Book Review: The Sunshine And Biscotti Club.

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Sunshine and biscotti are two of my favourite things so when I saw this book by Jenny Oliver flash up on Facebook I bought it. Immediately. Clever Facebook.

Thankfully I had no cause to regret my trigger-happiness and now I have a new author to add to my favourites list.

sunshineandbisHere is the blurb:

The ovens are pre-heating, the Prosecco is chilling…and The Sunshine and Biscotti Club is nearly ready to open its doors.

But the guests have other things on their minds…

Libby: The Blogger
Life is Instagram-perfect for food blogger Libby…until she catches her husband cheating just weeks before her Italian cooking club’s grand opening.

Eve: The Mum
Eve’s marriage isn’t working, but she’s not dared admit it until now. A trip to Italy to help Libby open The Sunshine and Biscotti Club might be the perfect escape…

Jessica: In Love with her Best Friend
Jessica has thrown herself into her work to shut out the memory of the man who never loved her back. The same man who’s just turned up in Tuscany…

Welcome to Tuscany’s newest baking school – where your biscotti is served with a side of love, laughter and ice-cold limoncello!

I think it would have helped if I had read this info before I started, just to get the characters clear in my head, but I literally saw it, bought the book and started reading without knowing a single thing about it (brave or stupid?).

At a couple of points I got a bit confused over whether Libby was the one with hippy parents or Eve was the one with lots of siblings but that could also be down to the fact I carried on reading after my bedtime.

And that’s the thing about this book, you want to carry on reading it.

There is a lovely, gentle current carrying you along and, as you get deeper into the story, the connection you feel with the characters only makes it harder to stop.

Each chapter is headed either Libby, Jessica or Eve and you follow the story from their particular viewpoint. It didn’t interrupt the flow, as it can sometimes do with a switch.

I like that the women (and the male characters) are all so different. Their varying personalities come across really well but Jenny hasn’t blown loads of words on it, which I think is a true talent. I felt like I could relate to elements of them all and wouldn’t mind being friends with them too.

The wonderful location also comes to life within the pages. In fact, it shows just how convincing the book is when, after reading the final page, I immediately wanted to go on a cooking holiday in Tuscany. Me! Hardly Masterchef material – although neither were Libby’s friends and they all had the time of their lives.

Price (August 2016): 99p on Kindle.

My verdict: Four stars.

My Sunday Photo – Week 33.

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Rain showers? Check.

Unseasonably high winds? Check.

Given the forecast yesterday you might think the best idea would have been to hide away indoors.

Not us.

My inlaws were visiting so we decided to head back to Pensthorpe Natural Park for some outdoor fun (minus the hour or so Freya enjoyed in the fabulous indoor play area).

Thankfully, although it was a bit breezy, the rain held off for the duration of our visit.

IMG_7030 (1)Although there were not many butterflies (my first love), there was still plenty to see.

I was quite pleased with these shots . Apart from cropping, they are as I took them. I love his little face, if it is actually a face. As I was snapping, about two feet away from him, I could see him turning his head this way and that, almost like he was interested in what I was doing.

Here are a few more (I’ve posted some on Instagram too).

 Wishing you a lovely week.
Photalife

Five things I did when my toddler slept through the night for the first time.

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My old friend sleep, oh how I have missed you.

Not that you’re back, exactly. No, you’re more like that best friend from high school who you see maybe once a year now but when you’re together it feels like you’ve never been apart. Well, sort of, anyway.

For the first time in her entire nearly three years on this planet, Freya slept in her own bed last night. All night (7.30pm – 5.30am). You would think, given that I’ve had more than a thousand disturbed nights since she was born, I would have been out like a light.

Not so.

Her sleep issues, for the last year, at least, are my fault. I accept full responsibility. And this isn’t a moan, as such, more a chuckle at how daft I am because instead of catching some much needed zzzzzzs, I spent my time wide awake worrying about why she wasn’t wide awake.

Here are the five things I did while Freya slumbered on:

  1. Googled. In the old days when the only way she would sleep was sat up on my chest, I used to Google, one handed, phrases such as: “When will my baby sleep?” and “Why won’t my baby sleep?” Now that my baby was finally asleep, I Googled: “What diseases can you catch from a seagull feather?”, “Ingredients of Mr Whippy ice-cream” and “Will it wake my child if I prod her?”
  2. Kept vigil. Even though I established that she is unlikely to have caught plague from the feather she played with, that the ice-cream, while not exactly healthy, did not have anything in that should disagree with her and that I should leave her well alone, I was still worried. Thankfully we went completely over the top and bought a video monitor when she was born (even though we live in a tiny flat where you can hear a person breathe through the walls) so I was able to sit and watch her sleeping. For hours.
  3. Celebrated. Wait a minute. Could this be the night, after many many false starts, that people have been telling me about for two years? I felt euphoric. Like I was finally winning at parenting.
  4. Panicked. If this is The Night, how do I make sure this happens again? What exactly did we do in the day that has made her sleep so well? Am I going to have to take her to the beach, feed her ice-cream and let her paddle in the sea every day now? (That doesn’t sound like a terrible way to live).
  5. Reminisced. Sleeping through the night. She’s so grown up now. She’ll be off to university soon. She’ll get a job. Move out. Maybe have a family of her own. Will she remember her old mum? I kind of miss her sleeping next to me. Those little baby grunts and snorts. Those not-so-gentle kicks to my head as she tried to get comfy. Waking up with her face half an inch from mine as she whispers: “Is it time to get up?” At 3am. Awww. What if she never wants to cuddle again? What if all those people telling me to “enjoy every moment” and “make the most of her baby years” were right and all those nights I have wished, no longed, for sleep come back to haunt me?

This morning, feeling like I need a vat of coffee to get me through the day, I praised Freya approximately every five minutes for sleeping in her own bed. As I continued to ponder exactly why she had such a good night, I remembered a conversation we had in the car yesterday on the way to the beach.

“Did you have any nice dreams last night?” I ask.

“No.”

“Oh.”

“You woke me up?” She said in a grump.

“Me?”

“Yes, you were snoring.”

For the record, I obviously don’t snore at all, especially in a way that would rival Daddy Pig because, as we have discussed, I don’t actually sleep. I’m sure this must have been in her dream.

“Well, if you were to sleep in your own bed, you wouldn’t be able to hear me snoring,” I tell her, even though it is technically not true (and I don’t snore anyway).

“All night?” She asked.

“All night.” I confirm.

“Ok.”

Could it really be that simple?

I’ll let you know tomorrow morning.

 

Little Hearts, Big Love