Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday Everyone!

Just a little something which made me smile, and giggle the other day, a little cat who turned 4 this week :

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

22 - Find that pin!

As mentioned previously in my Update we stuck a pin in the map of France and are now planning the road trip to get there.

So where exactly are we going? Well, my geography was a bit off, it isn't Provence but the Rhone-Alpes region. To be more specific we are going here :

Vallon Pont D'Arc!

We're going on a semi-epic roadtrip to get there taking in some of the towns and cities as we pass through :

Our first stop will be Troyes then on to Lyon before hitting Vallon Pont D'Arc for a few days and then on the way back we'll be visiting Dijon.

All maps courtesy of

We can't wait to go, but first I must go and learn some more French, otherwise ce sera terrible!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Note to self ...

... don't forget to take socks and towel to the gym - can't exercise without either

Source,                                                                                              Source

That is all

Friday, May 20, 2011

Have you met Miss Jones?

As I said in my previous post, I have flown through some books already this week. Before I begin however, I need to confess that I started a book from the list and was unable to continue with it.

I picked up Lolita and didn't get much further than the second chapter. The plot is about a paedophile essentially and despite the acclaim this book has received, I couldn't stomach reading it.

Onto a lighter topic now and I've finally read Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding. As with The Color Purple, I flew through this book in record time.

Most of you know the rough plot, if not from the film, with the events covering a year in Bridget's life as she has an affair with her boss, changes job and ends up with Mr Darcy whilst her mother goes through a midlife crisis.

I'm glad that I've read it as there were some very funny parts, however, I was exhausted by it. Helen Fielding's style is very quickfire and you certainly go through the book at a quick pace because of it.
I did love the entries where Bridget was drunk,

"Argor sworeal brilleve with Shazzan Jude"

Definitely a book of its generation, as younger readers won't remember a time without SkyPlus, mobile phones, email and no smoking allowed in public places, but is funny nonetheless. What a shame there aren't any other chick-lit books on my list as it was a welcome bit of light relief.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Don't walk past The Color Purple and not notice it

I've done well this week, started off with three books from the list and have read two of them, plus another for pleasure reading.

But first, The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

I'd been wanting to read this book since I sort of saw the film on the plane coming back from America, and I wasn't disappointed.
The book is written in the form of letters, with the majority being written by the main character Celie and then later by her sister Nettie to Celie.

The book covers about 30 years of their history, beginning when Celie is married off unvoluntarily to Mr. ___ (his character only gets a name towards the end of the book) to tend his house and look after his kids. She lives a hard life and is redeemed in the end as she achieves independence.

The language of the book took a little bit to get used to as Celie writes somewhat phonetically, in order to show her lack of literacy. Her sister has received a better education and as such her letters are written "normally".

I was also expecting a larger book when I went to get it from the library, but it was quite slim (maybe that's why I read it so quickly) and the format of the letters meant it was easy to get through as you could stop after a letter, rather than having to wait until the end of a chapter.

So why the title? The quote below from the book goes some way to explain it :

"I think it pisses God off when you walk by the colour purple in a field and don't notice it."

It is as though the writer is saying that just because you haven't noticed it, doesn't mean it isn't there, and it was put there to be noticed. The book covers various different issues which this statement could apply to; homosexuality; racism; exploitation; abuse and fundamentally religion.

For a small book, it is certainly profound and everyone should read it - regardless of who you are or what you believe in - you can take something from it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

One year down ...

... since we moved into our first bought home.

To celebrate our house-aversary I had planned on doing a romantic meal, but necessity meant we ate out instead (Mother Hubbard syndrome!

I'm just going to have to save the meal for another day, ho hum

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"There's a dead man in my tent"

Otherwise known as the review of Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.

This is one of the funniest books retrospectively I have read in a long time. It didn't make me laugh out loud during reading but looking back on the book as a whole it's pretty bonkers!

The book is set in WW2 in an American Air Force camp based in Italy and follows various different characters who fill in bits of the story which don't always make sense from another character's perspective.

So why did I find it funny? It was the complete lunacy which runs throughout the book. The enlisted men are seen as savage creatures, as opposed to those who were already in service before the war. At one point the chaplain explains that the enlisted men believe in the same God as the officers and should also take part in the prayer sessions. The Colonel is horrified and promptly cancels them!
Another character is declared legally dead by a commanding officer, even though he is alive and quite well and stood right next to him, because according to the records he was in a plane that crashed.

It could be seen as a bit sexist as the only women in the book are whores, and even the nurses are treated as the same but just go with it - there's a twist in the tale!

If you are even slightly anti-establishment or revel in seeing a perfect system being unravelled this book is for you. One recommendation is go through it a chapter at a time, don't stop in the middle of a chapter because it causes great confusion when you're reading about the same event for the second time.

Has anyone else read it?

Monday, May 9, 2011

The F Word

Yes folks, today is the day I discuss the F word .... FAT.

As you may have seen on the list, #21 is to finish my weight loss. I'm almost there, I just have a little bit left to go.

I'd better take you back in time through the medium of embarassing photos ...
(please excuse bad quality, some of these have been scanned in from old photos, and others were taken at a time of inebriation ... hehe)

This is me aged 18 :

Roll on 3 years to my 21st Birthday, and a lot’s changed :

Over the next couple of years, it got worse :

And it was after seeing this picture that I finally realised I needed to do something :

By this time we were living with Paul’s parents getting our deposit together, we were engaged and it was a few days after I’d turned 23. Although the initial weight gain was not entirely due to overeating, my diet wasn’t exactly conducive to losing weight. Two years after my lightbulb moment I’m still on that journey. Sure I could have gone crazy with my diet and done a lot more exercise, but I chose to lose it gradually to make it a more sustainable change and ultimately a lifestyle.

Fast forward to our wedding and I’m not there yet, but I’m a lot healthier and lighter than I was two years ago. I’m not far off my goal, just a little bit more to go. So now I’ve turned 25, what do I currently look like? Well, see for yourself … 

Authors Note : This is before I had my PWC - I can't seem to remember to get pics taken of me when I'm looking semi-decent! Ah well, you'll just have to wait!

I just want to end this post by saying thank you to everyone who has supported me thus far - whether it be telling me no more cookies or successfully hiding your revulsion at my ballooning I thank you all xxx

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

April Update

The one problem with some of the things on the list, is that they're ongoing challenges so I can't really report I've done them until the end!

To give you an idea though, this is how I'm getting on :

1. Start writing a blog and maintain it - I'm getting there, as this is my first blog I am still getting into the habit of documenting things. I should have this down by next March (she hopes ! )

2 . Learn to sew - Thanks to MIL I now have a sewing kit and after a shopping trip with mama, we now have fabric for the bedroom projects. We'll be sorting those soon, hopefully without sewing through my fingers!

5. Finish off decorating the bedroom - This is on track to be completed soon, thanks to mama we now have wallpaper up. Once we've finished the soft furnishings projects, it will be done, yay!

6. Eat meals at the dining table - We're getting there, I'll show you how domesticated Paul's become in an upcoming post!

7. Make and properly ice a cake - Using the awesome bakeware we received on the gift list, you could say I've gone baking mad recently. However, I've almost perfected my Vanilla Sponge cake, once I've done that, on with the icing!

8. Start to write a novel - As seen in this post, I have been laid down a challenge by a friend and I've already started to research the origins of the book, next up, characters.

9. Read as many of the books from the Book List Challenge - Well, I'm ploughing my way through the list although it's taking a little longer than I anticipated, but that's just because I'm getting used to various different writers styles. I'm currently reading Catch 22, but click here for reviews of Dracula, Atonement and 1984

21. Finish my weight loss - Despite my recent setback with the car accident, I will be back at the gym this week losing those saddlebags - yee haw!

22. Stick a pin in the map and go on a road trip to get there - For our summer holiday we thought we'd try this road trip idea thingy out. And we've landed in Provence, France! Keep an eye out for the road trip post details soon!

23. Get Christmas and birthdays organised - I'm starting to plan the Christmas gifts now, so we're sort of on track!?

25. Relearn to speak French  - I've got my greatest test ahead of me, we are going to go on a French roadtrip to Provence (see #22) for our summer holiday, and as Paul's use of French extends to "un biere, s'il vous plait" I'll need to step up. The main thing for this test will be my missing vocab, now, what's the French for motorway ....?

I know there are some numbers missing, but that's just cos I've got them planned out for a later date, so you'll just have to wait.

Do you have any helpful ideas or suggestions for the ongoing challenges?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Contemplating Atonement

Apologies again, I need more smacked hands for this, bad blogger Kiri!

Anyhoo, just finished Atonement by Ian McEwan. It was another one of those books where I'd already seen the film, but unlike most books, the film is a very faithful rendition.

The story is at its heart very simple, a young girl misconstrues something she sees and ends up condemning an innocent man, as she gets older she realises her error and is trying to atone for her injustice.

I loved reading the book and enjoyed seeing all the minute detail which had been portrayed accurately in the film. I would thoroughly recommend reading the book though as you get the insight into the characters heads that you don't quite get watching a film.

Has anyone else seen the film/read the book? What did you think?