Migraines … in search of a cure

The inner part of something; the inside. the interior has been much restored. Synonyms_ inside, inner part, inner area, depths, recesses, bowels, belly; More antonyms_ exterior, ou

I have suffered from Migraines for over 20 years – sometimes they are a constant for up to two weeks a month – sometimes a couple of months pass without any. I have tried many things and eventually – after eating some cream – I had such a strong reaction that I finally made the connection between cows milk and diary and my migraines.

It is not easy to find out the exact cause – and while my headaches have greatly reduced, I find that other things can upset the balance – not getting enough sleep for example or eating jelly sweets!

I began keeping a food diary a few months ago, just a note book on the kitchen counter – it had to be handy otherwise I wouldn’t fill it in! After a while I ended up with a more comprehensive daily sheet that others might find useful.

13-Elderflower cordial -010

Wellness journal – Migraine tracker

It links all sorts of related issues such as sleep and stress.

Free for personal use – but please always refer back here to give due credit.

thanks

Advertisements

Pause for thought…

Notes and flowers

I’ve been blogging since 2014 and have enjoyed the process and hope to continue. I relish the opportunity it gives to be creative with photography as well as looking back on posts and remembering what I did in the last few years.

I have also appreciate connecting with other ordinary folk like me from all over the world; seeing small glimpses of their lives or sharing philosophy of life the universe and everything else in between.

It is delightful, finding posts from people writing blogs – who don’t have thousands of followers. I like that everyone can have a voice and a relatively clean space to in which to express themselves, that has just as much gravitas as big companies or media moguls. It is very tempting at the beginning when you write constantly but get little or no feedback, but I am glad I resisted the pressure to follow 10 steps to get 1000 followers or other such nonsense created by marketeers.

Unlike Facebook -here on WordPress,  I am not bombarded with advertising or false news, and most blogs don’t have flashing adverts and links – that mean I am struggling to find the content among all the other distractions and images.

My generation was the one that saw the invention of the internet and home computing and embraced it, but, like all inventions there are good and bad aspects – it is all about being mindful of what I am doing.

Imagine what you would do with an extra 2 hours a day!

I was challenged recently about my lack of creativity and voiced the same trite defence – I don’t have enough time. It sounded a poor excuse even to my own ears – and it made me decide to sit back and evaluate just how I was spending my time.

It was quite illuminating – what surprised me most is that whenever there was a quiet moment – I would reach for the computer and browse Pinterest. In fact Pinterest was my go to website whenever I had five minutes – it became my reward. But when I added it all up, it amounted to two hours of my day – simply frittered away. Not only that I found that it actually reduced my creativity because I felt pulled from one idea to the next – hopping from green living, gardening, minimalism, sewing, couture… the list goes on. It was responsible for small obsessions and spending that I might not have done. (two months of making inedible bread for example). I felt mentally exhausted by it all.

I went on an internet diet – reducing my time on line down to an hour a day! which in turn- freed up all those spare moments of time. Surprisingly once I had broken the addiction -I began to feel less scattered in my thinking. I also tried to do a little bit of mindfulness – for the odd five minutes. I noticed the feel of bubbles as I washed up, or people watching in the queue of the supermarket, or the taste of my first cup of tea in the morning.

Honeycomb-2

When I think back to my days of being a teenager my head was always full of noticing small details to re-create in my writing – I would people watch for hours making up stories. But that was all before the internet.

Up to now, minimalism has been an interest among many, that I follow on Pinterest, but not something I have been actively engaged in. Although my minimalism board is full of beautiful homes – organised and free of clutter – I seem to be stuck in my ‘research’ phase. I had not considered, up to now, how vital it was to my wellbeing to create ‘headspace’

You would think it would be relatively easy to create this but simple is not that simple.

