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The Bookshop Detective by Jan Ellis 📚 a book review ❤️

If I could choose to live anywhere in the world it would have to be somewhere near the sea.

For those of you who follow my blog, Instagram or Twitter account, you will know how much happiness I find when near the deep blue seas of the ocean.

I think that’s also why I find immemse enjoyment when reading books based in setting near the sea. No matter where in the world the book may be set, the sea will give the setting that extra beauty.

So when my dearest friend Jan Ellis said her latest book was coming out soon, and it was set in the beautiful seaside town of Combemouth, I just couldn’t wait to read it.

The Book –


When a ghost ship is spotted on the horizon one spring evening, bookseller Eleanor decides to investigate the myths and legends of Combemouth, the seaside town where she runs The Reading Room. 

As Eleanor digs deeper into the town’s history, she becomes intrigued by a Victorian crime report and is determined to find out what happened to a boy at the centre of the court case. As she begins to uncover the truth – aided by the vicar but somewhat stalled by the local librarian – she has a challenge on her own horizon.

 A book launch, an exploding dress and some salsa-dancing pensioners make this a mystery with a difference.

Verdict –

I fell in love with the fictitious seaside town called Combemouth in Devon straight away. I obviously knew of the town where Eleanor lived from the previous novel in the ‘Bookshop by the Sea’ series – ‘A Summer of Suprises’ & ‘An Unexpected Affair’. Stories which I loved reading and could not put down. So I was extremely excited to return to beautifully idyllic Combemouth in the second book of this series.

As with the first book, Jan ensures that her cleverly created eccentric characters make us smile and want to find out more. Jan’s words flow so naturally that whilst reading, the story is brought to life infront of your very eyes.

The mystery of a ghost ship ‘The Santa Ana,’ sighted every few years off the coast of Combemouth, makes Eleanor want to find out more. But she uncovers more than she ever imagined.

A lovely book to devour in one sitting, I loved the story, the characters and espeacially Combemouth. I’m even planning to visit Devon soon to find my own little Combemouth.

Thank you Jan! Can’t wait to read more in your series of books xxx

The Bookshop Detective is available for pre-order on Amazon uk now! Publication day is 23rd March! 

Plan Cee by Hilary Grossman 💙 a book review 📚

I cannot believe it is March already! Time totally flies past when you are super busy all the time. 

To be honest I love the month of March, we are officially in Springtime, it’s getting darker later & brighter earlier. And Im especially excited this March as my good friend and an author Ive loved and admired is publishing her third novel this month!

The Book –

Would you abandon your present for a second chance at your past?

Cecelia Reynolds has spent most of her life trying to forget the commitment-phobic man who broke her heart. It wasn’t easy, but eventually she did it, or so she thought…

As Cecelia and her husband gather for a friend’s wedding, her perfect world is thrown into complete turmoil. Even though it’s been twenty years since she last laid eyes on Keith Emerson, all it takes is one glance for her to feel emotions she thought were long gone. When Keith ends up officiating the ceremony, she quickly realizes his message of love is directed at her, not the happy couple. But can she believe him?

We live our entire lives thinking we know ourselves. But do we ever really?

As secrets and lies cause Cecelia’s world to spin completely out of control, she is forced to seek advice from the most unlikely ally. In the process, she must confront the demons of her past and the events that shaped her into the woman she is now. Will she finally learn the real meaning of love, friendship, and family?

Verdict –

I first met Hilary online, I was starting out my blog and she was publicising her first novel Dangled Carat, which I loved & reviewed. From then on I was hooked.

After Dangled Carat came Plan Bea, and now Plan Cee. All books which can be enjoyed alone although I recommend you read them all.

Plan Cee is just as wonderful as the other two. Cecelia Reynolds is the main character here and I just loved her. She is like that best friend, and you go through the turmoil, finding of past loves and questioning the future with her.

A definately book to enjoy in one sitting!

Plan Cee is available to purchase on Amazon today!

Find out more about the lovely Hilary Grossman on her blog now –

http://www.feelingbeachie.com

Conditioned lips with Carmex 💛👄

Our poor lips do get forgotten at times. Especially in wintertime with the strong winds and freezing temperatures.

My boys lips have been so chapped lately, with the school runs in the blustery storms we have been having. When the sun comes out we don’t realise how strong the rays can be. So even though we use sun screen on our faces, our lips also need to be kept moist against the elements.

The Products –


Classic Jar –

First introduced in the US in 1937, it has a ciitrusy yummy smell that the whole family will love. It has no tint so leaves lips moisturised and fresh.

Cherry Tube –

The cutest little tube filled with cherry flavoured balm. A tiny squeeze and just dab on to lips for a slightly red healthy glow. Also comes in strawberry, mint & jasmine green tea!

Moisture Plus Sheer Peach –

Ultra hydrating lip balm gives you moisture and a hint of sheer peach and shine. So easy to apply, store and looks lovely in your make up bag too! Comes in clear, pink & berry. 

Pomegranate Stick –

In a classical twistable stick, refreshing amd moisturising! Comes in lime & vanilla. 

Verdict –

My boys love the smell of Carmex classic lip balm in a pot. When the kids love the smell you are onto a definate winner, they will use it! 

I love the Moisture Plus Ultra Hydrating balm in peach, such a gorgeously fresh colour for lips. 

Never tested on animals! They contain natural moisturisers such as cocoa butter and lanolin. These and other emollients give you healthy-looking lips by restoring lost moisture and preventing dryness and chapping.

I cannot wait to try the lime & pomegranate!

When a brand has been good at doing what they do for years and years you can’t go wrong.
https://www.mycarmex.com/international/uk/

Mini City Guide – Antalya 💛

After a wonderful week in this beautiful region I wanted to put together a Mini City Guide for you all. With the holidays not so far away I might be able to sway you to choose Antalya as your holiday hot spot this year.


One word of warning though, if you are planning on visiting this Summer, this part of Turkey does get extremely hot & humid in July & August. Personally it doesn’t bother me or my kids. It gives us more excuse to spend every second of the day in the sea or swimming pool cooling off! 

Everywhere around the city is very geared up for the heat too, so lots of huge malls, hotels, trendy restaurants and cafes to cool off in. But if heat isn’t your thing might be best to visit at Easter or Christmas time.

My favourite Hotels-

Best Hotel with kids –

– Barut Lara Resort – this is a Turkish family owned chain of hotels. They do everything very well, so their hotels are of a five star standard. The Barut Lara Resort is located in the Kundu region of Antalya famous for its large all inclusive resorts. My boys enjoyed this hotel immensely. Great food, superb sandy beach and a good kids club to keep the little ones busy.

Best Hotels without kids –

– The Marmara Antalya – This is a very good Turkish chain of hotels, which also has a branch in New York. A modern city centre hotel set high up on the ‘falez’ cliffs. Offering a huge outdoor pool amd access to the sea from a large well equipped deck. It doesn’t have a beach however, so not best for those with young kids.

– Akra Barut – A beautiful hotel located in a fantastic location with great views of the sea & mountains. Has a lovely Spa, a part of the LifeCo Spa group. 

My favourite Restaurants-

– Big Chefs Antalya – A trendy chain of restaurants offering large portions of yummy international and Turkish dishes. My favourite dish is the smoked salmon & avocado wrap, washed down with a giant frozen Margarita!

– Kazan – If you are looking for a traditional Turkish kebab filled meal, yummy mezes and Raki this is the place to come.

– Big Man Lara – Another family favourite, delicious international dishes and drinks, with a view to die for!

– Ramiz Kofte – A very affordable and traditional semi fast food restaurant. My boys adore the meat balls served in pitta bread and I think their salad bar is the healthiest and most scrumptious thing ever!

My favourite Malls-

– Terracity – A huge mall, offering a great selection of affordable, and not so affordable shops. It has a great Starbucks with a huge terrace, and a giant food court offering everything you ever need.

Best places to visit with kids-

– The Antalya Museum -My favourite place, so special it has its own post in my blog! 

– Antalya Aquarium – kids love the fish, I love the cool quiet surroundings! A nice day out.

Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight 🎬 a trilogy of movies review 💕

There are some on screen couples that just have that unexplainable magical electricity. As if they are in love in real life. As if we aren’t actually watching a movie, but instead are part of their story.

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are my favourite on screen couple. I admire both individually as actors but together on screen they create magic.

The Movies –

Here are descriptions of the three movies taken from Wikipedia.

Before Sunrise –


Before Sunrise is a 1995 American romantic drama film directed by Richard Linklater. The film follows Jesse (Ethan Hawke), a young American man, and Céline (Julie Delpy), a young French woman, who meet on a train and disembark in Vienna, where they spend the night walking around the city and getting to know each other.

The plot is considered minimalistic, as not much happens aside from walking and talking. The two characters’ ideas and perspectives on life and love are detailed. Jesse is a romantic disguised as a cynic, and Céline is seemingly a romantic, albeit with some doubts. Taking place over the course of one night, their limited time together is always on their minds, and leads to their revealing more about themselves than they normally would, since both believe they will never see one another again.

Before Sunset –


Before Sunset is a 2004 American romantic drama film, the sequel to Before Sunrise (1995). Like its predecessor, the film was directed by Richard Linklater. He shares screenplay credit with actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

The film picks up the story in Before Sunrise of the young American man (Hawke) and French woman (Delpy) who spent a passionate night together in Vienna. Their paths intersect nine years later in Paris, and the film appears to take place in real time as they spend an afternoon together.

Before Midnight –


Before Midnight is a 2013 American romantic drama film, the third in a trilogy featuring two characters, following Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004). It was directed by Richard Linklater and stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, the film picks up the story nine years after the events of Before Sunset; Jesse (Hawke) and Céline (Delpy) spend a summer vacation together in Greece.

Verdict –

Todays movies are filled with violence, special effects and futuristic adventures. All wonderful to a degree but sometimes all you want to watch is a true story of love. You want to listen to a couple discussing everyday events, so that you can somehow relate to their lives, learn from their story or even appreciate your own situation.

I recommend you watch these movie in order to fully understand the relationship between the main characters Jesse and Celine. To see how their love developed despite the many obstacles they have to face.

Their conversations are so lovely I go back to watch the movies again and again.

Unmissable and totally adorable. I do hope they make some more…

 

Bio-Oil for glowing skin all over 💛

I have tried and tested lots of creams and lotions over the years, and I used to believe that oils were always to be avoided. They were for super dry skins and would cause my combination skin to become oily and cause spots.

But with the ever growing popularity of oils to treat and nourish skin and hair, using oils is now my number one choice.

This year I’m continuing to try and streamline my skincare. Sometimes by using too many products we can lose the benefits of the key products available to us.

Bio-Oil is a perfect all round beauty provider as it can be used on the face, body and hair and give you the nourished glow you deserve.

The Product –


Bio-Oil is a specialist skincare oil that helps improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. It is also effective for aging and dehydrated skin. Bio-Oil has won 309 skincare awards and has become the No.1 selling scar and stretch mark product in 23 countries since its global launch in 2002.

The Bio-Oil formulation is a combination of plant extracts and vitamins suspended in an oil base. It contains the breakthrough ingredient PurCellin Oil™, which changes the formulation’s overall consistency, making it light and non-greasy. This ensures that the goodness contained in the vitamins and plant extracts is easily absorbed.

What can this magic oil be used for?


Scars 

Scars are an integral part of the healing process and result from an over-production of collagen at the wound site. Scars go through numerous changes as they mature, but they are permanent in nature. Bio-Oil is formulated to help improve the appearance of scars, but it can never remove them.
Bio-Oil should be massaged in a circular motion into the scar, twice daily, for a minimum of 3 months. On new scars, Bio-Oil should be applied only once the wound has healed, and should not be used on broken skin.

Stretch Marks  

When the body expands faster than the covering skin, the skin tears, forming a scar as it heals. These scars are visible on the surface of the skin as stretch marks.

The likelihood of developing stretch marks varies according to skin type, race, age, diet and hydration of the skin. Those most prone to stretch marks include pregnant women, body builders, adolescents undergoing sudden growth spurts and individuals who experience rapid weight gain.
Stretch marks are permanent in nature, and although Bio-Oil is formulated to help improve their appearance, it can never remove them.

Bio-Oil should be massaged in a circular motion into the stretch marks, twice daily, for a minimum of 3 months. During pregnancy, it should be applied from the start of the second trimester to areas that are prone to stretch marks such as the abdomen, breasts, lower back, hips, buttocks and thighs.

Aging Skin

Wrinkled skin commonly associated with aging is largely caused by the weakening of the collagen and elastin support system in the skin. Bio-Oil contains numerous ingredients that help to plasticize the skin, making it softer, smoother and more supple, thereby reducing the appearance of wrinkled skin. Bio-Oil also moisturizes, which improves the texture, tone and appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Dehydrated Skin

The surface of the skin has an invisible oil layer which acts as a barrier to stop moisture from escaping. In a very dry climate this lipid layer is often unable to cope and too much moisture is drawn out of the skin. Daily bathing or showering may exacerbate this by stripping away the lipid layer due to the astringent effects of soap and water. Bio-Oil supplements the skin’s natural oil layer, helping to restore its barrier function of retaining moisture.
Fantastic Key Ingredients –

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Calendula Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Rosemary Oil
  • Chamomile Oil

Verdict –


I loved it! Bio-Oil is the perfect all over moisturiser. It also comes in a super handy plastic bottle which is perfect for travelling with.

My skin literally glowed when I used just a few drops in my normal moisturiser both day and night. 

Watch how I apply Bio-Oil to my face daily. Video coming to my Youtube channel very soon. 

In the meantime find out more about Bio-Oil below –

https://www.bio-oil.com/en/
 

The Flat Tummy Club Diet by Kate Adams ❤️ a book review 📚

I have tried every diet under the sun!  When I was a model I tried every diet possible – the cabbage soup diet, the ice cream diet, even one diet where I had to cut out fruit completely. What I learnt from all these crazy fads is none of them really work and the best diet is ‘no diet’! In other words eating everything in moderation.

The Book –


Depressed by her expanding waistline, Kate Adams set out to lose weight – and keep it off for good. 

Six months later and over two stone lighter she decided to share her experiences and set up the Flat Tummy Club. 

Now you too can become a member by following the foolproof Flat Tummy Club Diet: 

1. Do the Flat Tummy Inquisition to work out where exactly your spare tyre comes from. 

2. Beat the bloat and shed up to 7lbs in a week with the 7-day Jump Start. 

3. Swap in the Top 20 Flat Tummy Foods to keep you on the straight and narrow-waisted.

 4. Keep your flat tummy forever with tips to help you maintain your willpower when stress, holidays and work start getting in the way.

Verdict-

If I were to write a dieting book it would have to be something like this!

I absolutely love Kate’s approach to eating, it’s logical and totally not fadical.

The best tips Ive picked up from this book is eating porridge for breakfast for weightloss, enjoying sourdough bread and filling up on wholesome healthy soups.

Its a lovely book to dip in and out of and it also has some fantastically healthy recipes. The banana & dark chocolate loaf is one of my all time favourites!

Healthy eating & everything in moderation at its best! xxx

British Airways serving M&S food ✈️

My boys and I have checked in and are ready to fly. We are on the first flight out of London Heathrow, flying to Istanbul, then connecting in Istanbul to our domestic flight to sunny Antalya to see my lovely parents. 

My boys haven’t always been a fan of in flight meals. Well I tell a lie, my older son is more adventurous and happy to try what is served but my younger son prefers to buy a sandwich before boarding and enjoy that on board.
I’ve always accepted the meal served but I seem to eat it because its there, rather than eating it because I really like it.

Well all that has changed now on board British Airways flights. There are no complimentary drinks or meals served, instead you get to choose from a specially designed Marks & Spencers menu and pay on board for what you choose.


The selection is very good. Cheese sandwiches, a roast beef sandwich, fruit salad, yoghurt with granola, those little snack packs of cashew nuts or wasabi peas (which I love) and even a healthy grains & chicken salad! The drinks on sale  range from soft drinks, teas & coffees to all the alcoholic beverages you could think of.

Payment can be made by Credit or Debit card, or with your Avios points if you have an Executive Club card with BA. No cash is allowed.

Verdict-

So my boys and I got on board, our flight time was 4 hours , so not really long, not really short. The trolley of M&S goodies was brought through.


At this point it was around 8am for us. We’d already had a breakfast of croissants & coffees at the airport so were quite full. If complimentary meals were being served Im sure we would have accepted and eaten some of it. But I think this way we are not eating unnecessarily, and we aren’t wasting food. 

We ordered 2 fruit salads for the boys, 1 fruit & nut flap jack, a water & I had a nice cup of peppermint tea which all came to a reasonable sum of £9. More or less the same as you would pay at M&S.

I paid with my BA Executive Club card as we collect avios, so was all easily sorted out.

All in all a fantastic idea. The cabin didn’t smell of airplane food, we didn’t eat & waste unnecessarily and the boys were more than happy.

I think as long as BA keeps its short haul trips at a reasonable price this M&S menu idea is good. My boys would love a ‘kids snack box’ with a small cheese sandwich, carton drink & fruit. 

Find out more on BAs website below –

https://www.britishairways.com

French Rhapsody by Antoine Laurain ❤️ a book review 📚

I am writing to you sitting in by favourite coffee shop enjoying a frothy cappuccino in sunny Antalya on the Southern coast of Turkey. It’s half term so the boys are off school and we needed to get some sunshine and escape the freezing February weather of London.

I love to read on the plane and when looking through my library at home on what to take on the trip, I always prefer shorter novels, and when it was a novel by one of my favourite authors Antoine Laurain, the choice was easily made.

The Book –


The arrival of a letter delayed by 33 years sparks off a quest that leads both on a nostalgic journey back to the 1980s and right to the heart of France today. 

Middle-aged doctor Alain Massoulier has received a life-changing letter – thirty-three years too late. Lost in the Paris postal system for decades, the letter from Polydor, dated 1983, offers a recording contract to The Holograms, in which Alain played lead guitar. Overcome by nostalgia, Alain is tempted to track down the members of the group. But in a world where everything and everyone has changed…where could his quest possibly take him?

Verdict-

I don’t know what it is about Antoine’s books, but there is definately a sprinkling of magic dust in there! They just make me happy, bring a huge smile to my face.

The Red Notebook, The President’s Hat and now French Rhapsody. They are special books, unusual, fun and definately full of love.

Set in Paris, Antoine’s hometown, his books transport you away to the beautiful city of lights. And what makes these books so special is the originality of the stories told.

French Rhapsody does not disappoint, it is the story of a failed musician, now a doctor, amd his quest to find his long forgotten band members. 

I finished it in one sitting amd could not wait to see what happened next.

I absolutely recommend it as I do all of Antoine’s other novels. I cannot wait to read more in the future.

Also follow Antoine on his Instagram page for the most gorgeous pictures of Paris – 

antoinelaurainofficiel_writer

French Rhapsody is available to buy at all major bookshops & on Amazon now!

Help build a new Hunterian Museum! 💙

Any budding doctors out there? Then your kids will love this museum !

What is The Hunterian Museum in London?


The Hunterian Museum houses one of the oldest collections of anatomical, pathological and zoological specimens in the UK and is based on the items assembled by John Hunter, surgeon and anatomist (1728-1793).

 The collection comprises more than 3,500 anatomical and pathological preparations, fossils, paintings and drawings and also includes specimens donated by Edward Jenner and Sir Joseph Banks. 

Exhibits at the Hunterian Museum include the skeleton of the 7ft 7in tall ‘Irish giant’ Charles Byrne, a collection of surgical instruments dating from the seventeenth century, carbolic sprays used by Lister, the pioneer of antiseptic surgery, the tooth of a megatherium (an extinct giant sloth) donated by Charles Darwin – and Winston Churchill’s dentures.

Looking for something fun to do this half term?

The Hunterian Museum in London is looking for families to take part in valuable audience research this February half-term.
If you are a family who hasn’t visited the Hunterian museum before – but would like to – and you have at least one child in the 7-11 age range, would you be happy to work with the museum and use your family visit to help them find out more about your visitor experience as a family – so that the museum can put this information towards the new museum that will open in 2020?

The museum asks that you allow up to 2 hours for the visit, though you won’t need to stay the full time – unless you want to! Your visit will be observed by one of the museum staff researchers and then they will give you some refreshments and ask you about your time in the museum.

All families get a ‘goody bag’ and museum guidebooks worth £5 each to say thank you.

Observations will take place from Tuesday 14th-Saturday 18th February 2017, 10am-5pm

If you would like to take part, please contact Beth Astridge on bastridge@rcseng.ac.uk to timetable in your visit.