Books I’ve Read Jan – April 2017

The Books I've Read in 2017

 The Books I've Read in 2017

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

This is the second book I’ve read from Fredrik Backman and I have to say I was a little worried it wouldn’t live up to ‘A Man Called Ove’, which was my favourite read of 2016. I quickly realised Britt-Marie Was Here was going to be a wonderful read. It is about a lady who after decades of hiding away from the world has developed a strong belief of how certain things should be done. She takes a job in Borg, a very small, run down & neglected town in Sweden where she in fact discovers her self worth. Britt-Marie makes friends with people that challenge her, encourage her and even fall in love with her and in return she gives the entire town hope. This book evokes such a mix of emotions but ultimately it is a story of letting go of the past, rediscovering your dreams and letting people into your heart. I urge you to add it to your reading list.

A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

I wasn’t so keen on this book – I found it frustrating at times. It is about a young couple whose son has autism and through trying to learn to cope and navigate through the early years of his life they have stopped communicating as a couple and live very separate lives. The dad also struggles to connect with his son and finds it difficult to understand his world. Through the videogame Minecraft comes a bit of a breakthrough which proves to be the catalyst that helps this family to communicate and appreciate a new side to their son. The Dad Alex also realises that he has been holding on to a lot of pain from his childhood and it is stopping him from moving forward in all aspects of his life. I know this is a bestseller and has been well received but I just found it to have so many Minecraft references that it got a little annoying.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

This story is mainly set in South Carolina and centers around a young girl named Sarah Grimke whose family are very wealthy and much like most wealthy families in America at this time (1803) own quite a few slaves. It follows her defiance to accept her 13th birthday present which is in fact a slave girl of the same age as herself named Handful. Sarah educates herself to a level that is not usual or accepted amongst women in America at this time and she longs to be the first ever female judge but that is a dream beyond what society can allow. Sarah and Handful struggle to understand the world and how cruel it can be, but they both find the strength to make a difference. This is a book about ambition, loss, pain but ultimately on all sides it is about the need to be free.

I was surprised to learn this story is based upon the Grimké sisters who were in fact real-life abolitionists and in a way you could say early feminists. I read this book really quickly and I want to read more from Sue Monk Kidd.

The Little Paris Book Shop by Nina George

This is a story about love, loss and friendship. It is heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measures and if you have a romantic soul like me then you will love this story. It is mostly set on board a book barge in the centre of Paris and that in itself was enough to make me purchase this book. I love that the main character, Jean Perdu, doesn’t let people pick their own books, he chooses their books for them almost like a prescription from a doctor. It follows his journey to try and mend his broken heart and you’re taken along for the very scenic ride. I 100% recommend adding this to your reading list for 2017.

Most Recent Books Read in 2017

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

This thought provoking novel doesn’t hold back, it brings to the forefront subjects and situations that are still very much part of the modern world.  It talks openly, honestly about racism, discrimination and  privilege in America. I don’t want to give too much away as the story is gripping from the get go but this one book that brings you face to face with some very hard hitting situations that make you feel uncomfortable at times.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

I read this book without knowing anything about it – sometimes that is how you discover some incredible reads although I am not too sure I would class this as one of those. The main characters, Wavey & Kellen, I thought had a very uncomfortable story to tell. At times I really rooted for them but more often than not I was unsure how I should feel about their relationship. For me this was a heartbreaking read and I was left feeling the main character Wavy was let down by almost everyone. If you’re looking for quite a shocking, coming of age novel then add this to your reading list.

In Order to Live by Park Yeon-mi

I’ve watched a few documentaries about people that have escaped North Korea but this account from Park Yeon-mi was so hard hitting. I had no idea that her struggle was going to get so much worse once they’d fled North Korea. This true story follows Park’s desperate, poverty stricken life first living under the dictatorship of Kim Jong-il in North Korea then as her family attempts the dangerous journey into China. It is incredible just what the human spirit can overcome and Park’s account of what her family had to endure in North Korea and then as defectors of the regimes will stay with you for a long time.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This really reminds me a book I read last year called ‘All The Light We Cannot See‘ It is similar in that it is set first in Paris and then in rural France during the German Occupation of the Second World War. It follows two sisters that couldn’t be more different and we get to see the War from a female perspective. You get lost in the details and are quickly transported to the French countryside but the harrowing effects of the Nazi occupation are hard to ignore. The sisters are both trying to get through the War as best they can one desperate to make a difference and the other focused on staying safe. I sped through this and loved it just as much as I’d hoped, make sure you have a tissue to hand, as I think you will need it.

What have you been reading so far in 2017? Let me know if you read any of the books I have mentioned.

