Six reasons to miss summer when it’s gone

Miss-Summer

For a while, I thought I was in the minority in liking autumn more than I like summer. Since being exposed to everyone’s innermost thoughts on social media, I realise that it isn’t a minority. That autumn is better than summer is apparently THE MOST POPULAR OPINION OF ALL TIME. Whether it’s pumpkin flavoured coffees, new boots or that back to school vibe (pretty sure I’m in the minority there, actually), everyone is gaga for the change of season.

So in an attempt to a) get back to blogging about stuff that isn’t catching up on Photo a Day, and b) write something a little more challenging than ’10 reasons I love autumn’, I thought I’d think of a few things that I will miss about summer (even though I am so glad that the weather finally appears to making its way towards autumn).

Being able to go to an outdoor event and not worry (too much) about the weather

Case in point, yesterday I stood in Hyde Park and got ridiculously soaked. Admittedly, it means that I will always remember dancing to Man I Feel Like a Woman in the pouring rain, which is a fabulous memory to have, but still. British summers aren’t perfect, but if you arrange something in July, you might just be able to get away without an umbrella.

Washing your hair and then going for a drive to dry it in super quick time

Maybe I’m stuck in a bit of a hair rut at the moment, but for the past few months all I’ve done with my hair is wash it, spray it with some sea salt spray, and leave it to dry naturally. When I’m able to have the window open in the car and let the summery air at it, it dries quickly, and it just feels nice. (Disclaimer, I still can’t drive, I’m talking about going out at the weekends with my friend Hannah!) As the temperatures drop, if I try air-drying my soaking wet hair, I’m probably going to catch my death of cold.

Sitting in the garden with a book

The back of our house is a little sun trap on summer mornings, and it’s a nice place to sit and read chapter after chapter. Though with autumn on its way, I’ll just transfer into the house, put the fire on and make a cup of tea.

Having a barbecue

I’ve hardly had any barbecues this year, and now I feel as though I’ve missed my chance. Cooking outside is less fun when it’s chilly, or when it’s raining.

Quieter roads

Again, as I don’t drive, maybe it’s not my place to complain about this. But I’m a passenger a lot, and it’s nice to be able to make our way through our tiny village with a fraction of the traffic during the school summer holidays.

Beach paddling

Don’t get me wrong, I will paddle in the sea when it’s freezing cold. But there’s no denying that it’s a little less enjoyable when you are worrying that your toes are going to fall off. Also, people look at you like you’re a bit strange when you have your feet in the North Sea in November.

So there you have it. Six reasons why I might just miss summer. This is all folly of course. None of these things can actually make up for the chillier days, the new boots, coats, jumpers and tights, the amazing television, having the fire on, drinking more tea, my birthday, and the lead up to Christmas. (There, you got a list in the end anyway.)

Photo by Kate Tandy on Unsplash

Book Blog Tour ~ The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club: Part One: Diving In by Katherine May

510ss61J8hLIn the gorgeous seaside town of Whitstable, brokenhearted Deb begins to swim each day and gathers a new group of friends around her. But can the magic of sea heal the hurt of the past? Or will family ties drag her underwater again?

I follow Katherine May on Instagram, and there’s no question about it, she lives in a beautiful part of the world. The north coast of Kent is not somewhere I’ve ever visited, but in Diving In, the first part of her new novel, May paints such a vivid picture that it’s easy for me to believe that I have!

The people that come together to make up the Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club all have their own reasons for being there, and in this early instalment, we meet Deb and Maisie. Both have left their respective husbands; Deb has lived her whole life in Whitstable, whereas Maisie has left her high-powered legal job in London to seek refuge by the sea. They become firm friends, though both are vulnerable, and we get an insight into they way they are both adjusting to their new lives.

There are other members of the group; Anne is middle aged but lives at home caring for her elderly mother, Chloe is sixteen and studying for her GCSEs, and Julie has three young children. We don’t get to know so much about these characters in the opening chapters, but as the team band together to fight the threat of a new entertainment complex planned for the beach where they swim, it’s clear that we are going to find out more, and discover what each member brings to the group and the fight.

I’m really looking forward to finding out where this story goes; part 1 is now available for download for just 99p, with part 2 due in November, and the full novel due for release in February.

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The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club: Part One: Diving In by Katherine May
Publication Date: 31st August 2017
Orion
Provided by publisher

35 Before 35 ~ Throw a Gilmore Girls party

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Remember back in November, when the Gilmore Girls revival was released on Netflix, and the world went Stars Hollow-mad? That would have been a great time to write a post about the Gilmore Girls party that I threw, when it was especially relevant. Cut to nine months later, when everyone is totally over it, especially given just how disappointing 75% of the revival was, and here I am, writing my post.

Hey, I never said that I was a good blogger.

I put this item on my list last year for the simple reason that I was so excited about the new episodes, and I knew I’d be watching them with my friends, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to throw the type of party I have seen on Pinterest.

In the end, of course, it didn’t really turn out that way. The decorations weren’t Pinterest-worthy, and the new episodes were disappointing. I still managed to have a lovely time, however, because I got to spend time with my best friends, and we ate lots of food (we decided to cook a Thanksgiving dinner, except that just ended up being a roast dinner), and we got to go back to Stars Hollow.

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As you should be able to tell from the photo, we dressed up – V was Paris, Anna was Rory, I was Luke, and Hannah was Sookie. Actually, V didn’t dress up as Paris, she didn’t really dress up at all, but we just decided that she could be Paris. My other friend Jen bought a chow dog toy and sort of came as Michel, but doesn’t really like having her photo taken, so we used Paw-Paw in the photo in her place!

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Hannah went all out, ordering a smock and having Sookie’s name embroidered onto it! She did almost all of the cooking as well, so it was only right that she looked the part

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I wish that my house didn’t look as messy as it does in this photo, but I had to share it simply because I love that there is a sign on the wall that says ‘No Cell Phones’ (lovingly created by me), and these three losers are sat on their phones!

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Hand on heart, at this distance, I am mostly pretending that the revival episodes didn’t happen. The best bit, by far, was the scene in which Lorelai calls Emily and finally mourns Richard’s death properly. Everything else was something between don’t-really-care and I-can’t-believe-they-did-that. Some things* are just better left un-revived.

And Pinterest-worthy or not, I had a lovely time with my friends at my Gilmore Girls party!

*most things

12. Throw a Gilmore Girls party

July 2017 Books

August-Books

What books did I read in July? Read on to find out!

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah *

I’m a big fan of Sophie Hannah; I’ve read a fair few of her Spilling CID series, and loved pretty much all of them. She’s known for this series, primarily, and her Hercule Poirot books, but Did You See Melody is a stand-alone novel. Cara Burrows is facing problems at home that she doesn’t want to face up to, so she hops on a plane from Britain and heads to a luxury spa resort in Arizona. While there, she becomes entangled in a murder mystery; years before the parents of Melody Chapa were convicted of the child’s murder, and now Cara is convinced that the girl, now a teenager, is at this very same spa. It truly is one of those stories that becomes unputdownable, as you reach a point where you can’t rest until you know how the mystery will unfold. I’m now planning to pick up where I left off with the Spilling CID series.

The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Man of My Dreams is one of those books that, a month on from reading it, I’m searching my memory for details of the plot. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it; I did, as I do with most of Sittenfeld’s work that I’ve read, but it’s a book that is not heavy on plot. It centres around Hannah, who at the start of the novel is staying with her aunt and uncle due to her parents’ marriage being all but over. As the book progresses, we are party to the major milestones in Hannah’s life, and we discover how her parents’ marriage and subsequent divorce impacts on her and her own relationships. Sittenfeld’s characters are just so well written that they stay with me for some time after, and Hannah was no exception.

Summer’s Lease by Carrie Elks *

There’s always room on a bookshop shelf for novels like this, as people are jetting off on their own holidays, I suppose the assumption is that they’d like to read stories of other people’s summers, especially if they are exotic. I reviewed this book as part of a blog tour; I can’t say that I’d necessarily have picked it up otherwise, but it was diverting enough while I was reading it. It’s a very formulaic romance story, but that’s not to say it’s not enjoyable. Our hero, Cesca, is one of four sisters, and I believe that there are three more stories to follow in the Shakespeare Sisters series. You can read my review of Summer’s Lease here.

