This book tells the story of Mary B. Addison, a young Black girl who allegedly killed a white baby when she was nine years old.
Mary is now 16, pregnant and living in a group home after years in ‘baby jail’. She is fighting to clear her name in a desperate attempt to keep her baby. As an ex-convict and notorious ‘child murderer’, her chances are slim. So, she must act quickly.
We soon learn about Mary’s disturbing past and the heart-breaking abuse she faced in childhood.
It’s evident that Mary has been betrayed by many who were meant to protect her. Most importantly, her mother. Their relationship dynamic is harrowing, detailed in brief 15-minute encounters and via Mary’s own narrative and reflection.
Fighting for her future
Mary’s always seemingly kept it together, silently tormented. However, as Mary’s baby grows within, cracks begin to show. Her years of pent-up emotion start to unravel in her desperation. Her hormones work against her. You feel her pain first-hand, often sympathising with her actions.
In addition to Mary’s perspective, snippets embellish the story. We read police interviews, witness statements, character references and book excerpts. These broaden the story but often go against what we know about Mary. A gifted young woman who may or may not have done the unthinkable.
Mary is complex and determined to succeed and her attempt to change the horrific narrative is almost admirable. The characters she engages with have depth. Sympathising with Mary’s judgement of them throughout, you are often left happy or frustrated by her experiences with others.
Allegedly is a disturbing and emotional read with themes of child murder, abuse, racism and mental health. Saying this, it’s an important one. It touches on heavy subjects without being afraid of its target audience as a young adult novel.
I appreciate a Cricut machine is a serious investment for many but with machines starting at £150 you can make some serious savings if you’re planning to DIY a lot of your wedding.
If you opt to use a Cricut machine to make vinyl names for place cards, here are some tips:
Check the size of your vinyl name in Cricut Design Space against the size of your acrylic sheet
Reduce the letter space by 0.3 for italicized or thin lettering to allow for a smoother cut
Apply the more pressure setting in the make it window if your having trouble weeding
Use masking tape to lift and transfer your vinyl to the acrylic if you’re having trouble with transfer tape
Once you’ve got your vinyl names in a bundle, you’re going to want to carefully weed them.
You can do this using the weeding tool. Until you’re confident, go slow! Some people try reverse weeding. This is where they apply transfer tape to the vinyl and then peel the backing paper from the vinyl.
You can also use the weeding tool to tidy up any odd nicks on the vinyl before application.
Teenager Mae is left traumatised in hospital after escaping a satanic cult.
After receiving care, Mae temporarily moves in with her psychiatrist and family. It isn’t long before the family starts to get suspicious of Mae’s peculiar behaviour when strange things start happening.
Rectory Farm PYO welcomes visitors to pick-your-own pumpkins in Oxfordshire this Halloween season. It offers five acres of pumpkin fields, with over 25,000 pumpkins grown this year!
Be sure to wrap up warm and get into the Autumnal spirit with your family and friends at Rectory Farm PYO’s Pumpkin Patch. At £3 to enter (and free for under 18 months), you pay for what you pick.
Pick-your-own pumpkins in Oxfordshire
You can grab a wheelbarrow or come armed with your own carrier bags. The pumpkin match is muddy – so be sure to wear some wellingtons or old shoes!
Pumpkin prices vary depending on weight. Traditional orange pumpkins are charged at £1 per kg or 80p per kg if over 8kg in weight. All other varieties charged at £1.50 per kg.
Cute Autumnal adventures at Rectory Farm PYO
On route, there are lots of fun Autumnal photo opportunities so get snap-happy on the pumpkin-adorned hay bales dotted around. You’ll also meet a selection of Autumnal characters to get you in the pumpkin picking spirit.
Once you’re done, you can:
Go for a ride on the tractor and trailer
Bounce on the onsite bouncy castle and slide
Be creative and decorate your pumpkin onsite in the undercover craft space
Take part in face painting (additional cost)
Enjoy the wooden play area and sandpit
Indulge in cake and coffee at the Rectory Farm Tractor Shop Café
You can enjoy this fun family day out in Oxfordshire until October 30! Additionally. Rectory Farm PYO hosts pick-your-own pumpkins each year, as well as seasonal produce from April – October.
