Friday, 21 October 2016

Blog Tour for Lilly’s House by Cassandra Parkin

Today it’s my turn to host the blog tour for Lilly’s House by Cassandra Parkin. I have to say I completely and utterly love this book. It’s one of those that drags in you from the very first chapter and you just have to keep going.

When Jen goes to her grandmother’s house for the last time, she’s determined not to dwell on the past. As a child, Jen adored Lily and suspected she might be a witch; but the spell was broken long ago, and now her death means there won’t be any reconciliation.

Lily’s gone, but the enchantments she wove and the secrets she kept still remain. In Lily’s house, Jen and her daughter Marianne reluctantly confront the secrets of the past and present - and discover how dangerous we become when we’re trying to protect the ones we love.

I love a twisty, turny book and you definitely get that with this novel. The trips back to past are not jarring like in some books, it’s seamless.   

I was hooked all the way through.

It’s a great read and perfect this autumn snuggled up under a blanket with a big mug of something hot.

Lilly's House is available to buy now. 

Do checkout the other book tour blogs. 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Corner to Corner Summer Shawl #whaticrochet

I haven't blogged about any of my crochet projects for ages. The last few months have been super busy and I have crocheted loads including what feels like a gazillion baby blankets for family and customers. I decided I needed to make something for myself for the cool summer evenings (and days) so I made myself this gorgeous shawl.

Its just a corner to corner pattern that is easy to crochet once you understand the pattern. Its essentially boxes of triple stitch. I have been making my current blankets in this stitch and thought it would make a great shawl. I just kept going until it was big enough for me.

The yarn it Patons 4ply mercerised cotton which I got from a charity shop. I got a huge bag of the mint green colour,  in fact I have several balls left. The purple came from the same charity shop haul and I still have some of it left as well. I used 3 balls of the green and then did the final two rows in the purple. 

It was so quick to work up and drapes like a dream. Its perfect for when I am sitting n the garden at night and will make a great scarf in the spring.

The corner to corner pattern is super simple and you can find loads of patterns online. The Crochet Crowd have a great corner to corner video tutorial if you google it. 

I am currently working on a stunning beaded shawl which I put aside until I have the time to focus on it as its a bit fiddly.  Next up I am working on several blankets for Christmas gifts and I have a commission for two picnic baskets of food which I will blog about one day!

What are you working on?

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Breakfast in the Park

This morning Little Miss and I had breakfast in the park for the first time. We have a little park three minutes from our house but we decided that the park in town was the best one for a breakfast picnic.

We left the house just after 8am. A quick stop at Lidl for their freshly baked pastries and then Costa for coffee and hot chocolate and we were ready for the park.  Ayscoughfee park is a stunning park with a hall, duck pond, little maze, tennis courts, bowling green and cafe.

We had a breakfast by the duck pond and then played in the park until Little Miss was ready to leave. Most of the time we had the park to ourselves and we stayed there for almost and hour an a half. 

It was such a nice morning and I didn't spend a lot. I could have taken a flask of tea but its nice to have treat. I have promise BG we will take her with us next week for another one.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Book Blog Tour: Wildflower Bay by Rachael Lucas

I am over the moon to be starting off the book blog tour for Rachael Lucas’s new novel Wildflower Bay. You may remember that I was part of the book blog tour for Rachael’s last book Coming Up Roses and if you enjoyed that story you will love this one!

We are taken back to the Island of Auchenmor in Wildflower Bay a place we were introduced to in her first novel Sealed with A Kiss and I for one am glad we are back!
Right first the blurb….

Isla's got her dream job as head stylist at the most exclusive salon in Edinburgh. The fact that she's been so single-minded in her career that she's forgotten to have a life has completely passed her by - until disaster strikes.

Out of options, she heads to the remote island of Auchenmor to help out her aunt who is in desperate need of an extra pair of scissors at her salon.

A native to the island, Finn is thirty-five and reality has just hit him hard. His best friends are about to have a baby and everything is changing. When into his life walks Isla . . .

Where do I start?? I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in fact I couldn’t out it down and read it in less than 24 hours.

 It has everything you want, an uplifting story, romance, a little sadness and quite a few giggles.

I loved being back on the Island and even though we meet a few friends from the first book they are not a huge feature and the new characters totally stand on their own. I have now re found my passion to go off and love on a remote Scottish island!

The story is spilt into three parts which lent it’s self nicely to be publish in three small eBooks which can purchase now on kindle (The first one is currently free). I was saving all mine to read together and then I was kindly sent a paperback version to read.  You will be able to buy it in paperback on the 11th August!

