Sunday, 31 August 2014

50 books 2014 - August

I have done really well this month, it must be all those lazy summer afternoons relaxing in the garden that has helped me to get through 6 books. I am really going to miss it now it's back to work time!

I have read 30 books in total now and if I can manage one a week from now I will be pretty close to my target however I am starting college and going back to work soon so may have to give up some of my TV time to do it!

So here is what I have been reading over summer...

This is the true story of Jane, an east end gangster. She tells the story of her antics from a young girl to her obsession with guns that saw her end up in prison. With a young son to look after Jane wants to make money in a legitimate way but the life of crime just wont let her go and armed with her samurai sword and shotgun nobody is going to stand in her way!

I found this story of Gypsy Jane a bit exaggerated, some of what happens seems a bit hard to believe and Jane herself seems arrogant and delusional. Just a few words from her can cause a criminal boss to pee his pants in front of a pub full of all his gangster followers? The book itself was quite a good read but more of a fictional one, if you are into modern crime stories I would stick to Martina Cole as they are more believable.

Leila is a bit of a loner, she spends most of her time in front of the computer and has no interest in joining in with the shallow social lives her school friends have gone on to live. When approached to take on  the task of living the virtual life of a fragile woman who wants to kill herself, will she be up to the job?

I really did enjoy this book and towards the middle I couldn't put it down. I was telling my daughter what was happening and each time I read some more she would pester me to give her an update! The character Leila is a bit obsessive and can get annoying at times but you also find yourself feeling sorry for her. Quite a unique story and if you are interested in the dark side of the Internet then this is the book for you.

This is a memoir of Jackie Kay, a mixed race girl that was adopted by white parents, although she had a very loving upbringing with her adopted brother she feels the need to find out about her history and goes in search of her birth parents. Her journey takes her between Scotland, Milton Keynes and across the globe to Nigeria but will she find what she's looking for?

This is a very charming story. Very honest and emotional read and I loved the relationship between Jackie and her new found siblings, how there were so many similarities even though they had never met. I wasn't too keen on the way the story jumped between place and time so often as it was hard to keep up with where and when the story was. A great insight into the thoughts and feelings of an adopted child.

 A small isolated valley known as the sink attracts loneliness and hardship. When some mysterious creature roams the swamp and surrounding forest killing livestock and scaring the life out of the all the inhabitants it brings them unexpectedly into each others company.

The book sounds like a really good read and being a short story I assumed it would be a quick and easy. The story is quite complicated and one that needs a lot of attention to be able to understand what is going on, meaning I couldn't keep up with it during the adverts of coronation street! To be honest I still don't know what the creature that terrorised the town is and I think when I have spare time I may try to re read it.

This is the story of Izzy who is approaching her 41st birthday, the same age her mum was when she killed herself. Izzy's dad and sister are flying out so the family can spend the weekend together but it is sure to be emotionally charged as she reminisces about the good times spent with her eccentric yet tormented mum.

The book was beautifully written and quite lighthearted. While tackling the issue of mental illness and the effect it had and is still having on the family, there were also some humorous parts. It is a lovely recap of the characters life but not really any suspense.

When 15 year old Shep was murdered during an apparent robbery a local boy named Daniel handed himself into the police, sentenced to death the family are left to get on with their life. 19 years later as the lethal injection is ready to do it's job, Shep's mum befriends the boy and finds herself fighting to save him. Does she know a hidden secret that surrounded the murder?

I really enjoyed this book and loved the mystery that kept me turning the pages. I found myself trying to work out what was about to be revealed but never guessed the outcome. The writing reminded me a bit of Jodi Picoult so if you are a fan of hers I'm sure you will enjoy this novel.

So that is my round-up for August! Have you had any blockbuster novels you have read this summer? As I still have 20 books to read this year I would greatly appreciate some recommendations...

Saturday, 30 August 2014

A daytrip to Brighton

We have been to Brighton quite a few times as I have family that live there, but with so much to do we never get bored of it! So when a friend asked us if we wanted to go on a day out to the funfair on the pier we couldn't resist. Although after last years trip to Alton towers I opted to carry the bags and take the photos while they were on the rides! I much prefer the 2p machines anyway.

As expected on a summer weekend Brighton was pretty busy although as it was quite a grey day there were not many sunbathers or swimmers on the beach. Most people were on the pier, which was our first stop. You have to pass by the arcades to get to the actual fair so I couldn't help but spend way too much on the 2p machines only to come away with a small London phone box ornament and a fake eye...don't ask!

The funfair rides take tokens but we bought bands that give you unlimited rides for £15 so the kids enjoyed a good few hours worth of rides before we went to enjoy fish and chips on the beach.

We couldn't have gone to Brighton without having at least a little paddle in the sea...

We had a great day out and with a long walk past all the shops (and there are hundreds) to get to the station we were completely worn out by the time we got home!

This post is linked up with #countrykids over at Coombe Mill...
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 21 August 2014

20. Peaceful

Blue skies, green grass, open space and nobody in sight...peaceful!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014


A few weeks ago my teen asked me to take her to Bubbleology, my reply...'What the hell is Bubbleology?'

After looking it up on the Internet I learnt that Bubbleology is a type of coffee shop that sells bubble tea rather than coffee. This is a type of tea that was first introduced in Taiwan it the 1980's and given it's name because of the bubbles that form on the top after it has been shaken.

The actual shop looks a bit futuristic and sciency with bubble machines and equations written on the walls. There are a number of Bubbleology cafes across London, we visited the Soho one which is quite quaint but still full of customers.

So what is bubble tea you ask? Well it's a type of fruit or milk tea that comes in a variety of flavours and is served hot or cold. The milk flavours include Jasmine, Almond and coconut, which is the one I chose. The fruit teas include ginger, mango and lychee and there are also specials such as strawberries and cream and my daughters choice, banoffee pie!

The drink is served with an extra wide straw so that the round tapioca balls can be enjoyed with the drink. These tapioca balls are also known as pearls or boba and the black variety used in the bubble tea contain sweet potato, cassava root and brown sugar. I expected these balls to be soft and kind of pop in the mouth but was surprised at how tough and chewy they were, they reminded me of jelly sweets but without the sweet flavour, actually they didn't really taste of anything and it was quite a strange sensation to have them keep popping up out of the straw when I was enjoying my drink.

We each had a cold drink and they were both tasty and refreshing however we were not really a fan of the pearls and after finishing the tea we just threw away the balls that were left in the bottom of the cup. I would definitely recommend trying bubble tea for the experience and obviously it's liked by many so it could be to your taste but personally it wasn't really my cup of tea!

19. Black and white

Although you can change any picture into black and white I thought I would take a photo of something originally black and white so I choose my two utterly cute kittens.

Monday, 18 August 2014

18. Jump

I love taking jumping pictures and thankfully I have somebody that is happy to jump in front of the camera for me because I didn't want to have to do it myself!

17. Bookshelf

I have two bookshelves next to each other, one is full of kids books but the kids are always complaining to me that they never have anything to read! My problem is I have too many books to read and not enough time!

I love all the trinkets that get added to the bookshelf over time, I have little ornaments, picture frames, clocks, candles and even bottles of perfume on mine and I think it just adds to the character.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

16. Look down

This is the view looking over Brighton pier, down into the water. It is not very clear water but I do live the greeny colour of it. 

15. Blue

Blue is one of my favourite colours and I love the look of stripey deckchairs on the beach like this blue one.
Sorry the post is a bit late but I have had a busy few days!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

14. Hands

Our hands must be one of the busiest parts of our bodies, they are always up to something! Today my hands were busy painting my teen girls bedroom.

13. My guilty pleasure

My guilty pleasure is reading and eating chocolate, preferably at the same time. I know reading is not something to feel guilty about but I tend to do it when I know I should really be doing something else!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

12. On the table

On the table... me cutting some pepper to feed to the snails (Sid and Beast) and Kyra making some cookie dough.

11. Handwriting

My son has struggled with his handwriting for years. He has always been very bright, has a really good imagination and even as the youngest member of the family he often helps the rest of us with our spelling! As he is going into year 5 we want his handwriting to be up to a good standard so that his new teacher can actually read his work, although a lot of his teachers have been understanding and reassure him that even the most cleverest of people often have illegible handwriting.

I have some sheets for him to practice in the holidays but I must say it hasn't been used very often and the ps3 seems to win when he has spare time so I need to pull my finger out and give him a bit of an incentive to keep him going...maybe a new computer game might help!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

10. drink

This is my morning coffee, the best drink of the day! I usually have my first cuppa before I wake everyone else up and so it's a bit like the calm before the storm. This is me looking out into the garden and trying to predict what type of day it's going to be.

9. In my bag...

My in my bag post is a bit late as I was out for the whole day yesterday but as my mum says, better late than never!

So in my bag I have the usual keys, purse and phone. I have an umbrella for the rain and sun spray for the sun as you just never no what your gonna get! I always carry a book to keep up with my 50 book challenge. My Samsung phone and tab, I use the tab a lot more that the phone! I have mango lip butter and hemp hand cream, both from The Body Shop and a pink nail varnish as that's my favourite summer shade. I have a spare hairband because my hair is always tied back outside, I hate it blowing in the wind! My oyster card that is always topped up and gets me everywhere. Finally I always carry tissue as my son has random nose bleeds in random places.

So what is in your bag?

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Going ape with Vimto

Last weekend we were lucky enough to take a trip to Go Ape in Tilgate park, Crawley thanks to the Vimto team. Go Ape is a forest adventure where you get to climb across obstacles and slide down zip wires while up in the trees.

Not to be outdone by the kids, the dad and I also had to get our safety gear on to brave the heights, although dad wasn't too brave and dropped out after the first hurdle!
It doesn't look too high when you are on the ground but is actually quite terrifying when you are up there!

The kids were a bit reluctant when they started and Kieron especially needed some encouragement but after about ten minutes they were flying around like professionals and left me behind!

After an hour in the Junior tree top adventure the kids received their certificates and stickers to prove that they're the king of the jungle. It was quite a warm day and the kids worked up a thirst so they were pleased to have their big bottles of water and Vimto squeezy water enhancers to hand.

Tilgate park is a lovely setting to have a Go ape, there is a beautiful green to sit and have a picnic and this very picturesque lake where the kids enjoyed looking at the ducks and boats while drinking their Vimto.

The little squeezy Vimto bottles were perfect to bring with us on the train as we were able to buy the bottled water at the station on arrival and didn't need any heavy bags to carry. The drinks come in three flavours and are sugar free so great for all the family. I think strawberry was the overall winner on the taste test. Not sure that I would use the ultra concentrated drink (each bottle has 25 servings) at home as I think they are a bit of a novelty for the kids and caught them pouring the Vimto straight onto their hands to taste it but they are perfect for keeping in your bag and using while out and about or on day trips like Go Ape.

disclaimer: We were given samples of Vimto squeezy and a family ticket for Go Ape junior tree top adventure for review purposes but all opinions are our own.

This post is linked up with #countrykids over at Coombe mill.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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