Tuesday, January 10, 2017

More Summer Reading - Meet Me At Beachcomber Bay

Heya book lovers,

This year I discovered Jill Mansell's books in the local library and read 3, or was it 4?, in fairly quick succession. When I get a fiction book, especially an easy read, I tend to devour them pretty quickly. I like Jill Mansell as an author. She's not too demanding or high brow but her books are well written and enjoyable.

All of the books I've read of hers have been romance based but not based on characters that feel 1 dimensional or too out of the realm of ordinary people. The romance aspects are tactfully written and don't leave you feeling like you need a cold shower.

The latest book I've read of hers is Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay.

The book is set in Cornwall and mainly follows the journey of Clemency and that spark of connection that is long remembered, if forbidden, in circumstances outside of her control.

There are several other key characters as well and each have their own difficulties to face when it comes to love, secrets of the heart and a past that wants to catch-up. There are the inevitable crossed wires and the lovely resolutions, for most, or maybe all - you'll have to read it to find out.

What I enjoyed about this novel was that it didn't unfold predictably - there were some kinks in the road and some unexpected revelations that kept the story moving and engaging. I felt like the characters had some depth and there weren't any perfect or perfectly awful (well maybe one) types.

My critique would be the cover choice for the softcover version - for me it makes the book look like a YA fiction in terms of the photo of the characters and setting. I think the book is much more than the cover suggests, luckily I never judge a book by its cover!!

This is a really feel good read and great for chilling on a deck with a fabulous view over the beach and dreaming of a beach house entirely out of financial reach.

Thanks to Hachette NZ for an advanced reading copy. All opinions expressed entirely my own, naturally.

Details - Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay, by Jill Mansell Hachette NZ 10 Jan 2017, RRP $34.99 also available as an ebook.

love you more than an open home on a Saturday afternoon xxx

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Summer Reading

Hey Y'all,

It's summer here in the southern lands and that definitely means the lingering hope of lazy days spent under trees watching clouds and reading easy books. In reality I probably never actually read outside under a tree - I'm not sure it would be that comfortable!

Recently I received Carole Matthews latest book Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses to read.

Let it be said straight up that I'm always keen to read books that feature a crafty/makery kind of protagonist and this book delivers.

Meet Christie Chapman, solo mum, doing it tough with a long commute into London (The Atlas had a very long commute on all the jobs he worked in London too) and a job that doesn't inspire. She has an adored teenage son, an obsession with the craft channel, too many pets (depending on who you ask) and wonderful parents who help her keep the balls in the air.

The book profiles the rise, or will it be a fall?, of her crafty skills and the hard job of parenting when things don't always turn up roses. For the scrapbooker there is all sorts of fantasy scenes with products and making galore.

There is some romantic interest and a wonderful llama date... how badly could a llama date go? But it's more grown up with a (happy) lack of super raunchy scenes or heavy breathing in the mix.

Verdict? It's a fun read, on the whole fairly unrealistic but let's face it we don't read summer, crafty romances for a dose of it's never going to work out in the end overtones. Perfect for escaping into and possibly encouraging you not to make the resolution of not purchasing any more craft materials in the new year.

Would I read this author again - yes indeed.

What are you reading this summer?
And what is your preferred reading location?
Mine is a nice light, inside spot, with bubbly water and a cool breeze.

Details - Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses, Hachette NZ 22nd Dec 2016, RRP $29.99 also available as an ebook. 

Thanks to Hachette NZ for an advanced reading copy. Opinions obviously my very own.

love you more than a crafty fantasy that involves being given a wonderful stash of grandma's fabric xxx

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hello Birthday


I'm firmly in the celebrate birthday camp. I'm so blessed to have had 39 years here and I'm all for a day of laughing and enjoying myself.

On my birthday I tell pretty much everyone - the lady at the supermarket checkout if she asks how my day is, anyone I'm having a meeting with, I take chocolate to work. I believe in celebration and I'm not about to sit a day out thinking 'no-one remembered' and feeling sad.

I'm going to help them remember. ;-)

I'm not demanding anything from anyone, other than a willingness to enter the celebration of the fact we share life together.

I hope that my happiness to celebrate rubs off on other people and that their day is better for having enjoyed a hug or a happy exchange on my birthday.

As an aside, you know you are a mother when you are rummaging with your hand in your handbag searching for a lipstick and you find a nerfgun bullet (toy! no real guns in this house!) instead.