This weekend, we went for a stroll in Stoke Wood, part of the Woodland Trust.
Stoke Wood is a beautiful 32.5-hectare (87-acre) ancient woodland site located in Stoke Lyne. It is around 3.7 miles (6km) north-west of Bicester and a short 10-minute drive.
As you arrive in the carpark, you’ll be greeted by this wonderful broadleaved woodland via a bridleway gate.
Once inside, you’ll be surrounded by nature. As you trace your way around the woodland, you’ll see a variety of trees and birds, animals and insects.
Particularly noteworthy is the avenue of Corsican pines. They offer a grand walk through the centre of Stoke Wood alongside the Medieval woodbank which traces the woodland.
Is the woodland accessible?
Stoke Wood is a truly lovely space to explore and features mixed woodland, open glades and a meadow. It offers two well waymarked trails (short and long) according to preference.
The short trail is 3/4 mile (1.2km) long and circles a section of the wood. It allows you to appreciate the woodland and the ornamental avenue in all its glory.
The long trail is 1 3/4 miles (2.8km) long and guides you through most of the woodland. You’ll be able to see the woods in all their splendour alongside the avenue, open glades and coppice stools.
Both of these trails are accessible but the long does feature some uneven ground, tree roots and loose stones.
However, those with buggies and wheelchairs should be able to navigate both trails in good weather as the paths tend to be level and are well maintained.
Please note, there are no toilets or places to eat or drink onsite. However, adjacent to the northern boundary of the wood, you’ll find Cherwell Valley service station which has all amenities.
So, what did we think of Stoke Wood?
Stoke Wood is a truly lovely place to visit and offers a wholesome family day out in Oxfordshire. The area is popular with dog walkers and families alike and it’s easy to understand why as there’s lots to see and explore.
Additionally, if you go in spring, you will also be greeted by a sea of bluebells. Stoke Wood is one of the most popular and best places to see bluebells in Oxfordshire.
What’s your favourite woodland in Oxfordshire?
? 10 minutes from Bicester
?️ Parking available onsite (30 spaces)
? Stoke Lyne, Bicester, OX27 7NH • Explorer 191 • OS Landranger 164
Ballie Ballerson is an adult ball pit venue in Shoreditch and it’s certainly a unique thing to do in London.
As part of its two-hour bottomless brunch experience, you’ll have full access to both ball pits, as well as 90 minutes of unlimited sourdough pizza, pornstar martinis and prosecco.
We decided to head to Ballie Ballerson as part of a girly weekend away. Little did I know, it would be a pre-hen celebration, making the occasion even more special!
Brunch options at Ballie Ballerson
There are two tickets to choose from, the VIP Brunch or Standing Baller Brunch. These are priced from £25 and £35 respectively. Do note, brunch tickets are more expensive for the afternoon session.
There are extras you can include. If you’re celebrating, you can also pre-order a pick ‘n’ mix sweet cake for your session.
The VIP Brunch at Ballie Ballerson
Annoyingly, you’ll need to pay a little extra if you want to be seated throughout the bottomless brunch.
The VIP Brunch seated tickets ensure your own private booth in the VIP area. In my opinion, the seated tickets offer a far nicer experience.
Standing Baller Brunch at Ballie Ballerson
However, if you do choose the standing option, you may be able to bag a high-top table. These are available on a first come first serve basis, so you’ll have to be quick!
On the plus side, it’s far easier to dance if you opt for the standing option.
What’s the music like?
For our Saturday session, we had resident DJ, Izzy Trixx. You can expect a mix of Disco, House, Commercial, Hip Hop, RnB, Garage, Rock and Drum and Bass.
Honestly, the music just made the occasion with non-stop nostalgic hits.
What’s the food and drinks like?
The food and drink at Ballie Ballerson is amazing. Within the 90 minutes, you can expect freshly made sourdough pizza alongside unlimited prosecco and pornstar martinies.
The delicious pizza is made to dietary preference, so everyone is catered for.
We all found the service quick and friendly. There was no chasing down staff to get more food or top ups and we all felt like we got good value for money.
