Friday 29 March 2019

Mask Time Subscription Box Review*

A face mask can solve pretty much anything can't it? Or that's what I think. If I'm feeling a bit under the weather, stressed or tired, I tend to use that as a time for a little bit of a pamper evening and for me it's not complete without a face mask. I've spoken about countless masks in the past but one of my favourites to use is a sheet mask. I've tried various brands but I'm always looking for more so I was thrilled to receive this months subscription box from Mask Time!
flatlay - Mask time box to the left side, london trinket dish to the top right, essie nail polish below
Mask Time are a funky Korean sheet mask subscription service set up by beauty therapist Estee. Her obsession with skincare and sheet masks led her to find many amazing products that weren't accessible to those living outside of Korea, so she decided to do something about it. I have personally noticed the rise in Korean skincare over the last few years but it only seems to be odd shops and websites you can actually buy them from so companies like Mask Time are fab for introducing you to these brands. At Mask Time, they source the latest trends and each mask is put to the test before being included in the monthly boxes so you can be assured you're only getting the best quality items too.
flatlay - Mask time box to the left, face mask to the right with pineapple trinket dish below, one face mask on top of the box
So as I just mentioned, at Mask Time there is a monthly subscription service so each month you can look forward to a box of face mask goodies arriving at your doorstep, and each time you have no idea what's next for you to try. I've mentioned beauty subscription boxes on my blog before, because I just love the element of surprise with them but a face mask one for me beats them all. So, let's get onto what I thought of the contents. The theme this time was Stop and Smell The Roses.

There are four masks included, all with a rose theme and the first one I tried was the BANILA.CO Dear Hydration Mask £5. As soon as I saw this, it reminded me exactly of the Sephora face masks I picked up in Paris! I love the funky packaging and shape and it's exactly what I'd be drawn to in a shop. This has been picked because of it's lotus extract which helps balance out oily skin and provide hydration, aswell as the Bamboo extract which purifies the skin and prevents moisture loss. I really enjoyed using this mask, it was easy to apply and left my skin feeling really refreshed afterwards, though there was a lot of excess to massage in afterwards.
Close up of the Banila face mask
The next mask I decided to go for was the TONYMOLY Natural Pure Rose Wood Mask £4. Again, the packaging of this mask is beautiful. This mask is infused with natural Rose Wood oil which provides lasting moisture, Lavender which improves elasticity, Eucalyptus to brighten complexion, Rosemary for blemishes and Tea Tree to calm down stressed out skin. So it does a lot! I was really keen to try this as my skin has been breaking out for weeks now and it definitely needed something to work it's magic. I know sheet masks are always cold when you first put them on but the feeling lasted for ages after taking the mask off and weirdly I liked it. I genuinely felt like I could feel it doing something to my skin and it just felt fresh and rejuvenated afterwards.
Close up of the Tony Moly face mask with others in the background
I've still got two of the masks in the box to use, HOLIKA HOLIKA Pure Essence Mask Sheet Damask Rose £3 and HEY, LO Calming White Mask £4 but I'm sure I'll post reviews of those in the next few weeks so keep an eye out if you want to know what I thought of those too.

The great thing about the Mask Time subscription service is that there are two options. The first one being the Glow Starter Box which is priced at £9.95 like this one. This is ideal for K-Beauty newbies who maybe aren't sure where to start or just want to give it a go as it includes 4 tried and tested sheet masks. I think the price of this is brilliant given how expensive some masks tend to be alone. The second option is the Glow Setter Box which is priced at £24.99. This is more pricey but does include 8-10 masks and tends to include masks which are multi-step or speciality. What I love about these boxes too is that you get little cards which explain more about the masks and the theme of the month so you know exactly what each mask is for and why it's been chosen.

Overall, I'm really impressed with this subscription box from Mask Time. The masks were really lovely to use and I think my favourite has to be the Tony Moly one so far. My only criticism with this box would have to be that it's just sheet masks and I do like to mix things up as I get bored easily but I suppose it is clear from the start which is useful. I think this would make quite a nice gift actually for someone who is into their skincare, maybe for an upcoming birthday? They also have specially curated S.O.S boxes for different skin issues - oily, dry and combination so that's another bonus!

I'd love to know if you've tried anything like this subscription box before? What's your favourite type of face mask?

*PR sample

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Thursday 28 March 2019

My 2019 Reading Challenge - Update #1

After completely falling in love with reading again last year, I went into 2019 with a goal in mind. With the speed I'd been getting through books before Christmas, I decided that reading 30 books this year should be doable. Well I've currently just finished book number 21 so I thought now was an appropriate time for a little update. My plan is to do maybe 3 or 4 updates throughout the year going through the books I've read so far and my brief thoughts and then at the end of 2019, put together my top 10. So as we have over 20 books to get through, let's get started!
stack of books in front of musical programs - the tattooist of Auschwitz, the last piece of my heart, the guilty wife, tell me a secret, everything everything

The Tattooist Of Auschwitz by Heather Morris - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The first book of 2019 and honestly, I'm finding it hard to beat. A harrowing yet beautiful story of how true love can overcome anything. You can find my full review here if you want to know more.

Obsession by Amanda Robson - ⭐⭐⭐

This book was just strange. I was so intrigued by the synopsis of two couples kind of being obsessed with each other and literally one question setting everything off but it was extreme. Very uncomfortable at times and just a bit too far-fetched.

The Man Who Didn't Call by Rosie Walsh - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

After a bit of a slow start, I ended up really enjoying this book. Loved the change in narrative throughout and it had a brilliant twist that I didn't see coming. 

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I really didn't expect to enjoy a memoir as much as I did. At first I did find it hard to connect with Dolly but I grew to love her as she told her stories of love, loss and friendship. I think it's a real girl power book.

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I couldn't really give this anything other than 5 stars because it had such an affect on me. Not necessarily in a good way, it's very heavy on mental health issues towards the end which there was no warning about and it really got in my head, I actually found it genuinely scary at times. It was just nothing like I expected so for that, it deserves a lot of praise.
stack of books in front of musical programs - the tattooist of Auschwitz, the man who didn't call, everything I know about love

Johnny Be Good, Baby Be Mine & Johnny's Girl by Paige Toon - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I adore Paige Toon's books so I was really excited to finally read Johnny Be Good. Like any book of Paige's it was full of ups and downs, heartache and romance, just everything you want in a love story. The sequel Baby Be Mine was just as enjoyable too. I don't necessarily think the third follow up Johnny's Girl was needed but that's just my opinion, still a really lovely series of books!

In A Cottage In A Wood by Cass Green - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I had been wanting to read this for such a long time. It was full of tension, very dark and genuinely creepy throughout but I do think the ending let it down a little. It just felt rushed and like the author realised she needed to wrap it up. One more chapter and it would have been 5 stars.

Our House by Louise Candlish - ⭐⭐⭐

A great premise and it started off so well. I loved how it was told by both characters involved and that the main character Fi's side was told through a podcast, a really interesting idea and nothing like I've read before. It went on for too long though and the ending wasn't as shocking as it leads you to believe. 

Tell Me A Secret by Jane Fallon - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I think I've got a new author to add my collection of favourites, one's that I'll keep going back to. I just didn't want this to end! I love that it was focused on friendships (or more how difficult they can be at times) and didn't have a romantic element. It was lighthearted and had lots of humour throughout but also full of drama. Just a brilliant read.

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a book that's extremely hard to review because what can you say about such a horrifying event? It's a tough story but told beautifully by John Boyne. I do think I prefer the film though.
stack of books in front of pink fluffy pillow and eiffel tower ornament in the background. Johnny Be Good, Baby Be Mine, Tell Me A Secret, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

The Last Piece Of My Heart by Paige Toon - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Another stunning read from Paige Toon. How does she get it so right every single time? So believable, full of feeling and I adored the characters, especially Bridget. I think it's my new favourite from Paige.

The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I don't know why but I went into this not expecting much. I ended up being pleasantly surprised though. In fact it's one of the best thrillers I've read this year. I was gripped from the start and it was so unpredictable which I always like. A very frustrating ending though!

Anna by Amanda Prowse - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Really interesting to have a love story told by both characters in the form of two separate books. I found Anna's story really easy to get into and loved finding out more about her past.

Theo by Amanda Prowse - ⭐⭐⭐

Because I liked Anna, I expected reading Theo's side to be just as enjoyable but for some reason it wasn't. Something was just missing throughout. Lots of time jumps with very little explanation so it was just confusing at times.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I just adored this book. I actually watched the film first which is definitely a new fave of mine and the book was just as beautiful. I loved how it was told in short and snappy chapters, in fact I got through it all in one sitting. You can find out more of my thoughts on this in my review.
flatlay - The last piece of my heart, Anna, Theo, The Guilty wife - all laid down, Everything Everything on top in the middle

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen - ⭐⭐⭐

This would have been 4 stars but the ending was just one twist too far. I love thrillers that keep you guessing and have the shock factor which this did for the majority but the ending actually annoyed me. It just ended up all over the place and I felt the main character was totally ruined by end.

Faking Friends by Jane Fallon - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Not quite as good as 'Tell Me A Secret' but still one of the better books I've read so far this year. Each chapter just flowed seamlessly into the next and I always wanted to keep going with it. I loved the main character Amy too and I liked that it was very focused on betrayal and deceit this time.

The Confession by Jo Spain - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

So much is revealed straight away with this so I was really intrigued with where it could go next, as it's quite a long book. I did find it a little boring at times and I found myself skimming parts of it but it did have it's positives too. I enjoyed the 3 person narrative and how they all had a different view on the murder.

The Sister by Louise Jensen - ⭐⭐⭐

After feeling quite disappointed by 'The Surrogate' I wanted to give another book of Louise's a chance but after reading The Sister, I've come to the conclusion, this author just isn't for me. It had a good premise and really could have been brilliant but again, just too many twists. It was over complicated and I just couldn't work out what was going on most of the time.
stack of books in front of musical programs with eiffel tower ornament on top. The Surrogate, Faking Friends, The Confession, The Sister
So that's all of the books I've read so far this year! 21 out of my challenge of 30. There has been a real mix over the last few months so I'm excited to write another update later in the year and see what else has impressed me. I'd love to know if you've read any of these books too and what your thoughts are!

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Wednesday 27 March 2019

Posh Sausage and Beans Recipe - Comforting and Affordable

It's been quite a while since my last cooking recipe, in fact it was Diet Coke Chicken in November so I've been really keen to get back to creating some new meals and sharing them with you. Though I already have an abundance of recipe books, one of my fave TV chefs Chris Bavin has just released Good Food Sorted and it's given me the kick I needed to change up my meals. One of the first meals I tried was the posh sausage and beans and it was so tasty. I didn't have everything in the recipe so I just adapted it to suit what we had in and what I could find in the shops, so here's my version! It looks like it has quite a lot of ingredients but that's just because of the seasoning. If you are looking for a new cook book though, I couldn't recommend this one enough, it's got simple hearty dishes that take no time at all but also some really creative ideas too for when you're feeling a bit fancy!
Posh sausage and beans on a plate to the left side of the photo, gold cutlery to the right side
Ingredients: for 2 people
8 chipolata sausages
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 pepper, finely diced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of chickpeas, drained
1 tin of kidney beans, drained
Salt & pepper
1 tsp gravy granules
1 tsp of vinegar
1 tsp of brown sugar
Chilli powder
Mixed herbs

1. Pre-heat your grill and cook the sausages for around 30 mins
2. In a pan start by frying off your onion, pepper and garlic (I just crushed 2 but it's totally your choice)
3. Add in your chopped tomatoes, along with the drained chickpeas and kidney beans
4. Add half a tin of water and then you can throw in the seasoning. I used salt, pepper, 1 tsp of gravy granules, 1 tsp of vinegar, 1 tsp of brown sugar, chilli powder, cumin and herbs. The amount of chilli powder is up to you, we like ours quite spicy!
5. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes 
6. When the sausages are cooked, you can start putting everything together. I just served the bean mix with the sausages on top and we had crusty rolls to dip. You could serve with whatever you want though, I think mash would be lovely with it!
Closeup of the sausage and beans
Though this may have a quite a few ingredients, a lot are cupboard staples and on the whole the meal takes less than an hour so a great one to rustle up in the week. 

If you give this a go let me know, I'd love to know what you thought!

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Tuesday 26 March 2019

Lilibeth Of New York Brow Shaper Review*

Eyebrows - everyone says they're sisters not twins. Well mine are like long lost cousins. Seriously, I have struggled with them for years! I've been blessed with quite thick and dark hair which means my eyebrows are the same and take some serious taming. After many years of waxing, I turned to classic plucking but let's face it, it's painful and effort, oh and it leaves you with a nice pink mark underneath afterwards. That's why I was thrilled when I received an email asking if I would like to try out the Lilibeth Of New York Brow Shaper. It looked liked something that was going to change my life when it came to grooming the brows, so I jumped at the chance.
Brow Shaper on stack of books with gold copper candle holder next to it
So, what is the Lilibeth Brow Shaper? Well it's a new beauty tool that has been designed to remove unwanted hair easily and painlessly. Anywhere you have unwanted hair you can use it - upper lip area, chin, cheeks, arms and even bikini line. No more need for waxing, threading or plucking. 


There are many positives to using the Brow Shaper, and I've personally had absolutely no issues. 
- Effortless and easy to use
- Instant results
- Painless hair removal
- Compact and portable
- Doesn't cut or irritate skin
- Hypo-allergenic stainless steel
- Suitable for all skin types
Opened brow shaper held up in front of pink fluffy pillow, stack of books and copper candle holder


This might look a little scary at first but it's incredibly easy to use and get to grips with.
- Use on clean and dry skin
- Pull skin taught
- Place the shaper at a 45 degree angle
- Use short gentle strokes with no extra pressure
- To clean, wipe the blade with a dry cloth

Safety Features

Following on from what I just mentioned, it may look daunting but it's as safe as can be with it's safety serrated edge and folding mechanism.
- The Brow Shaper contains a hypoallergenic precision engineered stainless steel coated shaper with a safety protected serrated edge. It has been designed this way to ensure that it won't cut or irritate the skin in any way. It also has a folding mechanism which keeps your Brow Shaper clean and hygienic aswell as being great to pop in your makeup bag or take with you for travel.
Closeup of the Brow Shaper in front of stack of books, candle holder and pink fluffy pillow


Before I finally get onto my overall thoughts on the Brow Shaper, one final point I wanted to mention is that it can also be used for Dermaplanning. Not only is it great for removing hair but it's also used by makeup artists and beauty therapists to exfoliate the skin at the same time. At dermatologists, spas and salons this can cost a fortune but with the Brow Shaper you can do it for a fraction of the cost. By using this on the skin you can remove surface debris, diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and generally give a healthy and more radiant look to the skin.
flatlay - Brow Shaper on top of postcard with the quote 'She believed she could, so she did' Flowers in the right hand corner, Essie polish in space underneath

My overall thoughts?

I have absolutely loved using the Lilibeth Of New York Brow Shaper. Maintaining my brows always seemed like such a chore before but now I know this will take far less time and if anything, give me better results. I've been really happy with how effective it is at removing hairs and it's just generally given my brows a bit more shape meaning I've felt more confident over the last few weeks. It really is painless which is an added benefit and with it's compact size it's great for me to keep in my makeup bag ready to grab whenever I need it. I don't often take anything with me for my brows when I'm travelling as that's just extra to pack into my makeup bag but this is perfect. I'll be taking it wherever I go from now on so if I see a few stray brow hairs, I can sort it quickly with this. I've not yet tried it for dermaplanning yet but I'm hoping with how impressed I've been with it's ability for everything else, that I'll have no issues.

