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Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Birthday Wishlist 2019

Though it was only a few weeks ago I published my Christmas wishlist, it's already time for my birthday wishlist, something I like to do every year. I have no idea how my birthday comes around so fast, it's only a few weeks away now and I'm definitely not ready for it!
collage - books, recipe books, soap and glory fizz set, yankee candle, imperial leather, chicago dvd
Chicago DVD - I know most people probably aren't that fussed about DVD's anymore because with the likes of Netflix now, there isn't that much need is there? but I do always like to pick up a few each year each that I've really enjoyed. Being such a huge fan of musical theatre, earlier this year we watched Chicago for the first time and I became utterly addicted to it. The soundtrack gets played all the time now and I just want the film so I can re-watch it. It was surprisingly hard to find anywhere online! I'm not sure what it was in particular I enjoyed so much about it but the cast and the music are brilliant.

Yankee Candle Elevation Candles - I'm in love with the new Elevation range from Yankee Candle. They're the go to candle brand aren't they? With an abundance of beautiful scents, I'm always finding new ones I want to try but as soon as I spotted the new range in Clintons a few months ago, I've been desperate to get my hands on one since. Whilst I do love the original Yankee Candles, I think the packaging of these is so pretty and they're not quite as clunky. I can imagine one looking so nice on our bookshelf when I've finally got through some of the others we already have. I can't remember which scents I preferred but I love the look of the Evening Star candle and also the Holiday Pomegranate. They're currently on offer in Boots so are much more affordable than usual.

Soap and Glory Let's Get Fizz-A-Ball Gift Set - I'm pretty sure this gift set is part of Soap and Glory's Christmas range but the good thing with my birthday being just after Christmas is that I get to still include any festive gifts I've seen and sometimes even better they go into the sale afterwards πŸ˜‰. I love bath bombs but they can be so expensive sometimes. I've been wanting to try the Soap and Glory ones for a while and I think £10 for 3 is actually quite good value given you can be paying up to £5 or more in places like Lush now for one. I think they look so pretty and I'd imagine they all smell gorgeous. I love having a pamper evening so any bath products are always a fab present! I also really want to try the new No Drama Llama Foamburst from Imperial Leather, I keep hearing such good things about it.

Essie Surrounded By Studs Nail Polish - I have a huge nail polish collection so it's not that I really need anymore but I absolutely love the look of the Surrounded By Studs Essie shade. Their gel nail polishes are brilliant so I'd love to try more of them and I've been after a nice navy colour for a while. This is about £9.99 which is pricey for one product but the quality of this particular range is second to none.
Soap and Glory fizz set, Essie Surrounded By Studs Nail Polish, LLama foamburst, Yankee Candle Elevation range, Chicago dvd
Chris Bavin Good Food Sorted Recipe Book - I'm actually not 100% sure this is out yet but I thought I'd include it just in case. I'm a big fan of the TV show Eat Well For Less, I genuinely look forward to it every week when a new series is out and Chris Bavin has become a favourite of mine since then. He even replied to a tweet of mine once so you know we're basically best mates. I've seen some of the recipes included in this and I'd absolutely love to try them so I'm definitely hoping to get this at some point.

Anna & Theo by Amanda Prowse - I can't get enough of buying books at the moment. Two at the top of my list at the moment are Anna by Amanda Prowse and Theo by Amanda Prowse. Both of these tell the love story of Anna and Theo (obviously) but it's been split into two books. I love that this tells the story from both points of view and I'm intrigued to see how it works and why they've been written that way.

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton - Another book but one that has been on my Amazon list for ages now. I've heard so many people talk about this and I'm just at the point now where I need to read it, I've left it long enough and there's clearly a reason everyone raves about it. 'It's a book about bad dates, good friends and - above all else - about recognising that you and you alone are enough.'

Baylis & Harding Naturals Festive Feet Gift Set - My feet suffer all the time, no matter what shoes I'm wearing or how far I may be going, they just always end up sore and achy so as soon as I spotted the Baylis and Harding festive feet gift set, I had to add it to this list. It contains foot soak crystals which just sound heavenly, a foot lotion and a cosy pair of socks which you can never have enough of in Winter.

