At the end of last month (March) I won a competition on Twitter with Rizopia. The prize was a case of Rizopia gluten-free brown rice pasta, It is free from wheat, egg, milk, corn, nut as well as gluten-free. As a fantastic bonus all the brown pasta rice is also organic.
Free from Organic Pasta - Rachel Bustin

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Last year I won some great books through Twitter and Goodreads and here are some of them. They will keep me busy for a while!. I have so many books on my To-Read list that I think I am going to have to up my Goodreads book challenge. It’s currently set at 30 books which I thought was about right for me considering I have a new baby on the way, but I have currently read 4 Books this year so far! 
                               
After a lot of thinking I have decided to up my reading to challenge to 50 books for 2016. This gives me about  week to read one book. I think that’s about fair. I love the Goodreads website as it gives me encouragement to look back over what books I have read so far and also inspiration for trying new authors and books I might not have considered.
I would love to hear about your Goodreads challenges. How many books would you like to read in 2016? How do you discover new books to put on your To-Read list?
Happy Reading! 

2015 has been a very up and down year for me but there are a few things that have turned the year around. It was back in March that I started my little blog up. I had a very trying January and February so decided to take my mind off things by starting blogging. I wasn’t quite sure where my niche would be in the world of blogging, so I decided to blog about what I love to do and that is entering competitions, reading any type of book and gardening. So Book Lover, Competition Addict and Gardening Enthusiast was born. I am still not 100% happy with the name so that is something I’m going to work on this year.

I have won lots of competitions throughout this year as feel so lucky to have done so, although around the summer I took a bit of a comping break due to the severe morning sickness I had and the tiredness that crept upon me. 
Which leads me on to the best part of 2015 and that was finding out I was pregnant with our first baby – a girl! 
She could arrive any day now that I’m 37 weeks so the word excitement is very understated at the moment! 
As soon as I hit my second trimester I began to feel so much better and had that enthusiasm to enter as many baby competitions as I could and I won quite a few great things. The biggest baby win was winning the toddler bed, it is so adorable with a bears face as the headboard. I went on to win lots of nappies, baby clothes, a couple of changing bag sets and various nappy rash creams and ointments. Not forgetting for me, a mum to be pregnancy pamper set, nursing bra, bump band and a maternity nightdress. 

         

Before I started my maternity leave ( which officially started yesterday!) I took my 4 weeks annual holiday due to me from work which started at the beginning of December. This was perfect for me as I had lots of time to rest up and enter all the advent competitions I could find. But unfortunately I had very little luck this year and only won a set of sauces and chutneys on a Twitter advent competition. I did better winning on the ordinary competitions throughout December. These included a set of childrens books, chocolates, a case of 9BAR energy bars, a necklace and a DVD. 

                           
            
I wish you all lots of luck and a Happy New Year.
Rachel xx

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I haven’t read an autobiography in a while and I was lucky enough to to win this book from a competition by the publisher Austin Macauley on Twitter.

                      

Book Description

A cautionary tale from the woman who spent over a million pounds on surgical procedures…
In this remarkable book entrepreneur, former model and occasional reality TV star Alicia Douvall tells the story of a life with more than its fair share of ups and downs. She opens up about her traumatic experiences with plastic surgery throughout the years and the treacherous journey towards self-acceptance: from the turmoil of operations going wrong, her inappropriate relations with one of her surgeons, to how she’s now reached the point where she acknowledges the mistakes she made by trying to alter her body so frequently, as well as the consequences of undergoing such life-changing procedures. 
Alicia reflects on her strict upbringing, her disastrously rebellious teenage years – which included expulsion from school and spending her young pregnancy moving from hostel to hostel and her often bad choices in partners, which strangely mirrored the relationships with her plastic surgeons. Alicia’s story is certainly emotive, yet allows the readers to experience her positive humour throughout.

My Review

I only knew of Alicia Douvall from watching Celebrity Big Brother a while back and I found her to be actually very fascinating. Although others may disagree with me.

Her autobiography starts off from when she was a little girl living at home with her parents and two older half sisters and takes you right up to the present day in her life.

                       

I have found her life to be extremely hard and upsetting at times as a reader but Alicia shows tremendous strength from within and a refusal to give up. Alicia has worked hard in getting this book out to her readers and I think it’s a very brave thing to do in writing this book all by herself without a ghostwriter like many other celebrities out there.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading her journey.

I have given Don’t Call Me Ugly by Alicia Douvall 5 out of 5 stars.

Hardback Edition 344 pages
Published 4th December 2015 by Austin Macauley

Rachel xx

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed are my own. Book description taken from Goodreads for the purpose of this review only.

As all compers know, there can be times when you go through a very quiet spell with no wins at all. This has happened to me through most of July. August started off better though with a couple of Twitter wins, a facebook win and a WEM (winning email – these are very rare and when you receive one you will be jumping up in the air!).
The picture below shows some lovely packs of granola that I won on Twitter with @lizisgranola The pink apple and cinnamon one is amazing! It’s very crunchy, with soft apple pieces and just enough cinnamon without it being overbearing. I have been taking it to work to have for breakfast with a pot of yogurt drizzled over the top. Perfect for that slow release energy needed during my pregnancy.

I won the Pregnacare vitamins and stretch cream with OK Magazine and they sent me a WEM to let me know I’d won. WEM’s are very exciting and this win has just come at the right time for me. The stretch cream is very useful at the moment as I feel myself growing!
I won the lovely book Snowflake Bay by Donna Kauffman on Facebook from the author herself. It was an international giveaway and arrived with some lovely cards from Virginia. I love looking at international stamps from packages abroad so was chuffed to bits to see this one arrive all the way from Virginia, USA. When I get through my back log of book wins I am sure you will see a review up of this on my blog and Goodreads. 
           
This beautiful framed artwork I won with @StudioCanalUK on Twitter is one of my most treasured competition wins. Every now and again I love to win things for my house and this is one of those special ones that will take pride of place on my wall.
           
I love to her about other people’s competition wins so feel free to share your stories. I think it gives everyone determination to keep on entering.
Rachel xx

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