|Image from Pixabay, adapted via Canva by Lou16|
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|Image from Pixabay, adapted via Canva by Lou16|
Sometimes I need a break from whodunnits and psychological thrillers so when I came across a novel that had the same title as my favourite Simple Minds song and a ringing endorsement from Marian Keyes I just knew I had to read it.
Mhairi McFarlane certainly didn't disappoint, this was the exact book I needed to read. It was a romance, but it was so much more. The characters were awesome (even the ones you loathed!), the only one that really irritated me at times was the main character, Georgina, but even when she was annoying me she was so relatable.
The story starts with a budding romance in the sixth form between our heroine Georgina and the mysterious Lucas and I have to say that having spent my sixth form years in the UK Mhairi McFarlane did an amazing job at invoking memories I'd actually forgotten I had.
We quickly fast forward to the present day and Georgina is 30 and working in the worst restaurant in town and even the way this restaurant and staff are described allowed my mind to actually see the restaurant. When she was totally unfairly dismissed from the restaurant she decides to pay an unexpected visit to her boyfriend. This turned out to be a mistake as said narcissistic boyfriend was in bed with his PA.
Then she receives an offer to do a one-off gig to tend bar at a wake - the bar in question has been newly refurbished and is looking at opening up again. Georgina absolutely loves working the wake and gets on really well with one of the owners, Devlin. At the end of the night, he offers her a permanent job which makes her feel like her life is on the up again.
Of course, it would be a boring book if that was all ..... enter Devlin's brother and the other owner of the bar, Lucas. Whereas Georgina recognises Lucas instantly, he doesn't appear to have any memory of her whatsoever and is not happy that Devlin hired her without consultation.
I won't tell you anymore of the storyline, I will let you discover it for yourself. Yes, it's a romance, but it is so much more. The characters are really well-rounded (I do hope Kitty gets her own novel one day) and it is also a book that deals with gaslighting and not ignoring red flags in relationships. It's about great friends and complicated families and about overcoming adversity. Oh, and the one-liners will have you in stitches!
I thoroughly enjoyed Don't You Forget About Me and couldn't put it down until I had finished.
As with most of the books, I read this was downloaded as part of my Kindle Unlimited membership something I highly recommend no matter what genre of book you like to read. In fact, it's also a great way of exploring new genres too, I've recently read some supernatural and some science fiction books through my membership.
Have you heard of the novelist Joy Ellis? I discovered her and her Matt Bollard series by a happy coincidence and am now devouring her Nikki Galena Series of books.
|Joy Ellis - Nikki Galena Series of Books|
Joy Ellis writes police murder mysteries based in England's Fenlands which provides a really atmospheric background to the novels and makes me really want to visit some of the desolate villages of the Fen and photograph them .... although there does seem to be a few too many murders occurring!
Now at the time of writing, there are 13 Nikki Galena books and I have read 8 of them with number 9 waiting for me on my Kindle. I recommend reading these books in order as you build up relationships with the members of Nikki's team and understand their backstories that way.
In the first book, we meet a pretty angry, hostile DI Nikki Galena and are introduced to her new DS Joseph Easter who she really didn't want to work with. As the book evolves we see that they actually make a great team and we also get to meet the other members of her team based in Greensborough.
I actually downloaded books 1-5 as a book set on my Kindle and I really recommend doing that as some of the threads, especially that of a certain villain continue throughout these books. If you have enough of Inspector Nik and her crew by this time you will at least rest easy knowing certain things have reached a conclusion.
Personally, I wanted to continue so I downloaded book 6, Captive on the Fens. This book introduced us to a new character and a totally unexpected twist that relates to an existing character which really led to a very neat transition of team members in the next book.
I then downloaded another set and this was for books 7-9.
I totally recommend getting book sets because you really don't want to stop at just one book with these characters. I feel like it's watching one of your favourite tv shows and you want to tune in each week to see how they're going - that's how good Joy Ellis is at creating characters.
I was able to download all of these books for free as part of my Kindle Unlimited membership which I have mentioned before and thoroughly recommend.
If you enjoy shows like Midsommer Murders and Vera and you also enjoy reading then I think you'll love this series of books by Joy Ellis. Joy Ellis is compared to Peter May, J M Dalgliesh and Ann Cleeves (the author of Vera - totally agree with this comparison) and was nominated for Crime and Thriller Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2021 for The Patient Man. This book is part of her Jackman & Evans series which is next on my list to read after I finish all of the Nikki Galena books.
Have you read any Joy Ellis books?
