A Place to Read

Book Worms Monthly April

Welcome to Bookworms Monthly April linkup

Hello, Welcome to Bookworms Monthly April and what a strange month it is. The Coronavirus COVID-19 has so much of the world in lockdown, unable to leave their homes. This means there is plenty more time for reading, Yay! Sadly, I’ve spent so much time working with my kids on their school work and trying to keep things running. I’ve really not had much time for reading. I started a book, couldn’t get into it and I had trouble picking something else up. I have started reading again now though. 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 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.

Link up your BookWorms Monthly March 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.

bookworms monthly April

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
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A Place to Enjoy, Shopping

Stuck at Home?

With the dreaded COVID-19 (Corona Virus) infecting so many of us, staying at home is the best option if possible. While you are keeping away from the crowds maybe you are wondering what you can do while you are isolated. Here are a few suggestions of mine. Including affiliate links of course. Remember, clicking these links will cost you no extra, but if you purchase I may earn a little money from them. So thank you in advance.

Home Decorating

It’s a great time to get on with those decorating jobs that need doing, and you can ease your boredom while freshening up your home. Dulux are currently doing a March Special for Easter.

March Special: £5 Off!

Save £5 off orders of £25 or more when you quote 5OFF25. Offer ends 31/3/2020. Conditions apply.

Add some colour to your home and your life indoors.

Mother’s Day

Can’t get out to see your Mother on Mother’s Day? Why not send her some flowers and a free box of chocolates and have them delivered from Prestige flowers.

There are loads of lovely gifts to choose from and next day delivery if you order before 10pm. Please note delivery fees are more expensive for the weekend. Every Mother’s Day order before 22nd March will be entered into a draw to win free flowers for a year!

flowers and gin for mother's day
Roses and Gin gift set for Mother’s Day (or any day!)

Easter

Easter is usually my favourite holiday of the year, two weeks of no school, lots of chocolate and loads of fresh spring air. It’s not going to feel the same this year, but at least we are lucky enough to have a garden. We don’t have to go without chocolate too, we can always buy our eggs online from the Cadbury Gift Shop.

easter eggs

You can also order a chocolate Mother’s Day gift if you get your order in by 4pm on Saturday 21st March. See my post on Cadbury’s Mother’s Day gifts for inspiration.

You can also buy Mother’s day gifts and Easter Eggs from Thorntons. There is no need to risk the shops. Thorntons have 2 for £12 and 5 for £25 offer on their eggs.

School Closures

With most kids out of school for the foreseable future parents will be wondering what to do with them. Of course their education is important, and so is keeping their minds active and ready for when they finally go back to school.

Twinkl is a resource I have used in the past and they provide some fantastic learning resources. Why not pop on over and see what Twinkl have on offer for Kid’s out of school, and a lot of their resources are free!

Edplace is another educational site that offers learning for children of all ages. It can be expensive for some, but you can get a £1 trial to see if it’s worth it for your child.

Books

Books are going to be more important than ever now, we have agreed as a family to have a reading time each day. I’m not going to force the literature on them but let them choose what they like. We have lots of books already but Waterstones is generally our go to bookstore, the variety is amazing.

If you fancy your chances of winning an educational book on The Plastic Problem, I am giving two copies away currently on my other blog. I’m hoping postal services won’t be affected but they seem to be okay for now.

Other Activities

I’m a huge fan of crochet so I’m stocking up on my wool stash and hoping to get a lot of works in progress finished. My go to wool store is Deramores They currently have some fabulous sales up to 30% off, and I’m thinking of joining in with their Easter Crochet along. I really enjoyed the Christmas one.

The kids are all keen to learn something new while they are off school. We haven’t decided yet what this will be, but it should be fun.

Remember, if you are not sick you can go out, just keep away from other people who may be sick, even if they don’t look it. There are plenty of wide open spaces to explore. Get some fresh air and enjoy a walk.

What will you be doing?

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A Place to Enjoy, Shopping

15% off Mothers Day Chocolate from Cadburys

Cadburys Chocolate make fabulous Mothers Day gifts and this post is highlighting some of them.

I am an affiliate for Cadburys so my links, if you choose to use them, will earn me a little money with no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your support.

As I live near Bournville, and Cadbury World I do have a particular love of Cadbury Chocolate..and I’m lucky enough to be able to visit the Cadbury World shop whenever I wish. However, if you can’t get there you can always buy in the shops or take advantage of the wonderful offers online.

