BOOK GIVEAWAY NOW LIVE ON INSTAGRAM
I have been making a special effort to read more recently. For years I have allowed my smart phone to take over and only read a proper book on holiday. But these last few months I decided to tackle my insomnia, turn off the phone earlier and go to bed with a book! I have been sharing with you some of the books I have enjoyed and I was asked recently to do a review and take part in a book blog tour! Today that book tour comes to Fifty & Fab and I am delighted to be sharing with you my review of the book and a little bit more about the author.
No One But You is the debut novel of Tessa Levy, she is 88 years old and her book is a fictionalised memoir and family saga.
And at 88 years old Tessa is proving that it is never too late to follow your dreams or try something new! Something that Fifty & Fab totally agrees with!
I absolutely loved the book. I enjoyed every page. And there was quite a lot about the story that was similar to some of my own experiences of first love, making it just a little more special and emotional for me. It got me thinking and that to me is a sign of a good book, something that makes you think about your own life, hopes and dreams.
No One But You was inspired by the life of Tessa Levy - she co-wrote the book with her youngest daughter Shelley Cassidy. From war-torn London to the high life of America and back again, this is an enchanting story that portrays a young girl's yearning for adventure, opportunity and ultimately enduring love, on both sides of the Atlantic.
The book is easy to read, with a nod to history and real life. And I always gravitate to a romance, I adore a bit of true love and a happy ending. Triumph over adversity.
Tessa was the youngest child of a large family and had the responsibility of caring for her beloved dying mother at a young age. When her father secretly marries another woman who moves into their family home with her three children, Tessa's world is shattered.
She seeks solace from distant cousins, who she has never met, in America but who she has been secretly writing to for months. When Tessa is forced to reveal the truth, an unexpected twist of fate sees her escaping her tumultuous life in London - aged just 17 - to travel across the Atlantic to stay with her American cousins.
A year and a half later, Tessa returns to England as a glamorous young woman, having fallen in love for the first time and discovered her true identify as a strong, empowered and incredible woman. However, as she crosses the cultural divide and struggles to resettle, despite her family's best efforts, to reintegrate her into their Jewish community in London, Tessa goes through a series of challenges, relationships and roles.
Eventually she meets the man she will marry but suffers another painful, premature, family death. She embarks on motherhood and a career with her trademark resilience. However life continues to challenge her happiness and she finds herself torn between the two loves of her life - one in England, the other in America and both very different.
The underlying theme of the book - is it possible to love two men in one lifetime?
Tessa Levy was born in the East End of London, the youngest of six children in a Jewish family. Like her brothers in the fashion business and her husband in the nightclub trade of Soho, she made a success of her antique business - a truly entrepreneurial woman in an era when business was dominated by men.
Tessa now resides in West London, opposite Hyde Park and maintains one food on either side of the pond.
No One But You is Tessa Levy's first book, based on real events - a family story of displacement, hardship, disease and death but also of inclusion, friendship, love and success.
It crosses the divide not only between two cultural differences but also two faiths and families.
Asked what inspired her to write No One But You, Tessa says ....
No One But You is based on my life story - a story that I've told plenty of people and all of whom said it sounded like a novel. I didn't want it to be a straightforward autobiography though so I worked hard with my daughter Shelley to inject plenty of fictional elements to add even more spice and adventure, heartbreak and tragedy. It's fun to speak to people who have read the book and who are guessing which bits are real and which are fiction!
I am attending the official book launch party in London on Thursday evening and I am really excited about maybe meeting Tessa and her daughter - and yes I have the same question - which bits are fiction and which bits are real!
No One But You by Tessa Levy is due for release on Thursday 24th May and can be pre-ordered on Amazon on the link above..
And readers of Fifty & Fab can enter my giveaway on social media to win a signed copy of the book - please head over to my Instagram page and follow me then look out for my post on Friday 25th May where I will give you all the details!
What a perfect read for your summer holiday!
No One But You by Tessa Levy available from Amazon, paperback or kindle from 24th May.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book to read and review, all the opinions are entirely my own. This post contains affiliate links.
