Wednesday, 29 May 2019

3 New Podcasts I've Been Enjoying

I spoke about my love for podcasts quite a while ago when I recommended At Home With, Happy Mum Happy Baby and Fearne Cotton Happy Place, and now over a year later, I have a few more that I've been desperate to share. I love putting a podcast on in the afternoon when I'm blogging or when I'm getting ready etc, sometimes it just makes a nice change to music, so I'd love to know if there are any that you think I should listen to next!
collage - The Two Shot Podcast Logo, The Mile Higher Podcast Logo, David Tennant Does A Podcast With... Logo

The Two Shot Podcast

If you're a Line Of Duty Fan, I'm sure you're familiar with Craig Parkinson, who plays The Caddy/Dot. He is one of my faves in the show, I think he's such a brilliant actor so when I saw he had his own podcast, I genuinely couldn't wait to listen to it. Each week Craig sits down with fantastic guests to talk about the highs and lows of acting and the journey they took to get there, and it's just such an interesting listen. Sticking with the Line Of Duty theme, there are episodes with Vicky McClure, Neil Morrissey, Danny Mays and of course Adrian Dunbar. He's interviewed such a range of different actors though, all with a different story to tell, so it's well worth a listen.

Mile Higher Podcast

I'd briefly seen this mentioned online before but it wasn't until recently that I spotted it on my podcasts app and decided to give it a go. The Mile Higher Podcast if you've not heard of it before is hosted by husband and wife Josh Thomas & Kendall Rae and it's mainly focused on crime and conspiracies. I love a good conspiracy theory and I've spent many a time sat reading all sorts of stuff online about certain cases and coming up with some wild theories myself, a few being the massive case of missing Madeleine McCann, Michael Jackson's Death and Princess Diana's Death. It's so interesting to hear other peoples opinions on things like this and I love how much detail Josh and Kendall go into with each case. I was fascinated by the podcast of the JonBenet Ramsey case, aswell as the one about Elisa Lam (this case baffles me) and with each one I find myself feeling so involved and like I'm part of the conversation. I've still got quite a lot left to listen to but if you love conspiracy theories too a few others they have podcasts on are - The Titanic, Missing Flight MH370, Marilyn Monroe and The Jan Broberg Story.

David Tennant Does A Podcast With

Anyone else have an insane amount of love for David Tennant? I don't know what it is but ever since Dr Who and then Broadchurch, I've just been a huge fan so I was thrilled to see he has his own podcast. It's a really laidback podcast and it's basically just David having a chat with various friends and actors, and each episode I've listened to so far has been fantastic. Some of his guests include - Olivia Colman, Catherine Tate, Jon Hamm, Tina Fey and Michael Sheen.

So that's some of the podcasts I've been loving over the last few weeks. I'd love to know if you've listened to any of these too or if you have any other recommendations?

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Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Books I Want To Re-Read

I've read a decent amount of books over the last few years, and currently for 2019 I'm on book #31 which I'm pretty happy with. I've always been a bit of a book worm and that's only intensified since the start of last year so that means I've read some really great novels, some that I know I want to re-visit one day. So, here are 6 books I'm hoping to re-read at some point, all for quite different reasons!
stack of books - Everything Everything, One Day In December, The Wife Between Us, One Perfect Summer, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

One Perfect Summer by Paige Toon

This is the first book that came to mind when I decided on writing this post. I've said many times that Paige Toon is one of my favourite authors and I've honestly enjoyed every book I've read of hers so far. One that always stands out to me though is One Perfect Summer, and every time I spot it on the bookshelf, I'm always tempted to pick it up and read it again. It tells the story of Joe and Alice who meet at 18 and soon fall in love. Unfortunately turbulent families get in the way so they are soon separated, but surely people who are meant to be will always find a way back to one another? It's one of those love stories you can really get so invested in and truly root for each character. I'd read most of Paige's books again but there's something special about this one.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This was the first book that really gave me my love for reading back. Instantly it was one that hooked me in and I just couldn't put it down. I loved the main character Eleanor and the complicated, endearing woman that she is, and she was someone I could really relate to and feel for. I think the way Gail has written the book is fantastic - the way little bits about Eleanor's past are revealed, the theme of loneliness being touched upon which is something I'm sure a lot of people can relate to, and of course the big twist at the end. I said in my review that the reveal made me want to go right back to start and see if I could spot the signs, because it was something I genuinely wouldn't have predicted.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

