Saturday 23 April 2011

Review -

I may have been a little bit excited when the peeps from Photobox contacted me and asked if I would like to review their service. I absolutely love photos and am one of those sad people that still likes to have actual prints in my hand as well as photos all over the house.

The deal was that Photobox would give me£40 credit to spend on whatever I wanted from their site. Well.....therein lies the first challenge. Did I want a photo book, prints, cards, mugs, canvas or pop art.  It took me about a week of looking through the site to decide which product to choose and then once I'd chosen the product how on earth was I going to choose a picture that I loved???

In the end I decided to have this picture made into a canvas:

It was one that I took when I started doing Project 365 last year and remains one of the best photos I've ever taken. So I uploaded it to the site at the push of a button, ordered the canvas I wanted on Monday and then waited.

They e-mailed me immediately to confirm my order and then yesterday I got another e-mail saying that it had been despatched already!! At 8.30am this morning a lovely Postie dropped off my canvas and it is fabulous!!!

It already has pride of place on my shiny new red wall:

I can't thank Photobox enough and I am amazed at just how easy and efficient the service was. I'll definitely be using them again!!! Another great thing that I noticed whilst I was ordering the canvas is that when you are paying it tells you if there are any special offers or discounts on the site that you may benefit from so I had a look and ended up getting a bigger canvas for the same money I originally had to spend! An extra brownie point to Photobox for that!!!

*Disclosure - As stated above Photobox gave me a £40 credit for their site for me to spend as I wished.

Friday 22 April 2011

Book Review: The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell

In a hospice in Bury St Edmunds, a man called Daniel is slowly fading away. His friend Maggie sits with him every day; she holds his hand and she listens to the story of his life, to his regrets and to his secrets. And then he tells her about the children he has never met and never will, conceived with women he never even touched. Four of them, apparently, two boys, two girls. His legacy, he calls them.

Lydia, Robyn and Dean don’t know each other. Yet. And they are all facing difficult challenges. Lydia is still wearing the scars from her traumatic childhood and although she is wealthy and successful, her life is lonely and disjointed. Dean is a young man whose life is going nowhere. Robyn is training to be a doctor, just like her father – a man she’s never met. When she falls in love with a man who is like her in every way, she needs to be sure. It's time for her to open the envelope her mother gave her on her eighteenth birthday.

And Daniel’s children slowly find their way into each other’s lives…


I’m sure that most of you remember my terrific excitement last year when I was invited to a blogging event at Random House and I actually got to meet Lisa. At the time she said that she was looking to move into writing darker characters and to maybe take her writing in a different direction and I have to say that she has done 
and this is definitely my favourite book of hers. She should write all future books in a similar style.

I can’t tell you how quickly I read this book....well actually I took me four and a half hours! I just couldn’t put it down. Now because I had a preview copy it didn’t have a normal cover and so I didn’t read the blurb above before I got stuck into it and for the first few chapters didn’t see where the book was going! (In my defence I read most of it laying on a blanket in the park in the glorious sunshine and didn’t have the info sheet with me J

The characters have so much depth and the story just races along leaving you eager to read the next chapter to find out how it will all end. I found also that it threw up some really interesting questions about the circumstances surrounded the conception of the four and what this would mean in a real life situation. There was a twist that I didn’t see coming which kept me on my toes and I love that the book shows how 
dysfunctional all families are even when they look normal from the outside!

The book is released on the 12th May and I suggest you pre-order your copy now......I can’t recommend it highly enough and am now going to thoroughly read it for the second time to see what I missed out on whilst I was speed-reading through it!!

If you are a fan of Lisa's you can find her on Facebook too :-)

Thursday 14 April 2011

HP Virtual Focus Group - Week 4 - Extra Resources

Apologies for being so behind with the weeks but I've been busy working and enjoying the sunshine!! Week four's challenge was to investigate some of the extra resources that come with the printers. As you know they are both Wireless but you can also print some extra activities directly from the printer instead of having to go through a laptop or PC. 

The HP has a very stylish and funky display screen to check out the extra features:

As you can see from some of the pictures you can print Suduko, Crayola pictures or even directly from Snapfish. This is a great resource for Chick as she can print them as she pleases without any help from me although I do keep secretly disconnecting the wireless so that she can't keep printing off vast amounts ;-)

The Kodak screen and extras seem like they are out of the Ark in comparison:

They are all helpful things as there is a shopping list and reminder list but they just aren't as much fun and Chick isn't remotely interested. 

For this reason alone I think that the HP would win this challenge but it also has one other amazing trick that gives it definite brownie points.....  It has its own e-mail address! Now that might not sound very impressive but what it means is that you can e-mail the printer directly from wherever you are in the world and it will do your printing without you being around!! I think that's amazing cool and this week's winner for me is definitely the HP!!

Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have about the printers and if I can't answer them then I'll put them to Thom from HP who is a printing guru!!!

Monday 4 April 2011

Book Review: To Marry a Prince by Sophie Page

Bella Greenwood isn’t a fairytale girl. If pushed, she’d probably tell you that her perfect wedding would involve a handful of close friends and family. But as she’s never met anyone she’d like to marry, it’s a moot point.
Until, in a midnight garden, Bella is helped out of an embarrassing situation by a tall, dark, handsome man with laughing eyes. And suddenly her life changes for ever, because the man is the world’s most eligible bachelor: Prince Richard, heir to the throne.

Richard sweeps her off her feet, and before she knows it they’re engaged. Which is when Bella’s problems really begin. Suddenly she is public property, and as if it isn’t enough to have her every move watched – while also learning to curtsy and negotiating the etiquette of how to address her future mother-in-law – she soon finds herself embroiled in bridesmaid politics, a right royal hen night, and a wedding dress controversy that causes a national scandal...

Can this ordinary girl survive the preparations for her very own Royal Wedding?
I’ve always been a big reader but these days due mainly to time constraints I’m a bit fussier about what I read. Generally I only get to read for about 20 minutes in bed and because of that I like to read things that are quite light and easy going and this fits the bill perfectly.

I started reading this one day when I was at home ill and I have to be honest and say that I devoured it in one sitting!!!!! I loved the style that the book was written in and if I could write like this I’d be over the moon.
The lead character Bella is fun if a little straightforward and her relationship with Richard is lovely to read about.....if only it was really this simple to land your Prince ;-) I also really like the fact that the plot line focuses on Bella’s dysfunctional relationships with her Parents and doesn’t rely just on the romantic nature of the story to move it forward.

Of course with the wedding of the decade only being a few weeks away you can’t help but keep Wills & Kate in mind when you are reading especially towards the end as the wedding planning begins in earnest. I don’t think that necessarily a bad thing though!!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and it would definitely make a good beach read. To Marry a Prince will be available to buy from 7th April at around £5.99! Go reserve your copy now!

Friday 1 April 2011

The Winner Is................

Thank you sooooooo much to everyone who entered my competition to win The Dodo Household Stuff Book. The winner is comment number 3:

Congratulations to HEATHER Y!! Could you please e-mail me your address by Monday, 4th April at 5pm. Commiserations to those of you that didn't win but to ease your pain Lord Dodo has agreed that from today until Midnight on Friday 8th April you can have 25% off The Household Stuff Book. Please enter the code 11PR at the checkout to get your discount!!