Guest post: Best Ways to Play Together as a Family

Families that can play together spend more quality time together. If you want to strengthen the ties and bonds within your family, playing together is one of the best ways you can do that. This is a holistic approach that has worked for many families. There have been studies done to show that families who play together will be closer to one another.

If this is the type of family you want to have, learning more about the best ways to play together as a family is a great idea. However, before doing so, there are a couple more things to note. First, there are so many adults who are so busy with work and other responsibilities that they forget to take the time to play. Just because you are an adult, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play. You can have a great time, relieve stress, and bond with your family members through play. Choose one of these ways to start playing with your family today.

Finding Ways to Laugh More Often
Laughter really can be the best medicine for your family. Laughing helps you and your family members to decompress from complicated and stressful situations. It helps to prevent stress in the family. When did you last belly laugh? You know that full type of laugh that really comes from inside of you. Research does show that laughter helps to increase longevity. If you can find more ways to laugh with your family, this can help you all with so many things. Not only will it help relieve stress and improve longevity, but allows you all to connect with one another as well. Many families don’t like spending time around each other. This may be because they don’t laugh and have a great time together. The more you do this, the more you may actually enjoy each other’s company.

Keeping Things Simple
It is easier than it seems to make things simpler in life. When you spend time with your family, you don’t have to do something complicated and intense. There are many ways to play together and have fun without getting even more stressed out. You can take a small getaway to the local park. Maybe you can even have a quick picnic instead of eating out at fast food. You can make memories by playing in the river down the street, instead of driving all the way across town to a lake. Think of the simple things. Do you have trails in your yard? If so, you and your family can play in the trails. Make a tent out of sticks. Keeping things simple really is the best way to have fun and play together as a family.

Meeting the Needs of Everyone
Do you feel that everyone in your family is getting their needs met? If not, there are ways to make sure this happens. You can let everyone pick one weekend a month to plan a playful activity. Family meetings are a great way to get everyone involved in planning out fun events as well. Maybe your youngest child loves going to the park while your oldest loves playing board games. You can always play chess in the park or do one of these things every other weekend. Being positive around your children and making sure they know you want to meet everyone’s needs is a great way to teach them to care for others. By meeting everyone’s needs, you might just find that everyone in the family is happier and more content on a regular basis. In addition, you teach your children to take turns.

Spontaneity Can Breed Happiness
Some families stick to the same routine repeatedly. While routines are great for children and entire families, sometimes spontaneity can breed happiness. You can find many fun and spontaneous things to do. You can spontaneously decide that instead of electronic time, you are going to take the children outside to play in the mud. You can decide that instead of taking an afternoon walk outdoors, on a rainy day, you make forts in the bedroom. Being spontaneous can help everyone to loosen up and have a great time. You can also find new things that members of your family didn’t know they enjoyed by being spontaneous.

Letting Go of the Electronics
There are so many families that spend most of their extra time on electronics. When everyone is glued to electronics, you can’t truly bond with one another. It may be time to let go of the electronics. How do you feel your family would do if they didn’t have electronics for 3 hours, 1 day, or even a weekend? At first, they may not know what to do. However, in time, they are going to find other ways to spend time together. Your children may start playing together. They may go outside and build a fort. They may pull out those Legos they haven’t played with in months. You can join in with them as well. Letting go of the electronics is something that you may want to implement regularly to help everyone grow and connect as a family.

Taking Pictures
When was the last time you just got everyone together for some pictures? Maybe you snap a few pictures, here and there, on your phone. However, when you look through them, when was the last time you had a true family picture. You can take pictures of everyone doing their favorite things for instance. If your youngest child loves reading a book, have her pose while reading a book, and you snap a picture. If your oldest child, loves playing basketball, have him jump in the air with the ball, and you snap a picture. Taking purposeful pictures of the family can be a fun and playful activity you all do together. Let the children take pictures of the parents doing fun and exciting things as well.

Making Up a Game
Have any of your children ever tried to make up a game before? What did you do? Were you responsive to their ideas or did you put it aside? Don’t worry either way. Now is your chance to get more involved. Everyone in your household can get involved. Let everyone take turns making up a game and having everyone play. This could be a game that involves everything made up or they can change around a game they already have. You might just be surprised at the ideas they come up with. You can come up with a game that everyone has to play as well, even if it is a cleaning game.

