Jun 5, 2014

The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier

It's time for another cookbook review, this time we cooked in Jada's big kitchen again. Jada and I have made a three course meal using The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier. This book is not as big as an average cookbook which is quite handy. A few of the recipes are gluten- and lactose free which makes it perfect for those who do eat them, but occasionally have guests who don't. The recipes are vegetable oriented and they are all vegetarian. There are four chapters, one for every season.
We started with a simple recipe, Eggplant and fresh herb tabbouleh. I'm a big fan of couscous and this tabbouleh was easy to make and it tasted fantastic. We chose to make the zucchini and apricot socca tart as our main course. This is a light recipe which makes it perfect for a summer evening. What I liked best about this cookbook is the fantastic deserts. We made peach, almond and cardamom clafoutis, because peaches are my favorite kind of fruit. It looked and tasted absolutely wonderful.
The French Market cookbook shows how easy it is to make good food without using meat or fish. You don't have to be a vegetarian to buy this book. It is good for everyone to have vegetable- and fruit based meals every now and then. I highly recommend this cookbook. It's filled with recipes using fresh season related products. It was so much fun to go to the market and shop for everything we needed. As the deserts are all looking amazing I want to try each and every one of them. 

Jun 4, 2014

Crazy Rumors Bubble Gum Flavored Lip Balms

 I'm a big fan of bio cosmetics. That's why I placed an order at Ecco Verde. The package arrived a few days ago and it was so much fun to open it! I will be reviewing all the products that I liked in the coming two weeks. This is the first thing I've tried. I wanted to have Crazy Rumors lip balms for quite a while already. I chose this cute little box with four bubble gum flavors. I've tried them all and they are making my lips really soft. Each of the bubble gum lip balms has a smell and taste you have to like. They are extremely sweet. Which is a plus for me, because I love that. I'm very happy with this purchase and can't wait to try other Crazy Rumor products in the future!

Book facts about Lavender

1. My most recent book purchase is The Vineyard by Karen Aldous.

2. I read both e-books and paperbacks. I have a kindle app, an iTunes library and I often buy books from Amazon and the Bookdepository.

3. I love supporting authors by buying their books and writing about them.

4. The book I'm currently reading is Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.

5. When I'm in a book store I often use my phone to take photos, so later I won't forget which books I would have loved to have, but couldn't buy.

6. I don't count the number of books I read. I did that for many years, but it made me stressed to reach a certain goal. It's better for me if I have no idea.

7. Night Road by Kristin Hannah is book number one on my wish list at the moment.

8. I spend a lot of time looking at my shelves, because I'm proud that I'm the owner of so many wonderful stories.

9. My birthday is at the end of this month and it's never difficult to find a present for me. I always have a list with books I'd like to have ready to give to anyone who asks for it.

A regular day at work or not?

I was wearing this White Stuff petal dress to work yesterday. I thought it would be just a regular Tuesday, but somehow the entire day was crazy. First a little boy threw up all over the toys in the children's section. Then there was a confused old lady who didn't know where she was and couldn't remember where she lived. After a bit of effort we managed to find her address and contact information. A kind neighbor arrived at the library ten minutes later to pick her up. Next was a lady whose dog had chewed on her library books. They were all too damaged to repair. She has to contact her insurance to cover the costs. Last but not least there was a problem with a disheveled man who often reads the papers at one of the tables. He was drunk this time and he was obviously sad about something as he was crying. I felt really bad for him. I went to Zoe and asked her for some coffee to sober him up a little. He disturbed the other visitors, so I had to ask him to either calm down or leave. I also brought him a muffin and something funny to read. He was quiet after that and left sooner than he normally would.
 At the end of the day a man in a suit came in. He wanted to talk to Edward about donating some money to the library. Instead of talking to him on his own Edward asked me to join them. I was really nervous, but Edward did most of the talking to show me how to handle these things. In the end we were left with a sum of money that will allow us to buy a lot of new books and we can finally redecorate the children's section. Even though it was a messy and chaotic day I felt very much alive.

Jun 3, 2014

New books!

I shopped for some new books on Amazon and iTunes, I can't wait to read these books!

Book Club Talk: The Riley Jenson series by Keri Arthur

I always look forward to our weekly book club nights for days. We've finished another series and are now looking for something new to read. Of course I'm going to reveal what it is very soon as I can't wait to start reading! This week it was time to talk about Nolan's favorite books. He chose Keri Arthur's Riley Jenson series. Once you start the first book you will keep reading until you've finished them all. Those novels are action packed, dangerous and seductive. 
We all like books with strong, kick ass heroes and heroines. Riley Jenson is a great example. She always finds a way out and she keeps getting stronger. I'm not a fan of whiny victims who need someone else to defend them. I love it when someone doesn't care what other people think. Of course Riley finds herself in dire situations many times, but she always manages to escape. The finale is spectacular. We all want to read more of Keri Arthur's books.

An Update from Rian

My current courses are almost over. I've still got a long way to go, but I like being back in a classroom immensely. I wore this Modcloth dress to school yesterday. We had to do a role play. We were presented with a difficult case and each group had to work out a solution for the problem. It wasn't easy, but we had so much fun. Nolan and I have asked if the group can stay together for the next round of courses as we're all planning on doing the summer program. I think it will be all right, especially if Rian will take care of it.
Afterwards Rian and I went to a pub for our weekly chat. Of course I asked him about the job. He was tempted for a day or two, but he's decided to stay! He won't go away because he wants to keep writing his novels. Which means I'll get to do my writing course over the summer! Plus I won't have to miss him as a friend which is wonderful news. After two hours Rian left and my book club joined me for dinner. We stayed at the pub until closing time talking about books, writing and more books.

Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr

The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.
Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.
Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.
The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless.

Darkest Mercy is the Wicked Lovely series finale. Will Aislin choose Keenan over Seth? And how is Niall coping now that Irial has been mortally wounded? Bananach still wants the faery courts to go to war against each other. Will Donia have her wishes fulfilled? And why is death suddenly hanging around? Every storyline is coming together in this book.
I loved Darkest Mercy. Aislinn finally becomes the powerful queen she's supposed to be. I also liked the other side of Keenan. This book was filled with chaos and faery politics. It has been so skillfully written. I kept admiring the story and the cleverness of it all. Dark and light are coming together to battle a common enemy. The last book of the series is a worthy finale. It's my favorite book of the five. I enjoyed reading every single one of the books though. This series has a beautiful and unique setting. It also has a lot of character and power. I'm certainly going to read it again some day.

Jun 2, 2014

Calvin's Surprise!

I love ElevenParis and Disney and I'm very happy with my new outfit. I had a date with Calvin on Sunday evening. My mother took over at Dawn's place, so I could go out with my boyfriend. He arranged something very special for us. As we both don't have a garden we dined in the courtyard of one of his tearooms. Calvin set the tables and his cook had the food prepared earlier that day, so Calvin only had to put it in the oven. We had such a wonderful and relaxing evening. There were candles and fairy lights. The highlight of the meal was the desert which was strawberry shortcake. He knows how much I like that. 
Then Calvin held my hand and gazed into my eyes. I knew something important was coming and then he told me that he loves me for the first time!

Skipping Sunday Morning Breakfast? No Way!

