Teaser Tuesday: Dream Land

It was meant to be like coming home…

Safi wondered if he knew that she wanted a story to fill the cold space inside her and make her feel homey as his stories always did, because he’d been telling them to her for as long as she could remember. She smiled at him, a smile that felt a bit wobbly.

For all her 12 years, Safinar’s parents have dreamed of returning to Grandpa’s native village in Crimea from exile in Uzbekistan. But exchanging their sunny, sprawling home for a tent in a squalid camp is more like a nightmare.

Written mostly from Safi’s sensitive pre-teen perspective, this book is an exploration in identity & culture, and how these can hold a family together and tear it apart. I am halfway through and absolutely gripped by this compelling tale about the Crimean Tatars’ struggle to reclaim the land from which they were exiled in the Second World War.

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and open to all.

Teaser Tuesday: Ruby Red

So many books, so little time! 

Jay from Running In My Head is a regular teaser! Now before y’all go getting hot under the collar, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and open to all. Open a random page of a book you are currently reading, and share a few sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!

I am deeply riveted by the writing, and the history, behind Ruby Red:

‘Instead, they stab the hand that shows the truth. No, sir. Until we can unite brother to brother, until we can snuff out the burning jealousy that destroys when one of us rises from the filthy ashes -‘ Julian ran his hand slowly along the jagged scar that ran the length of his forearm – ‘then, sir, we will be ready for change.’

…and the Versatile Blogger Award

I have been nominated for the Creative Blogger Award & the Versatile Blogger Award by ThatAnxiousMom, also known as E! We’re both doing the A to Z challenge this April, so follow us as we ramble on about some truly entertaining topics.

The Rules for the Nominees:

  • Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify all nominees via their social media/blogs
  • Thank and post the link of the blog that nominated you (very important)
  • Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers
  • Pass these rules on to them

My 5 facts:

5 is my favourite number. Anything with 5 points gets my vote. Stars. Tiaras. What else? 

I have never been to Australia or New Zealand. I have, however, been to Greenland. It’s cold there, even in August.

I love all books. Especially romances. I am a happy ending junkie. I couldn’t watch the Book Thief because they burnt books in the trailer and it just had me hyperventilating. My books have been my constant and as much as I love my Kindle app, it just doesn’t smell the same.

I was Twitterised (Twitterated?) two months ago, and I’m never leaving. I @petalandmortar on Twitter 🙂

I have a system for everything, EVERYTHING. It’s because I’m ridiculously lazy & have a memory like a sieve. What was I saying?

And the nominees for Creative Blogger are:

Amazing images: Angela Seager Images, A Ma Vie De Coeur Entier, BCL Photo, Luvo

Food (with photography tips): Cooking Without Limits, Lili’s Cakes

Refreshing writing: Analysis Paralysis, The Belle Jar, Rachel’s Whims

Laugh & cry about the expat life: thesmult, The Expat Partner’s Survival Guide, Waking the Wombat

The gritty honest recovery chronicles: Shirley’s Heaven, Imperfection is Sexy,The Pickled Pastor

General Deliciousness: Le Zoe Musings, Architectural Wanderlust

Easy Breakfasts

So I finally got around to trying the chia seed breakfast pudding from my 2015 list. I was a little nervous, and now I don’t know why. I just made a portion for myself, in case I loathed the taste of it. Now I wish I made more!

#chia #seeds #breakfast


  • 3 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1 cup milk (any variety)
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Stir the honey into the milk, then add the chia seeds and stir again. Place in the fridge overnight, and stir again before eating in the morning. I topped mine with some cinnamon & glazed ginger pieces. Dee-lish!

Here are some chia cookbooks on sale at the Book Depository right now, and they offer worldwide shipping (see disclosure):

And then there was the back-up cornbread, in case the chia pudding didn’t work out.

#cornbread #cranberries #nuts


  • 1 cup cornmeal (I used polenta)
  • 1 cup flour or semolina or 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar (I used demerara)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 medium egg (plus 1 extra egg if using coconut flour)
  • 1 cup milk (any kind) (plus a little extra if using coconut flour)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, coconut oil or melted butter
  • Chopped nuts and dried fruit are a nice addition

Pre-heat your oven to 200C or 400F before you start mixing the ingredients, and get your muffin liners or loaf tin ready.

Blend all the dry ingredients in one large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, beating the egg well. Combine wet with dry, stir well but don’t overdo it or the muffins will come out quite stiff. Don’t worry about a few lumps. Pour into the loaf tin or spoon into muffin cups.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool & serve.

I smothered mine in butter, washed down with a delicious cup of coffee. Read along to The Cornbread Book by Jeremy Jackson. It’s laugh-out-loud, read-it-out-loud funny, and the recipes are terrific, too. What Monday blues? Now to get down to some real work!

Give Your Idea Life 101

There is a happy place between paralysis by analysis and doing without thinking. In fact, doing without thinking is arguably riskier because you can waste time and money making mistakes which could have been avoided with some good spadework beforehand.

Before you launch your product at the world, start by running through this checklist:

  1. Identify similar offerings & research if they have have struggled commercially. Find out why. Are you about to make the same mistakes?
  2. Will you be competing against a more established company in this space or not? If not, why not? What do they know?
  3. Talk to a knowledgeable adviser about your target audience, distribution channel, or business model. Are there invisible risks?
  4. Map out the process for a single transaction of your product. How will your target audience hear about your product? How will they buy it? How will you handle a problem with the product?
  5. Research the competition. Look at financial statements for companies in your product area. How do they generate revenue? What was their initial outlay? Are you missing an element to compete? Do you have a realistic estimation of what it will take to get to market?
  6. Create a proposition for how you will make money, and describe it to a savvy friend or trusted adviser. Ask them to take your proposition apart! It’s not easy hearing someone poke holes in a long-held vision, but it will help you perfect it.

And then read this incredibly inspiring article about the Shake Shack, which went public today on the New York Stock Exchange!

If you want to read some more, here’s what I’ve got on my Kindle (some are free with my Kindle Unlimited subscription!):