Feb 28, 2014

Running into an old friend in Crime, Edith & Ella and Karen Millen

Yesterday I went to work in the following outfit. A blue, red and white Edith & Ella cardigan, a Karen Millen patchwork boyfriend jean and red sneakers by Crime. I thought I was going to have a quiet day at work until I ran into an old f(r)iend, Rowan. He was visiting the library and had no idea I worked there. It was a good thing he didn't know as I didn't really want to see him. Rowan is an ex boyfriend and even though we split up trying to remain friendly I didn't mind when he moved somewhere else so I'd never see him again. He wanted to catch up and have a drink somewhere. I reluctantly agreed because I didn't think I could get out of it. Rowan's currently working in town and he will stay here for a couple of months. He kept making me compliments which I didn't buy, because the bastard cheated on me. He's still together with that girl and they are going to get married. Thank you for spoiling my day, I didn't want to know that.

Things ended a lot better than they started though as he got a call and had to leave very soon. Fortunately I didn't have to tell him about my life. And then I ran into an actual old friend. We used to work together when we were both students. Her name is Angie and it was so good to see her again! She was alone, so she filled the vacant seat that Rowan left behind. We ordered some food and stayed for many hours. Angie works for the same company as Rowan, so she'll also be here for the time being. Usually when Angie is around something happens and this time wasn't an exception. A guy came in and offered us red roses. He didn't know us at all, but he saw us and felt like it. It was so sweet!

The Red House by Mark Haddon

Family, that slippery word, a star to every wandering bark, and everyone sailing under a different sky. After his mother's death, Richard, a newly remarried hospital consultant, decides to build bridges with his estranged sister, inviting Angela and her family for a week in a rented house on the Welsh border. Four adults and four children, a single family and all of them strangers. Seven days of shared meals, log fires, card games and wet walks. But in the quiet and stillness of the valley, ghosts begin to rise up. The parents Richard thought he had. The parents Angela thought she had. Past and present lovers. Friends, enemies, victims, saviours. And watching over all of them from high on the dark hill, Karen, Angela's stillborn daughter. "The Red House" is about the extraordinariness of the ordinary, weaving the words and thoughts of the eight characters together with those fainter, stranger voices - of books and letters and music, of the dead who once inhabited these rooms, of the ageing house itself and the landscape in which it sits.

I borrowed the summary from the Bookdepository. The Red House is a story about dysfunctional family relationships. Richard and Angela aren't close due to their versions of what happened in the past. Richard is the one who invites his sister and her family to go on holiday with him, his wife and his stepdaughter. All of the main characters have problems and most of them aren't completely sane. 
The perspective changes continuously, so it's important to constantly pay attention. The writing is strange, which makes a story that is basically simple quite complicated. The main characters aren't people you warm up to very easily. This book is something different with a daring style. Usually you find this kind of story in a chick lit novel. Mark Haddon gave it an interesting twist with a literary tinge.

Feb 27, 2014

Ben's News!

As usual Ben and Samuel came to the library at the end of Wednesday afternoon. As usual I carefully dressed and chose this Heart Strip Intarsia sweater from 525 America, also for sale on Amazon combine with my Nico Last Call jeans from Hudson.
I introduced Ben and Samuel to my boss Edward. That was a little bit awkward. Maybe that was because of my memories of Nanette, disapproving my relationship with customers. Edward had no such reservations and he and Ben sat down to have a cup of coffee together while I went to the children's books department with Samuel to choose his books for the week. He asked me to teach him how to read. I used the big alphabet on the wall to teach him the letters and I promised to give him another lesson next week. He gave me a hug, which was so sweet. 
This time our date was simple. We went grocery shopping together and brought everything to make pizzas. Ben has a special oven for them and they were delicious. Samuel was a bit hyper, which was understandable as his father had told him he had a surprise for both him and me. After dinner Ben put a Mickey Mouse shaped cake on the table and proudly told us that he booked a trip to Disneyland for Samuel's 5th birthday which is in two weeks. He asked Edward for permission and he allowed me to go! We are going to Disneyland! I'm going on holiday with Ben and he asked me to celebrate Samuel's birthday with them! I don't know who is happier, Samuel or me...

Brain on Fire -My Month of Madness- by Susannah Cahalan


One day, I woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to my bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. My medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which I have no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier I had been a healthy twenty-four year old, six months into my first serious relationship and beginning a career as a cub reporter at the New York Post.
My memoir Brain on Fire chronicles the swift path of my illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving my life. As weeks ticked by and I moved inexplicably from violence to catatonia, $1 million worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing. The exhausted doctors were ready to commit me to the psychiatric ward, in effect condemning me to a lifetime of institutions, or death, until Dr. Souhel Najjar—nicknamed Dr. House—joined my team. He asked me to draw one simple sketch, which became key to diagnosing me with a newly discovered autoimmune disease in which my body was attacking my brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history.

