Book review: After the last dance by Sarra Manning


I’ve been a fan of Sarra Manning since she wrote for J17.  Back in the day when I was a teenager I’d go to Paperweight which was a shop that sold lots of overseas magazines.  J17 was one of my favourites and I loved Sarra’s articles.  Being an angst filled teen I used to love reading her series “Diary of a crush” and sometimes the magazine would include a book of hers.

Fast forward many years and I was thrilled to find “After the last dance” in a bookshop.  I had high hopes and was not disappointed!  The book is about 2 women – Rose whose story begins in 1943 and Jane who is living in the present.  They are linked by Leo, Rose’s great-nephew and Jane’s new husband.  When they meet there is zero love lost between the two but then Rose and Jane’s stories unfold and we see the events and circumstances which moulded them into who they became.

I found Rose’s story was my favourite – she was so likable, strong and determined.  Loyal and loving – I wanted her to have a happily ever after from the start!  She was a young woman growing up during world war 2 and ran away from home to go to London and dance at Rainbow Corner.  Her story is both fascinating and heartbreaking.

Jane grew on me after a few chapters and it is clear she is running away from something tragic.  She isn’t as likeable as Rose and in the start I was impatient to get back to Rose’s story.  However as the story unfolded I warmed up to Jane.  The story behind her pain is a mystery for most of the book but readers do find out at the end.

This was an enjoyable read that I couldn’t put down.

One of those books where you think okay, one more page.  

Alright just another few. 

Maybe just to the end of the chapter…. before you realise it is almost finished!




Hello Friday!


We had some really hot summer days recently and now it is back to spring with cooler temperatures – I’m not complaining, I know the very hot weather will arrive and in the meantime I’m enjoying this can-wear-a-dress-without-getting-cold-but-don’t-need-airconditioning-just-yet weather.  My Friday pic above was taken a while ago when we were in Hermanus and I never get tired of looking at the ocean.  It is getting me into the weekend mood!

My highlights from this week include:

  • Garden is looking amazing! Hubby and I went to buy plants and flowers and it is looking so much like spring outside. I love looking out at the window box and seeing petunias when I’m doing dishes.
  • Finding an old book I’d forgotten I’d bought and reading it now. After the Last Dance by Sarra Manning.  Cannot put it down.
  • Getting an appointment for a pedicure tomorrow.  Left it quite late but so pleased they could fit me in at the time requested.
  • Rose petal and vanilla tea by Woolworths.   A friend gave this to me over the weekend and it tastes so good.
  • Being more mindful.  This week we spent a lot of time pottering around in the garden in the evenings.  After the planting we sat outside and just enjoyed the cool evening.  There was chores to do and dinner to start and we just sat on our bench until we realised the stars were out and it was getting late.

Tomorrow we are going to Langebaan for the day.  I love a spontaneous road trip!  I’m getting a pedicure (haven’t been to a spa in ages and felt like a treat).

What about you?  What is on your gratitude list today?  Anything exciting planned for the weekend?

Linking up with:


If you and I had coffee


I’m linking up with Lecy today

If we met for coffee I’d suggest a restaurant nearby which has a lovely section outside which sits in the shade – great with the warm weather we’ve been having.

I’d order a red cappuchino and ask how you are and what you’ve been up to.

As our drinks arrive I’d tell you that I’m on a decluttering streak.  I organised our wardrobe for summer recently and went through old clothes we haven’t worn in ages.  It felt so good to donate 3 bags of clothes that were just sitting there and not being enjoyed.

We’d order some cake and I’d choose the lemon meringue.  I’d tell you that something I’ve needed to work on has become easier with time.  I find balance is something that isn’t always easy to achieve.  For instance if I skip gym I usually eat something unhealthy.  Then I’ll probably miss gym the next day and finish the cheese in the fridge before supper.

Point is, balance is one of those things that sometimes elude me.  Shopping is another thing.  I go for one item, somehow end up buying three.  Or nothing – weird how all-or-nothing thinking works?

But a few days ago, I felt like I’d started making headway.  We have been putting off the garden for a while and our driveway had so many weeds that kept sprouting up through the bricks.  So we tackled this and part of the back garden over the weekend.  But we left one section of the back garden for an evening after work when we could plant some water-wise plants.  Usually I’d want to push through in the heat and finish the job we started but not this time.  I wanted us to enjoy the rest of our Sunday afternoon and take our time choosing new plants instead of rushing it.

And last week I did skip gym a couple evenings after work and still managed to eat a healthy dinner each time.  Balance can be achieved, it just takes practice.

We’d enjoy our cake and talk about how quickly this year is flying.  You’d tell me about the place you are choosing for our November coffee chat before we say goodbye until next month.


Weekly gratitude

I’m linking up with  Lindsay Charlotte and Beth with my weekly gratitude list.  I meant to post on Friday but am doing today instead.  I actually have more to add from the weekend so here goes:

  • Going to the gym last week even when I felt like having a lazy evening after a very busy day.  I was so glad after I’d been!
  • Having dinner with a friend on Tuesday evening.
  • Watching Johnny English 3 at the movies.  Even though I didn’t find it as funny as the first 2, there are some hilarious parts.
  • Ticking everything off my weekly to-do list.
  • Hot chocolate with marshmallows
  • Making it to my goal weight.  I set a goal for myself in April this year and on Friday morning I reached it.
  • Going on a hike on Friday – it was great.
  • Meeting a friend for tea on Saturday and chatting for hours.
  • Having a productive Sunday yesterday.  Had breakfast out, did a quick shop, came home and did some gardening, decluttered and organised the study, went for a drive and had supper in front of the TV watching My Kitchen Rules South Africa.  A busy but wonderful day.

Now it is Monday lunchtime and I’ve got some things to finish before hometime.  Then off to the gym, grocery shopping, shower then it is dinner and couch time 🙂  We are watching Manifest at the moment and only seeing episode 1 so far.  Looking forward to the next one, along with MasterChef Australia starting later in the week.

Hope everyone has a great week further.


Humpday confessions


Confession no. 1:  As excited as I am for spring and the warmer weather, I am not complaining that we’ve had some chilly mornings and evenings.  I love pressing snooze in the mornings and snuggling for a few more minutes.

Confession no. 2:  I have serious case of buyers remorse.  More like non-buyers-remorse over a pair of shoes.  I saw a navy pair of wedges a few weeks ago and didn’t buy them.  I know the chance that there is stock at the shop I’m going to this evening is non-existent. Why didn’t I just buy them when I first saw them??

Confession no. 3:  In April this year I started watching what I ate and according to the scale this morning, I’m 9.5 kg’s down.  I started by bringing my own lunch to work instead of ordering one of the options at the office.  The lunches we get here are super delicious so I started by ordering fewer days a week before cutting it out completely and just bringing my own.  Now I eat as healthily as I can from Mon – Thurs and treat myself on weekends.  My appetite has definitely decreased over the months and my clothes fit so much better.

Confession no.  4:  Along with a smaller appetite I’ve noticed that I haven’t had wine in ages.  At first it was because of my sore back and painkillers but my back is feeling better and haven’t needed anything for the pain in weeks.  Now I just feel like iced tea instead of a glass of rose (or a cider) lately.

Confession no. 5:  I sat at 3 different tables last night before having dinner with a friend. I felt like Beverley Goldberg in the episode of the Goldbergs where the family go to a restaurant and Beverley keeps asking for a new table.  Wherever I sat I was cold!  The table we eventually settled on was perfect and I’m so glad the waitress suggested it.


Hello October!


I cannot say that September was my favourite month this year.  The back ache that appeared with no warning and then hung around for over 2 weeks wasn’t fun.  Work has been incredibly busy and I’ve been feeling quite stressed since the end of August.  Alot of September felt like I was constantly trying to catch up with the previous day – often felt like I was running in circles and not getting anywhere.  I took a days leave on Friday and what a difference a long weekend can make!  Hubby also took leave so we decided to have a much needed quiet weekend.

Waking up on Friday morning and getting to sleep in felt SO good!  I made tea and read a bit and hubby went to Kirstenbosch to take photos.  When he got back we went to have brunch and then I started organising our cupboards.  The Ryder Cup was on so hubby was happy with the golf and we had tea and milktart while I cleared out 3 bags of clothes to donate.  I moved all the summer clothes out, packed the winter ones away (so obviously today is cold and I’m shivering in a dress haha).

Saturday we had a late breakfast and then I started on the cupboard in our study.  Found some of my scrapbooking goodies which I’d forgotten about!  We took a drive in the afternoon to Chapmans Peak and then had a relaxing evening.

Sunday we went to the Spice Route and had lunch at La Grapperia.  It was a super hot day and we were lucky to get a table in the shade.  Hubby had pizza and I had the Farmers salad which was delicious.  We spotted 2 owls while we were having lunch!  Afterwards we went buy some chocolate and then finished off with an ice-cream.  I loved the salted caramel I chose and hubby had mint chocolate with macadamia nuts.

We made our way home feeling very full and tired – couldn’t believe the heat!  While the golf was on I had a nap and then tackled the ironing when it was a bit cooler in the evening.  We had a super lazy supper and it was a really enjoyable weekend.

And now it is October!  Spring is here and I’m looking forward to the warmer months.  Taking some leave later in the month and cannot wait!  I love this time of the year.

My September goals were:

  • Go to a yoga class – unfortunately my back was so sore for most of September so this was a no 😦
  • Make time for close friends
  • Declutter wardrobe and donate clothes I don’t wear
  • Read 3 books
  • Blog 10 times – blogged 9 times!
  • Be more mindful
  • Less time online – 2 FB free days a week

October goals are:

  • Continue being more mindful
  • Read 3 books
  • Update Goodreads (need to update the reading challenge!)
  • Go to gym more often
  • Leave work stress at the office

What about you?  What are your October goals?