Friday, 26 May 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 26/5/23

Is it me or are Friday's coming around faster? lol

Time to reflect on the week and then head over to Susanne's site to see who else is taking part.  Join us here.

This week I'm grateful for:

1)  Quiet starts to the day.  Often my Hubby is first up and he will kindly bring me breakfast in bed, which is of course a blessing in itself.  But I also love days like today, where I'm first up, the house is quiet and I can enjoy my first cup of tea of the day looking out at the garden and watching the birds on the bird feeder.

This is my view from the dining room window.  

2)  Sunny, dry weather.  The weather has been good this week - no rain and a fair bit of sunshine.  Not too hot yet either.

Hubby and I did a walk together on Tuesday and I noticed that there are now 6 cygnets with our swan couple.

Last time I saw them together there were only 5.

3)  Good local community.  Last Sunday we had the Highams Park Spring Festival in the park.  There were a variety of stalls, music acts, classic cars, shire horses, fairground rides etc.  It was really well attended and I spent a couple of hours volunteering - first on the "Pelt a Pal" stall - which involved throwing wet sponges at someone in the stocks.  I didn't get any photos but I'm sure you get the idea.  Unfortunately it was a bit cooler last Sunday and not many people wanted to get wet.

My second hour was spent marshalling one of the road that leads down to the park that had been closed apart from resident's access.  That wasn't too arduous either although we did have to keep stopping people from parking on the through road as this had a stretch of "No Parking" for the day and the traffic wardens had clearly been out issuing tickets.

The event was really well attended and I'm glad that we're in an area where there is a good community feel.

4)  We had Rory, Vinny and their Mummy here from Saturday to Sunday as my son was away (Running a marathon in the Brecon Beacons!) so we took a picnic lunch over to the park before I did my volunteering stint.  Always good to spend time with the Grandkids and family but this week has been a bit quieter as Nathan and Ella are on holiday with their Mummies so I've been able to relax a bit more and get some reading done.

5)  A Knit and Natter session on Wednesday evening.  Always a fun time and I met Hubby afterwards for a quick drink in a local bar.

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, 25 May 2023

Book Reviews - The Lost Apothecary and The Night She Disappeared

It's been a fairly quiet week here - my daughter and her family are away on holiday so there has been less grandsitting required.  Taken advantage of this by catching up on some reading!

The Lost Apothecary My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.

Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

I did enjoy this book - it was an interesting story linking a historical tale with the current day. It's certainly an impressive debut novel. But, I couldn't give it 5 stars as I felt it was a bit lacking in depth. The page count is listed as 320, it felt shorter than that when reading it and it could have benefitted from more details in places.

The Night She DisappearedThe Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's nearly midnight and you're home alone with only your baby grandson for company. Your daughter and her boyfriend have gone out to a party; the first time they've been out since their son was born. And now you are waiting for them to come home. But they don't. The next morning, frantic, you ring your daughter's friends, and you're told that she was last seen heading to a party in an isolated village known as Dark Place ...

An unsolved mystery, family secrets, a boarding school for difficult teenagers, and an unidentified body.

This was certainly a gripping book - I finished it within 2 days. It was a little bit jumpy between time frames for me, hence no 5 stars and there were a couple of aspects that I didn't find totally plausible but it was still a great read.

View all my reviews

Friday, 19 May 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 19/5/23

It's Friday!  Time to look back on the blessings of the past week.  Thanks to our host Susanne who you can find here.

1)  Firstly I'm grateful to Susanne for keeping the Friday Five going each week especially when I've had a week of no blogging.  A weekly post is better than nothing.

2)  We celebrated 2 birthdays this week - our daughter's was last Saturday and we babysat for her so she and her wife could go out for dinner and see a show.  We even managed to get the kids in bed and asleep.  The second birthday was Grandson Noah's.  He turned 5 on Wednesday.  We didn't get to see him but we'll celebrate when we're all together for Rory's birthday in a couple of weeks.

3)  Grateful to have lovely DILs.  Noah's Mummy was set a challenge this week - Noah wanted a snail cake for his birthday.  She didn't disappoint him.

4)  There were a couple of things going on this week that were causing me a bit of anxiety but thankfully they were both resolved.

5)  We had a good time visiting some of the stalls taking part in the Jumble Trail last Sunday.  The weather was lovely so it was nice to be out and about.  We didn't buy much - just a couple of bits for the Grandkids and a couple of albums and CDs for Hubby.

Bonus item - I finally managed to finish The Picture of Dorian Gray which Goodreads describes as:

For over a century, this mesmerizing tale of horror and suspense has enjoyed wide popularity. It ranks as one of Wilde's most important creations and among the classic achievements of its kind.

Well it took me 10 days to read, even though it's not a particularly long book.  It was not mesmerizing or suspenseful but it is another book ticked off the BBC list.  I've moved onto a chick lit book now for some light relief!  

Have a good weekend all.

Friday, 12 May 2023

Friday's Fave Five - 12/5/23

Each Friday a group of us post about the good things from our week.  Our host Susanne keeps us on track - visit her here to find out more and see who else is joining in.

Here is my list for this week:

1)  Peace and quiet on the day of the Coronation.  Hubby had gone out and I had the house (and the TV remote) to myself.

2)  A knit and natter session on Wednesday.  Always fun to get together with other crafters.

3)  Solving an issue with an appliance thanks to finding an online manual.  Although I did end up having to e-mail customer support as I thought the one I had found online was only in German.  Turned out I just needed to scroll down about 50 pages to find the English section!  

4)  Hello Fresh meals this week.  We had a lovely chicken dish including Serrano ham and a truffled mushroom sauce, a pasta dish and a mushroom and bacon risotto.  We don't get them every week but it does add some variety to our meals.

5)  A successful shopping trip today for a dress to wear to a wedding we're going to.  I'm not great at shopping for clothes for me but Hubby tagged along and that helped.  Now I just have to sort out shoes and accessories.

Bonus:  Looking after this one for a few hours yesterday - I got a snuggle on the sofa while watching TV and lunch was pretty hassle free too.

Tomorrow is our daughter's birthday so we're babysitting while she and her wife go out for dinner and then to the theatre and Sunday there is a Jumble Trail in our area.  I'll be looking to see if I can pick up any toys for when the grandkids are here but trying not to add to my piles of books!  

Have a good weekend all and happy Mother's day to friends over the pond.  Ours was back in March.