The Cosy Christmas TeaShop..Caroline Roberts

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From sleigh bells to wedding bells . . .

After a rocky start, Ellie Hall baked her way into everyone’s hearts at Claverham Castle – even the miserly Lord Henry was won over – and the run-down tea shop regained its old sparkle.

Now Ellie has upgraded cupcakes for fairy tale masterpieces as the proud caterer for an ever-growing list of weddings at the castle. The tea shop team love baking to the tune of happy ever afters, but can they pull together when a certain Bridezilla pushes them all to boiling point?

Christmas is just around the corner, and a last minute booking threatens to snow the team under. Ellie and her hunky hubby Joe have their own Christmas dreams to chase, but they’re determined to pull through and give this special couple the winter wonderland wedding they deserve.

Will Christmas at the Cosy Tea shop be a showstopper to remember?

This is a fantastic sequel to The Cosy Tea Shop in the Castle…the characters are true to form and massively likeable..the Castle and the surroundings are so well described I can feel myself there…in fact I should visit this area one day, I have never ventured towards that side of the country but it sounds delightful.

The story combines humour, unicorns, relationships, heartbreak, a will to succeed, cakes, Christmas and a lovely ending.  What’s not to enjoy?  There just is something about a proper tea shop….fast food places just don’t do it for me…tea shops? Oh yes indeed….

Beautifully written by Caroline, keeping me entangled within the story on every page….a poignant message threading it’s way all the way to the end…never take for granted all the happy things and loving people we have in our lives…. Every now and then just take a step back and see what you really really have….it’s just human nature to miss it all sometimes..

I think there is still room for some more tales from the Castle!!

We will leave Ellie and Joe for now…..I hope we can watch this space for some more of them….

The Cosy Christmas Teashop (affiliate link Amazon).

Tomorrow it’s December, day one of our advent calendars….and after my birthday on Saturday the Christmas feeling will commence….

This is a great read for the lead up to Christmas and has my heartfelt recommendation…

Geri xxx

If the Dress Fits…Daisy James

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“She might be the most famous person in the country, but no one even knows her name…

Callie’s exquisite, glittering silk gown has been shortlisted for the celebrity wedding of the year. But just as all her dreams are coming true, disaster strikes!

Leaving behind the bright lights of London, Callie is forced to return home to sleepy Althorpe. And there’s one man she hopes to avoid – the childhood sweetheart who turned her life upside down. But now she’s back, is it finally time to stop running?

Yet, as Callie faces her past, a Cinderella-like hunt begins for that perfect, pearl-embroidered dress, mysteriously submitted without a name…”

This book was right up my street….I adore a tale packed with quirky characters, quirky places and a pinch of romance…  This had the lot….from the ladies (and men) who make up the gang at Gingerberry Yarns to the bridal couture girls to the celebrity wedding planners….There are cupcakes and not just any old cupcake, the very very best cupcakes that will leave you drooling….There is a cosy craft group, beautifully eccentric….There are wedding dresses and lingerie and flowers….there are love stories…more than one…and there is Callie and her childhood sweetheart…how much loveliness can you take in one sitting….

This is my first Daisy James story and I was not disappointed….I don’t read on Kindle so hoping more will be available soon in paper copy…and Daisy, it would be great to bring back Gingerberry Yarns, this was my favourite place….am considering getting my crochet hooks out again soon!

If The Dress Fits (affiliate link)

If all of the above appeals to you give it a go….it’s a warm and lovely snuggly read…

Thank you Daisy!!

Geri xxx

30 Days of Gratitude..21..Sing Your Heart Out..

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Today is all about music and songs….a massive part of our lives but we take it all for granted.  It’s hard for me to pick out my favourites because there are so many, I currently have over 200 favourites in my Spotify playlist and it very much depends on my mood at the time.  There is music to sing to in the shower, and no, I can’t sing but why let that stop you, Simon Cowell isn’t listening and why should that stop you singing at the top of your voice anyway, it’s not always about being the best it’s about the passion and the feelings…if you want to sing your heart out, go on, do it….sing your little heart out!!

There is my Yoga playlist, we call this plinky plonky music (I believe this possibly came from Phoebe in Friends many years ago) it’s when you want to relax, when you want to chill out without constantly tapping your foot along…

And there is good old happy stuff, the stuff you have to bob along to, the stuff that gets you dancing, and no, I can’t dance well either, but I do it when I want to…. Apparently when I really get into it I am reminiscent of The Tales of the Unexpected…

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Ooooh this takes me back….click here for a little flashback if you remember this programme….even here, I remember the music, I don’t really remember the programme.

So, just a little taster of my playlist for you…..in my car it’s always, always, Jason Mraz….

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On my Spotify list, and so that I don’t cheat and only list the “cool” music I will truthfully list every tenth song on my playlist…here we go…

I Feel the Earth Move – Carole King (that’s for dancing)

Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley and the Wailers (I LOVE his music!!)

End of the Road – Boyz II Men (dare I say cheesy, but it’s a singalong)

On Top of World – Imagine Dragons (a great feel good song for your down days!)

Lean On – Major Lazer (a Tales of the Unexpected dance extravaganza)

Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding (no I haven’t seen the film but I love the song)

Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran (a throwback to school discos, a real memories song)

Just A Little – Liberty X…(a sexy little number by the group who came 2nd but ended up being the better listening)

What I Am – Emma Bunton (a bit hippy, a bit festival, a bit retro….a singalong)

Up – Olly Murs and Demi Lovato (what comes of having a teenage listener in the house)

I’m Yours – Jason Mraz (wishful thinking)

Back to the Earth – Jason Mraz (more wishful thinking)

Fight Song – Rachel Platten (another of those feel good belters)

Ex’s and Oh’s – Ellie King (its a singalong whilst dancing escapism moment)

Tutti Frutti – Little Richard (I adore the old stuff especially the boppy beats)

Get Down on It – Kool and the Gang (more memories more memories, disco fever)

I Love the Way you Love Me – John Michael Montgomery (I also love a bit of Country)

Beautiful – Christina Aguilera (this girl can sing, and whilst this is on it’s apparent that I can’t)

Animal – Def Leppard (oh the memories continue to roll in)

Can’t Believe It – Flo Rida and Pit Bull (see, I like it all!!!)

Get the music on today folks, sing, sing, sing….forget the world for a while and be happy in your own little bubble….

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Now I must finish my work and nip off home where there is a man flu epidemic…..get my Nurse’s outfit on and work from home….

Geri xxx

30 Days of Gratitude..20..Yet Our Roots Remain as One..

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Today is all about the people I am grateful for and a huge part of this must include my family….My Mum, my Dad, my sister and Doylie, my mini me…Georgia…my so much better half Christopher (currently suffering with man flu, God help us all..)..Without each and every one of them I would be lost, hopefully they all know this, but maybe I don’t tell them often enough.. Maybe none of us tell our loved ones how much we love them often enough..

Added to this my extended family, my many aunties, uncles and cousins.. we are all now growing in different directions but our roots will always remain as one, we share so many memories of each other, of those of us already departed…and my lovelies I am thankful to all of you and you are all doing so well!!!

Are you currently not speaking to a member of your family, can’t even remember what it was all about in the first place?  Just think back to your good times and consider getting together again, consider forgiving and forgetting….life is too short to disregard those strong roots….

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And friends, there are so many who have been there for me….we might not see each other often now but should you need me, you know where I am, please never ever think you can’t ask….we also have fixed roots….deeply planted and never to move… Let me mention though, I don’t drink much these days so if you want to get together it’s most likely to be over a pot of tea…we did our mad drinking days…I don’t remember them all, I prefer to remember it all these days and I prefer to never have another hangover…

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So, if you could do just one thing for me after reading this, just pick up the phone, open up Facebook private messages….text….someone you haven’t spoken to in ages, someone you used to have a great time with, someone who helped you out in the past, just say Hello…just say thank you…small gestures but massive steps….

Hello and thanks to my lot….I love you all…

Geri xxx

30 Days of Gratitude..19..Showering and Changing Into PJs..

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Today is about touch….those oh so simple things that make me feel “hygge”..see here for the definition of hygge…I love this concept..

Surely we all love to shower after a hard day, throw on those fleecy PJs and snuggle with a book or a hot chocolate or a beer.  Ladies…let’s add freshly shaved legs…oh my days and clean sheets….it’s a feeling not quite like any other… Add some fluffy socks…a warm purring cat on your lap, a dog by your side..you feel it already don’t you?

Another simple one for me…the feel of my skin after using Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish..

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Absolutely no affiliate link here, I am just sharing with you because you have to try it…the smell is divine…I have always suffered with psoriasis on my face…I simple Cleanse and Polish twice a day and my skin is smooth again and glowing and smelling beautiful…all aids a restful nights sleep too…along with a night time coating of plain old melted coconut oil, the best night cream I ever used and leaves skin feeling so precious..

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Info on Lucy Bee Coconut Oil Beauty Treatments

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Dare I get naughty….there is nothing quite like cuddling up to your loved one in bed, especially when it’s raining and cold outside…skin on skin and limbs tangled…feeling comfortable enough to fall asleep and snore and drool…(that’s my reality)..

The colder seasons aside….in our warmer times there is nothing quite like warm sand between your toes and salt water in your hair…the sun on your face..

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Picture from justbeachyshop (not affiliate link).

So, you know the things you like to feel, the things you love to touch…go ahead and do that…every day…don’t save it for a special occasion…today is that special occasion…you are here, you are living and breathing…make every day special…

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Have a happy Saturday…..

