School’s Out! Now What?!?

Summer is a season filled with endless possibilities and opportunities for adventure. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, explore new places, or simply relax and unwind, creating a summer bucket list can help you make the most of these warm and sunny months. In our blog:  School’s Out! What Now What?!? we’ll explore whether you should think about drawing up a summer bucket list.  We will provide tips for creating your own personalised list of activities and experiences to enjoy before the season comes to an end.  As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Why Create a Summer Bucket List? Tips for Creating Your Summer Bucket List: Summer Bucket List Suggestions At Home Outdoor Activities Days Out Whether you choose to create a bucket list or not, we hope our suggestions will give you some exciting ideas of things to do with your little ones to make sure you have an unforgettable summer. Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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The Power Of Friendship

The Power Of Friendship

It’s early Monday morning, and I’m still reeling from the incredible time I had with my Magpie friends this weekend.   My blog planner is nudging me to start writing book reviews for June, but instead, all I want to write about is how friendship is the best therapy a woman can experience. It provides comfort, joy and a sense of belonging that nourishes the soul. Plus, it’s International Day Of Friendship on the 30th of July, providing me with the perfect excuse to deviate from my plan.  And so, true to my rebellious spirit, I’m setting my planner aside to write about what’s truly inspiring me at the moment. Book reviews will have to wait, as I dedicate the next few hours to the topic of friendship. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. A Long-Overdue Trip, Twenty Years In The Making If I had a penny for every time we tried to plan a trip away and failed… well, let’s just say I’d be better off than I currently am. Jokes aside, life often sidetracks us. We have families, jobs, homes… outside of our friendship that sometimes takes precedence. No hard feelings, all three of us have faced challenging times that made going away nearly impossible. But this last weekend, it finally happened. The last time the three of us went away was in 2004. We were in our twenties with no freaking idea of what life had in store for us. A girlie weekend back then was different though. To start with, there was much more alcohol involved, especially for me since I don’t drink anymore. In 2004, it was all about the laughs, high heels, skinny jeans, and worrying if our hair looked okay. Fast forward to 2024, and it’s considerably more low-key. “What are you wearing?” “Something comfortable for sure. No way am I wearing high heels.” “If my hair gets wet in the spa, I’ll just pull it up in a bun” (that’s me, by the way, with my lifelong struggle with curly hair). And so off we went, packing more clothes than needed because one has to have options, comfy options, but options nonetheless. At forty-five, you never know when bloatedness will strike, or it might just be a case of zero ‘ganas’ to wear a short dress. It’s all about comfort for us now, and that’s fine. It’s how we roll, and we love it. Laughter Is Guaranteed There has never been, nor will there ever be, a time when I don’t laugh around my best friends. It’s impossible, inconceivable. Whether it’s from our long-standing inside jokes, communicating with a knowing look (you know the one), or some crude comment (mostly from me), to throwing around sarcasm and wit like it’s a free-for-all at a self-service buffet. Laughter, the one thing that makes me feel alive, often taken for granted. And I’m not talking about just a chuckle; I mean the kind of laughter that knocks your breath out, the kind that renders you unable to form a simple sentence. It’s the kind of laughter that makes your belly ache and your eyes pour tears like a malfunctioning sprinkler system on the hottest day of summer, unpredictable, uncontrollable, and thoroughly refreshing. I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself. It’s gorgeous, it’s beautiful, and it’s food for my soul. During this trip, we decided to be bold and record some reels (you can find these on our social media platforms). Initially, there was no intention of posting them online. However, after a while, we thought, “Eff it, let’s post them. Whoever doesn’t like it can choke on it.” I suppose that’s the freedom that comes with being a forty-something woman. In this harsh world we live in, with all the fears we carry, about being judged or ridiculed, we crave the freedom to be our real selves. No excuses, no pretending, just simply us. Raw, vulnerable, free of expectations.  Needless to say, we had an absolute blast. Let’s just say there are plans for more reels when our annual Christmas takeout night rolls around. Something to look forward to I guess, for all of our 20 fans. LOL! Friendship At Its Very Core Is The Best Therapy My life hasn’t always been as ‘smooth sailing’ as it is now. There was a time when I was on a journey of self-destruction, making one horrible mistake after another. That’s why when it comes to friendship, I truly believe I hit the jackpot. My friends have been the one constant that never failed me. They stood by my side as I pulled apart the seams of my life, destroying everything in my path. Not once did they judge or say “I told you so.” Instead, they remained steadfast, giving me the space and time to find my strength and purpose. Lost as I was, I always knew they were there whenever I needed them. Even when they didn’t fully understand me, they supported me in every way they could, whether it was letting me rant, cry, scream, or sometimes even using them as punching bags (and for that, I am truly sorry). While laughter cleanses the soul, heartfelt conversations with a friend nourishes it instead. We had plenty of those conversations this weekend. Despite our weekly chats in our WhatsApp group, there’s always more to discuss when we’re together. This is where things get real. With true friends, there’s no need for filters. Everything is acceptable, even the ‘too much information’ anecdotes. The knowledge that I’m surrounded by women who will NOT judge me, who will NOT mock me, who love me unconditionally, unapologetically,  no matter what I say, ohhh there’s such beauty in that. It fills me with gratitude.  A Successful Weekend What

