FREE Kindle books to read during lockdown

If you have an Amazon Kindle (or even the Kindle app for tablets) did you know you can get a 2 month free trial to Kindle Unlimited? No, neither did I until the other week. As I already smashed through 5 books during the first month of lockdown I thought it was definitely worth my while getting a free trial. So here’s what else I have been reading…

4 Riverside Close – Diana Wilkinson

I demolished this book in less than 24 hours. This is a psychological thriller centred around Riverside Close, a middle class cul-de-sac in North London and a seemingly harmless social networking site called ‘Join me’ inviting people to connect and socialise with like-minded individuals. The chapters are narrated by four different characters but because they are all so different I didn’t find it confusing and I think as the author had made the characters quite well-rounded, it helped me to picture them in my mind. In the opening chapter we learn that there is a murder on the close, the book is then a build up towards the murder and introduces the characters and possible motives. I personally didn’t work out whodunnit until it was revealed, which made it quite an engrossing read. My favourite character was Alexis – a young woman with desires to become a private investigator – and I would love the author to write a spin off with her and her friends Gary and Olive. The feel of the book reminded me of Desperate Housewives so I think fans of that show would enjoy this read.

Checking Out – Nick Spalding

Checking Out is the story of Nathan, a 33 year old man who has made a small fortune creating beloved children’s characters in the form of singing fruit and veg. But before Nathan can fully enjoy his money and freedom he discovers that he has a deadly brain tumour. We then follow Nathan and the bizarre situations he finds himself in as he deals with anger at his misfortune, a potential new love interest as well as the nagging urgency to do something meaningful with his life.  I must admit I was slightly anxious reading this given the subject matter but actually found it quite a humourous, uplifting and thought provoking read.

The Other Wife – Claire McGowan

This is a mysterious thriller which centres mainly on two women, Suzi and Nora, who live in a small remote rural village in Kent. Both are hiding secrets and it is their loneliness initially that bonds them, but we later find out that there is more to both these women than meets the eye. Throw in a few more characters and you have a story that builds quite slowly but then picks up pace with its twists and turns. The chapters are narrated by different characters so it can become a little confusing at some points, but bear with it and it will make sense in the end.

Jessica Beam is a Hot Mess – Kirsty Greenwood

Jessica Beam is your fun friend, a commitment-phobe party girl who drinks, swears and sleeps around. Her so-called best friend Summer has had enough of her shenanigans and after a disasterous event, Jessica finds herself homeless and penniless. The only person Jessica can turn to is her long lost grandmother Matilda – author of a series of books popular in the 1950s teaching women how to conduct themselves and catch the perfect man. For the sake of a new book and some much needed money, Matilda transforms Jess from Hot Mess to Demure Woman in order to capture the heart of one of London’s most famous playboys.
I loved this book. It was funny and even though she’s a bit trashy I still really liked Jessica. All the characters were wonderful apart from Summer.
If you’re looking for some lighthearted fun and entertainment I would recommend this book.


That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve already read another three books on Kindle Unlimited but I don’t know if I will write about them but you can read some of my previous book reviews here.

What have you read lately that you would recommend?

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and I am in NO WAY sponsored by Amazon but if Mr Bezos is reading, I’ll have some money please 🙂

Alphabet Dating - V is for Vegan Cafe

Alphabet Dating – V is for Vegan Cafe

Food is usually a pretty easy and successful Alphabet Dating idea isn’t it? So for V we decided to try out a vegan cafe. A little googling later we chose The Wallflower Cafe in Herne Bay, Kent. An unassuming looking cafe right next to a large car park. We decided to have lunch first before wandering around Herne Bay itself.

The cafe is small-ish with a relaxed, friendly vibe. Everything on the menu is vegan and there’s a decent selection of food and drinks for brunch, lunch or a snack. We chose a smoothie and milkshake and then went for a Buddha bowl each. Mine was the Asian Buddha bowl with a satay sauce and my husband went for the Falafel Buddha bowl with hummus.

Of course we swapped and tried each others food. It was really tasty and healthy. Normally I don’t find salads very filling but this lunch was plentiful and satisfying! And alot different to the normal food we would eat at the coast (chips… ice cream… candyfloss…).

Although I don’t follow a strict diet, I do try to eat vegetarian and healthily when I can. I’m not too familiar with vegan food (I love melted cheeeeeeeeese!) but it was a nice change to eat vegan without having to think of what ingredients to put together to make something tasty.

If you’re doing alphabet dating then V for Vegan is a great idea, even if you are a steak and burger kind of person!

Recommend!

Buddha bowls

View more Alphabet dates here.

