Rituals and Myths in Nursing Review

Hi guys!

Let me start of by saying I am not a nurse, and I don’t plan on being a nurse so this review is solely the opinion of an outsider getting a small peek into the world of nursing!

Anyway! Thank you to Pen and Sword books for sending me this book! I have always been quite interested in nursing, I’ve just never had the confidence or motivation to commit to it as a career choice, so I was super excited to be able to take on a little part of the profession in the form of this book!

Nursing is a complex profession steeped in tradition and history. Tried and tested ways of working have been the mainstay of how and why nurses do what they do. Completing tasks in a certain way because “Sister says so” describes the custom and practice of nursing, passed on through the generations that existed for most of the 20th Century and can still hold sway today.

Science and evidence-based practice have weakened the hold on tradition but ritual is still part of the fabric of nursing. Packed with amusing and sometimes poignant reminiscences this book paints a picture of nursing from the first registration of SRN No 1, Ethel Gordon Fenwick in 1919, to the present day.

Each chapter follows a theme, explores the historical background and brings it to life with stories told by nurses from different eras. We have tales of alcohol prescribed to dilate blood vessels or simply for the feel good factor. Enemas were less fun, given for almost all bowel conditions; ‘High, hot and a helluva lot!’ was the phrase for remembering this ritual.

Written with humour and a light touch, readers don’t need a nursing background to enjoy these stories, but those who trained as nurses will identify with many of the amusing and often eccentric traditions retold by generations of nurses.

I love this book so much! The author has such a way with words that I never felt like I didn’t know what was going on. Every chapter was a wonderful mix of humorous stories, life saving moments and examples of the strict rules of nursing! It is such a realistic insight into nursing, written from obviously a slightly biased view point because the author is a nurse, but she covers both the positives and the negatives to give a very honest, well rounded perspective on what it was like.

It was lovely to read a non-fiction book with a bit of personality too! I loved the chatty writing style, how it almost felt you were sitting down and chatting with the author! It definitely made me feel welcome in reading the book, and that I wasn’t putting my nose in an area it doesn’t belong!

This book is definitely very ‘user friendly’ in that I feel it is accessible to anyone that has an interest in nursing. Whether that’s because they are a nurse, what to be a nurse, have family history in nursing or horsefly even just that they have watched Call the Midwife and want some more factual information on the profession in the era!

I couldn’t recommend this book enough, it is probably my favourite Pen and Sword book yet! Thank you again to Pen and Sword for sending this to me!

I can’t give this any lower the 6/5⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ to be honest! I just adored it!

See you next time,

Elizabeth

Edwardian Ladies Hat Fashions: Where Did You Get That Hat? (Pen and Sword)

Hi guys!

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I love Edwardian fashion! It is by far my favourite era, I love everything about it! From the elegant skirts, to the corsets and bustles I’m just obsessed! But one area I have never really focused on is hats! I was always in the mindset that a good straw hat would be good enough, and maybe it is! But what I didn’t fully realise was how intense the Edwardian hat culture was!

This book, Edwardian Ladies Hat Fashions is not only one of the most interesting fashion books I have ever read, but definitely one of the most beautiful! This pictures are simply stunning, and all the Women are so beautiful!

It was interesting yet horrific to read about the massive negative effect that the fashion industry had on the bird population. It even led to the RSPB being formed!

One of my favourite parts was when the author talked about hat pins, and how a lot of women use them for self defence! Although it’s sad that it was (and still is, let’s be honest) necessary, it was so fun! And there was even a little songs/poem that I will include a picture of below!

This is a book that I will definitely keep referring back to in my adventures through Edwardian fashion, and when I start to put together my own accurate costumes this will basically become my bible!

I can’t keep the magic of this book to myself, so I have decided to include a few of my favourite ladies and their amazing hats! If you want to see more, then you will have to buy the book! Which I couldn’t recommend highly enough!!

There was also a section full of street photography, showing women going about their day to day life instead of posing for postcard photos! I will put a couple of my favourites of these in too!

I definitely rate this book 5/5⭐️, I would rate it 6/5⭐️ if I could! I adore this book, and will definitely treasure it for a very long time! I do believe it may have kickstarted a need to collect some of these beautiful postcards for myself too!

See you next time!

Elizabeth

Struggle and Suffrage in Torbay (Pen and Sword)

Hi guys!

Today I am going to be talking about ‘Struggle and Suffrage in Torbay’ by Melanie Crump!

One of my favourite topics of history is the Suffragettes. I love to read about them and and just absorb as much information as I can about these amazing women! But, as I’m sure you are all aware, it can sometimes be quite difficult to relate to history as it just feels so far away!

