Monday, 31 March 2014

On the bookshelf in February

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver
Discontented with her life of poverty on a failing farm in the Appalachians, Dellarobia, a young mother, impulsively seeks out an affair. Instead, she discovers something much more profoundly life-changing - a beautiful and terrible marvel of nature. As the world around her is suddenly transformed by a seeming miracle, can the old certainties that her community have lived by for centuries remain unchallenged?

Flight Behaviour is a captivating, topical and deeply human story touching on class, poverty and climate change. It explores the truths we live by, and the complexities that lie behind them.

My Verdict: I don't know if you are like me but what draws me to a book, any book, in the first instance, is its cover - the colour and font and because I have a real infinity with butterflies and particularly monarch butterflies, this book wasn't going to get away from my grasp so easily and boy am I glad that I purchased this! Having never read any of Barbara Kingslovers' novels before and being ashamed to say that I hadn't actually heard of her before reading Flight Behaviour, I have to say I cannot wait to get my hands on her other books. Not only is this a fantastic read just in the story of Dellarobia and what has bought her to this point in her life; but also in the science aspect of this book. There were so many things I found out about butterflies that I had no understanding of and what is great is not only is Barbara a fantastic novelist, she is also a scientist so she really knows her stuff. I was genuinely sad when I finished this book, it was like saying goodbye to people I had just started to know, and who I wanted to get to know more about, and to me that is the sign of a fantastic read. If you only read one book this year, make it this one!

Have you read this book or any of Barbara Kingslovers' other titles? If so what did you think?

Due to limited time and the recent events in my personal life, there is no 'bookshelf' for March, but hope to see you back for my April read!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Saying goodbye

Goodbye butterflies <|3 
One of the things I promised in my New Years resolutions was to update this blog more. That had been my plan (and is still my plan) but three weeks ago, the rug was pulled out from under my feet and everything I knew came crashing down around my ears.

On 1st March my beloved Auntie had a massive stroke, 36 hours later she was gone. 
I wish you had know this wonderful lady, she was funny and smart, spiritual and gentle, wise and kind. She was my second Mum. For those of you who read this post you will know I have now lost my Mum and the closest thing to her in a little over two years. So I hope you will bear with me and understand my need for silence.
In my previous working life, I worked in physiotherapy, predominately within stroke rehabilitation and I saw first hand the devastating effects strokes can reek on patients and their loved ones, but still when it happens to you and to someone you love the shock is immense and you flounder.

My aunt, in our last conversation only a week before her stroke, ended our chat with the exciting chatter that she was now off to check on airfares (she lived in the states) and she was planning a trip here in 2015. We were excited, the family was so excited; we had SO much planned for that trip. But instead of letting family members know that she had booked her ticket, I had to for the second time in two years, ring my siblings, her sisters, my cousins and break their hearts all over again, just as I had done when my Mum was dying.

Three weeks after her passing, I still cannot believe she is no longer here, that I won't hit that button on facetime and hear her say "Hey sweetie". I can't believe I will never feel her wrap her arms around me and say everything she needs to say in that hug. I can't believe she won't be there to give me the generational advice we all need, no matter how old we get. I can't believe there will be no trip next year, no laughter around my kitchen table as we sit drinking wine together. I can't believe she is gone.

Right now I am being the lynchpin for my family who are spread far and wide, and at the same time I am trying to be the floor beneath my cousins feet (they have lost both parents in less than three years). I know I cannot take away all the pain but I can be there to hold them up when they feel that they are going to fall down, so I hope you will bear with me during this time.
As Mothering Sunday draws close, please hug those women in your life who mean the world to you because in a blink of an eye they can be gone.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Battle of the cleansers

It's probably about time I did a little 'beauty' thang on here, this is after all a beauty and lifestyle blog!

I've been trying out a few different cleansers over the past few months and thought I'd share my thoughts with you.
Monu - Essential Care Facial Wash with Bergamot and Lemon £15.95 per 100ml
I'm a real fan of Monu products and I own several. This is a creamy emulsion which cleanses without soap or foam designed for all skin types. To use: massage into the face and neck with the fingertips. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

This smells amazeballs. I totally love the combination of bergamot and lemon. Two of my favourite essential oils combined. Sometimes I find citrus based products can be a bit overpowering and bitter but this facial wash smells so fresh and zingy. I found this a great all round product. It totally removed all traces of my make up and I found it a really refreshing product to use for a morning cleanse.
Liz Earle - Hot Cloth Cleanser £13.25 per 100ml or £14.75 per 100ml and 1 x muslin cloth
There's probably no need to introduce this product as it's a fave of beauty bloggers everywhere. But just in case you don't know, this is a cleanser you combine with a hot cloth to give a really 'deep clean' feel to the skin. A rich, concentrated cream enriched with rosemary, chamomile, cocoa butter and eucalyptus essential oils and designed for all skins of all ages. To use: massage gently onto dry skin over your eyes, face and neck to purify, soften and stimulate the circulation. Rinse the pure muslin cloth in hand-hot water and wring out before gently polishing off the cream. Finish by splashing your face with cool water.

