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What I Read in England

Over the past two summers, I’ve been taking classes for my Master’s in English. So many of those courses required me to read works of literature selected by an instructor. While many of them were enjoyable reads like Station Eleven, there was a missing element to my reading life: Choice.

This is my first summer since 2020 where I have had the freedom to select my book choices and so I decided at the beginning of the summer that I would chase the reading fads–just because I can. I turned to TikTok and blogs that I follow for recommendations and so the three books that I read while in England came highly recommended by social media’s elite readers and all for great reasons.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Photo Credit: Amazon

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publisher: Atria Books

Copyright: 2007

Being an A-List celebrity came at a great price for the glamorous Evelyn Hugo. Not only did she abandon her heritage by bleaching her ebony locks, but she also abandoned the notion that love can be genuine through her long list of failed marriages.

For most of her life, marriage had been a tool she used to gain fame, but one love came in unexpected ways and changed Evelyn’s life for the better.

In her final days, Evelyn seeks out a young journalist to share her life story with, but is the world ready to learn about the real Evelyn Hugo?

Book Lovers

Photo Credit: Amazon

Title: Book Lovers

Author: Emily Henry

Publisher: Berkely

Copyright: 2022

Nora Stephens is the cutthroat agent of a book-turned-Hallmark movie set in Sunshine Falls, NC. When her pregnant sister, Libby, suggests a trip to the town that served as the backdrop for the famous novel, Nora is hesitant to leave her New York life behind for a few weeks. She decides to take her work with her to enjoy some quality time with Libby.

While immersed in the quiet setting and working in the local coffee shop, Nora runs into her editor nemisis from the city: Charlie Lastra.

As an avid reader, Nora is aware of the archetype she is playing and the tension that is being created with Charlie throughout the summer. Despite all of his advances, Nora refuses to fall for Charlie and tries to distract herself by going through the bucket list that Libby created for their summer.

Before the summer ends, Nora learns of the real reason behind the trip and must decide her own path moving forward. She must decide if the corporate life in the city is worth losing those people she cares about most. What Nora saw as a summer adventure before Libby’s labor turns into a crossroads that forces Nora to make the choices she’s been avoiding with her busy life.

Verity

Photo Credit: Amazon

Title: Verity

Author: Colleen Hoover

Publisher: Independent

Copyright: 2018

Verity Crawford was a bestselling author. WAS. As a result of a terrible accident she was left unable to communicate or control much of her own body. Her publisher and husband sought out Lowen Ashleigh, a struggling writer, as the solution to the writing contract that was broken prematurely by the disabled author.

Lowen met Jeremy Crawford on her way to discuss the deal with her publisher. A man was struck by a car on a busy New York street spraying blood all over Lowen. Jeremy helped to clean her up and prepare for her meeting without knowing her identity. Still in shock, Lowen attends the meeting and agrees to take over Verity’s series as a ghost writer and to bring closure for Verity’s beloved readers.

In order to finish the series, Lowen must spend a few weeks in Verity’s home going through her notes and reading her earlier works. But when Lowen finds a journal written by Verity she can’t stop reading. Within those pages, Verity admits to horrific crimes and truths that chill Lowen to the core. Before long, Lowen notices some strange activity going on in Verity’s bedroom and realizes that someone is lying to her about why she is there.

The stranger that Verity gets the closer Lowen gets to Jeremy. Their relationship begins to flourish, but he is still married to the woman who can’t interact or love him back. Lowen realizes that if she would share the journal with Jeremy, that she could have him all to herself. If he can see the true Verity that Lowen had met in those pages, then he may find room in his heart for her.

All three of these books mastered the art of a good plot twist. They all caused me to think about my life and to measure it against the values that I hold dear. I’m so happy that I decided to listen to the recommendations on these books because each one was engaging and kept me invested until the end.

As my trip came to a close, I picked up The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. It’s a British bestseller. I love going to Waterstones and looking at the top fiction and non-fiction books in England. Every summer I try to read a top 5 book. The Thursday Murder Club has been a fun read and I’m nearing the end so look for a review in the next week or two. You can see what else I’m reading and my own reviews of books on Goodreads.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Together: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday! This is my first Five Minute Friday post from America in a while. I’m still a bit jet lagged from my summer in England, but I love getting up and joining in with this community on Friday mornings so here I am! This week our prompt is Together.

There’s enough division in these times. We have politics, socioeconomic status, race, religion, etc. dividing us and placing us in to categories with sloppy labels slapped right across our faces. We exclude, oppress, and ignore whole margins of society to inflate our own sense of worth.

How have we so quickly forgotten the strength of everyone working together?

During 2020, 2021, and parts of 2022, our world experienced a pandemic together. All edges of this world felt the changes that Covid forced upon us. At times, we worked together to slow the spread. We shut the doors and we stayed in our bubbles and we lived life a little more simply for a time. And we sacrificed to protect everyone because we were all facing Covid together.

Hurricane Katrina devastated America’s coastal states in 2005. For YEARS people flocked to the region from all over the world to provide aide and to serve in the area’s rebuild. Individuals and organizations worked together to restore the Gulf states and to meet the needs of those suffering the effects of storm damage, flooding, and loss.

In 2001, America was victim to an unthinkable act of terrorism. Afterwards, the country banded together to tighten security, to build our national defense, and to meet the needs of those mourning the loss of jobs, homes, and loved ones.

Worldwide pandemics, natural disasters, and national tragedies are all out of our control; however, it is in these times that we lay aside our differences and work together to survive and rebuild.

When things seem to be going well around us we find ways to inflate ourselves by excluding or shaming others. In those times, we forget about our indestructable strength together and we try to knock down any person who stands in our way. Arguments like, “Who is blame for rising gas prices?” destroy the united front that our world so desperately needs. We inflate our own egos by poking holes in others’.

The truth is we don’t get to decide who is “in” or “out”. The control over this world is not ours and it’s futile to continue living like we believe it is. In the hardest moments, we remember this truth, but it shouldn’t take tragedy to remind us that we are all in this together. It’s okay to disagree–healthy even. It’s okay to celebrate differences. It’s okay to express ourselves in our truest forms without putting others down. We are strongest when we remember that we live on this planet together. May we put down our weapons of words and violence and live together in peace and strength.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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England 2022 Series (Pt 5–the Finale)

Our final week in England was spent squeezing in as much time as possible with family. Goodbyes are never easy and a lot of emotion filled these final days of our summer adventure. We went to Marwell Zoo, braved the IKEA in Southampton, I got an amazing tattoo from Heidi at Little Scorpions Tattoo Parlour, did a girls shopping trip in Eastleigh, ate a fish ‘n’ chips farewell dinner, and spent a full 20 hours traveling home.

I have enjoyed sharing the photographs from this trip to England. It’s trips like this that keep our family going throughout the busy school year. And while we may be back in the United States, part of our hearts still lingers in the beautiful country of England.

Check out Part OnePart TwoPart Three, and Part Four here.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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August 2022 Bullet Journal Downloads

You can now purchase these summer-inspired August 2022 Bullet Journal Planner downloads for $5.00.

This set includes 16 pages:

🍽 Meal trackers

🧘‍♀️ Fitness Trackers

🍊Customizable Habit Trackers

Bullet journaling has been a hobby of mine since 2017. Over the years, the process has evolved to fit my needs and lately that includes creating my monthly spreads digitally and printing them on sticker paper. It’s so easy to fit these stickers to my A5 notebook. These pages are customizable and easy to size depending on the notebook you use. When you purchase and download pages from The Ameri Brit Mom, you receive a beautiful collection of spreads in a single PDF file.

You can purchase this download file for $5.00.

When you join my Patreon page, you will receive these downloads each month along with exclusive short stories and content.The price of these downloads are included in the monthly Patreon pledge.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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England 2022 Series (Pt 4)

Our fourth week in England was a lot more chill than the others. We still traveled a lot and made the most of each day, but the pace was a little slower. Most of the week, it was just the four of us doing our own thing, but we still had some larger family outings too. The girls went to Puxton Park with their auntie and uncle while Sam and I enjoyed an afternoon tea in Yeovil and some drinks at a local pub. This week we also went to an indoor play park in Eastleigh, shopping in WestQuay (Southampton), a steamfair in Lyndhurst, and a bootsale and a traditional roast dinner in Bishopstoke.

As we enter the final week of our trip, it’s been fun to look back on all of the adventures we’ve had so far this summer with our English family and friends.

Check out Part OnePart Two, and Part Three here.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Chance: Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday, and finally the heat spell has broken in the UK! This week the weather broke records and while it felt like we may all just melt we have survived in a country lacking the infrastructure to stand up to excessive heat. I’m joining my positive writing community at Five Minute Friday for this week’s theme: Chance.

What are the chances that I will make it home next week without delay?

I’ve been following the news out of London Heathrow, and things are looking grim. So many long-haul delays and flight cancellations flood my newsfeed. I’ll be heading home at the end of the month, and I am not looking forward to all that is involved with airport travel.

