Saturday, 31 January 2015

Me & Mine {January}

This month we have loved:-

*Getting back into the rhythm of school and work after a long Christmas break.
*Heading out and discovering new places to have adventures.
*Watching Friends from the very beginning (just the grown ups of course!) having a good old chuckle in the evening.
*Lots of onesie wearing and hot chocolate drinking to really make the most of the cold spell.

I loved joining in with Me & Mine last year and, December aside, we now have a full year of photos with us all in which is so lovely to look back on.  

I am hoping that this year I can continue to improve my photography and get a bit more creative with our photos, and remember to take them before it is the last minute which is something we have been good at this month.

I ended up having to narrow down a large selection rather than trying to make the most of the few we had, although even then the majority featured at least one unsmiling child.  Oh well!

Me and Mine is a family photography project hosted by Dear Beautiful and several other wonderful bloggers.  If you want to see more family portraits or find out how to join in then head over there.

dear beautiful

Friday, 30 January 2015

My January Reads

I've decided to do my book reviews a little differently this year; as I tend to devour several books a month I found it too tricky to keep up with individual reviews so instead I'll briefly outline the books I've read each month, and give them a star rating to make it simple.

So here's what I've been reading in January:

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult - I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult books so when I spotted this in the library I couldn't wait to get stuck in.  As usual Picoult chooses a tough subject that challenges assumptions and opinions.  It is the story of Peter Houghton, a teenage boy who has been picked on at school since his first day at kindergarten, and the decision he makes to enter his high school and in nineteen minutes kill ten people and wound several more.  Picoult offers the story from various perspectives: we have that of Peter, as well as his parents, Judge Alex Cormier and her daughter Josie (who is pivotal to what took place on the fateful day), the detective dealing with the case as well as Peter's attorney.  If you are familiar with Picoult's work then this won't disappoint.  It is fast paced, and keeps you thinking until the very last page.  Star rating: **** 

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton - James bought me this book for Christmas and although I wanted to read it there and then, I managed to put if off for a little while longer!  During a summer birthday party at her home in the countryside, 16 year old Laurel Nicolson is daydreaming in her tree house when she is witness to a shocking event which challenges everything she ever thought about her mother, Dorothy.  50 years later, the family gather at her childhood home to celebrate Dorothy's 90th birthday and Laurel realises that it might be her only chance to discover what really happened that day, and why.  This book flicks between the present day and Dorothy's story which takes place in the 1940's and beyond.  Hers is a story of how three perfect strangers could meet and impact upon each other's lives and how one simple decision can throw everything we know up in the air.  Star rating: ****

The Seafront Team Rooms by Vanessa Greene - This is the story of how three women from very different backgrounds come together when they least expect it and have a real impact on each other's lives.  There is journalist Charlotte who is charged with the job of finding Britain's best tearooms in order to prove she is worthy of being editor, Kat, a single mother who is desperately trying to keep herself afloat and whose only sanctuary is the Seafront Tea Rooms in Scarborough and Seraphine, a young French girl who has taken a job as an au-pair in an attempt to escape something back at home.  Quaint, enjoyable and easy to read.  This was my first of Vanessa Greene's books but I will definitely be hunting out her others.  Star rating: ***

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - I am actually taking part in Claire's A-Z of Authors (although I am still waiting for my B to arrive at the library!) and this was my first choice.  I have often considered picking it up, especially as I've read Sense and Sensibility and Emma but just never got around to it.  I'm sure you don't need me to tell you the I will just say that I absolutely loved it.  Witty, charming and with the ever amusing sparring between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy, I am a real fan for sure.  Star rating: *****

Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan - I only discovered the wonderful Jenny Colgan last year and made it my aim to read as many of her books as possible so this was the next instalment.  Rosie Hopkins is working an an auxiliary nurse in London, living with her boyfriend Gerard and generally thinking that life is pretty great.  Then she gets a call from her mother asking her to go to the tiny village of Lipton in Derbyshire to help her elderly Aunt Lilian sort out the sale of her sweet shop.  Rosie immediately pictures life in the countryside as boring and dull but finds she couldn't be more wrong.  Alongside discovering Rosie's exploits in the village and following her gradual realisation that maybe there is more to life than London we also step back in time to the 1940's when Lilian was just a teenager, helping to run her family's sweet shop during WWII and the many brave sacrifices she made.  I adored this book and am not surprised it is an award-winner.  If you like light-hearted, romantic fiction with a few recipes thrown in for good luck then this is a great read.  Star rating: ****

Have you read any good books this month?  Let me know if you've got any recommendations as I always love to discover new authors.