Festival Beauty Picks ft. Joico + Osmo

Saturday, June 30, 2018
With summer here and festival season approaching, today's post is all about the festival and general summer beauty products that would be perfect for the season. I was very kindly sent a range of gorgeous festival essentials from Joico (surprise blogger mail always makes my day, thanks!) as well as products from Osmo, Nanogen, Twist & Spritz and Rubis Switzerland.

*Joico Instatint Temporary Hair Colour (£5.05 each)
I've tried these temporary hair colour sprays from Joico previously and loved them so I'm glad I have more in other colours. They are so quick and easy to use, if a touch messy and they have great pigmentation on blonde hair - I used them on my dip dyed blonde ends last year. They are great for festivals are they are only temporary and they wash out in just one wash. If you're looking for temporary hair colour for an upcoming festival then look no further. The colours butters would also be amazing as they're the best semi-permanent hair dyes I've ever tried!
*Joico Moisture Recovery Trio Travel Set (£12.30)
Minis and sample sizes are ideal for summer holidays, weekend breaks and festivals and Joico have a fantastic travel set that is ideal for dry hair types, as mine is. The set contains the fantastic moisture recovery shampoo, conditioner and the liquid to powder texturizing finisher, all of which are decent 50ml sizes.

I've tried the moisture recovery range from Joico a while ago and loved the range so I know this set would be great for an upcoming weekend away. My hair is perpetually dry, apart from the roots so this range is ideal for me. I haven't tried the texturing finisher yet but it definitely sounds intriguing!
As far as I knew, Joico was only a haircare brand but they do seem to have a couple of makeup and beauty items in their range too although I don't think that they can be bought individually. The nail polish can be purchased as part of the Joico Moisture Recovery and Nail Varnish Bundle if you're interested. Additionally they have a lip butter in the range and I have the raspberry flavour; it seems to be a dupe of the EOS balms and it's pretty good! I need a lip balm all year round especially in winter but it's also important to use the during the summer too. Thanks so much to the lovely people at Joico and AJC PR for the amazing festival bundle!
*Rosehip Plus Organic Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil (£25, 30ml)
We all know the benefits of coconut oil but what about rosehip oil, it's grown in the Andes mountains in Chile and extracted without using heat or chemicals so it guarantees the purity and quality of the oil. It contains antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins (A, C and E) as well a omega 3, 6 and 9. It can be used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, soften and moisturise the skin, minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve the appearance of dry and sensitive skin so it's a great all rounder.

The oil would be great as a face and body oil in once, so you don't have to take two products, it would also be great as a cuticle oil, stretch mark treatment and to drier areas of the body such as knees and elbows. I think it's a great, natural multi-use product that is also suitable for vegans and cruelty free!
*Twist & Spritz Refillable Perfume Atomizer (£10)
Now onto one of my favourite items from this post as it's something that I have in my handbag most of the time as it's an atomiser. I love to take my fragrances on the go with me and the only travel friendly way to do that is to either use fragrance samples or to use a perfume atomiser. Fragrance atomisers are so incredibly handy, very easy to use and they are travel friendly so they'd be ideal to keep in your handbag, suitcase, backpack or in your work desk for easy, discreet fragrance touch ups throughout the day.

I have the black version but I was also sent a glittery pink option a while ago and that's the one that has been most constantly in my handbag. I've used it for so long that I would definitely purchase one in the future if mine ever broke as it's just very handy! You don't have to worry about having a huge glass perfume bottle in your bag or that it will leak. There are so many colour options and styles to choose from and I think they'd be a handbag essential for so many, especially during the summer and festival season.
*Rubis Switzerland Tweezers (£32)
Next up is another long term favourite and essential for me as it's the amazing Rubis Tweezers! I have the gorgeous rose gold version that I've been using for months. Now I have the equally as pretty silver version. Rubis Switzerland is a luxury brand, hence the price and it definitely shows in the product too as they're quite heavy and incredibly well made. They are very durable, sturdy and some of the most effective tweezers I've ever used. Tweezers are such a ordinary daily essential but so many pairs are just ineffective and flimsy; however these are fantastic and I cannot recommend them enough - I know they're a little pricy but honestly, they're worth every penny particularly considering how often they're used.
*Crazy Colour Semi-Permanent Hair Colour Cream - Neon UV Reactive Shades
Last spring I tested out a couple of pinky shades from Crazy Colour and I loved the pink one so I was excited when these new shades arrived from Crazy Colour (surprise blogger mail is the best!). I was kindly sent four but sadly the pretty green shade exploded in transit! Crazy Colour dyes are incredibly quick and easy to apply to bleached ends, as I had, and they're temporary so they only last between one and three washes or at least, that's how long they lasted in my hair. They are very inexpensive and perfect for festivals!
*Nanogen Root Boost Hair Thickening Spray - Sun Damage Protection (£12.95)
Now onto a few more haircare items, the first being a root boosting spray that thickens, lifts and helps to minimise colour fading and the signs of sun damage. Nanogen is a brand that I've heard great things about but it isn't a brand I've tried much from; their original root boosting spray doesn't contain sun protection but this new edition does so it's wonderful for the summer months as it isn't just your skin that needs sun protection. I love the packaging for this spray, it's so photogenic!

The spray is heat activated and claims to add instant thickness and volume while containing keratin and niacinamide to help care for your scalp. It definitely does help to boost volume which is something my very thick, very long hair doesn't have often so I'll definitely be using this throughout the summer months, especially because of the added sun protection.
*Osmo Intensive Deep Repair Mask
Speaking of looking after your hair, hair masks should be year round essentials but I am guilty of forgetting to use them especially during the summer. The Osmo mask is a nourishing treatment for severely damaged hair: mine thankfully isn't very damaged but I have been dying it for years and I do occasionally use heat on my hair so a deep treatment every so often is definitely needed. The mask, admittedly, doesn't have the nicest scent but it is very effective. It would be a perfect post-festival or post-holiday treatment!

*Osmo Matt Salt Spray Mattifying Texturizer 
Beachy summer hair is the most effortless option for a festival and to help create that there's nothing better than a salt spray! I've tried a couple of them years ago but this one seems to be the least crunchy and heavy. I have very long hair so it isn't the most ideal length for something like this but it does add some texture and definition to the ends of my hair.

*Osmo Blinding Shine Illuminating Finisher 
Last but not least is a great finishing spray for shiny, healthy looking hair. I'm loving the packaging of all the Osmo products I was kindly sent recently! The shine spray contains moringa oil to nourish the hair and add a high gloss shine for a vibrant, sleek finish. As with the mask, it doesn't have the most pleasant scent but it leaves my hair looking so shiny and healthy, without being greasy!

Have you tried any of these products? What are your summer or festival beauty essentials? 

DegustaBox - June 2018: BBQ Selection

Friday, June 29, 2018
I absolutely love receiving the delicious Degustabox boxes every month (thanks so much to the incredibly lovely people over at DegustaBox) and this months box is no different! I love the mystery of the boxes and how jam packed they are with so many wonderful and yummy cooking ingredients, drinks and snacks. If you use the code: KVAA2 at the checkout you can get your box for only £7.99 which is an amazing deal considering the value of each box.

*DegustaBox - June 2018 
Sometimes the boxes are themed and last months box was based around the World Cup but this months is all about BBQ snacks and sharing products as well as some items that would be perfect for a summer picnic or road trip. There are thirteen items within this box with brands ranging from The Jelly Bean Factory, Fry Light, Orangina, Idahoan and many more. I think this months box has a great range of items from small snacks and sparkling drinks to sauces, cooking ingredients and sharing snacks which will be perfect for summer.
*Brioche Pasquier Pains Au Lait (£1.75)
Let's start with one of my favourite food groups, carbs! We've received quite a few French baked goods over the past couple of months and I'm definitely not complaining as they've been some of my favourite items and these are no different. They are brioche rolls which are naturally delicious and are so versatile - the back of the packet has some very creative and delicious ideas such as filling your brioche rolls with macaroni cheese *drools*.

*Idahoan Gratin Bake (£2.30)
Next up is another very carb heavy item and another brand I've tried a few times within these boxes. I really love the instant mash from this brand (I received some in a DegustaBox and I've bought it myself since) so I was interested to try something else from them. Sadly, I wasn't that much of a fan of this item as it was quite gloopy and not very flavourful but I would definitely purchase the mash again.
*Fry Light Avocado Oil (£2.99)
I received the coconut oil version of this cooking oil spray in a previous DegustaBox and I'm still using it pretty much every single day. I love these spray oils as it means that you only use a very small amount, it's easy to control and they're healthier for you which is something that's very important to me. I do love the coconut oil version and I'm sure I'll like this one too!

*Capiscana Cook Sauces (£1.99 each)
The DegustaBox product of the month is the Capiscana Cook Sauces - I received two in my box. I received the cuban chilli and lime and Brazilian chilli and coconut cooking sauces. They're both suitable for vegetarians, gluten free and they don't contain artificial colours or flavourings. Both flavour options are both described as hot so with me being a wimp when it comes it spices, I think I'll pass these on to someone who's tastebuds can handle it.
*Rosie's Pig Raspberry Roller (£2)
Next up is one of the uniquely packaging and designed items in the box as it's a can of sparkling cloudy dinar with raspberry juice and cucumber. I absolutely love the packaging of this product and while I don't tend to drink alcohol very often, I will be drinking this on a summer road trip or picnic soon.

*Orangina (£1.20 each)
As with a couple of brands within the box, this one has made an appearance in a previous DegustaBox. Orangina is a brand that I do like and I'm happy to receive a couple of bottles within this months box. I have the original and light versions so they'd be great for a summer picnic to share - I should hopefully be going on a short summer road trip and weekend away in August (I can't wait).

*No & More Raspberry and Blueberry Spring Water (£1.29)
Sometimes there are no drinks within the boxes but this month has featured quite a few and the penultimate drink is a flavoured spring water from No & More. The water doesn't contain sugar, sweeteners or preservatives. It's flavoured with blueberry (boo) and raspberry and the latter is one of my favourite ever flavours so I think I'll like this drink!
*Peckish BBQ Rice Crackers Multi-Pack (£1.79)
Now onto the snacks, the first is a large sharing multi-pack bag of smokey BBQ flavoured rice crackers. I love trying healthier versions of crisps so these are perfect! They are baked and not fried, made with rice bran oil and they're gluten free and suitable for vegetarians. I do love smokey, BBQ flavoured snacks and these tick all of the boxes for me. I've finished all of these mini packets now as they are so delicious!

*Mighty Fine Salted Caramel Honeycomb Bar (£1)
I do love snacking but this one is a little different, it's salted caramel and milk chocolate covered honeycomb bar. I do love honeycomb flavours and I have tried this bar before in another subscription box so I know that I like it, even though it's very chewy/sticky.
*Great British Biscotti Co (£1.30)
The next item is a snack I haven't tried before, I don't think, and it's biscotti. Biscotti is a dry Italian biscuit and this one contains chocolate, cranberries and pistachios within a buttery biscuit. I love the packaging and while I like the flavours, it just isn't for me - I'm not a fan of the texture but I'm sure a lot of people will love it.

*The Jelly Bean Factory (£1.25)
The penultimate item is my favourite item from the box as the flavours are so nice, I love chewy sweets and they are suitable for vegetarians! This snack is fair-trade, contains 100% natural flavours and vegetarian society approved. There are 36 flavours within the gourmet box but you don't get all of the flavours as I had quite a lot of repeats. I didn't like the watermelon, Pina colada or coconut flavours but I did love the lemon, strawberry and passion fruit flavours. I'll definitely buy their products in the future.
*Fyre Fruit Drinks 
Last but not least is the non-alcoholic box drink option which are sparkling fruit drinks. I love the packaging for these drinks, they are all natural and while they only have two flavours so far, they are delicious. I liked the lemon and ginger drink but my favourite has to be the blueberry, blackcurrant, peppers and chilli flavoured drink which sounds awful but it's actually yummy and sweet!

Overall, I loved this month box as I liked last months box too. My favourite items have to include the rice crackers, cider, brioche and the jelly bean sweets. Don't forget to use the code: KVAA2 to get your box for only £7.99 which is great value consisting the number and value of the items included in the boxes each month!

What do you think of the June DegustaBox? Have you tried any of these snacks or drinks? 

Vegan Chickpea Curry with Garlic Cauliflower Rice ft. Magimix

Thursday, June 28, 2018
Back in May, which seems like a lifetime ago, I published my first recipe with Magimix and today it is finally time for the second recipe which is a comforting mild vegan chickpea and sweet potato curry with cashews, corriander and garlic cauliflower rice that's tasty, comforting and filling for the summer. The curry could be paired with Naan bread and a refreshing coconut yoghurt raita alongside cucumber and fresh mint.

Some of my favourite foods are comfort foods especially the BBQ mac 'n' cheese that I posted a couple of months ago with Magimix and curry is another comfort food of mine but as I have the tastebuds of a newborn, I can't handle anything overly spicy or hot. I think some people confuse spices with heat, so this curry is spicy and flavoursome but it isn't hot so it's ideal as a summertime curry!
For the first recipe I created with Magimix, I used the blender aspects of my *Magimix 4200XL (£280, Black) to produce a creamy BBQ, smoky sauce for my vegan mac 'n' cheese but for this recipe I used the large grating disc included with the Magimix food processor to create the delicious and healthy garlic cauliflower rice.

I have been using the Magimix 4200XL almost constantly since I received it to help with meal prepping as while it isn't completely ideal for small batches of food, it is amazing for meal prepping larger amounts or cooking for numerous people, maybe a summer picnic or dinner party. The components of the Magimix that I've been using the most include the large bowl and blade and the grating discs which are perfect for shredding veggies for salads and for creating garlic cauliflower rice! The food processor comes with so many attachments including a dough blade, slicing discs, various blades and more so in my opinion, it's well worth the money.

As well as my Magimix 4200XL, I also used a couple of other products I was very kindly sent from the lovely people over at Indigo Herbs, who I've been lucky enough to work with a few times now and Hambleden Spices. From Indigo Herbs I used their organic raw cashew nuts as a garnish and from Hambleden Spices I used their organic garlic powder for the garlic cauliflower rice.
Let's start with the recipe which I would say makes three medium sized portions or two very large portions; additionally it could be added to a large serving dish as a sharing meal or made into small portions for a sharing picnic. The curry and cauliflower rice could easily be added into a pitta bread for on the go snacking or it can be transferred to a microwaveable container and reheated as a work lunch option. Whatever way you choose, here are the list of ingredients but feel free to add in or remove ingredients you don't like:

Ingredients:
- Sweet potato (two medium sweet potatoes)
- Chickpeas (150-200g)
- Passata (150g)
- White Onion (small)
- Water (100ml)
- Light coconut milk (100ml)
- Cauliflower (one whole medium cauliflower)
- Cornflour (1 tsp)
- Garam masala, garlic powder, turmeric (1 heaped tsp each)
- Salt, garlic pepper (1 tsp each)
- Corriander and cashews as a garish

I'm never one to stick to recipes, even my own, so here are a few suggestions to alter or add to the recipe: I think that you could easily replace the sweet potato in this recipe for lots of chestnut mushrooms (I'm going to be doing this next time I make it) or you could add in pumpkin or butternut squash for the autumnal months which I'm looking forward to already! Replacing the garlic powder with roasted garlic could be a great alternation too but I personally love garlic powder because of how convenient it is. Lastly, switching out the coriander with fresh mint would be incredible but sadly I didn't have any on hand when I make this recipe.
Step One:
The first step of the recipe is to dice and roast the sweet potato and white onion until soft, but not overly soft, you don't want it to be a starchy mush. I roasted mine at 180 degree Celsius for 20 minutes with some coconut oil. I use a spray coconut oil as it's much more convenient, healthier and it means that I don't use too much oil!

Step Two:
Combine your sweet potato, onion and spices in a non-stick frying pan for a couple of minutes until the spices are fragrant but make sure nothing sticks so use a low-medium heat. Then add in the coconut milk and passata - I added water to the passata jar to get everything out and added it to the pan. I used the Mutti passta that I received in my April DegustaBox which is delicious.
Step Three:
While your curry is simmering for around 15-20 minutes, you have time to cut up your cauliflower into small/medium florets so they fit in the tube of the Magimix 4200XL. I used the large grating disc within my Magimix food processor as I didn't want it to turn into a cauliflower paste! For the same reason, I didn't cook the cauliflower at all before adding it into the food processor. When you've processed all of your raw cauliflower it will look like large cous cous so transfer it to a frying pan with a little coconut oil and powdered garlic and fry for around five minutes (stirring regularly) until slightly golden.

Step Four:
If after 15-20 minutes your curry isn't thick enough, make a cornflour slurry by combining a teaspoon of cornflour to a couple of teaspoons of water, stir well and add into the curry; heat through until thickened. Lastly add in salt and pepper to taste then spoon into your bowls or serving plate along with the garlic cauliflower rice, Finally top with corrriander and cashews for crunch.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, make sure you check out the video below of the final dish and let me know what you think in the comments below. Additionally if you make this recipe be sure to tag me (@ofbeautyand) on instagram or twitter!
What do you think of this vegan chickpea and sweet potato curry with coriander, cashews and garlic cauliflower rice? Do you like my vegan recipes? Do you own a Magimix food processor?

Blog Tour: Ravencry by Ed McDonald

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Today's post is another blog tour, my previous was Alone Time which I loved and this book is equally as loved. I was very kindly sent this second book in the Raven's Mark series by Ed McDonald from the super generous people over at Gollancz (thank you!). For those who don't know, this book is a fantasy read and it's more within the grimdark or dark fantasy genre so if you like books within those categories, you'll love this!

*Ravencry by Ed McDonald (432 pages) ★★ (3.75)
I read the first book in this series, Blackwing, earlier this month and I loved it as within it we follow one of my new favourite fantasy characters, Ryhalt Galharrow who is a rugged, foul mouthed but kind hearted (deep down) killer, soldier and bounty hunter. Ryhalt Galharrow who is one of the most unique and vivid characters I've met. He is a Blackwing captain in command of a ragtag group of killers and soldiers who kill whoever they're ordered to by his master, Crowfoot who is one of the Nameless, powerful sorcerers who held back the Deep Kings long ago. In that conflict an engine was created to protect the cities along the eastern empire from the Deep Kings and a disturbing, harrowing place called Misery was also created in the process. I'll have a full review of the first book within my upcoming June reading wrap-up post so stay tuned.

The first book was filled with conflict, fight scenes, a slight rekindling of a romance, sarcastic and dark humour and magic as well as a very easy writing style to follow, a very unusual world and even more unusual characters that will probably give you nightmares for a while! The first book also has a stunningly gorgeous cover and the second book in the series shares all of these traits but ramped up to even more bizarre levels!

I can't say too much about this read as it is the second book in the series and I wouldn't want to spoil the first book as it's definitely better if you go into it blind (like Maldon...?) but I will say that if the gruesome scenes, very disturbing characters and bizarre locations were a five out of ten in the first books, then this second is a ten out of ten, perhaps 11/10.

I loved the writing style, the incredibly unique world, characters and the relationship between Ryhalt, Maldon, Nenn and obviously Ezabeth (cries). I loved the drunken, constantly swearing and fighting nature of Ryhalt, he's a damaged and battle worn character that you can't help but love (I do hope he gets a happy ending in the third book). If you love fantasy, especially dark fantasy with guts, strange creatures and an even stranger setting then this series is definitely for you! While I loved both books, I do prefer the first book but they're both fantastic and well worth reading!
Will you be picking up Blackwing and Ravencry? Do you like fantasy books or TV shows?

GlossyBox: June 2018 - Riviera

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
I personally love beauty subscription boxes, well subscription boxes in general, as they are not only fun and good value for money but they contain so many great items for travelling and they remind me each month of the mystery and surprise I had as a child when I was allowed to buy a Claire's Accessories £5 mystery goody bags back in the 90's and early 00's. One of my favourite beauty subscription boxes has to be Glossy Box as they're always well presented, contain a good mixture of recognisable and new brands and I generally find a fair few products that I love.

*GlossyBox - June 2018 ★★★★ (4/5)
Today's review is definitely a little late (oops, sorry!) as June has been a pretty busy month with friends birthdays, catching up with friends and my dads birthday and retirement as well as a wedding rehearsal and the big day for one of my best friends, in which I was a bridesmaid. Next month should be much quieter so you'll get the review on time in July!
The theme for the July box is based on travel and the riviera (I've been lucky enough to visit parts of the french and Italian riviera and it's incredibly beautiful, especially Portofino) so I was interested to see what the box would contain! The box contains five items from a range of brands including Nip + Fab, Monu Skin and Gatineau, as well as a few others that I haven't heard of.

*Nip + Fab Glycolic Scrub Fix (sample size, 50ml)
Let's start with the brand I'm most familiar with, Nip + Fab. I've tried some of their bodycare products and I loved them (try not to cringe when looking at the photos in the linked Nip + Fab post...). I haven't tried any of their skincare but I've heard great things! The scrub contains 3% glycolic acid, salicylic acid and fine grains to exfoliate the skin and all of those ingredients have been associated with acne treatment, from what I've heard, so I was unsure whether I should try it as my skin is dry and sensitive. I did give it a go on my t-zone and it worked very well although I would still be cautious with it on my sensitive skin.

*Gatineau Gentle Eye Makeup Remover (sample size, 50ml)
The first two products within this post are both described as 50ml sample sizes but they are very decent sizes and they'd be great for travelling! I love that GlossyBox doesn't include skincare sample sachets in their boxes. Gatineau is a brand that is regularly included in various subscription boxes and I have liked their products but if I'm completely honest, they don't excite me at all. However, I have liked using this product, it is pretty effective and doesn't irritate my skin or eyes.
*Monu Skin Eye Cool Gel (full size, 15ml)
The final skincare item is a product that is ideal for the ridiculous heatwave we have in the UK right now (the current temperature is 28 degrees Celsius in Manchester...I have been using this eye gel since I received the box a couple of weeks ago and it's perfect for this time of the year as it's hydrating and great under concealer but it is also light weight and refreshing!

*Noven Mystic Black Hair Mask (full size, 100ml)
The next three products are all full size which is fantastic - Glossybox seems to have the most full size products in their boxes. This is probably my favourite item from the box along with the eye gel as it's such a lovely and quietly effective hair mask. It is a no-frills hair mask that my dry, coloured treated hair has been loving recently and I will be looking out for it when I've used up this tub.

*Laritzy Cosmetics Shade Stix (full size)
Last but not least is make-up item, we all know that makeup items are my favourites to receive in beauty boxes! I haven't heard of this brand before but it looks interesting. This shade stix can be used as a bronzer or cream contour but I have only been using it as the former because the warmth of the shade is too much to use as a contour on my ghostly pale skin. It's a lovely creamy bronzer, it blends well with a stiff contour brush and it looks so pretty on the skin for the summer!

For this box Glossybox has partnered with leading haircare brand Remington to secretly include exclusive golden tickets inside 5 lucky Glossyboxes. Those lucky enough to receive a golden ticket will win 1 of 5 ProLuxe hair tools from the Remington Range!

Overall, I'm very happy with this months box, especially considering the value of the box which is £54.50! My favourite items have to include the eye gel and the hair mask. The sneak peek for the July box is very exciting and I can't wait to see the other items included! You still have time to get your hands on this box as it will be available until the 1st July!

What do you think of the June GlossyBox? Have you tried any of these products?

Note: I'm going to the Manchester Eats food festival next month, you still have time to get your tickets, check out this link for more information!

Summer Bed Linen ft. Room To Sleep

Monday, June 25, 2018
I love the change in seasons as it brings the opportunity to re-organise and switch up my decor, home fragrances and furniture. While autumn is definitely my favourite season, I do love spring and summery decor when it's botanical and floral themed! To spruce up and add a little summer into my bedroom, the lovely people at Room To Sleep have kindly sent me a gorgeous botanical duvet set!

*Luxury Leaves Duvet Set via Room To Sleep (£47)
The duvet set is inspired by nature and botanics with this gorgeous but minimal fern leaf print. The duvet set is reversible with a green background and white fern design on one side (the side I'm showing in this post as it's my favourite design) and a second design with a white background and green ferns.
I love the design as it's summery but it isn't too bright or tacky, which is what I find most summery decor to be. It matches in with my decor so well as it's a mixture of creams, white, grey and natural shades. The green isn't too bright, it's more of a natural and subtle shade. I love the little details of the design including the various botanical plants depicted and the reversible design.

It's composed of 100% cotton and the set comes with the duvet cover as well as two pillow cases which also feature the same summery reversible design. The set is available in double (200cm by 200cm), king (230cm by 220cm) and super king (260cm by 220cm) sizes. I have the king size option and it fits perfectly and looks amazing!
The duvet is so incredibly soft and cosy, it looks so nice in my bedroom with the other complimentary decor and it is ideal for summer compared to my heavier, thicker duvet sets. Greens, cream and natural shades are perfect for the spring and summery seasons so I cannot recommend this duvet set enough. Although Room To Sleep has a wide range of beds, bed linen and mattresses to choose from as well as bedroom furniture, mirrors, table and much more. The quality of the duvet set is fantastic so I will definitely look into their products in the future.

What do you think of this duvet set? Do you have any favourite summer homeware or decor? 

May + June Beauty Favourites 2018

Friday, June 22, 2018
Back in the good old days of blogging I used to write monthly favourites posts every single month but I've gradually changed to writing current favourite posts as I never seem to have enough products to talk about in just one month; however May and June were fantastic months for amazing beauty products. I was very kindly sent all of these products, some of them are new to me this month and others I've been using for months! As well as favourites posts, one thing I used to do but that has fallen to the wayside is star ratings so I'm bringing them back now (all of my star ratings are out of five)!

*Baie Botanique Regenerating Serum (£34) ★★★★
Let's start with a couple of skincare favourites from a brand that I haven't tried until the beginning of June and I've fallen in love with them as not only are the products themselves so lovely but I also love the packaging and natural ingredients. Some of the natural ingredients are as follows: vitamin c, raspberry seed oil, lemongrass, green tea, cranberry, rosewood essential oil, grapeseed oil and many more.

The serum smells so lovely, it's filled with floral scents and it has such a smooth, gel-like texture so it feels silky on the skin. I adore serums, especially if they absorb quickly and this one does! As it absorbs it leaves my skin ridiculously smooth, soft and moisturised; it makes the perfect base for my moisturiser and then my makeup. The price is a little higher than I'd usually pay for a serum but it's gorgeous on my skin and you only need a tiny amount so I think one bottle will last quite a while! I cannot recommend this serum enough.
*Baie Botanique Regenerating Face Cream (£32) ★★★★
As well as the serum, the face cream has the same lovely scent and the same fantastic natural and organic ingredients including bayberry, liquorice, rose water, sugar cane, wild geranium and more. The face cream has a unique bottle as you have to twist the lid section and the dispenser pops up which I like but it isn't the most convenient design.

Out of the two products I've been lucky enough to try from Baie Botanique, I think the serum is my favourite product and that's not to say that I don't like the face cream, as I do but the serum is a little more impressive to me. However, that being said, I adore how smooth the face cream and serum combined leave my skin! The products don't irritate my sensitive, eczema prone skin but I haven't tried them when I've had a bad flareup so I can't fully say for certain but so far so good and I cannot recommend this brand enough, based on the products I've tried. They do have a fairly small range of products but I feel as though the quality and thought has gone into these.
*Miller Harris Lost In The City EDP ★★★★★
I've already fully reviewed this fragrance on my blog as I was sent it a month or so ago and I'm still loving it! I adore the packaging, although it's looking a little messy now as I use it every single day and the scent is amazing. I was so happy to receive the fragrance as I needed a new spring/summer fragrance as all of mine are pretty much autumnal fragrances and I received the perfect spring fragrance in Lost In The City from Miller Harris.

*Feather & Down Pillow Mist ★★★★★
Another product I've loved and used for a while is the Feather & Down pillow mist (both the original and the newer 'breathe' version). Feather and Down is one of my favourite sleep aid brands as all of their products are so effective, beautifully designed and they smell incredibly relaxing and calming. My favourite products of theirs have to include the pillow mists and the lovely melting shower cream both of which I'd recommend to everyone!

*Ben & Anna Provence Natural Deodorant ★★★★
I feel awful about this product as I was sent it last year (yes, last year) and I've been using it on and off since then but I've completely forgotten to mention it and review it on my blog, until now. I have the Provence scent which is filled with lavender and we all know that I adore lavender scented products, so I knew I would love this scent option. It's a natural deodorant which is something I've gradually moved towards over the past few years and this deodorant has to be one of my favourite natural deodorants as it's very effective, it doesn't have a strange texture/consistency and it smells lovely.
*Blanx Pro Whitening Toothpaste (£5.99 each) ★★★★★
The final items in my May and June favourites post are from Blanx, I have tried a couple of products from them previously but my favourites include the new Blanx Pro range. The Pro range includes three new whitening toothpastes which are new non-abrasive whitening toothpastes including arctic lichens, silicas, and enzymes to protect enamel, counteract plaque and dental yellowing.

I was sent all three options: fresh white, glossy white and pure white which differ in their colour, level of mint and flavour. The glossy white toothpaste might not be for everyone has it doesn't have a traditionally minty flavour, it's much milder and my sister said that it tastes like perfume...however it was my personal favourite of the three because it wasn't very minty! The pure white toothpaste is the most like a tradition minty toothpaste so I think this one will be the most popular option and finally, the fresh white toothpaste which is the most minty/strong of the three and it has a very vivid blue colour (that temporary turns my tongue blue...).
Earlier this month I was a bridesmaid for one of my best friends and it was such an amazing experience; some of the prep before the wedding was to whiten my teeth which I did with an at home teeth whitening kit as well as these toothpastes. I have tried the teeth whitening kit I used previously and it does help but this time round the whitening effect was much more noticeable and I can only account for that because of the Blanx Pro toothpastes I've been using every day during and after using that kit.

I've tried quite a few whitening toothpastes and if I'm completely honest, none of them have had much of a difference but these are so impressive. Since using the teeth whitening kit (from another brand), the whitening effect has increased even more so it's definitely down to using these toothpastes. I genuinely cannot recommend these toothpastes enough as I have personally experience nothing but positives since using them including a noticeable whitening. I would recommend the pure white and glossy white flavours the most not so much he fresh white option.

Have you tried any of these products? What have been your favourite beauty products from June?

Bras: My Experience + New Favourite ft. UK Lingerie

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Today's post is a little different as we're talking about bras which is a topic I haven't really covered on my blog before! I was very kindly sent a bra of my choice from the lovely people at UK Lingerie which is a lingerie, nightwear, activewear and shapewear site with a wide range of brands, styles, colours and sizes to choose from.

*Prima Donna Divine Underwired Bra (£88)
I chose the Prima Donna Divine Underwired Bra which is a brand I haven't tried before as the price is  a little steep but it so nice to treat yourself to pretty lingerie from time to time. Prima Donna is a premium lingerie brand and the quality is fantastic; I chose the 'divine' option but there are lots of others to choose from along with matching briefs.
I have never been happy with any of the bras that I've owned, from some of my very first which were awkward and uncomfortable to push up bras I thought were the norm in my teens and then to heavily padded and underwired balcony bras. Over the past two or so years I've stopped wearing those heavy, uncomfortable and frankly painful bras and opted for sports bras while I'm at home (I currently work from home so it's 90% of the time) and less padded bras for the rest of the time.

In my teens I thought that underwired, heavily padded and push up bras were normal along with the discomfort and the bra strap marks that left imprints into my shoulders for hours, to me it was just part of having to wear bras but it's not! Wearing sports bras and far less padded, softer bras has been almost liberating.
The Prima Donna Divine bra does have some support in the form of underwire but the cups are made entirely of lace so they're very soft, flexible and comfortable which teenage Heather wouldn't have thought was possible with a bra. This bra is the perfect combination for me of the softness and comfort of a sports bra with the style and slight support of a traditional bra.

I was initially drawn to it because of the gorgeous design and the colour, the latter I thought would be perfect with my navy bridesmaid dress and it was! I wore this bra all day (and it was a very long day) for my friends wedding and it was light but supportive, the colour match was great and best of all, it was comfortable! I know that the price tag is very high but in my opinion in this case it's so worth it! There are lots of other brands and styles to choose from though with many in the lower to mid price range.

What do you think of this design? What are your thoughts? 

5 Design Trends to Look Out for in 2018

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Image from Decor Idea via Pinterest
We are now over half way through 2018, and people all over the world are asking the same question: where have the last six months gone!? Summer has finally arrived, and has brought a plethora of new home interior design trends to look out for with it! Keep reading to discover five favourite styles and trends to look out for over the next six months along with some tips on how you can incorporate them in your own home!

Tropical Prints and Pineapples
Following last year’s success, furnishings and accessories that feature a tropical print or, better yet, a pineapple, are dominating the world of interior design. From leafy towels, cushions and throws to pineapple mirrors, soap dispensers and crockery; this fun, stylish trend doesn't look to be going anywhere anytime soon. This is great news for plant-lovers, as the prints work exceptionally well with a host of greenery, and nothing is too much for this larger than life look. Alongside the typical palm leaves, the Swiss cheese plant has taken precedence on many designs, for a more retro finish. 

Interestingly, the tropical trend has added a new perspective for the summer season, focusing on lush, energising greens as opposed to lashings of loud and bold colours. The style also welcomes a slightly more ‘out-there’ approach, with exotic birds and oversized insects also welcome on mugs, bedding, or any which way they can!

Metallic accents
The timeless trend of making the most of metallic continues to reign supreme, with a shift in focus away from cold, silvery shades to warmer tones including brass and copper. There are a variety of ways you can embrace metallics in your home, including vintage industrial lighting, retro bar stools and furnishings and even something as small as a drawer handle. These shades bring a luxurious finish to any room they are placed, and can work well with soft, pastel colours for a complementary contrast.

The beauty of the metallic trend is that it can be as little or as large as you see fit. You call the shots, and it is your house after all, and you’re the one who has to live in it, so why let anyone else tell you how to do it? Each house will have its own voice and character, and it’s up to you to decide how much, or little, of this trend you wish to incorporate.

Dark Woods
Wooden furnishings and accessories are taking to the dark side this year, adding a more glamorous, sophisticated finish to any room or home. The pale, bleached counterparts of the past, once popularised by Scandi trends including Hygge and Lagom, have made room for these elegant fittings, much to the delight of those with light-coloured make-up desks – and one too many foundation stains!

Dark woods can be implemented easily through searching second-hand shops for vintage treasures or heading to a parents/grandparent’s attic to see what they have going spare. Upcycling is in, and dark woods have been in and out of style consistently over the last century. Pair your findings with rich, complementing colours on rugs and curtains, with consideration of how the texture of the fabrics might further the desired effect.
Image from Nub Watches via Pinterest
Vintage Furnishings
As mentioned previously, upcycling is in, and as is anything that can be recycled, reused or rehomed will be highly-regarded in the world of interior design during the second half of 2018. Home interiors can be a reflection of the state of world affairs and given the increased focus on all things planet-friendly, opting to go vintage seems to be the ideal, cost-effective solution for all! Buying a house is harder than it has ever been for young people and being able to afford all the trimmings once that eye-watering deposit has cleared is unrealistic, to say the least.

Whether you’re looking for a full-scale, six-piece dining set or a few retro accessories to add some character to your living space; there are a plethora of charity shops that will offer high-quality, preloved goods at bargain prices. If you have a slightly larger budget to work with, source reputable companies that sell realistically vintage goods of high-quality. Try to include some of the tendencies of vintage furniture, including the use of high-quality materials, a handcrafted finish and expert craftsmanship.

Industrial-style 
Interiors Perhaps no surprise to most, this age-old favourite remains as prevalent as ever in the latter half of 2018, and continues to grow steadily in popularity for both young and old. Exposed brick, retro wall lights and minimalist traits are just some of the ways you can achieve industrialism in your home and are good options for the rest of the year, with a combination being the best option.

For the ultimate industrial vibe, opt for original statement art, a mixture of retro wall lights and pendants from the past set against exposed brickwork. Practice practicality wherever possible, and core colours including black will always complement such themes.

Hopefully, these ideas have given you some inspiration for your own home over the next six months, but if you’re still in search of some ideas, Pinterest is always a great place to start!

What do you think of these design trends? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Images from Pinterest 

Blog Tour: Alone Time by Stephanie Rosenbloom

Monday, June 18, 2018
Last month I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of Alone Time by Stephanie Rosenbloom and recently I was sent a finished hardcover copy which I'm very thankful for as I loved this book. The finished copy cover is so simple but it's so beautiful! You can check out a shorter version of my review in my May Reading Wrapup post.

*Alone Time by Stephanie Rosenbloom (288 pages) ★★★ (3.75) 
Alone Time is categorised as 'travel writing' which it is but I'd also categorise it as a travel memoir, guide book and self help read interspersed with statistics, experiences and travel recommendations focusing on four beautiful cities including Paris, Istanbul, Florence and New York. I visited Florence back in 2014 and adored it but after reading Alone Time, I wanted to book a hotel immediately to re-visit the city!

I haven't visited any of the other cities but I'd love to particularly New York and Paris, especially after reading this book. It follows the authors experiences of solo travelling within each city during a different time of the year which made for a very rich, immersive and informative read, so much so that if I visit any of these cities in the near future then this would be the perfect companion.

To be perfectly honest, I think if it was solely a travel memoir then I wouldn't quite have liked it as much but thankfully it's filled with interesting and new to me facts all about solitude, solo travelling and more which I definitely appreciate. I loved the laid back, relaxed writing style, the leisurely and strolling pace and the recommendations of places to visit.

