Hooked on Books with Odd socks and lollipops

Hi Everyone i've decided to run my own series Hooked on books. You may not know but I run a book group on Facebook called Hooked on books with Joanna Victoria which you are welcome to join to talk all things books. 

Every Wednesday I will be bringing you a brand new guest series. I’ll be featuring  some lovely bloggers  who will be sharing their answers to reading/book related questions. I hope you manage to find some more wonderful blogs to read.  If you’re a blogger and want to take part then get in touch!

This  weeks instalment features Jenni from Odd socks and Lollipops

I am Jenni, I blog over at Odd Socks and Lollipops. I am a mummy, reader, writer, blogger & spoonie, who always wears odd socks. I am usually found reading a good book with a large cup of tea, and hopefully a chocolate biscuit or two! 



What book(s) are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Shadowsong by S Jae-Jones ('proper' book) and The Life Siphon (kindle).  

What book is next on your “to be read” list?
My next book, book will be either The Cruel Prince or The Hazel Wood, I can't decide yet. And I think my next ebook will be Grim Lovelies. 

What is your favourite genre to read?
Definitely  Fantasy

Who are some your favourite authors?
Oh this is a tricky one. I would have to say Deb Harkness, Sarah J Maas, S Jae-Jones, Leigh Bardugo, Jay Kristoff, David & Leigh Eddings, Stephanie Garber, Amanda Foody and so many more.

What are your top 5 favourite books?
Oh I am not sure I could pick just five books, how I cheat a little and pick series! All Souls Trilogy, ACOTAR trilogy, The Nevernight Chronicles, the Six of Crows Duology and Wintersong/Shadowsong duology  (even though I haven't finished Shadowsong yet). 

Paperback vs digital books - which do you prefer and why? 
For me it's paper books, I just love reading a 'proper' book. And I prefer hardback books to paperbacks books. I do have a kindle and it is handy but you really can't beat a paper book.

What was your favourite book or series of books as a child?
Harry Potter! I still love this series now and I can't wait to read it to my daughter, we are currently collecting the illustrated editions so we can read them as bedtime stories when she is a little older. 

Do you ever cheat and skip to the end of a book? Why do you do it?
No, which is surprising because I often read the spoilers for films, but I would never do it for a book. 

 Do you hang on to your books once you've read them? Or do you prefer to pass them on to a charity shop / a friend?
I keep them all, I am a hoarder when it comes books, though I will often go back and reread books, sometimes several times. 

Do you read one book at a time or do you have multiples on the go?
I usually have one books and one ebook on the go at any one time, I find it easy to keep them separate when they are in different formats. Though, sometimes, I will have a couple of paper books on the go at once if I really can't decide what to read next.  

Describe your ideal reading nook
It would be a library room, filled from floor to ceiling with books on every single wall, with a comfy chair in the middle of the room, lots of blankets and a table for endless cups of tea. 




You can follow Jenni over on

Make Cash From Your Clutter

 Do you ever look around your home and think crap I so need to declutter but have no idea where to start? This is me at the moment, I feel like we have far too much stuff and no room for it all. Everything should have its own place to go however it doesn't in our home. 

I'm making it my mission this coming weekend to start decluttering, I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself to get everything done at once but it would be great to make a start.




Here are some of my ideas on how I'm going to do it:

- Do little and often 
For me I be decided to do one room at a time and then to keep on top of it I can then do smaller areas once a day like my bed side drawer.

- Method
Get some boxes one for rubbish, one for donating and another for selling. All items you want to keep you have to find a place for.

- Dont get sentimental 




Places to donate:

When it comes to your donate pile there are actually a few places you can donate items.
- charity shops 
- friend's /family 
-free cycle
- homeless shelters 
-waiting rooms ( ideal for books and magazines) 
Turning clutter into cash

Once you have got your selling pile together its time to get cracking.

There are many places you can start selling such as:

- EBay
-Facebook groups
-car boot sales ( when the weather is nicer) 
- gumtree
- CEX for items such as phones, dvds, games etc
- Through an auction house like BPI Auctions.

These are some of the easier ways of selling items and a lot of them are great for bulk selling. 

