It’s been a while since I’ve popped up a book review and that is honestly because I haven’t been reading as much lately and the books I have been reading haven’t been worthy of a review! But when I spotted Sophie Kinsella’s latest novel – My Not So Perfect Life – on sale recently, I made sure to pick it up.

I’ve enjoyed Sophie Kinsella’s writing for a long time now – I love how she’s unapologetically known as the queen of writing chick lit books – but cool chick lit books that shy away from the typical standards that you’d expect in such a story. She’s not afraid to tackle tougher subjects in her books, yet her writing is almost always relatable on some level or another.

Saying that, I can’t say I ever particularly became a fan of her Shopaholic series and didn’t read past the first couple of books. However, I loved I’ve Got Your Number and Remember Me? is still hands down one of my favourite novels of all time which has resulted in a creased dog eared copy that I read at least once a year.

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My Not So Perfect Life is probably the only recent work of hers I’ve picked up and after reading the blurb, I was curious to read the whole story.

The blurb reads -Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

The grass is always greener… with the right filter.

At first glance, I thought this book was a very on trend take on current issues we all face in the type of society we are, what with always being online. But I immediately thought it was an interesting twist – although the story touches on Katie Brenner creating a certain life via Instagram, her jealousy and envy of her boss – Demeter – is very real, happening right in front of her eyes. So it was an interesting take to indulge in the regular feeling a lot of us often have these days – envy for the picture perfect lives we see online and comparing ourselves to others – but this focuses on the jealousy we feel and develop in real life.

The story mostly focuses on this subject of course and we see a huge transformation in Katie’s life – from being a professional but quite frankly exhausted Londonite to slumming it back home in Somerset, swapping glamourous clothes for whatever is comfortable. The change is very subtle and gradual but we as readers can already see what’s right in front of our eyes – Katie is clearly much happier at home deep down, even though she doesn’t acknowledge this.

Throughout the book we learn more about Demeter too and within a few chapters we quickly learn just how different her life actually is as opposed to the life she portrays. Demeter was an interesting character – it was weird that we met her as a head strong b*tch boss, but midway through the book we’re feeling sorry for her and eventually come to love her as she lets her guard down and becomes a much more relatable person.

Katie’s character sounded almost like my inner monologue at most points – she’s determined to stick to her fast life in London, even if behind the scenes everything is less than perfect – by a lot. She’s got ambition. She’s headstrong and she’s honest. But she’s also very human too. It takes her a good while to see the truth about her own life – let alone her bosses – and though to us it might seem so obvious where her heart lies or where is best for her, she definitely does her fair share of denying.

This book is essentially about our portrayal of ourselves not just online but to everyone in general. We put a mask on and act like our life is perfect, but when the masks come off and the chips fall down, we’re all just pretty much the same and neither of us are better than the other, even if someone may have a higher position at work than you or more followers on Twitter.

There’s a few lovely side stories in this novel too – there’s a little romance, and it’s very interesting to see Katie take on the roll of helping her father and his partner launch a new glamping business. For Sophie’s readership, this part of the book was really quite fascinating, hearing about how Katie advertised the venture and helped promote the business. We are – as bloggers, at least – a society who take matters into our own hands – we plug our blogs relentlessly, we choose creative freelance work over stuffy ‘safe’ jobs and most of us are pretty much obsessed with social media – or at least fascinated by it – and it’s ability to drive revenue and custom.

So overall the smaller storylines in My Not So Perfect Life really helped to round out the book and change things up a bit. My Not So Perfect Life is a story that I’ll certainly read again and again and I think it’ll do well to help us all remember that no matter how jealous or envious we might be of someone, when the masks come off and the truth is revealed, we’re no better than each other – it’s not a competition and really there’s little to be jealous of.

Have you read My Not So Perfect Life yet? Let me know!


When I was offered the opportunity to try some fruit jerkies Snact., I couldn’t say no. One of my downfalls with healthy eating is snacking on unhealthy crisps and chocolate. I’m not a massive lover of chocolate so I’m not too bad with that, but I definitely love my crisps.
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Foodie Review | Snact. Fruit Jerkies; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Snact.; Review; Food Review; Vegan
Healthy snacks are something I definitely need so I was super pleased to try these!
The eco-conscious company has created blended dried fruit jerkies in the hopes to stop unwanted fruit and veg getting thrown away, which I think happens ever so often, especially in my household.
Swapping fruit for these instead I think would make a big difference.
The snacks are gluten free and vegan friendly (yay) and delicious, too. Although it’s dried fruit, it’s anything but dry and even a little juicy, with tons of flavour.
They come in two flavours – Apple & Raspberry and Apple & Mango, but I couldn’t choose which is my favourite as they’re both so nice.
Formidable Joy - UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle blog | Foodie Review | Snact. Fruit Jerkies; Formidable Joy; Formidable Joy Blog; Snact.; Review; Food Review; Vegan
The packets are super cute too and I’ve often reached for them and found myself snacking on them when I’m at work.
Each packet only costs £1 too, which means it’s ever so affordable.
I really love how eco-friendly the company is and how it has worked with farmers and packers around the UK and further to source leftover produce just to stop it being wasted.

