BEAUTY | Little Shop of Lathers - An Etsy Haul

Saturday, March 31, 2018

I've been aware of A Little Shop of Lathers for a while now and came across them when I went to see a friends shop space in a collective enterprise in Leeds a few years ago. They have since changed and are now part of Our Handmade Collective in the Grand Arcade in Leeds. 

From the title, you might have guessed they also sell on Etsy and while I need a trip to Leeds I still haven't sorted out a date for this and decided to place and Esty order after spotted an Instagram post from them and thinking about looking on their Etsy shop to find I'd already filled my basket with a lot of their products. 

BEAUTY | Little Shop of Lathers - An Etsy Haul

I picked up five items and I've broken my no bath bomb rule (a self-imposed ban which has been amended to no Lush Bath Bombs!) This was an accident and I thought I had taken them out of my basket but clearly I hadn't. 

BEAUTY | Little Shop of Lathers - An Etsy Haul

The bath bombs are mini ones which are refresher sweet-scented and they all smell delicious. The packages says to use 8-10 per adult sized bath. So far I've been using around 4 per bath with a little drop of bubble bath and it has been plenty. I think there is around 18-20 of the mini's per bag but I didn't count them all. 

BEAUTY | Little Shop of Lathers - An Etsy Haul

I also picked up three of the little pulse point balms. I'd spotted comments by a friend on one of their Instagram posts about the clear head and keep calm balms and decided I needed both.

On sniff they are quite similar and I have been using both on and off throughout the day over the past 3 or 4 days and I do feel like I've been calmer and more clear-headed.

BEAUTY | Little Shop of Lathers - An Etsy Haul

My job in real life can be quite stressful and I feel like I have a lot of pressure on me. I think I put a lot of the pressure on myself but it's still there.

I really like the scent of them. They are citrus. Orange, lemon, lemongrass type scents and use them 2 - 3 times a day.

BEAUTY | Little Shop of Lathers - An Etsy Haul

The last balm pot I picked up is the sleep tight, as I've mentioned over and over again is that I struggle to sleep and I have been using the Sleepy balm from Lush but I'm not a huge fan of the scent and while it is relaxing it's a lot of money for what it is. 

I've only used this balm once and I do feel like I fell asleep quickly but I can't attest to it's powers after one use. It has the calming 

BEAUTY | Little Shop of Lathers - An Etsy Haul

My final buy and the one I was most intrigued by was the bath tea bag. This is just as it sounds. You add the bag while the bath is running and let it steep. It also says you can use the bag to exfoliate the skin which I think is a great idea.

I haven't tried this yet. I'm saving it to have a nice long relaxing bath.

Overall I'm really impressed with everything I've bought and while I haven't tried everything yet, I'm confident I will enjoy them and I'm planning that elusive trip to Leeds for June or September and get to visit the shop in person.


STATIONERY | Frixion Highlighters

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Last year, I was introduced to Pilot Frixion pens from a friend at Slimming World, we both love stationery and she was raving about them. I didn’t really take in what she was saying until she showed me how well they erase. I bought a pack of blue and then a second pack of black 0.7mm pens from Sainsburys and I loved them. 

They are fabulous to use in planners as you can easily erase things and they are nice to write with.
When I was in Lanzarote last year, I visited my favourite book shop. All the books are in Spanish, but they have some amazing stationery and I like to go and visit even if I don’t buy (I always buy things) I spotted they had a display of the pens and I picked up a green, red, and light blue. It was only when I got back to the hotel did I notice they are 0.5mm nibs. That 0.2mm makes a difference, they are so much nicer to use in my planner.

The 0.7mm are great if you are writing a lot, they are smooth and when you don’t need to be too precise they are great, and I would like to get more in other colours, but for writing small neat notes in a planner the 0.5mm are excellent.

I often find myself looking on Amazon for more and I have noticed they have a wide range of these types of pens in highlighters and felt tips. They are expensive, but I do feel like they are worth it. I have a lot of pens and I know I can’t justify buying them now.

When I was in W H Smiths a few weeks ago I spotted a pack of highlighters with £9 off bringing a pack of 8 highlighters to £4.99. I know you can get packs for £1 or so or like me I have a pack from the works stationery cupboard in my locker at work (I need them for training sessions!).

What sold this pack to me more than them being Frixion was the pastel colours. I’m planning to use them in my planner, but I’ve not been using it as much since I’ve gone back to work but I know I need to start planning my April content soon and I’m hoping these will give me the boost to start using it more. 


DISNEY | Disney's Marie Haul From Primark

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I know I’ve been sharing quite a few Disney related posts recently and they will be a feature going forward as well.

Marie is a favourite if mine and it’s so lovely to see so many Marie products in Primark and there is more to be released soon according to some of the Disney accounts I follow on Instagram.
So far, I have been quite restrained, but this might only be because my local Primark hasn’t got some of the things I know I want. A Marie bedding set is high up on my list and I’m torn about getting the Marie blanket as I already have a lot of blankets.

I’ve picked up the Marie Lunch bag, I’ve had a few of these little bags over the last couple of years and they are really handy to take my lunch to work. I have one permanently in the fridge at work which I keep condiments in and it’s quite handy as the cleaners don’t mess with it when they do the Friday muck out (Not so great when I was off for 7 weeks as I’d left a sliced lemon in a Tupperware tub in it but that’s a whole other story) I’ve also used these as makeup bags on holiday. I tend to put my make up and toiletries in carrier bags for travel to allow for leaks but when I’ve arrived these come in handy as they are roomy and are big enough to keep everything in one place without taking up too much room.

Another one of my Primark favourites is the little foldaway bags. These are great to keep in my bag, so I don’t have to buy a bag while I’m out and they take up no space at all. Sadly, I haven’t quite mastered folding them up as neatly as when you buy them.

My final item for this little haul is fluffy socks. Since my back has been bad my feet have been freezing and I’m constantly drawn to buying fluffy bed socks when I saw they Marie cosy socks I had to get them. They are comfy, warm and most importantly they don’t cut my circulation off as I sleep!

I’m excited to see what other Disney items they get in and more importantly I want to see more Marie items. 



Monday, March 12, 2018

 As you might know, I joined a facebook book club at the start of the year called Bookish Mama's. Its not just for mums. Anyone can join but it's run by parent bloggers and their links are at the bottom of the post. 

There is a facebook group where we vote for the next month's books and can discuss how we're getting on with the books and share recommendations. Its a very positive space and I've found it doesn't matter if you love or hate the book there is always someone to offer support and encouragement along the way. 

At the end of the month, the organisers do a facebook live where we discuss the book. The first month I was there for the full live and this month I only managed to catch the second half and I still haven't got round to watching it (sorry) 

Before each live the questions we're going to cover are posted and so far I've answered them myself before each live so I'm not influenced by other peoples opinions. However this month I have gone back over my answers and added in a couple of comments people made which I felt were relevant and that I found useful. 

One word of warning this post will contain spoilers and my post is my answers to the book club questions. Feel free to skip the rest of the post if you haven't read the book or are planning to. 

1.    What did you think of the book? 

It’s never a good thing opening a book review with “I can’t say I was a huge fan of the book”.

I struggled to get past the first 40 or so pages. I spent three weeks on those pages and the book was thrown across the room in frustration more than once. From posts in the group the reactions to the book was overwhelmingly positive and being part of the book club is the only thing that made me finish the book. I was aware it was YA but I wasn’t sure what level. I’ve seen the term middle grade banded about but in reality, I don’t know what middle grade actually is.

The book felt like an indulgence and an excuse to be patronising, the use of “big” words which needed a three-line explanation. Making up words again with a three-line looking them up in the dictionary.

I felt like it was aimed at 9-11 years old but I don’t feel the subject matter would sit all that well with that age group.  A mix of going over their heads, not being interesting and not being a whole lot of fun. I’m thinking back to the people in my English classes in High School and I can’t imagine them giving us this book to read and we read some odd books. (in my opinion – I’m sure they were all national curriculum approved at the time)

I only liked 3 or 4 characters in this book and they saved this book for me and only one of them was a big player. I do find I’m often more drawn to the bit players than the stars in the book recently.

It was well after page 90 that I found my pace and managed to finish the book in three tram rides (which is how I measure my reading speed (35-40 min sittings of just reading))

The book made me, angry and sweary and I found it helpful to make notes in the book as I went. I use pens with erasable ink so I can technically rub out any comments, but most of the comments say “FFS”.

2. What did you think of the main character, Henry? Was she well-rounded?

My overall impression of Henry was that she was a spoiled self-indulgent brat which I was surprised to find was a teenager and not an eight year old. I felt that she was pulled together so many different aspects of what you want for the main protagonist that she missed the mark for me.

I also found her incredibly dull and not the brightest button. One of the notes I wrote was "Thicker than Harry Potter when he received a Broom Stick shaped parcel" Most of my FFS moments came from the things she thought, and I think this is why I kept assuming she was younger than she was, and I was almost gleeful that they forgot her Birthday. Mean I know but she really did rub me up the wrong way.

Partly some of the era came into how she processed her thoughts and I did expect more from her. I was expecting a little more drama and it seemed like her highlight was to be allowed to answer the telephone.

3. What did the ‘parent’ figures contribute, especially Nanny?

Personally, I hated nanny Jane more than Henry. I hated that she was referred to as Nanny Jane all the blooming time. Could we not just call her Jane who is the nanny. I found her overbearing and not all likeable in any way, shape or form. I found myself wishing she’d been carted off to Helldon. I did assume she was in cahoots with the good doctor and found that whole plot a bit confusing. Was she? wasn’t she?  

Towards the end of the book it was clear she wasn’t but despite the era it would have been good if she could have stood up to the doctor, if only about the baby. It seems like she’d been with the family a while and “raised” Henry and Robert and her job was to be the Nanny and look after Children, there was no real need for her to be so passive apart from the era and bowing down to orders however from how strong she had been to Henry, keeping communication from her father from her. Making sure she didn’t see her Mother it hinted at quite a strong personality which was completely side tracked. I could have made quite a good plot twist if she’d been portrayed as meek and timid earlier in the book.

4. How effectively did the novel portray treatment of mental health in the early 20th century?

It didn’t really, it hinted at it and skirted round the edges, but it didn’t really address anything. Clearly as a children’s book it wouldn’t go into graphic details (but it did mention a few possible treatments) I don’t think anyone who read it who didn’t know about mental illness would get those themes from the book and not enough to be able to effectively discuss them in an open forum. I don’t think this books aim was to focus on mental health and while talking about mental health is always a good thing and not something we should shy away from it didn’t seem to be the focus and there was no real discussion or explanation, it was just something that was there to potentially explain some of the other story lines. It would have been a very different book if they had had that as the focus and for YA I’m not sure it was needed, and I hate myself for defending it on that point.

5. What did you think had happened to Robert?

My first thought that the mother had done something, maybe caused a fire that had resulted in his death. There was a lot of references to burns, smoke and with her clearly being in some sort of a breakdown it didn’t confirm either way if this was grief, PND or something like cancer. How the father reacted and seemed cold towards his wife, especially buggering off to Italy as soon as they move in. 

I later dismissed this as and went on to assume Henry had set him or the house on fire with her candle to get him in trouble with tragic consequences. With her having dreams of spoke and visions/hallucinations of her brother it seems more likely that she had been involved in his demise.

6. Who did you think Moth was? What did you think of her character’s development?

I assumed she was the owner of the house from the when we are first introduced to her, I don’t remember having any other thought. As implausible as it is that someone would fake their own death and then essentially go and live in the woods at the bottom of the garden is, I couldn’t really see her as anything but being connected to the house.

For me she was the books saviour of the book. If it wasn’t for her, Mr and Mrs (the cook) and the solicitor I don’t think I could have coped. I’m almost sad she moved into the other cottage and I either wanted her to stay in the woods or fall in love and run away with Truman or her son's friend.

She was warm, not very witch like and I loved she had a cat. The cat needed a bigger part. I wanted to know more about Moth and I would read a whole book about Moth. I think the name was perfect if not a bit contrived how Henry got to it. I do wish she’s said That’s not my name and gave a different one but I guess it could be seen as cute. I’m very cynical and as much as I liked Moth this was a bit much for me and I did groan a lot.

As I read the book I pictured her as an old wizened woman, but I realised during the Book Club chat that it was more likely she was in her late 40s and this changed a few of my thoughts and gave me hope for her. Then I remember it was a book and she had no future!  

7. Was the plot plausible enough, or did it not matter?

The overarching themes such as mental illness, families split apart by war, the need to work away and life at the time is plausible enough. The rescue of mama and piglet not so much. 

The overall execution of the story wasn’t well done in my opinion. There were evil elements such as the doctor which hinted at Mengele like tendencies before Mengele was even about but then as it’s a YA book only some “treatments” were mentioned. I do feel the editing stages probably reigned in some of the nastiness we as adults can see or were hinted and I think one of places we can see this clearly is with the doctor and his good wife when they seemed strong and insistent but then became very passive and this seemed to be a quick gear shift. Others I’ve mentioned such as Nanny Jane.

In the chat a few people mentioned they felt heart broken that the mother hadn’t ever held the baby and maybe it’s my stone-cold heart, I didn’t feel affected by that at all. Maybe because of my initial thought it was all her fault or just because you couldn’t get me to hold a baby for a million pounds.  

8. Does it shape your view of the book knowing that it is a young adult novel? How well do you think teenagers would cope with some of the ideas in the novel?

I think I have covered this above, I don’t think teens would engage with this book and it did seem that it was for the reading stage before YA (9-11 years)  I think with younger teens a lot would go over their heads and because a lot of themes are just skimmed I don’t think they would learn anything or get enough out of the book to spark a debate.

Someone in the chat mentioned they liked the references to other books and they expected this to sit well with younger readers who may want to go and explore those books. I hadn’t thought of this and maybe it is something as an adult that would go over my head.  

9. Was the plot original enough?

In a word no, but you know me why use one word when there are so many others.

The book does cover many topics and it does feel like they have all been done before and in much better ways. I can’t think of a book that I would exactly liken it to, but I think it pulls ideas and themes from a lot of other books.

I’m not a parent but if I was asked to recommend a book to a teen that covered similar themes I would probably go down the route of Good Night Mr Tom or Angelia’s Ashes. I realise neither are the same and are from a male perspective but other than a couple of mentions of gender bias I don’t really think it matters that Henry was a girl. (don’t shoot me for that)

10. What did you really enjoy about the book? Would you recommend it?

I liked the fountain pen and what Moth said to her son’s friend. I underlined it and wrote I like this in my copy.

Moth was the books saving grace and without the book club, I would not have got through it. I felt like there was so much more to Moth that we didn’t get to find out about. While a lot of her character development was shaky she had a lot to offer and now I’ve realised she’s much younger than my initial thoughts I’d love to know more about her and will she get it on with Trueman (Is there any FanFiction about this or is this just me?) or could there be a storyline with her son’s buddy? He was quite handy helping get her cottage habitable. Maybe Moth’s story shouldn’t be a YA book.

Now it’s over I want more but if you asked me to read it again, I would throw it at you.

Would I recommend it? As kindling? Yes. To read? No.  My swear-filled copy is heading to the recycling bin very shortly.

Good reads score 1.5 / 5 (half a point for Moth, The cat and the fountain pen)


LIFESTYLE | My Netflix Life - What I've been enjoying recently

Thursday, March 08, 2018

I’m a recently new to Netflix, I’ve had a free trial in the past, but I didn’t utilise it and stuck to watching old films that I’ve watched a million times.

This time around I have still watched old films. Just Go With It is one of my go-to films. It’s no Oscar winner by any stretch but there is something about that film that I love. I’ve got lost of “classics” in my List. Clueless, The Breakfast Club, and Legally Blonde 2. Please don’t judge my taste in films. I think I’m trying to relive my youth via my Netflix account.

I have also finally watched Gilmore Girls and why did I miss it the first time around? I haven’t watched the new 20 year later episodes yet. I almost don’t want to know what has happened. Also, if someone can find me my very own Luke Danes that would be much appreciated.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was a welcome relief and far funnier than I expected it to be. I really enjoyed it as a series despite it being far-fetched and silly.

There are a few series that I’ve tried to watch but I just can’t get into. Jack Whitehall, Travels with my Father had a promising start, but I don’t feel drawn to watching anymore. I’ve also been recommended Peaky Blinders, but I can’t get past the first 30 minutes. Stranger Things scared me, I’ve been told to persevere as it’s not scary, but I can’t bring myself to press play on it.

I am currently obsessed with Once Upon a Time. The reason I started to watch it was because I was looking at Disney Bounding Ideas on Pinterest. (I want to go to Disneyland Paris and Disney Bound) and OUAT ideas kept popping up. I’ve only been watching it for about 10 days and I’m halfway through season 3. I love all the smouldering looks. I’m loving Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin and I want to go round saying “Hello Dearie” to everyone.

Gossip Girl was a programme I don’t really remember watching but I did start to re-watch it and I seem to know everything that is happening and therefore I have given up on it. I feel like I must have watched the first couple of series then gave up on it? Maybe? Should I carry on watching it?
A couple of nights ago I decided to have a browse and came across 2 programmes that I like the look of but after a couple of episodes, I don’t know if I will carry on watching. They are Schitt’s Creek and Greenhouse Academy. If you’ve watched either of these are they worth my time?

I haven’t attempted some of the more famous Netflix series such as Pretty Little Liars and Orange is the new black There is no real reason for not watching them but I just haven’t got round to them as yet.

There are a few things that I feel are missing from Netflix, some classics which I might talk about in another post but I’d love to know what you are watching and what do you think is missing?


LIFESTYLE | Albion Farm Shop & Cafe - A Sunday Roast

Monday, March 05, 2018

A few weeks ago, we all went out to celebrate what would have been my Grandads 90th Birthday, we knew we didn’t want to go too far as it always snows on his birthday (he’s been dead over 37 years) but his mum always said it was his present. (She never actually bought him a real present).

We decided to go to Albion Farm which technically is in walking distance of home, but I really wouldn’t want to walk there but I might be persuaded to walk home (it’s all downhill). It doesn't feel very far away in a car but it is up a fairly steep hill I'm not sure how far up the hill I would get. It's not just the hill up but the driveway from the road to the building is quite steep. The views are worth the trip and they have an outside area which would be lovely to sit out in nice weather. 

I have been before for breakfast which I have to say is top notch, but this time we all went for a Sunday roast. My dad has a bit of a thing about everyone ordering the same thing. He thinks it makes for a better dining experience as the food will be cooked all at the same time. (apologies to any chef’s out there, years of training and experience seem to pass him by. None of the rest of us thinks like this) but to be fair I tend to order the same as others, so I don’t get food envy and luckily, we all like the same kinds of food. 4 roast dinners and 2 pots of tea for two came to around £44 give or take a few pence which I think is pretty good value.

Albion Farm has a café and a farm shop selling their own farm products in the shop, they had the orangest carrots I think I've ever seen. I don't think my photo does them justice. 

They also have a wide range of other local producers products. Including Slateries Chocolate, Stuart Thornley Cakes, and other local farm products such as milk, eggs and Buckley’s muffins.

It's not just food products they also have gifts, cards and home products and I spotted some reed diffusers that looked interesting. 

You can't book tables apart from for Afternoon tea so we had to wait a few minutes to be seated but it wasn't a long wait. They have plenty of tables and I feel like 4 or 5 times all went at once so it was constantly moving. 

I didn’t spend too long looking at the menu as I already knew I was going for the Roast Beef Dinner, so I can’t stay if they have vegan options, but I do know they have vegetarian options.

The roast dinner was amazing, I loved every part of it. From the parsnips to the beef and the Yorkshire pudding. We've even taken to copying the way the chopped the carrots and parsnips and its delicious. 

Just as we’d finished eating, my dad pointed out the sky changing across the valley and within about 5 minutes it was snowing hard and we made the decision to go without looking around the shop, but we did manage to grab a packet of bacon and some bread.

My parent were both impressed and went back last weekend for breakfast, they were so impressed they went to the butchers and bought some of the sausages they served in the café and we had them for tea on Monday and now I’m sad it’s been snowy and cold again as we really need to get some more. They said it was quite busy and was asked to share a table with another couple. Which wasn't a problem but just something to note. A lot of the tables fairly big and sit 6+ so I guess it's only fair to ask smaller groups to share. 

I was hoping to go again this weekend just gone but the snow is still quite bad around here and they’ve had to close for a few days as it’s not been safe for people to drive up to them or for them to get their themselves.

We've had way more snow than this over the past week, this is about my limit as far as the snow is concerned! 

Hopefully we will visit again soon, and my mum mentioned some baby goats that I’d like to see for myself and I want to be able to have the time to look at every product in the farm shop, even the items I wouldn’t ever consider buying and I’ve heard they have a good range of gin’s so that could be fun. 


DISNEY | Primark - Mickey Mouse Earrings

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Recently I have been watching a lot of Disney vlogs in anticipation of booking my very first trip to Disneyland Paris. I don’t know if I will make it this year. I was hoping for a Solo trip in March but I’m not sure if I’m brave enough and I have spoken to a friend about going at the end of the year to experience Disneyland at Christmas time, but we haven’t booked anything yet.

Mickey Mouse Earrings - Primark

One of the things I’ve been loving is the Disney jewellery a lot of them wear. What I like about it is how subtle some of it is and that unless you look closely you might not even realise it was Disney.
A lot of the products seems to be exclusive to WDW in Florida and I don’t have the budget to even go to Florida let alone the budget to buy all the things and I have been looking at budget-friendly alternatives.

There seems to be a lot of love for Pandora charms but while they are cute they are not for me, maybe in the future but I feel like my charm bracelet days are over. I have had a Pandora alternative in the past but when I worked out how much the bracelet and all the charms came to it made me scared to wear it and mine was a fraction of the price of an official Pandora. I digress as always.

Mickey Mouse Earrings - Primark

Pinterest, Google, Etsy have all been places I’ve scoured as well as following a lot of Disney accounts on Instagram. Etsy and a few online jewellers have some amazing items and for good prices but as I’m in the infancy of my Disney obsession I didn’t feel like I wanted to pay even £6 plus P&P for one pair of Mickey Mouse earrings, let alone £60 for a lovely pair of silver earrings I keep seeing.

Mickey Mouse Earrings - Primark

I have been getting quite a few Disney items from Primark in recent weeks and in the Manchester store I found a rack of Disney jewellery.

This three pack of earrings is almost identical to some of the individual pairs I’ve been looking at online. I specifically wanted A pair that was the outline, but I’m more than happy to have the other two pairs.

Mickey Mouse Earrings - Primark

I’m terrible for only wearing earrings for a couple of hours before they start to irritate, and it doesn’t matter if they are expensive or Primark’s finest. Spending £2 on three pairs of earrings suits me.