Top 4 Inspirational Books: A Collab With Carrie Doran

I love how blogging is always full of surprises and one tweet can unexpectedly lead to a blog collab. Last week, I was contacted by Carrie from Life Grind, Right Mind who found me after I tweeted about getting some blog opportunities after nothing for ages and how we shouldn’t ever give up. Well, this sparked a conversation and Carrie suggested we collab together on our favourite books which have inspired us. Collaborations with other bloggers are one of my favourite things to do so I agreed straight away!

Carrie is from Las Vegas, USA and blogs about mental health and lifestyle. I love discovering new bloggers and it’s clear Carrie has a real passion for helping others feel less lonely in the world if they’re battling mental illness. Her blog reads: let’s end the stigma, let’s start a conversation, let’s talk to each other about the tough stuff until it’s not so tough anymore.  Let’s start learning and understanding. Life Grind, Right Mind is featured as one of the Top 60 Mental Health Blogs” and Carrie is continuously working hard to advocate changes that need to be made in the Mental Health community. Well done Carrie!

So here are the top 4 books which have inspired me over the years. Make sure you head over to Carrie’s blog to read her favourites too. You can also follow Carrie on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. 

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love was a book I read in my early twenties which only further encouraged my love for all things travel. Liz finds herself stuck in a life she doesn’t want anymore so decides to leave behind everything familiar and comforting and embark on a quest of self-discovery. She travels to Italy (and eats all the pizza and gelato), spends some time in an Ashram in India before finally heading off to Bali, the paradise island in Indonesia. I love everything about this book. It encourages us to leave our comfort zones, travel, explore and discover who we really are. I also really, really want to go to Bali. Click here to buy Eat Pray Love.

“If you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.”

Wonder by R.J Palacio 

Wonder was a book which took me on a roller coaster of all the emotions. It was my holiday reading and I pretty much finished it as soon as I got off the plane. Wonder follows the story of Auggie Pullman, a normal ten year old in every way other than the fact he was born with a disorder which makes him stand out and look different. Auggie just wants a normal life and to fit in with the other kids at school but unfortunately not everyone is that accepting. The book is packed full of many lessons on kindness and how we should not judge people on appearance. If you want both the happy and sad tears, click here to buy Wonder.

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place.”

Wild by Cheryl Strayed 

I used to work as a receptionist at The Travelodge, and I read the whole of Wild on one very quiet shift over Christmas. I was searching for books similar to Eat Pray Love and Wild was the answer. Cheryl, 26, was struggling in the wake of her mothers death and failing marriage so like Liz, went on an epic journey of self-discovery. Cheryl believed she had nothing left to lose and one day packed her rucksack and set off on an eleven hundred mile trek following the Pacific Crest Trail in America. With little backpacking experience, Cheryl finds herself in difficult situations which will test her both mentally and physically. A very inspirational read which proves we can do anything if we put our mind to it. Click here to buy Wild. 

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.”

Blogs Change Lives by Aby Moore

Last but by no means least, my most recent favourite read is Blogs Change Lives. Every single page is jammed packed full of positivity, motivation and the inspirational story of how Aby transformed her blog You Baby Me Mummy (which started as online baby book for her daughter Ava) into an awesome blogging career. The thing I love about this book the most is that Aby’s hard work and determination shines through. She believes anyone with the passion can let blogging change their life. You can read my full review here and buy yourself a copy here. 

“Success doesn’t happen overnight, it takes consistency to start making an impact on the world”

Thank you to Carrie for the spontaneous collaboration idea. I hope you have enjoyed finding out more about my favourite inspirational books. What books would be in your top 4? Make sure you head over to Carrie’s blog to read her favourites too.

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Cancer Care Parcel: Comfort Gift Hamper

Last week, I was contacted by Dr Shara Cohen and we spoke about reviewing a Cancer Care Parcel. The more I learned about these parcels, the more I wanted to feature a box on my blog as I thought it was such a wonderful and thoughtful idea. Shara was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 2013 where she found there was very little time to just relax, take it all in and give herself ‘me’ time. A few of her friends also found the whole situation very awkward, they avoided her as they did not know how to react or what to say.

Shara says “I set up Cancer Care Parcel to bring back a bit of calm into the lives of people suffering with cancer and its treatment”. Cancer Care Parcel is also an ideal gift, to let people with cancer know that you are thinking of them.

There are 19 different packages and hampers available for men, women, children and boxes specific for chemotherapy, radiation and hospital stays. The box I have chosen to review is the Cancer Comfort Gift Hamper. This parcel is suitable for both men and women to give relief during difficult times. It is the winner of the 2017 Best Mind & Brain Product awarded in the Spotlight Awards by “Live Better With”.

Inside the box: Teddy Snug, Bed Socks, Catchable Bubbles, Relaxing CD, Soya Bean Candle, Eye Gel Mask, Ribbed Foot Roller, Chocolate and Ginger Tea, Colouring Book, Colouring Pencils, Sleep Mask, Water Bottle, Earphones, Access to cancer resources.

