Blog Tour: The Wild Year – Jen Benson

Hi Book Lovers!

I hope you’re all well and had a restful weekend. Today I’m very excited to share with you another blog tour I’m part of. This time, the book really appeals to my restless side. Have you ever just sat back and felt that you want to change jobs or move house or make a big decision in some way? Are you a lover of the outdoors, adventure and camping? Then this book is very much for you! A huge thank you to @jenandsim, @aurumpress, @clairemaxwell and @quartobooksuk for the chance to be a part of this phenomenal book tour! I hope you love the book as much as I do!

What’s it all about?
Starting at home in Wiltshire, the novel is Jem’s voice and narrative. We hear about her husband, Sim and her children, E and H and their experiences in the great outdoors in their ‘Wild Year’ where they completely and utterly changed their lives. The pressure of mounting debt and having a family led the couple to making some drastic decisions. Surely life can be much easier than their current life? And more importantly be able to live by their own rules too. The joy that camping brought during various weeks in the year on holiday, surely that could be replicated and repeated long term? So their journey begins…

‘Camping was a basic way to live, but there was such joy in its simplicity. And such freedom in it being all ours: our warmth, our shelter and privacy, wherever we chose to pitch out tent. It was in that moment that I felt the first tinglings of a thought that made my heart race, and my mind jump at the possibility of hope…’

Having an idea is one thing, what was next needed was a plan. Thankfully, with the help from friends, family and kind strangers, various opportunities were created: book writing, a roof over their heads during bad weather, new friends along the way. The destinations were just as exciting, places like Dartmoor, Jurassic Coast, New Forest, the Cotswolds and the Lakes. They bought the biggest tent and gathered together all the items they would need for their experience. As you read the book, there are many lessons learnt all through experience. I found the honestly quite humbling and refreshing to be honest and supportive for those who wish to try something like this. The biggest barrier was always the weather. There’s nothing as unpredictable as English weather! However, this gave the couple the opportunity to regroup and start again, enabling them to come back even stronger.

‘It was hard not to feel despondent as we dragged everything out of the truck and tried to find places to hang it all out to dry. We were lucky that no rain was forecast for the next week, so we spread the tend out in the little field behind the cottage and spent hours sorting through the kit… In the end, destruction wasn’t as bad as we had feared.’

After the hiccups with the weather and potential damage to the tent, the family finally got going again and Christmas was soon around the corner. The family had a wholesome Christmas together, embracing their new lives and experiences. Despite the setting being dark and cold, it was one of the best Christmases because it was new and exciting. It meant more to them being part of the natural world rather than the commercialised one. As time rolled by, the young children also learnt more about the natural world they live in.

‘I noticed she was becoming fractionally more independent as each day passed, like a flower that starts as a tiny bud, wrapped up within itself, but in time opens its arms to embrace and engage with the world.’

After twelves months of camping, the Wild Year was coming to an end. The emotional pressure, the experiences, the growth in both Jen and Sim as well as their children E and H have been so worthwhile. I found myself gripped to this book because there is plenty that I could do to be more appreciative of the natural world. I found it remarkable and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to take part in not only reading this novel, but being the first stop of the blog tour.

‘…it was a time unlike any other in our lives. One that changed everything.’

Final Thoughts
I really loved this book for so many reasons. I always respect those who want to change their lives for the better and Jen and Sim absolutely did that. They took all the challenges they faced and turned them into learning experiences. I was surprised to learn that it took Jen five years to collate all the experiences together and write this book. I admire her as a mother, a woman and a writer. What this family achieved is nothing less than a lesson in resilience. It was a great read and one that I’ll be sharing with my friends and family.

Day Trippin’ – Donna Nook

Hello Lovely People!

Happy December! 🎄🎅☃️🤶 This is such a wonderful time of the year. I love to see all the decorated Christmas trees, the sparkly lights, the luscious foods and of course, the festive reads. I have indeed read one festive read this month: Sophie Kinsella’s Christmas Shopaholic which I will be reviewing this month.

