Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Recent Reads Reviewed #2

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland - 5/5

This was an unforgettable novel and may be in the running for favourite book of the year. Unusually for the YA genre the protagonist was a male, and this was interesting to see. Henry Page’s character had an endearing quality and his love interest Grace Town had some great quirks. I loved both characters originality and how their relationship developed. Although it was a character-driven plot, the narrative was very fast-paced and easy to read, the story was heart-breaking in parts and kept me on my toes. It was a perfect mixture of bitter, sweet, first love and unexpected twists.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – 4/5
The expectation going into this was high, with so much wonderful praise for it around. I choose to read it, partly because I found it second-hand and also I wanted to stretch myself with new genres. One of the first thriller books I’ve read and as an afterthought, I think it was a good place to start. I liked reading through different characters perspectives, each having their own flaws and authenticity, and I still routed for Rachel somehow. Focussing the plot around a train commute was intriguing too. It didn’t find it too horrifying, there were less frequent moments like that, yet I felt gripped. I actually really enjoyed it especially with the detective element. It gave me more confidence to read outside my comfort zone. 

Starstruck (Fame Game #2) by Lauren Conrad - 3/5

I’ve been slowly working my way through Lauren Conrad’s book series, loosely based on The Hills and Hollywood lifestyle. It’s actually quite a light read, I finished it while I was on holiday, and enjoyed it for that purpose. The plot and characters are a little bit fluffy but I didn’t mind, it still had a reasonable amount of intrigue and glamour. Like I’ve spoken about before, what makes the series unique is the inside scoop on reality TV, and finding out what’s real and what isn’t. If you’re a fan of Lauren and The Hills TV show, I think you would love it. 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

A Beauty Haul: Products for Summer

It feels truly like summer now, with the amazing weather we’ve been having, therefore I wanted to share lots of season appropriate products that I have been buying. I recently had just over £20 on my Boots advantage card which I spent. For those who don’t already know you can collect four points for every £1 you spend, with one point equal to one penny. I had a good look on Boots online to find some ethical/natural beauty products. I’ve been wanting to try the Kind Natured brand for a while, so I can’t wait to use their tutti frutti hair detangling spray.

I just finished a perfume bottle, and was looking for something for the summer months, I normally gravitate towards Escada, but I spotted ‘Sunshine’ by The Library Of Fragrance and was instantly drawn to it. It’s also cruelty-free making it a win win. To fill my basket up, I bought two additional items, I love the Boots Extracts brand which include fairtrade ingredients and was curious to see if their body sprays were any good, I picked the mango one. Lastly I chose an Original Source shower gel in mango, a super affordable brand and also vegan friendly.

Full reviews to come! 
Do any of the items interest you? 
What products do you like for summer?! Xx

What I Bought Info

Library Of Fragrance ‘Sunshine’ Eau de Toilette 30ml 
(£15/Boots.com/Buy Here)

Boots Extracts ‘Mango’ Body Spray 150ml  
(£3.50/Boots.com/Buy Here)

Kind Natured for Kids ‘Tutti Frutti’ Hair Detangling Spray 150ml 
(£2.99/Boots.com/Buy Here)

Original Source 'Mango' Shower Gel 250ml 
(£1.00/Boots.com/Buy Here)

Thursday, 8 June 2017

The Snack Diaries | Part Three

Doisy & Dam Lemon, Poppy Seed & Baobab Organic White Chocolate 
(From a farm shop, £2.99 for 100g)
First off can we just admire the beautiful packaging?! They do varied designs throughout the brand for different flavours. I spotted this white chocolate, in a farm shop while on a trip seeing family and it sounded interesting. The lemon gives it a sweet taste, and with the poppy seeds, the texture is unusual. The added baobab is a great source of vitamin C. I love that it’s organic, and can’t wait to try more from the brand.

Loving Earth Turkishly Delightful Dark Chocolate 
(From a farm shop, £2.39 for 45g)
I think out of the two chocolate bars from this haul, this one was my favourite, the Turkish delight flavour and truffle quality to it was lovely. The brand is also very ethical, as is Doisy & Dam. The packaging is cute, and I can see the brand being great for gifting.

Diplomat Calming Camomile Tea
(From Aldi, 89p for 40 teabags)
I really enjoyed this brand and flavour of tea, and they offer an extremely reasonably price point. This is probably one of my all-time favourite camomile variety, the subtle floral scent adds a nice touch. Although the packaging is rather plain, the box lasted me ages, making it economical to buy.

Go Ahead Red Cherry Yogurt Breaks 
(From Poundland, £1.00 for 5 packs)
I thought I was going to love these, and they were above average in taste, but it seemed to be mainly biscuit. There wasn’t much fruit inside, and even with the yogurt coating, the bars were a bit dry. There is very little calories in them though, and I did quite like the crunchiness to them. Great for on the go and I like the brand overall.

Have you tried any of these brands? 
Do you have any snack recommendations of your own? :-) Xx

Thursday, 25 May 2017

A Visit to Star Buds Café in May

Today I’m sharing with you another trip to my favourite local café which I visited with my parents this month. Naturally I brought my camera along, to log the things we ordered, I had a homemade chocolate shortbread and a mocha. I have to admit I didn’t know a lot about the different kinds of coffees you can get, there are so many names, so my mission is to try a different one each time I go. I was quizzing my Mum too, and I asked her what a mocha was, and found out it’s in between a coffee and hot chocolate. I loved it, I ordered decaf and found it very tasty. The chocolate shortbread I had was very fresh, as were the scones my parents had.

We also had a stroll around the garden centre, just next to Star Buds café. As part of my gardening project I picked up a Sorbaria which has almost ombre leaves from green to red. I’ve planted it since and it’s a beautiful addition to the garden. So that was our lovely morning out, what have you been up to lately? Do you get confused about different coffee names too or are you a coffee know-all? :-) Xx

Friday, 12 May 2017

Cacharel Noa Perfume

This perfume is such a classic, and I’ve been wearing it on and off for years so the scent is very nostalgic to me. The first time I wore it was on Christmas day back in my teens when I found it under the tree, a present from my grandparents. Funnily enough this particular bottle was also a Christmas gift from a friend, and I’ve been wearing it throughout 2016/2017. Some of my favourite scents are the musky, sweet variety but Noa is a people pleasing perfume, I can’t really imagine many females not wanting to wear this whatever their age. The packaging is feminine, and for the extremely reasonable price tag you get a luxurious product.

Since starting my cruelty-free journey, I think perfume has been one of the things I’ve held onto and this particular brand is not cruelty-free sadly. Recently I’ve been doing some research into alternative brands and although perfume buying can be tricky (particularly online!) I’ve decided to invest in a cruelty-free option for my summer perfume now my Noa has almost finished. Below you will find a fragrance description of Noa. Let me know if you already have it in your collection or what’s your current go-to fragrance. Buy online here.

“Noa is classified as soft floral fragrance, a blend of top notes of fresh green and coriander. The bottom notes are of blooming white musk, with a hint of coffee. It is perfect for anytime.”

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Two more wins with Goodreads book giveaways!!

So just recently I noticed quite a lot of amazing book giveaways through Goodreads, I think maybe it must be that time of year for all the best book releases. I’m an avid user of Goodreads, I like to update my status with reviews, comments, and a general interest in books. I got really lucky in the month of April, and won two amazing summer novels which I’m so excited to read and share with you. I haven’t got around to reading them yet, but here’s a little info about the two books…

Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl

"Sixteen-year-old Bentley Royce is the wild child of a super-glam reality TV dynasty. She has it all - designer clothes, a fancy school and an actual Bentley to drive around in. Her ambitious mum Mercedes has dragged the family from trailer park to Hollywood stardom. But Bentley wants out - she wants to go to college, escape her own storyline, be NORMAL - but Royces don't do normal (or college).

Rolling with the Royces is running out of ways to keep viewers hooked and suddenly the show is threatened with cancellation. Bentley faces an impossible choice. Without the show, she could live the college dream - but her family would crumble (they are already twenty million dollars in debt). Bentley Royce has a mission. She must use her brains to save the show; if she saves the show, she can save her family - and she'll do whatever it takes.

Royce Rolls is a laugh-out-loud funny romp with a twist of mystery - a behind-the-scenes comedy with a brilliant voice, a hilarious and subversive antidote to the Kardashians and TOWIE (which will still work for fans of both!)."

The Lauras by Sara Taylor

"I didn’t realise my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of her car, and we left home and my dad with no explanations. I thought that Ma was all that she was and all that she had ever wanted to be. I was wrong...

As Ma and Alex make their way from Virginia to California, each new state prompts stories and secrets of a life before Alex. Together they put to rest unsettled scores, heal old wounds, and search out lost friends. But Alex can't forget the life they've left behind."

Both sound really interesting, I think Royce Rolls might satisfy my guilty pleasure of reality TV, and it says it’s a bit like The Kardashians, which I love. The Lauras has so many positive reviews on the face of the book, and can we just take a moment to admire their beautiful covers?!

What’s on your reading list for the summer? 
Do either books interest you? :-) Xx

Monday, 1 May 2017

Testing Poundland Make-Up

I’ve always wondered about Poundland make-up, as is so affordable. Luckily my Dad gifted me a selection of their range for Christmas and I figured what have I got to lose by experimenting with some of their products. In today’s post I will be sharing my thoughts on four items, so enjoy!

Make Up Gallery Glide Away ‘Frost Shimmer’ Eyeshadow Stick 

This may be my favourite from the four, the silver shimmer gives off a radiant effect to the eye lids and it’s perfect for highlighting the brow bone too. It’s extremely easy to apply with a quick twist of the stick and although the staying power is average overall this product gets the thumbs up.

Make Up Gallery ‘Black’ Plump Up The Volume Mascara 

Wow what a lovely mascara for the price, I like the natural effect it gives, and is fabulous for every day. It doesn’t irritate my eyes at all but again the staying power isn’t amazing. The simple sleek packaging is pretty and the mascara wand style makes applying stress-free.

Make Up Gallery Pressed Powder in ‘Sand Four’

I was happy to see this shade matched my skin perfectly, it eliminates any shine well but like the other two products, the staying power is just okay. It’s the kind of product which is handy to have in your bag for a touch up plus the packaging is great for the price.

Make Up Gallery Foundation Brush

From first impressions the soft bristles and shape of the brush are lovely. Personally I don’t like to apply foundation with a brush but I can imagine with the right product, this might work well. I was hoping this make-up brush would be a star match, when partnered with the pressed powder, but the application was difficult.  

I can see myself picking up the shimmer stick and mascara on a regular basis from my beauty stash. The Poundland Make Up Gallery brand is not cruelty-free unfortunately but each item is one pound which is extraordinary compared to some brands. Click here to view products online.

What are your thoughts on Poundland make-up? 
Is it something you would try yourself? :-) Xx

Friday, 28 April 2017

Second-hand Book Haul (And Stationery Item!)

Recently in my local town an enterprising bookshop has opened, which I discovered earlier in the year. It’s a charity run by volunteers and they provide free books. I’ve visited three times now, and have really enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and selection they have on offer. People can contribute books as well as take away ones they want to read; many people who come in such as I return them once they have been read. They also accept donations from the public, I think it’s a fantastic initiative, and hope they continue to succeed with it.

A little while ago, I picked up a few interesting books, and I was excited to see they had some titles I wanted to read. They offer loads of different genres, I gravitated towards a thriller, a classic, and a few contemporary novels, I was lucky to find a few brand new copies too. I’m currently half way through reading these, and I’m enjoying When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman. I won’t go into detail in this post about the plots etc. but you can be positive to hear all the specifics as soon as additional blog posts go up. 

I’ve included a list of the titles, if you are interested in talking to me further about book related topics, feel free to add me on Goodreads. Lastly I purchased a notebook from The Works, and I adore the message on the front. It’s A4 and has plain paper inside, I paid £3.00 for it and they had loads of other designs. Link to notebook here. Have you read any of these books yourself? Do you like my new notebook? :-) Xx

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Us by David Nichols
When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Candy and the Broken Biscuits by Lauren Laverne
Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Snack Diaries | Part Two

Nesquik Hot Chocolate
(From Heron Foods, price unknown.)
My brother gifted me this at Christmas, and I was pleased to receive it. I wasn’t sure what kind of quality to expect, but it was lovely. I suppose you can have it as sweet as you want by putting more powder in, the flavour was nice and a great budget alternative to the Whittard’s variety. For the best taste, I used all milk with it and heated it in the microwave.

Cadbury’s Mini Eggs
(From Poundland, £1.00)
What’s Easter without Cadbury’s mini eggs, they are so moreish too. I used this particular pack to decorate a baking project over Easter. There were a few left so I shared them with family and enjoyed them!

Jordan’s Frusli Juicy Blueberry Cereal Bars
(From Poundland, £1.00 for six bars)
These were so yummy, and a great healthier option than say a chocolate bar. The product appeared good value, the packaging was striking, and I can’t wait to try other flavours they were offering. They were juicy and moist, and perfect with a cuppa. 

Twinning’s Fruit Tea Multi-Pack
(From Co-op, price around £2.70 for 20 teabags)
Probably the best budget fruit tea I’ve come across, and each of the four flavours I loved including cranberry and strawberry, mango and strawberry, blackcurrant and blueberry and finally ST clements. The flavours were sweet and not sharp in taste at all, each as mouth-watering as the next.

What have you been snacking on lately? Do you have any Easter chocolate left? :-) Xx

Monday, 17 April 2017

Easter Weekend Photo Diary & Ramble

Happy Easter! Hope your weekend is going well so far. 
I wanted to share with you a few clips from my Easter so let’s begin…

Thursday > Star Buds Café

Our family traditionally watch the Grand National every year. We rarely win on bets but this year between us we came first and second. The winning total was about £8 so we put it towards coffees and cakes at our favourite local café, Star Buds. I had chocolate milk shake in a vintage glass and lemon flapjack. The café is part of a garden centre so we had a wander round and because I’ve been getting into gardening this past year I picked up a plant called a Hebe in pink paradise. As expected I took many photos from our little outing.

Good Friday > Baking

I wanted to take some time out to do some baking, after being so busy for the past few months. I made hot cross bun bread and butter pudding which went down well. Check out my previous blog post for all the details.

Saturday > Chill Time at Home

Saturday was a catch-up day, I did things like wrote and published a blog post, did a spot of gardening, watched some friends episodes and read some on my latest book, Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

Easter Sunday > The Stray by the Beach

We headed out early to a spot overlooking our local beach and I took some photographs, it was surprisingly quiet but I greeted a few dogs/dog walkers and managed a few pet portraits. My brother bought the Easter eggs this year from Heron Foods, they were doing some amazing deals, he got us all a Galaxy crispy chocolate bar for 65p each and a M&Ms Easter egg for £1.05 times two for me and him.

Easter Monday > Chill Time at Home

Today I will be catching up on errands, make an attempt to finish my latest book and a few other bits. :-)

How was your Easter weekend? 
Did you get anything from the Easter bunny? :-)