One Winter’s Night

#OneWinter’sNight

Characters – Kelsey making a living, struggling to build up her fledgling photography company, in Stratford Upon Avon, whilst conducting a long distance relationship with Jonathan, a smooth, good looking American actor that she met whilst working last summer.

Mirren, a ‘reporter’ fed up with writing court reports, wanting the chance to write a feature for her newspaper. Mirren is single, and contrary to romantic novel stereotypes, it becomes apparent that her single status is due to her confessing to multiple episodes of cheating on her boyfriend.

The story starts fairly slowly and I start off struggling to feel any kind of empathy with the characters, or any kind of loyalty to this story at all. I am currently on chapter ten and I’m not really seeing what the story is, or where it is going, but for the purposes of this review, I am going to persevere.

Whilst the story was a little slow, I stuck with it and was enjoying it by the end,


Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well Thank You

#EudoraHoneysettisQuiteWellThankYou

#NetGalley

Well this book was one of firsts; two to be precise!

  1. I tried listening to an audio book for the first time.
  2. I nearly gave up on the book after the first chapter.

Whilst the audio book first has nothing to do with the quality of the book, I do feel compelled to comment on the experience. In truth, I like to have something playing on my iPad while I prepare dinner of an evening.to VE brutally honest, amidst these COVID times, I seem to have run out of box sets that I want to watch. So, when I was given rather opportunity by #NetGalley to review the audio version of a novel, I jumped at the chance. My verdict? Whist I still love to hold something in my hand and read the written word, the audio book met my needs, it was in fact a far better experience whilst peeling vegetables, than trying to concentrate on a box set. The second first (that really doesn’t sound quite right) was that I nearly stopped listening to the book after the first chapter. This was due to no fault on the part of the author, but more owing to the fact that my short taster led me to think that the story was going to upset me. However, I really do hate silent meal preparation, and so I heaved up my Big Girl Pants and carried on with the novel, over a period of nights.

The Characters

Eudora: My initial opinion, as was (I suspect) the author’s attention, was that Eudora was a miserable old lady. However, the more I listened, it became apparent that this behaviour was almost a cover; as the story developed, and we learned more of Eudora’s past, it seemed to me that she softened and became infinitely more likeable. Her plan, revealed in the Introductory part of the book quite frankly left me devastated and wanting to stop, as I couldn’t contemplate where this story was going.

Rose: The complete antithesis to Eudora. She breezed into the story like an early summer’s day, with her warmth and charming personality shining through.

Stanley: I can only describe him as a ‘dear old boy’.

This is a story about being lonely and getting old. A story about the innocence of youth and the interaction between young and old. This is a story with real life undertones, that make you think. Should I talk to my elderly neighbour? Invite him or her in for a cup of tea.

Most of all, this is a story about family – not necessarily the family you have been born into or have married into.

Overall a really great, if not emotional read, for readers of all ages, from young adult.

If Every Day Was Christmas #IfEveryDayWasChristmas #NetGalley

This is a Story set around Christmas, a story of love and of losses, a story of charity.

Characters: Meg – single, seemingly unlucky in love, adores Christmas to such an extent, that she runs a year round Christmas shop, devoted to all things Christmassy.

Tom – the eponymous tall, dark, handsome ( I may be fabricating a little – I don’t think we are ever told he is tall, dark or handsome) I just felt, as a reader, that he was!) stranger with a mysterious past, who seems to hate Christmas.

A match made in heaven? Definitely a story about love and families, about miscommunication. A story of mismatches. However, a wonderful read, full of the joys of the festive season, which was hard to put down.


A Family Guide to Terrariums For Kids

#AFamilyGuidetoTerrariumsforKids #NetGalley

What a fabulous book for the whole family, from the containers to use, to the kind of plants and planting bases; it is all there. My only quibble would be that this seemed to me like an all rounder for terrarium planting for the whole family. The photos were great and the recommendations seemed sensible, for example, using jars you have around the house for your planting. In all, a really nice book, even if all you are going to do is look at the pictures!

Clean Treats for Everyone

#CleanTreatsforEveryone #NetGalley

However, once I started to delve into this book, I was very tempted by the eclectic array of treats on offer. In my mind I am already rewriting next week’s shopping list, in order to maximise the number of clean treats we can try. I must remember that there’s a limit to the amount of treats one family can eat!

The lemon bars were divine and next I would like to move on to the banana choc chip bars.



The Winter Garden – Heidi Swain

#TheWinterGarden  #NetGalley

So as I write this review, I must confess that I am a huge fan of Heidi Swain’s  books. I love her stories and I especially love how people and places pop up is akin to trying on a new pair of shoes from a range with which you are very familiar; you just know that they are going to fit, they will be insanely comfortable, and that you will enjoy wearing them. I do hope that I am not disappointed!

Heidi has a gift for drawing you into her novels in a way that makes you truly care about what happens to the characters, which she seems to bring  to life.

I was not disappointed on the cross-pollination front, when in the very first chapter, the gardens in Nightingale Square were mentioned. This tie-in with Heidi Swain’s ‘Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square’ instantly made me feel comfortable, as though among trusted friends.

This story is self contained as a novel, but little tie-ins with previous works seem like a special treat for those who have read the author’s previous novels. Freya is a warm, thoroughly believable and likeable character and she blends in perfectly with the Nightingale Square characters. Jackson is vile, and I hope we don’t see much more of him in the book – leave me to my feel good folks!

The story does not disappoint on any front and I struggled to put the book down, when I should have been doing other things! Thanks again Heidi!

My Favourite Authors

#NetGalley
So, I am racking my brains to come up a list of my favourite authors; these are the authors that make it suddenly seem like a better day, when they have a new title out; I will add to this as more favourites come to mind; here we go:

#CathyBramley  – I love her stories and the ‘cross pollination’ if that’s what you can call it, between the characters in her books.

#Heidi_Swain – Another cross pollinator that makes my life a better place.

#TaWilliams_books – another great writer of modern women’s fiction. The difference here is that the author is actually a man – I find it astonishing (sorry) that such fantastic modern, romantic books can come from the brains of a man! The author is not a cross pollinator as I see it, but there are themes that run through his books. Examples include that many of the books are set in Italy, they gave historic links and almost always feature a gorgeous black labrador as a character.

#TillyTenWriter – Tilly Tennant. Another favourite of mine, who never fails to deliver an all absorbing story.

 

 

Flowers, fog and dragons and a little bad behaviour

We took another walk through the famous local flower market this morning – it is beautiful and smells divine. There seems to be an odd mixture of orchids and very British flowers like dahlias on display. I wonder if all of those orchids are imported from here?


We got back to the hotel, t be greeted by the dragon dancing. It is apparently traditional after the eighth day of new year. It was pretty athletic. There was also a table containing all kinds of meats, which were apparently being offered in some kind of ritual. All pretty amazing!

We took a funicular up to Victoria Peak today – we had to wait about two hours, but we got the fare for half price by using our Octopus cards – HK’s answer to the Oyster card. There was a great view from the top, but it was a little foggy so we didn’t bother paying the extra to go up to the viewing platform.

This is an odd place, in that people push and shove a lot in public places and on public transport, but everything is still intact thank goodness – only one tugging incident! Up at the peak I wanted to take some medication, and there was nowhere  to sit down unless you were eating or drinking, so we ended up sat on some stairs. Suddenly there was a whooping noise – a bit of an explosion apparently. I had managed to ‘get’ a small boy in the face, and also spray the rest of his family, sat some metres away. Oops!

We were going to head to the harbour for the light show tonight,  but by the time we came out of the tube, it was raining so we will defer!

We ended up in a mahoosive mall again on our way home, but if really wasn’t my thing – I don’t care if there’s no tax – I’m just not into designer brands!

Found the swishest loos in the posh mall!

I have a foot massage booked at the hotel in the morning, and we will decide what to do afterwards.

 

 

 

More Musings in the Mugginess

Catching up on Singapore, from my room in Hong Kong, where we seem to have been enveloped in a kind of smog for the last couple of days. We spent most of a day in Singapore at the Gardens by the Bay. It was a real lovely spot, in the middle of the city, with lots of free gardens to see and 2 big domes.

We also walked up on a kind of walkway between the light up trees. We went to the harbour in the evening to see the lights, but it didn’t seem that great so we jumped on a tube and went back to the Gardens by the Bay, where they have their own sound and light setup.

Mmm is it the year of the dog by any chance?

Singapore just struck me as a really orderly, safe place, although horrifically expensive! £10 for a couple of coffees in Starbucks! It is cheaper, now we are in Singapore!

The flight from Singapore to HK passed without incident, although it was a shame that we couldn’t check into our hotel until 3, after arriving here at about 12.30. Good job our hotel is in a shopping mall and on top of an underground station. I do think that shopping is a bit of a pastime here though, with ‘our’ mall not even making the top 15 malls on the island!

A bizarre site – a blow up butterfly farm in a Singapore mall!

HK has been very foggy for the last couple of days, which kind of detracts from the views of the skyline! It is due to rain tomorrow, so we have decided against going up in the cable car to the top of the mountains tomorrow! Disappointingly Hong Kong’s previous British heritage does show somewhat, in its lack of incorrectly translated signs, like in China, although the ‘Wanko’ ladies clothes store did amuse me (excuse the childishness)!

‘We’ ate hotpot tonight – Its S’s favourite and she was keen for us to try it. Irritatingly it was a buffet style affair, and so they insisted in charging me too. At least I did have a drink, and tried the purple sweet potato ice cream, which tasted very nice first time around!

Bored of the fog.

Not every day you spot a Buddhist monk taking a selfie😂