My 2015 Reading List


2015 Reading List for SallyAkins.comLast year, I set myself a rather ambitious goal of reading 52 books in 2014, and I didn’t even get close to achieving it. Partly that was because the goal was too high, and partly because when I read a book I forgot to make a note of the name.

So, I’m challenging myself again next year, and here is my 2015 reading list. This time I have set myself a slightly lower goal of reading 40 books (for my 40th birthday, geddit?). Rather than just setting a number of books to read, I have tried to come up with a list which includes a wide variety of books. Most of them are fiction, but there are a handful of non-fiction books in there as well.

The list is a mix of some old favourites, classics that I have never got around to read and some that I haven’t read since my school/uni days. I’ve also thrown in some new fiction that I bought last year but didn’t read, as well as some books that friends have recommended. I won’t be reading them in any specific order, and I will start on this list after Christmas. [Read more…]

The Rainbow Trust – 12 Ways of Christmas


Rainbow Trust 12 Ways of Christmas campaignChristmas draws ever nearer, and the excitement of the season is building. But an estimated 6000 families in England and Wales are also dealing with the stress of caring for a child who is terminally ill or has a life threatening condition.

The Rainbow Trust provides valuable support to more than a quarter of these families. This Christmas they are asking you to help give them the best Christmas possible by donating to their 12 Ways of Christmas campaign.

The Rainbow Trust supports the whole family as well as the unwell child themselves, both at home and in hospital. This includes respite support, help with organising appointments and explaining illnesses and treatment. Siblings get the support they need, helping with school attendance, providing fun and laughter, and someone to talk to.

And the Rainbow Trust also provide bereavement support for the whole family – face to face or over the phone, at any time of the day or night.

Take a look at the 12 Ways of Christmas website. Your gift could make a real difference to the family of a seriously ill child this Christmas.



In Season in December


A selection of vegetables in season in DecemberAnd so we reach December, the final month of the year – the month which has the most seasonal food, in the eyes of my family.

There is no other month when the food I cook becomes quite so important to my family. The Christmas dinner is so traditional, so sacrosanct, that any time I try to change anything I get complaints from one person or another. You would think that they would fancy a change by now, but the same requests come in year after year. [Read more…]

Don’t forget to put your clocks back

Woman in bed, and alarm clock

Don’t forget the clocks go back this weekend

For UK visitors, the clocks go back at 2am tomorrow morning. Yes, British Summer Time is over again for another year – back to dark evenings, lights on at 4pm, counting down until the nights start getting shorter again.

The question is, what will you do with your 60 extra minutes tomorrow?

[Read more…]

An Amazing Day Out at Wimbledon


For Lyle’s birthday treat this year, he and I spent a day at what we consider to be the greatest tennis tournament in the world – The Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. You probably know it better as Wimbledon.

We hadn’t planned to visit Wimbledon this year, because we are hoping to go to the World Tour Finals at the O2 again. But when Lyle was lucky enough to be offered a pair of Centre Court tickets through the LTA members’ ballot, he asked to have the tickets as a birthday present. Of course, I was more than happy to accompany him! [Read more…]

In season in July


A bowl of Chicken Salad with seasonal vegetables and fruitCan you believe that we are half way through the year already? July is here, and my thoughts start to turn to the school holidays and long, lazy summer evenings. Salads can be great all year round, but salad vegetables really come into their own during the summer months. [Read more…]

A Beginner’s Spin class

People on bikes in a spin class

This isn’t my spin class – I was much redder in the face than they are!

Spinning classes really aren’t a very new thing at all, but I have always been worried about trying one out because I felt it would just be too difficult for me. This week I decided to bite the bullet and have a go at a Beginner’s Spin class at The Shrewsbury Club, where Lyle does his tennis training. After all, if I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to go back again, did I? [Read more…]

Ten top reasons why Tennis is great for kids


A group of kids on a tennis court with racquetsHave you been watching Wimbledon? Maybe you’re considering a few tennis lessons for your son or daughter, or they’ve been asking to go on that summer camp that your local club is running?

As you may know, I spend a lot of time at the tennis club with Lyle. He’s been playing since he was 5 years old, and I think it’s a fab sport for kids to get into. Here are 10 reasons why tennis is such a great sport for your child to play. [Read more…]

A day at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust


William Shakespeare's Birthplace at Stratford upon Avon

Last week, Lyle and I spent a really fascinating day at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for one of their Home Educator workshops, ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’. We were not quite sure what to expect, but it proved to be a really informative and entertaining day out. Lyle learned a lot about a side of Tudor life that had never been covered when he was at school, and really got quite inspired at the same time. [Read more…]