Do you remember the fun you had as a child when you got given a new colouring in book? I'm sure that is part of the appeal of colouring in books for adults. The other part is that colouring in can be a fun way to alleviate stress.
|Image by Lou16, created on Canva|
Our state called a snap 3-day lockdown a couple of months ago and I was in a local discount store on that day looking for something when I noticed the printed stretched canvases waiting to be coloured in. The next thing you know they were in my shopping basket along with some felt tip pens.
As it happens the lockdown wasn't extended past the three days so I didn't need to have lots of things to keep me busy. The 3 days were long enough for me to find that I really enjoyed the colouring in.
As it happened a few things happened in the following week that I found very frustrating and that is when I discovered that colouring in was very calming for me. I started to spend a few minutes every day doing a little colouring in. For me, I felt it was like other's feel when practicing meditation (my mind doesn't like to quiet itself during meditation, but it does during colouring!).
I started to do a little colouring in every day and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I can't find the exact canvases that I did online. I went back to the store where I got my two canvases and the remaining ones are clearly designed for children and I found the same lack of printed canvases for adults when I looked online.
Feeling a little frustrated that perhaps my colouring in activities was going to have to change to a book or be replaced by something else I discovered another option in an unusual place - Facebook!
As I'm sure you're aware there are groups for just about anything on Facebook and I belong to quite a few of them. One group that I belong to is dedicated to a popular store here in Australia and in this group, I came across a really cool idea.
This store sells amazing black and white printed canvases with images like koalas, kookaburras, zebras, elephants and more. One day a lady in the group showed off one of the black and white koala canvases - she had coloured in the background and added some details. It was amazing.
This thread soon exploded with a plethora of images from different people across the country who had taken these prints and added colour - sometimes colouring in the images, sometimes just the background. Basically, adult colouring in just turned into designer art pieces for the home!
Allowing a little creativity into your life is a great way of balancing out the stresses in the world while having fun and I think colouring in is a great way of doing this.
Of course, if you don't feel up to tackling an entire canvas by yourself you could always look at one of the amazing colouring books for adults that are available.
What mother hasn't momentarily taken her eyes off the road to glance back at their child in the backseat, especially when said child is sick and you are on your way to the doctor? Imagine if this resulted in an accident and when you woke up in the hospital everyone insisted that you didn't have a child.
|Image created by Lou6 using Canva|
This book (A Day Like This) by Kelley McNeil kept me captivated and I really didn't know what to expect, do I recommend it? Absolutely, but clear your day before starting it as you are not going to want to be disturbed!
The medical opinion is that it appears as though Annie's memories are false memories caused by a brain injury (that doesn't show on scans) from the accident, or maybe she is going a little crazy, we are introduced to the mental instability that besieged her mother while Annie and her sister were growing up.
Of course, there is another idea that could explain what's happening - could she have crossed over to a parallel universe? In which case, can she get back? There are so many questions and we are right there inside Annie's mind as she's asking them, investigating them and trying to unravel them.
At one stage I wondered if she was perhaps dead and she actually asked this question herself, but no this book is not trying to be The Sixth Sense! You'll have to wait until the end to see which happy ending Annie gets, but it is well worth the wait.
You are basically following two storylines in this novel, but they are very easy to keep track of and I was surprised once I finished reading it to discover that this is a debut novel. I cannot wait to see what else Kelley McNeil will write.
If you enjoy reading then why not follow me on my Facebook page - Tea with Louanne?
I loved Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney but be warned you need to concentrate when reading it as it has some delicious twists in the storyline.
|Image created via Canva by Lou16|
When I was looking for a new book to read I came across this one and this is how it was described on Amazon:
My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me.
1. I’m in a coma
2. My husband doesn’t love me any more
3. Sometimes I lie
Unnerving, twisted and utterly compelling, you won’t be able to put this thriller down. Perfect for fans of Behind Closed Doors, The Girl on the Train and The Woman in the Window.
This totally intrigued me so I then looked at some of the reviews and a number of the reviewers said that they were left confused or that their minds were messed up and I just knew I was going to enjoy it.
If psychological thrillers are your thing then you will really love this, but it's certainly not one you can read with distractions as there are a number of twists to this story.
The book is absolutely amazing for a debut novel and I cannot wait to read more of Alice Feeney's work.
There are three storylines running through the book: firstly the present where Amber is in a coma; secondly in the days leading up to the accident that put her in a coma and thirdly there are diary entries from fifteen years prior.
