Monthly Archives: August 2014

Right here, right now (ABC Open 500 words)

This month’s theme on ABC Open is ‘Right here, right now’ and since it was also the month that my son turned 1, I had to write this one about him.

It’s called Three Hundred and Sixty-Four Days and here’s the link:

My precious 11-month-old Image by Brian Mottram

My precious 11-month-old
Image by Brian Mottram


Filed under ABC Open 500 words

1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (100 book challenge)

On Thursday 5th May 1999, I dressed in a long white robe and a fake golden beard, put a home-made halo on my head, and went with my venturer scout group to ‘Science at the Pub – a night with Douglas Adams’. I was dressed as a character from Adams’ book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Funnily enough, I didn’t know what character I was dressing as. I didn’t even know who Douglas Adams was and I certainly hadn’t read the book. I was merely going because it sounded like an interesting night out and a guy from my scout group said I’d make a perfect golden-bearded angel.

As with most sci-fi gatherings held at a local worker’s club at 7:30pm on a Thursday, a lot of people were dressed in costume. Of course the organisers ran a best-dressed competition. And low and behold, this little angel with a golden beard won.

As I stepped up on stage to shake the hand of Douglas Adams and receive a personally signed copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide, I was the awe of every pair of eyes in that room.

And I’d never heard of the man.

My beat-up (but personally signed) copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide

My beat-up (but personally signed) copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide

Feeling a little embarrassed about my win, I got home and started reading. It was heavy-going for a 17 year-old and I soon decided I had more important things to do than struggle through a 590-page book.

So I put it aside for a few years.

Continue reading


Filed under 100 book challenge, Uncategorized

100 book challenge – my running tally

In July 2014 I set myself the challenge to finish 100 must-read books before I die. Here is the list of books and my ongoing tally.

  • Total books read: 28
  • Books to go: 72
  • Time passed: 4 years, 1 month


Pride and Prejudice cover1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (11th book read – finished 28 March 2015, 428 pages over 33 days, read my review here)

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

to-kill-a-mockingbird-cover5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (23rd book read – finished 11 September 2016, 307 pages over 8 days, read my review here)

6 The Bible

Wuthering Heights cover 7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte (26th book read – finished 17 April 2017, 316 pages over 52 days, read my review here)

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

great expectations10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens (15th book read – finished 7 October 2015, 484 pages over 65 days, read my review here)

Little Women cover11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott (22nd book read – finished 1 September 2016, 504 pages over 70 days, read my review here)

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

Catch 22 cover13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller (14th book read – finished 3 August 2015, 518 pages over 82 days, read my review here)

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk

catcher in the rye cover18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger (7th book read – finished 14 December 2014, 220 pages over 5 days, read my review here)

Time Traveler's Wife cover

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger (6th book read – finished 8 December 2014, 518 pages over 35 days, read my review here)

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

great gatsby22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald (13th book read – finished 12 May 2015, 215 pages over 32 days, read my review here)

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

My beat-up (but personally signed) copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide

25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (1st book read – finished 23 August 2014, 509 pages over 31 days, read my review here)

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

alice-cover29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll (24th book read – finished 28 September 2016, 327 pages over 12 days, read my review here)

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma – Jane Austen

Persuasion cover35 Persuasion – Jane Austen (27th book read – finished 1 July 2017, 301 pages over 70 days, read my review here)

lion witch wardrobe cover36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis (17th book read – finished 13 November 2015, 185 pages over 5 days, read my review here)

Kite Runner cover37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (21st book read – finished 17 June 2016, 340 pages over 6 days, read my review here)

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

lord of the flies49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding (10th book read – finished 14 February 2015, 223 pages over 10 days, read my review here)

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel

Dune cover52 Dune – Frank Herbert (20th book read – finished 10 June 2016, 562 pages over 99 days, read my review here)

cold comfort farm cover53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons (16th book read – finished 4 November 2015, 233 pages over 15 days, read my review here)

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

Brave New World small58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (2nd book read – finished 31 August 2014, 206 pages over 8 days, read my review here)

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

mice-and-men-cover61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck (25th book read – finished 23 January 2017, 121 pages over 1 day, read my review **coming soon**)

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

Dracula cover72 Dracula – Bram Stoker (28th book read – finished 5 January 2018, 613 pages over 35 days, read my review here)

Secret Garden cover73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett (19th book read – finished 10 March 2016, 298 pages over 6 days, read my review here)

Notes from a small island74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson (5th book read – finished 19 October 2014, 265 pages over 17 days, read my review here)

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

76 The Inferno – Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

charlottes web87 Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White (8th book read – finished 21st December 2014, 175 pages over 7 days, read my review here)

Five people heaven88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom (12th book read – finished 10 April 2015, 196 pages over 14 days, read my review here)

sherlock holmes89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (9th book read – finished 7th December 2015, 508 pages over 17 days, read my review here)

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Wasp Factory front 293 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks (4th book read – finished 24 September 2014, 184 pages over 11 days, read my review here)

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

Town Like Alice cover96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute (18th book read – finished 7 February, 2016, 359 pages over 85 days, read my review here)

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

Hamlet Shakespeare cover98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare (3rd book read – finished 13 September 2014, 337 pages over 14 days, read my review here)

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

(This list has been copied from here at List Challenges.)


Filed under 100 book challenge

Why I refuse to take a #NoMakeupSelfie

Just a 'little' makup Image by Shesarii at

Just a ‘little’ makeup
Image by Shesarii at

There’s something really quite wrong about this ‘No Makeup Selfie’ craze that’s been doing the rounds. I have a big problem with it.

I’m not really bothered by the fact that it was meant to raise cancer awareness (and it didn’t), nor do I care that most people out there have cheated by using Instagram filters or they still wore just a little makeup (ultimately they can do what they like)…

The problem I have with this whole phenomenon is the comments people make when someone posts a No Makeup Selfie: ‘You’re just as beautiful without makeup!’ ‘I wish I looked that good!’ ‘Stunning!’

Let me explain.

Continue reading


Filed under BLOG: The Duchess of Charlestown