2021 READING CHALLENGE | WHAT I'VE READ IN FEBRUARY

For some reason I've really struggled with reading this month. I've been distracted and just not been able to concentrate for long. Instead I found myself watching a few series on Netflix in my spare time. I looked back on my posts  and February last year I had read 6 books but this February I've read 4 which isn't actually that bad really. 

The Puritan Princess by Miranda Malins 
The Puritan Princess is a historical fiction set during the reign of Oliver Cromwell. This was a book that I was involved in a book tour for and you can read my little review here. I loved that it is a different era of historical fiction for me to read as alot of books I've read within that genre are around WW1/WW2 so it was interesting to read something different. I liked that it was told through the eyes of his youngest daughter and what it was like to live in them times especially with the pressure of not being able to choose her own husband as she wanted to marry for love. 



Beneath the fear by Sheila Rawlings 
Beneath the fear was for another book tour which you can read about here. It's a thriller which if you know me by now is my favourite go to genre. I found this one to be well written with great twists and turns to keep me gripped.




The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet 
Another thriller although I did find this one a bit disappointing. I found it a slow starter and it did get a bit more gripping in the second half of the book. I think my main dislike though was that i just didn't find any of the characters likeable. The story is of a husband and wife Caroline and Frances who are offered a chance of a house swap and they jump at the chance. Having had difficulties the past few years including with their marriage they plan to use the time away to reconnect as a couple. On arrival the house is stark and sinister but Caroline begins to uncover some signs of life. They may seem innocent however not to her as it seems the person she has swapped with is someone from her past who she wishes would stay there. But that person is in their home and want her to make sure she never forgets.



The man who didn't call by Rosie Walsh
I'm actually still currently reading this one although I'm sure to have finished it before March. I'm not actually too sure how I feel about this one yet. It's described as a heart-wrenching love story with a dark secret at it's heart. Imagine you meet a man and spend 7 glorious days together and fall in love,
And it’s mutual: you’ve never been so certain of anything. So when he leaves for a long-booked holiday and promises to call from the airport, you have no cause to doubt him.But he doesn’t call. Your friends tell you to forget him but you are sure something has happened. What do you do when you find that you were right there is a reason and that reason is the one thing you didn't share with each other? 

LITTLE MOMENTS | HALF TERM | 8/52

I'm not at all sure where the half term week decided to go. It's flown by unlike the weeks when Blake is in school. Despite not being able to do much due to lockdown i think Blake still managed to enjoy himself. So here is a little round up on some of our favourite things we got up to.


Tuesday was pancake day so we all had some for dessert Blake had sugar on his, Stuart had the traditional sugar and lemon and i decided to try biscoff pancakes inspired by Pinch of Nom.

GIVEAWAY | LOVE CORN THE DELICIOUS CRUNCHY SNACK

Yesterday I shared with you about Love Corn a delicious and crunchy snack that is suitable for the whole family. They are a healthier alternative to crisps, crackers or pretzels so an ideal swap.

Today I am able to giveaway a Love Care Package which includes 12 bags of the 4 fab flavours and smokin' Love Merch. 

Don't forget If you can't wait to find out if you have won and fancy getting on the Love Corn bandwagon shop now as  I have a discount code to get 20% off all you have to do is use code CRUNCH20 at the checkout.


To enter all you have to do is  complete the rafflecopter below.


Terms and conditions

-To enter you must be 16 and over

- UK Entries Only 

- This competition will close on 23rd February 2021 at 12.00am GMT

- The winner will be chosen at random and notified via email, twitter or facebook

- If the winner doesn't reply within 30 days another winner will be drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW | LOVE CORN THE DELICIOUS CRUNCHY SNACK

 Ad – review. We were sent Love Corn for review purposes and all thoughts are my own.

Staying at home during lockdown has certainly meant keeping the cupboards stocked with snacks, especially if you have kids. If you are wanting to opt for a healthier alternative to crisps, crackers or pretzels than Love Corn is the perfect swap.


Love Corn are delicious corn kernels packed with flavour. The ingredients are simple just roasted corn that’s then seasoned. They are also plant based, vegan, gluten free, verified kosher and non GMO.

LITTLE MOMENTS | SNOWBALL FIGHTS & WINTER SUN | 7/52

This week on Monday morning we woke to snow and text message from Blake's school saying they would be closed for the day. We were glad to stay in the warm most of the day as it was pretty cold out there.

Blake even though he doesn't normally like snow really wanted to be outside. So after lunch we wrapped up warm in coats, hats and gloves plus wellies and went into the garden.

BOOK TOUR | BENEATH THE FEAR | SHEILA RAWLINGS

 Ad – review. I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes and all thoughts are my own.


Today is another book tour that I am involved in. Beneath the fear by Sheila Rawlings is a physiological thriller which is my go to genre.


About the Author:
After graduating from Medway Collage of Art and Design (now the University of creative arts), Sheila enjoyed a long career with a magazine publisher,  where she was responsible for the production of the weekly issue and various other publications. An avid reader since childhood, working with journalists rekindled Sheila's love of the written word, prompting her to write her debut novel Truth and Revenge.



BOOK TOUR| THE PURITAN PRINCESS | MIRANDA MALINS

Ad – review. I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes and all thoughts are my own.

Happy Friday, today I am involved in the book tour for the historical fiction The Puritan Princess by Miranda Malins. 


About the Author:

Miranda is a writer and historian specialising in the history of Oliver Cromwell, his family and the politics of the Interregnum period following the Civil Wars. She studied at Cambridge University, leaving with a PhD, and continues to speak at conferences and publish journal articles and book reviews. She is also a Trustee of the Cromwell Association. Alongside this, Miranda works as a commercial solicitor in the City and began writing historical novels on maternity leave. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, young son and cat Keats. 





LITTLE MOMENTS | ROSES | 6/52

 This week was mine and Stuart's 9th wedding anniversary. Due to lockdown it felt pretty much like a normal day. We usually try and go out for our anniversary for a meal but instead we ordered in a Chinese that was about it.


We did swap gifts although I did find it hard to know what to get Stuart this year. I ended up getting him a salt and pepper mill set,  that was finished in copper. Stuart likes being in the kitchen and experimenting so was happy with his gift. Turns out he had considered getting a set like the ones I had purchased him anyway so that's a win. 



Stuart knows me well and got me my favourite flowers red roses. I had both red and white roses in my wedding bouquet and it was lovely to receive some as part of my gift. His other gift to me is a forever rose  which I've now got up on display in our bedroom as he also put up a new shelf for me.

I've loved roses since I was little girl and my Grandad would cut me one from his and my nan's garden. Whenever I think of roses they make me think of him which was another reason for having them in my wedding bouquet. 

The forever rose is a rose that has been preserved in a special way and  plated in gold so it will never die. It comes in a beautiful box which you can keep it in or there is an acrylic stand in the box so you can have it on display like I have done. 


I actually have got quite a few other rose themed items around the home and of course there is my tattoo I had done a few years ago. 


PERSONALISED GIFTS WITH ASDA PHOTO + GIVEAWAY

Ad – Review. I was gifted the photo products below for review purposes, all thoughts are my own.

We love having photos and personalised gifts around our home. Asda Photo have a range of unique gift ideas, where you can add custom text, messages and photos - perfect for adding that personalised touch. 


Personalised gifts are a great way to encapsulate favourite memories spent together. Asda Photo's range  has everything from Photo Books, Prints, Photo Canvases, right through to Slate Photos, Cushions, Mugs and more. They offer something for all budgets and occasions meaning you don't have to spend the earth to find that perfect personalised gift. 


REVIEW| TIME FOR PHONICS

Ad – Review. I was given a free membership for this service for review purposes, all thoughts are my own.


If you have a primary school child you will most likely have heard of phonics. Phonics to those of you that may not know, is a way of teaching children to read. It's definitely a different way of learning from when I was Blake's age. In fact I find the whole thing really confusing. Instead of learning by sight and looking at the shape and word as a whole, phonics encourages children to break down the individual sounds in a word. This is in order to decode them and work out what they are.


If you are currently having to homeschool or even if you aren't, you may want to help encourage your child/ren to practice phonics. After all reading is such an important skill to have. Time for Phonics is an online educational games website that helps to encourage children to practise phonics in a fun way.

LITTLE MOMENTS| DINO LAB | 5/52

This week we've been doing dinosaur related activities. You may have seen that we joined in with Dino Escape Week with Wonder Adventures which you can read about here. The event gave us something to do after school. We loved the wide range of activities to do.


I decided to keep the theme going by getting out Blake's Galt Dino Lab kit that he got from his auntie, uncle and cousins for Christmas. So yesterday Blake put on his goggles that come in the kit and we got to work on the 3 fun but simple activities that were in the kit.




Starting off we did the Excavation which was very messy. You get the the Excavation stone and tools for digging and are advised to use newspaper as it gets very messy and dusty. We actually used our tuff tray to keep the dust and mess contained. The dinosaur fossil we got was of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The next activity we used air dry clay, vegetable oil (not included) and the plastic mould to make dinosaur tracks. It was simple to do and we have left it out overnight to dry out.


The last activity is Amber slime. The photo seems to make it look green but the slime is a lovely bright orange. Blake loves slime and he managed to get his little dinosaur figure, of a triceratops out pretty fast. The set also comes with a 16 page  book which had lots of interesting information, along with the instructions for each activity in the set. 




2021 READING CHALLENGE | WHAT I'VE READ IN JANUARY

Reading wise this month has been a great start to the new year. I've decided to not do the Popsugar reading challenge this year as the prompts just don't interest me. I have however set myself a goal to read 75 books. I've read six books this month which I feel is a great start.


Bibliophile by Jane Mount
Stuart actually gifted me this book for my 30th last June. It's such a beautiful illustrated book with many book recommendations and information. Although I've read it all in one go it's one of them coffee table style books that is great for dipping in and out of. I'll definitely be referring back to it often.

DINO ESCAPE WEEK WITH WONDER ADVENTURES


 Ad – review. I was given the opportunity to join the event for review purposes, all thoughts are my own.

This week Blake and I have been joining in with the Dino Escape Week run by Wonder Adventures.


Wonder Adventures is run by Family Nurse; wife and husband, Helen and Brett Nurse, ably assisted and all events fully tested by George, Daisy and Charlie.


Dino Escape Week couldn't have come at a better time with lockdown and quite alot of parents having to homeschool. It can be hard coming up with fun things to do with your children whilst staying home. We maybe lucky that Blake is still in school but as he is always on the go, it was great to have something fun for him to do once home from school.




LIKES & LOVES| JANUARY 2021

January has been a long and tough month. I've felt constantly tierd and unmotivated, lockdown 3 is much harder due to the weather amongst other things. Usually I have plans of things to look forward to for the year such as days out, meals out, a holiday etc. We don't have plans this year yet as we didn't want to end up having to cancel things as we don't know if there will be more lockdowns etc. With that said there are still things I've liked and loved this month.


Netflix:

The Ripper 

If you are into true life crime than The Ripper is a great one to watch. It is based on the serial killer of the late 1970's named The Yorkshire Ripper.


Reckoning 

Keeping with the crime theme I came across Reckoning which is a crime drama. 



Bridgerton 

I'm sure quite alot of you have heard of this one due to it's popularity. During the Regency era in England, eight close-knit siblings of the powerful Bridgerton family attempt to find love. 



The Bureau of magical things

A wonderful fantasty where humans and magical creatures co-exist. Teenager Kyra accidentally discovers the magical world and gains powers.



Fate The Winx Saga

Fairies attend a magical boarding school in the Otherworld, where they must learn to master their magical powers while navigating love, rivalries and the monsters that threaten their very existence.


Surviving Death

I strongly believe that when you die that you don't just disappear. I found this documentary so interesting about life after death. 



LITTLE MOMENTS| GELLI BAFF| 4/52

This week I finally got out the Zimpli Kids Gelli Baff  to do with Blake. We have plenty left including blue Gelli Baff and some green Slime. I'll be leaving the slime to do in the summer as I've a feeling it's going to be even messier than the Gelli Baff is.

You can do a variety of activities with both the Gelli Baff and Slime. I found some great ideas whilst looking on Instagram. I decided that as its Blake first time with the stuff a simple activity using sand moulds to make fun shapes with the Gelli Baff was the best option to help him get use to how it feels.


I leave it out so that Blake can go to and from it as he pleases. A 50g bag along with water usually makes up 12 liters of the stuff when added to 4 liters of water. We used much less for this small tub but you can use a bigger tub and of course its a great idea for using in the bath. The stuff is biodegradable too and all you have to do when finished is add more water to turn it back to liquid to dispose of. 







LITTLE MOMENTS| SNOW DAY | 3/52

This week we had snow! Unfortunately Blake isn't keen on it, so it means no making snowmen for us. Blake has only experienced snow a few times now and each time he has been very upset. 


Thursday morning it started snowing and by lunch time it was coming down a lot more so school rang us to let us know that they were shutting early. He was eager to get home in the warm by the time we was almost home he  was in floods of tears.


Once he was in the warm and changed out of his uniform he was fine and loved watching the snow come down. 



LITTLE MOMENTS| LOCKDOWN 3 A CONFUSING WEEK| 2/52

What a confusing time it is right now, especially for children. Monday lots of children went back to school for one day to be told that we are back into yet another lockdown. Only children of key workers or who are vulnerable are allowed to go in. Luckily for us specialist schools are allowed to stay open too. Blake's school did close for two days to prepare and that was enough to completely confuse Blake. 


It's especially important for children like Blake who need that routine. Children with additional needs may require 24 hour care and can't simply be left alone to watch TV, as even slight things can cause a meltdown. Even a simple change of routine can cause Blake to have an outburst where he kicks, screams, pinches  scratches and headbutts. 

LOCKDOWN KIDS BUYS

Back into another lockdown and like last March schools are closed. We are lucky though as Blake attends a specialist school which is able to stay open. I thought I'd help those of you with kids at home by compling a list of some products that you can order off Amazon to keep the kids busy. Even better is that the majority of these help with learning.

Orchard Toys
Orchard toys have so many fun games that help with learning these are some of our favorites but there are tons more so definitely look them up.

LITTLE MOMENTS| A QUIET NEW YEAR | 1/52

First of all Happy New Year! Last year we had celebrated the New Year whilst visiting Stuart's family as usual. This year though has felt rather quiet compared. Last year we fitted in quite a bit with walks, soft play etc but covid has meant that this new year we didn't visit family and have just been at home. We've not really gone out either as it has been so cold and we've had a bit of snow too.


I usually set myself some goals for the year ahead but decided to be a bit more relaxed this year. Once places are open again there are a few things I want to do such as get my hair dyed, a new tattoo and get my nose pierced. But other than that I'm pretty relaxed as far as goals go and just going to take things as they come.