A Place to Enjoy

Spring is Here and so are the Flowers

I love to crochet, but you know that. One thing that is lovely to make is flowers. So, just because the sun is shining today, I’m bringing you a few lovely floral designs from Deramores. I’m an affiliate so if you do click through and purchase I may earn a little money. Thank you for your support.

Flowers Pot

I think this may be my project for this afternoon.

Mothers Day CAL Blanket

I really love this, if only my kids could crochet!

blue and pink blanket with flowers and heart and the word Mum
Mothers Day Cal Blanket, pattern £1.50, kit £25

Daisies

These three daisies look so cute in a vase and would last longer than real flowers.

flowers in a vase, crochet
Daisies, pattern 50p, pattern and wool £11.50

Orchid Cushion

How sweet is this cushion!

orchids on a cushion
Orchid Cushion pattern £1, pattern and wool £14.10, pattern wool and cushion insert £20.10

Baby Blooms Blanket

I am loving the delicate colours and beautiful design of this blanket. It’s definitely on my to do list.

baby blooms blanket
Baby blooms blanket, digital pattern £1, pattern and wool £18.50

Daisy Brooch

Such a simple yet effective brooch to bring a little flower to your lapel.

daisy brooch
Daisy brooch, pattern 25p, yarn and pattern £7

Happy Garden Flowers Throw and Cushion

A perfect gift for a gardener, or just to enjoy your garden on those cooler days.

cushion and throw covered with flowers
Pattern free, pattern and wool £29.56

Have you seen anything that catches your eye? I’d love to know if you make anything.

You can see some of my crochet here in my Etsy Shop.

More of my crochet posts can be found here on this blog.

Test

A Place to Read

The Familiars by Stacey Halls, A Gripping Historical Story

Here is a review of my latest Audible listen, the Familiars by Stacey Halls.

By: Stacey Halls
Narrated by: Katy Sobey
Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 07-02-19
Language: English
Publisher: Zaffre

This post may contain affiliate links.

The Familiars – The Blurb

To save her child, she will trust a stranger. To protect a secret, she must risk her life….Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband, Richard, is anxious for an heir.

When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn’t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy. 

Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife. Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby and to prove the physician wrong. As Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the North-West, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her.

But is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Soon the two women’s lives will become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood’s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake. 

Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.

My Review

I listened to this book on Audible and was immediately drawn in. I’m not usually drawn to historical novels but I do find stories of witchcraft interesting. It’s hard to believe that such simple things that women did at those times were perceived as witchcraft, and that just simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time could get you into serious trouble.

I loved the main character, Fleetwood, as a young women she was strong and wilful. The author based her on a real person but knew nothing about her personality. I think the personality she created is what kept the story flowing.

Mixed with mystery, culture, fear and adventure, this makes for a really good read. I enjoyed every moment and the narrator took me straight back to the time and place. Reading other critics of the audible version it seems that some didn’t like the narrator, that’s why I think it’s a good idea to listen to the sample first. I found the narration perfectly enjoyable.

There is not much witchcraft in this book, so if you are looking for magic spells or evil doings then this is not the right story for you. What I enjoyed is a story about a strong young woman who stood up for herself and her friend. Whether it is believable or not doesn’t detract from the story for me. I doubt very much that during that time, that any women would have any say against those determined to be rid of witches.

I would definitely read more of Stacey Hills, her story telling is engaging.

You can find the book in my bookshop

Or on Amazon Kindle for £1.90 or hardback for £27

Read more of my book reviews here.

A Place to Eat

Back to Weekly Meal Plans because Cooking is a Chore.

I haven’t done a meal plan in a while. Cooking has become such a chore. It doesn’t help that we have been without a proper oven for over a week and don’t know when it will be fixed. (We are waiting for a part, I hope it’s not much longer.) The kids are at home all day and even lunch is a chore. When they are learning they need to eat at a specific time to fit in with online lessons.