These are some of the best ways to play together as a family. If you or anyone in your family is stressed out, tired, bored, or just need to have some bonding time, any one of these ideas can give you something fun to do. If you are worried your teenager may become a teenage alcoholic, these ideas can show them how much you care about them. You can use these ideas to help you create other fun ways to spend time with your family as well. What are you waiting for? Go and get with your family. Pick one of these activities and do something fun together as a family. Remember, playing is for the entire family, not just for the children.

Author Bio:
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.

Patrick Bailey

Guest post by Patrick Bailey

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Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies by Stuart Reid plus giveaway

Time to tell you about another of the Gorgeous George books by Stuart Reid. This time it is Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies, a book that my usually reluctant reader, son1 chose to buy himself.

To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies by Stuart Reid

Here is the book blurb.

Sneezing, sniffing, snoring and snots! Zombies, zebras and zits!

A chemical experiment by the military has gone wrong and the toxins are now airborne. The pupils of Little Pumpington primary school are breathing in the gas and their behaviour is becoming bonkers.

Do you still pick your nose? Do you sit next to someone in school who still picks their nose? Do they eat it, even in secret, underneath their hand when they think no one else is watching? The Little Pumpington nose-pickers are taking over the school and their own bogies are not enough any more; they need to eat everybody else’s too.

These psychotic snot-zombies are on the rampage, feasting on the nostril contents of the entire town and the army will do nothing to prevent them.

Can Gorgeous George, Allison and Crayon Kenny find a cure before the military decide to blow up the school? With the help of Grandpa Jock, Ben and Barbara and a box full of the tissues, they must stop the snot-zombies biting their booger-crusted fingernails to the bone.

Parents will not be able to read this book. This book is for strong-stomached children only so no wimps need apply. This is the last taboo known to mankind and way beyond the comprehension of adults. The older you are, the yuckier this book will be. You have been warned!

Must…..have….bogiieeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

Gorgeous George and the ZigZag Zit-face Zombies is another brilliant book in the Gorgeous George series

This is what son1 had to say about the book.
I liked this book. It was about a few kids who became bogie zombies and infected a whole school.

Short and to the point, but son1 told me that the book erases your memory of reading it. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, since it was last year when he read this book. And I decided to risk the warning on the back cover that parents will not be able to read this book. The author is correct, it does make disgusting reading for us adults, but just the sort of thing of thing that kids love and find really funny. It goes into the details of kids with green snot streaming down their faces, which they wipe with their sleeves or even worse, lick up. You get the picture. Definitely one to let the children enjoy on their own, rather than reading it out loud as a bedtime story, unless you’re into that sort of humour yourself.

A really silly storyline where almost everyone at the school including teachers becomes infected and turns into a bogie-eating zombie. The army puts an exclusion zone up around the school, but who is going to come up with a cure and save the day? Can anyone avoid infection?

Another disgustingly funny book from Stuart Reid. Great even for reluctant readers like my son. Each story always features something like poo, bottom burps or snot, which most children delight in reading about.

And Stuart is passionate about kids reading as we saw at his entertaining Boogers, Books and Big Bottom Burps show at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer. In between writing his books, he spends lots of his time visiting schools not just in the UK, but worldwide promoting his books and reading. He will be back at the Fringe next month, so if you are in Edinburgh, do pop along. His shows are fab.

Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies is available on Amazon, currently priced at £6.99 in paperback.  There are now 7 Gorgeous George books in the series, targeted at children age 8+, with another title “Grandpa Jock and the Incredible Iron-Bru-Man Incident” due to be published in a few days time on July 8th. A big thumbs up from son1 for this book from best-selling children’s author Stuart Reid.

Gorgeous George and the Timewarp Trousers Trumpets by Stuart Reid

You may see son1’s reviews of two of the other Gorgeous George titles here.
Gorgeous George and the Jumbo Jobby Juicer
Gorgeous George and the Timewarp Trouser Trumpets

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies to 1 lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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Disclosure. This post is a review of a book we purchased, although we have received other titles by this author for free. All opinions are mine and my son’s own.

Little London Adventures & Cockney Curiosities by Clare Newton

I have received a free e-copy of the book Little London Adventures & Cockney Curiosities by Clare Newton. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Little London Adventures & Cockney Curiosities by Clare Newton

Here is the book blurb.

Artist and photographer Clare Newton rediscovers and records the faint remnants of old London, only made visible when lit by a fleeting low winter’s sun. These images are the conduits through time, analysing the sometimes uncomfortable balance between a struggling heritage to exist and the insatiable appetite of modern regeneration. But deep inside East London also lies a Victorian era. The mother of inventions, which not only stimulated change across the world then but even now their lingering artefacts and sayings effect us even in today’s hi-tech social world.

Strange but true stories that explain how and where artefacts have come from. Including the roots of ‘Sarcasm’ or the colour purple, both invented in the east end. Or how Shoreditch got its name.

This book arose after many previous years exploration for a large exhibition displayed before the Olympics in London, called Riches Uncovered. The facts of which will be made into a series of photographic studies for all to enjoy and smile over.

I was intrigued what I would find in this book, as I have ancestry from East London. My great grandmother was from Bromley by Bow. Her father was a potter who I believe may have worked at Bow Pottery on Three Mills Lane. From maps, I am aware that the street they lived on, no longer exists, the houses having been demolished to make way for the Blackwall Tunnel.

Clare Newton has followed exactly the same premise, by photographing the area before it again changed forever with all the new build for the 2012 London Olympics. And she shares with us the origins of a Cockney and coster-mongers, along with some Cockney slang. I now know that Alfred Hitchcock was a Cockney and I’ve been introduced to Duckett’s Canal and Merry Jane of Shoreditch along with lots more.

The photography is excellent and the topics are all well researched. And I’m glad to say the Blackwall Tunnel gets a mention too.

Little London Adventures & Cockney Curiosities is available on Amazon, currently priced at £20 in hardback. The photographs and stories have been woven together brilliantly. A highly recommended book.


About the author

In 2001 Clare Newton was awarded the British Female Inventor of the Year, and she has received 5 international awards for innovation.

Born in London, her creative talents were expressed at a young age, first painting her bedroom to building wooden aeroplanes. But when she was given her first camera, a little Minolta, at the age of 14, it inspired her to build a dark room in the roof of her parents’ house, where she taught herself how to shoot and develop photographs, with neighbours encouraging her with small commissions. She took a degree in art and design in East London and worked as a Graphic & Interior Designer for many years. Photography really took off for her when the Olympics came to London. She made her first large photographic installation in 2009, ‘Riches Uncovered’, a collection of photographic montages to explain and document East London’s disappearing heritage. After this first project she went on to produce numerous extraordinary community art projects, involving hundreds of children and adults. The resulting photographic montages were displayed outdoors in unexpected public places, encouraging all to take part, share and learn about local heritage. Clare believes that it is through the passion of creating participatory public projects, that art can positively affect people in different and personal ways, even drawing communities together.

Clare’s next endeavour was to create Jump4London – the World’s Longest Photograph, with 5,000 people taking part, who appeared to jump simultaneously. Two meters high and one kilometre in length, it was printed on 2.5 tons of specialist photographic material, and documented an important piece of London’s history as people celebrated the 2012 Olympic Games. It made a Double Guinness World Record as part of the Cultural Olympiad’s World Record London.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Guest post: Growing Up Green

Growing Up Green: The Importance of Teaching Your Children About Sustainability

Children are naturally drawn to their environment. They see the world as one big playground to explore and experience, but it’s up to the adults around them to show them their roles as stewards of the earth. It’s our duty to teach them good practices that could eventually form into habits. Teaching children about keeping the earth in good shape when they’re young is the best way to ensure that they grow into environmentally conscious adults. Something as simple as reducing plastic consumption is an easy and realistic way to contribute to green advocacy.

Why Teach Your Kids About Caring for the Environment?

What your children do today will have a major impact on their future. Previous generations, including ours, have made quite a mess because of unbridled consumption. For instance, the world has already produced more than eight billion tons of plastics and of that total, less than 10% is recycled. The rest ends up in landfills or oceans, where it can be ingested and endanger marine creatures.

This is significant considering that plastics don’t completely dissolve until after 400 years. That piece of plastic that you allow your kid to just throw out on the street? It will outlive them by five generations. So, how do you teach your kids the importance of going green? Here are a few simple tips to follow.