The only thriller in this list, because I find with books of that genre, once you get to the end and you know the 'twist', or the big reveal that pieces everything together, there's no real need to go back over it. With romance novels though, I find them more easy to connect to, and they're not always trying to be this big book with lots of twists and turns, just an easy read, telling a beautiful story. One thriller that does stand out to me though is The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. It was a book that genuinely left me speechless and I needed to just sit and think once I got halfway through and something massive is revealed. It was just so cleverly written. Despite now knowing the ending, it's one that just baffled me at the time so I'll definitely be re-reading it at some point and going into it looking for certain things.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

I love how unique Everything Everything is. It tells the story of Maddy who has never been allowed to leave her home due to an illness that could kill her if she steps outside. One day Olly moves in next door and she soon realises for love, she'd be prepared to risk it all. I actually watched the film before reading the book and I just adored it, it's the perfect romantic film to snuggle up to, but the book impressed me just as much. It's all short, snappy chapters so it's such an easy read and it also has a lot of the dialogue through emails which was a nice change. I just think it's a gorgeous book and it's honestly one you can read in just one sitting, it flows incredibly well.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

I picked this book up around the time it first came out so there was a lot of hype around it and ultimately I was disappointed. I'm not sure if that's because of the book itself or if because SO many people were raving about it, that I went into it expecting to be wowed and maybe didn't approach it in the best way if that makes any sense at all. I in fact don't even have the book anymore but I'm really keen to give it a go again one day as after watching the film a few times since, I think maybe I was a bit unfair about it. If you haven't read the book or watched the film, it's focused on Rachel, a woman who does her fair share of people watching on her commute. The issue is that the people she's looking for are her ex husband and his new wife, and the perfect couple next door Scott and Megan. One day she realises all might not be so perfect though when she witnesses something shocking and Megan goes missing. Due to her problems with alcohol though and turbulent relationship with her ex, she has to figure out if her mind is playing tricks on her and if not, how to convince the police she's telling the truth.

One Day In December by Josie Silver

I could definitely see myself re-reading this book each Christmas. I said in my review of One Day In December that if you like the film Love Actually, you'll like this book. It just has that cosy, Christmas vibe to it and I found it to be so uplifting and heartwarming. After their eyes meet at a bus stop, Jack and Laurie feel like something magical just happened, but there's no way of finding one another, they don't even know each others names. But then one day Laurie's best friend brings home her new boyfriend, and it's Jack. It's a proper love triangle and a real, will they ever end up together? I genuinely didn't know how it would end and there were several moments I had to stop and take a breather because it was just so emotional! It's another book I look at and think is it too soon to read it again? I'm trying to wait it out until the end of the year for now!

I'd love to know if you've got any books you've read over and over? or any you'll never get rid of? I love it when a book is so special that you just have to go back to it!

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Friday, 24 May 2019

Mini Film Reviews #4 - Call Me By Your Name, Second Act & More

I've been meaning to share this post for absolutely ages! We've had many a movie night recently which means I've had a fair amount of films I've wanted to talk about, so let's get started.
collage - Call Me By Your Name, Second Act, Walking On Sunshine, Fighting With My Family, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, Book Club

Call Me By Your Name - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I can't believe how long it took me to watch Call Me By Your Name. It's a film so many people spoke about when it was released, and rightly so, I thought it was incredible. If somehow you haven't heard of this, it's based on the novel by Andre Aciman and it tells the story of when romance blossoms between a seventeen year old student and an older man who has been hired as his father's research assistant. Both Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer are brilliant in the film, the setting of 1980s Italy is stunning, and all in all, it's just a beautiful love story. Heartbreaking at times but so worth a watch. I just need to read the book now!

Book Club - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

You know when you just need to watch a feel good film? Well Book Club is that. I'm so glad I gave this a go because it's genuinely become a new favourite of mine. Starring the fabulous Jane Fonda aswell as Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen, it's about four lifelong friends who are part of a book club and have their lives changed when they all start reading Fifty Shades Of Grey. It's honestly so funny, a film I never knew I needed!

Second Act - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I'm always looking for a good romantic comedy so of course I had to watch Second Act starring Jennifer Lopez. I actually think she's a pretty great actor and I've enjoyed everything I've watched with her in so far, and this was no exception. She plays Maya, a woman fed up with her job who decides to take a leap of faith and show everyone that it's never to late to start again. I probably wouldn't rush to watch it again just yet but if you like a cheesy romcom, it's definitely worth a watch!

Walking On Sunshine - ⭐⭐⭐

I expected this film to basically be complete cheese and it was, but it actually wasn't that bad. It's a musical film set to popular hit songs and though I can't say the singing was particularly incredible all the time, it was funny, had a pretty good cast and was a nice film to put on in the background whilst blogging. It's about Maddie (Annabel Scholey) who is preparing to marry Italian Raf, but what she doesn't know is that her sister Taylor (Hannah Arterton) is about to arrive and she's Raf's former holiday flame.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ahh I just adored this film! I remember watching the trailer for this ages ago and at the time thinking it wouldn't be my sort of film but recently there seems to have been loads of hype around the book on my Instagram and Twitter and then the film popped up on Amazon so we decided to give it a watch. I honestly absolutely loved it. Set in 1946, Lily James plays a London-based writer who begins exchanging letters with residents on the island of Guernsey. Feeling compelled to visit the Island, she learns more about whats life has been like for everyone and she forms bonds she never imagined she would. It's incredibly heartwarming and just made me smile. I can't wait to watch it again and I've ordered the book so I'm diving straight into that when it arrives.

Fighting With My Family - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Who doesn't love Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock? He seems like the loveliest man and I've actually enjoyed quite a few of his films over the last year or so so it's probably no surprise I liked his latest too. Fighting With My Family is based on the real life story of Paige (Saraya-Jade Bevis) and the Bevis family, a family of wrestlers who are desperate to make it into WWE. It was so interesting to watch knowing that it's all true (or as close as) and I think it's all been done so well. Florence Pugh was excellent as Paige and I loved Lena Headey and Nick Frost in it too.

Have you seen any of the films I've mentioned? Let me know what you thought if so!

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Wednesday, 22 May 2019

6 Of My 10 Year Life Goals

You know when you see a blog post and it just sparks something in you? Well that's how I felt when I read the lovely Jenny's 10 Years Goals List and I just thought I have to do my own. Make sure you give her post a read too though as she's set herself some great goals and she is my one of my all time fave bloggers. There were 6 things in particular that came to mind when I set about writing this post and they're probably all quite generic but they're my aims and if any of them happened, it would be a dream come true! Like I've said before many times, my 'plan' since leaving college definitely hasn't gone as expected and I'm nowhere near where I thought I'd be right now but sometimes life just has other things in store for you. Some days I find it hard that uni wasn't what I expected, that a job I was genuinely really good at ended as it did and that I've let my anxiety control so much but on the other hand, I have the most supportive husband, a lovely home and the most beautiful dog, Bear so is it all bad? Not at all.
flatlay - magazine to the bottom left corner, Paige Toon Pictures Of Lily book to the right. Flower trinket dish top left corner. New Look Peach Belini perfume placed on top with a CND nail polish next to it

Learn To Drive

Let's start with my main goal for the next year or two - learning to drive. I did a whole post in 2017 about my experience with driving so I won't go on too much but in short I did loads of lessons when I was 17 and was pretty much at test standard but the theory test just ruined it all. 3 failed attempts with the last one being just 1 mark off, so I gave up there and then. Ever since I've regretted not just persisting with it, it shouldn't matter how many attempts it takes, but at the time it's hard not feel pressure and like you're just disappointing unless you do as well as everyone else seems to have. Since then I've just been too scared to start again, and now I'm 24. Luckily George can drive so it's not like I necessarily need to but some days it would be nice to have that option. I do think it's going to take a lot of courage to start all over again and I have no doubt it will take me a long time to pass but for now just starting is my aim. 

Buy A House

For a long time I genuinely thought this was never going to be a possibility for George and I. It's one of those things that everyone around you seems to be doing so it's hard not feel disheartened and think when will that be us? Aswell it seems to be the that the topic of buying a house/renting/living at home etc always seems to lend it's self to judgemental comments. I personally think if you can still live at home and want to, enjoy it. If you want to rent, go for it. And if you've bought a house, good on you. Why does it matter? Everyone is different so I hate that some people use things like that as an opportunity to judge. Anyway, last year we decided let's just start saving. If at any point our plans change, then they do but why not try? We've been renting our flat for 4 years now and after such a long time, it finally feels like home so I'm more than happy to stay here a little longer than planned if it means being able to save for our forever home in the next few years. I'm already so excited to make a house our own, and do all the boring stuff like look at kitchens, decorate each room, go to garden centres! I think being able to stand in our own home and know we've done it, would be such an achievement for us.

Find A Job I Truly Love

The thing is I just don't know what that is. Like, literally NO clue. As I've said before my intention was always to be a nurse and I soon realised that wasn't for me so ever since then I've just kind of been a bit lost when it comes to a career. Part of me always wants to do open university and train in something else, and it means I can be home still to look after Bear, but then another part of me just wants something part time so I can still blog and kind of be as I am now, as long as it's something I enjoy. I would like to think at some point in the next few years I'll have finally found a job that makes me excited to be there again.

Take Part In A Cooking/Baking Competition

I'm not really sure what kind of competition I mean by this but I'd love to take part in something that's cooking or baking related. As I'm sure you can tell by the recipes I share and the amount I talk about food, I love being in the kitchen so one day I'd really love to do something extra with that. I joked once that I'd love to at least apply for Bake Off but I'm not sure my basic bakes will ever be up to that standard! I think something local would be nice to have a go at though. Or maybe having my own little stall occasionally at a some sort of market, I don't really know, I have an idea in my head of what I mean but how to make it happen, I really don't know.

Get Another Dog

We might have only just brought Bear home last month but believe it or not, we've already started talking about getting another. Bear is definitely enough for us at the minute and I want to enjoy him by himself for now but I think when we've moved, that would be the perfect time to get another little pup. Dogs just bring me so much joy and I've always said a house full of them would be a dream so it would be nice to get another one (maybe even two) in the next 10 years.

Have Overcome My Anxiety

I think my anxiety will follow me around forever. I've lived with it for years now (not too well at times though) so I know it's never going to just be a quick fix and it be done with but I really hope at some point I can say I've reached a point where it's not as prominent and doesn't affect my day to day life so much. I do feel on the better end of the scale with it at the moment, I've certainly noticed a big improvement in my health anxiety and even the social side (I think Bear has definitely helped with my confidence and brought something out of me) but I know there's still a long way to go. Whether it's through counselling, medication, both or something else, getting my anxiety under control is a big aim.

So that's 6 of my goals for the next 10 years! Some a bit more serious than others but all things I'd love to be able to look back on and see that I accomplished them. I'd love to know if you have any goals set for the next few years?

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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Simple 5 Minute Reset Hydrogel Mask Review

If you read my blog often I'm sure you'll know I'm a face mask fanatic. After such a long time thinking they were kind of a waste of money, they're now an essential for a pamper night in for me so I pretty much always have a stash in the bathroom cupboard ready to go! Though I do love clay masks and peel off masks, sheet masks are something I've really enjoyed using over the last few months. When doing a food shop recently, in the beauty aisle I spotted a few new masks from Simple (is it really a food shop unless you spend money on a load of crap you definitely didn't go in for?) and one of those was the 5 Minute Reset Hydrogel Mask.
Simple Hydrogel Mask held up in front of a print of Paris
I was instantly intrigued as it's a gel mask rather than a sheet mask so whilst it applies the same way, I was excited to see how it would feel on my skin and if the benefits would be any different. This next-generation mask has been made in Korea which is where the sheet mask skincare ritual originates, something I mentioned in my review of Mask Time's Subscription Box recently. Using premium hydrogel technology, this hydrating face mask is enriched with plant collagen and contains no chemicals, no alcohol, no added paraben, no mineral oils and only non-animal derived ingredients.

First of all this stood out to me straight away due to it's pretty packaging and design. I know that's not really the main factor but it definitely sucked me in and then once I saw it was something I'd not tried before, I had to get it. One thing I really liked about this once I opened it was that the mask comes in two pieces. One piece to be applied around the cheeks and mouth and one for around the eyes and nose, they overlap slightly but I found it really comfortable to wear for the proposed time and because it's gel, it was so nice and cooling on my skin.

Sticking with the benefits of it being gel, it made my skin feel refreshed instantly. I imagine this will be a great one to pop on in the evening during Summer! Something else I liked about this was that I found there wasn't as much excess product leftover afterwards either so it meant the amount there was could actually be massaged into my skin. Usually sheet masks say to do this but I tend to find it's just far too much. The final few things that impressed me - the fresh scent that wasn't overpowering at all, the fact that I did genuinely feel like it was adding moisture to my skin, and that it was really affordable at just £1.50. 

For the price it was, I can't really complain about the hydrogel mask at all. It was a lovely addition to a much needed hour to myself and I'd definitely pick it up again in the future. I noticed they also have some Under Eye Masks which I'm tempted to try next!

Have you tried any of the new Simple face masks?


