November Favourites

I haven’t done a favourites post in a while and thought #blogmas was the perfect time to bring it back.  Here is what I have been loving this month.

Netflix – Salem

I have been watching this while Ste has been in hospital as it isn’t really his cup of tea.  I have really been enjoying it though and have enjoyed looking more into the history of the Salem witch trials as a result (I am a bit of a history geek).  I am about half way through the second season now and there are three online, will hopefully be finished the whole lot by Christmas.

I also finally got round to watching Bridget Jones’s Baby and really enjioyed it!  Perfect for a cosy, girlie night in!

Aldi Cheddar and Cracked Black Pepper Thins

I picked these up in Aldi and they are super delicious.  Perfect for a snack with some homemade salsa or with a little cheese spread on – I hope I will be able to find them in there again.  That is one of the only problems with Aldi – they don’t have everything in there everytime you go in!

Starbucks Eggnog Latte

So so pleased to see these back in Starbucks!  I have never tried proper Eggnog before and think I need to give it a go this Christmas, but these taste amazing!

Asda Red Pepper and Wensleydale Soup

Nothing says Winter to me like a bowl of soup!  I often pick up two or three of the fresh soup cartons from Asda when I do the shopping, which do me two meals each.  This month I saw this one for the first time and it is really tasty!  I took out the pieces of pepper skin as my ostomy would definitely object if I ate those, but they are quite big and easy enough to remove.  I also love the Broccoli and Stilton one they do too.

MakeUp Revolution Advent Calendar


Ste got me the Yankee Candle Advent Calendar and this year he has got me this one – I love it!  Really cant wait to open the doors and see what is inside.  Be sure to be following mwe on Instagram as I will be sharing what I get over on my stories!

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Christmas Tree Scent Sticks

I picked these up in B & M and they smell amazing!  Can’t wait to pop them in my tree so the whole living room smells of them!

Geeky Melts Wax Melts

Everyone who knows me, knows I love my candles and wax melts.  I was really pleased to be sent some wax melts from Geeky Melts to try.  They worked really well for two burns and the scents were amazing and different from any I had had from other places.  I love the different designs they do (including fab Christmas ones at the moment) and think  they would make perfect gifts.

Check out Geeky Melts on

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Etsy Shop

I do hope you have enjoyed my little round up this month.  I am sure there will be LOTS for me to share in the December round up – it is one of my favourite months of the year after all!  What have you been enjoying this month?  Let me know in the comments below so I can try them out,

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

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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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Summer Reading List

I was always known as the bookworm when I was young and reading is still a great passion of mine.  Recently I have been into Waterstones faaaar too much but I can’t resist a peek at the ‘buy one get one half price displays’ to see what I fancy reading.  I have now built up quite a stash of books so feel very prepared for the coming Summer!  I thought I would share my list and hopefully hear some of your opinions on the books I am reading or even inspire your Summer reads this year.

TRULY MADLY GUILTY by LIANE MORIARTY

This author features twice in my Summer Reading List and comes very highly recommended.  The blurb on the back cover of the book simply reads

“This is a story which begins with a barbecue… By the end of it a lifelong friendship will be in tatters, a marriage on the rocks and an innocent bystander dead.  In just one evening six lives will change forever”

The chapters randomly flip between the present day and the day of the barbecue.  There are lots of people praising her writing including Stephen Fry and Jojo Moyes. With those sorts of fans I thought it was worth a read myself!

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ABOUT LAST NIGHT by ADELE PARKS

I saw this book in the buy one get one half price sale in Waterstones but decided on two others at the time.  I ended up picking this up from the book swap stand in the Halifax town centre Tesco Express.  It’s a great place to look for books (there is also one in Huddersfield bus station) and it’s a shame I don’t know of any in Derby.  All they ask you to do is leave a donation in their charity box which is what I did.

The blurb reads

“How far would you go to save your best friend? For thirty years, best friends Steph and Pip have been through thick and thin.  Selfless and trusting, there’s nothing they wouldn’t do for one another.  Until a few simple words change everything.  I need you to say that I was with you. Steph, eternally solid and dependable, is begging her friend to lie to the police as she’s desperately trying to conceal not one but two scandalous secrets to protect her family. Pip, self-consigned to the role of scatty hot-head, is overwhelmed, she’s normally the one asking for help in a crisis.  Steph’s perfect life will be torn apart unless Pip agrees to this lie.  But lying will jeopardise everything Pip’s recently achieved after years of struggle.  It’s a big ask.  So what would you do?”

I am obviously intrigued into what she is asking her friend to do and wonder how it will affect their relationship.  It looks lie the book is centered over five days and there are several short chapters in each day.  At the beginning of the book there is a short section based thirty years previously, probably introducing the girls at the beginning of their friendship.  Then at the end there is a round up a few months after when the majority of the book is set.  This was a Sunday Times bestseller and also has some really good feedback from a range of newspapers and magazines.

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NOBODY’S SON by CATHY GLASS

I have read a few of Cathy Glass’s books and have always enjoyed them.  ‘Please Don’t Take My Baby’ was one of my favourites.  Cathy Glass was a foster carer for many years and her stories are all based on children she looked after.  She has sold over a million books and they are often those you don’t want to stop reading and put down so often keep me up into the early hours.

The blurb says

“Alex was a lovely little boy who had been in and out of care almost since birth and was looking forward to having a forever family of his own.  I was asked to foster him for a short while until he moved to his permanent, adoptive home, so I felt sure this story would have a happy ending.  But what happened next was truly shocking and called into question the whole adoption process.”

I will warn you that these books are all true stories and really tug on the heart strings.  Cathy writes freely and in an easy to follow way, which is one of the reasons you keep reading, as well as wanting to find out the fate of the children she cares for.

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MY COUSIN RACHEL by DAPHNE DU MAURIER

I ma not only excited to read a book by Daphne Du Maurier (got to love that name) but this has also just been released as a film and I always like to read a book before watching the film!  Most of the time I end up feeling let down at the film but there are the odd few exceptions.

The back of the book says

“Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his cousin, Ambrose.  Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in making Philip his heir, knowing that he will treasure his beautiful Cornish estate.  But Philip’s world is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence.  There he falls in love and marries – and then dies in suspicious circumstances.  Before long, the new widow – Philip’s cousin Rachel – arrives in England.  Despite himself, he is drawn to the beautiful, mysterious woman.  But could she be Ambrose’s killer?”

I am looking forward to reading this one and then seeing how the film compares.

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THE HANDMAID’S TALE by MARGARET ATWOOD

The blurb reads

“The Republic of Gilead offers Offread only one function: to breed.  If she deviates she will, like dissenters, be hung at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness.  But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offread’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.  Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful vision of the future gives full rein to ,Margaret Atwood’s irony, wit and astute perception.”

This has recently been televised in a TV series and has had some rave reviews.  As I said with the previous book, I like to read before I watch so I was thrilled to see this in the bouy one get opne half price offer.  It looks different and an interesting read and I will let you know what I think.

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THE SECRET AGENT by JOSEPH CONRAD

I bought this book a while ago and had not realised it had been bought out as a TV series at the time.  I didn’t watch the show but if I enjoy the book I may catch up with it after I have finished reading.  There’s not a huge amount I can say about it but when I read the back cover I felt interested so thought I would give it a whirl.

The blurb reads

“London, 1886 and Adolf Verloc runs a sex shop in the heart of Soho.  Bit unknown to his loyal wife, Winnie, Verloc is also paid by the Russian embassy to spy on an anarchist cell.  Verloc is given a mission to blow up Greenwich Observatory or be exposed as an agent.  Caught between the spy masters,. the police and his vicious anarchist comrades, Verloc sets his sights on Winnie’s beloved younger brother Stevie as his accomplice…”

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THE UNDERGORUND RAILROAD by COLSON WHITEHEAD

I was immediately drawn to this book when I read the blurb.  Since purchasing it I have seen lots of great reviews on it too which has increased my excitement to read it.  There is lots of praise for the book from newspapers here and in America, aswell as from Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey.

The back cover reads

“Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia, an existence made even more hellish by her status as an outcast by her fellow Africans.  And she is approaching womanhood, where greater pain and danger awaits.  So when Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the underground railroad, Cora takes the momentus decision to accompany him on his escape to the North.  In this razor sharp novel, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form, a dilapidated box-car pulled by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can.  Thus begins Cora’s perilous journey, as she is pursued by a ruthless slave catcher called Ridgeway, obsessed with both Cora and her mother, who eluded him years before.  The Underground Railroad is the story of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history and the unfulfilled promises of the present day.”

This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2017 and I am really looking forward to reading it and seeing if the story matches up to all the great reviews I have read.

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ROOM by EMMA DONOGHUE

This was given to me by a friend last year and I still haven’t got round to reading it so it’s definitely on my Summer list!  She thought it was great and my Mum watched the film and said that was brilliant too.  I will obviously only be watching that once I am done reading the book.

The blurb simply states

“Jack is five.  He lives in a single, locked room with his Ma.”

It was a number one bestseller and shortlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize.  I think this book intrigues me and I want to know why on Earth this little boy has never been out of the one room in all his life and what possibly could force his mother to do such a thing.  It has often been described as compelling and profoundly affecting so I am expecting to shed some tears too.

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ANOTHER DAY IN THE DEATH OF AMERICA by GARY YOUNGE

This is a book I am currently reading and really enjoying.  I do enjoy true crimes book and feel quite strongly about the gun laws in America.  This book is based on a random day in 2013 when 10 children and teens were murdered by guns (or indeed, the people who carried them).  This is roughly the average of children and young people who get shot killed every day in America but are barely publicised as it is so ‘normal’ over there, which seems so very wrong.

The back cover reads,

“Saturday 23rd November 2013.  It was just another day in America.  And as befits an unremarkable day, ten children and teens were killed by gunfire.  Far from being considered newsworthy, these everyday fatalities are seen as a banal fact.  The youngest was nine: the oldest nineteen.  None made the news.  There was no outrage at their passing.  It was simply a day like any other day.  Gary Younge picked it at random, searched for the families of these children and here, tells their stories and explores the way they lived and lost their short lives.”

The stories are often heartbreaking but I admire Gary for his views and for giving these victims a facer and a name.  There is a real debate in America about gun laws and I think this seems so shocking to me as I am not from there and this does not happen on this scale in England.  I am really enjoying it so far and will do a full review once I am finished.

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MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN by RANSOM BIGGS

I have started the first book in this series of three and am really enjoying it so far.  I love knowing that the photos printed in the book are real (and slightly odd) and that it was finding these that prompted Biggs to start writing these stories.

The blurb says,

“A mysterious island.  An abandoned orphanage.  A strange collection of peculiar photographs.  It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience.  As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen year old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children.  As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it appears the Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just a little peculiar.  They may have been dangerous.  They may have been quarantined on a desert island for good reason.  And somehow – impossible though it seems – they may still be alive.”

I am sure many of you have seen the film but I am also waiting for that one till I have read the book.  I also believe the success of the first film means they are making the two further books into films aswell, and I also managed to pick those up from Waterstones in Huddersfield so I can read all three. I would love to hear your opinions on the books/film if you have seen or read them.

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I have also delved into the world of audio books. My Mum has been on at me to try them for a while so decided to give it a go and realised it was great! So far I’ve listened while driving back from Ste’s alone, cleaning and ironing! I have two books to start with on there. One is by LIANE MORIARTY (again) and it’s called BIG LITTLE LIES. This was recently made into a TV show with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman among others so I’m expecting great things from it, and even better from the book (as they usually are!). The second book I’ve downloaded is HOW TO STOP TIME by MATT HAIG. This looks a little different and interesting and I haven’t heard of the author so will let you know how I get on with it.

Finally, is the Kindle book I’m reading at the moment. I have started it and it’s called STORMBIRD and is the first in a series from CONN IGGULDEN called WAR OF THE ROSES. It’s a historical fiction book which I’m really into but I’m sure isn’t everyone’s cup of tea! I have a pretty eclectic taste in books which I’m sure you have realised. Anyway, Ste recommended this book and I’m really enjoying it so far and will let you know how I found it when I’ve finished.

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Ok so I’m going to leave the list here as it’s getting longer and longer! I’ve bought four more new books last week so those will also be read and reviewed at some point too.

Let me know what is on your Summer reading list in the comments below, and if any of these appeal to you too.

 

 

 

 

The Spoonie Mummy Reviews – Simple Hydrating Cleansing Oil

Good evening! Tonight I have a recommendation for you!

Having an ileostomy I have to be really careful about fluid intake. Your large intestine is responsible for absorbing most of the fluid your body needs and as mine isn’t in use it is easy to succumb to dehydration.

I find this really affects my skin and recently I’ve been trying to make a real effort to look after it a bit more and have a good skincare routine.

And I’ve discovered this amazing cleansing oil from Simple! I use three or four drops and rub it into my face every evening. It takes off all my makeup and leaves my skin feeling amazing and not greasy as I was expecting as it is an oil! I also have sensitive eyes due to my iritis but this doesn’t irritate them at all! Highly recommend it if you struggle with dehydrated or dry skin!

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