LIKES AND LOVES | MAY 2020

Hi everyone so it's the last Friday of the month so time to share with you my likes and loves for May. First of all how is everyone? I'm definitely finding lockdown more of a struggle recently and the easing of some of the rules is making me feel a bit better though. 

Blake's been back at school 3 days a week which helps as he wants to be around other children and also loves being able to play outside. 

Anyway on to my likes and loves for May.


Any items that are gifted to me for a possible mention within this feature will be clearly marked with a * 

Sonic the hedgehog movie
The sonic movie has had an early digital download release so I just had to purchase it. The 3 of us sat down and watched it together at the beginning of the month and it was brilliant. Definitely will watch it again pretty soon.



Never have I ever
I pretty much raced through the episodes of this one. I found it to be easy to watch and wasn't something you have to concentrate too much on to know what's happening.


Modern Love 
I spotted this whilst browsing prime tv. Each episode has a different story and characters it's a romantic comedy and episodes are just over 30 min long each. 


Normal  People
I've yet to finish the series but I've been enjoying it. It is actually based on the book also titled Normal People by Sally Rooney, although I've not yet read the book my self.
If you want to see it you can find it on BBC Iplayer and there are 12 episodes that are about 30 minutes long.



Weighted blanket
Blake is very sensory and we find that he gets frustrated easily. After seeing on some SEN pages about weighted blankets I researched which one to get and found that they can be very pricey. This one was the cheapest I could find which was just under £40 with postage included. It's been a lifesaver and Blake now asks for blanket time each day when things get too much for him. He's always wanting it for bed and have found since using it then he isn't getting out of bed as often. 


Quote sign
I'm in a gifting group on Facebook and one of the items I've been sent was this fab little quote sign.


*Bracelets from Julia's Healing Jewels
I absolutely love these Rose Quartz and Rose Quartz, Amethyst and Lepidolite bracelets. You can read my review about them here.

Orchids
My in laws sent me a beautiful pot of orchids this month. So far we've managed to keep them alive.

Duck Planter
Whilst I was in Aldi shopping for essentials I spotted this duck planter. I had to get it as it was the last one left. I've even named him Rafferty.



Original Source Sweet Rhubarb and Raspberry shower gel.
I needed a new shower gel and spotted this on amazon for £1 so decided to see what its like. I like the sweet scent,  the only downside is that it doesn't last long.


Kit Kat Cookies and Cream
Another amazon purchase I spotted these and thought I'd give them a try. They come in a pack 16 with 2 bars in each for £2 which isn't that bad. They really are good and I'm close to saying they are my new favourite chocolate.


Fibre one Birthday Cake Squares
We love these. Blake probably more so as he  keeps asking for them.


*Notebook from Executive pens
I absolutely love this design of the dream catcher. You can definitely tell it's a high quality notebook. I'm currently using mine as a diary. I love that it has a back pocket and 24 tare off pages at the back. The elastic closure is handy too.


Guardian  angel keyring
This beautiful guardian angel keyring is laser etched in crystal and so pretty. 

AT HOME FASHION WITH FEMME LUXE


Ad – I was sent these products and recieved payment for the purpose of this post however all thoughts are my own

I've recently come across fashion brand Femme Luxe who sell a wide selection of stylish and on trend clothing. They reached out to me to see if I would be interested in sharing some of their current fashionable pieces with you all.

Just because we are having to stay home at the moment due to the Coronavirus and being in lockdown, it doesn't mean we all can't have a little fun with what we wear and play a bit of dress up too. I get that some days you may just want to stay in your pjs or lounge wear but other days you may want to make more of an effort or even get out of your comfort zone by trying something new.

Why not dress up and enjoy a date night at home with your significant other, or if you have an occasion coming up for example such as a birthday or anniversary it can be good to do your hair, pop on some make up and dress up a bit. 

http://femmeluxefinery.co.uk/

Bodysuits are a great option as they can be paired easily with different styles of trousers such as the black cargo trousers pictured above or they can be worn with a skirt or leggings.

You can get many different styles of bodysuits - from casual ones that go well with jeans for that day to day look, to glam designs  such as a black lace bodysuit or even the one featured  above which is a metallic design which also has a mesh panel and is available in silver or rust colour combinations. These ones would look great teamed with a PU skirt or leggings. You can also get bodysuits that have long sleeves for when the weather is a bit cooler.


Dresses tend to be the go to when dressing up and a little black dress is the popular choice. Why not upgrade your little black dress for a little black corset dress. Corset dresses don't just have to be for when you are on a night out teamed with high heels after all. The one featured below is a corset dress that has a cupped bodice in a luxe faux leather material. It's a great figure hugging dress to show off your curves. Ideal for that date at home I mentioned earlier. If you aren't wanting to opt for black there are many other corset dresses available at Femme luxe in different colours, a white one for example would look great if you have a tan for example.

http://femmeluxefinery.co.uk/

Making more of an effort with what you wear during lockdown doesn't necessarily mean dressing up. You can still look stylish and put together by opting for casual wear that isn't just leggings, pjs or loungewear. 

Jeans are a go to for many women and are often considered a wardrobe essential. There really are many styles available from wide legged to high waisted to hide that mum tum, skinny jeans to ripped jeans.  The great thing about jeans is that all you have to do is add the right top and accessories to turn an outfit from day to night. 

If jeans are your day to day go to it's a good idea to have multiples of your favourite styles. 

http://femmeluxefinery.co.uk/

There are also many styles of trousers that are ideal for wearing when staying at home. Take for example these slim fit cargo trousers. The black pair looks great teamed with the bodysuit and these stone ones above would look great teamed with a casual top such as oversized one  for a comfy and casual look.  I love that they have multiple pockets which are always handy and they also have elasticated ankle cuffs too which are a great added touch. These cargo trousers are also available in many other colours and prints.

Talking of prints while staying at home it's a great time to get out those trousers you dont wear to work as the prints too out there or you have to wear a particular uniform. 


2020 READING CHALLENGE | WHAT I'VE READ IN MAY

So it's the last Thursday of May already which means it's time for sharing with you what I have been reading. After my first 2 reads of the month I really struggled with choosing what books to read and even started a few and couldn't get into them.  I did finally get out of that funk though and read another four. Prompts wise for the popsugar reading challenge I've ticked off two out of the six books read.


Darkness Rising By A.A.Dhand 
I picked this as it's a quick read and a thriller. It's the first book that I have read by this author and I really enjoyed it. The detective featured in this quick read is actually in a series of books written by A.A.Dhand. if you love crime/thriller genre than definitely give this a read.



Reasons to stay alive by Matt Haig
I ordered this as I was feeling really depressed and I'm glad I did as it's a must read for anyone who struggles with depression/anxiety.  Even if you don't,  I'd still give this a read as you most likely will know someone who has/had.  I love how honest Matt is with his experience and i found it relatable and inspiring in parts too.


The Art of making memories by Meik Wiking
I used this for the prompt a book with 20 or more letters in the title. Meik Wiking is author of The Little Book of Hygge and The little book of Lykke.  Unfortunately I didn't enjoy this one as much as I hoped. There are some great ideas however but it just wasn't my cup of tea.


Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
I am the star of screaming headlines and campfire ghost stories.
I am one of the four Black-Eyed Susans.
The lucky one.
A gripping and suspenseful physiological thriller  which I throughly enjoyed.


One of us is lying by Karen M. McManus
A YA fiction that's a mystery and a bit of a thriller. I loved it and raced through this book. There is a second book which I want to get my hands on. 



Little Women By Louisa May Alcott 
This is my current read and one I am determined in finishing before the end of May . I am loving the March sisters and their relationship with each other. This is for the prompt a bildungsroman. I actually had to look up the word which means " a novel dealing with one person's formative years or spiritual education".  I have the film that has Emma Watson in to watch once I've finished reading.


LITTLE MOMENTS 2020: 21/52 | THE TOOTH FAIRY

A few weeks ago we noticed before bedtime Blake had a wobbly tooth. He was quite upset by it and didn't understand what was happening. In all fairness we were not at all prepared for it.

So I took to amazon to find a book that would hopefully  explain it to him. I chose a Peppa Pig one as it looked like a great one to help Blake understand.

Blake has spent alot of time wobbling it with his tongue. To begin with he was upset and refusing to eat much but eventually he seemed to get used to it. We also noticed a few days later that another was wobbly as well.


Sunday evening I noticed one of the wobbly teeth was very loose and thought it wouldn't be too long until it comes out. Roll on first thing Monday morning when he pulls it out and lobs it across the room. Luckily we managed to find it and told him the tooth fairy was coming that night.

Blake wouldn't cope with having his tooth under his pillow so we said he pop it on the fireplace and the tooth fairy will still find it for him. He was thrilled the next day to find a shiny £2 coin in its place.

Friday we noticed wobbly tooth number 2 was loose and it eventually came out although we haven't found where it's disappeared as of yet. So Blake has been very lucky with the tooth fairy arriving twice in a week. She definitely needs to make sure she has enough shiny £1  coins now incase anymore happen to come out during lockdown.



LITTLE MOMENTS 2020: 20/52 | TURTLE TIME

I feel like the weeks are all merging into one at the moment. Blake has been back at school a few days a week for about 3 weeks now so the 2 days during the week that he is home we've not been doing much learning. 

However this week I saw that the National Marine  Aquarium in Plymouth are doing weekly lives on a Wednesday lunch time. So at 1:30pm we headed over to their Facebook page where this week it was all about their Green Sea Turtle who is called Friday. 


Blake absolutely loved it and I managed to grab a couple of screenshots from the live. It's all very interesting information about green sea turtles and information about Friday himself. It's a great way to get some learning in without children realising that's what they are doing.

You can also watch back the live as they now have the full video of the session up on their YouTube channel.


REVIEW | JULIA'S HEALING JEWELS

 Ad – Review. I was sent these products from  Julia's Healing Jewels for review purposes however all thoughts are my own.

I'm so excited today to share with you a lovely little business Julia's Healing Jewels. Julia makes and sells bespoke jewelry and accessories to suit any taste, style and purpose using semi-precious and precious gemstones that have healing properties.

I must admit I find it all very interesting what different gems can do. When Julia reached out to me interested in collaborating we discussed what gemstones would suit my needs first. It's no secret that I struggle with both anxiety and depression and so she reccomend some gemstones and it was decided to combine 3 gems into one bracelet.


First of all I have to share the packaging with you. Everything first of all came in this beautiful Silver bag with her business logo on. Inside the bag is one of her beautiful boxes which also is silver and  has the logo on. There was also a cute drawstring bag too along with information about each of the gemstones I was sent and their healing properties. 

I contacted her to thank her my goodies right away and she informed me that I should leave them on my windowsill that night as it was the last full super moon of the year, meaning it's was a great time to charge them. I was also advised that the rose quartz bracelet  can be worn at all times but the other one has lepidolite which is a gem that doesn't like water so to avoid when showering/bathing or swimming.



As well as the two bracelets she sent me she also sent me two gemstones that I can carry around with me so I thought I'd tell you a little bit about them first.

Jasper
Jasper is also a stone you  can meditate with. It's a stone for grounding and stability along with balancing the aura to a level of wholeness and peace. It's ideal for realising tension and anxiety and also for lending emotional support and courage.

Moonstone
Moonstone is for new beginnings. It helps to balance hormones, balance moods and providing calmness. It's also a stone of protection especially during childbirth, pregnancy and travel  by sea. Moonstone also happens to be the birthstone for June which happens to be my birth month.


Rose Quartz Bracelet 

Rose quartz is a stone of love, tenderness and sensuality. Not only is rose quartz the stone known for these properties its also  a crystal known for wonderful dreams in both adults and children making it a calming and reassuring gemstone. 


Rose Quartz, Amethyst and Lepidolite Bracelet 

These three gems were reccomend as there properties help for those who have anxiety like I do.

Amethyst 
Amethyst is a stone of spirituality and contentment and known for its metaphysical abilities to still the mind and inspire an enhanced meditative state.

Lepidolite 
Lepidolite brings deep emotional healing, soothing, and reducing stress and depression. It is one of the best mood stabilizers in the world of gemstones. It contains a high amount of lithium which is also used in anti-anxiety medication. 

Both of the bracelets are stretchy and sterling silver. They are absolutely beautiful and I love wearing them. The gemstones are absolutely beautiful and you can tell just by looking at them that they are high quality.


I'd love for you to support Julia's Healing Jewels. You can find her over on:


If you would like to buy from her you can find her shop on Etsy.

STAY AT HOME BOOK TAG

I recently came across the Stay at home book tag over on Evie Jayne's blog who I've recently started following for reading and book related posts. The tag is created by Princess of paperback over on YouTube. 

I've decided to join in as I love anything book related and it looks a fun tag.

1. Laying in bed – a book you read in one day 

There are many books I've read in a space of 48 hours. But the ones that spring to mind when it comes to in the space of a day, are by Cara Hunter. I absolutely love thrillers and they are my go to genre. I've read 3 of Cara Hunters books with the 4th currently sat on my tbr pile. I love how gripping and fast paced her books are.

2. Snacking – a book that is a ‘guilty pleasure’ read.

I'm not sure I'd call it a guilty pleasure exactly but there is a book that since I've been a teen I've read a few times and that is Before I die by Jenny Downham. It's such a heartbreaking and life affirming read its actually been awhile since I've reread it. The first time I read it I was 15 and then I read it again in my late teens and again in my early 20s. I can't bear to get rid of it when I cull my books. 

3. Netflix – a series that you want to start

I've watched Shadowhunters on Netflix and definitely want to read the book series by Cassandra Clare. There are some other series I want to read which aren't on Netflix or made into shows they are all the same kind of fantasy genre though:
- Games of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
-  A court of thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
- The Lunar chronicles  by Marissa Mayer 
- The Thrones of glass By Sarah J Maas
- Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 

4. Deep clean – a book that has been on your TBR for ages.

There are a good few books that have been on my tbr list for awhile and I've only got copies of them this year. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott , Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and The Belle Jar by Sylvia Plath are all classics that I've just never got round to reading although I plan to read them all this year. 


 5. Animal Crossing – a book you recently bought because of the hype.



There are 3 that spring to mind the first is The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary which I've absolutely loved and definitely worth the hype in my opinion. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell I've seen frequently in some of the book groups I'm in and I absolutely loved that one as well. The last one is Half a world away by Mike Gayle which I've yet to read but is on my tbr pile after seeing it in a few groups as a must read.





6. Productivity – a book you learned from or had an impact on you.



The book I can say that has has the biggest impact on me is a very recent one. I only picked it up last week and it's Reasons to stay alive by Matt Haig. It's honestly one of the best books you will read if you have a mental illness, struggled with mental illness in the past or even know someone who does/has. 


7. Facetime – a book you were gifted

 I am very particular about books and very rarely let people choose them for me, hence why I have an Amazon wishlist dedicated to books. Stuart however gift ed me two classics for Christmas last year that I'm excited to read. The first is Little Women that I mentioned above that has been on my tbr for ages. Then there is Rebecca by Dephane Du Maurier.

8. Self care – what is one thing you have done recently to look after yourself


I've been making sure I have time to myself to read each day.  I also love having a relaxing bath and facemask at least once a week. 



BONUS – An upcoming release you are looking forward to.


There are quite a few that I've got my eye on:

- The Book Of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult - 
( October 20th 2020)
- Liar by Lesley Pearse (June 25th 2020)
- All The Lonely People by Mark Gayle (July 23rd 2020)
- The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 
( August 20th 2020)
- Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell ( August 6th 2020) 

I tag:

SENSORY FUN WITH CRAZY SOAP

Ad – Review. I was sent some Crazy Soap Play Foam in return for this review but all thoughts are my own.
Blake loves bath time but sometimes we need to make it more fun for him. Blake is a sensory seeker and crazy soap have saved us a few times now with their bath products to make bath time more fun. 

Blake use to hate playing with shaving foam and so the foaming soap was a no go for him. However after taking a shine to shaving foam when he started school we wanted to try foaming soap again.


Crazy Foaming Soap is a mild and gentle formulation of mouldable foam, that allows children to explore their creative side, whilst cleaning their delicate skin. Use in the bath or use for sensory play away from the bathroom. 

Write numbers and letters on the bath tub to encourage learning through play, or let your little artists draw shapes on the tiles! For giggles galore, gently press the nozzle and spray foam snow into the air or fill their hands with foam and watch the delight on their faces as they clap it into a flurry of foam.