I borrowed the above from Susannah Cahalan's website. This is a true story. Susannah thinks she has bedbugs and she feels strangely detached from situations in her life, that's how it begins. The situation is rapidly getting worse. When she finally ends up in the hospital after several seizures having hardly anything of her old self left nobody knows what's happening to her. Until she finds a doctor who will do anything to find out. She has a rare condition and needs treatment for many months. The recovery being the hardest part of her illness.
 Susannah Cahalan describes such a difficult time in her life with an admiringly openness and honesty. She isn't afraid to share her most vulnerable memories to show what she's been through and to make others aware of her condition. That is beautiful. She's a journalist who had to dig into her own life to get to the truth about her month in the hospital, because she had no memory of that time. Her family and close friends helped as well as they could. It all resulted in this amazing book. Her illness was terrible and she had to rediscover her whole personality. Yet, she did everything she could to beat the disease, she is remarkably strong and because of her many other people have been helped. Besides that she's a great writer. I wanted to know what happened to her and couldn't put this book away. It's a must read for everyone. 

Feb 26, 2014

Sale in the mail!

Today the mailman brought me two great pieces of clothing that I bought on sale. The Scattered Flower Print Jersey Scoop top is from Orla Kiely and the skirt I bought on www.shopbop.com. It's a Three Dots Trumpet Miniskirt. It's about time my new salary would come in again and without the generous gifts I've received this month my closet would have been so much emptier. 

Tuesday Dinner by Sandy

On Tuesday evening Sandy cooked our dinner at my place. On Sunday she asked if she could come too. We're now having regular dinners with four. Stella was fine with her sister being there as well. And Sandy's a great cook. She made this grilled vegetable terrine with chimichurri sauce from Chatelaine as a main course. It's supposed to be an appetizer or a starter, but she turned it into a main dish with lots of side dishes, like salad, garlic bread, ham, cheeses, etcetera. As a desert she used a recipe from ChinDeep. Those strawberry & cream brownies were divine. I want to collect all of our Tuesday recipes and put them in a binder, I think that would make a nice home made cook book after a while.
Of course we drank lots of wine and we had a lot to talk about. This time Jada told us about an invitation for a job interview. She was so happy she can finally have a chance to present herself at least. We're all keeping our fingers crossed for her. 
Sandy and Jason are very happy together. Living together with my brother is working well. I can't imagine, as for me it wasn't that easy. Sandy's got her own travel agency. She and Jason met when they were both traveling the world. Sandy has seen so many places and she wants people to have the best possible round trips which she puts together herself. She has a couple of staff members and soon she can open a second store. Most of her business comes from online customers though, but she often organizes events so travelers can meet one another which makes people who booked their first trip online come in the next time they want to go somewhere. Jason has been busy with his tricks and pranks again. This time he and his friend pretended they sprained their ankles in the middle of a shopping mall, just to see what people would do. They videotaped the whole thing and put it on youtube.
Stella will start her survival work next week and the try out day will be somewhere in the next couple of weeks, when she's settled in. Does it sound mean that I hope she won't be able to? 
In the end everyone had too much to eat and to drink to drive home, so we all slept in my living
room. I have several self inflating air mattresses, because this kind of thing happens a lot. This morning I made us all breakfast and again I didn't go to work looking all bright and breezy.

Feb 25, 2014

Back to school! Almost...

I have to go back to school next week and it has been a while. I'm pretty sure it's going to take more time to learn things by heart, but I also think that I will understand more because of the extra years of experience. I've often wondered if I would do better when I'd study again now. Another question I ask myself is if I would have attended the same classes. If I could tell my eighteen year old self some of the things I've learned in the past ten years. Would she study to become a librarian or would she take a different path knowing what I know now. Of course my dream is to become an author. I write late at night and try to finish a novel, but it's not that easy. And when I finally finish it, it's only the beginning of the long way I still have to go. 
You can't go back in time, but I feel like I'm going to do that anyway. I'm nervous to meet my classmates. Will they like me and are we going to get along? I have no idea. It almost feels like doing my first week at university all over again. Last night I got my books and the list of people in my class. We'll have our own forum and we are supposed to contact the teachers online when we want to ask a question, so that everyone can learn. I hope I won't be too scared to share when I really need to know something. I've seen the pictures of the eleven other people in my class and nobody looks particularly unfriendly. No mass murderers as far as I can tell. I wish I could zap myself through this week to Monday evening having first day of school behind me. 

To cheer myself up I've bought some new school supplies. The pouch is from Papaya Art. I bought the backpack at Luulla and the notebook from Emily Burningham. Seeing those supplies there's a small part of me that's starting to look forward to going back to school again too.

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident. Although she managed to jump out before he lost control of the car, Allie can't remember anything from that night-but she has a sinking feeling that it was no accident. As their small seaside town, mourns the loss of one of its brightest, Allie feels guilty that she can't help solve the mystery of the crash. But more importantly, she is secretly relieved to be free from the relationship that caused her more pain than the one night of the crash ever did. The abuse she suffered at Trip's hands is a secret she kept for so long, even from her twin brother, Andrew, and her best friend, Blake.

