Archive, Blogtober 19, Books, Fiction

Coraline – Neil Gaiman

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Synopsis:

SOMETIMES, A DOOR IS CLOSED FOR A VERY GOOD REASON…

There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves.

It’s the other house – the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Corlaine to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back…

Step into the wonderfully creepy world of Coraline, the thrilling and sinister modern classic from New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman.


What a fantastic book to kick of my October reading list with! Coraline is a beautifully written and very eerie tale about a young girl who finds herself fighting for her family’s and her own survival.

My first experience with Coraline was through the Tim Burton film released in 2009, and I was not aware that it was loosely based on a book written by Neil Gaiman for his daughters meaning I was a bit wary about purchasing this as I assumed having seen the film there wasn’t a lot I could get from this book that I didn’t already know. How wrong I was!

The original tale of Coraline is nothing like the film adaption at all, and it is weirdly more creepier making the film look like a Disney fairy tale in comparison. The story telling by Gaiman is superb and he builds suspense quickly and effortlessly as you ride the wave of this tale and urge the hero of the story to overcome and win the battle with her other mother.

Also, the descriptive language that Gaiman uses paints such a vivid image in your head when reading this book that you would think you were there alongside Coraline on her adventure which makes it difficult to put down this short story and before you know it you are at the end of the tale. In fact, even though this book is only 13 chapters long, I think it is the quickest I have consumed a book since I was a teenager!

So yes! I 100% recommend you pick up a copy of this book for yourself and become engrossed by the tale of Coraline Jones in the same way that I have this Halloween.

 

 

 

Archive, Blogtober 19, Lifestyle

31 halloween movie countdown

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Last year we attempted to count our way down to halloween by watching one spooky movie a night that fit into the halloween theme. I say attempted as we drastically failed due to the usual family chaos that occurs the night before another work and school day commences. However I am sure that 2019 will be the year that we complete our countdown. 31 movies for the 31 days of October.

This list is also very much a 31 pre-teen halloween movies which is actually a lot harder to think up then you would expect! Let us know if we have missed off your favourite (pre-teen) movies off and what your planning to watch on the run up to all hallows eve so we can add it to our list.

  1. The Black Caldron
  2. The Goonies
  3. Gremlins
  4. Boxtrolls
  5. Rocky Horror picture show
  6. Underworld 1 – 2 & 3
  7. The league of extraordinary gentlemen
  8. Van Helsing
  9. The Lost Boys
  10. Shaun of the dead
  11. Hellboy
  12. Sleepy Hollow
  13. Tremors
  14. Zombieland
  15. Sweeney Todd
  16. The Craft
  17. V for Vendetta
  18. Frankenstein
  19. The Mummy
  20. Little shop of horrors
  21. Hocus Pocus
  22. Beetlejuice
  23. Frankenweenie
  24. Edward Scissorhands
  25. Corpse Bride
  26. Coraline
  27. Nightmare before Christmas
  28. The Addams Family
  29. Ghostbusters
  30. Death becomes her
  31. The Witches

 

Archive, Blogtober 19, Lifestyle

October 2019

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September has flown by and we have at last stumbled into spooky season! Yes, October has arrived! Pumpkins are already popping up in shops and should be ready to be picked if you have been lucky enough to grow your own this year. Autumn rains also brings out the autumn mushrooms in abundance and I am hoping I will be able to go out and identify some that grow locally to where I live in the coming weeks.

I am also hoping to complete Blogtober over the next 31 days (which is were I upload a post here everyday of October) as well as manage to read 5! Yes 5!! spooky / horror themed books during the month which is not an easy task seeing as I usually average 1.5 books per month. Eeek! On top of this little legs has asked me if we can do another movie marathon where we watch a movie every night on the countdown to Halloween!

Garden wise the first frosts are coming, so you need to make sure you tuck up your tender plants or alternatively bring your pots indoors so that they survive the cold season. I personally have to look into how I go about looking after an olive tree and various herbs during the winter months as I would hate for Jack Frost to come and kill them off.

AND THEN we have Halloween and Samhain itself at the end of the month (31st & 1st Nov) where there will be lots of baking and cooking and pumpkin carving and parties and spending time with the people I love most. So, a busy month ahead! Let me know your plans for October especially for Halloween and Samhain if you celebrate!

Archive, October 2018

31 Preteen Halloween Movies

This Halloween season myself and Little Legs decided we would countdown to the 31st October by watching a different film every evening. Now we usually always watch a ton of ‘spooky’ movies during the October period in any way but this idea, along with LLs getting older challenged us to find new films to watch for 2018.

However! How difficult is it to find horror film ideas for 11 years olds! I scoured the internet looking for films we could watch and the film lists I kept finding are either for teeny tiny kids, or full-blown horror buffs! Nightmare! So here is our list of 31 films we are watching throughout October that will hopefully inspire your Halloween film viewings or will help you with ideas for introducing your little ones into a slightly darker version of childhood classics.

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Also please let me know if I have missed any pre-teen friendly horror gems off the list! Here we go:

  1. Hocus Pocus
  2. Beetlejuice
  3. Frankenweenie
  4. Edward Scissorhands
  5. Corpse Bride
  6. Coraline
  7. Nightmare before Christmas
  8. The Addams Family
  9. Ghostbusters
  10. Death becomes her
  11. The Witches
  12. The Black Caldron
  13. The Goonies
  14. Gremlins
  15. Box Trolls
  16. Rocky Horror picture show
  17. Underworld 1 – 2 & 3
  18. The league of extraordinary gentlemen
  19. Van Helsing
  20. The Lost Boys
  21. House on Haunted Hill (Vincent price)
  22. Hell Boy
  23. Sleepy Hollow
  24. Tremors
  25. Zombieland
  26. Sweeney Todd
  27. The Birds
  28. Psycho
  29. Frankenstein
  30. The Mummy
  31. Little shop of horrors

Archive, October 2018

Scream Queens

Night two of my bath bomb series is another product from The Rage Company and this post is going to be heavy with images as I don’t think I can explain with words the fantastically beautiful bath art this bomb created.

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The bath bomb I used was called B-Movie Scream Queen and looked quite creepy. Not one tiny little detail was overlooked and the little face even had blood coming from its nose, mouth and forehead. In the description of this product it did pre-warn me that this bath bomb had been pressed so hard it may not actually float, so I was pleasantly surprised that mine had no issues at all with staying above the water on its own.

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The fragrance of this bath bomb was also incredible! It smells exactly like the foam banana sweets you get in your mix up which paired wonderfully with The Body Shop banana shower gel and body yoghurt I already had in the house. After the top layer had dissolved and give off a thick yellow foam into my bath I finally hit the electric blue centre that is hidden in the middle of this bath bomb.

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After the bath bomb had stopped fizzing and had completely disappeared I swirled the waters and found the most spectacular emerald green waters hidden underneath. There was no lusture like there had been with the Spellbound bath bomb the night before, however this didn’t make the water any less magical. I have tried to capture the amazing rich green colour of the water in the photo below however it doesn’t look anywhere near as bright as it was in real life.

Now will I buy this bath bomb again? Yes! I am honestly blown away with the quality of The Rage Company’s products if truth be told and I will definitely be purchasing from this amazing indie shop again in the near future!

 

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Archive, October 2018

Spellbound

Hello, hello, hello and welcome to the first day of my 2018 bath bomb series! You may recall I did something similar this time last year, and if truth be told I really enjoyed that little mini series! So I thought why not try it again? I’ve mixed it up this year and instead of using Lush products I opted for some indie sellers on Etsy instead, and where I say some I actually mean two as I ended up obsessed with pretty much all of The Rage Company’s products.

So based on that I decided to kick-start this weeks series off with the first bath bomb I used from The Rage Company that is called Spellbound. This beautiful spiced plum scented bath bomb was amazing and the bath bomb itself was actually bigger than my hand and was grey in colour with a gold metallic pentagon on top.

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I mean just look at that!

Now, after slowly lowering Spellbound into the bath it seemed to sink straight away before re-emerging seconds later fizzing away quickly creating a beautiful rich plum coloured water and releasing a very festive and warm cinnamon fragrance which also had subtle sweet undertones to it which lingered on my skin and in the air for a very long time afterwards.

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Now at first this just seemed like your regular bath bomb doing its usual thing, however after Spellbound was around halfway through its spectacular show it started to speed up fizzing away and give off the illusion of a witches caldron bubbling away, after it finished doing this I noticed that their was a spectacular amount of gold lustre floating through my bath water. This lustre was so beautiful I actually think it rivals and beats that of its main stream rivals.

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I later realised that this bath bomb contains both olive oil and coconut oil which would explain why my skin felt beautifully soft after I left the bath. I even seemed to be glowing slightly which I imagine has something to do with the oils found within this bath bomb and the spectacular shimmer that I was mesmerized by. It was a wonderful start to my week full of baths and will definitely be a bath bomb that I will be purchasing again as soon as it is back in stock!

Archive, October 2018

Scent Circus: Scary Movie Wax Melts

After my Disney wax melt haul I decided I didn’t need any more wax melts for quite a while or at least that is what I told myself until Scent Circus announced they would be releasing a limited edition box for the Halloween season with the theme based around ‘Scary Movies’.

This limited edition box is one of Scent Circus’s ‘big top boxes’ that are a monthly themed box that is released on the first of every month with six unique wax melts inside. These boxes cost £7.50 and you buy them ‘blind’ so you have no idea what the scents of the melts will be nor do you know how they will look until they arrive, so you can imagine how excited I was when I got home from work and seen the box sitting on the bench waiting for me to open.

Upon opening the package I found the contents had been wrapped up in emerald-green tissue paper and there was a note saying ‘Open if you dare…’ So what did I find inside?

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Happy!? Halloween is pumpkin crunch pie scented and I think this is the perfect fragrance for the Autumn months as it gives off a warm but sweet aroma when used. This melt also screams Autumn as it is the classic pumpkin orange Halloween colour and has the words Happy Halloween written across it as well as featuring two skeleton hands on the front of the melt.

It is another sweet-smelling wax and is based on everyone’s favourite killer clown. The scent of this melt is buttered popcorn so it gives off a wonderful vanilla fragrance. The look of the wax melt is also based on the image of It himself and is crimson red in colour.

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Everybody… Scream! melt is based on the movie, you guessed it scream. This wax melt is my favourite from this Halloween collection as it is cherry scented and who doesn’t love rich berry scents especially in the Autumn months.

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Twilight is also a really nice smelling melt and features a pair of fangs and the word ‘fang-tastic’. However, due to being so used to the Lush lavender-scented twilight body wash I ended up being quite taken aback that this was in fact a light floral fragrance, but in a pleasantly surprised way. This wax melt smells very clean and slightly like freshly washed bedding to me which means it will be a nice wax melt to use during the day time as well as on the evening.

Friday 13th on the other hand is quite a heavy autumnal fragrance and smells of cranberries and pomegranate. This wax melt is also a rich purple colour and has the design of Jason’s iconic mask from the movie it is based on.

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What is Halloween without a zombie reference thrown in for good measure? The last wax melt in this box is just that and is named Rotten to the Core. This dawn of the dead inspired melt features a zombie on the front of the wax melt and has a baked apple pie fragrance which again is another wonderful melt to carry you through the Autumn months! I mean who doesn’t love the smell of warm apple pie?

And that is that, another wonderful box from Scent Circus. I honestly can’t wait to see what themes both the November and December big top boxes will be.

Archive, October 2018

Quick Slow Cooker Meals

On Friday last week we seen the first cold, windy and dull day of Autumn here in the North East. It was also the day my slow cook officially came out of storage full-time rather than being used here and there over the past month or two. I honestly think a slow cook is an invaluable piece of equipment to have in your kitchen, especially during the Autumn and Winter months as sometimes after a long hard day at work the last thing you want to do is cook yourself a meal from scratch. With a slow cooker though you literally just throw everything into the pot in the morning, pop it on a low setting and leave it until you return home later that evening and wallah! A piping hot meal is ready and waiting to greet you with possible left overs for you dinner the next day.

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BBQ Pulled Pork 

  • 1.5-2kg pork shoulder, fat removed.
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 500g / 600g passata
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • salt and pepper to season

Measure the passata, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, balsamic vinegar, two crushed garlic cloves and sugar into a pan and stir. Pop it on the hob and let it simmer for 10/15 minutes until it thickens slightly.

Remove all of the visible fat from the pork shoulder, pop it into a hot frying pan and sear all sides of the meat to lock in the flavour. Once this is done, transfer the pork shoulder into your slow cooker, pop the sauce from the pan on top and cook on the lowest setting for 8-12 hours.

