My very own website!!! Yikes!

Guinea Pig Awareness Week 25th-29th September 2023

Back in March I became a guinea pig mum and now eagerly awaiting becoming a guinea granny! This week is Guinea Pig Awareness Week (25th-29th September 2023) so I thought I would spread the word about the fabness of guinea pigs!

The guineas are so excited every morning and what a racket they make! Rustle a bag of salad and they yell for attention. Of course, try and handle, stroke or pick them up and they will run away…!
I would recommend rehoming and rescuing guinea pigs and this is the theme of this year’s Guinea Pig Awareness Week. All of our guinea pigs have been rehomed from other families who could no longer commit to their needs.


Guinea pigs are actually quite a lot of work. They poo 100 times a day so need to be cleaned out daily. They need their nails clipped once a month or more often if required, plus regular grooming depending on their coat/fur. But they are so cute and spending time with them is very rewarding, especially watching them popcorning with happiness!

We have two guinea pigs who are currently pregnant (planned!) but this is a dangerous time. 20% of guinea pigs die in pregnancy or birth and this risk significantly increases after the age of 7 months. Guinea pigs should be bred before this age due to the fusion of pelvic bones.


Guinea Pig Awareness Week aims to highlight 5 areas which are key to keeping your guineas happy: diet, behaviour, health, companionship, environment.

Diet: guinea pigs’ main food source is hay and this should be unlimited. They also use hay to burrow and play so lots is needed! Daily fresh veggies should be provided alongside vitamin C rich pellets. Guinea pigs also eat their own poo to extract even more nutrients.
Behaviour: guinea pigs are prey animals so should be treated gently. You should also be mindful of keeping them safe from other pets such as cats and dogs. As mentioned above, guinea pigs love to burrow in hay for warmth and to feel secure. Guinea pigs are awake for about 20 hours a day so need entertainment or ‘boredom busters’ as well as company.
Health: dental health is very important and chewing helps to control tooth growth. Correct sexing is important to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Look out for bumblefoot which sounds cute but is actually deadly. Be aware of ringworm, fleas, mites, flies and tics. It is important to regularly groom longer haired breeds and claws should be clipped monthly.
Companionship: in Norway it is illegal to keep single guinea pigs. They thrive in pairs and females can live in larger herds. Bonding is a gradual process so it is important to take it slowly an watch our for signs of aggression.
Environment: guinea pigs should spend an hour outdoors each day. Their home should be large enough and have enough space for the guinea pigs to spend time together whilst also having opportunities to stay separate.
I hope Guinea Pig Awareness Week celebrates these wonderful creatures while educating us humans!

Murder Most Unladylike, by Robin Stevens (audiobook read by Gemma Chan)

Daisy and Hazel set up a detective agency at their boarding school but cases are few and far between. Until the two school girls discover a body and begin to investigate the murder of one of their teachers…
Murder Most Unladylike is a children’s book aimed at ages 9-12. It is a murder mystery but there is no graphic detail; even so, I would advise the content is more appropriate for the upper end of the age range.
A boarding school for girls, two wannabe sleuths, teenage angst, MURDER! This book has so many layers and I enjoyed it as an adult but would also like to share this with my kids. Murder mysteries are one of my favourite genres and this is a fab introduction for younger readers.
I found it difficult to work out when the book is set. The girls seem quite modern in their thinking and outlook on life but there are mentions of deportment and gymslips which made me realise it has an historical setting in the 1930s.
The book is written from the first person perspective of Hazel. She does experience some racism as she comes from Hong Kong. I enjoyed the narration of this audiobook by Gemma Chan. Her delivery evoked the teen characterisation of Hazel and I felt easily drawn into the plot. Daisy has a much more forthright personality and is clearly the dominant force in the pairing.
Murder Most Unladylike is an interesting and intriguing murder mystery aimed at older children.

Murder Most Unladylike book cover

Book blurb
When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t, really.)
But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident — but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place… and there’s more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.
Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?

Murder in the Blitz by F.L. Everett

Murder in the Blitz book cover

1940, Edie is keen to rise through the ranks at her newspaper but, even during a war, being a woman holds her up. She is promoted to obituarist but it is the crime reporter role she really wants. Helping out a colleague, she witnesses a death but was it suicide or murder?
Murder in the Blitz is a cosy historical murder mystery set during WW2 in Manchester, UK.
Edie is hideously frustrated and finds her career prospects to be stunted by being a woman.  She is desperate to get be a crime reporter and become a serious journalist. Obituarist doesn’t have the same kudos but it is a good opportunity so she readily accepts. A colleague asks her to cover a home guard training session and one of the men is shot. Some believe it was suicide but others think it was murder. Edie tries to investigate while maintaining her compassion and journalistic integrity.
The book is written in the first person from Edie’s perspective. There is an almost chatty tone and Edie’s voice and viewpoint seems very modern. I really liked her character: she is feisty and wants to make a difference whilst also forging a career for herself in a male dominated profession. The war provides opportunities while also causing restrictions.
Being the first book, the author takes time to introduce us to Edie as well as the historical and geograohical setting. This does slow the pace down a little, especially at the start of the book, but then Edie launches into her investigation and the plot developments speed up.
Murder in the Blitz is an entertaining historical murder mystery with a strong lead female character.

