The latest (and last) reading challenge

I have attempted a reading challenge for the last 4 or 5 years but never completed one yet, mostly because there’s always at least one category that I can’t find a book for. Sometimes the categories are so random or vague that I spend more time researching than I get to actually reading, such as an epic romance, a 20th century classic, or a book with bad reviews.

So I took to good old Google for ideas for a new challenge and I found one that I know I can complete, although it will take longer than a year. The A-Z reading challenge, I am going to aim to read at least one book a month and will update the blog along the way. I’m not going to start at A and work to Z instead will read what I fancy and fill the gaps as I go. I will include E-books, as I read a lot of these on holiday,  but won’t include any audio books or podcasts.

I’m still enjoying listening to audio books too, especially when digging on the allotment, and I may run an A-Z audio book challenge also.

Any book recommendations will be happily received, here we go ….


A little about me …

There are often these lists floating about on social media, and usually I don’t complete them, but love reading people’s answers, you learn surprising facts about people you think you know quite well.

I thought it would be a good way for you to learn a little about me.

  • Who are you named after : I am named after an elderly lady my mum knew. Unfortunately just after I was named the Gilbert O’Sullivan song – Clare was released and it became a hugely popular name. Personally I don’t like it, but not sure what I would prefer to be called. 
  • What is your favourite meal : I enjoy flavoursome food, strange thing to say but let me explain. I love chilli, ginger and garlic. I love Indian, Italian, and Thai food. Well cooked, well seasoned food. I can’t abide coriander, lemongrass and mashed potato. 
  • What is your favourite smell : I love the smell of newly cut grass, of lavender in the garden, lilies and tomatoes in the greenhouse, but my most favourite smell is my freshly showered boy snuggled up next to me watching tv. 
  • What was your favourite holiday : A difficult question to answer, I’ve been very lucky to visit some wonderful places and many I would love to return to for various reasons, but there are so many places still to visit. However there are two places that I will definitely return to again, India and Italy. I love India and have been a few times, the last time I was 6 weeks pregnant. The people, food and country are amazing, so many temples, shrines, cities, and beaches to see. Italy is beautiful, and where I was married. A country of historic cities, Rome, Milan, Venice, Verona, and my favourite Florence.
  • What is your favourite book, author and/or genre : I’ve always loved thrillers and horrors, Stephen King is still a firm favourite but over the last couple of years I’ve discovered Liane Moriarty, I’m not sure what genre these books would fall into but she is a wonderful storyteller with characters full of warmth and life. I have laughed and cried during these books, they leave you feeling like you’ve made some new friends and wanting to know them more. 
  • What is your favourite ice cream flavour : I love a really good vanilla ice cream, a honeycomb, last year I had a gorgeous rhubarb and ginger. 
  • What was the last movie you watched : Aquaman (in the cinema) and all the Spiderman films (not my choice – at home) 
  • What is one thing you like about yourself : I’m a caring person and will try and help anyone, if I’m able, or get help and advice when I can’t help directly. 
  • If you were a crayon what colour would you be : Without doubt I would be purple.
  • What is your hair colour : Light brown, with lots of  hidden grey (with help).
  • What is your eye colour : Brown 
  • Coffee or tea : I discovered a few months ago Moroccan mint tea in a restaurant, they make it themselves, after chatting with the owner she gave me the name of a few brands that have a similar one, my favourite is Tea People Moroccan mint, its a loose leaf tea so you can add as much as you wish to make it weaker or stronger. I’m avoiding coffee, only because I prefer it  with sugar and am trying to be good.

So that’s a little about me. Anything else you’d like to know feel free to ask, however I reserve the right not to answer…


Reading Challenge 2018

I didn’t quite manage to finish the 2017 reading challenge, I was let down by ‘Epic Romance’ and ‘published this year’ – all the other categories I completed and found a couple unread authors I will be reading more of.  Here’s the link Reading challenge 2017 – update

Now for the new challenge.

  1. A book with more than 500 pages.
  2. A book with a number in the title.
  3. A book by a female author.
  4. A popular authors first book.
  5. A book with non-human characters.
  6. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit.
  7. A book from your childhood.
  8. A book with a colour in the title.
  9. A graphic novel.
  10. A book by an authors you’ve never read before.
  11. A book you own but have never read.
  12. A book the was originally written in another language.
  13. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read.
  14. A book with bad reviews.

I have a couple of ideas from a few categories but any suggestions are always welcome.

Happy reading.


Where did it go ! The month seems to have flown by and quite a few things happened which kept it interesting.

We started the year with a broken boiler, thankfully it was replaced quickly and without us being without heating or hot water for very long.

The job hunting was still ongoing, applications being sent everywhere, every day and with very little in response. Then one of my old employers died and at the funeral a chance encounter led to a job offer. I met with my new employer and within a couple of hours I was registered for classroom training, online training and my work rota organised. I spent a good few hours doing the online training, thankfully my previous employment had prepared me well for this tedious task.

As well as my old employer we also lost my great uncle, a lovely man who is now reunited with the love of his life.

I spent an evening at the ballet – Giselle – with my mum. Not a ballet either us had seen before, it was very enjoyable. We also bought our tickets to Matthew Bourne’s production of the red shoes for later in the year, super excited !

A few good days out to some new places and some old favourites, mostly alone, the Lady Lever art gallery, Sudley house, World museum, St Georges hall and The Walker art gallery. Not bad for one month.

I’ve also been reading tons, watching films and updating all my challenge lists. more details to follow ….

I hope your January has been a good one x


The Reading Challenge

The book challenge has been selected and I’ve even started, I’ve chosen a book challenge from Instagram #26BOOKSwithBringingUpBurns, although I’m not linking it to or including it as part of the 365 photo challenge.

Here is the list:

  1. A book with water on the cover – Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King
  2. A book set on a school campus – The Penguin Lessons by Tom Michell
  3. A book with a murder or a mystery – The haunting of Nathaniel Wolfe by Brian Keaney
  4. A book about siblings – Secrets of the Tides by Hannah Richelle
  5. A book with a great first line
  6. A book written in the decade you were born. – Interview with a vampire by Anne Rice
  7. A book with a number in the title – 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs
  8. A book that will help you grow.
  9. A book from the library – Almost all of my books are from the library. 
  10. A book about a vacation or road trip
  11. A book with food in the title – Soy sauce for beginners by Kirsten Chen
  12. A book based on a historical event. – 11.22.63 by Stephen King
  13. A book you’ve been meaning to read – The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins
  14. A book that has won an award.
  15. A book you read with a friend – Dark by Paul L Arvidson 
  16. An autobiography or memoir – A life discarded (148 diaries found in a skip) by Alexander Masters
  17. A book with a one word title – Room by Emma Donoghue
  18. A book over 400 pages.
  19. A book set in the future.
  20. A book with magic in it. – The ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman
  21. A book you learnt about because of this challenge.
  22. A book based on a true story – The poisoner, the life and crime of  Victorian England’s most notorious doctor by Stephen Bates
  23. A New York times best-seller
  24. A book off the ALA’s banned & challenged classics list. – Lord of the flies by William Golding
  25. A book that will make you laugh.
  26. A favourite book from your childhood. – Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  27. One free swap-out – read any book of your choice.

I love reading and regularly visit the library, now I carry a notebook with this list and as you can see I’ve already completed a few. It makes looking for books more of a challenge, planning what to look for in advance.

Any suggestions welcomed…

Updated from an earlier blog post, so far so good. Only a few months remaining to complete the challenge and it’s looking promising.

J is for ….

Journeys, we’ve made quite a few recently with our holiday to Spain and visiting family in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

I enjoy driving, even with nowhere to go. Just exploring new roads, finding new places. I have driven long distances across the country and love planning new journeys, usually with my little co-pilot by my side.

When travelling long distances, especially to somewhere we’ve never been before, I have 3 rules I always follow….

  • Pre-set the sat nav with postcodes of all places in the area we are going, hotels, tourist destinations, places to eat.
  • I always check the directions manually, usually google maps or AA route finder.
  • I write easy to follow bullet points for my co-pilot to watch for, mostly motorway junctions numbers for leaving/joining and place names.

My co-pilot is a reader, like myself, he doesn’t go far without a book, and he loves reading parts out to me usually things he finds hilarious or doesn’t understand, however on long journeys we also play games in the car, making phrases from car number plates, car bingo (printed beforehand) and I-spy, these all keep us chuckling along the way.

My favourite journeys so far have been to Warwick, where we stayed in a tiny retro caravan on a camp site and any trip to Yorkshire, I love the countryside and all the little villages along the way. I am currently in the process of planning some new adventures for us.

More blogs to follow …

B is for ….


Books, I love reading and I’m never very far from a book. I alway read before sleeping but enjoy reading at other times too.

I don’t have a type or genre that I stick to, I read pretty much anything but I’m not a magazine/celebrity reader. I try not to read too many reviews about books as I find this clouds my judgement about them before I’ve read them but also negative reviews have turned me away from books that I’ve later read and enjoyed.

Reviews are subjective, just because one person doesn’t like a book doesn’t make it rubbish. I enjoy spending time at the library just looking at covers and reading snippets before choosing anything.

I only keep books that I know I will re-read. The one thing I’m most proud of is passing my love of books and reading on to Oscar, he never goes anywhere without a book and loves writing stories. He has mild dyslexia and understands it makes it a little more challenging but doesn’t stop him or his enjoyment of books.

Although I’m doing my own book challenge as part of my 50 before 50 list, I don’t often recommend or review them. I do update the list as I go so feel free to look and comment on any you think I would like.

I’m currently reading Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children by Ransom Riggs as the title and cover seen on reviewing central blog appealed.