If you want to try the Brow Shaper too, which I really recommend you do, you can buy at Makeupboxldn for £7.49. There are various colours available and you can even get sets of two! Feel free to use my discount code too to receive 10% off - tiffany10.

I can't see myself using anything other than this now for my brows, it's my current beauty tool and I'm so glad I tried it.

Do you have a go to beauty tool? Would love to know if you've tried anything like this before!

*PR sample

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Thursday 21 March 2019

A New Staple Piece - Adexe Meek Petite Rosegold Watch Review*

I've never been someone that's all about jewellery. I've always had a few pieces like my infinity necklace, earrings when I was younger (though I genuinely can't remember the last time I wore some!), and of course my wedding and engagement rings but for a long time I've not had a real staple piece, something I really want to put on each day. That was until the lovely people at Adexe got in touch and asked if I'd like to try out one of their beautiful watches. How could I resist?
flatlay - cosmo magazine to the left side, red Adexe box in the centre, watch draped over it. Pineapple dish to the right with an essie polish on top, flowers in the right hand corner
Adexe are a watch brand based in the heart of London that I'd heard so much about. I'd seen their watches on Instagram countless times and they were secretly a brand I was hoping to work with this year so I was thrilled to be given the chance to review a watch of my choice. There are so many to choose from as Adexe believe in self-expression, individuality and wearing pieces that reflect you so if you're in the market for a new watch, you'll have no trouble finding one that suits you and what you're about (both men and women). There are several collections and a range of colours available but after much deliberation I went for the Meek - Petite Rosegold.

Meek - Petite Rosegold £95

Let's talk about the packaging first because for me it's always an important part with any product. The watch comes in a sleek red and pink box with ADEXE embossed in the middle. Instantly it looks luxurious. When you open up the box, on one side is the watch placed securely with a second pair of straps so you can change things up when you wish, and on the other side you'll find a few cards with a discount code, hashtags to use online and just general information about the brand. There is also a card which explains how to use the replaceable straps to pay contactless! More on that later.

Now onto the watch itself. The reason I've not worn a watch for such a long time is because I'm incredibly fussy. I don't like them to be too big or feel clunky on my wrist, yet I also want them to look pretty and match my outfits. Luckily I've found everything I was looking for with the Petite Rosegold. The rosegold trend is still very much alive so this instantly stood out to me over the usual gold and silver. With it's hand polished stainless steel strap, curved hardened crystal glass for the face and rosegold lines for the numbers, it's incredibly high quality yet has such a chic look. It's exactly what I've been after all this time. 
holding the watch in front of a background of pink fluffy pillow, stack of books and copper candle holder
I adore the original mesh band but I also love the replaceable straps that also came with the watch. They're plain black so go incredibly well with the watch face and also compliment a lot of the clothes I wear! As I mentioned earlier, the great thing about these straps is that you can actually use them to pay contactless! Contactless is incredibly useful anyway with just a touch of your bank card or your phone but to be able to just use your watch and not have to go to any effort at all to reach for your card or phone is amazing, making life just that little bit easier! It's incredibly easy to get set up, just go to the bPay app, insert the code that will be attached to the strap, top up the amount you'd like and you're pretty much ready to go. Though this is Barclays it works with any bank so no need to worry about that. An incredibly useful idea and perfect for when you're on the go.
Adexe Meek Petite Rosegold watch draped over the Red presentation box
I'm so impressed with the Meek Petite Watch. Not only is it absolutely stunning but it's extremely high quality, comes in a beautiful presentation box and even has the added bonus of contactless straps. Though it may not be the cheapest piece of jewellery, it's worth the price tag and you do get a lot for your money. I think any watch from Adexe would make a wonderful gift either to yourself (#treatyourself) or for maybe a family member or friend for an upcoming birthday, maybe even as a graduation present? If you want to know anymore about Adexe or want to see the other watches available, make sure you go over to their website, you'll be spoilt for choice! You can also use my discount code - FOODOTHERLOVES15 for 15% off!

'The meek instil serenity, simplicity, and security for all.'

Do you have a staple piece of jewellery?

*PR sample

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Wednesday 20 March 2019

Yet Another Book Haul

I've posted a few book hauls recently so I was a bit unsure of whether to do another already but then I thought, well why not? If you're an avid reader like me, posts like this are always nice to find. I get a lot of book inspiration from hauls like this so if you do too, hopefully you enjoy this! I've been feeling a bit out of sorts with blogging recently and I've been worrying a lot about the content I post and if it's anything people are actually interested in but I'm at the point now where I kind of don't care. As much as I love every post I share, I want to talk more about my real passions and something I adore is reading. So this is basically a long winded way of saying they'll be more book reviews and hauls like this coming up, because it's what I really like to write at the moment! They might not be to everyone's taste but it's easy to get caught up in what other people are doing when it comes to blogging and I want to get past that now, and just share what is more me. Anyway, let's get onto the books I bought this time! By the way they were all £2 each on Amazon, so now is the time to look if you want to grab a bargain!
stack of books on desk in front of musical programs

All That She Can See - Carrie Hope Fletcher

'Cherry has a hidden talent. She can see things other people can't and she decided a long time ago to use this skill to help others. As far as the rest of the town is concerned she's simply the kind-hearted young woman who runs the local bakery, but in private she uses her gift to add something special to her cakes so that after just one mouthful the townspeople start to feel better about their lives. They don't know why they're drawn to Cherry's bakery - they just know they're safe there and that's how Cherry likes it. She can help them in secret and no one will ever need to know the truth behind her gift. And then Chase turns up and threatens to undo all the good Cherry has done. Because it turns out she's not the only one who can see what she sees...'

I've actually already got round to reading this as I was so excited to start it. It was the first book I've read from Carrie so I had no idea what to expect but I really enjoyed it. I'd heard mixed reviews and I'm not usually into a story with magical elements or anything like that but it was just a lovely read. It was also focused on baking too which you know I absolutely adore myself. I know Carrie has a few other books so I'd love to know if you've read any of them and what you thought before I order more.
All that she can see by Carrie Hope Fletcher in the centre. Stack of books in the background on the right side with a silver eiffel tower ornament placed on top. Pink fluffy pillow in the left background

Since We Fell - Dennis Lehane

'On a Tuesday in May, in her thirty-fifth year, Rachel shot her husband dead. He stumbled backward with an odd look of confirmation on his face, as if some part of him had always known she'd do it. Rachel's husband adores her. When she hit rock bottom, he was there with her every step of the way as she slowly regained her confidence, and her sanity. But his mysterious behaviour forces her to probe for the truth about her beloved husband. How can she feel certain she ever knew him? And was she right to ever trust him?'

I am so intrigued by this! I want to know the answers now, why did she shoot her husband? Why was he expecting it? I do like when a book starts with a bang (quite literally) and then we get the backstory explaining what lead to that point. Hopefully this will be good as I have high hopes!
Since we fell by Dennis Lehane in the centre. Stack of books on the right side in the background with eiffel tower ornament on top, pink fluffy pillow on the left side

The Sister - Louise Jensen

'Grace hasn't been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie's words the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie's. It soon becomes clear that there was a lot that she didn't know about her best friend. When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie's father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie's sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan's home. But something isn't right. Things disappear, Dan's acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace's mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?'

I recently read The Surrogate by Louise Jensen which left me feeling very mixed - I enjoyed it and it made me want to read more from Louise but on the other hand there were just too many twists, and it's not often I say that. I thought I'd give another of her books a go and The Sister has got brilliant reviews. I'm really intrigued to see if this ends up changing my mind after The Surrogate.
The Sister by Louise Jensen held up in front of musical programs

Pedigree Mum - Fiona Gibson

' A straying husband. A broken heart. And a crazy rescue dog in a town of posh pooches... When Kerry Tambini upped sticks with her family to a new home on the coast, she couldn't have been happier. Then husband Rob made the biggest mistake of his life... Stranded with her children in snooty Shorling, Kerry has plenty on her plate. So how can she say no to the kids' pleas for a dog when they're missing their father dreadfully? Will adopting a wayward hound lead Kerry to a new love - or has she bitten off more than she can chew? As she steps back into the dating world Kerry must juggle her family, her neurotic dog and try to fit in with the local pedigree mums, making her a true heroine for our time.'

Sometimes you just need a 'normal' book. After reading so many thrillers, some very intense, sometimes I don't want something that requires so much effort if that makes sense. That's absolutely nothing against the author, I just like to have a book in my stash that I know will be a pleasant read! As I'm a huge lover of alllll the dogs, this stood out to me and I'm looking forward to seeing how everything plays out.
Pedigree Mum by Fiona Gibson book in the centre, laid on top of 4 other books

The Humans - Matt Haig

'After an incident one wet Friday night where he is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, Professor Andrew Martin is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst an alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he's a dog. Who is he really? And what could make someone change their mind about the human race...?'

If you don't follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter, you need too. He's always been very honest about his depression and anxiety and I just find him so relatable. I read his book Reasons To Stay Alive a few years ago and it's been special to me ever since so I've been keen to read some of his other books.
The Humans by Matt Haig book in the centre, laid on top of four other books
So that's 5 new books that I've added to my bookshelf. I'd love to know if you've read any of these and what you thought or let me know if you have any other recommendations.

What are you reading at the moment?

