Phones, Phones, Everywhere!
There is a lot of chatter about mobile phones isn’t there? Are we giving them to children to young? Are we too obssessed with them? Does it make us anti-social? There are a lot of arguments for and against phones which can all be found on the internet somewhere and everyone has their own opinion on the devices but no matter where you stand with phones, sometimes knowing which phone or which network to choose can be a right pain, can’t it?
I know, personally, I’ve been with the same network provider for the last eight years or so – they do like to trap you in those two year contracts too, don’t they? – mostly because it’s a lot easier to just upgrade then it is to shop the market and find out which Mobile Network is actually the best one; which one offers the best coverage or the best deal. The hassle of that is far too much for busy old me, plus, I do quite like keeping my number.
But I also know that there are a few people out there who do shop around and it can be a very confusing thing to do, especially if it’s your first time shopping or you’re looking for a specific contract, or perhaps the best network that does pay as you go. So fortunately, I’m here to tall you about the Mobile Network Guide; a website that it is here to literally make it a lot less confusing. With information about all of the different UK Network Providors to articles about how to keep your number, it is definitely a website worth having a look at if you need a little help.
To finish this post – I just want to say it is also very important to get the right phone – otherwise your emoji’s can cause miscommunication with your friends! Just the other day my friend posted an alarmed/embarrased emoji but on my phone it looked like a really sad face and I immediately apologised to which she was rather confused about! Of course, it led to a hysterical conversation but certainly made me wonder if I should be looking into purchasing an iPhone for my next contract – in November – gah!
*This post is a collaboration post – all words are my own*
What funny phone story do you have to tell us?
Today is my stop on the Following Evan blog tour! I’m here today to tell you my five favourite things about this book in hopes that it will persuade you all to read it!
*disclaimer* I organised this blog tour in exchange for payment. This does not, in any way, affect my judgement on the book that I read before taking on the client.
But first, here’s some more information on the book.
Meanwhile, Laura visits an art gallery and is captivated by a painting of a beautiful woman in a flowing dress. It seems to be speaking directly to her, beckoning her to take a leap of faith.
These seemingly disparate events lead Laura on an epic journey to the bustling streets of the Big Apple and the desert landscape of Wyoming, where the clues to her future happiness are waiting to be discovered…
Five Favourite Things About Following Evan
The Main Protagonist, Laura
Laura was initially the very reason that I fell into this story so quickly. I love how much time is invested into her emotional state. Having lost her husband and her son in quick succession, Laura is left depressed and alone. This is where we find her but it is her journey to discovery that we witness, which was just magical and spiritual.
Easy to read, flowing pace
The writing style of this book is incredibly easy to stick with. It flows off the page and into the mind easily, making it a perfect book to escape into. As soon as I started reading, I fell into the life of Laura and the world she lived in until the moment I put the book down again. The style is melodious and caressing all at the same time.
The intriguing plot
From the very beginning of this book I was curious as to where this book would lead. What would happen and how would Laura fare through it all. There were so many things that I did not see coming at all but loved how they came to life in this book. I loved all the little odd moments that crept up as you read through the book, all of it making you wonder what on earth is going on.
The Wonderful Settings
This book moves from London to the English countryside, to New York and finally to Wyoming. All of the settings are wonderfully described and really make you believe that you’re there. My favourite setting was definitely the English countryside. It is while on a small break that Laura meets a family and starts to really begin her journey to recovery. I loved how emotional she becomes here.
While I really loved this book in its entirety and loved where the book took me, one of my favourite bits about this book is still the beginning. It was what hooked me on the book in the first place and is the part of the book that I think about the most. It is all so incredibly well-written and is just so lovely. It keeps you curious and keeps you just turning that page wondering where it will all lead. It is, quite simply, a brilliant beginning.
About the Author
Follow the Blog Tour!
Have you read this book yet?
Owl Song at Dawn by Emma Claire Sweeney
Today I am here to introduce you to Emma Claire Sweeney author of Owl Song at Dawn. I have for you all a guest post from Emma about her inspiration for the book. First though, here’s some more information on the book!
About the Book
Maeve Maloney is a force to be reckoned with. Despite nearing eighty, she keeps Sea View Lodge just as her parents did during Morecambe’s 1950s heyday. But now only her employees and regular guests recognise the tenderness and heartbreak hidden beneath her spikiness. Until, that is, Vincent shows up. Vincent is the last person Maeve wants to see. He is the only man alive to have known her twin sister, Edie. The nightingale to Maeve’s crow, the dawn to Maeve’s dusk, Edie would have set her sights on the stage all things being equal. But, from birth, things never were. If only Maeve could confront the secret past she shares with Vincent, she might finally see what it means to love and be loved a lesson that her exuberant yet inexplicable twin may have been trying to teach her all along.
Pears Soap and Poetry
by Emma Claire Sweeney
My grandma lived off the state pension, but managed to wear fur coats and visit the hairdresser every week. She fed me milk loaf and strawberry splits; people gathered around the piano when she played; the local librarians all knew her by name.
Bam-bam – my pet name for her – died when I was just nine, but she still holds sway over my imagination. We found exercise books stacked in her bedside cabinet all of them filled with her own handwritten poems. For me, the search for literary forebears stems back to the discovery that my own grandma was a closet poet.
My dad kept her exercise books, but I chose a different memento: the bar of Pears soap that I found on her washstand. I’ve kept hold of it for decades, packing and unpacking it every time I move house, its scent of thyme still reminding me of her.
Maeve, one of the main characters in Owl Song at Dawn, detects the lingering scent of Pears on her twin. During the redrafting of the novel, I took my keepsake of Bam-bam out from the high cupboard where it had been stowed for years.
The bar of soap fell from my hand, hitting the hard floor and cracking in two.
After my initial dismay, I realised that there was perhaps something appropriate about this. My grandma was broken too, by the death of her eldest son and the disintegration of her marriage – unforgivable for a 1950s Liverpool Catholic.
But I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of the broken. When that treasured bar of Pears soap splintered, a brighter amber was revealed and I inhaled a headier scent of thyme.
Perhaps Bam-bam is the reason why I’ve always been drawn to broken things: derelict funfairs; threadbare cardigans; people whose surface resilience hides their distress. Maybe this explains why I created in Owl Song at Dawn an elderly woman, both proud and brave; why I offered her one last chance.
About the Author
Emma was brought up in the North West of England, the elder sibling of twins, and OWL SONG AT DAWN is inspired by her autistic sister.
With her writer friend and colleague, Emily Midorikawa, she runs the website Something Rhymed, which shines a light on the forgotten friendships of the world’s most famous female authors.
Emma writes literary features, reviews, and pieces on disability for broadsheets and magazines.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Desserts, Desserts, Desserts
Once upon a time I was a savoury lover and would always choose savoury food over sweet treats but in the last few years I have found myself getting highly addicted to dessert. A dangerous slope, I’m sure. But sometimes a nice dessert can make a day feel that much better, am I right?
So today I wanted to share a few places in London where I have been able to divulge in the nicest desserts.
This little hidden treasure is full of fabulous gelato in many different flavours which all taste amazing. It’s definitely my favourite place to get Gelato in London. So if you haven’t tried this fantastic place yet, I urge that you do!
You can find more information about it on their website here.
Another fantastic place to get Gelato – with a larger selection of flavours – is Snowflake. This delicious Gelato restaurant is hidden in SoHo and is incredibly yummy. It’s got a few more places to sit so it’s good if you want to sit in and eat your yummy food! If you haven’t tried this place, you definitely should.
You can find more information about it on their website here.
Cutter and Squidge
I’ve only recently dined in this lovely cute dessert restaurant but it was an amazing experience. As well as doing a fantastic looking Afternoon Tea, their cakes and biscuit cakes are to die for. I ended up being unable to choose and had one biscuit cake (S’more flavour!) to have in and one brownie (gluten free, salted caramel) to take away and it was a great decision! Both cakes were truly scrumptious and I will be going back for more soon, I’m sure.
You can find out more about Cutter & Squidge on their website here.
The Tea Terrace
While not necessarily a dessert bar, this restaurant on the top floor of House of Fraser does the most glorious afternoon tea at a pretty decent price too! The sandwiches are yummy, the scones are delicious and the cake is scrumptious to boot! Plus the tea is yummy also. Definitely has a very British feel to the place too with the use of proper china and book quotes, etc around the place. Definitely worth a visit!
You can find more information about the place here.
There are still so many other dessert places in London for me to try but these are the four I have liked the most, so far. If there’s are a place you’ve been to that you highly recommend (that isn’t a big chain – like Hummingbird Bakery or Haagen Daas!), do let me know so I can add it to my list!
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Title: Under Rose-Tainted Skies
Author: Louise Gornall
Publisher: Chicken House
Published: 7th July 2016
Source:: Review Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, The Book Depository
Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother.
For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour. Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness. Instead, her love and bravery opens a window to unexpected truths …
An important and uplifting debut from a British author, which tackles mental health issues such as agoraphobia and OCD.
Every now and again you pick up a book and everything suddenly changes. This is a book that completes you. A book that makes you feel less alone. That makes you feel understood. These is what happened when I picked up Under the Rose Tainted Skies. I thought it might because the description sounded brilliant. It sounded like, if done correctly, it was going to change things. And then it did. It was clear to me from the very first page that this book was going straight onto my favourite shelf. It was obvious after only one sentence that this book was going to speak to me. There were a few small things about this book that irked me but overall, it was a stunning read that I absolutely loved from start to finish.
Confined to Your
There were many ways in which this book could have flopped, many ways in which this book could have been a disaster, but instead Louise Gornall has written a brilliant book that is full of realistic and interesting descriptions of someone dealing with Agoraphobia. Everyone will handle their mental illnesses differently, they’ll have different thoughts and different reactions but I feel this was a very good representation of how some people react. Which makes this book the perfect fiction novel to make people feel understood, but also to educate others on empathy, to make others learn more about what it is like when the world scares you. It’s a wonderful depiction of this mental illness and a good picture of what having OCD or anxiety can be like and how best to treat someone with it.
House, How Do
Louise has done a fantastic job of writing believable and interesting characters. Norah was the most detailed and well thought out and I found her story to be a wonderful read. You could really understand her troubles and wanted nothing more than to help her deal with them. I also really liked her mum, even though she’s not seen that much. I really loved that she was so supportive and caring and kind throughout Norah’s illness. While I liked Luke and thought he was a very interesting character, I wasn’t overly fond of him. There were just a few things that happened that made me a little suspicious of him. But overall I thought he was an okay character and was good for Norah.
In case you’re not sure, I absolutely one hundred percent loved this book. Like, loved it so much I am willing to stand on top of a rooftop and declare my love for it. It’s a powerful, hard-hitting, emotional read that is incredibly important and also wonderfully written. It is a real page-turner. With a brilliant, brilliant, description of mental illness and the way it can really effect more than just the person suffering. It’s a strong story that should be read by many and read over and over again too. Add this book to your wishlist immediately and read it as soon as possible. You won’t be disappointed.
** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **
Peanuts and Eggcups by Sara Mendes da Costa
Today I am here to share with you a very interesting guest post from Sara Mendes da Costa on a day in her life. Sara’s debut novel Peanuts and Eggcups sounds like a fantastic read. Here’s more info on it!
Now ten years on, without any contact, he’s back and going to her school reunion. Great! And, to confuse matters…so is his suave, sexy, brother Tony who makes a major play for Maggie, then turns up with his insufferable – supposedly ex – fiancée!
Via the reunion, a black eye, getting the sack (as a result) a madcap girlie holiday and juggling her confused emotions around the two alluring brothers…Maggie starts to build a picture of what she really wants in life.
Trouble is, Maggie’s a pawn in a game she doesn’t even know she’s playing …and things are about to get a whole lot more complicated.
A Day in the Life of an Author & Voiceover Artist
By Sara Mendes da Costa
How I spend my working days
I must admit I feel pretty blessed in many ways. I love the freedom my work affords me. I don’t really have a typical work day as such, as anything can happen and I kinda set it up that way. I’ve done the nine to five – a long time ago – and I’ve worked for others, but I’ve been self-employed for years and freedom is key for me.
Overall my work is generally flexible. I work from home and, for the voiceover side of things, I have a studio here – including a big metal audio booth I recently (lovingly and painstakingly!) refurbished and painted with a Union Jack (Union Flag) on the front door. A bit like a giant Smeg fridge in fact! Sometimes work is booked ahead and other times I just wait for the phone to ring or an email to come in booking me.
With my writing, the wonderful flexibility in my voiceover career allows me to write in between bookings and sometimes I wake up and think ‘I’m just going to grab my laptop and start writing without even getting out of bed!’ – though I usually nip downstairs and grab tea and toast first ☺
If I’m writing in bed and voice work comes in, it’s not unusual to be in the booth in my dressing gown. Ha, I can even remember just having got out the bath, rushing to the booth realising I was late, catching my towel on the door and doing the whole session naked!! I have to laugh…thankfully these aren’t ‘in vision’ sessions! I guess that’s one of the great things about recording voiceovers in a home studio…no one can see you – thank goodness!
Being self-employed can bring its challenges though, as many of you will know. You don’t get paid holidays or sickness and, with the industry I’m in, work is not always flooding in or predictably regular…but I’ve learned to trust that it does come in and when it does, it thankfully really does. On days when it doesn’t though, for me it’s about doing something else which makes me happy and keeps me feeling like I’m moving forward – even if that is topping up the tan in the garden ☺
On one of my more regular days, I’ll get up and shower then go and feed my three cats and clear up the kitchen while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil. I’ll maybe do some leisurely chores while I wait for the urge to eat and perhaps go out to the garden and do some stretching and take some deep breaths.
Breakfast is often eaten at my desk, or, weather permitting, in the garden where I sit on my rocking chair and think about the day ahead. Then I tend to bury my head in emails, Facebook etc and catch up with what’s going on. Sometimes I go on my chi machine to clear my head and psych myself up to the day (brilliant for really lifting the spirit) and I have started workout DVDs – stretching in particular – as doing what I do isn’t very active so I’m trying to put some life back into my body and get everything moving regularly. Then it’s on with the day. Sometimes voice work and other times I can just sit and write. There are also times when I sort the house or the garden out, do the washing…or whatever! It really is a blank canvas. As long as I know money has come in to keep me going, I kinda go where the mood takes me…unless I have deadlines. Ooh and I try to sneak in an hour for watching a gripping Netflix drama! (in fact one of my favourite times of the day, particularly in not such great weather, is sitting down with my lunch on a tray on my lap and devouring drama for an hour or so – bliss!)
I intersperse work with seeing friends for lunch or having a facial, getting my nails done (clearly most important!) etc. These days are great. Being self-employed when the phone doesn’t ring, for me, means: “Get out of the house, Sara! Think about something different, stop concentrating on ‘no work, no work, no money, no money, etc’…get out and release all that negativity and enjoy life!” And, you know what, it always seems to work. I tend to pick up work via email or phone whilst I’m out or maybe someone books me for the next day and all is good in my world. By releasing the focus on what I don’t want, I make room for attracting what I do want and I look upon time out during my working week as an essential part of my working week. I truly believe in order to attract what you want into your life, you’ve gotta feel good.
I often work into the evening, especially lately when there’s been so much to do with finishing the final checks of Peanuts & Eggcups, working on articles, press interviews etc and finishing my recent studio upgrade which has been a major project. Sometimes, when I’m really engrossed in writing, I write when I go to bed. Instead of reading I’ll be writing which isn’t always great for getting to sleep afterwards but it still seems to work for me in terms of ‘the flow’ and I get all sorts of inspiration late at night.
I always remember seeing an actress interviewed on TV, years ago. She said ‘I don’t consider what I do as work. I love it so much, it’s just part of life; of me. I can’t imagine doing anything else. I feel so lucky and grateful.’ That really stuck with me and whilst I can’t say I absolutely love everything I do every day, I love a considerable amount of it and I absolutely love the freedom it affords me and the style of life. For me work and life are one. I don’t really put one down to pick up the other, they kind of merge. I love what I do and I always intend to do what I love…so if anything, a typical day for me is a day that I choose to do …whatever I choose to do! And I’m extremely thankful for that.
About the Author
Sara Mendes da Costa is the voice of the BT Speaking Clock; the fourth person to hold this prestigious title since 1936.
A successful, world-renowned voiceover artist, her dulcet tones are easily recognisable on television, radio, film and across countless media.
Never far from the press, she’s known for her appearances on BBC Breakfast, ITV This Morning, Children in Need, Wake up to Wogan and The Today Programme, and balances her prolific voiceover career with her passion and commitment as a novelist.
Peanuts & Eggcups, her debut novel – hotly anticipated by the industry – is “The perfect & highly addictive reading companion for women’s fiction fans”. `
A lover of laughter, creativity, great storytelling and a wee dram, Sara adores writing novels and seeks to entertain, uplift and inspire.
Her upcoming novels: Time & Time Again & Maggie Ever After, are expected in 2017.
What does your day look like?
Random Acts of Unkindness by Jacqueline Ward
I’m here today to share with you all Random Acts of Unkindness by Jacqueline Ward!
This book releases today and I am so excited for other people to enjoy this fantastic book!
*disclaimer* I organised the release day blitz and review tour, however my views and opinions are still honest.
DS Jan Pearce has a big problem. Her fifteen year old son, Aiden, is missing. Jan draws together the threads of missing person cases spanning fifty years and finds tragic connections and unsolved questions.
Bessy Swain, an elderly woman that Jan finds dead on her search for Aiden, and whose own son, Thomas, was also missing, may have the answers.
Jan uses Bessy’s information and her own skills and instinct to track down the missing boys. But is it too late for Aiden?
Set in the North West of England, with the notorious Saddleworth Moor as a backdrop, Random Acts of Unkindness is a story about motherhood, love and loss and how families of missing people suffer the consequences of major crimes involving their loved ones.
Random Acts of Unkindness is the first in the DS Jan Pearce series of novels.
About the Author
Jacqueline Ward writes short stories, novels and screenplays. She has been writing seriously since 2007 and has had short stories published in anthologies and magazines. Jacqueline won Kindle Scout in 2016 and her crime novel, Random Acts of Unkindness, will be published by Amazon Publishing imprint Kindle Press. Her novel SmartYellowTM was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and was nominated for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2016. Jacqueline is a Chartered psychologist who specializes in narrative psychology, gaining a PhD in narrative and storytelling in 2007. She lives in Oldham, near Manchester, with her partner and their dog.
Storm Sisters: The Sinking World by Mintie Das
Today is my stop – and the very first stop – on the Storm Sisters blog tour! I am here to introduce you to one of the five really unique and diverse characters that reside in this book.
So without further ado…
Personality Traits: Fierce, loyal, quick-tempered and sometimes too quick with her sword.
Distinctive Physical Traits: Wild ginger locks, cool blue eyes, tall and lanky with white skin that never seems to soak up the sun.
Charlie can outfox the most cunning of pirates and the most ruthless of men. And if that doesn’t work, she’ll unleash a set of sword skills that are surely to cut the biggest enemies down to size (literally).
She’s fiercely protective of the other girls and isn’t afraid to match her sword skills against the most dangerous of enemies, on land or sea. For the girls, as long as Charlie is around, they feel safe. As the oldest of the group, she’s the natural leader but her overbearing attitude sometimes gets the best of her.
While Charlie loves her sisters unconditionally, she often cuts herself off emotionally. Perhaps because of her mother’s abandonment, her early heartbreak with Taye or because her father is a bit of a cold fish himself, Charlie sees emotions as avoidable complications. In a world naturally full of chaos, Charlie seeks order, rationale and method. While her Spock like cool makes her an expert swordsman and fighter, she struggles to keep her ferocious temper at bay.
She disdains fashion, make-up and anything else that belongs to the realm of “proper ladies,” often wearing breeches or a shirt with a hole or stain in them. She will, however, don a dress and make-up (“But no lipstick or I’ll cut you!”) for the sake of a mission.
Follow the Tour
Intrigued? Why not check out the rest of the tour to meet the other four characters!
About the Book
Charlie, Sadie, Liu, Raquel, and Ingela are five young girls traveling the Seven Seas in search of their missing families, who disappeared on the infamous Day of Destruction. The girls are in great danger from sinister foes, and have created a false identity as a fierce group of pirates. As a vengeful father threatens Liu, the girls must head into uncharted waters. But how long will their disguise keep them from harm? And is it such a good idea to join forces with a group of rebellious boys from their past?
Are you as excited about this book as I am?
Father’s Day Treat
As mentioned yesterday, this is the second post in my Father’s Day Weekend series and today I’m here with another exciting post – which ends with money off for you!
Amazon Discount Codes and Amazon Free Delivery Codes
So today is the big day and if you’re really behind then you might still be without a present for your father but that is a-ok because I am here with some Amazon Discount Codes, including Amazon Free Delivery Codes so that you can buy him something or offer him the money off codes too!
The codes are perfect to save money on a wide variety of things on Amazon, including but not limited to, clothing and homeware. All you need to do to Get Amazon promo codes & vouchers is click! Have a look through what is on offer, get the code and enter it at the checkout – simple!
But if all of that isn’t enough, you can also get yourself a nice little present too with the Amazon Discount Codes and Amazon Free Delivery Codes.
And before you finish reading, I also want to say that these codes AREN’T being supplied by Amazon, they are being supplied by My Favourite Voucher Codes who are a small company working hard behind the scenes to bring you the most relevant and useful discount codes from hundreds of different suppliers. They also give 20% of their profits to charity!
So why not do something nice today, and get you or your father a treat at a discounted rate.
*This is a collaborative post written by myself*
Thinking of Our Father’s This Weekend
As it is Father’s Day tomorrow, I’ve got two interesting posts to share with you. The first is going up today and the second one will be going live tomorrow. Both posts are brilliant ways in which we can treat our fathers – and ourselves! – this weekend but also on every single day of the year!
The post today is about personal grooming and how it’s important to look after every inch of our bodies – no matter who we are!
Now, we all have our own personal preferences and we’re all entitled to our own opinion but I am very much a less hair, the better – kind of person. But how do we decide the best way to remove our hair? How do we work out which product is best? You could check out brilliant websites like this one which is dedicated to sharing information about the different products on the market.
Or you can go down the trial and error route.
But I wouldn’t advice that unless you want to end up looking a bit odd for a few days!
So what does this all have to do with Father’s day I hear you ask?
Well, aside from personal grooming ourselves, it’s nice to treat our loved ones to the perfect tools to make them look brilliant, isn’t it? So why not have a browse of the different products out there right now and choose the perfect one to buy last minute for your dad – because you’re all scrambling to the shops today like me, right?
* This is a sponsored post written by myself. *