Sunday, 29 December 2013

End of the year - TV meme

Which TV shows did you start watching in 2013?
I started watching Elementary and I watched the first three seasons of Primeval over the summer months. I also watched a good few miniseries, one of them BBC's The Village and ITV's Mr. Selfridge, which I believe are getting second series

Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas Specials 2013

My thoughts on the Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and Doctor Who Christmas Specials for this year!

Beware, there are spoilers here!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Dear all,

I wish you and your loved ones a merry and blessed Christmas and a happy new year!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Movie review: Nativity 2

Donald Peterson and his wife are expecting their first child. Donald has just gotten a new teaching job at St. Bernadette's, but he doesn't know what he's in for... His new class is spoiled rotten by the slightly loony classroom assistant Mr. Poppy. He's led the children to believe they will compete in the yearly Song for Christmas competition, even though the school has no funds for it. As Christmas nears and Donald tries to bring order back in his class, he will find out just how determined Mr. Poppy and the children are!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Book review: Heroic Measures

Gwen Spencer choose to become a nurse to get away from the home of her vengeful aunt, but it became her passion. When America enters WWI in 1917, a call goes out for health personnel to go to France and Gwen volunteers. But she soon discovers that what she signed up for includes chaos, primitive conditions and braving bombs and men crazed by the horror of the war. Still Gwen finds joy and fulfillment in her job and working alongside a doctor with drinking problems, she even rises above herself and finds a new calling. And then there's Adam Farleigh, the British army captain, whom she keeps bumping into and whom she can't stop thinking about.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten books I'm dying to read in 2014

 Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme, created by the blog The Broke and the Bookish

I know, it's hardly Tuesday anymore... But I really liked this weeks topic and it got me thinking about the books I want to read in 2014. So here are my 'Ten books I'm dying to read in 2014'. (Because I don't always keep up with the newest releases, these are both books to be released next year or books new-to-me)

New releases in 2014:

1. Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

I read both Cinder and Scarlet this year and enjoyed them tremendously. So I can't wait to read how the saga of well-known fairytales set in a futuristic world will continue!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

TV review: Downton Abbey series 4

It's hard to believe it's already the fourth series of Downton Abbey I'm writing this review about. It seems like yesterday this series first started and now it's become a fixed event on the calendars of period drama fans around the world! After the shocking ending of last year's Christmas Special, series 4 starts with a house in mourning. Mary can barely get through the days, but the estate needs managing. Tom, by now at home in his role of estate manager, tries to coax Mary out of her stupor and interest her in the running of the estate. Edith is set to meet her friend and editor Michael Gregson in London for the first time in half a year. Where will their relationship go? Downstairs, lady's maid O'Brien has suddenly left and the replacement is a familiar face who might cause trouble at Downton. The younger members of staff are still mixed up in their love troubles, while Alfred tries to further his dream of becoming a chef.  
I tried to keep this review spoiler free.   

Monday, 18 November 2013

My bookshelf link-up

Multiple people on the blogs I follow have been doing this link-up in the last few day: What's on your bookshelf? by Modern Mrs. Darcy
Now I dearly love to read books, but I also like to look at them, so I love these kind of things!

This is my single bookcase. As you can see, it's getting rather full. Might be time for a second one in not too long a time!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Book review: Blackmoore

Kate Worthington is trying to prove to the world that she's not like her flirtatious mother and sister. She even goes as far as vowing she's never going to marry. In stead, she has other dreams: visiting India with her spinster aunt. Her mother promises to let her go when she has received and declined three proposals of marriage. A visit to Blackmoore, the family mansion of her childhood friend Henry Delafield seems like the perfect opportunity to secure these proposals. But as she reconnects with her old friend, Kate has to face all the things which which she kept secret over the years and also face that there is one wish even more dear to her than a trip to India.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Televison review: The Cazalets