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Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Bear Update #1 - 1 Month At Home, All The Emotions & More

I know I've already spoken about our new puppy Bear quite a lot since we brought him home last month but I'm not gonna stop, sorry. I do worry people who read my posts or follow my Instagram etc might be getting a bit bored of all the updates and photos but I've waited such a long time for this moment, I just want to talk about him all the time. I've not been blogging as much as before because I just don't have the time (or energy) at the moment so it might not seem like it's been that long since we brought him to his forever home but surprisingly it's already been over a month so I thought now was the perfect time for me to share a proper update on him - how he's been doing, how he's grown and more. It's absolutely flown by.
So, Bear came home on the 12th April at 8 weeks old so he's now 2 days away from being 13 weeks old. In some ways it feels like he's still so little and in other ways it already feels like he's becoming a proper little dog. Also in that respect, sometimes it's like he's always been here and I can't remember what life was like before and then other time it's like 'oh he's actually only been here a few weeks, this is still so new!' It's been such a huge adjustment and the last few weeks have tested us beyond belief but it's honestly the best decision we've ever, ever made.
8 weeks - 10 weeks
He's had quite a lot to deal with himself over the last couple of weeks. First of all there was his second vaccination. It was our first time taking him to the vets but he was so brave. He got SO much attention from all of the ladies that work there, non stop cuddles but the yelp he did when he had his injection broke my heart. How the hell do parents cope with children?! Unfortunately he was then back unexpectedly last week. He woke up a little poorly, we had no idea what was wrong but he wasn't himself and it's always better to get these things checked out rather than just worrying. After another injection which honestly made him scream the whole place down and a course of antibiotics, he's back to himself and as wild as ever. I definitely didn't think he'd get poorly as quickly as he did but it seems like being the massive foodie he is, he'd eaten something that didn't agree with him and caused all sorts of trouble. He did get lots of new toys out of it though and allll the cuddles so he didn't suffer too badly I don't think!
So, how he's getting on at home? Well he thinks he rules the house. He is so cheeky. Not naughty, but he just knows how to push you. As he's still so little, his big teeth are coming through which means when he's awake, he is constantly trying to bite something. Whether it's his toys, the curtains, shoes, socks, his crate, or us, whatever is close-by will do! And wow, it hurts. Frozen carrots are a big help though and he can't help it though so you can't stay mad at him. When he's not running madly around the flat or chewing, he's sleeping. He loves his sleep and he gets himself into the weirdest positions. I could honestly sit and watch him sleeping for hours, he looks so peaceful and I always wonder what he's dreaming about.
He's also been to his first puppy class! We were really keen to get him into something that would introduce him to other dogs and other people as soon as possible and we found somewhere nearby that has been brilliant so far. In his first class, he met 5 other dogs and he was just so well behaved. He can be quite boisterous at home sometimes but once he steps outside his shy side comes out so I fully expected him to be the quiet one but he was so intrigued by everyone and and got stuck into everything. Honestly my heart could have burst, I was so proud of him. I took this photo of him afterwards and when I look at it, I just think YOU ARE MY SON, OMG I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, HOW ARE YOU MINE. I honestly couldn't recommend puppy classes enough if you're thinking of getting a dog, I can't wait to see him come out of his shell even more as the weeks go on.
Sticking with training, he now responds to his name, he can sit, he's getting pretty good at fetch and he's got so much better at settling himself at night. The first few nights were hard when he would just cry for for us but now he just gets in his bed with all of his stuffed toys and tends to sleep through til around 6ish. There's still a lot I think we need to learn ourselves when it comes to training and teaching let alone Bear but he's just done so well so far. He's only just started going out for walks and he's not a huge fan of it at the moment so that's something we're trying to tackle but hopefully over the next few weeks we'll get there. Aswell as walks, we've also discovered he is not a fan of baths or the hoover. But he does like Line Of Duty, George's dressing gown and chicken.

So this post is long enough and I think I've covered everything I wanted to. It's been such a huge learning curve this past month, we knew it would be hard and we've waited until now for a reason but honestly it's 10x more difficult than I ever expected. He literally takes all my time and energy, getting simple jobs done now takes hours but he's so worth it. I've cried more than I expected to, I'm an emotional person anyway but it's just such an overwhelming thing. I also find I'm taking things more personally than I would have before. I'd hoped people would you know actually want to see him and get in touch, and be interested but that doesn't seem to be the case. Not to end this post on a bad note but when you're so happy and just want to share this little bundle of fluff with everyone, it's hard when the people you're close to and the people you expected to care, go the complete opposite way with it. So yeah, having a dog makes you cry a lot.
I'll probably do another update on Bear in a few months time, he's growing so fast so I can't wait to share more pictures and let you all know what he's been upto. We've got our first family holiday coming up soon too which I'm so excited for but I have been thinking, what have we let ourselves in for 😂He's just everything though, the absolute love of our lives.

