Jun 23, 2014

Bargaining


On Friday evening I went to see Dawn. I wore this Opening Ceremony sweater as I know how much children like Disney. I wanted to catch up with my sister and help her out a little, so I did a few household chores and I prepared some dinners for later that week. I also put the children in bed and made sure my sister went to sleep at the exact same time as she was completely exhausted. When it was peaceful and quiet in the house I started to do some work for her online company. She has a crazy amount of orders as the kind of cosmetics she's selling is getting more and more popular each day. I can imagine she can't do it all on her own. I'm pretty sure she will be able to afford someone to do some of the work for her very soon.
Success isn't everything though. You can be great at what you do and have a wonderful career, but if your personal life is a mess it all doesn't matter very much. I'm sure Dawn would trade her beautiful house and all the money she's got in the bank to have a healthy husband again. Things don't work that way, but who doesn't want to make a bargain sometimes, promising that what's very dear to you in exchange for something even more important?

Never Google Heartbreak by Emma Garcia

 When her fiance Rob breaks off their engagement for the third time, Viv does what any girl would do - she Googles heartbreak. Confronted by tales of misery, she decides to set-up her own self-help website for the broken-hearted. But as Viv passes through the three essential stages of grief (denial, vodka, disastrous haircut), she becomes determined that it's not too late to try and get Rob back. When things get out of hand after a drunken declaration of love at an extremely inappropriate moment, Viv's scruffy, tequila-swilling best friend Max is there to pick up the pieces. Viv starts to realise that maybe the real thing has been under her nose all this time, and now - one ex and a massive error of judgement later - she has to face the question: What's the craziest thing you'll do for love? 
Amazon
 Viv is planning her wedding, she's sure that her fiancé, Rob, will actually marry her this time. When he cancels again she leaves him. Viv never actually wants to separate, she's only moving out of their apartment because she thinks that will make Rob change his mind. When this doesn't happen she's devastated. She googles heartbreak and discovers there are a lot of people who are feeling exactly the same. Her friend Max is there when she needs him and he's quite good at rescuing Viv when she has gotten herself into some kind of mess again. Meanwhile Viv starts her own website for those who have a broken heart. Finally she's getting over Rob, but it might be too late. She's missed the real love that had been in her life for a very long time. She does everything she can to make things right again, but will she actually succeed?
Viv is insecure. She doesn't feel good about herself and during most of the book she's sad and sobbing. This could have made a terrible main character, but Emma Garcia doesn't let that happen. As Viv isn't the most sensible and handy person she often finds herself in awkward situations. Most of them are pretty hilarious. Even though Viv is a little bit self-centered she's kind, funny and very likable. I read this book with a constant smile on my face. I enjoyed it from page one right until the end. This isn't a standard love story, there are a lot of unexpected and comical twists, which are making this novel really good. Sometimes I even felt ashamed on Viv's behalf. All the things that can go wrong actually go wrong in this book. Never Google Heartbreak is absolutely wonderful and I enjoyed it very much!

Facts about Jada


1) Jada loves to read about food. Her favorite book is Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

2) Jada and I are close friends now, but our friendship started in a weird way. We both dated the same guy named Oliver who was her long term boyfriend. They were engaged, only he didn't care about that when he started to date me. When she found out she was heartbroken. I was mainly angry at the guy. Jada and I have gained more than we lost from this nasty situation as I think this will be a friendship for life.


3) Jada loves unique jewelry and she often wears this ring. You can find it on Etsy.

4) Jada lives in a mansion. Her parents are loaded. She isn't a spoiled brat though, she's actually very down to earth. 


5) Jada loves to cook. Her mother taught her most of the things she knows, but she also likes to try new recipes. She's a big fan of the Pioneer Woman and this is one of her favorite cookbooks.

6) Jada sleeps in a four-poster bed together with at least a hundred stuffed animals. She's been collecting them ever since she was a little girl.


7) Jada loves Sanrio and her favorite character is My Melody.

8) Jada likes being outdoors. She often goes on a hiking trip. She's met our mutual friend Stella on a forum. Stella was looking for a survival buddy to bring along on a week long trip in the mountains and Jada replied to her post. They decided to go as soon as they could and have been friends for years now.
 
 
9) Jada has a lot of eye shadow palettes. This one from Cargo is her latest purchase.

10) Because her ex-boyfriend Oliver didn't want her to work Jada hasn't got much work experience. She now has a job as an executive secretary, but she's quite old fashioned. If a man would sweep her off her feet and there is enough income for her to stay at home, she won't hesitate to do so. Her biggest wish is to have at least four children.

La Marelle Giveaway!

 


The people who are regularly reading my blog probably know how much I like La Marelle. When I placed an order there last week I thought it would be nice to add something to give away as well. Because I want to make this a worldwide thing I've chosen something light and pretty. The first item you can win is this adorable necklace (nickel free) and the second is a bookmark. One winner will receive both.

Jun 22, 2014

A Regular Friday...

Jack & Jones


I love wearing Calvin's shirts and I steal them whenever I have the chance. On Friday morning I woke up in his apartment with a bit of a hangover. I had to go to work, but didn't feel like it at all. I much rather would have snuggled under the covers with my boyfriend for a few more hours, but instead my pounding head and I needed to be at work. Friday also is teenager day and this week we talked about the Last Apprentice series. We'll read the new book the coming week and after the summer they will all be back for another series.
I wore Calvin's shirt to work with a jegging and a belt and it actually looked pretty good. I think I need to borrow his wardrobe more often. He had to work as well, so we didn't have time to sleep in. That's something I kind of miss about us. There are no lazy days, but fortunately we've got enough compensation for it due to the many other happy moments in our relationship.
I went outside for lunch with Gina and Zoe on Friday afternoon. There's always a market in the streets and at the squares near the library at the end of the week. We usually buy something to eat, or rather lots of food and cookies, and then sit down to talk somewhere. That's so much fun it's becoming a regular thing. We giggle, gossip and laugh until we are completely out of breath. Even though Gina is a bit quiet lately she seems to enjoy herself very much in our company. My two friends have already promised me to do an extra special birthday lunch, so I won't be completely friendless on my big day next week. Calvin also has some plans, but I'm not supposed to know what they are yet. Things are looking brighter than they did a few days ago.

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Are you a Global Vagabond?
No, but 18-year-old Bria wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists are hardly the key to self-rediscovery.

So when Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspoken sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel through Mayan villages and remote Belizean islands, they discover they're both seeking to leave behind the old versions of themselves. The secret to escaping the past, Rowan's found, is to keep moving forward. But Bria realizes she can't run forever. At some point, you have to look back.

Amazon

After finishing high school Bria wants to go on an adventurous trip. Her friends don't want to join her, so she books a tour to Guatemala on her own. When she sees the group she's supposed to travel with she knows she has signed up for the wrong thing. Her middle aged travel companions are boring and as soon as Bria meets Rowan and his sister Starling she leaves the group to go backpacking with them. Because Starling has to work Bria's left alone with Rowan for most of the trip. Are they able to connect or will their pasts keep standing in between? Traveling isn't always easy, but Bria learns quickly and she starts to like it more each day.
Bria is sad, she's been hurt by her ex boyfriend and he took away her greatest love, art. During her trip Bria slowly finds herself again. It takes time to heal and to feel good about herself. Because of the backpacking with a guy she's only just met she keeps having to face new challenges. I liked seeing that transformation and how Bria slowly conquered her fears. I loved the traveling theme, just going somewhere and see where you'll end up. The story is very good, but there's something extra special about it. The drawings in this book are amazing. I couldn't stop looking at them. I liked how the relationship between Bria and Rowan evolved. They both needed time to open up and the reader only slowly finds out what's happened to them. This made and kept me curious. Wanderlove is a wonderful coming-of-age story with an artistic touch.

My Summer Book Trip 2


I'm writing these holiday themed posts because it doesn't look like I'll be going on holiday this summer. This time I'm visiting the Château Bellevue. I'm my dreams I'm going there to marry Calvin. We'll be having the most romantic wedding at the beautiful French castle in the middle of the Bordeaux vineyards. What could be more perfect than that? 
France feels like home and I can't wait to go back there. I can almost taste the delicious wine and feel the sunshine on my skin. Fiona Valpy has created the perfect holiday spot. Even imagining it makes me happy. Eating and drinking in the beautiful garden makes my mouth water. If you haven't read this book and will also only travel in literature, make sure this one is on your itinerary. 


If you've decided to read the French for always and haven't read The French for Love yet you'll be missing something. For those who are single and are going on my book holiday with me, the French men in these books are almost too good to be true. My advice is to dream away with these books on your garden chair and have a week of joie de vivre!

Books I bought!




I fed some new books to my always hungry kindle today!

The Bookshop on the Corner by Rebecca Raisin + Giveaway!

Who said that only real heroes could be found in fiction?
Sarah Smith had an addiction – she was addicted to romance novels. The meet-cute, the passion, the drama and the gorgeous men! Now this wouldn’t have been such an issue if she hadn’t been the owner of the only bookshop in Ashford, Connecticut.
Ever since her close friend Lil, from The Gingerbread Café, had become engaged she had been yearning for a little love to turn up in her life. Except Sarah knew a good man was hard to find – especially in a tiny town like Ashford. That was until New York journalist, Ridge Warner stepped into her bookshop…
Love could be just around the corner for Sarah, but will she be able to truly believe that happy-ever-after can happen in real-life too!