If you are looking for a great summer read, then Wildflower Bay is for you. I can’t wait for the next cracker from Rachael and I would rather like to see more books from the Island. I think she should have an Auchenmor chronicles like Jilly Cooper has a Rutminster chronicles.  

Joking a side Wildflower Bay is a must read.

For more about Rachael, visit her website at, say hello to her on Twitter @karamina, or find her on Facebook at 

Tomorrow you can find the tour over at Jax’s

Monday, 11 July 2016


I feel like for the last 12 months we have just been surviving. It's been one thing after another. I’ve been ill, my Other Half has been ill and his mum has been ill. OH has had diabetes complications including eye problems. His mum has had cancer twice in the past 18 months, thankfully she has now had the all clear. OH was also out of work for 6 weeks, which doesn’t sound like a lot but we didn’t know when he would get another job and with me only working part time its been a worry about having enough money to pay the bills. 

Luckily he found work and I managed to get some extra hours which kept us going. Money is always a huge worry for me. I know what it’s like to be homeless and skint, proper skint, the kind of skint when have to decide what days you are going to eat that week. It’s the reason I keep working, to make sure I have money coming in and we are not left in a position where we can't pay our mortgage. It’s paid off in the last two months as we have survived unemployment and a big drop income. 

The downside of having extra work is finding the time to do it. Once OH starts his new role on Monday I will have less child-free hours in the day and soon the girls break up for summer and the real juggle begins. 

In the past I have only worked when I had childcare or OH was home or at bed time but it just leaves my so tired trying to fit my work into those few hours so this year they are going to have to learn to entertain themselves at time. My girls get up early, super early so my plan is to get some work done in those first hours before the day begins. I have also bought myself a little netbook so hopefully I can do some work in the garden while they play or while they watch film if the weather is bad. 

OH has been working hard on the garden so I can work outside in the holidays

We just need to survive the summer and then Little Miss starts her two and half days at nursery and I will have a decent amount of time to get my work done. It's amazing what you can achieve when you have a decent block of time to work. Then hopefully we can stop surviving and start living again.

Monday, 13 June 2016

6 Months On

A little over 6 months ago I joined weight watchers and started on a new, heathier lifestyle. Bad health had giving me the kick up the arse I need to start making changes to the way I lived, ate and saw myself.

It’s only recently that I have realised how large I had really become in the last year and it was no wonder I didn’t feel myself.  I have always nearly always been on the larger size and it hadn’t really bothered me until it made me sick. Now when I look at pictures of me over the last two years I am shocked how large I was and I see how last year in particular I started to hide my body more. Last summer there were hardly any dresses or shorts.  I wore patterned trousers (which looked good) but they hide a multiple of sins.

The last 6 months hasn’t been easy, I’ve had weeks when the weight loss and healthy eating has been really easy and other’s where it has been a complete struggle. The last few weeks have been tough as for the first time in 20 years the Other Half has been unemployed, so it’s currently me that is bringing in the household money and I have had to increase hours where I can.  Thankfully I know so rather kick ass ladies that have helped and we are getting by.  My usual default for stress is to eat. So I have had a few naughty days (plus a birthday weekend) which means I have stayed the same for the last few weeks but I am ok with that.

My weight loss so far is at 2 stone 8.4lbs and I am so happy with that.  I have a lot more to lose but I am on the right track.

The biggest difference I have seen is in my body shape and face. I started at a size 20/22 and I am now in 14/16. 

My sister sent me some size 14 jeans and I couldn’t believe they fitted me! They have got a bit of stretch in them. It was my birthday on Sunday and I was given some money so I treated myself to some new shorts (size 16), new underwear (no longer belly huggers) and pretty new bra’s with an underwire that I haven’t been able to wear in 8 years.

This gives me real motivation the fact I can see I difference. I feel much healthier, less tired and bloated and my skin is my clearer. I still have a long way to go and I determined to get to the end. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Two Stone!!

This morning I weighed myself for my 13th weigh in since I started in January and I lost a whopping 6lbs! This makes up for the 1lb ½ I put on the week before and to be honest the bad month of March.  

I found myself as usual losing a bit going down a dress size and get complacent. The problem that is I am still diabetic and I still have quite a bit of weight to lose to get to a healthy BMI.

Last Monday I gave myself a stern talking to and go back on track and it worked.
My total weight loss is now 2 stone. That’s 28lbs!!

The best thing I feel so much better for it. Last Monday I felt bloated and sluggish as I had eaten so badly the week before.  A bonus result is that I have gone down two dress sizes and I now a size 16 which feels really good!

I still have quite a bit to lose but I am on the right track!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

It’s Not Luck, It’s Bloody Hard Work

I have been freelancing from home for the past 5 ½ years and I love it and I love the work I do. It gives me the flexibility to be with my children, I have really low childcare costs (Little Miss funding has just kicked in so zero costs now) and I get to choose who I work with.

When I tell people I am a work at home mum they generally tell me I am really lucky and for a very long time I agreed with them.

Oh yes I am lucky not to have to go out to work

Oh yes I am lucky that I get to be at home with my children.

Oh yes I am lucky to do I job that I love.

But I’m not lucky; I work really, really hard to be able to do this. Don’t get me wrong I wouldn't have it any other way but it’s not come easy.  I spent many years working away late into the night and grabbing precious minutes at nap time to fit work in and build up a reputation and client portfolio.  

During that time I had a second child and a lovely bout of depression to help things along.
I still work in small pockets of time as Little Miss only goes to tom playgroup 3 mornings a week, I am praying really hard that two extra mornings become free soon! Life is hectic and sometimes down right exhausting. My recent illness has not helped but I am on the mend now.

I let myself devalue my own work. I think it’s because for such a long time I felt like a fraud, not believing in my abilities. I have come to realise that I am good at what I do!!

I feel like I am on the go constantly. Today I have dropped the girls off, BG at school and Little Miss at playgroup. Before we left the house I swapped the washing over. When I got back from the school run I filled the dishwasher and swept the floor while I waited for the kettle to boil. I have then done an hour and 20 mins work and have written this blog post (yes I am skiving), very soon I will have to walk back and pick Little Miss up (I don’t drive so the 20 min journey is done on foot), we will then walk home, have lunch, I will attempt some tidying, have a cup of tea and then do my 3rd school run of the day. Then it will be dinner time, bed time, I will then do a few hours work, get the kids’ stuff ready for the morning, watch a bit of TV and go to bed. I do that on a Monday and Wednesday. On a Thursday OH is off so I get a full working day. Tuesday and Friday I work in the evenings.

My house is a pit; I have piles of washing everywhere.

This is my desk, the house is even worse!

I wouldn’t change the way I work. Yes it’s hectic and the days are long but Little Miss goes to school next year *sob* and things will then get easy. This September she goes over the pre-school side will be doing two and half days and that will really make a difference. Until then I will carry on the way we are, I am trying not to think about summer!

So I am not lucky to be a work at home mum, I work really hard so I can be one. 

Right I have 20 minutes before I have to leave. Time for some more work! 

Monday, 4 April 2016

Tall Oaks by Chris Whitaker Blog Tour: 5 Things I Can’t Write Without

Its been a while since I have written about books or hosted a book tour so what better way to reintroduce this to Lipstick and Lace than with a book blog tour for a debut novel. 

This made me want to read it straight away:

For fans of Twin Peaks and The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair, this brilliant debut is dark yet hilarious, suspenseful and sad. Everyone has a secret in Tall Oaks . .

When three-year-old Harry goes missing, the whole of America turns its attention to one small town. Everyone is eager to help. Everyone is a suspect.

Desperate mother Jess, whose grief is driving her to extreme measures. Newcomer Jared, with an easy charm and a string of broken hearts in his wake. Photographer Jerry, who's determined to break away from his controlling mother once and for all. And, investigating them all, a police chief with a hidden obsession of his own . . 

Luckily for me I was sent a e copy to read and it is a brilliant book. I read it in two day, totally ignoring my children and the housework. I have to admit that I found it a confusing read at first as there are quite a few characters and I kept getting them mixed up, though to be fair it doesn't take a lot to confuse me. once I got pass that I was totally gripped and just had to know who had done it.

I won't give much away because there is nothing worse that a spoiler but I will say Manny is my most favourite character in the book.  You seriously have to read this book and luckily for you its out on ebook on the 7th April.  

Even more exciting than a new book is that Chris Whitaker has written a post for me to share with you. 

I have always wanted to be an author and in my fantasies I get to write uninterrupted for ours in a huge office lined with books and I of course write books that everyone loves. In reality I write blog post sporadically which trying to work from home, fending off children by throwing them food, in an office which is essentially a hallway between the bathroom, living room, kitchen and utility room. I am always fascinated by how authors write, where they write and what they need to be creative. 

Chris is kindly sharing  the 5 things he cant write without *takes notes*

5 Things I Can’t Write Without

1. A daily target.

It might not work for everyone, but I need to set myself a daily target. I’ve varied it over the years. With Tall Oaks it was 5,000 words per day, this is insane and I would never do it again. My wife was due to give birth in a month and I wanted to get a first draft finished before all the screaming and crying began. It didn’t work, as when I saw how awful that first draft was I did some screaming and crying of my own. So now I’ve settled on 1,250 words per day. There are no excuses, I have to write 1,250 words. I don’t write at the weekend (unless a deadline looms) but I know that in roughly four months I’ll have a first draft. It helps to look at the calendar and see the end in sight. There are times when I’m not in the mood to write, or when life gets in the way, but I always push through.

2. Microsoft Word 2007.

I know, I’m a dinosaur. In my defence, 2007 was a vintage year for Word. I have friends that write on Macs (the cool kids), Zoho (me neither), and even by hand (Amish/ masochist), but for me I’m a Word fan. I’ve heard good things about Scrivener, but would probably need Mr/Mrs Scrivener to move in with me whilst I got to grips with it.  


I work and write (according to my accountant never the twain shall meet) from home. I have a five-year-old son and a two-year-old son. Their favourite game is called Cobra vs. Mongoose, there’s lots of hissing and screeching involved. This means I do a lot of writing at night. I’ve tried writing whilst listening to music but just find it a distraction.

4. The Internet.

Though it can be hugely distracting, I find it impossible to write without internet access. From research to dictionary and thesaurus, I’d be completely lost without it. And Twitter. Twitter has been a revelation. I knew it was a necessary evil in the days of self promotion, but through Twitter I now have a group of writer friends that have talked me down from the ledge more times than I care to admit. They are such a diverse group that if I need anything from advice on the correct use of the dream sequence (don’t use it) to the best way to hide a body (blend and drink), there’s always an expert on standby.  
5. Laughing.

Seriously. If I can’t make myself laugh then I go back and re-work. Every line that is supposed to be funny needs to elicit a laugh. If you think trying to make yourself laugh is narcissistic then you’re probably right. But it’s really important to me!
You can find Chris on twitter and can pre order his debut novel Tall Oaks here

Checkout the rest of the blog book tour.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016


Just before Christmas I wrote about my diabetes and vitaminD deficiency. At the time I was hoping they would let me try to control my diabetes through diet and I would have to go on medication but that was not to be and I ended up on two lots of tablets!

I still want to control it by diet so in the New Year I joined Weight Watchers.  One of my main problems with food is not what I eat but how much I eat, I eat huge portions and I needed something to help me control that. I liked WW as it has just changed it point system to help decrease sugar increase and let’s face it with diabetes that’s not a bad thing. I have tried dieting many time but always give up after a lose a stone but this time as I know it’s for my health I am really determined to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

Its not just sugars I need to control but also my carbs as they turn to sugar and that is just as bad as a bar of chocolate. When I have done WW or Slimming World in the past I tried to eat as much ‘free food’ as possible and then use all my points to carb out or eat chocolate but as I know I can’t have them I have found better ways to use them and eat well.

I spent the first 4 weeks counting and weighing everything religiously and it really worked, my portions decreased as did my stomach which means I now get fuller quicker. I have now switched to no count which means I can eat as much as I want from a list of food which includes lean meats, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice, eggs, veg, fruits, beans, pulses and quite a bit more.  Because I know how big more portions should be I find that even though I can have as much as I want, I am sticker to smaller portions of carbs and bulking out with veg and protein.

Its really paying off I have lost 1 stone 5.6lbs so far, 7 ½ inches off my bum, stomach and waist and gone down a dress size. 

Even better is I am starting feel myself, my energy is coming back and my skin looks really good. I still have a long way to go but I am feeling positive and motivated to carry one. It’s been a real wakeup call and changes need to happen.

Now if I can just get my children to sleep more!

Monday, 25 January 2016

#WhatICrochet Rowan Granny Square Blanket

One of my highlights of last year was being asked to be a craft ambassador for Make It Coats. My first little project for them was little strawberries for charity and then they asked me if I want to make a Granny Square blanket designed by Sarah Hatton and I couldn't resist.

I always underestimate how long it is going to take to make a large blanket but I eventually got it finished in the new year. Illness and a bad back didn't help my progress but it was a joy to make. 

The colour palette and yarn choice really make this blanket special. It wasn't until I stitched  it all together that I noticed the genius of the square placement and I am so glad I got it right! 

The yarn is Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted and its really lovely to work with. Its firm but not scratchy and actually washes up super soft. The colours are so great together that it makes me smile every time I see it.

It was supposed to go in the living room but has made its way into my office to keep me warm as I work.

If you are looking for a great project this winter I would highly recommend this blanket. because the wool is worsted weight the squares work up pretty quickly. And once you start putting it together it will keep your legs warm.

I can't wait for my next project.