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My very own website!!! Yikes!

Holiday 2019: heading south via Gretna Green and Carlisle

Gretna Green was our final place to visit in Scotland. World renowned for marriage elopement, I enjoyed the museum and the whole wedding atmosphere (a wedding party arrived and were getting ready in the car park while we were there).
I particularly loved the wedding dresses depicted fashion through the ages. The soppy part of me wshed we had gone a week later and renewed our vows on our first wedding anniversary!
Of course, the highlight for the children was the playground! Seriously, next year I think we will just do a tour of local playgrounds and not bother taking them away!
Back into England! Carlisle Castle is just over the border, only 20 minutes from Gretna. It boasts being the most beseiged castle in England due to many skirmishes with the Scots.
Carlisle Cathedral was a magnificent piece of architecture. The bright blue ceiling and stained glass were simply stunning.

We had a quick stop at Morecambe just to stretch our legs and admire the view across the bay.

Our dwelling for the night was Walsall Premier Inn. We headed to Lichfield in the lashing rain (it really was quite scary). We had promised Matthew an Ask Italian dinner but I had been unable to book and when we arrived there was no space. Instead we tried somewhere new: Ego. The meal was fabulous and transformed our soggy dinner disaster into a happy ending for our holiday.

Next morning we picked up Ollie and collapsed at home. Oh, and then started on the laundry…

Nanables: create your own tiny town – your world, your way!

Nanables are super cute and teeny tiny (anyone thinking stocking fillers already? if not, how about pocket money treats!)

The houses are all very pretty and unique as are the Nanos that live in them. My personal favourite was the Twinkle Twinkle Inn with its purple roof. Anya preferred the Sparkle Day Spa due to the unicorn design feature.

There are 12 houses in total to collect and they arrive in packaging which allows you to see which one you have got. We received 3 from Sweetness Town (candy/sweets theme) and 3 from Rainbow Way (rainbow colours theme). Each building comes with 2 Nanos, one visible inside the packaging and the other hidden underneath for a surprise!

Each house has a tiny viewing window which allows you to peek inside. This helps to inspire children’s imagination about Nano life and encourage interaction between the Nanos and their buildings.
All buildings feature at least 1 door and areas for the Nanos to play or relax relating to the building purpose, for example the inn has an outside table and chairs.

If you have an ipad or iphone then you can download an app which increases the exploration opportunities and expands the play potential.
Each Nanable building with 2 Nanos retails for £4.99 and is available from Smyths, Argos, Tesco, Amazon.

Keep up to date with the latest Nanables information via their website http://www.nanables.com/ and social media (links below)
https://www.instagram.com/nanables/
https://www.facebook.com/Nanables/
https://twitter.com/Nanables
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWxyQbjVtBCJdZmdezAV8wA

*We received these Nanables for the purpose of the review

 


Holiday 2019: Callendar Park, Kelpies, Bo’ness and Kinneil

I had high hopes for Callendar Park as it had excellent reviews but I was left a little disappointed. The atmosphere was somehow quite oppressive inside the house although there were things for the children to do such as dressing up and colouring.

Many reviews had mentioned outdoor play activities but there was nothing. A playground was due to be opened the following week and there was no sign of the bouncy castle or other play things.

The history of the house was interesting but seemed to be crammed into a small space downstairs.
The most awkward part of our visit was the kitchen. The Georgian cook was quite grumpy and rude. We ran away as quickly as we could…

Several times we had seen the Kelpies whilst driving on the motorway and Chris fancied a closer look. They were pretty but the car park seemed expensive for just having a look.

 

After a slightly disappointing morning, the afternoon could not have been better!
We headed to Bo’ness. We were sad that the model railway was closed but the other sights made up for that!
There was sheer joy at seeing Tornado. We literally couldn’t believe our eyes to see another famous engine steaming away after only seeing Flying Scotsman a few days earlier.
There were plenty of opportunities for the children to get hands on and it was the perfect place for our whole family.

