Thursday, 4 February 2021

Book Love Challenge (Set By Miranda Dickinson) -All My favourite Books

A while ago author Miranda Dickinson put up a book love challenge on Instagram, where she would put up prompts and answer with her favourite book or books in each category. I thought it would be fun to do my own, but over on my blog (I couldn't keep up on Instagram), and have (after a bit of thought) answered all her prompts below. What would your choices be? do join in, in the comments and let us all know, it's always great to hear about the books everyone else loves. 

1 - A Book You Loved

Much read paperback of Jane Eyre
Paperback of Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre, one of the classics I read quite a long time ago, and have read many times since. It's one of the books I keep in my bookcase and even bought a new copy of when the original got too scrappy. I'm not really sure what struck me about it, especially as it's quite a haunting story, but it was incredibly well written, with quite a few twists in the story, which none of the TV versions have really managed to capture.

2 - A Book You Want A Sequel For


This is a hard one to answer, but I would say the Worst Witch series of books. I've always been a fan of witches, wizards, and the magical side of Halloween. I always remember reading those books really quickly and wishing there were more, and that's one bookish memory that has stuck with me from childhood.

3- A Book You'd Like To Live In

Easy answer, though another children's book (there may be a theme here) but the Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton. Such an amazing writer and this book definitely fired up my imagination. I always used to enjoy escaping to the magical lands at the top of the tree.

4 - A Book Character You'd Kiss

Probably Jakob from the Twilight series. I was always more team werewolf than vampire, and although he really struggles with his change, there are some touching moments in the books between him and Bella. I think you'd feel his strength and protective nature in a hug and kiss. Obviously very volatile when vampires are around, but there was something quite appealing about that! 

5. A Book Character You'd Fight

Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice, not that he deserves a physical fight, but there's something about his character, especially as depicted in films that gave me the creeps every time I saw or read something. So I'd choose him for a verbal battle/talking to. preferably in the presence of his patron who he thinks so highly of. Just an annoying character I'd like to battle in some way. 

6. A Book Character You'd Like To Be

Matilda (Roald Dahl) I love it when clever, funny children in books get one over on the mean characters, and the way Matilda dealt with her parents, and Mrs Trunchbull was really funny. 

7. Your Favourite Book Cover

Christmas book covers
The short answer would be all the Christmas books- near Christmas is my favourite time of year to go shopping and all the festive books and covers jump out of the shelves and make me want to buy them all, though I think my already crazy reading pile might protest a bit at that! If I was going to choose one cover A Wedding In December by Sarah Morgan is ahead of the pack. The cosy log cabin in the snow is pretty much my idea of a Winter holiday, and the story behind the cover I really enjoyed. 

8. Your Favourite Book Series

When I was younger I used to read a lot of book series, Famous Five, Secret Seven, all the Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club books I could find. I've not read that many series recently, but one single book that's stuck in my mind is a hardback copy of The Polar Express that I won in a competition. I'd only ever seen the film and didn't know there was a book, but it's so pretty, with lovely illustrations - all capturing the magic of the story. 





Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Book Review - Christmas With The Teashop Girls, Elaine Everest

 A small disclaimer before we delve into all things bookish and festive. I haven't quite finished this novel yet, but I am well on my way and wanted to share some thoughts while there's still time to treat your e-reader/kindle, or even just buy a Christmas book to read all year round. Thank you to Elaine and ed. Pr for this #gifted review copy. 

Christmas With The Teashop Girls is the second in this historical series and opens in late 1940. The novel follows Rose Neville, her mum, friends, and all the residents of the Sea View Guesthouse, along with workers at two Joe Lyons tearooms. Elaine weaved together a whole host of different characters in the first novel and adds to them further in this one. Lady Diana, her chauffeur/concierge, and Councillor Wendy Mould bring some spark and life to this wartime tale, and there are a few surprises as well. 


An unexpected twist early on sees Rose and Flora stranded on a boat out in the water. It's almost a passing reference to something that could be dramatic, before the chapters flashback to earlier times and you're left wondering for quite a while until hints start to surface of something underhand. 

I'm now at the part where I think I know who might be involved in tieing up Flora and Rose on a boat, but let's see if I'm right. I'm not giving anything away though, so you'll just have to make a purchase yourself and lose yourself in 1940's Kent (with a healthy dose of London). 

I've read quite a few of Elaine's novels now, and there's always one particular thing, apart from the new characters that stuck in my mind, and this time it was the turn of phrase. Old fashioned expressions like someone going on their 'constitutionals' which I didn't really notice in previous books just made me smile this time around. 

When I read historical fiction I always come back to why I abandoned it in the first place and still get bored of it sometimes. To me, however well written the books are if you've read enough of them, it just feels like the same old details, in a different place. Christmas With The Teashop Girls and one of my past favourites, The Girl With The Amber Comb are two exceptions that are both well worth a read. 

I wish you all a safe and peaceful Christmas, and however you are able to spend it cherish this time and look forward to a better and more hopeful new year. Thank you all for reading, and if you do curl up with a new book this Christmas do pop on here or Instagram and let me know what you got/what you think. 

 

 

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Craft Consortium Christmas Stamps - And Handmade Cards

Look away now if you don't want a dose of festive craft, but if you do, welcome. This blog is all about the cute festive stamps from the brand Craft Consortium. 


I don't know about any of my creative friends who might be reading this, but one of the things I enjoyed the most, at least in the early stages of lockdown was the time to completely switch off and sit and craft, without anything else in the back of my mind. I've finished a couple of projects, started a couple of cross stitch (they will be finished at some point), and had the chance to properly play with my Craft Consortium Christmas Stamps. 

These guys are fast becoming my favourite brand for Christmas stamps, and very much up my street with their cute theming. One major plus point for me is the variety of stamp sizes on one sheet of stamps, making them ideal for different card sizes, sometimes building scenes, and making matching items like gift tags. The sets I have that I use for Christmas are 

It's Snome Time Robin Mischief - which has a large main image, two smaller scene based stamps, and a couple of small accent stamps. 

Little Fawn And Friends Best Friends - This one has individual stamps of woodland animals, and small elements like a tree stump and a toadstool. Some of these are great for snowy winter scenes. 

Winter Woodland Christmas Card
Both these stamp sets are currently available on the website for £4.99 each (great value in my opinion). They come on a printed acetate sheet, with another plain sheet for storage and they are really nice quality compared to some stamp sets I've worked with before - full marks for tackiness and ease of stamping. 

I'm including a few of my favorite Christmas card makes in with this post so you can see more of how these stamps can be used. If you are a stamper and you've heard of, or use this brand do let me know, I'd love to see what you make. 

This post is not sponsored in any way, I just genuinely love using this brand, and am trying hard not to look at some of the other beautiful crafting goodies they have on-sale. 

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Beauty Samples & A Better Beauty Routine

I've never been quite sure how to describe my relationship with beauty. It's not that I'm disinterested, but I'm not the world's best at keeping up with any kind of routine. I can happily go without make-up, although let's face it, we all have things we'd rather cover-up, and I have in the past just grabbed whatever beauty products I've been gifted.

Safe to say I'm not neglectful of my skin, but I'm a bit haphazard, and I haven't really been that interested in the products I put on it, bar the fact that they helped, or made my skin feel or smell nice. Free beauty samples are changing that, and hopefully for the better.

My friend virtually sent me an opportunity to try out a perfume sample ages ago, via a So Post sampling campaign, and since then I've managed to get my hands on some pretty cool Happy Mail. A fair amount has been free samples through marketing offers, once from O2 priority, and other offers from brands, or shops like Boots. I also order from Feel Unique sometimes that offers 5 samples at a time/per month for £3.95, which is credited back as a voucher to spend on their website.

Part of the appeal is getting nice happy mail on the doormat, but also it's a lot more fun being able to try various make-up and skincare products that you wouldn't normally be able to afford to 'try', without the whole is it worth it, do I really need it, can I afford it dilemmas the full-size versions bring. It's the variety too, from serums and moisturisers to foundation, and even mini lipsticks and gloss, I've managed to source quite a few different brands, to really see what works for my skin and complexion.

I do feel it's changed my mindset a bit. I'm more enthusiastic about having new things to get out and try, saving some of the decent-sized samples I really like for best (i.e. making them last as long as possible) and not just picking something vaguely suitable from the cheaper aisles in the shops. I've also found myself using types of products I probably wouldn't think of before.

Some of the samples I've had lasted much longer than expected as well, the only problem is I want full-size versions of some things - I guess I'll need to start a fund for a few treats.
Some of my favourite samples are:

  • Urban Decay Hi-Fi Shine Ultra Cushion Lip Gloss (Naked) - I'm a fan of anything with peppermint oil in and although a bit thicker to apply than expected, this gloss was comfortable to wear, and moisturising on my lips. It lasts a while and has a slight tint as well. 20 shades available, which vary from purple and various shades of pink to gold - likely with more colour impact. I found a sample on Feel Unique. RRP £15.00
  • GLAMGLOW Galacticleanse - melting jelly balm cleanser. I LOVE this product - It smells nice, feels nice on, and my skin feels nice afterward! Just apply the jelly balm and melt it (and your make-up off with warm water) and no breakouts or reactions. It contains moonflower oil and bamboo charcoal. Definitely one of the favourite cleanser/facial wash/hot cloth cleanser type products I've tried. RRP £26.00
  • GLAMGLOW Waterburst Hydrated Glow Moisturiser - A bit of a theme with GLAMGLOW, but also products in blue packaging, with some kind of water/hydrating theme, as my skin can get dry or a bit dehydrated at times. It can be used day and/or night, and a big selling point is it's free from parabens phthalates and sulphates. A little goes a long way with this, my tiny sample pot is still going strong, so if/when I need a new moisturiser this may be an investment buy or gift idea. RRP £39.00
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tint Cream - This was a lovely little find in a sample form. The shade I was sent is not enough coverage for those bad face days when there are things I'd rather cover-up, but this ticks all the boxes otherwise. SPF 30, non-comedogenic, safe for sensitive skin, and applies like a dream. My skin feels good so this is definitely on the list for re-purchasing.