Monday, 31 March 2014

A very merry March update

Greetings friends and happy Monday! I hope you've had a lovely weekend and are looking forward to the week ahead. I had an awesome weekend - more on that later in this post - but this week is set to be a busy one as I'm off on holiday next week and I have so much to do before I head off for some sun. I'm sure it'll all be fine though and everything will get done! *crosses fingers hopefully*

As another month draws to an end it's time to recap on what I've been up to over the last 31 days in Instagram format. Looking through all the photos I've uploaded on Instagram (I'm at @fievans if you fancy following along) it seems like a busy old month and you can certainly see that spring has arrived over the last few weeks as my photos seem to be all about enjoying the sunshine and getting crafty, classic spring activity really. So, what have I been up to this month...

First up there's been a bit of crafting and organising with our brand new picture wall in the sitting room, which I'm 100% in love with! I also made an inspiration wall at work, read more about that here if you missed that post. I'm sure you all know by now that no month would be completed in my life if baking wasn't involved and this month saw this chocolate and banana cake creation, which was simply delicious.

fairy light and washi tape wall / close up of the 'frame' / banana and chocolate cake / inspiration wall

As the weather's gotten nicer I've been spending more and more time out and about enjoying the sights of London and falling more in love with this glorious city. /it would be remiss of me to round up this month and not mention the fact that this month I became a half marathon runner. What the what?! How exciting is that! I'm so proud of the two running related pictures below and I enjoyed the experience so much that I've even booked another half marathon. What have I become...

Half marathon = DONE! / My medal / The London Eye / Carousel fun

As well as springtime fun I have of course maintained my book obsession this month, so here's a selection of booky goodness!

Charity shop haul / Gorgeous book cover design / A beautiful old book / One of my march reads

So spring is officially here and everything is feeling lighter and brighter as a result isn't it? So as a result I've been enjoying lots of spring things this month. This weekend was particularly awesome as I was back at my parents house relaxing in the garden and enjoying the sunshine with my family. Plus we had our first barbecue of the year! It really was rather blissful.

springtime nails / no place like home / toes in the grass for the first time this year / smoothies for brunch

Phew, what a crazy month it's been! Rather awesome though and I wouldn't change anything. Let's hope April is just as awesome, although with my birthday and a holiday to come in the first two week of April I think it'll be pretty spectacular don't you! One final thing...I've finally had a haircut and it's one hundred times better - love it! Tell me how have the last four weeks been for you?

before / after


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Childhood favourite books

For as long as I can remember I've always been a prolific reader, I'd always have my head stuck in a book whether I was in front of the TV, on the sofa or in the garden. Even when I wandered around the house to go to the loo or get a drink I'd have a book held open in front of me in case I missed precious moments in another world. I don't know whether I was always destined to be a book fanatic or whether it's a result of encouragement from my parents and Grandma who were the ones that would read to me for hours on end, take me to the library on a weekly basis and would always ask me about what I was reading. But whatever the cause I love it! I know I talk a lot about books on this blog but I don't think I've ever really discussed my childhood spent reading before, so I thought that would be a good topic for today's post. What are the ten books I read and was obsessed with as a child?

George's Marvellous Medicine
I know not many people rate this story and they prefer one of Dahl's more well known books but I loved this book as a child and I think it was the first Dahl story I ever read. There was something about the amazing concoctions that George would mix that made me laugh-out-loud and I always hoped that the weird muddy concoctions that I'd make in the garden would have magical powers just like his did!

File:George's Marvellous Medicine first edition.jpg

The Little Girl and the Tiny Doll
When my sister and I used to stay at my grandparents' house in the summer we'd sneak in to my Grandma's room as soon as we woke up and snuggle in bed with her. She'd then let us choose a book to read and we'd spend the first hour or so of the day like that. The picture book of this story was always my favourite choice. I loved the illustrations and the story of the tiny girl, especially when she was playing tennis with peas and chips!

Sweet Valley High
The only books (apart from the Topsy and Tim series) that were about twins when I was younger, so of course I was going to enjoy these books. Plus Elizabeth and Jessica were so pretty and lived in America - what's not to love!