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Ideal World’s 17th Birthday Celebration

Ideal World TV Birthday Celebrations

Ideal World TV Birthday Celebrations

Today 29th March marks Ideal World TV’s 17th Birthday & that means it is time for a Party – a Twitter Party! Mark your calendar because starting today at 5pm begins a 5 day celebration which continues through to Monday April 3rd, where Ideal World will be celebrating by offering fantastic deals through their shopping channel.

Join myself & a whole host of fellow bloggers and Ideal World customers on their #JoinTheIdealWorld Twitter Party Chat where we will be discussing all things Party related, so bring your own bubbles, snacks and party hat. I will see you there between 7.30pm and 8.30pm.

Ideal World Skincare

One fantastic deal that will be available throughout the Birthday Celebrations is a 6 Piece Skinn Skincare Collection* which will include four supersized and two extra products. The RRP is usually £120 for the four piece, but for Birthday only the six pieces will cost £39.99.

I have spoken about Ideal World quite a few times on my blog but for those that are not familiar with them they’re the TV shopping and you can watch them on the following platforms SKY 654, Freeview 22, Virgin 747, Freesat 812 and also via live stream at

Also if you’re going to join in the with tonight’s chat make sure you’re following @IdealWorldTV and use the hashtag #JoinTheIdealParty & they’re giving away goodies bags too.

*This post contains PR Samples

Five Under £5 For March 2017

Five Under £5 For March 2017

Five Under £5 For March 2017

I haven’t joined in with the Five Under £5 tag since last November, a combination of being busy and also I forgot all about it a couple of times too.So I got my butt in gear this month because I really missed taking part and there is nothing I like more that hunting out a bargain.

If you want to get involved and link up your monthly 5 Under £5 finds then head over to Julia’s blog at Rainbeaubelle and join in. It’s a lot of fun & you get to see all of the cute bargains that everyone finds, I always end up purchasing so many things from everyone else’s roundups.

The Little Paris Book Shop

The Little Paris Bookshop £4.49

One of my goals this year was to read more and 2 months into 2017 I have read 5 books, which is decent for me. I read The Little Paris Book Shop last month, I purchased it on Amazon for my Kindle and thoroughly enjoyed it and finished it super quickly. It is a story about love, loss and friendship. It is heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measures and if you have a romantic soul like me then you will love this story. It is mostly set on board a book barge in the centre of Paris and that in itself was enough to make me purchase this book. I love that the main character Jean Perdu doesn’t let people pick their own books, he chooses their books for them almost like a prescription from a doctor. It follows his journey to try and mend his broken heart and you’re taken along for the very scenic ride. I 100% recommend adding this to your reading list for 2017.

Primark Wild Orchid & Honey Room Diffuser £1

I use these in my small downstairs toilet, there is no window and I don’t like to leave a candle burning in there as I am worried I’ll forget its lit. So a diffuser is a great way of giving the room a lovely subtle scent. These Primark ones are so affordable and this scent isn’t too overpowering or synthetic.

Aldi Fairy Lights

Aldi Rattan Ball Fairy Lights £2.99

My friend Hayley bought these for me and I adore them. I like the colours and just how sweet they look in the evening when it’s gone dark outside. I like to have fairy lights around my house and my motto is you can never have too many! So thank you so much Hayley, these are going to get a lot of love. I’m not too sure if Aldi will still have these in stock as they’re Special Buys seem to sell out pretty quickly.

Essence Make Me Brow £2.50

I am super lazy when it comes to my brows and I like to use products that are quick and fuss free. I love the Benefit Gimme Brow but I don’t like spending when there are such decent dupes out there. This tinted brow gel from Essence is a fantastic dupe, I get the darkest shade and that is a very good match for my bows. It provides a good amount of colour and covers any sparse areas and I like that it keeps those unruly brow hairs in place too. The brush is small and helps you to be precise with the product and only £2.50 everyone should add this to their makeup bag. If you haven’t tried Essence Cosmetics yet you really need too, it is available in Wilko Stores.
Essence Make Me Brow

Lidl Star Washi Tape 3 Rolls £1.99

Yes, yes we all know that I’m a washi tape hoarder but in my defence I have actually found a few uses for it and have started to use it in my Bullet Journal and also when decorating envelopes when writing to my lovely niece. So it is useful as well as pretty. I bought this pack from Lidl and they had a good selection of patterns and colours, I was quite restrained and only bought one pack, I liked the star patterns and bright colours so I am chuffed with this bargain.

Five Under £5 March 2017

Poundland Creative Colouring Book £1

This is an Easter gift for my niece. I bought her one from Amazon for Christmas and she really enjoyed it, so I was pleased to come across this more affordable one in the Poundshop. The pictures are really beautiful and the paper is good quality. I think there were 3 options to pick from and because she gets so much chocolate for Easter I thought I would be a little different and buy her something creative to do. I might have to colour in a page before I send it.

