You can’t beat a good holiday read.  Whether you want to get lost in an epic fantasy world or pick up a quick and easy read for whilst you are lying on the beach…there are so many different types of books which would be perfect for your next holiday.


As we go to Italy next week I have been planning out some of the books I want to read and looking back over some of my favourites which I thought would be fun to share with you and hopefully inspire your next holiday read:-

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After – Jenny Colgan
Jenny Colgan is the queen of light-hearted reads for me.  Her stories are usually heart-warming with a little romance and a whole lot of self-discovery.  They tend to follow the same format (woman moves somewhere new to change up her life, finds it tricky and then finds love interest) but her books are so easy to read and perfect if you don’t want to have to concentrate too much on the plot.  They do leave you feeling a little fuzzy inside too.

The Beachside Guest House – Vanessa Greene
Another great beach read, which falls into the category of ‘chick lit’ alongside Jenny Colgan, Vanessa Greene’s books are easy to read and the two I have read so far have a strong female friendship element which I really appreciated.  There was a love interest or two but I didn’t feel like this was the main focus of the Beachside Guest House and again, although they are fairly formulaic, for a quick read you won’t find much better.

Blood Count – Robert Goddard
I’ve chosen Blood Count for this one but I could have just as easily chosen any Robert Goddard book if you want a fast-paced, uncomplicated psychological crime thriller.  Robert Goddard manages to strike the perfect balance for me of spine-tingling but not too scary and books which I can become completely absorbed into for the duration.  I very rarely guess the outcome and they are just the ideal length for reading on a plane.

Six of Crows Leigh Bardugo
This is very much down to personal taste but I love reading a good fantasy book whilst I am on holiday.  I think it is partly because I very rarely have long stretches of time in my day to day life when I can let myself get completely wrapped up in a fantastical world and holidays just lend themselves to that perfectly.  For this I am recommending my favourite fantasy book of last year: Six of Crows.  If you like morally dubious characters and a world you can just fall into then this is the book for you.

The Island – Victoria Hislop
If you aren’t able to travel abroad this year but you still want to discover an exotic location then I would highly recommend picking up one of Victoria Hislop’s books.  They often mix foreign countries with historical fiction and The Island in particular is one book which has stayed with me for many years.  It is based on true events and focuses around the leper colony of Spinalonga in Greece. 

Do let me know if you pick up any of the books I have mentioned, or if you have any holiday reads you always love to reach for!

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I have to admit that I didn’t know whether I could write a Little Loves post this week. With the horrific events of Monday evening happening so close to home, my week has been taken up with worrying about the world we are raising our children in, comforting and talking with people in the village who knew some of the victims and trying to think of ways to explain to Meg and Eli what happened.


But then I realised that the whole point of a terror attack is to stop you thinking of the positives, to think the world is a bleak and awful place and to fill your mind with doubt and worries; to let that overshadow everything else would be wrong. Yes, there is a time for grieving but there is also a time for finding the beautiful moments amongst the dark ones so that is what I am going to do.

Read
I am currently reading The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. It’s a ridiculous story about a man who, quite literally, climbs out of the window of the old people’s home on his 100th birthday and gets up to all kinds of high jinks. You read about the present day and you also read about his past, when he was supposedly involved in all kinds of major world acts. It’s laugh out loud funny, if you can suspend your disbelief and is actually very poignant and political in places as well.

Watched

If you saw my social media posts over the weekend you will have spotted that I was pretty ill from Friday night onwards. So poorly in fact that we had to cancel my big birthday party which I was gutted about. What that meant was a lot of days spent lying on the sofa (trying hard not to feel sorry for myself) and I basically binge-watched the entire first season of Melissa and Joey. It’s random but quite amusing and as each episode is only 20 minutes you can cram a lot into a day!



Made
A recovery? I think that is about the only thing I can legitimately claim to have made this week but thank goodness because I did not enjoy being ill in the slightest. We have pretty much all had this stomach bug now so I’m hoping that it is finally done and dusted in our household.

Wore
It wasn’t the jumpsuit but Friday evening before the sickness hit, James and I went a little old school and went bowling on a date. I tried to shake things up a bit and chose some red lipstick to wear which I would never normally go for and it seemed to be quite well received. Or, at least, I forgot to worry about how obvious my lips were after ten minutes or so!