The Five and a Half Club
This book originally belonged to my Dad but after he gave it to me it became a firm favourite. I read it so much that it split into two books and the cover wore away! When I had to chuck this book away three years ago thanks to mould I was devastated, even more so when I realised it was impossible to find anywhere else. The book was about five friends and their dog (the half in the title) and how they spent their summer holidays - they fished for tadpoles with glass jars, got into trouble, shared the chores and of course they created their own club, complete with badges!


The Babysitters Club
This series made me want to have my own babysitters club, even though I was only nine at the time. They were all such good friends, had such fun and seemed to have the best adventures. Plus there were tons of books in the series so I could never run out of books to read!

Matilda
I know it's cliche for a self-confessed bookish child to have loved this book so much but that's just how it was - I simply adored this book. I must have read it about a hundred times growing up and it was Matilda who made me realise that it was okay for me to be obsessed with books, there was nothing wrong with it and it made me sort of awesome. This was the first real book that made me realise I could be transported elsewhere just by opening the thin pages of any book.

The Old Bear stories
These beautiful picture books were firm favourites for both my sisters and me. I don't think I ever read them all but we did have Old Bear, Little Bear's Trousers and Jolly Tall  and I read them a lot. Old Bear was so sweet and the author had a brilliant imagination, not to mention the illustrations were beautiful. I wish I still had those original books.


Charlotte's Web
This book is entirely to blame for me wanting to be called Charlotte and for hating my name. Charlotte was awesome, even if she was a spider, and I grew up wanting to meet her, Wilbur and Fern as I knew we'd be best friends instantly. I don't know why but I never really appreciated how sad this book is until I was much older, even reading it trillions of times as a youngster I don't think I ever cried. How is that even possible?

Another of the books my Grandma read to me. This was about two ladies who were stuck in bed and embroidered their childhood home on their bedspread. I loved how they always remembered different things about their old house and how their personalities were so different and how this was explored through the book. Yet again this book had such beautiful illustrations and if you ask me it's one of many picture books that's massively underrated.


Topsy and Tim
I was so obsessed with these books that my sister and I named our fish Topsy and Tim, even when they kept dying, I think by the end of it we had Topsy 2 and Tim 5! I loved this simple stories and vividly remember the mini paperback format they came in. We've still got a couple on our bookshelves, I think New Shoes and Post Office. They were brilliant weren't they?!

Where's Spot?
A simple book, yes I know but it was soooo good! This was one of those books that has fallen to pieces as I read it so much. Weirdly I wasn't that big a fan of the other books - Spot Bakes a Cake, Spot Goes tot he Farm, but Where's Spot? was a different story! I even had the cuddly Spot toys, but I refused to share either Spot toy with my sister so I still have both the toys and she has none - clearly I was an evil child.

Peace at Last
This picture book always made me laugh-out-loud at Mr Bear's attempts to get to sleep and was definitely a firm favourite. My copy of this is still on my bookcase and it's held together by brown, brittle sellotape. 



Phew, what a long post - sorry about that! Well done if you made it all the way down to the end. I'm very impressed. What about you, what books were your childhood favourites?



Thursday, 27 March 2014

A few treats to myself

Since the start of the year I've been trying to be better at not spending money frivolously and instead I've been considering each purchase carefully. This has resulted in me buying far less crap than I usually do and of course has saved me money. However over the last month or so I've gotten slightly itchy fingers and felt the need to buy stuff, I've tried to curb this habit as much as possible by thinking my purchases through, which has resulted in a few treats to myself, which I thought I'd share here today.


I couldn't say no to this pencil skirt when I spotted it in Oasis as it's so pretty and unlike anything I already own. I've already worn it a couple of times to work and I've received a couple of nice comments, which is always lovely. The two mugs in the picture were in the sale from Hunkydory Home and I just couldn't resist! As well as these two I've also got the New York one and the trio make a nice set I think.


Of course I couldn't not buy any books during my shopping ban, but I at least managed to restrict my purchases to the charity shops. I think you'll agree that for only £10 I got some pretty brilliant books, yes? I was particularly pleased with The Water Babies as it's such a beautiful edition, I love it!, and with Gold as I've been meaning to read it for ages. The Other Hand, one of Chris Cleave's other books was just brilliant and I hope Gold lives up to my super-high expectations.

