Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Clearly Besotted Make A Splash Dolphin Stamps - Projects And Review

Clearly Besotted are fast becoming my new stamp company of choice, month after month they release teasers of their stamp sets to tempt me, and they are all so inventive, and so cute, it's been hard not to buy each time. But while I can't purchase each month I do have a few sets now and have been impressed on every score. The designs are really cute and usable in several different ways, the quality is there, and I love their little customer service touches. Each stamp set has arrived in a colourful pink bag, with an invoice and a little handwritten thank you on it. It's those touches that really go a long way to making you trust a brand, and feeling like you are getting value for money because although they are reused over and over, some stamp sets are not cheap.

At the time of writing this Dolphin-themed 'Make A Splash' stamp set is still available on the website for £2.48. I chose this one because Dolphins are one of my favourite animals, but I also liked how they were drawn in different positions for scene building. The little sentiments and stamps to create splashes were a nice touch as well.

I've posted below a couple of cards I made using the stamps, Sticker Kitten sequin set (very pretty colours, and stuck to card surprisingly well using tacky glue), and some stash items. On the second card, I even Googled a few images and added a few quick sea-themed cut-outs which was a lot of fun to do. 




Wednesday, 26 May 2021

The Summer Seekers By Sarah Morgan - Book Review

May, what are you doing to us in the UK? It feels like we are getting all the April showers (and more) a month late. What better way to inject some cheer into the blog than my stop on the blog tour for Sarah Morgan's latest novel The Summer Seekers. It's published by HQ who kindly gifted me access to read the book on Net Galley, and it's turned out to be the perfect way to add some sunshine into these gloomy days. 

As I'm writing this I've yet to see 'The Summer Seekers' on the shop shelves, but it will definitely stand out for shoppers, I don't think I've ever seen a front cover so bright and bold, and yellow!

'The Summer Seekers' follows the story of Kathleen, her daughter Liza, and Martha, three women seeking adventure and change in their lives, and I think it's safe to say they got it. Kathleen is a former travel TV presenter seeking a new adventure after the passing of her husband, Liza is fed up with being the dutiful wife and mother that everyone depends on, and Martha is feeling lost since her grandmother's passing and is in need of a new job. The Summer Seekers follows them on their adventures that span two countries, Route 66, a famous flirtatious art-loving rock star, and bacon.


I won't give too much of the story away, but the minute a bacon sandwich was mentioned at the start of the opening chapter I was craving one, and I still haven't had one yet so I really need to sort that out. This is where Sarah shines as an author though, the small things that bring visual images or emotions. I read about bacon and it was almost as if I had some sizzling in front of me. 

There's another line later on in the book where Liza comments "I've read books without feeling there's something else I should be doing." That hit hard, I love to read and was a big bookworm when I was younger, but as an adult with two jobs, anxiety (sometimes), and other things to deal with, I found I was either too tired, had other things to do, or just didn't have the concentration to read. I am trying to fit in some chill-out time into my days or weeks to shut off and pick up a book, and the motivation of a review or blog tour helps, and it feels so good.

All three women in this story want to feel good too, they want to escape the past, move on in a positive way, and reconnect with what they feel they've lost. Whether you relate to being stuck in a rut (Liza), hating the idea of a sedentary old age (Kathleen), or have no idea what to do with your life (Martha), these ladies and the way they learn from each other will win you over. 

Where 'The Summer Seekers' lacked a little for me was the scene-setting in America as Martha and Kathleen explored Route 66. I just felt at times like I could have been reading about anywhere and expected a little more detail about the iconic route, whereas there was plenty to transport me straight to the UK coastline and Oakwood cottage. 

It's still a book that kept me reading consistently until the end and I enjoyed the relatable moments and unexpected friendships too. It's delivered a splash of summer when I needed it, and I've already got my eyes on my next Sarah Morgan summer read (when mums finished with it!). 

'The Summer Seekers is available from May 27th on ebook, audiobook, and paperback from all your favourite places to buy. If you need a warm cozy hug of summer adventure, then this is the read for you. 

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Carnovsky Jungle 3 in 1 Jigsaw Puzzle Review

 One thing I have really enjoyed about lockdown is those moments, that turn into many minutes and hours when you can just sit and lose yourself in something, especially jigsaw puzzles. Late last year I was lucky enough to be #gifted a new puzzle from Ginger Fox and I can honestly say I've never done a puzzle like it.

Design duo Carnovsky has produced a series of 3 animal-themed 500 piece jigsaws all, each on a different animal theme, with a very clever twist. The bo contains 500 pieces and 3 pairs of glasses, just like the 3D glasses you might get in the cinema, but each has different colour lenses.

You can tell from looking at the box and enclosed print of the finished puzzle that there is more to see, but I definitely didn't expect quite such a wow from the end result, and I strongly suggest not cheating and only using the glasses when you've finished the puzzle. 

Jungle Puzzle Completed

The product details:

Retailed by Ginger Fox these puzzles cost £14.99 each and are available from Amazon. They cost £14.99 each at the time of blogging and include the box, 3 pairs of glasses, and a cardboard bag to store the pieces in. The lack of plastic (apart from maybe the glasses lenses) was nice to see. Choose from a jungle, animal, or ocean theme. I received the jungle one. 

Doing the puzzle: 

It started off as a solo effort, but mum couldn't resist joining in a bit later on and we got lost in the process quite a few times. It started off fairly easy - I was quite pleased with how quick I got all the edges done, and one corner of the design done, but then it got harder. This puzzle is definitely a challenge, and though having a print of the finished design helped a bit with some parts, quite a few times we were trying to match the patterns or colours up and were undecided on where pieces went/what they depicted. I think you have to be patient with this and be prepared to wait a while for the rhythm to set in and more spaces to be filled, but it's worth it.

The end result:

Mum said after we had finished the puzzle that she probably wouldn't choose to buy another one because you don't get the same enjoyment from the picture coming together as you would with normal puzzles, and it's a fair point - some parts of it really do look like nothing specific at first.

My reaction to finishing one puzzle was a sense of achievement, and I was a little bit mind-blown by the 3D images. Right now that means I'm curious to see what the other puzzles in the range would look like finished, although I'm not sure I would have the stamina to complete both of them. 

Jungle 3 In 1 Puzzle With Viewing Glasses

Looking through the glasses was even better than I expected. Each picture is completely different, some even featuring animals that there was no hint of at all in the pattern. It was detailed, clear, and I felt a little childlike excitement, especially when I looked through the red glasses. No spoilers but the image are shown when you use those was probably the best of the 3, and the biggest surprise. 

Good value for the price, entertainment value, and 3D element. The designers are very clever and although it's not a product I would necessarily keep buying, say if there were a larger series of them, I definitely hope to try another at some point.

Keep an eye on the blog or my Instagram as I'll be dropping in with progress on other puzzles, and any other free time activities I end up trying out. Are you a jigsaw fan? If you have any favourite types of puzzles do let me know below. I always love to hear from you. 

Ginger Fox Website

Amazon Listing

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Josef Pitura-Riley - You're Not Alone E.P Review

I've been walking around the house recently singing the words 'I'm a jack of all trades, I'm the master of none." to myself... just over six months since I first heard them. That's always a good sign right? So I thought it was about time I introduced you all to the author of Jack Of All Trades, and his You're Not Alone E.P which was released in July last year. 

I had planned to upload this blog a lot sooner but Covid stress got in the way, perhaps in a good way, as it feels like an even better time to enjoy an uplift and some feel-good tunes.

Josef Pitura-Riley is a singer-songwriter based in London, and like many in the pandemic wanted a new goal and something to do. The end result is an E.P of self-recorded songs, where he plays all the instruments, sings, and produced each and every song. 

The instrumentation is something you can't fail to notice through all 5 songs, and it's just pure happy. Lively, catchy, soft, and loud in all the right places, and perfect for those gigs all music fans are longing to safely happen this year. It's on point, well-produced, and the lyrics are sing-along. 

Where this E.P did lack a bit was the vocals, there's so much character in the music and the lyrics, I was expecting Josef to really go for it in his vocal delivery, and didn't feel that came across as well as it could have done in my ears. I heard the opening bars of the music and just expected the vocals to hit me with the same punch, and they didn't quite get there, but that could be a totally different ball game live. 

Overall though I really enjoyed listening to the tracks, it's hard not to respond to such a lively instrumental E.P, and I also want to give credit for Josef's approach to bloggers/writers. He not only took the time to look at my blog (and not everyone does), but also saw what I was into and sent a Disney cover for me to listen to. If you're a Jungle Book fan check this video out.  

Find all your download and streaming links at - http://www.josefpiturariley.com/