Book reviews - In A Cottage In A Wood by Cass Green // Johnny Be Good by Paige Toon

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Tuesday 19 March 2019

Mother's Day Gift Guide 2019*

With Mother's Day not too far away now, it's time to get shopping! Whether you want to splash out or if you're just looking for a few simple gifts, I've got you covered. I hope if you've been struggling for ideas or you've just not had chance to even give it a thought yet, that this gift guide is useful!
blurred collage with text over - Mother's Day Gift Guide 2019

Thomas Fudge's Biscuits - from £2*

I only featured a review of some products from Thomas Fudge's yesterday but I really wanted to include them in my gift guide too. As much as we all appreciate a box of chocolates, I think sometimes it's nice to think a outside of the box and go for something a little different. Thomas Fudge's have a great selection of yummy treats from flapjack to biscuits, Florentine's and even savoury snacks too. If you can't choose, they have a few gift selections to choose from too which allow for you to try a little bit of everything. My personal favourites so far are the White Chocolate and Lemon Blisscuits and the Salted Caramel Florentine's. If you think a box of something special like this is a good idea, maybe to even include in a hamper? you can find out more on their website.
flatlay - lemon biscuits and florentines on a dish in the centre, cup of tea to the right, magazine to the left with box

Adexe Watches - from £89*

So this is definitely at the other end of the scale when it comes to cost but if you really want to splash out this year, a piece of jewellery never goes amiss. Adexe watches are something I see over social media all of the time now and with the range available, you are sure to find something your mum would love. My personal choice is the Meek - Petite Rosegold which I have a full review of coming later this week. It's such high quality, looks even more beautiful up close and is just a perfect classy watch that can be paired with any outfit.
flatlay - watch in its box on the left side, box lid on the right side, flowers and gold accessories in the spaces

Lir Chocolates - £13*

If you do want to stick to chocolates this Mother's Day, look no further than Lir Chocolates! Lir pride themselves on combining the very best ingredients (traditional with a few surprises too) with imagination and this is how chocolates like Persian lime, Hazelnut Gianduja and Cinnamon and Raisin Cream are created. There are several different gifts available on the website but the one I love is the Discovery Collection. Beautiful hand-finished and hand-decorated chocolates, stunning packaging and the most delicious, smooth and creamy chocolates. Perfect for your mum to enjoy in the evening after a day of being thoroughly spoilt!
flatlay - Lir chocolates open on left side, lid to the right, rose petals scattered
flatlay - Lir chocolates open, lid of box slightly in the photo at the bottom, star ornament in left space

Calidad Home Silk Pillowcase - £34.99* 

Does it get anymore luxurious than silk? I only posted a review of this last week but it's perfect if you really want to treat someone this mother's day. Not only does a silk pillowcase have beauty and health benefits (I know, who knew?!) such as reduced split ends, help with skin conditions such as eczema and being great for sensitive skin, it also feels like absolute heaven. What could beat falling asleep on a cloud of silk each night? Find out more on the website!
Silk pillowcase in the background, heart chopping board in front with book, face mask and cup of tea

Prosecco and Bath Bomb Bubbles Gift Set - £20

A gift set that pretty much has it all in one! You can't go wrong with a bottle of prosecco but to make it just that bit more special, Next have created this gorgeous gift set which also contains a trio of soothing bath bombs, encased in a beautiful gold gift box. Perfect for a warm soak on Mother's Day.

Baylis and Harding Slipper Gift Set - £30

Sticking with a similar theme, Baylis and Harding have released a Pink Prosecco and Elderflower Slipper Set just in time for Mother's Day. This is perfect if you're struggling for ideas and want something that you know they can put to good use. It contains bath crystals, soap, shower gel, foot lotion and of course the beautiful super soft mule slippers.

Card Factory Gift Bundle - £8.49

Can you sense I'm liking the bundle gift sets this year? If you want something more affordable, Card Factory are always a winner, no matter what the occasion. This particular set contains a box of milk chocolate hearts, 1 soft toy, 1 card and 1 large gift bag. I think for the price this is brilliant, just a few little gifts to show you care.

Gift Experience - From £20

If you want to treat your mum to a day out instead, as going and creating memories together can sometimes be much more special than just a gift, there are so many options available. Just a quick google of gift experiences brings up hundreds and hundreds of ideas - afternoon tea, a spa day, a trip to see a musical, a night away, just to name a few. Red Letter Days is a great one to check out if you're thinking of something like this.
collage - prosecco gift set, slipper gift set, card factory bundle, afternoont ea
Are you all sorted for Mother's Day?

*Products marked with a * are PR samples. Affiliate links used in this post

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Monday 18 March 2019

The Perfect Treat For Mother's Day With Thomas Fudge's*

At the moment I absolutely love taking some time out each afternoon to read a few chapters of a my book and have a nice cup of tea. I know I'm quite lucky to have that opportunity with working from home, so I thoroughly enjoy it whenever I do it, it just helps me relax a little. I'm sure I'm not the only one who loves a few biscuits with my tea (okay, a packet) so I was thrilled to receive some bits from Thomas Fudge's recently.
flatlay - top left corner, lemon and white chocolate biscuits on a trinket dish, the box next to it on the right, bottom left corner is the box of florentines and to the right is a selection of them next to it. Flowers in space on the right and a ribbon running through the middle of the photo
Thomas Fudge founded his bakery in 1916 and since then they've been making delightful treats for everyone to enjoy, from biscuits to flapjacks, florentines, and even crackers and biscuits for cheese, so whether you love sweet or savoury, they've got you covered! Each recipe has been passed down from generation to generation and even now, each product is slowly baked in batches in the bakery which is still based in the heart of Dorset. The lovely people who work at Thomas Fudge's have made a promise that everything they make will be to the highest standard so I was incredibly excited to receive a few of their yummy products to try out. Let's see what I thought!

White Chocolate and Lemon Blisscuits - £2.70*

I'm starting with the White Chocolate and Lemon Blisscuits because I literally couldn't resist them when they arrived. First of all I love the little play on the name, simple things like are always a nice touch I think and trust me when I say these really are little mouthfuls of bliss. Packed with candied peel to give it that gorgeous lemon flavour, these are perfect if you like something with a fruity twist. There is the perfect amount of lemon for a bit of zing but it's not overpowering in any way. The white chocolate which coats half the biscuit accompanies the lemon flavoured biscuit incredibly well too. The biscuit is crisp yet breaks apart beautifully and literally melts in the mouth. An absolutely perfect addition to a cup of tea in the afternoon! The Blisscuits are available in two more different flavours too - Dark Chocolate Stem Ginger and Triple Chocolate (going to have to get my hands on those soon!)
trinket dish with biscuits in the centre on heart wooden chopping board, cup of tea to the right, magazine underneath to the left and box of biscuits in the background

Salted Caramel Florentine's - £3.50*

The second product I was sent to try out was the Salted Caramel Florentine's. Now, I do like a Florentine but they wouldn't necessarily be my first choice over a classic slice of cake or biscuit to dunk but I have been left pleasantly surprised! These are the perfect combination of juicy fruit, crunchy nuts and gooey salted caramel with a heaven like Belgian chocolate. All of the flavours just work so well together. These are perfect to bring out when you're entertaining and they're just something a little different to your classic plain biscuit. I can't get enough of these. If salted caramel isn't your thing, these Florentine's are available in two other flavours - Dark Chocolate and Milk Chocolate.
trinket dish in the centre with florentines on top. Cup of tea to the left, pink notebook underneath to the right with box of florentines on top
Both the Blisscuits and the Florentine's have been a delight to try over the last few weeks with a lovely cup of tea. Just one of these is the perfect sweet mix I often need in the afternoon! These are perfect to have in the cupboard and great to grab whenever someone pops round, they even do flapjacks too so plenty of choice.

I actually think a selection of treats from Thomas Fudge's could make a great gift for Mother's Day! I'm sure most people love a classic box of chocolates but if you want to go for something a little bit different this year, there are lots of gift selections available on the website which might be worth a look at! They would even be great for Easter if you want a change from normal Easter eggs!

Have you tried anything from Thomas Fudge's?

*PR samples

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Thursday 14 March 2019

Mini Film Reviews #3 - Les Mis, Aquaman & More

I don't know what's going on with me at the moment but literally all I want to do is just get cosy and watch films. I normally have to be really in the mood to sit and watch a film but over the last few weeks I've been really enjoying chilling in the afternoon with a good movie or having a film night at the weekend with all the snacks and blankets. It was really hard to choose just a few films for this post but I've whittled it down to 6 I've thoroughly enjoyed!
collage of film posters - Les Miserables, Pretty Woman, Two Weeks Notice, Everything Everything, Waitress, Aquaman

Waitress - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I heard of this film a while ago but it's only when I started listening to the Broadway soundtrack that I really started to pay a proper interest, and we eventually got round to watching it last month. Starring Keri Russel, it's about Jenna who works in a diner creating beautiful pies, who ends up pregnant, something she's desperately unhappy about as she's been in an abusive marriage for years. However, with plans to skip town to enter a baking contest and a surprise affair with her doctor, she realises there might be more to life than she originally thought. It's just a wonderful film, and I'm so glad it's been turned into a musical. We're seeing this in April so watching the film has only made me even more excited.

Aquaman - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I don't tend to usually like action or superhero type films (though I'm incredibly excited for the next Avengers), but after absolutely loving Wonder Woman, we watched Aquaman recently and it was so much better than I expected it to be! I'm not even going to try and explain what happens because I won't do it justice but Jason Momoa is fantastic as Aquaman, the perfect choice for the role. It was funny, had a great storyline and was surprisingly sad at times too, I'm excited for more Aquaman films in the future!

Everything, Everything - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This film completely broke my heart into a million pieces. It was absolutely wonderful! The perfect cheesy romcom, something I feel has been really lacking over the last year or so, where are all the romantic movies?! Anyway, this is about Maddy, a smart 18 year old girl who hasn't left her house for as long as she can remember because of an illness. One day Olly (played by Nick Robinson who was recently in Love Simon) moves in next door and soon despite only being able to talk over the phone, they fall in love. Desperate to live her life, Maddie becomes suspicious that her illness isn't all her mum has made out to be, so her and Olly decide to risk everything for the chance to be together. I think I've smiled for the majority of this film, I just loved it.

Two Weeks Notice - ⭐⭐⭐

I do love Hugh Grant so when I spotted Two Weeks Notice on Amazon Prime recently, I decided to give it a go. I just wanted something relaxed that I didn't need to really focus on. Sandra Bullock plays Lucy who works for billionaire George, played by Hugh. George relies on Lucy for pretty much everything and after realising she can't put up with anymore, Lucy quits. Whilst working her notice she has to find her replacement, but once she does she realises she might feel more for George than she wants to admit. It's definitely not my favourite film of either of either Hugh Grant or Sandra Bullock but it was a nice romcom to put on in the background whilst blogging. No film with Hugh Grant can ever be bad can it.