Geri xxx

30 Days of Gratitude..18..Lose Your Fear of Being Wrong..

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Today is all about art…I am in awe of all artists…I don’t like it all, but I see the skill and talent involved…I don’t like Tracey Emin’s “Bed” but I find her fascinating..At the moment Georgia is studying art at school and having to copy portraits…she is finding it difficult and not everyone can draw people..I am trying to explain to her that it doesn’t have to be a perfect likeness..I mean, look at Picasso.. I am trying to persuade her to find her own style..to experiment..We all like different things…if you are an artist you have to accept that not everyone will like your work..but there will always be someone who does.. Go with your heart, don’t compromise, do what is right for you…this is what I love about Tracey and her messy bed, she knows what she wants to do and she does it….no compromising..

So, I must list some of my favourites….let me see….

Beryl Cook, you can’t not like a bit of Beryl, it puts a smile on your face…

For the “proper” eccentric artist wow factor…a bit of Robert Lenkiewicz…a great talent, but methinks this guy might have been a little bit naughty…and certainly a character…

And if we are thinking about the classics…..for me most likely Monet….a gentle art, soft and pretty…almost relaxing and calming..

How about a brand new artist….the gorgeous work from Rhian John, you know what? We have no pictures in our house yet….I am going to treat myself and get one….my own birthday present to myself…as soon as my Christmas shopping is done, with my remaining pennies I shall indulge…

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I totally adore the colours in Rhian’s work…if you want to check her out you know what to do…click below..

Rhian John Paintings… Be sure to leave me some though!! (not affliliated).

I can’t end without showing you my efforts though, you must have a go at drawing even if you think you can’t ….in my attempt to join in with Georgia’s homework of Celebrity portraits, here is my effort….I haven’t drawn anything in about 35 years…not too bad for a first attempt…I never could draw people properly….

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I must admit I quite enjoyed the challenge….thanks to the delicious Ashley Benson for being my model….

So guys, if you feel like painting a picture….go on and do it…paint a picture….frame it…put it on your wall….just don’t lose that spark of madness….enjoy!!

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Happy Friday!!!

Geri xxx

30 Days of Gratitude..17..Be Passionately Curious..

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Today is about the knowledge I am grateful for….now this, for sure, is easier to discuss as you get older….

I did OK at school, not a genius, but passed all exams except Physics….I never could understand science, even now I prefer to see magic and mystery than logic and sense.. However, we are not all academics….we should not be judged on our academic success..we should be judged on our academic progress…our effort, how hard we have tried…our ability to not give up..  We all know an academic with no common sense, can’t change a light bulb…and we all know that grafter with no exam passes who has the know how and the gumption to succeed at everything…(Google Richard Branson….boy done good!)..

Schools sometimes help, sometimes not so much so….the apprenticeship appears to be back…I think this is a good thing.. Sometimes I wish though, that schools would concentrate more on the individual learning needs of the students rather than the one wrongly coloured buckle on the shoe or whether they are wearing the right Games shorts…wouldn’t it be great if it were all about what they could achieve rather than how they have decided to colour or cut their hair….whether they choose to have a pierced eyebrow, whether they choose to wear bright lipstick…For me…you can look however you like, you can wear what you like, as long as you have the right amount of respect for others and good manners…

Knowledge can mean different things to different people….we, of course, do need our academics…our researchers…the inventors….the teachers…But, we do need our fair share of drifters, of dreamers, of wise people….We are after all individuals but we are all individuals in  one big team….we should help each other, we should complement each others strengths and weaknesses….if you see someone struggling and you know how to do it, see if they would like a hand…they are going to let you know if they don’t, what do you have to lose……If someone has to reverse their car for you in a narrow lane and they are totally rubbish at it, that’s because they can’t be good at everything, at least they are trying…(note, I am not very good at reversing my car..) and that person zig zagging the car all over the road, they are most likely very very good at something else… Let’s just all give each other a break, let’s all just get on….could we? would we?

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So, I failed my Physics exam…no big deal…I didn’t want to be a scientist…it was a shame I couldn’t have spent all that science lesson time doing something I was good at…

We all have moments of thinking someone else is stupid, God knows we all think we are stupid ourselves a lot of the time…”lacking intelligence and common sense”  every single one of us has those moments…but we are not stupid people, there are stupid moments, not stupid people…

So, today, it appears to be an Einstein quotes day….he appeared to be a quirky genius…but if you Google him you will find that even he made mistakes….I would explain them here, had I listened in my Physics lessons I might have been able to do so…as it is,  the answer to “Did Einstein ever make mistakes?” might as well be written in Klingon…

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Work hard, try your best, be curious, explore but above all else help each other and remember it’s never too late to learn something new..

Have a happy Thursday!

Geri xxx