January Book Reviews

Still cannot quite believe we are in 2019 but here we go with the first round of books I have been reading recently.  Some of these go back a month or three as I haven’t done one in  a while but hoping this year will be a much more organised one!

With Or Without You by Shari Low

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The Blurb

Have you ever made a life-changing decision and then wondered if you made the right one…?

When Liv and Nate walked up the aisle, Liv knew she was marrying the one, her soul mate and her best friend.

Six years later, it feels like routine and friendship is all they have left in common. What happened to the fun, the excitement, the lust, the love?

In the closing moments of 1999, Liv and Nate decide to go their separate ways, but at the last minute, Liv wavers. Should she stay or should she go?

Over the next twenty years we follow the parallel stories to discover if Liv’s life, heart and future have been better with Nate… Or without him?

A clever, captivating and bitterweet story of what might have been. Perfect for the fans of Jojo Moyes and Marian Keyes.

What I Thought

Wow!  I really enjoy Shari Low’s books and this one was no exception.  The idea presented in the blurb intrigued me – could one decision really affect your whole life?

I loved the way the chapters were devoted to special events in the lives of this group of friends – parties, birthdays, weddings.  It was a chance to catch up with what had been going on with them all, without having a lot of ‘filler’ detail.  This meant that, rather than a frothy chick lit read, it became a more intriguing and enjoyable read.  There was difficult subject matter tackled well by the author.  Her writing is fresh, fun and moving – you really do get attached to these characters and wants to see what happens to them in both situations.

Highly;y recommend this one and look forward to more from Shari Low!

Where To Buy

Amazon

Thankyou to Aria and NetGalley for my ARC of this book in return for a review.  All opinions are my own

A Bad Lot – Collected Short Stories by Barbara Kastelin

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The Blurb

Twenty-four engrossing tales of human life, each with a twist in the tail. 
A collection of bite-sized novellas to enjoy in a busy life of commitments. 
Entertaining short fiction with an after-taste of surprise and disquiet.
 
During the hour of perusal, the soul of the reader is at the writer’s control” Edgar Allan Poe .
 
A Bad Lot is a collection of twenty-four short stories. Twenty-four stories each in a different style, set in different times and in different places showing the frailty that humans are capable of.
 
The Neapolitan thief can almost be forgiven, and the lone woman in the Manor house might have been more perceptive about her suitor. The Cambridge lawyer had no guts; lies have short legs in a Caribbean resort. A crush on a police inspector is a poor excuse for some behaviour, and buying a holiday home in the sunny Algarve may have its downfalls but, for her love of dogs, the woman from Norfolk will have to be rewarded in heaven. Whether giraffes have mythical powers is questionable, while being slave to a Nordic god could confuse any young man. Yes, the world around us is full of surprises.
 
We have all come across the feelings these characters in A Bad Lot experience. Our senses record the world around us but, in our brains, it is our frail humanity that overlays the information with illusion – our vanity, jealousy, sexuality, insecurity, love, ambition and guilt warp our perception. This anthology of short stories takes us on an entertaining tour of our capacity for self-deception. Lyrical and clever, they tackle the challenges of our demons.

What I Thought

Short stories are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I really enjoy them.  Normally there will be a couple or three of the stories in a collection like this, that I end up flicking through as they don’t grab my attention.  However, in this book, I read every single story and enjoyed them all.  Some I enjoyed more than others, but each one was able to hold my attention and entertain me.

Some of the first short story collections I read were the ones by Roald Dahl and there were similarities in this collection – deception, greed, jealousy, blind ambition.  It was like a trip through the seven deadly sins.  Some of the stories were shocking, some horrifying and some made you cheer when the good guy actually came out on top!  There is some adult content not suitable for children.

Any short story fan will love this and it is a great introduction to them if you have not previously read a collection.  Highly recommended and very much enjoyed by me!

Where To Buy

Troubadour Website

Amazon

The Author – Barbara Kastelin

Barbara Kastelin was brought up in Switzerland, always writing and painting, and always an outsider, an observer and a collector. She studied copy-writing and design in New York and worked for the UN Secretary-General. Having married a British diplomat, she has lived all over the world. She is the author of two previous novels

Thankyou to Troubadour and NetGalley fro my ARC of this book in return for a review.  All opinions are my own

Mothers by Chris Power

The Blurb

An “extraordinary” (The Sunday Times) debut of unnerving beauty, Chris Power’s short story collection Mothers evokes the magic and despair of the essential human longing for purpose.

