Monthly Archives:

July 2017

The Book Of Lost Things – John Connolly – Book Review #31

The Book Of Lost Things


I wanted a change from the thrillers/crime/police books I’ve been reading lately and The Book Of Lost Things was a total change.  When I picked it up at the charity shop and read the blurb I thought it was a book aimed at young adults.

It’s not.

Dark & Twisted

It’s a dark and twisted tale of a 12-year-old boy called David whose mother gets sick and dies. He takes solace in his books but they start to whisper to him.

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.


The story was surprisingly gruesome in places. One part that sticks in my mind is when a deer runs into the clearing beneath the tree that David had climbed to eat some apples. He looks down as the deer looks up at him but instead of a normal head, it has the head of a little girl with blonde hair and green eyes. She looks up at him and says, ‘Help me, please’. He hears a noise, as does she and she bounds off. I expected her to get away.

She didn’t.

She got shot in the neck with an arrow and died. The hunter turned out to be a woman who captured David and took him back to her cottage. She told him how she caught children and animals then used a potion to put human heads on the animals.

Not For Young Adults!

I won’t say any more because I don’t want to spoil it. Suffice to say, this is definitely not aimed at young adults!

The lovely book cover drew me to the book and when I flicked through the pages I loved the little drawings under each chapter title:

The book of lost things by John Connolly

I really enjoyed it and will be looking out for more by this author.

John Connolly The book of lost things
Don’t you just love this book cover?!


For more book reviews click here


Short Garden Update – New Steps & Lantana Plants

Short Garden Update


Ant’s been doing all the little jobs that needed doing on the patio this week. He’s now working on the plans for the patio cover he’s going to build.

short garden update

short garden update

short garden update

Ant made new steps onto the garden because his dad had trouble using the old steps. He can now get onto the garden without needing someone to help him 🙂

short garden update

Don’t you just love these Lantana plants? I’d have a garden full of them if I could!

Lantana plants

My lovely water lily flowered 🙂 The pond seems to be doing well at the moment. There are still a few tadpoles hanging around. It’s almost as if they don’t want to change into frogs!

water lily flower

More garden updates

5 Signs That You Need To Call A Professional For Boiler Repair

Call A Professional For Boiler Repair


Boiler repair can be something that should not be put off. It could cause major problems for your company and place of business. It is highly advised that you get in contact with a local professional team who can help you like those that offer boiler repair service in Denver. Sometimes you may not have the budget to pay a professional team of experts to come out to your establishment to repair your boiler and so you may want to hold off on doing so. This article will provide some tips as to when it is absolutely necessary to give a professional a call to come help with the needed repair.

Strange Noises

  • If you hear strange noises coming from your boiler you will want to pay close attention to their frequency. If you hear hissing noises this could mean that you have iron and other mineral built up within your system. It is imperative that the system gets cleaned out. These deposits will cause uneven water distribution and could cause your system to malfunction, overheat, or completely shut down. To avoid additional damage, call for help.

Foul Smelling Odours

  • Odd smells coming from your boiler could mean that you have a gas leak. It is important to call a professional right away to prevent major problems. The professional HVAC team will be able to test the system and determine the cause of odor. They can also provide you with a recommendation for how to resolve the issue.


Water Leaks

  • If you live in an older home or work in a building that has aged, you may come in to contact with a boiler that leaks water. It is possible that your system is so old that components have deteriorated and need to be replaced. To avoid future problems, it is best to get the boiler leak checked so that the leak does not grow into something more substantial.

The Boiler Stops Heating

  • The loss of heat can be catastrophic during a family function or holiday weekend. It is important that you maintain your boiler by doing routine maintenance to prevent such an event from happening. Check your water levels as a low level could be the cause of the problem. Be sure to call for help if you have a house full of company and resist waiting as the problem could persist and become larger.

