What I’m into (March 2013)

The wonderful Leigh Kramer does a monthly ‘what I’m into’ post, and I thought that was a fab idea! So I’m linking up with her, and do take a while to look round her blog– she’s one of the nicest people in the blogosphere.


What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh


This month I have a lot to talk about, so I’m going to save the blog links part of ‘what I’m into’ for later in the week – look out for it then.


  • Before I go to sleep – SJ Watson. This is about a woman who can’t remember anything for longer than a day: every morning she wakes up and doesn’t know who she is. I read this for a book group, and read it in a day because it was fairly easy to read, but I was a little disappointed, if I’m honest. It had rave reviews but I thought that the film Memento [2000] [DVD]
    did the same idea, better, a decade ago.

  • The Bell Jar – Silvia Plath. As a massive fan of her poetry and an English Lit graduate, I feel like I really should have read this before now. A friend lent it to me and I loved it. It’s easier-reading than her poetry, and I loved every page. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s about the experience of depression (with some feminist elements) and is exquisitely crafted. (I guess the description of ‘feminist and about depression’ will mean you either give a slight shudder or buy it immediately…) I thought it was ultimately an uplifting book, and challenges how we view madness and meaning in life. Definitely recommend. Buy it here: The Bell Jar

  • The Missing Generation – Kay Mumford. My friend Kay has written an excellent book for churches wanting to minister more effectively to people in their 20s and 30s. She takes you through, step-by-step, how you might go about this, even if you currently have no-one of that age group in your church. Kay has worked for a well-renowned conservative evangelical church in the UK for many years, running a large 20s-30s ministry, so she really knows what she’s talking about. The real strengths of this book are 1) it’s short and easy to read; 2) it’s practical and has lots of creative ideas for ‘how to’ start or improve a 20s-30s ministry, rather than just telling you that you should; 3) it is a good advert for discipleship done really well, sharing your life and the gospel with one another, being honest about the difficult things without shame or fear and spurring one another on to holiness. Buy it here: The Missing Generation – A Practical Guide to 20s 30s Ministry

  • 11 secrets to getting published – Mary De Muth. This book is really useful for talking you through the whole process of publishing a book. I found it especially helpful on book proposals and realising the extent of the demands of getting on the rung of publishing. Mary always has such useful advice for writers on her blog (for example, this step-by-step guide to self-publishing). Buy the e-book for $9.97 on her website.
    On the TV

  • I’m just catching up on the hours of American Idol I have recorded. I miss the old line-up of judges, particularly Jennifer Lopez, but I do like that Keith Urban. He seems to be the new Nice Judge, and says sensible things. I’m only up to the top 20 at the moment, so don’t tell me who goes and who stays! Who’s your favourite?

  • I am SO into Nashville at the moment. (Y’all). It’s just the right balance of character conflict, ethical dilemmas, pretty people and catchy music. I’m a fan – to the point where I decided I was going to make my hair into dreamy-waves and ringlets just like the cool people on the telly.

    I did my research, and turned to YouTube for help (I am SO not someone who can do this without a tutorial). This video for bendy rollers and this one and this one for conical rollers were really helpful. I bought some Wahl Spirolls heated conical rollers and voila! This is the result:



    You can get Wahl Spirolls here and recreate my look (ha! It’s hilarious to write that last sentence!):
    Wahl Spirolls Heated rollers

    I also recommend these bendy rollers if you want to do it without heat:
    From the UK. Hair Tools bendys
    From the US. Conair Medium Spiral Rollers

    Look at me, recommending hair products! It’s like I’m a proper girl, and everything!


    In my ears (CDs)
    Did I happen to mention I’m all about Nashville this month? I own almost zero country music, so I figured I may as well go with the classics. I’m not regretting it. (If you’re a country music connoisseur, what else should be in my collection?)

  • Dolly Parton – Essential Dolly Parton and Dolly Parton Bluegrass. There is nothing more fun than playing this at top volume and yodelling along. My boy is already singing ‘Dolene’ at the top of his lungs. Both albums are ludicrously pretty cheap – you can buy them here: The Essential Dolly Parton and The Bluegrass Collection

  • Alison Krauss – Paper Airplane. I love Alison’s haunting vocals, and already have the brilliant 1000 Miles or More. I love this album, but Lonely Runs Both Ways is still my favourite. Her music is more of a ‘sitting by the campfire’ thing than singing at full-volume-in-your-SUV thing. Majorly comforting. Buy here: Paper Airplane

