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Perfectly original gifts for Men @ Men’s Society 💙🎁

It is so difficult to buy gifts for men. Have you all experienced that too? When buying for my darling husband, brother and father I have to keep searching to find the perfect gift.

I think it’s primarily difficult because men tend to keep the things they would like as gifts to themselves. Whereas us ladies make hints about the things we would like to be given.

So when searching for the ideal Christmas gifts for my male family members I came across this super cute company that has a huge selection of fun and quirky gifts just for men.

The Story behind the Gifts  –

The founders of the ‘Men’s Society’ are Hugo & Bella, and here is their story –

“It was 2008. I was living in London doing a very sensible corporate job. When Bella walked into the office and changed the game forever. A girl can do that to a guy. 

Like most relationships in their early stages there was a fair bit of showing off, trying to outdo each other with little gifts. Only Bella was annoyingly good at it.

These gifts ranged from persuading the pizza guy to write ‘get well soon Hottie’ onto the box when I was too ill to leave my flat, a custom made bright yellow umbrella – to stand out against a sea of black ones – to the perfect little grooming kit to accompany a surprise weekend away to Berlin; Bella always nailed it.  Which got us thinking… and in 2012 Men’s Society was born and we put Bella’s gifting skills into action full time.

Like a lot of businesses, ours was founded and created at the kitchen table. Ambitions were dreamt around it, ideas sketched on it and product made at it. The business has grown (along with our family) and we now work with some of the top retailers in the world but we still make everything by hand, in Britain and we’re super proud of that. Although we may have out grown our original table, we still hold the same dreams, drive and attention to detail that we had at that kitchen table all those years ago.”

The Men’s Society offers a huge selection of super cool gifts men will love!

I got the ‘Weekender Wash Kit’ which is such a cool idea! For the man on the go, this must go with him. True explorers pack light. This kit is the perfect size for tucking in his bag while he explores the world – or just visits a friend for the weekend.The products in this kit comply with current hand-luggage regulations on aircraft. It’s the perfect little tin filled with 50ml of the essentials – Shampoo, Body Cleanser, Face Wash and Face Cream. What more could your modern traveller need or want.

Verdict –


If you are looking for the most original gifts for the men or women in your lives this year, look no further. The Men’s Society website will offer you a huge array of quirky original gifts.

Perfect for birthday and Christmas!

Find out more below. Order online. They also have a great selection available at John Lewis!

https://www.menssociety.com

 

 

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My not so Perfect Life 😃 by Sophie Kinsella 📚 a book review

The world we live in is a serious place right now, so many upsetting things happening around the world. Its not always easy to switch off, unwind and just laugh.

So this week Im bringing you a book which will have you laughing out loud.

There are some authors who have a great way with words, that can explain a scenario in such a way that its soooo funny! Sophie Kinsella is this author, I just find her books so much fun. Light hearted with a great storyline.

The Book –


Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed. 

OK, so the truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers. 
But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they? 
Until her not-so-perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business. 
Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams – or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman who has everything – actually have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems. 
And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway? 

Verdict –

The book had me in laughing fits from the first chapter! 

I loved the Shopaholic series by Sophie so much Ive probably reread them a hundred times. Well this book is just as good!

It will lift your spirits and make the world a better place!

Available on Amazon & at all bookshops now!

💙 Optrex Actimist 💙 say goodbye to dry & irritated eyes!

I am a huge fan of sprays! Not only are they quick and effective, I just feel so refreshed after the spray hits my face and I can just enjoy the benefits.

I use a variety of beauty sprays to refresh my skin, but I feel our eyes need just as much care and attention.

Especially for us mothers on the go, these little sprays can be a lifesaver.

We’re all susceptible to dry, irritated feeling eyes. One of the main causes is our modern lifestyles – staring at a computer screen, driving long distances, air conditioning and central heating are all culprits. Contact lens wearers and older people (particularly women) are also prone to having dry eyes.

The nation is glued to screens – but what does this mean for our eyes?

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in our lives, with British adults spending approximately eight hours a day looking at screens. Whether it’s typing on a computer at work, keeping up-to-date with friends on a smartphone or catching up with the newest TV shows, screen time is a significant part of modern life.

