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This is another book that I got the lend of from a friend. I didn't know much about the book when I started to read it which was probably a good thing as I may not have bothered otherwise.
The main character in the book is Nancy Astley, an Oyster-Girl from Whitstable in Kent. While she is happy with her life, she has a love of the theatre which provides her with an escape from her day to day life dealing with seafood. On one of her trips to the music halls, she discovers a new act called Kitty and almost instantly captivated by the act of Kitty who was a masher – a male impersonator.
After visiting the theatre on an almost nightly basis just to see Kitty, Nancy is almost instantly captivated by the spectacle of Kitty. Finally, she is invited backstage and a new career beckons for Nancy as Kitty's dresser.
A quick google of the book revealed to me that the title of the book comes from a term for cunnilingus which should give you an idea what the book is about.
I wasn’t entirely sure what this book was about when I first started reading it as the blurb didn’t give much away. However, everything was well explained throughout the book and when I got to around halfway through the book, everything made a lot more sense and I knew a lot more about the story and the characters. As this book was set in the late 1890’s, some of the terms used have largely fallen out of daily use which had confused me when I first read some of them, but since most are explained, it makes it a lot easier to understand the point that the characters are making.
This book gives you a glimpse into an era that is very different from what we are used to. For example, the reaction of Nancy’s sister Alice when she realised that Nancy had cut her hair would be unheard of nowadays. The fact that both women also had fake plaits to wear in public shows how society was suspicious of women without long hair.
I feel that this book was very well researched to use terms and experiences that someone who would have been familiar with the music-halls and theatres of that time and even the language used gave a real sense that there was a lot of attention to detail throughout this book.
This is another book in the pile that my friend lent me which I am starting to get through slowly!
About The Book
It is 2011 and actress Laurel Nicholson is finding thoughts and memories from her teenage years are overwhelming. With her mother seriously ill, time is running out and she needs answers to the mystery of what she remembered one afternoon when she was 16 when she witnessed her mother stabbing someone. It was reported and widely believed that it was self-defence but Laurel is haunted by what she witnessed that afternoon and no matter how hard she tries, she can't outrun her memories. As Lauren tries to delve further, she may find out that the past might not be what she thought and that by the end of her journey she finds out things that will rock her family to their foundations.
I had kind of put off reading this as while it sounded good, I was worried about all of the sections that were set in the past. However, I felt as though these flashbacks were sensitively done and throughout the book, I looked forward to these as it unravelled more of the lead character's back stories.
At 588 pages, this isn't for a casual reader, although it really doesn't feel that long as it doesn't drag on anywhere and each page is packed with information. This is one of the best books that I have ever read (and that isn't something I say lightly). There were so many twists and turns through the book that meant it really held my attention and I couldn't wait to read on so I could understand more of the story. When the full story is revealed, it completely threw me, although thinking back now, there were some hints through the book that gave clues towards what would happen but I didn't quite put them all together. I really loved this book and would recommend this to anyone who is wanting an intriguing read that keeps you guessing all the way through.
At only £3.59 for the Kindle version, I feel this book is worth it. Even at the full paperback price, it's worthwhile as I feel that this is well worth it as it was such a fantastic read.
Although a lot of books that I read and review are mainly aimed at the female populations, I feel that this is a book that isn't limited to just female readers and a lot of males would also enjoy reading this book. This is the sort of book that I would recommend to any serious reader as I felt it was very well written with an interesting story woven throughout.
Just before Christmas, I was a little annoyed when I started to feel a cold starting. Knowing that work was going to be busy, I wanted something that I could take that would stop the effects of the cold getting in the way of work and also the Christmas festivities! I went into the Eurospar near work and while they had a very poor selection of cold remedies in tablet form, I bought these, mainly as they were the cheapest and I think of Benylin as a decent brand.
These capsules contain the following ingredients which are said to help with the symptoms of colds and flu.
I didn't have a very heavy cold when I first took two of these capsules but I did have a slightly scratchy throat, my eyes felt heavy and I had a very runny nose. Within around 15 minutes, I started to feel the symptoms easing slightly and was surprised at how effective these capsules were.
Price and Availability
I bought mine from the Eurospar near work and they cost me £3.49 for 16. This is more than I would normally spend on a cold remedy but since they had a poor selection and the Lemsips were almost £5 for 16, these were the next best alternatives.
While these were more expensive than what I would normally buy, the relief that I got from these capsules was well worth the £3.49 that I paid. I would recommend these capsules for anyone who is looking for some relief from the symptoms of colds and flus.
I have bought this shower gel for others before, as I have some friends who love it, but it was only when a friend kindly bought me a 100ml bottle for Christmas last year that I realised why this is such a popular shower gel.
This shower gel is a limited edition item from Lush and is only available around Christmas time. I do occasionally buy this throughout the year on eBay though for birthday presents as well, but it does work out slightly more expensive doing it that way.
It is a very girly shower gel – it smells like candy floss and pear drops and is a bright pink with a slight shimmer running through it. It’s a thick shower gel and you only need a tiny amount to produce a rich lather.
I would really recommend this shower gel as it has such a lovely scent and it lasts ages as you only need a small amount each time. The only downside is that it is a limited edition product, but I guess there are some smart people in Lush marketing and know part of the charm of this is that it is a Christmas special.
Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Lauryl Betaine, Perfume, Propylene Glycol, Synthetic Musk, *Lactic Acid, Titanium Dioxide, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Tin Oxide, Polyester-3, Methyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Colour 45410, Colour 45380, Methylparaben
I have been using Benefit’s They’re Real mascara for a while and really rated it but when I received this mascara in a Glossybox, I was excited to try it out. I used to use Rimmel mascaras when I was in my teens and really rated them but as I got older, there were so many other brands and mascaras to try and I sort of forgot that I’d liked the Rimmel ones so much.
This mascara is very chunky and is a lot bigger than my usual mascara. The tube is a chunky curved tube with a large lid which you can unscrew. When you take the brush out, the brush fits in with the rest of the packaging and is a chunky hourglass shaped brush. Compared to most other mascaras I have used, the brush on this one is about twice the size. I did wonder how effective this would be in giving my lashes the effects that it claimed. It did take a couple of attempts for me to get used to the brush but now that I have used the mascara for a few weeks, I actually like the brush and think it makes applying my mascara easier. The large brush does seem to make it easier to cover all my lashes including the smaller ones that my usual mascara misses.
I was pleasantly surprised with the effects of this mascara. It left my eyelashes looking bolder, thicker and more defined and I only needed to use one coat to get the result I was looking for – although adding another coat did give a more dramatic effect as well.
I don’t have many complaints about this mascara but one little niggle is that it does seem to take a few seconds to dry and I do occasionally find that I have to remove some of the mascara from around my eyes when I have blinked before the mascara is properly dried. I did find that it clumped slightly the first few times I used this mascara but now that I am used to it, this hasn’t happened.
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.