[MailCall Monday] 01/05/2017

It’s Monday, that means it’s time for a quick roundup of what i found in my mailbox over the last week…

Book Mail

Two days this week found a total of 3 shiny new ARCs in the incoming mail.

  • Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach is a mystery/crime thriller centred around twin sisters, Ava and Zelda, and Ava’s return to their disfunctional family home on a dilapidated vineyard following the supposed death of Zelda in a fire. A series of notes, letters and emails leads Ava on a journey looking for the truth about her twin’s disappearance whilst uncovering a few truths about herself. (Published by Corvus and due for release on 4 May 2017)
  • Nomad by James Swallow is a Spy Thriller full of suspense and likened to books and TV dramas such as I Am Pilgrim, The Bourne series, Homeland, and 24. (Published by Zaffre on 29 December 2016)
  • The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck is a historical novel, set in the aftermath of WWII, exploring how three women deal with life after war and how they come to terms with both the choices they made and their outcomes.  (Published by Zaffre and due for release on 18 May 2017)

    Keep an eye out for my reviews of them if you are interested to know what i thought of them!

    Subscription Surprises

    I do enjoy coming home from work to discover a box or envelope of goodies to explore. 

    I try to avoid seeing spoilers so the contents are a complete surprise!
    So, without further ado, on with the unboxing!

    Nature-themed goodies from Boxcitement

    Each month’s Boxcitement contains a collection of stationery, jewellery, honeware, gifts and little crafts; all curated around a central theme, April’s being ‘Lost in the Woods‘.

    I love the attention to detail in these boxes – the sprinkle of confetti always matches the theme!

    When you open the box, everything is hidden beneath sticker sealed tissue, and the double sided contents card is sealed inside the lid so there can be no inadvertent spoilers as to the actual contents.

    Let’s have a peek inside.

    Although the boxes are themed, the contents are varied, both in type and style. There’s usually a good mix and this box is no exception.

    There are always a few items that are individually wrapped, either for a little extra protection or just to add to the mystery!

    So in this month’s box, inspired by The Great Outdoors, I found:

    • A chunky twig pen 
    • An A6 notepad with a flower print cover. (Actually, the paper feels more sketchbooky and on closer inspection of the contents card, this is indeed what it is) 

    • A card kit to make a mini cute birdhouse
    • A set of gift wrap, featuring a lovely quality sheet of double sided paper and two coordinating tags

    • A stylish ribbon wrap bracelet with attached tassle and cute flower catch
    • A sweet little test tube vase, complete with rope hanging string and a cute little doodah (that’s the incredibly technical term for the leaf embellishment attached to it 😉 )
    • A funky wall-mountable honeycomb keyholder

    My favourite item in the box has to be the keyholder. I love the ingenious fit & click idea, i mean who needs hooks when you have honeycomb holes??

    According to the contents blurb, there should have been a card & envelope in there too but that seems to be missing. I wonder what it looked like?

    So what do you think of Boxcitement?

    I really like the variety included in each box.

          You can find out more about Boxcitement subscriptions here, they start at £18/month buy paying for 3,6 or 12 months discounts the cost to as low as £15. They also offer mini boxes and one-off gifts around Valentine’s, Mother’s Day etc. 

          Obviously I have a code for you if you want to try out a box for yourself (I know, I’m lovely!!) so use code ” FIRST BOX ” to get 10% off a monthly subscription.

          Citrus-themed Stationery from Paperhaul

          Saturday morning brought my monthly Paperhaul subscription package. They have recently changed their ‘look’ and have swapped their brown cardboard boxelopes for these white card envelopes. 

          The sticker on the outside matches the design theme of the contents, as does the inserted business card.
          This month’s theme is citrus, and the collection is entitled ‘Lemon Love‘.         The citrus-y colourscheme is bright & juicy and the fun graphic print is delightful.

          Stationery items included in April’s set are:

          • Large square card with an allover print, with matching envelope.

          • 3 postcards, all in variations of the theme.

          The matching borders on the reverse of the postcards are a nice touch, dont you think?