The Cazalets are a large upper-class family with a family estate in Sussex. Before the WWII, all the family used to take their summer holidays here, but now it's become a permanent home for the women and children, away from the dangers of the London Blitz. Eldest Cazalet brother Hugh (Hugh Bonneville), wounded in WWI, is trying to keep the family timber business running. His wife Sybil is in poor health, but tries to hide this from her husband and daughter Polly. Edward Cazalet (Stephen Dilane) lands himself a desk job in the air force. He spends a lot of time in London and not always on his own... Daughter Louise wants to be an actress, even though her mother tries to push her into more 'useful' work. Youngest brother Rupert (Paul Rhys) joins the navy, leaving his second wife Zoe and teenage daughter Clary worrying for his safety at home. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Book review: Lady Catherine, the Earl and the real Downton Abbey

The house known to the world as Downton Abbey is in real life called Highclere Castle and is the home of the Carnarvon family. Lady Fiona, the current Countess of Carnarvon beliefs her predecessors are every bit as interesting as the characters of Downton Abbey and has brought them to the limelight in two books: Lady Almina and the real Downton Abbey, about the 5th Countess and her efforts during the First World War and now there is also Lady Catherine, the Earl and the real Downton Abbey about Catherine, the 6th Countess.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Book review: Made to last

Miranda 'Randi' Woodruff, the host of a well-known home-building television show has been living a lie. For years, she's talked on her show about her husband, but she's not really married! When the network begins to talk about cutting her program, Randi's producers think it's time to let her husband appear in public and a fake husband is soon found. At the same time, Matthew Knox, disgraced journalist, takes on a last-chance assignment to write and in-depth story about Miranda. All his digging around brings him soon close to the truth, but also to the woman herself.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Elegant Blogger Award

I was nominated for my very first blog award by Carissa, thank you so much!

The rules:

- When you receive the award, link back to and the blog that nominated you: Musings of an Introvert
- Display the award button in the post
- Answer all of the 12 questions given in this post (do not make your own questions)
- Nominate 8 bloggers (see below)
- Notify them that they have been awarded.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Tolkien Blog Party of Special Magnificence!

On her blog Edge of the Precipice, Hamlette hosted a Tolkien Blog Party of Special Magnificence to celebrate Bilbo and Frodo's birthday last week. Unfortunately, I could not fully participate in the party last week, as I was away for work... Even though the party is officially over, I still wanted to post the tag questions, just because they are so much fun! And it's still great fun for Tolkien lovers over at Hamlette's blog, as she started a Lord of the Rings read-along!

1. Have you read The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit? If so, how many times?

Yes, I've read both LotR and The Hobbit twice. I also read The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales, which I both loved!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Book review: Promise to return

I've read and enjoyed a fair few Amish novels when I was in my late teens/early twenties, mostly by Beverly Lewis. After a while however, many of the storylines seemed similar to previous books and I mostly left the genre behind. When I saw Promise to return being advertised on NetGalley, I was intrigued by the combination of an Amish story and a WWII background and decided to request it for review.

1943: Just weeks before Miriam Coblentz and Henry Mast where to have their wedding plans announced in their Amish community, Henry is drafted for army duties. Because of the Amish' pacifist beliefs, Henry ends up in a conscientious objector camp. When Henry arrives home on a short leave, Miriam is overjoyed at the time they will spend together, until Henry changes everything with the news that he enlisted for the army. Having heard about what the war in Europe is really about, Henry believes God has called him to serve in the army and fight for their freedom, a belief no-one in his community understands, not even Miriam. She is sure of her love for Henry though and decides to stand by him, even though this will get her into trouble with the church and lead to cracks in her relationships with family and friends. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Movie review: The Decoy Bride (2011)

I love romcoms, they're a great way to relax and often movies that simply bring a smile to your face. But I'm the first to admit that with many romcoms the story feels like a dime a dozen. So imagine my joy at discovering this gem of a British romcom, which is all the things a romcom should be, but to top it off, feels fresh and unique!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Book review: By the light of the silvery moon

With her aunt Neda, Amalia boards the Titanic. In America, they plan to visit her niece and Amalia hopes to be introduced to a man she has been corresponding with, a man she hopes might become more than just a pen-friend to her. When boarding, Amalia sees a stowaway being dragged from board. Spurred by her kind nature, Amalia offers her nephew's leftover ticket to the hapless young man, Quentin Walpole. What she doesn't know is that Quentin is the estranged son of a wealthy American businessman, whose life has come tumbling down of late. As Amalia and Quentin enjoy the luxury of traveling with the Titanic, they grow close. But there is also a man from first class vying for Amalia's attention and when Quentin's secret comes to light, all their lives are drawn together.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

TV review: Berkeley Square

At the beginning of the 20th century, three young women from different backgrounds start jobs as nannies in the rich households on London's Berkeley Square. Mattie is an experienced nanny; calm and strict, but also loving towards the three children of 'her' St John family. When Ned, a new footman arrives in the household, Mattie doesn't care at all for his layabout and joking personality. But there might be more to Ned than meets the eye. Hannah arrives at Berkeley Square with a big secret, she has a child of her own. She's obligated to lodge her son Charlie elsewhere, while taking care of the Bertie, the scared and neglected son of the Hutchinsons. Then there's Lydia, a farmer's daughter, for whom everything at Berkeley Square is new and grand. Under the direction of the elderly nanny Collins, Lydia will learn and grow a great deal. The three nannies meet at their daily walks in the park and fast become good friends.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Trip to Salzburg and Munich

 photo 11Mirabellgarten_zps6c411c87.jpg

Last week, I went on holiday. First, I visited the Austrian city of Salzburg, for the second half I went to Munich in Germany. Here I met up with a friend of mine who lives there. I had a really lovely time with lots of history, culture and beautiful nature and it was really nice to spend time with my friend.
I want to share with you some of the best sites I saw, I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Laugh and learn!

Hello dear readers,

I'm going on holiday today! Yay! Which means I won't be posting anything for the next 10 days... Less yay.... I'll try to keep up with reading my f-list though.

I'll leave you with a link to this very nice YouTube channel from C.G.P. Grey. Two weeks ago, my colleagues and I were discussing about The Netherlands. I happen to have colleagues of 4 different nationalities, so the colleagues from abroad are usually interested in learning new things about their new country. On YouTube, I found this very funny vid about why you can't call The Netherlands Holland (I bet some of you did, right?). But I browsed the channel some more and found there were a lot of other funny but also educational vids about historical and geographical questions we all ask ourselves sometimes: what is the difference between the UK, Great Britain and England, how does the Vatican work as a country within a city, what is a leap year etc. Have fun and I'll see you soon (with pics from Germany and Austria!)

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Movie review: Flyboys (2006)

Before the USA entered WWI, a group of American men went to France to voluntarily fight in the French Air Service. With airplanes only invented a decade or so before the War, the machines were unpredictable and the life of a fighter pilot very dangerous. The 2006 movie is based on the true story of the men of the Lafayette Escadrille.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Book review: The Bookstore

'An English(wo)man in New York', that is what PhD student Esme Garland is. She loves her job at Columbia University, loves exploring her new city and loves doing so even more on the arm of her handsome and rich boyfriend Mitchell van Leuven. In short, life is close to perfect, until Esme discovers she's pregnant... Before she can even tell Mitchell about it, he unexpectedly breaks up with her and Esme is on her own. Determined to see it all through, Esme decides she needs a job and finds one in her favourite second-hand bookstore; The Owl. The bookstore becomes her sanctuary and she develops a friendship with owner George and even taciturn night manager Luke. Then Mitchell steps back into her life and asks for a second chance.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Becoming a fangirl

Last week, I've reread one of the very favourite books of my teenage years: Geef me de ruimte! by Thea Beckman (freely translated Give me space).

In this first book of a trilogy, Marije, daughter of a rich middle class family in the thriving city of Bruges hears she is to marry soon and that to a boy she absolutely can't stand. Spurred by stories about France from a travelling storyteller, Marije runs away with nothing but a set of extra clothes and her trusty horse Victor. Arriving in France, she rescues and later marries the troubadour Berton de Fleur. While war and epidemics rampage through France, Marije, Berton and their traveling companions journey across the country, bringing music, stories and news to all and making friends in high places.

The first time I read this book I must have been about 14 or 15 years old. It started of my 'love affair' with the Middle Ages, where for years I devoured everything (book and movie-wise) connected with this period. But this book also made me a fangirl, even before I knew what being a fangirl meant! I made a list of who I would cast as the characters where these books ever to be adapted.... This was before the age of IMDB, so I simply chose actors and actresses from series I watched and loved at that moment: Doctor QuinnRoad to AvonleaER and some Dutch series.

I dearly wish I could find that list again and laugh a little over my teenage fantasies. Not too much though, because don't I still make dream casts in my head (and sometimes on the internet) for books that I would love to see adapted? I'm afraid the list did not survive though and if it did, it's buried on the attic somewhere. But it sure was fun rereading this book and thinking back to the early days of my being a fangirl!

If you would like to read about the single book of Thea Beckman which has been translated in English (and adapted!), read my article about Crusade in Jeans in Femnista May/June 2013 here

Friday, 9 August 2013

TV review: World without End


World without End is the adaptation in mini-series format of Ken Follet's novel. In a way, it is a sequel to Pillars of the Earth (adapted in 2010), as it takes place in the same fictional town, but is set some 150 years later.

At the start of the Hundred Year War between England and France, the English King Edward II is betrayed by his wife Queen Isabella who gives the crown to her son Edward III. This will change the lives of the people in the market town of Kingsbridge, as a new Earl is appointed. Caris Wooler, a young woman with large dreams sees her father arrested and herself married off to the brutal Elfric. A mysterious knight makes his way to Kingsbridge Priory and intends to become a monk there, but he carries he secret great enough to be a danger to all of the country. Meanwhile, the Black Death comes ever closer to England.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Book review: A distant melody

Allie Miller is engaged to her father's business partner. She doesn't love him, but wants to obey her parent's wishes. During the wedding of her best friend, she meets bomber pilot Walter Novak. As Walter will be posted overseas, he and Allie decide to write each other. Trough their letters, they strike up a friendship which gives Allie the courage to search for a more fulfilling life and rethink her faith. But is friendship really all there is between them?

World War II is one of my 'favourite' eras for fiction. I've read many good books set in the '40s, such as The Liberator series by Tricia Goyer and the Women of Valor trilogy by Elyse Larson. But it's been a while I've seen any new authors in the Christian fiction market trying out this era. Until I found Sarah Sundin, that is.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Impressions of The Last Station, Bright Star, The other Boleyn Girl


I started these short reviews a few years ago on my LiveJournal. Sometimes you watch things which are older and many reviews have already been written and sometimes you watch things that just don't impress you enough to write a full review about it, but you still want to say something about them. So this is my solution!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Movie review: Cinderella Man

I'm not a fan of boxing. Even during the Olympics, when for three weeks I'm suddenly a sports fanatic, I don't watch the boxing matches. Still, the sport does capture many people's imaginations and so quite a lot of movies have been made around boxing. Cinderella Man is one of those and as it combines boxing with an interesting historical time period, I decided to give this movie a try. And I'm certainly not sorry I did. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


Thanks to a friend at LiveJournal, I discovered a really cool (and addicting) new game: GeoGuessr. It's terribly simple: you are 'dropped' somewhere in a Google StreetView location and you have to guess where you are. You can move around, follow the street you're on, like you normally can in StreetView. You can use clues like vegetation, street signs, what side of the road the cars drive on etc. and then pinpoint the place you think you are on the map. The closer you are to the real location, the more points you get. You get five locations in total and then are awarded a score. My high-score so far is 13682!

The tagline of the game is 'let's explore the world' and funny enough, it really does feel that way. In two days, I've been everywhere from the middle of nowhere in inner Australia to busy provincial towns in Brazil to the drive of a castle in Czech Republic! And I've discovered I really can't distinguish a back road in Mexico from one in Brazil....

Have a go at it and let me know how you fare!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Book review: Jane Austen made me do it

More than 200 years after she published her first novel, Jane Austen still is an inspiration to authors today. This is evidenced by the large numbers of 'Austenesque' literature appearing on the market. I think no Austen fan is wholly immune to the attraction of these books, which promise us a new look at a beloved story or characters from Jane's novels placed in our familiar modern world. I at least am not afraid to say I read and enjoy an 'Austenesque' novel ever so often!