  1. Start green education early

According to House Method, you should introduce your child to plastic alternatives early on. Instead of using water bottles, invest in a reusable bottle. Have your child come grocery shopping with you and explain how you can pick vegetables and fruits without having to buy plastic packaging. The sooner you start teaching your children about the importance of sustainability, the more likely that green habits will form.

  1. Be a role model

Children pick up habits from their parents. That’s why it’s important that you instill in them good practices through your own actions. Let’s take the example of climate forcing – this condition occurs when our human activity forces a change in either the cooling or warming balance in the atmosphere. Instead of taking the car to the grocery store and contributing to this issue, why not bike or walk your way there? This is not only a bonding opportunity, but a teaching moment as well. Some other things you can do include stop usage of plastic straws, bring a reusable bag with you when you go shopping, and recycling all papers and plastics in your home.

  1. Make the conservation fun

Let’s face it: most kids would rather be glued to their mobile phones or tablets than help you garden or prepare that compost pit. But you can make the whole activity fun with a little creativity. For instance, when you go exploring the park or the woods, you can challenge your child to a game to see who can pick up litter the fastest. For composting, let them help you dig for worms.

  1. Visit the zoo or nature reserves

Children really fail to appreciate the importance of conservation when they don’t explore their environment. You can rekindle their curiosity by taking them to see wildlife or birds they haven’t seen before. Introduce them to animals at the zoo and show them how nature doesn’t create an anomaly. Everybody has a role to play and humans have the biggest responsibility to make sure that the gains we made in nature conservation in recent years won’t be wasted.

Teaching your child about sustainability is both incredibly important and surprisingly easy. It just takes a bit of creativity, dedication, and consistency.

Guest post by Kaytie Pascale

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

Here is the book blurb.

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…

Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.

But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.

The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

The story starts from Emma’s point of view as a child. Her dad is an actor and her mum takes her to see a film starring her dad. Only trouble is that it is a grown up film, so boring and then horrifying when she sees her dad get shot. They have to leave the cinema at that point with Emma in tears. This sets the scene and we then learn all about Emma, her parents and grandparents. There are many times when Emma’s dad is missing from home due to his filming schedule, even Christmas Day, but meanwhile Emma looks up to her grandad who has just had a maths book published and helps her with her homework.

As her Dad’s fame increases, they move from their Edinburgh flat to a North Berwick mansion complete with staff, but her mum doesn’t like it as she can’t be so anonymous there. And of course, Emma has to change school. She becomes friends with Patsy and Oz.

But then something happens that changes everything. Emma’s world starts to unravel. Nothing is the same again.

We then move to part 2 of the book. Emma is now a young adult and has changed her name to Maria. Why? Is she coping? What else is different?

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw is newly published on Amazon today, currently priced at £3.99 in Kindle format and is also available in paperback. This wasn’t my usual type of read but I found it to be a poignant tragic deep story.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

My journey towards a Plastic Free future – part 8

Latest update on reducing our plastic usage and other waste. Although I’ve baked my own crackers quite a few times now, I was very pleased to discover some crispbread packaged in paper in a nearby village. Son1 can polish off the crackers so quickly, that it is good to have something in the store cupboard again.

crispbreads

I’m now a regular customer at the local independent shops, so I felt able to challenge the greengrocer when I popped in early one morning and saw him chopping off all the outer leaves from the cauliflowers. I asked why he was doing that and he said customers prefer them like that. Well I’m a customer and I would prefer them left on, but I felt my request fell on deaf ears. So it remains a choice between a cauliflower with leaves in plastic from the supermarket, or a plastic-free cauliflower minus leaves from the local greengrocer. I would use the outermost leaves in soups and stock, the next ones in I would steam and the innermost ones I would eat raw in salads. I also asked what would happen to all the wastage. Apparently it goes for the pigs to eat.

