Book Review #1: The Charm Bracelet – Melissa Hill

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So, as promised from My Book Challenge, here is book review number one!

This is my very first book review (well, since I was in year 6 at primary school and I had to review the Babysitters club for my homework!) so I promise I will do my very best to not include any spoilers or give too much of the story away. If I do, please feel free to shout at me below!

This is the first book I have read by Melissa Hill and I have to say, I was not disappointed. The mystery of the charm bracelet really got me hooked from the start and I was keen to read on to find out more about its history. I love stories that link all of the characters together and this one did just that (I won’t say how as I’ll be breaking my promise!) but I would say if you liked Love Actually, then you would love this book too.

I got so absorbed in the story that I read it in 5 hours straight. In fact, the story has such an effect on me I decided that I was going to buy my very own charm bracelet and fill it with charms that would tell my life story. So, literally, that minute (I was on a plane and the duty free trolley came past!) I bought myself a new Pandora and my husband bought me my first 2 charms. (A crown because the way I carry on you would think I was royalty – his words not mine! And a present – as it was his gift to me) This type of behaviour is not unusual for me, I get so carried away with books that the fantasies I have been reading I have to turn into my reality – Steve was really screwed when I read the ‘I heart…’ series by Lindsey Kelk – I wanted to travel everywhere Angela had been (and I am very much working my way through the list as we speak!)

Anyway, back to The Charm Bracelet… The story follows Holly, a single parent, living in New York with her son. She was sent a charm bracelet years ago and regularly received charms from a mystery someone, each one commemorating something important in her life. When she discovers another bracelet similar to hers, she makes it her mission to find its owner and return it to them, knowing how precious she considers her own. I won’t spoil the ending, but even though I thought I might have figured it out, I have to admit, even I didn’t manage to work out the whole story – something that is quite rare for me as I over analyse everything. Melissa Hill writes a fabulous story of one woman’s quest – both for the owner of the charm bracelet and her own; add to that the backdrop of Christmas, which coupled with the romance that already exists when writing about New York City – the book in my opinion is a winner.

If you’re a fan of author’s such as Lindsey Kelk, Jenny Colgan and Sophie Kinsella (which I totally am, by the way!) then I would definitely recommend reading The Charm Bracelet. In fact, I’m going to start another Melissa Hill novel very soon.

The one with The Bucket List: 30 things to do before I am 30

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Recently I saw on a blog I follow (Lifebeinggirly.com) a post called ‘Goals of Summer’ and it got me thinking about all the things I want to do. Of course, like most people, I have a Bucket List – I mean it’s not actually written down, but it is continuously growing in my head and I am worried that if I don’t start putting some of my hopes and dreams into action soon, I’m going to run out of time. (Like, I’m not planning on going anywhere just yet, but you know, there’s so much out there in the world and actually very little time in comparison.)

So I have decided to split them up into more easily measurable goals – this way I have a bit more of an impending deadline, as opposed to waiting until I, well you know, ‘kick the bucket’. (for you realists out there, I know this can in fact happen at any time – but just go with me on this one, I am trying to manage my expectations!)

So, here it goes, part one of my Bucket List: 30 things to do before I am 30:

1. Go to Paris.

2. Visit Anne Frank’s house.

3. Go on the longest zip wire in Europe.

4. Have strawberries and champagne (in a posh place.)

5. Go on the London Eye.

6. Have a long weekend camping in a VW Camper Van.

7. Make my own swim wear

8. Get Cliff Richard’s autograph for my mum.

9. Make a pair of high heeled shoes.

10. Own a pair of Louboutin shoes. 🙂

11. Go to Vegas.

12. See the Grand Canyon.

13. Write a novel.

14. Have a month not in my overdraft (probably not going to happen if I do all these things!)

15. Learn how to make cakes (like proper ones – with icing and all that jazz!)

16. Have a successful blog.

17. Go on the underground trampoline.

18. Climb Ben Nevis.

19. Go to Isle of Sky.

20. Watch Top Gun.

21. Fit into my size 10 skinny jeans.

22. Be fluent in Welsh.

23. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.

24. Ride on a Gondola.

25. Be a child for the day (going to Disneyland Paris counts, right?)

26. Conquer a fear (get back on the horse, literally)

27. Learn how to make cocktails (like, on a proper course!)

28. Make someone laugh so hard a little wee comes out!

29. Dance the night away.

30. Take a ride in a Hot Air Balloon

There it is, my first bucket list – so I will admit are a little ambitious. How on earth I am getting hold of Cliff Richard’s autograph is beyond me, but I will spend the next 4-and-a-bit years doing my very best to cross that and the other 29 things off my list. The whole reason I made it up Kilimanjaro was due to my stubbornness. If I set my mind to something, there is nothing that will get in my way, and I will be dammed if the very first thing to do that is Cliff bloody Richard.

Watch this space. I’ll keep you updated.  🙂

The one with the DIY disaster

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Well, these past few days have most certainly been eventful, and not all in a good way. Not to dwell on the bad stuff, I thought I would share the drama of how me trying to save money and be thrifty, actually managed to cost me much more than I ever intended. (Now I can laugh about it!)

After the success of my shoe making course, I decided to search the internet for more shoe making ideas. I came across a post on a fellow bloggers site (for some reason it won’t let me link it here, but a google search if you’re interested and you will find it!) Basically the post was a step by step guide on how to make a pair of shoes a la Marc Jacobs.

The blog was about making a pair of cat shoes (for the none MJ fans!) – and they were awesome! So naturally, I decided I was going to do the same. Not only would I have a pair of shoes similar to a designers, they would be a fraction of the price and have much more sentimental value. Win-Win, yeah?

A few days later I went to the shops, bought my supplies (acrylic paint, a gold marker and masking tape!) and came home all excited about renovating an old pair of shoes…that was until disaster struck.

As I squirted the paint (black) out of the tube onto my brand spanking new paint pallet, it shot right out the other end and landed on our beige sofa. I couldn’t believe my luck (or more like un-luck!) I was quite far away from the sofa with tissue paper and a plastic mat covering as much of the floor as possible, yet I managed to hit the one place that it wouldn’t wipe off!

After an hour and an half of scrubbing, bleaching, soapy-watering, crying and yelling at the sofa, the stain was not budging! There was nothing I could do. I hadn’t even managed to put paint to shoe yet.

My sofa: Before the scrubbing and yelling:

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My sofa: After the scrubbing and yelling:

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So I did, the only thing a girl could do at that moment – cranked up the music – reminded my husband that he loved me and should keep perspective of what was important when he got home (It was worth a try!) and painted my shoes.

By the end of it, I was pretty proud of my efforts, despite the whole destroying the sofa incident (of-course!) which, coincidentally will now cost me considerably more than buying a pair of MJ’s shoes would have done in the first place! Ha!

That aside, I’m still pretty chuffed and I have more shoes to decorate this week. I’ll keep you updated with my progress!

Like I said, I totally cannot take any credit for the idea, but I will post a how-to guide (minus the sofa part!) for anyone interested.

Here are my shoes:

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My Book Challenge: The List

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After setting myself a challenge to read at least 30 books over the next six month (in order to smash my New Year’s Resolution out of the ball park!) I thought it was about time to start listing them (for proof) and also so I can review them for anyone who loves books and remotely cares about my opinion of them. So, here is a list of the books I have read to date and one by one, I will start adding my reviews under this section.

June:

1. The Charm Bracelet – Melissa Hill
2. The Little Beach Street Bakery – Jenny Colgan
3. Just In Case – Chrissie Manby (June’s ‘Amazon Recommends’)
4. A Proper Family Holiday – Chrissy Manby
5. Wedding Night – Sophie Kinsella
6. How to get a (Love) Life – Roise Blake
7. Breakfast at Darcy’s – Ali McNamara

July:

8. 50 Ways to Find a Lover – Lucy Anne Holmes (Julys ‘Amazon Recommends’)
9. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
10. About A Girl – Lindsey Kelk

August:

11. What a Girl Wants – Lindsey Kelk
12. Six Geese A-Laying – Sophie Kinsella (Augusts ‘Amazon Recommends’)

September:

13. Poppy Does Paris – Nicola Doherty
14. The Beach Cafe – Lucy Diamond

October:

15. How to Fall in Love – Cecelia Ahern (Octobers ‘Amazon Recommends’)
16. Where the Rainbow Ends – Cecelia Ahern

November:

17. From Notting Hill…with Four Weddings Actually – Ali McNamara
18. Fairytale of New York – Miranda Dickinson
19. Jenny Lopez Saves Christmas – Lindsey Kelk

December

20. A Proper Family Christmas – Chrissie Manby
21. Christmas at the Beach Cafe – Lucy Diamond
22. Christmas Gifts at the Beach Cafe – Lucy Diamond
23. Secret Santa – Scarlett Bailey

I’ll keep updating as I go. 🙂

I am a massive chic lit fan, but I’m also open to suggestions, (as long as its not horror, blood, gore, murder etc) but y’know other than that, feel free to leave any recommendations in a comment! 🙂

The one with all the books

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Last month I realised that there was only actually one New Year’s resolution out of the 10 I’d made in 2014 (see post: The one with all the New Years resolutions!) that I haven’t already broken. Says a lot about my willpower – I know.

However, in order to combat the fear of failing completely, I have a plan. Armed with the fact that I really want to hold onto the remaining resolution to ensure that when December 31st comes around, I can officially say I have kept a New Year’s resolution, I have decided to give myself a challenge… Between June 1st and December 31st there are 30.5 weeks. My challenge to myself it to have read at least 30 books by the time the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. (So basically, I have to read one book a week.)

Now, I know some people have been aiming to read 150 books this year, so 30 in 6 months hardly sounds like a challenge, but believe me, for me, especially nowadays, it is. In order to prove that I have read each of the books, I am going to review them on my blog and maybe even make some useful recommendations myself.

Now, to date I have read 8 – so I think I’m off to a good start. I am yet to post any of my reviews, but I will do it all in good time – I promise.

I have about 10 books lined up on my kindle already, but I’m very happy to be guided by suggestions from any book lovers out there. I am a bit of a chick lit fan (as you will see from my upcoming reviews) so any recommendations in this category would be very much appreciated.

So, I guess The only thing left for me to do is put the kettle on, make myself a cuppa and get reading (and writing shortly after!)

The one with all the shoes

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This weekend I went to London to finally attend the ‘ballet pumps for beginners’ course I’d been dying to do with I CAN make shoes. Now, although I had a right ol’ drama getting there, I have to say, oh my life, what an awesome day I had.

I arrived the night before, as I didn’t want anything stopping me getting to the course on the day. Everything was going well until my shoe broke just as I got off the train. Ironic really; given what I was in London for. By this time it was 5.45pm so the only place I could really go was to FatFace in Euston station. There were literally no shoes in my size in the entire store. Eventually the girl found a greeny coloured sandal in the storeroom and I immediately agreed to take it. £38 lighter I left the store and headed for the tube. After somehow ending up at the wrong tube station, wandering around shoreditch for half an hour and finally making my way to bethnal green my feet were killing. These shoes were far from my dream pair. Another forty minutes of walking up and down the same bloody street, I finally found the Travelodge – turns out, the tree was covering the sign so I’d walked past the hotel 3 times. Finally, a whole 2.5 hours after arriving in London, I was at the hotel and could take these godforsaken shoes off.

My feet were cut to shreds. The shoes were ruined and I literally had blisters galore. I needed a shower, a lie down and a large glass of vino.

After a chilled out night, I was looking forward to the course the next day, but dreading putting the shoes back on my feet. Thankfully I’d come prepared with some plasters, for what little good they did. Thankfully the studio I was doing the course in was only a stones throw away, so I managed to hobble down the road and avoid the rain.

When I arrived, it turned out the other people on the course had missed their train and so now it was only me booked in for the day. I had one-to-one tuition – it was great! I got stuck in pretty quickly, picking the colour of my leather and cutting out the soles.

The tuition from Amanda was amazing, she took the time to show me step by step how to do everything and was always on hand to offer advice. The time flew by, I couldn’t believe how quick the shoes were coming together.

I can definitely say that I learnt a lot from the course; I love shoes even more than I thought I did, I cannot cut or stick very well, sewing is also probably not my forte, but I can definitely learn more by doing. I want to make shoes all the time! I am hooked!!

I am so proud of my very own handmade shoes. They are just too cute. ☺

I was so excited I bought a home shoe making pack there and then and have been scouring the internet even since looking for the perfect leather. The second I get a free weekend, I will be making pair number 2.

I would thoroughly recommend I CAN make shoes, so much so, I am going back in winter to do the high heel making course with them. I’ll make a shoe designer out of myself one day – just watch this space! 🙂

The one with all the blogging

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So, I have been blogging for a year now and I think its about time I get out there in the world of blogging and promote myself a bit more. With this in mind, I have literally just signed up to every blog promoting, sharing and ‘wanted’ bloggers site out there.

So, if you want to stay up to date with my blog then you can follow me:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin