A Little Bit of Decoupage

As some of you are aware, I love a bit of crafting! In recent years I have taught myself to knit again and also do some basic crochet. I have also in this time, taken up decoupage. For those of you who aren’t sure what this is – remember at school you would paper mache a balloon and then paint it – it’s similar to that. You buy the paper mache shapes and then paint it and cover it in pretty paper.

So over the past couple of months I have done a few projects for family and friends – I started with my nieces name and a piggy bank


And this is what the finished projected looks like in her nursery

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I also did for her a piggy bank – this is huge so she’ll be able to put loads and loads and pennys in it!


I have been asked to do a name for one of my friends too for her baby nephew – I have to admit I love doing these as it’s so easy to do


And I also did one for myself and the plan is to put family photos around it – easier said than done when you’re trying to find the right frames!!


Everything I bought was from Hobbycraft. The letters themselves were £3 and the paper was about £3.50 for a pack of three sheets. Ideally you need to use the decoupage glue so depending on what sort of pot you buy will depend on the price.

Have you done any decoupage before? What was your favourite thing to do?

Sam xx

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Ibiza 2016

Finally Andy and I had our summer holiday for 2016! After have 2 cold holidays I was desperate for some sun of my skin!

Now we are pretty awful at booking holidays and can never make up our minds where we want to go so it normally ends up being a last minute thing. We managed to find  a really good deal on Sirenis Hotel in Cala Llonga. It’s right on the sea front which is perfect for us as Andy likes to have a swim in the sea every day. The beach was clean and tidy as they had someone come most days to clear away any seaweed which had been washed up and the sea was clear most days too. They had two big swimming pools and a two little ones for the kids.

The food at the hotel was good – I’m a fussy eater so I generally stick the the same thing, but they had a wide choice for breakfast from cereals to fruit and pancakes. Lunch always consisted of something grilled (burgers, steak), paella (this changed every day to what sort of paella they did) and then they would have curries, chips, chicken nuggets, salad – the normal stuff you would expect from an all inclusive holiday. Dinner was usually the same sort of the stuff, apart from they had a cooked joint of meat and veg so you could of had a Sunday dinner every night of the week. The drinks were free, so you couldn’t really go wrong with these, but we made our way through most of the cocktails on the list!!

The room we had was up the on the 7th floor, so we had an awesome view from of the bay we were in.

We didn’t see a great deal of the entertainment as it was all in the Suneo Club and as we felt this would be mostly for families with children, we stayed in the adults bar most nights. There was a guy who played a piano a couple of nights, which was interesting the say the least, but I guess it’s holiday entertainment at the end of the day and I can’t be expecting X Factor!

Where the hotel was situated was almost in a little village. There were your typical shops for your Ibiza branded presents to take home and there were a few bars there too. As Andy likes his football he went to Captains Cabin a couple of times (I went along the once with him). It was really friendly and the staff we so warming and welcoming – as the football was on, I soon hooked myself up to their WiFi for a bit of social media online and I have to say their WiFi was much better than the hotels!!

All in all, we loved our holiday here and would have no problems with going back again for another holiday.

Have you been to Cala Llonga or stayed in this hotel too? What were your thoughts?

Sam xx

Chasing Harry Winston: Review

Title: Chasing Harry Winston

Author: Lauren Weisberger

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

Release Date: 20th June 2013

Blurb:

Three best friends. Two resolutions. One year to pull it off.

Emmy is newly single. Having always dreamed of wedding plans, she’s now buying take-out for one.

Adrina is about to turn thirty. Are her days as a party girl out?

Leigh has a gorgeous boyfriend and a great job. So why isn’t she more excited about her perfect life?

The three best friends make a pact over raspberry mojitos one night – this year everything is going to change. Emmy is going to find a man on every continent for some no-strings fun. Adrina vows she’ll secure a five-carat Harry Winston diamond on her fourth finger. And Leigh can’t think of what she needs to change – until literary bad boy Jesse Chapman starts to get under her skin.

Game on.

Review:

This book started off a little slow getting to know the characters so it took a few chapters before I could get into it and not want to put the book down.

