Monthly Archives

January 2014

Books, Detective Fiction

Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | Review

January 31, 2014
Sherlock Holmes The Hound of the Baskervilles - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Description from GoodreadsHolmes and Watson are faced with their most terrifying case yet. The legend of the devil-beast that haunts the moors around the Baskerville families home warns the descendants of that ancient clan never to venture out in those dark hours when the power of evil is exalted. Now, the most recent Baskerville, Sir Charles, is dead and the footprints of a giant hound have been found near his body. Will the new heir meet the same fate?

After watching the TV series Sherlock I decided it was about time I read one of the books and chose this as my detective fiction option for the 2014 genre challenge

I struggled with this book, I really did. Being published in 1901 it’s written in quite an old fashioned way which I really struggled to get into. 

On top of that the general way it was written left me baffled about who was actually talking. This meant I had to spend time trying to figure out who was talking and at times I couldn’t even figure that out. 

The storyline was pretty good, it was slow at the beginning but I did find myself gripped in the last third of the book and managed to finish that off pretty quickly. 

Unfortunately though I didn’t care either way what happened to any of the characters. I expected that I should feel for the heir of Sir Charles and hope he wasn’t killed by ‘the hound’ but I honestly I couldn’t have cared less. 

Perhaps my expectations were raised too high after watching the TV series? Talking on the TV series they must have seriously changed these stories because nothing I read sparked a memory about what happened in the TV series. 

Also, as I’ve watched Sherlock before and this is the first book I’ve read in my head Sherlock and Watson were Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, not that I’m complaining. 

For me, this was more like trying to solve a complicated maths question than it was reading a book, which is a shame because the storyline was pretty good. 

I’m by no means saying this was an awful book because it wasn’t but I couldn’t get on board with the writing style. 

2 out of 5

Have you read any of the Sherlock Holmes books? What did you think? 

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Beauty, Beauty Reviews, Hand Cream, Skincare

Sanctuary Spa Hand Cream | Review

January 30, 2014
Sanctuary Spa Hand Cream

Over the past few months I’ve developed a real love for hand creams, I thought I’d found the holy grail in Soap & Glory’s Hand Food but can Sanctuary’s offering do any better? 

It’s thick and creamy and has that classic Sanctuary scent which I adore because it makes me feel all relaxed.

You don’t need to use a huge amount of product to cover both of your hands and I think this actually sinks into your much skin faster than Soap & Glory’s Hand Food.

I don’t think it leaves my skin quite as soft as Hand Food does but it still does a pretty good job and is great for keeping in my bag and on my desk at work.

In short: A great hand cream that sinks into your skin quickly.

Is it tested on animals: Sanctuary Spa say they do not test on animals. They are owned by PZ Cussons who I got in touch with about their own policies and they told me:

We can confirm that PZ Cussons does not test ingredients or products on animals, nor do we commission or request any of our suppliers or associates to test ingredients or products on animals.  
We currently do not operate in any sectors or countries that require ingredients or products to be tested on animals by law and we actively support the development of new testing methods working towards removing the need for animal testing altogether.’ 

Their reply makes me feel happy that this is a cruelty free product. 

Would I repurchase: Absolutely, I love Sanctuary and this hand cream.

What’s your favourite hand cream? 

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Yankee Candle Red Velvet Wax Tart | Review

January 29, 2014

Yankee Candle Wax Melt Red Velvet melting

I love cake, eating it and the smell of it so when I discovered the Red Velvet wax melt I had to try it. 

It seems to be sold out in the UK store but here’s the description from the US store: ‘A most decadent creation of creamy frosting atop moist cake and a tough of brown sugar. So very sweet!’

To me, and here’s my excellent scent descriptive skills again, it just smells like vanilla icing, which isn’t a bad thing but I was expecting more. Yankee Candle already do a Vanilla Cupcake one so I was expecting that this would smell of something more than vanilla.

I’m not really sure what I was expecting though, I’ve made red velvet cupcakes before and I don’t remember them smelling any different to normal vanilla cupcakes.

The smell wasn’t overwhelming, which is good because I think it would have been sickly if it was any stronger.

In my Midsummer’s Night review I said I got well over eight hours of smellyness out of it but I think I got between four and six hours out of this one, which is a little disappointing.

In short: A vanilla scented melt that I got 4-6 hours out of.

