Thursday, 31 October 2019

October Book Round-Up

Here's what I've been reading in October. And yes, I'm still behind on my Goodreads challenge, oh well! *copies from the Publisher via Netgalley/direct from the Publisher.

*Blood Rites (DI Kelly Porter #6) by Rachel Lynch - A young woman is found naked and mute at an ancient stone circle by a local man and his family. While DI Kelly Porter and the Team look into it the girl disappears and the case unfortunately is put on the backburner.

We also watch Kelly's personal life develop with the loveable Johnny, excitement about their forthcoming sailing trip, her new relationship with her dad, developing a relationship with Johnny's daughter while still missing her mum and being estranged from her sister.  She's also receiving disturbing letters from someone evil whom she put away on a previous case - she doesn't know how they know so much about the case she's investigating now...

Kelly and the Team are investigating the murder of a local woman and as they delve further it seems that the death is linked to Pagan rituals and witchcraft with the murderer having left a specific mark on her body. There is another death which seems to be connected (it's totally grisly - I was having nightmares about it!) and a tragic accident involving someone close to Johnny.

It's an absolutely brilliant read which I totally devoured in a couple of sittings. Roll on the next one.

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid -  this is a quick read. Carrie find out that her husband is having an affair with David's wife and feels it's in his interest to know about it, thinking they can support each other.

What follows is a conversation in letter form in which they open up to each other and they actually also meet in person! I loved the very unexpected twist! Would recommend.

*Broken Souls (DI Lottie Parker #7) by Patricia Gibney - Cara Dunne, a jilted bride is found hanged wearing her wedding dress. Later that day, bride-to-be, Fiona Heffernan seems to have jumped to her death from the roof of the nursing home where she worked leaving behind her young daughter, Lily. Lily, the love of her life whom she'd never have left...

DI Lottie Parker and the Team need to find out if these woman have committed suicide and why, and if not, who murdered them and why. They also need to find Lily. Her father, Fiona's ex is breathing down their neck along with Lottie's pain of a boss..

Boyd seems to be hiding something and it's worrying Lottie. He says he's fine but she knows better. It's niggling her and she won't rest until she finds out. She's got the usual ups-and-downs with the kids, her mother and half brother - who seems intent on worming his way into their lives which displeases her a lot.

The race is on to find the killer and there are some surprising twists and turns along the way with other storylines weaved in which come clearer as you read on. As ever, a brilliant story. There is something left hanging however which will hopefully become clearer in the next book.

Talk to Me by Roseanne Beck - I came across this easy reading novel quite by accident on Amazon. Austin's car accident has ruined his life. He's had to give up the job he loves and the home he's restoring. He moves away from his friends and all that he knows.

Laura is missing her brother Steven who killed himself. They were best friends as well as business partners. She ends up meeting Austin when over visiting her aunt as he's her next door neighbour. They become buddies and she finds out he's got a special gift which enables her to hear from Steven on the other side...

She thinks its safer for all concerned if they remain friends although there's definite sparks flying. I loved watching their romance blossom. A funny and heartwarming read which I really enjoyed.

Inside Broadmoor by Jonathan Levi & Emma French - I found this book fascinating (I also watched the TV programme a while back about Broadmoor). It opened as an asylum for the criminally insane in 1863 and has housed some famous patients including Peter Sutcliffe, Jack the Ripper, Charles Bronson and Ronnie Kray.

The story isn't really about them but touches more on the history of Broadmoor, interviews with the staff and patients, an overview of the admissions procedure and the wards and what it's like to be a patient there as well as thoughts about leaving the old building behind for the new build next door. An interesting read.

*Eden Interrupted by Beverley Harvey - I did find it nice to be back in Eden Hill having loved Seeking Eden which I read in November '17

90s rock star, Ben Wilde and his wife Lisa return from honeymoon and their romantic bubble bursts when they have to babysit her mother after she has an accident. Ben also finds out he's going on tour again and is worried about how Lisa will take this. 

Lisa befriends her neighbour Rosemary, who seems really down to earth and whose husband, Nigel works away a lot. It's her that visits Nigel's mum who has dementia and we find she really cares about her, a lot more than her son does! They also have a little daughter, Iris. 

Divorced mum, Chloe takes over the coffee shop and her son Jake forms a friendship with a local girl who has a very attractive single dad! New to Eden Hill, but not the series, are Jan and Martin Bevan who are going through life changes. Martin seems to have a lot of time for Jake, which helps to keep him on the straight and narrow.  

I loved how all the stories intertwine and it was always just one more chapter! The book reads so easily and I was totally engrossed in their lives! So recommend.

My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams - I found the story of con artist, Anna Delvey absolutely fascinating and read the book in a couple of days. Vanity Fair photo editor, Rachel DeLoache Williams's new friend Anna is a wealthy German Heiress and is fun to be around. She's also very generous paying for Rachel to enjoy dinners at Le Coucou, drinks at 11 Howard Library Bar and regular workout sessions with a celeb Personal Trainer.

Anna proposes an all-expenses paid trip to Marrakech staying at the 5* La Mamounia Hotel. They have a fabulously luxurious trip and things start to go wrong when Anna's credit card fails and Rachel finds herself footing the bill for the luxury stay... you can feel the tension and worry on Rachel's part!

Back in New York Anna has still not paid her back and Rachel discovers that Anna has left unpaid bills wherever she goes... I felt Rachel left things drag on too long before she takes matters into her own hands and approach the authorities. It's a fabulous read, which left me open mouthed at times but which I couldn't put down. 

*The Prison Doctor by Dr Amanda Brown - I found this a fascinating and interesting read. Dr Amanda Brown left a cosy set up as a local GP in a practice she set up to work firstly at a Young Offenders' Institution, then Wormwood Scrubs and then to HMP Bronzefield, a prison for women where she currently works.

We hear about the people she treats, the violence, drugs, suicides, attempted suicides, self-harm etc. The real people with their very real stories. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments which are interspersed with sadness as well as hope. She's an absolute inspiration and I loved reading her story. Would recommend.

*A Bit of a Stretch - The Diaries of a Prisoner by Chris Atkins - this book isn't published until next year so I'll share my review then. I will however say I found it absolutely fascinating, interesting, funny in bits, scary, eye-opening and well worth a read. 

What have you been reading this month?

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

October: Lately I've Been Loving

If it's marked * I've receive a product complimentary. Here's what I've been loving in October:

*I'm currently testing out nknaturals new Season Oils kit which is fantastic. Expect a review very soon.

Picking up these gorgeous cards from Sarah at Eyeshoot Photography. The cards are beautiful and the packaging exquisite.

Enjoying the gorgeous Violet Ida EdP by Miller Harris which was inspired by Graham Greene's book Brighton Rock. It's powdery, sweet and floral and unlike anything in my perfume collection. See my Instagram post HERE.  A full review is to come!

Picking up a copy of Oh Magazine (formerly Oh Comely) at Pics & Ink. I love these lifestyle mags and find them a really nice occasional treat. Postage (£2 per mag) is super quick and there's a great range of titles available.

We've been enjoying a simple recipe from Delicious magazine - figs with blue cheese, wrapped in parma ham with a splash of balsamic vinegar and white wine before being baked in the oven and served with crusty bread (pic is before they are baked). They are truly delicious!

*I've fallen head-over-heels for this gorgeous Lucky Cloud Skincare Restore Candle which is refreshing, uplifting and helps to fill your room with delicious herbal notes. See my review HERE.

What have you been loving this month?

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

The Natural Beauty Box: Bedtime Bliss: October 2019

I'd spotted Skin Alchemists Apothecary's Intensive Skin Treatment (£36 - 120g) was in October's The Natural Beauty Box and I knew I'd have to pick up a box! This month the theme is Bedtime Bliss and inside are Plastic Free products (a one off box is £25.95 or you can subscribe at £24.95 a month on a rolling subscription. This month the box is worth £63.

Skin Alchemists Apothecary Intensive Skin Treatment (I got Midnight's Serenade) smells glorious and I can't wait to try it. Light, leaving the candle to burn for 10 minutes or so, before blowing the candle out and pouring the warmed scented wax onto the skin for a luxurious massage which is a treat for the skin and senses. Midnight's Serenade is a blend of exquisite jasmine, rose de mai and sweet orange. Looking forward to this one! A review will follow. (I also like that the cute little pouring pot is re-usable.

I've used Eden Days before so know my body is in for a treat with their Rooibos Bush Whipped Body Butter. Inside is a 60ml pot which is worth £7.  From Ezape Naturals is their newish Ylang Ylang & Lavender Body Oil 50ml which I've used before. It's worth £13.

From Friends of Gaia there is a plastic free Spring Green Handmade Soap (£4) which is formulated with Green Clay, Lavender & Geranium and smells lovely. Alongside this is a Sisal Soap Pouch (£3) which is ideal for storing odds and ends of nearly finished soap. Use in conjunction with the pouch for a exfoliating clean.

I'm really impressed with everything this month. Reviews to follow. Are you a subscriber? What are your thoughts?

Monday, 28 October 2019

Latest in Beauty: The India Knight Style Beauty Box

You should know the drill by now, I can never resist a Latest in Beauty collection box. The India Knight Edit in association with The Sunday Times Style magazine just HAD to be mine! There are 10 items in the box, with six full sizes! Costing £40 and worth an incredible £210!

The things which first jumped out at me when the box landed was the trio of haircare (which alone is worth £97!)

Award winning Charlotte Mensah is a totally new to me brand (there's a whole host of products in stylist, artistic director and founder Charlotte's line). I'll definitely be checking them out later. Inside the box is her Manketti Hair Oil 100ml which is worth £48. A review will follow when I get the chance to try it.

I've got a few of legendary hair stylist, Sam McKight's products on my Cult Beauty wishlist so was delighted to see a full size of his Cool Girl Barely There Texture Mist 250ml (£25) nestled in the box. It'll give you sexy tousled messy but cool locks!

The third haircare item is Color WOW's Dream Coat Supernatural Spray 200ml (£24) which has been on my radar but I've never got round to trying until now! The results on the website look amazing - I've still to master drying my hair with a brush but it will also work with the heat from straighteners too. Watch this space!

There's a full size of The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10%+Zinc 1% 30ml (£5) which will help regulate sebum and reduce the appearance of blemishes. I've only tried a couple of products from the range before but I'll give this a whirl.

There's a 15ml trial size of Elemis's Pro-Collagen Overnight Matrix which will revitalise and regenerate the skin while you sleep. 

Also inside is Kiehl's Creme de Corps Nourishing Dry Body Oil 40ml "this classic body product is reimagined in the form of a cocooning dry oil". Looking forward to trying this out!

From Clinique there's a mini travel size pot of their Moisture Surge 72 hour auto-replenishing Hydrator 15ml which is like a glass of water for the skin.

From Laura Mercier there is their Velour Extreme Matte Lipstick in Dominate 0.42g which is a cherry-red shade. This is a trial size.

Also inside the box is Zoeva's Heritage Eye Crayon in Phonology 1.4g (£11) which is a metallic caramel bronze. It seems really nice and I'm looking forward to using it.

Rounding up the box is BBB London's Ultimate Brow Arch Definer in Saffron 0.3g (£22).

There are also a couple of discount codes from BBB London for 20% off a brow shape, 15% off at Elemis and 15% off at Zoeva as an added extra.  Did you pick up one of the Style boxes?

Sunday, 27 October 2019

*Beatitude Joy Body Oil Christmas Bauble: Review & Giveaway - it's over!

*complimentary bauble for the giveaway I've got a beautiful giveaway which is bound to put you in the Christmas spirit! Beatitude have very kindly offered one of my readers their very own Joy Body Oil Christmas Bauble for hanging on your Christmas tree! (worth £12) Inside you'll find a mini bottle of Joy Body Oil (20ml) which is my favourite Beatitude scent. See my review HERE.

The festive white bauble will look beautiful hanging on the tree and it's something you could use year after year. It would also make the perfect Secret Santa gift.

Nestled inside on gold Christmassy paper you'll find the Joy Body Oil mini. To be in with a chance of owning your own (UK only) please enter via the rafflecopter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, 26 October 2019

October Empties

Here's what I've been using up in October (items marked with * I've received complimentary).

Sisley Neck Cream 10ml this was nice to try but unlikely I'd buy full size.

Odacite Rose+Neroli Treatment Mist 50ml which was gorgeous! My friend, Julie gave it to me for my birthday. See my review HERE. I'd have this back in my stash again in a heartbeat!

Clarins Tonic Moisture Balm 5ml I loved this aromatic body balm and would love full size but got huge amount of body products to use up (maybe someday!)

Beauty Pie Jeju Daily Rehydration Mist+ 100ml gorgeous product. See my review HERE. Sure to buy again at some point.

Shay & Blue White Peaches 10ml I adore this beautiful fresh, sweet and fruity scent. It featured in my 5 perfumes for Spring (link). Will buy this again...and soon!

* Respire Breathe Nourishing Yogi Oil 100ml this was a winner (and one of mine!) in last years Beauty Shortlist Awards. You can see my top picks HERE. I adored this body oil and it's one I'll buy again at some point. The whole range is lush!

*Earth Harbor Rose Ruby Hydrating Face Mist 60ml which was an exciting new to me brand. It featured in a Vertue Beauty Box entitled Vitamin Sea. It was a beautiful mist to use and I'd like to explore more by the brand.

I did have a shampoo sachet which matched with the conditioner from Giovanni Root66 but it seems to have gone walkabouts! The duo were ok but I didn't see much in the way of added volume so wouldn't buy (2 x 7.4ml).

I loved Living Sea Therapy's Calm Bath Salts 400g which I picked up in  the Anthropologie sale. See my review HERE. I'd definitely consider buying these again especially if they were on sale. 

The Lore Originals Legend Mask was new to me (you use it on dry hair before washing and conditioning). My hair was left feeling super soft and healthy. Would perhaps buy again.

Jurlique Rare Rose Cream 2ml smells glorious. It was quite a teeny sachet but my skin seemed to love it. Would maybe buy full size.

Dr Teal's Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution .45k (single use) I've used these salts before and loved them. Would happily buy again.

Verdant Alchemy Drift Off Bath Salts 100g which came in September's Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box. I loved them a lot and would buy.

*MOSSA Vitamin Moisture Conditioner 10ml which did nothing whatsoever for my hair! Wouldn't buy.

Avon Distillery Purify Facial Oil 2ml which is from a new range by Avon Cosmetics. Really nice. Might or might not buy in future. I do have their Sleep Potion Night Cream which I'll review soon.

Decleor Creme Ambree Sunkissed Cream 2ml which was brown in colour! This disappeared on massaging it onto your skin. I liked this, would definitely like to try more samples before I'd buy full size.

What products have you been using up in October?

Friday, 25 October 2019

Blog Tour: The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

I'm very excited to be one of the bloggers rounding up the blog tour for the magnificent The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey - I read it back in May and it featured as one of my top books in the January-June period - see HERE. It's simply stunning and so worth a read.

1925. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them.

Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself.  When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of a love affair that they know cannot possibly last.

But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules.  By the end of that summer everything has changed.

A decade later, nine year old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future. 

My thoughts?

Selina Lennox is a bright young thing who has a glittering future ahead of her. Right now though she's enjoying parties, drinking champagne and hanging out with her two dearest friends making sure to have as many laughs as they possibly can. One night having got separated by her friends after caring about what happens to a cat which was run over she randomly meets Lawrence Weston, a man who will change her life forever. He's a penniless but gorgeous artist and she finds they have an instant connection. She finds she has an intense need and desire to see him again.

The story is set in two timelines - the 1920s and 30s and in the 30s we meet Alice, Selina's 9 year old daughter, who is staying with her frosty grandparents at the family pile while her parents are in the Far East. 

Selina sets out to make things more fun for Alice and concocts a treasure hunt, with the help of her old maid, Polly. Searching for the clues take Alice all over the house and garden where she meets the old gardener, Patterson. The story Selina hopes to tell Alice is about her life and how she came to be...

The chance meeting with Lawrence changes her life forever however Selina is expected to marry well whether she loves the man or not..

It's an absolutely amazing read which constantly pulled on my heartstrings (yes, you'll need tissues) I totally and utterly adored it.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Beauty Pie Review: Month #10

WOW I can't believe this is month 10 of my Beauty Pie subscription! Remember you can get your first month free using my LINK. This month I had two purchases (with a random third when I found I'd thrown my mascara out by mistake!) I did have a little bit of credit left from last month. My membership is £15 a month (£150 spend), plus product costs and postage.

First up - Purchase #1

My first buys of the month: £15 monthly membership + Super Healthy Skin Daily Vitamin Defense Serum 50ml (Typical price - £80 - members pay £9.82) + Wondergloss Lip Oil in Nude Nectar 5ml (Typical price - £26 - members pay £4.82) and the much raved about Flash False Lash Mascara 7.5ml (Typical Price - £20 - members pay £3.91) plus £3.36 p&p = £36.91. I'm loving the mascara and serum, the lip oil is ok (I'm not hugely keen on its scent) - although the actual product is growing on me - my preferred way to use it is on top of lipstick although I sometimes wear it alone for a glossy natural lip.

Purchase #2 

My friend and colleague, Sam send me a few of the Superactive Capsules - Essential Ceramides+ and of course I "needed" a full size pot! 60 x 0.3ml (Typical Price - £50 - members pay - £7.54) + £3.36 p&p = £10.90

My #3 order was another Flash False Lash Mascara 7.5ml (Typical Price - £20 - members pay £3.91) + £3.36 p&p = £7.27. Reviews will follow!

See my monthly picks (click on the links): 

I'm now trying to hold off and see what Christmas goodies land! What are your favourites from Beauty Pie?

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Lixirskin: Universal Emulsion Moisturiser

I picked up Lixirskin's Universal Emulsion Moisturiser (20ml - £11) as a freebie with Harper's Bazaar Magazine recently - who doesn't love a freebie!

I love the fact that Universal Emulsion is multi-tasking - it's a Day Moisturiser, Night Cream and Serum Base in one (it also covers the eye contour, lips, neck, decollete, arms and hands) so it's the perfect product to pack if you're just taking hand luggage or are tight for space on your travels.

Founder, Colette Haydon spent many years as a formulator for other well known brands before creating her own less-is-more collection. She "used an unusual emulsification technique to obtain SPF10 without any added sunscreen - so ideal as an urban day cream and primer"

I'm not personally in love with the scent (it's similar to Vit C paste with rose & ylang ylang) but the product is good (and the scent doesn't linger) so I'll definitely be packing it for my next trip.

To use: warm in your palm before applying where needed. Lixirskin say "Massage until the skin feels sealed, you'll recognise the feeling".

What are your favourites from the range?

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

*Love Lula: Madara Plum Plum Lip Perfection Balm

*I received this product free of charge as one of Love Lula's Acredited Bloggers. It came in July's* Love Lula Beauty Box.

The Lip Perfection Balm deeply nourishes the lips leaving them looking super glossy and healthy - wear alone of on top of lipstick. The balm has a delicious fruity scent.

Formulated with moisturising jojoba, nourish shea butter, repairing plum oil, nourishing coconut and antioxidant Vitamin E. 

To use: apply as often as needed for smooth and kissable lips!

Pick yours up for £10 HERE (it comes boxed but I've recycled mine!) What are your favourite products from the brand?

Monday, 21 October 2019

Noble Isle: Summer Rising & Tea Rose Scents

I've loved Noble Isle for years having first discovered their Summer Rising Luxury Bath & Shower gel in a beauty box - I then went on to swap for loads of the mini bottles on the Facebook group, Beauty Box Swaps.

A few months ago some offers popped up on Facebook and I dipped my toes in once again...

I love brands who offer a mini treat with purchase and so, after purchasing Summer Rising Luxury Bath & Shower Gel again I chose a mini Tea Rose treat and of course fell head over heels for the scent and had to have another purchase straight away!

The ranges are Vegan, paraben, sls free, gluten free and cruelty free. Summer Rising - Cornish Hedgerows is a delicious blend of gooseberry, elderflower, orange blossom and cut grass. It's a beautiful scent and is perfect for an uplifting morning shower. Tea Rose - Chelsea Green London meanwhile, is a decadent and luxurious blend of rose, black tea, jasmine, green leaves and clary sage - I'd happily have the whole range in these two beautiful scents. 

Check out the lovely range of gifts and home fragrance too. What are you favourites from the range?

Saturday, 19 October 2019

*Love Lula: Lucky Cloud Skincare: Restore Soy Wax Candle

*I received this beautiful candle as part of my Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program picks for October. See my other October picks HERE. I added £7 to my monthly allowance to enable me to enjoy this beautiful candle too. My post contains two affiliate links.

Restore Rosemary+Mint candle (£26 - 190g - 35hr burn time) is one of the nicest candles I've ever used. It's got a deliciously refreshing herb garden scent which brightens, helps with mental fatigue, cleanses the air and relaxes both the body and mind and also brings joy.

It's packaged in a recyclable brown box and hand poured into a gorgeous white re-usable jar with lid. And.... I love that crackly wooden wick!

100% natural soy wax is used along with Rosemary and Mint essential oils with a lovely wooden wick. I've had it burning in my living room and kitchen and the aroma is beautiful - fresh and herbal and the throw is very, very good. 

To use: burn for 1-2 hours initially until the melt pool reaches the edges for an even burn

Pick yours up HERE (it's one I know I'll replenish as it's perfect in every way!)

Friday, 18 October 2019

Eve Lom Cleansing Oil Capsule Travel Pack

I read about these newish Eve Lom Cleansing Oil Capsules in a magazine and I had to have them! I picked them up at Cult Beauty (£20 - 14 plus a travel size pot). You can also buy a full size pot at £55 for 50.

I know I'll get loads of use out the little travel size holder also! The 100% biodegradable capsules are stuffed with Omega oils and botanicals and quickly remove make up and daily grime. They smell glorious too - a blend of eucalyptus, clove, Egyptian chamomile and hops.

To use: twist of the top and massage contents over a dry face and neck before rinsing. Pat dry. 

Great for travelling or using everyday (or for popping in a Christmas stocking).  I know I'll be buying the full size pot at some point as my skin loves them.