Review: The Aha! Factor By Marianna Cooper

As readers of this blog know, the self-help / personal development book genre is one of my all-time favourites and this latest addition to my library (AKA the book pile by my bed) is truly fascinating – Mariana Cooper’s  “The Aha! Factor – The Intuitive Guide For Getting What You Desire & Deserve“.

Mariana Cooper is a 3rd generation intuitive, thought leader and visionary mentor who has her own radio and TV shows, as well as hosting webinars that reach over 85 countries across the world.

She has also been an Angel Therapy Practitioner and a certified Advanced Medium with best selling author Doreen Virtue for over 10 years and has performed thousands of readings and coaching sessions.

In The Aha Factor, Mariana shows us how we use those random, momentary experiences of knowing to get in touch with our Aha Factor – that force which gives us the true direction we want to follow and which is best for us.

We’ve all had those “gut feelings” where something doesn’t feel right.  Haven’t you sometimes met somebody and just known they were either a friend for life or someone to avoid at all costs?  It would be very handy if we could tune into these feelings and come up with a strategy to use this inner knowledge to benefit us.

Mariana clearly outlines the tools we have at our disposal to do just this.  She teaches us how to tap into our own Energetic System of Communication (ESC).

This consists of our:-

  • intention
  • intuition
  • telepathic ability to both send and receive
  • channelling ability to both send and receive and
  • capacities to receive and perceive both physical and energetic information in combination with each other so that we can navigate our world with greater ease.

One of the most chapters I found most interesting was one of 50 easily recognisable signs and symbols which help you to know that you are in touch with your Aha! Factor.

For example:-

  • receiving a phone call or text message from someone you were only just thinking about
  • seeing the same numbers over and over – for example, if you keep seeing 888 abundance and prosperity are yours now  (I’m looking for that one, believe me!)
  • smelling the scent of a loved one’s scent or cologne when they are not there
  • turning on a movie just when a line of dialogue is spoken that is applicable to your situation

The world whispers to us in many ways if only we would tune in – and that is what this book teaches us to do.

Do you listen to your gut feelings?  Do you believe in telepathy or signs for the universe?

Is Commenting On Our Pregnancy Bump Unacceptable?

There have been quite a few articles lately along the lines of “things not to say to a pregnant woman“.  But also quite a few about mums to be who find others touching their pregnancy bump rather offensive.

Woman with her hands on her pregnancy bump
Your pregnancy bump will attract interest

Why is it, having spent months and sometimes years trying to conceive and at a time when surely there should be celebration and congratulations, some expectant mums seems to join the ranks of the professionally offended and regard any casual comment or glance at their baby bump as a social faux pas of such magnitude that it borders on an insult?

I remember being about 4-5 months pregnant with Caitlin, having spent a good year or so trying to conceive after a miscarriage.  The Husband took me to a local Italian restaurant and we asked for a table for 2.  “3, surely” said the waitress with a smile.  I was absolutely delighted.

There’s no denying that pregnancy, and particularly the early stages, can be a rough time for lots of us.  Your hormones are all over the place.  You are too big for your old clothes and too small for maternity wear.  You’re still in the “intensive research phase” of working out what you can and can’t eat and are totally enthralled by the changes appearing in your body on an almost daily basis.

When you get to that blooming, glowing phase where your baby is developing fine, your scans are OK, you are happily nesting and putting plans in place for your new arrival, then others may notice and comment on your contentment.  It’s human nature, surely, to be fascinated by the most wonderful thing our bodies can do.

I do understand that, for some, any intrusion into their personal space may make them feel uncomfortable.  And to have your pregnancy bump clumsily prodded without asking you is a little rude.  But an interest in pregnancy is surely the most natural thing in the world.

Of course, some will want to touch your bump and see the baby kicking.  Seeing a foot push out of your belly is amazing.  Ieuan used to move about so much it looked like he was doing a Mexican wave.

Yes, you will be inundated with advice, much of it based on old wives’ tales, but most of the time, people are just showing an interest and for the rest of it, they are not sure what to say.

But to be offended by questions like “have you chosen names, what are they?” or advice such as “sleep when the baby sleeps” seems a little extreme.  Questions such as “are you going to breast-feed?” and “will you be having a natural birth”, on the other hand, are going too far.

Pregnancy is a stressful time but I think you have to let others in a little.

Having had my kids so late, I was well aware that both my natural pregnancies were miraculous and that I was extremely lucky to have the experience of motherhood.

There are thousands of women struggling to conceive, and some you probably know quite well, who would give anything for someone to comment on their growing baby-bump.

And if you think some of the things said to an expectant mum are beyond the pale, trust me, the some of the things said to us older mums are far worse!

Make Your Bay Windows More Beautiful with Curved Radiators

Bay windows are a delightful feature in any home but until now they have also tended to limit the number of heating options available, especially when it comes to fitting the right type of radiator.

Image by Thomas Heyman via Flickr

With the advent of the curved radiator such concerns are truly a thing of the past. Curved radiators are well-designed and efficient and they also come with a dazzling array of colours, finishes and features that can really help lift a tired room to new heights.

Heating Problems Solved With Curved Radiators 

As many home owners with bay or curved windows have realised, it can be very difficult to find a radiator that strikes a balance between functionality, aesthetic form and a minimal footprint.

Large traditional radiators look obtrusive and clunky and due to the unusual angles inherent with bay windows, they tend to be installed too far into the room, stealing precious space.

The ideal radiator placement is below the windowsill or as close to a wall as possible. Bay windows and straight lined radiators have tended to make this difficult to achieve.

Curved radiators easily solve this dilemma because they have been designed to fit into spaces that are also curved. This non-linear solution is ideal because annoying dead space is no longer an issue and the room can also be properly heated and enjoyed as it should be.

A Look For Every Taste 

Curved radiators come in an incredible array of colours and finishes, meaning that there is certain to be something to suit every design situation. Whether your taste is classic and ornate, minimalist, sleek and streamlined or loud, bold and contemporary, the range of looks and materials on offer at Radiator Curving Ltd. makes it easy to find a perfect match.

Just a few of the finishes include subdued ivory, gold, copper and bronze metallic sheens, summery fresh yellows or stark blacks and charcoal greys.

Textured surfaces are also available that can help complement fabrics, furnishings and featured décor and there is even a pressed metal scrolled look that just oozes class and style.

Create A Cosy Reading Nook 

These beautiful curved radiators are so well-made that it would be a pity to hide them away but some people choose to do exactly that. With a bit of creative carpentry many home owners have built enclosures around their radiators which still allow their heat to be dispersed throughout the room, but also add an extra level of utility and flexibility to how the room can be used.

Reading nooks and window seats are a perennial favourite and coupling the right kind of radiator with the appropriate clearance and suitable timber, one can make a cosy seat over the top of the radiator right beside the bay window.

With adequate ventilation, such a set up can actually force the heat to be directed outwards instead of upwards and definitely makes for a toasty seat that takes the chill out of a cold winter’s day.

When seeking decorative heating solutions for bay windows, curved radiators are an innovation whose time has definitely arrived. These elegant and sturdy appliances will bring comfort, warmth and visual delight to any home in which they are installed.

New Releases, Free & Bargain Books Linky 15 April 2016

It’s that time of the week again and I hope you have found at least a little time to curl up with a good book.

I read John W Mefford’s great new crime thriller “At Large” which had me gripped from start to finish.  It’s about one of the most macabre serial killers you can imagine.  You can read my review here and there’s a chance to win some of John’s books too.

If you’re reading pile is dwindling, why not have a look at the fab books on offer this week?

Sharing the Love of Books
Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week

Click HERE for this week’s awesome selection.

