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February 2017

Frog Spawn – Garden Update

Frog Spawn

After making a start on the garden last Monday, it’s been left as it was ever since. I came down with an awful cold. It’s lasted longer than colds usually do although I am feeling much better today.
Yesterday Ant was in and out fixing a puncture on Aiden’s bike and he said he kept seeing movement in the pond. He wasn’t quick enough to see what it was but we assumed it was a frog.
He went and had a closer look and discovered about 5 clumps of frog spawn :oD

I was delighted and had to go and take photos! We saw 2 frogs, one stayed under the water while the other kept popping up and posing for a photo!

Frog Spawn

Frog Spawn

Frog Spawn

Frog Spawn


The Boy That Never Was – Book Review Week 8

Book Review – The Boy That Never Was

My review this week was supposed to be about the book, Everything You Do Is Wrong but I can’t publish it yet. I recently found out from NetGally that I can’t blog about it until a week before the release date. It was an advanced copy; I can write a review on NetGally but not on my personal blog just yet.

So today I’m reviewing the next book I read on my Goodreads reading challenge which was, The Boy That Never Was by Karen Perry

The Boy That Never Was by Karen Perry Review

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads

You were loved and lost – then you came back . . .

Five years ago, three-year-old Dillon disappeared. For his father Harry – who left him alone for ten crucial minutes – it was an unforgivable lapse. Yet Dillon’s mother Robyn has never blamed her husband: her own secret guilt is burden enough.

Now they’re trying to move on, returning home to Dublin to make a fresh start.

But their lives are turned upside down the day Harry sees an eight-year-old boy in the crowd. A boy Harry is convinced is Dillon. But the boy vanishes before he can do anything about it.

What Harry thought he saw quickly plunges their marriage into a spiral of crazed obsession and broken trust, uncovering deceits and shameful secrets. Everything Robyn and Harry ever believed in one another is cast into doubt.

And at the centre of it all is the boy that never was . . .

It was an enjoyable read and I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads. I shouldn’t have liked Harry really, given what he was doing to little Dillon but somehow I did. I felt his devastation when he returned home to find not only Dillon but his home gone.

The story is alternated between Harry and his wife, Robin’s, viewpoints. This seems to be common in a lot of books now. I can’t say I dislike it but I do sometimes forget which character I’m reading and it doesn’t take much to confuse me!

There was a twist that I didn’t see coming which I enjoyed but after the twist, it seemed to go downhill a bit. I wasn’t keen on the ending, I have to admit.

Book Review week 8


Illness sums up my Sunday Photo


It’s been 2 weeks of illness in our house, maybe even longer. The girls and Aiden all had colds around the same time a couple of weeks ago. Ant got one last week that knocked him for six. He’s usually walking around with his t-shirt off because he’s too hot. Last week he was wrapped up in a hooded fleece jacket, a fleece throw over his legs and my long woollen cardigan and still he was shivering.

This week it’s been my turn. It started Monday, just as we’d decided to make a start on the garden. I had big plans for the garden and was going to work on it every day, then the cold took a hold.
I haven’t been to work at the charity shop or to do the weighing at Slimming World on Wednesday. I didn’t even go and clean for my mother in law on Thursday because I didn’t have any energy. I also didn’t want her to catch it from me.

illness - cold and flu medicine


25th February – Photo Project As & When – Been ill

25th February

25th February – I’ve been ill all week so I’ve hardly taken any photos. I took a few of the garden on Monday but that was the day I started feeling ill.

The only other photos I’ve taken are the ones of Ella’s hair so she could see what it looked like before she went to school!

I bought her some hair accessories for Christmas. She’s only just got round to using one of them. It’s a plastic bun twist thing that clips together.
I had one when I was younger but my hair was always too thick so it wouldn’t work but it works great on Ella’s hair 🙂

25th February Ella ponytail

25th February Ella hair bun

Blind Date With A Book – Book Display

Blind Date With A Book

We had an alternative Valentine’s display at St Barnabas charity shop last week; Blind Date With A Book. I wrapped some chic-lit books up in crepe paper and decorated them with stickers.

Everyone saved beauty sets, nail varnish and lotions throughout the week for the display from the donated items. We ended up with a lovely looking display.

The idea is to pamper yourself then grab some wine and chocolates and settle for a blind date with a book.

Blind Date With A Book

Blind Date With A Book

Blind Date With A Book

Blind Date With A Book

Blind Date With A Book

If we were to do it again, we’d put a price on each book. They didn’t sell very well because I think the customers thought they were more for decoration!

When we took the display down to put the new one up, we put the books on the counter and sold some almost straight away!

Pork and Fennel Pasta Recipe – Slimming World

Pork and Fennel Pasta I’d never had fennel so I was a bit wary about trying this Pork and Fennel Pasta recipe. The kids were having it as well and I expected them not to like it because it was something new! Turned out we […]

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7.5lb Loss! -Weekly Weigh In

7.5lb Loss

A 7.5lb loss this week at Slimming World made me very happy, in fact, I’m delighted! I had pledged to lose 6lb this week and I worried whether I could actually do it. Seems that I can and I smashed it!

I wasn’t able to do the weighing at my group this morning, though. I started with a cold on Monday which has knocked me off my feet. A runny nose is bad enough to contend with but the pounding headache that’s accompanying it is horrible.

