Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Reading List #24

Wow, my reading list posts have been a little neglected of late! Not to worry though, I’ve been keeping a list of everything I’ve read and I’m planning to write a few posts today to have them lined up and ready.

The posts may have slowed, but the reading definitely hasn’t, and I have so many to talk about over the next few weeks. So here it is, the next four books on my reading list:


Five Quarters of the Orange, Joanne Harris



Widow Framboise works at a creperie, working on and refining old family recipes. Her nephew tries to exploit her success and claim the family secrets. Throughout the novel, details of Framboise’s wartime childhood tumble out, and it becomes clear that a lot of her memories are more constructed than they originally appeared.

The story had potential, and was intriguing. I loved the childlike perspective of Framboise’s memories, but at times the narrative was a bit too disjointed. I didn’t feel like I particularly warmed to any of the characters, and I think that would have helped me to get lost in the story a little more.


The House By The Sea, Santa Montefiore



10 year-old Floriana is caught by the beauty of a Tuscan villa outside her small village, and one day is invited inside by Dante, the son of the owner. Decades later, a Devonshire hotel has landed on hard times and hires an artist in residence to try and improve visitor numbers.

This had all the elements of a great trashy novel, with secrets and lies and instantly recognisable characters. It was a bit of a page-turner and a great, simple read for lazy days or holidays. Some of the twists were unexpected, and it did keep me hooked.


Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte



I don’t often re-read books, as there are just so many out there to be read! However, I had been talking about this book with somebody and decided to re-visit it, as I’ve not read it since Year 9 at school. I think we’re all familiar with the story, but here’s a little set-up in case: an orphan governess wins the heart of Mr Rochester, her seemingly heartless employer…

It’s a true classic that just doesn’t age. I love it now as I did when I was 14, and some scenes are just so vivid in my mind. It’s one novel I’ve not seen stage or screen adaptations of, and I really enjoy the fact that the world Bronte created sits so clearly in my mind. I’m really glad I re-read it.


The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion



Don Tillman is ready to marry, and devises the Wife Project to help him find his perfect match. His mission is side-tracked by the arrival of Rosie, and he joins the hunt to find her biological father. Rosie ticks his project boxes, but is fiery and unpredictable, making her an unsuitable match, as Don lives his life planned and ordered to the second.

I really liked elements of this book, and the concept and voice were there, waiting to come out. However, the overall effect just left me very unconvinced. I didn’t feel the voice was well sustained enough, and it often felt like it was trying a little too hard. I also found a lot of the outcomes very predictable, and just felt let down after having heard such a huge level of hype around the book’s release. I will give it credit though for being something a little different, and the story as a whole was witty and touching.


So there we have it. Have you read any of these books? I’d be really interested to hear what you think.


What should I read next?

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Challenge #6: May 2014

The beginning of a new month means it’s time for a new challenge, and this one revolves around food.

When it comes to lunches, I’m really fussy. I don’t like a huge variety of sandwich fillings, or a lot of typical dressings like mayonnaise. This makes my typical lunches – I take a packed lunch to work each day - very uninspiring and repetitive. I want to try and break out of this trap, and cut down on the amount of bread I’m taking as lunches, in favour of other alternatives.

Realistically, you can’t change everything overnight, so this month’s challenge is:

Try out two new lunch options per week.

This could be leftovers of different meals, salads, wraps… I’m currently on the hunt for inspiration! If I can do more than this, great, but the aim is at least 8 new ideas.

As always, I’ll be taking pictures and filling you in at the end of the month.


Do you have any tips? What are your favourite lunches? 

The Challenge Results #5: April 2014

Another month has flown by, and it’s time to fill you in on the results of my fifth monthly challenge. The challenge for April was:


To walk to and from work (3.5 miles each way) every day, and not take the bus.


I did it! There were 3 occasions – either the journey to or from work – that I had a lift from one of my parents as they were coming to the house or going in that direction, but every other time I have walked. I’ve not set foot on the bus.


Here’s my top 5 benefits of my walk to work month, which is a routine I will 100% be sticking to:

1. Saving money – A bus pass costs money. The walk doesn’t. Simple!

2. Exercise – Walking a brisk 7 miles each day is already feeling so much easier, and my legs are toning up.

3. Wakes me up – I arrive at work feeling fresh and energised because of all the fresh air.

4. Time to think and reflect – As someone who has been dealing with panic and worrying, I’m finding it really helpful to have these periods in the day where I’m removed from everything else, and can just let my mind wander without any pressure.

5. Getting outside – It’s something I’ve never really done enough of, and I’m enjoying the great outdoors and breathing some fresh air.



I thought it would be nice to show you some pictures of my journey, and was waiting for a day of lovely weather… I then realised I might as well show the reality, it that it’s been miserable more times than it’s not! So here’s a peep out from under my umbrella, on a morning where the sky tried out pretty much every type of weather during my walk:





















How do you get to and from work?
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