BBB Book Review - The Railway Detective

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the cover of this book is?

Taking my cue from Jennie I wanted to try and take some of my own pictures for my book review posts rather than just using stock pictures. As this book is set in the 1800s I thought a sepia-style filter was required on this occasion!

"In 1851 England, the city of London anticipates the grand opening of the Great Expedition. Excitement is mounting with each engineering triumph of the railways, but not everyone feels like celebrating. A sudden attack hits the London to Birmingham mail train and it is looted and derailed.
Planned with military precision, Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck fights to untangle a web of murder, blackmail and destruction. As Colbeck closes in on the criminal masterminds, events take an unexpected turn when the beautiful Madeline, daughter of the injured train driver, becomes a pawn in the criminals game.

With time running out, good and evil, new and old, battle against each other. But will the long arm of the law have speed on its side? Full of historical detail, unexpected twists and memorable characters, this is a mystery that will surprise you at every turn"

I found The Railway Detective, by Edward Marston, along with the rest of its set, in my Mum's library and was attracted to the vintage style cover. She reliably informed me I would enjoy it and she wasn't wrong!
The descriptions of life, society, expectations and fashions in the 1800s was really detailed within the book, but were useful and welcome rather than detracting from the story line. I found this a really easy and quick read, and had I been able, I would have easily finished this in less than a day. (Sadly time wouldn't allow this!) The book was a really good cosy mystery story and the backdrop of the railway made me wish I was reading whilst riding in a sleeper car somewhere - I'm such a nostalgic! The only downside was that as the reader, you knew whodunit before DI Colbeck did, but this wasn't a completely bad thing, as it wasn't made clear how the perpetrator was related to the story.
My Mum is currently in the process of moving house so all of her books have been packed away, but when she has unpacked at the other end, I will definitely be digging out the next book in this series!

Monthly Mostly......October 2013

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Not my at, and in no way related to today's post, but because there's not enough cat pictures or cat's playing in autumn leaves pictures on my blog

Once again the end of the month has whipped in with the wind, and October is almost over. It barely seems as though we've had 'real' autumn yet, as September and October have both been fairly warm, and I haven't even worn one chunky knit scarf yet! I'm still holding out for a proper, crisp frosty morning!

Anyway here's what my month has mostly consisted of:-
I've had what can only be described as an almighty splurge this month on clothes and make up. I haven't bought make up or skincare in ages so I feel this was a well needed spend. There were a few chunky knits thrown in too, which probably weren't needed, but most definitely wanted! I will feature some of my purchases in a haul post. (It's been ages since I've done one of those too!)
My Sky+ box has literally exploded over the last month!! So many of my favourite programmes have started back. I've been recording The Paradise, which I loved last autumn, (there's nothing nicer of  Sunday afternoon than curling up to watch a period drama about shopping!) Revolution (how would I survive without electricity!?!) Miss Fisher Mysteries (which I've mentioned in a previous monthly post) Homeland, Elementary and Downton Abbey. I'm still a bit of a newbie to Downton, and I'm slowly working my way through the box set, but I've recorded series 4 in anticipation. New discoveries have been Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Blacklist, The Tunnel and Sleepy Hollow.
Like in my last post, I've been working like mad. My promotion date has been brought forward and I now start in a week!! I'm quite excited to be starting a new position, although I will be taking some of my old work with me, due to the earlier date. In between working I've been spending some time visiting relatives in hospital, which was not anticipated, and has resulted in a lot of long days, and arriving home late. I'm enjoying a little quiet time in the evenings over the weekend, but even during the day I've been busy working.

The one upside to spending lots of time in hospitals is that I've managed to read two books this month! Some months I struggle to even manage one. I've read The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (who may remember my review of The Forgotten Garden. The Secret Keeper has so far been my favourite), and The Railway Detective by Edward Marston. This will be this month's book review post.

In some respects I don't seem to have done much, but between work, hospital, reading and watching a recorder box full of TV programmes, that's my month done!

What have you been Mostly....?

OOTD: Autumn Maxi Skirt

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Skirt Charity Shop (similar in Primark)//Jumper H&M via Charity Shop// Jacket New Look// Scarf Asda (old)// Gloves Primark (old)// Bag Zara
I spent most of my summer, floating around in my coral maxi skirt and I just love how comfortable it is. When I came across this burgundy beauty on a charity shopping trip, the heavyweight jersey material just didn't seem very summery. When the weather dipped recently, it seemed the perfect time to bring out my burgundy maxi skirt, and introduce it into my autumn wardrobe.
Unlike my coral skirt, its made of much thicker material, however, the chilly wind still gets through, so a pair of Primark super cosy tights underneath is definitely a must! Teamed with a good pair of ankle boots, I've got toasty toes. The key to making your maxi skirt move through the season is layering, so on top I've got a cami, a long sleeve black jumper (another charity shop find) and my trusty New Look jacket, topped off with a scarf, hat and gloves. As you can see, burgundy is my go to colour for the Autumn. I've recently invested in a burgundy fedora, and can't wait to team to two.
I saw the Zara Mini Office City Bag on Abby's blog a few weeks ago, and knew I had to have it in my life. When the blog world went mad for the original, I was not that fussed, as I don't lug my laptop around with me on even an irregular basis, so it seemed an overly large bag for no real reason. However, the mini version is perfect, as it has a padded Ipad zip pocket in the middle, which suits me perfectly! I'm not going to go into an all out review here, as I'm going to do a 'What's in my Bag' post, where I'll review it in more detail then. Safe to say though, I love the colour!

