Thursday, 23 March 2017

Recent Reads Reviewed #1

What Light by Jay Asher - 4/5

I read this early Jan of this year after receiving it for Christmas. It made a great first book for 2017, I liked the festivities centred on the Christmas tree farm. The story was mostly character driven, and I felt for the two main characters Sierra and Caleb and their romance. I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a feel-good light read with important messages around love and family.

The Selection #1 by Kiera Cass – 5/5

I thoroughly enjoyed this as it was my first official dystopian themed book. On paper, it might not work for a few reasons but it was my guilty pleasure and satisfying to get into. I liked the combination of themes including reality TV and fairytale. It made a great escapist read, I loved the glamour of the dresses and old-fashioned romance between America and her love interests.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson – 3/5

This book left me a bit underwhelmed, particularly as so many others have high praise for it. Most likely it was a bit young for me, the dynamic of the friendship group in the book was lovely, but some of their problems came across a bit melodramatic. It was rather fun in places, such as the scavenger hunt and the antics towards the end. Unfortunately I couldn’t connect too well with the lead couple and not a great deal seemed to happen on the whole.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Snack Diaries | Part One

Strawberries & Cream Flavour Tea 
(By Morrison’s own brand, £1.00)
I was pleasantly surprised by this, the taste was lovely and the cream part was quite subtle but added something extra. You get 40 tea bags in the box which seems good value. The packaging is adorable and would even make a great gift either on its own or in a hamper.

Kellogg’s Special K Biscuit Moments in Blueberry
(From Poundland, £1.00)
I was looking for something to crave my sweet tooth while not being overly sugary and these were the perfect compromise. They were absolutely delicious and I can see myself repurchasing them.

Whittard Dreamtime Hot Chocolate 
(Part of a multipack from
Although this recipe includes caffeine, the taste is perfect to sip on while reading or watching TV in the evenings. The subtle malt flavour is nice, and I love Whittard hot chocolate.

Cadbury's Highlights Hot Chocolate 
(From Heron Foods, price unknown.)
My Mum and I have been thoroughly enjoying this brand of hot chocolate, and it’s a nice everyday drink and less indulgent than the Whittard variety. The taste is still sweet and pleasing.

I hope you enjoyed this different post from me, I wanted to mix it up a little and take a break from monthly favourite posts. I recently gave up on Graze boxes and I’m now trying out other snack options.

What’s your current go-to beverage? 
Do you have any healthier snack recommendations? :-) Xx

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Superdrug Extracts Coconut Shampoo & Conditioner

Today’s post I wanted to review two Superdrug’s own brand products, their Extracts coconut and sweet almond shampoo as well as conditioner. I’m taking a steady journey towards buying cruelty-free products, and luckily all of Superdrug’s own brand products with the star logo on are cruelty-free. I was attracted to this brand because of this as well as it being so affordable. I can see myself trying other products, I think I’ll do it a bit at a time, working through their range. They have a selection of different scents in this shampoo and conditioner brand with different purposes. This one was for dry and damaged hair which appealed to me. I did find that actually the shampoo was a little drying which was a little odd, and I tend to compensate for this by using extra conditioner.

My hair feels squeaky clean after use, leaving coconut and sweet almond lingering in my hair. The scent is amazing, and although I don’t tend to go for coconut regularly, it’s extra pretty with a twist of sweet almond. Each product is originally priced at £2.29 but they often have offers and I got them for cheaper. The bottles are 400ml each so I feel its superb value. Despite finding the shampoo a little drying on my hair, there were lots of positives. I can see myself buying other scents such as the aloe vera and mango for normal hair. The Superdrug hydrate and shine shampoo with coconut water is another similar product, a little pricey but interested me too. Shop range here.

Do you ever shop with Superdrug’s own brand? 
What has been your go-to haircare product at the moment? :-) Xx

Friday, 17 February 2017

I won a Goodreads giveaway again! Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland.

I was chuffed to bits that I won this book on Goodreads giveaways as I’ve seen it pop up on places like Goodreads and blogs for a while now. I actually won it mid-October last year and for whatever reason it’s been sitting on my shelf still waiting to be read. That’s not to say I’m super excited and intrigued to dip into it. It sounds like an unconventional romance with some cool twists. Also the cover is very striking and pleasing to the eye. This is definitely the next book I’m going to read and I’ll keep you informed if I like it.

Here’s a little summary from Goodreads to give you the gist of the book….

John Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again.

“Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change.

Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland's brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.”

Is Our Chemical Hearts on your TBR list? 
What book genre do you normally favour? :-) Xx

Monday, 13 February 2017

Homemade Valentine’s Shortbread Hearts

So its Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and I’ve been having fun with this as a theme for my baking. Last week I made chocolate marshmallow cookies and at the weekend I made shortbread hearts. I used a heart shaped cookie cutter I received in my Sanctuary beauty advent calendar and its really good quality with just the perfect heart shape. Along with cookies, I’ve found shortbread is one of the easiest and quickest baking recipes out there. I would say the trickiest part is making each biscuit have an even thickness when cutting the shape from the dough. The recipe I was following advised a 1cm thickness, and this seemed to work well. I used The Hungry Student Easy Baking book by Charlotte Pike again, I can see myself doing many more recipes from here!

My family and I have already had the taste test of these shortbread, and they tasted lovely. Like the last bake I shared, there are many ways to adapt the recipe. If you are feeling ambitious, you could decorate the shortbread, maybe half dip them in chocolate, or dust/decorate with icing sugar. I left them as they were, as I wanted the neat heart shape to stand out. I could see the recipe being great to bag up and give away as a gift too. There are just so many options! Let me know if you have or will be doing baking, you can even share a blog link and I’ll take a look, hope you have a super Valentine’s Day! :-) Xx

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Valentine’s Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

Now that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I wanted to share with you these chocolate marshmallow cookies, which I recently made. I got the recipe from The Hungry Student Easy Baking book by Charlotte Pike. So far I’ve been really enjoying baking from it, and love the easy (and tasty!) recipes. Click here to buy/view the book. I haven’t made chocolate cookies in a while, I added cocoa for this and included some left over marshmallows from Christmas. I used the mini kind, and felt maybe the bigger ones would have worked better as they melt less fast in the oven. But the idea from the recipe is that you add the marshmallows to the baking mix before it goes in the oven, that way the cookies are gooey when they come out. The end result is heavenly, they were the perfect mix of chewy and soft in the middle.

Using pink marshmallows would be perfect for Valentine’s if you have them. You can adapt the recipe other ways too, maybe adding mini sugar hearts or sprinkles to the mix would work nicely. And if you are photographing a similar bake, dusting icing sugar adds to the finished look. Cookies are super easy to make, and most recipes for them are quick and simple to follow. In my opinion you can get into the spirit even if you are single and baking is one of my favourite past times. Either way you are left with some yummy snacks for you, your other half or even family members.

Let me know if you will be baking this Valentine’s Day, I would love to hear about it! 
Hope you have a good one and speak soon. :-) Xx

Saturday, 4 February 2017

ASDA The Skin System Sensitive Cleansing Face Wipes

Today I’m back with a short review of these face wipes a family member gifted me from the supermarket when I had ran out. You can buy them at Asda for £0.75 which is a very reasonable price considering other options out there. They are formulated for sensitive skin and I found them to be very soothing and gentle on my own sensitive prone skin. I have now gone through the whole pack, and I’m pleased to say they never broke me out once and my make-up was removed effectively after each use. The towel wipes were so soft and I enjoyed trying a fragrance free formula.

My bugbear is they don’t offer any advice on the packaging about being cruelty-free. The label mentions they are dermatologically tested and there is a lot of vagueness around this term, and its meaning seeming different depending on the brand. So despite being paraben free I won’t be repurchasing for this reason. I think for someone on a budget, these would be okay. The whole brand by Asda is extremely affordable, and they sell things like cotton wool pads, and a selection of other skincare items. There are lots of better cruelty-free options out there though, my previous go-to wipes include the Pacifica purify coconut water cleansing wipes and Superdrug do some similar options.

Do you have any face wipe recommendations? 
Let me know what wipes/cleanser you use in the comments! 
Please share any tips too. :-) Xx

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

January Sales Shopping Haul

I got some lovely things in the sales this year, so I thought I would share them on my blog. I bought the Whittard hot chocolate set in December actually, as they were doing sales remarkably early. I find it frustrating that their postage is so pricey, so don’t buy from them too often. I’ve actually had this gift set before a while back, it was as lovely as I remembered it. The packaging is stunning and the selection of hot chocolate flavours is really good. There’s mint, chocolate orange, caramel flavour etc. Whittard hot chocolate is out of this world, if you haven’t already tried it, I recommend you do.

