Real Motherhood Talk ~ Self-Isolation, Books & Babies

Hi Everyone! ❤

I thought I’d hop on here just to write a quick post amidst the chaos that is our current world.

As you may know if you read my blog regularly, I have suffered for all of my adult life with severe anxiety (made much worse during my pregnancy and postpartum). Normally, at a time like this, when a deadly virus is running rampant in our society and we are all confined to our homes, my anxiety would be through the roof. I’m a restless person by nature, and although I love sitting at home with a warm drink and a long book, I also crave stimulus and fresh air. 

That all being said, for some reason, I am not all that anxious right now. Of course, I am taking self-isolation very seriously, especially because I have a 5-month old, and I am acutely aware of the dangers of COVID-19. However, I think I am about as concerned as everyone else in the population, which is a rare thing for me indeed. I’m not curled up in bed crying out of anxiety and I haven’t had a single panic attack, and that is incredibly unusual for me, particularly as a person who craves order and control living in a time of worldwide crisis and uncertainty. So, I decided to sit down and really have a good think about what it is that’s different about my mental state right now. This time last year, I was in possibly the worst place I have ever been in, dealing not only with the huge physical and emotional burden of being pregnant but also with some surprising and unexpected changes in other areas of my life. I was truly at my own rock bottom, and maybe that is why this year I am able to achieve some perspective and remind myself that there is nothing much that I can do about this situation other than stay home and that this will eventually (hopefully!) pass. Maybe it is also reassuring to know that we’re all in this together and everyone on Earth is being equally affected, so this is not a problem or burden that I alone have to face. I don’t know exactly what it is, but I do know that I worked very hard while pregnant and in this postpartum period to heal myself mentally, and I think my focus on self-awareness and mindfulness has begun to pay off.

With that in mind, I wanted to share two key things that have kept a smile on my face during this overwhelming time in history…


It would be very easy to get trapped in a spiral of seriousness while sitting at home. I could very easily spend hours on YouTube watching news reports about COVID-19 and then more hours scouring Twitter for updates. I do absolutely keep up to date through my government’s website and official pages on Twitter because I want the most reliable data, but I also know that dwelling in the negative is NOT a good headspace to be in. For that reason, I focus on spending my time (when I’m not actively rolling around with my 5-month old) doing things that are fun and somewhat “frivolous”. These things have recently included bingeing the Netflix reality series Love Is Blind which is an absolute blast (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!), memorizing all the lyrics to the songs on Mandy Moore’s recent album “Silver Landings” which is positively DIVINE, and engaging in intense at-home workouts posted on Instagram by fitness guru Blogilates. 

Of course, the other pastime that I am naturally leaning on is my beloved reading. Late at night, when the lights are off and we’re getting ready to quiet down, I curl up on the couch with my son Dorian on my lap, my husband seated in a chair across from us, and I read for hours. Sometimes until 3:00am, which is ill-advised when you have a 5-month old but a lot of fun nonetheless! Dorian will be up and staring around for a little bit, but eventually he drifts into sleep and I just gaze at him and my book alternatively. It is without doubt one of the most calming and wonderful times, and it has made me so grateful for this life that I have, especially in this time when we are reminded how finite everything is.

I went to bed like this. 😉

And then, naturally, since we’ve all been up until the wee hours reading, Dorian and I like to have a good cuddle every morning, to start the day on a mental high. This is something I HIGHLY recommend to get the day off to a good start…so if you’re stuck at home with a loved one or a fury friend, make sure to schedule in some snuggles each day!

Love me some baby boy snuggles!

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy at this critical time! xox

A Review of the Book from the Photo Above:

The Royal Secret by Lucinda Riley

This was enjoyable and exciting for sure, although not utterly brilliant. I found there was actually too much insta-love for the characters to really touch me, and I feel the overall story was too long as there were several red herrings that just felt unnecessary and dragged out. This book was entertaining though, and a pretty GOOD mystery read.

❥❥❥ (out of 5)

Janille N G

Mummy with a Green Heart

How I Read ~ Reading Habits Book Tag ~ #JNGReads

Happy Sunday Everyone!

I am very pleased to be back with you this afternoon after having been included in a lovely bookish tag by the amazing Catherine at This Is One for the Books. Catherine’s reviews and posts are always so well-written, thorough and passionate, and she is the perfect reader to follow along with on her Goodreads and Twitter (her tweets always get me laughing and thinking) – I’d highly recommend giving this fellow Canadian of mine a follow! Thank you again for the tag, Catherine! xo

Now, onto the questions that Catherine has tasked me with answering, all of which are about my reading habits. These questions were such fun to answer as they got me thinking about how I read and why I read in a certain way.

(Sidenote: Feel free to follow along with me, and my best friend Camille, on our bookstagram account Emerald & Opal to see more photos like the one above!)

  1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading? 

When I was still living with my parents (just over a year ago), I would always read in my bedroom because my dad would be blaring hockey on the TV and I would find it impossible to concentrate. But, since moving in with my husband, I now read on the couch in our living room, and if my husband is watching a TV show or playing a videogame (as he is right now, beside me – shout out to anyone who has played the game “Witcher III”!), he is kind enough to throw on headphones so that I can still curl up and cuddle beside him but not have to contend with the noises from whatever he’s doing. My dad could learn a thing or two on TV watching etiquette from him – haha! 😉

  1. Bookmark or random piece of paper? 

Bookmark all the way – I’ve been collecting them since I was a kid, and I am currently using one that I got when I was in London on my honeymoon, from the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Fun fact, though: My mom uses a square of (unused, obviously!) toilet paper as her bookmark…and she’s always losing it, which I guess is okay because she has like an endless supply. But needless to say, I find this a bit of an odd preference!

  1. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain amount of pages? 

Like Catherine, I prefer to stop at the end of a chapter so that I can remember where I left off, but I often read on my subway trip into work, so this isn’t always possible. I don’t usually have a problem remembering what part of the page I left off at, though, because I will always make sure I finish the paragraph I was reading, even if I have to pause in the subway station before walking to work.

  1. Do you eat or drink while reading? 

I will definitely have a drink with me while I read – right now, I’m sipping on an Arizona iced green tea, but I usually have an earl grey or English breakfast hot tea. Or water if nothing else is available, but that just doesn’t feel special enough as a reading beverage most often. Like Catherine (again), I can’t eat while I’m reading because it requires that I look away from the page too much to make sure I’m not spilling my food, which I tend to do a lot because I am the world’s messiest eater!

  1. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading? 

Nope, definitely not! I have tried listening to classical/instrumental music while reading before, but even that distracts me. The only time it works okay is if I’m reading in a coffeeshop because background noise doesn’t get to me.

  1. One book at a time or several at once? 

Always one book at a time! I’ve never been able to read multiple books at once, ever since I was a kid, because I find it so hard to stay focused and keep the stories straight. Also, I’m an all or nothing kind of person, so I prefer to focus all my energies on finishing one book and then moving onto the next one.

  1. Reading at home or everywhere?

I read everywhere! I always have a book with me to pull out on the subway or during my lunch break, and sometimes I even feel too restless and distracted by household chores to read at home, so I’ll head out to my favourite Starbucks so I can focus on nothing else but my reading goal for the day. (I’m a bit crazy so I’ve set a goal for myself of reading 100 pages a day…it’s almost like daily homework, but more fun!)

  1. Reading out loud or silently in your head? 

I read silently because I find it really hard to absorb a text when I read it out loud…but I have started reading Neil Gaiman’s book Norse Mythology aloud to my husband because he’s not much of a book reader (he prefers graphic novels) but he really wanted to hear the story. I feel like the style of Norse Mythology lends itself to being read aloud, though, so it has been working out well so far.

  1. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

Okay, confession time: I always read the last sentence of a novel at the start. I know this is probably a controversial thing and some (most) readers will think I’m insane, but I just have had this habit forever, and my brother actually does the same thing. Yes, this does result in spoilers a lot of the time, but I’m not at all bothered by that, and usually it just makes me eager to read even faster and find out how the characters could’ve gotten to those circumstances by the end!  

  1. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new? 

I can’t imagine ever breaking the spine of a book. Blasphemy!

  1. Do you write in your books? 

I do sometimes. I have no qualms about writing in a book because I started the habit in university to highlight passages and make little notes, and I like to do that now when I find a quote that really speaks to me. I also (*gasp*) dog-ear pages of my books if they have a passage I really like so I can find them easily later, and I love looking back at a book and seeing all these pages dog-eared and knowing I must’ve loved the writing a lot!

Well, that’s it from me – thanks again to Catherine for tagging me because this was a ton of fun!

I would like to tag the following awesome bloggers (no pressure to answers these questions, but just wanted you to know I’m constantly inspired by what you write!)…

Emma | Lily | Crystal

Janille N G

Girl with a Green Heart

Where I Read — Home Away From Home

Reading in SS's Backyard

Hello hello and happy weekend!

Can I just say that there is nothing better in the summer than weekends! Who wants to wear dress pants in 40 degrees Celsius? Not this girl!

Anyway, I digress. This week, I’ve decided to skip the #JNGReads/#JNGListens post and instead do another entry about a location Where I Read. I could’ve done a #JNGWatches post, because if you all follow me on Twitter, you’ll see that I’ve been posting gifs and photos and videos of two particular movies all week. I watched both Pride and Prejudice (the version starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden) and Becoming Jane last weekend, and I’m a little obsessed with both movies. I also realized that my fiancé has never seen Becoming Jane, so I’ll likely have to rectify that situation this weekend and watch the movie again. What a sacrifice to spend another 2 hours with James McAvoy! *sigh* The things we do for our future husbands! 😉

Oh dear, here I go digressing again! Okay, let’s focus — on to my most recent reading location.