Living with Rosacea

Monday, 14 October 2013

I've often read other bloggers talk about things that affect them, such as anxiety or depression. I don't suffer from any debilitating illness, and it wasn't until I was researching new products, that I thought maybe it was time to share something that affects me, in the hope that it helps someone else.

I suffer from rosacea. This isn't a big confession or anything, in fact most of my friends are probably more than aware of this, as they will have seen the signs, but they probably don't know it has an actual name. Rosacea is a skin condition, which mainly affects the face. There are slightly different types of rosacea. Mine is known as vascular, which is categorised by flushing, which can sometimes be sore and itchy. Another type involve papules and pustules.

Being fair skinned and female, I'm well within the bracket of sufferers. It's most common in women over 30, but symptoms can start as young as childhood. I'm reasonably lucky in that I don't suffer from constant and permanent redness, or the papules or thickened skin, but I do worry that one day this will come, particularly the permanent redness.

There are a number of triggers for my own rosacea. I love this time of year, but my skin doesn't. The constant changes in temperature, going from the cold, into a room with central heating results in an instant flare up. The worst culprit for me is alcohol. Within a couple of sips I end up with redness all around my cheeks and chin, with a white ring immediately around my mouth. This is often when I get very itchy and sore as well, and I can literally feel it spreading across my face. Christmas parties are a nightmare! When I'm stressed out I often get little rosy cheeks. The patch on my left cheek is always really dry, and sometimes sore, whenever I get a flare up. I'm always very red faced during the summer months too, especially when it's particularly hot. I'm really partial to a very hot shower, and I come out with very dry blotchy patches all over my face. I then have to wait for it to calm down until I can start applying make up
Although my form of rosacea is quite mild, and not likely to result in much more than redness of the face, there is no 'cure'. For other types, the symptoms are treatable, but it's always there. Some people may try to cover it up with lots of make up, but this doesn't really help me, due to the sensitivity of my skin. I've talked a lot on my blog about how I'm allergic to toner, and I am very careful about skincare, as the wrong cleanser can create a flare up.
I'm reasonably accepting of my skin condition and pretty much just accept it now. I know as soon as I sip a glass of wine or cider, I'm going to have an instant redness flare up. It's a bit sore and embarrassing for a short while, until it settles down again, but it does calm reasonably quickly.

I haven't done this post for sympathy reasons, as rosacea doesn't affect how I live my day to day life. I just wanted to share some of my experiences, as there may be people out there who never even knew they were suffering from it.

Would you like to see some of the products I use as a follow on from this post?

Cosying up for Autumn

Wednesday, 9 October 2013



As well as changing my wardrobe over with the changing of the seasons, I also like to make a few changes in my home in preparation for those long, dark, cold evenings, spent snuggled up inside. There's nothing more enjoyable than listening to the rain batter against the windows outside, whilst I'm tucked up surrounded by snuggly cushions and blankets, enjoying a hot chocolate with a good book.
I don't like to keep all my cushions and blankets out all year round, and I change them over as the nights draw in and the days get cooler. I also change from voile net curtains over my patio doors to thicker, heavier lined red curtains. This also helps with keeping the, ever so expensive, heating bill down, by avoiding having it on for just that little bit longer. We never really have the fire on through the summer, so it's nice to turn on the dancing light in the evenings - it makes me feel warm just looking at it.
The checked blanket, owl cushion and New York cushion are all recent purchases from Primark.
My footstool often hides at the end of the sofa in the summer, but it gets much more use in the autumn and winter, as we spend more time at home, and usually have more visitors, as we all seem to go out less. It sits at the side of the fire in the winter, so it can be easily brought out. The wicker baskets go down the end of the sofa instead - at least until the Christmas tree goes up!
I also change things round in my bedroom. In the summer I like to use crisp white bedding. Come autumn I switch over to darker shades, with more cushions and I like to pile up the bed with lots of throws and blankets for chilly nights. The darker bedding also means that when a slightly soggy Labrador happens to jump on the bed, I don't have paw marks over my lovely white sheets! Its also a perfect time to have a few candles and fairy lights around the house.
In both rooms I like to add a nice furry rug, to make the floors warmer in the living room, and I love burying my toes in my sheep skin rug in the bedroom in the morning.
I also like to change my scents over too. In the summer I use fresher scents, whereas at this time of year, I like to use more autumnal, heavier scents. I may even use something slightly cinnamon, which gets me starting to feel slightly festive! I also like to have a lot more scented candles around than I do in the summer too.
Do you make any changes to your home as the seasons change? Do you enjoy posts like this?

OOTD - Cable Knit Cardi

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Cardigan-New Look//Top-New Look// Jeans-Dorothy Perkins//
 Necklace-Gift// Shoes-Primark (recent)// Belt-New Look (old, from another pair of trousers)
When I buy new clothes, I'm not one of these people who can't wait to wear them. In fact I'm the complete opposite. I lovingly hang them in my wardrobe, with all the labels still attached, until an occasion worthy enough of my beautiful new outfit comes along.
This cardigan was no exception. I tried it on with the white top underneath, and everything about ti was perfect. I had no intention of buying the white top, but it was almost as if they had to be together. Then I had to wait and wait, but no event was coming up. In the end I wore it to work! To work! I just couldn't wait to wear it any longer.
There's something about this outfit, that seems ever so slight 'grown-up casual' to me. It's smart, yet dressed down all at the same time. This is currently my go-to outfit. For date nights, casual meals out, trips to the cinema, shopping trips with a friend, quiet drinks in the local, and yes, ever so occasionally, days at the office. But it pulls off all of these occasions.
I do believe I have a slight obsession with New Look, considering this is the first of two outfits, featuring items from New Look, I intend to show on here. In fact, this doesn't even begin to show case my slight obsession lately!
Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs