Monday, 10 September 2018

While I Was Sleeping - Dani Atkins

What if someone else was living your happy ever after? When Maddie wakes up in a hospital bed, she can't remember anything about what happened to her or what has changed. She just remembers she was about to be married and had everything to look forward to. But it seems life has become a lot more complicated while she has been asleep....

Maddie Chambers had everything going for her a successful career and a man she adored and a baby on the way. With just four days to their wedding Maddie is rushing across town running errands before her big day when fate strikes a cruel blow.  Maddie is involved in an accident and when she wakes up in a hospital bed she doesn't realise just how much her world has changed. For everyone around her life has moved on and she finds that Ryan the man she was supposed to be marrying is now married to someone else and has a child. This was the life she was supposed to be living with Ryan.  This was not how Maddie envisaged her happy ever after.  

I have read everyone of Dani Atkins books right from her very first novel Fractured everyone of them leaves you emotionally drained and While I Was Sleeping is no exception. You can immerse yourself within the pages of a Dani Atkins novel for hours and I have been known to devour one of her novels in one sitting with the occasional comfort break, replenishment of refreshment, another bar of chocolate or yet another box of tissues.  It is definitely a time for putting a do not disturb sign on your door and your mobile to voice mail. Dani Atkins books will introduce you to all her characters and you truly feel you get to know them. You find yourself questioning how you would feel if you were in their situation and how would you deal with all the emotions that are built in within the story. 

Yet again I have lost a weekend to Dani Atkins the grass remains uncut and household chores left undone.  I did make sure everyone was fed and watered. School uniforms ironed and ready for another week and the pack ups made and in the fridge so I don't feel at all guilty.


Tuesday, 28 August 2018

A Heavy Heart

Today I write my blog with a heavy heart. 
 On Friday 24th August 2018 we said goodbye to our beloved Monty Boo. 

He came into our lives on the 10th June 2008 a small 4 month old pup all legs and big ears

At a time when we had just received the devastating news that our youngest son,  just 4 at the time had received a diagnosis of autism. 
A time when we didn't know as a family what was to lie a head of us. 

Although Romeo thought he was the leader of our pack I actually think Monty Boo was the leader of our pack he just let Romeo think he was. 
We used to call him the Pooh Bear of our family 
But then I always thought that Pooh Bear was a very wise old bear. 

Don't get me wrong he could be as mischievous as the rest of them and was rather partial to a pear and was known to pinch the windfalls from under the pear tree when we lived at the cottage. 

Along with the other three boys he got us through some truly difficult times. 

On Friday morning he had got up with me as usual and was playing his duffing of the carpet game when he suddenly and without warning collapsed. By the time I had got D to come and see him he was unconscious and passed away peacefully a few moments later in our arms. 

August has been a particularly tough month for us as a family for reasons I will tell you about at a later date.  I truly believe that even our animals will pick their own time and place in which to cross the rainbow bridge. Only the day before he had been racing around the back garden with the other boys still thinking he was a pup when in reality he was 10 going on 11. 

It has left us all totally devastated but for Monty Boo it was probably the best way for him to go. Not in any pain with no intervention from outside sources, no decisions to be made by us and as 
Old Blue Eyes himself would of said, 

I did it my way

We love you to the moon & back Monty Boo
and you will be sorely missed by all the family 
but we have been very lucky to have you in our lives for the past 10 years,

Monty Boo
2008 - 2018

Goodnight, God bless my beautiful boy.


Monday, 20 August 2018

The Perfect Match - Jodi Picoult

What happens when you do all the wrong things for all the right reasons?

As an assistant district attorney, Nina Frostt prosecutes the sort of crimes that tear families apart. But when Nina and her husband discover that their five-year-old son Nathaniel has been sexually abused, it is her own family that is devastated. The world Nina inhabits now seems different from the one she lived in yesterday; the lines between family and professional life are erased; and answers to questions she thought she knew are no longer easy to find. 

Overcome with anger and desperate for vengeance, Nina ignites a battle that may cause her to lose the very thing she's fighting got. 

How far should a mother go in the name of love - and justice?

I have been a follower and reader of Jodi Picoult books since her first novel Songs of the Humpback Whale, which incidentally, I didn't particularly like very much but, the more books of hers I have read the more I want to read.  

Perfect Match  was published here in the UK in 2005 and a work colleague lent it to me as part of our office book swap. It has had very mixed reviews as to whether the attention to detail was good enough. I don't know enough about american law and what happens within their court room system to know how accurate all that was.    There is a point in the story that talks about DNA and how someone who has received a Bone Marrow Transplant can have two DNA, there own and that of a borrowed DNA from their donor.  Now I don't know whether this is factually accurate I am sure Ms Picoult would of done her home work about this particular subject but I would have to run it past one of my haematology colleagues to know whether it is or not and I'm not sure I am brave enough to ask that question in case I made myself look a complete numpty.  Will put an update at the bottom of this post should I ever pluck up the courage. 

On the question of just how far would you go to protect your child?  Well I'm not quite sure that many of us would go to the extremes that the character Nina Frost went to,  but if any of us were put in that same position how do you think you would react in order to get justice for your child. 

These days I don't get to read as much as I used to and have to find books that I can pick up and immediately be back into the story from where I left it.  I found this was possible with the Perfect Match and overall it was a good read and I would certainly recommend it.

A short & sweet post today 

Back again soon I hope. 


Sunday, 29 July 2018

V Neck Baby Cardigan (newborn, 0-3 months) in DK

It feels like a permanent production line here at the farm house with three colleagues at work all expecting babies and my sons baby due in the autumn. I am not complaining far from it. I love making the crochet blankets for my work colleagues.

My manager is expecting her first baby in the autumn. They decided not to find out the babies gender so it will be like all their birthdays and Christmas's at once when their baby arrives. She is lovely to work with and will often come to the office for a catch up and a cuppa and of course there have been lots of discussions around babies of late.  I have asked her if she would like a layette set for her baby and the big smile and squeels of excitement I think gave me the answer I was looking for.

It's also been lovely reworking the patterns that have been passed down from my own family and sharing these with you. This is the V neck version to match the crew neck cardigan  and bootees, hat & mittens I have shared with you previously. Her baby is due two weeks after my sons so it will be interesting to see who has their baby first they may even arrive on the same day.

If you would like to have ago at making this little cardigan then this is how you do it. you will need needle size 2.75mm and 3.25mm for a new born size or 3.75mm and 4mm for 0-3 months, a darning needle (wool needle) and to finish off three buttons.

The yarn I have used is Stylecraft Special DK in Cream, but you could make it to match the crew neck cardigan  and the bootees, hat & mittens or vice versa if making as part of a layette set, either way it will work in any double knitting yarn and you will need 100g of your main colour and  50g of a contrast colour if using.


Using the smaller needles cast on 54 stitches and working in 2 x 2 rib work 10 rows

Change to larger needles and work approximately 30 rows or until piece measures 12 cm in stocking stitch (one row knit one row purl)

Shape armholes

Continuing in stocking stitch and cast off 3 stitches at the beginning of next two rows.

Decrease 1 stitch at each end of the next and every alternate row until 44 stitches remain.

Continuing in stocking stitch, without any further decreasing, work a further 27 rows.

Shape shoulders

Cast off 6 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows, then 5 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows. Now cast off the remaining 22 stitches.

Left Front

Using the smaller needles cast on 26 stitches and work 10 rows in 2 x 2 rib as for the back.

Change to larger needles and work the same number of rows as worked for the back in stocking stitch up to the armhole shaping. With the right side facing cast off 3 stitches at the beginning of the next row and then work 1 row.

Decrease 1 stitch at each end (knit two together) on the next and every alternate row until 19 stitches remain. Work 1 row. You should now have the right side facing ready for your next row. Decrease 1 stitch at the front edge only on the next and following alternate row until you have 15 stitches, then on every 4th row until you have 11 stitches remaining. Work 3 rows so that you have the right side facing for your next row

Shape shoulder

Cast off 6 stitches at he beginning of the next row. Work 1 row. Cast off the remaining 5 stitches.

Right Front

Work as for the left front reversing the shaping and working an extra row at the armhole and shoulder shaping.

Sleeves x 2

With smaller needles cast on 30 stitches and work 9 rows of 2 x 2 rib.

Increase row - rib 7 M1 (by picking up the horizontal loop lying before the next stitch and working into the back of it) rib 7 M1 until you have 34 stitches and rib to the end.

Change to larger needles and work in stocking stitch increasing 1 stitch at each end of the 3rd and every following 6th row until you have 44 stitches. Now work approx 7 rows or until your sleeve measures 11cm.

Shape the armhole

With the right side facing cast off 3 stitches at the beginning of the next two rows.  Now continue decreasing 1 stitch at each of end of the next and every alternate row until you have 22 stitches, then on every row until 8 stitches remain. Cast off the remaining 8 stitches.

To make up

Block so that your pieces are flat when joining.

Join the shoulder seams

Join side and sleeve seams. Insert sleeves.


With smaller needles cast on 8 stitches and work 4 rows of 2 x 2 rib.

Next row (buttonhole row) rib 4 yon (yarn over the needle) and knit 2 together and rib to the end.

Work 13 rows of 2 x 2 rib

repeat the last 14 rows once more then repeat the buttonhole row again. You will now have 3 buttonholes in total.

Continue without further buttonholes until the border when slightly stretched fits up the right front slope across the back and down the left front slope to lower edge sewing in place as you go. Remember to fit from the left  if you are wanting your buttonholes on the left hand side.

This a lovely little cardigan to make if you are new to knitting or not a confident knitter and come up a treat making a lovely gift for any new arrival. 



Saturday, 21 July 2018

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

'I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow, or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.'

Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead. a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commissioner, Fred Waterford - her assigned name , Offred, means 'of Fred'. She has only one function: to breed. If Offred refuses to enter into the sexual servitude to repopulate a devastated world, she will be hanged. Yet even a repressive state cannot eradicate hope and desire. As she recalls her pre-revolution life in flashbacks, Offred must navigate through the terrifying landscape of torture and persecution in the present day, and between two men upon which her future hangs. 

I've not seen the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood's book and after all the hype from colleagues at work I thought I was missing out on something. So when a colleague said they had the book if I would like to borrow it I said yes. 

I don't know where my reading head is at the moment but I thought I would enjoy this book  more than I did.   I got the concept and thought it was extremely well written in it's description of living in the future where the sole purpose of having these young women was to repopulate the former USA, but for me it did struggle to keep my attention.  I seem to be struggling at the moment to find a book that grabs my full attention, a book that I just can't put down because I need to know more. I know such books exist as I have read some of them.... just not sure this one is one of them.

As always only my rambling opinion, I suspect most of you that have read it absolutely thought it was totally unputdownable.  I'm sure this reading fog will lift before too long. May be the autumn months will bring about a change in my reading slump. 

In the meantime any recommendations of a book I may enjoy more?


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