Jan 31, 2014

An evening with Lizzy


I  went to see my friend Lizzy yesterday. She works in advertising and someone gave her this box of divine Godiva chocolates. And she decided to share them with me. To be quite honest, she got the box only yesterday and at the end of the evening there were no chocolates left. I don't think it would have been any different if I wouldn't have been there to share them with her. 
Finally I was able to hear about the guy she's dating. His name his Luke and she met him at a birthday party. She was practically glowing, I think this is serious. Lizzy has had one very long relationship and doesn't have much dating experience because she never had to. Everything seems to be going very well though. I'm so happy for her! She showed me some pictures and they look great together. Somehow I don't think I have the same feelings for Oliver (yet?). I don't let myself think about my feelings for Ben too much as that's more of a casual thing. I told Lizzy about the possibility that Oliver isn't entirely free. She said I should confront him when I see him on Saturday. I don't think I have another choice. Lizzy let me borrow a cute red dress that I can wear for yet another fancy date. 
This was another one of those evenings where I crashed in the guest room. We had too much to talk about and it was so much fun that it was midnight before I knew it. After a quick breakfast we said goodbye to each other this morning. Now I'm at work and I just heard Gina has been hired. She will start working next door on Monday already!

Chinti and Parker



When I'm having a weak moment I find myself coming back to Chinti and Parker's website every single time. I'd love to have one of these pullovers, or even better, both. Even their sale prices are far above my budget, but I like their sweaters with hearts and stars a lot! 
The question is why was I having a weak moment this time? It's very superficial, but going on dates two or three times a week leaves me with wardrobe problems. I don't think I have anything suitable to wear anymore after this weekend. Fortunately my sister saved me as usual as she called me yesterday to ask me to go shopping with her on Saturday. Sales here I come! And it will be so nice to spend a few hours alone with my sister. I love her family a lot, but some sister time every now and then is something I won't say no to for sure. 

Jan 30, 2014

Pancakes!


My mother bought me this Tigersushi Furs pullover from Browns! I wore it to work yesterday for the first time. I love this unusual brand and the name is so funny. I'm very happy with my present. She often does something like this, giving me a present just because she likes giving me something. That's so sweet! And it was a good thing I wore it too, because Ben and Samuel came by at work again today. Again just before my shift ended. As we sat down with our hot chocolates Samuel told me he and Ben were going to have pancakes and he insisted that I would come along too. How could I say no to that?
We went to some cozy place near the forest. There was wood everywhere and with checkered curtains and tablecloths it was like something from a fairytale. I can't believe I didn't know this place existed! Otherwise I would have been a regular, which I probably will be very soon. I love pancakes. My favorite is an apple pancake with cheese, sirup and strawberry jam. I know, it's an odd combination, but it suits me very well. Ben and Samuel were good company. While Samuel colored his placemat Ben and I had the chance to chat a little. We agreed that we liked each other's company and that we should see each other more often. Eek! I really like this man. But what about Oliver? And Ben has a kid, that asks for some responsibility. Somehow I don't think I'd mind at all though. 
After the pancakes we ate ice creams and then the evening came to an end already as Samuel had to go to bed early. We agreed to text each other soon to make plans again. Yippee! 

Christmas present number 5: The Night Rainbow


During one long, hot summer, five-year-old Pea and her little sister Margot play alone in the meadow behind their house, on the edge of a small village in Southern France. Her mother is too sad to take care of them; she left her happiness in the hospital, along with the baby. Pea's father has died in an accident and Maman, burdened by her double grief and isolated from the village by her Englishness, has retreated to a place where Pea cannot reach her - although she tries desperately to do so.

Then Pea meets Claude, a man who seems to love the meadow as she does and who always has time to play. Pea believes that she and Margot have found a friend, and maybe even a new papa. But why do the villagers view Claude with suspicion? And what secret is he keeping in his strange, empty house?


This was one of the books I bought from the Amazon coupon my sister gave me for Christmas. I started reading almost as soon as I got it and wasn't disappointed. Due to the fact that the narrator is a five year old girl the story becomes honest, open and naive at some points. I thought it was extremely well executed. Pea is lonely and neglected. The friendship with Claude is a special one and many times he's the only one she's got. That was heartbreaking. I felt genuinely sad sometimes. It was such a beautiful story. Life can change for the worse all of a sudden and for me that idea lead to very conflicting emotions about Pea's situation and her mother. I'm glad I bought this book and I'm pretty sure I'm going to read it again at some point. 

Jan 29, 2014

Stella in Ostwald Helgason


On Sunday I talked to Sandy's sister Stella for a while and we got along surprisingly well, so I invited her over for dinner. She wore this beautiful Ostwald Helgason shirt. Books are my first love, but library salaries... Stella lives on her own just like me, so it was nice to keep each other company on a week day. And I think I've made a new friend. 
There isn't anyone special in her life at the moment. When I told her about Oliver she was a bit surprised as she knows him a little and she's sure he's got a girlfriend. That doesn't sound promising, but maybe he's left her and Stella hasn't seen him in the meantime. Could that be possible? We're not exclusive, but I don't want to steal someone else's man. I decided not to brood over it too much, because that would have spoiled my evening and I like sleeping at night, so I tried not to think much about it then either. Today it keeps bothering me, so I know I have to do something about it soon, only I haven't decided what. If I find out he has a girlfriend our next date will be off.
I did my very best to cook a decent meal. I chose trie some of the Pioneer Woman's recipes. I wasn't disappointed. Now her cookbooks are on my wish list for sure! You can have a peek at Amazon and I'd really like to see the rest of the book. The food was a huge success. Stella loved it and I made a good first impression as a hostess. Next week she's going to try to impress me. She told me not to expect too much as she isn't a kitchen princess at all. Maybe I can go over early and give her a hand as I like cooking together with someone else. 
Today Gina will have her first interview at the art library. We'll meet for drinks afterwards. I can't wait to hear how it went! 

Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts

Blood Brothers: Every seven years, on the seventh day of the seventh month, strange things happen. It began when three young boys - Caleb, Fox, and Gage - went on a camping trip to the Pagan Stone. This modern-day legend draws reporter and author Quinn Black to Hawkins Hollow with the hope of making the eerie happening the subject of her new book. It is only February, but Caleb Hawkins, descendent of the town founders, has already seen and felt the stirrings of evil. Cal will need the help of his best friends, but surprisingly he must rely on Quinn as well. The Hollow: As the dreaded seventh month looms before them, Caleb, Fox, and Gage can feel the storm brewing. But this year, they are better prepared, joined in their battle by three women who have come to The Hollow. Since that day at The Pagan Stone, town lawyer Fox has been able to see into others? minds, a talent he shares with Layla. He must earn her trust, because their link will help fight the darkness that threatens to engulf the town. The Pagan Stone: Though Gage and Cybil share the gift of seeing the future, that's all they share. But Gage knows that a woman like Cybil ? with her brains and strength and devastating beauty ? can only bring him luck. Good or bad has yet to be determined ? and could mean the difference between absolute destruction or an end to the nightmare for Hawkins Hollow.




I borrowed the text from the Bookdepository where I purchased this trilogy. These books are so good! They are like an old fashioned horror movie. These days they have much better special effects, but somehow these older films are scarier. This story has that terrifying atmosphere. I loved the connection between the six main characters and how piece by piece the solution revealed itself. I could totally picture the town, the people, the houses, etc. It was very real. Something that could have happened. These books are gripping page turners with a very well executed story. I'm not going to say more about it as I don't want to spoil anything, but I think you should read these books.

Jan 28, 2014

Sunday evening with Ben


I had a date (?) with Ben on Sunday evening. I was a little nervous as I had no idea what to expect. I brought a box of jelly beans from Jelly Belly. I'm a big fan of those little sweets and once I start eating them it's hard to stop. This box is so cheerful and I thought it would be nice for Ben as well as Samuel. I was right as Ben liked it a lot and kids always love sweets. 
I haven't been at Oliver's house yet, but now I've seen Ben's. He's living in a nice place. It's not huge, but it isn't small either. What I liked especially is the big garden with the tree hut and the swings for Samuel. I could clearly see that Ben loves his son very much. He did his best to tidy up, but Samuel insisted on building me a tower in the middle of the living room. That was so sweet that Ben decided to let it stay there. As it was standing in the way a bit we sat down in the kitchen instead. It's the coziest place of the home, at least from the parts I've seen, and it's all old fashioned with wood, flowers and turquoise. Plus there's a big fairytale mural which Ben painted himself. Apparently he does that for a living. He makes good money selling his art and also by launching new artists in his gallery. Being his own boss means that he can plan every job and working on his art around Samuel's schedule which is the reason he's living with his father. I was positively surprised as he clearly loves his son a lot. 
Ben made us some tea with sandwiches, scones and apple pie. He even made the apple pie himself. He clearly put a lot of effort in planning this evening. I couldn't help comparing it to my date with Oliver. They were both so kind and they are perfect gentlemen. The dates couldn't have been more different though which goes for the men as well.
Ben and I talked about our daily lives and we are on the same page about a lot of things. Very soon I was chatting with him like we were old friends. I had a great time! He asked me if I was seeing someone, I told him no, but I did tell him about going on two dates with someone else. He asked me if he still stood a chance and if it would be all right to take me on a proper date. I said yes. I know it maybe wasn't the smartest thing to do, but it felt right at the moment. When I left he gave me a quick kiss on the lips. Wow, that was amazing. 
I was daydreaming about this yesterday and today at work, about both of my dates and being kissed twice actually, when my boss Nanette asked if she could have a talk with me. She told me to be careful and not to date every man who stepped into the library. Word's obviously getting around pretty quickly. I felt a bit ashamed. Even though I've been working here for a couple of years already and have never dated a customer before. With a red face I returned to work. 

Jan 27, 2014

Reconstructing Amelia

Kate's in the middle of the biggest meeting of her career when she gets the telephone call from Grace Hall, her daughter's exclusive Park Slope private school. Amelia has been suspended, effective immediately, though the school refuses to say why, at least by telephone. They will say only that Kate must come get her daughter and she must come now.
And it must be Kate herself. Because no matter how loath she is to abandon her meeting, there no one for Kate to send in her place. For fourteen years, it has been just Kate and her daughter, the two of them alone and against the world. And for the most part, that has suited Kate just fine.
The whole ride out to Brooklyn, Kate wonders with growing annoyance what Amelia—so smart and successful and always so supremely responsible—could possibly have done to warrant a suspension, especially from the very liberal Grace Hall.
But soon all of it—the annoyance, the questions, her ridiculous meeting—drops away, forgotten when Kate turns that last corner and sets eyes on the police officers, and the fire trucks and that ambulance, sitting there, doors hanging open. Not rushing anywhere.
Because by then it's already too late for Amelia. And for Kate.
An academic overachiever despondent over getting caught cheating jumps to her death. Impulsive suicide, tragic and awful, but far more common than anyone realizes. At least that's the story Grace Hall tells Kate. And clouded as she is by her guilt and grief, it is the one that she believes. That is, until she gets an anonymous text : She didn't jump.
Told from Kate and Amelia's alternating points of view, as well as Amelia's e-mails, texts and Facebook posts, Reconstructing Amelia, tells the story of why Amelia was on Grace Hall's roof that day. And how she ended up plunging to her death.
It is a story of secret first loves, old friendships and an all girls club steeped in tradition. It's about having the strength to accept your own truth, even when you're betrayed by the people you trusted most. But most of all Reconstructing Amelia is the story of how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she couldn’t save.