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Monday, 13 May 2019

Current Netflix Top Picks #9

I already have another Netflix post lined up for a few weeks time as they seem to have had another month where they've added so much! Having a little pup means we've been going out far less while he's been getting upto date with vaccinations etc and only just starting to go outside so there have been many family movie days recently. Anyway, let's get on with the first lot of shows and movies I've been loving.
collage - Netflix logo on top. Posters on the bottom - Sherlock, lunatics, someone great, the last summer, friends with benefits

Sherlock

Finally, we have watched Sherlock. I know it's been out years but it was a show I just thought had been hyped up so much, was I going to end up disappointed? Luckily I wasn't at all! From the beginning I was enthralled by it and we got through all 4 series so quickly. I think Benedict Cumberbatch is just brilliant as Sherlock Holmes, in fact it's got such a fantastic cast on the whole. Sian Brooke as Eurus particularly creeped me out. I don't really like where the fourth series went at points though and I'm not a fan of Mary's storyline but it's definitely a show I'd watch again. If it does ever come back for a fifth series, I'd be intrigued to see what they do with it next as I think it ended pretty well.

Lunatics

I am such a huge fan of Chris Lilley. If you've not already watched Angry Boys, Summer Heights High and Ja'mie Private School Girl, you are seriously missing out. His humour is definitely a little risque sometimes in that people could probably get offended by it but I've just always found him hilarious. He's back now with a new series called Lunatics where he plays six different characters. There's no way of me really explaining any of them as they're just crazy, it's just something you'd have to watch I think. It's not my favourite thing Chris Lilley has ever done but for when you're in need of a laugh, his shows are perfect.

Someone Great

It was about time there was a new romcom film out. Someone Great stars Gina Rodriguez as Jenny, a music journalist who has just been dumped by her long-term boyfriend. She decides she needs one last outrageous adventure with her two best friends, played by Brittany Snow and DeWanda Wise. I wouldn't say it's one of the best Netflix originals I've ever watched but it's a good one for a Friday night when you just want to chill.

The Last Summer

I definitely didn't expect to enjoy this film as much as I did! It's about a group of people in Chicago who all make plans to have the best summer before they leave for college so I mean, it's cheesy, but you know it's going to be. It also has Archie from Riverdale in it and of course even in this he has his top off, but it's another film that's just nice to snuggle up with or watch with friends. Like I said in my last mini film reviews post there hasn't been enough romantic comedy type films out over the last few years and I'm personally always a fan of them.

Friends With Benefits

This is one of my all time favourite comedies. I'm so glad it's been added to Netflix and I've already watched it a good few times. It stars Mila Kunis who is just one of my all time favourite actresses and also Justin Timberlake and together it's just a partnership you would never put together but totally works. It's funny, heartwarming and about more than the title might lead you to believe.

I'd love to know what you've been enjoying on Netflix recently?

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Tuesday, 7 May 2019

With Or Without You by Carole Matthews Book Review

Time for another book review! I seem to be back in the swing of things again now with reading, after a good few weeks break recently and I'm so pleased about it. I love getting stuck into a good book and With Or Without You by Carole Matthews was the latest one.
book being held up in front of a background - pink fluffy pillow on left side, stack of books to the right, yankee candle also
'When Jake tells Lyssa it's not working, she knows he's not talking about the toaster. Her immediate reaction is to sob into her pillow and wait for Jake to come to his senses. But slowly Lyssa begins to understand that's not an option. In a bid to escape, she embarks on a trekking holiday in Nepal. Lyssa needs to get away - it never occured to her that she might fall in love... When it's time to go home - back to reality and a very sheepish Jake - Lyssa is faced with the hardest choice of her life.'

My review

I really enjoyed the first book I read from Carole Matthews, Million Love Songs. At the time I'd been reading thriller after thriller so I just needed something 'normal' and it was perfect. A love story that was full of heart and humour. Because I enjoyed that so much, when I spotted With Or Without You recently, I had to grab it. At the moment I'm leaning more towards romance style books rather than anything thriller or crime related so there might be quite a few soppy reviews coming up over the next few weeks!

Like with Million Love Songs, from the beginning I just knew I was going to like it. You know when you start a book and within the first few pages you're just like YES! Straight away I liked the main character Lyssa. I felt so much sympathy for her as the story unravels and we find out her and soon to be ex-boyfriend Jake had been struggling to conceive. I think Carole wrote these chapters perfectly as they felt so believable yet were sensitive too. I imagine a topic like that can be hard to get right as you never know who might read it that's been struggling in real life and think it hasn't been portrayed in the right way. As you know from the synopsis Jake does leave Lyssa so pretty much instantly I hated his character, but then when the two person narrative started and we heard his side of the situation too, that only intensified. I loved that we could hear from both of them though as I was definitely just expecting it to be from Lyssa's perspective and at no point did it feel confusing.

After Jake leaves, Lyssa goes on a journey of self discovery which takes her all the way to Nepal. I was so excited to see where the book would go from this point as through the first part where Lyssa is dealing with her breakup and heartbreak from their most recent failed IVF attempt, I almost felt like I was holding my breath. There was just all this tension and once she arrived in Nepal, it went away. Every emotion just felt so real! I loved the characters that were introduced at this point especially Dean, her new love interest, the chemistry between them was insane. Given that she's only away for a short space of time, there is definitely an element of mystery throughout too as you always know at some point she has to leave Dean and return home and where do they go from there? Will she end up back with Jake? Will Dean move on once she's gone? Will she return to Nepal? Luckily all of those questions are answered and I was so happy with the ending. I think Lyssa's journey came full circle and everything was rounded up beautifully.

With Or Without You was just a gorgeous read. Funny, full of love, but a good amount of drama thrown in too. It was as much about Lyssa finding herself aswell as finding love. I just can't wait to read more from Carole Matthews now.

Have you read any of Carole's books?


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Monday, 6 May 2019

My Tasty Chicken Fried Rice Recipe

I've already got another recipe to share with you! Over the last few weeks I've shared recipes for the perfect roast potatoes, a healthy sweet potato and chickpea curry, a speedy chicken biryani and filling posh sausage and beans and today I'm talking about how I make my tasty chicken fried rice. We love a Chinese takeaway but it's not exactly healthy and it can be pretty expensive so anything I can make at home that tastes just as good is a winner for me.
Homemade chicken fried rice in bowl. Gold cutlery to the right side
Ingredients: for 2 people
2 chicken breasts
1 boil in the bag rice (or however much you would usually use for 2)
1/2 an onion, finely diced
A handful of frozen peas
Soy Sauce
2 eggs, beaten
Salt & pepper

Method:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. Put the chicken breasts into a dish, spray with cooking oil (I use frylight), sprinkle salt and pepper on top and bake in the oven for around 45 minutes to an hour
2. After around half an hour, you can start to cook your rice. The reason it needs to be done now is because it will need time to cool afterwards. I used a boil in the bag rice for 2 of us and cooked for just over 10 minutes
3. When the rice is cooked, leave to cool in it's pan. It took about 20 minutes for ours to cool completely
4. While the rice is cooling, get a frying pan and gently fry your diced onion. This is also when I threw in the handful of frozen peas too, keep stirring occasionally until the onion is soft
5. Once your chicken is cooked, shred with two forks and then add to the onion mix. I then added in the cooled rice and mixed everything together
6. I then added a good glug of soy sauce (it's a bit hard to measure how I much but I love it so just add what you prefer)
7. Beat two eggs in a bowl with a little salt and pepper and then pour into the rice. Keep stirring until the egg scrambles and cooks through. You can then add a bit more soy sauce and any extra seasoning you think it needs
Closeup of Homemade Chicken Fried Rice in bowl
We served ours with prawn crackers and a curry sauce mix which we picked up from Morrisons. It was so filling and just as good as any rice we've had from a takeaway before! Like with most of the recipes I've shared recently this one you could easily change up and if you wanted to you could substitute the chicken for something else. Let me know if you give it a try!


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Friday, 3 May 2019

Introducing ECooking Skincare*

So I was hoping to put this review up a few weeks ago but when you have a new puppy, life kind of takes over! I've been posting as and when I can so if things are a little all over the place for a while, that's why. Anyway today's post is an introduction into some new skincare products I've been trying out for a little while from ECooking. I'd actually not heard of this brand until recently so I was really intrigued by their range of products and of course I couldn't wait to get using them!
ECooking oil, mask and cream in front of a background. Pink fluffy pillow to the let side, stack of books to the right with an eiffel tower ornament on top
ECooking Skincare is a new skincare collection which combines chic design with amazing results. The brand's ethos is utilising organic and natural super ingredients which can deliver beautiful results for your skin. With nothing but honesty and transparency, each product is clear and simplistic so if like me you sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed by skincare and what you should and shouldn't be using, what each product contains etc, there's no need to worry about that anymore. I was kindly sent 3 products to try out from the new collection, the Multi Oil, Neck & Decolletage Cream and the Peeling Mask.

