Thursday, 20 November 2014


Two Become One

Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green & David Levithan

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens - both named Will Grayson - are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both of them legions of faithful fans.

I'm going to start by saying READ THE BLURB FIRST.

Seriously.  If you skipped it, scroll back up and read it. 

Take note of the bit that says two teens - both named Will Grayson.

That's important. 

Don't be like me. Don't think oooh, I lurved The Fault InOur Stars, which John Green book should I read next? Ah, WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSONlet's do this sh*t! Then start reading and thinking that Will Grayson and will grayson are the same person, as they are not. Don't get a few chapters in wondering why Will Grayson and will grayson, who are the same person, are completely confusing with all their different boyfriends and girlfriends and gayness and straightness and rules and personalities. They are not the same person from the start, I'm just lacking in common sense.


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

One Week In

Home Alone

I've actually been in my new house for a little over a week now and it's possibly been the hardest week of my life.  I took a week off work to pack/move/unpack, plus to fix certain things at the old house, such as where Jager cat had ripped all the wallpaper off.

I thought I'd give you a quick update, but I'll show you around properly in a few days when I've bought some furniture, finished unpacking and actually taken more photos. Ok, ok ... here's a sneaky peek from when I was half way through unpacking last week ...

For the past 8 years, I've lived in sunshine houses.  Houses with front and back windows, lots of sunlight, nice and bright and lovely.  The first thing I noticed is how dark my new house is.  It's a mid terrace but the house we lived in for 7 years was also and it was nothing like this.  In my attempt to brighten things up a bit, I opened all the blinds ... and one fell off.  That should do it! Or you'd think so anyway.

It's also really cold.  It's an old, old terraced house, which thankfully has been extended to bring the toilet indoors (!) but it's COLD!  Things heat up pretty quick when I put the heating on but then cool down just as quick when I turn it off.  At the moment only one of the neighbouring properties is occupied so I'm hoping when the other sells, things might warm up a bit as my budget is super tight and if I keep putting my heating on, I'm going to be super broke!

Most of all, it's lonely.  Really, excessively lonely.  Mr M always worked night shifts and I never felt lonely, because I was at home.  Now I feel like I'm just hanging out in someone elses house, surrounded by my belongings and wondering how I got here.  The amount of time I spent last week just staring into space was unreal.  

I've seen Mr M on about half the days, moving the last bits from the old house, clearing the garden and garage, decorating the living room to remove evidence of cat claws.  I've still been lonely.  I'm dreading what it will be like when we hand the keys to the old place later today and everything is done.

I brought Izzy with me (naturally) and she's coped incredibly well.  Much better than I thought she would, based on the experience of our last house move.  I suppose it means she's had some practice now!  Some nights Rude Boy is here (joint custody due to Mr M's shifts) and other nights there's just little IzzPops but she's fine with it, it seems.

I also brought Barley cat with me.  This meant splitting her up from her sister, Jager as well as our eldest cat, Suki.  Luckily, Barley is very much a people cat - she loves humans.  For the first few days she howled and squealed, but I think more because of her strange surroundings rather than being separated from the other cats.  She's much more settled now, lazy days lounging on the big fat radiator in the dining room, night times curled up on my bed.  She has ventured outdoors, but is a wannabe house cat deep down and even if I leave the door open all day, she barely steps a paw outside.

In my first week here, my Mum visited a couple of times but aside from that it was just me. It made me realise that outside of work and the interwebs, I don't really have any friends.  I'm thinking of lots of projects to keep me busy, to take my mind off the loneliness.  I'm back to work full time tomorrow, so fingers crossed things will get easier.  I didn't know the human body could shed so many tears!

For now, I'm feeling much more positive than I did this time last week! and the wallpaper is growing on me ...

Friday, 14 November 2014

Kindle Bargains #15 (+20% cashback!)

Bargains are Back

After a short break, Kindle Bargains are back ... and things have got a little bit festive!

As always, these books are currently 99p or less and for this weekend only you can get 20% cashback on all of your Kindle book purchases.  Simply shop via Quidco and if you're not already a member, sign up now and receive £1 for free!

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Search Is Over ...

House Hunted

I wrote this blog post on Wednesday ....

After weeks and weeks of house viewings, high hopes, disappointments and everything in between, yesterday I finally found out I have a new house!  

The search has been hard, far harder than I could have imagined.  

I have had numerous viewings, some of them complete death traps which had me running out of the door.  Others have been wonderful but I've made an application only to find out I've been beaten to it by someone else.  

Many Landlords don't accept pets, which lowered the available number of properties down quite a chunk and the area (near Mother Melvis) where I want to live can be quite pricey, and I'm quite skint, so that brought the number down again.  

I have had several close calls, one which was only scuppered by an unscrupulous letting agent who wanted to charge me £360 just to apply (!) for a cottage that has been on the market for almost 6 months (!) ... when I investigated their tariff of charges further, it turns out they would've charged me to breath in the place.  Bye Bye Cottage.

I've been beaten to some gorgeous houses, there have been lots of tears and many times when I've felt like giving up and just moving into Mr M's shed but alas, the search is now over.

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