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Murder in the Blitz: A completely addictive historical cozy mystery (An Edie York Mystery Book 1)
England, 1940. Newspaper secretary Edie York wants nothing more than to be a real wartime reporter. But when she stumbles upon the death of a Home Guard soldier she must turn her investigative skills to sleuthing…
Rookie reporter Edie York dreams of being out in the field, instead of being stuck writing up the wartime headlines, transcribing Churchill’s rousing speeches on her cranky typewriter. So when her first real assignment one misty morning ends with the crack of a pistol shot and the sudden death of a Home Guard soldier, she’s determined to take her chance and investigate.
With the local police force, under the utterly irritating but outrageously handsome DCI Louis Brennan, stretched to the limit as bombs rain down, Edie strikes out alone. And she quickly discovers more than she’d ever hoped – or feared. From undercover spies to priceless stolen artwork, Edie is plunged headlong into a mystery that stretches from Manchester to Berlin.
But when she finds another body in the blackout, Edie realises she’s bitten off more than she can chew. With an exasperated Louis finally lending a hand, can Edie unveil the murderer and make headline news, her name in print at last? Or will she be next…?
A brilliantly addictive and totally twist-packed cozy historical mystery perfect for fans of Richard Osman and Agatha Christie. This is the first book in the Edie York Mystery series.
Buy link: https://geni.us/B0C33RSQ4Jsocial

About the author
Flic Everett is a Mancunian writer who now lives in a cottage in the beautiful West Highlands with her patient husband and two deranged cocker spaniels. She still misses Manchester, and returns like a homing pigeon every month to see family and friends. She spends a lot of time writing on trains.
Flic has owned an award-winning vintage shop, guest-presented Woman’s Hour and was once a part-time tarot reader. She has a grown up son who makes her laugh more than anyone on earth, and she likes reading, painting, cooking, clothes, animals, Art Deco and rummaging in charity shops for bargains. Her greatest fear is being stranded without a book. She has spent many years as a freelance journalist and editor for national newspapers and magazines and can’t believe she’s finally allowed to make up stories from the comfort of her own home.
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#Project365 2023 week 38

Day 260: a week of rain ahead so tried to give the rabbits and guinea pigs as much time outside as possible while the sun shone
Day 261: another birthday shopping trip for Anya
Day 262: 11, how is my baby so grown up?! She got her own mobile phone and we’ve barely seen her all week!
Day 263: a short exam season for year 13 PPEs
Day 264: ah, if only Chris and I had known!
Day 265: ok so last week was a heatwave and now it is cold enough for socks and dressing gown!
Day 266: thanks to the Beavers leader who took this pic of Zach doing archery

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The Family Guest, by Nelle Lamarr

The Family Guest book coverThe Merritt family welcome foreign exchange student Tanya into their home and family. But while mum Natalie sees her as their lost daughter, Paige instantly dislikes her and disbelieves her story about her background. Who is Tanya really?
The Family Guest is a psychological thriller and family/domestic drama set in LA.
The Merritts lost their eldest daughter two years ago but now offer her room to an exchange student from the UK. Paige and Will are instantly suspicious of Tanya but their parents are completely enamoured by her. Tanya is throughly unpleasant to Paige and I was desperate for her to be unmasked: who is she and why is she there? I felt that Natalie uses the trauma of losing her daughter to excuse her terrible parenting of the younger two.
The book is written from the first person perspectives of mum Natalie and daughter Paige. Both women have experienced tragedy in the form of Anabel’s death. Natalie has been keeping secrets for her entire marriage, even her age is a lie. Paige is experiencing typical teen angst about spots, first boyfriends and college applications. I liked the way that her viewpoint is written in a much younger voice which felt authentic.
I was immersed in this story and felt so sad for Paige as she deals with the usual teen issues but also the death of her sister and the arrival of the exceedingly bitchy Tanya. My sympathy for Natalie was counteracted by her abysmal parenting and I wanted to yell at her to put her kids first and stop being selfish! Tanya was a great character to love to hate whilst Will is delightful and steals every scene he’s in. Secrets and lies are gradually revealed and I couldn’t guess the twists.
The Family Guest is a tense thriller with two strong narrators, one you’ll like and one you won’t!

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The Family Guest by Nelle Lamarr
I’ve never met her before, but I know who she is. Because our new guest is the spitting image of the daughter I lost. Long blonde hair. Sparkling dark eyes. Perfect pearly-white teeth. And that’s exactly why I invited her into our home.
From the moment our exchange student Tanya arrives, I feel like my daughter has come back to life. With her brown eyes and slender frame, she looks so much like Anabel that sometimes I can almost pretend she didn’t die in that tragic accident.
Tanya really is the perfect guest – kind, polite, and always happy to help me in the kitchen. At last, a member of the family who compliments my beautiful house and enjoys my homemade dinners. And when she asks questions about my life, I feel I’ve finally found someone I can confide in.
My younger teenage daughter, Paige, isn’t so happy about our guest. She thinks it’s strange that Tanya looks like Anabel, and she hates it when she wears her sister’s old clothes. And now she’s convinced herself that Tanya isn’t who she says she is.
But I learnt a long time ago that it’s best not to ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.
And while I’m growing suspicious that our new guest has a secret, I’m certain that it’s nothing in comparison to mine…
The absolutely unputdownable, page-turning and twisty psychological thriller that will have you guessing until the very last page. Perfect for readers who love gripping suspense and fans of Freida McFadden’s The HousemaidThe Girl on the Train and Colleen Hoover’s Verity.
Buy link: https://geni.us/B0C9N3B6BPsocial

About the author
Nelle Lamarr is the pen name for Nelle L’Amour, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, who has sold over 350,000 books worldwide. Her books feature flawed, complex characters and nail-biting twists you won’t see coming. A former executive in the entertainment industry, she lives in Los Angeles with her Prince Charming-ish husband, beautiful twin princesses, and a bevy of royal pain-in-the-butt pets. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading gripping thrillers by her favorite authors with a cup of coffee or glass of wine.
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