November Book Reviews and 20 for 20 Update

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Hello all, how is everyone? I cannot believe Christmas is next week!!! I apologise my November reviews are so late this month, I have a manic couple of weeks sorting out my university assignment but I managed to submit it last week, so feel much more relaxed now.

Photo by Claire Morgan on Pexels.com

I haven’t done a massive amount of reading this month – I have discovered The Gilmore Girls on Netflix and most of my evenings have been spent with Lorelai and Rory. This hasn’t left me much time for reading before bed which I would normally do! However, I have some great books to share with you so I hope you find one you like the look of.

One Family Christmas*

by Bella Osborne

The Blurb

A big family. A whole lot of secrets. A Christmas to remember…

This year, Lottie is hosting one last big family Christmas at the home she grew up in – just like her Nana would have wanted.

But when her relatives descend on the old manor house, Lottie gets more than she bargained for. Every family has its secrets, but in this family, everybody has one!

So, between cooking a Christmas dinner, keeping tensions at bay and a stray dog out of mischief, she has plenty on her plate (and not just misshapen sausage rolls and a frozen turkey). And then her first love shows up – nine years after he walked out of her life.

Can Lottie make their last family Christmas one to remember… for the right reasons?

A festive treat to curl up with this Christmas, perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Trisha Ashley.

What I Thought

Such a perfect Christmas read, this one comes highly recommended by me!

As you all know, I tend to enjoy a chick lit kind of a book to break up the usual thrillers and true crime books I usually go for. This one was perfect for that – although it was a chick lit read, I still felt it had some really good substance to it.

The majority of the story takes place over just a few days and chronicles all that happens within this family, following the recent death of the family matriarch, Nana. Lottie is a likeable main character ad the story is mainly told from her perspective.

I loved the fact that this book was a really realistic view of what most of our Christmases will look like. Family coming together, having to see relatives we don’t particularly like, secrets, food shortages, booze shortages (eek!), difficult relationships, crazy pets and more! Any one looking for an easy Christmas read that still has a decent storyline to it will love this!

Where To Get It

Available on Amazon (currently £0.99 on kindle, 1 credit on Audible, £6.55 paperback)

Great Family Days In*

Over 75 Ideas for Rainy Days, School Holidays and Everything in Between

by Claire Balkind

The Blurb

Wet weekend? Home for half-term? Great Family Days In has got you covered with over 75 tried and tested activities that make the most of spending quality time together.

From Achievable Art and Whizzy Easy Science to Screen-Free Game Time, chapters are organized to help you easily find inspiration for activities that will fill your day with fun. Whether you’re creating your very own melted-crayon masterpiece or blizzard bottle, or conducting your first FamFest or mini Olympics, Great Family Days In is a one-stop shop for ideas, showing that you don’t need fancy plans or money to keep your family entertained at home.

These beautifully illustrated activities do not require any specific skills or hard to get resources. From thirty-minute time-fillers to ideas to last the whole afternoon, activities can easily be adapted to suit any age, interest or timescale, making it easy to enjoy and relax into the process of creating and building memories together, whatever the outcome.

In March 2020, Claire Balkind, also known as The What Now Mum, founded the hugely popular Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas Facebook page which quickly amassed an engaged following of more than a million people. There, she and the community she helped build share fuss-free games, crafts, challenges and more that will keep children and adults of all ages entertained.

What I Thought

Wow – if parents get one book during a global pandemic it needs to be this one!

This book is full of amazing ideas to keep your kids entertained during lockdown but that can also be used during the long school holidays, on rainy weekends and more in the future.

I loved the introduction from Claire who seems down to earth and ‘normal’ with the same worries and fears we all have and had at the start of this crazy year! She isn’t pretentious and isn’t interested in perfection parenting at all, or making others feel bad, she simply wants to help! The ideas are all great and varied with sections including Achievable Art, Let’s Get Physical, Screen Free Game Time and more! She also has a handy list at the start of some of the basic things you should try and have in, to keep your kids entertained.

Claire hasn’t put an age limit on the activities as she is a self proclaimed non-expert in child development, but they are all able to be adapted to suit your child’s age, ability and likes/dislikes. I loved the Wellbeing Wonders section as you all know – my passion is mental health – and these practices are great to start from a young age. She has also provided a handy timetable at the back which you can follow, or use to make your own. The book is colourful and easy to follow and it will be something I come back to again and again. Loved it!

Where To Get It

Available on Amazon – currently £8.49 on Kindle/£9.67 paperback

Perfectly Imperfect Mum*

by Sheena Tanna-Shah

The Blurb

Perfectly Imperfect Mum: A Fun and Inspirational Guide for Busy Mums to Staying Mindful and Thriving Amid the Chaos is written by mindfulness coach, nutritionist and mum Sheena Tanna-Shah to help mums stay on track and embrace the fact that they can’t be perfect all of the time, despite their very best intentions.

Perfectly Imperfect Mum is structured around twenty everyday scenarios, with each scenario featuring a mindfulness and motivational tip, a nutritious yet simple recipe created to perfectly complement that particular scenario and a yoga pose or movement to help combat a particular situation. This blended combination of mindfulness tools allows mums to reset themselves, helping them to live in the moment instead of checking off the next item on the to-do list.

Demonstrating to readers fantastic ways to feel the calm in the chaos and embrace the challenging days, Perfectly Imperfect Mum is designed to help mums thrive and enjoy the journey of motherhood. It offers a path to living for each moment while also staying connected to themselves and their children.

What I Thought

I really enjoyed this book from Sheena and found her writing and her tips both useful and comforting.

Knowing you aren’t alone when you feel zapped and like you are being pulled in a million different directions daily can be so helpful. Not only does this book acknowledge that, but it also gives you some tips on how to cope with it.

The book is split into different chapters which covers scenarios that mums will identify with all too well – from losing your identity to feeling judged to being stressed. Sheena then goes on to give you three tips from three different perspectives – mindfulness mum , nourished mum and yogi mum. I absolutely loved some of this advice and can’t wait to try more of these tips – I am sure they will be used plenty over the upcoming school holidays!

I found that these tips are handy and also – very helpfully – easy to work into your daily routine and life. Nothing is too ‘out there’ and I am sure every mum will find plenty of things that will be useful for them.

Where To Get It

Available on Amazon – currently £3.39 on kindle, £7.99 paperback

As I said – it hasn’t been a huge month for reading here but what I did read I really enjoyed so that is good!

20 For Christmas 2020 Update

Books read to date (from list) – 7

Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet  by Matt Haig

Unsolved London Murders: The 1920s & 1930s by Dr Jonathan Oates

Perfectly Imperfect Mum by Sheena Tanna-Shah

Great Family Days In: Over 75 Ideas for Rainy Days, School Holidays and Everything in Between by Claire Balkind

One Family Christmas by Bella Osborne

Books still to read before the end of the year – 13

Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops by Shaun Bythell

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

A Snowflake’s Guide to Christmas: How to survive a deeply problematic holiday by Dave Skinner

The Christmas Menagerie by Minna Howard

Thirteen Storeys by Jonathan Sims

Postscript: The sequel to PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism by Tom Durwood

The Book Club by C. J. Cooper

Sh**ged. Married. Annoyed. by Chris and Rosie Ramsey

The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker

Life in Pieces by Dawn O’Porter

The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss

Late Love by Scarlett Hopper

Not sure I will make all 20 by the end of the year but I think I am doing pretty well! Especially with how busy I have been and that last month, i also managed to read plenty that weren’t on the list! Doh! Any this month that you fancy checking out? Any of your reads that you would recommend to me and my readers this month? Let me know in the comments below! Take care and keep safe everyone,

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