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Books read in 2014 and favourites reads of the year

My favourite books (read for the first time) in 2014 were:
  • The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith
  • We Bought A Zoo - Benjamin Mee
  • Shift - Hugh Howey
  • Geek Girl - Holly Smale
  • Orange is the New Black - Piper Kerman
  • Broken Dolls - James Carol
  • The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson - Paige Toon
  • Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch
  • Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch
  • Spare Brides - Adele Parks
  • Unwholly - Neal Shusterman
  • Unsouled - Neal Shusterman
  • Under A Silent Moon - Elizabeth Haynes
  • The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  • Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

Which books did you enjoy reading the most this year? x

Books read in 2014:
  1. Mad About the Boy - Helen Fielding [B]
  2. The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith [B]
  3. Limitless - Alan Glynn [B]
  4. Afterlife Academy - Jaimie Admans [B] 
  5. Tethers - Jack Croxall [B] 
  6. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn [B] 
  7. Bring Him Back - Scott Mariani [B]
  8. A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness [B] 
  9. Temptation Island  - Victoria Fox [B]
  10. The Sentinel - Holly Martin [B] 
  11. The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt [B]
  12. Tilly Mint Tales - Berlie Doherty [R]
  13. Why do Fools Fall in Love? - Louise Marley [B]
  14. Perfect - Rachel Joyce [B] 
  15. Millie and the American Wedding - Annabel Scott [B] 
  16. Watching Over You - Mel Sherratt [B]
  17. Sworn Secret - Amanda Jennings [B]
  18. Silence - Natasha Preston [B] 
  19. Broken Silence - Natasha Preston [B]  
  20. Madame Tussaud - Michelle Moran [B] 
  21. Single in the City - Michele Gorman [B] 
  22. Locked In - Kerry Wilkinson [B] 
  23. A Jersey Kiss - Georgina Troy [B] 
  24. Billy and Me - Giovanna Fletcher [B] 
  25. The Gift - Karli Perrin [B] 
  26. The Naughty Girls Book Club - Sophie Hart [B] 
  27. Summer Affairs - Louise Candlish [B]
  28. The Good Father - Diane Chamberlain [B] 
  29. Getting Over Mr Right - Chris Manby [B] 
  30. The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion [B]
  31. The Bones of Avalon - Phil Rickman [B] 
  32. We Bought a Zoo - Benjamin Mee [B] 
  33. The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau [B] 
  34. Wool - Hugh Howey [B] 
  35. Shift - Hugh Howey [B] 
  36. Dust - Hugh Howey [B]  
  37. Under a Mackerel Sky - Rick Stein [B] 
  38. The Secret Apocalypse - James Harden [B]
  39. Geek Girl - Holly Smale [B] 
  40. Fixed On You - Laurelin Paige [B] 
  41. Found In You - Laurelin Paige [B] 
  42. Forever In You - Laurelin Paige [B]  
  43. Orange is the New Black - Piper Kerman [B]
  44. The Science Bit - Hayley Carr [B]
  45. Broken Dolls - James Carol [B]
  46. Taken - Jacqui Rose [B]
  47. The Earth Hums in B Flat - Mari Strachan [B] 
  48. The Iron King - Maurice Druon [B] 
  49. Three Girls and a Baby - Rachel Schurig [B] 
  50. Three Girls and a Wedding - Rachel Schurig [B]  
  51. Three Girls and a Leading Man - Rachel Schurig [B]   
  52. The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson - Paige Toon [B]
  53. Wedding Night - Sophie Kinsella [B] 
  54. It Felt Like A Kiss - Sarra Manning [B]
  55. Heartbreak Hotel - Deborah Moggach [B]
  56. Sleep Tight - Rachel Abbott [B] 
  57. Only the Innocent - Rachel Abbott [B]
