Book Review: One Day In December by Josie Silver

One Day in December

I saw this book reviewed and it sounded great, so I popped onto NetGalley and saw I could get an advance review copy – which was very exciting.  Here’s the blurb that enticed me:

“Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn’t exist. After all, life isn’t a scene from the movies, is it?
But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there’s a moment of pure magic…and then her bus drives away.
Laurie thinks she’ll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus.
Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life.
But what if fate has other plans?

Following Laurie, Sarah and Jack through ten years of love, heartbreak and friendship, One Day in December is a joyous, heart-warming and immensely moving love story that you’ll want to escape into forever, for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Diamond and Nicholas Sparks.”

I LOVED this book right from  the start!  I expected it to be a bit like ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls, and be about the same single day in December spanning the decade – but it wasn’t.  It was written either from Laurie or Jack’s point of view and jumped weeks / months at a time.  Because of that every chapter was really important – to compare it to an album, it was all killer and no filler!

I have to say I  guessed roughly what the ending would be – but wondered how the author would get us there without the main protagonists hating each other or being complete sh*tbags to each other.  It twists and turns dramatically – and I don’t want to give too much of the story away (I loathe reviews that do that) – but it really did keep me enthralled.  So much so that my husband thought I may have fallen asleep / drowned in the bath – but actually I was just lying in lukewarm water wanting to finish the book before I got out! (Apologies for the visuals that may have created…….)

Laurie was a great central character, and I really liked her and was rooting for her from the start.  She was a lot younger than me – but that didn’t stop me enjoying the book. The ending of the book is wonderful – and in fact the last few chapters did have me weeping for many different reasons (good job I was in the bath!)

I’ve read that the author wanted to write a Christmassy novel that would be the literary equivalent of festive films like ‘Love Actually’ or ‘The Holiday’ – and she has most definitely succeeded.  However I also think One Day In December would make a fabulous film…………

I wasn’t sure how to shoe horn this into my 2018 Reading Challenge – so, I am taking a bit of a flyer on ‘A book from a local author’! In the book Laurie’s parents live in a village in the suburbs of Birmingham (as do I) and her Dad is an Aston Villa fan (as am I).  People aren’t often written as Villa fans unless there is a local connection – so my fingers are firmly crossed that Josie Silver is local(ish!).  Her bio says she lives in a small Midlands town – so hopefully within 20 miles of Alvechurch and that can count as local!!

If I were you I would definitely pre order this ready for a festive read this Christmas.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Lapland UK v Lapland – compare and contrast!!

Back in 2006, when we just had our 2 eldest kids, we took them to Lapland, along with one of my sisters and her family. Now we’ve added two more children to the Price family – we felt that they ought to have the same experience, so we looked at going to Lapland again this year. However, my sister had to visit Lapland UK for work last year (the first year of it operating in Ascot) and said it was brilliant – and like being in Lapland itself – so we thought we’d give it a go!

So here you have our thoughts on Lapland UK v Lapland!!!

1. The Price. This has to be a major consideration. Now Lapland UK is not cheap (we paid £79.50 per ticket – children and adults the same.) But this is a fraction of what we would have paid to take a family of 6 to Lapland with flights / hotels / food etc. We went to Lapland itself with First Choice (who have now moved all of their Lapland trips over to their sister brand Thomson) and everything was included – flights, transfers, accommodation, food, cold weather clothing and consequently it cost thousands. Also, it may have changed in 8 years, but we went for the most expensive hotel we could find in Lapland and it was still fairly basic!

2. Timings. When we went to Lapland we did the 3 day tour. This was great as we could fit loads in – but there did also seem to be a lot of hanging about too. Having said that, I think a 1 day trip to Lapland would be exhausting! Lapland UK was a 3.5 hour experience (although we did get there super early having whizzed down the M40 from Birmingham to Ascot – but there were colouring activities and coffee and cake to entertain us all before going through at our allocated time.) I think such a trip has to be done near to the Big Day itself – and spending a few hours is much easier at this busy time of year than a few days.

Waiting to go into Lapland
Waiting to go into Lapland UK

3. Activities. A lot of the activities are the same – making toys, decorating gingerbread, and meeting Father Christmas

Gingerbread decorating in 2006
Gingerbread decorating in 2006
Concentrating much more at 11 than 3!
Concentrating much more at 11 than 3!
Serious gingerbread decorating
Serious gingerbread decorating
Gingerbread decorating
More gingerbread decorating

– but there were things we did on the snowy plains in Lapland (husky sled riding, snowmobile riding, reindeer sleigh rides, skiing) that aren’t replicated in Lapland UK.

In a Lappish tent in 2006
In a Lappish tent in 2006

There was, however, ice skating – and at no extra cost (which I was impressed by!) – and we were able to meet a husky (real) and a reindeer (person dressed up!) as well as look at some real reindeer too.

I just love skating!!
I just love skating!!
Skating fun!!
Skating fun!!

4. Food. In Lapland we ate A LOT of reindeer! On pizza, as steak, in bolognaise. I don’t recall having it for breakfast – but we probably did!! This was particularly disturbing for the children who weren’t happy at eating Rudolph, thankfully they couldn’t read at that stage so we could lie about the menu!!

At Lapland UK there was a coffee shop in the waiting area before you go in (pretty pricey – but good quality) and then a snack bar once you were in the Village Square. After we’d eaten bratwurst and drunk gluhwein (hot chocolate for the kids!) we found there was also a restaurant (that could have been sign posted better!!)

Hot chocolate (not gluhwein - honest!)
Hot chocolate (not gluhwein – honest!)

