Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Wildflower Park (Part 1 & 2) - by Bella Osborne




















The blurb: 

Build Me Up, Buttercup (Part 1) and A Budding Romance (Part 2): 

Life’s not always a walk in the park…

When Anna is dumped by her fiancé, she moves in to her own place on the edge of the gorgeous Wildflower Park and pledges to stay off men and focus on her career, but a handsome new colleague seems to thwart her attempts at every turn. And when she receives an accidental text from a mystery man, could it be the new start she needs? Or someone she really shouldn't be falling for?

Anna’s neighbour Sophie is a stressed-out mum-of-two with a third on the way. Her husband is a constant frustration, and their children are a regular source of newly-invented swear words and unidentifiable sticky surfaces.

Luckily, Anna and Sophie have each other – and Wildflower Park proves to be a sanctuary as they map out a path to find the happiness they both deserve…


My Opinion:

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

In part 1 we get introduced to the characters, their situation, as well as the setting. 

The main characters are Anna and Sophie. Anna is dumped by her fiancé and moves to a new place in Wildflower Park. She wants to focus on her career, but that is not so easy. A handsome new colleague or a mystery man, well, well... Sophie is a mum of two and the third one is on the way, but her husband is no help at all. 
I love how both of them are the main characters and their friendship is great to follow and read about. 

In part 2 things are starting to heat up and make the story more exciting. Can’t wait to see where things are going now. 

Bella Osborne managed to put in cliff-hangers and really build up the tension. Her writing is charming, entertaining and just lovely!

Rating:




Bella Osborne on Twitter: @osborne_bella

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Musical Review - Miss Saigon


About the show: 

Miss Saigon is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby, Jr. It is based on Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, and similarly tells the tragic tale of a doomed romance involving an Asian woman abandoned by her American lover. The setting of the plot is relocated to 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War, and Madame Butterfly's story of marriage between an American lieutenant and a geisha is replaced by a romance between a United States Marine and a South Vietnamese bargirl.
The musical was premièred at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, on 20 September 1989, closing after 4,092 performances on 30 October 1999. It opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre on April 11, 1991, and subsequently played in many other cities and embarked on tours. Prior to the opening of the 2014 London revival, it was claimed that Miss Saigon had set a world record for opening day ticket sales, with sales in excess of £4m reported. 
The musical represented Schönberg and Boublil's second major success, following Les Misérables in 1985. As of April 2017, Miss Saigon remains Broadway's thirteenth longest-running show.  

My opinion: 

I was finally able to see this show!!! I wanted to for a really long time and when they announced that the UK touring company is coming to Zurich, the decision was made. 

I listened to the soundtrack several times before going and I already fell in love with the music then. No surprise it’s by the same composers, who wrote Les Misérables. 

The story was very easy to follow, but let me tell you one thing, it’s really intense, but so well done. The scenery was great, the helicopter scene was done in a fantastic way and I always felt like being right there with the characters. This is true for so many other scenes as well. 

The music is amazing, very emotional and gives me goosebumps every single time. The actors added a lot of charm and charisma with their acting, wow! Certain scenes very powerful and strong, just how it needed to be. There are so many wonderful songs in this show. My faves are I Still Believe, Bui Doi, This ist he Hour, The Movie in My Mind and Last Night oft he World. 

The actors were brilliant especially Ashley Gilmour, who played Chris and  Sooha Kim, who played Kim. He has an amazing voice and she was perfect fort he part. She was tiny, but wow can she sing!

I had to cry several times during this musical. It’s actually a really sad story, with a sad ending, but it’s a must see!!! It's touching, I loved it! I would definitely go and see it again. 

Thursday, 24 January 2019

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker - by Jenni Keer

Original Cover
My own copy
The blurb: 


Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours, and unlikely friends.

Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and socialising.

79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to see Lucy happy.

Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world? It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…

The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker will be the most charming, heart-warming and feel-good novel you will read this year, perfect for fans of Ruth Hogan and Gail Honeyman.


My Opinion:


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

I was very excited when I saw the authors name and couldn’t wait to start her debut novel.

The story follows Lucy Baker, a 25-year-old, who prefers knitting and reading to going out. Her neighbour Brenda is 79 years old. I loved the bond and the friendship they had. Jenni Keer captured it beautifully.

Brenda’s life changes, when she is diagnosed with dementia, but she is determined to help Lucy find love. She gives her the locket that has helped her. 

Lucy had to open herself up, her life took a turn, she got more confident throughout the book. It was great to read about this development. 
Also, George moves in next door and adds a lot to the story. 

It’s a heart-warming story full of friendship, courage, love and sweet moments. 

I really enjoyed it, I hope there will be more from Jenni Keer. 

Rating:




Jenni Keer on Twitter: @JenniKeer


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?