Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter

I'm afraid they have let me loose in the kitchen again this weekend.
I love making these cakes you can literally transform them into a cake for any occasion.

At the beginning of the year I started work on the third in the trilogy of ladies.
This is The Earth Goddess.

I promised I would write a blog on her progress 

and here we are.
She is every bit as beautiful as the other two and I am looking forward to seeing all three completed. 


As you can see by the 19th March I had reached the half way point.

Having reached the half way point on The Earth Goddess I decided I could now start working on my next project which is to be a gift later in the year.

She is called The Quiltmaker by Lavender and Lace and is just the right present for the recipient.

She is proving to be lovely to stitch and even at the end of day one I could see the picture coming together. 

Today marks the end of the first week and as you can see there has been a lot of progress, mainly due to having a few days annual leave.

Hope you all enjoying the Easter break 


Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Year In Books 2016 - February

Amy Snow - TracyRees 
Abandoned on a bank of snow as a baby Amy is taken in at nearby Hatville Court. But the masters and, servants of the grand estate prove cold and unwelcoming.  Amy's only friend and ally is the sparkling young heiress Aurelia Vennaway. So when Aurelia dies young, Amy is devastated. But Aurelia leaves Amy one last gift. A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can follow. A life-changing discovery awaits if only she can unlock the secret.  As a debut novel I thought this a very good read and loved all the intrigue behind the treasure hunt.  Amy is a young girl of just 17 when her friend Aurelia dies and,  she is banished from the Hatville Estate.  She under takes a journey following instruction from her dear friend Aurelia.  At each destination she is to wait the arrival of the next clue until she finally travels to York to discover Aurelia's secret. It was a long novel at over 500 pages and probably could have been a little shorter but I would still recommend.

.Imogen's Baby - Amanda Prowse 
Can Imogen overcome life's challenges and have the baby she longs for? It's hard enough having a baby on your own. But for Imogen, 24 years old and blind since birth, it will be harder than most. Her journey will take her from heartache to hope and back again. But Imogen has never let blindness rule her life, and she isn't going to start now. I have always been a fan of Amanda Prowse novels since her first Poppy Day. Imogen's Baby is a short story only available as an e-reader. Imogen has been blind since birth and has had to overcome a lot in her young life. She desperately wants to be a mother herself and this is her story of how she is going to make this happen.  Worked well as short story but think there could have been a lot more content in a full novel. 

The Silent Sister - Diane Chamberlain 
What if everything you believed in turned out to be a lie? Riley MacPherson is returning to her childhood home in North Carolina. A place that holds cherished memories. While clearing out the house she finds a box of old newspaper articles - and a shocking family secret begins to unravel. 
Riley has spent her whole life believing that her older sister Lisa died tragically as a teenager. But now she's starting to uncover the truth. Her life has been built on a foundation of lies, told by everyone she loved. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley tries to separate reality from fiction, her discoveries call into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Can she find the strength inside herself to decide her future. This novel was a birthday present from last year and I have only just worked my way through the bookshelf to read it.  Diane Chamberlain is not normally an author I would look out for, and it's probably why my friend bought them for me as gifts as she knows how many books I buy throughout the year it's difficult to get a book for me that I won't already have.  I have read two Diane Chamberlain novels now including this one and I still have two more that she gave me for Christmas and birthday.  I really enjoyed Riley's journey in discovering the truth about her sister and how she puts the pieces together to find her sister. 

The Light Fantastic (Discworld Novel 2) - Terry Pratchett 
As it moves towards a seemingly inevitable collision with a malevolent red star, the Discworld could do with a hero. What it doesn't need is a singularly inept and cowardly wizard, still recovering from the trauma of falling off the edge of the world, or a well-meaning tourist and his luggage which has a mind (and legs) of its own. Which is a shame because that's all there is.....  I haven't set myself any challenges this year but I decided I would like to read something totally out of my usual reading genre.  I see Terry Pratchett novels every time I go to the Waterstones and I have always been intrigued by the huge following his novels have.  I decided therefore that Sir Terry's Discworld series would be just the right thing for me.  I loved Rincewinds character in the first two and the story of the Unseen University and I am looking forward to taking on the 3rd in series which I believe only leaves me another 37 to go.