Neck & Decolletage Cream

Let's start with the Neck and Decolletage Cream which is ideal for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Now, only being 24 I don't think I have any issues regarding that yet but since using this cream I have found my skin has been looking and feeling so much better. This particular cream utilises Hyadisine which is a regenerative and protective bio-active ingredient so if you are looking for something anti-ageing, this could be a great one to try out. It's a quick-absorbing formula and deeply moisturising and I've been applying this each night after removing my makeup and cleansing as normal and within seconds it has soaked into my skin. It doesn't leave a sticky residue which I've found with day and night creams before and it makes my skin feel so smooth. A little bit goes a long way so whilst it may be pricey at £43 a pot, it's going to last such a long time. It's also a great one to use if you suffer with age spots or sagging skin and it even helps to defend against UV damage and hyperpigmentation.
ECooking neck and decollege cream on pineapple trinket dish

Multi Oil

Next up is the Multi Oil. I'm going to be completely honest this was a little bit of a nightmare at the beginning! It arrived slightly open which meant the oil had already leaked and then when it was in my bathroom cabinet, it somehow leaked again so before I even got round to using it, at least a quarter of it had gone. So that was a little annoying but that's just a little fault with the twist opening rather than the product itself. So the Multi Oil is crafted from 100% organic jojoba and sesame oil with essential fragrance extracts from orange and lavender, and it has many uses as you might have guessed from it's name. It can be used to condition hair, remove makeup, treat dry cuticles, skin and scalp, the possibilities are endless. I've been using this to remove makeup which I've found it does really well or I've been massaging a little in afterwards if I've chosen to use something like my Garnier Micellar Gel instead. I think this could be really travel friendly if it wasn't for the little issue with the packaging, as you could use it for several things and save yourself on so many products! This is currently on offer for £16 at Indulge Beauty.
ECooking Skincare Multi Oil placed in front of stack of books, fluffy pillow and Paris ornament

Peeling Mask

Finally we have the peeling mask. I've not gotten round to using this as often as the previous two products but there just hasn't been time for it recently. This contains plant extract and Vitamin E which helps decrease the appearance of creases and wrinkles and it's also supposed to leave you with a smoother and younger look. So going back to what I mentioned earlier about anti-ageing products, this might be another one worth considering. The way this works is that you need to build up the amount of time you leave the mask on for. Start by applying and leaving for 4-6 minutes and then slowly over time extend to 10-12 minutes. Something I found odd at first was how it made my skin tingle and leave it a little red but it's completely normal and is just the product working it's magic. I'm hoping to get some more use out of this soon but it's been another great addition to my skincare cabinet. This is currently £33.
ECooking Skincare peeling mask on top of pineapple trinket dish. Neck and face cream next to it
I'm really glad I've got to try out some new bits from ECooking and I think my favourite has to be the Neck & Decolletage Cream. It's genuinely a product I reach for often now. I also love the simple Scandi packaging to the whole range too, it stands out and just looks a bit more luxury in my opinion. If you want to try out any of the ECooking range for yourself or see what else is available, you can find them at Indulge Beauty.

Have you tried anything from ECooking Skincare?

*PR Samples


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Thursday, 2 May 2019

3 Photos I Loved In April

It's been a long time since I shared a post like this, in fact I think I've only shared one or two and that was towards the start of 2018! I've been taking quite a lot of photos over the last few weeks and I've been really enjoying sharing them over on Instagram rather than actually blogging sometimes so I thought it would be nice to bring this back. So here are 3 photos I loved in April, a month that ended up being far better than I could have imagined.
collage - York, Bear, Bradfield

York

It was so nice to head back to York for the day recently. It was technically at the end of March but the photos I took are too pretty not to share. It's just the most picturesque city and I feel so happy there. It was where George and I went for our minimoon last year so it was so nice to be back again. The weather was beautiful this time too luckily! Now I just can't wait to go back again, but with Bear this time.
York Minster

Bradfield

We have a little tradition of going up to Bradfield each year in Spring so I had to share a photo from when we went recently. It's one of our favourite places, and it's just so nice to get out a bit further afield and take in the views. The weather wasn't too great this time but it was still lovely to be back and as usual, the pub lunch was incredible.
Bradfield

Bear 

I couldn't not share a picture of Bear could I? As you might know if you've read my blog over the last few weeks or if you follow me on Instagram, we have a new little addition to the family, a gorgeous cavapoochon. He is just the most adorable little puppy. I've taken countless photos of him since he came home 3 weeks ago but this is one of my favourites, look at his little smile!
Our puppy Bear
There were so many photos I wanted to include but I'm really happy with the ones I chose. If you want to see more similar to this, feel free to follow me on Instagram or Twitter where I share quite a few each week. I'm hoping to keep up with this now too and it not take me another year to share more posts like this!

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