          • 3 Mini flatcards with matching envelopes, in matching lemon slice repeating print with 3 different coloured backgrounds.

          • A6 dot grid paper notepad, with a cover featuring a lemon slice print. The front bears the slogan “When life gives you lemons …” which is completed “… make lemonade!” inside.

          I think the cute notebook is my favourite item this time.

          I like the revamped look to the Paperhaul boxes, I had been considering cancelling this subscription but I’m keen to see the next few now!

          If you are interested in a Paperhaul Subscription, you can find out more here

          Subscriptions are £10/month, with p&p extra (£2 UK, £5 Europe, £6 Rest of World). Although I will also tell you that using code ” 25OFF ” will snag you a 25% discount on your first #Paperhaul (because I’m nice that way).



                Did you find anything fun in your mailbox last week?

                Until next time,

                Hugs,

                Crafty xx

                [Book Review] “FIND YOUR AWESOME” by Judy Clement Wall

                • Title: FIND YOUR AWESOME 
                • Author: Judy Clement Wall
                • Published by: HCI Books
                • Publication date: 4th April 2017
                • Edition: Paperback
                • ISBN: 9780757319754
                • Price: $14:95 (USD)
                • Self-Help , Crafts & Hobbies


                Find Your Awesome

                A 30-Day Challenge to Fall in Love with Your Playful, Imaginative & Colorful Self

                by Judy Clement Wall

                Part self-help book, part adult colouring & activity book; this lovely offering will appeal to those who love to doodle & scribble, and anyone who enjoys ‘Wreck this Journal’-style books.
                Essentially a self-love & self-worth workbook, “Find Your Awesome” takes the idea of a 30 day challenge and turns it into a book. Taking the realisation that whilst we have no problem telling those around us how awesome they are; we find it difficult to extend the same courtesy to ourselves; self-confessed artist, writer, doodler, and love warrior Judy Clement Wall challenges us to 

                “Fall in Love with Your Playful, Imaginative & Colourful Self”

                through a set of daily challenges designed to encourage you to do just that.

                Judy’s writing style is Awesome, she has you nodding along and giggling at the many witticisms she shares. Nevermind being a self-love guru; it seems like she’s the kinda person that would do your soul good just by knowing her! Someone you’d love to hug, hang out with, drink tea and eat copious amounts of cheecake with; regularly.

                The book is a fun read, at times touching, and actually quite eyeopening – through sharing her own story of opening herself up to embracing her own Awesome badassery she gives us the impetus to proclaim our own. 

                In case you haven’t worked it out yet; I LOVE THIS BOOK!! I must admit, I never really ‘got‘ the whole Adult Colouring thing, I understand why people enjoy it; it just never clicked with ME. But, this? This I can embrace. I’m obsessed with daily/monthly challenges but sometimes get bored if they are the same thing repeated (a month worth of photoprompts is fine, once you’re into your 3rd month, it gets a bit ‘mehhh’) The clever thing here is that the style of challenge differs from day to day; some days you doodle, some days you write, others you send a text; it keeps it varied and interesting.

                Fancy a sneak peek at some of the challenges? I’m happy to oblige:

                • Doodle your perfect t-shirt
                • Text love
                • Writing yourself a love letter
                • Appreciate your body in all its awesomeness
                • Make time for you by writing a Not-To-Do List
                • What’s your Personal Manifesto?

                Another idea suggested throughout the book is choosing your favourite challenge(s) and turning them into month, or even year, -long challenges in their own right; similar to the author’s own Year of Loving Fearlessly challenge.   

                Now, obviously, you can work through the book on your own, but I was excited to discover that Judy is running a free online group, starting May 15th, where you can sign up now and then complete the challenge alongside [as she puts it herself] “a posse of like-minded love-warriors”. I have, of course, signed up; and now I’m off to buy a physical copy to play with.


                Rating

                I award this book 5 out of 5 stars. I found it Awesome! 


                Connect with the Author

                   



                  Disclosure: A free ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

                  HAPPY WORLD STATIONERY DAY [& Giveaway]

                  As many of you probably know, this is National Stationery Week (also, yayyy! excuses to buy stationery!)

