Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Liebster award take 2......and 3


I have the honour of saying I have been awarded the Liebster Blog Award not only for a second but for a third time, oooh I could rival Daniel Day Lewis in his Oscar awards! Get me ;)

I was previously nominated  by Georgia at Concept of Budd and rather than repeat the whole award again, you can read my original post/answers here. But instead of doing the full post again, what I am going to do is answer the questions given to me by the very lovely Sascha at Coffee and Heels and the very lovely Beth at Beth Writes Beauty

So here goes, my questions from Sascha:

1. Where were you born?
In the capital city of our fair land
2. If you HAD to choose, for the rest of your life: flats or heels?
Would have to be flats, as much as I love my heels I do spend the majority of my time in flats.
3. What places do you dream of visiting?
Oh so many places. There is a lot of the states I have yet to see and really want to including New York, Connecticut, Boston, Wilmington, Portland, the list for the USA goes on and on. There is more of Australia I would like to see, New Zealand, Sweden, more of Italy, Portugal, parts of Africa
4. What's your favourite dessert?
I don't know if I can just choose one! I guess I would say trifle, it has all the things I love.
5. Favourite movie(s)?
Again hard to choose, I like many for many different reasons, but if I had to wittle it down, I would say It's A Wonderful Life and To Kill A Mockingbird for the social lessons and Dirty Dancing as it reminds me of being a giddy 16 year old
6. What do you love about blogging?
'Meeting' and reading some amazing blogs by some amazing people
7.  What did you dream of being when you were growing up?
A hairdresser
8. What trend or item of clothing would you NEVER wear?
Well when you hit my age, you have to be really careful what you wear! But I would probably say denim shorts over tights - I am waaayyyyy too old for that!
9. What's your favourite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon?
Really depends what time of year it is, if it's summer I love nothing better than pottering in my garden. At this time of year, curled up in front of a great film or reading a book is probably where you will find me.
10. Who's your celebrity crush?
I do love a bit of the Clooney - hubba hubba
11. Describe your blog in three words!
(These were the first 3 words which came into my head!) 
My questions from Beth:
 1. If you could only use one beauty product for the rest of your life what would it be?
Probably tinted moisturiser as it covers a multitude of sins! 
2.What's your top 3 favourite films?
As mentioned above, I will go with It's A Wonderful Life, To Kill A Mockingbird and Dirty Dancing  
3. Do you have any bad habits?
Me? Never! Mr B.P. would probably say nagging! lol I would say none of my habits are bad ha ha
4. Be honest, do you fancy a bit of the Biebs?
Ewww no, I am old enough to be his Mum!
5. Maxi skirts or mini skirts?
Maxi all.the.way. 
6. What's your favourite part of blogging?
 'Meeting' and reading some amazing blogs by some amazing people 
7. Who or where do you look to for style inspiration?
Humm tricky one, as I'm not 100% sure. I don't follow any particular fashion blogs or read fashion rags so I would just say I tend to follow the trends for each season and adapt the trends for my shape and age and likes
8. Early bird or nocturnal owl?
Well my alarm clock and I are not the best of friends! but I would say early bird. When it gets past 10pm my bed is calling for me 
9. What was your favourite cartoon growing up?
Mary, Mungo and Midge (the majority of you reading this will have to go and google this as it was way before your time ha ha) 
10. Which book has affected you the most?
To Kill A Mockingbird for sure. Reading it for english at school, it has stayed with me right through adulthood 
11. What song would be the theme tune of your life?
Always look on the bright side of life

So thank you Sascha and Beth for nominating me and for those reading this post, if you haven't checked out these lovelies and their blogs before what are you waiting for?! Go and check them out NOW!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A blissful Sunday

Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny. So there was a little nip in the air, but it is still only February after all. But what I really noticed was the smell of Spring all around us.

Spring my favourite season of all. Have I told you just how much I love Spring? Have I? Have I? Have I?!

For me it is the best season. We come out of the dreary, bleakness which is Winter, into brighter, longer light filled days, new growth and the anticipation of (hopefully) a warm summer to come.

I feel I come alive come Spring. I shed my winter coat (metaphorically speaking) and joy and possibility seeps into weary bones.

With the beautiful day which dawned on Sunday, Mr B.P. and I decided to take the hound and have a long stroll around our nearest National Trust property. We are members of the N.T., have been for years and I have to say we definitely get our moneys worth.

It wasn't as busy as expected, this place can get heaving at times. There was a pleasant amount of souls ambling around with dogs and/or children in tow.
Estate cottage

Daisy was in her element, even if she did insist on carrying her new ball the whole walk! We stopped at the little gothic cottage, which had a roaring fire lit and was festooned with fresh greenery and twinkling fairy lights and grabbed some hot chocolate. Not the best hot choccy in the world, I have to admit - needs to be made with milk and squirty cream etc but hey it was nice that it was available there, and we just had a wander in the sunshine and put our recent woes to the back of our minds for a few brief but enjoyable hours.
Winter flowering rhododendron

The sun on my back just felt soooooooo good. Everyone had a smile on their face and you could clearly see them relishing the onset of Spring.
You could see the early buds appearing on the trees and everywhere was carpeted in snowdrops, with the leaves of emerging daffodils in between, complimented by a smattering of yellow primroses.

IT WAS BLISS *sighs*
 Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and that the sun shone wherever you were!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Broken like I'm never gonna heal

That's the way I'm feeling at the moment. Fragile and delicate and in pieces. (Thank you Lady Antebellum for the line).

There are a lot of changes a foot in the blushing peonies household and some stormy seas ahead.

I don't go in to too much deep and meaningful detail on my blog, I prefer to keep things light hearted but after a really REALLY rough 5 years and when we thought we saw light at the end of the tunnel, we have been stamped on yet again. The past fortnight has been horrendous. Lots of tears and sleepless nights but the one thing which did cheer my sorry soul is this:

My wonderful Sister surprised me with this beautiful card with such heartfelt words inside and this collection of goodies. She also got me a tub of my favourite Ben and Jerrys ice-cream.

So although things look really bleak at the moment, it is at times like these I realise I am loved and for that I am so very thankful.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

January through the eyes of a bookworm


If anyone has read the bio bit about me to the right of my posts, you will note I am a total bookworm.  From the minute I learned to read I could always be found with my head in book. I am a voracious reader. Reading is my 'drug' of choice and it would be a very rare day for 24 hours to pass without me having read a few pages or even a few chapters from my latest tome.

I've always been a 'proper' book girl, you know of the paperback variety as opposed to the ereader type, but a distinct lack of shelving in my current home and an appetite for reading which cannot be sated lead to the dilemma of getting a kindle. You can read more about that here.

So at the beginning of 2013, I set myself a challenge. I shall use the word challenge in the loosest of terms, it was more of an interest to see how many books I could read in the coming 52 weeks. So each month I shall be doing a blog post on what I have read for the month and which was my favourite read of that month. I am mostly a fiction reader, although you will see the odd non-fiction work creep in here or there.

I've also been taking advantage of the free books on Kindle, as I am on a serious spending cutback, so all below, with the exception of one which was a library book, are all available to download free from the Kindle store from their top 100 free books (disclaimer: this list does change from time to time, so please don't be disappointed if I list a free book only for it to now no longer be available! Don't shoot me I'm just the messenger).

Enemies and Playmates by Darcia Helle
When the abused decide to fight back, the abuser's world might just shatter. Lauren Covington's family maintains a grand facade that belies the life they live behind closed doors. Alex Covington, Lauren's father, keeps a tight rein on his family through dominance, abuse and obsessive control. Consequently, Lauren doesn't believe she could ever trust a man, much less fall in love with one. When Lauren meets Jesse Ryder, her carefully constructed protective wall shatters. She falls hopelessly and completely in love. It's only fitting that Jessie is a private detective who had once worked for her father, had defied him, and was now the subject of Alex Covington's wrath. Amidst devastating loss, betrayal, and her father's destructive pursuit of Jesse, Lauren finds the trust and love she had always longed for. 

My Verdict - too chick lit for me, but an easy read 5/10

Happiness: The Thinking Person's Guide by Richard O'Connor
One of the basic beliefs of contemporary society has been that increasing prosperity and comfort will automatically lead to a greater happiness, but we now have the data to prove that it's just not so..."Happiness: The Thinking Person's Guide" teaches you how to be happier by exploring the science of happiness in human beings and revealing why we feel joy and sorrow when it often makes sense to feel the opposite. Did you know that survival instincts left over from caveman days make us want things that are no longer good for us? Ever wondered why men tend to seek power and status and women worry about their physical appearance? Answering these questions and many more Richard O'Connor explains why we feel the way we do and trains us to:develop core skills that we need to feel happiness today; fight the 'I see, I want' elements in ourselves that lead to unhappiness; manipulate dissatisfaction to change the way we view life; and, distinguish between second-rate desire and true happiness. Using self-assessment exercises combined with fascinating science this practical self-help guide will teach you how to rewire your brain to feel more joy; it's simply a learning process.