Happy birthday me - here I am looking not my best! May we all be unashamedly ourselves everyday of the year!

love you more than caramel salted brownie xxx

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Hiya dear ones,

Some time ago I met a new blogger and a new transplant to NZ. She was in the mama phase, dipping her toe into the water of making, trying sewing out, making new friends, living in a new country, being brave ...

As she taught herself to sew she discovered that she loved paper piecing and designing patterns. She has slowly honed her craft, started to sell her patterns and build a community of people who love her and her work.
One of Juliet's amazing patterns.

Recently she announced that she is writing a book and has a contract - I just about popped with excitement when I heard that.

I'm so incredibly proud of Juliet.

I feel like the lesson of being her friend, and this journey she's been on is...
never stop being a learner, 
don't think if you don't have it worked out by now you never will, 
that it's too late, 
or that you have nothing left to discover about yourself and your creative talents

I can't wait to see her book and celebrate with her. But for today I am so thrilled to have met her through blogging and for the incredible inspiration she is to me.

love you more than the smell of a new book xxx

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wide Legged Pants and Narrow Fabric - Simplicity 3688

Hi y'all,

So I determined that I should not stop my pants endeavour with the poopy-pants-parade! Last year in Adelaide I bought some gorgeous kimono style fabric at an op-shop. I say kimono style because of the feel of the fabric, the Japanese symbols written onto the band of the fabric, the design and the width of the fabric (very narrow, maybe 40cm).

This time I went for a high waisted, wide legged style. I used my sister's (the pant queen) pattern. A re-interpreted 40s style Simplicity 3688 pattern.

I cut the 14 but then freaked out and made the seams narrower, I probably could have done the straight 14. Because the fabric was so narrow I had to sew some extra onto the side in order to get the full crotch width required for the back pieces.

I also lengthened them a bit too because I am freaked out by not-quite-long-enough trousers.

I'm really pleased with the final result, even though Bounce said, "It looks like you are wearing your pyjama pants".

Can we also take a moment to be suitably surprised and stoked that the pattern/ line of the pattern actually works all the way around the legs and across the crotch. Colour me surprised and stoked because I didn't actually think about this while I was cutting out - yay!

I wore them for a full day of work and out in the evening - all good. Really pleased with the shape and drape.

hashtag - winforthepants!

Who knows, this could become a thing!

love you more than a completed success xxx

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Parihaka Woman - absolute must read

Kia ora e hoa,

It's been so long since I've chatted books but I'm really challenging myself to do more reading and less TV watching (unless I have a project in my hands) of late. Recently The Atlas and I got away for 4 days due to the very generous hearts of my mama and step-dad. They kid managed and lent us the campervan for 4 days of travelling around the bottom of Te Wai Pounamu (the South Island of NZ).

Just before we left I was at the library and I spotted this book on the Parihaka display. The children at school have been studying Parihaka and I was very aware of how limited my own knowledge was of the events.

The Parihaka Woman by Witi Ihimaera

reading at the south end of Lake Wakatipu
The events of Parihaka are a deep and awful gash in the history of New Zealand. It involves the unlawful taking of land, from tribes who didn't even sign the treaty of Waitangi, the astonishing and inspiring commitment of Tohu and Te Whiti and their people to non-violent resistance and the dreadful use of power, weapons, imprisoning without trial... all the bad things. Parihaka is also a story of a beautiful people, resourceful, community minded, fair and inspiring.

Witi Ihimaera is a wonderful New Zealand author, probably most well known as the author of The Whale Rider. The book is also turned into an exceptional film.

Whatever your knowledge of New Zealand history or the events of Parihaka I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is billed as a novel but it also works as a recount of history. Ihimaera's ancestor Erenora is the protagonist and the book flicks between the present and the voice of the author, and the past and the love story of Erenora and Horitana. A young couple caught up in the world of Parihaka.

It's inspiring, heart breaking, awful and beautiful to read.

We must read more of our history, we must know more of our story. Every time we engage openly with the story of New Zealand, its injustice and heartbreak as well as its success and triumphs we grow.

I think this book might end up under the Christmas tree for some people in my world this year. It's also reminded me I need to read more New Zealand authors and always hold history carefully - one person's victor is another person's villain. We all have much to learn.

What have you read this year that has stretched you?

details - Penguin, Oct 2011 RRP $38.99, also available as an ebook (or grab it at your local library)

love you more than a book that enrages and delights xxx

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

More monsters

'Sup? :-)

This is my final monster - 'Plug In To Your 5+ a Day'

and one The Atlas made which I love because it's the extinct + the shall survive a nuclear holocaust!

It's amazing what can be achieved with a saw, some junk and a hot glue gun!

love you more than reusing landfill xxx