Authors please feel free to add your own books
Readers please free to add your own finds
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs…
Life as Leels | IrishdaisylovesRomance | Book Babble | All Romance Reader
It’s My Side of Life | Celticlady’s Reviews
Beck Valley BooksA Library of Reviews | Cinnamon Hollow Reviews
Miki’s Hope | Taking Time for Mommy | Nicki’s Nook
Ebook Addicts | I Love Romance | A Bit Bookish | Mother Distracted | Colorimetry
Totally Addicted to Reading | 3 Partners in Shopping | Angie’s Angle | I Create Purty Thangs | Wishful Endings
Lynchburg Mama | LibriAmoriMieiAli – The Dragon Slayer | Wondermom WannabeMy Bizzy World |
Deal Sharing Aunt

For Pre-orders post – PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author

For New Releases post – NEW / genre / title / author

For Free Books post – FREE / genre / title / author / end date

For Bargain Books post – SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Click HERE for this week’s awesome selection.

And don’t forget you can always add some of your own!

Brew Your Own Beer With Brewbarrel Home Brewing

GIFTED: We were sent a Brewbarrel home brewing kit for the purposes of this review.

When I was young, homebrew was all the rage.  My dad used to make a lethal concoction which he claimed was Elderflower Wine.  My friends used to brew their own beer and wine too.  One particularly inventive friend once made wine from coffee beans.  No, I’ve no idea how.

Brewbarrel box - review & giveaway - home brew -
The Brewbarrel comes neatly boxed

On another occasion, my dad and I went sloe picking to make sloe gin.  Unfortunately, we decided to do this at dusk and found ourselves stuck in a hedge looking for pitch black sloes in the pitch black. Trust me, it’s not advisable – and my resulting potion tasted much like Calpol.  (Don’t ask how I know that).

Anyway, beer, particularly craft beer and home brewing is enjoying a bit of a renaissance and Munich home brew specialists, recently gave me the chance to test my own skills as a master brewer.  I would say brewing mistress but it’s a tad too 50 Shades and it’s still far too cold for that kind of malarkey.

The contents of the Brewbarrel kit - review & giveaway - home brew -
The contents of the Brewbarrel Kit

Our India Pale Ale Brewbarrel - review & giveaway - home brew -

Brewbarrel have developed a home brewing system that is simple, quick and uncomplicated.  The team have re-engineered the home brew process and come up with a way to produce homebrew that is customised to your taste.

First, you choose the type of beer you would like to brew.  We chose India Pale Ale.  Your kit arrives neatly boxed with a brew barrel and a selection of ingredients.  These are added to the barrel in a specific order as explained by the instruction leaflet.

The only other ingredient you need to supply is tap water!

I have to admit to being a bit daunted but if I managed it, anyone can.

The basic process is this.

  • Add the malt extract (in the large bottle in the picture) to the barrel
  • Add water – a mix of cold and boiling, according to the instructions
  • Shake barrel for 30 seconds
  • Add in hops, yeast and any additional flavours
  • Add the pressure valve
  • After 24 hours turn barrel upside down for 10 seconds
  • Leave to ferment for 5 days
  • Put in the fridge for 2 days
  • Drink.

And that’s it.

The only slight difficulty I had was getting the pressure valve into the top of the barrel.  It does require a bit of forcing and the trick is to turn the valve as you put it in, rather than press it straight down.

Pouring the Brewbarrel India Pale Ale - review & giveaway - home brew -
After a heavy ironing session and trying not to eat the kids’ eggs, we found time for a beer

Ideally, you will have room in your fridge to chill your beer.  We had to take one of the shelves out but you could get away with putting the barrel in the garage or somewhere equally cool.

When the beer is ready to drink you simply lift the red bolt of the pressure valve to release the pressure and there is a valve on the bottom of the barrel you tilt and turn to pour your beer.

Your homebrew will last for a few days in the fridge.

Mat Hobbis about to test Brewbarrel India Pale Ale - review & giveaway - home brew -
Now the Husband believes I can ‘cook’.  Just need to crack housework.

We were a little unsure of how the beer would taste – remembering my father’s own lethal homebrews I was a bit dubious but the India Pale Ale, although a little cloudy, was really good with a nice depth of flavour and a ‘hop-y’ taste.