    On the Twitter/Facebook – 1000 gifts

    I’ve begun counting three good things every day. I meant to start it at the beginning of the year, but I didn’t get round to it till now. I’m doing it late, but I’m doing it anyway. I’m almost annoyed to admit to it, but Ann Voskamp is right, it does help, naming those things I can thank God for, nailing them down and making them concrete. Do check out her blog or buy her book: One Thousand Gifts

    In the house

    Beatrix Potter has been featuring large in my boy’s literary influences this month. I have mainly been the sandy-whiskered gentleman (a fox), and he has been Jemima Puddleduck, making nests with cushions and duvets. Then we migrated onto Timmy Tiptoes, and I played both Goody Tiptoes, his loyal squirrel wife, and also Chippy Hackee, his chipmunk drinking partner. (Beatrix Potter doesn’t specify drinking partner, exactly, but they do crack open a large quantity of nuts so that Timmy is in no physical state to come home, and they sing what sounds to be a very drunken song. Exchange the word ‘nuts’ for beers’ and ‘trapped in a tree’ to ‘drunk in a pub’ and it all starts sounding very contemporary.)

    I had a birthday, and notched up another year of age. That’s an achievement, right?

    Oh – and I received my first paycheque for writing! Eek! (I’m saying ‘first’ like there may one day be a ‘second’ – this is a statement of hopefulness…) I have a short article appearing in Scripture Union’s Closer to God in January, all things being well. It was an exciting moment, reading the receipt on my ipad.

    First paycheque excitement!

    First paycheque excitement!


    Over to you:
    What were you into last month?

    **Disclosure: I have become an Amazon affiliate, which means if you click on a link above of something I have recommended and buy it, you will donate a few pennies to me, at no extra cost to you! How good is that?? (Needless to say, I only recommend stuff that I like.)**

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    35 Responses to What I’m into (March 2013)

    1. Mark Allman 3rd April, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

      Congratulations on your pay check!! You should be so proud! I think that is great: published and paid! One of Allison’s most famous songs is this: http://youtu.be/1SCOimBo5tg Nice Ringlets. I am reading the second book in the Ender’s Game series. Haunting. Did a second month of 30 day challenges of drinking green tea and trying to acquire a taste for it. I am sure we Americans do not know much about tea. Really enjoy Elementary and Person of Interest on CBS.

      • Tanya 3rd April, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

        Thanks for the link – that song was forever ruined for me by some boy band whose name escapes me… But Alison’s voice is just transcendent. What did you think of the green tea? I’m not much of a tea drinker, despite being British!

        • Mark Allman 3rd April, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

          Still have not developed a taste for it but want to because of the health benefits.

    2. Jo (@Piano_Jo) 3rd April, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

      Firstly will be praying for your American Idol affliction 😉 I’m loving the current TV series on NHS
      I’ll have to re-read The Bell Jar, last read it when I was a bit depressed myself (not a good combination.) Got introduced to Sylvia Plath in the 1st yr of my degree where we all did a one module subject called Inter-Arts (essentially arty fartying around with all the other Arts students, mixing Art/Music/Fashion/Drama together.)
      It dawned on me that I am a published author from those days (1983) along with the other 9 girls whose hands are on the cover. Flirting with ultra left wing stuff & completing our project. Found two for sale on amazon! http://www.amazon.co.uk/You-Cant-Kill-Spirit-Yorkshire/dp/B001S9QQU0
      You were probably still having Beatrix Potter read to you at the time..
      Good stuff on the paycheque, sure there will be more to come 🙂

      • Tanya 3rd April, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

        Wow – your book sounds v cool and trendy! Respect! What was it about? Yorkshire or feminism? Or both??

        • Jo (@Piano_Jo) 3rd April, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

          It was both. We interviewed Yorkshire women for their stories about Greenham & some contributed their own. I edited one of the stories & my hand drawn map is in there. There were six of us so two hands each & one photographer for the cover. Found the newspaper cutting too.
          I met one of the others again a few years ago at a graduation – in the 80’s she was vehemently against anything to do with Christianity, but she was just about to get her MA in Religion. Sadly didn’t have time for a long chat to find out more!

