Saturday 18 June 2022

These are a few of my favourite things #20



Crafty Ideas: Print by Hannah Tofts

Here are some great ideas for making personalized gifts and having fun with painting. Packed with lots of beginners’ printing projects for paper as well as fabric, including some tips for making printing blocks and stencils. 

Making Winter by Emma Mitchell

This is one of the cosiest, hygge craft books I’ve come across, including simple projects, warming recipes and ways to beat the winter blues. The writing style and overall feeling of the book is beautifully evocative of the season; a perfect gift idea for someone interested in craft who might need a bit of cheering up.

Book Love by Debbie Tung

This book has been on my radar for a good while now, but recently one of my favourite book influencers shared this title and reminded me I’d not yet read it. We follow a bookworm in a series of short comics capturing what it means to be head over heels for books. The author perfectly captured this, making me smile ear to ear with her witty humour; I can’t imagine any book fanatic not loving it.

Too Small Tola by Atinuke

Tola lives with her family in a crowded flat in Lagos, Nigeria. Whether it’s market day or a no-water day at home, Tola proves that though she may be small, she is mighty. We follow a determined young girl in three short stories, each showing a different part of her daily family life. A book written with a lot of spirit; I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others.

Unconscious Bias by Annie Burdick

This is a brilliant starting point to learn about our hidden prejudices. I wanted to read material outside my comfort zone as I was interested in educating myself. It’s actually a tiny little book but crammed with information on why our biases matter, how to identify your own biases, biases in society and becoming consciously unbiased. I had a few uncomfortable moments when my biases were challenged, so for me the author achieved her aims. I plan to continue reading about the topic.

The Perfect Fit by Naomi Jones

This is a charming picture book aimed at teaching young children how to accept the differences in everyone while making new friends. Illustrated through the use of shapes, and a little yellow triangle who learns to celebrate diversity in others. I thought the message was very thought-provoking, and worked well with the illustrations.

Solo: The Joy of Cooking for One by Signe Johansen

I saw this title in the library catalogue, and I was intrigued by the concept straight away. In the prologue, she talks about self-care/mindfulness as well as making the most of your leftover food. The recipes are quite fancy, and the book is beautifully laid out. My Nan has read similar books in the past, so I think she would be interested in it too.

Garden Cookbook by Rob Rees

This bite-sized children’s book showcases food produce that can be easily grown in your garden and includes straightforward recipes such as soups, salads, dips, smoothies, etc. I’ve been growing my own fruit and veg for a few years now, so the book provided relevant inspiration. 


Love, Bubbles & Crystal Cove (2021)

‘Skye is preparing for another great year of her business ‘Lather and Luxury’. She sells colourful and fragrant bath products, face masks, you name it! When her childhood sweetheart Gavin arrives in town to help improve her business model, she initially refuses.’

This film had a cosy, homely way about it. I also felt it was well cast, particularly the lead couple. Overall, I enjoyed it for a bit of escapism.

Love’s Sweet Recipe (2021)

‘Talented chef, Mandy Preston’s life has been turned upside down ever since the passing of her father, who was the master chef of her family’s famous restaurant. Now her family business is failing, her love life is in shambles, her passion for cooking has died and her childhood best friend and fellow chef Jake Turner has left town to find work in the big city.’

What made this film for me was the emphasis on good quality cooking and it was also nice to get a sense of how a family bistro is run. The main characters weren’t your usual choice but that’s why I liked them. 

Sugar Plum Twist (2021)

‘After failing to get the coveted role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in this year's production of The Nutcracker, Vivíana Serrano joins forces with Natalia, to create a surprise reprise of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy...with a Latin twist.’

This was a gorgeous Christmas film with a very festive feel to it. I liked the cast, and each person brought something special. The theme of dance was well executed as there were a lot of talented performers.


Call of the Wild with Cel Spellman

I’ve been listening to a few episodes of this podcast hosted by an ambassador of the Worldwide Fund for Nature. There are insights into how, as individuals, we can make lifestyle changes to help the environmental crisis. So far, I’ve learned more about topics such as plastic pollution, the food industry, and deforestation.

How has your month been?
Did you find any of these reviews interesting? :-) Xx

Monday 30 May 2022

Jigsaw Log #10


Welcome back to this jigsaw series; today I wanted to share a sewing-themed five-hundred-piece jigsaw I completed earlier in the year. It wasn’t too challenging, particularly compared to ones I’ve done in the past with twice as many pieces. The picture is really pretty, and caught my eye when I saw it reduced on sale. This is another one by The Works brand which I keep going back to for quality and reliability. There was just the right amount of detail and a gorgeous colour palette.

Are you drawn to this design too?
Have you been working on anything lately? :-) Xx

Tuesday 24 May 2022

These are a few of my favourite things #19



Forest Walk

I had a natural break from taking photographs to pursue other hobbies but recently my family introduced me to a woodland I hadn’t explored before. At just the right moment, there were some lovely light effects coming through the trees, and nearby were lots of wild plants growing. I chose to go quite close up with my camera, and these photos were my favourite.


Best Friends Bakery Cupcakes & Contests by Linda Chapman

We follow Hannah, aged ten, and her love for baking as she takes part in a TV baking contest. I mostly do healthy baking, so when this book delved into how to make bread, I was really excited. 

There’s a strong sense of family, friendship and enjoying your passions. Part of the conclusion surprised me but left me thinking about my own similarities to Hannah. This is the third in the series, but I had no problems reading it as a standalone.

How to Reset by Vicki Vrint

When looking in my local The Works store, I always gravitate towards the self-help section. I’ve read and enjoyed other books by this author, so knew I wanted to give ‘How to Reset’ a read.

Some of her ideas are very interesting, and I found myself using little sticky tabs several times. The words on the front of the book summarize things perfectly: ‘Simple tips to help you rediscover yourself and live life to the full.’

How to Be Awesome by Sophie Golding

I picked this one up as it looked like a fun read. I gravitated towards the typography, bright colours, and charming quality. I’ve read other books by Sophie Golding, so I had a good idea that this would be the same sort of thing.

The tone of voice was upbeat, while supportive, offering simple tips to tweak your routine. I felt it would make a good gift for someone going through a change in lifestyle. It might best suit people in their late teens or early twenties.

Splash! By Flora McDonnell

Splash is a bilingual picture book written in English and French. We learn about how animals keep cool in hot climates, and I felt it was a good way for children to familiarize themselves with another language. The story and illustrations had a beautiful sentiment to them; it was such a pleasant experience turning each page.

A Polar Bear by Mac Barnett

I love when authors and illustrators use simplicity with picture books, and this one showed a lot of skill in how it was executed. We follow an average day for a polar bear, with a play on words, and the use of collage to illustrate the snow and setting.

Dogs in Disguise by Peter Bently

If you have an affection for dogs, I think you would enjoy this one as much as me. As you turn each page, it’s nice to take your time looking through the artwork. The humour, rhyming, and memorable illustrations make this a wonderful picture book.

How to Grow a Unicorn by Rachel Morrisroe

This isn’t just a book about unicorns, but also about a little girl’s relationship with her grandma and their connection through gardening. Along with the magical elements, it was a really great allrounder.

13 Modern Artists Children Should Know by Brad Finger

This book does what it says on the tin, introducing children to the top artists that are worth knowing about. It was well laid out, easy to read, and a great choice for children who have an interest in art.


Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)

‘This updated adaptation of the classic fairy tale tells the story of Danielle (Drew Barrymore), a vibrant young woman who is forced into servitude after the passing of her father.’

There’s just something about this film that I enjoy coming back to every so often. The original story of Cinderella has always interested me, particularly as a child, and I felt the retelling was done well.

How has your month been?
Have you found any recommendations? :-) Xx

Monday 9 May 2022

Bookish Experience Ideas


Reading doesn’t have to be a solitary experience. In my opinion, there are lots of ways to connect with people through the love of books. Here are some of the ideas I have collected…

Support Independent Bookshops
If you are lucky enough to live near one, you could make it a weekly thing and some have cafes. You could also try visiting bookshops on holiday, which I have done in the past.

Buddy Reading
I didn’t even know buddy reading was a thing until I started watching booktube videos. For those of you who don’t know what it is, you pick a book to read at the same time as a friend and share your thoughts as you go along.

Ask for Book Recommendations
You could do this in a library or a bookshop for the experience factor, but online you could try asking your favourite YouTuber or blogger.

Visit Beautiful Libraries
Libraries can be very architecturally beautiful and some are even famous. This could be something you could try to incorporate into a holiday or daytrip. 

Blind Date with a Book
If you are unsure of what this is, you can find pictures on Pinterest, but the idea is to gift wrap a book with some key facts about it on the front. You could make these yourself as a gift or sell them, otherwise search eBay/Etsy for yourself. I’ve already shared my experience here.

Read a Book Aloud
This could be to a younger family member, a spouse or you could volunteer to read to folk in an old people’s home.

Donate used Books to a Charity of your Choice
So, there are two steps to this, the first being to go through your books and decide which ones you don’t want to keep. Then, you can choose where to donate. Maybe you live near some charity shops or you could have a stall at a church fair and donate the profits to a charity that means something to you.

Join a Book Club
This could be face to face or online. I’ve never done this because of my specific tastes but I like the idea of it.

Go to a Book Signing
I feel this would be a cool one to do. They often advertise these events in bookshops, libraries, etc.

Go on a Charity Shop Book Crawl
I have done this in the past and it’s pretty fun going to different charity shops. You’d be surprised about the things people donate; I have picked up some incredible book bargains.

Make your own Bookmarks
I’ve already done this, but I like to be more creative each time. You can use old greetings cards, or paint/collage.

Visit a Library Book Sale
I’ve never been to one of these but would like to try. They sound interesting and I’ve heard books are sold very cheaply.

Let me know which of these you have tried or would like to try!
Do you have any of your own ideas that I have missed? :-) Xx

Saturday 30 April 2022

These are a few of my favourite things #18



Guardians of the Planet by Clive Gifford

This is a thorough and well researched book aimed at children who want to be eco-warriors. There were some really helpful practical tips which gave me a few ideas to try. Some of the statistics shown were pretty hard-hitting and left an impression on me. It was an informative read showing that caring for our planet can be fun; one that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Our Planet by Matt Whyman

This is beautifully presented, oversized book showing children the wonders of the natural world. It is predominately about hope in preserving what we have, but underlying this is a message to be aware of the struggle’s animals are having due to the climate crisis. I found it educational, even reading it as an adult.

Alex and Lulu Mix and Match by Lorena Siminovich

We follow friends Alex and Lula who love art collaging. The story develops around Lula’s latest project; she can’t seem to get the right colours so the pair go on an outing to get inspiration. The picture book leads to a discovery about mixing colours, and as an educational topic I think it’s great for budding artists.

Stitched Textiles: Birds by Rachel Sumner

The author is a textile artist who’s subject focuses on birds in their natural habitat. She provides step by step instructions on a number of projects. Her art work is stunning and it was fascinating to discover her creative process.

Create Your Own Kindness by Becky Goddard-Hill

In this children’s book we learn about all aspects of kindness, being kind to yourself, others and the world. It includes the mental health aspects on why we should be kind, and delves into emotional intelligence a little bit. The author has done other books that I would also recommend in a similar style, with slightly different themes.

Helping Our Planet by Jane Bingham

I’m working my way through as many environmental books as I can, as I have a passion for the subject. I found that this one was one of my favourites for the target audience of children. I really appreciated the in-depth information about renewable energy as well as clever, everyday tips for families to try for themselves to reduce their carbon footprint.


Sand Dollar Cove (2021)

‘Real estate development project manager Elli is sent by her company to seaside Connecticut town of Sand Dollar Cove to acquire the beachfront property they've chosen as the site of their new resort. Brody, the charming local who holds the deed, wants to make sure the town's beloved pier - where many memories have been made over the years remains intact. Elli and Brody spend time together while she tries to figure out a way to make the deal work and the undeniable connection between them grows.’

This was a lovely, escapist film that I would recommend. I thought the family dynamic in Brody’s family was portrayed well. 

Charlies Angels (2000)

‘They're beautiful, they're brilliant, and they work for Charlie. "Charlie's Angels," is a sexy, high-octane update of the original '70s action-comedy TV series.’

This was a re-watch for me, and didn’t regret coming back to it. There was some serious girl power, and found myself enjoying the action sequences.

What Women Want (2000)

‘A cocky, chauvinistic advertising executive magically acquires the ability to hear what women are thinking.’

I like to come back to this film every once in a while, as it’s one of my favourites. The acting is great, there are some really endearing moments, and I like the focus on the graphic design industry.

13 going on 30 (2004)

‘A girl makes a wish on her thirteenth birthday, and wakes up the next day as a thirty-year-old woman.’

I forgot how much I love this film. The dual timeline works nicely, going from Jenna as a teenager to her working as an editor at Poise magazine. The cast is great, and it was fun to see how a fashion magazine is run.

Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016)

‘Alice is appointed to save her beloved Mad Hatter from deadly grief by travelling back to the past, but this means fatally harming Time himself, the noble clockwork man with the device needed to save the Hatter's family from the Red Queen.’

This one was something a little different for me, and found there were elements that I really liked. The themes of how precious time is, and what we do with it resonated. 


Lost and Found by Martine McCutcheon

This month I found I’ve been listening to music quite a bit. I stumbled across this 
album on my music app and liked it straight away as Martine has a lovely voice.

In The Zone by Britney Spears

I like the general vibe of this album, it’s mellow but with a good beat. 

What have you been reading this month?
Have you watched any of the films mentioned? :-) Xx

Sunday 17 April 2022

Cinnamon Biscuits


I’ve been doing some more baking recently and thought I would share it. I used a recipe from ‘Mary Berry Fast Cakes’ and would recommend both the recipe and the book. Page 210 if you have a copy. I was quite pleased with the results, and my brother made some positive remarks.

I’d been looking for a cinnamon biscuit recipe for a while and I found these had a lovely flavour without being too sweet. I would bake these again as I enjoyed making and eating them. I’m slowly making my way through the baking books I own trying to complete as many recipes as possible. I might revisit these in autumn as cinnamon is perfect for that time of the year.

Have you been baking recently?
Let me know if you like the look of these! :-) Xx

My Simple Skincare Routine


Today I wanted to share some of the skincare products I have been using. I sometimes get sensitive skin so tend to use quite basic, just do the job products.  So let’s begin…

Vitamin E Body Cream (Cruelty-free)
I’ve been using this for the last couple of months as it’s gentle and effective. There’s a subtle floral scent to it as well as leaving my skin super soft.

Vitamin E Day Cream SPF 15 (Cruelty-free)
This is one of my favourite products in my routine; I use it on my face to keep it soft and smooth. The vitamin E range is very affordable and good for sensitive skin.

Simple Cleansing Lotion (Cruelty-free & Vegan)
I couldn’t get hold of my usual cleanser one month so went on a search for something else suitable. I was delighted to see this brand had gone cruelty-free and vegan which is great as the product works nicely on my skin. 

Simply Pure Eye Make-Up Remover (Cruelty-free)
I use this to get rid of mascara and although I don’t apply it every day, it’s a good staple.

Original Source Shower Gel (Cruelty-free & Vegan)
My all time favourite shower gel brand is Original Source. I’ve been using them on and off since my teens and love the zesty smell of the lemon or lime scent.

Avon Bronzing Gel (Shade Light Bronze)
I first started using this product last summer to add colour to my legs. It has a natural tan look to the skin and I would highly recommend it.

The Body Shop Black Musk Fragrance Mist (Cruelty-free)
I took quite a while picking out my current fragrance with the help of my local BS rep. I feel this was a lovely choice as it’s very feminine and classy.

Vaseline Lip Balm
After being outside when it’s cold my lips tend to chap. I have started applying Vaseline lip balm most days to keep them in top condition. It’s a great all round product in my opinion.

Do you have a simple skincare rountine too?
Have you tried the Vitamin E range before? :-) Xx