So what about you, how have you treated yourself recently?


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Travel Tuesday - Food glorious food

Happy Tuesday everyone and welcome to another instalment of Travel Tuesday. Don't forget to read some of the other link up over on Bonnie's blog. Today's prompt is food and the role that plays when we're all off on our travels. Now I don't think it'll be a surprise to anyone that knows me if I say that I love food, I don't hide this fact and I'm most definitely someone how lives to eat rather than eats to life. Food is a big deal in our family and we love sharing scrumptious meals all around a big table, discovering new foods and sharing all-time favourite family recipes. So it's not a surprise, I'm sure, to any of you that food plays a massive part on any holiday I go. In fact when I go to familiar places - like Portugal which I'm doing in a couple of weeks - I pretty much plan out which restaurants I want to visit before I even get on the plane. I hate the thought of missing one of the most amazing restaurants - I can't help it! As food is such a big part of any travel planning I thought I'd share some of my favourite meals/food related stories from various trips, so here goes...

I'm lucky enough to have been to Australia about five times in my life to visit various family members and whilst I've had numerous BBQ's, some delicious seafood and numerous ice creams whilst there, there's one food stuff that is always top of my list. The humble (yet truly delicious) Tim Tam. My family know to always stock up when I'm over and always bring packets when they come to stay over here and I love discovering new flavours.



When I was travelling back in 2007 I became a tad obsessed with certain food items. In New Zealand it was Butter Chicken curry, which I didn't even know existed until then, in San Francisco I ate so much packet Mac 'n' Cheese that I wasn't able to eat it for another five years, New York was all about the pizza slices for $1.50 and in Australia it was homemade tomato and tuna pasta, essential as I had no money and it was cheap!


I think I might have Italian ancestry as I adore everything about Italian food. Every time I've been to Italy I've eaten horrendous amounts of everything. It helps that all the food is delicious over there, but also the Italian diet is my all-time favourite type of food: pasta, salad, pizza, ice cream and bread. I could live on those five items alone. I don't think I've ever eaten anything in Italy that I've disliked. And don't even get me started on my first experience of gnocchi, back in Naples in 2006 - it was out-of-this-world good.

When I go to Portugal I always have to have the following foods: The chicken club sandwich with potato wedges from Sandbanks, banana and maple syrup pancakes at the Creperie and cocktails at Spikes. It's basically the law and the whole family knows it! Bring on my trip in two weeks so I can have all three again!


So what are your travel and food stories?



Travel Tuesday

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Let's talk about cake

Cake, cakey cake. This is one of my all time favourite subjects. I honestly could talk about cake for hours on end. It's just the best. I love all sorts of cake - I'm not a fussy cake person. Whether it's caked in marzipan and royal icing, or just a plain slice of Victoria sponge (minus the cream, yuck) I'm in heaven. It's the perfect antidote to a bad week and even better when it's being shared (not a single piece but a whole cake) with friends. One of my favourite types of cake is banana cake as it's easy to make and it contains fruit so I can try and kid myself that I'm being healthy and consuming one of my five a day. Yes I am really that delusional at times. I need help clearly. 

I have one fail-safe banana cake recipe that I always use and it comes from the Australian Women's Weekly Kids Cookbook and the recipe creates a marvelously sticky and moist banana cake and includes a delicious cream cheese frosting. There's nothing not to love about this cake I promise you. However, when I had four blackened bananas the other week I decided I wanted to branch out from my banana cake recipe and try a new one. Shock horror, what a traitor I am to my Women's Weekly recipe book. I do hope it one day forgives me. 

I just really wanted to try a cake I'd heard whispers about - a chocolate and banana cake. I mean that's surely the dream combination, no? After a little bit of Googling I came upon this recipe and made it one night after work and OH. EM. GEE. the resulting cake was delicious. It was all sorts of moist and lovely and delicious and just awesome and then every now and again you'd get a lump of unmelted chocolate that would just melt in your month. It's literally the best thing ever. It was so good that I may have eaten two slices whilst the cake was still warm - oops! 

