books, fun stuff

#tacklestack the first five

In my bedroom (I live in a small flat) there is the book mountain, more than an average to be read (tbr) pile. And it is slowly becoming impossible to manage. 

I’ve seen some interesting methods for getting through these piles, from putting a pound in a jar every time you finish a book (I’d be broke in a week) to going on a book buying ban (never going to happen fyi there are just too many good books out there and the local library reduced its books after a refurb- a rant for another time). 

So when a Twitter friend introduced me to the #tacklestack challenge I was intrigued. Created by a book blogger to get through her own mountain, there are several different options. I chose the read 5 books one. 

My first 5 #tacklestack books

Mini reviews of each book will be posted on Instagram when I finish a stack. 

Some of these books have been kicking around for a while – I mean in some cases I moved in with them 6 years ago and still haven’t read them. 

Of course, being me, I had to complicate things – I am also dipping in and out of Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange, an English translation of some ancient Arabic fables that pre-date A Thousand and One Nights, and reading ARCs for review and some upcoming blog tours. 

I also have a stack of magazines to read and the weekend papers get delivered so I’m not completely out of the loop on world events (Twitter keeps me reasonably well informed five days a week). 

My dad passed over his Amazon Fire tablet as he’s got a new iPad  (that man does love a gadget) so I can read some ebooks to review (although I’m still not a fan) and download some French books to continue that plan too (it’s embarrassing to have a French name and family but be so bad at it). 

After I cut that damn mountain down to size I’m planning a Terry Pratchett re-read from the beginning  (if you get the Thameslink between Mill Hill and Blackfriars I’ll be the woman crying with laughter into her scarf twice a day). 

Anyone else tackling the stack? Wanna share your current reads? Comment here or find me on social media (I’m always ramblingmads) and chat books.  

beauty, reviews, skincare

Skin Refresh with Frezyderm* 

As some of you may know I have rather complicated skin concerns ranging from extreme paleness to rosacea and ezcema. 

The team at Frezyderm have developed a range of products designed especially for sensitive skin and rosacea. 

They kindly sent me three items to test on my grumpy skin. 

Mild Wash Liquid – suitable for all ages, designed for sensitive skin. 

Sensitive Red Skin Facial Cream – suitable for all ages, designed to control rosacea and redness. 

Sensitive Red Skin Tinted Cream – CC cream with SPF 30, suitable for all ages, designed to cover rosacea symptoms. 

The face wash is ok, it works well enough but it didn’t leave my skin feeling as squeaky clean as I like so this has become a morning wash to get my rid of any sleep residue. 

The moisturiser I’ve found  works best over a serum. It’s not really heavy enough for winter as my skin gets thirsty, but so far I’ve been using it on make up free days over My Good Skin serum from Boots, the only real issue is that it doesn’t have any SPF so I have to layer that on too.

The only product I haven’t really got any use out of is the CCC cream and thats because it’s too dark for me. Which is a shame as I was hoping it would work as an alternative to my foundation when I just want to cover the redness. 

*indicates gifted or sponsored items but all words and opinions are my own. 

beauty, Christmas, cruelty free, lifestyle, make up, skincare

A Very Soap & Glory Christmas…

This Christmas I didn’t do too well on the beauty gifts but I did receive a lot of Soap & Glory gift sets, which after missing out on their Advent Calendar, was pretty nice. 2018 I’m going to be squeaky clean. 

The Hello Soaper Spa set was probably the most wasteful in terms of packaging with a cardboard cover over a plastic, non-recyclable, tray inside. It contained Sexy Mother Pucker lip gloss, Face Soap & Clarity Vitamin C face wash, The Righteous Butter body wash, The Scrub of Your Life body buffer, The Righteous Butter body butter & Sugar Crush body wash. 

Glow Ball is housed in a round tin, that if you had an enormous tree could be a bauble. It was a bit tricky to open and I had to get C to help me. Inside was a shower puff, Smoothie Star Breakfast Star body polish, Smoothie Star body buttercream, Hand Food hand cream & Rich and Foamous body wash. 

The Lime of Your Life is also in a reusable tin, full of travel sized goodies. Sugar Crush body wash, Clean On Me and Rich & Foamous body wash pods, Sugar Crush body scrub, Sugar Crush body buttercream and Hand Food hand cream. 

