Friday, 23 August 2019

Summer & Autumn Clothing Haul

This collective haul spans over quite a long period, I bought a couple of bits on holiday, and other places. Some things were for the summer months, while a few I have the intention of wearing in autumn.

The pyjama bottoms, dressing gown and baseball cap were mostly purchased for practical reasons. I’ve been needing a few extra pairs of pyjama bottoms, and I was getting a bit warm in my winter dressing gown over summer. My last baseball cap has seen better days, so I invested in a new one.

The military jacket, and bag were both treat purchases, bought on holiday in Helmsley with my family. I see these two pieces working quite well together in autumn.

Haul Details:

Age UK Charity Shop, Helmsley.
Military jacket, originally from Boohoo. £4.50

Helmsley Market
Pink and grey cross over bag. £14.99

Marks & Spencer
Elephant design cosy pyjama bottoms. £15.00

Neon summer dressing gown. £12.00 (+20% off offer)
Denim summer baseball cap. £6.00 (+20% off offer)

Do you have a favourite item from the haul?
Is there anything you are currently on the lookout to buy? :-) Xx

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Recent Reads Reviewed #15

As Weekends Go by Jan Brigden - 5/5

I picked this book from the library, after being intrigued by the premise, and the striking front cover. The story develops around Rebecca, who gets the chance to join her best friend Abi for a weekend away in York. We learn that a famous footballer is also staying there at the same time, and sparks fly. My thoughts were it was going to be one of those guilty-pleasure reads, with the scandalous characters and mishaps, but at the core of the book, was this very sweet romance. I liked that it was the best of both worlds.

I thought the way it switched between each characters perspectives added an extra level of interest. There was such a large span of different character types too. For example, we get to experience a very authentic account of a stag-do, as well as the breakdown of a marriage between Rebecca and Greg. The characters were far from perfect, and yet extremely readable. I think the highlight for me, was the girls weekend in York, it was so escapist and fun to read. This was a book I won’t be forgetting in a hurry!

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson - 5/5

This is the second Morgan Matson book I’ve read, the first being The Unexpected Everything which I actually rated only 3/5 stars. Since You’ve Been Gone pleasantly surprised me; it was a really great story about friendship and long summer days. I don’t read a great deal of YA but I dip my toe in now and again and this was one of my favs from this year so far.

I liked the themes of running that was threaded into the narrative and it made me want to give it a go. There was an element of mystery with Sloane’s disappearance, but it wasn’t always the focus but instead Emily’s journey to discovering herself and making new connections. Without a doubt, I recommend this book!

Turning the Tide on Plastic by Lucy Siegle - 5/5

This was a remarkable book that has had an impact on my outlook to this topic. I found this read incredibly eye-opening, with the facts shared and ways to change my daily routine. I really hope more people read it as I think it has the power to change a lot of people’s habits in response to the environment and reducing plastic.

One Hundred Muddy Paws for Thought by Simon Whaley - 3/5

This is what I would define as a toilet read because of its quick, humorous style. This book is told from the eye of your misbehaving pet canine and I love dogs so I picked this one up. It was a cute read, despite being repetitive in a few places.

The Naughtiest Girl Again by Enid Blyton - 4/5

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying quite a few Enid Blyton books recently. The Naughtiest Girl Again is the second book in a series although it works just fine as a standalone. We follow young Elizabeth at boarding school, as she learns some important lessons in how to treat others kindly. I found this one to be a cosy read, with the old fashioned story and writing style. I appreciated the simplicity of plot, with an important underlying message for all ages.

The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine Doyle - 5/5

Let me begin by saying – how stunning is this cover! This book is described on the reverse as funny, dark and blazingly beautiful which I have to agree. Darker themes are normally outside my comfort zone, but this middle-grade book had just that edge to capture my imagination.

We follow Fionn Boyle as he sets foot on Arranmore Island, the magical journey he endures and rekindling family connections. This is one of the most unforgettable reads for me this year and there is actually now a sequel which I hope to read at some point.

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams - 4/5

David Walliams is a prolific and well known children’s author and I’ve been curious to try one of his books for a while. Gangsta Granny called out to me as the idea of a jewel thief grandma appealed to me.

I knocked it down one star as in a few places, I felt the representation of elderly family members could have been better. The ending was sweet, if a little drawn out. However the story of Ben and his Grandma was really heart-warming to read and I can see lots of children enjoying it.