 

tips for stretch fabrics

Ask yourself, (as I did) when did you last see an ordinary person’s slightly blurry, photograph of their craft on Pinterest? Where are all the individuals like me that create not so pristine if slightly wonky – creations? I also notice that Pinterest seems to have much more advertising which is now not just stationary but moving and flashing. It’s distracting and designed to be. All our time on line is designed to get us to Buy buy buy… there is no way round it. Even facebook now, shows products you might be interested in… that I am beginning to have trouble tuning out.

It is so much harder to move away from the crowd, only because it is now so insidious in our society. Selling and advertising used to be limited to newspapers and magazines, but now its bus stops, petrol stations – shop windows and especially TV. It used to be that you could switch off the sound of the advertising – but now we have product placement in nearly every film or television series.

thumb_IMG_1719_1024

So the only option is to set my own boundaries and most surprisingly of all, keep protecting my ‘white space’.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a use for Pinterest, facebook and other sites in my life – I just need to place my own boundaries about how I use them so that I am Master of my own fate.

So thank you, WordPress, for this gloriously pristine space, long may it continue.

Sunday Sevens – book reviews

IMG_1486

I’ve struggled a little with the concept of Sunday Sevens because in all honesty my life is pretty ordinary and not all that exciting, but I enjoy reading other bloggers posts and it is only fair to share. All in all, its been a pretty quiet week – no migraines thankfully! so I thought I would use the opportunity to write a little book review and a few of the simple things that have given me pleasure this week.

 

IMG_1488

Firstly, I am really enjoying this Sencha Sakura Green Tea from Char in Winchester. It is a scented tea – and has a delicate cherry flavour that is simply divine! perfect for Spring.

Rivers of London Book review

I really enjoyed this book! Right from the beginning I felt incredibly sorry for the protagonist – DC Peter Grant – he has a sardonic humour! To quote the blurb… Meet DC Peter Grant he will show you his city. But it’s not the capital that you all see as you make your journey from Tube to Bus, from elephant to castle. It’s a city that under its dark surface is packed full of crime. And of magic. A city that you never expected…

This is a wonderful book, (I am delighted that this is the first in a series) it has been described as Whitechapel mixed with Harry Potter – it is a great imaginative mix. There are the vampires living in a basement, a witness to a murder comes forward .. the only problem is the witness is ‘corporeally challenged’ as in not having a body because he is a ghost. It is a really good read and one that will keep you turning the pages.

Self care revolution

There are so many books on Self Care at the moment – many of which I have passed over because they are pretty thick and to be honest… boring. This one stands out because there is a lot of pictures… and I do love pictures! There is a lot of wisdom in the pages, but it is laid out in such a way that you can take chunks at a time for example there are a couple of yoga poses that could be done before bed. They take ten minutes and it has helped me achieve the desire to do more yoga because its achievable – I found the hour and a half sessions I attended a struggle if I am honest! but ten minutes before bed, four restorative poses – that is achievable!

There are various sections covering all aspects of good living – movement and nutrition, sleep rest and relaxation, coping skills, physical environment, social connections, mood boosters, goal setting and accomplishments and finally values and purpose.

It is written with such honesty, the author was in need herself – and she is honest about her depression which helps. Sometimes self help books are written in such a way that you feel the author has never had a problem – but Suzy Reading is open about her own journey which seems to make the advice more authentic.

The Simple Home Book Review

I had to have this book as a physical book because I bought Rhonda’s simple living on my kindle and really wished I had bought the book. Rhonda gave up the rat race of life.. realised that the key to freedom lay in living simply – within your means and cutting back on all the should haves and must haves. She writes a great blog, down to earth about her life growing their own vegetables and making her own bread. This book is set out in home making areas by season. (although you have to tweak it a little because we are in the northern hemisphere)

A month to month guide to self reliance, productivity and contentment.. With all the talk of financial uncertainty, sky-high property prices – I know this book can help people, you and older, live well in difficult times. There needs to be a way forward that gives ordinary folk the power to choose family and home life instead of intense consumerism and the bleak consequences of it. Living simply can e that way forward.

It is so easy to underestimate just how our lives are tethered to a consumerist culture.. the must have phone upgrades that have us in debt for another couple of years, the lifestyles pumped into our living spaces unconsciously by Television programming as well as advertising. Not to forget that since the introduction of the national curriculum – independent living skills have been virtually eradicated from education – instead of spending 6 weeks a year learning to cook, children spend most of that time designing packaging for their food product – running an imaginary food company. Debt has become a way of living and shopping a way to pass time – made even easier at a click of a button. What we don’t realise is that it takes our lives away, we are selling our time and future for items that really don’t matter. Living within your means without debt – is the way to freedom. Eating food made from scratch – is taking back the control for your health.

ok… rant over. This book is awesome – I am only disappointed that I can’t have chickens anymore!

Paris Undressed Book

In America women save their best lingerie for date night or Valentines day. French women don’t need a special occasion or permission. They resist cookie cutter definitions and labels for love. Why put a quota on pleasure? If lingerie feels good next to your skin, why not wear it as much as possible? Life is the special occasion. Today. Right here. Right now.

We pretty much follow our American cousins when it comes to lingerie – and so lingerie shopping in the UK is very limited. I have to admit I am ashamed of the underwear I reach for every day – its not pretty but it is – thankfully comfortable!

I am certain I am not alone – I have piles of bras that I have worn that have tortured my body until I can bare it no more… it is why I have now taken the sum total of five bra making courses! Yet I the perfect bra seems to elude me! I have a large pile of toile bras that simply don’t fit well either…

But here lies the problem.. French Women spend a lot of money on their lingerie and they have a wide choice of shops to choose from. Here I pick up a £3.00 bra in Sainsbury’s and wonder why the blasted thing is so irritatingly uncomfortable before chucking it on the ever growing pile of torture devices that I hide in overflowing drawers.

Its not just not as simple as Kathryn kemp-Griffin makes out – I’ve visited Agent Provocateur and spent a lot of money on lingerie and yes, you can tell the difference in quality, but sadly, what lingerie manufacturers don’t seem to understand is that women above size 10 would like something beautiful. And yes, women with a cleavage a bit bigger than a D cup would like the same amount of pretty lace and bows that you get on a double AA cup! Why does it all disappear after C I wonder?

ok… yet another rant over.. !

There is a lingerie shop near where I get my hair done… I will make an appointment and let you know how it goes. I really would like to believe that it is as easy as Kathryn kemp-suggests – lots of beautiful lingerie that is comfortable and pleasurable next to the skin!

This book does suggest the holy grail of comfortable underwear exists.. you just have to visit Paris … !

Emotional Sensitivity Book review

This little book rocked my world and has helped me more than all the growing self help books on my shelves. I am an Highly Sensitive Person – its a bit like having extra sensory perception and it does make life incredibly hard sometimes.

I have to admit, there were early chapters in this book that brought tears to my eyes. Imo Lo knows a great deal about her subject – because finally a lot of my painful past not only made more sense but I realised I was not alone – that there are others who also struggle.

There is great practical advice – how to look after yourself, how not to close down and shut off all feeling. Being HSP means that if you sit with an angry person – you feel their anger, their rage, it is uncomfortable – it is painful and it is overwhelming at times. It means you cannot hurt someone – no matter how much they deserve it, without feeling that hurt too. So it makes you very vulnerable – and a target that seems to bring out the bully in a lot of people.

I cannot recommend this book enough – it is practical and offers strategies that give me hope.

Be Gentle to yourself

I have finished another little quilt – these little sewing meditations are soothing and relaxing. You can read about my first little quilt here.

 

Comfort and Joy – Sunday Sevens 18th March

Radiant and Green Travels book review

Joining Nat’s Sunday Sevens post this week…

It has been a tough six months -moving home and starting a new job, but it seems that things are getting easier – the worst is behind me – a bit like Spring things are starting to bloom. Although right now, I have woken up to a lovely covering of snow!

I have been struggling health wise – back in January I decided to try a wheat free diet – I bought two books Radiant and Green Kitchen travels. I think this decision has added to my misery- Green Travels has a wonderful recipe for chocolate cake that looks delicious but the steps to make it are very complicated – you have to use hazelnut flour that you grind yourself! I have taken the trouble to make it twice now – but my palate has not caught up – it just tasted rubbery and bland! (I do feel a rant coming on but I will save it for another post!)

wheat free peanut butter biscuits

However these little biscuits have been a life saver! My friend, P came over yesterday and I showed her how to make these – they were hot out of the oven in 10 minutes and they are gluten free.

Put 200g of peanut butter in a bowl, add 100 – 175 grams of sugar, ( I use 100g the recipe calls for 175 but I cut down all sugar in recipes) add an egg and mix. Put small balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Press with the back of a fork (tip if you want them crisp flatten them down – if you like them crispy on the outside and soft in the middle leave them a bit thicker. Also use dark muscovado sugar) Bake at 180 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Weekend Baking - Lemon Drizzle cake
Lemon Drizzle Cake

It has been a week where I have needed comforting – I’ve had 9 days of constant migraine so I have focussed on home comforts to soothe myself. I love baking – it is such a nurturing comforting activity. So on Monday I made a lemon drizzle cake and a dark ginger cake. The ginger was wrapped in one of my wax cloths (you can read how they are made on my other blog) – it helped the flavour develop for a couple of days and kept it very moist.

Comfort food - Mac Cheese
Comfort food – mac and cheese

I have also been reaching for comfort food in other ways – this Mac cheese was delicious – why should it be that carbs are demonised recently? I think food is so much more than the elements it is made from. I think this week has seen me rebel because despite cutting down on wheat – I am still getting horrendous migraines!

Seasonal Celebrations
Ready to decorate for Spring

My new tree arrived this week – we have a large alcove above the fireplace and I decided to buy an artificial tree to decorate as a way of celebrating the seasons. So I have been gathering items together to decorate it for Ostara which falls on the 20th of March – and Easter just after. I am not a pagan, but I love the story behind Ostara and it seems to be more Germanic – either way, Spring is a welcome guest.

Preparations for Spring Ostara
Eggs, Daffodils, Spring

 

I have been collecting egg shells – as well as polystyrene eggs to decorate – E and I will sit down together to paint them today which should be great fun. I will also save a few for little ones when they visit – we have little chicks too.

I am relishing the glorious bright sunny daffodils in abundance outside as well as in. They are so unashamedly vibrant – which is just what is needed after the dark months of January and February.

moon gazing hare embroidery
Ostara celebration embroidery

I have been loving slow sewing – this little Moon Gazing Hare embroidery was a delight to do – you can catch up with it on my made for mi blog. I am really enjoying hand embroidery – it is similar to colouring – there is no counting just following the lines one stitch at a time. It can be done easily while watching  listening to the Television.

Mini Vintage linen Quilt Embroidery
Mini Vintage Quilt Embroidery

I am using up all old vintage linens, (I found these pieces in a charity shop) to create mini quilts that I will be posting on made for mi soon. I think the sentiment sums up my week!

ttfn x

Duvet Day – December 2017

IMG_3011

It seems that I can’t do things by halves, my good friend N went on holiday while she was away, I moved house, moved job and met a new man all in the space of a couple of weeks! However, it is all working out really well and I can honestly say I am the happiest I have been for quite a few years.

However, it has taken its toll which is why I am tucked up in bed, Barney curled up at my feet and I am enjoying having the time to catch up with everyone in blogosphere and finally compile a post myself. I am suffering from a bug that has had me sleeping most of the last few days, but finally I am awake a little more, that I can write between naps. The lack of posting is not an indicator that I have abandoned my creativity, rather the result of a busy work schedule and a home to reassemble.

Christmas

I came across a medium reading recording from 2015 where I was told I would be living in a Georgian house – at the time it seemed to be pie in the sky but  it is my reality! For years, I have desired a good old fashioned mantle shelf to decorate for Christmas – finally I have the most beautiful marble fire place. Tall ceilings and large floor to ceiling windows (all be it single glazed because of the grade II listing!) I am delighted with my new home.