I would definitely recommend Snact. as an alternative treat to chocolate or crisps!

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When I was very kindly sent some EcoTOOLS brushes to review, I was also sent some Ardell lashes to as well. The three products I received were Ardell Lashes in 105, Ardell Individual Lashes in Medium Black and Ardell Starter Kit in 101 Demi. I decided to save the other two products to review when I could wear them for a night out or a special occasion and instead chose to try out the Ardell Individual Lashes in Medium Black.
I was really excited to try these out because as much as it doesn’t make sense, I love fake eyelashes that look natural. Unless it’s for fancy dress or a particularly special night out, I don’t like over the top fake eyelashes. I much prefer simple ones that when worn instead just give your eyes/eyelashes that extra oomph! So I was definitely pleased with these individual eyelashes as I loved the idea that you could build them up as you went along – wearing them as natural or as over the top as you like.
I really loved these particular ones as well as each individual lash is made up of ten small lashes at various lengths, so although it looks like there are only a few lashes there are more. The fact that they are made of varying lengths was promising too as when I cut some later on to get a smaller size, I found that having them all the same length looks especially unnatural and silly. These particular lashes were soft but light, which I loved, and attached to my eyelid very well.
The packaging was cute and basic too – it was straight to the point but I also loved how instructions were provided on the back with added images.
This was the first time I’ve ever used individual lashes as opposed to normal fake eyelashes and I thought they would be pretty hard to apply. In fact, they were a lot easier than I thought. At first they were a bit fiddly to use but once I used tweezers to apply them rather then my hands, it was much easier. However, I found it was easier to remove them from where they are lightly glued to the plastic case using my hands instead of tweezers as when I used tweezers, I pulled too hard and ended up ruining a lash – some staying attached to the plastic and some falling out. This was my fault, however after accidently dropping two and losing them (I’m so clumsy) I didn’t want to risk breaking/losing anymore so used my hands to remove them from the packaging from then on.
Although glue did not come with this particular pack, I used glue from the starter kit I also received and think this is my favourite eyelash glue yet. It was strong which gave me the confidence not to constantly worry about weather or not they were falling out throughout the day, but it was also fairly easy to remove them when I did (we all know that can be a bit painful!). The glue wasn’t too sticky either and didn’t get everywhere or wasn’t as fiddly as other glue I’d used.
I used the lashes mainly on the outside of my eyes, planning to work from the outside into about half way along my eye but I quite liked how it looked with them just on the outside/corner of my eye. I felt it did give my eyelashes/eye that extra oomph without being too over the top, which is exactly the look I wanted to achieve.
Wearing the individual lashes on the left, no mascara or lashes on the right so you can see the difference
With the individual eyelashes added to both eyes
I think they looked quite ideal just for day to day wear, especially as you can use as many or as little as little as you like. I thought they really helped my eyes stand out and were definitely cute for a casual look – you can see in the photos how they have clearly added a lot of length to my lashes so they definitely do make a lot of difference.
I was extremely pleased with this product and would without a doubt use it again – in fact after wearing these all day yesterday (they lasted all day until I was ready to take them off!), I’ve even added a few lashes to my eyes today too. In addition, wearing these also made me feel quite confident and flirty too – they definitely not only looked good but made me feel good also. I would definitely recommend these to everyone!
Please keep an eye out for further reviews of the other two Ardell Lashes products I also received. 
Please note that although I was very kindly sent these products to review, all opinions are completely my own, 100% truthful and not at all biased. I chose to review these products specifically because I think they are in the interest of my blog readers.

