books, fun stuff, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes, reviews

Illumicrate #10 Rise Up!

My lovely local Hermes courier braved the freezing weather and snow to deliver my Illumicrate, bless her.

This is a big box, so big it doesn’t have the usual logo on it – but it is packed full of books and bookish treats.

The theme is Rise Up! and the items are all about rebellion.

The book is Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyck – a female centred retelling of Spartacus, which really intrigues me as a premise. I look forward to reading this and sharing my thoughts later. There’s also an exclusive bookmark, pin and temporary tattoo.

There’s also an ARC of Sally Green’s The Smoke Thieves. I read Half Bad and thought it was interesting so I’m curious about her new series, of which this is the first book.

Now we have the box exclusives.

Fight the Darkness cushion cover by @stellabookishart – my copy of Ember in the Ashes is somewhere in my flat – until it turns up I will console myself with this bright and cheerful cover.

A Rebel’s Command List by @howstoreofficial – handy for making my lists of what books to read next.

Inimitable mug by @abbieimagine – I haven’t read the box this is inspired by but I like the design.

Daggermark by @rdashjackdotcom – this is a nice quirky bookmark but too bulky for my preferred bookmark so I’ll add it to my collection. Yes, I collect bookmarks and have done for years (I have the Brownie badge to prove it 😁).

Lunar Lip Balm by @lovely_lip_balm – a minty pot of lip balm, perfect for the current cold snap’s effect on my lips.

Phoenix magnet by @hannahhitchmanart – as I’m not a Potter fan I’ll be passing this on but it’s nice and colourful.

Bonus items are from Shatter Me, The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, Strange the Dreamer, Witchsign, Clean, The Hazel Wood – all either recently published or upcoming books.

I think that this was a nice mix of items from different rebellion themed novels/fandoms. Nothing really leaped out at me this time.

The books both look interesting but I might not have picked them up in a bookshop.

A solid box but not the best one I’ve had so far.

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.  

baking, food, giveaway, reviews

Colourful Cooking with Vremi* and Giveaway!  

In the ramblingmads household we do love a kitchen gadget – it’s the only way to get C in the kitchen sometimes. 

When the team at Vremi got in touch about these bright and cheerful useful tools I was really pleased. Another job for C! 

Isn’t the packaging fun, although I don’t find the cake cases as funny but that might just be me not finding drug taking giggle-worthy. 

Firstly we have these clever little cutters – designed to slice and dice fruit and veg, reducing your cutting time and helping you deal with tricky things like mangoes. 

I hadn’t seen one like this with interchangeable blades, usually you have to buy each one seperately. 

This has 3 different blades – Apple, mango and potato. All you have to do is press down into your chosen fruit/veg and ta-dah! You’re done. No more hacking with a knife. 

And it goes in the dishwasher  (which has replaced C in our house). 

Next up is these bright and fun cupcake cases, made of silicone and dishwasher proof. 

These are again super easy to use – they can take the hot temperature of an oven without going weird and melting, as well as helping your muffins stay firm. 

And here’s the fun part  Win the Vremi Silicone Baking Cups and Apple Slicer just click the link and follow the instructions. Giveaway ends December 15th and winner will be notified by the company. 

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

blogging, ramblings, tag posts

The Blogger Tag 

I saw this on Naomi’s blog a while ago and lost it in my drafts. I love a tag post – it’s a great way to tell your readers a bit more about yourself. 


1.       How Tall Are You?

5ft 8in – so just above average for a woman

2.       Do You Have A Hidden Talent? If So, What?

I can pick things up with my toes – like pencils or paintbrushes when I was a kid, it’s useful if I drop something.

3.       What’s Your Biggest Blog-Related Pet Peeve?

The snide bitchiness that goes on and the accusations of stealing people’s ideas – it’s not always plagiarism. Sometimes it’s genuinely being inspired by a post. Maybe just say “this post was inspired by ….” or something. 

4.       What’s Your Biggest Non-Blog Related Pet Peeve?

People who walk really slowly in the middle of the pavement so you can’t walk around them. Living in London this is a daily nightmare. 

5.       What’s Your Favourite Song? 

It changes depending on my mood, but Nina Simone singing “I think it’s gonna rain today” is always on the list.

6.       What’s Your Favourite Social Media Website?

I do love the twitters (HT Marian Keyes)

7.       What’s Your Favourite Way To Spend Your Free Time When You’re Alone?

Reading and eating popcorn, or taking a much needed nap. I do love a nap.

8.       What’s Your Favourite Junk Food?

Probably salted popcorn with Galaxy counters or chocolate buttons chucked in there so you get the salty and the chocolatey – oh so good.

9.       Do You Have A Pet Or Pets? If So, What Kind And What Are Their Names? 

Currently we have four rats, all girls, Izzie who is a pink eyed white and about 2, then 3 little cheeky ratscallions – Rosie Posie, Dumbo (Little D) and Ninja who are sisters and about 8 weeks old, they’re hooded, dumbo rex rats, so they have different markings, really soft fur, big round ears and curly whiskers.

