Category Archives: Interests

Stace’s TV Review of the week 5th-11th January

5th-11th January 2014


The second of this second series didn’t disappoint me although it divided Twitter. John got married to lovely Mary. Sherlock did a long long speech and solved a murder and an attempted murder at the same time. The series’ are too short though! The next one is the third and final of series 3. It needs to be every week. Great for comfy Sunday viewing.

Criminal Minds

Whilst avoiding watching the divisive propaganda Benefits Street on Channel 4 we watched the first in a new series of Criminal Minds. ‘Twas a grim one.  A man killing women and then eating them, put me right of my dinner. Amusingly (even though I didn’t watch it) I somehow managed to get 18 retweets on Twitter and 37 Facebook Likes on this status I put up about Benefits Street and ended up with a mass debate going on long after I had gone to slumber. Brilliant.


Last year Eastenders just irritated me. Now we have Danny Dyer. If only they’d kill off bloody Ronnie all would be well. I’m enjoying Kellie Bright in it too. She’s a lot like Angie but to me she’ll always be Sally in T-Bag *shows my age*.

I’m waiting for the return of Sonia ready for Carol’s jolly cancer storyline and Stacey’s coming back too with the bloke from Busted.

The Voice

Kylie! Image via Digital Spy.

I wasn’t going to watch it! Honestly. Then I flicked over and saw Kylie and well, it’s Kylie! There were too many sob stories that weren’t actually very good sob stories but I think I can tolerate it more than the X Factor. Man can also tolerate it because, well, it’s Kylie!

I would also review The Magaluf Weekender and Sunny Beach but that would mean admitting we watched them and of course, we didn’t.


Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire


Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House!

Check out the gingerbread house the man and I made from scratch!

— Stacey Smith (@StaceInspire) December 29, 2013

We made this using Mary Berry’s Gingerbread House recipe just after Christmas. It took us ages but it was worth it. Our nephews had fun demolishing it.

Book Review: Addition

Addition by Toni Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought it was going to be too chick-litty for me but it was most enjoyable. I think the test of a a book is whether it is memorable or stands out in some way and this was and did. Grace was an interesting character and although there was a romantic element to the book there was enough humour and seriousness in the subject matter to give it balance.

View all my reviews

Books I read in 2013

In 2013 I read 51 books. Less than the 65 I read last year but still, not too shabby.

Here are 7 that I remember the most or were more notable for some reason or other.

How To Be A Woman – Caitlin Moran

Marmite Moran, loved and hated on Twitter. I loved this book and wasn’t really expecting to. I’ve not read much about feminism before I admit and there’s a lot more I could venture into I’m sure. I would like to be her friend. In a ‘she seems cool’ way not an ‘I haven’t any friends I’m going to stalk her’ way.

Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption Laura Hillenbrand

Amazing book. Wikipedia Louis Zamperini the real man behind the true story. Incredible.

Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Neverwhere, Stardust, Good Omens – Neil Gaiman

I discovered Neil Gaiman! How I hadn’t before I don’t know and I felt late to a freaky party (Yes, yes, I know 5 at once makes more than 7, it’s sort of cheating but this is my blog and I can do what I like). I think my favourite was Neverwhere. I watched Coraline over the Christmas holidays and I don’t know what disturbed me more, the book or the film. Just weird. It’s those button eyes. Arrggh! My favourite was Neverwhere or Stardust, I can’t decide.

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

The majority of the books I read tend to be thrillers or horrific in some way but American Psycho is bloody horrible. Also ace. I need to watch the film but haven’t got round to finding it. One day I’ll use that thing they call ‘The Internet’ and maybe order it online.

The Magicians – Lev Grossman

This was a strange one for me to read but it was different to other books and kept my interest all the way through.

My Mad, Fat Teenage Diary – Rae Earl

A fun book but with a serious topic of mental health. It was made into a Channel 4 programme and series 2 starts soon. Worth a read and a watch.

Asylum Matt Drabble

’13 Tales of Terror’. I don’t usually read short stories but this is 13 stories within a story and it ties together well. An ex-journalist goes to work in a mental hospital and the tales are of patients who reside there. Scary and freaky, just the way I like it. Matt Drabble’s other books are also well worth a read if you like horror fiction. You can also follow him on Twitter @MattDrabble01

So I suppose my aim for 2014 is to read even more book and try and be as varied in my genres as possible.

I’ve just started using Goodreads too so you can find me on there.


Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire

My Goodreads bookshelf

Angels & Demons
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
The Lady Elizabeth
The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers
Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII
The Midnight Palace
I, Michael Bennett
East End Angel
Charlotte Street
Dead Man's Grip
Play Dead
The Secret History
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch


Share book reviews and ratings with Stacey, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Not Sh*t Sherlock

He’s alive! Not that we really thought he was dead but still, hoorah.

I was most excited abut the return of Sherlock. It’s been two whole years. John Watson has a moustache to prove it. In his first scene back Sherlock is Jesus getting battered about and is then saved by his brother so he can return to Baker Street. He freaks out John (who is about to propose) in a posh restaurant with a drawn on Hitler moustache and a French accent. Martin Freeman is great, I still think of Tim and Dawn in The Office and well up. Aunt Sally was pleased Sherlock was back and eventually  John came round in the end to make friends make friends never never break friends but not until he’d been nearly roasted on a bonfire and blown up under the Houses of Parliament.

Excellent stuff.

See? My deep observations and analysis confirm why I should blog more in 2014. I’m a genius. Just like Sherlock. Only not at all.


Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire

Lurgy running break did me good!

After a week of sneezing and coughing and stressing my fitness would suffer all the worry was unfounded. I had my 24 hour ECG fitted on Thursday I still felt rough but needed to give my heart something to do. The problems were that it was tipping it down outside, I couldn’t get the ECG wet and I was full of cold. What to do? Well I called my local Fitness First who very kindly gave me a free day pass. Off I went to use their treadmill. I’ve never really ran on one before and never let go whilst on one! I can’t say the experience was a good one. The staff were very lovely and the gym was nice but I was already running a temperature and it was too hot in there for my hot blood. Also a problem with a gym is people! Sweaty people. Nope, I decided I much prefer running outside. I only managed 2.5 miles for the sake of recording something on the ECG and trundled back home hotter, feeling poorly, deflated and frustrated. Reluctantly I decided that I would have to give in and leave it another couple of days.


Yesterday (Sunday) I was determined that I was going to get back to it. My previous best distance had been 5.1 miles before the lurgy set in so I was fully expecting to be able to maybe do 3. Then a weird thing happened. Although slow my legs kept running! I ran around the quiet Sunday streets deciding on my route as I went along.  As I neared home I checked my Endomondo on my phone and I had done 5.5 miles! As my target to get to before my Race for Life is 6.2 miles (10k) I just thought ‘sod it’ and carried on. The result? 6.25 miles AKA 10K two weeks before my target and despite the break in training due to the lurgy! As you can imagine I am quite pleased! So now I have two weeks to keep my fitness up and maybe improve my time (with the help of @Runningonline).

If you’re reading this and have a quid, or £3.42 or whatever amount then sponsor me pleasey! It will help my motivation of course and will convince me that all this Couch to 5k and Journey to 10k has been worth it to make some money for charidee mate.


Stace x

Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Lovely Jubbly Jubilee party

Yesterday, on the 2nd of June I celebrated a very special lady with my family. My Nan!

My Nan rocks.

We decided a few months ago that we would have a Jubilee party for her 77th birthday as the two coincided. She has always been a fan of the Royals and I think that has rubbed off on her grandchildren too. I’m not going to get into a pros/cons of the Royals debate, Twitter has depressed me enough with all the joyless miseries. I enjoy British traditions and I think it made it an even better excuse to celebrate a memorable occasion. Oh and of course you may know me by now, I love a theme for my nails!

Jubilee Nails.

My friend Emma solved the what to wear problem by kindly lending me a dress which I spotted her in on Facebook. This is me in it with my two ‘little’ brothers Ricky and Joe. I love this picture so much.

Me and my brothers.

I made a Spotify playlist for the occasion with one song for every year from the last 60 years. We all love music in our family and having a sing song. My cousin Charlotte filmed everyone singing ‘Two Little Boys’. I can’t post it because it’s not on YouTube but it’s probably for the best, haha. My stepdad Tom made a big box covered in Union Jacks which we used as a DJ stand i.e. something to put the iPad and speakers on.

Jubilee party Spotify playlist

We didn’t want Nan to have to faff around so we all made something to bring, her only instructions were to make a trifle.

I made Jubilee Battenburg from this recipe from Wright Little Baker

Jubilee Battenburg cake

I also made some red velvet cupcakes with buttercream and some nifty icing Union Jacks , sorry Union FLAGS I got from Icing World.

Jubilee Cupcakes.

Man being a man wanted to make something meaty so he made BBQ pulled pork from the most recent Good Food magazine. Plenty of opportunity for pork pulling jokes.

