Monday, 22 July 2013

After the Fall - Duck Egg Book Club

After the Fall

After The Fall - Charity Norman

In the quiet of a New Zealand winter's night, a rescue helicopter is sent to airlift a five-year-old boy with severe internal injuries. He's fallen from the upstairs veranda of an isolated farmhouse, and his condition is critical. At first, Finn's fall looks like a horrible accident; after all, he's prone to sleepwalking. Only his frantic mother, Martha McNamara, knows how it happened. And she isn't telling. Not yet. Maybe not ever. 

 This is the blurb on the back of ‘After the Fall’ and it drew me in like a bee to nectar…I LOVE stories like this.  I love the intrigue, the covers up, the secrets and most of all I love trying to guess what actually happened before the author chooses to reveal it.

The story is told from Martha’s point of view and tells of the decision to uproot her family from England and make the drastic move to New Zealand in order to save themselves for impending disaster.  Her five year old twins think it’s a big adventure, her husband, Kit, finally begins to realise his dream as a painter but Sasha, Martha’s 16 year old daughter from a previous relationship, thinks it’s the worst decision in the world.  Of course, what teenager wouldn’t dislike being taken away from friends, a boyfriend, an established life?  So I will admit to thinking Sasha was nothing but a big drama queen.  Especially with the added story line of who Sasha’s real father is, I felt that her character milked it for all it was worth and had it not been such a shock when it was revealed who he was, I think I would have lost patience with that particular theme.  However, Charity Norman has written her character well, and she is an integral part of the story.

The book starts at the scene of the accident, 5 year old Finn falling from the balcony and being airlifted to hospital.  Martha coming under immediate suspicion and being faced with inquiries from New Zealand social services.  Kit mysteriously not around.

We are then taken back to before the accident with the occasional chapter in the present day explaining how things currently stand with Finn’s condition.

The thing I really enjoyed about this book was its total unpredictability.  I thought I had a handle on the story and where it was leading, and was feeling slightly disappointed that it was turning out to be quite tame, when there was a sudden dark twist, and then another, and then another.  None of my theories on what actually happened were even close in the end.  I had to really fight the urge to flick to the back page and find out the ending!!


I also enjoyed the detail Charity Norman included in the book, I liked that she revealed small colloquialisms, for example, a Smoko Hut being a place for a tea break and her descriptions of the environment made me long to see it for myself!  Martha is a superb lead character, you really feel for her and can see how she is always trying to make the right decisions for her family, seemingly with disastrous consequences.

I can always tell the depth I have engaged with a story by how much I cry at the end (no, really) and I wept buckets when all was revealed.  I wanted so much for all to come right in the end for this family.

A really enjoyable read.  I have seen Charity Norman being compared to Jodi Picoult and I would agree.  If you like her novels then you should certainly give this one a try.  Thumbs up from me!

Review by the wonderful Duck Egg Book Club Editor, Jessica McGlynn.

To join the Duck Egg Book Club CLICK HERE

Feel free to leave comments on the blog and Facebook Wall.


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The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry - Book Review

The Secret Scripture Book Review

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry

This was a suggestion made by one of our regular book club members and I was pleased as it’s not the sort of book my eye would naturally be drawn to.

The Secret Scripture: Set in the 1950’s we meet Dr Grene, a psychiatrist working at Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital.  The Hospital is to be shut down and Dr Grene has to reassess all the current patients to find out whether they are suitable to be ‘released’ back into the local community.  One particular patient, Roseanne, is nearing her 100th birthday and has been at the Hospital since she was a young woman.  Dr Grene is faced with the task of delving into her history to try and reveal the secrets of why she was first committed.

At the same time, Roseanne is writing a secret history of her life, living in rural 1930’s Ireland and the series of tragedies that led to her incarceration.  It is a beautifully written story exploring how we can all fall victim to the circumstances around us.  Roseanne is almost earmarked for disaster as soon as she is born; the daughter of a protestant Father in a warring country and a mentally unstable mother.  At some points in the story I was literally simmering with anger at how unfair her situation was, how powerless Roseanne was to change the way she was treated by people in authority around her.  I honestly cannot imagine living in such a way and I had to repeatedly remind myself that it was a work of fiction and not a real story!  Although I imagine, it isn't so far from some of the things that took place in that time.

We also follow a little bit of Dr Grene’s story, and how he faces his own tragic situations and seeks solace in Roseanne’s company, even though for a great many years she has been shunned and ignored by those working in the asylum around her.

This was my first Sebastian Barry novel but I enjoyed his flow of writing and his poetic descriptions of the setting.  I have always thought Ireland to be a  beautiful country and through Barry’s words, he really takes the reader on the journey with Roseanne and Dr Grene.