Trip's family insists that foul play was behind their son's death, and the investigation turns on Allie and Blake, especially as their changing relationship raises eyebrows around town. Beginning to question everything about herself, her family, and Blake, Allie must reach deep down to remember what happened that night. But is it worth it, if finding out the truth could hurt the people who tried to save her?

I borrowed the summary from Amazon. Breaking Beautiful is a young adult novel. Allie feels broken after her accident. She has a big scar on her head and also one near her eye. She doesn't feel beautiful anymore. Her parents are strict and they don't really see what's happening under their own noses. They have no idea what their daughter is going through and are therefore not very supportive. At school pupils are worse and the parents of her deceased boyfriend are making it even harder. The only two people who do understand and who are kind to Allie are her brother Andrew and her friend Blake. 
Allie has a secret and there is a reason she can't remember what happened the night of her accident. Slowly she starts to remember things. I couldn't stop reading, because I wanted to know all the details and the true story behind what happened to her. Even though books that have teenagers as the main characters sometimes are a little bit more obvious and less diverse than their adult counterparts they can still be very moving and gripping. The suspense was tangible. The main character is someone you sympathize with from the start. I wanted her to be all right. Overall this is a very well executed story and for me it read like a regular thriller.

Pinko in my dreams...

I love this Pinko outfit. I can't stop looking at it. I want to have this! Maybe when I win the lottery...
Pinko's also for sale on Farfetch.

Feb 24, 2014

Family Hippy Fun

My family likes parties and my parents are very good at throwing them. This Sunday it was time for a hippy party. Because they all kept their old clothes my parents, their friends and my aunts and uncles were far better dressed for the occasion than I was. I liked my own dress so much though. I bought it on sale at Fashion Conscience and I think I'm going to wear it a lot this Summer. I wore it with high heeled sandals and for once I liked my naturally very straight hair. I went all out with my make up and had such a good time dressing up.
My parents have a big barn which they rebuilt into a party room. Purely for their own parties. Sometimes their friends ask them if they can celebrate something there which of course is also always fine. This was the first party since New Year and I'm very happy the season has started again. Too bad Ben missed it, because he had his own family to go to. Instead I brought Jenna and Naomi and Sandy invited Stella. We danced for several hours and drank many glasses of sangria. It was one of those perfect family days that normally only exist in books.

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend

The day her gifted twins leave home for university, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. For seventeen years she's wanted to yell at the world, 'Stop! I want to get off'. Finally, this is her chance. Perhaps she will be able to think.

Her husband Dr Brian Beaver, an astronomer who divides his time between gazing at the expanding universe, an unsatisfactory eight-year-old affair with his colleague Titania and mooching in his shed, is not happy. Who will cook dinner? Eva, he complains, is either having a breakdown or taking attention-seeking to new heights.

But word of Eva's refusal to get out of bed quickly spreads.

Alexander the dreadlocked white-van man arrives to help Eva dispose of all her clothes and possessions and bring her tea and toast. Legions of fans are writing to her or gathering in the street to catch a glimpse of this 'angel'. Her mother Ruby is unsympathetic: 'She'd soon get out of bed if her arse was on fire.'

And, though the world keeps intruding, it is from the confines of her bed that Eva at last begins to understand freedom.

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year is a funny and touching novel about what happens when someone stops being the person everyone wants them to be. Sue Townsend, Britain's funniest writer for over three decades, has written a brilliant novel that eviscerates modern family life.

I borrowed the above from Amazon. Eva doesn't want to get out of bed anymore and eventually she stays there for a year. Even going to the toilet seems to be a strain. The question is why. Eva's husband, Brian, is a selfish man and her children are even worse. Her mother and mother in law seem to find Eva a burden mostly. Only the hired handyman and artist Alexander seems to be nice to her. Then Eva becomes a bit of a celebrity and things start to go downhill from there. 
The lack of warmth and kindness was the thing that surprised me most about this book. How unfriendly people can be to one another. Maybe it's exaggerated here, but that doesn't mean it isn't real. I liked Sue Townsend's sarcasm and brutal honesty. The story was funny, but also crude and somehow very true. I didn't know what to expect when I started reading it as the theme could have been boring, but it wasn't, not at all. It was one bizarre thing after another and the end was wonderfully appropriate. 

Feb 23, 2014

Ben at my place!

