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The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you all had a day as fun as mine!

Christmas for me started off opening presents yesterday evening as I spent today at Cameron’s house and my mum wanted us to all open our presents together still. Christmas Eve finished with Midnight communion at Church with my Mum and Auntie Ann. Then up this morning for some breakfast (chocolate of course), before back up to the Church for the morning service. I’ve never been to Church on Christmas Day before, but it was fantastic. Starting off Christmas Day celebrating the real meaning of Christmas with the loveliest people. It was a great service as always; you know it’s going to be fun when it starts with ‘A long time ago, in a Galilee far, far away’.

After leaving Church, we came back to Cameron’s house to open presents. It’s the first time I’ve ever not been at home for Christmas Day, and it was a massive change of pace to go from 12+ people to only 4. But it was really nice having a quieter house for a change, and I received some lovely and thoughtful presents. The next few hours were spent watching Cameron assemble his new Lego train set, before a huge and delicious Christmas dinner prepared by Cameron’s Mum.

After dinner, there were 4 hours of watching the glee on Cameron’s face as he set the train set up on the dining table and drove it round and round and through obstacles and causing crashes (some deliberate, some definitely not!). A perfect day, I love seeing other people so happy!

I’m about to finish off the day with some quiet reading and contemplation before a well deserved rest. I hope you all had a great time filled with family and fun too!

Eric Church and The Cadillac Three at The Ritz, Manchester

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For Christmas, Cameron bought me tickets to see Eric Church at the Ritz in Manchester. Since it had been a while since we went away anywhere, we decided to get a hotel in the centre of Manchester and have the weekend away. Living in England, there’s not much opportunity to see country music played live, so I was incredibly excited to see one of my favourites, Eric Church, live for the first time!

I didn’t expect it to be too busy, but when we got to the venue 45 minutes before doors opened, the queue was already snaking around the corner. And by the time that The Cadillac Three came on stage, the venue was absolutely packed with hardly any room to even move to the bar. The variety of people in attendance was quite surprising too, people of all ages and who looked from all different social backgrounds coming together for a good time.

I’d never heard of The Cadillac Three before, but they were awesome. They definitely amped the crowd up and I came away from the venue and immediately started looking for their music online.

Which brings us to the main act. What can I say. Simply terrific. I would probably say that he was better live than on his CDs, simply due to the way that he interacted with the crowd and had us all joining in. I think he was quite surprised that people sang along to every single one of his songs, even the new album which has only just come out.

I have to say, it was one of the best gigs I’ve been to. Superb. If you’ve not heard either Eric Church or The Cadillac Three, you should definitely check them out.

Review: Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol

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charles-dickens-a-christmas-carolI’m quite ashamed to say that I have never read this book before – the only way I actually knew this story was from watching The Muppet’s Christmas Carol film each Christmas, but I’d never actually read the proper story. Somewhat more embarrassingly, I’ve never read a single Dickens book.

I’m going to rectify that situation next year, I’ve downloaded a lot of Dickens books onto my tablet so that I can catch up on what I have most definitely missed out on. If you’re a Dickens fan and you have any suggestions for which book I should read first, leave me a comment below and let me know – I’ll happily take any suggestions!

We all know the story of A Christmas Carol so I’m not going to delve too deep into that, but it’s a brilliant tale of redemption and how it’s never too late to change our ways. What I will say is that I loved the writing. This strange Victorian world so different from ours was brought to life so vibrantly on the page that you were just drawn into the book and I couldn’t stop reading.

The main disappointment for me was that the book was so short. Before I started reading (and having never read Dickens before) I had presumed that all Dickens books were long and beastly books, but I was very pleasantly surprised that, although short, the book was such a joy to read.

If you’ve never read this book and only ever heard the story through the films, I would strongly recommend that you pick up this book and give it a try this Christmas.

4 out of 5, but only because I wish it had been longer!

4-5

Now Reading: Emma Donoghue – Room

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photo-12The Auschwitz Violin was a really good book, too short for my liking though – one of those books that you just don’t want to end. The story is about a man who has been taken to Auschwitz and is pretending to be a carpenter. When they find out that he is a Luthier, he is set the task of creating a replica of a Stradivarius violin. If he doesn’t do it fast enough, he will be sent to be used for all manner of horrific things that happened in Auschwitz. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading books about World War Two.

My next book is one that my cousin Hannah gave me at Christmas – Room by Emma Donoghue. I’m already 55 pages into it and I love it. The story is a bit strange at the moment, but I’m intrigued to see where it’s going to go.

Now Reading: Maria Àngels Anglada – The Auschwitz Violin

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I got a few books for Christmas this year:

  • The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Àngels Anglada
  • Room by Emma Donaghue
  • Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  • The Lily Bard series by Charlaine Harris

photo-11It was a tough choice to decide which to read first, so I’ve decided to read them in the order I opened them. First up is The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Àngels Anglada, which Cameron bought for me. I love reading books about the war; two of my favourite books are World War Two (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Diary of Anne Frank). I’ve got two days off, then it’s back to work for 3 days and then a 3 day weekend, so I’ve got plenty of time to get through a couple of books.

Now it’s time to take a look at the January Sale email from The Book People. I had the catalogue through the door a couple of days ago, and there were some really good deals in there.

I think someone needs to confiscate my credit card…

Merry Christmas!

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It’s a bit late in the day now, but wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a great day. Mine was surrounded by family; chatting, laughing and opening presents – and eating turkey of course! The only thing missing was Cameron! I got some really cool stuff, including books, DVDs, music, make up and charms for my bracelet.

I wanted to share this picture that someone posted on Twitter, it really made me laugh:

4722038_orig

I hope everyone enjoys boxing day, recovering from the over indulgence today! I’ll leave you with a couple of my favourite quotes this Christmas:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”

Luke 2:14

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

Merry Christmas

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Luke 2:14
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

Loved Ones

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This is read every year at the Lights of Love service at Wheatfields Hospice. It’s a really lovely poem, with such a beautiful meaning. My Grandad was cared for at Wheatfields and they do such fantastic work. It’s nice to go back each year to support them.

So many Christmas memories,
Now touched by gentle tears
Of Christmas shared with loved ones
Left as precious souvenirs.

The warmth of smiles and laughter,
That extra special wish.
Christmas time reminders
Of how much they’re missed.

If only it was Christmas
In the way it was before
If only we could have a chance
To share in just one more.

There’d be another memory left
Before we had to part.
Where a little Christmas magic
Helped to heal an aching heart.