Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Books I read in 2020: Part 4 (October - December)

Today I will be taking a look at the books that I read during the last 3 months of 2020. Between October and December I managed to read 9 books in total, finishing off my final read for the year this afternoon. Just as I had done in 2019, in January I will review My Year In Books by publishing some fun statistics from the Goodreads website that I find really useful for book recommendations. Following bookworms on Instagram (generally referred to as #bookstagrammers) has also got me interested in genres that I would not normally read. For Christmas I was gifted 16 books which, in addition to another 2 books that I got from the Little Free Library at Find The Door, means that I will have plenty of titles to choose from once January rolls in. But enough of my chatter. Let's take a look at the books I read these past 3 months.

  1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 3/5 stars
  2. Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory 3/5 stars
  3. Innocence: Tales of Youth and Guile by Roald  Dahl 4/5 stars
  4. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian 4/5 stars
  5. Eli's Promise by Ronald H. Balson 3/5 stars
  6. A Brief History of British Kings and Queens by Mike Ashley 4/5 stars
  7. The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elizabeth Gifford 3/5 stars
  8. The French Girl by Lexie Elliott 4/5 stars
  9. Cornflakes With John Lennon: And Other Tales From a Rock 'n Roll Life by Rob Hilburn 4/5 stars

Innocence: Tales of Youth and Guile by Roald Dahl



Featuring the autobiographical stories telling of Roald Dahl's boyhood and youth as well as four further tales of innocence betrayed, Dahl touches on the joys and horrors of growing up.

I don't know about you, dear readers, but Roald Dahl is one of my favourite story-tellers. He had the capacity to weave a tale out of almost nothing, using his imagination and life experiences to create memorable characters for the stories we are so familiar with, such as Matilda, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and James And The Giant Peach. In Innocence, Dahl talks about his childhood: his mother and siblings (his father died when he was 3), summers in Norway visiting his grandparents, his early years in Llandaff (Wales) and his boarding school years at St Peter's in Weston-Super-Mare (England) and Repton in Derbyshire (England). Spanning the years from 1922 to 1936, this memoir gives a wonderful account of what life was like in that brief period of peace between the two World Wars. Written in Dahls' inimitable style, Innocence manages to rise above the author's homesickness and the caning and bullying he was subjected to at boarding school, leaving the reader with an image of an author who never lost his sense of humour, even when faced with difficult and trying circumstances. The book ends when Dahl got his first job with the Shell Petroleum Company. Innocence is the first in a series of 8 books about Dahl's life. 

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian



London is poised on the brink of World War II. Timid, scrawny Willie Beech--the abused child of a single mother--is evacuated to the English countryside. At first, he is terrified of everything, of the country sounds and sights, even of Mr. Tom, the gruff, kindly old man who has taken him in. But gradually Willie forgets the hate and despair of his past. He learns to love a world he never knew existed, a world of friendship and affection in which harsh words and daily beatings have no place. Then a telegram comes. Willie must return to his mother in London. When weeks pass by with no word from Willie, Mr. Tom sets out for London to look for the young boy he has come to love as a son.

Goodnight Mister Tom is aimed at older children and young teenagers and my rating and review reflects this. I think that this age group will appreciate and enjoy this story and it's cast of characters. Older readers may find this novel overly simplistic as it does not delve deeply into the development of the characters and, at times, the book almost reads like a modern-day fairy-tale. But this particular reader was happy to have her faith in humankind somewhat restored by a bunch of villagers from a bygone era who opened their hearts to an abused young refugee from London during WW2. Perhaps there's a lesson or two that we adults can learn from a time when people (admittedly not all of them) went out of their way to be kind. To sum it up in a few words, this is a story that is sad at times but leaves the reader with an overall feel-good factor.
Goodnight Mister Tom was the winner of the 1982 IRA Children's Book Award

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott



She appears, lithe and tanned, by the swimming pool one afternoon. Severine - the girl next door. It was supposed to be a final celebration for six British graduates, the perfect French getaway, until she arrived. Severine's beauty captivates each of them in turn. Under the heat of a summer sky, simmering tensions begin to boil over - years of jealousy and longing rising dangerously to the surface.

