blog tour, books, reviews

Book Review: The Big Event by Anne John-Ligali

Hello, today is my stop on the blog tour for The Big Event by Anne John-Ligali.

The Big Event is part one of the Friendship Online Short Story Series.

Constance Jeffries is excited when she gets the chance to meet up with virtual friends at a
get-together in a London hotel. She’s been tweeting and messaging her lovely friends for years and feels they must be just as excited to finally meet her in person too.
Or so she hopes.

A short story about the importance of ‘real’ friendships and how it’s the little things that matter the most.

About the author:

Anne John-Ligali is a writer and the founder of Books and Authors UK, a popular website featuring author interviews and book reviews. She loves all things books: reading, writing, going to book events, and meeting other book lovers. She has written a series of short stories and is currently writing her first novel.

Anne has always loved stories and read many books as a child, including the entire Sweet Valley High and Caitlyn series. Her interest in writing fiction came years later, when she began writing for pleasure in 2007. Since then, Anne has been writing on and off and enjoys participating in writing groups. Twice in 2014, she won the monthly Novelicious Pintrest Prompt Fiction Competition.

When Anne is not writing, she is likely to be at soft play with her kids, taking long evening walks in Hyde Park, making green smoothies, window shopping, or having a pampering session at her local beauty salon (whenever she gets the chance). She can also be found watching box sets (albeit with a bit of shame at still having to catch up on Scandal, Grey’s, and Downton).

Originally from Peterborough, Anne now lives in London. After moving to London, she studied graphic design at the University of Arts and has held a number IT administration jobs in the city. Anne continues writing and aspires to write more women’s fiction books, a non-fiction book and several children’s books.

You can find Anne at the following places:

website Twitter Facebook Instagram

For more info about the book check out:

Book Blog website Twitter Facebook

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this short story, it was a light fun read about friendship,of the virtual kind. Perfect for your commute to work as it’s quick to digest and hopefully unless it’s a very short trip, you won’t miss the stop!

Constance is an author and she’s at a Christmas party filled with people she knows, but not really.

We all portray ourselves a certain way online that often isn’t exactly the truth and these party goers are no exception. But sometimes what we’re hiding has a lot more heart to it.

There’s a sequel due out this year following on from The Big Event.

You can buy The Big Event here.

beauty, cruelty free, make up, reviews

Product Review: Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Matte Gel Eye Crayons*

The team at Influenster UK sent me their latest Vox Box which contained two of these new Marc Jacobs Beauty Matte Gel Eye Crayons.

These super soft eyeliner pencils in (Earth)quake and Pink Of Me.

(Earth)quake is a soft brown which works as a great alternative to a black liner for a softer look.

Pink of Me is a pale pink which initially I really wasn’t sure about as it doesn’t really show up well on my skin. However smudged across my lids it makes a nice light wash of colour.

These liners are incredibly waterproof, I tested it on my hand and it wouldn’t budge when I washed my hand. It takes a good splash of make up remover to take it off my hand and my eyelids.

Marc Jacobs Beauty is cruelty free, which means I can add these to my collection happily.

You can buy Marc Jacobs Beauty in John Lewis online and in store.

*This post includes items that are gifted or sponsored but all opinions and words are my own.

films, movie night, netflix, reviews

Random film review: Sisters

I thought that I’d share my thoughts on random films I watch late at night on Netflix. First up Sisters starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

I have no recollection of this being released in cinemas but that’s pretty common as I don’t go very often.

In the film Fey and Poehler play sisters who return to their childhood home to clean out their (frankly enormous – it has 2 double beds) bedroom as their parents have sold the house.

It is very silly, they decide to throw a legendary party inviting all their old friends, who conveniently still all live locally even though Fey and Poehler don’t.

There are some very funny moments that made me laugh very loudly and some unnecessarily cringey ones (poor Ike Barinholtz) that could easily have been cut.

The film also plays like a who’s who of funny American women with Samantha Bee, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon and a host of others popping up. An almost unrecognizable Dianne Wiest plays the mum.

Good points: funny, would definitely pass The Bechdel Test.

Bad points: #filmsowhite the only people of colour are some heavily stereotyped Korean nail salon workers. Fey does seem to struggle with POC in roles (she’s the film’s producer too). That really unnecessary gross out scene with Poehler and Barinholtz.

Worth watching? Yes for celeb spotting and the funny bits as well as the sisterly relationship which real life pals Fey and Poehler portray well.

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟

blog tour, books, reviews

Book Review: Traitor – David Hingley*

Today I’m hosting a stop on the blog tour for the excellent historical romp Traitor.

This is the third book in the Mercia Blakewood series – I recommend reading Birthright and Puritan first as the book references characters and events from the previous ones.

Following her adventures in the American colonies, Mercia Blakewood returns to England determined to make the King stand by their agreement and reclaim her family’s home.

However the royal court has other plans for Marcia in this third outing by David Hingley. It’s 1665, war with the Dutch looms and Charles II believes there is a spy in his Court. He needs Mercia’s skills and intelligence to rout the mysterious Virgo and prevent the Dutch from getting information about the fleet and their plans.

I love historical fiction, and Hingley’s blend of real and imagined people and events brings the Restoration vividly to life. Mercia is a fantastic heroine, smart, resourceful and determined.

Hingley has clearly researched the period well, having lived in both the UK and the US (near where the action of his books takes place) which is good as the Restoration isn’t covered in school, so although the plot is an invention, the books really gives you a feel for the late 1600s.

I really enjoyed the first two books but this is definitely the strongest so far (fingers crossed Hingley decides to continue the series).

Book one (Birthright) is currently £5.99 direct from the publisher if you want to get into the series.

Check out the rest of the tour

Today a really interesting and relevant article was published- talk about kismet. Mercia’s adventures start with an attempt to find Charles I’s lost art and now it is finally being reunited in part. Worth a read, just like these books!

*I received this product in exchange for an honest review, all opinions and words are my own.

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.