Three quarters of those surveyed in a new study admitted to spending more time looking at their screens now than they did five years ago (77%), demonstrating the nation’s growing use of digital devices. Only one in five (21%) said they could live without technologies like mobile phones, laptops and iPads. However, this use could be exacerbating dry eye symptoms as staring at a screen reduces the eye’s blink rate by up to 60%, potentially triggering dryness, grittiness and soreness.
In light of the nation’s growing reliance on technology, leading eye care specialist Optrex is working with top optometrist Brian Tompkins to put the spotlight on the nation’s ‘Screen Eyes’.
Managing Screen Eyes

Many people experiencing dry or irritated eyes when using screens simply put up with it, unaware that simple actions could help to manage their ‘Screen Eyes’. Brian has compiled some straightforward advice to help combat the symptoms:

  • Eating plenty of oily fish, fresh food, nutrient-rich vegetables and Omega 3-packed nuts will help to promote lipid production.
  •  Transform your home or office with some leafy green plants – as well as boosting your oxygen levels, the humid atmosphere will help to lubricate your eyes.
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule when working with screens: Every 20 minutes, close your eyes 20 seconds and then blink 20 times
  •  Heat is a handy helper when it comes to promoting a healthy lipid layer. Wear a self-heating eye mask for a few minutes or warm your hands on a cup of tea and place them on your eyelids to encourage lipid production Instead of putting your washing on the line or in the tumble dryer, set up a clothes horse in your living room.
  • Try using drops or an eye spray like Optrex Actimist for Dry and Irritated Eyes to help stabilise the eye’s lipid layer.

The Product –

The geniuses at Optrex have come up with the super handy and refreshing spray to enliven and moisturise your eyes.

How the Spray works –

  • Spray directly onto closed eyes to soothe dry eyes
  • Repair the eye’s lipid layer and locks in natural moisture
  • Clinically proven to provide instant relief for up to 4 hours
  • Suitable to use with contact lenses

Verdict –

I love, love, love it! This handy little spray is down a definate part of my make up bag. My eyes feel so much lighter and uplifted after just a few sprays.

What is great is that you can spray it on your eyes with make up on, and there is not even the tiniest of smudges!


Optrex Actimist is available to purchase at all major chemists nationwide.

🌟🌟QUIZ TIME 🌟🌟

In the meantime why not take this cute quiz. Where you can entre a competition to be in for a chance of winning one of 10 pairs of IMAX tickets!!!!

https://screendryeyesquiz.co.uk/

147 Things by Jim Chapman 💙 a book review 📚

We live in an era where technology leads most of our lives. It is an era where bloggers, you tubers and technological wizards can sway our thoughts and influence our opinions.

Just the other day we attended The Wembley Cup with my boys. A football match where the main players were football youtubers with a few football legends. You should have seen the thousands of kids, they went crazy over these youtubers, that my husband hardly knew. Yes we are getting old, but it is definately a sign of the times.

The Book –


What came first, the chicken or the egg? 

Why does breaking up make your heart hurt? 

Why can’t horses vomit? 

From YouTube superstar, TV presenter, model and fact-obsessive over-sharer Jim Chapman comes a hilarious user’s guide to the universe.
In 147 Things, Jim takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the best bits of everything, from the mind-blowing to the ridiculous. As with his videos, no subject is off-limits and he’ll lift the lid on his life and his relationships, sharing embarrassing stories and things he’s learned along the way.
If you’ve ever felt weirded out by the fact that we’re seven billion (mostly) hairless apes spinning around a giant ball of flaming gas, or that we all begin as tiny humans inside our mothers, or that many of us keep slightly less-dangerous forms of wolves in our homes, then you need this book in your life.
Jim will inspire you with his facts about the sheer unlikelihood of us all being here and equip you to feel just a little less overwhelmed by the small stuff.

Verdict –

I have found that it is very difficult to buy gifts for pre teen boys, so the ages of 10-16. They are slightly too old for regular toys, computer orientated games are very overpriced, clothes will not be cool enough as gifts, but books are a winner – the mums will be happy for sure, but to make the birthday boy happy you need to pick a topic that is hip & trendy, as well as appropriate.