And then Severine disappears.

A decade later, Severine's body is found at the farmhouse. For Kate Channing, the discovery brings up more than just unwelcome memories. As police suspicion mounts against the friends, Kate becomes desperate to resolve her own shifting understanding of that time. But as the layers of deception reveal themselves, Kate must ask herself - does she really want to know what happened to the French girl?

Lexie Elliott's debut novel The French Girl is a psychological thriller that keeps the reader guessing about the course of events on that that fateful night in France ten years earlier until the very end. Elliott manages to keep a moderate pace throughout the novel and the book is only marred in places by the rather sluggish side-story. The ending leaves a few unresolved questions forcing the reader to surmise the answers. Overall, The French Girl is a strong debut novel and I look forward to more books by Lexie Elliott in the future.

My other 4 star reads are not novels and deal with niche subjects that will not interest everyone so I will be as brief as possible.

A Brief History of British Kings and Kings is exactly what the title says. It presents an outline of each British (English, Welsh and Scottish) monarch from Alfred the Great to the present Queen and even provides some insight into shadowy historical figures such as Boudicca and Macbeth. The book also provides a good explanation into how the three separate kingdoms eventually merged into the United  Kingdom that we know today. It is fascinating reading for die-hard fans (like myself) of the British monarchy.

Cornflakes With John Lennon provides a candid, behind-the-scenes look at some of the most legendary musicians of the past 5 decades. Written by Rob Hilburn, a music critic who worked for the Los Angeles Times between 1970 and 2005, this book is a fascinating insight into the world of rock 'n roll greats such as John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain.

If you're looking for a few books that you might like to read, you may find more titles in Part 1 of this series here, Part 2 here and Part 3 here.

This will be my last post for 2020. I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. Let's all hope that 2021 will be everything that 2020 was not. See you all on the other side.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Glimpses of a Maltese Christmas

I was on the point of writing about a traditional Maltese Christmas but, just as I started thinking about what a traditional Maltese Christmas is all about, it dawned on me that the traditional Christmases that I remember from my childhood are now a thing of the past and they only linger in the memories of those that lived them. In reality, what most of  us now think of as 'traditional' has been imported into Malta in the last 30 years. This includes Christmas markets (strictly forbidden this year), mulled wine and panettone. These foreign traditions have now become our traditions too, making our Christmases richer and more varied - more European, perhaps. 


So if you're curious to see what Malta looks like during this time, lets take a virtual tour around a few places.


Glimpses of a Maltese Christmas: Out & About


Lights, wreaths, outdoor Christmas trees and nativity scenes are amongst the most common decorations that grace our doors, streets and public squares. Light displays can range from the simple to the ostentatious, both in public places and private residences but, at this time of year, the focus is always on the abundance of artificial lights which make these darker days feel so much more cheerful. 

Valletta

The light display in St George's Square


This year, the light display projected onto the buildings of St George's Square in Valletta depicts huge snowflakes that are lovely to look at but don't quite make up for the real thing - which never makes an appearance here, so these virtual snowflakes area as good as it's going to get.

       

A life-size nativity scene in Jean de Vallette Square


The Office of the Prime Minister in Castille Square



A display of bunting in Santa Lucia Street


Decorating with bunting at Christmas is a new trend but it works in this street that is lined with quirky eateries and cafes (like my absolute favourite Sunday In Scotland - their chocolate treats are to-die-for) and interesting boutiques like Boutique Perruche and Marquis de Vissac.

Rabat

In St Paul's Street



In the quieter residential area of Republic Street


The church of St Mark (more commonly referred to as St Augustine's)


Glimpses of a Maltese  Christmas: a peak inside

I will end this short tour by taking a peak through windows and front doors of restaurants and boutique hotels located in old palazzos. These places emanate a cosy and welcoming feel, especially when they are decorated for the holidays and I couldn't resist lingering to take a few photos.




