Join our Book Reading Challenge for September 2018

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”  
~  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Do you love to read?

In January of 2017 a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge. It was a fine year of reading, friendship and sharing of our love of stories and all things book-related. Now, in 2018, with a successful Challenge already completed, we’ve embarked on a new year of reading adventures.

This year the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Team has decided to nominate Pencils of Promise as the charity we’ll be supporting through our Book Reading Challenge. Pencils of Promise build schools in the developing world, train teachers, and support kids and communities to be able to access education. In 2018 more than 1 in every ten children around the world is illiterate and in developing countries, that figure is 1 in 3. I’m hoping that our loyal blog community can change that, and help provide opportunities for some of those kids to be able to read, write and learn so that their lives can open out in front of them in more meaningful ways.

Would you like to join us? Let me explain the Challenge to you:

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book, short story or journal article each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when. It could be an e-book or an audio-book. It can be any kind of book, story or article at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. A comment piece, investigative journalism, or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book, story or article you are currently reading or listening to here or have finished during the month on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest any books, stories, articles or audiobooks that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of resources that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Sign up to become a Team Member of the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Fundraising Team for Pencils of Promise. Here’s the link for you to join.
  4. Download the Book Tracker. Each month write the name of any book/story/article you have read in the corresponding month. It’s fine to add more than one. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read or go directly to Pencils of Promise and make a donation there. It doesn’t have to be much. Whatever you can afford will be great. Here’s the Book Tracker for you to download – just click on this link: BOOK-TRACKER-3. There’s a space for you to write down your reading wish list. Then start filling in the Monthly Tracker when you’ve read your first book.
  5. During the year I will put up a Book Challenge Post on the fourth Saturday of every month so that we can discuss the books and stories we’ve read or listened to, and swap ideas and reviews. I’ll also be asking you to donate the money you set aside from your completed books and stories to Pencils of Promise. When you donate that money is up to you. Just make sure you have registered as a team member first. It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!
  6. During the year we will also be holding a Read-A-Thon so that you can get your family, friends and workmates to sponsor you for the books and stories you read or listen to. It will be a great way for you to indulge in some reading for a good cause, and to raise some extra money towards our goal.

Download this: BOOK-TRACKER-3

I’d love you to get your friends involved, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end, and at various points before that, we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else in the form of a donation to help Pencils of Promise deliver more readers and writers to the world.

So, that’s our Reading Challenge for 2018. Want to join us? Go add your name below, join our Fundraising Team and don’t forget to let us know what books have you been reading or listening to this past month.

And now for September…

Let’s end the month off with the list of books, stories, articles and audiobooks we’ve already enjoyed in September.

This month I’ve listened to the audiobook version of The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, narrated by Richard Armitage. Based on the true story of Lale and Gita Sokolov, it is a tale of love and survival set amidst the horror that was Auschwitz. I found the story deeply moving, and I had to stop listening to it at bedtime because I found myself setting my story timer for another fifteen minutes and then another and then lay awake thinking about the story instead of sleeping! I won’t give too much away, but I do recommend this book. I found myself crying and smiling by turn, and the postscript at the end gave me closure. The story has stayed with me.

I also read Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee. This brave and sensitive memoir by a young Brisbane woman narrates her journey first as a newly-minted judge’s associate within the legal system where the majority of cases dealt with were sexual crimes, and then as a complainant when she went back into the same system to pursue the man who had sexually assaulted her as a primary-school aged child. It unexpectedly became a launchpad for my own discussions about the sexual assaults I experienced as a child and young woman. An important book, that I hope will lead to even-more-important conversations and action.

Go ahead and tell us your September reads in the comments below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

 

Why Kindness And Goodness Matters

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” 
Roy T. Bennett

Life can be a difficult ride, and each of us at times will know pain, trouble, loneliness and struggle. That’s why it is so important for us to practice love and kindness.