                  Each day is dedicated to a different element of stationery, so why not play along with the Seven Days of Stationery?

                   
                   The theme this year is #WritingMatters, and there are lots of fun ways to encourage us all, adult and child alike to put pen to paper because #WritingMatters 

                   There are lots of discounts, offers & giveaways throughout social media this week; and I’m trying to share as many as I can so make sure you follow me on Twitter!

                  Speaking of giveaways….

                    

                  Have you entered mine yet? 

                  Yes? Awesome! Good luck!!

                  No? Why not? Quick go enter!!
                  There are TWO prizes up for grabs, both goody bags stuffed full of stationery surprises. 


                  a Rafflecopter giveaway

                  https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

                  As always, thanks for stopping by; and Good Luck if you are entering the Giveaway.

                  Hugs,

                  Crafty xx

                  Happy Easter (are you sick of chocolate egg yet?)

                  You know how it is…

                  The kids get eleventy-billion Easter eggs and whilst everyone likes a crème egg (or 10) there’s only so many you can eat before you are sick of the sight of them (or just plain sick!).

                  So you end up looking for other ways to eat them.
                  Drumroll please….
                  I bring you….
                  EASTER CHOCOLATE BARK!!


                  Super easy to make, you just melt some egg chocolate, spread it on a baking paper lined tray and sprinkle with your choice of toppings. Leave it to set before cutting or breaking into shards.

                  Plus, it will keep in an airtight container for at least a week, or a month or so in the fridge.
                  You can find (slightly) more indepth instructions in my Christmas Bark post.

                  This batch used a base of regular egg chocolate and was topped with Smarties mini eggs plus a sprinkle of coloured sugar dots, edible glitter & some popping candy.

                  I hope you give it a try, please let me know if you do!!

                  Hugs,

                   Crafty xx 

                  Audio

                  [Book Review] “SUPERPOWERLESS” by Chris Priestley

                   

                  Title: Superpowerless 
                  Author: Chris Priestley

                  Published by: Hot Key Press Publication date: 17th June 2017 

                  Genres: General Fiction/ Young Adult/ Teen/ Contemporary/
                  Edition: Paperback
                  ISBN: 
                  9781471404979
                  Price: £6.99 (GBP)


                  • Synopsis

                  David is sixteen. A pretty ordinary boy, in most ways – he just wants to hang out in his bedroom, reading his dad’s old comics. Comics that are full of his heroes – those figures whose lives are charmed, special, unique.

                  Life hasn’t been easy recently for David, though. His father died just a couple of years ago, he has a fractious relationship with his mum, and he has fallen out with his best friend. But, David has a secret, which he hasn’t told anyone.

                  He has superpowers. He can soar through the air, he has superhearing, he feels and hears everything super-keenly. So life should be easier, then, shouldn’t it? But somehow it’s not – and when David gets involved with the girl next door, gorgeous Holly Hunter, he begins to realise just how very complicated it can get.

                  David’s harbouring another secret, a deeper darker one, and on this journey from boyhood to manhood, will he have the courage to face up to it?

                   

                   

                  • Review

                  Well firstly, Thank you Mr Priestley! I finally finished reading Superpowerless at 5:17am. Luckily I wasn’t working that morning, otherwise i might have just cried at a 7am alarm….

                  “I think about sex all the time. All the time. Well, sex and death and comics.”  or so 16 year old David admits to the older, and certainly more streetwise Holly; his neighbour, and the object of his teenage fantasies. Strange circumstances make them friends as David comes to terms with his grief and feelings of helplessness at being unable to ‘save’ his father, his loneliness after withdrawing from friendships, his infatuation for Holly, and his uncertainty over girls, sex and relationships. Holly struggles with her own demons regarding selfworth, and failed and unhealthy relationships.

                  Obsessed with the comic books left behind by his father, David attempts to rationalise his feelings by constructing a superpowered alterego.

                  Torn between his loneliness and his belief that with the mantle of superhero comes a necessity to be alone and unknown, he spends his days watching the neighbourhood through his dad’s old telescope and imagining how it would feel to fly unseen and unhindered by the constraints of ‘normal life’.

                  Through his own loneliness, grief and uncertainty; he finds it increasingly difficult to reach out and connect with those around him.

                   

                  • Thoughts

                  Whilst unlike my usual choice of reading material, I very much enjoyed this book (probably made obvious by the aforementioned 5:17am fiasco!) and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA fiction. I particularly think it would resonate with teenagers struggling with their own perceptions of not fitting in, and/or those trying to come to terms with prior loss.

                   

                  •  The Author

                  You can find out more about the author via his website or blog, or connect with him via Facebook or Twitter @crispriestley.

                   

                  I rate this a 4/5 stars read

                  Disclosure: A free ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

                  [Monday Mail Call]

                  So, what did I find in my mailbox this week?

                  • A PRIZE

                  Well, first things first; I won a thing!

                  The lovely people over at Publishers Group UK (PGUK) ran a giveaway to celebrate International Women’s Day via their Twitter and guess who got lucky?

                  The prize was a set of these gorgeous Women In Science postcards.
                   

                  The set of 100 postcards features 50 beautiful illustrations from Rachel Ignotofsky’s Women in Science book (yep, very sensibly, they give you two of each design – one to send and one to keep!)

                   

                  Collecting the fifty most iconic illustrations from the book Women in Science, this box of one hundred postcards would make a perfect gift for fans of Rachel’s work, budding scientists, and anyone who wishes to champion the great contribution women have made to all branches of science. From well-known figures like Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace to unsung heroes, these cards are perfect to send as greetings or hang as mini artistic masterworks. 

                  You can buy a set of your own via Wordery or Amazon; or alternatively, the book which features the illustrations.  

                  • A PURCHASE


                  I ordered some Stampin’ up! goodies during an online Facebook party recently, they arrived along with some prizes I won during some party games.


                  I thought this stamp set was really cute and looks to be useable for a variety of projects.

                  I also needed to replace my fine chalk pen, so grabbed one of those.


                  I love these little honeycomb embellishnents, aren’t they just the cutest?

                  • A REMINDER

                  Turns out I’m overdue an eye-exam. Will someone please remind me sometime? Thanks!

                  Did you get anything exciting in YOUR​ mailbox this week? Let me know!

                  Hugs,

                  Crafty xx


                  A Sunny Saturday in 1300s Arbroath

                  Arbroath Abbey has always been a favourite haunt and we’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve visited over the years.
                  It is a place of calm tranquility, steeped in history, and I always feel at peace there.

                  This weekend there is a re-enactment event; held annually in honour of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath (6th April 1320); so today’s visit wasn’t quite as tranquil, what with the clash of swords as the Scots & English forces battled through the Wars of Independence.

                  The medieval encampment came courtesy of The Historic Saltire Society, a living history group based in Inverness who perform all over the country.

                  The society members are all very friendly and eager to talk about the history of the period.

                  We all had an attempt at some medieval calligraphy using quills, reeds and iron gall ink.

                  The professionals made us some personalised bookmarks to show us how it is really done…

                  In our defense, they did get to use proper nibs!

                  We also saw how cloth would have been woven.

                  The lunch tent was well-frequented, although somewhat surprisingly there wasn’t a cauldron of pottage in sight!

                  The camp jester was on hand to show us various medieval games & pastimes.

                  The Armoury was a lot of fun! The guy we spoke to spent ages talking us through all the protective clothing and weapons. 

                  There is always ample opportunity for audience participation.

                  Offspring #2 found himself conscripted into the schiltron.

                  Whilst the kids army is always fun

                  Obviously the finale is The Big Battle… 

                  The event continues on Sunday, so if you happen to be around Arbroath, pop along!

                  Oh, and no trip to Arbroath can be complete without a good portion of fish and chips!

                  We can definitely recommend The Bellrock.

                  Do you have any annual local events you enjoy attending?

                  Have you heard of Arbroath Abbey, or The Declaration?


                  I’d love to hear!

                  Hugs, 

                  Crafty xx