And here’s a recipe I promised to share for apple pulp pancakes, made using the pulp from my juicer.

pulp pancakes

Pulp Pancakes

Ingredients

250g apple pulp
25g melted butter
2 eggs
125ml milk
200g plain flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Method

Melt the butter in a jug in the microwave.
Add all ingredients except oil to a large bowl.
Beat the ingredients together to a batter.
Gently heat oil in a frying pan.
Pour pancake size spoonfuls of batter into the frying pan, to make about 3 pancakes at a time.
Cook for about 2 -3 minutes until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes.
Turn and cook the other side for about 2 minutes until golden.
Repeat until all batter has been used.
Serve either warm or cold, either plain or with your choice of topping.
Enjoy.

These are delicious and can be made with other types of pulp. They also have no added sugar, just the sweetness from the pulp.

pulp pancakes

I mentioned previously that I had saved some seeds to plant. Initially it was just ones like melon, butternut squash and pepper to avoid them ending up in food waste. But then I thought, well why not also try saving a few of those that you would typically eat like tomato. Well I can report that I’ve had mixed success. The tomatoes and peppers came up but no luck initially with either melon or butternut squash, so I had to plant some more of those, which happily did germinate. Of course the real proof of success won’t be until later in the year, as to whether I actually manage to harvest anything from them.

growing seeds

I’ve also bought a few packets of seeds including cauliflower, which are now at the seedling stage. So hopefully I’ll be harvesting my own cauliflowers later and avoiding the chopped off wasted leaves issue.

And on the topic of seeds, which ones can be roasted to eat? I’ve only ever roasted pumpkin seeds. I regularly buy melons, peppers and butternut squash. Anyone know if I could roast any of those seeds?

I’ve never particularly had green fingers but I’m gradually enlarging the area that I started as a vegetable patch last year. Certainly hard work digging as there seem to be so many weed roots. Only managed a few carrots, tomatoes and one pumpkin last year, so hoping for better results this time round. Very pleased with the “reduced to clear” stickered chive and mint plants from the supermarket that I planted in the autumn. They are flourishing marvellously.

mint and chives

Also I made a suggestion to the cafe at work a few months back that they reduce waste, by offering the coffee grounds to employees for their gardens and I’m pleased to say that they finally implemented my idea last week, so I’ve brought a couple of bagfuls home. Just drying it out first, but I plan to use some of it as a mulch around the plants and some in my compost bin. That is a much longer term project but slowing filling with a mix of grass mowings, leaves, fruit and vegetable waste plus torn up butchers’ paper. But don’t think I’ll have any compost ready this year.

coffee grounds

coffee grounds

And I found another crowdfunding initiative to help fund plastic-free organic dry shampoo from KiteNest. See details here. I’m enjoying making a small pledge to these campaigns.

I’d love to hear your eco friendly suggestions and tips please.

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No Impact Man by Colin Beavan

I used to be a very regular user of the local library but over the last few years, I’ve only visited intermittently with the boys and don’t think I’d borrowed a book on my own library card for some considerable time. It was only when I was doing some password housekeeping and tried to change the pin on my card earlier this year that I discovered my account had been deactivated. I’ve had it reinstated now, but it was rather a wake-up call. No wonder councils are trying to cut library services if people like me can’t be bothered to use them. So I’ve vowed to make better use of the library and will aim to visit between once a week to once every 3 weeks. My new motto is use it or lose it!

The first book I borrowed was No Impact Man: Saving the planet one family at a time by Colin Beavan. It almost jumped off the shelf at me, with my current focus on reducing waste, in particular plastic. You may find out more about the author on his website here.

No Impact Man by Colin Beavan

Here is the blurb.

In the growing debate over eco-friendly living, it seems that everything is as bad as everything else. Do you do more harm by living in the country or the city? Is it better to drive a thousand miles or take an airplane?

In NO IMPACT MAN, Colin Beavan tells the extraordinary story of his attempt to find some answers – by living for one year in New York City (with his wife and young daughter) without leaving any net impact on the environment. His family cut out all driving and flying, used no air conditioning, no television, no toilets. . .They went from making a few concessions to becoming eco-extremists. The goal? To determine what works and what doesn’t, and to fashion a truly ‘eco-effective’ way of life.

Beavan’s radical experiment makes for an unforgettable and humorous memoir in an attempt to answer perhaps the most important question of all: What is the sufficient individual effort that it would take to save the planet? And what is stopping us?

