Monday, 2 July 2018

Books That Changed My Life


Hello hello!
I know saying that these books 'changed my life' sounds really serious and drastic, but these books have genuinely helped me change my life and my mindset and my attitude towards life, and I definitely wouldn't be the person I am today without these books.
I love reading so much, there's nothing I love more than sitting down with a good book!
And I know the summer is when people tend to read a bit more, so if you're looking for a good book then make sure to read this blog post!


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"The Crossroads Of Should And Must" by Elle Luna

The only way to describe this book is.
Magical.
Pure magic.
In book-form!
This book has a captivating and inspiring and uplifting energy. It's like no book I've ever read before. And you don't just read the book, you feel it, if that makes any sense!
"The Crossroads Of Should And Must" is all about finding and following your passion, being true to yourself, and living the life you truly want to live. Elle Luna is a painter/designer/writer/all-round-amazing-human-being. Her creativity and inspiring nature shine through in this book and you can tell that she poured her heart and soul into it as she created it.
I really can't speak highly enough of this book, it has literally changed my life and my outlook on life and my attitude towards my future.
The book is full of Elle's own story and her tips and guidance on how to follow your own passion. It's the most beautiful book I've ever seen like oh. my. god. It features writing and drawings and paintings and quotes and scribbles and doodles. I think it's the combination of everything that really spoke to me.
Aaah I'm actually lost for words. Like I cannot describe this book in any way that'll fully capture how incredibly special it is.
I can only say that this book has completely turned my life around.
Thank you thank you thank you thank you Elle, you're an absolute angel from above!


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"Men In This Town" by Giuseppe Santamaria

This is such a simple yet such a beautiful and powerful and inspiring book. It's such a 'coffee table book' if that makes any sense, like you can pick it up, flick to any page, look at a few pictures and get some inspiration.
This book is a collection of photos of men around the world and their clothes and their style. The book focuses on 5 cities; London, Tokyo, Sydney, Milan, and New York. Each city features loads of beautiful pictures of different men and the clothes they're wearing, and also an interview with a man from that city.
I'm not ridiculously interested in fashion but I love seeing how people combine different clothes (colours/textures/accessories/etc) and I'm really interested in how people express themselves through the clothes that they choose to wear. Also, I'm a sucker for fantastic photography so that's another reason why I love this book so much.
This is such a simple book but I think it's brilliant as it offers an insight into other people and their lives, and it reminds you to dress however you want to and not to give a damnnnn about what anybody else thinks!


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The Happy Pear (David and Stephen Flynn)

I actually can't think of a word to describe how much I love The Happy Pear, Dave and Steve, and everything they've done and made, and the community they've built all about health and happiness.
Any time I go to THP in Greystones I never want to leave, it's the most beautiful part of the world and there's such a lovely atmosphere there.
Dave and Steve are literally the soundest human beings I've ever met, they're like rays of sunshine, they always put a smile on my face! Their approach to food and life is ridiculously inspiring and I try to live my life more Happy-Pear-ish.
I'm so glad I came across their 1st book when I was just after going vegetarian because it showed me that there's so much more to vegetable-focused cooking than boiled veg and potatoes ahaha! The lads got me hooked on making red lentil dahl and my interest in cooking and flavours and textures all grew from there!
Without The Happy Pear I definitely wouldn't be where I am today, and I defo wouldn't be writing this blog post right now! Thank you Dave and Steve for being absolutely class, and I promise I'll make it up to Greystones before the end of the summer!

"The Happy Pear": This was the second cookbook I ever bought for myself, but it was the first cookbook that I actually used and completely fell in love with! Love and passion and enthusiasm and joy all radiate from this book, and the bright yellow cover puts a smile on my face whenever I see it!
What I love about The Happy Pear's books is that they are so much more than your 'average' cookbook, they're filled with photos and stories and tips and tricks. There's an indescribable sense of love and care in this book and all their books. The only way to truly understand is really just to go to Greystones and hang out in THP café for the day, it's the most idyllic and gorgeous and most amazing place I've ever been. It feels like home there!
My go-to recipes from this book are the dahl and basically the whole 'Mains' section, literally all of those dishes are classsss, and all the bars and treats in the 'Desserts' section, but my favourite has to be the no-bake caramel slices!

