Saturday, 18 January 2020

Recent Reads Reviewed #20



Lauren Conrad Style by Lauren Conrad - 4/5

This was quite a cult book back in the day along with Lauren’s beauty guide. I decided to reread it out of curiosity to see if I still liked it and also to make up my mind whether to donate it. If you like Lauren’s way of dressing, you’re going to love this book because her style leaps of the page. Learn how to have her understated, casual yet chic look with top tips and interesting sections on clothing for all occasions. Maybe a little too young for me now, but I can see this going to a good new home.

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen - 5/5

This children’s picture book really impressed me. I loved the graphic design feel to the illustrations and quirky narrative. We follow the story of a bear as he tries to get his favourite hat back after losing it. It genuinely made me laugh, and would recommend it to families with young children.


Transparent by Natalie Whipple - 5/5

I originally picked this book up at Poundland a good few years back now, and can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get around to reading it. This book is full of superpowers, romance and general kick-ass. Our protagonist, Fiona, is invisible, on the run from her crime lord father and trying to blend into her new life and make friends. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, its uniqueness, and well written romance dealing with finding a boyfriend when you’re invisible. There’s a sequel I’m hoping to get to at some point.


Starry Night by Debbie Macomber - 5/5

Nothing beats reading Debbie Macomber as we head into that time of year to get all cosy with a book. The plot is centred on Carrie, who wants more from her job working at a newspaper; she is challenged by her editor to do a story on Finn, a writer and recluse living in Alaska.

I thought the story was written very well, and I appreciated the slow build up of romantic tension between Carrie and Finn. Finn doesn’t seem your everyday romantic lead, and it was enjoyable to see both Carrie and Finn open up to new possibilities in life. The descriptions of Alaska were very atmospheric, and I felt like I was under the stars too as I read them. 


My Story (The Winner's Book) by Matt Cardle - 5/5

I’ve been an X-factor fan for quite a number of years, and have a few favourites including Matt Cardle. I absolutely loved reading about his X-Factor journey and what it was like behind the scenes. Matt’s voice really came through in the writing and there’s lots of great photos, which was an extra treat!

Great Bunny Bakes by Ellie Snowdon - 5/5

This well written and beautifully illustrated children’s book was a delight from start to finish. In this story we follow some bunnys, a badly disguised wolf and a baking competition. If you have any younger female family members that would appreciate a book for Easter, I recommend this one, because it’s rather special!


Lauren Conrad Beauty by Lauren Conrad - 4/5

I remember being so excited to receive this book for Christmas when it came out as at the time I enjoyed watching Lauren on a reality TV show called The Hills. This is just as good as book one although this time it’s all about make-up and hair. I loved the hairstyle demonstrations, as not only were they very Lauren but look easy to recreate. This is a lovely book which I can see being popular with girls from teens to twenties.

Have you heard of any of these books before?
Or have you added any of these to your reading list? :-) Xx

Sunday, 12 January 2020

My Christmas Presents 2019



Better late than never… Here is what lovely things were kindly gifted to me for Christmas. If you know me well, I tend to buy myself things for Christmas from family mostly. Of course I like a few surprises too. I enjoy getting lots of little things but my main presents this year were the pyjamas, jigsaws and books.


Jigsaws

My brother was extra generous this year, I was delighted to receive this foodie jigsaw, which from the picture looks like it will be a good one to do. My Dad got me a lovely Christmas themed one, perfect for A/W 2020.


Special Teas

I’m excited to try these!


Stationery/Notepads

I was in desperate need of some new notepads!


2020 Calendar, Diary and Craft Papers

I head to The Works most years now for my calendar and diary. 
What do you think of this year’s designs? :-)


Cosy Socks and Shower Gels

What’s Christmas without new cosy socks and shower gels?! :-)


Non-Fiction Books

Receiving books for Christmas are what I get most excited for.


Fiction Books

Some good titles there, look out for reviews!


M&S Pyjamas

These pyjamas are lovely and soft, I recommend them, if you are able to get to M&S.


Do we have similar taste in something?
What was your favourite thing you received for Christmas? :-) Xx

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Photos From My Phone #1


A book Christmas tree in a charity shop window display.
I’ve been enjoying visiting charity shops recently as well as taking in different window displays over Christmas.

A special dolls house.
In the same charity shop, this beautiful dolls house caught my eye. I just had to photograph it. I hope it goes to a good home.

A book cover I saw in WHSmiths.
I rarely go in WHSmiths, but I had a voucher to spend. I didn’t buy this particular book, but I admired the lovely front cover design.

A coffee I had in a local café.
I had a coffee for the first time in a new café.

A cool café interior.
This café recently opened near where I live, and I hope it does well.





How are things with you?
Did any of my photo snippets interest you? :-) Xx

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Festive Hot Fruit Salad



I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas day and have been tucking into lots of wonderful treats. So with this in mind I have a perfect, healthier choice recipe that might go down well with friends and family on New Year’s Day or anytime around Christmas. I based it off the hot fruit salad recipe in my Easy Peasy Sweetie Pie baking book by Mary Contini with a few Christmassy tweaks.

I first chose an attractive oven proof dish, and lined the bottom with banana slices. Next I cut thin slices of apple and arranged them neatly over the top of the banana. Clementines always remind me of Christmas, I peeled one of these and placed the segments on top of the dish in a decorative fashion. I lightly sprinkled cinnamon, and mixed spice over the top of everything, making sure to evenly distribute it. Then I put the dish in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes at 190˚C.

This was my first attempt at this specific recipe, I found the spices and clementine made the dish super festive and tasty. The cooked bananas at the bottom were particularly delicious. One of the easiest recipes I’ve done, I hope you try something similar!

Do you have any New Year’s Day foodie traditions?
Are you tempted you to try this recipe for yourself? :-) Xx


Monday, 23 December 2019

Christmas Morning Breakfast Cookies & Merry Christmas



I wanted to take this opportunity to wish my readers a Merry Christmas! I hope you all have a good year ahead in 2020. Today I have a little festive recipe for you. Basically these are chewy oat and sultana cookies which in my mind would be perfect for Christmas morning breakfast.

The original recipe was from The Hungry Student Easy Baking book by Charlotte Pike, which I modified ever so slightly by switching sugar for sweeter and adding a little bit of desiccated coconut.

After trying them, the oatyness and coconut really came through. I made them fairly small, so you could easily have two or three. I recommend making biscuits if you get the chance as they are a quick bake.

Have you done any festive baking?
What do you like to eat for breakfast on Christmas morning? :-) Xx



Thursday, 19 December 2019

Co-op Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner


Christmas is getting near now! I hope you are all well. Today I have a review of a shampoo and conditioner I bought in my local Co-op for a very affordable £1.95 each. It was lovely to see they have the cruelty-free leaping bunny logo featured, and the packaging is just stunning. I love the sleek, minimal feel to it.

Sadly I was a little disappointed with the actual product. While my hair did feel nourished and revitalised like the label mentions, I found it made my head itch after each use. I also wasn’t a big fan of the synthetic vanilla scent. I did have high hopes for these, the packaging was one of my favourites, but sadly they weren’t for me.

What shampoo/conditioner are you using at the moment?
Would you recommend it? :-) Xx


Saturday, 14 December 2019

Morrisons ‘Mystique’ and ‘White Musk’ Body Sprays


Welcome back. Today I wanted to chat to you about these Morrison’s body sprays. I’ve been slowly working my way through supermarket/drugstore varieties hoping to find some gems. I love the packaging on these ones in particular, you could easily mistake them for a high end brand. Also they are only 75p each would you believe, complete bargain! Plus a cruelty-free leaping bunny logo is printed on Morrison’s own brand toiletries.


While both scents are so pretty, I think my favourite is mystique. It’s quite a festive, Christmassy type of scent, so would be handy to use around this time of year. White musk feels like a romantic, subtle scent. If you are after last minute stocking fillers, these might be a good choice. My only issue being I wish they had slightly more staying power but other than that, I’m pretty pleased with the quality. Buy here.


Do you find yourself reaching for body sprays?
Do you have a favourite brand or scent? :-) Xx

Imperial Leather Cosmic Unicorn Range


Today I’m going to be reviewing two items I bought from the Imperial Leather range. I was in desperate need of a new shower gel, and in a spur of a moment decision, I popped into my basket their bath cream by accident, it was only until I got home that I discovered my mistake. On a different day I bought the shower gel, thinking they might work well together.

I mostly buy cruelty-free products now, but was curious to see how the Imperial Leather brand held up after not trying it for years. I first tried the cream bath, it was very potent, and a little went along way. Although I wasn’t sure what to expect from the title cosmic unicorn I found the scent wasn’t my thing. I can see it appealing to young girls, both with the packaging and fairy like scent.

Possibly with putting too much of the bath essence into the bath, I had a very minor skin reaction which wasn’t great. My Dad suggested putting a lot less in which I will next time. Generally though, not really my favourite product. Despite this I got on with the shower gel a little better. I found it lathered nicely, and worked okay on my skin. I can’t see myself buying from the brand again though, because it’s not cruelty-free or gentle on the skin.


Bought at Home Bargains
Imperial Leather Cosmic Unicorn Bath 500ml £0.89
Imperial Leather Cosmic Unicorn Shower Gel 250ml £0.85

Have you been disappointed with a product recently?
Could you recommend me something that I might prefer? :-) Xx

Thursday, 5 December 2019

My Christmas Gift Wrapping 2019



I’ve done this post every year for a couple of years now. With sustainability becoming so important, I wanted to aim to be a bit more caring to the environment. I decided I wanted to give recyclable brown wrapping paper a go. It took me a while to find some, but I spotted these in Sainsbury’s for a good price. I bought my Mum some similar from B&M so it’s just a matter of testing the quality from different shops.

I wanted to add a bit of style into my wrapping, these patterned papers I found around Christmas last year, and thought they would look nice against a plain brown paper. I noticed a good deal on some glitter washi tape in B&M, and thought they would make things very jazzy. Gift bags are eco-friendly because they can be used over and over, and these three from Wilko are lovely.

What are your gift wrapping ideas for this year?
Let me know if you have any eco-friendly wrapping tips for me! :-) Xx



What I Bought:

Sainsbury's
Recyclable brown paper 5m £1.00 (x 2)

Home Bargains
Polka dot design brown paper 3m gift wrap £0.99
Glitter stars design brown paper 3m gift wrap £0.99
Glitter tree design brown paper 3m gift wrap £0.99

Wilkinsons
(3 for 2 offer)
Luxe sparkle gift bag medium £1.00 
Luxe sparkle gift bag large £1.50 
Midwinter gift bag large £1.50

B&M
Glitter rainbow washi tape pack £1.99

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Recent Reads Reviewed #19


The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin - 5/5

The story of Sarah, the characters she meets while in Paris and the bookshop swap between her and Sophie really drew me in. There was a real emphasis on the beauty of literature and books throughout, and some really lovely poetic verses. I’ve never been to Paris but from the descriptions of the city in this, I felt like I was there for myself. A rollercoaster of tense, romantic and sugary sweet moments; I thoroughly enjoyed this addictive, escapist read.


Dressage (Usborne Riding School) by Gill Harvey - 5/5

I noticed this book on a shelf at the library and on the whim of enjoying horse riding in the past I decided to pick it up. I used to go horse riding a few years back, I did a bit of trekking on the local beach in a group as well as a few private lessons to improve my skills. I’ve not had dressage training but I was quite inquisitive to learn a bit about it.

This book was a perfect introduction and I surprised myself with how much I learnt. The book covers key terms, tricks and tips as well as diagrams and photos to explain. When I watch dressage on the TV, I feel like I would now have more insight into the sport. Overall it was a very interesting and inspiring read that I would recommend!


The Nine Lives of Christmas by Sheila Roberts - 5/5

The story focuses on Ambrose the cat, who is in danger of losing his ninth and final life, makes a deal with his creator. Ambrose meets his new owner Zach and encourages a romance with pet store assistant Merilee, as a couple they are lovely and together Ambrose hopes for a happy ninth life as a family.

The chapters from the cat’s point of view were really good fun, and it made me want a cat of my own. The concept of this book, and the way the author wrote about cats worked well. I couldn’t fault the story in any way, it was a lovely, warm hearted Christmas read.


The Oxford Treasury of Christmas Poems by Michael Harrison - 3/5

I was looking for some light reading to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas and I was successful with this collection of poems. Aimed at children but also appropriate for adults, they cover the religious side of Christmas with some traditional poems as well some more festive and seasonal.

The quality of poems varied a little, I think maybe some were written by children but I found many had a lovely sentiment to them. My favourites were the classics such as The Twelve Days of Christmas which brought back childhood memories of singing. I give this book 3/5 because while I enjoyed reading it, some poems were better than others.


An English Boy in New York by T.S. Easton - 5/5

This was one of my favourite and most memorable reads of 2018. It’s actually the second book in the series, and although I’ve not read the first book, it can be read as a standalone. We follow Ben who has been invited to New York for a knitting convention. He absolutely loves knitting, and is excited to take along his girlfriend for a trip of a lifetime. Unfortunately she pulls out, and he ends up taking his unreliable friend, Gex. I found this book highly inventive, original and laugh out loud funny. I intend to lend out the first book from the library, Boys Don’t Knit sometime soon.

Thrifty Ways For Modern Days by Martin Lewis - 5/5

This was a very insightful book full of tips to help readers become thriftier in every aspect of their lives. My favourite chapters include growing your own, clothing, gifts, and Christmas. I came away inspired to be inventive with living better for less. I might reread this one sometime soon, as I’ve been getting more into sustainability since I first read it.


There's Something About Christmas by Debbie Macomber - 4/5

Every year around December time, the past couple of years I’ve read a Debbie Macomber book. All her books are pure escapism and I have a soft spot for the Christmas themed ones. There are two stories in this collection, which were both enjoyable reads. In the first story we follow journalist, Emma who is assigned to interview the finalists in a Christmas cake contest. Along the way she meets pilot, Oliver who gives her a ride to her destination in a helicopter. The romance is fun and flirty, and I would recommend it. The second story was much shorter and was about a touching Christmas miracle which I found quite sweet.

Do you like Christmas fiction too?
Which of these reads interested you the most? :-) Xx