But when we are going through our own difficulties, when we are tired or feeling taken for granted, we might wonder what’s the point? What’s the point of being kind? What’s the point of continuing to be caring, helpful, polite?

Have you noticed that emotional states are contagious? Hang around an angry person long enough and some of that will rub off on you. The same goes for depression. Uncaring acts beget more. Selfishness breeds isolation, disrespect, contempt and ugliness.

Just as negative emotions have a negative impact, choosing to stay focused on love, gratitude, positive values and caring will have a positive impact on our lives.

Our emotional state and our thoughts travel out from us like ripples on a pond. They radiate energy that affects everything and everyone around us. Eventually, some of that energy will be reflected back to us, perhaps weaker, perhaps greatly magnified…

What sort of world do you choose for yourself?

Loving others, living from your heart, choosing kindness, and performing acts of service and devotion that may well go unacknowledged or unappreciated are paths that can truly lead us to a better future, influencing and supporting the positive unfolding of history in ways we may not ever know or understand in our lifetime.

No matter what your emotional starting ground, when you uplift others, you also uplift yourself. When you share your heart, it doesn’t decrease your love – it expands your love, and your capacity to give and receive love.

Our Universe is built upon unseen acts of courage, goodness, faith, optimism, service and great love.

Whether you subscribe to a particular religion or not, whether you believe in God, karma, Universal Law or death and taxes – know that by your own actions, your choices, your values, sacrifices and personal character you contribute to the future unfolding of our planet.

Invisible acts of love and uplifting others might not provide us with an immediate reward – but through these acts we are gifted something far more precious – they give us the power to positively shape destiny, and to better shape ourselves in the process.

When in doubt about how to act, be guided by the wisdom of the Dalai Lama:

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
Dalai Lama

Sending love your way, Nicole ❤ xx

I Have A Present For You!

Image from playbuzz.com

“Self-care is how you take your power back.”
~ Lalah Delia

Hello, Lovelies.

Are you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed or completely over it all?

Congratulations! I’ve just gifted you a Free Pass. You might want to cut this out and store it in your wallet. You may also want to share this with someone else who would benefit from it.

This is a magical ticket. It allows you to decline a usual activity or responsibility, so that you may replace it with one of your choosing. Used responsibly, this magical ticket has been found to have restorative properties for Body, Mind and Spirit.

I’m using my own ticket this afternoon. I had planned a mass of admin work; catching up on emails, phone calls and filing. But I’m tired so I’m going back to bed for a nice big sleep after lunch. When I wake up I’ll decide how to spend the rest of my day. So far I’m leaning towards a bubble bath, soup and a good book.

PS – this ticket renews itself, so tuck it away after you’ve used it. Just knowing it’s in your wallet is often enough to get you through a rough patch. And when you really need it, it will be there for you.  Enjoy! ♥ xx

Join our Book Reading Challenge for August 2018

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”  
~  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Do you love to read?

In January of 2017 a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge. It was a fine year of reading, friendship and sharing of our love of stories and all things book-related. Now, in 2018, with a successful Challenge already completed, it’s time to embark on a new year of reading adventures.

This year the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Team has decided to nominate Pencils of Promise as the charity we’ll be supporting through our Book Reading Challenge. Pencils of Promise build schools in the developing world, train teachers, and support kids and communities to be able to access education. In 2018 more than 1 in every ten children around the world is illiterate and in developing countries, that figure is 1 in 3. I’m hoping that our loyal blog community can change that, and help provide opportunities for some of those kids to be able to read, write and learn so that their lives can open out in front of them in more meaningful ways.