I’m told the cloudiness is fine as it is a Bavarian-style beer and it did not detract from the taste in the slightest.

Linda Hobbis with Brewbarrel India Pale Ale - review & giveaway - home brew -
Am I clutching my beer a little too tightly?  Two weeks school holidays can do that to a woman.

Brewbarrel beers are priced between £25 and £30 for a 5-litre keg  (just over 8.5 pints if you haven’t managed to go metric like me).

There are quite a few exotic choices too, such as Wheat Beer with Woodruff and Raspberry and there’s an Oktoberfest Beer and even a Christmas Beer.

Would I do it again?  Yes, I would – particularly for special occasions and I think a Brewbarrel would make a really nice gift for a homebrew enthusiast. I found making our India Pale Ale easy and good fun.

I think I might encourage my dad to give it a try. At least the pair of us won’t have to risk getting stuck in another hedge.

Have you tried Brewbarrel home brewing?

Book Review: At Large by John W. Mefford


New Release…
Alex Troutt Thriller Series #2
AT Large

The pursuit of the truth. The hunt for a life.

For the first time in months, FBI Special Agent Alex Troutt feels almost normal, hanging out at a local bar with friends after work. Not long into the evening she stumbles over one of the most disturbing images she has ever seen.

And that’s only the beginning.

A body is found in Lowell, the human damage, once again, inconceivable. Hours later, another strike. Pushing heartache aside, Alex immerses herself in the investigation. But with every new clue comes a new twist.

With the killing spree drawing the attention of every intelligence and law enforcement agency in a five-state radius, Alex is forced to partner with an egomaniac from the CIA. Yet, even with limitless resources, every step forward proves to be a step too late, the kill list seemingly endless.

Once the killer makes it personal, Alex is left with no other option—she must confront the person who destroyed her life to try to cease the vicious murders. And when she finally learns the killer’s end game, every second counts if she has any hope of stopping the brutal killings.

The hunt will end. Will Alex?

Available to buy from…..    Barnes and Noble   Kobo   

My Review

In At Bay, the first Alex Troutt thriller, Mefford introduced us to his new female special agent and I think it’s fair to say, he was just getting into his stride.

At Large follows on from the first book to a large extent and the strands of this new story are cleverly interwoven.

As Alex’s memory returns we also get to learn more about her past family life and her marriage and there are certainly some shocks in store.

In At Large we meet a killer who is resourceful, cunning and possibly one of the most violent I have ever read about.  Hannibal Lecter looks like a bit of a pussycat in comparison.

Mefford’s writing continues to grow on me and if you like your thrillers gutsy, fast-paced and with more twists and turns than a road through the Alps, you will love this new series of thrillers.

It’s great to find a female agent who can hold her own against her male colleagues whilst still being a caring mother and a woman.

Mefford will have you gripped right until the very last page.

I can’t wait to read the next instalment.

Highly recommended.

Also available
AT Bay (Alex Troutt Thriller series #1)


Alexandra Giordano never knew she had it so good. Until it was all gone in an instant.

As she begins her daunting quest to uncover the black spots on her memory, what she finds isn’t sweet or charming or even pleasant. And that’s when she begins to question everything, including herself.

Her work as a Special Agent for the FBI is only a distraction, serving as a mental metronome…anything to crank the gears of her feeble mind.

And then it happens—a bizarre, ritualistic murder. She loses herself in her work, fully immersed in the investigation. Unable to recall even her own kids, she’s somehow able to formulate coherent theories on what type of person could pull off such a sickening act.

As her mind slowly plugs a few memory gaps, her emotions are scrambled by the reality of her worlds colliding. And the resulting explosion tears her in two.

Can she pick up all the incendiary fragments to solve the twisted crime while she clings to some semblance of sanity?

One woman can only keep so much…AT Bay.

Available to buy from…..