The Summer of Serendipity by Ali McNamara * 

Another blog tour that I was involved with, and another summer book. This one was a little different, however, because it was set on the west coast of Ireland – rather less exotic than the Italian villa of Summer’s Lease, though I’m sure no less beautiful. Its most pointedly noticeable difference from other romance/chick-lit books though, was the inclusion of a fair amount of mythology and local folklore. It made a change that this was the backbone of the story, allowing the romance of the central characters to play out around it. As I mentioned in my review of The Summer of Serendipity, my major complaint with this book was the sheer number of cultural references, something that I find pretty hard to ignore, even in whimsical romances.

Songs About Us by Chris Russell

Last year I went along to YALC, heard Chris Russell speak, bought Songs About a Girl and got him to sign it. This year, I didn’t go along to YALC, but I did go to the library to collect my reserved books, and amongst them was Songs About Us, the second in his Fire&Lights trilogy. It follows on from where the last book left off, so anyone coming to this book without having read the first would be wise to start with Songs About a Girl. Charlie Bloom, having had her heart broken by boyband heart-throb Gabe, apparently hasn’t learnt her lesson, and heads back into the Fire&Lights maelstrom to once more take photos, and to try dating another member, Olly. All the time that this happening, she’s also trying to repair her relationship with her dad, study for her exams, and uncover the mystery surrounding her mother, which is intrisically linked to Gabe’s own family. This is a really entertaining series; Russell has a deft hand when it comes to writing about a teenage girl, and the insight (real or imagined) into behind the scenes of a world-famous boyband is a lot of fun.

Books with an asterisk were provided by publishers.

Books in 2017 – 25

 

Photo an Hour #45 ~ April 2017

This was a busy weekend, according to Instagram. I was apparently slightly hungover on this particular Photo an Hour day, though I can’t for the life of me remember where I had been the night before. I rarely drink anything, never mind enough to feel hungover, so it should be much easier to remember! The day itself saw me meeting up with my best friends for dinner, and then the following day I saw my great-niece for her first birthday. Weekends like that are nice, but I’m sure I needed some sort of lay down on Sunday evening to get over all the socialising.

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7am | Up early, despite this apparent night out the previous evening. I still can’t work out where I could possibly have been.

8am | McDonalds for breakfast, because Hannah, who I live with, is the nicest person in the world and went out to get it.

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9am | Back to bed, for some reading.

10am | Sometimes I’m just in the mood for some show tunes. More specifically, sometimes I am just in the mood to sing Defying Gravity as loudly as I possibly can and pretend that I sound just like Idina Menzel.

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11am | We parked next to this HILARIOUS van.

12pm | To the shops, and in an attempt to ensure that I didn’t spend any money, I stuck mainly to shops I couldn’t afford, rather than those I can afford. I would never be tempted to spend the likes of £26 on a top, as nice as that white and blue stripey one is.

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1pm | A quick stop at M&S, and I took the chance to pick up a bottle of Sparkling Florida Orange, because it’s delicious.

2pm | Back to bed, with chocolate and a book.

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4pm | Shockingly, having laid down on my bed, with my book, nursing a bit of a hangover, I fell asleep and missed the 3pm photo. By 4pm I was awake and about to paint my nails.

5pm | Attempting to tame my hair with the best tools I have. (Actually, that comb has seen better days.)

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6pm | Off out, with Jen and Hannah, to meet with the rest of the gang for food.

7pm | Trying to decide on said food.

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8pm | I so rarely have dessert in restaurants. This might be hard to believe – I do not look like the sort of person who turns down food – but it’s true. I don’t know why; probably because I so often over-indulge on a main course.

9pm | But I went for one this time, and was treated this. I don’t remember for certain, but I’m sure I felt sick after this.

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10pm | Yeah, I’m the loser who nearly always forgets to count their photos and make sure they end up with an even number so this doesn’t happen. It’s not even a good photo…

As you can see, your day doesn’t have to be scintillating for you to join in with Photo an Hour. Sometimes it’s the more mundane days that make for the more interesting photos (not sure this is the case this time, however…)

Our date for this month is Saturday 26th August (Bank Holiday weekend!), and if you sign up for a reminder email (in the sidebar on the right of this page), I’ll do my best to remember to send it. More details about Photo an Hour can be found here, and all my previous Photo an Hour posts can be found here.

 

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