Do you think I can still say it's one of my five a day if the cake also included chocolate? 




Friday, 21 March 2014

Running link up - Running favourites


It's the 21st, which means only one thing, it's runners tell all link up time - hooray! The topic for today is to natter away about your favourite running gear and/or product so here goes.

First up I have to discuss my trainers. If you'd said to me six months ago that I would spend more than thirty pounds on a pair of trainers I'd have literally laughed in your face. I just didn't get the point of expensive or 'special' trainers for running, I was all like 'cheap trainers from the sale, that'll be perfect'. However over Christmas I finally decided to listen to all the people that had told me otherwise and invest in a new pair of trainers and guys everyone was 100% right! My trainers make such a difference. Not only are they super comfy and pink (obvs) but they totally put a spring in my step. As soon as I put them on I was all bouncy on my feet, now I don't really think that they make me any faster but they totally make me feel like I can go faster. Plus, because I went to a decent running shop, the shoes fit my foot, not a generic size 7 foot, but my foot, which clearly means they're better for me. The special soles in the shoe make me run in the best way for my legs and body so I'm doing my feet and body far less harm - which can only be a good thing.


The second thing I can't do without on my runs is the Nike+ app. I love being able to track my runs and seeing the splits for each mile, I'm always surprised by which mile I ran fastest. Seeing the miles clocking up on the app is great for my motivation, when the ticker went over 200 miles that was a pretty good day! The other good thing about the app is that it reminds me how far I've come. When I look back to the first month I used the app I can see that I only ran 10 miles in total and now, just over a year later I'm running loads more. Last month was almost 40 miles and yes that was part of my half marathon but that amount of running still amazes me! Also it's great when you finish a run and a badge appears to tell you you've run your furthest, fastest or longest race or that you've beaten your PB for a distance. When I did my first half marathon a few weeks back I was ecstatic when I finished it and this feeling only improved when I stopped the app and was shown SIX badges: fastest half marathon, fastest 10k, fastest 5k, fastest 1k, longest run and farthest run. Yes the app is one of my favourite running tools!


What about you what's the running item you can't do without?




Monday, 17 March 2014

Recent learnings

Guys I did it, I actually did it! Just over a week ago I finished my very first half marathon. I am a half marathon runner - whoopee! I can't believe I've actually done it and also that I actually enjoyed it! Shock horror! There was such a buzz and energy during the race that it was heard not too. I don't know if this was due to the glorious sunshine (the race was on the first real spring day that we've had this year), the amazing crowd or just the adrenaline coursing through me. Whatever it was it really worked and I had a total blast! Honestly, as I type this I'm like what is this you're saying? How are you the person that didn't run until early 2012. I love that this is the person I now am!

As I was running I realised a number of things, which I thought I'd share with you here. So read on for such insights into my brain - oh and I've also thrown in a few other non-running things that I've learnt this week.
  1. Half marathon runners don't all run the entire race. This might seem obvious to some people but it was one of the things that was really worrying me prior to the race. I was fairly certain I would not be able to run the whole thing and I thought I'd be the only one in the race doing that. How wrong I was. Not everyone does that. It depends on what type of runner you are. Are you running the race for the experience or for the PB? For me it was the experience (even though I did beat my PB for a 5k, 10k and 1/2 marathon) and so I walked when I needed to and ran for the rest of the time. This method allowed me to finish in 2.24, with the second half of the race taking less than an hour - unheard of for me. So if you're about to do a long distance race please don't get caught up in the idea of running the whole way - it's not a necessity.
  2. Music works wonders. When you're digging deep as you scale a mountain, okay a small incline, and that song starts pumping into your ears you suddenly feel like you can do it. You can push that little bit harder, you can keep going and you can pick up speed. For me that  was either Eye of the Tiger or anything by Kelly Clarkson - perfect for getting your arms and legs moving faster.
  3. You can sprint the last 500 meters. You might feel like you're about to die at 11 miles but when you hit the 12.5 mile marker you'll get that second wind and you'll be flying towards the finish line. One of the best feeling was getting that brilliant burst of energy and overtaking people in that last stretch.
  4. That first iced hazelnut latte of the spring is amazing! Yes I gave in to the temptation (twice) this week and it was perfect. FYI a delicious cold coffee is the most brilliant way to wake yourself up on the morning walk to work.
  5. I can always eat ALL the roast potatoes, no matter how many there are. Whether there are 30 potatoes put in front of me or three I guarantee I'll finish them. I'm not sure what's wrong with me but I seem to be unable to leave any in the bowl. I am officially a roast potato dustbin. It's fairly obscene.
  6. Banana and chocolate cake is a revelation. I made one for the first time this week and it was sensational in all it's creamy, chocolateyness. There were chocolate chunks in it and everything and I was somehow able to eat two slices as soon as it came out of the oven. I promise I'll share the recipe soon.
  7. I missed not running for a week. Weird I know, but I'm about ready to get back to the pavements. Again not something I'd even imagine I'd feel. But after a week of recovering I need to get running. Only short distances mind you!
  8. A dinner of cheese, chutney and sourdough bread is delicious. I ate that combination for three of my meals over the weekend and I wasn't bored of it, in fact it was exactly what I fancied and I think I could keep eating it!
So what about you, what have you learnt this week - share please! 




