Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Reading List: January 2019

murakami, killing commendatore, rupi kaur, books, stack of books

Kicking off this year's reading with a few good ones - I struggled my way through a few books at the end of 2018 so it's been such a joy to read books that I've looked forward to working my way through, and have felt sad when they've been over.

The first two were chosen by my bookclub, Dubai Bibliophiles and the third was discovered by way of a Refinery 29 Money Diarist.

Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari - my first read of 2019 was a non-fiction book which isn't my usual preferred way to relax, but I loved Sapiens. It's a whistle-stop tour through the entire history of humankind and every few pages I felt like I either learned something new or had an anecdote to retell in an imaginary future conversation. The writing style is very accessible, although sometimes feels a little patronising but I can forgive that for the breadth of the topic at hand and the easy, conversational flow of the book.

Less, Andrew Sean Greer - I was slightly dreading reading a Pulitzer Prize winner - sometimes the words "winner of the [x] prize" result in me struggling through a book, re-reading paragraphs and contemplating giving up but Less was not such a book. Arthur Less is a comically tragic character, and as I joined him on a round-the-world journey to avoid a wedding I went from asking "why should I care about this character?" to feeling deep sympathy for a man who, like us all, just wants to be loved. Beautifully written, at times very funny and one that I read in under a week and in all my spare moments which is exactly what I want from a novel.

Killing Commendatore, Murakami - I haven't bought a hardback book since Murakami's "Men Without Women" which I struggled with and left unfinished (somewhat forgivable as it's a book of short stories) but I am so excited to get my hands on a proper novel from one of my favourite authors. I haven't got more than a few pages in to this one yet, so I'll revisit it in next month's post - I hope it's one I love, lend to fellow book lovers, and one day re-read.

What have you read in January? 
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Saturday, 19 January 2019

The Story of a New Name

After over 9(!) years blogging as LilyLipstick, it's time for a change...

2019, new year, IIN, health coach, holistic healthcoach

Last year I somewhat abandoned this corner of the internet, feeling lost in all the noise - was blogging dying? Was it already dead? I no longer wanted to post about my outfits, having not shopped since 2017, my (former) love for fashion has not translated to an interest in interiors and huge shifts in my offline life meant that I often found myself sitting in front of an empty white box on Blogger with too many thoughts and yet no words to express them properly.

Rather than continuing to blog under a name I came up with in my student bedroom in 2009, I'll now be Lillian Zahra on all my social media platforms (Lillian is my British great grandmother's name and Zahra is my Iranian grandmother's name). It already feels so good to not be cringing slightly as a 31 year old woman posting as "LilyLipstick" (although we went on some adventures, confused my local Royal Mail sorting office in the early blogging days and got quoted by The Guardian...).

This year I want to really tap back in to my creativity and post regularly again. I'll still be sharing snippets of what I've eaten, my travels and what I'm reading and I'll definitely do another money diary soon (partly to try to further reign in my spending). Super excitingly, I've enrolled with IIN, the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, to become a holistic health coach so I'll also be sharing my journey and the start of a new chapter. 

I hope you'll stick around (I promise I'll never be preachy or become a health bore!), here's to another 9 years! 

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Thursday, 3 January 2019

December Round-Up

The last month of 2018 was pretty packed - two corporate parties (work not play), a friend in town for 24 hours, my parents visiting for Christmas and New Year, starting running again (and not hating it) and saying goodbye to 2018 with our annual cheese toasty tradition (a gluten free and vegan one for me).

The January blues don't hit so hard when the weather's always good and there's no empty schedule to bemoan either, although January is less drinks-at-the-top-of-the-Burj-Khalifa and more moving-apartments-for-the-third-time-in-two years. As someone who LOVES planning, scheduling and life-admin I am actually pretty happy about having an organising kinda month.

Here's what December looked like:


1. Brunch at Aubaine, City Walk. My boyfriend and I loved this spot so much we took my parents back a couple of weeks later.

2. Morning skies while doing Yoga With Adriene - I am so excited to start her "Dedicate" 30 days of yoga series today.

3. Taking an abra across the Creek when my friend L was in town.

4. Gin martinis on the 123rd floor of the Burj Khalifa. So nice to see the sunset and Dubai looking like a mini toy town.

5. Breakfast at Parkhouse - vegan overnight oats for me. I'm doing Veganuary this year and looking forward to discovering more of Dubai's plant-based eats, and maybe cooking something myself, too.

6. The most extra Christmas decorations at The Kempinski Emerald Palace where I took my mother to the opening of all'onda and we had a fun evening sipping negronis and sampling their Venetian/Japanese fusion food.

7. Wandering along Sunset Beach, a (mostly) untouched strip of Jumeriah Beach.

8. Christmas presents from my boyfriend, who didn't deny that I'd be getting a kitten for Christmas...

9. The most delicious acai bowl at Maisan15 while my parents were in town - driving them around Dubai and taking them to my favourite places was so much fun!

What do you have planned for January?
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