Happy New Year

Christmas-cactus
My Cactus was beautiful this year!

Its been a wonderful Christmas, lots of fun and laughter. My son came to stay and it was like being a family again! We were up dancing and singing until 3.30am – luckily we have no close neighbours! We opened stockings, had a 7 course lunch that started at 1 and finished at 7 with games and breaks between courses! Good friends visited, my daughter came with her husband – and we have enough chocolate to last a few weeks at least! Presents were wrapped and unwrapped, love and laughter filled our home. We were truly blessed.

Happy New Year

 

I do hope that 2016 is a great year, full of blessings of health wealth and happiness.

A New Year’s Reflection

Take nothing for granted

For whenever you do

The joy of enjoying

Is lessened for you.

For we rob our own lives

Much more than we know

When we fail to reflect

Or in any way show

Our thanks for our blessings

That daily are ours …

The warmth of the sun,

The fragrance of flowers,

The kind, little deeds,

So thoughtfully done,

The favours of friends

And the love that someone

Unselfishly gives us

In a myriad of ways,

Expecting no payment

And no words of praise –

Oh, great is our loss

When we no longer find

A thankful response

To the things of this kind.

For the joy of enjoying

And the fullness of living

Are reflections of the heart

That is filled with thanks giving.

Helen Steiner Rice

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The Dressmaker – clothes maketh woman!

Film review and gorgeous clothes!

Made for Mi

4b2982a503c84eb43b4f5150c1a656abWhen I read about this film I couldn’t wait to see it, but I had to be very determined! Most of the showings for the film were during the day! It did make me wonder if the cinema promoters were sidelining it because of it’s ‘niche’ – women’s interest! However this film is hilarious and not one to miss even if you aren’t interested in fashion and dressmaking!

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Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage (Kate Winslet) returns to her home town of Dungatar (yes it does include the word dung – apt you will agree) in country Victoria in the early 1950s, all grown up and hell-bent on revenge. She’s armed with her Singer sewing machine, steps off the coach and declares, “I’m back, you bastards!”Blamed at age 10 for the death of another child (who was the town bully) and sent away, Tilly has returned with haute couture seamstress skills to deal with…

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The Cheesemaker’s House – book review

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The internet is a wonderful place – sometimes it can take you on a journey of discovery, there I was on Streetlife promoting my Happy Hookers and Knit wit’s group when up popped a post about local authors selling their books. In no time  I had clicked on the link and ten minutes later I found myself fully absorbed in this wonderful book.

I clicked on the link initially because I believe passionately that we should all try and support local artists and writers. I believe publishing has been destroyed; like so many things in our society, where the driving force is make money rather than publish good books.

I have read a couple of self published books before, so I was not expecting a great deal but I was pleasantly surprised.  From the very first page, I was absorbed in the story, something quite rare these days, not only was the quality of writing excellent but the characters were engaging from the start.

It was the sort of day when the roads melt. So William and I don’t take them. Instead I clamber over the garden fence … grass ripples around my feet and ankles, filled with the buzz of summer.

So begins the tale of the Cheesemaker’s house – Alice begins a new life in Yorkshire after her divorce – with plans to renovate her barn into a holiday let.

My mental image of a Yorkshire builder was a rotund man in a cloth cap who would exhibit a great deal of sucking of teeth when confronted with my barn. I certainly didn’t expect Richard Wainwright to be tall, dark and handsome.

Welcomed by the locals she soon hires handsome Richard to renovate her barn but they both begin to hear crying that brings Alice to the brink.

Owen a local ‘herbalist and healer’ meets Alice in church – he is quiet and caring completely different to Richard.   Pretty soon the three of them become entangled as the past and present meet when the body of a baby is discovered buried in the floor of the barn.

Jane’s writing flows easily from the page, Alice is a strong character – likeable, down to earth and no-nonsense. Her patience with the Owen went beyond mine to be honest. I did find at one point I was rather fed up with Owen’s mood swings.  Owen’s disappearance was not  fully explained, it was irritating and I never really understood why Alice loved him so much, but then I have never found vulnerability in men appealing.

As a hero in true romantic novel style- Owen is too weak. Yet it is the very fact that he is not perfect brings the story together – it makes Owen a human being and this novel a little less shallow than a romantic romp.

The incidents where the past and present meet –  were limited to sound and vision – I would have liked them to be richer – using all the character’s senses but maybe Jane intended them to be fleeting glimpses.

That said it is well worth a read – an engaging tale, light hearted with a little bit of the supernatural but nothing to give you nightmares

The writer self published because because the book doesn’t really sit neatly into a category! Yet, the mixture of supernatural and romance was just what I had been looking for! You can find out about the author, Jane Cable on her website but the really wonderful discovery is that Amazon has now shown me a whole list of authors I hadn’t heard of before to explore.

ttfn

 

 

Foodie Pen Pals Swap November

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Oh how lovely it is to receive a parcel in the Post – this was my second foodie swap and this time my sender, Mari was from Ireland!

 

 

What a delightful package! Not only Irish Country Stew, but Irish ‘Tayto’ brand Chilli crisps that did not last long after this picture was taken!

I had not heard of Bewley’s before but they are a hotel chain and the Irish Breakfast tea was as rich and delightful – certainly the kick I needed to get going in the mornings. I think the Irish love their tea almost as much as the English do!

There was also some microwave popcorn – which reminded me of happy memories of the movie nights I did with my children when they were small.

My parcel was sent to the lovely Linda in Holland – I hope she enjoyed her parcel as much as I enjoyed mine.

The foodie swaps are run by the lovely Carol-Ann, you can join in the fun just pop over to her blog.

ttfn x