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The Body Shop Mango Duo

This time last year, I was in Australia.

I was in a shopping centre one afternoon with my cousin when I spotted The Body Shop and despite being at the other side of the world, I went in and treated myself to a few of their Mango products simply because they smell wonderful.

A year later, I decided to pick up the exact same products, but only this time, when I was in the Trafford Centre with the other half.

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Continue reading “The Body Shop Mango Duo”

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Blogmas · Books · Christmas · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Feeling Hygge at Winter

Morning all,

If I said ‘cosy’ to you, what would you say?

To me, being cosy is all about being in comfortable clothes (preferably PJs), wrapped up in a blanket, drinking tea, being surrounded by candles and fairy lights so the room has a warming tone. Sounds rather lovely, doesn’t it?

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When Penguin got in touch and told me about a book which is all about feeling cosy no matter the time of the year, I jumped at the chance to share it all with you.

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking is such a lovely book to give this Christmas whether it’s your Mum, sisters, friend or fellow blogger. With discussions about food, clothing, Christmas, home and any season, this book is suitable for anyone!

I wanted to share with you how I get cosy in an evening.

1. Lights

In the evening here in the UK, it tends to get dark between 3:30pm and 4pm and the first thing I do is turn on all the festive lights. This includes the wreath on the front door, the garland around the fire place, the Christmas tree, the fake battery operated candles on the window sill and the fairy lights in my bedroom. For me, it’s all about warm lights and none of those cold, blue ones – we need to keep the room all cosy.

2. Clothing

PJs or onesie – take your pick. During December, I love wearing my tartan Primark PJs because they’re unbelievably cosy. The second I walk through the front door, my day clothes are being thrown on the floor (don’t worry, I do pick them up) and the PJs are thrown on. There’s something quite satisfying about going from normal clothes to cosy clothes. I own more PJs than clothes…

3. Candles

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know that I work with Yankee Candle on a regular basis and I’ve also featured a couple of other candles from Tesco and M&S. I flipping love candles – everything from the packaging to the scent (I’m sure the CCTV people enjoy watching my reactions because some aren’t that pleasant) to lighting them once I’m home. I’ve been loving Christmas Cookie by Yankee Candle quite a lot this December and I deeply regret not purchasing one of the medium jars (oops!) but as well as the sweet scent, I also love citrus ones as well – especially the three wick Citrus Fruit + Ginger one from Tesco because it is simply heaven in a jar.

4. Food

If I’m in the mood for something sweet to eat, I’ll opt for what I call “my Christmas chocolate” which is essentially the Dairy Milk Tree bar; its seriously delicious and only £1 in most supermarkets. If I go for that, then I’ll have a cup of tea. In our household, I’m the chief hot chocolate maker – nobody makes them like I do, so it’s really nice when we’re all cosy in the living room, watching a film and sipping on our hot chocolates. Oh Hygge of us.

5. Goodbye Social Media

 Around 8pm every evening, I like to press the little wifi symbol on my phone so all access to the online world disappears. I’ve been doing this for about a month but a) sometimes you just need a break and b) my sleep is a lot better as I’m switching off earlier.

How did you relax in an evening?

EL xx

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August ReRead

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Hello everybody and welcome to the 8th #monthlyreread,

Once again, it’s another Young Adult book but what can I say? I flipping love them. As you may have seen on Twitter, I randomly decided to reread Soulmates by Holly Bourne in late July so I’ve technically reread an extra book – go me! I was just desperate to pick up another YA and just indulge in some young love.

So, what’s the book this month? Drum roll if you please..

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I chose to reread A Heart Bent Out Of Shape by Emylia Hall purely because it was a favourite YA book of mine last year and as it was the first book of hers which I read, I thought I ought to reread it before her new one is on shelves.

You can read my review of the book here.

EL xx

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July Book Haul

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6 MONTHS UNTIL CHRISTMAS! 

Books From Publishers

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Sparkling Stilettos by Jess Wright via. Totally Bound
The Way We Were by Sinead Moriarty via. Penguin

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I Knew You Were Trouble by Paige Toon via. Simon & Schuster

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Between Sisters by Cathy Kelly via. Orion

Books From NetGalley

The Other Half Of My Heart by Stephanie Butland via. Transworld
Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner via. Simon & Schuster

Books I’ve Bought

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Life With A Sprinkle Of Glitter by Louise Pentland via. Amazon

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Q&A With Young Adult Author Paige Toon

On 30th January 2014, Paige Toon published her very first Young Adult book based around Jessie Jefferson, the daughter of Johnny from Johnny Be Good and Baby Be Mine. Readers weren’t sure what to make of the news at first but with 144 five star reviews on Amazon, I think it’s safe to say that Paige’s very loyal fans would really absolutely anything of hers. With I Knew You Were Trouble set for a late July publication date, readers can look forward to finding more about Jessie and her new relationship with her Dad.

Q. The previous Jessie book left with a slight cliff hanger; where does the plot pick up in this new book?
A. The Prologue is a jump into the future – telling readers that Jessie’s identity has been blown – and then we go back to the start with her first day back at school, which is only a few weeks after the end of book 1.

Q. Jessie’s story is Young Adult. How have you found the transition from writing Chick-Lit to YA
A. It’s no different, really. I’m still writing about the overwhelming feeling of falling in love. Occasionally I might write a phrase that doesn’t feel very teen and have to change it, but that’s easily done.

Paige Toon & Emma

Q. Jessie is a teenager who doesn’t really do what she’s told, but at the same time, she wants her Dad to love her more than anything. How did you find writing about these two different sides of one person?
A. I loved it. Jessie is probably one of my most complex characters and she’s a joy to write about. Probably one of my very favourite characters, actually, which might surprise some people.

Q. Which Young Adult authors have you taken tips from? Whether that’s from reading their books or them actually giving you advice.
A. No one has actually given me advice, but I do love Suzanne Collins and Stephanie Meyer, the latter of whom wrote one of my favourite love stories of all time, even if it is about vampires and werewolves! I knew that as long as I felt connected to the characters and could really put myself in their position, I’d be okay. It’s exactly the same for adult as for young adult.

Q. Aside from Ali Harris (another Chick-Lit author) giving you the encouragement to write YA, what else gave you the push to write in a new genre?
A.
It really was just Ali! I do like YA books, but it hadn’t occurred to me that I could branch out. I’d like to write a high concept love story set in the future, too, as soon as I have enough time to get around to it!

Leah from @leahlovesbooks_ asks:

Q. Is the title I Knew You Were Trouble inspired by the Taylor Swift song?
A. Yes, it is. I love that song! And Jack is such a bad boy…

I Knew You Were Trouble is set to be published on the 31st July – preorder your copy NOW!

Twitter: @PaigeToonAuthor

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July ReRead

MonthlyReRead

Hi everyone,

For this month’s reread – I didn’t know what to pick. I’ve read quite a lot of Young Adult and Chick Lit recently so what did I go for? A romance novel. Oh Emma.. Typical of me really BUT you all know how much I love this author and I’m dying to wait for news on his new book.

I am (of course) talking about..

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EL xx

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June Book Haul

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Books From Publishers

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I Followed The Rules by Joanna Bolouri via. Quercus
The Truth According To Us by Annie Barrows

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OHHH, what could it be??

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IT IS…

The Santangelous by Jackie Collins via. Simon & Schuster

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Nothing But Trouble by Matt Cain via. Pan Macmillan

Books I’ve Purchased

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Big Little Liars by Liane Moriarty via. WHSmiths
Summer At Shell Cottage by Lucy Diamond via. WHSmiths

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Dream A Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher via. Amazon

Books From NetGalley

In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware via. Random House
Primrose Terrace: Sunshine And Spaniels (Pt2) by Cressida McLaughlin via. Harper Collins
The Kiss by Lucy Courtenay via. Hachette Children
I Knew You Were Trouble by Paige Toon via. Simon & Schuster Children
Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway via. Simon & Schuster Children
The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements via. Simon & Schuster

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May & June Favourites

MonthlyFavourites

Hello you lovely lot,

When I created my every-two-months-monthly-favourites, I told myself that it would be a great way to think of the positive things which have happened in the past two months but truth be told, May & June have been heartbreaking. I’m not going into a lot of detail because it’s a personal family matter but it’s one of those things which is happening and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel. Right now, I’m just numb and what makes it even more upsetting is when your so-called friends aren’t there to support you but realising who your true friends are is nice.

SO, enough of that little heart-to-heart and on with the positives.

1. Oliver Turned Two

I swear my nephews will always somehow feature in these posts – but when they’re super cute, it’s hard not to right? Ollie turned 2 at the beginning of May – he had his present for his flight to Orlando a few weeks before but he was quite excited to see that Aunty Emma had bought him everything to do with Thomas The Tank Engine.

2. Ben Said…

Let’s get my nephews out of the way – Ha! Ben is now one and his speech is coming along really well so on the day they got back from Orlando, I said ‘owl’ to Ollie and Ben randomly picked it up and copied. HE SAID MY FAVOURITE ANIMAL. That’s definitely a favourite.

3. Meeting Laura & Katie

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Meeting new bloggers in the North West area was one of my 2015 Blog Resolutions and 6 months later, I’ve met so many more. Katie and I (above) went into Wigan for a day of shopping and let me tell you, she’s hilarious. A week or so later, I met Laura for breakfast at Bills in Liverpool and after all the family stuff, it’s nice to have new friendly faces being supportive no matter how long they’ve known me.

4. Birmingham BBC Flower & Food Show

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What a day this was! It was insanely busy at the Saturday show of the BBC Flower & Food Show but it was really worth the two and a bit hour trip (we got lost)… I’ve never been before so I didn’t really know what to expect and I certainly didn’t expect to see one of the Pulsin team members who I’ve worked with – now, that was lovely. I have, of course, waffled about this in a blog post. I also bought £50 worth of makeup for 10 POUNDS.. Insane.

5. Going Blonder

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OBSESSED. I’m actually in love with my own hair – how sad? I went ombre in September and I’ve been in two minds whether to go blonder or go back to having a bob. Decisions, decisions. For now – I’m blonder and the plan is to completely grow my hair down to my bum, chop it off and give it to children who truly need it more than me. It’ll take a good year or so, but my god, it’ll be worth it.

6. Photography

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Which blogger doesn’t like taking decent pictures, right? Recently, I’ve really loved taking PROPER photographs on a real camera rather than my iPhone. It’s just nice to be able to teach myself and experiment. I’ll keep you posted on whether I do a course or not, but it’s just something I’m really, really, really enjoying.

7. Merf 

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This little fella is 1 in July and he’s been an absolute dream these past few months. He’s learnt to give his paw, to bark when someone knocks on the door, to FINALLY drop the ball as well as coming back to me when he’s off the lead. Border Collie’s are a lot of work but he’s a little babe. So many of you ask me about him and well, I thought I’d update you. He kept up to my room the other Saturday evening and gave me a cuddle without me even asking. I can’t believe how big he’s become.

8. Pretty Little Liars

The bitches are back and so is A aka. Charles aka. who the hell is he? It’s been SUCH a great few episodes of S6 and I just can’t stop waiting for Wednesday to hurry up.

9. “I’m A Blogger.’

Someone at work emailed me and on the bottom of my replies is my Social Media info and my blog link. I wasn’t embarrassed in the slightest when news spread quickly and even a handful of the girls asked me for my URL. So hello, if you’re reading this.

10. Meeting Giovanna Fletcher

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I’ve saved this to last because it’s pretty wonderful. Gi and I have been talking via. Twitter DM’s for well over a year now and she’s absolutely lovely. She came to Liverpool for a book signing and of course, I went along with her books and had a chat with her. You can read ALL about the evening here.

What have you been loving recently?

EL xx

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June ReRead

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HALF THE YEAR HAS ALREADY GONE!

What the flippin’ heck? It’s the middle of June already so that’s technically the middle of the year. Holy cheese balls, that is flying! I’m seriously enjoying my Monthly ReReads and as much as I do enjoy reviewing books, it nice to take the pressure of, even if it’s just one book a month.

As you’ll have seen from my March ReRead, I chose a Young Adult book and well, I can’t keep away for long..

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is quite possibly one of the best YA books around and to make this reread even better, my copy is SIGNED! *still freaks out months later*

As usual, I’m not reviewing my rereads but here is my review of Fangirl for those who fancy a nosy.

Have you read Fangirl? Let me know in the comments below.

EL xx

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Q&A With Debut Author Kate Winter

There are many Kate Winter’s in the world but the one YOU need to know about is the debut Little Brown author. Kate, from the North West of Ireland isn’t just a pretty face; she’s a storyteller, a journalist and former Media University student. So, after I read her first book The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP), I snatched up the chance to sit down with her – laptop to laptop – to have a natter about everything BUT Geography…

Q. First of all – welcome! For those who are clueless to your debut book, please tell them what it is about.
A. The Happy Ever Afterlife Of Rosie Potter (RIP) is a supernatural, romantic, slightly twisty comedy whodunnit, set in rural Ireland and featuring sexy men and a frustrated ghost stuck in ugly pyjamas.

Q. Rosie Potter is dead. That’s made very clear from the first chapter. What made you decide to kick start your author career with a deceased main character?
A. I was reading a series of books at the time, the Undead and Unwed series, I think it was called, by Mary Janice Dickenson. They were perfect ‘beside the pool’ reading, and the protagonist was was a vampire. And initially, she wasn’t very happy about it, which is where the seed was planted in my head, I think. I wanted to work more with that premise, of how annoying it would actually be to find yourself dead and how much opportunity for mischief there would be within it.

Q. You studied Media at University and you became a journalist, but what made you turn a corner into the author world?
A. Honestly, I’ve always been an author. I’ve been writing fiction since I was tiny. In fact, before I could write I used to steal my father’s dictaphone and hide in a dark room, whispering tales of intrigue and princesses and things that lived in the chilly recesses of the fridge into it. I think my gift of easy, flowing wordage (and boldly making words up that suit my needs when necessary) is actually what got me through school and certainly what got me my honours in Uni. And journalism is just my hack job, something to bring in the pennies while I wait for some Hollywood genius to pick up one of my novels and make me a star. And maybe he’ll be all handsome and George-Clooney-esque too and he can double up as my eternal flame while we’re at it.

A gal can but dream…

Q. When you received the phone call/email from your agent to say Little Brown want your book – what was your reaction and what did you do to celebrate?
A. I went “YEAHHHHHH!” And told everyone and then I popped a bottle of champagne. Then another one. Then we went to the pub and everyone else cracked bottles of champagne and we made a far bigger fuss than was necessary. But it was a long journey to that moment with Rosie, seeing as I had finished the book in 2010 and I got my deal in 2013… I wouldn’t call it a struggle, there was just a bit of a pause between me writing it and the market being ready for such a bizarre little romp!

Q. Book Bloggers play a huge part in an author’s career; they can make or break a book, how important do you think they are?
A. I’ll be honest, Emma Louise, I’m only just learning about all this… I had no idea of the blogging community and their wonderful powers! It’s starting to become clear, though. And thank goodness, you’re all so lovely and you all like my book so I’m not broken. I’m SO enjoying interacting on Twitter. I love chatting to people who’ve enjoyed the story and want to discuss little bit s of it, (especially dreamy Charles Walker, cus he’s dreamy). Getting positive reviews is the best feeling ever; it’s better than boys, booze and shoes all put together and they are my three favourite vices so that’s saying a lot.

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Q. There’s a strong sense of a whodunit element in your book which turns out to be not what the reader would expect. What made you add a sense of mystery to the plot?
A. It was all about the comedy for me. I think laughter adds a wonderful extra frisson to any emotion. How many times have you been really angry and giving out yards, or sad and snuffling away, having a good cry, and then suddenly something makes you laugh? It’s such a beautiful feeling. So while the book tackles heavy topics like death, assault, abuse, cheating and loss, the mystery element keeps it moving fast through the emotional scope and the laughter (and the twist) make it enjoyable.

Q. Rosie can stand in the middle of a table, she can walk through glass and someone can see her. How many times did you watch Ghost in order to prep for the writing part?
A. HeeeHEEE! I didn’t need to, it was one of my favourite films as a kid… In fact, I think I even reference Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg’s relationship in the novel. It was a big help, having a vast amount of supernatural fiction already out there, in terms of drawing the parameters of what Rosie can and can’t do. But at the same time it made it a bit tough, too, to come up with something unusual. Hence, the taste issue. Which I won’t go into, in order not to be a spoiler. But I don’t think anyone has come up with that particular quirk of being dead yet!

Q. What can readers expect from you next?
A. Well! I’ve just finished another supernatural, romantic, mysterious comedy… it doesn’t have the whodunnit element and it’s not as slapstick as Rosie Potter, it’s a little bit (just a little bit, mind) more grown up and I love it so much. I’m so excited about it. It’s a big, juicy, beautiful, heartfelt love story, with equally gorgeous characters. And next on my list I’m trying to decide between three other ideas that have been brewing a while. One is outrageous… I think that’s my baby!

Rosie Potter by Kate Winter

Let’s do a quick fire round. Don’t think about the answers – just type…
I’ll be honest with you, Emma Louise, that’s pretty much how I do everything in life 😉

Kindle or Paperback?
Paperback all the way. I love the way they smell, crinkle, fold, feel. I hate the way they fall apart in the sun though. Someone needs to sort that out.

Coffee or Tea?
COFFEEEEEEEE. And herbal tea. But mostly COFFEEEEEEE.

London or New York?
Oh Gawd. Both! But only for holidays. I’m a country gal.

No Wifi or No TV?
That is EASY. I don’t have a TV, have rarely had one in my whole life. And I can watch Game Of Thrones on my laptop so no-brainer!

Debut Author or Best Selling Author?
Well, I’m a debut author who wants to be a best selling author. So sort that out for me, wouldya?

Summer or Winter?
Ohhhhhhh… I love both! But I’ll go Summer because the Winter in Ireland is too long, pretty and cosy as it can be. Summer for long evenings, rambling walks in the wildflowers, ice cream at the beach, and dancing in the street.

Thank you very much to Kate for popping over onto my blog. Her debut book, The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) is available in Waterstones, WHSmith, Amazon and everywhere else that sells great books.

Twitter: @KatiCut