Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Cover Reveal - Let Me Burn by Carrie Elks


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Title: Let Me Burn
Author: Carrie Elks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 21, 2019
Cover Designed by: Najla Qamber

SYNOPSIS

She isn’t looking for love. He’s not planning on staying around. But when they meet, sparks fly…

As a big city firefighter, Lucas lives for his job. Forced to take extended leave following an accident, he returns to his small hometown to stay at the beach cottage his grandparents left him. The problem is, he’s not used to having so much time on his hands.

After a broken engagement, Ember isn’t ready for love right now. Though her heart might be mended, she prefers to keep herself busy with her family and work; that way she won’t get hurt again. But she didn’t count on meeting a handsome firefighter with that dimpled smile. After Lucas saves her from one awkward situation too many, she can’t stop thinking about him.

Ember finds Lucas impossible to resist. And he’s determined not to let her. As long summer days melt into sultry, passionate nights what begins as a fling develops into something much deeper. Until the day Ember’s ex-fiancé returns to town and threatens to destroy the fragile connection that’s building between them.

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Carrie Elks Headshot
Carrie Elks writes contemporary romance with a sizzling edge. Her first book, Fix You, has been translated into eight languages and made a surprise appearance on Big Brother in Brazil. Luckily for her, it wasn’t voted out. Carrie lives with her husband, two lovely children and a larger-than-life black pug called Plato. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found baking, drinking an occasional (!) glass of wine, or chatting on social media.


SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/CarrieElksAuthor/ 
FACEBOOK GROUP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CarrieElksWaterCooler/ 
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/CarrieElks 
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/carrie.elks/ 
NEWSLETTER: http://www.subscribepage.com/e4u8i8 
WEBSITE: https://carrieelks.com

Saturday, 19 January 2019

What to wear in Winter


The weather or rather how people walk around in this weather has inspired me to write a little blog post.

We have deep winter in Switzerland, at times it‘s been snowing for several days and it‘s cold. For me that always means taking the cable car to work.

Anyway, it‘s been really interesting to watch people in this weather, especially how they are dressed. Don‘t get me wrong, I love fashion and being stylish, but at a certain point you should consider your health and saftey. Walk ways and streets are icy, sometimes you don‘t even see that.

I always have to laugh when I see people with bare ankles, wearing sneakers and light fake fur jackets. Have you actually noticed it's snowing outside and roads are slippery?! 
Don't these people get wet feet and are freezing?! Well, let's just say that they then souldn't complain when they get sick. 

Warm shoes with a good profile are very important. Moon Boots, Sorel, Timberland etc. Even booties with a little heel are not a good idea. Bare ankles are a really bad idea, the cold will spread through the whole body. A scarf, gloves and a beanies/bonnets etc. a pretty jumper etc. add charm and warmth to your outfit. Always important for me is tucking in your shirt. There shouldn't be any bare skin around that area, especially to protect your kidneys. If it's really cold thermals are always a possibility. 
There are still plenty of possibitities to add some cuteness to your outfit and find some fashionable pieces. You can wear sneakers the rest of the year, right?!



Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton - by Anstey Harris

Original Cover
My own copy














The blurb: 

GRACE ATHERTON HAS FALLEN OUT OF LOVE ... AND INTO LIFE

Between the simple melody of running her violin shop and the full-blown orchestra of her romantic interludes in Paris with David, her devoted partner of eight years, Grace Atherton has always set her life to music.

Her world revolves entirely around David, for Grace’s own secrets have kept everyone else at bay. Until, suddenly and shockingly, one act tips Grace’s life upside down, and the music seems to stop.

It takes a vivacious old man and a straight-talking teenager to kickstart a new chapter for Grace. In the process, she learns that she is not as alone in the world as she had once thought, that no mistake is insurmountable, and that the quiet moments in life can be something to shout about …

For fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Keeper of Lost Things, The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton is the story of a woman who has her heart broken, but then puts it back together again in the most uplifting and exquisite way.