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Lemon Basil Prawn Salad

Are you looking for a delicious, nutritious, and easy-to-prepare meal that you can make ahead of time? Look no further! This Lemon Basil Prawn Salad is the perfect solution for a satisfying lunch that’s both healthy and full of flavor. Made with fresh prawns, wholesome quinoa, and our vibrant lemon pesto, this salad is sure to become a staple in your meal prep routine. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Why You’ll Love This Recipe Fresh and Flavorful: The combination of succulent prawns, nutty quinoa, and our homemade lemon basil pesto creates a symphony of flavours in every bite. The lemon juice in the pesto adds a zesty brightness that complements the other ingredients perfectly. Healthy and Nutritious: Packed with protein from the prawns and quinoa, this salad is a balanced meal that will keep you energized throughout the day. Quinoa is a great source of plant-based protein and fibre, while prawns provide lean protein and essential vitamins and minerals. Perfect for Meal Prep: This salad can be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator, making it an ideal option for a hassle-free lunch. The ingredients hold up well, so you won’t have to worry about it becoming soggy or losing its texture. Versatile and Customizable: Feel free to add your favorite vegetables or swap out ingredients based on what you have on hand. This recipe is incredibly flexible, allowing you to tailor it to your tastes and dietary preferences. Nutrient Powerhouse This Lemon Basil Prawn Salad is not only a treat for your taste buds but also a powerhouse of nutrients. It’s an excellent choice for those who want to enjoy a flavorful and healthy meal without spending too much time in the kitchen. Whether you’re packing it for lunch at work or enjoying it at home, this salad is sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. Give this recipe a try and let us know how you like it! Share your variations and ideas in the comments below. Happy cooking! Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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Ultimate Heat Survival Guide