Finding comfortable shoes with Footway


When it comes to shoes, I don't own a large collection. I do have ones that are suitable for each season such as a  great pair of boots for autumn/winter and then ballerina pumps and flip flops for spring/summer. I also own a pair of converses which I wear to death.

 I'm definitely not a heels kind of girl and own only one pair for  "just in case" however I'd much rather wear shoes that are comfortable.  When Footway asked me if I wanted to try some of their shoes I knew I wanted comfy ones that I could wear for doing the school run in.

Footway is an online shoe store, selling great shoes to 11 countries. The most important things for them is quick shipping and a great shopping experience for their customers. When searching their website i found it so easy to navigate. With no  fiddly  sidebars, and searching for shoes to find them not in your size. Footway have made it a breeze  for customers by asking what size you are looking for (options for men, women and kids) and then brings you all the available shoes in that size. 



With Converse being my favourite brand of shoes they were my first port of call when looking for shoes with Footway. When I spotted the All Star Dainty Cove-Slip in white with Black trim I just knew I had to have them. They are very similar to a pair of leather lace up ones that I own.

These White All Star Dainty Cove Canvas Shoe are a sleeker look than Converse's normal design. The sole is made from durable rubber and has traction to prevent any slips due to the grip. The also have a rubber toe for added protection. These at definitely ideal for busy mums like myself. 

I then decided a new pair trainers would be great for wearing daily while running errands and whilst out and about with Blake. These Adidas originals campus trainers are perfect for doing just that! 


These Adidas Originals Campus trainers features a streamlined rubber outsole. A reinforced toe cap and serrated leather 3-Stripes keep the shoes rooted in adidas heritage. They are comfy and are a perfect addition to your shoe collection. The beige colour makes them ideal for wearing with most casual outfits. 

My Favourite Parenting Books (so far ) #TacticalTuesdays

Hi everyone it's time for #TacticalTuesdays again with Vicky and I.

If you have not joined in with this linky or need a reminder the idea behind the linky is that you share with us your Tactical Parenting posts/hacks for the week. This can be crafts, recipes, meal plans, reviews, Days out, parenting posts etc. Both old and new posts are welcome in the link up all you have to do is grab the badge at the end of the post and the rules are also stated below too.



I love reading about the honest side of parenting. It's not all cute children, fun activities and days out. It's poo explosions, tantrums, annoying tv programmes plus more. 

I like reading about others experiances as it makes me feel less alone and know that other parents all go through the same things. Such as dreaming of wine o clock and hiding out in the bathroom with door locked to gain a few minutes peace.  I'm also the mum that has hidden the fact I'm eating chocolate and cried as my son would just not listen to me for the hundredth time that day. 

So I wanted to share today with you some of my favourite parenting books so far that all feature the honest side of parenting with both the highs and lows. 




Hurrah For Gin by Katie Kirby 

Illustrated by hilarious stick men cartoons, Hurrah for Gin, based on the popular blog and Facebook account, is a book for imperfectly perfect parents about the funny stuff they don't tell you in parenting guides.


The Daily struggles of Archie Adams by Katie Kirby 

Sensationally bestselling Hurrah for Gin made delighted readers laugh and cry with its honest, emotional and hilarious account of parenting. In this wickedly funny follow up, one opinionated toddler gives his no-holds-barred account of family life.

Happy Mum, Happy Baby by Giovanna Fletcher 

A positive and uplifting book about what it is to be a mother and all things mum and baby by Celebrity Mum of the Year and phenomenally popular vlogger, author, TV presenter and actress Giovanna Fletcher.

The Unmumsy Mum

A brilliantly honest, hilarious and reassuring collection of the best lessons in motherhood, from the blogger you'll want to tell all your friends about, The Unmumsy Mum

The Unmumsy Mum Diary 

More hilarious honest musings on motherhood in diary form.

 Do you love reading these types of books? If so who is your favourite? Maybe it's one I've not mentioned.


This week's featured  post is from Mud cakes and wine, winter container flowers.  I love this post as this is a fun way to involve children in gardening.