My Opinion:

*Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I was very intrigued by the title, as well as the blurb of this book. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it certainly took me by surprise. 

It’s different from the books I normally read because the author's style is very unique and special. In a good way of course. The plot is full of twists and turns and I also really enjoyed the musical aspect of the story. 

It was very interesting to follow Grace’s story. I really liked her as a character and the way she developed in this story. Mr. Williams and Nadia helped her get through everything and that was lovely to see. What Grace had and has to deal with is not easy, so I was glad she had some support. I didn’t like David from the story, but that also made the reading more exciting. 

It’s a charming, captivating and thought-provoking book!

Rating:




Anstey Harris on Twitter: @Anstey_Harris



Saturday, 12 January 2019

Sweeney Todd – Opera House Zurich


About the show: 

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 1979 musical thriller with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler. The musical is based on the 1973 play Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Christopher Bond.
Sweeney Todd opened on Broadway in 1979 and in the West End in 1980. It won the Tony Award for Best Musical and Olivier Award for Best New Musical. It has since had numerous revivals as well as a film adaptation.




My opinion: 

Ok, so I’m a big Stephen Sondheim fan (I even wrote my dissertation in high school about him – yes, I had to write a paper in high school). Sweeney Todd is probably my fave musical by him and I have never been to the Opera House in Zurich. 

The afternoon of December 14, was a day of firsts for me. I was really excited. 

The show started with a big scream and the lights, which surrounded the stage made a first appearance. That was really effective and a bit creepy. 
The music and the lyrics of this show are absolutely brilliant, Stephen Sondheim really is a genius. The actors and the choir did a wonderful job singing these complex songs. Bryn Terfel played Sweeney Todd, he was great and so were Elliot Madore (Anthony), Brindley Sherratt (Judge Turpin), Melissa Petit (Joanna) and Spencer Lang (Toby). The woman in the main role Angelika Kirchschlager did a good job, with English not being her mother tongue, but she still had an accent sometimes and something was just missing for me. 

Sweeney Todd kills people on his barber shop chair and sends them down to Mrs Lovett’s pie shop. That could have been done in a more effective way. They just had part of the stage move up and down. They didn’t do a lot with the stage anyway and the pictures in the background didn’t change much. Sometimes the stage seemed to crowded for me, especially with it being in dark colours and all oft hem wearing dark colours as well. The insane asylum was done really well though. 

The audience were mostly older people, who have a season pass for the Opera house and I wasn’t sure if they really understood what was happening on stage ;). The applause in the end was loud and people left happy, even though it’s an intense story. Subtitles were in English and German for the songs and German ones for the dialogues. 

A great show with fab and talented actors. I’m very happy, I went. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

A Year at Castle Court - by Holly Hepburn

Original Cover
My own copy
The blurb: 

Sadie is a single mum, nursing a broken heart. Her best friend from childhood, Cat, is burned out from working long hours as a chef in Paris. In need of a change, they decide to invest in their dream – running their own handmade biscuit shop in gorgeous Castle Court, a three-storey food court tucked away behind Chester's bustling streets.
 
They soon discover that Castle Court has its own community – a little haven of delight against the stresses of the outside world. But not everyone welcomes the new business; the patisserie owner is less than pleased by what she sees as direct competition and Greg, who runs the fancy bistro that dominates one end of the courtyard, doesn't think Sadie and Cat have the talent or business acumen to succeed. Luckily, there's support in the form of the delectable Jaren, who owns the Dutch waffle house opposite Smart Cookies, and Swiss chocolate-shop owner, Elin. And if all else fails, the friends can drown their sorrows in Seb's cocktail bar on the third floor!

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*

The book follows best friends Sadie and Cat, who take over shop in Castle Court. Sadie has a daughter and is nursing a broken heart. Cat was a chef in Paris and needs a change. 

Castle Court ist he perfect setting, it has ist own community andmost of thepeople are very nice.Obviously not everyone welcomes the new business, so that could lead to some drama. Some people are very supportive though, mainly Adam, Elin, Jaren and Seb. Lissy, Sadie’s daughter is very sweet and so are Earl and Andrew. 

The storyline is split into four parts and is full uf ups and downs. Sadie grows closer with Adam, butb there is still her „husband“ Daniel, who wants to try again. Se band Cat seem to hit it off, but the plot hides a few surprises. 

I loved both Sadie and Cat and together with the other characters they created a wonderful atmosphere. The writing is very gripping and the author described it all so vividly. 

Certain things were solved very quickly and what happened afterwards seemed a bit too obvious. 

This was my first Holly Hepburn book and definitely not my last. She is a very talented author. 

Rating:




Holly Hepburn on Twitter:@HollyH_Author

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Fashion Corner - Black Midi Skirt


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The Fashion Corner is back! With a very elegant skirt.


The black midi skirt is from Massimo Dutti, one of my favourite stores. I combined it with a dark red velvet top from Intimissimi. Black high heels and black tights and the outfit is complete. For e festive outfit in winter I added a white blazer from Mango as well. I love the slit detail and it's well fitted around the waist. 


- Skirt: Massimo Dutti
- Top: Intimissimi


Here is an alternative outfit: 


The blouse is from Sandro and the shoes are from Jonak. 

- Booties: Jonak


Saturday, 5 January 2019

Barcelona - Travel Diary


I have wanted to go to Barcelona for years, this October it finally happened. It was not just a city trip, it was so much more. We went with the choir and sang a concert together with a choir from Barcelona. 



We were supposed to arrive on Thursday for the first rehearsal, but my mum and I decided to go early to actually have some time to see things. We left for the airport early in the morning on Tuesday, October 9. It was very early, but we got to fly Business, so we enjoyed the Lounge at the airport first. The flight was special too, extra breakfast and more space, yay. We landed during a thunderstorm, it was shaky, but also beautiful, because on one side we had rain, on the other we had sunshine. 


We then took a taxi into the city and left our suitcases at the hotel. The first thing we got to see, was the Cathedral, omg so pretty. It led us straight tot he shopping street. We went into a lot of shops but didn’t buy anything (yet). On Paseig de Gracia we had some Tapas. In Zara Home, I bought a tablecloth and some pretty hangers. We stopped at Starbucks for some coffee and energy. After that, we looked at some more shops, before going to „El Cercle” restaurant. I have def found my fave restaurant in Barcelona, their vegetarian paella is to die for. Because we had to get up that early, we went back to the hotel and had a quiet and early night. 



The next morning (Wednesday) we slept in and thought it was going to rain. When we got outside, it was sunny. After breakfast, we decided to go and see, how much the hop on hop off bus is. Since it was already quite late and we wanted two days in a row (one of them being Friday), we decided to just walk around and explore the city. The cathedral close to our hotel is very pretty, just right of it, there is a path leading to the Barri Gotic (old town). We passed a cute little bridge there and found a fab Espadrilles store. They usually don’t fit me, but they had small sizes, so I bought two pairs. After a yummy smoothie, we continued our walk to Santa Maria del Mar, the church the choir sing in last time. Wow, the cathedral is incredible, so pretty. We were hungry and went to a lovely Tapas place called Lonja de Tapas. Omg, so delicious. Then we headed to Barceloneta/Port Vell and explored it a bit, before going to the round-about with the Columbus statue. Walking down La Rambla wasn’t interesting at all. The street is not pretty, very touristy. La Placa Reial, just off La Rambla is very beautiful though. Full of palm trees, pretty houses and fountains. After a bit of shopping, we ran into tow friends from the choir and enjoyed a coffee with them at the Café Zurich. For dinner we went to the same restaurant again, El Cercle. 