Cath Kidston Phone Case - I'm due a new phone soon so I was thrilled to spot these two gorgeous cases on offer on the Cath Kidston website. I mean, they're still expensive for what they are but so pretty. The London phone case is obviously up there as a favourite, it's just like one of the gorgeous Cath Kidston mugs we have but I also adore the Sketchbook Dogs one. It has a cavalier on it and they are my favourite dogs so I'd like it just for that reason alone.
Baylis and Harding foot set, Everything I know about love book, Anna and Theo books by Amanda Prowse, Cath Kidston phone cases, Chris Bavin recipe book
As with any birthday or Christmas wishlist, I'm never actually expecting anything, I just like to put these together. I do think George finds them pretty helpful though when it comes to shopping for meπŸ˜‚. The day itself is never the easiest for me for a number of reasons so I'm more about spending the day doing something fun and eating a load of chocolate cake!

Have you tried the Yankee Candle Elevation range? or let me know if you have any other book recommendations!

*Affiliate links used in this post

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Monday, 10 December 2018

Current Netflix Top Picks #5

There is no better time for Netflix than Christmas. I am loving the range of films and programs on there at the moment and as we've been watching so many festive things, I thought it was about time for another post in my Netflix series.
Netflix logo, jack whitehall travels with my father, the princess switch, christmas with the coopers, the sinner, nativity

Jack Whitehall Travels With My Father

I loved the first series of Travels With My Father so I was so excited when the second series finally arrived. This follows Jack Whitehall and his dad as they go on unusual and amusing trips to foreign lands in an attempt to strengthen their bond. The second series sees them take a road trip across Europe to places like Germany, Hungary, Romania and more, all certainly making for an adventure and great TV. It's just so funny to watch their relationship, his dad is hilarious and I just wish they did more TV together. I don't think the second series was quite as good as the first but I still hope they do more in future.

The Princess Switch

Okay, I totally expected this to just be over the top cringe, but it was actually quite a good Christmas film! Far better than I was expecting and one I'd be quite happy to watch again. Starring Vanessa Hudgens, this film shows what happens when a down to earth Chicago baker and a soon to be princess, who discover they actually like like identical twins, hatch a Christmastime plan to trade places. Of course, it sounds like pure cheese and it definitely wasn't one of the best films I've ever watched but sometimes you just need a film like that. It was a nice, chilled out movie to put on at the weekend, a great way to start the festive season.

Christmas With The Coopers

I love that Netflix have a whole section dedicated to the Christmassy films now. There are some great ones on there and one that we watched recently was Christmas With The Coopers. It actually wasn't the happiest Christmas film ever, quite sad at times but I really enjoyed it. It's got a brilliant cast including John Goodman, Diane Keaton, Ed Helms and Amanda Seyfried. It's about Sam (Goodman) and Charlotte's (Keaton) annual Christmas Eve celebration where four generations of extended family get together. What the children and grandchildren don't know though is that Sam and Charlotte are planning on getting a divorce and this is their last Christmas as the family know it. Unbeknown to Sam and Charlotte though, each person attending has a whole host of their own problems going on and none of them quite want to open to each other about it causing lots of drama on the day for everyone. I love that this shows that life isn't perfect and just because Christmas is portrayed as this happy time for everyone, it doesn't mean that's actually the case. It highlighted lots of different issues but in the end showed the importance of family and being there for one another which was so heartwarming to see. Oh, and the dog totally steals each scene he's in.

The Sinner

OMG, why did it take me so long to watch this? When the first series starring Jessica Biel came out, everyone went mad for it and when a show is hyped up so much, it puts me off watching it. We were at a bit of a loss with what to start next though recently so we finally watched this and now, I just wish we'd given in sooner. It's absolutely brilliant! The first series follows detective Harry Ambrose delving into the past of a troubled mother, Cora, in order to determine why she fatally stabbed a man during a trip to the beach with her family, as she has no idea herself why. I loved that in the first episode they throw you straight in and we see the attack and that it's different to other shows in that then the following episodes are all about uncovering the reasons why and going back in time to see what Cora had blocked out for years. I think it's such a clever show and once we started watching, we couldn't stop. We've just finished the second series too which sees Harry Ambrose return to his hometown after a 13 year old boy confesses to poisoning a couple. Again he has to figure out why this has happened and he learns secrets that the town's inhabitants have been trying to keep buried for years.

