Friday, 26 June 2020

The Snack Diaries | Part Twenty

Asda Extra Special Peruvian Dark Chocolate
(From Asda, £1.40 for 100g)
My Mum bought this as everyday chocolate to share, as it was surprisingly inexpensive. I decided to review it after seeing the gorgeous packaging. The chocolate tasted lovely but wasn’t overly memorable compared to other brands.

Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodle
(From Asda, £0.60 for 90g)
I haven’t had a pot noodle in ages but my Mum bought a few for a holiday earlier in the year. I was pleasantly surprised to find I really enjoyed mine. They are quite filling, and make a nice treat for once in a while.

Diablo Chocolate Cream Vanilla Cakes
(From Heron Foods, price unknown for three cakes)
My brother bought these no added sugar cakes for me, and they were another pleasant surprise. The cakes were lovely and moist, with an authentic sweet taste.

Diablo Cream Filled Milk Chocolate Wafers
(From Heron Foods, sold individually but bought in bulk cheaply)
Probably my favourite out of the bunch. They tasted a bit like a KitKat, and found them moreish particularly after being stored cold in the fridge. Great if you are trying to cut back on sugar.

What have you been snacking on lately?
Do you have any foodie recommendations for me? :-) Xx

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Recent Reads Reviewed #26

The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne – 4/5

The cover caught my eye when I was picking this book up in the library, and I imagined it might be along the lines of The Princess Diaries. After skimming the premise, the story of a normal girl who meets a prince and falls in love sounded like it might be a fun read. There were moments in the book that felt like a five star read and some like a three. Although for me, the princess prepping and make-over session dragged a little, and aspects of Amy’s character annoyed me; there were lots of really promising aspects to the book.

The romantic spark between Amy and Leo as they first get to know each other was beautifully done. The romance was very wholesome and clean throughout so this book could appeal to younger readers. I was interested in how Amy was pursuing a career in garden design; all the flower descriptions throughout were a great touch. The side characters, each with their own story, felt believable and added something to my reading experience. The writing style on the whole, was easy to get lost in, and a pleasure to devour. If you are looking for a light, guilty-pleasure read; this might be the book for you.

Candy and the Broken Biscuits by Lauren Laverne – 5/5

Firstly, how colourful and fun is this cover? With a battered guitar and some help from her fairy godbrother, Candy, chases her dream of becoming a famous musician staring at music festivals. Alongside this she and her friends try to track down her biological father.

This is actually a really cool read. I enjoyed the immersive writing style and the addition of the supernatural in the form of Candy’s fairy godbrother. I’ve not seen a lot of people talk about this book but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

It's Not Me, It's You by Stephanie Kate Strohm – 5/5

I took a chance with this read, after seeing in on sale in The Works for £1.00. I’m a bit picky about what YA books I like but I found this to be a refreshing take on high school life. After Avery gets dumped right before her prom, she decides to interview all the guys she’s ever dated, her friends, family and even teachers to see if she can find herself. The whole book is written in dialogue, which I wasn’t sure about at first, but it worked well. I liked the host of different characters and the ending was really sweet. I recommend it if you are looking for a pick me up.

The Mona Lisa Mystery by Pat Hutchins – 4/5

There’s something so cosy about old-fashioned books and being attracted to the vintage cover, I snapped this up in a charity shop on holiday. Aimed at children, it’s a fairly simple, mystery set in Paris. There are illustrations included which were quite stand-out for me. I enjoyed this read very much overall.

Five Go Adventuring Again by Enid Blyton – 4/5

I’ve been on a reading kick lately with Enid Blyton books. Blyton is a prolific writer but The Famous Five series is one of her most well-known and I began with Five Go Adventuring Again, which I picked up from the library. We follow the usual gang as they stay with family at Kirrin cottage over the Christmas holidays. There’s a thief, a secret way, and lots of adventure.

I really enjoyed this book and the cosy, old fashioned writing style. The mystery was easy to follow, and I didn’t mind easily guessing what was going to happen. I always feel transported to a different place and time with Blyton’s books. I’m looking forward to carrying on with The Famous Five series.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky  – 4/5

I’ve had this book on my bookshelf for a good while and thought it was time for a reread. Seen as a classic, coming-of-age story and now motion picture, we follow teenage protagonist Charlie as he is finding his way in high school and beyond. He joins a friendship group where his unique perspective on life is accepted. I found this book deep, and unnerving at times but loved it overall.

