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This is a story about a young woman who goes to stay with an elderly aunt in Derbyshire . At first I was not sure about this book because I thought it was going to be about old age and care homes and when you are in your fifties, as I am, maybe this is not very cheerful subject matter to be reading. How ever I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with this book and I found it funny and uplifting.
The main characters are Rosie Hopkins and her aunt Lilian.
Rosie is a young woman living with her long term boyfriend in London. She works as an auxiliary nurse and she loves her job. Rosie thinks she is happy with her life but she does have doubts about her boyfriend Gerard who does not show her any commitment. Now into her thirties Rosie is beginning to think about marriage and children.
One day out of the blue she gets a phone call from her mother who lives with her new family in Australia. Her mother tells her that old aunt Lilian who lives in Derbyshire is getting old and frail and needs some help with selling her home and her sweetshop so that she can afford to go into a comfortable care home. Rosie is the only person in the family who would be able to help Lilian so she goes to stay in Derbyshire to see what she can do to help her aunt.
When she gets there she soon gets to work on the long neglected sweetshop that has been in the family for years. She also finds some new romantic interests and this makes her think twice about her relationship with Gerard who has gone back to his mothers house while Rosie is away. Gerard appears to be having fun going out
every night with his mates
Although Lilian is about 50 years older than Rosie and about to go into a care home she still has her wits about her with a few surprises up her sleeve. Most of Lilian`s story is told in the past , in the 1940`s, as a young woman living in a small village during the war years. She tells of the competitive girls who are left behind when all the young men are sent to fight in the war. Lilian has her eye on a young man but it seems like her biggest rival has got there first. She tells of the heartbreak of getting the dreaded telegram saying that one of hers brothers has been killed. Lilian had three brothers who all went to war while Lilian stayed behind with her father and ran the family sweetshop.
I am old enough to remember the old fashioned sort of sweetshop that used to be joined onto the owners home. Often these shop keepers would adapt a spare room at the front of their house to run as a shop and many of these would be sweetshops. You would walk in and the first thing you would notice is the lovely sweetshop smell. As you walked through the door a bell would jingle and someone would appear as if by magic from behind a curtain at the back of the shop. There would be jars of colourful cheerful looking sweets in the window and along the walls. You would choose what sweets you wanted and the shopkeeper would weigh them out for you. I can remember buying sweets like Black Jacks, Rhubarb and custard, Cough Candy, BonBons etc.
Of course nowadays most of these small shops are gone and if you want to buy sweets you have to get them from the supermarket or perhaps the newsagents.
Reading this story brought on a wave of nostalgia for me and made me realise how much our experience of shopping has been changed over the years.
This book was not just about sweets and nostalgia it was also about romance, peoples life choices , and most impotantly , the future, well, for Rosie and Lilian anyway.
This book was first published in Great Britain by Sphere in 2012
To find out more, use the link below
It was written by Jenny Colgan, find out more
1. I always holiday in the UK as I do not like to go abroad so I would have to take an umbrella.
2. Food- we always go self catering so I always take plenty of food to save having to go shopping as soon as we get there
3.Several pairs of shoes- we do a lot of walking so I would need some comfortable shoes.
4. Two different coats one for wet weather and one for cold.
5.Two books - I would need to take two books to read just in case I finish or get bored with one of them.
6. Plenty of clothes- I can never make up my mind what I want to wear when we are away.
7. Toilet roll just in case we use up any that has been supplied.
8. Sweets to eat on the journey. I like those fruity travel sweets that you buy in a small tin.
9. My own towels as I do not like to use other peoples.
10. Last but not least, my husband as he is doing the driving.
I brought my copy of this book from my usual`bookshop`, yes you guessed it the local charity shop.I nearly did not buy it as I was not really taken with the cover or the title. However I am glad that I did pay the 50p that the shop wanted for it because in the end I really enjoyed it. My copy was published by Virago Modern Classics in 2010, but the book was written by ROSAMOND LEHMANN in 1936.
It stated on the back of the book that this novel shocked the readers of 1936 with its honest portrayal of clandestine love. I love the word clandestine because nowadays we would use other words to describe `having an affair`. After reading the book I was not surprised that the readers of 1936 were shocked because there were events in the story that are still tabboo today.
So now I have got you interested I suppose you want to know what the story is about.
It starts of with a chance meeting on a train between Olivia who is married but separated from her husband and Rollo who is married and still living with his wife.The two of them live in London but first met when they were both young in Dorset. This is the beginning of their affair that lasts for over a year. Olivia is smitten and wants the whole husband and children thing with Rollo but does he feel the same?Maybe Rollo is still in love with his wife. Neither of them have any children but don`t forget this happened in 1936 when it was not so easy to leave a marriage and start again like it is nowadays.Their affair is very eventful and they always try to be very careful not to be seen together as this would be a disaster for both of them and their families.
Read the book for yourself to find out if Olivia gets her man or is he just using her for a good time. You will begin to understand how things were for people having `clandestine` affairs back in 1936.
Unless was written by Carol Shields and first published in Great Britain in 2002 by Fourth Estate which is a division of Harper Collins. The story takes place in America in the year 2000 when things were a lot different even though it was only 14 years ago (my, how time flies).
Rita Winters seems to have the ideal life with her husband and three teenage daughters, many good friends and her career. She is a writer who has just won a literary prize for one of her books and now she is begining a new one.However life takes a turn for the worse when her eldest daughter , Norah, at the age of nineteen seems to be going through lots of changes. It is not unusual for girls of this age to leave home and go to live with their current boyfriend in a bedsit. Rita has to come to terms with Norah leaving home,which is bad enough, but when a friend of the family sees Norah sitting on a street corner looking like a tramp holding a card with `GOODNESS` written on it, then the family know that something is very much wrong.
Has Norah joined a cult?, is the new boyfriend to blame for the change in Norah`s lifestyle? has she had some sort of a breakdown and if so what or who caused it? Throughout the story Rita takes us through the time just before Norah`s leaving home, what Rita and her family were going through while Norah is away, leading to the conclusion when all is revealed.
In a way I can identify with Rita because she is a similar age to me and her children are the same age group as my daughter was in the year 2000. It is difficult for families to adjust when a beloved member, especially the oldest child leaves home.As parents you are not prepared for all the worries and uncertainties ahead but you know deep down inside that you have to let your children go and make their own life doing what they think is best.Luckily my daughter did not end up living in a hostel and spending her days begging on a street corner like Rita`s daughter did.
I enjoyed reading this book as it made me think about mother and daughter relationships . It took me on a personal journey back to the year 2000, making me think of how everything has changed since. As a` would be writer` I enjoyed reading the parts of the story where Rita is telling us about her career and the people she meets through her job.
As usual I found this book in my local charity shop where I seem to find many good and readable books.Before I buy any book I always read the front page where it tells you a bit about the book and the author, if it sounds interesting I will then buy it.
The Kitchen House was written by Kathleen Grissom after Kathleen and her husband brought and restored an old plantation tavern in Virginia. While researching the history of her new home she was inspired to write this story about the family who lived in a house called Tall Oaks.
She tells the story as told by two members of the family who grew up in the kitchen house at Tall Oaks. Belle is the daughter of the captain of the house and one of his slaves/servants. Belle knows she is the captain`s daughter and she is full of resentment because her half brother and sister are able to grow up in luxury over at the big house while she is subject to a life of servitude, being owned by the captain and his family the same as his other slaves who work in the house and on the plantation.
Lavinia is the other girl who tells her side of the story. Lavinia finds herself living in the kitchen house after she has been orphaned during a sea voyage from Ireland on the captains ship. She is eight years old at the time when she is put in Belle`s care to work as a servant along with the others.
The story follows their lives over several years and tells of the events that happened to them and the people around them, including the Captain`s family members and the other servants and slaves.I will not go into what happens to them all as you will have to read the book for yourself to find out.
I do not normally like to read books about people being forced into slavery and the way they were treated by the people who `owned` them, but I did find this book very enjoyable.
Hidden Lives is a family memoir written by Margaret Forster.
I found this book by chance while shopping in my local charity shop where they sell paperbacks for 50p each. Before I brought this book I did not know who Margaret Forster was or anything about her. I liked the look of the book as it had genuine photographs ,which seemed to date from the early twentieth century, on the cover . I enjoy reading true stories abut other peoples lives so I thought it was worth buying this book.