Saturday, 15 March 2014

A little bit of workplace inspiration

A couple of weeks back I shared a little peek at my new work inspiration wall (if you missed it you can have a peek at it here). This inspiration wall is now all finished and ready to be shared with the world (or the five people reading this post at least) so let's take a bit of a tour!

First up here's the wall in all its glory. As well as my awesome Rob Ryan calendar you'll see I've saved some of my favourite Disney calendar pics - there have been a few Little Mermaid ones recently , which I've enjoyed immensely! - and I've included a couple of last years holiday pics. They are there to remind me that work means holidays! Worth remembering when you're having a rubbish day!



So now let's delve into some of the specific items on the wall...

First up we have some of the inspiring quotes that I love from my Wall of Quotes Pinterest board. As you can see from that board I have pinned loads of quotes in the past but the ones I chose are the ones that are worth remembering on a stressful work day. There the simple affirmations that you need to remember when everything is going wrong. One of my favourite quotes is the one below as I really do have a tendency to dwell on the bad stuff and panic about what I should have done or what people will think rather than just moving past it and getting everything else done. So this is definitely something worth remembering!

Indeed

As well as the inspiring quotes we have some of my favourite adverts, as you'll see there are a lot of LEGO ones on the wall. - basically LEGO's advertising is pretty awesome. 

retro #Lego ad girl

I think they are both brilliant in their simplicity. The copy on the white one (on the section with the yellow brick) reads 'Every LEGO brick tells a story. Build yours.' Pure genius.

A LEGO ad, so simple but brilliant.

Finally let's end on this image.
"Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of inflicting pain and remedying it." -Albus Dumbledore

This is a very true sentiment and one I think I should always remember, working in the world of books - particularly kids books. After all this sentiment is the reason why I'm in publishing in the first place, so I can make sure kids discover the magic of books and the wonder you feel when opening the pages of one transports you somewhere else.

So what would you put on your inspiration wall?

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

I think it's love, but it's most definitely lust...

I don't know about you lot but I subscribe to a stupid number of emails, for all sorts of places and things; everything from the national lottery to Starbucks, and from publishers to retailers. And these emails always seem to pop into my inbox at the same times - either early in the morning or on a Thursday and a Friday. Now I work in marketing so I understand where this logic comes from, but with my normal non-marketing hat on it does my head in. I don't have time to open and read all 30 emails that come in overnight, so I invariably delete all those that don't grab me straight-away. Sorry fellow marketeers but unless your copy line is genius I'm not clicking open. Anyway, back to the point of this post as surprisingly I'm not meant to be discussing the merits of subject lines, honest! It's actually all about my current lust for all the clothes that Oliver Bonas sell, I'm basically in total love with it all.

I came to this realisation when their email (hence the randow email waffle above!) was the only one I clicked on this morning as the heading was We think you'll love this dress.... I, in fact, didn't love their dress as a floor length maxi dress with tassles is very not me, but I did love everything else in the email and now I'm trying to stop myself from clicking BUY on all of the below items. 