Chris Power’s stories are peopled by men and women who find themselves at crossroads or dead ends—characters who search without knowing what they seek. Their paths lead them to thresholds, bridges, rivers, and sites of mysterious, irresistible connection to the past. A woman uses her mother’s old travel guide, aged years beyond relevance, to navigate on a journey to nowhere; a stand-up comic with writer’s block performs a fateful gig at a cocaine-fueled bachelor party; on holiday in Greece, a father must confront the limits to which he can keep his daughters safe. Braided throughout is the story of Eva, a daughter, wife, and mother, whose search for a self and place of belonging tracks a devastating path through generations.

Ranging from remote English moors to an ancient Swedish burial ground to a hedonistic Mexican wedding, the stories in Mothers lay bare the emotional and psychic damage of life, love, and abandonment. Suffused with yearning, Power’s transcendent prose expresses a profound ache for vanished pasts and uncertain futures.

What I Thought

Another set of short stories which I LOVED! I devoured it and it really reminded me of the first sets of short stories I read by Roald Dahl (for adults) with their noir humour. The characters were all intensely fascinating, disturbing and multilayered.

As with many of these types of book, there were a couple which didn’t quite grab me the way the others had, but overall the book is brilliant and I would recommend to any fans of short stories or anyone interested in reading some.

Where To Buy

Amazon – available in Kindle, hardback, paperback and Audible editions

The Author – Chris Powers

Chris Power lives and works in London. His column, A Brief Survey Of The Sort Story, has appeared in The Guardian since 2007. He has written for the BBC, The New York Times and The New Statesman. His fiction has been published in The Stinging Fly, The Dublin Review and The White Review. Mothers is his first book.

Thanks to NetGalley for my ARC of this book which I received in return for an honest review.

Our Little Lies by Sue Watson (Audible)

The Blurb

Marianne has a life others dream of. A beautiful townhouse on the best street in the neighbourhood. Three bright children who are her pride and joy.

Sometimes her past still hurts: losing her mother, growing up in foster care. But her husband Simon is always there. A successful surgeon, he’s the envy of every woman they’ve ever met. Flowers, gifts, trips to France – nothing is too good for his family.

Then Simon says another woman’s name. The way he lingers on it, Caroline, gives Marianne a shudder of suspicion, but she knows she can’t entertain this flash of paranoia.

In the old days, she’d have distracted herself at work, but Marianne left her glamorous career behind when she got married. She’d speak to a friend, but she’s too busy with her children and besides, Simon doesn’t approve of the few she has left.

It’s almost by accident that Marianne begins to learn more about Caroline. But once she starts, she can’t stop. Because what she finds makes her wonder whether the question she should be asking is not ‘should she be jealous’, but… ‘should she be scared’?

Fans of The Girl on the Train and I Let You Go looking for a dark, gripping psychological thriller, with a final twist that will put their jaw on the floor, will love Our Little Lies.

What I Thought

So this was the first Audible book I have purchased that I just couldn’t get through. Not because of a terrible plot or the writing style, or even the narrator. Unfortunately I couldn’t cope with the content of the story and the quite realistic and vivid descriptions of abuse contained.

I love a good psychological thriller but unfortunately this one just pushed my buttons and I had to turn it off. I would definitely advise anyone that may be sensitive to this type of content be very wary of this one.

Where To Buy

Amazon – Kindle, Paperback, Audible versions available

Sincerely, X (Audible)

The Blurb

Some stories are too sensitive, painful or potentially damaging to share publicly — unless they can be shared anonymously. TED and Audible present Sincerely, X: an original audio series featuring talks from speakers whose ideas deserve to be heard, but whose identities must remain hidden. The first season features a compelling program of victims, perpetrators, investigators, activists, empaths and more.

What I Thought

This was a free download from the Audible store and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I have listened to a couple of TED talks but would definitely like to see more. This series is all done anonymously, the person is recorded in a studio rather than a stage and their identity is kept secret.

The talks were on a range of different topics and all very interesting. There were a couple out of the ten that didn’t quite grab my attention as much as the others, but I recommend a listen to the whole series, you will not be disappointed. I am looking forward to the second series!

See Ted Talks for more information

The Colour Of Bee Larkin’s Murder by Sarah J. Harris (Audible)

The Blurb

How do you solve a mystery when you can’t understand the clues?

’A rich tapestry… distinctive and compelling’ Observer

’A stunning whodunnit’ Mail on Sunday

‘A beautiful, original novel, at once funny and tragic and brave’ Sarah Pinborough

There are three things you need to know about Jasper.

1. He sees the world completely differently.
2. He can’t recognise faces – not even his own.
3. He is the only witness to the murder of his neighbour, Bee Larkham.

But uncovering the truth about that night will change his world forever…

An extraordinary and compelling debut which will make you see the world in a way you’ve never seen it before

What I Thought

Well, I think most thought that 2018 was the year of Eleanor Oliphant for best character but Jasper could take the crown just as easily. Jasper is a really likeable character and has a refreshing kind of honesty about him which I adored.

Once again, Ste ended up listening in to this one and loving it too. I think its perfect for anyone who also enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant and both me and Ste enjoyed our time in Jasper’s world. A highlight of the year.

Where To Buy

Amazon – Kindle, hardback, paperback and Audible versions available

A Disconnected Christmas by Ryan Ringbloom

The Blurb

Lindsay Subbloom’s marriage didn’t make it past the honeymoon. Her prince had a secret that she never saw coming. Now an internet obsession is keeping her connected to a brokenhearted past.

Her sister knows that if Lindsay doesn’t let go of her horrible new habit, she’ll have no future. Enter her brilliant idea—the gift of going offline. She hopes pushing Lindsay back into the real world will open the door for a second chance at love.

When Seth O’Shea sets his sights on the beautiful third-grade teacher, there’s an instant connection. Insta-smitten quickly turns to insta-smut. And when insta-love starts settling in, it looks like Lindsay may just get the fairy tale she’s always dreamed of in time for Christmas.

But what happens when she reconnects? Will she finally get her happily ever after? Or will old habits resurface and make her new man bounce before it begins?

What I Thought

This was a sweet, very easy read (I almost finished it in one sitting when I was poorly post Christmas). I thought the focus would be more on the challenge of being disconnected from social media, but it didn’t really focus on that which was a little disappointing.

The characters were likeable and the story was realistic. It can be a little ‘risque’ in places and there are some frank discussions about sex so not suitable if you are a prude! I could see this book as a good rom-com movie, there is definitely scope for improvement and filling out the storyline.

A cutsie, easy read if you are looking to pass a few hours with a modern romance style book.

Where To Buy

Amazon – Kindle version available

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this book in return for my honest review

Hope you enjoyed that little round up for this month and give some of these a try if you haven’t already. If you have read any of them let me know what you think in the comments below – do your opinions differ to mine?

Read With Me

May Book Reviews

Well, May was a funny old month.  I didn’t get a great amount of reading done as I was focused on getting my last couple of university assignments finished but I did enjoy what I got round to.  I finished a couple of audio books this month and am really enjoying my Audible subscription.  I listen to them on long car journeys and when I am doing the ironing and cleaning for example.  Here is a round up of what I read (and listened to) this month.

The Fear by C. L. Taylor

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This month I took part in the blog tour for The Fear by C. L. Taylor.  I really enjoyed this and if you are a thriller fan, I am sure you will too.  You can see the full review here

The Power by Naomi Alderman

(Audible)

WINNER OF THE 2017 BAILEYS WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION

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The Blurb

What if the power to hurt were in women’s hands?

Suddenly – tomorrow or the day after – teenage girls find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman’s extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed.

My Review

If you are a bookworm like me and enjoy discussing books with like minded people I suggest checking out Dawn O’Porter’s book club on Instagram – The Cold Water Book Club.  Last month the book she chose was Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, which I had already read (my review can be found here) and this month she chose this for the fiction book.  I really enjoyed the questions i the book club after listening to this one, and thought the issues it raised were thought provoking and interesting.

I really loved the sound of this book.  The premise was different from anything I had read before and that excited me.  I downloaded it with the free credit I get from my Audible subscription for which I pay £7.99 a month.

I can’t say I loved this book but I did have to keep coming back to it and I wanted to hear how it all played out.  It is a great one for a book club and I would recommend it to anyone who is in one as it evokes a lot of conversations with its themes of power, feminism and religion among others.  I really liked the characters of Roxy and Tunde.  The writing was brilliantly evocative at times and the scene where Roxy had something dreadful happen (trying not to spoil it for anyone), was very emotional and made me want to cry for her.  I could feel her pain as I listened.  Some scenes are a little explicit and I would only recommend this to adult readers.

One of the major downsides of this book for me was the narration.  I really did not get along with it on this one and it was a definite hindrance to the book for me.  A couple of the different accents were done well, but the others just grated on me.  However, I am not sure I would have finished this book if I had the actual book rather than the audio version as I think I would have been bored and less inclined to pick it up.

