Looking Back Over 2015

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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Best Books I have Read in 2015

So here we are at the end of another year 2015. I have read quite a few books this year and I would love to share with you my top 5 best reads of 2015. I have read 34 books this year according to my Goodreads Challenge and they range from chick lit to young adult, autobiographies and thrillers.
Here are my top 5 best books that I have read in 2015:

  • The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne

You can read my review of The Ice Twins here.

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Book Review: The Lie by C.L.Taylor

The Lie

I gave The Lie by C.L. Taylor : 5 of 5 stars





Book Description

I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes…
Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.
Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.
Jane has tried to put her past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves. 

My Review
Fantastic book! Well written, tense, chilling and unable to put down! Hence why it only took me a day to read! Perfect for a holiday read. 
Kindle Edition: 461 pages
Published 23rd April 2015 by Avon UK
Rachel xx

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Book Review: Don’t Call Me Ugly by Alicia Douvall

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.

Making My Christmas Cake

These are the photos I took while making my Christmas Cake. Cannot wait to tuck into it tomorrow! 
I wish all my fantastic readers a very Merry Christmas! 
Rachel xxx

Tips on Entering Advent Competitions

Well it’s that time of year that is the most exciting time for a comper! Advent competitions are run daily by an enormous amount of companies giving away fantastic prizes. They can range from electrical goods and gadgets at the top end, down to discounts off their sites for a limited time. 

Some companies start on the 1st December with their 12 days or 24 days of Christmas, whereas others may start on the 12th December with their 12 days of Christmas. I have spent the first week of this month gathering up all the daily advent competitions that I want to enter everyday and sorting them into a folder on my laptop so I can quickly enter them each day. 

The key to entering advent competitions is to be organised and only enter the ones you really want to win, as there are thousands out there and if your time is limited you will find it hard to enter all of them. 
There are many competition sites that have the lists of advents in sections. These are some of the types of advent competitions out there:
  • Instant
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Web based

The sites that I use to find the advent competitions are: The Prize Finder, Competition Database and MSE (Money Saving Expert). I also search for them myself on Twitter using just the search bar.

Today is my first day of maternity leave, so while I wait for baby girl to arrive I will be keeping myslef busy with the advent competitions!
I wish everyone the best of luck and hopefully we will all win some lovely prizes.
Rachel xx

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