Friday, 31 October 2014

Kindle Bargains #14

Cheap as Chips

My schedule's still a little all over whilst I arrange my house move with not a lot of time to spare (fingers crossed it all goes swimmingly from here on!), so I missed last week's (Sorry!) - but here are some cracking Kindle Bargains to make up for it.

As always, these are currently 99p or less but there is no guarantee the prices will stay low for long.

Kindle Bargains #14

Giving old Dining Chairs a new lease of Life (on a budget)!

Melvis: Upholsterer Extraordinaire

Now that Mr M & I are going our separate ways, we've had to double up on certain belongings, whilst sticking to a pretty tight budget.  This included buying a second set of dining table and chairs.  The one we have is a lovely, aged tile top set that I picked up for £20 last year so we hoped to find a similar bargain this time around ...

We found a second hand pine table with three chairs for just £10!  Thankfully, three chairs is just the right amount to fit into the space provided in Mr M's new kitchen ... a fourth chair would have ended up in the garage or similar, unable to fulfil it's seating potential.

The problem? Well, although the wooden table and the chair themselves are structurally sound, with just a few marks here and there, the chairs pads were a bit worse for wear.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Win a £25 National Book Token with #StressFreeReading

The Little Book of Calm

Needless to say, the past month or so has been a little stressful and has finally taken it's toll upon me in the form of the dreaded flu.  So when StressFreePrint got in touch and asked if I'd like to take part in some #StressFreeReading, it couldn't have come at a better time!

The lovely guys at StressFreePrint sent me a little bundle of #StressFreeReading goodies, including a selection of teas, a hot water bottle, a copy of Be Careful What You Wish For, the latest in the Clifton Chronicle series from Jeffrey Archer, and a £25 National Book Token to carry on my #StressFreeReading long into the future.

#StressFreeReading from StressFreePrint

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it! ;-)

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Christmas Shopping: £5 off at The Book People until 27/10/14

Gift a Book this Christmas

With less than 9 weeks until Christmas (where has the year gone?!), it's really time to start Christmas shopping.  As always, I've been hunting down bargains as, with lots of people to buy for and not a lot of money, I try to avoid paying full price for anything!

The Book People are a super cheap bookstore all year round, but for the next 3 days you can make even more of a saving with this £5 off discount code.

The Book People Discount Code

You can use the code alongside existing offers on the site, which include:

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Going Grey for Children In Need


It's almost that time of year, when the cast of Eastenders do something silly, the latest boyband release a special single and we finally get a glimpse of the wonder that is Terry Wogan ... No, it's not repeats of Eurovision's past ... It's Children In Need 2014!

You're going grey for Children In Need, Melvis?

Don't be silly! I go grey every day!

This post is about someone else, someone who has never been grey before, who has always prided themselves on their yellow locks ....

Pudsey Bear!

There I was in Boots yesterday, stocking up on Soap & Glory, hanging out near the tills waiting with my Advantage Card to be summoned forth, when I spotted this little grey fella ...

Children In Need Grey Pudsey Bear

He was sat alongside his better known yellow buddy, Regular Pudsey on the special Children In Need promo stand, along with pin badges, furry ears and wrist bands.

Regular Pudsey is great, don't get me wrong.  He's bright and mascot-ty and all the kids love him.  Last year, Fearne Cotton gave him a bit of makeover, but he was basically still the same yellow bear the nation has come to know.  This year however, Fearne's gone one step further and given Regular Pudsey a buddy, new Grey Pudsey.

Children In Need Grey Pudsey Bear

Standing in the Boots queue, Grey Pudsey appealed to me. Maybe because he's not so bright and yellow, and is a slightly more mature grey (I know the feeling) or possibly because, the vivid colours on his ears and paws contrast nicely with his grey fur.  Either way, I found myself with a Grey Pudsey in my shopping basket.

This years' Pudsey Ears are also available in grey as well as the usual yellow set.  I didn't buy a set of these ... it doesn't matter what colour the ears are, I won't be wearing them (sorry, Fearne!).

Grey Pudsey bear and the Grey Pudsey ears are exclusive to Boots.  They are available to order online, and if you spend over £20 you can get free delivery to store.

Yellow Pudsey and lots of other Pudsey related goodies are available at Boots, Greggs, Asda and no doubt many other High Street stores, as well as online via the BBC Children In Need store.