Personalised Chocolate Bars for Mothers Day

Cadburys are currently offering a fabulous 15% off their personalised bars for for Mothers Day. All you have to do is enter the code ToMyMum at the checkout.

mothers day personalised chocolate bar

You can put on whatever text you want and even add a photo if you wish. If you want to you can even add an extra message on the back of the bar. Make it personal and your Mum will love it I’m sure.

When I was little my Dad used to take me to the shop to buy my Mum her a bar of chocolate and I used to decorate the bar with stickers. How wonderful I would have found this offer back then.

Other Mothers Day Gifts

There is so much more you can buy for Mothers Day from Cadburys. Here are a few of my favourite picks.

Mother's Day Treasure Box
Treasure Box £10

A great affordable Mother’s Day chocolate gift! NEW Roses To My Mum gift box alongside a Dairy Milk Bar with an ‘Love you Mum’ sleeve. Made extra special with all your favourite bars wrapped in a Cadbury purple organza gift bag with ribbon.

Cadbury ‘To My Mum’ gift box filled with a Cadbury Dairy Milk 200g bar in a special ‘To My Mum sleeve alongside a Cadbury Dairy Milk heart emoji milk pour mug and bars.Send a chocolate gift you know will be loved- there’s a glass and half in everyone!

You know they will love our Cadbury chocolate and fizz basket filled with all your Cadbury favourites. This beautiful hamper delivers Cadbury chocolate love with a celebratory bottle of Prosecco.

A luxury chocolate hamper of Cadbury chocolate and wines, beautifully presented in an 16″ chocolate brown wicker basket. A stunning hamper basket sure to make an impression full of chocolate surprises with wonderful red and white wine! The perfect luxury gift to show your appreciation.

See my Mothers Day picks from Etsy.

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A Place to Read

The Testaments – A Review

I bought The Testaments with my audible credit. Audible is free for 30 days and then £7.99 a month afterwards, for which you get one credit which can be used against any book of your choice, no matter what the cost. This post will contain affiliate links to both Audible and Waterstones which is my bookshop of choice.

The Testaments

Author: Margaret Atwood Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784742324
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 667 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 39 mm

The Blurb

Launched to widespread acclaim at our flagship Piccadilly shop, Margaret Atwood’s Booker-winning sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale is undoubtedly the story for our times.

Picking up ten years after its predecessor’s tantalisingly open-ended conclusion, The Testaments provides a new window into Atwood’s dystopian world, as seen through the eyes of three women of Gilead: a girl brought up within its confines, another on the run beyond its walls, and a woman at the very heart of the regime’s dark designs with secrets of her own. Each has a unique perspective on the world of Gilead and each will be crucial in deciding its fate.

Effortlessly combining a piercing critique of gender, oppression and authoritarianism with the whip-smart pace of the purest literary thriller, The Testaments is devastating in its immediacy whilst remaining a timeless piece of faultless storytelling.

The Testaments on Audible

Narrated by: Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mae Whitman, Derek Jacobi, Tantoo Cardinal, Margaret Atwood

Length: 13 hrs and 18 : Fiction, Literary

I enjoyed the recording as each main characters story had a different narrator which I think always makes a listening more enticing. You get to know more of the person in the story rather than reading it all in one voice. Each character is brought to life.

My Verdict on The Testaments

I will confess that the first time I read The prequel to The Testaments, The Handmaid’s Tale was only last year. So I didn’t have so long a wait as many for the sequel. I have not seen the television series although from those who I have spoken too have said it was good.

After listening to The Testaments I was left with a few questions which were kindly answered by friends, but more about that later.

I did actually enjoy The Testaments in it’s own right although it was very different to the Handmaid’s Tale. The story was less of the fear of what may become of the the future and more of an adventure tale. The feel of the whole story was very different.

Margaret Atwood claimed she set out to answer questions she’d been asked about The Handmaid’s Tale but although it does give some insight into how Gilead came about, it doesn’t really answer much. I think it could even be read on it’s own, without having read the Handmaid’s Tale. Although, you’d probably be confused as to what the actual role of a handmaid was.

The Daughter’s Tales

The story revolves around the daughter’s of Offred, the main character in the Handmaid’s Tale and this is where my questions began. In the book we see Offred being carted off in a van by ‘Mayday’ with her future unknown and only the notion that she was pregnant. We already know that she had an older daughter but she had no idea what had happened to her.

Apparently in the television series it takes the story a little further and her baby is born before she escapes.

I became confused as to why they made such a big fuss about Offred’s baby when in the book she had not even been sure of her pregnancy or the parentage of the baby.

In the Testaments this baby is now a teen being brought up by adoptive parents and is sent back into Gilead on a mission to bring the regime down.

Offred’s older child is in Gilead being raised by adoptive parents, and when her mother dies her step mother wants her to be married off. She decides that she wants to become an aunt instead. The aunts are Gilead’s version of nuns.

The two children meet, not knowing they have the same birth mother but end up helping each other.

I think a lot of my confusion in the plot came from The Testaments relying on it’s readers having watched the television series which I felt was disappointing. Friends who had watched the television series where able to answer some questions for me.

Final Thoughts

I did really enjoy listening to The Testaments on Audible. I feel that if I’d had a physical copy I’d have a spent a lot more time trying to tie things in with the two books. I’m still not sure if that would have been wasted time. So, although I enjoyed the story I felt it had a very different feel to the first book and it left a lot more questions than answers.

You can buy a hard copy of the book from Waterstones for £17.99 Paperback version will be released soon.

Or you can listen on Audible for 1 credit or £31.99

Audible is free for the first 30 days and then £7.99 per month afterwards which gives you one credit.

Have you read The Testaments?

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A Place to Eat

Weekly Meal Plan – Panic in the Aisles

Last week’s menu didn’t go too bad but we had some shuffling around. We didn’t have to resort to any panic buying despite the shopping problems. We are having the gammon today as I didn’t check the date on the lamb and It went out of date on Thursday. If I’d realised I’d have put it in the freezer. I’m still roasting it along with the gammon as it looked okay once opened, and there was no smell. But I see how I feel when it’s cooked. I’m so glad I ordered the wrong size now, it’s way too small for us all anyway.

I was determined to stick to my no take out rule but on Friday I was feeling pretty sick and my eldest son suggested a take out. When I said no, he said he would pay for it. So, when it was time to collect it I asked him to pay and he gave me £5 and told me what he wanted!! Cheeky monkey, he meant he was only going to pay for his own take out! I was a bit upset with him as it was already too late to start cooking and he should have made things clearer. So we came to an agreement. I bought his, Graham’s and the kids dinner from the chip shop and he paid for a Pizza for me and his two sisters. I guess it worked out half and half. (he was still a bit upset that we didn’t save him a slice of pizza though, even though we’d saved him a cookie!)

I still managed to save around £20 on shopping last week, including the take out. So, I’m improving.

Panic Buying

I’ve never really bought into the panic buying whenever there is an issue. We do get through a lot of toilet rolls though so I generally have a good stock. (I’ve hidden some to stop overuse just in case.) I’ve ordered more in the shopping delivery tomorrow but if they don’t arrive they still have plenty in my local shop. I don’t buy handwash, we switched to soap ages ago and I buy them in packs of six which last for ages! I’m not that bothered about the gel, my daughter has some because she works in a hospital, but we don’t bother, hand washing is more effective. We generally have a stock of food in the freezer that we can fall back on, so I’m sure we won’t starve if we do end up quarantined. I also have a bread maker and loads of bread flour and yeast 🙂

This weeks Meal Plan

weekly meal plan
  • Monday – Pizza (home cooked)
  • Tuesday – pasta bake
  • Wednesday – Tofu Katsu (Chicken for the men)
  • Thursday – Enchiladas
  • Friday – Fish/Chicken and chips (Which we didn’t have last week)
  • Saturday – Curry (made from scratch not a jar)
  • Sunday – Pies and mash

We had enchiladas last week but they were underwhelming, so I’ve come up with a idea with my daughter. I am going to include more vegetables inside and less sauce on the outside. I am also going to top them with mozzarella slices. We use the packet mixes but usually drown them in sauce before baking, but it makes them too spicy.

Linking up with Katy Kicker for her meal planning linky.

Katykicker

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Mother’s Day Gifts from Etsy

It’s Mother’s Day in the UK on 22nd March this year. I am going to put together a few lists of things that may help you decided on what gifts you’d like to buy or receive this year. I’m starting with Etsy as it’s my favourite place for special and unusual gifts. You can view the Editors picks for Mother’s Day Gifts for lots more ideas.

This post contains affiliate links which may earn me some money but cost you nothing extra if you buy anything. Thanks in advance for clicking.

Prints from Etsy

Violet Grace makes some lovely prints, mostly word based.

I love this print which you can download or order pre-printed and have it personalised to suite you, including colours and words. Prices start from £6. Violet Grace’s prints would make a lovely Mother’s Day gift from Etsy.

Mum print from etsy

I really love this Mother an Daughter print though, this would certainly make me smile.

mother and daughter word print
Mother and Daughter print

Jewellery Mother’s Day Gifts from Etsy

What about a beautiful necklace set from Dear Ava. I think it’s so pretty and has the perfect sentiment for a Mother’s Day Gift.

twin necklaces for mother and daughter on flower background card.
Necklaces £28.03

Or how about a personalised disc necklace with up to five names.

disc necklace with personalised names.
Personalised name disc necklace from £8.99 to £15.50

These beautiful necklaces really deserve a look. There are so many options to choose from from the type of flowers and chains to choose from. I think they are really beautiful, and you can add an initial to the clasp too, just to make a little more personal.

flower necklace
from £25 to £37 depending on type of chain.

Mother’s Day Keepsake Gifts from Etsy

I love this beautiful tree block, you can also change the word Family to Mother (or even Grandmother.)

family tree block
Family Tree Block £25

Or maybe your Mother would like a cushion. This one comes as a cover or with the cushion pad and you can choose white or hession. The personalisation is completely up to you.

personalized cushion
Mother Cushion £10- £15

Mother’s Day Candles.

I love my candles and I’d be happy to receive something special. In fact, I’ll probably be doing a whole post on candles in the near future. For now, here are my favourites from Etsy.

This lovely scented soy wax candle comes in an apothecary jar. You can choose from six different scents and an amber or clear glass jar. You can choose what you want on the label.

best mum candle gift from etsy
Soy Wax candle from £9.95

Here is a pretty personalised Mother’s Day Gift Candle where you can choose what you want written on it.

personlised candle
personalised candle £2.30 – £3.55

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little round up. Please do check out all the lovely things you can buy on Etsy and consider giving your Mother, Grandmother, Mother-in-law, Sister or friend and lovely gift to celebrate this Mother’s Day. And if you are one of my children reading this, then I’d be happy with anything at all listed here. 🙂

My Mother’s Day Gift List from last year.

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A Place to Read

The Telephone Box Library – A review

I bought this book myself but this post contains affiliate links.

  • Author: Rachael Lucas
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2548 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (9 Jan. 2020)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07WRDCG7Y

The Blurb

The Cotswolds: the perfect retreat for a stressed-out teacher. And Lucy has found just the right cottage for a bargain rent. All she has to do is keep an eye on Bunty, her extremely feisty ninety-something neighbour . . . 
With her West Highland terrier Hamish at her side, Lucy plans to relax and read up on the women of nearby Bletchley Park. But the villagers of Little Maudley have other ideas, and she finds herself caught up in the campaign to turn a dilapidated telephone box into a volunteer-run library.

Along the way, she makes friends with treehouse designer Sam, and finds herself falling for the charms of village life. And it seems Bunty has a special connection to Bletchley and the telephone box, one that she’s kept secret for decades . . .

My Review of The Telephone Box Library

The telephone box library

After a tough long read, (like 1Q84) I like to go with something lighthearted and fun, and maybe with a little romance. The Telephone Box Library ticked all these boxes.

I was initially attracted to the book because I am fascinated with telephone box libraries, what a fabulous idea they are. Sadly, putting one in our area would probably just encourage vandalism. But putting one in a country village sounds idyllic.

The second thing that attracted me was the connection to Bletchley Park, one of the most favourite places I have visited. The stories emerging from that place are really interesting.

If I had one little disappointment, it might have been the lack of description of Bletchley Park, but I really can let that slip. The story was warm and endearing and had just the right amount of little twists and turns. I loved Lucy and Sam, the main characters and of course I was rooting for them all the time. But the real star of the show was Bunty and I loved her story.

bookworms monthly

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A Place to Eat

Meal Plan – Missing Shopping

I had a bad week last week and to be honest, I don’t know how we managed with our missing shopping. but we did. I did my online shop on Sunday like I normally do and fell asleep halfway through. Urgh, it’s something that happens to me frequently. I’ve even been known to continue typing on my laptop after falling asleep. My husband or son will take it away until I wake up.

Anyway, I had managed to save the shop and even check it out before nodding off, I think I knew it was going to happen. So, it was still there and all I had to to was finish it off. Only, despite being awake this time I didn’t complete checkout and was only sent my first half of the order, the rest of my shopping was missing.

It took a day or two to realise that I was missing shopping that I was adamant I’d bought, but as I don’t put the shopping away I hadn’t noticed. So, meal plans went out the window and we managed with what we already had. In fact we managed fairly well and I even stuck to my No Take Away plan.

This week I went to log on to my usual Sainsburys but they had zero spots for Monday delivery. It was the same with Morrisons. So I went to the Asda site and managed to get a slot. Then I booked a slot for Sainsburys for Tuesday. It takes so long to shop somewhere new. And now I’m not sure that I’ve not replicated shopping in both trolleys despite my constant checking. I’m beginning to think that I shouldn’t be allowed to do the shopping at all!

This Weeks Meal Plan – with no missing shopping

  • Monday – lasagne/bolognese
  • Tuesday- fajitas or enchiladas
  • Wednesday – gammon and chips
  • Thursday – pasta bake
  • Friday – fish/chicken and chips
  • Saturday – curry
  • Sunday – lamb roast

I’m currently £50 under budget so that will help if the meals are not welcomed. But it will be a trip to the local supermarket.

I wonder if I can make it through to the end of March without buying a take away…wish me luck! Lining up with Katy Kicker’s meal planning linky See what everyone else is cooking this week

Katykicker

My previous meal planning post

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Bookworms Monthly March

Welcome to Bookworms Monthly March linkup

Hello, Welcome to BookWorms Monthly March. January seemed to go on forever but February was over in a flash and I managed to read two books and I’m more than half way through a third. How’s your month going?

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 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.

Link up your BookWorms Monthly March 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.

bookworms monthly march

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Michael Rosen – The Missing – review

I bought this book by Michael Rosen myself and have not been asked to review it. This post does however contain affiliate links. Thank you for taking the time to read and click if you wish.

We are big fans of Michael Rosen, what childhood would be complete without ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt?’ The kids current favourite is ‘No Breathing in Class’ and whenever I’m being strict with them I’ll tell them ‘no breathing’ just so they know I mean business. Or rather it makes them laugh and they actually listen to me.

The Missing – The True Story of my Family in World War II

book cover, michael rosen - missing

Author: Michael Rosen, available from Waterstones for £8.99 in hardback.

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781406386752
Number of pages: 128
Weight: 189 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 9 mm

The Blurb

When I was growing up, stories often hung in the air about my great -uncles: they were there before the war, my Dad would say, but werent after.

That never used to make any sense to me…How could people just disappear? People with whole lives? People with families? So, over many years, I tried to find out exactly what happened. This book is the result: the true story of the missing Rosens.

Our Verdict

This book was written for children but holds a strong message for anyone. Both me and Star read it in one sitting it was so intriguing. Interspersed with Rosen’s poetry it shows how he searched for his missing relatives and the stories he found.

We don’t really think about the horror of the holocaust. It was something that happened, it was horrid, we wont let it happen again. Hopefully. Well, it’s actually happening now to some extent but as always we never know the real truth, the real horror of it all.

When it is something that happened to your own relatives it brings even more horror and sadness. Michael Rosen fully understands how lucky he is to be born shortly after the war rather than during it.

Here is a note from Michael Rosen on the first page.

This story is about the things that happened to my family a long time ago, back when photos and films where in black and white. But when I think about it, my relatives were refugees – a lot like the people you may have seen on the news recently.

Because of the events of the Second World War, they were forced to run:to flee and hide. When I turn on the TV now, eighty years later, I see thousands of families that have been forced to run from new wars, driven into hiding and sometimes losing their lives.

So I hope this book becomes part of a bigger conversations about the refugee crisis. About how to find fair and decent ways of helping people like my relatives

michael Rosen

A riveting and very sad story. One I would definitely recommend. We can’t keep our eyes closed forever.

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