The only thing that lets this story down is the denouement.  I won’t reveal the hidden twist here as that would spoil it for anyone who wishes to try it for themselves but it was just so sudden.  We follow the entire story at an enjoyable pace and then the ending just seems to arrive as though Barry ran out of steam and wanted to tie the loose ends up.  I found it difficult to correlate the way the story ended with the rest of what I had read, it was all very convenient!  That said, it was still well written and I finished the book with a lump in my throat, disappointed that it had ended at all.

Another book I am really pleased to have read, and one I would recommend.

Review by the wonderful Duck Egg Book Club Editor, Jessica McGlynn.

To join the Duck Egg Book Club CLICK HERE

Feel free to leave comments on the blog and Facebook Wall.


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Seaside Fabric Pinboard

How to make a Fabric Pinboard

Seaside Fabric Pinboard

Celebrate summer by bringing the seaside indoors with this pretty old picture frame transformed into a handy fabric pinboard. It’s perfect for displaying postcards, jewellery, or just important reminders! Ellie Harrington shares some of her Upcycling tips.



  • An old picture frame

  • Paint (sample pots would work well for this project)

  • Adhesive cork roll

  • Material for covering the board

  • (you will need the size of the back of the frame and an extra 15mm of fabric for the border)

  • Grosgrain ribbon

  • Upholstery tacks/buttons for decoration (optional)


  • Paintbrush

  • Sandpaper

  • Staple gun

  • Masking tape

  • Hammer (optional)

  • Spray adhesive (optional)

? STEP ONE for creating your seaside fabric pinboard. Choose an interesting frame with detail that will enhance your paint effect. The size of your frame depends on how big you want your fabric pinboard to be and on the repeat of your fabric pattern. Remove and carefully discard the glass, if there is any. If the frame is gilded or has a shiny ?nish, chalk paints are a great alternative to sanding and can be painted straight on without priming. However, if you want to use emulsion or eggshell, key your surface by lightly sanding it, to help the paint to hold. To create a seaside appearance I painted an undercoat of white and a top layer of a seaside grey. We think this helps create beautiful vintage interiors!

How to make a Fabric Pinboard

? STEP TWO Sand the paint back in places to give a distressed feel. In some places remove the top layer to just the white undercoat and in other places right back to the wood to create the appearance of driftwood.

Shabby Chic a Picture Frame

? STEP THREE Remove the back from your frame and cut your cork roll to size. The
roll is adhered either by removing the sticky backing paper or by applying a spray
adhesive, if you have plain cork roll. This will give pins or tacks something to ?x to. If you have a deep frame you could add a layer of foam in between, or another layer of cork. Just make sure you leave room for the fabric to ?t inside the frame.

Cork Frabic Pinboard

? STEP FOUR Iron your fabric and cut to size. You will need 15mm for the margins. Fold
it over and stretch it as you staple the crab fabric print down (we have obviously used our Norfolk Crab Fabric Print here!) so there are no rucks or creases. You
can use double-sided sticky tape instead of staples. Tuck in the corners for a neat ?nish.

? STEP FIVE To complete the pin board you can use luxurious grosgrain ribbon in
diamonds across the board. Use masking tape to hold the ribbon until you are satis?ed
and then staple gun in place, pulling it tight as you secure the ribbon. Trim to the
length of the trim of the fabric. The ribbon diamonds will hold pictures and mementos
or, if you would rather, you can use pins to attach these. You could also hold the ribbon
in place with ornamental upholstery tacks or use mother of pearl buttons for a beach feel.
There you have it! A beautiful coast-inspired pin board that will perfectly frame your
favourite seaside treasures!

Make a Fabric Pinboard

Taa daaa!! For more tips and hints join me at  Facebook: & Twitter:  @duck_egg !

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Sunday, 7 July 2013

Winston Churchill Poster - Never Never Give Up

"Winston Churchill Poster

Winston Churchill Poster

Our latest addition to our poster range comes thanks to an inspiring quote from Winston Churchill.

In 1941 Winston Churchill gave one of his inspiring speeches to about the having the resolve and determination to never give up even when facing extreme times. This expression is very close to us all at Duck Egg and the phrase is one of "Mr Duck Egg's" favourite quotes..... "Never Never Give Up". Our poster print is in tribute to the great man himself and very true saying that has helped us all by over the years. Hopefully it will bring some colour to any modern or vintage interior.

We hope this saying inspires you as much as it inspires us with our day to day missions. We are working card versions of all our posters and prints and hope to bring them out in the near future due to demand.

All Duck Egg Designs NEW range of posters and prints are available in any colour you want (we will colour match any colour). We believe these give any wall a unique, vibrant burst of colour, style and a bespoke finish.

A3 (Medium) Posters: £14

Below is a sample of colours we love but email us with your colour if you want a bespoke poster.

Please contact to discuss what colour you would like and size.

To order the poster click Winston Churchill Poster and looking forward to catching up soon.

Team Duck Egg

For more details visit or email

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