A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan – When Cooking Becomes a Chore

When Cooking Becomes a Chore

I didn’t write a menu last week. I was just so fed up of cooking. I winged it and we ended up having two take outs! The first was planned as it was Star’s birthday and she wanted a pizza from Dominoes. I always use Top Cash Back* (referral link) when ordering take outs, it earns me a little cash and over time it adds up. I’m currently just short of withdrawing £100 and I’ve withdrawn over £1000 over the years.

This Weeks Menu, it’s a Mindful Chef Week

I have my Mindful Chef delivery on Tuesday and we have a chicken recipe and a vegetarian recipe arriving. I’ve also chosen a pork recipe from their cookbook. I am really trying to get my love of cooking back.

Weekly meal plan banner with a healthy colourful bowl of food. This week we are trying something new
  • Monday – Quiche and pizza (Something quick and easy as I’ve a hospital appointment)
  • Tuesday – Chipotle Chicken, sweet potato and avocado
  • Wednesday – Lamb Burgers in pitta bread with salad and curly fries
  • Thursday – Sticky Tamarind and ginger Tofu with mangetout
  • Friday – Jerk Chicken and peas and rice
  • Saturday – Hot Dogs and/or burgers
  • Sunday – Roast Pork and pear with crispy sage, tenderstem and celeraic slaw (Mindful Chef cookbook)

You can check out some of my Mindful Chef recipes here

Lunches for the kids, they can choose what they want on each day. Kids are not going back to school for a couple more weeks!

  • chicken nuggets and fries
  • cheese or ham (or even cucumber) sandwiches
  • salad bar with soft tortillas
  • sausage rolls and cheese and crackers
  • toasted cheese sandwiches
  • fish cakes/ turkey dinosaurs and waffles
  • eggy bread cheese sandwiches
  • sausage sandwiches
  • sausage and beans and waffles
  • quesadillas
  • chicken burgers

If you have kids and would like to get them interested in cooking, I’ve just become an affiliate for a fabulous kids monthly recipe box called Little Cooks. You can read my post about it here.

A Place to Read

My Review of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

This week I have been delving into the latest offering from Matt Haig, The Midnight Library.

The Midnight Library, Matt Haig, front cover.
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd 
ISBN: 9781838852870 
Number of pages: 304 
Dimensions: 220 x 162 mm 
Hardback signed edition £16.99 at Waterstones


Between life and death there is a library.

When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change.The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger. Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?


I’ve been waiting for this book as I’m a big fan of Matt Haig. (I will list my other reviews below.) I was really excited to purchase a signed first edition copy.

inside cover of book including signature and image of library card.
Inside cover and signed page of book

I love the image of an old fashioned library ticket on the inside. The book is already overdue!

Of course, as a former librarian, I couldn’t wait to delve into this story, but it had other attractions too. Matt Haig writes such touching stories which really make you take stock of your life and realise what you have.

Many years ago I discovered Paulo Coelho and after enjoying The Alchemist I moved on to Veronika Decides to Die. The book has stuck with me for a long time because it’s main premise being a young woman who decides to take her own life simply because she cannot understand why life is worth living. Sometimes even when you have everything it may not be enough.

The Midnight Library is about a woman, a little older than Coelho’s character, who feels she has made all the wrong decisions in life and is full of regret. So much so, that she decides to die. This is the main difference between the two. Full of regret, or not, life can still be too mystifying for a person to carry on living it. This is what depression can be like, it doesn’t really care what you do, or don’t, have.

I found the Midnight Library a bit of a strange in-between world, maybe a little less complex than some I’ve encountered in other novels. Quite simply, Nora, the main character, gets to work on her regrets and see if things would have turned out better, or worse. She does this by choosing the book of her life that could have been.

What do we do when we have exhausted all paths though. Is it time to rest forever, or would we have learned too much? Will Nora die, is she dead already? Can you add one more regret to your book by regretting how it all ended.

I found the story a real page turner and couldn’t wait to read what would happen to Nora next.

If there is one thing I will take from this book it’s that we will always have regrets, but not all of them are as bad as we think.

Reasons To Stay Alive and The Humans – Matt Haig

The Radleys and How to Stop Time – Matt Haig

To Be a Cat – Matt Haig

A Place to Eat

Mindful Eating, Is it Possible?

I joined Mindful Chef a while back. My main mission was to find inspiration for healthy meals for me and my eldest son while not having to buy a load of ingredients that the rest of the family wouldn’t eat. We are not dieting, but we are unhealthy and wondered if we could improve our health through our diet, mainly through mindful eating.

Mindful Chef is a food box delivery service where you choose from a selection of recipes each week and they deliver the food and recipe for you to make at home. You can choose how many meals you want and for how many people. There is lots of choice including vegan and vegetarian as well as meat dishes. The difference is, the food is all put together with health in mind.

I recently bought the cookbook from Mindful Chef so I could try some more of the recipes without having to wait for my box delivery. I thought there may be some things I could make up for the whole family too. I wasn’t disappointed and we’ve already tried four of the recipes from the book.

Why be Mindful about What you are eating?

We all, generally, think about what we are eating. We know when we are having too much sugar or salt, or even fatty foods. We think about when we rely on too many ready meals or take outs. But thinking about it and being mindful are two different concepts.

And Mindfulness is a word that is used a lot these days, with not many actually understanding it. With Mindful Chef the object is slow down from the hectic life style and living a healthy fulfilling life with food and nutrition being a fundamental part of this. Mindful Chef choose fresh food from the farm cutting out the supermarket, deliver just the right amount of ingredients to reduce waste and choose recipes that are wholesome with not refined carbs and totally gluten free. They also make them really tasty which is a bonus.

What do You get From Mindful Chef?

Well, we have not had a meal we’ve not enjoyed. There was one week where our menu got mixed up and we had recipes we’d not ordered. But they were fantastic about it and gave us the next box for free! Great customer service too. If you think you might like to try Mindful chef you can get 25% off your first four boxes just by using my referral link. I also get £10 off my next box too, so thanks if you give it a go.

Here are some of our plates from recent weeks.

Thai Red Curry with Courgetti

This was super tasty and I loved the courgetti, although I would say it would be good to drain it a little before putting it on the plate. It seemed to have quite a lot of liquid. You can put it in a sieve after spiralising it. (don’t have a spiraliser, I bought one for about £5 off Amazon!)

mindful chef eating, image shows a plate of Thai chicken curry with courgetti

Dukkah Pork

Not the best of photos as it’s hard to see the pork which was the star of the dish. Dukkah is a really tasty coating and we have replicated this dish again since. It was also the first time I had charred lettuce, but it was surprisingly tasty.

mindful eating, image shows a play with pork, bulgar wheat and charred lettuce.

Pork Meatballs and Parsnip chips

Confession time, this plate was my son’s and he really wasn’t keen on the parsnip chips, so I made him a little pasta to go with his. Pasta is high in carbs, so not entirely in line with the mindful chef way, but it doesn’t hurt to stray sometimes. These meatballs were incredibly tasty. And I loved the parsnip chips.

mindful eating, image shows pork meatballs in a rich tomato sauce

What do you think? Would you give mindful eating with Mindful Chef a go?

Weekly Meal Plan

A Place to Read

Come Join the Murder by Holly Rae Garcia – book review

I asked if I could review Come Join the Murder by Holly Rae Garcia and received the e-book in return for my honest opinion of it.

Cover of Come Join the Murder, mostly black with white text and a black crow sitting on the letter C.
By: Holly Rae Garcia
Narrated by: Ann Simmons
Length: 7 hrs and 18 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 06-08-20
Language: English
Publisher: Holly Rae Garcia

The Blurb

Rebecca Crow’s four-year-old son is dead, and her husband is missing.

Divers find her husband’s car at the bottom of a canal with their son’s small, lifeless body, inside. The police have no suspects and nothing to go on but a passing mention of a man driving a van. Guilt and grief cloud Rebecca’s thoughts as she stumbles towards her only mission: Revenge.

James Porter knows exactly what happened to them, but he’ll do anything to keep it a secret. James didn’t plan to kill Rebecca’s son, but he’s not too broken up about it, either. There are more important things for him to worry about. He needs money, and his increasing appetite for murder is catching the eye of a local detective.

©2020 Close to the Bone Publishing (P)2020 Holly Rae Garcia

My Review of Come Join the Murder

When I read the blurb of this book (Above) I was expecting a heart wrenching story about a Woman’s life after the death of her husband and son. It mentions revenge, but I was shocked by the extent of revenge she took. I don’t want to give too much away but it soon became apparent that the main character Rebecca Crow was more than a little ‘unhinged’ after the tragedy.

Yes, I felt sorry for her, but I also hated her for single mindedness. I don’t usually enjoy books where I don’t like any of the characters, but I’ll make an exception for this one.

The other main character was James, the murderer. His actions were equally as shocking, but more expected than Rebecca’s. It was obvious that there would be a confrontation between the two at some point but the mystery was where and when and how was all of this going to end.

I was hooked from the beginning. The writing was really good and I was grabbed by the story even though it was a little more horrific and gory than my normal reads. I needed to know what was going to happen and found I got through this book really quickly. It was not a slow to digest book, it was more of a hungry for the ending type of book.

The narrator was great for the story, she captured the tone of the area and the characters perfectly.

This book reminded me of James Herbert who I used to read as a young adult. It was a scary, horrific page turner.

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A Place to Enjoy

Getting Nautical With Crochet

I’ve found some delightful nautical themes for you today. I hope you enjoy them. There is something so nice about bringing a little of the sea side into your home.

Let’s start with some fabulous cushions to crochet.

Rectangular Anchor Cushion Kit

image shows a rectangluar anchor cushion on a nautical theme.

You can buy this kit from Deramores. The pattern alone costs just £1, The pattern and wool costs £9.75 and if you want the cushion pad as well then you can get the complete kit for £13.75. Size 40cm x 30 cm

Mini Anchor Cushion Kit

image shows a dark blue cushion with mini white anchors

Maybe this mini anchor cushion suits you better. Again the pattern is only £1, the pattern and wool £9.75 and the full kit including cushion pad is £15.75. Size 40cm x 40cm

If you like them both then you can buy them together.

image shows both the square striped cushion with a large anchor and the blue cushion with small white anchors.

You can get the digital pattern for both for just £1, the pattern and wool for £18.50, and wool, pattern and cushion pads for £30. The wool used is Deramores Studio DK, I’ve used this wool several times before and it’s lovely to work with.

Beach Hut Cushion

Who loves beach huts? Yeah, me too, they are so cute. And look how cute they look on this cushion.

image shows a blue and white cushion with a row of blue, white and red beach huts in a nautical theme.

The pattern for this is £1.50, the wool and pattern £14.60 and the wool, pattern and cushion pad just £20. I love the colours and the tassells. The cushion is 40cm by 30cm and the wool, Deramores Studio DK.

Tote Bag with a Nautical Theme

tote bag with nautical theme

If cushions are not your thing, what about this gorgeous sunny tote bag. You can download the pattern for FREE! Or if you want the pattern and wool then it will cost you £11.82

Gentle Waves Blanket.

Or maybe you want to bring the sea home with this gorgeous gentle waves blanket.

image shows a blanket in waves of blue and sand draped over a blue chair

The small pack of pattern and wool costs £18.24 and measures 30 by 36 inches when finished. It takes 9 balls of wool.

Or you can buy the larger version for £31.10 it measures 48 by 72 inches when finished and includes 18 balls of wool.

I hope you have enjoyed my nautical crochet finds. I use affiliate links in my posts which means if you click and purchase something it won’t cost you anything extra, but it may earn me a little money. So, thank you for your support.

A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan – Trying something New

Trying Something New

I’m a bit late with my menu this week. We are trying something new. We’ve been having issues with food, being totally fed up of the regular meals we were having and the cupboards and freezers were stacked up with food we don’t really want to eat. So, I’ve been trying to mix it up a bit. I enjoy a fortnightly box from Mindful Chef, so I decided to buy a cookbook. I am keen to try quite a lot of the recipes which is good. I’ll let you know how we get on. You can read my last weekly menu here.

This Weeks Menu

No Birthdays this week, we have to wait until next Monday. She’s asked for a take away pizza and chocolate cake. I’m not complaining. We normally go out as a family to Pizza Hut, it’s been a tradition for about 6 years. But this year we don’t want to risk a crowded restaurant. So we will be trying something new and recreating a pizza restaurant at home.

Weekly meal plan banner with a healthy colourful bowl of food. This week we are trying something new

I really need to remember to take some photos of our new dishes. You can get £20 off your first Mindful Chef box by using my referral link.

Lunches for the kids, they can choose what they want on each day

  • chicken nuggets and fries
  • cheese or ham (or even cucumber) sandwiches
  • salad bar with soft tortillas
  • sausage rolls and cheese and crackers
  • toasted cheese sandwiches
  • fish cakes/ turkey dinosaurs and waffles
  • eggy bread cheese sandwiches
  • sausage sandwiches
  • sausage and beans and waffles
  • quesadillas
  • chicken burgers

If you have kids and would like to get them interested in cooking, I’ve just become an affiliate for a fabulous kids monthly recipe box called Little Cooks. You can read my post about it here.

A Place to Enjoy, A Place to Reflect, Motivation

Do You Need More Sleep?

It’s so hard to function when you don’t get enough sleep. It’s also hard to get more sleep sometimes. Today I’m telling you about a Free sleep course that you can get in your e-mail box. It starts today and runs for the rest of the week. Click the image below to access the course. Or Click the link Sleep Well Mini course

Sleep Well mini course. click for help with getting more sleep

All you have to do to access the free course is submit your e-mail address on the page.

LSW Mind Cards

LSW Mind Cards are the creation of Lili Sinclair Williams, who is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner. They are a simple pack of cards which can help you improve your mind set and your life. You will realise that it’s the smallest gestures and thought processes that can bring you the most happiness. I’ve had a pack for a while and I still use them daily.

As well as the Mind Cards you can also purchase guided meditation recordings for just £2.99. These are available for relaxation, gratitude, reflection and to de-stress.

Finally there is a fabulous e-book called Getting to Know You, which is available to download for £3.95.

You can read my review of the LSW Mind Cards here. But the free offer is no longer available. Instead you can get a free course to help you get more sleep.

I am an affiliate for LSW Mind Cards and if you choose to purchase something from my links I may earn a little money at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.

A Place to Read

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou

I’m so glad I chose to listen to this audio book this month. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the first part of Maya Angelou’s autobiography. It describes her childhood and how her character was developed from a very early age.

front cover of I know why the caged bird sings, showing a pink background with one bird in a cage and one on a branch
By: Maya Angelou
Narrated by: Maya Angelou
Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-04-14
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette Audio UK

The Blurb

Maya Angelou’s six volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a Black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy, achievement, and celebration.

In this first volume of her six books of autobiography, Maya Angelou beautifully evokes her childhood with her grandmother in the American south of the 1930s. She learns the power of the white folks at the other end of town. And suffers the terrible trauma of rape by her mother’s lover.

“I write about being a Black American woman, however, I am always talking about what it’s like to be a human being. This is how we are, what makes us laugh, and this is how we fall and how we somehow, amazingly, stand up again.”

Maya Angelou

My Review on Why the Caged Bird Sings

Most people have heard an inspirational quote from Maya Angelou.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you, a quote from Maya Angelou

This is why I decided to read her autobiography. I know why the Caged Bird Sings is the first book.

Maya Angelou was an American author, actress, screenwriter, dancer, poet and civil rights activist best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which made literary history as the first nonfiction bestseller by an African American woman.

I listened to the book on Audible and it was narrated by Maya Angelou herself. It really gave a personal touch to such a personal story. Her young life was difficult and she had some pretty awful experiences. But when you finish you come away with the sense that she had amazing strength and compassion from a young age. It’s easy to understand that she would become someone who is prepared to speak her mind and make a difference in the world. She will forever be remembered. Not bad for a young girl brought up by her grandma in Arkansas in the early 1930s.

I can’t wait to read the rest of her autobiography.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill, of things unknown, but longed for still, and his tune is heard on the distant hill, for the caged bird sings of freedom.

I am an affiliate for audible so my links in this post may earn me a little money if you click through and purchase something. However, this will cost you no extra so thank you for your support.

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A Place to Enjoy

Avon best Buys for August and Give Away!

These are my choice of best boys From Avon for August. I am also doing a give away on my Facebook page, please read on to find out more.

As you know, I’m an Avon representative. I have always loved Avon products and I enjoy selling them. I don’t do it in the usual way of posting brochures through doors though, I have to work from home promoting my online shop thanks to my disability. Anyone in the UK can purchase from my shop and postage is free if you spend £20, how great is that! My shop can be found here: https://www.avon.uk.com/store/AnneSweet/

I’m running a competition on my Avon Facebook page where you could win a fabulous Avon Far Away Rebel and Diva for her perfume set. Competition ends September 7th 2020

picture shows a glamorous woman holding a bottle of Avon perfume while leaning out of  a pink car, there is also a bottle of perfume , body lotion and purse spray next to her. Avon August.
Far Away Rebel and Diva currently only £12 for the set.

Check my Facebook page to see how you can win this 3 piece set of Perfume, body lotion and a purse spray in the new Far Away Rebel and Diva range. You can buy all three for just £12 in the Avon August shop, it’s worth £21!

Avon August Favourites – Magix

I have been using Avon Magix for many years, it’s a fab skin lotion that is non greasy but helps to smooth and hide blemishes on days when you don’t want to wear full make up. You can even pop it on under your make-up for a smoother finish.

I am so excited that Magix have now added three extra product to their range. First up. Avon Magix Smoothing Primer. Currently available for just £5.50.

Picture shows a womans face and a purple tube of Avon Magix Primer, along the bottom is a line of women with different coloured faces.

Magix suits all skin types because it is colourless, but it helps to smooth the skin and fill pores, making a perfect base for your make up. Also, available are Magix Hydrating Primer which adds extra moisture for dry, dehydrated skin. And Magix Shine and Oil Control which is perfect for managing oily to combination skin.

Picture shows a blue tube of Avon Magix hydrating, and a pink tube of Avon Magix shine & oil control. At the right side of the picture is a woman's face.

Avon August Favourites, Cannabis Sativa Oil

Staying with the skin, this is Avon’s new Cannibis Sative Oil which is claimed to be a holy grail for sensitive skin. You can get a SPF30 Day cream which hydrates and protects from the sun. Also available is a hand and body balm, and a cleanser. You can find them here.

Bag Organiser

I don’t know about you but everytime I find a handbag I love it just becomes a bottomless pit. This bag organiser is a dream come true, there are so many pockets and compartments. You can keep everything in it’s place and then pop it inside your favourite bag…and the best bit, when you want to change bags, just take out the organiser and put it in your chosen bag.

All this for only £10! Your Organised Hero

Cooling Pillow

I love this cooling pillow, it really is a must have. I pop it in the fridge and when I get a headache I reach for my cooling pad and it helps me so much. With the hot weather we have been having lately, my cooling pad has had plenty of use, on my head and my neck. At night, I give a chill just before going to bed and pop it inside my pillow. You can also pop it in it’s little pouch and take it out with you. It’s amazing, and I’m thinking of buying another for my daughter especially now it’s half price at only £5. I’m thinking this is going to sell out quickly.

Avon August buys, Setting Spray

We are all getting used to wearing our masks when we go out. Avon sell some fabulous make up products, Power Stay, that stay on 24 hours and don’t rub off on your mask..check them out.

However, if you don’t want to replace your make up, how about a setting spray, or even a powder. Avon do two very good products. Magix setting spray holds your make up in place with it’s invisible fix. And the very popular Banana powder sets your look with a light diffusing finishing powder. (also available is a translucent setting powder.)

Avon August Thanks

Thank you for taking a look at my products. Which would you like to own? Tell me on my Facebook page and I’ll enter you into my give away for the Avon Far Away Rebel and Diva gift set. Good luck!

A Place to Read

Books to Listen to this Summer

I’ve decided to compile a list of books to listen to this summer. I’m a big fan of Audible. I’m also an affiliate so my links will earn me money if you click them, but don’t worry, you won’t pay any extra. Thanks for your support.

Books to Listen to this Summer

Little Fires Everywhere

books for summer, little fires everywhere.
By: Celeste Ng
Narrated by: Jennifer Lim
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 09-11-17
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette Audio

This is next on my reading list. I’ve not watched the series so I’m going in for the story first. If I like it I might watch the series afterwards. I’m just waiting for my next Audible credit and this is the audio book I’m using it on. Have you read it?

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

i know why the caged bird sings, books to listen to this summer
By: Maya Angelou
Narrated by: Maya Angelou
Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-04-14
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette Audio UK

I’m listening to this right now and it’s both sad and beautiful. I have often seen quotes from Maya Angelou all over the internet but this is the first time I’ve started on of her books. This is the first book of her six book autobiography. And I will definitely be listening to more.

Playgroups and Prosecco

Playgroups and prosecco
By: Jo Middleton
Narrated by: Elizabeth Bower
Length: 9 hrs
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 02-05-19
Language: English
Publisher: Random House Audiobooks

I’ve already read this book, but I really want to listen to the audio book as well. Jo Middleton is a very funny lady and fabulous writer. I do hope she writes some more.

Midnight Sun

Midnight Sun
By: Stephenie Meyer
Narrated by: Jake Abel
Length: 25 hrs and 49 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-08-20
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette Audio UK

And, just in case you want a trip to the ‘dark side’ here is Stephenie Meyers Twighlight story told from a different angle. It’s actually Edward’s story an we can get an inside view on why he behaved the way he did. And if you are a Twilight fan then you will know that he did act pretty strange at times. I’m not a fan of the films, but I’ve read all the Twilight books.

Invisible Girl

By: Lisa Jewell
Narrated by: Donna BanyaRebekah StatonConnor Swindells
Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 06-08-20
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Audio

Still a bit dark, but I love the concept of this book. Definitely one for my wish list.

Invisible Girl: a story of secrets and injustices and of how we look in the wrong places for the bad people while the real predators walk among us in plain sight.

Sunrise over Sapphire Bay

sunrise over sapphire bay, books to listen to this summer
By: Holly Martin
Narrated by: Penny Andrews
Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-06-20
Language: English
Publisher: Whole Story QUEST

Not going on holiday this year? Why not pick a book that will take you somewhere lovely. There are plenty of books to choose from but I decided to go for this romantic little novel set on a beautiful Jewel Island where “where the sapphire sea sparkles, the golden sun warms your skin and the islanders melt your heart. ”

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful summer,

Anne x

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