Sunday, 13 October 2019

Recent Reads Reviewed #17

Toil and Trouble by Tabitha Black - 4/5

This was a sweet, and highly readable children’s book. It has those Harry Potter vibes with it being set around a boarding school for witches although it’s very much aimed at younger girls.

I enjoyed the friendship between the main characters, and their loyalty towards each other and the school. There were a few plot twists which added an extra element of fun. I recommend this book, and might consider others in the series.

Grk and the Hot Dog Trail by Josh Lacey - 5/5

Don’t be deceived by the youthful design on the front cover; Tim and Grks adventure in New York City to find the priceless golden statue was thoroughly gripping. There were some fantastic moments in the book. I also appreciated the witty and fun dialogue. Very well written, and I without a doubt recommend to others.

Any Ideas? Tips and Techniques to Help You Think Creatively by Rob Eastaway - 5/5

I’ve read a few creative thinking books in the past, including the most well-known one Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I wanted to read further into the subject, and this title came up reduced on The Works website so I thought I would give it a go.

I particularly enjoyed learning about where ideas come from and the science behind lateral thinking. Quotes from famous figures were included which I felt were very notable too. It turned out to be quite a special book, and I came away with some insightful thoughts.

Abstracts (Collins Learn To Paint) by Laura Reiter - 3/5

I enjoyed flicking through the stunning art work in this book. I was hoping to get some motivation to do some art work myself, but I found the steps a bit tedious and only got half way through reading them. My main inspiration came from looking at the pictures which was enough to give the book a three star rating.

The Best of Miranda by Miranda Hart - 5/5

This book surpassed my expectations in many ways, and I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. I’m a big fan of the sitcom Miranda, and reading this book felt like reliving the first time I watched the program on TV.

The book includes dialogue from the most popular episodes, and was just as fun to read as watching it on TV. Miranda Hart has annotated the script with her own little comments which was a lovely touch.

Little extras in the book include things like a snakes and ladders style marry Gary board game and Miranda talks us through some of her experiences from making the show. A big must for any of her fans for sure!

The Spooky School (Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam Series) by Tracey Corderoy - 5/5

I was delighted with this book overall. The illustrations complimented this well written collection of short stories. The autumn colour palette which featured in the imagery throughout was a nice touch and the unique stories were perfect for younger readers.

Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper by Debbie Johnson - 4/5

I’ve read one or two of Debbie Johnson books now so I can tell I like her writing. This was a lovely, romantic read, and I felt the connection between Maggie and Marco was written well. Marco in particular was a fun and well-rounded character. Towards the end, the story became a bit predictable, but otherwise a great read.

Have you been inspired to read any of these books?
Do you have any book recommendations for me? :-) Xx

Friday, 11 October 2019

The Snack Diaries | Part Eighteen

Sainsbury's Bedtime Infusion Herbal Tea
(From Sainsbury’s, £1.25 for 20 teabags)
This is one of my favourite herbal teas I’ve tried in a good while. I love the blend of flavours, including camomile, lemon balm, lavender, etc. It’s so calming therefore perfect for bed time. The packaging is absolutely stunning, and on top of that the price is a bargain for what you get.

Morrison's Red Berry Blush Fruit Tea
(From Morrisons, £1.12 for 20 teabags)
As I received this tea as a gift, I was willing to give it a go even though I’m not as keen on berry flavours. The cranberry really comes through making it seasonally appropriate and actually I found myself enjoying this brand. One of my favourite berry teas I’ve tried.

M&S Sweet and Salty Popcorn
(From M&S, price and quantity unknown)
These two snacks were, kindly gifted to us as a family, so we all had a portion each. The popcorn tasted delicious, and just like how you get it at the cinema. I did limit my share, as I have been with other sweet treats but can see this product being popular with anyone who likes sweet and salty popcorn.

M&S Cheese Tasters Crisps
(From M&S, price and quantity unknown) 
These are imitating Wotsits crisps which were a favourite of mine as a child. These weren’t quite as nice as the official Wotsits brand but my brother very much enjoyed finishing them off. The M&S packaging overall is great too.