"The World Of The Happy Pear": I love with The Happy Pear's books you get more than just recipes. This book is full of more stories and tips and tricks, and it has brilliant different sections ranging from getting your kids to eat healthier to veggie BBQ-ing!
I don't want to say too much about this book because I'll just be repeating what I said about the last book! Basically it's a hug in book-form. Like you actually can't read this book and not have a smile on your face at the end. And of course the pictures are absolutely stunning and what I love is that there are so many pictures of everyone involved in The Happy Pear! One of my favourite pages is the page with all different people involved with THP and they're all smiling away. It really shows how much goes into everything they do, and it shows how much of a community has been built all about feeling happier and healthier. I love the bit in the book where they talk about how they got into coffee and how they appreciate the art of coffee-making. I love this bit cuz I have to admit I'm after turning into such a coffee geek lately haha!
My go-to recipes are without a doubt the belly hug lentil soup, the Moroccan tagine, the 'meaty' veggie burger, and the healthier no-bake chocolate and salted caramel tart (my brother ate about half of it in 1 go the first time I made it, it's that good!)

"The Happy Pear Recipes For Happiness": If you want to start living a happier and healthier life but can't find the 'right' book for you, this is the one!!! It's basically the Bible of healthy living, seriously it's class!
The book is divided up into 2 parts; Part 1 - Eating Happy and Part 2 - Living Happy.
The 1st part is full of the most incredible recipes, all I've made so far is the vegan chick'n tikka masala which was classss, but I'm planning on making loads of stuff from this book over the summer! There's also loads of really handy pages like lunches for kids, a whole section about fermentation, and really handy tips about how to eat healthy on the go!
The 2nd part really sums up The Happy Pear, I actually love it! It's all about movement and managing your head and rebooting your diet/life, and of course there's a bit at the back of the book that tells you how to do a handstand (my goal for the summer is to learn!)!!!
I don't want to be repeating myself too much from the 1st and 2nd books, but basically this book is beyond class and if you want to get into healthy eating and living then this is definitely the book for you!


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"salt." by Nayyirah Waheed

"salt." is a book of poetry by the poet Nayyirah Waheed who writes poems on topics ranging from love and heartbreak to racism and inequality.
I'm not gonna lie, I didn't understand every poem but oh my god it's such a powerful book. The '-' at the end of the poems are actually really cool because sometimes they make the poem make sense, and some of them are really empowering and humorous.
The poems about racism are really powerful and highlight the struggle of anyone on the receiving end of the issue. Those poems are really raw, honest and really do highlight issues that are still visible in society today.
Nayyirah Waheed's poems are raw, true, empowering, funny, and insightful. Her poetry is personal and intimate and it allows you to have a look and see what's going on in her mind.
After reading this book I felt inspired, empowered, and more aware of things I need to question and ask myself. I know this is going to sound very hippy-ish but after reading the poems I was more aware of my existence and whether I was doing the right thing or not with my life.


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"Reasons To Stay Alive" by Matt Haig

This is one of my favourite books ever. Ever. Ever.
I love it to bits.
I love everything about it, the short chapters, the long chapters, the wisdom, the wit, the inspiration, the questions, the answers, everything about it!
I'm actually struggling to put into words how much this book means to me, it has helped me so much. I've read this book twice and both times it seems to have gotten to me at the perfect time. I absolutely love how Matt Haig talks about his own story, yet he is still funny and sarcastic throughout the book. I love how relaxed and calm he is about talking about mental health. There's no stigma, no judgement, just honesty.
This is such a powerful book, I genuinely feel as if everyone should read it, even if you don't have depression/anxiety/anything, it really helps in understanding someone who might be suffering from those things.
The book is intense in some chapters, but in others it's short and sweet. Matt is brilliantly honest about his struggles, and I found that reading about his struggles helped me understand my own.
The book is divided up into 5 sections; Falling, Landing, Rising, Living, and Being, and it is filled with stories and wisdom and wit and tips and tricks and loads of helpful ideas that all help break down the stigma surrounding mental health, and they all help you to cope and live and thrive in today's world.
This is such a fantastic book, and I couldn't recommend it highly enough.
Go and get it nowwwwwww!


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Natural Born Feeder (Roz Purcell)

Roz Purcell is one of my favourite people ever. You know those people who you think are just so cool and groovy and interesting and inspiring and literally everything they do you're like "That's so cool". Roz is one of those people to me!
I met Roz this year and she's so sound like I'd talk to her all day, and thankfully I didn't poison her with my baking skills haha!!! She's seriously sound and has such a talent for what she does. Her blog, Natural Born Feeder, is full of incredible recipes and she has a YouTube channel with fantastic videos that I literally get so happy whenever I see there's a new NBF video in my subscription box!
What I love about Roz's recipes is that they work. I've tried so many recipes from other health-focused cookbooks and they always fall apart or taste like cardboard or just don't work! So, if you're looking for recipes that actually work and taste incredible, look no further than Roz's books!