Would you like to join us? Let me explain the Challenge to you:

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book, short story or journal article each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when. It could be an e-book or an audio-book. It can be any kind of book, story or article at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. A comment piece, investigative journalism, or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book, story or article you are currently reading or listening to here or have finished during the month on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest any books, stories, articles or audiobooks that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of resources that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Sign up to become a Team Member of the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Fundraising Team for Pencils of Promise. Here’s the link for you to join.
  4. Download the Book Tracker. Each month write the name of any book/story/article you have read in the corresponding month. It’s fine to add more than one. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read or go directly to Pencils of Promise and make a donation there. It doesn’t have to be much. Whatever you can afford will be great. Here’s the Book Tracker for you to download – just click on this link: BOOK-TRACKER-3. There’s a space for you to write down your reading wish list. Then start filling in the Monthly Tracker when you’ve read your first book.
  5. During the year I will put up a Book Challenge Post on the fourth Saturday of every month so that we can discuss the books and stories we’ve read or listened to, and swap ideas and reviews. I’ll also be asking you to donate the money you set aside from your completed books and stories to Pencils of Promise. When you donate that money is up to you. Just make sure you have registered as a team member first. It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!
  6. During the year we will also be holding a Read-A-Thon so that you can get your family, friends and workmates to sponsor you for the books and stories you read or listen to. It will be a great way for you to indulge in some reading for a good cause, and to raise some extra money towards our goal.

Download this: BOOK-TRACKER-3

I’d love you to get your friends involved, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end, and at various points before that, we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else in the form of a donation to help Pencils of Promise deliver more readers and writers to the world.

So, that’s our Reading Challenge for 2018. Want to join us? Go add your name below, join our Fundraising Team and don’t forget to let us know what books have you been reading or listening to this past month.

And now for August…

Let’s end the month off with the list of books, stories, articles and audiobooks we’ve already enjoyed in August.

Since last month’s book report I have re-read Tim Winton’s ‘Breath’. Oh my, Winton is one of my all-time favourite writers, and I stayed up all night reading this one. Don’t you love when a book does that for you? Living at the farm, with Byron’s beautiful beaches and surf culture ten minutes down the road, and with so many of my male friends working at healing toxic masculinity and helping raise boys well this book resonated with me in ways unexpected. A powerful read.

I also enjoyed reading Kafka’s ‘The Complete Short Stories’. His works span emotions from pessimism and futility through to hope, humour and beauty and everything in between. Kafka’s imagination and capacity for observation and reflection is delicious, and I loved dipping into these stories at day’s end, or in those quiet moments when I had a little time to myself. I loved the shortest stories most – for their depth and capacity to make me think.

Go ahead and tell us in the comments below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

Join our Book Reading Challenge for July 2018

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”  
~   Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Do you love to read?

In January of 2017 a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge. It was a fine year of reading, friendship and sharing of our love of stories and all things book-related. Now, in 2018, with a successful Challenge already completed, we’ve embarked on a new year of reading adventures.

This year the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Team has decided to nominate Pencils of Promise as the charity we’ll be supporting through our Book Reading Challenge. Pencils of Promise build schools in the developing world, train teachers, and support kids and communities to be able to access education. In 2018 more than 1 in every ten children around the world is illiterate and in developing countries, that figure is 1 in 3. I’m hoping that our loyal blog community can change that, and help provide opportunities for some of those kids to be able to read, write and learn so that their lives can open out in front of them in more meaningful ways.

Would you like to join us? Let me explain the Challenge to you:

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book, short story or journal article each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when. It could be an e-book or an audio-book. It can be any kind of book, story or article at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. A comment piece, investigative journalism, or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book, story or article you are currently reading or listening to here or have finished during the month on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest any books, stories, articles or audiobooks that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of resources that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Sign up to become a Team Member of the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Fundraising Team for Pencils of Promise. Here’s the link for you to join.
  4. Download the Book Tracker. Each month write the name of any book/story/article you have read in the corresponding month. It’s fine to add more than one. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read or go directly to Pencils of Promise and make a donation there. It doesn’t have to be much. Whatever you can afford will be great. Here’s the Book Tracker for you to download – just click on this link: BOOK-TRACKER-3. There’s a space for you to write down your reading wish list. Then start filling in the Monthly Tracker when you’ve read your first book.
  5. During the year I will put up a Book Challenge Post on the fourth Saturday of every month so that we can discuss the books and stories we’ve read or listened to, and swap ideas and reviews. I’ll also be asking you to donate the money you set aside from your completed books and stories to Pencils of Promise. When you donate that money is up to you. Just make sure you have registered as a team member first. It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!
  6. During the year we will also be holding a Read-A-Thon so that you can get your family, friends and workmates to sponsor you for the books and stories you read or listen to. It will be a great way for you to indulge in some reading for a good cause, and to raise some extra money towards our goal.

