My discovery of the season has to be the Rare Birds Book Club. It’s essentially the joy of a independent bookstore combined with the convenience of online shopping – with a sprinkling of sass thrown in for good measure. After subscribing, members get a surprise book through their letter box at the start of every month. But with the promise that it is a book that is truly worth reading.

With a small written introduction from Rachel – the founder – each book is wrapped in paper. So rather than judging the book by it’s cover, you’re introduced to the words beyond first. At the end of the month, members have access to an online area to share ideas with the rest of the community. Having been a member for a couple of months now I owe a lot to Yvonne (over at Champagne and Snotty Noses) for letting me in on the secret…

Back in October, Yvonne invited me to the Rare Birds Book Club’s first birthday party. Although I’m a voracious reader, I hadn’t actually read any of the books that club members were chatting about so I although I felt like an absolute fraud – but I soon deduced it was a club I needed to be part of!

The party itself was actually held at Narcissus Flower School – and we were treated to the most AMAZING lessons in button hole making and flower crown creation. I adore having cut flowers in my home as I feel they just brighten up the place (particularly with the gloom of winter upon us). So it was beyond a treat to be given free license to use the array Narcissus had for us to play with.

After tutorials from the pros, we were each left to attempt to create our own versions under the watchful eyes of the tutors. I have to say that it looked a lot easier than it actually was – and all were really quite grateful for the interlude of Rainbow Birthday cake!

I had the best time, but rather than being inspired to become a florist – I really just left wanting to read my gift! It was so inspiring to hear from Rachel exactly how she came to found the club – and her passion for a good story was just so evident.

When November’s book arrived I quickly sought out the cosiest reading nook I could find to unwrap the book and get reading!  If I’ve got a few hours to escape, there’s some great pubs around Edinburgh which provide a great fireplace at this time of year. But with a good book I’m happy to settle for anywhere that’s comfy enough.

As with most parents with small children, I really don’t have a lot of time to escape to coffee shops or cosy pubs for that matter. I can’t remember the last time I got to the gym or actually had some free time. I feel like I used to have much more of a balance but a few things have just thrown that off kilter:

My ‘day job’ has introduced a rule where you can’t park on site two days a week so obviously I now lift share. Which is great for the environment but actually just means that my freedom has been cut that little more. There’s no sneaking off for a gym session, or stopping for a coffee on the way home. It’s far more about working out a joint schedule. And ultimately, that’s not really that great for my personal wellbeing! Also, Thomas is now at nursery school which has different hours and different demands – so things are just well… different.

So books. This season has to be about books. I don’t want to reveal what the books I’ve received so far actually were – as you might want to opt for a ‘lucky dip’ from the club for Christmas. But I will say – I loved them and am really looking forward to reading their picks in the New Year. I also think it would a subscription would make a brilliant Christmas gift for any book lovers out there! So if you’re looking for gift inspiration – this is it.

I love that the founder is right here – in Edinburgh – and I’m making it my New Years mission to take her for coffee. She hinted a great story about a mystic at the birthday party and I’m desperate to swap stories! I left the event with a whole host of exciting goodies but really more determined to read rather than embark on a career as a florist!

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