Games Evening

I achieved all the things on my November wish list, we had three games nights over the last few weeks – it is such a fun way to spend time with friends. Pictionary is an old favourite, but this year we bought Cards against Humanity – which is such good fun – but not one to play with anyone slightly prim! You definitely need to know your friends well to play this one! But it is hilarious and great fun.

The new Articulate your life – is an easier version of the original game, I have to admit I often struggled with the geography and nature category in the original game, but the categories in this one are much more simple! (even I managed a good score!)

It is something that I intend to do much more often next year – it is a great way to have fun with friends – it is so much easier than eating out! and you can laugh to your heart’s content!

poetry workshop

The poetry workshop at the local library was tremendous – we were introduced to some new poets, and the tutor was very encouraging. Spending time with other writers and talking about poetry and writing is great for creativity. I was thrilled to discover that there is a regular poetry group in the area – they meet once a month so I am looking forward to focussing more on creative writing.

I managed to make two advent calendars for the grandsons of E – ready in time for December. I will blog about the making of them in time for December next year!

We met up – the two families together at the Winchester Christmas Market. Skating on the small ice rink was harder than I remembered – it took a few circles to find my feet – but joy of joys, it was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!  We warmed up with mulled wine in the freezing weather. The grandsons are delighted with their calendars, I included some cracker jokes as well as a small toy – it is so much fun to have little ones around again.

little baby elf

Little Effie is growing fast, here she is all dressed up for her first Christmas Party! Last Friday I had my first session of babysitting, it was far more nerve racking than when I had my own children but it was delightful!

montessori mobile

I made her a little feather mobile – the Montessori system advocates the use of floating mobiles at three months. I was so thrilled that it caught her attention, she enjoyed watching the feathers float around in the breeze.

Vintage Christmas felt dog decoration

I’m participating in Sewchet’s stitching Santa this year – I came across this little decoration pattern in last year’s Prima Christmas Makes magazine. I thought it would make a good hand made gift. I couldn’t bring myself to replicating the rough hand stitching, but otherwise I am rather pleased with the result. I made another one for my tree.

Stitching santa

My parcel arrived all the way from New Zealand – long before I had been able to make my gift and send the parcel off. Can’t wait to open it and see what is in store!

Cocktails

I am lucky enough to have a talented hairdresser for a son, this is us drinking cocktails after I had my hair done. The purple lights look as if I have purple hair, but I have had a streak of electric blue on one side – that I am thrilled with you can just see it peeping through by the blueberries!

Sirdar colour wheel crochet

I’ve been missing crochet while watching TV – so when I saw this colour wheel wool I could not resist buying it. I decided to keep the crochet fairly plain to allow the colour variation to show through. Its just trebles but I like the ripple effect of the little blanket.

That about sums up my news for now, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and look forward to a happy, healthy and wealthy, 2018!

ttfn x

 

 

 

The Handmaid’s Tale – book review.

 

170425-wilstein-handmaiden-tease-1_bdmlre

I had heard about this book in the 1980s when it was first published, I remember being intrigued by the concept, but I never quite got round to reading it. I caught the first episode of the latest series – and decided to watch no more until I had read the book.

I know its been said many times – the book format gives a richer experience for me, more intimate than watching a TV screen, but I have to admit Elizabeth Moss was a perfect choice for the adaptation.

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs. Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of twenty-first century America gives full rein to Margaret Atwood’s devastating irony, wit and astute perception

My respect to Atwood, it is an engaging stifling mesmerising tale – Offred is a survivor, she does not allow herself to think or remember her life before the regime, but it is through the memories that the full story emerges, layer by layer. We go back and forth in time, and the way media is used and manipulated to shape minds, is astounding. Long before sound bites and facebook, it is shocking to see how easily it can all come true.

the-handmaids-tale-elisabeth-moss-2

When Attwood wrote this book, she was in Germany – Eastern Germany still had repressive regimes and the fear of being arrested for crimes against the state were her inspiration.

