Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You, edited by Adam Kay (Review)

Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You, Edited by Adam Kay


Created and edited by Adam Kay (author of multi-million best seller ‘This is Going to Hurt’), ‘DEAR NHS’ features household names telling their personal stories of the health service. Contributors include Joanna Lumley, Naomie Harris, Kate Tempest, Lee Child, Tanni Grey Thomson, Bill Bryson, Trevor McDonald, Jack Whitehall, Michael Palin, Stanley Tucci and many, many more.


I had this book preordered as soon as I heard about it and I couldn’t wait to read it when it arrived. I love the idea of this book, celebrities, people we know so well, tell us their stories and thank you’s to the NHS in the format of stories, poems, essays and letters.

The first celebrity’s story is Graham Norton and I was hooked and could not put the book down. I loved how heart felt some of these stories were and how most people wanted to give their sincere thanks to the NHS. They also didn’t just thank the doctors and nurses, they thanked all the NHS staff, the porters, cleaners, everyone.

Some of my favourite stories were by Graham Norton, David Tennant, The Hairy Bikers, Stephen Fry, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and many more. This book really was an emotional rollercoaster. One minute you are almost crying and the next minute laughing at someone like Jonathan Ross getting a lollipop for being brave even though he is an adult.

There sadly were a few in this book that spoiled it for me. Some like Frankie Boyle who used his story as political rant and Jamie Oliver who promoted his own recipes and website. Some celebrities were just too self obsessed for me in this book and I really didn’t think that this wonderful book was the time or place.

I really did enjoy this book but because of certain people it was slightly ruined for me. However, I still recommend this book to everyone who loves the NHS and the fact that every copy bought gives a donation to the NHS is even better. I give this book 3 out of 5 Dragons.

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Friday Poetry: Edgar Allen Poe

Happy Friday!

This Friday’s poem is by the great Edgar Allen Poe.


Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee;

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love and be loved by me.


She was a child and I was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea,

But we loved with a love that was more than love – 

I and my Annabel Lee – 

With a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven

Coveted her and me.


And this was the reason that long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out of a cloud by night

Chilling my Annabel Lee;

So that her highborn kinsmen came

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre

In this kingdom by the sea.


The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

Went envying her and me:

Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,

In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling

And killing my Annabel Lee.


But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we – 

Of many far wiser than we – 

And neither the angels in Heaven above

Nor the demons down under the sea,

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:


For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,

In her sepulchre there by the sea – 

In her tomb by the side of the sea.


Edgar Allen Poe


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This and That Thursday

Happy Thursday!

I hope everyone is having a good week so far. I have been up to my usual activities this week.


This week we have been up to some more walks and we ventured to a National Trust walk for the first time since lockdown. It was really nice to go somewhere different this week and thankfully it wasn’t too busy. Also I am still playing Pokemon Go and hatching lots of eggs with all the walking.



This week we have been trying to fight the ever increasing battle with the weeds and we have also trimmed a few of the hedges. The weeds sadly are not taking the hint they are not welcome. Here are a few snaps from the garden.


This week I have been working a lot on my ukulele playing and have really been enjoying learning Ziggy Stardust. 



We also tried a new recipe this week from Davina McCall’s Fakeaway recipes. I am still self shielding so we are trying some new recipes to simulate eating out. It was a very yummy recipe.


Lord of the Rings

We have also started watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I just love the films and they were what started my Tolkien obsession.

That is my week so far. I hope everyone is having a good week.

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WWW Wednesday: 22/07/2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?



Another Wednesday has arrived and with it another WWW Wednesday which is fast becoming one of my favourite weekly posts. I love seeing what everyone has been reading each week.


What I am Currently Reading


I only started reading this last night. So far so good!


What I have Recently Finished Reading


Finished this yesterday review will be posted shortly.


What I will Read Next

These are two contenders but I do have a few NetGalley books to read as well so it could be anything.

There is my WWW Wednesday for this week. Please drop me a comment with your WWW Wednesday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading!

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Mid Week Quote: Joss Whedon

Happy Wednesday!

My chosen quote today is by the great Joss Whedon, the creator of so many of my favourite TV shows and films. The current one that I am watching being the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series.


“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”


Joss Whedon


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The Chateau of Briis: A Lesson in Love by Alison Weir (E-Short Review)

The Chateau of Briis: A Lesson in Love by Alison Weir

About the author


Alison Weir was born in 1951 and is a British writer of history books, and latterly historical novels, mostly in the form of biographies about British Royalty.


1515 – Dressed in wine-coloured satin, with her dark hair worn loose, a young Anne Boleyn attends a great ball at the French court. The palace is exquisitely decorated for the occasion, and the hall is full with lords and ladies – the dancing has begun. Anne adores watching the game of courtly love play out before her eyes, though she is not expecting to be thrown into it herself. But moments later, a charming young man named Philippe du Moulin approaches to ask for her hand in the dance. And before she can resist, so begins Anne’s first lesson in love.