If you enjoy something a little different and can get by with the narration of the audio version of this, I would recommend it.  I liked the concept, the delivery wasn’t always as engaging as I would have liked but it did keep me listening till the end.

Buy The Power on Amazon

Buy The Power on Waterstones

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinsborough

(Audible)

13 mins

The Blurb

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

My Review

This book was a little shorter thn most I have on Audible so I also finished this one this month.  And I really enjoyed it!

I do enjoy a thriller and this one did not disappoint, even though I worked out the big twist.  However, following the journey and how everything payed out was still gripping.

The book focuses on a group of teenage girls following the night one of them is rescued from the river and bought back to life after being ‘dead’ for 13 minutes.  She has lost her memory of what happened, so has to rely on her friends to fill in the gaps for her and can understand what happened to her.  The book is well written and the author has done a good job with the characters of the teenage girls.

The narrator of this one was much better and was able to keep set accents and voices to different characters.  Ste thought she spoke quite fast but I felt the pace was fine and much more conversational, as it would be in real life.

Buy 13 Minutes on Amazon 

Buy 13 Minutes on Waterstones

Dear Martha, WTF by Tricia LaVoice

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The Blurb

The Giving Tree meets Eat, Pray, Love in a brazenly honest, refreshingly irreverent, and even hilarious look at going “through” versus going “down.”

Tricia LaVoice’s life turned upside-down when her parents were tragically killed in an automobile accident. Her close relationships with her mother and father made everyday life afterwards a challenge.

Happily married and with a beautiful baby girl, Tricia had no time to fall apart. Over the years as her family grew, Tricia met two strong, dynamic women, both survivors of their own life challenges, whose wonderful friendships and unconditional maternal love and strength guide her to trust in life.

But tragedy strikes Tricia’s family again, shaking her faith in life once more. It was during this time of suffering and loneliness that she found an unexpected respite in nature, in the form of a beautiful pine tree Tricia named Martha. This rare bond inspires Tricia who literally talks to Martha daily as she heals the hurt in her heart. Tricia learns to listen to her inner voice, and heals herself by finding her source of courage and strength is within her.

My Review

They say to save the best till last and that is certainly the case this month.  What a fantastic book chronicling a woman’s journey through life and grief.

Sometimes, it is the case that you happen to pick up a book at exactly the right point in time you need to read what it has to say.  That was the case for me with this one.  If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I lost my Grandma at the end of April.  The author of this book lost both her parents in an accident just after having her first child.  This book follows her through the rest of her life and how she deals (and often does not deal) with not having her parent’s in her life.  Through moving (often and cross country), having children, family ups and downs we see what her reaction is and how she manages. She shows the way her grief impacts on those around her, reflects on her faith and learns different coping mechanisms.

I just can’t do this book justice ad really do recommend a read.  It will definitely be on my favourite books of 2018 list.  If I told you that, in fact, Martha is a tree you would probably say – Natalie, WTF – but honestly, especially when dealing with your own grief after losing someone, whatever stage you are at, this book will say things that you can understand completely.

Buy Dear Martha, WTF on Amazon

Thankyou to NetGalley and Post Hill Press for my ARC of this book in return for a review containing my own, honest opinions

I hope you enjoyed my reviews this month.  What have you been reading this month and would you recommend it?  I love to hear a good recommendation!  Let me know in the comments below and I will see you for another round up in a months time.

nat

See more

April Book Reviews

March Book Reviews

February Book Reviews

 

 

January Book Reviews

I have decided rather than splitting them into separate posts (which can clog up the blog as I read quite a lot) I would do a monthly post reviewing the books I have read.  My Reading Challenge/Book Club is still accepting new readers so check out my post here on how to sign up!

Some Kind Of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher

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The Blurb

When the love of your life says you’re not The One, who are you? Lizzy and Ian have been a couple since the first week of university. Now, after celebrating a decade together, everyone thinks they’re about to get engaged. Instead, a romantic escape to Dubai leaves Lizzy with no ring, no fiancé and no future. Lizzy is heartbroken – but through the tears, she sees an opportunity. This is her moment to discover what she’s been missing while playing Ian’s ideal ‘better half’. But how much has Ian changed her, and who should she be without him? Determined to discover who she is at heart, Lizzy sets out to rediscover the girl she was before – and, in the meantime, have a little fun

What I Thought

If you follow me on social media you will have seen my thoughts on this book already – I loved it!  Chick-Lit is not my go to genre, but I do enjoy the occasional one as a light, fluffy, easy read.  This however, was not run of the mill, everything land’s in the main characters lap and she lives happily ever after.  This book showed a real journey for the main character.  After leaving a long term partner, who you believed you would spend your life with, you have a lot of work to do.  You have to re-find yourself, possibly move house, find things to fill your time again, get used to being alone.  This book shows that journey for Lizzy and it was like a breath of fresh air for this style of book.  As a woman who has gone through this I was relieved to see something that represented the true struggles after a break up and thoroughly enjoyed reading about Lizzy’s journey.  I will definitely be checking out some of Giovanna Fletcher’s other books after reading this one.



 

Part Star Part Dust by L. M. Valiram

Part Star Part Dust

The Blurb

A millionaire, a widow and a monk. A plane crash. Three destinies linked for eternity in a tale narrated by Time.

Meet Radha.

She was left in a dumpster on the side streets of Mumbai to die as she was born; premature and undernourished.

Meet Mira.

At sixteen she is to marry a man she has never met before. On her wedding day, she carries a knife.

And Gaurav.

People say love is more important than money. But what happens when having one means you can’t have the other?

Scattered across India, these three are intertwined in unlikely ways: the flower shop owned by Mira’s husband employs Radha’s boyfriend, Mira and Gaurav become partners in business and most importantly, an ill-fated trip to Delhi links them all in death and life. Set in the sensuous worlds of Bombay and Delhi, Valiram’s dazzling novel explores the deep meanings of love, family, and time.

What I Thought

As soon as I read the blurb I wanted to devour this book, and it did not disappoint.  Learning about the three central character’s lives, following them over time and seeing how their lives intertwined through time was fascinating.  I loced this quote towrds the end of the book and think it sums up the book really well and gets you thinking –

‘Do you believe in fate? Do you believe in destiny?  Or are you ohne of those that believe in choice alone?

Do you make your choices or do your choices make you?’

It makes you think deeper about the book and you wonder if fate was in control all along or whether the choices you see these characters make control what happens at the end of the story.  A stunning read and highly recommmended.

Buy The Book

https://www.waterstones.com/book/9781788038973

The Single Girl’s Calendar by Erin Green

sgc

Read the full review for this here

I currently have two more on the go and hope to have them finished by the end of the month but as I am posting this a little early, I will include them in February’s round up and review!  Let me know what books you have been loving in the comments below as I always like to check out a good recommendation.  Happy reading everyone!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

My posts may contain affiliate links.  Clicking on them will not affect your purchase in any way but I may get a few pennies from them.  Thankyou

BlogMas Day Seven – Book Review – The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers

So I thought I would share some of the festive books I have read and have been published lately which are wonderful for getting in the Christmas spirit.

The Usual Santas: A Collection of Soho Crime Christmas Capers is a collection of eighteen festive short stories by a range of authors.  I haven’t read a short story book in a while but do really enjoy them from time to time.  The cover looked fun, if a little like a children’s book but it certainly isn’t one!  They were certainly some funny stories, some dark humour, some were lovely and some sad.  It was a real mixed bag and there were only a couple I didn’t finish that didn’t seem to suck me in like the others did.

usual

Description

Nine mall Santas must find the imposter among them. An elderly lady seeks peace from her murderously loud neighbors at Christmastime. A young woman receives a mysterious invitation to Christmas dinner with a stranger. Niccolò Machiavelli sets out to save an Italian city. Sherlock Holmes’s one-time nemesis Irene Adler finds herself in an unexpected tangle in Paris while on a routine espionage assignment. Jane Austen searches for the Dowager Duchess of Wilborough’s stolen diamonds. These and other adventures in this delectable volume will whisk readers away to Christmases around the globe, from a Korean War POW camp to a Copenhagen refugee squat, from a palatial hotel in 1920s Bombay to a crumbling mansion in Havana.

Includes Stories By (In Order of Appearance):
Helene Tursten, Mick Herron, Martin Limón, Timothy Hallinan, Teresa Dovalpage, Mette Ivie Harrison, Colin Cotterill, Ed Lin, Stuart Neville, Tod Goldberg, Henry Chang, James R. Benn, Lene Kaaberbøl & Agnete Friis, Sujata Massey, Gary Corby, Cara Black, Stephanie Barron and a Foreword and story by Peter Lovesey

Favourite Stories

Chalee’s Nativity

This story is set in Bangkok and is about two street children, Chalee and Apple.  It is a sweet story, if a little sad as it is never nice to think of children like this, especially at Christmas.  The bond between the two is ever present though and it just shows what joy can be bought through the simplest of things.