On Thursday it was finally Hop On Hop Off bus time. We passed some very pretty houses at first and learned a lot about the architecture and some famous people from Barcelona. Pablo Casals is a famous cellist from Barcelona and he composed “El Cant des Occels”, one of the song we were singing in the concert. At MNAC we got off the bus, it’s the National Museum of Catalunia. A very gorgeous building. It’s on the Monjuic mountain and you get great views of the city. We walked down the steps, where there are a lot of fountains (they also have light shows there, unfortunately we didn’t make one). We walked to the former bull fight arena, which is a shopping centre now. You go up an elevator and have a fab view as well. On top you also have several restaurants, we had lunch at one of them, it was really good. Afterwards we went back on the bus, saw the rest of Monjuic mountains and then headed to the beach. At Port Olimpic was our next stop to get out and I was finally able to see the beach and the sea. There is also a gigantic whale there. We enjoyed some ice cream, before taking the bus again and going back to the hotel. We had to get ready for our rehearsal with Coral Carmina, the choir we were singing with. At first there was a big Pica Pica with great food and then we rehearsal for a really long time. Their conductor Daniel Mestre is really good and it was fun sitting next to Spanish women. 


On Friday we had to get up a bit earlier, because the choir organised a tour in the Sagrada Familia. The basilica is very impressive from the outside, but also the inside. There is a new part and an old part. They are different from each other, both very pretty. The old side has so much detail, you don’t even know where to look. Inside the windows are full of all the colours and the ceiling is very detailed as well. I was speechless, it’s an incredible building. I also bought a souvenir from it for my new apartment. We then took the tour bus to Park Güell. First we had lunch at Terra Mia, of course we had Tapas again. Unfortunately, part of the park was closed. We were still able to enjoy the view and sit and enjoy for a while. There were so many people, you are not really able to take pictures. From There we hopped on the bus again to finish the blue line. We were able to see the mountains and sights around the north of the city. At Camp Nou we got off again, I’m a football fan and really wanted to go inside the stadium. We were able to see everything. The press room, where they change, sit on the coaches seat etc. Then it was already time to go back to the hotel, because we met the whole choir for dinner at a typical Catalan restaurant. We had a lot of fun and the food was very good. 


The weather wasn’t the best on Saturday, so we just headed to a few shops, before heading to the church for the concert. We sang at the Iglesia Josep Oriol. First we had a rehearsal with the orchestra, got ready and then at 7.30 pm we had the concert. The concert was great, a fantastic experience and the audience seemed very happy. Afterwards we had a delicious and nicely arranged dinner at Palau des Casades. Beautiful building, wonderful food. 


On Sunday we took it slowly. A bit of shopping and one more lunch at El Cercle, before heading to the airport. Apparently we were one of the last flights to leave Barcelona because of a storm. 



I really enjoyed exploring Barcelona, its architecture is amazing and there so many things to see and do. 


Friday, 4 January 2019

Goals for 2019


Last year I wrote a post about my 2018 goals, so for this year I thought, I’d reflect on those and set some new ones. I will also add some plans and ideas to this post. 

Let’s start with blogging. The number of followers is something big and important to most bloggers, I was the same, but that changed. I don’t even look at these numbers anymore (except for Instagram). I still haven’t reached 1000 followers on insta, it’s been my goal for two years. I even have less followers now, I just don’t get it. At one point I had 960 and now I’m around 910. My goal for 2018: 1000 ;). I have a bit less followers on Twitter as well, but there I really don’t care. I don’t that much on twitter anymore, except for my blog posts. 5555 is a great number, but I don’t think it will go up. I have reached my goal of 350’000 pageviews, I’m almost at 390’000, even though I have barely posted anything the last three months. For 2019 getting to over 400000 would be fab.
Other than that I just want to enjoy blogging again (see my “It’s been a while” post). I also want to get out of my reading slump and not put myself under pressure when it comes to reviewing. 
I was far away from reaching my goodreads goal, so I will set it at 50 books for 2019.

