Books I’ve Read in 2019 Part 1

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

I found this book frustrating, I just couldn’t enjoy it at all. I feel like I need a medal for getting to the end. I found it complicated and confusing. Evelyn Hardcastle is killed at a family party in the British countryside but all is not as it seems. Aiden must solve her murder or he won’t be able to escape. This crime, fantasy novel re-lives the same day over and over again. Aiden has his own mistakes to make peace with alongside solving a murder that no one wants to be solved. For eight days Aiden finds himself in a different body, all of which give him clues to the murder but that doesn’t mean he is any closes to piecing all the information together. I really didn’t enjoy the flitting back and forth of characters and it took me ages to remember who was who, I almost gave up but was invested to finish so I could at least see if there was closure.

Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh

After reading This is Going to Hurt, I was on a roll of reading medical themed books and this one sounded super interesting and a little different to Adam Kays. It is about one of Britain’s leading Brain Surgeons who is coming up to retirement and he is reflecting on his career. Henry Marsh takes you on his journey and tries to capture the unbelievable stress, motivation and often tragic consequences of working as a brain surgeon. He is incredibly skilled and is asked to perform surgeries that others think are impossible. His technical ability is thanks to years of practice, successes and many losses. It is a world we don’t often get to see but Henry Marsh brings you along and let me tell you it is one hell of a ride. This is a rollercoaster of a read, I finished it so fast if you’re a bit squeamish (like me) you might feel a bit queasy in parts but it is so worth it.

Books I've Read in 2019 Part 1

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I don’t read a lot of YA books but this one came highly recommended. It is a story of a young black teen who finds herself caught up in the Black Lives Matter movement. It follows 16-year-old Star and her struggle to live two sperate lives. She witnesses a crime and wrestles with what she saw and doesn’t know how to go about doing the right thing. Especially when you’re 16 and your family, neighbourhood and school life are worlds apart. It is a quick read and one I really enjoyed.

Mobile Library by David Whitehouse

This was an odd story and I struggled to find the motivation to finish it. The story centres around Bobby, a 12-year-old boy who is pretty much alone. His father is abusive, lazy and neglects even his son’s basic needs. He is a loner until he meets Sunny and they become the very best of friends, the story takes a twist when Bobby meets another friend Rosa who’s Mother Val is everything Bobby never knew he needed. Caring, understanding and nurtures his soul until he is able to come to terms with what happened to his own Mother. It is a story that is a little far-fetched and odd in places but I did finish it and I can’t deny that It’s made me want to go on a road trip in a Mobile Library.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

I saw so many people reading this and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I am almost sorry to say I expected it to be a little more gripping maybe more excited. I love Michelle Obama and think she is incredible and so wanted her to run for Presidency, but I just found her book a little dull if I am honest. She is very straight-laced and although parts of her life were without question a struggle and her determination to educate herself and push to be a woman in high-powered man’s world was inspiring there was little excitement. Not what I hoped it would be, maybe it is because I recently read Marylin Manson’s biography and this couldn’t be any further from that.

Books you must read in 2019

An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney

I am not usually one for books that have an element of magic/fantasy, I don’t know why but they never seem to appeal to me. So I must confess that I bought this book entirely because it had a pretty cover (sorry, not sorry) and I have to admit I actually enjoyed it, despite it being quite a raunchy read. I think at times it was too erotic & I am in no way a prude, I just think there were too many sexual references. The story itself was gripping and had plenty of twists and was a real page-turner. It’s set in 1756 and follows the story of a young penniless girl through her highs and lows on the road to freedom and success, but her journey is by no means easy. Described by the author as, Orphan, whore, magician’s apprentice. Murderer?

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

I read this over New Year and I loved it. I couldn’t put it down. I felt it was a more grown-up version of Eleanor Oliphant. A story of social awkwardness, second chances and an unusual family dynamic. The story centres around, Sarah Green a woman in her 40’s who won’t let anyone get close to her, she needs to be in control of every aspect of her life. Until a sequence of events makes her realise we are never fully in control and by letting a select few people know the real you, leads to a much more fulfilling life. I adored Sarah Greens character in this book her stubbornness, naivety and vulnerability make you really cheer her on from the sidelines. If you’re looking for quite an easy but thought-provoking read I highly recommend The Cactus By Sarah Haywood.

The Choice: A true story of hope by Edith Eger

After reading Man’s Search For Meaning last year this book kept getting recommended to me on Amazon & I thought I’d give it a go & I am SO glad I did. Both books are very similar in that they’re about surviving Auschwitz and how the people who managed to survive the longest were the ones who refused to succumb to depression or a broken heart but instead had an attitude of hope which gave their life meaning and purpose. The Choice is written from a female perspective and through her practice as a psychologist the people she councils help her gain perspective, forgiveness and live an authentic life. For years Edith is unable to acknowledge what happened to her during the war and in the years just after it ended, the years that shaped the young girl and women she became. For years it was too painful for her to deal with but her story is a testament that you can become the person you’re meant to be at any age and despite anything the world can throw at you. She is a true inspiration, a survivor and her story although hard to read you will not want to put this book down!

*this post contains affiliate links

Exploring Cornwall Week 16

Mousehole Harbour Cornwall

We have lived in Cornwall for over 3 years now and there are still so many places we are yet to visit. I think we are all guilty of becoming complacent with where you live, getting used to the beauty that first drew you to live there in the first place. I know that I haven’t explored as much of Cornwall as I should have over the past few months. So we have decided every month from now to do a little staycation within Cornwall and visit a town or village that we have never been to before. Cornwall is not short of destinations to wow you!

Mousehole High Street

So for our first trip, I picked Penzance, we have been to St Ives many times but for some reason, we have never popped over to Penzance. I had been scoping out the lovely Artist Residence and had wanted to stay here for so long. It is such a lovely boutique hotel chain. They have properties in London, Brighton, Oxford and Penzance. The decor and aesthetic are right up my street and I managed to get a cracking deal & get a nights stay for only £80.

This small boutique hotel has only 22 room and a cosy 3-bed cottage all set in a stunning Georgian house. I wanted to move in and never EVER leave. Downstairs is a bar and smokehouse restaurant, every day they have a happy hour in the bar – half-price cocktails which we took full advantage of.

The hotel is on a beautiful street which leads down to the sea and the famous Penzanze Lido (if you’re brave enough to take a dip). It is very central and a great base to explore Penzance and the nearby towns too.

Exploring Mousehole Cornwall

On our first day, we ate at possibly the friendliest and most delicious pizzeria in the town centre, called Totti. They had a few Vegan options and we couldn’t resist a sourdough garlic bread & a pizza (give me all the carbs).  They’re a plastic-free restaurant and all of their soft drinks are sweetener free. I’m so pleased we fueled up on pizza before we attempted the coastal walk from Penzance to Mousehole!

We landed beyond lucky with the weather, cloudless skies and pavement splitting sunshine. So we took that as a good omen to walk part of the Cornish coastal path, this is such a popular thing to do and if you can time it out of season as we did you don’t come across too many people. It is so peaceful and the views, out over the sea are just stunning. We walked down the front of Penzance and through Newlyn to Mousehole. Where we explored all the tiny, winding streets and imagined a life living in such a pretty harbour village. We petted many cute dogs and found a great cafe right on the harbour to have a well-earned cuppa and slice of cake.

Mousehole is full of pretty galleries, gift shops and restaurants. It might be small but it is utterly charming and it is a place that forces you to slow down and take your time. Just take in the views and sit on the harbour watching the world go by.

We walked back to Penzance after a couple of hours just as the sun was setting over the Jubilee Pool and the light was beautiful. If it hadn’t of been February I would have bought an Ice-Cream!

Penzance is home to St Michale’s Mount, and it’s a great place to use as a base to explore West Cornwall It is only 10 miles from Lands End, the famous Minnac Theatre and of course it is close to St Ives which is one of my favourite places in Cornwall.

Jubilee Lido Penzance

Penzance Cornwall

Penzance Architecture

 

The Chocolate House Penzance

Artist Residence Penzance

Our room at the Artist Residence was so cosy and beautifully decorated. Lots of reclaimed wood, a cast iron roll top bath in the bedroom and the comfiest queen size bed. It is one of those hotels where you would buy all the fixtures and fittings in a heartbeat. The toiletries were Bramley and very luxurious. They provided everything you needed, shampoo, conditioner, body wash & lotion, bath soak, hand wash and lotion. I felt utterly pampered.

the artist residence Cornwall

Bedroom artist residence Penzance

artist residence hotel penzance

It was so nice to get away, even if only 30miles from home & for one night. We relaxed, explored and ate so much good food. Looking forward to next months staycation, it is a good one!

There was no shortage of places to eat in Penzance with Vegan options, we ate at Archie Browns, Totti Pizza and a cheeky Corish Pasty (you have to have at least 1 pasty!).

Miller Harris Lost In The City Fragrance

Miller Harris LOST in the City Fragrance

Lost In The City Miller Harris Fragrance

Miller Harris Lost in the City EDP – 100ml/£140

Although I currently live in the beautiful Cornish countryside I’m 100% a city girl at heart so this beautiful fragrance from Miller Harris really appealed to me. Miller Harris has created a fragrance that gives a nod to the beauty of rural Britain but with an urban twist. They wanted to use ingredients that can be found growing wild in London which makes this fragrance a wonderful mix of the fresh outdoors combined with hints of a Summer in a city.  Lost in the city really is everything you can imagine and more. I am loving its crisp, fresh notes especially as Spring is fast approaching.

Miller Harris EDP Lost

The fresh, lush notes really contrast with crisp, sharp notes and that’s what makes this fragrance really interesting and just the right amount of unusual to make it different. It has everything I look for in a fragrance and more.