Amazon Kindle    Amazon Paperback    Barnes and Noble    iBooks   Kobo   

About the Author

A veteran of the corporate wars, former journalist, and true studier of human and social behaviour, best-selling author John W. Mefford has been writing novels since he first entered the work force twenty-five years ago, although he never put words on paper until late 2009.

John writes novels full of intrigue, suspense, and thrills, but they also evoke an emotional connection with the characters.

When he’s not writing, he chases three kids around, slaves away in the yard, reads, takes in as many sports as time allows, watches all sorts of movies, and continues to make mental notes of people and societies across the land.

John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife, three opinionated kids, and a feisty fat cat who rules the world.

Find the author on the following sites…

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Google+   Goodreads   Amazon Author Page



Follow the book tour

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

Choosing A Care Home – Top Considerations

Moving your relative into a care home is never an easy decision to make. But sometimes there is no other option – particularly where ill-health is concerned. Here are the considerations that should be in the forefront of your mind if you are going through the process of choosing a care home.

Promotional feature

Things to think about when choosing a care home for your loved one


The staff members that work in a care home are the people who your relative will come into contact with each day. You will get a chance to meet them and see them in action when you visit a care home, and this will probably influence your decision massively.

No one wants to move their relative into a place that is staffed by people who are unhelpful or cruel. You should do research and read reports that often judge staffing performances on them. You want to make sure that you are not going to have any problems with the staff and their behaviour later on down the line.


The facilities that are offered in the home are also very important. This is what most people focus on when they are looking for a place for their relative. It needs to have the right care and medical facilities that meet your relative’s specific health needs and requirements. And you should also ask to see the private living quarters where your relative will be living.

It’s not all about what’s on the inside though. Care home providers like H C Care Homes also focus on the outdoors. Elderly people like to be able to get out and spend time outside of the care home. So, it’s good to move them into somewhere with large green spaces.


Unfortunately, very few of us are able to simply move our relatives into the very best care homes. And that’s because the very best care homes come with a pretty large price tag attached to them. The costs are never cheap, and it’s up to you to weigh up the pros that the care home offers with the costs.

Of course, there are many cheaper options out there that still offer a high-quality service. It’s not always the case that the most expensive places have the happiest residents. You should make a shortlist of places and then compare the prices of them all. You probably won’t be able to afford them all, so compromise will be necessary.

Your Relative’s Preference

Obviously, all cases are different. But if your relative is in need of specialist care but is still able to take part in the decision-making process, they should have a say. It’s them that will be affected by the decision that is made, so it’s only fair that they have a say in the place where they will end up.

They should be with you every step of the way when you are weighing up all the options. They should meet staff members, view the facilities and do everything else mentioned above.

Before you even start to view the options, you should talk to them about what they want to get out of a care home. Then you can take it from there.

Sites like Paying For Care offer more information on care home costs.

Give Expecting Parents the Best Gifts with These 5 Ideas

This article lists 5 great gift ideas for newborn babies so you can get the parents-to-be something they will really appreciate.

Gift hamper for New Born Baby - Gifts For A Newborn -

Image by killrbeez via Flickr

Once a newborn has graced the world with their presence, there’s no turning back. All you can do is welcome them and provide them with all the love, care and attention you can give. When it comes to buying the perfect gift for a newborn baby, many people struggle to think what might be appropriate.

Normally, clothes are on the top of everyone’s list but that’s just it. It’s on everyone’s list. You want to be different and make sure the mother and father have things they will need but won’t necessarily get as gifts from friends and family. Going out of the way to put extra thought into your gift shows you truly care about the new life entering the world and will leave a lasting impression on the parents.

So, are you stuck for ideas on some of the best gift you can buy a newborn? Looking in the right place can be a good way to get some good ideas. The Baby Gift Box Company is a prime example of inventive and helpful gifts for babies. Their selection of funky baby hampers and boxes will allow you to present to parents a mixture of gifts in one compact set that comes at a reasonable price.

