Book Series Which You Must Read

series

It’s no secret that I love books, and I have a few favourite series which I thought I would share with you today!

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way!  No more needs to be said about it.

Lady Emily Mysteries by Tasha Alexander 

This series is set in Victorian England, and our heroine is a rich and titled lady who finds herself becoming an amateur sleuth when her husband dies in mysterious circumstances.  Lady Emily is herself quite self centred and annoying at the beginning, but as the series progresses she comes into her own and becomes a character who I can’t wait to return to.

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab

This series is magical, there’s no other word for it.  Kell is a traveller, but not just any traveller; he can travel between different versions of London, each in their own universe.  So a recipe for trouble and sorcery begins!  I adored both books in this series and can’t wait for the third.

Elizabethan Mysteries by Amanda Carmack

I love Tudor history, and mysteries, so this series has my name all over it.  Kate Haywood is a musician in Elizabeth I’s retinue, and a valued member of the new queen’s court.  Who better to investigate matters on behalf of her queen?  This series is simply enchanting, and gripping!

Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith

This is my favourite contemporary crime series.  Cormoran Strike is a private investigator, the son of a rockstar and a former soldier.  The novels examine some gruesome crimes, and unveil some interesting facts about Strike and his assistant, Robyn…

Tell me about your favourite book series?

Linnet Sig

A family trip to Penarth

Penarth is a few miles outside Cardiff in the Vale of Glamorgan, a pretty coastal town with a pier.  When my parents came to stay a couple of weeks ago, it seemed like the ideal place to visit for an evening walk.20160812_200048[1]

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I thought I took more photos!  As dusk fell it was so lovely to spend an hour on the seafront with my favourite people.

Tell me about your favourite seafront?

Linnet Sig

The Difference Between North and South Wales

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Last week Gwennan published this post on her blog, and it had me giggling all the way through.  Both of us have lived in both North and South Wales, so we agreed it would be fun for me to write a post on the topic too! Although my North Wales is really North West Wales.

South Wales: Your name is Cleenos? *continues to mispronounce it forever*

North Wales: Your name is Llinos? So is my next door neighbour’s and my auntie’s and my daughter’s.

 

South Wales: You speak Welsh? That’s crazy.

North Wales: You breathe therefore you speak Welsh.

 

South Wales: You live in Cardiff? Nice.

North Wales: You live in Cardiff? Traitor!

 

South Wales: No one cares about North Wales.

North Wales: No one cares about South Wales.

 

South Wales: Pontypridd? That’s so north.

North Wales: Pwllheli? That’s so south.

 

South Wales: I live in Kayleeon.

North Wales: It’s Ca Rr Lay On.

 

South Wales: S4what?

North Wales: S4C? Pobol y Cwm is LIFE.

 

I love Wales haha!  Did I miss anything out?
Linnet Sig

Giveaway with Aloha Lola Cards!

I am really excited to announce a giveaway in collaboration with Claire from Aloha Lola Cards!

A little while ago the lovely Claire designed a cover for my book, Cancer, Chemo and Curls.  Working with her is great fun and today I am sharing what lovely prizes we have on offer…

First up, Claire is offering you the opportunity to have a caricature card designed, a prize that’s worth £6!  As you can see, her designs are fabulous.A - Shop photo (Danni couple)

Then, I am offering a personalised, signed copy of my book, complete with Claire’s cover design.  The book is an emotional journey through my time as a cancer patient.  I have also created this makeup bag; it’s my own personal artwork so I hope you like it.20160816_194105[1]

For your chance to win, enter here!  The giveaway is open to the UK only until 9th September at midnight.  All entries will be verified and the winner will be emailed within a week after the closing date.  If they do not reply within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.  The book and makeup bag will be posted directly and the winner must email Claire at Aloha Lola Cards to arrange the caricature card, which will be posted directly to them in due course.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

G0od luck!

Linnet Sig

My experience of having a skin picking disorder

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I’ll be honest, I didn’t even realise that such a thing as a skin picking disorder existed until recently when a couple of Youtubers who I follow did videos on the topic.  It was a real aha moment for me!  You see, I have been picking at my skin for as long as I can remember, with the intention of causing pain and visible wounds.  The condition is known as dermatillomania.

As a child I used to pick at my lips constantly.  I always had sore lips and barely ever stopped picking at them.  As I grew older though, my focus became the skin around my fingernails.

