30May review of Top 5 2023 bookish resolutions

As Meeghan has given us a freebie Top 5 Tuesday week and it is halfway through year time to review the 5 bookish resolutions set in Jan2023.

Book club challenge completion

1. Complete book Cllub challenge. ✔️

2. Read Agatha Christie book that have bought. ✔️ I read the ABC murders which is a Poriot. It was ok but not made me desperate to read further Agatha Christie’s.

3. Keep using local library. I first tried February 2020 to request a book from the library to get in the habit of using … but then library for obvious reasons had to close for a while. But 2022 I did borrow books from the library so must remember to do this! ✔️

Have borrowed books from the library multiple times.

4. Keep buying 2nd hand books to help charities. Although I’m afraid there will be some Amazon shops – it is just quicker and easier when there is a specific title want! Although will release lots back to be sold again; to keep the cycle going! ✔️

I have bought multiple charity shop books and taken books back to charity. Some Amazon buys, some Works buys and one Waterstones buy of signed copy of Rayner Winn’s Landlines.

5. As I need a 5th resolution and I’m anti setting targets of books to read … my last resolution is just to keep enjoying reading. ✔️

Yes enjoying reading.


16May Top 5 books with fire 🔥

After Water and Earth next Meeghan has challenged us to come up with 5 books for the prompt fire 🔥

1. A slow fire burning Paula Hawkins of course not of sane standard as her book The Girl on the train.

2. The girl who played with fire. The second in the series of books by Stig Larsen.

3. No fire in the title but this book’s plot revolves around a fire: The suspect by Fiona Barton. A good twisty thriller, I also enjoyed her book The Child.

4. The silent suspect by Nell Pattison features an arson. These and subsequent books in the series have the interesting feature of being set in the deaf community.

5. The burning girls by CJ Tudor also features fire.

9May Top by 5 Tuesday: books with Earth 🌎

Per Meeghan’s prompt of Earth 🌍 this is what I have come up with.

1. Saltpath about Rayner Winn’s long distance walk around southern coast of England and interaction with nature and other humans.

2. Wild Silence another second book by Raynor Winn about walking. Third of Raynor Winn’s book’s Landlines should be delivered to me this week 🙂 This time about walking in Scotland.

3. Another book about a walking pilgrimage on Earth … The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. This book has just been released as a film which I hope to see soon.

4. The Human’s by Matt Haig (author of the Midnight Library) is about an alien coming to Earth to live as a Human. I have recently finished it and my copy even features 🌍 on the cover.

5. Apples never fall by Leonie Moriety. Because of caused the silent end word of title which is implied is FAR and of course when they fall they fall to Earth. Also it is about, is it possible in this day and age of technology to seemingly disappear from the earth. Finally it explores human nature on Earth.

Do you remember the first time .. Coronation days

Only a certain demography will have actual memories of the Queen’s coronation day.

My Mum was only a few months old at the time of the coronation. But I have to commentate that year for her given her a 1953 coin and a £5 King Charles coronation coin.

My Dad was only three and a half so his memories are vague. He can remember it because he had to wear his best clothes out of respect which he was not keen on as just wanted to play. He remembers it being a cold wet day.

My Dad can not recall street parties or whether his family watched it. But he thinks they did not have a tv at home as he thinks they got it for the 1954 World Cup. He said in the World Cup England lost 6-1 to Hungary. But I have crossed checked and it was not the World Cup that England played Hungry in… In 1954 they played each other in Hungry as a pre cup friendly. The score was 7-1 to Hungry and is significant as still today it is England’s biggest defeat ever. The match in Hungry was a return match of a friendly match in Wembley in 1953. In 1953 Hungry won 6-3.

As you asked; in the 1954 World Cup England got to the quarter finals and were then knocked out by Uruguay.

Were Ivy and Abe destined to meet?