Would you be interested to try any of these? 
Which supermarket do you get most of your snacks/teas from? :-) Xx

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Autumnal Baking: Rhubarb Crumble

Crumbles are perfect for this time of year, and one of my favourites to bake as well as eat. If you want to get into the spirit of baking this autumn, a crumble is a good place to start as there is not a lot of preparation.

I’ve been growing my own rhubarb over the summer for the first time, and decided to use it here. You can add so many types of fruit to a crumble, and it you are trying to more economical there’s nothing stopping you using either bought or canned fruit.

This dish went down well in our family.

Let me know what your favourite crumble filling is!! :-) Xx

Friday, 27 September 2019

Recent Reads Reviewed #16

Delete This At Your Peril: The Bob Servant Emails by Neil Forsyth - 5/5

This book had been floating around our house as an unwanted gift so I picked it up it without any high expectations. I was pleasantly surprised to find it’s the most I’ve laughed ever while reading a book. We follow protagonist, Bob Servant and his highly entertaining email exchanges with online spammers. This was one of my favourite reads from the year so far!

A Loud Winter's Nap by Katy Hudson - 4/5

In this lovely book we follow tortoise as he longs to get a nap through the winter but in the end he finds the cold season can be a time for fun and friendship. The illustrations are beautiful, and I found the overall book to be very sweet.

Thumbelina by Lucy M. George - 3/5

After flicking through the stunning illustrations I was excited to read this retelling. The visuals really made the book for me; as the way this short story was told didn’t quite match up.

Our Woodland Birds by Matt Sewell - 5/5

Everything about this book is beautiful. Once you get into the first few pages, it’s easy to emerge yourself into the poetic descriptions of each bird and fall in love with the illustrations. It’s not only a joy to read but it’s also very educational.

The Worst Witch All At Sea by Jill Murphy - 4/5

I’ve heard a couple of online book influencers talk about The Worst Witch, so I lent this title out when I noticed it in the library. It’s not the first in the series, but still readable if you haven’t read the previous books. I really enjoyed the story, and illustrations; they seemed to work so well in union. I would recommend these books for Halloween, if like myself, want something fairy spooky but with no mild peril.

Christmas at Thompson Hall and Other Christmas Stories by Anthony Trollope - 3/5

Firstly, this book is beautifully presented so grabbing it secondhand at one of the fairs I visited over the summer was a no-brainer. As well as the challenge of reading a classic, short stories set around Christmas time really appealed to me. The writing was beautiful in parts, and I’m glad to have read it but the stories were somewhat hit and miss.

Favourite Christmas Treats: Food and Crafts to Make by Jacki Pan-Passmore - 3/5

I picked this up very inexpensively at a church coffee morning. I was drawn to the vintage photography and traditional dishes that would be served in the very early 90’s when it was written. The recipes weren’t easily achievable, although I found some inspiration nonetheless.

What are your favourite book genres?
Have you been reading anything interesting lately? :-) Xx

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Star Buds Café Visit & Share #7

Hope you are all well. Today I’m going to be sharing a visit to Star Buds with my family. I’ve featured Star Buds a fair few times now on my blog, and it’s one of the loveliest local cafes I know of. On this occasion I had a decaf latte and an unusual scone which I can’t quite remember what was in it, but it tasted superb. Star Buds Lattes are so rich, and tasty.

I had taken some photos while on our visit. On this occasion we sat in a summer house located just by the main café. It made some interesting shots in the end, I liked the brown tones that came through in the images, and the plants were atmospheric.

Do you like visiting cafes too?
Do you have a favourite café to recommend? :-) Xx

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Autumn Bake With Me: Choc & Hazelnut Cookies

It’s soon going to be the beginning of autumn! I love baking this time of year; it’s one of my favourite pastimes all year through but there’s something so cosy about it in autumn.

