Tuesday, 31 December 2019

December: Lately I've been Loving

My last Lately I've been loving of the year! 

I must mention three things which have made me happy/given me great joy throughout 2019. In the May issue of Top Sante magazine I featured in their blogger post My Super Six - see HERE.

Being asked to be a The Beauty Shortlist Judge again this year for the 2020 Beauty Shortlist & Wellbeing Awards was a total honor. I'm currently putting a lot of wonderful products through their paces. Make sure you check out the winners on 2nd March 2020!

I've been a Love Lula Accredited Blogger for a few years now and have come across some amazing brands as one of their bloggers. I'm very grateful to be part of the program.

I made delicious homemade Limoncello for our work Christmas tipple challenge. Unfortunately, I didn't win a prize but it's piqued my interest in making more flavoured alcoholic drinks (after dry January!)

Joining the ledger at Ffern. Such a good move! I've totally fallen head-over-heels for my first one - Winter 20. See my review HERE.

Christmas Amazon vouchers - there's just something I love about a hard backed book - and treating yourself to books you may not normally buy..

Looking back over a year of my Skin Organics Clean Beauty Box which is my favourite monthly beauty box. See my thoughts on the last year HERE.

Another new Christmas book "The Scented Candle Workshop".... I did drop hints... a new hobby for 2020. Pick yours up HERE.

What have you been loving in December?

Monday, 30 December 2019

Beauty Pie Review: Month #12

I signed up to Beauty Pie way back in January 2019 and that's me now been a member for a whole year! I've discovered some amazing products in these months which have now become staples (I'll be doing a yearly round-up as to my thoughts in January, so look out for that).

My December picks included two items I received for Christmas from my mum and dad so (gulp) I've not actually tried them properly yet!

Brazilian Lime Body Care Gift Set (Typical Price £80 - Members pay £17.23). The set includes 250ml Body Wash, 100ml Body Lotion and 15ml EdP. I'm looking forward to trying these properly and a review is to come.

The second item is their Leather, Violet Leaves & Labdanum Candle 240g (Typical Price £50, members pay £13.49). I'm normally a soy wax candle girl but the scent intrigued me. A review will come.

I also had some allowance left to roll over to refresh date (today!)  Did you pick up any Beauty Pie Christmas gifts?

Sunday, 29 December 2019

My Top Reads: July to December 2019

You can see my top picks for January-July HERE. Books marked * I received from Netgalley/the publisher for review). My stand out reads are:


The Last Stage by Louise Voss* - I took part in the blog tour for this edge-of-my-seat read. See my review HERE.

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston* - I took part in the blog tour for this un-put-down-able read. See my review HERE.

In The Silence M R MacKenzie - I loved that the story is set in Glasgow and I recognise all the landmarks! A brilliant start to a new series. I loved it. See my review HERE.

*A Sinner's Prayer by M P Wright - having been hooked on the series since I read Heartman I was delighted to be on the blog tour for the last book in the JT Ellington series. See my review HERE.

*The July Girls by Phoebe Locke - I couldn't put this twisty book down! See my review HERE.

*Expectation by Anna Hope - I just loved this book about female friendship. See my review HERE.


*The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead - what a powerful read which stayed with me long after I finished reading. See my review HERE.

*The Secret Letter by Debbie Rix - I just loved this. See my review HERE.

The Controller - Lynch & Rose Thriller - by Matt Brolly - I absolutely loved this! A brilliant start to a new series. See my review HERE.


*A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier - I loved this book! See my review HERE.

*Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson - I truly adore this series and was delighted to take part in the Blog Tour. See my review HERE.

In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone - I'm still thinking about that twist now! Read my review HERE.

*The Lost Child by Emily Gunnis - having met Emily at a New Voices event by Headline earlier this year I couldn't wait to read her second novel. Absolutely loved it. See my review HERE.


*Blood Rites - DI Kelly Porter #6 by Rachel Lynch - I just love this series and Kelly Porter! See my review HERE.

*Broken Souls - DI Lottie Parker #7 by Patricia Gibney - Again, a series I just adore along with Lottie! See my review HERE.

*Eden Interrupted by Beverley Harvey - I just loved this follow on from Seeking Eden. So easy reading with interesting characters. See my review HERE.