Review of Ivy and Abe by Elizabeth Enfield

I was drawn to this book in the library and it is a fantastic book. It has some romance too but it is not a simple boy, meets girl and fairly smoothly they live happily ever after. It does not take one relationship in isolation, as in real life it shows how busy lives are and Joe relationships are affected by family, employment, friends, world events etc… It explores how lots of small factors affect when two people meet and subsequently how their relationship pans out.

The book explores what’s if by showing the same couple meeting at different times in their lives. It reminded me of the film Sliding Doors and book Midnight library which I also enjoyed with way they showed alternative lives characters may have led. The first chapter was the couple meeting in retirement after first meeting briefly in childhood and for me that reminded me of the fabulous Last Tango in Halifax.

One of the complications that ran through the book is the degenerative genetic disease within Ivy’s family. Having studied bioethics; the dilemmas this threw up were interesting to me. It is an example of one thing that made lives complicated and realistic for the couple.

A repeating feature that appeared often in the book was a hay bale falling off back off a tractor with different effects. I’m not sure if it was meant to be a metaphor? Needles in haystacks? But certainly it was one of the interesting points that makes your mind think about the what ifs.

This would be a fantastic book for a book club to discuss the what ifs and quotes from the book. I will share some of the quotes thet stood out to me on Instragram Wonderwall360.

The book was written in 2017 but has chapters of 2026 and 2032. If it had been written after the pandemic the meet during the pandemic would definitely have been an interesting story!

I can also see it making a fantastic film but obviously book would be better and I definitely recommend reading it!

Wanderlust Book Tag

Had this in my drafts a while so do not know where it came from! I have recently completed it with some recent reads.

Salt and sand: a book with a beach-side community

The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle by Sophie Green. Set around an Australian beach, I read on my trip to Australia December 2022 … if you look back a little on my blog there are a few posts about my Australian trip!

City Break

Three wishes by Liane Moriety. I think better than her Big Little Lies. Set in the fabulous city of Sydney where I spent new year 2022 into 2023!

A voyage on the high seas

I have read several Titanic books. You get to see the opulence of big cruises ships but no spoiler here …. It does not end well!

The last voyage of Mrs Henry Parker by Joanne Nell captures cruise opulence well!

Snowy Landscapes:

Call of the Penguins 🐧 by Hazel Prior; set in snowy Antarctic with penguins!

The Chalet by Charlotte Cooper, a taste of luxury skin holiday.

Space holiday

The Martian 👽 or Hail Mary by Andy Weir. Both are about being alone in space and unsure how to get back so not sure they sell the idea as a holiday!

Hen / Stag weekend

An unimaginatively titled section I have added in order to mention the Hen and Stag weekend by Mike Gayle. As it says on the tin it is about both hen and stag but the unusual thing is one story is one side of the book then you flip and read from other side for the other party’s story!

Epic walks

Another category from me. In order to mention the true story books by Rayner Winn of The Salt path and the Wild Silence.

Immersive Gunpowder plot London

Remember, remember 5th November …

To help me remember I have done an immersive experience based next to the Tower of London. The premise of the experience is that you are Catholic imprisoned in the Tower of London November 1605. You start in a cell with an actor playing a prisoner. Then other actors take you on a journey to tell a version of ‘the plot story’.

The actors and scenery are good but authenticity, slightly dampened by seeing rest of group dressed normally. Later in the experience the group gets clocks with hoods to wear so that is better. Definitely advise putting bags in lockers so they do not spoil illusion! I had to carry small rucksack as did not have pockets for purse and phone although in hindsight as could not use phone in most of it; I could have left in a locker!

For me a better start would have been to don the cloak then some virtual reality to get me into the zone then that would have set me up better for interactions with the actors.

For the virtual reality sections, they get you in the zone because you wear a headset then every direction turn you are fully immersed in 1605. No one impinging on that. On that note if you wear glasses be careful with the headsets! One member of my group temporarily lost glasses which was added drama and was sort of funny but also distracted from the experience! I was in the first group of the day with 7 others the next tour had more people in so I was relatively lucky.

