Here’s Abbey

Disclaimer- if you did not read that in the voice of Jack Nicholson, then you don’t have my permission to read on!

😂 Only joking!!

Recently i decided to devote more time to my blog, which coincidentally is what I said when I started first started this blog!! It would seem that life has well and distracted me, but after a recent conversation with my best friend I am very much inspired to start again. I may fail but I will get back up again and keep going with it.

For those who have followed me from the beginning- thank you! It means the very world to me. To those who have just joined us- welcome to you!

I am a wee bit crazy but I am very lovable ( most of the time- just ask my long suffering husband!) I hope that you will join me on my new adventures.

I started my book club in April 2018 and I will be continuing on with that, once I have decided on which one of my many, many books to read next.

A new feature that I am going to be introducing is “This week I’m ………….” which will give you an insight into my week and what I’ve been up to. There will ,of course , be photos because of course ‘photos or it didn’t happen!’ Unless the photos are far too embarrassing to show you!

Honestly, I am extremely excited to get back to it, if not a little apprehensive as to how it will all go!

I’ll see you all on Monday, for the first instalment of “This week I’m ………”

I hope that you all are enjoying your weekends!

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Welcome back to our little book club!! I know that I said that it would be one post per month, but once I started reading again, I could not stop. I visited my local Oxfam and picked up five books to read.

I laid them all out in front of me, and studied the books carefully. I decided upon Water For Elephants.  The novel is written by author Sara Gruen and is her third novel. The drama revolves around a circus in 1930s America.

The novel was written for National Novel Writing Month which takes place from November 1st to November 31st. The National Novel Writing movement has been going since 1999, and started off with just 21 people writing and over the years the people taking part has jumped to a massive 431,626 each year! One day…………one day I’d like to take part but for now, I think I will just read them, until I have worked up the confidence to put my writing out there!

The novel is 331 pages long. I will admit that I had not heard of the author, however with my self confessed expert knowledge of Hollywood I knew that there was a movie with the same name. Let’s be honest, it had Reese Witherspoon in it, so of course I knew about it!  Did I mention that I love Reese Witherspoon?!

One of the quotes on the back of book is by Susan Cheever who writes ‘ This masterpiece of storytelling is a book about what animals can teach people about love.’ I agree! We spend so much time focused on ourselves, that if we just took a step back, we would see that animals can teach us about ourselves. Gruen shows this by using the circus animals intertwined with the characters lives in magical ways.

The novel opens with a prologue which immediately sets the scene for the rest of the drama. We are introduced into the small town atmosphere and within in the first few pages we are told that something bad is happening- ‘the disaster march!’ Jacob, our protagonist, is worried about Marlena, and that he is desperate to find her. ‘It’s a stampede!’

Jacob searches the big top looking for Marlena and spots her committing a murder. The series of events that happen next, Jacob has never told a soul in seventy years.

In the next chapter, we meet an aged Jacob -‘I am ninety. Or ninety three. One or the other’ He describes how the aging process took hold of his life and that he is in an elderly peoples home. My heart dropped reading the first chapter. The desperation that Jacob feels is so real through Gruen’s writing. He describes himself as a ‘rarity’ as an ‘old man among a sea of widows whose hearts still ache for their lost men.’ He feels as though he is the only one with his whole mind and self still intact. He notices that the women are ‘acting like jailbirds’ watching something at the window. He sees that the circus is back in town, and collapses.

He is then ‘engulfed by nurses’ and explains to one that he is misses his wife and her home cooking. His thought process is interrupted when Jacob overhears another male resident telling the other residents that he used to carry water for the elephants in the circus, and the two men argue. The nurses tell Jacob off and wheel him to his room. One of the nurses questions Jacob over the argument and he reveals that he used to be in a circus, and that it was him that really did carry water for elephants.

It is at this point in the novel, that we learn that Jacob’s wife died of cancer after 61 happy years together. The nurse with him, Rosie, shows him that she cares for him by sharing her food with him, as he hates the food there. He reveals to the readers that ‘being the survivor stinks’ and the only thing he can do in the home is ‘put in time waiting for the inevitable, observing as the ghosts of his past rattle around my vacuous present.’ Ghosts have ruined his life.

