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Monday, 26 July 2021

Books I read in 2021: Part 2

I haven't been in a blogging mood lately. It seems I've lost my mojo. I will, obviously, blame the heat. But it also has to do with the seasonal laziness that comes with summer - even though I managed to keep to a schedule last year it's another story this time round.  Anyway, here's an overview of the books that I read between April and June 2021. Hopefully my inspiration will return in the coming weeks.


Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

A plane crashes on its way from New York to Los Angeles with 192 passengers on board. Edward Adler, 12 years old, is the only survivor. This book is his coming of age story.

Sincerely Loree: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

To be honest, I don't know why I decided I wanted to read this book as I found it quite depressing and although we are offered glimpses into the lives of several passengers on board the plane, I kept myself emotionally detached from them because I knew from the start how things would end end. I also found the technical details about why the plane crashed unnecessary and leaving them out would not have detracted from the story.

My rating: 3.0 ⭐


The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

You may read my full review of The Enchanted April here
My rating: 4.0⭐

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Two murders, four memorable septuagenarians, a few far-fetched situations, several shifty characters with a questionable past and links to the criminal underworld, and a very patient and understanding detective chief inspector made for an easy-going murder mystery that I totally enjoyed reading.
Sincerely Loree: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
This book is funny in places and poignant in others but it's definitely never boring. I thought that The Thursday Murder Club was a very entertaining read.
My rating: 3.9 ⭐

Guernica by Dave Boling

This debut novel tells the story of two families before and during the Spanish Civil War.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It introduced me to the horrific bombing of the Basque city of Guernica in April 1937 by the Germans and the Italians that, I am embarrassed to admit, I had never heard about. Guernica is a work of historical fiction that I thought was very well written. One of its strongpoints is the cast of colourful characters, some of which, like Justo Ansotegui and his beautiful and charismatic daughter, Miren, are hard to forget. The ending reads a bit like a fairy-tale but it didn't mar my enjoyment of this story in any way.
My rating: 4.0⭐

Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

I am sure that the story of Captain Antonio Corelli and the beautiful Pelagia, that was turned into a highly popular movie in 2001, needs no introduction. In a nutshell it is a story about a young woman who falls in  love with one of the Italian soldiers who is posted to the island of Cephallonia during WW2 as part of the occupying forces.
Sincerely Loree: Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
Having seen the movie I thought that reading the book might be a bit superfluous. How wrong I was. The book is so much better than the film. There is so much emotion packed in its pages that I was completely blown away. To be honest, I wasn't sure where it was going in the beginning as there were a number of characters that were introduced that did not seem to fit in to the story. But it is these diverse characters which give the story its humour and tragedy. It's beautiful. Read it.
My rating: 4.5⭐

Lord Robert by Jean Plaidy

This work of historical fiction aims to recount the love that existed between Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.

Although I've read several books by Jean Plaidy over the years and always enjoyed them a great deal, Lord Robert is not one of those books. The whole story seemed like a frivolous exercise in self-indulgence. Both Elizabeth and Robert Dudley come across as conceited and annoying. Poor Amy Robsart (Robert's wife) is made to look like a simpering fool and even some of the queen's most respected courtiers, like Cecil and Walsingham, seem to be part of the story to pander to the queen's wishes, flirt with her and assure her of their love and loyalty. I have always had the impression that, historically, Elizabeth Tudor was a strong and capable ruler. She is not portrayed in this way in this book - except on very rare occasions - and I found this to be very disappointing.
My rating: 1.8⭐

The Bull From The Sea by Mary Renault

In The Bull From The Sea, Mary Renault skilfully recounts the story of Theseus from his victorious return to Athens after slaying the Minotaur until his death on the island of Skyros.
Sincerely Loree: The Bull From The Sea by Mary Renault
In this retelling of the ancient myth, Renault left enough things unsaid to hint at deeper-rooted mysteries that make these stories so intriguing to read. I would say that this book is only for serious Greek mythology geeks. Unfortunately, I only found  out after I bought it  from a book sale that it is the second of two books. So now I am on the hunt for The King Must Die, which is the first in this short series.
My rating: 3.9⭐

The Girl From Berlin by Ronald H. Balson

In 1930s Berlin, Ada Baumgarten is an accomplished violinist in the Berlin Junior Orchestra. But Ada is Jewish and Nazism is rearing it's ugly head. She flees to Italy with her mother to continue playing her beloved violin but fate eventually overtakes her.