Back in the early 1980’s there were no cameras monitoring the streets – no google data collection nor email monitoring. A couple of years ago, a scandal in this country involved under cover policemen living double lives for years with female feminist activists.

“It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the President and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time.

“Keep calm, they said on television. Everything is under control. I was stunned. Everyone was, I know that. It was hard to believe. The entire government, just like that. How did they get in, how did it happen?

“That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.”

Attwood’s words are chilling – because it seems we have become a society that rarely questions. Our screens are full of celebrities in jungles or dancing, children don’t want to change the world -they want to be famous.

This book has reminded me – of the school child who enjoyed political debates and believed that society needed to change, needed equality – and now, thirty years later the gap between rich and poor is widening again and I wonder where that idealistic teenager went? It feels good to consider something deeper and it is definitely thought provoking.

future_handmaid_promo

If nothing else, this book shows us just how close we are to things tipping the balance and it is scary and frightening. The narrative tension never lets up, there is a pervading fear – that seeps off the page. The suffocating restriction of Offred’s life, where time hangs heavy – but there is nothing else to do but remember.

The ending is a a mark of genius, the epilogue allows us a widening view, and the ability to create our own ending.

Yes, the book does offer a deeper experience, but I will try and catch up with the television series – if nothing else it has created a debate.

Thirty years after publication and it is deservedly on the top sellers list.

 

 

 

 

 

Could do list for November…

November Joys

The leaves are almost down, I loved the golden colours of these leaves at my local park, most of the trees are bear now, but one tree had this golden carpet underneath that was irresistible!

I love the concept of a could do list – rather than a should do list – (if you read Simple Things Magazine you will be familiar with the idea!)

Enjoy Seasonal Food…. I adore the little clementines that arrive in the shops at this time of year. Ok so you can get them all year round like everything, but now they are in season they taste so sweet! Their arrival brings with it, fond memories of Christmas Stockings!

Visit my local library…. Mine is doing a poetry workshop next week – it is the most amazing place, there is a coffee shop as well as a creativity lab with access to Photoshop and other software.

Christmas Markets are opening all over the country, my favourite is the Winchester Christmas Market – not only are the items for sale beautifully made and artisan quality, but you can skate on the ice rink and enjoy some mulled wine afterwards!

Last year my son bought all his presents from Etsy – I had the most delightful shopping bag, so I will try and follow his good intentions.

Enjoy the sunrise – the extra hour in bed has been wonderful this week, I am a winter creature and feel more at home with winter time than summertime. The wonderful thing about this time of year is that the sunrise is not too early!

Host a board games/ poker evening – I love boardgames – I’ve just bought the new Articulate your life, which is much less cerebral than the traditional game! I also love poker but penuckle is more fun.

Listen to old music… there is nothing more delightful than the memories that flood back when you listen to an old song. I came across Visage Fade to Grey the other day it was the start of journey that ended up a blissful few hours of nostalgia!

Read or better still listen to a ghost story…. Wilkie collins The Woman in White, Susan Hill Woman in Black, or the classic Dickens Christmas Carol will definitely get you in the mood. I adore the BBC website, radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra have some fantastic productions, I have been enjoying Murder on the Orient Express and Oscar Wilde’s Canterville Ghost . There seems to be far more intimacy with radio and the wonderful thing is that I can focus on my crochet.

Lemon meringue pie

Bake a cake – I made some lovely little individual lemon meringue pies yesterday- I love baking it makes me feel so contented. This is also the month to make your Christmas Pudding, if you want it to be mature enough for Christmas Day. I love home made Christmas Pudding!

Go for a walk in the rain with wellies – splash in puddles.. enjoy the scent – listen to the drops as they hit your umbrella…I enjoy rainy days just as much as sunny ones! Somehow the cosiness of home is intensified after a walk in wild weather.

What are your plans for November?

 

Everything changes… Sunday Sevens 15th October 17

hello Autumn

Isn’t Autumn a wonderful time of year? Maybe its the connection with the start of the a new school year laid down in childhood, but it always feels more of a beginning than January does. It might be October, but the trees around me and in the local park are still green and just starting to turn – and there have been some glorious sunny days – where it seems a bonus to catch the gentler kinder sun.

work in progress

The big news I have is that I am crocheting a baby blanket for my new Granddaughter Effie – I am ashamed to admit that it began when my daughter told me she was pregnant – and now she is 7 weeks old already and I still have a border to finish. But I am enjoying the process and the darker longer evenings seem just perfect for the snuggling comforting repetition that crochet brings.

Its my second attempt, the first was with a beautiful soft wool in baby pink and cream but every time I began stitching I thought I was coming down with a cold as soon as I put it away my cold would go away! I realised that the wool was so fine and fluffy that I was reacting to the loose fibres. So I decided to start again with pretty pastel cottons, which is more practical because it can be easily washed!

I am so proud of my daughter, she is a great mum and Effie is thriving! They are a perfect little family the three of them and my son in law is a great hands on dad.

AUTUMN WAS AWAKENED

I love this quotation, the leaves lulling themselves to sleep, describes the season perfectly! One day on our usual dog walk, this lovely carpet of toadstools appeared virtually overnight! They were all gone the next day.

Autumn berries

Autumn is a lesson that tells us its alright to let go. Last year was one of the worst I have had in a long time, and it has taken until May to get back on my feet again. I have held on to things long after I should have done, and finally last month I have transformed my life. I cannot believe how wonderfully better my life is in every sense, it is so much richer and deeper. I look back and wonder why I held on to something that wasn’t right for so long.

IMG_2890

One aspect that hasn’t changed is Barney is still happily chasing bubbles and balls.

It takes courage to let things go, but when you do, you find the emptiness is always filled with something better and more wonderful than you dared hope.

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney – book review

9780425285046

The blurb….

Emma
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

Jane
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.

Book Review

 

My review….

Wow! What a read! haven’t enjoyed a book since than Girl on a Train.. this kept me gripped so much that I completed it in 24 hours! I really enjoyed it – the tension continued throughout – and I liked the double narrative – ‘ Then’ – Emma’s story – ‘Now’ Jane’s story. The two women had very distinct personalities; they each went through similar experiences but their reactions were different. One example is the Sushi restaurant they are taken to by Edward – I found I related much more to Jane’s reaction than Emma.

Both women were recovering from a recent trauma – Emma having an intruder in her flat in the middle of the night and Jane – after losing a still birth.

The house appears to offer a place of recovery – the clean lines and uncluttered space is reflective of a monk’s cell – austere but with its own sense of serenity. The technology in the house is designed to intuitively support the needs of the occupants – shower settings are automatically adjusted each time to the person’s preferences.

However, the technology becomes oppressive – Jane finds services are withheld until she completes on going psychological tests – each of the questions are moral debates and add to the tension as the questions become more intrusive. The house also completes health checks and monitors overall wellbeing into a quantifiable score – Jane is expected to adjust to improve her scores.

The book blurb linked this with Girl on a Train (which I also loved) and Fifty Shades of Grey… (which almost put me off – I despised that book because it was so awful!) Yet, Edward Montford is a controlling character – JP Delaney understands dominant controlling behaviour and uses it very effectively. Edward has power – his designs have made him wealthy, he is good looking and he is also a perfectionist – which makes him quite an interesting character. I agree that there are also similarities between Girl on a Train… but I don’t want to spoil the read for you – so I won’t say why here.

The-Girl-Before-Review-Banner

The story unravelled at quite a pace – I loved the way the two characters experiences were similar and the way they engaged in a relationship with Edward – kept the tension. Edward had exacting standards – the conditions of living in the house were a huge list of rules – and the women sought to meet those exacting standards.

The plot twists were interesting – and the tension built nicely – I could not put the book down! The conclusion was satisfying – I won’t say any more as I don’t want to spoil it for you!