Here are some more ideas for newborn gifts:

MamaRoo Swing 

This creative gift has been designed to recreate the motion of a mum or dad cradling their baby. On a basic level, it’s a chair that has 5 speed settings so the baby can enjoy their sleep or get ready for play. You can also change the angle to a more comfortable setting for you and the child. On top of this, the chair comes with different sounds to help soothe and keep the little one entertained. It’s a fantastic all-rounder that achieves multiple things in one!

Baby bottle holder

This is another inventive gift which encourages the baby to start feeding themselves from an earlier stage. This speeds up the development as they intuitively start to hold onto the handles and learn from their experiences.

Alphabet wagon blocks

No nursery would be complete without these! Get your babies playing and building all sorts whilst slowly familiarising them with the alphabet. You can also get blocks with animal images and numbers on if you wanted to think outside the box. This gift is something that lasts for years to come and can even be passed down the line!

Hooded towel made from organic material

Give the newborn baby nothing but the best. Anything organic will go down well in their parents’ books and, more importantly, will be kind to the baby’s skin too. These handy little towels keep the babies nice and wrapped up after a bath. You can find plenty of funky designs with natural and organic cottons.

Rattle with 16 tones

This soothing gift helps babies enjoy their toy whilst gently lulling them into a peaceful slumber. As the elongated rattle has 16 gentle tones, the newborn will have plenty more calm spells and keep entertained.

Hopefully I have listed some fun, quirky and different baby products that would be perfect for any newborn. The great thing about these suggestions is that they are slightly more unusual yet still essential gifts that parents and babies will treasure. So, make sure you remember this list next time you hit the baby stores!

Day Trip Ideas That The Whole Family Will Love

When you’ve got little ones, you’re always on the lookout for fun and different things to do with them. No matter how much to see and do there is in your local area, after a while it all gets a bit too samey. There’s only so many times you can visit the zoo or go bowling without losing your mind with boredom. That’s why sometimes it’s a good idea to mix things up and explore a little further afield.

Day trips can be a great way to get the whole family out and about, having fun and exploring. It’s just a case of selecting the best places to go for a family-friendly day out – we’re spoilt for choice as the UK has so many amazing places to explore.

To help you choose the best locations for family day trips, I thought I would put together this handy guide. Hopefully, this will allow you to find the day trips that are most well suited to you and your family.


For a city day out, it has to be London. Cardiff is pretty great too, but compared to London, it’s nowhere near as exciting. Home to the London Eye, Madame Tussauds, The National History Museum, and so much more, there is an array of things to see and do here.

Whether your kids are science lovers or are mad about history, London has something for everyone. The London Dungeons, The London Duck Tour, and The Science Museum are all perfect places for a family day out.

Cornwall or Devon 

Are your kids beach mad? If your little ones love building sand castles and splashing about in the sea, then a day trip to Devon or Cornwall could be ideal.

There are so many beautiful places to explore in these two regions. From white sandy beaches to idyllic areas of countryside.

For a fantastic family day out in Cornwall, St Ives, Perranporth, Newquay, or Padstow are all great. In Devon, Dartmouth, Salcombe, and Goodrington are all perfect places to explore.


If your kids love places with lots of history, then Kent is the perfect place for a day trip. There are so many beautiful castles and ancient ruins here that make it the perfect place to spend some time exploring.

Whether you choose to visit Tudor castles or Canterbury Cathedral, you’re sure to have a fantastic time. Of course, Kent isn’t just known for its history but also for its beer. So after a little exploring, a pub lunch could be the perfect way to recharge your batteries.

The Jurassic Coast 

fossil hunting.jpg
Image credit

One of the best places to take kids with an aptitude for adventure has to be the Jurassic coast. This 96-mile radius of coastline, spanning from East Devon to Dorset, is famed for its fossils.

On the beaches along this coastline, there are hundreds of thousands of fossils ready to be found. While you’re not allowed to chip fossils off the rocks, what you can do is collect ones that have already been dislodged. For kids who love adventure or are dinosaur mad, this is the ideal day trip.