Children in Need is on BBC1 on Friday 14 November.  You can find out more about fundraising or donate via the Children In Need website.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Kindle Bargains #13

Bargain Books

The weeks are flying by at the moment and it's Kindle Bargains day once again.  I'm struggling with a Jeffrey Archer novel at the moment so looking to line up some amazing books for when I'm finished!  As always, these books are currently 99p or less.  If you see something you like, buy it quickly as the prices can go back up without warning.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

One day at a time

It's not forever, it's just for now

The past few week's have been some of the hardest ever.  Since deciding to split up a few weeks ago, Mr Melvis and I have cried more than I thought possible, worried, panicked, and cried some more.  Overall though, I feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted, now that we've been brave and done the hardest part, said the words out loud, made the decision. 

The next step is moving out.  We have our current house until 18 November when the initial tenancy ends.  I've been house hunting for weeks, have spotted a few potentials for myself and my portion of the furry babies.  Each time, something comes along to scupper my plans; unruly letting agents with obscene fees, someone else getting there before me (several times), and the main one being that the landlord won't accept pets.  House-hunting is tricky when you have a furry friend or two in tow.

Some of the houses I've viewed have been hideous! Awful! Potential death traps!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Review - A Christmas To Remember

A Christmas To Remember - Jenny Hale

A Christmas To Remember Review
A beautiful story about the magic of childhood Christmas memories, the strength of family and falling in love when you least expect it.

Everyone loves Christmas – don’t they?

Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie’s spare time is spent with other people’s families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year’s resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.

As Carrie starts her last job, she’s sure she’ll be going out on a high – the house is amazing , the kids are adorable, and she’s in charge of decorating the tree!

The only problem could be her boss… single-dad Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he’s always working. Doesn’t he realise he’s missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?

As Adam’s family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There’s still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn’t it? Let the festivities begin!

This is the first of Jenny Hale's novels that I have read, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm a bit of a romanticist when it comes to Christmas. I love Christmas, in the magical, make believe sense, where people wander through the snow whistling christmas tunes, never slipping on ice, buying umpteen gifts and throwing threepence at homeless rabbits … instead of watching A Muppets Christmas Carol whilst eating a tin of Roses to yourself. Anyhoo, I digress … what I'm trying to say is that I want to read a Christmas novel that will draw me into a magical world with perfect decorations, wonderfully wrapped gifts and a kiss under the mistletoe, leaving me all warm and fuzzy inside ...

Carrie has been a nanny for many years and she loves her job but being a full time, live in nanny leaves little time for romance and as she has now reached her thirties, she's decided it's time to stop looking after other people's children and attempt to create a life in which she can (hopefully, one day) care for her own family. Aiming for a fresh start in the new year, she takes on one last job for the Christmas holidays.

Adam is a hard working entrepreneur, with a successful brewery business but his dedication to his job has cost him his marriage. With his two young children coming to stay with him over Christmas, and his regular nanny no longer able to continue, he is in need of a new nanny at short notice and Carrie comes highly recommended.

Carrie soon discovers that the relationship between Adam and his Children is almost non existent, as he spends so much of his time working. With the entire Fletcher clan arriving for the holidays, and just a few short weeks until she leaves for good, will Carrie be able to help Adam and his children reconnect and have a wonderful family Christmas?

I loved Carrie, she's strong-willed, independent and speaks her mind, even at times when others would probably stay quiet – a wonderful leading lady. She appears to bring out the best of those around her, including Adam who has a host of unlikeable characteristics but is nothing short of dreamy when Carrie's around. I liked how further characters were added to the narrative gradually, like adding ingredients to a recipe, until by the end there's a whole mixture. Adam's family each have their own unique qualities, as well as a few secrets and Carrie has her work cut out in her attempts to make this a Merry Christmas for all, especially Adam's two young children. Despite only spending a matter of weeks in the lives of these characters, you can see each of them grow as the story develops.

There are festivities galore, which makes this book perfect for the upcoming season. There is a strong emphasis on Christmas being a time for family and for creating beautiful memories for children, as well as how it's the little things that count (and I do Love The Little Things!).

The story brings lots of laughter, a few heartwarming moments, a couple of surprises and a none too predictable finale. Whilst this book ticks all of the usual chick lit boxes, it steers away slightly from the standard boy-meets-girl story, which results in a unique tale that keeps you gripped until the very last page.

My Rating 4.5/5 - A great start to my festive reading, A Christmas To Remember is all about creating the perfect, magical Christmas whilst realising that families themselves aren't perfect.  A little bit of romance, a few laughs and a host of great characters make this a great book that will have you hooked.

