Friday, 25 January 2013

Book Review - the Last Letter from your Lover - Jojo Moyles

sourced: bookdepository.com

I received this book off the boy for a Christmas pressie as I loved a previous book of hers that I had read, Me Before You (review to follow).

I find the way her books are written allow you to get lost in the storey, it doesn’t require much brain power (which I have very little left of at the end of the day), and keep you captivated until the very end. 

the Last Letter from your Lover is a gorgeous romantic novel that completely entangles you and made me want to be one of the characters so I could immediately know if it was a happy or sad ending.

The book is set between modern day and 40s/50s London. We are introduced to Ellie who is in the midst of an affair with a married man with whom she feels hopelessly in love with, and is sure he will leave his wife for her. She is a journalist who comes across ,in the archives, a love letter asking someone to leave their husband, from decades ago. To escape the reality of the shitty affair she is caught up in she immerses herself in finding the author of the letter, and that is how we are transported back to the 40s/50s London where women were essentially just a pretty thing that accompanied their husbands to events (well in high class society anyway). We share the story that is Jenny (a married woman) and her lover Anthony. Will they live happily ever after even though it appears life is determined to keep them apart? Is that letter truly the last letter from her lover?

As a lover of all things 40s/50s the descriptions of the clothes and style allowed my imagination to run away with me and I really wished I had a flux capacitor (Back to the Future fans) to bring me back to those days where I could be a mindless beautiful lady of leisure!!  

I also felt huge frustration at Ellie, just wanting to shake some sense in to her to tell her the affair was never going to work, but was I wrong and did it all turn out good in the end for her?

Each chapter is divided by a snippet of real life ‘last letters’ (letters/emails/texts) which the author sourced from real life people, and some famous ones too!

If you are looking for a romantic easy read to turn off all your real life thoughts in the evenings I highly recommend this book. I have another JoJo Moyles waiting to be read on the bedside locker and I can’t wait to get stuck in.
 
My one and only problem with this book is that it finished too soon; I wanted another 10 chapters to follow these great characters a bit more!

Have you read any of JoJo Moyles novels?? What did ye think??


Les Miserables - Movie Review




I grew up hearing from my parents and friends parents about the spectacle that was/is Les Miserable on the big stage. It was one that always stuck in my head, that image of the little girl in rags with the french flag in the background. I was dying to see it in London but alas that didn’t happen (yet) so the second best option was to see it on the big screen.

sourced: yourbestlondon.com

Let me start by saying I LOVED IT... I loved the costumes, the music, the songs, the intensity, (the nachos), the EVERYTHING!!

Based on the novel by Victor Hughes, set in 19th century France which leads us through the life of prisoner Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman – what a man) who skips parole and for years thereafter is hunted by Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). His paths cross with Fantene (Anne Hathaway) with whom he makes a promise to find her child Cossette (Amanda Seyfried).  (Skip a few years ahead) when the man Cosette loves, Marius (Eddie Redmayne) is in danger fighting in the Revolution, Jean Valjean knows he must help him, however he runs in to Javert once again.

Ladies if you are bringing a non musical loving boy with you, he may look suicidal byt the end (as mine did). It is a full 2 ½ hours of singing, but wow does that time fly because its flipping AMAZING!!!

I wasn’t quiet sure what to expect from Russell Crowe or Hugh Jackman in singing roles but wowzers do they do themselves justice.

I think you will either love or hate this film. If you love musicals it is def for you. I know a few people who have seen the show and say this movie does it justice. So get your little arses to the cinema to see it if you haven’t already.

Have you seen it, what did you think??

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Try something new in 2013!


I heard on the radio earlier that today is the day that most people ditch their new years resolutions. BOOOO!!!!

Although it wasn’t one of my new years resolutions, I thought that trying something ‘new’ may have been one of yours therefore I have come up with some suggestions.