However! I’ve been to Torbay many times, and I’m planning on moving there, so reading about all these places I recognise was just amazing! It even mentioned the college that I plan to go to, and how it used to be a place where they trained women for the Land Army!! Isn’t that just the coolest thing?

I think my favourite bits were learning about Agatha Christie (she’s incredible!!!) and I really liked the Seaside Holiday resort created for working women!! It was amazing how it changed and grew and became this really cool refuge for women that needed a break from work, and it stayed open until 1970s! I’m also overjoyed to learn that Winnaretta, the daughter of the man who created the ‘Singer’ sewing machines was a lesbian and was married twice, both out of convenience and once to a gay man, all the while having afraid with various women most of who were married! She is my new icon!

This book was so easy to read, it was so well written and I found that I couldn’t read it fast enough! I literally read half the book in one sitting, and then the other half in another!

I can’t wait to read more books about Suffragettes published by Pen and Sword! I certainly need to become basically a professional before I go to Bothwell in a year or two and play a girl who was a Suffragette!

Do you have a favourite part of history? What is it?

See you next time!

Elizabeth

Interpreting the Ripper Letters (Pen and Sword)

Hi guys!

Today I am going to be talking about this incredible book; Interpreting the Ripper Letters by M.J. Trow!

I have been fascinated by Jack the Ripper ever since I was about 16 years old! I have read so many books, watched shows and films and even visited a couple of the locations in London!! This books is definitely up there among the best ones I have read!

I don’t know whether it’s because I am super interested in the subject, but this book was just so easy to read! I read most of it in one day! The first chapter is all about the murders, intruding you into the mystery, so it’s a great book for people who haven’t read anything else before!

This book also talks about evidence and points that I haven’t read about anywhere else. It also dismisses evidence with proof that it wasn’t from Jack the Ripper, with evidence I have never seen explained away before!

I loved the photos and excerpts in the middle section of this book. It showed some of the letters supposedly sent by Jack the Ripper, doodles that were in some of the letters and photos of some of the suspects and police that worked on the case! It helps me a lot to see things connected to what I’m reading about when reading historical books. It helps to make it more real, and forces me to remember that this was actually a horrific time for Whitechapel, and one of the worst serial killers!

This book has definitely reignited my fascination with Jack the Ripper, an Im definitely going to go back and reread some of my other books and compare some of the new things I know!

I couldn’t recommend this book enough! Whether you are interested in serial killers as a whole, Jack the Ripper specifically or just want a more accurate portrayal of victorian police work, this book is AMAZING!

I definitely rate this book 5/5⭐️

See you next time!

Elizabeth

June Wrap Up!

Hello!

I completely forgot to post my monthly tbr at the beginning of June, so I decided to do a wrap up at the end instead! I’m also going to touch on tv shows, because there were a lot of good ones this month!!

This month was probably my most productive month yet! I read six books in total!! I usually only read one or two, so I’m super pleased with this!

Books

The Girl in Red- This post apocalyptic fairytale retelling was so much better than I expected!! I adore the character of Red, and the story was so well adapted!! 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Lady of the House- I’ve started reading a lot of historical non-fiction thanks to Pen and Swords, and this is my favourite one so far!! It was so nice to read, each chapter had a lot of information and it was so interesting! 4.5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

Accused British Witches Throughout History- This book was little harder going. It’s another from Pen and Sword books, and although it was super interesting, I feel like it’s more of a book that you read a chapter and then just dip back into it as you please, instead of reading it all in one go! 3.5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

Hunting Prince Dracula- GUYS! I love Audrey and Thomas so much, and this book did not disappoint! I was on edge most of the time, and I could not guess the ending! It was a complete surprise, but completely perfect! I literally can’t recommend this series enough! 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Growing Things and Other Stories- This collection of stories was super weird, but in a good way! There were some stories that didn’t click with me as much as other, but overall it was amazingly spooky! I’m writing a full review next month for Titan Books, so look out for that! 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Norse Mythology- I have been interested in Norse Mythology for a long time, and this book was so good! It was so well written, Neil Gaiman really is a genius! It has really made me want to read more!! If you are interested in Mythology, this book is perfect! 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tv Series

Good Omens- This show….. I literally can’t sign to tell you how much I love it!! The characters are perfect, the casting choices are amazing, the story is perfect and that OPENING! I’m completely obsessed with the little animation, it’s just perfect! My new favourite show! 6/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Brooklyn Nine Nine- This month me and my sister finally caught up with B99! I will forever love this show, it feels so welcoming and I have watched nearly the whole thing about four times😅 It is so funny, heartwarming and silly, the best sitcom!! 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Trinkets- This show was so good I watched the whole thing in less than a day. All the characters are so lovable (except for one.. he’s a Dick) and it’s such a lovely portrayal of friendship! The girls are so relatable and real, and they develop a friendship to be jealous of! 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Critical Role- I know, it’s not a tv show, it’s a web show. Bu I’m putting it here anyway! This show it so important to me, and for some reason I didn’t watch it for nearly a month, but I’m back not it now and more in love that ever! All the players/characters are amazing and I love them. And Matt Mercer is such an amazing DM, I aspire to be able to plan campaigns like he can! ♾/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I hope you had a lovely month too!! Tell me about an books or TV shows you enjoyed this month!

See you next time!

Elizabeth

Accused: British Witches Throughout History Review

Hello!

I have been lucky enough to receive a copy of this book from Pen and Sword to read and review!

I absolutely love learning about the witches of history, not only because it is fascinating but because it feels like a piece of my history! I am a witch myself, not in the same way that some of these women are accused, I only light candles and read tarot, but I’m a witch and the women in this book helped pave the way for modern witches like me!

The main reason I was so excited for this book was because of the chapter on Mary Lakeland, also known as ‘The Ipswich Witch’. Ipswich is where I live, so learning about a witch that lived here, and being able to picture all the places mentioned in her story because I have actually been to them, was so amazing!

One of my favourite parts of this book was learning about all the things the women were accused of doing, and how people somehow managed to logically explain that it was witchcraft! Reading about the supposed familiars these women had was also interesting, because it wasn’t just the typical cat, but dogs toads and rats too!

Reading this book has really made me want to try and visit some of the places mentioned, as I just love to visit the places I read about in books! Especially when there is a lot o history connected to it!

The only thing that I found to be a shame (I do with all history books, and it’s obviously no fault of the author!!) is that records aren’t kept for all the details! I find it such a shame that people in history didn’t feel the need to note down small happenings as well as big ones! For instance, in one of the women’s stories we don’t actually know what caused one of the first arguments! It makes me want to start writing everything down just in case it becomes important one day!

I definitely recommend this book if you love witches, history or both!!! I rate this book 4/5 stars!!

See you next time!

Elizabeth

Lady of the House

Hello!

I’m back with another book review! And again, it’s a book that the lovely Pen and Swords have sent me!

Lady of the House by Charlotte Furness:

This book tells the true stories of three genteel women who were born, raised, lived and died within the world of England’s Country Houses. This is not the story of ‘seen and not heard’ women, these are incredible women who endured tremendous tragedy and worked alongside their husbands to create a legacy that we are still benefitting from today.

Harriet Leveson-Gower, Countess Granville was the second born child of the infamous Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire who married her aunt’s lover, raised his illegitimate children and reigned supreme as Ambassadress over the Parisian elite.

Lady Mary Isham lived at Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire with her family where, despite great tragedy, she was responsible for developing a house and estate whilst her husband remained ‘the silent Baronet’.

Elizabeth Manners, Duchess of Rutland hailed from Castle Howard and used her upbringing to design and build a Castle and gardens at Belvoir suitable for a Duke and Duchess that inspired a generation of country house interiors.

These women were expected simply to produce children, to be active members of society, to give handsomely to charity and to look the part. What these three remarkable women did instead is develop vast estates, oversee architectural changes, succeed in business, take a keen role in politics as well as successfully managing all the expectations of an aristocratic lady.

I have read a few books published by Pen and Sword, and this is definitely my favourite so far! I read it all in two days, which I never do with any book!

This book tells the story of three women, and their journey from daughter, to mother, wife and lady of the house. For anyone that though victorian women sat on their backsides all day, this book would be really eye opening! It covers every detail of what these women got up to, including the control they had in their households! They did not work under their husbands, but instead a lot of the time they made all the executive decisions and one of the amazing women even worked with her husband and Ambassadress in France!

I did also find it fascinating reading about these women’s attitudes to their husbands illegitimate children! A lot of the time they took them in and raised them as their own! Which is the opposite of what a lot of people assume the victorian attitude was, and I’m pretty sure that kind of open mindedness/acceptance wouldn’t even occur today!

One of my favourite sections of this book was the part where Charlotte talked about how much time people spent on London. It was very common for people to have a second house in London and to spend the ‘season’ there, taking part in social events and when daughters came of age, looking for a husband!

I completely recommend this book if you are at all interested in the time period, women’s history or the lives of the lives of less famous people! I rate this book 5/5 stars!

See you again soon!

Elizabeth