Intentional Mothering

My Favourite Reads of 2016.

By on December 10, 2016

My Favourite Reads of 2016.

I love reading and think I have read about 50 books this year. I feel like that is a good accomplishment, but nothing compared to others. I read a blogger the other day who said that she has read more than 300 books this year {and that doesn’t include all the read-aloud’s she does with her kids}.

300 books. I mean, wow. That is an amazing accomplishment. A few of mine have been close to, or over, 1000 pages – does that count?? 🙂

Anyhoo, I’ll get straight into it so you can have a quick nosey and add any of my recommendations for your reading list for 2017. {And all links are affiliate links.}

Coming Home, by Rosamund Pilcher

Coming Home

I literally finished this book two nights ago. I have read it before and loved it then. Several years later, I’ve read it again and I’ve love it even more. Friends, this is a beautiful, beautiful book. It is a coming-of-age novel, centred around Judith and her connections with the Carey-Lewis family of Nancherrow. It spans ten years of Judith’s life, from when she is 14 and living in a Cornwall boarding school; through the years of WWII to the beginning of her new, settled life back in Cornwall. It’s about a girl learning about loss, and love, and understanding the need for roots and a place to call home. The Carey-Lewis family are rich characters that add fascination and warmth, as well as adding the twists and turns this novel takes. It’s lengthy {the said 1000 pages!} but so worth it. It has been my favourite novel for years and it would take something incredibly special to replace it at the top.

North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskill

north-and-south1

I read Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskill at university and, after forcing myself into it, ended up really enjoying Gaskill’s passion for the Industrial era of the mid-1800’s. When I read North and South, I was not disappointed. This is a passionate and endearing story with, I believe, parallels to Pride and Prejudice. There is prejudice and judgement between Margaret Hale, a vicar’s daughter from the “enlightened” south, and John Thornton, a cotton mill manufacturer of the north. The feisty and clashing conversations were a great read, as well as the growing love John has for Margaret. The novel faces the grim truths of the cotton mill industry of the era, from both the hard position of the manufacturer, as well as the hard-working and poor employees. I love how Gaskill was a really intelligent woman and wrote with passion, insight, yet tenderness. The BBC’s version of this is exceptional.

Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior, by Kimberly Wagner

41vn1f7sg7l-_sx322_bo1204203200_

This is the book that defined my Christian reading this year. It was a book that God gave me because I really needed it then, and I still do. Kimberly’s testimony is about how God took her broken marriage, mostly due to her destructively hardness and manipulation {her so-called “womanly strength”}, and made it into something beautiful that reflected God’s design. The Lord humbled Kimberly deeply and changed her hardened heart into one that was soft. He helped her see her husband for the man that he is and how her behaviour had been so emasculating for him. Now, they both have a challenging and very encouraging ministry around the world. This book came at the right time for me and God has used it to challenge parts of me that ain’t so pretty. I have loved it so much I have lent it to many other wives and have done a bible study on it at church. Kimberly and her husband, LeRoy, have also done a follow up: Men Who Love Fierce Women: The Power of Servant Leadership in Your Marriage.

Can Any Mother Help Me? by Jenna Bailey

511ibs6q7ul-_sx315_bo1204203200_

This book was such a find in my local library: the title caught my eye and, just loving history and motherhood and true stories, I couldn’t help myself. This is a biography of sorts on a secret motherhood society that spanned almost the entire twentieth-century in Britain. In 1935, a young woman wrote to a woman’s magazine in desperate need of company and help. The replies to her letter were so enormous that a circular letter magazine was created, called “The Cooperative Correspondence Club”. Many, many wives and mothers joined over the years, sharing their lives and loves and losses. It is a fascinating and endearing read. Jenna Bailey’s research on these women gave such insight to how all women, in all ages, struggle and love and fight for their marriages and their families. It shows how women need other women to be encouraged and helped and understood. And, despite being set during all the war years and further, I feel like these women were the bloggers of their days – the community they built in their writing and letters is inspiring.

By Design: God’s Distinctive Calling for Women by Susan Hunt

516xl2jmfzl-_sx318_bo1204203200_

What I really appreciated about this book is that, rather than being another “this is what the biblical design for men and women looks like”, Susan Hunt assumes that the reader already understands and accepts biblical womanhood and, instead, shows women what this means for the real, broken, hurting, and searching women of our Church. This book both convicted and challenged me. It opened my eyes to true stories of women utterly in need of healing and help sitting in the pew next to me. It forced me to ask myself, am I a woman other broken women can come to for help, comfort, and direction? I shared this book at our women’s bible study and we were all challenged by it. Less than a month later, God brought to me a woman in desperate need of friendship, prayer, encouragement and practical help. Biblical womanhood in the church looks like women helping women as women, and supporting and encouraging, and even mediating with, the male leadership in your personal church. I highly recommend Susan Hunt, and she has other books on female mentoring and biblical womanhood.

*

 Well, I think I’ll leave it at that. I’ve obviously read many more books but these are the ones that really stood out to me. They all left their mark on me, prompted me to examine myself, encouraged me to look outwards, drew me to love better and more affectionately, deepened my understanding of history {and of women in history}, and basically, helped me love reading more and more. {Can that even be possible when you’ve loved reading for, well, ever? :)}

Tell me, have you read any of these books? Do any of them catch your eye? What was your favourite read of 2016?

Continue Reading

Intentional Mothering

Little Passport Pre-BlackFriday Special! 60% Off!

By on November 21, 2016

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Thanksgiving is almost over and it will be BlackFriday in North America. But  if you don’t live in the USA, don’t worry – you don’t have to miss out. I’m from New Zealand and I am so excited about this sale from:

pre-BlackFriday sale

Have you heard of Little Passports? It is a great subscription company for little children to get exposed to our world. From science experiments, to geography, to crafts – there are subscription packages from children aged 3 to 12.

 

pre-BlackFriday sale

Exclusive Little Passports Offer!

As an affiliate, I am excited to announce that Little Passports are having a 1 day early access to the Little Passports Black Friday sale! With all the other holiday shopping you have to do, this is a perfect chance to cross the young explorers in your life off that list! A subscription to Little Passports would make an amazing present for any family with young children.

pre-BlackFriday sale

 

This pre-BlackFriday sale is BIG with 60% off the first month of any subscription!

You can take advantage of our early access to The Little Passports SAVE60 sale starting Monday, 11/21/16. Use code:SAVE60 at check out.

pre-BlackFriday sale

 

Hurry, this pre-BlackFriday sale ends on Sunday, 11/27!

PS: Do you want to become an affiliate for Little Passports as well? If you’re Down Under, click through here: Sign up to be a Little Passports Australian Affiliate here! If you’re from the UK, click through here: Sign up to be a Little Passports UK Affiliate here! If you sign up, you can have a 3-month subscription for FREE on any age you request to review on your blog. Keep an eye out for mine soon!

**This promotion is valid online only at www.littlepassports.com. To redeem enter code SAVE60 at checkout. Offer valid on new subscriptions only and cannot be combined with any other offers and/or applied retroactively to previously placed orders. Offer not valid on Personalized Products and Shop items. Offer excludes shipping and taxes. Offer valid from November 21st, 2016 at 8:00AM EST to November 27th, 2016 at 11:59PM EST.

Let me know if you take action on this offer, I would love to know!

Continue Reading

Intentional Mothering

Winter Fashion: Ideas & Specials

By on October 30, 2016

Here Down Under in New Zealand, we’ve just come out of a long winter. Despite being mid-Spring, our climate is very changeable – one day we’re wearing t-shirts and shorts, the next day, we’re back in woolly jerseys and boots. {If you ever come here to visit, make sure you pack a variety of clothes!}

With many of my readers from the Northern Hemisphere heading into winter, I thought I might share with you some of the type of clothes that I have really enjoyed wearing this past cold season. I’ll be using the amazing American-based company Cents of Style, one of the companies I’m grateful to be an affiliate of.

For my disclosure on my affiliates, please see here.

Cents of Style

Basically, if you want almost anything for your wardrobe, Cents of Style is the place to shop.  Tops, dresses, shoes, jewellery, inspirational lines… You name it, they probably have it. And they have it for you – not just models for photo shoots and catwalks.

They have clothes for you, modeled by people like you.

If you’re like me, a busy wife and mother, then it might be encouraging to know that many {if not most} of the women who work for the company, are mothers. Working mothers or at-home working mothers. This company is made by women, for women. And I love that.

Part of their company statement says that:

“Our purpose at Cents of Style is to empower women to lead bold and full lives. We believe that if you look good, you feel good.”

As an average women, I really believe this is true. When we take the time to care for ourselves and dressing in a way that makes us feel like we’re putting forth the best of our beauty, we feel really, really good. And as a Christian, I believe that dressing with care and style brings glory to our Creator. As flowers are adorned with grace and style, so ought His people be!

As you can see, Cents of Style create clothes for all women so they can dress as real women, for real moments. Any of the clothes above, I would wear in an instant. It wouldn’t worry me as I herd my children out the door to go to the supermarket or to church. I would feel stylish yet practical. And I am all about practical!

One of their latest dresses out is their Remi Swing Dress. Light, draping, feminine. And in lots of colours.

If you watch below, you’ll see how they demonstrated how gorgeous it can look on different body shapes.

I absolutely love it. This is what real fashion should be about. Women feeling confident to wear beautiful pieces of clothing, glowing in their femininity, showing off their strengths. Gorgeous.

Favourites

Looking through their catalogues, I’ve picked some of my favourite pieces that I think you will love to wear this fall and winter. All are clothes I would wear myself, a busy mother with a husband to love, a home to care for, and friends to share life with. I hope you find some inspiration!

Scarves

To me, scarves are a staple for any winter wardrobe. Where I live, we have Antartic winds blowing up the island. And, living only a few km’s from the beach, we get a Pacific wind that likes to nip through all our layers. When it’s cold, I never go anywhere without scarves. Bright and colourful ones are my favourites, especially florals. But don’t you just love these tartarn ones? Stunning.

And, for the 30th and 31st of October only, these scarves are only $12.95USD with FREE SHIPPING. When you check out, pop in the code: BLANKETTREAT.

 

Boots

This past winter, ankle boots were my friends. With skinny jeans or leggings and a tunic, I felt immediately dressed up and ready to go {even if my little girl had kept me up in the night}. I love wearing boots with a baggy top or jersey. I feel really comfortable and confident in this sort of style. But, I also love wearing a knee-length dress with leggings and knee-length boots. Both styles can be casual or dressed-up.

Tops

When I’m wearing jeans with flat shoes, a pretty top is a staple. I love these gorgeous Bohemian-style tops. They would look beautiful with dark jeans. And to stay warm, it would be easy to wear a thermal top underneath so there would be no need for lots of layers. Or, with a really nice cardigan and scarf, you can look really cute and cosy.

 

Leggings

As I’ve mentioned, I wear leggings a lot. They can go under skirts, dresses, tunics, or even a long jersey. Leggings are so comfortable and can make an outfit not only stylish but modest, too. I love leggings with boots. I wear them in summer also as I’m unable to wear skirts or dresses on their own. Leggings are essential and I love all these different patterned ones from Cents of Style.

And, if you buy TODAY {the 30th}, you can grab a pair of leggings for 50% off with this code at the checkout: LEGGING16. {All are under $10USD}

So there you have it. Cents of Style is a fabulous, real-woman friendly clothing company that is passionate about making all women feel good in what they wear. I endorse them and their values, and I just love the everyday styles. I hope you’ve seen something you like and that your winter wardrobe might be spruced up a little because, as Cents of Style believe {and so do I!}, you deserve it.

Continue Reading