October Reads…

It’s not very often that you can read 3 books in a row, and not be dissapointed by any of them. Just after reading one, and finally getting over it- you think nothing can beat it, and then the next one is just as good.

Then you think you got lucky with the second book, and the third one bowls you over .. (the one I’m reading right now is a drag through- so I didn’t get lucky on my fourth one)

Here’s a quick review of my reads in October

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks.

A Tense psychological thriller for sure. You think you know it all, you think you understand the plot, you think you got it planned out, you think you know how its going to end….. and Boom. There she goes. So you read, go back a few pages and re-read. Yup. It happened that way- and the thought never even entered your head.

The Jealous wife, the younger replacement and the over obsessive husband, all thrown together with lies, deceit, betrayal, manipulation, and a ‘I never thought of that ending’ makes this an excellent read.

If you like your psychological thrillers, this sure will be in your top 10 books. Ive also found out that the directors of ‘The Girl on the Train’ are looking into making it a film. Read this before it comes out.

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

The sequel to “The girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, and just as emotionally enticing. You do not need to have read the first one to understand this book, it can be read as a standalone, but I guarantee after reading this you will want to read all 3.

It keeps you on edge throughout, as your constantly waiting for the writer to answer the questions he is throwing at you.

One part of the book was abit surreal and too much of a co-incidence, but apart from that I cannot fault it. Fast paced, dramatic, yet easy to follow and read.

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

I cried, I stumbled, I choked, I held my breath, and I continued reading with tears in my eyes.

By far the best book I have read EVER. This is going in my favourites and right at the top. Being an advocate of the Palestinian struggle, I found it difficult to read this book. It’s truth are bare and naked for everyone to read. No toning down, no reservations, just solid, hard, unfathomable truths to digest in a fictional story!

It explores life post- occupied Palestine. full of culture, lessons, and characters you could possibly be living next too, not knowing at all the horrors they are living.

This book touched my heart, and if anyone asks me for a good read- this is the one I recommend before all others.

I won’t go into it too much as I can get quite emotionally involved. Just READ it.

Let me know if you do read any of the above, or if you have already. Do feel free to share your thoughts.

Love and Regards

M11bna

The Perfect Planner

It’s that time of year, where I start looking for diaries……I know I know. We have phones- and they are capable of holding all our information, like birthdays and appointments, but it’s just not the same for me. I need the feel of pen and paper, I like opening pages and looking in. And more importantly I love my diary to have a bit of character.

I’ve actually been searching for over a month now, and though the internet has so many options, I still haven’t found the perfect one. Sometimes when we are given more options, it makes us more fussy.

I’ll share what I have been using last couple of years.

I love photos, I love taking photos, whether that be of myself, my family, or scenic. And I love diaries, so what better combination. I made these diaries online on printerpix. It takes a bit of time, but it’s so nice to cherish, and it’s lovely to see pictures and memories. It’s a weekly diary and you can add a picture on for every week. Do keep 52 pictures ready.

Initially this was perfect for me, when I was working at BT Openreach. Enough to put in birthdays, appointments, anniversaries, training dates, school holidays etc, but as soon as my baking kicked off full time, I was running out of space. I needed more, and I wanted more of a professional look.

Then I found these babies

The Hello Day Planners. I’m not kidding when I say I fell in love with them. I’ve used them 4 years in a row as I’ve never been able to find anything better. They are so stylish and beautiful. And they are presented so well…. Have a look on YouTube for the unveiling. They come in gorgeous boxes, wrapped in tissue paper, with special cards. Honestly it’s like owning a designer bag. I look so forward to opening it up. I’ve also done unveiling videos in my insta stories. ( I know so sad) but …. Take my word for it …. Look on YouTube.. … ‘Hello Day planner unveiling’ . I guarantee you’ll put it in your Christmas wish list.

But it’s not just the packaging that enticed me, the packaging was a bonus as when I purchased my first one (after alot of ‘oh I don’t know if I should’ as at £46 it’s not exactly cheap- as the hubby says- the pound shop have loads of diaries!) It’s the whole product and what it offers.

With business now booming I needed a day to day planner, and I also need it to offer me more than just dates, and this planner does exactly that:

It’s a day a page- with a remainder to be grateful every morning, as well as a water and exercise plan. A quote of the day to keep you going, and a full page dedicated to what you need to do for the day.
Every month has its own beautiful plastic tab, and did you see the gold rims? Just how beautiful are they?
Before you start- you can put your yearly goals in, and it also allows you to check your progress every quarter.
My favourite page. Budgeting. Keep a track of your going ins and your going outs.
Every month has a full 2 page month at a glance page where you can note down important things briefly.
Also every month starts off with a goal planning page, put down your goals, things to do, and then finishes off with a end of month reflection.
Before the start of the week a page is dedicated to a glance of the full week.
Each day to day page has a blank space which I used to draw my cakes. Perfect for me to be able to picture it all

And then at the front and back there are empty pages just to use for own pleasure- I used these to put down my pricing for events and cakes. And the standard the year at a glance and important Telephone numbers.

I can’t think of anything else I would need in my planner.

So why Am I searching?

Well I no longer have my business and my diary looks like this now. Loads of blanks.

As much as I love my diary it’s too big and empty for me now. I need to switch back to weekly, yet the photo ones do not do it for me anymore

I want the Hello day qualities in a weekly planner.,and yes Hello Day do offer them. But only in 2 designs, (which I’m not keen on) and they lack the beauty the big ones have.

So I’m searching frantically for the perfect diary. One thing I do love is ‘Google’. As soon as it picks up what you are after- it sends you an immense amount of links, and I have found quite a few companies that do very similer planners to Hello Day. But I feel guilty about getting it (how is that Evan possible!) But I really do. I’m passionate about my diary. It’s my key accessory. I rave to anyone I know about my diary- you would think I work for Helloday (if they are jobs available- do let me know).

From the suggestions by Google I have 4 diaries on my mind.

1. Helloday Planner

Always number one, but I also have alot of guilt. £36.00. Have a look at their collection here : www.hellodayplanner.co.uk

2. BusyB

The price is a bonus, it has the full monthly page, weekly dates, budget planning. £15.99 . Find the BusyB collection here www.busyb.co.uk

3. Daily Greatness

I’m really leaning towards this. Love the leather pouch, it has so much going on inside, and very colourful. Abit on the dearer side but I do use my diaries throughout the year- so will be worth it. £89.00. Look at the collection here www.dailygreatness.co.uk

4. Amelia Lane

Looks so much like the Helloday but more colourful. Has the yearly, weekly and monthly break downs inside. Also budget planning. Same price as hello Day. £36.00. look at the collection here www.amelialanepaper.co.uk

And now I’m going to ignore all other suggestions by Google, and decide on one from the above, because I seriously cannot be adding more to my list.

Let’s see which one I end up going for.

Love and regards

M11bna

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CarBoot with Pops… It’s a Date.

“Make sure you wear jeans and trainors” he said before he put the phone down. Im starting to think this was not a good idea.

The hubby was going for his “Poker Weekend” ( I think you’ve figured by now that he’s poker obsessed) basically group of men, hire out a cottage- and play poker all day and night- for a full weekend. Crazy right? Ye I think so too. But I’m not complaining, that means a full weekend of me doing nothing. And when I say nothing. I mean nothing. The last time he went away I finished the whole of ‘Money Heist’ series on Netflix over the 3 days/2 nights. (You have to watch it! Sooo good!) The most I do is get up to answer the door to the takeout from deliveroo (I really am awful!).

But this time I called the pops and told him I’m free if he needs me for anything… And he tells me we should have some time out together. Just me and him. A Date with Pops.

I was looking forward to this, I think I really needed this. Not had a pops date in years. Ye we get together, I see him once a week minimum with everyone else in the family, but never alone. I receive atleast 20 videos/ messages from him throughout the day. Each day. Every day (*rolls eye*), which i never bother to open but send a 👍 just so he thinks I’ve watched it. …So I was excited. Untill ….

He tells me he’ll pick me up at 8 in the morning and that I should wear my trainors!

Doesn’t he know that I’m a afternoon tea type of person? With anxiety and a cuppa in my hand I awaited the beep of his car horn. At 8 on a Sunday morning (big yawn).

I’m not usually use to being driven around- apart from the hubby when we go on our family trip. I’m usually the driver. Evan when I go with my mum and dad. I drive. So today felt nice being driven around. (Good start Pops)

And where did he take me?

Yup. We ended up at Croft car boot sale in Leicester. A 20 mins drive away from my home. “Let me know if you want anything ma, it’s on me” he said and made his way through the masses of junk everywhere….

Initially I was reeling inside, I woke up early for this? I could’ve finished off Harry Potter and the Half blood Prince at home- I was watching this last night but fell asleep half way through. (I’m the type who watches this over and over and over ) Oh God. I was so glad it wasn’t raining!

But then I started enjoying myself. People sell anything and everything, like literally. And everyone is so friendly. Couple of them knew the Pops- as he did his rounds and said hello. Baskets were going for £1.50 and above. Where was this place when I was doing my event planning. I could’ve saved a hell of alot of money.

I ended up stopping Pops to go see stuff, it was quite funny because pops didn’t know what I would make of it.

Then I saw these above, I just remember laughing and I just had to take a picture. These are the gift bags you get when you travel on first class flights on British Airways. It’s a gift bag by ‘The White Company’.The hubby had the privilege of flying first class on a trip- and I remember he brought back 2 of these for the boys (he asked for another one from the stewardess) . We were fascinated. These lovely travel pouches- and inside was socks, eye masks, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste. Absolutely lovely little gifts…we were so fascinated. The boys kept them, and use them when we go abroad, And here’s boxes and boxes of them at £1 each. I wonder where the bloke got them from?

This is what you get inside each pack.

We carried on walking up and down each aisle, then I spotted these

The absolute love of my life. Books. 3 for £2.50. some of them were brand new. I just had to have them.

Some of the stuff was amazing. Like tables for £5- these are usually £40 inside stores. I didn’t need it, but I sure was tempted. If I had the space, I defo would bought 1 or 2 or maybe more.

It definately worked out to be a great date. Thanks Pops, and I’ll definately be going back…. Maybe not so soon like. But I will be going back.

I’m actually thinking of doing a clear out myself and make a day of it one day. The stuff people were buying and selling, I’m sure my junk will go….. It’ll have to be with the Pops ofcourse. Let’s see when the weather gets better.

For now I’ll be catching up with these. Can’t believe I got the lot for £5. And if their not good. I’ll put it in my box for my next car boot sale.

Love and regards

M11bna

My take on “Small Great Things” – Jodi Picoult

Do you ever get so consumed in a book, that you try and spend as much of your spare time reading, like every second counts?

I have 5 minutes maximum left before I need to go out to get to work, if I don’t leave in 5 mins I will be late. Honestly I should be leaving right now- that way should I get any disturbances along the way, the 5 minutes allowance will cater for it.

But I will be using every millisecond of that 5 minutes to continue reading this book.

Have any of you guys read this book? If not- Go and get it. It’s a heart stopper.

It’s about Ruth Jefferson a widowed, single parent, black midwife who was banned from looking after a newborn from the parents (Turk and Brittany Bauer- white supremacist) because of the colour of her skin.

This newborn ends up loosing his life whilst under her care- and she ends up being arrested for murder.

We get to see the whole novel unfold from 3 different viewpoints, Ruth, Turk and Kennedy- the female white lawyer defending Ruth.

Name of book taken from this quote. ” Both Ruth and Kennedy have moments in the novel where they do a small thing that has great and lasting repercussions for others” Jodi Picoult.

The book itself is quite disturbing and uncomfortable because it hits some home truths. Kennedy learns these home truths in the novel- it could almost be said that this novel is written as a means to teach us how Evan though we believe we are not racist, we show bias in unsuspected ways, one simple way is when we say “We do not see colour”.

How could this relate to me? As a British Muslim, in some parts of the novel I emphasised with Ruth, it’s a condition we go through- and also like Ruth we put it aside and continue with normal life. We try to belong. In other instances I was shocked. It is brutal. At points I had to put the book aside and breathe to allow it to censor in my mind. I found myself gulping in the frog in my throat, and batting away my water filled eyes.

Living in a multi cultural society I face only minimal amount of racism (it’s there, but not so apparent or threatening) but I hear of stories in other cities, and I feel blessed that I am away from it all.

The ending was dissapointing- for sure. I did a roll eye at one point- why ruin such a good book? It was very cliche- and I think this part was a downer for me. (I think once you read it. You will feel it too) it just felt- not REAL. But apart from that, I consumed my every second free to this book.

After getting over the very clichéd happy ending, we get an insight into Jodi Picoults journey in writing the book, and instantly I forgive her for the bad ending.

She has spent years trying to get the characters in place, and we can feel it through her writing. And Jodi is very brave to be writing a novel of this nature being a priveledged white women- I am sure she will get critism for it. It is fair to say that no matter how much you interact with a person- you can never be in there shoes- unless you are wearing it.

Hats off to her for writing such an emotional, heartbreaking, gut wrenching, tragic and very hard hitting- in your face novel.

It’s definitely in my list of ” best books” read for this year.

Love and regards

M11bna