I brought this Cyberjammies PJ jumpsuit with me in my overnight bag. When Dawn finally got home from the hospital it was already past midnight. Calvin didn't stay the night and left as soon as she came in, because he had to work on Sunday. I let Dawn sleep in a little bit, as she was exhausted. Visiting hours wouldn't start until the afternoon. When I called Jenna to tell her there would be no breakfast at my place she decided to come to my sister's place. She and Lizzy brought breakfast for all of us. They certainly did their best to make my family happy as they baked loads of muffins. Phoebe, Marcy and Robert really enjoyed them and of course I did as well. I love muffins for breakfast! We even managed to get Dawn to eat something.
After breakfast Dawn took the children to the hospital. I went a few hours later. First I did some work for her together with my two friends. It also gave us the chance to exchange some gossip. Lizzy has been making arrangements for her engagement party which will be later this month. Jenna and Dan are very happy together. She loves living with her boyfriend. She's been promoted at work and she's pregnant! I was a bit shocked to hear it as she and Dan haven't been together that long, but they started trying as soon as he moved in. Jenna has only been pregnant for a very short time, but she wanted to tell us anyway. I feel honored to be among the first people who are allowed to know.
Later I went to the hospital to see Seth. Everything was still the same. They've given him some blood because he was severely anemic. That's all they could do. He's now on the waiting list for the center and as soon as there's a free bed they will move him there.

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

Having nothing left to lose changes everything.
Todd and Jodie have been together for more than twenty years. They are both aware their world is in crisis, though neither is willing to admit it.
Todd is living a dual existence, while Jodie is living in denial. But she also likes to settle scores. When it becomes clear their affluent Chicago lifestyle could disintegrate at any moment, Jodie knows everything is at stake. It's only now she will discover just how much she's truly capable of...
Shocking and compelling in equal measure, THE SILENT WIFE is a chilling portrayal of two people in turmoil and the lengths they will go to in order to protect themselves.

I borrowed the summary from Amazon. Todd and Jodie have been together for a long time, but their relationship isn't a fulfilling one. They're both in denial and neither of them is strong enough to talk to the other or to make some much needed changes. Todd isn't faithful to Jodie. When he starts seeing the daughter of one of his friends his whole life is about to change. Todd and Jodie both aren't ready for that and something is about to go very wrong.
The Silent Wife is a gripping story, I couldn't put it down. I had to know what would happen next. Todd and Jodie are both narrators and neither of them is very warm or sympathetic. They're good at justifying their behavior all the time even if it's completely irrational. I didn't like either of them very much which made the story more interesting for me. Todd and Jodie's reactions and way of living are unbelievable, they're surreal, but they might be real. The Silent Wife is a dark and nasty story, and exactly that makes it a lot of fun to read.

Jun 1, 2014

A Family Emergency

I wanted to get myself an overnight bag for when I'd stay with Calvin or one of my friends. I found one on This Is Pretty and I needed it straight away this weekend. On Saturday I went to help Dawn as usual. I had my bag with me, because I had plans with Calvin for the evening. The day turned out differently though. Seth was feeling quite poorly and when he dragged himself out of bed for a bathroom visit he fainted. We didn't manage to wake him up. I called an ambulance while Dawn stayed with him. After ten minutes he regained consciousness, but he remained very confused. Of course Dawn went to the hospital with him. I stayed at her house to wait for my nieces and nephew to come home. I promised to take them to the hospital. 
When we got there Seth was in a room by himself. He was looking so pale, a lot worse than usual. They've done more tests and if the situation doesn't improve they're going to send him to a special center where they treat people with rare, chronic illnesses. I really hope there will be a cure for him, but things aren't looking good to be honest.

Escape for the Summer by Ruth Saberton

Can Andi Evans find the strength to start again?

Betrayed and broken-hearted, Andi's redundancy is one shock too many. Suddenly single and in debt, a summer working in the pretty Cornish town of Rock seems the perfect solution.Determined never to trust again, will a chance meeting with a stranger change her mind?

Andi's sister, Angel, is determined to find a man who can keep her in style. Heading to Rock, summer playground of the rich and famous, seems an inspired idea until a misunderstanding threatens to end a romance that has started to mean more to her than she ever expected...

Actress Gemma is no stranger to diets and disappointments. As the future of her career hangs in the balance, Gemma hopes a summer in Cornwall solves her problems. With a reality TV show being filmed in the seaside town surely she can avoid the pasty shops and win herself a role.