My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams - a total un-put-down-able and unbelieveable read - I was hooked from the very first page! See my review HERE.

*The Prison Doctor by Dr Amanda Brown - a fascinating look at being a doctor in prison. I found this really interesting. See my review HERE.

*A Bit of a Stretch by Chris Atkins - I loved this eye-opener about being an inmate in prison. The book's not published until next year so I've not yet shared my review. Highly recommend.


*I Will Make You Pay by Teresa Driscoll - super creepy and a great read. See my review HERE.

*I Dare You by Sam Carrington - I loved this. See my review HERE.

*The Child on Platform One by Gill Thompson - I took part in the blog tour for this un-put-downable read. See my review HERE.


*All the Rage by Cara Hunter - I just loved this book (going to go back and read books 1-3 in the series). See my review HERE.

*American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins - absolutely amazing read about a Mexican mother and her son's harrowing trip to the United States after a life-changing tragedy. I'll share my review in January when the book publishes.

*If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane - another book which is published in the very early part of January. It's absolutely un-put-downable and follows lawyer Laurie's life following her split with her long-term partner and what happens when she meets hot-shot and gorgeous lawyer, Jamie when trapped in the lift at work. Amazing read!

*The Dilemma by B A Paris - absolutely un-put-downable! See my review HERE.

So there we have it. Do we share any favourites?

December Book Round-Up

*e-copy generously provided by the publisher via netgalley/direct from the publisher. Here's what I've been reading in December:

*All the Rage - A DI Adam Fawley Thriller - by Cara Hunter - Teenage girl, Faith Appleyard is found wandering the streets in a disheveled state by a local taxi driver. He tips off the police and when they go to talk to her she says she doesn't want to take things further. With the lack of cooperation their hands are tied. When a second girl goes missing DI Fawley and the Team need to investigate to find out if the crimes are connected.

In these cases there's a striking resemblance to the case of the Roadside Rapist which put Gavin Parry away for life. DI Fawley was the arresting officer who sent him down. Now it's wondered if there's been a miscarriage of justice. DI Fawley is pulled from the case and DI Ruth Gallagher brought in. Of course, Adam has to do a little bit of investigating of his own on the side. His wife, whom he met after the case, was a victim of Parry's and her evidence helped to bring him down.

The race is on to find out who is behind the crimes and why. The story is twisty, fast paced, un-put-down-able and that twist at the end - oh WOW! This is my first read by Cara Hunter and I'm planning to go back and start the series from the beginning.

*The Home by Sarah Stovell - I'm taking part in the blog tour for this book in January so I'll share my thoughts then. WOW though.

A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs - this little book had been on my wishlist for an age! I noticed it had come way down in price and was delighted to snap it up on Amazon. The story is set on Christmas Eve 1894 and follows single but independent, Margaret Campbell, her family and her crippled and angry, brother Alan as well as, a handsome stranger, Gordon Shaw. She meets Mr Shaw on the train out of Stirling and when the train is stuck in a blizzard ends up taking him home. 

It turns out that Mr Shaw has a connection to her family from all those years ago and would like to apologise for his part in what happened to her brother. It's a nice little Christmas read with themes of forgiveness, friendship and love which I'd recommend.

*American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins - WOW just WOW this book is a must read. It's not published until January so I'll share my review then (it makes my top 12 of 2019 though!)

*If I never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane - which isn't published until next year. I absolutely adored it. 

Infused Booze by Kathy Kordalis - I found this absolutely fascinating having recently made Limoncello. There are some delicious sounding serves here which I'll definitely make! 

The Rations Challenge by Claud Fullwood - for Lent, Claud decides to go back to the 1940s and live for 40 days on rations. I found that part of the book and the memories of those who lived through rations fascinating. The filler bits not so and slightly preachy. Generally an interesting read.

From last month: 

*The Dilemma by B A Paris - Livia has been planning her 40th birthday for years. She didn't get the wedding she dreamed of due to her unplanned pregnancy and becoming estranged from her parents so, she's pinned her whole life on one perfect day. The marquee is up and her son Josh and his friend have sorted the music - asking each guest for a song which is special to them. That morning she goes to the spa with her best-est pals for a pamper sesh with fizz. She's on cloud nine....although there is one niggle....the secret she's been keeping from Adam which will tear their world apart..