I enjoy a dark psychological thriller and this book ticked a lot of boxes for me, I found it really chilling in places (especially the diary entries). It is definitely not something you can read while doing anything else though as there's a lot of things to keep track of and, remember, do not take anything at face value!
I don't want to put much information about the storyline as I don't want to ruin it for anyone, just trust me this is a book for you if you loved The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie or The Three Women by Valerie Keoch.
Do you enjoy psychological thrillers?
If you're after a cozy, feel-good romance with a touch of mystery and intrigue then let me transport you to a little place called Starlight Cove. Want to know more?
|Image created using Canva|
The Lighthouse Keeper was written before A Bittersweet Surprise so there were a couple of things that I already knew would happen, but that didn't deflect from the feel-good feeling this novel gave me. This certainly isn't the novel for you if you want to have to think hard about things or get caught up in some psychological thriller. This book is like a comforting blanket on a cold winter's evening when you just want to be left alone.
The main heroine of the book is the daughter of treasure hunters and when her life gets thrown a couple of curveballs she decides to bid on a lighthouse. As you can probably tell from the title of the novel her bid wins and she moves to Starlight Cove to restore the town's lighthouse.
Her parents have settled down in Starlight Cove and are running an antique shop there, she also meets some of the town's residents along with some not-so-nice non-resident treasure hunters. Did I mention that there was a long-lost treasure to be found too?
While she endeavours to try her hand at a little matchmaking between her first friend in Starlight Cove and one of the hunky Henderson brothers she also finds herself falling a little in love herself. As with any romance, there's a little bump in the road which has her overthinking things (a trait I can totally relate to myself!).
With The Lighthouse Keeper, Cynthia Ellingsen has once again shown how well she can create her characters as I can totally relate to a few in this book, just as I did in the other book. Now I need to grab the only other book I can see in the Starlight Cove series to see if it's as good. An extra bonus is that all three of these are free to read with a Kindle Unlimited account!
Reading a book set in a chocolate shop just sounds like a delicious way to spend a few hours, don't you think?
|Bittersweet Surprise by Cynthia Ellingsen - Buy Here!|
I have never read any of Cynthia Ellingsen's books before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but she wrote the characters really well and I found myself invested in Emma's life. I was really happy when I finished this book to discover that there were two other books written that are based in Starlight Cove (where this novel is based) and you can be sure they are being queued in my Kindle!
The main heroine of this story is called Emma and always wants to see the best in people and help people. Like many other people with this trait, she's not so great at accepting help! She is running a chocolate shop in Starlight Cove that her late father opened.
Prominently displayed in the chocolate shop is a painting of Emma as a child that is titled The Girl with the Butterscotch Hair. We are introduced to this painting right at the beginning of the story and it is part of a mystery that runs through the book.
I love the layers of different stories that run through the book bringing it together in a delicious read that would only be better on a lazy Sunday afternoon if enjoyed with a Chocolate Dream (something served in the Starlight Cove Sweetery that we also get introduced to on the first couple of pages).
Emma's need to help anyone that needs it extends to strangers as well and one of the storylines that weave through this novel centres around a woman and her child who start off as strangers before becoming friends.
We also get to meet Emma's best friend, her grandmother, stepmother and many other Starlight Cove residents. Each person we read and the stories they bring to the novel helps to enrich it and create a rich tapestry of Emma's life. There is also a little love interest that is introduced although it doesn't dominate the story, it's just another thread in the book.
If you're looking for a light-hearted book to whisk yourself away to another world for a couple of hours then I recommend reading this one and transporting yourself to Starlight Cove.
I got to enjoy this book for $0 as part of my Kindle Unlimited membership - I highly recommend this membership if you enjoy reading, I liken it to a virtual library card.
|Image created via Canva|
I'm reviewing my Musicozy Wireless Sports Headwear aka headband speakers which I use when I'm sleeping.
|Photo by Lou16, image design via Canva|
I had always thought that personal development was a great idea for some people, but I didn't need it! I really believe that some of the personal development practices I used helped keep me on track with my journey while enriching my life in so many ways. If you're thinking about starting a personal development journey yourself I recommend working through The Magic by Rhonda Byrne.
As life got in the way I started spending less time on my personal development, my morning journaling, affirmations, reading dwindled from 30 mins to 20 to 10 until I stopped doing any work at all. Initially, I didn't really notice it, but gradually changes took place and I found myself in a really negative headspace.
I was talking to my daughter about things and somehow the conversation shifted to sleeping and she told me she listens to affirmations and meditations as she's going to sleep. The idea intrigued me as I thought that would be great, except I didn't think my husband would be impressed if he had to listen to them!
