A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan – Sweet and Sour

I think sweet and sour sums up last week too. I was so bored of the same meals that I wrote my meal plan with the idea what I already had in the cupboards, fridge and freezer. We did stick to most of it, and my shopping bill was only £130. Also, I didn’t spend much during the week either. So, I might have been bored of food but it was cheap. The only meal I swapped was on the Wednesday, I’d put fish or pork, and we ended up having toad-in-the-hole.

This weeks Meal Plan

I’m doing a sweet and sour this week as my son has been asking for months. I love it made in the slow cooker, it’s so easy, just through it all in and let it cook. Then make some rice to go with it. I’m thinking about making some battered quorn or tofu and straining off some of the sauce for my daughter. She likes the sauce but won’t eat chicken or most of the vegetables.

Let’s get on to this weeks meal plan

  • Saturday – Take out
  • Sunday – Stir Fry
  • Monday – Sweet and Sour Chicken
  • Tuesday – Sausage ragu (or sausage pasta bake)
  • Wednesday – pies and mash or chips
  • Thursday – quiche / salmon parcels.
  • Friday – pasta with spinich and stilton.

We are already on Sunday and we started with a Take Out because Graham went out and I didn’t feel like cooking, plus we had kind of ate everything we had.

Today, Sunday, we are having a stir fry because I really fancy it. I cook the chicken, noodles and vegetables and keep everything seperate. Then everyone can choose what they actually want in their stir fry and it takes a minute to fry it up with their chosen seasoning or sauce. Star doesn’t eat noodles so I’ll make her a little mash and she can have chicken and vegetables with mash instead.

I’m a bit worried about the sausage ragu, but we’ve had sausage pasta bake before so I’ll just make sure it’s got ingredients that will please everyone. I’ll add the pasta last, so Star can have mash again.

The sweet and sour can be served with rice, or noodles or even chips (star doesn’t eat rice either!)

I’m actually beginning to look forward to food again and I love all the inspiration I get from reading the other weekly meal plans in Katy’s meal planning linky.

Katykicker
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A Place To Earn

Setting up Your Avon Store Online

I previously wrote an post Five Tips for Working Avon Online. I’m going to work through each of these tips in details and the first one was to open your Avon Store Online.

Step One -Open your Store

First you need to log on to your Avon online account.

Click the representative log on/registration. If it’s your first time you will need your Avon business number and decide on a password.

Once you have logged on you will see your welcome page. You can choose manage your business to check and place your orders, but today we are going to open your Online Store, so click on the box on the right.

Update Store Settings and Profile

When you log on you will see a menue on the left on side as in the picture above. The same menu will also appear in taps across the top of the page.

Start at the beginning and click Update Store Settings and Details

Set your online store name


the beginning of the site will be the same www.avon.uk.com/store…..
you choose the name of your store. I chose AnneSweet

so my url is www.avon.uk.com/store/annesweet

Then you fill in your contact details so people who visit your store know how to get in touch. You can put your e-mail and telephone number and then set the times that you are available for people to contact you. i.e. your hours of working for Avon.

You then choose your delivery area, where you are prepared to deliver brochures and orders.

Then its time for the personal touches like a photo of yourself and a personal message for people visiting your shop. Adding a personal touch makes your site more appealing to customers.

The next setting is Find a Representative.

This enables you to appear in ‘Find a Representative’ when customers are looking for a rep. in their area.

This should bring you more local custom so I’d advise to fill it in.

Make your Store Status ‘open’
Select show or hide

If you want to opt in to appear in ‘Find a Representative’ search you will need to click New Customers. If you only want to serve your customers that you are already familiar with then click ‘customers who know you’

I would strongly advise to click the New Customers if you wish to do a lot of work online.

The final option is to Hide from ‘Find a Representative’ Search. This will stop you from showing up if someone in your area is looking for someone to buy from.

Delivery settings

YOu can choose whether to offer personal rep deliveray and direct delivery, or direct delivery only.

Decide whether you will receive parcels for local people and take it to them. Or only accept people who are willing to have their deliveries direct from Avon.

If you are working online only you will prefer for your customers to have direct delivery. However, a lot of customers prefer a personal service and if you can get out locally, it would be a good idea to offer this.

Automated Payment Option

If someone buys from your online shop and choose direct delivery it will show as a credit on your account.
You can choose to be paid your commission through bank transfer or through automated payment through your mobile number linked to your bank account.

Once you have completed these steps you can click the next tab, Update My Store.