Arriving in idyllic Cornwall, all three girls are hoping for a holiday to remember. But will this be for the right reasons? Or, as emotions run higher than the tide, will the summer escape turn their lives upside down? 

 I borrowed the summary from Amazon. Escape for the Summer has three main characters, Andi, Angel and Gemma. Andi and Angel are sisters and Gemma is Angel's best friend. Andi has been cheated in several different ways. She ends up being broke, jobless, single and homeless in a matter of days. Angel is in debt and has lost her job over a nasty incident. She's always looking for new designer items and wants a husband who can afford them. Gemma has been threatened by her agent because of her weight. She loves eating and baking. When the three of them get the chance to spend a summer in Rock they don't hesitate, because they can all use a change of scenery.
Andi needs to find work as soon as possible to pay off her debts. Fortunately her life starts to look a bit better when she's in Rock, but will her past catch up with her or not? I loved Andi, she's serious and responsible, but she's also very naive. Angel doesn't worry about her debt at all, she's looking for a rich man to pay it off. She uses her sharp mind and great looks to get what she wants. Angel is such a fun character. I liked her spirit. She's really sweet, but she's also demanding and she has a carefree way with money. Her story is amusing, it made me laugh out loud several times. Gemma thinks she's fat and needs to lose weight. She wants to do that on television. Gemma's an actress, but what she loves most in life is baking. Reading about Gemma's food made me very happy. I immediately liked her kind and shy personality. She stumbles through life, but eventually she always lands on her feet.
Escape for the Summer is a wonderful and cheerful book. It's romantic and I enjoyed reading every page of it! This is a perfect holiday read! It's very well written and the three stories are coming together in such a beautiful and clever way. I will definitely reread this book in a few years, it brought me so much joy, I want to experience that again.

Facts About Lavender Part 3

The last thing I bought is this Strawberry Beauty Box from Rose & Co. I love buying things like this for myself and their lip balm is fabulous. The pink packaging also really helps. Pink is my favorite color.

Today I purchased Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins from Amazon. I can't wait to read this book! I loved Anna and the French Kiss.

I'm a big fan of chocolate covered oranges. They're such a wonderful treat! Belgian chocolate shops definitely make the best ones.

I'm always cold, so I often make myself a hot water bottle. Of course I have a beautiful cover for it. Mine's from Cath Kidston and I hope they will get them back in stock very soon!

Book Talk: A Trip Down Memory Lane

I'm currently reading You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher. This book is a love story, one that starts when the main characters are still children. I'm going to review the book when I've finished it, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about the loves from my past. I've only written about the cheating bastard of an ex called Rowan, but of course I've also had sweet romances in my past. 
I was 14 years old when I kissed someone for the first time. Lizzy had a boyfriend back then and he brought a friend for a double date. I liked him enough to kiss him, but we never hooked up after that. I must shamefully admit that I can't even remember his name anymore. It was a pretty good kiss though.
 I had my first real boyfriend soon after, we had a summer fling that lasted three weeks. His name was Samuel and I met him while lounging by the pool on the first day of a holiday with my parents and Dawn (Jason was already too old to come with us). It was love at first sight and we were inseparable for the rest of the holiday. He was French and like all boys from this country, he wrote me one passionate letter, then a friendly but much less intense one and after that I never heard of him again. It didn't really hurt, because by then I met someone who would later be my first proper long time boyfriend.
I met Jeffrey at the first day of school when I was sixteen. We went to the same school, but we never met before that year. I really liked him and after a few weeks discovered the feeling was mutual. We went out together and then were a couple for three years. It didn't last, because we became friends and the love slowly disappeared from our relationship. We're still sporadically keeping in touch by sending a text or e-mail.
Then, after a few flings, came Rowan who was my boyfriend for two years until I was 25 years old. I've had two short relationships since then. One with an older man called Gerard which lasted a year and a half. The other with a French teacher named Laurent, who went back to France a year after we first started dating. I liked both of them, but they weren't the one. That's more or less my love history, until just before I started writing about my life.

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