Sunday, May 27, 2012

Shoe Sunday

This Sunday I spied London Flys Bianca sandal.  They are a gorg shade of yellow mustard leather, and don't look too high, but I am sure I would still topple over on the footpath and sprain an ankle or two.

The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady - DVD (2011)

Aww a cheery DVD for Saturday night movie night.  I was surprised that I came away admiring Margaret Thatcher, that the battles that she must have fought being a woman in such a male dominated field, in a time when women were not respected for their views.  The story of her love for her husband was also surpising and touching.  You knew Meryl was going to do a great job, and she seemed to own that hairsprayed do and handbag.


The Avengers

The Avengers  (2012)

It was a stormy afternoon, which meant that we had to find some inside entertainment today.  So I let my friend choose the movie, and we went to one of the local cinemas to see the Avengers.  Usually this is the haunt of the over thirties, but every unsupervised boy over eight had been dropped off by their parents with the crinkliest packet of lollies to this showing.

The movie itself, it was ok.  Lots of action and I enjoyed the special effects when I couldn't really tell they were computer generated, and I know most of the movie was.  By about the third action scene I was a bit over it, and the crazy aliens on jetski/scooter/flying things was a bit on the silly side for me.  Back to the serious dramas next week.

3/5 - not really middle aged lady material, but take your ten year old nephews. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bloom - Kelle Hampton

Bloom - Kelle Hampton (2012)

This is a sweet memoir written by blogger Kelle Hampton, who when she delivers her second daughter, is surprised to find out she has Down Syndrome.  It gives her a shock, and makes her question so much about her new daughter.  Surrounded and supported by a loving family and large group of friends, she is able to begin to love beautiful baby Nella.

The photographs taken by Kelle and her friends is stunning, and supports the story.  I was a bit taken aback by the initial  disapointment she displayed, but know that many parents must share these same apprehension that she felt. 

I devoured it in one quick read, and know that many mums and dads out there will be helped by this touching story, and that sweet Nella will have a lovely documentation of her early years.  4/5

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake - Anna Quindlen

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake - Anna Quindlen (2012)

I've always liked reading Anna Quindlens books, she is one of those steady writers who can get you lost in a story, in many of her novels.  Now she writes a memoir about her life approaching sixty,  aging, marriage, kids, career and writing.  In my mid forties I'm drawn to these books, and hope to be able to storm into my own later years with the same grace as the author.  As she reminds you, you either die or you get older, and working in a hospital, I know that not every one is granted the privledge of extra years.

So it was a good solid 4/5 from me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Between a Rock and a Hot Place - Tracey Jackson

Between a Rock and a Hot Place - Tracey Jackson (2011)

In this youth orientated culture, it seems like aging certainly for women is made to be a bit taboo.  We hear lots of advice for girls at purberty and childbearing years, but  menopause is only to be discussed in daytime shows like Dr Oz or buried in obscure old ladies magazines.

I really liked Traceys book, which is more a memoir peppered with her own advice about the changes in her life as she moved towards and past fifty.  Her ideas about HRT, plastic surgery, working, motherhood, sexuality and aging gracefully were all challenged by menopause itself, and certainly had me laughing at many of her stories.  Living in both New York and LA her opinions are certainly skewed by where she lives, as I doubt many of my friends feel the same pressure here.

I enjoyed the book, and have certainly thought of buying several copies for all of my fortyish year old friends.  4/5

Shatter - Michael Robotham

Shatter - Michael Robotham (2008)

What - this book is number three in the series?  Idiot me read the first one, then somehow slipped up and just missed reading the second one and headed straight to the third.  Bless this middle aged lady brain.

I like the Joe the psychologist as a character, I guess the Parkinson's makes him vulnerable and not so tough guy tough.  I did have difficulty though with the story line, the use of threatened abuse and hostility towards to girls and women doesn't settle well with me, and a part of me cringes inside. 

So I'm sitting on the fence on this one.  It did border on the slightly too long and drawn out for me, I like the story tight, and felt myself skimming the last quarter of the story. 3/5

Sunday, May 20, 2012

In Time

In Time  - DVD (2011)

Aww Saturday night on the couch on a chilly night and I couldn't quite face the tv programmes on the DVR, so  a DVD it was.  In Time where everyone dies once they are aged 25, unless they can buy more time to extend their life.  A Logans Run for the new generation.

Justin Timberlake looks a bit rough in this movie, but he can hold his own.  I can't say the same for the movie itself, as the story was hardly engrossing and I ended up browsing the internets while it finished.

So a 2/5 from me.

Shoe Sunday

I spotted these Fyfe Shirley boots on Endless during the week.  They look perfect for romping around some wintry roads, while out walking in the country.  Still a bit too pricey for my meager budget, a girl can dream.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

After Cleo Came Jonah - Helen Brown

After Cleo Came Jonah - Helen Brown (2012)

Helens earlier book was  about how  a little cat called Cleo came into her life, and helped her and her son Rob after the tragic death of her son Sam.  Lots of changes occur in their life, new siblings, new relationships, moving houses and Cleo is their to help them through.

Years later, the family are settled into Melbourne, and Helen and her husband are preparing to empty the nest, when the author is diagnosed with breast cancer, not long after the death of her mother.  With the help of her family, she begins the long recovery after mastectomy surgery,  and is enticed to a local pet shop with her sister after spotting a very cute kitten. 

The little cutie comes home and is named Jonah, and boy is he a character.  I enjoyed this book, its tales of not only a naughty kitten, but of the whole family and I felt drawn into the Brown family adventures.  Reading the book, felt like having a good friend over for a drink, and chatting over the kitchen table.  4/5

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2012)

Oh, I forgot I went and saw this one last weekend.  You have to forgive me, as I was distracted as my secret boyfriend Ewan, had such a dorky haircut and wardrobe in the first half of the movie, that I forgot to post about the movie.

So Ewan plays a boring fishing expert, who ends up on a crazy project with super uber cute Emily Blunt, who sports a series of nifty little cardis.  It was a good little British feel good show, a bit slow but that was ok, I am a bit tired of the overdone razzle dazzle, and this felt just right for a Saturday night out with the besties (we sure know how to party!!).

A 3/5, it's a bit of a slow show, but worth spending an hour or two with

Hall Pass

Hall Pass - DVD (2011)

Oh movie night, again you were a disapointment, I might have to replace you with a go to bed and read night instead.  My fault I guess, cos I choose this one.  I only expected it to be mildly funny, so in that way I wasn't totally disapointed.

You get the scenario - two average middle aged idiots of husbands, manage to annoy and embarass their wives and get given a week long 'hall pass' to leave the marriage, and do whatever they want.  Which of course means make asses of themselves and try cheesy pick up lines on girls young enough to be their daughters - yuck.

I probably only watched the first half, and then was on the internet for the second half, and can't even remember how the stupid thing ended, an hour after it has finished.  I did see a moment of the credits and realised that the Farrelly brothers had helped on this, and understood why it was full of fifteen year old boy humour - gross.

1/5 - for this wonderful gem.  I'd like my 45 minutes back now.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Key - Simon Toyne

The Key - Simon Toyne (2012)

I really liked the first book in this series Sanctus about  a secluded monastery in Turkey that holds a big secret.  Sanctus was a real page turner right til the last page.  The Key though suffered like many second books of having to hold the story, til the dramatic conclusion in the final third part. 

It didn't help that I was only reading this one on my Kindle at work, and had a busy couple of weeks.  The amount of characters too was a bit distracting, and by the end I was wondering if I should have waited and read all three books together.

I'm also not a huge fan of the run around Dan Brown type of intelectual thriller full of car chases and guns, whereas I would rather have more substance and story.  There did seem to be a lot of shadowy figures with guns, so I am now hanging out to see who will actually hold the story together in book three.  3/5

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Following Atticus - Tom Ryan

Following Atticus - Tom Ryan  (2011)

Atticus is a little black and white  minature schnauzer terrier who comes into Tom Ryans life at just the right time.  As the owner of a local newspaper he finds having the little terrier gets him more out and about, and well known by many of the locals.  Discovering a new found love for walking, the boys hit many of the local mountains, climbing the forty eight peaks close to their home.  He shares that love, with letters to his elderly father and with his readers.

After tackling them in the summer, they attempt them over the winter to try and raise money for charity.  Climbing in the wind and snow, Tom never forces the trips on Atticus, and always follows his instincts.  If Atticus doesn't want to go, Tom will turn around and go home.  Everyone tells them he is crazy, but both Tom and Atticus enoy the beauty and freedom they get in the hills.

To be honest, I didn't expect to be as charmed as I was by this little book.  It is a true story about friendship and love, and how a pet can change your world.  A great little read. 5/5.

The Drop - Michael Connelly

The Drop - Michael Connelly (2011)

So Michael Connelly has bought his A game to his latest Detective Bosch drama.  I picked this one up at the library, and thought that I would bring it home and started it straight away, ignoring the persistant pile of books piled up by my bedisde.

Once I started it, I enjoyed the story and curling up with it every night.  Detective Bosch is now facing retirement, and is sent to work in the cold case dept.   After taking on an unusual unsolved rape and murder case,  he is pulled into another case, when a prominant councilmans son is found outside the Chateau Marmont.  Unsure if they are looking at a murder or a suicide, Bosch and his partner take over and find it is not as clear cut as first thought.

It was a good smart detective thriller, which was good, as I seem to have been a bit dispointed by many that I hae read recently.  For that I give it a 4/5.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Music Monday - Stronger

The kids and staff at Seattle Childrens Hospital take on Kelly Clarksons Stronger.  This video has had me humming the song all week long.  It's funny how you get an attachment to certain songs, and this one is my number one this week.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Shoe Sunday

Hmmm I keep seeing these Saltwater sandals popping up over blogland.  These ones are from the Anthropologie website and they come in Orange, Navy, Red and Gold - all of which I would wear.

Of course we are heading into the depth of winter over here, and sheepskin uggs and leather boots are more in vogue.  But I dream of sandal weather, it's my favorite.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ghost Protocol

Ghost Protocol - DVD (2011)

I guess putting fifty year old Tom in a hoodie will make him appeal to a younger audience.  I wonder if he'll still be making mission impossible movies in his sixties?  Nothing wrong with that I guess.

So there were some awesome stunts in this movie - scenes that make you think you'd pass out if you were that high up.  The rest of the story was a bit blah for me.  I didn't really care about what was happening, and if you asked me to explain the plot I couldn't really tell you who the baddies worked for.

So 2/5 from me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Kisses From Katie - Katie J. Davis

Kisses From Katie - Katie J. Davis (2011)

At eighteen, Katie Davis gives up her life in Nashville Tennessee, to travel to Uganda to be a kindergarten teacher.  Telling her parents that she will stay a year, and then return to the States to study Katie finds herself pulled by the children she meets and is able to help.

Eventually adopting fourteen young girls, in order to help them and many others in the community, Katie starts a charity to enable children to get a an education and provide simple health care, and a warm meal, to many who have done without.

You have to admire a girl, who so far from home, has opened her doors and heart to so many and I was a bit shocked by the level of poverty that she described.  Katie relies on her faith to help guide her, and I did skim over a lot of the religious side of the book, which didn't take away from the rest of her story.  3/5

Monday, May 07, 2012

The Beginner's Goodbye - Anne Tyler

The Beginner's Goodbye - Anne Tyler (2012)

Aaron is a recent widower. After a small disagreement with his wife, he goes to bed for a nap, and is awakened by a crashing. Returning to his work and life after Dorothys death is difficult, and he begins to see her in different places.

In some ways I enjoyed this little book, I like stories about death and grieving and I felt it did a good job of portraying the lost feeling of losing someone close. The part I found difficult to believe was that Aaron was meant to be in his mid thirties. Everything about his character to me spoke of him being in his fifties or sixties. I could picture him in a cardigan sitting and eating his sandwiches at work.