Now a word of warning, this book will definately be loved by a boy 10-16 years of age, but there are some words which some may find inappropriate. For example, my ten year old son was very quick to point out the word ‘penis’ on the first page. But if you are like me, I feel kids need to learn things and not be overdramatised by them. This is life after all. 

My sons favourite thing was “9 – Every other species is fine being naked, so why do we where clothes” 😃

So a very fun book! My 10year old enjoyed it and finds it super cool that one of his favourite youtubers has a book out! It is also educational! I found out lots of fun facts! 

Interesting, cool, fun & definate to be a hit if given as a gift! Put it on your Christmas list if you are lost on what to buy your pre teens.

Available now to purchase on Amazon & all major bookshops! Was published on October 5th.

In the meantime find out more about the author Jim Chapman –

Jim Chapman’s channel –

https://www.youtube.com/user/j1mmyb0bba
 Link to purchase the book –

https://www.amazon.co.uk/147-Things-users-universe-buttons/dp/1509854150/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506953243&sr=8-1&keywords=jim+chapman
Link to audio book with exclusive Q&A with Jim –

https://soundcloud.com/pan-macmillan/147-things-by-jim-chapman
Happy reading! xxx

My latest finds in beautiful Amsterdam ❤️💙

This past weekend was my second visit to lovely Amsterdam! This time with my darling mother, who is a fantastic travel companion as she is always up for any adventure no matter how tiring.


So for this two day trip I had a few ‘must dos’ on my list – a visit to The Anne Frank House & The Van Loon Museum being the top two. Followed by a boat trip and walks by the beautiful canals. Rain was forecast in Amsterdam a few days before our visit but luckily the light winds blew away the rain clouds and we were left with bright blue skies.

The Anne Frank house and The Van Loon Museum did not disappoint, you can read up about these two tourist hotspots on my previous blog posts. Just make sure you definitely buy your Anne Frank house tickets well in advance, as the new rule is no tickets can be purchased on the door, so to avoid disappointment buy tickets well in advance.

So my two new finds on this visit were –

The Amsterdam Flea Market – The Noordermarkt 



A fantastic market dating back hundreds of years, first started in 1616. We were actually on our way to the Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht when we stumbled upon these quirky fun market. Filled with second hand clothes, antique goodies and delicious delights too!

My mother was over the moon as she loves antique hunting. The Dutch porcelain has always been a favourite of mine, I love the rich blue on the background of white, and the flowery patterns are so pretty.

My mother bought a beautiful Dutch painting, we are hoping it’s a long lost Rembrandt!  I bought the prettiest antique Dutch soup bowls with a delicate blue flower design on the edges. I will treasure them forever and remember Amsterdam.
This market has been around for hundreds if years. Once a market where people sold pots, it then became a hat market, and today on the same site market goers meet up every Saturday & Monday to sell their goods and find treasures to take home.
Not to be missed!

Vinnie’s


Im not a huge fan of hotel breakfasts, I have always found that hotel breakfasts are the same wherever you go & it is so much better to venture out, find a local coffee shop or cafe and dine lile the locals.

In my past posts about Amsterdam I recommended Das Bakkerwinkel, a lovely little quaint cafe near Dam Square. I still love that place and visited it for brunch with my mother, but I also found another great place.


Vinnie’s is a lovely small cafe very near Central Station, it is perfect for those who want something healthy, and yet Dutch. It is not touristic and was filled was locals on our visit for breakfast there.

The menu is simple yet has everything you could want. We saw other diners ordering the poached eggs on toast, so decided to do the same.

But these were unlike other eggs on toast. They were super yummy. The toast was thick double toasted rye, topped with a thin slice of Dutch new Gouda cheese, the perfectly poached eggs went on top of the cheese, finally the eggs were topped with a handful of mixed fresh green salads – rocket, dill & curly lettuce. A fantastic combination which I will definately be making at home soon.


A great place to visit & a walking city so make sure you bring your walking shoes!