"Natural Born Feeder": This is like the Bible of whole-food recipes! I love everything about this book; the photos, the font, the chapters, the layout, just everythinggggg!
In this book Roz explains how her love of food came about, and how passionate she is about cooking food from scratch. Her food philosophy really resonates with me and I suppose that's how I fell in love with cooking.
Growing up, my aunty always baked cakes and breads and tarts and cookies and I used be fascinated with how she could make such cool things. It wasn't until I started cooking and baking myself (when I went vegetarian, I was like feck it if I'm going to do this right I need to learn how to cook!) that I understood the importance of whole-foods and food cooked from scratch.
This book has helped me learn so much about food and it has made me appreciate the importance of eating real food and sharing it with people that you love!
And this book is absolutely divine, it has every recipe you'd ever want, so if you're interested in starting to eat healthier food then this book will be your Bible!

"Half Hour Hero": I have well over 20 cookbooks and I love them all for different reasons, but this book is by far one of my faves. I keep coming back to it time and time again, and it never fails me! This book is PACKED with not only amazingly delicious and quick recipes, but also loads of tips and tricks on everything ranging from meal prep to creating a balanced and sustainable relationship with food, and everything in between!
I can't count how many times I've made the breakfast cookies from this book, I even double the recipe and by the time I'm finished baking (in less than 1/2 an hour of course!) at least half of the batch would be gone, they're too good!
My go-to recipes from this book are the cashew, bean, and oat burgers (the BEST veggie burgers ever, they don't fall apart and the flavour in them is unreal!), the peanut, squash, and chickpea curry (one of my favourite curries ever, my aunty actually made me this curry and gave it to me portioned out into little boxes when she came to visit, she's the best!), and of course the notella biscuits (yes pleeeease!).
As it says on the cover of the book: real food, real fast. I mean, what's not to love!


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"Start Something That Matters" by Blake Mycoskie

A really really inspiring book about finding what is important to you and sharing it with the world. It's my dream to have my own food-related business (like a café or a farmer's market stall or something along those lines) so this book really helped me see how to create a business that cares as much about the workers as it does about the profits etc. I never thought you could put money/business/work and passion/love/community/etc together, but this book shows that you can.
The book is divided up into different chapters, it has lovely pictures throughout, and it's so easy to pick it up and get lost in it for hours, it's very easy to read.
This book has brilliant life lessons and tips and tricks and it really opened my eyes to living a more conscious and more thoughtful life.
And what I love about the book is that for every book sold, Toms will provide a new book to a child in need. Like I'm bawlingggggg, that's the coolest thing ever!


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"The Headspace Guide To Meditation & Mindfulness" by Andy Puddicombe

This is a brilliantly straightforward yet not over-simplified book with instructions for meditation.
My first encounter with Headspace was with the app that I used for a bit but then I fell off the meditation wagon ahaha! Then at the start of the year I said feck it I'd try it again and it has honestly changed my life. Over the past few months I've developed quite a good meditation routine where I meditate for 10 minutes every night. I'm working on doing 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night but I haven't gotten there yet!
After using the app for a few months I decided I'd read the book too, and trust me, it's so worth it! Andy is very funny and has a brilliant sense of humour. The book is full of little stories and these stories are very very good as they make a lot of sense in terms of the meditation technique that's being explained.
If you're any bit interested in meditation at all I'd highly recommend the Headspace app and the book. But defo don't think that if you read the book you can't use the app, or if you use the app you can't read the book! I'd really recommend reading the book and using the app, they're both fantastic.
This book is definitely a book to read over a period of time, I couldn't read it all at once as I found my brain couldn't take all the info all at once! After I read a chapter/few pages I found that I had to think about it and allow the information to marinate in my brain for a while before moving onto the next section of the book. I don't mean this in a bad way at all! I just mean if you want to read this book, I feel you should read it slowly and appreciate the info, bit by bit, instead of reading it all at once and forgetting half the stuff!
Absolutely fantastic book, thank you so much Andy for everything you've done! You have completely changed my life!


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So there we have it!
Those are all the books that have helped me become the person who I am today!
I'm such a lover of all-things-book-related so if you have any book recommendations for me please give me a shout over on my email (plantpoweredhuman@gmail.com) or chat to me over on my Instagram!
I hope you're having a class week, enjoy the sun, and make sure to stay hydrated in this crazy heatwave that we're having!
Sorry that I'm a day late in posting this blog post, I promise I'll be back to posting on Sundays again now!
Happy reading!
Big love,
Darragh
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