10.   What’s Your Favourite Fiction And Non-Fiction Books?

This could be a really long list – I have so many top reads, but I will go with These Is My Words by Nancy Turner as I love this book so much, and recommend Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis (from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers) as my favourite non-fiction biographical book as it is so compelling a read I literally read it in one sitting. Otherwise Prisoners of Geography is one of the most interesting non-fiction books I’ve ever read.  

11.   What’s Your Favourite Beauty Product Or Tool?

I really do like a good blending sponge and my Spectrum Collection brushes are pretty excellent. Product wise I am a big fan of Soap & Glory’s primer and Make Up Revolution’s setting spray, both mean that my make up looks good and stays put.

12.   When Were You Last Embarrassed? What Happened?  

I trod on the  back of my friend’s boot the other day, she was really nice about it but I need to watch where I put my clown feet.

13.   If You Could Only Drink One Beverage (Besides Water) For The Rest Of Your Life, What Would It Be?

Diet Coke – my one vice apart from buying takeaways instead of cooking too often…

14.   What’s Your Favourite Movie?

Much like the book question this contains multitudes – Empire Records, The Princess Bride, My Neighbour Totoro, Rent, Disney’s Hercules, the list goes on…

15.   What Was Your Favourite Lesson In School And Why? 

Drama because Mr Jones was a fab teacher, and I thought I wanted to act. I now know I’d be better off as a Stage Manager, and that one day I will write a play.

16.   If You Could Live Anywhere In The World, Where Would You Live? 

There’s an island in the Venetian lagoon that hardly anyone lives on – that would suit my hermit nature down to a tee.

17.   PC Or Mac?

I like the look of Macbooks but I lack the resources to own one. Mostly I use my dying laptop.

18.   Last Romantic Gesture From A Crush, Date, Boy/Girlfriend, Spouse? (Or Kind Gesture From A Friend)

My fiancé, bless him, isn’t the romantic sort really, but he bought me some biscuits while I was stuck at home sick in a bid to cheer me up.

19.   Favourite Celebrity?

Not really into celebrity as such – there’s some pretty cool writers out there I’ve met and Sarah Millican seems like she’s pretty awesome.

20.   What Blogger Do You Secretly Want To Be Best Friends With?

George from Fuller Figure Fuller Bust – who is incredibly lovely (we got our first rats from her) and just seems to be someone who’s really fun to hang out with.

21.   Who Is Your Biggest Inspiration? 

My Grandad – left school at 13 to start working, was in the RAF, lost his father at 19, first wife died at 22, moved to London shortly after, met my Nan, married her, adopted her children (my mum and aunt), raised his family, worked like crazy, ran his own company, retired and sold it, got bored so went and got another job, has travelled all over the place, and now takes care of Nanny who is very poorly, despite being 86 with 2 new knees, 2 pacemakers and hearing aids. He’s pretty cool and we swap thrillers.

22.   What Is Your Favourite Blog To Read? 

Vix Meldrew is hilarious and insightful. I also loved Tara from Cattitude & Co but she’s taking a break from blogging right now.

23.   What Is Your Favourite High Street Shop?

Waterstones or Superdrug probably – books and skincare are pretty much all I buy these days.

24.   Are You In Education Or Do You Work?

I work for a charity, but even when I was a student (oh I miss those days) I worked as well so it feels like I’ve been working forever. 

adventures in post, boxcitement, fun stuff, lifestyle boxes, reviews, stationery

#Boxcitement: Free Spirit 

(Let’s pretend it’s still September for 5 mins) 
Boxcitement’s Free Spirit box is a delight. Full of bright colours and fun shapes. 

Inside the box was all these goodies. 

A wall mountable mini mirror – yay! I really like this, unpacking it made me smile. 

This cute charm bangle – it makes a nice jingle when I walk. 

Raindrop planner clips, these are the cutest things, which I will use to keep various post-its together. 

Personal picnic kit – recyclable cutlery and a cute napkin. 

Art print that is also a planner calendar. 


Memory notepads – to jot those ideas down! 
Teeny backpack pouch and feather keyring. 

Overall I really like this box – especially the mirror and bracelet, less so the single use (but thankfully recyclable) picnic kit. The stationery items are right up my street – paperclips and notepads yes please! 

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. 


 

adventures in post, boxcitement, fun stuff, lifestyle boxes, reviews, stationery

Boxcitement August – Fantasy Island 

I treated myself to a little bit of fun this month with this box from Boxcitement. 

Inside the Fantasy Island themed box are a collection of items to celebrate dreams, fantasies and wishes. 

🦄 unicorn trinket dish

🦄 flamingo pendant 

🦄 eye mask 

🦄 greetings card

🦄 planner pad 

🦄 doughnut pen

🦄 mermaid wrapping paper

🦄 ‘mergoat’ pin 

This box is fun, whimsical and brightly coloured. I really enjoyed opening it all up and seeing all the bits inside.