I had another date with Ben on Saturday evening. Samuel was spending the night with his mother, so I offered to cook him dinner. This was the first time I could show him my home. He's good at designing and his house looks wonderful. I always go for cozy and not too expensive and that's about it, but he seemed to like it well enough. I kept the dinner simple and made a roast which I could prepare before he arrived. That way I didn't have to spend time in the kitchen the whole time he was here. Ben was the perfect gentleman, he brought me flowers and a box of chocolates. I wore this hyssop jumper from White Stuff and a Jacquard Skinny Jeans from J Brand that's on sale at Nordstrom.
This time there was nobody to interrupt our date. We had the time to get to know each other a little better. I asked Ben a lot of questions about his childhood and I wanted to know if he'd always wanted to be an artist. He told me that he trained to be a marine officer, but when he finally started working he got a leg injury which meant the end of his career. He went to art school part time to distract himself at first as part of a program to retrain him. When he discovered his talent he decided to give being an artist a try. He didn't know if he would be able to make it, but with the murals he earned enough to keep going. Now he only does them for fun. 
Ben asked me some questions in return and then we spent the rest of our time together kissing and cuddling. He went home at eleven. Jenna just came back from her own date with Dan and decided to drop by so we could share stories. She met Dan at the set of the soap opera, he's a camera man there, poor Cameron. I wish Ben could have stayed longer, but he had to get up early for a family get together. Maybe next time I can join him?

Feb 22, 2014

Girl's Night In part 2: Pajama Party!

 Most girls like pink and we've proven that once again. In February my friends Louise, Jenna, Lizzy, Naomi and I always come together for a pajama party. We want to see each other as often as possible and try to plan group events where we all show up. This year it was Lizzy's turn to be the hostess. She has a big, modern apartment and there was plenty of room for us to sleep on her living room floor. 
 These are the pajamas we wore: BeeDees Pyjama Lucky Heart 156, Paul Frank Get Cozy With Julius Fleece Pajamas from WebUndies, Minnie Mouse Women's Checked Pyjama Set from The Hut, PiP Dana Dress Pink and Unicone Lounge Set from David & Goliath.

We didn't plan to each wear something pink, so it was even funnier when we all changed into our nightwear of choice. There were so many cool sets to admire, it's fun how we all have our own style. We all brought sleeping bags and lots of sweets, cookies, snacks and drinks. Of course we had lots of fun as usual and this morning we had a big breakfast to conquer our hang overs. We lounged in our pajamas as long as possible and finished our snacks this afternoon. I like walking around in something comfortable and I think the pajama party is one of our best annual events. Fortunately the next complete get together won't be far away either.

The Spook's Curse: Book 2 (The Wardstone Chronicles) by Joseph Delaney

The Spook's CurseThe Spook's Curse

It's the job of the Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, to protect the County from the dark. 

But deep in the catacombs below Priestown lurks a creature the Spook has never been able to defeat - the Bane. 

As they prepare to battle it, yet another deadly enemy emerges to threaten Tom and his master. Can they survive the horrors that follow? 

I borrowed the above from the Spooksbooks website. I'm glad I chose this series to read with the teenagers at the library on Friday afternoon as they all love it. They can't wait to find out what happens next and are just as curious as I am. Nanette's kids were present again. That surprised me, but they told me they liked the books and the group, so they wanted to come back. Their father let them, so I guess it's all right.

The Spook has to fight an old enemy. The first time he tried to defeat the Bane he didn't succeed. When he has to go to Priestown he knows he has to face the Bane once more. Unfortunately there's also the Quisitor who does everything he can to catch both the Spook and Tom to burn at the stake. The Bane is evil, he can make people do things they don't want to do and he can read minds. He survives on blood and bones. 
When they are in Priestown Tom meets Alice again. Together they try to face the dangers that come to them, but each in their own way. This book was scarier and more gruesome than the previous one. Tom is growing up and he's getting braver. I liked that. He's fierce and he dares to stand up for himself. I was genuinely afraid several times while reading this story. It's thrilling and repulsive in a good way.

Feb 21, 2014

Lavender in Red!

Aunt Giselle gave me some money to buy myself something nice and these are my purchases. I decided to have a theme. Which is red, I bought several things that I liked in my favorite color of the moment.

I bought these red Fly London boots on Amazon

The jeans are from Salsa.

I found this Sunnyside Jersey at the Rosalita Mc Gee online store.

The estelle & thild lip balm comes from Beautybay.

I spent my whole Thursday evening looking at my new items. The warm sweater is great and the boots go so well with skinny jeans. I have many shirts and cardigans that look good with the trousers and the lip balm is something I can use every day. I like red so much! Thank you aunt Giselle for making my day!

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

Twenty-five years ago, eleven-year-old Jade and Bel became public shorthand for all that is evil when they were convicted of the murder of four-year-old Chloe. Long released on licence, forbidden to have contact and watched by the probation service, each has built a new life with a new name, their notorious pasts carefully hidden from even the closest to them. But when a serial killer starts to stalk the streets of the seaside town where Amber Gordon lives and works, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is sent to cover the story – precipitating a chain of events that threatens to destroy their carefully constructed worlds… 

The summary above is from Alex Marwood's website. I had to keep reading until I finished this story. Amber and Kirsty are convicted murderers who are trying hard to hide their history and previous identity. The story of the death of the four year old Chloe in the past has been alternated with that of the present, the murders of several women in Whitmouth. Amber and Kirsty meet each other by coincidence. They are not supposed to see each other ever again, but when they do they want to know more about one another. 
It's hard not to sympathize with these two women. Which is strange as they've murdered a child. I kept wanting them to be innocent somehow. Amber and Kirsty as wicked as they are said to be or are they two victims who were at the wrong place at the wrong time? Are they kind people who made a mistake or are they cool blooded murderers? I found this very interesting. The psychological game the writer plays with the reader is the strongest characteristic of this book. It's something different and I liked that a lot. 

Feb 20, 2014

Dressing up for Ben

I bought this gorgeous a dot to love dress from ModCloth. I saved it especially for Ben. It's a bit too fancy for a normal day at work, but I wanted to look my best for Ben. I got plenty of remarks as my colleagues all seemed to like the dress. And it was a good thing I wore it because today my new boss arrived. It's a he, which is something to get used to in an all women workplace. He's nice enough. His name is Edward, he's in his fifties and he's quite posh. He told me he's been a teacher at a private school before which explains that part. I think he's going to be strict and a bit old fashioned, but he has a good sense of humor and he loves books as much as I do.
Ben and Samuel came in just before closing. Ben texted me to ask me if I could put some books aside for his son which I did. After scanning his card we could leave immediately. We went to a fancy restaurant, with the three of us. Ben told me it would be all right, that Samuel is easy to take with him and that he bribed him with an outing of his choosing during the weekend. When we sat down Ben gave Samuel some crayons and a coloring book. When we got the menu he asked questions about all the dishes that were on it and he refused to have the children's menu. He wanted to choose his own food. Ben found it all very funny and let him choose whatever he wanted to eat. He asked the waiter if they could adjust the portions for Samuel and that was that. As usual Ben took me to a great place and the food was divine. We all ordered the scallops and after that I ate shrimp risotto. Ben and Samuel both wanted to eat duck meat with oranges. For desert we could choose from a whole range of pies. They gave Samuel several little pieces, so he could taste everything he liked. I chose a raspberry chocolate pie and wasn't disappointed at all. 
After dinner we went to Ben's place and put Samuel in bed. Then Ben and I had some alone time, or at least we thought so. Time for more making out on the sofa. We're way past the third date, but as Samuel kept coming downstairs because he couldn't sleep we had to take things slowly. I don't mind so much as I know we'll get our chance pretty soon anyway.

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Silver Sparrow

With the opening line of Silver Sparrow, “My father, James Witherspoon is a bigamist,” Tayari Jones unveils a breathtaking story about a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and the teenage girls caught in the middle.
Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s families– the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich and flawed characters, she also reveals the joy, and the destruction, they brought to each other’s lives.
At the heart of it all are the two girls whose lives are at stake, and like the best writers, Jones portrays the fragility of her characers with raw authenticity as they seek love, demand attention, and try to imagine themselves as women.

I borrowed the above from Tayari Jones's website. This book is about two sisters, Dana and Chaurisse, who both have the same father. His name is James Witherspoon and he has two families. His daughters are almost the same age. Dana only gets to see her father once a week. She has to remain a secret, but she knows about her father's wife and daughter, her sister. Chaurisse has a protected and easy childhood, still there's something missing. She's wants to have a close friend so badly. She has no idea that Dana exists. When they meet they become friends, only Dana still has to keep her secret. 
Chaurisse has got everything that Dana has not. Gwen, Dana's mother, earns most of the money they have and she's always at work. Dana's lonely and doesn't always do the right thing when she gets older. She has to work so much harder to get the same things as her sister, if she can get them at all, because she has to stay out of her way. Chaurisse is innocent and doesn't know many things about life yet. Dana can handle a lot more, but she has to deal with so much. At a certain point everything's about to change. There's a lot of grief and the question is, what do you allow someone you love? 

Feb 19, 2014

Jada's chicken chow mein

On Tuesday evening it was Jada's turn to cook. She did this at Stella's place so we'd have a little more privacy than in her parents' home. We've decided eating together will indeed be Tuesday evening thing. She used a chicken chow mein recipe from Rasa Malaysia which was delicious. Jada's a good cook and she seems to share my passion for food. For desert she made a batch of wonderful almond banana muffins trying out a recipe from Simply Scratch. They were great!

