I remember vividly walking past this building as a child, I can't remember why, possibly an eye appointment somewhere, but I do have this memory of this building when it was an absolute wreck, damaged from the war and falling down from neglect it was this horrible shell.

Today St Pancras Station is a magnificent delight,  the red brick and gothic mouldings give it a Hogwarts feel and the wonderful latticework and glass ceiling allow the light to flood in and make the interior warm and bright.

The restoration of this structure and the clever use of the building with the addition of eateries, a champagne bar and shopping venues,  make it somewhere to visit in and of itself not just for passing through on the way to somewhere else.

I really loved the statues inside the station itself, there is one of Sir John Betjamen and one of a couple tenderly holding each other,  you're not sure if they are saying a bittersweet farewell or exchanging a long loving greeting after some time apart, it works either way but you feel the emotion in the piece and I really liked that.

Loved this book! I was completely enthralled by the characterisations and the plot.  Obviously as it is a novel based on real people and historical events, if you know your history of the Englsh Monarchy then you already know how it ends but somehow because of the fantastic writing weaving a perfectly believable lifelong lovestory into what is already there I found myself hoping for different outcomes, even though logically I already knew what I hoped for was already impossible by dint of time.

For me the measure of how much I enjoy a book is how much of my sleep am I prepared to forego (I was a sloth in a previous incarnation) in order to read it and with book I can genuinely say, I lost significant z's.

Whilst much is made of King Charles I and his beheading the story of his French Princess Bride is glossed over in history lessons, all I remember being taught about Henriette Marie of France was that she tried to turn England back to Catholicism and that she was the reason in the end that Charles ended up sans noggin.

But perhaps this was not so, perhaps in the mists of time and he chroniclers of the time just painted that picture for convenience... After all histories are not written by the dead, are they? 

Anyway, I liked the version of Henriette Marie I was introduced to in this story, beautiful, full of life and determination and with a backbone maybe not of steel, maybe willow, bending and swaying with circumstance, bending but never breaking and always returning upright when the storm has passed. This woman was more than a Queen she was a builder, a creator, a woman of vision.

Fiona Mountain is a wonderful writer, her descriptive style draws you in and really paints a picture that I was seeing in my mind as I read. 

My youngest son is Dyspraxic and has ADHD, he was diagnosed at 9, but I always knew there was something... I won't say 'wrong' with him because I don't think of it as an illness or a defiency it's just part of his makeup and makes him who he is.  Intelligent, funny, sarcastic, persnickety, ultra logical and painfully honest.  But I also won't say it is easy to live with either, hence the guilty pleasure title of the post... I feel guilty that I am happy that he has gone to his fathers for a few days, after an entire summer holiday of Conor I need a break from him, whilst he is all the positive things I said he is also irritating, argumentative, blunt to the point of rudeness and totally oblivious to anyone's feelings but his own.

I guess I always knew there was something different about him from when he was really small, it was little things, rapt attention to a task to the point of obsession sometimes, but I got that, I was like that myself so I understood it.  It was later, at school that his issues really came to the foreground, constant arguments with a specific teacher after which I would be called in and complained to about his behaviour.  Apparently him pointing out that she was incompetant was inappropriate (even if it was true...she got fired by the end of the term). I did try pointng out that she should be impressed that not only did a 7 year old know in what context to use the word 'incompetant' (secretly I was well chuffed) but he could also spell it correctly... Now that is impressive you have to concede!

A period of 2 years of constantly complaining from the school about Conor's "rudeness" and for rudeness I would substitute "excessive bluntness" my son calls a spade a spade,  if you're ugly he would happily tell you, my dearest friend Suzi will testify to this, not the ugly part, she isn't,  but Conor christened her cabbage and it's stuck.  This was a very difficult time, as a single parent I was endeavouring to date and had many a man seen off by Conor baring his arse at the poor chap.  I think in his mind it was some sort of test to see if they would stick around.... If you can bear the sight of my arse you're alright with me! Kind of thing....   Not many men managed to stick it out I have to say.

But the most difficult side effect of Conor's behaviour was my mental health.  I couldn't work out where I was going wrong? At his fathers he was a model child, at home he was hell on legs,  he seemed to enjoy tormenting me, many was the day I locked myself into my bedroom with him battering on the door demanding entry whilst I sat on the inside crying bitter tears wondering what was I doing wrong. 

The day came when then school insisted he go to the child and adolescent mental health dept for assessment and I will be forever grateful for that insistance... After tests suddenly there was a reason... I wasn't a shit parent with an out of control 'naughty' child.  I was the parent of a Dyspraxic child and all of a sudden the lights came on.  

Treatment for the ADHD was offered and administered and things did get better, obviously Dyspraxia is not a condition that has a pharmaceutical solution but there are coping mechanisms and behavioural therapies that help and we use them.  

We haven't, however, managed to find a way of stopping Conor taking great pleasure in tormenting me, trust me 4 hours of being poked in the arm repeatedly by a knittng needle would be enough to send a saint into a screaming fit... I am no saint trust me... I scream!

But i have learned to see the behaviour as in some ways flattering, he torments me because he feels safe, I'm the one person he feels safe enough tormenting that he feels won't go anywhere, I'll put up with it and him because he is my son and I love him.

Doesn't mean I won't lose the plot and throw a shoe at him though... Like I said... I am no saint.

So here is to my days off from Conor... my holiday so to speak and when he comes home and asks did you miss me? I will be as forthright as he and say "no!"