Tactical Tuesday at Joanna Victoria

Importance of checking your tyres regularly

*This is a collabrotive post

When it comes to car maintenance it is important to get your car serviced once a year and also keep a check yourself on important parts of your car, for example your tyres. 

This way you can make sure that your car is operating correctly and is safe. Prevention is key; for example having high quality tyres is important. If your tyres aren't checked regularly and in great condition than you are risking both  yours and other peoples lives as its so dangerous. 

Getting a full professional car service isn't just about making sure that it meets manufacturers requirements but also finding and fixing any niggles along the way, to prevent any future problems that could be costly. 




When it comes to checking tyres the main things to look out for are:

- That they are the right size and type for your car
- That the tyres have  tread depth of a miniumum of 1.6mm.
- That all tyres are inflated to their recommended tyre pressures
- That there aren’t any cuts, tears or bulges on any of them

If you are found to have any problems and are caught driving you could be hit with a fine, points on your licence or banned from driving altogether. Of course on top of that you are risking far too much as accidents are more likely to happen. All this is prevented by making sure that you check them often. 

If you have a busy lifestyle it is understandable that you need to find time and its so important to do so thats why there is the option of buying high quality tyres online. Check out! Iverson tyres Farnham Common branch for best car servicing.

Escape into Paradise with Only&Eve

When it comes to candles/diffusers I like to find and choose fragrances that suit me. Just like books I want scents to wisk me away into another world. I like scents that can remind me of a time and a place or a person.

I like a fragrance that helps me to me feel  relaxed, happy and content. Taking me away for awhile from life's worries,of being a Wife and Mum as well as the chores, so that for awhile I can just  be me Joanna.

Only&Eve have the perfect range of scents to help you like me to escape life and dip into Paradise. Whether you want a candle to remind you of a relaxing spa day, a walk in the woods or even a holiday you loved.



Only&Eve's luxury candles and diffusers are perfect for creating the right ambiance. As soon as I saw the gold foiled embossed boxes I knew they were going to be something special. So much care and attention is put into lovingly hand pouring and crafting each of them. 

They offer 6 different fragrences for both their candles and diffusers, each sound as magical as the next. East Cay Escape was my candle of choice with Pink papaya, melon, mandarin, cassis and coconut invoking thoughts of the  Tropical caribbean with white sand and crystal clear sea. For me the scent takes me back to our holiday in 2016 to Cape Verde. Sending me into a day dream of sand between my toes and the warm Sun on my skin. For a short period of time I was no longer in my bedroom.

Designed to ensure the highest quality burning and release of fragrance, each scented candle is 200g in size and give approximately 40 hours of burn-time. 



 Diffusers are different from candles by offering a delicate and continuous scent. My Only & Eve luxury scented diffuser is adorned with a gold cap on glass, complete with natural rattan reeds. They provide up to a remarkable 12 weeks of life and transform the atmosphere of a room. They release scent to lift any room, disguise odours and diffuse evocative fragrance to enhance ambience and lift the senses.

Verzenay was my  diffuser of choice. As your senses appreciate the sweet aroma you'll begin to detect the subtle backdrop of jasmine and vanilla, drifting away to a scene on a warm summers eve in the French countryside. For me the sweet scent reminds me of celebrations, love and the feeling of happiness and optimism.  

I'm now adding the exhilarating and refreshing scent of Naples Grove to my wishlist along with the sense of tranquility and ease of Verbena Spa. All I have do now is decide if I want as a candle or diffuser.

Happy, Self care and essential oils #LittleLoves

It's been an awful week for me. Last Friday and Saturday I was too exhausted to do anything and thought it was due to being so busy during half term. I was wrong I woke up Sunday morning feeling dreadful! It turns out I have a chest infection. The only time I've been out this week was to my Drs appointment to get me some antibiotics. I've been very lucky to have both my husband and in laws around to help out so I can rest and get better.

Saying that I still have managed to have some little wonderful things.


Read

Happy by Fearne Cotton 
This is my current read that I am dipping in and out of its filled with Fearne's advice, exercises, tips and tricks drawn from her experiences in regards to mental health and being Happy. I have also been using the happy journal that goes along side the book from the beginning of the year.


