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Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Woman He Loved Before By Dorothy Koomson


After reading the hype and other reviews about this book I was genuinely excited to be getting a copy to review. I've not read any of Dorothy Koomson's other works but do enjoy both a good romance and a good mystery story and that it what I found this book to be, good but not great.

The story begins with the main characters being involved in an accident and in flashbacks you discover more about them, how they met and their relationship together.

Jack is a man who seems to constantly be trying to crawl out of the shadow of his Father. Libby is Jack's insecure second wife constantly worrying that Jacks deceased first wife means more to him than she ever could. Finally there is Eve, Jack's first wife who has been dead for some time and yet her ghost lives on all around the characters. There are many other characters around these three but these are the main ones and those most important to the story.

After the accident we mostly follow Libby as she recuperates and watch as she uncovers Eve's diaries. We learn along with Libby about who Eve really was and what her life was like before she met Jack and during her relationship with Jack. We learn all the little secrets in her life and see the repercussions once it is made known the diaries have been found.

Like I said before, this is a good book, the storyline has a lot of positives to it but the main supposed twist was easy to spot coming chapters before it happened, it was more a case of "OK I was right" than "Oh I never saw that coming" and I found that the book just didn't grip me. When I find a book I love reading (and there have been many) I have trouble putting it down but with this one I had trouble picking it up so even though it is a good book, don't be swayed by the hype, it might not live up to it for you either!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Oops!lol

Well, I know I'm late again with my weight loss update but (as I expected) I put on a lb this week, it was my birthday though and the cake and wine were well worth it ;-)

A few of us seem to have lost our luck recently, it's a shame when that happens and it can make it hard for some people to keep going with the entries when there is so little return but thankfully I have some wonderful friends online and we all keep each other going when times are lean because these times do happen, they don't last forever, you just have to try and keep going for as long as you can and hope that the tide turns again :-)

Hopefully one day soon the comping fairy will be spotted headed our way again though and she'll smile down on us all :-D
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Sunday, 27 March 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

Thank you so much to my friends and family who have wished me a happy birthday today. It really means a lot that you've thought of me today and I do appreciate it :-)

I'm having a lovely day so far, Dave's spoiled me rotten with gifts:
and he's said he's going to take me out for a drive in a bit, there are some lovely parks round here as well as the New Forest and the seaside a short drive away and it's always good to get some fresh air when he's about :-D

He's also cooking for me today, I've made it as easy on him as possible, I'm having my favourite M&S ready meal a chicken & broccoli pie (more on this subject to come at a later date!lol) He did ask if I wanted to go out for a meal today and at first I did but I've done so well with my diet I don't want to fall too far back in one day, although I will a bit ..... I have birthday cake (OK swiss roll) in the cupboard!lol

Monday, 21 March 2011

Another Week.......

.....Another diet update!

Well, I've been on the Slimfast 1,2,3 plan for 10 weeks now and everything still feels like it's going well for me, I cant see any difference looking in a mirror but can feel it in some of my clothes. I've lost a total of 25lbs which works out at 2 and a half a week which I'm really happy about, yes, I'd love to lose more and get down to my target quicker but I've done that in the past and I've always ended up putting it all (and more) right back on again. This time I want it to stick and that's part of why I'm enjoying this diet plan I think.

I get to have 2 milkshakes and 3 snacks each day alongside a main meal. I know some people worry that it wont be filling but it is, or it is to me and the snacks you can have aren't restricted to being their own ones like you are with the shakes, you can have any snack up to 100 Kcal and some, like fresh fruit would be quite a lot of snack to fill that number of calories!

......and now for something completely different!

 This week I read on Splodz Blogz about the moon being the closest it's been to us for a while (here) so I took my coolpix up to Dave's telescope (hopefully one day he will find the D ring for the DSLR again!lol) and snapped this pic :-)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Encore Valentine (AKA Brava, Valentine) By Adriana Trigiani

I was recently sent this book by the authors page over on Facebook and when I received it I just had to dive right in after seeing the cute cover even though having read the synopsis (below) I knew this was the second book to one I haven't read.

It really proved not to be an issue as the characters are written so well you get to know them here as much as you would do in any book so don't be put off if you haven't read 'Very Valentine' either although I am going to now!

As Encore Valentine begins, snow falls like glitter over Tuscany at the wedding of Valentine's grandmother. Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, artisans of handcrafted shoes in Greenwich Village since 1903. Valentine's dreams are dashed when her grandmother names her brother and nemesis Alfred her partner at Angelini Shoes. A long-distance romance with the sexy Gianluca who lives in remote Tuscany seems impossible so Valentine tries to devote herself to her work. A once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity takes Valentine to Buenos Aires, where she finds a long-buried secret hidden deep within a family scandal. Once unearthed, the truth rocks the Roscallis, but Valentine is determined to hold her family together. More so, she longs to create one of her own, but is torn between a past love that nurtured her, and a new one that promises to sustain her.
When I first started to read this I was a bit discouraged by a couple of longish passages in Italian and a discussion which included a list of (famous?) names I'd mostly never heard of but I decided to ignore those very minor irritations for now and carry on as what I'd read about the book intrigued me.

I'm so glad I did, not long after that decision was made I was hooked, learning about the relationships and traditions between Valentine's family and friends and seeing how they all relate to each other. Cheering Gianluca on with his wooing of our heroine and yes, I did shed a few tears when events called for them, I had got that caught up with everyone and everything going on!

I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but in this case I think you should. The more I look at the cover on this book, the more details I see and that's just how this storyline works as well, the longer you read it the more details you pick out and the more you can understand the motivations of the characters involved. Yes, this is definately a Chick Lit novel but there really is nothing wong with that and if a few of the people so prejudiced against them would pick up and read some of the better examples (like this one) they would discover that for themselves.

Oh and right at the back there is a lovely bonus, some recipies inspired by the characters of Very Valentine!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

WooHoo .......... Bingo that is ;-)

Yes I'm one of those women who enjoy a good game of Bingo but over the years I have tried to keep my habit firmly under control as I have very, very little luck with this game, my love is very definitely unrequited!

Now I've found a great way to feed my love for the game without breaking my bank and it's all thanks to WooHoo Bingo (http://www.woohoobingo.com) It's a free bingo site which also has prizes, you play with points that get topped up each day and you can earn more points by participating in a variety of challenges around the site and also on Facebook.

The CM's are great, very helpful and run chat games very often for points which you can either take yourself or donate to someone else who might be running low at that time. Quite often the players do donate, it's a very friendly easy going place to hang around if you have some spare time or just enjoy the feeling of online bingo but maybe like me just aren't one of the lucky ones who either win enough to be able to pay for it or can afford to pay for it anyway.

Alongside winning more points on a lot of the games you can also win stars, Bronze, Silver and Gold ones. You can trade up Bronze for Silver and Silver for Gold once you have enough and these in turn can be traded back for more points to play with or if you're very patient and let them build up there are also vouchers, subscriptions and hampers on offer right now.
The above image shows so much easier how the whole system works on there just have lots of fun, I am and I can see a lot of my friends are starting to as well since it was mentioned earlier today, it's really good to see some friendly faces in the rooms although the people in there are really friendly anyway.

So what are you waiting for, get over to http://www.woohoobingo.com now, it's free to register and you could be playing (and winning) in a few minutes time instead of still being sat there thinking about it ;-)

Snacks!

Most of us love to snack but the majority of snacks are our waistlines worst nightmare.

Some that claim to be healthy are just low fat and loaded with sugar instead. Others which are healthy are tasteless and mostly textureless but there is a middle ground which some products fill quite nicely.

There are the Slimfast and Weightwatchers snacks which are really nice and most are under 100Kcal which fit nicely into the diet I'm doing which allows for 3 100Kcal snacks a day, but there are also a lot of other foods that can be snacked upon which fit into this sub 100Kcal category.

Most of the cereal bars fall into this category as well and some, like the Sainsbury's White chocolate and strawberry are really delicious and inexpensive. Many yoghurts also fit this area too and if you really want low cal, make a jelly (sugar free ofcourse!lol) and perhaps top it with a sugar free whip to make it feel like a trifle!

But then there comes a time when you just fancy something simple and easy and that's where I fell back to today, one of my favourite things to snack on when I was growing up..
a Golden Delicious apple :-D

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Nom nom nom!

Some days I really wish I didn't love to cook! I'm being assaulted by smells from the kitchen and even though it doesn't look that good right now
 I know it will be when it finishes cooking but it keeps tempting me to go and have a nibble .... I have to resist as it's not even finished yet, all that's in there are the mushrooms, leeks, chicken, tin of tomatoes and the spices, still needs peas, tomato puree and either potatoes or rice but they go in later once all this lot have shared their flavours around!lol

I actually really love this dish, it's so simple and uses nearly all of my favourite veggies and I can adapt the spicing of it to suit what mood I'm in, today's has got a curry feel to it with loads of chili as well to make it a little bit hotter (good for clearing the sinuses!lol) I just wish it didn't smell so yummy so long before it's finished cooking!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Palmolive Thermal Fresh

I received this shower gel last week to test out and I figured I'd add my thoughts about it here as well for my blog readers as well. I took 2 pics to see which I liked best then couldn't decide as the one with flash shows the label better but the other one shows the colour more true to how it is so anyway, here's what it looks like:
The first this I noticed about this was the almost total lack of scent, there is a hint of something there but it is so faint and delicate that I found it impossible to explain what it is and this to me is a huge downfall already as I love scents and when in the shower I want to be enrobed by a wall of them and enjoy each and every one as I work my way through the products I use. I love having scents layered on me starting at the point of getting clean and fresh,

The scent aside, I found this to be a very good shower gel, it is a little runny but used on my puff it was fine and produced an amazing amount of the softest bubbly foam I have had from a gel in a long time. It was a very rich foam, almost whipped in texture and felt very moisturising on the skin. After rinsing my skin felt soft and just right, some of these mineral shower gels have left my skin feeling tight in the past but this one didn't have that affect, it just left my skin feeling good.

So all in all, I don't think I would buy this variety again as the scent issue is a big one for me but I will be looking at the rest of the range and especially the Aroma Therapy varieties to see if I can find a good match for my preferences there :-)

Wooooo 21 today!

Well after a quiet couple of weeks with the diet it's kicked off again this week, 4lbs down which makes for a total loss of 21lbs :-D

Not sure what I've done differently really but I am feeling a lot more energetic these days and clothes are fitting which haven't for a year or so so I'm really pleased and raring to go with losing more.

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to not do more right now but I know from past times that when I've tried to do too much I've ended up hurting myself and being laid up for a while really demotivates me so I know I have to be good and just plod along. Hopefully by the summer I'll have lost enough and have become strong enough with what I am doing that I can add in some more regular exercise to my days but on a good note, the house is nice and shiny, well, housework is a great way of getting rid of excess energy and since it has to be done anyway, doing a good job with products that need a bit of elbow grease kills two birds with one stone :-)


And in Pokemon news, I won my 5th Gym badge this morning, I'm playing on the White version and I'm not rushing through it, I'm playing at a steady pace and enjoying it, my team are all lever 35 or above right now and seem to be working well together but I think I'll need to add a water pokemon in soon, really feels odd not having one but it's been working for me and especially with not being able to fish yet! Oh well, I'd better keep going, I have a feeling I should be getting the Black one in 2 weeks time ;-)

Vibrating Massager Sponge

This is definitely the fruitiest strawberry I have ever come across as well as it being the largest!

At 17cm x 15cm x 10cm the sponge is a nice handful without being too big to be easy to use. Without the massager attachment the sponge is heart shaped, quite firm and holds up well when wet. When using it for bathing purposes I found it to be slightly abrasive but only in as much as it buffs away the dead skin so I would advise using a creamy shower gel with it to give your skin a nice soft feel and healthy glow.

The massager part of the unit is concealed as the greenery on the top of the strawberry. It fits snugly in so there is little chance of it accidentally coming apart and revealing your secret to anyone who doesn't know ;-) It's powered by 2 AAA batteries (not supplied) and has variable speed although the write up on the website (http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/vibrating-massager-sponge.html) doesn't indicate this. The loop through which the hanging cord passes is the power adjuster and on/off switch.

In testing it so far I've found the batteries do seem to last well and the motor has got a good amount of power in it for massaging those aches and pains away or whatever else you decide to use it for!lol For the price, I'd say this is a great gift and one that caused more than a few giggles!

This is on sale at  findmeagift.co.uk for £9.99

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Shopping for Free!

Towards the end of last year I was lucky enough to win a £200 shopping voucher, it took a while to sort out between them getting lost in the post and address problems but it turned up a few weeks ago. £200 to spend at the West Quay shopping centre in Southampton ..... YAY!

My first thought was to treat myself to a 3DS when they come out but after hearing so many negative points about them recently I've decided against that for now (but I really wouldn't complain if I won one!lol) so instead I decided to get a DSi XL, I looked at which shops have a branch at West Quay and priced the console up and today off we went. After buying the console and game bits that I wanted there was a tiny bit left so I also got a nice new pair of slippers as well


Shopping is so much more fun when someone else has paid for it for you :-D

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Diet Update & the PS3 move!

I just noticed I haven't reported in this week on my progress well, it's another 2lbs gone so I'm really happy with that :-D

We've also recently received the move system for the PS3, I had assumed it would be much like the Wii and can be playing sat down without much activity needed for most of the games, I was so wrong!

You have to line yourself up with the camera to play and it tells you off if you go out of vision, yes, you can be lazy with it but it is so much fun and I found I got quite competitive when playing against Dave. I'm mostly playing Sports Champions at the moment, I'm getting quite good at archery and the gladiator battles are really good fun.

I used to enjoy games like Street fighter before controllers got more buttons than I have fingers to use them and this takes me back to that but it's better as you use 2 controllers, one as your shield and the other as a sword/club. It makes controlling the character very easy and makes you so much more involved when you see your character doing what you do, I can see it being good therapy against bad moods too ;-)

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

My magnetic bookmark

Quite some time ago now I was lucky enough to have been chosen by thatcompanycalledif (@IFgifts) as a winner of one of their twitter competitions. I had won a bookmark and yes I can already feel you all switching off and not being interested but I really hope you'll hear me out on this one :-)

I confess to being a very disorganised reader, apart from with my ereader (which bookmarks pages for me) I have tended to use whatever comes to hand to mark my page and so since I also happen to be incredibly clumsy I tend to lose my place very often but no more, not with the wonderful bookmark I have now! As you can see from the image it is shaped to fit over the page and clips together through the page with the magnets on the lower edges. The bookmark itself is quite sturdy and feels like it will last a long time for me.


They come in a wide variety of designs but unfortunately they only sell trade amounts themselves from what I can see, I have seen a few on Amazon and I'm sure if you wanted one the company themselves would be able to point you in the right direction :-)