Listful Thinking – review

Are you a list writer? I know I am, and that it rubs off on my kids. So I was thrilled to find this book aimed at Tweens, so perfect for Boo.

Listful Thinking – list out your life.

The Blurb

This guided journal of lists is the prefect place to celebrate yourself and what makes you sparkle. As you write, you’ll discover what matters to you, and you’ll capture special moments in time that you’ll love looking back on in the future. You can create over 200 lists that span a huge range of subjects like the following:

*from tuba to fiddle to melodica, list all the instruments you’d love to jam out on

*List as many famous animals, fictions or real, as you can in 30 seconds!

*write a list of all the things you’d do if you were invisible for a day.

You can start this journal at the beginning or skip ahead to find the page that matches your mood. Be proud of who you are and who you’ll be!

Our Verdict

As far as journals go, this one is unique and quite ingenious. Their are so many pages to scribble in your lists, each one with a decorated border so it’s pretty to look at too. The headings give you plenty of food for thought without being too complex. By filling it in a child will have something fun and insightful to read back later. Also, it will give the child a chance to order their feelings and thoughts on many different subjects.

It’s also a nice simple way of writing things down, it’s much easier to scribble down a quick list than write out a full page of text.

The Gift, Cecelia Ahern. Book Review

The Gift – Cecelia Ahern

book cover, black background with a  gift tag attached to a snowdrop.

The Blurb

Everyday Lou Suffern battled with the clock. He always had two places to be at the same time. He always had two things to do at once. When asleep he dreamed. In between dreams, he ran through the events of the day while making plans for the next. When at home with his wife and family, his mind was always someplace else.
On his way into work one early winter morning, Lou meets Gabe, a homeless man sitting outside the office building. Intrigued by him and on discovering that he could also be very useful to have around, Lou gets Gabe a job in the post room.

But soon Lou begins to regret helping Gabe. His very presence unsettles Lou and how does Gabe appear to be in two places at the same time?

As Christmas draws closer, Lou starts to understand the value of time. He sees what is truly important in life yet at the same time he learns the harshest lesson of all.

This is a story about people who not unlike parcels, hide secrets.They cover themselves in layers until the right person unwraps them and discovers what’s inside. Sometimes you have to be unravelled in order to find out who you really are. For Lou Suffern, that took time.

My Review

I listened to this book on Audible, the narrator, Mark Meadows, had an Irish accent which fitted perfect with the Irish characters. In fact, I think Mark Meadows could become a favourite of mine, he’s so good to listen to.

The story revolves around the main characters Lou and Gabe, but their story is told to a young boy being held at the Police station after throwing a frozen turkey through a window.

Lou first appears as a generous and kind character as he takes a homeless person, Gabe, off the streets and gives him a job in his office block. As the story progresses we see Lou as an uncaring, selfish and cheating character, trying to get to the top position in his office in whatever way he can. He has a beautiful wife and two little children, but he rarely makes time for them. He ends up upsetting most of his wider family members too when he takes over his Dad’s 70th birthday party, but passes the buck to his secretary.

Gabe, however, sees something good in Lou, and despite the fact that Lou is rude to him, he seems adamant to make him see the error of his ways and help him any way he can.

There is an air of mystery in the story as strange things begin to happen, reality has to be suspended as we see Lou getting his wish of being able to be in two places at the same time. It’s only by having the extra time this gives him that he realises just what he is sacrificing and what is really important to him.

Will he choose the big job or his family?

The ending of Lou’s story gives a twist that you may be expecting, or not. It all reminded me a little of ‘Tales of the Unexpected.’

Verdict

I really enjoyed this book, if mostly for the narrator. The story was based around Christmas time and we get a look at the joys of Christmas celebrations Dublin style. The imagery is just right and although the minor characters are not written in too much detail, it doesn’t really matter. The focus is mainly on Lou and Gabe.

The story was a little extraordinary but I’m not complaining about that. The ending did feel like I was being preached too, but I guess the point was a good one to make. I think you could probably cut all that out and people would still get the message. Because that what this whole story is about, delivering a message.

If you don’t wish to listen on Audible you can buy this book on Amazon for £7.99

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Mix It Up Linky

Kid’s Books Round Up Review

Here are few books that my kids had for Christmas. This post contains affiliate links.

Castle Adventure Activity Book.

front cover of kid's book
Castle Adventure activity book

Paperback: 64 pages
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Button Books (1 May 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1787080218
ISBN-13: 978-1787080218
Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 0.8 x 29.2 cm

The Blurb

Knights, princesses, jesters, jousting and feasting – this fabulous activity book based around castles has got the lot! The pages are crammed with all sorts of great activities, including dot to dot, spot the difference, colouring in, simple makes and other engaging puzzles. Fun and educational, Castle Adventure Activity Book features beautiful, bright illustrations that will draw children in and keep them busy. And while they are enjoying the mazes, matching and counting, the games are helping them to develop a wide range of skills, including observational, conversational and motor.

Verdict

This has been perfect for my Little Man, aged 8 years. It’s kept him occupied lots over the holiday period. There is so much to do with all the puzzles and picture colouring and he still loves stickers. It’s engaging and fun and I was really surprised at just how much is packed into the 64 pages. It really should be called a bumper book of activities.

You can pre-order the Castle Adventure Activity Book on Amazon for £7.85

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Tom Browning

Paperback: 40 pages
Age Range: 5 – 6 years
Publisher: Sterling; Reprint edition (7 July 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 145491355X
ISBN-13: 978-1454913559
Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 0.8 x 28.7 cm

The Blurb

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house … For decades families have gathered together to read Clement C. Moore’s enchanting holiday poem. Featuring beautiful original illustrations by award-winning artist Tom Browning, this stunning edition stands apart from the rest. Browning has created a classic Saint Nick the quintessential round, jolly, white-bearded figure that everyone imagines. The look is timeless, filled with warmth and sentiment: exactly what Christmas should be. The story’s enduring charm and Browning’s memorable art make The Night Before Christmas a must-have for any child who is just discovering the tale and every adult who has loved it forever.

Our Verdict

We already have a copy of this story, a wonderful Christmas poem written by Clement C. Moore which it is believed he first wrote in 1822 for his Children under the title ‘ A Visit From St Nicholas.’

This paperback copy is delightful with it’s illustrations by the painter Tom Browning who is renowned for his artwork of Father Christmas. It’s a must read poem before Christmas for any young child, and as old as it might be it is still fun.

I did have some explaining to do to my kids, what is a ‘kerchief, what are sugar plums? What does droll mean and what is a pedler? I do love the traditional version of the poem though, and with the old fashioned illustrations it’s a perfect version of the story.

Laura's Lovely Blog

Last But Not Least Lola

This week Boo was introduced to Lola Zuckerman

Lola Zuckerman’s name is a big problem because she’s always Z-for-Zuckerman last.

Lola always seems to be getting herself into trouble despite her best efforts not to. She’s a love able character that will appeal to all youngsters who are just starting to read independently. Aimed at 7 to 10 years old the books have short chapters with fun illustrations. 

We were sent three books to review.

Last-But-Not-Least Lola Going Green

Lola Zuckerman hates being last for everything. If only she were Lola Adams or Lola Appleby or anything but Z for Zuckerman. And she is having a particularly hard time right now. Her best friend Amanda Anderson is now her ex-best friend. Her grandparents have moved back to Texas, and her mother is launching a new career. Why is everything always changing? What would make things much, much better is if Lola were to win the Going-Green Contest at school and beat Amanda Anderson, who is determined to win first place too. How can Lola, who is always last, prove that she’s not least? This first book in the Last-But-Not-Least Lola series is a laugh-out-loud, heartwarming, and intensely satisfying story about the importance of friendship and creative problem-solving.

Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Cupcake Queens

Lola’s mom is home but not home, because she’s frantically working all the time. Lola’s friends are here but not here as allegiances among the foursome change faster than you can forget your lines for a school play. Lola means well but can’t help acting on her emotions and getting into trouble. She’ll need to dig for bravery as she deals with a possible ghost next door, stage fright, and, hardest of all, making amends with her friends. In this heartwarming tale, Lola is braver than she thinks, and her friendships are stronger than she realizes.

Last-But-Not-Least Lola and the Wild Chicken

Lola’s back! She patched things up with frenemy Amanda Anderson, but it’s not happily ever after for these two best friends, at least not yet. Lola doesn’t want to share Amanda, especially not with Jessie, who seems to be around . . . all the time. Can there be more than two best friends? And what does a wild chicken have to do with anything? Hint: The answer involves a class trip to a farm. When Lola is around, you never know what will happen next. This second book in Christine Pakkala’s dynamic series is sure to capture the hearts of readers who love a spunky heroine and some unexpected antics.

Our Verdict

Boo has really enjoyed reading these books, they have captured her imagination and ignited her love of reading independently. 

Disclosure: We were sent these books for free in return for our promotion. The links in this post are affiliate links which will cost you no more but may earn me a little money if you use them. Thank you.

Audibles Best Biographies and Memoirs

Do you like finding out more about celebrities, hearing about the real person? These audiobooks are Audibles latest offerings in celebrity Biographies and Memoirs.  

Michelle Obama – A Life

Michelle Obama – A Life

Audible – £28.09 or free with a 30 day trial of Audible

By: Peter Slevin
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Length: 15 hrs and 33 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 18-08-15
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

An inspiring story of a modern American icon, here is the first comprehensive account of the life and times of Michelle Obama. With disciplined reporting and a storyteller’s eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago’s largely segregated South Side. He illuminates her tribulations at Princeton University and Harvard Law School during the racially charged 1980s and the dilemmas she faced in Chicago while building a high-powered career, raising a family, and helping a young community organizer named Barack Obama become president of the United States.



From the lessons she learned in Chicago to the messages she shares as one of the most recognizable women in the world, the story of this first lady is the story of America. Michelle Obama: A Life is a fresh and compelling view of a woman of unique achievement and purpose.


©2015 Peter Slevin (P)2015 Audible, Inc

Mel B – Brutally Honest

Brutally Honest – Mel B


Audible – £18.99 or free with a 30 day trial of Audible

By: Melanie Brown
Narrated by: Melanie Brown, Phoenix Chi Gulzar Brown, Andrea Brown, Zaraah Abrahams, Bruce Lester Johnson
Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 27-11-18
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

Please note that this audiobook contains explicit language and content some listeners may find distressing.

The memoir from the real woman behind the leopard print, for real women everywhere. 

As one-fifth of the iconic Spice Girls and judge on X Factor and America’s Got Talent, Melanie Brown, aka Scary Spice, has been an international star since the age of 19. And yet there are sides of Mel that no one has ever seen or really known. 

Brutally Honest is an exposé of the struggles and acute pain that lay behind the glamour and success. With deep personal insight, remarkable frankness and Melanie’s trademark Yorkshire humour, this audiobook removes the mask of fame and reveals the mother, wife and daughter behind the Spice Girl everyone thinks they know. 

The audiobook edition features narration from Melanie, her daughter, Phoenix, and her mother, Andrea.


©2018 Melanie Brown and Louise Gannon (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

Robert Webb – How Not to Be a Boy

Robert Webb – How Not to be a Boy




Audible – £19.99 0r free with a 30 day trial of Audible

By: Robert Webb
Narrated by: Robert Webb
Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 29-08-17
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

Rules for Being a Man:

  • Don’t cry
  • Love sport
  • Play rough
  • Drink beer
  • Don’t talk about feelings

But Robert Webb has been wondering for some time now: are those rules actually any use? To anyone?

Looking back over his life, from schoolboy crushes (on girls and boys) to discovering the power of making people laugh (in the Cambridge Footlights with David Mitchell), and from losing his beloved mother to becoming a husband and father, Robert Webb considers the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life. Hilarious and heartbreaking, How Not to Be a Boy explores the relationships that made Robert who he is as a man, the lessons we learn as sons and daughters, and the understanding that sometimes you aren’t the Luke Skywalker of your life – you’re actually Darth Vader.

Giles and Mary –  A Tale of Two Nobodies

Giles and Mary – a Tale of Two Nobodies

By: Mary Killen, Giles Wood
Narrated by: Mary Killen, Giles Wood
Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 02-11-17
Language: English
Publisher: Audible Studios

What is life for Gogglebox‘s Giles and Mary outside the willow-patterned cocoon?

Giles is a countryman who relishes solitude. His wife, Mary, thrives in company and enjoys frequent escapes to London.

After 30 years in a marriage of opposites, Giles and Mary have adapted to a life of domestic misunderstandings within comical misadventures.

In The Diary of Two Nobodies, you will have the unique opportunity to discover, first hand, what occurs when a man who sees himself as a cross between Mr Bean and Basil Fawlty shares his life with a woman who identifies closely with the Queen.

Accompanying this diary is a candid and amusing Audible Sessions interview with Giles and Mary, in which they discuss how they made it onto Gogglebox, what the most annoying things about each other are, and why ‘nutty’ is their go-to term of endearment.

Audible – £13.99 or free with a 30 day trial of Audible.

This post contains affiliate links because I am an Audible affiliate. I’m also a huge fan of Audible and love receiving my new audio book every month for just £7.99 You can choose anything, I have a six volume set of Sherlock Holmes in my collection which would have cost nearly £70 if I were not a member. 

Since I got sick my eyesight is troublesome. I’ve tried the opticians and have reading glasses, but although they help they don’t stop the tiredness I get in my eyes. 

I would have to give up reading but since I discovered Audible I’ve devoured more books than I have done in ages. I love it! And the best thing is, I can carry on listening to my books while crocheting or even doing to the housework. You don’t have to put your book down to make a cup of tea, just take it with you in your ears.

If you join audible or buy a book from my list you’ll be helping me to add to my listening collection with no extra cost to you, so thank you in advance. 

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.