Security can take ages when you travel with a family of four. I’ve stood in lines at Customs for over an hour with a whining toddler in tow. Airports are not always the most efficient at moving people from Point A to Point B.

The chances are pretty high that we will spend more time than at the airport next week.

And if I am stranded in an airport next Friday, chances are that I’ll not be able to join in on the weekly link-up.

Here’s to hoping my chances are better than I’m predicting for arriving home without interruption. If all goes to plan, I’ll be joining you all next week from AMERICA.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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England 2022 Series (Pt 3)

Our third week of our annual family trip in England was marked by a massive heatwave. We spent a lot of time outdoors including our very first tent camping experience. In addition to our camp photos, I have so many wonderful snapshots to share with you this week including some trampolining in Hedge End, shopping at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, swimming at the Fleming Park padling pool in Eastleigh and exploring the creek in Yeovil. We’ve had several barbeques in the past couple of days and stayed hydrated and refreshed to the best of our ability.

Check out Part One and Part Two here.

The Ameri Brit Mom

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Propose: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday from the UK! This week I’ve done a lot more relaxing and reading and that has been my way of coping with this British heat wave. This morning I am joining my favorite little writing community with our Five Minute Friday prompt: Propose.

This weekend our family is embarking in our first ever camping adventure. I’m embarassed to admit that at my age I have never camped in a TENT. Cabin adventures are some of my favorites, but when my sister-in-law initially proposed a family camping trip I was a bit nervous. I love the great outdoors–so don’t get me wrong. It’s just the idea of only a thin layer of fabric separating me from the nocturnal animals that has kept me from really pursuing this type of experience.

Now, it’s the morning of the trip and I find myself excited. I’m looking forward to all of the family time ahead. We have packed some great foods and plenty of drinks that I am also looking forward to devouring. I even walked into town yesterday and bought a new book to read while camping.

So while I was nervous when this idea was proposed initially, I am pleased for the day to be here and to be preparing to make these memories with my family. Who knows, this may be the beginning of a long line of camping trips in our family’s future.

(Photos of this trip will be here next week so be sure to check back!)

The Ameri Brit Mom

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You Are a Badass: A Book Review

Title: You Are a Badass

Author: Jen Sincero

Publisher: Running Press

Copyright: 2013

With a subtitle of How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life, the expecations were high from the beginning. I approached this book with the end of the school year behind me. Each summer, I try to get rid of all the awful habits I formed while on survival mode during the school year. The reason this title spoke to me was because I needed a good pep talk to reignite my motivation after a pretty difficult year of teaching.

This five-part book explores the elements of self-love:

  1. How You Got This Way
  2. How to Embrace Your Inner Badass
  3. How to Tap into the Motherlode
  4. How to Get Over the BS Already
  5. How to Kick Some Ass

The gut punches came right at the start as Sincero explores the psyche of self-sabotage and the creation of obstacles to our productivity. The power of being present is something we have control over, but first we must manage our natural tendencies toward snoozing through life.

The tools for embracing our badass may seem simple at first, but Sincero gives stories and practical steps for breaking out of the self-destructive cycles. A strong focus on self-love is the theme of the book, and many examples are provided for ways in which you can love yourself more each day.

Falling back in love with your life and the God who made you is the premise here, and when I got to the last page I felt like I just got a kick in the seat of my pants from an old friend. Jen Sincero does a great job of motivating through tough love and strong truths. I came away from this book with affirmations and goals to live the most badass life I could imagine.

I gave this book a 4/5 stars. I tend to prefer novels and fictional books, but a good non-fiction every now and again has the power to change your life. While I’m not sure much of this book was earth shattering in my journey, I did feel pumped up to get to work on myself.

Check out my Goodreads account to see what I’m reading next!

The Ameri Brit Mom

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England 2022 Series (Pt 2)

It’s the second week of our family excursion to England to visit family and friends. We will be here the entire month of July and each week I’ll be checking in with photos and short descriptions of what we’ve been up to. Our time has been filled with making memories with those we love so we can store those up in our hearts until we meet again.

Check out Part One here.

During this second week, our itenerary has taken us to The Play Shack in Hedge End, Bognor Regis beach, Itchen Valley Country Park, and the historic city of Winchester. We’ve visited with my mother-in-law and her partner along with my soon-to-be brother-in-law. My husband’s aunts visited from Dover as well and enjoyed being worn out by our energetic children at the park. Our menus this week have been filled with the customary British foods: fish and chips, sausage rolls, picnic sandwiches, and I tried cockle for the first time on the seafront (not sure I’d ever order again, but it was fun to give it a go!)

Week Two Photos

The Ameri Brit Mom