I borrowed the text above from the Kimberly McCreight's website. I've lost quite some sleep because of this book. I couldn't even put it down to go to the toilet, let alone to go to bed. I just had to know what happened to Amelia. Even though the topic is really sad and it's something you need a good stomach for, a mother losing her only child, it's a gripping story which reads like a thriller. I felt so bad for the mother, but was also curious to what happened to her daughter at the same time. It's very well written and it remains a mystery right until the end. I liked the connection between the mother and the daughter, they are both so much alike, strong and brave, but also very naive and fiercely loyal and protective. I can only praise this book. Prepare to clear your schedule as soon as you start reading as you won't be able to stop. 

Family brunch


On Sunday afternoon I went to my family's Sunday brunch. My parents usually cook a whole buffet with both warm and cold food as there are so many of us. My older sister Dawn and her husband Seth have three kids, Phoebe, Marcy and Robert, with them it's already full house. Then of course Sandy and Ben came over. They brought Sandy's sister Stella with them. And grandma, grandpa, aunt Giselle and uncle Peter were present. I always love seeing everybody again. Aunt Giselle and uncle Peter are like a second set of parents for me. I spent so many weeks staying over at their farm. I do miss those days, but fortunately I'm still always welcome and I got over there for a weekend every now and then. 
As always I played with my nieces and nephew for a long time. They all looked good and happy. Things at home haven't been too easy lately as Seth has been ill for the past couple of months, but he finally seems to be on the mend. That was cause to celebrate, so several bottles of bubbles were opened. I don't think I ever drank so much champagne in one year even let alone in only a weekend. 
Dawn is a typical older sister, she's bossy and over protective, but she's also sweet and caring. And she always brings me a gift from work. She has a busy job managing a chain of department stores, but and to bring in some extra cash to pay for the mortgage now that Seth isn't working she started selling cosmetics. Both online and to a small group of upscale clientele. It's working surprisingly well. She brought me this Alchemy palette which is part of the Fantasy palettes series of Lime Crime. I tried it on this morning and it has a lot of pigment. It's a bit different in texture from most eye shadows, but with the right kind of brushes it works very well, the dark blue looked like eye liner and I put the purple and yellow above. I'm very pleased with my palette! Thank you Dawn! 
Jason and Sandy made their announcement. I'm so happy for them! Secretly I'm also a bit jealous, I would love to have such a life for myself as well. I'm sure the right guy will come along though. Maybe I'm even dating him already? There wasn't enough time to properly chat to my parents, so I'm going over for dinner later this week. I didn't bother them too much, because they live for family afternoons. This was Christmas all over. It was such a lot of fun! 

Jan 26, 2014

Dinner with Oliver


I was pretty nervous for my date with Oliver as he texted me the dress code for the restaurant we'd be visiting would be smart. Fortunately I had a black dress somewhere at the back of my closet. I think I looked pretty good, but I didn't feel completely at ease. Oliver wore a suit which looked pretty expensive. He picked me up in his brand new fancy car and then we drove to a farm in the middle of nowhere. There was valet parking and the hostess was dressed much better than me in expensive designer clothes. I was thoroughly impressed. The restaurant was fancy, but very warm and cozy. We had a table near the fireplace. Then Oliver ordered a bottle of Deutz champagne. He ordered the pink bottle especially because he knew I'd like it. After drinking a few sips I started to feel more comfortable. I expected every guest at the restaurant to be super rich, but most people looked just like us. It was my first time in such a high class place and I enjoyed it very much.
The waiter proposed the menu du jour and we gladly took it as it all sounded delicious. We ate scallops with red beets, the most delicious and tender steak I've ever eaten and we were spoiled with plenty of appetizers. The desert was a pineapple soufflĂ©, need I say more? Then Oliver ordered a coffee and I ordered a pot of tea. At that time they walked around with a small carriage filled with cookies, chocolates, sweets, caramels and ice cream. They served little shots of desert wine with it and I got to taste serval of them. It was wonderful. 
The champagne made me quite rosy and the atmosphere and the company made my evening extra special. It was a perfect and romantic date. And this was only our second time together! I got to know Oliver a lot better. We talked about our families and friends and he told me he'd love to introduce me to all of them. That's a bit quick don't you think? But it's also endearing. He's a sweet man and he was a perfect gentlemen. Right until the end when he kissed me by the front door, but didn't want to come in as it was only our second date. He's a good kisser and I think it's no surprise that we'll go on another date next weekend!

Jan 25, 2014

Friday evening dinner


I spent my Friday evening with Jenna and Naomi. We went to a very cute Italian restaurant for dinner. It was a very old fashioned kind of place with red and white checkered tablecloths and big dripping candles in wine bottles on the table. The food was wonderful and as usual time flew by. We weren't with the whole gang as Lizzy and Louise were having dates. I'm pretty sure I will hear all about those soon enough. Jenna wore this fabulous jeans by Blank NYC. It looked great on her and I saw Naomi lusting after it in the same way I did. 
We talked about my complicated dating life and especially about Ben. After texting with him quite a few times I agreed to see him on Sunday evening. Samuel is with his mother during the weekend and he asked me to come over. I already have a date with Oliver tonight and two dates on the same day is a big fat NO. On Sunday afternoon I'm having brunch with my family, so my weekend is fully booked with many fun things. Naomi had some breaking man news herself. She's going on a date with her boss. Eek! I can't picture myself dating my boss, but hers is actually a pretty cute guy who's only ten years older. She likes him so much that she's willing to risk her job for it. That's pretty serious and I guess it will either end in unemployment with long sobbing sessions or marriage. Of course I'm hoping it will be a wedding, I so love dressing up as a bridesmaid. Even if the dress is ugly and I look terrible. And I want to see my friend happy.
After dinner we went to Jenna's place to drink some more wine as we weren't done drinking and chatting. I stayed the night as I didn't want to go home by myself in the middle of the night. And that was a pretty lucky decision as Jenna can make a mean breakfast. Now I have to get ready for my date!

