Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Decade of Experiences

Today is a big day in my life. Ten years ago today, I stepped off the plane and started this journey of living in England. I can hardly believe that it's been a decade, but it has been. When I think about these years, one line comes to mind from Charles Dickens...

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
(From A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, 1859)

Don't get me wrong with that worst part, but it just resonates with me. Life is a balance of the good and the bad and in ten years we as human beings go through a lot. The thing that makes me rejoice though is that despite the ups and downs, I'm still standing :)

My gratitude for this experience of living away from where I was born is surrounding me as I type these words. I've wrestled quite a bit with being away from my family, but on the other hand I've been having this gift of great experiences. So in the end, I can't complain at all. All is well :)

I look forward to seeing what's next. Onward to ten years plus...let's go!

Happy Easter


Sending love to all in this season of renewal  :)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Spotlight: The Silent Children

I love a good ghost story. There's something about exploring the unknown or unexplained that appeals to me. It's intriguing to wonder about things and it can be lots of fun.

In the new supernatural novel, The Silent Children by debut novelist Amna K. Boheim, readers are given an absorbing tale with loads of  atmosphere. The Silent Children tells parallel stories -- one set  in 1938 Vienna and the other in 2004 London. The side by side stories tie together the experiences of Max in modern times with that of his mother Annabel during her childhood in Vienna.

Max and his mother are estranged. One day he receives a letter from his mother that informs him that she is dying and that she needs his help. In her letter, she has enclosed an old black and white photograph of herself and her childhood friend Oskar Edelstein with the words 'you knew' written on the back of the photo. The letter and photograph catch Max off guard to say the least and he is intrigued. Annabel wants Max to find Oskar. The photograph and the mysteries behind it set Max off on a journey to get to the truth behind the photograph. He uncovers secrets about his mother's long-buried past throughout this modern ghost story.

I found this novel to be a definite page turner with a haunting vibe that I relished. The flashbacks to 1938 Vienna, to me were like a whisper from the past to Max in contemporary times. They were a guiding force that the reader had access to even though Max did not. I thought that this was a great way to build anticipation as we get to follow Max on his journey.

As one who loves a good ghost story, I especially liked the times when Max was in his mother's house. There is something that is not quite right in the house and it was interesting to wonder what might be lurking around each corner. I found myself looking over my shoulder when I read at night. I loved it! The thing that definitely kept me reading was the desire to find out what secrets Max would uncover. The author did an excellent job of giving readers little pieces of the puzzle on the way to a great conclusion.

The Silent Children is an intriguing ghost story to the end. I really liked it. This story is a perfect one for curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea or to enjoy with only the light of your bedside table illuminating the pages. This is a good read!

The Silent Children is available here or on Amazon UK.

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Yogi Tea Thoughts

About two weeks ago, I tried Yogi Tea for the first time. I saw it at one of my favorite shops so I decided to give it a go. I like a variety of teas, so I thought that it would be interesting to add a new taste to my collection. It was delicious!

The tea is a blend of five traditional Ayurvedic spices, which are:
black pepper

I like foods and sometimes drinks with a kick, so I like this tea very much. There are these great quotes/sayings on the tags of each bag. They are beautifully spiritual and give me something to ponder as I drink up. I like that!

Another thing that I loved about the tea was the container that it came in. It's a metal tin and it's brightly colored. I think that once I'm finished with drinking all of the tea, I'm going to save the tin for storing something. I love storage as I've mentioned before. So I'm happy in a storage geek kind of way ;-)

I hope you have a great weekend wherever you are! :)

Friday, March 04, 2016

Blog Anniversary #8

Today is the eighth anniversary of when I started this blog. I'll say this...nah, I won't say it...oh well why not...time really does fly! :) It's a cliche, but it's so true. Who knew that I'd keep blogging for this long. Lol. I appreciate all of the opportunities that have come from blogging. It's been fun!

I can't believe how much time has passed and how much has happened in my life since I started this blog. I'm eight years older, but I have no hang-ups about aging at all. I'm relishing this time in my life. Over these eight years I've had ups and downs but I'm still here. Thank you God :)

I'm so glad that I started this blog back in 2008 and I plan to continue on for years to come. I hope you'll join me as I go forward :)

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Book Spotlight: Whatever Next?

It is always interesting to hear about the lives of others. Hearing about someone's ups and downs, along with their recollections of the people and places they've known, lets us see a side of them that we may not see otherwise.

In the new memoir, Whatever Next?, readers are given a thoroughly entertaining peek into the varied life of Tony Porter. He is one of the people who spearheaded the idea of British Fashion Week 40 years ago, which is now called London Fashion Week. He helped bring British fashion to the forefront on the world stage. This is a great accomplishment on its own, however Tony has had a number of distinct careers in his storied life. He has sold high fashion for the Kensington store Biba, sold paint for ICI, owned his own fashion PR business, and has even owned beautiful Burgh Island off the coast of Devon, along with other roles he's held.

The book starts off telling of his early life, which includes his school days and stories of his parents and family. He was stricken with medical problems in his early life, but he rose above those troubles and has had an extraordinary life.

One story that I enjoyed was his recounting of his meeting as a young man with blonde bombshell Diana Dors, who some say was England's answer to Marilyn Monroe. She was a curvy beauty. Porter was attending the elegant eighteenth birthday party of one of his friends in London. There was a dare going around his group of friends wondering who would ask her for a dance. Porter ended up being pushed towards her by his friends and he got his dance with her, while all the time trying to avert his eyes from her cleavage. I found this to be an amusing anecdote that captures the fun of being young and just having a good time.

Porter came into contact with many people of note during the swinging sixties in London. This was especially true during his time working at Biba, his sister-in-law Barbara Hulanicki's Kensington store. He shares:

“Biba’s fame grew and grew on an international basis, and brought famous stars of the sixties into the shop. Twiggy, a close friend of Barbara and her husband Fitz, was often around. During my time there, Marianne Faithful, Mia Farrow, Cilla Black and Yoko Ono all came in. On one occasion, word went round that Brigitte Bardot was in the shop, and I couldn’t resist going in to see my favourite star.”

Whatever Next? is written in an entertaining and funny conversational style. I loved this book! It's like having the privilege of sitting in Tony Porter's presence as he tells the intriguing story of his life so far. As a reader, I found myself getting to the end of the book and saying the title out loud to myself as I truly wondered, whatever next for this interesting man. What a life!

Tony Porter

Whatever Next? is available here or on Amazon UK.

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.