This is the fifth book by Balson that I've read. Like all his books there is an element of mystery that kept me reading but I felt the narrative was somewhat marred by some impossible situations and the many lucky and improbable escapes that Ada had. I felt that some of the characters were not well developed and Ada's stubbornness and insistence on not letting down the orchestra she formed part of when faced with mortal danger became a bit repetitive and mildly annoying at the end.
My rating: 2.9⭐

The Fall by Bethany Griffin

This is a novel based on Edgar Allan Poe's classic short story The Fall Of The House Of Usher. In The Fall the highly unreliable narrator is Madeline Usher - the one who, in Poe's story is buried alive and, in a fit of rage, attacks her brother and brings the house of Usher down on their heads.
Sincerely Loree: The Fall by Bethany Griffin
I had read an abridged version of Poe's story when I was around 10 years old and I was terrified half to death. In The Fall I expected the Gothic undertones and horrific sequence of events in the original story to be amplified and, yes, I expected to be terrified. Instead, Bethany Griffin gives us such a watered-down version of the original tale of horror that it wouldn't even scare a ten-year old. Bottom line: don't bother.
My rating: 2.0⭐

The Tigress of Forli: The Life of Caterina Sforza by Elizabeth Lev

This biography of Caterina Sforza, the illegitimate daughter of Galeazzo Sforza Duke of Milan, is skilfully crafted to almost read like a novel. In it, Lev brings to life one of the Italian Renaissance's most formidable women. Although she served as a pawn to increase her father's wealth and territories, Caterina Riario Sforza was a force to be reckoned with. Courageous and politically astute she navigated the shifting allegiances that characterised early 16th century Italy admirably. In her lifetime, Caterina mingled with popes and princes. She greatly admired Lorenzo de Medici (the Magnificent), was captured and raped by Cesare Borgia, led armies into battle and gave birth to eight children. She even had time to verbally spar with Machiavelli. This book has awakened an interest in Renaissance Italy in me and I will try to read more about this tumultuous period in the future.
My rating: 4.0⭐

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

When Alice Love wakes up in hospital after a fall at the gym she realises that she has forgotten the last 10 years of her life. Slowly, she starts putting the pieces together again and realises just how much she has changed during the last decade of her life.
Sincerely Loree: What Alice  Forgot by Liane Moriarty
What Alice Forgot is not a book about summer, but it is definitely a book that can easily be read at the beach or by a pool. It's an easy read and doesn't require too much concentration. It certainly didn't elicit too many deep thoughts even though I felt that the author wanted us to reflect on the things we sometimes choose to forget. This is the third book by Liane Moriarty that I've read over the years and I wouldn't say it's her best.
My rating: 2.9⭐

Strangely enough, or perhaps not, it seems that I've read the same amount of books  these past three months (11)  as I did between January and March. I'm now running out of shelf space and am trying to come up with ideas how to make this magically increase. My problem is that I hate giving books away even if I didn't enjoy reading them so much. Does anybody else have this strange dilemma or is it  just me?

I hope you enjoyed these reviews and that they'll inspire you to read something. And if you have a good book to share, let me know in the comments. I'm always looking for new ones to read.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

The Malta At War Museum

Sincerely Loree: Malta  At War Museum, Birgu

Last week I had a few days off and my son and I paid a visit to the Malta At War Museum. The Malta At War Museum is located in Birgu's Couvre Porte (countergaurd), which forms part of the line of defence on the landward side of town and was built in 1722. The impressive 18th century fortifications were designed by military engineer Charles de Mondion and are worth exploring for their own merit (but preferably on a day when it doesn't feel like you're walking around in a furnace).

The Malta At War museum is dedicated to what I think of as the war on the home front. It is pretty compact and isn't very big on exhibits and artefacts. But there is a wealth of information about life in Malta during WW2 and the daily trials and tribulations of a population that was under constant bombardment from June 1940 until November 1942 and intermittently until the surrender of Italy on September 8th 1943. Coincidentally, Malta had emerged victorious against the armies of Emperor Sulieman on the very same day in 1565. Henceforth, this day became known as Victory Day and is still celebrated as a national holiday.

Many people wonder why such a small island with a total area that is less than 100 square miles was the target of a combined effort by the Regia Aeronautica and the Luftwaffe to bomb or starve it into submission. The answer lies in Malta's strategic position in the centre of the Mediterranean and its proximity to North Africa. From Malta the British air and sea forces could disrupt Axis supplies to North Africa. In fact, the brilliant German general, Erwin Rommel, had warned Hitler that without Malta the Axis powers would lose control of North Africa. It is for this reason that between 16 000 to 17 000 tonnes of bombs were liberally dropped on the island, its inhabitants and its defenders.