Of course Tuesday evenings aren't only about the food, but also about building a friendship. It's strange that a few weeks ago I didn't even know these two girls and now they are becoming close friends. Life can be strange that way. Stella had some news. She's going to change jobs. She wanted this for a very long time. Stella's sporty and has a job as a gym teacher, but her dream is a different one. The activity of her choice is survival and a vacancy came up at a company that organizes survival trips. She's been hired as an instructor. Stella has spent two years in the military and this suits her so well. I'm so happy for her. She's invited us for a try out day. No way! I'm a book geek and it isn't my kind of thing at all, but before I could say what was on my mind Jada had agreed for both of us to go together. Now I have to spend a day out in the cold doing survival stuff, whatever that may mean. Thank you Jada, sweet revenge girl. 
I also had some job news of my own. Nanette isn't coming back, they've relocated her to a smaller, more quiet library somewhere further away so she can move away from her husband. Someone's coming to replace her on a temporary basis and they want me to train to take over permanently in the future. That won't happen any time soon as I need to go back to school for several days a month to learn how to become a library manager. I'm curious how I will do as I'm not good with numbers, but I'm going to study hard and give it my all. It would give me the opportunity to put the ideas I have for the library into good use. Plus I feel honored that the higher managers have such confidence in me of course. 
Jada's still unemployed which is too bad. She's sent plenty of letters to different companies already and hopefully someone will invite her for an interview. She's looking for a position as an executive secretary. 
Soon the conversation shifted from work to lots of other things and I had to leave at midnight because I didn't want to look too tired at work today, it's a Ben and Samuel day! 

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell


There is a story that is usually told about extremely successful people, a story that focuses on intelligence and ambition. Gladwell argues that the true story of success is very different, and that if we want to understand how some people thrive, we should spend more time looking around them-at such things as their family, their birthplace, or even their birth date. And in revealing that hidden logic, Gladwell presents a fascinating and provocative blueprint for making the most of human potential.

I borrowed the summary from Malcolm Gladwell's website. Outliers is an interesting book to read, to see a different story behind success. It's important when you were born, where you were born, in which social class and if there are ideal circumstances. What also matters is perseverance. A success story isn't just one person's story alone, there are other factors involved, always. That is what Malcolm Gladwell wants to reveal in this book, the other story behind someone's success. 
I liked this book. The author is a good storyteller and I enjoyed reading every single chapter. He covers many different subjects, ranging from people who have made billions to people who are extremely smart and airplane crashes. It's versatile and entertaining. 

Feb 18, 2014

So cute!

I saw this sweater on Yes Style and I just have to have it! It's so cute! I love it! Especially the yellow one! 

Reading The Sound of Colors to children on Monday evening

In this breathtaking, evocative book, a young blind girl travels from one subway station to another while her imagination takes her to impossibly wonderful places. Full color.

I borrowed this short description from the Bookdepository. I love this picture book. The drawings are so pretty and the theme is serious and sad, but also beautiful. They are all colorful and imaginative. I couldn't stop looking at them. The story is just as wonderful as illustrations, almost poetic. I can very much recommend this book.

I went to the activity center on Monday evening. I was asked to read a book to a group of children. They were already in their pyjamas and Lina, the mother who invited me, told me to read a book with a theme. They wanted to make the children aware that there are people who have a handicap. This book suited the theme very well and it was nice to be among so many children. They liked the drawings just as much as I did and they asked a lot of questions. We also used a tea towel as a blindfold and let them feel things. Of course they also wanted me to try as well. My conclusion is that the blind girl in this book is very brave.
 It was a good night and I'm glad I said yes to the proposal. It's work, as I'm getting a bit of money for it, but it doesn't feel like it at all, because it's so much fun. I can't wait to be asked again.

Feb 17, 2014

A day at the farm

My day at the farm started very well. When I arrived my aunt Giselle pressed this MiH dungaree into my hands and told me to wear it saying that for a day on the farm I needed something suitable. Which was of course a present in disguise as I didn't need to do any farming at a family get together. Aunt Giselle always does things like that. She doesn't have any children of her own, but my brother, sister and I are very close with her and uncle Peter. I'm very happy with my dungaree, I love it! 
Family get togethers are always loud and messy and the food is excellent. I had such a great time and it was very nice to see everyone again. My grandparents were there too. I was shocked to see how old they're becoming, so I spent some extra time with them to make some more good memories. I gave them both a big hug went they went home and promised to visit them soon. 
Aunt Giselle and uncle Peter live on a huge farm. They stopped farming a few years ago and renovated all the buildings on their premises. Now they have an art center with a mini hotel and they are fully booked almost every month of the year. They have a few staff members, so they are free to go whenever they want, but I think they mostly enjoy being at home and socializing with their guests as they hardly take a holiday. Sometimes there are writing courses and uncle Peter always keeps an eye on the guest list and when there's a last minute opening he asks me to join. They had some news too as a big delegation with important government people will stay at their farm next week. They had to install all kinds of extra security and there will be guards present 24 hours a day. I wish I could see that, but of course I'm not invited. 
When everyone went home I wanted to spend some more time with my aunt and uncle and I stayed the night. We ate some sandwiches in front of the fireplace and chatted companionably. I told them about Ben and Samuel and they asked me to bring them next time. I hope Ben will like that idea as I'd love to introduce him to my family. Maybe a rehearsal visit to uncle Peter and aunt Giselle isn't such a bad idea. Sleeping on a farm has something peaceful and it gave me sweet dreams... 

