Thursday, 31 January 2008


Some people simply have more than others!

I came across this little website that promotes the author's book. It a simple, innovative and funny website, just don't expect it to look like the usual sites you have seen before!

All I know now is that I want to buy her book, so from my perspective, she has done what she set out to do and that is to get me to buy her book! I wonder how many others will buy on the strength of this website?

Go on, have a look - you know you want to!

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Water, water everywhere!

I am on a bit of a healthy kick at the moment and as part of that I am drinking far more water than usual! Of course, the side effect of this is what you might expect!! I am just hoping that my body will eventually get used to this extra water! (never mind the fact that Mum has referred to me before now as the Woman with the Smallest Bladder in the World! Thanks Mum!)

As part of this healthy regime, I am also doing more exercise than ever before (go me!) at home by using exercise DVDs/videos and am quite pleased that I have been able to stick with this for about three to four weeks so far. However, I have to say that the cat (Phoebe) doesn't seem to care that I need space for this! Before now she has wandered a bit too close to a high kick for my liking, or she has decided to weave in and out of my legs while I am balanced legs akimbo stretching those aching muscles! Silly pet owner that I am, I have also caught myself angling my star jumps away from Phoebe as she saunters out the door and then jumping my way back to face the television again!!

Tuesday, 29 January 2008


Am feeling somewhat virtuous now as I have just given blood! It always seems to surprise me when I see just how dark that blood is. Oh well, I now have two plasters - one on my finger where they take a bit of blood to check my iron levels as they can't take blood if I can't afford to give it! And, of course, one on my arm - my badge of honour!!

Anyway...I said yesterday that I would post a picture of my new candle thingie, well, I never got round to taking the photo because I was trying to resuscitate a plant! I have to admit that I have rather more black than green fingers and my umbrella plant was not looking good - hasn't been looking good for a while actually and I kept meaning to do something about it and then promptly forgetting! (it's a good job that the cat wont let me even go near the kitchen without demanding food!! Although I have to say that pets are quite different to plants!)

I have had this plant for two and a half years, which is something of a record for me (it was given to me as a housewarming present) and as it is the only indoor plant that I have, I am quite determined to keep it alive! It badly needed repotting, so I repotted with lots of lovely new compost and plenty of water and now I await the resurrection!!

Monday, 28 January 2008


Hmmm - it would appear that I am not a particularly regular blogger! After posting daily in December, I don't quite understand what has happened since, although I suppose that the run up to Christmas simply meant that I had a lot more to say - January always seems a bit of a let down!

However, today is payday! Not that that means anything in particular - after all, I am saving my pennies for my trip to Australia, so I wont be hitting the shops this coming weekend!

I am still wading my way through the Triple Eight Challenge books and have crossed off a couple more - I need to get going though as there are only eleven more months to go!!

And...I can't think of a single other thing to say - I am so boring today! ;-) (or rather - I am so boring this month!)

Oh - I forgot - my Candle Party stuff arrived the other week and I have used the little insert that goes inside the lantern and it really does look very pretty - I can't find a link to a picture online, so I will take a photo and pop it in here this evening!

Monday, 21 January 2008

Quick reads

I am now making an official start on my Triple Eight book challenge and am reading the quick and easy ones!! By quick and easy, I mean my re-reads and my romantic novels - they may not be short, but either I am familiar with the books or am happy to devour them in one go rather than spread them over a week or so (like I am with Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin as it is a bit heavy going - not your typical romance!!).

A couple of the books in the reread and romance category actually tie up; for instance, I reread The Shop on Blossom Street and then bought the follow-up - A Good Yarn. Both of which I liked very much, they are to be found in the romance section of your local bookshop, but I actually think that they are more just simple romances as both books focus on more than one pair of lead characters. The first book looks at a knitting class in a newly opened shop and follows a year (or so) in the life of the shop owner plus the three people that joined the knitting class. The second book (A Good Yarn) is still in the same place with the shop owner, but looks at another class and we see those people live their lives. This is actually quite typical of Debbie Macomber as she has written other series that focus on a particular town - like Cedar Cove - and we get to see familiar faces popping in and out of each book, and I think that this is a lovely way to see how people and their relationships develop without trying to cram all the detail into one book.

I have also now read Without a Trace by Nora roberts - I had been looking for this one for a while as it is the fourth book in a series about the O'Hurley triplets and their brother. Unfortunately, I was not as taken with this book as I was the other O'Hurley books (or other Nora Roberts books for that matter), I don't know why - perhaps I have just read too many of Nora's books lately and am getting a bit fatigued by them!

Diana Gabaldon's Cross Stitch (or Outlander) series contains some of my favourite books, so I thought that I would reread those - Cross Stitch is done and I am now part way through Dragonfly in Amber. If you are not familiar with these books - they are about Claire and Jamie - Claire is a 20th Century English woman, whilst Jamie is an 18th Century Scotsman! The story seems a little implausible in that Claire travels into the past through the standing stones at Craigh na Dun, but Diana Gabaldon makes it all seem very possible and the books are hefty tomes full of detail and are hard to put down, particularly at the end of a lunch break at work! ;-)

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Planning, planning and more planning!

Just how much can I plan for a holiday in Australia!!? I am doing so much research at the moment that it is getting a bit daft, but having said that, I have relatively little time in each city that I want to be able to know what I am doing as soon as I check into the hotel.

There is no point getting to the hotel and then deciding what to do, which is why I love the internet, I can plan bus times, book tickets and generally find out what is what! That way, I should be able to fill each and every day with something good! I have been using a couple of travel advice websites and have found some good information.

For instance, I wanted to do at least one good walk that would give me some flavour of Sydney and I have found quite a lot of walks available, but the one that most people seem to recommend is the Spit Bridge to Manly, so I have now discovered the right bus to get to Spit Bridge and the ferry that will take me back from Manly to Circular Quay which is where my hotel is near.

At the moment, I am focusing on Sydney and have hardly begun to look at Adelaide, Melbourne or the Whitsundays. The Whitsundays I am not so bothered about as that will be my last few days on holiday where I shall laze on the beach or go snorkeling! But I need to look at Adelaide and Melbourne - not long to go now!!

I just love planning a holiday like this, it really adds to the anticipation, although I think that my colleagues at work are going to have to peel me off the ceiling by the time the last week comes around!!

Thursday, 17 January 2008



I just had to do a bit of ranting and raving! This morning, I decided that I would indeed splurge on a ticket to see La Boheme at the Sydney Opera House.

But can I get a ticket? Noooooo - the website is stuck in a loop that keeps sending me back to the page where I have to put in my address!

And believe me - I tried several times! So, I have now fired off an email to the Booking Office and am hoping that I can still get a ticket as they are scarcer than hen's teeth!

It is not like booking tickets for a show in London, because I can't just telephone the Booking Office and ask what is going on as they are all tucked up in their beds (or, more likely, out partying the night away!!)

Anyway, I am determined to get a ticket, so I will probably try again at some point and will let you know how I get on!

After all, I can't go to Sydney without seeing a show at the Opera House!! ;-)

UPDATE: I have now got a ticket! It was just a stupid website! The problem was that I was ignoring the address box that said "State" because underneath, it said for Australian addresses only. But when I clicked on it, it did give the option to put Wiltshire in and when I did that, everything went smooooothly! How perfectly irritating!! But many many thanks to Ann, who is now rubbing it in!! ;-)

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Oh! The excitment!

My Secret Santa book arrived today!!!!

I was beginning to get a bit worried and had contacted LibraryThing to find out what had happened and what happenned was that the book was out of stock at Amazon and so they had reorder the book before they could send it to me.

And the book is.....Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin, which apparently fits my request for anything in the way of "romance, history or fantasy" as the book is a historical romance that also transcends time and and space - or so I am told!

I look forward to reading the book and letting you all know what I think of it, particularly as all the reviews that I have come across are so very mixed.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Cheap books!

If there was ever an argument for Charity's the books! Some people wont go near Charity Shops and I can see how they might feel, but they are missing out on some very good bargains.

I got a really good deal on Saturday, I was so chuffed!! I got four of the books in Diana Gabaldon's Cross Stitch/Outlander series for £1.90 - I don't think that I have made a better bargain anywhere else!

I read these books years ago, but the copies were Mum's and have since been somewhat battered by the umpteen lendings and readings, not to mention the slight damp in the corner of the room where they are!! So, I am really pleased to get copies of my own, now I just need to watch out for the other books in the series as there are more than four books!

I also managed to find a couple of my Triple Eight Challenge books - Silas Marner and Schindler's Ark and picked up another biography - this one about Alistair Cooke.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Book Challenge - A Wedding in December

This the last of my five From The Stack book selection - all chosen from that ever growing pile of books that I have yet to read!

A Wedding in December is a rather interesting book, it weaves a number of stories together and although it does take a bit of work to remember which story belongs to who, it does all work together very well. There is even a story within a story as one of the characters, Agnes, is writing a story and this story-within-a-story is a good one too, I wanted to read more of this one!

There are plenty of surprises and revelations in this story, but I wont reveal any. What I will say is that it is an intriguing read with an appropriate ending (I sometimes feel that book endings don't quite work and can leave me dissatisfied) and I would recommend this book to anyone.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Candle Party

I went to a Candle Party last night! Have you heard of Candle Parties? They're just another variation on the old Tupperware Party!

A friend invites you (and a bunch of other friends of course) to her house for an evening of wine and nibbles so that you can listen to a sales person say how wonderful her products are and of course, you get to see said products in action!

Now, I have to admit that I am addicted to candles, but it is an addiction that I am manging to restrain fairly well - I don't go for all shapes and sizes, but do enjoy having candles all lit up in the lounge.

Anyway, I had a good time last night! There were about eight of us, which actually made for a nice, cosy evening in with friends ensuing in lots of laughter! (particularly over the story of some friends who said that they'd made a promise to go to the health club the morning after they'd done rather too much drinking- they did too - they walked up to the club, had a coffee and walked home again!)

The only trouble with parties like this is that you have to listen to a lot of sales patter as well as the usual spiel about "if you are a hostess you get to have X percent off" - it got a bit irritating really. The funniest thing was that the saleswoman kept saying 'smells' as in "you can choose between these bottles but not these smells" and I was so very tempted to advise her that 'fragrances' would sound so much better!

Despite those niggles, I did think that there were one or two good products! So, I have bought two little round candle holders that match my hurricane lantern, plus a nifty little insert that goes inside said hurricane lantern so that I use three tealights instead of one pillar candle - it looks really nice. Of course, I also had to stock up on more candles!

I am now eagerly awaiting the delivery of my purchases!

Friday, 11 January 2008

posts for the 888

All my categories for the Triple Eight Challenge are now below!! They are also in a tidy little clickable list somewhere on the left of this page if you are interested in following along with what I am reading! (or attempting to read!)

Of course, any suggestions, recommendations, even of the"don't touch with a barge-pole" variety are more than welcome!


Given that I am visiting Australia this year, I thought that this would be a particularly apt choice! This section includes both fiction(F) and nonfiction(NF) and I think that I will leave a few spaces for some books actually bought in Australia!
  • 30 days in Sydney: the writer and the city* (NF) by Peter Carey
  • The dig tree: the extraordinary story of the ill-fated expedition* (NF) by Sarah Murgatroyd
  • The explorers* (NF) by Tim Flannery
  • Beneath the Southern Cross (F) by Judy Nunn
  • Silver Bay (F) by Jojo Moyes
  • Black kettle and full moon: daily life in a vanished Australia (NF) by Geoffrey Blainey
  • Convict women (NF) by Kay Daniels
  • Silver in the sun (F) by Tony Parsons

*already sitting on my shelves!

Award winners

If these books have won awards, then they must be good - surely!?
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Hugo Award)
  • A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly (Carnegie Medal)
  • Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally (Booker Prize)
  • Rough Crossings: Britain, the slaves and the American revolution* by Simon Schama (National Book Critics Circle Award - USA)
  • TBC
  • TBC
  • TBC
  • TBC

*already sitting on my shelves!


