Spring Cleaning Week – April Challenge

Good morning, happy new week and happy new month! Today sees the start of my Spring Cleaning week – I will be posting blogs here and videos over on my YouTube channel all week about cleaning! Today I am starting with the return to my monthly challenge posts. Last month I didn’t do one as I spent a lot of it in hospital, so there isn’t one to review and I will plunge straight in to what I plan on doing this month.

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April Favourites

The end of April already – how time flies!  I have found myself saying that so much already this year but it’s true, it seems to be flying by.  Anyone else feel the same?  We are already a third of the way through 2018, that’s crazy!  Anyway, I didn’t get round to doing a favourites post last month but this month I have lots to share with you so enjoy.

The Client List
the client list

I started watching this last month on Netflix and am loving it, I have about half of season two to go now.  It stars Jennifer Love Hewitt who I think is great, and tells her story of being abandoned by her husband and starting a new job as a masseuse at a place she soon finds out offers extras – and she really needs the money!  Lots of laughs, heartbreak and the anticipation of someone finding out what’s going on keeps you on your toes with this one, definitely recommend it!

Gold Rush

gold rush

My family all watch this show and I never really got into it – until Ste started me watching it!  Now I love it and have found the recent spin off following Parker and crew into the jungle really interesting too.  Even the boys have started watching it too, their little eyes light up when they see them measuring the gold at the end of the episodes!  I don’t watch a huge amount of TV and things I do watch, I mainly record and catch up when I can.

Lush Sleepy Body Lotion

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I have heard so much about this and decided last month to pop in and give it a try.  One of the lovely staff members (they all seem like the happiest people on Earth in there and are so friendly and helpful) asked if she could help and I told her what I was looking for.  She kindly found me a tub and explained where best to use it.  She explained it is a natural product and is designed to help aid sleep but obviously isn’t a miracle cure.  However, both me and Ste have been using it for around a month now and have found it works brilliantly!  Really helps aid relaxation at bedtime and is a good part of my night time routine.  It smells lovely and I love that the products from Lush are natural and not tested on animals.  If you struggle to wind down in the evening I would suggest giving it a try.  I put it on the pulse points of my wrist and neck and it rubs in really easily and doesn’t go greasy.

Bath Bomb by Saboa

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This bath bomb came in my March The Mummy Club box and it was AMAZING!  Smelled divine, looked pretty and my skin was so soft and smooth when I got out the bath that even Ste commented on it!  Heavenly, will be ordering from these again!

Find them on Instagram – Hello Saboa

Sunshine

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It has arrived and I couldn’t be happier to have spent my birthday week enjoying the warmer temperatures and lovely sunshine.  I am sure I have a little S.A.D. – I really do feel a whole lot better when the sun is out.

Horlicks

Another integral part of mine and Ste’s bedtime routine now.  It has been nice to start using more natural remedies rather than medication to aid sleep and a warm, milky Horlicks just hits the spot!

MakeUp Revolution Palette – Reloaded

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I finally found the palette I have been after for the last two or three months and treated myself to it with some of my birthday money.  It’s only £4 which is a bargain and is full of colours I adore!  Have used it a couple of times but can’t wait to keep trying different looks.  I really love the Make Up Revolution palettes and own a few now.  I find them good quality, inexpensive and they have great variety.

Peach Coca Cola

I thought the Mango was nice…but the peach one is even better!!!  I love peach flavoured pretty much anything anyway so no surprise I liked this really.  Have you tried it yet?

Dog Shampoo

I grabbed this dog shampoo as I knew we were almost out of our current bottle.  It was in one of the Aldi ‘random’ aisles and cost about £3 from memory.  We have only used it once so far, but it left Knox’s coat really smooth and shiny and smelled amazing.  This lasted a lot longer than the one we were using before too and his skin has been great with it.  Definitely keeping my eye out for it to appear again and will grab a few bottles to keep us stocked up.

Uno

This isn’t a new favourite for the month but we have played it a lot this month (Easter Holidays and all that) and we just love it!  We have Uno championships pretty much daily and whoever wins five games first is crowned Uno champion for the day.  It is a really simple game that even young children can enjoy (there is a Junior version too) and just lots of fun.  Some of the kid’s board games can get a bit boring, even when they love them, but this one always keeps us all entertained.

Chicken Korma Pot Noodle

Wow!  Pot Noodle have bought a few new flavours out but this one has to be the best ever!  Absolutely delicious and even Ste agrees!  I have also tried the Sausage Casserole one which is nice but nothing to rave about and have a BBQ Pulled Pork one in the cupboard to try so will let you know how that goes.

Horrible Histories Colouring Book

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I have loved the Horrible Histories books since being a child and now as an adult I love a good colouring book.  Finding the two combined in The Works made me slightly excited and I had to grab a copy.  I find colouring really therapeutic and a great non-screen time hobby

My Birthday

I did it, this month I turned 32.  I had an absolutely fab day.  Two friends came to stay and the four of us went for a prosecco breakfast.  Ste wasn’t feeling well at all but managed to make it out with us.  We then chilled at home in the garden in the beautiful sunshine before going to meet up with my family in the pub for an evening of drinks and laughs.  Was really relaxed, fun and I was thoroughly spoilt.  Thankyou for all the lovely messages I received, they all meant so much.

I am going to leave it there as could go on all day, especially as it has been two months since I last did a favourites post.  I hope you liked and will try some of my suggestions.  Please let me know what you have loved this month in the comments below

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

April Book Reviews

Aside from the month going super quickly, I feel a bit meh about this month’s book reviews.  I just haven’t LOVED everything I have read this month which is a little disappointing and has meant I have struggled to swap my phone for a book in the evening.  For that reason I have about three books I am still wading through so they will now be on next month’s list.  Here are my reviews for this month.

Not So Stories

not so stories

The Blurb

Anthology of short stories from culturally diverse writers  writing in response to Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories.

Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories was one of the first true children’s books in the English language, a timeless classic that continues to delight readers to this day. Beautiful, evocative and playful, the stories of How the Whale Got His Throat or How the First Letter Was Written paint a world of magic and wonder.

It’s also deeply rooted in British Colonialism. Kipling saw the Empire as a benign, civilizing force, in a way that’s troubling to modern readers. Not So Stories attempts to redress the balance, bringing together new and established writers of colour from around the world to take the Just So Storiesback, to interrogate, challenge, and celebrate their legacy.

Including stories by Adiwijaya Iskandar, Joseph E. Cole, Raymond Gates, Stewart Hotston, Zina Hutton, Georgina Kamiska, Cassandra Khaw, Paul Krueger, Tauriq Moosa, Jeannette Ng, Ali Nouraei, Wayne Santos, Zedeck Siew, and Achala Upendran, with illustrations from Woodrow Pheonix.

What I Thought

I was really excited to read this, having read many of the Just So stories as a child.  The foreword did not disappoint and had me excited for the stories to follow.  However, they were not all as enjoyable as I expected, and I sometimes struggled to pick this book back up.  I think my two favourites were How The Spider Got Her Legs and Best Beloved.  The spider one definitely struck a nerve with me as it told the story of a mother fighting for her children.

I thought this was going to be an alternative bedtime story type book, and at least in part, suitable for me to read to the boys.  That wasn’t the case, and I think even my avid reading 9 year old would struggle with this, if that was the intention.

I wouldn’t discourage someone from having a read of this if it interests them, but I certainly wouldn’t be pushing people to either unfortunately.  I love the idea of changing something like the Just So Stories to be more modern and relevant but for me, most of the stories just did not grab my attention.

“I’ve talked at length about why it’s important that we see ourselves in children’s books.  All of us.  Because for  a person from a marginalised background to see themselves in fiction, it shows them that their stories are valid and they are seen”

Nikesh Shukla

“It’s a brave choice to take something so much a part of the canon as Kipling and make it more inclusive, and yet that’s what has happened in the following pages”

Nikesh Shukla
Thankyou to NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing for the ARC of this book.  In return I was asked to provide a review but all opinions are my own

Where To Buy

Amazon

Waterstones



The Queen Of Bloody Everything (Audio) by Joanne Nadin

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The Blurb

And in that instant I fall in love. Not just with him, though he is the better part of it, but with them both, with the whole scene: the house, the garden, the magazine perfection of it. And I want very badly to be in this picture.

As Edie Jones lies in a bed on the fourteenth floor of a Cambridge hospital, her adult daughter Dido tells their story, starting with the day that changed everything.

That was the day when Dido – aged exactly six years and twenty-seven days old – met the handsome Tom Trevelyan, his precocious sister, Harry, and their parents, Angela and David.

The day Dido fell in love with a family completely different from her own.

Because the Trevelyans were exactly the kind of family six year-old Dido dreamed of.

Normal.

And Dido’s mother, Edie, doesn’t do normal.

In fact, as Dido has learnt the hard way, normal is the one thing Edie can never be .

What I Thought

I was a little shocked at some of the content in this book, I will be honest.  I am no prude but some of the things the young Dido talks about, observes and hears are not for little eyes or ears.  She shouldn’t be being exposed to it.  However, I am under no illusion that children have and do grow up like this.

This didn’t put me off however, I really did enjoy this book.  Poignant, sad, laugh out loud and written with such raw emotion – it certainly takes you on a ride.  The author does a beautiful job of telling Dido’s story with some wonderful characters and an interesting look into this strange and unique mother-daughter relationship.  She also did a great job of capturing the sense of time with some good references to popular culture.  I listened to the Audible version and felt the reader did a great job in conveying the story in this format.  I especially loved the voice she gave to Edie.

I highly recommend giving this book a try, it was certainly the highlight of the month for me.  I really enjoyed the Audible version but I think I would have also enjoyed reading the physical book just as much too.

Where To Buy

Amazon

Waterstones

The Dressmaker’s Secret by Charlotte Betts

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The Blurb

Italy, 1819. Emilia Barton and her mother Sarah live a nomadic existence, travelling from town to town as itinerant dressmakers to escape their past. When they settle in the idyllic coastal town of Pesaro, Emilia desperately hopes that, this time, they have found a permanent home. But when Sarah is brutally attacked by an unknown assailant, a deathbed confession turns Emilia’s world upside down.

Seeking refuge as a dressmaker in the eccentric household of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, Emilia experiences her first taste of love with the charming Alessandro. But her troubling history gnaws away at her. Might she, a humble dressmaker’s daughter, have a more aristocratic past than she could have imagined? When the Princess sends her on an assignment to London, she grasps the opportunity to unravel the truth.

Caught up in a web of treachery and deceit, Emilia is determined to discover who she really is – even if she risks losing everything . . .

What I Thought

I actually didn’t read this one this month, but at the beginning of the year and ghave just realised I didn’t let you know what I thought.  This one gripped me withnin a few pages and had me hooked.  I am a big fan of historical fiction and enjoy all the nods to actual events that happened during the time the book was set.

Emilia was a likeable lead, and this helped immensely as you read on to find out what happens to her.  It was also great to read about Caroline of Brunswick and I always love a book which inspires you to find out more about a character, as I have been with her.

A great read which combines history and mystery with a dash of romance.

Thankyou to NetGalley and Little, Brown Book Group for the ARC of this book.  In return I was asked to provide a review but all opinions are my own

Where To Buy

Amazon

Waterstones

That’s this month’s round ups!  I have an exciting post coming soon about a book I was sent and am LOVING so can’t wait to let you all know about that.  Fingers crossed I will be back with a bang and lots of great books next month.   As always let me know what you have been reading and would recommend in the comments below. Happy reading!

NatalieThe Spoonie Mummy

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