I have learned a lot lot since reading this book and I now know that Margaret wrote lots of other books including `Georgy Girl ` that was made into a film in the mid 1960`s. `Hidden Lives` tells the reader what it was like for Magaret growing up in a working class home in the early to mid twentieth century. She talks about her mothers life as a housewife and voluntary worker in comparison to her own life as a working mother with a successful career. Her writing tells of the domestic changes that were happening in ordinary peoples homes at the time. These changes, labour saving gadgets, technology, working routines and people with a different outlook, were how Margaret`s life was so much different to her mother`s and other women in her family. She shares lots of personal memories and family secrets throughout the book ,and after reading it and looking at the pages of photogragphs in the centre of the book, you feel like you know them all yourself.
This book is entertaining, funny and sometimes very sad.Well worth reading if, like me you are interested in social history. I will be looking out for more Margaret Forster books in future
There are lots of internet sites that promise you will make your fortune if you buy their products or subscribe to one thing or another. I always take these sites with `a pinch of salt ` as I do not always believe their promises.
However, some of these sites can be quite useful if all you want to do is to make yourself a bit of extra cash. Lets face it we all need that bit extra these days.
One of the more useful moneymaking sites can be found at ,
This website is free for anyone to to use and you do not have to sign up for it although you can join as a member. It is quite a new site so not many people have joined as members yet.
**About the site**
It is a cheerful looking site with an nice easy on the eye background. It does not promise you great riches but you can use this site as a portal to click through to other sites that are offering ways for you to earn extra cash.
With links through to sites that offer opportunities including
Paid to read emails sites
Work from home
Paid to search the internet
and lots more
The site is always changing with many new offers being added regularly.
In my opinion it is well worth having a look at
To begin with if my numbers did come up I would probably be so surprised that I would faint and I would have to be revived. I have never got any more than three numbers on any row at any time. Still we can all dream can`t we.
Here are a few things that I would do with the money
1)Pay off existing debts
2) Buy a new house
3) Pay off debts for other members of my family
4)Go on a lovely holiday
5) Buy a holiday home
6) Eat all my favorite foods
7) Invest in a business so that we can give up our jobs
8) Give some to charity
9) Buy some lovely new clothes
10) Buy a new car ( for hubby)
11)Driving lessons for me
12) Most impotant of all I would be able to afford to spend lots of time with my family.
I know none of this will ever happen but on a cold rainy day like today it is nice to be able to dream about these things.
Hey guess what...... it is Sunday afternoon and I have not checked the lottery numbers yet....keep your fingers crossed for me
I came across InboxPounds by chance when I was searching the internet for ways to make myself some extra cash. I use lots of paid email sites, you know the ones where you register with them and they send you paid emails to read.The banner for InboxPounds stated that they would pay you to read emails so I joined up.
When I visited their website I found out that they were much more than a paid email site. They pay you to;
Search the internet, with a search loyalty bonus every few days.
Do online tasks
Take up their special members offers
They pay out when your account reaches £20 and payment is by cheque. I have already been paid my first £20 so I can say that they pay up promptly.When you have been paid your first £20 you become a gold member which entitles you to more offers and you get payed more for search loyalty .
I use this site everyday and I am now well on my way to my second £20 payment.
I came across this website by chance while I was searching the internet looking for competitions.At the time this website was running a competition where you could win a wardrobe, meaning a selection of their clothes not an item of furniture. This was being run on their Facebook page.
I had a look at the competition but I was intrigued by the fact that this website could sell all their stock at £5 per item. I scrolled down the homepage and noticed that there was a section with customers comments where people commented on the products they brought and the service they received. Most of the comments were good with people saying that they were happy with the products and the service overall.
Everything 5 pounds is mostly about womens clothes but they have other items in stock including;
The website is bright , colouful and easy to use.
Guess where I will be buying my clothes form now on.
I have been hearing bad things about Google in the press in recent months. However I do not dislike Google myself. On my computer I have installed the Google Chrome search engine which I use everyday because it is faster to use than the search engine on my homepage and I can also do more internet things on it , for example Nectar adpoints will only work if I do it on Google Chrome.
I joined Google by opening an account with them about four years ago when I started to write my Blog. I was given a gmail account that I use as a second email address. When you join google you are given the chance to join their social networking site Google+ where you are given your own profile page and you can interact with other members. This social network site is just as busy as Facebook and Twitter and can be a great way to promote your Blog or website if you have one.
Another feature of Google is Google adsense where you can earn a bit of extra money. If you have a Blog or website you can post Google adsense ads (adverts) on your site and when people click on these ads you will get paid. The amounts you earn will vary on how many clicks you get , I think this is called pay per click. It does work because I have earned money from my Blog.
I have just been reading some other member`s reviews on Pointshop and many people do not rate the site very highly. Since the last reviews on Pointshop were written I think the site has improved. I joined Pointshop a few years ago and I admit that I was not impressed with it then. However I returned to it recently as I still had some points owed to me. I was surprised to see that I had enough points to apply for an amazon gift card for £5. I redeemed the points and the Gift Card was sent to me by email straight away, this is more than I can say for some rewards sites that keep you waiting for weeks.
I decide to give Pointshop another chance so I decided to spend a bit of time on the site to see how points could be made. Much the same as other reward sites they offer;
Paid to read emails
Cashback on shopping
Daily points for visiting websites
What struck me as being much different from any other reward site is that they offer their members a free Blog on their Pointblog site. You get paid generous points for writing short Blog posts and commenting on other members posts. You can write about whatever you wish to and you can add weblinks to other sites. However there do not seem to be many people on there at the moment as I don`t think Pointshop promote it much.
The site that I am reviewing today is GiftHulk. As you know I am always looking for new and interesting ways to earn extra money while I am on my laptop and I found out about this rewards site through a friend .
I love this site because they award you points for doing daily tasks like searching the internet .
** Easy ways to earn points on GiftHulk**
You can also earn points from;
Doing short surveys
Easy online tasks
Adding Apps to your phone
** Having fun**
They run a free daily contest called `Guess the Card`, this is a quick and easy daily game where you earn points if you guess the cards right. I recently won 100 points by getting the joker.
** Keeping you informed**
GiftHulk will send you an email to let you know when they have surveys and other offers that might be of interest to you.
** Special Offers**
They often run special offers on the website where you can earn extra points for free. At the time of writing they have an offer for you to do more searches for a certain amount of time. Normally allowing one search an hour they are offering a search every ten minutes.
**What you get out of it**
As well as having fun participating on this site , you can save your points to buy rewards including;
Amazon Gift Cards
Spa Finder vouchers
Other Gift Cards
To join GiftHulk just visit their website www.gifthulk.com
I love trying out different free Websites and Blog services on the internet. Most of them are quite good but you are limited as to what you can do with them. I learned about weebly.com from a friend who had started to build her own website. Looking at what she did with hers I thought that weebly sites looked very professional.
Joining weebly is easy as you just have to do a basic registration, you know, name email etc. You give your site a title and then weebly give you a url with .weebly.com at the end of it ,but for a small price you can have this part removed.
You then a have a lovely website that is yours to do whatever you want to do on it. There are no page restrictions meaning that you can publish as many pages as you need to, with the option of using subpages to make it look more professional and interesting . The site can be monetised by using Google AdSense, this is easily done on a weebly site as they give you the instructions on how to get started and placing ads on your site is easy because they give you an adsense widget to use. The only downside to using adsense on weebly sites is that they take half the money you earn , but I suppose this is their way of earning money from supplying free websites.
You also get access to other useful widgets such as ; Titles, Text, Images , Columns, HTML, Social networking etc.
I found using weebly.com to be fun, interesting , very enjoyable and I was pleased with the end result.
I am always surfing the internet and I sometimes come across some really good sites. I enjoy social networking ,looking for bargains and trying to learn new skills.
I hit on the Polyvore website by chance and at first I did not really understand it. However I played around with it for a bit and now I love it.
You have all seen pages in magazines where a subject is covered with images of products you can buy with the prices and suppliers attached. Well this is what you do on Polyvore , by creating sets and using their images you can choose the subject and products that you wish to cover.
There is an active social networking scene on Polyvore where you can make lots of new friends by liking and commenting on other member`s sets. They also allow you to post your sets to other networking sites;Facebook, Pinterest,Twitter , Tumbler etc .You can also use your sets as posts on Blogger and I find this very useful as images and links for my Blogs.
Many of the members are into fashion and beauty but lots of other subjects are covered such as interior design, art, vintage and lots more.
So get your creative juices flowing and join Polyvore, it is free, easy to register and great fun!