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

Thursday, 15 August 2019

The Snack Diaries | Part Sixteen

Morrison’s Best Seeded Cheese Bites
(From Morrisons, £1.50 for 75g)
I stumbled across these in the Morrison’s savoury snack isle and was super intrigued. They turned out to be one of my favourite snacks since doing this series! They were so delicious and the authentic cheese taste is superb. I could have eaten these in one go, but enjoyed the experience of having a few a day with family.

Moser Roth Dark Chocolate
(From Aldi, price unknown for 125g)
I was gifted this chocolate at Easter, and have been sparingly enjoying a piece here and there. This dark chocolate is not bitter at all and the cocoa really came though. If you are after some dark chocolate, I recommend this brand.

Tesco No Added Sugar Hazelnut Chocolate Spread
(From Tesco, £1.50 for 400g)
This product is a great option if you are making conscious steps to consume less sugar or generally eat healthier. It works well as a topping for a cake or general spread. The authentic hazelnut taste is lovely, although the spread is not very thick/whipped.

Twining’s Chocolate Coconut Green Tea
(From Morrisons, £2.00 for 20 tea bags)
After absolutely loving their lemon drizzle variety, I experimented with the chocolate coconut in hope it would be just as nice. It was interesting to try it, but I didn’t think it was one of my favourites.

Which of these snacks interest you most?
Do you have any foodie recommendations for me? :-) Xx

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Healthier Cocoa Biscuits

I’ve been baking again! I haven’t shared a baking post in a little while although I’ve been making quite a few different things lately. I’ve been faithfully using my Mary Berry Fast Cakes recipe book for nearly all my recent bakes, it’s my new favourite! The recipes in there are simple, easy to follow and great if you want to tweak things a little like I do.

These biscuits went down quite well, and I liked the rich taste of cocoa, as it gave me freedom to swap the sugar for a good quality sweetener. They took no time to make really, and little time to bake too. I often like experimenting with new recipes, and rarely go back to reuse them, but I can see these being a bit of a staple. They would be a lovely, healthy treat to snack on and ideal to freeze for later.

Are you in the mood to bake? 
Where do you get your recipes from? :-) Xx

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Recent Reads Reviewed #14

The Little Book of Kindness by Bernadette Russell – 5/5

This book was wonderful, and had some heart-warming suggestions to encourage more kindness into your life. Chapters cover things like how to be kind to yourself, strangers, those you love, the environment and so on. I came away fully inspired to implement the ideas mentioned and would recommend you give this book a read.

Kaspar, Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo – 5/5

Morpurgo is quite an acclaimed author, and I was intrigued to delve into his work for the first time. The story of Kasper the cat was fairly extraordinary, and I enjoyed the retelling of Titanic’s sinking. Although aimed at children, I can see all ages taking something from this book.

The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter – 4/5

I picked this one up for nostalgia as I remember these books being read to me as a young child. As we follow Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and into her world it feels magical. There is a lovely unassuming, sentiment to the way it was written. They still capture my imagination as an adult, and I will be looking out for other stories by the author.

The Beano book 1988 by unknown – 5/5

I got this book from a coffee morning book stall very cheaply, just for a bit of fun. I had never really read a Beano book or magazine cover to cover, and thought this was my opportunity. It’s an annual, which includes mini illustrated stories from the different characters. It made me laugh and put a big smile on my face.

How to Be Confident by Anna Barnes - 5/5

This was a wonderful, life-affirming book that addresses in a light-hearted way techniques in which to feel more confident. There’s a mixture of famous quotes, beautiful illustrations as well as more in depth chapters such as understanding confidence, treating yourself well, etc. The chapter on eating well struck a chord with me, as it provided some insightful thinking and tips on nutrition. Another favourite chapter of mine was about how to feel good about your clothing style which touched on clearing out and revamping your wardrobe, as well as wearing colourful clothing. I fully recommend this book and the author has a whole series covering other topics such as how to be happy, how to be mindful and so on I would love to delve into.

Little Book of Tidying: Declutter your home and your life by Beth Penn – 5/5

After reading Marie Kondo’s tidying book, I was after something to further spark my interest. This book was a lovely surprise and surpassed my expectations. It had some really clever and thoughtful ideas in our approach and attitude towards tidying. It covers lots of things such as, the act of tidying, shopping, etc. I would fully recommend you give it a read.

Words on Kindness by Helen Exley – 3/5

This life-affirming book was quite enjoyable and with being short, I finished it very quickly. The Illustrations were traditional and had a charm about them. I liked many of the quotes, but some were better than others. If you’re feeling like a pick me up, this might be the one for you.

Do you reread books for nostalgia?
Where do you generally like to buy books? :-) Xx

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

The Snack Diaries | Part Fifteen

Go Ahead! Goodness Coconut Bars 
(From Poundland, £1.00 for four bars)
These had a lovely taste, and the coconut really came through. They weren’t anything overly exciting though. Maybe great for everyday to put in your lunch box or to recharge after a workout.

Pulsin Raw Choc Brownies
(From Fultons Foods, price unknown for three bars)
These were seriously yummy, and moreish! If I’m going to treat myself to something sweet, these would be it. I rarely repurchase, but I’m thinking about it with these. I also want to point out - how eye-catching is the packaging?!

Morrison’s Best Tropical Tea 
(From Morrisons, £2.80 for fifteen tea bags)
I treated myself to these on my birthday, as it looked like it might be something quite special. The product is part of the premium Morrison’s range, and the packaging is really eye-catching. Sadly I didn’t think it was worth it for the price. While the flavour was quite pleasant, the teabags were too weakly concentrated for me.

Thornton’s Classic Collection Chocolates
(From unknown, unknown price and quantity)
I was gifted this a good while back before I was watching my sugar intake. Thornton’s is a very reliable brand for chocolate, and you can pick up boxes cheaply in lots of mainstream shops now. Great for gifting/sharing.

What kind of snacks do you like to eat?
Do you have any fruit/herbal tea recommendations? :-) Xx

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Morrison's Wild Raspberry Shampoo & Conditioner

Hope you are all well. Today I’m going to be chatting about this Morrison’s shampoo and conditioner I’ve been using lately. Informally I’ve mentioned a few times about going around different supermarkets and seeing what cruelty-free toiletries are available. It may not be obvious in the photo, but these two bottles are huge! I paid £1.10 for each 750ml bottle, so that seems like incredible value. I was worried the quality was going to be a bit naff, but after reading so many positive reviews on the Morrison’s website, I went ahead and bought them.

The scent is wild raspberry and jojoba, which is a really fresh and fruity scent that I love. It mentions the range is for dry/damaged hair, which suits me okay. I had no problems getting a lather, and found the shampoo to be cleansing. The conditioner was very nourishing too. My hair after drying, seemed in good condition, and the scent lingered. The leaping bunny logo is featured on the bottles, although I don’t think the brand is vegan sadly. I can see these lasting me ages and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to others.

What shampoo are you currently using? 
Have you ever tried supermarket own brand toiletries before? :-) Xx

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Original Source Lemon & Lime Foaming Shower Gel

Lately, I’ve been enjoying using this Original Source shower foam, and I thought I would share a mini review on my blog. I purchased mine inexpensively at Wilko, for £1.75. I recommend taking advantage of offers and I’ve come across the Original Source shower gels in places like supermarkets, the pound shops and drugstores.

The brand is Vegan, and widely available on the high street. I love the scents available, they do lime, lemon, rhubarb and so on in the standard shower gel. There are also quite a few options in the foam version, I personally went for the lemon and lime which is such a perfect summer fragrance.

The pumping action on the shower foam is pretty cool, and a small amount of product goes a long way. My only bug bear, is the bottle isn’t as widely recycled as the standard range (I don’t think). But other than that, I’m really glad I tried this product. Next on my to-try list are their water infusions range.

Do you like the Original Source brand?
What shower gel are you currently using? :-) Xx

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Camfields Espresso Bar Review & Tour

Welcome back; today I’m going to be sharing a café I’ve visited quite a few times now and I’ll be talking through the menu as well as my general experience. The café is located on Saltburn seafront, and they offer a range of beverages, snacks as well as light meals such as paninis etc. I’ve tried a few things on the menu, and overall have been really pleased.

I have had a meal there once, and I ordered a special panini which I really enjoyed. I only really have sweeter things at meal times now because of the sugar and my dental issues but their extensive ice-cream/smoothie range is great if you are after treating yourself. I would be inclined to order one of their smoothies again if I went for lunch one day.

The coffee is generally of a very high standard, and I mostly opt for a decaf latte. The croissants are really buttery and fresh, I think I’ll be having one of those again! I was a bit disappointed with the scones sadly, but they may have been having an off day. 

It’s lovely to sit outside in the summer when the sun is shining, it’s really blissful actually and one of the highlights of visiting the café. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but the staff are welcoming, and there is a lovely atmosphere. Overall I would recommend the café (and Saltburn) for a day out.

What do you tend to order at cafes?
Do you have a favourite café to recommend? :-) Xx

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