This book tells of how Colin, Michelle and their 18 month old daughter Isabella and dog Frankie spent a year back in 2007 living as environmentally as possible. And any negative impact that they couldn’t eliminate, they would counter balance with positive impact. The initial plan was to ease themselves in gradually, starting with zero waste, no disposable products and no packaging. Followed by travelling with no carbon footprint, then food choices, consumer purchases, heating, electricity, water use, pollution. And although it was a family project, it generated huge media interest.

At this time there was lots of “greenwashing” and it was very confusing for Colin to work out what to do for the best. It starts on day one with Colin immediately feeling guilty for using paper towel to blow his nose when he wakes up, before he finds a cloth napkin in the kitchen that he can repurpose as a handkerchief. The second strike for the morning is Isabella’s disposable nappy. And so it goes on.

I was absolutely hooked reading this book. There was plenty I could relate to and lots that goes way beyond anything I’m considering, like turning their electricity off.

I highly recommend this excellent book by Colin Beavan, which is a real eye opener as to the scope of what can be achieved as regards environmentally friendly living. It is available on Amazon in both kindle or paperback format.

I’m off to look at my next library book now, a beginner’s guide to crochet. This is a craft I’ve never tried, but I’m hoping to learn how to crochet my own dish cloths. I stopped buying the ones containing microplastic like J-cloths at the beginning of this year, although still haven’t finished using up the existing roll.

In the meantime, you may see my series of blog posts documenting my journey towards a plastic free and zero waste future here.

And of course I’d love to hear your eco friendly suggestions and tips please.

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Rogue Scot by Tammy Andresen

I have received a free e-copy of the book Rogue Scot by Tammy Andresen to review.

Rogue Scot by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

His heart has been turned to stone…

After the death of his twin brother, Matthew Sinclair has no room in his life for love. Especially not for a spoiled little tart who thinks she is too good for him. Lady Bridget McDougal is half English and all snob. The woman can’t even manage to say thanks when he saves her life. Nor does she express any gratitude as he changes his plans to deliver her safely home. He can’t wait to drop the little princess off and be done with her forever.

Matthew Sinclair is a heathen and a rake, a degenerate and a lout. She’d keep going but why waste her breath? He does nothing but sneer and brood and act as though it was her fault their ship wrecked on rocks and his precious schedule was interrupted. Can she help it that she nearly died as her father shipped her off like an unwanted sack to her English relatives? She will be so glad when this entire ordeal is over.

Except when another storm hits with a vengeance, she can admit one thing. She’s safest when next to Matthew Sinclair. Would she be even more protected in his arms?

Rogue Scot is the fourth story in the Brethren of Stone series which I have been enjoying reading. It is set in the Scottish highlands in the late 1700’s.

The story starts with Captain Matt Sinclair and some of his crew rowing from their ship in a storm to rescue those in distress on another ship which has hit the rocks. But Lady Bridget McDougal won’t jump as she can’t swim, so Matt has to climb aboard and carry her off the sinking ship. Although she is glad to be rescued, Bridget’s first impression of Matt is dislike, as his look reminds her of her father who hated her, whilst Matt just thinks she is ungrateful.

Matt now has a dilemma. He has a shipment to deliver but what he is going to do with all the extra passengers including Bridget and Mary. He will have to take the two women back to Bridget’s father in North Berwick. But Bridget wants to continue her journey to London where her aunt will help her find a husband.

So where do we go from their first impressions of each other? And what happens when there is another storm?

Rogue Scot is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.28 in Kindle format. No surprise that this is yet another nice short romantic story from Tammy.

Here are the links to my reviews of the earlier titles in this series.
The Duke’s Scottish Lass
Scottish Devil
Wicked Laird
Kilted Sin


About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Ethical amaranthine lip balm review and giveaway

I recently discovered the natural skincare brand amaranthine via the Ethical Influencers network. Amaranthine is a small, independent, ethical skincare company based in Edinburgh. All their products are luxurious, handmade, 100% natural and palm oil free. Amaranthine is the first skincare company in the world to receive a palm oil free certification trademark.

Doesn’t that sound great? So I was delighted to have the opportunity to review their lip balm for free.

amaranthine lip balm

Dispatch was very quick and the lip balm was packed securely in a small jiffy envelope. I was very pleased to see that the product comes in an aluminium tin. Regular readers of my blog will be aware from my series of posts on reducing waste that I am doing my best to reduce my use of plastic. My existing lip balm is in a plastic tube and I had been rather reluctant to swap to vaseline, which was the only other product I was aware of in a tin.

