Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Maldives

We've finally got round to booking our honeymoon. We're going to the stunning Baros Resort in the Maldives. We'll be staying in a water villa, shown on the left of the photo:

As well as the stunning location they offer lots of excursions and water sports. I really like the clear canoes (enabling you to see marine life without the use of a snorkel) whereas Ian has his eye on sailing in a catamaran. A dolphin cruise is also a must.

We're really excited about the trip. I can't believe it's been 5 years since I last went abroad and this holiday of a lifetime will be a great way to get back into doing a bit of travelling.

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed towards our honeymoon fund for making this dream possible.

All photos taken from

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Music 2011

As for most (if not all) members of the Edwards family, books are an essential part of my life. Music is also extremely important to me and whilst I may not have time to read when I'm busy working I always have time to listen to music. For some strange reason music is something I've never blogged about, but having just blogged my favourite books of 2011 I thought I'd blog about the music I listened to last year.

My tastes in music are eclectic, but whilst I do enjoy classical music I find myself listening to it only very occasionally. Most of the music I listen to on a daily basis would be classed as country, R&B or pop. I also love musicals and in the last couple of years have started listening to some blues and jazz.

Unlike my reading that I keep good track of it's very difficult for me to say what I listened to the most last year. I do, however, keep a record of my favourite songs of the year (not necessarily released in that year, but ones I find myself playing over and over again). Looking at the list for 2011 only two artists feature twice - Miranda Lambert (with 'the house that built me' and 'new strings') and Lady Antebellum (with 'I run to you' and 'hello world'), both country artists. Other songs that made it to my list of favourites include:

Charlene Soraia - Wherever You Will Go
Adele - Someone Like You
David Cook - Permanent
Jim Brickman - Lake Eerie Rainfall (Instrumental)
Etta James - At Last (actually I've listened to the Christina Aguilera, Beyonce and Josh Krajcik versions more than the original)
Bomshel - Fight Like a Girl
P!nk - I Don't Believe You
Christina Perri - Jar of Hearts
Demi Lovato - Skyscraper

With regard to actual albums I'm guessing the ones I played the most in 2011 were Carrie Underwood's 'Carnival Ride', Jim Brickman's 'By Heart - Piano Solos' and Michael Buble's 'Christmas'. The latter has introduced me to the 'Puppini Sisters' whose albums I will definitely be buying.

My favourite song of 2011 is 'The house that built me' recorded by Miranda Lambert. Both the song and the video can quite easily make me cry, but I love them for that. Enya's 'Book of Days' has also gained a big significance in my life having walked 'down the aisle' to it in July. What music did you listen to or 'discover' in 2011?

Reading 2011

I'm officially retiring my book blog, having only posted a couple of times in the last two years, so when I do write about reading it shall be here.

During 2011 I read 39 fiction and 11 non-fiction. I also started Catch 22, but couldn't get past 50 or so pages. It's unusual for me not to finish a book, especially one that I feel I ought to read. I'll probably try reading it again in a couple of years.

It's also unusual for me to read significantly more fiction than non-fiction, but last year I decided to focus on reading modern fiction that friends and family had recommended.

The fiction I gave 10 stars to were:

Iggulden, Conn - Emperor: The gates of Rome
Iggulden, Conn - Emperor: The death of kings
Hosseini, Khaled - The Kite Runner
Hosseini, Khaled - A Thousand Splendid Suns
Iggulden, Conn - Emperor: The Field of Swords
Iggulden, Conn - Emperor: The Gods of War
Golden, Arthur - Memoirs of a Geisha
Atwood, Margaret - The Handmaid's Tale
Martel, Yann - Life of Pi
Albom, Mitch - The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Mitchell, David - Cloud Atlas
Barbery, Muriel - The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Edwards, Clive John - 1874 (okay so I might be a little biased here!)

I'd not read books by any of these authors before and it will definitely encourage me to read more fiction in future.

The non-fiction I gave 10 stars to were:

Chang, Jung - Wild Swans
Harrer, Heinrich - Seven Years in Tibet

The other books I read were the following. The books with a star did not receive 10 stars, but I still consider them 'must-reads':

Goodkind, Terry - Temple of the Winds
Goodkind, Terry - Soul of the Fire
Goodkind, Terry - Faith of the Fallen
Kuegler, Sabine - Child of the Jungle (non-fiction)
Fuller, Alexandra - Don't let's go to the dogs tonight (non-fiction)
*Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Horwood, William - The Boy with No Shoes (non-fiction)
Banks, Iain - The Wasp Factory
*Filopovic, Zlata - Zlata's Diary (non-fiction)
Horwood, William - Hyddenworld - Spring
Forster, E M - A Passage to India
Forster, E M - A Room with a View
*Zola, Emile - Germinal
Faulks, Sebastian - Engleby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
*Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
Latifa - My Forbidden Face (non-fiction)
Sebold, Alice - The Lovely Bones
Golding, William - Rites of Passage
*Donague, Emma - Room
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Sasson, Jean - For the Love of a Son (non-fiction)
Randell, Nigel - The White Headhunter (non-fiction)
Faulks, Sebastian - The Girl at the Lion d'Or
Shah, Hannah - The Imam's Daughter (non-fiction)
Wharton, Edith - The Age of Innocence
Twining, James - The Double Eagle
*Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Ishiguro, Kazuo - The Remains of the Day
*Thomas, Abigail - A Three Dog Life (non-fiction)
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz - The Shadow of the Wind
Fynn - Mister God This is Anna
Fielding, Helen - Bridget Jones's Diary
Fielding, Helen - Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason

I find it extremely difficult to choose the 'best book' that I read in 2011 - for me it comes jointly between Cloud Atlas and Wild Swans. Interestingly my father's favourite book of 2011 was also written by David Mitchell.

I'm back reading non-fiction in 2012 and have already given 10 stars to Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman.

Sunday, 8 January 2012


Sadly we were unable to keep fostering Sophie because dementia had set in, causing all sorts of problems including scratching the walls and howling every morning at 5am for no reason. She's now back at Axhayes, so at least we can visit her when we like (I have the scars to prove it!)

Before Christmas we visited Axhayes to meet some of their older cats. We were very taken with two of them - Misty and Frankie, but unfortunately Frankie had come from the countryside and wouldn't be suitable for homing in the city.

We offered to adopt Misty, but didn't bring her home until after the New Year because we knew that we would be visiting family over the holiday period and didn't want to leave her on her own.

Misty is a 10 year-old white and silver tabby. She's a little shy, very affectionate and also quite playful - something we've not been used to, but are enjoying immensely.

Only a couple of days after her arrival and she'd already made friends with our other companions the laptops:

Welcome to Frog End Misty.