Bows Bangles & Bakes Book Review

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

I've always been a bookworm, although for the last few months I never seemed to find the time. Recently I've managed to get back into reading again (I think I kinda owe this to Alex) in my daily life and not just on holiday.
You may remember I mentioned that I had just finished reading Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan. I really enjoyed this book and its not something I would have automatically picked up myself. As reading has always been a big part of my life, I wanted to start doing more book related posts on my blog, so this is going to be my first go at a book review!
Ellis Island was given to me as a present from a friend, whom I went to New York with. Whilst we were there we actually visited Ellis Island, what was previously the City's Mass Immigration Centre, now a Memorial.. One of the things I loved most about this book was it gave a story to the the rooms and artifacts I had seen myself. As good as the 'attraction' is, I don't think it really gave me a feel for what happens at Ellis Island the way it does in the book (I almost wish I had read this first!)
Ellis Island is the story of Ellie Hogan, who goes to America to earn enough money, to pay for her beloved husband's surgery, after he is injured during the Irish Civil War. The story moves from impoverished Ireland, to the wealth and glamour of 1920s New York.
I did find this book quite slow to get going - without going into too much detail, the book initially begins by setting the story of how Ellie falls in love with her childhood sweetheart, and it takes some time to progress to Ellie taking the trip to the Big Apple. Once this section of the book begins however, the story moves fairly quickly, and is paced well, to keep the readers interest ,of how Ellie survives America, and its technological advances, but all the while reminding you that her heart and soul remains left behind in Ireland.
One of the interesting elements of the book, is the advances in technology, that are well detailed in description ,and the differences in attitudes in America, to those seen in Ireland. The elements of the story set in Ireland remind the reader of the simple things in life, such as love and family, whereas New York, takes the reader to a place of consumerism, indulgence, and the opportunities wealth can bring. Kate Kerrigan contrasts these two elements fantastically, and leave you questioning where your own heart lies - wealth and glamour, or love and simplicity?
Despite the slow start, I really enjoyed this book, and couldn't wait to reach the conclusion. I felt the story ended nicely, however, I have recently discovered that Ellis Island is the first book in a trilogy, City of Hope, and the final title Land of Dreams is due for release this Springand I can't wait to get my hands on both!
Have you read Ellis Island? Would you consider reading it now?

What I ate to loose weight

Saturday, 23 February 2013

One of my favourite blogs is Cider with Rosie, and for some reason I've got a little bit obsessed with reading about what Rosie has cooked, and eaten that week. As lovely as some of Rosie's meals look, they are not always compatiable with my eating plan.
Some of you may remember I talked about re-joining my slimming world class before I went to Cuba. Well I did, but it was a very brief re-join, as I got back within my target range and then didn't bother anymore.
After Christmas, alot of my favourite clothes were starting to feel on the tight side. Well, quite frankly it's no wonder! I discovered that since my last weigh in I had gained a stone, so off I popped back to re-join and get on the straight and healthy narrow. I actually enjoy going to my group, as everyone is really friendly and supportive, and I often leave feeling really motivated and inspired, far more than I did when I was trying on  "go it alone" at home, (as I could just lie to myself as I wasn't paying to get weighed so it didn't really matter). I know many people scoff at the idea of joining a "fat club", and refuse to pay someone to weigh them when you could just do it home, but actually handing over that £5 every week really motivates you to get to your goal, so you don't have to pay anymore! One of the most annoying things I ever hear is "oh you've got a lovely figure you don't need to loose weight!" Well very nice of you to say so, but I, in myself know how I feel. I an tell when my diet has been full of rubbishy junk food, as I feel rubbishy! 
So, in case any of you were in a simialr position, concerned about joining a group and worried about not being able to eat your favourite foods, I thought I would share with you, what I've eaten this week 
1. Waffle with Ice Cream & Toffee Sauce
Top Row L-R 1.Prawn Curry & Rice with Mint Raita; 2. Cheese Stuffed Chicken wrapped in Bacon, with Neaoplitan Sauce, and vegetables; 3. Full Cooked breakfast.
Bottom Row L-R 1. Homemade lamb burger, homeade chips and salad; 2. Sunday Roast; 3. Chicken Briyani
Ok, so lets be realistic, if you eat the ice cream covered waffle everyday, you are not going to loose weight! This was a Valentines Day night treat, which I counted up, and made allowances for elsewhere. This clearly isn't everything I've eaten one week, it's mostly just my main meals, aside from the cooked breakfast. There is one meal missing, and thats becuase I got home late so only had slice of toast when I came in. The biggest restriction on Slimming World is your diary (milk cheese etc) and your fibre (cereals and bread) so you'll see, I don't have toast with my breakfast as I had a bread bun on my burger instead that day. Potatoes, pasta, rice, vegetables, fruit and all lean meats can be eaten without counting or pointing anything. A Sunday Roast is therefore ideal, as the worst thing on there is the splosh of gravy and the yorkshire pudding! (I do have to make Scott carve the meat though as I looooove chicken skin, and this is very very bad!!) I'm not going to go into all the finer details of the plan here, but it may just inspire you to consider this if you were thinking of trying to eat better and/or loose weight.
Oh and I suppose you want to know how I did after eating all this? Well I lost 2.5lbs this week - thats 5lbs lost so far! And I've never once felt hungry or deprived!
Has this made you think about Slimming World and diets in general differently? Would you be tempted to try any of these meals?



Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I decided after my last Mostly.... post, I would make this a monthly feature.

So, this month I have been mostly.......



Healthy! Plenty of fruit and vegetables. I feel so much better for it too!


Well as I have finally finished watching all of my Big Bang Theory boxset, I am now catching up on some of my recordings. I'm currently working my way through Ripper Street, Call the Midwife and Mr Selfridge. I'm in love with Trixie's style from Call The Midwife!




My new leather jacket as seen in my New Look haul post.


I've just finished reading Ellis Island, by Kate Kerrigan. Its been sat on my bookshelf for a while now, and I wish I had picked it up much sooner. I will be doing a little review of it on here, as I do want to do more book-related posts as I'm such a bookworm! I've just started reading Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer.




I've been doing lots of little DIY jobs and giving my spare room a bit of a mini makeover. More on this to come!


If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen me tweet that I rejoined slimming world a couple of weeks ago, so we've been doing a lot of home cooked meals recently. Check back later this week, for a round up of what we've been eating this week and how it's affected my weight loss!


I've still been having the occasional bottle of strawberry cider, but I've actually been drinking a lot of hot chocolate Options. You might think this doesn't fit with what I said above about Slimming World but these are quite low in syns and give me a little chocolate fix when I need one, so these have been a lifesaver recently!


I’m still addicted to Candy Crush and Bubble Witch, as well as Hay Day. I've had a go at the four pictures one word game, but in all honesty, I just find it too easy! I don't mean that in a braggy way, but it appeals to the way my brain functions so I found it a bit boring.


You may know I'm fairly loyal to my skincare brand, Clarins, but recently I have had a little try of Lush's skincare routine. I do want to do a review on this soon, but I want to give it a couple of weeks of use before I do, in order to ensure a fair review.


I found Sofia's Journal, after she advertised on Sprinkle of Glitter in the same month as me. I have warned Sofia I may have to stop reading her blog as it just seems to encourage me to spend money, but I fell in love with these Zara flats on her blog. I've also decided I want a matching handbag too! Well nude shoes and bag have got to be an investment right??




So that's what I've been up to lately, and a sneaky peek at some future posts. What have you been mostly.......


Budget Beauty Blogger Swap

Saturday, 16 February 2013

This was not the post I had intended to do today, but as this little package arrived on my doorstep, and I was so keen to dig in, I knew if I didn't photograph and blog it straight away, it would be too late and I would have opened everything! (I also realised it's been a while since I've done any beauty posts on here too.)
If you've followed my blog for a while, you may have caught on that I enjoy doing blogger swaps. I signed up for Bewitchery's Budget Beauty Blogger Swap. The budget was £10, and that was pretty much the only rule.
I was partnered up with Daniella of Madame Gourmand. I didn't really give Danielle much to go on, only that I have issues with using toner, so I pretty much gave her free reign! And she came up trumps! I was excited about the variety of the products Danielle had included.
I've never used a make up fixer before, and I've never even heard of Avene Thermal Spring Water, so I am excited about both of these. The Molton Brown Bath and Shower smells amazing, as does the Crazy Rumors lipbalm (it smells of Amaretto!). Daniella also included a card with my package to explain why she had sent certain items, and told me that she had trained as a massage therapist, and that using a massage soap is great for circulation. I'm not normally a soap user, but this cherry one smells delicious, and I'm all for improving my skin's appearance. (It has the added bonus of the cute heart shaped tin too!) As Daniella says in her card, Accessorize's packaging is fab, and this Hot Smudge shadow, looks a nice little kit. I'm also quite intrigued by the Beauty Fixation nail polish touch ups, as I chip my polish alot, due to the amount of typing that I do, so these will be interesting!
Overall I'm really pleased and excited by my package, and astounded that it all cost around £10. Additonally, Daniella wrapped my products in the cute owl fabric you can see in the pictures (I think this was from a Crafty Creatives box, as I think Daniella recycled one to post it all in! I'm all for recycling!)
Have you used any of these products before? What are your thoughts?


OOTD -Polyvore Creations

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

I love me a bit of Pinterest and Polyvore. I don't make sets on Polyvore, as I'm generally not very good at it, but I do use it for making wishlists, such as the one in my New Look Haul post. I do often find myself pinning other people's Polyvore sets that I've found whilst browsing Pinterest. But, if you're anything like me, how often do you find yourself pinning something to your "My Style" board, which is actually nothing like your style, nor do you own anything similar in your wardrobe. I often find some of the items are quite pricey, or old stock too.

I pinned the image below, as not only did I like it, but it is actually "My Style", as well. I love wearing socks above my boots, and I realised I already had the same, or very similar items, in my own wardrobe so I could create the look for real (and for probably half the price)!

Cozy in Chambray

So this is the outfit I created, inspired by my Polyvore Pin. It's not exactly the same, as my items are much cheaper, and my cardigan is mustard coloured rather than cream, but I think its certainly very similar! The cardigan I'm wearing, was on my 'maybe' pile for the charity shop, as I couldn't wear it under coats or jackets due to the batwing sleeve, but over a long sleeve denim shirt, it's so cosy I don't need a coat, and it has given it a new lease of life. (I'm sure it's very pleased to be back in my wardrobe too!)

Denim Shirt & Leggings - H&M
Socks (under boots) Primark
Cardigan - Internacionale (old)
Scarf - Tesco (last summer)
Boots - Dorothy Perkins (very very old, maybe 8-10 years old!
Just proves good leather boots are an investment!)
Leather Bag - bought on holiday
I'm inspired to begin pinning more Polyvores similar to outfits I can create with items in my wardrobe. Have you ever re-created a Polyvore outfit? I'd love it if you shared your links if you have!


Questions about Me.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

I have previously been nominated for a Leibster Award (you can read it here) but recently I have been nominated for three more! I am not the worlds most interesting person so I'm not able to come up with more 33 random facts about myself, but indirectly jumping on the current blogger bandwagon, here are my answers to the questions each blogger has come up with as part of their own nominations.

Danielle at Built Like a Pin Up

1. Which do you prefer; cosmetics or clothes?
Clothes always! I will leave the house without cosmetics but never without clothes! I'm a bit unadventurous when it comes to cosmetics as well, as I am actually rubbish at putting make up on!
2. Who/what inspires you?
I think I've said this before, but my Mum is my biggest inspiration. Without her I would never do the job I do, and I would probably never have completed my uni course, and I certainly wouldn't have my charity shops skills and thrifty style!
3. What is your favourite colour to wear, and why?
Blue - Navy blue. I didn't actually realise it was my favourite colour (not only to wear but in general) until I realised how much I have of it in my wardrobe and in my home decor, so I'm guessing it's got to be my favourite!
4. How do you relax? e.g. film day in bed, cook... etc
My favourite way to relax is to put cleanhly laundered sheets on my bed, have a bath with some lovely bath products, taking time doing my skincare routine and washing my hair then putting on fresh pjs and having an early night with a good book and a hot chocolate. I genuinely look forward to not having a weekend planned in order to do this!

I also like to go out with the girls and rip it up, but relaxing is a quite boring affair for me.
5. What is your favourite fashion brand?
Hmmmm, I think at present, considering my most recent post, it's probably New Look!
6. What is your favourite cosmetics/make up line?
Benefit - I love their packaging, their branding, and that it's not about bright garish colours and looks, its about fixing and faking what you've already got.

7. Which of the four seasons is your favourite?
Autumn. I love the changing colours of the leaves, the nip in the air, the fashions, the cosy evening's in, eating mash potato (it's wrong in the summer!) and kicking leaves on an afternoon walk with the pup.
8. Do you believe in dieting?
Yes and No. I'm on a diet, in that I go to Slimming World class, but for me it's been a complete lifestyle change. I still pig out and eat whats bad for me, but I always recognise how my body feels when I eat the right things. I've got friends doing shake and soup diets which I disagree with, as I don't feel they are sustainable, but a diet that invokes a lifestyle change and improves your health can only be a good thing.
9. What object that you own, means most to you, and why?
My two rings -one is my engagement ring from my partner, the other is my grandmother's engagement ring. I'm hoping the reasons why they mean so much are fairly self-explanatory!
10. Do you have a slogan or something you live by? And if you do, what is it?
Not really but one of my favourite quotes is "it's not the days in your life, it's how much life is in your days". (Kelly Jones)
11. How did you get into blogging?
Two ways - I began researching for my wedding and came across A Beautiful Mess, and googling and finding Zoella's Primark Hauls on Youtube. It all looked fun and I realised I could start one myself!

Naheeda at Hashtag Life
1. If you could be any animal for a day what would you be?
A (house) cat, because they seem to sleep a lot, get fussed a lot, eat a lot, and are generally lazy and fairly content with life
2. What is your favourite food to snack on?
Sweet and Salted flavour popcorn (Yes together! It's amazing don't knock it until you've tried it!)
3. Who are your 2 favourite blogs to follow?
This changes all the time and it's so hard, as I follow lots of different blogs for different reasons!!!! Almost Delightful will always be top of my list as Sarah created my blog design and we keep in contact a lot, and I count her as one of my special blog friends. At the moment the other would probably be What Olivia Did, as I love her ladylike sense of style and she is just an all round sweetheart! (If you are considering advertising, I highly recommend her!) If you are interested in the other blog's I follow, check out my blog roll (I'm going to update this soon so keep checking!)
4. Best holiday you've ever been on?
My holiday to Greece with my boyfriend a couple of years ago. It was so relaxing, the hotel was beautiful, we had our own pool, the food was fantastic, and we just had a really great time together, and really relaxed on that holiday. New York comes an incredibly close second though!
5. On a scale of 1-10 how much do you love life right now?
I'd probably say about an 8. I'm reasonably happy with my life, work can be a bit stressful, so it would be good if that was a bit easier at times, and it would be nice not to have any debt what debt I do have I try not to let bother me, but overall I think I'm pretty good!
6. Three words describing yourself?
Opinionated, Motivated and a little bit ditzy!
7. Which subject were you best at in school?

8.Do you have any special talents?
Nope not really, I'm pretty average in that regard.

9. Why did you start a blog?
see above!
10. Three things you want to do before you die?
Go to Harry Potter World California and the studios in London, marry my gorgeous husband to be, and swim in the open sea with the fishes (I'm a terrible and unconfident swimmer, yet I love the sea!)
11. If you could marry any guy/girl in the world, who would it be and why?
My other half of course, because he's my world.

Charlotte at Charlie Rose

1. Is your blog mainly makeup, fashion, thoughts, all or other?
All of it - which is why I firmly put myself in the lifestyle category!
2. Have you made any true friends through Blogger?
I've made blog friends who I make regular contact with, but I haven't met any of them sadly.
3. Which blogger inspired you to join Blogger?
As above, A Beautiful Mess and Zoella. I chose Blogger as a platform, because I googled it and it came up!
4. What is Blogger goal for the end of February?
250 followers would be nice - I like round numbers
5. Which brand is your favourite makeup?
6. Describe your blog in one word?
7. What do you take more pride in?
My home - I'm obsessed with cleaning it - not that you can tell!
8. One thing about yourself that you dislike?
My feet - my Mum has really pretty feet with high arches and nice toes and toenails - mine are awful, particularly my toenails as they just don't grow how I want them to!
9. How often do you Blog?
As often as I want to really. I don't have a set schedule, and I don't pressure myself to blog, just as and when I become inspired to.

10. Do you see yourself blogging this time next year?
I've been blogging a year now, and I did almost ask myself whether I would stick at it when I first started,  but I have and so I certainly hope to make it to my second blog birthday!
11. One thing you can't live without?
My family - ie my boyfriend and my pets, is that cheating? (but also my iPhone, just don't tell them I said that!)

New Look Haul

Sunday, 3 February 2013

I have to be honest,  at one time I would have very rarely shopped in New Look. Going back a few years,  I recall that it seemed to be a bit cheap, naff, and well in all honesty a bit tacky. I don't think I had many items in my wardrobe from New Look, and if I did, none of them have survived my regular wardrobe culls, which means they either went complete out of style or fell to bits.

In the last year or so,  my views on New Look have certainly changed, and I think I've become slightly obsessed with shopping there. Along with Primark, (and charity shop finds) it is starting to make up a large proportion of my current attire. The quality and design of their clothing seems to have become much better. They often do very good copies of items from higher end stores a few weeks later, and the design of their store is much more high end high street then it used to be. Also New Look's shoe department is one of the most extensive on the high street, with a rainbow of colours and styles. You are pretty much assured you will find the right colour shoes for any outfit!
Despite promising myself, I was going to go on a spending ban, I somehow ended up having myself a little New Look haul. In defence of my excessive spending, I have tried to buy things that are reasonably "classic" or will go with things already in my wardrobe. For example I felt the rose print cardigan would go really well with my Dorothy Perkins jeans, mentioned in my Mostly.... post a couple of weeks ago. Due to the colour of them, they can be quite hard to match colours to.

New Look Haul

I didn't actually buy the navy blue polka dot top - I bought a burgundy horse print one, but for some reason that's not on the website. (If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen the one I actually bought) Had this one been in my local store I would have probably bought that as well! The navy blue vest is to go under the swallow print top. Ordinarily I would have automatically plumped for a white one, but this actually works better as a contrast. The stone skater skirt is a good wardrobe basic, along with the drapey leather jacket. I think I'll wear these together with some thick tights and a little jumper for a date night soon.

I have an abundance of scarves, but many of them are patterned, and then won't go with a patterned top, so this crochet lace cream scarf is perfect, and certainly comes under the "classic" wardrobe staple label.

The most expensive item was the leather-look jacket at £39.99, which is very cheap (obviously it isn't real leather) as it seems to be really good quality and is a nice cut. New Look still manage to produce reasonably priced fashion but the quality and design seems so much better than it used to be.

What are your views on New Look? Is it somewhere you've always shopped/never shopped/or recently feel in love with?
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