8 Great Bookshops to Visit in Berlin

At a time when the ebook and internet shops seem to be taking over from the local book shop, I love this post showing some fantastic book shops in a capital city….Berlin

Capital Nerd

1.jpgBerlin’s urban metropolis is one of great history and rich culture, and a veritable paradise for bibliophiles besides. Rare and old second-hand books can be found in flea markets and antiquarian bookshops, while countless small local book stores pop up like mushrooms between the streets of Berlin’s neighborhoods, from the magical Kreuzberg to Bergmannstrasse and Friesenstrasse. Here we take a look at eight of them.

Hammlett Krimibuchhandlung

In Friesenstrasse you will find the small bookshop of Hammlett Krimibuchhandlung (not such a small name, we know!), selling exclusively new and second-hand books of crime mystery. The books are mainly in German and English and the owner is willing to help customers find exactly what they are looking for with his extensive knowledge of the niche genre. So, hit Hammett for all your John le Carré-related needs folks!

Hammett Krimibuchhandlung, 27 Friesenstrasse, Berlin, Germany,

Dante Connection

Kreuzberg hosts a number of fascinating…

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Currently….July 2017

I found this link up party when visiting Roseann on This Autoimmune Life – she has written a lovely post for the party being co hosted by Stephanie on Wife, Mommy, Me blog.  It is a monthly link up where you are given 5 prompts to answer – Stephanie says it is the easiest blog to write…ever, and Roseann thought it looked like fun.

So here goes with what I am CURRENTLY doing…..

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Documenting – My daughter finally has an appointment with a genetics consultant tomorrow having been turned down by paediatrics and rheumatology for consultations.  So in the hope that she will be recognised as having hypermobile Ehlers Danlos syndrome and have some more help at school, I am documenting her issues to date…mainly pain, dislocations, dizzy spells, lack of coordination….and on it goes along with the strong family history from yours truly and my mum before me.  Wish us luck!

Accomplishing – my initial response is very little, but then I look at my post on this blog “Magic Monday – Inspiring Blogs for You!” and can say that I am accomplishing a regular weekly feature…..thanks to all of your amazing blogs.

Enjoying – my daughter and I are currently enjoying the American teen TV series Awkward – it really has become a guilty pleasure.  The traditional teen drama is turned on its head with irony, role reversals and humour…..we laugh out loud!

Reading – I am currently reading The Devil’s Claw, a proof copy that I will review for author Lara Dearman, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and The Versions of Us: The Number One bestseller by Laura Barnett (our monthly book club read).  I read masses and belong to a local group, Netgalley and the fantastic “The Book Club on Facebook” run by Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers blog.

Spending – I seem to be spending more and more time visiting different hospital consultants.  I really have gone from being a medical professional to a professional patient!  Good job I don’t mind hospitals – can’t say the same for the waiting room times!

The school holidays have begun, which whilst it means that I have more mess in the house, less food in the cupboards and more stress, secretly I do enjoy having the kids about – even the 21 year old who is currently on a summer internship – but don’t tell them I said that!!

Claire x

Taking Care of You – How Much Time Should You Spend On Your Well-being?

This really rings true for so many reasons with me and for my “healthy” friends too……

When Women Inspire

It’s a busy time, and we’ve got a lot to worry about. No wonder so many women are struggling to find a few moments each day to address their own well-being. Children, partners, pets, parents, friends, and careers all seem to come first. But even if you have an hour or so in the evening, doesn’t it feel a bit selfish to then indulge? It shouldn’t do, but for some reason, we tend to feel a little guilty prioritizing ourselves.

Why should you self-indulge? Your health and well-being are essential to others as much as it is for yourself. If you’re unwell, you can’t focus your strength and energy on family or work. You have to take time out to rest and get well again. But if you’re regularly taking the time to focus on your health, you’re actively reducing your risk of becoming ill in the first place.

What…

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Monday Magic – Inspiring blogs for You!

