beauty

First Impressions: The PS…Peach Blush & Highlight Palette

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Primark have always sold make up, but is it just me or have they really upped their game in the past couple of months? My local Primark’s beauty section seems to be bigger and better than ever, however I will admit, up until a couple of weeks ago, I had never purchased anything from Primark’s make-up range. During a visit to the Liverpool store, I spotted a lovely display of peach coloured products and HAD to investigate.

Primark’s new PS…Peachy-Keen range consists of an eye shadow palette, a blush & highlight palette, lipglosses, nail varnishes, tweezers, and the cutest beauty blender. I picked up the blush and highlight palette, as it’s probably something I have the least of in my beauty drawer. So let’s get down to my first impressions of the product…

I really like the packaging on this product, it’s minimal and cute, and makes the product look more expensive than it actually is (£4 by the way…I’ll wait while you nip out). The cover is magnetic as with many of Primark’s other palettes, and opens to reveal a highlighter and two shades of blush set in metal pans.

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The shades in this palette are beautiful, and my particular favourite is the highlighter called ‘Peach Twist’, which is a shimmering pale gold tone (My swatch doesn’t do it justice!). The two blushes featured in the palette are ‘Peachin’, which is a deeper coral-pink tone, whilst ‘Sweet Peach’ is a softer, more romantic pink shade. As I am quite fair I wasn’t sure if all of the colours would suit my skin tone, but I was surprised by how flattering they were.

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The packaging also invites you to smell the shades as they are ‘Soooo Peachy’, and they certainly are. As soon as you open the palette you are greeted by a light, sweet, peach scent, nothing too over powering.

Peach is a big trend in the beauty world right now – and Primark have obviously taken inspiration from Too Faced and their successful peach range, but for a fraction of the price. The Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette comes in at around £32.

I was really impressed with this palette; it has made me want to try the other PS…Peachy Keen products (I’ve got my eye on you, eye shadow palette. No pun intended). This range is great if you are on a budget, or if you’re a little bit of a make-up hoarder like me and have to rein it in sometimes! All jokes aside, this palette would make a cute stocking filler, Secret Santa gift or even just a little treat for you!

Have you tried anything from the PS…Peachy-Keen Range?

beauty · Uncategorized

Secret Arts Jelly Bomb Review

Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom. No cursing allowed.

Ever since Lush announced their new jelly bomb collection I couldn’t wait to try them, but when there was talk of one based around Harry Potter? You bet I was trawling Lush stores until I found it. I, like many of you, was curious as to what made this different from Lush’s regular bath bombs and where the jelly concept came in.  Lush have added the active ingredient Sodium Alginate to their jelly bombs, meaning that unlike bath bombs, they produce foam that turns into a creamy jelly that floats to the surface.

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Secret Arts (formerly known as Dark Arts) has a sweet, musky and warm scent consisting of cinnamon leaf oil, almond oil, and Brazilian orange oil, making it the perfect comforting treat! Secret Arts certainly lives up to its name, as soon as it hits the water it begins to spin and release foam and black jelly into the water. Once Secret Arts has finished putting on a show, you are left with a real life cauldron bath filled with a glittery purple/black potion (inner child starts humming the HP theme song whilst climbing in).  Be forewarned, due to all of the lovely essential oils used in this product, it does make your bath a little slippery!

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The jelly aspect means that Secret Arts is very moisturising, however I did have to wash a few dark marks left from it off of my skin, but this was easily done. However, as fun as this bath bomb is to use, be warned that you will be giving your bath a clean afterwards, as some of the jelly residue sticks to the bath. This does take way from the relaxation aspect a little, as you find yourself cleaning as soon as you’re out of the bath.

Nonetheless, Secret Arts does have its good surprises with a lovely pink ‘love potion’ themed centre, which helps to create the spell biding colour of the water. Aside from the messiness, I really enjoyed using the Secret Arts jelly bomb – it is a completely different experience from your regular bath bombs. My skin felt super soft and moisturised and, as always after using Lush products, smelt lovely! I will definitely be repurchasing and trying out the other jelly bombs (I’ve got my eye on the The Big Sleep next!)

Have you tried Secret Arts or any of the other jelly bombs? What did you think of it?

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Book Review

He Said She Said by Erin Kelly Review

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In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear, and while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something, and someone, is always in the dark.

He Said She Said begins in London March 2015, where we meet a young married couple, Laura and Kit Mcall. Kit is what is known as an Eclipse Chaser, meaning he travels the world in search of where one is going to take place, analyses the weather conditions in the hope of seeing totality – the moment where the moon completely blocks the sun from view. Since meeting, he has introduced Laura to the eclipse chasing world. However, Laura is now six months pregnant after IVF and suffering heavily from anxiety, triggered by past events. Kit is leaving her for another Eclipse Festival, which only feeds Laura’s paranoia of the past catching up with them. Laura and Kit have worked so hard to keep themselves untraceable, no social media accounts, no photographs, and even changing their names, but will it be enough to stop their demons reappearing?

Cornwall 1999, Laura stumbles upon a purse at an Eclipse Festival; however her endeavour to find the owner is just the beginning of the sinister events which follow. Laura locks eyes with a woman who is being sexually assaulted by a man, she is sure of it –  the expression on the man’s (Jamie’s) face, his snarl and his narrowed eyes, the woman, motionless and unable to speak. Laura ignores Jamie’s pleas of the act being consensual and calls the police, triggering a series of sinister events that no one could have ever imagined.

The chapters in He Said She Said alternate between London 2015 and Cornwall 1999, and also between the characters of Kit and Laura. This can get a little confusing at times but I found that this was integral to the layering of the story, to make you feel torn and confused with the versions of events, and more importantly, who is telling the truth? One thing I really loved about He Said She Said was the focus on eclipses, everything from the chapter headings, to the book being split into parts titled by the stages of an eclipse – which illustrate the progression of the story and the build up towards something big.

The subject at the heart of this story means it’s not always a comfortable read, particularly the courtroom scenes. The issue of consent is centre forward in this tale, with Jamie’s defence implying that if Beth herself did not explicitly say she had been raped, then it was concocted up by Laura’s imagination. Kelly’s attention to detail allows us to see how the assaults affect goes way beyond Beth and Jamie, but also what impact it has on everyone else and how events can be spun and words can be twisted.

In addition to attention to detail, Kelly writes beautifully about the relationship between Kit and Laura. A particular favourite quote of mine is from Beth to Laura “He’d told me the night before what eclipses meant to him, and how it was still and effort for him to take his eyes off you to look at the sky”. I found their relationship to be undoubtedly love and the acceptance that things do not always remain the same after years together. I really liked both of these characters, the love they had for one another, the way Laura shared in Kit’s eclipse chasing passion, there is something extraordinary about them.

This is a dark tale which will make you uncomfortable but unable to keep yourself from turning the page. Kelly has cleverly intertwined a sensitive and gut wrenching topic throughout a gripping thriller plot, which I imagine was no easy feat, but it reads  as if done with such ease in He Said She Said. The paranoia lurking within the pages will creep into you as you become suspicious of everyone, and as the truth is purely based on perception it becomes subjective. The only problem is most of the characters do not want to tell the truth at all. Truth means judgement and destruction for some, as do lies to another.

I cannot recommend this book enough; it is definitely going in my top favourite books! It stayed with me for days afterwards, and I had that lost feeling where you’ve finished something brilliant only to not know what to do with yourself. By the end I had to know what was real and what wasn’t, and the outcome left me shocked. Not for one second throughout He Said She Said did I anticipate what was to come. The plot is extremely clever, and the characters are well rounded and thought out. My view changed so much throughout, especially on Beth, my heart ached for her most of the time, and at other times I disliked her. Kelly really knows her craft and shows that perception and someone else’s words could be much further from the truth than we realise.

Lifestyle

My Top Ten Favourite Ways to Relax

Sometimes it can really feel like there are a million things going on in your life at once, that there isn’t much time to focus on anything else, including yourself. I think everyone, including myself, is guilty of not being able to switch off and take time out for themselves.  I try to make time for self-care most days, even if it’s something as simple as using a hair mask or settling down to read a good book with a hot drink, it makes all the difference.  Here are my top ten favourite ways ways to relax and de-stress.

Bubble Bath & Pj’s

The very first thing I do when I get home is have a shower (or bubble bath if I have the time!) and put on my pj’s and dressing gown for the evening. Sounds so simple, but putting on pj’s helps me to feel cosy and completely switch off from the day. If you have read my blog before, you will know that as well as my love for candles, I love bath bombs, and a bath for me is not complete without one! I’m a big fan of Lush and more recently Bomb Cosmetics – If you haven’t heard of them you can find them here: https://bombcosmetics.co.uk/

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Reading

Whenever I’m in need of some relaxation time or feeling anxious, I find nothing helps calm me quite like a good book. Reading really helps me to zone out for a while, and immerses my mind in a completely different world. I’m currently reading He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly, which I am already finding myself engrossed in. Magazines are also a nice way to relax, again it helps you to relax your mind and can provide some laughs – a particular favourite is the Hey, it’s Ok section in Glamour magazine.

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Candles

I’m a self confessed candle junkie, I absolutely love candles and have filled every room of my apartment with them. Candles can make a room go from average to a cosy hygge dream in seconds. I don’t go for particular scents, as there are so many good ones, but some of my favourites are Candy Cane Lane from Yankee Candle,  Cappucino Truffle from Homeware, White Jasmine and Mint & by Jo Malone.   Candles are a definite must for a cosy evening!

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Movies/Documentary Binge

If I’m not currently reading anything and don’t feel in the headspace to start a new book, I find watching a movie/tv series is the next best thing. After a hectic week it can be quite nice to get cosy with a cup of tea and settle down to watch something. I find this helps to relax my mind and focus on the entertainment rather than any niggling worries. If you’re after some new show ideas these are some of my top picks:

  • Game of Thrones
  • The Walking Dead
  • Suits
  • House of Cards
  • Amercian Horror Story
  • Love
  • Peep Show
  • The Affair
  • Orange is the New Black

Making Lists

Over the years I have turned into one of those people who are slightly obsessed with making lists, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I find making lists helps me to feel more organised and productive as I know what I want to complete (plus there are very little things more satisfying than crossing something off of your to-do list). My favourite list to write is in the first week of January, it is my resolution/goals for that year, which I then look back on a year later and cross of everything that I have achieved on my list. Lists are super handy for breaking things down and helping you prioritise what is most important. Confession – yes, I may also be one of those people who will add something they have already completed to their to-do list just so I can cross it off.

Music

Music can be really good at helping you to reflect and feel, as we can associate songs with memories/people/feelings.  I use Spotify and create playlists for most things like the gym, my walk to work, those days where you just need a little pick me up, and ones filled with old classics, it’s a fun way to have something on hand to play music to whatever mood you’re feeling.

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Cleaning

When I’m feeling stressed or anxious I find cleaning really helps me to relax and forget whatever was causing me to worry. There’s something about tidying your space which makes it feel like you’re tidying your mind too.

Date Days

Normally when Ryan and I have a day off together and no other plans we will have a date day aka spending time together doing something we both enjoy. This can be anything from going out for lunch/dinner and to see a film, or a day of exploring and walks etc. I really look forward to these as they allow us to shut off completely and have a day of fun. Date days don’t have to be expensive; some of the best are when you don’t spend money and go exploring.

Colouring

Last year colouring books made a real come back and had proved helpful to those who were stressed or anxious, as it helps you to focus on colouring the picture rather than what you are worried about.  I thought it couldn’t hurt to try one, and then Ryan surprised me with a Fantastic Beasts one (because who doesn’t love Harry Potter and co?). It’s true what they say, you become totally absorbed in it, so much so, that you don’t realise an hour has passed and you haven’t even had one single thought about what was worrying you earlier.

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Everyone has different ways of relaxing and switching off, what are your favourites? Let me know!

 

Book Review

The Adventures of Alan Shaw Volume 1 by Craig Hallam Review

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For Alan Shaw, escaping the workhouse was only the beginning of the adventure.

For an orphan growing up alone on the streets of Victorian London, staying alive is a daily battle, filled with choices a child should never have to make. This is Alan’s lot in life, until he is offered more money than he can imagine; enough to take him to the new world to begin a new life. He only has to complete one task; something that could bring the British Empire to its knees.

In a series of adventures that take him from sea to sky, from Brighton to Bombay, Alan grows up in a steam-driven era where Automatons walk the streets of London and dirigibles master the air. Pitted against mad alchemists, tentacled submersibles, bomb-wielding saboteurs and the apocalyptic army of the Ordo Fenris, Alan has his work cut out for him.

With a past as dark as his, who knows what Alan might grow up to be?

Set in the mid nineteenth century, The Adventures of Alan Shaw follows a young orphan as he is dragged up on the streets of Victorian London.  Alan, like any other street urchin, fights for survival and earns his pennies doing odd jobs for the locals and working in a pub for a violent landlord. Dreaming of a life in America, Alan is willing to do anything to escape his lack of life in London.  When the opportunity offers itself in exchange for one simple delivery, Alan cannot believe his luck, but it comes at the cost of much destruction.

From the first tale ‘Alan Shaw and the Fate of the Automatons’ we are spring-boarded into Alan’s adventures which fulfil his dream of leaving London.  The novel is told in a third person narrative over the course of five stories, each separated by a few years as we see Alan grow from a child to a young adult. At the end of each story is a newspaper article which celebrates Alan’s bravery or reports a crime that has occurred, setting the reader up with a cliff-hanger and leading into the next tale. In addition the illustrations which appear before each story, that depict Alan and the characters who will support him during each adventure. I liked that Hallam included images before each tale, as it helped you put a name to the face of the characters.

In terms of the characters, I found all of the main characters to be likeable, but my favourite would have to be Alan, if not only for his sense of humour. Alan has not had an easy time of it to say the least; his experiences are raw and significant to the growth of his character throughout the novel. Despite all life has thrown at him, Alan never loses his charm and fearlessness, and you become invested in his character and him seeing his adventures through to the very end. Initially, I could not warm to Alan’s character, but as he matures I found him to be more endearing.

Another character I took a liking to was Sarah, wife of Callas who owns Harkers, the pub Alan works at as a child. Sarah acts as a mother figure for Alan during the early chapters, chatting to him in the kitchen, tickling him, and helping him to evade Callas when he’s angry. I really liked the relationship between these two, it showed a more sensitive side to Alan’s character when often he can appear quite hardened by his experiences.

The Adventures of Alan Shaw stays true to its sci-fi/steam punk genre with its recurring theme of machinery. The machines described in the novel are very creative and I really liked how even then society relied heavily on machinery to do everyday tasks, such as the Automatons sweeping the streets, thus taking jobs away from the young street dwellers. Throughout the novel the use of machinery becomes of greater use to the villains in the tales – including a giant tentacled ship intent on destruction and brass monkeys out for whatever they can get their hands on! Hallam describes the machines in such detail it is not difficult to conjure up images of what they would look like. It is clear Hallam has done his research when it comes to locations Alan ventures of too. The descriptions do a wonderful job of helping you put the scene together.

Initially I was unsure whether this novel would be for me, but I am pleased to say I was wrong. The Adventures of Alan Shaw is fun and fast-paced, filled with warm characters, humour and extremely interesting escapades. The cliff-hangers make it pretty impossible to leave for long, and I often found myself staying up to finish a story just so it could be put down for the night. This was a different read for me, but one I came to thoroughly enjoy. One thing I know for sure is that I will be joining Alan on his next bout of adventures!

Last but certainly not least, thank you to Craig Hallam who sent me a copy of The Adventures of Alan Shaw Volume One to review, it is much appreciated. However, this has in no way influenced my thoughts or opinions on the book, as always my reviews are honest, filled with my own thoughts and contain no spoilers!

Let me know what you think if you have read or do read The Adventures of Alan Shaw Volume One!

 

Travel

My Trip to Krakow

Day One

We arrived in Krakow at 3pm and after making our way through the Airport, we were met by our taxi driver and set off to the hotel. We had booked to stay for four nights in the Qubus Hotel, which I cannot recommend enough. The Qubus Hotel is located perfectly on the bank of the Vistula River and next to the old town Jewish Quarter, Kazimierz. The rooms were simple, yet comfortable, and were cleaned everyday to a high standard. Once we had unpacked our luggage, we walked to the Galeria Kazimierz shopping centre, which boasts one hundred and thirty shops. After a quick shop we wandered down to the Main Square, which is a site to behold, filled with 12th Century Gothic buildings and Krakow’s Cloth Hall.

 

Main Square

Situated in the Old Town, the Main Square is the perfect place to be in ‘hub’ of Krakow. Being a fifteen minute walk from the Square meant that we spent a good portion of trip sitting in or wandering through it. The Square is surrounded by historical buildings and is home to St Mary’s Basilica and Krakow’s Cloth Hall. This was one of my favourite spots in Krakow as the architecture is simply stunning, and dates all the way back to the twelfth century. This is the perfect place for sight-seeing, people-watching, and sampling some of Krakow’s best eats (The food is great value for money, even on the Main Square…I know!)

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St Mary’s Basilica

St Mary’s Basilica is quite possibly one of the most beautiful churches I have ever visited. Filled with gothic interior and the breathtaking craftsmanship of, the blue starred ceiling, alter, and stain glass windows, it is more than worth a visit.  The altarpiece was handcrafted by German artist, Veit Stoss, in the fifteenth century. However, during the Nazi occupation the altar was dismantled and taken back to Germany and hidden, ten years later it was returned to Poland.

If you find yourself in the Main Square, every hour a bugle will sound from the highest tower. The bugle plays but ends abruptly, and legend has it that this is because a watchman had spotted enemy forces approaching, so sounded the alarm, but was killed by an arrow to the throat.

Tickets can be purchased at a booth across the road and you will need a separate ticket to take photos, which is definitely worth it.

 

Krakow Zoo

If you know me and my boyfriend, then you know we like to try and cram a zoo trip into any place we visit, and Krakow was no exception. Krakow Zoo is located in the middle of a forest, yup you read that right. We took a bus from the Cracovia Stadion to the zoo, which took fifteen minutes total and we were driven right up to the zoo. If you decide to hire a car and drive to Krakow zoo, the car park is lower down, so you will have a very long walk up a steep hill to make! Once at the zoo we paid for two tickets coming to 36PLN equalling to just £8, which is amazing value.

I was really impressed with the zoo, the animals looked happy; their environment was clean and well tended to, as were the other facilities within the zoo. There are lots of animals to see, even some we had never heard of. There are a couple of places around the zoo to grab snacks; this was a little harder for me as I am a pescatarian, so I opted for the Polish delicacy of a zapiekanka. A zapiekanka is an open faced toasted sandwich made of half a baguette or bread roll, topped with mushrooms, cheese and ketchup and other ingredients if you wish. I have to admit, I was a big fan of the zapiekanka, I mean who doesn’t love toasted sandwiches? Only this one was practically the size of my arm.

 

Vistula River

We decided to walk back from the Cracovia Stadion and go along the Vistula River. Although we didn’t get the opportunity, you can take cruises along the river. Our hotel offered free Q-Boat cruises along the river every hour which last around twenty five minutes. This is one thing I wish we could have crammed in, but is an incentive to return!

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Wawel Castle/ Dragons Den & Sandomierska

On the walk up to the castle you will pass a mini walk of fame, featuring the handprints of Benedict Cumberbatch, Tim Roth, Michael Jackson and many more. We arrived at the castle at 3pm so only tickets for the Dragons Den & Sandomierska Tower were available, which we were more than happy with. We visited the Sandomierska Tower first, which is one of the castles two artillery towers. The tower was built in the 1400’s and was designed to strengthen defence, house firearms and artillery, served as guards quarters or a prison. For just 4PLN you can climb the towers one hundred and thirty seven steps and see views of Krakow like no other.

We then made our way to the Dragons Den which is a legendary cave within Wawel Hill. The legend tells of a dragon, Smok, who roamed the tunnels within the cave, which each week needed to eat a fixed number of cattle. If the city dwellers could not provide the number of cattle required, the dragon would punish them by taking the equivalent number of human heads. The legend goes onto tell of King Cracus, who called upon his sons to help with ridding the town of the dragon. The ending I won’t spoil, and also because it has changed over time, but it is worth a read if you have the time. We saved this until last as the exit of the caves takes you back onto the river bank below, where you will find a bronze statue of the dragon Smok. In total it cost 14PLN so just under £6 each.

 

Auschwitz I & Auschwitz Birkenau

On our last day we had pre booked a tour to visit both Auschwitz camps. In total it cost us seventy seven euro online for transport their and back and our guided tour. Although you do not have to take a guided tour, you can take a bus from the bus station and visit the camps without a guide. I’m really glad we went with a guided tour, as I found it to be extremely informative, and our guide really took her time explaining everything and was very patient with the group.  It is really difficult to put the experience into words; words that I feel will never do it justice. It really is just a place everyone should visit, remember and learn from. Nothing will change your outlook more.

It is important to visit both camps, as Auschwitz I was the first camp built, followed by Auschwitz Birkenau. Both are harrowing, but I found Birkenau the more chilling of the two. Our guide reinforced this by saying that in terms of sleeping conditions, survivors had said that Auschwitz I was like a five star hotel compared to Birkenau. Needless to say both are eerie and will leave you with a heavy heart.

 

Where We Ate/Drank

 

Hard Rock Cafe

An obvious choice, but one that is not to be missed! We ate here on our first night as it is situated in the Main Square. We were lucky enough to be seated by the window which overlooks the whole of the square. Like all Hard Rocks it has a great atmosphere, lovely food, and yummy cocktails!

 

Bonerowska

Please bear with me. This find was to the right of the Main Square and in a prime spot for people watching. We sat outside, despite it being quite an overcast day, but the restaurant had outdoor heaters and blankets for the ultimate hygge feel. The staff were lovely and attentive and the food was very nice and reasonably priced.

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Kogel Mogel

This was a find on our way into the Main Square. The lighting is dimmed and candles are dotted around the tables, again the cosiness levels are at max in Krakow! We really wanted to try some local delicacies, so we opted for dumplings and polish cheesecake, which were amazing! One thing I was slightly disappointed about was the soup, it came served in a traditional bread bowl, however they only served meat options so that was a no-go for me.

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Grande Grill

The surroundings of this restaurant are beautiful, if you get the chance head straight through to the back of this restaurant and sit in the garden area. Mostly renowned for its steaks and burgers (and no vegetarian option burger-wise), I thought I was going to be stealing chips from my boyfriends plate. Luckily, they did have fish options, although only two, and aside from that it would have been salad. I know, I know, if you go to a steakhouse what do you expect? But a couple more options would have earned the place a couple more bonus points.

 

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Bierhalle

I’ve always wanted to go to Oktoberfest in Germany, but haven’t quite got round to it yet. However, we found a bar/restaurant that had an Oktoberfest atmosphere, with the staff dressed in traditional Dirndl dresses and one litre beers are served. We had eaten at the Grande Grill before this, so we just had one of the infamous large beers each. Needless to say, we were there awhile and I think we made it two minutes down the road before we got a taxi!

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Moo Steak & Burger Club

We went here on our last night as it was my boyfriend’s birthday. So how did I fare here I here you ask? Well there was not a veggie burger in site, only fish and salad options again, have I not learnt by now? Although it was his birthday, so his choice, so I opted for a feta salad with a side order of chips. I really enjoyed it, so much so, I’ve been making it for dinner since we got back, plus it’s an excuse for me to eat more olives (like I need one).

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If you’re looking for a city-break that will keep you busy but also keep some money in your pocket then Krakow is the one for you. The food and drink is ridiculously inexpensive, and such great value for the taste and what you get. You really do get more for your money. The city caters to everyone, having everything from great shopping centres, history, the ultimate foodie cuisine, scenery and so much more to explore. There are a few things we did not manage to fit in whilst we were there, but we left knowing we would certainly be heading back there one day.

If you do have any recommendations of must-sees in Krakow please let me know! Also where are some other great locations for city breaks?

Book Review

The Sisters by Claire Douglas Review

IMG_0497 (1)One lied. One died.

When one sister dies, the other must go to desperate lengths to survive. Haunted by her twin sister’s death, Abi is making a fresh start in Bath. But when she meets twins Bea and Ben, she is quickly drawn into their privileged and unsettling circle.

When one sister lies, she must protect her secret at all costs. As Abi tries to keep up with the demands of her fickle friends, strange things start to happen – precious letters go missing and threatening messages are left in her room. Is this the work of the beautiful and capricious Bea? Or is Abi willing to go to any lengths to get attention? When the truth outs, will either sister survive?

 

The Sisters revolves around the character of Abi, who lost her twin sister Lucy in a tragic accident which she feels she could have prevented. Abi feels completely lost, until she meets Beatrice, a free spirited artist, with the added bonus of resembling Lucy. Grieving Abi is enchanted by Beatrice and her twin brother Ben, and once asked to move in; she sees the twins and the house as the perfect fresh start. Abi has craved company since the loss of her sister, and the regular parties, meals, and borrowing of Bea’s clothes provides the inclusivity she needs. However as Abi is drawn further into Beatrice and Ben’s world, cracks begin to emerge in the relationships, dark secrets are bubbling just under the surface, and sanity is slipping away.

The novel jumps between the narratives of protagonists Abi and Beatrice, both of which are unreliable narrators. I really liked this aspect of The Sisters as it left me questioning almost everything, particularly the sanity of the characters. I found myself trusting one character and then flitting to the other, but as always with one of Douglas’ novels, I was suspicious of everyone. This narrative works perfectly for the genre of this novel, Douglas builds up suspense and tension perfectly, and making you question everything you believe about these characters and what menacing events are to come.

I have to say I was fascinated by all of the characters, particularly the relationship between Beatrice and Ben. The twins are inseparable, possessive of each other and share a bond like no other, which makes for some uncomfortable reading. However, all of the characters in The Sisters are heavily flawed in their own way, but much like Abi with Beatrice, I was captivated by them all and their personalities, despite not all of them being particularly likeable.

My favourite character was Abi, who I felt was the only person I could trust and who I sympathised with throughout. The constant battle between her and Bea made for a gripping read, as both were out to make the other appear insane, yet at times appeared as though they needed each other. As with Local Girl Missing, Douglas’ evocative writing style left me yearning for the truth, not only about whom is behind all the strange happenings in the house, but about the characters themselves.

The plot works superbly for a psychological thriller as it is filled with clever twists, the eerie setting of the townhouse, and suspicious characters whose lives are dominated by lies and deceit. I could not predict what was going to happen from chapter to chapter, and was surprised by every twist thrown my way, which was a massive plus.

Overall, I would highly recommend The Sisters, if not for its fascinating characters alone, it certainly fits the bill. I finished the novel a couple of days ago and find still myself thinking about it now. The ending was rather abrupt; it left me wanting more and if I’m being completely honest, frantically googling for other theories on it. I hope it was written this way to set up a sequel in the future, if not it lets the reader conjure up their own idea of what happened next. I strongly suggest freeing up some days for this book as it won’t be leaving your hands. Douglas you have done it again, another fantastic read.