Pilot Light Is No Longer Lit

  • A pilot light going out could be an indication of a major problem. It could mean that there is a deposit build up where the pilot light is, causing it to go out. Or worse, it could mean that there are some components that need to be replaced or are not working properly. Whatever the reasons are, an HVAC professional will be able to analyze your system in a quick manner and recommend the appropriate remedy. Do not speculate when it comes to your pilot light. It could end up costing you more money in the long run if you try to fix the problem yourself and make a mistake.  



My Gorgeous New Cloud Family Tree Papercut Frame

Cloud Family Tree Papercut


I can’t begin to tell you how much I love my new cloud family tree papercut from TwentyFingers. We have a big blended family and I did wonder whether the people at Twenty Fingers would be able to fit us all on.
I need not have worried, though, because upon reading the description it says they can fit up to 100 names on and even if you need more names, you just have to contact them and they’ll see what they can do.

Speedy Service

I placed my order on the 24th July, got an email on the 25th to say it had been shipped and it arrived on the 26th.
I was really impressed with the speed, the excellent service and the quality of the finished product.

When I unwrapped it from the bubble wrap, I was so excited;  I love anything to do with keepsakes and family mementoes.

cloud family tree papercutFamily Names

I put Ant and me at the top followed by Ant’s kids:

Jonathan and his wife, Elaine
Jourdain and his soon to be wife, Netty
Jason and his partner, Gemma
Kellyann and her partner, Ian
Chantal (the eagle-eyed amongst you may notice it’s spelt differently on the plaque. This was totally my fault. Katy and Chantal died when they were only a few months old and I had forgotten that it was spelt with al, not elle. I felt awful when Ant told me and couldn’t stop apologising. but he forgave me. I’d also like to apologise to the siblings for spelling their sister’s name wrong)

then my son:


then our girls:


followed by our grandsons (Jason’s boys)


cloud family tree papercut

Great Personalised Gift

The design is gorgeous and what’s even better is that you can choose not only the colour of the frame but also the colour of the paper; there are loads of paper colours to choose from.

These would make the perfect Christmas gift for everyone, (yes, I said the C word… should know me by now, I buy for Christmas the whole year through!) I know my mum would love to receive one!

cloud family tree papercut

Thank you to everyone at Twenty Fingers, I LOVE it!

I received my framed family tree in return for an honest review


Top Tips For The Adult Learner Driver

Adult Learner Driver


As teenagers, we are full of bravado making hormones, but as men or women, the world seems like a soft, malleable cushion just waiting to bend to our fit. As you age, you realise that a whole manner of things can go wrong without even blinking, and the control you felt you once had has slipped away. You become all too aware of the limitations of your body.

The world changes, and it becomes something to be revered, not something that should revere you. The more time that passes before you get behind the wheel, the more you realise how potentially dangerous it is. You might think of a million ways to get around without driving, or you might decide that you actually don’t need to at all. Well, for those of us living in the countryside, or even those with children, driving becomes less optional and more of a must-do. Read on for the best approaches to driving as an adult.

car steering wheel adult learner driver

Observe Other Drivers

Whether you are an anxious person or not, before you book any lessons make sure you are ready to get behind the wheel with confidence and ease. In the run up to learning, watch other cars and how they behave on the roads. If you are being driven somewhere, watch what gear you are in if in a manual, check out when the driver pushes on the breaks and how hard they press. Even though you will be acquainted with the process, try to remind yourself to keep watch even when on a long journey.


Choose your Method Wisely

For you to feel comfortable, confident and not patronised, you need to find the right driving instructor for your situation. Whether you would prefer to learn with a woman or a man, an older person or somebody younger, decide upon what would make you feel most comfortable before you start contacting people.

It might be that an intensive course is what you want, book through a reputable company like driving lessons Wolverhampton or in your neighbouring town or city, and feel certain that you are in the best hands possible. If at all possible, take your time over learning to drive. There are advantages to crash courses, but there are also disadvantages, so you need to decide whether or not one would work for your personality. Talk to a variety of teachers, and remember that if you don’t like them change them. You are the one learning to drive, and you are the one paying.


Get The Best Car Your Budget Will Allow

To feel and be safe on the roads, investing in a good car is fundamental. Although you might want to save money, understandable given the cost of driving lessons, balance this with the need for you to be safe. Read up about the most common types of car for the first-time driver and make an informed decision. Whether driving alone or with passengers, especially if you have children, you need to know that if an accident happens everyone involved is as safe as they can be.

5 Tips To Selecting The Best Pergola For Your Home

Best Pergola For Your Home


According to reliable surveys conducted by the landscape architecture industry, over 83 percent of buyers are into pergolas. And, real estate reports suggest that an outdoor landscape feature that provides function and adds to the aesthetics of the home helps increase the home´s value by 20 percent. Therefore, it is a good idea to install a pergola in your home. However, there are many things to consider before acquiring a pergola. Fret not, as we are here to help you. Here are 5 tips to selecting the best pergola for your home.

  1. Focusing on the design and style

Your pergola should blend in well with your backyard. There are various pergola designs and styles you can choose from. For instance, if you are looking for a pergola that captures nature’s magnificence, you should opt to build an arched pergola. However, if you are looking for a contemporary and modern design, you should opt to purchase traditional pergolas that boast of clean, straight lines.

  1. Do you need shade?

A pergola can be covered to provide shade from external elements like sunlight, wind and rain. Therefore, it provides increased outdoor protection, allowing you to use it throughout the year, during various different seasons. If you want access to sunlight during the day and want shade at night, you can consider using canvas canopy to cover the roofing grid.   

  1. Deciding on materials and colours

Pergolas are largely available for purchase in wood and vinyl. A wooden pergola is an excellent choice if you are aiming for a traditional look; meanwhile, vinyl pergolas, which are usually available for purchase either in white or ivory, don’t require much maintenance and they can easily harmonize with any décor. There are other materials you can choose from too including bamboo pergolas, marble and granite pergolas, or stone pergolas.


  1. What about the size of the pergola?

You need to consider the size of your outdoor space to identify the pergola that will fit your requirements. In addition to that, you need to consider the surrounding structures as well. For instance, having an oversized pergola near your small pool doesn´t look good now, does it? Also, you need to ensure that the space where you intend to install your pergola boasts of a flat terrain.

  1. How will you be using your pergola?

You need to consider how often you’ll be using your pergola before deciding to build one. For instance, if it is something you will only use for special occasions and gatherings, you may need a larger space to accommodate several amenities such as kitchen grills and bar. However, if you intend to use it to accentuate your plants, you should go for functionality and build a structure that is less obtrusive; in such occasions, arched pergolas work like a charm. If you plan to use the pergola to gaze at the stars at night, you should consider keeping the roofing grid open.

Visit the site,, for more information on best pergolas available.

This is a collaborative post

Chicken Noodle Stir-Fry – Slimming World Recipe

Dried noodles are syn free on Slimming World and I love a stir-fry dish so this is one of my favourite meals. You can pack it with lots of speedy vegetables and enjoy the whole dish, syn free.

Read more

5 Ways You Can Show Your Family Appreciation

5 Ways You Can Show Your Family Appreciation


Having a family is literally one of the best things you can do in life. Sure, you create an army of small people who make a lot of mess, a lot of noise and cause a lot of stress sometimes, but they’re an army of little people who give you unlimited love and cuddles. They’re the pieces of immortality you create so that when this world is long behind you, you have a legacy that continues living. That sheer love and appreciation you have for your family is one that never seems to go away, even when the bad days feel never-ending.

