Sincerely, Loree is a lifestyle blog that focuses on travel, books, culture, fashion and slow living on the small Mediterranean island of Malta.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Living in the moment

Today is my birthday. I would normally let the day pass without mentioning it but this is the last birthday of my 40s. Ever since I turned 29, getting older has filled me with trepidation and a heavy feeling in my heart. On my 29th birthday I got a second piercing in my left ear to mark the momentous occasion. Some time after my 39th birthday I started my first blog, Stories & Scribbles. All tame things really, when you think about it. So what about this year? How will I commemorate the last year of my 40s?
Flowers: Sincerely Loree blog

How I will commemorate the last of my 40s

I've seriously been giving this quite a bit of thought. Once the Christmas festivities were over and I boxed up all the decorations and cleaned the house, I fell into a bit of a funk. My birthday was getting closer and I was dreading it. I started to feel inordinately sad; so sad and upset that, one day last week, I ended up with tears falling into my  Greek yoghurt,  oatmeal and dark cocoa concoction. After that I felt better and decided that I was done feeling sorry for myself and letting the passing years get to me. After all, as my mother-in-law says, getting older is generally better than the alternative. So, with that in mind, I decided it's time for some changes; positive changes for my own well-being and for this beautiful planet we have been gifted with. I've chosen three phrases that I will live by in this coming year? Will I fail occasionally? Of course I will. Will I get nostalgic for my youth? Without a doubt. But I will try and focus on my new mantra and aim to keep positive. So am I making a few resolutions even though I always say that I never make any? Perhaps. But they are fun resolutions that I hope will be easy to keep.

Flowers: Sincerely Loree blog

Go green

I am determined to wage a war on single-use plastic and plastic in general.
I'll buy refills whenever possible.
I'll try not to buy new clothes unless I need them and, if I do buy something new, I need to give something away.
Shopping my closet will be a good way to ensure that I make the most of what I already have (and I have more than enough).

Let it go

I need to learn to stop worrying about things I cannot change and to let go of any anger about situations that are beyond my control. This will be my biggest challenge but I will do the best I can. And when I fail, I will try and try again.
Flowers: Sincerely Loree blog

Live in the moment

Stop thinking that I'm too old.
Stop worrying what people think.
Wear the red nail polish.
Ger a new hair style.
Learn to do something new or improve something that I already do.
Stop being so bashful.
Wear my best clothes as often as possible  - each day is special in its own way.
Mix and match more.
Smile more, even if smiles cause laughter lines.
Go for a weekend trip with my husband to somewhere special: London, Paris, Vienna, Prague - the list of cities I'd like to visit or re-visit is endless.
Eat the gelato.
Go to the theatre.

I think that's a good starting point. I'll let you know how it goes. All of you that visit and leave a comment are always a source of inspiration. I know that some of you are battling your own problems but I think that there is a beautiful community of women on Instagram and in the Blogosphere that are doing their best to left each other up and bring out the positive in people. And for that, my friends, I am truly grateful.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Book talk: my year in books 2019

I had been using Goodreads for quite some time to check out book reviews or to discover new books but, last year, I decided to sign up as a member. Being a Goodreads member allows you to see what your friends are reading and to rate and review books yourself. However, my favourite Goodreads feature is the 'Year in Books'. Basically, Goodreads allows you to track the books you're reading by clicking on the 'Currently Reading' tab in your personal  profile page. Then, at the end of the year, it will give you some fun statistics.