No such reticence with the amaranthine lip balm. The aroma of the cocoa and peppermint flavour was absolutely divine when I opened the tin. It reminded me of the smell of After Eight chocolates. I couldn’t wait to try it.

I’ve now been using it only for a few days and already my lips feel so moisturised and much softer than before. Easy to apply using your finger tip. Certainly much better than what I was using previously. Of course, my lips need a lot more pampering in the winter, so I can’t tell you currently how it performs in harsh weather conditions.

amaranthine lip balm

And according to the website, most of the ingredients are organic. And the shea butter is also fair trade too. So thumbs up from me on the ethical front. It is always great to find a company who focus on sustainability and being eco-conscious. One thing that isn’t mentioned is whether the lip balm has an SPF factor, so that would be useful to know particularly at this time of year.

It currently retails at £4.50 for 14g. An ideal size to keep in your bag for when you are out and about. The bottom of the tin indicates it to be best before 6/20, so I know it is fresh. Plus it is handmade in small batches.

amaranthine lip balm

I am certainly happy to highly recommend this product. And do take a look at the range of other products on their website. Also please take a minute to read their very informative blog post regarding palm oil. I found that very useful. For instance I had no idea that glycerin could be a by-product of palm oil. Or that palm oil could be hiding in products under the guise of 100’s of different names.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition courtesy of amaranthine to giveaway a lip balm to one lucky winner. Open to UK and Europe.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what is your favourite product from amaranthine or your suggestions for additions to the range.

And do you know what the word amaranthine means? I didn’t. It is an adjective and means undying, immortal, eternally beautiful. I think that is so apt.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Never Kiss an Earl at Midnight by Tammy Andresen

I have received a free e-copy of the book Never Kiss an Earl at Midnight by Tammy Andresen to review.

Never Kiss an Earl at Midnight by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

A bluestocking and a rake…

Lady Victoria Ducat has an orderly life filled with academic pursuits and the care of her ailing father. She has no use for a drunken rake like the Earl of Kissinger. Just because he is handsome, charming, and he makes her knees weak doesn’t mean she’s going to give up her principles. So what if Lord Kissinger looks at her the way no man has before? She’ll just ignore the heat in his gaze and the breathless want it brings. She had a plan and she’ll stick to it, which is a far sight better than getting her heart broken…isn’t it?

Kenneth Kissinger, known to his friends as Key, is happy living his life outside of polite society, drinking and gaming to his heart’s content. He has no use for debutantes and even less for a bluestocking and a wallflower like Lady Victoria. Except those plump lips call to him. Without a word, they promise sinful delights. Her actions speak as well, as she puts the needs of everyone in her family before her own. What would it be like to have the love of a woman like that?

But as fate, a bet, and family drama toss them together temptation becomes more difficult to deny. Can they resist temptation or will they share the kiss that has been foretold?

Never Kiss an Earl at Midnight is book 4 in the How to Reform a Rake series featuring the Ducat sisters, but works fine as a stand-alone read too.

However I do recommend that you read the introductory “How to Reform a Rake” novella first, especially as it is available for free. It helps put later stories into context.

Lady Victoria Ducat has made a plan to remain unmarried and to look after her father who is sadly losing is mental faculties, leaving her sisters free from the responsibility. This will also allow her to continue with her academic pursuits studying nature. But should she collect just one kiss from Lord Kenneth Kissinger (Key) to have as a memory to look back on in spinsterhood, or is he too lacking?

Key doesn’t wish to kiss Victoria as he is too worried about the prospect of ending up married, but he can’t believe she finds him lacking. Women just fall at his feet. It almost makes him want to grab her and kiss her right now.

What a stand-off. Where will things progress?

Never Kiss an Earl at Midnight is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.27 in Kindle format. As per usual, another nice short romantic read from Tammy, which although part of a series, works well as a stand-alone read too.

Here are the links to my reviews of the earlier books in this series.
How to Reform a Rake
Don’t Tell a Duke You Love Him
Meddle in a Marquess’s Affairs
Never Trust an Errant Earl


About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.