Saturday, 31 December 2016

Favourite Books 2016: July to December

Continuing with my favourite books of 2016 (you can see my picks for January to June HERE). 

In July, I read five books (link) and my favourites were:

In August, I read nine books (review) and these were my top picks:

In September, I read six books (link) and my top reads are:

Coming into October I read only four books! (link). My top read was:

In November, I read five books (link) and my top reads were:

In December, I read eleven books (link) and my favourites were:

What have been your favourite books this year?

*images from Good Reads

Friday, 30 December 2016

December Books

Here's what I've been reading in December:

While you were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft - Tara Logan's husband is out of town and she has an innocent glass of wine or two with her neighbour, Lee. She wakes up naked in bed next to Lee who has been stabbed. She cant remember what happened the night before and dashes away from the house..

She decides not to tell anyone - her husband and family or the police. As they investigate her daughter Rosie is accused of the crime... I wanted to like this book as I've loved Kathryn's other books but I found it fairly far fetched and wasn't keen on a lot of the characters.

House of Secrets by Lynda Stacey - Madeleine Frost's relationship with controlling and creepy partner Liam is wearing her and her daughter Poppy down. She has to leave him and she ends up going to her estranged father who runs a hotel at beautiful Wrea Head Hall in Yorkshire. 

She meets an ex-marine, Bandit who works at the Hall and they slowly become friends. Maddie discovers a diary and they immerse themselves in the history of the house and it's inhabitants.

Liam however refuses to let her go and tragedies unfold which could only be his doing..  I loved the characters and storylines. A great read.

Slade House by David Mitchell - Slade House is down the road from a pub, down an alley and if "conditions are exactly right you'll find the entrance. A stranger will greet you by your name and invite you inside". "At first you won't want to leave, later you'll find you can't".

Every nine years the house's residents - a brother and sister invite specific people to join them for a party, a dinner or some other reason. The short stories in the book span five decades starting in 1979 and ending in October 2015. The stories are creepy and compelling and the characters interesting. I did enjoy this short read.

The Nature of Beauty by Imelda Burke - long awaited and brilliant read. It takes you through everything you need to know about caring for your skin and organic beauty with what ingredients to avoid, homemade skin treats, product to try, perfumes, essential oils, hair, skin and rituals. I know it's a book I'll dip in and out to. Highly recommend.

Three Men and a Maybe by Katey Lovell - which is a lighthearted short story when on New Year's Eve Cerys finds herself being proposed to by three men in her life. A short read which I found enjoyable.

You will not have my Hate by Antoine Leiris* - After the terrorist attacks in Paris which claimed many innocent lives I read about Helene Leiris (in the Sunday Times) and her death at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris on 13 November 2015. This is her husband's story of the aftermath of finding that his beloved wife and mama to their young son had died in the attacks. He posted a message on Facebook which resonated with many people around the world. His memoir tells of his deep despair and heartbreak and the need to keep going for their son, Melvil. Such as sad and poignant read.

Sand in my Shoes by Jenny Harper - this is my first read by this author and I loved the story. Will definitely search out more books by Jenny. 

Nicola Arnott has been through difficult times. She's brought up her daughter since her husband's death as well as built up a successful teaching career.

She has a health scare and decides to get away for a holiday choosing to return to the small French holiday town she stayed in as a teen. She remembers her first love Medical student, Luc and long summer days. She's surprised when she meets him and returns to an easy friendship. She does have to go back to her life and reality when the holiday is over but wouldn't have missed meeting up with Luc again for the world. A great little read with interesting characters and storylines.

The Little Pieces of You and Me by Vanessa Greene - the story follows friends Isla and Sophie. They don't see other often as Isla is pursuing her dreams abroad while Sophie is married to her ex-tutor Liam.

Isla's life changes with a medical diagnosis and Sophie is there for her. Isla wants her friend to complete the items on her bucket list.  Isla chooses not to tell her boyfriend that she's ill and breaks off their romance. Returning home to England she can see cracks appear in her friend's life. An amazing read which I loved. Highly recommend.

Pretty Iconic by Sali Hughes - oh how I love this book!  It took me on a huge trip down memory lane - remember bath cubes, Hawaiian Tropic, hair scrunchies, large tubs of hair gel, Rimmel hide the blemish, Body Shop Rasberry Ripple Bathing Bubbles, Sun-In, Shaders & Toners... The book also contains lots of tips. I know I now need a new hairdryer and tweezers and have a sizeable list of wants. Great read.

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sheratt** - this is a new series featuring Detective Eden Berrisford. Sixteen year old Deanna Barker is stabbed to death. Four teenagers including Katie Trent are remanded awaiting trial.

Eden's niece Jess is kidnapped and the race is on to find her. Her teenage friends are warned not to speak out before the trial. A fast paced read which I loved. Eden is a strong likeable character. Looking forward to the second book in the series. Thanks to Mel for the copy.

Single End - A DC Daley Short Story by Denzil Meyrick - it's 1989 and DC Jim Daley and his friend and sidekick DC Brian Scott find James Machie's accountant, The Magician dead in a multi-storey car park in the City.

DC Scott is persuaded to go undercover and befriend old mates Machie and McDougall. Daley is uneasy with this and tries to help. He meets old mentor, Ian Burns and asks him to call in a few favours.  A great wee read and another slice of the history of Daley and Scott's long friendship. Roll on the next in the series.

What have you been reading this month?

*copy from Netgalley
**copy from the Author

Thursday, 29 December 2016

December Empties

I think this has been the smallest amount of empties this year!

Verso Night Cream with Retinol 8 15ml - this was nice to use. I'd maybe consider buying when my stash reduces a bit.

Weleda Arnica Muscle Soak Bath Milk 200ml - I simply love this soothing soak. See my review HERE. It's a product I pick up again and again as it simply works!

Molton Brown Frankincense & Allspice Hand Wash 100ml - I'm absolutely addicted to this beautiful spicy handwash. See my review HERE. I've got a couple of bottles stashed away!

John Masters Organics Citrus & Neroli Detangler 60ml - this is a staple. I've always got this in my stash. Leaves the hair feeling nourished and smooth. Will buy again soon!

Molton Brown Rosa Absolute Bath & Shower Gel 30ml - I'd been wanting to try this range since trying out the perfume recently. It's really lovely and smells deeply of roses.

Bloomtown Botanicals The Meadow Pink Himalayan Bath Soak 285g** - I'm a huge fan of soaks in the bath and these salts are gorgeous. See my review HERE. I'll pick these up when my stash reduces.

Balm Balm Indulge Bath & Shower Oil 5ml* - lovely and made for a great relaxing soak. Would buy.

Dr Hauschka Moor Lavender Calming Bath Essence 10ml* - this is really lovely. Perfect to use before bed. Full size is on the wishlist!

Rio Rosa Mosqueta Pure Chilean Rosehip Seed Oil 5ml* - love this! See my review HERE. Will buy full size when my stash reduces a bit.

What have you been using up this month?

*samples received as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

My Top Products of 2016

Way back in June I did a post on my top products January - June - see HERE

My favourites for July - December are:

In July, I totally fell for Kate Logan Beauty's Rose Otto Healing Balm. It's one of the most luxurious products I've used this year. See my review HERE.

August saw me love Miller Harris's Vetiver Insolent EdP. I simply adore it and it'll always be in my stash. I wear it "nearly" every day.

In September, I found myself loving Gallinée La Culture Body Milk*. See my review HERE. This brand also featured in my January-June Top Products. I also need to give Bloomtown Botanicals* a mention as I think their products are fantastic. See my review HERE.

So many loves in October (and so difficult to pin down to one!) I'll have to say my top product is Bodhi & Birch's Sicilian Rose Body Oil* as it's total perfection. See my review HERE but I also loved SAMAYA* (review) and Ishga* (review).

Coming into November my favourite product was from Evolve Organic Beauty and their latest launch Liquid Crystal 2-in-1 Micellic Cleanser*. See my review HERE. My favourite make up item was Kat Von D's Lipstick in Magick.

And finally December! Again, I tried some great skincare this month and I loved Dafna's Personal Skincare* see my review HERE. I also loved Rio Rosa Mosqueta** which I found effective and good value. See my review HERE. A special mention must go to Ancienne Ambiance's new EdP* (review) both of which are gorgeous!

These are the ones which I mention above and also deserve to be in my top products/brands of the year:

What products/brands have you loved this year?

**received as part of the Love Lula Accredited Blogger Program

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar: Days 9-25

You can see what I received in my Liberty Advent Calendar days 1-8 HERE.

Day 9 - Davines Oi All in One Milk 50ml - which is a hair conditioning treatment (and one which I'm looking forward to trying!) It hydrates, tames, adds shine, softens, de-tangles, adds volume..the list seems endless as to what it can do!

Day 10 - Marvis Toothpaste x 2 - which are handy for travelling. I gifted on the Licorice one as I didn't fancy it.

Day 11 - Byredo Bal D'Afrique Hand Cream 1oz - which was one of the ones I was waiting for! This is gorgeous. I really like it.

Day 12 - NARS Lip Gloss in Baby Doll 4ml - which is a sweet pink shade.

Day 13 - saw us get cult product Eve Lom Cleansing Creme and cloth. I'm not a fan of this so I'll pass it on.

Day 14 - ODEJO full size bottle of perfume! Unfortunately, I'm not so keen on this one.

Day 15 - a lovely nude lipstick from Trish McEvoy - this one escaped the calendar before the 15th!

Day 16 - an oldie but a goodie! From Dermalogica there is Daily Microfoliant.

Day 17 - Votary Facial Oil with Rose Maroc & Sandalwood 30ml - this is a full size which is worth £65! I started using this the day my advent calendar arrived. Absolutely love it! Review will be up soon.

Day 18 - Blinkbrow Night Brow Balm - I've never tried a brow balm before so looking forward to trying this out.

Day 19 - Skin Laundry Gentle Foaming Face Wash - again from a brand I'd not heard of before. Looking forward to testing it out.

Day 20 - Kai Body Lotion mini - I'm a huge fan of this brand. Love their perfume oil so happy to have this in my stash.

Day 21 - Dr Sebagh Serum Repair 20ml - this is another full size and worth £69! Looking forward to trying.

Day 22 - Surratt Blush in Cantelope which is another full size and worth £23! 

Day 23 - ESPA Overnight Hydration Therapy in a luxe travel size - used this before and loved it.

Day 24 - Le Labo Santal 33 Purse Spray - this was another one I couldn't wait to get. Love it.

Day 25 - Diptyque Figuier Candle 70g (worth £20) again looking forward to this one! I love the Diptyque candles.

I've loved this super luxury calendar which has been an absolute joy. Did you get one? What did you think of the contents?