I’ve done a couple of bake with me posts previously but today I’m sharing chocolate and hazelnut cookies. I used the toll house cookies recipe from Mary Berry’s Fast Cakes baking book as a guide but tweaked it a little, adding hazelnut’s, raisins and swapping sugar to a sweetener.

These cookies came out pretty well, the combination of chocolate, nuts and raisins worked nicely. Also on another note my Mum bought a reusable baking sheet, which I used here; I recommend them if you are wanting to be a little more eco-friendly.

Hope you are all doing okay.

Leave a link to any of your autumn related posts and I’ll try and give them a read.

Speak soon! :-) Xx

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

The Snack Diaries | Part Seventeen

Twinings Sleep Herbal Tea
(From Morrisons, £2.00 for 20 teabags)
This was one of my favourite teas I’ve had in a while. The flavour is spiced apple, vanilla with camomile and passionflowers. It gives me serious autumnal vibes, and I can see myself repurchasing which I don’t often do.

Co-op Apple & Blueberry Fruit Infusion Tea
(From Co-op, £0.99 for 20 teabags)
This is one of my Nan’s favourite fruit teas; it has an authentic berry taste, although personally I find it a bit sharp for my palate. Co-op teas are really affordable though, and they have a good selection.

Kallo Lightly Salted Corn Cakes
(From unknown, unknown price for 130g)
These were a bit of an experiment as I’d tried corn cakes a long time ago and wasn’t keen on them. I mostly had them with a bit of peanut butter which was quite nice. They were acceptable enough but not worth repurchasing.

Nakd Cocoa Orange Snack Bar
(From unknown, unknown price for 35g)
I think this brand has a lot going for it, and I can see why their products are popular. The cocoa orange variety was lovely although out of all the flavours it’s not my favourite.

Have you tried any of these before?
Do you have any autumnal herbal tea recommendations for me? :-) Xx

Birthday Present Haul 2019

Hope my blog readers are doing well. Today I wanted to share what I received for my birthday this year. I sometimes try and fit to a theme, and last year it was mermaid/aqua colours. This year it’s more focused on prepping for autumn. I picked up a few related things in the summer sales to put away for my birthday, for example a winter coat and hat. The block calendar, fox book markers, body sprays and bedtime tea are giving me those A/W vibes too.

Books are one of my favourite things to receive, as I don’t normally buy new books throughout the year. I tend to mostly buy myself things on my birthday, as I’m rather fussy but my family picked out some lovely surprises such as DVDs, foodie items, shower gels etc. I go to a card making class, and the tutor was having a craft sale, so my Mum and I picked out some card toppers very inexpensively. I had quite a quiet birthday but it was nice to have a cake with close family, and receive some lovely things.

Have I given you any gift inspiration?
Do you like to ask for books on your birthday too? :-) Xx

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Jigsaw Log #1

Welcome to the first in the series of my jigsaw logs. I’ve been doing jigsaws on and off for a good number of years now, and more frequently just recently. I thought it would be interesting to share my progress sometimes, although it does take me a long time to complete a 500 or 1000 piece jigsaw.

After doing many different kinds of jigsaws, I’ve learned which brands are my favourite. One of my go-to brands is Trefl, as the quality is superb for the price. Trefl jigsaws can be bought at The Works, and in general there selection is really great. Luckily a family friend of ours has a contact who always passes on used jigsaws, so we’ve been delighted with those too.

So as you can see I’ve been working on this Taj Mahal jigsaw, it’s again by Trefl and was bought at The Works for £4.00. The difficultly level was fairly easy, and it was satisfying to get through one so quickly. Because the image was symmetrical, that added a layer of interest and I completed this 500 piece jigsaw over the summer.

I was given this secondhand Halloween inspired jigsaw, which in theory sounds quite fun for autumn but I wasn’t enjoying it as much as others I’ve done. The image was a bit doom and gloom, and didn’t feel in the mood for it. The quality was below average, and the colour palette didn’t inspire. Instead I have a few other jigsaws ready to complete, which hopefully you will see me progress with next time.

What kind of jigsaws appeal to you?
Has this post inspired you to do a jigsaw? :-) Xx