Not too spoil all the virtual reality so just to give one example from the three VR sections. One section you stepped on to a mocked up boat. Put the VR headset on then went out on 1605 Thames. The boat rocked appropriately, combined with the VR and sounds you were really immersed. Plus amazing to see 1605 London from perspective of a small rowing boat on the Thames.

In advanced I paid for VIP package. Not sure I would advise that for everyone. So you can make a more informed decision:

– Most of the tour is same for standard and VIP.

– You get a cocktail at the interval. It is just some kind of Prosecco with syrup. You have less 15mins to drink. Therefore for that reason I would question whether worth whole party going VP; not sure worth it for kids or those who do not drink alcohol and if in couple you could share a cocktail.

– You can have food before or after tour in the bar. However, the choice of food was not really themed; burgers or pizza. You could buy this on the day for about £14. The meal includes a glass of beer or wine which would otherwise be about £6. But it does not include the best things on the menu; the themed cocktails and deserts with bonfire related names! So you may want to be flexible and buy the food on the day if you fancy it, depending how the rest of the package works for you.

– It is good that the package includes a photo. So if want photo and food as above it probably works out better to have the package than buying parts separate. You do three poses within your party which are superimposed on to backgrounds to choose from. But say you are a family may you just one photo of your family rather than a separate one each!

– With vip you also get tote bag, bookmark and notebook.

Overall it is an activity worth considering in London!

Stop overs on journeys to Australia: Singapore and Bangkok

Singapore Highlights

Arriving in the evening after hours of not little sleep on planes the priority was food then bed. Handily my hotel was across road from a river with bars and restaurants on the opposite side. I found a Belgium restaurant and enjoyed sitting outside on a Friday evening watching people stroll along the river.

After a morning tour of Singapore the following day in the afternoon I enjoyed reading by the pool on a rooftop

I was reading a book set in Singapore. There was only me for the majority of the time and I had a big cosy round mattress enclosed sofa. There may have been some dozing!

Bangkok Highlights

The rooftop pool was amazing! Biggest pool of the holiday! Fabulous city sights. I was there the first few days of 2023 and at night there was an impressive 2023 illumination. The pool also looked amazing from the hotel restaurant next to it where I enjoyed a couple of meals.

Did an amazing tour night tour where visited a temple lit with candles the. went round a food markets on a vibrant street and sampled food including bamboo worms. Followed by flower markets where saw lots of beautiful flowers. Plus had a tok tok rides! – Exhilarating!

Grand palace was so sparkly.

It had a suitably Asian / exotic feel. It was warm and sunny!


Is it obvious yet that I preferred Bangkok? Singapore seemed less Asian and exotic plus was more expensive!

The main touristy area of Singapore seemed to be around the bay. It was quite flashy I.e seemed expensive. Maybe at the end of the holiday I would have been more willing to splash out and that could have affected perceptions! The bay lights were disappointing but there are two shows at different locations and I only saw the earlier one which was different to normal as a Christmas version and possibly bafflingly could have been less spectacular than normal version! I took lift up to the top of the ship building but I now think there may be different towers to go up and there maybe somewhere can go for free. But where I went up you could only stay if bought a cocktail.

I only saw Raffles from the outside and it did not look much. Apparently a cocktail was about £25! As I had not properly met my holiday companions then that seemed a lot to drink alone.

We briefly went to China town to visit a temple. The temple was interesting but around the temple I did not see a vibrant China town; I’m not sure if there was more to see? Finally what really put a dampener on the experience was the deluge of rain on day was leaving there prevented exploring further / seeing if more China town had missed or even returning to my perfect spot by the pool! As highlights show I did not hate my time in Singapore there was some good moments. Yet I do only have one photo from Singapore!

Bangkok I have quite a few more photos! Plus no real downsides! The hop on and off bus was not great for hopping on and off as there was just one route, a long gap between buses and stops not clearly marked. But it was good for seeing the city and you got the commentary as went round! A bit of seeing including the amazing night tour and a chance to relax by pool after a busy time in Australia was a fabulous was to start 2023 and I wanted to enjoy that pool for longer! I guess it helped that by that time had some friends!