A Birthday Bouquet from Prestige Flowers

There’s something wonderful about receiving a delivery of flowers, it makes you feel special, don’t you think?
So, of course, I was delighted when the lovely folks at Prestige Flowers offered to send me a bouquet from their Birthday Flowers range to review for you all.

(I would like to point out that the timing of this was a serendipitous coincidence, and had nothing to do with the fact that it was actually my birthday the following week!

I think…)

Delivery & Packaging

I had been informed to expect delivery on the Friday, I assume if you are the person ordering a bouquet for delivery you would receive tracking information; allowing you to access up to date information on your shipment.

Late afternoon a rather cheery courier arrived at the door, carrying a substantial cardboard box.

The Contents

On opening the box, the first thing I noted was how snugly the large handtied bouquet was secured inside the box.

On removing the bouquet, I discovered it was wellwrapped in thick cellophane and had a damp cotton pad secured around the cut stems. This struck me as a particularly efficient and thoughtful way to keep the flowers fresh during transit.

Here’s my glamorous assistant showing how well wrapped the bouquet is.

I then found another intriguing package inside the outer box….

Closer inspection revealed that this contained a large clear glass vase!

The correctly sized vase, and the already prettily arranged & tied bouquet meant that in a matter of minutes (long enough to trim an inch off the stems and mix the enclosed flower food with some water) I had a lovely floral display to admire. 

Also included was a handy care guide; complete with detachable voucher offering £5 off next purchase, another voucher featuring a discount from Naked Wines, and a lovely little gift card bearing a sweet note.

I did indeed enjoy the flowers Michael, thanks very much! 😀

Finally, nestled right at the bottom, I discovered a cute little box of chocolate truffles. These are an optional extra which you can choose to add to your floral gift, completely free of charge. 

The Bouquet

This particular bouquet is entitled Blue Lagoon; a name perfectly in keeping with the stunning selection of flowers, in various shades of blue and white, which it features.

The Blue Lagoon bouquet is currently available to order for £29.99, with medium & large versions an additional £5 & £10 respectively.

Blooms included are:

  • Fresh Lilies,
  • Eryngium,
  • White Chrysanthemums,
  • Reagan Chrysanthemums,
  • Statice,
  • All framed with the beautiful fronds of two palm leaves.

I thought the almost marbled-like colouring on the brightly dyed chrysanthemums was particularly enchanting and loved the fact that they had kept white petals here and there for added interest. I also love that they include the eryngium, I’m a sucker for some prickly sea-holly!

How did it compare to the website?

When I compared the bouquet I received with that which was advertised, I felt it was a reasonable replication.

NF1018

The Blue Lagoon bouquet as it appears​ on the website.

The bouquet appears significantly fuller in online​ shots (which feature the medium-sized version of the bouquet). I can only assume that the stems are cut much shorter and the bouquet is presented in a far smaller vase than that which I received. That being said, I think the number of blooms included in my bouquet was more than satisfactory.

My bouquet, straight after unpacking.

After 10 days.

 

How well did they last?

I received the bouquet on the Friday, the first lily didn’t open until the Tuesday and the next on the Wednesday; the final one finally bloomed on the following Sunday, by which time some of the other flowers were looking a little tired.

After dead-heading and a quick rearrange, the flowers lasted another couple of days.

I have now had this bouquet for two weeks but, whilst it was definitely starting to look past it’s best, I still have a reasonable looking bunch after again removing the tired heads before rearranging the remainder​ into a smaller vase.

 

How Would I Rate Prestige Flowers?

  • Quality: Very impressed.
  • Value: When compared to other online floral delivery services, they are towards the less expensive end of the spectrum, a fact belied by the high standard.
  • Appearance: A varied selection of blooms, some more unusual ones are included. More delicate headed flowers are sent in bud form for freshness.
  • Delivery/Packaging: Packaged carefully to ensure arrival in good condition.
  • Longevity: 2+ weeks seems reasonable, especially as during this particularly warm spell, there have also been a few periods of temperature fluctuation.


I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend  Prestige Flowers to anyone wishing to purchase and send a bouquet via a delivery service.


Disclosure

I received this item free of charge, in return for a blog post including an honest review of the product and service.

When is the last time you sent or received flowers? Which are your favourite blooms? 

