A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan – Mindful chef and a Birthday

It’s been a while since I did a meal plan, I’ve had some weird weeks where I just haven’t worked out what we are eating until the last minute. I overstocked the cupboards and freezers and we have had to make an effort to empty them a little. We have also been totally fed up with food and cooking. Do you get like that? One thing that has helped a little has been to go back to Mindful Chef. My eldest son said he wanted to try some healthier meals so we are giving them a go. We have hits and misses but so far it’s been mostly good. Last week’s menu was not exactly what we ordered, so they’ve given us next weeks order for free! If you want to give mindful chef a try you can get £20 off your first box and I can get £20 off too. All you have to do is put my e-mail in the referral box..my email is okesanne@gmail.com

Mindful chef

Recipes From Mindful Chef

This week we had a recipe for pork and lemon meatballs served with parsnip ribbons. They were delicious, but son is a big lad and I had to add some pasta as well.

pork and lemon meatballs from Mindful Chef

This Weeks Meal Plan

We don’t have any Mindful chef deliveries this week, but we do have a birthday take out in the plan.

This weeks meal plan - cookery programs
  • Monday – Pizza, salad and garlic bread
  • Tuesday – Take Out of choice from the Birthday girl
  • Wednesday – scallop risotto with brown butter
  • Thursday – pasta bake
  • Friday – Chimichangas with savoury rice.
  • Saturday – We’ll see what we fancy but it’ll most likely be curry or chicken and chips
  • Sunday – Toad in the Hole with mash and veg.

Lunches for the kids, which they generally make themselves.

  • chicken nuggets and fries
  • sandwiches
  • salad bar with soft tortillas
  • sausage rolls and cheese and crackers
  • toasted cheese sandwiches
  • fish cakes/ turkey dinosaurs and waffles

I haven’t put days as they can just pick what they want and which day.

I have recently discovered Binging with Babish on You Tube. He makes some really cool stuff based on television and movies. It’s where I got the idea for the Chimchangas (Deadpool from Marvel got upset when someone blew up his favourite Chimichunga restaurant.) You can also find Lars Ube roll from Stephen Universe and a Krabby Patty from Spongebob Square pants. Thankfully, Babish also does some more simple recipes and my daughter has just ordered his cookbook.

Linking up with Katy as usual. Click through to see what everyone else is making this week and most of all, stay safe x

A Place to Read

To Be A Cat – Matt Haig, Book review

I wanted something to read along with my Little Man so I decided to introduce him to Matt Haig and we read together, To Be a Cat.

To Be a Cat, Matt Haig
Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s UK 
ISBN: 9780552564342 
Number of pages: 320 
Weight: 224 g 
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 20 mm

To Be A Cat, the Blurb

Barney Willow’s life couldn’t get any worse. He’s weedy, with sticky-out ears. Horrible Gavin Needle loves tormenting him. And evil headteacher Miss Whipmire seems determined to make Barney’s existence a complete misery! Worst of all, Dad has been missing for almost a year – and there’s no sign of him ever coming home. Barney just wants to escape. To find another life. To be a cat, for example. A quiet, lazy cat.

Things would be so much easier – wouldn’t they?

Our Review

As a fan of Matt Haig I was eager to share his style with my son. After reading one of Matt’s books you get a sense of humanity, and they are often uplifting and assuring. You can read a couple of my reviews of Matt Haig’s other books here.

So, what did we think of To Be a Cat? Well, The Little Man was not over keen at first, he didn’t like how uncomfortable Barney Willow’s life was. My Little Man has experienced bullying himself and he prefers to lock it away rather than talk about it. But I thought it was good for him to see that other people felt the same too.

The book was kind of strange, I mean, humans really can’t turn into cats can they? Poor Barney had quite an awful life, his Mum was distracted, his father missing, he was being bullied and his head teacher seemed to have it in for him big time. Luckily he did have his best friend Rissa on his side.

Then looking at life from a cat’s point of view, well, do they really have it any different? There are still falling outs and bullying and at times, even more horror to endure.

As the book progressed you wondered if Barney would ever get his life in order and my Little Man was gripped, wanting to know what would happen next.

The book also had Matt’s wonderful way of lifting up your spirits and giving you more belief that life really is worth living. It’s good to start giving younger children this affirmation as we think they have it easy, but its not really.

As we read this book together, I loved the closeness of being with my boy. We had stopped bedtime stories long ago, but he was required to read as part of his homeschooling and I think we chose the right book. I also noticed that my 14 year old was listening along to the story too, even though she was pretending not to 😉


I bought this book after choosing it with my son and all thoughts and opinions are my own. I have included an affiliate link in my post. If you click through and purchase it will cost you no extra but may earn me a little money, so thank you x

Laura's Lovely Blog
A Place to Read

The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern.

I have just finished listening to The Starless sea on Audible. This post contains affiliate links which means if you click them I may earn a little money, at no extra cost to you. So thank you for your support.

The Starless Sea audible book
By: Erin Morgenstern
Narrated by: Dominic HoffmanDion GrahamBahni Turpin,Allan CordunerFiona HardinghamJorjeana Marie
Length: 18 hrs and 37 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-11-19
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Audio

The Blurb

Are you lost or are you exploring?

When Zachary Rawlins stumbles across a strange book hidden in his university library it leads him on a quest unlike any other. Its pages entrance him with their tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities and nameless acolytes, but they also contain something impossible: a recollection from his own childhood.

Determined to solve the puzzle of the book, Zachary follows the clues he finds on the cover – a bee, a key and a sword. They guide him to a masquerade ball, to a dangerous secret club and finally through a magical doorway created by the fierce and mysterious Mirabel. This door leads to a subterranean labyrinth filled with stories, hidden far beneath the surface of the earth.

When the labyrinth is threatened, Zachary must race with Mirabel and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, through its twisting tunnels and crowded ballrooms, searching for the end of his story.

You are invited to join Zachary on the starless sea: the home of storytellers, story-lovers and those who will protect our stories at all costs.

My Review

I chose to listen to this on Audible, it’s 18 hours and 37 mins and the authors change. Some people are okay with different voice actors and some are not, it’s a very personal choice. I really don’t mind and I think different voice actors add extra ‘character’ to a story. Having said that, this book is so many stories within a story I feel the need for a paper copy to read.

I love stories within stories, books within books. I find them fascinating and I’ve enjoyed many such books before. The first one being Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder and more recently The Binding by Bridget Collins. I think that The Starless Sea is more comparable to The Binding.

It’s not for everyone, flipping between stories and times.The Starless Sea leaves you with many questions (Which is why I want a paper copy) and you will get confused I’m sure. It starts with a fairly regular story, then gets weird, then gets even weirder, followed by some normal stuff. I think you have to be able to suspend your normal beliefs and be a lover of fairytales to get the most from this book.

As for the actual story, I can’t really say more than the blurb. The Main character, Zachary, is pivotal throughout. But the other characters have their own stories, and that’s what this book is about, stories, real and imagined, believable and fantastical.

I’ve not read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern but I am very tempted, so it will be going on my TBR pile.

Thank you for reading. Remember you can link up your own book reviews to my monthly linky, Book Worms Monthly.

My review is also added to Lovely Audiobooks Link up party

book worm monthly, The Starless sea

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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A Place to Enjoy, competition

Competition Time! Win a £15 Etsy Voucher

I’ve started a new Facebook page to go along with this blog, but it needs a little love. Are you willing to show it some love? In return I will give one person a £15 Etsy voucher in my new competition.

All you have to do is to pop along to my Facebook page and like this post. Then share with your friends and tag a friend in the comments.

The competition ends on 11th July so be sure to pop along and enter. I’ll be using my Facebook page to compliment my blog and to bring you lots of extra exciting news and offers. Including the latest money saving offers that I find. It’s really hard to get started with a Facebook page though, so I’ll be really grateful for your help in building it up for me. That’s why I’m offering you the chance to win a £15 Etsy voucher in my competition. Trust me, there are lots of things you’ll be able to use it on.


As you probably know, I’m a big fan of Etsy and you can find my Favourite Items Here.

You can read some of my Etsy posts and Gifts guides both here on At Home a Lot and on my other blog Raisiebay.

My Favourite Etsy Shops

The Squishy Things in Life

Shop the Unique

Father’s Day Gifts 2020

Have you ever shopped at Etsy? Do you have an Etsy shop? Do let me know in the comments I love to give them a mention.

Here is one of my Favourite shops from a fellow Spoonie. Do pop along and take a look.

358 Walking Sticks, Handcrafted Items from Our Narrowboat.

358 walking sticks
competition time

A Place to Enjoy

Deramores 10th Birthday Offers for Everyone

Happy 10th Birthday to Deramores, let’s celebrate together!

I am an affiliate for Deramores so I will be using my affiliate links. These are great, you don’t pay any extra if you use them, but if you go on to purchase I will earn a little money. So thanks for your support if you do pop along and buy something x

It’s Deramores 10th Birthday and this week they are giving away a £20 Voucher Every Day..

Offer: 20% Off Everything + £20 Voucher Giveaway Every Day!
Start: Monday 15th June
End: Sunday 21st June 23:59
T&C’s: See website.

Use code BIRTHDAY20 to get your 20% Discount.

More Offers from Deramores

Deramores also have their Summer Sale where you can get up to 50% off selected yarns. But Hurry, these are selling out quick. (although some stocks will be replenished.)

Then on Sunday 21st June they are offering Free P&P for all orders in UK. It’s a truly fabulous birthday week for all.

More Than Wool

Deramores is my favourite wool and pattern site and I’m always sharing my favourites. See my previous post on the fabulous Dera Dogs (Which I’m still making!)

Here is another of my latest projects which I’ve just bought, but not started yet. I can’t resist making blankets.

And I’m also working on a special little project with this lovely wool. I really like working with Scheepjes anyway, but this cotton is such a lovely wool. I’ll show you my project when I’ve finished, at the moment it’s a shell (literally!)

These are just a few of the colours available in Sheepjes Cahlista.

Scheepjes wool from Deramores


Here’s a sneak peak of a cardigan I’m working on. I saved loads of money using my own colour scheme and Stylecraft DK and it’s working up wonderfully. I’m nearly finished and can’t wait to show you the whole garment.

deramores birthday, stylecraft cardigan, crochet

Do you Crochet or knit? I’d love to see your projects. Don’t forget to let me know if you have an Etsy store if you’d like me to help you promote it. Email me at athomealotblog(@)gmail.com if you want a mention for your Etsy Store. (even if it’s not wool related.)

A Place to Enjoy, Shopping

My Favourite Etsy Shops

Today I would like to share with you my favourite Etsy Shops. We all have different tastes and maybe this will give you a little more insight into me and the things I like. I am an Etsy affiliate which means my links may earn me commission if you click through and buy something. It won’t cost you any more though, isn’t that great? I love being an Etsy Affiliate, it’s a wonderful magical place of things to find and there is something for everyone. Most of it is home made and by using Etsy you are supporting small businesses which is a lovely thing to do, especially in these difficult times.

So, let me share with you some Etsy Magic.

Here are my current favourite shops on Etsy, I’m adding to them all the time. I also have favourite lists of items. It’s good to be able to keep the things your love in places easy to find.


When I was 12 years old my Mum bought me a silver necklace for my birthday. I remember it was a Dusty Bin necklace from the gameshow 321 which I loved. I wish I’d kept it, I bet they are pretty rare now! It started my love of jewellery, I had my ears pierced when I was 13 and since then I’ve collected a lot of lovely items. I do love handmade jewellery though, especially things made with glass or crystals. Here are a few of my favourites.

Turquoise Tree of Life Pendant

Glass Butterfly Pendant

Leaf Ear rings


I love crystals and I have been collecting them for 30 years! Here are a few Crystal Items I’ve added to my favourite things.


I already have bracelets from Love Light and Harmony but I definitely wish to add to my collection.

Crystal Tree in Rose Quartz and Carnelian

Gemstone Bowls

Candle Holders

I love candles, but I also love the adorable candle holders you can buy on Etsy.

I hope I have given you some inspiration and encouraged you to pop on over to Etsy to see what you can find.

A Place to Enjoy

Herbie the Basset Hound and other Dera Dogs

I love yarn and I love using Deramores. Not only do they have amazing wool bargains, they also have some fabulous patterns and kits. I’ve made some of their Dera dogs before, wait, I’ll show you one of mine later, but here is their latest addition, Herbie the Basset Hound and he’s way too cute not to share.

Herbie the Baset Hound from Deramores.

I love him, and I’m so tempted to buy the kit. You can get the digital pattern for just £1, the pattern and yarn for only £8.87 (10% off at time of publishing this post) and the pattern, yarn and stuffing for £12.80. How can you resist? Problem is, I’m more of a crochet person than knitting, but it’s certainly made me think of picking up those knitting needles again.

Other Dera Dogs

The Dera Dogs are growing all the time and you can make so many different pooches. Some knitted some crochet. Here are a pick of my favourites. (And they are all 10% off at the moment.)

I am an affiliate for Deramores so all links are affiliate links. This means that even though you won’t be charged a penny extra, if you use the links and purchase something I may earn some money from it.


Knitted Poodle

This gorgeous poodle comes as part of a kit of 3 knitted dogs. The patterns are free but you can get the yarn, stuffing, eyes and digital pattern for all three dogs for £12.33 (price correct at time of publishing.) The other dogs including are a Pug and a Rottweiler. Yarn is Deramores Studio DK.


knitted labrador

This adorable vanilla labrador called Dexter is knitted in Deramores DK. The digital pattern is free while the yarn and pattern is currently only £5.52 and the yarn, pattern, stuffing and eyes only £7.74.

Poppy the Crochet Poodle

If crochet is more your thing then you won’t miss out at Deramores. You can make this sweet amigurumi Poodle called Poppy.

poppy the poodle
Poppy the amigurumi Poodle

This Poodle pattern is also free but for the pattern and yarn you will pay £7.09, and for the pattern, yarn, stuffing and eyes the price is only £9.51

Dakota the Dalmatian

If it’s spotty dogs you like then you will love Dakota the Dalmatian.

dakota the dalmatian crochet dog, amigurumi
Dakota the Dalmatian

Also made in Deramores DK the digital pattern is free, the pattern and yarn is currently £5.32 and the pattern, stuffing, yarn and eyes only £8.78

Dera Dogs Crochet Kit

This fabulous kit feature three lovely dogs to crochet. a French Bulldog, a Pug and a Rottweiler.

arigurumi pug, bulldog and rottweiler
Crochet Dera Dogs set of Three

These fab three are available as a digital pattern only for £2.70. The yarn and pattern for all three is only £11.30


Here is one I made earlier. I bought the three dog kit and so far I’ve made the Pug.

My Pug

Do you think you might like to make a Dera-Dog? Which is your favourite?

Other Deramores Kits.

A Place to Read

Book Worms Monthly June Link Up

Welcome to Book worms Monthly June linkup

Hello, Welcome to Book worms Monthly, June. I managed to get through four books last month and I’m waiting for my next Audible credit so I can buy Fiona Barton’s The Suspect. I really enjoyed her other two books. Remember, if you can’t get a hold of books you can always try Audible. They are always available 🙂

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 book worms monthly is about. I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly

Book worms Monthly will be posted every month, 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.

Link up your BookWorms Monthly May book posts below.

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.

book worms monthly June

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Click here to enter