A few weeks ago, SS and I had a mini engagement party with the members of our wedding party (some of whom I introduced on the blog here). The next day, we spent a leisurely Sunday in his newly landscaped backyard. SS and his parents did ALL the landscaping themselves, and the garden is truly a sight to behold it is quite breathtaking and the flower beds and built-in stone benches are absolutely beautiful. It’s a perfectly serene and peaceful little retreat, with a covered deck that stays cool and shaded, and a lovely collection of vibrant and vivid summer colours.

On that particular Sunday, the sun was quite scorching, but SS and I were totally protected under the deck, and I was able to spend hours reading Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey in complete calm. Although SS and I are looking to buy a condo and most likely won’t have a garden of our own any time in the foreseeable future, it is nice to know that we will always have a warm and inviting atmosphere to hang out in at his parents’ place. And it is truly remarkable to me that I feel so comfortable there…that I can casually sit in his backyard and feel like I am right at home.

SS's Backyard #1 SS's Backyard #2 SS's Backyard #4





I’ll be spending a few days this week at SS’s house while his parents are away on a vacation, so chances are I’ll be spending a lot more time reading in this pleasant setting!

Enjoy your weekend and the blazing sun!

SS's Backyard #3


Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

Hello October…And Where I Read When It’s Warm


Fall weather is officially here in Toronto, and with it my absolute favourite season. I can say with confidence that I love no time of year more than the stretch from October 1st to January 1st, a time that incorporates the change of the leaves and foliage to a rustic, gorgeous orange (my actual favourite colour, believe it or not), as well as several holidays that I get so excited for every year! For example, Halloween – I fancy myself a bit of a lover of all things Gothic (as you can probably tell from how often I’ve raved about Penny Dreadful and Beetlejuice here on the blog), and now that I’m in a relationship, a whole host of couple costumes are available to me and my darling SS. We’re not really into clichés, and so this year we’ve decided to dress up as a famous horror movie “couple” – but there will be a blog post coming about this once October 31st has passed, complete with TONS of pictures!

My birthday also falls within this gorgeous Fall/Winter stretch, and I’m already planning a girly brunch/early afternoon tea with my three best friends. Again, all the details will be on the blog about this event inspired by my favourite Victorian heroines and their love of cozy afternoons full of scones and tarts and finger sandwiches.

And finally, we’re moving slowly but surely toward Christmas and New Year’s, my absolute favourite holidays! I’m already anxious to get my Christmas tree up, to fill my room and house with my favourite flowers, poinsettias. Everything is gold and shining and sparkling at this time of year, and I can’t wait to listen to my beloved Christmas carols and take strolls around the Christmas markets in the city, with my bouncy toque and my warm mittens!

Okay, so I AM TOTALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO SO MANY THINGS RIGHT NOW! And, before any of this, before the leaves change and the lights turn on every night, I will be heading on another adventure, this time with my parents and “little” (read, 20 year old) brother…to Disney World Resort!!! We leave a week from today (and, naturally, there will be a blog post about this next week sometime), and we are going to spend some time in the actual resort in Florida with Mickey and Minnie…and more excitingly, Belle and Ariel and their princes! I am happier than I can say about all of this because I’ve wanted to go to Disney World since I was a child. Finally, finally, it’s time, and this is definitely the exact trip that my family needs, to relax and bond and just laugh together!

Fall/Winter is where it’s at people! I’m not a summer person by any means, and this Fall/Winter is just too amazing to be depressed about the end of the summer! As far as I’m concerned, summer had its day and it’s time for it to move on!

Having said that, I figured now is a good time to mention one more reading location that I often inhabit, specifically when it’s a bit warmer outside and my clothes are less cumbersome. A few years ago, a Starbucks opened across the street from my house (literally, I can almost see it from my window), and I started going there quite frequently from the start. At the time, I was in the midst of my university degrees, and I often just needed to get out of the house and do my reading in a different environment. It’s not that my house distracted me whatsoever – it’s that I would start to feel claustrophobic and stifled in my house after hours and hours with my lengthy Victorian novels, and a change of space and locale was just what I needed to get reinvigorated and excited! I’d sit down with my yogurt or juice and watch the people come in and out after every couple pages or so. Now that I have this blog, I sometimes head back to Starbucks to write my posts, and recently I thought that I should maybe take a cheeky picture to show you all another location where I read.

Starbucks Whitby

Have an amazing Saturday everyone! We’ll talk tomorrow…there’s another #JNGReads post on its way, as always!


Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

Where I Read – Maman’s Chair

Happy FriYAY Dear Readers!

I hope you are all super excited for the weekend ahead! I know I am – it’s been a long, hectic but exhilarating week at work, and I’m ready to sleep well into the afternoon, relax around my house and spend some amazing time with my family and boyfriend!

This weekend is going to be an especially fun one because today is my mom’s birthday! It’s a big one (Mom, don’t worry, I won’t reveal your age on the web!), and we are heading downtown tomorrow night to have a nice dinner and celebrate the incredible, vibrant and absolutely gorgeous woman I call Maman! ❤ Considering how special and important August 14th is, I thought it was the perfect day to write a little post about another one of my favourite reading locations: the chair in my parlor at home, a chair that my mom and I found together, lusted over for months and then finally convinced my father to let us buy!

Maman's Chair

I’ll admit Maman was a little skeptical about the style of this particular piece of furniture at first. I absolutely adored it from the second I saw it: I was naturally drawn to how robust and old-fashioned it is, how full and heavy and rustic. It made me think of the sort of chair Rochester sat in when he conversed with Jane before the fire, or the sort of chair Henry Higgins would smoke his pipe in. It’s basically the exact chair that my main literary crushes would have a fantastic time lounging in, and I knew we had to have not one but TWO of them in our family parlor. I explained all of this to Maman, took her back home and painted the scene for her while standing in the room, and she eventually fell in love with them too! Once my dad was on board (which took a touch more persuasion, to be honest), the chairs were ours! And, let me tell you, they are ridiculously comfortable – it is so easy to curl up in them, to get enveloped in their sheer size, and I have often sat there at all hours of the day, reading away!

And, these chairs are now an absolute staple of my home…a landmark that I will surely miss one day when I move to my own humble abode. Something tells me Maman won’t let me take them with me, but I look forward to the day when I can return home (probably every single weekend, as well as several times a week), possibly with my own child, so that infant, Maman and Grandmaman can all read together! It’s a nice image that I cherish every time I pass the chairs throughout the day.

And, in case you’re all wondering, Maman is a bit of a reader too! When she has the spare time, she loves delving into books I recommend for her…and when asked just a few seconds ago what her favourite book of all time is, she didn’t hesitate before saying The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (which I reviewed when I first started the blog here)! So, not only is she beautiful, hilarious and the light of my world…she’s also a formidable and intelligent woman and someone whose style, personality and heart I greatly look up to!

Here’s to many more years of Maman!

Maman and J


Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

When the Sun Shines – Where I Read

Hello again Lovely Readers!

I’ve decided to start another new initiative on the ol’ blog here, and today is the day I share it with you all!  This particular initiative will be tagged “Where I Read” (a handy way for you to find these specific blog entries, if you’re most interested in them) and, you guessed it, I will be featuring a locale where I choose to do some of my precious reading in each of the posts with this tag.  I thought, as with the #JNGReads and #JNGListens posts, these entries will give you an insight into my reading routine and the places I visit on a regular basis and brainstorm about this very blog.

So, without further delay, my first location spotlight is on a nice little spot I’ve found to read during my lunch breaks at work.  I haven’t mentioned what exactly I do at work yet, so I’ll do a little bit of that now, just to establish a context – I’m a bilingual assistant at a non-profit organization.  Obviously, that means I could be doing a number of different tasks, and I do!  I actually have recently found myself taking on a bunch of new projects and helping various different departments, and that’s probably what I love most about my job…I really like getting my hands into everything and being able to learn the ins-and-outs of all aspects of the company.  I’ve also gotten a chance to learn how to do some event planning which is something I’ve always been interested in, but never thought I had the exact qualifications to do.  Basically, I’m acquiring a ton of different skills that I know are going to be so useful for my future career endeavours!

Having said that, one of the things I miss most when I’m at work are my beloved books.  I always hoped I would have a job where I would get to read books all day, and although some of my friends who are currently working in the publishing industry say it’s not all that glamorous, I do often find myself sitting at my desk and wishing I could just reach into my bag and finish that chapter I started during my morning commute.  That probably wouldn’t be my most professional decision though, so I restrain myself…but I do like to sneak off around lunch time, find a quiet place to myself, and read the hour away as often as I can.  And, in order to do just that, I decided to go on the lookout for a serene and peaceful reading location when I first started this job back in October…and that is exactly what I found just beside my work…a marvelous and woodsy little trail leading to a quaint garden with benches (see the photo below).

The Path Beside Work

Naturally, I can’t make it to this secluded spot every lunch hour, especially when the clouds are dark and ominous like they are today!  But on the days when I can make it to my special bench, I am fully engrossed in whatever book I happen to be reading at the time for that short, but precious hour.  It’s definitely one of the happiest, calmest times of my day!

Anyway, thanks for reading, as always…and remember to check back here regularly to find out where in this green world JNG is!


Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart