#thebooksthatshapedme - Ice Cream for Breakfast by Laura Jane Williams

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Each month we vote on which book to read from a list of three, and the first book to win the vote was Ice Cream for Breakfast – How rediscovering your inner child can make you calmer, happier, and solve our bullsh*t adult problems. It was a great book for us to start off with, not too long or too complex and generally an easy read.

I really liked the chatty style, it felt really informal. Like we’re gossiping over coffee and decided to get a giant slice of cake too, because why not? There’s a lot of swearing in it (which I should have realised just from the title!) but it didn’t bother me at all, although I know others didn’t like that so much. Reading it constantly made me smile, feel happy and want to shout this is really obvious advice but somehow I’d just forgotten it all and needed to be reminded. I guess that’s the point of the book though, right?

I liked the clarification up front on the distinction between childish and childlike, it made sense to me. But honestly? I’ve definitely been childish as an adult at times, and that fills me with shame and reminds me of my tendency to shove things deep down and try to forget rather than face up to something. I might not be able to change the past, but I can set the intention not to do that in the future.

And sleeping? Oh my God, yes! If I haven’t slept enough I will be tearful and generally emotional. I can’t cope with anything when I’m tired! My CFS/ME doesn’t help, but I’ve always been someone who needs a lot of sleep. I love the idea to do whatever it takes to make going to bed early a good thing – I love my pillow spray and electric blanket in the winter!

I loved the reminder to slow down more. It’s all about being more mindful, about paying attention to something right now and ignoring everything else, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. I go through phases with this – when it’s something I do regularly I know I feel better. I don’t notice if I miss the odd day here and there, but when I do eventually realise I’ve stopped its usually because I’ve got stressed out and busy, and its then when I need the space even more. It’s something I need to be more aware of, so I don’t let it slip.

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The note about decisions chapter made me feel uncomfortable. Because I knew it was right as I was reading – being clear on what I want, setting boundaries and trusting that gut reaction – but it isn’t something I do often. I’m good a trusting my gut, but I don’t often say it out loud. That is definitely something I need to change. And it’ll be a hard one to address.

The book also talks about the validity of feelings, and that means it’s ok to feel whatever it is we feel, including anger. As with the discussion on decisions and boundaries, it talks about the importance of speaking up and the first sign of being hurt or unhappy rather than letting it fester and end up becoming a huge issue. Talk about things. Then they can be sorted out one way or another. Forgiveness is another big topic related to this, and the book explains how its more about allowing yourself the freedom to move on than it is forgetting.

It also talks about walking away from things that aren’t working and how there’s no such thing as failure – it isn’t the opposite of success. I wrote a blog post on my changing definition of success a few months ago (here if you fancy a read) so this is definitely a concept I can get on board with. Even if sometimes I do still feel like I fail!

There’s also lots in there about the importance of self-belief and self-love, asking for help when we need it, asking questions, being proud of what we can do, of what our bodies can do and of not labelling ourselves as good or bad based on what we think society expects. To be proud to be an individual.

The overwhelming take home for me was about the importance of living in the moment, having fun and that its ok to just do things because they bring you joy and for no other reason. To laugh. To find ways to add treats to each day, rather than saving things for “best” or special occasions. That the only thing we really have is now. Dream big, then make it bigger. Don’t put limits on yourself. And eat the ice cream if you want it!

My favourite quotes:

“Being the most authentic version of yourself is the highest definition of success there is.”

“We need to stop spending time with people who make us feel bad for who we are. What we do. People who make us feel bad for what makes our hearts sing."

“Adults measure success in tangible real outcomes. Money, cars, houses. But you can't measure being happy, love, confidence.”

"We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing" George Bernard Shaw

"We fall for other people's vulnerability, quirks, humanity, but struggle to accept that we ourselves can be perfectly imperfect. Worthy"

"When you become clear on where you're headed, you can trust yourself more, trust that each step forward is a step in the right direction"

"Scars are a badge of honour. They have stories. They are maps of our past that show a life lived. Living is an art. Surviving is an art. Thriving is an art."

“None of us is f**king up like we think we are.”

Have you read Ice Cream for Breakfast? What did you think?

And if you'd like to help us pick our next book and join our group, you can sign up here: