Tuesday 30 April 2024

What I've been reading in april

I read three books this month - two I would recommend and one which I wouldn't. 

 I started off the month with a book I picked at random on Amazon Kindle, The Wrong Daughter by Dandy Smith.

Caitlin and Olivia are excited about the prospect of being able to spend the night alone while their parents go out for the evening.  But unbeknown to them, they are being watched and in the middle of the night an intruder breaks in and kidnaps Olivia.  Caitlin can only watch in horror as a man in a Venetian hooked nose mask drags her older sister at knifepoint down the stairs.  The police are unable to solve the crime and Olivia's body is never found.

Many years later Caitlin receives a phone call telling her to come home immediately and she can hardly believe her eyes when she sees her sister in the family home with her parents.  Olivia refuses to be drawn into what has happened to her in all these years and is adamant that the police should not be involved.  Caitlin is immediately suspicious of Olivia and believes there is more to the mysterious reappearance.

In between the chapters is a second - seeming unconnected - storyline of siblings, Elinor and Heath Ledbury,  who live together in a stately home under the guidance of an unpleasant uncle who has control of their family trusts until they come of age.  I couldn't work out how this was going to be relevant - but it was!

For the first 3/4 of this book I was really enjoying it, but then it took a bit of a dark turn and I wasn't sure where it was going. It really is a tense psychological thriller but the last few chapters made me feel a bit uncomfortable so I'm afraid it's not one that I would recommend that you rush out and read.  

So I tried to find something that would be a much lighter subject matter -

No 23 Burlington Square by Jenni Keer.

Set in 1927 we meet Agnes Humphries, the landlady of 23 Burlington Square who has a vacant room to let. There are three applicants to consider. Stephen - a respectable banker who seems very sensible and almost too good to be true, Mercy Mayweather - a war widow who appears to be running away from something or someone, or Clara - her high spirited niece who drifts through life with no responsibility or interest in anything other than enjoying an exciting social life. Having brought scandal to her parents, Clara has been thrown out of home and Agnes feels that she must help family first and so offers the room to her.

Clara is very much the typical socialite of that era but finds that a chance meeting with Jemima, who lives in the basement flat of the house with her husband and young family, makes her question her life and stirs up the question of inequality for women at that time. An impetuous action by Clara damages that fledgling friendship and also makes Clara face a very difficult realisation about her true self.

Just as we have seen Clara move on with her new perspective on life the second part of the book begins.  We are transported back to 1927, with Agnes needing to let her vacant room.  This time Agnes chooses Stephen as the lucky tenant.  But just as we thought, Stephen is too good to be true and he may have been economical with the truth during his interview with Agnes.  He befriends one of the other lodgers and feels that his influence could help him turn things around.  Suffice it to say that Stephen's future is changed beyond his wildest dreams by the end of his stay.

Part three begins again back in 1927, but this time Agnes has chosen Mercy Mayweather to be her lodger.  The quiet widow is definitely hiding some secret and is constantly worrying that her family will find where she is and make her return to the homestead.  One thing is for sure and that is that no one is quite what they seem.

I really enjoyed this book.  I like the way that we witnessed how life would have panned out whichever one of the lodgers took the room.  I especially liked the ending which showed us that no matter who took that room, life for Agnes will never be the same!

Onto the last book of the month which was recommended to me by my daughter.  None Of This Is True by Lisa Jewell

Two women meet while out celebrating their 45th birthdays - birthday twins but their lives could not be more different.  Josie had married a much older man when very young and has two grown up daughters.  One who ran away from home when she was a teenager and the other who stays in her bedroom all day and night, gaming on her computer.  Alix is a podcaster who lives in a beautiful home and has two young children and a husband who has a drink problem.  

Josie becomes obsessed with Alix and approaches her with an idea for her podcast where she would tell her story and describe how she is about to dramatically change her mundane life.  Alix agrees to a trial interview and gets drawn into the dark chapters of Josie's life.  Josie gradually manipulates her way into Alix's life and even into her home.  

But are the stories that Josie discusses true?  Has she infiltrated Alix's life through a web of lies?  By getting involved in Josie's life has Alix put her own family in danger?  Oh boy, this is a page turner!  

So I would definitely recommend the last two books but not the first!

Monday 29 April 2024

#WBOYC in April


Hello and welcome to the round up of my month, linking up with Deb.


Appointments - my least favourite kind - dental.  I did have to cancel the one that had been booked six months ago (details below under I)Also hair and nails - isn't it nice to have a bit of pampering when you haven't been well?


Pet sitting.  The return of Daisy the Daschund.

She wasn't too much trouble but she is a very needy dog - constantly wanting to sit on your lap which is nice if you are looking for an excuse to sit down and read a book or watch the tv but not so good if you just want to eat your dinner in peace.  Coco was ticking off the days until her family returned from holiday!


Reliving my youth at an Average White Band concert.

Yes I did remember all the words, which isn’t bad considering I first heard them 50 years ago!


