Books 2016 Part 1

When I wasn’t outside playing as a kid, my nose buried in a book. Which my Mum loved and was puzzled by. I read so much my spelling should have been amazing. It’s not and it wasn’t until my mid teens my parents realised I’m mildly dyslexic. No one ever told me and it was until P said something I thought maybe. Recently I mentioned it to my Mum and she said when they realised, it was too late. That’s why I hardly use ‘big’ words and my Spanish pronunciation isn’t what it should. I joke and it’s true I can’t pronounce words in my own language which usually lets me off a little. It doesn’t affect my day to day life much, I’ve learnt to work around it and play I’m learning Spanish. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For the past few years I confess I haven’t read many books since Apple released the iPhone. Internet at my fingertips and most of my reading is online, the news, blogs on either my phone, iPad or Mac. I subscribe to a few magazines on Zinio which I read on my iPad with the only paper magazine being Instyle. However I forget to read the Zinio magazines even more than I do with magazines lying around. Last year however, I think there’s been a trend against online books and I must have picked up on it as there were quite a few books I read. I currently have several on the go, reading them in rotation or as and when. None last year were fiction, so with out further ado, make a cup of tea or coffee whichever your jam… Starting from the top of the pile, my 2016 books. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spark Joy, The Illustrated Guide To The Japanese Art Of Tidying, Marie KondoOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve read her first book and transformed my tidying skills or rather sorting out skills. This is a follow up book to be used as either as a reference guide or a straight read. I use it as a mix of the 2. I read a few pages and then want to start sorting out! It goes into a lot more detail than the 1st book, illustrations how to fold, advice on sorting out the hard to give up items – papers, documents, valuables, valuables, books, even to toys and their eyes which give them a feeling of having feelings as they have eyes! She basically has a foolproof way to getting things tidy. By following her folding method you won’t believe how much space opens up and how little space items take up if folding her way or how you can find things with ease. Like the 1st book there’s a sequence to follow in the tidying or sorting out with the book flowing seamless though the stages.

The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying. Marie KondoOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I first heard about this book from Julie of Peanut Butter Fingers and was filled with curiosity (and back in 2015, however the work was done in 2016, so I’m including in 2016 books). A few Amazon clicks later and patently waiting for it to arrive I had my hands on a book that would transform how I tidy, store and even shop. Long time readers are probably sick of me mentioning this book or sorting out method! It’s based on the principle does an item give you joy, you either keep it or not. Obviously there are some things you have to keep, valuable papers, heirlooms that you just have accept (family issues) and send happy thoughts their way. She believes if your surrounded by items that give you joy, you’ll have more joy in your life and can move forward. Some people from doing her method have switched careers, found their true calling. I’ll admit I didn’t see through all the way the sort out. I got about 90% there, then summer came and I wanted to be outside. I still have to go through photos and sort out my inbox. There are also a few items I can’t decide on. The best thing however the initial sort out takes about 6 months, then you do a yearly edit so to speak which as you did the hard work previously it’s an easy edit following the same initial sequence. I find shopping I ask if an item gives me joy especially if I’m undecided and 9 time out of 10 I walk away. The 1 percent I’ve usually returned the item. P might not agree but I feel I’m less of an hoarder and can throw things out with much more ease. I can’t recommend this book and her follow up (see above) enough. Being clutter free helps you think, be less fuzzy (cue my desk that needs some magic tidying!)

Capture Your Style. Transform Your Instagram Photos, Showcase Your Life, and Build The Ultimate Platform. Aimee Song


Via Chriselle Lim, I’ve been following Aimee Song on Instagram and her blog for a while. When she announced she was bringing out a book with all her IG know how secrets I preordered it in an instant. She has an amazing visual eye, her photos are always beautiful, she travels I see the world through her eyes and she’s a fun vibrant person and it shows through her photos. Can I have some of that magic please (and raid her wardrobe)? Without gushing or girl crushing too much, I’ve nearly finished reading it, but what I have read has helped me with my own photography and the way I see things photographically. I might not have her lifestyle, but I can take what I learn to my own IG page (still working it out), blog posts and photography. She mentions things I’ve never considered much, colour themes per 12 posts, outfit details, her editing apps, angles, how to find your audience and grow, utilise IG as a travel guide both local and further afield and the fact it’s filled with beautiful photos helps up the inspiration and motivation.

The Little Book Of Skin Care, Korean Beauty Secrets For Heathy, Glowing Skin. Charlotte ChoOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s no secret I’m a huge Korean skincare fan. I started dipping my toe into Korean skin care back in 2015 after finding out Barcelona has a Korean cosmetic shop Miin, starting out with BB cream and sheet masks. It wasn’t until a chance pop into Urban Outfitters I switched to 85% Korean skincare and cosmetics. It’s all down to this book I discovered in Urban Outfitters. I read it in 2-3 days, went to Miin to stock up and haven’t looked back. It’s a fun easy to read, humorous, informative read. Charlotte Chu, a 2nd generation American Korean living in her words ‘Korean face, California Attitude’ with bad skin who covered it up rather than tackle the cause of bad skin, got her self a job at Samsung in Seoul only to return the the US a few years later to qualify as an board certified Esthetician. She knows the secrets to the ‘no make up’ glowing Korean skin (it’s in the skin care and diet) and I can’t thank this book enough for helping along with Korean products in transforming my skin. And yes, there are quite a few Korean brands that are cruelty free and don’t sell in China. Many Eastern skin care brands have picked up on Korean skin care so you don’t necessary have to use Korean products however Amazon,, her own site sokoglam and so many Korean sites ship worldwide. Customs and resident countries import laws pending.