Head Notes: Bergamot Zest, Angelica Seed, Blackcurrant

Heart Notes: Rhubarb, Rose petals, Geranium

Base Notes: Earl Grey Tea, Crisp Amber, Musk

I love the initial zesty, fruity notes, they’re so refreshing and work so well layered with the pretty light floral notes of rose and geranium mixed with that bold sharp rhubarb which is so unusual. Finally, the rich musk, amber and Earl grey tea leave you with such an intense, warm and sophisticated scent. This perfume is such a treat and the notes contrast yet compliment each other and that for me makes it a stand out perfume. I have been loving wearing it and it is a fragrance that lasts ALL day long, it does not fade away but stays full and rich for hours. It is such a luxurious scent and it makes me feel amazing when I wear it.

Miller Harris LOST Perfume

In keeping with Miller Harris’ environmental principles, the packaging uses sustainable or recycled materials in surprising new ways, teaming up with Smile Plastics, whose unique composites are made from waste materials, from bottle tops to yoghurt pots, to create distinctive and beautiful fragrance holders which can be reused as keepsake boxes. It looks almost like marble and the bottle looks really pretty sat in the holder on your vanity. It is so nice to see a brand using recycled materials in their packaging.

I think this is the ideal scent for the fresh, warmer months, so if you’re looking to add a new fragrance to your collection I highly recommend checking out Miller Harris Lost in the City.

Miller Harris LOST in the City Fragrance

Miller Harris is available online at www.millerharris.co.uk or you can search for your nearest stockest here

All Miller Harris products are vegan, suitable for vegetarians and Cruelty-free. You can be confident that their products are formulated entirely without animal-derived products.

*This post contains PR samples that were gifted for review purpose.

Baylis and Harding Pink Fizz & Elderflower

Baylis and Harding Pink Prosecco and Elderflower Collection

I’ve reviewed quite a few Baylis & Harding collections since I started blogging and they always seem to bring a great mix of affordable quality! I have loved their past few Valentine’s Collections but I have to say this latest Pink Fizz and Elderflower Collection is right up my street. The packaging is super feminine and romantic and it has a nice luxurious look.

This scent is quite fun, sweet and feminine. The great thing about this collection is the sheer range of products and gift sets available. Whether you’re looking for a small token gift or a larger more special gift set they have you covered. All budgets will be able to find a fab gift for that special someone this Valentine’s Day. Baylis and Harding really are excellent at affordable luxury and they always do fantastic gift sets!

NEW Baylis and Harding Valentines Gift Ideas

The Pink Fizz & Elderflower is the brand new scent for Spring from Baylis & Harding and this collection comes in the most pretty delicate pink packaging with stunning gold and light blue highlights. It is a collection that will be perfect for all ages. There are so many incredible gift ideas in this scent.

A blend of Pink Fizz top notes and hint of Elderflower creating a fresh, contemporary fragrance. It is a really fun scent and one that smells fresh and sweet!

Pink Fizz & Elderflower Bath Bubbles – £7.00 from Tesco

Pink Fizz & Elderflower Pamper Gift Set – £20 from Amazon

Pink Fizz & Elderflower Hand Wash – £2.00 from Tesco or on offer until 19/2 for £1.61 on Ocado

Baylis and Harding Valentines Collection

Baylis & Harding Pink Fizz & Elderflower Bath Bubbles Gift Bag

How adorable is this, I love the way they’ve made it look like a bottle of prosecco in a bottle bag. It makes the perfect gift for anyone that enjoys a relaxing bath! You get a whopping 500ml of product in this bottle and the soft pink bottle will look fab in your bathroom. It will make a lovely indulgent treat for someone you love.

Baylis & Harding Pink Fizz & Elderflower Luxury Bathing Set

This gift set come beautifully presented in a stunning pink & light blue box, with a cutout heart detail on the top. It is so romantic and contains everything needed for an at-home pamper session.

  • 300ml shower Crème
  • 300ml Hand & body lotion
  • 150g Soap
  • 130ml Body Wash
  • Body Polisher

Baylis and Harding Pink Prosecco Fizz

Pink Fizz & Elderflower Hand Wash

I have used so many of the Baylis & Harding handwashes over the years and they are incredible value for money, again like the bubble bath you get 500ml of product which is going to last you months. I have them in my bathrooms and everyone comments on the scent (I have the Pink Gin Fizz in atm). The scent really lingers and makes the whole room (and your hands) smell wonderful.

So if you’re looking for a few Valentine’s Gift ideas that are affordable but fantastic quality then I am sure you will find something in this collection that fits the bill! I have my eye on the Candle which looks and sounds beautiful.

The great think about Baylis & Harding is you can find their products in most major supermarkets, Boots and also online at Amazon, which means you can pick up gifts last minute whilst you do your food shop or from the comfort of your sofa.

*this post contains PR samples