Book Tour: Those Who Lie

Thursday, March 23, 2017
Book Tour: Those Who Lie

Todays post is quite exciting as it's not only a thriller review but it's also the first book tour that I'm part of! If you've read my other book reviews then you'll know that I love thrillers as they are usually  quick, easy and entertaining reads and this one is no different - despite the difficult, sensitive topics. I have a kindle copy of *Those Who Lie by Dianne Jeffrey which is categorised as a thriller, mystery and crime novel. It was published by HQ Digital back in January and it is approx. 233 pages. 

Emily Klein doesn’t know she has killed her husband until the day of his funeral. At first, signs point to a tragic accident. Yet, as Emily pieces together the events before his death – events which led to her own memory loss – she begins to suspect that her husband’s death may have been the result of more than a terrible twist of fate… But the accident is only the beginning. Because while Emily’s physical scars will heal, the trauma of the accident has awakened old ghosts. She hears strange sounds, catches things that can’t possibly be there in the corner of her eye. Before long, everywhere she looks, she seems to see her husband. And suddenly, Emily finds herself asking the most dangerous question of all.

Let's start with the writing style, for me was very quick and easy to read even though the main topics are quite sensitive and potentially trigging such as rape, family issues, murder, mental illness and more so if you don't want to read about any of those topics for whatever reason then maybe don't read this book. The rape within the book as well as other issues and points that develop and reveal themselves throughout the book were a surprise to me and I think they will be for other readers so I just wanted to warn potential readers. I think books that involve triggering topics such as self harm, mental illness and rape, for example, need to be mentioned on the back of the book or the beginning of an e-book. 

Now onto the storyline, I liked the mystery elements of finding out what happened in the accident, who is responsible, what happening in Emilys past and her relationships, it was the most compelling part of the book. The revelations throughout the book kept me guess for the most part and allows you to try and figure out what is happening for yourself. I kind of predicted some of the revelations so you weren't as impactful for me but it was still an entertaining (if very disturbing at times) journey. 

There are a few unlikeable characters and a lot of characters you don't know whether to trust or believe. I liked the main character and her friends although the parents are another story...The unreliable characters/main character as well as the 'looking over your shoulder', mystery element of this book reminded me a little bit of Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitez but Nightwalker is much darker although both have that mystery and disturbing qualities to them. 

Overall, despite the difficult and disturbing elements, unreliable characters and air of mystery and looking over your shoulder, I did enjoy this book. It's a very quick and easy book to get through and I think if you are into your crime, thriller and mystery novels then you'll like this but do be aware of the sensitive and potentially trigging topics throughout the book! Overall rating: ★★★☆☆, 3.5/ 5. 

Have you read this book (it's only 99p as a kindle/e-book copy)? Do you like thrillers/crime novels? 

Osmology Candle Boutique

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
We all know that that I adore candles, I always have one burning as they instantly make a room so much cosier, comfy and homely, to me anyway! I have tried countless brands and online stores so when a new online candle store opens, I'm all over it. Osomology have just launched their new online candle store TODAY!

Osmology is an online candle boutique, it's the UK's first dedicated online boutique candle store and they have created a speial candle with the candle company, The Nomad Society for the launch and it's glorious. I was very kindly sent *The Nomad Society x Osmology Candle (£15, 126ml) which is such an incredibly fresh, green scent that is perfect for spring. The candles features notes of leafy ferns and fresh wet moss, I can't describe fully how heavenly it smells! It actually smells a little similar to a L'Occitane candle I had years ago called vert or green tea vert, something like that and I adored it too.
As well as the divine scent *can you tell that I'm running out of beautiful adjectives to describe the scent?* the packaging is stunning and minimal which you know is my thing. The brown glass, which looks amber when the candle is lit as well as the brow paper label makes me think of victorian apothecary bottles and jars so now I love it even more.

The candle has a single wick and it burns really evenly so there is no tunnelling or wasted wax which is great and it's a problem I get with most candles, even my Yankee Candles. The scent is subtle when it's lit which is a shame as it's so gorgeous, I want the whole house to smell of this candle. It has a approximate burn time of 20 hours and I could get through it really quickly but I'm trying to savour it; however when it is finished, I'm definitely going to re-use the glass jar!

Overall, I adore this exclusive handmade candle as the scent is so fresh and spring-like and the packaging is very instagramable! It burns evenly and looks amazing when it's lit as the jar looks like it's made out of amber. The only downside is the scent isn't very strong, although I'd definitely still recommend it! I now have a very long candle wish list! Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

Definitely check out the brand new Osmology candle boutique site as I'm sure you'll find something...or ten times that you will want to buy. Also if you order by 3pm this Friday then your order will arrive before Mother's Day! I have a 15% off discount code for you to use at the checkout: OSMOLOGY15D.

What do you think of their new website? Have you tried any of the candles on there? What do you think of this candle? 

Blogging: Then + Now

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Blogging: Then + Now
Today's post is about some of the changes that I've noticed throughout my almost five years of blogging *my little blog will be five in May, I feel like a proud parent!*. It's a collaborative post with The Lifestyle Blogger UK; this is not a sponsored post.

Ok, I started blogging in 2012 and I started because I was procrastinating from university essays, as you do and at the time I was constantly watching beauty 'gurus' on youtube, most of which had blogs so I thought I'd give it a go as I was already writing and earning Amazon vouchers on review websites such as Dooyoo and Ciao so a blog was a natural progression for me. At first it was all about writing beauty reviews, you can go back through my reviews to see my earliest and most cringing posts *they are all very cringingly embarrassing, especially the photo quality!*.

For the first two years of blogging I had absolutely no idea what to do, I didn't even know there was a blogging community five years ago, SEO was a completely foreign concept to me and I was studying at university full time so I didn't put nearly as much time, energy or effort into my blog then as I do now. I feel as though blogging five years ago was such a unknown concept to everyone, even bloggers as it was so new and it definitely wasn't viewed by brands or the media as a useful tool for advertising or promotion as it is now.

My first brand collaboration was such an exciting prospect and I know it was around the time that my blog turned two years ago or just after. It was squealing out loud level exciting about collaborating with a brand for the first time and no I didn't think I'd be the next Zoella, mainly as Zoella wasn't the mega youtuber back then as she is now and secondly as that wasn't my aim. My main aim at that time was graduating with the best grade I could, which I did, if you're wondering *go me!*.

It's only in the past two years that I've taken my blog seriously and considered it as a kind of business, albeit a very small one. I've been buying my own domain name every year since, I put so much time and effort not just into my blog but in learning and reading about all of the other aspects that make up blogging, contrary to popular and ignorant beliefs, it's not all taking pretty pictures and writing about lipsticks but it's learning to use a DSLR which isn't easy, it's learning how to network, communicate with brands/PRs, learning to use social media to your advantage and making your blog stand out in a sea of blogs. It's also about writing skills, how to edit photos, connecting with other bloggers and readers, working with brands and trying to unravel the complexity of SEO, blog analytics and everything else non-bloggers don't have a clue about.

I think even in the five years that I've been blogging, it has changed so much that it's almost unrecognisable from what it once started as and bloggers who have been doing this longer than me will probably agree. I think the change from wholesome, raw and unedited *kind of* writing and thoughts to a more brand orientated, view count obsessed and numbers game style of blogging has it's bad points and good points too. Blogging will always have to change, as any industry does and whether you like the changes or you think it has ruined blogging, that's your opinion but what I think is that the brand focused side of blogging has opened the door to a new and exciting media, one that's more human compared to older print media that is just a faceless and expensive glossy magazine.

I am so grateful for the amazing opportunities, products and emails I've had from super lovely PRs and I'm really proud of my little blog which has grown so much in five years - I had no idea when I started that I will have worked with Harrods, Newlook, Boots, Debenhams, House of Fraser and so many other incredible brands! There are so many amazing blogger opportunities out there now, which can be a double edged sword but I think it's amazing how many brands and the media are finally looking to bloggers although there are still some that mock blogging as the new media on the block that isn't as formal, structured or traditional as other forms of established media. Blogging is such a fast pace, dynamic new media that I think the world is finally recognising, although I still have moments where I have to explain what a blog is to people...

There are so many options for bloggers to connect with brands and have amazing opportunities and if they come your way why not take them! I'm all for bloggers working with brands and earning money, as long as bloggers are clear and honest about it. One of my current favourite sites for great blogging opportunities is definitely The Lifestyle Blogger UK website which has such an easy, no-fuss way of allowing brands to connect with bloggers and for bloggers to apply for amazing campaigns with brands such as Superdrug; definitely check out their site!

Have long have you been blogging? What are the main changes you've noticed in the blogging world? What do you think about the more brand focused nature of blogging now or is that not what you've experienced? 

Mother's Day: Monsoon + Accessorize Fragrances

Monday, March 20, 2017
Mother's Day: Monsoon + Accessorize Fragrances
Mother's Day in the UK is this Sunday so there's still time to pick up a gift! I'm super organised, probably overly organised, so I have already wrapped my mums presents ready for Sunday. There are safe and easy gifts to give and for my mum that includes any kind of lovely pampering products or fragrances; I definitely take after my mum when it comes to loving fragrances!

I was very kindly sent a couple of fragrances from Monsoon/Accessorize which I haven't tried before and to be honest I didn't know either brand actually made fragrances! I think both fragrances would make lovely gifts on their own or a part of a beauty hamper for Mother's Day. 
Mother's Day: Monsoon + Accessorize Fragrances
 *Accessorize Lovelily EDP (£19, 75ml)
Let's start with the most inexpensive and also the most unique, in terms of the pretty spring like bottle. The box is so bright, colourful and floral as is the bottle which has a pink flower almost persevered looking in the lid - I love the bottle, it's also quite heavy so it's more of a substantial present.

The fragrance contains notes of: raspberry, orange, jasmine and sweet vanilla, all notes I adore in fragrances. The fragrance to me isn't very unique, I have to admit but it is gorgeous and perfect for spring. It is a very uplifting, sweet and feminine fragrance that I could see as a young adult fragrance but I don't think that fragrances should have ages attached to them as you should be able to wear whatever you want!

It is initially very sweet and floral but it becomes a more creamy, vanilla heavy fragrance which I love as vanilla is one of my favourite fragrance notes - it's so warming, comforting and familiar as a fragrance note. I think this inexpensive fragrance would make a great gift as an everyday fragrance. Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.
Mother's Day: Monsoon + Accessorize Fragrances
*Monsoon Rose Gold EDP (£24, 30ml)
The second fragrance will definitely be a blogger favourite as it's rose gold and such a photogenic product! Anyway, this fragrance isn't as inexpensive as the sweet Lovelily fragrance but it is still a great deal compared to other fragrances on the market. I love the bottle of this perfume as it's so simple but beautiful on my vanity; the box is also gorgeous with rose gold detailing *I'm a sucker for anything rose gold*.

The fragrance contains notes of: lemon, tuberose, neroli, rose, vanilla, musk and amber; again all of which sound perfect! This fragrance is much more musky, sophisticated and floral compared to Lovelily and I think my mum would adore this fragrance! It is richly musky and floral but not overly so that it could only be an evening fragrance. I love both but I think this one is winning out! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5.

Overall, considering this is my first foray into highstreet fragrances and in particular offerings from Accessorize/Monsoon, I'm pleasantly surprised. They both look pretty on my vanity, they are both very inexpensive and they last for a good few hours on me, the winner in terms of staying power is the gorgeous Rose Gold fragrance. I'd recommend both, either for yourself or as a gift this upcoming Mother's Day!

Have you tried either of these fragrances? What perfumes are you loving right now? 

DHC Double Protection Mascara

Sunday, March 19, 2017
DHC Double Protection Mascara
When it comes to the one product in my makeup bag that I can't live without I'd usually say foundation but since sticking to a vegan diet, my skin and eczema is so much better and I couldn't be happier with my skin so I'd like to change my answer to mascara. Foundation, mascara and brow pencil are three products that can instantly change your appearance and in my case, my mood. I couldn't think of going out without at least some foundation, brow pencil and mascara!

However, there is one downside to mascara...taking it off! I have sensitive eyes and all of the mascaras that I have ever used have been a bit of a pain to remove at the end of the day or they can feel really heavy on my lashes with just one coat. In comes, DHC to the rescue *cue the superhero music*.

DHC is a Japanese skincare and makeup brand that I've tried a couple of products from in the past but this is the first makeup item and I'm impressed! The *DHC Double Protection Mascara (£15.90, 5g) is Emma Watson's favourite mascara as revealed in a recent interview as she says it's gentle, comes off with warm water and she likes the mascara brush (interview with www.intothegloss.com).
DHC Double Protection Mascara
I like the packaging, it's very lightweight so it would be perfect for travelling and I'll probably take it to York with me next month. I also love the brush, it is very thin compared to all of the other gigantic mascara wands on the market now which means that it can get right down to the roots of the lashes and into the hard to reach corners easily.

It instantly gives my lashes a very fluttery, natural and wispy appearance which I love for everyday but if you are used to massive lashes then this won't be for you. One of the main points I love about this mascara is that you have time and the right brush to really apply it well and right into the lashes. I find it is long wearing and it is easy to remove although it comes off in flakes on me which isn't fantastic; however it doesn't flake throughout the day and it is almost unnoticeable feeling on the lashes which is a big plus for me as other mascaras weight my lashes down so much that I can see my  heavy clumpy lashes constantly, like my own blurry filter.

Overall, I'm loving this mascara for how lovely it is to apply and how it gives my lashes a naturally fluttery look that lasts all day. I also like the packaging and how gentle it is on my eyes as well as how easy to is to remove compared to my other mascaras which I need to scrub at my eyes to remove! The only negatives for me is that the price is higher than my usual hughstreet mascaras and when removing it does come off in flakes. Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.

Have you tried Emma Watson's favourite mascara or anything from DHC? What is your current favourite mascara? 

The Body Shop Almond Milk + Honey Range

Friday, March 17, 2017
The Body Shop Almond Milk + Honey Range
The Body Shop has been one of my favourite brands for ten years now, I always adored their lip butters and shower gels as well as their now nostalgic shimmer cubes! The new ranges they have been bringing out over the past few years have just been perfect, I loved the virgin mojito range from a couple of years ago. 

The latest offering is the Almond Milk and Honey range which is designed for dry and sensitive skin; it contains organic almond milk from Spain and community fair-trade honey from Ethiopia. I was kindly sent some of the range to try out including their famous body butters and hand creams.
The Body Shop Almond Milk + Honey Range
*The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Hand Cream (£4, 30ml)
My hands annoyingly have eczema over them constantly which can be incredibly dry, tight and uncomfortable as well as making me very self conscious so I am always applying hand cream. Some of my favourite hand creams are definitely these from The Body Shop! This hand cream smells sweet but creamy and comforting which I love - I'll go so far as to say that it might be my favourite scent from The Body Shop ever. The texture is lightweight and gel-like but creamy and nourishing which leaves my hands feeling smooth, soft, moisturised and comfortable without irritating my skin. 

*The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Body Butter (£6, 50ml)
As well as the lip butters which were a staple in my makeup bag as a teenager, the body butters have also been a constant in my beauty collection. I currently have around four that I use in rotation and I've used up countless tubs of body butters as well so another is very welcome. Again the scent is heavenly and the body butter has the same creamy, rich and deeply moisturising formula as the others that I love although it isn't a thick so it's perfect for spring. 
The Body Shop Almond Milk + Honey Range
*The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Shower Cream (£2, 60ml)
I've tried so many products from The Body Shop over the years but one I haven't really tried are their shower creams. The shower cream is soap free, very gentle on the skin and also very creamy. I've mainly been using it as a hand wash as it doesn't strip my skin but it still cleanses well and leaves my hands super soft and comfortable. It doesn't lather at all really unlike their shower gels which produce bubbles for days but I think I actually prefer it to shower gels as it's so gentle and nourishing on my dry, sensitive skin. 

*The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Cleansing Bar (£4, 100g)
Cleansing bars are a new product to me, I haven't tried any from The Body Shop so I was interested to give it a go. It doesn't contain colourants, mineral oil or petrolatum. As well as the organic almond milk and fair-trade honey, it also contains fair-trade shea butter from Ghana. Again the scent is divine (I can't get enough of the scent), it's just so lovely to use. I use it in place of the soap I've been using and it works well while leaving my skin soft but not irritated at all. 

Overall, I adore this new range from The Body Shop! It not only smells divine and perfect for spring but all of the products are effective while being nourishing, gentle and moisturising. I also love the packaging! I have eczema on my hands and none of these products have irritated it which is fantastic although come to think of it none of The Body Shop products I've ever tried have irritated my skin! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5. 

Have you tried this range? What are your favourite products from The Body Shop?