10 Mindful Minutes. Goldie Hawn with Wendy Holden. Giving Our Children – And Ourselves – The Social And Emotional Skills To Reduce Stress And Anxiety For Healthier, Happier LivesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m not sure how I found this book. Maybe via a Kate Hudson (Goldie Hawn’s daughter) interview on her book, which lead to YouTube putting Goldie Hawn interviews on my home page (I’ve loved her movies since being a kid). Regardless how I found it, this book has has the most impact. After 9/11 Goldie Hawn realised kids were going to grow up very differently from from previous generations and wanted to do some thing to help with the digital overload, bombardment of rapid information thanks to internet and growing up much quicker than previous generations etc. Already into meditation and aware of it’s affects she began to work with neuroscientists to come with her MindUp programme based on the principle of mindfullness. The MindUp programme’s currently run in many schools across the US, UK and Canada in both private and public schools. Long story short, parents and non parents wanted in. I’ve always admired Goldie Hawn, how much happiness she radiates, so I wanted in too! I read the book twice just to make sure I absorbed it all (I feel I’m overdue a read).

She explains in laymen terms how the brain works, our reptilian brain and cortical or modern brain works, that our brains aren’t full developed until we’re in our early 20’s and how habits especially bad habits/addiction/negativity we use to cope with stress and pressure of school, teenage life can affect us negatively the rest our our lives. By teaching and following mindful exercises we can reverse this. We can control our guard dog or amygdala letting the wise owl or prefrontal cortex where our higher or critical thinking occurs work more effectively. By changing how we see or think about things we can become more positive. Very often especially in kids and in adults what someone maybe crying about, throwing a tantrum or angry about isn’t necessary the cause of the outburst at that moment. It can be a trigger for something else bothering us. She takes you through mindfulness breathing, seeing, smelling, tasting hearing and movement exercises, how to take mindfulness to anger management, sadness, happiness, kindness and fear management and how to live a more mindful life. The biggest takeaway for me was mindfulness mediation. I’ll admit I don’t do it as often or as often as I’d like (I usually remember before to do it before I fall asleep). If I remember I haven’t mediated and I’m cycling I’ll try to do another mindful exercise like seeing or hearing. I probably haven’t explained or promoted the book in it’s right light, but I can’t recommend this book enough if you want to life a more mindful.

Tone It Up, 28 Days To Fit, Fierce And Fabulous, Create The Beautiful Mind and Body Of Your Dreams. Katrina Scott and Karena DawnOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I probably don’t need to mention I’m a huge Tone It Up fan and Katrina and Karena are another source of major girl crush. I’ve been a member since 2011 and if they release a book with a glimpse into their lifestyle of course I want in! Based on the principle it takes 21 days to change a habit, in 28 days they’ll help you lead a fitter, fiercer in confidence and fabulous in beauty, friendship, inspiration and joy life. ‘All the things to give you that unmistakable glow so you radiate from the inside out!’ It’s a much lighter, fun version of 10 Mindful Minutes. I followed it through for the 28 days however my night naps still continue to reign. Just reading it and even flicking through it inspires with motivation. Plus it’s filled with healthy recipes, workouts, beauty tips, training tips, how be more grateful, more empowered, more positive and of course packed with workouts and advice on how to step out side your comfort zone. When the current Tone It Up Challenge 2017 is over, I’ll be picking it up again. It’s a fantastic feel good book that makes you feel you can tackle those dreams (note to self. Read it more often!).

Part 2 can be found here!

Have you read any of my books 2016? Have you noticed a shift in how we read books since the iPhone and internet? Both save so many trees, yet not when it comes to mining the raw materials and there’s something about flipping through pages, feeling the words come alive and your eyes appreciate it!


  1. […] guide to personal freedom’ as recommend by Karena of Tone It Up. I can see parallels with Goldie Hawn’s 10 Mindful Minutes with the agreements (be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make […]

  2. […] featured this in my Books 2016 and have finally finished reading the last few chapters a few pages every few days over breakfast […]

  3. says:

    I used to read a lot as a kid and started doing it less and less in my 20s I think. Now since I have the kindle I read more as it’s easier to get books in English or Spanish!

    1. says:

      I read a few magazines on my iPad but it’s no good reading on it before bed. I have to try the brightness down otherwise I can’t sleep afterwards!

  4. […] continuing from Part 1 of my books 2016 list and working down the pile of books, part […]

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