Legoland August 2019

Mr BC works away from home a fair amount, so as a treat before he disappeared again he treated us to a trip and overnight stay to Legoland. On the whole it was an amazing weekend, but I have a few, just a little moan and I want to get it out first, so it doesn’t ruin my whole post. 😂

I know it is a tourist attraction, a park that needs maintenance and upkeep and all of those things, but seriously the amount of money they expect you to spend is seriously crazy. And yes, I know we didn’t have to, but have you ever been. Its so easy to spend a ridiculous amount of money and not even realise and that’s before you get to the BIG shop.

We went in the middle of the summer, so it was busy and hot. We paid for the queue jumping facility but this didn’t even cover all the rides, you had to pay extra for the most special and amazing rides, and even with this, we still spent a good 4 hours queueing, thankfully we stayed in a hotel and got the second day free so we got plenty of time in the park. Drinks, food and snacks all day are not cheap either and next time, I am definitely taking a picnic.

So that’s my moan, the tickets are not cheap as it is and with everything else you end up spending too, its not a cheap weekend but all said and done, we love Lego and we adore Legoland so we will undoubtably go again and do it all again, including spending lots of money.

I feel better getting that off my chest, on to the good bits; literally everything else! I LOVE LEGOLAND!!! ❤️

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I could spend days just wandering around looking it all and taking it in and still want to go back for more.  It wasn’t the best start as it rained the whole drive there but thankfully it stopped as we arrived. And of course our adventure started sooner as a trip across country is not the same without a stop at Fleet Services, its a given.

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The kids were very excited to both finally be all enough to go on most rides, but even without that, they like me both just love Lego. The intricate and amazing builds they make are just wonderful to walk around and look at. We make up little stories as were going around about all the little lego men, It really is an amazing day out and if your family love Lego – its definitely worth a visit.

Take a look at our pictures from our weekend below:

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Poppet had her first experience of 4D cinema as well, and I think I captured the moment perfectly and it might be my favourite of her ever! She always looks beautiful and it feels like she senses the camera coming and is always ready but not on this day. 😂😂😂

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More of our weekend to come:

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We were most exciting to visit the Ninjago ride, the spooky castle and Poppet was desperate to go on the boat ride. Monkey not so much as he’s not a fan of water but he was a trooper and did alright. He’s possibly not as brave as Poppet and he doesn’t face his fears in quite the same way but he still did amazing.

The best part for me (the kids really enjoyed the rides this year) is always mini land. I love seeing all the little details and intricacies. I am a huge fan of London (i know shocking right – if you don’t know this – then you need to go back and read some more of my posts! 😀) So I love seeing the mini version of London, but of course, there is so much of the world I haven’t seen and seeing all the min version really makes me want to travel to see it for real. I just need to get over this damn fear of flying.

As I mentioned Poppet is really brave but she is really scared of heights but does she let that stop her. Does it hell?? She is not only brave but when she is scared, she does not let it stop her, she faces her fears ( and yes she screamed almost the whole time but still) she conquers it all the time. Super proud of her!

That was the whole weekend! We stayed in a wonderful Holiday Inn, the place was beautiful, it had a swimming pool and beautiful rooms and the staff were friendly and amazing with the kids. Overall the weekend was fabulous and I can’t wait for our next adventure.

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See you soon, The Butterfly Family x

Tina xx

*Book Review* This Charming Man

This Charming Man

By Marianne Keyes

This is my first Marianne Keyes novel, but based on other reviews of other books I was expecting something along the lines of a book filled with humour, quirkiness and tales of romance. Boy, did I maybe start off with the wrong book?

The book surprised me. In itself it is actually a really good read, it tells the story of a few different characters and how all their lives intertwine. Domestic abuse, alcoholism and some political storylines may not be for the faint hearted or people who have suffered in the past, as Marianne does not mince her words and she tells a very heartbreaking story. However, for someone who was expecting a light chick lit read filled with humour and romance, it was much edgier and harder to read.

I didn’t particularly like the Lola’s style of address. I am assuming it was supposed to be a journal type hand, told in the first person, in a quick “Bridget Jones style”, but I am not a fan of the whole Bridget Jones series and I like my stories to flow, and the chapters in Lola’s voice irked me and if I’m honest I did find myself skimming parts of her story to skip over to the more traditional styles of the other perspectives.

