Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Tuesday Titles 159..

The weeks seem to be performing that odd trick once again - vacillating between zipping by and suddenly it's been a week since I last posted anything, whilst also feeling like a hundred years since something which only happened last week. I think that the endless waiting and packing phase which I'm going through at the moment, coupled with the hope that I can get everything moved and sorted before a little mini-break at the end of the month has been throwing things all out of kilter.

But anyhow. I read some books and had some thoughts. See here:

Everything is Lies
Everything Is Lies: Helen Callaghan
No-one is who you think they are.
Sophia's parents lead quiet, ordinary lives. At least that is what she's always believed.
Everyone has secrets.
Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find a house ringing with silence. Her mother hanging from a tree. Her father lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death.
Especially those closest to you.
The police are convinced it is an attempted murder-suicide. But Sophia is sure that the woman who brought her up isn't a killer. With her father in a come, it is up to Sophia to clear her mother's name. To do this she needs to delve deep into her family's past - a past full of dark secrets she never suspected were there . . .
I have to say, although it took me a couple of chapters to get stuck into Everything Is Lies, I was very soon hooked. When Sophia's parents are found in their garden - her mother dead and her father badly injured, naturally she wants to understand exactly how it came to this. 
The more Sophia searches through their past, the more she begins to wish she hadn't been so curious. Uncovering a notebook, written by her mother, Sophia is transported back to the days when her mother was a university student and fell in with a crowd of unsavoury characters. Could her past have caught up with her after all these years? 
I've been finding that I'm enjoying the psychological thriller genre more and more lately and I liked the twist at the end, even though I'd pretty much figured it out already. 

How to Stop Time
How to Stop Time: Matt Haig

This was the second of the books from my recent book swap parcel (more about that here) and I'd heard a little about it. Everyone I've spoken to or heard from who has read this book has adored it - apparently there is just no other possible view. As with most highly praised titles, I was a little skeptical. 

We meet our hero, Tom Hazard. On the surface, a regular 41 year old history teacher, but in actual fact, his life has been a lot longer than that. Owing to a rare condition, his lifetime goes a lot slower than the norm, so Tom has lived through several centuries and rubbed shoulders with all kinds of historical figures - working in the theatre with Shakespeare being a particularly noteworthy highlight. 
His aim is to go through his life without anyone discovering his secret and without letting the pain of loss (of various loved ones over the years) consume him entirely. 

Honestly, I liked the concept here but am not entirely sure why it receives *such* hype. Sure, it teaches you a lovely little lesson about leaving your mark on the universe, I guess. Perhaps I'm missing something huge. 

Have you read either of these and do you have any thoughts? 

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Tuesday Titles 158..

Oof. It feels like a rather long time since I sat down with a book and just allowed myself time to read. My evenings and weekends have been filled with charity shop runs, packing up boxes and clearing out my possessions, in between my other commitments, so enjoying a good book has been something which had to give. Thankfully, I've had a little time this weekend to get caught up on the pile and have a couple of reviews..

Not Thomas
Not Thomas - Sara Gethin

I picked this up from a lending library shelf in a community hall I was running an event in a couple of weekends ago as the blurb intrigued me and I got stuck right in. Told from the perspective of Tomos, a five year old boy whose mother is suggested to be a drug addict, it's a heart-wrenching look at the kind of life which can become the norm for children. His teachers fear for Tomos' safety when the school holidays come around and his mother puts him to bed and removes the ladder so that he has no choice but to stay put. Can they ensure his safety without risking him being sent away? 

I found this one a little tough to read in places, as whilst Tomos' understanding of certain events fell a little short, it was clear was clear what was going on. Give it a whirl if you're not likely to find issues such as child neglect, social care and domestic violence too much of a trigger.

Becky Sharp
The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp - Sarra Manning 

Oh, I do love a good Sarra Manning. She seems to have this way with words and characters where she blends them into an enticing tale. And her newest offering seems not to have fallen far from the proverbial tree. 

Becky Sharp becomes a household name after appearing on a reality TV show and what follows is basically a recipe for how to manipulate your way into the public eye through being a "celebrity". She befriends various (mostly) unsavoury characters with the intention of using them to get exactly what she wants from life. 