Amazon

Sarah Smith is a friend of Lil, the owner of the Gingerbread Café. She has a bookshop in Ashford. Sarah lives for her romance novels. When she needs some more customers she starts writing a blog and because of it sales start to go up very quickly. Sarah has her wonderful friends Missy, Lil and CeeCee, but something is still missing in her life, love. It might be standing on her doorstep in the form of a journalist named Ridge, but she does need to let him in before anything can happen.
I loved Sarah's Bookshop on the Corner. I could totally picture the place complete with the cozy reading space and all the lovely, fluttering books. Books are meant to be treasured and Sarah's shop brings them wonderful new homes. Sarah is living in her own world, which is filled with romance novels. A lot of book lovers are like her, especially the ones whose whole life evolves around books. That made her very believable and extremely endearing. I love how Rebecca Raisin tells her stories, I could almost see myself walking around in the village and I want to visit the bookshop and the café so badly. The characters are all warm and welcoming. I liked Ridge, the mysterious man who suddenly entered Sarah's life. He's a real romance hero. I appreciated the nice twist at the end as well. Rebecca Raisin's novellas are absolutely fantastic!

 Rebecca Raisin is very generous! She hasn't only given me my copy of the Bookshop on the Corner, she will also give one to a very lucky reader of my blog. 



A Date with my Boyfriend!


Calvin always manages to surprise me. This time he was waiting for me on my sofa when I got home from work on Thursday. He was wearing a suit and asked me to put on my nicest dress. I chose this beautiful floral Equipment dress. I had no idea where we were going as he wouldn't tell me. Calvin drove out of the city and stopped at a small house in the countryside. He very gentlemanly opened my door to let me out of the car. Then he gave me his arm and accompanied me to the front of the house. He rang the doorbell and a man who wore an apron over an expensive blouse and trousers let us in. He told us to take a seat in the living room and then he hurried back to his kitchen. We joined six other people and one of them immediately filled two glasses with champagne and handed them to us. That was the moment when Calvin decided to tell me where we were.
The man in the apron is his friend Josh who is a business man by day who sometimes opens his house at night. People can make reservations for his famous table d'hote and that's exactly what Calvin did for us. We had dinner in the dining room and all sat at Josh's long table. He joined us as often as possible. His evenings aren't only about having a nice meal, he loves the company. Plus it's a very good way to meet people and to make new friends. This evening was for couples and we got along very well. 
Josh is the perfect host and I'm glad I've met him. He told me all kinds of childhood stories about Calvin. That was so sweet! They were clearly happy to see each other again. I still can't believe I knew so little about Calvin while we shared a home. Now he's making an effort to let me get to know him and I'm loving it. It was a wonderful evening and we all stayed until 2 am. I had such a hard time getting up on Friday morning. I managed to sleep for two whole hours and I had a little bit too much to drink, so my head was pounding.

Jun 21, 2014

My Life in Books 2


1) When is was 15 I devoured Robin Cook books. I loved medical thrillers and read as many as I could get my hands on.


2) When I was 16 I was sitting next to my future husband in most of my classes. We don't have a song, but we do have a book and that is The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. I've recently purchased a digital version, but I'm a bit scared to reread it after so many years.


3) Iris Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea made me fall in love with literature. It took me a few years to actually embrace that feeling, but eventually I did. I will never forget how much I enjoyed reading this story.


4) I tried studying Law, but it wasn't for me, because I'm not very good at following rules. I found out needed to do something with books. When I read Crime And Punishment for an Introduction in Literature course in my first semester I knew I made the right switch. It's still high on my all time favorites list.


5) Of course I also read Harry Potter, I didn't want to miss that! 

Two Sisters by Mary Hogan

Mary Hogan’s powerful and poignant debut novel about two sisters—opposites in every way—plus their mother and the secrets and lies that define them all.
One family, two sisters, a lifetime of secrets . . .
The third child in a family that wanted only two, Muriel Sullivant has always been an outsider. Short, dark-haired and round, she worships her beautiful blonde sister, Pia, and envies the close bond she shares with their mother, Lidia. Growing up in their shadow, Muriel believes that if she keeps all their secrets—and she knows plenty, outsiders always do—they will love her, too.
But that was a long time ago. Now an adult, Muriel has accepted the disappointments in her life. With her fourth-floor walk-up apartment and entry-level New York City job, she never will measure up to Pia and her wealthy husband, their daughter, and their suburban Connecticut dream home. Muriel would like nothing better than to avoid her judgmental family altogether. One thing she does quite well.
Until the day Pia shows up to visit and share devastating news that Muriel knows she cannot tell—a secret that will force her to come to terms with the past and help her see her life and her family in unexpected new ways.

