why is it, when we have so much, that many of us still feel we are missing something and the rush of pleasure when we buy something new turns so quickly into a feeling of emptiness, or purposelessness, or guilt?

So what is the route to real, deep, long lasting happiness? Could it be that our lives have just become overly crowded, that we've lost sight of the things - the simple things - that give a sense of achievement, a feeling of joy or excitement? That make us happy. Do we need to take a step back, reprioritise? Do we need to make our lives more simple?

Kate Humble's fresh and frank exploration of a stripped-back approach to life is uplifting, engaging and inspiring - and will help us all find balance and happiness every day.

My thoughts...

This isn't a romance, and neither is it a work of fiction. It is a cross between a memoir and a self-help guide. I've been a fan of Kate Humble for a number of years, and I envy her her lifestyle. She lives on a farm when she's not filming, and it seems idyllic.

Living a more simple life has gained traction recently, especially in the last eighteen months or so, when many of us were forced to re-evaluate our lives and what makes us happy. I certainly did. And much of what Ms Humble says in her book resonated with me.

However, not everyone is in a position to go the lengths some of the people she met and interviewed have gone to. it still makes interesting reading, though, and can serve as a way of taking a step in the right direction if you are serious about living a less possession-orientated, technology-driven life and want to take time out to smell the roses.

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