The only negative thing I can say about this book is that I hate it when they use Americanisms… this is set in London, the story is English why then, does Jane refer to her bangs rather than her fringe? Surely American readers would be able to look it up – if they don’t know what a fringe is?

J.P Delaney is a skilful writer, although Good Reads describes them as

J. P. Delaney is the pseudonym of a writer who has previously published best-selling fiction under another name.

I also note there is another book written under this name… which is great news! Clicking on Amazon as soon as I have finished this review.

The book is going to made into a film.. please leave it in London not New York like The Girl on the Train… !

Overall – five gold stars – ten out of ten -quite brilliant!

 

Darling buds of May – Sunday Sevens 14 May 2017

Saturday Sewing

I am sewing again… maybe it is spring fever – but it is good to feel inspired to stitch again. The last 6 months has been difficult for many reasons: my sewing room being packed up into boxes was one of them.  I haven’t yet sorted space in the flat – but this pattern inspired me so much that I raked through the boxes to find what I needed. It is sad but I will re-organise and get my sewing room back together – it is a promise I have made to myself and I have taken some time off in order to do it this month.

Lemon, ginger and honey tea

On Saturday night I went to see The Catfish Kings in Hayling Island – and met up with the friendly bunch from Jive and Boogie group. It is such fun – we all dress up in 1950s style (including the guys!) and dance swing jive. I had a great time – after an absence of almost three years! There is nothing quite like a good dance to raise vibrations and feel great! However,  I was out of condition – so it was not surprise that I woke up on Sunday morning in need of a little physical restoration.

Lemon, ginger, tumeric and honey tea recipe

Herbal teas are quite pricey – Tea Pigs give the most flavour and they are convenient, but sometimes it really is worth making your own – the flavour is deeper and you know exactly what has gone into the infusion. My version of lemon and ginger is anti-viral and a great restorative.

Zest the lemons – it is where most of the flavour comes from it makes a big difference. Add the juice of a lemon, together with a spoonful of honey – (I buy local honey from a Sussex beekeeper) I find the sweetness is necessary to counteract the lemon and it gives a little bit of energy – but you can leave it out if you wish.

Peel an inch of fresh ginger root; either grate it (which is best) or chop it finely – and add it to the pot. Then sprinkle quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric, this not only gives the tea a beautiful yellow colour – but it is being hailed as a wonder herb for many things including antivirals.

Pour over boiling water and allow to seep – I pump the plunger of my beautiful tea pot (a mother’s day gift from my daughter) a few times to really circulate the ingredients. For a truly sensuous experience – drink from a bone china tea cup, or your favourite mug.

We decided to take a walk, despite the rain (a novelty here in the last month of sunshine!).  This is the view from the Parish Church in Walberton; a pretty little chapel. These lovely churches have some beautiful kneelers – they are works of art and small dedication in canvass. This tiny  church was full of beautiful examples. I am not sure how well attended the church was, but to me they are a sign that someone loves and appreciates their church.

Kneeler Binstead church

Work has been busy – I am also trying to de-clutter – one of the advantages of having everything in boxes is that it makes culling things easier. It is shocking to see just how much I have accumulated – and it is all the small things, drawers full of bits and bobs that frankly look as if they are handy – but they have been there for years! The great step forward this week has been creating the pantry with new shelving. It is sublime!

Forgotten Skills of Cooking

I have a passion for all things domestic -this is a delightful read – not just full of recipes and old fashioned baking/home steading skills that have been largely forgotten. It is the stories that make this book a treasure – alongside recipes for scones is the connection with eating them after school! If you have ever wanted to be more self sufficient then this book will guide you along – cheesemaking, cordials, chicken keeping, jam making, salting and smoking!

Bloom where you are

I have discovered a great level of comfort in the joys of home making and savouring good things – so this quote is apt for what I am manifesting right now. I can’t tell you how blessed I feel – not only to have such a delightful job, a lovely home but great friends and family.  of course that also includes the lovely Barney.

Barney staffie