Monday, 30 March 2015

Book Review: The Sealed Letter

Helen Codrington is unhappily married. Emily ‘Fido’ Faithfull hasn’t seen her once-dear friend for years. Suddenly, after bumping into Helen on the streets of Victorian London, Fido finds herself reluctantly helping Helen to have an affair with a young army officer.

The women’s friendship quickly unravels amid courtroom accusations of adultery, counter-accusations of cruelty and attempted rape, and the appearance of a mysterious ‘sealed letter’ that could destroy more than one life . . .

Based on a real-life scandal that gripped England in 1864, The Sealed Letter is a delicious tale of secrets, betrayal, and forbidden love.

I love books set in the Victorian Era and having read Emma Donoghue's 'Room' I was pretty excited to get stuck into this. The Sealed Letter is based on the true story of the Codrington divorce case of 1964 and Helen Codrington's friendship with Emily Faithfull, a women's rights activist. It details the women's friendship and Helen's marriage followed by the divorce case and the aftermath. 

I did enjoy this book but I found it a little slow going and it took me a while to get through it. The explorations of the dynamics Helen and Emily's relationship were interesting but I felt it could have delved deeper considering that Emily Faithfull was named in the real case as having a close relationship with Helen Codrington. It just seemed like a lot of Helen been a bitch and Emily accepting it! The last three quarters of the book were really good though when Emily finally stops been a pushover and I really enjoyed the ending which is a big thing for me as I hardly ever like the ending of book. 

It's worth a read just be prepared for it to be quite slow going.

Rating: ★★

Friday, 27 March 2015

Taking time to just be

I have two weeks off, two glorious weeks of no work. It feels like heaven. I'd like to take the time in these two weeks to just be, to be relaxed, read for hours at a time, go on long walks, spend time with Josh, watch ridiculous things on Netflix. I do not want to spend my time glued to my phone, or my laptop.

As Josh and I both work in schools we get the same holidays so we normally have something planned, I often like to feel like I need to make the most of my days, cramming in as much as possible. This time we have no plans and I'm strangely OK with that, we shall just see how things work out.

I felt ill for quite a few weeks, and I've been run down for the longest time. I want to take these two weeks to look after myself a little more, get rested and feel OK again. I want to be ready and raring to go for my next jam packed half term at work and hopefully the relaxation habits I form can stay with me once I'm back at work to ensure I don't get this run down again.

I'm probably going to do an update on this, like a how I spent my time/hints and tips at the end of my holiday. For now though I'm off for a hot bath and my pjs ready for the relaxation to begin!

P.S. I love the picture above from Pinterest! I'm definitely hoping to fit a few of these in.


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Current Favourites: Instagram

I was very late to the Instagram party but now I have it it's quickly become my favourite social media platform. With that in mind I thought I'd share five favourites from the accounts I follow. Enjoy!

An account dedicated solely to photo's of tree's but trust me when I say there's something so beautiful and a little mysterious about those photo's and I could spend forever looking through all the pictures.

The most stunning outdoorsy photo's ever that make me want to live the kind of life portrayed in these photo's. There's something really calming about the photo's.

One of the colourful accounts I follow, Lucy's pictures of her travels are amazing and always leave me longing for blue skies and warmer weather.

Audrey's instagram has very quickly become one of my favourites. Full of stunning photo's of her life in Paris. She's simply beautiful.

Creator of the Atlas of Beauty, Mihaela travels around the world capturing feminine beauty in all environments and cultures. An amazing account to follow.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Twenty Six

I wasn't going to bother with this post but I looked back through my blog and realised I've done a post about Josh's birthday every year since I started this blog, including one just a few days after I began writing on here so I felt like I couldn't break with tradition! 

So yeah Josh celebrated his 26th birthday on Monday, I don't know why but that actually scares me a little but naturally Josh couldn't give a crap how old he is! But I jut feel all funny that he's now over half way through his twenties. 
On his actual birthday we didn't do much as we were both at work, he opened his presents in the evening when we had more time then I cooked a meal and we enjoyed some birthday cake, which I also baked. We did go out for a meal on Sunday though and then we went out with his family for a meal on Thursday so we've certainly stuffed our faces this week.

I hope you really enjoyed your birthday Josh!


Monday, 16 March 2015

A Lush Wishlist

The Olive Branch - I love Lush shower gels, they last ages and are packed full of amazing ingredients which are just perfect for my sensitive dry skin. I'm currently using the Flying Fox shower gel and when that's gone The Olive Branch is next on my list.
Karma -I've never smelt the Lush perfumes but this one sounds lovely, like the perfect summers day scent.
Lemony Flutter - My cuticles are such a mess and in need of a serious moisture hit, I've used Lemony Flutter before and I'm after another pot to sort my awful nails out.
Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds - I love Lush bubble bars and the other supersized one in the range, the Comforter is amazing. I've never used this one but I'll definitely be packing it up when my Comforter one has run out.
H'Suan Wen Hua - I need a moisture hit on my dried out hair, I've been lightening my hair for almost a year now and it's finally taking it's toll on my hair and drying it right out. A pot of this is definitely what I need.
Lust - The second perfume on my wishlist. I seriously need to get myself down to Lush and have a sniff at their perfume range. This one seems more of a night time scent.


Thursday, 12 March 2015

Holiday Wishlist

I'm starting to look for bits and pieces to buy for our holiday to Florida, we don't go until August but all the summer stuff is making its way into stores now so I don't want to leave it too late and end up not been able to get anything. Here are a few pieces I currently have my eye on.

Joggers - I want something really comfortable to travel in as it's a 9 hour flight to Florida, these are definitely a consideration.
 Sandals - I'm not sure if I'm taking any sandals as I'm not going to take any going out stuff, I do like these though and they're only £10 so I may be them anyway.
 Vest - It's going to be very hot and humid when we go to Florida so I want loose fitting clothes. I love these vest but I do think £13 is very expensive for what they are so I'm going to be keeping an eye out for a cheaper version somewhere.
 Trainers - We're going to be spending all day every day walking so I need something really comfortable for my feet, since I broke my little toe a few years ago I find a lot of shoes get very uncomfortable and rub my toe after a while now which is definitely not what I need on holiday.
 Pink shorts and  Peach shorts - Again I'm after light, loose clothing and a pair of shorts that don't show everything. These two pairs seem the perfect length and type of material I'm after.
 Bikini - We're going to be visiting three different water parks in Florida so I'll need a bikini or two to take with me. I love the style of the top on this one but I'm not a huge fan of tie side bottoms so again I'll have to see if anything similar with bottoms I like comes along.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

FILMS: What We Watched #7

Our weekend routine usually consists of watching a couple of films. There's nothing we like more on a Friday and Saturday evening then getting in our pj's, grabbing some snacks and a drink (or maybe just a hot chocolate!) and watching a film. We have quite a Blu Ray collection these days but the same thing happens every weekend in that we can never decide what to watch. 
We thought we'd share with you what films we watch each month and our thoughts on each film.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
 2010 | 146 min | Fantasy
J: While this movie is slower and drags more than its followup, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows part 1 sets up part 2 really well. It puts in a lot of the groundwork that gets its payoff in the final instalment. That being said, there are some pretty great bits in the movie: Voldemort putting his pieces in place, Hermione being generally hot and sexy, and Dobby with his heroic rescue and untimely death leave it on a sombre cliffhanger. On its own, a little lacklustre, teamed up with part 2, totally worth it.

L: I'm never going to have anything bad to say about the Harry Potter films but the final two have to by my favourites! Part 1 more or less spends time setting the scene for part 2, that doesn't mean to say it drags though. Being the longer of the two parts it still manages to keep you gripped and interested whilst building the foundations of what's to come. Also Dobby dying gets me every time.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
 2011 | 130 min | Fantasy
 J: Now here’s where all of the buildup pays off. Where part 1 was the “lights, camera...”, part 2 is the “ACTION!” The Battle of Hogwarts is as grand and epic as everyone imagined it to be when reading the book, the showdown between Harry and Voldemort is intense and exciting, and the big revelation that Snape was looking out for Harry all along because he’s always loved Harry’s mother always leaves my shorter half in floods of tears. Oh, but Voldemort’s super creepy/awkward hug and ‘special person’ laugh are unintentionally hilarious.

L: If I had to choose then I would say this one is my favourite of the two parts and probably right up there with one of my favourite films of all time. I could watch this film over and over again and still be in awe of it. Everything is just so perfect with it, right down to the music (the music during the protecting Hogwarts and the courtyard apocalypse scenes send shivers down my spine) .

2012 | 93 min | Animation / Fantasy
J: I usually can’t fault Disney/Pixar movies, but this one didn’t click with me. It wasn’t a bad film as such, it just didn’t seem to have that spark that most other Pixar movies do. If I didn’t know better I’d have guessed it was a Dreamworks production. Again, not saying it’s a bad movie or Dreamworks puts out rubbish, know what I’m saying. Still, it provided a good few laughs and Billy Connelly was made to be in a movie like this!

L: You all know by now we love a good Disney film over here, so I'm not sure why it took us so long to get around to watching Brave. I'm afraid to say we won't be in a huge rush to rewatch it though. It was good just not as good as a lot of other Disney films. I feel that every Disney film we've seen transcends the ages, they appeal to everyone but Brave somehow felt it was aimed solely at a younger audience I'm seemed to lack the depth that other Disney films have. If your a Disney fan then give it a watch but we won't be adding it to our collection.

If you only watch one of these films it should be...
J: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2
L: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2


Monday, 2 March 2015

Happy List #112 The February 2015 Edition

Harry Potter tour / London / London selfie / Queen + Adam Lambert

Oh February you were a bloody good month! I shook off the January blues and had an amazing month made completely by the Harry Potter studio tour and seeing Queen + Adam Lambert.

Things that made me happy in February...
  1. Going to London - a few days in the capital wore us out but the super sunny walk along on our final day made it completely worth it. You can see my post on London here.
  2.  The Harry Potter studio tour - our main reason for heading south was to finally visit the Warner Bros studios for the Harry Potter tour. It was everything I'd hoped it would be and more. You can see my posts about it here and here.
  3. Getting Netflix - my life as I know it is over now I have Netflix to indulge my TV series binges even further.
  4. A week off work - working in a school certainly has its perks. I was so ready for a week off too. Just counting down until the next holiday now!
  5. Queen + Adam Lambert concert - our first purchase of 2015 was tickets to see Queen it was a pretty good purchase I can tell you. The concert was amazing, we had a pretty good view. It's one of the best concerts I've been too.
  6. Adam Lambert (and his leather trousers) - the man is a god. I mean just look at that face, go on go back up and have a good look at the photo's. He has to be the most beautiful human in existence.
Things to look forwards to in March - spending lots of time with Josh and celebrating his birthday.

February's posts: What We Watched [January 2015] // Valentines Day // Having it all // Saving Money: Staycations // Need to Read #4 // A letter to 18 year old me // London Snapshots // The Making of Harry Potter - Studio Tour Part 1 // The Making of Harry Potter - Studio Tour Part 2 // Book Review: The Hobbit