  58. The Back Road - Rachel Abbott [B] 
  59. Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare [B]
  60. The Accident - C. L. Taylor [B]
  61. The First Last Kiss - Ali Harris [B] 
  62. Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch [B] 
  63. Moon Over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch [B] 
  64. Mary Poppins - P.L. Travers [B]
  65. Whispers Under Ground - Ben Aaronovitch [B]  
  66. Fractured - Dani Atkins [B] 
  67. The Fault in our Stars - John Green [B]
  68. Spare Brides - Adele Parks [B]
  69. A Fatal Debt - John Gapper [B] 
  70. The Search Angel - Tish Cohen [B] 
  71. Pretty Little Liars - Sara Shepard [R]
  72. Flawless - Sara Shepard [R]
  73. Summer's Child - Diane Chamberlain [B] 
  74. Perfect - Sara Shepard [R] 
  75. Divergent - Veronica Roth [R] 
  76. Insurgent - Veronica Roth [R]
  77. Allegiant - Veronica Roth [B] 
  78. Unbelievable - Sara Shepard [R] 
  79. From Whitechapel - Melanie Clegg [B] 
  80. Wicked - Sara Shepard [R] 
  81. Killer - Sara Shepard [R]  
  82. Heartless - Sara Shepard [R] 
  83. Wanted - Sara Shepard [R]
  84. Model Misfit - Holly Smale [B] 
  85. Cry Baby - David Jackson [B]
  86. Broken Homes - Ben Aaronovitch [B]  
  87. Hollywood Sinners - Victoria Fox [B]  
  88. Sweet Temptation - Lucy Diamond [B] 
  89. The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp - Poppy Dolan [B] 
  90. Unwind - Neal Shusterman [B] 
  91. Unwholly - Neal Shusterman [B] 
  92. Unsouled - Neal Shusterman [B]  
  93. Dead Ever After - Charlaine Harris [B]
  94. Ivy Lane: Spring - Cathy Bramley [B]
  95. Mary Poppins Comes Back - P.L. Travers [B]
  96. So, You Think You're A Celebrity Chef? - Caroline James [B]
  97. The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid [R] 
  98. Matched - Ally Condie [R]
  99. Crossed - Ally Condie [R]
  100. Reached - Ally Condie [B] 
  101. Look Behind You - Sibel Hodge [B] 
  102. Amy & Zach - Sarah Louise Smith [B]
  103. The Debt & the Doormat - Laura Barnard [B]
  104. Confessions of a Chalet Girl - Lorraine Wilson [B]
  105. Departed - Nick Stephenson [B]
  106. Prime Time - Jane Wenham-Jones [B] 
  107. Looking for La La - Ellie Campbell [B]
  108. After Wimbledon - Jennifer Gilby Roberts [B]
  109. The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith [B]
  110. Independent Study - Joelle Charbonneau [B]
  111. The Nemesis Program - Scott Mariani [B]
  112. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld [B]
  113. Pretties - Scott Westerfeld [B] 
  114. Size 12 and Ready to Rock - Meg Cabot [B] 
  115. Keeper of the Light - Diane Chamberlain [B]
  116. Apple Tree Yard - Louise Doughty [B] 
  117. In the Blood - Lisa Unger [B]
  118. Someone to Watch Over - Madeleine Reiss [B]
  119. Escape for the Summer - Ruth Saberton [B] 
  120. The Silver Locket - Margaret James [B] 
  121. It's Got To Be Perfect - Hayley Hill [B] 
  122. Graduation Day - Joelle Charbonneau [B]
  123. One Breath Away - Heather Gudenkauf [B]
  124. Behind Every Cloud - Pauline Lawless [B]
  125. The Perfect Family - Kathryn Shay [B]
  126. You Had Me At Halo - Amanda Ashby [B]
  127. Scratch - Danny Gillan [B]
  128. Scot on the Rocks - Brenda Janowitz [B]
  129. Divorcees.Biz - Eileen Thornton [B]
  130. A Girl's Best Friend - Louise Marley [B]
  131. Lottie's Luck - Amanda Egan [B]
  132. Jack with a Twist - Brenda Janowitz [B]
  133. The Dummy Line - Bobby Cole [B]
  134. Lessons In Being A Flapper - Angela Smith [B]
  135. Brighton Belle - Sara Sheridan [B]
  136. Sinfully Summer - Aimee Duffy [B]