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hugs,

Crafty xx

[Book Review] ‘Twenty-Four Potential Children of Prophecy’ by Emily Martha Sorensen

TITLE: TWENTY-FOUR POTENTIAL CHILDREN OF PROPHECY

AUTHOR: EMILY MARTHA SORENSEN


Henina tends to irritate people. She can’t help it — she’s bad at shutting her mouth. So when a prophecy is made that someone will stop the war, she figures she’s the worst possible choice.

Too bad.

The Fates have their sights set on her, and it will take all her cleverness and quite a lot of offending the king to foist the prophecy off on somebody else instead.

But she can do it. After all, there are a lot of potentials to choose from.


The Author

Emily Martha Sorensen writes young adult, middle grade, and clean new adult fantasy. I must admit, it is a bit of a breath of fresh air to start reading a book and when my young teen niece asks what it’s about; and is subsequently intrigued; I have no qualms at saying she can read it when I’m done! If you’ve hung around here for any length of time, you’ll know I have a soft spot for the gory, the gruesome and the downright grotesque; but sometimes a light, witty and easy to read tale of skullduggery is what’s​ needed!

I was delighted when I recently received an email offering the chance to review an ARC of this, her latest* book, and quickly got stuck in.

[ * Boy! She works fast! In between arranging to review this and reading it (in the space of less than a week!) , Emily has also released her next book Trials of a Teenage Werevulture  ]


The Book

We join the story on Prophecy Day, a monthly event where the King’s personal soothsayer and fortune teller impart what The Fates purportedly have in store for the kingdom in the coming weeks. The marketplace is heaving as whilst the general population usually aren’t too interested, the prophecy last month led to the King throwing silver coins into the crowd and so all are eager to attend just in case there is a repeat performance.

We meet Henina, a mouthy young woman who apprenticed to her father, wants to live her life her way, without the constraints of ‘normal’ married life and children. She is bolshy, and argumentative, and I adore her. 

Then a prophecy is made that changes everything…

“The days of the war are numbered.  The one who will end it now stands within this square.  You will know her by the mark of the star she bears on her hand.  She will rule the kingdom with wisdom and grace.”


No-one seems to care when she argues that it is a scar from a recent burn that she bears rather than a mystical mark, or indeed question the scratches or even drawn on stars that the other potentials show.

All Twenty-Four are escorted to the castle to begin their training whilst the court awaits the revelation of The Fates’ chosen one.

The following days are spent with Henina trying, through a series of ever more outlandish schemes, to thwart any possible plans which The Fates may have for her.

The main characters in Twenty-Four Potential Children of Prophecy are marvelous. Henina especially is wonderfully annoying. She clearly has no ability for internal dialogue and just blurts out whatever she is thinking; making for truly amusing exchanges with those, whom she meets along the way, who then have to suffer her infernal chattering; constant questioning & complaining. The other twenty-three are a varied lot, everyone from the four-year old daughter of peasants; to Anna Khordoa, the haughty niece of the King; and Henina’s uproarious interactions with them all as they vie for position as THE Child of the Prophecy are hilarious.

Each person she meets is quickly dubbed with a (not always flattering!) nickname, thus the King’s haughty neice Anna is known as The Spoilt Brat and his Fortune-Teller becomes The Self-Important Charlatan; whilst Helga , fortune-teller and one of the Potentials, is referred to as The Fortune Teller (or indeed, The Fortune Teller who is not called Helga – it makes sense, I promise!!)

Henina’s attempts to thwart The Fates become more and more outlandish as the story progresses, and each idea seems to backfire as both coincidences and consequences start to pile up.

  • Who is the real Child of the Prophecy?
  • Will Henina escape The Fates?
  • Will she find her Grace?
  • Will they stop the 50 year war?

You’ll need to read the book to find out!!


Another amusing touch is the way the chapter titles (& contents!) relate to the chapter number:

Chapter 3: Three Silver Coins That Smell Like Feet      

Chapter 7: Seven Influential People I’ve Offended Today   

Chapter 10: Ten Impossible Things for Breakfast 

Chapter 13: Thirteen Griddle Cakes and a Greedy Sister  

Chapter 16: Sixteen Possible Traitors, and One Maybe

…. and so on.


Rating and Recommendations

I wholeheartedly rate this witty read with 5 out of 5 stars and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone, aged 10-100, who enjoys a fantasy novel with a historical slant and a large dose of giggles.This book is a perfect melding somewhere between classic Greco-Roman tragi-comedy and laugh-outloud modern sitcom. It really is an extremely wittily & cleverly woven tale. I can’t recommend it highly enough; and I cannot wait for the release of the sequel, Fifty-Three Assassins with a Head-Cold .


For more information on Emily and her work, visit EmilyMarthaSorensen.com , where you’ll find links to her books, giveaways and the opportunity to join her mailing list (and receive a copy of Six Shiny Silver Coins and the Ridiculous Ruckus They Caused a free short story which is the prequel to Twenty-Four Potential Children of Prophecy.)


Disclosure

I received an e-book copy of this book, direct from the author and free of charge, in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hugs, 

Crafty xx

[Book Review] TREAT YOURSELF! by Jessica Siskin

TITLE: Treat Yourself!

AUTHOR: Jessica Siskin

PUBLISHED BY: Workman Publishing Company

PUBLICATION DATE: 27 June 2017

EDITION: Paperback

GENRE: Cookery, Crafts & Hobbies, Food & Wine

ISBN: 9780761189800

PRICE: $14.95 (USD)

Jessica Siskin, AKA talented food artist; and Instagram sensation; @mister_krisp, invites you to ‘Treat Yourself!’ in this beautifully photographed & easy to follow book detailing 

“How to make 93 ridiculously fun no-bake crispy rice treats”


About The Book

One of the first things I noticed was the copious amount of clear photographs spread through the book. The instructions themselves are detailed yet concise and each stage is accompanied by a corresponding photo. 

The opening chapters include an introduction from the author, explaining a bit about how and why she got into Rice Krispie Treat modelling, and detailed descriptions of the equipment and ingredients necessary. Everything is well documented, with additional links, recommendations, and hints & tips where appropriate.

Another genius idea is that every single treat uses the same basic recipe. In the introductory part of the book, Jessica supplies us with a helpful table listing how many cups, tablespoons & drops are required to make batches of set sizes (named A-H for ease)

Each individual​ recipe then states which size batches you need and which colouring drops are required. 

The writing style is friendly and easy to read, chatty and full of puns, it’s like reading a letter from a friend.


The Recipes

The recipes themselves are laid out alphabetically; starting with Apples and a ridiculously realistic looking 11 inch tall Avocado, includes Balloons, a BBQ complete with kebabs, a dinosaur, lollipops, a piñata, a star-spangled wizard’s hat, and of course finishing up with a Zebra. 

There are even instructions for how to make Yourself  out of Rice Krispie Treats. I repeat, MAKE YOURSELF, OUT OF RICE KRISPIE TREATS. We’ve all seen those cakes with the photo of the birthday girl/boy/dog printed on top, but imagine the look on their face when they see themselves; in all their Krispie treats glory; taking centre stage at the party! (Coincidentally, this book is published the same day Offspring#2 turns 18. I’m already looking for a suitable snapshot to utilise this idea!)

The individual recipes are easy to follow, each step is clearly explained and any additional equipment or decorating ingredients are detailed at the beginning, alongside the required number of differently sized & coloured batches. The top of each page is also clearly marked denoting how hard each particular build is; bearing Easy, Medium or Advanced coloured banners. 

Also included are traceable (or downloadable) templates to make moulding your shapes easier. They are easily transferable to the reverse of baking parchment, then you can set to work moulding each batch of mixture.


How Did I Get On?

Of course, I had to give it a try, and since I was reading this book over National Doughnut Week (6-13 May), I just had to plump for misterkrisps Donuts recipe.

 I used chocolate crispies and didn’t add colour to the mix, if I was doing this again, I would probably add brown colouring or cocoa to my mallow mix.

I had 6 mini donut silicone moulds, so I used those. A ‘G’ Batch of mix filled those, plus I had enough left to mould 2 more by hand.

Half were iced with melted dark chocolate before being dusted with glitter sugar & coloured sprinkles, whilst I topped the remaining four with a coat of pink candy-melts and a drizzle of milk chocolate.

Jessica’s instructions were simple to follow and the opening chapters even include photographs of what the contents of your saucepan should look like at each stage, along with appropriate timings for a midsized batch. Speaking of which, I cannot believe how easy the cleanup was at the end; I filled my saucepan with hot soapy water whilst I put away my extra marshmallows etc and when I came back to it 5 minutes later, the remaining butter/marshmallow/crispie mix just wiped off!! 


What Did The Victims Think?

The Other Half: “Yummy!” and “mmmm..marshmallow-y”

Offspring#1: “I liked them, I guess!?!”

Offspring#2: “They were some good doughnuts” whilst simultaneously reaching for a second

& Me? I found it a bit on the sweet side but yummy, and I’m sure I’ll be making lots more Rice Krispie Treats in the coming months!

Rating

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars, as it is a real treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds! 

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


As always, thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you here again soon, and in the meantime; have you tried anything from an interesting new recipe book lately, or have you got an old favourite to share? 

Hugs,

Crafty xx

[MailCall Monday] 5 June 2017

The May #Paperhaul

Technically this should have been featured in last Week’s roundup but it ended up mistakenly going through a neighbour’s letterbox on Saturday and didn’t make it’s way home till Tuesday…

The May Paperhaul theme was Flamingo Flavour, and featured lovely pink flamingoes, hibiscus flowers and lush green ferny palm fronds, all in tropical shades of coral pinks and deep forest greens.

You can get a closer look at what was included by checking out my May Paperhaul review.

Book-ish Mail

The latest issue of oh comely magazine dropped through my letterbox.

It’s always a lovely read, full of interesting articles are swoonworthy photos.

And not a ‘which celeb is cheating on who with their neighbour’s dog’s pregnant husband’ story in sight!!

A Timely Treat from Prestige Flowers

Friday afternoon brought a rather exciting delivery, in the form of a large cardboard box from Prestige Flowers.

I had recently been in contact with them regarding reviewing a bouquet from their birthday flowers range and somewhat coincidentally, delivery had been arranged for the weekend before my birthday!

Of course, you’ll need to wait for my review post to find out exactly which bouquet I received!

 
Was there anything interesting in your mailbox this week?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hugs,

Crafty xx

Paperhaul May Review: FLAMINGO FLAVOUR

Our postie misdelivered my #Paperhaul to a neighbour, luckily she’s a nice one, so she kept it safe until we got home from our weekend away!

I’m still loving the updated look of these! The white card envelopes look brighter and fresher than the previous brown cardboard boxes, and I appreciate the way the whole set is tied together by the large accent sticker on the outer packaging and the inserted business card echoing the month’s design.

The May Paperhaul theme was Flamingo Flavour, and featured lovely pink flamingoes, hibiscus flowers and lush green ferny palm fronds, all in tropical shades of coral pinks and deep forest greens.

Included in May’s superb stationery selection were:

  • A cute noteblock, with a colourful flamingo illustration down the side of the pages

  • 2 postcards, one featuring a cute illustration of a pair of flamingos and the other bearing a bold leafty print, incorporating a ‘hello‘ greeting.

I think the matching reverse is a lovely additional touch to these postcards.

  • 3 mini flat cards, featuring prints co-ordinating to the set,  all with beautifully textured matching cream envelopes.

And finally,

  • A jazzy A6 notebook, featuring dot grid pages and all over leafy printed cover.

I think the noteblock with the lovely illustrated pages is my favourite item in the Flamingo Flavour collection, what’s yours​?

Want Your Own?

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). 

Don’t forget, you can use code ” 25OFF ” to receive a 25% discount off your first Paperhaul box. 
So, what do you think of the May collection, or Paperhaul in general? If you were familiar with the previous style, which do you prefer?

Thanks for reading,

Hugs,

Crafty xx


[Book Review] ‘Love in Row 27’ by Eithne Shortall

TITLE: LOVE IN ROW 27

AUTHOR: Eithne Shortall

GENRE: Romance

EDITION: Paperback

PAGES: 352

PUBLISHED BY: Corvus

PUBLICATION DATE: 1 June 2017

ISBN: 9781786492036

PRICE: £7.99


The Story

Heartbroken and home from Berlin after the breakdown of a 2 year romance, Cora finds herself working the check-in desk at Heathrow where a serendipitous policy change regarding a pause on self-service means she finds herself in the position to play Cupid (indeed, this becomes the name her flight attendant friend Nancy affectionately calls her). 

Cora and Nancy have a system where suitable single candidates for love are sat together in row 27. Cora gets proceedings started by a bit of surreptitious Facebook research to choose the best matches, then Nancy oils the wheels with coffee and an encouragement to chat. 

As the book progresses, we learn more about Cora’s failed romance and her mother’s ailing health. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Sheila is now living in a research clinic and as she was (as an ex-employee) instrumental in her daughter getting the Airline job, Cora finds herself torn with the idea of moving on elsewhere because leaving the airport also means leaving behind all the stories and memories to be shared about her mum; that soon Sheila will be unable to remember. 

Cora becomes obsessed with her matchmaking, to the detriment of her friendships, and her own possible chance at romance; when Nancy attempts a little matchmaking of her own, between Cora and the tall, dark and handsome Charlie from airline security.

A particularly entertaining thread that runs through the book is Cupid’s attempts to find love for frequent high-flyer Ingrid, a Swedish businesswoman; and the only passenger to cotton-on to the matchmaking scheme.

Throughout the story we remeet a few more frequent targets, such as Aiden; a handsome doctor who intrigues & infuriates Cora in equal measure on his weekly return flights to Ireland.

Thoughts

The book cover design is whimsical and fun and whilst i don’t tend to go for chick-lit or romances; i really enjoyed the humourous writing, the witty repartee between Cora & Nancy, and the touching way that the issue of Alzheimer’s is addressed as we learn more about Cora’s mum Sheila’s ailing health. 


Rating & Recommendations

Both witty & touching, I rate this entertaining read 4 out of 5 stars.


I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book and found myself glad I tried a genre I would normally overlook.

I would recommend this book to fans of Marian Keyes, and those who enjoy a romance with plenty of humour.

The Author

Based in Dublin after having previously lived in London, France and America; Eithne Shortall is a former student of journalism at Dublin City University.

She is an arts correspondent for The Sunday Times, and Love In Row 27 is her debut novel.

A self-confessed committed matchmaker from an early age; she enjoys sea swimming, cycling and eating scones; when not concerning herself with other people’s love lives.

You can connect with the lovely Eithne Shortall on Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure

I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher Corvus, via Readers First, in exchange for an honest review.

 

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hugs,

Crafty xx

[Book Review] ADVENTURE CATS by Laura J. Moss

Title: ADVENTURE CATS: Living Nine Lives To The Fullest

Author: Laura J. Moss

Published by: Workman Publishing Company

Publication Date: 16 May 2017

Genre: Non-Fiction, Outdoors & Nature, Animals, Hobbies

Edition: Paperback

ISBN: 9780761193562

Price: $14.95 (USD) 

Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about cats comes the ultimate—and unexpected—guide to taking your cat into the wild. Here are cats walking on a leash. Cats hiking on a leash. Cats tramping through snow. Cats camping. Cats kayaking, canoeing, even surfing—yes, cats who love water.


This beautifully photographed book came about after avid hiker, cat-lover and writer, Laura J Moss scoured the internet looking for tips on taking her beloved cat out into the wilds with her. The internet came up empty and thus AdventureCats.org was born.


Jam-packed with helpful and informative hints and tips on equipment, training and safety; this book will help you decide (via the fun quiz near the beginning) if your cat is likely to take to the great outdoors; and if so, how best to get them ready for adventure!


The jaw-dropping photographs throughout are an absolute pleasure to peruse, whether as a means to whet you & your cats’ appetites for adventure; or just to please the eye as you both snuggle on the sofa.


There are also plenty of inspiring true life stories of real-life adventure cats; such as Vladimir, on course to claim the record for visiting all 59 US national parks; Georgie, the tabby Captain, currently sailing the world; and Jesper, the skiing Norwegian kitty.

Rating and Recommendations


A beautifully illustrated; uplifting and interesting read, 5 out of 5 stars.


Half how-to guide, half inspiring stories, this wittily written and informative book will appeal to cat-lover and adventurers alike.


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

Of course, not all cats are up to a life of adventure…

So, do you think your cat would be up for adventure?

Until next time,

Hugs,

Crafty xx