Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wedding Bells & Princesses

My stay in England just so happens to coincide with Kate and Wills wedding. The timing happened completely by chance, but I am ever-so-glad the wedding and my holiday fell into the same time period.

Viewing the hype leading up to today has been very interesting. I have taken many pictures of store displays, and yes, I have fallen into the tourist trap of buying products depicted with images of the couple. Limited 'Royal' Editions of Cinderella, Little Miss Princess Books, cookies, flags... you name it, and it's probably featuring tomorrow's Royal wedding somehow.

But, how are the English responding to the wedding? Are they eagerly awaiting tomorrow's tv coverage? To put it bluntly - not so much.

However, I'm looking forward to seeing Kate walk down the isle. I can't wait to see what her dress looks like. I guess I'm a girly girl. I can see a wedding, history in the making, and a girl becoming a princess... how could I say not join in on the hype?

I'll let you know how tomorrow goes on this side of the pond!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 12

When I stumbled across this scene a few months ago I knew I had to take a picture. Torrential rains, the city lit up, and a fountain glowing nearby... BC.

And, I must say, so much different from where I currently am stationed... warm, sunny, and cheery England at Spring.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!!

Dear family, friends, followers, readers and fellow book-adorers:

Happy Easter!!

Sending you kind thoughts and happiness,

Much love,

Ms. C


Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Dutch in Wartime

A few weeks ago I was given a newspaper-style magazine called The Dutch in Wartime. It is a publication designed to teach the horrors of the Second World War to grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) of North America's Dutch immigrants. I happen to fall into this category of individuals.

I think, as many of us were children growing up in the second half of the twentieth century, we have all heard stories of World War II. Our connections to the war vary depending on our family members' ages, locations, and personal attributes.

There are plenty of academic texts on the history of the Second World War for countries such as the United States, England, Italy, and Germany (and many others, too!).

In the past I have had a hard time finding academic sources on Holland during the World War. Sadly, there is very little published material on Holland during the war. In fact, there is such a lack of information on Holland and World War II that I have been unable to write university papers on the subject.

The Dutch in Wartime attempts to fill this void of information on Holland from 1939 to 1945. The publication provides readers with countless first-hand accounts of the war. Tales of heroism, hiding, starvation, death, and liberation are told within its pages.

This publication is powerful. It reminds readers that everyone, civilian and solider, are effected by war. That one cannot 'get over' a war - it stays with you forever. It is intentional hatred. It is intentional acts of murder. Victims of war should not be silent, but continue to speak out against past atrocities. As it was so adeptly written, "to remember means to be alert" for the future (page 4).

History and first hand accounts of atrocity are hard to review. I cannot even fathom performing this activity when the stories I read are so close to my own background. Instead, I have created a short summary of information on World War II and Holland.

The Facts:

- Holland intended to be neutral during the Second World War - they were ill-equipped for war when the Germans invaded on May 10, 1940. Holland's warfare equipment was created prior to 1914 (page 4).

- Children were often confused by the war. At school children were told Germans were their enemies, while at home some were forced to socialize with the foreign soldiers. German soldiers, who missed their own children, would play with Dutch children and told stories of their families in Germany (page 5).

- The German Army believed Hollanders shared Germanic blood. This meant that German rule was much more lenient until the Dutch protested against German activities (page 6).

- Dutch schoolchildren had to sign a Declaration of Loyalty to Germany. Those who did not sign the declaration were to be sent to German prisons or labour camps. Many Dutch children were forced into hiding due to this (page 6).

- On November 11, 1944 Germans raided houses in Rotterdam for all men and boys fit for work. 50,000 out of the 70,000 eligible males in the city were deported to Germany for work. This occurrence is known as the Rotterdam Roundup (page 11).

- Before the war Holland contained 140,000 Jewish individuals - 102, 000 had perished come 1945 (page 16).

- The winter of 1944-1945 is know as the Hunger Winter. It was the coldest winter on record. The Dutch had literally no food, electricity, or water due to German occupation. People resorted to creating fires in small coffee tins and eating tulip bulbs, rats, and other animals found on the street. Many individuals collapsed on the streets due to starvation and the cold. Unfortunately, Hollanders had so little energy that those who perished on the streets were left on the side of the road (page 20).

- Holland was liberated in May 1945 by Canadian and British forces (page 4).

- Holland celebrates Remembrance Day on May 4th and Liberation Day (full of celebrations and parties) on May 5th (page 3).

Bibliographical Reference:
Bijvoet, Tom. De Krant: The Dutch in Wartime, Special English Language Edition of Maandblad De Krant to Mark the 65th Anniversary of Liberation. Pentiction, British Columbia: Mokeham Publishing, Inc., 2010.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blog Hopping From Across the Pond

Book Blogger Hop

I have a (rare) free Friday night in England... and I think it's high time I started hopping again.

This week Crazy For Books asks: "If you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?"

A: I do. Lately, I have become obsessed with Jojo Moyes. I read her latest book (to be released in North America this Summer) The Last Letter From Your Lover, and instantly fell in love with her as a writer. I've searched my hometown for books by this English author, but they are hard to come by. While I'm staying in the England I'm determined to find more of her work!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'Recipe for a Good Life'

"Take a few cups of kindness
One dash of humility
One sprinkle of laughter
One teaspoon of patience
One tablespoon of generosity
One pint of forgiveness
One quart of love
And a gallon of faith

Mix in determination and add lots of courage; stir it up very well, spread it over the span of your lifetime, and serve it to each and every person you meet."

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 11

This picture pretty much sums it up: I love Coach... and love... and handwritten letters. I received this handbag as a present a few months ago and had to add the 'love letter' accessory. It may be a bit hard to see, but the white rectangle behind the 'love' is a model of a letter's envelop.

Just looking at this handbag makes me smile :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Learning Curves

It would be a lie to say that I didn't seriously contemplate what book to bring on my trans-Atlantic flight. I needed a book that could entertain me for just over 9 hours. I even purchased a book specifically for this occasion. But, said book never made it on the journey. Instead, I began Gemma Townley's Learning Curves a few day's before leaving for England.

A few years ago, when I first purchased Townley's book, I had read the first few chapters and then given up. But, for some reason, the banana yellow spine of this work called out to me in early April. By the time I was packing my suitcase, I was more than halfway into the novel. Looks like I had no choice but to bring Learning Curves along for the journey.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Real-Time Post

Hello all!

Most of you will be aware that I'm currently stationed in England. I have been posting updates (written before departure) over the last few weeks. But, I have yet to create a real-time post. A post that I have written while in foreign territory. Today's my first 'do nothing' day, and what better way to spend it than re-entering the blogging world.

So, how is the Land of E treating me?

Sunday, April 17, 2011


This has got to be one of the driest books I have read (*ouch* sorry Gaskell). There's no other explanation for my behaviour.

Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford, first published in book form in 1853, is merely 138 pages (the Dover Thrift Edition). It has taken me over three months to read. In fact, I would have given up reading if Gaskell had not been part of the Wordsworth Classics Reading Challenge 2011.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 10

This cafe is way too cute.

A little known personal fact?
I'm addicted to pickles.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Julie and Julia

I picked up Julie Powell's Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously the summer of 2009. I had heard all of the movie-hype for Powell's work, and being a firm believer in the old adage "the book is always better than the film," I had wanted to read Powell's own words first. I am so glad I did.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Picture Me Wednesday - 2011 Week 9

Flashbacks of photos from last week?
That's because these photos were captured at the same time and depict flowers from the same bouquet.
What can I say?
I love, l-o-v-e, love the texture on these gerberas!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Off to the Land of E...

I just wanted to let you all know that my bags are packed (kinda) and I'm ready to go (most definitely) to the Land of E.

Next time you hear from me I will be sipping tea, eating crumpets, and reviewing from England. Actually, I probably won't be that stereotypical. I am a coffee addict, after all :P

I am very excited (perhaps an understatement) of my journey to England and E, my very own Englishman. I love airport hellos and can't wait for mine in just a couple of days.

I'm going to be away from home for a rather large chunk of time. But, I promise each week will have at least two new blog posts. Heck, I pinky promise it :) Responses to any comments, however, will be delayed for a short while.

See you on the other side of the world,
Ms. C

Friday, April 1, 2011

March 2011 in Review

I haven't done a month-in-review post for a lonnnng time and I think March 2011 calls for one.


It was a great month for Coffee Tale Reviews... and me in general.

In March....

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