A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan and Late Shopping

I had the menu all worked out for last week but we had to make some changes because of our late shopping. It didn’t arrive between 2-3pm as I’d requested and after tracking it down it finally got here at 8.15pm so we had a take out for dinner on Monday.

I’ve had a really rough weekend so I’m about to go in and edit my shopping basket for tomorrow with a very sore head, wish me luck! I’m going in with a plan though so hopefully it won’t be too stressful. We had everything on last weeks menu apart from the Enchiladas which we swapped for pasta bake. But, we didn’t have them on the days I’d suggested because of use by dates and late shopping arrivals.

This Weeks Meal Plan

Weekly meal plan poster, with healthy food dishes
  • Monday – Enchiladas
  • Tuesday – meatballs and pasta/bolognese
  • Wednesday – Thai Curry
  • Thursday – Chicken and chips
  • Friday – Fry Up Brinner
  • Saturday – Tikka Masala
  • Sunday – Gammon and potato daphenious

Hopefully the shopping will arrive on time this week! And hopefully we won’t be having any take outs. I didn’t get one on my birthday because we had one on the day the shopping was late. I can’t complain though. Graham made me a lovely cake. I spent the evening in the company of some lovely friends on zoom and my friend met me for a socially distanced outside chat and brought me a gift.

Joining up with Katy Kicker and her meal plan linky.

Katykicker
A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan Getting My Mojo Back

Last week I missed my meal plan and it was a bit of a nightmare. This week, I wrote a shopping list…go me I have my mojo back! I have worked out a meal plan and I shopped along with it. Hopefully this will mean that I won’t be adding to my six bags of frozen sausages and buying yet another cucumber which is not getting eaten. Fingers crossed! Although, we may have to have one take out this week seeing as it’s my birthday.

Weekly Meal Plan – Mojo is Back

  • Monday – pizza and garlic bread
  • Tuesday – fish paella (chicken for Graham)
  • Wednesday – Enchiladas
  • Thursday – My choice of take out…not decided yet
  • Friday – meatballs and pasta
  • Saturday – Salmon twirls (homemade curry for Graham)
  • Sunday – Sausages and Mash

Linking up with Katy Kicker , do check out for more meal plans on her linky.

Katykicker

Last weeks menu

A Place to Read

The New Girlfriend, Sheryl Browne

I saw this book on sale and decided to grab a copy on Audible. The New Girlfriend by Sheryl Browne is a great thriller and real page turner.

Cover for The New Girlfriend Audio book from Sheryl Brown. Image shows a yellow background with text and two petals, one whole and the other torn in half.
By: Sheryl Browne
Narrated by: Katie Villa
Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 03-08-20
Language: English
Publisher: Hachette UK – Bookouture

The Blurb

Your secrets. Her lies. 

Cassie stares at the woman on her doorstep in disbelief. Just months after losing her only son, Josh, here stands a stranger claiming to be Josh’s girlfriend. But it’s not only the woman Cassie is shocked by, it’s the baby nestled in Kim’s arms. Cassie’s grandchild. 

I know what you did. 

As Cassie tries to do what’s best for baby Samuel, she starts to receive threatening messages from someone from her past – someone Cassie has been hiding from for a long time. Cassie is frightened that her biggest secret is about to be revealed and she will lose everything, including her precious grandson. 

You took everything from me. Now you need to pay. 

As the messages get more sinister, Cassie realizes the person behind them knows every detail about her life and she fears that she is being watched. Could Kim be the link between Cassie and the mysterious messenger? And is she in danger now that she has welcomed this woman and her baby into her home? 

My Review of The New Girlfriend

The story starts with a death, which is quite normal for a thriller. But, then it become quite slow and gentle and for a while you forget it’s a thriller. The story plods along and you get to know the characters and start building your suspicions.

Some might say it’s a slow start, but I actually enjoyed the story telling and getting to know the backgrounds of the characters. There were some clues dotted along, some easy to figure out, some not so.

Towards the end the story takes a sinister turn…at last..but again, it’s not as dark as you would normally expect. We get a good amount of tension as it builds up. There’s a a little bit of horror and touch of surprise. None of it is overwhelming, but still you want to keep reading (or listening) and find out what is going to happen next.

I really enjoyed the ending but I can’t give you any spoilers.

As an audio book I loved the narrator Katie Villa. Being from the Midlands myself I could relate to her accents and she did them well, bringing each character to life. I’ve known people who speak just like Cassie and Kimberly, completely different, despite living in the same town.

I really enjoyed this book, and it’s one more to add to my 20 books for Christmas Challenge.

The links in my post are affiliate which means if you click through and buy I may earn some money at no extra cost to you, so thank you in advance. I did buy this book myself and I’ve not been asked for a review, I always vow to be honest in my opinions.

The book is also available on Amazon in paperback for £8.99 and Kindle for just £1.99.

Have you read any of Sheryl Browne’s books?

20 books for Christmas reading challenge badge from Tea and Cake for the Soul. featuring text on a white background with Christmas present and green leaves and red berries.
A Place to Read

The Book of Two Ways, Jodie Picoult a review

This month I used my Audible credit on The Book of Two Ways by Jodie Picoult. I am an affiliate of Audible so my post will contain links that could earn me a little money if you click through and use them, but will not cost you any more. Thank you for your support.

The book of Two Ways book cover for Audible.
By: Jodi Picoult
Narrated by: Patti Murin
Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 20-10-20
Language: English
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

Dawn thinks she knows everything there is to know about dying. As a death doula, she helps her clients fix what is left undone so they can peacefully make the final transition. But when her plane plummets from the sky and she thinks she is experiencing the last moments of her life, she is shocked to find that she isn’t thinking of her husband or teenage daughter – but of a road she strayed from 15 years earlier, when she turned her

back on her PhD studies.  Against all odds, Dawn survives, and the airline gives her a free ticket to wherever she needs to get to. In alternating chapters, we see possible choices: land – returning to her husband, a quantum physicist who studies the possibilities of parallel universes, she is faced with a test to her marriage and a daughter who is struggling with self-image issues. And water: returning to her studies and the archaeological site she worked on 15 years earlier, where the man she abandoned is about to make the discovery of a lifetime.  

But time may not be as straightforward as we think. As Dawn explores her possible futures, she is finding out what a well-lived life means, what we leave behind of ourselves when we leave the earth, and who she might have been…. 

My Review of The Book of Two Ways

This was an impulse buy, I was totally taken in by the blurb. How intriguing to follow two different paths to see what would have happened. A Little bit like the movie ‘Sliding Doors‘ I thought. I was wrong. Jodie Picoult is a lot more detailed than romantic comedy.

I’ll admit, although the beginning of the book was a great grab, I did find some parts a little more difficult to digest. I had gone in with totally the wrong expectations, thinking it was a light hearted read. But some of the details were a little too intense for that. Jodie Picoult certainly did a lot of research, quantum physics, hieroglyphics and Egyptology are just a few things she delves into. I did actually find it all fascinating and it certainly made me think. Definitely not so much a light hearted read which I was expecting.

The main character was likeable enough, as were the other main characters, and their personalities were examined in about the right detail. It always helps when you can connect to the characters of a book. They all had their own ways and reasons for being there in the book.

The story line was confusing but how can you not write something that goes in two completely different ways without a little confusion. If I’d a hard copy of the book I may have spent time flicking back just to make sure I’d got the thread of the story correct. (I must admit, the plane crash caused a little confusion.)

I liked how Jodie Picoult studied completely different personalities and threaded them together. I liked how she investigated how our dreams might differ so much from our real life and how pursuing our dreams can cause such conflict in our lives.

I liked how she set up the characters for the way the story developed. From her daughter who felt something was wrong with her from the beginning, to her husband not being the most stable rock she believed him to be, to the ‘other man’ who she had always loved being a bit of a surprise. Then there was her client that she was preparing for death. Combining the thought process of someone dying with those of who have so much living to do made for a very satisfying read.

There were a few twists and turns, but this was not a mystery book. There was just the right amount of romance and heartbreak but this is not a romance. The book was incredibly detailed though and it did get a little ‘boring’ at times. Some details could have been omitted.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. There were times I wanted to give up but I’m glad I persevered because it gave me plenty of food for thought at the end.

I listened to the book on Audible and the narrator made me cringe with her English accent. But if you consider that the English character was actually a Marquis then it is possible he would speak like this.

If I had a copy of the book I think there are lots of parts I would re-read a few times because they are well worth absorbing.

You can buy a copy of the book on Amazon here which is my affiliate link.

I’m joining in with Jo’s 20 Books for Christmas Challenge over on Tea and Cake for the Soul.

20 books for Christmas Reading Challenge

The books I’ve read so far. (I’ve some catching up to do)

A Place to Enjoy

Christmas Crochet Projects

If you are a crafter then you probably have most of your Christmas makes already on the go or even finished. However, some, like me, are a bit late starting so I have put together a list of some quick and easy crochet projects for you to get done in time for Christmas.

I will be including affiliate links throughout my post. This means that if you click through and buy something it may earn me a little money…at no extra cost to you! So big thanks if you do.

Decorations

This first one I’ve ordered myself so I’ll let you know how I get on. It’s a lovely Christmas tree bunting. You can download the pattern for free or buy the yarn and pattern for £7. I’m thinking this won’t take long to make.

little crochet christmas trees bunting

Last Christmas I took part in the Deramores Christmas CAL (Crochet Along) and I did most of the items in the pack, yes, I even managed to finish the cushion cover. You can do this again this year. Again the patterns can be downloaded for free, but you can also buy packs of yarn for £21.68 or a complete pack with yarn, cushion and eyes for £30.92.

Christmas crochet along pack with cushion tree decorations, placemats and a big Christmas stocking

I have already been sent a copy of these snowflakes as a free gift in my last package from Deramores. I’ve had a go at a couple and they are a bit tricky at first but I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to make a few in time for the tree going up. Or I may make them to hang in the window. Digital pattern is free, and pattern with wool just £1.95

Christmas crochet snowflakes

Here is something a little different, these would be great for those with a new baby in the family for Christmas. A lovely set of Christmas jumpers and rompers. These are £2.40 for the pattern and £8.04 for the pattern and wool.

Christmas crochet, set of tiny red jumpers and romper suits.

Christmas Crochet Projects – Gifts

Gnomes are quite popular at the moment and you can crochet a complete gnome family for a Christmas treat. The pattern for these four gnomes and a present sack is just £2 for a digital download. Or you can purchase the pattern and wool for £11.75 and add the stuffing for £14.75. The sets would also make a great gift for someone who loves to crochet too.

Four Christmas crochet gnomes in blue and red sitting on logs against a brick wall

Scarfs make such lovely gifts and are even more special when they have been handmade. They can also be relatively quick and easy to make and don’t have to take the break the bank. This pattern is free to download and you can choose whatever colours you wish, or you can buy the kit with wool for just £6.18.

Colour block scarf.

I love these fabulous flat animal cuddly toys and they look pretty easy to make. In fact I’m going to have a go at this lovely rabbit by downloading the free pattern. You can also buy the pattern and yarn for £5.37.

These are just a very few of the things you could crochet for Christmas. I get all my inspiration from Deramores my favourite wool shop. They always have some amazing offers and if you pop along this week there is a special offer every day!

A Place to Eat

This Weeks Menu – Winter Blues

I feel like I’m winging it again this week. I logged on last week to find that there were no grocery slots until Wednesday so I don’t even have my weekly shop yet!! I’ve booked next weeks shop already, got to get in quick these days. Last week went well though, despite all the pork and tofu. The Winter blues are settling in here and I want to choose food that makes us feel comforted and happier.

We are also under a fair amount of stress with mock exams and worrying about COVID. According the the Mindful Chef cookbook we should be avoiding sugar, caffeine and processed fats and focusing more on fruit and vegetables, brown rice, buckwheat and vitamin C. I’m also taking magnesium supplements which help with leg pain.

I’m not sure my menu this week reflects this well, but I’ve added a fair bit of fruit into the shopping (we’ll pretend I didn’t add the doughnuts!) We have also swapped white rice for brown which has gone down well so far.

This Weeks Menu – Winter Blues

Image shows text Weekly Meal Plan and some bowls of healthy food.
  • Monday – Take Out (we had Chinese food)
  • Tuesday – Pizza for most, duck breasts for me and daughter
  • Wednesday – homemade turkey meatballs in tomato sauce
  • Thursday – Chicken and curly fries
  • Friday – veggie chilli with brown rice
  • Saturday – thai curry
  • Sunday – Toad-in-the-hole with mash

I hope everyone is well and staying happy and coping well in these difficult times. Let’s hope this winter passes as quickly as the summer seemed to go.

Joining in with Katy Kicker and her meal planning linky

Katykicker

A Place to Enjoy, Shopping

Teen Gift List for Girls

I have two Teenage girls (and a boy, but I’ll write about him later) and I really don’t know what to get them for Christmas. Thankfully there are lots of teen gift lists to browse and I hope that I can include some ideas here that not only my girls will like but you will feel inspired too.

Teen Girls Gift Guide

Emma from Emma and 3 has written a fabulous guide of teen and tween gifts which I know my girls would be really happy with. One thing she mentions is a journal and I generally buy my girls a journal every year.

Teen girls also love a bit of pampering and I love this pampering pack from Avon which contains everything from bubble bath to face masks.

Pyjamas are always an easy choice. You can choose something plain, pretty or go for a favourite character or theme. I particularly like these Disney Villains pjs from Character.

lady wearing disney villians pyjamas in grey and black
Disney Villains pyjamas from Character.com

Books are always a good choice, especially if you know what they like reading. A Harry Potter fan for instance gives you loads of options. If you are not sure though, you can always opt for something more generic like the Guinness Book of Records (my teen has one of these every year) or even something inspiring like this fab book, Be Happy Be You. You can read my review here.

Technology

My girls have a switch and have asked for a retro game this year, Super Mario 3D All Stars. A new game is always a good option if you know what sort they like playing.

You can find a list of games over on Rainbows are Too Beautiful which may give you more inspiration.

When you get to technology though you can end up spending a small fortune. My girls had new tablets last year and this year they are having a new computer between them (only when they’ve cleaned their room) but I’ve been given a voucher to buy one so it’s not costing me too much. I can’t believe how desktop computers have sky rocketed in price, it’s probably because laptops and tablets are more popular now. You don’t have to spend a fortune when it comes to tech. though. All kids love a new pair of headphones or earphones.

blue headphones

I think I may be ready to start Christmas shopping now, how about you? Do you have teens to buy for?

Do you remember what your favourite gift was when you were a teen?

This post contains affiliate links, thanks for your support.

A Place to Eat

Meal Planning – First Week in November

Can you believe it’s November already? What a strange year it has been, and now it looks like it’s going to get stranger. As I begin my November meal planning I hope my weekly shop is not affected like it was the last time we locked down. I’m going to stock up this week just to make sure…don’t worry, I won’t be taking all the pasta and toilet paper. Just a couple of extra tins and frozen veg, things that can keep us going if we do have to miss a food shop.

I missed doing a meal plan last week. Not a good idea, we ended up with a take away on Monday, and on Friday when I was feeling really ill, apparently, the only thing I would eat was a battered sausage from the chip shop. Graham cooked for everyone else though.

So, this week I’m back to planning. We have two meals coming from Mindful Chef but I will admit that this is the last week for a while. Money is getting a little tight, and will probably be tighter now with the restrictions and Christmas coming. As much as I love the Mindful Chef meals, they do work out a bit more expensive. I will go back to them when I feel I can.

Meal Planning, First Week in November.

weekly meal plan, a poster showing a few healthy meals with rice, vegetables and fruit.

Now, I’m worried that I’ve too much tofu and minced pork on the menu. The two Mindful chef recipes seemed like a good idea until my daughter decided she wanted to make a Mapo Curry which contains both minced pork and tofu. We may just have to move one of the meals over to next week and replace it with something else.

The girls are having lunch at home again as they are on a reduced timetable at school. I have a feeling that all three will be lunching at home again soon. Thankfully, we can afford to feed our kids, but I do feel so bad for those that can’t.

Linking up with Katykicker and her Meal planning Linky.

Katykicker

This post contains affiliate links which may earn me some money if you click through but will cost you no extra.