2018, august, Monthly Wrap Up, Uncategorized, update, wrap up

What did I read in August.

Now I was overly optimistic with my TBR for August with so much happening it was obvious to me that I wouldn’t have completed it.

However, I sure did read some beauties that have left their mark on me.

I loved each of these for different reasons and they are all authors I adore. I must admit I have a few more of Catherine’s on my Kindle but that’s the first of hers I’ve devoured and what a fantastic start….

My thoughts on these 📚

Rewind By Catherine Ryan Howard

One Winter Morning By Isabelle Broom

The Turn of the Key By Ruth Ware

I’m hoping to have my Miranda Dickinson review up for publication day tomorrow. I started September with a few short reads which were ace and I’m now in the midst of Zoe May’s When Polly Met Olly which I’ve been meaning to read for ages. I feel like my time away caught up with me and last night and this morning I’ve had a massive headache – so I’ve only managed a little reading. I have two very different audios on the go and one is for a blog tour.

I’m hoping that seeing as I’m on holiday until the end of Saturday and I have a little downtime in September that I can read a lot more than I managed in August. I like being optimistic but I also like getting more reading into my month.

Two of my August reads were buddy reads and I’m pleased to say that myself and Catriona have a few ideas up our sleeves and one includes one of my fave authors.

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2019, august, ebook, novella, Quick Reads, Review, TBR, Uncategorized, update

A Patchwork Family – Part One – Moving On By Cathy Bramley

Blurb: Gina Moss is proud of herself: she’s just had the most amicable divorce ever. No arguments, no fuss, no drama. It means she has plenty of time and energy for her thriving childminding business too.

Welcome Cottage is both home and workplace for Gina. It sits just on the edge of The Evergreens – a grand if slightly run-down Victorian residence to three octogenarians who have far too much fun for their age: Violet, Delphine and Bing.

But a tragedy puts her older friends at risk of eviction – and Gina in charge of the battle to save them. It might be her first fight, but it’s one that Gina is determined not to lose…

Review: It’s been a while since I’ve read a Cathy Bramley novel and when this series was mentioned I instantly pre-ordered it, them good old 99p kindle purchases. I had hoped to have read and reviewed on publication day but that wasn’t to be. See I’m getting more organised but I’m also wanting to read more and more.

Part one is aptly named – Moving On as Gina has accomplished her amicable divorce and later on in the instalment there are more tragic circumstances. It starts with Bramley’s trademark wit, I’d heard of divorce parties via another book and the meal between Gina and Eric sure was full of laughs. It’s extremely rare that marriages can end well – but they are one of those rare breeds. The scene in the restaurant had me laughing out loud, but it also made me want to know more as they got on so well, I’m sat there wondering why they called time on their marriage.

It being part one it sets the scene and the groundwork for the story with the hint of what’s to come. What I’ve grown to love about these type of series’s is that you are left eager and wanting more and this did not disappoint. A Patchwork Family crosses over to The Lemon Tree Cafe as it’s based in the same town with some of the same characters. In realising that I realise I only read the first part of that story, so that will need to be rectified but August is proving to be a busy one.

Gina is a character that I instantly liked, she’s a go getter and wants the best out of life. A tragedy makes her realise she needs to live every day like it’s her last.

I loved the sentiments in this novel, friends and family come in all shapes and sizes and I loved the variation of age groups. You have the older generation who Gina is extremely fond of and then you have the children to whom she is also fond of. Being a childminder and an extremely good and experienced one at that. It also showed me that families can be a blessing and a curse. I don’t want to spoil the intrigue so I won’t say anymore than that. I want to see whether Dexter pulls through for the sake of his family.

2019, Author Love, Cover Reveal, Me, TeamSparkly, Uncategorized, update

Miranda Dickinson’s Sparkly news plus an update.

Now I’ve been a pretty rubbish blogger and I’ve been meaning to pen a post for a while. Since my last review I have finished another Thriller and a gorgeous love story but I’ve also had a lot on with work, exams and generally overdoing it.

Yesterday I was covering in another store which was crazy to say the least but this gorgeous lady revealed the cover of her next book. Without further ado I give you Miranda Dickinson’s sparkly news here is the quite simply gorgeous cover of The Day we Meet Again.

I’m a huge fan of Miranda’s and during my blogger experience she’s been nothing short of amazing, saying that she happens to be one of my favourites that I still haven’t met although we have had so many conversations via social media. Her books always take me away from whatever life is throwing at me at that time and they always give me so much hope for the future. I don’t always do her books justice but with this one I’m going to do my utmost.

The title makes me instantly think of my Nan she’s been gone for a good few years now but she will forever be one of my greatest female inspirations. By the end she was a shell of the woman she once was buy always such a fighter. If I’m half the woman she was when my time is up I will go happy.

I’m sorry to whatever I’m reading when I get my hands on this book as you will be shelved until I’ve devoured these pages. Just look at that rose gold….

2019, Mothers Day, personal, Uncategorized, update

Mother’s Day….

Today is Mothering Sunday here in the UK and I want to talk about stereotyping. So it’s a step away from books. I have got Mum a few books in the past mainly autobiography’s but she’s not really a big reader she would much rather watch NCIS, Only Fools and Horses or the Football.

For me Mother’s Day adverts really do make me laugh, and that’s not me being funny it’s because every single ad is so far from my Mum it’s untrue.

My sister and I had a right laugh with our lovely Mum about this subject matter. It’s all treat Mum to her favourite perfume, bath stuff, even the Prosecco. Don’t get me wrong Mum loves the smell of certain perfumes and bath stuff but she has to be so careful as she has super sensitive skin so bar a few that we know we can’t really buy her things like that. Mum has had a wine with me in the past but it’s not her tipple she would much rather a Beer or a Bacardi. This year mum asked for some practical gifts but she will also have a treat 🙂

The last thing I will add is we shouldn’t only celebrate our Mums on one day of the year. Always show them how much you care even when they drive you mental. My heart also goes out to all of those without their Mum’s or to those who never knew. I’m sure there’s someone by your side who loves you unconditionally.

I’m not feeling great today but I wanted to finish and post this today. I intend to have a chilled Sunday before the working week defends. Whatever you do today make your future self proud.

2018, Fitness, personal, Uncategorized, update

A brand new journey – Exercise to Music

Today I’m embarking on a brand new journey and I’m scared and excited.

Since I was a kid I’ve always loved Sporty Spice aka Melanie C. I adored everything she stood for, a kick ass female who proudly sported a football shirt in a society where girls are expected not to understand the beautiful game.

Ever since taking GCSE PE I always thought I would do more with it. I’d lived and breathed Netball, running and trampolining to name a few of my favourite sports. I don’t know what changed I guess I became overlooked and then my love of writing and of all things media overtook and as I got older I started going out and my exercise regime slowly diminished.

Earlier this year I learnt more about myself and how I treat my body. Not only have I started eating foods I would never have imagined and lessened foods that I’d ate in excess I also discovered fitness sessions that I adore and for me that’s what has changed. I’ve been doing Zumba on and off for years and I’m not saying I don’t love it but for me it wasn’t enough and now that my food is a lot better alongside that a stupid amount of walking and Fight Klub I now feel like I get proper decent workouts. I’ve also just recently started Piyo which I also love – it’s bloody hard work and takes it out of me but it’s so good for the strengthening of my body.

I’m now on my lunch break and I’ve learnt so much already.

Find what you love and run with it.

2018, A thought? A question, Me, Monday motivation and smiles, Off Topic, personal, update

Ask Away….

Happy Monday all.

It’s the start of a brand new week and I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you’re happy and healthy.

A while ago I asked for questions on my Twitter in lieu of writing a blog post answering said questions and it fizzled out. So yesterday I asked again on my Twitter and Facebook account. So far I have two fabulous questions. I’m aiming for 10-20 before I can warrant sharing my answers.

2018, event, Uncategorized, update

What’s your perfect day off?

After a quite frankly horrible week I’ve had a pretty awesome Saturday.

I can’t say I had the much needed lie in that my weary body needs but I wasn’t up as early as when working, and I was up for a fun-filled bookish day.

The fact I was to spend most of my day talking about books and reuniting with friends including Catriona who is usually stateside was also a huge bonus.

Today has been the first day in a while, where I’ve relaxed a little and it’s been refreshing I just hope I don’t regret it come weigh day – but enough of that. Keeping positive and to the books.

I hadn’t been well in the lead up to today so hadn’t read much but today I finally started reading The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton and I’m finally out of my reading funk so thank you to my fab blogging girls and the Simon & Schuster team. This simply unique book won’t hit shelves until January but my oh my. It’s pulled me out of my funk and given me back my reading mojo in the most beautiful of ways.

Books and the City events are always fabulous fun and today was just what I needed as ever there are always bookish goodies and recommendations from the team and my friends.

As I’ve mentioned before I’m a massive lover of Paige Toon but I discovered her late and some of these I didn’t have physical copies of.

Plus the Alice Peterson that everybody has been telling me to devour.

The fabulous Catriona has recommended so many of my fave reads and she brought me this.

I had such a lovely day chatting books, eating treats and helping shape the future of a number of books. An interesting and enlightening day which was exactly what I needed after a physically exhausting week where I have doubted myself in a number of ways.

Today I felt more like me….ooooh and there was a lil Pumpkin Spiced Latte.

2018, Me, Off Topic, Uncategorized, update

My Fitness Journey….

Hey welcome to Hayley Reviews, today I am going away from bookishness and talking about me.

In my younger years I was one of those girls who people said could eat anything and wouldn’t put on weight that soon changed. I’ve never minded fruit but I can honestly say I rarely smashed my five a day. As for vegetables – as a child I had a best mate whose mum would serve up all sorts of veg and expect you to eat it whether you liked it or not. To this day I blame her for Brussel Sprouts – I did try them again quite recently and I can honestly say I can live without them.

If at the beginning of this year you had said to me that I would one be trying to actually cook rather than throwing something in the oven and two that I would willingly want broccoli, spinach and cauliflower with my dinner I would have laughed in your face. Now I’m upset if I run out of spinach or Broccoli or if Sainsbury’s don’t have Butternut Squaffles in stock.

They do say your taste buds change every seven years and they really do. I have such a sweet tooth yet it’s been curbed quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong I still love a hot choc and I’m still impartial to chocolates just not to the excess I would have before. I have also learnt that a lot of the time it was merely through boredom or because it was there. In working in such a busy environment where there are often lots of people around it was often easier to just snack on crap. Fast forward to August 2018 and the thought of some of the things I would have gauged on makes me feel physically sick.

On 16th April 2018 I joined Slimming World – a number of people asked me why and a number of people also said I shouldn’t have. Having seen a number of friends do well from Slimming World I thought what the hell. What do I have to lose. In joining I took one look at the plan and was instantly thinking what am I going to eat. Natasha my consultant was super helpful- she told me not to focus on what I wouldn’t eat and to look at what I would. My first week was a little strange and I somehow managed to put together some odd meals. In that week I managed to lose 3lb but I hadn’t had much speed food.

What is speed food? I hear you say. These are fruit and vegetables that help speed up your metabolism – quite quickly I found a flow that I could enjoy. With my breakfast I often have Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries and Blueberries which are all speedy fruits and with meals it’s often Mushrooms, Carrots, Spinach, Butternut Squash and Broccoli to name a few. Before Slimming World I ate Carrots and Mushrooms but the other vegetables I hadn’t tried in a long time.

On 13th August 2018 I hit my target weight – this was a very good Monday for me, I had said to myself as I got closer that I wanted to be at target before my family holiday to the seaside and I made it. As you know I’m away as we speak and I’ve had a sketchy food week but I have had some fruit and Weetabix on a few mornings and some semi Slimming World friendly stuff. In town I found a gorgeous Mushroom Risotto which if possible I would love to sample again before we leave – it hasn’t happened so far.

I know there are Slimming World recipes for this so this will be happening when I return home.

Alongside my food and my walking I started attending a number of fitness classes. I have been doing Zumba on/off for years and I still really enjoy it. I managed to get a few free passes to some Boxfit classes. I did Boxfit on Blackheath common and then I found Fight Klub. That’s another thing I wouldn’t have thought a boxing based fitness class would be my thing but I love it and when I miss it, I’m seriously annoyed. Last week I managed to fit in two sessions which I was also meant to do the week before but due to trainer sickness that didn’t happen.

What has surprised me….I’m now a target member- I’ve missed a weigh in week as I’m away but I’m intrigued to see how I fair. As I have relaxed a little this week I have been shocked at the changes. Back in April/May time I purchased this…

On the Friday night before we left home I decided my working week was done and my me time had started so I would sample this. I had two quite small glasses and found it super super sweet. I also realised that I can’t drink normal coke – I asked for a vodka and Diet Coke and was given a normal coke and yet again it was too sweet. I’m pleased to report my love of an Irish coffee and of fudge still stands but once again my body will tell me when I have had too much. I’m also noticing a difference to how I feel when I’ve eaten fatty foods.

The picture on the left was taken at a book event with friends on 30th April so two weeks into my SW journey and the pic on the right was taken in July around the World Cup. I’ve also had a number of non scale victories in the fact I need pretty much a new wardrobe and the stuff that used to be tight now fits.