The Wishing Thread

Aubrey Van Ripper—the last remaining Van Ripper in the Stitchery—runs a shady business, one that she inherited from the early Dutch settlers of Tarrytown, New York. She can influence the future when a client wears a garment that she knits. However, unless the client gives up something equal to what he’ll gain, the magic will fail.
Some say Aubrey is an angel. Others say she is a swindler. Aubrey herself isn’t sure.
Her newly reunited sisters want her to sell the Stitchery. Bitty doesn’t believe in magic: she makes a strong case that the power of the Stitchery is no more than the power of suggestion. Meggie too has her doubts. Aubrey has her own secret reason questioning her role in the Stitchery: his name is Vic Oliveira, and he isn’t put off by her bookish quirks or freakish blue eyes.
When the Stitchery is threatened with demolition, Aubrey’s relationship with her sisters—and her belief in magic—is put to the test. Will the threads hold?



I borrowed the text above from Lisa van Allen's website. The Wishing Thread is not only a book for those of us who like to knit. I know that because I can't knit at all and I still had a very good time reading this book. I loved the family relations, the atmosphere and the magic that was involved. Nothing was predictable which I found a big plus. I liked that every sister needed to discover things about herself to move forward in life. There were a lot of things they had to tell each other before they could pick up the wonderful relationship they used to have. I won't tell you if it all worked out the way they wanted to, you should find that out for yourself.

Jan 24, 2014

Dinner with Gina


Yesterday I went to my friend Gina to have dinner with her family. It's so strange to see that she has a happy family with two sweet little daughters already and that I'm not even in a relationship yet. We still are the best of friends and I'm very fond of four year old Brenda and Audrey who are identical twins. That's also why I brought them both the same doll. I found this doll on Amazon and it's so cute. I can't help but wanting one for myself as well. I keep telling myself to grow up and not like such things anymore, but I can't seem to do it. I greatly admire Gina who seems like a wise mother. I'm afraid my household would be terribly chaotic with me at the center of the chaos. I look forward to becoming a parent myself though, not yet, but in the future. For now I just borrow Gina's kids every once in a while to do crafts, read stories and play hide and seek. 
Gina's a great cook. She made some kind of chicken dish, very healthy, but still so delicious that the kids emptied their plates in no time. After dinner her husband put the children in bed and we had the chance to do some catching up. She advised me to go on dates with both Ben and Oliver at first as I don't know them well yet and if I choose now I might go for the wrong guy. It's certainly the best advise for me, but I'm probably going to make them really angry when they find out. Ben hasn't given me a reason for going out with me yet, so we might just be friends. There are those little butterflies in my stomach who are teasing me, but I had them when I saw Oliver too. Gina says I always make a mess of things at first, but later things work out anyway. I'm going to keep that in mind.
As the twins are in kindergarten now Gina's looking for a job. I've heard about a vacancy  in the art library next door to my work place. Tomorrow I'm going to set up an interview for her. I know the manager pretty well and I'm sure she'd want to meet Gina. I'm so excited as that means we'd get to see each other much more often!

Christmas present number 4: The Legacy trilogy

Legacy

In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair.
When the palace guard captures and intruder—a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy—Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.
In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom


Allegiance

An eighteen-year-old queen in love with the enemy as their countries pass the point of no return....
Bound to a man she cannot love, Queen Alera of Hytanica must forget Narian, the young man who holds her heart. For Narian is destined to conquer Hytanica at the behest of his master, the powerful magic-user known as the Overlord. Alera doesn't truly believe Narian will fight against Hytanica - until Cokyrian troops attack with Narian commanding the charge.
Faced with the greatest betrayal a heart can know, Alera must set aside personal feelings and lead her kingdom through its darkest time. And when all hope, will and courage seem lost, she must find strength and remember that even the blackest night must have a dawn....

Sacrifice

Alera: Queen of a fallen kingdom, secretly in love with the enemy.
Shaselle: Daughter of a murdered father, rebel with a cause.
One lives behind the former Hytanican palace walls and walks the razor's edge to keep the fragile peace in her beloved homeland. The other slips through the war-torn streets, seeking retribution for her family's tragedy, following whispers of insurgency.
Both face choices that will separate them from those they cannot help but love. As their stories intertwine, a conspiracy ignites that may end in slavery or death - or lead to freedom anew, if only each can face what must be sacrificed.




My friend Gina gave me this trilogy as a Christmas present. Of course I needed to read it first before telling you about it. I did some background reading about the author and found out she was 14 years old when she started writing this series. That's something I greatly admire. She had a dream and made it come true. Age doesn't matter in writing and she has a lot of talent. She's great with words and I enjoyed that very much. This is a fantasy series and that means bulky books in small print. I enjoyed every single page. I especially liked how every character became wiser and smarter, but that also meant more damage. Nobody was spared. The war was brutal and described vividly. As I read all books in one go it was a bit strange to see Shaselle in the last book as a main character alternating with Alera. It had a purpose though as this showed the war from a different point of view and we got to know much more about Steldor's good side. 
I borrowed the text above from the author's website and Amazon. On Cayla Kluver's homepage people can vote if they are on team Narian or team Steldor, that's funny. I won't tell you whose side I'm on as you should decide that for yourself after reading the series and I won't influence your opinion up front. I think this series is worth your time for sure. Certainly when you like the fantasy genre and strong women as the main character. I can't wait to read more books written by this author and as she's still so young I hope to enjoy much more of her writing in the future.