I find myself picking at my skin when I am bored or stressed.  I love to pick my nail quicks and rip the skin until I am bleeding and have horrible sores.  I pick at any skin all around my nails, then later I feel annoyed with myself when I look at the sores.  I also used to have a sore on my nose that I would pick until it bled, and if I ever have spots, I will make them bleed too.

I thought I was the only one in the world who did this, so to find that it’s a condition which is possibly related to anxiety was a revelation to me.  I love nails and nail polish so why I do this to my fingers is something which I don’t understand about myself.

Have you ever experienced this? For more information please see the NHS website.

Linnet Sig

Where I read

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Reading is, for me, a ritual.  It’s a part of my day that is entirely for me, with the purpose of allowing myself to be relaxed and entertained.  I thought it might be fun to tell you about where I read.

First, a confession.  I am not the type of reader who drinks or snacks while reading.  For me, it’s all about getting comfortable and cosy with my book.  It won’t surprise you after me telling you that the place where I read the most is my bed.  For many years I have done most of my reading right before going to sleep; I like to get into my pjs, puff up my pillows and cushions, climb into bed and get comfy under my quilt.  I will read for about half an hour, so I can fit a few chapters in (depending on the book of course).

At weekends I like to read a little more depending on my plans, so I might also curl up in bed of an afternoon and catch up on my book.  It’s what weekends are for isn’t it?  Otherwise I will set up my cushions on the sofa and grab an hour of reading there.

I very rarely read outside my house.  I don’t take books with me when I go out.  If I am on a train or a bus, I will tend to listen to an audiobook.  This makes me feel like reading is a personal and meditative process that takes place only in my home, and as a relaxing preface to sleep.  I’m a homebody; I love my house and being in it so it’s natural to me that I do most of my reading there.  Reading is one of my favourite (and definitely most longstanding) hobbies.

Over to you; where do you like to read?

Linnet Sig

Three Places To Eat in the Cotswolds

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Recently we spent a weekend in the Cotswolds, and we enjoyed some great evening meals in lovely venues.  So, if you are planning on spending time there yourself, here are three places to eat!

The Bell Inn – Selsley

I booked a meal at this restaurant before we arrived in the Cotswolds as it was close to the cottage where we were staying.  There’s also rooms and I definitely think it would be a good place to stay.  The restaurant was very modern and chic with a fab menu.  We both had sea bass linguine and it was excellent.  All in all, a brilliant place to spend a sunny evening with a glass of prosecco, it’s so relaxed and peaceful.

The Bear – Rodborough Common

We passed this hotel in the car and knew we wanted to go back there the following day.  It’s a sprawling mansion that’s very atmospheric with thick stone walls and taxidermy abounding.  You can either eat in the restaurant where it’s £30 for the main course, or eat in the bar instead, like we did.  The menu was okay and reasonably priced, I would definitely recommend a visit for the ambience and location.

The Rose and Crown – Nympsfield

This was such a charming country pub with a great choice on the menu and a yummy specials board too.  The bar was open and welcoming, definitely a lovely place to while away a couple of hours.  A historic and traditional pub, and a classic Cotswolds venue.

Have you had any lovely meals out recently?

Linnet Sig

What do I think about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

pottermore.com

pottermore.com

I have just spent about an hour watching BookTube reviews about the Cursed Child script book.  I finished reading it myself a couple of days ago, and I have been mulling it around in my mind since then, trying to decide how I feel about it.  I accept that this play is canon as sanctioned by JK Rowling.  BUT.  The BookTube reviews I have found to be mostly negative, and I have to say I was nodding along in agreement a lot of the time.  Here are my (spoiler free) thoughts:

Why isn’t it a novel?

I have tried to get on board with this project being a play, and my friend who has seen it says it is amazing.  She’s a huge Potter fan and I highly value her opinion.  However, in my deepest heart I just wish that it had been a novel.  I feel so conflicted; this is billed as the eighth story and yet it’s not written fully by JK Rowling.  Surely the eighth story SHOULD be a novel?  Reading a script is obviously very different to a novel… I found the dialogue to be very stilted, yet during the play I am sure that the delivery works very well.

Ron

Ron is my favourite Harry Potter character.  I simply did not like how he was reduced to a comedic parody of himself in this script.  He was annoying and unlikeable.  He’s not the only character who is different to their portrayal in the books, and yes, I understand that this play takes place 20 years after the final book and people change…. but, there’s no way that Ron would have morphed from the brave and loyal best friend of Harry Potter into some insipid silly man.

Problems with the plot

Without revealing any plot details, the story jumps about all over the place before leading to an unsatisfactory ending.  The big reveal of the cursed child and their background almost made me laugh out loud, it’s so ludicrous.  Also, I miss so many characters from the books that were left out.  I understand that the cast of a play can’t be huge and sprawling, but we give some unnecessary time to dead characters whilst leaving out living ones who could have been valued (for example, Neville, Luna, Mrs Weasley…)

The time gap between book 7 and now

The epilogue of the final book leant itself to be the starting point of the play, however I for one want more about what happened in those intervening 19 years.  I want to see the weddings and meet the babies!  I want to know how everyone moved on from the Battle of Hogwarts; how did they cope with all that they had been through?  What was it like in the immediate aftermath of a post-Voldemort world?

Nostalgia and cheesiness

OK, this project is impossible to create without a heavy dose of nostalgia.  There’s a sense that this script has allowed us to return to the past Pottermania which surrounded every book release and reliving our huge love for the franchise.  But, some scenes are just so cheesy and it felt like the quiet, enigmatic feelings of characters which were featured in the books were thrust into the open unnecessarily.

Albus and Harry

Side note: I love Albus and Severus.  But the father-son struggle between Albus and Harry? Not so much.  I kind of just want to bang their heads together and tell them to get over it.

My main feelings can be described thus: WHAT? WHY? HOW? HMMM…

Over to you: have you read the script?  What did you think?

Linnet Sig

Shopping haul: Primark, The Works, Tiger, The Card Factory

Way back in June I took a shopping trip into Cardiff city centre.  Here are my buys:

First of all, The Card Factory, where I got these mango coconut candles for 99p and this pen and fox post its set for 99p.  Both were absolute bargains, the tea light candles smell divine and the fox is sooo cute!  In Tiger I picked up these little gift bags to use in my snail mail, they are so pretty and cost £2.

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Next up, The Works. As you can see all of these sets were £1.  The owl folk set is a collection of tags, the bows are stickers, and then the tapes…. so pretty!

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These writing sets were £1 each, but they are a bit misleading because the writing paper is not in these colours, it’s actually just blue.  But they are still pretty and for the money, you can’t really quibble.20160630_183055[1]

I picked up a couple of patterned paper sets for £1 each and this cute bag, I haven’t found a proper use for it yet but it was so nice, and a bargain at £1.

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They had a gorgeous selection of stickers so I picked up these ones for £1 each.20160630_183201[1]

Finally, I went to Primark.  I’ve never really tried Primark makeup until now.  I picked up the eau de toilette for £2 just to have for a quick spray during the daytime.  I thought it would be fun to try the £1 false nails! The nail polish set was £1 and the colours are really nice, they last a couple of days.  The blush stick though, not so good, but it didn’t cost much so I don’t mind.20160630_184236[1]

I also got a couple of pairs of cosy socks, for £1 each. Why do I need these in the summer, I hear you ask? Stay tuned for a crafty project!20160630_184504[1]

I got a couple of tops for work, these t-shirts were £3 each, I love the neckline.

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Then I picked these two up, the ‘Donut talk to me’ one was £6 and the blue one was £3.

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Tell me what you’ve been buying recently?

Linnet Sig

A Day At Newbury Races

Today I am excited to share with you my first ever time at a horse racing day.  A group of us from work took a trip to Newbury and had an amazing time!
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When we arrived I was quite overwhelmed with how beautiful the course was, and how much there was to see and do.  The plethora of bars and eateries was vast, with something to suit every taste.  It was such a glorious sunny day too, I invested in some Pimms!

We were lucky enough to be right at the front for some of the races and the excitement was palpable!  The atmosphere of the whole venue was really lovely.  Everyone was relaxed and enjoying themselves.

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For the last couple of races we went to the paddock to watch the horses walking around before the race.  It reminded me how beautiful horses are, I have always admired them.  I was even lucky enough to win on one of the favourites!

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At the end of the races there was a Simply Red concert.  The whole crowd got involved and it was a fab end to a really great day!

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Have you ever been to the races? I can’t wait to go again!

Linnet Sig