Ten Things I've Learnt About Love by Sarah Butler

Alice has just returned to London from months of travelling abroad. She is late to hear the news that her father is dying, and returns to the family home only just in time to say goodbye. Daniel hasn’t had a roof over his head for over thirty years, but to him the city of London feels like home in a way that no bricks and mortar ever did. He spends every day searching for his daughter; the daughter he has never met. Until now . . . Heart-wrenching and life-affirming, this is a unique story of love lost and found, of rootlessness and homecoming and the power of the ties that bind. It is a story for fathers and daughters everywhere.

I've copied the summary from Amazon. Every chapter in this book starts with a list of ten things. I liked that, the lists had purpose. They are either from Alice or from Daniel, as the chapters alternate between them. Alice doesn't feel like a full member of her family. She doesn't feel completely loved by her father and there's a distance between her and her sisters. When she was young they sometimes told her things out of spite and Alice is feeling guilty because of reasons she can't comprehend. Daniel has been searching for his daughter for many years. He's homeless and keeps looking for her every day. Then he suddenly knows where she is. Both Alice and Daniel are sad, they don't feel like they belong, they miss something in their life. It's a sad story, but somehow it doesn't feel only sad, there's a great sense of hope. 
I liked the fact that Daniel was homeless and that Alice didn't have a place of her own to stay because she was roaming around the world. You get to know the main characters really well. I loved the writing style and the way the description of small things was made into something important. The dead mother's always at the center of things, but we don't really get to know her, that was also a plus for me.  Because of the wandering you picture London from a different point of view, which makes this story stand out in relation to other London based stories. Ten Things I've Learnt About Love doesn't disappoint, I think it's great. 

Feb 16, 2014

My Ben?

When I went to see Ben on Saturday evening I wore this French Connection skirt that I bought from Asos and my A.P.C. sweatshirt from Coggles. I hoped it would give me some confidence, but I was still so nervous. I showed up at his house way too early. Samuel was with his mother and Ben wanted to cook for me. He sat me down in the kitchen with a glass of wine. It was really strange to watch him making dinner and not talk about things straight away. It didn't work, because after ten minutes I couldn't stand it anymore. I asked him what he decided and told him that I wanted to be more serious very badly. He put his dish in the oven and then sat down as well. He told me it was very difficult for him to date someone again, but that he wanted to try. Yes! I was so happy! Apparently he married his childhood sweetheart and there hasn't been anyone else since. I see it as a huge compliment that he's dating me now. He has beautiful blue eyes and his curly dark brown hair with greying sideburns. He's so handsome, I couldn't stop looking at him.
Ben's casserole was delicious. He made tiramisu for desert, very nice. And then we moved to the living room where we started kissing. We didn't stop for several hours. It was the best night of my life. It seems like I have a boyfriend! I still can't believe it. Ben is amazing and he is mine! 

Feb 15, 2014

Valentine's Night!

Valentine's Day was fun! I invited all my friends who didn't have a date for tonight, so Jenna, Stella, Jada and Zoe joined me for my Valentine's Night. We all drew a name out of a digital hat and bought a present for that person. I was very lucky as Jenna gave me two presents from Rebella. A lot of items of this brand are for sale on Amazon. I really like my blanket and pillow. They are perfect for a comfortable evening on my sofa. Thank you Jenna! 
We unwrapped our presents, ordered pizza and drank lots of wine. It was a very good alternative for a dateless Valentine. I had lots of fun and I love my presents, the evening was a success, fortunately everyone enjoyed it and got along. Of course the girls all wanted to see my Valentine mail. I received a card from Oliver asking me for forgiveness and a second chance (no way, yuck), a hand painted cards from Ben (very pretty) and two anonymous cards made on a website, so no clues from handwriting. They first said 'You're My Sweet Valentine' and then 'hugs and kisses' and that was it. The second was a 'Lots of Love' card and that one said 'I admire you greatly.' Who would write such a thing? I have no idea. It's the first time ever that I received anonymous mail on Valentine's Day and I feel flattered, but it's making me so damn curious. Why write someone a card without letting them know who you are? I hope they will both come forward. Or maybe it's a practical joke? 
Jenna was the only one staying the night. We didn't sleep much as we had a lot of man talk to do. She went to the set for her part in the soap opera. She was the customer in a bar and she had two lines. There were three takes and then the whole scene had to be perfect, so she couldn't stutter or stumble. It will take some time before she can see herself on television and around that time her article will appear as well. She didn't expect him to, but Cameron kept in touch afterwards and he sent her a box of chocolates which she liked a lot. She's still not sure because of the trusting thing, but he's slowly winning her over, I can see that. How funny would that be, to know someone famous? And of course I talked about Ben and the talk we're going to have soon. I'm getting really nervous, I want to date him and I want to go for it, but I have no idea if he's ready for that kind of commitment.
The night officially ended after Jenna and I finished my heart shaped sandwiches with scrambled eggs and sausages for breakfast. It was a happy night.  

