Lazy hazy beach days - my fave reads or audio books even....

I have always enjoyed reading, however, I do find that when I have the time, which tends to be the evenings I fall asleep quite quickly and never make it through more than a couple of pages. So I have actually listened to all of these as audio books - over long and slow commutes, in the gym, walks etc. I have compiled a list of five (not in particular order) that I have really enjoyed or have given me a lot to think about or learn from. I have included some diverse titles but all of which are real stories or factual. My fiction reading is saved for night time in hard copy. You might like some!

1. 'Becoming' by Michelle Obama - this book is a really interesting read. Watching from a distance as Barack Obama was the first black president I always thought he was very charismatic, confident and probably an extrovert. However, within this book you learn he is actually quite introverted, a thinker, a writer with a deep desire to change the injustices he grew up experiencing and watching. Now Michelle, wow! Not only is she a woman part of a minority group in nearly every professional and educational arena she stepped into, but she is also very independent. Michelle somehow manages to find balance in her identity as a mother, woman, worker and wife, albeit, at times confusing for her. She largely raised her and Barack's daughters herself with Barack away with competing political obligations for several days at a time. What struck me as powerful, was her ability to process any inequality and have enough self reflection to find ways around these inequalities that worked for her. I am about half way through the book now and love Michelle's voice in the audio book to zone out to in the gym. She describes things we can all relate to as women and mother's.

2. 'The subtle art of not giving a fuck' by Mark Manson - this book is quite confronting, the author is blunt and to the point - he doesn't really sugar coat any part of it. This is a great book to gain perspective - especially in those years when you are perhaps feeling lost, care heavily what other's think of you or the judgement from others and generally finding a way to review your life. One element that stuck out to me is that we can't all be great. We can't all be the best leaders, the best athletes, the best corporate banker etc. for many of us - we will simply go through our lives living it and existing in it and this is more than OK! We are not less for doing this - someone has to be average and it's absolutely enough. I found this point particularly meaningful in a social media world where we are constantly sharing more, wanting more, doing more. It doesn't seem to be enough - to just be enough.

Straw hats

3. 'Just Eat It' by Laura Thomas - this is ALOT! It basically challenges you to reconsider everything you have ever come to understand about dieting, diet culture, relationships with food, statistics on weight gain - the whole lot! As a serial dieter in life, this book really challenged me. I can absolutely say that it has helped me to improve my relationship with food and I teeter somewhere between being drawn to dieting and training and also intuitive eating. I still have a lot to do myself with body acceptance and my instagram feed now is filled with all sorts of inspirational women and ones that do promote 'normal' bodies that majority of us women have. There was a time it was heavily filled with edited 'fitspo' images - talk about a head fuck! But this book has helped me me to really challenge my 'good vs bad' food narrative that I have had in my mind over the years!

4. 'Rising Strong' by Brene Brown - anyone who has known me a long time or read other blogs probably knows that I am an UBER girl fan crushing hard on Brene Brown. I believe her work in the empathy and vulnerability space is just life changing. I am still learning so much about myself and who I want to be from her. So just do it!!!!! Any of her books are really great and such awesome self development books without all the 'salesy' type bullshit that often goes with it.

5. 'Open Book' by Jessica Simpson - please don't judge me but I have always been a big fan of hers...... this one is easy listening, it is not heavy self development or causing you to ponder your own decisions. However, it is very relatable! Jessica has struggled with mental illness, sexual abuse as a child, misuse of alcohol and prescription medication and toxic relationships. I found it down to earth and very honest for someone from the Hollywood world but it was also relatable. Fan or not - Jessica has played the role of the ditzy blonde but she is actually far from it, running a billion dollar business.

Let me know if you end up delving into any and what you think!

Much love,