Download this: BOOK-TRACKER-3

I’d love you to get your friends involved, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end, and at various points before that, we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else in the form of a donation to help Pencils of Promise deliver more readers and writers to the world.

So, that’s our Reading Challenge for 2018. Want to join us? Go add your name below, join our Fundraising Team and don’t forget to let us know what books have you been reading or listening to this past month.

And now for July…

Let’s end the month off with the list of books, stories, articles and audiobooks we’ve already enjoyed in June.

A friend loaned me her tattered and much-loved copy of ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ by Paul Torday. This satirical debut novel is told through a series of correspondence and is about the ludicrous plan for a scientist to bring salmon ( a cold water fish) to the Yemen (a hot arid desert on the Arabian Peninsular) because the well-monied sheik decides this is what he wants. It’s a tale of government debarcles, bureucracy, love, self-discovery, Al Quaeda and British politics, and I found it funny and engaging.

I also enjoyed ‘Deep Work: Rules for Focussed Success in a Distracted World’ by Cal Newport. Deep work is the ability to give your full focus to a cognitively challenging task without being distracted in any way. The author presents his ideas and examples in the first part of the book and then goes on to give actionable examples you can use to create your own deep work practices in daily life. I found this to be a very useful book, and it has already changed the way I approach my own work. In fact, I’m going to go back and reread this book to get even more from its pages!

I’ve been in Adelaide for part of this month and had the pleasure of taking my friend’s young daughters to a local bookstore to buy books for them as a thank-you for helping me with one of my events. Of course I couldn’t leave without also buying a book for myself! Now I’m onto my third book for the month, which I am already enjoying immensely. It’s called ‘The Courage To Be Disliked’ by Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi. This Japanese book (which has recently been translated into English) is written in the classic Greek philosophy style of a discourse between a wise old philosopher and a young man. It examines the theories of the psychologist Alfred Adler, and reflects on what is needed for a person to become happy and live a meaningful life, free from the shackles of past experiences, self-doubt and the judgement of others. I’m finding this book thought-provoking and immensely reassuring. The wisdom within is accessible, sensible and profound. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too!

I’m really keen to hear what you’ve been reading or listening to as well!

Go ahead and tell us in the comments below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

 

Join our Book Reading Challenge for June 2018

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”   
~  Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Do you love to read?

In January of 2017 a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge. It was a fine year of reading, friendship and sharing of our love of stories and all things book-related. Now, in 2018, with a successful Challenge already completed, it’s time to embark on a new year of reading adventures.

This year the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Team has decided to nominate Pencils of Promise as the charity we’ll be supporting through our Book Reading Challenge. Pencils of Promise build schools in the developing world, train teachers, and support kids and communities to be able to access education. In 2018 more than 1 in every ten children around the world is illiterate and in developing countries, that figure is 1 in 3. I’m hoping that our loyal blog community can change that, and help provide opportunities for some of those kids to be able to read, write and learn so that their lives can open out in front of them in more meaningful ways.

Would you like to join us? Let me explain the Challenge to you:

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book, short story or journal article each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when. It could be an e-book or an audio-book. It can be any kind of book, story or article at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. A comment piece, investigative journalism, or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book, story or article you are currently reading or listening to here or have finished during the month on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest any books, stories, articles or audiobooks that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of resources that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Sign up to become a Team Member of the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Fundraising Team for Pencils of Promise. Here’s the link for you to join.
  4. Download the Book Tracker. Each month write the name of any book/story/article you have read in the corresponding month. It’s fine to add more than one. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read or go directly to Pencils of Promise and make a donation there. It doesn’t have to be much. Whatever you can afford will be great. Here’s the Book Tracker for you to download – just click on this link: BOOK-TRACKER-3. There’s a space for you to write down your reading wish list. Then start filling in the Monthly Tracker when you’ve read your first book.
  5. During the year I will put up a Book Challenge Post on the fourth Saturday of every month so that we can discuss the books and stories we’ve read or listened to, and swap ideas and reviews. I’ll also be asking you to donate the money you set aside from your completed books and stories to Pencils of Promise. When you donate that money is up to you. Just make sure you have registered as a team member first. It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!
  6. During the year we will also be holding a Read-A-Thon so that you can get your family, friends and workmates to sponsor you for the books and stories you read or listen to. It will be a great way for you to indulge in some reading for a good cause, and to raise some extra money towards our goal.

Download this: BOOK-TRACKER-3

I’d love you to get your friends involved, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end, and at various points before that, we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else in the form of a donation to help Pencils of Promise deliver more readers and writers to the world.

So, that’s our Reading Challenge for 2018. Want to join us? Go add your name below, join our Fundraising Team and don’t forget to let us know what books have you been reading or listening to this past month.

And now for June…

Let’s end the month off with the list of books, stories, articles and audiobooks we’ve already enjoyed in June.

I’ve had a crazy busy month, so my reading time has been limited. I read ‘Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved’ by Kate Bowler – it’ a memoir about Kate’s journey after being diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. At turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Kate shares her journey of grief as she contemplates her own mortality. Although the subject matter seems depressing Kate’s faith, humour and faith shine thought, and most importantly I found it a life and love affirming book in the very best of ways.

I also devoured a couple of audio books – ‘The Thank You Economy’ by Gary Vaynerchuck was published in 2011, so it’s not a recent release, but I love Gary V’s work and if you are an entreprenuer this book is fantastic for understanding and navigating the digital age. I also listened to ‘Believe Me – My Battle with the Invisible Disability of Lyme Disease’ by Yolanda Hadid. As a fellow Lyme disease sufferer I found myself nodding along at the absurdity of our situation, suffering from a disease that is little understood (and even worse is Australia, is denied to exist!). Yolanda has done a brilliant job of documenting her symptoms and life – and it’s a tool against the naysayers who thought she was faking her illness. She also covers many treatment options and ideas, and manages to infuse her book with an upbeat hope.

I’m really keen to hear what you’ve been reading or listening to as well!

Go ahead and tell us in the comments below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

 

Join our Book Reading Challenge for May 2018

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”  
~  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Do you love to read?

In January of 2017 a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge. It was a fine year of reading, friendship and sharing of our love of stories and all things book-related. Now, in 2018, with a successful Challenge already completed, we’ve embarked on a new year of reading adventures.

This year the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Team has nominated Pencils of Promise as the charity we’ll be supporting through our Book Reading Challenge. Pencils of Promise build schools in the developing world, train teachers, and support kids and communities to be able to access education. In 2018 more than 1 in every ten children around the world is illiterate and in developing countries, that figure is 1 in 3. I’m hoping that our loyal blog community can change that, and help provide opportunities for some of those kids to be able to read, write and learn so that their lives can open out in front of them in more meaningful ways.

It’ never too late to join us! Let me explain the Challenge to you:

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book, short story or journal article each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when. It could be an e-book or an audio-book. It can be any kind of book, story or article at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. A comment piece, investigative journalism, or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book, story or article you are currently reading or listening to here or have finished during the month on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest any books, stories, articles or audiobooks that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of resources that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Sign up to become a Team Member of the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Fundraising Team for Pencils of Promise. Here’s the link for you to join.
  4. Download the Book Tracker. Each month write the name of any book/story/article you have read in the corresponding month. It’s fine to add more than one. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read or go directly to Pencils of Promise and make a donation there. It doesn’t have to be much. Whatever you can afford will be great. Here’s the Book Tracker for you to download – just click on this link: BOOK-TRACKER-3. There’s a space for you to write down your reading wish list. Then start filling in the Monthly Tracker when you’ve read your first book.
  5. During the year I will put up a Book Challenge Post on the fourth Saturday of every month so that we can discuss the books and stories we’ve read or listened to, and swap ideas and reviews. I’ll also be asking you to donate the money you set aside from your completed books and stories to Pencils of Promise. When you donate that money is up to you. Just make sure you have registered as a team member first. It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!
  6. During the year we will also be holding a Read-A-Thon so that you can get your family, friends and workmates to sponsor you for the books and stories you read or listen to. It will be a great way for you to indulge in some reading for a good cause, and to raise some extra money towards our goal.

Download this: BOOK-TRACKER-3

I’d love you to get your friends involved, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end, and at various points before that, we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else in the form of a donation to help Pencils of Promise deliver more readers and writers to the world.

So, that’s our Reading Challenge for 2018. Want to join us? Go add your name below, join our Fundraising Team and don’t forget to let us know what books have you been reading or listening to this past month.

And now for May…

This month I’ve enjoyed an excellent book called Dirty Genes by Dr Ben Lynch. It’s a practical and informative book to help you understand how various genes within your body affect your physical health, mental health and personality and what to do when your genes aren’t working well so that you can optimise your health. I know I have a problematic MTHFR gene, and it has been empowering to realise what I can do with diet and stress management to improve my overall health. I highly recommend this book!

I’ve also listened to The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, narrated by Jeremy Irons. This is an old favourite of mine and while I’ve been unwell it has been such a comfort listening to this classic again.

How about you? What books, stories, articles and audiobooks have you enjoyed in May?

Go ahead and tell us in the comments below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

 

Join our Book Reading Challenge for April 2018

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”  
~  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Do you love to read?

In January of 2017 a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge. It was a fine year of reading, friendship and sharing of our love of stories and all things book-related. Now, in 2018, with a successful Challenge already completed, it’s time to embark on a new year of reading adventures.

This year the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Team has decided to nominate Pencils of Promise as the charity we’ll be supporting through our Book Reading Challenge. Pencils of Promise build schools in the developing world, train teachers, and support kids and communities to be able to access education. In 2018 more than 1 in every ten children around the world is illiterate and in developing countries, that figure is 1 in 3. I’m hoping that our loyal blog community can change that, and help provide opportunities for some of those kids to be able to read, write and learn so that their lives can open out in front of them in more meaningful ways.

Would you like to join us? Let me explain the Challenge to you:

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book, short story or journal article each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when. It could be an e-book or an audio-book. It can be any kind of book, story or article at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. A comment piece, investigative journalism, or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book, story or article you are currently reading or listening to here or have finished during the month on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest any books, stories, articles or audiobooks that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of resources that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Sign up to become a Team Member of the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Fundraising Team for Pencils of Promise. Here’s the link for you to join.
  4. Download the Book Tracker. Each month write the name of any book/story/article you have read in the corresponding month. It’s fine to add more than one. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read or go directly to Pencils of Promise and make a donation there. It doesn’t have to be much. Whatever you can afford will be great. Here’s the Book Tracker for you to download – just click on this link: BOOK-TRACKER-3. There’s a space for you to write down your reading wish list. Then start filling in the Monthly Tracker when you’ve read your first book.
  5. During the year I will put up a Book Challenge Post on the fourth Saturday of every month so that we can discuss the books and stories we’ve read or listened to, and swap ideas and reviews. I’ll also be asking you to donate the money you set aside from your completed books and stories to Pencils of Promise. When you donate that money is up to you. Just make sure you have registered as a team member first. It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!
  6. During the year we will also be holding a Read-A-Thon so that you can get your family, friends and workmates to sponsor you for the books and stories you read or listen to. It will be a great way for you to indulge in some reading for a good cause, and to raise some extra money towards our goal.

Download this: BOOK-TRACKER-3

I’d love you to get your friends involved, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end, and at various points before that, we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else in the form of a donation to help Pencils of Promise deliver more readers and writers to the world.

So, that’s our Reading Challenge for 2018. Want to join us? Go add your name below, join our Fundraising Team and don’t forget to let us know what books have you been reading or listening to this past month.

And now for April…

Let’s end the month off with the list of books, stories, articles and audiobooks we’ve already enjoyed in April.

Go ahead and tell us in the comments below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

 

Join our Book Reading Challenge for March 2018

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”  
~  William Styron, Conversations with William Styron

Do you love to read?

In January of 2017 a group of us embarked on the inaugural Cauldrons and Cupcakes Reading Challenge. It was a fine year of reading, friendship and sharing of our love of stories and all things book-related. Now, in 2018, with a successful Challenge already completed, it’s time to embark on a new year of reading adventures.

This year the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Team has decided to nominate Pencils of Promise as the charity we’ll be supporting through our Book Reading Challenge. Pencils of Promise build schools in the developing world, train teachers, and support kids and communities to be able to access education. In 2018 more than 1 in every ten children around the world is illiterate and in developing countries, that figure is 1 in 3. I’m hoping that our loyal blog community can change that, and help provide opportunities for some of those kids to be able to read, write and learn so that their lives can open out in front of them in more meaningful ways.

Would you like to join us? Let me explain the Challenge to you:

It involves four simple steps:

  1. Read or otherwise consume a book, short story or journal article each month. You might borrow a book from the library, or buy one. It might be gifted to you, or it might have been waiting for you in some pile beside the bed since who knows when. It could be an e-book or an audio-book. It can be any kind of book, story or article at all. A novel, a romance, crime, children’s or young adult’s, a non-fiction book like a memoir or a cookbook or a travel book. It could be a graphic novel. A comment piece, investigative journalism, or even a textbook.
  2. Post the name of the book, story or article you are currently reading or listening to here or have finished during the month on the blog or over on our Cauldrons and Cupcakes Facebook or Instagram page. Feel free to suggest any books, stories, articles or audiobooks that you have already read and enjoyed. That way you’ll be adding to a list of resources that we can all dip into and choose from. I love finding new reading recommendations!
  3. Sign up to become a Team Member of the Cauldrons and Cupcakes Fundraising Team for Pencils of Promise. Here’s the link for you to join.
  4. Download the Book Tracker. Each month write the name of any book/story/article you have read in the corresponding month. It’s fine to add more than one. Then add a small amount of money to a jar for each book you read or go directly to Pencils of Promise and make a donation there. It doesn’t have to be much. Whatever you can afford will be great. Here’s the Book Tracker for you to download – just click on this link: BOOK-TRACKER-3. There’s a space for you to write down your reading wish list. Then start filling in the Monthly Tracker when you’ve read your first book.
  5. During the year I will put up a Book Challenge Post on the fourth Saturday of every month so that we can discuss the books and stories we’ve read or listened to, and swap ideas and reviews. I’ll also be asking you to donate the money you set aside from your completed books and stories to Pencils of Promise. When you donate that money is up to you. Just make sure you have registered as a team member first. It will feel great to help someone else to experience the pleasure and comfort that reading brings. The world needs more readers. If you want to team up for this challenge that’s a great idea too!
  6. During the year we will also be holding a Read-A-Thon so that you can get your family, friends and workmates to sponsor you for the books and stories you read or listen to. It will be a great way for you to indulge in some reading for a good cause, and to raise some extra money towards our goal.

Download this: BOOK-TRACKER-3

I’d love you to get your friends involved, so please feel free to share this post far and wide.

All year we will practice kindness to ourselves by reading.

At year’s end, and at various points before that, we will pass some of that kindness on to someone else in the form of a donation to help Pencils of Promise deliver more readers and writers to the world.

So, that’s our Reading Challenge for 2018. Want to join us? Go add your name below, join our Fundraising Team and don’t forget to let us know what books have you been reading or listening to this past month.

And now for March…

Let’s end the month off with the list of books, stories, articles and audiobooks we’ve already enjoyed in March.

Go ahead and tell us in the comments below, or pop over to Facebook and join me there.

Happy Reading!

Lots of love, Nicole ❤  xx

This is my reading list so far for March:

  • Somebody I Used To Know by Wendy Mitchell. This frank and heartfelt memoir of a woman diagnosed with early onset dementia has been instructive in helping me to understand and better care for Ben’s 92-year-old mum who also has dementia.

It was a busy month looking after family and working on my own book so I didn’t get much reading done. But I dug out four manuscripts that need tidying up and sending off and I read those too. So that’s one book by Wendy and five manuscripts by me. I have also reread my memoir three times!

It will be lovely to hold a published book of my own in my hands one day. ❤

10 Ways To Be Kind to Yourself

There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself.  ~ Brian Andreas

Mostly when we think of kindness, we think of how we can act towards others. But today I want to focus on another equally important type of kindness – that which we extend to ourselves.

Too often we forget ourselves in the hurry and bustle of the year, and many sensitive souls get so busy looking after others that they forget to look after themselves at all.

Why not let 2018 be your year of aware self-care?

Here are ten simple acts of kindness you can give as gifts to yourself:

1.  Eat well – a simple, nourishing home-cooked meal eaten slowly and with appreciation – to replenish your body and comfort your soul. If there’s no time for cooking, have some healthy take-out options already thought through so that you don’t succumb to junk. (Pictured below is my Easy Kale and Orange Salad with Miso Dressing)

2.  Say no when you’re too tired.  No-one can run on adrenalin forever.  Honour your feelings and your own needs. Listen to your heart. Let yourself rest.  Replenish those batteries.  * Good advice here:  Are you too nice? 

3. Indulge in some self-maintenance.  Get your hair cut, have a massage, update your wardrobe or make that appointment with the doctor or dentist. For more info try 8 Ingredients for Better Health

4. Move your body! We were designed to move, and exercise is good for the body, mind and spirit. Choose an activity or sport that you enjoy, or simply go for a walk.

5.  Read a book.  Self-help, romance, educational, escapism, fantasy or non-fiction.  Reading is a wonderful way to take some time for yourself, to relax or to give yourself a mental stretching session.

6.  Make time for the things that you enjoy.  Indulge your hobbies, and connect with like-minded people who share your interests.

7.  Spend some real time with people (and creatures) you love!  Friends, family, pets – everyone who loves us and who makes us feel good about ourselves.  Social isolation is an insidious thing – facebook and texting can’t make up for that special energy of meeting up face to face for love, hugs, and laughs.

8.  Spend a little time dreaming…  Dreams aren’t just for kids.  Everybody needs a dream.  Try this great journalling activity: Writing Yourself into a Brighter Future

9.  Hang out in nature.  Spend the day or a week! Feel the sun at your back, the wind in your hair, the rain on your skin. Let nature fill you up and get you grounded again. Read more here: The Healing Power of Nature

10.  Ask for help.  Sometimes we just can’t do it on our own.  And sometimes we just don’t know what to do or where to start. On the days when we’re wrung out and hanging on by our fingernails, there will be someone out there who cares and is in a place where they can extend that guidance and support to you.  Asking for help is one of the greatest acts of kindness we can give ourselves. There’s more on this here: Sometimes your only job is to ask for help

You are worthy, beautiful, and you deserve love and kindness. Most of all, you need it from yourself.  The way we treat ourselves sets the tone in the wider Universe for how we expect to be treated. And our expectations have a way of manifesting…  Choose kindness!

Bless.

Much love, Nicole ♥ xx