family on the beach

Image Source

We live in a world of social media that is in your face all hours of the day. In the palm of your hand, you have a working way for people to judge you and your life. How you dress. How you parent. Even how you eat are at the mercy of the opinions of relative strangers on the internet. And everyone has an opinion. For every person who agrees with your methods of parenting your children, there are ten more who can make you feel guilty for the way you do things. The thing is, there is no wrong way to be a parent. If your children are fed, have a warm bed at night and plenty of love, then the latest consoles and gadgets that may be unaffordable just do not matter.

grandmother reading to grand daughter

Image Source

Adults often reflect on their own childhoods and draw from their experiences when it comes to raising children. For example, if you were disciplined with a smack as a child, you may choose to do it differently when you are a parent. If your parents forced you to eat everything on your plate as a child, you may choose to give your own children more food freedom. Everything we learn from our parents has a knock-on effect on our children, and it’s for this reason you have to be sure you are confident in your own parenting skills. Do you show your partner how much you appreciate them and their help?

father and son family

Image Source

Do you feel grateful for the education and healthcare opportunities your children have compared to when you were a child? You should. Feeling grateful for the things you have – from access to NHS prescriptions online to the TV satellite you recently managed to afford – is the first way you can learn to appreciate things in your life. This then can lead you to show your children you appreciate them and everything they offer you. You as a parent offer them the world on a platter and every opportunity that you can readily afford. But what do your children offer you? The answer is unconditional love. Children are – for the most part – created in love and therefore do nothing but idolise you as a parent. This means that you have to be the best you can be for them. There are many ways you can show your children that you appreciate their presence in your life and we’ve put together five of the best ways you can make sure that they know they are wanted and important in your life.

boy blowing bubbles

Image Source

Children need reassurance. Reassuring them that they are and always will be your first priority is important for them. Adults attention is demanded by so many things during the day that can mean us unintentionally brushing the children off and moving forward with our day without a second thought. This has an impact. The memories you give your children will shape them as adults and so you have to make them see and understand that they are a priority to you. You will, of course, be pulled away by work and by other small distractions. But you should praise them for their successes, however minor, and support them and guide them when they fail. You’re their advocate, their biggest fan and the person who is going to be there for them when they fall. Be there and make sure they know it.

  1. Children need a good bond. There is no point in planning a family that you won’t be there for. Creating a bond with your child that they can rely on is vital for their growth. Establishing a family culture and a secure feeling of togetherness can make your children realise that they can always fall back onto you when in times of sadness. Investing the time that you can take with your children will be so good for them to know how deeply you value their company. Children are smart and they can tell when they are a nuisance; don’t make them feel that way.
  2. Always be the parent who is real. Don’t give them false hopes for the future or for their grades at school. If they are falling behind, don’t tell them they’re doing amazingly well because all it does is make them incorrectly secure. Instead, show them where they are going wrong and guide them to the right path. You are their parent and while it’s nice to have an ego massage occasionally, all you would be doing is making them falsely confident. They can see through a lie and you should look them in the eye and tell them they’re amazing where it is deserved.
  3. Did you know that children value memories as much as parents do? Take photos of the fun. Make sure that why you do, you are in those pictures with them. It doesn’t matter if your hair is greasy or you have a spotty face. The bags under your eyes don’t need photoshop. Children need to remember you as you always were and don’t forget, they love you no matter whether you look exhausted and without makeup. Snap photos of their kindness with others. They may get embarrassed, but one day you will have your photos to look at while your children are grown and out of the nest.
  4. The best thing you can do for your children, other than feeding them and clothing them, is celebrating their uniqueness. Each child in your family has their own personality and appreciating the personality they have and not comparing them to each other is the way to be. Never expect them to be a person that they are not. Parents always build castles in the sky for their children, but that doesn’t mean your children have to live up to your expectations. The only thing you can ever expect is kindness, love and affection from them and that’s more than enough.

little girl cuddling a teddy

Image Source

As a parent, you will be judged. You will be looked at and people will see how you parent and form an opinion about you. The best thing to do is just go about your business with your family and focus on loving and appreciating them in the best way you know how to and ignore anyone who wants to pass an opinion on how you do things. Being a parent and finding the balance with your children is not easy, but it’s a learning curve for the whole family. You never stop evolving as a parent but as long as you are showing your appreciation for your children and who they are, you won’t make a mistake. They won’t ever think you don’t love them, they’ll know that you are there for them and that’s exactly what they need from you. Appreciating your children sometimes takes some effort, so make the time and be the best parent you can be.

This is a collaborative post

Top 3 Party Ideas for Boys Sweet 16

Boys Sweet 16 Party

If your teenage boy is turning sweet 16 then we know the struggle involved with throwing him the best possible party. 16-year-old boys are not always the easiest children to keep happy and that can be true when trying to plan a fantastic party to celebrate this big milestone. Therefore we have put together a list of our three favourite birthday party ideas in order to ensure his birthday is one that he, and his friends, will never forget.

birthday cake boys sweet 16 party

Image source

Garden Party

With the summer months upon us, we can’t ignore the allure of a good old fashioned summer garden party. If your child is lucky enough to enjoy his birthday over the summer months then why not organise the party in your garden. Garden parties are a great idea for noisy and rowdy teenage boys, just make sure that you are around to keep an eye on them and warn the neighbours in advance. You can organise a BBQ, which is always a winner with boys, and put on a spread with lots of finger food. As garden parties don’t really need a huge amount of decoration you can afford to focus more on the food, the music and making sure the boys have a really fantastic night.


Paintballing is at the top of the list for most teenage boys. However, it is only around the age of 16 that it becomes an activity that they can actually get involved in. Therefore if you think your child would love running around in a forest playing out his favourite top combat video games then paintballing could be just what you are looking for. Look for a local company like, Delta Force Paintballing who will be able to talk you through what is involved in the game. A lot of paintballing companies will also let you organise a lunch and a party on the grounds too so this is also worth looking into to avoid having to look for a second venue to feed those grumbling tummies.

Sports Day

If your son is passionate about a certain type of sport then you can organise a party that revolves around his favourite activity. If he loves skateboarding then why not hold the party at the local skatepark. Invite all his friends along, ask someone to video your son and his friends pulling off their best skateboarding moves, make or buy a skateboard cake and organise some picnic food. Make sure that you organise with your local council that you can have sole use of this space for a few hours. Of course, the sociability of a skate park will mean that no one is excluded and that everyone can still gain access, but it will mean that you can spend some time getting the area organised and prepared for the afternoon or evening ahead.

Perhaps your son is more of an all round sports boy so then why not organise a lightly competitive sports day in the park. Again offering picnic and finger food and refreshments for the boys you can organise a whole host of different sports to get the boys involved in a super fun afternoon of sports, laughter and a little healthy competition.
This is a collaborative post

Back To School – Uniform and Stationery Shopping

Back To School – Uniform


Yes, I know the holidays have only just started but I know from experience we need to go shopping now. I’ve left it until the end of the holidays before and all the sizes we needed were out of stock.

The trouble is, I can’t just get on and order everything like I used to. The girls are older now and they want to choose their own style. The skirts I think they’d like, they don’t and the ones I’d never choose for them, they ask for!

I do most of the shopping at Tesco as I’m a delivery saver customer which means I can have it delivered for free 🙂


Like me, both girls love buying stationery and Ella’s looking forward to a trip to Smiggle with her sister, Kellyann.
Kaycee was pleased to see the contents of a package that came from Stabilo the other day. We’ve had pens from them before and the girls have always been pleased with them.
They send a selection of left and right handed because Ella needs left handed pens and Kaycee is right handed.

Ella loved her new lunch bag from Ulster Weavers 🙂 Kaycee didn’t mind that she didn’t get one, she doesn’t use lunch bags with pictures on them anymore now she’s at secondary school!

back to school stationery

stabilo pens


Please note: we were sent products in return for a blog post.

%d bloggers like this: