Brigg – Hepy’s Hog Roast

On our recent trip to Hunters Lodge Fishery, we stopped in Brigg for some lunch.

Upon arrival I quickly spotted the Hog Roast tent and being quite the fan of Roast Pork Sandwiches, I was definitely up for that!

So we made our way over there, excited, but aware that it was entirely possible that it would be disappointing. I don’t know about you, but for every good pork sandwich there seems to be a not so good pork sandwich.

Take Beres for example, that’s the most well known pork sandwich shop, at least in Sheffield. I really don’t rate it, it’s ok if you’re that desperate for one but it’s not the place I’d recommend. Crawshaws Butchers on the other hand, they know how to do a pork butty!

Anyway, the couple in the tent were lovely and friendly and I watched as they put together my sandwiches. As always first goes apple sauce and stuffing, then the pork is cut in front of you, left chunky rather than thin slices, next goes onions, gravy and a wonderful chunk of crackling!

The pork was beautifully tender and the mixture of different flavours and textures is just perfect. I would go so far as to say this is the nicest pork sandwich I’ve ever had.

So, would I go back to this Hog Roast? Absolutely. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. Would I actually travel the hour journey just for that?… To be honest I probably would, yes.

So, if you’re in the area or fancy a visit to Brigg, be sure to visit Hepy’s Hog Roast!

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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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So, here’s a book everyone seemed to have read while they were at school. When it came to our year, we got Romeo and Juliet, so I never got to read this. Skimming through Audible with a spare credit, I spotted it on there so I figured I’d give it a listen.

This book does, of course contain outdated language but it’s there for a reason whilst the book deals with issues surrounding race. Unfortunately, it appears that reason I didn’t get to read this at school is because of exactly that. ‘Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students‘, I can appreciate the reason that this book makes people uncomfortable but I think that’s meant to be the point. If you can read this book and the slurs in it and you don’t feel uncomfortable then that’s when it’s time for some examination.

The other reason is that it has a ‘white saviour’ character which I’m not going to weigh in on, I don’t need to agree or disagree with that it just is what it is. I am not educated enough on the full history of race relations in the US to be able to weigh in on that and hold a debate so I’m just not going to.

I did enjoy this book, I probably won’t read it again. I think the fact I was listening to it allowed me to stick with it throughout because it is quite long and drawn out in places and isn’t really something I’d usually read. I just wanted to see what it was all about since I missed my turn with it in school.

I think it’s important to embrace this kind of story, whether it’s seen as problematic now or not, because it is history and we should never forget where we’ve been. To keep history known is to avoid making the same mistakes, to revisit that history is to continue to improve but to remove that history is too much like denial to me. I don’t want to say that there was never any injustice, that people weren’t treated extremely badly. That would be a severe injustice to all the people who lived that experience. Looking back at history, doesn’t have to be done with fond memories it’s the ones we’re not proud of that we should remember most clearly.

Obviously, this specific story is fiction, but it stems from a very real problem. I don’t know whether I’d recommend the read as such, but it was interesting to experience it.

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A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond, Voiced by Stephen Fry

Paddington was one of my favourite things as a child, I even had (and still have in my attic) a Paddington Bear of my own, complete with duffel coat and Wellington boots.

So when I spotted the book on Audible I had to grab it for a listen, I wanted a walk down memory lane and I enjoyed it just as much this time around as I did as a child. There’s just something so innocent about the Paddington stories and they’re a lovely way to pass some time for both children and adults.

This isn’t a long book at 2 hours and 39 minutes, but a lot happens in it and it’s voiced by Stephen Fry which just seems to work very well for children’s literature.

Paddington is definitely one of those things from my childhood that is here in my heart to stay, and I would absolutely recommend it to anybody who has not read the stories, although, I feel like that is probably not many people!


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Lies Like Wildfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

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Today is my stop on the Lies Like Wildfire Tour with The Write Reads! I’ve seen a lot of buzz already about this book and I like how its been received by other readers. My favourite thing about these tours is that so many of us are reading the same book that it means we all find different things we like or dislike and you get a proper range of opinions on it.

Personally, I very much enjoyed this book. I thought the characters were realistic, not necessarily likeable but they are believable characters. In fact, we’ve all almost definitely met some if not all of the people in this story at some point in our lives.

Keep in mind, these are seniors, they’re not adults, they’ve not been out in the world on their own yet, so yes, they’re selfish and careless and kind of petty at times. But weren’t we all at least one of those at some point in our youth?

I liked the way this story was told, it’s also based on the author’s real life experience of wildfires which helps to add to the feeling of the threat. The story shows us how one small action can set of a chain of reactions and how that can impact so much more than we think.

I’ve never lived anywhere that wildfires are a particular threat, so I think it speaks for the talent of the author that this had me holding my breath.

There is love and loss in this book, and the loss is particularly heartbreaking.

The story is told in two parts, and the first half does begin to slow a bit towards the middle of the book, but if you do feel it start to drag a little I can only encourage you to push on because part two really picks up. As there’s an investigation in this book, its only natural for it to slow in the way that it does.

I did really enjoy the book and I’d definitely recommend giving it a read, it’s something I probably wouldn’t usually pick up but having been drawn to it for book tours it looked really interesting and it kept me turning pages. I also think the author dealt very well with a very serious subject matter, this probably won’t be for everyone but it was definitely for me.

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Hunters Lodge Fishery

Click on the image to visit Hunters Lodge Fishery

For the Bank Holiday weekend we went for a trip to the small village of Elsham and stayed in a touring caravan at Hunters Lodge Fishery.

The site doubles as a Glamping site with options to stay in one of the caravans, or in a Bell Tent. It’s a lovely area with 3 fishing lakes and lots of wildlife aswell as sheep in the surrounding fields.

The lakes look especially lovely as the sun sets.

It’s a nice, quiet and relaxing place with a wonderful family who run it. They were extremely understanding of my family’s needs.

If you want to book a fishing spot, you can do that, so it’s perfect if you’re just fishing, just camping, or if you’re after a fishing holiday!

 

There’s a small shop and cafe on site too, plus toilets and showers.

The only draw back, which isn’t really an issue as such is that Elsham is very, very small so really you’re going to need a car to get out and do things. Especially if you bring a dog since the attractions on the doorstep aren’t dog friendly.

You’re also going to want to cook, because whilst takeaways will deliver, these are limited and the pubs are also a drive away. Its much simpler to cook or make use of the bbq provided to each plot. Stop by Brigg Market for some great meats!

All that means, is that next time we’ll plan our trip out better, and we’ll set up an itinerary for the trip. Brigg is only a ten minute drive and we thought it was lovely there, unfortunately we never found Elsham Quarry so if you go and you find that, do let me know and send some pictures over! I’d love to see it!

Our caravan was called Luigi and here it is:

In all, we had an absolutely fabulous time at Hunters Lodge and we’d definitely go again! Definitely check it out if you want a relaxing getaway!

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Book of the Month – August

Click on the Image to buy this month’s Book of the Month!

In August, I managed to read 6 books! Ok, so I cheated maybe slightly because 4 of those were audio books, but nevertheless I absorbed 5 stories.

Having just started a new full time job and got a small puppy to keep me occupied (as if I wasn’t busy enough!), I’d say that’s quite the achievement! So, let’s recap;

First up was Misery by Stephen King, I am one of those people who loves films based on Stephen King’s work, but just cannot seem to get to the end of one of his novels. It’s not, as many have previously suggested, the length of the book which is the issue. I hate seeing people suggest this to those who simply don’t like his writing style because it’s almost like when you say that you’re challenging someone’s aptitude. Sure, ok, some people don’t appreciate a long book and would be far better suited to a short one, but when you say “oh you just don’t like long books” that comes off maybe a little patronising. So no, that’s not my issue at all, my problem with King is that he spends soooooooooooooooo loooooooooooooooong describing things that my brain switches off and I can be distracted by anything. Let’s not count the stitches in the guys shirt ok? Blue shirt, got it, move on already!

Misery has been a favourite of the Stephen King adaptations which I’ve seen, particularly with the portrayal of Annie Wilkes, so I decided to try it on audiobook and see if I could stick with it. I certainly did and I very much enjoyed it. I’ll be trying out more King audio.

Next was Crack by D E McCluskey, I wasn’t overly enthralled with the narration on this but the story did shine through and I enjoyed the experience. I’ll be trying more McCluskey on other formats to see which better suits me for his writing style. As warned before this one does get a bit gruesome and does have violence towards women and animals so if that’s a deal breaker for you – leave this one alone.

The Demonic by Lee Mountford was a very enjoyable read with fantastic audible narration. I enjoyed the pacing of this story as well as the character development. John’s character was my favourite as the sceptic of the story and I’d definitely read more by this author.

Fireborn by Aisling Fowler was part of a Blog Tour I was on with The Write Reads, I love these tours because they allow me to pick up a book I usually wouldn’t get the chance to read since so many of the requests I get are horror. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I’m in demand and I appreciate every request and try to fulfill as many as I can, plus horror is my favourite genre – this just means I get to branch out a little. Fireborn is a YA story and is very nicely put together. No matter what age you are you can enjoy this story but particularly for YA Readers this has a strong tone of the importance of friendship, teamwork and equality. Pick this one up and say Hi to Foxpaw for me!

The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara, also part of a The Write Reads Blog Tour, this one was a fantastic read which surprised me no end. I didn’t expect from looking at the cover and and knowing it was a Romance novel that this one would be for me, but I was in ‘Branch out and try something new, Rebbie’ mode and decided to give it a whirl. I was blown away by this story and I absolutely couldn’t put it down. The more I felt I was right about the ending the faster those pages started turning!

Now, I realise I have mentioned 5 books there and if you check the blog you will only see 5 reviews and I said at the top that there was a sixth. I’m not going to mention which book this was, because I don’t think that’s fair but I did something I never do. I finished the book and I decided not to review it. The reason for this, was I reached the end and apart from remembering some sort of mention of Gimp Masks, I could not for the life of me remember what the book was even about. I honestly could not sit here and tell you a single thing about it. So that’s why I didn’t review on this occasion.

So, with all of that said, which of these books was my book of the month? Which one kept me awake at night? Which one meant I couldn’t read anything else for at least 2 days?

The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara is August’s Book of the Month

As well as not reading anything after this book, I went directly to Olivia’s author page and purchased another of her titles, I absolutely fell for this book and I would gladly do it again. It was well written with beautiful imagery and a gripping story. If you’re a romance fan definitely grab this gem, if you’re not.. well neither am I so if you feel like branching out this might be the book to do it with!

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The Meeting Point by Olivia Lara

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This was one of those books I mentioned in my last review, the ones I’d never think to pick up for myself. The one that came available for a blog tour and I thought “you know what.. why not?”

This book absolutely blew me away.

I’ve never really been what anybody would consider to be a girly girl. I spent my childhood running around with a bunch of male cousins, and a lot of my childhood friends were boys too. I preferred their play style. So I was quite comfortable being ‘one of the lads’ even into my teens.

My Mum and Sister would cry at chick flicks, and I’d sit there like I was made of stone, unmoved and unafraid if we watched something ‘scary’. Often, they would ask me why and I would simply reply ‘it’s not real’.

Which is why I suppose I was able to immerse myself in so much horror over the years. I became a fan of imagery in books, special effects in film and I became extremely objective when looking at any media because the content just didn’t stir anything in me that would cause me to judge things any differently.

So, imagine my surprise when I picked this book up on an ‘I suppose so’ and suddenly it was the dead of night. Imagine my further surprise when I found I could not put it down and actually devoured it within 2 days – alongside a brand new full time job, a new puppy and all the commitments I had before those things happened!

I absolutely connected with Maya Maas, the main character of this book. Sure, there are things I’m not similar to her with – such as her circumstances in this book, but her personality is very much like mine. I read her as the clumsy, sometimes impossible girl who wants to be loved but doesn’t always know how to let herself have the things she wants. She goes with the flow and drifts along pushing herself to work in a job which makes her unhappy.

All of that changes for Maya, and I was utterly glued to how it was going to play out.

I will say, I called exactly how this was going to end, but for me this book wasn’t about the surprise at the end, it was about the journey to get there. Due to the fact that I did guess how it would end, that only spurred me on to keep turning pages and keep following Maya in her search for the elusive Max.

So, who is Max? Well I suggest you get this book and find out for yourself! To say I enjoyed it this much, and lost myself to it to the extent I did is really all the encouragement you need to grab it and find out what happens with Maya. If you’re unfamiliar with why I’m saying that, why don’t you take a look through my blog and look at the things I usually review. There are romance books in there, but take a look at how often those pop up and tell me it doesn’t make you the tiniest bit curious about this one.

Oh and the thing is, I didn’t touch a book for two days after I read this. I was dreaming of Carmel by the Sea and the beautiful imagery Olivia Lara has created within it. More so, when I realised this is an actual place that you can visit!

The very next thing I did was buy another of Olivia’s books, so keep your eye out for more Olivia Lara landing on the blog.

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Fireborn by Aisling Fowler

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I recently read Fireborn by Aisling Fowler as part of a The Write Reads Book Tour and I absolutely loved it. The reason why I love these tours is that they push me out of my comfort zone and give me a chance to read something I might not normally get the chance to.

Although I do buy my own books aswell as doing the requests I get, requests tend to take over and I get less and less choice in what I’m reading. A lot of what I’m asked to read is Horror because that’s usually my subject of choice and therefore I made a lot of connections in that genre. So, I like to take on a tour now and then to get the chance to branch out.

This is a YA book, and it’s a tale of sadness, friendship and strength. I really liked the characters and the imagery is particularly on point with this book. What I did find about it was it kept putting me in mind of Harry Potter.

The reason for that is simple, you spend much of the book with three characters, two boys and a girl, and a Guardian. So it’s very similar to the Harry Potter set up with Hermione, Harry and Ron often accompanied by Hagrid. I am by far not saying this is another Harry Potter however, not at all, this has it’s own story, structure and character development and with the exception of a place called The Lodge, the similarities mostly end there.

I suppose with something like this, a big franchise like Harry Potter is always going to rear it’s head. If you don’t like those books or films, please don’t base your decision on what I’ve said – the story is entirely different.

I loved the addition of the book which Twelve reads from in this book, A Magical Bestiary, and I would so love to own that. I hope one day Aisling Fowler brings out a copy of that because I would be all over it. I loved the creatures in this book almost as much as I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and I would love to more about them – and indeed about more of them.

I want to be careful about just how much I go into with this because I don’t want to be spoiling the story, but I thought that it had a fantastic balance between being funny, sad and adventurous. There are some scarier bits too, and that just keeps you turning pages. I couldn’t put this book down and I was a little sad when it finished. It’s definitely a roller coaster ride of emotions and I loved every bit of my adventure with the characters.

My favourite characters in the book were Twelve and Foxpaw, I’m not going to tell you who they are but when you’ve been away and read it you can come back and tell me who your favourite characters are! I can’t wait to hear all your thoughts on the book.

If you’re looking for something to lose yourself in, I would highly recommend this book. It grabbed me and it didn’t let go until it was done with me. A ride I would happily go on again!

About the Author;

Photo Credit to Claire Bradshaw

Aisling wishes that she had grown up in a magical, mountainous kingdom, but was actually raised in Surrey on a diet of books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her early ‘adventure’ stories involved surprisingly little action and her first novel (3 pages long) was politely declined by publishers at age 11. After earning a BSc in Biology and working as a support worker and then a nurse, the idea for her debut novel, Fireborn, came to her as she moved back and forth between London and the US. Now based in Hackney, when she is not reading or writing, Aisling loves cooking and plotting adventures (for herself as well as her fictional characters). Fireborn will be published by HarperCollins in 2021.

Twitter: @fowler_aisling
Instagram: @aislingfowler 

AGENT: CLAIRE WILSON

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Flare Audio – Calmer

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This year amongst all the things which have happened, I did a lot of reading about Autism. If you’re a regular to the blog you’ll have seen that but otherwise, if you’d like to stick around and have a look, I reviewed some great books on the subject.

So with that, I began to get related adverts on my phone and I spotted these little guys. The reviews looked good, and I struggle quite a bit with noise so I started thinking about going them a go.

These are from Flare Audio and they’re minis because I have sensitive little ears. They’re also for children so if you have a sound sensitive child you’re covered too. They’re called Calmer and the reason for that is that they are a noise calming device.

This is not an ear plug, it’s like a little funnel that sits in your ear and it, as the name suggests, calms the sound you receive. It doesn’t block anything out, so you’re perfectly safe to walk around and drive in them if you want to, and they come with a little bag to store them in.

It does specify that to get the benefit you should be using them in noisy environments, but I personally find them perfect for wearing while I drive, in the office or just around the house.

I think it depends on what exactly your sensitivity entails, as to which situations you find they help with. For me personally, noises make me incredibly anxious. If I’m in a room with my husband for example and I can see him searching through kitchen cupboards and cooking then the noise has context and I’m fine, but if I’m upstairs and he’s doing the exact same thing, my anxiety flares because it sounds like he’s slamming the doors. Normal noises become angry noises.

That’s just one example, but if it speaks to you then perhaps these would help you too.

A pair of these are about £20 on Flare Audios website and they don’t take long to arrive, they do different sizes and colours and also night time ones, so have a look if you think these could be helpful because they absolutely help me.

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The Demonic by Lee Mountford

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This weekend I listened to The Demonic on Audible, I really enjoyed the narration on the book and felt that it was really well read. The voice was clear and easy to listen to, one of those that lets you slip into the book and relax.

The story is a slow burner and what I like about that is that we can really get to know the characters. The family in the story is well developed and we’re able to grow something of an attachment to them before the main events of the story begin to unfold. It doesn’t feel, however, like there’s any over explaining going on. It’s just some good character development.

The events of the book I found interesting, although potentially upsetting as there is some violence and implied sexual abuse within the story. I would not say there were any scenes where this was gratuitous however. It is a well told tale with a respectful distance maintained without skirting around what the author wants to tell us.

I thought it was great and I’ll be looking for more stories by this author. I never really listened to audiobooks that much but now that I drive quite often and have an otherwise busy schedule, I find that this is a good way to still enjoy books while I can’t necessarily sit and relax with one in my hand.

I think my favourite character in this story is John, I like to see this sort of character in supernatural stories because it balances things out, and sure, there’s probably a bit of a trope with the set up in these stories, but it works. So why fix what’s not broken?

I liked John because he feels quite real to me, he’s a husband and father and along with that he’s something of a ‘fixer’. Wanting to help his wife, he encourages her to visit her demons and put them to bed for good. Unfortunately along with those good traits, John is a sensible sceptic. Read the story to find out what happens to John and his family, I would thoroughly recommend it.

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