The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney

Someone has to stand against the dark. And you're the only one who can.'

For years, the local Spook has been keeping the County safe from evil. Now his time is coming to an end, but who will take over?

Many apprentices have tried . . . Some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive. Just one boy is left. Thomas Ward. He is the last hope.

But does he stand a chance against Mother Malkin, the most dangerous witch in the County?

I borrowed the above from Joseph Delaney's website. On Friday afternoon it was my first time reading with the older children. I've chosen this series to read to them and with them, a book every week. The project has been started together with some local schools. It's for children who love books. They got a copy to read at home, so we could discuss things. I read my favorite scenes to them and talked to them about their experiences. It was my first time and I was a bit scared. I like reading to smaller children, but  older children who have just hit puberty can be a lot more stubborn. Fortunately I didn't have to act like a teacher that much. Nanette's children were present, but without their mother, so I don't know how she's doing yet.

I loved the book. It's scary, creepy and very imaginative. Thomas is just a boy when he has to start working as the Spook's apprentice. Because he's young and not very experienced yet he makes mistakes and those mistakes lead to disastrous things. He solves his own problems though, sometimes with a little help. He needs to face and overcome his biggest fears and he has to be as smart as he can be to stand a chance against the evil witch Mother Malkin. Thomas's predecessors haven't all survived the job and Thomas is the last apprentice of the Spook. He has to do the job.
I love the way the story has been written. Both the language and the pace are strong points. The story is frightening, vivid and sometimes gruesome. It's a pleasure to read for both children and grown ups.

Feb 14, 2014

What Roy had to say

Yesterday evening I met Roy after work.  He didn't check if I would be available after giving me his note, he just showed up at the library at the right time. We went out for a hamburger and fries. I was really curious because of what he wrote, but at first he didn't mention anything. He treated our evening like a date which left me a bit confused, because I had no idea this evening was supposed to be one. We had a lovely evening though. I wore this Reflection trouser by Free People. I'm so glad hippy clothes are fashionable again. I like them a lot. Roy dresses alternatively, so we looked like a couple who dressed alike on purpose. We got plenty of remarks about it actually. Several people said we looked so cute together and I completely agree. We do look good together and we get along very well. It's like we've known each other for a long time.
 Only then Roy came with his news. He's going on tour for several months. It is a small one, but it's an around the globe tour where he and Liam will play in theaters, cafes and clubs. They don't want to be world famous, but they want to have a large underground public. That's what they would like to get out of the tour. Roy wants to be able to live from his music, but he also tries to stay anonymous. His music isn't for everyone, so I think that this could actually work. I get why he wants to travel. It's such a great opportunity. I tried to be as supportive as possible. And then he told me he liked me, a lot actually. If he'd met me a few months ago he wouldn't have planned this tour as he wants us to be together. Only to spare us a lot of heartbreak because of the long distance relationship he doesn't want to be attached at this moment. He did want to tell me though and he asked me if we could keep in touch anyway. He also said that he's hoping I will still be available when he gets back from his tour, so we can start dating and give our relationship a serious chance. I stared at him open mouthed and didn't know what to say. I like him, but I never thought about it really. Ben is on my mind most of the time to be honest. Still Roy is a great guy and the promise that I will date him if I'm still single when he's around again isn't a hard one to make. He gave me a hug and a kiss on my forehead and said he would miss me. 
Then he gave me a rose with a little card that I had to open today which I did. This is what it said:

'You could be the one'

It made me like him a lot more. Why does this happen to me all the time. Men are complicated, they are never fully available and there's always a catch. Still, it was a nice gesture and Roy's speech was really sweet. Maybe in a few months time, but for now I'm going to miss him like crazy.

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell

It's July 1976. In London, it hasn't rained for months, gardens are filled with aphids, water comes from a standpipe, and Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he's going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn't come back. The search for Robert brings Gretta's children - two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce - back home, each wih different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share

I borrowed the summary from Maggie O'Farrell's website. When Robert Riordan disappears all of Gretta's children come home. Michael Francis, Monica and Aoife all have their own problems and Monica and Aoife have issues with each other. Gretta never says directly what she means and it takes her children a long time to figure out what she knows. 
I loved this family, mostly because of their quirks. All of them have secrets and they have to come to terms with them. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next, if something would come out, if things were going to be all right, etc. I felt like I was part of the story. Gretta and Robert are Irish and that's something that plays an important role in the book. They live in England and their children have been raised with as much of the Irish culture as possible. Gretta wants them to hang on to that, but that doesn't really happen. Everyone is disappointed with something and they are all fighting to accept themselves and one another. The story is so well written and I couldn't get enough of it. The ending was absolutely perfect as well.
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