Anyone who knows me would, I think, generally agree that I am nosy! Biographies are one way to be politely nosy!! ;-)

  • Samuel Pepys: the unequalled self by Claire Tomalin
  • Spilling the beans by Clarrisa Dickson Wright
  • Shakespeare: the world as a stage by Bill Bryson
  • The two of us: my life with John Thaw* by Sheila Hancock
  • Diana: story of a princess* by Tim Clayton
  • The first American: the life and times of Benjamin Franklin by H.W. Brands
  • Alistair Cooke: the biography by Nick Clarke
  • The story of the Trapp family singers* by Maria Augusta Trapp

*already sitting on my shelves!

Crafty stuff

The sharp eyed among you will notice that this one has changed from Children/Young Adults to Crafty Stuff - this is because I have a number of craft books (mostly card making) that I want to actually make the proper effort to read a bit more! (I am also thinking that craft will cover all manner of things from card making to knitting (which I want to try and learn one day) to cooking and baking (two entirely separate things I think you'll agree!)

  • Quick and clever handmade cards* by Julie Hickey
  • The complete guide to card making* by Sarah Beaman
  • How to be a domestic goddess* by Nigella Lawson
  • The ultimate cookie book* by Catherine Atkinson
  • TBC
  • TBC
  • TBC
  • TBC

*already on my shelves


I've always felt that I don't read enough of the classics and as I already have some on my shelves (*) I thought that I would take advantage of this and read them!!

By the way - should anyone quibble about what constitutes a classic, I have decided to go with the list of classics as mentioned in LibraryThing - clearly if the majority of readers have decided that it is a classic, then who am I to argue!
  • Robinson Crusoe* by Daniel Defoe
  • Robin Hood* by Howard Pyle
  • Around the world in 80 days* by Jules Verne
  • Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  • The once and future king by T.H.White
  • The age of innocence by Edith Wharton
  • The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot


This section includes both non-fiction (NF) and fiction (F) so that I don't get too fed up with the non-fiction!
  • Alchemist's Daughter by Katherine McMahon (F)
  • Craze: Gin & debauchery in an age of reason by Jessica Warner (NF)
  • Sex with kings: 500 years of adultery, power, rivalry and revenge by Eleanor Herman (NF)
  • Harlequin by Bernard Cornwell (F)
  • March by Geraldine Brooks (F)
  • TBC
  • TBC
  • TBC


I do like to re-read books, mostly because I loved them so much in the first place that I want to read it again Occasionally I will even read a book again because I have forgotten that I have already read it - this is annoying as by time I have read a few chapters I begin to realise that this is all very familiar and I twig that I have read it before!

Anyway, my selection for this category is as follows:
  • The Belgariad, Vol. 1 by David Eddings
  • The shop on Blossom Street* by Debbie Macomber
  • Sahara* by Clive Cussler
  • Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon
  • Draonfly in Amber* by Diana Gabaldon
  • Voyager* by Diana Gabaldon
  • Drums of Autumn* by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

*already on my bookshelves! By the way, this section clearly looks like an excuse to reread the Cross Stitch series (also known as Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon, but then I have not read them for so long that I am really keen to read them again.


Of course, I had to include this section (despite what my brothers think of romance reading!!)
  • The Hollow by Nora Roberts (pub. May 2008)
  • The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts (pub. Dec 2008)
  • Captivated by Nora Roberts
  • Entranced by Nora Roberts
  • A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber
  • A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans
  • Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin
  • Without a Trace by Nora Roberts

Hmmmm - I clearly love Nora Roberts' novels!! I have most of them on my shelves I think, but not those above!

Thursday, 10 January 2008


...on books for the Triple Eight challenge is not easy!! Although I am now beginning to identify the books that I want to read, some of which I even have at home already but have not yet read (or they are obviously in my re-reads category!).

So, I am now going to set up various links and postings each relating to one of the eight categories, so do excuse me if my blog suddenly goes a bit funny or keeps changing on you!
Just to let you know - each section wont be complete yet as I am still looking and pondering on my selection! Fortunately the rules of this challenge also allows participants to change their minds, so don't be too surprised if you find that my choices change!

I have to admit that it is rather fun choosing books and being picky about everything. It has actually opened my eyes a bit more as to what sheer variety is out there. I already knew that, but somehow it had never really registered with me, particularly when I stand in bookshops and bewail the fact that 'there's nothing to read'! Which is patently untrue, it was just that either I was bewildered by sheer choice, not in the mood for a book, or just being far too selective!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Still thinking....

....about this book challenge!! I need to go and sit in Borders and make a good list of what I want to read, or I can simply sit at my computer and rummage around LibraryThing! The trouble is that I like to know what a book is about before I commit to it and need to read the blurb on the back, so LibraryThing may not be the place to look!

Anyway, I am slowly coming up with possible categories that I feel that I can get to grips with!

How about the following:
  • Australia (any book about or from Australia)
  • Award winners (from the Booker to the Pulitzer!)
  • Biographies (I am just nosy!)
  • Romance (gotta have that in there somewhere!)
  • Children and Young Adults books
  • Classics that I should have read years ago!
  • History (including historical novels!)
  • Re-reads cos I love them so much!
I could keep going, but those are the categories that are getting (and holding!) my attention at the moment. Now, I need to fill those categories with eight books each - I am trying not to have any overlap! Can I really commit myself to 64 books, I know that I can certainly read that many, but still, the thought of saying I will read this book and that book and that one too...still makes me hesitate!!

I think that the list above is quite a nice one - I will let you all know what I am going to put in each section as soon as I know!!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Triple Eight Book Challenge

There are several Book Challenges within the blogosphere - the chunkster, the pub challenge, what's in a name and many many more! Not to mention from the stacks that I am taking part in and have nearly finished!

However, I think that this one beats all comers! This is the 888 Book Challenge - which equates to eight books in eight categories for 2008! This challenge is so phenomenal that it terrifies even me - yes, me - who reads too much too fast anyway! I don't quite know what it is that alarms me about this challenge; it is the fact that I am being asked to categorise and plan my reading before I begin, or because it really does take me out of my reading limits, which if I am honest, are rather narrow - romance, fantasy, history and the odd non-fiction.

Having said that - what is the point of a doing a challenge if it doesn't (ahem) challenge you!? So, I think that I am going to ponder this one and see what I can come up with - watch this space!


Crumbs - after all that daily blogging just before Christmas, I go incommunicado for a week!!

I can only say that I didn't have much to say, plus the fact that I was feeling under the weather and so didn't get up to much and therefore still had nothing to say!!

Anyway - did anyone make any resolutions? Are even the thing to do still, I mean so many used to get made and then broken within the same week (the same day for some people I am sure!!)
In any case, why put yourself under the strain of something that probably isn't going to work - I mean, why on earth would you say that you resolve to loose weight when all the goodies from Christmas are still lurking around the house!! Or why would you say that you are going to get up early and go for a walk/run/crawl (!) when it is pitch dark outside and the bed is just too cosy to get out of!! Incidentally, I am still relying on my three-alarm system to get me out of bed - four if you include a cat climbing all over to me in order to make sure that she gets fed!

Anyway - Fillyjonk over at the Shapely Prose blog talks about the resolutionarys - those people that regularly make resolutions every year and expect that when they do get fit/thin/whatever then they can begin to do whatever they like. Fillyjonk turns this on on it's head and says - do what you want anyway - stop waiting to be thin in order to do what you want. She makes far more sense than I do - so go read it!!

What is quite amusing though is that everywhere you look you see adverts for those so-called resolutionarys! If you watch any television at all, you'll see those ads for weightwatchers, the Kelloggs challenge, local gyms, etc, etc - there is quite clearly a campaign to get people to join the gym and part with your hard earned money in order to visit the gym once! Twice if you're feeling really motivated!!

I really shouldn't be quite so hard on all those people that join the gym every year as I have been there myself - I seem to remember three different gyms that I have joined in the past and I don't think that I attended any of them beyond six months! So, this year, I am not going to do that!! I do, however, have a sneaky little collection of exercise videos at home - perhaps I should dust those off!!