Anyway, I hope you’re well and December is treating you kindly. If you’re anything like me, you’re loving the fact that we can legitimately eat chocolate every day for the sake of the season! 🍫

However, before the excitement of chocolate and all things Christmassy kicks in, I wanted to share with you a rare day off that I had this week. I’m crazily marking away in the mock period (drowning is a better choice of word) but our heating broke at school which meant that on Tuesday we all had a day off. It was incredibly strange being out and about on Tuesday but I wanted to do something that really made it count. I’ve always wanted to go and see the seals at Donna Nook but never really got there. This was my moment. It was meant to be! It was a cold, crisp yet sunny day. The view was incredible.

Donna Nook Info:

Donna Nook is a beautiful stretch of coastline between Grainthorpe Haven and Saltfleet in Lincolnshire. It covers more than 10 kilometres and every year along this coastline, grey seals come to give birth to their pups near the sand dunes. The Ministry of Defence still maintains part of the area and it is still used by RAF Donna Nook as a practice site. The sign below did make me chuckle.

As soon as I saw the seals I was just in complete awe. They were perfectly relaxed and so beautiful. I took about 100 photos – no joke. I’ve never been so close to them. I felt like Sir David Attenborough. What I found most endearing is that they snore when they’re sleeping so naturally I made about 10 videos of that too.

So for this festive Saturday morning, one of my gifts to you are these ridiculously cute photos, taken by yours truly. I hope they bring you as much squealy delight as they did me. ☺️🥰

There are just no words for how beautiful these animals are. We are so lucky to have them pick a place near us where we can see this wonderful spectacle.

My Christmas gift to myself is to blog more so stay tuned!

Big love to you all. Let’s catch up soon! Xx

A Winter’s Stroll

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well and keeping warm in this biting weather! Whilst it’s snowing outside, I’m sat here feeling quite grateful. Yesterday I managed to have a lovely walk around the grounds of Nostell Priory. It was one of those days where it’s crisp and fresh but the sun was peeking out behind the clouds. The complete opposite to today’s weather it seems!

It all sounds rather romantic. However, I’m a firm believer in needing beautiful scenery, fresh air and the opportunity to step back and recharge yourself. This was my opportunity to do just that.

I find being by water particularly calming and this was no different. It was quite nice seeing the ice sporadically spread across the ice. I also loved seeing the ducks and swans gracefully mooching across the lake.

Another thing I spotted was the vast variety of birds and squirrels. It all just felt rather tranquil. I’m embracing the thought that winter is nearly over and spring is surely on its way. The snowdrops were starting to make an appearance; surely a sign that spring is approaching us.

I wanted to share this with you because I wish that you all have a moment to yourselves to enjoy the simple things, to recharge, as I have. Blow those cobwebs away and breathe it all in. I feel recharged and ready for the next week ahead.

Big love xxx

It’s Officially Spring!


Hey guys!

We’ve made it! Winter has officially passed and we are into the time of newness: spring. I love this time of year. The new flowers, the lighter days and nights. I have been counting down to this moment. It’s time to feel refreshed and rejuvenated. 

I wanted to share with you a photo of my lovely little daffodils that have finally opened their little heads. It fills me with complete joy. I love splashes of colour like this. I can’t believe I’ve grown these too! Three years running these have popped up. I feel quite successful. 


Anyway, I want to wish you the BEST for Spring. Get out there. Look at the colours. Feel the fresh air. I am living and breathing it. Also, check out google today. It’s so cute! 

Big love and spring kisses! 

X

Spring! 


Hey everyone,

Happy March! Spring is nearly here but I’m feeling like is because we’ve had lots of sunshine! It makes everyone feel so much better. I love seeing the spring flowers poking their little heads out, ready to show their colour. I’m thankful it’s a sign that winter is nearly out the way. 

I went for a little stroll around Charlecote Park. I absolutely love it there. I’ve posted about it before so I won’t repeat myself again. It’s grand Victorian house and beautiful land with roaming deer. I find them so tranquil and peaceful. I also feel immensely calm when I watch them. I can’t believe I was so close to them this time as well. I had to get a selfie! 


Make Spring count for you, it’s the start of all things new. I’m going to make more time to see things, visit places, do something different. Watch this space! 

Big love xxx