Sunday, 19 April 2015

Time for us....














I've had so many unplanned blogging breaks of late, but it's just because life is just too busy at times. Even my downtime seems to be busy, or even when its not, sometimes I just need to completely chill out and relax, and although blogging is a hobby I enjoy, at times it can get a little stressy.

I haven't been abroad since we went to Cuba three years ago. I know for some people this isn't a big deal, but as someone who usually goes away once per year, this is a long time for me! My husband has still managed to top up his tan in between with various 'lads' short breaks, but when you work in quite a stressful job, the pleasure of doing absolutely nothing is something I really look forward to!

We've had a couple of UK mini breaks over the last couple of years but with saving for our wedding and having Toby and Star,  abroad holidays are going to be something of a rarity. I always thought I would never be a lazying at the beach kind of person, and as much as I enjoy our adventuring, sometimes a girl just needs to kick back and enjoy a bit of downtime in pure luxury.

This year Scott and I are going to Sensatori Egypt for our honeymoon, albeit a little late! We were so lucky that so many of our guests contributed towards our honeymoon fund, and it meant we could go for that little extra, by having a swim up room in the adults only section. As a couple with no children at this time in our lives, that bit of peace and quiet and privacy is exactly what we both need. The warm weather we've had recently in England has only wetted my appetite further to feel the warm hot sun on my face!

I am literally on countdown to our holiday now, so these pictures are probably as much for my benefit as yours! I've never been to Egypt, or a Sensatori hotel before, but the reviews suggest I won't be disappointed! I also turn 30 whilst we are away so I will certainly be making use of the resort spa in an effort to turn back the clock so to speak!

Have you been to Sensatori Egypt? Do you have any tips?

Monday, 6 April 2015

BBB Book Review - Mr Churchill's Secretary

Mr Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

Now and again I like to ignore the age old adage of "don't judge a book by it's cover." Occasionally I like to pop into The Works as they often have 3 books for £5, which are usually quite unusual or unknown. I spotted the cover of this book due to the leading lady's striking red hair and the bomber planes in the background. When the corner title implied it was a mystery novel, for the price, I had to give it (and the next two novels in the series) a try.

"London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself."

My keen eye for an attractive cover served me well on this occasion, and I was hooked throughout! I've always been a bit of a lover of WW2 Home Front fiction and mystery novels are usually my genre of choice.  As the novel is set against the backdrop of real events and feature real people you have to expect some level of artistic licence with some things. The book is a work of fiction and doesn't pretend to be entirely accurately historical. That being said it seems well researched and references the era well.  To some extent I could have happily just read about Maggie's strife's of living in war torn London, but add in codebreaking, Bletchley and MI5 and I was a happy little bookworm. At first you wouldn't necessarily know it is a mystery novel as the sections featuring Maggie are generally about her day to day life, but every now and again there are little snippets of other people that hint that Maggie's life may be about to get a bit more complex.

I found Maggie a likeable character and although other reviews I have read have commented that she is not entirely believable, I feel that her level of intellect is clearly backed up by her character biography. Without spoiling the plot line I liked the way the story twists and turns and it's been a while since I've sped through a book so quickly. I've already started the next book in the series!

Can you recommend any other books like Maggie Hope that I might enjoy reading? 

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Britain Does Vintage Kelham Hall



I've been meaning to post this for a while, however, as well as some technical problems with my computer, I've had an issue with a trapped nerve in my right arm, which has affected me being able to use the computer much. But rather than continue with my unintended blogging hiatus, I thought the bank holiday was a perfect time to jump back in!

On the Saturday before Mother's Day I decided to treat my Mum to a vintage day out. Someone had shared a post on Facebook regarding a Vintage Fair at Kelham Hall, Newark, being held by Britain Does Vintage. Kelham Hall is in easy travelling distance from where I live, and the entrance free was a snip at just £5 in advance.

Every room was crammed with gorgeous vintage items, from dresses to kitchenalia. Any vintage lover would have been happy to spend hours browsing and rummaging through the wares on offer. I spotted this gorgeous box set of Lotus pearls to replace my own which have recently broken, and managed to barter them to £12.50.

I loved that so many people got into the spirit of the day, with both men and women wearing their best vintage ensemble. There were also various bands and singers at various times which added to the general atmosphere - and quite a few people decided to have a dance!

My friend had joined us for the day and had found her attempt at victory rolls had gone rather flat, so we went along to one of the hair workshops that was on during the day to learn how to perfect the victory roll for the perfect vintage look!

After a hard morning of vintage shopping, there's only really one way to finish the day and that's with a spot of afternoon tea! The tea room within Kelham Hall was understandably rather busy, so we  backtracked our way to The Hay Barn Cafe at Kneesall, for homemade quiche, salad and cakes, and the most enormous pot of tea three people have ever seen!

It's been a while since I've shared any of my adventures on the blog, so I'm pleased to be able to start doing again!

Have you been to any of the Britain Does Vintage Fairs? There are many other fairs up and down the country, so if you haven't been before, I would definitely recommend it!

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