Heard
Two of the victims of Monday evening lived in the village which is connected to ours and school held a beautiful memorial for them yesterday just before the end of the day. One child from each class released a pink balloon and we held a moment’s silence for them. Each child was then given a balloon which we were asked to tie outside our homes in remembrance. It was, obviously, something I would rather not have had to attend as I would rather it hadn’t happened but I thought that it was done really well, in a respectful way and it was good for the kids to be told what happened in a way which was relevant and helped them to understand.


And Lastly…
I reached 1,000 subscribers on YouTube just recently and since then I’ve been steadily climbing up which is just incredible. I seriously value every single person who watches my videos and comments on them. To celebrate I am doing a Q&A and running a little giveaway. I’d appreciate anyone popping over and leaving me a question (I’m nervous I won’t get very many!) and if you wanted to enter the giveaway as well then that would be fab.



Have a wonderful bank holiday weekend all.

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Sitting down and looking at all the upcoming releases for the rest of 2017 makes me hyper aware that there are so many books I want to read before the end of the year and that’s before I even contemplate the 80+ books already lounging, unread and untouched on my bookshelves.

I’ve made good headway this year with my TBR pile and have tried really hard not to start any new series I can’t finish (i.e. they haven’t finished being written yet) or buy books unnecessarily (you can see how well that is going here…) but there are always going to be books which I am particularly excited about getting my hands on throughout the year and so I thought that today I would share some of those with you.

For total transparency, the links here are affiliate.  Using them means I (at no cost to you) get a small commission which keeps me in my book buying habit is always gratefully received.

Godsgrave (Nevernight #2)Jay Kristoff
This is one of the twistiest (yes, it’s a word) books I read in 2016 and I am so excited about the sequel!  It’s hard to go into too much detail without spoiling anything but it bascially picks up the story of our protagonist Mia Corvere who is at the Red Church, a school of assassins.  It is vicious and graphic and diverse and utterly fascinating.  I did a full non-spoiler review of the first book which I have shared below, if you are interested:-



Released 5 September 2017

Origin (Robert Langdon #5) – Dan Brown
Dan Brown is like wine for me.  I know I shouldn’t keep having another glass and yet sometimes I just can’t help it.  Don’t get me wrong; I loved Angels and Demons and even the Da Vinci Code ticked the boxes for me but since then his books have wandered a little too closely to the predicatable and formualic side of the tracks.  Yet there is something which keeps me reaching for the next one when it comes out nevertheless.  They aren’t difficult to read and I appreciate the attempts he makes to twist storylines and imbue them with a hint of mystery.  Although allowing Tom Hanks to be cast as Robert Langdon is something I don’t think I’ll ever get over…

Released 3 October 2017

And now two books which have technically already been released but which we are excited to get nonetheless:-

Assassin’s Fate (The Fitz & The Fool #3)Robin Hobb
This has been released in the most beautiful hardback cover but as I already have the first two in paperback I am patiently waiting until March next year when it will be released *sob*.  Robin Hobb is one of my all-time favourite fantasy writers and this series is just as good as her others.  She has two other trilogies which feature Fitz and The Fool and are well worth reading before you begin this trilogy as we pick up where there stories left off.  And I honestly can’t go into much more detail than that except to say that if you like strong character-led, adult fantasy books which rich description and the ability to get lost in another world…then Robin Hobb is an author you need to try.

The Dark Prophecy (Trials of Apollo #2)Rick Riordan
Okay so technically I’m putting this is for James rather than for me as I’m still gradually making my way through Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series but I know that we will be purchasing it pretty soon after the release date as Rick Riordan is undoutebdly one of our favourite authors.  His books are middle-grade (age 8+) but they are absolutely hilarious and so well written that you really don’t notice they are actually books for children.  Honestly.

This current series is about the god Apollo who has been cast back down to earth after upsetting his father, Zeus and trapped in the body of a teenage boy.  Of course, he still thinks of himself as a god and not as an awkward teenager so the calamity, and hilarity, that ensures after that is pretty much guaranteed.


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Home improvements come in many forms and yes they can be fun! The mistake many people make is to try and do too much at once, but with some simple home improvements you can really enhance your family home in just a few simple steps.

From kitchens to bedrooms, living rooms, hallways and everything else you can think of with our simple family home improvement tips you can revolutionise your household. Simple things like using artificial turf samples to spruce up your home office can add a unique twist to your home, so let’s take a look at our amazing home improvement tips below.

Artificial Turf 
Artificial turf is great for gardens but it can also be used indoors as well; it makes a quirky and interesting flooring choice for one thing! But if that’s not to your liking then there’s plenty more you can do with artificial turf.
Nothing really brings the beauty of the outdoors indoors like artificial grass. The synthetic surface is a great home improvement tool and really lets you add a touch of nature to your home.

