Saturday, 17 February 2018

Life: A little (Oliver Bonas) filled homeware haul

Life: A little (Oliver Bonas) filled homeware haul
Saturday, 17 February 2018
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If you follow me on twitter, you’ll be aware that I’ve been packing up my teeny tiny flat to move into a beautiful brand new 2 bedroomed house. It’s now a week away from moving day and I’m driving Richard absolutely crazy with homeware hauls and links to different bedroom sets. All of this in mind, I’ve put together a little ‘wishlist’ post of a few things (mostly from Oliver Bonas) that I’ve come across recently that I know would make an amazing addition to the new house. 3 Oliver Bonas goodies, and one VERY unrealistic homeware item that I would do SO MUCH to get my hands on!

Pillows are always a tricky one with me. In my flat, I had beautiful sequinned rose gold pillows that went perfectly with the grey-blue sofa. However, they left a trail of sequins in their wake so I’ll be on the lookout in the coming weeks for some new pillows to jazz up the sofa and make the living room a little bit more cosy. I found this gorgeous sheepskin cushion in Oliver Bonas that I’d love to buy as a ‘statement’ cushion, to add a bit of oomph to my sofa and spice up the action a bit. I love the beautiful stone colour of the cushion as well – I would just love to be cuddled up with this on my lap!

We’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks choosing prints to put up on the walls throughout the house. I say we – I must admit I’m very particular about what goes on the walls and Rich has had to run each of his choices by me in a very ordered and controlled fashion. I love lunar prints and this one from Oliver Bonas is particularly special- the different phases of the moon look so stylish and would make a beautiful addition to one of my gallery walls.   

I have a lovely, albeit plain, lamp in my lounge at the moment that I picked up from John Lewis. However, it’s more than due an upgrade and there are quite a few different lamps that I’ve seen that most definitely would fit beautifully in my lounge. One that I love especially is this beautiful angled floor lamp. The copper tone would go beautifully with the furniture I already own and it gives a more rustic vibe to a modern setting. It is a little on the higher end of my ‘lamp budget’ but I think it’d definitely be worth the investment.

A dream that I have is a beautiful room, filled with books and a log-burning fire with the most gorgeous armchair in the corner – the perfect room to snuggle down and read with a mug of hot chocolate, a blanket and a fluffy pillow. I have the room- naturally, I have the wall of bookshelves filled with books – but I lack the armchair. This beautiful armchair from Houseology is probably the armchair of my dreams although the price of it makes me want to cry a little bit. The colour is just spectacular and I love how deep the back goes- you could definitely get snuggled right in there. Whilst completely unrealistic at the moment, I’m going to keep this chair on my list in the hope that someone takes pity on me and throws me the ££ to make this purchase. It is honestly absolutely spectacular.


Where are your go-to shops for homeware? Any pieces taken your fancy lately that you think I should take a look at? Let me go!

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Book Review: Force of Nature by Jane Harper

Book Review: Force of Nature by Jane Harper
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
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This time last year, I was lucky enough to be involved in the Little, Brown Book Group book tour for the highly acclaimed, highly anticipated book The Dry by Jane Harper. I absolutely loved the book, and was so excited to get on board and review it. When Little, Brown got in touch again to ask if I'd like to be a part of the book tour for Jane Harper's second book, the second in her series featuring Aaron Faulk, I practically bit off Kimberley, the lovely marketing and publicity intern's hand. With two copies of the book in hand - a lovely ARC copy that I sent on to a friend and a finished copy of the book, that I kept for myself- I was even more excited to get stuck into the book and find out just what happened to Alice...




Force of Nature is the perfect follow up to Harper's first novel The Dry, continuing the investigations of her protagonist Aaron Falk. Whilst it's really easy to compare follow up novels to their proceeding story, I do think it's a little unfair to do this as the two stories are so -different- in what they stand for. I loved The Dry and I loved Force of Nature, as well, but for entirely different reasons. The Dry, which narrowly missed out on being on my Top 10 of 2017 list, was always going to be a book that had a lot to live up to but I'm so happy (and slightly relieved, if I'm totally honest) to reveal that I loved Force of Nature just as much. 

Force of Nature focuses its attention on the disappearance of Alice, a hardworking, robust and often mean-spirited woman who is taking part on a corporate retreat in an Australian nature reserve. The whole concept definitely doesn't sound like my idea of a good time, but there you go. Alice, along with 4 other women who work for her company, find themselves camping and travelling through a reserve that is known for being a place where people have vanished in the past, either never to be seen again or revealed to be murdered by renowned serial killer. As we slowly learn the details that lead to her disappearance through the eyes of the women, we also join Falk and his colleague Carmen in discovering what happened to Alice. The dynamics and relationships between the different characters are clearly flawed from the start - what is supposed to be a retreat to form stronger relations and repair disputes quickly turns into a trip full of even more anger and resentment. You find yourself, as the reader, forming very strong opinions about each character and it's easy to see why things didn't go as smoothly as the organisers of the retreat had hoped. 

The novel came together oh-so-beautifully in the end. This is one of those novels that ended without any plot holes, and everything was resolved with seemingly no questions left lying. Each clue that led to the conclusion was dangled so subtly that it was impossible to see past and I have to admit that I finished the book having had no idea at all about what had happened to Alice until it slapped me in the face. I love being able to figure out what has happened before the denouement comes together, but having that air of mystery and leaving the reader completely perplexed is a quality that only becomes the most intricately clever of psychological thrillers. 

I am, once again, incredibly excited to see what Jane Harper comes up with next. I'll be awaiting her next novel with anticipation! 

4.5/5 stars. 



Force of Nature is now available to purchase from the usual places, in both hardback and in ebook form. I'd like to thank Grace Vincent for my advanced copy of the book, and Kimberley Nyamhondera for allowing me to take part in the blog tour this time around! 
Sunday, 11 February 2018

Goodreads: What I Read in January 2018

Goodreads: What I Read in January 2018
Sunday, 11 February 2018
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It’s been an entire month since my last blog post and I’m very disappointed myself of slipping out of the habit of consistent blogging. I’ve been incredibly busy with work and haven’t had a minute to myself to sit down and divulge my thoughts and feelings, let alone sit down and write hundreds of words worth of book reviews and travel guides! This next week is half-term and I’m planning on giving myself lots of time to catch up on my blogging, alongside planning my lessons for next term, of course!


Despite this lack of time to write, I did make an effort to try and read (although granted a few of the books I mention here are books I’ve read with the children in my class at work) as much as I possibly could. Here are some of the books I read in the month of January, along with a few of my thoughts on them!

The Remains of the Day by Kazou Ishiguro has been on my To Be Read pile for a few years now. I went home to stay with my parents for a few days over the Christmas holidays, as I do every year, and whilst I was up there I finished the book I was reading. I hadn’t accounted for this happening, so I grabbed any old book off the shelves in my childhood bedroom and got stuck in. The Remains of the Day was the book I happened upon and I am incredibly happy that I did so. I’ve previously read Never Let Me Go by Kazou, and I absolutely loved that, so I had high hopes for another of his books. I enjoyed this one, granted not as much as I enjoyed Never Let Me Go. I found that the story was a little bit difficult to get stuck into, because of the language, but I will admit it is just as much the masterpiece as every claims it to be. The story was heart-breaking in the sense that our protagonist, a loyal and faithful butler, put every aspect of his being into being the best that he could possibly be in his role. In doing so, he allows himself to lose the sense of his own being and in his final days realises that his entire livelihood has left him feeling obsolete. A heavy read, but one that I will likely go back to in the coming years.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel is a book that a few of my friends have read and loved, so I was keen to read it myself. My little brother bought me a copy of this for Christmas and with my expectations incredibly high, I got stuck straight into it as soon as I could. After a very slow start, and a frantic message to the girls in my group chat who had recommended it to me to see just WHEN I was going to get as hooked as they promised. I needn’t have worried, of course, because the book was absolutely fantastic and I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t put it down. The story follows Lane through two different periods of her life and the circumstances that surrounded the mysterious Roanoke. After the death of her mother, 15 year old Lane goes to live with her grandparents and her cousin Allegra. A summer later, she leaves Roanoke and never looks back, unable to deal with the events that go on there. Flash forward in time and Lane is forced to return upon learning of her cousin Allegra’s disappearance. Nothing has changed in Roanoke and Lane has to relive everything about the place that made her leave in the first place. An absolutely spectacular read that left me gasping by the end!

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen was a fun read of a book that I bought for shared reading in my class. I’m yet to read it to them but I’m going to use the book to support a PSHE lesson on sharing. It’s a very cutesy book about two turtles who find a hat and have to make a decision on which of the two of them will get to wear it.  

My class reader for January was Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape by Dermot O’Leary. I wasn’t aware that Dermot had even written a book before I came across a copy of it (signed, no less) in Waterstones in the New Year. After a quick look at reviews, a read of the blurb and a glance at the language level, I decided that it was definitely a book that the class would love. It took about ten pages for the entire class to be completely enthralled by it, each of them sat on the edge of their seats and asking if we could ‘not do spellings today’ and read the book instead! (No to not doing spellings, but they were much quicker at getting their coats on at the end of the day so they could listen to the story in Drop time!)

Another book we read as a class in January was Unfortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman. As a huge fan of Gaiman myself, exploring his books for younger readers was high on my agenda and I was keen to get stuck in. Luckily, the kids were just as keen and loved this book almost as much as they loved Toto. They loved the ‘craziness’ of the story and were really eager to discuss whether or not they thought that Dad was telling the truth about his adventures to get their breakfast milk. A definite hit with both me and the kids.

I have plenty of books to get stuck into over the coming weeks, including a few book tours that I’m a part of.

What have you read recently that I need to get my hands on? Let me know in the comments!