  137. About a Girl - Lindsay Kelk [B]
  138. Sisters in Love - Melissa Foster [B]
  139. Security - Mandy Baggot [B]
  140. The Murder Bag - Tony Parsons [B]
  141. The Trouble with Knights in Shining Armour - Valerie-Anne Baglietto [B]
  142. Stilettos & Stubble - Amanda Egan [B]
  143. Creepy Christmas - Jaimie Admans [B]
  144. Under a Silent Moon - Elizabeth Haynes [B]
  145. Someone Else's Skin - Sarah Hilary [B]
  146. The Lost Continent - Bill Bryson [R]
  147. Angels and Demons - Dan Brown [R]
  148. The One You Love - Paul Pilkington [B] 
  149. Bring Me Sunshine - Janet Glover [B]
  150. Midsummer Magic - Julia Williams [B] 
  151. Midnight Crossroad - Charlaine Harris [B]
  152. The Maze Runner - James Dashner [B]
  153. The Scorch Trials - James Dashner [B]
  154. The Death Cure - James Dashner [B]
  155. The Kill Order - James Dashner [B] 
  156. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown [R] 
  157. Inferno - Dan Brown [R]
  158. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver [B]
  159. The Returners - Gemma Malley [B]
  160. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón [B]
  161. The Villa - Rosanna Ley [B]
  162. One Night in Italy - Lucy Diamond [B]
  163. The Passage - Justin Cronin [B]
  164. Black Roses - Jane Thynne [B]
  165. The Worst Girlfriend in the World - Sarra Manning [B]
  166. Power Games - Victoria Fox [B]
  167. The State We're In - Adele Parks [B]
  168. Before We Met - Lucie Whitehouse [B]
  169. Close My Eyes - Sophie McKenzie [B]
  170. Partials - Dan Wells [B]
  171. Fragments - Dan Wells [B] 
  172. Ruins - Dan Wells [B]  
  173. Sweet Addictions - J. Daniels [B]
  174. Fall of Giants - Ken Follett [B] 
  175. Watch Me - James Carol [B]
  176. Under the Skin - Michel Faber [B]
  177. The First Time We Met - Pippa Croft [B] 
  178. The Second Time I Saw You - Pippa Croft [B] 
  179. How to be a Good Wife - Emma Chapman [B] 
  180. The Woods - Harlan Coben [B]
  181. Tell No One - Harlan Coben [B] 
  182. Lovestruck in London - Rachel Schurig [B] 
  183. The Perfectionists - Sara Shepard [B]
  184. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling [R]
  185. Orange is the New Black - Piper Kerman [R]
  186. Are you there God? It's me, Margaret - Judy Blume [R] 
  187. Forever - Judy Blume [B]
  188. The Sword of Moses - Dominic Selwood [B] 
  189. Undivided - Neal Shusterman [B]  
  190. Reflection - Diane Chamberlain [B] 
  191. What Would Oprah Do? - Erin Emerson [B]
  192. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card [B]
  193. The Winter Folly - Lulu Taylor [B] 
  194. The Angel's Game - Carlos Ruiz Zafón [B]
  195. A Beginner's Guide to Christmas - Jennifer Joyce [B]
  196. A Very Coco Christmas - Robert Bryndza [B]
  197. Driving Home for Christmas - Emma Hannigan [B]
  198. Make My Wish Come True - Fiona Harper [B]
  199. Mistletoe in Manhatten - Talli Roland [B]
  200. Cinderella's Buttons - Amanda Egan [B]
  201. What You Wish For - Mark Edwards [B]
  202. Snow Angels - James Thompson [B]
  203. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs [B]
  204. Mary Poppins Opens the Door - P.L. Travers [B]
  205. Lucifer's Tears - James Thompson [B]
  206. Written in the Stars - Ali Harris [B]
  207. Paper Aeroplanes - Dawn O'Porter [B]
  208. When I Wasn't Watching - Michelle Kelly [B]
  209. Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel [B]
  210. Girl Online - Zoe Suggs [B]
  211. Half Bad - Sally Green [B]
  212. The Memory Book - Rowan Coleman [B]
Did not finish:

The Beautiful and Damned - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Walden and Other Writings - Henry David Thoreau
Anathema - K.A. Tucker
Grace Grows - Shelle Sumners
The Journey of James Halldon - James Glynn
Better Together - Nicola May
Sammi Ever After - Soma Helmi
Cocktail Hour - Tara McTiernan
Once Upon A Winter - Valerie-Anne Baglietto 

Latest Loves: December 2014

Only two days to go! Are you all set for Christmas? If you need some entertainment over the Christmas period, my latest loves might spark some inspiration.

First up is Nurse Jackie, which is an awesome TV show starring The Sopranos' Edie Falco (another awesome TV show). Sharing the story of Jackie, an ER nurse with an addiction to painkillers, Nurse Jackie is a funny and entertaining show. Episodes are short, roughly 25 minutes, so you'll fly through this!

Serial is an addictive, albeit sobering podcast which explores the real-life murder of teenager Hae Min Lee. Her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was arrested and sent to prison for her murder, but has always protested his innocence. Serial looks into the case in depth and throws up quandaries about justice. I've never been one for podcasts before, but Serial hooked me in.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I is, of course, the first part of the final movie in The Hunger Games trilogy. (Why do they have to split movies into two parts?!) If you're a fan of the books, and have seen the first two films, make sure you watch this! 

Finally, Interstellar is a fascinating film delving into the humanity's survival with big effects and a gripping storyline. OK, there was one bit which stopped me from rating Interstellar as 10/10 but it a captivating masterpiece and well worth a watch if you haven't seen it already.

Whatever you are up to this festive season, happy holidays! x 

The beauty box experiment

In the last four months of 2014, I tried out these beauty boxes: My Little Box, Glossybox and Birchbox. If you've read my reviews for December's boxes, you'll know that I've now cancelled all my subscriptions. The novelty is starting to wear off, plus I have a huge bag of products I should really use up.

I've found that you tend to get sent a lot of the same sort of products. I feel I have enough facial washes/scrubs, mascaras, eyeliners and nail polishes to last me the rest of 2015!

I have discovered some new products though because of my beauty box experiment; here are my top ten finds (and who sent them):


If I resume a subscription in 2015 I'll be sure to share my thoughts on that box as I have done this year, though I'm still not quite sure which box is my favourite!

Are you a fan of beauty boxes? x

Beauty: Glossybox UK December 2014 review

I found December's Glossybox to be somewhat lacking, sadly, and definitely missing a spot of Christmas cheer. (Snowflakes on the packaging and a red ribbon don't make the grade!)

The hydra boost pure hyaluronic acid serum sounds somewhat scary - acid for my face just sounds disturbing - and my face felt sticky/tacky for a while after I had applied the serum. It does feel soft now, though I'm not convinced of any benefit using this serum over other products that I have.  

The Bella Pierre cheek and lip stain comes in the colour "coral". They also sell it in pink, which I think would have been a better colour for me. The product does what it's supposed to but I can't really rave about it.

I've not used the Anatomicals day and night spot stick yet, but I will give it a go if I get a spot. It does seem a very teenage product though; the packaging uses language like Professor Pimple, and I don't think I'm quite their target market! 

The TRESemmé renewal hair and scalp tonic was another odd product as I've never really thought to treat my scalp specifically. Whilst I'm not sure what it's done to my scalp - whether it's benefited it - my hair did feel a bit softer afterwards (you lift the tonic up through your roots once you've applied it to your scalp).

Finally, I received a nail lacquer from All That Jazz. It's a festive colour, but not one I'm too keen on. (I'm a nude nail person - it is a perfectly nice colour.) I won't use this nail lacquer and will make it a competition prize in the New Year for someone who *is* a fan of coloured nail lacquers!

As I said in my review of December's My Little Box, I am taking a break from beauty boxes as it feels like I have enough products to last me until next Christmas. I'll be sharing my thoughts on my beauty box experiment soon, as well as my favourite finds, but I am pleased overall with Glossybox. I may not have discovered a new beauty "must-use" this month, but the box is brilliant value.

Glossybox costs between £8.50 to £10 per month, depending on how long you subscribe for, excluding P&P. Which beauty box is your favourite? x

Beauty: My Little Box December 2014

It's the fourth month of My Little Box in the UK, and this month it's My Little Box by Fleur De Force, who is a beauty and fashion blogger.

As always, there's a motivational print and the My Little World magazine included in the box. I'm still not convinced by the magazine, plus the constant misspelling of Shoreditch (Soreditch) in this month's magazine really bugged me - I don't think me and the magazine will ever get on, but that's OK. 

In the box this month I also found masking tape, string and gift tags, which is a nice idea in principle, but I'm already sorted in that department with my presents all wrapped and tagged! The present this month was a black knitted sparkly headband, which is something I can use for once, and I'm wearing it as I type this. I'm very glad I got the colour I did, and I can see me wearing it a lot this winter. 

Beauty-wise, there are three products in the box this month. First up is a gorgeous smelling body lotion from Cowshed. Their "Wild Cow" body lotion smells of lemongrass, ginger and rosemary - three smells I really love - and uses shea and cocoa butter to moisturise the skin. I'm a big fan of this product, and it gave me an opportunity to try out a Cowshed product as I've only ever had a treatment with them before.

Next up, is the My Little Beauty product, and this month it's a red lipstick. Although it looks very red, I struggled to get that colour on my lips. Maybe I need to apply it several times? I also found the packaging to be quite cheap, so I wasn't as enamoured by this product.

Finally, Precious Cream by L’OCCITANE is the final product in this month's My Little Box. I've not tried this product yet because I've been sent so many facial products via beauty boxes, as well as having the usual products I use - I don't want to crack open another one just yet. I've heard really good things about this cream though, and L’OCCITANE do usually deliver so I'm pleased I received this cream.

All-in-all, I liked this month's beauty products and headband, but wasn't so keen on the Christmas stuff and the magazine. I didn't really get the collaboration with Fleur De Force either as the French box was the same, yet was collaborated with a different person...

Despite liking the box, I've decided that this will be my last My Little Box for a while. The novelty is starting to wear off, plus I have a huge bag of products I should really use up from the past four months of subscribing to various beauty boxes. I probably have enough facial products to last me until Christmas 2015!

A subscription to My Little Box costs £14.95 a month, which includes P&P, and you can cancel at any time. Are you a fan? x

Life of Late: Christmas countdown

It's only December 3rd, but I've already sorted out several Christmas presents and we've put the tree up, a gorgeous real 6ft one. I'm feeling very festive and organised, and I have an advent calendar for the first time in YEARS! I'm very jealous of all those people who have beauty advent calendars, but I've gone for a good old-fashioned chocolate one. Do you have an advent calendar this year?

At the weekend, we paid a visit to Kensington and had dinner at Sticky Fingers. Sticky Fingers is a BBQ place I've been to many times, and it's always yummy. Serving a full rack of ribs wider than me(!), I highly recommend you pay Bill Wyman's restaurant a visit if you're in the area.

The reason we were in Kensington was to go to the Royal Albert Hall to see Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra play. Olly has always wanted to see Jools and his band, so I bought him tickets for his birthday. Joss Stone and Marc Almond were two of his guests, and the powerful-voiced Ruby Turner also belted out a few numbers. Jools was marvellous, of course, as was his orchestra - I'm glad we got to see them play! RJ Thompson opened for them, and I loved their song The Numbers.

It's taken me a while, but I finally got round to eating at Big Easy, before a trip to the Vaudeville Theatre to see The Wind in the Willows. If you can get to Big Easy in the week between noon and 6pm, or after 10.30pm, they have a brilliant value lunch/pre-theatre/post-theatre deal where you get two courses and a drink for a tenner. I highly recommend their pulled pork! 

The Wind in the Willows was an interesting take on Kenneth Grahame's classic with lots of dance elements to the performance and (heavy) narration from Alan Titchmarsh. (It's a Royal Opera House production, which explains the dance!) If you're a fan of twee family productions with warmth, give it a whirl - we picked up tickets in the stalls for a tenner. It astounds me that you can sometimes see theatre in Central London cheaper than you can see a film in Central London!

How is your December going? Are you all set for Christmas? x

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