Ah, summer – the season of beach days, BBQs and melting popsicles.   But don’t worry, with our ultimate heat guide you won’t be melting like Disney’s Olaf this summer.  So, grab your sunscreen and a cold drink because we are about to dive headfirst into the art of staying cool when the mercury rises. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Embrace The Early Hours The sun is most fierce between the hours of 10.00am and 4.00pm.  During this time it’s time to retreat to the shade.  Plan your outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures will be more bearable. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is your best friend in the battle against heat exhaustion.  Stay hydrated and refreshed all day long with an insulated water bottle that keeps your drink icy cold, no matter how high the mercury climbs. Dress For Success Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen.  These fabrics allow your skin to breathe and set to evaporate.  Don’t forget to rock a wide-brimmed hat and shades to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Don’t forget to keep your pets protected from the heat too.  This pet cooling vest is perfect for keeping your pet cool, even on the hottest days and these doggie shoes are an absolute must for protecting your dogs paws from the extreme heat from the sidewalk. Seek Shelter When the heat becomes unbearable, seek refuge in an air-conditioned space.  Places like shopping centres, cinemas or libraries.  Not only will you stay cool, but you might also discover a new favourite book or movie in the process Stay At Home Make sure that you keep your home cool by closing blinds and curtains during the day to block out the sun’s heat.  We recommend investing in a portable air conditioner or high velocity fan to turn your home into a refreshing oasis. In summer, avoid using heat-generating appliances such as an oven and opt for light, refreshing meals.  Think salads, sandwiches and fruit bowls and check out our easy summer dinners, BBQ series and summer chocolate desserts for delicious foods and treats which are quick and easy to make.  And beat the heat with our homemade popsicles made in these  popsicle mold from fresh fruit and fruit juice. And, when you are out and about, keep your snacks and drinks chilled with an insulated picnic cooler and a chillable wine tumbler will allow you to sip your favorite summer beverage in style no matter how hot it gets. On the balcony or in the garden, stay cool and protected from the sun’s harsh rays with a sturdy beach umbrella . Get Wet and Wild Take a dip in the pool, run through sprinkles or have a water balloon fight.  We love these refillable water balloons for a summer of guaranteed fun! Chill Out With Chill Products Make sure to invest in cooling personal products such as: We’re Ready For You Summer! With these real and useful cooling products in your arsenal, you’ll be ready to tackle even the hottest summer days with ease. So grab your sunscreen, put on your shades, and get ready to chill out in style! Summer, here we come! Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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Top Fantasy Reads For Summer 2024

