Someone Else’s Skin- Sarah Hilary*

Someone Else's Skin (Oct)

I enjoy a good crime thriller and this is apparently the first book in a series. A pair of detectives set out to a women’s refuge to try and persuade a young woman to testify against her brother. However, as they arrive, they stumble upon the attempted murder of one of the vulnerable women’s husband. And who exactly is that loitering in a car outside the refuge?

With an interesting plot and fairly predictable twists and turns, it’s your usual crime-by-numbers novel, but it’s no less enjoyable a read for that.

Interestingly, Benn has also been reading this- it’s one of the few genres where we will read the same books- and he doesn’t seem massively impressed. Saying that, he is a fan of the more hard-boiled, American noir type thrillers or his detectives of the Rebus kind, so he was never going to ‘click’ with this at first. He’s still reading it, though, which says a lot…

*Sent for review

Zombies, Run! 5K: Week 8

Image: New Scientist

Image: New Scientist

Well, I finally finished (actually two weeks ago, almost). I was hampered by the shin splints again, which meant that the majority of the week was more Zombies, Walk! than Run! However, I’m still pleased with the progress I made over the two months.

The plan now is to graduate onto the main Zombies, Run! programme, but try and go at a steady pace until my legs are back to normal. I’ve read that you can do Zombies, Run! at your own pace and so that’s what I intend to do. I’m also going to pick up some yoga workouts; I’m going to look into some of the courses on YouTube, so don’t be surprised if reviews end up on the blog…

Week 8:

Total distance: 17.13km

Total time: 2:44:32

It’s always nice to go away, but always good to come home

Half term in October is usually a manic one (and, on a random note, yesterday was my blog’s third birthday!) and this break is no different. We’ve just got back from a visit to Leeds and while it’s nice to be at my parents’ house, it’s lovely to be home too.

Tomorrow, it’s D’s second birthday. I’m pretty sure he was a colicky baby last week, but it appears that he’s growing in that clichéd, blink-and-you-miss-it way. Over the last two years, we’ve really grown together; he’s a very funny and articulate little boy (apparently, when in a newsagent with my mum the other day, he inquired of the proprietor ‘Have you got a comic for me, please?’ Luckily, she thought it was funny and not obnoxious. He came away with a free Milkybar and bouncy ball…) I’m feeling healthier- mentally and physically- than I’ve been since before he was born. We’re a good team.

Happy birthday, dude.

Happy birthday, dude.

I’ve been planning a birthday party for D, which would have been much smoother had I remembered to bring home all the stuff I’d bought in Leeds. My mum is now the proud keeper of nine dinosaur colouring books. Brilliant.

Perhaps the most exciting fact is that next time my parents come to visit us, they will be bringing a new addition to the Pomfrett household- a Netherland Dwarf rabbit named Toby Rabbit.

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Toby Rabbit- formerly named Gizmo- used to belong to my brother. However, since my brother became a dad, the poor bunny has led a lonely existence. My parents’ efforts to integrate him with their rabbits have been unsuccessful and he’s been a sole bunny agent since his brother died a while back. D has named him. This was achieved by essentially going through all the characters in Thomas and Friends and finding a name he said ‘yes’ to. For a while, it looked like he might be Skarloey Rabbit, but it didn’t quite have a ring to it. Anyway, Toby’s going to live in my study and be an indoor chap, especially in the coming months. As a result, I am now obsessing over pet websites looking for the perfect cage and other sundries.

We didn’t have room in the car to bring Toby home, so he will be coming in about six weeks, which is excellent as I can get everything set up.

If I can survive the onslaught of toddlers on Thursday afternoon, that is.

Visiting home…

I’m going to visit my family Oop That There North for a few days, so the blog is taking a break.