What is this adult ball pit experience like?
Ballie Ballerson is a fabulous brunch venue. For the young-at-heart, it’s amazing to just go wild amongst the alleged one million balls. It’s kind of like reliving all of your childhood soft play memories.
There are two glowing ball pits to explore as part of the experience and they’re a lot of fun. You can enjoy the glowing semi-translucent white ball pit with its ceiling mirror. The second, a candy-coloured affair with a wall embellished with Love Hearts quotes.
Overall, brunch at Ballie Ballerson was such a wonderful experience, and I cannot wait to return with my girls.
get onboard and enjoy a day trip with Jetstream Tours
Alongside this handful of activities, there’s plenty of places to eat and drink. If after your walk, you’re feeling peckish, you’ll find hot meals, afternoon tea and other light bites and snacks at the pier’s head.
How much does it cost to go on the pier?
Tickets to enter the pier are pretty reasonable. It’s £2 for an adult and £1 for a child/concession ticket. It costs more to take advantage of the train.
What’s the The Pier Railwaylike?
You can choose to walk the length of the pier or take advantage of the train. The Pier Railway runs from the shore to the piers’ end.
It’ll allow you to sit back and enjoy the view and rest your legs! It takes 10 minutes from the shore to the piers’ head.
How much does the Southend Pier train cost?
If you’re looking for a single ticket on the train, it’ll be £5.30 for an adult and £2.70 for a concession.
For a return ticket on the train, it’ll be £5.80 for an adult and £2.90 for a concession.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a masterpiece RPG. It’s offers a riveting dark fantasy storyline and interesting side quests in abundance. Saying this, it’s also got it’s fair share of sad tales too.
Expect betrayal, tragic marriages, infidelity and murder galore.
Read on for the most heartbreaking moments in the game but please be aware, there are Witcher 3 spoilers ahead.
Sad tales in the Witcher 3
Gretka and the Trail of Treats in The King of the Wolves
You are introduced to Gretka in Ciri’s first flashback in The King of the Wolves quest.
You will quickly realise that poor Gretka has been abandoned. Her father having led her to the trail of treats, a route to the cruel child-eating Crones of Crookshank Bog.
While on the harrowing trial, Gretka gets distracted by a butterfly who leads her away from it. She is later found by Ciri who saves her from nearby wolves.
Thankfully, Ciri’s temporary ward is led to safety and is later taken in by The Bloody Baron permanently.
The Bloody Baron and his wife in Family Matters
This entire Bloody Baron storyline is littered with moments of sadness. During Geralt’s Family Matters quest you’ll be asked to locate the Baron’s wife, Anna and their daughter, Tamara. It’s certainly an emotional rollercoaster.
You discover that Anna has forced a magical miscarriage and the improper burial of the baby results in a Botchling.
If you decide to lay the Botchling to rest under the family threshold, the Baron will somewhat redeem his actions. She will transform into a Lubberkin once named, assist you on the quest and her spirit will be allowed to peacefully rest.
As you progress in the game, you will eventually find Anna. Depending on your choices, her fate and the Baron’s is sealed.
If she dies, the Baron will hang himself. If she lives, the Baron will seek to cure her mind far away.
The end of true love in Wild at Heart
In Wild at Heart, you are asked to locate Hanna. Her husband Niellen, a hunter from Blackbough, and her sister, Margrit, are seemingly baffled by her whereabouts and fear the worst.
Although this may initially appear as an ordinary secondary mission, it’s a sad tale with numerous endings.
After a short investigation, you’ll conclude that Hanna was killed by a pack of wolves in the nearby woods. Weirdly, Margrit shows up and begs you to lie to Niellen about her sister in order to ease his sadness.
However, if your moral suspicion is raised, you can investigate further and you’ll be offered the full story.
Ignoring Margrit’s pleas, you can find Hanna’s corpse which has been ravaged by a Werewolf. Eventually, you’ll be led to a Hunter’s shack, which houses the werewolf’s lair beneath.
Meditate and it will appear, alongside three wolves. As the battle nears its end, Margrit will rush in and exclaim the werewolf is Niellen.
