2020, personal, Uncategorized, update

What has lockdown taught me?

Since lockdown I’ve learnt a few things about myself and my attitude and resilience. I’m a determined cookie when I get myself going my planking challenge and hula personal bests are confirmation of that to say the least. I’ve always had a sweet tooth and when I lost weight I had managed to curb it but during lockdown my sweet tooth has reared it’s ugly head and at times I’ve ended up berating myself over it.

I honestly feel like I’m at war with myself especially at the moment. I mean I’m not all out being awful but I’m berating myself more often than not, considering I’m still being active as I can, which is something.

Covid 19 is something none of us have ever experienced and it’s changing us for a number of reasons and I’m finally starting to accept that that’s ok. Some days we go about our day like we would have before, other days we eat rubbish and drink…it’s whatever gets us through and to start with that panicked me and I was constantly like I need to do more I’m going to ruin all my hard work and then I was like breathe. Give yourself a break. I mean don’t get me wrong it’s great being able to do things round the house and seeing the family I live with. I’m loving being able to read lots more although some days I feel guilty that that’s all I’ve done.

What I will say is that during this time it’s made me appreciate the simple things and the small things that we take for granted.

What are your coping measures? Are you coping with this crazy world we’re living in? I would love to hear how you’re doing and whether there’s any little tips and tricks we can share.

You never know I may even treat you guys to a book review later…now back to the coffee and book in the sunshine of my garden.

2019, Bath, beauty

Blogtober was….

Going so well until yesterday. Yesterday was my first ever late shift in my new job so I had no excuses really as I was at home for a massive chunk of the day, although I did run some errands and wash my hair and time just slipped by. I’d meant to post on my break and ended up reading.

My reading has been so so and actually having proper breaks means I get some in which is good. There’s probably a number of half started posts I could have finished but needed something light as I have a banging headache and should be sleeping now….

So…

This is the Body Shops coffee face mask and oh my I probably needed this in my system today. It’s very similar to that of Lush’s cup of coffee which has been a favourite for a while.

So what can I say about this. If you don’t like coffee steer clear as it’s a very strong and distinctive smell of caffeine. Which works for me. It also makes my face feel soft and hydrated.

Now here’s for one of those awful pics of me.

Ok so there’s two terrifying pics of me. Excuse the state but this stuff is fab. It’s worth every penny.

I’m sorry yesterday there was no post I’m eager to add different content to the blog and I would love to spend one day of my week answering questions here on Hayley Reviews so hit me..

2019, Author Love, ebook, New Author to me, novella, Short Story, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Cornish Cream Tea Bus – Part One – Don’t Go Baking My Heart By Cressida McLaughlin

Blurb: Baking fanatic, Charlie Quilter, is surprised when her late uncle bequeaths his vintage bus to her in his will. Charlie thinks it will be the perfect mobile café for afternoon tea, and when her friend, Juliette, suggests Charlie comes to stay with her in the picturesque Cornish village of Porthgolow, she’s thrilled at the chance of a new start.
Charlie and her cute dog, Marmite, make new friends wherever their bus stops – except for the attractive but reclusive owner of the posh spa up on the hill, Daniel Harper, who isn’t very pleased that her bus is parked outside his lovely hotel.
Has Charlie’s Cornish dream developed a soggy bottom? Or can she convince Daniel that her bus could be the start of something wonderful for the little village – and for them?

Review: So I’m going to just say it. I have a few of Cressida’s novels on my Kindle but part one of the Cornish Cream Tea Bus – Don’t Go Baking My Heart is the first I have read, which makes me feel bad but wow what a treat and what a starting point.

I’ve on/off been reading but yesterday I managed to finish part one and I thought it was best to pen my thoughts before diving into part two. These shorts are aiding my reading alongside my hardback – which annoyingly isn’t on Audible yet as I found out yesterday to my dismay.

From the start I really warmed to Charlie and her story. Her connection to her late uncle really made me think of my grandparents – our stories weren’t nowhere near the same but I shared a love or reading with my grandad and a love of film with my Nan. My do I miss them and books like this are heartwarming and nostalgic.

I loved how she wanted to keep her uncles Gertie alive but did so in a way that was part of her. Old and new – keeping her uncles pride and joy and introducing her passion to reinvent the bus and for her to be able to make it work. I loved seeing how taken she was with the task and seeing if she could make it happen. The first event was an eye opener but I loved her can-do spirit when she stepped back from the situation – I honestly believe this is something we should all do from time to time – and this is definitely a lesson I should be listening to and taking note.

I haven’t been to Cornwall in a long time and I have never visited Porthgolow but wow I loved the way Cressida described the town and I think there are probably many seaside towns that need that revitalisation. I regularly visit Dymchurch in Kent with the family and that’s looked tired at times it’s always nice to see new businesses pop up and renovations to happen when we return most years. I also adore Salou in Spain I haven’t been for a few years and sadly it doesn’t look like I will get there this year. At times that’s also needed a boost and a refresh – although for me they are always places I feel at home and calm so I will always visit but there needs to be change to see tourism boom.

I don’t have enough me time but Charlie sure is something else. When she relented and took her best friends advice I was chuffed for her. Charlie getting to Cornwall sure was a journey and some feat. The characters she encounters in Porthgolow are something else although I can’t work out Daniel and I’m pretty sure most people will say the same thing – as I believe that is part of Cressida’s thought process too.

There have been some bumps along the way in inheriting Gertie but wow what a journey in part one. One event that was eventful and then the trip to Porthgolow where Gertie undertakes a major transformation I love all the little things that have been put into the bus really giving it a touristy and nostalgic feeling. It’s like she’s thought of absolutely every trick in the book even down to mementos.

Part one ended with Charlie feeling extremely positive and upbeat for her Summer and for her future with Gertie a major part of it. I finished this part giddy to know more as it was left making me wonder but I knew I had to get my thoughts in order before I continued on this seaside journey.

One thing I will say is in devouring part one I want all the cake and I could murder a hot scone and a good coffee. In reading this you will get hungry, you have been warned.

2019, Author Love, event, Uncategorized

Waterstones Event 10th June Paige Toon, Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine.

When Paige Toon started adding events for her promotion of If I Go Anywhere I had hoped to have got to her Bluewater signing until it became apparent I just wouldn’t get that Saturday off work.

Then the events alongside Lindsey Kelk popped up. I’m not going to lie there were so many fantastic author combos if I had time and money I would have got to more. I’ve been desperate to meet Mhari McFarlane since I devoured You Had Me At Hello all those years gone by. I’m a huge fan of Isabelle Broom – although she’s given me major travel envy I’ve still not visited Mojacar yet.

Anyway I could ramble for hours then London was announced with Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine. I still haven’t read a Lucy novel but I’ve had Hot Mess on my Kindle for a while and at the event I purchased her latest which sounds fabulous and should be my next read after what I’m in the middle of.

I’d booked the day off so I could chill I was hoping to have finished Paige’s book but I also had revision to do so revision and trying to balance having some me time and getting things done had to happen.

The weather was god awful but I wasn’t letting that dampen my spirits most of my bookish lovelies had been to the event a week previous but I wasn’t going to miss out and I’m glad as I did meet some lovely readers. On my way in I grabbed a Salted Caramel Latte and a piece of Tiffin from Costa two of my naughty treats when given half a chance and when I arrived I was handed a glass of Prosecco which was also appreciated.

I’m still a million miles behind on the I Heart series but I had to buy a physical copy of the last one which Lindsey kindly signed for me. I have a few on paperback but they always can’t be found when you’re actually going to a signing, I know the first one was loaned to someone and gone forever and I’ve been listening to them which is always fun so I think I will listen up to the latest and then my signed copy will come out.

Right the event – I loved attending the one last July in the church it was such a fun night and left me with a happy heart and I knew this one would be just as much fun. This time round I didn’t ask a question but so many people had good ones. I love just watching how the authors interact and their genuine passion for their books and their friends. I must admit like most book events of my faves it left me wanting a holiday and time to just sit and read.

Paige’s latest I’ve finished and I finally posted my review yesterday. It’s always lovely when one of your favourite authors remembers you 🥰

I think where I am in the I Heart series may have to be my next audible treat and Lucy’s latest is in my up and coming pile. I anticipate finish that and delving into Hot Mess which has been sat patiently on my kindle for what seems like forever.

I love instax and this just made me realise I should use mine more. OMG I may have to take mine to my next event. Which I don’t have at the moment damn missed a trick could have taken it on Wednesday. I love that I’m being as I still have so much good to come. I adore that these events don’t make you feel bad for being behind it just makes you eager to indulge and I love that feeling.

Thank you ladies for a fabulous night of fun and escapism at best. You guys look fabulous my hair not so much damn rain. Thank you to Jess Barratt for the gorgeous photos and ladies it was a pleasure I cannot wait to do it again.

2019, Self Care Sunday, Uncategorized

Self Care Sunday #2

Back in April I wrote a post titled Self Care Sunday……

It read what are you doing for you….

https://hayleyreviews10.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/self-care-sunday/

Today I initially had hoped to have finished an outstanding book review but I was drawn back to self care. Something I am still trying to get a healthy balance of and I hope to make this a regular feature watch this space.

So today I had set an alarm as I was due to meet my good friend Hannah – but I woke freely which is something I truly love. I lazily moved around making coffee and a cooked breakfast catching up on some soaps before getting down to some revision. A mostly good start to my revision so I’m feeling, positive, hopeful and a lot more confident – hopefully tomorrow I will be booked in for the second stage of getting my ETM qualification.

It’s always ace to see Hannah and we usually have lots to catch up on books to talk about and browse and there is usually cake. Today was no exception.

We went to a lovely little cafe off Neals Yard and this was my stunning banana bread with espresso butter and a latte 🙂 this place was super cute but extremely busy. I must say I think we had timed it right to get a seat and to be served promptly. I would most definitely return to try some of their other baked goods.

For the later part of the day I’ve had a headache and a sore stomach so I had some comfort food in Fish, smiles and baked beans it didn’t look photo worthy so there’s no picture. I had hoped to do some more revision and to finish a book as I will be attending Paige Toon’s event with Lindsey Kelk and Lucy Vine tomorrow evening.

My sister had a very valid point today she said you may have days off but you’re always busy, in some ways she’s so true. Last Sunday I attended a fun day with my sister and then ended up at work for a few hours and this Sunday I met Hannah. Let’s see if next Sunday can be a home day and maybe even a pj day…

2018, Author Love, Blog Tour

Guest Post: Finding Jess Blog Tour By Julia Ibbotson

Today I’m pleased to share with you a truly gorgeous guest post by Julia Ibbotson….so without further ado…..

Location Ghana, West Africa

My latest novel, published this summer, Finding Jess, http://mybook.to/FindingJess the third of the Drumbeats trilogy, is set in Ghana (West Africa) and starts with: “Outside, the sun is beating down pitilessly, that sweet-sour stink of rotten meat and putrefying vegetables in the open drains at the side of the road. Yes, she knows that intense heat, that smell, the sound of the kpanlogo djembe and the donde, those kente-clad mammies, from all those years before …”

Jess is haunted by her experiences in Ghana when she was an 18 year old on a gap year, the basis of the first of the trilogy, Drumbeats, http://myBook.to/Drumbeatstrilogy where she is fascinated as a girl in 1965, by the whole idea of Africa: she looks around her in wonderment: “The streets were incredibly noisy, smelly, and bustling with people calling out to each other across the streets, jostling Jess. Swarms of little boys were again surrounding her, pushing at her for attention. The hot thick air stank of rotting vegetables, spices, melting tarmac. Jess pressed herself against the safety of the wall as plump women swathed in bright Ghanaian cloth swept haughtily past her. Their babies swaddled on their backs blinked passively at her with glassy eyes and long black eyelashes. Shallow platters piled high with tomatoes and mangoes were balanced on turban-bound heads, as the women made their way gracefully up and down the dusty streets, taking no notice of the foul open drains and the begging children around their feet.”

Ever since I spent time working in Ghana, I’ve been driven by the desire to write about this fascinating country. As a writer, I like to create stories set in a particular time and location, as those are the books I love to read myself, such as Dinah Jefferies’s far eastern novels and Kate Mosse’s Languedoc series. Wonderfully evocative!

I try to use all the senses to make the reader feel as though they are actually there, to make it as vivid as possible. I was therefore thrilled to have reviews that said: “beautifully written, conjuring up the colour and culture of the country”, and “feel the searing heat of Ghana burning off the pages.” How lovely! Then I had: “It’s a brilliantly crafted book where sights, sounds and even smells of the Ghanaian way of life are conjured up quite vividly… details … woven so well into the fabric of the story it becomes an essential part of the read” and even “Julia Ibbotson’s descriptions of Ghana instantly transport the reader there… It is very clear that the author has spent some time in Ghana as her knowledge of the country and its political strife is extensive. I love the symbolism of the drums throughout the book, making it so atmospheric.”

Many thanks to those readers, whoever they are! If my readers can feel the location too, I’ve done my job OK.

Drumbeats: http://myBook.to/Drumbeatstrilogy

Walking in the Rain: http://myBook.to/WalkingintheRainDrumbeatstrilogy

Finding Jess: http://mybook.to/FindingJess

All my books are available on Amazon, in ebook and paperback editions:

http://Author.to/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

But do check out my other sites:

Author website: https://juliaibbotsonauthor.com/

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaIbbotsonauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JuliaIbbotson

Pinterest page: includes boards with pics and images that inspired each book

http://pinterest.com/juliai1/

Goodreads author page:  https://www.goodreads.com/juliaibbotson

Thank you Kelly, what a gorgeous guest post that I’ve been able to read alongside my Beanies coffee.

2018, Blogtober, Uncategorized

World Mental Health day and remembering a beautiful soul.

Today is World Mental Health day but for the Boyzone army it’s another year without the beautiful soul of Mr Stephen Gately.

I remember that middle of the night, early hours of the morning when my besties sister came in to break the earth shattering news to us. I was half asleep and in full on denial, we had both charged our phones and turned them off – yup they were off lol. In turning them on we both had millions of messages. I was hearing from school friends who I hadn’t spoken to in years. Emma went and put BBC on and the news we hoped was a terrible hoax was in fact a devastating reality. I was so glad I was with my friend so we could be there for each other, I don’t think my eyes have ever been that sore.

Now 9 years on and that pain is most definitely still there. I love my Boyzone girlies and I would like to say they are friends for life – well I hope so anyway. I truly love that the Boyz have continued to honour Stephen and saying goodbye to the band that’s truly had my heart since I was a child just after my 35th birthday will be hard, but I know they will give us the best memories to treasure.

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

In regards to Mental Health I would like to say I always have an ear for anyone who needs it. Don’t suffer alone. I shared my personal story of how I’ve changed my life. There’s a number of things that effect our mental health and well being. I urge you to do at least one thing for you today….and then please let me know what you’ve chosen to do in the comments box.

I’m off to the theatre later this evening, I hope Stephen keeps the weather dry for me at the globe.

2018, Blogtober, Uncategorized

Bonfire Spice

I didn’t mean for today’s offering to be late again but it’s been a mixed bag of a day for me. So I thought I would do something a bit different for today’s Blogtober entry.

With Autumn comes the Autumnal drinks and this October Costa Coffee has brought out a Bonfire Spiced Latte – which can also be a hot choc also. I’m guessing in competition to Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte which is also a favourite of mine. Although I don’t drink half as much coffee since Slimming World and when I do it’s usually a skinny version these days.

Now I’m a huge lover of cinnamon and toffee and that’s what it has a hint of.

And if you prefer a cold coffee that options available also. I’m off to the theatre tomorrow evening so I may treat myself to a Bonfire Spiced Latte it’s definitely a winter warmer.

So have you enjoyed my ever so slightly short and sweet entry?

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, Top Ten Tuesday, Uncategorized

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Novellas/Short Stories

Top Ten Tuesday was created in June 2010 by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to The Artsy Reader Girl in 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I love reading memes from different bloggers and Fabulous Book Fiend aka Catriona regularly participates in Top Ten Tuesday. To start with I must admit I didn’t have a clue and I thought I just chose what to post, that is where I was wrong.

Recently I have either already had posts or had little to no motivation for the subject matter but Novellas/ short stories are definitely a subject matter I can get on board with.

Katey Lovell’s Meet Cute series are one of my favourite novellas. This is the last one I read and it was so different but extremely inspiring.

The latest Angela Britnell that I loved. This one brought characters from a previous novella The Reject Table – back and that warmed my heart.

This is a gorgeous start to a series and I hope to get back to these really soon.

I love Victoria Walters and I will share more of hers. I was in the middle of the Random Acts Of Kindness series when I discovered this short and oh my what a gorgeous gorgeous coffee break read go get it now.

Novellas are a favourite of mine and this weekend when the 24in48 readathon is on I’m hoping to dive into a few novellas maybe even finish the meet cute series.

I love novellas and if you know of one I may like feel free to leave a comment for me.