Not long after our conversation, my husband had to go away for work for a week so I decided to see if I could sleep listening to some of the offerings on YouTube. Now a couple had voices that really annoyed my so it may take you a while to find the perfect fit for you, but I did find a channel that I liked. I listened as I was going to sleep and after a couple of days, I was convinced that I needed to find a way to keep this practice up.
My daughter recommended I look for some headband speakers so I turned to Amazon. I searched for headband speakers and then I saw that some mentioned side sleepers so I narrowed my search to these. I ended up buying the Musicozy Wireless Sports Headwear (the official title on the box), they were actually listed on Amazon as Musicozy Sleep Headphones Headband.
There were lots of headband speakers to choose from and I wish I could say that I did a lot of research to narrow down my choice but I basically looked for ones that said they were suitable for side sleepers, that connected to Bluetooth and weren't too expensive. The reason I didn't want to spend too much is that I really wasn't sure I'd be able to sleep with them.
I had narrowed it down to two different ones and was trying to decide if I wanted black or the grey marl when I saw that Musicozy had an animal print design - decision made!
So the company says (in italics):
I must admit I love British murder mysteries and Vera is definitely one I enjoy a lot, let me tell you a little bit about it.
|Press Release photo (itv.om) adapted by Louanne Cox using Canva|
DCI Vera Stanhope is a middle-aged, blunt-talking woman with a brusque attitude who gets things done. Donning a trench coat, tatty hat and driving her (very old) landrover around the wonderful landscape of Northumberland she hasn't been portrayed as a sex symbol and there's no love interest in the cast. Basically, her team feels like 'real' people which means you can concentrate on the crime at hand and trying to solve it .... along with the panoramic shots of the area (British tourism must appreciate this series).
I love her down-to-earth mannerisms, her use of the words love and pet just really consolidates her character. She gets frustrated with her team on occasion, but you can tell they have respect for her and the unit is very cohesive.
I haven't watched Vera from the beginning, I stumbled across it one evening as it was about to start so watched it, then I found another episode a few weeks later. It was a few seasons in before I started to watch every episode, I have since watched older episodes so I think I'm completely up to date now and eagerly awaiting Season 11 to be aired.
I mention this because you could easily watch just an odd episode and enjoy it without needing to start from the beginning. In fact, some critics have panned the first series (even though it continually ranks well in the countries it's shown) so maybe it was good that I saw a couple of later episodes first.
If you are like me and get invested in characters you will get a shock in one of the episodes in season 6 (I won't ruin it by telling you which one) as something happens which almost made me cry. For the record, I rarely cry over television shows or movies.
If you have heard of the novelist Ann Cleaves you may have heard of Vera as this drama series has been based on her novels: Hidden Depths, Telling Tales, The Crow Trap and Silent Voices.
If you want to watch Vera you can see her for free on the ITV in the UK and ABC in Australia, you can also watch her on Prime Video in other parts of the world or purchase her DVDs. Each series has four episodes in them, but according to the latest information Series 11 which is being filmed as I write this should be having 6 episodes, two being filmed in 2021 and four in 2022.
Today I want to review bed socks because they really can help keep a marriage happy! If your partner has cold feet, keep reading.
|Original photo, Pixabay.com adapted by Lou16|
May is my birthday month and after giving me a cow onesie last birthday, my husband went for something that would be a gift for both of us - bedsocks!
I imagine that there could be nothing worse than encountering a couple of blocks of ice when you're snuggled up in bed, but pushing your partner away probably isn't great for your marriage either, so - bedsocks!
I have always had cold feet, but as newlyweds, my husband acted as my human hot water bottle and would warm them up for me. As he's gotten older he feels the cold more and if I rest my feet on the back of his calves to warm them up, I don't get a great reaction!
I will be honest, I didn't appreciate losing my little feet warmer which is why I recommend adding bedsocks to the marriage if you're in a similar situation. No hurt feelings and no freezing feet to move away from, they really are a win/win item.
Socks are great and we've written a number of different reviews on this site about them - sock reviews - however, don't think that you can just wear a pair of socks to bed, that is not the same as bedsocks! Bedsocks should be soft and, in my opinion, they should be fluffy. All of the bedsocks I have owned have been very fluffy.
A bonus as you get older are the bedsocks with grips on the bottom - I really should be wearing these as I walk around the house in my bedsocks, but my husband always goes for the ones that feel nice and soft and did I say fluffy!
I think cold feet must be genetic because I can remember as a teenager my dad buying my mum a couple of pairs of bedsocks for Christmas one year. I remember because he wrote a poem to go with them which I thought was really romantic (but I'd never have admitted that as I was a teenager!). It was no prize-winning poem but a' roses are red' type of poem. I think it went something like this:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Your feet are cold
So these are for you
Now I didn't get a poem from my husband, in fact I did tell someone 'hang on romance must be dead as I got flowers from my mum, jewelry from my daughter and socks from my husband!' They knew I was joking as the socks were really appreciated, I just wish he could've found some that looked like hoofs to go with the cow onesie, but apparently, he couldn't find any like that. On a side note, I HAVE discovered some (although they're not bedsocks) so if you would like hoof socks check these out! I'm thinking about getting some - if I do I'll definitely review them for you and even photograph them with my cow onesie just so you can really appreciate them!
Now, who's going to admit to having cold feet? You know they say cold feet mean a warm heart (or is that cold hands?).
The Last Mrs Parrish by Liv Constantine is a book about Amber, Daphne & Jackson. It's a book where entitlement leads to manipulation and manipulation has its consequences.
I love that I've discovered a new author in Liv Constantine she (or I should say they) captures Amber's character really well and as you're reading it you so want Daphne to find out. As the twist comes you almost want to read it again to see how one of the characters (with your fresh information) isn't actually the person you thought.
This kept me up reading late into the night even though I knew I had work the next day there was just no way I could put it up! Amber reminded me a little of Tom Ripley and I found the duplicity of the novel absolutely delicious, I would never have known that this was a debut novel.
After reading the book I discovered that Liv Constantine was actually two sisters writing as a partnership, luckily they have written a few more books which will definitely be added to my long, must-read list.
I'll leave you with this, Amber's father really should have warned her to beware of the green-eyed monster that calls itself envy.
I read this as part of my Kindle Unlimited membership and I thoroughly recommend this if you're a voracious reader, I think of it as a library card for Amazon!
As a teenager I read Sidney Sheldon’s Bloodline, I was hooked on his books from that time onwards. When he passed away in 2007 I thought we would never hear anything else about the Blackwell Clan. Enter Tilly Bagshawe...
I was on a weekend away and discovered a lovely little shop that had used books in the back, old records in the middle, and served takeaway coffee at the front! As I'm looking at the books I came across this book again and this time I was not going to let it get away, I was determined to read it!
I am so glad that I got it and it was easily read on a Sunday afternoon and I have to say I loved it. Tilly Bagshawe may have written it, but if her name wasn’t on the cover I would’ve thought it was Sidney Sheldon himself. I felt she captured the characters really, really well.
Whereas The Master of the Game was centred on matriarch Kate Blackwell, the Mistress of the Game is her great-granddaughter Lexi Templeton. Breathing life into the Blackwell clan Tilly Bagshawe allows us once again to get caught up in the twists and turns of the Blackwell family and the massive family company Kruger-Brent.
Fans of Sidney Sheldon will really enjoy this book and if you enjoy following family sagas then maybe you should read it too. Although I did read Master of the Game (it was many, many years ago) I believe that you could easily enjoy this book as a stand-alone book. There were so many twists and turns that it will make you grateful for your own family!
This book includes manipulation, kidnapping, murder, deception, and mental illness. I haven’t read a family saga in a while, but this book has me feeling like reaching for a few more of this style of books. I may even have to revisit Sidney Sheldon’s books, I definitely have to read a few more of Tilly Bagshawe’s books (her sister Lousie Bagshawe is also an author in this vein).
Tilly has written two other books based on Sidney Sheldon's and from reviews I've read it seems as though she has again captured his characters really well. There is a very good reason for that - she was a massive fan of Sidney Sheldon and actually wrote to him when she had finished her first book and he wrote back (she still has the letter).
When Sidney Sheldon passed away the Sheldon family thought it would be a great idea to get someone to keep his characters alive. Tilly Bagshawe and Sidney Sheldon actually shared a publishing agency (his agent was the father of hers). The family was really happy with Mistress of the Game and the way in which Tilly has definitely written it in his style as opposed to her own.
This book is best enjoyed when you have time to kick your feet up and read without interruptions, accompanied by a lovely big mug of tea and something yummy to snack on. I enjoyed Chamomile tea and homemade chocolate mint cookies, but here’s some other suggestions:
A refreshing tea that is perfect for drinking while reading a good book on a lazy afternoon. There's just something about the smell and taste of mint that is pretty special.
Aveda Tea Reviewed
Aveda tea is a herbal tea that combines licorice with peppermint, I haven't actually tried this brand before but I have had other teas that combine these two and would imagine that like them this would be a refreshing and sweet tea to enjoy
Arbonne Essentials Herbal Tea
I enjoy a cup (well actually a mug) of this tea every single day, it is really delicious while also having a lot of great health benefits to drinking it so why not enjoy a healthy tea while reading?
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
If you love carrot cake then this cupcakes are a great idea as a snack while reading - being cupcakes you could hold them in one hand so that you don't have to put your book down and being carrot cake .... well you just know they'll be delicious!
Dream Bars Cookie Recipe
Tea, cookies and reading really go well together and these dream bars sound like a great alternative to whipping up a batch of choc chip cookies or opening a packet of custard creams. With coconut, nuts and brown sugar in the ingredients you just know this will be moorish.
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
If getting time to read a book uninterrupted is a rare occasion then why not plan well and bake some cinnamon rolls ahead of time for an indulgent snack as you eat, my mouth is drooling just thinking about them!
Let's review some Mother's Day cards for a dogmom. As a dogmum myself I have to say that I have never received a Mother's Day card from the dog, but apparently it is something that is increasing in popularity.
I guess it's quite understandable that the dog would send Mothers Day cards as we lavish a lot of attention on our fur babies. A number of people I know have a family of furbabies instead of human children whether by choice or not - why shouldn't they be celebrated?
I came across the idea of Mother's Day cards while looking at Zazzle's selection of Mother's Day cards. If you purchase your Mother's Day cards online through a print on demand site such as Zazzle you will get a great quality card that usually has an option for you to personalize it. There is often a larger selection of cards and you can find a number of original designs. You are also helping a small designer to contribute to their family's income - trust me they do a happy dance every time they make a sale!
There were so many designs to choose from that it was really hard to decide on just a couple of feature so if you don't like the ones below check out the rest here - Selection of Mother's Day Cards from the Dog.
I love this Mother's Day card as it's a very simple design that can be beautifully personalized by adding a photo of your own dog/dogs and even changing the text:
Another card that can be totally personalized (and a picture of the dog with their mom would be perfect) is this next one. This is one that I personally prefer over the other as I love the I Woof You sentiment!
I thought I would review Pandora jewelry here and find out why giving the gift of Pandora is always going to be appreciated by those Pandora lovers that you know.
|Pandora Jewelry - Leather Bracelet & Silver Bracelet|
I first became aware of Pandora in the early 2000s when they started to open their concept stores. My sister-in-law & a couple of my nieces were really enamored with the customized Pandora bracelets and it made gift buying for them as easy as picking a bead you thought they'd like!
At my workplace, there were so many people sporting Pandora bracelets it, personally, put me off having one myself. However, when my daughter was given a Pandora bead on a chain to wear as a necklace I started to change my mind.
|Cat Pandora Charms on Amazon|
The introduction image is of my two Pandora bracelets - the original one I talk about in my Wizzley article, a leather bracelet and a beautiful silver one that my daughter brought me a few years ago.
I love the fact that you can totally customize your Pandora jewelry which is probably why it continues to be so popular.
The Pandora bracelet continues to be one of the most popular pieces that people buy the charms for, but they do also offer rings and necklaces that are also amazing.
The other thing that I have noticed over the years is how more and more you can purchase your Pandora jewelry online. You can purchase them through Pandora themselves or through Amazon.
When purchasing online you'll notice that there are a number of other companies that sell charms which can fit on Pandora. The majority of people I know do NOT appreciate getting other charms so if you are looking for a gift you might want to be careful.
Do you have any Pandora jewelry? They are the third largest jewelry company in the world so as a gift idea I would say they deserve a big thumbs up.
Today I'm going to review a very simple and easy-to-make recipe that tastes absolutely decadent. Once you try these delicious protein oat cookies you will wonder how you lived without them in your life!
|Decadent Protein Oat Cookies|
Photo by Louanne Cox
You will need the following ingredients:
I sometimes watch the television program – Who Do You Think You Are – where celebrities trace their family tree and it saddens me to think that some people don’t even know the names of all of their grandparents let alone further back. I think knowing your roots helps in making you feel confident in yourself – it means you don’t feel alone because you know you have a family that goes back and out and you’re just a little twig on this solid oak tree!
My first ‘adventure’ as I referred to it before started in school where I was asked to make a family tree which I should just mention earned me an A (not that I’m bragging or anything!). We were told to add ourselves, our siblings, our parents, their siblings and our grandparents and anything else we were able to.
The pretentious young girl that I was I made sure to add all of my grandparents’ siblings as well as the names of my great grandparents and while I was finding this out I made an amazing discovery – one of my great aunts had a marriage certificate that belonged to my great great grandparents. I wasn’t allowed to take the original to school, but my dad let me get a photocopy to take in – I don’t know why this didn’t earn me an A+, but still!
All the photographs on this post are from the author's family and are used with permission - information on the people in them can be found at the bottom of the post.
People want to trace their roots for a variety of reasons, years ago people would claim that their family were aristocrats – you just had to go back a while! These days more and more people want to discover criminals in their backgrounds! Whatever drives you to discover the people you’re descended from you have to start somewhere so where?
The first place to start is with the living – talk to your relatives, your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and find as much information as you can from them. You might find that some aren’t very helpful and that’s often because of skeletons in the family closet and with older relatives, this was often to do with birth dates and marriage dates not quite gelling or ‘sisters’ turning out to be daughters!
When I was looking into my maternal grandfather’s family mum suggested I contact her godmother who was also her cousin (we were living in New Zealand at the time and our family were from the UK). I was lucky enough that my grandfather’s sister was staying with her at the time and wrote to me herself. I had never met any of my grandfather’s family as my Nan fell out with them after his death (when I was 6) so it was great to ‘discover’ a great aunt and I still have her letters today.
I had only asked a few questions, but she had not only supplied that information but more besides including a family mystery and a scandal and the most important piece of information - my great grandfather's name wasn't what I had recorded! I had been looking for Richard Butcher, but he was actually christened Arthur Richard Butcher, he'd just used the name Richard since he'd become an adult.
The basic questions to start with are their first names and date & place of birth – if they’re married ask for their spouse’s names and the details of their marriage along with details of any of their children.
Next, ask for their parent's details along with any of their parent’s siblings – move on to their grandparents after that.
It doesn’t matter if you already have details from other family members as it can either help confirm the information or show a discrepancy – both of which can be very helpful. You can also discover different stories AND you never know who the family secret keeper is.
There is always someone in the family (it seems) who remembers all the skeletons, hoards all of the photos and sometimes even possesses the family bible or other papers which are all great things to see (if not own) as a family historian. This person is the family secret keeper and did I mention you’re now a historian?
It's the little family stories that we hear that add the foliage to our family trees.
Don’t be in a rush as you’re talking to your living relatives either as it’s amazing the little pieces of information that they may tell you about which help you to breathe life into the photos and/or names on your family tree.
I remember a few years ago I looked at how my family tree was progressing and I felt a little dissatisfied as they were just names on paper, I didn’t know anything about them. I decided then that I would ask my parents questions about what hobbies their parents and grandparents had, did they have any idiosyncrasies about them etc. I just wanted to build up some sort of an idea about who they were and a few of the stories that I’ve been told have really helped bring my tree to life.
Family stories also sometimes have a little grain of truth in them (after all the tales had to come from somewhere) and when you hit a brick wall you can try throwing out some of the information – I used a name that some branches of the family used with our surname and some had dropped that apparently had something to do with grandma (it hadn’t!) and also a tea plantation that the family owned. Well I had hit a brick wall so I did a broad search for our surname with the other surname and I found a marriage between what would turn out to be two great grandparents – I don’t think a train driver owned a tea plantation though, but it was a help nonetheless.
|Eli & Alice Read with children Edward, Lona & William|
|Birth Certificate of Lily Mary Maud DEAN|
|Marriage Certificate of Robert GALE & Martha PARSONS|
|Death Certificate for Clara Emily COX nee PEASE|
One site that I have used in the past is called FreeBMD and is great for finding UK ancestors. It’s not a complete site but they use volunteers to transcribe records of births, deaths & marriages from 1837 throughout England and Wales.
The drawback is that you don’t get the extra information, but it’s still very handy. I knew the names of two of my great grandparents and by using freebmd I was able to find when they were married and in which district which meant I could send away for their actual marriage certificate. This was incredibly helpful as I had no idea when they were married.
Parish Records are another way of finding out information and if you’re researching for family in the UK then some counties have an Online Parish Clerk which is fantastic. Different counties have different resources available online and some of the clerks will actually do a little digging for you if a census (for example) hasn’t been fully transcribed at the time. Of course, these positions are voluntary and every clerk is different with different work loads etc.
I’ve used the Dorset OPC site and found it really great, other OPC sites haven’t had the information I’ve wanted for different family members, but I have only viewed a few of them so the best thing you can do is to Google county (the one where your ancestors are from) online parish clerk or opc and you’ll find the right page for you. Be sure to check the counties on either side if you don’t find the information you need in the county you thought they were in. A couple of different family lines of mine popped into neighboring counties for a few years here and there!
|Arthur BUTCHER & daughters|
|Peder (Peter) Christian HANSEN|
Genealogy 101 says you need certificates and this makes it quite an expensive hobby, I have often bypassed the certificates and used parish records, census records and other free online resources to trace the family tree, but occasionally that can backfire!
I had been tracing my husband’s paternal line and I couldn’t find his grandfather’s birth details anywhere – apparently, he was born in India, but I couldn't find any birth details of anyone by his name at all. Luckily my husband’s great-granddad lived with his family for a while and was buried in the cemetery in his hometown. He had been in the army so I took the name of his regiment from his gravestone and wrote to them – army records can be an invaluable source of information for family historians. What I found in these records enabled me to trace his family back a couple of generations, but I still couldn’t find granddad even with the dates that great-granddad was serving in India to go on.
I hadn’t looked at this side of the family for a while and decided to do another search for him along with another surname which I know had something to do with the family – it wasn’t further up the line as far as I’d gone, so maybe it was great grandma’s name. Hello, I found the marriage – they were married in India a month after he left the army, but the timing of the marriage didn’t gel with when my husband’s grandparents were married (grandad would've been too young) – things were getting murky.
Looking at the details of the marriage it noted that great-grandmother was older than great-grandfather and also a widow. Just for the heck of it, I decided to search for grandad using her former married name and there he was – turns out the great-grandad that lived with the family and who everyone loved (grandad wasn’t let in the house – long story) was actually step great grandad so the family tree I’d been tracing didn’t actually belong to the right family :(
Now what was I told was genealogy 101? That’s right – get certificates!
|Edward Arthur READ|
This free family search website is really good and I've recently had a lot of luck with their Indian data (this has obviously been updated since I last looked for this branch of the family).
If you're tracing family in the States this looks like a great site. I don't have any family lines in America, but I like the look of this site and I especially like the cemetery transcriptions - they are really handy.
This is a site that I have used in the past even though you do have to pay, I found quite a few records on one side of my family which made it worthwhile for me. There is also an American site available too which has a good reputation.
I hope you've enjoyed the family photos I've included in this article, but what if you think some of them look familiar or you just recognize a name? Well if that's the case here's information on them and if you think there may be a family connection feel free to send a private message to me via Facebook.
The image in the introduction is of Alice Beatrice GALE born 11 Oct 1884 at Loders, Dorset, England. Alice was one of my great-grandmothers.
Eli & Alice READ with children Edward, Lona & William
This image is of Eli Reuben READ born 01 Jan 1879 at East Coker, Yeovil, Somerset, England along with his wife Alice (the same lady mentioned above) who were married on 14 Jan 1904. They had eight children and are pictured with three of them from left to right they are - Edward Arthur READ (born 07 Sep 1907), Lona Frances Emily READ (born 21 Jul 1904) and William George READ (born 18 Dec 1905 ).
Arthur BUTCHER and daughters
This image is of Arthur Richard BUTCHER born 30 Nov 1873 at Caterham, Surrey. He was one of my great grandfathers and is pictured with his daughters at a wedding. The daughters are from left to right - Queenie Etta (born 19 Sep 1918), Constance Christina Winifred (born 17 Sep 1914), Mabel Beatrice (born 11 Feb 1898) , Eirene Hilda Dorothy (born 19 Sep 1899), May COMPTON (half sister) Gladys Kathleen (born 23 Apr 1906), Gwendoline Dorcas Joyce (born 27 Apr 1916)
Peder (Peter) Christian HANSEN
This image is of Peder (Peter) Christian HANSEN who was born 3 Dec 1829 at Tommerup, Funen Island, Denmark. He was one of my husband's great-great-grandfathers and emigrated to New Zealand in 1874.
Edward Arthur READ
This image is of Edward Arthur READ (the same person in the photo with his parents Eli and Alice) who was born 7 Sep 1907 at Loders, Dorset, England. Edward was one of my grandfathers although I never got to meet him as he died before I was born.
I think photographs really help bring your family tree alive, but unfortunately, some of them can be in disrepair. I've come across ones that have been ripped, covered in age spots and more. I did write a post about removing blemishes in photoshop if you have some old photos that do not look their best.
Are you interested in tracing your family tree?
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