You Are Enough

It has been a long and stressful couple of years. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been challenged, we’ve all found it difficult or exhausting at times, and we’re all looking forward to the day this pandemic is considered officially over.

If you’ve found yourself feeling down or hopeless recently, you’re not alone. Many of us feel exactly the same, and it might be difficult to pinpoint the specific feeling or the reason for it, but it’s likely that your resources are completely drained after a second year of being asked to give more than you have, to endure more than you can feasibly endure, to live under the weight of an unbearable weight.

What has been asked of us these past 22 months has been beyond anything we were prepared for or could ever have anticipated, and it will have an effect for years to come, but we’re all in it together.

It’s Not Possible to Give Your Best All of the Time

If you’re anything like me, you probably find yourself thinking or even muttering aloud “I’m doing my best” at least once a day. Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to give your best all the time. Stretching yourself to the maximum isn’t supposed to be sustainable, it’s there for when you need an extra little boost to reach a particular goal or achieve a dream. Your basic level of productivity and activity is absolutely good enough for your day to day life. Anyone who expects more is asking too much of you and may need a reminder of your boundaries.

You are good enough, you weren’t put on the planet to produce and you don’t owe anybody anything, certainly not “your best” 100% of the time.

Write this on a post it note and stick it to your mirror:

If you were always at your best, it wouldn’t be your best, it would be your normal.

You Are Enough

Just being yourself is enough. So, next time you find yourself wondering why you’re struggling, remember: you’re finding it hard because it is hard.

Next time you find yourself thinking “I’m doing my best”, remember: your best is not required 100% of the time, you’re normal is good enough.

Next time you find yourself feeling like you’re not doing enough, being enough, giving enough of yourself, remember: you are enough.

Lyndsey

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Three Thrillers to Get Your Blood Pumping This January

I’ve read a few thrillers/suspense novels recently as a foil to my YA romantic fantasy edits (The Solitary King comes out 31 Jan!!), so I thought I’d round up all of my reviews into one post. After all, if you’re a thriller fan you’d probably rather read one post about three (very different) books to see which sounds like your cup of tea, than three separate review posts, right?

Great, let’s go.

The Cottage by Lisa Stone – 3.5 stars

Jan needs a fresh start, she’s just lost her job and split from her boyfriend, so when she sees an ad looking for someone to house sit a remote cottage and look after the owner’s dog while she’s working abroad, Jan jumps at the chance. But before long, strange noises start to disturb her at night, and when someone dismantles the fence she puts up to stop foxes getting into the garden, she knows it can’t be an animal.

The Cottage sucked me in with the creepy cover and blurb, but it didn’t turn out to be as dark and thrilling as I’d hoped. It was definitely tense and I wanted to know what was really going on, but it was one of those stories where there’s a reasonable explanation for everything, and I had gone in wanting something a bit darker.

I guessed a few of the plot twists (occupational hazard of being a true crime obsessive), but some of them were genuine surprises and the story did keep me reading just to see what would happen in the end.

I know the author also writes non-fiction/true crime books and this did read almost like a memoir, I could believe everything that was happening was possible, which did make it all the more fascinating.

I’d recommend it if you’re looking for an easy, lighter read with a really interesting premise and a few shock twists, but it won’t keep you awake at night.


The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – 4.5 stars

Libby just turned twenty-five and inherited a multi-million pound property, but more importantly she’s just discovered the truth – her parents were found dead in very suspicious circumstances, and she is the baby that was found happy and healthy in the cot while three bodies lay on the kitchen floor. Desperate to know what happened, she finds the journalist who wrote a recent article about the unsolved murders and together they dig into a history that only becomes more twisted and shocking the closer they get to the truth.

The Family Upstairs is told from three points of view, Libby and Lucy in the here and now, and Henry describing the events that led up to the three bodies being found in the house he shared with his sister (the aforementioned Lucy), their parents, and another family who came to stay and never left.

I loved the slow build up of tension in this book, I couldn’t take my eyes of Henry’s chapters as the happy family life he enjoyed as a child became increasingly strange and frightening, under the oppressive control of David Thomsen, a house guest who gradually took control over the entire household.

Between unreliable narrators and the slow, drip feed of information building the suspense throughout the book, I was absolutely glued to my seat, especially for the final few chapters. I was a little bit disappointed by the conclusion, but now there’s a sequel coming this summer, The Family Remains (which can apparently be read as standalone) and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Without giving too much away, I highly recommend this book if you love true crime, particularly podcasts and documentaries about cults.


The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley – 5 stars

Seven friends go to a remote Scottish hunting lodge for New Year, and only six of them survive. Every single one of them is hiding something, including the staff, but who is the body at the bottom of the waterfall, and how did they end up dead?

Told over three days and five POVs, The Hunting Party is a fast-paced whodunit (and who-was-it-done-to) that kept me guessing until the very last page. Every character was a possible victim and a potential killer, they were all full-formed and believably complex (read: awful) people.

I flew through the last hundred pages, I desperately needed to know who had been killed and why, even more so than who had done it. Some of the red herrings Foley threw out to distract us and keep us off the right trail were so good, I did spot one of the reveals from early on, but I genuinely couldn’t guess the full truth until it was written on the page.

This is a definite five star read for me, and I’ll be snapping up all of Foley’s other domestic thrillers. I recommend this book to absolutely everyone who likes a good, twisty thriller, you won’t be able to see it coming, I can guarantee it!


There you go, I hope you liked the sound of one or all of these. I actually borrowed them from the library, and now I’ve got C.L. Taylor’s Strangers waiting for me when I finish my edits. Back to the edit cave, Batgirl!

Lyndsey

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Non-resolution resolutions for 2022

January is traditionally the month of the ‘fresh start’. Of turning over a new leaf and becoming a dramatically different person who gets up early and drinks green smoothies, or gets 2000 words written daily before the rest of the house wakes up. Of starting new diets and joining new gyms, only to judge and shame ourselves when we fall off the wagon by Pancake Day (or decide to have a lie in and get a zero daily word count).

Let’s all agree that 2022 is the year we don’t bother with resolutions or any of that other bullshit that is designed to make us hate ourselves and spend money we don’t have on solutions we don’t need, for issues that don’t really exist. You are beautiful and unique and perfect, exactly as you are.

Dream on little dreamer

Dreams are good. Goals are better. But with the pandemic still ongoing and an air of uncertainty around absolutely everything we do, is 2022 the year you achieve your big, stretch goals? Maybe not, and it won’t be because you didn’t try hard enough or you didn’t deserve to success. You deserve everything you want, everything the world has to give. But the world doesn’t have much to give to us right now, and we can’t predict whether it will in twelve months’ time, so don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Treat yourself with kindness, take this New Year as slowly and gently as you need to, because we’re all in this together and there’s no need to rush.

Reflections, not resolutions

So, instead of coming up with resolutions or even intentions for 2022, why don’t you take this year to look back at what you’ve achieved, and feel proud? Open that brand new journal you’ve been keeping for best and write a list of reflections, things you enjoyed from the last year, new things you tried, experiences you had where you were wholly present and not worrying about how you looked or getting the best camera angle.

Congratulate yourself for the incredible things you achieved and celebrate the small wins too, anything that brought you joy in 2021.

And at the bottom of your list, write ‘more of this in 2022’.

Let’s be honest, January is the Monday of the year, but if you focus on the good, treat yourself with kindness and give yourself small, manageable goals that feed your soul, then it will be a brilliant start to the new year.

Sending positive things your way!

Lyndsey

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