Pretty Woman - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

As I listen to pretty much every musical soundtrack going on Spotify, it's no surprise that once I found the Pretty Woman one, I totally fell in love with it. The show is only on Broadway at the moment but there are plans to bring it to the West End next year, which is so exciting! As I'm now just waiting to see the show, I thought it was about time I properly sat down and watched the film. It's obviously a film everyone knows about but I'd only seen bits and pieces here and there, but I adored it. It's just brilliant isn't it? Julia Roberts is an absolute queen. I've thought about re-watching it loads since, I keep thinking about it!

Les Miserables - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Like with Pretty Woman, this is a show I definitely want to see at some point, but I'd only seen bits of the 2012 film, and mainly just listened to the soundtrack. It's one of those shows I think you need to have some understanding of the story before you see it so one afternoon a few weeks ago, I took a break from blogging and just had a cosy few hours with this on and the film was amazing in every way. Hugh Jackman is perfect as Jean Valjean, and Anne Hathaway as Fantine broke my heart - it's such a sad story and you're almost guaranteed to get emotional but it's just so, so good. I loved Samantha Barks as Eponine too. I've already watched it again since, for some reason watching it the second time broke my heart even more and now I'm even more keen to see in the West End one day.

Have you seen any of these films too? Would love to know what you think of them!

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Wednesday 13 March 2019

A Luxury Silk Pillowcase With Beauty Benefits?! Calidad Home Review*

It's no secret if you've been a long time reader of my blog that I seriously struggle with my sleep. I seem to have bouts of insomnia every few months and when I'm in amongst it, it's just pure hell. It's not until you're getting little to no sleep, you realise how important it is to just function. Luckily I seem to be doing quite well at the moment when it comes to sleep and part of that is down to a product I've been trying out from Calidad Home, a luxurious silk pillowcase!
flatlay - silk pillowcase in the background, heart chopping board in front with book on top, face mask and cup of tea
I know, it's not something that's necessarily a necessity but I can 100% say it's made a huge difference to my sleep over the last few weeks and now I can't imagine not using it! Before I get onto more of my thoughts, let me just tell you a little bit more about Calidad Home. The lovely Michelle set up Calidad Home after going on a mission to find the best silk after finding out that it could help with hot flushes. Many months of research ensued to see what silk was all about, how it's made and it's benefits and this is where she discovered 100% A Grade, Long Strand 22 momme Mulberry silk - the best you can get.
closeup of silk pillowcase including the tag which says Calidad Home
This durable yet luxurious silk is now used for pillowcases and bed sheets, and I was lucky enough to be sent one of the pillowcases to try out. I received the Ivory colour but it's also available in Teal, Black, White and Taupe. I got this onto one of my pillows straight away and I've been using it for several weeks now so I think I've had a fair amount of time to give you an honest opinion. But that is that I truly love it. I look forward to going to bed every night now as I know I'll get a good nights sleep. It feels like heaven. The silk is incredibly soft on my skin but not only does it feel amazing, it also has beauty benefits.

Benefits - Skin & Hair

- A silk pillowcase is far more gentle than cotton meaning it's ideal for those with sensitive skin. Unlike cotton, silk absorbs less of your skin's natural oils which means your skin doesn't need to go into overdrive while you sleep to replace what gets lost overnight. Sleeping on silk therefore prevents blocked pores which is great for anyone who suffers with acne or is prone to spots. As it helps retain moisture, it's also great if you have dry skin. If you suffer with eczema and psoriasis, natural silk can help reduce red, flaky patches of skin.

- Silk is a natural heat regulator so if you find yourself getting warm in the night or even struggling with hot flushes, this could make a huge improvement. It can absorb heat yet still remain dry meaning you always feel cool. It's very clever though as in the winter months the silk adapts to the temperature and keeps warm air close to the skin

- Ever wake up with pillow creases on your face? Well the smooth surface of a silk pillowcase can help with that. Those lines you wake up with around your eyes or on your forehead can turn into wrinkles over time so silk can be anti-ageing too

- No more bed head! Silk ensures less friction which is the thing to cause split ends and frizz. It also leaves your hair feeling smooth and shiny each morning so no more waking up to your hair being all over the place and a nightmare to brush through!
Photo of the silk pillowcase on my bed
At some point I know I'm going to have to part with this but the great thing is it can be washed along with all of your other bedding! Momme silk pillowcases are made from thicker silk meaning they're stronger and can be washed normally. Just pop in at 30 degrees, no need for hand washing. You can then tumble dry them and put straight back on the pillows. They have a hidden zipper so are incredibly easy to put on and they fit standard 50cm x 75cm pillows.

Now onto the price. These pillowcases aren't cheap at the usual price of £59.99 and it's definitely not what I'd usually pay but this really has been a pleasure to use. I can tell how high quality the silk is, it has so many benefits when it comes to skin which is perfect for me and I love the amount of time and care that has clearly gone into making sure this is the best it can be. If you're wanting to try one for yourself, now might be the time to grab one as they're currently on offer for £34.99! There's also a 100% money back guarantee so on the off chance you aren't happy, just return within 30 days.

I genuinely couldn't rave about this pillowcase enough, it's meant I've been sleeping really well recently which is lovely after struggling for so long.

Have you ever tried anything like this?

*PR sample

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