It becomes apparent that Margrit was jealous of her sister, hoping to show Hanna his true nature in the woods. However, this backfired, leading to Neillen killing his wife. Margrit had hoped Neillen would never find out and eventually fall for her instead.
You can choose to save Margrit or allow Niellen to take revenge on her. Either way, Neillen will die.
Annabelle’s tale of woe in Towerful of Mice
Annabelle was the daughter of the former Lord of Velen. After a Nilfgaardian invasion, her family moved to Fyke Isle under the protection of Mage Alexander, while the peasants around them starved.
An uprising occurs and a village mob approaches to storm the tower. On the advice of Alexander, Anna drinks a sleeping potion to feign her death and escape being raped and brutalised.
On waking, she is paralysed and is slowly eaten alive by rats. Her lover Graham, part of the mob, watches on in horror. On realising she is dead, he blames himself for not being able to fight the others and save Annabelle’s life.
Geralt speaks with Annabelle’s spirit within Fyke Isle Tower. She asks that he seek out her former lover. Geralt must bring her remains to Graham to bury, allowing her to finally rest.
If you choose to deny Annabelle’s request, she will transform into a Plague Maiden. However, she won’t die and will continue to respawn. On advice from sorceress Kiera, you will seek out Graham.
Out of the two options, one is far less gruesome. If you deny Annabelle and bring Graham to Fyke Isle, he will prove his love for her and they will rekindle, On sharing a kiss, he will pass away and reunite with her.
However, if you bring the bones to Graham in the nearby village, he will agree to bury them with harrowing consequences. Anne will transform into a Plague Maiden and murder him, his screams echoing from his shack after you depart. Additionally, this will cause an outbreak of disease that ravishes the village.
The sordid mind of Whoreson Jr. in Get Junior
Geralt will have to hunt down crime boss Whoreson Jr. in the Get Junior quest. This is in order to locate his friend, Dandelion, and to get further information regarding Ciri’s whereabouts.
On battling Whoreson Jr.’s guards and entering his hiding place, you’ll make your way upstairs. Here you will be greeted by many horrific sights with mutilated women surrounding you.
You can learn more of his deeds and choose to kill or spare the sadistic Whoreson Jr.
Skjall’s end in The Calm Before the Storm
Skjall is a Skellige warrior who helps an injured Ciri in The Calm Before the Storm quest. He takes Ciri to his village, Lofoten, and nurses her back to health.
During this short time, he becomes her love interest. As Ciri readies herself to leave the village to continue her quest, the Wild Hunt attacks.
Skjall assists Ciri to the detriment of his village, wanting to ensure her safety. For his actions, he is cast out as a coward and tries to redeem himself via an impossible task. One, that leads to his demise.
Some time later, Yen reanimates his corpse to learn more of Ciri’s whereabouts.
Eventually, alongside Ciri, you may locate Skjall’s body and honour him at his final resting place.
Finding Ciri in the Isle of Mists
After a long time searching, you’ll eventually find a motionless Ciri in the Isle of Mists quest. Understandably, presuming her dead, Geralt grips her tightly in grief.
Thankfully, this emotional rollercoaster is short lived and she reanimates quickly, embracing her adopted father.
Lambert’s backstory in The Final Trial
Lambert’s a bit of an ass. Okay, a real ass. However, in The Final Trial quest, you’re caught off-guard by his explanation as to why.
It’s a combination of an abusive childhood and being forced to become a Witcher. This backstory snippet makes his ongoing angst a little more understandable.
Vesemir’s demise in Battle of Kaer Morhen
Vesemir’s death during the Battle of Kaer Morhen quest is a harrowing watch.
Cruelly defeated by Wild Hunt Commander Imlerith while protecting Ciri, her emotional response, piercing screams and loss of control due to his death is truly shocking.
Olgierd and Iris’s relationship in Hearts of Stone
In the Hearts and Stone DLC expansion, Olgierd Von Everic will give you the seemingly impossible task to reclaim a rose from his former wife, Iris.
As you progress, you will discover Iris is long dead. Olgierd tried to regain his former nobility and fortune in order to marry Iris. Eventually, this desperation left their once loving and hopeful relationship in tatters.