Update Avon Store Content

Here you can choose which departments you want to feature on the front page of your Avon Store. You can change these as often as you like.

Once you are happy you can save your changes and click the next tab.

Promote Your Online Store.

The Next Step is to promote your store through social media

If you don’t have social media accounts you will need to set them up. Make separate pages from the ones you already use. I’ll go into more detail about social media later, but you will need to create a Facebook page especially for your avon, you will also need twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

You will need your store link and use it as often as you can.

You also get the options to email customers who have already signed up.

I will tell you how to get subscribers in a later post.

Holidays plus Tips and Advice

The final tab tells you how to keep selling while you are on holiday, but it’s important to make sure that local customers know you will not be delivering while you are away.

It also has some good tips and advice for you to read.

These are all really important so do read them and click through the links to make sure you have everything set up ready to go.

Now it’s time to get selling!

Watch out for my next blog posts!

My Avon

My Avon Store

My Avon Facebook Page

My Avon Instagram

My Avon Pinterest Board

How to set up your Avon Online Store, a step by step guide
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A Place to Read

What I read in September – Matt Haig and Margaret Atwood

This month I’ve been reading Matt Haig and Margaret Atwood.

Back to my current Matt Haig addiction I finished Reasons to Stay Alive. I listened to it on Audible, read by Matt himself which I really liked. But it is definitely something that needs to be kept in a paper copy, particularly by your side at all times so you can remind yourself why it’s worth living at all times. It is about half the size of his regular books though.

I will be buying myself a ‘hard copy’ as I’m certain I will read it again.

How to Stop Time – Matt Haig

On to my fourth Matt Haig book. I didn’t read it straight after Reasons to Stay Alive, but I guess it needed to be written about next. There was definitely some cross over.

If you can bear with me for some personal opions, I have often thought about how long you could actually want to go on living. There has to be a point when you get fed up of it all and feel comfortable with it being the end of your life.

In this story the main character is over 400 years old. He’s lived many lifetimes and aged slowly. He has loved then forbidden himself to love again and over the years he has lost the reason to being alive. He has stopped feeling alive.

I love how the story intertwines the present day with his history. One minute he’s teaching his class in a London school and the next we are transported back to a different century while he reminices on the most significant events of his life.

The reason he has stayed alive is because he knows that he has a daughter, who is also blessed, or cursed with a long, long life. He’s lost her and he’s desperate to find her again and that’s what keeps him going.

But then it’s all turned on it’s head when he meets a lady that he has feelings for. He has stopped feeling for such a long time.

The ending feels a little rushed and unbelievable. But then that’s not the point of the story. Is it believeable that someone could live for hundreds of years? The story is to help him understand why he should live. Again, reasons to stay alive but in a different format.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

I’ve not seen the television series or the film, but I did get drawn into the story and decided to buy myself a paperback of this classic tale by Margaret Atwood. Straight away I was drawn into the story and the life of the main character Offred. It’s certainly a strange tale, and has so many more questions than answers. I do enjoy stories that look into a future though, whether they are utopian or dystopian, and this tale is definitely dystopian.

Offred tells of her current situation in a matter of fact way while having flashbacks of a different life before Gilead became about. This different life is the one we would be used to now.

I found a lot of the story quite harrowing and the repression was stifling. The whole concept of the story is pretty terrifying. I decided I would like to watch the television series after reading the book but was dismayed to find that to watch it I had to pay Virgin an extra £19.99 to watch just the first series, and the other two were even more expensive!

I will console myself with the new Margaret Atwood book, I’m not sure whether to get the book or the audible copy. At least I won’t have waited as long as those who read The Handmaid’s Tale when it was first published.

The Testaments audible copy

I’m already started on my next book, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. This is a paperback which I bought second hand. The problem with books is that I cannot crochet and read at the same time.

See My other Book Reviews.

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A Place To Earn

Five Tips for Working Avon online

I have worked with Avon in the past but since re-starting my Avon business I’ve noticed a lot of changes. I am disabled and unable to go from door to door, so apart from a few neighbours most of my Avon work will be done online.

I’ve decided to write this post to help you understand how you can work or improve your business using the online resources. I may be new to Avon, but I have a lot of experience in online networking.

How Avon Works Online

Here are some tips for getting your Avon Business off the ground working online.

