Monthly Wins: March

As we are now into April I would like to share with you my complete list of competition wins for March. It has been a very successful month on the win side for books, 13 in fact! That is a record number of books in one month for me! I am very grateful for each and every single win that I receive. 
Every comper has a list of what they would like to win and I’ll share mine with you in a future post, but for now here is the complete list of March wins.
  1. Gillette Venus Snap razor
  2. Book – The Traitors Mark 
  3. Heinz Tomato Seeds
  4. 30p Ace voucher
  5. Book – The Great Zoo of China
  6. Book – A Crown for Cold Silver
  7. Book – Natchez Burning
  8. Book – The Lament of Sky
  9. Wagg Dog Food Treats
  10. Book – Black Star Black Sun
  11. Book – After the Crash
  12. FRijj Friday Vouchers
  13. National Trust Family Pass
  14. Atomicatron Toy Figure
  15. Hedrin Protect and Go Conditioning Spray
  16. Cookbook – Raw
  17. Box of Praline Chocolates
  18. Budweiser Mini Football
  19. Books – Wolf Wolf and A Life in Writing
  20. Book – The Serpent of Venice
  21. Book – Urban Legends
  22. Book – The Writings on the Wall
  23. Mr Kipling’s Easter Hoppy Pack
  24. Book – Patalosh: The Time Travellers    

24 wins in a month is amazing and I’m very thankful! I have lots of books to read and review now! Here is to a just as successful April!
I would love to know what are your most favourite competition wins, or if you are not a comper would you ever consider start entering competitions?
Rachel xx

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

7 Hints and Tips for Writing a Book Review

I have been reading lots of book reviews lately, and learning as I go along trying to find a formula to writing a fantastic book review.
What makes a book review great?
What makes you want to go out and find that book to read?
These are the questions I found myself asking, and I’m sure there are many of you asking the same. So I have compiled another 7 Hints and Tips post to help us all become better book reviewers and writers. 

These are the 7 tips that I have come up with, along with some hints on what to include in the book review.
  1. As you read the book, make notes as you go along – Write down your thoughts on the authors writing style, add quotes to your lists, that you think would be relevant to your review.
  2. Include the authors name and the book title in the first paragraph – Make sure to mention these so the reader will know exactly who wrote the book.
  3. Describe the book – What is the book about? What genre does the book fit into? What is the main idea of the book and plot structure? Don’t forget to include the theme, settings and the book cover.
  4. Add a paragraph on what made you like the book – Is it a story that kept you entertained? Guessing? How real/believable are the characters? Who is your favourite?
  5. Mention any dislikes – Didn’t like the way the story headed, frustrating ending, slow start, didn’t like the main character.
  6. Summarise your thoughts – What type of reader would you recommend the book to? Is it a book you would read again one day?
  7. Give the book a rating – eg. 3 out of 5 stars

I would love to hear your own thoughts on whether you decide to read a book based on a book review alone.
Rachel xx

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Book Review: The Crooked House

Back in January I won this hardback copy of the The Crooked House by Christobel Kent in a Twitter competition with @TheCrimeVault. Its a fantastic enthralling psychological thriller that keeps you guessing to the very end. The storyline is full of twists and turns that builds to a very intense climax. It has a very atmospheric and moody feeling which brings it out to the book cover as well. 

The book is about Alison’s story. 13 years ago she was the only survivor of a horrendous tragedy that happened one night in her house and has very limited memories of what happened. Now she has changed her name from Esme to Alison, lives a quiet life with no ties, but when she meets her boyfriend Paul Bartlett she only then decides to go back to her previous life and confront her past during a wedding back in her hometown. . 
The story is set in a small rural community called Saltleigh where outsiders do not fit in, this gives it a much more creepy feeling as a young Esme and her family are looked at as strangers/outsiders. The description of the setting is very vivid and you can see with your own eyes that a town with muddy marshes and bleak moors makes it very isolated.
Alison is such a likable and strong character that you cannot help but feel for her as she revisits her memories. She is very determined to find out the truth and shows a great deal of inner strength. With her creepy boyfriend Paul from the beginning you feel that something is amiss with him, and this develops further into the story.
It’s a very dark, mysterious book with sinister undertones, just when you think it’s gonna get better for Alison, something else crops up. Its one of those books where it always gets worse before it gets better! 
I really loved reading this book and I found it hard to put down hence why I read it in only 4 days! I highly reccommend it! 

Rachel xx

This Weeks Collection of Wins!

As you all know all my ‘wins’ get sent to my parents house for delivery due to me never being at home. This is what my mum has collected for me this week!
My #FreebieFriday win was with FRijj on Twitter and they sent me 5 vouchers for free bottles of their milkshake which I absolutely love, especially the Fudge Brownie one! The Hedrin Protect & Go conditioning spray I won through the lovely whatkatysaid blog competition, and this will go to my sister for my nephew. I think it will be perfect for when he starts school in September!
I received the lovely cookbook through a Twitter win with Gill & Macmillan Books, it is also signed by the author which I always think makes it such a lovely touch. Cookbooks in my house always come in handy, so another perfect win.
The book in the photo Natchez Burning is from a Goodreads first read competition that i won on the 6th March. It’s nearly 900 pages long so is gonna take me awhile to read, but looks to be a fantastic thriller by the exciting cover, recommendation by my favourite author Stephen King and the exciting description on the back.
In my very first post, I mentioned that I won a watch from Breo, well it finally arrived after me having to chase them after I never received it when they said it was sent! It is a very gorgeous watch with a silicone strap and Swarovski Elements in the dial. Well worth the wait! I don’t normally wear watches during the day as my job does not permit watches to be worn, so I am going to save it for a going out watch.
Rachel xx

 

It’s Here! Spring has Arrived!

On the 20th March the Spring equinox arrived! An equinox is when day and night are equal in length. So from Friday onwards the day is longer than the night! yippee! We will have much lighter evenings for those BBQ’s and drinks after work in the garden! The most important thing is that as Spring is here, Summer is just around the corner!
For a gardener like me this is a very exciting time of year, there is much to do in the garden to prepare for some wonderful growth, like making sure flowers are prepared to bloom to their maximum and fruit growing to their full potential. The first jobs to do are to tidy and weed the garden. Prepare any raised beds you may have by turning the soil and adding manure/rotted compost ready for planting.
Yesterday my husband and I spent a couple of hours weeding and tidying our 15m x 3m rectangular back garden. That might not sound too bad but I omitted the fact that its on a slope of approx. 45 degrees! I have lots of evergreens and shrubs planted on the slope but hope to eventually construct a rockery there also. There are 30 steps that lead down from the slope garden to our patio, this is where I have all my containers with various fruit bushes and flowers. Its a gorgeous sun trap in the afternoons.
The flowers below are some of my favourites. As you know from my previous gerberas in bloom post gerberas are my all time favourite flowers, primroses are next. They come in many different bright colours, blue being very striking. I had to post a photo of the beautiful daffodil as this time of year they are in abundance on hedges, roadsides and fields. I have no idea what the flower in the bottom right of the photo is called! Its very pretty and was taken by my good friend Caroline. If anyone knows what the flower is, please let us know in the comments!
I bought some little herb plants in Homebase to plant in a container I’ve had spare for a while. You can never have enough fresh herbs, perfect for cooking. I chose oregano because it’s smell reminds me of pizzas! chives and golden thyme, they will come in handy once they grow a bit more.
On my steps leading up to the top slope garden I have various tubs, a couple of these contain coloured heathers which brighten up the area. I bought these last summer as the top photo shows what they looked like then. As you can see now as we are in Spring they are beginning to bud into flowers as shown in the bottom photo. The colours on the heathers will eventually fade as they were dyed.
I would love to hear in the comments about any spring/summer plans you have for your gardens.
Rachel xx

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

What’s in a Hashtag?

Today is Friday!, in my opinion it’s the best competition entering day of the week! and of course the weekend is practically here! woohoo! Anyway back to today, Fridays on twitter is crazy, companies love to give away stuff! hence the main hash tag #FreebieFriday! I have been religiously entering Twitter competitions on Fridays for quite a few years now and have won all sorts! from milkshake vouchers, cakes, and freeze pops, to books, a door handle and letter box, cleaning equipment and a torch pen! Its a mad world!
I find entering twitter competitions are quick and easy to enter if you are time limited. To find competitions on Twitter, type any of the hash tags in the picture above into your search bar on Twitter. I am sure there are more competition hash tags out there, but these were all I could think of while writing this! Remember to follow the competition host as well, as that is normally a requirement before you re tweet and it makes it easier for them to contact you if you win. 
Recently I have noticed that the hash tag #WinItWednesday is getting very popular as well on Wednesday’s, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for them as well. The more you start entering and following on twitter, the more competitions will show up in your time line. 
From my personal experience of winning Twitter competitions don’t just re tweet the original company’s tweet, engage with them with using their own competition hash tags. A little comment here and there with those hash tags will get you noticed! Another tip is to always find the company’s original tweet to re tweet otherwise the poor person that has re tweeted it will have zillions of Twitter notifications after you have re tweeted their re tweet! 
I hope this all makes sense to you! If not please leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to help. 
Good luck with entering Twitter competitions!
Rachel xx