I have recorded some song on the piano, but haven’t uploaded any. Moving out also meant leaving the piano behind. I might buy an electric piano though, organise all my music and then get started, so we’ll see. 
In the beginning of the year I did a lot of working out, planks every day, but that kind of stopped in April. I really want to get into it again. 

Yes,last year I wanted to move out and said it’s difficult to find the right place. Well, I have found the right place! I moved in October into an apartment with 3 ½ rooms. That means a bedroom, another additional room, a bathroom, a guest bathroom and an open kitchen and big living room. I love living here and loving alone. Now, there are just little things I still need, especially pictures on the walls.

2018 was a big traveling year for me withcalifornia, Malta, Ticino, Belgium and Barcelona. There is not much planned for 2019 yet. I’m def going to London in February. I really want to go back to Canada in summer, but I have nothing booked yet. Lots of ideas are floating around though ;). 

I have learned to stand up for myself more, but it proves to be hard, cause I’m very emotional and start crying easily. There are certain situations where I had to do it in 2018 and I have definitely grown stronger, I still have to work on it though. 

Think about my teaching job, I just want to continue the same way, enjoy my work and get inspired by the kids every day. 


I want to continue my work for the choir's committee and just do a good job. It’s great to work with these people and even though I’m much younger than them, they accept my opinion and want to hear my thoughts. 


The lettering is going great, but I don’t have a lot of time for it and I need different pens, they are just really expensive. 

What are your goals for this new year?



Thursday, 3 January 2019

Highlights of 2018



I can’t believe it’s 2019. 2018 has passed so quickly. This year has been full of exciting moments, some lows as well, but as I said I focus on the good things and I’d like to share them with you guys. 

-       In January and March we had our Musical Classics concerts with the choir. We sang songs from Les Misérables, West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, Lion King and Mamma Mia. It was fab! The highlight and I am still very grateful for it: I sang a little solo (At the End of the Day in Les Misérables) together with my mum. My dream has come true!
-     In February my mom and I went to Milano for a few days. Shopping, chatting ad just some quality time. 
-       On Good Friday our choir had the possibility to sing the Messiah byHandel again at the Easter Festival in Andermatt. We travelled there for the day, had a rehearsal in the church, enjoyed a tea at the Chedi hotel and then sang in the evening. During the day it also started snowing and after the concert we were lucky to make it home, a few hours laterthe roads were closed. 
-       In April I travelled through California, Arizona and Nevada with my contiki family. Westarted in LA, went to San Diego, then Phoenix, The Grand Canyon, Vegas, Yosemite and San Francisco. These three weeks have been full of highlights: Hot air ballooning over the Sonoran Desert, The Grand Canyon, flying in a Helicopter over the GC, Yosemite National Park (it’s beautiful) and San Fran (my new fave city)! I could go on…
-     At the end of April another one of my dreams came true. I finally got to see a Bundesliga game of Bayern München in the Allianz Arena. We also spent the day in Munich, just fantastic!
-       In the beginning of June I finally got to sing the Latin Jazz Mass by Martin Völlinger in the choir I helped out at, that was a lot of fun. 
-     Malta: In July I spent a few days in Malta with two of my friends. It was my first time in this beautiful country. We saw so many places and we had so much fun! 
-       Also in July I spent some days in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. This area is so wonderful. We also went to some concerts: James Blunt and Sunrise Avenue (with The Script and Adel Tawil). I loved it! Shopping in Como, enjoying the sunshine and much more. 
-       In August I visited my bestie Maryline in Belgium. I loved catching up with her and juszt spend time together. We visited Antwerp and Brugge and just explored the area. I miss her!!!
-       Seeing Matilda for the second time in London was fabulous and very special. I just adore this musical, it’s one of my faves.
-       One of my best friends moved to Bern last year and I finally had some to visit her in this great city and spend a fab day with her. 
-       On my birthday we went up to the Bürgenstock for a little hike to explore ad enjoy some drinks. Switzerland has so much to offer. 
-       The “Zuger Chornacht” (choir night) finally took place in September. I was part of it with the choir and the theatre group. With the theatre group we did a Les Misérables medley with choreography adeverything.The people freaked out. With the choir we sang in the end in the big church, first from the benches in between the audience and then accompanying ourselves with water glasses.
-       In October we went to Barcelona with the choir and sang the Rutter Requiem. It was also my first time in this fab city,I loved exploring it together with my mom.
-     Of course moving was a big highlight for me in October. It all started in July already when I discovered the apartment and applied for it. Choosing furniture was a wonderful experience and decorating as well. 
-       November was full of music. First the John Rutter Requiem in my home church. 
-     And then The Secret Garden, the musical we did in the same church. I just adore being on stage and singing. The Secret Garden was very special!
-       Seeing Sweeney Todd in the Opera House in Zurich for the first time! The music and lyrics of this musical are fab, loved it. 
-       My team at work: They are fabulous, we get along so well and have so much fun, whatever we do. 
-     Bliss is my fave Acapella band and I saw them perform live twice in 2018. 
-       Showing friends and family my apartment and seeing their reactions.  