Im taking my boys on the next trip! So watch this space for tips on ‘Amsterdam with kids’…❤️

Audrey Hepburn : Fair Lady of the screen 💕 by Ian Woodward 📚 a book review

Did you know that Audrey Hepburn was born into Dutch aristocracy? 

Ever since I was a teenager I have adored Audrey Hepburn. It all started with ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ – a movie classic that I could watch over and over and over again. What struck me most about Audrey Hepburn was her ability to be so feminine, elegant and yet so strong in character.

I have read a few biographies about the late Audrey Hepburn, but this has got to be one of my favourites.

The Book –


In this first major study of the captivating life of Audrey Hepburn. Ian Woodward uncovers the truly sensational story of one of Hollywood’s most enduring legends. 

Born into the Dutch aristocracy, Audrey Hepburn lived a fairy-tale existence until the outbreak of World War ll when her father, a Nazi sympathiser, abondoned his wife and children. Having risked her life for the Dutch resistance movement, she fled to England to train as a dancer. 

But success came later when she was discovered in France by the novelist Colette, who realised she would be perfect for the character Gigi, and indeed, Audrey stunned both the ruthless New York critics and the public in Gigi on Broadway. Then came Roman Holiday, the film which brought her an Oscar and launched her international career in a string of movie successes like Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady. 

But even her illustrious film career paled against the outstanding work she did for UNICEF. Despite her personal fight against cancer, she dedicated the last years of her life to bringing help to the starving children of the world. 

Audrey Hepburn became more than a movie star. She became a legend, first on screen – and then on the arid plains of Africa.

Verdict –

A definate must read for all Audrey fans! Not only do we find out about Audrey the actress, we learn so much about her as a person.

Just this week a selection Audrey Hepburn’s belongings were auctioned off at Christie’s auction house. Seeing her beautifully elegant shoes, scarves, bags and clothes made me want to read this book all over again.

Available on amazon & at all bookshops

Weekend Box filled with Snazaroo goodies! ❤️🖌🖍

The kids are back at school, the summer holidays are well and truly over. But as any parent knows there are many weekends during term time, and kids need to be kept busy! 

I will do & buy anything to keep the boys off their tablet computers. I try to get them outdoors as much as possible on bikes & scooters, but living in London, rain is to be expected at anytime. So the ‘Weekend Box’ is a firm favourite.


I have blogged about Weekend Boxes before. They are a fantastic idea & my boys love them! Every two weeks you get a delivery through your door, a fun filled box of great activities to keep your little ones entertained.

So when I found out Weekend Box had teamed up with Snazaroo! I couldn’t wait to see it!

The Product –


Weekend Box create activity boxes for children aged 3-8 delivered right through the post on a fortnightly basis. 

They have recently teamed up with leading face paint brand Snazaroo to create a special limited edition face paint for children.

Verdict-

I have two boys aged 9 and recently turned 7! I was worried that face painting was for the ‘younger’ kids, but they both loved it!


It was a beautiful day, we sat in the garden and the boys were kept busy for hours. Painting their faces, arms and using the stamps. So much fun! 


We are definately going to be using those paints again. And the best thing is the paints wiped off super easily with wet wipes! So mummy is happy too.

Find out more about the Weekend Box Club on their website below –

https://www.weekendboxclub.com/whats-in-the-box
It’s great to sit down with the kids and have fun together! xxx

Madonna in a fur coat by Sabahattin Ali 📚 a book review ❤️

Hello lovelies! I am back! Ive been away for a few weeks from blogging because it’s been a very busy summer. We have extended our living room and it was a very stressful time, but thanks to the help of our wonderful family & a great builder, it is now done! And Im back writing! Yay!

I am back with this facinating and wonderful book. Available in English for the first time, this best-selling Turkish classic of love and alienation in a changing world captures the vibrancy of interwar Berlin.

The Book –


A shy young man leaves his home in rural Turkey to learn a trade and discover life in 1920s Berlin. There, amidst the city’s bustling streets, elegant museums, passionate politics, and infamous cabarets, a chance meeting with a beautiful half-Jewish artist transforms him forever. Caught between his desire for freedom from tradition and his yearning to belong, he struggles to hold on to the new life he has found with the woman he loves.

Emotionally powerful, intensely atmospheric, and touchingly profound, Madonna in a Fur Coat is an unforgettable novel about new beginnings, the relentless pull of family ties, and the unfathomable nature of the human soul. First published in 1943, this novel, with its quiet yet insistent defiance of social norms, has been topping best-seller lists in Turkey since 2013.

Verdict –

The Turkish author Sabahattin Ali, was a famous poet, writer and journalist. Born in 1907 in the Ottoman town of Eğridere (now Ardino, in southern Bulgaria). A teacher, journalist, and poet, he owned and edited the popular satirical newspaper Marko paşa.

A frequent target of government censorship, he was imprisoned twice for his writings and was killed on the Bulgarian border in 1948 as he attempted to flee Turkey. Today, Ali is an icon of social and political resistance among Turkish youth.

I found the story enticing, enriching and very enjoyable. Its not a long story but filled with so much excitement. Set in the wonderful city Berlin, it is a book not to be missed.

I just couldn’t put it down & finished it in one sitting! Sometimes it’s good to read classical books, they have become classics for a reason after all.

Available on Amazon uk now…

Courgettes with parsley & dill 😋 Crete style 💚 

During the summer I become a semi vegetarian. Of course I still eat a little meat every now and again, and fish is a must, but the majority of meals eaten are made up of fresh vegetables.

Antalya is filled with the freshest of vegetables. The main reason being this is where most fruits and vegetables are grown and the dustributed to all parts of Turkey and abroad. The humid climate and strong sunshine, with the very fertile ground make it perfect for growing.

In our local market right near my paremts home here there is everything you could imagine, but always things in season. Right now its the sweetest juicy peaches, honey filled figs and the biggest array of green vegetables.

This dish is amazing & perfect for summer! Eaten cold it is refreshing, super tasty and so easy to make.


Ingredients – (enough for 4)

– 4-5 medium sized courgettes

– 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

– bunch of fresh parsley (finely chopped)

– bunch of fresh dill (finely chopped)

– 2 tables spoons Extra Virgin Olive oil

– Sea salt & black pepper

– 2 cups warm water

– 1 large onion (finely diced)

Method –


Prepare all the ingredients and set to one side.

Mix together in a large bowl the parsley, dill & garlic.

Peel and slice the courgettes in long thin strips.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the chopped onions and cook over a low heat until cooked and caramelized.

Lower the heat. Line the pan with a layer of the sliced courgettes. Like you are lining a lasagne dish with pasta.

Like making lasagne add a layer of the parsley dill mixture over the courgettes. 

Next another layer of courgette strips.

Then another layer of the parsley dill mixture.

Continue until all the ingredients are used up. Add the water. Sprinkle on salt & pepper. Now leave to cook over a medium heat until the courgettes are soft to taste.

Enjoy cold with a dollop of yogurt! 😋

One of my favourite movies…Le Divorce ❤️🎬

When I go to Antalya for the summer I always take along a stack of my favourite dvds. I actually normally download my favourite movies onto my laptop, but with the recent laptop & ipad ban on flights from Turkey, I just take along my dvds.

Today I want to tell you about my go to movie when I want to feel warm and cosy. This movie just makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Its not a classical love story, its quirky, fun and romantic at times. But it is so wonderfully real, and shot so beautifully in Paris. 

The Movie –


In this modern-day comedy of manners, American sisters Isabel and Roxy come face to face with the complicated social mores of French society. 

Pregnant and jilted by her scoundrel husband, Roxy is headed for divorce, while Isabel leaps into l’amour with a married French diplomat who happens to be the uncle of Roxy’s soon-to-be-ex. 

Culture clash and scandal ensue as the sisters learn what it really takes to be an American in Paris.

Verdict –

It is just sooooo good! The apartment Roxy lives in is my dream Parisian flat. 

Directed by James Ivory, it has a dreamy feel which keeps you entertained all the way through. The cast is just perfect. 


Based on a book by the same name, this is a rare movie where I found the movie more interesting than the book!

Please look it up and watch it, I bet you love it too xxx