  1. Use your shop URL. When you log on to the Avon Website you are given the option to set up your online store…do that straight away and use the URL on everything you post online, and any brochures or leaflets you post. Check out my post Setting Up Your Avon Store Online.
  2. Facebook. Open a page especially for all your Avon Posts. Give it a name that reflects that it will be about Avon/beauty/shopping so that people know exactly what they are getting. Invite your current facebook friends and ask them to add anyone who may be interested. Then you will need to create content, ask questions, answer quieries, find out what your page viewers want to see, work out the things that get the most interaction. It takes time but if you work at it you can get lots of interaction on your page and the more interaction you can get the more sales you are likely to make.
  3. Hold a Facebook Party. You have probably heard of parties where the host provides items for people to try out and hopefully buy. You can do the same on Facebook. Create an event, work out some games, do a little give away or two. I’ll write more about this later with some good ideas.
  4. Open an Avon Instagram Account. Beauty related posts do good on Instagram and you may find your viewers grow quite quickly when you start posting great pictures. Using pictures from Avon is great, but don’t forget to add a few of your own. Take some photos of the products you recieve.
  5. Tips and advice. Everyone loves tips and advice so collect as many as you can to share on your social media.

I will create five further posts going into each of these points in more detail. When they are online I will create links.

Setting Up Your Avon Store Online.

If you have any questions please let me know in the comments.

My Avon

My Avon Store

My Avon Facebook Page

My Avon Instagram

My Avon Pinterest Board

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A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan -bored!

Last weeks meal plan didn’t go too badly, but I have to admit I am so bored of food. It doesn’t help that I have no appetite, I could quite happily live on snacks every now and then. But I don’t have that privilage, I have a family to feed. So, how can I mix it up without everyone refusing to eat? It’s not an easy feat with a family of seven.

Let’s look at last week first. It didn’t go too badly, we even skipped the take out as I managed to cook on hospital day. One minute I was fast asleep on the settee (it makes me really tired) then suddenly I woke, went to the kitchen and cooked everyone chicken and chips. My eldest son was a bit amused by this. But it saved me a small fortune. We didn’t have the lasagna, I went out with my daughter, so the others had more stuff from the freezer and I had a risotto with vegetables.

This weeks Meal Plan

  • Saturday – Curry and naan
  • Sunday – lasagna
  • Monday – pizza
  • Tuesday – chicken and chips
  • Wednesday – fish or pork
  • Thursday – fajitas
  • Friday – quiche and salad

Bored

I’m not happy with this weeks menu but I’ll keep it up for now. I did say I was bored! I’m hoping that later in the week I can get to the supermarket and maybe buy something different. So far my bill is only £130 and that includes all the basics, so If I can get a couple of extra meals for £30 then I’ll be happy. I’ll let you know how I get on next week.

Also, I think I need to hit those cook books!

Linking up with Katy’s Meal Planning Linky (also a good place for meal inspiration)

Katykicker
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A Place to Read

Great Offers on Books from Lonely Planet

This post contains affiliate links for Lonely Planet. They will cost you nothing to click but may earn me some money if you purchase anything, so many thanks in advance if you do.

Travel from Lonely Planet

I’ve never been much of a traveller, I’ve had no desire to go around the world. I think I am actually afraid of how huge our planet is and of wandering around too far from home. Lately thought I have felt a desire to know more about this world so books can help me imagine what it’s like.

I have also decided that if I am to go abroad before it’s too late it will have to be soon. So, I am in the process of ordering my very first passport and I hope to be travelling further afield for the first time next year.

Books

I was thrilled to learn that the Lonely Planet book shop was having a flash sale this weekend.

You can buy one and get one free on everything. I have a collection of books already from Lonely Planet. Books about the UK for me and lots of fascinating books for the kids. You can see some of my kid’s books and games reviews over on my other blog.

I’m going to show you just a short collection of fabulous books you could be choosing from. And the buy one get one free even applies to the books on sale already…extra bargain!!

Normandy and D Day Beaches.

Now, if I’m going abroad for the first time I’m not wanting to go to far. One place that both myself and my husband would love to visit is Normandy.

Quiz Book

But everyone knows that Lonely Planet sell travel guides, you can buy for practically anywhere in the world. But they do other books too, like this fabulous quiz book.

Pit your worldly wits against family and friends, or just challenge yourself, with this ultimate travel trivia book. With head-scratching questions on everything from geography and culture to history, wildlife and transport, it’s a fun and challenging test for all ages – and the perfect addition to any trip.
Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel Quiz Book is split into three sections: Easy, Medium and Hard, with 100 quizzes in total, each featuring 20+ questions that will confound adults and kids alike. Perfect for social get-togethers, rainy days and family trips, this fun and illustrated book also makes a great gift!

Learning a Language

Whether you want to learn a new language or just want to pick up a few phrases, you can get a book to help you from Lonely Planet.

Kids Books

I love the Lonely Planet kids books, the offer the whole world to your kids in words and pictures. As I’ve already said, I’ve review quite a few of them with my kids.

If you were asked to tell someone on the other side of the world about yourself, where would you start?
Perhaps you’d mention your favourite hobbies, the pranks you play on your family, or what you want to be when you grow up. Would you include a selfie or a family photo? A cute snap of your puppy or that awesome shot of you playing your favourite sport?
In this fascinating and fun collection, 84 children from incredibly diverse backgrounds share their stories and photos of what’s unique about their lives – from weather, local festivals and hobbies to their favourite sports and food. These personal portraits also reveal the many things children have in common, no matter where they’re from.
Discover what it’s like to live in an orphanage in Zambezi, by a remote fjord in Greenland, on a cattle ranch in Australia, high up in the Himalaya mountains in Nepal, at an eco-lodge in Costa Rica, and much more.

World’s Strangest Creepy Crawlies

I love the diversity of the books you can get for children. Take this one for instance.

Enter the weird and wonderful world of creepy-crawlies. Our animal experts have unearthed 40 of the planet’s most bizarre species and ranked them in order of their oddness! With jaw-dropping facts and amazing photos, we reveal each creature’s seriously strange characteristics and the unusual ways they hunt, eat or defend themselves.
They’re sometimes hard to spot, but there are a mind-boggling 10 billion billion bugs on the planet. Inside World’s Strangest Creepy-Crawlies, kids will discover the tiny terror that blows itself up to save its friends, a creature so well disguised even its own species can’t see it, and a giant spider the size of a dinner plate. And with our ‘strange-o-meter’, they can compare each animal based on its creepiness, fight factor and superpowers!

These books make fabulous Christmas or birthday presents too. (Just saying!)

Twin Mummy and Daddy
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A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan – Mapo Curry Recipe

I’ve not written a meal plan for a couple of weeks, but this week I’m back with a recipe too. Mapo Curry is a Japanese dish that is popular in china! This recipe is my daughter’s version which we find delicious.

Mapo Curry

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g minced pork
  • 350g firm tofu
  • 250 ml of chicken stock
  • 1 tbs Red Miso paste
  • 1 tbs Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tsp of harissa paste
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • boiled rice to serve

METHOD:

Prepare the sauce by mixing the cornflour soy sauce, harissa paste, oyster sauce, miso paste, chicken stock in a bowl.

Prepare the tofu by slicing into 1 inch squares

put the sesame oil in the pan and gently fry the garlic and ginger for about 1 minute then add the mince, stirring until brown.

Add the sauce and mix well, bringing to the boil. 

Turn down the heat and add the tofu, stirring gently to coat without breaking it up.

Serve with boiled rice and sprinkle with the spring onion pieces.

Mapo Tofu curry
The Japanese version of the Sichuan classic pork and tofu dish.

I know the ingredient list sounds long, but most of it can be used more than once. It’s been one of our favourite dishes for a long time. My husband is allergic to sea food so the oyster sauce is replaced with plum sauce and we make his up seperately. All ingredients can be found in most supermarkets. I always buy from Sainsburys.

The curry can be cooked in the time it takes to boil the rice, so remember to get that on first 🙂

We had Mapo Curry last week, so it’s not on our menu this week.

Weekly Meal Plan

weekly meal plan image
  • Saturday – Quiche and salad
  • Sunday – Pies and mash
  • Monday – I’m in hospital so it will probably be a take out
  • Tuesday – Lasagne
  • Wednesday – Paella
  • Thursday – curry (From a jar)
  • Friday – Fish and chips

See my last weekly meal plan here.

Katykicker
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A Place to Read

What I’ve been reading in August, Matt Haig.

With the kids around I’ve not been able to read so much. That and the fact that I’ve been a teensy bit distracted by Netflix. I did manage some reading on holiday but not as much as I’d hoped. I thought I’d be spending time sitting on the beach reading, but sadly it wasn’t as hot and sunny as I’d have liked, so we spent more time visiting places than sitting around. Having time to read isn’t good but I have managed to indulge a little in a couple of books by Matt Haig.

Matt Haig

How to stop time, kiss. How to travel in time, read. How to escape time, music. How to feel time, write. How to release time, breathe. Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive.

In May, I read my first my Matt Haig book, The Humans.

I really enjoyed it, it certainly gave you a different perspective on human qualities good and bad. Since reading it I was determined to read more of Matt Haig, I loved his gentle story telling.