But apart from the facts about the battles, the casualties and the military strategies, what I found equally interesting was the information about the daily life of the Maltese: the rations allotted to each person, the diseases they battled, their fear at the sound of an air raid siren and their frantic rush to get to an air raid shelter on time.

During the worse of the bombardments, between 1940 and 1942, the Maltese passed a lot of their time underground in air raid shelters hewn out of the limestone. At the Malta At War Museum there is a large communal air raid shelter situated several metres underground. Although it felt eerie to be walking in the deserted passageways and through the tiny 'rooms' (each one could not be bigger than 6'x6'x6') where people huddled for shelter, I have to say that this was the highlight of my visit to the museum as I had never been inside an air-raid shelter before. I can only imagine how claustrophobic it must have felt for hundreds of people to be sheltered underground, sometimes for hours on end. 



These underground shelters existed in all the major towns of Malta and there was usually an air-raid warden dedicated to each one. Most people used the communal passageways to shelter in but those that cold afford it dug their own little rooms for more privacy - although doors were not allowed so people installed slatted wooden gates instead. In the one we visited at Birgu the air-raid warden and the parish priest had their own little area and there was even a special area that was designated as the 'birthing room'. I couldn't imagine what it must have felt like for women to give birth under such circumstances and I immediately thought of my two grandmothers who both had two babies each during this time (although, thankfully, they were able to give birth at home). 


For anybody interested in WW2 both the Malta At War Museum and the National War Museum in Valletta are definitely worth a visit.  

I had written about the National War Museum on my old blog here

Please check each museum's website for the current opening hours.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Life Lately: Summer Vibes

It's been a while since I last wrote here and that's mainly due to summer lethargy, too much reading and quizzing my son for his annual exams. The latter is thankfully behind us and we have all have heaved a collective sigh of relief. We had been having some rather nice weather up to now but, overnight, the temperature shot up by around 10 degrees (C) and the raging heat of Africa has reached our shores. It is hot, muggy and unpleasant. The sky is laden with desert dust and, although the wind is blowing, it brings no respite because each gust feels like a hot blast from a furnace. But I'll look on the bright side: it's the solstice and, from here on, the days will only get shorter and cooler weather will return.

Wedding Anniversary

Last week my husband and I celebrated our 18th anniversary. We both took the day off and went to Marsaxlokk* for lunch. Marsaxlokk used to be a very picturesque fishing village with golden limestone houses huddled around the village church just metres away from the crystal-clear sea. We hadn't visited for 2 years and I was shocked at the change. But now, the main road that borders the promenade looks like a war zone with all the road works taking place and there are places from where the church is no longer visible due to all the construction that has been going on. You may read more about the ugliness that is engulfing us in my previous post Disappearing Malta.
Sincerely Loree: Marsaxlokk, Malta


Anyhow, we chose Marsaxlokk because my husband felt like eating octopus and it's the best place to get fresh seafood. We decided to go to La Capanna, which used to be one of our favourite restaurants, only to find out that it has been refurbished, was under new management and the  menu had been overhauled. The items on it were also drastically reduced too. But the food was excellent - perhaps even better than it used to be. Or maybe I should say that it went from being family-run to more gourmet. My prawn risotto was delicious and the portion was just enough to fill me up without giving me a carb overload.

*Marsaxlokk is made up of 2 Semitic words: marsa meaning harbour and xlokk which means south. Thus Marsaxlokk means southern harbour and remains dating back to Phoenician times have been found in the vicinity.

Currently reading

I'm currently reading 2 books: The Corfu  Trilogy by Gerald Durrell and The Pianist by Władysław Szpilman. I purposefully left The Corfu  Trilogy for summer. It is over 700 pages long but Durrell's writing is easy-going and often humorous. In this trilogy he writes about the 5 years his family spent on the island of Corfu and he really brings to life the eccentric and lovable characters that he befriends. The books were adapted for television and we have already watched the four series which I highly recommend for some feel-good summer binge-watching.

I am sure you are all familiar with the movie The Pianist directed by Roman Polanski and starring Adrien Brody. I've watched it twice but I wanted to read the book it was based on. As with all Holocaust memoirs it will make for some heart-breaking reading. I make sure to read at least one book about the Holocaust every year.

Plans

Have any of you made any plans for 'later on'? I can't seem to think further than next week. The thought of making plans further than that terrifies me. I was always a procrastinator and have never really been fond of planning far ahead but I had started to get used to it. Covid has set me back. I think it will take me a while to plan for events that are in 3 or 4 months' time. But, to be honest, I would love to go on a trip somewhere. I keep thinking of Tuscany. The thought of those little hill-top villages with their  massive walls and bell towers makes me feel calm, safe and serene. I was wondering whether you'd be interested if I did a virtual tour of Tuscany on the blog. It's been over 10 years since we were last there but I doubt the major attractions have moved anywhere so I think it's easily doable. Let me know and I'll try and come up with something.

Sincerely Loree: Marsaxlokk, Malta

Useful links

So that's it from me for this week. Let's see how often I'm going to be missing my weekly posts in summer. It doesn't look like I've got off to a very good start.

Sincerely Loree: Marsaxlokk, Malta

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Disappearing Malta

Sometimes I feel like a fraud. Both here and on Instagram I share photos of the Malta I love; the unspoilt, quaint Malta that I remember from my childhood. But that Malta is gone and only survives in our memories and in a handful of places. 

Sincerely Loree: Birgu, Malta

The desecration of this island started in the late 70s but, in the past 5 years, it has infiltrated all our towns and villages at a breath-taking speed that is impossible to keep up with. I used to survive by avoiding the ugly places. But now, the 'uglification' of Malta is everywhere. I cannot escape from it but I also cannot bring myself to press the shutter button on my phone or camera to immortalise and share the hideousness with my readers. There are a few pristine places left, like Mdina, Valletta, Birgu, Isla and some town and village cores. But the rest of Malta is subjected to wrecking balls, cranes, dust and debris on a daily basis. Post-war houses are being pulled down everywhere and replaced by soulless concrete apartment blocks several storeys high, because the limestone blocks that were used to build our houses and which gave Malta so much of its character are in very short supply. But these concrete monstrosities stick out like the proverbial sore thumb as concrete will not weather and take on the golden hue that used to characterize our townscapes.

Sincerely Loree: Rabat, Malta

It makes me weep to read that 250 football pitches worth of open space have been built up (and on an island this small, that is an irreversible tragedy) or that a beautiful old house has been 'regenerated' by adding several storeys of modern ugliness on top of it. Admittedly, it did win an award and we're all grateful it wasn't demolished but I can't bring myself to like it. It almost looks like it will crumble under the extra weight.  In the seaside town of Sliema, all the Edwardian and Art Deco-era houses on the promenade have been levelled and replaced by apartments and office blocks. Some might see it as an improvement and proof that Malta is joining the 'modern world' but I beg to differ. I think we've lost our soul. 

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

Pencil buildings, as they are called, are sprouting up all over the place. I suppose it would be forgivable if there was a sudden population boom. In reality, according to this article from 2013, at least 1/3 of the property on the island is vacant. I can only imagine how much higher that number is today. Moreover, to add insult to injury, property prices have spiralled upwards to ridiculous levels. The irony is that if we sold our home we would only be able to get something equivalent or smaller for the same amount of money. Anything bigger or better would be out of our reach.

Sincerely Loree: Birgu, Malta

Not that I would want to move anywhere. We are blessed to live at the top of a valley in a small military town designed by the British in the late 1800s. Our subdivision is from the early 2000s and, up to now, has escaped  unscathed - as has most of the town. How long this will continue I don't know. 

Sincerely Loree: Rabat, Malta

I'm also not sure why I wrote this except that I needed a place to vent. And to make you all aware that Malta is not the pretty place you will see in tourist brochures and postcards. Not anymore.

Sincerely Loree: Rabat, Malta

If you want to share my pain, you can click here for some visuals and here for a comprehensive article printed in the Times of Malta in March 2021. 

Sincerely Loree: Valletta, Malta

However, if you prefer some glimpses of what I like to call 'disappearing Malta' and which I frequently use as a hashtag on Instagram, please visit or follow these accounts (including mine):

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Spring Musings

It's  supposed to be spring but the temperatures are high enough for it to feel like summer. While most of Europe is drowning in rain storms and hit with unseasonal hail, over here it looks like we're going to have an early and unwelcome summer. But apart from the vagaries of the weather it is clear that things are changing and life is slowly inching back to normal. I should be happy about it but I seem to have grown accustomed to lounging around the house and 'hiding' away. It seems as if I've become quite happy to shelter within the walls of our home but I know it will all start to change soon. It will have to unless I'm planning on becoming a hermit. So I hope you indulge me as I share some frivolity and fluff that will tide me over to the better days to come.

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

I've done quite a bit of gardening this spring. I've planted marigold, sunflower and aster seeds around 5 weeks ago and nothing's growing yet. So I can safely assume the seeds were rubbish. But I managed to grow basil and morning glory from last year's seeds and also a plant that I don't know the name of whose seeds I collected from around our town. The seeds are as big as peppercorns and they are growing nicely. Once they start to flower I will take a few pictures maybe someone can tell me what they are. I've also managed to bring our roses back from the brink of perdition. Last year and the year before that they developed big black spots on their leaves. The leaves would then turn yellow and fall off. We got a spray for it (I think it's a type of fungus) but it didn't seem to help. This year i decided that I would cut off every leaf that had black spots. Fingers crossed, it seems to have worked and they now seem to be healthy again. Our crazy hibiscus were flowering way into the winter months. Then in late February they decided to drop all their leaves. Now, one of them decided to flower even though it is practically leafless.  We also have a cactus whose roots aren't even in the soil but is flourishing happily. Plants are a mystery to me and I have no idea why some live and others perish inexplicably.

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

Beautiful even in death.

I'm really happy to have a day off this coming Friday. It's going to be a 'me' day and I'll be spending time doing a few things I like.  I'll probably stop at a few of my favourite stores like Zara Home, Benetton and Mango and get a quick snack from somewhere. Then I'll read and read and read. 

We went to a book sale this past weekend and I came home with 9 new books. I also have another 6 books (one of them a trilogy) still left over from my Christmas pile. At the moment I am reading Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I'd seen the movie when it first came out but it was sufficiently long ago for me to have forgotten most of the details and I have no idea how it ended. While the movie (if I remember correctly) seems to have been mostly concerned with the love-story between Pelagia and Antonio Corelli, the book introduces us to a whole supporting cast of  memorable characters that broaden its scope considerably.  I have been finding it slow in some places but I think that my overall rating will be positive. I'm also reading The Tigress of Forli, a biography of Caterina Sforza. I love to have a fiction and non-fiction book going at the same time. Does anybody else do that? I'd love to know.

Sincerely Loree: Book stash

In other news, my hairdresser has chopped 3 inches off of my hair. I hate to cut it because it tends to defy gravity when it's shorter and bunches upwards, causing me a lot of frustration. This time round it seems that it's at the perfect length. Now I just need to find a product that works on my frizz-prone hair. I used a product called Avon Advanced Techniques Overnight Elixir in the past. But they have discontinued it and I am still looking for an alternative that works. Suggestions are welcome especially from anyone with wavy/ curly hair that is prone to unruliness and frizz.

We've seen Etna's cone three times from our balcony these past few days. It's not the first time this has happened and it's usually most clearly visible on very cold and clear winter days. On the contrary, it's a bit hazy at the moment but it seems that the sun is at the best angle for us to be able to see the it. Sunday night it was clear enough that we were able to spot the volcano late in the evening and, after the sun went down, the twinkling lights of Sicily. The immensity of Etna always manages to leave me rather speechless. Even though we are about 90 miles away it gives off an aura of incredible power. 

This photo was actually taken some years ago in April and heavily zoomed-in.

I'll end by sharing a link to the cake I baked for Mother's Day. This year I was able to invite my parents over. We had a simple meal of pasta and salad and I made a very special cake. I found the recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Cake from Two Cups Flour, an account I follow on Instagram.( For those that are lactose-intolerant the milk can be substituted with almond milk. I noted one small error in the recipe as vanilla is  included in the ingredients but is not mentioned in the instructions. I just included it when I added the milk and lemon juice). It's a pretty easy cake to make but it looks really special and it tastes so delicious that I couldn't stop eating it (no surprise there really, I 'm never one to skip dessert). My photos do not really do this cake justice. Note to self: I need to improve my food photography.

Sincerely Loree: Strawberry Lemonade Cake

This was supposed to be a short post so I'll leave you here for today. I hope to be out and about more and will try to go to some interesting places so that I can share them with you. I've only been to Mdina lately because I never get bored of that place and it's still so quiet without any tourists around. It's a place that I have many fond memories of and you can read more about it in A Twilight Stroll Around  MdinaTen Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit Mdina and  Mdina: Childhood Memories of the Silent City. 

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

And that really is all for today ...

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Lingering

Lingering. It's a word that has such a sweet ring to it, don't you think? It is derived from lenger which means to reside or dwell. It's a word that really  resonated with me one day last week. I had the afternoon off, I didn't need to cook for several hours and I had some 'me' time. Which meant that I could take my time not just enjoying the photos on Instagram but actually reading all the captions. Even the long ones. Yes, I was lingering and it felt good.

You see, my character is very much a mixture of the polar opposites that are my mum and dad in this regard. HE takes things easy, does everything at this own pace and won't be hurried to save his life. SHE will finish a task as soon as she is aware of it, even if she has another 10 to do, as  long as it's done and out of the way. And I am a curious mixture of procrastination and hyperactivity that drives me partially insane because it's so difficult for these two extremes to live in one body. During weekdays I take the hyperactive approach and, by Friday evening, I'm ready to pass out from exhaustion - some of which is brought on by this constant battling for precedence between my yin and yang. So it felt very good to linger unexpectedly, on a Thursday afternoon, and not think about anything. I felt quite like some society lady from ages past, not only sitting and doing nothing but actually not thinking about what I needed to do. And what a lovely feeling it was.


Sincerely Loree: Crown daisies

Which is why I sometimes I get these strange yearnings for things to be the way they used to be. When I was a child I spent many summer days with my Nanna Rose or by great aunt Winnie (or Rosina and Wistina, in Maltese). One-stop shops didn't exist in those days, at least not in our town, so we would make the daily rounds: the grocery store, the vegetable seller, the bakery and, if something needed fixing or an new outfit was being made, a stop at the haberdashery for a spool of thread or maybe a zipper and buttons. And at each stop, we would stop to say a few words to the other women from the neighbourhood doings their own rounds. It was an unhurried process, the latest family news would be exchanged, maybe a little bit of gossip too. They lingered, these ladies of my childhood. There was no rush. I hadn't realized just how much things have changed. Now trips to the grocery store are a mad rush to get in and out as fast as possible; and I never meet anyone who I can linger with. Even if I did, we probably wouldn't have the time for more than a 'hello', 'how are you?' and 'goodbye'. How sad it has all become. I vote we all do our bit to bring lingering back in style.


Sincerely Loree: Crown daisies

In the spirit of taking some time for ourselves and actually enjoy doing it without thinking of the one hundred other things that still need to be done, today I am sharing a few links that I hope you will have time to linger over.

  • Do read Kim Wheelers interview with our favourite Contessa: Style Maven Elizabeth Kirkpatrick  for her Californians At Home Series. Elizabeth's home and her beautiful garden feel like a throwback to another era. It's definitely a home where one can easily linger and relax.
  • Another beautiful abode is Prince Charles's sixteenth century house in Cornwall. It is the epitome of British country living and I absolutely loved it. Designer Annabel Elliott managed to create an eclectic mix of British brands, market finds, country antiques and the odd armchair upholstered in vintage Moroccan fabric. Next time we visit Cornwall I hope I'll be invited to tea.
  • I really enjoyed reading Vicki Archer's tips for sleeping well in her article Sleeping Beauty: The Best Night's Sleep. We can all do with a better night of sleep.
  • I've already reviewed The Enchanted April but I have to mention it again because it's perfect for doing a spot of lingering (indeed, it's all the four protagonists of this book seem to do).
  • I am truly entranced by the series The Time in Between. It is in Spanish with English subtitles. The story takes place in the years before WW2 and starts in Spain but moves to Morocco at a time when it was a melting pot of cultures. For some reason, I've always thought of Morocco during that era as an exotic and fascinating place and this series is just further enhancing this image. To be honest, Morocco is still a place whose charms I wish to experience one day. In the meantime, another way I get my Moroccan fix is by lingering over Maryam Montague's beautiful book Marrakesh By Design. The book was first published in 2012 and I am sure that most of you have seen it but I love to look at the vibrant colours of Moroccan houses and gardens. There is something about the combination of colours used in Moroccan textiles and design that makes my heart beat ever so slightly faster because I'm definitely not someone who can live with neutrals only.
  • Image via Amazon
Now that summer is at our door here in the northern hemisphere I hope that we all get the time we need to linger and to just take the time to simply BE. I hope you're all having a wonderful week.

About Loree
I am Lorna, or Loree (as my best friends call me) and I am the author of Sincerely, Loree. You may get to know me better here:

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