Sunday, 11 April 2021

What I've read in 2021 so far

I can't *quite* believe we're a quarter of the way through 2021 and I've only read six books - compared to last year, this is set to be a very slow reading year for me. It's mostly because I'm so busy with work, but also because I'm in a bit of a reading slump. Nevertheless, I thought it might be worth sharing the six books I have managed to read so far in 2021...

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

This is a thriller that I picked up from The Works, and one that I've always seen people rave about. I didn't guess the twist but other than that I thought it was a bit 'meh' - very slow, to be honest, and it took me a while to get through it. Like I say, a lot of people love it; it's about a young lawyer who has a troubled personal life. There's murder, blackmail, family drama... it has all the right ingredients, I just think the finished product is an acquired taste. Buy Blood Orange here.

The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent

I got my hands on a proof copy of this (thanks, Penguin!) and I wasn't sure I'd love it but I absolutely did. It's about a young woman called Birdy who, for *reasons*, ends up in Scotland masquerading as a sommelier. It's got romance, fun, scenery, fall-outs, wine and so much more. I'd highly recommend reading this when it comes out in April! Pre-order The Summer Job here.

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

I got this for Christmas, and you know I love a YA book so I flew through this one. It's about Saoirse and Ruby who decide to creating their own "falling in love montage" like in the movies, but without the actual love part. It's a gorgeous LGBT+ coming of age novel and I adored everything about it - representation aside, it's funny and handles some really sensitive topics really delicately. A yes from me! Buy The Falling in Love Montage here.

The American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Again this one took me forever to read, but it's absolutely not a reflection of this stunning novel. Roy, a black man, is in prison for something he didn't do - and his wife Celeste is trying to navigate the world without him. There is so much passion, emotion and raw feeling woven into this story and I ached for them both throughout. It's a very poignant story and one I would definitely recommend. Buy The American Marriage here.

Nailing It by Anna Jefferson

I was part of the blog tour for this so had a proof copy before it was released - it is out now, and you should definitely read it especially if you have kids. I don't and still loved it, though, so realistically I'd recommend it to anyone! It's just an all-round fun book about raising little ones in different circumstances, and the power of female friendship. Buy Nailing It here.

The Festival by S J Naughton

Speaking of female friendship, this is another book that focuses on a group of women; it follows Orly, Thea, Lenny and Mel to a festival in their hometown. They've been friends since school and now they've all gone off in their own directions, with kids/jobs/rich husbands/loss/poverty under their belt. They reunite for a weekend at this festival and it all goes wrong, getting really dangerous. There is a breathtaking twist in this book and I read it in a day - if you love a bit of a thriller, read this! Pre-order the paperback version here.

What have you read so far this year - and have you read any of these?

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Etsy home favourites: the hallway

I'm still hoping to buy a house this year, as you might know, and last week I took the step of getting in touch with a mortgage broker - which is, obviously, very exciting. To celebrate, I thought I would post another 'Etsy homeware favourites' blog post featuring all the best stuff I've found that would be perfect for a hallway!

First of all is this hairpin leg console table - I love hairpin legs, and this table is ideal for a hallway in that it's small enough to fit in a narrow space but still handy for putting *stuff* on. I like this wooden vibe, too! It's £45 with free delivery (decent, I think) and I just really love it.

Tripod lamps are soooo cool, and this industrial one is amazing. I think lamps are great in hallways for warmth and security, and I reckon this would look great in a corner. This one is around £55 with free delivery, and I think it's boss.

A coat rack is a good time, and this fits with the aforementioned industrial vibe. You can fit shoes on, and there's plenty of hanging space for jackets, and if your hallway is big enough I think this would look incredible and provide some much-needed storage. It's £75.99 which is genuinely cheaper than I expected it to be, too.

This 'abstract face vase' is adorable and would look so good on the console table. I love really fun and unique pieces like this, and you could put flowers in it or not - either way it would still look really cool. It's £15 and you can get it in black or white!

Prints are a must and I think this pink and red 'Come on in' print would be amazing for a hallway - so welcoming and I love that colourway, plus the cute font. Just everything about it, really! Prices start at £8 and the bigger the print you get, the more expensive it is.

This rug is sooooo cute. I love patterns like this, and I think a rug is great for adding interest to a hallway which can often be a small space. Prices for these start at £12 and go up as the rugs get bigger - I'm just all over this gorgeous Turkish style rug!

Last but not least are these grey felt storage boxes, which I think would look lovely on the shelves of the coat rack up there. I just love this whole vibe - what do you reckon? These baskets are actually coming from China so postage is pretty pricey, but you can find similar things across the site!

What's your favourite piece? I just can't choose...

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

My friendsofglossier haul

Friday 5th March will go down in history as the day make-up/skincare lovers across the internet were briefly united in sheer joy as we all realised that a 50% off 'friends and family' code for Glossier had been leaked. Group chats were pinging, timelines were full of excitement and frankly it was just about the best moment of 2021 so far. 

Whether the code was leaked accidentally (how and why?) or whether it was a VERY clever marketing ploy remains to be seen. The official line is that it was a leak and Glossier will be honouring all orders made using this code, which is brilliant considering I made two of them. Mine have arrived (yay!) so I thought I'd do a little haul and show off my new Glossier products/tell you my first impressions...

Glossier Boy Brow

Everyone raves about this, so I had to get it because we all love a bandwagon. My first thoughts were IT IS TINY and that thought hasn't changed - the brush/wand itself is tiny too, which personally I think makes it difficult to use. I've tried it a couple of times and I don't hate it, but I don't love it either...

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

I'm obsessed with this so far - it smells amazing, cleanses really well, gets make up off and feels refreshing for a morning cleanse too. Love love love it.

Glossier Balm Dotcom

I got my Balm Dotcom (another cult product) in the Birthday Cake scent. The packaging is glittery and so is the actual balm, which I wasn't expecting given that it's a multi-use product. I think I'll just use it as a lip balm! It smells amazing though, like properly to die for, so sweet and lovely. Honestly a win for me.

Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack

I'm a sucker for a face mask (seriously, at last count there is about 30 in my skincare drawer) so I had to get my hands on this. I've used it once and it's really nice - takes a while to dry, but left my skin feeling soft with no redness or dryness, and I think it actually did help soothe some blemishes I had on my cheeks. Would recommend this!

Pink Glossier Hoodie

I live in hoodies and sweatshirts, and my collection is massive - so I thought I'd add to it anyway. I adore this hoodie; I got the XL and I'd say it would fit around an 18-20. It's super soft, really long, so comfy. I've already worn it loads and love it.

Did you get your hands on anything in the short-lived but wonderful friendsofglossier moment? Let me know and tell me what you think! You can also get 10% off if you shop through this link...

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Nailing It by Anna Jefferson

I read Winging It by Anna Jefferson last year, and when I got the press release through for her upcoming sequel Nailing It, I couldn't wait to read it. It comes out in 2 days, on April 1st 2021, and here's what I thought of it...

When I first read Winging It, I thought I would find it hard to relate to a book about motherhood as someone who doesn't have or want a child - but it was so easy to fall in love with the characters and the story, and Nailing It was exactly the same. It's funny and charming, a reflection of how different women parent differently and all the ups & downs along the way.

Emily, Tania and Helen met in the first book, when their babies were teeny tiny, and their friendship has blossomed - they're very different people, but supportive of each other and able to bounce off each other in that beautiful female-friendship way that so many of us can relate to. There is something so special, as a woman, in reading about groups of female friends and Anna Jefferson writes them SO well.

There is nothing preachy or profound about Nailing It - it is a fun and very real story, a perfect contemporary look at life and motherhood and everything in between. If you like humour and a good old dose of drama (not in a fickle way, just in an "everything's a lot" kind of way) then you'll love Anna's writing and this book. The situations and conversations that make up the plot of the book are things you could definitely imagine happening to you and your friends - getting the days mixed up and not knowing who's turn it is to pick the kids up from school, for example, or complaining about the cost of a cup of tea in a sticky cafe. 

Whether you have kids or not, this is a hilarious novel that provides the perfect sequel - I loved the feeling of watching these little ones grow up with their brilliant mamas, and I would definitely recommend this book to parents and non-parents alike!

You can get your hands on Nailing It HERE. Have you read Anna Jefferson's first book? Let me know...

Saturday, 20 March 2021

The Ordinary: my top three

I love skincare and beauty products, and when The Ordinary exploded onto the market in all its budget-friendly glory, I immediately started trying out products. I've got three firm favourites now, so I thought I would share my thoughts with you in case you're looking for some new bits to try...

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% and Zinc 1%

When I asked for recommendations for my breakouts, this came up a lot so I ordered it - the 30ml is only a fiver, or you can get 60ml for just £8.75; the products are so affordable for many of us. I love this. I use it every morning and night after cleansing, before moisturiser. It doesn't sting or burn, doesn't have a weird smell and isn't too drying but I really have noticed a difference in terms of those pesky breakouts. It doesn't get rid of the really big/stubborn ones, but it's great for preventing new spots and just generally soothing acne-prone skin especially with 'maskne' now a thing! Buy it here...

The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer

This really reminds me of the Hylamide HA Blur primer, both in terms of the packaging and the way it feels on the skin/performs. Hylamide is another Deciem brand (that's who own The Ordinary) but at just £3.75 this is a fraction of the price and does a great job of helping my make up last all day no matter how my skin is behaving at the time. Unscented and just lovely. Would highly recommend the Silicone Primer.

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

In terms of no-nonsense cleansers, the Squalane Cleanser is great. It's in a tube so easy to store (and travel with when we can!) and it just really works. It's gentle but still good at removing makeup, and leaves your face feeling really fresh and squeaky clean without being drying either. I use it for first and second cleanses depending what mood I'm in, and it's lovely for sensitive skin like mine. The 50ml is £5.50 or you can get a supersized version (150ml) for £13.75 - a proper bargain if you ask me.

Have you tried much from The Ordinary? If so, what are your favourite products from them - what do I need to try?!