Someone please help me. I feel like I need all these items and that desire is made worse by the fact that I haven't bought any clothes since last year - apart from three staple items and let's be honest staple items don't give you that shopping fix you sometimes need. (Hopefully this isn't making me sound like I need to attend Shoppers Anonymous, I'm honestly not that bad). Just looking at these lovely things has made my fingers all twitchy and I know my life will be enriched by owning at least two or three of these pretty things. I'm currently headed towards the chevron dress and the chambray shirt, but I fear all six items might eventually be purchased. Is that a bad thing do you think? I suppose at least I'd be set for a few months of outfits...

What about you are you being called by any pretty clothes that you just need right now? Share the links below I'd love to hear more and who knows, maybe I'll add them to my list!



Friday, 7 March 2014

Two days to go...eek!

So there are just two days to go until I will be at the starting line of my very first half marathon. Wow - how time flies! I've done all my training (well minus a few missed runs), I've studied the route and I'm as ready as I'll ever be. So now all I need to do is pray that the weather cooperates - no rain, no wind and not too cold please Mr weather person. 

I am of course filled with trepidation, excitement and an awful lot of nerves, but I'm not letting these nerves get to me as I know I can do this. I might want to complete it in a certain length of time (2.5 hours) and I might want to run the whole thing but if that doesn't happen it won't be the end of the world. The most important thing for me when it comes to this race is that I want to complete it.

I want to be able to say I've run a half marathon. 
I did that. 
That's how far I've come. 

I want to be the person that's gone from a non-runner to a half marathon runner in two years. Yes, I know that that's a long time compared to other people but that's my story.
I can't wait to add that distance to the races I've completed. At the end of this weekend I want my completed race list to look like this: 5k, 10k, 10k, 5k, 10k, 13 miles

I want to thoroughly deserve my celebratory post run roast dinner. 
I want to remember for the rest of my life that moment when I cross the finish line exhausted.
I want to have that moment when I achieve something I set my mind to and if I have to walk then run then walk then run to get to that point I will do. 

As this race is about the progress I make and not about doing it perfectly.

Progress, not perfection. 

Wish me luck!


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Parisian dining in London Town


One of the best things about London Town, in my humble opinion anyway, is that you are constantly discovering amazing new places; be it museums, independent shops, hidden parks or in the case of this weekend - amazing eateries. That's one of the reasons why I love this city so much. I never know what I'm about to discover, it's like being a tourist all over again! This past weekend I met up with a good friend for a late lunch and she suggested Brasserie Zedel, which is slap bang in Piccadilly. After having a peruse on the site I was up for it as it looked like proper French food and not the touristy stuff like snails or frogs legs that I assume isn't as widespread in France as one would think! So off I set with no clue of what to expect and ended up having the most brilliant taste of France (literally) smack bang in the middle of London.


You enter the Brasseries through a very unassuming little cafe with only a few tables and what looks like the most amazing tasting croissants - I most definitely need to return soon to try one of those! We headed through the cafe to a corridor lined with the most brilliant French posters and made our way downstairs to a very Moulin Rouge looking lobby that opened up into the most surprising room - the restaurant. The restaurant is a cavernous room that I can't believe I never knew existed under the streets of London. It's got massive marble pillars and huge bright lights and tables and chairs fill the space. There are also gorgeous red velvet covered booths and a grand piano with a pianist to provide wonderful background music. The place really is the most surprising of venues. I can't believe it's only just been bought to my attention - amazing.


So that's the restaurant, now what about the important bit, the FOOD! I have just one word for you: sublime! Really everything that I tasted was exceptional. From the freshly baked bread and crispy fries to the delicious Croccroute de la Mer and succulent chicken in champagne sauce and then on to the scrumptious tarte tatin, the food was just perfect! I opted for the Croccroute as I had no clue what it was and I thought I should try something new (to me at least) and it was definitely a good choice. It was a selection of really fresh fish - mussels, salmon and trout - in a creamy sauce on a bed of sauerkraut and new potatoes. Not something that I would have chosen if I knew what it was as I once had a very bad sauerkraut experience, but this meal was so delicious I may be converted to such a delicacy. I honestly can't fault the food at all. It was all delicious and seemed to have been kept faithful to the French recipes.