I found for most of the first part of the book, the story maybe felt as if it dragged a little, but then the end was too far the other way and everything was tied up in a neat little bow really quickly. So for a first read, probably not up there with my favourites, but for the story Marianne wants to tell, it was a good read.

I won’t go into detail and add summaries, as you can find plenty of those, and I don’t like to give spoilers if I can help it. If I can give any advice, don’t start this book with like me a skewed view of what you are getting yourself in for. I thought it would be a light summer read to entertain me one evening whilst on holiday. The story is deep, meaningful and sometimes harsh. If you are looking for a cheery happy go lucky story, this is probably not it. But if you want something to sink your teeth into, and make you think, then most definitely give it a go.

Overall, it was a good book, not great but still worth a read. It hasn’t put me off Marianne Keyes, and I have another book lined up to try again. I think if I read it again, I would take it a bit slower and really listen to the story she is trying to tell, as I think this is the sort of book/story line we should read and share and talk about. Domestic Violence, Alcoholism, abuse and any other “taboo” subject, shouldn’t be taboo in my eyes, and we all read books on the matter and openly talked about them, I would hope if I knew anyone who was going through similar situations would feel they could talk to me. So, I think its good I stumbled onto this book, as it got me looking int other books with deeper, stronger subject material. I am not turning my back on happier subjects, as I love to escape to happy worlds where the girl and boy meet and face some little trial and tribulation but alls well that ends well type of book, but it did make me think about opening up my literary perspective.

I would recommend this book, if they had an idea about content, or if we had discussed it previously. I give it 3/5 stars, I have taken 2 off, not because of the story, content of most of the writing. But I really could not get along with Lola’s journal style of writing.

★★⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5 stars.

If you did fancy a read you can find it using the link below and purchase from amazon.

This Charming Man

***THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS, WHICH MEANS I RECEIVE A SMALL COMPENSATION IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE USING THE LINKS ABOVE***

*Book Review* One Summer in Italy

 

One Summer in Italy

By Sue Moorcroft

As you may be aware, I have just returned from my own holiday in Italy. In the post blues of a holiday, I love nothing more than to to curl up with a good book and escape to other places, stories and meet new characters. And as I was feeling particularly sad about leaving the glorious sunshine of Italy, what better way was than to curl up with a book describing and delighting in all the beauty of Italy.

One Summer in Italy is a beautiful tale for more than one reason. Sue Moorcraft’s descriptions of Italy, make me feel as if I am still there myself. And if you have never been, she invokes such wonderful pictures, senses and beautiful story telling that I believe anyone can imagine the beauty that is Italy.

As for the story itself, I love a good chick lit romance story to tide me over the summer holidays, but when the story deals with grief, sadness, family drama, loneliness, homelessness and so much more, well you’ve got me hooked. From the first moment we meet Sofia, I already feel like I want her as my friend. She has spent a huge portion of her life caring for her father, and at the beginning of the story, she sadly loses him after a long fight with illness, and he asks Sofia to make him a few promises, and this is where the story starts.

In amongst Sofia trying to fulfil these promises, we see her dealing with the grief and after effects of a life filled with love, but also of loneliness and dependancy. She has never truly been free to do as she pleases, not in a bad way as she loved her father deeply, but she has been held back because of this. She is taking her steps into being an independent woman and she does it with ease and decorum. Which is the complete opposite of the young girl Amy whom Sofia befriends and helps out. Sofia will have to tackle family drama, meet a handsome man Levi, help out Amy more than she realised and will probably do more travelling than she was expecting this early on her journey.

I won’t go into too many details but the main characters of Sofia, Amy and Levi, are all interesting in their own ways, and are all facing some truly heartbreaking family situations. Sofia and Levi have age and a bit more wisdom on their side. Amy is a very young 18 year old and hasn’t seen much of the world or experienced a lot of it. I have read some reviews that think she is a little selfish or a little too naive and a lot fo other not too nice adjectives. But I don’t think she is, I just think until this slight blip in her family life, she has had a wonderful upbringing. She has loving parents, and she gets along with her siblings and has some good friends, and has always gone to school and done as she has told. So for her first time out in the real world all on her own, she is going to scared, and possibly acting a little naive or entitled but I don’t think its a negative thing, she just is experiencing life for the first time without the safety net of her parents, family and friends, and that is daunting.