My Verdict - Mr B.P. read this and loved it, he suggested I read it. He's big into self-help guides, me - I'm just too pessimistic to believe them. I found it an interesting and thought provoking read, but still left me with some unanswered questions 6/10

Alone: The Girl in the Box, Book 1 by Robert J. Crane
Sienna Nealon was a 17 year-old girl who had been held prisoner in her own house by her mother for twelve years. Then one day her mother vanished, and Sienna woke up to find two strange men in her home. On the run, unsure of who to turn to and discovering she possesses mysterious powers, Sienna finds herself pursued by a shadowy agency known as the Directorate and hunted by a vicious, bloodthirsty psychopath named Wolfe, each of which is determined to capture her for their own purposes......

My Verdict - this is actually a teen/young adult book but I did quite enjoy it and made me hold my breath in parts 8/10 

Blood Orchids (The Lei Crime Series) by Toby Neal
Hawaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water - but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there's a dark side to paradise. Lei has overcome a scarred past to make a life for herself as a cop in the sleepy Big Island town of Hilo. On a routine patrol she finds two murdered teenagers - one of whom she'd recently busted. With its echoes of her own past, the murdered girl's harsh life and tragic death affect Lei deeply. She becomes obsessed - even as the killer is drawn to Lei's intensity, feeding off her vulnerabilities and toying with her sanity. Despite her obsession with the case and fear that she's being stalked, Lei finds herself falling in love for the first time. Steaming volcanoes, black sand beaches and shrouded fern forests are the backdrop to Lei's quest for answers - and the stalker is closer than she can imagine, as threads of the past tangle in her future. Lei is determined to find the killer - but he knows where to find her first.

My Verdict - I can take or leave crime based books but I liked the use of the Hawaiian pidgen in this novel, it gave it an authentic edge. It sure beats the usual middle aged alcohol abusing detective which you see in so many crime books but I did guess who the stalker was so it loses a point for that 8/10 

A Family Affair by Mary Campisi
When Christine Blacksworth's larger-than-life father is killed on an icy road in Magdalena, New York, a hundred miles from the 'getaway' cabin he visited every month, she discovers a secret that threatens everything she's always held to be true. Her father has another family which includes a mistress and a daughter. Determined to uncover the truth behind her father's secret life, Christine heads to Magdalena, prepared to hate the people who have caused her to question everything she thought she knew about her father. But what she finds is a woman who understands her, a half sister who cherishes her, and a man who could love her if she'll let him. The longer she's around them, the more she questions which family is the real one......

My Verdict - too many touches of chick lit to make this a truly enjoyable read but does leave the reader questioning what is really important in life 7/10

Where Is God When It Hurts by Philip Yancey
If there is a loving God, then why is it that......? You've heard that question, perhaps asked it yourself. No matter how you complete it, at its root lies the issues of pain. Does God order our suffering? Does he decree an abusive childhood, orchestrate a jet crash, steer a tornado through a community? Or did he simply wind up the world's mainspring and now is watching from a distance? In this Gold Medallion Award winning book, Philip Yancey reveals a God who is neither capricious nor unconcerned. Using examples from the Bible and from his own experiences, Yancey looks at pain - physical, emotional, and spiritual - and helps us understand why we suffer. Where Is God When It Hurts? will speak to those for whom life sometimes just doesn't make sense. And it will help equip anyone who wants to reach out to someone in pain but just doesn't know what to say.

My Verdict - I do not class myself as a religious person AT ALL, but I do have a spiritual faith of sorts and I am always interested in other peoples take on God/suffering and I was interested to read this as an aside to my Uni studies. I found this to be a very thought provoking book although I did disagree with it in parts 7/10

The Greeks of Beaubien Street by Suzanne Jenkins
Nestled below the skyline of Detroit you'll find Greektown, a few short blocks of colourful bliss, warm people and Greek food. In spite of growing up immersed in the safety of her family and their rich culture, Jill Zannos doesn't fit in. A Detroit homicide detective, she manages to keep one foot planted firmly in the traditions started by her grandparents, while the other navigates the most devastated neighbourhoods in the city she can't help but love. She is a no nonsense workaholic with no girlfriends, an odd boyfriend who refuses to grow up, and an uncanny intuition, inherited from her mystic grandmother that acts as her secret weapon to crime solving success. Her story winds around tales of her family and their secret laden history, whilst she investigates the most despicable murder of her career. The Greeks of Beaubien Street is a modern tale of a family grounded in old world, sometimes archaic, tradition as they seek acceptance in American society. They could be any nationality, but they are Greek.

My Verdict - This was my favourite read of January. It contained pretty much everything I enjoy in a book but I have to admit the ending in my opinion let the book down a tad and was a little rushed. There is a lot going on in this novel and many characters to get your head around but I would recommend it 9/10

Flipping heck this post was almost a novel in itself! Well done if you managed to get to the end of it! I promise I won't be posting as many books in February as I know I just will not have as much time to read as I did in January, so don't panic future book posts won't be this long!

So what have you been reading this month?

Friday, 1 February 2013

Loves and loathes - January

Blimey this table looks dusty!

This month on my list all bar one were Christmas presents from my lovely family. Ah bless them! I am a lucky girl.

Getting new slippers is a tradition in my house at Christmas. My Mum used to do it for me and in recent years Mr B.P. has taken over. I did hint that I had seen some rather fetching purple furry ones in M&S and when we went shopping I 'believed' he was heading there, but no he came out of Debenhams, bag in hand declaring he had purchased my slippers. I have to say I was a tad disappointed thinking oh no yet again he hasn't listened to a word I've said...... but then on Christmas morning he surprised me with these little babies!

           I LOVE THEM!!!!!!

           I LOVE THEM!!!!!!

           I LOVE THEM!!!!!!

I have to give myself a slap for presuming he'd got me something I wouldn't love but the boy done good. I love the colours, the fake furry lining and look at those little pom-poms! They are well loved and well worn in already! (as you can probably tell).

If you've been reading my blog for a bit or you follow me on twitter you will have gathered I have a love for scented candles and my Sister got me this gorgeous Colony candle in Figgy Pudding (love the name!), I would have liked to have shown you it all aglow but unfortunately I love it so much that by the end of the month it had all burned away! It was a deep magenta colour and just smelled of all the good things which represent Christmas.

I was lucky enough to get a beautiful gift box from Sanctuary from my brother and sister-in-law and this lip balm was inside. My love of lip balms is right up there with scented candles! I am always happy when I discover a new one and this Sanctuary one did not disappoint. It's very creamy, long lasting and hydrating, if a little 'white' in colour, but we shall forgive it that one tiny error!

Next up is my new Kindle. I 'fought' long and hard to not give in and get an ereader, but I read so much and have a distinct lack of space in my home for new books (yep I know I could use my library but I always forget to return books on time blah blah blah) so I gave in and put an ereader on my list. I asked for the basic one, I just wanted to read books on it and have it as close as possible to the printed page, so Mr B.P. treated me to this:

I do not know how I lived without it! As well as being super light weight, obviously there are no physical pages to turn so it means I can put it on the counter and read when I am cooking dinner. They don't say women can multi-task for nothing hey! I remember seeing that advert where you see people walking down the stairs, brushing their teeth etc whilst reading and I thought nah that would never happen in real life. I can assure you fine folks it does, I have become one of those people! (is that a good or bad thing?, answers on a postcard). My only regret (or maybe Mr B.P.'s) will possibly be not upgrading and going for the paperwhite which has an inbuilt light, as I have been reading into the wee small hours and it would be good not to disturb the sleeping one, but so far it has been alright.

The last thing on my loves list is a treat I got myself before Christmas after seeing my Sister had one (and I was very jealous), and it's this neat little Cath Kidston diary. I know I am in the techno age and I use twitter and write a blog and have a smart phone and all that jazz but I just prefer using a diary for my day to day appointments, there is just something about seeing it written on a page which commutes to my brain much easier. This one is great because it is just the right size for my handbag, with a week to view and opposite a page to write notes and at the back is more note space and little perforated pages which you can, well use for anything you like really. I would have shown you a photo of the prettiness which is inside but unfortunately I do have something written on every week.

So there you go, my loves list for January and the best bit is I have no loathes for this month - hurrah!

So what has been on your hit and miss list this month?