I could add more here (like my Sushi nights, coffee dates with my girls etc.), but then I’d never stop. There were lots of little highlights as well, just as important as the others of course. I have them all in my heart and I think that’s the essential thing about them. 

What were your highlights of 2018?

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

It’s been a while...



Happy 2019!

It’s been a while, since I have published a „real“ blog post, I know. All I have posted were book reviews and yesterday my Books of the Year 2018. 

Ever since I moved into my own apartment, I didn’t have time and other things were more important. I had ideas for blog posts, but no motivation to write them down.  I have also become a very slow reader. Yes, I have read, but only published a hand full book reviews, no book oft he month posts or a Fashion Corner. 
I guess you could call it a blogging and reading slump. I still love my blog very much and see 2019 as anew beginning and new chance. 

I will post whenever I want to and have a review ready. I will do blog tours, but not too many. I also have set myself a low (for me) reading goal), I just want to enjoy reading again. 

There is still a Barcelona Travel Diary post hiding in my drafts, just didn’t hit publish. I also want to really take my time with posts, read through them again etc. There will be Fashion posts again, I still have lots of outfits, who want to be seen.

I hope you all understand and you are still happy that I am back. 

Now, let’s talk about 2018. A lot has happened. 
The year has been full of traveling: California, Malta, Belgium, Barcelona and more. I visited my bestie in Belgium, spend fab days in the Italian part of Switzerland, visited Malta with two friends and had the best three days traveling around in California. 
Of course a big part has been moving. I gave myself a lot of time for this step, because I wanted to find the right place. It’s not easy to find something in the area I wanted for a reasonable price. I loved getting all the furniture and decorating the whole place. Watch this space for more infos soon ;). 
I finished another year of teaching and it has been hard for the last couple of months with my class. I was happy to have the support of the whole team and the principal. This years class consists of 12 boys and only 3 girls. They are hard work, but it’s still fun getting to know them and teaching them. 
2018 has been full of music and singing. I sang in over 10 concerts and it was so much fun. Also a lot of work in my choir committee, but it was fab. We also had our first choir night in the area, which was born from an idea of a friend and me. More in my highlights. 
I have become a very slow reader as I already mention. I wanted to read 90 books this year and didn’t even manage 70. It’s ok, because I have learnt not to put myself under pressure when it comes to reviewing. 

So let’s see what 2018 has in store for me! Definitely lots of books and blogging, but also work, singing and traveling.Nothing really planned yet, except for a few days in London in February, I can’t wait!

The next two posts will be my highlights of 2018 and goals for 2019, so watch this space.