Top Fantasy Reads For Summer 2024

As a lover of fantasy books, I am thrilled to present my latest blog post: “Top Fantasy Reads for Summer 2024.” After covering romance and thrillers, it’s time to dive into magical worlds, mythical creatures, and epic quests. Join me as I highlight the most anticipated fantasy novels that will whisk you away on extraordinary adventures and captivate your imagination throughout the summer months. Whether you’re a seasoned fantasy enthusiast or new to the genre, there’s something enchanting waiting for you in these pages. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. 1. One Dark Window – Rachel Gillig A few months ago, a fellow bookworm friend recommended One Dark Window to me. Based on its synopsis, this book promises a gripping blend of fantasy and suspense, which has earned it a top spot on my TBR Fantasy Summer List. Synopsis: An ancient, mercurial spirit is trapped inside Elspeth Spindle’s head. She calls him the Nightmare. He protects her and keeps her secrets, but nothing comes for free, especially magic. When Elspeth meets a mysterious highwayman on the forest road, she is thrust into a world of shadow and deception. Together, they embark on a dangerous quest to cure the town of Blunder from the dark magic infecting it. As the stakes heighten and their undeniable attraction intensifies, Elspeth is forced to face her darkest secret yet: the Nightmare is slowly, darkly, taking over her mind. And she might not be able to stop him. Buy Your Copy On: Kindle Paperback Audiobook 2. Powerful – Lauren Roberts After thoroughly enjoying Powerless a few months ago, I’ve eagerly added Powerful, a novella focused on Adena, to my TBR list. I’m delighted that the author chose to dedicate a book to this beloved character, as I feel her story deserves to be told. You can find my review of Powerless [here]. Synopsis: Adena and Paedyn have always been inseparable. Fate brought them together when they were young, and their friendship ensured they’d always protect each other and the home they built in the slums of Loot. But now, Paedyn—an Ordinary—has been selected for The Purging Trials, which means almost certain death. Alone in Loot, Adena must fend for herself. After a failed attempt at theft, a mysterious man from the market comes to her rescue. Mak, with his shadowy past and secretive power, stands apart from the other low-level Elites of Loot. As Adena and Mak team up to see their loved ones before the Trials begin, their quest tests their loyalty, their love, and their lives. Buy Your Copy On: Kindle Paperback Hardcover 3. Reckless – Lauren Roberts – (spoilers) I’m eagerly anticipating diving back into Paedyn and Kai’s story. Powerless left me on the edge of my seat, craving more from the world of Ilya. The sequel promises to be just as good, if not better. Read Powerless review here! Synopsis: The kingdom of Ilya is in turmoil… After surviving the Purging Trials, Ordinary-born Paedyn Gray has killed the King and ignited a Resistance throughout the land. Now, she’s running from the one person she had wanted to run to. Kai Azer, now Ilya’s Enforcer and loyal to his brother Kitt, the new King, has vowed to find Paedyn and bring her to justice. Across the deadly Scorches and deep into the hostile city of Dor, Kai pursues the one person he wishes he didn’t have to. But in a city without Elites, the balance between hunter and hunted shifts, and the battle between duty and desire turns deadly. Buy Your Copy On: Kindle Paperback Audiobook 4. All The Light That Blinds Us – Andy Darcy Theo A debut YA Fantasy by the talented Andy Darcy Theo. I’ve seen this book hyped up on Instagram and TikTok. After learning about Andy’s journey to become a published author, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on his book. Synopsis: Haunted by disturbing hallucinations of the Shadow Man throughout his childhood, Alexis Michaels found solace only in the blue amulet he’s had for as long as he can remember. Now, with the visions gone, Alexis craves a normal life. However, a trip to Stonehenge changes everything when he meets three other teens with similar gems. Their lives are upended as they are thrust into a hidden world of power-wielding Elementals and told they are the chosen ones, destined to save the world from an eternal night. Trained by legends and guided by heroes, Alexis and his companions embark on a perilous quest, facing tests of love, loss, and loyalty. As they prepare to confront an adversary more ominous than they could have imagined, a dark past haunts Alexis, and a looming secret threatens to corrupt their mission, their lives, and his mind. Buy Your Copy On: Kindle Paperback Audiobook 5. When The Moon Hatched – Sarah A Parker As I type this blog post, I eagerly await my hardcover copy of “When The Moon Hatched.” I’ve heard nothing but praise for this book, and I can’t wait to dive in and get lost in this tale of dragons and fae. Synopsis: As an assassin for the rebellion, Raeve’s job is to complete orders and never get caught. But when a rival bounty hunter shatters her world, she finds herself captured by the Guild of Nobles—a group of powerful fae. Crushed by the loss of his great love, dragon rider Kaan Vaegor took the head of a king and donned his melted crown. Now, on a tireless quest to quell the never-ebbing ache in his chest, a clue lures him into the capital’s high-security prison, where he stumbles upon the imprisoned Raeve. Together, they seek truths that threaten to unravel everything they knew about their world—and each other. Buy Your Copy On:

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Embracing Body Positivity and Loving Our Bodies (All Year Round!)

As you know, at The Opinionated Magpies we are all about focusing on wellbeing and positivity.  We love highlighting different ways in which you can improve your day to day life using tools such as mindfulness, journaling and  havening.  And, this blog will not be any different.  In this blog we will highlight and break down society’s unachievable standards of body perfection and focus instead on embracing body positivity and loving our bodies all year round. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. Feelings of Inadequacy As summer approaches, many of us find ourselves bombarded with messages about achieving the perfect beach body. Magazines containing countless diets to help you achieve “the dream beach body”.  Adverts showcasing airbrushed models. Social media influencers flaunting their seemingly flawless physiques.  When we are surrounded by all these images of “perfection” it can be easy to feel inadequate in comparison. However, in a world where unrealistic beauty standards are constantly perpetuated, it’s important to remember that EVERY body is a summer body. Embracing body positivity is about celebrating and loving ourselves just as we are, regardless of shape, size, or appearance. Be Body Positive All Year Round Now, of course we all like looking and feeling good.  We are no different and come March we start panicking about the excess pounds gained by overeating the Christmas goodies but, it is important to recognize that our worth is not determined by our outward appearance.  We are worthy of love, respect, acceptance and fun EXACTLY the way we are. At The Opinionated Magpies, we believe that rather than striving for an arbitrary standard of beauty we should focus on nurturing our bodies and minds in ways which promote overall health, wellness and vitality.  This means nourishing ourselves with nutritious foods, engaging in regular physical activities which we enjoy, prioritising sleep and managing stress. Embracing body positivity involves being happy in our own skin and as such we need to learn that true happiness and confidence stems from self-acceptance and self-love.  When we learn to appreciate and celebrate our bodies for all that they are, we unlock a sense of freedom and empowerment that transcends superficial appearances. Tips for Cultivating Body Positivity: Practice Self-Compassion Be kind to yourself, especially when negative thoughts about your body arise. Treat yourself with the same empathy and understanding that you would offer to a friend. Surround Yourself with Positive Influences Curate your social media feed to include diverse body types and uplifting content that promotes self-acceptance. Seek out communities and individuals who share your values and celebrate body diversity. Focus on Health, Not Appearance Shift your focus from achieving a certain aesthetic to prioritizing your overall health and well-being. Engage in activities that make you feel good physically and mentally, whether it’s yoga, dancing, swimming, or simply taking a walk in nature. Challenge Negative Self-Talk Whenever you catch yourself engaging in self-critical thoughts, challenge them with affirmations and reminders of your worth. Remember that you are more than just your appearance and that your value extends far beyond your physical attributes. We’ve created some fabulous positive body affirmation cards which are free to download.  If you would like to receive these, click the Download Now button below. Practice Gratitude Cultivate gratitude for all that your body allows you to do.  Whether it’s experiencing the warmth of the sun on your skin, feeling the sand between your toes, or indulging in your favourite summer activities. Focus on the things your body can do rather than how it looks. Rock That Swimsuit! So, this summer, let’s shift the narrative from body shaming to body positivity. Instead of striving for an unattainable ideal, let’s celebrate the beauty and diversity of all bodies. Whether it’s your curves, scars, stretch marks or freckles, these all make you, YOU! Remember that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and there is no one-size-fits-all definition of attractiveness.  So, why should you feel less than perfect?  Why should you feel miserable if you have some rolls of fat or your tummy is covered in stretch marks from your pregnancies?  Embrace your tiger stripes mamma, you’ve earned them!  So go ahead and rock that swimsuit, flaunt those curves and embrace the joy of summer in the body you’re in.  It’s already a perfect beach body and you deserve to feel confident, comfortable and beautiful. Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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15 Thrillers To Read This Summer

15 Thrillers To Read This Summer

As promised, we are so excited to bring you our blog post, 15 Thrillers To Read This Summer. For those of you who want to be turning pages at the rate of a speeding bullet, or finding yourselves staying up into the wee hours of the morning because you just can’t put the book down, we’ve got you covered! Dive into these heart-pounding thrillers and prepare for an unforgettable summer reading experience. If what you fancy are easy summer romance reads, then check out our blog ‘The 15 Best Books For Summer Reading’ Also, keep an eye out for my own personal Summer Fantasy TBR list. While I have already added some romance and thrillers to my list, I’m mostly looking forward to getting lost in some good old-fashioned fantasy. (You know me, I’m a fantasy kinda girl). So, let’s get to it, it’s a long one so grab a cuppa and enjoy! As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.  Her Last Summer – Emily Freud I thought we could start of with a book that contains the word ‘Summer’ in it, keeping to the theme of this blog and all that. Anyways, this story screams ‘unputdownable’. I’ve never read any books by this author, but I am more than willing to give it a go. Something tells me it’s going to be a good one. A definite add to my Summer Thriller TBR. Synopsis: Twenty years ago, Mari vanished while backpacking through Thailand with her boyfriend, Luke. Accused of murder, he has always insisted on his innocence, especially since her body was never found. Now, Luke is finally ready to talk, and filmmaker Cassidy Chambers is determined to uncover the truth about what happened in the dark of the jungle. As Cassidy delves deeper into the past, she begins to fear the secrets buried along the way and what lies ahead. None Of This Is True – Lisa Jewell ‘None of this is true’ was voted crime novel of the year 2024, and was an instant Sunday Times Bestseller. But what else do you expect from a book written by Lisa Jewell. Having read a few of her previous books before, I can assure you, her storytelling never disappoints. Synopsis: Podcaster Alix Summer is celebrating her 45th birthday at her local pub when she meets an unassuming woman named Josie Fair, who is also turning 45. A few days later, they run into each other again outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie suggests she would make an interesting subject for Alix’s podcast, mentioning that she is on the brink of significant changes in her life. Intrigued, Alix agrees to a trial interview and discovers that Josie’s life is both strange and complicated. Despite finding Josie unsettling, Alix can’t resist delving deeper. As Alix uncovers more, she realises Josie is hiding some very dark secrets. Before long, Josie has insinuated herself into Alix’s life and home. Now, Alix must confront the unsettling question: Who is Josie Fair really, and what has she done? Everyone Here Is Lying – Shari Lapena If you enjoy stories with twists and turns, then I suggest you jump onto the Shari Lapena bandwagon. I’ve been a fan of her writing for years. With well-paced storytelling and Shari’s capacity to effortlessly drop clues here and there, it came as no surprise when I added this book to my Summer TBR before it was even released.    Synopsis: Welcome to Stanhope—a safe neighbourhood and a haven for families. On the surface, William Wooler is a devoted family man. But he’s been entangled in an affair, which ended disastrously this afternoon at a nearby motel. Returning home, devastated and furious, William finds his difficult nine-year-old daughter, Avery, unexpectedly back from school. In his rage, he loses his temper. Hours later, Avery is reported missing by her family. Suddenly, Stanhope doesn’t feel so safe anymore. And William isn’t the only one on his street with secrets. As witnesses come forward with potentially unreliable information, Avery’s neighbours grow increasingly unstable. Who took Avery Wooler? Listen For The Lie – Amy Tintera A hint of dark comedy never goes amiss, right?  A funny murder mystery? Sign me up! ‘Listen For The Lie’ hits all the right marks for a captivating and thrilling page-turner. A classical tale of whodunit, with a touch of crime-com, poured into the mix. Yep, another one for my TBR.  Synopsis: Am I a murderer? That’s the question, isn’t it? You’re likely familiar with my story. I’m Lucy Chase—the woman who can’t recall killing her best friend. It’s understandable that you all suspect me. After all, being discovered wandering the streets drenched in her blood isn’t exactly innocent-looking. Believe me, I share your frustration. I’m desperate to uncover the truth about whether I’m a murderer. It’s the kind of thing one should definitely know about oneself, right? Thanks to the true-crime podcast Listen for the Lie, I finally have a shot at unravelling the mystery. But if I discover I’m guilty, can I live with that? And if I’m not, will delving into the forgotten events of that night make me the next target of whoever is responsible? If Something Happens To Me – Alex Finlay Alex Finlay’s latest work promises to deliver suspense and intrigue, along with elements of psychological tension. The perfect combination for a hot summer’s day at the beach. If the reviews are anything to go by, this book will be binged in a day. Synopsis: The crushing blow to the head. Hands yanking him from the vehicle. His girlfriend’s piercing scream… For the past five years, Ryan Richardson has been haunted by that terrible night. With Ali abducted and no trace of her found, suspicion clouds his life, even though he was never

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The 15 Best Books For Summer Reading

Welcome fellow bookworms to our first blog on beach reads this year! Here you’ll find the 15 best books for summer reading. There’s plenty of romance, some smut, a bit of heartbreak, new beginnings, and even a book that touches on the topic of grief after the loss of a parent. Summer Reading Is The Best Kind Of Reading! Summer is the perfect time for those of us who love to soak up the sun’s rays and enjoy a good book—or two, sometimes three or four. Yes, I can easily get carried away with the thought of lounging by the pool or the beach and losing myself in a great story. The kind of stories that eat up hours of your day without you even realising it. That’s why I put so much effort into researching the perfect summer reads. For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading reviews and researching, trying to curate the ideal combination of summer-themed books. And honestly, I personally think this is a great list with some amazing books, some of which I’ve already added to my Summer TBR list. As we have done in previous years, we will soon publish our summer reading list, The Thriller/Mystery Edition, for those of you who would rather be sitting on the edge of your towel, and turning pages like your life depends on it.  Also, keep an eye out for my own personal Summer Fantasy TBR list. While I have already added some romance and thrillers to my list, I’m mostly looking forward to getting lost in some good old-fashioned fantasy. (You know me, I’m a fantasy kinda girl). So, let’s get to it, it’s a long one so grab a cuppa and enjoy! As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.  Funny Story – Emily Henry Known as the queen of rom-coms, Emily Henry’s latest book, Funny Story, tops our list. This feel-good tale is packed with wit and hilarious moments, making it a must-read. Synopsis: Daphne always loved how Peter narrated their story. That is until it turned into the prologue to his real love story with his childhood best friend, Petra. This is how Daphne finds herself sharing a room with her complete opposite and the only person who truly understands her predicament: Petra’s ex, Miles. As expected, it’s not a match made in heaven—until one night, fueled by tequila, they hatch a plan. If it involves posting misleading photos of their adventures together, who could blame them? But it’s all just for show, of course. There’s no way Daphne would start her new chapter by falling in love with her ex-fiancé’s new fiancée’s ex… right? Just For The Summer – Abby Jimenez I’ve never read any of Abby Jimenez’s previous works, but the synopsis of ‘Just For The Summer’ has me intrigued. Based on the reviews, it promises to be an incredible read. Though it’s part of her ‘Other Worlds’ series, the author assures new readers that it’s not necessary to read the first two instalments. I’m giving this one a go and hope to add the rest of her work to my TBR list. Synopsis: Justin has a curse, and thanks to a viral Reddit thread, everyone knows about it: every woman he dates finds their soul mate immediately after they break up. When a woman with the same issue messages him, they devise a plan: they’ll date and then break up, hoping their curses will cancel each other out so they can find true love. It’s a crazy idea… but it just might work. Emma didn’t expect her next assignment as a travelling nurse to be in Minnesota, but she and her best friend agree that dating Justin is an opportunity too good to miss—especially when they can rent an adorable cottage on a private island on Lake Minnetonka. It’s meant to be a brief fling, just for the summer. However, when Emma’s toxic mother arrives and Justin has to take care of his three siblings, they find themselves dealing with much more than anticipated—including developing real feelings for each other. Could it be that Fate has finally brought the perfect pair together? Not In Love – Ali Hazelwood If you’ve read any of my book reviews, you’ll know that Ali Hazelwood has become an automatic author buy for me. Her books always make me smile and sometimes laugh out loud at the most inappropriate moments. I recently read her latest book, ‘Bride’ (review coming in a few weeks), and I absolutely loved it. Ali has a knack for hooking you in, which is exactly what you want in a ‘sunbathe by the pool’ kind of book. This title will be released on June, 11th 2024 Synopsis: Rue Siebert may not have it all, but she has enough: a few reliable friends, the financial stability she longed for as a child, and a successful career as a biotech engineer at Kline, a promising start-up in food science. Her world is stable, pleasant, and hard-earned—until a hostile takeover and its irresistibly attractive frontman threaten to bring it all crashing down. Eli Killgore and his business partners want Kline, no exceptions. Eli has his own reasons for pushing this deal through, and he’s a man who usually gets what he wants. Except when it comes to Rue—the woman he can’t stop thinking about, and the one who’s off-limits. Caught between loyalty and an undeniable attraction, Rue and Eli throw caution to the wind, both in the lab and the boardroom. Their affair is secret, with no strings attached, and bound by a deadline: the day one of their companies will prevail. But the heart is a risky business, and it plays for keeps. Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid ‘Malibu Rising’ has

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Sun-Dried Tomato and Chorizo Pesto

Do you ever find yourself with a jar of sun-dried tomatoes or a few slices of chorizo left over from previous recipes, unsure of what to do with them? If you’re like me, you hate to see these delicious ingredients go to waste. That’s why I’m excited to share my favourite way to transform these leftovers into something truly magical: Sun-Dried Tomato and Chorizo Pesto. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Some of the links on this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. A Pantry Staple with Endless Possibilities In my kitchen, there’s always a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and some chorizo lurking in the fridge. These versatile ingredients pack a punch of flavour, and when combined, they create a pesto that’s nothing short of extraordinary. This vibrant and savoury pesto not only helps you make the most of your leftovers but also adds a burst of Mediterranean sunshine to a variety of weekday meals. Why You’ll Love This Pesto Get Ready to Transform Your Leftovers Stay tuned as I walk you through the simple steps to make this mouth-watering Sun-Dried Tomato and Chorizo Pesto. Trust me, once you try it, you’ll wonder how you ever cooked without it. It’s a game-changer for your weekday meals, turning everyday ingredients into a culinary delight. So, grab those sun-dried tomatoes and chorizo from your fridge, and let’s get started on creating a pesto that’s packed with flavour, versatility, and the power to transform your cooking. Happy cooking! Meal Ideas For Your Sun-Dried Tomato and Chorizo Pesto Pasta Toss the pesto with your favourite cooked pasta (e.g., spaghetti, penne, or fusilli) and a bit of reserved pasta water for a quick and delicious meal. Add some roasted vegetables or grilled chicken for extra flavour. Sandwich Spread Use the pesto as a spread on sandwiches or paninis. It pairs well with grilled chicken, mozzarella, arugula, and roasted red peppers. Pizza Sauce Spread the pesto over pizza dough instead of traditional tomato sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese, olives, and fresh basil leaves. Stuffed Chicken Stuff chicken breasts with a spoonful of pesto and bake until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with a side of roasted vegetables or a simple salad. Bruschetta Spread the pesto on slices of toasted baguette and top with chopped tomatoes and fresh parsley for a quick appetiser. Salad Dressing Thin out the pesto with a bit of extra olive oil and vinegar to create a flavourful salad dressing. Omelette Filling Add a dollop of the pesto inside an omelette with some cheese and spinach for a savoury breakfast option. Baked Potatoes Top baked potatoes with the pesto, sour cream, and chives for a tasty twist. Bon Appetit What will you use your sundried tomato and chorizo pesto for? We love hearing from you so let us know on our social media platforms or send us an email. Bon appetit! Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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Chicken Tomato and Feta Pasta

Looking for a quick, easy and tasty dinner? Then look no further than our chicken, tomato and feta pasta.  This recipe is an adaptation of a vira Tik Tok recipe from a couple of years ago. We have taken this culinary gem and given it a protein-packed twist.  By adding tender chunks of chicken breast, we’ve elevated this dish to new heights.   As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.  Some of the links on this post are affiliate links.  This means that if you click on the link and make a purchase we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more here. And, what’s even better is that this recipe is so simple that even a thirteen year old can master it, as proven by our own kitchen prodigy who whipped this up over the weekend. Why We Love It: With this Chicken, Tomato, and Feta Pasta recipe, you can enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal without having to slave away in the kitchen for hours. So go ahead, give it a try, and prepare to be amazed by just how easy and delicious homemade cooking can be! Sharing Is Caring: Related Articles You Might Enjoy: Recent Articles

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