Even though the room was fairly cavernous and every table was full on Sunday afternoon it wasn't an overwhelming restaurant at all - you didn't feel like the noise was overwhelming or like you were eating in a massive air hangar, which is prove that they have got the vibe right. As for the cost, we had two courses and drinks and it was £25 each, which isn't cheap. But when you remember you're in central London and you've just had the most scrumptious French food you can't really complain. Plus it's such a great experience, it's worth every penny!

If you've never been to Brasserie Zedel and you fancy a little taste of France when you're next in London I highly recommend it. After all anywhere that has their name embroidered on the serviettes has to be worth a try right?


So tell me have you ever had a similar experience and discovered somewhere just round the corner from you that transports you to an entirely new country? It can't just be me!

Travel Tuesday


Monday, 3 March 2014

Bookish thoughts for February

Hi, hello and how are you? Looking forward to the new week? I certainly am. It's certainly going to be a busy one, but it'll have a lot of good stuff sprinkled in there too so I can't wait to get going on it! Plus it ends with my very first half marathon, eek, so that's definitely something I'm looking forward too -  hooray for the fact that I can soon cease with the training!

As it is World Book Day this week and kids all over the country are celebrating books and reading it seems very apt that my first post of the week is my reading round-up for February. I struggled getting into any book at the beginning of February, who knows what was wrong with me but thankfully that ended and I was able to read three excellent books and one, not so excellent. Read on to see what I've been enjoying...


Fortunately, the Milk - Neil Gaiman
I chose this book as I'm constantly hearing good things about Neil Gaiman's writing, yet I've never read any of his books. So with one of my reading resolutions being to try books by new authors (at least to me) I thought I'd take a leap into his latest story. Sadly this book didn't quite live up to my expectations. It was funny, but it was just a bit too ridiculous for my liking. I felt like he'd written a list of things he wanted to include in a book - vampires, milk, a hot air balloon and dinosaurs - and then tried to cram it all together and failed. The story didn't really make sense. Yes I know it was meant to be preposterous it was just too preposterous and absurd in my book. This is clearly now how everyone else felt and I really feel like I missed something with this book, which is a feeling that I hate. But it just didn't work

The Husband's Secret - Lianne Moriarty
Oh this book was good - everyone should read it! It tells the interlocking story of three women who are all struggling with something - infidelity, betrayal, deep loss and the sudden realisation that the person they adore isn't who they think. Moriarty manages to hook you in to the book immediately with a couple of pages on each character that just blows up their perfect lives. From them on I was hooked. What's clever in this story is that even though you know what one of the big reveals is going to be you still want to read it as you feel like you know the characters. You're immediately rooting for them and hoping that they get through the 400 odd pages as unscathed and whole as possible. This really is beautifully written and reminds us all that things aren't always black and white or good and evil.

The Unpredictable Consequences of Love - Jill Mansell
I was lucky enough to win this book through Twitter - thanks Commuter Book Club (@RailBookClub on Twitter) and I was so pleased as Jill Mansell is one of my favourite authors, as mentioned way back when here. I love her books and find them the perfect form of escapism. The characters are always likable and well-rounded and often not what they seem at first glance. And even though you know the leads will end up happy and with 'the love of their life' it's always enjoyable to see how they'll get there. So when a seaside setting is thrown into the mix, what's not to love?

The Fiery Heart - Richelle Mead
Richelle Mead's Bloodlines series is such a guilty pleasure for me. Yes there are vampires and yes it's a bunch of American school kids but that's where the similarities between Bloodlines and that other vampire series ends. This series, of which Fiery Heart is the fourth, is chock full of hilarious one-liners, real teen angst and divided loyalties, oh and a magical element. It really is brilliant and I promise I'm not just swayed by the glorious description of love interest Adrian. It is also brilliantly written. Definitely a must-read.

So what have you been reading over the last month - anything I need to add to my bookshelf?