Little Book Review: Blue by Danielle Steel

blue

So. I’ve never read a Danielle Steel book before. I know! How is that even possible! She has written so so many.

This book, Blue, was given to me in my stocking and I’ve just finished it. I thought I’d write up a little review of how I found it.

I got through it very quickly, it was definitely a story that I got into, and cared about the two main characters, Blue and Ginny. It wasn’t what I would class as chic lit, these two characters find each other and overcome challenges from their past.

Was there anything I didn’t like about it? Yes. I felt like the history of each of the characters was repeated again and again and again. It made me feel like the storyteller is assuming I am a bit dim and have forgotten this.

Would I read another of Danielle Steel’s novels? Yes. There is no question that overall I enjoyed this. It was quite an easy read, so I will probably pick up another of her books later in the year.

In terms of books, I am trying to up my reading this year and have recently bought:

  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

So there will be little reviews of each of those coming as and when I work my way through them.

If you have any recommendations for me, please let me know. I’ll always game to try a new author, or genre.

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Me Before You: Review

So I read the book and wanted to see the film and my lovely sister took me on Saturday. I didn’t have massive expectations as the ads I’d seen for the film looked a lot more chic-flicky than I would’ve liked.

Spoiler Alert

It’s odd seeing a film that deals with the subject of assisted suicide being marketed as an alternative rom-com. The film itself as you may already know is based on the novel by Jojo Moyes, and is told from the point of view of Louisa Clark, who is in need of a job to help support her family, and replies to a job ad seeking someone to help care for a disabled young man.

I was gripped by the book, but as a romantic tale, it read a little odd, similarly in the film, there isn’t really a clear underlying connection between the two lead characters, it seems to simply help the plot along. I have also more recently been reading about some public reaction regarding the idea that a disabled life isn’t worth living. To my recollection this subject is discussed in more detail in the book, that Will has considered his options regarding his health, but in the film is is very brushed over. It seems to be a be a bit of a foregone conclusion that he will be going ahead with his plans for assisted suicide.

When I read the book I didn’t consider what Jojo Moyes’ personal experiences or research into disability might have been – I think that is perhaps the case with many able-bodied readers. I can now see why many are frustrated that such a tale has become popular. Though I personally feel that it’s a good platform for discussion about assisted suicide, using an able bodied actor was perhaps not the best option, and I certainly don’t hold the view the a disabled life isn’t worth living.

In terms of the film, I did cry, I was moved. But I don’t think that was because it was necessarily a good film. I personally was moved because the idea that someone would wish to end their life, in spite of all the good that surrounded the lead character is very upsetting.

Have you seen the film, or read the book? If so, what did you think?

Review: Lunch at the Darwin Brasserie

I’ll start with an apology. I arrived so late to meet Charlotte, I failed at trains, and I am sorry Charlotte!

There was a bit of a queue to get in the building initially, as you have to pass through security, a bag scanner and body scanner.

Now on to the restaurant (and the building). When I arrived I was quickly shown to our table and offered a drink. Yes, I did take part in some lunchtime drinking with a couple of glasses of prosecco.

We skipped straight to mains, I had the tomato and basil gnocchi (with a side of fries! Yum!), which was delicious, and stuffed. I don’t think I’ve come across stuffed gnocchi before, but I’d like to again. Charlotte, being a meat eater, had the chopped chicken and avocado salad and reported it to be good.

Then dessert, of course we had dessert. It is the whole reason for eating out. That and seeing my lovely friend of course. I opted for the chocolate bar with raspberry sorbet and Charlotte had the prettiest rhubarb swiss roll I have ever seen. They were both delicious.

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Whilst we were there the clouds broke and the view was pretty spectacular.  I didn’t take any pictures of the restaurant, you’ll have to snoop at tripadvisor for those. It’s decor was great, didn’t feel too upmarket that it wasn’t suitable for lunch but we both said it would be an amazing place to go for a special occasion dinner in the evening. The dress code in the evening is a little stricter according to their website.

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You can only book a month in advance, and they do take card details in case of a last minute cancellation (which you’d be charged £25 per person for) but I would throughly recommend a visit. Once you are in, you can also take in the view out, and snoop around the sky garden (which you also have to book to visit. No popping up if you happened to be passing).

Have you been to the Sky Garden? Or have any other restaurants you’d recommend I try?

Mooncup

This isn’t something I necessarily thought I would blog about as a topic. Periods don’t really enter the subject matter I read about, let alone consider writing about. But recently I have had conversations with friends discussing the possible pros and cons of such a device. And then last week I watched a couple of YouTube reviews and thought I have to try one of these things.

http://www.mooncup.co.uk/assets/images/distributor_low_res/EN/LR-Mooncup%200076.jpg

The environmental impact disposable sanity products have and the cost saving for me were key factors in trying one. Yes  – the upfront cost of the cup is more than I would normally consider spending. But in just three months, I would have spent that on tampons and pads that litter the earth.

So what did I make of it?

  • It was bigger than I thought it would be
  • The pamphlet was super helpful and informative – you will want to read it before cracking on with using it.
  • I couldn’t feel it – so based on that it was very comfortable.
  • I worked out and had no issues at all.

Would I recommend it? Yes! Can I see myself going back to using other sanitary products? Nope.

A couple of facts I have stolen from the Mooncup site:

  • One woman will use over 11,000 disposable sanitary products in a lifetime
  • 22 tampons or towels are used, on average, each period
  • In the UK alone, 4.3 billion disposable sanitary products are used every year

There are other menstrual cups you can try, Mooncup is just one of many brands available and I just went with that as it’s stocked in Boots and was recommended by a friend. Just a few of them are:

In case anyone wonders, I wasn’t asked by anyone to review this product and my review is my honest opinion. This post is simply to encourage women to consider the other options out there.

Bristol & two very different restaurants

I hit up Bristol for a Hen weekend this bank holiday weekend, for the lovely Charlotte, who is getting hitched later this month. (I’m so excited for her and Andy, they’re awesome)

We were quite big hen party, 18 ladies ( well one man standing in for a no show…) and Charlotte had mentioned a few places she’d happily go to for her night and I sorted the rest.

I ended up booking the Cosy Club. It looked great and had a reasonably priced ‘Party’ menu and cocktails that wouldn’t bankrupt us all. But I wish now that I had chosen one of the others short-listed. The building itself might have been beautiful and the wait staff were trying their best but totally let down by the management. Suffice to say I won’t be recommending any time soon and a full review is going up on TripAdvisor shortly, which I’ll post a link to.

Bill's

In complete contrast, we went to Bill’s for breakfast on the Sunday morning, booked for 10 people and the service was great, apart from the odd difficulty at the end getting hold of a card machine ( I should carry cash, like the other 9 people!). The food was great and arrived in a timely fashion. Bill’s even serves dinners and has a selection of cocktails – with hindsight our breakfast venue probably would have provided better service for our Saturday night dinner. Lesson learnt.

Benefit – The Benefits

I’ve been using the Benefit skin care range recently, as my  lovely sister gave me the tester size introduction set, and it has ruined me. I don’t think I will ever be able to use anything else again.Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 13.38.23B.right! Radiant Skincare by Benefit – 6 Piece Intro Kit

Limited Edition


Fran also gave me a full-sized Remove It Make Up Remover. I have been guilty of using face wipes to remove my make up for as long as I can remember. I’d never paid much attention to how I should or could take care of my skin.

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Remove It Makeup Remover

Oil-free Eye Makeup Remover

£16.50

Needless to say, my skin wasn’t great, I was prone to breakouts, that I didn’t understand. Now that I am using the Benefit range I can see a marked improvement, and breakouts now are after a binge on bad food.

I’ve taken full advantage of the offers on at Debenhams today, and added a full-sized Total Moisture Face Cream, and Moisture Prep Toning Lotion to my collection and next on my list is the Refined Finish Facial Polish, because I’ve loved trying out this exfoliator.

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Total Moisture Facial Cream

£28.50

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Moisture Prep Toning Lotion

£23.50

I would add, if you have particularly oily skin, the Total Moisture Facial Cream might be too much for you, but I have combination skin and find it to be great.