Book Review – Pretty Is – Maggie Mitchell…

Lois and Carly-May were just twelve when they were abducted by a stranger and imprisoned in a cabin in the woods for two months. That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they formed a bond that would never be broken. Decades later, both women have new lives and identities. But the events of that summer are about to come back with a vengeance. Lois and Carly-May must face the truth about their secret, shared past… What really happened in the woods that summer?OK, I have to be brutally honest. I did not enjoy this book. Not even a little bit. I got three quarters of the way through and I came very close to putting it down. Mitchell’s first book has been described, amongst other things as “a slick take on a trope that just isn’t going away”. Sorry but no. I don’t see it as slick at all. The story judders along, jumping between the two protagonists both in current and past time. The whole thing is puzzled together and not at all what I was expecting.I honestly like my thrillers to be fast paced and to pick me up and whirl me along from the very first page and not put me down until the last. Pretty is just doesn’t do that.Both of the women were clearly in need of some very serious and intensive therapy but were both allowed to tumble along and present a functioning face to the world when they both needed a Psychiatrist and some very effective drugs.I just couldn’t get on with any of the characters at all. The villain of the piece just wasn’t very… villainous, and the way the book wound up just seemed so implausible. If you enjoyed this book, fair enough. It just wasn’t for me.A two out of five star book.Be kind to each other.x

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Unboxing & Reviewing of my Treatbox – June ’18…

As always, I’m excited to receive a subscription box. As I’m relatively new to Treatbox compared to other subscription box companies, I’m still getting used to them and deciding whether or not to keep this one going.

The box arrived and it was beautifully wrapped as usual.

The first treat out of the box is a print out calendar for the month of June. Forgive me, even though it has my favourite flowers on it, sunflowers, I just don’t see the point of doing this. Everyone I know has calendar of their own or a diary. This just seems to be a waste of paper.

Next out is cute picture of four different flowers saying “Bloom where you are planted” I love that!

Then we have a gorgeous smelling tube of “Hello Sunshine” hand cream. It’s nice, but sadly won’t persuade me away from my Lush hand cream, whom I am PROUD to say I’m still a customer of!

Next comes a super cute pack of ten small citrusy smelling wipes. They fit into pretty much any bag!

Then we get a fabulous pack of seeds of my most favourite flowers in the whole world ever – sunflowers! 😍😍😍

Next there is a cute wall plaque that could be hung next to the back door. “In our back garden we plant dreams and grow miracles”.

Then we get a super cute pair of slanted tweezers. I needed to pluck my eyebrows so out they came and away I went!

Next was an adorable little sunflower charm that is on a cotton strand. The theory is that you make a wish as the bracelet is tied around your wrist and when the cord breaks, the wish comes true.

Then comes a big A4 pad that had meal planner sections and a shopping list next to it so you can make informed choices about your food choices. This is not really for me so the manshape will use it for waste paper.

Whilst there are some super items inside this box, I’m disappointed by the overall wastage of paper in this box which leaves me able to only leave a review of 3 out of 5 stars.

Be kind to each other.x

Unboxing & Reviewing of my Kawaii Box Subscription Box – June ’18…

As always this box is super cute and I’m super excited to open it up and delve inside. It’s cuteness overload before you even start looking!

First out of the box is a packet or little round Hello Kitty strawberry marshmallows. I’m not a massive fan of the taste of artificial strawberry sweets but I’m sure my youngest will enjoy them.

Next comes a brilliant panda bento rice mould. A bento box is like a layered lunch box. This kit enables you to make super cute panda shaped rice balls.

Next comes a silicone blue bunny head drinks mat. Always have a use for those.

Then we have a packet of Sumikko Gurashi deco stickers. This literally translates as “hiding in a corner” and the characters are shy, just like many Japanese people.

Next up we get something that made me super happy! A Moomin note paper set. Oh I loved it! I adore anything Moomin!

Then comes a pink neko (Japanese for cat) ears headband which I love. It’s ideal for when I want to put on a face mask!

Next comes a common type of toy in kawaii – a squishy. This particular squishy is a salmon sushi squishy and it is so super cute!

Then there is a kawaii hamster soft bag charm. It looks awesome clipped to your bag.

Next we have a kawaii drinking straw pen. This is a combination which I have never seen before. Honestly, never!

Then last of all out come a packet of Precure grape gummies. Precure is a super popular Japanese “magical girl”anime series. These gummies are shaped like characters.

A definite five out of five star box as usual.

Be kind to each other.x

Unboxing & Review of My Underneath the Rowan Trees Subscription Box – May ’18…

I’m always thrilled when this subscription box arrives. It really is my favourite stationery based one!

This time the box had an Alice in Wonderland theme. I’ve got to be honest, this is not my favourite theme at all, but that is not the fault of the creator of the box. That’s my fault.

As always, the box arrives stunningly wrapped and presented. The presentation is really lovely.

First item out of the box is a gorgeous little bag of four red &a white jelly sweets with the words “eat me” on the bag. My youngest son will polish these off.

Next comes a single wrapped tea bag. It’s Clipper breakfast tea which is a really lovely brand. I enjoyed that – I love a good cup of tea.

Then we have our first roll of washi tape which bares the image of different playing cards.

The next item is our second roll of washi tape with Alice themed pictures on it.

Then we get a really cute mint green and blue striped pen with a gold crown on the top.

Next out is a pencil with the quote “Off with their heads”!

Then along comes a super cute little pin badge in the shape of a clock.

Next we have a notepad with an Alice themed picture and sentence from the book on it.

Then we have a very cute little pink flamingo paper clip which I love.

Next comes five decent sized different stickers of various cakes. Made me want a slice they really did!

Then there is a long sheet of various Alice themed stickers.

Finally we have a very cute printed sheet with a recipe for Victoria sponge on it: for your very own tea party!

Now, the problem for me here is that I really dislike Alice in Wonderland stuff, but I am only one of many subscribers so I cannot expect every box to suit my tastes. I know exactly who I can gift all of this stuff to.

I can’t be mean and give a low score. Despite me not liking the contents, it is still a five out of five star box.

Be kind to each other.x

Unboxing & Review of My First DokiDoki Crate – May ’18…

This was the first Doki Doki box that I had received. I’d heard good things about it so was really looking forward to receiving it. When it arrived, I was super excited to get in to the bright pink box and see what goodies lay within there.

As with most subscription boxes, it was really well wrapped and presented.

The first adorable item out of the box was the angel bunny charm. These adorable rabbits will be your guardian angel while you travel. Each rabbit holds on to a different natural gemstone that is sure to bring you luck and good energy on your adventure.

The next item out of the box was a Sanrio ticket holder. The My Melody design will keep all your travel documents together. Stops you from having to fumble and look through bags and pockets for things.

Then comes a brilliant travel kit. They help you travel with ease. The kit includes two bottles that you could fill with shampoo & conditioner, a round case you could fill with lip balm, a comb and a mirror. Other things will also fit in these pouches.

Next comes a gorgeous, generously sized My Melody luggage tag. It’s so very cute, I love it!

Last of all comes a packet of Rilakkuma travel wipes. These are perfect when you need to freshen up or to clean up an emergency spill.

Unfortunately I can’t find the wipes to photograph them. Sorry!

I was so super happy with this box, I really was. I might even stuck around to see if they stay cute. 🙂

Definitely a five out of five star box!

Be kind to each other.x

Unboxing & Review of My Sugar & Sloth Subscription Box – May ’18…

This neat little subscription box arrived this morning and had cute little hearts in the tape securing it. Really cute. 💜

Getting into the box, it was all cutely wrapped and looking very nice.

First of all I found a mini tube of love hearts that are a sweet that I used to adore as a child. They were eaten straight away!

There was a card first of all, with a yummy smoothie recipe on the back which I absolutely have to try. I love bananas and raspberries!

Next there was a big, circular pink sticker that said tea time all the time. Super cute!

Then the first badge comes out. It’s a round badge and it has a pink macaroon with a blue bow on its head and the badge bears the legend “bite me!” I love it!

Finally we get the deluxe enamel pin. This month’s pin was a wee fox in a tea cup. Oh it’s just super cute!

A four out of five star box.

Be kind to each other.x

Unboxing & Reviewing My Bokksu Box – May ’18…

Wow. Just wow!!! I so totally adore this box. It is beyond awesome. Every single time that it arrives, it is guaranteed to be packed full of yumminess!

I love the red and white boxes that the snacks arrive in. They are smart and sturdy and easily reusable for other purposes.

First item out of the box was an olive oil salt senbei herb & vinegar flavour. Take a bite and discover a mouthwatering olive oil and herbal flavour that dissolves and reveals a sharp vinegar tang to the tongue. They are just delicious!

Then come the Okinawa soba. These savoury, deep fried soba noodles tossed in Okinawan red pepper are dangerously addictive and it’s crunchy texture and tantalising flavour will make it your go to snack. Sobs means buckwheat and commonly refers to a dish of buckwheat noodles enjoyed with either a chilled sauce or a warm soup base. Okinawa soba is unique in its use of thick wheat noodles and koregusu (Okinawa chilli peppers infused with rice liquor)

Next item from the box of yumminess is a slice of fruit pound cake. Fruit cakes are iconic symbols of the holiday season and come in nearly infinite variations. They can be light or dense, soaked in alcohol or dry, heavily spiced or simply sweet. But in the end, so long as it has dried or candied fruit, it’s a fruitcake! This slice of cake has a wonderfully soft and lightly sweet pound cake base with autumn fruits baked in. Dried raisins, oranges, cranberries and digs soaked in syrup add tang and texture lifting up this cake.

Next we have the white raspberry. Made in Hokkaido, this airy and crisp rye cookie is coated with a layer of white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed raspberries. A selection made by Michelin-starred chef Chikara Sono, this cookie is unique in its white chocolate coating made using world famous Hokkaido sweet corn.

Then comes the macha & white chocolate covered azuki beans. Usually called amanatto, this Japanese confectionery is normally made by dipping an azuki bean into refined sugar and drying it. Originally created in the late 1800’s, the store of its origin, Eitaro, is still open for business in Tokyo today! Magic beans don’t just exist in faerie tales. Dipped in matcha powder and white chocolate, these azuki beans are a dreamy, creamy confection.

Next comes the edamame senbei. With real edamame bits baked into the cracker, this senbei is made by finely grinding green soybeans and is peppered with kinako (roasted soybean powder), which gives it a powerful punch. White kinako literally means “yellow flour”, it is commonly known as “soybean flour”. Kinako is commonly used in sweets, but this rice cracker highlights the nutty flavour hidden within kinako.

The next one out of the box is known as Okinawa chinsuko (brown sugar). Chinsuko is a traditional cookie from Okinawa and is a very popular omiyage (souvenir gift) in Japan. Similar in texture to a shortbread cookie, this chinsuko cookie gets its incredibly rich flavour from kokuto, a special brown sugar made in only 7 of Okinawa’s 48 inhabited islands. The process involves slowly cooking down pure sugarcane juice to a soft crumbly sugar with a very complex flavour. These cookies combine both of these traditional Okinawa specialities in a delicious bite size.

Next out there comes kinako mochi. Echigo Seika uses mochi made from pounded 100% Japanese Glutinous Rice and a secret process to transform it into the crisp and airy texture of this cloud-like confection. The puffs are then finished with a dusting of kinako powder made by roasting soybeans grown in Hokkaido. This snack’s delicate texture and sweet, nutty flavour make it wildly addicting.

Then we have Takoyaki corn puffs. A classic Osakan street food, Takoyaki are pan fried balls of tako (octopus) topped with a special sauce, drizzled with mayonnaise and sprinkled with powdered seaweed, slivered green onions, and dried bonito flakes. These light corn puffs perfectly recreate the sweet and savoury umami-rich takoyaki flavour and are dangerously addictive!

Next out if the box comes sweet potato langue de chat. Langue de chat literally means “Cat’s tongue” in French and gets its namesake from its original chocolate form that resembles the tongue of a cat. In Japan, however, it is commonly baked into a square butter cookie with a white chocolate filling. Sweet potato Lange de Chat is a crumbly, buttery delight that soothes your taste buds with the perfect blend of delicate white chocolate and creamy sweet potato.

Last of all out of the box is Hoshu tea. Having a refreshingly subtle and smooth flavour, this premium tea is made using only the highest quality sencha tealeaves. Kagoshima prefecture is known for having the best green tea. Sencha is like no other and made by infusing the processed tea leaves in hot water. After just one sip of this rich tea, you’ll immediately see why sencha is the most popular tea in all of Japan!

This box is just awesome!!! Third box in a row where I have loved every single thing bar one item in the last box. That’s one heck of a record!

Another five out of five star box!

Be kind to each other.x

Unboxing & Review of My May ’18 Treatbox…

A first of the month arrival for this month’s treat box… speedy we are! So let’s get to it with what’s inside!

 

Everything was really neatly wrapped in gorgeous Spring yellow tissue paper.

 

 

The first thing that I got my hands on was a really cute greetings card which said “A Little Something To Brighten Your Day…” on the front and is blank inside. I am loving getting greetings cards, as I’m developing a nice stash that I can choose from as and when needed.

 

 

Next comes a Daily Concepts daily exfoliating body scrubber. It’s a nice fit in the palm size and will help get rid of all your dull, dead skin for summer.

 

 

Next up comes one of my very favourite things in the whole wide world. Apart from writing letters and stationery. Face masks!!! I love them so much! An Anatomicals strawberry & yarrow face mask which is so perfect for a pamper evening.

 

 

Then we get two small bags of coffee from The Little Coffee Bag Co. Two different blends, of which number two is decaffeinated. They say it makes a good bed time drink. I just couldn’t get my head around drinking coffee at bed time. That is what yanks my chain about this. There are enough coffee pods and single serve plastic sachets being dumped in land fill. Why can’t you try and be a bit more ethically sound Treatbox and locate coffee that is not wrapped in plastic.

 

 

Next along comes some GNAW strawberry and white chocolate. This looks utterly delicious so I’m going to let my kids have this. Update: they say it’s yummy!

 

 

Then comes a cute, small set of daily affirmation cards with the words: calm, breathe, believe and smile.

 

 

The last thing out of the box is a canvas shopping bag. Great thinks I, until I actually see what is printed on the bag. “Totes Amaze” Totes a fucking maze??? Shit a brick, I’m 46 not fucking 16!!! Grammar and sentence structure people!

 

 

There is also a May Happy checklist calendar.

 

 

However, purely for the coffee bag packaging issue, this box only gets 3 out of 5. Sorry Treatbox!

 

Be kind to each other!x

Unboxing & Review of My Boxcitement Box – May ’18…

This month’s Boxcitement box comes to me after I made the decision to quit Boxcitement. That decision lasted all of about a week. I crumbled and went back to them. They were really nice and even wrote me a little note saying thank you for coming back which they popped in my box. I was really touched by that.

The box was beautifully presented as always and this always makes me smile. I squealed like crazy when I opened it as this month’s theme was Scandimainia! I have been obsessed with all things Scandinavian ever since I was a little girl which has not changed to this day.

First out of the box is a foldaway navy blue shopping bag with a gorgeous white design on. This bag is ideal as it will fold down and fit into handbags. When unfolded it is a really good size too.

Next along is my absolute favourite thing out of any subscription box ever. If you are reading this you will probably think I’m crazy for this. Well yes, you’re right, I am. But that is a whole other blog post. This is “no plastic, fantastic!” – a set of four plastic free, very sturdy drinking straws. I really cannot praise Boxcitement enough for this. This world is being slowly smothered by plastic and the oceans are being filled with it. The more people that become aware of these paper straws and get used to using them the better. Oh, while I’m here – start refusing plastic lids on your beverages too.

Then comes a really cute silver coloured badge. It has a chilled out looking bunny in sunglasses on it and the word LAGOM underneath it which apparently means “Just Right” in Swedish.

Next comes a really cute little green box with an owl on the lid. Inside we find a really sweet little owl on a silver chain. I love this necklace!

Then we have, inside a rough canvas bag a hand made fox ear phone tidy. I absolutely love this! It’s too cute!

Next we have a set of four Scandinavian inspired greetings cards and I’m super happy with all of them.

Finally we have some Scandinavian inspired gift wrap. I’m not quite sure who to use that for yet.

I absolutely love love love this box I really do! I can’t praise it enough. A most definite five out of five star box!

Be kind to each other.x

Unboxing & Review of My Underneath The Rowan Trees Box – May ’18…

I’m working really hard to get caught up with my reviews. After I get caught up with my subscription box reviews I have book reviews and other general posts that I have been working on for a while. I have to thank my depression for slowing me down here. *sigh*

 

This box is the most recent one and has an absolutely fabulous theme. Dragons! How cool is that??? I was so super happy when I realised the theme. I love dragons.

 

As always, the box was beautifully presented. Underneath the Rowan Trees have a knack for doing that.

 

 

OK, the first item out of the box is a deep red coloured fine liner pen that writes with red ink.

 

 

Next comes a silver metallic pen which comes in really handy with the next item in the box!

 

 

That is a small notebook that is super pretty. It has black pages inside which are just perfect for the silver ink pen.

 

 

Next comes two awesome rolls of washi tape. One light green with dark green scales on and one red with sparkly gold bits on. They look so good together!

 

 

After that comes an awesome packet of phases of the moon stickers. These have to be my favourite ever stickers from a subscription box!

 

 

Next comes a gold paper clip with a gorgeous little round pendant with shiny red and gold scales on it.

 

 

Then there is a set of crystals shaped sticky notes. I have a thing for sticky notes at the moment so this made me really happy.

 

 

Next was a stunning A5 red dragon picture. I need to get a frame for this and get it on my wall as soon as I possibly can!

 

 

Then came the ubiquitous print out of the calendar month which I do not need so it goes straight in the recycling.

 

 

The final thing was an absolutely stunning colour in picture of a dragon. Once I have coloured this, I will be framing it and I know exactly who it shall be gifted to.

 

 

As always, a fabulous five out of five star box!

 

Be kind to each other.x