Not Dressed as Lamb
I've written about my wonderful days out in Oxford before - you can read more on this post. But last week it was my nephews birthday and he is at Worcester College, Oxford University so I grabbed the opportunity to join him and my sister and other family members for a private tour of the college and lunch out.
We always use the park and ride facility and Oxford city centre has changed a bit recently with the opening of the new shopping centre - Westgate, so we took the opportunity to have a quick look on the way to Worcester College. Last week I wrote about my quick pit-stop into & Other Stories on this post.
My sister Heidi is a fully accredited Oxford city tour guide - holding the green badge issued by the Institute of Tourist Guiding - it is a prestigious achievement and meant a lot of hours studying. She is also a member of The Oxford Guild of Tour Guides. Basically she is very good and knows her stuff, a love of history helps and it comes across in her tours. She is currently number one on TripAdvisor. She runs Walking Tours of Oxford and offers both public and private bespoke tours.
Heidi has set up two excellent offers on her Oxford tours for readers of Fifty & Fab - giving you a discounted rate throughout the summer. I will give you all the details - and how to book at the end of this post so make sure you scroll down!
Last week was one of those perfect days. The sun was shining. It was warm but not too hot. I was with my family and Oxford is a beautiful city to visit. I am especially proud of my nephew.
The gardens and buildings at Worcester college are stunning. And it was even better to be shown around properly by my sister and nephew and learn a bit more about life for the students at Oxford University.
I am sharing my day mostly in photos as they speak for themselves ...
What I wore ... skirt is Black Pleated Chiffon Skirt from Mint Velvet £89, slogan tee is from Whistles £49 and my denim jacket is old from House of Fraser but I hear H&M is a good place for denim jackets this season! I wore Birkenstock style sandals from Shu Shu.
If you have ever wondered about stepping off the main shopping streets and discovering what lies behind the modern buildings in Oxford or you are a Morse, Lewis or Endeavour fan then do take advantage of these fantastic offers- . I guarantee you will have a superb day out. And it's not just for adults - Heidi makes children very welcome too.
Disclaimer: This was a private visit to Oxford, and I am sharing this review with you because it genuinely is a fabulous day out!
Heidi has set up two excellent offers for readers of Fifty & Fab:
Firstly she is offering her Morse, Lewis and Endeavour Tours on a Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 2.00 pm throughout the coming season - this offer is available until 31st October 2018. All you have to do is follow this link and make your booking with Eventbrite at the special rate of £14 per person (plus booking fee). You will need to enter the passcode: johnthaw to access this special rate.
She is also offering her Simply Oxford University Tour on two dates - Saturday 2nd June and Friday 22nd June 11.30 am at the reduced rate of £13 per person (plus booking fee). To book this please follow this link and make your booking with Eventbrite - you will need to enter the passcode: oxon1167 to access this special rate.
Not Dressed as Lamb
I don't love exercise! No secret about that although I do still do it. I do enjoy walking though. But I tend to be a fair weather walker - well rain makes my hair go frizzy and the dogs get so wet and muddy.
But I was recently invited to join a Nordic Walking Class with Claire Winter which also happened to coincide with National Walking Month.
I used to get involved with the Walk to School initiative - many moons ago when my children were at primary school, I was the School Travel Co-Ordinator. It was fun and as we lived a distance away from school, necessitating a car journey, we would 'park and walk' the last bit which was good for us and reduced congestion around the school gates. I was also delighted to help with fundraising and secured the purchase of a wet weather shelter and I loved doing 'scooter training' with the younger years!!
So on Friday I joined Claire and ten other lovely ladies near Pinkney's Green at Maidenhead. The area is stunning - it's National Trust owned and very pretty, there were lots of wild flowers and bluebells. It was easy to get to and easy to park.
What is Nordic Walking - well it is just like normal walking except you use two poles to help propel you along. It is a full body exercise and was originally devised by cross country skiers who used it for their summer training. It can be as gentle or as challenging as you wish.
We started off by doing a quick stretch to warm up. Claire then showed the new ladies how to use the poles, how to hold them and how to walk with them so you get the maximum calorie burn. All very important! Apparently Nordic Walking burns more calories per hour than running and it's low impact. That sold it to me. I really don't 'get' running. I have done it in the past but it just doesn't interest me.
I had to find out more about the benefits of Nordic Walking then. I looked it up on the British Nordic Walking website. Here is what they say about the benefits:
Nordic Walking combines the simplicity and accessibility of walking with simultaneous core and upper body conditioning similar to Nordic skiing. The result is a full body workout, which means that you:
After our warm up and initial instruction we set off properly. It was a beautiful morning and I especially enjoyed meeting the other ladies in the group and chatting as we walked. It makes it seem less like exercise and more like just a nice social thing to do.
And that brings me back to my new interview series - Embracing Life (in Midlife) - there are so many successful, inspirational and amazing women out there. I met two that morning, juggling family life, studying, running businesses etc but doing a fantastic job.
We passed through the bluebell woods, stopped for the all important blog photos and a drink of water. The whole walk took an hour and I did about 7,000 steps!
At the end there is a cool down stretch and that's it. Claire provides the poles but you can buy your own of course. Once you learn how to do Nordic Walking you can practice yourself whenever suits you. I liked joining the class though as it makes you go. It is easy to find an excuse without the accountability of booking in and meeting others.
Claire charges £8 for the one hour class/walk and you can find out more details on her website - Stealth Health, she offers two walks a week, Monday or Friday morning. Or if you do not live near Maidenhead then go to the British Nordic Walking website and you will find a directory of qualified instructors and classes near you.
Let me know if you have ever tried Nordic Walking or if you fancy giving it a go now? I'd love to hear from you.
Disclaimer: Claire did not charge me to attend this trial class but I was under no obligation to write a review, the opinions are entirely my own.
This week I had a really wonderful day out in Oxford. My sister is an Oxford City Tour Guide (qualified blue badge accreditation - I have written about her before and the fabulous tours she offers). And her oldest son is in his first year at Worcester College, Oxford University. It was his 19th birthday so I joined my parents and my sister for a tour of his college and lunch. I'll be sharing more photos later on as the gardens are so stunning.
But on the way to meet him we did a quick detour into the new shopping centre in Oxford - Westgate. There are lots of the big names situated in there and it is light and bright and clean and very pleasant. This was only a very quick visit and not enough time to do any real shopping. But I spotted & Other Stories and the only other branch close to me is Oxford Street and although I have been in, it is exceptionally busy (queue for fitting rooms and tills) and it put me off.
This branch however was quiet and I had the opportunity to have a quick browse. And I liked what I saw - very much. It is a bright, clean store - all white and everything laid out in beautifully co-ordinated tidy rails. My idea of heaven (you may have seen my comment on Instagram recently about my dislike of Primark and H&M because they are so untidy).
I didn't really have time to do a proper try on so it was a quick whisk round, I quickly slipped on a pink pleated skirt but it wasn't lined so I didn't think that would work for me. The sizing is a bit confusing so I had to ask - at a 10 I am a 36 apparently. That information will be useful for online shopping.
If you have seen a previous post about cotton dresses you will know I am on a search for natural fabrics and cool dresses for my holiday in Sri Lanka (but I don't like linen). I saw this dress in & Other Stories, it's cotton, it's pretty, its summery, it is a shape I love ...
I grabbed it in a 36, no time to try it on, paid for it, had a lovely chat to the young man serving me and ran off to meet my family.
Tried it on when I got home and it fitted, it worked and I love it. The shoulders need to be lifted a bit for me - this isn't unusual though, it is hard for me to find a dress that is short enough in the body so I look for ones that can be altered easily. This Peony Print dress is £49 also available in a blue Pineapple Print.
Once the shoulders are lifted I will share an outfit post with you but in the meantime do take a closer look at & Other Stories!
For more information or to join a tour of Oxford run by my sister, please take a look at her website - Walking Tours of Oxford. She offers many public and bespoke tours including Morse, Endeavour etc. Mention Fifty & Fab if you book!
Not Dressed as Lamb
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
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