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About the Book
Although the book is mainly written from the viewpoint of one character, the book messesntially has two main characters and the book is told in the third person from the point of view of each character. The two main characters Darcey and Nieve were best friends all through school and after school, were both living on the Spanish coast where they were having the time of their lives. When a family emergency meant that Darcey had to return home to Galway, it was the beginning of the end for their friendship and when Nieve comes back to Ireland, it changes Darcey's life completely.
When I first read the blurb on this book, I almost felt as though I could guess what would happen, but I was wrong. It seemed so obvious what would happen in the story yet Sheila O'Flanagan took the story in a totally different direction.
I felt that the characters were very well described and there was enough detail about the two main characters that you felt as though you knew them. There was a lot of information about other smaller characters as well which enriched the story. I liked the character of Darcey even though there was an effort through the book to paint her as vain and selfish, particularly in her dealings with her ex-husband. However, there was enough of a back story to the character that ensured that my own opinion was more of understanding why she felt and acted as she did rather than thinking she was self absorbed.
Yes, there was that slightly evil part of me that had hoped that Nieve would get some comeuppance as it just seemed that she had managed to use and abuse people for so long without considering that people had feelings. However, the fall from grace wasn't what I had expected it to be and that threw me. I found that this book played with my emotions as well, as when I realised that Nieve was finally having some karma, I felt sorry for her rather than feeling pleased that she had got what was coming to her.
Although this book is firmly in the chick lit category, I felt it was very well written chick lit and there was a lot of detail about the characters and their lives which made you feel more involved in the book that some authors that expect you to fill in the gaps in the story in their books.
At almost 600 pages long, it's not a book for a casual reader but to be honest, it didn't feel like a long read and there were no parts of the book that dragged on.
There aren't many reviews online for this book that I have found but the ones that I have seen are mainly positive.
Lindt chocolates are a definite favourite of mine, but it can be expensive. When out recently, I spotted these bars on offer in a shop, so decided to treat myself to a bar.
The bar itself comes in the red packaging that I have come to associate with Lindt chocolates. Each bar is 38g and there are six segments in each bar, each with Lindt embossed on the top of each segment.
As soon as you tear open the bar, the sweet, chocolatey scent is very strong.
The milk chocolate melts as soon as you put it in your mouth and the combination of the very sweet milk chocolate and slightly more bitter truffle interior is perfect, stops it tasting too sweet, but remains very rich. I do find that after a few segments, it does become slightly sickening
I would definitely recommend this bar, particularly considering that I found that one or two segments were enough to satisfy my chocolate craving. One small bar of this lasted me two days, which is unheard of in my house.
The ingredients are
Sugar, vegetable fat, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, coca mass, lactose, skim milk powder, milk fat, malt extract (barley), emulsifier (soya lecithin), flavourings. Milk chocolate contains: Cocoa solids: 30% min. Milk solids: 14% min.
These chocolates may contain traces of hazelnuts and almonds.
I was in a charity shop a few months back where they had 3 books for £1. As I had read this book around 15 years ago and enjoyed it, I knew it would be worth the 33p or so that it would cost me.
About the Book
The title alone gives you a massive clue as to what the book is about. Alix Callaghan is a Head of Dealing at a major Dublin bank. She is a real career woman and the idea of marriage and children isn't one that has really crossed her mind. She had thought that her partner Paul and her were on the same page and had the same goals in life. She was then stunned when Paul announced that he does want to settle down and have a family. To make matters worse, he thinks he has met the person that he wants to settle down with and it's not Alix.
Alix is devastated although she tries very hard not to show it, especially at work where she feels that her male colleagues are snapping at her heels and hoping for her job. It becomes clear to Alix that being single in your early 30's is very different from being single in your early 20's and there are other things that she now has to contend with.
This isn't just a book about being dumped, there is another story interwoven through this story which gives the book an added dimension. It's not just another 'woman gets dumped, takes it badly but lives happily ever after' style chick lit style book.
I liked the character of Alix although I probably wouldn't get on with her in real life. She is very self contained and I would feel frustrated that she maintained she was okay when she clearly wasn’t. I did admire her determination in her professional life though and was slightly envious of that quality in her.
A slight niggle that I had remembered from the first time that I read this book was that there was a lot of (what I felt was) unnecessary detail about what Alix did for a living. It was very easy to skim read through these sections though so I don't fell as though I should mark this book down on this point.
Price and Availability
I got my copy from a charity shop where I got three books for £1. This book is one that I have often seen in charity shops over the years so it's worth checking out charity shops if you want to read this book.
I’m not sure why, maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but as last few weeks, I have noticed that my hands have been feeling quite dry, particularly when I’m in work. One day when my hands were feeling particularly rough, I thought I’d go out at lunchtime to see what I could buy to help. I was in Lidl and I saw this cream for 65p for 125ml of cream, I thought I’d give it a go, especially since if it was rubbish, I’d only wasted a few pence.
There were two hand creams available but I noticed the other was for mature skin, and I’m not quite mature yet (though if we are talking mental age, I doubt I ever will be mature..). The fact that this contained almond oil and Shea butter was another bonus for me, as well as the packaging which promised intense hydration.
The cream is a white colour and I feel the cream is a perfect consistency for a hand cream. I also thought this cream had a lovely smell, you can detect the almond scent, as well as a hint of Shea butter.
The cream does take a few minutes to feel completely absorbed into my skin though and my hands feel slightly greasy to the touch until it is fully absorbed.
I’m quite undecided abut this hand cream,. It has a nice consistency, nice smell and it really does leave my hands feeling softer and moisturised. The scent does also linger for a while after using this cream, which is another bonus. However, I did feel that the fact that it takes a long time for it to be absorbed into the skin is a negative factor, as I was using it mainly at work, and I can’t really sit around for five minutes for hand cream to totally soak in, and I did feel as though my hands were slightly greasy while it was absorbed fully. Once absorbed though, my hands felt really soft and looked slightly more moisturised.
I would recommend this hand cream for those occasions when you want some intensive moisture and are planning on putting it on before bed and you won’t be using your hands too much as it does have great results for the price.
Agatha Raisin is a retired PR Executive who has moved from London to the sleepy village of Carsely in The Cotswolds.
The neighbouring village of Ancombe has a wellspring that provides villagers with a constant source of spring water. However, The Ancombe Water Company, a bottled water company wants to tap into the supply and sell bottled water. This has caused a division amongst the villagers – some think this is a great deal while others thing it will ruin the village.
There is a slightly more sinister development to the story when the village council chairman is found murdered, his body being dumped at the wellspring that has caused so much discussion around the village. The race is on to find out who murdered him and just to complicate things for Agatha – she has been hired as the PR for the firm. Will this be good or bad for the water company and as Agatha finds herself getting more involved with one of the directors, is she literally sleeping with the enemy?
Sometimes I wonder if I am maybe younger than the target audience for these books and that's why my opinion differs from a lot of reviews that I have read. Maybe I will enjoy them more in a few years time as I feel that these books were aimed more towards a middle aged audience?
I did wonder at first of these books were a parody series and even after reading two books, I'm still unsure if I should be reading these as parodies or as a serious read. These books are firmly steeped in fantasy though. I can't imagine that the police would allow amateur detectives to question potential suspects and happily discuss the case with them.
One thing that I did really like was how there was an introduction to the character of Agatha at the start of the book and her life up until the present day. This meant that I was starting the book already knowing something about the main character rather than being thrown hints throughout the first few chapters which I find can sometimes leave me feeling that I don't really know much about the characters at all.
To be completely honest. I wouldn't actively seek out this series of books but if a book came my way, I would read it. It is a fairly quick read and to be fair, I had worked out the culprit quite early on in the book. It's the sort of book that you can unwind with or that you can read in the bath. Despite covering murders in villages, there are very few gruesome scenes so it's not the sort of book that you want to avoid before bedtime.
This book was first released in 2013.
About the Book
Lottie Graveney is very excited. She has met Mr Right and in a few seconds he is about to propose. When the second comes, after a few false starts where she put off the moment as she wanted it to be perfect, she was very taken aback when it turns out that Richard hadn't been planning on proposing at all and in fact seemed horrified at the idea. Embarassed, Lottie breaks things off with Richard.
Meanwhile, her sister Fliss is worried. Having baled Lottie out many times following her wild ideas post-breakups, she is primed to deal with whatever mad idea Lottie has this time.
Out of the blue, a few days later, one of Lottie's exes from her gap year comes back into her life and when they meet up the spark is very much alive. Ben wastes no time in proposing and the wedding is set for a few days later as they figured they have wasted enough time. However, Fliss is horrified and is determined she will stop the wedding at any cost.
I have read quite a few of Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickham books and have really enjoyed almost all of them, so I had high expectations for this book. This is a typical chick lit book but I wouldn't expect anything else from Madeleine.
Each chapter was from the viewpoint of either Lottie or Fliss, apart from one chapter near the end which is from the viewpoint of Arthur who owned the guest-house that was an integral part of Lottie's Greek memories. This style does mean that you get both sides of the story and you get more of an insight into the characters that you wouldn't have otherwise. I would have liked to have had a few chapters from Ben's point of view though as I think that would have added more to the story.
I really liked the character of Lottie and could really relate to her. While I haven'tgone to the extremes that Lottie did following breakups, there were a few others that I considered, although thankfully common sense kicked in.
I did enjoy this book although I did feel that it became almost farcical in places. The sections where the staff in the hotel are so determined to stop the 'happy couple' having alone time seem to get more extreme and bizarre and there were times where I almost felt exasperated reading the book as it was quite far removed from reality. However, I do like how Kinsella's books are chick lit which isn't always based in reality and there's something very warm and comforting about her style of writing and it's almost like a hug in a book for me, so I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a nice chick lit style book which isn't based in reality.
I normally go to the hairdresser for highlights but sometimes when I am trying to save money, I colour my hair myself. This is one that I have used a few times now and really rated it for ease of use and also results.
About the colourants
This is designed to be an easy to use colourant and you apply in the same way as a hair mask. It also doesn't drip once applied to your hair. It has an amino-active protein in the colourant to strengthen hair and the conditioner has shea butter in it to nourish hair.
This is very easy to use.
Firstly you remove the inlay from the jar and add the tube of colour creme to the jar then shake the tub forty times to mix the ingredients together. Then start to apply the colour using your fingers to dry hair. As it a crème formula, it doesn't drip and I find it very easy to apply.
One thing that I should mention that did freak me out when I first used this colourant was the bright blue colour creme and it remains blue while it develops.
After waiting for around 45 minutes, I went to rinse out the colourant. I found that it was very easy to wash out and within around two minutes, the water was running clear, which meant that I had washed out all of the colourant.
I then use the nicely scented rich conditioner and leave it for around two to three minutes before rinsing. As the conditioner contains shea, it has a nice slightly nutty scent although sadly it doesn't really last very long on my hair after use.
The first time that I used this, I only left it on around 25 minutes and I was left with hair that had a slight pearl blonde shimmer and I was very happy with the results. The second time, I left it on longer and while I wasn't as happy with the colour, it was even so I can't complain too much. It isn't quite the colour on the front of the box but it is a quite light blonde.
I also found that for a few washes after using this colourant, my hair still feels quite soft and the condition is noticeably better.
I did find that the first time I used this colourant, the colour did fade quite quickly but I did get around six weeks of decent colour from the box before it started to fade - similar to some other colourants I have used in the past.
Price and Availability
I bought mine from Savers where it cost me £3.99. It is available for a similar price in most chemists, pharmacies and I have even seen some colours in Home Bargains for the same price.
I had placed an order recently with The Body Shop online, and as I only needed something around £2 or so to being my order up to the amount for free delivery. I decided to order a 'Born Lippy' lip balms and chose the orange one as I normally like orange scents and flavours.
As soon as I opened the lip balm, I could detect the familiar orange scent, as it smells like the Orange Satsuma bubbles shower gel I was addicted to in my teens. The balm itself is a bright orange colour, and you can see glittery bits through it. I swirled my finger around and applied a thin layer to my lips. Immediately, it felt thick and greasy on my lips and in fact I had to wipe it off as it felt so horrible, sticky and greasy on my lips. Even the taste of this balm seemed nasty and synthetic.
I checked to see if was any pigment on my lips, and this just seemed to highlight any dry areas on my lips and that I had a few random bits of glitter on my lips. I remember the one I used to use when I was in my teens left my lips with a slight gloss, but this just looked like I'd got some random bits of glitter and something oily on my lips.
I can't really comment on the hydrating properties of this balm, as I haven't been able to keep this on my lips for long enough to actually test it but I can't think that the horrible, greasy mess that this balm is would be able to provide any moisturising benefits, even if you could keep this on your lips for long enough to get any benefits. It does contain beeswax, which I know helps protect my lips and also leaves my lips feeling soft but whatever else is in this balm means it's too horrible to keep.
I have tried this balm a few times now, just in case I was a bit harsh, but each time I have to immediately wipe this off and put my usual balm on instead, as it is such a horrible consistency and has such a horrible effect on my lips. The synthetic and not at all orange taste is another thing that has annoyed me – it smells so orangey yet there is no orange taste at all once you apply the balm. What has made things even worse, I accidentally ordered two of these balms, and as I think it's too much hassle to return one balm to the body shop, they will both go in the bin. A waste of £4 and I think I will be avoiding the Body Shop lip balms in future.
I feel that even 1 star is too much for this balm, but I can't seem to give it a rating of no stars.
I bought this book from a charity shop recently and I bought it because the cover drew me in.
There wasn't much of a blurb on the back of this book and I started reading the book only knowing what the cover told me.
The first chapter or two, I thought I knew what this book would be about from a few hints that were dropped but when the reason why the family were fragmented shocked me. I assumed that it was going to be something along the line of that they were on the verge of splitting up and the kitten united the family, so I was very shocked when the story took the turn that it did.
As I said, the cover didn't give much away although I was curious so decided to give it a go. It did take a few chapters to get really involved, but I kept on reading as I hoped things would improve. I thought I had a lot figured out from hints in the first few chapters and wasn't sure whether or not to read on but when the reason why the family end up so fragmented was revealed, I was shocked and the book took a different turn.
I did think the book was a little slow to start but I guess that was just the author setting the scene and once the book got going, I found the pace of the book was a lot quicker. I would have liked to have seen some pictures of the family and/or Cleo through the book which I felt would have enhanced the book, but there was only a cover photo of a small black kitten which I assume wasn't Cleo as the picture credit is Getty Images and has no mention about whether or not the kitten was the one in the book.
I would recommend this book to any animal overs who have enjoyed similar books in the past such as Marley and Me. While this book is similar, it also deals with grief and how a family dealt with death so I found it was very tough going in places. However, despite their grief, there was a positive thread that ran through the book, even at the darkest moments and it is clear that the arrival of Cleo had a very positive effect on the family.
I found the book was touching and funny and once I got into the story, I found that I couldn't put the book down and I was always wanting to read more about Cleo and her adventures and foibles.
Price and Availability
This book is currently available from Amazon. It is £3.95 for the Kindle version and the paperback version is £5.99. Used copies are available from 1p, although there is a £2.80 delivery charge on top of this as well.
I had been looking for a new moisturiser for a while I was trying to save some money by buying something that wasn’t too expensive.
This is a pale green colour and has a light, fresh scent. It has a very light texture and starts to sink in to my skin in seconds. It seems that as soon as it comes into contact with my face, it turns into a thin liquid which my skin drinks up. However, it does seem to take a while to completely sink in and I have to wait around five minutes before I can put my makeup on. It is cooling when I apply it to my skin and this cooling effect combined with the fresh scent is very invigorating in the morning.
I have found that with this moisturiser I only need to use a pea sized amount to cover my whole face as a tiny bit goes a long way. I have had mine for around 3 – 4 months now and have been using it almost daily.
The main issue that I have with this moisturiser is that it doesn’t seem to stop the oiliness of my skin. Despite the claims that this moisturiser will leave you with a matte finish, I can use this in the morning by lunchtime, my skin is shiny and oily.
I also found that the claims that it enhanced complexion to be rubbish as well, as I found that if anything, my skin looked worse after using this and that rather than hiding any spots or patches of redness, it seemed to highlight them.
Price and Availability
I bought mine on offer in Boots and paid £2.99 which I think is decent for a moisturiser.
I am undecided about this moisturiser. I liked the scent and found the texture was really nice. I also only needed a small amount each time so it’s economical. However, I was disappointed with the way this did nothing to prevent the oiliness and shininess which would be my main issue when it comes to my skin. For a moisturiser that promises a matte finish, to find that my skin seemed to look oilier and shinier after using this, it doesn't seem fit for purpose. It claims to give 24 hour moisture and shine control but for myself, it was more like 24 minutes.
I would recommend this to anyone with dry to combination skin who is looking for something that is hydrating but doesn’t cost a lot of money. For my oily skin, I will keep looking as it just doesn't live up to the claims on the bottle for me.
If you don't have very oily skin like myself though, this could be worth a try. Even at full price, it's at the cheaper end of the moisturiser scale and for £2 - £4 it's worth a try.
While I'm not vegetarian, sometimes I like to seek out alternative versions of some of my favourite meat snacks. I love mini eggs but find that some supermarket 'cheaper' ones can taste not as nice or can occasionally have gristly pieces of meat in the eggs which is very off-putting.
I had been looking for these for a while after reading a review but they had eluded me recently when I saw some in Sainsbury's. They cost me £2.30 which is more than I normally spend on mini eggs but I really wanted to try them so bought a packet.
My packet had 12 eggs inside, each in it's own compartment. You just peel open the packet to get to the eggs. While the pack is easy opened, I would have preferred some way of resealing the pack to keep out air and to stop the eggs going off quickly.
I did find that when I first bit into the egg, they aren't as soft as their pork counterparts and this was a slightly odd sensation to me as someone more used to meat versions. However, after I had eaten one or two of the eggs, I soon got used to this new, firmer texture.
I really liked the taste of these eggs. They are very flavourful and there is a strong herby taste that makes these eggs very moreish. I do find that there's not a great deal of flavour from the egg mayonaise middle of these eggs but the herby 'sausage' layer more than makes up for the lack of flavour from the centre of these eggs.
Price and Availability
I paid £2.30 for mine from Sainsbury's but according to MySupermarket, these can be bought in various supermarkets including Asda and Waitrose for around £1.50 - £2.00. I do wonder if maybe they aren't as popular in Northern Ireland and not as readily available and would explain the higher cost as well.
Nutritional Information per egg
Energy – kj/kcal 215/51
Carbohydrate2 4.2g (of which sugars 0.2g)
Fat11.5g2.3g (of which saturates 0.2g)
Mycoprotein (34%), water, onion, sage & onion stuffing (breadcrumb, rusk, dehydrated onion, salt, herbs, onion powder, chives, wheat flour, pepper and sage extracts), textured wheat protein (wheat protein, wheat starch), vegetable oil, flavouring (with colour: iron oxides), egg mayonnaise (16%) [chopped free range egg, mayonnaise (vegetable oil, free range egg yolk, spirit vinegar, sugar, mustard flour)], tapioca starch, dried free range egg white, Cumberland spice seasoning (salt, wheat flour, dextrose, rusk, spice & herb extracts, pepper, thyme, parsley), gelling agent: pectin; batter & breadcrumb (wheat flour, salt, yeast, vegetable oil, colour: paprika extract).
For those with allergies these eggs contains Egg, Mustard & Wheat Gluten. Produced in a factory which handles Milk as well.
I have been using this for years, but when I ran out last year, I decided to try to use up the other concealers and highlighters that were in my makeup bag. However, my thoughts kept drifting back to Touche Eclat and when I saw this in the duty free in Gatwick for £20, it was soon mine.
The packaging on this highlighter points to it being a premium product. The outside box is a gold colour with minimal detail. There is a small information leaflet inside the box which gives you some information about the product. Normally the pen itself is gold, again with minimal information on it, but my latest one is the (I think) limited edition animal print and gold pen. I do like the design on mine, as it really stands out in my makeup bag and still looks very glam.
To use the highlighter, you need to click the top of the pen a few times, until you see the liquid starting to come thorough between the brushes. When I first opened my new one, it was around 12 clicks, and then I needed another couple of clicks to get enough of the highlighter onto the brush. Having a click method of application means that there is no wastage with this product, as it only dispenses what is needed.
I use this to brighten up any dark areas under my eyes, and also add some to the bridge of my nose to brighten my complexion. As this is more of a highlighter than a concealer, while I do dab a small amount on any blemishes, I don’t want to be highlighting them, so a very tiny amount seems to do the job of hiding them slightly.
While this isn’t cheap, I find that a pen lasts a long time, as you only need a tiny amount to conceal and highlight. It really does make a difference to my skin, and leaves me looking more awake and my complexion looks radiant. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a versatile product that really does make a difference to your complexion.
This does cost around £20 - £25 but as I only need a tiny amount it does last ages - just so long as I remember to wash the brush as for some reason they start to smell slightly after a few uses.
My friend gave me this book a while ago. She had hated it and warned me that it was rubbish but at least I could read it and get a review out of it.
The main character is 32 year old Cas who is by her own admission amoral and uses and loses people. She's determined that men are only playthings and doesn't ever want a relationship or to give men the opportunity to hurt her.
The TV channel she works for had been losing viewers so her boss gives Cas the task of boosting viewing figures by coming up with a programme to grip the nation. Cas’s answer is ‘Sex with an ex’ which appeals to people who are unsure about their partner’s fidelity before marriage to find out if the person is faithful or if there is an ex they still had feelings for. The show is an instant hit although it does tear the lives apart of contestants.
Darren would be the ideal contestant – he’s attractive, moral and the fact that he refuses to take part only makes Cas want him more. She chases after him and after a few days, she has the feeling that Darren is someone that she could fall for. Will Cass take the plunge with Darren or will she stick to the barriers she has so carefully placed around herself?
I have always been a fan of Adele Park’s writing and her way of taking typical chick lit and turning it on its head. This book is a fantastic example of that. I have read many books which have featured men with Cas's attitudes but never another book which features a female lead character who has casual sex and whose favourite ‘conquests’ are married ones as there’s less chance of more than a quick fumble.
To be fair, Cas is an unlikeable character and one that I should be programmed to hate as her morals and opinions are far removed from my own but the overall feeling that I had for Cas was pity rather than condemnation. It is revealed why she hardened her heart towards men and it’s clear that she has never really gotten over the fact that her father left when she was a young child and having to witness the devastation of her mother. Yes, some of her thoughts and opinions are wrong but at the same time, I can understand why an event like that at a young age could shape your opinions of men for life.
I found this book easy to read and to follow. I think maybe it helped that I had low expectations of this book, but I did really enjoy the book and was surprised at how much I actually liked Cas once more of her story was revealed.