A Christmas to Remember is published by Bookouture - the digital publisher of brilliant women's fiction.  I was provided with a free digital copy of the book in return for an honest review.  I have not been paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

Buy A Christmas To Remember by Jenny Hale for just £1.59!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Kindle Bargains #12

Boo! Bargains

Ah, the most wonderful day of the week is upon us again and a few of this week's Kindle Bargains are a little bit spooky, in preparation for Hallowe'en!

As always, these are all just 99p or less ... for now!

Kindle Bargains

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Love The Little Things Week 40

Back to Love

My favourite weekly link up - Love The Little Things is a weekly feature hosted by But Why Mummy Why, in which we take a moment to appreciate the little moments of joy we've experience over the past 7 days.

I'm so sorry I've missed the past two Sundays, things have been a little tough but it means I've appreciated the little things a little more than usual ...


I'm currently reading Be Careful What You Wish For by Jeffrey Archer.  It's part of a #StressFreeReading kit I was kindly sent (more on that soon) and is a little different to what I would normally read, but I'm loving it so far!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Kindle Bargains #11

Bargains are Back

Apologies for the lack of Kindle Bargains last week, but I'm back now with a brand new batch!  As always, these are all currently 99p or less but be quick before the prices jump back up.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do ...

Goodbye Mr Melvis :(

On Saturday, Mr Melvis and I had "the talk".

The talk I now realise I'd been expecting but hoping would never arrive.

The talk that means I have to leave my best friend, start over in my mid 30's, live on my own and break up my furry family.

That instead of staying in a caravan during my week off work in October, I'll now be moving house.

I always thought breaking up involved arguments but I couldn't tell you the last time we argued as we rarely have.  I think that makes it harder.

Our hearts are breaking, our tears are endless.  I'm worried about myself, I'm worried about Mr M.

Aside from a few reviews I've already written, you probably won't hear from me for a few weeks whilst I sort everything out.  I have house viewings today, there's so much to pack and I have a list of things to buy as we don't have enough for two.

"Nobody said it was easy. It's such a shame for us to part. Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard." - Coldplay

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Review: Pet Shop Bowl

Pet Treats

When Pet Shop Bowl got in touch recently and asked us to test some of their products, I first checked that the furry crew were up for it.

What would we have to do? they asked (in their usual meowing/barking kind of fashion).

Eat, I replied.

We're in!

Our parcel arrived a few days later (I say "our" parcel but it was actually addressed to Rude Boy, Izzy, Suki, Barley and Jager, which I thought was a nice touch) and we unpacked it to find a variety of food and treats.  It turned out that as well as eating, there would also be a bit of playing going on ... and I'd barely opened the box before Mr Melvis grabbed the Jolly Moggy Laser Cat Toy that had been included for our little feline ladies.  I had planned on taking photos of all of the products before they were used, but this is all I was left with as Mr M inserted the batteries in record time and proceeded to whip the cats up into a frenzy courtesy of a little red dot ...

Jolly Moggy Laser Cat Toy

Monday, 15 September 2014

Post Pals Christmas Schemes 2014

Send a Smile this Festive Season

You may have "heard" me mention Post Pals before.  It's a small charity that Izzy and I volunteer for regularly, with the aim of brightening the lives of both sick children and their siblings

Whilst Post Pals actively encourage the sending of letters, cards and small gifts to the "Pals" on their website throughout the year, in the run up to Christmas they launch two very special schemes.

The Reindeer Scheme

A Reindeer is someone who is assigned a Pal and their siblings and sends 9 cards during the month of December, one from each reindeer, talking from the reindeers perspective i.e. talking about the sleigh getting full, getting ready for the big night, loving carrots being left out etc. It is not only fun for the children receiving the cards, but also for the volunteers getting to do imaginative writing. In the past one girl believed the reindeer wrote to them as she helped look after her disabled brother. Another little boy was very relieved as Father Christmas definitely knew he was in hospital so wouldn’t be missed out.

I have joined in the reindeer scheme twice and it's lots of fun once your imagination is running wild.  Reindeer Games, Pin the Carrot on the Snowman, dancing to Jingle Bells, trial sleigh runs, polishing Rudolph's nose, wrapping presents ... there are lots of antics for the reindeer to get up to!  You can include reindeer jokes and poems

Reindeer Joke

If you would like to volunteer to be a reindeer please send an email to Maria (the "Head Reindeer"). 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Love The Little Things Week 37

Love Learning

My favourite weekly link up - Love The Little Things is a weekly feature hosted by But Why Mummy Why, in which we take a moment to appreciate the little moments of joy we've experience over the past 7 days.