Good morning, it is a beautiful day here in South London and the beginning of the summer holidays.  The A level student – will have to change his name now – has been dog and house sitting for the last week, and the lovely girl is currently in her PJs painting…..she may be great at art, but she is so messy!!  There are paints, pencils and pencil shavings everywhere – the beginning of my lounge turning into an art studio for 8 weeks.

She is currently working a matching picture of her grandparents’ other bull terrier (she didn’t like the first one that she started – pictured!!), has been asked to paint some canvases for the library in her old primary school (I think Harry Potter will figure!) and has a viking picture on the go for an instagram pal.  Oh, not forgetting the self portrait for her course work and the scrap book entitled “Blood, Flesh & Bones”.  She is taking some hideous pictures of family members hands, feet, elbows…..my dad told her she can’t afford his fee to strip off!!

Lucy self portrait

The start of a huge self portrait

As for me, well it has been a tricky week as you will have seen in my post about my benefits review, and I hate to complain about the lovely weather but it does send my circulation/POTS problems crazy.  I did manage a night out in London with Duncan though!  He told me we were going to a jazz concert in the Crypt of St Martins in the Field, Trafalgar Square – but when I saw some news feed that morning I had a sneaky feeling that I was actually being taken to the Formula One Live event in Trafalgar Square!  I wasn’t, but it did mean that the whole area was extremely busy and this was my first time in the wheelchair in a very crowded place which was quite intimidating.  The concert, with the wonderful Zena James, was fab though – a mixture of traditional and modern music jazzed up.  You should hear Zena’s version of Rag & Bone Man’s “Human”!!

Monday Magic

This week I have some posts on blogs that are all new to me and I have really enjoyed finding them.  I hope that you all enjoy exploring some new reads too…..so sit back with your cuppa and take some R&R with a new blog post!

https://needlintobenormal.com/2017/07/06/you-cant-go-back/

https://asecondlifeweb.blog/2017/04/11/idiocy/

https://headachehelper.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/the-what-not-to-do-if-you-have-chronic-pain-series-1-beat-yourself-up/

https://thelessonsoflyme.wordpress.com/2017/07/14/lizards-and-bunnies-and-cats-oh-my/

https://kathleenburkinshaw.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/why-did-i-choose-the-last-cherry-blossom-for-my-title/

http://www.bbhwithms.com/multiple-sclerosis-information-overload/

http://www.multipleexperiences.org/2017/07/15/what-i-would-have-done-differently-with-my-ms-diagnosis/

https://fromroopalismind.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/it-is-easier/

http://www.spinepainwarrior.co.uk/post/162956718101/coping-buying-equipment

http://www.lifeunplannedblog.com/how-to-be-less-of-a-hot-mess-and-rock-your-to-do-list/

Please like and post comments if you enjoy these posts – and for any C.I. bloggers who haven’t already, please check out The Chronic Illness Bloggers community, we are a very supportive bunch!

Claire x

 

 

 

 

MS & Memory Issues: I’ve Remembered Why I Loved This Book from Meg at BBHWITHMS Blog

This is a great book review that had me laughing from Meg, the MS blogger at BBHWITHMS.

“A month ago, I saw a post on Instagram – about a book.  A book about woman writer that is living with MS.  Something about the brief snippet included in this post grabbed my attention and I clicked over to this writer’s IG profile and read some more.  I became more and more excited about this book  – to the point that I actually headed over to Amazon and ordered it right then and there.  This might not seem like a huge, monumental thing for most, but I don’t make spontaneous purchases online, even a $16.00 one.  I just don’t.  I add things to shopping or wish lists.  I bookmark pages, I even sometimes email myself a link as a gentle reminder that I am thinking about purchasing an item.  Each thing has to be thought about, the cost calculated into my budget and then maybe, if I still feel I want or need it after a few days or weeks, I will move forward with the purchase.  I don’t just buy things willy-nilly.  Yet that particular night I did, because something about Cory Martin and her story spoke to me and I felt I had to read her book.

It arrived…and I read it… in one day…and it was everything that I had hoped it would be.  She has written the exact type of memoir that I love to read.  She is open and honest and raw but does so with a humor that resonates deep within me.  This is someone else that gets the reasons to laugh and smile at this stupid disease. ”

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Picture from Google

To read the rest of this post go here I’ve remembered why I loved this book!

