Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Gardens of Portugal by Helena Attlee

The gardens of Portugal borrow from every phase of the country’s sea-faring history, bringing together ideas from East and West in a style that is confident, flamboyant, slightly exotic but always distinctly Portuguese.

Helena Attlee’s books opens with a lively introduction outlining the history of Portuguese gardens and their place in the country’s social and economic history. It then features some twenty gardens, covering first the temperate and humid northern parts of the country and then the gardens of Lisbon, Sintra and the hotter and more arid parts of central Portugal.

Glazed tiles are everywhere – on pots, seats, garden walls and the ceilings of pavilions. This is a Moorish style adopted along with the distinctive water tanks fed by ice-cold springs, whose still surfaces mirror pavilions, trees and sky.

The camellia shade house - a striking and substantial structure made from camellias grown over a frame – is often found in the mild and humid parts of the country where exotic plants and trees thrive in great abundance. Further south baroque sculpture and elaborate stonework play a large part in garden schemes.

Thousands of visitors are drawn to Portugal each year but few of them visit its gardens. These are rarely crowded and foreign visitors often receive a particularly enthusiastic welcome. – text from inner cover.

Price: 42€ Buy Here

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rock in Rio - Bon Jovi

I am going a bit off track here by posting this, as it's nothing to do with books, BUT I promise this will be an exception. I am just very excited about the fact that this Saturday my husband and I are off to see Bon Jovi in Rock in Rio. Yes, we've been before in the UK and I'd been twice here in Portugal, the last time being 13 years ago, but this is the first time we get to go together to see them in Lisbon where it all started (or at least progressed to bring us here).

At the age of 18 I won a writing competition that allowed me to be on stage with the band. It was from that dream-come-true that I decided to become a member of their official fan club "Backstage with Jon Bon Jovi". We would get a member card and four newsletters a year in the post. At the back of these newsletters the fan club divulged other fans' addresses, so we could write to each other. I did just that. I loved spending time writing to people from all over the world, getting to know about their lives, exchanging Bon Jovi material, etc.

My husband, Stefan, was one of those many pen pals and we've been now married for 9 years. When we look back at our lives and everything we now have was only made possible because one man we never met one day decided to be a rock star. If Bon Jovi had never happened I wouldn't be here now writing, my husband and I often say when things go either good, or not so well for us ,"it's Jon Bon Jovi's fault"...

Oh, and don't worry. The shop will be open as usual. Someone will be here taking good care of our customers.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Algarve's Plants with Ornamental Interest

The book “Plantas do Algarve com Interesse Ornamental/Algarve’s Plants with Ornamental Interest” by Fernando Santos Pessoa, José Rosa Pinto and José Rocha Alexandre is a bilingual guide for anyone who wants to know more about the Algarve’s unique landscape. It includes a brief description of Algarve’s flora, trees, shrubs, perennial and bulbous herbs, climbers and Algarve’s flora in gardens and parks.

Price: 12,00€ Buy here

Friday, May 02, 2008

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

I knew once I got started on Philippa Gregory's book it'd be hard to stop...

The Boleyn Inheritance is an evocation of the court of Henry VIII, and the one woman who destroyed two of his queens. This work presents the story of three young women, trying to make their own way through the most volatile court in Europe at a time of religious upheaval and political uncertainty.
Have you read any novels by this author?