I love the character of Sofia and Levi, and I adore their friendship. Sometimes, in stories like these the main character will make a huge mistake or do something silly and it will put a strain on the relationship until they see sense and apologise and forgive and live happily ever after. I love how in this story, none of our main characters, have really done anything wrong, or silly. They are all in impossible situations and have tried to work through it in the best way they knew how. I didn’t have any moments where I groaned inwardly at their behaviour or cringed with the characters. It was a joy to read from cover to cover. There are some sad moments, and moments where you feel for them all, but it was a very entertaining and beautiful read.

Overall, my love for Italy was already deeply cemented, as I love the country and would gladly go back there over and over. But when you are in a post holiday slump and you want a lively, engaging story that also delights in the beauty of a place, and makes it feel like a character all of its own. This is the book for you.

I give it 5 out 5 stars! I adore Sofia and think her tale of finally getting to experience independence and happiness for herself is wonderful. Levi is beautiful creation and as soon as he stepped of his motorbike to aid Sofia in her battle against her employer, I knew I would fall in love with him. If you like a light summer read to pass the time whilst away on holiday or just something to cheer you up, I would definitely recommend it.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5 stars.

If your looking for a read to finish up the summer holidays, definitely give this a go and you can get it from amazon by clicking the image below.

And just because I can’t help but share my love for Italy – here is a shot from our recent holiday.

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Driving from Rome to Pisa through the glorious Tuscany landscapes.

***THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS, WHICH MEANS I RECEIVE A SMALL COMPENSATION IF YOU MAKE A PURCHASE USING THE LINKS ABOVE***

*Book Review* Mistletoe Murders

Mistletoe Murders and other stories

P D James
This was only my second experience of P D James. Being a Jane Austen fan, Death at Pemberley was my first. So I had no expectations. I enjoyed Death at Pemberley, but I could never be sure if this was due to James storytelling or my love of all things Bennet and Darcy.

I can honestly admit, I loved it. James has a way of a setting a scene like no other. I could easily picture the Hall in which she went to stay as a young widower, her vivid descriptions pulled me in and got me trying to seek out clues and figure out the mysteries alongside our heros and heroine. I must admit, as a lover of murder mysteries and crime dramas, I thought I knew a thing or too, but I was tricked and sailed alonged with the rest of the captivated audience.

Mistletoe murder combines all my loves into one, a history of mystery and intriguing characters, a murder, a heroine and Christmas! The story may be similar to other murder mysteries but James tells it in such a way, that when the twist comes, it even fooled me. I saved this book for my lunchtime reading at work, but as I neared the end of the first story, I found I needed to know, so I took it home and completed the first story that evening.

The second story is just as intriguing and shocking. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first because I do love a story where you can love the titular character. There was  nothing you could like about Ernest Gabriel, I think he was written to be a character you shouldn’t like or feel anything for, but I do love to get attached to my book characters. However, the story still kept me on the edge of my seat and even surprised me at the end.   I honestly did not see the end coming, which thinking about it, was probably quite naive of me, but this just made my experience of the story even better.

For me, the third story is close to my heart as it reminds me of my parents, and is the driving force for choosing my next book. My parents watched Dalgleish on the TVs, and although I never got into that specific programme, they are the reason I love mysteries, crime dramas, thrillers and good old “who dunnits”. I would love to read more of the Dalgleish series. As I said I love a good character, and the little glimpse I got in this short story is begging me for more.  The short story was incredible and really gave a glimpse into the character, and how he works. I also loved the story within this one, the idea of secrets and lies going hidden for years, is exciting and kept me interested right until the end.

The final story in the book, for me was the low point. I did not enjoy it as much, I didn’t feel the suspense or intrigue I had felt with the others. I am a lover on ending on a high, and I don’t believe this booklet did that. The story was not bad, but it gave no insight into characters, I didn’t connect with the story like I had the others. The general storytelling was missing a little bit of James usual vivid atmosphere and descriptions. It also didn’t take much for me to guess what was happening before it happened, which I like to try to solve along with the detective/main character etc.

Overall, this collection of short stories was well worth the money and gave me an insight into P D James that until now I had been missing. I can’t wait until my next visit to the book store, a P D James novel will definitely be on my list. My one objection, is in part due to the last short story, although I guess it was a little evident in all the stories. They sometimes felt a little rushed, sometimes the build up of a mystery, and the character development is what makes a story, and within a short story, there isn’t always time for that. I will definitely be recommending this book to family and friends, and I am on the look out for my next read.

I am giving this collection of short stories:

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ★ (4/5 stars)

Well worth a read, and good for a quick read on your lunch break.