Life with two Smalls and a fistful of daydreams

103Back to school today and by some miracle we were ready in time for the kids to sit and do some reading together for a bit before running out of the door.

104I was in agony with a bad back today but the beautiful, cloudless, blue sky on the walk to school made me feel a little better.

105Arthur is a very loud player when he plays in his room. We bought him this rug today in the hope that it might cushion some of the clattering!

106Swimming lessons today – Arthur has his first then Tori gets in the pool and Arthur knuckles down to a bit of phonics fun!

107This pretty much sums up my day today. All day.

108Off-duty Superheroes on their way home after a day of playing and hair cuts. Spiderman has had a big hair style change!

109We had a busy day today visiting the Fordhall Farm Spring Fair and then exploring a new park which Caius took us to so I could have a bit of driving practise getting us there. I’m now shattered and achey (back is still playing up) and totally ready for bed already and Caius is yet to go and do a Swimathon later this evening. He’s mad :p

Homecoming: The 100 by Kass Morgan

Illustrated by: N/A

Series: The 100 (Book #3)

Published: Hodder, February 2015

Edition: Paperback

Print Length: 340 pages

Narrated By: N/A

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult Fiction, Action, Adventure,

Where Did I Get It? I kindly received a copy from the publisher in return for this review.

Blurb: Weeks after crash-landing onto a rugged, nearly unpopulated planet Earth, the Hundred have managed to create a sense of order amidst their wild, chaotic surroundings. They work together to feed, shelter, and protect one another from countless dangers, including attacks by violent Earthborns. But their delicate balance comes crashing down with the arrival of new dropships from home–dropships carrying Glass and Luke, as well as the Vice Chancellor and his armed guards.

Suddenly, Bellamy must flee transgressions he thought he had left behind in space, as Wells struggles to maintain his authority on Earth. And while Clark searches for clues about her parent’s whereabouts, she finds herself torn between finding them and helping the injured new arrivals in camp. Lives hang in the balance, as the Colonists find themselves fighting not just attackers from the outside, but also enemies from within.

Opening Line:

Glass’s hands were sticky with her mother’s blood.


My Review: And so the series concludes.

Much like the first two books, Homecoming was quite enjoyable and very easy to read – I polished it off in one day during the Easter holidays – but still not much to write home about.

There was plenty of action and bucketloads of drama after the Vice Chancellor lands on earth and starts flexing his authority. The trouble was, there were so many characters doing so many things that I sort of got a bit numb to it all by the end.

I was quite pleased that all the boyfriend/girlfriend swapping from the first couple of books seemed to have finished and everyone had settled down a bit in that respect, I was in serious danger of losing track by the end of book two if I’m honest.

There was a fair bit of death in Homecoming and while some of it was handled well – the crash scenes were suitably dark and horrific – some of it got a bit much. There were a few moments where the tone of the book implied I should be very upset by someone-or-other being dead but I didn’t feel like I knew said character enough to care. (Being deliberately vague here to avoid spoilers!)

The ending was a touch too ‘happily ever after’ for me but it wasn’t too sickly sweet, I suppose. I enjoyed reading Homecoming and don’t in any way feel like I have wasted my time reading the whole trilogy – I enjoyed them enough to keep going for a start! The 100 is never going to win any literary awards but it has sparked a hugely successful TV series and my Mum loves it so it’s good enough for me!

My Rating: 3.5/5*



CMAcCello Wars by The Piano Guys

I love The Piano Guys – they do all sorts of covers on piano and cello accompanied by fab videos up on YouTube. They are super talented and their music is great to listen to but even better to watch.

Cello Wars was one of the first Piano Guys tracks I discovered and remains one of my favourites – the video is hilarious and they are SO talented musically. I have watched the video three times since starting to write this post because I haven’t seen it in ages and it makes me smile.

I just wish I could play an instrument even maybe a third as well as they do.

If you have Spotify you can follow the playlist for my Music Alphabet by clicking this link – I will update it each time I add a blog post :)

Playlist so far:

Any Dream Will Do by Jason Donovan

Blown Away by Carrie Underwood

Cello Wars by The Piano Guys

Max the Flying Sausage Dog: A Tail From London by John O’Driscoll & Richard Kelley index

Illustrated by: Arthur Robins

Series: Max the Flying Sausage Dog (Volume 1)

Published: Words In The Works LLC, 2014

Edition: Paperback

Print Length: 50 pages

Narrated By: N/A

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Picture Book

Where Did I Get It? I kindly received a copy from the publisher in return for this review.

Blurb: The bullies made fun of Max because he was so low to the ground. But just wait and see…

Opening Line(s):

Tom thinks this is the best day ever. It’s his birthday and he has finally turned seven.

My Review: Tori and Arthur love this book! One of Arthur’s best friends at school is called Max so it is one of the few words he can recognise – as soon as he spotted it we had to sit down and read.

The story follows Tom as he chooses himself a dog from a dog pound for his birthday and takes him home. Max, the lucky dog, is a dachshund with the interesting trait of a tail that spins rather than wagging. Tom doesn’t think much of this until Max spins his tail so hard he takes off!

Having a flying dog is pretty cool but Tom has to do his best to keep it a secret in case someone tries to take Max away. It doesn’t half shut the bullies up when they try to laugh at how low to the ground Max is though!

When Tom notices a burglar breaking in to his neighbour’s house he discovers having a flying dog can be very useful (and also very funny) and saves the day – to actual cheers from my kids when we read it together.

Tori, who is five and a half, can just about read this by herself with a little help although it’s a bit long to read alone in one sitting. She often picks it up though and has a go.

The illustrations are as brilliant as Arthur Robins usually is – his familiar style adding to the story and making the kids giggle at every page.

Our copy has an English-to-American guide in the front which explains a few of the words and phrases that haven’t crossed The Pond and here came one of the only things we’d contest – it says that Bangers and Beans is a favourite English meal. We uphold that this should be Bangers and Mash rather than beans, but really this didn’t matter in regards to the story – just prompted a discussion in our household!

The one thing that did jar a little when we read it, and needed explaining to our English kids too, was the use of ‘Rozzers’ when talking about the Police. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody actually call the Police ‘the Rozzers’ in real life aside from on the TV and that’s never on modern-based shows – I thought it had fallen out of use. Apparently not!

We did love that Max was based on a real dog and Arthur is totally convinced that real Max could fly, too. As nothing in the description of real Max denies this, maybe he could!

My Rating: 4/5*





89Easter cards! The front one was made by me and won first prize in a competition – I still can’t believe I managed to draw something so neat lol.

90My Mum gave me this Easter tree last year. It looks lovely but was a total nightmare to construct – I had to basically break loads of the figures to make it so I could hang them up – apparently my Mum & sister had the same issue so it wasn’t just me being useless!

91Today we went on an Easter Hunt around Dearnford lake to help raise money for the Smalls’ dance club funds. It was a bit cold and windy but we had fun anyway!

92Realised it was almost Easter and we still hadn’t had any of these! Just wish they weren’t full of peel though as I don’t like it very much :(

93I did some Easter baking of my own today – the egg and Easter Bunny cakes worked out a lot better than the dinosaur ones… the dinosaurs were distinctly extinct by the time I had wrestled them out of the moulds. Ooops.

94Total deviation from the theme for today but I couldn’t not post a picture of the gorgeous newly weds on their special day! Congratulations again Siôn & Laura :)

95He is Risen indeed! Halleluia!

96Today was a challenge. It involved a lot of milk on the floor and also a lot of glitter. And many tears, lots of shouting and general miserableness and stress. I am aiming for a better day tomorrow.

97Today was lightyears better than yesterday and to celebrate I rounded it off with a long soak in a bubble bath with a book and a scented candle for company. Lush!

98Arthur’s Easter present finally arrived today – glittery, sparkly, giggly Olaf!

 99Perfect bubble-blowing weather today and for once they both managed to blow bubbles and nobody poured bubble mixture on anyone else’s feet!

100Visited National Trust’s Erddig Hall today with my parents. The Wolf’s Den natural play area was brilliant. Amazing what can be done with logs and rope! This is my favourite photo from the day – Tori was in her element, climbing and leaping around and I think she is positively glowing in this shot. (The sparkles in this are Tori’s glittery leggings, in case you were wondering.)

101Kids are off to their Dad’s today so I have to resist breaking in to their Easter stash whilst they aren’t here to shout at me…

102Sparkling clean – I am very appreciative of our dishwasher at the moment after it was out of action for a few days. I really missed it!!

CMAbBlown Away by Carrie Underwood

I have a bit of a soft spot for country music, both old and new, and go through phases of listening to nothing else every few months or so.

I think I like it because so many of the songs tell stories and are just about life and people. I like stories. Country music can make me laugh and make me cry – there will doubtless be more examples later in the alphabet, though I am trying not to repeat any artists.

Blown Away came out in 2012 and started a bit of a girl crush on Carrie Underwood – she is a little bit awesome as far as I’m concerned. I love this track in particular – it’s great for belting out and singing along to and has a powerful story within the words. I have no idea how many times I’ve played it but I bet the neighbours are sick of it if they can hear it through the walls…

If you have Spotify you can follow the playlist for my Music Alphabet by clicking this link – I will update it each time I add a blog post :)

Playlist so far:

Any Dream Will Do by Jason Donovan

Blown Away by Carrie Underwood

The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout index

Illustrated by: N/A

Series: The Titan Novel (Book #1)

Published: Hodder, February 2015

Edition: Paperback

Print Length: 335 pages

Narrated By: N/A

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mythological Fiction, Romance, Adult Fiction, Greek Mythology

Where Did I Get It? I kindly received a copy from the publisher in return for this review.

Blurb: A year ago, Seth made a deal with the gods – and pledged his life to them. Now, Apollo has a task for Seth: one which sees him playing protector over a beautiful, feisty girl who’s strictly off-limits. And for someone who has a problem with restraint, this assignment might be Seth’s most challenging yet.

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy’s deal is, but he arrives in her life just as everything she’s ever known is turned upside down. Either she’s going insane, or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is heading her way.

Josie can’t decide which is more dangerous: an angry Titan seeking vengeance? Or the golden-eyed, secretive Seth – and the white-hot attraction developing between them…

Opening Line(s):

The mansion was as silent as I wished the inside of my head could be. No noise – not even a ragged inhale of breath or a whispered word. Truly blissful.

My Review: I have wanted to read a book by Jennifer L. Armentrout ever since I saw the gorgeous covers of her Covenant series so when I got the opportunity to review the first in her new spin-off Titan series I was more than a little excited. For a start I was a bit in love with the cover. This woman has some fab cover designers is all I can say!

First up, although this is a spin-off, you can come at it having not read the other series. There is enough back story filled in that everything in The Return makes sense and you don’t feel out of your depth at all – something many people don’t manage in spin-off series.

Overall I enjoyed the book but there were a few things that bugged me all the way through. The romance was a bit predictable and some of the language used was over the top. I’m fairly sure no single person in the book was ever described as just having blue or brown eyes – they were all ‘whiskey’ or ‘amber’ or even ‘denim’ in description. It got a bit irritating after a while and I wanted to take a red pen to it and cross every other one (at least) out.

The entire book was a big mass of ‘JUST GET IT ON ALREADY’ but both of the characters were holding back for their own reasons for the entire book and by the end I was done caring whether they got it on or not, I just wanted them to shut up about it. Which isn’t really the emotions I think I was supposed to be feeling.

That said, the main plot of the book carried it through and I am still planning on reading the next instalment when it comes out if I can get my hands on it. The battle between the gods and the titans is intense and the way all the other characters fit into it is intriguing and exciting. The fight scenes were dramatic and exciting and I was totally dragged into the story despite my initial misgivings.

My brain has totally pictured Seth as Thor though. Just without the cape and hammer. I’m sure this will upset the multitudes of Seth fans that there appears to be out there but hey ho.

My Rating: 3.5/5*


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