In the meantime, please enjoy the following clip, which reminds me a lot of my life sometimes. (I’ve been watching a lot of Portlandia and thinking how much some of the skits remind me of Brightonian ‘characters’…)

Anyway, I’ll be back next week with lots of good stuff! xx

An autumnal life update

Ahhh, autumn. It’s my very favourite season. There’s a lot going on at the moment…

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I took this photo a year ago- I still love the pretty colours…

Work is busy- it’s not unusual at the moment to be spending most of Sunday marking. In fact, I had to pre-warn my Year 11 students that I couldn’t guarantee that D hadn’t sneaked some Thomas and Friends stickers into their books (he loves stickers, like me and saw me sticking comment stickers in books.) Luckily, there were no hidden Percy stickers, although there were a few disappointed GCSE students.

Speaking of D:

Bakers gonna bake bake bake

Bakers gonna bake bake bake

This chap turns TWO next Thursday. I cannot, for the life of me, believe how quickly this has come round. We’re spending a lot of time baking at the moment (the new kitchen is a really good place for baking) and the above photo was taken as we were making brownies for Benn’s grandad’s birthday. I’m thinking I need to buy him an apron- Thomas, naturally!

Also, remember how I used to run a blog of vintage photos? Well, I bought my first photo in ages. It’s labelled ‘Four Sisters, Christmas 1929′. I am debating whether or not to breathe new life into Ladies in Monochrome, but I don’t have a printer or scanner at the moment, so it’ll be on hold for a while…

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At the weekend, we’re off up north to meet my new nephew and so my family can see D before his birthday. Half term starts on Friday and there’ll be no rest for the wicked. However, I do intend to take advantage of the nights drawing in, if only to get more wear out of my slippers!

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The Snow Child- Eowyn Ivey*

The Snow Child (Oct)

You know how sometimes, you read a review of a book in the paper or whatever and think, ‘Eh, not for me’? I’d felt the same about The Snow Child when it was first released a couple of years ago. It was nominated for various prizes and just didn’t grab me in the same way as many other books at the time.

When it came up on Bookbridgr, though, I changed my mind. I liked the idea of a story set in the desolate north of Alaska in the 1920s and the promise of a modern fairytale. Because that’s what The Snow Child is; it’s based on an old Russian fairy story about an old, childless couple who make a girl out of snow.

The couple in the novel are middle-aged and homesteading in Alaska is their last-ditch attempt to do something wonderful with their lives. Alas, they find Alaska beautiful, brutal and disappointing, until their own snow child, a girl called Faina arrives. Like the snow, she arrives every winter and leaves in the spring. You’re never quite sure if she’s real or just imagined by the protagonists. The novel has a touch of magic and fantasy about it, but with just enough ‘realness’ to keep the reader grounded.

I loved this book. The prose- especially the descriptive passages- were beautifully written and made me yearn for the kind of snowy winter that brings huge snowflakes and bitterly cold days. It’s definitely a novel to consider as we move into the colder months. It’s  book that will stay with me for a very long time.

*Sent for review

Pretty Honest- Sali Hughes

I’m going to start with a bit of a disclaimer- I am a MASSIVE Sali Hughes fangirl and have been since she started writing her weekly column for the Guardian. It’s because of Sali that I got into lipstick and I credit her for my makeup obsession. So of course I bought her book.

Pretty Honest: The Straight-talking Beauty Companion (Oct)

What I love about this book is that it’s not a simple ‘how-to’ book; Sali talks passionately about beauty, skincare and self-esteem with wit and friendliness. I wish this book had been around when I was a teenager and when I was getting ready to get married (there are helpful chapters on both), as it’s almost like having a friend talk you through everything from hair to how to deal with pushy sales assistants.

The photos inside are chic, without being intimidating. As I read the book and looked at the pictures, I found myself nodding my head and making a mental note of things I wanted to buy or needed to change.

And don’t think that the products and brands recommended in here are super pricey, either. Sali recommends a range of brands, from the familiar ones you’d recognise to the more expensive ones you might not. I think it’s this acknowledgement that super luxury doesn’t always mean that it’s the best is why Sali is so trusted in the beauty world.

I warn you though, it’s not unusual to spend quite a long time buying flannels after reading this. Or was that just me?