After 8-12 hours, remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred into bite size pieces using two forks. It should practically fall to pieces as you are doing so, I then drizzle a little bit of sauce over the top of the pulled pork.

I usually pair this with tacos, microwavable mexican rice, salsa, refried beans and guacamole for a quick but filling tea!

Chickpea Curry

  • 500g / 1 can of chickpeas
  • 500g / 1 can tinned tomatoes
  • 500g / 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 onion
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach or kale
  • 3 tsp gram masala
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • fresh coriander

Pop all of the ingredients into the slow cooker in any order you like and top up with 1 pint of either vegetable or chicken stock.

Cook on the lowest for 8 – 10 hours. If the sauce is thin then remove the lid from your slow cook and leave for another 30 minutes. Serve with rice and poppadoms.
You can freeze any leftovers.

Note: You could replace the chickpeas for beef, just make sure you coat the stew and steak in plain flour and fry it off in a frying pan to brown the meat before adding it to the slow cooker. 

Butternut and Coconut Curry

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 green chillies
  • 150g red lentils
  • 500g / 1 can coconut milk
  • 100g ginger (grated)
  • 200g spinach
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 500g butternut squash
  • coriander

Fry the onions until they are starting to brown and then add the chillies, ginger, garlic. Fry for a couple of minutes before adding the curry powder and cooking for a further minute.

Transfer this to your slow cooker and stir in the red lentils, butternut squash, coconut milk and 350ml of water. Pop the lid on and leave  to cook for 8-10 hours on low. This can be served with rice or with just a naan bread. You can also freeze any leftovers.

Mushroom and Barley Stew

  • 8 mushrooms
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small onion
  • handful of spinach
  • 500g / 1 can tinned tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 pint veg stock

Sweat your onions over a medium heat until soft before adding the mushrooms, carrot, celery and garlic to the pan and leaving for a few minutes*. Transfer the contents of the frying pan into the slow cook and add the tinned tomatoes, pearl barley, spinach and vegetable stock. Pop the lid on and leave to cook for 4-6 hours on a low setting, I recommend checking after 4 hours and topping up with water if needs be. You can freeze any leftovers.

** you can skip this step and pop all of the ingredients straight into the slow cooker to save time, but I recommend this step just to add extra flavour.  

Leek and Potato Soup

  • 4 potatoes
  • 4 slices of smoked bacon
  • 3 medium leeks
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 750ml water

Fry / sweat the onion and bacon in a frying pan until the bacon is cooked and the onions are golden. Add the leeks and potatoes for a few minutes and crumble the stock cubes over the vegetables and stir.

Transfer to your slow cooker and add 500ml water. Place the remaining 250ml of water in the frying pan and stir, making sure nothing is sticking to the pan, add the water to the slow cook. Cook on a medium heat for 4-5 hours and then transfer the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. If you prefer your soup to be creamy then stir in some Crème fraîche.

And there we go! Let me know if you liked this post or if you would like to see more posts like this in the future, and don’t forget to tag me in any photos if you make the above recipes! Sorry for the lack of photos in this post too, I usually devour my food before realizing I should have taken a photo but I am sure that just shows how tasty these quick meals are!

Archive, October 2018

Scent Circus: Disney Wax Melts

Last month when shopping in my local wilkos I came across the most adorable little ceramic oil burner in the shape of an owl. I instantly knew he had to be mine, but seeing as I had never used a wax burner before I wasn’t really sure where to get any nice wax melts from. Thankfully my prayers were answered one day when I was scrolling down Instagram and I stumbled upon Scent Circus who just happen to be vegan friendly and cruelty free as well as all their items being handmade from Eco Soy wax which make’s these little wax melts environmentally friendly. If that wasn’t cool enough they also carry an Alice in Wonderland and a Disney themed range! I opted for the latter as Disney practically runs through my veins.

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I decided to buy five wax melts all based on my favourite films as well as the fragrances that sounded like they would be the nicest from the range, however if truth be told I could have went wild and purchased a lot more!

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Up and Away was the first to hit my basket seeing as it is UP inspired and is Grape Soda scented. The colours are a lot more vivid in real life compared to how they are shown on the website, and this fruity scent makes the entire house smell amazing whilst it is burning. It also isn’t a typical ‘night time’ scent meaning that even know it smells wonderful and relaxes you on an evening, you can also pop this during the day just to make your home smell nice.

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Colours of the Wind was also added to my basket without a second thought. This wax melt has a light floral and woody fragrance to it with hints of patchouli and if truth be told it was the mention of patchouli that drew me in. Not only does it smell amazing and incredibly relaxing it also looks visually stunning, again the colours in real life are way more stunning than those shown on scent circus website, and it gives off a total Autumnal theme.

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Fit for a Princess is quite possibly my favourite wax melt that I ordered! This little beauty is scented with lavender and chamomile and literally knocks me out to sleep! I honestly burn it for around 20 minutes per night before bed, blow the candle out and then I know very little until the next morning. It is fantastic!

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A Touch of Magic is probably the only wax melt I wasn’t sure on whilst adding it to my basket. It looked visually beautiful with its ivory colouring and silver luster but I wasn’t at all that sure if I would like the white amber, fresh strawberries, jasmine and sandalwood scent combo however I needn’t have worried. This wax melt has a ‘clean’ fragrance about it, like that of freshly washed bed sheets and again is another one that is not just limited to evening use. I also assume that this is Cinderella themed as it is given me total fairy godmother vibes with the magic wand and stars imagery.

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Lastly we have Kiss the Girl which I kind of messed up with. All the other wax melts listed cost £1.60 and to be honest you get a canny sized bar for your money. However, in my excitement of being swept away with all the amazing sounding products I ended up splurging £4.50 on this little mermaid themed bar without even realising. Oops. To be fair though this bar is about 4 times the size as all the other melts, however I don’t think it looks as appealing in real life as it did online but that’s just my first world problems and if truth be told it smells amazing! It has a very ‘clean’ fragrance about it but not in the same way that A Touch of Magic does. No, this bar smells more like the seaside and sea salt filled air clean rather than clean bed sheets and it has subtle notes of citrus, jasmine and lavender as well as having woody notes making this bar quite unique and wonderful smelling.

On top of all of these amazing products, the packaging of the box was adorable. It was quite thin meaning it was easy to post through the letter box, and inside the package contents were wrapped in branded tissue paper that give off an old circus style vibe. Inside all of the wax melts were safely wrapped and was surrounded by colourful confetti as well as a Scent Circus admission style ticket that stated if you collect 10 tickets you get a free melt box. It is safe to say I will keep that safe as I will be ordering from scent circus again in the near future.

Archive, October 2018

Favourites From My Pin Collection

Today’s post is quite an easy one as I thought it would be nice to talk about my current favourite pins and where I have purchased them from. I am not entirely sure which is my overall favourite because they are all pretty awesome (I am sure you will agree). Since I am forever on the hunt for new accessories please link me to any little gems you may have found online.

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First up is my adorable little Petit Four pin which I got from Pink Peach Pins on Etsy. This pin is about the same size as a 50 pence piece and is a beautiful pastel pink colour. I tend to wear it on Tuesday’s seeing as that is currently the official day of cake until the GBBO is over and done with for another year.

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Little sloth! I love this pin with all my heart! Just look how cute he is! This little sloth pin was purchased from Shop Zoki on Etsy on a week where I shouldn’t have been spending money on pins. However, Pepper as I have named him won me over with his cute little dinosaur pool float but I will end up buying more sloth pins from this store over time just you watch!

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Pastel Crayons is another pin I picked up from Pink Peach Pins at the same time as the Petit Four. I grabbed these as LL’s is forever drawing and as soon as I seen them I instantly thought of him and his passion for art. I wear them with pride and they look pretty bloody cool as well!

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This Loki & Thor chained pin set is the bloody bomb! Look at it! I love them both so much as they are totally adorable. I picked these up from Etsy again but this time from Teano Sugar who’s shop is fantastic. As a fan of all things marvel I knew I had to have them as soon as I seen them advertised on Instagram.

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Lastly but most definitely not least is my baby Spyro! I purchased him from Ohayou! clothing who have the most adorable pins ever, and this Spyro pin is the biggest of all of my pins by far. I can’t wait to pick up more pins from Ohayou! and I am currently eyeing up toothless the dragon to add to my collection.