 
Spa of Wonder is a reinforced cardboard hamper with a clever holographic lid. Inside it is absolutely packed full of Soap & Glory. Bright & Beautiful mask, The Scrub of Your Life body scrub, The Righteous Butter 3-in-1 body wash, Clean On Me shower gel, Smoothie Star body milk, Thick & Fast mascara, Sexy Mother Pucker lip gloss, Supercat liquid eyeliner, The Righteous Butter body butter, Face Soap & Clarity Vitamin C face wash. You might be thinking, good grief that’s a lot of shower gels but they will all get used. I love a nice hot shower with a moisturizing skin friendly body wash. 

The only product that won’t get used is the two lip glosses – something in them triggers an allergic reaction. 

Soap & Glory is a cruelty free brand so that’s an added bonus and I have it on good authority (aka I asked them) that the microbeads in the face wash are biodegradable and don’t cause any harm to the environment. 

If you know me irl then I recommend going to Boots and sniffing a few products so you will know 2018’s signature scent – my Soap & Glory Christmas obsession.  

books, reviews

Book review: Look For Her – Emily Winslow

Another day, another review. Something a bit more psychological this time! 

A body found in the woods dressed in the clothing of a missing girl from forty years ago, a young woman obsessed by the case, a recent drowning. Is there a connection and if so, can detectives Keene and Frohmann find it before anyone else gets hurt? 

I haven’t read anything by Winslow before, except her story in the Deadlier anthology (which I also recommend) but I really enjoyed this, finishing it in one sitting. 

I liked the changes in perspective between the different characters, the fact that some of them had their own agendas and you couldn’t always clearly see what they were, and how it was all carefully drawn together at the end. 

Cold cases are quite fascinating, especially as technology as moved on so much and what we can tell now about a crime is so more in depth than in the past, making it both easier and harder to solve them.

This book is available now from all the usual places. 

books, reviews

Book Preview: What Falls Between the Cracks – Robert Scragg

For a debut novel this is very accomplished, and in an amusing twist is set in and around my neck of the woods, with familiar places popping up as I read.

A frozen hand is found in an abandoned flat, whose is it and how did it end up there? DI Jake Porter and DS Nick Styles match the DNA to a woman who had been missing for 30 years. What happened to her? 

A simple investigation turns into a knotty and dangerous case, pitting the police against a gang of criminals and members of their own force. 

I really enjoyed this, I like a good, complex crime thriller and this delivered. Pacey, well written, fully fledged out characters, the rest of this proposed series should be interesting. 
The hardback isn’t out till April next year but if this is your sort of read I recommend putting it on your tbr list now. 

books, reviews

Book Review: The Last Time We Spoke – Fiona Sussman 

This is a really interesting book about forgiveness and redemption. 
After her family are violently murdered Carla Reid is slowly rebuilding her life while Ben Toroa, one of her family’s attackers is facing the consequences of his violent past. Their paths cross when Carla decides to seek further understanding of the day she lost her loved ones. 

I don’t know a lot about New Zealand or Maori culture, but this offered an insight into that world as well as a redemptive narrative, that while quite sad at times, from Carla’s tragedy and Ben’s terrible home life, also has a heart. 

I can see why the author is award winning – her writing is fluid and rich, the plot is intelligent and emotionally driven. 

The book is available now. 

Christmas, fashion, jewellery, lifestyle, reviews

Christmas Stars with Jewellery Box* 

Christmas is coming and if like me you’re part magpie you’ll have your eye on some sparkly gifts, whether for yourself or as gifts for your loved ones. 

For some beautiful and fun jewellery look no further than Jewellery Box

This UK based small business is a favourite of bloggers, having sponsored the Bloggers Blog Awards, which I attended back in September. 

The team very kindly sent me some really lovely pieces to share with you all. 

I love this necklace, there’s something very soothing about tessalating shapes. The silver chain is delicate with a lobster clasp. Perfect for work to add a little quirk to a smart office look. 
For something more seasonal, how about this dainty snowflake? Adding this to my Christmas Day outfit I think. 

To go with the necklace, these star earrings! So pretty and cute. 
Then to finish it off another star, this time in gold, around my wrist – although it might go better with Boxing Day’s ensemble. 
Everything is beautifully packaged, making these items perfect gifts for your friends and family (or yourself!)