Archive for mum blogger

Lockdown Reading Inspiraion – Five Books I’ve Loved Lately…

What are you currently reading??  It’s a question I am asking anyone and everyone at the moment.  I’m not sure what’s happened to me during this isolation period but I cannot get enough of books.  I should explain that this isn’t entirely uncommon for me, I’ve always been a ‘reader’ and books have always been part of my life.  I could sit in a library or bookshop for ages, stare at the books and just feel – well – comforted! 

Since having my children though I’ve found it harder and harder to read at home, I’d usually have a book on the go but I’d struggle to concentrate or to read more than a couple of pages in bed before I was ready for sleep.  Holidays were really the only time I’d ever get through a whole book in less than six months!!

I think this lockdown period, a time where we actually can’t be that busy, we can’t fill our time with outings and gatherings and kids activities, has enabled me to rediscover what I always loved about books which is that feeling of escapism, or being part of another world for a little while and all of the emotions that a piece of writing can make you feel.

So, in case like me you’re always looking for your next read at the moment, I thought I’d share with you five books I’ve read lately that I’ve really enjoyed and why I loved them so much.

I’ve linked the books in the title so that you can view them for yourself if you want to 🙂

The Dressmakers Gift – by Fiona Valpy

The book follows Harriet as she unravels the truth about her Grandmother’s story when she lived and worked in Nazi occupied Paris during the war in 1940.  I love anything set in the 1940s it’s my favourite era to read and learn about and to have it set in a French atelier during that time with the references to sewing, dressmaking and French design and fashion was just perfect for me.  I loved the story, a little reminder if ever we needed one of what our grandparents and great grandparents went through during that time.  I adored this book and didn’t want it to end!

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

‘Rich, dark and intricately twisted, this enthralling whodunnit mixes family saga with domestic noir to brilliantly chilling effect.’ RUTH WARE

This book has mixed reviews on Amazon but for me I was absolutely gripped throughout and read it in a week which is unheard of for me lately.  It’s kind of dark and a little bit creepy but it kept my interest until the end, wanting to find out what had happened and why things had turned out the way they did.  My only criticism might be that the end seemed a little rushed but I guess all books have to end somewhere.  Definitely recommend if you want a page turner that you won’t be able to put down and like a bit of mild psychological thriller-ism (is that a word!!).

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Another book set during the second World War!  This one has been on my list for ages, I started the book at the start of lockdown and was worried it would be a bit hard going, given how I was feeling, but actually it wasn’t at all.  Don’t get me wrong there are parts of the book that are pretty harrowing to read, it’s set in a German concentration camp after all, but it is an amazing story of love, friendship and the determination to survive above all of the odds.  The most amazing bit is that it’s based on a true story.  I found the real life parts at the end fascinating.

The Girlfriend – by Michelle Frances

‘A girl. A boy. His mother. And the lie she’ll wish she’d never told’

Continuing the psychological thriller theme I read this book on our holiday to last year and it was another one that just kept me gripped throughout.  I could not put it down.  Lots of twists and turns, every chapter ends on a cliff hanger that left me unable to put it down to sleep.  The sign of a good book – and the making of a very tired mumma the next day!!

The House we Grew Up In – by Lisa Jewell

‘ An unforgettable story about a family with a terrible secret’

Another Lisa Jewell book! This one didn’t keep me quite as gripped as the one above but I still really enjoyed it.  It did make me feel quite sad in parts, not crying my eyes out sad, but sad about the knock on effects family life can have and how parents are parents but are still their own people with their own feelings and issues.  Very compelling, an excellent read.  I won’t waffle on anymore about it incase you decide to read it yourself and I ruin it for you.

So that’s it, next on my list is Grown Ups by Marian Keyes. I’ve read every one of Marian’s books so far and I’m looking forward to seeing if this one lives up to the others.

Have you read any of the books on my list?  I’d love to hear what you thought and please do let me know what you’d recommend for my ever growing ‘to read’ list.

Lots of love as always!! Sally xx   

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Isolation Tales – Week 4 – Life lately…

Hi, how are you doing, really? Here we are at week four already, Easter seemed to come and go and although we were sad not to be having the loud family gathering we might usually be having, we actually had a really lovely weekend.  Of course the amazing weather we were blessed with helped a lot! 

We’ve all been going to bed late and getting up late and although we don’t seem to be doing too much with our days, they still seem to be flying by and somehow we are at the end of the Easter holidays and I need to start thinking about quite how we’re going to get back into the routine of home schooling again.  Although I am quite a morning person and even though I have been struggling to get up in the mornings lately, I really, love it when I manage to force myself up an hour before everyone else to get my yoga done and have a bit of quiet time so maybe getting back into more of a routine next week will be a good thing.

On the whole this week I have noticed a bit of a shift in my mood.  I feel a little bit calmer, a bit more settled in our quiet days, but evening (and 4 o’clock in the morning) seems to be the time that I start to feel anxious again and remember the reason why we are in this strange situation and I think a lot of you are still feeling that way too which makes me feel less alone. 

For this week’s round up here’s a little ‘What I’ve been…’ I’ve not done one of these for a while so I thought it might be fun.  If you want to join in feel free to steal the prompts!

So, here goes, what I’ve been…


Spotting all of the lovely blossom that has suddenly appeared on our walks, it’s just so beautiful against the blue skies we’ve been having and can’t fail to make you feel happy.  Spring is still springing despite everything.

Snapped this on our dog walk the other day 🙂


Not being able to see people – goes without saying really doesn’t it but we have been having lots of lovely video chats.


Joggers and leggings mainly but the shorts and even a dress came out for Easter day and I was amazed at how much better I felt about myself that day, although it didn’t take long for the joggers to come back!


I actually got around to sewing up something for myself this week.  I made the Mimi blouse from the Tilly and the Buttons book Love at First Stitch.  It wasn’t the easiest of makes but I really appreciated having to take my time and really think about something.  Sewing is so mindful to me. If you didn’t already know I have a separate Instagram account just for my dressmaking and you can follow over at @secret_life_of_a_seamstress (shameless plug alert) 😉


Lots of tea – and wine in the evenings like most of us 😉


All of the cakes we’ve been baking as well as all the Easter eggs, there’s going to have to be some serious exercise done after all this!  We’ve been having a veg box delivered which has helped us be more creative with our veg eating, this week we ended up with lots of carrots and a swede so we made a carrot and swede soup, it was delicious and probably not something we would have made normally. 


Annie Sloan paint! I’m a little bit addicted already.  Upcycling is something I’ve wanted to try for a while and I’ve finally managed to paint our bedside tables.  I used Paris grey and really enjoyed painting out in the garden sunshine.  I’ve even ordered some more paint and if we’re not careful, everything that’s not moving is going to get painted. Next I have my eye on our bedroom mirror 😉


We’ve been catching up on ‘The Split’ and watching old episodes of ‘Not Going Out’ for a bit of light comedy relief.


Dobble – if you haven’t already got this game in your stash you need it.  I’m always amazed by the way it shows how your mind works!  Easily pleased obviously and the perfect size to take out and about with you or play in the garden.


The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – I absolutely loved this book, could not put it down and managed to finish it in a week which is unheard of for me lately.  I’ve just started The House We Grew Up In also by Lisa on the Kindle.


About how our life might look once this is ‘over’ whenever that might be.


That even though this time might be strange it’s also a bit of a gift in many ways and I want to make sure I use it wisely!

If you fancy doing a ‘What I’ve been…’ yourself do tag me on Instagram so that I can head over and have a read!

Thanks for reading

Take care and stay safe and well!

Sally xx

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