On making a wish with the unholy Master Mirror, Olgierd is cursed. He becomes more irrational and loses his love for Iris, a consequence of his pact.
Olgierd murders Iris’s father after he announces his daughter’s wish to divorce him. Iris is completely isolated and left broken by his betrayal.
Eventually, Olgeird leaves and Iris succumbs to her loneliness, her spirit trapped in perpetual torment in the Painted World.
Entering it, Geralt must relive the couples tragic backstory and the extent of Iris’s pain in a hope to recover the rose. If he doesn’t, she is left in purgatory. If he does, Iris is freed. But it’s bittersweet.
Daphne’s cruel transformation in A Knight’s Tales
Jacob, a lumberjack, prompts Geralt to investigate a story of legend from the book Tales and Fables in the A Knight’s Tales quest.
Jacob says a young woman has been transformed into a bleeding tree, awaiting her lover who never returned. Daphne, the cursed woman, now weeps for him.
As you progress, you discover Daphne may have been mutilated by the jealous Witch of Lynx Crag.
Sir Gareth had sought out the witch due to troubles nearby. However, she enticed Daphne’s lover and killed him for trying to return to her. Daphne’s longing leads to her horrific transformation.
On meeting the witch, you can plead, say you can handle the situation on your own or threaten her.
If you plead or handle it alone, you will need Sir Gareth’s bone to complete the ritual. With the bone, Daphne will emerge as a ghost, asking whether her lover remained faithful. Without it, she will emerge as a Wraith and you’ll have to fight her.
If you threaten, you’ll have to fight the witch and her panther. Jacob will die, mauled by his dog who becomes possessed by the spirit.
Is there any happiness in the Witcher 3?
Okay, so I’ve painted a pretty depressing picture I’ll admit. Saying this, the game is complex and expertly written. It offers plenty of humour, action and redemption elsewhere.
So, if you love story and action driven RPG games that evoke every possible emotion, be sure to get a copy of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt!
Too Good To Go lets you purchase food in your local area that would otherwise go to waste.
How does it work?
Firstly, you’ll have to download the Too Good To Go app. Then, you can browse local shops and restaurants and see what surplus food is available in your area.
If available, you can select your Magic Bag for pre-order. Do be quick though as Magic Bags are limited. You will then have a set time to collect your bag that day or the following.
Most shops tend to refresh their offering each day so don’t worry if you initially miss out. You can also favourite shops to ensure you get availability updates.
Which shops are included?
There’s quite a lot of variety, depending on where you are. You can save food being wasted from:
Independent and local shops
What do you get in your Too Good To Go Magic Bag?
It’s a complete mystery! Depending on where you order from, you’ll get a selection of random goods.
These are often pre-chosen for you. However, you can try your luck and request things depending on dietary requirements.
Please note, these items often have a shorter shelf life. So, they may be due to expire that day or within a few days.
Here are some recent examples of our Magic Bags:
Order from Greggs
We paid £2.95 for our Greggs Magic Bag and got:
Two sausage rolls
Egg and mayo sandwich
Ham and cheese baguette
Milk chocolate cookie
Two novelty buns
This bag had a retail value of £10.
Order from CostaCoffee
We paid £3 for our Costa Coffee Magic Bag and got:
Free Range Egg, Mushroom & Spinach Breakfast Bap
Vegan Smoky Ham & Cheeze Toastie
Vegan Bac’n Breakfast Bap
This bag had a retail value of £10.
Order from Crompton’s Bakery
We paid £3 for our Crompton’s Bakery Magic Bag and got:
Double chocolate muffin
This bag had a retail value of £9.
Is Too Good To Go worth it?
It’s so worth it. Not only are you saving money when you buy a Magic Bag, you’re also reducing food waste and helping the planet.
One thing to note, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you may get a selection of meat products. However, you can try your luck and ask for alternatives. We did this with our Costa Coffee Magic Bag above.
Unfortunately, you cannot choose dietary preferences beforehand on the app. Ultimately, the contents of your Magic Bag is random. Saying this, hopefully it’s something that is implemented in the future.
Overall, it’s a fantastic app and great for those who are conscious of waste and/or on a budget.
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