I hope you've enjoyed these few glimpses of Malta at Christmas. As Freddie Mercury sang in Thank God It's Christmas, 'it's been a long, hard year' but I want to take the opportunity thank you for your support and to wish you and your loved ones a very blessed and joyful Christmas. Stay safe and healthy and remember that the joy of Christmas should come from within us. May it shine like a light and be a beacon for those who walk in the dark.
Happy, happy Christmas


Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Sincerely, Loree is getting a makeover!

 Dear friends, I am very excited to announce that, with the help of the very helpful and patient Berenica of Simply The Studio, Sincerely Loree is getting a long-overdue makeover. I have been mulling over this for at least a year now and have always been hesitant to take the final step because I was afraid I would make a mess of it. But, with Berenica's help, I think that you will soon see a more polished and modern-looking blog.

I cannot recommend Simply The Studio highly enough.  For a very affordable fee I will have a new template and Berenica has answered all my questions and will be helping me with the final installation. This may take some time. So please bear with me if links don't work or things don't show up in their proper place for now. I am really hoping that this new template will challenge me to improve my writing and photography so that you will all have more enjoyable experience when visiting the blog.

I will try to be back with one last post before Christmas if everything is up and running as it should be. I am really very busy right now preparing for the most wonderful time of the year and tying up loose ends at work. But I will prevail and am sure that, by 2021, an updated version of Sincerely Loree will be live. Fingers crossed ...

Christmas in Valletta, December 2020


Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Gifts with heart

So, here we are. At the beginning of the last month of 2020 and Christmas is just a few short weeks away. If there ever was a year when Christmas should be about what's in our heart rather than what's under the tree, it's this one and my aim is not to put together an extravagant gift guide from major stores or retailers. Instead, I just want to share some small stores, mainly locally-owned by artists or artisans,  because some of these people have had a hard time surviving this year so I thought it would be nice to share a few of ma favourites.

Jewellery

JAD Jewellery

Artistic duo Gioia and Ivano hail from Italy but live in Malta.  They create beautiful one-of-a-kind jewellery in silver and other precious metals. The craftsmanship is excellent and the pieces are all very modern, many of them in a unisex style. I have my eye on a particular bracelet so I hope Santa is reading this.

Instagram: JAD_Jewelry
Store: JAD Jewelry at Find The Door, 27 Triq it-Tramuntana (North Street), Birgu,  Malta

Sarah Gauci Jewelry

Sarah Gauci is a self-taught jewellery designer with a fondness for sparkly things. She specialises in feminine and bridal jewellery and adores creating anything to which she can add a little bit of sparkle. All her jewellery is hand-crafted and of outstanding quality. Last year I was gifted a lovely silver necklace with a blue Swarovski crystal by my colleagues at work and it is a really dainty and pretty  piece that I love.


Website: Sarah Gauci Jewelry
Store: 82 Birbal Street, Balzan, Malta

Paintings

Carmen Vella Gauci's Art

Carmen Vella Gauci and I go back a long way. We met in primary school over 40 years ago, lost touch for many years and then reconnected on Facebook. In the past few years I've attended a couple of Carmen's exhibitions. She is a very talented painter who is very passionate about her work. Carmen paints a wide variety of subjects including flowers, landscapes and pets. She also does commissioned portraits. 


                                                        Instagram: Carmen_Vella_Gauci

Jacqueline Agius 

Jacqui Agius is another talented Maltese artist. Her paintings, which generally depict Maltese towns and villages, the countryside, and seascapes, are extremely detailed - almost like looking at a watercolour photo. 

Website: Jacqueline Agius Art (at Fine Art America)
Instagram: Jacquiagius

Home And Living

Bespoke Binny

I first came across Natalie Manima, the founder of Bespoke Binny, on Instagram and I was immediately drawn to the vibrant colours and prints that she uses for her creations. If you would like a few pops of colour for your home, Bespoke Binny is the perfect place to find it. Natalie uses African prints to create pillows, aprons, lampshades and many other household items at very affordable prices. She also offers Virtual Lampshade Making Classes that are pre-recorded so anyone that's interested can enrol at any time.



Website: Bespoke Binny

Stephanie Borg

Stephanie Borg is a self-taught artist who has taken the patterns found on traditional Maltese tiles (a colourful selection of which you can see in the photo below) to a new level by incorporating them into contemporary products that include mugs, coasters, cushions, prints, mousepads and other items. Traditional tiles are not Stephanie Borg's only inspiration as village streets, traditional Maltese doors and intricate wrought iron patterns are also included in her beautiful and imaginative designs.
 

Website: Stephanie Borg
Studio Boutique: 33, Saint Catherine Street, Rabat, Malta

For Children

She Chases Butterflies

I had already briefly  mentioned the very cute creations of She Chases Butterflies when I wrote about Find The Door, an artisan boutique located in  Birgu. She Chases Butterflies creates handmade accessories and soft toys for children and for those still in touch with their inner child. My inner child is hopelessly in love with Charlie the bunny and his siblings.
Isn't he adorable?
Store: She Chases Butterflies at Find The Door, 27 Triq it-Tramuntana (North Street), Birgu,  Malta

I have mainly tried to focus (with one exception) on artists and artisans residing in Malta and I would have loved to include many more talented people that deserve our support. I hope you have enjoyed the creatives that I shared with you today.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like A different kind of gift list that I put together last year.

Disclosure:
All photos belong to the respective website owners.
This is not a sponsored post.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Books I read in 2020: Part 3 (July - September)

Welcome to the third edition of Books I Read in 2020. Today I will be sharing the books that I read during the summer months. Usually, my list of summer reads is rather short but, this year, I managed to keep up the pace and got through nine books. These are the books I read this summer:

1. The Peppermint Tea Chronicles by Alexander McCall Smith 4/5 stars

2. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult 3/5 stars

3 About Grace by Anthony Doerr 4/5 stars

4. Venice by Jan Morris 4/5 starts

5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald4/5 stars

6. I Will Plant You A Lilac Tree by Laura Hillman 4/5 stars

7. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh 4/5 stars

8. History of Wolves  by Emily Fridlund 3/5 stars

9. A Dog Called Hope by  Jason Morgan with Damien  Lewis 4/5 stars

Sincerely Loree: The Peppermint Tea Chronicles by Alexander McCall Smith

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

In search of gentle moments

 I feel overwhelmed sometimes, wondering what people come here to read, what they expect me to say and whether anything I do say makes a difference in the grand scheme of things. There was a time when words sounded so beautiful that I used to hear them, like sweet notes in my head. There was a time when everything felt true and lovely and fresh. But the world has turned bleak and I have lost by way in this world of words. There's too much noise everywhere and it seems that the places we can run to for some refuge, some respite from the constant jabbering, are disappearing.

Sincerely Loree: Autumn sunset

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Haunted places in Malta

It wouldn't be October without some spookiness, so today I am going to jump right on the bandwagon and write about some haunted places in Malta. Everybody knows that this history of this island goes back several millennia, so it won't come as a surprise to my readers to learn that several places are purported to be haunted. So let's take a look at some of the most famous haunted places in Malta.

Verdala Palace (Buskett)

Verdala Palace was built in 1585 by Grand Master de Verdalle as a hunting lodge. It is a square structure with four turrets, more in keeping with a castle than a palace, surrounded by numerous trees, orchards and orange groves. Verdala Palace is said to be haunted by the ghost of the Blue Lady. The ghost is thought to be that of a young woman, a niece of a later Grand Master (de Rohan) who was being forced into marriage with a man who was not to her liking. Tired of being rejected by the lady, the unwanted suitor locked her in her room in the castle. One day she tried to escape through her window and fell to her death. At the time of her death, she is said to have been wearing a blue dress.

Sincerely Loree: Verdala Palace - Buskett

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Life lately: October days, spooky reads and dead man's bones

 In just a few days it will be mid-October. Right now, some days feel like summer. Other days feel like autumn. Today was one of those days: grey skies, wind and bursts of rain. We're in the final stretch of the year. At work it will be completely crazy from now until the Christmas break. I can't bear to think about Christmas this year as, like everyone else, I have no idea what it will be like. But, for the time being, not thinking about it sounds like a good idea. 

Earlier this month we took our final swim of the year. It was absolutely lovely. There were hardly any people on the beach and the water was crystal clear. I didn't really want to leave but 2020 has been a great year for beach days - one of the few things we could really enjoy.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

A visit to Find The Door and a walk around Birgu

This past weekend I finally managed to visit a shop that I first heard about in the beginning of 2020. But what with COVID and all it brought with it, followed by the start of our long, hot summer, my plan to visit had to wait. But last Sunday afternoon felt like a perfect time to drive to Birgu to visit Find The Door.

Find The Door

Find The Door is housed in what once was an old bakery and it came about after a number of artists and artisans collaborated together to set up this unique space in the heart of Birgu. Each artist is allocated an area within the store to exhibit their beautiful creations, creating the 'shop within a shop' concept that is quite common abroad. The advantage of this type of set-up is that the items for sale range from paintings to jewellery and ceramics, making gift-buying relatively easy. 

Sincerely Loree: Find The Door, Birgu
The colourful art of Alvalenti
Sincerely Loree: Find The Door, Birgu

Cute creations by She Chases Butterflies

Monday, 14 September 2020

The last days of summer

I felt happy this morning when I woke up to a golden-red glow in the sky that is usually the precursor of a storm. 'Red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning', goes the old adage. Today, it was perfectly true. I am writing this to the staccato rhythm of pouring rain and crashes and booms of thunder. The swallows have returned again, heralding the end of one season and the start of the next. Even the rain does not stop them from their incessant, happy chirping. They lift up my spirits with their twittering as nothing seems to dampen their spirits. I must learn to be more like the swallows.

Sincerely Loree: Ghadira Bay,   Malta

Monday, 7 September 2020

Frayed at the edges

By the beginning of September, even the oleanders, those hardy desert plants, are starting to look a little bit tired and frayed at the edges. Which means that you probably won't be surprised to hear I'm feeling very much the same. I've forgotten what the coolness of rain feels like and the daily blue colour of the sky; without even the hint of a cloud, has bored me to death. If I thought that doing a rain dance would change things, I'd be out in our yard leaping like a demented rabbit. When I scroll through my Instagram feed (more on that particular topic later) I feel envious of people talking about 'a chill in the air' and 'leaves turning gold and orange'. Here, the status quo has me chafing at the bit. I'll try to be patient. For a little while longer.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Armchair travel - Part 3

In any normal year, this would have been the time that we would have just got back from a trip out of the country. But 2020 has been anything but a normal year and, although I didn't anticipate that the COVID-19 virus would still be around at the end of August, it is. And here we are. So, although I had not planned on doing another Armchair Travel post, I feel that, with most of staying put, it wouldn't be such a bad idea to do another one. I hope that these small glimpses of these places that I have been to will inspire you to travel to some of them as soon as it is safe to do so.

July 2016
Dunster, England
Dunster, England - Sincerely Loree

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Books I read in 2020 - Part 2 (April - June)

 If you are looking for book recommendations, I hope you will enjoy reading today's post about the books I read in the second quarter of this year. Between April and June, I  managed to read 12 books in total. That's a very good number and I think staying  in so much due to COVID-19 had a lot to do with it. I tried to fill up every moment when there was nothing else to do with books and I ended up reading these:

1. The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer 4/5 stars

2. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy 3.5/5 stars

3. Sword and Scimitar by Simon Scarrow 3.5/5 stars

4. The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill by Dominique Enright 4/5 stars

5. A Thousand Days in Venice by Marlena de Blasi 4/5 stars

6. A Conspiracy of Friends by Alexander McCall Smith 3.5/5 stars

7. Siena Summer by Teresa Crane 3.5/5 stars

8. After Auschwitz by Eva Schloss 4/5 stars

9. The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve 3/5 stars

10. The House by the Sea by Santa Montefiore 3.5/5 stars

11. The Italian Wife by Kate Furnivall 4/5 stars

12. Flight Patterns by Karen White 3.5/5 stars

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Hydrangeas, and a tale of a grandfather that I never met

I never met my maternal grandfather. He died before I was born; before my mother, or any of her siblings, was married. All I know is what I've heard about him from snippets of conversations that remain embedded in my memory.

My grandfather was born on the 9th of August 1904. On the 10th of August the Catholic church celebrates the martyrdom of Saint Laurence, he who was roasted on a grate, and, as was the custom in those days, my grandfather was named Lorenzo but was more commonly known by the Maltese version of the name: Wenzu. On February 4th 1940, 4 months before war descended on Malta, he married my Nanna Rose. They would have 6 children together: 4 girls and 2 boys. By trade, he was a builder and there is still a small chapel in St Paul's Bay that he worked on and that has survived unscathed to this day. He died on his birthday in 1965. 
Hydrangeas - Sincerely Loree

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

A twilight stroll around Mdina

It has been a struggle to sit down and write - well, the writing part was hard; sitting down has never felt easier. It's the end of July and we're right at summer's peak, also known as the dog days of summer. August looms - the month I dread most. I always say that the only good thing about August is that some of my favourite people were born in it. Other than that it feels like an endless month of heat waves, mosquito bites and, in my case, a crazy cocktail of fatigue and restlessness that makes me very agitated and occasionally grumpy. Forget the 'occasionally' - I tend to be grumpy on most days form now until the cooler weather returns.

So what do you I when it's too hot to think and the world feels like its closing in on me? Go for a stroll to  Mdina, of course - preferably while enjoying an ice-cream from La Brioscia, which, I am happy to report, probably serve the most generous portions on the island and their dark-chocolate orange flavour is to die-for. But I am digressing from my main topic.

Mdina is beautiful at any time but I love it even more at twilight. It's just so peaceful and I always get the niggling sensation that we're surrounded by the ghosts of centuries-past. (I don't know, but maybe they like dark chocolate orange ice-cream too).

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

A few of my favourite things: Summer 2020

It's mid-July and, although I promised myself at the beginning of this year that I would continue to blog throughout summer, I am already finding that my inspiration is low and the going hard. Which is why I missed my 'Life, lately', post last week. 

In reality, not much has happened that was different from the previous months, except for going out to dinner to celebrate our 17th anniversary on June 15. We went to Root 81, same as last year, so nothing new. I highly recommend this restaurant. The food is very good, the presentation excellent and the service courteous and attentive. I had beef tagliata followed by Nutella-stuffed donuts and chocolate icecream. Delicious. It was nice to be out after so many weeks of social distancing.

 

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

A perfect day

Today was one of those perfect summer days. Yesterday was a public holiday and I took the day off today so I had a super-long weekend. My son has also finished school so we decided to make the most of it and headed to the beach early in the morning. 

We were there by 9.30 am and parking was easy since the airport won't be opening up until tomorrow. We were able to spread our towels without encroaching on anybody else]s space. It was a hot one today but there was a nice breeze at the beach which kept things very pleasant. I spent the first half hour just listening to the waves die gently on the sand and staring at the water. Ir was so soothing that I quickly felt the tight knot in my stomach that I walk around with so often, dissipating. We swam for an hour, dried off and left just before the heat reached it zenith. 

I then spent most of the afternoon lounging on the couch, reading, checking Instagram and enjoying the cool breeze from our ceiling fan. It was one of our best investments: a sleek, modern contraption of stainless steel with wooden blades. Even on a low setting it cools down the room enormously. I've also learnt to close all doors and windows, except for the smallest of cracks, to keep the heat out. Most of the time, it seems to work.
 
