Monday, 1 September 2014

back to school

The first of September. The first official day of autumn, the first official day of my favourite season. When I wrote about autumn in Happiness Is : , Stephie from the lovely blog, Tea in Your Twenties commented on the back to school butterflies at this time of year, even if your school days were long ago. Mine certainly were. I started the Upper Sixth ten years ago this September. Scary thoughts indeed. And a lot has happened in those ten years. Meeting Dan, completing two degrees, loosing my dear dad, getting engaged, moving to London, and trying to find my feet in the real world, with a hell of a lot of bottles of wine drunk in between. But I still feel like the same gawky teenager, with frizzy hair and bad eyebrows, starting school and hoping for a new year of promise. And now we're back again. On the first of September, on the first day of my new job (you might remember in May I wrote about getting a new job in the same company, and I am now finally starting!), feeling unsure of what I am doing, and what I am supposed to be doing, and if we're being perfectly honest, still with the same frizzy hair and bad eyebrows. But it's the first of September and it's wonderful. This is where you have shiny new shoes, a clean exercise book and a brand new start. So let's raise a glass of something warm and comforting to Autumn, to the first of September, and to the best season of all.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

five lovely things

one : we're always blowing bubbles
Alcoholic bubbles that is. My dear brother Ollie, and his wonderful other half, Becky (who I could not imagine not being one of my bridesmaids), got engaged when they were in Australia a few weeks ago, and on Thursday, they headed back to the UK. Friday night meant only one thing. Well deserved celebrations, and lots and lots of bubbles. Saturday was a rather important birthday for Becky as well, so that could only mean one thing. More bubbles. At one in the morning, feeling suitably merry, and having had an impromptu karaoke session at their house, singing our hearts out to classics by Boyzone, All Saints and Meatloaf (oh yes, we know how to party), Dan and I headed home. Possibly one of the most excellent evenings I have had in a very long time.

two : about time
I watched the most charming, About Time, again this week. I think I have lost track of how many viewings this has had, but I could never, ever tire of this most joyful of films. "We're all travelling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is is do our best to relish this remarkable ride".

three : pink roses and white lilies
and being thoroughly spoiled at work.

four : vintage fabric
Metres and metres of stunning, vintage fabric arrived through the postbox earlier in the week. The perfect thing for wedding bunting.

five : crisp leaves
The first of the crisp autumn leaves fell this week. A little earlier perhaps, but still, of course, welcome.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

happiness is :

: particularly long, and particularly muddy walks

: brewing the perfect cup of tea, that wonderful shade of orange

: rain on windows. Especially when you are tucked up in bed, with a good book and a cup of tea

: belly laughs

: when  buzzfeed just gets it spot on

: curly hair behaving itself

: Love Actually

: oh, and About Time

: not to mention Four Weddings and a Funeral

: oh fine, any Richard Curtis film. Except The Boat That Rocks

: the glug glug glug of a new bottle of wine

: piles of autumn catalogues on the doormat

: decluttering

: wedding invitations arriving in the post

: hiding under knitted wool blankets

: the last night of the proms

: Dan's homemade soup

: that Friday feeling...

: on that note, Crunchies. So darn tooting good.

: roast dinner on a Sunday. With all the trimmings. And washed down with apple crumble.

: starbucks red Christmas cups.

: a new box of Rice Krispies. Snap, crackle and pop!

: puppies

: not just puppies, dogs. All dogs.

: escaping London

: Harry Potter

: a freshly, made bed. With fresh, crisp sheets.

: christmas pie.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

strange girls and ordinary women : a book review

They say you know instinctively who to trust.

Alice is normal; she'd never do anything rash. But when she sees her husband one day with a younger girl, she knows at once that he's having an affair. And it must be stopped.

Vic loves her friend Michael, more than he knows. He wants happiness and thinks he's found it with the magnetic Estella. But Vic feels she can't be trusted - and she needs to make Michael see that too.

They don't know Kaya; her life is tougher than they can imagine. But Kaya's a survivor, and she's determined to find a way out of her miserable world.

Three women, three lives that come crashing together in this dark, lyrical and utterly enthralling story of warped perceptions, female intuition and 'the other woman'.

I was always told not to judge a book by its cover, but I have to admit, that there was something that drew me to Strange Girls and Ordinary Women by Morgan McCarthy*. From it's unique title, to the mysterious and forlorn woman on the front of the book in a popping yellow dress, this book demands attention, and it certainly didn't disappoint.

Strange Girls and Ordinary Women is about exactly that. It is the story of strange girls and ordinary women, and the consequences when different worlds collide, or perhaps more accurately, of the girls that ordinary women see perceive to be strange when they upset the apple cart.

It is the story of three separate, and entirely different women, Alice, Vic and Kaya, who, as the book progresses, their paths become increasingly linked with one another in the most unexpected of ways.

Alice is the wife of a thoroughly dastardly doctor, Jasper, who she quickly realises is having an affair. At first, she is undoubtedly an ordinary women, keeping a warm home, cooking whole salmons and doting on her husband. When she cottons on to the philandering ways of her husband however, she quickly demonstrates some spying skills that the most discreet of private detectives would be proud of. Perhaps not quite an ordinary woman as originally thought.

Vic is the manager of a hotel in sunny Madeira, helplessly in love with her friend Michael, and increasingly bitter of his growing relationship with the captivating and mysterious Estella. Kaya, is the exotic and alluring club dancer, who's hardships in life are in stark contrast to the comforts and normality that Alice and Vic enjoy.

At first, the book feels slightly disjointed as the author introduces the three different women in three separate narratives. But as their paths become entwined, you become more and more drawn into the book, leading to a quiet, but poignant conclusion.

Strange Girls and Ordinary Women is a story of real life. There aren't huge explosions, sweeping romantic statements or of heroines being swept off their feet, but of the realities of life and of its varied personalities, in very different circumstances. It is a gripping, and powerfully written book, and one that will make you feel rather sad when you finish. A thoroughly enjoyable book (even if you want to shake Vic up and down for being such a wet blanket at times).

Strange Girls and Ordinary Women by Morgan McCarthy - link