          • Tanya 4th April, 2013 at 11:32 am #

            That’s fascinating!
            Intriguing chat with your friend as well…

    3. Mark Allman 3rd April, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

      As far as country music songs; here are some of my all time favorite songs: Roll on Mississippi by Charley Pride http://youtu.be/DdacMprd0ic ; 16th Avenue by Lacy Jane Dalton http://youtu.be/OdwzSXHrZmI ; Country Roads John Denver http://youtu.be/oN86d0CdgHQ ; King of the Road Roger Miller http://youtu.be/OmOe27SJ3Yc ; Delta Dawn Tanya Tucker http://youtu.be/r0Xgt37rVOo ; Independence Day Martina McBride http://youtu.be/4VPpAZ9_qAw ; No Place that Far Sara Evans http://youtu.be/9dwWF-pFhqw Would you lay with me Tanya Tucker http://youtu.be/DfgUGgyVyN4 ;

      My favorite song of all time is this The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens 1969 http://youtu.be/_LBmUwi6mEo A couple of other favorites are: Answer by Sarah McLachlan http://youtu.be/i8B1ai25lUo and Hallelujah by Kate Vogel http://youtu.be/sDJgxE-0PZI

      • Tanya 3rd April, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

        These are brilliant recommendations, thanks Mark – I look forward to listening to them!

    4. Sipech 3rd April, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

      Ooh, I loved The Bell Jar. Good choice. Though it’s one I’d hesitate to call ‘inspiring’ lest someone get the wrong impression. Have been watching The Sopranos of late – slow on the uptake, I know.

      Here’s wishing you a belated Happy Birthday.

      • Tanya 3rd April, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

        Thank you for the birthday wishes!
        I’m glad you liked the Bell Jar too. I know what you mean about inspiring…! It’s quite dark, but SO good. I missed Sopranos, so you’re not the last person to have seen it!

      • Tanya 3rd April, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

        Thank you for the birthday wishes!
        I’m glad you liked the Bell Jar too. I know what you mean about inspiring…! It’s quite dark, but SO good. I missed Sopranos, so you’re not the last person to have seen it!

    5. Cat 3rd April, 2013 at 11:11 am #

      So SO SO glad you enjoyed the Bell Jar. Its beautifully and darkly written. I thought you may like it 🙂
      Also the pictures on your post do seem to have gone sideways.. ?

      • Tanya 3rd April, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

        Thank you so much for lending it to me – I meant to return it when you were round last! Remind me…
        And thanks for telling me about the sideways glitch. My ipad automatically rotates pictures to be correct, so I didn’t realise it was a problem. Took me ages to figure it out! Ah well…

    6. James Cooper 3rd April, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      First off, I really haven’t been doing much with my hair!!! 😉

      Book wise I’ve just finished ‘The Etymologicon’ by Mark Forsythe, it’s a (funny and sometimes rude!) journey into the weird and wonderful history behind many of the words in the english language – if you read it, you will tell (bore…) all your friends and family – trust me! kindle book link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Etymologicon-Circular-Connections-Language-ebook/dp/B005SZ0VXS/

      Tanya you have fine taste in liking some Alison Krauss! Paper Airplane is fab, but I agree Lonely Runs just pips it for fabness! If you like that, then check out ‘The Long Surrender’ by Over The Rhine, I’ve had it on repeat for about last three months! More bluesy than country but simple wonderful. Amazon mp3 link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Long-Surrender/dp/B0051C6TAM/

      On TV, I’ve started watching the sci-fi series ‘Andromeda’ from the start on Netflix. I’d forgotten how good it is! I’m also excited that New Girl is back on and season 2 of Once Upon A Time starts on Sunday on Channel 5 – whooo!

      Way cool about the pay cheque 🙂

      • Tanya 3rd April, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

        That book sounds amazing. I LOVE etymology! I actually did a long essay at university on the sexist etymology and connotations of our language (e.g. The perjorative associations of the feminine forms of words – dog vs bitch; wizard vs witch; bachelor vs spinster etc). It was really interesting! Thanks for the CD recommendation too – I like that you are also an Alison fan!

    7. Adele 3rd April, 2013 at 8:20 am #

      Oh Tanya, don’t get me started on the darkness that is Keith Urban on American Idol! Grrr. He was ‘the nice’ (and sexy, sweet, adorable, well dressed, white teethed, etc.) judge on the first season of The Voice (Australia) before selling out and switching to American Idol. I can’t even. We refuse to watch it on principle! 😉

      • Tanya 3rd April, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

        Oh no! I didn’t know he’d ditched Australia! That’s a shame!

    8. Alice 3rd April, 2013 at 7:24 am #

      Gosh I SO love youtube hair tutorials! In fact, I watch youtube tutorials for things I don’t want to learn because they’re so weirdly compelling!
      I really liked Before I go to sleep. Have you read The Night Circus? We’re doing it for our book group (my choice!) and I really enjoyed it. It’s a bit dreamy.

      • HopefulLeigh 3rd April, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

        I love The Night Circus! One of my favorite fiction reads from last year.

      • Tanya 3rd April, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

        I love youtube tutorials too! SO helpful. I love the Internet!

        Thanks for the recommendation. I have to suggest something for book club, so it’s good to have something I can suggest!

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