I bought two pairs of winter boots from Store Twenty One in my local town. This was about the second week in January and I was surprised to find there was still loads of bargains to be had. I felt both pairs of boots looked more expensive than I paid, and the styles seem really versatile and easy to wear. I’m so pleased I finally have them as I was searching for something similar since autumn. The shop I got them from isn’t as heard of as much in comparison to other highstreet shops but I’ve bought some lovely things from them in the past.

How did you find the Jan sales this year? What shops were the best for you? :-) Xx

Store Twenty One
Brown riding style boots £35 down to £20 (Buy here)
Grey buckle biker style boots £35 down to £20 (Buy here)

Hot chocolate selection box (Price approx. £14)

Saturday, 21 January 2017

My 2017 Personal Goals

Hope you are having a nice weekend/day so far. I wrote these goals at the beginning of the year and realised I hadn’t yet blogged them. These are ideas for myself for 2017, and I’ll be happy to complete even just some of them. I have a totally mixed batch of themes such as blogging, personal, philosophical etc. I’ve already started achieving a few such as wearing up fashion pieces I already own, making more family lunches and investing time into reading/Goodreads. So here we go…

Remember forgotten items already in my wardrobe and wear them up.
Research more into affordable cruelty-free beauty, and find some products from this I love.
Buy gifts in advance throughout the year for birthdays/Christmas to get good deals and leave
     more time for later.
Enjoy being in the garden and make it look neat.
Invest time into reading other blogs, and make new connections online.
Be consistently more active of Goodreads and talk/learn about books.
Keep the interaction up with friends and make time for them.
Get into listening and reviewing current music, make it a new hobby.
Develop card making business, and make lots of sales in 2017.
Be more open to new things, in small manageable steps.
Explore local places and find interesting places to visit.
Explore new photography genres such as street, product and portraits.
Experiment with new achievable baking recipes.
Offer to make more family lunches including salads and sandwiches.
Smile often and appreciate the good things in life.
Focus on positive changes and less on things out of my control.
Introduce more budget-friendly blog posts on my blog.
Develop new and different content on my blog.
Listen and learn from others.
Continue to read books regularly throughout the year and discover some amazing reads in 2017.
Make enough sets on Polyvore to become a ‘Style Icon’

Do we have any similar goals? Have I sparked a few new ideas for you? 
Please let me know if you have done a similar blog post, I would love to see! :-) Xx

Friday, 13 January 2017

December Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Favourites

December was quite a nice month for me, with the lead up to Christmas and some lovely outings with my family. I also made some Christmas stocking biscuits and had some chill time at home catching up on reading etc. I have a few things to share with you today that I’ve been loving in the month of December. Any Christmas presents favourites will most likely be featured in my Jan favourites, just so I have time to test them out and enjoy them properly. I treated myself to The Sanctuary beauty advent calendar which I appreciated very much, it was so nice to have a treat door to open each day. I’m still in the process of testing out each product as there are so many. Initial ones I was drawn to include the white lily damask rose body wash and body lotion, I’ve had experience with the brand before but have never tried this scent. But let me tell you it smells incredible and so far these two products have been my favs.

I’ve been trying to wear up things in the back on my wardrobe and bring things out I’ve forgotten about. These diamanté jeans seemed very festive so I wore them quite a number of times in December and I’ve had a few comments on them too. I got them in the New Look sale a good while ago. With the colder nights I dug out my owl hottie, which you heat up in the microwave and use it to keep you warm. I just love the owl design and it’s been very useful this winter. I made a cheeky purchase on Whittard around the end of November, I bought a hot chocolate set heavily reduced in the sale and have slowly been working my way through it. Christmas pudding, and caramel are two flavours I’ve been reaching for.

Finally I have two books that I just adored, both Christmas fiction that I was pleasantly surprised by. The two had a few similarities in the plot, which I only realised afterwards. I gave Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin 4/5 stars for its genuine likeable characters and heated romance around the festive period. Maybe this Christmas by Sarah Morgan blew me away, and although the book started off slow, as the romance developed it became a complete page-turner. I rated it 5/5 stars!! So that’s been my month, how was your December? I’ve had January blues a bit, but as the New Year has progressed I’m looking forward to whats to come.

Do you like Christmas themed novels? What has been your favourite fashion item lately? :-) Xx