Another short story from the Six Tudor Queens series and I must admit I really enjoyed this one. It was somewhat more satisfying than The Tower is Full of Ghosts Today as that just left me feeling a bit frustrated with the story.

This is a wonderful little story but it was a little emotional rollercoaster. Anne Boleyn has her first lesson in love in this story and although it is only something Weir has made up it would explain a great deal about Anne Boleyn’s character. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her at times.

This little glimpse into Anne’s life in the French court is wonderful and full of detail. I throughly enjoyed it but again found it was very short, just a few extra pages and I would have been happier but it is a perfect little novella to read between Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession and Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen. I have given this story 4 out of 5 Dragons.

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The Tower is Full of Ghosts Today by Alison Weir (E-Short Review)

The Tower is Full of Ghosts Today by Alison Weir

About the author


Alison Weir was born in 1951 and is a British writer of history books, and latterly historical novels, mostly in the form of biographies about British Royalty.


Jo, historian and long-term admirer of Anne Boleyn, takes a group on a guided tour of the Tower of London, to walk in the shoes of her Tudor heroine. But as she becomes enthralled by the historical accuracy of her tour guide and the dramatic setting that she has come to love, something spectral is lurking in the shadows . . .


I am sure I have read this little story before but I don’t know where from as I have never owned it. I do not mind though as I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this little story again.

I have always been fascinated by the history of the Tower of London and have often thought it is probably the home to many ghosts so this little story is right up my street.

This little story centres around a tour group who Jo is in charge of and she books a special tour guide to take them all around the Tower. This tour guide is dressed up like Anne Boleyn and looks incredible, everyone is impressed. As the tour progresses though a spectral figure is spotted in another group.

I really enjoyed this story but it was just too short! Seven pages just wasn’t enough. I was begging Weir to make it longer but sadly no. I loved the detail in this story, the detail of the Anne Boleyn lookalike tour guide’s dress was fantastically described and had me hooked. I can sadly only give this short story 3 out of 5 Dragons because it was just too short for me.

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First Lines Friday: 17/07/2020

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!



I haven’t done one of these for a few weeks so I thought I would have a go this evening.

Remember, the answer is below the cats. Good luck!


“You’ve got to say this for desperation: it makes you much more open-minded. I really can see some positives in this flat. The technicolour mould on the kitchen wall will scrub off, at least in the short term. The filthy mattress can be replaced fairly cheaply. And you could definitely make the argument that the mushrooms growing behind the toilet are introducing a fresh, outdoorsy feel to the place.”




And the answer is…

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary




How did you do? I hope to read this book very soon.

Happy Reading

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Friday Poetry: George MacDonald

Happy Friday!

Around this time of year lilies start to flower and although I’m highly allergic to lilies I do love water lilies and look forward to seeing them flower in our pond. So I have chosen a poem about lilies for this week.

Little White Lily

Little white Lily

Sat by a stone,

Drooping and waiting

Till the sun shone.

Little white Lily

Sunshine has fed;

Little white Lily

Is lifting her head.


Little white Lily

Said: ‘It is good:

Little white Lily’s

Clothing and fool!

Little white Lily

Drest like a bride!

Shining with whiteness,

And crowned beside!’


Little white Lily

Droopeth in pain,

Waiting and waiting

For the wet rain.

Little white Lily

Holdeth her cup;

Rain is fast falling,

And filling it up.


Little white Lily

Said: ‘Good again,

When I am thirsty

To have nice rain!

Now I am stronger,

Now I am cool;

Heat cannot burn me,

My veins are so full!’


Little white Lily

Smells very sweet:

On her head sunshine,

Rain at her feet.

‘Thanks to the sunshine!

Thanks to the rain!

Little white Lily

Is happy again!’


George MacDonald


Happy Reading!

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This and That Thursday

Another Thursday has arrived and so it is time for me to do my This and That Thursday post.

So this week hasn’t been that busy and I haven’t touched my new jigsaw sadly but I’ve still tried to keep busy.


I’ve started getting into my piano practice again. The piano is my nemesis, no matter how hard I try I just can’t progress and get my grade 6 complete. This leads to me getting frustrated and ceasing to practice. So I’m aiming for 30mins a day but not just grade stuff I’m playing fun stuff that will still push my playing in the hope I don’t abandon the instrument again. I have also started working on grade 2 ukulele which is proving to be a good challenge, I’m currently working on Ziggy Stardust which is really fun trying to play on a ukulele.


Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary and to celebrate we went for a walk by the church where we got married and then had a lovely meal which involved pizza and champagne. It was a lovely quiet day and I thoroughly enjoyed it.



I have started a Tudor course on Future Learn and I love it so far. It is mainly done by Dr Suzannah Lipscomb and it is very informative. Should keep me busy for a few weeks. I highly recommend Future Lear. The courses are excellently done and massively enjoyable to do.

So that is my week. Hopefully the piano playing will continue to get better.

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