July Reads

July was a GOOOOOD month for books. Great, in fact. Check out what I was reading…

 

Wilde Like Me

Wilde Like Me / Louise Pentland

Meet Robin Wilde! You’ll make a friend for life and she’ll take you on a journey you’ll never forget …Single mum Robin Wilde adores her six-year-old daughter and loves her job as a make up artist’s assistant. She has a wonderful best friend and an auntie who is bonkers, yes, but loves her to the moon and back. But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things just feel … grey. And lonely. She struggles to fit in with the school mum crew. Online dating is totally despair-inducing, and she worries every day about raising her little girl with self-confidence, courage and joy.What Robin longs for is someone (over the age of six) to share with – someone who’s always on her team. After 4 years (2 months, and 15 days!) of single-mum-dom, it’s time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life. Exciting new opportunities are about to come Robin’s way … Perhaps a man, perhaps the chance of a lifetime …What will Robin do with the possibilities she creates for herself? And what potential will she unlock if she takes the leap?

Ahh, I had pre-ordered this and was so so excited when it arrived! I absolutely love Louise and just knew it would be a great read. It was so so funny at parts and I laughed out loud quite a few times!

 

My Not So Perfect Life

My Not So Perfect Life / Sophie Kinsella

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed. Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers. But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they? Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business. Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems. And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

This was hilarious from start to finish! I absolutely loved Katie. She’s one of the loveliest yet funny and straight talking characters I’ve ever read about. I love the plot and the ending and pretty much everything about the book. Although I was still so unsure of Demeter!

The Out of Office Girl

Out of Office Girl / Nicola Doherty

Alice Roberts is having a rubbish summer. She’s terrified of her boss, her career is stalling, and she’s just been dumped – by text message. But things are about to change… When her boss Olivia is taken ill, Alice is sent on the work trip of a lifetime: to a villa in Sicily, to edit the autobiography of Hollywood bad boy Luther Carson. But it’s not all yachts, nightclubs and Camparis. Luther’s arrogant agent Sam wants him to ditch the book. Luther himself is gorgeous, charming and impossible to read. There only seems to be one way to get his attention, and it’s not one her boss would approve of. Alice is out of the office, and into deep trouble…

A good book. Very easy read. Not a life changing book or anything but a really simple feel good read.

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Behind Closed Doors / BA Paris

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows. Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

Ohhhh, I loved this read. If you love a good suspense book then this is the one.

 

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The A to Z of Everything / Debbie Johnson

P is for Paris where it all began. J is for Jealousy where it all came undone. But the most important letter is F. F is for Forgiveness, the hardest of all. Sisters Poppy and Rose used to be as close as two sisters could be, but it’s been over a decade since they last spoke. Until they both receive a call that tells them their mother has gone – without ever having the chance to see her daughters reunited. Andrea, though, wasn’t the kind of woman to let a little thing like death stand in the way of her plans. Knowing her daughters better than they know themselves, she has left behind one very special last gift – the A-Z of Everything.

This was such a heartbreaking read. I related so much to Rose at the beginning but ended up loving Poppy just as much! Really conveys what grief is really like!

 

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Finding Audrey / Sophie Kinsella

Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.
Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start.And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

I think this story is an excellent representation of what it’s like living with social anxiety. I think it is a great way to educate young adults about anxiety and mental health in general. I was gutted that we didn’t get to find out what actually happened to Audrey at school.

 

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A Summer Fling / Milly Johnson

When dynamic, power-dressing Christie blows in like a warm wind to take over their department, five very different women find themselves thrown together at work. But none of them could have predicted the fierce bond of friendship that her leadership would inspire…Anna, 39, is reeling from the loss of her fiance, who ran off with a much younger woman. Her pride in tatters, these days Anna finds it difficult to leave the house. So when a handsome, mysterious stranger takes an interest in her, she’s not sure whether she can learn to trust again? Then there’s Grace, in her fifties, trapped in a loveless marriage with a man she married because, unable to have children of her own, she fell in love with his motherless brood. Grace worries that Dawn is about to make the same mistake: orphaned as a child, engaged to love-rat Calum, is Dawn more interested in the security that comes with his tight-knit, boisterous family? When a sexy, footloose rock singer catches her eye, will Dawn have the courage to follow her heart? At 28, Raychel is the youngest member of their little gang. And with a loving husband, Ben, and a cosy little nest for two, she would seem to be the happiest. But what dark secrets are lurking behind this perfect facade, that make sweet, pretty Raychel so guarded and unwilling to open up? Under Christie’s warm hand, the girls soon realise they have some difficult choices to make. Indeed, none of them quite realised how much they needed the sense of fun, laughter, and loyalty that abounds when five women become friends. It’s one for all, and all for one!

As you know by now, Milly Johnson is my fave author! And I absolutely love when she has more than one main character. I loved all the girls stories in this novel.The characters are all so realistic and you go through ever emotion with them!

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Stillhouse Lake / Rachel Caine

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom. With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace. But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

I was quite disappointed in this book to be honest. I felt like the book was so slow until the final 100 pages. I never give up on books but almost did with this one but I am glad I didn’t as the ending was great. I just wished more had happened earlier on in the book.

Have you got any recommendations for me? Let me know!

Much love,

louise-x

July Favourites

I feel like July was a reallllllllly long month but I don’t feel like I have many favourites at all! But the few things I was loving this month, very super amazing!

 

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NYX / Contour and Highlight Palette

I’d had my eye on this contour kit for so long and when I was in Milan, I bit the bullet and treated myself. I wasn’t sure how effective it would be on my skin as it’s a powder kit but I was so pleasantly surprised. There are different contour shades, some lighter and some darker which is great for different skin tones. I personally use the lighter tones as I’m quite pale. The highlights are just amazing! Again, there are four shades, and my favourite is the first shimmery one. When I wear it I feel like my face has been carved by angels. I love this product so much and what is great is that it is refillable and completely affordable at only £18.

NYX / Butter Lipstick / Mary Janes

I absolutely adore NYX lip products. And when I seen this absolutely gorgeous red shade, I had to have it. I’ve been obsessing over red lips recently, even though I can’t pull it off like Cheryl Blossom in Riverdale. Honestly, make up goals. I love this shade by NYX and it applies so smoothly. It can get a bit messy if you’re drinking coffee etc but it does last pretty long.

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Bellapierre / Cosmetic Banana Setting Powder

This product honestly sets my make up so well. I tip some onto my skin and leave it for a bit then brush the product over my face. I don’t use powders on my face anymore as it feels too heavy and it feels like it’s clogging my skin but honestly, this powder is so lightweight so I have been using it every day to set my makeup!

 

Love Island

I’ve been a Love Island loyal since season 1 and rooted so much for Hannah and Jon and in season 2, Kara and Nathan. Now season 3 has come to an end, I am lost. I haven’t really backed a couple from the beginning this season but I absolutely love love love both Camilla and Jamie. I was so chuffed for Amber and Kem winning cos they proved so many people wrong. Now I have Love Island blues.

 

Wilde Like Me

Wilde Like Me / Louise Pentland

Meet Robin Wilde! You’ll make a friend for life and she’ll take you on a journey you’ll never forget …Single mum Robin Wilde adores her six-year-old daughter and loves her job as a make up artist’s assistant. She has a wonderful best friend and an auntie who is bonkers, yes, but loves her to the moon and back. But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things just feel … grey. And lonely. She struggles to fit in with the school mum crew. Online dating is totally despair-inducing, and she worries every day about raising her little girl with self-confidence, courage and joy.What Robin longs for is someone (over the age of six) to share with – someone who’s always on her team. After 4 years (2 months, and 15 days!) of single-mum-dom, it’s time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life. Exciting new opportunities are about to come Robin’s way … Perhaps a man, perhaps the chance of a lifetime …What will Robin do with the possibilities she creates for herself? And what potential will she unlock if she takes the leap?

Ahh, I had pre-ordered this and was so so excited when it arrived! I absolutely love Louise and just knew it would be a great read. It was so so funny at parts and I laughed out loud quite a few times!

And I think that’s it for this month! What have you been loving?

Much love,

louise-x

Louise Chatters: July

Well well well… What a busy month! I think anyways. I feel like I’ve not had a minute to myself all month but obviously that’s not true. I’ve spent most weekends socialising though which is good for me!

At the beginning of the month I took a trip home to meet my friends newborn. It was an incredible weekend and I had so much fun! And baby Lewis is an absolute beaut!

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I had a tapas and gin filled night with Karina, Elliot and Emma and it was such a chilled out and great night! The food doesn’t actually look that appetising but it was SO yummy!

Some of the girls from home came down for Sophie’s birthday and it was such a good night! I’ve not had a night out like that in such a long time and it was just so fabb!

Sophie and I treated ourselves to a spa day at the end of the month and went through to Falkirk for lunch and massages! It was such a lovely and relaxing day and we were both absolutely exhausted by the end of it. Tough life, huh?

I started Slimming World mid July and I’m actually enjoying it so much! I’m not going to the groups or anything because that’s just not me but I’m doing it online and I’ve lost 8.5lbs in two weeks! Chuffed doesn’t even cover it. So I’ve been doing lots of meal prep because I cannot be bothered to cook some nights after work! I’ve still been having the odd treats but shhhh.

 

Michael, Sophie, David and I also went to a Vintage Bus Museum in Fife. We had been drinking the night before so I wasn’t 100% myself but I honestly had such a good day! There was so much to see and it was a really interesting day out!

My mental health has been SO good this month so I’m taking it as it comes. There’s nothing better than feeling good! I’ve been doing lots of self care and reading lots and lots which has been making me super happy. And as always, the people in my life have been super fabby.

Fingers crossed next month is just as good! What have you been up tlouise-xo?

Much love,

 

How I Unwind ft. SENSSE

At least once a week I try to have a mini pamper night to unwind from work and just life in general. This most likely involves the same process as others, a deep conditioning of the hair and a good face mask. Nothing beats feeling chilled! For others, it’s probably not a big deal but for me, it’s an hour where I completely shut myself off from everyone and practise self care. I absolutely love a good pamper and a proper good soak in the bath but unfortunately, our little flat doesn’t have a bath so I try to make up for the relaxing I would do in a bath in other ways.

During my weekly unwind, I take longer on my skin care and give myself that little extra TLC. I absolutely love the feeling of a completely fresh face.When I got the chance to review SENSSE Silicone Facial Cleansing and Exfoliating Brush, I was quite excited because I absolutely love anything that can go with skincare and make you relax at the same time!

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When this arrived I was immediately impressed by the packaging. It was so simply yet so modern and definitely gave off the impression of a luxury item. It came with a charger which I think is fab as I can never find batteries for anything! It also came with an extremely sparkly wallet thing that you can keep the brush in but I am not to keen on the style so that’s been put to one side.

If I’m being honest, I was pretty sceptical about the product itself. I didn’t think using a vibrating cleansing brush would add any relaxation or significance to my skin care routine at all but I was wrong.

I used the brush alongside Lush’s 9 to 5 cleanser which was such a great combo. I apply the cleanser as per normal and then switch the brush on and use it in gentle circular motions over my whole face. It’s actually so surprisingly relaxing as if I was getting a massage on my face. You can increase the intensity of the vibration of the brush which as I turned it up, it felt a bit too much but I guess that’s personal preference. I usually use cotton pads to remove my cleanser but I left it on for quite a bit longer when I used the brush and it felt like it was proper absorbing into my skin. I felt so fresh faced after and have used the brush a good few times since! 20630090_10159195835310512_533665048_o

The brush is so easy to clean, especially if you need to wipe away any excess cleanser, however, there was no product left on it once I had used it which I found very impressive. It’s such a handy size and is definitely perfect for travelling!

For me, using the cleansing brush is a bit too much effort to use as part of my everyday skin care routine but that’s because I don’t spend as much time as I probably should. I will continue to use this during my weekly pamper session though as I really enjoyed the effect it had on my skin. Overall, I was so impressed with the SENSSE Silicone Facial Cleansing and Exfoliating Brush!

What do you do to unwind? Is skin care part of it?

Much love,

louise-x

June Reads

This month I have only read 4 books which is really not like me! To some, 4 may seem a lot but I read ALL the time so usually get through a couple more. Saying that, some of these titles were a lot thicker than I’d usually go for which explains it all.

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Who’s that Girl / Mhairi MacFarlane

What’s the one thing you DON’T do at a wedding? When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, her boss suggests an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?
 Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgey, layabout sister.When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

I absolutely LOVE Edie. She is such a a great character. I fell in love with Elliot right away. Such a lovely, feel good book. Slightly unrealistic but these are the sort that make me completely switch off.

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The Queen of Wishful Thinking / Milly Johnston

When Lewis Harley has a health scare in his early forties, he takes it as a wake-up call. So he and his wife Charlotte leave behind life in the fast lane and Lewis opens the antique shop he has dreamed of. Bonnie Brookland was brought up in the antiques trade and now works for the man who bought out her father’s business, but she isn’t happy there. So when she walks into Lew’s shop, she knows this is the place for her.
As Bonnie and Lew start to work together, they soon realise that there is more to their relationship than either thought. But Bonnie is trapped in an unhappy marriage, and Lew and Charlotte have more problems than they care to admit. Each has secrets in their past which are about to be uncovered. Can they find the happiness they both deserve?

If you’ve read my monthly reads before, you’ll know that Milly Johnson is my all time favourite author. The Queen of Wishful Thinking is her newest release and I was so excited to get my hands on it! Obviously I fell in love with Bonnie straight away, as I always do with Milly’s protagonists. What a talent she has!

 

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The Villa in Italy / Elizabeth Edmondson

Four different people are named in a will – Delia, an opera singer robbed of her voice by illness; George, an idealistic scientist; Marjorie, desperately poor & unable to dislodge her writer’s block; & Lucius, whose personal life is in chaos. This is a tale of four strangers summoned to a grand but neglected villa on the Italian coast.

I was gifted this book by my colleagues at work for my birthday but I thought I would leave it until my holidays in Italy. And I’m so glad I did. This is not the usual kind of book I would read but I absolutely adored it. So much effort and research was put into the setting and characters that it makes you feel like you are familiar with the setting. The book is full of mystery and it’s so hard to put down! I loved every minute of reading this book!

 

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Small Great Things / Jodi Picoult

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.
Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.It is about opening your eyes.

This book was so beautifully written and extremely relevant. There was so much emotion in the book and I feel like it really did open my eyes. I urge you to read it.

 

What have you been reading this month?

Much love,

louise-x

Louise Chatters : June

Hellllllo! Another month is over and what a month it was! June was absolutely fantastic!

It was holiday month and what a fab time I had away. Michael and I went to Italy which was INCREDIBLE. We went to Milan, Florence, Pisa and Lake Garda and of course, there’s a full post on each one (still working on the Lake Garda one.) We honestly had the most amazing time together and it was a well-needed break, especially for Michael. Although we were busy the whole time when we were away, I really feel like I switched off and I really needed it. I did use social media but not constantly so I really did feel like I got away from everything.

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At the beginning of the month, I got to catch  up with my uni boys which was absolutely AMAZING. Two of them had been away travelling so I hadn’t seen them altogether since Grad Ball. I had such a good night with them and we had such a laugh.

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I got to watch my friend Katie graduate this month with a 1st class honours. So so happy for her and she deserves it so much!

I only had a couple of therapy sessions this month as I was away but they were pretty good. We talked about relationships and friendships etc and it has made me realise just how much I’ve grown in the past few years. YAS. Go me.

I have had such a great month spending time with Michael and I don’t think I show my appreciation for  him as much as I should. He is honestly the best. Soppy I know, and such a poor quality picture but he honestly melts my heart.

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I’ve been feeling quite positive about my appearance recently. My skin is behaving so well and it makes such a difference in how I feel about my appearance. I’ve also started using Bondi Sands to give myself a bit of colour which makes me feel so much better than being super pasty (not that there’s anything wrong with it, I just like being tanned.)

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I’ve also had so many realisations this month. One being that life is far, far too short. It’s made me try and push myself out of my comfort zones more and do more things with my  evenings after work. It’s made me realise the importance of being positive and trying to get any negativity out of my life. I think I’m going to make a list of how I can achieve this and push myself further.

I have started running again and it feels so good! I need to keep at it because it benefits me so much. I really want July to be a good one so I’m going to do everything I can to make it great.

I think that’s it for this month. What have you been up to?

Much love,

louise-x

 

Pisa

If you’ve been on here recently, you’ll know Michael and I took a trip to Italy which we had been planning for some time. I was so so ecstatic to have some time away from home and work and to just explore and relax. We went to Milan, Florence, Pisa & Lake Garda and had the most wonderful time. Italy has stolen a big piece of my heart and I will definitely be returning! I wanted to share some of my photos and write about my favourite memories from the trip so that in the future, I can look back and remember. I took quite a few photos so I have split my trip into four posts. Read about what we got up to in Milan and Florence too!

During our trip to Florence, we decided to hop on the train and take a day trip to Pisa. Michael had warned me that there’s not too much to see in Pisa, and that the main attraction was the tower. So I set off that morning with low expectations.

He was right that we wouldn’t need more than a day there, but I thought it was still absolutely beautiful! We knew we had a wee walk to get from the train station to the leaning tower so  we stopped for a little drink. On the way, we also did a fair bit of shopping. I absolutely loved all the little alleyways in Pisa and all the streets were so beautiful and quaint. I could have spent hours just wandering around.

 

To be honest, when we arrived at the leaning tower, I thought it was going to be a lot taller that it was. I never knew that there was a cathedral and baptistery there too but the three of them together looked incredible. It was absolutely heaving busy and it was so funny seeing so many people taking the good old ‘holding the tower up’ picture. It was honestly hilarious and made taking our own photos, so much less cringey and embarrassing.

Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale di Santa Maria Assunta and the baptistery were both absolutely stunning both inside and out. We spent some time looking inside both buildings and admiring the detail in the architecture.

Michael went for a wander and told me he had got us tickets to go up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. At the time, I was extremely sun burnt and it was 36 degrees, so there was nothing I wanted to do less than climb the tower. But we did it together and it was SO worth it. It was so strange being inside the tower because you could feel yourself on a slope and you walked up the spiral staircase and got to the top.  Even at the top is was rather tilted which was really strange when walking around the outside of the tower. The views were absolutely stunning and it was definitely worth the climb!

Have you been to Pisa?

Much love,

louise-x