Jan 23, 2014

Wednesday evening

Simple, laidback food that bursts with flavour; fresh, inspiring recipes using favourite everyday ingredients - no one does fantastic easy cooking like Bill Granger.
Bill Granger has long been a champion of no-fuss food. Bill is a restaurateur and self-taught cook, but also a working father who cooks for his family every night. Easy is inspired by years of getting delicious, satisfying meals on the table quickly using everyday ingredients from the fridge or store cupboard, all in Bill’s inimitable easygoing style.
In this stunning new cookbook, Bill takes 16 well-loved and accessible main ingredients – from a chicken breast, fillet of fish, cut of lamb or tin of beans to berries, chocolate and a chunk of good cheese – and offers simple yet original dishes.
Easy includes 100 delicious recipes, from satisfying meat and fish, to flavour-packed vegetarian dishes and bakes, bold salads and tasty pasta, and finally mouth-wateringly easy sweet things.
Great food. Big Flavours. No worries. That’s what Bill is all about.


On Wednesday evening I went to Jason and Sandy for dinner. Jason is my brother and Sandy is his girlfriend. I think there will be a wedding soon as they seem to be crazy in love with each other. They've told me their big news. Sandy has moved in with Jason. Our parents don't know yet, but I guess they will tell them at Sunday brunch this weekend. 
Jason loves cooking and he made us a lamb tagine with tomatoes from Bill Granger's Easy cookbook. Here you find some more info about this famous tv chef. Jason bought this book from Amazon. That's also where I borrowed the description from. I had a chance to leaf through it and was quite impressed. The recipes look so tasty and they're easy and quick to make. Bill uses a lot of herbs and you have to like onions, garlic and coriander. Jason for sure did a good job with his recipe. The food tasted divine. I need to get myself my own copy of this book.
I'm so glad Jason has found Sandy. She's very friendly and we get along so well. I think in time we'll become great friends. She's offered to cook for us next time as Jason's home is her home now as well. I can't wait. Of course we also caught up on the Jason gossip. As always there's a lot. Jason has won a pub quiz, he made a dent in his car in the parking garage and he pulled a big stunt at work which involved a lot of smoke and a hundred balloons. He didn't want to explain how he did it. That's Jason, he likes a good prank. We're two years apart and he's always been the big protective brother. Still we can fight like cats and dogs sometimes, but lately that's getting less and less. I bet that's Sandy's good influence. And of course Bill's influence in the kitchen makes a huge difference too. My brother's growing up.

Wednesday Afternoon


Yesterday was the first time I wore this dress to work. I bought it from Asos and it's from the brand Trollied Dolly. I combined it with leggings and a cardigan. On Wednesdays I always read to the children in the library and this dress was perfect for that occasion. They always love it when I look like I could have been a character in one of the books they like so much. This afternoon is my favorite of the whole week. It's fantastic to see those loud, running, pinching and screaming kids become completely silenced because they are so enthralled with a story. 
At the end of the afternoon when my work day was over I went to the library cafe to have a drink with a father and his son. The boy, Samuel is so cheeky. He's a charmer just like his dad. I've seen them together with his dad a few times already. When Ben asked me to have a cup of coffee I said yes automatically. I even had a very good time, but now I feel totally guilty. Was it wrong to see another guy even if I didn't think it was a date at the time? And should I tell Oliver about it? Ben asked me if I'd like to see him again. I gave him my number and he sent me a text today to tell me he had a great time and he asked me when we could see each other again. I actually would like that. What does that say about me? For a long time I didn't have any dates and now I'm having dates with two different men at the same time. I'll keep you posted. I definitely need some advice on this one!

PS this is a funny way for the dolly-devotees to get a discount on the website. I'm quoting "...Are you a 'dolly devotee?'
Well, we'd LOVE to see you in your dolly dress, why don't you show us how you style 'em up and knock 'em dead!!  Please upload your super shots to facebook.com/trollieddolly.  We'll then pick some of our faves to show on our website and if we do,  we'll send you a fantastic  15% off your next purchase discount code, hurrah!"

Jan 22, 2014

New at Tibi


This will be another post about dreaming. I keep checking designer's websites, but I never have any money to actually buy those clothes. Still I think this one from Tibi is a fantastic sweater. I love the new trend of putting pictures on clothing and of course I can't resist a pink Eiffel Tower. I'm in love with Paris, I wish I could live there. I like the cute little streets, the romantic atmosphere, the clothes, the art and of course the food and the wine. Wearing this sweater would remind me of that constantly, so it would bring a smile on my face that's hard to wipe off. Now I just smile when I look at the picture. Maybe when I'll be a famous best seller author I could buy such a thing. Dream on Lavender...

The Embassy of Cambodia

Short Description for The Embassy of Cambodia Takes us deep into the life of a young woman, Fatou, domestic servant to the Derawals and escapee from one set of hardships to another. Beginning and ending outside the Embassy of Cambodia, which happens to be located in Willesden, NW London, absorbing, this title suggests how the apparently small things in an ordinary life always raise larger.


I borrowed the short description from the Bookdepository where I also bought my copy. I'm a loyal Zadie Smith reader. I've read several of her books and liked them a lot. This is a short story that originally appeared in the New Yorker. It's a bit unusual to see one short story published as a book, but I think this one deserved it. It has so many layers and there are so many things that have been implied that I made several different versions of my own in my head. I liked that about it. It's impressive. It's a lot of money to spend on not even seventy pages, but I still think it's worth it. 

Jan 21, 2014

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

My sister Greta and I were having our portrait painted by our Uncle Finn that afternoon because he knew he was dying . . .
There’s only one person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, and that’s her uncle, the renowned painter, Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her once inseparable older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies far too young of a mysterious illness that June’s mother can barely bring herself to discuss, June’s world is turned upside down.
At the funeral, she notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd, and a few days later, June receives a package in the mail. Inside is a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet.
As the two begin to spend time together, June realises she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and if she can bring herself to trust this unexpected friend, he might just be the one she needs the most.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a tender story of love lost and found, an unforgettable portrait of the way compassion can make us whole again.