The Paris Secret by Lily Graham: Sincerely Loree blog


This is My Year in Books (2019) according to Goodreads:
  •  I have read 8283 pages across 22 books. 
  •  The shortest book I read, at 214 pages, was The Paris Secret by Lily Graham.
  •  At 544 pages, the longest book was Daughters of Castle Deverill by Santa Montefiore. This is the middle book of a trilogy and can be read as a standalone book but I will make sure to read the other two books in the series in the future.
  • The most popular book (i.e. the book that was read most by Goodreads members) was Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt. This book has been read by 558 057 members and its popularity may have something to do with the fact that it won the Pulitzer Prize for the Biography or Autobiography category in 1997 and was adapted into a movie in 1999.
  • The least read book was Murder on the Malta Express: Who Killed Daphne Caruana Galizia by Carlo Bonini et al. This book was released very recently (October 2019) and the subject matter is probably only interesting to a very limited number of Goodreads member. However, this books had the highest score on Goodreads from all the book I read during 2019, with a 4.67 average.
  • My average overall rating was 3.5, which may seem rather low. I know, I can be difficult please. 
The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris: Sincerely Loree blog
This is the full list of books I read in 2019:
  1. The Paris Secret by Lily Graham
  2. The Revolving Door of  Life by Alexander McCall Smith
  3. The Winter Children by Lulu Taylor
  4. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  5. Hero of Rome by Douglas Jackson
  6. The Silver Music Box by Mina Raites
  7. My Mother's Wedding Dress by Justine Picardie
  8. The Winter Folly by Lulu Taylor
  9. The Beekeeper's Daughter by Santa Montefiore
  10. Let Me Tell you About a Man I knew by Susan Fletcher
  11. Daughters of Castle Deverill by Santa Montefiore
  12. The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick
  13. House of Shadows by Pamela Hartshorne
  14. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
  15. Imagine Heaven by John Burke
  16. Christmas in the Snow by Karen Swan
  17. Murder on the Malta Express: Who Killed Daphne Caruana Galizia by Carlo Bonini
  18. Stone Field by Christy Lenzi
  19. The Christmas Cooke Club by Ann Pearlman
  20. The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band by Neil Strauss et al
  21. Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
  22. Mrs Miles's Diary by Constance Miles
I did my own short reviews of the books here, here, here and here.
The Winter Children by Lulu Taylor: Sincerely Loree blog
Finally, a few small observations of my own:
  • I read 22 books, which is the most books I have read in a single year since I got married. It felt like quite an achievement. Next year I am aiming for 25.
  • I read 6 non-fiction books last year. Generally, non-fiction books take me longer to read than novels.
  • My absolute favourite book was Let Me Tell You About a Man I Knew which literally carried me away to 19th century Provence and to the time that Vincent van Gogh spent at the asylum of St Paul de Mausole. It really sparked my interest in this troubled painter and his wonderful works, and led me to watch the movie At Eternity's Gate which, more or less, covers the same period in the artist's life..
  • The book that I expected more from was The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I felt that the author skirted around the horrendous reality of this evil place although the narrator, Lale Sokolov, was endearing enough.
  • The book I wasn't sure I would read but I am glad I did was  Mrs Mile's Diary. This book just brought home to me the hardships and changes in  life-style that the last world war brought with it. Although this book was written by an English woman, there are a number of reference to Malta in it, and I couldn't help but think of my grandparents who were bringing up their families at that time. Both of my parents were born during the war, as were some of their siblings.
I think that in 2019 I had a good year in books. I'm really looking forward to doing this again in 2020. 
The Returning Tide by Liz Fenwick: Sincerely Loree blog

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Highlights of 2019 and my ten most popular posts

New month, new year, new decade: it all seems just a little bit overwhelming - especially the new decade part. Ten years seems like a long time but, looking back, it feels as if they have just flown by. A decade ago, I had a cute, chubby four-year old who followed me everywhere and made me tell him stories before he fell asleep. Now he's gangly, occasionally pimply, but still cute. The requests for stories at bedtime have stopped though and he loves to push all my buttons but we (mostly) get along.
Mtarfa Valley in winter: Sincerely Loree blog

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Book talk: Books I read in Autumn 2019

Predictably, as the weather cooled, I was more keen to settle down with a book and, this past autumn, I was able to read 7 books. I am very pleased with the number and I hope I keep up the pace at least until summer as I was gifted 25 books for Christmas and I would like to finish all of them during the coming year. Without further ado, here are the 7 books I read this past autumn.

Christmas in the Snow by Karen Swan - Sincerely  Loree

Monday, 23 December 2019

Merry Christmas from my house to yours

It's just 2 more sleeps until Christmas and a mighty north-westerly wind is blowing outside. The temperature has dropped a little but our house is cozy and the smell of baking cookies fills the air. I have skipped out on our office event and decided to finish my last batch of cookies. Tomorrow I will frost them and wrap the last of the presents. I have managed to keep things simple this year without feeling guilty about it. I've also managed to cross everything off my 'to do' list, including buying last-minute tickets to the panto on Boxing day. 

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