For Stress Relief

Colour Therapy: Colouring is such a relaxing and therapeutic activity. The colouring book has 20 amazing half colour designs (such as birds, flowers, hearts and butterflies) to colour with the cute little flamingo box of mini colouring pencils. Colouring is the perfect distraction and the pencil pot is the ideal size for popping into your bag to take with you whilst waiting for appointments.

Sleep Mask: The sleep mask is perfect for making sure you can get a good nights rest, whether that is at home or at a hospital. It has soft cushioned fabric for comfort and a padded nose bridge to block out the light. It is especially created for a comforting and relaxing experience.

For Relaxing

Rain Forest CD: Mystical, melodic and soothing. This is a 50 minute CD of authentic rain forest birdsong with bamboo flutes and panpipes to create a gentle relaxing background soundtrack. Perfect to play in the background whilst colouring or sleeping. Also comes with a handy pair of headphones.

Soya Bean Candle: Designed to make a beautiful and thoughtful gift, this cucumber & mint soybean jar candle is made from hydrogenated soybean oil which means that it is free of synthetic wax or paraffin. Presented in a chunky recycled glass jar, this beautiful candle can be reused and is packaged nicely with a special dust cover. Soy wax is nicer, cleaner and more natural than paraffin candles. These candles burn cleaner and cooler and leave a minimal wax residue.

For Comfort And Pampering

Chocolate and Ginger Tea: This is a beautiful blend of warming ginger, cocoa and licorice. It is naturally caffeine free and adds a bit of luxury to the standard ginger anti-nausea remedy. It smells delicious and soothing and even won a great taste award in 2016.

Ribbed Foot Roller: Natural wood foot rollers provide a calming foot massage which can improve circulation and aid in relaxation.

Eye Gel Mask: This gel mask can be warmed up or cooled down to sooth eyes and provide relief from headaches and fatigue.

For Comfort

Teddy Snug: A warm, cosy and comforting snug which feels just like a teddy bear. It’s so soft, great quality and the perfect blanket to snuggle up with and rest.

Bed Socks: Another cosy item for that extra bit of comfort.

For Fun

Catchable Bubbles: These catachable bubbles are fun for all ages and a nice little added touch.

The hamper also includes a Water Bottle which is eco-friendly and BPA free. It has a handle for ease and comfort and is easy to refill. Every item in this hamper has been carefully selected to ensure it is appropriate and thoughtful. You can include your own gift message and there is also a helpful information sheet on where to find access to further cancer resources. The packages are full of practical, useful and luxury items and shows someone that you are thinking of them during a difficult time.

Cancer Care Parcel promise that their boxes will never contain any religious content, products which claim to cure or prevent cancer, food, hair products or anything mentally or physically challenging. If the person receiving the gift is not delighted, they will give a full refund. In addition, Cancer Care Parcel partners with UK charities helping them fundraise and raise awareness and profit is used to support the cancer community. You can read more about this box here and find out more about other Cancer Care Parcels on their website.

*This is a sponsored post which means I received a product/payment in exchange for an honest review. All views are my own. 

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July Treatbox: A collab with Lisa’s Notebook

I was so happy when the lovely Lisa from Lisa’s Notebook suggested we do a collaboration together. Yes please! Lisa and I have been blogging friends since forever and she is such a sweet and supportive lady. Lisa’s posts always bring a smile to my face, whether it’s a gorgeous gardening post (seriously, Lisa’s garden is #gardeninggoals), a brilliant beauty or book review, or a fun family and lifestyle post – there is really something for everyone! I encourage you to give Lisa a follow on Instagram and Twitter too especially if you love bright and beautiful flowers!

For our first collab (yes, we have another one coming soon, exciting!) we are both reviewing the July Treatbox. So, make sure you head over to Lisa’s Notebook to see what Lisa thought of this fantastic little box of goodies too…

Treatbox is a monthly subscription box which contains a mix of surprises; anything from inspirational quotes, stationary, home accessories, jewellery, edible treats, beauty products, exclusive products designed by Treatbox and so much more! The idea was started by Zoe back in 2016 and it has since grown into a team who are passionate about creating boxes filled with love and awesome products. This is the first time I’ve ever received a Treatbox so I was especially excited to see what sort of treats I would be getting.

 Straight away I noticed the theme of the July Treatbox was very French. This seemed like the most perfect opportunity to bring out my Paris themed wallpaper sample I picked up from B&Q at the weekend.

Inside the box: hello Beautiful picture frame, polka dot coin purse, tasty biscuit, 2x badges, ‘under the stars’ print, Eiffel Tower socks, Bubble T lip balm.

The first treat to catch my attention was the hello Beautiful picture frame by sass & belle. I love the beautiful font and the cute golden polka dots. I didn’t have a photo to hand, so I added in my own floral art postcard from MaggieMagoo Designs. This is a really good quality frame from sass & belle, who are a cute little gift and homeware brand with shops in London & Brighton (I’ve actually been to the Brighton one and can confirm it’s all cute stuff!).