In the next chapters, we time travel with Jacob and the other characters in the novel. We meet a 23 years old Jacob at Veterinary college, lusting over Catherine Hale.

In a matter of moments, his whole life changes for ever, as he is informed that his parents have passed away in a car crash. He has been orphaned at 23 years of age.  I found the next few pages horrific to read, and I was sobbing mess on the sofa. Gruen’s description of Mrs Jankowski body is awful.  Although it is well written, I found it hard to read.

His parent’s lawyer tells him that he is penniless due to his father not taking any payments for his services. There is no money, no house and no surgery.

As readers, you are able to feel his pain and just how scared he really is. He walks out of his last exams in turn ruining his future dreams. He runs away from his old life and is going to start afresh somewhere else. He hears a train coming towards him and jumps aboard, after a few bumpy moments, he discovers that he is going to be joining the circus!

After I started reading the next chapters, I could not put the book down! He doesn’t know what he is doing or where he is going. Literally! The circus life envelops him and he is drawn further into their life. In chapter four, Jacob and the readers meet Marlena, and he cannot stop thinking of her. She dances with her horses in the circus and is married to August, who is described as a brute, and not a nice man. Marlena is loving towards August initially but behind closed doors, the truth is revealed. He is emotionally abusive towards her, and controls her. This relationship will become everyone in the circus’s undoing!

Jacob eventually becomes the circus’s vet and he becomes involved even more closely with Marlena, and some new characters are introduced to us.

I don’t want to spill any more beans but this is one book that you truly do really need to read. The writing is incredible and you really feel like you are there with them. I cried so many times reading Sara Gruen’s novel. She brings you so far into the world of ‘The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show On Earth’ that there is no going back. The characters are firmly engrained in your mind.  You are made to root for the characters, and you are willing them to succeed.

If you love romance, drama and animals then this is the book for you. It has it all! I truly never thought that I would enjoy a book about a circus but I LOVED this one! Now, I have read the book, I cannot wait to watch the film!

Now there is sexual elements in this books, ( sorry mum!) so I do recommend that if you are under the age of 18- don’t read it without parental permission! There is also some animal abuse, so please do not read this book, if you know that it will affect you whilst reading it.

BOOK CLUB- RIVER’S END BY NORA ROBERTS

Spring haIMG_3432s FINALLY sprung which means that summer is nearly here! Finally! Does Summer remind you of holidays in the sun and reading copious amounts of books? I hope then that maybe this new blog series will be for you.

I had a thought the other week that maybe I could start a book club series? The next thought that I had was most definitely no one will do it with me, will they?! Probably not, but I believe that this series will help me finding my love of reading again.

Now, it won’t be one book a week, knowing me it will be more like once a month. I’m very open to suggestions of books to read, so if you have any great ones you would recommend so please let me know!

Now…… it’s time to pick a book to start with! I thought that I would make a change from most book clubs, and I’ve decided to let Peter pick the books! Instead of me picking some airy fairytale romance novels!

It may be that he just picks the first book or all of the books depending on what he picks out.

His first pick was River’s End by Nora Roberts which when he showed me what he picked I was a little sceptical and angry. I like my bedtime reading to be light and fluffy preferably something with a happy ending. After I reading and rereading the blurb on the back a few times, I eventually agreed to try it and purchased the book.

‘River’s End’ by Nora Roberts is a crime and romance novel and 517 pages long. Our protagonist is Oliva McBride, and when we first meet her she is only four years old and we journey with her throughout her life.

We are brought in to Olivia’s world with her family, and what transpires in the prologue and first chapter are every child’s worst nightmare.

SPOILER ALERT! DON’T READ THIS NEXT SENTENCE IF YOU PLAN ON READING THE BOOK!

Her father, handsome movie star, Sam Tanner murders her mother the beautiful Julia McBride.

Olivia wakes in the night and has her world instantly shattered as she finds her mother dead on the sofa. I won’t tell you how, but I will say that it made me gasp. The details that Roberts goes into describing the details are horrific.  If you are squeamish, then maybe skip those pages!