The Next Matt Haig book was a little different. I decided to read The Radleys.

The Blurb

Life with the Radleys: Radio 4, dinner parties with the Bishopthorpe neighbours and self-denial. Loads of self-denial. But all hell is about to break loose. When teenage daughter Clara gets attacked on the way home from a party, she and her brother Rowan finally discover why they can’t sleep, can’t eat a Thai salad without fear of asphyxiation and can’t go outside unless they’re smothered in Factor 50.

With a visit from their lethally louche uncle Will and an increasingly suspicious police force, life in Bishopthorpe is about to change. Drastically.

My Review

I’m a big fan of sci-fi and fantasy, which is probably why Matt Haig appeals to me. I’m also a fan of psychology and Matt Haig likes to take his characters apart and look at how they work. This family is a little unusual as they are Vampires. I know that’s a spoiler but you find out pretty soon in the book so it’s not a secret or twist in the plot.

Not only are they vampires, they are vampires trying to fit in with human society and are abstaining from drinking blood. I love that you get little snippets from the abstainers handbook, it took me right back to my Terry Pratchett’s Reformed Vampyre’s Diary from 2003. (I have all of Terry Pratchett’s Diary’s, even the one published after his demise, which is the only one I just couldn’t bring myself to write in.)

Matt Haig is a lovely story teller, he has such a gentle way of getting things across, even horrific things. His depth of character is what draws you in and you learn about the things that make humans human.

Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig

The next book I chose was Reasons to Stay Alive

The Blurb

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FEEL TRULY ALIVE?

Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

“I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven’t been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.”

My Review

First Confession, I’ve not finished reading this yet.

Second Confession, I really don’t normally go for memoirs.

I was keen to know a little more about Matt Haig though and what makes him write the way he does. I am listening to this book on Audible and it’s narrated by Matt himself. Already, I feel I know so much more about him.

Depression is such an awful illness, it’s so much more than just feeling sad. And mixed with anxiety it can be really debilitating and ruin your life. Overcoming depression is a huge achievement and I’m so glad that Matt is sharing his story.

Set in relatively short chapters, some are even just lists, the book is easy to digest…but the words will stay with you much longer.

I know that it’s only my family that keep me here. I know that I’m passive suicidal, personally I don’t care if I live or die. I’ve prepared for my death and I know it’s inevitable. It sounds morbid I know, and I know I battle depression. I wouldn’t commit suicide because of the damage it would cause my family. Sticking around is what I really need to do for them. Seeing them grow up is my greatest wish. I have my reasons to stay alive, but I need to have MY reasons to stay alive too.

This is not a self-help book, it’s a memoir and sometimes it’s pretty dark. But, if you read about someone getting through such an awful illness, you may be able to see your own ‘light at the end of the tunnel. ‘

EDIT: I have finished the book now and I know it’s one I will want to keep to hand. My first impression was that it wasn’t a self help book, but as it progresses it does give you lots of self-help strategies and, obviously, reasons for staying alive.

Final Words

I’m becoming a true fan of Matt Haig, and I may even stalk him a little on Social Media. I’m so glad that I have a few more of his books to digest. I may even go on to his children’s books and share them with my Little Man.

Click the link to see more of Matt Haig Books on Amazon.

 
 Amazon.co.uk Widgets

This post contains affiliate links which will not cost you anything more, but if you do click through and purchase something you will earn me a little money. Thank you x

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A Place to Read

Book Worms Monthly – September

Hello, Welcome to Book Worms Monthly. How did it come to be September already?

Reading is my passion and I love to write about what I’ve read. I’m a real book worm and I have been since the day I could read.

I decided to start this linky so that other book worms could Share. I’m starting monthly for now, so you have a whole month to link up your posts. You can link up to four posts, so that’s one a week. Or if you like you can link up some of your older posts.

Let’s share what we read and give other’s ideas what to read next. Tell me your reviews, you book reading lists, your author interviews, kids book favourites, Young Adult books, and even posts about your favourite authors. Anything book related is allowed and I can’t wait to read them all. I want to find all the book worms out there.

Here is last months linky to give you some idea of what it’s about. It’s a new linky so I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us!

Book worms Monthly will be posted every four weeks, and you can join in at any time. I will share anyone who links over on my Social Media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Mix (formerly Stumbleupon.) I’ll also come along and read and comment on your post. Please do share this link up with your friends.

Here’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

I do hope you will join us this September, remember the linky is open all month and you can join up as many times as you wish.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
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