March Reading Wrap-up 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018
I have been having a great reading year so far and March was no different as I was able to read 12 physical books this month along with five audiobook which I'm very happy with and I hope that will continue into April. I read a quite very short books this month and a longer book at 600 pages with genres ranging from modern classics, YA fantasy and numerous thrillers to historical fiction, mysteries and non-fiction reads.

The Distance Of The Moon by Italo Calvino (56 pages) ★★★
Penguin recently released a range of these cute, short modern classics and I had to pick up a few from authors I've wanted to read for a while. The first is by Italo Calvino which contains four very short stories which definitely show that Calvino has an amazing, whimsical imagination and fantastic storytelling abilities but I think his stories (these four at least) were a little too abstract for me personally.

The Missing Girl by Shirley Jackson (64 pages) ★★★
I've read a couple of books by Shirley Jackson, both of which I thought I'd love but sadly they didn't live up to my expectations; however I liked this collection of three short stories! Out of the three Penguin Modern Classics I read this month, this one was my favourite of the three.

The Breakthrough by Daphne de Maurier (64 pages) ★★
In The Breakthrough we follow Stephen who has been tasked by his employer to travel and work at Saxmere for a short period of time. Saxmere is mysterious, very remote, bleak and involves some dubious, morally questionable experiments. The book, even though it's very short, has a very eerie, bleak and sinister atmosphere. I liked the atmosphere but overall, I just didn't enjoy it.
*The Devil's Dice by Roz Watkins (384 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
The book is set within the Peak District and we follow detective inspector Meg Dalton. The novel starts with a very unusual, grisly and very strange death within the local landmark of caves known as The Labyrinth and The Devil's Dice. I don't want to say much more about the plot because that's the point of a thriller/mystery novel but I feel as though I need to mention a couple of potentially triggering topics within the book such as abuse, illness, drugs, euthanasia and more. I already have a full review on my blog which you can read if you want a more detailed review.

*My Sister by Michelle Adams (384 pages) ★★★
Within this book we follow Irini who was taken away from her parents and sister when she was very young to live with her aunt. Irini has always wondered why she was sent away, what secrets do her family hold and what's the truth behind her parents decision to keep one daughter with them and send one away. I don't want to give too much of the plot away but as with the previous book I'll mention some of the potentially triggering topics within the book: death, cancer, mental illness, abuse, dysfunctional relationships and disability. This is another book that I've already reviewed on my blog but I would say that it's a great mystery thriller but not for everyone.

*Kin by Snorri Kristjansson (320 pages) ★★★
I was very kindly sent this gorgeous hardback from BookBridgr last month - how amazing is that cover! It's set in the viking age and we follow a family reunion filled with dark secrets, deadly intensions and tension. The book began quite slowly until the 20% mark when it started to pick up thankfully and it became more and more interesting as we get to know the characters, their sinister plans and when blood is shed.

I liked the writing style as it's very quick, easy to follow and adds a good amount of bleakness, tension and a sinister atmosphere to the story. I liked the murder mystery (it was definitely the most interesting and compelling part of the book) but it was a little too slow and drawn out, for me personally. It's the first in a series and due to the ending, I can't see how it will continue but I am definitely interested to find out.
*The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson (291 pages) ★★★
We follow Hulda Hermannsdottir, a seasoned detective with the Reykjavik police department as she finishes her last case before her reluctant retirement when she starts to look into an old case file concerning a Russian immigrant who was found washed up in a cave a year ago. The old case brings up secrets as well as long buried ghosts from Hulda's past that she'd rather forget. I like the mystery, the writing was fantastic and I loved the bleak, dark atmosphere to the book - I am interested in the next book in this series. I've taken part in quite a few of blog tours this year and this is another so if you want to read a more detailed review of this book then click on the link above.
*Ancient Rome On 5 Denarii A Day by Philip Matyszak (144 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
One of my favourite book genres has to include quirky short non-fiction and these three definitely fit into that category; they're all from Thames and Hudson and less than 200 pages so I think they'd be great for non-fiction lovers and people who never read non-fiction. The style of the writing is as through it's an interesting history textbook and guidebook all in one.

*Shakespeare's London On 5 Groats A Day by Richard Tames (160 pages) ★★★
Along with the previous book this one has the same illustration style, information format and layout. It is such an interesting read with more information I already knew but I think so many people would find it an entertaining, easy and quick non-fiction that you can finish in a couple of days. There were quite a few shocking facts that I didn't know!

*England's Forgotten Past by Richard Tames (192 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
This would be a fantastic book to give as a gift for book and history lovers. The only thing I didn't like about this read was the sections on sport and war as I personally don't like reading about those topics but apart from that it was a throughly interesting and quick read. If you want to follow what I'm reading then we can become friends on GoodReads.
*Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (600 pages) ★★★★ (4.5)
Children Of Blood And Bone is arguably the most anticipated YA book of the year and I think that is why I was putting off reading it for weeks. I was very kindly sent an arc by the lovely people over at Pan Macmillan and I only got round to reading it towards the middle of march but I'm so glad that I did as I loved it. It's a YA fantasy with elements of magic, folktales, rebellion and romance. The ARC edition I have is exactly 600 pages but the final edition is a little shorter.

We follow Zelie who is a strong willed diviner who is learning to protect herself and her family, a necessary skill as since magic was torn from them, they need another way to protect themselves. It's set in a world were the loss of magic is still felt as are the bloody ramifications at the hands of the royal soldiers. However, Zelie has a chance meeting with the princess who will not only change her life forever but the lives of diviners and their world forever...however, there will be consequences.

I loved the writing, the setting and the atmosphere of the book which is filled with rebellion, people power and the strength of their magic, along with the diviners willingness to die for the rights of their people and to bring back their magic. Despite being 600 pages, it was a fairy quick and easy read as I didn't want to put it down, I wanted to find out if they could bring back magic and what the consequences would be. My only negative about this book is the focus on the romance from the middle of the book towards the ending which I liked but it seemed to overshadow the more important issues. I loved the ending and I cannot wait for the second book in the series. Children Of Blood And Bone is such a striking, powerful YA read and it is definitely one of my favourite YA books ever!
*Howls Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones via BookBeat ★★★
I watched the animated movie of this book a while ago and to be honest, I liked the whimsy of it but I didn't like the Japanese/anime styling of it; however, thankfully I did like the audiobook more. It's a very unusual, magical and slightly frustrating/slow story. I would still recommend it but only if it sounds like something you'd enjoy.

*Ned's Circus Of Marvels - The Gold Thief by Justin Fisher via BookBeat ★★★
Back in February, I listened to the first audiobook in this series and within March I listened to the second via BookBeat. We follow most of the same characters from the first but with some new additions and a new storyline where all of the gold in the world has been stolen; Additionally Ned's parents have been kidnapped again. As with the first audiobook, I liked the narrator, it was an enjoyable and quick/easy audiobook and I would recommend it but I liked the first audiobook more.

*Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill via BookBeat ★★★
Next up is a YA fantasy audiobook. We follow Britta who is a trained hunter thanks to her father but when her father is murdered, she is tasked to find his murderer with a band of the kings soldiers. Her father's murderer is supposedly Britta's best friend and love interest, Cohen. What follows is a trek through the woods, evading soldiers/guards and magic but mostly Brittas thoughts of what Cohen thinks about her. The vast majority of this book is just about Britta's thoughts about Cohen, descriptions of him and their tedious, slow romance - she seems to almost entirely forget that her father was recently murdered, it was very annoying but a quick/easy audiobook.

*The Wilful Princess & The Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb via BookBeat ★★★
Robin Hobb is an author I've wanted to read for so long but her books are a little intimidating in size so I started with this short fantasy audiobook of her which is 0.5 in her series so it can be listened to before the first book. It's a classic short fantasy audiobook of family secrets, illegitimate children, power and more. It reads like a classic fairytale, folktale or legend which I loved.

*A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang via Kindle Unlimited ★★★
My BookBeat subscription finished in March (I'd highly recommend it) so I listened to this audiobook on Kindle Unlimited which isn't as good as BookBeat, if I'm honest. This book is set in post-jazz age New York with Spanish flu running rampant and the draft impending. We follow a group of almost twenty something socialite friends as their family and friends start to die in unusual or suspicious ways. They start to investigate the deaths but that brings more tragedy, unfurling secrets and affairs. I wasn't a massive fan of the narrator, the book was very slow and tedious at times and overall, it felt like a bit of a slog to get through but the mystery was intriguing.

Amphigorey - 15 Stories by Edward Gorey ★★★
This book has been on my Amazon saved items list for years but I finally bought it in March and I had to read it almost straight away. It's a collection of Edward Gorey's poems and short stories along with his very macabre, dark illustrations. I absolutely adored his illustrations and his stories overall even though they are very dark with themes such as suicide, murder, mental illness and abuse among others so it might not be for everyone. My favourites include: The Doubtful Guest, The Gashlycrumb Tinies and The Wuggly Ump but sadly on the whole, I was a little disappointed. I'm glad I bought this collection rather than the little stories individually though. I think that if you're a fan of Tim Burton as I am, then you will like it but if not then don't bother.

Overall, I had a great reading month with 12 books and 5 audiobooks which I'm really happy with and hopefully it will carry on next month. I have about four hours on a train in April to London so that means lots of reading time! Before I finish this post, I just wanted to explain my rating a little because it's something I've never explained. I think for most people a three star read is disappointing but for me, most of my books a three stars (as I'm harsh with my ratings) but it doesn't mean it's an awful read - quite the opposite, a three star read is a very good book but it has a few flaws.

★ - Not worth reading, very few redeeming qualities, poorly written
★★ - Redeemable in some way, enjoyable to an extent, potentially not worth reading/buying
★★★ - A very good read, worth reading, entertaining/enjoyable, a large number of positives
★★★★ - Well worth reading, very interesting/entertaining, noteworthy
★★★★★ - A fantastic read, minimal/no negatives, would re-read, definitely worth reading

Have you read any of these books or audiobooks? Are we friends on GoodReads

You can win the first three books in this wrap-up along with a mystery makeup item on my twitter but be quick as it ends tomorrow (31st at midnight) - the winner will be announced on the 1st April!

Winter To Spring Fitness Wear + Accessories

Thursday, March 29, 2018
Last summer I decided to stop procrastinating and actually started the weight loss process and I couldn't be happier that I did! Since graduating from university a fair few years ago now I have slowly been putting on weight, especially over the past two years and I reached 9 stone 4lbs which for my very petite frame is well into the overweight category (when looking at my BMI) but thankfully with my vegan diet, fitness/lifestyle apps and my cross trainer, I've now managed to lose 25lbs (1.7 stone).

My weight loss is down to a number of factors, particularly my vegan and calorie controlled diet and exercising almost daily, even if it's just for ten minutes. I have some primark exercise wear but while it's inexpensive, I wanted something a little more durable, unique and higher quality - in comes Decathlon, Hunkemoller and Gym Hawk to the rescue!

*Kalenji Run Dry & Women's Running Tights (£11.99)
Let's start with my favourite item which is from Decathlon, a fitness wear and accessories store that has everything you could possibly need. I have the running tights in the XS size which is 28W 29L and they fit so well (apart from the length as they're a little too long #PetiteProblems).
I love the design of the leggings as they have numerous pockets! There's one on the thigh that is ideal for your phone - it fits my iPhone 7 easily. I also love the smooth, soft and very stretchy material which is ventilated on the sides. The fabric wicks perspiration from the skin, there's no seam which reduces chafing and the wide waist band ensure they stay put.

I've been wearing them every time that I exercise on my cross trainer which is almost every day (apart from the past couple of weeks when I've been ill). The leggings are so comfortable, lightweight and unlike the other leggings and exercise wear I have, they stay put completely. I'd highly recommend these leggings, especially because of the low price!
*Kalenji Run Light T-Shirt (£7.99)
Along with the Kalenji leggings, I was also kindly sent this matching t-shirt which is great as I don't have any breathable exercise t-shirts. The t-shirt has a mesh back which along with the flowing, lightweight fabric makes it the ideal exercise t-shirt especially as the weather is getting a little warmer.

The duo of the leggings and t-shirt has been my go to exercise wear for yoga and my cross trainer! One of the main reasons I don't exercise for longer is because I get too hot which results in a heat rash on my arms but as these items from Decathlon are so lightweight, they definitely help! I cannot recommend both enough and if you're looking for any other exercise wear or accessories then definitely check out Decathlon. They offer free returns and free delivery over £30; additionally they have a great clearance sale on now too!
*Gym Hawk Running Jacket 
The penultimate item in today's post is a more recent addition to my exercise wear collection is something I don't actually own and it's an exercise/running jacket. I have so many coats and jackets but nothing that is appropriate to wear with exercise leggings until now. I have the Gym Hawk jacket in black but it also comes in purple and grey. Additionally, the size I received is a medium which would be ideal for a UK 10. They are a new company so stay tuned!

The jacket fits really well, I love the simple design and it's lightweight enough to wear on slightly warmer days and to take on the go. It has a hood, pockets and it's very comfortable. It's perfect when paired with my Decathlon leggings and t-shirt! It's true to size and I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking for a simple but practical running/exercise jacket!

*Hunkemoller Doutzen Sports Bag (€34.99)
Lastly is an exercise bag from Hunkemoller, a brand that I've been lucky enough to work with previously. The bag is part of the DK1985 by Doutzen collection and sadly it doesn't look like this bag is available on the site anymore but there are still so many items from this collection available to purchase. The bag design is so cute and it's also huge therefore it would be ideal as a gym bag (or even a weekend bag) as it could easily fit gym wear, towels, toiletries and more.

I'm so happy with my weight loss from over 9 stone to just over 7 stone so if you want more vegan food posts or fitness/weight loss posts, leave a comment below!

What do you think of these fitness wear items and accessories?

*gifted items and decathlon links are affiliate
I don't have affiliate accounts anymore 

Current Beauty Favourites

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
I can't keep up with monthly favourites so I'm just going to carry on with my current favourites posts and today's is focused on lovely fresh, new spring products from pampering essentials to haircare, mouthwash, hand cream and more. Thanks to Chill Cabinet, Therapi and Organii for kindly sending love these gorgeous products!

*Bubble T Moroccan Mint Tea Bath Infusion T-Bags (£6 - 10x40g)
Let's start with the cutest item in today's post and it's also one of the most delicious smelling too! They are the more adorable giant bath t-bags - I'm a sucker for packaging and unique products so I love these. They contain peppermint, white jasmine and sweet spearmint so it smells like a heavenly cup of mint tea.

It contains bath salts which slowly dissolve in the water which leaves your bath lightly scented and relaxing. There are ten within the pack so they're better value than a bath bomb but they smell just as nice! Additionally, they are SLS, paraben free and cruelty free.
*Bubble T Moroccan Mint Tea Reviving Hand Cream (£2, 100ml)
Winter might be technically over but the English weather hasn't got the message because it's still so chilly and it's been snowing over the past few weeks skin is always dry but it has been extremely dry recently on my hands. The hand cream contains the same scent and ingredients as the other products within this scent range and it's also paraben/SLS free.

Sadly, the hand cream kind of exploded in transit but it's managed to seal it again. It smells lovely and it has a gorgeous texture that is so rich - it leaves my hands so smooth, soft, moisturised and comfortable. The best thing about this hand cream is that it's non-greasy so I can continue typing almost immediately after applying it. I cannot recommend it enough, especially for that price.
*Bubble T Moroccan Mint Tea Melting Oil Pearls (£6 - 25x4g)
Last but not least is a very nostalgic product as it these kinds of bath pearls were everywhere in the 90's! However, the ones I remember using in the 90's were animal shapes, mainly dolphins, stars and little capsules - using them instantly takes me back to the 90's as you burst them in the bath releasing their bath oil.

The scent of the whole range is just gorgeous and it is ideal for spring as it's slightly floral/fruity but mainly minty and fresh. If you like morning baths then these products would be perfect to relax but also refresh as the scent is wonderful. I've wanted to try Bubble T products for a while and now I'll have to try more of their scents! Chill Cabinet has a great sale on at the moment where you can purchase a great bundle of Bubble T products for only £15, including a couple of the products I've reviewed.
*Organii Lavender Liquid Soap 
I tried a couple of products from Organii a few months ago and I loved them so I'm really glad to try a few more including this lovely liquid hand soap which I tried previously - it's the nicest smelling and most gentle liquid soap ever!

I have eczema on my hands which means that they are perpetually sore, dry and anything can irritate my skin, especially hand wash but this one is so gentle but effective. It lathers well, the scent is incredible and the scent is so strong that it scents the whole bathroom! Lavender is one of my favourite scents so naturally this has to be one of my current favourites. If you're looking for a new heavenly scented hand wash that is organic, 100% natural and suitable for vegans, then look no further.
*Organii Gentle Hand Cream 
Another hand cream I have been loving this month is this option from Organii. I like the Bubble T Hand Cream most days but when my hands are extra dry or sensitive due to my eczema, I will reach for this as it's incredible gentle, soothing and very rich without the usual greasy or heavy feeling. I've been keeping it next to me at my desk and it's made such a difference to my skin and how comfortable it is, which isn't very recently but it has actually been leaving my hands feeling almost completely normal (it's a miracle)!

*Organii Aloe Mouthwash - Citrus 
Lastly from the wonderful brand Organii, is a citrus flavoured organic mouthwash which is free from added colourants or artificial preservatives. It is suitable for vegans, dermatologically tested and the flavour is 100% natural too. I love the packaging for all of the Organii products as it's simple but cute and colourful.

I have pretty sensitive teeth and even very minty mouthwash or toothpaste can be a little painful so that's why I wanted to give this citrus scented mouthwash a go (it contains lemon, orange and grapefruit essential oils). It's such a mild, gentle mouthwash that would be perfect for those with sensitive teeth as I do.
*Therapi Signature Cleanser (£9.99, 250ml)
The final three products are from a new haircare brand that I've been using this month, Therapi. It's a multi-benefit cleanser containing baobab oil and sunflower seed oil extract. Therapi aims to create a luxury salon professional haircare range at home; there are numerous products within the range but I have the signature cleanser (step one), moisturising conditioner (step two) and the shimmer & shine spray (step three).

The shampoo claims to gently cleanse the hair without stripping it of it's natural oils and it contains unique moisturising and anti-ageing properties. Additionally, it offers keratin amino acids to strengthen the hair, Vitamin B5 for shine and sunflower seed colour lock technology to prevent colour fade, it sounds like the perfect shampoo for me. I've been using it on and off recently and I'm loving it so far!
*Therapi Moisturising Conditioner (£9.99, 250ml)
Out of all of the haircare products out there, the most important for my hair tends to be conditioner. I can typically get away with using any shampoo but it's the conditioner that really affects my hair and this one is lovely! As with the shampoo is claims to moisture, strengthen and repair the hair; I love the step system to this range. The conditioner leaves my hair smooth, moisturised and soft, I'd definitely recommend it.