I borrowed the text above from Carol Rifka Brunt's website. It's a website that's worth checking out. Tell the Wolves I'm Home is a story about love, but not the standard kind. All the main characters have a deep kind of love for someone and they cross lines wanting to be the only one this person loves back. The main character of the book is the teenager June. The reader gets a great view inside her head. She struggles with growing up and being unusual. She's very attached to her uncle Finn and when he dies she's devastated. She gets no support at all from her sister Greta who is mean to her and she keeps comparing herself to her in her eyes perfect sister. June forms a weird kind of friendship with Finn's hidden widower Toby with whom she doesn't want to share Finn's love. 
Even the irrational sounds rational in this book. Feelings happen to you and sometimes they're something you have to come to terms with. The book is about assumptions, prejudice, doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, fame, not feeling good enough and punishing other people out of hurt. Nobody knows how to share someone, they need to learn to show compassion and they want to be the one and only all the time. It isn't a light story and AIDS plays an important role in the book.  
The story is simply magnificent, I couldn't put it down. I got completely sucked in and wanted to know all the secrets that were revealed. I shed quite a few tears, but there's a great sense of humor as well. This is certainly one of the best books I've ever read.



If I could wear these to work...


If I could wear these to work that would be fantastic! As they're a bit expensive and are from the most famous shoe brand in the world, Christian Louboutin, this is never going to happen. But a girl can dream... I love the beads. As you might have noticed, I like a bit of color. Ok, maybe a lot. When I'm reading stories for the children in the kid's section those shoes would be so well loved. They notice everything and always ask lots of questions. About my clothes, my hair, my parents, my love life, etcetera. That's why I like working with children so much, they are honest and usually they ask whatever they want to know. 
I think almost every woman loves shoes and it's so easy to buy a pair when there's a bit of money left over. Beauties as these I will never own because I don't earn nearly enough to even save for them, but then I think about the joy my work brings. I would never trade my job for more money. Especially the afternoons with all those happy little faces make my week. I wouldn't miss them for the world. Not even for a pair of shoes as special as these. 

Jan 20, 2014

The Peach Keeper

Welcome to Walls of Water, North Carolina, a place where secrets run thicker than the town's famous fog. Once upon a time, Willa Jackson's family owned the beautiful house on the top of the ridge. Now it symbolises her family's ruin and a legacy Willa longs to escape from. Paxton Osgood also yearns to break free, especially from her parents' expectations, and the heartbreak of unrequited love. Desperate for a distraction, she decides to restore the empty mansion to its former glory. But the discovery of a long-buried secret, a friendship that defies time, and a touch of magic, will transform both women's lives in ways they would never have expected



I bought this book on Amazon and that's also where I borrowed the above from. Sarah Addison Allen's books are little treasures for me. I see them as a kind of gift that I'm only allowed access to on special days. The first day of this new year was such a day. And this book didn't disappoint me. It was the perfect book to start my year with and I enjoyed it immensely. It's about tragedy, shame and secrets and about finding friendship and love. There's a hint of magic which makes the story extra special. The atmosphere it what makes the book great, I got sucked in right away. I've read the book in one go, I just had to keep reading to find out what would happen next. I won't tell you too much about the story as I think it's something you need to find out for yourself. 

I'm so happy!



My Date!

My date with Oliver was fantastic. We met at the entrance of the park and fortunately it was a sunny day. I wore a dress, but I put on leggings, warm Dr. Martens boots and a thick coat to resist the cold. We saw plenty of deer and some sheep and we sat down at a cute little bench near a lake.
  Oliver told me a bit about his work and about his private life. He's 31 years old, has two older brothers and he's doing research at our local university. Our library has a huge archive and that's why he came by so many times, to look at certain documents and papers. I'm still so glad he did. We have a lot in common. He likes to read and is interested in all sorts of information. He likes road trips in the summer and he's quite a romantic guy. Which he proved with an afternoon tea after we spent about two hours talking and walking around. He planned the whole thing in advance. He made reservations at a tea house and booked a window seat so we had a magnificent view. A glass of champagne was brought to our table just a few minutes after our arrival. The food was delicious and we spent more time talking. Time flew by. I'm so happy! And what's even better, we planned a second date already. On Saturday evening he'll take me out for dinner. His choice, so I'm going to be surprised again. I just can't believe my luck!

Jan 19, 2014

Preparing for my date 2 with Hooverphonic Reflection


Today is the day, in a few hours I will go on a date with Oliver. I really like the guy, but I don't know him very well yet. I hope I won't make a mess of myself today. I'm not in control when it comes to situations like these. I'm clumsy and though I'm usually well articulate this skill seems to leave me as soon as I'm getting a bit nervous. And nerves I have in abundance at this moment. 
I'm listening to Reflection at the moment. This is Hooverphonic's latest album which came out last year. As soon as I discovered it I had to have it and I can't stop listening to it. I'm not very musical and I'm certainly not good at reviewing music, because I don't know much about it. I can only say that I like listening to it and that I find this album entertaining. What appeals to me is the voice of the singer, which is great. Plus the music at some points nearly sounds classical, it's spirited and it's deep. It's perfect to get me as relaxed as possible before I go on my date and to get back some energy as I'm still a bit hung over from having drinks at a local bar with my friend Gina last night. It was great to see her again though. We don't often have a chance to go out together anymore, because she has a family now. Still we see each other regularly and we plan these rare evenings carefully. Hooverphonic and two painkillers are making sure my head is clear later. Wish me luck... 

Book Exchange: Coraline

When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.
But there's another mother there, and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.
Coraline will have to fight with all her wits and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.


At our book exchange my friend Lizzy gave me this book. I borrowed the text from Neil Gaiman's website. Which is actually really interesting as it contains a lot of information. There's a great tenth anniversary edition of the book and you can find more about it at www.mousecircus.com. The book originally came out in 2002 and has won quite a few awards. 
Lizzy gave me the book and told me it would be a must read because it's really scary. Even though it's for kids, it's very skillfully thought out and written and I can recommend it to all grown ups who don't mind reading books with a child as the main character. Personally I don't mind if the books is for children or adults at all. I just enjoy a good story and this one is definitely one of those. It's so creepy. I had goosebumps all the time while reading the story. Coraline is a brave and inquisitive child. She's smart and adventurous which are traits she needs for dealing with the other mother. It isn't a long story, but fortunately it's not the length of the story that defines its quality. 
I've read a couple of books by Neil Gaiman and can't wait to read many more. From this moment on I'm a fan even!