The Photographer's Wife - Nick Alexander 
Barbara - a child of the Blitz has devoted her life to raising a family. She has protected her children from many of the harsh realities of life and kept more than a few secrets about her marriage to famous photographer Tony Marsden. But with such an incomplete picture of the past, her children have struggled to understand who their parents really are, and in turn, she sometimes worries, to build their own lives and identities. When daughter Sophie decides to organise a vast retrospective exhibition of her adored fathers work old photo's are pulled from dusty boxes. And with them tumble stories from the past, stories and secrets that will challenge every aspect of how Sophie sees her family and who her father really was. And as the story untavels, Sophie begins to find out that there is more to her family than she could ever have suspected. I hasn't read any Nick Alexander novels before.  The story is written in the past and present which I do like in the novels I read. It is a story of a daughter who after the death of her father has put him on that pedal stool as so often happens. Sophie decides she would like to hold an exhibition of her fathers work something her mother Barbara is not over keen on and with very good reason. There are things that Sophie does not know, secrets within the family and most of all Barbara is worried that her daughter will find that her father wasn't quite the esteemed photographer she thought her was.  Really enjoyed this one and would recommend. 

The Ice Twins - S.K Tremayne
A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcroft move to the tiny scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives. But when their surviving daughter Kirstie claims they have mistaken her identity - that she, in fact, is Lydia - their world comes crashing down once again. As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past - what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died.?  I had seen this book on lots of blogs and instagram.  It came up as one of my daily deals on Amazon so I decided I would have to download it.  As it says in the title and the blurb it is a story of twins. One of the twins is killed in an accident. It is assumed the twin that died is Lydia and the surviving twin Kirstie, so when the surviving twin tells her parents they got it wrong and that she is Lydia it throws the family into chaos. They have no way of proving it one way or another, they even hold a second funeral for the Kirstie and have to change the death certificate for Lydia.  It all became very complicated and I have to admit even by the end of the novel I wasn't quite sure which of the twins had actually survived.  I still enjoyed the novel and maybe the whole point was that you should be left wondering which was the surviving twin.  

As always I like to pick a favourite read of the month and for February I have picked Amy Snow by Tracy Rees.

Image result for mother's day

Today is Mother's Day here in the UK so to all mums and soon to be mums Happy Mothers Day x


Thursday, 3 March 2016

Goodbye February Hello March

At last Spring is here, well meteorlogically speaking at least, even though it has been freezing this last few days at last the mornings are lighter even if it is still dark by the time I arrive home. 

I am all at sixes and sevens at the moment. Life work balance is proving to be a bit of a challenge and sometimes I have to put things aside and the moment it appears to be my blog.

February saw a month of birthdays with middle son turning 25 and daughter 22 and our little Monty turned 8. It was also a month where I completed two more snuggle blankets for colleagues at work who are about to go on maternity leave to have babies in April/May.More stitches have gone into The Earth Goddess cross stitch.  She is coming a long well but I have to be very strict with myself and at least get a couple of hours stitching in on a Sunday afternoon. I intend to do a post with photographs of her journey so far when there is a bit more to show.  I have continued reading the second novel of Terry Pratchett's Discworld and I have this morning downloaded number 3 in readiness for when I have completed my current book. My favourite read of February was Amy Snow by Tracy Rees and I am in the midst of writing a blog post about all the books I read over the last month. 

We don't go big on Valentines these days so it was a lovely surprise when I came home to a gorgeous bouquet of red roses 16 in all representing one for each year we have been together, so there is an old romantic still lurking somewhere in D after all.  We had a nice meal topped off with white and dark chocolate mousse desert made from a Raymand Blanc recipe which I found on the internet. The diet definitely went south that day.  

I am planning a few days R & R over the Easter break so I am hoping that will give me more of an opportunity for writing blog posts in a more timely fashion.

Hope March is treating you well so far and for all the mothers in the UK have a wonderful Mothers Day this Sunday.