Note: this date took place before the shit show that is 2020.

Friday Night Dinner Drinking Game

Friday Night Dinner Drinking Game

Hello Bambinos!

I’ve been making good use of lockdown time and have made a Friday Night Dinner Drinking Game, ready for tonights episode.

If you’re a fan and do it, let me know how it goes.
If you’re not a fan…. what’s wrong with you?! p.s. its on Channel 4 tonight, previous series are on Netflix and 4OD.

Friday Night Dinner Drinking Game - quirkylittleplanet.com

You’re welcome, pissface.

Disclaimer: This game is not endorsed by C4 or FND. Drink responsibly. Don’t blame me for any hangovers, caravan fires, bags in trees, spilt paint, stolen chicken or any other alcohol induced disaster.

99p books to read during lockdown

Day 32 of lockdown. How’s it going folks? I’ve been enjoying relaxing with my Kindle in the garden on the warm sunny days we’ve had recently but at the speed I read I’m getting through books way too quickly! Fortunately Amazon have some good kindle offers on so here are a selection of 99p books to read during lockdown.

1. This Could Change Everything – Jill Mansell

This is one of those books that’s easy and enjoyable to read, but difficult to summarise without spoilers so I’ll give it my best shot!

It begins with Essie, a young lady who makes a silly mistake and manages to lose her boyfriend, home and job all in one go (she lives in her boyfriend’s house and is employed by his mother, hence the triple whammy). It’s not long before she’s back on her feet with a new job and a new place to live. It is here that she meets Connor, Zillah and a cast of other colourful characters. Zillah is a fabulously stylish 83 year old woman who grants last wishes to dying people, along with her sidekick Connor, a young photographer looking for love.

I personally found this book fairly unpredictable (until the end), although others may disagree. I think because there are so many characters whose stories intertwine, I wasn’t sure which way the author was going to take the main story.

My favourite quote:

“Every day we do things that are capable of changing everything, and that’s what makes life exciting”.

Recommend: if you’re looking for something uplifting, heart warming and a little different to the norm.

2. It’s Now Or Never – Carole Matthews

The story centres around twin sisters, Annie and Lauren, who upon looking at their perfect older sister Chelsea’s fabulous life decide that they want to make a change and turn their lives around before their 40th birthdays. Annie has 2 grown up children and lives in a dull marriage with her husband who is well and truly in his comfort zone and just likes to go fishing all the time. Lauren on the other hand is having a five year long affair with her married boss and wastes her life waiting for him to become available.

“See? Why don’t I think of things like that? I’ve become so narrow in my life that I can’t even begin to think out of the box”

Recommend: if you’re the wrong side of 35 and looking for a captivating read.

3. How To Be Champion – Sarah Millican

You know Sarah Millican? Comedian from South Shields, wears glasses, likes to talk about cake and things being ‘claggy’? Well, How to be Champion is her autobiography and personal guide for how to be, well, champion. Kind of part autobiography, part self help book. She talks about everything from her childhood and being bullied at school, to relationships (with yourself as well as others) and divorce. And of course she talks about how she became a comedian. I’ve never seen Sarah live but I’ve watched some of her stand-up on tv and I couldn’t help hearing her distinct voice in my head the whole time I was reading this book! She’s a bit naughty but she’s unapologetically herself, which is refreshing in the world of celebrity.

“Life is too short not to enjoy yourself when the opportunity arises” 

Recommend: if you’re a fan of Sarah Millican. Obviously.

4. Playing Away – Adele Parks

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one as it’s quite different to what I would usually read. The story centres around Connie and her fancy London friends. Connie has been married to her husband Luke for one year but embarks on an affair with an arrogant but irresistible guy from her office named John. What appealed to me about this book was rather than being a ‘searching for Mr Right’ type of book which is quite typical of the chick lit stories I’ve read in the past, it’s actually more about already having Mr Right but giving in to the temptation of Mr Wrong. Although I couldn’t relate much with the characters, there was one quote that stood out to me when Connie was at a child’s birthday party surrounded by nosey 30-something year old mothers:

“I am bored. I am scared. I don’t want this. I don’t want to be in a job I hate, waiting to have children, who will undoubtedly hate me, just so I can live out my failed ambitions through them”.

I think it speaks to the 30-something female who is still looking for something – not a man or a baby or a job – but something more.

Recommend: if you’re looking for something a bit spicier than your usual chick lit.

5. The Hotel Where We Met – Belinda Jones

Belinda Jones is one of my favourite authors. Her stories usually involve her heroine travelling to some exciting and/or exotic far off land and eventually falling in love with some heartthrob at the end of the book. Predictable but enjoyable.