Join a dance class:
Dancing in the community games variety shows was one of my favourite things when I was smaller, and when I joined a dance class before I went to London I equally enjoyed it as much. This is an activity you can do alone, and it can be reasonably inexpensive. There are various different types of dance you can try; African, tap, salsa, modern, hip-hop, Irish dancing. I personally love a bit of tapping, I’m not great now but it is loads of fun!!!

sourced: http://showproductioninstitute.blogspot.ie
See a musical:
I flipping love a good old musical, however I have only been twice in my adult lifetime, and both times was to see the same show ‘Wicked’. I nearly fell off my chair yesterday when I heard Bord Gáis Theatre was running it later this year. CAN NOT WAIT!!! There are a variety of other shows on up there such as Hairspray, 9 to 5 and The Lion King (a wimbua a wimbua...in the jungle). If you haven’t been to a musical before, I would definitely recommend going to one and experiencing in real life what all the fuss is about. Check out the Bord Gáis website for all the listings.

sourced: tickets-4.co.uk

Join a sports team:
Something I like to think I have quiet a lot of are friends, however with my immediate circle either having babies, travelling, working at weekends I sometimes find myself at a loss, so I’ve been trying to think what I can do to keep myself active/busy and make new friends all at the same time. Join a team, or re-join a team. I’m sure many of you played some GAA back in the day, so why not look at getting back in with your old team, or if you fancy sticking to the ‘new’ part try something else in your area such as hockey, netball, basketball, tag rugby, or rugby. I think joining a new team as an adult isn’t half as daunting as when your a smallie, and adults teams are usually crying out for new members. A good way to find new teams is to contact your local sports partnership who should have contact info.

sourced: http://standrews.schoolpartnership.org
Holiday at home:
I constantly have itchy feet, but this year I have decided that my itchy feet will take me to places that I have never seen/been to. I am the first one to tell people from foreign lands about how wonderful Ireland is, however I haven’t been around half of the country. I’m sure for a lot of you this is not a ‘new’ thing, and if that’s the case please throw your suggestions at me!!! For those of you who are like me I can only suggest to you get in a car without a strict plan and head off!! My first destination will be Lahinch, Co. Clare some weekend in March. I’ve heard numerous things about the place so its time to try it for myself! Other places on my list are cork, Donegal, Kerry, and the lovely Galway. I find Fáilte and Discover Ireland's sites pretty good too if your looking for things to do etc! P.S keep a travel diary, you will have loads of fun reading back on it in years to come with your kids/grandkids, but remember keep it clean ;)

source: tripadvisor.com

Take up a course:
This is something that is constantly in the back of my head, but I never seem to have the money to do it, but this year it is on my priority list. I’m in the process of picking a course at the moment, and working out money wise what i can afford etc! You could chose to do something as a hobby like dress making, knitting, drawing, cooking, music lessons, or something more academic like learning a language, ecdl, sign language. Your local VEC website is pretty good for looking up courses and a lot of the time they are run in schools etc at night. On the other extreme you might look in to doing a masters, or even go as far as choosing a whole new degree. If you are thinking new degree, get your CAO application in pronto they close early Feb (as far as i can remember)!!!

source: wizardofdraws.com

Explore your taste buds:
This is something I started at the end of last year, its slowly becoming a tradition in my Mam’s house that on a Friday we (and by we I mean me) cook something new, and from scratch where possible!! I have been posting a few recipes we have tried, but I do have a few more to stick up.  Getting ideas is soooo easy, pinterest is the source for almost all the stuff we have tried, it truly does inspire!! If you are scratching your head not knowing what pinterest is, get yourself over to the website and have a nose. Its essentially a giant pinboard, categorised, and when you click on a picture it generally links you to another web page for full details/recipes/instructions etc. There are also amazing food bloggers out there, you could spend hours looking at mouth watering treats. A few of the ones I follow are on my reading list if you want a nose.

source: 123rf.com

I hope I have inspired at least on of you reading this, and as always I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions!

Có x

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Skin Matters: What I'm using on mine.

