Without a shadow of a doubt, the highlight of my year has been how much I fell back in love with reading. What was once my favourite hobby growing up was quickly replaced by my love of blogging (and we all know how all-consuming it can be, when you want to not only create beautiful content, but consume it too, and become part of the community), and I knew that this year I wanted to reclaim my love for books.

I kick-started the year with a delicious stack of books that I received for Christmas, which is absolutely the best way to stock yourself up for the first part of the year where we’re all a little more frugal, and with a renewed vow to use my bloody Goodreads account! I suppose it also went hand in hand with the smaller ratio of blog posts published. My Bloglovin’ feed has never seemed quieter and it’s a little tougher each day to discover blogs to follow and fresh posts to read.

All that being said, here’s a round-up of everything I’ve loved reading in 2018, from blog to book and back again…

The Blogs

From Roses

Rebecca’s blog has always been the source of much joy to me. Her beautiful blog, From Roses, is a dependable source of stunning imagery and well-crafted copy on the topics of dog ownership, beauty that works and no-frills self-care.

She’s also recently been covering the best things to see and do in her local area, and I’ve never been more tempted to hop in the car and explore more of her county! And this year I’ve enjoyed nothing more than my afternoon coffee break with a scroll-through of her posts!

>> Visit From Roses

Photo: From Roses

The Little Plum

Another long-term favourite, The Little Plum is a brilliant blog by Chloe to read through on a slow weekend. Her posts are beautifully written and always evoke further thought or reading, plus she’s brought her Ask Me Anything feature from Instagram to her blog now, and it’s like the best ever advice column you could ask for. On top of that, her wardrobe is to die for and I’m always discovering awesome petite-friendly pieces from her blog.

>> Visit The Little Plum

The Everygirl

Although I briefly moved away from reading magazine-style blogs, one that I’ll always return to is The Everygirl. This is a truly great resource for any modern woman, full to the brim with think-pieces, columns, shopping edits, financial advice and more. You know, content that we genuinely need instead of mindlessly consume. I often take financial advice from their writers and am always in awe of the inspiring stories shared on the site.

>> Visit The Everygirl

Coco’s Tea Party

I think it was around this time last year that I rediscovered Ella’s blog, Coco’s Tea Party. It was one of the first I read ‘back in the day’, and is now one of my most-read sites through the week. Ella writes about a number of topics, but it’s her first-home and bookish posts that I’ve most enjoyed in 2018. Her posts are easy to read and are designed to be read so that you’ll still have time to get on with your day, the imagery is so bright and beautiful, and I always leave feeling inspired, motivated and energised.

>> Visit Coco’s Tea Party

Photo: Cupful of Kale

Cupful of Kale

This year, I discovered Cupful of Kale and fell in love. In fact, I’d go as far as to say her delicious recipes pushed me one step further towards my eventual decision this year to follow a plant-based diet as of January.

Tamsin’s recipes are tasty, relatively simple and are filling too, which makes it a no-brainer when it comes to meal planning each week. Even if you’re not vegan, I totally recommend giving her recipes a whirl and following her Instagram for everyday food inspiration.

>> Visit Cupful of Kale

In My Sunday Best

Sade’s blog has long been a favourite of mine, but I’ve truly felt connected to her words this year. Wise beyond her years, she recounts her days on In My Sunday Best with a note of gratitude, hope, longing, faith and belief. She creates beautiful photos, always gives thought and thanks to every moment, and she is STUNNING irl too. You can bet I gave her the biggest squeeze when I finally met her at the Blogosphere Awards earlier this year!

>> Visit In My Sunday Best

The Books

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I bought this book on a whim because the dreamy 80th anniversary edition came out right before my birthday. It’s a much lauded novel, and with the support of Bee behind it, I’m not surprised that I fell utterly in love with the world of Rebecca. Much like many of my other favourite books, the story revolves around a grand home. Our heroine, cleverly you never learn her name, marries Max de Winter and becomes his wife. And over time, she learns she must always compete against his first wife, Rebecca, Mrs de Winter. I absolutely adored the poetic way much of the story is told, and was particularly captivated by the second half which totally amplifies in pace. If there’s one book you should sink into this winter, make it Rebecca.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Knowing that the film release was imminent, I read Crazy Rich Asians this summer and absolutely adored it. I loved it not only for its dreamy rom-com storyline but for all the little Chinese-Malay intonations throughout, which brought me back to my childhood and made me smile constantly, feeling heard, represented and acknowledged at last. The book is different enough from the film to warrant a read, although I didn’t enjoy its sequel and am yet to delve into the third in the series.

The Last Days of Leda Grey by Essie Fox

Essie Fox is one of my favourite authors, crafting intimate worlds based on folklore, old films and bygone eras. And The Last Days of Leda Grey made no exception! I devoured this book in just short of a week and was utterly beguiled by the story of Leda Grey. Fox tells the story in such a way that past and present become engulfed by one another and I couldn’t predict the rather satisfying ending at all, which is a rarity when you read as much as I have done this year.

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

What can I say?! Philip Pullman does it again! The Book of Dust plunges straight back in the world of His Dark Materials: Malcolm is a young boy, curious about everything and with a knack of noticing the smaller details. He becomes suspicious of Lord Asriel, and rightly so for when the storm comes, he must do all he can to protect a certain Lyra. The Book of Dust is one of my standout novels of the year. Just like the His Dark Materials series, it is captivating and magical in equal measure.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I mean, I challenge you to find a bad review of this book because damn it was great. I opened the pages of Little Fires Everywhere without a single idea of its storyline and felt pleasantly surprised at first, then besotted a few chapters in. The story tells of two families in Shaker Heights, a quiet town where everything is seemingly picture perfect. Over time, the families become uniquely linked and there’s a further tale of a child adoptee. Who does she truly belong to? What is right and wrong in these complicated matters? I honestly can’t communicate to you just how much I adored this slow-then-quick burner of a book.

What have you loved reading this year? And why so? Plus, join me in the first week of January for my next Reading List installment!

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