 

We had a little time left before heading back to our cottage so tried Kinneil House and Gardens. It was such a shame we arrived too late in the day to go inside or explore the grounds properly, but the children enjoyed the playground and I had a wander around the outside (including the hut where James Watt did his experiments).


The Regret, by Dan Malakin

This is an incredible book but I must start off with a trigger warning as it deals with anorexia.
Rachel’s life is back on track. Her stalker is in prison and she has feels in control for the first time in years. Her anorexia is not ruling her life, her work and daughter keep her balanced, she has a boyfriend. Her past is behind her, or so she thinks…
Strange things start to happen when her social media and bank accounts are hacked. Soon everything in her life is at risk and the anorexia begins to gnaw at her again. Who can she trust? Maybe not even herself…
Watching Rachel’s descent into despair is compelling but brutal reading. The thing with the plot is it is just so realistic. We all lead an online lifestyle now and it would be so easy for any one of us to be hacked.
Rachel’s past makes her vulnerable and inspires sympathy and empathy from the reader. Her confusion and paranoia are also transmitted to the reader so that we don’t know which of her friends and family can be trusted either.
The twist for the final fifth of the book was completely shocking and unexpected. Rachel manages to use her weakness as a strength and I found myself reading faster and faster, willing her to overcome the danger (no more hints or spoilers from me!)
Overall, The Regret is a very moving book as well as an intense thriller. The cyber element makes it modern and relatable. Congratulations Dan on your debut novel!

Genre: Psychological thriller
Pages: 250
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Publication Date: 20th August 2019
Standalone: Yes
Blurb:
Rachel Stone’s world was destroyed by a stalker, Alan Griffin. After he went to prison, she rebuilt her life.
Now she has a three-year-old daughter, and is in a new relationship. But someone is stalking her again. Her phone, her emails and her social media are hacked.
Rachel believes it’s Griffin, out of prison and looking for revenge. She needs to find him and make him leave her alone. But as Rachel is drawn into a hunt, she realises that something even more horrific is happening – something that will make her confront the childhood that has lingered like a ghost, and will force her to face the truth about her new life.
Is Griffin the one ruining her life? Or is someone else, someone far more dangerous, responsible?
Find out more about Dan at www.danmalakin.com or on twitter @danmalakin

#Project365 2019 weeks 32 and 33

Our holiday is now a dim and distant memory but I have finally finished going through all my pics so can now be back on track with #Project365 by doing a double-week post (although I haven’t got around to adding to Instagram yet)
Day 216: Home at last! Ollie was thrilled to be reunited with us (and we with him) but he wasn’t interested in Nessie

Day 217: I sent Anya up to get dressed and she came down in MY clothes! cheeky girl 🙂

Day 218: Zach has the opposite problem and has been refusing to wear clothes! Here is is trying to emulate Peppa Pig jumping in puddles

Day 219: Matthew has spent a lot of time outside doing some knightly battles and wearing a path in our lawn!

Day 220: I love this picture that Zach drew on his Kindle of Peppa Pig

Day 221: cousin craziness and yes, Zach is almost naked again!

Day 222: time to enjoy some blue skies with a walk over to the river, can you spot the swan?

Day 223: Chris and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary and celebrated by drinking champagne that Chris had before the millenium (it tasted fine!)

Day 224: Zach is not impressed by my mum-dancing, but that won’t stop me! Keep the music playing!

Day 223: dino hunting in Camberley

Day 226: I ordered these shoes the day before from Deichmann and couldn’t believe it when they arrived the next day

Day 227: more dino hunting, this time in Fleet

Day 228: a cardboard box, the opportunities are endless! Here is robot Zach

Day 229: our friends host an annual Mexicue. They are soooo thoughtful, colour coding the tablecloths and putting cards by each dish so it was easy to identify what was suitable for me as a vegan and wheat free. Plus it was 5 years since Chris and I had out first date…

 

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