Life’s Little Pleasures

Flow Magazine and Womankind Magazine

Do you subscribe to any magazines? Although I don’t buy any on a regular basis, I do like to pick up a magazine from time to time. A food or craft publication in the run up to Christmas, or a few in the summer holidays to read on the train, or at the beach.

A couple of my favourite UK magazines are The Simple Things and the crafty Mollie Makes, but this summer I was delighted to discover, a couple of new (to me) magazines that were love at first sight!

The first is Flow magazine. This is a Dutch publication that celebrates ‘creativity, imperfection and life’s little pleasures’ and includes beautifully decorated papers that you can remove and use. It is not overwhelmed with adverts which usually turns me off a lot of magazines, but includes well-written articles and inspiration about artists and what it is to live well. It is like a breath of fresh air – as if to say – here – take some time to play and look after yourself.

The other is Womankind magazine from Australia. This one is ad-free – what a welcome relief. No subtle pressure to buy anything, but a wealth of interesting reads that encourage us women to reconnect with those things that give our lives meaning and enable us to live wisely. The design is absolutely beautiful (just to look at the illustrations and photographs is enough) and each issue is themed on a different country. The one I bought recently was based on Egypt and includes articles such as what we can learn from the ancient Egyptians about Living more Wisely, The Chore Wars, Letters from Cairo, The Lost Queen, The Curse of the Pyramids, On Duality, and Goddess of Nature.

I’m beginning to sound a bit like an advert here myself, though I am not affiliated with either of these magazines. I know they are in the business of making money like any other magazine, but I think these two have really made this kind of publishing into something meaningful and worthwhile. There was no icky feeling that I was being manipulated, or sold the same old same old with just a different catchy title. So I just wanted to recommend them, and if anyone else has any other recommendations of magazines that are similarly original and genuine, I’d love to hear about them.

‘The Mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.’

~ Plutarch

Follow Your Inner Moonlight

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“Concentrate on what you want to say to yourself and your friends. Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness. You say what you want to say when you don’t care who’s listening.”

~ Allen Ginsberg

I wholeheartedly believe that we all have something individual to contribute to the world – something important that needs to be expressed. Perhaps something only you can say. Blogging gives us an opportunity to express and communicate this with others.

It means we have to become a little vulnerable, we have to let people see the parts of us that are not so strong and certain. There is deep value in this process for the reader as well as ourselves. It takes time and care to say what you really mean – to say what matters. This is something I really want to work on with my blogging this year.

We all have these mad parts of ourselves, parts that speak of our pain and our hope and our passion. I want to read and write about those. There are some things I will keep private, for sure, but I need to get out of my comfort zone, even if it hurts. Especially if it hurts.

What is your inner moonlight leading you to do or say? What makes life different and real for you? What would you say if you didn’t care who was listening?

2015 TBR Challenge

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(I am transferring this post from my old blog to my new – apologies if you have read it before)

Did I mention that I’m a bookaholic? I usually read at least two books a week, mostly non-fiction. The problem is that my eyes are bigger than my brain and I beg, borrow and buy more books than I can possibly read.

Hence my ‘To Be Read’ pile runneth over. Out of the bookshelves and over the floor of my bedroom and living room.

So, I have decided to enter the 2015 TBR Pile Challenge. A year-long challenge to read at least 12 books that have gathered dust on a bookshelf for over a year. Once read you write a post/review about each one and link back to your original post.

My 2015 TBR Pile Challenge List:

  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  3. Phenomenology of Perception by Maurice Merleau-Ponty
  4. Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake by Carol Loeb Shloss
  5. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  7. The Outsider by Colin Wilson
  8. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche
  9. Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales
  10. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
  11. In Search of Lost Time  – Volume 1 Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  12. The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco

My two alternatives in case I can’t make it through any of the above are –

  1. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  2. Decline and Fall  by Evelyn Waugh

There are monthly check-ins and mini-challenges along the way. So do pop over to roofbeamreader.com if you’re interested in joining in 🙂

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A New Year, A New Blog, A Fresh Start

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Hello world and welcome dear reader to the very first post of my new blog. Allow me to introduce myself and tell a little of the reasons why I come here to write.

I’m Kim, a bookish sort, odd and insatiably curious. I live in the south-west of England with my two youngest children – Jay (15), who is ‘unschooled‘, Emily (12), and our black cat Baudelaire. Learning about unschooling has changed our lives immeasurably for the better and I am writing a book about my experiences with school and home education (when I’m not procrastinating by blogging, reading and surfing the internet amongst other things).

I like to create a cosy home; I bake sometimes; I hate clutter but am loath to get rid of a single book. And when I get irritable with piles of dishes to wash and messy floors, or the mould that needs removing from the bathroom ceiling (again), I try very hard to remind myself that it is not forever, nothing is forever, and I try to be grateful for even those things.

I want to slow down and learn to do one thing at a time. I want to take the time to smell roses and watch the ripples on the lake, to lie in the grass in the middle of summer just watching the clouds drift overhead.

Writing is a way for me to let go of a painful and difficult past by focusing on the here and now as much as I can. I want to value this one life, not waste it. Sometimes I get so afraid of wasting it that I am paralysed by fear – utterly stuck – like an ageing tractor rolling its big old tires in the mire and digging a trench beneath itself, sinking deeper and deeper into the squelchy mud. Well, this is my way of pulling myself out, cleaning myself off and moving on.

I suppose I just want to live a well-lived life though I am not at all sure just what that is. And so I write. I write to explore, to discover what I think about things and to be inspired by the lives and words of those who know a heck of a lot more than me.

Writing helps me uncover the truth, or at least my truth. When I write about the small ordinary things – the ‘little wonders’ of an everyday life, I’ve taken time to truly see. I appreciate them and remember them and that feels like a good thing.

So here I’ll write about the books I read, art and crafty projects, growing things in the garden, treasures found in dusty lanes and wild fields, inspiration and ideas to live better, deeper, richer.

I’d love for you to join me for a cup of tea, and we’ll put the world to rights or at least have a darn good try. Thanks for reading.

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