*Therapi Shimmer & Shine Spray (£9.99, 200ml)
The final product is something I typically wouldn't use but my hair has been so dull and dry (thanks winter) and this shine spray has actually been making my hair look a lot less awful. It is a fine mist so it doesn't add too much product, it leaves my hair looking shiny, soft and healthy but not greasy or heavy. However, the only thing I don't like is the hairspray-like scent but I'd definitely recommend it, if you like shine sprays.

Use the code: AJC93OBN to get a free candle when you any other two Therapi products! To redeem the offer, you have to enter the code above in the 'order comments' section at the checkout, not the promo code box!

Have you tried any of these products or brands? What are your current favourite beauty products? 

DegustaBox - March 2018

Monday, March 26, 2018
I'm lucky enough to be a DegustaBox ambassador so I receive the boxes each month to review! If you didn't know, DegustaBox is a UK food subscription box in which you will receive between 10 to 15 food, drink and snack items which I think is fantastic considering the low price and if you use the discount code KVAA2 it will make the box only £7.99 instead of  £12.99. It's such an amazing value box!

The March box contains so many snack items, drinks and a couple of easter themed items too which is great as easter isn't far away. Overall, I think that the March box might be one of my favourites I've received over the past few months as there are so many items that I have been loving since I received the box.

*Encona Carolina Reaper Chilli Sauce (£1.49)
Now, I have to admit that I have the most sensitive tastebuds that ever existed because I cannot stand anything spicy, in any way so this was a little like torture to me! The chilli sauce is a blend of tomatoes, spices and the world's hottest chilli pepper! Thankfully my dad adores anything super spicy and he loves it but it practically burned my tongue off...
*Canny 100% Natural Chocolate Milk (£1.59)
Next up is something very different to the products within the previous boxes - chocolate milk. I don't think I've actually ever tried chocolate milk but this one seems like one of the healthier options. There's no added sugar, it's 100% natural and it is gluten free. It's thicker than I thought it would be and it's less sweet too but it's very moreish.

*Hafervoll Flapjack Limited Lebkuchen (£1.99)
Another item that wasn't as sweet as I thought it would be is this flapjack! Hafervoll Flapjacks are the first 100% natural oat bars which are made without added sugar or chemical additives which is fantastic but I would definitely prefer the flapjack if it was sweeter - maybe maple syrup could be added. They do taste homemade and I love the cinnamon included though!
*Ribena Pineapple & Passion Fruit Cordial (£2.49)
One of my goals for the past couple of years was to drink more water and the only way I can do that is to flavour it with cordial which is what I've been doing this year. I love the original ribena cordial as it's something I've been drinking since I was very young but I love this flavour more. The pineapple and passion fruit flavour is delicious, spring-like and I'll definitely buy it in the future.

*Appy Kids Co Roald Dahl Fruit Drinks (£1.29)
Roald Dahl is one of my favourite authors so I was a bit surprised to see Matilda, one of Roald Dahl's most iconic characters, on the packaging of one of these items. There are three mixed berry juice drinks within the March DegustaBox. They're vegan approved with no added sugar, GMOs, gluten or preservatives which is great. I liked juice drinks and these are great for a range of ages.

*Smarties & Milkybar Mixed Mini Eggs (£3)
This item is the easter item within the box and I have to make a confession, I don't like mini eggs. I know that's hard to hear as everyone seems to love them but I don't. I haven't seen these ones before as they contain milky bar chocolate or smarties rather than just milk chocolate. It's a great sharing bag so it would be perfect for an easter picnic or to add to cupcakes.
*Tenzing Natural Energy (£1.19)
The final drink within the box is a natural energy drink that contains green coffee, guarana, Himalayan rock salt, beet sugar and lemon juice. It's also named after the famous sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, that helped Edmund Hillary conquer Mount Everest in 1953. The natural energy drink only contains 55 calories, there are zero artificial additives and 5% of their profits are invested in environmental projects which is amazing! I love the flavour, the packaging and I'd definitely recommend it!
*Cheesestrings Snack Mix (£1)
The next items are a little special as they came separately from the box as they are fresh items (you will receive a full value voucher in your box rather than the product itself). I received four boxes of the snack mix boxes along with some cute Cheesestrings stationery and a cool bag. It's funny that I grew up eating (and loving) cheesestrings, I had them almost every single day in my primary school lunch box but now I've received some from the company/DegustaBox!

You might have noticed that only one box is photographed...the others sadly didn't make it before they were opened and consumed, oops! I can't resist cute little snack boxes like this especially when there are cheese and crackers involved along with other sweet goodies. My favourite combination is a tie between the crackers, cheese and chocolate covered raisins box or the pretzels, cheese and fruit cubes box. They don't have too many calories per box, they are a great on the go snack for many ages and they don't contain any artificial colours or preservatives. I'd highly recommend them!
*Mr Lee's Noodles - Dragon Fire Vegetables (£2.99)
Another fantastic snack item is the Dragon Fire Vegetables snack which is part of an award winning range of six premium noodles in a cup. They're certified gluten free and low in calories, sugar and saturated fats so they are a more healthy instant snack. You could either receive the flavour I have or the Hong Kong Street Beef option so I'm glad I received the vegan option as it was delicious, not too spicy and surprisingly filling as well.

*Shreddies Max Granola (£2.59)
The penultimate item in the box is one that I've been having as a breakfast option since I received the box as it's very surprisingly filling even with a small amount. The granola is made with 74% whole grain which is high in fibre and a good source of protein. It isn't only healthy but it's moreish, sweet and delicious - I'll definitely be buying it in the future.
*Cirio Pasta Sauce (£2)
Last but not least is another item I've used a few times and again, it's something I'd buy in the future. The description of the item on the DegustaBox leaflet says 'be the first in the UK to try Cirio premium peeled plum tomatoes". It's made with 100% Italian ingredients. I've added the sauce to lots of fresh basil, garlic, tarragon and pasta for a quick, easy and delicious meal.

Overall, this was a great spring/easter themed box and there are so many items in this box that I love such as the pasta sauce, noodles, granola, cordial and obviously the delicious Cheesestrings snack boxes. Check out the video below of the items in detail from the fantastic March DegustaBox. Don't forget to use the code KVAA2 to get a box for only £7.99 which is great value for money.

What do you think of the March DegustaBox? 

Easter Celebrations with Home Bargains

Sunday, March 25, 2018
I have very vivid memories of easter celebrations from school as every single year in primary school we had an easter bonnet decorating competition which involved the entire school. Additionally in primary school we always had a egg decorating competition which again was a very hotly contested competition even for a six year old! Easter for me also brings to mind the enjoyment of receiving Easter eggs not only from my parents but granddads, aunties and cousins too.

While I am not religious in any way and I wasn't brought up that way either (although we did sing hymns at school....), I do love easter as it has such a lovely refreshing energy about it and let's be honest, we all love chocolate Easter eggs. Also it means we get to spend some time with family and eat hot cross buns, sweets and all of the chocolate we can stomach which isn't very much for me personally but I do my best!
Easter isn't just for greedy adults, it's a holiday that is ideal for children and it was one of my favourites growing up as I loved to make anything with glitter, pom poms and stickers! The lovely people at Home Bargains have very kindly sent me a huge box of easter goodies from sweet treats, chocolate and stickers to crafting supplies and an easter bonnet decorating kit which I completely forgot to photograph!

Bunny Mask Kit 
A craft kit I haven't seen before is this cute bunny mask kit from Home Bargains. I never had anything like this growing up but it would have been so fun! The kit comes with everything you need to create the mask including pom poms, gems, elastic string and glue. The glue is non-toxic and safe for children to use and it is aimed at children over the age of three but I think with supervision it's fine for slightly younger children.

Easter 3D Stickers 
While I don't do this kind of crafting anymore (I do create the amazing Craftiosity boxes though which are perfect for adults), I do still use stickers to seal greeting card envelopes and to add on packages/gifts. These 3D stickers look amazing and they are so colourful, spring-like and very detailed.
Easter Chick Felt Bag 
However, one thing we didn't do in primary school or at home was one of the most quintessential easter activities, an Easter egg hunt! I think at our primary school, even though it was small, there were too many children and it would have been chaos but it's something I would have loved to do. This adorable fluffy chick felt bag would be perfect to collect easter eggs with!

Easter Egg Hunt Signs 
Another item that would be perfect for an easter egg hunt would be these cute egg shaped signs including a start and finish sign along with others. The signs would be great so you don't have masses of children running around aimlessly and they'd be great for a small easter picnic or garden party. I don't have any prices yet for these items but if I do, I'll add them - everything is from Home Bargains though so you know it's going to be inexpensive.
Easter Marshmallows 
Next up, the sweet treats! Easter is a religious holiday but as with Christmas, it has definitely become more commercial and filled with lots of edible goodies! This marshmallow sweet is just adorable with  marshmallow chicks, sheeps, ducks and a slightly unnerving pink rabbit. I'm a vegetarian/vegan so I don't eat gelatine and sadly beef gelatine is an ingredient in this cute marshmallow sweet.

Mini Easter Eggs & Chocolates 
Easter isn't easter without chocolates and while I love giant Easter eggs, I never end up finishing them - there is always some portion of an Easter egg still at the back of the cupboard around Christmas! Mini chocolates are definitely the answer and these cute foiled mini eggs and chocolates are perfect. You could add them to an easter table display, to easter goodie bags or as cupcake toppers.
Easter Bonnet Kit
Now onto the final couple of items that I've annoyingly forgotten to photograph including an adorable easter bonnet decorating kit which comes with a straw hat, glue and a range of items to decorate the hat with such as ribbons and rabbits. I think this would be a great kit to start a easter bonnet for school as you can add the items included and others you have.

Bonnet Craft Kit
This kit doesn't come with a hat but it does have some absolutely adorable felt Easter eggs, ladybirds, chicks and rabbits that could be added to an easter bonnet, an easter greetings card or another craft project. You could add them to the previous kit?

Easter Basket 
Last but not least is a cute woven easter basket that I've added some ribboned tissue paper to, along with the easter chocolates I was kindly sent as it makes a nice little display for guest to pick and choose from or it could be used to collect Easter eggs with. Also it make make a nice easter gift if you added a small plant to it!

Primary school aged Heather would have lost her mind at all of these goodies and the crafting items because I always loved to make things...not always successfully. The best thing about easter was creating an easter bonnet or decorating an egg with my mum and seeing everyones creations lined up outside classrooms. I think the Home Bargains easter range this year is amazing with so many items to choose from, all of which are so inexpensive!

What do you think of these easter sweet treats and crafting goodies from Home Bargains? What are your childhood memories of easter? 

Blog Tour: The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson

Friday, March 23, 2018
My reading so far for 2018 has been amazing and I'm already well ahead of where I should be to be on track for my goal of reading 100 books this year. However, one genre that I love and devour almost instantly is Scandinavian or Nordic noir crime thrillers but I haven't read too many over the past year or so. In comes The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson which is an Icelandic crime thriller, something I haven't read before and *spoiler alert* I loved it!

*The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson ★★★ (3.5)
The Darkness is set in Iceland, in and around Reykjavik which is a city that's been on my travel wish list for years! It's categorised on Amazon under the following categories: crime, mystery, police procedural and women sleuths. I was very kindly sent an arc of the book which is 312 pages but due to the large text, blank pages and the large paperback size, it read so incredibly quickly. It's published by Michael Jospeh, an imprint of Penguin.

We follow Hulda Hermannsdottir, a seasoned detective with the Reykjavik police department as she finishes her last case before her reluctant retirement when she starts to look into an old case file concerning a Russian immigrant who was found washed up in a cave a year ago. The old case brings up secrets as well as long buried ghosts from Hulda's past that she'd rather forget.

Firstly, the atmosphere of the book is incredible, I adored the bleak, wind swept and chilling feel of the book which adds so much to the foreboding and sinister tone of the book. I liked the character of Hulda and her fellow detectives, it felt like a classic crime series I've watched or read before and I liked the mysteries involved. The overall story as well as the atmospheric setting made for a classic Scandi/Nordic noir crime thriller in the vein of the Shetland which is one of my favourite TV series.

While this book for me was very close to a four star read, it wasn't quite there but I can't put my finger on why! Possibly it was because there wasn't any action/fast paced drama or maybe because it was a little slow paced at times or perhaps because of the age of the main character as she is in her sixties which potentially gave the book a slower pace. However, I found the book to be a very quick and entertaining read that I can definitely see being made into a TV mini series.

Overall, I loved the writing, the author seems to be able to convey the bleak, atmospheric setting and sense of foreboding within very few words which made for a very quick and easily devourable read  with a few twists and turns along the way. The mysteries were compelling and I adored the setting; however this book is the first in a series and I'm not quite sure where it's going to go after the ending of this first book but I'm definitely interested to find out! The Darkness is a fantastic piece of quick, entertaining Nordic noir that will keep you turning the pages to uncover the mysteries ahead.

Will you be picking up The Darkness? Do you like to watch or read Scandinavian or Nordic crime thrillers?

GlossyBox: March 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018
I have loved subscription boxes since the very beginning of my blog back in 2012 and I actually reviewed Glossy Box boxes in 2012 so it's amazing to be working with them after almost six years of blogging. I also review subscription boxes on the All Subscription Boxes website which I'm grateful for and you can check out my reviews there.

*Glossy Box March 2018 
Beauty boxes are some of my favourites to receive and for a long time Glossy Box was one of my favourite subscription boxes and Glossy Box is one of the first! Since the beginning of the trend of subscription boxes, there have been so many that have come to the market but Glossy Box is one of the most well known and the most popular.

My March Glossy Box contains five items, three of which are full size which is fantastic! The items you receive might differ as there are a range of 12 items that you might receive in your box. Subscription boxes initially were full of smaller samples so I'm glad that more and more are filled with full sized products as it's not only better value for money but it means that products can be fully tried and tested.
Figs & Rouge Soft Focus Pore Perfect HD + Matte Veil (£35 - full size)
The first full size product that caught my eye (mainly because of the gorgeous packaging) is a weightless, matte serum that is designed to minimise the appearance of pores. It's a pink tinted serum that has a silky, gel like texture and it definitely provides a soft, semi-matte canvas for makeup. I've been using it in place of a primer and I'm loving it so far. I think it will be a staple in my skincare and makeup routine during the upcoming spring and summer months.
Oryza Beauty Warm Nude Lipstick (£15.95 - full size)
I'm always happy when makeup items are included in subscription boxes because they are the products that make me the most excited, although I do love skincare but I have a whole drawer full of skincare! The lipstick is from the Velvet Ribbon range which has a weightless, semi-matte and satin finish. I love the packaging, the texture is so smooth and creamy and the pigmentation is great! The shade is an almost 'my lips but better' shade with warm, wearable tones which is very natural on me. It would be a great everyday lipstick shade to wear and it's very comfortable to wear.
MudMasky Sleep Repair Renewal Nourishing Mask (£61 - 20ml sample) 
Next up, one of the three skincare items in the March box. The MudMasky nourishing mask is a repairing, hydrating, rejuvenating, smoothing and protecting mask which is composed of raw, natural ingredients. It smells lovely and I can't wait to try this sample but I hope I don't fall in love with it because it's pretty pricy - although knowing my skin, it will love this expensive mask.
Decleor Aromessence Neroli Hydrating Serum Oil (£48 - 5ml sample)
Decleor is a brand that pops up in subscription boxes a lot but I've haven't tried the samples very often as they are small samples but I've given this sample a go. It's a lovely facial oil that leaves the skin visibly smooth, hydrated and nourished which is what I love about facial oils as they're so rich, deeply moisturising and perfect for my very dry and sensitive skin. This oil also has such an incredibly lovely scent which is always a plus and it makes for a relaxing skincare routine.

La Theorie Des Volcans Noir Eternal Youth Potion (£26.50 - full size) 
The final item is vegan which is great as I'm working towards a fully vegan diet. I love the packaging, I also love the 90.6% vegan natural ingredients and the lack of harsh ingredients. It's a scrub/mask that purifying, smoothing and so lovely to use. The mask leaves my skin  so deeply cleansed, smooth and clean so it's perfect for my often congested and slightly oily t-zone.
Overall, for my first Glossy Box in years, I'm impressed with the range of brands (some of which I've never heard of), the amazing value for money considering the price of some of the full sized products and the range of items on the whole. I think my favourite item from the box has to be the Figs & Rouge serum!

Have you tried any of the Glossy Box boxes? What are your thoughts of subscription boxes in general? 

*affiliate link and gifted
I don't have affiliate accounts anymore 

Mini Book Reviews #9 ft. Thames and Hudson

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
I haven't published one of these 'mini book reviews' posts for a while so I thought I'd bring them back especially as I have three similar non-fiction reads from Thames and Hudson to review, all of which come out later this week.

I've always been interested in history, from lessons in primary school about ancient Egypt and Henry VIII to the documentaries I'm always watching; my one regret will always be that I was pushed into taking chemistry at college rather than history which is what I wanted to do (damn that chemistry teacher!).

*Ancient Rome On 5 Denarii A Day by Philip Matyszak (144 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
One of my favourite book genres has to include quirky short non-fiction and these three definitely fit into that category; they're all from Thames and Hudson and less than 200 pages so I think they'd be great for non-fiction lovers and people who never read non-fiction. The style of the writing is as through it's an interesting history textbook and guidebook all in one.

I love the cover as well as the illustrations throughout the book and the unusual format/style of displaying the information. There was so much information that I didn't know and I'd definitely recommend this read even if you have some knowledge of Ancient Rome as they'll be something new to learn.

*Shakespeare's London On 5 Groats A Day by Richard Tames (160 pages) ★★★
Along with the previous book this one has the same illustration style, information format and layout. It is such an interesting read with more information I already knew but I think so many people would find it an entertaining, easy and quick non-fiction that you can finish in a couple of days. There were quite a few shocking facts that I didn't know! They're also great to dip in and out of as well. I wish there were more of these books!

*England's Forgotten Past by Richard Tames (192 pages) ★★★ (3.5)
The style of all there books is very similar in terms of the layout, cover, illustrations and the way the information is presented. The book contained some information that I knew and maybe half that I didn't know. I'd definitely recommend it for people who love history and want a quick, easy but entertaining non-fiction history read! This would be a fantastic book to give as a gift for book and history lovers. The only thing I didn't like about this read was the sections on sport and war as I personally don't like reading about those topics but apart from that it was a throughly interesting and quick read.

Will you be picking up these books when they are released later this week? 

Blog Tour: The Devil's Dice by Roz Watkins

Sunday, March 18, 2018
I have been loving thrillers and mystery novels recently, they'll be quite a few mini reviews within my monthly wrap-ups but today's post is a blog tour of a fantastic debut by Rox Watkins with Harper Collins. It's been shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger Award and it's the first book in a new crime series. Additionally, it's been optioned by ITV for a potential TV series.

*The Devil's Dice by Roz Watkins (384 pages - 8th March) ★★★ (3.5)
It's set within the Peak District and we follow detective inspector Meg Dalton who has moved from Manchester to the Peak District. The novel starts with a very unusual, grisly and very strange death within the local landmark of caves known as The Labyrinth and The Devil's Dice. I don't want to say much more about the plot because that's the point of a thriller or mystery novel, to have the element of surprise but I feel as though I need to mention a couple of potentially triggering topics within the book such as abuse, illness, drugs, euthanasia and more.

While I haven't read all of the thrillers out there, this one didn't read like a debut! The writing was fantastic, it was gripping on the whole, easy to read and while it wasn't a very quick read, it was entertaining, compelling and as descriptive as it needs to be. You have the initial mystery of the death, which is the main focus of the book but there are numerous twists, turns and other mysteries along the way that will keep you turning the pages to uncover the answers.

One of my favourite things about the book was definitely the feel of the book and the setting as the setting of the Peak District with it's rugged caves and exposed landscape made for an atmospheric, sometimes claustrophobic and sinister read. Additionally, along with the atmospheric landscape, the folklore attached the characters and the landmarks of The Devil's Dice was very eerie and compelling.

Overall, I found The Devil's Dice such an interesting, compelling and mysterious read with elements of folklore, potentially paranormal occurrences and a deadly family secret. There are so many unlikeable and unusual characters and others that were very familiar and vivid, such as the main character, Meg. I liked the writing, the twists and turns and the fantastic, atmospheric and eerie setting as well as the sinister events. It was so close to four stars but it was a little too slow at times for me personally but if you're looking for a new eerie thriller than look no further than The Devil's Dice.

Will you be picking up The Devil's Dice? Are you a fan of thrillers or mystery novels? 

Harry Potter Haul ft. Magic Alley

Saturday, March 17, 2018
If you didn't know, I'm obsessed with Harry Potter! I grew up watching the films and kind of reading the books (I only read the first and last until a couple of years ago when I started the series properly). I think so many people love Harry Potter and I'm the same because it has such a warming, comforting and homely nostalgia to it that's always lovely and magical to come back to especially through difficult times.

I have all of the books and DVDs as well as so many Harry Potter pyjamas from Primark but the only more unique Harry Potter items I have are from the Harry Potter studios - I was lucky enough to go a couple of years ago and I'd definitely recommend it. The wonderful people over at Magic Alley were lovely enough to send over a few magical goodies from the wizarding world.

*Harry Potter Chocolate Frog (£3.95)
Obviously, a chocolate frog was a necessity! Any Hogwarts student cannot be without a chocolate frog. The chocolate frog is composed of milk chocolate and crisped rice. I love the packaging and the chocolate frog itself is so adorable and it's a yummy snack that isn't too calorific. The chocolate frog also comes with collectable wizard card and there are numerous designs to collect. I have a Dumbledore card from a chocolate frog I bought at the Harry Potter studios but in this pack I received The Potter Family card. The card is holographic so it moves to show Harry looking into the mirror of erised at his parents.
*Harry Potter Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer (£3.95, 355ml)
When we went to the studios, there was butter beer to buy but it was so expensive so I'm glad I'm able to try this version. It's 100% natural, gluten free and non-alcoholic; additionally it's 100% GMO free. The butterscotch beer is butterscotch flavoured cream soda - you can find the full ingredients list on the Magic Alley site.

"A personal favourite of ours, Reed Inc's Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer is an authentic butterbeer replica imported from the United States, and tastes great either by itself or with vanilla ice cream"

I haven't ever tried cream soda so I'm not sure if it's authentic but it tastes so nice! It has a very creamy, very sweet flavour that I think will be quite polarising as for some it will probably be too sweet but if you're a fan of cream soda or sweet drinks and candy then you'll love it. It is slightly carbonated and I'd definitely recommend it.
*Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4 Tote Bag (£11.95)
Lastly for the three products I was kindly sent is this gorgeous tote bag. Harry Potter themed tote bags are quite common and a lot of stores sell them but I haven't seen any like this one before! I have a few tote bags and I use them constantly for files, blog props, groceries and shopping but they're all a little flimsy but this one is very thick and sturdy and it's a great size - it's a little small but it's still very practical.

I love the platform 9 3/4 design as it's so simple but instantly recognisable and it stands out amongst the other designs out there. I'm going to London next month and I will definitely be taking this tote bag with me for shopping; also I might have to head to Kings Cross to get a photo at the Platform 9 3/4 shop there!
I'm so happy with all three products I was sent from Magic Alley - it arrived quickly and the glass bottle was well protected. They have a great range of products, some of which are quite unique and I'd definitely recommend ordering from them if you are in need of some magic in your life! I have quite a few Harry Potter items in my collection now but the only items I'm missing from my Hogwarts trunk is a wand and a Hufflepuff scarf!

Do you love the Harry Potter series? Do you own any Harry Potter merchandise? 

Blog Tour: My Sister by Michelle Adams

Thursday, March 15, 2018
Today's post is a blog tour with the wonderful people over at Headline Publishing for the newly released thriller, My Sister by Michelle Adams. It's categorised on Amazon as: crime, mystery, thriller which I'd definitely agree with. I have the paperback version which was released earlier this month but it's also available as an ebook now for only 99p!

*My Sister by Michelle Adams (382 pages - 8th March) ★★★ (3.5)
Within this book we follow Irini who was taken away from her parents and sister, Elle, when she was very young to live with her aunt. Irini has always wondered why she was sent away, what secrets do her family hold and what's the truth behind her parents decision to keep one daughter with them and send one away. I don't want to give too much of the plot away but I'll mention some of the potentially triggering topics within the book: death, cancer, mental illness, abuse, dysfunctional relationships and disability.

The story does delve into some very deep and dark topics and overall the book has a very sinister, eerie and unnerving feel to it, not just in the actions of the characters but the tone as well. It began a little slow but it definitely picked up and the very dark secrets began to unfold which was compelling and had me turning the pages even though some of the scenes were a little creepy, disturbing or cringing, to be honest.

There are so many unlikeable characters with a few rays of hope in the form of Matt, Joyce and a couple of others but on the whole, it's told in a way in which everyone is a suspect, everyone has secrets they're unwilling to share and everyone has a dark side to an extent. I loved the mystery element as well as the setting at the family home and I liked uncovering the mysteries, even though for me personally, they weren't very shocking as it was a little obvious but the final mystery concerning the main character was shocking and a great twist.

Overall, I did have a couple of issues, for example, the main character seemed a little inconsistent at times and she made unrealistic decisions; in addition the twists and turns weren't fully shocking or unpredictable for me. However, if you like novels concerning dark family secrets, dysfunctional families and deeper and darker topics with an atmospheric, sinister setting then definitely pick up My Sister by Michelle Adams. I found the book on the whole to be very compelling, fairly quick, easy and very eerie!

Will you be reading My Sister by Michelle Adams? 


Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Image from Missguided via Pinterest

The term #bodygoals has been creeping up on social media so much lately, it has become a natural saying for people to say on a daily basis when they see someone with a good body and natural beauty. It could either be men or women, but some people just look so defined and sculpted, it can often leave you feel jealous. But it isn’t just the physique that people are admiring, it is the full package that comes along with it. Now, due to social media a lot of us will assume we’ll never be part of the #bodygoals gang, this couldn’t be more wrong. We’ve got some pointers that will leave you feeling amazing, and others saying #bodygoals.

Work On Your Physique 
This is the main thing that people look at when they see you, even if you don’t want them to. So, sculpting the perfect body is easy if you put in enough work. Eating healthy is the first step. Cut out all of the sugars and saturated fats you’d usually fill your diet with, you actually have to be really strict with yourself. This will help to reduce overall body fat, and give you a good base layer to tone with. Always stay hydrated with at least two litres of water a day. A good diet is going to be filled with proteins, a small amount of carbs, and veggies and fruits. Then move onto the exercise. Again, you have to be pretty strict with yourself here. Working out four times a week will be enough, on the three days off you need to make sure you’re resting so that your body can recover. Use workouts from the internet and build up your tolerance until you feel you can push yourself more. There’s workouts for absolutely everything on the internet depending on what you’re looking for. From flat abs to a big bum, it’s all on there.

Work On Your Problem Areas 
We all have areas that we really hate. Something we wish so hard that we could change about ourselves. Well, nine times out of ten you actually can. For example, one of the main areas that women hate so much is their breasts. It’s so easy to pick out faults with them, yet so easy to get them perfect using breast enlargement surgeries. It does carry some risks, but it is worth it in the long run if you chose a highly trained and respected surgeon. Another major insecurity women have that can easily be solved lies on their face. Our skin is one of the most annoying things to maintain. It can either be spotty, oily, dry, the list could go on. So, make sure you’re always using a cleansing routine in the morning and night. There are creams you can use that will help reduce spots as well as redness. If you use them as instructed it should help clear up your issue.

The last bit of advice we have for you is to feel confident. The more you love your body and accept that nobody is perfect, the more you’re going to love yourself. It’s important not to compare your body to others, and only make any changes because you want to, not because you feel you need to.

Do you have any fitness or body goals for 2018? 

*This is a collaborative post 
*Image from Pinterest 
please always do your own research before considering any kind of treatment anywhere or making any lifestyle changes

Storing Memories with Stampin Up!

Monday, March 12, 2018
I have always loved going through family photos, looking at my ancestry (which is something I've been doing constantly recently with my mums Scottish family which is HUGE) and I also love looking back at memories so I was very excited when I received an amazing scrapbooking and photo album package from the lovely people over at Stampin Up! I've worked with Stampin Up! a couple of times previously with their fantastic card making kits, both of which are amazing and they would also be great to use within this scrapbook.

*Stampin Up! Black Faux Leather 12x12" Album (£27)
Let's start with the photo and scrapbook album from Stampin Up! which is huge and it would be great to not only use with the pocket inserts but it would also be great to store other larger items you want to store and remember. The album isn't the prettiest and it is so big so I haven't photographed it but it is on my Instagram Stories (I'm @ofbeautyand) so you can check out my Instagram if you want to see it.
*Stampin Up! Variety Pack 12x12" Photo Pocket Pages (£7)
As well as the Stampin Up! faux leather album, I also received a range of photo pocket inserts that can be added to the album. They contain pockets of all sizes that you can add photographs, tickets, greeting card sections or other memorabilia to that you want to keep including souvenirs, magnets, confetti and more. I have only filled in a couple of the inserts so far as it's much more of a time consuming task that I thought it would be but it's also a very relaxing and lovely task as I get to look back through wonderful holiday photographs, which is what I've decided to fill my scrapbook/photograph album with. 

We have a few holiday photos within printed albums but we also have a lot that are just loose photographs so it's nice to have them all in one place so they won't become damaged and they're all together. As well as the photographs, I've also added in a couple of thin magnets to the slots. Additionally, as we have been on quite a few cruises, I've also included the room ID cards and tickets to the inserts along with the holiday photographs. 
*Stampin Up! Perfect Days Card Pack (£9)
All of the items have to be purchased individually and I think it would be a great idea to include everything you need in one bundle so that you can buy as one bundle rather than buying each item individually. The album and inserts are essentials for a scrapbook but a nice additional purchase would be the card packs which come in a range of colours, styles and designs but I have the cute 'Perfect Days' card pack which feature monochrome, green and yellow shades along with transparent inserts. 

The cards fit in the inserts perfectly as they're all from the same brand but you can cut them up to fit into the inserts differently. Some of the designs are quite simple but I really like the designs and others are a little more colourful. I particularly like the transparent/clear inserts, the stickers and the more colourful card designs. There are so many included within the pack so you won't run out while creating the scrapbook and they add a nice extra to the album - you could write on them, drawn on them or add stickers. 
*Stampin Up! Journaling Pens (£4.50)
Lastly, I also received a couple of their journaling pens which are great to write on the cards with and they'd be great to write on the back of photographs so the memories aren't lost or forgotten with time. Since college, I've been a little picky with pens as most are so uncomfortable to use but these two are great but they do have a wide range to choose from too. 

Overall, I'm so happy with my Stampin Up! scrapbook and photograph album as all of the items are fantastic quality, they're perfect to store not only photographs but also memorable items for yourself, your family and future generations. I'd also recommend their greeting card kits! 

Do you scrapbook? How do you store your photographs or memorable items?