This week I read You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher.

I also received my subscription copies of Prima Magazine and Homemaker Magazine in the post and found the perfect Christmas cake to make this year!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Book Review: Ivy Lane Summer: Part 2

New Girl on the Plot

Ivy Lane Summer: Part 2 by Cathy Bramley

Ivy Lane Summer Review
Romance ripens at Ivy Lane...

Tilly Parker is feeling happier than she has done since her life completely changed a year ago, though she's still keeping some secrets to herself.

As she flourishes under the summer sun, she attracts the attention of not one, but two suitors. Excitement reaches fever pitch at Ivy Lane as a TV crew descends to capture life inside a modern-day allotment, bringing out the best (new wellies and lipstick) and the worst (parsnip rivalry) in them all.

The Annual Show marks the end of summer and the end of filming, but is Tilly ready for romance - and if so, who will be the pick of the bunch?

Back in the spring, Tilly arrived in a new town, escaping from her mysterious past. Following on from the initial instalment of Ivy Lane, the story continues as summer arrives, bringing with it warmth, growth ... and a TV crew.

The Ivy Lane allotments have been chosen to be featured in a Green Fingers documentary, and the director wants new girl on the plot, Tilly to be the star of the show. Tilly's not keen to be centre stage, as her past remains a mystery and she doesn't want it creeping up on her.

All of the characters from Spring are back and we learn more about each of them as the daily events on around the allotment are caught on camera throughout the summer months. Despite her messy hair and muddy knees, Tilly finds herself with not one, but two admirers but she's unsure if she's ready to move on.

As the Annual Show creeps closer, there is light, camera and lots of action. It's hard to believe just what Cathy Bramley can fit into 100 pages. Whilst there are some hints towards Tilly's big secret, we're left with another cliffhanger ending as we head into Autumn …

My Rating 5/5 - Filled with action, romance and secrets, Part 2 of Cathy Bramley's Ivy Lane series keeps you on your toes.  Tilly continues to be a fabulous leading lady, growing along with her crops and slowly letting her new friends into her life.  The ending guarantees you'll be rushing off to read Autumn straight away.

Ivy Lane is a serialized novel told in four parts - taking you from spring to summer, autumn to winter - which tell a charming, light-hearted and moving story you won't want to put down. 

Each of the books in the series are 99p or less (and I know how you love those Kindle Bargains!)

Autumn Review coming soon! x

Friday, 12 September 2014

Kindle Bargains #9

The Most Wonderful Time of the Week

Kindle Bargains Friday is upon us and I have a whole weekend of leg resting and reading ahead (hopefully).  All of these books are currently 99p or less, but be quick before the price jumps up!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Months Old - The Quadruple Centenarian

Months of the Years

Yesterday, a girl at work was asked how old her daughter is.  15 months, she replied.

And I thought, Why don't you just say she's 1?

So I asked my friend why people age children in months as opposed to years and he said it's because of development, a 23 month old baby is further advanced that a 13 month old, despite them both being one year old.

And I thought, Well, I'm still developing ... I'm making a patchwork quilt, don't you know!

Then I wondered, when do we stop being aged in months?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Getting on my (trapped) nerve ...

Queen of Pain

Two weeks and six days ago, I had a bit of a pain in my leg.  I assumed I'd slept funny, or stepped funny and pulled something and it would sort itself out.  Unfortunately it didn't and almost three weeks later, I'm in agony despite some pretty strong painkillers from the doctor.

Small, every day tasks are now completely painful to undertake - filling the dog water bowl, going to the loo, standing up, picking up dog poop.  One morning last week, I walked around for half an hour with just one sock on.  It's safe to say my trapped nerve is getting on my nerves!

I have thankfully worked out a technique to completing one of these daily tasks in a pain free fashion.  I now fill the dog water bowl by pouring the water from a plastic bottle. No stooping for me, and Izzy gets her own personal waterfall which she thinks is amazing. Winner.

Oh, and I get Mr M to pick up the dog poop ... double winner!

My crafty cat, Suki (old and wise) has obviously noticed my decreased mobility and has made it her mission to torment me.  She now knocks things off the kitchen worktop down onto the floor.  Then sits, silently laughing in a feline fashion when I can't pick it up.  

Just look at those evil eyes!