Thursday, 15 March 2018

REVIEW | Still Me | Jojo Moyes

Still Me is the third book written by Jojo Moyes following Me Before You and After You. I am a HUGE fan of the first book in the series, Me Before You, and would highly recommend you giving the first two books a read before diving in to the latest as she makes a lot of references characters that have appeared in the previous two books. Louisa Clark, the narrator and main character is loyal, down to earth and absolutely hilarious; Moyes captures her personality brilliantly along with a lot of new characters that are introduced.

Still Me is all about Louisa Clark saying 'yes' to new things, so she takes on working for the super rich family, The Gopnik's, hundreds of miles across the pond in New York, leaving ambulance Sam behind, confident that she can make her relationship work long distance. Lou is determined to make the most out of her experience and throws herself in to her job and New York life. A woman with her feet in two places in the world, Louisa finds herself asking, 'Who is Louisa Clark?' as she is faced with challenges at work, strains on her relationships and emotional heartache.

I loved how the book asked questions about identity and belonging. As someone who has struggled to know their place in the world, I could really relate to her trials and tribulations that she experienced. The book left me feeling inspired to go after the things I want and love in life. At the end of the day, we are only here once and I for one am inspired to take on Lou's attitude of saying 'yes' to more things and not being afraid of failing because failing is just a learning curve and things will get better.

I found that though not as gripping and ripe with emotion as the first book, Still Me, offered both Louisa Clark and us as readers some closure. If you have read the first two books then I am sure you will agree. I really relate to Louisa as a character and enjoyed her journey exploring not only New York but also herself.

If you haven't read Still Me yet then I would definitely recommend picking up a copy as it is a good read. If you have read it, what did you think to Still Me? Did you enjoy it as much as the first two books? I'd love to know your thoughts so please leave a comment below.

Love Amber x

Friday, 9 March 2018

Prestige Flowers Review*

Hello Flower ;) I hope you are well and are finally enjoying the change in season.I am so ready for sunshine, daffodils and spring showers. What was with that snow that hit the UK at the beginning of March?! The snow is gorgeous when all you are doing is watching it fall from your window at Christmas time, but when you've got to get yourself to work and back, it really is no fun. (Us British love a good chat about the weather don't we?) But now Spring is here, and hopefully it's here to stay! 

Don't you just love receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers? I am lucky enough that my boyfriend is spontaneous and will have flowers delivered to work here and there and he never disappoints on special occasions. I am a big lover of bringing the outdoors indoors with my potted plants or seasonal flowers, so when Prestige Flowers invited me to review one of their beautiful bouquets, of course I said yes. 

Presentation is everything when you send a gift such as flowers so I was impressed when the flowers were delivered to me in a sturdy, pretty box, it even had my post lady peering in through the gap! Inside the box were the flowers wrapped in luxurious papers and placed carefully in to a custom Prestige Luxury Collection bag. The flowers were delightfully fresh and smelt incredible.  

With Mother's Day around the corner (11th March 2018) these flowers would make the perfect gift to dazzle your mum and spoil her for all the wonderful things she does. The Lomond bouquet is priced from £34.99 with optional added extras for that extra special touch. I was also gifted a soft, cuddly Prestige Flowers teddy bear, tasty British crafted chocolates and a perfect sized vase to showcase my flowers. It really did blow me away as the entire gift was so beautiful.

Something else I found very thoughtful was that there was a Flower Care Guide included inside, this tells you how to initially cut your flowers and place them into water with the complimentary flower food and then how to look after your flowers to get the most life out of them.

I don't tend to order flowers online, as I like to take a trip to a florist, but the overall experience I have had with Prestige Flowers has encouraged me to do it more, whether that be a treat to myself or to a loved one. The online experience means you can add that extra bit of luxury and wow factor. I can't wait to show off my flowers to my family and friends. 

What's your favourite flower and how do you buy flowers for yourself or for others? I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment below. 

Love Amber x

*Prestige Flowers sent me this item to review. The review is 100% honest and written in my own words.


Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Sleep Matters with Feather & Down*

I have spoken about sleep several times on my blog, from help and advice to night time self care as I really struggle with sleep; not just the dropping off part, but staying asleep too. So when Feather & Down invited me to try some of their products to help me drift away to the land of nod, of course I said yes. I love the name of the brand Feather & Down too, doesn't it just remind you of fluffy pillows and cosy duvets? 

I received a lovely package containing their Melting Shower Cream, All Purpose Sleep Balm and Pillow Spray, also referred to as '£7 sleep in a bottle'. All of these products are designed to help the mind and body unwind, encourage a state of relaxation and wellbeing for a restful nights sleep. The concept of the brand is fantastic - they seem to understand that 'sleep matters' and everyone deserves a good night sleep so have kept their products luxurious but not too expensive. Feather and Down offer a wide range of products from bath and body to home fragrance and I love that their products can become part of your bed time routine. 

I am an avid user of pillow sprays and this is by far my favourite one so far. A few spritz goes a long way. Lavender and chamomile combinations are one of my favourite scents so I really do love the smell of this product. I think my brain now associates the smell with bed time which is great because it has really started to help me not only fall asleep, but also to stay asleep.

The product I was most intrigued by was the Sweet Dreams All Purpose Sleep Balm as I had never tried anything like this before. You just apply it to your pulse points which makes it last longer due to the beat of your heart and let the lavender and chamomile aroma do it's work. I loved this little pot of relaxation and would highly recommend it. I struggle to sleep in new places such as hotels so it is the perfect size to take in my travel bag and help me get some shut eye.

I also really enjoyed the shower cream. Though I tend to shower in the mornings and bath in the evenings, I have found that the scent of the cream relaxes me when I use it in the morning. If you like to shower at night then this will easily become part of your night time routine.

I definitely want to get my hands on the home fragrance items (in particular the candle!) as I love, love, love the smell of the range and find it very calming and relaxing. I've found my new favourite pillow spray and am looking forward to trying more of Feather & Down.

What do you do to help get yourself to sleep? Do you have a night time routine? 

Love Amber

*Feather & Down sent me these items to review. The review is 100% honest and written in my own words.


Monday, 5 March 2018

Carlsberg Brewery | Copenhagen

The Carlsberg Brewery surprised me. This was by far my favourite day from our entire trip to Copenhagen last year and I really didn't want to go in the first place... Carlsberg, to me, has always had negative connotations as it's a cheap lager over here in the UK, and for most people, it's not their first choice. I'm not a massive lager drinker, but let me tell you now, it's tastes so much better in Copenhagen and there are so many different types to choose from!

So what do you actually do at the brewery you ask? First of all, you go on a tour of the place; you get to see their vast collection of beer bottles, how the lager is made and the history of Carlsberg. It's actually very interesting as it's absolutely HUGE and there is a lot of information to sink in. 

You can also take a tour surrounding the Carlsberg brewery via horse and carriage! It's a nice little touch but you got to be quick as it fulls up pretty quick. They had the most magnificent shire horses as you can see pictured below.

Upon entry, you get two drinks included, we also opted to go to a beer tasting session which turned out to be a great laugh. We were the only English in the room! We were paired up with another young couple from Sweden who were absolutely lovely and recommended we visit Stockholm which we plan on doing at some point.

We were given three beers to try - Weissbier, Porter and India Pale Ale, my favourite was the Weissbeer as it was sort of sweet tasting. I didn't really like the Porter as it had a strong aftertaste, similar to Guinnes.

Though it doesn't seem like much alcohol, it went straight to our heads (my head in particular) as it's pretty strong percentage wise, which led to a very eventful and fun walk back to the Metro station. I was drunk in the middle of the day, wondering through the streets of Copenhagen - can't get much better than that!

I wasn't really interested in breweries before I visited the Carlsberg Brewery so it's taught me to keep an open mind and go with the flow when exploring abroad. It's not something I would have done if it wasn't for my boyfriend Stu, so I'm glad he encouraged us to go.

Have you ever visited a brewery? I'd love to visit the Heineken one in Amsterdam! 

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Nine Positives in February

Hey! I hope you're having a wonderful day so far. I posted all about my January favourites last month and you all seemed to love that style of post so I thought I would do it again and make it a monthly thing! I love writing personal posts and I hope you enjoy reading them and getting to know me a bit better too. Feb was a bit of a quieter month for me but OMG how quickly did it fly by?! January seemed to take it's sweet ol' time but February made me wish 2018 would slow down a little. So here's what happened in Feb: 

1.Val passed her MOT
If you hadn't already guessed, Val, short for Valerie, is my car. I have driven A LOT over the past year as I commuted to and from my old job after I moved in with my boyfriend. It only lasted a few months but I was SO worried that she wouldn't pass after failing on her break discs and pads last year. But she passed! Hurrah! 

2. Listed my new Copenhagen print on Etsy!
At the end of February I ordered a load of my prints of my Copenhagen painting to try and start stocking my Etsy shop a little better as I hadn't listed anything since before Christmas. I am hoping that once I build up a bit of a stock list, my little shop will become a bit more popular as I would love my budding illustration business to take off. 

3. Imagine Dragons at the Genting Arena
I LOVE Imagine Dragons and LOVE them even more after seeing them live. They were absolutely fabulous! We went to TGI's for dinner before, had dinner and a few cocktails, shopped a little in Resorts World - it was the perfect Date Night and I was buzzzzing afterwards. 

4. Spruced up the house
If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I have recently done a bit of a spring clean in the house and bought a few bits to spruce it up a bit. I moved in to my boyfriends bachelor pad so I had to add a few girly touches to our home until we buy something a little bigger together in the future! I bought a few new lamps for the living room and bedroom, spare-room bedding, a pink chunky knit throw for the bed and a few other bits and bobs. 

5. Shrove Tuesday
I love pancake day. I love pancakes! Who doesn't? My favourite toppings are usually nutella, strawberries and squirty cream but this year we went for maple syrup, bacon and blueberries on top of American style pancakes - so scrummy! 

6. Valentines Day
Stu and I didn't have much time together on Valentines Day this year as we both had work and then went straight to puppy lessons so we decided to do the whole gift thing the day before (let's be honest, it's just another excuse to spoil one another isn't it?) I bought Stu a new leather wallet and made him a cute card but Stu pushed the boat out and spoiled me rotten! He bought me some pearl earrings from Pandora, two boxes of my favourite chocolates, fake peonies (screamed at the inner blogger in me that 'he gets me') and cute card with a Dachshund on it saying 'I woof you' - how adorable?

7. Signed up to Blogsphere Magasine
I FINALLY did it! I signed up to Blogsphere Magasine and became part of the gang. The first issue I received was great and I found it very inspirational and I found a load of new bloggers to support. I'm really looking forward to receiving the next issue this month. 

8. Wheatcroft Garden Centre
I feel so old when I say this but who doesn't love a good garden centre? I remember when I was a kid and I used to hate most of them (unless they had an art supplies section) and thought it was the worst day out. But now, it's the BEST day out. So many pretty indoor plants, herb garden inspiration and and a cute cafe on top! What's not to love? 

9. Hit my social media goals
Once again, I am over the moon that I hit my social media goals. I'll break it down so you can see how I challenge myself and track my progress:

Start of the month:         Goal:         End of the month:
Twitter: 2,419                   2,600                   2,715
Instagram: 1,595               1,750                   1,925
Bloglovin': 332                    350                      376
Pinterest: 12                           20                        77


Thursday, 1 March 2018

March Goals & Ambitions

Can you believe that February is already over?! January went by so slowly and then February was over in a flash! This has concerned me a little as I felt like I didn't get much done in February and I really need to do more in the coming months in terms of personal life, illustration and blog work. SO, each month I am going to make a small list of some goals and ambitions to reflect on at the end of the month; this way I am holding myself  accountable (and you should too) to reach these goals as it's written right here on my blog, my tiny peice of the internet.

1. Get my butt to the gym/pool.
Not going to lie... this was an aim for February that I just didn't make the time for (I know, I know, it's naughty) I am the heaviest I have ever been and have started shying away from being on camera because I'm noticing the weight in my face and I really don't like it. The only way that's going to change is by me getting more active and improving my diet.

2. Have a meal plan for every week & eat healthily.
I wrote a post on how I have started planning my meals recently, and I fully intend to stick to it throughout March. Not only will this save us money, but it will also encourage healthy eating as home cooked meals are of course better for you than fast food. I have also given up fast food for Lent to try and get me out of that lazy habit of not cooking dinner. I can cook, and I can cook well if I do say so myself so there really is no excuse.

3. Post on my blog at least twice a week.
I posted on my blog 6 times in February which is a big improvement but not big enough in my book. I want to work on my SEO and DA, and to do that I need to post regularly so you lovely people have plenty of reading to do on my blog. I'm planning on sharing more travel, food, beauty and well-being related posts and have a few already written up so I've made a good start!

4. Produce more stock for my Etsy.
I recently listed my Nyhavn in Copenhagen print on my Etsy store which I got really excited about. I haven't got much other stock and need to make sure I am consistent with this. I also want to take on more opportunities to work with other people such as small businesses and wedding stationary. I might even mock up some designs so that it showcases the skills I have as right now I don't have much to show off.

5. Visit somewhere new. 
For this I am thinking a local National Trust, a country park or a new restaurant. I need to step out of my comfort zone and explore my relatively new surroundings as I only moved to Leicestershire a couple of months ago. Leicestershire is such a beautiful place so I really must make the time to see more of it, rather than the same old stuff every weekend.

6. Seek brand collaborations.
This is something I started to do towards the end of February and have a couple of collaborations lined up for you to read about in March. I want to build my credibility and put my all into my creative work to start earning some money from my blog. I'm getting there slowly but surely and know that to begin with I will have to work for free in order to build on these opportunities in the long run and I don't mind that.

What are your goals and ambitions for March? Do you set yourself goals at the start of each month to tick off and reflect on?

Love Amber x

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