Thursday, 27 August 2015

A Very Parisian #PaperHaul!

Disclaimer: I purchased this box using the #paperhaul blogger discount - all opinions are my own.

I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting this month's #paperhaul theme to be, but I am sure that I was pleasantly surprised to open the box and discover a selection of French-themed treats!

The first thing I saw when I opened this month's box was the set of three cute illustrated gift tags, closely followed by sheets of 'Bonjour!' note paper. Alongside these is a selection of cards, postcards, stickers, craft papers and of course a roll of washi tape, this time around featuring a heart print. This month there's even a pretty craft paper patterned with pastel macarons - a definite blogger favourite!

August's matching stickers and notecards feature an incredibly simple design which I really love. The matte pastel backgrounds are adorned with bonjour, merci and oui written in a typewriter-style font - all perfect for a little bit of snail mail!

My other favourite item from this month's box would have to be the beautiful illustrated card (pictured below), a grey-toned image with an added pop of colour thanks to the red chimneys. Although this would make a lovely card for a friend or family member, I also think it would look lovely framed and hung on the wall.

If you're interested in treating yourself to the next #paperhaul box you can sign up over at Crafty Creatives for just £10 per month.

Don't forget to catch up on my review of last month's box which was under-the-sea themed!

paperhaul paris 2

Friday, 14 August 2015

Pretty Little Liars Recap: S6E10 'Game Over, Charles' *Contains Spoilers*

Welcome to my final PLL recap for season 6A which concluded with the answer-filled episode titled 'Game Over, Charles'. As always spoilers are after the jump... please don't read on if you haven't heard who A is yet!


Monday, 10 August 2015

Essex Walks (Revisited) - Steeples In The Summer

essex walks steeples in summer

Although I have been out on a few walking adventures I haven't shared any Essex Walks posts for a little while... not since I last visited Steeples back in January! At the time I wrote about how much I enjoyed this particular route and how I would love to revisit once the weather had improved. Last weekend I did just that!

The atmosphere was very different on a bright summer day, although excluding the area right by the holiday park, there still wasn't many people to be seen. Whilst I loved how my previous photographs turned out due to the colours cast by the foggy sky, on this visit I was able to clearly see Osea Island across the water as more than just a blur in the distance. This time round the flowers were also in full bloom, lining the path along the sea wall with colour.

On my second visit to Steeples I got a chance to stop and sit by the water for a while, watching the boats and wildlife - definitely an improvement on walking through the mud, bundled up and shivering. It's easy to forget just how cold it was back at the beginning of the year!

You can find out more about this walk including a map and directions on the Essex Walks website.

Click here to catch up on my last Essex Walks post!

essex walks steeples in summer
essex walks steeples in summer

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Pretty Little Liars Recap: S6E9 'Last Dance' *Contains Spoilers*

It's PLL time once again, and this week I'm taking a closer look at the penultimate episode of the summer season 'Last Dance'. You know the drill... spoilers are after the jump!


Monday, 3 August 2015

Gluten Free Goodies! - Allergy & Free From Show Haul

This time last month I headed off to London to attend the Allergy & Free From Show for the very first time. The event was held at Kensington's Olympia and the venue was packed with stalls selling everything from free from food/drinks to cookbooks, allergy-friendly clothing, cosmetics and skin care. Today I thought I'd share a haul post showcasing some of the many free from edibles I picked up on the day!

Crio Bru Cavalla French Roast - a coffee alternative made from cocoa beans.
I used to be a big coffee fan (think lots of mochas and iced coffees!) however a few years back I cut out caffeine completely for quite some time when trying to find out why I was getting stomach pains. Ever since then I've not been able to drink coffee without getting a headache and feeling shaky so stumbling across this alternative definitely made my day! Over the last few weeks I've also been introducing decaf coffee into my routine, switching between that and this cocoa bean substitute has been great for a little variety!
Allergy Advice: Free from gluten, dairy and soya. Also suitable for Vegans and low in caffiene. 
Social Media Links: Shop | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Tolerant Foods Legume Pasta - 'pasta' shapes made from lentils and beans.
Ask anyone that knows me and they'll be able to tell you that I love pasta. Since cutting out gluten due to an intolerance I have of course switched to pasta alternatives usually made from rice/corn. Whilst there are some delicious ones out there (looking at you, Doves Farm Brown Rice Penne) I was intrigued by this new alternative; single-ingredient pasta style shapes made from lentils and beans. The Red Lentil Rotini (pictured above) is delicious and I can't wait to try out the Green Lentil Macaroni!
Allergy Advice: Free from gluten. Also Non-GMO, suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians.
Social Media Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Koko Dairy Free Spread - a dairy-free alternative to butter, made using various vegetable oils including coconut.
As a huge fan of Koko's coconut milk (which I use on a daily basis and love because it doesn't taste like coconuts) I was pleasantly surprised to see this new product at their stall. Whilst I really like the taste I found it didn't go so well with Marmite as my usual spread but I'm looking forward to trying baking with this one as I think it will be perfect for sweet treats!
Allergy Advice: Free from gluten and dairy. Suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians.
Social Media Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Wellaby's Pitta & Lentil Chips - a wholesome baked alternative to crisps.
One of my big complaints with going gluten free has been the lack of tasty savoury snacks. Lots of places now sell things like gluten free cakes and brownies, which is lovely, but when I'm out and about I often struggle to find things to satisfy my savoury cravings. I'm a big fan of Eat Real's range of 'chips' (made from lentils, chickpeas and quinoa) so when I saw these I thought they may be similar. As it turns out these are a totally different texture (think crunchy crackers) but do come in a much more manageable sized packet that can easily be popped into your bag for a snack on the go.
Allergy Advice: Free from gluten, wheat and nuts. Also GMO & MSG free.
Social Media Links: Website | Facebook

Bakels Multiseed Bread Mix - a bread mix that can be used to make a regular loaf or a sweet treat.
This was actually one of the freebies I received on the day and I love the fact that it can be used to bake bread (anyone who eats gluten free will know how tricky it is to find good bread) but can also be mixed with alternative ingredients to make a batch of cookies! In addition to the bread mix I also picked up a recipe card for the cookies as I sampled one on the day and it was pretty delicious!
Allergy Advice: Gluten/allergen free. Suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans.
Social Media Links: Wesbite | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Lovemore O'Choco Biscuits - gluten free 'black and white cookies', a great Oreo alternative.
I love and miss Oreos so these cookies are an amazing alternative. I can't wait to use these to make a gluten free 'Oreo' cheesecake and of course some brownies! Lovemore have a whole range of gluten free biscuits including digestives, chocolate chip cookies, gingerbread and shortbread. I haven't tried any of these so I can't vouch for how tasty they are but I can tell you the O'Choco Biscuits are delicious.
Allergy Advice: Free from gluten, wheat and milk.
Social Media Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Stur Liquid Water Enhancers - all natural flavoured water enhancers.
Another drink I adore is iced tea, specifically peach flavour. These little containers of concentrated flavour that can be added to a glass or bottle of water are nothing new with brands such as Robinsons and Oasis selling squash versions in all of the big supermarkets however I'd never come across any iced tea ones before. After sampling all of the flavours I also opted for a bottle of the cranberry & pomegranate (which does not contain tea). I can see these being great to pop on your desk at work!
Allergy Advice: Free from gluten, dairy, nuts and sugar. Non-tea flavours are also caffeine free. Suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians.
Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Have you tried any of these products? If you'd like to hear more about any of them (reviews/recipe ideas etc) leave a comment and let me know!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

August TBR

It's been a long time since I've shared a monthly TBR list here on my little blog but with a mountain of library books, a selection of eARCs and of course all the titles I picked up at YALC last month I thought it was about time I got myself organised and made a reading plan for the month ahead. So, for my August TBR I've picked out 5 titles I'm hoping to finish. Here's a little more about them...

The Heiresses, Sara Shepard (2014) - library book
As you may have noticed, I've managed to pick up several of Shepard's popular novels over the course of the year so far, with mixed results. Having recently finished The Good Girls, which I really enjoyed, I thought it was time to read the first book in her latest series which is aimed at the adult market as opposed to teens. I'm really intrigued to see how it differs from her YA tales, although it looks as though it may follow a similar format.

When I Was Me, Hilary Freeman (2015) - early copy via YALC (release date September 3rd)
This short YA thriller was one of several impulse purchases at YALC. The book's blurb which describes the novel as 'a tense and dark psychological thriller full of unexpected twists' instantly drew me in and I knew I had to pick up a copy to find out more. This one definitely looks as though it will be a quick read and I can't wait to read it!

Under Ground, S. L. Grey (2015) - via Netgalley (release date July 16th)
Unfortunately due to distractions and not finding the time for as much reading as usual over the past few months I managed to miss out on reading and reviewing Under Ground before it's July release date. The horror novel is the first collaboration between Sarah Lotz (famous for penning The Three) and Louis Greenberg and definitely sounds like it's going to be a creepy one.

Dangerous Boys, Abigail Haas (2014) - recent book token purchase
I really shouldn't be including this one in my TBR when I have so many other library books and ARCs at the moment, however it's been hanging out on my bedside table for a couple of weeks now and seeing it just sitting there I just couldn't resist. I still stand by the fact that Dangerous Girls has been my most memorable read of the year so far and naturally this has made me eager to bump Dangerous Boys to the top of my TBR list.

The Boy Meets Girl Massacre (Annotated), Ainslie Hogarth (2015) - via Netgalley (release date September 8th)
For my final August pick I'm planning to finish The Boy Meets Girl Massacre (Annotated), a YA mystery/horror, before it's early September release date. I have to admit I did start reading this one a little while back but I wasn't feeling that invested and in the end became distracted by another novel. This month I'm hoping to start afresh in order to share a review over on Blogger's Bookshelf in Septemeber.

What books do you plan on reading this month?
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