Sunday, 23 June 2019

Recent Reads Reviewed #13

Baby Zebra Rescue by Tamsyn Murray - 3/5

I bought this alongside a few other books in Poundland a while back. It drew me in because of its pretty cover, and I anticipated that it would be a quick read. We follow Zoe, and family who are opening up a new zoo and we get to hear stories of the different animals there. Zoe finds her feet at the animal park while a baby zebra goes missing. While I struggled to keep engaged in the simple narrative, overall it was a sweet story.

Garden Friends: Plants, Animals and Wildlife that are Good for Your Garden by Ed Ikin - 4/5

This was a fascinating book about plants, animals and wildlife that are good for your garden. I picked it up from the library because I’ve been getting more into horticulture lately. I certainly gained a new perspective about how biology and the interactions between different organisms can make a difference in gardening. The language of the book was a little hard to follow in places, mostly due to the specific terms used that I was unfamiliar with. However the illustrations were charming and broke up the chunks of text nicely. I would recommend you give it a read!

The Mystery of the Strange Bundle (The Five Find-Outers #10) by Enid Blyton - 5/5

This was my first Enid Blyton book I had read in a long time but I thoroughly enjoyed it. We follow the finder-outers in their latest mystery. The authors writing makes reading such a pleasure and I genuinely laughed out loud at the humour sometimes in the book. I’ve read a few more books from the author since, but this title still remains memorable.

A Sea Change by Veronica Henry - 5/5

I borrowed this book from the library and wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. Initially I thought it was going to be a fluffy romance but it had a good moral to the story which developed after two strangers meet at a seaside. The author captured my attention quickly and I flew through this ninety page book. There were some darker elements and a bit of grit to the characters but the ending was very pleasing. I recommend you give it a read!

Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith - 4/5

This was quite an extraordinary reading experience for me because the book was out of my comfort zone and the authors writing style wasn’t like anything I’d read before. In places I found the writing hard to digest and I didn’t get it one hundred percent of the time but I appreciate the format was imaginative and experimental. 

In between the short stories Ali Smith has discussions about how important libraries are and I was very much interested in this topic. I generally enjoy short stories and many stayed with me in this collection because of their surreal quality as well as having an important message. Overall I can see myself recommending this book and taking more interest in the author. I borrowed this title from the library.

What are you currently reading?
Which of these books interest you most? :-) Xx

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Sandside Café Runswick Bay Review & Tour

Welcome back and hope you are all well. Today I’m going to be doing a café review which we visited while on holiday in Runswick Bay last year. Sandside Café is on the sea front of Runswick Bay, and we went in for lunch. So let’s begin…

We went at the height of summer in 2018, and it was fairly busy but we got a table outside and had a lovely coffee. The sun was scorching so we headed inside the café for something to eat. The décor was very pretty and sea themed. We sat by the window and had a spectacular view of Runswick Bay.

Unintentionally we all picked the same thing to eat, we had the prawn salad sandwich on brown bread with side salad and crisps. It was very fresh (and filling!). I had a glass of apple juice which was nicely cooling with the warm weather. 

I would recommend you try Sandside if you are in the Whitby area. We went on the beach afterwards and I got some great photos as well as an ice-cream. We also visited The Runcible Spoon Café on the same holiday and the review is here.

Have you ever been to Runswick Bay?
Does this look like a café you might want to try? :-) Xx

Thursday, 23 May 2019

The Snack Diaries | Part Fourteen

Twinings Lemon Drizzle Green Tea
(From Morrison’s, £2.00 for twenty tea bags)
I was pleasantly surprised by this tea, it had a very authentic lemon drizzle taste and was quite moreish to drink. I’ve already tried the cherry bakewell green tea, but out of the two this one is my favourite.

Twinings Earl Grey Decaffeinated Tea
(From Morrison’s, £2.00 for fifty tea bags)
I’ve had earl grey tea a fair few times now, and it’s one of my go-to drinks while at cafes. I have to say the Twinning variety is superb, and although I rarely repurchase the same tea twice, I can see myself doing so when these are on offer.

Gullon Sugar Free Choc Chip Cookies
(From Iceland, £1.20 for 150g)
My Mum kindly found this brand of biscuits for me, as I’ve been cutting down sugar in my diet. Gullon do all sorts of varieties of biscuits, and although I hadn’t heard of them previously they are now stocked in lots of supermarkets. These choc chip cookies were excellent and I couldn’t taste the difference. If you took away the packaging, it's not obvious they are a health conscious brand.

Gullon Sugar Free Dark Choc Digestive Biscuits
(From Iceland, £1.20 for 270g)
Following on from the previous review, these ones are a digestive with dark chocolate flavouring covering the top. I was dubious these were going to be any good, but wow, they are delicious and so moreish!

What tea brands do you like?
Would you consider trying anything from this post? :-) Xx

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Recent Reads Reviewed #12

Confetti Girl by Diana López – 4/5

This is one of those times when the cover made me want to buy the book. A long time ago, my Mum picked this book up for my birthday after seeing it on my Goodreads page. The premise is set around Lina, a middle school student who is a sock enthusiast and navigating life after her Mum died last year. What made the book for me were the Spanish influences, for example best friend Vanessa’s mom has been making cascarones, which are hollowed eggshells filled with confetti and have a Spanish origin. Also at the beginning of each chapter, there was a quote in Spanish which is also translated.

I’ve never read anything like this book before, I would say it’s quite unique. The Spanish traditions and look into the importance of family struck a chord with me. Lina is quirky but also a troubled child after losing her Mum. I liked that the characters in this book were flawed, and how Lina, and her Dad are finding their way together. I could imagine this book appealing to lots of young people, and it’s refreshing to know there are still good, wholesome books out there with important lessons.

Livin' the Dreem: A Year in My Life by Harry Hill – 4/5

I originally picked this up in Poundland, a long time ago as a gift, it was never read and was given back to me to read. I finally read it after my friend recommended it to me, and was pleased to have kept it. This book has Harry Hill all over it, and the humour is very entertaining although it’s sometimes bonkers I personally enjoyed reading it. It has a similar style to his film as well as his programme TV Burp.

The book takes you through the year in chapters of each month, as a year in my life style. It’s fiction, not non-fiction as although it is written by Harry Hill, it’s made up. It’s quite a hefty length, and at times, I felt it could have been shortened. I can see this book being suitable for a wide range of ages, and would recommend it to those who love Harry Hill and his humour.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling - 4/5

After reading Mindy’s first book ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)’ I had high hopes for this one. It reads very much similar to her first book with humorous advice on things like female empowerment and dating. Her perspective is refreshingly honest and after seeing her in a couple of interviews she seems like a really sweet person. While I enjoyed it, I felt it wasn’t quite as amazing as her first novel.

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

I finished reading The Selection series at the beginning of this year, and looking back at each book ‘The One’ was probably my favourite, and a top reading highlight of 2018. We follow America, who has entered a reality TV show to compete for Prince Maxon’s heart and ultimately a place in the royal family. I loved reading about America’s chance to wear royal gowns, and being emerged in quite a unique dystopian world. If you are looking for an ultimate girly, escapist read then this series is for you!

Hate That Cat (Jack #2) by Sharon Creech – 3/5

I joined my local library van last year and this was the first book I picked up because it was a quick read which I ended up finishing in one day. It’s a two part series, this one being the second, but it’s not necessary to read the first part as each tells a unique story. I’ve never read a book by this author before but after doing some research, I think all her books are free verse.

Jack is still processing the grief of this dog passing but he is greeted by an unruly black cat up a tree one day. He begins to realise maybe cats aren’t so bad and he then gets a little kitten and can’t help but adore it. He also is learning more about what it’s like being deaf through his mother. There was a beautiful poem about sign language towards the end of the book which was a highlight for me. 

Jack is assigned a school project to learn the art of poetry and as the book progresses his skills improve. It’s quite a unique concept, and I like it. It makes a great children’s book because of the way the reader goes on the journey with him, picking up different poetry devices that can be used. I did think the execution could have been a little bit better, I found some of the different sections just a little bit jumpy and disorientating to read. I give this book 3/5 stars.

What are you currently reading?
Have I persuaded you to pick up any of the books mentioned? :-) Xx

Saturday, 11 May 2019

TKMaxx Colourful Clothing Haul

Hope you’re all doing well. Today I have a clothing haul to share with you from TKMaxx. I don’t get to go to TKMaxx that often, but my friend introduced me to them a while back, and since then I’ve been a fan. When I last went in, I was hoping to grab a few statement pieces as I was in need of one or two items like that.

I’m very much drawn to colour in clothes, and these mustard linen blend trousers seemed perfect for summer time. I’ve worn them once so far this year; they are so comfortable, and I like the yellow. The pink floral dress I loved the minute I saw it; it kind of has an oriental theme to it, which is lovely. The till assistant mentioned how nice it was too! The green block swing dress is just my thing, and I can see it being an everyday staple. Lastly I purchased some joggers, they are so cosy and perfect for chill days.

What I bought in TKMaxx:

Mustard Linen Blend Trousers £12.99
Pink Floral Midi Dress £19.99
Green Block Swing Dress SALE £6.00
Red Panel Joggers SALE £5.00

Do you ever visit TKMaxx?
Which of these items appeal to you? :-) Xx

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Co-op Red Raspberry Shampoo & Conditioner

Welcome back! Today I have some thoughts to share on a shampoo and conditioner I’ve been using lately. I hope to try a few supermarket own branded toiletries and report back. I was in Co-op a little while ago browsing, and came across this red raspberry shampoo and matching conditioner for fine hair which suited me. What attracted me to this range was its both vegan and cruelty-free. The shampoo and conditioner were priced at £1.00 each for 400ml which seemed like amazing value.

I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked these products, the beautiful red raspberry scent was very prominent, lingering in the bathroom and on my hair for a long time. My locks seemed to look thicker after use and with a lovely shine. The packaging is simple and sleek, with a good cap making it practical in the shower. I would fully recommend if you are looking for an inexpensive haircare range and I might try other options for different hair types.

What shampoo/conditioner are you currently using?
Do you have any cruelty-free recommendations for me? :-) Xx

Sunday, 21 April 2019

E.l.f Bronzer

Happy Easter to my readers. Today I’m back to share this bronzer I’ve recently been using. It’s a really great Nars dupe, particularly with the packaging, and the very affordable price. The sleek, black compact, with a mirror is so practical and easy to pop in your bag too.

The product has four shades which you can use individually or swipe over with a big fluffy brush. I have very pale skin, so a little goes a long way but it gives off a subtle bronzed look which can be built up.

It’s available to buy on Superdrug here, for £5.00 but there are always offers which I took advantage of and I paid around the £3.00 mark. E.l.f is a one of the best cruelty-free drugstore brands in my opinion, and I’ve got lots of praise for them.

Do you like to use bronzer?
Have you tried this brand before? :-) Xx

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Barry M All Night Long Concealer

Hope you are all well and are having a good week so far. Today I’m excited to be reviewing this concealer I’ve been trialling by Barry M. In the past I’ve not really delved into the brand except for their nail polishes and glitter pots a long while back. I was curious to see how I went with this product, and was hoping for good things after reading previous reviews. Barry M offers a range of purse friendly make-up that is cruelty-free and many of their products such as this are vegan too.

When the concealer arrived in the post, the matt, sleek packaging really caught my eye and reminded me a little of Collection's lasting perfection concealer in the design and initial swatch. It’s nice to see such a pale shade available, and the undertones suit my skin nicely. I think this could be a staple for me, before my skin starts to tan. I use it under my eyes mostly, and it brightens my skin well. I don’t really have anything bad to say about it and would fully recommend. My shade choice was milk, the lightest of the five shades available and at £4.49 it seems a bit of a bargain. Look out for offers too. Click here to buy.

Have you ever tried Barry M make-up?
Do you have any concealer recommendations? :-) Xx

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Spring & Easter Haul

Wishing you all a lovely Easter which is upon us in a couple of weeks. Spring always cheers me up after those dark winter days. I have a haul to share today with some themed bits and pieces I’ve accumulated over the last couple of months. A new shop called One Below opened up in our local town recently, it’s very much like the pound shops you get and they had a few interesting things in. These Easter cookie cutters for a pound seemed great value, and I really like the cute shapes included. I had my eye on these pastel silicon cake cases in Wilko for spring baking, they are reusable and so much better for the environment.

I was low on shampoo/conditioner and looking for a budget friendly option, I’ve been really pleased with this Co-op offering which I’ll be doing a review of fairly soon. I’ve been a bit low on some basic clothing items recently, one being pyjamas and bought two pairs in Peacocks. The designs are so lovely although, I might do a little altering, as the sizing is just a tad off. Lastly I picked up a red beret, which I’m hoping to get a lot of use out of. I tend to wear a lot of beret type hats, I like the style of them and are great for the season transition as I can just pop one on if it gets a bit cool.

What I bought:

One Below
Easter cookie cutters £1.00

Pastel silicon cake cases £2.50

Co-op red raspberry shampoo £1.00
Co-op red raspberry conditioner £1.00

Choose to shine pyjama set £14.00
Super soft floral pyjama top £10.00
Super soft floral pyjama bottoms £12.00
Red beret SALE £6.00 £3.00

Do any of these items interest you?
Have you bought anything spring or Easter related lately? :-) Xx

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Recent Reads Reviewed #11

A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde – 3/5

I picked this up as I was attracted to the beautiful cover and a chance to try out the author for the first time. The story is set in the Western Isles of Scotland where protagonist Emily accepts a summer job as a cook assistant on a puffer boat. My personal highlight included the chapters focusing on this as I did feel some of the on land periods dragged a little. The pace of the book was a little slow, but the characters were lovely as was the overall story.

The Last Dance and Other Stories by Victoria Hislop - 4/5

This was my first experience reading anything by Victoria Hislop and I enjoyed her collection of short stories. Each showed a different side of Greek culture, and the messages were informative of life living there. The tone was quite melancholy on occasions, but I flew through this quick read. I would be interested to read more from the author.

Laughter Lines by Des O'Connor – 5/5

I came across this book in my local free charity book shop, and grabbed it as I was in the mood for something light and humorous. Des O’Connor is known for being a comedian and TV presenter in the UK. The book is in comic verse to celebrate life's little moments, and I enjoyed reading through his poetry. Naturally, they were very English and quaint which was part of the appeal for me.

Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel by Jane Costello – 5/5

Jane Costello is a fairly well-known chick lit author and she has wrote some great books such as All the Single Ladies, The Time of Our Lives and Girl on the Run to name just a few. I was pleased to have come across this particular title, and in my opinion it’s one of her best. The story develops around three friends who join a dance class at the Moonlight Hotel, and follows their dynamic as well as the romances that form along the way. If you are looking to try out the author, this one would be an excellent place to begin.

Fins Are Forever by Tera Lynn Childs – 5/5

This book was a joy to read; a perfect mix of fantasy, and contemporary middle grade. Main character, Lily is half-human half-mermaid and in this second book from the series it follows her life on land. The story was written in a way that could suit a broad range of ages and I was able to read it as a standalone with ease. There was something special about this book so I would certainly recommend it! 

Have you read any these books or come across the authors? 
What are you currently reading? :-) Xx