Honestly, Becky isn't particularly likeable - in fact, it's easy to loathe her - and if I'm honest there wasn't a character in this book which I liked at all, but that's not to say that I didn't enjoy the book. In fact, I'd have been happy to keep reading all the way to the end without a break. And whilst I hate to admit it, I was probably a little bit in awe of the odious Becky and her courage and determination. I think they refer to it as "grit" in more trendy circles. 

A strong recommendation from me - this one's out in September, but the link will take you to the pre-order page on Amazon.

Friday, 20 July 2018

Friday Favourites 283..

FF283 collage
001 // 002 // 003 // 004

Oh hai. Remember me?! No, I don't know whether I do, either. But, after months of what seemed like endless....waiting, we finally seem to have had some progress with the house move and suddenly things are happening. And it's exciting yet terrifying in equal measure. So, I'm doing what I do best in situations such as these and am turning to the internet for some decorating inspirations, whilst also trying to decide on things like how soon to order a fridge in order that we have it in time for moving, but not too long in advance that we have to find somewhere to store it. Argh!

Anyhow, here are just a few of the things which I've decided on so far.

001: This week I discovered Iconic Lights and the timing couldn't have been more perfect, tbh. They have some lovely designs and seem very reasonably priced. I've decided on this light fitting to go above the dining room table - the pale blue is perfect.

002: Ever since spying them over on Erica's feed, I've been obsessed with Bramwell Brown's weather clocks. Not only do they tell you the time but also the weather, and they're mechanically animated to show you what meteorological goings-on you can expect. I absolutely adore their designs and can't wait to hang one in pride of place - probably in the kitchen.

003: A couple of weeks back, we went to Ikea for a little wander around (he went for the meatballs, I went for two picture frames) and to gather some inspiration. I've been a little stuck on what sofas I want in the living room and was hoping I'd see something which would fit in with everything else we have planned. Alas not a sofa exactly, but I'm going to find a space for this swivelly armchair. Soooo comfy.

004: I think that with this range, Oliver Bonas have pretty much climbed into my brain and come out with the most perfect combination of shelf units and desks. Seriously, I want them all! I'm starting with the beautiful Scarlett bookcase and we'll see where things go from there...

Do you have any home decor tips for me, or know of any homewares providers which I just have to check out? I'm already planning on a trip to Sostrene Greene next time I'm in Chester as their stuff is just amazing.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Benthall Hall

Benthall Hall
A few weeks ago, when this sunshine and high 20s weather was still a complete novelty, we were determined to make the most of it and be outside for just about as long as humanly possible. 


We headed for Benthall Hall. Relatively local to me, we got the chance to wander around the gardens and the hall (although it was soooo warm and I forgot to take any photos inside), and I'd certainly recommend it as one of the quieter National Trust venues around Shropshire.

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I had serious garden envy. The attention to detail was superb and there was even a little plant sale happening. I'm sad that I don't currently have anywhere to tend to plants. Cannot wait until I live with a garden again. 

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I had to look up what "trowman" was and can understand why only one would have been needed in a parish which was surrounded by land....

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Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and weekends during the summer months and with free parking for NT members (there's a fairly big car park and although their machines haven't yet been upgraded to those which scan your membership cards, you can leave your card in the window if you're parking there and heading off for a walk first, like we did. Also note: sometimes the tea room closes earlier than advertised, depending on visitor numbers.


I'm always looking for new places to visit and explore, so if you have any (preferably Midlands, but I'm happy to travel..) suggestions, holler. 

Friday, 6 July 2018

Friday Favourites 282: Shoe Sale Picks


Ahh, it's that time in the season when the summer shoe sales go live and frankly this is what I've been living for lately. With a little birthday money saved up especially for this purpose, I've been refreshing both Irregular Choice and Spartoo daily to see when they release their bargains. 

Finally, it's here and I've picked some of my favourites to share today:

001: So much glitter - I think this is a bit of a theme this week. I really like the floral ankle detail on these Sweet Melody heels as well. It gives them a bit of a tropical look. 

002: You can't go wrong with a pair of blue glitter heels, can you?! This is such a classic style with the bow on the front and the heel height looks a little shorter than I'd usually opt for, but I guess they'd be super comfy. 

003: Grey jacquard heels with a satin bow on the front. Another classic pair which would lend themselves to any number of outfits. I imagine they'd be perfect for a day at the races.

004: Bright pink. Hearts. A bow to the front. That classic perspex heel. A winning combination. 

Which is your favourite? Have you hit up the sales so far this summer?