Emmy is one of those girls who has always been in a relationship, so when it breaks down she’s well and truly gutted. Having only ever slept with 3 men all her life, her side of the pact is to sleep with a different man from each continent within 12 months. She starts off with an epic fail, jumping in to a conversation to if the guy wanted to have children, but she soon gets into the swing of it and realises what she has been missing.

Adrina is a Daddy’s girl is probably the best way to put it. Her Mum and Dad jet set around the world leaving their lush apartment with Adrina. She doesn’t work as she has an allowance from her Mum and Dad and has always been told that she needs to work hard and trying to find her husband – basically someone who is rich and can look after her. Her end of the deal is wind up engaged in a year. Along her way to making this happen she also manages to get herself a job writing about how to influence men to get what she wants – something which Adrina knows a lot about!! Although she doesn’t manage to get herself engaged, she does however get herself into a long term relationship with a producer , something which the girls never thought they would see!

Leigh’s life is perfect. She has the apartment, she has an awesome job she has worked hard for in publishing and she has the famous boyfriend – Russell. On the outside it seems her life is perfect and when Russell proposes she automatically says yes. When she is called into a quick meeting with her boss at work to be introduced to Jesse Chapman – a bestselling author – she tries to put work before any feelings she may be be developing for Jesse, until one night when she takes the plunge and kisses him and ends up having the best sex she has ever had – even though she knew Jesse has a wife! Her affair plays on her mind and she ends up splitting up with Russell and leaving her job so she can go back to college – which she had always wanted to do. It isn’t until weeks of chasing by Jesse that she finally agrees to meet up with him – when he turns up, he’s only gone and bought his wife with him!! It turns out that the only reasons he got married is because he felt he owed something to his wife’s father and that she wanted an education in the States – a huge relief to Leigh!

I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend reading it! I would give this book an overall score of 9/10.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on it?

Sam xx

One Hundred Names: Review

Title: One Hundred Names

Author: Cecelia Adhern

Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

Release Date: 18th July 2013

Blurb:

Kitty Logan has lost her way… As a journalist , Kitty’s spent the past few years chasing the big scoops – no matter the consequences. When she makes a terrible mistake, she finds herself mired in scandal, her career implodes and even her personal relationships are tested to the limit.

At a loss, Kitty finds distraction in a list of one hundred names her late mentor and boss, Constance, has left her. Kitty’s been given one final chance, the most important assignment of her life – to write the story behind the one hundred names as a tribute piece to Constance. As she tracks down the people on the list and tries to work out what connects, Kitty meets some extraordinary people.

Can these strangers stories help her finally understand her own?

Review:

I’ve had this book for a while but hadn’t go round to reading it, so it was a must to take away with me – after all, if PS I Love You was anything to go by, then I wouldn’t be able to put this book down – this was certainly the case. I have to admit that the book started off a little slow, but it didn’t take too may chapters to be swept away with this book.

Kitty had wrongly accused Colin Maguire or having an affair with a pupil from his school, her whole professional life turned up side down. After going to court and losing the court battle, she is given one last story to run – a story to prove herself and her writing skills. The story comes from her boss who tells her where to find a story she had always wanted to write but had never got round to doing herself. When Kitty finds the story, she hears that her boss, Constance, has sadly passed away from cancer. In the envelope she finds one hundred names – nothing else. There’s nothing to tie these people together, so Kitty has to figure out what the story was that Constance had planned. She only has a limited time to put the story together so there’s no way she is going to meet all of them but the ones she does meet all have an interesting tale to tell.

Like all good chic lit Kitty ends up falling in love with one of her best friends and also manages to to encourage a couple of couples to open their eyes to their feelings for each other.

I really enjoyed this book and give it an overall rating of 9/10.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

Sam xx

 

3,096 Days: Review

Title: 3,096 Days

Author: Natascha Kampusch

Publisher: Penguin Books

Release Date: 16th September 2010

Blurb:

On 2 March 1998 ten year old Natascha Kampusch was snatched off a street in Vienna by stranger and bundled into a white van. Hours later she was lying on a cold cellar floor, rolled up in a blanket. When se emerged from captivity in 2006, having endured one of the longest abductions in recent history, her childhood was gone.

In 3,096 days Natascha tells her amazing story for the first time: her difficult childhood, what exactly happened on that fateful morning when she was on her way to school, for her long imprisonment and mental abuse she suffered from her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil – who committed suicide by throwing himself under a train on the day she managed to make her escape.

3,096 days is ultimately a story about the triumph of the human spirit. It describes how, in a situation of almost unbearable hopelessness, she learned how to manipulate her captor. And how, against inconceivable odds, she managed to escape with her spirit intact.

Review:

I didn’t know what to expect from this book. I was too young myself to hear about this story on the news when Natascha was abducted and I don’t recall this being mentioned on the news when she escaped.

The story starts with her explaining about the sort of childhood she had. She was from a broken family but still had a relationship with her Dad and lived with her Mum who was strict with her upbringing.

Natascha remembers there were stories in the new when children were being abducted, raped and murdered and she used to watch these on the news with fascination I think would be the best word. On the day which was abducted was the first day she had been allowed to walk to school by herself. She hadn’t said goodbye to her Mum before she left due to  disagreement the night before, something which she mentions a lot in the story. She saw the abductor standing at the side of the road next to his van as she was approaching him and considered to cross the road, but she didn’t and before she knew it she has been bundled unto the back of the van. She was expecting to taken to a sex ring or some sort like what she had seen on the news, but that never happened. She was taken back to the abductors house and was put into the cellar but barely a bed to sleep on.

Natascha spent 3,096 days in captivity where she was subject the physical and mental abuse and basically treated as a slave. He had her cooking his meals but wouldn’t give her any or very little, he had her doing manual labour on the house and another property he owned and at any opportunity he had he would hit her repeatedly. She used to make a note of how many times she had been hit and where. These would be weeks apart – they would be happening daily.

Towards the end of her abduction she had it in her head that she needed to ask for help in order to get away. On trips out they had the abductor kept her so close that she couldn’t bring herself to do it. On her last day, he abductor had a phone call about a property that he was selling which distracted him and while she was outside she was able to make a run for it. She managed to get help from a an elderly woman who wasn’t sure if what she was saying was true so made her stay outside while the police came – something which had me on tinder hooks to if the abductor was going to find her and take her back to the house.

Thankfully the abductor never caught up with her and she was in the safe hands of the police – although they did grill her so much to make sure who she was, was true and they were also suspicious when she told them there was no one else involved.

This was a really gripping real life story which I give it an overall score of 8/1o. You can purchase this book from Amazon here and it is available in paperback and kindle.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

Sam xx

Letters to my Fanny: Review

Title: Letters to my Fanny

Author: Cherry Healey

Publisher: Penguin Books

Release Date: 21st April 2016

Blurb:

“This book is a love letter, to my body. In fact it’s several letters – to every part from my brain to my belly. I spent most of my life hating my body. I forced it to survive on a diet of ham; I squeezed it into asphyxiating support pants; I accidentally cut my delicate area whilst trimming my lady garden. But now I have realised that t deserves some well overdue TLC. This book is the story of how I’ve come to understand some vital life lessons, and started to love being a woman. I hope you enjoy it. Except you, Mum and Dad. You should stop reading now. It’s for the best. I promise”

Review:

I have always loved Cherry Healey and have been a huge fan of her TV work, so when I heard about this book, I knew it was a must.

Cherry talks about everything and I mean EVERYTHING!! From periods and orgasms to her ears. I found it really easy to read as each part of her body which she talks about is broken down into chapters with categories in that chapters that go into more detail. She remembers parts of her teenage years, which lets face we’ve all done something daft like cutting ourselves with razors in our most private areas and us ladies have had to contend with our periods and this is something with Cherry doesn’t hang back on. And I firmly believe that she/we shouldn’t!

There were some parts of the book that I couldn’t really relate to on a personal level – that being about having children. As a woman who doesn’t have kids herself, I could see where Cherry was going with this part of the book, but I didn’t find I could relate to it as I ‘hadn’t been there, done that’, like I could with other areas of the book.

Overall I would give this book a 7/10 rating – it’s funny, witty and makes cringe in some places too!!

If you wanted to purchase this book, then you can find it here and it’s available in paperback and for kindle.

Have you read Letters to my Fanny? What were your thoughts on it?

Sam xx

I Never Gave My Consent: Review

Title: I Never Gave My Consent

Author: Holly Archer

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Release Date: 28th July 2016

Blurb:

I closed my eyes for a second, hoping that when I opened then I’d be somewhere else, anywhere, that wasn’t the inside of  Mr Khan’s car. But there was no escape. I was here and I’d have to keep coming here whenever he wanted. ‘You do as I say’, he said. ‘Or I rape your mum. I come for your sisters and I rape your mum.’

Holly Archer was just fourteen when she became embroiled in a web of exploitation and abuse in the West Midlands town of Telford. Enduring violent rapes and death threats, she was forced to have sex with several men a night in the most squalid circumstances. Holly was not living in care. The abuse happened under the noses of her family but she was too scared to tell anyone. She soon fell into despair and then inevitably, fell pregnant.

Holy fled Telford aged sixteen. She moved house often, fearing her abusers would hunt her down. Police finally launched an investigation into child exploration in the town and seven men were eventually jailed. Having survived her ordeal, Holly now tells her full, shocking story. It is horrifying but also essential insight into how gangs of men were able to prey on vulnerable girls and what might have been done to stop them.

Review:

With this book being a true story and about a sex ring in Telford where I live, I was quite eager to read it as I’m sure you would understand.

Holly and I are only a few years apart in age and like it was for me it was normal to be outside all day and as long into the evening you could get. All the kids come together to play games regardless of their ages, so her childhood, to me, started off normal. It wasn’t until the older children had grown up and no longer wanted to play football with her and her friend Gemma that they started to wander into town – again when I’m reading this, I’m pretty much like, yup that’s normal – exactly what we used to do when we were kids.

I guess it would be probably fair to say that her life started to changed dramatically from this point forward. She would have boys shouting across the street for her to ‘sort them out’ – all because Gemma had given one boy a blowjob behind the church and Holly and another guy came to arrangement that they would say she had given him a blowjob but never did. She would literally get this verbal abuse shouted to her whenever she walked into town, by people she didn’t know and towards the end of the book felt like she had do ‘sort them out’ in case they told her boyfriend ‘Omar’. I really did feel her for at this point, but a question that keeps coming to me, is why keep going into town? If this was happening to me, I would just stay clear!

Holly managed to get involved with a pimp who would pimp her out weekly, daily and even several times on a daily basis to different men. This was all going on while she was also being picked up by Mr Khan – something which rings alarm bells to me, but in her eyes appeared to be innocent I guess would be the best way to put it.

There were many rumours flying around about Holly, some of them true – yes she was a prostitute – and some of them either exaggerated or made up, which from my point of view leads her to be gang raped. The men who did this to her, did it because they believed that Holly has slept with one of their sons, something which wasn’t too. She was drugged and gang raped by men – men who should have known better, men who have wives and families of their own and would be devastated if this was ever to happen to their own daughter I’m sure.

Throughout the book I kept asking myself, why isn’t she turning to someone – not everyone has a great relationship with their parents I know, but a teacher, a family friend, or the police themselves. She was scared for the safety of her mum and sisters I get that, but surely someone would be able to help?!

Everything eventually comes out in the wash as it does and Holly moved away from Telford at a really young age, but kept moving around as she didn’t want the abusers to find her. She did manage to find a partner, although the relationship didn’t last and have a child with him and later on another one with someone else.

Overall I found this book really interesting and is certainly an eye opener to what can happen and does happen and I’m sure is still happening on your doorstep.

I purchased my copy from Amazon – you can find this link for the book here – it is also available to download for a Kindle too.

Overall rating: 8/10

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it?

Sam xx