Friday, December 15, 2017

Taking Stock and Moving Forward

 


Time is flying. I really can't believe that Christmas is so close and soon we'll be saying goodbye to this year. This is always a hectic time for many of us as we navigate through these last few weeks of the year. Many of us take stock of what we've accomplished and we're grateful for the good things that have come into our lives. If we haven't accomplished many of the things we wanted for the year, we may also take stock of things and perhaps decide to try again at certain goals or to redirect our focus. I always find that whether I've either accomplished a lot on my list or if I didn't quite make it with some things, I still relish the lessons and the opportunity to regroup and to prepare for the new year.

Everyone has a story. Some of us may have wanted to travel more, start a business or make more time for the things that we enjoy. Or perhaps reading more books or enjoying more time with our families may have been on our list. Some may have thought about getting quick loans to help finance a dream that they've wanted to pursue, but haven't taken the initiative yet. No matter what we may have or have not done this year, in the new year, or indeed on this new day, we can decide to do something different. Deciding is the thing and this can be the first step on the path to a new avenue in our lives. There is no time like the present.

Like many, I have several things that I'd like to do in my life. I know that it's impossible to do every single thing that crosses my mind, but I'm a firm believer that we may as well have a go at things. If things don't work out, well at least we've tried. Failing at something is not a failure in my book. When we put our necks out to do something big, even if things don't go the way that we've planned, it's still a win. We grow from our failures. As I mature, I'm less tentative about taking a chance to try something new. I've learned that it is the doing of something...or the taking of the journey that holds many of the rewards in life. Yes, I want to do many things and I want to succeed at many things, but more and more I see a "failure" as simply a chance to redirect myself. Life is for living and each day is a new chance to give things a go.

I'm grateful for the wins, the lessons and the growth that I've experienced this year. I look forward to stepping into new adventures in the new year. And I wish everyone well as we all go forward. Cheers!


*collaborative post

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Snow Day


We had some snow over the weekend. We woke up to snow on Sunday without knowing that it was coming. It was quite a snowy weekend in many places apparently, because my family also got snow back home in the Atlanta area. I guess that winter has arrived ;-) 

The snow has melted on our street for the most part now with only a few patches in the shade. I imagine that those remnants will refreeze for a while since it's so cold.

Stay warm out there!

Have a great day wherever you are!

Product Spotlight: Eat Real Nut Shots


Currently,  I'm working on eating healthier. I've been taking baby steps throughout 2017 and I plan to continue this into 2018 and onward as a way of life. I still have my treats believe me, but I'm simply trying to do better. Like many people, I love a snack, so I try to keep my eyes open for any snack options that will prove to be a bit healthier. 

In a previous post I wrote about this great snack brand called Eat Real. They make delicious snacks that offer another snack alternative to consumers. Eat Real has recently unveiled their new range of raw Nut Shots, designed to deliver a wholesome and nutritious energy boost at any time of the day.

I've had the opportunity to try them and I really like that they're so convenient and tasty. The proof is in the taste. You can tell that they're quality food and you can feel good about giving your body something healthier. They're available in handy 25g single portion packs which makes them easy to carry with you wherever you're going.

Eat Real Nut Shots contain natural ingredients with no added sugar, artificial colours, or preservatives. The range includes Raw Cashews, Raw Almonds, a Raw Nut Mix and Peanuts & Raisins, as well as a Mixed Fruits option containing moisture-rich black cherries, blueberries and strawberries.  All of them are suitable for vegans. 

“Consumer demand for healthier snacks and better-for-you products continues to grow as more and more people focus on healthier lifestyles and seek alternative snack choices. The new Nut Shots tap into this fast growing market by offering people a satisfying, tasty and healthier option that can be enjoyed either at home or on the move.” 

 - Debbie King, Director of Commercial Sales & Marketing for Eat Real


Eat Real Nut Shots are available in 25g single portion packs at a RRP of 79p per pack.

To find out more about Eat Real products, please visit their website at eatreal.co.uk

*Disclosure: I was sent these products for review for free. All opinions are mine.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Book Spotlight: Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry

I love fashion overall, especially because of the creativity that goes into it and the opportunity for self-expression that fashion can give us. However, my absolute favorite element of fashion is definitely jewelry. Whenever I am shopping, no matter what, I always gravitate towards the jewelry first.

Cover: From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS


The fabulous new book, Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, by Carole Tanenbaum and Eve Townsend copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS, is a luxurious treat for jewelry lovers like myself or anyone who is interested in the wondrous art of jewelry-making. This is a book that presents the intriguing history of one of North America's foremost designers of high-end costume jewelry, which is one of the most collectible brands to this day.

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS


Schreiner costume jewelry began in New York City in 1932, created by Henry Schreiner and the business thrived for years, well into the 1970s. During the 1950s, the family business prospered under the leadership of Henry’s daughter. Schreiner's gorgeous creations, with their handmade settings, unusual color combinations, and use of custom-made stones set them apart from their contemporaries. The story of Schreiner is one that stretches from the years of the Great Depression through to the rise of the American ready-to-wear industry. The expansive array of pieces is absolutely breathtaking and every piece has a timeless quality.

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS
This wonderful book is chocked full of glorious images that celebrate the whimsically beautiful Schreiner jewelry. I love the vibrant colors and the truly artistic shapes created for women to enjoy. The amount of detail on every piece is stunning to behold.

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS

From Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry, copyright © 2017, published by G ARTS


My love for jewelry goes back to when I was a little girl. I loved to look through my mother's jewelry box. I would try my best to put every brooch, earring, and necklace available on all at once and then I would do a "dramatic reading" as I gazed into the mirror, as if I were an actress. When I wasn't "acting", I loved to draw and the things that I loved to draw were pieces of jewelry. Before I read this book, I wasn't aware of Schreiner jewelry, but I am definitely a fan now. The thing that struck me instantly when I opened the book was the variety of colors and the unusual color combinations which Schreiner is famous for. Seeing these beautiful pieces of elegant costume jewelry was like seeing what I wanted my drawings to look like, finally come to life. Schreiner jewelry is truly extraordinary!

As I mentioned earlier, I love the creativity of fashion and this lovely book about Schreiner costume jewelry has invigorated me. Carole Tanenbaum and Eve Townsend have written a book that gives readers a wonderful history lesson about an amazing family and the beautiful jewelry that they created. I adore this book! Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry will be a constant companion for me as I learn more about this exquisite jewelry. This great book is an excellent guide for those like myself who are new to Schreiner and for those who are already collectors worldwide. There is great insight into the Schreiner collections provided by the family also, along with amazing photographs. This is a gorgeous book to give as a gift or as an absolute treat for yourself!

Schreiner: Masters of Twentieth-Century Costume Jewelry by Carole Tanenbaum and Eve Townsend, © 2017, published by G ARTS is available here.

About the authors:

Carole Tanenbaum is an enthusiastic collector who—over the course of thirty years—turned her passion for vintage costume jewelry into a worldwide business. Her first book Fabulous Fakes enlightened collectors and fashionistas alike. Carole lives in Toronto with her husband and family.

Eve Townsend holds an MA in Fashion from Ryerson University, where her research focused on the history of costume jewelry and its relation to the democratization of fashion. She continues to research, write, and lecture about jewelry and fashions from the Victorian era to today. She resides in Toronto.

*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Hello December


Happy new month! This year has flown by and it's wild that 2017 is coming to a close soon. In the meantime, I'm definitely ready to enjoy this final month of 2017, take stock of how my year has been, and then think about what I want to bring into my life in the new year.

I don't want to get ahead of myself though. This is day one of a whole new month, full of new opportunities each day. So I'm going to do my best to relish all 31 days! 😊

I hope that your December is wonderful!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Visiting The Ideal Home Show

Recently, I mentioned that I would be getting the chance to attend my first event on a press pass. Finally this past Saturday that experience happened. I attended the Ideal Home Show at Christmas 2017 in London and it was an interesting experience. I took my hubby along with me and we enjoyed our day out.When we arrived, the atmosphere had a very Christmasy feel to it as you can see from the sign at the entrance.
  


The event ran from November 22nd to November 26th. We attended on November 25th. This is the UK's biggest seasonal event and features hundreds of exhibitors under one roof. New for 2017 was the Eat and Drink Festival running alongside the show. As we were attending the Ideal Home Show, we were also able to attend the festival too which featured artisan food producers and a variety of food brands. The best of food and drink was on offer at the Eat and Drink Festival.

The bloomon exhibit
The Ideal Home Show featured such a wide variety of things about home and lifestyle, such as: interiors, home accessories, home improvements, food, cooking demonstrations, crafts, Christmas decorations, toys, games, kitchenware, flowers, gifts of every kind and seemingly a bit of everything. There was also wonderful singers who performed from the Christmas bandstand. There was so much to see within this interesting market atmosphere.

One of my favorite experiences during my time there was having a short chat with a young lady at the bloomon exhibit. She was so friendly, professional and informative. It was a joy to speak with her. Bloomon delivers gorgeous flowers right to you! You just choose your size and style, tell them where and when you would like your flowers delivered and they come right to you. They have amazing designs which can be uniquely crafted by their in-house experts. The delivery is free...you only pay for the flowers. Bloomon's flowers come straight from the grower and are delivered in water. They cut out the middleman so the customer gets the freshest flowers. I adore flowers, so I was really drawn to their beautiful creations. You can learn more about bloomon here.




From the bloomon exhibit
From the bloomon exhibit


There was truly something for everyone to enjoy at the Ideal Home Show and the experience certainly got me into the holiday mood. Here are a few more photos that I took just to give you an idea of some of the sights.

















The Ideal Home Show 2018 returns to Olympia London between March 17th and April 2nd. Tickets are available now from www.idealhomeshow.co.uk.


Disclosure: I did not receive any free products or services. I only received a press pass to this event. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving


I'd like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating today, back home in the United States and to those like me who are living abroad currently, but still keeping the tradition alive :-)

Every day is a day to be thankful, so I wish everyone well around the world.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Happy Friday


Happy Friday!

Sorry that I haven't posted in a while. Things have been a bit hectic. I haven't been feeling really great and I've been trying to work on my long, long, long-awaited novel. Lol. Well, I'm feeling better, so fingers crossed that that continues to be the case. Also, I'm still working on my novel, because I've put too much darn work into it to stop now. Lol. It will definitely see the light of day in the new year, God willing :)

I have an event coming up the weekend of November 25th and I'll be sharing my experience afterwards so I hope that you can come back to hear all about it. I'm getting my first press pass ever, so I'm excited :) 

I hope that wherever you are that your weekend is great!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Product Spotlight: Eat Real

I love a good snack and when I find a new one, I get really excited. As we know though, too much snacking on the less healthy options can be bad for our health. Don't get me wrong, I have my share of the less than healthy options sometimes too. I'm of the mind that everything in moderation is fine. However, recently I've been trying to make some healthier choices for my diet to balance things out.
Photo credit: Eat Real Healthier Snacking

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Red Sun on Monday






This is the beautiful red sun from yesterday morning here in Wiltshire, UK ☀ It doesn't look as red on my video as it actually was, but it gives an idea of what it was like.

Apparently it happened because of the coming together of three conditions at the same time: the effects of Hurricane Ophelia, dust being carried over from the Sahara desert and smoke from the fires in Spain. It was incredible to see it. It looked like an eclipse was happening because it got quite dark and looked like a sepia photograph. What an incredible thing that these elements came together at just the right time and created something so unique.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Book Spotlight: The Sky is on Fire

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love books for many reasons and one of my favorite reasons is their ability to transport us to another place and time. I don't believe it's hyperbole to say that books hold a kind of magic within their pages.


In The Sky is on Fire by Magsie Hamilton Little, readers are taken on a fantastic journey with the author as she rethinks her life on a trip through the Hoggar mountains in central Saharan Africa. This is the author's account of her time travelling with her guide Samir, his father Suleyman, and a camel named Fleabag. This is an intriguing tale as she immerses herself into the nomadic culture while on her mission to heal Fleabag. On their quest for healing, they draw upon ancient Tuarag plant medicines and other solutions. The journey made this a fascinating read for me.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Happy Weekend

These are the asters in our backyard after an afternoon rain shower today. I love the color of these beautiful flowers :)

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Book Spotlight: Sleeping With The Rabbits

I love books. They are a wonderful way to experience so much and they offer the chance to get a glimpse into peoples' lives. We may find common traits which we share with others or we may see ways of being that are much different to our own lives. Overall, when people share their stories it is an opportunity to ultimately understand the human condition from various perspectives and this is what I love.

In the new memoir, Sleeping With The Rabbits, by Susanne Defoe, readers are presented with the author's own story of  her suffering through violence, bullying at school, and having difficult relationships in her adult life. The title stems from Susanne's love of sleeping in the rabbit hutch at her childhood home when she was very young, in order to escape the stresses of her childhood.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fall Color


I saw all of this gorgeous color on the way home today. 
Fall is definitely here.
🍁🍂🍁

Book Spotlight: Kitty's Story




The new book, Kitty's Story, the third novel in The Voyagers Series by Fenella Forster, takes readers on a fascinating journey during the World War II era. This is the story of Kitty, a seventeen year old who is determined to do her part to help the war effort. At the beginning of the story we are brought along with Kitty as she arrives in London, intent upon making her dreams come true. She dreams of singing to the soldiers like her heroine Vera Lynn. However, she is not quite as prepared as she thinks she is to take on the world on her own. Early on she comes face-to-face with the harsh realities of war through her time in London as the city is attacked continually with bombs.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Saw A Rainbow


I saw a rainbow the other day, so I thought that I'd share it 🌈

Product Spotlight: Organic Shop Royal Chocolate Nourishing Body Soufflé

Autumn arrived just a few days ago as you know and with it the cooler temperatures have come to stay for a while. I love autumn with all of the leaves showing an array of beautiful colours. However, something else comes along too, especially during the colder months and that something is dry skin. Of course we can have dry skin anytime, but I find that my skin is at its most parched during the cooler months. That's why this is the perfect season to try some luscious new treats for dry skin.

Organic Shop produces great products which can help soothe you from head to toe. They offer a range of products for your face, body and even your hair. Organic Shop products emphasize the need to take care of ourselves and seek tranquillity and balance as we go through our day-to-day lives. And these fabulous products are a great way to do just that.

I have recently been enjoying using their Royal Chocolate Nourishing Body Soufflé from the Organic Shop Body Desserts line and I simply adore it. It contains shea butter, organic cocoa butter, milk protein, and organic olive oil. The shea butter prevents skin dryness and makes it soft and supple, while the organic cocoa butter and milk protein nourishes and moisturizes the skin. As a bonus, the organic olive oil helps to slow premature skin ageing.

Knowing what goes into this luxurious body soufflé is great, because it lets consumers know what they are putting onto their skin and that's great. However, in addition to the wonderful ingredients, there is the experience of using this lovely product. The first time that I opened the tub of body soufflé I just wanted to eat it! (NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT EAT IT!) It smells so good...just like a delicious chocolate dessert. Royal Chocolate Nourishing Body Soufflé comes in an ice cream style tub so it looks like you're getting ready to indulge in your favourite ice cream. However, this is not a treat for eating...it's for applying to your skin and taking in the wonderfully chocolate aroma.

Just apply a small amount of the soufflé onto clean dry skin with light massaging movements and enjoy! This is a real treat for your skin. I absolutely love it.

To learn more about Organic Shop and or to try some of their products for yourself, please visit
https://www.organicshopuk.co.uk/

*Disclosure: I was sent this product for review for free. All opinions are mine.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Product Spotlight: Saaf Pure Organic Super Hydrating Body Balm


Autumn has definitely arrived! The calendar marked the occasion a few days ago and the weather here currently is absolutely illustrating that the new season is upon us. At this time of the year we turn our attention to switching our wardrobes from lighter summer clothes to warmer cardigans, scarves, leggings, boots and other clothes of that nature.

This time of year also reminds us to give our skin an extra dose of care as the weather gets colder and our skin has a tendency to dry out. Our skin is put through the ringer with the cold winds that blow as well as the heating within our houses and places of work. This can all lead to dry and flaky skin. Since it's getting rather cool where I live, I'm already seeing signs of my skin drying out...especially my hands.


So I was so pleased to be given the opportunity to try out this wonderful skincare product. It's Saaf Pure Organic Super Hydrating Body Balm. This lovely body balm is the perfect treat for dry skin and delivers such an intense moisture boost. It provides the rich moisturizing barrier for your skin against the elements during the colder months or any time of the year. It's a nourishing treat for the skin.

Natural lipids, essential fatty acids, natural Vitamin E and special anti-irritant ingredients help soothe and repair the skin, while a brilliant blend of protective and nourishing botanicals and organic beeswax help combat intense dryness and restore suppleness and elasticity to the skin.
It's formulated with rare, organic, cold pressed botanicals and the finest quality steam distilled organic essential oils with scientifically proven healing and anti-ageing properties, Saaf Pure Skincare is one of the world’s most accredited skincare ranges.

•    Certified Cruelty Free by Cruelty Free International
•    Approved by The Vegetarian Society
•    Certified Organic by the UK Soil Association

So what’s in it?

Safflower oil which helps soothe irritations on even the most sensitive skin.

Sesame oil which has exceptional moisturising properties. It penetrates the skin easily, nourishing and detoxifying the deepest tissue layers.

Organic beeswax which helps soften dry skin whilst shea butter improves elasticity. Its cell regeneration properties are an effective anti-aging ingredient that also helps to fade scars.

Black carraway seed oil which can help reverse the effect of sun damage and rejuvenate tired-looking, dry and damaged skin.

Ylang ylang, patchouli, lavender and clove essential oils which help soften the skin while also giving this luxurious balm its delicious spa like fragrance.

I love this luxurious body balm! It goes on so smoothly and it really does its job. I'll definitely be using it during this autumn and on into the cold winter months. I'm sure my skin is already thanking me!

To find out more please visit www.saafskincare.com




*Disclosure: I was sent this product for review for free. All opinions are mine.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Farewell Summer 2017



Since tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox aka the beginning of fall, I thought that I'd share a couple of photos. These are the last of the summer roses in our garden. This rose bush blooms every year, but this year they especially "rose" to the occasion. To me they are a reminder that despite the hard things in life, there is still beauty around us every single day.

Farewell Summer 2017 💗


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Book Spotlight: Witch Dust



I've recently had the opportunity to read a new novel called Witch Dust by Marilyn Messik. It's the story of Sandra, the daughter of illusionists Adam and Ophelia, and her intriguing extended family. Sandra's life with her performing parents is definitely not boring, but once she finds out about family that she's never known, things get even more interesting to say the least.

Sandra's parents part due to her father's wandering eye. After this upheaval, Sandra's mother comes clean and tells Sandra that she has a whole bunch of relatives that she never knew existed. This floors Sandra because her mother has always told her otherwise. This revelation leads to a journey back home for Ophelia. From the first moment of their arrival, Sandra is greeted by one eccentric and quirky relative after another. The characters are so rich and colourful. Readers are taken on a beautifully magical ride. I was enthralled by the characters and I was continually engaged throughout. I didn't want to put it down.

There is always something happening in this story, from a failing hotel business to a documentary to the inner workings of family, and let me tell you, it definitely works.  There is also a bit of the dark and supernatural thrown in for good measure and it all comes together to create a thrilling read. The characters are beautifully quirky. I really loved this book!

If you'd like to get your own copy of Witch Dust, you can find it here.

About the Author:
Marilyn Messik was a feature and fiction writer for magazines (Annabelle, She, Mother & Baby, Women’s Weekly, Telegraph Online, etc). Her first business was a children’s book and party shop. She subsequently moved into travel, researching and rating American country inns and publishing an annual full colour guide. She currently runs a copywriting consultancy, helping businesses and organisations plan, shape and optimise communication. Marilyn lives in Watford, Hertfordshire and is the author of Relatively Strange and Even Stranger. Her writing style has been described as “A cross between Stephen King and Maureen Lipman.” although, as she points out, she’s really not sure either of them would be remotely thrilled to hear that!


 *Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.



Thursday, September 07, 2017

Still Beautiful


These flowers are at the tail end of their time sitting in the window, but they're still so beautiful!

Happy Thursday!

Product Spotlight: MyMatcha Apple Tea



Recently I was given the opportunity to try a product called MyMatcha Skinny Tea. I tried the apple flavour and I really enjoyed it. It has a pleasant taste and it was a good change of pace for me drink wise.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Hello September


I can't believe that it's September again...this year surely has flown by, but then it seems they all go by faster and faster :) I always like a new month because it helps me to collect my thoughts about the month that's just finished and then I can look forward to what the new month brings. Of course we never know what's around the corner, but I always hope like we all do that the new month brings good new things.

So here's to hoping that September is full of good things for us all!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Book Spotlight: Mr Maniac by Johan Fundin





I was recently given the opportunity to read the new novel, Mr Maniac by Johan Fundin, a murder mystery story set in the North of England.

Young female students are being murdered in the university city of Blackfield, and a horror suspense novelist is asked by his uncle, the lead detective on the case, to aid in the investigation. But there is something else going on here. The murders are eerily reminiscent of those in the writer's own new, and yet to be published, manuscript. He also has a particular connection with one of the victims.

Could he be involved? Has he taken on the persona of his own evil creation, the central character of his new novel?

With the help of his cat and a new girlfriend, who happens to be involved with a shadowy international law enforcement agency, Kenneth Sorin embarks on a path of discovery through both reality and his own subconscious to uncover the truth about the murders and his connection to them.

The book is populated with a variety of well drawn characters, including an old lady who is apparently ringing Kenneth from the grave, having passed on 10 years before! This novel is most certainly not your average crime story and contains some adult themes. It will keep you guessing right up until the final revelation, and I found it to be an excellent read which was a real page turner throughout.

Mr Maniac by Johan Fundin is published by Matador and is the author's first suspense thriller for the international market.

You can get your own copy here and on Amazon .


*Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are mine.