Mom made a ton of this amazing warm potato salad with blue cheese. Nom nom. Quite jealous she got to make it into bubble and squeak today with the leftovers. Other foodie mentions, my  Uncle Steven’s marinated chicken, the spicy one was my fave, my cousin Emily’s sausage rolls and not forgetting my cousin Liz’s cheese and pineapple on sticks! A party isn’t a party without something on cocktail sticks!

Despite the weather not being perfect the rain stayed away for the afternoon. My Nan has a pretty massive garden so we put two gazebos up and got on with it. My Mom got too cold in the end and went and stole a blanket off Nan’s bed. She will thank me for posting this.

Mom keeping warm in the British weather.

My naughty cousins managed to get behind everyone without them noticing with flags. This is the moment they caught us.

Me and my man Ban. Naughty minxy cousins in the background!

Fran my brother’s girlfriend took all these ace photographs. We went to her exhibition on Friday night, you can see her website here.

We added candles (a ‘2’ and a ‘7’) to Nan’s trifle and sang her happy birthday. By then I was sporting my Mom’s hat and a leather jacket donated by Nan’s friend, even my hot blood gave in in the end!

This is a photo of the full rabble (Minus my Aunt and cousin who are on holiday).

Me (second right) and my family.
Photograph by Francesa Hancox

This says it all for me. God bless the Queen of our brilliant family.

Nan’s Facebook status. Yes she’s on Facebook!

Hope you had a lovely jubbly Jubilee too.

Stace x

Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire

Books! A meme about books.

I wanted to write a post about books so I went on a meme hunt and found this…

Book Meme

So here goes…
1. One book that changed your life?

Hate to say it in a way but I read The Secret when I was trying to decide whether to give up work to become self employed and this book helped me make the decision. I wrote this post about it at the time.

2. One book you have read more than once?

I tend not to re-read books, even ones I have loved. I don’t really see the point. I would rather have a new experience with a new book.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

Well I suppose it would depend on how long I may be stuck on the desert island. I read pretty quickly so one book won’t cut it so I’m going to cheat and take my Kindle. If it was some sort of plane crash scenario I would be sure to have it with me anyway. The battery lasts long enough for me to read quite a few books without it dying and once it did run out I could maybe use it as some sort of tool until I’m rescued. Then I’d write a book about my experiences and make it available in paperback and in Kindle format!

4. One book that made you laugh?

Last year I discovered some books my a man Terry Ravenscroft. His book suited my humour so if you want something ligjt to make you laugh try Dear Coca Cola, Stairlift to Heaven and the James Bond spoof Stockport Is Too Much

5. One book that made you cry?

The Time Traveler’s Wife. It’s one of my favourite books which is weird considering I mostly read books about grim murders. I’ve never sobbed so much at a book!  They made it into a film too of course. Meh.

6. One book you wish had been written?

Making a Million and Saving the World by Stacey Smith

7. One book you wish had never been written?

That God awful Twilight mini book thing, what was it called? *consults Amazon*………The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella. Utter pants. I’m not even going to link it for you. Just don’t bother.

8. One book you are currently reading?

I started Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand last night and I’m also dipping in and out of The Complete Book of Running for Women which is giving me some handy tips and motivation.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

I’d like to read Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class by Owen Jones but it’s not available on Kindle yet.

10. Now tag five people.

I’ll tag my cousin and readaholic like me Charlotte @LottieB123, my Mom Wendy @wendy2918 who should read more, my friend Kathryn @allfivehorizons who blogs about books too , my Twitter friend @Raychybabe who shares my love of crime thrillers and erm…. no that’s just four, oh well, sue me : p

Thanks for reading my post about reading

Stace x

Follow me @StaceInspire

My views on mainstream music

April Writing Challenge (sat in drafts until May!) – Your views on mainstream music

Hmm well this could take a while. One problem with mainstream music is that it’s just so….mainstream. I’m not even going to start on Coldplay because the last time I had a rant about them on Twittter my Klout decided Coldplay as one my specialist topics!

I would like to think I was quite open minded when it comes to music. Yes my preferences are of course metal/rock/grunge but I am not one of those people who will only ever listen to one genre and poo poo the rest. I love musicals, I’m quite partial to 80’s music, 90’s old school house and boybands!

HOWEVER (note the capitalisation!), maybe my age now dictates this is how I should think but a lot of the music in the charts today is utterly sh*te. Sometimes me and him indoors flick though the music channels just to watch in disbelief that some tracks are considered music. I’m far from a prude but I also think the music industry has a lot to answer for with the videos that are now shown. Interestingly, and though I hate to admit I agree with him on anything at all, Cameron has recently spoken out about how music videos are far too sexual.

David Cameron stepping up plans to issue age certificates for raunchy music videos

We were watching a girl bands countdown type show the other day and in the 90’s yes they were still gyrating around but doing so wearing much more material. I’ve worked with young women and men and I’ve seen the changes first hand. How the girls dress, how the boys treat them as sex objects and depressingly the girls vying desperately for their attention. It’s a lot for them to try to live up to the images they see, not just in videos but in the media in general. I would welcome a clampdown on some of these videos or at least a curfew. It’s not always just visually obscene but it’s the lyrics too. If I had a little girl there is no way I’d let her watch or sing to some of the songs that are out these days.

Wow, check me out, liberal Stace has gone all Mary Whitehouse! Shh don’t tell anyone!  ; )

Stace x

Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire

April writing challenge written mostly in May : p

I said I’d do this to write more often for the April writing challenge but only did a couple so here’s them all, written on one day in May!

1) Five ways to win my heart?! Well if you won my heart I would be dead. What sort of a competition is it??

2) I feel strongly about…having a heart that cannot be won in some sort of sick competition.

3) A book I love… Time Traveller’s Wife

4 ) Bullet my whole day…

Sunday (so far)

  • Woke up man with a cup of tea
  • Spoke to my cousin on the phone
  • Popped to Tesco with man
  • Ate pancakes made by man
  • Made bread
  • Spoke to my Mom on the phone
  • Watched man cutting wood and banging making our new wardrobes
  • Ate aforementioned bread with naughty cheese
  • Sat in bed revamping blog whilst watching man work hard as above
  • Wrote this post

5) Things I want to say to an ex... I quite like you because you score me 8 but Zs and Qs are better.

6) My views on mainstream music. I wrote this a few weeks ago but it’s still in my drafts. If I have published it it will be here. If not I haven’t yet.

7) Five pet peeves… Dogs that poo, dog owners that let their dogs poo, dogs that jump up on me, dogs that bark too loudly, dogs that slobber. I don’t mind other pets ; )

8) What I ate today… See here, I actually did that one.

9) How important is education?  Srsly lyk sooooo important. Lol. Lmfao.

10) Put your music player on shuffle and write the first songs that play I did this too! Look here.

11) My family… consist of people who are related to one another and they are all ACE.

12) Five guys I find attractive Guys? What a funny word G U Y S. You know when you look at a word and it looks weird? Guys. Anyway. I don’t know many Guys. Guy Pearce used to be Mike in Neighbours although I preferred Brad.

13) My opinion on my body and how comfortable I am with it … My body is a temple. I am very comfortable with it as I am in bed and bed is comfortable.

14) What I wore today… Jeans, Stone Sour hoodie, knickers, socks. No bra because it is against my religion to wear one on a Sunday.

15) My zodiac/horoscope and whether it fits my personality… I am Leo. Apparently this means I am a lion. I have hair like a lion. So it must be true.

16) Something that I always think ‘what if’ about …What if i win the lottery?! I could go on this Mayhem festival cruise, that’s what! It WILL happen.

17) Something that I am proud of … I stopped being a lazy bum, did Couch to 5K and ran my first 5K Park Run yesterday.

18) A problem I have had… Once I couldn’t decide whether to have a Mint Aero or a Crunchie. Tough times.

19) Five items that I lust after… Design your own Converse, RIP tickets to Download festival, tickets to Mayhem festival cruise, a new projector, a new laptop.

20) My fears…The usual, anyone I love going to heaven.

21) How I hope my future will be… happy and healthy.

22) My academics… How boring. I did GCSEs and A Levels. I didn’t go to Uni because I liked home and I worked hard in my chosen field instead of writing essays about it.

23) Something that I miss…School

24) Five words/phrases that make me laugh…Pamplemousse, Blants, Floccinaucinihilipilification, I’ll have the cream of sum yung gai. I’m a poet and I don’t knorange.

25) Something I’m currently worrying about… getting this post finished before Silent Witness.

26) Things I like and dislike about myself I like my general loveliness and I dislike my teeth.

27) A quote I try to live by… A simple quote I’ve recently heard. Never give up, there’s always a way.

28) Somewhere I’d like to visit… Hampton Court Palace

29) Five weird things that I like… Scabs, peely sunburn, smooth surfaces, pygmy goats, the DALEK man on last night’s Britain’s Got Talent.

30) One thing that I am excited for… getting our new living room carpet next week.

That was a big ‘un!

Thanks for reading.

Stace x

Follow me on Twitter @StaceInspire


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