As If

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Yay I’ve finished an embroidery! This one is part of the Feisty pattern set from Urban Threads. I realise that the ‘as if’ is meant to be ‘as if’ as in ‘Yes, I’m going to be Britain’s next top model . . .  as if’ but as I was stitching this, the ‘as if’ reminded me far more of this Neil Gaiman quote from Make Good Art –

And if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.

I think there is a lot to be said for acting ‘as if’ you have a trait that you would like if you’re not feeling confident; such as acting as if you’re an old hand at doing speeches, behaving like someone who has run their business for years, instead of is only just starting up, etc. etc.

Anyway, I enjoyed embroidering this, even though I literally had to take long breaks between each letter, leaf or petal, as my arm was getting tired, it was worth it.

The Night Stalker

The Night Stalker (DCI Erika Foster, #2)The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another DCI Erika Foster book, in this one she’s investigating a series of murders where someone has been literally breaking into people’s houses and hiding under their beds. Erika’s still being the slightly predictable know it all maverick but I love how Bryndza writes the people around her, definitely a series I’m looking forward to the next book for.

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5 Things I liked – 22/7/16

1. This interview with Ruby Tandoh, who is a bit of a food hero of mine, she says a lot of sensible stuff about the whole current wellness fad, particularly about the demonisation of ‘working class’ foods and how expensive the wellness equivalents are. As I recover from my surgery, I am trying to eat more healthily but I’m not going as OTT as some of those wellness books go,  I’ve tried cooking from them before (not that I’m up to peeling much more than a carrot at the moment) and a) it’s expensive b) nobody else in my family really likes it. So my healthy eating at the moment consists of lots of salad vegetables, juice, marmite, cheese, hummus and beef jerky (for protein and iron).

2. The plastic surgery to put me back together has resulted in me being a different shape, so some clothes shopping over the next few months is in order. It’s given me the opportunity to rethink my wardrobe a bit; I’ve been thinking a lot about clothes over the last few months anyway, clothes are a confidence boost for me, so I might as well utilise that. I don’t mind having a small wardrobe (in fact I need a small wardrobe, my clothes storage space is about to get even smaller next month) if every piece of clothing makes me feel good. Anyway, I’m having to be controlled with my clothes buying, I’m a bit broke and I’m still wearing mainly jersey, as it’s still the most comfortable thing against my operation scars but I have bought a few things this week; two shirt dresses, a tunic dress and a couple of M&S secret support vests (underwear is a constant challenge for me right now, I’ve spent more money on underwear in the last month than I have in the whole previous year) and well, put it this way, I couldn’t have worn those things with my old body, so that was definitely a big like for this week.

3. I love this interview with Pip Jamieson about creative start ups.

4. I love the Twitter account for the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London (@ravenmaster1), he must have such cool job. He posts some amazing photos and vines, I particularly like this one.

5. I love, love, love, this short documentary on Shirley Hughes, she is a massive inspiration to still be working and creating at 89 and it was an education to see her work on one of her distinctive illustrations.

The Girl In The Ice

The Girl In The Ice (DCI Erika Foster, #1)The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first in a new detective series, The Girl In The Ice is about the murder of a girl from a rich but dysfunctional family. Erika Foster is a detective with the required troubled past, newly transferred to Lewisham, she also has the required traits of stubbornness, the ability to seriously piss off her superiors and act as a magnet to dangerous situations. But the old cliches work here, Erika is a sympathetic character, she has a mostly good team around her and the plot was a surprisingly interesting one, with lots of twists and turns (I hadn’t been expecting to like this book quite as much as I did).

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The Teacher

The TeacherThe Teacher by Katerina Diamond

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Set in Exeter, it opens with the murder of a school teacher with an extremely dodgy past but the plot soon spreads out to the wider city and beyond, as more bodies turn up, the victims of gruesome deaths. Part of the team investigating the deaths are two disgraced DSs and it is only them who think that the obvious suspect didn’t do it.

The writing style with this one is not great, far too much tell instead of show and the dialogue, particularly at the end, with all the high stakes conversations with the bad guys and the tortured internal monologues, was a bit cringeworthy, however Diamond did manage to make her four main characters, sympathetic and believable, so I still managed to get engaged by the story.

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5 things I like – 15/7/16

1. I’m desperately looking for new TV to watch, as I can’t craft for too long without my arm getting painful, I haven’t had that much success in my TV hunt but I have found Mr. Robot, which I love. I’m currently working my way through the first series. I love everything about it, from the extremely cool, very retro opening title, the Dexter-ish narration, the lovingly shot New York scenery, Rami Malek, to how worryingly believably realistic it is.

2. My surgery was effectively in two stages; fixing the problem, then getting a plastic surgeon to put me back together again and it wasn’t the easiest op for the plastic surgeon to do and he did warn me beforehand that the result may not look brilliant but oh my goodness the guy is a genius! Every time I get my dressings changed I get compliments!  Just before the surgery, I was met by the plastic surgeon and a massive retinue of supporting surgeons (the op was 12 hours long) and he drew all over me with a biro, a line here, a line there, before sitting back to judge the overall appearance, literally like an artist, which I truly believe, in effect he was. It’s times like this I always wonder, do surgeons paint or sculpt or sew in their spare time? As they are obviously so good with their hands.

3. Girl Lacer almost literally bouncing with adrenaline after a successful performance at an arts festival.

4. Beautiful flowers from the guys at work.

5. And flowers blooming in my garden.

The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved Ruth Ware’s In a Dark Dark Wood, so I had high hopes for her second novel but I don’t think it’s anywhere near as good. It follows a similar format, writer trapped in isolated social situation, in this case a luxury boat, where someone dies. But the cast of characters in The Woman in Cabin 10, is a bit bigger than the cast of characters in In a Dark Dark Wood, so you don’t get to know each character (and pretty much all of them are suspects in the death) as well, so it feels much less involved. It is a clever idea, the main character believing she’s witnessed a murder aboard a boat, when not many other people on the boat believe her and it did pick up towards the end but it was a little meh.

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