Sadly I do have a few negatives about this read, the first being the repetition of sentences such as 'slipped my finger into the handle of my coffee cup', 'slid my finger through the tasseled keychain' and 'slipped out of the door', which I did find a little annoying. Additionally, on occasion it felt forcefully wistful which came across as cheesy at times and the tips at the end of the book appeared to be sponsored by the websites and apps mentioned (maybe not?), but to me it felt a little inauthentic.

Despite the negatives mentioned, I did thoroughly enjoy the book and it gave me so much wanderlust, especially to visit the incredibly beautiful and historic city of Florence again as well as New York which is a city I've yet to visit but I need to! I highly recommend this book not only as a general summer read about some of the most visited cities in the world but also as a travel book if you're visiting any of the four citifies mentioned as I think it would be a valuable resource. Thanks for much to Transworld for the early copy, finished copy and for putting together this blog tour! Don't forget to follow me on GoodReads!

What do you think of this read? Have you visited any of the four cities mentioned? Will you be picking up this part travel memoir, part self help guide and part travel guide? 

Beautiful Book Storage Ideas

Sunday, June 17, 2018
Image from Domino via Pinterest
As you all know, there’s nothing I love better than sitting down with a good book and getting lost in its pages – I can read for hours, especially in the gorgeous weather that we’ve been having lately! If you’re a bookworm like me and have hundreds of books, the likelihood is that you’ll need a place to store them. While a traditional bookcase is always handy to have, I think storing your books a little differently in creative ways can inspire you to read even more! Below, I’ve listed some beautiful book storage ideas that will not only make a gorgeous addition to any room in your home but will also increase your love of reading (if that’s possible):

Gallery-Style Bookshelves
If you have exhausted every coffee table in your home with piles of books, gallery-style bookshelves could provide you with some much-needed extra storage space. This style of shelving works particularly well on stark white or block coloured walls as it enables books to stand out against a solid backdrop.

To create these slick shelves, use thin slats of wood that are the same colour as your wall and position your books of equal distances apart. For a dramatic look, only use books with black and white covers; alternatively, use books with multicoloured covers to create a relaxed and artsy vibe.

Ladder Bookcase
The ultimate shabby chic book storage hack, if you’ve got an old wooden ladder lying about, don’t throw it away as with a bit of TLC, it can be transformed into the perfect book storage solution! If you like the look of your ladder the way it is, give it a quick clean up with some polish and a duster. However, if you want to make it more of a statement piece, paint it in a colour that will make it stand out from the rest of your décor.

Once you have finished making it look pretty, the practicalities of your new ladder bookcase must also be considered. For example, if you will be propping your ladder at an angle, you’ll need to provide some protection on the back of the steps to stop the books from tumbling out. Small wooden slats or a line of wire are subtle additions that can be used to ensure your books stay put!
Image from Apartment Therapy via Pinterest 
Personalised Wooden Book Caddy
If you’re after a more mobile book storage solution, a personalised wooden caddy could be just what you’re looking for! From hardbacks to kindles, you can store all kinds of reading materials in these super stylish caddies and move them easily from one room to another. Additionally, the option to choose the colour of your book caddy and have it personalised means it will always fit in with the colour scheme of your home, and you can enjoy the novelty of having a messaged printed on it that’s personal to you!

Spool Bookcase
If you’re after another great little DIY project, get creative by making your very own spool bookcase! Not only can this nifty little creation be used to hold your books as well as other small items, but it can also function as a table, making it a great piece of furniture to having in the living spaces of your home. Visit your local recycling centre or DIY store to find a spool. Then, give it a new lease of life with some paint; if you prefer a sleek finish, go over it again with a coat of gloss. Alternatively, rub your spool down sandpaper to achieve a classically rustic look.

Wooden Storage Crate 
Finally, if you’re a lover of country living and want to create that ultimate rustic feel, store your books in a gorgeous wooden storage crate. Not only can wooden crates make a simple but stylish addition any room in your home, but they also enable a large number of books to be stored collectively, meaning you won’t have to root around in several places when it comes to finding your favourites! Wooden crates can also function can as a stand-alone-piece of furniture or be placed in or on top of other items, making them one of the most versatile book storage solutions.

 Will you be trying any of these beautiful book storage ideas in your home?

*This is a sponsored post
*Images from Pinterest 

How to Get Your Garden Ready for Summer

Friday, June 15, 2018
Image from The Cottage Journal via Pinterest 
When hot weather arrives, the kneejerk reaction from many of us Brits is to rush out into the garden, battle our way down the overgrown path to the shed and yank out our sun loungers as quickly as possible to let the tanning commence. However, while soaking up the sun may be the first thing on your mind in warm weather, taking the time to prepare your garden for those glorious summer months should ultimately come first. However, this doesn’t have to take forever, and by doing a few small jobs, you can quickly transform your unkempt garden into a relaxing outdoor environment that’s the perfect setting for sunshiny days and warm evenings. Below, I’ve provided some handy tips to help you get your garden looking fabulous for summer:

Mow the Lawn
For me, there’s nothing better on a hot day than walking out into the garden and feeling the soft grass between your toes, so make sure your lawn is neatly mowed in time for the warm weather. But before you start mowing, there are a couple of things you should do first; begin by treating any unsavoury brown patches with lawn feed as this will hopefully revive any dead grass. Then, remove any large stones that could get caught in your lawnmower and cause damage. Once you’ve completed these tasks, get going with the cutting but leave your grass at least one centimetre long to ensure it looks healthy.

Clear your Flowers Beds
To enable new bulbs to come through, be sure to clear your flower beds by removing any debris such as leaves, twigs or pebbles that could prevent any new growth. Once you have cleared the surface, cut back any dead growth from the existing plants to allow new florae to flourish in the sunshine. Finally, if you want to give your flowers the best chance of blooming, sprinkle at least 5cm of organic matter such as fertiliser or compost into the soil and work it through.
Image from Nishe via Pinterest
Paint the Fence 
After the fierce winter weather at the start of the year, you may find that your garden fence is looking a little worse for wear and is in desperate need of a bit of spruce up. Revitalise your fence with a fresh coat of paint, perhaps going for a more summery shade such as pastel pink, sage green or baby blue to create those ultimate summer vibes. Then, give it quick coat of gloss to make it shimmer in the sunshine and use a wood protection treatment such as Creosote to shield it from both hot and cold weather.

Clean your Garden 
Furniture Once you have tackled the nitty-gritty garden jobs, turn your attention to the social areas of your garden and think about how you can make them look their best for any summer parties or gatherings you may have coming up. Start by cleaning any garden furniture that may be in need of some TLC; this may include benches, chairs, tables, and umbrellas, which can all be cleaned with hot, soapy water and a sponge.

Add some Accessories 
Once your furniture is all spick and spank, it’s time to get creative with some garden accessories – think cushions, fairy lights and pot plants! Provide the ultimate comfort for your guests with some brightly coloured or tropical print cushions, so they can sit back and relax on those warm summer nights. Additionally, string a row of fairy lights across your garden’s social area to create a relaxing atmosphere that will help set the tone for any occasion, no matter how big or small. Finally, dot some pot plants around the area in different tubs to create stylish points of interest that are sure to catch the eyes of your guests. These may include a small wooden crate, a bucket or colourful glass jars! 

Summer is the perfect time to be out in the garden, so ensure you have yours ready to enjoy those gloriously warm days and dreamy summer evenings by following these tips!

Do you have any tips? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Images from Pinterest 

5 Summer Interior Design Trends

5 Summer Interior Design Trends

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Image from Pinterest
 In the recent weeks, we have been blessed with beautiful warm weather which is a massive indication that summer is basically here. When each season begins, it also brings a number of new trends, whether that is fashion or interior design; there is always something somebody is talking about.

At the beginning of each season, it gives you a new possibility to re-design the interior of your home and give it a fresh new perspective as well as making it fit in with the current time of year. When giving your home a new design, you don't need to tear down walls or re-paint the whole of your home, as a lot of this can be achieved by simply swapping out soft furnishings and adding more relevant colours.

There is a lot of talk this year about some new and upcoming design trends which you can achieve very easily in your own home, so I have narrowed it down to some of my favourites below.

White
White has always been a colour-stable and isn’t likely to go out of fashion ever! White brings a sense of class as well as brightening up any room, as well as making smaller rooms look much bigger. However, this summer, white on white is taking the world by storm, as it gives a modern and clean feel to any room.

Of course, having a completely white room can be quite daunting but you shouldn't be scared. There are plenty of beautiful materials on the market which are stain proof and can be easily cleaned. If you don't want a completely white room, then incorporating dark wood can break up the colour and keeps your eye moving around the room.
Image from Dear Designer via Pinterest
Bronze
The earthy bronze tones are back and fit in incredibly well with the summer style. Any copper, bronze or brass accents add a dash of class as well as a splash of colour to any room. Bronze light fittings, door handles, pots and pans look beautiful in a room and can also be mixed with other earthy tones. To achieve this look, don't be afraid to mix all different types of metal in the same room, especially in the kitchen. Stainless steel accompanies warm tones well and can all contribute to a wonderful industrial-styled décor.

A Splash of Colour
Splashes of colour have always been a popular interior design trend, and work incredibly well in white rooms. Wallpaper with a dash of colour, soft furnishings like cushions and curtains can give your home a bold statement. This design trend can be easily achieved by swapping out cushions and other soft furnishings for ones which follow this seasons colours. You can also mix up different textures and patterns to achieve this look, but just make sure you don't go too mad, as the room can look very jumbled.

Bring the Outside in
One design trend which never gets old during summer is bringing the outside in. Whether you opt for furnishings made of natural materials, have flowery prints or even house plants; this trend is all the rage! You can opt for a number of indoor plants in each room, and larger plants can be placed in a corner to fill up space. Smaller plants can be placed on windowsills and coffee tables. However, if you don't want to commit to looking after real plants, you can always opt for plastic versions!

Natural Light
So, light isn’t the most creative design trends, but summer is all about illuminating your home and bringing the season inside. Natural light can make a room looking bigger, as well as lighting up your beautiful interior and showing off your furnishings.

Having the right coverings for your windows is also essential during summer as you will want to regulate how much light is let into a room. However, light is an extremely important asset to how your home looks, as summer is all about the sun, you will want to make sure you have enough natural light. Although, when you are trying to sleep you won’t want any light in your bedroom at all. If you have skylight windows, then opt for skylight blinds for fakro windows as they can come in a range of wonderful colours which will fit into any décor.

Summer is all about expressing your favourite colours and doing something a little different in your home. With such an array of incredible trends this year, will you be implementing them in your home?

Are any of these trends something you'd incorporate into your home? 

*This is a sponsored post
*Images from Pinterest 

Blog Tour: A Sacred Storm by Theodore Brun

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Earlier this year I reviewed A Mighty Dawn by Theodore Brun on my blog as part of a blog tour with the wonderful people over at Corvus and now I'm reviewing the second book in the series (thanks for the early signed copy)! We all know by now that fantasy is one of my favourite genres, along with historical fiction, so I knew I was going to love this two book series.

*A Sacred Storm by Theodore Brun (688 pages) ★★★ (3.75...so so close, again)
The first book in this duology had a stunning cover (thankfully so does the second) and it had a similar number of pages, although this second book is a little longer; however don't be put off my the length of the books as even though they're over 600 pages, they read like 400 page books as you don't want to stop reading, it's an 'easy' read and thankfully the text is pretty large - tiny text is one of my bookish pet peeves!

Within the first book we follow Hakan, son of the Lord of the Northern Jutes, who experiences a life changing tragedy which forces him to find himself, re-evaluate his life and find his purpose which leads him on an arduous adventure with hardship, friendship and peril along the way.

The second book carries on from the events of the previous book so I can't say too much about the plot as it would definitely spoil the first (go and read the first book, it's only 99p as an e-book on Amazon). However, I can say that it has the same tone, action, camaraderie and viking warriors as the first book along with forbidden love, power play between kingdoms, revenge and a fair few sex scenes (some were relevant/pertinent to the story but a couple were a little unnecessary) as well as some epic battles, gore and a rather gruesome sacrifice! The latter point reminded me of a few scenes from the History channel TV show, Vikings (which I love).

As with the previous book I loved the quick, easy and engaging writing style along with the viking age setting and the camaraderie, friendship and relationship between two of my favourite characters, Erlan and Kai. I loved the battles scene, general fight scenes and the elements of magic as well as the main characters and the classic adventure storyline/themes.

A Sacred Storm received exactly the same star rating as the first book which was incredibly close to a solid four star read or more but there were a couple of negatives for me including the apparent need of almost every woman that Erlan meets to sleep with him...really. Additionally, I wanted more! I loved the world Brun has created, the characters of Erlan, Kai and Lilia as well as the unexplored magic elements so I wish there were more books in this series. Considering both books, I think the first is my favourite but it's a very close call!
Have you read the first book, A Mighty Dawn? Do you like fantasy books, TV shows or movies? What are you currently reading?