Jan 18, 2014

Girls' Night In part 2: Presents!


Louise found a very serious job at a bank and this was the piece of clothing that she wanted to trade with one of us. As this is perfect for my afternoon in the kid's corner I snatched it right away. It's from the brand Lolitas and Lolos and can be purchased at Tealuna which is a fabulous French web store.  


This present is also one Louise wanted to trade. It's an iPhone 4 cover from Lamarelle. As she doesn't have an iPhone 4 the gift wasn't of much use to her. I'm so happy with my new cover. It's absolutely adorable and I feel pretty lucky that she wanted to trade this gift with me.


Jenna doesn't like cute so much, so I'm now the proud owner of a Lillebi pillow. Lillebi is so cute. If you want one as well, you can find it at the following online store: Herding. The pillow I have is the bottom one. 


Naomi also has a serious job, she works for our local government. As she always has to wear a suit she doesn't have much use for this wonderful backpack. For me it's perfect as I can use it for my books and it's very suitable for my library job, so I can use it every day. I saw one online at Asos which I use a lot for shopping as they have great offers and the shipping's always free.


These socks also come from Asos. Jenna got them as a Christmas present, but they don't fit. Fortunately they fit me perfectly and they will go very well with my pajamas or a stay at home outfit. Even then I will look pretty cute. 

As you can see I'm pretty lucky with plenty of great additional Christmas presents and a nice shirt. Of course I won't tell you what I've traded to get these. That wouldn't be very nice of me. The Girls' night in was a huge success. They stayed until early in the morning and we're now updated on the latest news and gossip. I've told them all about my date and they were very supportive. I've received plenty of good advice to make it as perfect as possible. When you keep reading my post you'll learn more about my friends for sure. We're a very tight group and have been friends since kindergarten. We have plenty of themed gatherings, but we also meet one on one. The next annual event will be in February. I'll keep you posted.

The best book I've read in 2013: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke

wo magicians shall appear in England. The first shall fear me; the second shall long to behold me ...

The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation's past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr Norrell whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very opposite of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between these two great men which overwhelms the one between England and France. And their own obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts are going to cause more trouble than they can imagine.


It wasn't hard at all to decide which is the best book I read in 2013. That's for sure Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell. I borrowed the above from Bloomsbury. I'm a big fan of the magic realism genre. This not a new book as it has originally been published in 2005, but with books that's not the most important. I bought my copy at the Bookdepository and I enjoyed every page. And there are a lot of pages I can assure you. This is not an easy read. If you expect something like Harry Potter, then you're mistaken as it's not. The book has been written like most of the great English classics. It's funny and it's complex. I loved the footnotes, they made me laugh out loud plenty of times. It's one of the most memorable books I've ever read and I'm going to read it again for sure. The book's quite heavy, so buying a digital copy might be a good plan if you want to keep reading for many conclusive hours.
 I fell in love with the boring Mr. Norell and the adventurous Jonathan Strange. They were both extremes and their characters kept clashing. I could picture myself there, as it was all so brilliantly described. The only downside for the author is, how is she ever going to write anything that will come near this again? The book is almost too good.

Jan 17, 2014

Girls' Night In!


In January my friends Lizzy, Naomi, Jenna, Louise and me always have an After Christmas party. We exchange books, unwanted Christmas gifts and a piece of clothing we have bought in the autumn/winter season that hangs in our closet with the tags still on. It's usually a lot of fun. And of course we like delicious drinks. As it's my turn to host the party tonight I've looked on the internet for help and of course on Annabel Langbein's site I always find something easy and delicious. I've decided to make these two cocktails. I'm pretty sure they will be a big hit! Tomorrow I will tell you all about our evening and then I'm also going to show you what I scored in the exchange. 



Divergent trilogy

Divergent:

Sixteen-year-old Tris has been forced to make a terrible choice. In a divided society where everyone must conform, Tris does not fit.
So she ventures out, alone, determined to find out where she truly belongs. Tris can trust no one in this brutal new world, but she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her.

Insurgent:

Tris has survived a brutal attack on her home, but she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes reckless as she struggles to accept her new future. If Tris wants to uncover the truth, she must be stronger than ever as more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.

Allegiant:

The faction-based society that Tris once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she's known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she will find a simple new life, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties and painful memories.
But Tris's new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.


I borrowed the text from Amazon. This was the first series of books I've read this year. I love to read several books with the same world and main characters. I'm following so many series already that I had to promise myself only to read new series that have been completed from now on. This set is perfect. I couldn't put the first book down. I just had to keep reading, it's a real page turner. I loved the world building and couldn't stop myself from thinking about which faction I would choose. The tension between Tris and Tobias is in my opinion the best part about this book.
 The second book held the same quality as the first, I finished it in no time. In this book it gets rough. It contains a lot of fighting, terrible decisions and torture. The author has no problem terminating people and sometimes I had to swallow that big lump in my throat when one of my favorite characters would die. 
The third book has been criticized, but it's also well loved. I'm not sure to which of those groups I belong. I think the ending was brave, but unexpected. Which is good, but it also almost made me cry. And there wasn't as much excitement and action as in the first two parts of the series. Still I liked it well enough to say that I found it pretty good. 
All in all I can really recommend this series to you. It's a fairly easy and thus relaxing read on the one hand, on the other hand it's full of action and adrenaline.


Jan 16, 2014

Preparing for my date


As you know I have a date on Sunday and I want to look my very best. I've already picked my dress and now I need to decide which Lippy I'm going to use. I think all these shades will go well with it and they all look good on me. I'm a proud owner of several of these lip glosses. They're not too sticky, they last a long time and they smell pretty good. I always have one in my purse just in case. I'm meeting with my friends on Friday and I'm sure they can help me decide which one it's going to be. I've just browsed the website and saw many great colors that I'd also like to own. You can never have enough make up products I suppose. I hope my date will appreciate my decision. Of course I'll tell you all about it on Monday!

Signs by Jolinne


I love art by Jolinne. I've purchased quite a few of her postcards already and they are always a huge success. Some of them are just too cute to send. I've first discovered her designs on Etsy, but she also has her own webshop. I can spend hours looking at her pictures and would love to have these signs at home. Those would be perfect for brightening up my boring one color doors. I have a spare bedroom and use it as an office, but because of all my books it looks more like a library. This is my favorite room in the house and it's where I spend most of my time. Jolinne's signs are actually for children, but I'm still a big kid, so I think they would also be quite suitable for not entirely grown up adults.




Jan 15, 2014

Custo sale!


Ever since I discovered Custo Barcelona I've been a big fan. I bought my first long sleeve top when I was still a teenager and have been trying to save for at least one item of Custo clothing per season. Now I still have to choose something which I can't wait to do! I don't know which of these pieces it's going to be yet, but I'm pretty sure that whatever I choose it will be worn plenty of times and I'm going to be extremely happy with it. 
I usually wear my tops to work and get many compliments about them. I always feel confident when I have them on and they last a long time. When I'm finished with them they can have a second life being cut up. The pieces can be used to make a patchwork. The designs are too beautiful to throw away and they look wonderful on a pillow or blanket.

The Rosie Project

Don is getting married. He just doesn't know who to yet. But he has designed a very detailed questionnaire to help him find the perfect woman. Rosie, meanwhile, isn't looking for love; she's looking for her biological father. Sometimes, though, you don't find love: love finds you...


I borrowed the description from the Bookdepository, one of my favorite websites to shop for books. When I first heard about this book I immediately wanted to read it. Who wouldn't love the emotionally different Don and his reactions? It's such an endearing story about falling in love and messing up over and over again while trying to do things right. I laughed out loud several times and can recommend this book to anyone. It's been a huge success and I think that's completely deserved. The writing is clever and witty. Don's questionnaire is added and I couldn't help to fill it out. I'm pretty sure I'm a good match to the adorable Don he he. That doesn't mean I didn't like Rosie. She's got such a spunky personality. I think the best quality of the book is the writing from Don's perspective which makes his character so real and vivid. Don's friend Gene makes the story even funnier. There's a lot of stereotyping, but the author used it to his advantage. 
I can only come to one conclusion: read this book! Especially if you're looking for something funny which is not too hard to read, but has a certain level of intelligence as well.

Jan 14, 2014

Christmas present 2 and 3!


Everybody in my family knows how much I love Crabtree & Evelyn. This is a new arrival at their store and it actually smells like a meadow in the summer. The mix of flowers and fruit makes it fresh and it makes me look forward to warmer weather. It's definitely a smell that makes me happy. And it comes in a beautiful box, it's too pretty to just throw away so I'll keep it for a while. 


Another present was this wonderful hand cream by MOR. I previously had their Marshmallow hand cream and I'm in love with their fragrances. This one smells just as good. It's also great for my hands. They get a little dry from all the books I have to handle each day and it's a plus to have a product that both smells good and does the job. The tube is small, but you don't need that much cream each time you use it. I'm a big fan of this brand and I'm grateful to my brother for giving me such lovely beauty items!



I have a date!

Sale at Fixdesign! I really like this dress. It's a bit fussy, but that's especially what makes it great and it's too short to be really demure anyway (wink). I can totally see myself wearing this when I'm going on a date. And as it happens I'm actually having a date! On Sunday afternoon to be exact. His name is Oliver and we're going for a romantic walk in the park. At least I hope it will be romantic, you never know with first dates, but I have a pretty good feeling about this. We've met at my work place. I know, it's not exactly proper to go on dates with customers, but I couldn't resist and immediately said yes when he asked me. He frequently visited our library because of a research project, so I've seen a lot of him during the past couple of weeks. On his last day he asked me to go out with him. He said I was the best part of his days here and that I've made his research so much more interesting. He has brown curly hair and gorgeous blue eyes. Fingers crossed that all will go well! Of course I will keep you posted. 

Amelia Grey's Fireside Dream by Abby Clements


Amelia has a dream: toasting chestnuts by the fire with her husband Jack in their own cosy cottage. Their real life is another world – a cramped one-bedroom flat in Hackney. But when life takes a surprising turn, removal vans are soon heading to the Kent countryside.
They soon realise the cottage makeover is a far bigger project than they’d anticipated. On top of that, there’s Amelia’s newly loved-up mum and her tearaway half-sister, Mirabel, to contend with – pushing Amelia and Jack’s marriage to breaking point.
Amelia begins to strip back the wallpaper and fittings in the cottage and discovers the story of the cottage’s previous owner – and a hidden secret. As Amelia’s ideas about love and family change, will her fireside dream finally come true?



I think the author knows best when it comes to describing what her book is about, so I've copied the above from Abby Clements website. This is the third book by Abby Clements. I've read all three as I like her books a lot! They're perfect for creating a relaxing afternoon on the couch drinking a hot chocolate or a cup of tea with of course lots of cookies on the side. Also it's not always necessary to let the main character fall in love with someone new and start a relationship to make a book romantic. The main character in this book moves into a cottage not long after celebrating her 30th birthday. Even though it's a lot of work and there are quite many bumps in the road I immediately wanted to move into a cottage of my own after reading this book. The talk about the renovations was just enough and country life seemed very interesting. It's a definitely a great winter read. Or a book to take on holiday with you to read by the pool when you're escaping the cold in a warmer country. 
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