April books

Love Letters by Katie Fforde is another fairly mediocre but readable book which I did enjoy.

Bookshop worker Laura is about to lose her job when she is asked to help organise a literary festival. Her first job is to try and persuade a reclusive Irish author to attend the festival. Rather predictably he is difficult and arrogant and they fall in love with each other and live happily ever after.

This was a perfect read in the lead-up to the wedding because I didn’t have to concentrate at all!


Rumour Has It by Jill Mansell is another slightly vacuous read.

Newly single Tilly quits her life in London after her useless boyfriend moves out of their flat, and subsequently their relationship, without pre-warning her. As a result she moves to Roxborough (wherever that is supposed to be) to be a kind of nanny to a teenager, who happens to live with her gay father. There were some genuinely quite funny bits but it was all a little bit odd at times. I did quite enjoy it though, even though I probably shouldn’t admit it!


Cross by James Patterson is a slightly messy novel by this normally good, if rathe formulaic, writer. This novel once again features police officer and psychologist Alex Cross.

There are a load of cross-overs between the murders in this book and the murder of Dr Cross’s wife, but it was all even more unbelievable than normal. An OK read but not a keeper.


Double Cross by James Patterson is marginally better than the previous novel. Alex Cross is once again after a killer and this time he is called the Audience Killer, namely because he stages his murders in front of a crowd.

I really like the character of Alex Cross and those of his family, but these books really are very predictable. I do like the short chapters though which make them a quick read!


The Brutal Art by Jesse Kellerman is a cracking read!

New York art-dealer Ethan Muller is happy living his rich, superficial life until one day his father’s aide contacts him and informs him of a load of artwork left in one of their apartments. What he finds is thousands of drawings which all fit together in some ginormous grid. At the centre of the grid are drawings of four boys who were sexually-abused and murdered over forty years ago. The artist is a guy called Victor Cracke who has disappeared and Ethan starts trying to track him down.

It’s a really unusual take on a murder mystery story and interspersed with the Ethan and Victor story are snippets of a historical story which leads up to Victor’s childhood.

As really good book and well worth a read.


The Truth About Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell is a really engaging read. Single mum and dinner lady Melody Browne lives with her 18 year old son in a council flat in Covent Garden. Life ticks along as usual until she goes on a first date with a guy to see a stage hypnotist. She is picked for a demonstration and subsequently passes out. After coming around she starts to feel peculiar, and over the coming days she keeps getting flashbacks to what seems like a previous life. As time goes on she does a bit of investigating and finds out that she originally had a very different life to the one she believed she had. A story involving mental illness, death, hippies and squats, the truth of her history is sad and yet in a strange way it also liberates her.

I loved this book. It flits back and forth between the late 70’s/early 80’s when Melody was a little girl, and to her current day. Beautifully written with well-crafted characters this book is delightful to read, as well as keeping you guessing right up to the end.


The Mister and I listened to Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall-Smith whilst driving to and from honeymoon. It is a little bit similar to 44 Scotland Street although it is set in London.

The story, or rather stories, follow all the residents of a block of flats. They range from the eccentric to the down right insane, but all of them have interesting and rather charming stories. This is perfect for listening to whilst driving as it has short chapters. Not so good if you fall asleep (as I did) because the stories get a bit muddled into one! (I wasn’t driving at the time I was sleeping by the way!!


Up With the Larks by Tessa Hainsworth is a really lovely book. Tessa is a high-flying employee at the Body Shop and her husband is a jobbing actor. Overwhelmed by the pace of London life and their lack of quality of life they decide to move to Cornwall. Struggling for money she starts being a post-woman whilst her husband works in a cafe in between few acting jobs. This book charts their struggle to be accepted into the local community, only realising they have made it when her husband is taken ill and the people rally around them. Lovely book which I really enjoyed.


The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson was a bit of a disappointing book. Focussing around four main characters, Amber, Greg and their friends who are a couple Matt and Jen. Kind of as expected Amber and Greg have this friendship which develops into a more intense relationship but both of them are spectacularly screwed up and keep messing up their relationship. I have to admit that I really wanted to slap these characters as they were so bloody annoying! The one thing I did like about this book is that it is set in Leeds so I kind of knew all the places they were talking about. That was nice, but the story itself was annoying!


Leo’s Girl by Victor Pemberton is a rather mediocre book set in the Blitz in the Second World War. Peggy Thornton was born into a well-to-do family and when she decides to go and work as a clippie (bus conductor) her father definitely does not approve! Life gets even more difficult for her when she takes up with a bus engineer. The most annoying thing about this book wasn’t the story, it was the way the cockney accents were written out in the text. After a while it really got on my nerves! Anyway, it was an OK book and passed the time of day I suppose!


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DSCN4678Now usually when I go anywhere I am considered the naughty one in the corner. Whether it be exercise classes or any other sort of group activity the leader inevitably ends up knowing my name and never forgetting it because I am being cheeky at the back. I have got used to being the disruptive one. However, I have been beaten at my own game.

As I am not working at the moment I have been going to an Aquafit Class at the local leisure centre. I do two a week, one in the day and one in the evening. I reckon that the average age of the class during the day is about 65 and the music is taken straight from the Second World War. They are a hilarious bunch of ladies who sing very loudly and proudly whilst exercising in the swimming pool. They know all the words and they don’t give a shit what they sound or look like. In particular there are a group of about 6 women who are even bigger trouble-makers then I am. They back-chat, try and push each other over and giggle constantly. They proudly announce that they come free on the bus to the class and get reduced OAP admission. I adore them and I want to be like them when I am old. They told me they have been friends for over 50 years, were at school together and worked in the mill. They are a riot and are generally incredibly inspiring. I have no doubt that they wouldn’t describe themselves like this, but I think they are legendary.

They remind me of the poem The Warning by Jenny Joseph.. it is my favourite poem of all time. Apparently as it is still in print I am not allowed to have the entire thing published here… so, here’s a link to it!

…. poem removed so I don’t get anyone into trouble…..

hmm… purple… oh yes.. I do wear it!!!


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Bridesmaid presents

As I had plenty of time before the wedding I spent ages making handbags for my bridesmaids. I couldn’t post any pictures before because I didn’t want them to see them. The bags were all made from fabric I had in my stash, most of which had been bought from charity shops or obtained from the Scrapstore in Welwyn Garden City.

P1020992P1020995This bag was for my cousin Chloe. The outside fabric was from the Scrap store and it was a gorgeous dark blue wool. The flower was made out of patterned sari from a charity shop and some felt and the lining was also made from the sari fabric.

P1020997P1030001This orange bag was for birdie and it was my favourite out of all the bags! Made out of a gorgeous beaded sari (which made it a bitch to sew) which cost about £3 from a charity shop. Lined with some fabric I have had in the cupboard for about 10 years I reckon!!

P1030002P1030005This bag was for my cousin Alice. I think the outside fabric is a shot satin which my aunt bought back from China years and years ago. Lined with a remnant of purple fabric and the outside was decorated with felt flowers which was about the only new thing on this bag. All the buttons came from my craft stash.

P1030006P1030008This gorgeous red bag was made for my sister Louise. The outside was lovely red linen and the inside was a green cotton, both of which came from thr Scrap store (I really need to find one of these places in Leeds!) The outside was decorated with felt buttons which I hand stitched on and which nearly gave me arthritis in my wrist I think!

P1030010P1030012Finally this bag was made for my cousin Stefi. I made this one out of a retro duvet cover I bought from a charity shop and lined with a remnant of purple fabric from my stash. Felt flowers and a little bit of lace and a few buttons completed the look! I made this bag a little deeper than the others because Stef carries so much crap around with her!

I used the Amy Butler bag pattern called Birdie Sling which I completely bastardised. I have made it several times before in several different versions but I think the way I used it to make these bags is my favourite.

I was very happy with them all and I hope the girls loved them!!!

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I thought I would just post a few little pictures from our holiday cottage in St Ives. It was called Joshua’s Cottage and had a magnificent three bedrooms. Obviously we didn’t need that many but the cottage itself was a bargain! It had 4 floors and in the basement it had a kitchen which had rather restricted head-height so The Mister had to crouch a bit when he was making me tea! On the first floor there was a lounge with nice big sofas and a TV with Sky, on the first floor there was a double bedroom and a twin bedroom and a bathroom and up in the attic there was a gorgeous room with a velux window which had a wonderful view our to the sea and the harbour. The owners had left us a few bits and pieces including a box of Roses chocolates and a bottle of champagne. It was probably the best stocked holiday cottage I have ever stayed in – it was almost better equipped than our own house! So, if you fancy a trip to St Ives I can really recommend this gorgeous cottage.


Well we made it home safe and sound on Monday. We stopped overnight in Worcester at a lovely hotel called Diglis House. It was a gorgeous place and was right next to the river and very near to the Cathedral. Would be a very nice place to spend a weekend I reckon! Before we left on Monday we went for a little wander into Worcester and we happened upon Ian Botham starting one of his charity walks. P1030532

Since getting home I have been doing mountains of washing and ironing and we have been opening our wedding presents. That has been great fun, although I am now having to clear out the cupboards to make room for the new stuff!

Still no news on when I can start my job. They told me I had completed all the necessary paperwork, but when I got home I rather annoyingly found a CRB form waiting for me to complete so goodness knows when I will be able to start!

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Our last couple of days

P1030465Well rather amazingly the time has raced by and we are on the last night of our honeymoon. I can’t believe that we have been married a week already!!!

Yesterday we went to the National Seal Centre. It was a beautiful day and we saw lots of cute little seals being fed. There was also a big fat seal called Ray who apparently had brain damage. My comment calling him ‘Ray the Retard’ earned me a pinch from The Mister. The Mister called him a ‘Special Seal’ which is apparently more politically correct than calling him a retard. They clearly do a good job and rescued nearly 50 pups in the last year and they try to release as many as possible back into the wild, and only medical reasons will stop them doing so.

P1030488P1030508We then took a little drive down to St Michael’s Mount, but it was a little bit late for us to go over there by boat as the tide was high. Instead we had to make do with a fantastic Cornish ice cream.

Today has been a really lazy day. We wandered around St Ives shopping for some paintings. We were given some money by a couple of people as a wedding present and we decided to put it to something we could keep. So we bought an oil painting of an owl and a watercolour of St Ives. At least we have something to remind us of our wonderful stay in Cornwall. We also walked past a street called Teetotal Street. I am thinking my friend Auntie Billie should move in there.

Anyway, home tomorrow. Via a little stop over as it is a long drive. So, seeya back in Yorkshire!!!


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I’ll stop soon I promise!

Now, I know I am probably boring you all out there but I am so loving that I now have some photos where I don’t look ridiculous!!

Here are a few of my favourite photos from the wedding. They were taken by the magnificently talented photographer Yasmin Mariess and she has said I can link some pics through to here. She also has a blog which you can see here. Poor Yasmin had a very busy weekend as she was also the photographer for my friends Nik and Sally who got married the day after us. Take a look at their pics too… truly gorgeous!!

Anyway… back to us!!!

A sultry black and white pic of us…

Two of my favourites.
The Mister with my gay friends…

Us both with our friends from the Ship of Fools. Whoever said that internet friendships were not quality have never met this lot!

Finally… a picture when the rain stopped!

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Mines and theatres

Today the gorgeous weather has continued and we decided to take a drive all the way around the south-west coast from St Ives to Penzance, stopping off to visit anything that takes our fancy. So, we happened to go to the Geevor Tin Mine. This tin mine was worked from the late 1700’s through to 1991 when it was shut due to being unprofitable. Now it is a visitor centre and tourist attraction and they have tried to preserve as much of the original workings as possible on the site. You can go into the mine and see what mining would have been like. The Mister is rather too tall at 6’3″, the miners were generally just over 5 foot! One of the nice things about this mine is several of the tour guides used to be miners there so they were literally a mine (hahaha) of information! The Mister commented that he learns a lot more when he is with me because I always ask questions! It was a really interesting visit, and it was especially good as it was so quiet. I can imagine it would feel even more claustrophobic in those tunnels if there were loads of visitors in there at once!

We then continued our journey. We drove to Lands End, but I refused to pay £3 to park so we carried on our journey! Next stop was the Minack Theatre. This is another completely insane attraction. Built by Rowena Cade from 1930 onwards this is a truly impressive and beautiful outdoor theatre. I still wonder as to whether the people who come up with projects like this are mentally stable. I felt the same as I did when I went into the Eden Project. I want to ask the creators what possessed them to dream such big dreams, and yet we have to always be grateful that there are people who have such creative spirits. I am desperate to go and see a play at The Minack and The Mister has promised me that if there is something we really want to see then we will fly down for a weekend!