Make Your Home Inviting  
The first thing many people will see when they face your property is the front door, and that’s your key to making your home look like an inviting and happy place. We don’t really think about our front doors often, do we? Which is odd when you consider how much we use them in our day to day life.

A simple coat of paint can work wonders and really make your home stand out; try using a unique or unusual colour to really make your home stand out from the crowd. If you want to add to that home improvement then you could also add some outdoor lighting to frame the door or even add a new door handle or knocker.


Add Some Art to the Walls
This is one home improvement the whole family will enjoy getting involved in, simply adding a splash of artwork to the wall of any room will help give your home some more personality. You could get out some canvas or paper and some paints and even make a family occasion of it, creating your own artwork will be a fun activity the whole family will enjoy.

But if you prefer to buy your own artwork, traditional paintings or photography, that’s just as good. You could follow a theme or just go with the flow there’s no right or wrong way to do it, it is art after all.

Get Some House Plants
House plants don’t just add a dash of colour to the family home they also help keep the air clean and healthy. Having a few house plants is also great for teaching young children about the responsibility of looking after flowers and plants.


Don’t be put off if you’ve heard about the troubles of keeping house plants alive either, house plants come in many different types and some are surprisingly hardy. So do some research and find out which plant is best for you.

Add a Feature Wall
Feature walls can really breathe new life into a room! The great thing about this family home improvement tip is it can be used in any room as well and it’s quick and easy. First choose a bold colour and decide which room you want to freshen up and then paint one wall.

It might seem a little crazy at first but once you see the impact a feature wall has, we think you’ll agree that it’s an amazing home improvement. If you’re not too keen on painting then wallpapering a single wall is also a great alternative. 

*This is an advertorial guest post*
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Happy Friday!!  I won’t lie, we are into the second day of my very exciting 30th birthday bonanza so I’m feeling very chipper indeed, even if the weather here in the North West has decided to truly let me down.  I’ve had to cancel my cocktail garden party for this afternoon but hopefully will be going out with James instead so all is not lost!

But as it’s Friday that means time for my Little Loves of the week:-

Read

I am currently reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  It is set during the 1960s in Nigeria and about various people in different stations of life and how they were affected by the civil war.  It’s a period in time which I knew nothing about before picking up the book and although it is fictionalised I have found it utterly fascinating and horrifying at the same time.


As you might expect, I quite a few new books for my birthday so I’m having a hard time deciding what to choose next.  I’ll pop a birthday haul up soon and hopefully that will get me some advice and recommendations!

Watched

We have just discovered Taskmaster on Dave and have been loving that this week.  It’s the most random concept; basically four comedians do various tasks set by Greg Davies and compete to be the winner.  The tasks are things like painting whilst riding on the back of a horse and throwing an egg the furthest without it breaking…just the most random stuff but completely hilarious.  I think it is on to its fourth season now and I don’t know how it passed us by but we think it’s brilliant.


Made

This week we headed into Liverpool and made the climb (well, we went up in a lift…) to the 34th floor of West Tower for afternoon tea.  Meg had decided she didn’t want a party this year but she wanted to go shopping with her best friend so we did a bit of clothes shopping and then went for afternoon tea at Panoramic 34.  I should have a vlog going up about it on Sunday (7pm GMT!) but it was amazing.  Everything from the staff to the view was just fantastic and I think we may have set the precedent for birthday treats now!

Wore
So, big surprise this is birthday related!  We are going out for a meal with family and friends tomorrow night and I’ve bought a jumpsuit to wear.  I have never worn anything like this before and I really wanted to try something different so hopefully I won’t chicken out at the last minute and stick to my skinnies and a nice top.

Heard

I have been enjoying listening to Rag’n’Bone man this week.  I’ve heard his music on the radio a few times but Spotify recommended his album to me and I decided to give it a go.  I’ve found it makes great music when the sun is shining and I’m sitting in the garden.  Erm..I mean when I’m busy working!

And Lastly…

I was talking to some friends yesterday about turning 30 and realising that I still feel as clueless as ever.  Is there an age when you think ‘right now I’m really a proper adult’?  I always remember thinking that 30 was so old and being sure I would have everything together by this age and yet I still feel like one day someone is going to come and knock on my door and say they’ve come to take over!  It’s such a strange one.  

Have a good week all!


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