I didn’t go to work at the charity shop on Tuesday and I won’t be cleaning for my mother in law in the morning as I don’t want to pass this horrible virus on to her.
Hopefully, I’ll be better by Friday morning because I need to go and change the book display table at the charity shop.

I want to go for a big loss again this week because I want to get out of the 24 stone category and work towards getting my 7 and a half stone award back 🙂

Glittery text sig tag 7.5lb



Big Makeover Planned – The Year Of The Garden!

The Year Of The Garden

You may have seen, from previous posts, the state of our garden and the previous plans we’ve had for it. It’s worse now than it ever was and it’s going to take lots of hard work this year to get it sorted. It needs a big makeover. For all the plans we’ve had in the past, we’ve never really got round to doing anything except the pond.

I love the pond! It’s the best part, but I’m starting to get the urge to get out there and get the rest of it looking just as nice.

garden pond makeover
Our wildlife pond is full of tadpoles at the moment :oD


We need to create a place for the bikes. The kids each have one and they’re currently on the patio under cover, leaning against the table.
The patio keeps getting used as a place to dump things we don’t know what else to do with. It’s looking decidedly messy again but where to put everything?

I think we’re going to need to hire a skip this year, as well as pay for the annual council fee for the green bin.
We started a compost heap last year but as it’s right at the top of the garden, we’ve been a bit lazy with the kitchen scraps. We just throw them in the bin. I’m going to make the most of the compost heap this year. Even if we pay for the green bin, it only gets emptied fortnightly. That will be fine when the garden’s done and there’s not much waste every week but while it’s in the state it’s in, we’re going to end up with lots and lots of garden waste.

Fruit Trees

We still want fruit trees at the top of the garden but that’s going to be the hardest part to do. It’s full of weeds and piles of wood. It’s going to need completely digging over once Ant’s sorted the wood pile. He’s going to get a chainsaw from somewhere and chop it all into manageably sized blocks.
We want to build a firepit so we’ll need to create storage for the blocks.


There’s much planning to be done. We made a start yesterday because I want it finished this year so the earlier in the year we get started, the more chance we have of completing it 🙂

garden before

Ant chopped back all the bushes and I made a start on digging them up. I think he would have had an easier time of it if he’d had a professional chainsaw! It was a hard job but I want a total change and he did well with the tools he had 🙂

garden after

He also chopped down the butterfly bush. We haven’t decided where to replant it yet. It was only planted there, as a tiny plant, temporarily but it got left there and went giant sized!

garden before


garden after

To be honest, the garden is looking even worse now than it did when I took the ‘before’ photos but I know it has to get worse before it gets better!



The Letter – Goodreads Book Review Week 7

The Letter


The Letter isn’t my usual choice of reading material but I couldn’t resist when I read the blurb. Working in a charity shop myself, the idea of finding something like this, written 30 years earlier really intrigued me.

It tells of two relationships, Tina and Rick in the 70s and Chrissie and Billy in the 30s.


Tina volunteers in a charity shop on a Saturday and finds the letter in the pocket of a suit that has been donated. It was written by Billy in 1939 for Chrissie but for some reason, it was never sent.

Tina opens it and finds herself wanting to unravel the mystery of Chrissie and Billy.


Chrissie and Billy fall in love just before the start of the war. Chrissie gets pregnant and ends up getting sent to Ireland to stay with an aunt.
Her aunt dies and Chrissie has to go and stay at a convent to have her baby.

Her home life isn’t good. Rick’s an alcoholic and Tina puts up with and makes excuses for him when he gets drunk and beats her up.
She does leave for a while but in the end, she goes back to him.

It was hard to read in places due to the domestic abuse and the way Chrissie is treated at the convent but it kept me reading.

The Letter by Kathryn Hughes

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads

Tina Craig longs to escape her violent husband. She works all the hours God sends to save up enough money to leave him, also volunteering in a charity shop to avoid her unhappy home. Whilst going through the pockets of a second-hand suit, she comes across an old letter, the envelope firmly sealed and unfranked. Tina opens the letter and reads it – a decision that will alter the course of her life for ever…

Billy Stirling knows he has been a fool, but hopes he can put things right. On 4th September 1939 he sits down to write the letter he hopes will change his future. It does – in more ways than he can ever imagine…

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Read With Me

The Boy That Never Was – Sunday Photo

The Boy That Never Was

I started The Boy That Never Was last night and I’m already enjoying it. I expected it to be about a boy who had been kidnapped but he’s missing for a different reason, which surprised me. I’m already over a hundred pages in and had trouble putting it down to do some blogging earlier!

The last book I read, Everything You Do Is Wrong, didn’t grab me at all. The whole time I spent reading it, I was hoping that the end would come soon.

I contemplated not finishing it but I’d got an early copy from NetGally to review. It was only fair that I read to the end because I wanted to give an honest review. If I didn’t finish it I wouldn’t be able to do that.

I’ve never given a book a 1-star rating before and I felt a bit guilty but I couldn’t, in all honesty, give it any more stars.

Anyway, I’ll be doing a full review soon so I’ll say no more for now.

The Boy That Never Was by Karen Perry

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