Amazon
Pia has always been the perfect sister. Muriel can't compete with the older, beautiful and slim Pia. Muriel's father has his son and her mother only worships her eldest daughter, where does that leave her? After a difficult childhood Muriel has become a shy and solitary adult. She can't shake the feeling that she isn't good enough, because that is the message her family has been broadcasting ever since she was born. The only thing she thinks she's good at is keeping other people's secrets and her mother and sister have plenty of them. Muriel doesn't like to spend time with her family, she wants to avoid them as much as possible. She manages to do exactly that until Pia tells her sister her devastating news. It's time for Muriel to take a good look at her past.
Two Sisters is a sad tale of two sisters and their mother, whose choices have formed their personalities. I liked Muriel, she's insecure and sometimes she needs a lot of encouragement before she acts, but she is sweet, generous and kind. Pia is not what she appears to be, a perfect, rich and beautiful mother who hasn't got a care in the world. She's made some incredibly stupid choices and those made her realistic instead of just another woman who has it all. I shed quite a few tears while reading this book. The story is beautiful, very well written and moving. It's much more profound than I initially expected it would be.

Jun 20, 2014

A New Home For Old Friends


On Wednesday night I wore this wonderful Monsoon dress. I was invited for dinner by Louise and Naomi, in their new home. They've bought a cute cottage with a big garden. They both have a bedroom and a study and their own bathroom. They share the living room and the kitchen. Both of them love gardening and they have already started to rearrange the garden. Louise has her own vegetable patch with a small greenhouse and Naomi will be able to plant all of her famous flowers in one of the many flower beds. 
They both showed me their bedroom. Louise's is old fashioned with floral wallpaper, pastel colored furniture and a large quilt on her bed. Naomi's is pink combined with chocolate brown. It's stylish and modern, but it still looks warm. They clearly spent a lot of time plotting and decorating and now they have a perfect new home. I'm happy for them, but I also felt a bit excluded. They're doing everything together and are a tight duo now. I felt like a third wheel and they're kind of behaving like they are a couple. That's how close they are. I'm glad they've both found a bit of happiness again, but it also makes me sad. 
The dinner was nice, they clearly did their very best to prepare something nice. Naomi has a lot of new artistic friends and I can see Louise feels at home in that crowd. She's even applied for a job somewhere else. She wants to work at a smaller more easy going company. I hope she'll get the position as it would clearly suit her new life a lot better. I could see some closure now as well, they won't make amends with Lizzy and Jenna, they've moved on. Am I the only one who's been standing still? I'm afraid that is the case and I'm wondering where I do belong. I have to be ready for a lot of things I've never thought about before. Again something that might be a part of leaving our twenties behind. Next week it will be my birthday and I have no idea how I'm going to celebrate it yet. I love parties, but this year I can't ask all my friends and family, because not everyone will be available. What should I do?

1000 + 200 Followers Giveaway!



It's time for another giveaway. An extra one that I didn't expect to host this month or any time soon at all. I'm surprised I've got so many followers and am grateful for all the wonderful reactions and tweets I get. I love my blog and my stories and want to thank everyone who's supporting me!

You can win two books, a Burt's Bees lip shimmer and your name in my Gina novella. I won't tell you which character will have your name yet, but I promise you it's going to be someone nice.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is international. I will order your items at the Bookdepository and Lookfantastic. If you already have the books I will of course send you something you don't have.  

Lavender and Jada's Cookbook Review: A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe


Jada and I had to use my kitchen this week, so we had to choose a cookbook that would be perfect for simple, but delicious cooking. A Girl Called Jack is the ideal cookbook for those who haven't got a fortune to spend on groceries. Jack Monroe makes the most delicious things with inexpensive ingredients. She had to survive on a food budget of only £10 a week for quite a while. She started a blog which has become a huge success and a Girl Called Jack is her first cookbook. 
What I love about this book is that it contains only recipes anyone can easily make. They don't require fabulous kitchen equipment and lots of cooking skills. If you're following the instructions you can prepare this food, it's as simple as that. Jack's meals are so much more healthy than ready made meals and they all look delicious. It was hard to choose what to make, but Jada and I came up with a fantastic menu. When we saw the recipe for Love Soup we just had to try it. It contains a lot of fresh herbs which taste great and are also very healthy. We then made the Summer Pasta a la Genovese which was delicious and very green. I really liked that. For desert we made Paddington Bear Sponge Puddings. Those were a big success, We loved them!
Cooking on a budget can be difficult. If you need to do exactly that A Girl Called Jack is a good investment. She shares a lot of great tips. Poverty is everywhere, also in rich counties. I admire it that Jack Monroe talks about it so openly. I can recommend this cookbook to everyone. Jack Monroe is amazing!
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