This has a spa type scent to it, do you know what I mean? I always think it smells 'expensive'. I love this cleanser for a night time cleanse and to remove all traces of the days face. I think what this cleanser has over many others is the combination of the cream cleaner with the hot cloth element. To me this is what makes your skin feel really clean. Similar to how you used to get your face scrubbed with a flannel as a kid! Squeaky clean!
Neal's Yard Remedies - Rose Facial Wash £15.50 per 100ml
I started trying this out when my skin was going through a bit of a sensitive stage. Rose is one of my favourite essential oils to use in skincare and I use it a lot with clients, so I thought I'd give this one a bash. This is a gentle foaming wash with aloe vera, rose otto and pink rose petals and designed with normal and sensitive skins in mind. To use: massage onto damp skin and rinse with cool water.

This is a lightweight gel type of wash. It lightly foams and the scent of rose is heavenly. I love that NYR's have a lot of pump action bottles which is my preferred choice of dispenser so this gave this product a thumbs up. It did give a good clean but I wouldn't say I would repurchase.
Aromatherapy Associates - Hydrating Renewing Rose Cleanser £24.00 per 200ml
I've not tried many things from Aromatherapy Associates so I am unable to compare this to their other products. This was actually a trial size which came with a magazine. 

This cleanser has jojoba to cleanse with rose damask to keep skin radiant and healthy looking and geranium essential oil to balance the skin. To use: apply all over the face and neck using gentle circular movements. Rinse off with warm water.

I think I was expecting this to be some wonder cleanser. Aromatherapy Associate products, from all I've read in magazines and on blogs is quite a sort-after luxury brand. I did like this and my skin felt lovely and soft after cleansing but I think I preferred the fragrance of the Neal's Yard Remedies rose cleanser over this one. Although you do get a lot of bang for your buck with this one.

Overall which did I prefer? I think if I could only use one of these four cleansers for the rest of my life I would go with Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish, just because it had the edge over the others when it came to how clean my skin felt afterwards. Fragrance and ease of use I would probably opt for the Monu facial wash but that's gonna be difficult because they don't do this particular facial wash anymore which is a real shame. Come on Monu bring it back!

Have you tried any of these cleansers? If so what did you think?
Are there any cleansers which you think I should try on my combination skin? I would love to know!
A gentle and effective cleanser to wipe away impurities and make-up for clean, glowing skin. Jojoba cleanses whilst precious damask rose works to keep skin radiant and healthy-looking, and essential oil of geranium helps balance the skin’s natural oils. Your skin is left fresh, bright and delicately fragrant.

Key Benefits:

  • Gently and effectively removes cosmetics and impurities from the skin
  • Tones and softens the skin

Directions for use

Apply over face and neck using gentle circular movements, rinse off with warm water. Follow with skin tonic, serum, face oil and moisturiser.
- See more at:
A gentle and effective cleanser to wipe away impurities and make-up for clean, glowing skin. Jojoba cleanses whilst precious damask rose works to keep skin radiant and healthy-looking, and essential oil of geranium helps balance the skin’s natural oils. Your skin is left fresh, bright and delicately fragrant.

Key Benefits:

  • Gently and effectively removes cosmetics and impurities from the skin
  • Tones and softens the skin

Directions for use

Apply over face and neck using gentle circular movements, rinse off with warm water. Follow with skin tonic, serum, face oil and moisturiser.
- See more at:

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

On the bookshelf in January

I know I was very lax towards the end of last year with my 'book club'  (read that as lax with ALL posts) and I didn't post for the last couple of three months but I love reading and I loving recommending books which I think others will enjoy, so I have decided to carry it on and I hope you will bear with me.

Lets wipe the slate clean and pretend that I didn't miss on posting about books I had read at the latter end of 2013 shall we, after all we're all friends here!

I do have to give a disclaimer and that is; I don't expect each month to be rammed with read upon read. There is a battle between free time vs no bloody time going on in our house this year and I expect it to remain that way for the majority of the year, but I promise to do my very best and get through at least one book a month. Currently book reading is only when I fall into bed at the end of the day and I manage a chapter (if I'm lucky) before I nod off.

Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah
Adeline Yen Mah's childhood in China during the civil war was a time of fear, isolation and humiliation. The cause of this was not political upheaval but systematic emotional and physical abuse by her step-mother and siblings, and rejection by her father. Falling Leaves is the story of a 'Fifth Younger Daughter' and her determination to survive the pain of a lonely childhood.