Normal or Difficult Problem? All depends which specialist I see……..the joy of chronic illness!

I had a Personal Independence Payment medical review this week (more of that another time!). My GP had requested a home visit, mainly as my dysautonomia/fainting is so much worse, but I was merely given another appointment a little nearer to home.  As it seemed near impossible to tie up the DWP who would have received the letter, with the review service (formerly known as ATOS) we decided between us that Duncan would try to get me there, but the GP was adamant not without all the letters that she had been sent recently.  Half a tree later we left her surgery – and this was just the correspondence since the beginning of the year.

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PAIN PALS BLOG

The day after the assessment, I received a copy of the letter dictated by my new rheumatologist to my GP.  Lovely man, but the person who he describes in this letter doesn’t appear to be me.  In fact she is completely at odds to the lady described a month earlier by the orthopaedic consultant, after a dislocation that required a trip to A&E!  The history of my shoulder pain was wrong, and apparently I have “a reasonable range of movement” …”with some discomfort” – ahem, I am hypermobile with very stretched ligaments & tendons so everything moves in every direction and I was actually referred for PAIN management.  Apparently my “other joints are normal” and I “really know how to manage my hypermobility syndrome”.

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Image saved from Pinterest

The ortho consultant said “she has been having pain in that shoulder for some time and was seen by my colleague 2 years ago…” and “on examining her shoulder it moves through a reduced range and her x rays show progressive glenohumeral joint arthritis, with a marked difference from 2 years ago”.  He goes on to say “Unfortunately Claire has a very difficult problem to solve. She has EDS….& has developed arthropathy within the glenohumeral joint”.  I was told 2 years ago that if I were 30 years older I would be whisked in for a shoulder replacement……this time the consultant could see a huge deterioration on x ray, but again explained that a shoulder replacement with my EDS is just not really an option as my ligaments & cartilages are so stretched.  A shoulder replacement would not stand up to recurrent dislocations!

So, the thing that the two specialists agree is that I have a really good knowledge of EDS and both do recommend conservative treatment with physiotherapy – again!  The physio with expertise in hypermobility syndromes who the rheumatologist recommends is out of area; my old physio who works with the ortho consultant is no longer able to see me on the NHS as he is a Consultant physio……..

This is the reality of a condition that affects multiple body systems with no one person leading the care!  So now the search for a physio, who understands that I can’t be “fixed” but need ongoing rehab,  is ON!!!

Chronic Pain and Avoidance

This post from Julie puts into words the feeling of having energy sapped by everyone and everything when you live with chronic illness…..

The second time around

Making it through the day with an overactive immune system is exhausting. You are trapped in a body that seems hard-wired to misbehave. You look and feel very different than you once were. You find many small things to celebrate. You purchase colorful new shoes because your feet and ankles feel better, you laugh at inane jokes just to feel alive. You hide your pain as much as possible so you can still seem fun and lively, this takes a lot of effort. Normalcy is an adopted attitude.

When you are in your twenties and diagnosed with a lifelong disease, it is a shock that is very difficult to accept. You have medicine bottles everywhere and are told to take this pill four times a day, the next pills you take eight of once a week, one pill morning and night, and another only at night. Disbelief sets in and you…

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Want To Be Featured on Dream Big? Well, I’m changing Things Up!

Have you met Danny on Dream Big and found all the work he does to inspire and engage us in the blogging world? Take a look……

Dream Big, Dream Often

Danny's iphone 022As most of my followers know I am big into helping other bloggers gain more exposure. My goal has been to grow a community of like-minded people and I am part way to my goal.  I will no longer be using the “leave a link and I’ll share your blog” tactic.

From now on I am going to share those who interact with my page.  So for those who comment and share my posts I will be selecting from those people to Feature on my page. From comments I will select the comments which convey the spirit of true engagement. From Shares I will randomly select.  So there will be 2 featured posts each day.

Basically I want to reward people who are engaging and sharing.  Good luck!

