Valley Mill candle review…

Valley Mill are a company that I am quite familiar with so when they got in touch to tell me about the launch of their new tin candles, I was very excited.

Based in Wales, Valley Mill offer beautiful homeware items (including lush slate pieces), as well as gorgeous hand made soaps and even wedding favours! They really are a one stop shop for gifts.

What I particularly like about Valley Mill is the quality and pride. Their products are reasonably priced but are of fantastic quality. I love that they are made in the UK too and their products feel quite personal.

I absolutely adore lighting candles once the cooler, darker months draw in. I love making our house cosy so blankets, lighting, and candles are a must.

I have tried a variety of candles in my time, expensive candles and cheap ones. In my experience, cheaper candles don’t offer such an aroma which is my favourite part about lighting a candle. I like the room to fill with the sumptuous scent that I have chosen. I know that for some people burning expensive candles can seem to be a waste of money, but for me I need its presence to be felt. It needs to look nice on the shelf and fill the room with a nice smell therefore good quality is a must.

Valley Mill kindly sent me five festive scented candles to try –



Cuban Cognac

Holly Berry

and Spiced Apple

I wanted to really test them out before posting my review because I like to be completely honest.

The candles are presented in a cute tapestry tin print which are nice and colourful. They are of a good size and will burn for around 30 hours. The burn time is great because it will last for quite a while. My only slight criticism is that I think that they would look nicer if the design was printed directly onto the tin as opposed to the printed label which is stuck on to the tins. I think that this would give a more luxurious feel. I do think that they look lovely though.

The candles are made using soy wax which is something that the company has been doing for over five years. They retail at just £10.95, which in my opinion is very reasonable. It’s a good price to pay for a Christmas gift and with such a variety of scents (there’s 13!), there really is one for each individual taste.

But are they actually any good?!

Yes! They burn really nicely, look good and smell amazing. I could still detect the scent hours after I had stopped burning them. I would definitely recommend these candles and feel that they are quite on par with much more expensive alternatives. I can’t wait to try out some of the other scents and explore the other home items that Vally Mill offer.

You could also be in with a chance of winning five Valley Mill tapestry tin candles, check out my Instagram page soon for details.

What’s your favourite candle brand?

L x

*I was kindly gifted these candles in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions are my own.

Book review: Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham…

I have been a fan of Lena Dunham ever since Girls starting gracing our screens. Her natural, raw talent radiates through and you can tell that she’s really genuine.

I like people who are open and honest, which Lena certainly is (perhaps even an over-sharer!). So I was excited to read Not That Kind of Girl.

Overall, I really enjoyed this tell-all book from Lena. I liked how raw it is and that Lena is a happy non conformist. However, I do think that there’s a lot of people who won’t ‘get’ her or her story. I feel that this is both a positive and negative trait. I think it’s important in life to not do things because it’s how people expect you to, but more out of the love and passion that you have, which is what Lena has done. I think if you don’t ‘get’ Lena, it might be quite hard going as a book.

There are so many pros, the writing is great, her honesty is refreshing and overall I really feel like I understand her better.

The cons would be that it will appeal to more of a niche market rather than the masses and at times it can be a little emotionally draining.

I would definitely recommend giving it a go and deciding for yourself!

Have you read anything recently?

L x

Love, Lies and Lemon Cake a review…

Love, Lies and Lemon Cake is a really sweet love story which follows Faye Dobson who decides to move on from her stale marriage and meets super dreamy Australian surfer Dan. Dan reignites a spark in her which encourages her to put herself first and enjoy life.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I found it such an easy read and quickly became invested in the characters. I loved how the story unfolded and the new experiences that Faye was enjoying. I found it really uplifting.

Read it if:

  • You love a good love story
  • You don’t mind a bit of cheese
  • You aren’t looking for anything too lengthy

Best bits:

  • Watching Faye grow
  • Her relationship developing with Dan
  • The general flow of the storyline

Worst bits:

  • Perhaps a little too short?!

Have you read Love, Lies and Lemon Cake?

L x

An Abundance of Katherines…

An Abundance of Katherines, written by John Green, tells the story of boy genius Colin and his journey of love through dating Katherines. 

I’ll be completely honest and say that I didn’t find this a particularly gripping or interesting read and was actually a little bit disappointed that I wasn’t completely held by it like I have been with John Green’s other work.

I found the pace quite slow and whilst I didn’t hate the style and the story, I just really feel like it’s missing some magic. 

It’s quite a short read, but it seemed to take me forever (I’ve lost count of how many holidays this book has been on!) purely because I wasn’t desperate to chase the story onto the next page. I was, however, quite satisfied with the characters and the setting. I also liked reading about their road trip whilst actually being on one of my own.

Read it if:

  • You like a slow pace
  • You are interested in maths (I know this sounds odd, but you’ll understand if you read it!)
  • You are embarking on an American road trip

Best bits:

  • Development of characters
  • Setting

Worst bits:

  • It’s generally a bit boring in places 

Have you read an Abundance of Katherines?

L x

Driving from San Diego to Las Vegas…

So if you’ve been following my West Coast diary series, you will know that we were staying in San Diego for a few days. The next stop on our agenda was Las Vegas and we had decided to make the drive there. 

Sunglasses: Forever 21 two years ago

Dress: Asos

Luckily for me, Phil does all of the driving when we are away, so I just get to sit back, relax and sing along to Taylor Swift. 

The drive took around 4 hours not including the breaks we took at Panda Express and for petrol. 

It was riddled with sumptuous scenery that dreams are made of and whilst at the petrol garage, I read about the snakes, tarantulas and scorpions of the Mojave desert. I was really worried about our little rental car overheating though as the temperature was well into the 40’s!

Once we arrived in Vegas, we checked in to our hotel, New York, New York. The lady at registration was a bit unpleasant but the rooms were clean and comfortable.

We then took Steve out for a walk along the strip and some dinner before watching the beautiful fountains at the Bellagio.

Have you driven from San Diego to Vegas?

L x

Our day at Aquatica…

Dress: it was my Mum’s in the 90’s!

Sunglasses: classic Ray Bans

Phil and I love water parks, so I was quite excited when I found one in San Diego.

Owned by SeaWorld, Aquatica has a few rides, a wave pool and a lazy river.

The lazy river is my absolute favourite thing to hang out on at a water park because I just find it so relaxing.

Phil and I visited the water parks at Disneyworld last year, so my expectations were quite high. Unfortunately, I didn’t rate Aquatica too highly. Sure it was fun and all, but it’s actually quite small and two of the rides were closed which was a shame as it was peak season and they only have about 7 to start with!

I was also disappointed by their changing rooms. You couldn’t have a proper shower and the lockers were located far away from the changing facilities, which was super annoying. At the Disney parks, everything is really convenient and you can actually get ready properly afterwards, which is great if you aren’t going straight back to the hotel.

Anyway, I think that Aquatica is fun, but could definitely be better.

Which water parks do you rate?

L x

Visiting Coronado in San Diego…

After our stint in Anaheim, we hopped in our little rental car and drove south to San Diego. It was our first time in San Diego and I was so excited to explore pastures new. I love visiting new places and we had been recommended Coronado as a nice place to visit. 

We were actually staying in Chula Vista, but Coronado was only a fifteen minute drive across the longest bridge known to man. 

Dress: Hollister Sunglasses: Vans

It was a bit cloudy when we arrived, but beautifully warm. We parked in an expensive car park ($20 for two hours 😳) and took a short walk to the infamous Coronado Hotel and beach.

The sand was some of the softest sand I have ever stepped on and such a treat. Honestly that beach is terribly divine. The views are lush too.

There’s also a little beach bar near the hotel where you can grab a cheeky cocktail and it’s just a lovely place. 

We also had a look around the shops and I picked up a couple of things and fell in love with the cutest little shop called Seaside Papery. They do beautiful prints and little things.

Coronado is super lush and definitely worth a visit. We had such a nice afternoon there.

Have you visited Coronado?

L x

The Book Club, Book 2…

So I’ve not had a great couple of months when it comes to reading. I finished reading Vogue from the last book club instalment and have since fallen out of the rhythm of reading. Life’s been beautifully busy and I’ve sadly just put reading on the back burner. Anyway, I’m going to try and get back into a routine of reading before bed because I’ve got so many books at home waiting to be read and I just need to get back on it. 

So I finished Vogue a couple of months back and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think that it’s probably not a book for everyone but as someone who enjoys reading the magazine, it was interesting to have a sneak peek behind the scenes and Alexandra Shulman has a lovely way of conveying things. I particularly enjoyed her humour. I would recommend this to someone who is interested in fashion, the media industry or who enjoys Vogue. 

This leads me on to the next book club title… An Abundance of Katherine’s by John Green. 

My copy is a little dog eared from being dragged around hoping to be read (it’s been all over London, Belgium and California!). I like John Green’s writing style, so I’m quite excited about finishing this one.

Have you read Vogue? What did you think?

L x

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Unless you have been living on Mars for the past twenty years, you would have heard of both J K Rowling and Harry Potter. You most likely have also heard of the highly anticipated play that brings us the next instalment of Harry’s life and lit up the West End at the start of the summer.

I first started reading the Potter books whilst I was at secondary school. Only the first couple of books had been released and I was immediately hooked. The way in which J K Rowling told the story of this young boy who had been orphaned and was actually a wizard completely mesmerised me. Coupled with the release of the movies, my brother and I were transformed into Potter fans. Ever since then I’ve followed the release of both books and movies as well as treading the sets at the studio tour in Leavesden and hurling myself around The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I just love it. That’s why I was so super excited when Harry Potter and the Cursed Child landed on our doormat in the summer. 

This latest offering follows Harry’s family , nineteen years later. At first you are reacquainted with the characters and you begin to learn about how their relationships have developed. The new characters (predominantly Albus and Scorpius), are brought to life, although soon enough old habits return and we are thrown back into a world of Hogwarts and dark magic. Not to mention that painful scar.

I was terribly sceptical as the story is presented as the script for the play, completely unconventional to the other novels. I wasn’t sure if I would become quite so consumed with stage directions thrown in and it being predominantly dialogue. I was worried that the charm would be lost.

Anyway, within the first couple of pages I was immediately hooked and simply could not put it down. The storyline is fabulous and I love that they’ve chosen to go down the route of playing with time. It feels wonderfully majestic and although it is mostly dialogue between actors, I was still able to conjure up each scene visibly in my mind. I did feel that a few scenes felt rushed though and some expansion could have been created, although it’s important to remember that this is a play form of the story and that it needs to be told differently.

It made me feel nostalgic and I love that Harry has grown (just like us!). I feel like there’s room for expansion, the great story of the Potter’s could easily continue, so I doubt that this will be our last instalment.

Read it if:

  • You are a fan of the Harry Potter series (who isn’t?!)
  • You like a bit of magic
  • You love going to the theatre

Best bits:

  • The storyline itself is brilliant
  • Our favourite characters returning
  • The depth of characters

Worst bits:

  • Feels a bit rushed in places
  • Sometimes a little too far fetched

Have you read The Cursed Child?

What did you think?

L x 

Book review: Us by David Nicholls

‘Us’, tells the story of Doug, his wife Connie and son Albie. Doug is a middle aged British man who finds himself in a situation when his wife Connie announces that she will be divorcing him after their family travelling holiday around Europe which they are having as Albie will be off to university after the summer.

I had such a funny relationship with this book. At times I couldn’t wait to delve further, discover more about this family and their life. At other times I felt like I could only read a couple of pages before my attention was averted. It took me a whopping two and a half months to read, and landed up coming to both Iceland and Florida as well as in my handbag when we moved house. Honestly, I was so glad last week when I finally managed to finish it and could start something new. I think it was partly because being a girl in her mid twenties, recently married and not pursuing a career in science, I didn’t really have much to relate to with the lead character, Doug. I also found that Connie was a bit annoying at times and didn’t relate to her either. I think that this is the main reason that I struggled with it. It is quite well written though and certainly wasn’t torturous enough to give up on. There are some truly humorous parts as well as some heart warming snippets and I really found myself routing for Connie and Doug to make it work.

Read it if:

  • You like a love story 
  • Enjoy a smidge of humour 
  • You like to be taken on a journey 

Best bits:

  • The way in which the story is told. It flips back and you slowly learn about Connie and Doug’s relationship and their past
  • The comedic value
  • Their journey through Europe

Worst bits:

  • I found Doug unrelatable
  • Connie is annoying 

Whilst I did enjoy ‘Us’ overall, I won’t be re reading it anytime soon. 

Have you read ‘Us’? What did you think? Have you read anything exciting recently?

L x