I’m managing to get my shopping online each week which is good, but I’m getting to the point where I just don’t know what to put in the basket. I stopped Mindful Chef for a while, but we missed it. I love having every thing I need provided in a paper bag that I can just grab from the fridge, chop and cook. Most of the meals only take 1/2 hour and it gives us ideas for further meal choices. It makes cooking less of a chore. Not everyone likes them though.

So, I’m having another go at a weekly menu to see if I can get back on track.

This weeks Menu – Cooking Chore

weekly meal plan poster
  • Monday – Pizza and garlic bread
  • TuesdayDuck Breasts in Orange
  • Wednesday – stir fry
  • Thursday – Toad-in-the-hole
  • Friday – Fish/chicken and chips
  • Saturday – curry or jerk chicken
  • Sunday – lamb roast dinner

This will probably change, but at least I have an outline and all the food on this list. Fingers crossed we get the oven fixed soon. We can do the pizzas and the duck in the small oven and the roast lamb in the slow cooker, the toad-in-the-hole might end up being sausages and mash.

Of course the kid’s need lunches at home again so we are back to their old favourites which we rotate.

  • 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
Katykicker

More Meal Plans

A Place to Read

Latest Book Review, Playing Nice by JP Delaney

This is a review of my latest listen from Audible, Playing Nice by JP Delaney.

Playing Nice book cover
By: JP Delaney
Narrated by: Ben Elliot, Amelia Cormack, Peter Forbes
Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 28-07-20
Language: English
Publisher: Quercus

The Blurb

Pete Riley is a stay-at-home dad; his partner, Maddie, works in advertising. After Pete drops two-year-old Theo off at nursery one morning, he’s politely accosted by a man who looks just like Theo. 

The man, Miles Lambert, breaks the devastating news that Theo is in fact not Pete’s son, but his – the two babies got mixed up at hospital and Miles and his wife, Lucy, now have the Rileys’ son at home. They’ve already carried out DNA testing to prove it.

The two couples agree that, rather than swap the children back, they’ll try to involve each other in the children’s lives. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an official investigation that unearths some disturbing questions about just how the babies got mixed up. 

And when Theo is thrown out of nursery for hitting other children, Pete and Maddie have to ask themselves: how far do they want this arrangement to go? What are the secrets hidden behind the Lamberts’ smart front door? And how much can they trust the real parents of their child – or even each other?

My Review of Playing Nice

This is the first JP Delaney book that I’ve read, and from reading the reviews on Amazon it seems that it was not so well received as some of his other books. Without anything to judge it by I actually enjoyed Playing Nice.

As a parent it would be my worst nightmare to find that my baby was swapped at birth. This story follows what happens when these two families find out that they were bringing up the wrong children. It starts off quite amicable, the shock of the discovery of the swap doesn’t seem to throw anyone off completely. Then it takes a more sinister turn and you are bombarded with one bad thing after another.

The characters are not really likeable, except for the one Dad Pete. This makes it hard to relate to their pain as the story unfolds. But it doesn’t retract from the horror and the action. The ending was way over the top and utterly enjoyable. It was a definite page turner, I couldn’t wait to see how it was all going to work out.

The book touches on a fair bit of mental health issues which may be a difficult read for some.

This post contains affiliate links which if you click and go on to buy you may earn me a little money at no extra cost to yourself. Thank you for your support.

More Book Reviews

A Place to Reflect

Random Acts of Kindness Challenge and Special Offer

I’m a big fan of LSW Mind Cards and we use ours all the time. Today is Random Acts of Kindness day and LSW Mind Cards are presenting some lovely, simple ways you can take part. And for Today Only you can get 20% off all products on the LSW site with the code: KINDNESS

Random acts of kindness

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day so we are celebrating all things kind today and we have a challenge for you.

We’ve compiled a short list of random acts of kindness for you to look through and see if there is one you might be able to implement today. Give one a go and see what chain of kindness you can begin…

☆ Say hello when you pass strangers on your walk today

☆ Support a local independent business by writing a nice review online

☆ Hide a friendly note in a public place

☆ Compliment a colleague on their hard work

☆ Send a friend you haven’t seen recently a nice message to let them know you’re thinking of them

☆ Make a donation to a charity

☆ Offer to cook your partner or housemate dinner tonight

☆ Call an elderly relative to catch up


Have a go and see how it makes you feel. For our Random Act of Kindness we’re offering you 20% off all of our products today. Simply use the code ‘Kindness’ at checkout.

See you on Friday when we’ll be giving you a free guided meditation written and recorded by me, Lili, which I’ve written to help you experience and participate in more kindness moving forward.

Stay safe and have a lovely day!

Lili and the team x

So, what do you think? Can you share a little kindness today…or any day?

I am an affiliate for LSW Mind Cards so if you click through to the site and purchase anything, I may earn a little commission at no extra cost to you.

LSW Mind Cards review

A Place to Read

A Room With a View – Perfect for Valentines Day

We all prefer A Room with a View don’t we? The main character in this 1908 novel is travelling with her aunt when they swap their hotel rooms with two men in exchange for a better view. And so begins a love story.

Despite A Room with a View by E.M. Forster being a classic, I have never read it before. Neither have I seen the 1985 movie with Helena Bonham Carter and Julian Sands. But it’s on today, February 14th 2021 at 5pm on Film4 or 6pm at Film4+ I have it on record in case I don’t get to watch it.

A Room With a View on Audible

I listened to A room with a view on Audible, It showed up in one of their daily specials for just £1 and I was looking for something new.

A Room with a View

The Blurb

In this rich new audio production, acclaimed British American actress Rebecca Hall brings one of E. M. Forster’s most admired works to life in this classic tale of human struggle.

A charming young Englishwoman, Lucy Honeychurch, is wooed by both free-spirited George Emerson and wealthy Cecil Vyse while vacationing in Italy. Though attracted to George, Lucy becomes engaged to Cecil despite twice turning down his proposals. On hearing of the news, George confesses his love, leaving Lucy torn between marrying the more socially acceptable Cecil or George, the man she knows would bring her true happiness. Should Lucy choose social acceptance or true love?

It’s both the quintessential Edwardian love story and a classic piece of social comedy, in which Forster is concerned with one of his favourite themes: the “undeveloped heart” of the English middle classes, here represented by a group of tourists and expatriates in Florence. Forster’s disapproval of the era’s restrictive conventions is reflected through his strong observation of character and society.

A Room with a View was ranked 79th on the Modern Library’s list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. The 1985 film adaptation by James Ivory won three Oscars.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed the change of pace with this gentle romance. A little confusing at times because of the language and nuances of the Edwardian culture, but still easier to understand than a lot of classic novels.

Each character was perfectly defined and when I watch the film I’ll be looking to see if they match how I saw them while listening to the book.

Not many massive twists and turns, it’s quite obvious how the story is going to unfold. We have some dramatic moments thrown in like the fight in Italy and murder of a man in front of the main character Lucy. Then there is the usual confusion of emotions and Lucy deciding to ‘run away’ to Greece to escape her feelings. Of course the book is destined to have a happy ending.

The book already shows E.M Forster’s interests in philosophy and humanism, but he doesn’t lay it on thickly. He even points out how he feels women are mistreated as the ‘fairer sex’ and references how they could never become novelists.

I am an affiliate for Audible but I am also a big fan. I pay £7.99 a month for membership which gives me one credit towards a book of any value. Audible books can be expensive but you can look out for special offers, like this one which I paid just £1 for. There are also plenty of free listens including plays and podcasts. I always listen to a sample before making a choice.

Do you use Audible?

More of my Book Reviews

health

3 Brilliant Ways to Sustain a Healthy Lifestyle

Everyone wants to live and eat healthily, but no one wants to put in the necessary effort. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle can be a daunting task. It is challenging to stick to a healthy lifestyle when faced with several temptations every day.

Woman in Blue Tank Top and Black Leggings

Image Credit 

When following a healthy lifestyle, people fall into two categories. Some overdo the whole routine, while others only dream of living healthily. Those who desire a healthy lifestyle never get anything done; they are always postponing healthy activities such as eating healthy food or exercising.

If you can relate to this, it would be best to find healthy living that works to ensure you stick to a routine. A healthy lifestyle is as easy as ABC, and you shouldn’t sweat it while doing so. Fortunately, there are various ways to sustain a healthy lifestyle and deal with inevitable setbacks that prove counterproductive. Here are a few.

  1. Use Health and Fitness Apps

If you struggle to remember certain things, then a health or fitness app is just the ticket. They can help remind you when to drink water, exercise,   and sleep. Often, people tend to forget such things when they have a lot on the table, and using the apps is an excellent way of living healthily.

A health app can also remind you of your appointment with Wahroonga Dental as dental care is vital to your health. Again, it can remind you of other health checks for your heart, eyes, bones, and STI screening, which are essential to detect chronic illnesses.

Health and fitness apps are free to download from the internet, and you can buy the advanced ones. To top it all, you can customize them to suit your needs and specific schedule.

  1. Have a Goal

If you are exercising and eating healthy food to achieve a perfect summer body, this is a goal. Having objectives can motivate you to continue sticking to healthy habits, resulting in sustaining a healthy lifestyle.

Besides having a goal, it is also good to have a plan to direct you. A strategy ensures you do what is right and for you to achieve your overall goal. It can also help you prioritize specific tasks to stick to a healthy lifestyle.

It would be best to break down the goal into short and realistic goals. This simplification makes it easy to sustain a healthy lifestyle. For instance, if you plan on running for ten hours within a week, you can break it down and run for one hour every day until you achieve the overall ten-hour goal.

  1. Reward Yourself

Nothing can motivate you better to stick to a healthy lifestyle than rewarding yourself. The moment you reward yourself for completing an exercise routine or eating healthy food for a whole week, it motivates you to continue doing so.

When you do this continuously, it becomes a habit. In the end, you will sustain a healthy lifestyle, and your body will thank you for it.

These are but a few useful and practical ways to sustain a healthy life. By using health and fitness apps, having a goal to motivate you, and rewarding yourself, you will be a step closer to achieving excellent health.

*this is a collaborative post

health

Three Health Projects To Indulge In During The Pandemic

Nobody is getting out much these days. But that’s okay. Spring is coming, both literally and metaphorically. And that means that it will soon be time for us to all crawl out of our burrows and enjoy the world once more. 

But when we do, we want it to be an enjoyable experience. We don’t want to feel like we’re emerging from a coma. We want it to be more like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. 

That’s why now is the time to engage in a health project. It’s time to invest in yourself, turn your body around, and get ready for the world once it finally reopens. 

Sort Out Your Stiff Muscles

photograph of lady on a yoga mat

Unsplash – CC0 License

We’ve all been spending a lot of time indoors. And it’s had a considerable impact on our muscles. They feel tighter than usual. And many of us are having to put up with chronic pain and uncomfortable sensations every day. 

The good news, though, is that a lot of these issues are reversible with consistent, mindful effort. 


What do we mean by this? 

Well, it’s actually quite simple really. It means dedicating your body to stretching and movement a couple of times a day, five days a week. 

Over time, your muscles will lengthen, you’ll become more flexible. And you’ll be able to move in ways you never thought possible before. 

Try going on an online Pilates course or do callisthenics in your living room. You should notice changes within just a couple of weeks. 

Solve Your Teeth

Now you’re not going out as much, it’s the perfect time to solve your teeth. And we’re not just talking about getting fillings. No – we’re talking about building a whole new smile.

Today, orthodontists have a massive range of tools that they can use to resolve crooked teeth and give you the smile you want. Plus, it actually improves your long-term oral health. If you have crooked teeth, it creates spaces into which bacteria can crawl and thrive. Over time, cavities develop and you wind up with tooth problems. Sorting it out while you’re young, therefore, can save you a lot of trouble in the future. 

Correct Your Diet for health

health food in a bowl

Unsplash – CC0 License

Now that you’re spending more time at home, you have more space to really think about the quality of the food you’re eating. 

Greek medic Hippocrates said, “let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.”

It turns out that he was really onto something. What we eat really does massively affect how healthy we ultimately become. 

But as we all know, changing what we eat isn’t easy. It actually takes a lot of mental effort. We have to adopt new shopping habits and learn new recipes. Serious work goes into it. 

For that reason, now is the perfect time to make a change to what you eat. We’re not talking about going on a diet. That’s a short-term measure that never works. 

What we’re talking about is putting in place the groundwork that lets you make a long-term change. We all know what a healthy diet looks like. It’s just a matter of adopting strategies to make it happen. 

*this is a collaborative post

A Place to Enjoy

Great Ideas for Valentines Crochet

It’s not too late to hook up a quick Valentines gift. Here are a few great ideas for Valentines Crochet.

*This post may contain affiliate links

Valentines Crochet Blanket

Valentines crochet red and white blanket with hearts design

Perfect for Valentines Day or even an Engagement or Wedding gift. This gorgeous blanket is made in Deramores Studio DK, one of my favourite wools to work with. The entire kit is only £22 or pattern for just £1

Loop Heart Cushion

Make one or the whole set of three of these wonderful romantic loop Heart Cushions.

Valentines crochet heart cushions

Starting with just the pattern for £2, and the kits with cushion pad for £13.00, to all three cushions for £25.

Love Heart Bunting

Looking for something quick and easy but full of heart. How about this gorgeous red bunting.

Valentines crochet bunting

Buy the pattern for just 50p or the kit for just £2.40. Simple but affective.

Cute Sweet Love Hearts

Who can resist these sweet little love hearts by EmKatCrochet.

Cute sweetheart keyrings

Purchase the digital pattern for 50p, or buy the yarn and pattern for £11.99 and the Yarn, patttern, eyes, stuffing and keyrings for £21.99 There is even a video tutorial to help you along and you can make several little hearts.

Love Teddies Valentines Crochet

How very cute is this project. These teddies are full of love and would make a perfect gift.

two cute grey bears holding a red heart that says I love you and have the letter spelling L O V E on their paws.

You can get the details here: Pattern only £1, Pattern and yarn £5.99, Pattern, yarn, eyes and stuffing £11.50

Valentines Crochet Hearts

This pattern is for some cute, easy to crochet hearts that can be used for all sorts of decorations. You could even just stick one in your card! Here they are displayed amongst flowers for the complete romantic look.

Valentines crochet hearts in a bunch of flowers

The pattern for these hearts is just £1.50, but you can buy it alongside 3 balls of Patons DK in Nougat, Red and Nectarine for £13.20. You can make lots of hearts.

Love Heart Valentines Crochet Cushions

These are so cute and would make a sweet gift for anyone. You can make just one or all three, it’s up to you. Each one measures 41 cm (16 inches.)

three cushion hearts in pale blue, baby pink and pale purple

The patterns and wool can be found here: The pattern is £1, Wool and stuffing for one cushion £6, and wool and stuffing for all three cushions £16.99

Two Peas in a Pod

I love this, what a really lovely little gift to make. Approximately 10- 11cm (4 inches)

These little peas are made in Deramores Studio DK and you can download the digital pattern for 50p or buy the entire kit including the eyes for £6.

I hope you like these Valentines Crochet gifts I’ve found for you. You can see more on the Deramores website. Remember, if you don’t crochet yourself they also make lovely gifts for loved ones that do crochet.