I didn't want to overwhelm Blake to begin with and put the foam in the bath incase he then refused to stay in there. So instead I grabbed a good sized tub to put some in for him to explore first. He was actually really happy to explore the tub and so that evening we decided to add it to the bath.

It's been a huge hit with him and we've actually run out of the stuff now so I need to see if I can find some more and stock up.  The spray cans are a good size and you do get quite a bit in them too so worth the money.




LITTLE MOMENTS 2020: 19/52 : CELEBRATING VE DAY

The first bank holiday in May usually falls on a Monday but this year it was moved to the Friday due to VE Day 75th Anniversary. Because of lockdown we obviously was staying at home but we still wanted to celebrate. 

Quite a few people I've seen on Facebook celebrated in various ways such as picnics in the garden or socially distancing street parties and decorating there homes in red, white and blue.


We still celebrated but with a more relaxed approach. I had completely forgot to decorate the house but we still did our 1 minute silence at 11 am and I showed Blake a video I had come across of the red arrows across Lincolnshire. You can see the screenshot I grabbed below.

I love history and WW2 is something that really interests me and I loved learning about it in school and that's also probably why I enjoy a histological fiction book based on that period. Both my Grandfather's were in the army during that time too.


I'm not a tea drinker these days and much prefer a steaming mug of coffee however my little way of celebrating VE Day was to enjoy a cuppa in the garden along with a cream and jam cake. Blake also took an interest in the cake and enjoyed one of his own,although of course it was only the cream and jam he ate.


We also spent most of the afternoon in the garden. Blake was kept entertained with his water tray. I added colour changing bubble bath so not only was there bubbles but the water was blue too. I had a chance to sit in the garden and just enjoy reading a book whilst Stuart was doing his own thing inside.



Did you celebrate VE Day's 75th Anniversary? 

FAMILY CARE HAMPER WITH HIGHLAND FAYRE

Ad – Review. I was sent the Family Care Package from  Highland Fayre in return for this post but all thoughts are my own.

Lockdown is certainly a strange time for us all. You maybe  worried or worried about a friend or family member shopping for essentials. Highland Fayre have put together some care hampers filled with everyday basics aswell as some treats that can be delivered directly to your door. So you can stay home and stay safe.

Highland Fayre care hampers start at just £29.10 for an essential hamper up to £63.69 for the care package box. We were gifted the family care package that retails at £49.56.


As you can see the hamper has alot of items and contains the following:

- Whispers Gold Ultimate Luxury Toilet Tissue (x4)
- Robinsons Apple & Blackcurrent Diluting Juice (1L)
- Robinsons Real Fruit Orange Diluting Juice (1L)
- Brodies Scottish Breakfast Tea (x20)
- Forest Feast Dry Roasted Peanuts (300g)
- Mackie's of Scotland Sea Salt Potato Crisps (150g)
- Valledoro Grissini Rustici Breadsticks (100g)
- Lifestyle Vegetable Oil (1L)
- Baker Street 4 Soft White Rolls (270g)
- Baker Street Loaf of Sliced White Bread (550g)
- Wright's Baking Madeira Cake Mix (500g)
- Cabico Swiss Roll (300g)
- Mrs Bridges Scottish Raspberry Preserve (113g)
- Mrs Bridges Celebration Marmalade & Champagne (113g)
- Border Biscuits Lemon Drizzle Biscuits (150g)
- Abbey Biscuits Traditionally Handmade - Chocolate Brownie Biscuits (150g)
- Epicure Whole Kernel Sweetcorn (300g)
- Epicure Petit Pois & Baby Carrots (400g)
- Latin American Kitchen Arroz Rojo Spicy Red Rice with Tomato, Onion, Garlic and a hint of Chilli (250g)
- Joe & Seph's Smooth Caramel & White Chocolate Popcorn (32g)
- Werther's Original Traditional Butter Candies (135g)
- Copperpot Real Englsih All Butter Fudge (150g)

Each care hamper comes with a free digital thermometer which is super handy to have.


We are really impressed with products featured in the hamper and it's such a great option to send to a loved one who may not be able to get out at the moment.

*I decided off my own back after receiving the hamper to donate some money to our local food bank as they have set up a just giving page recently.