My sister always taught me that you can be an absolute make up expert – you could have the most expensive products and know how to apply it all perfectly – but unless you have a decent set of make up brushes and tools, you won’t get far. That’s something I’ve always remembered and tried to live by. It’s only when I myself began to use proper make up brushes that I realized how much difference it makes.
I was recently sent some EcoTOOLS products to review and I was immediately pleased with the products I received. Although I do use make up brushes, the ones I currently use are only cheap ones and I’ve been after some professional ones for a while now. EcoTOOLS provided me with just that!
To begin with, EcoTOOLS are all about being green. EcoTOOLS is a member of 1% for the Planet, which is a collective of businesses that support environmental initiatives. Each member donates 1% of their annual revenue to environmental causes. All of their products are 100% cruelty free, using natural elements to stay as green as possible. In particular, their cosmetic brushes are made from sleek bamboo, recycled aluminum and synthetic taklon bristles. 
I absolutely love that these products are designed to be as friendly to the planet as they can and that the company has such involvement in being green. It’s really refreshing to find a company with such an inspiring message, as well as the fact that they do not test on animals at all. This is certainly a big factor in why I love these products.
The packaging is absolutely gorgeous as well ; it’s simple but reflects the message behind the products. The storage pouches that the brushes come in are also reusable and each pouch has a ‘Green Tip’ on the back, as well as basic instructions on how to use each brush.

This beautiful Bamboo angled eyeliner brush is ideal for applying eyeliner without making a mess. I found that when using this, I ended up with very defined applied eyeliner which is a first for me! This small brush is beautiful – the bristles are extremely soft and it meant that it was a really smooth process when applying eyeliner. It’s quite hard too in that the bristles are very defined – even after using it and washing it the bristles still stayed in place. I find that with other eyeliner brushes, once washing them the bristles divide between themselves and I end up with loads of gaps between them, making it really hard to use. However this brush didn’t do that, which I think is a valuable factor when creating an eyeliner brush. The bristles weren’t too thick either which meant the eyeliner line was just right – I could apply it as a thin line as it was, or build it up.

I think out of all the brushes I received, I’ve probably used the Recycled retractable foundation brush the most. It’s not easy to use your foundation when creating an even complexion but this brush did the trick. Again, the extremely soft but hard set bristles made it so easy to apply foundation and left me with the most even coverage I’ve had in a long time. I felt that this brush also made it really easy to blend – something other brushes I’d used in the past had not managed to do. I usually find I have to apply foundation, use a brush and than further use my fingers to blend in more but I didn’t need to when using this brush. My skin can be quite temperamental as well with skin around my nose being a bit dry and my forehead being a bit shiny/greasy but this brush prevented this and covered up any blemishes perfectly too.

This Recycled retractable kabuki brush is ideal for that ‘final touch’. When you’ve added all your makeup, it’s perfect to use when applying cover up in powder form, blusher or bronzer and is used to create a smooth and soft finish. This brush does exactly what it says on the packet and I find it really is perfect for finishing off any looks I am creating. I’ve used this brush out and about too and it’s been perfect to use as a quick touch up. The thick and full bristles are so soft to use on my face. Some brushes I use all over my face can be scratchy slightly but this wasn’t, in fact it felt really velvety! The taklon bristles are strong as well. I have found in the past that when brushing quite quickly or heavily all over my face, bristles can come loose and fall off but this was not an issue here.

This is perhaps my favourite product of all! This Bamboo 6 piece eye brush set is absolutely gorgeous. Each small brush is used for the different steps in developing that gorgeous look with eyeshadow. The brushes are soft and blend perfectly as well, making the sometimes hard and long process of creating a look actually a lot easier. I love the beautiful travel case it comes in as well, meaning it’s so easy to carry the whole set around with you. In fact, the small case is just the right size to pop into your bag or clutch on a night out without taking up too much space. I also really love how each brush is labelled – you can easily see what each brush is used for in case you forget. This is something I haven’t really found with other brushes before and think it’s a really nice and helpful idea – you’d be surprised at how often you forget what brush is for what and personally I’m still learning myself! Therefore this thoughtful touch is really nice and just adds to the whole idea of EcoTOOLS being a wholesome and friendly company.
Overall, I really adore this company and the products they make. I can’t stress enough how nice it is to find a company that is so involved in helping the planet and actively promotes the fact that being cruelty free is beneficial to everybody. I love everything about these products, from the packaging to the looks I’ve managed to create using these beautiful brushes.
Please keep your eyes out for some upcoming posts I’ll be doing showing some looks I’ve created using EcoTOOLS.
EcoTOOLS products are priced from £4.99 and are available from Boots, Superdrug and Tescos nationwide.
Please note that although I was very kindly sent these products to review, all opinions are completely my own, 100% truthful and not at all biased. I chose to review these products specifically because I think the company itself is very inspiring and therefore their products are in the interest of my blog readers.

Ever since I found out this book was causing controversy everywhere, I had to read it. Any book that challenges people or gets people talking is a must read in my eyes so I wasted no time ordering it from Amazon. Whilst waiting for it to arrive, I did a bit of research about the book and found extremely mixed reviews. It’s almost as if there is a clear 50/50 divide down the middle. Some reviews were praising the book as the best thing they’d ever read, whereas others were calling the book ridiculous, with the female lead being stupid and pathetic! I also read an article about how the book was in some ways empowering women and helping them be more open with erotica and sex. Really, if you haven’t heard of this book yet, where have you been?
The story was originally written as a Twilight fan fiction (a story based on the two main characters of the franchise) but was re-written with new characters. Although there are many similarities between the original first draft fan fiction and this published novel, don’t let it put you off. The main characters were merely loosely based on the characters of Edward and Bella.
The blurb reads –
When literature student Anatasia Steele interviews successful entrepreneur Christian Grey, she finds him very attractive and deeply intimidating. Convinced that their meeting went badly, she tries to put him out of her mind – until he turns up at the store where she works part-time, and invites her out.
Unwordly and innocent, Ana is shocked to find she wants this man. And, when he warns her to keep her distance, it only makes her want him more.
But Grey is tormented by inner demons, and consumed by the need to control. As they embark on a passionate love affair, Ana discovers more about her own desires, as well as the dark secrets Grey keeps hidden away from public view…
In the most simple terms, this is an erotic and romantic story about the relationship between Ana and Christian. It is quite dark in that Christian enjoys partaking in sub/dom relationships and wants to draw up a contract with Ana where, unlike a normal relationship, instead she agrees to be his submissive, meaning he, as the dominator, can make her do anything he likes and ‘punish’ (spank, whip, tie up etc) her if she steps out of line. As dark as it sounds, this book was absolutely amazing.
I really, really loved this book. I admittedly expected it to be so much different than it was. I knew what type of story it was so I knew it would be rude and I expected the character of Christian to quite frankly be a pervy, nasty old man. I thought the relationship between Ana and Christian would simply be about him forcing her to do stuff and getting off on it (sorry for lack of a better description!). I thought it would be very seedy.
It was NOTHING like I thought. For a start, this story was very passionate and romantic. I thought it was more about the passion and romance then it was about the sex. The darker side of Christian was explained that because of his past, he simply likes sex to be much more kinkier. This book was a lot ruder then I thought it was, it was very erotic, however it was written very well and went hand in hand with the romance part of the story. The character of Christian is actually represented as a young, attractive and sexy man who simply had some demons to deal with. In some ways, the relationship actually seemed ideal in that as you read the book you can understand that the characters clearly develop a passion for each other that is almost on another level.
It does of course have parts about sex being a bit darker so I would suggest an open mind when reading this book. I think it depends on your own thoughts about this type of thing ; to some people, punishment during sex is seen as demeaning – for others it’s a turn on! 
I really loved this book and the romance really drew me in. I read this book in two or three days straight, unable to put it down. This book really grips you and draws you in and in all honesty I think the author is an excellent writer. It’s not easy to describe the type of passion or love you feel for someone, especially if it’s a lot more than what you are used to, but this author got it spot on.
I recently read that the book is going to be made into a movie and Ian Somerhalder is being considered as the role of Christian. This is most probably a rumour but if you know his character in The Vampire Diaries then you’ll understand why he may be being considered. His character in the Vampire Diaries is very handsome, dark and brooding – he’s possessive and loves on a whole other level and he has a very dark side with lots of demons. The character of Christian is very much like this.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship where you’ve felt such a passion for someone that you’ve just wanted to give up all of yourself to them then this is for you.
I also love the cover for this book – I think it’s both intriguing and even sexy once you realize what the tie symbolizes. As you read the story you’ll find that the tie on the cover of the book immediately reminds you of parts of the book but as a whole the tie also symbolizes emotions within the relationship and more. It’s almost like the cover of this book is to not only remind you of the erotic nature of the story, but also of what the story is actually about on a deeper level – i.e how it’s not actually just all about sex. Personally I think that it’s a smart and nifty little reminder as at times when you are not reading but you see the book on your bedside table or bookshelf, the cover immediately reminds you of parts of the book and draws you in to come back and read it. 
I would without a doubt recommend this book to everyone – it is unbelievably gripping and has such a shock factor attached to it. Whether you’re open minded or not I would recommend it but if you’re quite closed minded I don’t think you’ll like it. If you are close minded you should read it none the less though, if even to broaden your mind a little bit.
This book is part of a trilogy and I have since purchased the second and third book in the series. I am reading the second book at the moment and it is just as gripping as this one! I’ll also be typing up a review of both the second and third book when I get the chance to.