Friday, 31 January 2014

January Book Club -The Valley of Amazement

This month I have only managed to read one book (and I still haven't finished it).

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan is a beautifully written book set in China in the 1920's in the courtesan houses of Shangai.  The story is about Violet and her growing up in the courtesan houses and ultimately being betrayed into becoming a first class courtesan.  The story is exquisite in details and as I have loved Amy Tan's writing for many years, I think this is one of my favourite books.  I just love the way she writes in the first person and her stories are sublime.  This is Amy Tan's long awaited novel (her first in about eight years) and personally it doesn't disappoint.  If you love Amy's style of writing and a great story with a mixture of love, romance, intrigue, betrayal, murder, mystery and family than this book is for you.  I highly recommend this and also any of Amy's other novels.

Good Evening from Pickle Land
Hope to speak to you very soon
Love Lesley xxx

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

currently week 4 and 5

I didn't blog my Currently week 4 so to catch up here it is along with this week's edition

Week 4                                                                                week 5

Watching new series of The Millers and The Middle.                Hawaii 50
Reading still reading Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan.         As week 4
Listening  Radio 2.                                                                     Still Radio 2
Making  Project Life journal cards.                                            Little progress on anything
Feeling  Drained of energy.                                                        Very tired
Planning  nothing.                                                                       More healthy meals
Eating/Drinking  Toad in the Hole.                                             Denver Omelettes
Loving  Reading in my car at lunchtime.                                     Early nights

Good Evening from Pickle Land
Hope to speak to you very soon
Love Lesley xx

PS.  My project life is not abandoned but I'm waiting on getting my Selphy printer set up before I start completing January before I show on blog, so please look out in early February.  Xx

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Ponderings on nearing the big 40

A thought entered my head today that hasn't left me. It was this.  “Lesley, you are finally a grown up!!”

I don't know why I suddenly thought that.  I am an adult, I'm nearly 40. Of course I'm a grown up.  But the more I thought about it, I realized why the thought entered my head.  I'm scared about being forty.  It's abit of a big deal for me for the fact that my Mum died when she was in her forties.  Forty to me represents facing the fact that I'm no longer what you can be classed as young.  It's nearly middle aged. But I still feel like I'm in my early twenties when I had no real responsibilities.  As I was driving home I thought of what a grown up represented to me when I was 20.  It was someone who  was married, had a mortgage, a job, children, who cooked and did housework and managed a household, someone who drove, who shopped for groceries, someone who paid the bills.  Being adult to me was Mum and Dad.
And as I drove home, I thought to myself I am my parents I have or do all of the above (apart from children- but my cats are my children so I count them).  I've been a grown up for so long but I've still felt like I'm a child.  Becoming forty feels like I'm only now acknowledging I'm a grown up and I'm getting older after all.

But maybe I'm being just silly, 40 is just a number after all.  I don't think I look bad for my age, and I'm lucky to have what I have in life.  I just need to stop worrying and embrace my 40's, and hope that I achieve as much as I did as when I was in my 30's, and I've still eight months before the big 40 anyway.

Good evening from Pickle Land
Hope to speak to you very soon
Love Lesley xx

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Currently week 3

I'm behind on PL2014 already and we are only week 2, but hey ho!! I'm not going to get stressed about it.  Let's just say I didn't print enough photos and I've still to set up my new Canon Selphy printer that AJ bought me for Christmas.

Anyway onto the Currently series as inspired by Kristin Tweedale

Watching  Last episode of Sherlock and the new series of Mike and Molly
Reading  Scrap 365 magazine latest edition
Listening  The same radio channels as last week
Making  Healthy meals and lots of fruit salads
Feeling  Angry
Planning  New healthy meals
Eating/drinking  Lots of fruit and vegetables
Loving  Taking hot baths to help with aching feets and legs

Good evening from Pickle Land
Hope to speak to you very soon
Love Lesley

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Currently Week 2

This is week 2 of my Currently Series as inspired by Kristin Tweedale of

Watching:  Sherlock
Reading:  Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
Listening:  Chris Evans and Simon Mayo on Radio 2
Making: Art Journal pages
Feeling: Tired
Planning: Project Life
Eating/Drinking: Fresh fruit salad and Fosters Radlers
Loving: Getting back into art Journalling again

Wishing you a good day from Pickle Land
Hope to speak to you very soon
Love Lesley xx

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Project Life Week 1- New Year

Already I am behind on PL2014.  I've taken my photos and I know what I want to journal; I just haven't got round to producing the layout yet.  I am planning to do this weekend and I will post next Tuesday.  Thus what I will do will do a run down this week about week 1 and next Tuesday I will show layout and do a run down on week 2; and continue this way each week unless I get the chance to do a layout quickly on a Tuesday night each week.