Paris in Love - Eloisa James

Paris in Love - Eloisa James (2012)

After a tough year, with her mother dying and her own treatment for breast cancer, author Eloisa James, her husband and two children sell the cars and house, and head to Paris to live. 

She's a great author, the whole book had me wanting to pack my own bags and head off, but somehow I can't imagine I could afford more than a bed at a backpackers.  I could hardly afford the nights out and the fabulous shopping.

The beginning of each chapter gave a great flowing desciption, followed by little tweets and blog posts that were a little disjointed.  It did take me some time to get used to the flow, but  in the end I liked the little glimpses of Parisian life.

4/5 - because it makes me want to sell everything and head off.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Shoe Sunday

I'm always looking for a cute flat shoe, and I think these fit the bill, although I think it might be a few too many flowers on the top.  They are faux leather, and because of that nice and cheap at $80(NZ), which means if they only last this season that will be ok.  They are called Sandon - Wilde De Lites, and come in grey, coffee and blue.  Mmmm might have to think about these for wearing out over winter.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Inbetweeners Movie

The Inbetweeners Movie - DVD (2011)

I had seen some of the Inbetweeners series on tv over the years, and when I got this movie out of the library (nerd - I know), the librariar said she had just seen it, and it was funny.  Hmmm, maybe she watched another movie.  For me it was just cliched teenage boy humour, except the eighteen year old school leavers in the movie, are played by twenty something year olds in school uniforms.  Then they leave school, and go on a lads holiday, somewhere sunny with all the other horrible people, that you would hate to spend your vacation with.

It could just be that I am twenty years too old to find it funny, although there was funny spot, the headmaster, who has the final frames of the movie as well.  So for me, it's a 1/5 for this sad movie night viewing.

Friday, May 04, 2012

My Experimental Life - A. J. Jacobs

My Experimental Life - A. J. Jacobs (2009)

I've met A.J Jacobs before - once when he decided to live biblically for a year, and again when he spent the year reading the encyclopedia from A-Z, both of which were mildly entertaining.

So this years effort was a bit different, he spends a month following different rules.  One month following George Washingtons rules of behaviour, a month with some outsources in India doing his bidding, posing naked for a female guest editor, and my favorite - a month following his wifes rules.

I wasn't stunned by this collection of little trials.  Maybe I was expecting a book about medical experiments, and at the end I thought that he should have done a year of following his wifes guidelines, that would have made for me a more entertaining book.  3/5


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

A Street Cat Named Bob - James Bowen

A Street Cat Named Bob - James Bowen (2012)

James is a recovering Heroin addict, who when he wonders home one evening finds a scrappy looking ginger tom sitting outside his apartment.  Eventually he realises he isn't going away so lets him into have some food, and sleep.  Seeing an abscess on his leg, he gets it treated with the vet, and tries to get him back on the street in case he can find his way home.

But Bob, isn't having any of it, and follows James around.  Becoming inseperable, James ends up taking Bob with ime into town, first busking and then when he ends up getting a job selling the Big Issue.

As he realises that Bob depends on him for food, warmth and  companionship James makes decisions in his own life, to give up the methadone treatment, and to reform connections with his estranged family.

A sweet story about a couple of mates.  4/5 as it made me smile on a night of insomnia, when I finally got a couple of hours sleep at 4.30am.

Heaven is Here - Stephanie Nielson

Heaven is Here - Stephanie Nielson (2012)

Stephanie Nielson has a popular blog, which I have been reading for ages about her life with husband Christian, and now with five lovely children.  In this book, she writes the story of their early life together, and then about the plane crash that they were in in 2008. 

Suffering 80% burns, Stephanie wakes in hospital three months after her accident after being in a medically induced coma.  With months of rehab, and numerous operations, she has to learn to do many basic tasks again.  It takes time to re-establish a relationship with her children, but with lots of family support, eventually they are able to move in together in their new family home.

I really enjoyed this book, she did a good job of describing both the great parts of her life, and the difficulties she faced after the accident.  You could only hope, that faced with the same struggles, that you could pick yourself up and get on with things, and still see the fun in life.  A good read, that was touching and truthful.  5/5