Cabaret Aux Assassins

This was probably my favourite of all the stories and I wish there was more!  The only problem with some short stories is that you wish they weren’t short at all, but full novels.  This book has mystery, spies, Paris and even Sherlock Holmes.  It was a fab read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Supper With Miss Shivers

A heartwarming ghost story emerges after a couple are invited to dinner by a stranger.  Although a strange situation, this is a lovely little Christmas story.

When The Time Comes

This is a good story, which shows that even the bad have some good in them.  I enjoyed this one and had my fingers crossed through it all for the central character, hoping she would get her Christmas wish of where she wanted to be.  And a baby is born which is always lovely!

I liked the fact that each story had an introduction to the author which also mentioned their other work.  It is a good place to start looking when you read a story by an author you enjoy and want to find more.

If you are a short story fan, or haven’t read one before but enjoy dark humour, mystery and Christmas then I suggest you give this one a go.  I really enjoyed it and I am sure you will too

Where To Buy

Waterstones

https://www.waterstones.com/book/9781616957759

Amazon

 

Five Friday Favourites

As the blog has concentrated on talking about periods and contraception this week, I thought I would dedicate this week’s Friday Favourites to those little things that make you feel better during your time of the month.

pmt

First up is a good old hot water bottle.  It’s the perfect time of the year to go shopping for these right now and I have picked a few to share with you.  Top left is a nice, affordable version available from Amazon (here) and is made from soft fleece with a pretty star pattern on.  I love the pumpkin covered one from Not On The High Street (here) and had to include it as it is perfect for this month!  I love the colours of the Zoella one, with the grey chunky knit cover and forest green pom poms.  I love the lifestyle range she has bought out for this Christmas and there are some great gift ideas, this hot water bottle set includes the eye mask too which is super soft.  You can get this range from Boots (here).  I added in the last one as I thought it was perfect for if you suffer not only with tummy pains but back pain too.  It is a heat wrap which can be warmed in the microwave and then wrapped around your body.  It is great to use on your joints too if you benefit from heat pads when you are struggling with pain and stiffness.  This is available from Boots (here) and comes in a couple of different colours, including this beautiful soft grey.

You can also get single use heat pads in Poundland which I find quite useful too.  There are two in a pack and you peel off the backing which activates it to warm up and then stick it on where needed.  I tend to use these more on my joints and prefer my hot water bottle for tummy ache but it is another option depending on your preferences!  A soak in a warm bath will also have the same effect.

Next up is chocolate!  I am not sure if everyone is the same but I do find myself craving more chocolate around my time of the month and it does obviously make me feel a little better when I eat it (as long as I don’t think too much about the weight I will put on!).  My favourite chocolate bars are Galaxy, Turkish Delight, Snickers (although I have to avoid these now due to the nuts and them blocking my stoma) and Milkybars.  What are your favourites, and do you get the same cravings during period week?  Let me know in the comments below.

The next line of attack would be pain medication.  Sometimes a couple of paracetamol will help dull the pain at least but you can go to your doctor and get something more effective prescribed if needed.  I know Naproxen is prescribed for this (not suitable for people with IBD unfortunately as it is an NSAID) but your doctor will be able to help.

Exercise is also good to help with period cramps.  It isn’t recommended if your period is particularly heavy at the time as it can increase the flow but something gentle like pilates or walking can really help with pain.  It isn’t something you will always fancy doing or feel like but if you have tried other things unsuccessfully, it is definitely worth a go.

Finally, if your problems are continual and you aren’t planning a pregnancy soon, you can talk to your GP about contraception as a way of helping ease your periods.  Many methods such as the patch, the coil and the implant can help lighten your flow, reduce cramps and sometimes even stop you having periods all together.  Obviously every method doesn’t work for everyone in the same way and also some methods aren’t suitable for some people (see my post about Contraception and IBD/Arthritis from earlier in the week here) so it is important to talk to your doctor and see what they suggest is good for you and what could help with your specific problems.  I originally went on the patch before I started my relationship as my doctor advised it could help lighten and shorten my periods (I was having 9-10 day long periods for many years).  Some GPs also have specialist nurses in the practice who you can visit and discuss all options available to you with.

I hope you enjoyed reading this special edition of my Five Friday Favourites.  Are there any other things that you use that you could recommend to others?  Let me know in the comments below and I hope you all enjoy your weekend!