Would I buy it again: Probably not to be honest, I didn’t get 8 hours of scented goodness out of it and it just smells of vanilla.

Have you tried Red Velvet?

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Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan | Review

January 28, 2014
Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Audiobook cover

Spoiler free 

Description from Goodreads: Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.’

After hearing a few book tubers raving about The Percy Jackson series I decided it was time to give it a go and intended to listen to it at the gym but I can’t say I got on with audiobooks very well. (More on that in another post maybe) 

Personally I found the start of the book a little slow but I think part of that I can attribute to getting used to an audiobook. As the book went on though I found it got even more exciting and gripping. 

Towards the end of the book I was well and truly hooked and was counting down the time until I could get in the car and finish it off. 

The storyline was exciting and it actually taught me things! When I was at school I loved learning about Greek mythology but we didn’t do much of it so I actually learnt a fair bit from this book. 

The characters were all really well built, Percy and Annabeth especially. The God’s characters were all very interesting, I think my favourite was Hades after his rant about being too busy. 

Perhaps the thing I loved most about this book was Riordan’s writing, it was flawless. Though I knew there were more books in the series I found myself worrying how Percy, Annabeth and Grover would get out of situations alive. If you can make me concerned about characters when I know they survive, you’re a darn good writer. 

The world building was wonderful, I especially enjoyed the description of Olympus, I felt like I was there and I wish it was real so I could go and see it. 

This book is clearly aimed at people much younger than me but as an adult I was still able to thoroughly enjoy it. As C. S. Lewis said ‘A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.’, ain’t that the truth. 

As it was a kids book I expected it might be a bit predictable but I didn’t find it to be predictable at all, it really kept me guessing right until the end. 

The excitement and anticipation I felt while reading this book was the same kind of excitement I don’t really think I’ve felt since I read the Harry Potter books. 

While we’re on the subject of Mr Potter, Annabeth and Grover reminded me of Hermoine and Ron respectively. Not that it’s a bad thing of course. 

As I always say I like a book in a series to stand up on its own and this one does. It wouldn’t need any tweaking to be a standalone book, it’s perfect. 

I’m well and truly hooked by the Percy Jackson series and I can’t wait to get started on the second book, Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. 

In short: A gripping fantasy adventure for children and adults. 

5 out of 5

Have you read any books from the Percy Jackson series? 

The Cat Chronicles: my cat is classy

January 27, 2014

Crunchie has never been interested in stealing ‘people food’ but there’s one thing of mine he goes crazy for, water. 

He always has a bowl full of fresh water but should he see that I have a glass of water, his head is in there in an instant.

I rarely see him drinking much from his water bowl but he pretty much finished off half a glass of water the other day.

Being a good cat owner, I obviously recorded it.

Does your cat drink from a glass? 

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Soap & Glory: The Breakfast Scrub | Review

January 24, 2014
Soap & Glory The Breakfast Scrub

Soap & Glory The Breakfast Scrub

Show me anything that smells like maple syrup and I’ll be ‘on it like a car bonnet’ as the phrase goes (I don’t even know what it means, car bonnets?) and Soap & Glory’s Breakfast Scrub is no exception. 

Exfoliation wasn’t something I was big on, I’d rob someone else’s exfoliating scrub if there was some in the shower but I’d never considered buying my own until I stumbled across this.

Honestly, I was sold on it’s ingredients: bananas, almonds, honey extract and maple syrup scent.

It has the consistency of mashed bananas and it doesn’t feel too harsh when you use it but it definitely does the job. It leaves your skin feeling soft and I even felt it left my skin feeling a little moisturised.

The smell is absolutely gorgeous and always leaves me wanting pancakes.

You don’t need a huge amount to do your entire body and my tub seems to be refilling itself because I’ve used it pretty much every time I’ve showered since about the end of October (and I suspect others have been dipping their paws in it too) and there’s still plenty left!

At £8 for a 300ml tub I think it’s really good value for money and did I mention the scent? Soap & Glory do a few other scrubs and I want to try them but I feel like I’d be cheating on this baby.

In short: A brilliant body scrub with a gorgeous mouth watering scent.

Is it tested on animals: No. On their website Soap & Glory say they do not test on animals and they use manufacturers that have a no animal testing policy.

Is it vegan: No, you can find a list of their vegan products here.

Would I repurchase: Absolutely.

Have you tried The Breakfast Scrub?

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