After finishing the last Karen Rose novel - Scream For Me, I just could not wait to get into this one,  it had been sitting beside my bed gently taunting me, whispering ... read me... read me... you know you want to... do it... give in.  So I did!  Am I ever weak when it comes to a good book.

Considering that in a good killer thriller the writer has to have all the characters in the novel from very early on, Karen Rose really does do a good job of keeping you guessing.   I mean it's really not fair on the reader to have them get to the last chapter and then spring the murderer on them as being someone that hasn't been involved in the plot from the beginning... that's just cheating!  So Karen doesn't cheat!  The buy guys are there right from the beginning right under your nose but you just don't know it... that's how cleverly written the book is.

One thing I didn't like was how many law enforcement officers bit the dust, as the body count racks up quite a few of them are the good guys.  Now I am not an idiot, this is how life works, the good guys don't always come out in one piece but it still made me a bit sad nevertheless.

The romance in this book was a little bit more muted, it definitely took second place to the killer thriller part but it was definitely a page turner and the plot twists just kept mounting.

I read the book in 3 days... bit of a clue as to how gripping it is.

I am really really into sweet potatoes... I never really had them before I had to think about the sugars in my diet. Apparently having PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) often means that sufferers have insulin resistance which means weight gain is very likely.  The only way I have found to control weight as a PCOS sufferer is to try and keep sugar (carbohydrates) to a minimum which isn't easy as one of the problems of having PCOS is an extreme sweet tooth... how unfair is that then???

So avoiding foods like pasta, rice, bread and potatoes is really important as they are quite high on the glycaemic index (lots of sugar)  who knew?  Not like they taste terribly sweet, ok well bread can if you smother it in jam...mmmm jam... no stop don't get me started.

Anyway a good alternative to potatoes and rice is sweet potatoes, the name is a bit misleading, even though they do have a slight sweetness to them, they actually contain a lot less sugar than potatoes and are much lower on the glycaemic index.  Nature is well weird.

One way of cooking sweet potatoes is to roast them, you can actually cook them almost anyway that you can cook a potato, roast, mashed, chipped or boiled (although boiling isn't as nice) and you can't really do them like a baked potato, well you could but the skin is quite tough. You can even make really healthy sweet potato crisps and they are just yummy. I may do a recipe for that....can you bear the suspense?

Anyway enough of this onwards to the recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4 people)

2-3 Large Sweet Potatoes
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Mixed Herbs
1 Teaspoon Medium Curry Powder or Tikka Spice (optional)

Peel and chop your sweet potatoes, give them a rinse under the tap and then pop the on some kitchen roll to let them drain for a few mins whlst you make the coating.

In a bowl mix, the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, grind some pepper, salt and a couple of pinches of mixed herbs as well as a teaspoon of Medium curry powder or tikka spice.  Stir it together well.

You can just miss out the curry powder, it gives a nice spice but if you're having something like roast chicken with the sweet potatoes you might not want spicy.

Toss the sweet potatoes in the coating, making sure all the potatoes get a thorough coating.

Lay your sweet potatoes onto a tin foil lined baking tray.

Cook your sweet potatoes in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 20 mins, it's a good idea to turn them over 10 mins into cooking to make sure both sides get a chance to crisp up.

You can serve these with any meat you like really but works especially well with roasted chicken.

I served mine with oven cooked pork loin chops and mixed veg and lots of gravy... YUM!!!!

I bought this book because it was cheap and the write up intrigued me, I do like crime novels and this one was written up as a crime romance. Hmmmmm thought I, might be a bit different. I'm a huge fan of the Bones series and it seemed to me that this book might be along the same lines.  

Oh boy was I ever suprised when I started reading this book, after reading the prologue and the first chapter I found it impossible to put the book down.   I didn't know that the books was actually the 2nd book in what amounts to a trilogy, so I have kind of started this series in the middle, but I can definitely say I will be reading "Die For Me" and I don't think having read the 2nd book first will spoil that for me.  As this story really does have it's own legs to stand on.

The story is really very very complex and Karen really does keep you hanging until the very end of the book with lots of surprises along the way, just when you think you've got it all sussed out, bang you get smacked between the eyes by another twist that just  throws you completely off track and back at square one having to re-assess all your assumptions again. 

I found the main characters predicaments really quite sad and I found myself rooting for them both having had such a dreadful early life it's actually quite surprising that they are as grounded and sane as they are!  

It does have to be said that a lot of the events in the book, although essential to the story, are really quite graphic and if this book ever gets made into a film it will be a pretty heavy duty movie.

If you are a fan of crime novels, crime romance then definitely give this book a whirl, I read it in 3 days as I just could not put it down and it was a rollercoaster ride that I loved every second of, even the hard bits, even the sad bits.

Two firsts for me on this trip,  I'd never been to a Pontins and I'd never been to Weston Super Mare... so that's another two things ticked off the list.

I have to say when we arrived at the Pontins I was a bit shocked, it was like walking onto the set of Hi de Hi and not in a good way. 

The point of this trip was really to meet up with our friends Natalie and John Milne and their daughters.  We'd been looking forward to this trip for months so even dodgy Pontins wasn't going to spoil it for us.

I did almost rethink that thought however when Natalie showed us to our "chalet" or "shitlay" as I renamed it. It looked somewhat different to the pictures on the Pontins website and we found ourselves faced with either sleeping on the worst sofa bed or two of the smallest single beds I have ever seen in my life. Hmmmmm decisions, decisions!

We opted for the sofa bed which in itself presented us with some major problems.... whoever had used it before us had put it away so badly that I almost broke Pie's fingers when the two of us were trying to yank the bed part out of the sofa.
We'd taken a bit longer to get to Weston than expected due to a slight detour, Pie's fault... don't ask!

So by the time we got there we had missed dinner and had to settle for some fish and chips (me) and sausage and chips (him). It certainly wasn't cordon bleu but it was hot (burnt my tongue) and filling!

I slept surprisingly well on the demon sofabed, mostly due to alcohol anaesthetic, that and the major dip in the middle of the sofabed which meant we both ended up snuggled up quite intimately... it was either that or tie ourselves to the sides of the damn thing to stay in place.
The weekend itself went too fast, spending time with Natalie, John and the kids was so much fun, we went to a funfair and had a wander around a market and played Rock Band late into the night... fueled but the copious quantities of alcohol that Natalie and Pie had seen fit to bring on the trip.  

I haven't laughed so much for a long time... and can't wait to get together again. By the time Monday came I had become quit fond of our "shitlay" having spent time naming all the fleas... actually that's really unfair, although the "shitlay" was quite run down and in need of refurbishment it was spotlessly clean and there were no fleas... I promise.

The other thing that was quite impressive was the food at the restaurant within the Pontins, well cooked, good portions and really nice, friendly staff who obviously worked very hard and enjoyed their jobs.

More Pictures
Little Miss Bizzy
The funfair a short walk away from the Pontins Park
The Girl Racers!
Getting some body Art
Who can resist that face?
Lolly and her deserts

There are few things in this world that are guaranteed to get me riled up and ready to rant than career politicians. (ok that's a porky pie, there's plenty of things)  I don't mean Joe Bloggs, the man/or woman off the street who decides to stand up and be counted and represent their community... I mean the people who come from (in the main) quite privileged backgrounds, who trot off to University and study politics for years and then come straight out of university and go straight into their jobs of "Politician".

Why does this cause me to have a rant, I hear you ask.... well... think of it this way, if you are sick and you need someone to diagnose you, would you go to you MP's surgery to have them diagnose you?  Or would you take yourself off to your GP, someone who has had years of training in medicine, to work out what is wrong with you?  If your car is broken down, do you go and see your MP or do you go and see a mechanic?

Why then do we trust career politicians who have no had any experience of running companies, who have never worked in the NHS, who have no medical training or business training to run as big a company (and don't be fooled, the NHS IS a business) as the NHS? How... exactly.... are career politicians qualified to decide how money should be spent within the NHS, where is their business qualification?  Where is their medical experience and qualifications? What makes them think they know so much better how to run the NHS better than people who have been working in the field for their whole careers?

The latest comical plan by the Conservative Party to reorganise the NHS is just laughable, especially since the current structure of the NHS was initiated by the Tories in the Thatcher years. It's so easy for them to try and palm the blame off onto the last government but we're not all as stupid as the Tories think and some of us were around when they were last in power and remember what they did.  The Tories were the instigators of the endless league tables and beauracracy.  

If the Tories are serious about reorganising the NHS in a way that a) will work and b) is cost effective then really the Career Politicians need to get out of the equation altogether. Bring in people who actually know what they are doing. As much as they would like to blame the NHS's situation on "Management Overload"  They are wrong, management is essential within the NHS, it is a given that, thanks to the Tories, management is top heavy and could use some pruning, but without good management the NHS would fall to pieces, everyone has a role to play, doctors do the doctoring, nurses do the nursing and the management and admin do the boring paperwork and gruntwork that keeps the NHS ticking over.

What makes me so angry is this stupid assumption that reorganisation is the way forward... we're in a recession, wasting £1.5 billion on reorganisation is not only insane it's wasteful and insulting to us, the taxpayers.   People are worried about whether or not they are going to have a job tomorrow, whether or not their children will be able to go to university or even whether or not they will be able to eat and our Government thinks it's ok to throw around £1.5 billion on reorganisation of an institution that they reorganised the last time they were in power...

I guess it is really easy to sit in a protected ivory tower, where you know your job is safe for 5 years and chuck around sound bites and taxpayers money.

I'm moving on to my next project, I need to get this one done in time for the summer holidays,  I apologise in advance to the previous owners of our house, particularly Becca whose lilac bedroom is about to radically change.

As this is a spare bedroom and where my stepchildren sleep when they visit we need something that is child friendly and cheerful but without being too babyish as guests will also be using this room so we have decided on Dulux Buttermilk emulsion in Silk with fresh satinwood in white on the woodwork.   

Wish me luck... I'm going in!
Believe it or not one of the most valuable tools in my home decorating arsenal is....drum roll please!.... Cling Film!  Ordinary food wrap,  I always keep a roll of it in my decorating box, in fact mine is a catering sized roll I use that much of it.

I'm not the fastest painter and decorator in the world, especially when I am trying to work my way around a room that has a a pile of stuff in it I'm lucky if I can get more than a couple of walls done a day, specially if trying to turn a room with a strong paint colour into a lighter colour.  

I find that wrapping rollers and paint trays in cling film between work sessions stops the paint drying out so that the next day I can just rip off the cling film and get on with the work.  I find that the cling film will keep the paint fresh for almost a week, at a stretch... anything longer than that is pushing your luck though and even the most well wrapped roller or brush will go rock hard after a week... but it works well on emulsion or gloss paint as a short term measure.