Ok to start with, originally I didn't actually buy this book, my husband thought it would be a good wheeze to put it on my ipad, mostly I think for embarassment factor, so I thought 'oh no miladdo I am not playing that, I shall read this book and then laugh at you'.

Sadly, the joke remained on me! I had seen that this book had been spotted being read by umpteen celebs and been hyped as if it was the next instalment to the karma sutra... trust me on this... neither is the case. 

So what do we have?  Well ostensibly the story (thin though it is) is about a very damaged man who meets an incredibly innocent young woman (a virgin no less... don't get many of them to the pound these days) and their ensuing "romance" if you can call it that.  I know I wouldn't.

What was good about the book?  Depends on your point of view really, if you want a story, good writing, a decent plot, then you will be sadly disappointed. If you just want copious amounts of repetitive sex then rock on this is the book for you!

My main quibble is the author's absolute lack of descriptive vocabulary, she only seems to know one word for sexy... "HOT" that's pretty much it.   I was a bit shocked that given there are such things as online thesaurus's she didn't take the time to bother to try and find some alternative options to that one word. For shame!

Sooo let's take a moment to have a little go at that shall we?  If you pop the word HOT into a thesaurus you get 
baking, blazing, blistering, boiling, broiling, burning, calescent, close, decalescent, febrile, fevered, feverish, feverous, fiery, flaming, heated, humid, igneous, incandescent, like an oven, on fire, ovenlike, parching, piping, recalescent, red*, roasting, scalding, scorching, searing, sizzling, smoking, steaming, stuffy, sultry, summery, sweltering, sweltry, thermogenic, torrid, tropic, tropical, very warm, warm, white

Now that's not bad is it... whilst the word 'hot' really is about temperature there are quite a few words there that could quite easily apply to the sexiness of an individual or a situation. no?

Now let's put in the word "SEXY" and see what you get. 

arousing, come-hither, cuddly, flirtatious, hot*, inviting, kissable, libidinous, mature, provocative, provoking, racy, risqué, seductive, sensual, sensuous, slinky, spicy*, steamy, suggestive, titillating, voluptuous
adorable, alluring, beautiful*, charming, covetable, enticing, fascinating, fetching

That took me all of 30 seconds... so seriously this author couldn't take 30 seconds to come up with another word for HOT????

And if you get really really adventurous and pop in the word 'ATTRACTIVE' you get

adorable, agreeable, alluring, beautiful, beckoning, bewitching, captivating, charming, comely, enchanting, engaging, enthralling, enticing, fair, fascinating, fetching, glamorous, good-looking, gorgeous, handsome, hunky, interesting, inviting, looker, lovely, luring, magnetic, mesmeric, pleasant, pleasing, prepossessing, pretty, provocative, seductive, stunning, taking, tantalizing, teasing, tempting, winning, winsome

So there you have it... basically the writer of this book was just lazy. Hmmm should I pop that into the thesaurus... yeah let's just for fun.

apathetic, asleep on the job, careless, comatose, dallying, dilatory, drowsy, dull, flagging, idle, inattentive, indifferent, indolent, inert, lackadaisical, laggard, lagging, languid, languorous, lethargic, lifeless, loafing, neglectful, out of it, passive, procrastinating, remiss, shiftless, slack, sleepy, slothful, slow, slow-moving, snoozy, somnolent, supine, tardy, tired, torpid, trifling, unconcerned, unenergetic, unindustrious, unpersevering, unready, weary

Well there you go... another 30 seconds of my life I won't get back

My other issue with this book was the actual characters... the girl is wetter than a weekend in Ireland, she has all the spine of... well... an amoeba and the all hailed Christian Grey?  Seriously I would kick that twat so hard in his privates that sex would be the last thing on his mind, he would be too busy trying to breathe! 

What the devil was this writer trying to do, put back women's sexuality by about 100 years?  Not only was this book a terrible representation of BDSM and sex play in general but it also advocates stalking, bullying and other generally undesirable attributes in a relationship.  It's one thing to be manly and take control in a relationship, but come on... when does stalking ever become acceptable?

I bought this book on a whim when I was browsing my way through Amazon, I love anything about Tudor history, not entirely sure why, I mean it's not as if the story changes is it?  We all know what happened!  But I hadn't read anything by this author but I thought go for it.

I have been really surprised by how much I enjoyed this story, it follows the very familiar story of Anne Boleyn and her relationship with Henry but it's a dual story as it also follows that of a fictional character, Lucy Cornwallis, a talented subtleties maker.   

I bet you are wondering what a subtlety is... I know I was.  A subtlety was almost a sculpture made of sugar, these days I imagine that we would call these "deserts", marchpane,  sugared fruits, cake and spun sugar was used to create fantastical decorative centerpieces that were very popular in Court and fine houses. 

I really liked the jumping style of the book from Anne's story to Lucy's and back again and how that their lives cross paths and mesh. 

Definitely worth a read.

This book is so handy, specially for those new to knitting, there is a great collection of quite simply designs that are easy to follow and make up. In particular the crossover vest which doesn't have any buttonholes to do... always a pain for a new knitter to get to grips with and the beanbag and blanket designs are straight forward and a great introduction to knitting where you end up with a nice end product and not just a ropey square that ends up going in the bin... yeah I did that... A lot at the start.

Debbie Bliss is brilliant at making sure that there are plenty of instructions in her books on how to do the stitches so even if you are a complete novice you wouldn't have any trouble getting started.