Sophie Kinsella - She's Back

Posted by Judy Johnson On Tuesday, 29 November 2011 22:43 0 comments
Image from Amazon
I just had to post this today, as a long-awaited email from Amazon popped into my inbox this morning. Sophie Kinsella, writer of the Shopaholic series as well as the brilliant Undomestic Goddess, Twenties Girl, Remember Me? and others, is back. FINALLY.

It feels like an age since I read Mini Shopaholic and even longer since Twenties Girl - which was pretty different given the ghostly essence of the story but fantastic and laugh-out-loud funny nonetheless. Now Kinsella is back with a new novel which is available to pre-order - it's called I've Got Your Number and sounds hilarious as always.

Chick-lit gets pretty slated at times but as a writer who wants to write that stuff (I want to make people laugh and swoon simultaneously, in life and in writing. What's wrong with that?!) I absolutely love it. There aren't many who do it well (no pressure then, future me) but when I find a decent author who knows their giggles such as Freya North or Anna Maxted, I stick to them and wait eagerly for their next release. I'm always looking for new ones too, so do let me know in the comments if there are any you swear by.

So without further ado, here's the blurb stolen from Amazon and the link for pre-ordering it. Enjoy!

I've lost it. The only thing in the world I wasn't supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It's been in Magnus's family for three generations. And now, the very same day his parents are coming, I've lost it. The very same day. Do not hyperventilate Poppy. Stay positive!!

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry the ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her 'happy ever after' begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring but in the panic that followed, she has now lost her phone. As she paces shakily round the hotel foyer she spots an abandoned phone in a bin. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except the phone's owner, businessman Sam Roxton doesn't agree. He wants his phone back and doesn't appreciate Poppy reading all his messages and wading into his personal life. 
What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other's lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents... she soon realises that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

Buy it on Amazon here. Happy reading...
Back in the early days of my blogging life, I posted about Burts Bees lipgloss which I loved despite hating lipgloss; well, next on my Hate List is foundation. I can't stand the stuff. I think natural skin looks prettier than thick and cloggy makeup - and I'd rather use concealer all over than smear on foundation. Until now.

Bourjois is one of my favourite brands - I already swear by their eyeliners, Healthy Mix concealer and chocolate-like bronzer. And now they've done what no other brand has managed to do in all my years of playing with makeup; they've convinced me to wear foundation.

The Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation, apart from being a bit of a mouthful, is quite simply brilliant. While I'm not sure about its claim to last 16 hours (so far I've only been wearing it on nights out), it is right when it claims to be radiance-boosting with an instant anti-fatigue effect - my skin looked fresh and even-toned, with a slight glow too. Containing goji berries, pomegranate and lychee, it also smells delicious (but not overpowering, as no one wants a fruity face).

Because it is gel-based, it glides on and blends better than any tinted moisturiser, concealer or foundation I have ever tried. It's so soft on the skin that you'll find it hard not to keep sweeping your fingers across your pretty much flawless face - and best of all, it doesn't feel like makeup to the touch. Personally, I found it gave really good coverage but the packaging states it is only a 1 on a scale of 1 to 3.

My pet peeve with all foundations I've tried previously, powder included, has been that you could tell I was wearing it - there was no way the texture could ever be passed as my own skin. Bourjois have changed all that - it feels like my bare skin, looks like my skin (but better, obviously) and doesn't make me look like one of those beauty counter girls who layer up every product they sell on their face. I'm a convert. 

Disclosure: I received this foundation free of charge, though it wasn't from a PR - I'm not certain but I think I won it in a Latest in Beauty giveaway!

AEOS Skincare

Posted by Judy Johnson On Monday, 28 November 2011 22:34 1 comments
When I was little, my favourite shop to go into with my mum was a place in Lindfield called Witchcraft; a beautifully quaint little gift shop which was full of soaps in the shapes of roses, dolphins and stars, bath pearls that melted into water to make it soft and scented, and all kinds of gorgeous smelling bath products that I couldn't get enough of and happily sniff all day.

AEOS, or Active Energised Organic Skincare, instantly reminded me of Witchcraft because of the lovely scents in their products. We all know I have a super sensitive skin type, which usually means I steer clear from fragrances, but if I'm careful I tend to be OK with organic products - something I definitely need to research more. A few patch tests later and I've discovered AEOS is on my 'safe' list - and thank goodness for that.

It's refreshing to find a range that really is all about the ingredients; AEOS use the 'living energy' of the natural ingredients to create skincare products loaded with effective plant extracts and essential oils. The brand has its own bio-dynamic Shire Farm where most of the ingredients are grown and the rest are from organic farms around the world. Their philosophy is to look after the activity and balance of the soil, which leads to the strength and the vitality of the plant, which provides optimal effects on the skin. Yes, it's all a bit scientific, but good to know how it works from the moment it's in the soil to the moment you're putting it on your face.

Apart from the scent, the first thing that struck me when I took a look at the products was the colour; not toxic and bright like so many others but subtle yet distinct. Apparently, this is down to 'spagyric tinctures', or liquid gems and crystals that are said to energise the ingredients. 

AEOS have a three-phase system: Renewal, Rebalance and Replenish. With oils, lotions and exfoliators to renew the skin, conditioners and hydrating mist to rebalance and serums to lock in moisture, they've worked out exactly what your skin needs and how to get it from natural sources. Even better, the products are light and dewy on the skin, and smell like they belong in a five star spa (or Witchcraft if you know Lindfield well). I've added them to my beauty Christmas list...

Disclosure: I received the AEOS products from a PR friend to try out for the blog. 

Creative Inspiration - Films, Books and Music

Posted by Judy Johnson On Saturday, 5 November 2011 16:22 0 comments
If I'm not being creative myself, it's often because I'm too busy enjoying someone else's creativity. I love that great feeling after reading an all-encompassing book where you can't wait to recommend it, or after watching a gripping film when you feel like you're still there in the story (unless it's Saw, in which case I get as far away from it as possible with an episode of Friends). The hope that one day I'll write something that makes people feel like that is pretty much why I'm here, so I thought I'd post about some recent inspiration...

Great authors
It does seem like everyone wants to write a book, but maybe it's just that I'm surrounded by writers? As well as my love for Sophie Kinsella's light-hearted shopaholics and co, I've recently found I love a good thriller when it comes to reading. Enter, Linwood Barclay - his stories read like an unfolding ITV drama (I mean this in a good way) and keep me turning the page no matter what time it is or how long until my alarm clock is due to annoy me. Never Look Away had me guessing right until the end, but my favourite so far has been No Time for Goodbye - original, tricky and refreshingly 'real' under all the crime and darkness of the plot.

Great musicians
It's no secret that I am addicted to Spotify, Ibiza and maybe a bit of The X Factor, but sometimes in this reality-show driven era of music it's easy to forget that there are real musicians out there who could be the next big icon. When I was younger my idols were Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Kylie because I thought they'd be around forever - now I think the same of Beyonce, the late Michael Jackson and well, Kylie (there's just no stopping her!). 

Last week I saw Bruno Mars at the Brixton Academy and I couldn't believe what a born entertainer he was - he has so much charisma, a smile that could melt anyone into pure lust, and a voice and super cool dance moves that make me think he was born into the wrong decade. His support act was Skylar Grey, who co-wrote Love the Way You Lie and sings it pretty damn well too - she has a haunting voice that reminds me of Evanescence and is definitely one to watch.

Great films
Thanks to the brilliant LoveFilm I have a regular dose of film landing on my doorstep so that if I miss a trip to the ever-expensive cinema I can add it to my wishlist. With Oscar season upon us there are so many great movies to see out there at the moment that I don't know where to start - though obviously, anything with Ryan Gosling in gets prioritised for me; I can't wait to see Ides of March and have also got my eye on Justin Timberlake's new release, In Time.

I recently saw Drive and left with both the shakes and a thumping heart - I don't know why it got to me so much but the way it was directed had me quite literally holding my breath, and Gosling played his multi-dimensional character perfectly.  I also saw the other Ryan of note, Ryan Reynolds in Buried (courtesy of LoveFilm) and I think it must be the most tense film I have ever watched. Filmed purely in a coffin in which he has been buried alive, it really was thought-provoking and one of the most memorable movies for me in recent cinema. 

What inspires you to be creative, or what books/films/music have you discovered lately? I'm currently reading We Need to Talk About Kevin, definitely not my usual chick-lit with a happy ending...
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