Hopefully, these ideas will give you plenty of places to visit and explore with your little ones. When life gets too samey, mixing it up is important.

*collaborative post

New Releases, Free & Bargain Books Link-up 8 April 2016

It’s that time of the week again.  Why not have a look at the fab books on offer this week?

Sharing the Love of Books
Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week

Click HERE for this week’s awesome selection.

Authors please feel free to add your own books
Readers please free to add your own finds
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs…
Life as Leels | IrishdaisylovesRomance | Book Babble | All Romance Reader
It’s My Side of Life | Celticlady’s Reviews
Beck Valley BooksA Library of Reviews | Cinnamon Hollow Reviews
Miki’s Hope | Taking Time for Mommy | Nicki’s Nook
Ebook Addicts | I Love Romance | A Bit Bookish | Mother Distracted | Colorimetry
Totally Addicted to Reading | 3 Partners in Shopping | Angie’s Angle | I Creat Purty Thangs | Wishful Endings
Lynchburg Mama | LibriAmoriMieiAli – The Dragon Slayer | Wondermom WannabeMy Bizzy World |
Deal Sharing Aunt

For Pre-orders post – PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author

For New Releases post – NEW / genre / title / author

For Free Books post – FREE / genre / title / author / end date

For Bargain Books post – SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Click HERE for this week’s awesome selection.

And don’t forget you can always add some of your own!

Work Entitlements Around The Globe – How Are YOU Doing?

This week I have officially re-entered the working world by becoming officially self-employed and I have to say I am enjoying being my own boss enormously.

I am reminded by this handy infographic from Citrix how much variation there is in working terms and conditions across Europe and the World in general.

Courtesy of: Citrix Interactions Blog

You have to wonder what may happen to UK employment conditions and even employment law in the face of a possible BREXIT (leaving the European Union).

The country will hold an in-out referendum on its EU membership on June 23.

I have to be honest here and say I really don’t know which side of the fence I am on.

On the one hand, I think we will suffer if we leave Europe in terms of our business relationships with our European neighbours and the UK may find we are a great deal less attractive to inward investment.

Already European companies who have headquarters here in London are muttering about upping sticks if we leave the European Union.

On the other hand, I think we really need to sort out our policies for immigration which seems to be the main factor skewing popular opinion in favour of leaving the European Union. What will happen? It’s a race as uncertain as the current US Presidential Elections.

One thing’s for certain, here in the UK we certainly do a LOT better than our American cousins in terms of holiday allowance!

Whizz Up Mel’s Speedy Recipe For Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheese

Hi, I am Mel!

I blog about my love of food, travel, fashion, and much more over at The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover Blog.

Today I’m guest posting on the lovely Linda’s blog with my family friendly recipe for broccoli and cauliflower cheese.

What I love about this recipe is that it is virtually foolproof and most kids seem to love it. So often I find recipes for cauliflower cheese do not add enough cheese – well not in this case! The breadcrumbs also add a lovely crunch.

If you use an electric whisk, the white sauce will be lovely and smooth with no lumps. This will also keep for a couple of days in the fridge prior to cooking, so perfect to make in advance and pop in the oven when you come home at night.

Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheese


1 small cauliflower and 1 broccoli head, cut into florets
500 ml milk
4 tbsp flour
50 g butter or low fat spread
200 g mature cheddar, grated
4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
black pepper to taste

Serves 4


Heat oven to 200C / Gas 7.
Boil the cauliflower and broccoli for 5 mins.
Drain in a colander.
Make the cheese sauce by the all in one method – put the milk, flour, and butter or low fat spread in a saucepan.
Use an electric or manual whisk and whisk until it comes to the boil and goes thick but smooth.
Stir in grated cheese.
Add the cheese sauce to the cauliflower and broccoli.
Pour into a large dish or 4 individual dishes
Scatter over breadcrumbs.

Cook for 20/25 mins until bubbling and golden

Serve as an accompaniment to your favourite dishes.


Mellissa Williams
The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover Blog