A Cheeky Clothing Haul

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Hello everyone, 

I’m not the biggest fashion lover, I’ll be honest. I don’t follow trends, I certainly don’t set trends and I’m really careful about which clothes I buy (lets ignore all my Harry Potter PJs)… But with all that being said, I still wanted to show you all what I’ve bought recently and it’s only four items.

*Disclaimer: Neither Primark or Next have sponsored me for this post. These items were purchased randomly with my own pennies. 

Primark

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Sorry if you don’t like feet..

I had a pair of New Look gladiator sandals which lasted me for around five to six years but last summer, they completely gave up on me and seeing as the UK isn’t exactly the hottest country in the world, I’ve only just found some new ones which I absolutely love. I’m really fussy when it comes to shoes and I’m not the typical girl who has a million pairs – I have less than ten. But with Primark, they’re cheap, comfortable and really pretty. I went for a white pair simply because I’ve never owned white shoes before and when I tried them on, I just fell in love.

The detailing on the front is just perfect with a bright coloured toe (excuse my messy job of mine!) and the strap which ties around the bottom of your leg can either be on show when wearing shorts or covered up when wearing a long skirt. Whatever floats your boat. These were £8 and I just love them.

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The prettiest top in the world..

I’ve had my eye on this top for many weeks now and I’m so pleased I went for the navy/white version rather than the white/white one. It isn’t exactly classed as a ‘crop top’ but it does show the tiniest bit of skin around your midriff. This top was £6 (I think) and it’s just ideal when you want to wear a nice top yet keep it casual with shorts. I honestly thought it would need a little tank top underneath in case it was thin fabric but apparently not.

The flower detailing on the arm and stomach aren’t overpowering – you think it would be but it’s seriously pretty. If I could wear this all day, every day I happily would. Much like the shoes, I will show you what the top looks like on with the shorts below…

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*with the above top*

The jeans for the Kardashian booty..

My bum isn’t as big as Kim’s but I do struggle finding jeans/shorts which really do fit perfectly around my waist and legs. I’ve wanted a new pair of denim shorts for a while now and I spotted these beauties for £30 in Next a week or so ago. I did the whole trying them on, do a squat, have a sit down and cross your legs test.

The detailing on the front of the shorts is so uniquely simply that it made me love the shorts even more. It’s not too much and with no the back, it’s just ideal to jazz it up a little bit. I wouldn’t usually spend so much on a pair of shorts but I’ve had similar ones from Next before and they’re just a wardrobe necessity.

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The perfect pool outfit..

Now, we don’t have a holiday booked just yet. My best friend from work and I keep talking about a few days in Barcelona but who knows? This however, was £18 well spent because I just know that I’m going to use it for every single holiday. I’m not tanned, I’m a friendly-ghost-white but I just love this casual dress.

THERE ARE POCKETS. Dresses with pockets are my favourite thing. That is all.

Have you been shopping  recently? Let me know in the comments below.

EL xx

Review of Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Published: 7th May 2015
Publisher:
Penguin
Pages: 480

Blurb: 

Single mum Jane has just moved to town. She’s got her little boy in tow – plus the secret she’s been carrying for five years. On the first day of the school run she meets Madeline – a force to be reckoned with, who remembers everything and forgives no one – and Celeste, the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare, but is inexplicably ill at ease. They both take Jane under their wing – while careful to keep their own secrets under wraps. But a minor incident involving the children of all three women rapidly escalates: playground whispers become spiteful rumours until no one can tell the truth from the lies. Which is when the secrets come out – and now someone is going to pay with their life…

Review: 

The intriguing murder plot opens with an elderly lady near a local school wondering about all the night time racket – something has happened and I was instantly hooked to Liane’s captivating storyline. What had happened, who had done it and why were they covering it up? Madeline is forty years old, a mother to two animated children and someone who doesn’t like drivers who text whilst on the road; I loved her already. Jane is the newbie Mum to the playground, not having a clue about anything and I liked the fact that she felt like a familiar character despite not even moving to the community yet.

“This is not a circus. This is a murder investigation.”

The plot is based around the leading months up until the trivia night when the big murderous event took place. We hear mainly from the three leading ladies but I really liked that at the end of each chapter, we heard from a few others regarding their suspicions. Genius idea! The backgrounds of the three woman; Jane, Madeline and Celeste, were told in unbelievable great detail. With themes of domestic violence, ex husband problems and being a single parent – there was so much to focus on but Liane allowed the plot to come together neatly. I didn’t feel throw about within their lives, it was told with such charisma and confidence that it was hard not to enjoy all three narratives.

“All around get was colour: rich, vibrant colour. She was the only colourless thing in this whole house.”

When I purchased this book, I was told to expect several shocks. The first regarding Jane was brilliantly done and I truly had no idea. I think my exact words were “oh shit.” The second shock came from a group of women supporting each other, including one who I never expected to be known as a “girls girl.” It was superbly written and the entire lead up was just incredible. However, the aftermath of the big twist was a slight let down – I expected the tension to continue building until it felt like a slap in the face but instead, it felt like the characters who I’d grown to know, had fallen apart. Liane always writes with such confidence, ease and it’s easy to get lost in her wonderfully created world.

“It was easy after all those years of pretending. Celeste was a fine actress.”

Review of Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Published: 16th July 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Kids
Pages: 352

Blurb:

Oliver’s absence split us wide open, dividing our neighborhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you’re shaking. Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. But now Oliver is back, and he’s not the skinny boy-next-door that used to be Emmy’s best friend. Now he’s the boy who got kidnapped. A stranger – a totally hot stranger! – with a whole history that Emmy knows nothing about. But is their story still meant to be? Or are they like the pieces of two different puzzles – impossible to fit together?

Review:

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for kindly sending me a review copy.

The prologue opens with a sweet memory from Emmy and Oliver, together in Maths during Second Grade – despite it not telling us a great deal about the characters, readers can easily piece the obvious together: Emmy likes Oliver. So what happens when the little boy is taken away and is discovered years later? I could have given my Kindle a squeeze, I was THAT excited about their reunion..

“Sometimes I think that if we had been older, it would have been easier.”

When Oliver first returns, the plot isn’t at ease; their friendship is awkward and it’s as if they’re walking on egg shells. But that’s to be expected – they can’t go back to how they were when they were seven years old, right? Despite that, the friendship between Emmy, Caro and Drew was absolutely brilliant – they were the perfect friends and it was so easy to read about their fun trips out. They were all individual, which I liked, they didn’t live in each other’s pockets but they made an effort to be in each other’s lives.

“I told you, I’m a loyal friend. Kicking therapists, punching sharks, whatever it takes.”

I always thought throughout the narrative that something was missing between Emmy and Oliver; something which will bring them closer together and it happens towards the end. They both receive the closure about the disappearance which they’ve deserved. I thought Robin did a brilliant job writing about kidnapping and how the people affected cope before/after the return. If she ever wrote from Oliver’s point of view in those ten years, I would most definitely read it. Her writing style is simple yet effective and that allowed me to relax in the narrative.

“Oh God, I just want this to be over. I just want to feel normal again.”

Twitter: @robinbenway

Review of The Kiss by Lucy Courtenay

Published: 2nd July 2015
Publisher: Hodder Children
Pages: 336

Blurb: 

Imagine the perfect kiss. A legendary kiss that makes people crazy with love. Imagine a summer’s night, on a moonlit beach in the South of France, as French boy Laurent kisses 16-year-old Delilah after the best chat-up line she’s ever heard. BOOM! Delilah is pretty sure the Kiss is fiction, despite her head-spinning holiday fling. But with all the sudden crushes, break-ups and melt-downs happening back at home, the Kiss starts looking a little too real for comfort. If only Delilah could keep track of where it’s gone…

Review:

Thank you to Hodder for kindly sending me a review copy.

Prepare yourself for a cheesy love story because within the opening chapter, it was all too much. Our main character Delilah is on holiday in France snogging the face off a French boy (we’ve all been there) and she’s feeling utterly magnificent about it, so happy in fact that she plans on thanking the moon for the kiss..

“The memory alone is making my tummy melt like ice-cream: warm fudge sauce, sprinkles, the works.”

Early on, the drama has already occurred between Tabby (Delilah’s best friend) and a random very hot bartender but it’s Delilah’s job to fix the mess about Tabby’s boyfriend (oops). Well, we all know what is going to happen next.. The attraction between Delilah and Jem, the hot bartender, was written brilliantly. As a reader, we were given a strong sense of connection from their second meeting and oh my, it was electric.

“Trust me, your lippy will be all kissed off by lunchtime.”

As the narrative continued, the cheesy element of the storyline seemed to fade and instead, we were treated to a really amazing friendship between Delilah and Tabby. They have their ups and downs which are showcased realistically throughout the plot but with Delilah’s love life not going according to plan, only a musical theatre plan of action seems to help. Yes, a little far fetched to happen in England but Lucy seemed to make it work. Overall, the book was okay yet I expected more from the YA plot and from Lucy. I wasn’t crazy about it, there were points which I enjoyed but in total, it’s the type of book which you can read in a car journey and not have to think about the narrative in the slightest.

Twitter: @LucyCourtenay1

Review of The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements

Published: 2nd July 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 400

Blurb:

Anna and her husband Matteo are ready to embark a delicious Italian adventure. After a year and a half running their ice cream shop on Brighton beach and raising their baby Isabella, Matteo is starting to miss Italy. A shared passion for ices means it’s easy to settle on a new business idea – they’ll open a shop in the town’s cobbled square, a short walk from the sparkling blue sea. For a while, life is sweet; but then Matteo’s overbearing family get involved… Anna’s younger sister Imogen feels like things are finally coming together – she’s living with boyfriend Finn in a beach house in Brighton, and her photography is taking off. Then her career stalls, and the lure of Capri – and a man from her past – prove difficult to resist.

Review:

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for kindly sending me a review copy.

The plot follows on swiftly from the previous book Vivien’s Heavenly Ice Cream Shop which sisters Imogen and Anna run together in memory of their Grandmother. With the narrative getting off to an exciting start with a new bundle of joy, I was swept off into utter bliss with two characters who I absolutely adored. When the idea of moving to Italy springs up to Anna and her partner, it didn’t seem like a bad idea to me at all, but it differently brought a twist to the plot.

“That was the thing with Vivien; there had been so many layers to her. Anna was used to hearing snippets and stories from people, lighting up dark corner she and Imogen had never known about.”

I really enjoyed the point of view set up throughout the entire narrative; hearing from both Anna and Imogen allows readers to get to know them once again and to indulge in their very different lives. Part One of the delicious narrative was all about their family turning their grief for Vivien into something exciting and for some family members to take off and explore a little bit more of Italy. I felt as if we were given more of an opportunity to get to know Anna and Imogen’s family in this second book especially with the change to Vivien’s household. Abby’s description was subtle yet effective, it gave me a strong sense of realism; as if I was there in the Brighton Ice Cream Shop with the two sisters.

“Elegant shuttered apartments and cobblestones surrounded them, and as Anna breathed in she could smell the sweet aromas coming from the bakery.”

The bumping of heads between Anna and her Italian mother-in-law Elisa was a great addition to the plot; it added some more in depth realism that perhaps readers can relate to. With the plot jumping from Brighton to Sorrento, Abby did a wonderful job with the vast change of scenery from the miserable rain to the glorious sunshine. As Part Two ends with the sisters almost being reunited, it is clear that Imogen has some serious family business to figure out whilst in the beautiful foreign country – will she get to the bottom of it? When Imogen bumps into an old face, you can’t help but wonder if she’ll do something silly.. Surely not though.

“How do you love someone, say that you’ll be there for them, when a part of you is always wanting to get away?”

As the narrative pulled towards the end, both good and bad things occurred to our two main leading ladies (don’t worry, no spoilers).. But in the light of it all – they had their family and despite all the delicious ice creams in this plot, Abby has made certain that family comes first before anything which I really admired. Overall, this is the perfect book for Summer – filled with laughter, family, friends, ice cream and plenty of drama.

“I’m not one for rushing. I don’t want to be an old fool, Imogen.”

Twitter: @AbbyCBooks

Q&A With Young Adult Author Paige Toon

On 30th January 2014, Paige Toon published her very first Young Adult book based around Jessie Jefferson, the daughter of Johnny from Johnny Be Good and Baby Be Mine. Readers weren’t sure what to make of the news at first but with 144 five star reviews on Amazon, I think it’s safe to say that Paige’s very loyal fans would really absolutely anything of hers. With I Knew You Were Trouble set for a late July publication date, readers can look forward to finding more about Jessie and her new relationship with her Dad.

Q. The previous Jessie book left with a slight cliff hanger; where does the plot pick up in this new book?
A. The Prologue is a jump into the future – telling readers that Jessie’s identity has been blown – and then we go back to the start with her first day back at school, which is only a few weeks after the end of book 1.

Q. Jessie’s story is Young Adult. How have you found the transition from writing Chick-Lit to YA
A. It’s no different, really. I’m still writing about the overwhelming feeling of falling in love. Occasionally I might write a phrase that doesn’t feel very teen and have to change it, but that’s easily done.

Paige Toon & Emma

Q. Jessie is a teenager who doesn’t really do what she’s told, but at the same time, she wants her Dad to love her more than anything. How did you find writing about these two different sides of one person?
A. I loved it. Jessie is probably one of my most complex characters and she’s a joy to write about. Probably one of my very favourite characters, actually, which might surprise some people.

Q. Which Young Adult authors have you taken tips from? Whether that’s from reading their books or them actually giving you advice.
A. No one has actually given me advice, but I do love Suzanne Collins and Stephanie Meyer, the latter of whom wrote one of my favourite love stories of all time, even if it is about vampires and werewolves! I knew that as long as I felt connected to the characters and could really put myself in their position, I’d be okay. It’s exactly the same for adult as for young adult.

Q. Aside from Ali Harris (another Chick-Lit author) giving you the encouragement to write YA, what else gave you the push to write in a new genre?
A.
It really was just Ali! I do like YA books, but it hadn’t occurred to me that I could branch out. I’d like to write a high concept love story set in the future, too, as soon as I have enough time to get around to it!

Leah from @leahlovesbooks_ asks:

Q. Is the title I Knew You Were Trouble inspired by the Taylor Swift song?
A. Yes, it is. I love that song! And Jack is such a bad boy…

I Knew You Were Trouble is set to be published on the 31st July – preorder your copy NOW!

Twitter: @PaigeToonAuthor

Review of I Knew You Were Trouble by Paige Toon

Published: 30th July 2015
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Children
Pages: 320

Blurb: 

Life as the undercover daughter of a rock god isn’t going to be easy. How will Jessie adjust to her old boring life again after spending her summer living it up with her dad in LA? With tough decisions ahead (and not just choosing between two hot boys), can she cope juggling her two very different lives? Summer may be over, but Jessie’s story is just beginning…

Review:

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for kindly sending me a review copy. You can read my review of The Accidental Life Of Jessie Jefferson (#1) here.

The second instalment of Jessie’s story opens with a frightening prologue set in the future; she desperately wants to escape from being known as Johnny’s daughter, but why? Trouble quickly occurs before leaving the reader hanging, wondering what will happen next. We’re then brought into the present day where Jessie is back in England, during her final year at school and trying to decide whether to date Tom or wait for Jack..

“What are you, my Dad now?”

You just know at some point that Jessie’s cover will be blown but what I was most looking forward to was how the people at school would react. Would the girls who gave her bitchy looks suddenly pretend to be her new BFF? I thought the progression of the narrative was paced to perfection (standard for a Paige Toon book) and she wrote the outcome with such unique detail. The whole fiasco about the truth being revealed taught Jessie an awful lot: be careful who you trust. At the age of fifteen, we’re very quick to think we can trust people who are secretly talking about you and I’m really pleased that Paige included this as it’s a little tip for her younger readers to be wise about who they call ‘friends.’

“People turn to gape, mouths drop open, conversations are cut short – and then the whispering starts, the commenting, the pointing.”

Within 50% of the plot so much has happened and I just wondered in anticipation where Paige would take Jessie and her roller coaster story to next.. Hello sunshine!! The transition from England to LA is really smooth and with little description reminders dotted around, I found myself to be incredibly settled in the world of the Jefferson family. There’s a strong element of a love triangle throughout the entire narrative; Jack vs. Tom – who will win Jessie’s heart? Personally, I thought Tom was one to watch and not in a good way; you know when you just get a dodgy feeling about someone? That. I’m not sure if it’s the way Paige wrote his character but something wasn’t clicking with him. Jack on the other hand, readers know him from The Accidental Life Of Jessie Jefferson (#1) and I just loved him. He’s the person who makes Jessie tick and he brings out the best in her – LOVE THAT.

“Double Trouble. You’re going to get that a lot, you realise. You and I look crazily alike.”

Music plays a huge part in Johnny’s life – it’s the main reason why he’s famous so when your Dad is a well known rock star, what do you do? You sing of course and this was absolute bliss. Seriously SO happy that Paige included this in the plot as I’ve been waiting for the two of them to collaborate together. A million times, yes! As readers steer near the end of the narrative, things become emotional for Jessie – does she stay or does she go? Who is really going to be waiting for her at home when she’s got this amazing life in LA?

“Tomorrow is a new year – and a new beginning.”

Paige has proven for the second time that she can write Young Adult Fiction just as brilliantly as she can with Chick Lit. Jessie’s voice remained strong throughout the entire narrative, taking us with her on her roller coaster journey and making some heavy life decisions. I managed to read the book within 8 hours: it was that good, I just didn’t want to put it down. I’m really looking forward to seeing where Paige takes Jessie next as her bond with Johnny is just beautiful. I adore reading about their father and daughter relationship. Once again, Paige Toon has left with me a book hangover. I’ll forgive her though..

Twitter: @PaigeToonAuthor

Review of Perfect Daughter by Amanda Prowse

Published: 2nd July 2015
Publisher: Head Of Zeus
Pages: 368

Blurb:

Once upon a time, Jacks Morgan had dreams. She was going to have a successful career and travel the world. She would own a house on the beach, and spend long nights with her boyfriend strolling under the stars. But life had other ideas. First Martha came along, then Jonty. Then Jacks’ elderly mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and had to move in. Now their little terrace in Weston-super-Mare is bursting at the seams. Jacks’ dreams were put on hold long ago. But if she can save up enough to give her teenage daughter a bright future, then all her sacrifice will be worth something… won’t it?

Review:

Thank you to Midas PR for kindly sending me a review copy.

The sweet sounding narrative opens with a prologue of the newlyweds; Jacks and Pete. They’re madly in love with one another and soon to be expecting their first bundle of joy. I thought it was a lovely and very welcoming opening to the plot readers are about to embark on. Jacks really does have her hands full from being a full time Mum to her two school children to being a wife and also looking after her rather sick Mum. I really sympathised with Jacks – she had the toughest of jobs and all she needed was a little breather to enjoy some alone time.

“Pete’s a plonker. Walks around like he’s Gary Lineker.”

I thought the aspect of going back in time quite frequently was a really lovely addition to the book. It gave the readers more content about Jacks life with her parents, especially her Mum. It was amusing to see how Jacks thought of her future husband when she was a teenage – oh how our opinions change over the years!

“Both women collapsed against each other in giggles, for the second time that day, drawing stares from those around them in the queue.”

Amanda has managed to perfectly captivate the attention of readers by putting a simple yet relatable narrative across on the page as many people quit their dream job in order to care for one of their loved ones. Her words were so powerfully wonderful and I just fell into Jacks very busy, non stop world – it was difficult not to admire her determination. It was very clever of Amanda to allow history to repeat itself with Jacks and her daughter to showcase how times really have changed. Does your Mum’s opinion still matter or does being 17 mean you know it all?

“He was there when I needed someone and he didn’t abandon me. He stuck by me, always has.”

Towards the ending, the plot thickened and a big secret was revealed without it necessarily being said out loud. I thought Amanda covered this aspect really well and she gave the reader the opportunity to figure it out for themselves with just a tiny clue. It was brilliantly done. The epilogue of the narrative was extremely touching and it was really nice to see Jacks in a positive light. Despite all the running up and down the stairs for her family, she was a reliable narrator who I truly enjoyed reading about. Amanda has once again produced a remarkable book which will leave you thinking about your own family and how you treat people.

Twitter: @MrsAmandaProwse

July ReRead

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Hi everyone,

For this month’s reread – I didn’t know what to pick. I’ve read quite a lot of Young Adult and Chick Lit recently so what did I go for? A romance novel. Oh Emma.. Typical of me really BUT you all know how much I love this author and I’m dying to wait for news on his new book.

I am (of course) talking about..

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EL xx

Review of Dream A Little Dream by Giovanna Fletcher

Published: 18th June 2015
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 432

Blurb: 

Sarah is doing just fine. Sure she’s been single for the last five years, and has to spend an uncomfortable amount of time around her ex-boyfriend and their mutual friends, and the rest at her tediously mundane job, but it’s fine. She’s happy(ish). But it’s not surprising that when Sarah starts dreaming about a handsome stranger, she begins looking forward to falling asleep at night. Reality isn’t nearly as exciting. That is until her dream-stranger makes an unexpected real-life appearance, leaving Sarah questioning everything she thought she wanted. Because people never really find the person of their dreams… do they?

Review:

How could I not treat myself to a copy of Giovanna’s new book? I would have been silly not to, especially before finally meeting her in Liverpool in late June. Yup, you can read all about that on my blog as well.

The opening of Giovanna’s third book begins with a dream of a well known TV face, blue hair dye and an unexpected appearance from a University person from way back in the day. It was a quirky, unique way to open the plot and tied in brilliantly with the title. For a girl who is still moping around after her ex-boyfriend, Sarah came across as an upbeat, happy and honest main character which I really liked. From the very first page, her voice was strong and distinctive. Her group of friends were an additional joy to read about; there were plenty of laughs, gossip and it was heartwarming that you knew they were all there for one another without Giovanna having to state the obvious.

“Thank goodness I’m waking up alone and not having to greet some hunk in this state. Every cloud and all that.”

The narrative progressed very smoothly and it read beautifully. We learnt about Sarah’s life at work, her family, her close group of friends, her douche bag of an ex boyfriend and then there’s the dreams.. They were unique to say the least and I think Giovanna covered them brilliantly which just the right amount of detail, because who truly remembers every inch of a deep sleep dream? On a very small side note; I did enjoy the cheeky Tom Fletcher references (blue hair and seeing him in a dream); that did amuse me more than it should of.

“We’re in a very abstract version of Harry Potter’s Gryffindor dorm at Hogwarts.”

When Sarah’s dream becomes a reality, our main character transforms into this giggly, uncontrollable school girl and who can blame her? Giovanna has hand carved Brett into an absolute hunk of a man. Sarah’s work life improves a lot and I found her balance of having a social life to be really well written. The plot flowed from chapter to chapter and I just had to cancel my life in order to finish the book within two days. #sorrynotsorry

“I don’t think any of us know what we really want until we’re put in a situation or have something snatched away from us. Maybe life is more about reacting rather than acting…”

The narrative was an absolute dream to read; it progressed so beautifully throughout and there were no stop, start moments which made it even more enjoyable. Giovanna writes her characters with such passion and confidence which really does come across on the page. She’s a natural storyteller and allows the readers to be completely captivated in her fictional world. I thought the plot played out really well; it wasn’t obvious in the slightest, anything could have happened especially with Sarah’s life. Her best friends were all so heartwarming and utterly hilarious to read about – Carly was definitely my favourite! All in all, it’s Giovanna’s best book so far and I could happily continue reading her writing for years to come.

Twitter: @MrsGiFletcher