Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe by Georgia Hill

Books, LIFESTYLE, Uncategorized

*Spoiler alerts*

Cakes? Check. Love interest? Check. Pet dog? Check. Seaside town? Check.

Yep this book has ’em and it was the perfect read to completely relax and fall into the story. Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe follows Millie running her beach side cafe and follows the high and lows that this can bring. With a new larger coffee shop moving into town Millie has to find a way of keeping her smaller, yet more personal cafe afloat. I love a story that includes someone running a business so I immediately wanted to keep reading. The way it is wrote also makes the storyline easy to follow without too much chopping and changing and too many characters. Reading for me is all about finding a relaxing moment and getting absorbed and I can’t tend to do that if there is too much to follow.

Another part to the book that I enjoy are the multiple diy projects. Whether it’s for the cafe having a revamp or the hotel having a complete renovation right through to the homemade bread and local artwork there is something going on throughtout the story to feel inspired by and feeling the urge to start a project. All of the characters get involved in some kind of craft from sewing bunting to painting artwork and the novel has a good community spirit vibe. It all adds to the homemade skill effect of the story and it leaves the reader full of inspiration as well as entertained.

Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Cafe holds plenty of love stories within its pages too. There are the two pooch loving pensioners that have a dislike to love relationship which is sweet (excuse the pun) as anything. Then the younger, university age characters who aren’t sure what they want and of course, Millie herself. It starts in the cafe with a classic meeting between Millie and a tall, dark, handsome stranger. Of course, it was never going to be a smooth boy meets girl scenario and not before long there is a an incident to rock the boat. Jed, being the handsome business type that he is, actually works for Millie’s rival – new in town/mass produced/cheaper – coffee shop.

There is also another romance between Millie’s best friend and her old school crush. Both actors the characters rekindle their old romance and Millie is the one that is picking up the pieces and trying to support her best friend throughout. It brings a lovely friendship storyline the book and a little drama. This storyline and the one of Millie’s new mermaid-esque cafe assistant are what I can imagine would shake a little seaside town. It add complexity to the characters and, I would argue, a little more adult behaviour than what it could have been without them.

I haven’t yet read a book in the ‘chick-lit’ genre where love didn’t prevail and thankfully it does here too. It makes it a light read (even though realistically its probably one of the thicker books in the genre I have read/seen) and good to grab a tea and slice of cake with.

What are your favourite books recently?

Chocolate Labrador Dog Friendly Bookstore

The Dog Friendly Bookshop

Books, TRAVEL, UK Places

This post contains affiliate links.

There is no doubt that I love going into a bookshop. Always have, always will. I’ve enjoyed reading since I can remember and wrote stories and started this blog because I liked to write. In a way it’s therapeutic, in another I like sharing stories and information. In a bookshop you can find every genre you could want from that classic non-fiction, a sports player’s autobiography or even a mini book of quotes to keep you going through those motivation dry spells.

It was in The Cotswolds when I realised Waterstones was a dog friendly shop. I was on my own walking Mia around town and thought I’d nip in to see if they had a certain book I had been looking for. I checked the sign on the door and found that they did in fact allow dogs. This is great news to me as I wouldn’t, couldn’t leave her tied up outside of a shop. It’s sheer luck I’ve never needed the loo whilst out and about because I don’t know what I’d do.

Now Mia is a medium sized dog, being a Labrador and all, and she has a thick saggy tail and she’s not the most graceful of dogs 99% of the time. That tail of hers gets about and those tables in Waterstones can be a little awkward to walk around with a chocolate chunk sometimes but for the most part of we keep her close she’s as good as gold.

Jojo Moyes After You and Coffee
After You by Jojo Moyes

I managed to successfully (and without too many dog related issues) purchase a book, After You by Jojo Moyes to be exact, find a dog friendly pub and sit reading with a cuppa. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I also finished the book and you can read my thoughts here.

It was a few months later in Chesterfield that I realised, on wanting to head into Waterstones, that this one was also dog friendly and that maybe, just maybe, they all are. Hubs was fully prepared to wait outside until I spotted the sign of confirmation and we headed in, he could have been waiting aaages for me to look round so it’s really helpful.

Bookstore cafe
Peppermint tea and a Halloween cookie in Bath

I now find a Waterstones everywhere I go. There was one in Rye when I visited recently, one in Bath which even had a cafe and one on multiple floors in Nottingham. I used to avoid them as I thought they were expensive however now I’d choose this over other high street bookshops. Even though it is a chain each branch is slightly different. I love their handwritten notes, the fact some have cafes (I’d live there), their dog friendly vibe and of course the ease of finding that book I want, or sometimes didn’t know I wanted.

Have you been happy to find out somewhere is dog friendly? Did it make you go more often?

Until next time,

L x

Mia wears the Julius-K9 Camo Harness in Size 1.

Clumber Park, National Trust

Where to? Clumber Park

TRAVEL, UK Places

We have visited Clumber Park many times over the years whether on our own, with family or taking the dog a walk. We have hired bikes and taken a ride through the woods before and strolled around the lake with friends after a bacon cob at the cafe. Mr LB has also even taken part in the Parkrun before. In short there is a lot to do at Clumber Park whether you just roll up or head to an event.

More recently I visited as I was in the area and fancied using my National Trust membership whilst there. One of the reasons why I love it, something I wrote more about here. The weather was horrendous and it continued to rain throughout my visit, luckily I had strong boots and waterproofs at the ready, but even still there was plenty to do. Somewhere I had never been into before was the Discovery Centre. I actually thought it was fairly new area to Clumber Park but was informed it has been there for a few years now. Aimed at children, before they are 11 3/4, there are also interesting things for adults dotted around and everyone could learn something.

Clumber Park, National Trust
Clumber Park, National Trust

After a walk to the lake and back I went up to the church. I decided not to go in thanks to my muddy boots and wet coat but it was lovely to see that the church was open to visitors.

Whilst at Clumber Park I also visited their second hand bookshop. I mentioned a few reasons why I love a secondhand bookshop in an Instagram post recently but ultimately it is a great idea to help reduce and reuse for the environment as well as giving the opportunity to read for less; when I looked, books cost 50p to £2, a bargain in my eyes.

Clumber Park, National Trust, Second hand bookshop

No matter where I am visiting if they have a gift shop I am there. The National Trust shops are some of my favourite. They have a mix of food and drink, household cleaning products right through to gorgeous homewares, games and books. At the minute, dare I say it, Christmas is just beginning. My visit to Clumber Park included seeing lovely crafted decorations, festive food that I could have devoured there and then and some inspiring gift ideas. My family this year are trying something new to us, we are limiting ourselves to £20 per person for our Christmas gifts. This to me means one or two gifts and as my parents are also National Trust members my dad would love something for the garden and I’m thinking of a scarf or jewelry piece for mum. As a little something for the both of them and for when we go round on Christmas Day the food hampers looked very tasty. Or you know, a pack of mince pies just for me!

Clumber park, National Trust, shop

I already want to go again for a longer, hopefully drier, walk around the lake and thankfully won’t have to wait too long. If you’d like to see more National Trust adventures check out my Hardwick Hall post or my visit to The Workhouse.

Until next time,

L x