5. Meeting Father Christmas. This was done brilliantly at Lapland UK. I suspect there was more than one FC (shhhhhhhh!) – but you weren’t aware of this, as the house we went to was hidden in the depths of the forest – and then you walked back out through the reindeer pen (and shop, obviously!)  Father Christmas really knew his stuff – about what the children had been up to recently, what presents they wanted etc (all completed via the website before you go – shhhhhhhhh again!) There was no queuing, it was all very slick. I remember waiting for ages to see FC in Lapland, and then he could barely communicate!

All seeing Father Christmas back in 2006
All seeing Father Christmas back in 2006
With the lovely huskie presents
With the lovely huskie presents

6. The staff. From the elves, through the reindeer and husky herders, to Mother and Father Christmas themselves – all of the staff at Lapland UK were excellent – and obviously spoke perfect English.

Checking the lists!
Checking the lists!

One of the problems we found with Lapland was that FC himself could barely converse with the children and some of the other staff were definitely holiday reps rather than performers. Everyone at Lapland UK was performing their role with great pride. Having said that, the husband still reminisces fondly about our Elf in Lapland – Candy Cane – who was a very pretty Scandinavian girl………

7. The weather. When we went to Lapland it was cold. The coldest I have ever been in my entire life – about minus 20.

All wrapped up from the cold
All wrapped up from the cold in 2006

Real ‘don’t breathe through your nose it will all freeze shut’ type of cold! You are provided with clothing – but it is still bitter (and you spend half your life stripping off or putting clothes on when you go in and out of places!) Obviously you don’t get that at Lapland UK – well, unless it’s particularly freaky UK weather! We were blessed with a gloriously sunny day – and I suspect that some of the outside areas, walking through the forests / the village square / ice skating – would be much less fun in British drizzle – but it was perfect for our visit.

Walking through the forest to meet Father Christmas
Walking through the forest to meet Father Christmas
In the forest!
In the forest!

The forests and areas you walk through are all dusted in ‘snow’ but obviously you don’t get the metres of snow to play in – but for snow-hating me, that’s a definite plus for staying in the UK!!

Conclusion
There have been lots of horror stories in the press about places in the UK trying to replicate Lapland and failing miserably – leaving lots of disappointed families in the run up to Christmas. Well, I can safely say that Lapland UK is not like this at all – and delivers on all levels. The quality of the buildings / displays / outfits / people / gifts / professional photos / even the toilets are all amazing. We don’t mind spending money on a day out if it is worth it – and this most definitely is.

Family Price!
Family Price!

We would thoroughly recommend Lapland UK to anyone wanting an impressive festive experience for a fraction of the price of a trip to Lapland. Although having looked back at our photos of Lapland – maybe we will need to go again next year………..

This is not a sponsored post – we paid full price to go to both of the Laplands!!

The collective noun for Christmas decorations isn’t ‘sh*t’

Apparently I am not allowed to use ‘sh*t’ as the collective noun for Christmas decorations etc, seemingly it’s not festive to be so negative.

I am renowned in my family for being The Grinch when it comes to Christmas. There is many a photo of me in a shop where the husband is looking well excited about all of the decorations and me, well, less so….

The Christmas shop in Bloomingdales in New York
The Christmas shop in Bloomingdales in New York

To be honest, until I met the husband, I wasn’t Christmas-phobic – but he is soooooo Christmas obsessed, I feel that I need to off set this somehow.

A couple of years ago there was a serious injury in the erection of the Christmas decorations in the Price household.  The husband managed, whilst cutting a tunnel through a mountainside for the Christmas village, to sever a vein in his arm that required stitches (3 times, because it kept bursting underneath the stitches – grim!)

Injured arm

and so that year they were literally ‘bloody Christmas decorations’.

This year, when I popped back from the office on Friday, I found that reinforcements had been called in – there were 3 company vans on the drive having delivered 2 carpenters, 2 painters and a contract supervisor to assist with Christmas – and some sort of sleigh with reindeer on the patio outside:

Christmas vans Christmas sleigh

I then went out for the evening with some of the local Mums – and when I staggered in at 1.30am it appeared that someone had vomited Christmas all over the house all evening……….

photo 5 photo 4 photo 3 photo 4 photo 1

And the Christmas village isn’t even finished yet!  Here’s am amazing photo of it last year taken by my talented photographer friend Bee.

Christmas village

Apparently there are some electrical works that need completing before this year’s is ready to be viewed (my sister was overheard yesterday complaining that the one in her local garden centre is nowhere near up to our standards!!)

So today – we spiced up the festive cheer with a trip to the German market in the centre of Birmingham.  Admittedly some of it remains traditionally German – but the ‘do you want 4 doughnuts for a fiver, bab?’ is pretty Brummie!!  The gluhwein was ridiculously pricey (given what you can buy a bottle for from Aldi / Lidl / your sister’s local shop in Munich) – and this year we DIDN’T KEEP THE MUGS (there are only so many small rubbish mugs one family can house!)  But the kids had fun – mostly due to the carousel and expensive Olaf and Hello Kitty balloons that almost strangled half of New Street on the walk back to the car.

Christmas carousel

 

So when I was given this present by my sister via my parents this afternoon – it pretty much summed up the next month for me:

12 days of Christmas

 

Although I did watch the Strictly results show with Rudolph tonight………

Reindeer

 

 

I’m re-posting this to link in with The Sticky Fingers Blog for The Photo Gallery week 212 where the theme is Christmas – as this is our Christmas!!! Do pop across and see what Christmas is like for other bloggers………….

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery