Sunday, 8 April 2018

Reading Material: How To Find Time To Read & The Books I've Read Recently

I actually really never thought I'd get back into reading regularly but it's something I'm so glad I've found time for and would encourage everyone to do the same. In this digital age it is so important to take time away from the screen and the only time I find that I step away from a screen is when I'm reading.  

If you're like I was and didn't really think I had time for it, give it a go. Find the time in your day and make a routine of it. This is key. Perhaps that's in the morning when you're having your breakfast, try reading a book instead of turning on your TV. Maybe it's when your on your way to work, try reading instead of listening to music. Or on your lunch break - take time away from your desk and have a little read. Maybe before you go to bed? This is when I read every day. Go to bed 20 mins earlier or so and take that time to get your nose in the latest novel. Just take some time, whenever you can, and add that into your routine. I haven't looked back since... 

For me, I find it helps with so many things. It helps to calm me down after a busy day and take my mind off of daily stresses. These books transport me to another world, and I adore that part of my day as it really helps me to relax - and because of when I read, get ready for sleep. 

Okay, okay. So I've persuaded you to find the time and pick up your next book - but what should you read? 

Below I've listed a few books I've finished recently (and one I'm still reading!) to get you started... 

Final Girls by Riley Sager

If you're into crime shows or murder mystery's - this is a must read. A total page turner and if I remember right, I read this pretty quickly as I just had to know what happened. 

Blurb below: 

The media calls them the Final Girls – Quincy, Sam, Lisa – the infamous group that no one wants to be part of. The sole survivors of three separate killing sprees, they are linked by their shared trauma.
But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances and Sam shows up unannounced on her doorstep, Quincy must admit that she doesn’t really know anything about the other Final Girls. Can she trust them? Or...
All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next.

Available here.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I adored this book, and the fact that it's being talked about everywhere at the moment, shows that I am not the only one. It was heart wrenching but so incredible, and you see familiarities to her world from the beginning. 

Blurb below: 

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

Available here

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

If you've read or seen Big Little Lies and liked it, this is by the same author so I would 100% recommend it. I actually gave this a go about a year ago but didn't get very far, I gave it another go recently so I'd say persevere with it and once you get into it, it's an easy read. 

Blurb below: 

Alice can't remember the last ten years of her life. She doesn't recognise her children, her husband, herself . . .
Alice is twenty-nine. She adores sleep, chocolate, and her ramshackle new house. She's newly engaged to the wonderful Nick and is pregnant with her first baby.
There's just one problem. All of that was ten years ago . . .
Alice has slipped in a step-aerobics class, hit her head and lost a decade. Now she's a grown-up, bossy mother of three in the middle of a nasty divorce and her beloved sister Elisabeth isn't speaking to her. This is her life but not as she knows it.
Clearly Alice has made some terrible mistakes. Just how much can happen in a decade?
Can she ever get back to the woman she used to be?

Available here.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

This is actually the book I'm reading at the moment but I am enjoying it so much, I just had to include it. This book takes you through time, but through a really interesting storyline. I won't say any spoilers so I'd just recommend reading the blurb below and seeing what you think. But I'm about half way and so far, so good.

Blurb below:

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life. 
Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover - working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he'd never witnessed them first-hand. He can try to tame the past that is fast catching up with him. The only thing Tom must not do is fall in love.

Available here.

Hot Mess by Lucy Vine

This was probably the book I read the furthest of time ago, but I loved it so much it has stuck out in my memory and is a must mention for this book. An easy read, this chick lit is relatable to the T. It's a hilarious coming-of-age story that I'm sure you will relate to.

Blurb below:

Hot Mess [n.] - someone attractive, who is often in disarray.
Have you ever shown up to Sunday brunch still smelling of Saturday night?
Chosen bed, Netflix and pizza over human contact?
Stayed in your mould-ridden flat because it's cheap?
Meet your spirit animal, Ellie Knight.
Her life isn't turning out exactly as she planned.
She hates her job, her friends are coupling up and settling down, and her flatmates are just plain weird.
Some people might say she's a hot mess but who really has their sh*t together anyway?

Available here

I Heart Forever by Lindsey Kelk 

I have been reading Lindsey Kelk's 'I Heart' series for years. This is the latest book in the series, so if you haven't read the rest, make a b-line and head to the first in the series, I Heart New York. If you are looking for a super girly, easy-to-read number that makes you giggle, give this series a go. 

Blurb below: 

The day her husband Alex picks up a backpack and goes travelling, Angela Clark promises to stay out of trouble and keep both Louboutins on the ground. So when her best friend’s boyfriend confides in her, it can’t hurt to help him pick out a ring at Tiffany’s surely? And when her fashion magazine announces major changes, being terminally late and winking at your new boss in the lift isn’t that bad, is it? Then suddenly there’s another big secret Angela’s got to keep – and the man she loves is still thousands of miles away. As the wedding of the year looms, and Manhattan switches on its Christmas lights, Angela is going to need her friends by her side as her old life looks set to change forever.

Available here

Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne 

If you are looking for something a little different from your standard novel, I couldn't recommend this book enough. It's a lifestyle book that takes you through the Swedish lifestyle, Lagom and I found it incredibly inspiring. It's comfortable, it's cosy and I adored it as a pre-bedtime read. 

Blurb below:

Step aside Hygge. Lagom is the new Scandi lifestyle trend taking the world by storm. This delightfully illustrated book gives you the lowdown on this transformative approach to life and examines how the lagom ethos has helped boost Sweden to the No.10 ranking in 2017's World Happiness Report.
Lagom (pronounced 'lah-gom') has no equivalent in the English language but is loosely translated as 'not too little, not too much, just right'. It is widely believed that the word comes from the Viking term 'laget om', for when a mug of mead was passed around a circle and there was just enough for everyone to get a sip. But while the anecdote may hit the nail on the head, the true etymology of the word points to an old form of the word 'lag', which means 'law'. 
Far from restrictive, lagom is a liberating concept, praising the idea that anything more than 'just enough' is a waste of time. Crucially it also comes with a selflessness and core belief of responsibility and common good.

Available here

When do you fit reading into your day and what have you been reading lately? Let me know! 

Lorna x

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Scent-scational Candles

My name is Lorna and I'm addicted to candles. 

As I'm writing this, my living room is covered with them - and I'm not talking about the beautifully placed ones I've got out that I'm currently burning. I have a cupboard full - for safe keeping, to replenish the one's I'm currently burning and just because (that's enough justification right?) and they are all over the floor to help me narrow down my choices for this post. It was a toughie. 

If like me, you're a candle addict or are just looking to add a new one into your home, read on for the current favourites in my stash... 

To burn everyday 

My go-to fragrance every day is always something fresh and clean. I like my home smelling as clean as possible and the Liz Earle Eucalyptus and Rosemary Candle, £36 is perfect for that. It's fresh, it's clean, it's calming but uplifting at the same time and for that reason it's my choice for an every day home fragrance favourite. I have burnt through one of these before so I'm savouring this one in my stash but having it out has made me realise, I need to start burning this baby. If you have room in your bathroom for a candle, choose this one too as it's perfect for that. I also adore the signature Liz Earle blue packaging - crikey, that brand can literally do no wrong in my eyes. Always incredible. 

To burn in the evening

If you are looking for a candle to relax with in the evening, the Aurelia Skincare Peacefulness Candle, £55 is perfect for this. If you've had a stressful day, are feeling anxious, this candle is perfect to help clear your mind and calm yourself down. Notes include top notes of lavender and lemongrass, rose geranium, neroli and ylang ylang in the heart and clove and cedar wood at the base. I adore the simple ceramic jar - one definitely to keep after the natural candle has burnt down. Super luxurious and when you purchase this you get a beautiful candle snuffer too. Bonus!

To burn before you to to sleep

The This Works Deep Sleep Heavenly Candle, £25 is my go-to for when I'm reading before bed. I've used the Deep Sleep range from This Works for a while now and that gorgeous scent instantly signifies to my brain that it's time to go to sleep. I use the pillow mists and the candles regularly, and am already eyeing up other products in the range - the bath soak and shower gel has got my name written ALL over it. With notes of lavender and chamomile, it's perfect to help you drift off to sleep every night... Zzzzzz..... 

To burn because you love your fragrance so damn much 

Matching your home fragrance to your actual fragrance isn't something I ever thought I would do, but I fell hook, line and sinker for the Jo Malone English Oak and Redcurrant fragrance so much that I had to get the matching candle too. The Jo Malone English Oak and Redcurrant Home Candle, £45 is stunning from the inside out. I adore the Jo Malone packaging and the quality of the burn is second to none - and for that reason Jo Malone Candles are always saved for a special occasion in my house. Though, I'm kind of getting to that realisation of when is actually a special occasion - just burn that candle girl! With notes of redcurrant, mandarin, rose, white musk and roasted oak. It's Autumn in a candle for me, though I would 100% burn this all year round. 

To burn with a cup of tea

Cup of tea in hand, TV on or book in hand (whatever you fancy), candle burning - is there anything greater?  The Orla Kiely Earl Grey Candle, £25 is the perfect candle just for this moment (or you know, all the time) as it is exactly what it says on the tin. Earl Grey scented. If like me, you're not an Earl Grey Tea drinker, don't let that deter you as this seriously smells incredible. It's fresh and fruity and instantly calms me down as it makes me think of that moment, just as your about to take a sip of your tea. Notes of bergamot, clary sage and orange peeled are entwined with a smokey black tea to create this gorgeous fragrance. I may just have to burn this as we speak... It's that great. 

To burn when you've got your friends round

I am all about burning candles 24/7 and the Mini Moderns Pavilion Candle in Gin Fizz, £24 is the perfect one for when you're hosting. If the prosecco (or gin!) is flowing, crack this candle out for a party-friendly mood booster. It's fresh, it's fruity and with notes of lemon, juniper berry and fresh geranium it's the perfect scent to suit your evening with a drink or two in hand. 

To burn when you need a mood boost

If I am looking for a scent for a specific mood, Neom is always the brand I go to. I've burnt many of their candles before so can definitely vouch for the quality. The Neom Feel Refreshed Candle, £30 is perfect for a mood boost. This is actually one of my favourite scents to burn in the kitchen as the notes included are most definitely kitchen friendly. Notes include lemon and fresh basil for the ultimate mind and body pick-me-up. 

What are your favourite candles right now? 

Lorna x

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Cream Cleansers For Every Budget

Cream cleansers are a staple in my skincare routine. In fact, I always have several on the go and I finish them up so regularly (hence that some of my favourites from this post aren't actually pictured, if I still did empties, they would all 100% be included). 

My skin is dry/dehydrated and sometimes on the sensitive side and each of these have been perfect for it, though I have recommended each of these to people of all skin types and they have been great too. 

Just as a heads up, I usually use the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, £4.99 to take off all of my makeup first and then I go in with one of these, though they are super effective at removing makeup too - so use this post however it would naturally fit into your routine. 

Whatever your budget, whatever your skin type, you need to give one of these a go... 

If you're on a budget

The Sanctuary Spa Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser, £10 is actually one that came into my life very recently. I have loved Sanctuary Spa products for years but hadn't really dipped my toe into their pool of skincare products. As the most budget friendly product of the post, this one definitely doesn't disappoint. A gentle cleanser using beeswax, cocoa butter, coconut and jojoba oil and soothing camomile - and it comes with a handy muslin cloth to buff everything away. 

The mid-range & one to try first

The Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, £16 (for the starter pack) was the product that got me obsessed with this type of cleanser. In fact, if you go back to 2012 (when I first started this blog!) this cleanser was actually my second ever review (head here to see it) and it has featured on here regularly since. 

It's a beautiful gentle cleanser that removes dirt and makeup, hydrates the skin subtly and leaves skin feeling clean but not stripped. The starter pack comes with a 100ml pump bottle of the cleanser and two muslin cloths. This is always the set I pick up as their cloths are my all-time-favourite. In fact, I have just ran out if yet another bottle of this hence why it isn't pictured. I think a trip to Boots may just been in order as writing about this, makes me miss it. If you buy any of these, buy this one first - it'll change your cleansing life. 

A little more luxurious & the one for sensitive skin

Again, this is a cleanser that has featured in my skincare routine for a long time. My skin can be on the sensitive side and although I generally find all of these to be fine for that, this is the one I go to if I'm having a sensitive flare up. The Pai Skincare Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, £28 works in the same way as the previous cleansers mentioned but I find if my skin is feeling sensitive then this helps to calm it down. It's gentle but still cleanses my skin as needed, and it's perfect for removing makeup too. I always like to make sure I've got a back up of this, just in case (you never know when your skin is going to need it!) 

The most luxurious & the one filled with BioOrganic ingredients

I remember the first time I tried this. I had always heard incredible things about Aurelia Skincare but had feared spending the money and being disappointed, but if anything I was blown away and completely understood the expenditure. The Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser, £42 has been one of my favourites since I first tried it. It is incredibly luxurious, from the pretty packaging (which gets me every time) to the way the product feels on the skin. It works similarly to the other products in the feature as it's applied and buffed away by one of their gorgeous muslin cloths - but this one really makes my skin glow. Although it is formulated for sensitive skin, I usually opt for the Pai cleanser as it;s a little more gentle, but if my skin needs a pick-me-up this is the one I go for. 

Aurelia is all about using BioIngredients sourced from around the word and ensure to only use the ingredients necessary to get the results meaning they are free from all of the nasties including sulphates, parabens, mineral oils and MI to name a few. They don't contain live bacteria or work on the skin’s surface micro biome as they believe there's a better way. I just adore their ethos and branding, it really makes you feel as though you're doing good for your skin. I just need to get my hands on their deluxe size, because I adore pump. Definitely on the shopping list... 

Have you tried any cream cleansers? Let me know your favourites!

Lorna x