Ill.  What a way to start the month.  I spent the first few days of the month staying very close to home and had to cancel not only a dental appointment (which I didn't mind) and a lunch out with friends (which I definitely wanted to go to).  My son was ill too and the finger of suspicion is pointing to his son who brought germs home from school with him at the end of term!  


Looking forward to having a reason to wear my new prescription sunglasses and also to planting out some new plants that we got at a local garden centre.  Are you listening Mother Nature?  I'm relying on you on both counts!

So that is April, almost done and dusted - just time to show you how it unfolded - 1 second everyday!

Monday 22 April 2024

Me on Monday 22 April

 What a lazy week I had last week! Having Daisy here meant we took it in turns to go out so we didn’t leave the two rascals home alone together. She takes her house protection duties very seriously and would bark at every noise she heard which would have annoyed Coco.

So I have to say that I shall be making up for it this week 😊

Although first thing on the calendar is a dentist appointment which regular readers will know is very low down on my list of how I like to spend my time! Fortunately I have a lunch date with my friend who is an author once that ordeal is over. Tuesday is haircut day and picking up my new prescription sunglasses. Hopefully that won’t jinx the weather and I will be able to get a lot of use out of them 😎

I have been able to crack on with my crochet which had taken a bit of a back seat and I have regained my enthusiasm for getting it done.  

We’ve been watching the Netflix version of Ripley.  Have you seen it? I was a bit hesitant as the book is one of my favourites and I also really enjoyed the Jude Law film version. This one is definitely different and the fact it is filmed entirely in black and white definitely increases the sense of menace. But I’m not sure I liked it as much as the original. Whilst I like Andrew Scott as an actor, he did not really feel right as a young American in his mid twenties and I really didn’t like the casting of Eliot Sumner as Freddy, maybe being the non-binary child of Sting helped secure the part! There was just no comparison to how the character was played by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Have a good week!

Monday 15 April 2024

Me on Monday 15 April

 Happy Monday!  My intention to try and blog a little more frequently has been hampered by a small visitor who is here while her family are on holiday in Dubai.

Yes, Daisy the Daschund is back, and Coco is sulking.

Daisy may be small but is pretty needy.  Doesn't like being on her own and likes to spend as much time as she can sitting on your lap.  One of the by products of having a mum who works from home!

Paul’s been very busy tidying up in the garden. Last year I planted some new tulips to add a different colour and I am so thrilled with them

The orange tones make a nice change to the reds and yellows we already have.

So this week finds us trying to console Coco with the fact Daisy is here for the whole week! We’ll be staying close to home as I’m not sure it would be fair to leave them both home alone. Daisy takes house protection duties to another level and I think her yapping every time a car went past would drive Coco mad!

Today the weather is horrible, what a difference a day makes.  What a good job Paul got the tidying up done yesterday when it was t shirt and shorts weather! I thought we had a day to ourselves but just had a message from Jon to say it’s inset day for Max and were we busy this morning. We all know what that means! Lucky I did some baking yesterday as Max’s tummy always feels hungry as soon as he arrives 😉

Have a good week!

Monday 8 April 2024

Me on Monday 8 April

 I’ve been missing in action this week! After a lovely busy Easter weekend I woke at 5am Tuesday feeling distinctly unwell. I will spare you the details 😳 I spent the whole day in bed either shivering, sleeping or running a temperature. I even had a dramatic fainting episode when I tried to get out of bed to quickly! Happily it seemed to be a 48 hour thing and as the week progressed I gradually got better and needless to say, everyone kept their distance from me.  Luckily the weather has had some lovely spells of dry warm weather and it’s been lovely to wander around noticing everything waking up from the winter.


I am definitely hoping it is well and truly out of my system and luckily I am back to eating again as I am meeting a friend for coffee this morning. You know you are feeling better when the words ‘almond croissant’ don’t have you heading to the bathroom!

We are playing catch up with childcare this week as we couldn’t help last week and at the end of the week we have Daisy coming to stay while her family jet off to Dubai.  Don’t tell Coco.  

I didn't waste my time last week though, I am on a decluttering challenge!  I follow Dilly from Sort Your Life Out on Instagram (search for declutterdollies), and she is doing a 30 day April challenge over there.  You have one particular area of your house to tackle every day plus I am also throwing away an increasing number of things every day.  One on the 1st, 2 on the 2nd etc.  So by the end of the month I will have got rid of over 465 things!  They don't have to be big things, but every one thing helps.  I think by the end of it I may be resorting to very small items! So far I have a very tidy cutlery drawer, my baking tins are neat and tidy, my saucepans stacked neatly, appliances all clean and working, Tupperware boxes all have lids that fit, glasses shelf looking very tidy, and my baking ingredients all stored together in a neat and tidy manner!  I've been like a woman on a mission - do you ever feel like that?  Do you do a spring clean?  Please tell me I'm not the only person whose home has certain areas that accumulate clutter!