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Blog Book Tour: Review “Calling Major Tom” by David M. Barnett – Part 1

This week has seen author David M Barnett on a book tour flying between the online world of blogs & social media and the real life world of book stores, as he publicizes his wonderful book “Calling Major Tom”.  You can meet David at The Grove Bookshop, Ilkley  gateway to the Yorkshire Dales on Thursday 13th July from 7pm, if you are in the area!

I first wrote a book review at the beginning of the year ahead of publication and later recommended the book to my local book club as our monthly read.  I would like to share my review with you again, before putting some questions from our book club to the author.

Warning: whilst the review does not contain spoilers, the subsequent questions might!

Book Review for Calling Major Tom by David M. Barnett

I was given a copy of this book(ARC) from Netgalley via The Book Club on Facebook in exchange for a fair & honest review.  All views are my own.calling-major-tom

I challenge you, whether Bowie fan or not, to read this book without constantly having Space Oddity going round your head!  Thomas Major is a lowly scientist working at the British Space Agency when he finds himself in a position to be the first man to visit Mars.  The only thing is that it is a one way mission, but Thomas has his own reasons for wishing to leave his life behind & entering a self imposed solitude.  Back on earth the Ormerod family are struggling to survive – teenager Ellie & younger brother James living with grandmother Gladys whilst their father is in jail. Ellie should be having the time of her life shopping & partying with her friends, but instead her mother has died, she is working 3 jobs, caring for her brother & worrying that social services will split them if they realise that Gladys has dementia.

It was difficult to see how these two very separate story lines could interlink and work, but they dovetail together beautifully from the day that major Tom tries to call his ex-wife from space and Gladys answers the telephone.  Their lives are linked through the most unusual series of events which see Thomas Major helping the Ormerod family overcome financial and social issues…and even come to terms with a few of his own demons.

I loved this book – it made me laugh and cry.  The view from the space ship window is described so vividly that I could see it, and the personalities of the individual main characters brim with life.  The comedy that the writer incorporated into the character of Gladys turns a sensitive situation into a human one.  She made me laugh out loud.  The back story for Thomas Major unfolds and he is surprised to find himself changing as his relationship with the family on Earth develops and makes him re evaluate.  These people were very easy to identify with and I wanted to know what life had in store for them.  Mr Barnett makes the reader care.

A feel good story showing the best in human nature without over sentimentality, and how communities can come together.  An uplifting read that I give 5 stars.

Review also on goodreads, Netgalley & Amazon

Questions for the author

Who was the inspiration for the Thomas Major character?
Why space? And specifically Mars?
If Calling Major Tom were to be made into a film, who would you like to play Thomas Major? Matt Damon of The Martian fame?
The family dynamics between Gladys and her grandchildren are tangible – has David had first hand experience of dementia and if not where did he gain his insight for Gladys’s actions that made us laugh and cry?
Did Thomas see in the Ormerod family what had been missing from his own upbringing? Could he have ever moved forward from this if he had stayed on Earth?
When you started the book, did you intend that it would be so humorous?
 I remember that at the end I felt it wasn’t particularly heartwarming because I didn’t see how Major Tom was going to survive on Mars. What did the author think would happen next – or is there a sequel?
And finally….the obvious – are you a Bowie fan?
Some of the comments from my book club included:
Just finished the book, laughed out load, and cried, loved it!
 
Not finding this easy and it is because I am not liking using the iPad to read. (Book club read it – at my suggestion – before available as a  paperback book)
 
very quick read after the initial few pages…very funny..
General consensus was that we all really enjoyed it!

Answers to follow in Part 2

The book is published by Trapeze Orion Books UK
 
Available from 29 June in paperback, currently £5.59 and ebook £1.99 on Amazon

Calling Major Tom and also from your local bookstore (prices vary).

This contains an affiliate link.

#Book #Blog Tour – “Calling Major Tom”

This week author David M Barnett is on a blog tour to promote his wonderful book Calling Major Tom and he will be stopping by Pain Pals on Wednesday!

If you have read this heart warming story and have a question or a comment then drop by – or comment here right now!

Blog-tour