Hello October and my First Blogtober 2021 post

Well, the year is just flying by, or is that because I’m getting old. Don’t blink, it will be Christmas! This year I’m going to attempt Blogtober on two of my blogs, crazy I know, but this is the first time for At Home a Lot so I’ll take it easy.

My readers at Raisiebay probably know me already but I thought I’d give an introduction to me on this blog and why I write here as well.

I started blogging a very long time ago and my other blog has been running 11 years now. This one I started just over three years ago because I wanted to split up my ideas a little more. This is my blog all about staying at home a lot and what I do to pass time, so it’s mostly crochet, reading and online shopping.

About Me

I was an active mum of five. Two by my first husband who are grown up now, and three by my current husband who are now 16, 14 and 11 years old. I used to do everything and was very busy, but I’m not sure if I burnt out because I was struck down suddenly on January 1st 2016 with pins and needles, followed by paralysis and two weeks in hospital. I was told I had Transverse Myelitis and would recover in eight weeks. It seemed like a lifetime. Twelve weeks later I was back in the consultants office while he discussed the fact that he didn’t think it was Transverse Myelitis and I needed further tests.

I had a LOT of tests and eventually, almost exactly a year later, I was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome plus PERM. It’s an incredibly rare condition but it involves a break down in your immune system which causes neurological damage. I use a wheelchair and I’ve been able to walk more than a very short distance for nearly six years now. My youngest child doesn’t actually remember me being able to walk.

About My Family

I never write about my older kids as they are adults and I respect their privacy, but they both still live with us and we are lucky to have a big house (which still doesn’t feel big enough sometimes.) I’m Married to Graham since 2016. I never really wanted to get married again, but when I got sick he proved he was here for the long run so I asked him to marry me and he said yes! (2016 was a leap year and I proposed on February 29th. We got married in the same year, in November.)

My younger children have blog names but I don’t often write about them here. For the record though, they are Star, 16 who has just started college, Boo, 14, just starting her GCSEs and The Little Man, 11, who has just started Secondary School.

I also have two cats, Sabrina and Ash.

About My Blog

I write a lot of book reviews and hold a monthly book linky for book worms. I love to crochet and although I’m not at the pattern writing stage I do like to share my projects. I am also an avid affiliate and write a lot of affiliated posts from programs I love, so this blog has a lot of reviews and posts about things you can buy, gift lists and such like.

This blog is a little less personal that Raisie Bay but I still like to add a little of myself to every post.

Blogtober 2021

I’ll probably share my monthly posts between my two blogs but if you are taking part you can pop your posts on my Blogtober linky over on Raisiebay here.

I’ll look forward to getting to know more bloggers over this blogging bonanza.

blogtober 2021


This is Not Just Hand Soap, Choose well Review

I was asked to review some hand soap and I was really impressed with Choose Well and their lovely ethical hand soaps with a purpose.

Four bottles of choose well hand soap, rose geranium, botanical orang, cedarwood and sage and Almond and Vanilla.
Four bottles of Choose Well Hand Soap

There’s power and purpose in every purchase

The large 500 ml bottles are all 100% recyclable and you can also buy refill packets which work out at better value and have even less waste. You can even choose to buy a glass bottle to use with the refills.

The hand soap is not tested on animals and contains 95% natural ingredients. They are tested by dermatologists and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Each purchase allows you to opt where some of the profit from sales goes towards charitable ventures: such as providing water and sanitation for countries that need help. Or you can choose to help the homeless and help keep a young person off the street. The other charity is Trees. Planting trees can regenerate forests and help the global climate.

My review of the Hand Soap

I love that every product bought helps causes that I care about. I also like that the dispensers are completely recyclable. I switched to bar soap a couple of years ago, but my family were so pleased to have bottles in the bathroom again. I though bar soap was a better choice at the time but I think Choose Well may have changed my mind.

We love the Choose Well hand soap, it leaves our hands feeling soft and clean and the bathroom smelling delightful. Our favourite so far is the Rose Geranium, but we like all of them. We have the Cedarwood and Sage in the upstairs bathroom and that’s wonderful too.

Just a little squirt from the bottle is enough for a complete hand wash and a sink full of bubbles. I suffer from dermatitis and I’m pleased to report that my hands have been left feeling soft and smelling lovely.

A 500ml bottle of hand wash costs £7.99, which is a little expensive but it’s worth it. You are also supporting a good cause and the wash lasts for ages. It’s also a truly luxurious wash and I’m definitely considering refills when my bottles empty.

The refills cost £12 and you get a whole litre of hand wash. The exclusive glass dispenser costs £9.99 for a 300ml bottle and £11.99 for a 500ml bottle. You can also refill the plastic bottles if you want to give them more life before recycling.

At the moment Choose Well have four fragrances for their hand soap, Rose Geranium, Almond and Vanilla, Botanical Orange and Cedarwood and Sage.

You can also buy kits, like the refill starter kit with a 500ml dispenser bottle and a litre refill of the soap of your choice The price for this is £23.99. or You can buy two bottles of soap for £14 or 4 four £28

You can follow Choose Well on Instagram. On Twitter and Facebook

It all started with a simple idea. What if soap could be more than just soap? What if liquid hand wash could help save lives and change lives for the better? What if money from the sale of an everyday item could be put towards good causes? What if soap could help both people and the planet?


Studying with the Centre of Excellence

It was a few months back now when I saw an ad on Facebook for the Centre of Excellence for a course I was interested in. It was on special offer and I thought why not give it a try and I signed up.

After signing up, I also decided to become an affiliate for the program, so my links here will be affiliate links and could earn me a little money if you use them, at no extra cost to yourself. So thank you for supporting my blog.

What Can You Study with The Centre of Excellence?

There is so much to choose from but the main categories are:

  • Corporate Welfare
  • Child Education
  • Herbalist Courses
  • Language Courses
  • Aromatherapy Courses
  • Reflexology Courses
  • Massage Courses
  • Autism & Special Needs Courses
  • Reiki Courses
  • Life Coaching Courses
  • CBT courses
  • Mindfulness Courses
  • Psychic and Supernatural
  • Beauty and Therapy
  • Holistic Therapy
  • Counselling Courses
  • Psychology Courses
  • Diet and Nutrition Courses
  • NLP Courses
  • Hypnotherapy Courses
  • Animal Care Courses
  • Hobby and Craft
  • Writing Courses
  • Fitness and Well-being
  • Business, Marketing and PR
  • History Courses
  • Earth Sciences
  • Children’s Courses
  • Free Courses

Currently there are two free courses you can sign up for, these do change occasionally. It’s a great way of finding out if the style of learning is for you.

So, why not try Improve Your Memory Diploma Course for free. Or even do a Home Education Course to help your children, especially seeing as these days a lot of parents have decided to go down the home education route after the pandemic.

What I Like about The Centre of Excellence

I paid just £29 for my course on Reiki Crystal Healing and now I have access to all the course materials for as long as I wish. There is no rush to complete the course in a set time, you work at your own pace. I like to keep up with a couple of sessions a week though, just so I don’t fall behind or forget what I have learned.

At the end of each module there is an assessment which you complete online. It is then marked and sent back to you. At the end of the course you get a certificate if you have passed it.

There are many good reviews about the Centre of Excellence on Trustpilot and they have won lots of awards. The certificates you earn are CPD or Continuing Professional Development and are widely recognised. If you are doing a course to enhance your career though, it is worth checking that they accept CPD credits as qualifications.


There is plenty of support available from both The Centre of Excellence and the Facebook support groups. There are so many people doing courses and helping each other, or just being there for a boost or congratulations.

You can contact the support team by e-mail or telephone if you have any questions with your course or about the courses in general.

The Centre of Excellence is upfront with all the costs involved in taking the course you choose, including if you have to pay extra for the certificate. The costs vary on what course you want to take and what level.

The course costs vary but it’s worth looking out for special offers. Sometimes you can get an expensive course at a much cheaper price. Or you can even buy a bundle of courses and make a big saving. And remember, once you are signed up you can take your time in completing the courses.

For a little extra you can buy the paper or audio versions of the courses, but mostly you can do the courses online.

Have you thought about delving into a little more further education. I have a list of courses that I would like to do, but one step at a time.

Here are a few of the courses available:


Home, Matt Dunn – book review

This post contains affiliate links which will cost nothing if you decide to click but may earn me some money if you decide to purchase. This review is for Home by Matt Dunn.

book cover, Home, Matt Dunn
  • Paperback: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (10 Nov. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1503948390
  • ISBN-13: 978-1503948396
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm

The Blurb

There’s no place like home—except when it’s a faded resort town like Derton-on-Sea. Which is why, eighteen years ago, Josh Peters couldn’t wait to escape the place he thinks of as ‘the last resort’ for the bright lights of London.

Now his dad is sick, and his mum needs him, so he’s back, living in his cramped teenage bedroom. But he’s promised himself he won’t be staying for long.

With simmering family tensions a little too close for comfort, and amongst the old friends, old enemies, and old flames he left behind, he’s worried that some things may never change.

But is Derton the same place he was desperate to leave back then, full of failures and bitter memories, or has it been doing just fine without him? As Josh revisits his past, will he find that the only one who hasn’t moved on is him?

His London life is calling him back. But sometimes, home is where the heart is…

My Verdict on ‘Home.’

Not that I need anymore books to read or listen to, I joined Amazon Unlimited for a while. I was intrigued that you could also loan audio books. This is the first one I borrowed.

I’m not really sure why I went for Home, by Matt Dunn. I guess I thought I needed a little romantic comedy in my life, I like to mix things up occasionally. I always listen a little first to see that I can get on with the narrator and decided to give this a go, despite him being a little ‘bland.’

Story wise, Home has got a fairly good plot, you have a fair amount of romance, sadness, embarresment that you would expect in a romantic comedy. You also have far too many ‘corny’ jokes. The storyline is pretty predictable, but I didn’t mind. Overall it was a nice easy read, and sometimes that’s all you need. I guess it even managed to normalise Cancer, which is often made out to be this real big baddie, which of course it is, but so many people face it daily, it is refreshing seeing it approached in this way.

You can buy the paperback on Amazon for £4.99, or get the audiobook for just £3.49

A Place to Eat, Uncategorized

Chocolate Orange Torte

Chocolate Orange Torte

Chocolate and orange make a delicious combination and both are included in this torte. With a sweet pastry base, a chocolate and orange filling and topped with oranges there is lots to like about this recipe.

Ingredients, serves 8

200g caster sugar
4 tbs water
2 oranges, thinly sliced
475g sweet shortcrust pastry
100g butter, soft
100g ground almonds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100g of dark chocolate


  • Put half the sugar and the measured water in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the orange slices and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes until the oranges are tender and most of the syrup has evaporated. let cool.
  • Roll out the pasty on a lightly floured surface until a little larger than a greased 9 1/2 inch fluted loose-bottomed tart tin.
  • line the tin with the pasty and chill for 15 minutes
  • Line the tart with nonstick baking paper, add baking beans and place on a baking sheet.
  • bake in  a preheated oven, 190C gas mark 5 for 10 minutes
  • Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes until golden and crisp.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 180C, gas mark 4
  • Beat together the butter and the remaining sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
    Add the ground almonds, then gradually beat in the eggs until smooth. Set Aside
    Reserve 10 of the best orange slices, then drain and chop the rest.
  • Stir the chocolate into the almond mixture, then mix in the chopped oranges.
  • Spread into the tart case, arrange the reserved orange slices on top and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Let cool for 30 minutes before removing from the tin.
    Slice and Enjoy!
  • torte
A Place to Read, Uncategorized

All The Beautiful Lies – Book Review

All the Beautiful Lies, a book review.

all the beautiful lies


All the Beautiful Lies

Harry is devastated by the sudden death of his father, but was it really an accident. And who is the strange young girl who turns up at the funeral that no-one seems to know. As we follow Harry’s story of investigation into what happened to his father we also delve into the history of his Step-Mother Alice.

Alice lost her mother as a teenager and soon after began a relationship with her step father. They kept it secret, but some local residents had their suspicions.

As the plot thickens, Harry discovers the stranger at the funeral was having an affair with his father, but soon after his discovery she ends up dead. Harry suspects his Stepmother has something to do with his Father’s and his mistresses deaths but can she really be guilty. As we discover, her past is not so innocent.

In the second part of the book we discover the murderer and hear of a much darker history of the Stepmother Alice. Then to top it off there is even more twists to end the story.

My Verdict.

A dark psychological thriller which had me gripped from the start. An interesting take on a very difficult to talk about subject, interspersed with mystery and murder. It stirs up a lot of emotions and will not be an easy read for anyone who has been a victim of child abuse of a sexual nature.


I listened to All the Beautiful Lies on Audio Book and I get my books from Amazon Audible. I love audio books, I can listen while I crochet or even while doing the housework, it means I don’t have to put down my book.

You can get any type of books in Audio, fiction or non-fiction. I love audible because you get the chance to listen to an sample before you buy. I like to do this because I have to be sure I like the voice I’m going to be listening to.

Each month I get a free credit to buy any book I wish which can be great value. One month I chose the entire works of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes read by Stephen Fry. I’ve got a lovely library of audio books that I can return to at anytime if I wish.

Boo has just decided that she likes listening to books to, so I can put the app. on her phone and she can listen to children’s books.

When you sign up to Audible you get the first three months at half price and then it’s £7.99 a month which is usually less than the price of the book you can get with your monthly credit. It’s up to you if you buy more, I tend to stick to the one a month, although sometimes they have some amazing offers starting from just 99pence.

Audible also offers some exclusive podcasts to listen to for free from the likes of Stephen Fry, David Mitchell and Sue Perkins to name a few. Whether you want to listen to comedy, drama or history there are so many genres to choose from.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate and this post contains affiliate links which will make no difference to your costs but may earn me a little money if used. Thank you