The Daily struggles of Archie Adams by Katie Kirby (Author of Hurrah for gin)
I love parenting books like Katie's and it was no surprise to me that I finished this book off within 24 hours this week. I loved her first book which I read just as quick.



Watched
The Killing
An American Drama series I came across on Netflix. It's a crime/murder mystery series. I'm not sure if its just me but I find it hard to decides what to watch next on Netflix as there always seems to be some great sounding shows. If you like crime/murder mystery programmes than I think you will like this one. 

Heard
Nothing new this week.

Made

The decision to start focusing more on self care. Being poorly has made me realise I need to stop stressing but also take care of myself more such remembering to take vitamins, have a relaxing bath/facemask etc. I've loved journaling so far this year and its really helping  me too.

Wore

No make up this week its been good letting my skin breath. I've also spent most of the days inmy dressing gown feeling or cosy.

And lastly...

I've been getting into the idea of using essential oils and so I have been using a diffuser I purchased from Amazon. I also ordered some oils and have been looking up natural uses for them such as making my own shower steamers.





Things to do with kids in Bedfordshire /Buckinghamshire

When it comes to keeping children occupied and without the use of screens, plus you need time out of the home it can be hard to find somewhere to go. With my knowledge and some help from other bloggers I wanted to share with you some fab day out ideas for things you can do with your kids in Bedfordshire/Buckinghamshire. 

So grab yourself a hot drink and a biscuit as its a bit of a long one.

Softplay 

When it comes to soft play we have only been to a few nearby however I wanted to also share a few more that I am aware of that we are yet to try.

Harlequin Gym |Leighton Buzzard

Safari MK |Milton Keynes
Zoomania|Aylesbury 
360 Play | Milton Keynes
Snakes and ladders | Dunstable 
Futures fun factory |Luton
Jungle Jim's playland | Sandy
Mini Monsters play cafe |Milton Keynes

Museums 

Museums are something we definitely need to do more often

Milton keynes Museum| Milton Keynes

Stockwood Discovery Centre| Luton
The Shuttleworth Collection | Biggleswade
Wardown Park Museum| Luton
Buckingham Old Gaol Museum | Buckingham
Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre| Milton Keynes
Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre
Great Missenden
The Chiltern Open Air Museum | Buckinghamshire
The National Museum of Computing | Bletchley
Wycombe Museum | High Wycombe
 

Farms
We love making a trip to the farm and have visited 2 out of the 3 mentioned below.

Mead Open Farm | Billington, Bedfordshire 

Green Dragon Eco Farm | Hogshaw


Country parks,gardens and woods
We love visiting places like this and hope to do more often in the summer

Salcey Forrest | just outside Northamptonshire
Wendover woods | Wendover
Willen Lake | Milton Keynes
Rushmere country park | Heath and Reach
Stowe house and gardens | Buckingham
Ascott house and gardens | Wing
Pitstone windmill | Ivinghoe
Dunstable downs| Dunstable
Waddenson manor |near Aylesbury
Woburn Abbey |Woburn

Other

Leighton Buzzard Splash Park| Leighton Buzzard
Gullivers land | Milton Keynes
Woburn Safari park | Wobrun
Whipsnade zoo | Dunstable
Leighton Buzzard Railway | Leighton Buzzard
Leighton Buzzard Childrens trail | Leighton Buzzard




Other bloggers recommendedations:

Donna: In Chesham they have a cafe called the stay and play. The chiltern open air museum is great too, they do amazing seasonal events. http://www.thelondonmum.me

Sophie: Odds Park Farm in Bucks. Farm, with petting of animals, massive soft play, cafe and restaurant, shop, crazy golf, go karting, outside play area. Www.lifeasmrsd.co.uk

Rachel:
Bucks has two Ronald Dahl Museums, one in Aylesbury, the other in Great Missenden, and who doesn't love Road Dahl?!?! Illustratedteacup.com

Mary shared some of her posts:
Sticks and cake at Waddenson Manor
Hughenden 

Emma shared about her visit to Stowe 
Cassie shared about her trip to Bekonscot model village
Katie had fun at the Roald Dahl museum and story centre

Clare had a few to share too:
Wrest park
Green Dragon Eco Farm


I hope that this post will come in handy whether you live nearby and want some new ideas or if u are planning to visit or move to the area there is lots to see and do.

