Thursday, 31 December 2015

Goodreads Reading Challenge 2015

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I made the effort once again this year to spend more time reading. And with the purchase of a Paperwhite Kindle, it really encouraged me to read more when on-the-go. We had a relaxing summer holiday this year too, so I managed to read around 6 books throughout the week, actually enjoying for the first time in many years, relaxing in the sun by the pool, getting lost in other peoples lives and worlds for a few hours. At that time, I tried to find books that were either based in Italy (where we spent the holiday) or summer-related. I really find that it helps me feel a part of the book if I am experiencing a similar environment myself. I also discovered (or maybe I already knew) that I have a real fondness for Second World War Paris fiction, I really love that era. This year, Goodreads sent me a link to some trivia relating to my challenge...
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My Goodreads Reading Challenge last year was 15 books which I just about managed to get through. This year I raised it slightly to 20 books but ended up with the outstanding result of 36 books, which I am so pleased with. You can this year's challenge here and you can view my profile and/or follow me here.

Do I aim for 25 books next year.... or 40??
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1. How You Can Talk to Anyone in Every Situation - Emma Sargent & Tom Fearon
2. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
3. Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 - Elizabeth Winder
4. The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
5. The Perfume Collector - Kathleen Tessaro
6. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion
7. Elegance - Kathleen Tessaro
8. What's French for WTF? - Gwen Ellery
9. Tuesdays at the Teacup Club - Vanessa Greene
10. The State We're In - Adele Parks
11. The Dress Thief - Natalie Meg Evans
12. Big Little lies - Liane Moriarty
13. Silence - Natasha Preston
14. Lessons from Madame Chic: The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris - Jennifer L Scott
15. Broken Silence - Natasha Preston
16. The Marriage Plot - Jeffrey Eugenides
17. Game of Scones - Samantha Tongue
18. Rachel's Holiday - Marian Keyes
19. #Girlboss - Sophia Amoruso
20. How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style and Bad Habits - Anne Berest
21. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
22. The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty
23. Techbitch - Lucy Sykes
24. Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter
25. My Salinger Year - Joanna Rakoff
26. Searching for Grace Kelly - Michael Callahan
27. Kiss Me First - Lottie Moggach
28. The Dress - Kate Kerrigan
29. The Milliner's Secret - Natalie Meg Evans
30. Wind/Pinball - Haruki Murakami
31. Secrets of Paris: Paris for Beginners: An Insiders Guide - Vernon Coleman
32. The Vogue Factor - Kirstie Clements
33. The Flirt - Kathleen Tessaro
34. The Debutante - Kathleen Tessaro
35. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear - Elizabeth Gilbert
36. Magic Sometimes Happens - Margaret James

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Liberty Beauty Advent 2015, Part 3

Here is my final part to the contents of the Liberty Beauty Calendar 2015, you can view Part 1 here and Part 2 here. I was a little disappointed this year that they had not included the Liberty hair salon £25 voucher and the free Sisley facial voucher, as I really enjoyed planning my trip to London in the New Year to take advantage of these. But I would guess that the practical limitations of offering these to 3500 customers might have proved a little difficult last year! Nonetheless, I can't recommend this calendar enough, it really makes waking up each morning in December that little bit more special!

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Day 18 - Malin + Goetz Moisturiser
Day 19 - Omorovicza Refining Skin Polish
Day 20 - Dr Sebagh Serum Repair
Day 21 - Surratt Lipslique
Day 22 - Liberty Soap
Day 23 - Nuit et Bali Dry Shampoo
Day 24 - Eve Lom Cleanser
Day 25 - Diptyque Tubereuse Candle

Sunday, 27 December 2015

A Christmas Breakfast

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One of my favourite things about the festive period, is the ability to enjoy a good breakfast every day in leisure. Being off work for a couple of weeks means there is lots of time to potter around the kitchen, having the patience to come up with different breakfast ideas and the time to sit down and enjoy them. 

This particular day we enjoyed breakfast courtesy of Brioche Pasquier, the French Family Bakery which originated in 1936. I was sent an amazing box full of some of their most popular products - Pain au Chocolat, Brioche Loaf, Brioche Rolls and Croissants.* These would be great to have stocked in the kitchen for recipe ideas, bread & butter pudding for example would be amazing, but I decided to use them in their original format, baking the Pain au Chocolat and Croissants in the oven for about 5 minutes, and toasting the Brioche Loaf in the toaster. We ate them with lashings of butter and jam and were such a quick and simple breakfast to make. And with my home smelling like an original French bakery, these delicious crispy and buttery baked goods were the most amazing festive treat.

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In association with Brioche Pasquier

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas Eve

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Merry Christmas Eve! It's finally here, the time of year I wait all year round for. I went on my annual father-daughter trip to Bettys this morning and now I am all snug, in the warmth of my childhood home, waiting for Santa. Although truth be told, I did decide to wear a Christmas present from my boyfriend a day early. This Sessun coat from Liberty has beautiful Liberty print lining, such a classic that I'm looking forward to wearing in the coming months. 
Hope you all enjoy this festive season, Merry Christmas!

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Wearing: Sessun for Liberty Coat ~ Zara Dress ~ Stuart Weitzman Boots ~ APC Handbag ~ Tabio Tights ~ Dior Rings ~ Apple Watch
Beauty: Chanel Profund Lip Pencil ~ Chanel Etienne Lipstick ~ Smith & Cult Nail Polish in Lovers Creep

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas Flowers

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If there is one time of the year I like to have my house in order, it is at Christmas-time. More time spent at home, cosy and warm throughout a winter of dark nights. And once the tree goes up, it is a time for twinkly lights, sweet smelling candles and any other decorative extras I can think of to make my home more Christmassy. I don't buy flowers too often, so when I do either receive some as a gift or even bought as a present for myself, they really feel like a treat and I seem to appreciate them so much more!

I was very happy to be offered the opportunity of another stunning bouquet* from Debenhams Flowers as part of their Christmas range. I chose the Designer Velvet Rose Bouquet, a glorious mix of scented oriental lilies, roses, berries and silver birch. The purple hues work really well in my home and I think this bouquet really stands out as a centrepiece! There are many more colour ways of bouquets to chose from on the site, as well as some of the more traditional seasonal flowers of hyacinth, amaryllis and azalea.

Debenhams are again offering my readers a discount to order from their site - 25% discount using the code DFBLOG25 at checkout (exempt only is the small range, Flowers by Post)

Christmas Delivery times - 9pm 23rd December is the last day to order in time for the last delivery date of 24th December - no orders can be taken on 24th for Christmas delivery until after Boxing Day.

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