Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sunday Bookworm

by Rosamund Lupton

This is my second monthly Sunday Bookworm, where I am endeavouring to review books that I have read and enjoyed, and hopefully start some discussions about them - so if you would like to take part, please either leave your comments about this book, or see the end of this post for how to take part in future reviews, and even have your own comments included in the post...

This book was introduced to my via an organised Book Club that I attended for a short while, in fact it was the second of the books that they read since I joined - the first going down universally like a lead balloon amongst all the members - so it was with mixed feelings and some apprehension that I picked it up.

One of my main aims in joining the Book Club was to discover some new authors whose books I could collect and devour, as well as generally broadening my literary mind...  I wouldn't exactly call this particular book mind-broadening - but I have added Rosamund Lupton to my list of authors to follow - which I think is a good indicator that I did enjoy this book!

Essentially you might think that the book is a "whodunnit".  In a nutshell, it charts the story of a woman setting out to find out who has killed her sister, and also why. But to leave it at such a short abbreviated summary is doing it a great dis-service. It is so much more than that.

I didn't know at all what to expect when I picked the book up - having been very disappointed with my previous Book Club read - and I started the book with the rather negative idea that I really wouldn't enjoy it.  And, probably only due to that very state of mind, at first it seemed that my fears were going to be realised.
But wait...

The characters were clearly portrayed, and true to life, and there was definitely a plot brewing! The writing style is easy to read without being dumbed down, and there is a certain appeal to "ordinary people" rather then the sometimes trumped up characters you tend to find in some modern books.

My attitude to the book was being turned - so I rather imagine that if I hadn't started it with a sour mind I probably would have enjoyed it right from the start!

The story soon gathers momentum, and you are introduced to various characters along the way, and you soon become drawn into the twists and turns of the plot. By two thirds of the way through the book you will probably have drawn, and then redrawn, your conclusions about what is going on and "whodunnit" and as the book draws into it's final chapters you really do believe that you have it nailed.
But wait...

The conclusion to the book is very unexpected. I had the perpetrator well and truly wrong! But then this is half the fun of the read. It plays the "whodunnit" card in a new and inventive way, and I defy you not to be hooked! And the bit I love the most - a very sharp twist right at the very end... but you're going to have to read it for yourself, as I'm not giving any more away.

This is a very engaging first novel, and introduces us to an author who promises to play with our minds as much as entertain us with her story lines. Suffice to say, I shall definitely be looking out for more Rosamund Lupton books!

To find out more about this author, and her two novels to date, please visit

Next month's Sunday Bookworm with be posted on
Sunday 21st August
when I will be reviewing
Behind The Scenes At The Museum
by Kate Atkinson

If you have read this book and would like your comments or views included in my review (good or bad, I will accept all-comers) then please email me at:
...with the subject line "Sunday Bookworm" - I very much look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Keeping the headaches at bay...

For many, many years now I have been a migraine sufferer.  I started to get them in my early twenties, and they were hormone related - which meant that every four weeks I could be assured of an absolute stinker! And by a stinker I mean totally chronic - three full days of hell, with overwhelming nausea, aversion to light, blurred vision, dizziness, the full works. The best thing I could do was take to my bed and lie down - really until it went away.

The only blessing was I always knew exactly when one was going to strike - along with my hormonal cycle they were regular as clockwork - so at least I could plan around them. And with the help of my Pill I also managed to shift my cycle by a few days, so that they would get me mainly over a weekend and not cause me to have too much time off work!

Over the years (soon to be twenty! where has the time gone?!) I tried absolutely everything to ease them. From over the counter pills to prescription medication, herbal supplements, acupuncture, homoeopathy, reflexology, to name but a few. But, suffice to say, nothing really cut the mustard so I have just had to put up with them.

Until recently...

As I get a little older, other regular migraine sufferers will be glad to hear that they have become a little (only a little) less frequent, and a little (only a little) less intense. The problem now is predicting them - they don't hit on the same day each month, although I can be assured of one in any four week period, I never quite know when it is going to attack! But, OK, this is a better state of affairs.

Until recently...

In addition to migraines, I also so suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) although the two are thankfully not related! I won't bore you with the ins and outs of this condition - but I have almost completely cured myself by totally (and I mean TOTALLY) cutting out wheat and gluten. I have been tested for all sorts of things, including wheat intolerance, but nothing was ever conclusive - so I had to find my own relief.

It was about 3 months ago that I finally decided not to dice with the occasional pizza or sandwich just because I had the craving - because the side effects would be too painful - so I bit the bullet and have (with much will power) cut it ALL out.  No surprise then that I am feeling so much better, and can't remember when I last had an IBS attack!

Funnily enough, my migraines seem to be receding too!
Over the last 2 months I have had a couple of nasty headaches, but nothing that a couple of painkillers and an hour's snooze didn't put paid to. I almost can't remember when my last migraine was too!

Yippee! Hooray! Fantastic!

Now, as soon as I feel even the slightest twinge in my temple (and if you get migraines you will know that feeling - it's so not a regular headache thing!) I down some painkillers straight away. I don't even wait to see if it really is a migraine or not (as I used to) but I attack it straight away! I was always told that you should act as early as possible when a migraine strikes - I just never appreciated before just how early!

So I hope this little tale brings some relief to regular migraine sufferers (and maybe some IBS sufferers as well!) - you would be amazed what affects our bodies, and in what ways.

If you are being plagued, you could try some of these useful migraine tips:

Avoid the common triggers: Cheese, Chocolate (sadly), Red Wine, Oranges, Marmite...
Try taking a Feverfew (herbal) supplement on a regular basis.
Lavender and Geranium essential oils - either in a diffuser, or in your wrists, temples or a tissue, may help.
(DO NOT use these oils if you are, or maybe, pregnant!)
Sleep as much as is humanly possible during an attack! All day and night if this is possible!
Keep cool - sleep with a window open - use cold compresses on your face and head.
Wear sunglasses. Yes, even if it is not sunny! Even indoors! They are great if really have to watch the TV or use a computer, they diffuse some of the glare.
Drink hot water with a slice of fresh root ginger (with sugar tastes so much better) to combat nausea - this really works!!
And eating little but often helps nausea too.
Avoid caffeine like the plague during an attack.
Try some detective work to discover what causes yours - your hormones? certain foods? stress/tiredness?
Keeping a diary of foods, activities, emotions can help with this - tiresome, but worth it!
Think outside the box! (I cut out wheat for IBS, and it has helped my migraines - is there some other complaint you also suffer from? Could it be linked?)

More info (professional!) is available here:

And finally - if you are an IBS sufferer, please really do think about your diet! It has only been in the last 4 years since I met my husband ( a professional chef) that I have started to link my common ailments with what I eat. It took a lot of resistance, and many failures, to finally admit to the gluten factor. Yes, there are things I miss - but now I am much happier and healthier! Oh, and I just LOVE Genius Seeded bread! Gluten free, but tastes just like real proper malted grain bread - delicious, can't get enough of it! (And so much nicer than the white or plain brown varieties!) Another common trigger is dairy products - including eggs! - so have a think about that one too.

Find out more at

(and no, they haven't paid me to write this!)

Keep healthy... Keep happy....