lifestyle

Book Review: The Belles – Dhionelle Clayton*

Today’s review is part of the blog tour for new YA novel The Belles.

In the queendom of Orleans people are born with grey skin and red eyes, as a punishment from the jealous God of the sky, the Belles possess special gifts that enable them to make people beautiful – and beauty is everything.

I really enjoyed this book, it was inventive and clever, well written and the world building is genius – I loved the mythology and the teacup animals – who wouldn’t want a miniature elephant or tiger.

The characters are well rounded and distinct – protagonist Camille is sympathetic and driven, if a little naive.

YA fiction is where some fascinating writing and story telling is happening and Dhionelle Clayton has contributed a fresh new voice to the ever growing pool of talent.

The Belles story will continue – and I for one can’t wait.

Check out the rest of the blog tour

*I was gifted this book in exchange for a review but all opinions and words are my own.

happy mail, lifestyle, reviews

You don’t send me flowers… *

I don’t live with a romantic – in fact C is the opposite – so I don’t expect much on Valentine’s Day but for those of you with a more romantic streak a great way to say “I love you” is with flowers. These roses from Prestige Flowers are gorgeous, deep velvety red. The bouquet is wrapped in red and boxed so the flowers don’t experience any damage during delivery. My table doesn’t normally get a centrepiece this lovely. It comes with a teddy and a box of chocolates, although you can send just a bouquet or add a bottle of wine. I often think bouquets like this are tiny works of temporary art. The red roses contrast beautifully with the green and gold painted leaves. It looks rather lovely on my table. Sometimes I don’t think I agree with cut flowers, but my little pot plants don’t look quite as majestic somehow, and my patio compost will eventually benefit too. I would be delighted to receive a bouquet like this, although I probably won’t, if C bought flowers they’d be the sad looking ones from the petrol station or corner shop on his way home *sigh*.

All Valentine’s bouquets will be entered into a prize draw – so surprise your Valentine this February with a beautiful bouquet and who knows, you could win free flowers all year. Now that would be romantic!

*I received this product in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and words remain 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.  

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!) 

Christmas, lifestyle, reviews

Christmas Bouquet with Prestige Flowers*

A bouquet is a lovely gift for a family member you might not be seeing over Christmas and these seasonal ones from Prestige Flowers are beautifully packaged and can be delivered to the door of your recipient. 

My bouquet came with its own vase, saving me from having to climb up and get one from the top of the kitchen cabinet, and a delicious box of chocolates. Bouquets can also be ordered alone or with a bottle of wine or champagne. 

I tried to decide where to display my beautiful bouquet, with the tree, on it’s own, these flowers ended up with their own photo shoot! In the end they wound up on a bookshelf. But they looked pretty good anywhere, don’t you think! 

*this post contains gifted or sponsored items but all words and opinions are my own. 

Christmas, lifestyle, reviews, upcoming

Christmas treats with Prestige Hampers*

Growing up I always loved Christmas hampers, boxes of exotic treats that only came together at one time of the year. 

My dad used to buy them for his suppliers – not for us, but occasionally someone would send us one instead of buying individual presents or if we weren’t seeing them over the holidays. 

When Prestige Hampers, a Yorkshire based family business, offered to send me a hamper, I was thrilled. I received the Fabulous Christmas hamper. 

Although it’s still November just unpacking it made me feel all Christmassy (which is impressive as I struggle with the festive period). 

The team at Prestige are packing experts, once I’d unpacked it all I could not for the life of me get it all back in as neatly. 

The handmade wicker hamper is lovely and reusable – I’m already excited about deciding what to store in it! 

The contents itself is great. There’s so many treats in here. C has already got his eye on several of the goodies in it. 

This hamper includes a selection of sweet and savoury festive essentials along with three mini wine bottles, an individual Christmas pudding, jam and marmalade. 

Prestige provide a wide variety of options of gifts, everything from a bottle of wine, Christmas ham and of course the hampers. 

Right now there’s a sale on – and everything can be delivered in time for Christmas. 

Now excuse me, off to eat all these yummy treats….

*this post includes gifted items but all opinions and words are my own. 

fun stuff, lifestyle, reviews

Birthday Wishlist with Uncommon Goods

Next week is my birthday and while I generally don’t go mad for present requests, when Uncommon Goods got in touch and asked if I’d like to make a wishlist from their incredible range of gifts, I said yes.

Uncommon Goods was founded in New York by Dave Bolotsky, inspired by the collections of the Smithsonian Museum, he wanted to curate a place for independent artists to sell their handmade, unique pieces. The company focuses on sustainability, and work in an ethical way, giving back to non-profits with every purchase through their Better to Give program.  

I love working with companies like this, I strongly support independent businesses and artisans and this is a great way to discover some amazing artists and their creations that you might otherwise miss in all the noise of the internet.

Dare I mention it, but the C-word (the nice one) is just around the corner but don’t worry, the gang at Uncommon Goods have got you. With everything from curated lists of gifts for your best friend to the hard to buy for teens there’s something for everyone. I will certainly be buying some of these beautiful things for my friends and family. 

So here is my list! Presents are always welcome at ramblingmads ☺

Elwood the Rainbow Unicorn MugHow cute is this guy? And he’s called Elwood, which makes me think of The Blues Brothers. One of my favourite films. So I need my hot chocolate in my Elwood the unicorn mug, feet up watching Elwood & Jake Blues please! 

Literary Scarves

I’m a massive book fan and a literary scarf would be fantastic, maybe not Jane Austen though as I’m not a fan, but I do love an infinity scarf. I like the idea of wearing a book around your neck. Perfect for when I get bored on the Tube and I’ve finished my book. 

C:\Users\Madeleine.Fenner\Pictures\Eye Glasses Holder _ Wooden Nose Eyeglass Holder _ UncommonGoods_files\19079_1_360px.jpg I am always losing my glasses so this chap would be really handy and turn my wandering specs into a piece of art at the same time. I love the big nose, mine’s not quite as chunky, I hope!

C:\Users\Madeleine.Fenner\Pictures\Foodie Dice _ fun cooking games, dinner ideas _ UncommonGoods_files\25386_1_360px.jpg

Food is a big part of my life but sometimes I find it hard to get into cooking dinner every day, these foodie dice might just put the fun back into meal times. Certainly might get me experimenting with new combinations. 

C:\Users\Madeleine.Fenner\Pictures\Positive Energy Necklace _ Silver Positive Message Necklace _ UncommonGoods_files\21341_1_360px.jpg

I love pretty jewellery and I can always use some positivity, attracting good vibes is definitely a bonus. I also like the pairing of gold and silver charms, it’ll go with any outfit. 

C:\Users\Madeleine.Fenner\Pictures\Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden _ Grow Your Own Herbs _ UncommonGoods_files\43428_1_640px.jpg

Finally, this beautiful and fun indoor herb garden would go really nicely in my kitchen and because of the clever hydroponic system I might even manage to keep these plants alive. 

*while this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.