Thank you to those who took part in my poll yesterday, meaning I actually finished writing this piece.

What would you like to see tomorrow? Book Review, Author Guest Post, or something different. You guys get first refusal on what tomorrow holds.

2018, Author Love, ebook, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Short Story, Uncategorized, update

Novella Review: The Boy with the Board By Katey Lovell

Blurb: A gorgeously romantic short story, part of The Meet Cute series.

When her beloved mum dies suddenly, Helena escapes to sunny California. Determined to live for the moment, she puts aside her fears and signs up for the surfing lessons she’s always dreamed of – with the added distraction of hunky instructor Ashton.

Review: I have said it before and here I say it again these meet cute stories are perfect tea break escapism from day to day struggles.

For me The Boy with the Board has a totally different feel from the other meet cutes I have devoured. Helena’s Story is tinged with sadness but from a saying her mother used to say she decides to take caution to the wind and get out of her comfort zone. There is something awe inspiring in reading a story where a seemingly average young woman decides to make a life-changing decision. In that I am envious of Helena she saw a chance to change and grabbed it.

Although on a personal note I have made some life changes that have surprised and inspired me in my self and my own motivation. I’m proud of the woman I am becoming it’s like I have got back a little of the confidence I once had. Saying that I’ve never totally felt overly confident but I do feel like the changes I have made are adding to my day to day self confidence.

Reading has always been a passion of mine and following my studies I’m so glad I got back into reading for pleasure as it gives me so much joy. In escaping I’m discovering more about myself, who I want to be and where I want to go. I’m hoping to make some trips based on bookish love so watch this space…. I have two meet cutes left and I’m hoping to participate in the 24in48 readathon next weekend and o think finishing this beautiful series will be the icing on the cake.

Back to the Boy with the Board – there is just something about a guy with confidence and wet hair eh. This tasty treat should be snapped up whilst the weather is still smoking. Katey Lovell I’m saying it again I WANT more Meet Cutes please…

2018, Blog Tour, Review, Uncategorized, update

Blog Tour: The Distance By Zoe Folbigg

Blurb: Under the midnight sun of Arctic Norway, Cecilie Wiig goes online and stumbles across Hector Herrera in a band fan forum. They start chatting and soon realise they might be more than kindred spirits. But there are two big problems: Hector lives 8,909km away in Mexico. And he’s about to get married.

Can Cecilie, who’s anchored to two jobs she loves in the library and a cafe full of colourful characters in the town in which she grew up, overcome the hurdles of having fallen for someone she’s never met? Will Hector escape his turbulent past and the temptations of his hectic hedonistic life and make a leap of faith to change the path he’s on?

Zoe Folbigg’s latest novel is a story of two people, living two very different lives, and whether they can cross a gulf, ocean, sea and fjord to give their love a chance.

Review: Firstly I have to say sorry to Aria Fiction and Zoe for the delay in this post. Due to crazy headaches, hayfever and a bit of a headcold I lost a solid week of reading which has meant I have been playing catch up but I still wanted to honour the tours I had said yes to. I really thought I would have got this up late last night but it just wasn’t meant to be. Reading alongside work and my day to day life and the heat just wore me out.

Many people will know Zoe Folbigg for her stunning debut The Note – which ashamedly it’s one of those books that I just haven’t given the time to but what I have read is truly adorable and I will be going back to it.

For me The Distance starts at a lot slower pace than The Note. As a reader you are getting the viewpoint of Cecilie, Hector and Kate. It’s told in a timeline which goes back and forth which as long as you are concentrating isn’t too bad. Each individual had their own drama, hope and experiences and in some ways they all link. There were many OMG moments especially for Kate and for Hector. Cecilie is an extremely laid back young woman who has a lot of love to give. And as a reader you’re hoping she gets her happy ending. There will be no spoilers from me. I devoured this read in a few days. If I hadn’t been exhausted and had more free time this could have been finished in a sitting.

This is a book of hope, love, empowerment, wanderlust and loneliness. Sometimes you find love in the strangest of places even as far as the northern lights without even leaving the house. Social media has a lot to answer for. I loved how Cecilie and Kate both realised their worth and they both fort for what they wanted. Although I must admit Kate was empowered which was inspiring but I would have loved to have had more closure for her. I love how Hectors character evolved – he realised exactly what sort of man he wanted to be and he made sure he got that life.

A heartfelt novel that left me wanting to travel and to open my heart. If you’re looking to be swept away this summer ‘The Distance’ will not disappoint you.