Frank Brady, a police detective comes to Livvy’s rescue and takes control of the situation. It is through Frank that we meet Noah, his son. Noah becomes Livvy’s friend and her romantic interest. I found that this was the most interesting relationship in the book.

Throughout the book, one of the main themes is nature, and the elements, and in my opinion that’s one of things that makes this book so enjoyable and interesting. Nora Roberts has a really interesting way of making the reader feel like that they are right along the characters.

Another strong theme in River’s End is love, familial and romantic. Almost immediately you are brought into the McBride’s family and throughout the book, you long for them to get the answers that they so desperately need.

The results of the novel shocked me. It’s a twisty read but it’s so worth the wait.

My enjoyment of this book surprised me, it’s not what I would usually go for! For those of you who know me, I like Reese Witherspoon movies and romance novels, a murder detective book is so not me! I am so glad that I took a chance on this novel. The writing is funny, shocking and immersive.

If you are looking for something different to read this summer- then why not try River’s End by Nora Roberts? The Washington Post wrote that Nora Roberts was ‘the most successful novelist on Planet Earth’ and reading this book- it’s not hard to see why!

P.S THIS BOOK DOES CONTAIN THEMES OF AN ADULT NATURE ( Sorry mum!)

The Lazy Girls Guide To Christmas

All you need is love!!

As we approach the Christmas period, I am reminded about all the things that I have got to be thankful for. I have a wonderful husband in Peter, my parents and my parents-in-law. I have the best brother in Jamie, and a wonderful sister in law Kiran and my cute as a button nephew Benjamin. I am also thankful for my loving and supportive sister and brother-in-law Suz and Jez.

December 2017 is a truly magical month for me with my second wedding anniversary, Christmas and 10 days off! I love that December is a time for family, friends and presents.

However, if I am honest, I saw myself heading into adulthood an old maid with at least 10 cats ( all named after characters from musicals.)

It wasn’t until I met Peter that I was able to stop viewing Christmas as mostly about presents and a splash of family time ( for those members of my family reading this, I do apologise and yes I do know how selfish I sound!)

Peter added a new dimension to Christmas- for which I’ll always be grateful for. He opened my eyes and my heart again. In the last few years, I’ve shown myself the delights to be found in giving. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved the process of picking and giving presents for others, but for me seeing my friends and family fall in love and ‘finding their lobster’ over the years put a small dampener on Christmas. For the last few years, it seemed that each family gathering were filled with sympathetic looks and pats on my back as I edged further into spinsterhood!

In all honesty, you all owe Peter a debt of thanks because he turned my coldness to Christmas into a warm toasty glow.

The gift of giving was restored!

This post is possibly a massive ramble for you all to read but I guess what I am trying to say is remember to look at the joy in Christmas, the joy in choosing presents, the joy in giving presents, and the joy in the faces of those you love.

For a wee while there, I forgot to look for the joy but in finding Peter, I found my joy again, particularly in Christmastime.

Thank you Peter!

New in November

Hello!

Oh dear- that was cheesy wasn’t it?! I’m new to this blogging malarkey, so please bear with me!

I  always enjoyed writing as a child and then came up with the idea for this blog earlier on this year. I put it off for a while and then was struck by the thought that there would be space for my ramblings and ideas in the blogosphere.

If you are curious as to the name of the blog- then let me elaborate further! As a child, I was always wanting to chill out and take things slowly as my family was tell you, and that didn’t change as I got older!

Want to know more about me? Well- I love being cosy and warm, hate walking and exercise, which surprises people when they find out that I live in the Lake District! I am originally from southern England and moved to The Lakes in 2015- where I live with my lovely hubby Peter and our fur baby Deidre! I have worked in boarding schools and retail. I am currently a beauty advisor for a local artisan beauty company in the Lakes.

This blog will be where I will share my thoughts and ideas, as well as the ocassional tips and recommendations.

Please don’t be shy- any recommendations or things that you’d like me to write about let me know!