Evening Mantras: For a peaceful now and an inspiring tomorrow by CICO Books – 4/5

Evening Mantras is aimed to be read just before going to sleep; it has a lovely, relaxing vibe to it with beautiful photography and quotes. The presentation of the book is really special, and it would make a perfect gift for a friend or loved one. If you appreciate uplifting quotes like me then I would recommend you give this one a read.

Are you currently reading anything?
Which of these books sounds most interesting to you? :-) Xx

Superdrug Pro Vitamin Classic Shampoo & Conditioner

Welcome back – today I have a review of a shampoo and conditioner I’ve been using. They are from the affordable, cruelty-free, Superdrug range. The Superdrug own brand have a few shampoo/conditioners available, but this pro vitamin classic range seemed like a great everyday option. With the simple, standard looking packaging, it could seem like any brand but it’s become a firm favourite.

You can buy the shampoo and conditioner separately both retailing at £2.29 but look out for offers like I did. As I mentioned previously it’s inexpensive, and cruelty-free but it also leaves your hair silky soft and smells incredible. My hair really noticed the difference after washing, and the scent lingered on in my hair for days. I can’t fault this shampoo/conditioner as it’s a good all-rounder.

Let me know if you have tried this brand!
What shampoo/conditioner are you currently using? :-) Xx

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Film & Music Reviewed #3

Film // The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. When her father is wrongfully arrested, Parvana disguises herself as a boy in order to support her family. With dauntless perseverance, Parvana draws strength from the stories her father told her, and ultimately risks her life to discover if he is still alive. Equal parts thrilling and spellbinding, The Breadwinner is a timely and inspiring tale about the transcendent power of stories, and their potential to unite and heal us all.

A special, heartfelt story with beautiful animation and an important message. My Dad bought me this DVD at Christmas, and as he has quite good taste in films I was intrigued to watch it. The film was a bit outside my normal comfort zone but I enjoyed it. If you have children, I would recommend this film as it’s quite educational.

Rating: 4/5

Music // Long Live The Angels by Emeli Sandé

Firstly I love Emeli. She has a style of music which she tends to stick to but she always brings out some really lovely tunes. This album has a gospel, emotional feel to it which I appreciated. There’s not really any standout tracks as the songs are all consistently good. I can see this album being popular with her fans and anyone who’s keen to listen to the album.

Rating: 4/5

Do you have any recommendations for me?
What music and films have you been reaching for lately? :-) Xx

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Recent Reads Reviewed #25

The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking - 5/5

Meik Wiking had a huge success with The Little Book of Hygge, and after reading it myself I thought I would try his other book. In similar vein to Hygge, Lykke is a Danish word meaning happiness and the book talks us through insights backed by the author’s work at the happiness research institute. This book was both fascinating and inspirational, just flipping through it now makes me excited to reread it.

The Crown (The Selection #5) by Kiera Cass - 3/5

Let’s begin by saying I love The Selection series. For those of you that don’t know, this is a dystopian fairy tale, where America enters a reality TV contest to win Prince Maxon’s heart. The first three books are wonderful reads, but the last two I didn’t seem to rate quite as high. I recommend you give the series a try if you think the premise of the series sounds interesting as I very much enjoyed it overall.

Think Twice (Don't Even Think About It #2) by Sarah Mlynowski - 5/5

Think Twice is the follow up to Don’t Even Think About It. In the series we follow a class of students who find they all have telepathy, and in Think Twice they come to terms with what might happen to them if they lose this new power. I enjoyed the second book even more than the first. Its premise is pretty unique, with additional themes of everyday high school life. The series is enjoyable, escapist, and easy to read so I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others.

A Summer Scandal by Kat French - 5/5

This was a library book that appeared in my requests, maybe by accident but I’m glad it did as I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The plot appealed to me for its uniqueness, and the idea of an adult-themed arcade was done well. The story and characters developed slowly at first, and I loved the romantic tension that built up between the lead couple. While the book was very well rounded in lots of ways; the evocative love scenes were what made the reading experience for me. The ending surprised me, kept me on my toes and things were wrapped up nicely. I look forward to reading more from this author for sure.