The Hotel Where We Met kind of has the key ingredients, however with a time-travel twist. Chloe, our heroine, travels to Coronado, a resort island off the coast of San Diego. She receives a mysterious message on the plane that suggests that the reason she hasn’t yet met her perfect man is because he doesn’t exist…. yet. Chloe then must travel back in time to match-make couples to ensure that her future beau is born.

I lifted this quote from the book…

“Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. 
Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions.
Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.
Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.
And be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny”.

Recommend: if you’re a fan of holiday escapism.

Chances are there will be another post like this before we all get back to normality, so why not escape reality for a little while with a good book!

Would love to hear your reading recommendations too.

Stay safe x

 

Strange times… things to do in isolation

What strange times we are living in right now. The last time I dusted off my laptop and wrote anything on this blog, life was normal and now, now we’re living in what feels like a movie and all anyone can talk about is the virus.

Currently the UK is on lockdown. No one is allowed to leave their houses apart from getting necessities (food and medicine), getting necessities for a vulnerable person, going to work (if absolutely essential) and we’re permitted one walk a day for exercise. It’s like some sort of dystopian future where people are dying in their thousands while everyone else is fighting over toilet roll and hand sanitiser, except it’s not the future. This is now.

It’s my birthday next week. We had planned a getaway to Amsterdam but now it looks like I’ll be settling for a takeaway indoors (if restaurants are still allowed to offer takeaway services by then! Things are changing so fast!). I’m sure it will be memorable, if not a little boring considering what we had planned, but then things could be a whole lot worse, so right now I am grateful for what I do have.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I myself have been on lockdown since Wednesday. I work with animals now (I had a whole big career change last summer) so obviously someone had to go in and take care of the animals, but now I’ve been told to stay away until further notice. Don’t worry though, my colleagues that are still working will take good care of the animals.

My husband is a Graphic Designer so at the moment (and for the last 2 weeks) he has been working from home, which means I’m pretty much left to my own devices during the day.

So here I’ve compiled a list of things to do in isolation.

1. Take an online course

I happened upon Centre of Excellence who are offering all courses for £29 each until the end of March using the code LEARNATHOME. I’ve chosen to do a course in Feline Behaviour and Psychology as it will be something I can add to my CV and will help me at work when I eventually go back. I am quite intrigued by a couple of other courses so I may purchase more.

2. Get creative

My weapon of choice is my ipad pro. I used to be a very creative child but lost that spark as I got older, however I’ve just got back into doodling again and have set up a new instagram account if you fancy a follow.

I use the Procreate ipad app to create my drawings and they’ve just launched a little treat – the Procreate Care Pack – which includes some limited edition brushes, a 2 month free trial of skillshare and a list of artwork prompts to create a bit of an online community in these stressful times.

3. Play games

My husband downloaded The Sims 4 for me onto his Playstation. I haven’t played that game since I had The Sims 2 on PC! I know I’m probably far too old to be playing that but it’s a nice little bit of escapism. And let’s be honest, they’re the only ones allowed out right now haha.

4. “Marie Kondo” my house

I am in the process of buying a house. I won’t bore you with the whole saga of it but now is the perfect opportunity for me to have a good clear out ready for when we do eventually start packing and moving. I spent a couple of hours sorting out just ONE DRAWER the other day but the way I see it is, that will save me time in the future when I will hopefully have better things to be doing.

5. Watch tv

I’m trying to avoid the news for good reason but lately I’ve been enjoying Neighbours (Neighbours End Game was fantastic!). I’ve also found a new guilty pleasure in The Best House in Town on BBC2 – a bit of interior design inspiration! Netflix has also been a saviour with season 12 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race having begun, plus we watched Harlan Coben’s The Stranger and Safe. We’ve also started rewatching Come Fly with Me because it’s funny and silly escapism. Oh and Friday Night Dinner starts again on C4 tonight! yay!

6. Talk to people

Check in on people. We live in an age where there’s no excuse not to pick up the phone. I rang my Nan the other day as she’s isolating on her own and doesn’t have the internet. There’s Whatsapp and Facetime etc etc. Stay connected.

7. Use social media wisely

I’ve had to distance myself from Twitter a little but at the moment I am enjoying creating Pinterest boards full of interior design inspiration. Moving house and decorating will be a fun, albeit stressful, thing to look forward to once things return to a relative normality so excuse me while I get excited about wallpapers and lampshades!

Well I think I’ve rambled enough now. Stay safe, stay sane and stay at home!

Photo by BRUNO CERVERA on Unsplash