My 2019 Reading Challenge | Books 11-15

This post contains affiliate links.

Guess what? I’ve completed my 2019 Goodreads reading challenge! I initially set it at 12 books as I have really struggled with finding time and motivation for reading in recent years. However, I have found myself reading a lot since 2019 started so I have managed to achieve my goal!

I am planning on reading as much as I can for the rest of the year and seeing what the final number is. Today I want to talk to you about books 11-15 of my challenge – you can read all about books 1-5 here and 6-10 here.

So here are books 11-15 and what I thought about them!

The Girl In The Pink Raincoat by Alrene Hughes – 5/5 (sent for review)

I’ve written a full review here but I was really surprised with just how much I loved this. I don’t normally read books set in the wartime but this was gripping and I really loved the characters. It kept me turning the pages right until the very end and I really enjoyed it. You can buy the book on Amazon here {affiliate link}.

Without A Hitch by Bettina Hunt – 4/5

Screenshot from my Goodreads app

Having read Bettina’s debut A Tempting Trio, I knew I was going to read her next book. I loved some of the characters, found others rather annoying (although I think that was the point – Sienna was very irritating for the majority of the book!) and couldn’t wait to see how the weddings of each woman panned out. I’ve ordered the follow up book of the ladies on honeymoon so can’t wait to see what happens. You can buy the book on Amazon here {affiliate link}.

Cherringham (A Cosy Crime Series): The Gentleman Vanishes (Book 30) by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards – 5/5

Screenshot from my Goodreads app

Yep, I’ve delved back into the Cherringham series! I love this series and find it great for when I need an easygoing read. I really enjoyed this book – I didn’t see it coming and I found the outcome very satisfying. You can buy the book on Amazon here {affiliate link}.

Cherringham (A Cosy Crime Series): Trail of Lies (Book 31) by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards – 4/5

Screenshot from my Goodreads app

This was an interesting read, telling the tale of three young girls on a hiking trip where only two return home. I had my suspicions from the start and they were founded but it was interesting to see the how and the why and how Jack and Sarah ultimately solved it with some clever detective work. You can buy the book on Amazon here {affiliate link}.

Cherringham (A Cosy Crime Series): Death Trap (Book 32) by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards – 4/5

Screenshot from my Goodreads app

I always find it interesting when the Cherringham books talk about local businesses and a crime occurs with them. It is fascinating to get to know the residents of the area a little better. I was surprised with the outcome, I must admit. You can buy the book on Amazon here {affiliate link}.

So these are my books 11-15 – what have you been reading recently?

Self Care With Sinivalia

I was sent this product for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

As a mum of two, I rarely find time for myself. I’m always taking the kids to school or clubs, doing my work or doing housework. I recently decided that I needed to spend more time indulging in self care – whether its by taking a leisurely bubble bath or reading a book. Just a few minutes to myself.

I was recently sent the Bentonite Clay mask from Sinivalia to review – this product retails at £10.99 and you can buy it here.

Sinvalia was founded by a group of women who are passionate about skincare. They travelled the world in search of superior skincare ingredients and they also did plenty of research – both reading and speaking to physicians – to formulate a safe, effective and gentle product range.

They came up with a few promises which they strive to always keep to. They are against animal testing – every item is tested on willing human volunteers to check it is safe, effective and gentle. They make sure their products are manufactured to the highest standards and with strict quality control.

So what did I think of the product?

This mask is designed to help detoxify the skin and get rid of blackheads naturally. It is said to be an all in one detoxing, exfoliating and moisturising facial care and body cleanse. It rids skin of toxins and large clogged pores for smoother skin below. It is also said to be anti-aging. Their use of bentonite clay, which has been used in skincare for many years, was definitely encouraging. But did it match up to my expectations?

As an almost 30 year old, anti-aging is something I have started to think about, especially after noticing my first grey hair! My skin often looks lifeless and dull – perhaps sometimes to do with lack of sleep – and it could certainly do with a boost. Whilst I haven’t got wrinkles to contend with yet, anything that helps to keep them at bay is worth a try in my books.

Since I’ve been using this product, I’ve found my skin is looking a lot less grey and lot healthier – more hydrated and plumper. I’ve also noticed that the amount of acne I get has decreased – whilst I don’t get much acne nowadays, I do find certain areas of my face are quite stubborn and I have repeat offenders. My skin has been looking a lot better and I’m putting it down to using this mask regularly.

I’ll definitely be checking out more of the Sinivalia range – I love that their products are all natural, cruelty free and affordable too. Have you tried any Sinivalia products before?

Fast and Easy Ways to Spring-Clean your Garden

Collaborative Post

If you want to spring-clean your garden, then you will find that this is very easy to do. It doesn’t take a lot of effort and you would be surprised at how much of a difference this could make to your home.

Add some Plant Feed

Gardeners love to nurture their gardens and early spring is the best time of year to give everything in the garden a boost. Try and apply a good amount of new soil and the next time it rains, scatter some pellet fertiliser too. This will break down and it will eventually filter into the soil. When this happens, it is then absorbed by the growing roots and it will also fuel flowering and even plant growth in general.

