A Place to Read

What I’ve been Reading lately

The title of this post should really be what I’ve been listening to lately, but I do love my audio books. In this post I’ll include links to both Audio and Book versions.

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

The Blurb

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she considers the charming new resident who looks exactly like a man she once knew – a man who died sixty years ago. His arrival has stirred distant memories she and Elsie thought they’d laid to rest. Lying prone in the front room, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light …

Audible version

Amazon version

My Thoughts

I absolutely loved this book and didn’t want to put it down. The characters are beautifully described and the story gently told. There are twists and turns, some of them easy to work out, but the end still leaves you guessing a little. Can you work out what the third thing about Elsie is?

I love that even old people can have adventures, as well as skeletons in the closet. The story moved at a good pace despite the over use of flowery descriptions. There were so many things I read that I would love to quote…probably too many as I can’t remember any! But it didn’t distract from the story which had everything you need for a good read.

The Hoarder by Jess Kidd

The Blurb

Maud Drennan – underpaid carer and unintentional psychic – is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that something is changing: Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her.

With only her agoraphobic landlady and a troop of sarcastic ghostly saints to help, Maud must uncover what lies beneath Cathal’s decades-old hostility, and the strange activities of the house itself. And if someone has hidden a secret there, how far will they go to ensure it remains buried?

Audible Version

Amazon Version

My Thoughts

Another story about an old person with secrets, I guess if anything it makes me feel younger 🙂

This is another great story if a little weird. The main character obviously has some sort of psychic gift, or she’s just a little bonkers. No matter, I found her guardians entertaining.

The story has some great twists and secrets to discover, and it’s another page turner. The old man has a certain charm despite him hiding it well. There were parts that made me laugh, some that made me tense and others that even made a lump in my throat.

Great read if you like something a little different from the normal thriller.

The Ex-Wife by Jess Ryder

The Blurb

Newly married Natasha has the perfect house, a loving husband and a beautiful little girl called Emily. She’d have it all if it wasn’t for Jen, her husband’s ex-wife who just won’t leave them alone …

Then Natasha returns home one day to find her husband and Emily gone without trace. Desperate to get her daughter back, Natasha will do anything even if it means accepting an offer of help from Jen. But can she trust her? And do either of them really know the man they married?


Audible Version

Amazon Version

My Thoughts

This is a fast paced book with lots of twists and turns. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out who’s side you’re on. Then a certain character reveals their true colours which makes you wonder why any of the other characters have survived at all.

I really enjoyed the way the characters developed and the story line was strong. There was a couple of twists I really didn’t expect. The story flips from Now to Then and for a while you are not really sure of the relationship between the characters in the different time scales.

There were one or two things which I felt were a little far fetched but they added to the suspense and gave explanations as to why the characters acted the way they did.

A Place to Enjoy, Crochet

Crochet Projects

I love to crochet, it’s so relaxing and I love it when something comes together and I can say I made this.

Last year I joined a CAL with Simply Crochet magazine and each month I learned a new stitch to make a block for a beautiful blanket.

The blanket came with two options, one was Stonewashed, the other Colour Crafter. I chose the colour crafter and it turned out like this.

Colour Crafter Blanket CAL

Not only have I made a lovely, soft, cosy and colourful blanket, but I’ve learnt a lot of new stitches. Some of them I struggled with, but mostly it was straight forward.

Now for the good news, if you would like to try to can find the details over on the Simply Crochet Magazine site

There are even You Tube videos which can help you with the more trickier stitches. But it’s not as difficult as it looks. I still consider myself a beginner and I managed to make one.

If you fancy trying out Simply Crochet magazine please click the banner below for a great offer.

Post Comment Love
A Place to Enjoy, Shopping

Mother’s Day Gift List

Mother’s Day 2019 is on March 31st.

Here is a comprehensive list of gifts to please all sorts of Mum’s. I’ve spent hours compiling this list for you and the links are all affiliate links. It will not cost you any extra to click through these links but if you go on to purchase something I will earn a few extra pennies for my new wheelchair fund. So, a big thank you from me x

Thorntons

Thorntons are a great place to start, you can have your chocolate personalised if you wish to make it extra special. Here are just 3 of the gifts available, two are under £10 so perfect for the kiddies to buy!

Thorntons chocolate heart £8
Thortons Box of Chocolates £7
Thorntons yellow roses and chocolates £50

Cadburys

Cadburys offer some lovely selections especially for Mum, priced at £10, £20 and £30…perfect for every budget.

Cadburys Treasure Box £10
Cadburys chocolate Hamper and Fizz £30
Cadburys Mothers Day Chocolate £20

Pressy Box

Looking for something a little different or special, then Pressy Box has literally hundreds of fabulous products to choose from. You’ll be sure to find something that your Mum would love. Here are a small pick of my favourites.

From You to Me Book £11.99
Gin and Tonic Bathing Gel £8.99
Eyezone Massager £9.99
Collagin £34.95

Candles

I love candles, they add atmosphere as well as a beautiful scent to your home. I could have a hundred candles and it still wouldn’t be enough. Candles Direct are the place to go for all things candle and they have some great prices too.

Yankee Candle, Floral Candy -large £19.99
Gold and Peal Wax Burner £14.24

Etsy

You Can’t beat a look around Etsy if you want to find something really special for your Mum, from handmade to personalised and a whole lot more.

wooden box personalised
Personalised Mother’s Day Memory Box £34.95
Mum’s Knitting Bag £12.95
Bath Salt Pamper Basket £23.00
Sunshine Drop Ear rings £20

John Lewis

John Lewis have a lovely selection of gifts, including things you wouldn’t normally think of.

Gin Gift Box £50
Strictly Come Dancing Board Game £15.99
a shopper bag with flowers
Ted Baker Annacon Elegant Print Shopper Bag £30
an orange purse decorated with zebras
Sara Miller Zebra Purse £12.00

Flowers

How about sending Mum a gorgeous bunch of flowers through the post. You can even add chocolates or teddy bears as well as other gifts and cards.

Roses with chocolates £22.99
Spring Supreme with Chocolates £19

I hope you have enjoyed my list and found it useful. Let me know in the comments what you would like to buy your Mum for Mother’s Day, or what you would like to receive yourself.

A Place to Read

The Best Biographies and Memoirs on Audible





Do you like finding out more about celebrities, hearing about the real person? These audiobooks are Audibles latest offerings in celebrity Biographies and Memoirs.  

Michelle Obama – A Life

Michelle Obama – A Life

Audible – £28.09 or free with a 30 day trial of Audible

By: Peter Slevin
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 15 hrs and 33 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 18-08-15
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

An inspiring story of a modern American icon, here is the first comprehensive account of the life and times of Michelle Obama. With disciplined reporting and a storyteller’s eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago’s largely segregated South Side. He illuminates her tribulations at Princeton University and Harvard Law School during the racially charged 1980s and the dilemmas she faced in Chicago while building a high-powered career, raising a family, and helping a young community organizer named Barack Obama become president of the United States.



From the lessons she learned in Chicago to the messages she shares as one of the most recognizable women in the world, the story of this first lady is the story of America. Michelle Obama: A Life is a fresh and compelling view of a woman of unique achievement and purpose.


©2015 Peter Slevin (P)2015 Audible, Inc

Mel B – Brutally Honest

Brutally Honest – Mel B


Audible – £18.99 or free with a 30 day trial of Audible

By: Melanie Brown
Narrated by: Melanie Brown, Phoenix Chi Gulzar Brown, Andrea Brown, Zaraah Abrahams, Bruce Lester Johnson
Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 27-11-18
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

Please note that this audiobook contains explicit language and content some listeners may find distressing.

The memoir from the real woman behind the leopard print, for real women everywhere. 

As one-fifth of the iconic Spice Girls and judge on X Factor and America’s Got Talent, Melanie Brown, aka Scary Spice, has been an international star since the age of 19. And yet there are sides of Mel that no one has ever seen or really known. 

Brutally Honest is an exposé of the struggles and acute pain that lay behind the glamour and success. With deep personal insight, remarkable frankness and Melanie’s trademark Yorkshire humour, this audiobook removes the mask of fame and reveals the mother, wife and daughter behind the Spice Girl everyone thinks they know. 

The audiobook edition features narration from Melanie, her daughter, Phoenix, and her mother, Andrea.


©2018 Melanie Brown and Louise Gannon (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

Robert Webb – How Not to Be a Boy

Robert Webb – How Not to be a Boy




Audible – £19.99 0r free with a 30 day trial of Audible

By: Robert Webb
Narrated by: Robert Webb
Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 29-08-17
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

Rules for Being a Man:

  • Don’t cry
  • Love sport
  • Play rough
  • Drink beer
  • Don’t talk about feelings

But Robert Webb has been wondering for some time now: are those rules actually any use? To anyone?

Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life. Hilarious and heartbreaking, How Not to Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren’t the Luke Skywalker of your life – you’re actually Darth Vader.

Giles and Mary –  A Tale of Two Nobodies

Giles and Mary – a Tale of Two Nobodies

By: Mary Killen, Giles Wood
Narrated by: Mary Killen, Giles Wood
Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 02-11-17
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

What is life for Gogglebox‘s Giles and Mary outside the willow-patterned cocoon?

Giles is a countryman who relishes solitude. His wife, Mary, thrives in company and enjoys frequent escapes to London.

After 30 years in a marriage of opposites, Giles and Mary have adapted to a life of domestic misunderstandings within comical misadventures.

In The Diary of Two Nobodies, you will have the unique opportunity to discover, first hand, what occurs when a man who sees himself as a cross between Mr Bean and Basil Fawlty shares his life with a woman who identifies closely with the Queen.

Accompanying this diary is a candid and amusing Audible Sessions interview with Giles and Mary, in which they discuss how they made it onto Gogglebox, what the most annoying things about each other are, and why ‘nutty’ is their go-to term of endearment.

Audible – £13.99 or free with a 30 day trial of Audible.

This post contains affiliate links because I am an Audible affiliate. I’m also a huge fan of Audible and love receiving my new audio book every month for just £7.99 You can choose anything, I have a six volume set of Sherlock Holmes in my collection which would have cost nearly £70 if I were not a member. 

Since I got sick my eyesight is troublesome. I’ve tried the opticians and have reading glasses, but although they help they don’t stop the tiredness I get in my eyes. 

I would have to give up reading but since I discovered Audible I’ve devoured more books than I have done in ages. I love it! And the best thing is, I can carry on listening to my books while crocheting or even doing to the housework. You don’t have to put your book down to make a cup of tea, just take it with you in your ears.

If you join audible or buy a book from my list you’ll be helping me to add to my listening collection with no extra cost to you, so thank you in advance. 




A Place to Eat

Sit Down and Have a Cup of Tea

I love tea! I like coffee too, but tea is my go to drink and I find it so much more refreshing.

Tea is so versatile as you can find so many delicious flavours and drink it hot or cold. My personal favourite is Earl Gray but I love a good Breakfast Tea in the morning.

Twinings

Twinings have such a wide variety of tea it’s hard to choose once you visit their site. Strong, weak, fruity, hot or cold you’ll definitely find something to tickle your taste buds.

Twinings also have some fabulous offers on for February, for instance you can get 10% if you are a New Customer with code NEW10

Why not give yourself a boost with some of their new Superblends. for example:
Defence. A Citrus and Ginger Flavoured Herbal Infusion with Green Tea, Echinacea Root and added Vitamin C.

Energise. A Mandarin and Apple Flavoured Green Tea with Guarana and added Vitamin B6.

Turmeric. An Orange Flavoured Infusion with Turmeric and Star Anise.

Focus. Mango and Pineapple Flavoured Herbal Infusion with Ginseng Root and added Vitamin B6.

Digest. Apple Flavoured Herbal Infusion with Spearmint, Rooibos and Baobab.

Cold Infusions

Twinings Cold Infuse gives you a delicious taste to liven up your water without any of the hassle. The infusers are easy to use: just drop one of the infusion bags into a water bottle (500ml), wait for 5 minutes – stirring or shaking occasionally – and enjoy!

Want to liven up your water? Why not try dropping a cold infusion bag into sparkling water for a healthy, sugar-free alternative to fizzy drinks.

Designed to drop into your reusable water bottle, Cold Infuse is the perfect aid to helping you drink more water throughout the day, wherever you are. Simply drop, leave, shake and enjoy! 

Gifts

Valentines day is February 14th and Twinings have some fabulous gifts to choose from.

gift bag wiht breakfast tea, chocolate truffles, a keep warm cup and teabag tidy

The Roses Are Red giftbag is the perfect gift for any tea lover and is packed full of flavour from strong breakfast tea to the decadent truffles packed with fun popping candy, delighting your taste buds. There is also a keep cup, perfect for re-filling on the go and a stylish tea tidy.

box of tea bags, marmalade, shortbread biscuits, black gift bag

Breakfast in Bed.

Who wouldn’t love to be woken up with a cup of exquisite breakfast tea – lovingly made and accompanied by a little sweet treat.

This gift box includes:

If you are tempted I have one more offer for you, Free Delivery when you spend over £25 with code FDEL219

Enjoy!

This post contains affilliate links

A Place to Enjoy, Crochet

Free Crochet Patterns for kid’s Scarfs

I love crochet and scarfs are my most favourite thing to make. They are often really simple and quick to make and are great to make as gifts.

In this post I’m featuring some fabulous free patterns for kid’s scarfs. I’m not going to list them as girl’s and boy’s because who cares, kid’s will wear what they want. But these are super cute and most are real easy to make.

Rainbow hearts and fluffy clouds.

This scarf is super cute and colourful. Any child would be happy to wear a lovely scarf like this.

a rainbow coloured scarf with a heart on one end and a cloud on the other
Rainbow, heart and fluffy cloud scarf from Crafty is Cool

Pom Pom Scarf

What kids doesn’t love pom poms. This scarf is adorable, and would look good in whatever colourway you chose for it.

a kids' scarf in purple. pink and white with matching pom poms on each end
Pom Pom scarf from Skein and Hook

Harry Potter Scarf

Now this one should be really popular, there are a lot of Harry Potter fans out there who would like a scarf like this.

A Harry Potter scarf in stripes of crimson and gold and with tassles at the ends
Harry Potter Scarf from Knotted Mom

Unicorn Scarf

Unicorns are very popular at the moment so I’m sure any child would be happy to be seen snuggled up with a unicorn scarf.

a white scarf with a unicorn head at one end and legs and tails at the other, the horn, paws and tail are all in a contrasting purple wool
Unicorn Scarf from Semi Sweet Crafter

Lego Brick Scarf

Kids love bricks, that’s a fact, and this scarf is a perfect winter warmer for all brick lovers big or small.

Lego Brick Scarf from Cool Creativity

If you loved this post but would like to see patterns for adult scarfs please see my previous post here.

A Place to Enjoy, Crochet

Crochet Scarf Patterns for Adults

Crochet is a perfect hobby when you are stuck at home a lot. I love new projects and scarfs are so easy and quick to make. I especially love when you can make one in a couple of days, it gives a great sense of satisfaction.

Here are a few crochet Scarf patterns that I have found.

Women’s Scarfs

This one is really easy, perfect for a beginner.

Simple Scarf

This gorgeous scarf can be used as a Spring scarf or shoulder wrap. It’s so pretty don’t you think?

Strawberry Patch Convertible Scarf

The Waffle stitch is one of my favourites and it’s a lot easier than it looks.

Waffle Stitch Scarf

Infinity scarfs are just great for keeping you warm and I love the pattern on this cluster stitch scarf.

Cluster Stitch Infinity Scarf

Men’s Scarfs

With easy stitches and chunky wool, this scarf is quick to make and perfect for a man.

Every Man Scarf from Fibre Flux

This scarf looks warm and snug for those extra cold days

brown warm crocheted men's scarf
Burly Tweed Man’s Scarf from The Good Life

This striped scarf is one I wouldn’t mind borrowing from my Man

Red scarf with a white strip and a grey strip inside the white stripe.
Vertical Stripe Scarf from Eating Out Loud

Check out my next post for kid’s scarfs

A Place to Eat

Blueberry Flapjacks

Blueberry flapjacks.

Ingredients:

  • 295g butter
  • 250g Tate and Lyles Golden Syrup
  • 500g porridge oats
  • 200g blueberries

Method:

  • Grease and line an 8″ square tin
  • In a non-stick pan gently heat the golden syrup and butter until melted
  • stir in the porridge oats
  • Stir through the blueberries
  • Pour into tin and press down firmly with the back of a spoon
  • bake for 25 minutes until golden brown
  • leave to cool in the tin
  • turn out and cut into slices

nb, the blueberries tend to make the flapjacks very soft and crumble, but it’s worth it for the burst of juicy flavour.

A Place to Eat

Cottage Loaf recipe

I love baking bread, nothing tastes better than a fresh loaf of bread, and nothing smells better than the taste of one baking.

I do have a bread maker which makes things easy, but sometimes you can’t beat a good old knead. And when you are making something like a cottage loaf, then you will need to assemble it before baking.

It can be a family affair making a fresh loaf of bread as the kids love to help with the kneading too

The recipe I used was a basic white loaf recipe.

Ingredients

500g bread flour
25g butter
1tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1tsp dried yeast
320 ml of warm water

Method:

rub the butter into the flour
add the sugar, salt and yeast,
mix in the water a little at a time until you have a firm dough
knead the dough for 10 mins and leave in a bowl covered with cling film, or a tea towel for about 1 hour
knead the dough again and shape into two rounds, one slightly bigger than the other
Put the smaller mound on top of the larger one and push two fingers all the way through both rounds from the middle of the top round.
leave to prove, covered lightly, for a further 30 mins.
Bake at 180 C for 40 mins, or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

 
cottage loaf
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

 

Method:

  • 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