Franklin's Flying Bookshop by Jen Campbell - 5/5

I know of Jen Campbell through her Bookish YouTube channel, and in her videos she comes across very eloquent and passionate about literature. I’d been wanting to read this children’s book for a while, mainly out of curiosity but also the illustrations seemed beautiful. My expectations were not let down, the art work was woven into a well written and enchanting story that’s perfect to capture any child’s imagination. I can see it being popular with all ages, I know I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Be More Unicorn: How to Find Your Inner Sparkle by Joanna Gray - 5/5

This is a lovely, lovely little book. Guided by the thought of being like a unicorn, we are told through different chapters how to be more magical, playful, fierce and more. I love the idea of using the unicorn as inspiration for a self-help book. The content was actually really helpful, and uplifting.

Be My Valentine by Debbie Macomber - 5/5

Both story’s featured in this book were really cosy, and lovely to read. This was cheesy, romantic escapism at its best and I could see this book being many people’s guilty pleasure. It is well written, and the characters interactions pull on the heart strings. I might be picking up a few more Debbie Macomber titles from the library, I fully recommend.

Have you read any of these books?
Which one of these sounds most interesting to you? :-) Xx

Sunday, 31 May 2020

GracieGoesGreen Reusable Make Up Remover Pads

Today I’m going to be reviewing these washable make-up remover pads I have been using the last couple of months. I went with GracieGoesGreen eBay seller, and have nothing but good things to say about the quality of product and service. I paid £5.25 for seven organic cotton pads and they have varied patterns on the reverse. Along with this came a handy bag to put the pads in during the wash.

I had a good look on eBay for the best options. There was surprisingly an excellent choice, with varying prices, designs and so on. GracieGoesGreen seemed like the best though, and I thought the price was very reasonable. Postage was free.

I was a little nervous about my first eco-friendly purchase though, I didn’t know what to expect. The fabric is lovely and soft, and the pads are generously sized. After months of using them, I found a little staining was left, but they are perfectly clean after being put in the wash.

It took me a while to get into a routine of putting them in the wash for example my Mum would put them in with certain things etc. I haven’t been using mascara in lockdown, I think I’ll have one or two pads saved for that. If you want to be kinder to the environment, I would recommend these! The link to buy is here.

Have you made any eco-friendly purchases recently?
Would you be curious to give these a try yourself? :-) Xx

Monday, 25 May 2020

Sultana Walnut Cookies

After a break, I’ve got the baking bug back! I found this recipe in Mary Berry’s Fast Cakes baking book which I mention from time to time on my blog. What’s great about this book is the instructions are simple, but there’s quite a lot of variety without too many ambitious bakes, therefore being great for beginners. Chapters include every day cakes, chocolate bakes, family fruit cakes, biscuits and cookies, especially for children, and so on. I recommend both the book and this specific recipe included.

This particular bake was a quick, yet fun one to make. It’s a basic cookie recipe, while adding sultanas and walnuts as the name would suggest. The final effect came our quite doughy like scones which isn’t such a bad thing. They lasted a couple of days for desserts at meal times and went down well. You can pick up Fast Cakes online or at The Works.

Describe your perfect biscuit in three words!
Have you been baking recently? :-) Xx

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Jigsaw Log #3

Hope my readers are doing okay at the moment. Today I’m back with a jigsaw post! I completed this tropical sea life one a few months back now. I bought it for my Nan for Christmas, so we could do it together and this one came from The Works priced at £4.

It has 300 oversized pieces which could suit a wide range of people. I might consider buying another one from this brand, as there are different images to collect. I’m currently working on a very ambitious 1000 piece jigsaw which I’m doing a bit at a time.

Are you into jigsaws too?
What hobbies are keeping you well at the moment? :-) Xx

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Recent Reads Reviewed #24

Angelica the Angel Fairy by Daisy Meadows - 3/5 

I asked my lovely librarian for some easy reads to get myself out of a reading slump, and this was one of the ones she picked. She made some really thoughtful choices throughout. Angelica the Angel Fairy is part of a series, and this instalment includes three connecting stories.