I blogged a couple of months back about the joys (horrors) of having teenage skin at 26, and I felt I should let any of you who are interested know whats been happening with my skin since then and what products I've been using. 



Lets start with the basics, for those who don’t know anything about my skin, here is a quick run through:
My face is combination with oily around the tzone.
Most of the bad acne appears around my jawline. I get black heads and blocked pores around my nose and mouth area too.
On my shoulders I get pretty bad spots, really big and sore, and most of the time puss filled. A few blackheads thrown in on top of them too.
On my back they tend to be smaller spots but still yellow heads sometimes.
My chest flares up is now and again with a few red ones.

I have been  back to the doctor since my last post to get this issue sorted once and for all as some days I really feel like its taking over me. He explained that basically it’s a bacterial infection that causes the spots and therefore an anti-biotic was needed to clear them up. I got a different tablet than last time, Minocin (two a day) and a topical cream, Duac, for the affected areas.
I have a tube of Duac from the last time I got it prescribed, so I can’t remember the cost (sorry). The tablets were in and around €56, and you get about three/four weeks in a pack.
I have a confession, I haven’t been taking the tablets cause when I started them I also started antibiotic for a sinus infection, lets just say they didn’t mix well and I was very very dizzy. Gonna start a fresh today (Tuesday 8th Jan).

I have been using the Duac most nights on affected areas, have to get someone else to do the ones on my back though which is a pain in the arse (and slightly embarrassing sometimes). I have found that my skin does become a bit dry from it but I can live with that cause it does help a bit, but I haven’t noticed any show stopping results yet. Hopefully when I start the tablets it will be better. Oh another thing to take not of if your a first time Duac user, it will mark your clothes, looks like bleach has splashed on them, so beware of your fave jim jams and bed sheets!

Going on medication was definitely a last option for me so if your only starting down the route of getting rid of acne, I would recommend trying out as many readily available products as possible.  There are 1000’s out there so get as many samples as you can from the likes of boots before you go out and spend a fortune on a range that doesn’t suit you. Its worth noting that it will take a couple of months before you see results so as painful as it is, try and remain patient. 

Here are the products I’ve been using on my skin for the past number of months (excluding eye makeup remover, eye cream etc). Although the acne hasn’t cleared up, I have noticed a huge difference in the congestion of my skin.  

Cleanse:
I always wash my face it makes my skin feel cleaner, in the morning I use warm water alone, but in the evening I use The Body Shop seaweed deep cleansing facial wash to get rid of my makeup.
Tone:
I use toner to ensure no dirt can get caught up in my pores, at the moment I am using the Lush lavender spray toner, and a Lancome one.

Hydrate:
After reading on beaut.ie a few weeks ago about how there were serums out there that would specifically rehydrate the skin without making it more oily, I new I had to jump on the band wagon. I have been using La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense serum and its actually a lifesaver. I tend to use it at night time, and then maybe every second or third day during the day. However I have just learned from Dee over on vivaadonis.com that she uses this then sets her moisturiser on top of it.

Moisturise:
A lot of people with oily skin tend not to moisturise in the fear that it will make the skin oilier, however if you get one specifically for combination/oily skin you will be fine, remember a good SPF is important too. I am using the Body Shop's Seaweed moisturiser at the moment and find it really great and lightweight.

Exfoliation:
I exfoliate once a week when I am in the shower. Ensure you use something that is not too grainy and scratchy on the skin as it might irritate it. Again I have been using the Body Shops Seaweed exfoliation gel. It is so important to unclog your pores so try to get in the habit of doing this.

Masks:
My favourite mask to use, once a week (if i remember) is Lush Mask of Magnaminty. It specifically targets acne and it can be used on your back and shoulders too.

That's it for now, I will report back in two months after taking the tablets properly and see if there has been any difference. I’ll take some photos to that I can compare.

If your going through a similar journey to get clear skin I’d love to hear all about it!

Thanks for reading,

pssssttttttt: mid writing this I stumbled across a great post from the girls on VivaAdonis.com check it out: Acne Arsenal