Review: 'The Keeper of Lost Things' by Ruth Hogan

1 June 2018

The engagement on Instagram has been at a real low in recent weeks and I know I'm not alone in noticing that. My feed, which for a while seemed to be vaguely chronological, has reverted to a really illogical order and I'm seeing posts from some of my favourites days later than originally posted or sometimes not at all. But in weeks where the general activity is at an all-time low, this book generated almost as much comment as the Eleanor Oliphant post did before it. And I love engaging in book chat and hearing from people who love a book as much as I do or recommend others I might enjoy.

And I really enjoyed this book!

Here's the cover blurb:

Anthony Peardew has spent half his life collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.

Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.

But the final wishes of the 'Keeper of Lost Things' have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters...

Whimsical, absorbing and completely charming, I devoured this book in about a day and a half. There are a few stories woven through the main arc, which I enjoyed and kept me guessing how they would tie together in the end. The main characters themselves are as lost as the items collected by Anthony over the course of the years but in fulfilling Anthony's wishes, they are brought together and begin to discover what's important. 

I've read some reviews calling the book 'twee' but I was very much in the mood for that, it was a deliciously comforting book that was a pleasure to read, with wonderful well thought-out characters and moments of real humour and sadness. 

Have you read this book? Do drop me a comment and let me know what you thought if you did, as well as what you're currently reading and any other books you'd recommend - I need to build up a list pre-holiday!

Wonderful Wednesday 54

9 May 2018

I'm typing this post from our garden on Tuesday evening, one which really feels like a Monday thanks to our long weekend so Friday's going to be an even more pleasant surprise than usual. It's slightly cooler than it has been over the last day or so but still warm enough to sit out here sipping a cool drink, listening to the birds and watching the sun set over the hills in the distance.

I could probably write an entire Wonderful Wednesday post dedicated only to this moment right now but I suspect that that would be quite dull to anyone other than me, so here are a few other things that have made me smile over the last week...


♥ Bank holiday weekends...but more particularly, this bank holiday weekend we've just had and I think that's entirely down to the weather. The sun shone gloriously all weekend and the beautiful long days made the weekend seem that little bit longer, with the extra day on top. It felt like a real holiday. I'm counting down the days to the next one already - just a few weeks to go!

♥ Visiting and visitors... We had just the right amount of socialising and time at home this weekend. We went to visit some friends for dinner on Saturday night, my first trip into London for a little while!, and then had another friend over to us on Sunday - we went for a walk through the fields to a cute little local pub then back home for lunch. Lots of food, chat and sunshine - now that's the recipe for a good weekend!

♥ Yoga... After hurting my back earlier this year, I fell out of the habit of rolling out my mat on a weekly basis but on Sunday I woke up, craving a good ol' stretch before starting the day. Before the feeling passed, I hopped out of bed and chose a morning routine to follow. Wow it was tough, I really noticed the difference after having let it slide for a few months, but it felt really great to get back on the mat. A real boost to start the day!

♥ The garden... Finishing this post off full-circle but I couldn't not mention all the wonderful moments spent in the garden over the last few days. On the Saturday, we cleared some of the weeds out of the multitude of pots left behind by the previous owner and the piles of leaves that had blown into the corners of the garden over the months that the house had been empty before we moved in. Next weekend we're hoping to get some more dry weather to pick up some bright blooms to plant in the pots beside our front door and cheerfully welcome us home each evening.

We didn't do much else work-wise in the garden over the rest of the weekend (although my husband did clean out the old bbq that had been left in the hope of more good weather to come) but just enjoyed having a space to sit out, read and chat. We sat outside drinking Pimms on Sunday afternoon, before retreating inside again for dinner as it was a little *too* hot, then took our tea outside again later. We were sitting there just reading and chatting, while our neighbour did the same next door with a visiting friend and her little dog just ran back and forth through the gate between our gardens, before settling down on her own little cushion on the floor. It was perfect. We did the same again on Monday but also took our breakfast out in the morning to enjoy the sunshine before the heat of the day. It was only three days but it felt like a proper break, it was magical.

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoSamKerri, LauraSarahPetaElMimmiMartinaLynseyKatie and Em (I think that's everyone - shout at me if you're not on the list!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Wonderful Wednesday 53

25 April 2018

A short but sweet round-up this week as I type this frantically on Tuesday night after getting home late from a seminar. A good excuse to look for some choice happy moments, amongst my yawns! On with the good times!


♥ Walks in the sunshine... Over the last few weekends, I've really felt like I've been able to stretch my legs for the first time since we moved in. It's amazing what a boost some good weather brings. We've started to explore more of the area, which is so different to the suburbs of London where we've always lived together. There's actual countryside pretty much on our doorstep and I'm loving it! I feel like I can breathe again.

On Sunday, we walked through some fields near our house, following some footpaths that had thankfully mostly dried out over the last week of sunshine. We passed a few dog walkers but for the majority of the time, it was just the two of us; fields of horses, gorgeous blossom and blissful silence. We even discovered a field full of forget-me-nots, absolutely beautiful. 

♥ Gardening... This last weekend was so wonderful! We'd been saying all week that if it lasted to the weekend, we wanted to get out into our little garden and have a good old tidy. It was the perfect weather for it really - not as hot as the days preceding it and with a refreshing breeze. I had the easier job, digging all the weeds out of the pots, while the mister chopped away at an abundance of ivy that had grown everywhere during the long winter months. We'd picked up a few plants earlier on the Saturday - only a few until we really plan what we'd like to do with the space and go to a garden centre, but enough to add a splash of colour here and there. My little chilli seeds that have been sitting in a pot on our windowsill for the last few weeks finally started to sprout this weekend too - hopefully they'll be ready to plant outside in another week or two!

♥ Summer drinks... I popped into the supermarket on my way home from work on Friday, searching for something cooling and refreshing to sip out in the garden after a long hot week and discovered a new drink that is going to be my go-to choice this summer - Belvoir's Cucumber and Mint Pressé. My goodness, it was everything I was looking for and more. Cooling, refreshing, sweet without feeling like all my teeth were going to fall out. Super tasty - give it a try if you spot it! I poured myself a glass as soon as I got home and sat out in the garden watching the red kites soar overhead and a few hot air balloons over the hills in the distance...and felt my shoulders drop and all the week's tension ease away.

♥ Lunch breaks... I'm dreadful for not taking a lunch break. I pop downstairs to heat up some soup, bring it back up to my desk and before I know it, the hour has passed without me stirring and (on occasion) with my soup sitting cold beside me. I know it's not good and I do really notice the benefit in the afternoons when I do pop out for a quick walk outside. Over the last week, thanks to the sunny weather, I've been popping out a little more and it's been lovely. Even Monday, which was oddly chilly again (boo!), I popped out for 15 minutes and read my book in the park. Here's to taking a few more well-deserved breaks.

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoSamKerri, LauraSarahPetaElMimmiMartinaLynseyKatie and Em (I think that's everyone - shout at me if you're not on the list!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Wonderful Wednesday 52

11 April 2018

The first full week back to normality and it's so difficult - I thought last week's two day week was long enough, that was nothing at all! Thank goodness for an opportunity to focus on some good things, which was even more therapeutic than usual this week, including:


♥ Our first (non-family) visitor... Our friend B came to visit this weekend and it was so exciting to be able to show off our new home and the little town that we're now living in! It unfortunately wasn't looking its best in the dreary weather but at least some of Saturday was dry, enabling us to explore the town spotting some little signs of spring (like the magnolia tree below which is almost blooming), stop for a little drink in a cosy pub and pick up some snacks for the evening. We then headed back to our house to give him the royal tour and set up our bird feeder (discussed further below!) With the weather being so dreadful, it was actually super cosy to then be able to batten down the hatches, drink red wine and watch movies. Now *that's* how to do a dreary Saturday right!

♥ Anemones... I love these fragile-looking flowers, with their ruff of foliages balanced atop a surprisingly robust stems. I always seem to miss out on picking any up because blink and you'll miss them in the shops. But this weekend I popped out looking for some gorgeous blooms to replace my flagging tulips and was so excited to spot the last bunch in our local supermarket. They're so beautiful!

♥ Birds... I think I mentioned before we even moved in but I was very excited at the prospect of getting a bird feeder for our little garden as there seem to be heaps of wee birds around, and I was so aware over the past few really cold and snowy months how important it is to make sure there's food around for birds at this time of year in particular. This weekend we picked up a bird feeder and some peanuts to fill it with and hung it from one of the trees in the garden. It then proceeded to rain for the rest of the weekend so there were limited birds flying around but I've already spotted one or two having a tentative peck. Go go gadget birdwatching!

♥ First Aid training... A slightly tenuous good thing (!) but last Thursday evening, I was home alone and I dropped a heavy glass and metal pan lid on my foot. Oh my goodness the pain! I nearly fainted with the pain and at first, just sat down and put my head in my hands which didn't help at all. I've been on a first aid training course at work and thankfully that kicked in quickly so I did what you should do if you're feeling faint - lay down on the floor and propped my legs up. After a few minutes, I was feeling a whole lot better although my foot was still throbbing. It thankfully isn't broken, just bruised. Now, if there was a course for clumsiness I'd be straight on that. First aid classes for all though - I recommend them so much!

♥ Countryfile... There was something odd about our last flat - despite being a hilly area, it was so difficult to get a TV signal. We're now connected again so able to watch TV in real time, which means Countryfile on a Sunday evening! Is there anything more comforting?! This was shortly before the new Sunday night Agatha Christie on the BBC - one more episode to go and I still can't work out who's responsible. Is anyone else watching it?!

♥ Monday lunchings... LT and I had put a date in the diary a week or so back to grab lunch on Monday and it was just what I needed to kickstart my week, and get me through a particularly trying day... Why does an hour fly by when you're catching up with a friend? More lunchtime catch-ups I think and a really wonderful excuse to get away from my desk, which shamefully I don't usually do, and it makes such a difference to step away even for a short while. 

♥ Do let me know what's made your week a little rosier by leaving me a comment below or dropping me a tweet (I'm @happygoluckycat) or better yet, why not join the fabulous bunch of #WonderfulWednesday bloggers? Pop over to their blogs for a dose of mid-week happiness - SallyMichelleHelenKateJoSamKerri, LauraSarahPetaElLauraMimmiMartinaLynseyKatie and Em (I think that's everyone - shout at me if you're not on the list!) - and then join me in counting down the days until the weekend. It's in sight! 

Review: 'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine' by Gail Honeyman

6 April 2018

If ever there was a post that got people talking on my Instagram page, it was when I shared the above photo and said I was reading 'Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine', and despite the fact that I had only just picked it up I was already completely hooked. So many people commented saying that they loved this book and whizzed through it but a few others said exactly the opposite - a bit of a Marmite book then, you either love it or hate it?

I joined a book group over on Instagram just over a month or so ago and when it came to choosing our first read, I suggested this book because I'd seen quite a few people reading it (usually on the tube!) and it had been on my wishlist for a while, so this would be the perfect excuse to pick it up. It was delivered to my office on a Friday morning, I started it on the train home that evening and had finished it by Sunday night - I'd probably have devoured it sooner only I had packing to do but I ran back to it every moment I could. 

What can I say without giving any of the plot away? The blurb on the cover reads:

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive - but not how to live.
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted - while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she's avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than... fine?

Eleanor is such an interesting character and I really enjoyed seeing the world through her eyes, and how she reacts to things which are so much part of the usual course of everyday life. While I guessed some of the elements that are gradually fed to you over the course of the story about her history and the events that have taken place, that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book in any way. I was rooting for her so completely. She's a joy. 

Living in a city and looking at people all around you, going to work, travelling home, all in their own little bubbles, it really made me a think a lot about loneliness and how it's possible to feel lonely, even when you're surrounded by people everyday. 

This is the perfect book if you're looking for a real comfort-read, something to lose yourself in completely. It won't change your life but it's just a wonderful, heartwarming story and everyone needs at least one of those on their shelf. 

Have you read this book? Drop me a comment letting me know what you think - I find that a lot of the fun of reading is also sharing and discussing it afterwards!

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