Let me know if you join in this month.

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Bullet Journal Layout for 2017

Bullet Journal Layout For January

Bullet Journal Layout For January

All through 2016 I kept meaning to start a Bullet Journal, my friend HayleyFromHome has kept one throughout 2016 and she said it would be right up my street. I tried to keep a planner and that fell by the wayside and it seems to me that Bullet Journalling can be a really personal thing. Most of the original bullet journals are quite basic and to the point which I like but I am also intrigued by the more creative community too and I think a combination of the two styles will work for me. I am by no means artistic but I used to love scrapbooking and doodling so I’m going to attempt to apply a little of this to my Bullet Journal.

Hayley told me to start off with only a few pages / spreads and not too make it overly complicated whilst I am still finding my feet. I did take quite a bit if inspiration from her journal and I am hoping as I get into it I can grow my journal into something that keeps me organised and a way for me to be creative. I am armed with many stationery supplies so lets see where this takes me!

As you can see from the first photo in this post I did quite a standard Hello January doodle to kick off my planner and I loved drawing this out. I have to say I find the time offline really relaxing and its nice to start something that I hope will become a hobby.

I am not too sure yet how I want to plan & document my weeks but I didn’t want to have too little space, so I have started with the Week to View Spread for January. I may find that it doesn’t work for me but we will see. That is the beauty of this being a system you can adapt and change as the weeks go on. I stuck to a simple layout for this and I like that it looks clean and ready for me to add some tasks and notes.

One of my goals for 2017 is to drink more water & I have done a grid of 8 squares so I can colour in a square for each glass of water I drink that day, In the hope I drink 8 glasses a day.

Bullet Journal Week To View

Important Dates Bullet Journal Spread

Important Dates Spread – This seems to be quite a popular layout in peoples journals and I am part way through adding all the dates I need to remember. I am THAT person that forgets birthdays and social events but there is no excuses now!

I have written out all the months as a calendar and will write next to a particular month the important date. This feels so much nicer than relying on my computer to notify me of special events.

Books Read in 2017 Bullet Journal Spread

Books Read – I’m an avid book worm and often wish I’d noted down the name / titles of books I’d read as I have a terrible memory. Its nice to look back on and a good way of remembering a book you want to recommend. I am hoping to fill this page by the end of 2017. If you have any book recomendations for me, leave me a comment.

Positive Goals Bullet Journal Spread

I am not one for New Years Resolutions or for setting myself too many Goals but I did want a part of this journal to be a space that was positive and full of things I wanted to do, so I came up with Do More, Be More, Make More and I’m slowly adding things to this. There is something about writing them down that makes me more accountable to actually achieve them. We will see.

FantasticPaper Bullet Journal

Bullet Journal 

I bought my journal from HomeSense and it isn’t a brand I’d heard of before. It has the standard grid page layout, the pages are nice and thick and the cover is quite sturdy. I know more Bullet Journal enthusiasts use the popular LEUCHTTURM notebooks and in truth I would have bought one of those but I got mine for £3 and I didn’t want to commit until I knew I was going to stick it out. Maybe for 2018 I will treat myself to a swish LEUCHTTURM one.

Favourite Pens for Bullet Journal

Sakura Pigma Micron 01 Liner Pen

Lets talk pens – now I am a stationery addict so Bullet Journalling was a massive excuse for me to buy more pretty pens. I did consult my friend Hayley and she recommended some great ones. These Sakura are beautifully slim and have a nib of 0.25mm so very precise and the ink doesn’t bleed through the page. I have 5 colours and I think I will get a lot of use from them.

Staedtler Fineliner Pens

It seems you can’t own a Bullet Journal without having a pack of Staedtler pens so I bought 2 packs just to cover all bases. I have a pack of 10 1.0mm and a pack of 20 0.3mm. So I think I am good for fancy coloured pens.

Faber Castell Bullet Journal Pens

Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen 

This pen brand was the one pen Hayley said I needed in my life, I bought a 4 pack of all different nibs and I have to say I LOVE THEM. The ink is super black and pigmented and it doesn’t feather or bleed. I use the finest nib for all my writing and letter out lines. The thickest one is so nice for brush lettering, the pen glides across the paper and the nib is flexible but precise. These are a MUST!

So there you have it I am now a fully fledged member of the Bullet Journal community and I’m going to try really, really hard to make this a part of my daily life. Let me know if you journal and what tips, tricks or hacks you have & if you follow any inspirational accounts on Instagram. I need all the help I can get.

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