A little trip to Mousehole for a cream tea completed another lovely day.


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Hurray!! The sun has finally come out and we have had a glorious couple of days in St Ives.

Yesterday The Mister and I went to The Tate in St Ives. Admittedly we went because we felt we should go and have a look. It is in the most beautiful building, but the content is distinctly disappointing. They had an exhibition by Dexter Dalwood which was OK but it was more art-bollocks. The thing that irritated me that most is that there is just not that much in the Tate. It cost us £5.75 each and quite frankly we thought that was a complete rip off. It is confirmed. I am an art retard.

As the sun was now shining we were able to walk around the headland and then sit on the beach and eat a Cornish pasty and read our books. We really can be extremely antisocial when we are together. We regularly buy the newspaper and read it whilst we are eating lunch, especially at cafes it would seem, and we often read books and ignore each other. I like being close to The Mister, but I am happy that we can just be together, whether we have things to say or not. We also managed to see the Lifeboat being launched for training. That was bizarrely entertaining!!


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Well The Mister and I are currently honeymooning in St Ives in Cornwall. It is seriously gorgeous and we are totally in love with the little windy streets and the views across the rooftops. It is utterly charming, and will be even nicer when the sun properly comes out!

P1030272Since we arrived here it has been utterly blissful to be able to relax and have no schedules we have to keep! We have spent quite a bit of time just wandering around and getting our bearings as well as scoping out all the magnificent places to eat.

Yesterday we went to the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Park. Whilst I really like some of the sculptures that are there I have decided I am a bit of an art-retard as I can’t stand all the artistic bollocks that go with them. All the descriptions about the artist feeling one with the scenery etc etc. I just don’t get it. As I said, I am an art-retard!

Today we went to the Eden Project which is utterly amazing but just mental. Until you visit it is almost impossible to truly grasp the size of the thing. The Mister commented that it reminded him of Jurassic Park, and we agreed that it is because you can almost imagine the creator of the Eden Project saying to his friends, “You know, I have had a great idea. I am going to buy an old clay pit and add some massive blow-up greenhouses and fill them with plants and stuff”. It’s almost as mental as buying an island and filling it with dinosaurs! But, it is spectacular and utterly visionary and I adored it!

Here are just a few pics. If you want to see more then click on one to go to my flickr page.



The Wedding! Part 2


Our wedding reception was at Les Cotils. It is a beautiful venue with stunning views of the other islands, except when it is raining! As a result we had to have the majority of our pictures taken inside. I am sure they are going to be stunning as they were taken by my friend Yasmin Mariess but it is still annoying that we couldn’t make the most of the beautiful scenery. Anyway… we got on with it!

P1030148Our wedding breakfast was afternoon tea. Yummy sandwiches, scones with jam and cream and the most amazing cupcakes I have ever seen. Very annoyingly though I wasn’t very hungry so I hardly ate any cakes. My Auntie Jen and Auntie Josie made us the most gorgeous wedding cake… three tiers, one of chocolate and two of fruit cake, sandwiched with gorgeous flowers. It was a complete surprise and it was absolutely stunning!!!

I made an awful lot of things for the wedding, including the favours which were thrifted shot glasses with a luggage tag with a name on and filled with mini chocolate eggs. I also made the table plan and made individual handbags for all my bridesmaids (I will probably post pictures of these later on!)

The reception was very laid back which meant we were able to talk to everyone and just spent a bit of time with people we don’t see very often. The speeches were funny and not too embarrassing and The Mister surprised everyone by not only being able to give a speech, but being able to give the best speech of the day!!!

In the evening we had various board games out and it was fab to see so many people playing Uno at our wedding reception. All in all we had a brilliant, brilliant day.

P1030207The Mister and I decided to walk the short distance to our hotel. My friend Oj had been winding me up for ages that he knew where we were staying and he was going to do something awful. When we arrived we found out he did indeed know where where were staying but he had left a bottle of Bolly in our room… what a star! We even ordered room service when we got in as we had eaten lots of sweet stuff during the day, but we were both craving something plain… so pasta on our wedding night fitted the bill!!

We stayed at The Fregate Hotel which was a truly stunning choice for a wedding night. We had amazing views across the harbour and the other islands and we awoke the next day to the sun rising over the harbour in Guernsey. Amazing!


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