Gnejna Bay, Malta - Sincerely Loree

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Kitchen tales: Cooking with capers

The caper plant (Capparis spinosa) is a very common sight around the Mediterranean. It is highly adapted to the  Mediterranean climate and withstands temperatures of 40°C easily. Here in Malta, the bushes grow out of all sorts of nooks and crannies, in areas of garigue, from cliff-faces and even out of limestone ramparts and bastions, from where it is often removed to prevent structural damage to the fortifications.



Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Life, lately: it's been, oh, so quiet

It's June (can you believe it?) and things are slowly going back to normal. Yet I don't feel an urge to embrace normality. It's safe in here: a refuge where I can shut out the noise and concentrate on the little things that have sustained us for these past 2.5 months; a place of comfort where every little thing is familiar and loved. Outside these walls, the world seems to be a place of confusion and chaos. But here, it's been,  oh so quiet; and I've been thriving on quiet. Thriving and resting. aligning my often-erratic thoughts into some semblance of order and giving myself the time to just be. I've stopped worrying what I should write about, feeling thankful that I've never tried to fit my blog into a specific niche. Which means I am free to write about almost anything. So today I'll just be sharing some of the things I've been doing during this quiet time that is soon coming to an end.

Quiet moments: walks in the countryside
Chadwick Lakes - Sincerely Loree

May 1st was a holiday and we hiked a trail in the valley beneath our house. We were surrounded by cultivated fields on all around us.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

After the rain

A storm blew in  yesterday. It was totally unexpected and very welcome. All morning, dark grey clouds trailed across the sky. Occasionally, it sprinkled a little. Then, in the late afternoon, a big mass of clouds moved in. We could see them coming in over the sea and the low-lying areas. Slowly, at first and then faster, until it hit us here, on our little hill-top town. And it rained. And it poured. And it even hailed. Thunder growled and lightning flashed. It was amazing and exhilarating. It washed away all the dust, cobwebs and debris leaving everything fresh, clean and sparkling. Sometimes all it takes is some rain for the world to feel like it has been born anew. My plants loved it and I did too. It would be lovely if we could have a storm like that every other week - but that would be hoping for too much.
Orange Hydrangea - Sincerely Loree

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Hello from Humphrey and other silly stories


This is Humphrey - at least, that's what I've named him. My husband painted him on a whim because, well, I love rabbits, and I think they are absolutely  cuddly and adorable. But first, a bit of  back story.

When I was still living at my parents' house I had  a series of dwarf rabbits. I say series because, unfortunately, they do not live for very long and some of them had some rather unfortunate accidents that shortened their life-span even more - but I won't talk about that. I still remember their names: Pippino, Rosie, Pixie, Spinner and a few others. The last one I had was called Billy and I remember seeing his chubby face looking at us from the garden the morning I left the house to get married.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Life, lately: spring sunsets and scarlet fields

The light lingers in the sky these days and the sunsets are so beautiful that they take my breath away. There's a stillness in the world at this time. A silence that is only broken by the cries of a few seagulls that float our way, riding the thermals effortlessly. The old fishermen used to say that seagulls fly inland when bad weather is approaching. These days, they seem to fly inland all the time, whenever the fancy takes them. I love to watch them, high up in the sky, so at peace, so far away from human turmoil. I  often wonder what they see, whether they even notice us. Or whether they're looking out for a tasty lizard or gecko to eat. I relish these moments of peace before the blue turns to indigo, the seagulls disappear and the bats come out of their hideouts.
Fiery Spring sunset - Sincerely Loree

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Books I read in 2020 - Part 1 (January - March)

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris -Sincerely Loree

Earlier this year, I wrote about my year in books (2019) which came about because I joined Goodreads last year and found the perfect platform to indulge my passion for books and reading. At the start of 2020 I pledged to read 25 books and I have to say that I am progressing very nicely with my challenge. During the first 3 months of 2020 I read 9 books. These were:

My Instagram

Sincerely, Loree. Theme by STS.