This is the cute-as-a-button coin purse. I’m loving the polka dot patterns in this box. This is such a handy purse not only for coins but for any little trinkets you may own. Right now, I’m using this for all my little wooden stars which seem to get flicked all over the lounge by my cats whilst I’m taking blog photos.

I’m already a pin addict but I’m wondering if this might be the start of a badge addiction too. How cute are these little love and penny-fathing French badges!

I never thought I would need a pair of Eiffel Tower socks but now I realise these are an essential item in any self-respecting sock drawer. These are so comfy and soft and I’m loving the pinkness. Interesting fact: I found out I had a fear of heights whilst I was coming down the stairs from the very top of the Eiffel Tower with my sister in 2015. Looking at all the little people down below made my legs feel like jelly.

Subscription boxes are brilliant for helping you discover new and awesome products. The July Treatbox introduces us to the Bubble T Macaroon Lip Balm – this is made out of lemon grass and green tea and contains essential oils to keep your lips hydrated and soft.  It’s such a colourful and cute little lip balm which smells gorgeous and have been using daily.

You can also get the Mint Tea and Hibiscus & Acai Berry versions too.

I am always on the lookout for new prints with fancy fonts to brighten up my home and Treatbox must have read my mind. This A4 print reads à la belle étoile which translates to under the stars and it is written beautifully. Another French phrase I learned from the July Treatbox was la vie est belle (written on the biscuit) which means life is beautiful. Yes it is, especially with a tasty biscuit in your hand.

Overall I thought the July Treatbox was très bon (very good). There are seven fantastic French themed products, my favourites being the hello Beautiful picture frame, lip balm and tasty biscuit. It is also brilliant value for money too as the total cost of the goodies in the box is over £30. A one off box is £12.96 and you can save even more money by selecting a 3, 6 or 12 month package. I have even treated myself to the August Treatbox as I was so impressed with this first one so watch this space…

Don’t forget to head over to Lisa’s Notebook to see what Lisa thought of the July Treatbox too!

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Adagio Teas: Make Your Own Iced Tea

I was so exited when I found out I was the lucky winner of the lovely Em from Em’s World Adagio Teas Giveaway.I’ve had never won a giveaway before so I was especially thrilled to find out I had been selected. When it arrived the other day, I was so impressed at the huge selection of iced tea I received I thought wow, this definitely deserves it’s own blog post. I want to show off my new tea-goodies to the blogging world…

So here it is: an absolutely HUGE box of different iced teas with a glass pitcher too. Thank you Em and Adagio Teas!

In the box there were 7 full sized packs and 8 sample packs of iced tea. The full sized packs have 6 bags in each and the sample packets had 2 each so by my calculations that makes a grand total of 58 pitchers of iced tea!

There is such a wide variety of different flavours too – I was in iced tea heaven. 

I’m so impressed with the 1.2L glass pitcher! This is going to be perfect for sitting in the garden this summer sipping a refreshing glass of iced tea. This can hold around 4 cups of tea so ideal for a nice little ice tea garden party with your tea-drinking buddies.

Adagio Teaspride themselves on the fact that they deliver the best quality and value, they import teas directly from the countries in which they are grown, working closely with the farmers who tender them.

There is a really interesting section on their website where you can read Q&A’s and stories from different farmers who supply their tea. This is called theRoots Campaign which I think is brilliant and you can learn so much about teas from around the world. 

From a Chamomile tea farmer in Sakaran Village, Egypt: “My favorite part of growing and collecting Chamomile is the nice beautiful looking fields in the winter. I really like going up in the morning to see our land covered with bright white colour from a distance, and the closer I get to it, the yellow and green colours make a divine mix; something from God. Secondly, the village is in a good mood and people are usually happy, I don’t know why. Maybe because most marriages and celebrations happen after the Chamomile crop. Finally, I earn some nice pocket money for myself and to help my family a little bit.

Peach iced tea is one of my favourites, so I was super keen to give this one a try first.

The peach tea bags had such a gorgeous peachy aroma, you can tell they are good quality and they looked very posh too. On the packet: Contains oolong tea from Taiwan with the summer flavour of perfectly ripened fruit. Sounds delightful.

By looking at the website I read there are two ways you can make this: 1. Simply place the bag overnight in a pitcher of cold water. Awake to find a tea rich in flavour and aroma. 2. For quicker preparation, steep in hot water for five minutes and add ice.

I obviously went for the quickest option (patience is not really my thing) and five minutes later I was ready to enjoy a refreshing glass of peach oolong iced tea. Yum! It’s so quick and simple to make and perfect if you are a tea lover but want something a little cooling on a hot day. 

I added a drizzle of honey and this was absolutely delicious and much healthier than the sugary shop-bought varieties.

There are so many amazing sounding flavours to try! A few which have caught my eye already are white peach, mango, rooibos vanilla, citron green and blood orange iced teas. I am curious to know what white fuzzy navel iced tea tastes like too!

This is such a fantastic giveaway prize and I know I am going to be enjoying lots of iced tea over the summer. Thanks again to Emand Adagio Teas for keeping me in teas for the next few months! Are you an iced tea fan? Which flavors would you like to try?

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