Take care of your Lawn

Lawn nutrients can be added to any grass areas that you have. Try and use a sturdy rake to remove any build-up of thatch or anything that is left underfoot. If you find that the lawn is looking sparse then now is the time to re-seed it or even add more turf. Before you decide to replant anything, it is a good idea for you to dig down in any organic matter with a wetting agent. Everyone needs to stay away from these areas until they are established and until the new grass grows vigorously.

Annie Spratt
Plant a Good Range of Vegetables

Early spring is the best time for you to plant some vegetables and it doesn’t matter whether you are starting a new garden or whether you are maintaining an old one. If you want to get started, then it helps to plant as many herbs and vegetables as you can. This includes summer salad vegetables too, as this will add a lot of colour to your space and it will also make it much easier to manage. Peas, lettuce, basil and rocket are all great options. If you want to make the most out of your garden, then you might even want to look into large greenhouses. This way you can plant a huge range of crops without having to worry about them shadowing each other.


Most flowers can be planted with ease and they can give your garden a super quick lift. They add instant colour too. If you want to get some ideas then focus on pansies, flowering bulbs and even petunias too. Other flowers that you need to consider include phlox and seedlings. You can plant these out in garden beds and they will add a huge amount of colour.

Clean and Mend


Warmer weather ultimately means that you will be spending more time outside eating and relaxing. For this reason, you need to make the effort to check any furniture and seating areas too. Wooden furniture may need reoiling or even repainting. Nuts and bolts may also need to be tightened too. Over time they can become loose and you may even find that your furniture is weaker as a result, so it is worth looking into this.

A Little Life Update

It has been a little while since I shared a little life update – so what have we been up to?

Jack is in his final term of Year 2 and is both looking forward to junior school and also quite dubious too. He has actually got a school disco this Friday which is at the upper school and he is very excited to be able to socialise with the older children!

He is also starting recorder lessons tomorrow – I’m still not sure if I’ve made the right choice here as we all know how annoying recorders can be! He started Beavers last Monday and is really enjoying it already. I’ve just noticed a tri-golf club after school on Tuesdays too which I am considering signing him up to as well!

Olivia is still enjoying her playgroup and has started attending a couple of other things too, one being Sounds Right Phonics. She has really been enjoying the sessions and I can see that she is already learning from them which is great.

Work has been very busy which is great. I’ve been working with some fantastic clients which is always great. We’ve also managed a few trips away in recent months which have been lots of fun and just what we needed to recharge our batteries.

We are still looking for a larger property to move into but finding something in our budget at the moment is quite impossible. Hopefully we will be able to find something soon.

So that’s what is going on with me – what is going on in the life of you?

Getting to Grips With Your Macbook

Collaborative Post

The majority of us will have got used to using Windows computers and laptops. But Macs are extremely popular and if you have one, you’re bound to want to get to grips with using it as quickly as possible. Macbooks do run on iOS, which is significantly different to Windows, so it may take a little while for Mac features, abilities and commands to come naturally to you. But picking up little tips and tricks can help you to feel more comfortable and confident using your Mac, as well as saving you time. Here are just a few pieces of information and advice that should help you along the way!

Altering Mouse Sensitivity

The sensitivity of your Mac’s keypad is likely to be in standard factory settings when you first start using your new laptop. You may find that you want it to be more sensitive or less sensitive – meaning the cursor will move at smaller touches of the mouse pad or harder touches of the mousepad. Find out how to change your trackpad sensitivity here!

Photo by Toni Cuenca from Pexels

Learning Keyboard Shortcuts

You needn’t right click or press different icons in different programmes to carry out basic actions. This can prove time consuming and is definitely unnecessary. Instead, pick up some basic keyboard shortcuts. Command and “b” pressed simultaneously will see text become bold. Command and “u” will underline. Command and “i” will make text italic. These are just a few to get you started! There are plenty more out there and the ones that prove most convenient will depend entirely on your personal needs and preferences.

Changing the Background

We all want to personalise our backgrounds. We can spend so long doing impersonal tasks and chores on our laptops that it’s refreshing to see a loved one’s face or a favourite photograph pop up between changing windows and tabs. So, change the background of your Macbook to something a little more interesting than a vague scenic shot. You can learn how to change background on Mac here.

Pinning Programmes to the Dock

There’s a dock at the bottom of your screen. Chances are, specific programmes are already pinned to it. These might be settings, safari, mail, and Facetime to name but a few. But remember you can pin whatever programmes you like here for easy access. If you use a programme a lot, right click its icon when it’s open and click “add to dock” or “pin to dock”. You’ll now be able to open it without searching for it!

These are just a few tips and tricks that will help you to get to grips with your Macbook. Of course, practice makes perfect and simply spending time using your Mac will see you pick up all sorts of techniques that will save you time and help you to use your laptop to its full potential. But these steps mentioned above should get you started off in the right direction!