Nativity

The Nativity films have been a favourite of mine for years and each Christmas I look forward to getting cosy and sitting down to watch them all again. There are 4 so far (the latest is currently in cinemas) but I think the original with Martin Freeman is probably my favourite. In the first film Martin plays a failed actor, now a primary school teacher and he's given the task of directing the school's Nativity play. He and Mr Poppy, the hilarious classroom assistant, tell everyone a Hollywood producer will be coming over to film the play which isn't quite true. Lots of chaos ensues but it's just so funny and heartwarming and it makes me smile each time. The second with David Tennant is equally as good too! Just the perfect films to get you in the festive mood.

What have you been watching on Netflix recently?

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Friday, 7 December 2018

Popcorn Shed Review*

We're massive fans of a movie night in our home. Whether it's a trip the cinema or an evening on the sofa, we're film fanatics and tend to get through several a week, so of course snacks are a big part of that. We love a good bag of popcorn so I was thrilled to receive a selection from the lovely people at Popcorn Shed. George and I have been trying it all out over the last few weeks so if you're a snack addict like me, you might want to keep reading!
flatlay of Popcorn Shed flavours
Popcorn Shed is the UK's first premium gourmet popcorn brand, incorporating texture into each packet through the form of nuts, chocolate and even dried fruit. This enhances the taste of each flavour and I was so excited by the selection I was sent to try. I'd heard of Popcorn Shed before and their unique flavours but I'd just never got round to actually picking any up! Something else that's a little different about Popcorn Shed compared to other brands, is their funky packaging which is made to be like 'shed' cartons. Each have their own personality and theme so definitely stand out wherever you may find them!

I was lucky enough to receive two 80g packets, those being the flavours Pecan Pie and Say Cheese! I also got a little selection of some of their smaller packets in the flavours Berry-licious, Butterly Nuts, Pop 'n' Choc, Sweet Cheesus and Salted Caramel, so plenty to get stuck into and enjoy!

Pecan Pie £3.50

I'll start with Pecan Pie as that's the flavour I tucked into first. I was super excited to unwrap this, it's not a flavour I'd usually pick up if I saw it in a shop but wow, it was absolutely delicious! The pecan pie flavour is a nutty, buttery smooth caramel popcorn with golden roasted pecans which add texture and crunch. If you like toffee popcorn, I'm sure this would be a hit with you. The main flavour I picked up on each time I took another handful was the caramel which was delicious but the addition of pecans really is heavenly and it just makes it a little different to your basic sweet popcorn. I found this flavour to be extremely moreish which means it's easy to get through the whole lot in one sitting so I'll definitely be picking more up in the future. I also really love the colour of this particular carton, inspired by autumn, it's just perfect for this time of year!
Popcorn Shed Pecan Pie carton

Say Cheese £3.50

The next 80g carton I tried was the Say Cheese flavour which is inspired by a quaint farmhouse chateau shed nestled in an idyllic French ville. I'm not going to lie, I was sceptical about this! I love salted popcorn and I'm usually all for savoury snacks over sweet but cheese flavoured popcorn? I had no idea what to expect. I did end up being pleasantly surprised though! This sharp mature cheddar cheese popcorn is perfect for when you just need something savoury, does anyone else have times like that? I often find in the afternoons, I'm desperate for a snack like this. What I liked about this was that you get a subtle salty hit so the tangy cheese isn't too overpowering. I'm not sure this is a flavour I would necessarily rush to buy in future but I'm glad I tried it and if you're a big cheese fan, I'm sure this would be perfect for you! Maybe a quirky accompaniment to a cheeseboard this Christmas?!
Popcorn Shed Say Cheese Carton
Onto some of the smaller packets I've been trying out. I loved that the selection was a mix of savoury and sweet. It meant I could try out the Pecan Pie and Say Cheese flavours first before opening the bigger packets and also the wide variety in flavours meant there was something ready to enjoy, no matter what I fancied that day. The first flavour out of all of these we chose to indulge in was the Salted Caramel which is a mix of buttery caramel and creamy Belgian milk chocolate - it was divine! I've spotted this in Superdrug on offer for £2 so I'll definitely be stocking up for us to enjoy over the festive period. Another flavour that we liked was the Butterly Nuts. As soon as I saw this packet, I couldn't wait to dive in! Combining rich creamy peanut butter caramel with real peanut halves, it's the perfect mix of sweet and salty.
Popcorn Shed small packets, butterly nuts, pecan pie, berry-licious, chocolate
I've absolutely loved trying out all of these flavours from Popcorn Shed and I can't wait to pick up more! I tend to stick to the same brands when picking up popcorn for a movie night but I think Popcorn Shed have become a new favourite. I love how unique each flavour is, when you open a packet it's impossible to stop, they are all incredibly moreish and make the perfect snack for a cosy evening in. I think my favourite definitely has to be the Salted Caramel or the Pecan Pie, both I never wanted to end. One thing I do really like about Popcorn Shed too is that each of their flavours have a story. The packaging and colours have all been inspired something which I think is lovely, it shows that so much effort has gone into each and every product they sell. If you want to try out any of these flavours yourself, the 80g cartons are £3.50 on their website and you can even bulk buy the smaller packets too if you'd like!
Popcorn Shed Pecan Pie Carton, Say Cheese Carton, mini packet of chocolate
Have you tried any flavours from Popcorn Shed?

*Products provided for the purpose of this post

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Thursday, 6 December 2018

One Day In December By Josie Silver Book Review

I'm sure you know by now, I'm a big fan of a soppy love story. I've read some absolutely gorgeous books this year like Pictures Of Lily and Some Kind Of Wonderful but one that caught my eye many months ago was One Day In December by Josie Silver. I ended up pre-ordering it because once I saw the synopsis, I was desperate to read the whole book and I didn't want to end up missing out. Well, I read this last month and it didn't disappoint. It's one of those books that will stay with me for quite a while I think.
One day in december book, christmas props
Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist. After all, life isn't a scene from the movies, is it? But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away. Laurie thinks she'll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new life of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus. Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?

My review

Okay, isn't the cover of this book absolutely beautiful? It's so simple yet so festive, making it a perfect read this Christmas. I think the reason I was so drawn to this book is because it seemed very similar to one of the best books I've ever read, Five Years From Now, with the story been very much about two people who are clearly meant to be but have an endless amount of obstacles in their way. Luckily I was pleased to find out it has a very different ending but let's go back to the start.

I've mentioned before I sometimes struggle with a two person narrative, if it's not written well it can be so confusing but this was really cleverly done, and it was told by both Laurie and Jack. In the books I've read before with more than one person narrating it's always been women so I absolutely loved that we got to hear Jack's point of view too. From the minute Jack and Laurie lock eyes, we know she's head over heels in love but often in books like this, you never really know properly how the man is feeling. It was so nice to find out Jack's feelings too and know actually he was just as mad about her as she was him, and what he was really thinking despite not letting it show to Laurie because of Sarah.

The love story of Laurie and Jack was never going to be plain-sailing but right from the start I was willing for it to work out. You really feel Laurie's anguish though as what can you possibly do in that situation? Risk her friendship with Sarah for this boy she actually didn't even know anything about for a long time, or chance it and possibly lose everything? She's in this massive dilemma so you really did never how it was going to end. It's made harder to know what to think as Laurie and Sarah's friendship is so lovely. I loved that this book was just as much about those two aswell as about Jack and it wasn't just a typical love story. It really does focus on everyone in Laurie's life.

Josie has written this in a way that you really do get invested in each person and you just want the best for them no matter what. Once I started, I couldn't put it down. I genuinely picked it up at about 1pm on a Sunday afternoon and I read and read until I'd finished at about 4pm. It was that good. I was gripped all the way through. At the end I felt like I needed to just have a massive sob as I'd felt so tense throughout, desperate for everyone to be happy, by the end I just felt relief. It made me emotional several times throughout, there is a beautiful moment between Laurie and Jack about half way through where they realise it may never actually be possible for them to be together and I still keep thinking about it. Every single time you think it's heading in the right direction, something comes along to stop it, again very much like Five Years From Now so the ending isn't predictable at all. It's just heartbreaking at times but also uplifting and heart-warming too. It just has everything you could possibly want in a love story and it's definitely a contender as my favourite book of the year. 

If you want a festive read this December, please please please, give this a go. It reminds me a lot of Love Actually so if you're a fan of that film (who isn't?!) I think you'll love this.


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