I enjoyed following the special adventures of two best friends and a few magical characters. I particularly loved the last story, which gave me a few laughs. The stories weren’t overly memorable however, and I thought some of the illustrations could have been improved. The cover is really sweet, and I liked the shiny pink.

Moods of the North York Moors by Ian Carstairs - 5/5 

I’m doing quite well with the moods series, as this is the third book I’ve read this year. I’ve been on holiday many times to the North York Moors, so I have a bit of a connection to that area. I found this edition to be the most fascinating, and well written. Many of the photographs had a documentary feel which I appreciated. It was a fairly short but memorable book for me, which I would recommend to anyone wanting to know more about this part of North Yorkshire.

Little Adventurers: Leafy the Pet Leaf by Philip Ardagh - 2/5 

We follow a group of young children called the little adventurers who meet in their back shed, to learn new things. On this occasion they each bring in their pet, but Sprat who has no animal to share, chooses to bring in Leafy the leaf. I liked that the book felt very visual, and interactive but the layout wasn’t clear and overall the story didn’t really float my boat.

Happy Days: Official Illustrated Autobiography by Olly Murs - 5/5 

I’ve loved X-Factor over the years it’s been on TV, but as I wasn’t so keen on the refresh last year I tend to watch old clips on YouTube now. This sparked an interest to read some of the previous contestant’s books, and so far I’ve read Olly Murs, Matt Cardle and James Arthur’s autobiography.

It was interesting to hear about Olly’s life before the X-Factor, as well as behind the scenes experiences after the show. I don’t think this is an official X-Factor book, which I appreciated because some of the X-Factor gossip was more honest. There were loads of photos too, great for Olly fans!

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso - 5/5

Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal clothing company first started out as an eBay seller. Part autobiographical part self-help manifesto, we follow her journey and the huge success she has had building a fashion empire. A quirky character, and most definitely a #GIRLBOSS, her empowering words struck a chord with me. I can see many enterprising, girl bosses taking something from this book.

Summer Adventure Stories by Enid Blyton - 5/5

There wasn’t one story I didn’t like in this collection; Blyton pulls us into her magical worlds so naturally and using just a delicate thread they weave together as a group. Enid Blyton’s work has a timeless beauty that anyone of any age can appreciate. She is one of my favourite authors.

Paper Girls, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan - 5/5

I’m getting more invested in the Paper Girls series as I go along, and the fourth episode might be my favourite so far. The storyline, and illustrations are superb as always. I can’t see where the plot is going, but I’m excited to find out!

Have you been reading anything in lockdown?
What kind of books have you been gravitating towards? :-) Xx

Thursday, 30 April 2020

The Snack Diaries | Part Nineteen

Ten Acre Crisps The Story Of When The Cheese Met The Onion
(From Holland&Barrett, £0.89 for 40g)
With the current lockdown my Mum placed an online order at Holland&Barrett for a few foodie bits. These were the first item that I tried, and I was pleasantly surprised, they were really delicious. They are vegan, but the cheese and onion taste is amazing. Even if you’re not vegan, give these a go!!

Lentil Bites Tomato & Herb 
(From Holland&Barrett, £0.85 for 20g)
These were my least favourite from the H&B haul yet they were still pretty good. I wouldn’t pass on having them again, if I saw them on offer or something. The tomato and herb taste comes through nicely, and the crisps are pleasantly, crunchy.

Eat Real Veggie Straws 
(From Holland&Barrett, £1.89 for 113g)
Another wonderful surprise, they are actually super moreish and delicious. Without a doubt I will be repurchasing these. They came in a bigger value pack, if you are a family that might be a plus. Another vegan item.

Green & Black’s 85% Cocoa Dark Chocolate
(From Morrison’s, £2.00 for unknown quantity)
I bought this to share over Easter with my family. It’s one of my Mum’s favourite dark chocolate brands so it was a bit of a treat for us. I’ve been more into dark chocolate lately, I enjoy the taste, and it has less sugar. A firm favourite but not quite as good as the Lindt alternative.

Do you have any snack recommendations for me?
Did any of these foodie reviews interest you? :-) Xx