My fairy unicorn garden (Tactical Tuesdays )

Hi everyone it's time for #TacticalTuesdays again with Vicky and I.

If you have not joined in with this linky or need a reminder the idea behind the linky is that you share with us your Tactical Parenting posts/hacks for the week. This can be crafts, recipes, meal plans, reviews, Days out, parenting posts etc. Both old and new posts are welcome in the link up all you have to do is grab the badge at the end of the post and the rules are also stated below too.


This week's featured post is from The Elephant Mum, 
My cute little Arksie fox. I adore the Fox onsie and want one for Blake. I think its lovely to share different companies with others and I love the sound of the Finnish company Arksie.

My post this week is my review of the My Fairy Unicorn Garden. It's such a sweet set.  With the My Fairy Garden range, children can imagine, create, nurture and grow their own fairy garden. My Fairy Garden is a collectable range that encourages interaction with nature through play. The kits offer children a delightful experience of imaginative open-ended play whilst discovering the magic of growing real plants.



Tactical Tuesday at Joanna Victoria

My Fairy Unicorn Garden

We may live in a flat however one of the things we try and do is bring nature indoors with plants, flowers and growing our own herbs. 

It's also something that we want Blake to be more included in so when Interplay got in touch about trying out their My Fairy Unicorn Garden I jumped at the chance. 

With the My Fairy Garden range, children can imagine, create, nurture and grow their own fairy garden. My Fairy Garden is a collectable range that encourages interaction with nature through play. The kits offer children a delightful experience of imaginative open-ended play whilst discovering the magic of growing real plants.






On opening the box we found the instruction guide where we found out the fairy is Belle and her unicorn friend is called Sky. Along with their mouse companion they are off to unicorn garden so she can make a special wish. 

The kit contains:
- unicorn garden bowl 
- unicorn figure
- fairy figure
- mouse figure
- wishing well with acorn bucket
- Arbour
- fairy mushroom
- posts with cord and burning
- Grass seeds
- Multicolour gravel
- fairy dust 
-fairy flowers

All you need to add is soil or compost which isn't included.

The instructions are pretty simple and it shows how to assemble the Arrbour, wishing well and the bunting.




My job was to do all the fidderly bits such as the bunting which is just folding stickers around a string and tieing the knots. Blake enjoyed sprinkling the gravel and placing the figures in the garden. He wasn't too sure about the soil as he sometines has a thing about getting dirty but other than that it was a fun activity for us to both do together. Now I've just got to decide where we will be putting the fairy garden. Son where out of reach spring's to mind.

Great quality bedding with JD Williams

When it comes to making changes to how our bedroom looks , as well as gorgous new accessories such as frames, prints and little trinkets great quality bedding is one of the things that comes to my mind. When renting you are not able to do much to your home so a bedding set is an ideal and simple way to change how your bedroom looks. By going for a new colour sceheme and/or pattern it can brighten up your bedroom no end.

I love spending time In our bedroom as its my favourite place to relax with a book, listen to music or just chill out before going to sleep. There is nothing better than when it comes to bed time getting into bed on fresh clean sheets especially when they looking great too. This is why when it comes to bedding its important that its great quality and that's where JD Williams comes in.




I was sent the Ryley Duvet cover set in blush and I'm in love with the set. The set is definitely a different design than what I usually go for as I tend to opt for florals however when I was browsing the selection JD Williams offer I found myself being drawn to the geometric print. The shades of grey go perfectly with the blush making it stylish and modern. 

The bedding of course is great quality and is easy to wash which is a must as we don't want bedding that shrinks easily.  Price wise its affordable too with a single being £15, double £20 and kingsize £25. The set is also reversible which I really like and features a different sized Geometric print on each side. The set is also available in a gorgeous teal colour which I wish I had as well and you can also purchase matching curtains if you wish. 

This set is the second bedding I own from JD Williams and I'm very impressed with their designs as well as the quality and cost.