Their daughter, Marnie is studying abroad and unable to be there for the big day. Unbeknown to Livia, Adam has secretly arranged for her to be there...but during the party he hears something on the news which will break his wife's heart in two. He can't decide what to do - should he tell Livia or let her have the best day she's waited so long for....

Adam is forced to tell Livia his secret which shatters her world. Her secret breaks his heart. Is there any coming back from it all? It's a twisty, compulsive and downright gripping tale which I couldn't put down. So recommend.

What have you been reading in December?

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Christmas Gifts from The Perfume Society

I'd dropped hints to hubby that I'd love The Perfume Society's The Niche Collection Three which included a wide variety of perfumes and treats. So imagine my surprise and delight when I received the said box, their The Feel-Good Box plus a lovely free candle from La Montana - what a total treat!

I'll show you what's in the boxes just now and reviews will follow later:


I cannot wait to delve in! In no particular order inside is:

Miller Harris Tea Tonique Perfume Oil 9ml (which retails at £30!) it has a lovely silky feel on the skin with the unmistakable "tea tonique" notes. The EdP version featured in my 5 Perfumes for Spring (link).

I adore Laboratory Perfumes Gorse EdT (REVIEW) so was excited to see their Discovery Set inside the box (each 1.5ml). Also inside are vials of Amber, Samphire, Tonka & Atlas

From Experimental Perfume Club there's a 2ml vial of Amber Iris EdP which initially has incense and woody notes - I'm looking forward to seeing how this settles.

There are 2 x 1.5ml EdP vials from Molton Brown - Re-Charge Black Pepper and Flora Luminare (loving the floral one!)

From Ruth Mastenbroek there's a 2ml EdP of Dagian which is a brand new launch. It has notes which include citrus, jasmine and woods and I'm looking forward to testing it out properly.

From Connock London is a duo - 1.5ml EdP of Kukui and a matching 8ml sachet of the hand and body lotion. I've used the perfume before and looking forward to a layering effect.

From Anima Vinci is Oud Delight EdP 1.5ml, Parle Moi de Parfum Gardens of India 79 EdP 2ml, Mugler Les Exceptions Naughty Fruity 1.5ml EdP.

Just launched Extrait de Parfum Amyris Femme by Maison Kurkdjian Paris 2ml which is a beautiful floral. Rounding up the collection is a duo by Bramley which I've had the pleasure of trying before - Body Wash with Grapefruit, Lavender & Sweet Orange along with a Body Lotion with Juniper, Sweet Orange and Bergamot (both 50ml) It's a brilliant collection and I'm so looking forward to trying everything properly.

The 2nd box is a collaboration with the Beauty Bible - The Feel-Good Box which smells wonderful! Each product is hand picked to make you feel great!

And for a closer look...

Temple Spa Peace be Still Calming Skin Balm 50ml (I'm pretty sure I've tried this before! It smells lush!)

Percy & Reed Heavenly Hydrating Body Wash 100ml - I've only tried their hair care before so looking forward to trying it out.

Scentered Focus Therapy Balm mini - huge fan of these! Perfect to use on the go.

Heathcote & Ivory Gardners Hand Cream 50ml - always happy to try a new hand cream and this one feels really rich.

I was pretty excited to see a 45ml Molton Brown's Rose Absolute Sumptuous Bathing Oil which is a product I've not tried yet! Also inside is Olverum's famous Bath Oil 15ml (REVIEW).

Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser 30ml with cloth is also inside (I've used this loads of times). I love Aurelia Probiotic Skincare minis and inside is 4ml of their Cell Repair Night Oil which I may pack for my next trip! 

From Neal's Yard Remedies there is a pot of their multi tasking Wild Rose Beauty Balm 15g and from This Works their Stress Check Roll on 5ml.  Also inside is a full size bar of Green & Black delectable Organic White Chocolate and a single use Hello Day Vitality Boost. I'm really excited to try/or revisit everything from both boxes.

This beautiful La Montana Winter Oranges Candle with Orange, Cinnamon & Clove (full size) was a gift with the purchase of two collection boxes. I've always lusted after one of these! Looking forward to lighting it and a review will follow.

What Christmas gifts have made you go WOW?