Friday, 21 July 2017

Second-hand Summer Book Haul

Today I’m excited to share with you some books I picked up to read over the summer from a charity book shop. I mostly opted for chick-lit/YA with a self-help book thrown in. There’s a couple I’ve been wanting to read for a while so was chuffed to be able to find some of those titles. Big Magic has been a firm favourite in the blogging community, and focuses on creative living; I’ve actually completed this one, and a review will follow. I’ve read another book by Cat Clarke previously and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I’m hoping Torn will be equally great. I used to love reading Sarah Dessen books when I was a little younger, and although this particular title I haven’t read, all her books I would recommend. Also there’s a few I think would be holiday appropriate, as I like light reading while away.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
Dream a little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher
The Time of Our Lives by Jane Costello
Torn by Cat Clarke

What is your favourite book genre? 
Do you read chick-lit or young adult too? :-) Xx

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Chocolate Brownie Muffins with M&M’s

Hi – welcome back to a new blog post! Lately I’ve been really enjoying having my baking mojo back. I recently made some double chocolate chip muffins from The Hungry Student Easy Baking book by Charlotte Pike. I’ve been going back to this book time and time again, my Mum actually bought it, and I’ve been using it quite a bit. The recipes are simple to follow and reliable. I followed the recipe exactly except for the chocolate chips, and substituted them with M&Ms. The bake turned out so well actually, the muffins were light in texture but with a very rich, indulgent taste. After letting my family sample the batch, they said the muffins were like brownies, and the M&Ms were a great touch. There’s not much else to know so I will let you look through my photo diary of my baking!

Do you like baking too? 
Have you got any baking recipe books to recommend? 
Hope you are having a pleasant weekend so far! :-) Xx

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Boots Extracts Mango Body Spray

I featured a beauty haul blog post last month, and since then I’ve been testing each of the items. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on the Boots Extracts mango body spray, containing fairtrade ingredients, 150ml, priced at £3.50. Boots Extracts has been one of my favourite brands for a while now, every Christmas I would get a gift set by them, and I recommend you smell the brazil nut range as the scent is incredible. I’ve also got a soft spot for the mango collection, as its perfect for the summer months. In the past I’ve used their body butters, body scrubs and body washes but surprisingly never any of the body sprays. I know many people were fond of The Natural Collection body sprays, they are no longer available at Boots, but this seems like a really good alternative.

So how does it measure up? For the price, you seem to get a good deal, and I think the bottle will last me ages. I’m so pleased that it includes fairtrade ingredients, the mango fragrance smells so authentic, and like real mangos. The packaging is adorable too, and the spray nozzle is well made, and spritzes just the right amount out. When spraying onto skin, the product is not too oily, like others I’ve tried. It’s so refreshing to use and the scent lingers on throughout the day. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to a perfume, this might be just the thing! It also comes in strawberry and vanilla. Take a look at the collection here. Overall I would recommend you try one out too!

Do you like using body sprays? 
Which brands are your favourite? :-) Xx

Friday, 30 June 2017

The Library of Fragrance Sunshine Eau de Toilette

Today I will be reviewing a perfume by The Library of Fragrance so you can find out a little more about this product and whether I rate it or not. I bought the "Sunshine" edition back when we were having the most incredible weather, ironically lately it has been mostly rain and fog. After looking at the forecast I’m hoping by the weekend it will pick up. I was browsing the Boots website a little way back ready to spend a chunk of Boots points, and felt like treating myself to a perfume. This brand really drew me in with their gorgeous sounding scents, and minimal packaging. I’d seen a little bit of the brand through the blogging community, and was pleased to see they are cruelty-free and vegan. So I’ve been testing this perfume this week, let’s see what my thoughts were…

Although describing the scent is a little bit difficult, I can tell you that I love it, it’s a perfect nostalgic fragrance for the summer. I wasn’t sure whether a singular scent would work so well, but it does and it’s also very wearable for day to day. The scent lingers on throughout the day, which is lovely to see from just an Eau de Toilette. I feel £15 is a reasonable amount to pay for a 30ml bottle, and with they are doing 2 for £25. The packaging is so instagramable, eye-catching, and overall the brand is pretty fascinating. I can see myself buying others, there are so many perfume names that made me smile, go check them out here. You can actually layer different scents, which sounds quite appealing.

“What does Sunshine smell like? Think of your favourite, most comfortable cotton t-shirt, warmed by the sun and summer skin, with just a hint of suntan lotion.” And works well layered with Fresh Landry, Cherry Blossom, Gin & Tonic, Mango, Vanilla Ice Cream and Grass.

Have you heard of this brand before, and does it appeal to you? 
What’s been your go-to perfume this summer? :-) Xx

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/ Here)

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

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

Original Source 'Mango' Shower Gel 250ml 
(£1.00/ 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