Run down for Week 1 will be as follows:-

* Happy New Year
* Currently Series for the week
* Trip to Malvern to meet up with friends
* Starting art journal
* Nigel (FIL) birthday
* Pie and fruit salad
* Kiwi sleeping on my head
* Aspirations
* Back to workg
* What 2014 has in store for me

Good Evening from Pickle Land
Back tomorrow with Currently series
Love Lesley xx

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Cat in the Hat #2- Kiwi

Kiwi wasn't as willing a volunteer to wear the Santa hat as Willow was.  I was lucky to have managed to take this photo as as soon as I did she ran off to hide in my bedroom.  She looked cute though!!!

Good Evening from Pickle Land
Love Lesleyxxxx

Cat in the Hat #1- Willow

A Santa hat just begs for a picture of a Cat with it on.  Willow was a willing participant for about a minute and hence this lovely photo.

Good Evening from Pickle Land
Love Lesley xx

Saturday Random Photograph #1

As part of Project Life I've started to take more photos of my everyday life and I've been taking any picture that takes my fancy, whether for PL or to scrapbook with.  I've also decided to do a weekly Saturday Random Photograph post.

This first post is of a yummy gingerbread Man I ate over Christmas.  It looked almost too good to eat.

Hope you have a lovely Saturday
Hope to speak to you soon
Love Lesley xx

Friday, 3 January 2014

Art Journal 2014 Title Page

Today I enjoyed a lovely few hours with my friend Chris creating some art and setting up a blog for Chris to showcase some of her artwork.  Her blog can be found at

This year I want to get into art Journalling more after dabbling with it over the past year or so.  AJ bought me an extra large art journal from TKMax which is perfect for me to create in and try new techniques.  I'm looking forward to filling it and growing with my art throughout this year.  Today I created the first Page.  The quote which I thought was perfect for the way I'm currently thinking about art is by Pablo Picasso and reads Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.  
It resonates with me as I definitely need some art relief from my everyday life and as I have also written on this first Page - I want 2014 to be the year of art cleansing my soul, of finding myself and restoring my spirit.

Good Evening from Pickle Land
Speak to you very soon
Love Lesley

52 books in 2014

I love reading.  I have since I was a little girl.  Books are an escape for me.  I feel so good when I've read a good book.  Books have been my friends when I had none.  Books have quenched my thirst for knowledge, and been my comfort on insomnia dark nights.

My love of books have been inherited from my Mum and Dad.  Both were avid readers, who encouraged my brother and I to visit our local library and stock up on books.  My Dad was also a great collector of books and would buy many books over the years from Readers Digest.  Upon his death, I inherited hundreds of books, many of which have been stuck on a book case in my bedroom but not looked at in years.  Upon moving my bedroom furniture around a couple of months ago, I dusted all these unloved and forgotten books and started to look through some of them.  It was then I formulated my goal of 52 books in 2014.  I think setting myself the goal of 52 books or a book a week is achievable.  Especially as it only took me a day to read a book AJ got me for Christmas (Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond- an excellent read of which I highly recommend for any romantic at heart who dreams of the perfect man and life).

The list below consists of some of the condensed books from my Dads Readers Digest collect and some of the many books I have myself collected over the years,whether paper or Kindle/kobo.   They are in no particular order, just in the order I came across them and wrote them down.  They are as follows:
1. Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan, 2. A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy; 3. The Savage Garden by Mark Mills; 4. The Seventh Scroll by Wilbur Smith; 5. Night of Reunion by Michael Allegretto; 6. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield; 7.The Analyst by John Katzenbach; 8. Days Without Numbers by Robert Goddard; 9.The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon; 10. Thornyhold by Mary Stewart; 11. The awakening and other stories by Kate Chopin; 12. The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier; 13. Men for the Mountains by Sid Marty ; 14. The Cruellest Miles by Gay & Laney Salisbury; 15. The Half life of Hannah by Nick Alexander; 16. Lady Susan by Jane Austen;  17. Not Dreaming of You by Nina Cordoba; 18. Long Time Coming by Edie Claire; 19. Mesmerized by Julia Crane & Talia Jager; 20. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen; 21. I'll Bring You Buttercups by Elizabeth Elgin; 22. Untouched by Melody Grace; 23. Never Forget by Emma Hart; 24.Shoe Strings by Christy Hayes 25. The Wedding Diary by Margaret James; 26. When First they Met by Debbie Macomber; 27. Champagne and Lemondrops by Jean Oram; 28. Invisible by Cecily Anne Patterson; 29-32 seasons of the Moon series by SM Reine; 33. The Perfect Family by Kathryn Shay; 34. Twenty eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grocery Swank; 35. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen; 36. Out of Time by Monique Martin; 37. The New Girl by Tracie Puckett; 38. The Raie'Chaelia by Melissa Douthett; 39. Almost a Bride by Patricia McLinn; 40. Cross my Heart by Abigail Storm; 41. The Governors Affair by Courtney Milan; 42. Just Breathe by Heather Allen; 43. Dollhouse by Anya Allyn; 44. Everblue by Brenda Pandos; 45.The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde; 46. The Colour of Heaven by Julienne McLean; 47. Trouble in Mudbug by Jane Deleon; 48. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; 49. Stories For Christmas by Katie Flynn, Dilly Court and Debbie Macomber, 50. Christmas Kismet by Jemma Grey; 51. Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani and 52. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

I hope I can achieve this and as a little push and incentive to keep up Iam planning to do a Monthly book review post the last day of each month.  First post will (hopefully) be Friday 31st January

Good Day to you from Pickle Land
Hope speak to you very soon
Love Lesley xx

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Currently week 1

This weekly series is based on Kristin Tweedale of Currently series (I've added eating and drinking).  I love her blog and she has been of great inspiration to me over the last few months especially since I've not been well. I have been writing a Currently diary for the past couple of months to see if I can commit to doing this weekly and have loved doing this each week so I thought I would do on this blog.  I'm also planning to include this in my weekly Project Life.

So for Week one of 2014

Watching Christmas TV.  Loved Mrs Brown Boys Christmas specials
Reading Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond
Listening Michael Buble Christmas CD
Making Progress
Feeling worried about the house post bathroom/kitchen leak
Planning Blog posts
Eating/drinking Lots of chocolate and fattening foods/tea
Loving Spending time with family this Christmas.

Good Evening from Pickle Land
Hope to speak to you very soon
Love Lesley xxx

Blog scheduling

I've actually been a bit organised the last few weeks and have really thought about how I want this little blog of mine to develop and grow.  I have decided that I am going to try and commit to regular blog posts as well as being creative and showing scrapbook layouts, art and cards and random posts.  I have created a diary based on one I pinned on Pinterest from Sarah Avila at www.myjoyfilledlife.comwhich I hope will keep me organised and untimely productive.

I have decided on three scheduled post.  Firstly a weekly Currently series based on the lovely Kristin Tweedale at This will be every Wednesday (except this first week which will be today 2nd January). Secondly a Project Life Weekly Series where I plan to show a Project Life Layout every Tuesday or at least some photos from the previous week if I haven't got round to producing a layout.  The first post for Project Life Week 1 will be Tuesday 7th January.  Thirdly planning to do a Monthly book review based on what I have read that month.  This is part of my goal to read 52 books in 2014.  I plan to do this the last day of the month so the first review on Friday 31st January.  I will be doing a blog post on Friday 3rd January listing the 52 books I plan to read this year.

I'd like to do other regular features like regular scrapbook layouts, cards I've made, Art and Art Journalling, and anything else that takes my fancy and decide to share.

I'm really quite excited about this blog and I am really looking forward to speaking to you all very soon.

Lots of Love from Pickle Land
Lesley xx

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Year goals and aspirations

I'm not great at New Years Resolutions.  I make lots of resolutions and never stick to them.  They are virtually the same every year, like loose weight, be more tidy and organised, look after myself more, be more sociable.  The list goes on.  But still each year I make the same resolutions knowing that by the 10th of January they are long forgotten.  However this New Year I am determined to see through some goals/aspirations and by the end of 2014 I can look back and actually say to myself I have achieved my goals this year.

This little list is my reminder of these goals/aspirations and a way of recording my progress.  They are in no particular order or preference.

In 2014 I would like to get health conscious and more active.  Becoming 40 is a bit of a big deal for me and not a number I'm looking forward to.  I don't want to start my 40's being fat and frumpy.  I know I need to loose weight for health reasons. I want to be able to buy some of the gorgeous outfits I've pinned on Pinterest. I want to feel good about myself.  I know that eating healthily and becoming active will be good physically and for my mental wellbeing.

As part of feeling good about myself I want to start making more effort with my appearance.  I feel I have let myself go over the last couple of years.  I haven't looked after my skin very well and it needs a bit of tlc.  I've got some nice skin products and my goal is to set up a proper skin care regime.
I'm also going to start wearing more make up.  I haven't updated my make up in years, so out of some Christmas money, I have treated myself to some new make up pallets with new colours to try.  I'm actually excited about make up again after so many years.  Discoveries on Pinterest and You Tube have fuelled my desire to try new techniques and looks.  Feeling good about myself is the main goal.  I know that feeling good about who I am will help me in terms of my depression and anxieties.  Feeling good and looking after myself is what I deserve for myself because as the L'OrĂ©al advertisements go - Because I'm worth it.

I have been really disappointed with myself in 2013 in terms of my creativity.  I've hardly done any scrapbooking, very little art and journalling, I think I've only made two or three cards and I haven't wrote on this blog for months at a time.  I haven't shared what I have created when I have done something (like a canvas I made at a Finnabair workshop I attended in December which I loved).
My depression has completely zapped me creatively and as I wrote in my previous post in October, I haven't felt like doing much which is counter productive as creating art and scrapbooking makes me so happy when I create.  The past few weeks I have been feeling slightly better and I have great plans for 2014 in terms of the artistic journey I want to go on.  The Finnabair workshop I attended has definitely lit a spark in terms of canvases I want to create this year.  I want to journal more and sketch more.  I have got myself a big journal book and my goal is to fill it by the end of the year.  In terms of scrapbooking I have so many great photographs that I am dying to scrapbook of my brothers wedding in August 2013.  I've got so many pins for inspiration I have no reason to get creative block.  I also want to start doing Project Life this year, especially as it is my 40th year.  This year my hope is that I make time for myself to create something every week, whether it is a scrapbook layout, some art or Project Life.

A big goal or task I have set myself this year is 52 books in 2014.  More on this in a later blog post.

This year AJ and I have set ourselves a goal to be more sociable and go out more.  We love our own company but this has made us slightly insular of late and we have definitely neglected friendships.  This year we would both like to touch base with friends more, to invite people round and go out abit more often.  Life is too short to waste and I need to live it more and share my life with the people I love and care for.

Finally in terms of this blog Adventures in Pickle Land, I have gotten myself organised and have decided on setting myself a weekly and monthly schedule of blog posts.  I'm still not entirely sure what exactly I'll be doing but I am hoping to finalise in next day or two, so look out for this post soon.

Good Morning from Pickle Land
Hope to speak very soon.
Love Lesley xx

Happy New Year 2014

2013 hasn't been the best of years for myself.  It has been a year of a couple of ups but more downs than I would have liked. To say I'm glad that this year is over is an understatement.

I am however, hoping that 2014 is a much better year for myself and AJ.  This is the year I turn the big 40.  This is the year that all being well, my sister in law R will finally be able to join my brother in living in the UK.  It will be AJ and mine 5th wedding anniversary.

I have lots of personal goals and aspirations (more information to follow) and I have plans for my ickle blog too (also to follow shortly).  Therefore I'm hoping that 2014 will be a good year.

So, this last evening of 2013, I'm hoping that you all had a great Christmas or holidays and hoping that you all have a very happy, healthy, prosperous and above all creative 2014.

Good evening from Pickle Land and will speak very soon.
Love Lesley xx