My Verdict: This is a harrowing story, a harrowing TRUE story which makes the read all that more upsetting. It is brilliantly written and to read what Adeline went through and how her spirit was not destroyed is incredible. If you are interested in the ties which bind us to our families then this is the book for you.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Falling out of love with Glossybox?

January 2014 Glossybox

I'm wavering on the brink......

I fear my love affair with Glossybox may be over......

But each time I think; that's it, we're over, it's finished, I'm a sucker and I come back for more......

I signed up, probably like many of you, to a beauty subscription box as I wanted to experience new launches and high end sample products. Quite often Glossybox bring home the bacon and I'm thrilled but January just had me thinking..........Vaseline???? Really?

I, like many subscribers this month, have been disappointed with Glossybox's first offering for a new year. OK, hands up I really like Anatomicals and Balance Me, but I've had them ALOT in previous boxes and it just ain't enough to win me over. (I don't think).

So my question is, how do you feel about Subscription Boxes? And are there any out there that you really think would be a good alternative? I'm open to suggestions!

Monday, 20 January 2014

New year, new beginnings?

New beginnings And so another year rolls around. I know this year is three weeks old already but you know me always late to the party!

Firstly I'd just like to wish you all a very belated Happy New Year, I hope you left 2013 feeling blessed and started 2014 with a zest for even bigger and brighter things.

I've not made many new year resolutions, as sometimes I feel we put so much pressure on ourselves to; get fit, save more money, lose a few pounds, find the ideal house, take more foreign holidays yadda yadda yadda that when we don't achieve those 'goals' come the year end we feel we have failed. I don't know about you, but I don't want to feel that I've failed, I just want to feel that I am the very best I can be when I come to review the year that has passed.

So I only have two resolutions this year......

The first is to be more active on this blog. I know I'm a slacker and can be very hit and miss with my postings (I am in awe of those of you who manage to post more than once a week, come on give up your secret; how do you do it?!), but I am planning to try and stick to a more regular posting plan. I've scheduled a few posts (oooh get me I sound like a proper blogger!) and jotted down ideas on a notepad to help me out. But this is where you guys can help. Let me know in the comments box anything you would like to see me posting about. I'm considering continuing with my book posts, although I may rejig them a little and perhaps not put a scoring system on them. I considered abandoning the book posts altogether but I'm such a little book nerd and reading is such a big part of my life plus I've just read a couple of corkers which I'd like to share with you lovelies that I feel it'd be a shame to let the book side of my blog go. (November and December books, although well late are a couple of my scheduled posts). Let me know what you think. So get your thinking hats on and let me know what you would like to see on this blog.

My second 'resolution' is I am going to say NO more. That might seem like an odd thing to say when you see so many resolution posts saying "I'm going to say YES more!" But I am going to say no more to things I don't want to do. Life is precious and you have to look at self-care. Yes we all have responsibilities in life and often we have to compromise  but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and decide if by saying Yes to something, you are not giving good self-care. Sometimes its OK to say No you know.

We have an issue going on in Mr B.P.'s family which has been rumbling on for years. I'm not going to post about it here, as although I do open my heart (occasionally) on my blog, the 'tinternet' really isn't the place for airing this particular piece of dirty laundry. Often against my better judgment I have said yes just to keep the peace, and in all honesty it hasn't really made any difference. So for MY self-care I am going to say no. And I have to say just by saying no, I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

So that's it folks. Thank you so much for continuing to read and post comments on my little blog. Although I don't post often, I do have to say I love my little corner of the world wide web and your comments and tweets really do bring a smile to my face.

Take care, and may 2014 be lucky for you!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

November Glossybox

I don't often do a blog post on Glossybox, usually because the blogosphere is awash with posts and I'm generally too lazy! But hey-ho thought I'd share with you what I received this month.

I am sure you all know everything there is to know about Glossybox and if I talked about them it would be like teaching your Grandmother to suck eggs, but if you don't know about them you can read more here.

So the rundown on November's box:
  • Vichy Idealia Life Serum 
  • Emite micronized Eyeshadow in Nect
  • Yves Rocher Cocoa & Pistachio Nut hand cream
  • Elegant Touch Rapid Dry for Nails
  • B. Complete long lasting nail polish in Matador
I've only tried the Emite eyeshadow so far.
This is a really pretty soft shimmery ivory. It lasts well and the colour payoff is good. Would say it rivals my eyeshadow favourites Mac but at £16.80 a pop they are a tad more expensive so don't think I will be swapping over. I have heard of Emite before as I had a set of their eyelash curlers in a previous Glossybox and were very impressed with them.

I'm looking forward to trying the Elegant Touch Rapid Dry; as anything which dries my nails faster is a bonus and I remember my Mum using something simliar when I was a kid and she swore by it, so we'll see.

I'm loving red polish this season so was really pleased with the colour polish that I got and can't wait to try it out.

So do you subscribe to Glossybox?
What do you think of this months box?